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  • Blues Heart Attack

    bluesheartattackcoverBlues Heart Attack
    Jeremiah Johnson
    Label: Connor Ray Music
    Release Date: July 22, 2016
    Review Date: August 21, 2016

    Connor Ray Music announces a July 22 release date for Blues Heart Attack, the new CD from St. Louis-based blues/rock guitarist Jeremiah Johnson and his band. The even-dozen all-original tracks on Blues Heart Attack were produced by Jason McIntire and the Jeremiah Johnson Band and recorded/mixed at Sawhorse Studio in St Louis.

    Besides Jeremiah Johnson (guitar and lead vocals), the members of the group are Jeff Girardier (bass guitar and backing vocals) and Benet Schaeffer (drums); with special guests Nathen Hershey (Hammond B3, Wurlitzer and piano), Frank Bauer (sax and backing vocals) and Tom “Papa” Ray (harmonica).

    “I really wanted Blues Heart Attack to be a roller coaster of emotions that reflect the life, heart and soul of a blue-collar blues man,” Johnson says about the new disc. “With songs that I started writing over 10 years ago and others that were basically born in the recording studio, I truly feel this record closely represents my band past, present and future. With the addition of the sax, keys and harmonica I believe we have created memorable music people will feel in their soul and tap their feet.”

    Jeremiah Johnson’s last album for Connor Ray Music, Grind, released in 2014 and produced by Devon Allman, included the song “Black Lingerie,” which was just recognized as the Best Blues Rock Song of the Year at the Independent Blues Music Awards show. Grind also featured Grammy Award-winner Yonrico Scott on drums from Royal Southern Brotherhood, and reached the #8 slot on the Billboard Blues Chart.

    Born and raised in St. Louis, Jeremiah Johnson is the voice of Mississippi River blues blending with the struggles of everyday life. And yes, he IS named for the title character portrayed by Robert Redford in his landmark 1972 western film. Jeremiah began learning guitar at age 6, drawing inspiration from his rich St. Louis blues heritage and legendary guitarists like Alvin Lee, Eric Clapton and Hank Williams, Jr. With these influences, Johnson began building his musical foundation.

    After relocating to Houston, Texas, in 1999, Johnson finished in first place for three consecutive years at the Houston Regional Blues Challenges, sponsored by the Houston Blues Society. During his 10 years there, Johnson merged a Texas style with St. Louis blues to create the unique sound he showcases today.

    In 2011, Johnson was the proud winner of the St. Louis Blues Society International Blues Challenge and went on to the semifinals to represent the city in Memphis. One year later, Sirius XM’s Bluesville channel picked up the Jeremiah Johnson Band CD for major airplay, as did numerous radio stations across the country. With five previous albums under their collective belts, the Jeremiah Johnson Band continues to tour around the country turning fans onto their kickin’ blues/rock sound.

    In 2014, Johnson shot his documentary concert film, Ride the Blues, directed by Australian producer/director Gary Glenn, at the historic Capitol Theater in downtown Burlington, Iowa. The film was a live music portrait of Johnson’s rise to prominence, featuring intimate interview segments, still photography, guitar solos and stunning vocals. Donations from concert attendees were given to the theater and to the St. Louis-based National Blues Museum, connecting Johnson’s roles of musician and music advocate.

    The Jeremiah Johnson Band will support the release of Blues Heart Attack with several shows in the St. Louis area, as well as touring around the rest of the country during the summer and fall at a series of concert venues and music festivals.

    Jeremiah is an endorsed artist for Delaney Guitars, designed by Mike Delaney, who makes custom electric guitars manufactured in Austin, Texas. He currently has four Delaney guitars and uses them at every show, because as Jeremiah says, “they are simply bad ass guitars!”

  • Blues Traveler - Knoxville, TN - August 2015

    Blues Traveler

    Bijou Theater

    Knoxville, Tennessee

    August 23, 2015

     

    Photo by Randy Patterson

         

    Before last night’s show at Knoxville’s beautiful Bijou Theater, I have never seen Blues Traveler in concert. For that, I say, “Shame on me!”

    The nearly thirty year old band put on a show that was nothing short of phenomenal. The band’s fusion of blues, rock, reggae and jazz was a musical feast for the capacity crowd’s ears.

    Front man, John Popper, was one thousand percent on top of his game both with his vocals and his harmonica mastery. Original guitarist, Chan Kinchla, and his brother, bassist, Tad, played with such blazing precision and blistering fluidity as to boggle the mind.  I literally watched as my mouth was open, they were that amazing. Drummer, Brendan Hill, and keyboardist, Ben Wilson,

         

    Photo by Randy Patterson

    also often brought the crowd to their feet with their wizardry.

    The band pulled from their fabulous treasure chest of a music catalog to wow the crowd, including two cuts from their latest

    album, Blow Up The Moon, released earlier this year. 

    If you love great music whether it’s blues, rock, reggae or jazz, then you’ll not want to miss the chance to see Blues Traveler if they’re hitting any stage within decent driving distance from you.  They’re definitely the bomb.

     

  • Chills & Fever

    chillsandfevercoverChills & Fever

    Samantha Fish

    Label: Ruf Records

    Release Date: March 17, 2017

    Review Date: March 8, 2017

    Whenever I learn of an artist that is new to me, more often than not, its discovery is serendipitous in every sense of the word. Such was the case when I was turned on to the young, beautiful, and extremely talented Samantha Fish.

    I was at my cousin’s farm (probably rummaging through their cabinets, seeing if they had something to eat) when his wife asked if I had ever heard of this girl. I turned and looked at the TV screen and there was Ms. Fish, rockin’ away on guitar, playing blues as if it was imparted to her at the crossroads.

    I became an immediate fan.

    Younger than my daughter but musically wise well beyond her twenty-something years, Samantha is definitely someone that blues fans will be keeping their eyes and ears on for many years to come.

    Whether one leans towards the blues, opts for Americana or ignites some special fervor by playing with a garage band, there’s a common bond that suggests a reverence for the roots. Looking back towards an earlier template — no matter what the genre — proves the point that appreciating what came before can be a stepping stone for what comes next.

    Samantha Fish knows that all too well, and it’s been evidenced in the music she’s made her entire career. While she’s well known as a purveyor of blues, having been lauded by such legends as Buddy Guy, the Royal Southern Brotherhood and Luther Dickinson, her real love is simply raw, scrappy rock and roll. “I grew up on it,” she insists. “Working with Luther on my last album further instilled that spirit in me. It made me realize just how much that basic, unfettered sound means to me, and how well it ties into soul music, R&B, country and so many other forms of music that are essential even today.”

    It’s little wonder that when it came time to record her new album, Chills & Fever, Fish set her sights on Detroit, the home of soul, Motown, legendary R&B as well as the much edgier rock-n-roll of Iggy Pop, Jack White, and The White Stripes. It was there that she joined forces with members of the Detroit Cobras, a band whose insurgent ethic has made them darlings of the Midwest punk/blues scene. The two entities — which included Joe Mazzola on guitar, Steve Nawara on bass, Kenny Tudrick on drums with Bob Mervak on keys, and the New Orleans horn section featuring Mark Levron and Travis Blotsky on trumpet and saxophone — bonded over a common love of classic soul and rollicking rhythms, so much so that the results testify to a seemingly timeless template. Covering songs from the ‘60s and ‘70s — indelible melodies from the pens of legends like Jackie DeShannon, Jerry Ragavoy, Bert Berns and Allen Toussaint — along with producer Bobby Harlow (King Tuff, The Gap Dream, White Fang) a member of the Detroit band The Go, which also featured Jack White prior to his stint with the White Stripes. With that as her starting point, Fish and the band then created an album that’s best described as a pure slab of rocking rhythm n’ blues.

    “I listened to a lot of soul music, and I dug deep into people like Otis Redding and Ray Charles,” Fish recalls. “I was also influenced by people like North Mississippi’s R.L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough. It’s a less restrained style of music than the sound people may be used to hearing from me, it’s definitely a different facet of my personality.”

    The fact is, Fish has never been bound by any expectations whatsoever. Growing up in Kansas City, she switched from drums to guitar at the tender age of 15. She spent much of her time in local watering holes listening to visiting blues bands. Samantha caught the attention of Ruf Records. The label subsequently released her album, Girls with Guitars, which found her co-billed with Cassie Taylor and Dani Wilde. That led to her forming her own trio and recording three more albums, Runaway (2011), Black Wind Howlin’ (2013) and Wild Heart (2015), as well as reaping an award for Best Artist Debut at the 2012 Blues Music Awards in Memphis. Along the way she found herself working with other artists as well — Jimmy Hall, Devon Allman, and Reese Wynans, among them.

    Still, nothing she’s done before can prepare her faithful fans and followers to the seminal sounds of Chills & Fever.

    Pre-order now. While you’re at it, order her previous seven CDs. You’re going to, anyway.

    Yeah. She’s that’s good.

    Keep up with Samantha at:

    SamanthaFish.com

    Facebook

    Twitter

  • Dust Bowl

    dustbowlcoverDust Bowl
    Joe Bonamassa
    Label: Premier Artists
    Reviewed: October, 2011

    I’m such a huge Joe Bonamassa fan that, if I was sitting where you are now, I’d already be out the door, looking for his album, “Dust Bowl”. In fact, that’s exactly what I did. And, you know what? No matter where I looked, I couldn’t find the darn thing!

    After several months, I broke down and ordered it online which is what I should have done from the git-go. Silly me.

    I feel especially silly after I received it and have listened to it ‘bout a bijillion times because it’s that good! And to think that I missed out on six months of intense musical pleasure.

    I’ve learned my lesson and have order his brand spanking new CD, Don’t Explain, recorded with Beth Hart. Stay tuned for that more timely review.

    But I digress.

    Better late than never, I’ve enjoyed listening to Dust Bowl and have it firmly burned into my DNA. The album is chock-full of incredible musical wizardry – not only by Joe but a boat load of incredible artist like Carmine Rojas and Rick Melick, guest musicians Anton Fig, John Haitt, Vince Gill, Michael Rhodes (reknown Nashville session bassist), Chad Cromwell (drumming credits include Peter Frampton, Neil Young and Mark Knopfler), Steve Nathan (acclaimed Nashville based session keyboardist), Tony Cedras, Glenn Hughes, Arlan Schierbaum, Blondie Chaplin, Beth Hart, and Reese Wynans. Heck, he even brought in the guy who makes his amps, Peter Van Weelden, to lend his voice to the title cut.

    Dust Bowl starts out with low down and dirty, Slow Train, that Joe co-wrote with the album’s producer, Kevin Shirley. The smokin’ hot solos and a groove as deep as a cotton field row has made this tune a crowd favorite. While every tune on this album has earned multiple hits on the repeat button, Slow Train has probably edged out the rest as getting the most such hits.

    The title cut is chock full of riffs and beats that destine this tune for use in movies, advertisements and bumper music. In its own funky way, it kind of reminds me of the Stones’ Anyone Seen My Baby. Following Dust Bowl is Tennessee Plates features the unmistakable vocals of John Haitt and signature guitar work by Vince Gill. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if this cut is getting significant rotation on country stations around the country. If it isn’t, it should. Heck, it deserves a funky video for play on GAC and CMT, it’s that good!

    The Meaning of the Blues again offers up some incredible solos by Joe that easily allows the listener to envision Bonamassa kickin’ it out on stage and leaving the audience pleasantly exhausted when it’s all said and done. Homage is paid to the coal miners of the world with Black Lung Heartache and is played against a dark and heavy musical backdrop befitting of them song’s message.

    The Last Matador of Bayonne emits a whole range of emotions from both player and listener alike and is, by far, one of the Boomerocity’s 12 favorites from this album (you didn’t expect me to actually pick a favorite, did you?). No Love On The Street is a Michael Kamen/Tim Curry tune that features rhythm guitar work by Blondie Chapman. The vocal assistance by Beth Hart was, no doubt, a precursor to Joe’s new collaborative release, Don’t Explain, with Ms. Hart. If this tune is any indication of what that album contains then I can’t wait to hear it!

    If you’re like me and are late to the Dust Bowl party, then I suggest you get off your musical butt and buy the darn thing because it’s going to give Bonnamassa (as well as blues) fans countless hours of listening enjoyment.

  • Feel These Blues

     

           

    Feel These Blues
    Slam Allen
    Label: American Showplace Music
    Release Date: April 14, 2015
    Review Date: April 12, 2015

     

    As I’ve said repeatedly on Boomeocity, I always love receiving a great blues CD in the mail by people I’ve not heard before. I feel that I’m being let in on a great, musical secret that I get to share with you.

    Such is the case about “Feel These Blues” by Slam Allen.

    For over 20 years, Slam Allen has been entertaining audiences with his unique blend of soul and blues. Playing the famous Chitlin' Circuit as well as performing around the world, Allen's music and enthusiasm has been shared with thousands of people.

    For eight years Slam played an important role, as the lead singer and guitarist, in the legendary James Cotton Band whose namesake was directly connected to Muddy Waters.

    Music is in Allen's blood -- he got his start from his father and uncles who were known as the Allen Brothers Band. Allen carries on the family legacy wherever he goes. His music runs deep. From B.B. King to Otis Redding, Slam has a way of making you feel the Soul of the Music. It's often difficult to tell if he's doing one of his originals or an old blues or soul cover. Regardless, he makes all the music his own.

    Three randomly chosen favorites from this album are:

    “World Don’t Stop Turning” is delivered shoulder twisting provocation that one can slow dance to all night long.

    The slow and swaying, “That’s Where You Are,” earned the second largest amount of slaps of the repeat button on my player.  

    The most slaps of the repeat button was earned by Slam’s cover of the Prince classic, “Purple Rain.” Drenched in  heart felt soul and blues, this tune closes the album out with a bang.

    Wanna hear some great blues, then “Feel These Blues” is well worth the money.

     

  • John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers– Live in 1967- Volume Two

    johnmayallsbluesbreakerslive in 1967volume2coverJohn Mayall’s Bluesbreakers– Live in 1967- Volume Two
    John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers
    Label: Forty Below Records
    Release Date: May 6, 2016

    Prompted by the critical and commercial success of the 2015 release of previously unavailable live recordings from newly-elected Blues Hall of Fame inductee John Mayall and his classic 1967 Bluesbreakers band, Forty Below Records recently released a second batch of recordings. Titled John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers– Live in 1967- Volume Two, the new CD continues the archival blues path blazed in Volume One that captures heralded performances of one of the best of the Bluesbreakers band lineups, featuring iconic musicians John Mayall (vocals, keyboards, harmonica), Peter Green (lead guitar), John McVie (bass) and Mick Fleetwood (drums). Distributed by Sony/RED, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers – Live in 1967 – Volume Two showcases a legendary group of players who while only together a short three months, created a lasting legacy, made an immense impact on music and led to the formation of one of the most acclaimed groups of all-time when Green, McVie and Fleetwood left to form Fleetwood Mac.

    Produced by John Mayall (who also did the cover package photography, artwork and design) and Forty Below’s Eric Corne from one channel reel-to-reel original tapes recorded by Tom Huissen, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers– Live in 1967- Volume Two contains performances recorded in the Spring of 1967 at such well-known London venues as Bromley, The Marquee Club, The Ram Jam Club and Klook’s Kleek.

    “I am so happy that the remaining usable tracks from these London club dates have been released as a follow-up to the well-received Volume One,” says John Mayall about the new album. “Peter Green as before is on fire throughout and this set includes a great instrumental based on his composition, ‘Greeny.’ There are a couple of Otis Rush tracks that were included on the first volume, but they are from different venues and totally different. I couldn’t possibly let these slide. Also, there is another version of T-Bone Walker’s 'Stormy Monday’ that is sung by Ronnie Jones, who would frequently sit in at our gigs. John McVie gets in a great bass solo on ‘Chicago Line’ and Mick Fleetwood drives the whole set with his unique and powerful drumming. With these new tracks added to the collection, it pretty much features all the material we had in our repertoire at that time and I’m very glad that you can now enjoy this great piece of rock/blues history.”

    Volume Two showcases three John Mayall originals including the opening track, all-time blues classic “Tears in My Eyes;” “Chicago Line;” and “Please Don’t Tell,” a great example of the power blues sound The Bluesbreakers were revered for around the world. These historical performances were captured for all time and largely unheard for almost fifty years until John Mayall recently obtained the tapes and began restoring them with the technical assistance of Eric Corne. Speaking about the tapes, Corne says, “While the source recording was very rough and the final result is certainly not hi-fidelity, it does succeed in allowing us to hear how spectacular these performances are.”

    The Bluesbreakers live sets at the time of these performances included songs that had originally appeared on the first two band studio recordings with Eric Clapton and Peter Green, respectively, holding down the guitar chair in the group, as well as some that would soon be recorded for the third LP, Crusade, by which time Green, McVie and Fleetwood had left to start Fleetwood Mac and the new guitar player was a young, then-unknown Mick Taylor, who would later go on to further fame and glory as a member of The Rolling Stones.

    Of the new album’s 13 tracks, three are songs that first appeared on Volume One, although these new tracks included here were recorded on different nights and ably demonstrate how improvisational the band could be infusing a different feel and tone from night-to-night. Of particular interest is the inclusion of the version of “Stormy Monday,” which features special guest vocalist Ronnie Jones, a former American serviceman and original member of the first incarnation of Blues Incorporated, a contemporary band to the Bluesbreakers, which included Alexis Korner, Cyril Davies, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker during its lifetime. Another highlight is the Peter Green instrumental, “Greeny,” which perfectly states the case for why he is still revered as one of the best-ever guitarists.

  • Knighted By The Blues

    knightedbythebluescoverKnighted By The Blues
    Artist: Rick Derringer
    Label: Blues Bureau International
    Reviewed: May, 2009

    “Knighted By The Blues” clocks in as Rick Derringer’s 40th album/CD in his long and legendary career. This doesn’t even count the countless discs that he’s played and/or produced with many other artists or, for that matter, the myriad of soundtracks that he’s either worked on or his work was used.

    To say that “Knighted” is a “must own” by Derringer fans would be an understatement. His signature guitar work is as great as ever and his voice doesn’t seem to have changed one bit since “Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo” was first released. How many of us can say that?

    This album is a huge treat! It’s hard for me to pick just one favorite tune so I’ll narrow it to two . . . but it’s a hard “two” to pick. Okay, I’m going to make it three and in no particular order, alright? Those three songs are the title cut, the incredible “Sometimes” and “If 6 Was 9”, which is a tune written and recorded by Jimi Hendrix on his “Axis: Bold As Love” LP.

    The album’s namesake song, “Knighted By The Blues”, is a great, slow blues tune that is sure to chill out its listener on the first play. Rick’s vocals are smooth as is his fret work. While listening to this cut repeatedly, it began to make me wonder if the late, great Stevie Ray Vaughn wasn’t influenced by Derringers interpretation of the blues. I suppose that we’ll never know.

    The one song that Rick says is commanding a lot of attention by the radio stations is “Sometimes”, and I can see why. When you hear this song for the first time, it grabs you by the ears and doesn’t let you go until it’s darn well ready to. Be warned! Don’t listen to this song while driving. There’s something about the tune that makes you want to put the pedal to the metal and make the roads melt.spacerun: yes;"> This song is destined to be a crowd pleaser for Rick for years to come. It wouldn’t surprise me to hear this song used in a car commercial or some incredible scene in a movie. It’s THAT good!

    Derringer’s interpretation of Hendrix’s, “If 6 Was 9”, would make Jimi stand up and take notice. Besides the fact that seeing Hendrix stand up today would scare the rain right out of our clouds, I would dare say that Rick’s version would give the original a run for its money. I don’t think Jimi would mind a bit. Can you imagine what it would sound like to hear Hendrix and Derringer jam together? Dwell on that thought for a minute or two!

  • Mid-Century Modern

    midcenturymoderncoverMid-Century Modern
    Al Basile
    Label: Sweetspot Records
    Release Date: August 19, 2016
    Review Date: August 21, 2016

    Al Basile, whose previous albums have generated multiple Blues Music Award nominations, announces an August 19 release date for his latest CD, Mid-Century Modern, on Sweetspot Records. Produced by Duke Robillard (who also guests on guitar on two tracks), Mid-Century Modern showcases Al Basile’s vocals and cornet on 13 all-original songs, and backed by a stellar band that includes “Monster” Mike Welch – guitar; Bruce Bears – keyboards; Brad Hallen – bass; Mark Teixeira – drums; and a horn section of Doug James – baritone, tenor sax, bass clarinet; Rich Lataille – alto, tenor sax; and Jeff “Doc” Chanonhouse – trumpet.

    “I wrote these songs over a 14-day period last summer right after finishing the Knickerbocker All Stars project, where we did a lot of classic R&B and blues material that featured horn solos,” recalls Al Basile, who also did all the horn arrangements on his new disc. “That got me thinking about the repertoire we played in Roomful of Blues in the Seventies and how much fun it was to solo over those grooves. Thought I'd write a bunch of songs that I could stretch out on the horn a little more than I usually do. It was like writing a bunch of stories about old friends. And using my horn as well as my voice to tell them,” he adds.

    Al Basile's musical values were developed in the 1950s and ‘60s, and his work shows the influences of blues, jazz, soul and gospel music of that era, as well as that of the generation before his birth. His new CD is built on that American roots music of the middle of the 20th century and features the lyric writing of a great contemporary storyteller who also happens to be an award-winning poet. Mid-Century Modern is built to last, with Al handling the soulful vocals and the lion's share of the solo work on his bluesy, succinct cornet (his five BMA nominations since 2010 are testament to his unique potency on the horn). Those conversant with the last century will notice classic musical influences including Louis Jordan, Buddy Johnson, Richard Berry, Albert King, Lee Dorsey and Slim Harpo – but the message of these songs is Al Basile's alone. They are like no other.

    “You don't hear the cornet much in blues these days, but it does go back to Buddy Bolden after all,” says Basile. “Brass players were known to play blues all the time in early days of jazz and blues. My horn sound is another voice to me. I'm a baritone – I don't sing that high. And I play a big bore cornet – I don't play that high, either. It's not always the tenor that gets the aria!”

    Al Basile’s talent for writing songs of both poignancy and humor abound throughout the tracks on Mid-Century Modern. Some examples of the former include “Like You or Despise You,” “No Truth to the Rumor,” “Listen to the Elders” and “Lie Under the House with Me.” And Basile’s knack of seeing the humor in certain situations materialize on the opening song, “Keep Your Love, Where’s My Money?,” “Tickle My Mule,” “I’ve Got to Have Meat (with Every Meal” and “Like a Woman, Like a Man.”

    About “Like You or Despise You,” Basile states: “Not everyone plays poker but we all have our own version of the face. Some people, of course, are better at hiding their true feelings than others. I’m not sure how often people are given fair warning that they should be wary of a friendly smile, but it’s surprising how few pay attention when told straight out. It’s certainly easier to take people at face value – but oh the bills that arrive later!”

    And Basile declares “Tickle My Mule” to be “a metaphor about the Mind/Body dialogue designed to remind us that we may have an excellent idea of how we ought to feel about someone else, but if they lack that je ne sais quoi, we just won’t feel it. I think this lyric puts it more succinctly, and it’s certainly more fun to sing (and imagine).”

  • Mother Blues

    Mother Blues
    Rachelle Coba
    Label: Mono Records
    Review Date: June 29, 2014

    As I’ve said in previous reviews of other CDs, I often receive discs in the mail asking if I would review or otherwise plug them on Boomerocity.  Since I only write positive reviews, I make sure that the discs covered are ones that I genuinely feel that Boomerocity readers will enjoy hearing about. I especially love making readers aware of undiscovered talent – ‘specially blues talent.

    I recently received “Mother Blues” by Rachelle Coba and, boy, was I ever blown away!  This woman has been to the crossroads and oozes the blues.  Formally trained in classical guitar, she has culled her higher education on high-brow guitar into a signature blues sound that is all her own. This has resulted in Rachelle being asked to back such blues pros as Super Chikan and Ablert Castiglia as well as played with greats from Maria Muldaur to Buddy Guy. She has also served as music director for blues great, Matt Murphy.

    Coba’s debut album, “Mother Blues” is a twelve song treasure chest of delightful blues.  Her voice is at times silky smooth and, at other times, raw and gritty as needed . . . just like her guitar playing.
    All twelve cuts on this disc are great. Here are three randomly chosen tunes that I’d like to highlight:

    “Ain’t Got Time (To Fall In Love)” is smooth as silk in a Bonnie Raitt kind of way – and that’s not a compliment I give lightly.

    “Between The Tracks” is one of those songs that will find the listener slapping the repeat button infinitely. The hooks on this tune will stay in your mind for days at a time. The smoothness of the vocals - as well as the guitar work - is phenomenal.  This one song alone is worth the price of the entire disc. Yeah, it’s that good.

    “Telephone Song” is as gritty as the aforementioned songs are smooth, showcasing Coba’s versatility as an artist, performer and songwriter.  As with all of the other songs, this one also is worthy of unlimited slaps of the repeat button.

    I’ve not had a chance to catch Rachelle live but, from I’ve been able to see on YouTube, the lady has what it takes to catapult to the top of blues charts around the world.  Keep an eye on this girl. We’re going to hear a lot more about her in the years to come in the blues world.

  • Sticks & Stones

    sticksandstonescoverbSticks & Stones
    Artist: Eric Sardinas & Big Motor
    Label: Provogue Records
    Reviewed: July, 2011

    I don’t believe in the concept of reincarnation. However, listening to the yet-to-be-released Eric Sardinas & Big Motor CD, Sticks & Stones, I am almost convinced that there might be something to it. Sardinas is who you would have if Elmore James decided to live life again seven years after his passing.

    However, Sardinas is much more than a remarkable slide guitarist who has taken the craft to all new levels. His performances embody not only blues in the spirit – or spirits – of James, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson and many other blues legends, but just plain ol’ good time rock and roll. With his signature electric resonator guitar, Sardinas boldly goes where few rock and blues artists have ever gone before.

    Sticks & Stones is the seventh album by Eric and his band that, as the label’s press release stated, “is a vehicle to drive his inspiration from the roadhouse in to mainstream music.” If that’s the objective, then I believe that Sardinas can say, “Mission accomplished” with a little help from his friends, of course! Those guys are noted drummer, Chris Frazier (Steve Vai, Tribe, Edgar Winter) and the mad man of bass guitar, Levell Price. That’s it. A simple, back to basics rock ensemble that knows how to kick some musical butt.

    The eleven songs that make up Sticks & Stones are each potential classics. If you view rock and blues as a cool drink from a garden hose, Sardinas will drench you with his firehose of heavy duty, good time, no holds barred rock and blues with a purpose. Eric goes as far to say that, “as always, every not is meaningful and has something to say from each player.”

    Some of my personal favorites on this album (if I had a gun held to my head and was forced to pick from all eleven of these great tunes), the opening cut, Cherry Wine, is one that should be listened to with caution if one happens to be behind the wheel of a vehicle while it’s playing. I haven’t seen this one performed in front of a crowd yet but I have to believe that this tune gets the crowds going. I also wouldn’t be at all surprised if someone from the country music side of the spectrum picks this song up.

    Gosh! Do I really have to pick some favorites from this album? Decisions, decisions!

    Road To Ruin is a good time rock and roll tune that’s got to be another crowd pleaser as would be the third cut, Full Tilt Mama. Hard chargin’ rock and roll with expertly crafted lyrics, these tunes are “aneurhythms” in the making. I guarantee it.

    So that I won’t look like I’m just rattling off the CD’s song line up, I’ll resist the urge to comment on County Line and jump over to Through The Thorns. This straight on blues tune is probably my favorite of favorites from Sticks & Stones. I have a sneakin’ hunch that this song, when performed with on stage with a fellow guitarist friend or two, can jam on for 30 to 40 minutes instead of the almost 5 minutes that’s clocked in on the CD. This is one fun, future blues classic. I’ll bet the ham samich that’s drying out on my desk (as I’m thoroughly and pleasantly distracted as this song remains on repeat) that I’m right.

    Burning Sugar is a straight forward rock and roll song that, while Sardinas and the band will go far with, Rod Stewart might want to consider this song if he ever decides to cut an album of new rockers. This is a Stewart and Faces song if I’ve ever heard one. That all said, if Rod does decide to record it, the bar is set incredibly high if he hopes to try to outdo this cut.

    Ratchet Blues evokes grainy images of Robert Johnson and Elmore James. I almost instinctively tried to pull out non-existent splinters that I just assumed were in my foot as I felt transported back to a rustic, backwoods Mississippi blues bar.

    I never like to comment on every song on an album but it’s all I can do to want to infinitely gush over Sticks & Stones. The album is brilliantly produced by Matt Gruber, who, in addition to producing Sardinas’ last album, Eric Sardinas and Big Motor, also has produced for Ricky Martin and Carrie Underwood.

    If you love slide guitar driven rock and blues, after listening to Sticks & Stones, you’re going to become a lifelong fan of Eric Sardinas and Big Motor. The album drops on August 30th, 2001. Stay in the loop on all things Sardinas by checking out www.ericsardinas.com.

Featured Photo

Jim Keltner.Broken Glass DW

Our Featured Photo by Boomerocity friend and famed rock photographer, Rob Shanahan (robshanahan.com), is is a bit different from past featured photos. 

 

 

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