New Blues and Soul News – 8/28/2018
The Apocalypse Blues Revue – The Shape Of Blues To Come (Provogue): The Apocalypse is clearly coming and the blues isn’t going to do so well either. The underlying sentiments propose that one should “Save Your Beard?!” and remember “We Are One” even if “Nobody Rides For Free”, there’s “Hell To Pay”. The group features Ray “Raferjohn” Cerbone (vocals, acoustic guitar), Tony “Big Tone” Rombola (guitars), Brian “Bassgod” Carpenter (bass) and Shannon “Apocalypse” Larkin (drums, percussion). They perform well enough, but the program is dreary. If this is “the Shape of Blues To Come”, then the apocalypse has already arrived. Larkin explains, ““Our mission is to see if Apocalypse can reshape the shape of blues to come. We’re a different shade of blue. Our approach is to write and play as a traditional blues band. Our original influences came from Zeppelin, Johnny Winter, Stevie Ray Vaughan, we came to the blues later in life, and we’ve found our groove and sound, and it sounds unique and original to us. We don’t try to hide our rock influences, it comes through creating a new shade of blue.” One must wonder what this portends for our future. It is clearly a hard road. Click here for a sample.
Frank Bey – Back In Business (Nola Blue): The title says it all: blues vocalist Frank Bey IS absolutely back in business and to my ears he has never sounded better! Songwriter/drummer/singer/producer Tom Hambridge has never sounded better either. He wrote or co-wrote six of the songs on this disc. Other musicians are Rob McNelly (guitar), Marty Sammon (piano, keys), Tommy MacDonald and Adam Nitti (trading off on bass), Wendy Moten (backing vocals), Max Abrams (sax), and Julio (trumpet). I am declaring that this disc will put a dip in your hip and a glide in your slide! Terrific blue soul!! This IS a certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid Of Cracks”! Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Jon Cleary – Dyna-mite (FHQ): Jon Cleary refers to this grouping as his “Big and Greasy, high-class symphony swamp orchestra”, a most interesting categorization that honors the notion while also offering the surprise of several mellowed out numbers that take you on a very different trip. Cleary play keys, guitar, bass and drums and sings in a soulful and mellow style that reminds us that music from NOLA is most always in a deep groove while often also reminding us that the city is called the “Big Easy”. In addition to Cleary, the players include Leo Nocentelli, Andrew Block, and Shane Theriot (guitars); Calvin Turner, Nigel Hall, and Cornell Turner and Cornell Williams (bass); Nigel Hall (keys), and horns by Craig Klein and Charlie Hallorand (trombone); Roderick Paulin and Ryan Zoidis (tenor sax); Eric Bloom (trumpet); and Lee Badau (bari sax). Click here to listen to the title song.
Alastair Greene – Live From The 805 (Rip Cat): Singer/songwriter/guitarist Alastair Greene has been playing his blues rock originals and significant covers for the last two decades mostly in Southern California. He plays a fiery and slick guitar, somewhat reminiscent of Alvin Lee or Eric Clapton. Greene also plays a nice slide. He plays in a trio featuring Jim Rankin (bass, backing vocals) and Austin Beede (drums). He wrote 16 of the 20 songs on this set and the covers are Albert King’s “Love So Strong”, Amos Blakemore’s “Lawdy Mama”, Gwendolyn Collins and Hugh Williams’ “Put The Shoe On The Other Foot” and a fantastically original version of Jimmy Reed’s “Big Boss Man”. If hot guitar and blues rock are a style you enjoy, GRAB THIS DISC immediately! Click here, look to the right and scroll down to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Billy Hector – Someday Baby (Self-produced): Veteran singer/songwriter/guitarist Billy Hector offers his fifteenth release with his own special blend of countrified yet rocking soul/blues that is reminiscent of the style from the early to mid sixties. His punch is more laid back but still carries plenty of it, without the pyrotechnics so prevalent these days. Hector is backed by bass and drums and occasional backup singers, including Wilbo Wright, Winston Roye, Erik Boyd, Tim Tindall, and Chris Plunkett (bass); Van Romaine, Rich Monica, Sim Cain, Larry Crockett and Lee Finklestein (drums); and guests Dennis Gruenling (harmonica), John Ginty (B-3) and Suzan Lastovica (vocal) on one song apiece. Click here to check samples of the songs on this disc.
Bob Lanza Blues Band – Kids, Dogs & Crazy Women (Connor Ray): Singer/guitarist Bob Lanza releases his first disc with the his blues band that includes Anthony Krizan (guitar, vocal, drums, percussion), John Ginty (piano, B3), Dave Lockhart (bass) and Vin Mott (drums, harmonica). The music is smooth, charged up and dedicatedly blue. It’s so dedicated, that Lanza even turned “Walking After Midnight” into an upbeat blues number. There are some great moments here, especially from Lanza and Ginty. I regret I am unable to find a sample from this disc.
Gina Sicilia – Heard The Lie (Blue Elan): This is singer/songwriter Gina Sicilia’s eighth release. She has been compared to Mary Chapin Carpenter among others and has a large melodic voice. There have also been suggestions that she would be quite comfortable in a modern day country or Americana setting and that is certainly valid. She wrote or co-wrote eight of the eleven songs on the disc. Supporting musicians include Herman Matthews (drums), Davey Faragher (bass), Carl Sealove (acoustic bass), Doug Livingston (dobro), Adrian Oscar (keys), Josh Smith and Dave Darling (guitar, backing vocals), and Janiva Magness (backing vocal on one song). Click here to listen to the title song.
Keith Stone w/Red Gravy –Blues With A Taste of New Orleans (Self-produced): Singer/songwriter/guitarist Keith Stone explains the genesis of the band: When Keith Stone started Red Gravy, the cast of characters changed from night to night. That’s the joke about New Orleans musicians: “There’s only one band in the whole town, but it has five thousand members.” In a city where everyone hustles to maintain a busy schedule, you better have a good phone list when a gig comes up, because availability is King.“It was one particular short tour in Florida that Keith assembled a group of premier sidemen; Eddie Christmas on drums, Tom Worrell on keys, and Kennan Shaw on bass. Playing as a unit for the first time, that night on the beach front stage in Pensacola, it was evident to all four that something special was happening. Everyone’s ears were just a little bigger, the grooves a little deeper, and it was a whole lot of fun. That weekend was really the birth of a BAND.” (Liner notes) Along the way on this disc, that also get some help from Brent Johnson (slide guitar) and Jimmy Carpenter (sax). All of the songs here are originals and the groove is upwardly mellow with just enough drops of syncopation. Click here to listen to a live version of a song on this disc.
Matty T. Wall – Sidewinder (Hipsterdumpsdter): Australian singer/songwriter/guitarist Matty T. Wall offers his second release with eight originals and four covers. His style began with a fascination with Metallica then a backward look to Clapton and Robert Johnson. He says the latter turned him into a blues devotee. His current sound reflects all three styles . He is a hot guitarist and sings with a lot of control. The members of his band include Ric Whittle (drums, percussion) and Stephen Walker (bass, backing vocals) and the group is augmented by guests Deli Rowe (backing vocals), Gordon Cant (organ, keys), Steve Searle (horns, brass) and Jonas Petersen (strings). Click here to listen to the title song.
Candi Staton – Unstoppable (Thirty Tigers): Candi Staton has just delivered the best recording of her career! Her vocals are as strong as any time in her career and she composed or co-wrote six of the ten songs on the disc! It is, in fact, an anthem for rebuilding or perhaps more honestly, completing the work that could make the slogan “with liberty and justice for all” true. The song titles tell it all: questioning if “The Prize Is Not Worth The Pain” and calling for a “Revolution of Change” and reminding us to have “Confidence” because “It Ain’t Over Yet” while calling for us to “Stand Up” because “People Have The Power”. This release stands with the Staples’ “Bealtitude: Respect Yourself”! A certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid of Cracks!” Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.