New Blues & Soul News – 10/19/2015

New Blues & Soul News – 10/19/2015

New Blues Adds:

Anthony Geraci & The Boston Blues All-Stars – Fifty Shades Of Blue (Delta Groove): Geraci was an original member of Sugar Ray & The Bluetones and Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters and has played keys with numerous blues bands and stars. His current disc not only features Geraci on keys but the Boston Blues All-Stars include Monster Mike Welch (guitar), Michael “Mudcat” Ward (bass) and Marty Richards or Neil Gouvin on drums and there are other guests: Sugar Ray Norcia plays harp and even Native American flute and sings throughout the disc, while other guests are Darrell Mulisch (vox, harp), and Toni Lynn Washington and Michelle Wilson provide guest vocals. Obviously, this is a labor of love and friendship. The musicianship is truly solid and includes a wonderful tribute to the late David Maxwell. Several of the vocals evidence age and road wear.  Nonetheless, it is a nice tribute.  Click here to listen to a live version of “Blues for David Maxwell”.  

Dudley Taft – Skin And Bones (Self-produced): Singer/guitarist/blues rocker Taft has been recording for over two decades. This release is heavier on the rock than the blues, but it’s fair to say there’s a shade of blues here. Taft wrote all but one song on the disc and the outlier is Johnny Winter’s “Leland Mississippi Blues”. Band support is provided by Reese Wynans, with the exception of Eric Robert on one song on organ, John Kessler on bass, Jason Patterson on drums, and Rachel Williams and Ashley Christensen on backing vocals. Click here to listen to the title song.

Joe Louis Walker – Everybody Wants A Piece (Provogue): Joe Louis Walker has been turning out imaginative blues, blue soul, and blues rock albums since 1986 and, unlike many others who have burned out from constant road work and/or creative exhaustion, he continues to surprise with his fresh playing, enthusiasm, wide taste in styles and creativity.  He wrote or co-wrote six of the eleven tracks here and arranged two that he didn’t write. He plays a commanding electric guitar in rock, blues rock and jazzy styles. He plays lightning fast progressions at times and is understated at others. If you don’t like his busy playing, just wait a bit and he’ll make it simpler and more straight forward. As usual, his band is compact: Phillip Young (keys), Lenny Bradford (bass), and Byron Cage (drums) with guest guitarist Paul Nelson playing rhythm guitar on two songs. If you’re not familiar with his work, go ahead and give this a listen.  It’s a fine place to get started. If you are familiar with him, you’re already looking for this new disc!  Click here to listen to the title song.

New Soul Adds:

Nikki Hill – Heavy Hearts, Hard Fists (Deep Fryed): It’s been three years since Nikki Hill’s first release and this new R&B singer/shouter: hard singing, stage swinging, make-your-heart-go-bump and leave-your-ears-ringing is considered by many who have heard her live as the new soul sensation. The band, including Matt Hill (guitar), Ed Strohsahl (bass), and Joe Meyer (drums), labels its style as the new “rock’n’roll” and given their style, that spelling is telling. Surprisingly, this disc is not as raw as the first was.  That may be, in part, increased comfort in the recording studio or perhaps mellower production. In any case, this is a fine disc and it honors the retro or pre-soul r’n’b (“Struttin’”) and rock’n’roll (“Oh My”) tags quite well. This clearly is, first and foremost, a party band, undoubtedly more powerful live.  All but two songs were written by Nikki Hill.  Click here for a live version of a song on this disc. 

The Suffers – Make Some Room (Self-produced): Here we have a ten-piece band from Houston, TX who are redefining the sound of “Gulf Coast Soul”, intertwining elements of Classic American Soul with Rock & Roll and a touch of the sound from below the border. Their earlier single drew heavily on the rhythms of reggae and now the smooth soul sound comes to the fore. They have said that their biggest influence is their environment and all of the musical styles they encounter (blues, soul, country, caribbean music, cajun styles, and hip hop, among others). Vocalist Kam Franklin has a full soulful voice and is clearly the center of this group.  She’s surrounded by Nick Zamora (drums), Jon Durbin (trumpet), Jose “Cahpy” Luna (drums, percussion), Michael Razo (trombone), Adam Castaneda (bass), Alex Zamora and Kevin Bernier (guitars), Patrick Kelly (keys), and Cory Wilson (sax).  The sound skates from one sensibility to another while Franklin ushers forth compelling soulfulness both sweet and powerful and the rest of the band blends their their performance into a unified shading that fully suggests and supports the style of each song.  Click here to listen to a song from this EP. 


Professor Bebop


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