Review: Eliana Cargnelutti – Electric Woman

Posted on: Monday, Feb 23, 2015

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Review for ELIANA CARGNELUTTI – CD – ‘Electric Woman’ – 2015 http://www.misseliana.com/ RUF 1214

Eliana Cargnelutti is an Italian blues rock guitarist and singer songwriter. Her new album ‘Electric Woman’ gives a taster of what she is all about. With Eliana on vocals and guitars she was well assisted by Roger Inniss on bass, John Ginty on keys, Jamie Little on drums and Albert Castiglia on slide guitars. All the tracks are self-penned, bar three and the album is on Ruf Records.

The first track, ‘Why Do I Sing The Blues’ is a funky number with a nice drum intro. Following some classic rock, ‘Just For Me’, an okay track, but the vocals are a bit ‘sweet’ for heavy rock. ‘Street Corner Talking’ is a musically well put together classic rock blues number. Then one of the covers on the album, ‘Soulshine’, is a good try at Southern rock, but doesn’t quite hit the spot.

‘Show Me’, a pure rock number , on which I enjoyed the musical input, especially the rhythm section, but sadly the vocals didn’t quite do it for me. Some nice Hammond input on the next number ‘Everybody Needs Love’, a soul blues with a touch of rhythm and blues. The blues rock number , ‘I’m A Woman’ was not quite ‘raunchy’ enough for full impact. A change, with a touch of standard rhythm and blues with slide guitar on ‘There’s Going To Be Some Rockin”. Although the musicianship is good it didn’t quite get there.

‘Freedom’ is again a lacking rock number, but the penultimate track, ‘I Saw Your Eyes’ brought a slow ballad with bossa nova rhythms . A pleasant track which suits Eliana’s voice much more. The final number on the album ‘Eliana’s Boogie’, a rockin’ up tempo instrumental belting it out like ZZ Top, was a bit raw round the edges, but the drum and bass were working hard with good effect.

Although Eliana has great guitar expertise, she lacks the vocal power to carry off the sound of a blues rock diva. She came into her own with the slower more melodic numbers, which in my opinion suit her voice much better. It will be interesting to listen to more of this young lady, in a year or so, if she remains on the rockin’ road.

Rosy Greer – Lancashire Blues Archive and Independent Reviewer www.facebook.com/lancsbluesarchive

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Review for the ‘AFTER HOURS BLUES BAND @ BJ’s ‘Rock in the Blues’ Club, The Minstrel, Chorley – 19/02/15 – http://www.afterhoursbluesband.co.uk/

A welcome return, after a year, of this local Prestonian band, the ‘AFTER HOURS BLUES BAND’, at the premier venue of BJ’s ‘Rock in the Blues’ Club at the Minstrel in Chorley.

The talented three piece play a mix of self penned and covers of blues rock, with a definite penchant towards Jimi Hendrix . Fronting the band on guitar and vocals was the talented Lee Wharton, with superb bass man Doug Long keeping that rhythm going with the excellent skin lady Ann Batty on drums.

A great rockin’ opener to the evening, with the self penned ‘Driving Home’. This was followed closely by a Stevie Ray Vaughn classic ‘Pride And Joy’ and what a great take. A slow, self written number ‘Midnight Colour’ with a touch of ‘wah wah’ was next, with an After Hours take of the classic ‘Black Magic Woman’ with some superb guitar work from Lee to follow.

‘Tin Pan Alley’ gave us a slow blues with a ‘singing’ guitar performed with passion. Then the ‘Hendrix’ trademark of ‘All Along The Watch Tower’, finishing off the first set with their own version of ‘Crossroads’.

The second set brought us some upbeat slide guitar, a great version of the Stones ‘Jumping Jack Flash’ and an ‘epic adventure’ in the form of a Hendrix trilogy of ‘Voodoo Child’, ‘Machine Gun’ and ‘Red Patrol’. Doug did a great bass solo in this number and the whole track took us on a ‘long journey’ with Lee recreating the Hendrix passion.

A change in tempo, with an upbeat funky number giving us some mega guitar, – Ann and Doug were also working hard on this one. Back to some super slide guitar and rockin’ it up with the old classic ‘Shake Your Money Maker’ . To finish the set, an After Hours version of the Zeppelin classic ‘Communication Breakdown’ with an encore of a mixed tempo slide guitar driven 12 bar. A great end to a great set.

Doug Long on bass, will be leaving the band shortly, so this was his last BJ’s gig with the band. All at BJ’s wish him well and look forward to seeing the new line of the After Hours Blues Band next year.

ROSY GREER – Lancashire Blues Archive and Independent Reviewer

www.facebook.com/lancsbluesarchive

Really enjoyed the first episode of this new BBC series.  Reginald D Hunter’s Songs of the South.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02j93lq

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The third date of the King King tour saw an amazing 450 sell out at The Live Rooms in Chester, with fans travelling from afar to catch Alan Nimmo’s outfit, who, with their third album imminent, are absolutely at the ‘top of the game’. The band’s thrilling mix of blues, rock and soul instantly won over the packed house who were treated to a near two-hour masterclass of songs from both current albums and some from the forthcoming “Reaching For The Light”, which is out in May, though available at gigs.

The band, apart from Alan Nimmo on guitar and vocals, comprises of Lindsay Coulson (bass), Wayne Proctor (drums and backing vocals) and Bob Fridzema (keyboards and backing vocals) . . . and what a ‘well-oiled’ outfit they are . . . and in Nimmo, surely one of the best front men around on the British live circuit, with his superbly soulful voice and terrific guitar playing . . . and some gentle Glaswegian verbal ‘jousting’ with the audience.

The highlights were too plentiful to mention here, but they kicked off in rousing fashion with the rocking “Hurricane”, from the new album; and two other gems featured from it were the excellent “Waking Up” and a beauty in the shape of the lengthy “Stranger To Love”, which reminded me of the great British outfit Free in their pomp, the song having the same feel and groove to it.

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All the bands ‘big’ songs were played, with a stunning “A Long History Of Love” from the second album, “Standing In The Shadows” – on which Alan Nimmo’s afore-mentioned soulful voice shines; and the equally brilliant Frankie Miller tune, “Jealousy”, from the same album. The jaunty, poppy “Can’t Keep From Trying” was also very well received by the full house present; and also the swaggering rocker “More Than I Can Take”.

The band are all accomplished musicians, and in Coulson and Proctor without doubt one of the best rhythm sections around; who together with Dutch keyboard player, Fridzema, are the perfect foils for Alan Nimmo . . . a big man and a big talent!!

The set showstopper remains the cover of Eric Clapton and Robert Cray’s “Old Love”, presented here over a lengthy 17 minutes as Nimmo took the guitar down to a whisper and even, nearly, managed to get complete silence in the room, including the private party on the venue balcony . . . no mean feat with 450 people present. If you can get to catch the band on this tour I would heartily recommend it to you . . . a great band for sure!

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Opening up the evening was young guitarist  and Ruf Records artist, Laurence Jones and his very fine band, comprising of Roger Inniss (bass) and Miri Miettinen (drums). Highlights of a very well received set included a lovely song dedicated to his late uncle, “Whisper In The Wind” – which featured some dynamic six-string bass playing from Inniss; a lengthy, Hendrix-style take on Bob Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower” – which also is on the recent “Blues Caravan 2014” CD/DVD, performed by Jones, Christina Skjolberg and Albert Castiglia; and the tale of a drunken walk home, the rocker, “Moving The House”.

This young fellow has some 180 dates on the book for this year, so look out for him again!

GRAHAME RHODES

http://www.kingkingblues.com/Home.html

http://www.laurencejonesmusic.com/

https://www.theliverooms.com/

(All photographs courtesy of Geoff Oldfield)

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(The Blues Band)

As ever, the Nantwich Jazz, Blues & Music Festival will be held in the Cheshire town over Easter weekend, with events for all – ranging from the pubs around the town centre, The Crown Hotel and The Civic Hall:

Check the website link for full details:

http://nantwichjazz.com/

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YouTube: Laurence Jones – What’s It Gonna Be?

Posted on: Saturday, Feb 21, 2015

Don’t forget young Laurence Jones is support for the King King show at The Live Rooms in Chester tonight:

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Multiple award winning East Coast blues guitarist John Campbelljohn is set to release his 12th album, titled “Chin Up” on March 10, 2015.

A master slide guitarist and songwriter, Campbelljohn hails from Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, and over the course of his four decade-long career has won or been nominated for countless music awards including Maple Blues Awards, East Coast Music Awards, Real Blues Awards, Music Nova Scotia Entertainer Of The Year, Blues Recording Of The Year & Musician Of The Year.

His newest release “Chin Up” features 12 original tracks covering a myriad of topics and sub-genres all highlighting Campbelljohn’s prowess as a guitarist and vocalist.  From the up-beat opening number “The Mumble Boogie” the progressive blues sounds of “Meet My Maker”, the rocking blues track “Castaway”, and the folk blues based “How Stupid Is That”, Cambelljohn proves with each song why Blues Revue Magazine deemed him a “guitar-god-in-the-making”.

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During his career John Cambelljohn has been featured on recordings and live shows that include names like Sting, Joni Mitchell, Emmy Lou Harris, Leonard Cohen, Joe Ely, Willie Nelson, Robben Ford & Alvin Lee (Ten Years After) as well as TV productions by Sony Music Entertainment. Rich vocals and distinctive slide guitar playing has made him a favourite at music festivals in Eastern Canada & Europe.

John Campbelljohn’s sophisticated and progressive approach to song writing gives him a distinctive edge, mixing rock, blues, reggae, Celtic & country into his signature style. The result is a sound that can pummel the audience into submission one moment, while captivating them with its subtlety the next.

“The standard of John Campbelljohn’s slide guitar playing is raised to a new record high.” – Rolling Stone, Germany

“It is difficult to find a good slide guitarist, who stands out from the crowd – one who manages to do so is Nova Scotian John Campbelljohn.” – Blues Bytes, USA

“John’s raw singing and his truly convincing guitar, particularly the slide passages, are a feast for the ears, have real class.” – Blues News Magazine, Germany

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Review: David Philips – If I Had Wings

Posted on: Friday, Feb 20, 2015

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David Philips – If I Had Wings

(Black & Tan CD BT 041)

A rather stunning set this – UK singer and guitarist David is based in Spain and records for this forward-looking Dutch blues label. This is his fourth album, “the one I always wanted to make”, the blurb says. I can believe the hype though – the opening track, ‘Angel’ makes for an effective introduction, a very expressive blend of blend of folk, rock, blues and jazz with the makings of a classic, and David plays all instruments, as he does throughout the album, with the exception of drums and saxophone on the lengthy ‘Venomous Soul’.

In fairness, I must point out that not a single track here will come under a purist’s strict definition of “blues” – about the nearest is ‘Quiet’ which made me think of Bob Dylan’s associates The Band; it bookends a passage more akin to Pink Floyd. Mind you, the tough, jagged Americana of ‘That Dirty Road’ could easily sneak onto a modern blues album without comment – except maybe something praising its quality – and the beautiful acoustic guitar instrumental ‘Samuel Saves The World’ is reminiscent of John Renbourn.

The set closes out with a fairly straight jazzy ballad! Throughout the album, David’s soulful voice and his nifty finger-picked guitar work bear traces of the blues, though they also contain greater or smaller amounts of the singer-songwriter approach, psychedelic folk, even a little electronica.

If you like good, meaningful music anyway, you’ll go for this. Beautifully recorded too, by the way.

NORMAN DARWEN

http://www.davidphilips.net/

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Review for ELIANA CARGNELUTTI, SADIE JOHNSON, HEATHER CROSSE – CD – ‘Girls With Guitars’ -2015 – Ruff Records – RUF1211

A mixed collection of rock and rhythm and blues on this album ‘Girls With Guitars’. The three girls are – Eliana Cargnelutti on guitar and vocals, from northern Italy, Sadie Johnson on guitar and vocals, from Indiana, USA and Heather Crosse on bass and vocals, from Mississippi, USA, with the addition of guesting musicians on drums and keys.

It was not an album that blew me away, but I’m sure it will please some, as the youth of the ‘guitar playing girls’ is certainly appealing. All the tracks, bar three, were self-penned.

The first track ‘Girl Band’, is a classic rock number, on which the vocals would need to be stronger to give maximum effect. The guitar playing was good but not exceptional. Next a blues rock number ‘Tush’, a basic 12 bar with some okay slide guitar and lead guitar input.

A classic 12 bar in the style of Bonnie Raitt, ‘This House Just Ain’t My Own, was a ‘musically’ well put together track, but again the vocals let it down. ‘Feelin’ Alright’ gave us a jazzy funky number which worked well and was one of the better tracks on the album. The vocals were more appropriate to this style of music.

A pleasant slow blues ‘ She May Have You, But I Got Yo Heart’, worked well and was also well sung and played. A bit more classic rock with ‘I Hate Myself For Loving You’, lacked the ‘oomph’ you would expect on a hard rock track, although it did have a good bass line.

Upping the ante with a bit of ‘swing’ to liven things up, was a pleasant surprise for the rock ‘n rollers! Continuing the 50’s theme with ‘Shades Of Love’, which was musically sound, but vocally weak.

Returning to some standard 12 bar rockin’ blues on ‘Life’ – not rocket science but basically okay. The slow number that followed, ‘Say Goodbye’ was pleasant and well sung. The final number on the album, was again a classic rock, ‘Wish You Hadn’t Gone’ and very average.

The appeal of having three young women playing together is okay, but as yet, they lack the ‘get down and dirty’ appeal in the vocals to carry off classic rock and blues rock numbers. Musically, they are certainly proficient, if not a little samey, as the hundreds of blues rock bands out on the circuit today. All I would say is, stick with the music that suits the voices. There were a couple of good tracks that worked well and definitely had the edge on this album.

ROSY GREER – Lancashire Blues Archive and Independent Reviewer

www.facebook.com/lancsbluesarchive

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Review: Tangled Eye – The Other Seven Songs

Posted on: Monday, Feb 16, 2015

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Tangled Eye – The Other Seven Songs
(Black & Tan B&T 947 – download only)

Tangled Eye consists of Dutch label boss Jan Mittendorp on guitar, Jasper Mortier on drums and Dallas, Texas-born Dede Priest on vocals and violin – a rather unconventional line-up producing a fine if slightly unconventional blues sound! The trio’s first album, “Dream Wall”, was issued in January 2014; they had written 21 songs for the sessions but only used 14 – so here are the other seven.

There’s no sound of barrel-scraping though, the approach is fiercely individual; it can sometimes be a little sparse, but always with the feeling that this is intentional. The album opens with ‘Call Before You Come’, a fairly straight-forward Texas shuffle with a fine soulful vocal from Dede; she turns in a sassier vocal and some Gatemouth Brown styled fiddle playing on ‘I Am’.

‘India’ pitches a slightly ethereal vocal and arrangement over a driving rhythm (think perhaps of a much higher pitched Otis Taylor!) and with hints of the sub-continent in the guitar and violin playing; ‘Poisoned’ moves to a much harder groove and bigger sound, ‘Rapture’s Disaster’ is another fine shuffle, and ‘Sister’s Blue Door’ is a powerful performance.

‘Walls Of The Madhouse’ closes out a very distinctive release at a lazy lope. If you want an alternative to high energy guitar bands or country blues retreads, do try this!

NORMAN DARWEN

http://crossroads.nl/blacktan/

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RIP: Blues pianist David Maxwell

Posted on: Sunday, Feb 15, 2015

Sad to report the death of the great blues pianist David Maxwell . . . a man who toured with so many greats, and played on hundreds of records . . . check the bio out on his website and the fantastic home page photograph:

http://www.davidmaxwell.com/

YouTube: Hoppin Frogs – Gone

Posted on: Sunday, Feb 15, 2015

Frodsham-based blues and roots duo Hoppin Frogs with “Gone”.

They have a gig on home ‘turf’ in Frodsham next Saturday, 21st February, at Kash 22, 4-7 pm.

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Review for ‘SLY FOX’ @ BJ’s ‘Rock in the Blues’ Club, The Minstrel, Chorley – 12/02/15 http://www.sly-fox.org/

Another great rockin’ evening at BJ’s ‘Rock in the Blues’ Club at the Minstrel, Chorley, with Oldham based band ‘Sly Fox’. A welcome return for this band who play a diverse mix of covers.

Fronting the band on superb lead vocals and guitar was David Bridge, with Michael Walsh on excellent lead guitar and vocals. On bass – and what a bass player he is – was Tony ‘Fox’ Cooper (also trading as the bands mascot in fox head and tail!) Finally the skin man on electric drums, Ian Fletcher.

The first set gave us a mix of music from Etta James to the Everly Brothers and from the Eagles ‘In The Fast Lane’ to the Beatles, ‘Come Together’. They also did a great take in a Django Reinhardt style of gypsy swing. With a dash of Jimmy Witherspoon they then finished the first set with a couple of classic Status Quo numbers.

The second set was equally mixed including a classic take of The Doors ‘Roadhouse Blues’. With a touch of Rory Gallager and Phil Collins and a great Status Quo cover of ‘In My Chair’ and a Pink Floyd classic, ‘Comfortably Numb’, the evening was brought to a close with Tom Petty’s ‘Running Down The Dream’ with a well deserved encore of Gary Moore’s ‘Tell Me Woman’.

Certainly ‘Sly Fox’ are a band to keep your feet tapping and with the variety and diversity of music they play there is no time to get bored. An excellent evening and an excellent band!

ROSY GREER – Lancashire Blues Archive and Independent Reviewer

www.facebook.com/lancsbluesarchive

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Robin Trower – Something’s About To Change

(Manhaton Records- release date 09/03/15)

Ahead of a much-anticipated 17-date UK tour, a genuine British guitar hero, Robin Trower, releases his new album, “Something’s About To Change” – a strong 12-song collection that highlights his songwriting prowess and – fear not – his sublime guitar playing still in excellent order.

At 70, Trower remains a force to be reckoned with, still showing the class that perpetuated such essential 70’s albums as “Twice Removed From Yesterday”, and the classic of the genre, the essential “Bridge Of Sighs”, that I am sure is in the collection of every rock fan of a certain age!

“Something’s About To Change” was produced by long-time associate, Livingstone Brown, at Studio 91 in Newbury, and sees Robin Trower  himself on guitars, vocals and bass; and is aided and abetted by Chris Taggart (drums) and Luke Smith (organ) – who is to be found often sparring with Trower and at other times in the background.

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The music kicks off with the title cut, “Something’s About To Change”, a funky, grooving tune with trademark Trower guitar work, that broods nicely and his confident vocal; the bluesy, rolling “Fallen” follows, again with a lovely feel, with fine contributions from all the players again. The powerful “Riff No. 7 (Still Alive) is a stand out, with the emphasis on the song and groove, as opposed to overkill on the guitar work, exemplary as it is.

The lengthy slow blues of “Good Morning Midnight” captures a nice ‘late night’ atmosphere, with its six minutes plus giving Trower and fellow musicians plenty of time to stretch out; the similarly lengthy “Strange Love” is in the same territory with another warm , assured vocal and of course, more delicious guitar-a-plenty.

Elsewhere, “The One Saving Grace” is firmly back in the funk flavouring; and the pace gets taken down again for the mellow “Snakes And Ladders. The closing “Til I Reach Home” ends the album in fine style – again weighing in at six minutes plus – but again, it is immaculately played and sung – and shows that in the case of Robin Trower – class is definitely permanent!

GRAHAME RHODES

www.trowerpower.com

www.manhatonrecords.com

(Photo: Mike Prior)

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Britain’s best unsigned blues rockers come to The Met on Saturday, 7th March, to perform music from their acclaimed seventh independent release “Feeding the Machine”.

“Original, enthusiastic & passionate blues as interpreted by the likes of Led Zeppelin & the wider world is catching on to The Idle Hands” – R2 Magazine

Voted Best UK Blues band 2013 by Blues Matters, The Idle Hands, are now in their 25th year together. Their sound is heavily influenced by the likes of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Jimi Hendrix to they present passionate, captivating live performances of raw original blues music. The Idle hands’ professionalism, musicianship and performances are continually praised by rock and blues music press.

‘British blues rock at its best’ – Blues in Britain

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Ged Wilson has toured the nation playing blues festivals and music venues. His upbeat guitar styles interwoven with some slide, rack harp and laconic humor make for an engaging and lively performance.

Tickets are £6 and can be bought from the box office on 0161 7612216 or online at www.themet.biz

(The Idle Hands picture: John Finlayson)

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