In 2014, Pam Taylor and Robert
Johnson Jr. came together to forge a new musical dynamic duo, joined
together in heart and on stage. Hailing
from the Carolinas, the music of Stolen
Hearts’ debut album, Dirty Southern
Soul is a wholesome blend of blues, jazz and folk rock. Taylor
and Johnson are both soulful vocalists
and masterful guitarists. Adding to the
cool factor, Taylor was mentored by non-other
than the renowned blues guitarist Debbie
“Carolina Days (Bootsie’s
Song)” is a fresh splash of roots rock. Johnson takes the lead on vox and
tosses in smile-worthy mandolin playing, which adds quite a nice touch to the
catchy guitar riffs. Taylor belts
out the sax-infused heartbreaker “All I Got Left” in a most impressive
way. Her buttery vocals sound great. Taylor delivers more exquisite vocals on “My
Johnny”. This one reminds me so much of Rumours-era Fleetwood Mac with its light bouncy melody.
Stolen Hearts take
us on a trippy psychedelic journey in “Werewolves (Make Lousy Boyfriends)”. Fuzzy guitar riffs and echo effects turn this
space jam sung by Johnson into an
instant favorite. This twelve track album
ends with a delightful live performance of the Etta James classic, “I’d Rather Go Blind”.
certainly embrace their creativeness, both lyrically and musically. Dirty Southern Soul is a tasty musical
for more information on Stolen Hearts, visit their website : http://www.stolenhearts.rocks/
Formed six months ago, in May
of 2015, after a show at The Ground Zero
Blues Club, in Clarksdale, Mississippi, Mississippi Bigfoot is akin to lightning in a bottle. They certainly have revealed to be the
biggest musical surprise for me this year.
This Memphis-based band consists of lead vocalist Christina Vierra, lead guitarist Johnny Holiday, guitarist Ashley
Bishop, drummer Doug McMinn, and
bassist Cade Moore. Population Unknown is a stellar
collection of nine boogie-infused, rocking blues songs, one of which is a phenomenal
cover of “The Hunter”, first recorded by Albert
are powerful and soulful as she belts out the fabulous “Burn That Woman Down”. Holiday
has no shortage of tasty guitar licks as he plays this swampy favorite with
true grit and conviction. “Wag the Dog”
is another killer tune. This
hard-driving song is a perfect storm of blues and rockabilly. McMinn slathers on a hefty helping of tasty
harp, which sounds so cool running alongside the commanding voice of Vierra.
Mississippi Bigfoot breaks out the funk and delicious grooves in “No Flesh In OuterSpace”,
a cosmic favorite. Holiday and Vierra perform
as a duet in the smoking hot “Clarksdale”, which pays homage to Robert Johnson’s legendary crossroads
where deals with the devil are made.
Mississippi Bigfoot nails every song with great writing and outstanding performances. Population
Unknown is such an enjoyable album from start to finish; I recommend it for
anyone who loves great blues music.
The Devil to Pay, the latest from the legendary Kim
Simmonds and Savoy Brown is a monster set of thirteen all-new, original mojo-infused
blues tunes. Savoy Brown retains their exemplary three man lineup with bassist Pat DeSalvo and drummer Garnet Grimm as Simmonds continues to lay down the law with his guitar and verse.
guitar oozes with heartfelt emotion as he explores the deep well of loneliness in
“Ain’t Got Nobody”. He then faces the harsh
consequences of infidelity in the title track “The Devil to Pay”, a rambling blues
tune with an old school Sun Records rockabilly vibe. Simmonds
rips it up with tremendous slide on “I’ve Been Drinking”. While “Snakin’” is a nice instrumental to which
one can sit back, relax and enjoy, the ominous “Evil Eye” pretty much begs to
be turned up full blast so one can completely absorb the radiating guitar licks
and badass bassline. This is one killer tune.
I really like this particular
incarnation of Savoy Brown. Simmonds,
DeSalvo and Grimm sound so good together, and really know how to tap into that rawer,
edgier sound so reminiscent of the early days of rock and roll. The Devil to Pay is a definite ‘keeper’.
Listen to the new five song
EP, 5 @ 15 by the New York recording
artist Chloe Collins, and you’ll
find yourself amazed at the sound of her voice.
Collins not only possesses an outstanding ability to sing, but this
fifteen year old star shines brightly as a songwriter and guitarist too. Recorded
at Grind Central Station in
Nashville, and produced by Mikey Reaves,
5 @ 15 is a well-polished album of Country-Pop
music. Backing Collins on additional guitars and instruments is Reaves and Taylor Ivey.
Breakup ballads, “All Over
Again” and “My Goodbye” both have ‘radio-hit’ written all over them. The music is fresh and catchy. Collins
takes to slightly darker waters with “New Nightmares”, a playful song about
cutting lose and raising a little Hell.
5 @ 15 will
certainly resonate with Country-Pop fans all over. A great voice and good songs make this one a
fun little listen. I look forward to
hearing what Collins has in store for us in the future.
Ain’t Bad Yet, the
sixth album from Finnish blues-rock group Micke
Bjorklof & Blue Strip is an instant hit as far as I’m concerned. The lineup of the band remains the same,
(vocals/harmonica/guitar), Lefty Leppänen(electric
guitar/slide guitar), Teemu Vuorela(drums), Seppo Nuolikoski(bass) and Timo Roiko-Jokela(percussion/malletkat). Terrific songs and outstanding performances
with a rich southern vibe are key to the allure of this album, which by the way
is produced by legendary John Porter.
A saucy rhythm, joined with hot
harmonica licks, spill all over “Rat Race”, a spectacular jammin’ favorite,
reminiscent of one of my favorite bands, Phish.
I love the change of tempo when the band
breaks into “Sweet Dream’s a Sweet Dream”, a slightly spacy Hendrix-influenced treat. Leppänen’s
swampy slide guitar sounds so good on “Last Train to Memphis”, and “Today”.
Catchy blues-filed hooks and
a hard driving beat keep the anti-war anthem “Rain in Jerusalem” quite centered. This is such a powerful song. Bjorklof
delivers funky vocals and sweet harmonica over a really cool little bass-line
provided by Seppo on “Hold Your Fire
Baby”. Gritty blues sounds best with
some cool harp.
I dig the twangy “Blame It On
the Bright Lights”, with its catchy back-beat.
John Porter steps in with
guitar in hand and is joined by singers Lena
Lindroos and Veera Railio. This
song reminds me a lot of southern twangsters, Southern Culture on the Skids. I can’t help but feel good all over
when I hear it.
Ain’t Bad Yet
is a soulful blend of blues and country, making this eleven track album a
refreshingly cool listen from start to end.
Micke Bjorklof and Blue Strip
definitely hit this one out of the park.
It’s been a long damn time
since Kinky Friedman has released a
new studio album. To put it in a
political perspective, Gerald Ford
was winding down his last year of presidency the year Lasso From El Paso was released in 1976. The thirty-nine year wait is finally over,
and The Kinkster has delivered a
mother-load of western/folk greatness in his brand-spankin’ new album, The Loneliest Man I Ever Met. The album features musicians Joe Cirotti (guitar, bass, mandolin), Brian Molnar (guitar), and Jeff ‘Little Jewford’ Shelby (keyboard),
and is chock-full of magnificent covers and original gems.
The Willie Nelson classic, “Bloody Mary Morning” is quick to grab my
attention. This is just a great song,
and to smear the icing on the cake, Nelson
lends not only guitar and vocals to the song, but steps in as producer on it as
well. I would have loved to hang around the studio when this was recorded. Kinky’s
version of Tom Waits’ “Christmas
Card From A Hooker in Minneapolis”, keeps my ears glued to the speakers as much
as the original. “My Shit’s Fucked Up”, by
the late great Warren Zevon, prompts
me to keep in mind, life doesn’t slow down for anyone. If there’s something on the top shelf of one’s
priority list, take care of it before the opportunity is lost.
a true master of storytelling. With seemingly
little effort, he draws me in to this despairingly gloomy world of solitude and
isolation in title track, “The Loneliest Man I Ever Met”, and then transports
me to a different place and time in “Wild Man From Borneo”. The album closes with the elegantly performed
standard “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square”, which features guest pianist Bobbie Nelson. This one is very nice indeed.
I hope the wait-time is much
shorter until the next release from this national treasure. The
Loneliest Man I Ever Met is a quite the splendid listen.