Saturday, March 2, 2024

#664 : Brothers Brown - Nowhere Left to Go (


2024 – Woodward Avenue Records

Release Date Jan 12, 2024

By Phillip Smith; Mar. 2, 2024

Original source :

It’s been eight years since Brothers Brown released their debut album Dusty Road. Their follow-up record Nowhere Left to Go recently landed and is very much worth the wait. Founded by Grammy-nominated keyboardist/synth-master Brother Paul Brown of the Waterboys, and two-time Grammy-winning singer-songwriter/guitarist Paul Brown (George Benson, Al Jarreau, Norman Brown) the band also includes bassist/rhythm guitarist/vocalist David Santos (Billy Joel, John Fogerty, Elton John) and drummer/percussionist/guitarist Peter Young (Loretta Lynn, The Burrito Brothers). Together, they approach music much like Grateful Dead and Little Feat pushing genre-specific boundaries of rock, blues funk, and country.

I’m captivated from the beginning as the record rolls in on a super-melancholy wave of regret and loneliness with “Wrong Side of Town”. The way the guitar notes seem to float in mid-air with a Mark Knopfler-ish way sounds amazing as they naturally join forces with the keys. “Junior’s Back” puts me in a happy space with every listen. Once the bridge hits, I am thrown into the Phish-zone, and relish every bit of its expansive and wonderful jam. The Brothers Brown zero in on the Sixties Chicago blues sound with “My Baby”. It hits the bullseye dead center. “Chitlin’ Pickin’” is a grateful instrumental which fills the sky with sunshine and smiles. A driving rhythm slathered with grease and a cookin’ pulse pulls me into the delectable blues-rock anthem “Black and Blue”.      

The great Bobby Rush joins the Brothers Brown on title-track “Nowhere Left to Go” making for a soulful, funky treat.  Rush’s history of working with Brother Paul Brown stretches back for over twenty years, culminating in four albums, three Blues Music Awards, a Grammy nomination, and multiple concert tours.

Nowhere Left to Go receives a high recommendation from me. It’s a terrific album that just gets better with every listen.                                     



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Read the PhillyCheeze review for Brothers Brown’s Dusty Road album

Saturday, February 24, 2024

#663 : Memphis & the Misfits - Halfway to Number Nine (

2023 – Memphis & the Misfits

By Phillip Smith; Feb. 23, 2024

Original source :

Loaded with a fistful of swagger, Halfway to Number Nine, the debut album from Memphis & the Misfits has really caught my attention. Singer/songwriter/standup & electric bassist Gary Davis aka ‘Memphis’ explains “Every song on this album is based on real life events or inspirations…”. That explains why I can feel the DNA of the Mississippi Delta intertwined with every song. Born in the Delta and based out of Nashville, Tennessee, singer/songwriter/bassist Davis aka “Memphis” is joined by his band the Misfits comprised of guitarist Ryan Sise, drummer Dave Halstead, and additional guitarist Chris Voorhees.  

Davis pines for the slow-paced living in Number Nine, Arkansas as he brings the listener into the album with his cooking title track “Halfway to Number Nine”. Hearing Sise’s slide guitar on “Walk That Line” is an absolute treat. I love the way he baptizes this song in swamp juice.  The smoldering Texas blues of “Good Love” hits with a solid ZZ-Top/SRV-inspired wallop. It sounds great. Davis conjures up memories of good times with the swing-blues of “Ride these Mississippi Backroads”. I’m rapidly hooked and reeled in to “Hongry”, caught in the net of its infectious riff. I love when Sise lets loose and unleashes his blues-soaked performance.               

Memphis & the Misfits’ Halfway to Number Nine is an impressive eight tracks of original delta roots music. I’m already looking forward to their next album. 


Gary Davis aka 'Memphis'

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Saturday, February 17, 2024

#662 : Philip Sayce - The Wolves Are Coming (


2024 – Forty Below Records

By Phillip Smith; Feb. 17, 2024

Release Date : Feb. 23, 2024


Original source :

There’s a bright and fierce energy surrounding the music of LA-based blues-rocker Philip Sayce.  The tours-of-duty he ventured with alongside legends like Jeff Healy and Melissa Etheridge certainly pushed him to obtain his 10,000+ hours of experience, elevating him to his current level of greatness.  Loaded with explosive guitar performances, and drizzled with his soulful vocals, Sayce’s ninth and latest album The Wolves are Coming is an extraordinary listen.     

Sayce smashes the gates open with a Hendrix-inspired “Oh! That Bitches Brew”, leaving me gob smacked as I take in his unleashed arsenal of atomic guitar licks.  An infectious rhythm draws me into the funky, smoking anthem of “Babylon is Burning”.  I can’t help but feel his heart-felt emotions poured all over slow ballad “It’s Over Now”.  It is such a beautiful song.  His covers of John Lee Hooker’s “This is Hip” and Albert Collins' “The Moon is Full” both bring smiles to my face too.  I dig the high-octane track “Black Moon”.  Its pulsing rhythm and fuzzy guitar host a furious punch and hits like the go-to songs I loved from The White StripesSayce’s vocal and guitar performance are absolutely amazing on “Backstabber”.  With the force of a derecho, he tears the freaking roof off.

I highly recommend picking up Philip Sayce’s “The Wolves Are Coming”.  It’s superb from beginning to end. 


 For more information about the artist, visit this website :

Monday, February 12, 2024

#661 : Winter Blues Fest 2024 (


Winter Blues Fest 2024

Downtown Marriott

Des Moines, Iowa

February 10, 2024

By Phillip Smith; Feb. 12, 2024

Original source :


I finally made it to Des Moines for the Central Iowa Blues Society’s Winter Blues Fest, and it was a blast.  Although the festival runs for two days, I was only able to make it over to the Capital City for the Saturday shows which included Matt Woods, Studebaker John, Heath Alan’s Iowa Blues Expo, Rush Cleveland Trio, Gabe Stillman Band, Jimmi & the Band of Souls, Tony Holiday, Indigenous, Max Kaplan & the Magic, McKinley James, Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal, Tom Holland & the Shuffle Kings, Cashbox Kings, & Toronzo Cannon.   The Friday shows, which I unfortunately missed, consisted of Ben Levin Duo, Josh Hoyer, The Cold Stares, JD Simo, Mike Morgan & the Crawl, and Carolyn Wonderland.  With five stages for music, choices had to be made.  I did not get the opportunity to see everyone, but I did see some fantastic acts.  Although the snow and ice were kept at bay this year, there was certainly a “Blizzard of Blues” going on at Winter Blues Fest. 


·         * All photos by Phillip Smith 

Matt Woods

Jimmi & the Band of Souls


Heath Alan's Iowa Blues Expo

Tony Holiday

Rush Cleveland Trio

Studebaker John


Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal

Toronzo Cannon

·         * All photos by Phillip Smith 

For more information about Central Iowa Blues Society and Winter Blues Fest, visit their website at