Saturday, April 10, 2021

#495 : Dexter Allen - Keep Moving On

 


2021 – Endless Blues Records

By Phillip Smith; April 10, 2021

 

Hailing from Crystal Springs, Mississippi and playing music since he was twelve, Dexter Allen is a man who definitely knows the blues.  Starting out playing bass in his parents’ gospel band, he moved on to lead guitarist for The Airtight Band, and then on to playing lead guitar for Grammy award winner Bobby Rush’s band.  Now with six solo albums already under his belt, Allen has just rolled out one more smashing record of sweet downhome blues.  It’s called Keep Moving On and its fabulous.  With Christopher Minter on drums and Joey Robinson on drums and keys, Allen holds the fort down on lead vocals, lead guitar, bass guitar, and keys as well.    

In a tasty dose of funkdafied blues, Allen leads the record off with title-track “Keep Moving On”.  I love the positive message he hammers into his lyrics, reminding us to “Keep your head up high.   Keep reaching for the sky.”.  On “Love Talk”, Allen belts out a performance that is soaked in the essence of the late great B.B. King.  His vocals are suave and electric, as notes from his guitar seemingly hang in mid-air amidst the sweet lingering sound of organ.  “Blues Eyed Girl” is soulful and dreamy.  Its romantic lyrics and arrangement bring to mind the wonderful love songs recorded by the legendary Teddy Pendergrass.  He dives deep into the blues on “F.A.B.U.L.I.S.T. Woman” telling his story of a disenchanted romance with more of his soul-warming guitar and a delightful backing of horns.  It sounds so good.

Dexter Allen’s Keep Moving On is music for the soul.  When I listen to this record, I really feel like I’m hearing the blues.

---


For more information about the artist, visit this website : https://www.dexterallen.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.


Sunday, April 4, 2021

#494 : Elizabeth King - Living in the Last Days

 


2021 – Bible & Tire

By Phillip Smith; April 4, 2021

It’s been forty-five years since Elizabeth King walked away from the recording business to raise her fifteen children.  King has returned to the studio to share her dynamic voice with a brand-new album of uplifting sacred soul called Living in the Last Days.   With Bruce Watson producing, King is backed by The Sacred Soul Sound Section comprised of guitarists Will Sexton (Dale Watson, Nicki Bluhm, Amy LaVere) and Matt Ross-Spang (Al Green, Jason Isbell, John Prine), bassist Mark Stuart (Alvin Youngbood Hart), and drummer/percussionist George Sluppick (Albert King, Chris Robinson Brotherhood).  Also appearing on this record are The Vaughn Sisters Vocals, The D-Vine Spiritualettes Vocals, organists Al Gamble (St. Paul & the Broken Bones), and Rick Steff, vocalists Chris and Courtney Barnes, with Art Edmaiston and Jim Spike on horns, and William Graves on vocals and Wurlitzer electric piano.

This eleven-track album leads off with “No Ways Tired”.  King’s steadfast vocals are accented with a deep buttery bass, and a sweet twangy guitar.  I love the title-track “Living in the Last Days”.  Complete with hand-clapping and beefy organ accompaniment, it becomes quite the glory-hallelujah hymn.  “Call on Him” is an exquisite taste of Sixties soul wrapped around southern gospel.  It’s musical gold.  Drenched in a swampy Mississippi blues, “You’ve Got to Move” brings the album to a close.  With a superb performance, King expresses just how closely the musical paths are between the blues and church music.                   

The world could use more music like the ones Elizabeth Kings brings to Living in the Last Days.

---

    

For more information about the artist, visit this website : www.bibleandtire.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, April 3, 2021

#493 : 8 Ball Aitken - Ice Cream Man


 

2021 – Red Rocker Records

By Phillip Smith; April 3, 2021

 

I can’t help but be a fan of Nashville-based Aussie recording artist 8 Ball Aitken.  His unique style of blues-rock is a funky and infectious blend.  Ice Cream Man, his twelfth and latest album, was recorded in Nashville and features Buddy Guy’s Grammy Award winning producer Tom Hambridge on drums, Buddy Leach (George Thorogood and the Destroyers) on saxophone, Taya Chani on backing vocals, Dillion James Aitken (8 Ball’s brothers) on organ/keys, with 8 Ball taking on all guitars, bass, harmonica, and lead vocals.

Southern soul meets delta blues when 8 Ball leads the album off with title-track “Ice Cream Man”.  Loaded with fun, saucy double entendres, this one always puts a smile on my face.  Fueled with a Jimi Hendrix-inspired riff and a ‘Summer of Love’ vibe, 8 Ball builds an enlightening case for “Peace Love and Understanding”, by dropping notable quotes from purveyors of peace such as Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., and John Lennon.  “Boomerang”, a psychedelic rocker with a thunderous beat and an inescapable groove chronicles the tale of an on-again off-again relationship.  This is one cool-as-hell track which begs to be heard at a loud volume.  I love the ominous road 8 Ball wanders onto with “Hard Times and Struggle”.  He’s definitely reaching into Tom Waits and Nick Cave territory here, and it sounds great.  The fierce guitar/harmonica performance he gives on “Solitaire” is absolutely wonderful and cuts deep to the bone.

Ice Cream Man is a splendid listen from start to finish.  I highly recommend it.


---




For more information about the artist, visit this website : https://www.8ballaitken.com/

 

Available on Bandcamp 

 


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, March 27, 2021

#492 : Sugarmill Slim -- Sugarmill Slim



2021 – Self-released

By Phillip Smith; March. 27, 2021

 

Occasionally a debut album really grabs ahold of me and gives me true hope for the future of the blues.  The ten-track, self-titled record from Sugarmill Slim is truly one of those.  It’s loaded down with six ripping deep-cut covers and four marvelous originals delivered in a fearless juke-joint fashion.  Sugarmill Slim aka Anders La Source is a multi-instrumentalist based in the Los Angeles/Hollywood/San Fernando Valley area who found focus playing harmonica in the confines of raw blues.  Produced, engineered, and mixed by Chuck Kavooras (Bob Margolin, The Mannish Boys), the album features Slim on harp and lead vocals, with a band comprised of Courtney Kakebeen on bass guitar, Slam McAdam on drums, Luca Neroni on guitar, and Isaac Rawdog Plummer on organ and piano.   

From the beginning of their cover of Muddy Water’s “Just to be With You”, I was totally amazed at the intensity of Slim’s harp playing and his made-for-the-blues vocals.  His cover of Little Walter’s “Me and Piney Brown” is a pure delight.  Plummer wails on the organ of this red hot rhythm section.  A funky slice of soul “Leaving Truck” is an uncontested favorite.  “Screamin’”, an instrumental which first landed on the debut album of The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, is given a makeover cloaked in steamy Memphis soul.  It reminds me immensely of the MGs.  More intense blues follows with covers of Sonny Boy Williamson II’s Help Me” and Junior Wells’ “Little by Little”.  These are absolutely fabulous.  Slim sings with the ferocity of Jerry Lee Lewis on “Hook Me Up”, the scorching original track he first released as a single.         

I’m so glad I stumbled upon this recordThis is honestly one of the best straight-up blues albums I’ve heard this past year.  I highly recommend checking it out.  You will not be disappointed. 

---



Take a listen to the album on Apple Music. 

 



For more information about the artist, visit his bandcamp page : https://sugarmillslim.bandcamp.com/



Click on the link below to purchase this terrific album from Bandcamp .



Saturday, March 20, 2021

#491 : Robert Allen Parker - The River's Invitation

 


2021 – Broken String Records
Music Maker Relief Foundation
 
By Phillip Smith; March 20, 2021
 
Robert Allen Parker, a staple of the Memphis music scene, is going all-in on his second solo effort The River’s Invitation.  This incredible double LP ushers the listener along an amazing Memphis-music experience, incorporating the many styles and genres which have graced the Bluff City to produce a potent cocktail of delta blues, southern soul, psych-rock, southern boogie and gospel.  Recorded in Memphis with an ensemble of local talent, the album features singers Kennard Farmer, Candice Ivory, Yubu Kazungu, Lahna Deering and Chris Stephenson, with a top-notch cast of musicians consisting of guitarists Khari Wynn (also on bass guitar) and Rev. Neil Down, bassists Chiemi Fujio, Leroy Hodges (Hi Rhythm Section) , keyboardists Gerald Stephens and, Chris Stephenson, percussionists Michael Alan Todd and Melvin Turner, sitarist Richard Cushing, saxophonist Hope Clayburn, trombonist Victor Sawyer, trumpeters Shayla Shaw and Jared Dover, violinist Krista Lynne, cellist Jana Misener, and drummers Paul Taylor, Brian Wells, and Howard Grimes (Hi Rhythm Section).  Parker’s guitar style and mastery has garnered critical acclaim from Gary Clark, Luther Dickinson, Valerie June, and Tav Falco.   

 
Surfing atop a furious beat, “The Sound of Revolution” epically washes ashore on a wave of prog-rock spiked with a string section and hints of R.E.M..  Parker then takes us to church in the Mississippi delta for a swampy delivery of gospel standard “Jesus is on the Main Line”.  With vocals drenched in blues, he gives a breathtaking slide guitar performance.  “Indian Dream / 1 Way 2 Fly” is a most interesting display of musical duality as the selection abruptly transitions from a soft Indian-inspired instrumental into an explosion of power-punk-pop.  Complete with crunchy guitar, catchy hook, and a smoking bridge, it definitely rocks.  “More Than Love” is a brilliant nod to the legendary Stax catalog, boasting a funky groove, soulful vocals, and blasts of brass.  And I adore his cover of Al Green’s “I’m a Ram”.  It’s loaded to the brim in a groovy and funky stink.  Parker pays homage to the great Duane Allman on “Skydog”.  I love the Allman Brothers vibe he injects into it as he pours out this flawless performance.  The River’s Invitation comes to a magnificent end of its twenty-four track journey with a fistful of funk, Hendrix-y psych-blues guitar, and full-bodied organ with “And the Song Goes on Forever”.  It’s quite the amazing listen.       
 

---
 
 


 
About "I'm a Ram" 

Since reading Robert Gorden’s book It Came From Memphis and listening to the companion soundtracks, I’ve become obsessed with the song “I’m A Ram”.  Although originally recorded by Al Green, the version appearing on the soundtrack was performed by Memphis band Big Ass Truck.  After going through a rabbit hole of sorts, I had even created a Spotify playlist consisting of every version of “I’m a Ram” I could find.   Within a week, I received a CD for review from a blues-rock band called Head Honchos,  which also contained a cover of the song.  I took that a sign to take a closer look at that album.  It ended up being one of my favorite albums I had heard so far this year. 
 
When I noticed the song was listed on the track-list to this album, I took it as another sign,  I was hooked on this album from the beginning.  I’ll be keeping an eye out for Robert’s version of the song to show up on Spotify.  When it does, it will definitely be added to the playlist.
 
Link to the PhillyCheeze playlist -  I’m a Ram   
 
 
  
 ---

 
For more information about the artist, visit this website  : robertallenparker.com

Saturday, March 13, 2021

#490 : Damon Fowler - Alafia Moon

 


2021 – Landslide Records

Release Date: Mar. 26, 2021

By Phillip Smith; Mar. 13, 2021

 

I’ve been reviewing the music of Tampa, Florida musician Damon Fowler for almost eight years now.  Whether playing with his own band, or with Southern Hospitality, the supergroup he was in with J.P.Soars and Victor Wainwright, Fowler continues to be a magnificent force to be reckoned with.  His songs are compelling, his voice soulfully raspy, and his slide guitar is superb.  Alafia Moon, his eighth solo album was coproduced by Fowler and George Harris (Cheap Trick, Rick Derringer, Brian Johnson – AC/DC), and features Chuck Riley on bass, Justin Headley on drums, T.C. Carr on harmonica, Mike Kach on keys, backup vocalist Betty Fox, and Josh Nelms in charge of background noise.     

The record slides nicely into play with the swampy infectious goodness of “Leave It Alone”.  The groove quickly takes ahold of me.  The lush melody and beautiful arrangement on title-track “Alafia Moon” is a delight for the soul.  Notes from the organ seem to linger in mid-air, as the cymbals crash, with Fowler’s passion-soaked vocals ringing out atop his spectacular guitar performance.  I absolutely adore Fowler’s cover of Guy Clark’s fabulous story-telling song “The Guitar”.  It showcases his finger picking expertise very nicely.  “Some Things Change” is fantastic too.  With killer slide guitar from Fowler fueled by the smoldering sounds of harp, the song definitely cooks.  I dig the southern soul of “Wanda”.  Its Stax-meets-Fame vibe is dressed to the nines in a happy, funky groove.

The album closes with a joined-pair of tracks starting with “The Umbrella”, a spoken word selection of Fowler telling a story from his earlier days on tour.  His tale involves an encounter with a drunken fan in Prescott, Arizona, whose incessant request to hear the band play “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” leads to the final track on the album “Kick His Ass Out”.   

Constructed around the four musical corner stones of blues, country, rock, and soul, Alafia Moon sets a new benchmark for Damon Fowler.  It truly is an exceptional album.  

--- 

  

For more information about the artist, visit this website : https://www.damonfowler.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.


Saturday, March 6, 2021

#489 : The Rush Cleveland Trio - Vintage Folk Rock and Blue Ribbon Blues



2021 – Wild Midwest Records

By Phillip Smith; Mar. 6, 2021

 

There’s something fascinating about the songs of Rush Cleveland.  His lyrical prowess goes toe-to-toe with the best of the best.  His music flows like aged whisky right from the cask.  This Iowa treasure ranks right up there with other favorite artists of mine like Watermelon Slim and Lucinda Williams.  

The Rush Cleveland Trio is comprised of Rush Cleveland on vocals and guitar, Gordon Sankey on bass and vocals, and Will Quegg on drums, with guest vocalist Sophia Landis appearing on four tracks.  Their latest release Vintage Folk Rock and Blue Ribbon Blues is a stellar nineteen track album of hardscrabble folk rock songs and from-the-gut blues all written by Cleveland.

Cleveland opens the album in a rocking Neil Young fashion with “Waterloo Land” where a trip to jail always seems to be waiting just around the corner.  “River Flows”, another great rocker, reels me in with a killer riff, and a captivating beat.  Decorated with memories of being carefree and hanging out at the river, this is one of my favorite tracks.  It’s really touching to hear Rush’s personal reflections on “Jose’s Blues” a memorandum of his friend.  Pat Garret, Geronimo, and Billy the Kid vividly come to life in Cleveland’s western outlaw ballad “Rush Meets Billy the Kid”.   

“He Always Comes Home”, featuring Landis on vocals, initiates the second half of the album.  I love the Chrissie Hynde/Pretenders vibe which radiates from her voice on this song.  Paradigms associated with contemporary love songs are abruptly demolished in “Crack House Row”, while blues paradigms are solidly reinforced with “Liquor, Lines, and Loose Women”.  Chicago, where blues meets electricity, is the backdrop of “Blues Electricity.  Here we get a brief history lesson of the genre and a terrific dose of raw guitar blues.  The album comes to a close with a wonderful instrumental called “Blues in D”.  It’s a track that puts me quickly at ease with every listen.

Vintage Folk Rock and Blue Ribbon Blues is bold stew of folk, blues, country and rock and is a standout slice of Americana.  I highly recommend it.                      

---

   

For more information about the artist, visit their Facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/TheRushClevelandTrio

  

Take a listen to the album on Apple Music. 





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, February 26, 2021

#488 : Head Honchos - Blues Alliance



2020 – Grooveyard Records

By Phillip Smith; Feb. 26, 2021


Head Honchos, a heavy-duty blues-rock band from Indiana, grabbed my full attention from the git-go with their second album Blues Alliance.  This power-quartet, centered on dual guitars manned by lead vocalist Rocco Calipari Sr. and his son Rocco Calipari Jr. is definitely a band that deserves a hell of a lot of attention.  Comprising the rest of the band is bassist Mike Boyle and drummer Will Wyatt.  Eleven tracks in length, the album features nine outstanding originals and two stellar covers.

I love the dirty, greasy groove on “Mr. Bad”.  It sounds so damn good paired up with the ripping guitars from the Caliparis.  Raw and blood-thirsty vocals from Rocco Sr. take full command.  “She Got That Thing” is nearly six minutes of funky rockin’ bliss.  I have to give bonus points for solos from Wyatt on drums, and Boyle on bass.  Another song that digs right in is “Can’t Be Satisfied” with its fearless driving rhythm, pounding drums, and infectious riff.  Scooped up by the Chuck Berry influence on “Rock n’ Roll”, I grab on tight for the ride and enjoy this no-holds-barred rocker.

Their cover of “Evil”, written by Willie Dixon and originally recorded by Howlin’ Wolf is magnificent.  This performance is so reminiscent of classic Zeppelin.  A breakneck pulse, searing guitars, and fearless vocals make this the stand-out track.  The record closes with another fantastic cover.  Serendipitously, very shortly before I decided to review this album, I became enthralled with Big Ass Truck’s version of the Al Green song, “I’m A Ram”.  Then I discovered that song was covered by Head Honchos too.  Al Green made it soulful.  Big Ass Truck made it funky. Govt Mule made it somewhat reggae.  Now Head Honcho gives it a swampy makeover, with lots of slide and some juicy harp from Wyatt.

Blues Alliance is a record I very highly recommend.  It’s going down as one of my favorites of the year. 

---

  

  

For more information about the artist, visit this website : https://www.theheadhonchosband.com/home

 

 

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, February 20, 2021

#487 : John D'Amato - Blood on the Strings

 


Tru Blu Records

By Phillip Smith; Feb. 20, 2021

 

John D’Amato’s third and most recent album Blood on the Strings is a terrific follow-up to Born Blue: The Sun Sessions.  His guitar prowess shines brightly on this self-produced ten-track record of blues.  It’s surely no surprise this master of the guitar made the cut in 2009 for Guitar Player Magazine’s Editors Top 8.  His style is effortlessly clean with a retro sound.  Backing D’Amato in the studio for this album of all-original songs is his wife Lauren D’Amato on lead and background vocals, Carl Brenner on drums, Hottub Willie Scruggs on bass guitar (7 tracks), John Green on bass guitar (3 tracks), Dan Nadassi on keys (7 tracks), and Geno Haffner on keys (3 tracks).

John tears it up on guitar from the start on “Gal in Memphis”, a duet he sings with Lauren.  I really like the slow blues of “Rich Man” too.  It has a very nice Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits) style.  Title-track “Blood on the Strings” recollects John’s early days of learning guitar.  It’s packed with hot licks and a driving rhythm.  Even Jesus, with his humble beginning and violent end, gets the blues in “Walk on Water”.  A definite favorite and a very fitting song for the day “Walk Away” preaches that something has got to change.  It’s beautifully constructed and leaves the listener with a positive message.  The album ends with a rocker called “Rollin’” about a musician’s life on the road.  D’Amato laces this one with an infectious riff which quickly makes itself at home buried in my brain,

Blood on the Strings is a solid album with a kick-ass name.   It’s definitely worth the listen.

---

For more information about the artist, visit this website : https://johndamato.net/

 

 

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, February 13, 2021

#486 : Alastair Greene - The New World Blues

 


2020 – Whiskey Bayou Records

By Phillip Smith; Feb. 13, 2021


I’ve been a fan of Alastair Greene since reviewing his 2017 release Dream Train.  That album came to fruition soon after his lengthy gig of playing with Alan Parsons.  Hearing his latest album, The New World Blues, only made me more of a fan.  Greene is rocker rooted in blues, and a bluesman rooted in rock.  His songs are solid as hell, and his guitar prowess is absolutely stunning.  Tab Benoit, cofounder of Whiskey Bayou Records produced the album, and took on drums, with bass player Corey Duplechin rounding out this paramount power-trio. 

“Living Today” gets this eleven-track record off to a ripping start, with Greene reminding us to let our love shine through this world gone mad.  The song is quite powerful.  Benoit throws down a monster beat as Greene absolutely tears it up on guitar.  Greene pours a jug-full of delta grease into “Bayou Mile” a ballad of reflection. This one puts a smile on my face and makes me think of home.  Things heat up when Greene breaks out a big ol’ case of Texas-style blues on his instrumental “Back at the Poor House”.  This one evokes the fabulous sounds of Stevie Ray Vaughan.  Sitting atop a delicate framework, is this beautiful and melancholy song called “Heroes”.  It totally captivated me, both lyrically and musically.  When I heard the harmonized vocals, I was instantly reminded of one of my favorite bands in the nineties, The Meat Puppets.  The album comes to a walloping finish on title-track “The New World Blues” with Greene doling out heaping helpings of swampy electric slide.  It sounds so damn good. 

“The New World Blues” is definitely among the best albums I’ve heard this year.  It’s surely one blues-rock fans will want to grab.   

 ---

For more information about the artist, visit this website : https://agsongs.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, February 6, 2021

#485 : Vanessa Collier - Heart on the Line



2020 – Phenix Fire Records / Vanessa Collier

By Phillip Smith; Feb. 6, 2021

 

They say you got to strike while the iron is hot, and that is exactly what Vanessa Collier is doing.  As the recipient of the “Horn Player of the Year award for two years in a row at the Blues Music Awards in 2019 and 2020, this artist is surely setting herself up for a three-peat.  Collier brings an immense amount of talent to the studio for her fourth album Heart on the Line.  She’s truly at the top of her game both vocally and as a sax player.  Backing Collier on this eleven-track album is Laura Chavez on electric guitar, C.C. Ellis, Scott Sutherland (Mike Zito, Albert Castiglia), and Cornell Williams on bass, William Gorman on organ/piano, Quinn Carson on trombone, and Doug Woolverton on trumpet.

I absolutely love “Bloodhound”, Collier sings the song with a sweet Mississippi twang as Chavez pours gobs of swampy goodness all over her slide guitar.  Topped with horns and searing guitar, the rolling rhythm on “Take a Chance on Me” is funky and infectious.  Collier beautifully delivers another outstanding dose of original blues with her breathtaking voice and mastery of the saxophone on “Weep and Moan”,

Out of the eleven tracks, all are original with the exception of two covers.  The first being a groovy remake of James Brown’s “Super Bad”.  Slathered with heaping helpings of delicious sax, this one leads the album off in style.  The second is a fresh and hip take on Randy Neuman’s “Leave Your Hat On”.  Collier really gets down on this one.   It’s plumb terrific.

Heart on the Line is an album I would highly recommend.  It’s a superb recording.                

---

 

 

(note: In 2019, I had the pleasure of catching Laura Chavez perform with Nikki Hill as the Friday night headliner at the Prairie Dog Blues Festival in Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin.  The show was downright splendid.)   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information about the artist, visit this website : vanessacollier.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, January 30, 2021

#484 : Shakin' Woods - The Blues Groove Sessions #1



2020 – Shakin’ Woods

By Phillip Smith; Jan. 30, 2021


Hailing from the Washington DC metro area, Shakin’ Woods, is a blues-rock band drenched in funk and southern-soul.  This talented quartet was formed in 2019 and is comprised of singer/guitarist Rich Russman, keyboardist/guitarist Austin Day, bassist George Belton and drummer Paul Dudley.  The Blues Groove Sessions #1, a four-track EP, is the first of several EPs planned to be released by the band this year, with the next released titled The Blues Proper Sessions #2.

I love the funky bass groove running through ‘Like a Superman”, it tracks wonderfully with the disco-friendly pulse Dudley creates.  Russman delivers the goods with the finesse of Steely Dan, incorporating smooth vocals, and a standout guitar performance.  “The Place to Be” leaves me with a big grin on my face as the friendly Phish-like groove creeps over to a psychedelic Hendrix-influenced bridge, and then back again.  Then while on the subject of Phish, they fantastically cover Trey Anastasio’s “Cayman Review”.  The EP ends on a beautiful and melancholy note as Russman sings of intertwined souls in “Still Alive”.  I can feel the emotion pouring out of his guitar in lush and bountiful waves.

The Blues Groove Sessions #1 is absolutely marvelous.  I can’t wait to hear the follow-up EPs.

---

 

For more information about the artist, visit this website : shakinwoods.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, January 23, 2021

#483 : Ghalia Volt - One Woman Band

 


2021 – Ruf Records

Release Date – Jan. 27, 2021

By Phillip Smith; Jan. 23, 2021

 

I was first introduced to the talents of Belgian-born blues artist Ghalia Volt with the 2018 release of Let the Demons Out by Ghalia & Mama’s Boys.  For that recording, which I absolutely loved, Ghalia teamed up with New Orleans bluesman Johnny Mastro and Mama’s Boys.  This past March she started a new one-woman philosophy and took it Mississippi to test drive the new arrangement.  According to Ghalia, “I started playing on a real drum set, playing a kick, snare, and hi-hat plus a tambourine with my two feet, while playing slide/guitar and singing at the same time.”  So for this latest album One Woman Band she flies solo, recording all the instruments live at once and ditching the popular multi-track route.  The recording which took place at Royal Sound Studios in Memphis, Tennessee includes guest appearances from Dean Zucchero on bass, and Monster Mike Welch on guitar.   

Ghalia delivers “Last Minute Packer” with pure raw gusto and powerful, yet delicate vocals which sound fantastic.  Her slide guitar prowess certainly demands attention on “Espiritu Papago”.  Zucchero’s steady thumping bassline solidly holds the fort down, as Ghalia’s vocal and guitar performance reaches a somewhat hypnotic state.  “Can’t Escape” chugs along like a locomotive, and is slathered with gobs of swampy slide.  It takes me right to the heart of the Mississippi Delta.  She keeps that deep blues rolling on breakup song “Reap What You Sew”.  It’s such a treat to hear her play.  “Bad Apple” is undoubtedly a strong selection too.  This original song is absolutely stellar.  Ghalia tackles Tampa Red’s “It Hurts Me Too” with feeling and finesse, as she pours herself into the performance. 

It’s obvious Ghalia Volt has spent a lot of time in the Mississippi Delta, soaking up as much of its spirit as she possibly can.  That’s certainly evident on One Woman Band.   Magnificent and timeless, this album is one hundred percent pure blues.     

---

   

 

 

Link to the PhillyCheeze review for Ghalia and Mama’s Boys Let the Demons Out

https://phillycheezeblues.blogspot.com/2018/01/312-ghalia-mamas-boys-let-demons-out.html 

 

For more information about the artist, visit this website : ghaliavolt.com

Take a listen to the album on Apple Music, and if you decide to purchase it, use my special link. 



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