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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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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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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#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

Saturday, October 6, 2018

#355 : Mark Harrison - The Panoramic View



2018 –Mark Harrison / Highway Records

By Phillip Smith; Oct. 6, 2018

I absolutely adored Mark Harrison’s 2016 album, Turpentine.  His latest release, The Panoramic View, described by Harrison himself as his magnum opus, now takes precedence.  The UK-based roots artist is one of the best songwriters around, and I especially take notice when this man tackles the Blues with a nostalgic story-telling approach.  With Harrison performing on National and 12-string guitars, the rest of the band consists of Charles Benfield on double bass, Ben Welburn on drums/percussion, Paddy Milner on piano, Paul Tkachenko on tuba, trombone, trumpet, and mandolin, and Ed Hopwood on harmonica.  For a fascinating and unique twist, Harrison enlists Scottish television personality Gail Porter to provide a spoken word introduction prior to each song.   

I love the sound of the National on “House Full of Children”.  It sounds go great paired with the horns on this upbeat homage to Detroit bluesman Eddie ‘Guitar’ Burns.  Harrison takes a deep look inside the words of Son House as he describes the meaning of life, and the Blues in “What Son House Said”.  His performance is delicate and endearing.   Harrison sings about life after death in “Meet on the Other Side”, a splendid country blues spiritual.  A timeless melody and a subject matter everyone has experienced is the heart of “Mess is Everywhere”.  With timely blurts from his tuba, Tkachenko keeps the song moving along its tracks.  While on the subject of tracks, “John the Chinaman” honors the railroad Chinese immigrant laborers who made up the majority of the transcontinental railways workforce in the 1850’s.  Harrison’s bright finger work on guitar keeps a locomotive pace on this delightful blues ditty.   

From beginning to end, The Panoramic View is an exquisite listen.  Harrison’s declaration of this being his magnum opus, certainly stands true.    

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Link to PhillyCheeze Rock & Blues Review of Mark Harrison's Turpentine album:
https://phillycheezeblues.blogspot.com/2016/09/mark-harrison-turpentine.html




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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