Showing posts sorted by relevance for query eliza neals. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query eliza neals. Sort by date Show all posts

Saturday, April 9, 2022 #550 > Eliza Neals - Badder to the Bone


2022 – E-H Records

By Phillip Smith; April 9, 2022 

Original source :


Eliza Neals is an artist who consistently delivers album after album of solidly-written, exquisitely performed blues-rock.  Badder to the Bone marks my fourth album from Neals which I have made a point to review, and the title is very much on the mark.  She is a total badass in the music world, and this album is indeed badder to the bone.  With Neals on lead vocals, piano, and B3, the other musicians on this record are Lance Lopez ( SuperSonic Blues Machine, Lucky Peterson) and Billy ‘JC’ Davis (Hank Ballard & the Midnighters, Jimi Hendrix) on guitar, Peter Keys (Lynyrd Skynyrd) on B3+200A, Jason Kott ( Robert Randolph) and Paul Randolph ( Alice Cooper, Mudpuppy) on bass, Tim Grogan, Skeeto Valdez, Brian Clune, and Jeffrey “Shakey” Fowlkes ( Too Slim) on drums, Michael Puwal ( Kenny Wayne Shepherd) on guitar+bass, and Kimberli Wright on backing vocals.        

Fowlkes’ high-octane beat and Puwal’s swampy slide guitar heats things up quite nicely as Neals takes charge vocally on a call for unity in “United We Stand”.  She then follows up with an intoxicating dose of slow buttery blues featuring a searing guitar solo from Lopez on “Queen of the Nile”.  It’s an extraordinary listen.  “Lockdown Love” is a great song too.  With Fowlkes and Puwal onboard, this red-hot track shares the frustrations of dealing with stress while living inside a covid-constructed bubble.  Cloaked in a Sixties-mod fashion, “I Got a Gun”, featuring Billy Davis on guitar, is catchy as hell.  When Quentin Tarantino finally gets around to filming Kill Bill 3, this song would be a perfect fit for the soundtrack.  The gospel-soul-inspired “Heathen” is a beautiful piece with a Muscle Shoals vibe about taking out the trash.  I love how Neals’ piano performance is coupled with Galvin behind the B3.   I absolutely adore her cover of Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home”.  Neals takes this 1969 classic and breathes into it a new glorious life with Lopez at the guitar helm absolutely tearing it up.  When he plays, notes majestically hang in the air. 

I can’t help but be a huge fan of Eliza Neals.  Her approach to the Blues is a fresh and unique one.  I thoroughly enjoyed “Badder to the Bone” from start to finish.  It’s chockful of badassery for sure.        



Other PhillyCheeze reviews featuring Eliza Neals:





For more information about Eliza Neals, visit this website :


Available on BandCamp

Saturday, May 25, 2024

#686 : Eliza Neals - Colorcrimes (


2024 – E.H. Records

By Phillip Smith; May 25, 2024

Original source :


Detroit blues-rocker Eliza Neals is an artist who has secured a spot among my favorites. She pours an abundant amount of talent and creativity into her performances and songwriting, cultivating lasting, memorable songs. Her latest album Colorcrimes has swept me off my feet with its nine all-original tracks. With Neals on lead vocals and piano, Michael Puwal returns as lead guitarist for the brunt of the album.

The record leads off with a delicious serving of swampy slide guitar on “Heal This Land”. The song hearkens back to southern spirituals and delivers a much-needed message for the world today. I absolutely love that Neals turned what started out as a sour note at a show in Michigan into the riveting hit of a song “Banned in Jackson”. Mark “Muggy Do” Leach (Buddy Miles) guests on B3 giving the song a gorgeous full sound. I can feel the emotion pouring out of Neals as she belts out the title-track “Colorcrimes”, a beautiful song of unity. The wailing guitar performance from Puwal brilliantly joins Neals as a second vocal. It’s an amazing listen. Guitarist Brian Lord (Mitch Ryder) joins in on the infectious fun of “Love Dr. Love”. This cooking track takes a small break for a New Orleans-style, horn-fueled second-line to honor the late, great Barrett Strong Jr. (Feb. 5, 1941 – Jan. 28, 2023) who cowrote this and two other songs on this album with Neals. “Sugar Daddy” is a blast to hear as it takes a dive into the world of Motown and Phil Spector’s early girl-group years.  Topped off with the sounds of sax from Tyrone Smith and a psychedelic-laced dose of guitar from King Solomon Hicks, this track is a sure-fire winner. I’m very happy to see “Candy Store”, the 2023 single which lit up blues radio last year, land on this release. It’s a fun-as-hell listen filled with confectionery double entendres.

From my first listen to Colorcrimes, I knew it would be an album I will have on heavy-rotation for a long while. It’s one of those records that demands to be heard.             



For more information about Eliza Neals, visit her website at


Follow the link below for more PhillyCheeze reviews featuring Eliza Neals:


Eliza Neals’ Colorcrimes is also available on Bandcamp

Saturday, July 20, 2019

#401 : Eliza Neals - Sweet or Mean

2019 – E-H Records LLC

By Phillip Smith; July 20, 2019

It has been over two years since I fell head-over-heels for Eliza Neals’ 10,000 Feet Below album.  But, after hearing her latest EP Sweet or Mean, I find the wait has been worth it.  This time around, Neals teamed up with New York bluesman Ted Horowitz aka Popa Chubby.   Horowitz not only plays guitar on this release, but also takes on the role of producer/arranger.  Comprising the remainder of the band is Dave Keyes on B3/piano/Wurlitzer, Chris Gambaro-Vega on bass, and John Medeiros Jr. on drums.  

This six-track release opens and closes with two smokin’ variations of “Pawn Shop Blues”, a ripping original tune, written by Neals.  Her fearless delivery stands tall as Popa Chubby lays down a searing slab of blues on electric guitar.  Saxophonist Ian Hendrickson and trumpeter Michael Leonhart appear on one version, while “Pawn Shop Blues (roadhouse)” features barrelhouse piano from Keyes.  Vega and Medeiros create a captivating groove on “Blackish Gray”, which swiftly pulls me into its orbit.  Songs like this encourage me to put Neals at the top of my list of favorites.  There is certainly a positive chemistry between her and Ted when it comes to playing the blues.  Eliza sings her autobiographical power-anthem “Bitten by the Blues” with a soulful, rock-star delivery.  The hook is very infectious and sounds great with Popa Chubby’s tantalizing guitar licks.  I love the delta-flavored acoustic “Knock Knock Knocking” too.  It’s raw and fabulous.

Sweet or Mean is a terrific six-track EP.  It’s definitely worth checking out, if you dig the blues.      


For more information about the artist, visit the website..   

PhillyCheeze Rock & Blues Review for Eliza Neals - 10,000 Feet Below

Saturday, May 9, 2020

#444 : Eliza Neals - Black Crow Moan

2020 – E-H Records

By Phillip Smith; May 9, 2020

I got hooked on the music of Eliza Neals when I reviewed 10,000 Feet Below in 2017.  Last summer, I was gob smacked by her album Sweet or Mean, and had the pleasure of seeing her perform at the Prairie Dog Blues Festival in Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin.  It was great to hear her stellar vocals belting out song after song, backed by her high energy band.

On Black Crow Moan her latest release, Neals draws me in from the get-go on “Don’t Judge the Blues”.  The slide guitar from Mike Puwal fills it with swampy goodness.   Slathered in hot buttery soul "The Devil Don't Love You", features the great Joe Louis Walker.  He keeps it funky on guitar as Neals takes me to church on keys.  Walker also delightfully appears on title track "Black Crow Moan".  The call and response vocals are emotionally-charged as the notes from Walker’s guitar weightlessly drift skyward.  This dark masterpiece, covered in ominous overtones, oozes with authenticity.  “Never Stray” is another amazing song.  It is shrouded in a beautiful intensity and features guitarist Derek St. Holmes (Ted Nugent) bassist Jason Kott, and drummer Jeffrey ‘Shakey’ Fowlkes (Too Slim).  St. Holmes also brings a bowlful of slow-cooked blues and searing guitar to Neal’s cover of Big Mama Thornton's "Ball and Chain".  Eliza sings this with fearless abandon as Shakey builds a wall of thunder on drums.  It’s an absolutely wonderful experience to hear.

When it comes to my list of favorite blues-rockers, Eliza Neals remains among the top. As long as the badassery within her keeps forging great records such as Black Crow Moan, I’ll be there to hear them.  


For more information about the artist, visit this website :

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Eliza Neals - 10,000 Feet Below

2017 –  E-H Records LLC
By Phillip Smith; Apr 29, 2017

10,000 Feet Below, the latest album from Detroit music artist Eliza Neals is pretty incredible.  This wonderfully talented singer/songwriter/pianist and 2013 Michigan Blues Hall of Fame inductee, guitarist Howard Glazer (The Narcotics) are backed by an amazing group of guest musicians in the making of this fabulous record.
Neals’ angelic vocals pour freely over Glazer’s captivating and psychedelic guitar licks in the dark and spacy cover of Skip James’ “Hard Killing Floor”.  It’s an absolute delight. There’s a huge splash of more mind-melting psychedelic-infused blues in the boldly performed “Call Me Moonshine”.  Glazer’s playing is sublime.  I get lost in the hypnotizing groove of “Merle Dixon”.  It’s a warm and fuzzy guitar play-land to spend time in. 

Neals digs in deep and pulls out some amazing power vocals Ann Wilson-style, for the scorching rocker “Burn the Tent Down”.  Teaming up with guitarist Billy Davis (Jimi Hendrix, Hank Ballard), Neals gives an intoxicating delivery on the heady original composition “At the Crossroads”.  It’s absolutely beautiful.

10,000 Feet Below is a striking album, full of rich melodies and exquisite vocals.


Sunday, August 4, 2019

#402 : Prairie Dog Blues Festival - 2019

Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin
July 26-27, 2019

By Phillip Smith; August 3, 2019

I had an absolutely amazing time during the two days I spent at the Prairie Dog Blues Festival this year.  Besides the spectacular music, there was an amazing comradery between the blues fans.  Upon first arrival on Friday evening, I staked out some prime territory within the beer tent to see one my favorite acts Ghost Town Blues Band.  They tore it up on four separate sets that evening, playing all the songs I wanted to hear.  Their covers of “Come Together”, “Whipping Post”, and “Statesboro Blues” were superb as always.  It was great to catch up with those guys again.  Between the GTBB sets, I made sure to shimmy over to the main stage to see more outstanding performances from Tas Cru, Reverend Payton’s Big Damn Band, Toronzo Cannon, and Nikki Hill. 

Tas Cru and Mary Ann Casale teamed up to dazzle me with delight on “Heal My Soul”.  Casale cowrote this one with Tas for his acclaimed Memphis Song album.  It was cool to hear “Dirty Swerve” from Reverend Peyton.  That one definitely put the fans in dance mode.  Toronzo Cannon brought some of the best blues Chicago has to offer, and Nikki Hill commanded full attention for her powerful for her set of rockin’ soul.  She even busted out a little AC/DC with a nod to Bon Scott on “If You Want Blood / I’m a Rocker”.  

On the second day of the festival, I headed directly to the main stage to hear Craig Erickson and the Roadhouse Rockers.  The man is a powerhouse when it comes to playing guitar, and it is always a pleasure to see his band play.  ZZ Top tribute band Eliminator from Chicago lit up the crowd with nearly ninety minutes of dazzling showmanship and spot-on covers.  They were so fun to watch and hear.  I was so glad to have finally caught Eliza Neals in concert.  She has been on my radar ever since reviewing her 10,000 Feet Below album.  This is another act which I highly recommend.  Neals definitely puts the ‘rock’ in blues-rock, with her amazing vocals.  Popping over to the beer tent to hear The Kris Lager Band was a lot of fun as well.  The tent was filled to capacity, as they played their unique style of funky blues.  The evening was capped off with a searing performance from Anthony Gomes.  The first time I saw Gomes, he was opening for the king of blues himself, B.B. King.  This my third time seeing him, and he keeps upping his game every time.

Prairie Dog Blues Festival, which is held annually on the historic St. Feriole Island in Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin, is very organized and cuts no corners when it comes to booking talent.  I will definitely make a point of returning.  


* All Photos by Phillip Smith

Ghost Town Blues Band

Tas Cru

Rev Peyton's Big Damn Band

Toronzo Cannon

Nikki Hill

Craig Erickson and the Roadhouse Rockers


Eliza Neals

Kris Lager Band

Anthony Gomes

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

#423 : PhillyCheeze's 20 Favorites of 2019

 (in alphabetical order)

Vince Agwada - Light of Day

BB King Blues Band - The Soul of the King

Anthony Gomes - Peace, Love & Loud Guitars

Willie Farmer - The Man From the Hill

Robert Connely Farr - Dirty South Blues

Ghost Town Blues Band - Shine

Christone Kingfish Ingram - Kingfish

BillyLee Janey - Blues Power

John Mayall - Nobody Told Me

Biscuit Miller - Chicken Grease

Eliza Neals - Sweet or Mean

Sean Pinchin - Bad Things

Johnny Rawls - I Miss Otis Clay

Southbound Snake Charmers - To the Bone

Sugaray Rayford - Somebody Save Me

J.P. Soars - Let Go of the Reins

Kenny "Beedy Eyes" Smith and the House Bumpers - Drop the Hammer

Alexis P. Suter Band - Be Love 

Sean Taylor - The Path Into the Blue

Matty T Wall - Transpacific Blues Vol 1