Category Archives: Fresh Biscuits

Fresh Biscuits! New CD Reviews

There were a lot of great Blues albums that came out so far this year and unfortunately some that aren’t so great. I’ve been away from reviews for a while and focusing on other things but we’re back and our upcoming reviews will sort through the junk so you don’t have to. Let’s hit it!

JaneLeeHookerNoBJane Lee Hooker
No B!
Released on April 15, 2016

If Sass Jordan formed a blues band called AC/DC it would sound like Jane Lee Hooker and she’d make us all believers. The real Jane Lee Hooker is a no-nonsense, no frills, no-fucking-chance-of-hearing-anything-pretty street fighting New York City bunch of Rock & Rollers high on Blues power and Hell bent on riding on Howlin’ Wolf’s God damned shoulders out into the shadowy alleys of your soul. With their debut album No B! on Ruf Records they bring along tough original songs like “In The Valley” and high octane covers like “Mean Town Blues” and “Shake For Me,” and their version of “Mannish Boy” will have the North Carolina potty police checking their hardware, if you know what I mean.

Guitarists High Top and Tina ‘T Bone’ Gorin played together in Helldorado from 1997-2001 before a host of personnel issues killed that band. In 2013 they reconvened and have been bringing their raucous guitar sparring to the masses ever since with Jane Lee Hooker. Singer Dana “Danger” Athens earns her name on every track on No B! as the band courageously occupies an improbable space where Punk, Blues, and Rock & Roll collide. You can’t fake this music and anyone who tries will probably get run over by a biker with a Jane Lee Hooker tattoo. And it would serve them right.
AlbertCastigliaBigDogAlbert Castiglia
Big Dog
Released on May 20, 2016

Big Dog continues the upward march of Albert Castiglia’s career and reputation as a hard hitting singer and guitarist. Big Dog has all the blazing guitars you come you expect but every song is a keeper which is a high-water mark for any artist. The album blasts off with a solid punch in your slick, pop-blues loving face. “Let The Big Dog Eat” is strutting, grunting, fighting, biting, no-punches-pulled back alley dog fight with the leader of the pack coming to claim what has been rightfully surrendered. Much of Big Dog falls into the realm of funky, gritty, dirty, and stanky. From the grooves to the guitar tones and snarl in his voice Albert infects the music with a nasty South Side Trojan horse virus that will actually cure your Blues.

Harp maestro Johnny Sansone sits in on two tracks, getting mean and evil on “Where The Devil Makes His Deals.” Producer Mike Zito wrote and performs on “Don’t Let Them Fool Ya” and together they tag team that track like a college Lacrosse team on Saturday night. Zito has been a common thread in many of the best blues albums of the last few years including a few of his own. He certainly inspired to Albert to play his best and sing from the soul. Albert is clearly hitting his stride as a well-rounded musician. Albert’s voice sounds great on Big Dog. It is strong, deep, and authoritative. He sings with conviction and his emotions sell the songs regardless of the words. As for the guitar playing, this is is my kind of album. From gutbucket slide to razor sharp Albert King licks and all points in between Big Dog has it. if Albert Castiglia comes near your town, do not hesitate; just “Get Your Ass In The Van” and go.

 

MorelandArbucklePromisedLandOrBustMoreland & Arbuckle
Promised Land Or Bust
Released on May 6, 2016

Promised Land Or Bust is a return to the hard blues by this workhorse band from Kansas. They are ready to rumble and the rumble in these grooves is deep and wide. Once again this trio presents the Blues in a familiar yet fresh fashion which blends everything from Little Walter to Soundgarden into a denim and sweat smoothie that will put boots on your feet and hair on your face. The band eschews cliches of classic and modern blues and even though songs like “Mean And Evil” touch on common themes they are addressed from new perspectives. The lyrics examine loneliness, desperation, atonement, and redemption. Even their brilliant choice of covers like Mike Hosty’s murder ballad “Hannah” and Ryan Taylor’s bleak “Why’d She Have To Go (and Let Me Down)” blend seamlessly with their own meditations on the heart of darkness. Few bands can walk the tightrope between visceral and cerebral and even fewer can capture us in that nexus like Moreland & Arbuckle. Their songs will punch you in the gut, explain to you why it had to be done and by the way, it’s for your own good!

Drummer Kendall Newby is the unsung and un-named secret weapon of Moreland & Arbuckle. His powerful yet nuanced drumming makes him the John Bonham of Roots and Blues. He drives “Mean & Evil” to the precipice of Hell, lays down a full court press on “I’m A King Bee” and underscores the melancholic majesty of “Mount Comfort.” Since joining the band about five years ago he has put his stamp on their whole catalog but his contributions to the new music cannot be overlooked. Elsewhere, Promised Land Or Bust offers delicate beauty on “Waco Avenue,” and the raucous shuffle they have perfected is represented by “Woman Down In Arkansas” and the marauding “Long Way Home.”

Moreland & Arbuckle have been together under their own moniker for over ten years and they continue to move from strength to strength. For me, their last album 7 Cities was perfect in every way but it stepped away from the blues farther than any of their previous efforts. Promised Land Or Bust returns the band to the Blues. It is a crowd-funded effort through a Kickstarter campaign and their persistence and dedication to the music and the dedication of their fans paid off when Alligator Records picked them up. Their ten years of toils have landed them on the premier Blues label in the world. The Promised Land is on the horizon and closing fast. You owe it to yourself to join them for the journey.

 

JimSuhlerLiveAtTheKesslerJim Suhler & Monkey Beat
Live At The Kessler
Released On June 17, 2016

I love a good live album and Live At The Kessler doesn’t let me down. Jim Suhler & Monkey Beat are red hot, tight, and rocking. They blend Rock & Roll, Zydeco, Blues, Boogie Woogie, and more into a concert experience full of highlights and plenty of music that will make you dance. From the opening classic Texas Shuffle of “I Declare” to the new song “Doin’ The Best I Can” the tone is set to good times, big grooves, and deep rhythm pockets. About midway, they take it down for a bit to let you catch your breath. “Texassippi” is a sweet tea sipping back porch hymn, “Reverie” offer elegiac repose before the swirling storm of “Sunday Drunk.” The set is closed by a slide guitar tour de force called “Restless Soul” which interpolates “Bullfrog Blues” wherein Suhler name-drops Rory Gallagher and lets it rip for a Rory style rave up.

Suhler is a tasteful and skilled guitar player. He plays things that fit the songs but he unleashes the big guns at all the right times too. His licks can bring you in close and tight or knock the Stetson right off your head and pin it to the roadhouse rafters. The band is locked in like a fine Swiss watch. Each piece fits and elements like accordion blend to make a deceptively spicy gumbo. Altogether Live At The Kessler is rip roaring fun and an excellent overview of Jim Suhler & Monkey Beat’s catalog of tunes and styles. It’s a brilliant primer for those unfamiliar with their work. Be sure to check out Jim Suhler’s website where he is offering fans two special digital downloads: “Lipstick Pickup,” co-written by Jim with Ray Wylie Hubbard and performed by Jim Suhler & Monkey Beat and “Chasin’ Down the Devil,” written and recorded by Jim with the Tejas Brothers. For more live action from Jim Suhler, you can catch him and the band live in person or see Jim as a member of George Thorogood & The Destroyers.

 

AnniPiperMoreGuitarsThanFriendsAnni Piper
More Guitars Than Friends
Released on February 17, 2016

Anni Piper is a lovely woman and based on her album covers, she know it. All too often, if an artist is showing T&A on an album cover it’s to distract you from the music contained therein. Sadly that is again the case with More Guitars Than Friends. Truly, her songs are not bad but they are just too blah for the Blues. They take a rocket ship to the lowest common denominator and for music lovers looking for that elusive X-factor, it won’t be found here. We’ve heard all this before. After hearing this album for the first time I was surprised to learn Anni Piper won the Best New Talent award at the 2005 Australian Blues Music Awards. Australia gave us the Blues of Dave Hole and Fiona Boyes. The music on More Guitars Than Friends is far, far removed from what I imagine, at my peril apparently, all Australians worth their salt would like. I imagine rough and tumble rabblerousers with booming amps and wicked riffs but then again I probably listen to too much AC/DC.

Anni Piper sings in a sultry style and she is a capable singer. She would probably have a great career if she moved to Nashville. She has the look and voice that could make her a huge star of Pop Country. I don’t like writing reviews like this. I know artists put a lot of work into their music and they are rightfully proud of their success. I’ve never put out an album and I truly respect everyone who has taken the gamble and made it to that point. But this is Blues. This is the music of Son House, Charley Patton, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Bessie Smith, and Koko Taylor. I get countless discs from Blues musicians, some established and some weekend warriors hoping to quit the day jobs. Recently there have been too many albums with formulaic blues, slick production, vapid lyrics, and guitar soloists hitting me over the head with Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Albert King licks. Sometimes I have to wonder if they ever even heard Albert. I suppose I decided to take a stand on this one because of the cover. Anni flaunts her curves on other album covers and her promotional materials. When so much skin is uncovered you have to wonder what is being covered up, like bad music.

Eye catching covers are important but the music has to live up to the promise of a great album cover. When your cover is the singer in a sensual pose showing off her curves it seems you’re counting on sexual arousal for album sales. And if you look like a 10 your album better not be a 2. Sure, Blues has a glorious history of sexuality but it’s also about passion. Outer beauty invokes a response but inner beauty builds passion. There is no inner beauty here. If this slick pabulum fuels your passion then you may be a soulless, hollow cyborg ready-programmed for Clear Channel’s homogenized corporate radio. But you’re a Blues fan right? You deserve better than this.

 

Thanks for checking out our reviews. Here is a sampler of the music covered in this post. Let us know what you think on Facebook and Twitter!

Fresh Biscuits! New Releases For June 17, 2016

At long last our weekly roundup of new releases is back. This a great week to return, with amazing new live releases from Walter Trout and Omar Coleman, a terrific new studio album from the powerful Alexis P. Suter Band, new music from Sammy Eubanks, and at last an album that features John Primer with his road band.

Walter Trout drops the new Alive In Amsterdam while still out on the road for the Battle Scars Tour in the US and Europe, but the disc contains songs pulled from every era of Walter’s five-decade career. Walter has mesmerized guitar fans around the globe with his masterful phrases and unique style and is a three-time winner of the Overseas Artist Of The Year title at the British Blues Awards, and is also a three-time Blues Music Awards nominee. Walter is back and feeling strong after his major health issues almost ended not just his career but his life. He’s back out there ripping up on the road and now you can sample what you’ll get when you see him live.

Alexis P. Suter has been nominated twice for Blues Music Awards in the KoKo Taylor Vocalist of the year and Soul/Blues Vocalist categories. The Alexis P. Suter Band started winning fans as regular performers at Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble and have been wowing audiences at North American Roots and Blues festivals, events, and venues ever since. The intensity of this powerhouse band will continue to capture attention with All For Loving You, the follow-up to the critically acclaimed Love The Way You Roll CD.

Jim Suhler ranks among the best of Texas’ guitar slingers like Johnny Winter, Billy Gibbons and Stevie Ray Vaughan and is also a member of George Thorogood’s Destroyers. His previous Underworld Releases have been nominated for Blues Blast Music Awards. Live At The Kessler showcases Jim’s ferocious guitar skills, songwriting and his smooth vocals.

That Will Never Do is a live recording from May 2015 and is the first in long time to include John Primer’s own Real Deal Blues Band. The band features Melvin Smith on bass who played with both Koko Taylor and Lurrie Bell, Bill Lupkin on harmonica who played with all the Chicago greats, and Lenny Media on drums who played with the one and only Magic Slim.

Omar Coleman’s Live At Rosa’s Lounge showcases one of the funkiest Chicago Blues bands you’ll ever hear. If Willie Dixon wrote songs for the Meters it might get this funky. The rock and roll with intensity too and Omar’s powerful vocals and harp bring it all together.

Last this week is Sugar Me from Northwest sensation Sammy Eubanks. Sammy has won the Best Male Vocalist award 10 times in the state of Washington. He and the band have won multiple NW music awards and recognition including advancing to the semi-finals at the 2013 International Blues Challenge. Recorded in Nashville, Sugar Me highlights Sammy Eubanks vocal talents and includes guest appearance by Reese Wynans of Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble and Guitarist Bob Britt who has played with Delbert McClinton.

Lots of great new releases this week; be sure to collect them all!

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Walter Trout

Walter Trout Alive In Amsterdam

The Alexis P. Suter Band

The Alexis P. Suter Band All For Loving You

Jim Suhler & Monkey Beat

Jim Suhler & Monkey Beat Live At The Kessler

John Primer and Real Deal Blues Band

John Primer and Real Deal Blues Band That Will Never Do

Omar Coleman

Omar Coleman Live At Rosa’s Lounge

Sammy Eubanks

Sammy Eubanks Sugar Me

Check out a few tracks from these new releases with our latest Spotify Playlist

Moonshine & Mojo Hands – Blues Reality Show Coming In April

World’s First Blues Music Reality Show To Launch in April

Moonshine & Mojo Hands reunites creators of award-winning documentaries M for Mississippi and We Juke Up in Here

MoonshineMojoHands-1
(CLARKSDALE, MS) – The long-awaited premiere of the world’s first blues music reality show will take place this spring. The first episode of Moonshine & Mojo Hands: The Mississippi Blues Series will begin streaming online on Thursday, April 21 with additional episodes to debut each week. The entire 10-episode series will stream exclusively online at www.moonshineandmojohands.com.

The web series was created by Roger Stolle and Jeff Konkel, who previously teamed up on the award-winning blues documentaries M for Mississippi: A Road Trip Through the Birthplace of the Blues and We Juke Up in Here: Mississippi’s Juke Joint Culture at the Crossroads.

For the new project, the duo traveled Mississippi’s back roads in search of juke joints, house parties, barbecue, soul food, folk artists, moonshiners and – of course – the men who keep the uniquely American music form of the blues alive in the land of its birth. The show will feature a wide range of musicians both celebrated and obscure. Featured artists include James “Super Chikan” Johnson, Leo Bud Welch, Jimbo Mathus, Robert “Bilbo” Walker, Mark “Muleman” Massey, Terry “Harmonica” Bean, Lucious Spiller, Louis “Gearshifter” Youngblood and many more.

“There’s no denying that many of the towering figures in traditional blues have passed on in recent years, but there are still incredible blues musicians living and working in Mississippi if you know where to look,” Konkel said. “And we know where to look.”

Each episode of Moonshine & Mojo Hands will take viewers on a wild ride through the Mississippi Delta and Hill Country to meet the region’s most fascinating characters in truly unforgettable settings.

“There’s truly no place else on Earth quite like Mississippi,” Stolle said. “We can’t wait to introduce viewers to all of the great music, food, culture and characters that the state has to offer.”

MoonshineMojoHands-2

The series reunites Stolle and Konkel with Damien Blaylock and Lou Bopp, both of whom figured prominently in the duo’s earlier film projects. Blaylock, who served as cinematographer and editor for both M for Mississippi and We Juke Up in Here, is serving as chief editor for the new series. Bopp is reprising his role behind the camera from We Juke Up in Here.

The web series also features cinematography by Jon Michael Ryan of Tangent Mind, Inc., audio engineering by Fred Early, editing support from Jeff Brierly, graphic design support from Joey Grisham and website support from Anne Willis.

The show was made possible through support from Coahoma County Tourism, The Lofts at the Fime & Dime, Travel for Fans, Yazoo Pass Espresso Bar, Bistro & Bakery and the generous contributions of hundreds of Kickstarter supporters.

Moonshine & Mojo Hands is a joint production of Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art and Broke & Hungry Records.

MoonshineMojoHandsLogo

For more information, contact
Roger Stolle at roger@cathead.biz or
Jeff Konkel at jeff@brokeandhungryrecords.com
Photos by Lou Bopp:
1. Gospel-bluesman Leo “Bud” Welch during filming, near Calhoun City, MS.
2. RL Boyce yard party in Como, MS, with show hosts Roger Stolle (L) and Jeff Konkel (R).

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Fall New Releases For Your Christmas List

It’s the holiday season again and that mean gift giving. This fall there has been a treasure trove of Blues new releases and you’re sure to find something for all the Blues lovers on your shopping list and maybe even something for yourself.  Guitar fans will find Mike Zito, Walter Trout, Todd Wolfe, Tommy McCoy, Popa Chubby, Gary Clark Jr., Dave Weld, Jay Willie, Leslie West, Tommy Castro, and Arlen Roth‘s Slide Guitar Summit. Legends like Robert Cray and John Mayall have new releases. Harp fans can dig into new releases from Chris O’Leary, Harmonica Shah, Charlie Musselwhite, and an expansive collection from Ruf called Blues Harp Women. If a blues fan on your list has been very good this year you might consider getting them the omnibus 14 disc Paul Butterfield complete albums box set. You’ve been good this year right? Get yourself one too.

There’s a mess o’ blues this year so grab an eggnog, dig in deep and check out these hot new items from the last few months. Check your list twice, there’s a lot you don’t want to miss!

Andy Santana

Andy Santana & The West Coast Playboys Watch Your Step!

Anthony Geraci

Anthony Geraci & The Boston Blues All-Stars Fifty Shades Of Blue

Arlen Roth

Arlen Roth Slide Guitar Summit

Joe Bonamassa

Joe Bonamassa Live At Radio City Music Hall

Walter Trout

Walter Trout Battle Scars

Leslie West

Leslie West Soundcheck

Tommy Castro

Tommy Castro Method To My Madness

Kim Simmonds & Savoy Brown

Kim Simmonds & Savoy Brown The Devil To Pay

John Mayall

John Mayall Find A Way To Care

Mike Zito & The Wheel

Mike Zito & The Wheel Keep Coming Back

Paul Butterfield

Paul Butterfield Complete Albums: 1965-1980 14 Disc Box set

Shemekia Copeland

Shemekia Copeland Outskirts Of Love

Danielle Nicole

Danielle Nicole Wolf Den

Duke Robillard

Duke Robillard The Acoustic Blues & Roots of Duke Robillard

Joe Louis Walker

Joe Louis Walker Everybody Wants A Piece

Guy Davis

Guy Davis Kokomo Kidd

MonkeyJunk

MonkeyJunk Moon Turn Red

Various Artists

Various Artists Blues Harp Women

Jonn Del Toro Richardson

Jonn Del Toro Richardson Tengo Blues

Steve Howell & The Mighty Men

Steve Howell & The Mighty Men Friend Like Me

The  Jimmys

The Jimmys Hot Dish

Colin Linden

Colin Linden Rich In Love

King Louie & LaRhonda Steele

King Louie & LaRhonda Steele King Louie & LaRhonda Steele

Lara Price

Lara Price I Mean Business

Eric Bibb and JJ Milteau

Eric Bibb and JJ Milteau Lead Belly’s Gold

Kevin Selfe

Kevin Selfe Buy My Soul Back

Thorbjorn  Risager & The Black Tornado

Thorbjorn Risager & The Black Tornado Songs From the Road

The Claudettes

The Claudettes No Hotel

Dave Weld And The Imperial Flames

Dave Weld And The Imperial Flames Slip Into A Dream

Mitch Woods

Mitch Woods Jammin’ On the High Cs

Chris O'Leary

Chris O’Leary Gonna Die Tryin’

The Robert Cray Band

The Robert Cray Band 4 Nights of 40 Years Live

Gary Clark Jr.

Gary Clark Jr. The Story of Sonny Boy Slim

Laurence Jones

Laurence Jones What’s It Gonna Be

Harmonica Shah

Harmonica Shah If You Live To Get Old, You Will Understand

Dudley Taft

Dudley Taft Skin and Bones

Jay Willie

Jay Willie Johnny’s Juke Joint

Charlie Musselwhite

Charlie Musselwhite I Ain’t Lyin’

Dave & Phil Alvin

Dave & Phil Alvin Lost Time

Popa Chubby

Popa Chubby Big, Bad And Beautiful – Live

Nikki Hill

Nikki Hill Heavy Hearts Hard Fists

Loren Connors

Loren Connors Live In New York

Les Copeland

Les Copeland To Be In Your Company

Todd Wolfe Band

Todd Wolfe Band Long Road Back

Andy Cohen

Andy Cohen Road Be Kind

The JC Smith Band

The JC Smith Band Love Mechani

Andy Poxon

Andy Poxon Must Be Crazy!

Tommy McCoy

Tommy McCoy 25 Year Retrospective

Al Basile

Al Basile B’s Expression

Barry Levenson – The Visit – Featured CD Review

BarryLevensonTheVisitBarry Levenson

The Visit

Rip Cat Records

Released on July 17, 2015

Barry Levenson is a Los Angeles-based producer, arranger, studio musician, and live performer. After you hear him you get the impression he could play anything and he does. You could say his day job is making music as a hired hand for a multitude of projects from up and coming Popsters to movie soundtracks and TV bumpers. His hands may be required to do it all but his heart makes its home in the realm of Blues and Jazz. Originally from Pittsburgh, he’s been all over the geographical map as well. He studied music in Boston, toured the world with Canned Heat and currently works in Los Angeles. Barry is into old school tones and tunes and he concocts masterful musical excursions which perfectly suit his tasteful, sometimes delicate, and always melodic playing. On his new album, The Visit, from Rip Cat Records, Barry brings his vast library of licks, riffs, and tones over to your house for a late night listening party.

The album opens with the genre defining riff of “I Wonder Why.” Several of Barry’s influences have done this song from Earl Hooker to Freddie King but Levenson offers a masterful instrumental version much like Otis Rush did on Right Place, Wrong Time. In one complete, cogent track Barry sets forth his mission statement for The Visit. He’s bringing all his musical inspirations together for your listening pleasure. Barry’s music exists in the sweet spots of Blues and Jazz. The notes are blue but the feeling is positive and uplifting. It’s the musical equivalent of one door opening as another closes. “I Wonder Why” has all these elements, with Barry exquisitely combining styles of Otis, Freddie, T-Bone and others into a Barry Levenson brew that hits all the right notes.

On “Ice Cold Kiss” Barry takes a vocal turn adding smooth, jazzy vocals over a smoky layer of late night blues accented by cascading piano and horn lines courtesy of Mike Thompson and Phil Krawzak respectively. It’s a mid tempo tune that evokes images of a smoky, dimly lit late night jazz club, the air thick with cigarette smoke, stale beer, and pheromones. Many of songs we hear during The Visit exude late night melancholy with some exception like opener “I Wonder Why,” and “It’s Mighty Crazy” which is just plain fun. Being a creature of the studio and Los Angeles, Barry’s personal musical pursuits probably find their reality in late night jams. The late night jams are an improviser’s playground and Barry’s knowledge and encyclopedia of guitar licks make him the top choice in any pick-up game, but that circumstance surely informs the music he creates. This is big city late night music.

The title track, “The Visit,” expertly weaves together jazz and blues. The breakdown in the middle starts with a jazzy rhythmic chorded solo that builds into a West Side Chicago Blues head cutting contest big finish before slipping into a swinging coda. You have to go back and listen to this one a few times to hear everything you missed. “This Time I’m Gone For Good” and album closer “You’re Gonna Need Me” features Billy Price on vocals. Billy is a well-known and respected soul singer whose latest album, This Time for Real, was recorded with Chicago soul singer Otis Clay. Guitar aficionados may remember Billy from his stint with Roy Buchanan. Barry Levenson is a player on par with Roy Buchanan and it’s great to hear Billy working with a less histrionic, but equally evocative player. The two men form a sympathetic duo that makes each song a special moment during The Visit.

Even before you hear the music, you get a hint of what is to come. The cover of The Visit looks like you’ve opened the front door around 10 pm to find Barry and his trusty guitar. He’s brought his friends Magic Sam, Otis Rush, and T-Bone Walker with him. He even brought along his old pal from Pittsburgh Billy Price to sing a few. “Have you heard of Grant Green?” Barry asks, and then plays some licks to remind you. It’s like the old days when people would bring records to a party and would actually listen to them and discuss what they heard. One song would inspire the next in a Round Robin of pre-internet music sharing. To me that’s what The Visit is all about. Don’t wait for Barry to knock on your door, schedule a visit for yourself and some friends with this terrific musical love letter to a time before playlists, Pandora, and ear buds.

The Visit is available at iTunes, Amazon, Rip Cat Records, and other outlets.

Fresh Biscuits! New Releases July 31, 2015

Holy Moley Biscuiteers! The new releases this past week are a guitar fan’s dream. Buddy Guy is possibly THE Blues guitar player of all time. From acoustic grooves to face melting electric pinwheels of blues jamming joy, Buddy can and has done it all. That’s probably why the usual Blues labels don’t have anything out this week. The album dropped just one day after Buddy’s July 30 birthday and even at 79 years young Buddy strikes fear in the hearts of pretenders to the throne. Born To Play Guitar is an obvious yet perfect title for a Buddy Guy album and he isn’t ready to stop yet. Like the title track says, “I got six strings loaded on my bad machine, show me the money and I’ll make this damn thing scream!” Yeah he will.

Grooveyard Records isn’t afraid of Buddy Guy. They have three new releases by powerhouse guitarists. Jay Jesse Johnson, Craig Erickson, and Bryce Janey all push the blues rock envelope with scorched earth, take no prisoners playing and writing. Warren Haynes is player known for his rough and tumble blues based playing too but this time around he has toned it down and recorded an album of acoustic based performances. His playing is reserved and subdued, offering gracefully delicate passages and and subtle slide licks which weave through the rich tapestry sewn by his conspirators from Railroad Earth. Other guests include Grace Potter and fellow Allmans Marc Quinones and Oteil Burbridge, plus Shawn Colvin and Mickey Raphael.

We put together a short Spotify playlist and featured a few tunes from last week’s new releases as well since not all of this week’s new albums are available on Spotify. The playlist is below the new releases list. Spotify is a great way to sample new music but if you like what you hear, please support the artists and buy the CDs or mp3s. The artists deserve to be paid for their work and streaming royalties are pretty much a joke.Also keep in mind that if you buy a CD from an artist at a show, they make almost twice as much from the sale than if you buy it through a retailer. Support live music and the artists and let’s keep this thing rollin’!

On a lighter note, we hope you find something interesting for your ears! Enjoy.

Buddy Guy

Buddy Guy Born To Play Guitar

Craig Erickson

Craig Erickson Sky Train Galaxy

Jay Jesse Johnson

Jay Jesse Johnson Set The Blues On Fire

Bryce Janey

Bryce Janey Delta Road

Warren Haynes Feat. Railroad Earth

Warren Haynes Feat. Railroad Earth Ashes & Dust

Fresh Biscuits! New Releases July 24, 2015

It’s time once again for new releases. There are a few interesting items this week. First up is a hot new record from Albert Cummings. The first time I heard this guy I didn’t know any of his songs. He arrived at Bluestock without his band, grabbed a couple volunteers to back him up and took the stage by storm (kinda like what the hurricane did to Bluestock). I was floored. I’ve been a fan ever since. For his new disc Someone Like You on Blind Pig, he worked with famed producer David Z and labelmate Jimmy Vivino who leads the Conan show’s Basic Cable Band and has spent time in Butterfield Revisited. Don’t miss this one, especially if you’re a fan of guitar driven blues.

Celebrating Muddy Waters’ centennial is Muddy Waters 100, an official and authorized tribute album featuring pretty much everyone ever. It has John Primer, Billy Branch, Gary Clark Jr., Shemekia Copeland, James Cotton, Bob Margolin, Keb’ Mo’, Derek Trucks, Johnny Winter, Vincent Bucher, Leanne Faine, Tim Gant, Khari Parker, James Teague, Steve Gibons, Keith Henderson, and the Living History Band which includes Matthew Skoller, Billy Flynn, Johnny Iguana, Felton Crews, Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith. I haven’t heard it yet but there’s a rumor that electronic drums were used on some of it. Why they would do such a horrible thing I don’t know, but hopefully it’s just a rumor. I thought I’d warn you anyway.

The latest Girls With Guitars dropped a little while back but we missed it, so in case you did too we included it this week. These are usually fun albums and spotlight talented young women making their mark in a male dominated world of guitar worship. I am one of those guitar worshipers and I always look forward to these sets. Eliana Cargnelutti, Sadie Johnson, and Heather Crosse are featured on this latest edition. Eliana Cargnelutti is an award-winning singer and guitarist. She has already shared the stage with the Crème de la Crème of the Italian blues scene and has also collaborated with renowned American jazz and blues guitarist Scott Henderson. At 18, Sadie Johnson may be the youngest musician ever on the Blues Caravan. This native of Bloomington, Indiana has proven equally adept at playing classic old-school country blues to modern-day blues-rock. Leading female artists like Samantha Fish and Susan Tedeschi have encouraged her commitment to the blues. Heather Crosse is also from the USA. She is a respected bassist from Clarksdale, Mississippi and her band Heavy Suga‘ & the SweeTones has appeared frequently at the world-famous Ground Zero Blues Club. This superb trio has upped the ante on future Girls With Guitars new releases for sure.

Beyond these, we have a new disc from Andra Faye & Scott Ballantine called Coulda Woulda Shoulda and the album Mighty Sam McClain was working on at the time of his death – Tears Of The World – with Knut Reiersrud. Lots of good stuff this week so I hope you find something interesting for your ears.

Albert Cummings

Albert Cummings Someone Like You

Andra Faye & Scott Ballantine

Andra Faye & Scott Ballantine Coulda Woulda Shoulda

Mighty Sam McClain

Mighty Sam McClain & Knut Reiersrud Tears of the World

Various Artists

Various Artists Muddy Waters 100

Eliana Cargnelutti, Sadie Johnson, Heather Crosse

Eliana Cargnelutti, Sadie Johnson, Heather Crosse Girls With Guitars

Fresh Biscuits! New Releases July 17, 2015

As of July 10, 2015, the day for new releases in the US has been changed to Friday to match the international new releases day. This rare instance of worldwide uniformity may help cut down pirating and will make music available at all outlets at the same time.

There have only been a few new releases from the world of Blues recently so here we present what has since the release day change on July 10. The list is eclectic and includes the third disc from the incredible Samantha Fish who is quickly rising through the ranks of blues musicians with her dynamic guitar playing, powerful voice, engaging songs, and authoritative stage presence. Lately she’s been incorporating cigar box and gas can guitars, adding a rustic rumble to many of her songs. Her slide playing is getting better all the time and she rips it up on the new disc Wild Heart.

Hammond B-3 wizard John Ginty is back with a strong new disc called No Filter. The title might allude to the fact there’s no filter when it comes to expressing himself musically. There is plenty of Blues on No Filter, but John takes listeners on trip around the musical solar system and stops at just about every planet. It’s another wonderful platter from this master keyboard player.

You may know Barry Levenson from his stint in Canned Heat, but Barry’s playing and writing extends far beyond the 15 minute boogie madness of the Heat. Barry is into old school tones and tunes and he concocts masterful musical excursions which perfectly suit his tasteful, sometimes delicate and always melodic playing. He plays things you wish you could play. Well I wish that, anyway. Make some time for The Visit and be prepared to pay attention while you sit back and listen to this sublime offering from a true master.

Speaking of master guitarists, Ronnie Earl returns with another celestial album. This time out, Ronnie’s already heavenly blues goes one step further into the universe with the addition of vocalist Michael Ledbetter from the Nick Moss Band on most of the album. The pair co-wrote the moving title track “Father’s Day,” a soul searching song of peace and forgiveness. The whole album carries a peaceful feeling and Mr. Earl’s playing is beguiling, spine tingling, and brilliant.

Beyond the big hitters is some interesting stuff like Blinddog Smokin’ and their funky High Steppin’John Lisi’s eccentric Shut The Front Door, and Erja Lyytinen’s powerful Live In London. That’s it for now. I hope you find something interesting for your ears.

 

Samantha Fish

Samantha Fish Wild Heart

Ronnie Earl

Ronnie Earl Father’s Day

John Ginty

John Ginty No Filter

Barry Levenson

Barry Levenson The Visit

Erja Lyytinen

Erja Lyytinen Live In London

Blinddog Smokin'

Blinddog Smokin’ High Steppin’

John Lisi

John Lisi Shut the Front Door

If you’d like to sample the music on these new releases, check out our Spotify playlist. If you don’t have a Spotify account, you can listen right here through our website.

Fresh Biscuits! New Releases June 16, 2015

The new releases this week are big bag of funky blues. We have a Henry Gray retrospective compiled by long time collaborator Bob Corritore. According to Bob’s website, “The legendary blues pianist Henry Gray has collaborated with harmonica ace Bob Corritore since 1996. The visceral musical cohesiveness and their long standing musical bond has produced consistently stunning recordings that are steeped in purity and tradition. With Henry’s recent 90th birthday (born January 19, 1925), Bob Corritore took it upon himself to share some of these true musical gems from his seemingly infinite recording vaults. The first volume presents a 14 song selection recorded over a 19 year period, in which all but 4 tracks are previously unissued. Henry sings 9 of these selections and Robert Jr. Lockwood, John Brim, NappyBrown, Tail Dragger, and Dave Riley provide one vocal each. At the core of each of these songs are the Gray and Corritore team who demonstrate their robust musical prowess and understated taste. Joining the proceedings are a rotating lineup of some of the blues’ greatest musicians for a program of fully-realized songs that alternate between rollicking, partying jumps and shuffles to the deepest of blues!” This is a good one folks and not to be missed. You can sample some of it in our Spotify playlist at the bottom of this post.

We also have the domestic release of Rick Vito’s Mojo On My Side. The album was released in Europe last Fall. You may remember Rick from his time in Fleetwood Mac and more recently with the Mick Fleetwood Blues Band. Rick is a tremendous writer and guitarist and if this is your first time hearing him you may be left scratching your head wondering how you missed him.

Omar Coleman gives us Born & Raised. Omar kicked off his career in 2010 and has been studying with a who’s who of Chicago Blues legends like Billy Branch, Sugar Blue, Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith, and Bob Stroger. Born & Raised features his soulful singing and powerful harp playing.

The Frank Bey and Anthony Paule Band are an eight piece group playing West Coast soul-blues since 2011. Two albums released in 2013, You Don’t Know Nothing and Soul For Your Blues earned the band two Blues Music Award nominations. The critically acclaimed Bey Paule Band which has made the Downbeat Magazine critics poll as well as the Living Blues Magazine Best of 2013 list. This resulted in two European tours, and a many prestigious festival appearances throughout North America in 2014. Not Goin’ Away is the new disc. Be sure to check out the samples in our playlist below.

 

Henry Gray & Bob Corritore

Henry Gray & Bob Corritore Vol. 1: Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest

Omar Coleman

Omar Coleman Born And Raised

Rick Vito

Rick Vito Mojo On My Side

Bey Paule Band

Bey Paule Band Not Goin’ Away

Check out a pair of tracks from each of these new albums with our Spotify playlist.
Remember, while it’s great to hear music for free, it’s even better to support the artists and buy the music you like. And whenever possible go see the bands live!

Fresh Biscuits! New Releases Round Up

It’s time for another new releases round up. New blues every week! It always happens. There is new blues out there for us every single week and we let you know the who and what so you can spend more time listening to the Blues.

This week we have the long awaited new release from Royal Southern Brotherhood. The band has seen the departure of Devon Allman and Mike Zito but they have added equally powerful elements with Bart Walker and Tyrone Vaughan. Guiding light Cyril Neville is still front and center and the engine room is still manned by Yonrico Scott on drums and Charlie Wooten on bass. At the bottom of this post we have an RSB video for you so you can get a taste of the new lineup.

Sonny Landreth has a new disc out called Bound By The Blues. If you’ve heard Sonny before or have seen him live, you know he’s not really bound by anything. His technical skills are unsurpassed but he plays with heart and makes every note count. He’s a damned fine songwriter too. Don’t let this one slip by you.

Lucky Peterson has released a new live set which for the moment seem to be a European only release – however, it is available through Amazon.com. We have a lot of Blues fans here in the US but we’re spread out. There are tons of Blues fans in Europe but not as far between as here. Blues bands and acts can make a great living and pack venues all across Europe. It’s a wonderful thing but it’s a damned shame it’s so hard to make it happen here. This set has Lucky treating one of those crowds to an electrifying set of Blues.

And last but not least, we have the return of Barry Levenson with The Visit. The Visit is not yet available at retail. It hits the streets in July but right now you can order the CD from Rip Cat Records and Barry’s proceeds from the sales will go to MS research. We have a preview of a the disc for you below that Barry posted on YouTube a while back. Barry is an expressive player who follows the less-is-more approach and his rhythm chops are impeccable. Listening to his playing like getting a lesson in subtlety from a true master musician. Take advantage of this opportunity to get the new CD before it hits retail.

Sonny Landreth

Sonny Landreth Bound By The Blues

Royal Southern Brotherhood

Royal Southern Brotherhood Don’t Look Back

Lucky Peterson

Lucky Peterson Live In Marciac 2014

Barry Levenson

Barry Levenson The Visit

Royal Southern Brotherhood live at LMF JazzFest 2015

Barry Levenson “Ice Cold Kiss” from The Visit