New Blues & Soul News – 7/6/2018
Big Apple Blues –Manhattan Alley (Stone Tone): This is Big Apple Blues’ fifth disc and it is a fine combination of uptown blues and Booker T & The MGs without so much of the grits, but some solid funk. The program is not, however, a swing blues or straight out jazz performance. The group features Admir “Dr Blues” Hadzic (bass), Barry “The Baron of the Blues” Harrison (drums), Zach Zunis (guitar), Jim Alfredson (Hammond B3 and other keys) and Anthony Kane (harmonica) with guests Chris Eminizer (sax), Bill Vits (shakers), Kevin Jones (congas, shakers, tambourine) and Louis Rudner (bass on one cut). They set a nice groove and keep it going throughout. Click here and scroll down below the picture of “Manhattan Alley” to listen to the songs on this disc.
The Little Red Rooster Blues Band – Lock Up The Liquor (Self-produced): Here’s a veteran blues band featuring Kevin McCann (guitar, vocals), Dave Holtzman (harmonica, vocals), Jeff Michaels (bass) and Bob Holden (drums) with guests Anthony Geraci (piano on 7 songs), and Steve Guyger (harmonica, vocal on 1 song). All of the songs are originals and the group varies styles across the set. They can and often do incinerate the set with their tight playing and so fine lyrics. Vocals are not really their strength, but mostly they are fine enough. They jump really well and they honor great blues by respecting all aspects of the musical style from shuffles to blues ballads. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Spencer MacKenzie – Cold November (Self-produced): 18 year old “New Artist of the Year” Maple Blues Award winner offers his second release and his style and musical chops are certainly top drawer. He has a large and well-controlled voice that suits blues tunes fast and slow. In addition, he and his father Richard composed eight of the ten songs on this disc. The covers are Robert Cray’s “Except You Move Me” and Gary Clark Jr’s “Next Door Neighbor Blues”. Spencer has a great touch on the guitar and terrific control of his his full size, blues-inflected voice. Supporting musicians are Miles Evans (piano, B3, keys), Al Duffy (bass), Sean O’Grady (drums), Brant Parker (lead guitar on 3 tracks, other backing), Dave Dunlap (trumpet), Peter Hysen (trombone), Jay Davidson (sax), and Sharon Riley, Richelle Harrison and Camille Harrison (backing vocals). This is a strong release – modern BLUES with some rock seasoning. Recommended! Click here for an introduction by Mackenzie and song samples.
Kerri Powers – Starseeds (Self-produced): This appears to be Powers’ third release over a ten year period filled with love, a broken marriage, single parenthood, even a bout with arrhythmia. She has also gathered raves as a great singer-songwriter who has often been compared to Gillian Welch in tone and perspective. This is unquestionably a blues collection – one that honors an older and very personal style. Eight of the ten songs here are originals and the two covers are Dillard & Clark’s “Polly” and a wonderful take on Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home”. Powers player electric and acoustic guitar as well as singing and is supported by Eric Michael Lichter (keys, slide guitar, bass), Lorne Entress (drums), and Ed Iarussa (pedal steel). There is wide variation in the style and sound of the songs, ultimately assuring that everyone should find some terrific performances. It is its own shade of blue. Truly fine! Click here to listen to four songs on this disc.
New Soul Add:
Various Artists – Blues Mix 25: Slammin’ Southern Soul (Ecko): Ecko’s Blues Mix series is the cream of the label’s crop as any label mix should be. In this case, the performing artists are major stars Denise LaSalle, Jaye Hammer, and Ms Jody as well as lesser known performers. This collection is mostly blues, but often in a disco motif. These songs are aimed at the dance crowd and, as such, make room for lots of repetition. Several are definitely “PG +” or “R”. Targeted for the disco on a Saturday night crowd on the prowl at whatever cost. Click here to to listen to songs on this disc.