Saturday, December 8, 2018

#365 : Kevin Burt - Heartland & Soul



2018 – Little Village Foundation

By Phillip Smith; Dec. 8, 2018

I still remember the first time I heard Kevin Burt perform. It was shortly after I moved to Iowa in 1992.  It was a remarkable performance with Kevin fronting his band The Instigators.  His voice was unique and unforgettable.  Kevin has been a key presence in the music community here for a long time.  It makes me happy to see him become a part of a much larger scene since bringing home first place awards in three different categories during the 2018 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee : Best Solo/Duo Performer, Best Guitarist, Best Harmonica Player.  Recorded at the famed Greaseland Studios in San Jose, California, and produced by Kid Andersen and Jim Pugh, this debut album Heartland & Soul is more than fabulous.  With Kevin on vocals, acoustic guitar, and harmonica, Jerry Jemmott (Gregg Allman) appears on bass, Derrick ‘D’Mar’ Martin ( Little Richard) on drums, Jon Otis (Johnny Otis’ son) on percussion, Kid Andersen (Rick Estrin & the Nightcats) on guitar and melodica, Jim Pugh (Robert Cray) on keys, and Lisa Leuschner Andersen on backing vocals.

It doesn’t take long to be overcome by the soulful groove of “Day Day”, the first selection on this twelve track masterpiece.  It certainly brings me to my happy space.  An inspirational message of gratitude is beautifully spun with heartfelt emotion in “Thank You”.  It’s a wonderful song indeed.  With a nice and swampy taste of slide guitar topped with harmonica, Kevin breaks into “Smack Dab in the Middle”.  This bodacious track is steeped in delta-style blues and infused with a funky bassline and brilliant, jamming keys.  Ensuring the only cover song on the album “Eleanor Rigby” is an absolute head-turner, Kevin adds a personal touch to give the song a greater sense of poignancy.  It’s such an amazing listen. 

Heartland & Soul certainly ranks right up there with the best blues albums released this year.  It definitely merits my highest level of recommendation.

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For more information about Kevin Burt, visit his website: www.bfburt.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.   







Saturday, December 1, 2018

#364 : CeCe Teneal & Soul Kamotion - #5OR5000



2018 – IHEART CECE
Release Date: June 22, 2018

By Phillip Smith; Dec. 1, 2018

I love the fabulous, soulful energy that flows from #5OR500, the new live album from Florida-based band CeCe Teneal and Soul Kamotion.  The title is reflective of the band’s mission to give one hundred percent on every performance, no matter if the audience size is five, or five thousand.  With CeCe Teneal front and center on vocals, the rest of Soul Kamotion is comprised of guitarist Lavon Rushing, bassist Terrell Kimble, keyboardist Christopher Baptiste, and drummer James Adkins.

“90 MPH” is a sonic blast of fearless funk as it lifts this twelve-track album off the launching pad.  With Teneal holding nothing back on vocals, Rushing loads the song with monster riffs,   Kimble thumps a groovy bassline, and Adkins is a beast behind the drums.  “Danger” puts a big smile on my face as well.  It keeps the funk flowing with a call-back to the great R&B songs of the Eighties with a touch of brass. 

There’s no shortage of blues as Teneal sings about paybacks on “Common Ordinary Housewife”.  Rushing plays this with finesse, and Teneal’s voice, full of power and range, delivers an outstanding performance. “Lonely (Even When You’re Here)” is beautifully melancholy.  Baptiste sets the atmosphere for this amazing listen.   

The band is solid and tight from beginning to end, and Teneal definitely delivers her one hundred percent.  #5OR5000 is one of the best live albums of this nature I’ve heard.  I highly recommend it.

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For more information about CeCe Teneal & Soul Kamotion, visit their website: https://soulkamotion.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.   





Saturday, November 17, 2018

#363 : Sean Chambers - Welcome to My Blues



2018 –American Showplace Music
Release Date: October 19, 2018

By Phillip Smith; Nov. 17, 2018

Florida bluesman Sean Chambers knocks another out of the park with his seventh album, Welcome to My Blues.  Produced by Ben Elliot and including John Ginty on B3 and keys, bassist Todd Cook, and drummer Moe Watson, this record features eleven tracks plumb full of fine-crafted electric blues.      

Chambers greets the listener with infectious SRV-like riffs and searing hot licks on title-track “Welcome to My Blues”.  It’s magnificently performed.  “Black Eyed Suzie”, another Chambers original, is soaked in the swampy southern goodness of slide guitar.  Paired with the keyboard mastery from Ginty, it invokes the sounds of the Allman Brothers.  I can’t help but fall for his cover of Luther Allison’s “Cherry Red Wine”.  That is such a heavy tune, and Chambers pours every bit of himself into the song.  His vocals are heart-felt and his guitar playing is amazing.

With guest guitarist Jimmy Bennett (The Bennett Brothers) on slide and backing vocals, “One More Night to Ride” is funky and cool as hell. There’s a bit of a Black Oak Arkansas vibe in this ode to outlaws and motorcycles. The T-Bone Walker cover “All Night Long” is soulful and handled with care. Cook’s funky smooth bass line and Watson’s stellar beats usher the song to its destined greatness as it naturally builds into a glorious jam. 

Welcome to My Blues is what blues-guitar albums are supposed to sound like. It’s one of this year’s best.           


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To check out the PhillyCheeze review of Sean Chambers – Trouble and Whiskey ;


For more information about Sean Chambers, visit his website: http://www.seanchambers.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.   



Saturday, November 10, 2018

#362 : Lady “A” - Doin’ Fine



2018 – Lady "A"

By Phillip Smith; Nov. 10, 2018

Doin’ Fine, the fourth album from Anita White aka Lady “A” is a terrific follow-up to her 2016 album, Loved, Blessed, and Blues.  Teaming up once again with producer Dexter Allen, this singer/songwriter from the Pacific Northwest makes sure the record is loaded with funky soul and smooth blues.  With Lady “A” on vocals and Allen on guitars and bass, Chris “Rattlesnake” Minter holds down the drums, and Joey Robinson accompanies on both piano and drums.

Like that first ray of sunshine that carves its beautiful path to earth each day, title track “Doin’ Fine” sets the stage for a an enlightening listen and reassures everything will be ok.  This upbeat opener reels me right in with its gospel-infused rhythm and Lady “A’s” spirited vocals.  “Change the World” wonderfully plays like a recently uncovered Otis Redding song.  Poignant and beautiful, this song expresses a strong desire to make the world a better place.  “Throw Down” is a whole lot of fun too.  Blessed by a funk in the style of George Clinton, this tune is an absolute treat.           
Lady “A” who also hosts the award-winning online radio shows, The Gumbo & Gospel Show, and Black N Blues on NWCZ Radio once again scores big points with this new album.  It definitely grabs my attention. 

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To check out the PhillyCheeze review of Lady “A”Loved, Blessed and Blues :  https://phillycheezeblues.blogspot.com/search?q=lady+a


For more information about Lady “A”, visit her website www.ladyababyblues.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, November 4, 2018

#361 : Ms Zeno the Mojo Queen - Back in Love



2018 –Blue Lotus Recordings

By Phillip Smith; Nov. 4, 2018

I absolutely love the new release Back in Love, from Verlinda Zeno aka Ms Zeno the Mojo Queen.  I stumbled upon her music several weeks ago through a podcast I frequently listen to called Radio Memphis, hosted by Ric Chetter.  From the moment she started singing, I knew I had to purchase her new disc.  Her voice, soulful and powerful reminds me of a few of personal favorites: Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner and Sharon Jones.  Backed by co-producers Paul Niehaus IV and Kevin O’Connor on almost every instrument one could think of, and Gene Jackson on vocals, the wonderful Ms Zeno brings her A-game to every track.   

With a big blast of horns and a hint of strings in the back, title track, “Back in Love” initiates this record with that glorious Stax vibe and features guest vocalist Roland Johnson. “That’s How I Know” is electrically charged and dripping with soul.  Ms Zeno sings this with abundantly sweet emotion.  G Weevil makes a guest appearance on guitar for “Willie Brown”.  This is hands-down, one fantastic blues song, and I am totally smitten by her vocal delivery.  The lady can sing the blues, and that is a fact.  Tom Martin ( Zydedo Crawdaddys)  stops by with accordion in hand to lend a bit of Creole seasoning to the wonderfully funky “Mojo Queen”.  Like a heart-wrenching Otis Redding song, “Love is Like a Flower” is an amazing song and brilliantly vocalized.  The masterful harmonica stylings of Brandon Santini sets a roadhouse blues atmosphere to “Call My Name”.  An unescapable rhythm draws me right in, like a mosquito to a porch light.  “Gotta Get Paid”, swimming in hot buttery soul and slathered in high-energy funk, firmly keeps me glued to the speakers. 

One of my favorite albums that I’ve heard this year, Ms Zeno’s Back in Love is my pick for soul album of the year.  It’s absolutely fabulous!

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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.   







#360 : Bob Dorr and Friends Live @ Cedar Ridge Winery and Distillery





November 2, 2018
Swisher, Iowa
By Phillip Smith; Nov 4, 2018


Friday, November 2nd, the Linn County Blues Society and Cedar Ridge Winery and Distillery hosted a stellar evening of blues in Swisher, Iowa.  Bob Dorr and Friends (guitarist Jeff Petersen, bassist Dan ‘DJ’ Johnson, and keyboardist Tom Giblin) brought their Parlor City Jam Band out to play in a totally different setting, at Cedar Ridge Winery to a full house of blues fans.   

With Bob behind the drum kit and Jeff Petersen armed with his Flying V guitar, the band played through crowd favorites such as the Hank Williams classic “Mind Your Own Business” and Freddie King’s “Have You Ever Loved a Woman”.  DJ stepped up to the mic and rocked the room with “Shake Rattle and Roll”, originally recorded by Big Joe Turner.  Keeping the momentum going, Petersen belted out Ike Turner’s legendary “Rocket 88”.  It sounded great.  When “Mustang Sally” rolled around the dance floor quickly filled.  DJ paid a wonderful homage to Jimmy Reed’s “Baby What You Want Me to Do?”  As the blues jams go, you never know who will appear on stage throughout the show.  This particular evening, keyboardist Jeff Craft and harpist Bob Gleason made an appearance.  Craft led the band on a great cover of Muddy Waters’ “Got My Mojo Workin’” with Gleason wonderfully ripping it up on harmonica. It was very cool.  The music was so hot; the time quickly flew by.  Before long, the jam came to its end with Bob Dorr’s traditional Limestoner Blues Jam closer, Dylan’s “Rainy Day Woman # 12 & 35”.  It was a terrific night, indeed.     

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  * photos by Phillip Smith

Tom 'T-Bone Giblin

Jeff Petersen, Bob Dorr, Dan 'DJ' Johnson'

Bob Dorr, Jeff Petersen

Bob Dorr, Dan 'DJ' Johnson, Tom 'T-Bone' Giblin
and Jeff Petersen

Jeff Petersen, Dan 'DJ' Johnson

Tom 'T-Bone Giblin' , Bob Dorr

Jeff Craft, Bob Gleason

Jeff Petersen

Bob Dorr


Jeff Petersen, Dan 'DJ' Johnson

Jeff Petersen


Saturday, October 27, 2018

#359 : Artur Menezes - Keep Pushing



2018 –Artur Menezes

By Phillip Smith; Oct. 27, 2018

Keep Pushing, the fourth and latest album from Brazilian blues artist Artur Menezes scores high on my list of blues-guitar albums released this year.  Currently based out of Los Angeles, Menezes was recently named winner of the Gibson/Albert King Award for Best Guitarist and picked up third place winner in the Band Category at the 2018 International Blues Challenge.  Keep Pushing, produced by another current favorite of mine, Josh Smith, also features Daniel Aged on bass guitar, Gary Novak on drums, Carey Frank on Hammond/keys, Jamelle Adisa on Trumpet/Flugelhorn, Dan Boisey on Tenor/Baritone Sax, and Smith on rhythm guitar for four tracks.

I love the mix of horns and keys as they build off the slow-cooked opening riff of “Now’s the Time”.  This feel-good song sets the mood and fills me with joy with its message, ‘listen to your heart’.  Title-track, “Keep Pushing” quickly draws my attention with Menezes’ power vocals and impressive picking as it thumbs a ride atop Smith’s deep-seated rhythm.  An ominous, bone-crushing riff surges through “Come With Me” as Menezes spackles the song with gobs of scorching hot guitar.  I positively love this track.  “Pull it Through” oozes with a soulful, funky goodness.  “Can’t Get You Out of My Mind” is a mammoth head-turner.  A suave vocal performance in a puree of jazz and buttery soul lulls me into a state of absolute peace. The George Benson vibe on this treasure elevates Menezes to a whole new level.   

Terrific songs, a tight band, and a mastery of sound insure Keep Pushing maintains its status of heavy rotation.  It’s a keeper.  

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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.   

  

Sunday, October 21, 2018

#358 : JJ Appleton and Jason Ricci - Beautiful Slop



2018 –Old Boy Network

By Phillip Smith; Oct. 21, 2018

New York-based JJ Appleton, noted songwriter/guitarist/producer and Jason Ricci, winner of Blues Music Award for Best Instrumentalist/Harmonica in both 2010 and 2018, have joined forces again in the studio to record another outstanding treasure trove of blues.  Swampy goodness pours out every crevice of their new album, Beautiful Slop, and it truly captures my heart.  On acoustic bass is Derek Nievergelt who co-produced the album with Appleton.  

I love how they open the record by covering Lonnie Brooks’ “Don’t Take Advantage of Me”.  With Appleton spinning a cool groove on resonator, and Ricci mastering the harp as he does, they bestow a new life to this classic with a North Mississippi wardrobe.  Ricci shines as he channels the legendary Screamin’ Jay Hawkins on a stellar performance of “Hurt Myself” which also happens to be jam-packed with a slew of amazing harmonica runs.  There is obviously a musical chemistry between the two, and that is so very obvious as they tear into the delta blues of “For the Very Last Time”.  It’s almost magical.  I could listen to this all day long.  Beautiful Slop concludes with a heart-felt cover of Rihanna’s “Stay”.  Their beautiful, bluesy reconstruction of the song certainly demands attention and gave me a new layer of admiration for Rihanna as a song-writer.  Appleton and Ricci score big with this album, and I hope they keep the momentum going for another.  


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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, October 13, 2018

#357 : The Boxmasters - In Stereo!



2018 –The Boxmasters

By Phillip Smith; Oct. 13, 2018

Billy Bob Thornton (aka Bud) , Teddy Andreadis and J.D. Andrew are back with In Stereo!.  This latest release from the Boxmasters captures the sounds and vibe of the early Sixties when the Beatles and Beach Boys were battling for king of the hill.  Loaded to the gills with nineteen songs similar in stylings to their previous album, it was originally referred to as Tea Surfing Too by the band before officially being titled. 

I quickly locked into “Clear Enough” a quirky poetic anthem with a garage punk attitude about respecting one another’s differences and personal space.  It’s catchy as hell, and I love the full-body sound.  Starting with a swoon-worthy melody and topped with the wonderful echo-laced sounds of surf guitar, “Rise Above Me” is a beautifully performed piece.  I also fall hard for the astral, Pink Floyd tendencies and Sgt. Pepper influences    laced in “Psychedelic”.  It’s brilliant to say the least.  The swirly organ accompaniment behind the thick twang of guitar gives the Beach Boys-infused “Best Girl” a taste of pop psychedelia.  A racing intro carries “Never Want to Leave California” into a dreamy place to land, as Thornton reflects upon The Golden State amid contemplating the termination of a failing relationship.  Recorded as a live performance in Florence, Alabama, “Emily” brings In Stereo! to conclusion in a Romantics-style ode to greasy-spoon crushes.

The Boxmasters’ ability to not be pigeonholed into any particular flavor of rock and roll as they dance around them all is uncanny and wonderful.  In Stereo! is indeed a delightful listen.      


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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.




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#356 : Savoy Brown w/ The Satterfield – Erickson Project - Oct. 7, 2018



Veterans Memorial Building  
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
By Phillip Smith; Oct 13, 2018


Sunday, October 7th, The Artisan’s Sanctuary in Marion, Iowa presented Savoy Brown live at the Veterans Memorial Building in Cedar Rapids. I’ve been a big fan of the legendary Kim Simmonds and Savoy Brown for quite a while, and was absolutely thrilled to have finally caught one of his live shows.  Playing as a trio, Simmonds was accompanied onstage by his bassist Pat DeSalvo and drummer Garnet Grimm, both of whom have been playing with the band for the past several albums and worked with Simmonds on prior solo albums as well. 

Opening for Savoy Brown was The Satterfield – Erickson Project, composed of master guitarists Billy Satterfield from Chicago, and Craig Erickson from Cedar Rapids, bassist John Hall, and drummer Tim Crumley.  I loved their fabulous tribute to the great Otis Rush (April 29, 1935 – September 29, 2018) with “I Can’t Quit You”.   It was indeed a real treat to hear.  Their performance of the classic Allman Brothers song, “Whipping Post” had me totally captivated too.  The dual guitar jam was magnificent. 

Kim Simmonds and Savoy Brown grabbed my attention quickly, opening their set with a pair of wonderfully swampy blues-rockers: “Hoodoo Me” and “Living on the Bayou”, both tracks from the recent 2017 Witchy Feelin’ album.  That is such a terrific album, and those were definitely excellent songs to lead off with.  Digging a little deeper, Simmonds delivered the goods with “Poor Girl” off the 1970 album Lookin’ In.  This was followed by the deliciously heavy electric blues of Willie Dixon’s “I Ain’t Superstitious” and Bukka White’s “Shake ‘em on Down” from the 1967 Shakedown album with Simmonds breaking out the harmonica.  It was a pleasure to hear the title track of the 1972 album Hellbound Train too.  The groove was intense and hypnotic.  Simmonds wound things to a close with “Memphis Blues”, and the cool slide boogie-induced riffs of “Tell Mama”.     

The music was superb and I walked away from the venue wearing a smile.  I would love to see more shows like this in the future for Cedar Rapids. 

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* all Photos by Phillip Smith



The Satterfield - Erickson Project



lly Satterfield , Craig Erickson

Billy Satterfield, Craig Erickson, John Hall

Craig Erickson
Billy Satterfield

Billy Satterfield
 
Tim Crumley
 
Craig Erickson, Billy Satterfield, John Hall
 
Satterfield - Erickson Project

Craig Erickson , John Hall

Craig Erickson
John Hall

Billy Satterfield

Tim Crumley




Savoy Brown


Kim Simmonds

Kim Simmonds , Pat DeSalvo

Kim Simmonds

Pat DeSalvo

Kim Simmonds

Pat DeSalvo

Garnet Grimm

Savoy Brown
 
Kim Simmonds

Savoy Brown

Kim Simmonds , Pat DeSalvo

Pat DeSalvo

Kim Simmonds