Saturday, September 28, 2019

#410 : Ghost Town Blues Band - Shine




2019 – Ghost Town Blues Band
By Phillip Smith; Sep. 28, 2019

I’ve been anxiously awaiting this new album from Ghost Town Blues Band since first hearing about it this past Spring.  It was indeed worth the wait.  Shine, the band’s fourth studio album, and fifth overall is downright spectacular.  Soulfully packed in roots and blues, each of the dozen original songs stand out in their own way.  With singer/guitarist Matt Isbell as front-man, this Memphis-based band consists of guitarist Taylor Orr, saxophonist/producer Kevin Houston, trombonist Suavo Jones, bassist Matt Karner, drummer Andrew McNeill, with Cedric Taylor on B3 and piano.  

The feel-good energy of “Running Out of Time” delightfully ushers the album in.  I love the Allman Brothers vibe and the sweet sound of slide guitar.  “Soda Pop” is a downright blast.   Isbell fearlessly rips it up on cigar-box with some hard-driving blues.  The song is definitely one of my favorites.

Although “Shine” and “Givin’ it All Away” were both on GTBB’s live album, Backstage Pass, I embrace the new studio recordings.  Guest vocalists Paul DesLauriers and Annika Chambers both make an appearance on title-track “Shine”.  This beautiful feel-good song always puts a smile on my face. “Givin’ it All Away” is one bodacious jam.    The jazz-soaked rhythm from McNeill and Karner set the stage for a captivating performance from Suavo amid the swirling sounds of guitar and B3.  I enjoy it immensely.               

The funky groove of “Dirty” sinks its psychedelic claws in deep as Orr tosses out screaming cool-as-hell guitar licks.  I dig the rap break injected into the song by Suavo too.  It truly gives the song an extra dimension.  With a chockful of emotion, Orr gives a heart-felt delivery on “Carry Me Home”.  It’s such a great song.  Illana Katz Katz makes a guest appearance on “Hey There Lucinda” with violin in hand.  This absolutely lovely song delicately brings the album to a close.         

Shine is one of the best records I’ve heard this year.  I give it my highest of recommendations.

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For more information about the artist, visit this website.. www.ghosttownbluesband.com  


Click on the link below to purchase this terrific album from the PhillyCheeze Amazon Store.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.




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Monday, September 23, 2019

#409 : Savoy Brown - City Night




2019 – Quarto Valley Records
By Phillip Smith; September 23, 2019

I’m happy to hear anything by the British blues-master Kim Simmonds and his band Savoy Brown.  Their latest release City Night, is no exception.  This is the fortieth album from them, and is another smash hit record.  With bassist Pat DeSalvo and drummer Garnet Grimm holding down the rhythm section, Simmonds takes charge as he does and delivers yet another round of stellar original straight-up, nose-to-the-grind blues.

Simmonds’ searing guitar licks, joined with a fearless driving beat, kicks this treasure-trove of blues-rock off with “Walking On Hot Stones”.  It is scorching and fantastic.  I love “Conjure Rhythm”, with its hypnotic hoodoo pulse.  “Hang in Tough” is a rugged rocker of hard-hitting blues which cuts to the bone.  A feel-good mood is set by title-track “City Night”, and fully enjoyed.   It’s so great to hear Simmonds wail on guitar. Simmonds nicely closes the album out with a heavy dose of blues in the fabulous “Ain’t Gonna Worry”.  

It’s amazing how Savoy Brown just keeps getting better and better with each release.  City Night is as good as it gets.  Blues fans are sure to enjoy this record.    

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Other PhillyCheeze reviews of Savoy Brown

Kim Simmonds and Savoy Brown - Goin’ to the Delta - https://phillycheezeblues.blogspot.com/2014/02/kim-simmonds-and-savoy-brown-goin-to.html

Kim Simmonds and Savoy Brown - The Devil to Pay - https://phillycheezeblues.blogspot.com/2015/11/kim-simmonds-and-savoy-brown-devil-to.html

Kim Simmonds - Jazzin’ on the Blues - https://phillycheezeblues.blogspot.com/2017/09/kim-simmonds-jazzin-on-blues.html

Savoy Brown - Witchy Feelin’ - https://phillycheezeblues.blogspot.com/2017/09/savoy-brown-witchy-feelin.html

#346 : Savoy Brown - You Should Have Been There! - https://phillycheezeblues.blogspot.com/2018/08/346-savoy-brown-you-should-have-been.html



#356 : Savoy Brown w/ The Satterfield – Erickson Project - Oct. 7, 2018 - https://phillycheezeblues.blogspot.com/2018/10/356-savoy-brown-w-satterfield-erickson.html


For more information about the artist, visit this website:  www.savoybrown.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.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.




Saturday, September 14, 2019

#408 : J.P. Soars - Let Go of the Reins


2019 – Whiskey Bayou Records

By Phillip Smith; Sep. 14, 2019

Produced by Tab Benoit, Let Go of the Reins delightfully highlights everything I like about the music of J.P. Soars : smokin’ guitar licks, hard-scrabble lyrics, and fearless vocals.  Soars, the Arkansas-based artist who won 1st place at the 2009 International Blues Challenge in Memphis and pulled down the Albert King Award for best guitarist, rolls out his fifth solo studio album covered in hard-driving blues.  Soars steers the ship on vocals and guitars, with Chris Peet on bass guitar, Tab Benoit on drums, and Tillis Verdin on the Hammond B3.   

Soars begins the album with a jumpin’ cover of J.B. LeNoir’s “Been Down So Long”.  The fresh new arrangement absolutely cooks.  I love the swampy cover of the 1970 hit song “If You Wanna Get to Heaven”, by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils.  Soars definitely makes this one his own.  I thoroughly enjoy his beautiful performance of Django Reinhardt’s intoxicating instrumental “Minor Blues” too. 

A wonderful deep dark groove, preceded by an ominous entrance, guides title-track “Let Go of the Reins” on its hypnotic path to a psychedelic finish.   Soars cut loose on his spirited tribute to Freddie King called “Freddie King Thing”.  It jams indeed.  “Lonely Fire” with its delicate melody and Spanish influence, is a song I simply adore.  

I highly recommend Let Go of the Reins.  It’s among the best albums I’ve heard this year.    


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For more information about the artist, visit this website : jpsoars.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.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.







Friday, September 6, 2019

#407 : Lucas Haneman Express - Catch the Westbound




2019 – Lucas Haneman Express

By Phillip Smith; September 6, 2019

After reviewing the Lucas Haneman Express’ 2016 album, Tearing Up the Rails, I knew there was something special about this group.  Their follow-up album, Catch the Westbound definitely reassures me, there is indeed an air of magic about them.  Nominated for a 2018 Maple Blues Award, the band expertly delivers a variety of original roots/rock-based songs built on enchanting melodies and finely crafted lyrics.  Haneman takes the helm on guitar and vocals, with Jeff Asselin on drums, Megan Laurence on vocals, and Martin Newman on bass.   

With Lucas on lead vocals, “Lay it to the Line” wonderfully starts the album with a driving western-flavored jam.  The song seductively draws right in, as I sink into its twangy goodness.  “Cold Cold Front” is ominous, catchy as hell, and hard to shake.  Haneman sings this one with a suave finesse.  The swampy blues of “Ms. McGrim” is right up my alley.  I love the slide guitar and Megan’s accompanying vocals.  My favorite tune on the album, “Devil’s in my Grave” is riveting and rides atop a driving rhythm.  They splendidly bring the record to a close with a sweet, heady, Zeppelin-esque ballad, “To Be Brave”.  When Asselin kicks it in on drums, I get a big smile on my face.  This is such a cool song. 

One more time, Lucas Haneman Express has brought their ‘A’ game to the table and delivered a wonderful recording.   I very much enjoyed listening to this one.

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For more information about the artist, visit this website.. www.lhexpress.ca  


The Phillycheeze review for Lucas Haneman Express – Tearing Up the Rails :
https://phillycheezeblues.blogspot.com/2017/03/lucas-haneman-express-tearing-up-rails.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.






Click on the link below to purchase this terrific album from the PhillyCheeze Amazon Store.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.


Sunday, September 1, 2019

#406 : Charlie Wooton Project - Blue Basso



2019 – Wild Heart Records
By Phillip Smith; Sep. 1, 2019

Covering artists such as Deanna Bogart, and Billy Pierce the past few years have made me aware of Charlie Wooton’s work as a bassist.  Serving as his tribute to the great Jaco Pastorious, Blue Basso incorporates jazz, funk, R&B, and blues into a tasty concoction of music with a splash of New Orleans charm.  Here, his work stands gracefully in the spotlight getting the full attention it deserves.  The album is a surely a wonderful, musical treat.  With Wooton on bass, the band consists of Daniel Groover on guitar, Jermal Watson on drums, Keiko Komaki on keys, and features the lovely Arséne DeLay on vocals.  Adding to the ‘cool’ factor, appearances from Sonny Landreth, Anders Osborne, Doug Wimbish (Living Colour), Eric McFadden and Damon Fowler also grace this record. 

Wooton starts off with a groovy instrumental called “Jaceaux”.  Komaki is an absolute monster on keys.  Wimbish, whose work includes session work for Sugarhill Gang, Grandmaster Flash, The Rolling Stones, and Depeche Mode sits in on this track fortifying the song with an extra layer of funk.  “Come On Come Over”, a splendid cover from Jaco’s acclaimed 1976 self-titled album, is delightfully sung by DeLay.  “Dime Note” is fantastic.  I dig the beat Watson throws down on this one as the wonderfully calibrated lead guitar from Groover takes over.  Sonny Landreth breaks out a healthy helping of his signature slide guitar on back-to-back songs, “Tell Me a Story”, and “Front Porch”.  It’s always a pleasure to hear this man play.  The album closes out with a smooth funkified take on the Rolling Stones song, “Miss You”.  This fabulous cut has been a ‘go-to’ song for me this week. 

I appreciate and respect what Wooton is doing with his music.  The jams he builds are juicy and spectacular.  Blue Basso is definitely an album worth checking out.

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For more information about the artist, visit this website :  charliewooton.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.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.