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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

Lonnie Mack Has Passed

Lonnie Mack, July 18, 1941 – April 21, 2016

LonnieMackThe following is a press release from Alligator Records. Here at Blues Biscuits we are crushed at this news. Lonnie is one of my favorite musicians and one of a long list of players I found through Stevie Ray Vaughan. I came to appreciate Lonnie for his breadth of talent and styles. He is in the pantheon of the blues Gods for sure. Rest easy Lonnie, we’re glad you were in the band…

Groundbreaking guitarist and vocalist Lonnie Mack, known as one of rock’s first true guitar heroes, died on April 21, 2016 of natural causes at Centennial Medical Center near his home in Smithville, Tennessee. His early instrumental recordings – among them Wham! and Memphis — influenced many of rock’s greatest players, including Eric Clapton, Duane Allman, Keith Richards, Jimmy Page and especially Stevie Ray Vaughan. He was 74.

Rolling Stone called him “a pioneer in rock guitar soloing.” Guitar World said, “Mack attacked the strings with fast, aggressive single-string phrasing and a seamless rhythm style that significantly raised the guitar virtuoso bar and foreshadowed the arena-sized tones of guitar heroes to come.” The Chicago Tribune wrote, “With the wiggle of a whammy bar and a blinding run of notes up and down the neck of his classic Gibson Flying V, Lonnie Mack launched the modern guitar era.”

Drawing from influences as diverse as rhythm and blues, country, gospel and rockabilly, Mack’s guitar work continues to be revered by generation after generation of musicians. He recorded a number of singles and a total of 11 albums for labels including Fraternity, Elektra, Alligator, Epic and Capitol.

Mack was born Lonnie McIntosh on July 18, 1941 in Harrison, Indiana, twenty miles west of Cincinnati. Growing up in rural Indiana, Mack fell in love with music as a child. From family sing-alongs he developed a deep appreciation of country music, while he absorbed rhythm and blues from the late-night R&B radio stations and gospel from his local church. Starting off with a few chords that he learned from his mother, Lonnie gradually blended all the sounds he heard around him into his own individual style. He named Merle Travis and Robert Ward (of the Ohio Untouchables) as his main guitar influences, and George Jones and Bobby Bland as vocal inspirations.

He began playing professionally in his early teens (he quit school after a fight with his sixth-grade teacher), working clubs and roadhouses around the tri-state border area of Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. In 1958, he bought the guitar he would become best known for, a Gibson Flying V, serial number 7, which he equipped with a Bigsby tremolo bar. (After the release of Wham!, the tremolo bar became known worldwide as a “whammy bar”.) In addition to his live gigs, Lonnie began playing sessions for the King and Fraternity labels in Cincinnati. He recorded with blues and R&B greats like Hank Ballard, Freddie King and James Brown.

In 1963, at the end of another artist’s session, Lonnie cut an instrumental version of Chuck Berry’s Memphis. He didn’t even know that Fraternity had issued the single until he heard it on the radio, and within a few weeks Memphis had hit the national Top Five. Lonnie Mack went from being a talented regional roadhouse player to a national star virtually overnight.

Suddenly, he was booked for hundreds of gigs a year, crisscrossing the country in his Cadillac and rushing back to Cincinnati or Nashville to cut new singles. Wham!, Where There’s A Will There’s A Way, Chicken Pickin’ and a dozen other records followed Memphis. None sold as well as his first hit (though Where There’s A Will earned extensive black radio airplay before the DJs found out Lonnie was white), but there was enough reaction to keep him on the road for another five years of grueling one-nighters.

Fraternity Records went bust, but Lonnie kept on gigging, and in 1968 a Rolling Stone article stimulated new interest in his music. He signed with Elektra Records and cut three albums. Elektra also reissued his original Fraternity LP, The Wham Of That Memphis Man!. He began playing all the major rock venues, from Fillmore East to Fillmore West. Lonnie also made a guest appearance on the Doors’ Morrison Hotel album. You can hear Lonnie’s guitar solo on Roadhouse Blues preceded by Jim Morrison’s urgent ‘Do it, Lonnie! Do it!’ He even worked in Elektra’s A&R department. When the label merged with giant Warner Brothers, Lonnie grew disgusted with the new bureaucracy and walked out of his job.

Mack headed back to rural Indiana, playing back-country bars, going fishing and laying low. After six years of relative obscurity, Lonnie signed with Capitol and cut two albums that featured his country influences. He played on the West Coast for a while and even flew to Japan for a “Save The Whales” benefit. Then he headed to New York to team up with an old friend named Ed Labunski. Labunski was a wealthy jingle writer that wrote “This Bud’s For You” who was tired of commercials and wanted to write and play for pleasure. He and Lonnie built a studio in rural Pennsylvania and spent three years organizing and recording a country-rock band called South, which included Buffalo-based keyboardist Stan Szelest, who later played on Lonnie’s Alligator debut. Ed and Lonnie had big plans for their partnership, including producing an album by a then-obscure Texas guitarist named Stevie Ray Vaughan. But the plans evaporated when Labunski died in an auto accident, and the South album was never commercially released. Lonnie next headed for Canada and joined the band of veteran rocker Ronnie Hawkins for a summer. After a brief stay in Florida, he returned to Indiana in 1982, playing clubs in Cincinnati and the surrounding area.

Mack began his re-emergence on the national scene in November of 1983. At Stevie Ray Vaughan’s urging, he relocated from southern Indiana to Texas, where he settled in Spicewood. He began jamming with Stevie Ray (who proudly named Wham! as the first single he owned) in local clubs and flying to New York for gigs at the Lone Star and the Ritz. When Alligator Records approached Lonnie to do an album, Vaughan immediately volunteered to help him out. The result was 1985’s Strike Like Lightning, co-produced by Lonnie and Stevie Ray and featuring Stevie’s guitar on several tracks.

Mack’s re-emergence was a major music industry event. Keith Richards, Ron Wood, Ry Cooder and Stevie Ray Vaughan all joined Lonnie on stage during his 1985 tour. The New York Times said, “Although Mr. Mack can play every finger-twisting blues guitar lick, he doesn’t show off; he comes up with sustained melodies and uses fast licks only at an emotional peak. Mr. Mack is also a thoroughly convincing singer.”  Other celebrities — Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Paul Simon, Eddie Van Halen, Dwight Yoakam and actor Matt Dillon — attended shows during the Strike Like Lightning tour. The year was capped off with a stellar performance at New York’s prestigious Carnegie Hall with Albert Collins and the late Roy Buchanan. That show was released commercially on DVD as Further On Down The Road.

Mack recorded two more albums for Alligator, 1986’s Second Sight and 1990’s Live! Attack Of the Killer V. In between he signed with Epic Records and released Roadhouses And Dancehalls in 1988. Mack continued to tour into the 2000s. He relocated to Smithville, Tennessee where he continued writing songs but ceased active touring. In 2001 he was inducted into the International Guitar Hall Of Fame and in 2005 into the Rockabilly Hall Of Fame.

He is survived by five children and multitudes of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Check out Lonnie’s extraordinary musicianship with this Spotify playlist:

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

Hump Day Playlist On Spotify

Happy Hump Day everyone! We’ve crossed the one year mark recently here at Blues Biscuits and over the year we’ve covered a lot of ground. Our Hump Day feature remains a popular mid week break and our recent PA Blues Fest Spotify Playlist drew some interest, so today we’re trying out a playlist related to Hump Day. It’s a nice sunny day here in the Northeast so it seems like a good time to take the top off and open it up with a smooth stick shift and solid chassis. No, you pervs, we’re talking about automobiles! Well, maybe we are. If you need it, worked on, lubed, loosened, tightened, tagged, tapped, or driven hard we’ve got just what you need.

A few of these songs were featured in one of our earliest Hump Day features – Johnny Winter, Eli Cook, Blind Boy Fuller, and Led Zeppelin. But now we’ve expanded the set to include Rosetta Howard, Amos Milburn, Chuck Berry, Joe Louis Walker, Junior Wells & James Cotton, Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials, and Super Chikan. Across the full history of the automobile, Blues singers have turned them into vehicles for sexual innuendo. Big back seats and secluded country roads helped write a lot of Blues tunes from heart break and infidelity to good times and afternoon strolls, it’s all in there. Today we celebrate the automobile and it’s contribution to Blues. Now, fill it up and drive it home!

Happy Hump Day!