Tag Archives: Blues

Dual Drive – The Memphis Project

Guitarist Garry Goin and Saxophonist Pat Register are two of the most well-known and respected musicians in Memphis these days, so you would think that the two combining their talents would be nothing short of an amazing listening experience. You would think exactly right. Kicking off with the urban groove of “Take Me To The River,” you can almost smell the barbecue and the tamales cooking down on Beale. It’s got that…
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Sarah Borges – Radio Sweetheart

Every now and then, you hear an album that just makes you want to stand up, fist pump in the air, and say “Hell Yeah” to the rafters. This is how I am feeling about now. Sarah Borges has developed quite the following over the past few years, and for good reason. Along with Grace Potter, she’s as close as we’ve got right now to the ultimate female rock and roll bad ass. She’s got talent, swagger, and charisma – and isn’t…
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Jeffrey Halford & The Healers – Rainmaker

Sometimes, when you hear a Blues artist, you wonder if they really feel the lyrics of what they are singing – just how deep do the emotions run. Well, when you hear Jeffrey Halford on “Second Chance,’ you just….know. These are words that he has actually lived – and actually felt. On the latest project from this California resident – by way of the Lone Star State, you get a lot more songs just like it – all about the struggles that…
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Brigitte DeMeyer – Savannah Road

If you read many of my reviews, one name that I cross-reference from time to time is that of 60s roots music queen Bobbie Gentry. There was something so fresh, so sexual but at the same time something so Gothic about her recordings – such as “Ode To Billie Joe” that struck a chord with many female singer-songwriters of the time – as well as those that have come along since. Now, Brigitte DeMeyer is not a copy cat of Gentry, mind…
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The Smoke Wagon Blues Band – Live In Hamilton

A lot of acts sing Blues Music. That’s evident by the number of CD’s that come across this desk through an average week.But, in the case of The Smoke Wagon Blues Band, they perform the blues – like nobody else out there! On this live collection, the musical thrills are many, kicking off with a wailing version of the Bill Withers classic “Ain’t No Sunshine,”and continuing on with the churning “Hen House Hopping,” which benefits from…
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Ben & Ellen Harper – Childhood Home

Ben Harper’s musical career definitely qualifies as one of the most varied in the music business. He’s enjoyed success with rock, blues, and folk, among other styles. For his latest project, he teams up with the one person who likely knows him better than anyone else- his mother, Ellen. However, that being said…
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Jim Gustin & Truth Jones – Can’t Shed A Tear

California native Jim Gustin doesn’t just sing the Blues. Upon hearing his authentic delivery, you know that he isn’t just mouthing the words to these songs. Rather, he’s lived them. It’s a code he seems to live by – whether singing about the highs or lows of life. That seems to be very apparent on the rollicking into cut, “I Gotta Sing.” I love the Gospel fervor of the cut, which Gustin carries off quite well. The good news is that it…
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Tinsley Ellis – Midnight Blue

Atlanta-born Tinsley Ellis comes by his Southern Blues sound honestly. He was playing the guitar before the age of ten, and found his initial exposure to the sound through British acts such as the Rolling Stones and Cream. However, that love became a passion when he discovered the music of B.B. King. It’s an influence that can still be heard in Ellis’s music some four decades later. Put in this CD, and you can tell…
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Kara Grainger – Shiver & Sigh

You know it feels when you walk into a jazz bar on any given night, and the female singer simply has the crowd eating of the palm of her hand? That’s how I felt listening to the latest CD from Australian-born Kara Grainger. She has such a sultry and soulful vocal talent that you just can’t help be drawn in. She sometimes goes straight for heart – or sometimes tickles the imagination just enough that you’re on the hook – not that…
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J.T. Lauritsen & Friends – Play By The Rules

The seventh studio album from Blues great J.T. Lauritsen definitely qualifies as a collaborative effort. He surrounds himself with some of the finest Blues and Rock talent, with such names as Billy Gibson, Anson Funderburgh, and Victor Wainwright being among the artists represented on this disc on five of the tracks that were recorded in Memphis – a city that definitely knows something about the…
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Gino Matteo – Sweet Revival

Every now and then, you get a CD that is, well, tough to categorize. Gino Matteo is one such artist. He’s simply put, hard to classify. At the end of the day, the best thing you can say about him is that he’s just plain good. On this, his second full-length disc, he mixes a lot of different kinds of styles, but does so in a way that comes out all his own. There’s some blues to his music, there’s a tinge of Country at places, and there’s some…
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Buddy Guy – Rhythm & Blues

There’s a saying that usually comes up when one is discussing May-December romances – “Age Is Just A Number.” That could also apply to the music business. Legendary Grammy winning blues man Buddy Guy just turned 76 years old. That being said, you definitely can’t tell it on this double-disc collection that showcases an artist still at the top of his game – doing it as well as anyone else. Disc one kicks off…
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Kirsten Thien – Solo Live From The Meisenfrei Blues Club

A few years back, I reviewed an album titled Delicious from Kirsten Thien. It was one of the better discs I reviewed for MNN back in 2010. With songs that ran the gamut from sensual and sexy to Soul and Roots-oriented sounds, she definitely made an impact. Well, a few years later, the German native has put together a live album that really seems to be right up her alley for what she wants to do musically. This collection…
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Gina Sicilia – It Wasn’t Real

Pennsylvania native Gina Sicilia might not be a seductress. She might not be a vamp. But, she plays one on CD rather well. The Temple University graduate has released an album where, more often than not, she gets to show off her sensual side to maximum effect. If you need proof of this, take a listen to the opening title cut. It’s not that hard to imagine her in a jazz club late at night while belting this one out, and having…
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Valerie June – Pushin’ Against A Stone

Every now and then, you hear an artist that makes the word special seem like such an understatement. West Tennessee native Valerie June is such an artist. There’s really nobody to compare her to, because I have never heard an artist who can do what she does and do it so effortless. Blues? Check. R&B? Check. Country? Yes, check. June even flirts with a mountain vibe on several of the cuts here, and can at one time bring…
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The Old School Sound of Martin Harley

Martin Harley considers himself to have very much an old school approach when writing music. Though many writers prefer to hone their craft in an office setting with appointments throughout the day, he says he has to strike when the moment is hot. “Structure and planning doesn’t really help me get there,” he says of the writing process. “I wish I could get up at 8am, put the coffee on, sit in a space, and just start hammering…
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Kate Earl – Stronger

How do you describe the music of Alaska native Kate Earl? It’s one of the most unique musical blends that I have heard in quite some time. It’s a little bit of Country, a little bit of Pop, a dash of Jazz, and at some points, the swagger of good old fashioned Rock & Roll. At the heart of Stronger is some fine writing from Earl and her collaborators. She demonstrates a strong ability to turn a phrase, like she does with the incredible title…
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Hadden Sayers – Rolling Soul

Houston-born Hadden Sayers had gone through many a life’s change over the years in his pursuit of music, which would have made many simply give up their dreams. For a while, he did put his on the backburner. However, while renovating houses, he found himself rediscovering some of the sounds that inspired him the most – such as Van Morrison and Sam Cooke. You can hear those influences – and a whole lot…
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Devon Allman – Turquoise

OK, let’s get it out of the way. Devon Allman has a very familiar last name. That goes without saying. The son of legendary musician Gregg Allman, Devon has a musical sound and style all his own, with a heavy emphasis on the blues side of things. You can hear that instantly on the free-wheeling sound of “When I Left Home,” as well as the stirring guitar grooves of “Homesick.” He knows what he is doing instrumentally as well as vocally on both…
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Gretchen Wilson – Right On Time

The success of her 2004 breakthrough “Redneck Woman” has been a huge cross for Gretchen Wilson to bear over the years. Sure, it was a huge record that gave her instant recognition, stardom, but also maybe pigeonholed her just a little bit. If you have ever listened to the way that the Illinois native handles a ballad, you will truly be amazed. Overlooked cuts like “What Happened” and “He Ain’t Even Cold Yet” show her depth as a…
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