Saturday, May 25, 2024

#686 : Eliza Neals - Colorcrimes (PhillyCheezeBlues.Blogspot.com)

 


2024 – E.H. Records

By Phillip Smith; May 25, 2024

Original source : phillycheezeblues.blogspot.com

 

Detroit blues-rocker Eliza Neals is an artist who has secured a spot among my favorites. She pours an abundant amount of talent and creativity into her performances and songwriting, cultivating lasting, memorable songs. Her latest album Colorcrimes has swept me off my feet with its nine all-original tracks. With Neals on lead vocals and piano, Michael Puwal returns as lead guitarist for the brunt of the album.

The record leads off with a delicious serving of swampy slide guitar on “Heal This Land”. The song hearkens back to southern spirituals and delivers a much-needed message for the world today. I absolutely love that Neals turned what started out as a sour note at a show in Michigan into the riveting hit of a song “Banned in Jackson”. Mark “Muggy Do” Leach (Buddy Miles) guests on B3 giving the song a gorgeous full sound. I can feel the emotion pouring out of Neals as she belts out the title-track “Colorcrimes”, a beautiful song of unity. The wailing guitar performance from Puwal brilliantly joins Neals as a second vocal. It’s an amazing listen. Guitarist Brian Lord (Mitch Ryder) joins in on the infectious fun of “Love Dr. Love”. This cooking track takes a small break for a New Orleans-style, horn-fueled second-line to honor the late, great Barrett Strong Jr. (Feb. 5, 1941 – Jan. 28, 2023) who cowrote this and two other songs on this album with Neals. “Sugar Daddy” is a blast to hear as it takes a dive into the world of Motown and Phil Spector’s early girl-group years.  Topped off with the sounds of sax from Tyrone Smith and a psychedelic-laced dose of guitar from King Solomon Hicks, this track is a sure-fire winner. I’m very happy to see “Candy Store”, the 2023 single which lit up blues radio last year, land on this release. It’s a fun-as-hell listen filled with confectionery double entendres.

From my first listen to Colorcrimes, I knew it would be an album I will have on heavy-rotation for a long while. It’s one of those records that demands to be heard.             

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For more information about Eliza Neals, visit her website at https://www.elizaneals.com

 

Follow the link below for more PhillyCheeze reviews featuring Eliza Neals:

https://phillycheezeblues.blogspot.com/search?q=eliza+neals

 

Eliza Neals’ Colorcrimes is also available on Bandcamp

Saturday, May 18, 2024

#685 : Kevin Burt & Big Medicine - Thank You Brother Bill : A Tribute To Bill Withers (PhillyCheezeBlues.Blogspot.com)

 


2023 – Gulf Coast Records

By Phillip Smith; May 18, 2024

Original source : phillycheezeblues.blogspot.com

 

I’ve been listening to Kevin Burt perform his magic behind the microphone for almost thirty-two years now. He is one of the most gifted singers I know. His well of talent runs quite deep and that talent brought him awards in three categories at the 2018 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee. He walked away that year with First Place Solo/Duo , First Place Solo/Duo Guitarist, and the Lee Oskar Award for Best Harmonica Player.

His fourth album Thank You Brother Bill (A Tribute to Bill Withers) breathes new life into a dozen Bill Withers songs. It couples Burt with a stellar backing ensemble called Big Medicine comprised of Scot Southerland on bass, Ken Valdez on lead/rhythm guitar/backing vocals, and Eric Douglas on drums.  

From the opening notes of “Who is He (and What is He To You)?” I’m all-in. I love how Burt's voice suavely fills the air radiating off the funky groove constructed from Big Medicine. The funk gets stronger on “Kissing My Love”. Topped with a smokin’ splash of harp, this track absolutely cooks as Valdez tosses in his searing guitar licks. The tempo drops and the bluesy soulful goodness of “World Keeps Going Round and Round” hits with an amazing heaviness as the tension tightens like a tourniquet. Then “Just the Two of Us” rolls in like a ray of sunshine with Burt opening up the song on harmonica. I can’t help but feel good when I hear this song. It’s such a delight. I absolutely love his cover of “Ain’t No Sunshine”. The emotion Burt packs into his delivery on this track cuts to the bone. It’s additionally fortified by Douglas slapping out a ferocious beat on congas. “Lean on Me” brings back a flood of memories of hanging out with one of my best friends growing up. The song is a gift of time-travel, as I recall those care-free days.  Bringing the album to its close, is the title-track “Thank You Brother Bill”, written by Burt to show his gratitude and “Big Love” for music of Bill Withers. It really makes for the perfect closer for this album.

Thank You Brother Bill is one of the most perfect tribute albums I’ve heard by a single artist. Kevin Burt does an outstanding job of taking on these treasured songs and I highly recommend this recording.

 

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For more information about Kevin Burt, visit his website at https://www.kevinburtmusic.net

 

Follow the link below for more PhillyCheeze reviews featuring Kevin Burt:

https://phillycheezeblues.blogspot.com/search?q=kevin+burt

 

 

Thursday, May 16, 2024

#684 : Big Head Todd & the Monsters - Her Way Out (PhillyCheezeBlues.Blogspot.com)

 


2024 – Big Records

Release Date : May 31, 2024

By Phillip Smith; May 18, 2024

Original source : phillycheezeblues.blogspot.com

Her Way Out, the first album from Big Head Todd in seven years, is very much worth the wait. This ten-track record is loaded with extraordinary rockers slathered in rootsy, bluesy grooves. Todd Mohr returns to the studio for this recording with Rob Squires on bass, Brian Nevin on drums, and Jeremy Lawton on keys,lap/pedal steel, and backing vocals.

Big Head Todd leads off with the three singles previously released from this album, fortifying the listening experience for a very strong start. First out the gate is title-track “Her Way Out”. Riding a driving rhythm laced with pedal steel and piano, it sure has a way of reminding me of Tom Petty, and I like it a lot. “Thunderbird” follows up next in a big southern rocking way, but with a riff reminiscent of classic AC/DC. According to Mohr, the film American Graffiti was the inspiration for this song which waxes nostalgic for the glory days of fast cars, Wolfman Jack and James Dean. The third single in this opening trifecta is “Crush” which walks the listener through a shattering break-through with a laid-back groove and Mohr’s guitar-driven finesse. I love the way the pulsing intro to “Don’t Kill Me Tonight” seems to push the listener into a runaway train in which the conductor sings the story of Annie Oakley, Frank Butler, and Buffalo Bill. Decorated with spaghetti-western twang and punk-friendly riffs, the song really snatched my attention. “Rainbow Girl” brings the record to its close with a rocking, pixie-dust coated, working-class, love-ballad riding a poppy beat, cosmic sounds, and topped with a little feedback. It’s a fun track indeed.

Big Head Todd restores album-oriented rock with this record. It effortlessly flows from beginning to end. Her Way Out certainly lands among my favorites of the year so far.      

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For more information about Big Head Todd and this album, visit the website : www.bigheadtodd.com

Monday, May 13, 2024

#683 : Big Llou's Fundraiser and Vizztone Showcase : Memphis on Beale St. - May 8, 2024 (PhillyCheezeBlues.Blogspot.com)




Blues Music Awards Showcase
Presented by BratGirlmedia
Rum Boogie Cafe
Memphis, Tennessee
May 8, 2023
 
Original source : phillycheezeblues.blogspot.com
I made it down to Memphis for the Blues Music Awards last year for the very first time. I had so much fun and heard so much fantastic music, I had to return for another round this year. It was another amazing experience. 
On May 8th, the evening before the BMA's, I attended a pair of music showcases. One was Big Llou's 10th Annual Blues Hall of Fame Tribute Fundraiser at Alfred's on Beale, The other was Vizztone's All-Star Blues Party on Beale St./Blues Music Award Showcase at Rum Boogie Cafe.
And just like last year, without camera in tow, I still captured a few photos of these fabulous events on my iPhone while I bounced back and forth between the venues.  
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* all photos by Phillip Smith


Big Llou's at Alfreds

Vince Johnson & the Plantation Allstars

Chris Cain with Vince Johnson

Vince Johnson & the Plantation Allstars

Chris Cain with Vince Johnson


Mathias Lattin

Tony Holiday

Tony Holiday

Mr. Sipp

Mr. Sipp

Southern Avenue

Southern Avenue


Southern Avenue

Southern Avenue

Johnny Rawls

Johnny Rawls






Vizztone/Bratgirl Media at Rum Boogie Cafe

Blackburn Brothers

Blackburn Brothers

Blackburn Brothers

Albert Castiglia

Bob Margolin

Bob Margolin


Deb Ryder

Deb Ryder, Bob Margolin, Rosy Rosenblatt, Ben Levin


Rosy Rosenblatt, Ben Levin

Albert Castiglia & Kevin Burt


Albert Castiglia & Kevin Burt

Kevin Burt, Cliff Moore

Ephraim Lowell

Cliff Moore, Kevin Burt

Ben Levin

Albert Castiglia, Ephraim Lowell, Cliff Moore
 & Kevin Burt

Kevin Burt, Ephraim Lowell, Cliff Moore



Sue Foley

Sue Foley , Cliff Moore, Rosy Rosenblatt

Mike Zito

Mike Zito

Albert Castiglia & Mike Zito

Albert Castiglia & Mike Zito

Cliff Moore, Albert Castiglia & Mike Zito

John Primer

John Primer, Tony Braunagel, Cliff Moore, Mike Zito, Bob Corritore

John Primer & Mike Zito

Cliff Moore, Mike Zito & Bob Corritore

Lara Price