Showing posts with label Mike Zito. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mike Zito. Show all posts

Saturday, May 16, 2020

#445 : Albert Castiglia - Wild and Free



2020 – Gulf Coast Records 

By Phillip Smith; May 16, 2020

Albert Castiglia’s prowess as a guitarist never ceases to amaze me.  He is one of my go-to artists when I really want to hear my blues sizzle.  His latest album Wild and Free definitely cooks.  Produced by Mike Zito and recorded live on January 3rd and 4th, 2020 at the Funky Biscuit in Boca Raton, Florida, this recording features guests John Ginty, and Lewis Stephens with Zito himself making an appearance.  Castiglia’s rhythm section is comprised of bassist Justine Tompkins, and drummer Ephraim Lowell.  They sound great, and they’re tight as hell.    

Castiglia kickstarts the album with a furious, intense rush by leading off with “Let the Big Dog Eat”.  Stephens adds a delightful taste of soul on B3, while the others keep it funky.  The momentum continues to build with “Hoodoo on Me”.  Castiglia’s fearless, blues-soaked vocals are perfectly fit for his attention-grabbing guitar licks.  Then “Heavy” gently rolls in on this big mellow wave.  This beautifully written and executed song about life itself is one of my absolute favorites.  I also adore their eight and half minute colossal jam on Paul Butterfield’s “Lovin’ Cup” with Ginty on B3.  I can’t help but smile when Castiglia and the guys dive in to Johnny Winter’s “Too Much Seconal” with both Ginty and Zito stepping in for some old school blues.  This is what it’s all about.  “Boogie Funk”, another bodacious eight and half minute jam, brings things to a lively close with a riveting performance and plenty of searing guitar action. 

To fill the void in these times in which live music is not available, Albert Castiglia’s Wild and Free is exactly what I need to hear.              
 ---

For more information about the artist, visit this website.. www.albertcastiglia.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, May 2, 2020

#443 : Tyler Morris - Living in the Shadows


2020 – Vizztone

By Phillip Smith; May 2, 2020

I’ve been a fan of Tyler Morris since reviewing his 2018 album Next in Line.   He continues to push the envelope when it comes to mastery of guitar, and his latest release Living in the Shadows is testament to that fact.  Backing Morris on this album is bassist Terry Dry, drummer Matthew Robert Johnson, and Lewis Stephens on Hammond B3 and Wurlitzer piano.  Produced by Mike Zito, this fourth release from Morris also features a remarkable guest list comprised of Ronnie Earl, Joe Louis Walker, and Amanda Fish.  

Morris pours out some magnificent blues with a terrific cover of Don Nix’s “Everybody Wants to go to Heaven”.  Zito and Walker both take the mike on “Polk Salad Annie” while Stephens lays down the rich sounds of B3.  Morris absolutely sizzles on guitar.  The notes weightlessly float through the air with “Temptation”, a beautifully executed original.  Amanda Fish, whose music I adore, is guest singer on “Better Than You”.  This riveting Suzi Quatro-esque blues-rocker was penned by Zito and co-founder of Gulf Coast Records, Guy Hale.   With “Young Man Blues”, Morris pays homage to the artists and musicians who gave him inspiration over the years.  Ronnie Earl provides additional guitar on the song, and it sounds great.  Morris infuses a tremendously infectious riff fortified with stellar licks on “Taken From Me”.  This one has a way of coaxing me to turn the volume up.  The record ends with the heavy, rocking blues of “I’m on to You”, another smokin’ original.  Hearing him rip it up on guitar is a sheer delight.

Living in the Shadows is a rock-solid album loaded with blazing guitar performances.  Morris’ playing is downright amazing. Thanks to younger blues artists like him, the Blues will be around for quite a while longer.


---          




For more information about the artist, visit this website :  http://www.tylerdmorris.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 4, 2020

#425 : Joanna Connor - Rise



2019 – M.C. Records
By Phillip Smith; Jan. 4, 2020

For over thirty-five years, Joanna Connor has been wooing blues fanatics in the Windy City.  Rise represents her thirteenth album, and third for M.C. Records.  After spotlighting her 2016 release Six String Stories on my blog and being gobsmacked while watching her perform at the 2017 Czech Village Blues festival in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, it’s a great pleasure to hear new music from this fabulous musician.  Connor, on guitars and vocals, is backed by bassist Joewaun Jay Red Scott, drummers Cameron Lewis and Tyrone “TY Drums” Mitchell, Delby Littlejohn on keys and Ryan Shea on sax.

Joined by Keithen Banks on vocals and rapper Alphonso Buggz Dinero, Connor starts the record off with a delightful dose of funk-filled R&B in “Flip”.  This is where all the fun begins.  Then, with guitar in hand, Mike Zito steps in on “Bad Hand”.  This uplifting track is accented quite nicely with a beautiful keyboard performance from Littlejohn.  Lewis tears it up on the jazz instrumental “Joanna in A”.  This is one hip track that feeds the spirit.  Another great instrumental is the cover of Sly Stone’s “If You Want Me to Stay”.  I dig it when Scott pours the funk on the bass.  Listening to Connor play “My Irish Father” is an absolutely astonishing experience.  She truly is a master.  

Connor’s blend of funk and blues goes right for the jugular in “Mutha” with fierce, mind-blowing guitar licks and vocal backing from Dinero.  The album comes to a climatic end with “Dear America”, a heavy Led Zeppelin-based blend of “When the Levee Breaks” topped with Dinero’s spoken-word state-of-the-world message.

Rise elevates Joanna Connor to a brand-new level.  I highly recommend this one.   

---


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

PhillyCheeze’s Review of Joanna Connor’s Six String Stories : https://phillycheezeblues.blogspot.com/2017/08/joanna-connor-six-string-stories.html

PhillyCheeze’s Photo coverage of 2017 Czech Village Blues festival, featuring headliner Joanna Connor : https://phillycheezeblues.blogspot.com/2017/08/czech-village-blues-festival-aug-12-2017.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.




Friday, November 22, 2019

#418 : Mike Zito and Friends - Rock ‘n’ Roll : A Tribute to Chuck Berry




2019 – Ruf Records
By Phillip Smith; Nov. 22, 2019

This latest release from bluesman Mike Zito is a mighty stellar tribute to the legendary ‘Father of Rock and Roll’ Chuck Berry.  Being that both Zito and Berry are from St. Louis, Missouri, makes this a very personal project.  Zito, backed by his band, bassist Terry Dry, drummer Matthew Johnson, and pianist/organist Lewis Stephens incorporates a smashing guest list on this twenty track album, which includes some of my favorites: Joanna Conner, Walter Trout, Joe Bonamassa, Eric Gales, Luther Dickenson, Sonny Landreth, Tinsley Ellis,Tommy Castro, Albert Castiglia, and Kid Anderson.

The album begins with one of the first songs I learned to play on organ, William C. Handy’s “St. Louis Blues”.  This song which I hold close to my heart features Chuck Berry Jr.  It’s such a rocking version of the song, and ushers the album in quite nicely.  I love the cover of “Rock & Roll Music” with Joanna Connor.  She’s such a powerhouse of a guitarist, and brings a lot to the table on this one.  Walter Trout shines as he always does on “Johnny B Goode”.  Damn, this one rocks!  Robben Ford steps in to record a fantastic remake of  “You Never Can Tell”.  This one will always remind me of my favorite film, Pulp Fiction.  The legendary Eric Gales punches up another favorite “Back in the USA” with a huge dose of his ripping guitar-work.  I always appreciate what Luther Dickinson is involved in, and “Too Much Monkey Business” is no exception.  I love “No Particular Place to Go” with Jerimiah Johnson.  This one really resonates.  Sonny Landreth brings a certain smoothness to “Havana Moon”.  I could listen to this one all day long.  

Being a huge fan of Chuck Berry and Mike Zito, this album has such a hold on me.  It’s downright spectacular.


---


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









Track Listings


Disc: 1


  1. St - Louis Blues Charlie Berry III

  2. Rock N Roll Music - Joanna Connor

  3. Johnny B - Goode - Walter Trout

  4. Wee Wee Hours - Joe Bonamassa

  5. Memphis - Anders Osborne

  6. I Want to Be Your Driver Ryan Perry

  7. You Never Can Tell - Robben Ford

  8. Back in the USA - Eric Gales

  9. No Particular Place to Go - Jeremiah Johnson

  10. Too Much Monkey Business - Luther Dickinson

  11. Havana Moon - Sonny Landreth

  12. Promised Land - Tinsley Ellis

  13. Downbound Train - Alex Skolnick

  14. Maybelline - Richard Fortus

  15. School Days - Ally Venable

  16. Brown Eyed Handsome Man - Josh Smith/Kirk Fletcher

  17. Reeling and Rocking - Tommy Castro

  18. Let It Rock - Jimmy Vivino

  19. Thirty Days - Albert Castiglia

  20. My Ding a Ling - Kid Andersen


Saturday, October 12, 2019

#412 : Odds Lane - Lost & Found




2019 – Gulf Coast Records

By Phillip Smith; Oct. 12, 2019

Odds Lane, the St. Louis blue-rocking duo on Mike Zito’s new label, Gulf Coast Records, has surely caught my attention with their new album Lost & Found.  Formed nearly sixteen years ago by multi-instrumentalist Doug Byrkit and drummer/percussionist Brian Zielie, this song-writing duo has been friends since 8th grade.  Lost & Found is inspired by their work with Zito on his Blue Room album, which is now celebrating its 20th anniversary with a remastered release on Ruf Records.

The driving pulse of “Blood on the Van” sinks its claws in fast, and holds steady while greeting the listener with a great big dose of rockin’ blues.  I love the gritty rhythm and the enormous punk beat which frames “Don’t Give it Away”.  “Moth to a Flame” reaches into the territory of Southern Rock, and is quite reminiscent of the Muscle Shoals sound.  The slide guitar on this sounds great, and the song has a playful-energetic groove.  Another favorite, “White Castle Blues”, is a searing tribute to those wonderful, little, square burgers I have been known to trek out of my way score a sackful.  Afterall, “The crave is a powerful thing”, and so is this album.             
---


For more information about the artist, visit their website:  oddslane.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, July 12, 2019

#400 : Ruf Records - 25 Years Anniversary




2019 - Ruf Records  
by Phillip Smith; July 12, 2019

To commemorate the 400th PhillyCheeze’s Rock & Blues Review, I want to shine some light on the special 25 Years Anniversary disc from Ruf Records.  This is one hell of a collection.  This edition contains both a 14 track CD, and a 12 video, 62-minute DVD .  The CD features a ton of music from Ruf’s most recent releases, while the DVD delightfully spans their entire era, going back to the Luther Allison days.  

After seeing Ruf’s Blues Caravan last year in 2018, I was happy to see the disc containing songs by Ally Venerable, Mike Zito, and Bernard Allison who all shared the stage at the 2nd annual Czech Village Blues festival, here in Cedar Rapids, Iowa last August.  Ally rips it up on guitar and belts out the title track to her latest album, “Texas Honey”.  Zito’s song is also the title track for his latest, “First Class Life”.  I love the slide guitar on this one.  The swampy, funky goodness of Bernard’s “Backdoor Man” is so enjoyable.  Vanja Sky, who played on the European legs of the caravan, gives us the smokin’ blues in “Hard Working Woman”.   

Ruf also includes the sultry “Chills and Fever” from the wonderful Samantha Fish, and  Ina Forsman’s exquisitely danceable ’ “Get Mine”.  For the classic blues-head, there is “Low Down“ from The B.B. King Blues Band, and hardcore soul music fans will surely dig “Deep in my Soul” from Big Daddy Wilson.  Also nice to hear, is my favorite Savoy Brown song from the past few years, “Why Did You Hoodoo Me”.  It definitely cuts to the bone.    

The DVD begins with a spectacular performance of Denmark’s Thorbjørn Risager & The Black Tornado fabulously performing “If You Wanna Leave”.  It’s so cool to see Mike Zito, Devon Allman and Cyril Neville jam together on “Moonlight Over the Mississippi”.  Oli Brown’s driving blues-rock anthem “Here I Am” is captivating.  From the 2019 Blues Caravan, there’s a terrific video of Katarina Pejak, Ina Forsman and Ally Venable covering the classic Stevie Ray Vaughan song “If the House is Rocking”, and they sound great.  For a wonderful song to close with, Luther Allison soulfully sings “Living in The House of Blues”.

Ruf Records 25 Years Anniversary should be in the collection of every blues fan.  It is a powerhouse of a retrospective.      

---


For more information about the artist, visit this website.. www.rufrecords.de  


Associated PhillyCheeze Reviews include:




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, August 12, 2018

#347 : Czech Village Blues - Aug 11, 2018 featuring Ruf Record's Blues Caravan




Czech Village
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 

All photos by Phillip Smith; Aug. 11, 2018


I am so thrilled and amazed to see how Czech Village Blues festival in Cedar Rapids has expanded and grown in just its second year.  Again, the Linn County Blues Society has joined together with the Friends of Czech Village to keep this wonderful blues event going.   It was incredible to see the musical talent and dedication to the blues presented on the Youth Stage by Kristopher Bries, Anderson Coates, Miles Damaso, and Matthew Burger.  Accompanied by Iowa Blues Hall of Fame inductees, Tom 'T-Bone' Giblin on keys, and Dan 'DJ' Johnson on bass guitar, they were quite impressive, and did a fantastic job to kick start this years festival which featured Tim@theTrutones , Shane Johnson's Blue Train, and Ruf Records' Blues Caravan presenting Bernard Allison, Mike Zito, and Ally Venable.


Youth Stage 




Tim&theTruTones

Corey Clark & Tim Wagoner

Paul Ferguson

Corey Clark

Tim Wagoner




Scott Sanborn


Scott Sanborn


Bob Deforest

Bob Deforest


Shane Johnson's Blue Train

Shane Johnson's Blue Train

Shane Johnson / John Resch

John Resch

Shane Johnson
Christopher Ryan
John Resch




Ruf Records' Blues Caravan 

Ally Venable

Bobby Wallace

Ally Venable

Elijah Owings

Ally Venable Band

Ally Venable

Ally Venable / Elijah Owings

Mike Zito


Bernard Allison

Bernard Allison / Mike Zito 

Bernard Allison / Mike Zito

Bernard Allison

Mike Zito

Mike Zito


Mike Zito

Mike Zito

Bernard Allison / Mike Zito

Mario Dawson

Bernard Allison

Bernard , Ally, and Mike

Bernard, Ally and Mike

Bernard, Ally and Mike


* all photos by Phillip Smith (2018)


Check out the PhillyCheeze review for Bernard Allison's Let It Go :

Check out the PhillyCheeze review for Mike Zito's Greyhound 
(originally published for Blues Review Magazine on BluesRevue.com :

Check out the PhillyCheeze review for Mike Zito and the Wheel's Songs From the Road 

Check out the PhillyCheeze review for Mike Zito and the Wheel's Keep Coming Back