Saturday, September 16, 2023

#635: EG Kight - Sticks & Strings (


EG Kight

Sticks & Strings

2023 – Blue South

By Phillip Smith; Sep. 16, 2023

Original source :


Sticks & Strings, the latest release from EG Kight captivated me upon the first listen.  Kight’s beautifully-crafted songs are decorated with southern charm and immerse me with in wave of mesmerizing grace.  Backed with her “boys” lead guitarist Ken Wynn and drummer/percussionist Gary Porter, the ensemble also features guest bassist Sean Williams on five tracks.

For starters, Kight introduces a melodic bowlful of slow-simmered blues on “Talk to Me”.  Her vocals are lovely as ever as Porter pulls double-duty on drums and harp.  I absolutely adore her beautifully-performed cover of Gregg Allman’s “Come and Go Blues”.  With each listen of “God, Goats and Guitars”, I want to return for second helpings.  “Changes Coming Down” is a solid favorite as Kight chronicles the human condition in the ways of Earth’s seasonal cycles.  With dobro in hand, Porter plays this with a subtle finesse on slide.  The song is downright amazing.

Sticks & Stones is a breathtaking listen which one will want to revisit over and over.




For more information about the artist, visit this website :



Available on Bandcamp


Saturday, September 9, 2023

#634: Anthony Rosano and the Conqueroos - Cheat the Devil (


2023 – Whiskey Bayou Records

By Phillip Smith; Sep. 9, 2023

Release Date : July 7, 2023

Original source :

The latest album from Anthony Rosano and the Conqueroos is appropriately named Cheat the Devil, ‘cause it is hot as hell.  Produced by Tab Benoit, this record is packed with ten searing guitar-centric blues tracks that will shake the floor underneath the speakers.  With Rosano on lead guitar and vocals, the Conqueroos are comprised of Kyle McCormick on drums and Jake Fultz on bass.

“Sweet Little Devil” rolls in with the sound of cowbell paving the path for a riveting electric intro from Rosano on guitar.  It plays through like a homage to Moutain’s “Mississippi Queen”.  I love how he grunges up the blues, setting the stage for an emotional rollercoaster of heartbreak in “What Kind of Fool”.  Rosano rips it up on “Sin City” and takes the listener for a Hendrix-inspired musical voyage.  After hearing the funky and ominous “Jonesboro Road”, I’ll certainly be looking over my shoulders on my next visit.  Shortly after a gospel-infused hand-clap kicks off “Cheat the Devil”, the torch is lit and Rosano fearlessly tears into an amazing performance of slide guitar.  His vocals are surely meant to sing the blues as they belt this title-track out.  McCormick drives a crushing beat on their paramount cover of Slim Harpo’s “King Bee”.  The track rocks on many levels with Fultz’s bassline blazing a fascinating journey of its own as Rosano takes his guitar in a cosmic direction.

Cheat the Devil from Anthony Rosano and the Conqueroos is a must-hear for blues fans, rockers, and guitar aficionados.         


 For more information about the artist, visit this website :



Click on the link below to purchase this terrific album from the PhillyCheeze Amazon Store.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

#633: Willie J Laws Jr. - Too Much Blues (

2023 – Pilot Light Records

By Phillip Smith; Sep. 6, 2023

Known as the “Last Prophet of the Funky Texas Blues”, Willie J Laws Jr., certainly lives up to his title in regards to his latest album Too Much Blues.  His blend of blues is enriched with a blast of funkdafied grooves, and I like it a lot.  The record, produced by Paul Nelson, features Laws on guitar and vocals, with Dave Johnson on bass, Brooks Milgate on keys/piano/organ/synth, and Justin Blackburn on drums/percussion.

Laws’ vocals ring out with smooth finesse as he breaks out his briefcase of soulful blues on “Better off Blue”.  “Stuck in Traffic” is a clever piece about the frustration many of us face each day.  I love the jazzy instrumental play between Laws on guitar and Milgate on keys.  Laws’ musical approach on this song reminds me of George Benson,  “Getcha’ Knee Off My Neck” invokes a classic George Clinton vibe to it.  With Erik Lawrence on sax, and Mark Berney on trumpet, Laws leads his ensemble to a large-scale P-Funk track.  His puts his own unique spin on his cover of Willie Dixon’s “I Want to be Loved” and it sounds great.  “Sorry Charlie” is a bodacious bowlful of real-deal blues featuring Jerry Portnoy on harp along with Paul Nelson on slide guitar.  The album closes with Laws’ velvety voice breaking out a stunning cover of The Isley Brothers 1973 hit song “Who’s That Lady?”. 

Too Much Blues has everything it needs to be nominated for Best Soul Blues album.  It really is a terrific recording. 



For more information about the artist, visit this website :



Saturday, September 2, 2023

#632: Buckmiller Schwager Band - Live at XBK (


Buckmiller Schwager Band

Live at XBK

2023 – Buckmiller Schwager Band

By Phillip Smith; Sep. 2, 2023

 Release Date : Sep. 1, 2023


After nearly a year and a half since the release of Buckmiller Schwager’s debut album To Memphis and Back, the Iowa boys have returned with a fabulous new album Live at XBK.  XBK, where this performance was recorded on April 6, 2023, is a 250-seat entertainment venue/listening room in the Drake neighborhood of Des Moines.  Performed with a full band comprised of vocalist/guitarist Tom Buckmiller, guitarist Brian Schwager, drummer Larry Mersereau and bassist Eric Smidt, this album of new songs, favorites, and covers wonderfully captures the electric essence of their live shows. 

The set starts off in a bodacious way with their smoking original “Thrill of the Thrill”.  Schwager lets loose on guitar with a searing performance, and it sounds great.  Their cover of Luther Allison’s “Cherry Red Wine” steals my heart as I feel every note navigate right into my being.  The mood swings one hundred eighty degrees to their rocking anthem “These Are the Good Days”.  This one keeps me focused on the bright side of life.  Schwager ushers in a vibrant boogie shuffle on John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom”, with Buckmiller delightfully delivering his deep growly vocals.  I love the sampler platter of music they serve on “Keeping the Blues Alive”.  This mini class on the genre brings a smile my face as they cover various styles of blues as found in different regions of America : Chicago, West Coast, Texas, and Detroit.

If the new originals are a taste of what’s to come on Buckmiller Schwager’s next studio album, I am all-in.  Live at XBK has been on heavy-rotation in my ear-pods for the past couple of weeks, and I don’t think that will change any time soon.



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Click on the link below to purchase this terrific album from Bandcamp.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

#631: Scott Weis Band - Raise Your Hands (


Scott Weis Band

Raise Your Hands

2023 – A Happy Carrot Production

By Phillip Smith; Aug. 26, 2023

Release Date : Aug. 1, 2023

Original source :

I’ve immensely enjoyed the past couple of releases from Scott Weis Band. Their eighth and latest album Raise Your Hands is no exception.  For something a little different this time Weis injects a heavy dose of southern rock into his blues and it sounds fantastic.  Weis is joined again by drummer Roger Voss and bassist Robert Kopec.  He is also accompanied by vocalist Cindy Mizelle, keyboardist John Ginty, and percussionist Bashiri Johnson, with Sarah Smith making a guest appearance on vocals.

Weis fills the air with the swampy sounds of the Mississippi Delta on the first track “Motherless Child”.  I enjoy hearing him tear it up on slide guitar with the rolling sounds of organ joining in.  “Shine Down” follows up in a nice Skynyrd-esque fashion.  I love the arrangement of the backing vocals on this slow cooker.  Vocally and instrumentally, it hits on all cylinders.  There’s a lot of ZZ Top influence running in the hard-driving Texas boogie-laced blues of ”Judgement Day”.  I like to turn the volume up when this track starts.  One of my favorite Beatles covers is Joe Cocker’s take on “With a Little Help From My Friends”.  Weis delightfully takes on the Joe Cocker version and it sounds glorious.  His gravelly vocals nail every note of this six-minute classic as the band comes together in a full-on Muscle Shoals-fashion.  Weis breaks out the dobro and Kopec the standup bass on “Bring Me Home” to close out the album.  The stripped-down vintage sound fully captures my attention as is conjures up memories of seeing the legendary Watermelon Slim in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

With songwriting and performance both taking top priority, Scott Weis Band has another winner with Raise Your HandsI appreciate how the music flows seamlessly from beginning to end, taking on an album-oriented rock appeal.  This is a release I am highly recommending.





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Sunday, August 20, 2023

#630 > Bourbon and Blues Festival - 2023 (


Bourbon & Blues Festival – Aug 19, 2023

McGrath Amphitheater

Cedar Rapids, Iowa


By Phillip Smith; Aug. 23, 2022


Original source :


The temperature was running hot at just over ninety degrees, but that sure did not keep blues fans from coming out to hear the amazing talent who took the stage at the 2023 Bourbon & Blues Festival co-presented by Linn County Blues Society and Cedar Ridge Winery and Distillery.  Mr. Sipp the 2023 Blues Music Award nominee for the BB King Entertainer of the year took the stage first and gave a stellar performance packed with high-energy.  Following afterwards was an incredible set from Sugaray Rayford the 2023 Blues Music Award winner for Best Soul Blues Album.  Headlining the event was Shemekia Copeland, the 2023 Blues Music Award winner for Best Instrumentalist – Vocals.  She was absolutely amazing.  Cedar Rapids musician Bryce Janey, a semi-finalist in the 2012 International Blues Challenge, kept the music flowing and the audience captivated between sets.  It’s always a pleasure to hear him play.  From beginning to end, this festival was delightfully outstanding.    


·         All photos by Phillip Smith

Mark Rowell

Bob DeForest

Mr. Sipp

Bob DeForest

Bryce Janey

Sugaray Rayford

Bryce Janey

Shemekia Copeland