New Blues & Soul News – 9/14/2014
New Blues and Soul News – 9/16/2015
New Blues Adds:
Billy The Kid & The Regulators – I Can’t Change (Self-produced): Blues rock with a sprinkle of soul is the sound you’ll catch here from Billy The Kid Evanochko and Jon Vallecorsa (guitars), James Doherty (slide guitar), Arnold Stagger (bass), and Brian Edwards (drums) and Ublai Bey (keys) and everybody sings. Guest musicians include Yolanda Barber (vocals), Jason Ricci (harmonica), Damon Fowler, Sean Carney and Micah Kesserling (additional guitars). Horns are added on three cuts. Six songs are originals and the remainder are vintage tunes from Jimmy Reed and Robert Johnson and a couple not so fully aged. The group plays well throughout and the vocals are just fine. With all these guitars, the sound is mostly direct and BIG like a wall of guitars without a lot of frills. There are shifts between somewhat stripped down rockin’ blues and smooth soul blues as well. Click here to listen to a song from this disc.
Eugene Hideaway Bridges – Hold On A Little Bit Longer (Armadillo): Soul, blues and shuffles from one end to the other (except for a couple of cowboy songs). This is an entertaining studio recording that sounds like a wonderful set list for a dance or other good time spot. Bridges plays guitar and sings and wrote all but two of the songs on this disc. The rest of the band includes Clayton Doley (keys), Otto Williams (bass), Bobby Baranowski (drums), John Mills (saxes), Kevin Flatt (trumpet), and Jon Blondell (trombone) with a guest appearance by Micky Moody adding some tasty slide guitar on one track. The band is a tight outfit and sounds especially nice on the swing tunes. Click here to sample the songs on this disc.
Nick Fishman Blues Band – California Fresh (Fishy Rhythm): Here’s a unique sound in jazzy, soul blues from drummer Nick Fishman of San Francisco. His band includes Joshua Cook (vocals, guitar), Ken Moran (tenor sax), Charlie Gurke (bari sax), Henry Hung (trumpet), Tommy Folen (bass), and Colin Hogan (keys), with guests Chris “Kid” Andersen (guitar – 3 tracks) and Bob Welsh (guitar – 1 track). All are original tracks composed by Fishman and/or Cook, except for a version of Little Richard’s “Freedom Blues”. That sound is unique especially because of the jazz drumming including stops or time as the foundation of a typically swinging soul blues set. That being said, this is a striking performance and well worth spending some time with. Soul, blues or jazz fans will all find the “cool” more than once on this disc. Click here for a sample from this disc.
Lara & The Bluz Dawgz – Howlin’ (Luck Alley): This second release from the Bluz Dawgz features the straightforward and melodic tones from vocalist Lara Germony who fronts this tight blues rock and soulish pack featuring husband Gregg Germony (bass), Al Rowe (guitar), Dan Nadasdi (keys), Ray Gonzales (drums) and Reggie Murray (sax). Initially, I was reminded of the early soul blues sound of Robert Cray, but the Dawgs are generally more laid back than Cray. The sound is full-bodied and contained, featuring no histrionics – just steady, melodic, and pleasing ensemble play. Each of the players is effective in soloing and ensemble play. Individual kudos to saxman Reggie Murray (not so fancy, but just right) and pianist Dan Nadasdi, both of whom add just the right touch, but truthfully it is the ensemble playing in support of and blending with Lara’s singing that is the key to this band. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
New Soul Add:
Val McKnight – Independent Women (Ecko): Val McKnight is a soul blues singer with a straight up declarative voice to which she often adds more than one tablespoon of vinegar. Not surprisingly, on this particular disc McKnight clearly lets whoever hears her that, despite a few moments of weakness, she’s ready to face the bad situations with a determination that’s tougher than saddle horse steak. She not only advises us that she’s an “Independent Woman”, but even clarifies for those aren’t picking up what she’s putting down that she’s the “Head Bitch In Charge”. The musical background is provided by Val’s Powerhouse Band, identifying John Ward (guitar, B-3) and Stevie J (guitar) and crediting Latoya Malone, Harrison Calloway, Forest Gordon, and the head lady herself with background vocals. The rhythm tracks are credited to John Ward, James Jackson and Harrison Calloway. McKnight wrote nine of the twelve songs.
The style is the current version of that introduced by Z.Z. Hill a few decades back that was the meat and potatoes for Malaco Records for a good time and now serves Ecko in the same way. There are some good songs here and McKnight can put them across well, but don’t look for a lot of variety. Click here to listen to a song from this disc.