Saturday, April 25, 2020

#442 : John Primer & Bob Corritore - The Gypsy Woman Told Me



2020 - Vizztone
By Phillip Smith; April 25, 2020

John Primer and Bob Corritore have teamed up once again to record yet another fabulously legitimate record of blues.  Primer instantly connects with his vocals, and enthralls me with his guitar phrasing.   He sounds so damn good as Corritore absolutely rips it up on harmonica.  Produced by Corritore, Clarke Rigsby and Kid Andersen, The Gypsy Woman Told Me also features Jimi “Primetime” Smith (guitar), Billy Flynn (guitar), Bob Welsh (piano), Kid Andersen (organ), Ben Levin (piano), Kedar Roy (bass), Mike Hightower (bass), Troy Sandow (bass), June Core (drums), and Brian Fahley (drums).  This twelve-track album contains ten deep covers and a pair of splendid Primer originals. 

Muddy Water’s “The Gypsy Woman Told Me” makes for a captivating listen as the title track.  With Welsh on piano, Roy on bass, and Core on drums, this one is slowly steeped in old-fashioned Chicago blues.  Corritore wonderfully takes on the legendary Helena, Arkansas harp player Sonny Boy Williamson II with “My Imagination”.  Primer’s guitar sizzles and Welsh holds nothing back on the ivories.  Dripping with emotion, their cover of Jimmy Rogers’ “Left Me with a Broken Heart” is exquisite.  With the driving rhythm of a rolling freight train, “Little Bitty Woman”, is a smashing song.  This Primer original features spirited vocals, tremendous harp topped with Welsh’s attention-grabbing barrelhouse piano.  Flynn, Hightower, and Fahey provide the backing for the guys as they close with “Ain’t Gonna Be No Cuttin’ Loose”, a James Cotton song from 1984.  Primer plays this with precision against Corritore’s textured and nuanced performance.

The musical chemistry between Primer and Corritore is incomparable as they continue to produce some of the best blues being produced these days.  An absolute must for the blues fan, The Gypsy Woman Told Me is a sheer delight.     

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For more information about the artists, visit their websites : www.johnprimerblues.combobcorritore.com


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Saturday, April 18, 2020

#441 : Emily Duff - Born on the Ground



2020 – Emily Duff / Mr Mudshow Music
By Phillip Smith; April 18, 2020

I’m loving this new disc, Born on the Ground from New York City troubadour Emily Duff.  Her introspective lyrics on this nine-track break-up album are wonderfully delivered with a heaping helping of soulful country twang.  With Duff on acoustic guitar and lead vocals, her band consists of Scott Aldrich on electric guitar, Skip Ward on bass, Charlie Giordano on piano/organ, Kenny Soule on drums/percussion, Eric Amble on electric guitar, and background vocalists Mary Lee Kortes, Syd Straw, and Tricia Scotti.

In title track “Born on the Ground”, Duff sings ‘When you’re born on the ground, you’re dead inside.’.  Her powerful and poignant lyrics go head to head with masterful writers such as Bob Dylan and Lucinda Williams, as she sings them with a voice made for western music.  I instantly fall for “Easy Go”.  From the beginning of this up-tempo song, I’m pulled right in, lured by its strong pulse and infectious riffs.  There’s a deliciously dark Tom Waits energy in the playfully sublime “No Escape”.  It’s bluesy and cool as hell.  Duff is not one to be reckoned with as she belts out “Knuckle Sandwich”.  She tackles the song with a fearless, punk attitude, and tops it with driving guitar, crashing drums, and barrelhouse piano.  I can’t get enough of this one.  It’s definitely my favorite.      

Born on the Ground is a superb album of all original songs which have certainly grabbed my attention.  This is a record I highly recommend. 


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For more information about the artist, visit this website – emilyduff.bandcamp.com  



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Saturday, April 11, 2020

#440 : Justin Saladino Band - Live


2020 – Disques Bros.
By Phillip Smith; April 11, 2020

Montreal-based Justin Saladino has a stellar new album, simply called Live.  The recording took place over two nights at Piccolo Studios in Quebec for an audience of dedicated fans.  Hearing the live takes from A Fool’s Heart and No Worries adds an extra layer of soul to the songs.  With Saladino taking lead of this six-piece band on guitar and vocals, he is joined by guitarist Antoine Loiselle, keyboardist David Osei-Afrifa, drummer Denis Paquin, bassist Gabriel Forget, and percussionist Lucie Martel.  

The album splendidly opens in a bluesy romantic direction with “Take What You Want”.  Saladino’s vocals are smooth and confident.  I love how he fearlessly brings “Purple Girl” to life with his guitar mastery.  It rocks in a fabulous way.  While beautifully wearing his heart on his sleeve, he lays down a slew of extraordinary licks on his break-up ballad “Peace With You”.  Saladino packs a gob of delicious blues slide into Tom Petty’s “You Don’t Know How it Feels”, making for one hell of a cover.

JSB Live is one of the best live albums I’ve heard in a while.  Saladino absolutely cooks on guitar.    
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For more information about the artist, visit this website : justinsaladinoband.com   



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Saturday, April 4, 2020

#439 : Chris Shutters with special guest Jimmy Burns - Good Gone Bad



2019 – Third Street Cigar Records
By Phillip Smith; April 4, 2020

A connection was forged nearly a decade ago at Buddy Guy’s Legends club in Chicago when Chris Shutters attended an open mic event hosted by Delmark Records recording artist Jimmy Burns.  Shutters signed up to perform, and ended up playing a couple of songs with Burns himself.   They talked and traded phone numbers afterward.  Ten years later, Shutters contacted Burns about collaborating on an album.  One thing led to another, and the result is this fantastic ten-track record of all original blues.  Good Gone Bad features both Shutters and Burns on guitar and vocals.

Burns takes the mic, on “Stop the Train” and pulls me right onboard.  Rick Warner, former keyboardist for Rare Earth, adds a nice and funky groove to this stellar blues track.  “Miss Annie Lou” another track written by Burns, is an absolute delight.  I love his guitar picking and weathered voice.  The saxophone licks from Art Bishop are fabulous.  Burns’ attention-grabbing style once again takes top-billing on “No Consideration”.  With a hint of Memphis soul, this track cooks.    

Shutters shines as singer/songwriter/guitarist on “Can’t Play the Blues Like B.B.”.   This infectious, up-tempo gem is loaded with searing guitar licks and topped with a smoldering dose of harp from Tony Shutters.  “Unwind” is a masterpiece with a driving rhythm which reels me into a fascinating world of jazz, rock, pop and blues.  It makes me want to get up on my feet and dance.

Good Gone Bad has definitely landed in my stack of favorites this year.  Coupling their songwriting craftmanship with masterful performances, Shutters and Burns make for one outstanding blues duo.  I certainly hope to hear more from them.
     

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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.






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Saturday, March 21, 2020

#437 : Dedicated Men of Zion - Can't Turn Me Around




2020 – Bible & Tire Recordings
By Phillip Smith; March 21, 2020


The Dedicated Men of Zion’s latest release Can’t Turn Me Around is plainly put, music for the soul.  The four men whose magnificent harmony make this record such a stand out is Anthony Daniels, Antwan Daniels, Dexter Weaver, and Marcus Sugg.  This eastern North Carolina gospel quartet was formed in 2014 as a quintet, but with the passing of founding member Trevoris Newton, the departure of Darren Cannon, and the addition of Sugg, the group was rebuilt as four.  Anthony, who has backed up Elton John, Toni Braxton, and Bebe Winans, is Antwan’s father, and Sugg’s father-in-law.  Produced by Bruce Watson of Fat Possum Records, and recorded in his Delta-Sonic Sound Studios in Memphis, Tennessee, the record comes to life, enlisting Watson’s all-star studio band.  With Will Sexton on guitar, George Sluppick on drums and percussion, Mark Stuart on bass, and Art Edmaiston on horns, the music is infused with that easily identifiable Memphis soul sound I often crave.

“I Feel Alright” is definitely reminiscence of the sounds coming out of the Stax studios on East McLemore Ave in the sixties.  Anthony’s velvety lead vocals sound fantastic backed the all-star band.  I love the hypnotic riff running through title-track “Can’t Turn Me Around”.  Anthony’s voice shines brightly, while Sexton lays down some funky psychedelic licks on guitar.  It sounds great.  The harmonies on the up-beat “You Don’t Know” are delightfully uplifting.  A fitting song for the times ,“It’s a Shame” is southern gospel soul at its finest.  

I’d encourage anyone to check this album out.  It’s the real deal.

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Saturday, March 14, 2020

#436 : Wide Mouth Mason - I Wanna Go With You


2019 – Wide Mouth Mason

By Phillip Smith; March 14, 2020


Wide Mouth Mason, a blues-rooted duo formed in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1995, is comprised of guitarist/vocalist Shaun Verreault and percussionist/vocalist Safwan Javed.  I Wanna Go With You, their eighth release, features a dozen impressive songs fortified with poignant lyrics and tight musicianship.  Verreault, a master of slide guitar, embraces a threestyle technique which consists of wearing three slides with rounded tips.  It definitely sounds amazing on both his resonator/dobro, and electric lap steel. 

A catchy hook and lush slide guitar from Verreault beckon me to join their journey forged with “Bodies in Motion”.  Vancouver hip-hop artist Tonye Aganaba lends her remarkable voice to “Every Red Light”.  This is a spectacular song bathed in pop and slathered with a bit of grease.  The imagery effortlessly spills from the lyrics.  “High Road” is a stunning blues track.  The sound of the dobro rings clear and sounds great with slide backer.  I love “Some Kind of Requiem” which boasts an intense rhythm, magnificent picking, and gospel-inspired vocals.  “Erase Any Trace”, cowritten by David Gogo, is another excellent blue-soaked song.  It’s swampy and fantastic.  Wide Mouth Mason fabulously cover David Bowie’s 1983 chart-topping hit “Modern Love”.  They give it a bluesy makeover with a dab of harp from Shawn “The Harpoonist” Hall. 

With a primary theme of traveling, I Wanna Go With You makes for a great listen on the road.  Each song, solid as a rock, the album makes for one hell of a listen.          

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For more information about the artist, visit this website : https://widemouthmason.com/



Saturday, March 7, 2020

#435 : Josh Smith - Live at the Spud




2020 – Flat V Studios
By Phillip Smith; March 7, 2020

I’ve been a fan of Josh Smith’s since reviewing his Don’t Give Up On Me album in 2013 for Blues Revue Magazine’s online zine BluesWax.  His 2015 album, Over Your Head album was another favorite.  It’s so cool to hear this new live recording of Josh playing at The Baked Potato in Studio City, California.  Comprised of back to back gigs on December 29 and 30, 2018, the album provides a nine-song retrospective of Smith’s last fifteen years.  With stellar musicians, drummer Gary Novak and bassist Travis Carlton backing him, Smith delivers one hell of a performance.

He kicks into top gear with a heavy dose of blues-rock on “How Long”.  It’s such a phenomenal jam with lots of beefy bass, crashing drums, and searing guitar.  “Pusher” sneaks up right behind with delightful boatload of funky jazz.  This thirteen-plus minute piece is colossal to say the least.  The funk is flying on “Letting You Go”, and I’m loving every bit of it.  Smith’s vocals are confident and bluesy and his guitar is white hot.  Novak crushes on drums.  An injection of fuzz bass from Carlton takes “When I Get Mine” to the next level.  It’s amazing.  I get goosebumps when they break into “Triple J Hoedown”, a magnificent western-rooted jam.  It’s a pure joy to listen to.

Spinning Live at the Spud this past week has definitely brightened my commutes to and from work.  I hope to see more live albums like this from Josh in the future.           

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For more information about the artist, visit this website.. www.joshsmithguitar.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, February 29, 2020

#434 : Bai Kamara Jr. & The Voodoo Sniffers - Salone


2020 – Moosicus Records

By Phillip Smith; Feb. 29, 2020

It didn’t take but one listen to Salone, the latest release from Bai Kamara Jr., to turn me into an instant fan.  This was my first exposure to Kamara and his music, and to put it bluntly, his songs have swept me off my feet.  Born the son of a former Sierra Leonne ambassador, Kamara who grew up in the UK and moved to Brussels where he has lived for over twenty-five years.  For Salone, his sixth album, he embraces his African heritage with fifteen fantastic all-original, self-produced songs rooted in blues, jazz, and funk. 

Kamara, with his six-string acoustic guitar, reminds me a lot of the current delta blues players.  His songs are intriguing and poignant.  He begins with “Can’t Wait Here Too Long”.  The song is highly infectious.  Kamara’s vocals are suave as he sings of empowerment on “Lady Boss”, a cool and funky blues track.  One of Kamara’s songs which have burrowed deep into my brain is “Black Widow”.  Spider-like percussive sounds are at the forefront of this deep-blues track which I utterly adore.  “Don’t Worry About Me” is an absolutely stunning song of overcoming hardships.  It reminds me a lot of the music of another favorite, Sixto Diaz Rodriguez.

Salone is a downright fascinating piece of work which deserves to be heard, and Bai Kamara Jr., with his brilliant songs, has definitely won me over.       



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For more information about the artist, visit this website: https://baikamara.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, February 22, 2020

#433 : Ben Rice & RB Stone - Out of the Box




2020 – Middle Mountain Music
Release Date : March 6, 2020

By Phillip Smith; Feb. 22, 2020


Out of the Box, a cigar box guitar project by Ben Rice and RB Stone caught my attention in a magnificent way.  Rice and Stone have written eleven original blues tracks which they perform using an assortment of cigar box guitars comprised of 6 and 4 string Washboards, Swampeast Cigar Box, and a Lobo Cigar Box.  Backing Rice and Stone on this self-produced project is drummer Dave Melyan, bassist Joseph Barton and Jimi Bott on tambourine.  Bott, the award-winning blues drummer who has played with the Fabulous Thunderbirds, and The Proven Ones, also recorded and mixed the record.

The guys bust out in full rockabilly style on “Hot Rod Mama”, both tearing it up on 6-string Washboards.  The slide sounds terrific, and their vocals are dynamic.  Melvan’s back-beat and Rice’s mesmerizing riff instills a relaxed North Mississippi vibe to “Easy Rollin’ Down the Road”.   Stone breaks out his harmonica on the delightfully cool retro track “Hoodoo Workin’ Overtime”.  There’s a bit of a Howlin’ Wolf essence about this one that I adore.  “Swamp East Boogie” puts a smile on my face with every listen as Stone lets loose on his SwampEast CBG.  The Southeast Missouri area they sing about is very familiar to me.   “Bad Blood on Mean Whiskey” has a menacing ambiance and a badass attitude that is irresistible.      

The grand finale of this splendid album is a song called “Lobo Jam”.  This four and a half minute instrumental jam consists of an edgy driving rhythm and lots of smoking slide guitar.  I absolutely love it.  This album is a must for blues and cigar box guitar fans.      

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For more information about these artists, visit their websites:  https://rbstone.com and https://www.benricelive.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.