Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Sherman Holmes Project - The Richmond Sessions


2017 –M.C. Records

By Phillip Smith; Aug 26, 2017


The Richmond Sessions is Sherman Holmes’ first recording since the 2015 passing of his Holmes Brothers partners: brother, Wendell Holmes, and Popsy Dixon.  This also stands out as Holmes’ solo debut in a career which has spanned over half a century.  Originally from Christchurch, Virginia, Holmes enlisted Jon Lohman, Virginia State Folklorist and Director of the Virginia Folklife Program at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities to produce this outstanding record of Americana roots, blues, and gospel music.  The album offers a diverse blend of traditional and contemporary songs, performed in the classic spirit The Holmes Brothers are known for. 

Leading off the album is a feisty bluegrass performance of “I’ve Just Seen the Rock of Ages”.  Sharing the lead vocals with Sherman on this one is Almeta Ingram-Miller (Ingramettes).  Her powerful voice is sweetened by the accompaniment of five-time EBMA Banjo Player of the Year Sammy Shelor, and David Van Deventer on fiddle.  With a beautiful somber foundation created by Jacob Eller on upright bass, Holmes’ vocals ring with heartfelt emotion singing the spiritual “I Want Jesus”.

His cover of Vince Gill’s 1991 hit single “Liza Jane” is plumb terrific.  The swampy slide guitar and infectious slow-groove makes it a go-to track.  Holmes pays homage to fellow Virginians The Stanley Brother’s with an exquisite rendition of their now-classic 1959 dirge “White Dove”.  “Breaking Up Somebody’s Home” is a tremendous song which Holmes fabulously delivers on a silver platter full of twang, topped with banjo and strings.   The lovely Joan Osborne makes a guest appearance on the marvelous and soulful “Dark End of the Street”, which was first recorded by James Carr in 1967.  The rich and lush sounds of the B-3, played by DJ Harrison makes a great backing for Holmes’ and Osborne’s vocal harmonies.  In a superb tight jam, Holmes and the band close the album with a stellar version of Ben Harper’s “Homeless Child”.  Like a game of three-card monte with instruments, they swap out harmonica, fiddle, and banjo picking to gospel-style vocals and a funky driving beat provided by Clarence Walters.

The Richmond Sessions is an excellent record, and I highly recommend it.
          

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Take a listen to the album on Apple Music, and if you decide to purchase it, use my special link.  This helps keep the PhillyCheeze site going.  



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



Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Norman Jackson Band - It’s the Drummer’s Fault


2017 –Norman Jackson Bands

By Phillip Smith; Aug 19, 2017


The Norman Jackson Band, from Springfield, Missouri has caught my attention in a big way.  Jackson’s debut album, “It’s the Drummer’s Fault” features eleven sizzling tracks injected with a vibrant positive energy.  The band’s bold blend of Chicago Blues masterfully drizzled with hot buttered soul helps me get my happy on.  Front-man guitarist/singer Norman Jackson is backed by his nephew, The Boogieman on drums, bassist Danny Williams, and one of the hottest saxophonists I’ve ever heard, Rick Shortt, who at age twelve, was Jackson’s apprentice.

This quartet steps into the ring and commences to swing with a furious and funky number called “Norman’s Blues” a sweet groove paved by the crushing beats of The Boogieman and the sweet thumping of Williams’ dazzling bassline.  Jackson’s vocals are fearless and terrific.  They sound great paired with Shortt’s fierce performance on sax. The swaying rhythm of “Man of My House” sets a smooth and chill background to springboard Jackson’s contrastingly soulful and raspy growls and Shortt’s signature atomic blasts of sax.  I love every bit of it.  Shortt gets even more accolades on the beautiful instrumental “All Alone”.  This is his song to stand front and center. 


Jackson brings the album to a close with “Snake in My House”, sitting on top of a heaping platter of delicious slow-cooked blues.  This album definitely lands as one of my favorites this year.        

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For more info on The Norman Jackson Band, visit their website http://www.thenormanjacksonband.com/



    
Take a listen to the album on Apple Music, and if you decide to purchase it, use my special link.  This helps keep the PhillyCheeze site going.  






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


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Czech Village Blues Festival - Aug 12, 2017


Czech Village
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 
All photos by Phillip Smith; Aug 13, 2017


I am more than thrilled to see the return of an annual blues festival here in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  It has been a long journey to get one going again since the final Bluesmore in 2013.  This year the Linn County Blues Society joined forces with the Friends of the Czech Village to bring the blues back to our city.  The result was a phenomenal evening of music performed by The LCBS Allstars featuring eight Iowa Blues Hall of Fame inductees, along with headlining act, Joanna Connor.



The LCBS Allstars   



Dennis McMurrin

Bryce Janey

Dennis McMurrin

Dan Johnson

Bob Dorr and Tony Brown

Eric Douglas

Dennis McMurrin and Bryce Janey

Bob Dorr

Bryce Janey, Eric Douglas and Bob Dorr


Bob Dorr, Craig Erickson

Bob Dorr

Dennis McMurrin and Bob Dorr

Bob Dorr and Ron DeWitte

Ron DeWitte

Dennis McMurrin

Ron DeWitte

Dennis McMurrin

Dennis McMurrin and Ron DeWitte

Dennis McMurrin and Ron Dewitte

Bob Dorr, Ron DeWitte, and Dan Johnson

Festival Attendees


Bryce Janey and Bob Dorr

Tony Brown and Dennis McMurrin

Tony Brown, Dennis McMurrin, and Bryce Janey

Ron DeWitte

Craig Erickson

Tony Brown

Craig Erickson and Ron DeWitte

Dennis McMurrin, Bryce Janey, Bob Dorr,
and Craig Erickson

Tony Brown, Dennis McMurrin, Bryce Janey,
and Bob Dorr

Dennis McMurrin, Bryce Janey, Bob Dorr,
Craig Erickson, and Ron Dewitte



The Joanna Connor Band   


Joanna Connor

Lance Lewis

Tony Palmer

James Carter

Joanna Connor

Joanna Connor

James Carter

Joanna Connor

Lance Lewis
 
Joanna Connor

James Carter and Joanna Connor

Lance Lewis

Tony Brown

Joanna Connor and Craig Erickson


Tony Brown, Joanna Connor, and Craig Erickson

Joanna Connor and Craig Erickson

Joanna Connor and Craig Erickson

Bryce Janey and Tony Brown

Tony Brown, Joanna Connor, and Craig Erickson

Tony Brown, Joanna Connor and Craig Erickson

Joanna Connor, Craig Erickson, and Lance Lewis

Bryce Janey

Bryce Janey

Tony Brown, Joanna Connor, Craig Erickson
and Lance Lewis

Tony Brown and Joanna Connor

Bryce Janey, Tony Palmer, Tony Brown,
Joanna Connor, Craig Erickson and Lance Lewis