Saturday, October 18, 2014

JW-Jones - Belmont Boulevard



2014 – Blind Pig Records
By Phillip Smith; Oct 18, 2014


After listening to this fascinating recording, which artfully blends country music and rockabilly with the blues, it’s no surprise to discover Canadian bluesman JW-Jones recorded his eighth and most recent album, Belmont Boulevard, in Nashville, Tennessee.  Enlisting Grammy winner, Tom Hambridge to co-write and produce seems to have paid off very well. 

Jones gets the adrenaline pumping while covering Bobby Parker’s “Watch Your Step”.  Putting his own cool spin on the song, he cleverly throws a lot of ‘twang’ into it, giving it a retro country sound.  The intro immediately made me think of Jerry Reed’s “Amos Moses”.  Another expertly performed cover tackled by Jones is Buddy Guy’s “What’s Inside of You”.  Some of his most serious and finest guitar playing is exhibited on this track.  This song is pure blues.  Jones’ guitar sounds so sweet as it co-mingles with the keyboards handled by Reese Wymans.

“Don’t Be Ashamed”, interestingly blends blues with surf rock.  Haunting guitar riffs, pulsating organ attacks, and a spectacular guitar solo, make this a favorite.  “Magic West Side Boogie” is phenomenal.  With guitar playing reminiscent of Jim Heath of Reverend Horton Heat, Jones delivers the goods, as does Jamie Holmes who plays the hell out of the drums.

Jones sets a swampy psychedelic mood with “Cocaine Boy”, which he understandably saves for last.  This gonzo treat is delivered via tinny and echoey vocals sung atop a slow-basted bass line.  Guitar licks enter the song, like screams in a haunted house, making this track quite a wild listen. 

This album has a way of captivating the listener, and not letting go. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

An Evening with Kris Kristofferson: The Pilgrim: Ch 77 Union Chapel, London



2014 – Virgin Records
By Phillip Smith; Oct 4, 2014


  
Live albums are often times “hit or miss”, for me, for varying reasons such as bad sound, or coaxed audience participation.  This new double album from the legendary Kris Kristofferson, recorded live in London at Union Chapel, September 26, 2013 , steers clear of those self-imposed landmines, and emerges as one of my all-time favorite live albums.  In an intimate setting, Kristofferson plays his songs, stripped down to the most basic of levels, alone on a stage with just his guitar and harmonica.

With almost forty-five years’ worth of material to choose his set-list from, Kristofferson performs a nice blend of both new and old, drawing a lot deeper from his earlier years, playing fourteen songs off his first and second albums from 1970-1971, Kristofferson, and Silver Tongued Devil.  Classic songs, such as “Me and Bobby McGee”, “Help Me Make it Through the Night”, and “Loving Her Was Easier” quickly put a smile on my face.  For a nice little tie-in, while introducing “Casey’s Last Ride”, Kristofferson mentions he wrote it in London about a half a century ago.  From his newer albums, we are treated to title tracks, “Feeling Mortal” (2013), and “Closer to the Bone” (2009) ,

We’re also treated to several selections from his 2003 politically-centric live album, Broken Freedom Song , with songs such as “Broken Freedom Song”, “The Circle”, and “Sky King”.  Another song from that album, which lands in this performance, is one of my favorites, “Here Comes that Rainbow”, a lovely song about paying it forward.


The album just wouldn’t be complete without playing longtime favorite, “Jesus Was a Capricorn”, which Kristofferson masterfully segues in from “You Show Me Yours”.  I’ve never been to London, but when I listen to this album, I feel as though I am transported to the front row of Union Chapel, among the audience, taking everything in. And that is what I absolutely love about An Evening with Kris Kristofferson: The Pilgrim; Ch 77.




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Sunday, September 28, 2014

319 Fest - Cedar Rapids, IA , Sep. 27, 2014




 

 

Chad Canfield
Cedar Rapids Zombie Prop Artist




Art-A-Holics




Evan Stock Band

Evan Stock Band

Evan Stock Band

Chad Canfield
Cedar Rapids Zombie Prop Artist

Chad Canfield
Cedar Rapids Zombie Prop Artist


Hartgrave Creations

20 Foot Forehead

20 Foot Forehead

Odd One Out

Odd One Out

Lee "Big Daddy" Kohl & The Wizards

Lee "Big Daddy" Kohl & The Wizards

Lee "Big Daddy" Kohl & The Wizards

Sharon Jackson Band

Sharon Jackson Band
In Case of Emergency


In Case of Emergency

Green Death

Flip the Kill Switch

Flip the Kill Switch

HeavyWeight

HeavyWeight

The Evan Stock Band

the effie afton

the effie afton

the effie afton

Leviathans

Courage at Sea

Courage at Sea

Tweazy West & J-Lube

Tweazy West & J-Lube

Das Thunderfoot

Das Thunderfoot

Das Thunderfoot

Das Thunderfoot

Cardboard Kingdoms


Hated to Heroes

Hated to Heroes

Cardboard Kingdoms

Friendly Fire : On

Friendly Fire : On


David the Goliath

David the Goliath

David the Goliath


Knubby

Knubby


* All Photos taken by Phillip Smith