New Blues News – 7/16/2019
Tullie Brae – Revelation (Endless Blues): Tullie Brae is a confident and expressive singer who wrote the ten songs on this disc and also plays Hammond keys and piano and plays some slide. She is backed up by Jeff Jensen (guitar, hand claps), Bill Ruffino (bass), David Green (drums) and a host of other guests including Rick Steff (Fender Rhodes, Wulitzer), Brad Webb and Sturgis Nikides (slide guitar),and Brandon Santini (harmonica), among others. Brae has a solid vocal style and a solid band. Click here to listen samples of the songs on this disc.
Tom Euler – Blues Got My Back (Self-produced): Based in the Middle Peninsula of Virginia, singer/songwriter/guitarist Tom Euler “takes influence from such guitarists as JP Soars, Luther Allison, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Joe Bonamassa, and B.B. King along with many other greats across all genres of music. Euler is a 2016 International Blues Challenge Finalist as well as winner of the 2017 “Musician of the Year for the United States and Canada” Josie Music Award.” (https://www.tomeuler.com/bio) His bandmates are Lucy Kilpatrick (piano, keys, backing vocals), Michael Behlmar (drums, backing vocals) and Von Jose Roberts (bass, backing vocals). This is Euler’s second release. He has a good feel for blues when he focuses that way and is certainly a player to watch. Click here and scroll all the way down to listen to “Tricky Business”, a song from this new disc.
Gary Hoey – Neon Highway Blues (Provogue): Gary Hoey (guitar, resonator Dobro, vocals, key) fronts a trio that includes Matt Scurfield (drums) and AJ Pappas (bass) augmented on this disc by cameos from Eric Gales (guitar), Josh Smith (guitar), Lance Lopez (guitar) and son Ian Hoey (guitar) on one song each with Joe Vitale (drums, organ) and Sandy MacDonald (organ). The sound is full and steady on rocking blues. He has 21 releases to date. Hoey’s sound is reminiscent of Eric Clapton’s large sound post Cream with fewer pyrotechnics. Still, he’s thoroughly in the big rock scene. Click here to listen to the opening song performed with Eric Gales.
Vivian Vance Kelly – Chicago Here I Come (Wolf): “Vivian Kelly was born in November 10th 1972 in Chicago Illinois. When she was 5 yeas old, she sang every Sunday in church. When she was 12 years old, she started a Hip-Hop group, where she was the lead singer – at 19 she was lead singer in a Reggae and Hip-Hop-group! When her father – Vance Kelly – a Blues Award Winner – saw her singing, he brought her to the Chicago-Blues scene and also to his label Wolf Records.” (https://www.isrbx.net/3137715114-vivian-vance-kelly-chicago-here-i-come-2019.html) Certainly, her performances on this disc are a melange of soul, gospel and blues and she takes charge of each song depending on its primary style. Her singing is controlled and engaging. Eight of the songs are originals, one shifts Z.Z. Hill’s “Blues Man” into “Blues Woman” other covers are Denise LaSalle’s “Husband Cheating On Us”, Betty Wright’s “Clean Up Woman” and Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me”. This is a solid release throughout, whether you’re seeking a soul or southern blues set. She’s at her best when she’s sassy with a slice of blues. A certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid of Cracks”! I regret I am unable to find a sample song from this disc.
Michael Lee – Michael Lee (Ruf): Singer/guitarist and “The Voice” of the BB King Blues Band, Michael Lee has stepped into the lights. He has also released a solo disc with nine original compositions, two of which are co-written and a couple of covers. Lee plays electric and acoustic guitar and sings and is backed up by Blaine Crews (drums), Scott Lee (bass), Colin Campbell (B3, Rhodes), Preston Lewis (sax), Evan Templeton (trumpet) and Jordan Carr (trumpet), Charley Wiles (guitar), Clint Simmons (drums) and Anthony Farrell (B3/keys). Lee has a large voice and sings in the Southern style similar to the Greg Allman though not as compelling. Click here to listen to a song from this disc.
Heather Newman – Rise From The Flames (VizzTone): Singer/songwriter/bass player Heather Newman offers her second release. She composed all of the songs on this disc and her vocal style rises directly from the blues but in a manner that suits her voice and speaks with strength. Her band, who added their own highlights to each song, includes Keith Ladd (guitar), Ryan Matthew (vocals, keys, percussion) and Adam Watson (drums). The band is tight, but Newman certainly is the leader and focal point. Her voice is full, but she is really under control, leaving the screaming to other groups. That being said, she does have clear control i expressing her songs. Click here to see a live performance of a song from this disc.
Big Jack Reynolds – That’s A Good Way To Get To Heaven (Third Street Cigar): “While growing up in Albany, Georgia Marshall “Big Jack” Reynolds came under the influence of some of the greatest blues artists of the time. At fish fries and local concerts he heard the music of Lightnin’ Hopkins, Memphis Slim, and Blind Lemon Jefferson. In the 1950s Reynolds moved to Detroit to become a part of the vital blues scene there. At that point he weighed well over 200 pounds, which led to the name “Big Jack.” In 1964 the Hi-Q label released one of Reynolds’ compositions called “I Had a Little Dog.” He also recorded on the Fortune label during this period. His harmonica style reflects Sonny Boy Williamson, and his bottleneck slide guitar technique is reminiscent of Mississippi Fred McDowell.” (https://www.last.fm/music/Big+Jack+Reynolds/+wiki) This is a retrospective of Reynolds’ recordings, some released, some not, but it also is a timely release reminding us about a style of blues there is rarely untainted by rock. Songs include Jimmy Reed’s “Honest I Do”, Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Help Me” and Little Walter’s “Ah’w Baby” among others, but the majority are originals by Reynolds who passed away in 1993. Many are solo with Reynolds singing, playing harmonica or guitar, but he is accompanied by Larry Gold (guitar on 4 songs), Johnny “HiFi” Newmark (bass on 8songs), Slim Tim Gahagan (drums on 9 songs), Chad Smith (piano on 11 songs), Joel Hazzard (bass) and Chris Arduser (drums), on 2 songs, and the Cobra Twist Horns, featuring Brad “The Razor” Sharp (trumpet), Randy “The Slider” Knisely (trombone) and Kevin “Nationwide” Maude (sax) on the last song. This disc is a certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid Of Cracks”. Click here to listen to songs on this disc.
Nancy Wright – Alive & Blue (VizzTone): Saxophonist/singer/songwriter Nancy Wright has the creds to step into any blues or soul session you might name. To date, she has performed with Lonnie Mack, John Lee Hooker, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Albert King, Albert Collins, Lonnie Mack, Elvin Bishop, Johnny Adams, Earl King, Joe Louis Walker, Maria Muldaur and many more. This is her third release and she wrote five of the twelve songs here. Other songs on this release include “Sugar Coated Love”, “Keep Your Hands Off Him”, “Soul Serenade” and “What Do You Want That Girl To Do”, among others.Wright is accompanied by Paul Revelli (drums), Tony Lufrano (keys), Jeff Tamelier (guitar) and Karl Sevareid (bass). Wright sings with authority and style. She may be blue, but you won’t be after you listen to this disc. This is a certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid of Cracks”! Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.
New Soul Adds:
Bette Smith – Jetlagger (Big Legal Mess): Singer Bette Smith grew up in Bedford-Stuyvesant and with persuasion and encouragement from her ailing brother, promised to focus on her singing. This disc is the result. It was produced by Jim Mathus who also plays guitar and keys and sings in the background. He also composed four of the ten songs on the disc, two of which were co-written with singer/guitarist Bronson Tew. Smith contributed two. Other players are Matt Patton (bass, backing vocals), Scott “Pako” Goolsby (second guitar), Starkin Browning (2nd guitar on one song), Jamison Hollister (violin), Marc Franklin and Kirk Smothers (horns) and Bette Smith and Susan Marshall (backing vocals). There is a substantial gospel presence on several of these songs. This is a new blend of urban soul and gospel with a new edge especially on Mathus’ songs. And this is a certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid of Cracks”! Click here to catch videos of five songs on this disc.
Various Artists – Blues Mix 28: Dance Party Soul (Ecko): Line dancing soul-style. Half of the songs are previously unreleased and some of them are remixes. Performers include Ms Jody, Jaye Hammer, O.B. Buchana, Donnie Ray, Val McKnight and Sheba Potts-Wright and others. Relaxed funk for those who like it that way. Click here to listen to samples from this disc.