New Blues and Soul News – 6/6/2018
New Blues Adds:
Grand Marquis – Brighter Days (Self-produced): Grand Marquis began its career as a “jump and swing band in the 90s during the swing revival. As time passed, they shifted their style to include the influences of swing prevalent Kansas City. For their eighth release, “Brighter Days,” Grand Marquis explore the additional musical influence of New Orleans and Memphis on their twenty-year labor of love. It is a sound that is at once a tantalizing blend and an expansive sound that truly sounds unique. The players are Ben Ruth (upright bass, sousaphone, backing vocals); Chad Boydston (trumpet, backing vocals); Ryan Wurtz (electric and acoustic guitars); Trevor Turla (trombone, backing vocals); Fritz Hutchison (drums, backing vocals) and Bryan Redmond (lead vocals; soprano, alto, tenor & bari saxes). Seven of the nine songs are originals, with their own unique covers of the traditional “Down By The Riverside” and Jimmy Cliff’s “Many Rivers To Cross”. Check it out! Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Kara Grainger – Living With Your Ghost (Station House): Kara Grainger is an Australian singer/song writer/ guitarist who has several discs to her credit. This disc was recorded in Austin and she wrote or co-wrote all but one song on offer. Her style is a mix of blue country soul with an occasional rock edge at times. Her backing musicians are Ivan Neville (keys, vocal), Anders Osbourne (guitar, vocals), JJ Johnson (drums), Dave Monsey (bass) and occasional horn backing by Mark Rudin or Al Gomez (trumpet), George Stanford (trombone), Mark “Kaz” Kazanoff (tenor sax), John Mills (bari sax), and James Fenner (congas). The production is very smooth and there are some very strong moments across this disc. Click here to listen to a sample of the title song.
Ted Hefko & The Thousandaires – Gas Station Guru (Onager Records): Veteran Ted Hefko (tenor sax, clarinet, vocals, acoustic guitar) offers six original compositions and three covers, including Billy Joe Shaver’s “Ride Me Down Easy”, Clarence and Spencer Williams’ “Ain’t Gonna Give You None O’ My Jellyroll” and Steve Goodman’s “City Of New Orleans”. Hefko’s backing musicians are Elliot Slater (guitar), Justin Carlo Davi (bass), Jasmine Butler (drums, percussion), Joe Welnick (acoustic & electric piano), Beck Burger (Hammond organ), Carolyn Broussard and Arsene DeLay (backing vocals) with Antonio Gambrell, Mike Kobrin and/or Mike Korbin adding trumpet on a few songs. Special guests are Sherman Bernard (piano), Mem Shannon (guitar), Lance Caruso (accordion) and Latasha Covington (rub board) sprinkled throughout the disc. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Bridget Kelly Band – Blues Warrior (Alpha Sun): Singer/songwriter Bridget Kelly offers her fifth release as a blues rock diva with a message. She is accompanied by hard blues rocker Tim Fik (guitar), who brings a fistful of blues rock flash that matches both her attitude and message. The duo also wrote all of the songs on this disc. Kelly’s talk/shout style makes certain that her message gets to listeners, heightening her performance. This includes messages from”Stolen” (human trafficking); “No Good Man Blues” (domestic violence) and “Snow Fall” (drug abuse). Rotating members of the rhythm section are Mark Armbrecht and Mike Hamm (trading off on bass); Alex Klausner, Michael Barady and Christine Alexander (trading off on drums) with Chris Alexander adding keys on three cuts and “Little Mike” Markowitz blowing harp on one song. This lady is most certainly a blues warrior – heavy sounds and messages that matter. Click here to listen to samples of all of the songs on this disc.
Little Boys Blue w/ Kid Memphis – Hard Blues Space (VizzTone): This appears to be the fifth release by the Little Boys Blue. They have been at it for some twenty or so years, but after a bit of a lapse, guitarist John Holiday (aka Kid Memphis) has pulled the band back and, most importantly the sound, back together. The players, in addition to Holiday, are JD Taylor (vocals, and stone-drop-you-dead-in-your-tracks harmonica), Alex Taylor (guitar), Andrew White (guitar, slide), Brad Webb and Wes Henley (subbing on slide), Dave Mallard (bass), James Buster Cherry adding bass on one songs, Mark Brooks (drums) and Dave Thomas (B3 and piano). JD Taylor wrote all of the songs, with co-writing provided by Kid Memphis and Alex Taylor on another. The style here is just exactly in the cut – easy-going, but super tight in that lazy sounding way that’s impossible not to put you in the mood and the groove. A certified Professor Bebop ‘Wax Devoid of Cracks!” Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Milagro Saints – Signs On The Road (Moon Caravan): Based in Raleigh, NC, Milagro Saints present their fifth original disc. They label themselves as an Americana / blues and folk-rock band and they wrote all of the songs on this disc. Group members include SD Ineson (lead vocal, guitar, songwriter), Jick wins-Low (trombone, fiddle, guitar, mandolin, backing vocals); Lee Kirby (amplified harmonica, pumping accordion, piano, Hammond B3), Steve Samosky (bass), Roberto Morales (electric Fender guitar and Magnatone Lap Steel), Tall Guy Steve Bowen (drums) and backing vocals by Joyce Bowden and Karen Delahunty. Click here, then click on “Listen To Music”.
One Shot Johnny – Times Like These (Self-produced): One Shot Johnny is a trio based in Kentucky featuring Randy Colvin (guitar, vocals), Joe Shirley (bass) and Jeremiah Kelly (drums). The group is occasionally augmented by Ryan Stiles (sax) and Barney Dehoney (percussion). Colvin composed eleven of the dozen songs here and Shirley wrote one. They play blues and rock’n’roll and on the later Colvin sounds quite a bit like Elvis in his mid to late period. It seems quite clear that this band would be solid in person as their stripped down approach carries a lot of punch. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Too Slim & The Taildraggers – High Desert Heat (VizzTone): Too Slim & The Taildraggers are a power trio drenched in blues with a strong connection to rock. Slim (Tim Langford) is the guitarist and lead singer and is backed up by Jeff “Shakey” Fowlkes (drums, vocals) and Zach Kasik (bass, vocals) with guest Sheldon “Bent Reed” Ziro (harmonica) on some songs. All of the songs are originals except for the opener, The Chambers Brothers’ “Time Has Come Today”. This group is the REAL blues rock deal! Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Various Artists – Playing For Change / Listen To The Music (Motema): This compilation is the latest in a series of performances in a continuing project to honor and bring together musicians from around the world to record discs that show the connection through music across the globe. Songs range from “Listen To The Music”, an original from The Doobie Brothers to Bob Marley’s “Natural Mystic”. The disc was recorded outside in 25 countries and features 210 musicians, including The Doobie Bothers, Vasti Jackson, Dr. John, Warren Haynes, Cyril and Ivan Neville, Buddy Guy, Tom Morello, Mamadou Diabate, The Preservation Jazz Band, Jimmy Buffett,David Crosby and David Hidalgo, among others. Click here to listen to a song from this disc.
New Soul Adds:
David Brinston – Kitty Whipped (Ecko): Parental guidance!!!! The title song is not a statement about cruelty to cats. The disco lights are flashing and everyone’s booty is too! There is even a “zydeco remix” of “Club Booty” at the end of this disc. This is a typical Ecko sound but totally dedicated to the booty hustling crowd.