Saturday, February 26, 2022 #544 > The Terraplanes Blues Band - Stepping Stones

2022 – Terraplanes Blues Band

By Phillip Smith; Feb. 25, 2022

Original source :


The Terraplane Blues Band from Bristol, UK absolutely tears it up on their new album Stepping Stones.  Produced by Richard Parsons, this twelve-track album of hot, original blues features Nick Scrase front and center on guitar and vocals.  The rest of the band is comprised of Eduardo Allen on harmonica, Tom Turner on drums, and Andy Wood on Bass.

Opening with “Highway 61” The Terraplanes Blues Band takes off with a driving rhythm, outlaw lyrics and humongous servings of searing harp.  It’s what one wants to hear from the first track.  Next up is “My Malaise” which grabs my attention with its playful and infectious riff.   This is indeed the makings of a Mississippi delta juke-joint jamboree.  Then “Get Along” rears its head and bites like a rattlesnake.  With the ferocity of those classic George Thorogood songs we all love, this one is entirely a big bowl of bliss.  Title track “Stepping Stones” has a bit of a North Mississippi hypnotic groove.  Its strong gravitational force pulls me right in to its lava-filled core.  Closing with “The Lonesome Crow”, the album comes to its end.  I can’t help but think of the final episode of Sons of Anarchy when I hear this one.  It’s such a beautiful song.

Stepping Stones is an absolutely brilliant album, and I highly recommend taking a listen to The Terraplane Blues Band                    


For more information about the artist, visit this website :

Available on Bandcamp

Saturday, February 19, 2022 #543 > Reverend Nathon - Volume 1


2022 – Reverend Nathon

By Phillip Smith; Feb. 19, 2022

Original source :

Volume 1, the debut album from Reverend Nathon swiftly grabbed my attention, and won my admiration with its kick-ass style of southern blues-rock.  This twelve-track, all-original recording is loaded with infectious rhythms and doused with Seventies psyche-rock.  It’s definitely a fun listen.  Hailing from the Lone Star State, Reverend Nathon is comprised of Nathon Dees on guitar and lead vocals, Gary Delz on drums, and Aaron Dees on bass guitar.

Reverend Nathon makes an ominous grand entry with “Darker Shade of Blues” an electric Texas-style blues song with a driving rhythm and vagabond-outlaw lyrics.  “Bi-Polar Blues” pulls me in tight with a deliciously greasy groove.  It masterfully sets the listener up for the main-event which features the good Rev’s psychedelic venture on guitar.  Nathon breaks out a magnificent dose of swampy slide on “Goin’ Fishin’”, a fitting anthem for beer-drinking sportsmen everywhere.  Heady lyrics and a beautiful melody make “Autumn Breeze” another stand-out song.  When I hear this one along with “Way it Could Have Been”, I’m immediately reminded of the ballads from one of my favorite bands Black Oak Arkansas.   Bringing Volume 1 to a close is “Golden Key”.  Its funky intoxicating rhythm and deeply-rooted lyrics make it a brilliant piece. 

I like this album so much; I honestly can’t wait to hear Volume 2.                            


For more information about the artist, visit this website :


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 12, 2022 #542 > Big Train and the Loco Motives - Red Dirt Blues! Live From Ground Zero Blues Club


2022 – Independent Release

By Phillip Smith; Feb. 12, 2022

Original source :


I first met Jimbo Madsen aka “Big Train” in 2019 at Clarksdale, Mississippi while in town for the Sunflower River Blues & Gospel Festival.  He was visiting from Oklahoma and was friends with the group I had traveled down to Mississippi with.   In 2021, I saw him in Clarksdale again for the same festival.  This time, he brought his band The Loco Motives and was booked to play the legendary Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale.  This eleven-track album is a recording of that captivating performance.  With Jimbo “Big Train” Madson on lead guitar and vocals, the Loco Motives are comprised of Mason “Thumper” Cullen on bass, Bill “Top Dog” Cummins on harmonica, and Mike “Pinebox” Lander on percussion.       

The choice of cover songs Madsen and his ‘red dirt’ blues band lean into validates the affinity they have for the blues artists who sprang forth from the Mississippi delta.  Right off the bat, they play Muddy Waters’ “Got My Mojo Working”, Willie Dixon’s “Built For Comfort” and John Lee Hooker’s “Bang Bang Bang Bang” as frontman Madsen sprinkles tidbits of blues trivia between songs.  They serve up a big plateful of simmering, electric-blues on “Hoochie Coochie Man” and certainly captured everyone’s attention.  I loved hearing their bodacious original “Baby I Ain’t Skinny No More”.  This blues song for foodies, mentions all that good southern food I crave but can’t get up here in Iowa.  Like a true bluesman, Madsen belts out “Make Love To You”, another Willie Dixon-penned song.  One cover song caught me totally by surprise, and that was “Glocoat Blues”, originally from the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and found on their 1974 album Stars & Stripes Forever.  This one put a big smile on my face for sure.  Bringing the album to its close is Elvis’ “Heartbreak Hotel”.  Madsen’s guitar tones are crisp and sound great.  

Big Train and the Loco Motives are unique and engaging.  Check out the album Red Dirt Blues! Live From Ground Zero Blues Club, and hit one of their shows if you get the chance. 


*All Photos by Phillip Smith

For more information about the artist, visit this website :


Available on Bandcamp

Saturday, February 5, 2022 #541 > Bob Corritore & Friends - Down Home Blues Revue


2022 – Vizztone/SWMAF

By Phillip Smith; Feb. 5, 2022

Original source :

I’ve really been enjoying the ‘From the Vaults’ albums spearheaded by blues harmonica marvel Bob Corritore.  The latest in the series, Down Home Blues Revue, features thirteen tracks of real-deal blues recorded between 1995 and 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The amazing roster of southern blues artists on this album had all played Corritore’s blues club The Rhythm Room, and recorded tracks with him while in town.  The artists featured on this wonderful album are Robert ‘Bilbo’ Walker, Tomcat Courtney, T-Model Ford, Henry Townsend, Smokey Wilson, Honeyboy Edwards, Pecan Porter, Al Garrett, Dave Riley, and Big Jack Johnson. 

I was so happy to see Robert ‘Bilbo’ Walker’s name on the credits.  It was through Jeff Konkel and Roger Stolle’s docu-series MoonShine & Mojo Hands, and their film M for Mississippi where I first heard Walker, and quickly became a fan.   Walker appears three times on this album with songs “Rooster Blues”, “Still a Fool”, and “Baby Baby Baby”.  Another name that brought a big smile to my face was Fat Possum recording artist T-Model Ford.  His renditions of Arthur Crudup’s “Mean Old Frisco and Howlin’ Wolf’s “I Asked For Water” are captivating.     

Tomcat Courtney, who sadly passed away just a year ago at the age of 91, gives an extraordinary performance with “Clara Mae” a hard-edged, straight-up blues song on the evils of crystal meth.  Honeyboy Edwards performs Robert Lockwood’s “Take a Little Walk With Me”, with Willie “Big Eyes” Smith on drums, and I soak every bit of it up.  Corritore rips it up on harmonica as Pecan Porter takes on Canned Heat’s “Lets Work Together”.  The groove on Dave Riley’s “Home in Chicago” runs deep, and sounds great.  With a swaggering approach, Big Jack Johnson electrifies “Bluebird Blues” originally by Sonny Boy Williamson I.  He and Corritore sound terrific together.

Fans of Mississippi delta blues will definitely want to pick up this album.  It’s an absolute gem.


 For more information about the artist, visit this website :


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, January 30, 2022 #540 > 'daBluesapalooza

The Olympic Southside Theater

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

January 29, 2022


By Phillip Smith; Jan. 30, 2022

Original source :


It was a fabulous night of blues last night at the Olympic South Side Theater in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  KCCK Jazz 88.3, is celebrating thirty years of playing ‘da Blues over the airwaves, and marked the occasion by hosting ‘daBluesapalooza, a five-hour blues show to honor Bob DeForest who started spinning the blues on KCCK in January of 1992.   John ‘Big Mo’ Heim who hosts The Big Mo Blues Show on Friday nights was also honored.

This special event featured the talents of several local area blues artists, making for a killer lineup of music which started with daBluesapalooza All-Stars comprised of BillyLee Janey, Dennis McMurrin, Nate Hines, Dan Johnson, Tom Giblin, and Eric Douglas.  Time seemed to fly as music continued throughout the evening from Craig Erickson Quartet, Homebrewed, Tanya English Band, Johnny Kilowatt featuring Alligator Records recording artist Gloria Hardiman, Molly Nova and the Hawk featuring Bryce Janey, John Resch & Doggin’ Out, and The Evan Stock Band.   

It was truly a special night.   


·         * All photos by Phillip Smith      

Dennis McMurrin, Dan Johnson, BillyLee Janey

Tom 'T-Bone' Giblin

Craig Erickson, Rob Haskell

Craig Erickson, Rob Haskell

Al Naylor, John Hall



Nate Hines, Eric Douglas, Dennis McMurrin

Dennis McMurrin, Dan Johnson

Dennis McMurrin, Dan Johnson, Al Naylor

Tanya English Band

Ed English, Johnny Kilowatt

Johnny Kilowatt, Ed English

Johnny Kilowatt, Gloria Hardiman, Ed English

Turk Krause, Molly Nova 

Bryce Janey

Molly Nova

Bryce Janey

Evan Stock

Evan Stock Band

Evan Stock Band

Evan Stock Band

·         * All photos by Phillip Smith 

Saturday, January 29, 2022 #539 > Grande Revival - Liberty Station

2021 – Grooveyard Records

 By Phillip Smith; Jan. 29, 2022

Original source : ©


Renowned recording artists Craig Erickson, and ‘Dirty’ Dave Osti recently teamed up as Grande Revival to record a hands-down, kick-ass album of guitar-centric blues-rock songs called Liberty Station.  Penning five tracks each, Erickson and Osti take turns singing their songs, rocking the sound of dual guitars with Anthony James Tuco on bass, and Cosmo Benz on drums.  Having two alpha powerhouse guitarists on each song makes for an amazing listen.

“Scars on the Road”, kicks the saloon-doors open as Dirty Dave fearlessly rips it up on guitar keeping the riffs infectious and the licks hotter than hell.  Smothered generously with his whisky-soaked vocals, this one fully grabs my attention.  The mellow groove Erickson weaves through “Cabin in the Country” pulls me right in.  The tones he harvests from his guitar bring to mind those of Tommy Bolin’s “Wild Dogs”.  Osti’s vocal styling topped with harmonizing guitars instill a huge Black Oak Arkansas vibe in title-track “Liberty Station”.  This southern-rocker is ear-candy for the guitar-lovers soul and features guest guitarist Stavros Papadopoulos from Greece.  “Gypsy Southern Highway”, another Osti song, immediately follows, breaking free of its gentle, melodic beginning and evolves into a phenomenal, fierce, hard-driving jam.  “Sweet Comfort of Love” embraces the sounds of Seventies southern-rock in an Allman Brothers kind of way, as Erickson sings about searching for love.  “Big River Moon” brings the album to its close in a grand way.  Osti and Erickson sound great together.

Liberty Station is a terrific debut album from Grande Revival.  I hope to hear more from these guitar masters in the future.




Available at Grooveyard Records :


Or 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 22, 2022

#538 : Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip - Whole 'Nutha Thang


2021 – Ruf Records

By Phillip Smith; Jan. 22, 2022

I’ve been a fan of Finnish, award-winning blues artist/bandleader Micke Bjorklof since reviewing his 2014 release After the Flood.   Bjorklof and Blue Strip had recorded four albums prior.  One of those being 2007’s Whole ‘Nutha Thing, originally released only in Scandinavia.  That album is now remastered and re-released by Ruf Records to help celebrate Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip’s thirty-year anniversary of being a touring band.  Recorded in London and produced by Neil Brokbank, this landmark record redefined the band’s sound.  With Bjorklof on lead vocals and harmonica, the band consists of Lefty Leppanen on slide/guitars, Seppo Nuolikoski on bass/piano, Teemu Vuorela on drums, and Roiko-Jokela on percussion/vibraphone/keys.  The eleven-track album also features guest appearances by Geraint Watkins (Paul McCartney, Bill Wymann ,Van Morrison, Mark Knopfler) on keys, and horn players from Van Morrison’s band at the time, Matt Holland on trumpet/flugel horn and Martin Winning on saxophone.  

With a Dylan-esque swagger, “Jungle Cat” strolls through with a delicious dose of twangy slide and barrel-house piano.  Bjorklof goes into full swing on “Back to my Room”.  Leppanen’s guitar performance is stunning and the rhythm section is amazingly tight.  This is one to jump, jive and wail to.  A whimsical, hypnotic melody speckled with slide creates the dreamy quality in “I Fell Down From the Tree (When I Saw Robert Johnson Pass Me By)”.  “Grapesugar Love” breaks out the funk in a big juicy way with bodacious blasts of brass mixed with a huge dose of swampy slide.  It’s vibrant and absolutely wonderful.  Time stands still as a melancholy wave washes over me with each listen of “Silver Moon”.  Bjorklof’s silky smooth vocals sound fantastic against this beautiful piano-led melody which brings Whole ‘Nutha Thang to its end.

Micke Bjorklof and Blue Strip never cease to amaze me.   They are surely among my favorites. 


For more information about the artist, visit this website :


Previous PhillyCheeze reviews featuring Micke Bjorklof:


Micke & Lefty (feat Chef ) – Let the Fire Lead


Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip – Twentyfive Live at Blues Baltica


Southpaw Steel ‘n’ Twang – Stat(u)e of Mind


Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip – Ain’t Bad Yet


Southpaw Steel ‘n’ Twang – Hale’s Pleasure Railway


Micke Bjorklof & Blue Strip – After the Flood




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 15, 2022

#537 : Bernard Allison - Highs & Lows


2022 – Ruf Records

By Phillip Smith; Jan. 15, 2022


Bernard Allison is one of those artists who I totally admire, and I’m absolutely thrilled to hear fresh music from him.  Highs & Lows, his latest album is hands-down fantastic.  Produced by Grammy Award winner Jim Gaines, this eleven-track blues album is a slice of perfection.  The core of Allison’s top-notch band consists of George Moye on bass guitar, Dylan Salfer on rhythm guitar and Steve Potts on drums.

Energy levels are high as Allison fearlessly hits the ground running on “So Excited”.  It’s great to hear him blaze full-throttle on guitar.  This is exactly what I was hoping for on an opening song.  Title-track “Highs & Lows” rolls out with its funky, infectious riff and pulls me right in.  Guitar in hand, Canadian blues artist Colin James joins Allison in a juicy duet of Texas-style electric blues on “My Way or the Highway”.  The swampy sounds of the Mississippi delta are quite infused into “Side Step”, making it one of my favorite songs on the disc.  What a pleasant surprise it is to hear Bobby Rush accompany Allison on “Hustler”.  His distinctive voice and harp playing are delivered in his usual suave approach and it’s fun to hear him collaborate with Allison. 

I love that Allison pays tribute to his father, Chicago blues legend Luther Allison by recording two of his songs.  The first up is the 1974 single “Now You Got It” off the album Luther’s Blues.  This is Seventies soul-blues at its best.  Immediately following is “Gave it All”, from Luther’s 1994 album Soul Fixin’ Man.  It swoops me right up in its cozy warm arms for an intoxicating horn-infused listen.  Allison's performance on this is downright breathtaking.

Lows & Highs ends with a blast of funky downhome blues with “Last Night”.  Lyrically timeless, this song hits on every cylinder, and I dig every bit of it.  Allison pours everything he has into this guitar performance, making it a huge standout. 

This is an album that delivers the goods with each and every song.  It’s terrific through and through.       



 For more information about the artist, visit this website :


Past PhillyCheeze reviews featuring Bernard Allison :

PhillyCheeze's Rock & Blues Reviews: #313 : Bernard Allison - Let it Go (


PhillyCheeze's Rock & Blues Reviews: #347 : Czech Village Blues - Aug 11, 2018 featuring Ruf Record's Blues Caravan (

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

Saturday, January 8, 2022

#536 : Roy Roberts - Covering the Years


2022 – Rock House Records

By Phillip Smith; Jan. 8, 2022

Growing up in Tennessee, Roy Roberts was exposed to a variety of music, but it was Jimmy Reed’s song “Baby What You Want Me to Do” which inspired him to get his first guitar.  Over the years, Roberts has backed acts such as Solomon Burke, Eddie Floyd, “Little” Stevie Wonder, Dee Clark, and Otis Redding.  His From the mid-sixties Roberts worked as a session man and recorded several 45’s.   When disco music became more popular, he switched over to country music for ten years, and toured with O.B. McClinton.   This new eleven-track album Covering the Years is a collection of his songs commemorating sixty-plus years in the music profession.  It captures his journey quite nicely. 

Roberts’ horn-infused Seventies soul ballad “You’re So Sweet” is absolutely delightful.  This feel-good song puts a grin on my face with each and every listen.  “Love on the Line” hearkens back to the smooth sounds of The Cornelius Brothers.  It’s definitely one of my favorites.  Roberts serves up some straight-up Porter Wagoner-style country with steel guitar accompaniment by Rick Nathy on “Can’t Find My Angel”.  There’s a hint of B.B. King and Robert Cray in “Born to Sing the Blues”.  Roberts totally owns the vocals as Eric Callands brings it on keys.  The sweet sound of southern soul oozes out every pore of “Can’t Go On” in a magical way.  I really like this one. 

It’s most interesting to hear Roy Roberts as he visits the musical touchstones of his life.  Whether rooted in R&B, blues, country, or soul, the songs in Covering the Years are all from the heart.  


For more information about the artist, visit this website :

Saturday, January 1, 2022

#535 : Robert Connely Farr - Ain't Enough


2021 – Robert Connely Farr

By Phillip Smith; Jan. 1, 2022

Ain’t Enough was recorded at Hipposonic Studios in Vancouver, BC, and marks Robert Connely Farr’s ninth studio album, and first solo acoustic album.   What I love about Farr’s music is that it’s deep, meaningful, and baptized in the blues.  Nominated for 2019 Maple Blue Awards for Songwriter of the Year and New Artist of the Year, Farr was mentored by 2021 Grammy nominee Jimmy ‘Duck’ Holmes.  This mentorship with Holmes is key in Farr’s devotion to keep the Bentonia Blues legacy moving forward.  Holmes, owner of the world’s oldest juke-joint The Blue Front CafĂ© in Bentonia, Mississippi, was mentored by Henry Stuckey who also taught Skip James.  One can feel the history of the handed-down teachings in Farr’s songs.   

Like Townes Van Zandt, John Prine,and Bruce Springsteen, Farr has the magic to pull the listener in to his world to experience the good with the bad.  This is very much so as Farr reels me in with title-track “Ain’t Enough”.  It totally sets the tone of the album.  Performed on a twelve-string, his cover of Jimmy ‘Duck’ Holmes’ “Going Away to Leave” is absolutely breathtaking with its ominous and hypnotic riff.  A wave of emotion overcomes me when I hear him sing about his gut-wrenching battle with cancer in “I Get By”.  Farr’s infectious rolling melody swoops me up as he paints a clear picture of economic inequalities in “Getting’ Richer Blues”.  It’s such a badass song.

Ain’t Enough is a striking album of real-deal blues.  Farr’s lyrics cut to the bone and his melodies are beautifully haunting.               



 For more information about the artist, visit this website:


Available on Bandcamp

Sunday, December 26, 2021

#534 : PhillyCheeze's Favorite 20 of 2021


By Phillip Smith; Dec.25, 2021


PhillyCheeze's Favorite 20 of 2021

(in alphabetical order)

Gov't Mule - Heavy Load Blues

Corey Harris - The Insurrection Blues

Tony Holiday's Porch Sessions - Volume 2

Seth Lee Jones - Flathead

Joseph and the Velozians

Jujubees - Where Are We Now

Kingfish - 662

Larkin Poe & Nu Deco Ensemble - Paint the Roses

Memphissippi Sounds - Welcome to the Land

Miss Lady Blues - Moe Betta Blues

Tony Spinner - Love is the Answer

Sugarmill Slim

Carolyn Wonderland - Tempting Fate

Ghalia Volt - One Woman Band

The Spotify Playlist