New Blues & Soul News – 3/24/2020
New Blues Adds:
Avey Grouws Band – The Devil May Care (Self-produced): “Jeni Grouws met Chris Avey and Bryan West at a blues jam in the Quad Cities in 2015, and later that year The Avey Grouws Duo was formed. After throwing in a handful of well-received full band gigs in 2016, in 2017 the duo finally called up Bryan West to officially form the Avey Grouws Band. Chris Avey, formerly of The Avey Brothers and former lead guitarist for blues icon Big Pete Pearson, has been called a “younger, more fiery Coco Montoya mixed with a dash of Tab Benoit”. Avey and drummer Bryan West came in 3rd in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in 2009 as The Avey Brothers. The strength and grit of Avey’s guitar and vocals are beautifully matched by the sheer power and nuance of Grouws’ unmistakable voice. She’s been called “a choir full of angels on a runaway train!” (https://www.aveygrouwsband.com/bio) The group is a straight ahead blues and rock band that keeps the music flowing in a steady stream. No histrionics just straight out blues and rock. The line-up includes Jeni Grouws (vocals), Chris Avey (guitar, vocal), Bryan West (drums), Randy Leasman (bass) and Nick Vasquez (keys) with Nolan Schroeder (sax) and Dan Meier (trumpet) on the final track. All of the songs are originals. Click here for a song from this disc.
Albert Castiglia – Wild And Free (Gulf Coast): “This record is for the Albert Castiglia hardcore fans. It captures Albert’s electricity and passion when he’s with his people!” (Mike Zito) The new album by the Albert Castiglia Band, Wild and Free, was recorded live at The Funky Biscuit in Boca Raton, Florida. This in your face live performance captures the energy and guitar mastery that Castiglia shares with his audiences each time he takes the stage. With special guests Mike Zito, John Ginty, and Lewis Stephens this is THE live album Castiglia fans have been waiting for!” (https://intrepidartists.com/artists/albert-castiglia/) Castiglia composed four of the songs on offer and the remainder were pulled from composers Bill Wharton, Mike Zito, Brian Stoltz, Paul Butterfield and Freddie King among others. Backup players are Justine Tompkins (bass, vocals), Ephraim Lowell (drums), Lewis Stephens (B3, piano) and guests Mike Zito (guitar) and John Ginty (B3). Tough, strong and electric in all the right ways! Click here to listen to a song from this disc.
Laura Green – Green Eyed Blues (Self-produced): “A native of St. Louis, with all it’s rich musical history, singer and songwriter Laura Green has been performing for over a decade, singing a variety of types of music, including rock, folk and jazz. Inspired by legendary women of blues such as Janiva Magness, Big Mama Thornton, Lou Ann Barton and Bonnie Raitt, Laura found her voice in the blues, coming onto the St. Louis blues scene in 2014 with the Laura Green Blues Band. She began writing music. In 2016, Laura joined forces with veteran St. Louis blues guitarist Rich McDonough and formed The Green McDonough Band.” (https://www.lauragreenmusic.com/about) Green wrote all but one song on this disc and she co-wrote that one. The musicians on the disc are Art Dwyer (bass, vocal), Rich McDonough, Aaron Griffin or Ron Roskowske (guitar), Rob Lee or Joe Myer (drums), Bob Lahr or Carl Pandolfi (piano), Bill Murphy (organ, piano), and Ellen Hinkle, Michele Isam, Chris Shepherd and Renee Smith (backing vocals). The style is straight ahead blues in an easy going tone. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
King Solomon Hicks – Harlem (Provogue): “King” Solomon Hicks is a 22-year-old guitarist/vocalist from the Upper West Side of New York City…. At the age of 13 Solomon started playing with the Cotton Club 17-piece band as lead guitarist and still continues to perform there. This is his first major release. Hicks’ voice is similar to Robert Cray’s and his guitar playing sounds highly influenced by Cray as well, especially on his rendition of Al Kooper’s “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know”. Hicks and bass player Kirk Yano contributed two original instrumentals as well. Other songs on the disc are “”I’d Rather Be Blind” and “Every Day I Have The Blues”, but most are not so well known and that also enhances the freshness and attraction of the set. Click here to listen to “What The Devil Loves” from this set.
New Soul Add:
Monophonics – It’s Only Us (Colemine): The Monophonics present their sixth release of soulful psych. They immediately remind us of the work of Curtis Mayfield and the soft side of the Temptations with their dreamy music bed and soft singing. In the group’s own words, “A reflection of what they see as the current state of the world, the record touches on difficult subjects such as broken relationships, mental health issues, gun violence and power struggles, all with an underlying message of unity, resilience and acceptance. The band’s signature style of arrangement has been expanded with top-notch production and creative instrumentation to round out the Monophonics’ trademark soul sound, while Finnigan’s vocals are more powerful than ever.” (https://www.coleminerecords.com/products/clmn12032) Click here and scroll down to listen to a sample of the opening song.