New Blues & Soul News – 9/17/2018
New Blues Releases:
Amanda Fish – Free (Vizztone): “Amanda Fish began as a singer songwriter in late 2012, refining her original material as a solo act for 2 years before she formed her band in early 2014, a Roots Rock and Soul project featuring Amanda’s signature ‘from-the-gut’ vocals locked into a sturdy groove.” (https://www.amandafishband.com/) Amanda composed all of the songs on this disc and, as is noted above, she does possess a destroyer voice that is somewhat reminiscent of Janis Joplin but more like Alexis P. Suter – not so much wailing but a LOT of power. Band members include Amanda Fish (vocal, guitar, mandolin, piano); Lois Nadal, Dave Hays, Tyler Morris, Ken Valdez, Bob Margolin, Alastan Greene, Coyote Bill and Carl Butler; Richard Rosenblatt (harmonica); Chris Hazleton (organ); Glen James (drums, percussion); and Sara Morgan (vocals). Click here to listen to a sample of “The Ballad Of Lonesome Cowboy Bill”. Click here to listen to a song from this disc.
Mark Hummel – Harpbreaker (Electro-Fi): Veteran harmonica wizard Mark Hummel is certainly one of the great West Coast players and clearly one of the all-time greats at blues harp altogether. He began playing the “Mississippi Saxophone” in 1970 and has released over thirty discs during his career. This set presents thirteen performances recorded between 2004 – 2018 and features Charles Wheal, Billy Flynn, Charlie Baty, Anson Funderburgh, Kid Andersen and Rusty on guitar; Bob Welsh, Mel Brown and Chris Burns (keys); Aaron Hammerman and Sid Morris (piano); Steve Wolf and RW Grigsby (bass); Marty Dodson, Wes Starr, June Core and Willie Panker (drums) with Dave Eagle (washboard, percussion) and Lech Wierzynnski (trumpet) and Johnny Bones (sax) on one song. This disc is a certified Professor Bebop “Wax Devoid of Cracks”! Truly one of the great harp players of all time! Click here and scroll down to listen to Mark Hummel live on “The Creeper Returns” one cut from this disc.
Mick Kolassa & The Taylor Made Blues Band –Mick Kolassa & The Taylor Made Blues Band (Endless Blues): Mick Kolassa aka Michissippi Mick Kolassa is a singer songwriter on this release and he is backed up by The Taylor Made Blues Band, which features David Dunavent (guitar), Leo Goff (bass), Lee Andrew Williams (drums) and Chris Stephenson (keys) with Susan Marshal and Daunielle Hill (backing vocals). In fact, to my ears, the opening song and a Kolassa original, “I Can’t Slow Down” is the stone-slam-you-in-your-socks performance on the disc. There is a fair amount of stylistic variety here, but nothing that makes you stomp the floor like the opener. Nine of the twelve songs here are Kolassa originals. There are also a large number of guests sprinkled throughout the program: Jeff Jensen (guitar on 5 songs), Marc Franklin (trumpet, 3 songs), Eric Hughes (harmonica, 2 songs), Kirk Smothers (sax, 2 songs), Toronto Cannin (guitar on 1 song), Suavo Jones (trombone on 1 song), Alice Hasen (violin on 1 song), Marty Sammon (piano, organ on 1 song each), J.D. Taylor (harmonica on 1 song) and Mike Wilson (Puccalo, a kind of whistling, on 1 song). There are some very good tunes in this set. Click here to listen to samples of the songs on this disc.
Eric Lindell – Revolution In Your Heart (Alligator): Eric Lindell’s newest release is a folksy set with a pop flavor. Even though there are backing musicians here, this is very much a one man project. It’s the sort of program that puts you on the porch in the afternoon or evening. Lindell wrote all but one song, which he co-wrote with Seth Walker and with the exception of Willie McMains on drums and other percussion and Kevin McKendree on piano on one song, he also played all instruments. Click here to listen to the songs on this disc.
New Soul Release:
Ben Pirani – How Do I Talk To My Brother? (Colemine): Singer/songwriter/percussionist Ben Pirani asks the essential question in the title of his first disc and the song that closes it. He obviously loves soul music and simultaneously faces the central question in that title song. The style of the songs is a melange of the pop styling of Motown in the 60s, often with the vocal styles of groups like the Temptations and the Miracles and the glossy musical style they typically employed. The lyrics themselves, however, are the work of Pirani and bass and trumpet player Ben Carey shaping things into a swirl of old sixties songs and honoring the spirit of the older Detroit sound. Pirani does tackle the dilemmas of racial strife and misunderstanding in the midst of his admiration for the genre and its many great artists. He is not only celebrating past style or appropriating it’s style, however. He is also seeking an answer to the question how he and others can join together through music and mutual appreciation, as opposed to just appropriating black art. An intriguing release. Click here and scroll down to listen to samples of five songs on this disc.