New Blues Review 7-25-23
Mark Cameron – Nasty Business (Blue Heart)– Mark is known as a prolific songwriter and charismatic front man and has enjoyed sustained success over more than 40 years in music by delivering high-energy live performances along with chart topping Blues albums. Most recently, his 2021 release, Back from the Edge, received critical acclaim with recognition by the Global Music Awards. Previous releases include 2019’s On a Roll, which reached number 5 on the Roots Music Report Contemporary Blues Album chart and was the number one album in Minnesota for 18 straight weeks. Mark has a decent Blues voice and is backed with his band consisting Sheri Cameron on Sax, Percussion and Vocal, Scott Lundberg on Bass, Rick Miller on Harmonica and Vocals and Dan Schroeder on Drums. Lots of slow ballad type songs on this CD, I think my favorite is “Combination” with featured vocalist Teresa James. listen here. I will probably give this a 7 on Blues Content and a 5 on Music Content.
The Nick Moss Band – Get Your Back Into It! (Alligator)– Moss first made a name for himself playing bass for bluesman Jimmy “Fast Fingers” Dawkins. Dawkins encouraged Nick to unleash his fire and passion. From there, Moss was chosen by Willie “Big Eyes” Smith to join his Legendary Blues Band, but Smith insisted Moss switch to guitar. Blues icon Jimmy Rogers (whose best known songs included “Walking By Myself” and “Ludella”) hired Moss as his touring guitarist, mentoring him on the blues lifestyle along the way. Today, Moss’ blistering fretwork, impassioned, soul-charged vocals and memorable original songs place him in a league of his own. Joining Nick on this CD is New Jersey native, harmonica player and vocalist Dennis Gruenling – together with Rodrigo Mantovani on bass, Taylor Streiff on keyboards and Pierce Downer on drums. From this first tune, “The Bait In The Snare”, that this is a highly polished Blues Band. Nick’s guitar playing is perfect for this type of Blues and Densis Gruenling has that perfect overdriven Harmonica through out the album. Lots of great tunes on this one but I think my favorite is “Man On a Move” , listen here. I will probably give this a 9 on Blues Content and a 9 on Music Content.
Monster Mike Welch – Nothing But Time (Gulf Coast Records)– Welch has been my one of my favorite guitarist since I ran into him playing in Boston in the Late 90’s. Welch has almost three decades of touring and recording under his belt, Boston-based blues guitarist Monster Mike Welch is a seasoned veteran of the international blues scene. Given the nickname “Monster Mike” by actor/Ghostbuster Dan Aykroyd at the tender age of 13, Welch has since carved out a niche as a highly accomplished and in-demand guitarist. To date, Welch has released several albums under his own name and in 2001, he joined the ranks of one of New England’s most beloved blues institutions, Sugar Ray and the Bluetones, where he stayed until 2017, recording five albums and racking up multiple Blues Music Award nominations for the band in that time. In addition, Welch has recorded with Shemekia Copeland, Ronnie Earl, Danielle Nicole, Duke Robillard, Johnny Winter, Victor Wainwright, Nick Moss, the Mannish Boys and Sugaray Rayford, among others. Welch left the Bluetones in 2017 to focus on his partnership with Mike Ledbetter, which led to seven Blues Music Award nominations and the formation of the Welch Ledbetter Connection within the first year. Welch has received three consecutive Blues Music Award nominations by the Blues Foundation for Instrumentalist-Guitar beginning in 2016, a Boston Music Award for Best Blues Act, and is an inductee of the Rhode Island Music Hall Of Fame. In 2023, Monster Mike Welch embarked on the next phase of his career when he signed with Gulf Coast Records to make new music. Monster Mike takes on some great covers like Robert Johnson’s ” If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day” and “Kind Hearted Woman Blues”, Buddy guy’s “Ten Years Ago” and George Harrison’s “I Me Mine”. The rest of the songs are written by Welch and shows how much he has grown as a writer. His guitar attack is very reminiscent of SRV. Many great songs on this one, but I think my favorite is “In Case You Care”, listen here. I will probably give this a 10 on Blues Content and a 9 on Music Content.
The Oscillators – Oscillators (Tramp Records)– Representing Seattle Funk. The Oscillators’ debut album is deep, raw and energetic. Led by drummer oLLi kLoMp, the line up features members of the Polyrhythmics, Rippin’ Chicken, the Pulsations, Lucky Brown, the Trueloves, 45th Street Brass, The S.G.’s, and more… This is not your grandpa’s Blues, actually not blues at all. Why does David give me these albums to review for New Blues Releases?? Because this album actually kicks ass!! Great experimental, Jam type band with lots of Synths and great drum tracks. Funk with a double helping of gravy. All the songs are instrumentals and work on staying in the groove. I think my favorite is “Packet O’ Cheese”, listen here. I will probably give this a 2 on Blues Content and a 9 on Music Content.
Robert “Top” Thomas – A Thin Dime (Self Produced)– Florida “Swamp Blues” master Robert ‘Top’ Thomas a native of New Smyrna Beach, Florida has toured and/or recorded as a guitarist and vocalist with several renowned Blues artists including; “Noble ‘Thin Man’ Watts”, “Lazy Lester”, “Victor Wainwright”, “The King Snake All-Star Revue”, “Alex Taylor”, “Bill Wharton”, “Blue House”, “Mark ‘MuddyHarp’ Hodgson”, to name a few; but is best known as a founding member of King Snake recording artist “SmokeHouse”. This is a decent old time finger picking and slide guitar country blues album. Thomas covers many of the greats like Son House’s “Death Letter Blues”, Mance Lipscomb’s “I Want To Do Something For You” and Reverend Gary Davis’s “I Am The True Vine”. There is some decent guitar skills and not a bad voice to back him up. Overall, I would listen to this one again. I think my favorite is “A Thin Dime” but I couldn’t find it on line yet, but here is “Crawling King Snake, listen here. I will probably give this a 9 on Blues Content and a 7 on Music Content.