Sunday, June 25, 2017

Thorbjørn Risager & The Black Tornado - Change My Game

Thorbjørn Risager & The Black Tornado
Change My Game
2017 – Ruf Records

By Phillip Smith; June 25, 2017

It’s been almost three years since I reviewed Thorbjørn Risager’s award winning studio album, Too Many RoadsI loved that album.  His latest release, Change My Game is just as tight and sophisticated.  With Risager front and center on vocals and guitar, The Black Tornado consists of pianist/organist Emil Balsgaard, guitarist Peter Skjerning, tenor saxophonist Kasper Wagner, saxophonist Hans Nybo, trumpet player Peter Kehl, bassist Søren Bøjgaard, and drummer Martin Seidelin.  As this tight-knit band from Copenhagen puts it, “Change My Game” is not just an album title, but also the guiding ethos that has driven this band from the start. 

Risager’s vocals on “I Used to Love You” are suave and debonair. They sound great sitting in the mellow dreamlike atmosphere of reminiscence which the Black Tornado beautifully conjures up.  “Dreamland” is contagious from the beginning; I love its callback to Eighties soul-rock.  Skjerning delivers up some killer guitar riffs which play very nicely with the big full keyboard sounds from Balsgaard.

Like a moth to the flame, I’m quite drawn to the swampy blues of “Holler ‘N’ Moan”.  Saturated with nice and greasy slide guitar, and sung with conviction, this track feels so good to listen to.  There’s a sweet heaviness to the way Risager sings “Lay My Burdon Down”.  He magnificently paints this one in a gloomy melancholy light.  Risager closes with a masterpiece called “City of Love”.  In a musical sleight of hand, he inventively shapes this one from a Texas blues boogie into a mind-blowing, psychedelic treat complete with horns and swirling keys.

Thorbjørn Risager & The Black Tornado have scored big again, continuing their tradition of excellence in music with Change My Game.  Like a big, juicy steak, this is music one can delightfully sink their teeth into.  


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


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Honey Island Swamp Band - Concert Photos : Irish District Music & Arts Festival (Cedar Rapids, IA 6/17/17)

Cedar Rapids, IA
By Phillip Smith; June 18, 2017

Photos by Phillip Smith

Honey Island Swamp Band

Aaron Wilkinson – mandolin, guitar,
harmonica, vocals
Chris Mulé – guitar, vocals
Sam Price – bass, vocals
Garland Paul – drums, vocals
Chris Spies - keyboards
 Rick King - Percussionist

Perry and the Pumpers - Concert Photos : Irish District Music & Arts Festival (Cedar Rapids, IA 6/17/17)

Perry and the Pumpers

Cedar Rapids, IA
By Phillip Smith; June 17, 2017

Although rain was in the forecast, the music gods smiled down, and the 2017 Irish District Music & Arts Festival finished the evening unscathed with the exception of the occasional droplet falling from the sky.   Opening for the Honey Island Swamp BandPerry and the Pumpers took the stage at five o-clock and the festivities commenced.  Iowa Blues Hall of Fame member and Cedar Rapids native Perry Welsh, returned to his hometown with a briefcase full of blues to give a ripping performance.  The Pumpers were composed of guitarist Bryce Janey,  Iowa Blues Hall of Fame member and B3 master Tom 'T-bone' Giblin, drummer Troy Harper, and bassist Dave Bader,  Starting things out with "Ain't That Just LIke a Woman", the band rolled through a treasure chest of classics which included "In My Younger Days", "Early in the Morning", and "Hey Little Girl", setting the stage for a great night of live music.

All Photos by Phillip Smith

Troy Harper, Perry Welsh, and Dave Bader

Perry Welsh and Dave Bader

Dave Bader and Bryce Janey

Dave Bader and Bryce Janey

Tom 'T-bone' Giblin

Dave Bader, Perry Welsh, and Bryce Janey

Perry Welsh and Dave Bader

Dave Bader

Tom 'T-Bone' Giblin and Perry Welsh

Perry Welsh and Dave Bader

Bryce Janey

Perry Welsh