Saturday, November 2, 2019

#415 : Hudspeth & Taylor - Folie a Deux




2019 – Hudspeth & Taylor
By Phillip Smith; Nov.2, 2019

Folie a deux, the title of the debut album from guitarist Brandon Hudspeth (Levee Town) and singer/percussionist Jaisson Taylor, is defined as “delusion or mental illness shared by two people in close association”.  In the case of Hudspeth & Taylor, it represents their passion for music.  The two have known each other for almost twenty years, although they never formally collaborated until 2015 when they began their journey playing as a blues duo in Kansas City.  I’ve been aware of Hudspeth since reviewing Levee Town’s album Pages of Paperwork in 2011 for BluesWax, and hold high regard for his work as a guitarist and songwriter.  Taylor’s singing and versatile percussional stylings are most impressive.       

The acoustic slide on “Big Fat Hairy Lie” sounds terrific with the gently rolling rhythm. I love the song “Low Down Dealer Man” and the instrumental showmanship Hudspeth unveils on guitar.  Taylor sets a wonderfully earnest tone for the song with his singing.  Their cover of the late Little Hatch’s “Rock With Me Baby” is a down-home delight.  The playful melody on “Candy Man” is quick to capture my attention, as Taylor sings about a nefarious crime and its consequences.  Hudspeth’s smokin’ slide guitar, and Taylor’s blues-soaked vocals bring the album to the close with “Daddy Baby”.  It’s a fantastic song, and sounds great.

Folie a Deux is a gem of an acoustic blues album.  I really hope to hear more from Hudspeth & Taylor.  

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


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Saturday, October 26, 2019

#414 : Southbound Snake Charmers - To the Bone



2019 – Southbound Snake Charmers
By Phillip Smith; Oct. 26, 2019

I’m so very much excited to hear To the Bone, the fourth and latest release from Southbound Snake Charmers.  Their 2017 album, Rhythm ‘n’ Rust instantly drew me in to their world of psychedelic blues rock.  That record totally captivated my attention, and was an instant hit for me.  With To the Bone, this trio from Melbourne, Australia continues to push the envelope of blues rock with heavy and thunderous beats, loaded to the brim with gobs of grease, and hard-edge lyrics.  This EP features four brand new all-original tracks, and two remastered favorites.    The band is fronted by vocalist/guitarist Chris Denman, with bassist Nat Sutphin and drummer Brooke Maloney comprising one hell of a rhythm section.  Denman notes their intent on this recording was to recreate a 60’s / 70’s vibe, by recording all the rhythm live in one room at one time, omitting any synthesized or digital instruments.  This certainly gives the music a warmer and more personal sound.          

Reminiscent of the wonderful, hoodoo-injected swampy sounds of John Fogerty, the album hits the ground running with “Through the Smoke”.  The band masterfully creates an ominous stage for this hard-rockin’ anthem to flaunt its magic.  “Playing With Fire” continues to keep my blood pumping at full capacity with its furious beats, and wailing guitar licks.  Deman’s vocals are fearless and powerful.  The intoxicating and inescapable groove on “My Crazy” rapidly latches its claws right in and holds on tight.  At the core, this is pure delta blues lit up with gasoline.  It sounds fantastic.

The two remastered tracks are “Don’t Speak Too Soon” from Rhythm ‘n’ Rust and “Ride On” from Voodoo Chicken Shack, both of which sound amazing.  The whole EP is a terrific listen, and will remain on heavy rotation in my player.  I highly recommend it.  

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For more information about the artist, visit their website: www.southboundsnakecharmers.com   .

Link to the PhillyCheeze Review for Southbound Snake Charmers - Rhythm 'n' Rust
https://phillycheezeblues.blogspot.com/2017/04/southbound-snake-charmers-rhythm-n-rust.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.










Saturday, October 19, 2019

#413 : Biscuit Miller and the Mix - Chicken Grease



2019 – American Showplace Music
By Phillip Smith; Oct. 19, 2019

Chicken Grease, the latest release from Biscuit Miller and the Mix is absolutely fabulous.  Miller, who took home the Blues Music Award for Bass Player of the Year in 2012 and 2017, fronts a tight band steeped in Chicago blues.  Their music is smothered in grease and fortified with funk.  The Mix consists of Doctor Love on drums, Bobby B. Wilson on guitar, Alex ‘Southside’ Smith on guitar, and John Ginty on Hammond B3, Vintage Vibe electric piano, and percussion.  

The funky groove of “Here Kitty Kitty” pulls me right in with its playful energy.  This one always puts a grin on my face.  “Two Legged Dog” keeps the funk flowing with a righteously contagious riff, and killer beat.  With lap-steel in hand, Marcus Randolph makes a couple of outstanding appearances: the first on “609”, and the second on title-track “Chicken Grease”.  Both are superb tracks, and Randolph sounds amazing.    

Biscuit’s smooth-as-silk vocals are front and center as he suavely slows it down with the soulful “Watching You”.  “Get Ready”, a song of peace and love, sweetly brings the album to a close with brilliant keys and a hot buttery baseline.

Chicken Grease is a must hear for blues and soul music aficionados.  It’s such an enjoyable listen from beginning to end.         

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



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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.             
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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.







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Saturday, October 5, 2019

#411 : BillyLee Janey - Blues Power



2019 – Billy Rock Music / Stray Dog Records

By Phillip Smith; Oct. 5, 2019

Since moving up here to Iowa in 1992, I’ve been listening to BillyLee Janey.  Inducted into the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005 for Truth & Janey and inducted into the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame in 2012, he is surely a force to be reckoned with when it comes to musicianship and playing the blues.  Blues Power, his latest release is a sheer delight.  Featuring eleven originals and two cover songs, this album is filled to the brim with hard-driving electric blues that cuts deep to the core.  BillyLee leads this trio on guitar and vocals.  His son Bryce Janey who also recorded, mastered and mixed the album, appears on bass guitar, with Eric Douglas is on drums.

From the first song, “Who Let the Dog Out”, Janey is already in top-gear, delivering hot-as-hell licks and playing the blues like I love to hear it.  He continues to amaze me in “Blues Alright”.  “Gimme Some Blues Power” is a monster of a song too.  Douglas lays down a stellar beat while Janey carpet bombs the listener with a tantalizing guitar performance.  His cover of Buddy Guy’s “Mary Had a Little Lamb” puts a big smile on my face too.  Janey makes this one his own.

While revisiting “Mean Ol’ Twister”, a track released on his album Got Them Iowa Blues, Janey adds an additional minute, forty-five seconds to the furious whirlwind simulation he creates with sound.  It was a spectacular song to begin with, but this new mix gives it the tornado-infused ending the song deserves.  Hearing Janey cut loose the way he does here, is an experience in and of itself.    

An absolute must-hear for blues fans, and guitar aficionados, Blues Power delivers high-voltage blues at its best.     

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








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Saturday, September 28, 2019

#410 : Ghost Town Blues Band - Shine




2019 – Ghost Town Blues Band
By Phillip Smith; Sep. 28, 2019

I’ve been anxiously awaiting this new album from Ghost Town Blues Band since first hearing about it this past Spring.  It was indeed worth the wait.  Shine, the band’s fourth studio album, and fifth overall is downright spectacular.  Soulfully packed in roots and blues, each of the dozen original songs stand out in their own way.  With singer/guitarist Matt Isbell as front-man, this Memphis-based band consists of guitarist Taylor Orr, saxophonist/producer Kevin Houston, trombonist Suavo Jones, bassist Matt Karner, drummer Andrew McNeill, with Cedric Taylor on B3 and piano.  

The feel-good energy of “Running Out of Time” delightfully ushers the album in.  I love the Allman Brothers vibe and the sweet sound of slide guitar.  “Soda Pop” is a downright blast.   Isbell fearlessly rips it up on cigar-box with some hard-driving blues.  The song is definitely one of my favorites.

Although “Shine” and “Givin’ it All Away” were both on GTBB’s live album, Backstage Pass, I embrace the new studio recordings.  Guest vocalists Paul DesLauriers and Annika Chambers both make an appearance on title-track “Shine”.  This beautiful feel-good song always puts a smile on my face. “Givin’ it All Away” is one bodacious jam.    The jazz-soaked rhythm from McNeill and Karner set the stage for a captivating performance from Suavo amid the swirling sounds of guitar and B3.  I enjoy it immensely.               

The funky groove of “Dirty” sinks its psychedelic claws in deep as Orr tosses out screaming cool-as-hell guitar licks.  I dig the rap break injected into the song by Suavo too.  It truly gives the song an extra dimension.  With a chockful of emotion, Orr gives a heart-felt delivery on “Carry Me Home”.  It’s such a great song.  Illana Katz Katz makes a guest appearance on “Hey There Lucinda” with violin in hand.  This absolutely lovely song delicately brings the album to a close.         

Shine is one of the best records I’ve heard this year.  I give it my highest of recommendations.

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


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




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Monday, September 23, 2019

#409 : Savoy Brown - City Night




2019 – Quarto Valley Records
By Phillip Smith; September 23, 2019

I’m happy to hear anything by the British blues-master Kim Simmonds and his band Savoy Brown.  Their latest release City Night, is no exception.  This is the fortieth album from them, and is another smash hit record.  With bassist Pat DeSalvo and drummer Garnet Grimm holding down the rhythm section, Simmonds takes charge as he does and delivers yet another round of stellar original straight-up, nose-to-the-grind blues.

Simmonds’ searing guitar licks, joined with a fearless driving beat, kicks this treasure-trove of blues-rock off with “Walking On Hot Stones”.  It is scorching and fantastic.  I love “Conjure Rhythm”, with its hypnotic hoodoo pulse.  “Hang in Tough” is a rugged rocker of hard-hitting blues which cuts to the bone.  A feel-good mood is set by title-track “City Night”, and fully enjoyed.   It’s so great to hear Simmonds wail on guitar. Simmonds nicely closes the album out with a heavy dose of blues in the fabulous “Ain’t Gonna Worry”.  

It’s amazing how Savoy Brown just keeps getting better and better with each release.  City Night is as good as it gets.  Blues fans are sure to enjoy this record.    

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Other PhillyCheeze reviews of Savoy Brown

Kim Simmonds and Savoy Brown - Goin’ to the Delta - https://phillycheezeblues.blogspot.com/2014/02/kim-simmonds-and-savoy-brown-goin-to.html

Kim Simmonds and Savoy Brown - The Devil to Pay - https://phillycheezeblues.blogspot.com/2015/11/kim-simmonds-and-savoy-brown-devil-to.html

Kim Simmonds - Jazzin’ on the Blues - https://phillycheezeblues.blogspot.com/2017/09/kim-simmonds-jazzin-on-blues.html

Savoy Brown - Witchy Feelin’ - https://phillycheezeblues.blogspot.com/2017/09/savoy-brown-witchy-feelin.html

#346 : Savoy Brown - You Should Have Been There! - https://phillycheezeblues.blogspot.com/2018/08/346-savoy-brown-you-should-have-been.html



#356 : Savoy Brown w/ The Satterfield – Erickson Project - Oct. 7, 2018 - https://phillycheezeblues.blogspot.com/2018/10/356-savoy-brown-w-satterfield-erickson.html


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



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Saturday, September 14, 2019

#408 : J.P. Soars - Let Go of the Reins


2019 – Whiskey Bayou Records

By Phillip Smith; Sep. 14, 2019

Produced by Tab Benoit, Let Go of the Reins delightfully highlights everything I like about the music of J.P. Soars : smokin’ guitar licks, hard-scrabble lyrics, and fearless vocals.  Soars, the Arkansas-based artist who won 1st place at the 2009 International Blues Challenge in Memphis and pulled down the Albert King Award for best guitarist, rolls out his fifth solo studio album covered in hard-driving blues.  Soars steers the ship on vocals and guitars, with Chris Peet on bass guitar, Tab Benoit on drums, and Tillis Verdin on the Hammond B3.   

Soars begins the album with a jumpin’ cover of J.B. LeNoir’s “Been Down So Long”.  The fresh new arrangement absolutely cooks.  I love the swampy cover of the 1970 hit song “If You Wanna Get to Heaven”, by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils.  Soars definitely makes this one his own.  I thoroughly enjoy his beautiful performance of Django Reinhardt’s intoxicating instrumental “Minor Blues” too. 

A wonderful deep dark groove, preceded by an ominous entrance, guides title-track “Let Go of the Reins” on its hypnotic path to a psychedelic finish.   Soars cut loose on his spirited tribute to Freddie King called “Freddie King Thing”.  It jams indeed.  “Lonely Fire” with its delicate melody and Spanish influence, is a song I simply adore.  

I highly recommend Let Go of the Reins.  It’s among the best albums I’ve heard this year.    


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








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Friday, September 6, 2019

#407 : Lucas Haneman Express - Catch the Westbound




2019 – Lucas Haneman Express

By Phillip Smith; September 6, 2019

After reviewing the Lucas Haneman Express’ 2016 album, Tearing Up the Rails, I knew there was something special about this group.  Their follow-up album, Catch the Westbound definitely reassures me, there is indeed an air of magic about them.  Nominated for a 2018 Maple Blues Award, the band expertly delivers a variety of original roots/rock-based songs built on enchanting melodies and finely crafted lyrics.  Haneman takes the helm on guitar and vocals, with Jeff Asselin on drums, Megan Laurence on vocals, and Martin Newman on bass.   

With Lucas on lead vocals, “Lay it to the Line” wonderfully starts the album with a driving western-flavored jam.  The song seductively draws right in, as I sink into its twangy goodness.  “Cold Cold Front” is ominous, catchy as hell, and hard to shake.  Haneman sings this one with a suave finesse.  The swampy blues of “Ms. McGrim” is right up my alley.  I love the slide guitar and Megan’s accompanying vocals.  My favorite tune on the album, “Devil’s in my Grave” is riveting and rides atop a driving rhythm.  They splendidly bring the record to a close with a sweet, heady, Zeppelin-esque ballad, “To Be Brave”.  When Asselin kicks it in on drums, I get a big smile on my face.  This is such a cool song. 

One more time, Lucas Haneman Express has brought their ‘A’ game to the table and delivered a wonderful recording.   I very much enjoyed listening to this one.

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


The Phillycheeze review for Lucas Haneman Express – Tearing Up the Rails :
https://phillycheezeblues.blogspot.com/2017/03/lucas-haneman-express-tearing-up-rails.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.


Sunday, September 1, 2019

#406 : Charlie Wooton Project - Blue Basso



2019 – Wild Heart Records
By Phillip Smith; Sep. 1, 2019

Covering artists such as Deanna Bogart, and Billy Pierce the past few years have made me aware of Charlie Wooton’s work as a bassist.  Serving as his tribute to the great Jaco Pastorious, Blue Basso incorporates jazz, funk, R&B, and blues into a tasty concoction of music with a splash of New Orleans charm.  Here, his work stands gracefully in the spotlight getting the full attention it deserves.  The album is a surely a wonderful, musical treat.  With Wooton on bass, the band consists of Daniel Groover on guitar, Jermal Watson on drums, Keiko Komaki on keys, and features the lovely Arséne DeLay on vocals.  Adding to the ‘cool’ factor, appearances from Sonny Landreth, Anders Osborne, Doug Wimbish (Living Colour), Eric McFadden and Damon Fowler also grace this record. 

Wooton starts off with a groovy instrumental called “Jaceaux”.  Komaki is an absolute monster on keys.  Wimbish, whose work includes session work for Sugarhill Gang, Grandmaster Flash, The Rolling Stones, and Depeche Mode sits in on this track fortifying the song with an extra layer of funk.  “Come On Come Over”, a splendid cover from Jaco’s acclaimed 1976 self-titled album, is delightfully sung by DeLay.  “Dime Note” is fantastic.  I dig the beat Watson throws down on this one as the wonderfully calibrated lead guitar from Groover takes over.  Sonny Landreth breaks out a healthy helping of his signature slide guitar on back-to-back songs, “Tell Me a Story”, and “Front Porch”.  It’s always a pleasure to hear this man play.  The album closes out with a smooth funkified take on the Rolling Stones song, “Miss You”.  This fabulous cut has been a ‘go-to’ song for me this week. 

I appreciate and respect what Wooton is doing with his music.  The jams he builds are juicy and spectacular.  Blue Basso is definitely an album worth checking out.

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











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Sunday, August 25, 2019

#405 : Seth James - Good Life



2019 – Cherry Bomb Records

By Phillip Smith; Aug. 25, 2019


Good Life, the latest from Texas singer/songwriter Seth James captivated me from the beginning.  Sitting in that same wheelhouse of music which encompasses the songs of John Hiatt and Delbert McClinton, this album is a bowlful of soulful Americana.  James, on guitar and lead vocals is joined by Bob Britt on rhythm and slide guitar, Lynn Williams on drums, Kevin McKendree on keys, Steve Macket on bass, Jim Hoke on saxophone, Roy Agee on trombone, and Vinnie Ciesielski on trumpet.  The cover art from Paul Thorn is a blast too.  I can’t help but smile when it catches my eye.  

Title track, “Good Life”, is a wonderfully soulful tune with a spirited and catchy hook to jam out to.  I love the Memphis Stax-style delivery the band packs into “Little Angel”.  James’ impassioned words in this love-letter are moving and heartfelt.  For anyone who’s spent any amount of time away from their home and loved ones, “I’m Coming Home” beautifully expresses the joy-filled anticipation of returning to roost in one’s own abode.  I love “Medicine Man”.  It’s fun and funky rhythm is topped with a wily guitar riff, and slathered barrelhouse-friendly keys.  The stand-out song on this disc, however is “Third Generation”.  In this terrific selection, James takes an intelligent look at how the wealth created through hard work in one generation, is carelessly dismantled and thrown away by the third.

Good Life is a splendid mix of roots, blues, soul, and country, culminating into one fantastic album.  I highly recommend it.     

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