Saturday, May 20, 2017

Nick Schnebelen - Live in Kansas City

2017 – Vizztone Records
By Phillip Smith; May 20, 2017

I’ve been a fan of Nick Schnebelen since hearing Wrong Side of the Blues, a 2011 release from his band Trampled Under Foot, which was cofounded with his siblings, Danielle Nicole and Kris.  That album was one of my favorites that year, and I was fortunate to have reviewed it for Blues Review Magazine’s online magazine, Blues WaxNick now leads his own band, a high-energy power trio with Cliff Moore on bass and Adam Hagerman on drums.  Live in Kansas City captures a riveting concert from this band who took the stage at Knuckleheads Saloon in Kansas City on December 3, 2016. 

Leading off this killer ten track album, is the spectacular “Fool”.  Schnebelen’s vocals, soaked in the blues, are powerful and smooth.  The captivating sound of his guitar rings with spirit and emotion.  I love the funk-infused rhythm on “Herbert Harper’s Free Press News”.  Catchy riffs and high-octane drums fuel this one.  The guitar mastery demonstrated in “You Call That Love” is second to none, and sounds absolutely amazing. Chills shoot up and down my spine when they break into a quite superb cover of Johnny Winter’s “Mean Town Blues”.  Schnebelen takes no prisoners as he plays this wonderful piece on slide.  The album closes with “Conformity Blues”, an exquisite instrumental guided by a propelling rhythm and intricately laced up with an exhilarating guitar performance.

Nick Schnebelen Live in Kansas City is an outstanding album of fortified electric blues which hits the ground running and plows through right to the very end.


Click on the link below to purchase this terrific album from the PhillyCheeze Amazon store.

Friday, May 12, 2017

John Mayall - Talk About That

2017 – Forty Below Records  
By Phillip Smith; May 12, 2017

I’m always happy to hear new material from John Mayall,.  With his latest album, Talk About That, Mayall nails down another winner in a long string of rock-solid blues albums.  Returning to record the eleven track jewel with Mayall is guitarist Rocky Athas, bassist Greg Rzab, and drummer Jay Davenport.    

Mayall lays down seriously groovy keyboard riffs alongside Rzab’s thick and saucy bassline in title track, “Talk About That”.  I love it when he breaks out that juicy Bourbon Street blues with the deliciously horn-rich “Gimme Some of That Gumbo”.  Athas delivers a searing guitar performance which brings this one home.  When Mayall plays the harmonica in the Jimmy Rogers All Stars cover, ”Goin’ Away Baby”, it sounds so damn good.  This is one killer blues song indeed.  His piano performance on life-questioning “You Never Know” is quite delightful too.  I get lost in the stirring sounds of “Blue Midnight”. Its vibrant and intoxicating rhythm pulls me deeply in.       

For “The Devil Must Be Laughing” and “Cards on the Table”, Mayall enlists non-other than the fabulous Joe Walsh to play guitar.  Both are rather outstanding and capture the legendary Walsh sound.   

Talk About That is an enchanting album which showcases a wonderful set of Mayall masterminded blues.    


Click on the link below to purchase this terrific album from the PhillyCheeze Amazon store.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

John Nemeth - Feelin’ Freaky

John Nemeth   
Feelin’ Freaky
2017 – Memphis Grease 
By Phillip Smith; May 9, 2017

Feelin’ Freaky, the latest release from John Nemeth is a brilliant collage of heady blues-rich soul music taking a smidge of liberty to poke fun at society and embrace those on the edge.  Recorded  at the Zebra Ranch in Coldwater, Mississippi and  Royal Studios in Memphis, Tennessee with his touring band, the Blue Dreamers (guitarist Johnny Rhoades, bassist Matthew Wilson, drummer Danny Banks) under the direction of Grammy-nominated producer Luther Dickenson, the album certainly has its share of the Bluff City woven into its DNA.

Nemeth addresses the topic of gun violence in America while blasting a wall of lush poppy horn-infused soul in “Under the Gun”. I can’t help but think of Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground while this terrific anthem rolls out the speakers.  He crushes it on title track “Feelin’ Freaky” a funky jewel with a driving riff and creamy contagious hook.  Nemeth breaks out a briefcase full of blues harp to top off the dance-friendly groove on “Get Offa Dat Butt”.  This is a fun one for sure.

Capturing the sweet soul Stax sounds of the early Seventies, Nemeth unleashes a smoking smooth vocal performance on “Rainy Day” a song of regret and heartbreak.  He nails it down again in “Long Black Cadillac”.  The song is heavy and beautiful. 

Nemeth continues to keep a unique edge applied to his music, never failing to engage the listener with fresh funky grooves drenched in old-school soul.  That’s exactly what I love about this album.