Showing posts with label Ruf Records. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ruf Records. Show all posts

Saturday, March 28, 2020

#438 : Ryan Perry - High Risk, Low Reward




2020 – Ruf Records
By Phillip Smith; March 28, 2020

In 2007, Ryan Perry was only thirteen years old when Homemade Jamz Blues Band placed second at the 23rd International Blues Challenge in Memphis.  With four albums already under his belt as frontman for this Tupelo, Mississippi-based sibling trio with brother Kyle and sister Taya, Ryan ventured a new direction to record this debut album as a solo artist.  For High Risk, Low Reward, Perry noted that he originally wanted to keep the Jamz vibes going, but discovered along the process of writing, his musical tastes had changed.  “The new generation of the blues is here now, and it’s here to stay…”, says Perry.  This new album contains eleven extraordinary tracks, and features Roger Inniss on bass, Lucy Piper on drums, along with backing vocalists Jeffrey Staten and Stefanie Bechtold.

Perry cracks the album open with “Ain’t Afraid to Eat Alone”, a track offering a healthy dose of attention-grabbing guitar and creamy vocals.  From the first listen, I’m instantly reminded of the remarkable music of Robert Cray.  I find myself going back for extra helpings of title-track, “High Risk, Low Reward”.  Perry delivers it in that delectable North Mississippi swamp style, which I adore so much.  His cover of Willie Dixon’s “Evil is Going On” is riveting and magnificent.  His guitar prowess shines brightly as his voice delightfully growls.  The album closes with an amazing delta-blues original “Hard Times”.  I absolutely love it. 

Perry keeps one foot in Mississippi as his other seeks new ground, creating a fresh blend of blues.  Mississippi High Risk, Low Reward is a terrific album every blues fan should give a listen to. 

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·      *   Note : Ryan Perry will be joining Jeremiah Johnson and Whitney Shay for Ruf Records Blues Caravan 2020.           



For more information about the artist, visit this website:  www.ryanperryband.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 18, 2020

#428 : Thorbjørn Risager - Come On In




2020 – Ruf Records 

By Phillip Smith; Jan.18, 2020

I’ve been a big fan of Thorbjørn Risager since reviewing his Too Many Roads album in 2014.  This eight-piece band from Denmark has been playing together for seventeen years, and continually raise the mark with every release.  Rooted in blues, and infused with elements of jazz, swing, gospel, and rock, Risager’s music is some of the best recorded today.  Their new album Come On In is absolutely stunning.  Backing Risager while he takes lead on guitar and vocals, is Emil Balsgaard on piano/keys, Joachim Svensmark on guitar, Kasper Wagner on assorted saxophones, Hans Nybo on tenor sax, Peter W. Kehl on trumpet/flugelhorn/trombone/sousaphone, Søren Bøjgaard on bass/moog/synthesizer, and Martin Seidelin on drums/percussion. 

Title track “Come on In” rolls out with a fetching pulse from Seidelin while Risager lures me in with his cool-as-hell voice and etheric guitar licks.  I love the slide on “Last Train”.  This fabulous, hard-driving blues tune is marvelously infectious.  “Two Lovers” is beautifully written and performed.  Risager constructs a dreamy and hypnotic atmosphere in “On and On”.   There’s a deep soulful energy about this one, that draws me right in.  With the dials set at eleven, they tackle “Love So Fine” with searing guitar, pounding keys, and a backline of brass.  This powerful jam is a great one to rock out to. 

Thørbjorn Risager and the Black Tornado have unquestionably won me over yet again with Come On In.  It is such a splendid album to usher in the new year.           

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For more information about the artist, visit this website https://risager.info     




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.      

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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.



Tuesday, June 11, 2019

#395 : Big Daddy Wilson - Deep in My Soul




2019 – Ruf Records



By Phillip Smith; June 11, 2019



Deep in My Soul, the latest album from the Big Daddy Wilson, is a magnificent platter of soulful blues.  This North Carolina born bluesman who now calls Northern Germany his home, trekked back to the U.S. to begin working with Grammy-winning producer Jim Gaines.  Recording began at GainesBessie Blue Studio in Stantonville, Tennessee, and wrapped up at the legendary FAME studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.  With Laura Chavez onboard playing guitar, Wilson’s killer rhythm section is comprised of Memphians Dave Smith on bass, and Steve Potts on drums.

With a soulful Memphis Stax vibe, the album begins with “I Know”.  Chavez immerses herself into Steve Cropper-mode and the rest of the band follows suit.  With additional accompaniment from Brad Guin and Ken Waters, aka The Alabama Horns, the stage is perfectly set for Wilson’s deep, engaging vocals.  “Tripping On You” is another terrific track saturated in the funky, soulful sound of Stax.  It is purely delightful.  The inescapable hook of “Ain’t Got No Money” keeps me on the line while I gush over the slide guitar.  I absolutely love the funky riffs, soul-wrenching vocals, and an infectious groove on title track “Deep in My Soul”.  Ominous and seductive, “Voodoo” is one cool-as-hell blues-soaked track.  It’s as if it were pulled right out of a Mississippi swamp.

This album from Big Daddy Wilson scores high on all levels, and I highly recommend it.        


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For more information about the artist, visit this website: https://www.bigdaddywilson.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, March 30, 2019

#384 : The BB King Blues Band - The Soul of the King




2019 – Ruf Records
Release Date: May 10, 2019

By Phillip Smith; March 30, 2019

Even though B.B. King has been gone for four years now, his spirit and legacy lives on.  His band of over 35 years The BB King Blues Band, with the support of several guest artists have created a wonderful blues album The Soul of the King.  The band is comprised of lead vocalist/bassist Russell Jackson, guitarist Wilbert Crosby, drummers Brandon Jackson and Herman Jackson, trumpeters James Boogaloo Bolden and Lamar Boulet, lead saxophonist Eric Demmer, saxophonist Walter King, keyboardist Darrell Lavigne, and trombonist Raymond Harris.

The energy of the big band is exquisitely captured on “Irene Irene”, an original tune featuring the great Kenny Wayne Shepherd on guitar.  This smoking blues track is heavily steeped in the B.B. King sound.  Hearing Mary Griffin and Taj Mahal pair up for a duet on “Paying the Cost to be the Boss” is indeed a special treat.  Joe Louis Walker makes an appearance to perform his song “Regal Blues (A Tribute to the King)”, making sure to throw in a sweet guitar solo.  For the grand finale, the band delivers B.B.’s signature song “The Thrill is Gone” with Michael Lee on lead vocals.  Lee, from Season 15 of The Voice, absolutely does this one right.  Other special guests on the album include, Kenny Neal, Diunna Greenleaf, and John Del Toro Richardson. 

Soul of the King is an absolute gem and I highly recommend it for all blues fans.  


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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


Sunday, July 29, 2018

#344 : Vanja Sky - Bad Penny



2018 – Ruf Records
Release Date: Aug. 17, 2018


By Phillip Smith; July 28, 2018


Vanja Sky, one of the newest blues artists to join the Ruf Records family, takes no prisoners with her brand new album Bad Penny.  It was just five years ago, this former pastry chef from Croatia picked up a guitar, and in the moment, she knew that being a musician was her destiny.  Within two years, she was in a band touring Croatia, Slovenia, and Germany.

Recorded at Bessie Blue Studios in Statonville, Tennessee, and Studio Erde in Berlin, Germany, Bad Penny features Mike Zito on rhythm guitar, Terry Dry and Dave Smith on bass guitar, Matthew Johnson and Yonrico Scott on drums, and Lewis Stephens on piano/organ.  She also enlists the legendary Jim Gaines (Stevie Ray Vaughan, Santana, Steve Miller, Miles Davis) to take on the tasks of engineering in Tennessee, along with Tobias Noethen who engineered the tracks recorded in Germany. 

Vanja rocks out on a killer cover of Rory Gallagher’s “Bad Penny” for the title track.  Her voice is strong and fearless.  Her guitar licks are terrific.  I get totally swept up in Zito’s outrageously infectious riffs.  The blues are smokin’ with lots of great slide on “Low Down and Dirty”, which includes Bernard Allison alongside Vanja and Zito.  It’s downright bodacious.  

Shining brightly as a songwriter as well, Vanja penned ten of the dozen tracks on the record.  Tender and poignant “Inside Pain” seems to float in mid-air in a beautiful performance.  She totally rips it up on “Give Me Back My Soul”, a Texas style blues rocker with a theme most familiar to blues enthusiasts. It’s a favorite indeed.  Like a Lucinda Williams tune, “Crossroads of Life” digs its fingernails in deep and packs a wallop of that great swampy sound of country blues. It’s brilliant.

Searing guitar licks along with Vanja’s amazing vocal stylings make Bad Penny one hot album, enjoyed start to finish with every listen.  Vanja is currently touring with Mike Zito and Bernard Allison on the Ruf Records Blues Caravan.  This is one show I don’t want to miss.      

 
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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.     





Saturday, March 3, 2018

#322 : Victor Wainwright and the Train - (self-titled)



2018 – Ruf Records

By Phillip Smith; March 2, 2018


Victor Wainwright, one of my favorite keyboardists playing the Blues today, has released a spectacular new album with his new backing band, The Train.  Making up The Train is drummer Billy Dean, bassist Terrence Grayson, and guitarist Pat Harrington. This album features a dozen original songs from Wainwright which ranges from barrelhouse blues to boogie-woogie.  No matter what he’s playing, it’s performed with precision and soul. 

Wainwright’s lush keys and ominous lyrics stand tall on “Wilshire Grave” as it sinks its claws in.  A seductive hook, the growling trumpet of Doug Woolverton, and the backing vocals of Reba Russell make this song the embodiment of cool.  With a bluesy Randy Newman vibe, “Dull Your Shine” emits a message of positivity as it reinforces the characteristic of individuality.  There hasn’t been a better song about debt collection than “Money”.  Wainwright’s piano prowess is quite amazing and Harrington’s guitar performance is terrific.  “Thank You Lucille” is a wonderful homage to the great B.B. King.  In a fitting tribute, guitarist Monster Mike Welch seemingly channels the man himself.  A slow-burn start on “Sunshine” breaks into a rejoicing Phish-phriendly jam with tiny nods to the great Frank Zappa.  Harrington’s smokin’ guitar performance coupled with Billy Dean’s amazing drum fills put a gigantic smile on my face.

Victor Wainwright and the Train is one stellar record, and certainly deserves to be heard.
   
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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.     






Also reviewed on Phillycheeze’s Rock & Blues Reviews

Click below to read PhillyCheeze's review of  :Victor Wainwright and the WildRoots – Boom Town