Saturday, September 18, 2021

#518 : Tony Holiday's Porch Sessions - Volume 2

 


2021 – Blue Heart Records

By Phillip Smith; Sep. 18, 2021

 

I’m so excited to see Tony Holiday continue his Porch Sessions project.  I loved the first installment and was very happy when I learned there would be a follow up.  Recorded in various locations which include Memphis TN, Bristol VA, Fort Collins CO, Clarksdale MS, Anaheim CA, San Jose CA, and Jackson TN, it’s quite the pleasure to hear the results of Holiday’s ‘raw with no overdubs’ approach.  It’s very reminiscent of the early twentieth century Lomax field recordings which captured those early blues artists we came to know and adore.  Dedicated to Holiday’s friend and mentor the great James Harman who passed earlier this year, this sixteen-track collection features an all-star lineup of blues artists: Victor Wainwright, Willie Buck, A.J. Fullerton, Bobby Rush, Watermelon Slim, James Harman, Jon Lawton, Lurrie Bell, Richard “Rip Lee” Pryor, Johnny Burgin, Rae Gordon, Ben Rice, Mark Hummel & Dennis Gruenling, J/D. Taylor, Southern Avenue, Kim Wilson, Kid Ramos, and Kid Andersen.

Porch Sessions Volume 2 hits the ground swinging with Victor Wainwright pounding the keys and singing Jerry McCain’s “She’s Tuff”.  It’s great to hear Wainwright and Holiday jam together on piano and harmonica while bassist Terrance Greyson and drummer Andrew McNeil makes for a tight-as-hell rhythm section.  “Change is Inevitable” is a poignant and wonderfully delivered song, with A.J. Fullerton on vocals/guitar and Jake Friel on harmonica.  It’s always a pleasure to hear Watermelon Slim, and his cover of “Smokestack Lightning” is a delight.  He masterfully makes this a creation of his own.  “Going to Court 2”, with James Harmon on vocals, Kid Ramos and Landon Stone on guitars, and Tony Holiday on harp, is so good, it pretty much transports me right to the scene with every listen.  Jon Lawton (vocals/guitar) and Andrew Ali (harmonica) deliver an exquisite dose of stripped-down Delta Blues with Lawton’s original piece “Go”.  This one really makes me think of RL Burnside.  I dig the twangy groove Johnny Burgin pours on top of “Bad Bad Girl”.  Backed by Holiday on harp, Landon Stone on guitar and Kid Andersen on bass, this Burgin original is a lot of fun.  Rae Gordon’s voice is such a dynamic one and sounds so good as she belts out “Find Me When the Sun Goes Down”.  I’m also quite drawn to J.D. Taylor’s “Family Tree”.  When I hear him sing “I ain’t got nobody ‘round.  I ain’t got no family tree”, I hear the blues in its purest form.  When Southern Avenue performs their amazing stripped-down version of “Peace Will Come”, I can’t help but smile.  It’s such a good song.  I remember when they originally released it on their first album, just hearing it made things a little bit better with its positive message in a world of conflict.

Tony Holiday’s Porch Sessions Volume 2 is a very enjoyable listen.  I’m already looking forward to Volume 3. 

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  For more information about Tony Holiday, visit this website : https://tonyholidaymusic.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, September 11, 2021

#517 : Tom Craig - Good Man Gone Bad



2021 – 8th Train Records

By Phillip Smith; Sep. 11, 2021

 

In the making of Good Man Gone Bad, Tom Craig states his goal for the album was to make it 100% blues.  He definitely succeeded.  This collection of thirteen all-original songs was recorded at Buckeye Recording in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and produced by harp-master Mikey Junior.  It has a natural flow from beginning to end, giving the listener an enhanced album-oriented experience.  With Craig on guitar and vocals, his band is comprised of Dave Gross on bass guitar, Vin Mott on drums, Eric Johnson on Hammond organ and Mikey Junior on harmonica.   

The record opens with Craig’s blue-collar, working-class love song called “Working Too Hard”.  This infectious track is loaded with hot guitar licks and Junior’s blistering harp playing.  It’s a terrific song.  It rolls quite nicely right into “What a Man’s Gotta Do”, which wins me over with its cool beatnik rhythm and twangy guitar tone.  Craig’s vocals are velvety smooth as he sings “It’s All My Fault”.  This slow, bluesy ballad is perfectly crafted from beginning to end.  It’s a genuine blast to rock out to “Sheepdog”.  I enjoy the Z.Z. Top Texas-blues vibe.  Craig lays the facts on the line in “When You Love a Blues Man” as he masterfully serves up another delicious platter of smoldering blues.  The funky groove woven through “Headhunter” is absolutely fabulous.  It lures me in like a moth to a flame.  A tantalizing concoction of funk, soul, and blues is crafted into the framework of “I Like Soul in My Blues”.  Sung with a polished voice and topped with horns, it’s positively a delightful listen.

I’ve been a fan of Tom Craig’s since reviewing his 2017 album Get Ready For Me.  His talent runs deep, as does my appreciation for his music.  Good Man Gone Bad is a gem of an album.  Blues fans will surely want to hear this one.     

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


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


Monday, September 6, 2021

#516 : Bowlful of Blues Festival – Sep. 5, 2021



The Fred Maytag Bowl

Maytag Park

Newton, Iowa

 All Photos by Phillip Smith; Sep. 5, 2021

 

Sunshine and a toasty temperature of 85 degrees made for a pleasant day of relaxing and enjoying some blues music in Newton, Iowa.  Bowlful of Blues Festival, presented by the South Skunk Blues Society, is one of my favorites.  The lineup this year consisted of Kevin Burt & Big Medicine, Avey Grouws Band, Terry Quiett Band, Paul Nelson, and Anthony Gomes.  Between sets, music was performed by the James Longerbone Band.  Unfortunately, I missed out on Kevin Burt and Avey Grouws Band, as I arrived just in time to hear the last half of Terry Quiett’s impressive set.

Having reviewed Paul Nelson’s 2016 Badass Generation album, I was excited to see him perform.  He’s such a powerhouse on guitar.  On lead vocals and harp was Rico Amero whose energy runs high, and keeps the party going.  I can't wait to see them again.  That was a really damn good show.  The main attraction was headliner Anthony Gomes.  I first saw him open for BB King several years ago, and have been a fan ever since.   He’s got the voice, the mastery of guitar, and the ability to work a crowd.  It was fantastic!

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·         All photos by Phillip Smith


James Longerbone Band



Terry Quiett Band







 

Paul Nelson Band













Anthony Gomes

















Saturday, September 4, 2021

#515 : Seth Lee Jones - Flathead

 


2021 – Horton Records

By Phillip Smith; Sep. 4, 2021

 

Years of playing weekly gigs at The Colony in Tulsa, Oklahoma has most definitely awarded a solid cohesiveness to the sound of Seth Jones and his bandmates Bo Hallford (bass guitar), and Matt Teegarden (drums).  Recording straight-to-tape in under seven and a half hours with no overdubs, Jones and his band forged an extraordinary nine-track album of fire-roasted blues-rock.  Its name is Flathead. 

For starters, Jones busts out with his own open-tuning version of Muddy Waters’ ”I Can’t Be Satisfied”.  I love hearing the licks this luthier and third-generation guitarist tosses into the song.  “It Was Raining” is absolutely beautiful.  This is pure blues served up Texas-style and slow-cooked to perfection.  I can’t help but hear a little Stevie Ray Vaughan on the intro of their cover of Howlin Wolf’s “You Gonna Wreck My Life”, and that’s just one of the reasons I like it.  Jones’ redux of this classic is a quite powerful one, complete with blues-soaked vocals and an attention-grabbing guitar performance.  The slide guitar on “Tulsa Time” is plumb terrific too.  A number one hit on the country charts for Don Williams in 1978, and covered by Eric Clapton the same year, this song is timeless classic.  Flathead wraps up with a head-turning performance of Ray Charles’ “Mary Ann” with guest guitarist Mike Satawake.  This infectious, melodious song takes a short detour off the main road so Jones can let loose on guitar, and it sounds wonderful.

Flathead is surely one of those records every blues-rock fan will want in their collection.  It’s that damn good.

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Official video for “Tulsa Time”




For more information about the artist, visit this website : https://sethleejones.com/

 

 

Available on Bandcamp

 

 

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