Review: Dan Sowerby – Milestone

Posted on: Saturday, Feb 22, 2014

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Dan Sowerby – Milestone

(Sweet Wasp Music: SWCD003)

From Salisbury, Dan Sowerby and his band are a young dynamic trio giving us, in this album ‘Milestone’, some deep felt blues, folk influences with a hint of 70′s soft rock. All the tracks on the album are original material.

Fronting the band on vocals and guitar is Dan Sowerby, on double bass and backing vocals is Matt Paull while on drums and percussion is Ben Coley. Guests on the album included Ray Drury on keyboards and Hugh Budden on harmonica.

The album kicks off with ‘Good Feelings’, a rootsy 12 bar blues with excellent resonator slide guitar and harmonica. This is followed by a slow Chicago style blues, ‘Moan N Wail’ with hints of BB King, a laid back, well put together track with some cool piano.

Upping the tempo a rockin’ number, ‘When I Play The Blues’ leaning towards swing, it shows where the double bass is at. Next a slow bluesy number, ‘Keep Moving’ , followed by ‘Find Your Soul’, a 70′s sound up tempo soft rock track with a class guitar solo and tight drumming.

‘Milestone’, the name sake of the album, leans towards folk rock. Some great acoustic guitar playing at the beginning of the track. The content of this number also suits Dan’s voice. I found the next track interesting, ‘Working For The Man’ which has a 70′s west coast soft rock feel.

Slowing the pace right down ‘Messin Round’ has some full on Hammond input and cool sexy guitar work in this slow blues number. Changing the musical input ‘Start All Over’ is a full on funky number, great drumming and funky guitar on this track.

I had to do a double take for the next track ‘Love And Life’ , not unlike Bill Nelson’s Be Bop Deluxe. It has that 70′s soft rock sound. Dan has a similarity to Bill’s voice too, uncanny! A well put together track. Then it’s on to something completely different.

‘ Winter Of 75′ is a stomping hillbilly track with some great slide on the resonator guitar and some very tight drumming. Continuing with the acoustic feel with more super slide guitar, ‘Chasin His Tail’ has some interesting almost reggae rhythms, with some great double bass solo work. I must say I really liked this track.

‘Bumble Bee’ is an up tempo country folk number, very rhythmic and nice harmonies. Some class acoustic guitar too. The final track on the album is a slow laid back number ‘English Sun’, which has a bit of a Santana or Steely Dan feel. Great mix of guitar work on this track with some wah-wah, acoustic and classic solos.

A great mix of styles on this well put together album, to suit everyone’s taste. Dan, as the lynchpin of the outfit, does a great job, but may need to get a bit more of the ‘Wolf’ man into the vocals on some of the blues numbers to give them that ‘edge’. An easy listen with class musicianship, so well done all round!

ROSY GREER – Lancashire Blues Archive

www.facebook.com/lancsbluesarchive

www.dansowerby.com

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The vastly-experienced outfit, Blue Swamp, appear at Worthenbury Village Hall, next Friday, 28th February.

The band comprise of John Williamson, who was lead guitar with The Animals for many years, and has also played with Steve Cropper, Chris Farlowe, Spencer Davis amongst others; Mike Bowden (guitar and vocals) and ‘Big Vern’ (drums and percussion) make up the band, who like Jim Crawford, are great amusing entertainers.

They also hope to have their regular bass player with them to increase the outfit to a four-piece.

Please check availability first by mailing petevans@btinternet.com or ringing 01948 770215

www.hookerblues.co.uk

(Pic: Rosy Greer)

Tonight on BBC4 – B.B. King

Posted on: Friday, Feb 21, 2014

Duration: 1 hour, 35 minutes

BB King opens his heart and tells the story of how an oppressed and orphaned young man came to influence and earn the unmitigated praise of the music industry and its following to carry the title of ‘King of the Blues’.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03vsp7r

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One of the most eagerly anticipated acts at this year’s Bowness Bay Blues Weekend will be the Sean Webster Band, who will be topping the bill at The Wheelhouse on Saturday 12th April. Sean will also be running a singing and songwriting workshop at the festival, on Sunday 13th April. Visit www.bownessbayblues.co.uk for full details.

Sean has been living in Australia for the last year, but – to the delight of European blues fans – he’s now resident in Holland and will be touring in the UK this Spring.

Sean Webster is an inspiring guitarist, vocalist and songwriter with a great reputation on the British blues and rock scene. His band has seen members come and go since its creation back in 2003, but Sean continues to do what he does best – write and perform incredible music.

Their 2004 debut album, ‘Long Time Coming’, put The Sean Webster Band in the public eye for the first time, and was described by Blues Matters magazine as ‘A real gem’. The album showcased Sean’s fine guitar playing (influenced by Albert Collins, Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Gary Moore and Stevie Ray Vaughan among others) and his rich vocal tone with low-end rumble, reminiscent of Joe Cocker, Bryan Adams and Jonny Lang.

In 2005 the band performed all over the UK, including main stage appearances at Burnley, Maryport and the prestigious Great British R&B Festival in Colne, where organisers commented: ‘Sean is a new legend in the making. He has rich powerful vocals and searing guitar licks. Like so many, he has been working hard for years but these are Sean Webster’s years, and he is in his ascendancy.’

Sean’s second CD, entitled ‘If Only’, pushed the boundaries of blues, with Sean reaching out to a wider and (often) younger audience. The following year, Sean was heard on Paul Jones’ blues show on Radio 2, and had his music played on radio stations in Bosnia, Canada, Spain, France, Germany and the USA. ‘If Only’ came to the attention of Tony Edser, editor of Where’s Eric!, the official Eric Clapton magazine, who decided to feature Sean as ‘The One to Watch’.

Since then, Sean has toured in the USA and Europe, performed live sessions on Radio 2, appeared on Fox TV in the USA, and released two more albums (including one double album).

He’s also put together an amazing line-up: on drums Phil Wilson (The Hoax, The Davey Brothers); on second guitar Ash Wilson (The Melt); and on bass the inimitable Roger Innis (Hamilton Loomis, Joanne Shaw Taylor and The John O’Leary Band, among many others).

Sean’s fourth CD, ‘The First Ten Years’, is available via his website: www.seanwebsterband.com

http://youtu.be/ZPA35Y4N21E

Review: Rabbit Foot – Dark Tales (EP)

Posted on: Wednesday, Feb 19, 2014

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Rabbit Foot – Dark Tales (EP)

From Sussex, Rabbit Foot are a duo and describe their music as – “Voodoo infused, African flavoured, swamp rock boogie blues”. It certainly has an individual feel but the EP, ‘Dark Tales’ may not be to everyone’s taste.

Carla Viegas provides superb vocals and wild drumming on African drums and Jamie Morgan some fiery raw guitar and vocals. The music certainly gives a different take from the norm.

The first track ‘Tip My Hat’ gives a good overview of Carla’s voice and sets the scene for the wild feel of the EP. The next track ‘Suite 136′ has a more rhythmic feel with Jamie and Carla on vocals.

On ‘She Comes To Me’, Carla is the main voice, with input from Jamie. I think this was my favourite track on the album. Jamie leads on vocals on ‘Stubborn Child’. with the final track ’1234′, an up tempo number with wild rhythms, with Jamie on vocals.

The EP is certainly different, with Carla thrashing the African drums with repetitive and wild rhythms in her unique way. She has a superb voice, of which I would have liked to have heard more of. Jamie provides the ‘meat’ for the tracks with some off the wall, hard edged, primal and raw, screeching guitar. This definitely gives the one off sound that is Rabbit Foot.

ROSY GREER – Lancashire Blues Archive

www.facebook.com/lancsbluesarchive

www.rabbitfootmusic.com

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http://youtu.be/2n0cUMhU_r4

Danny Bryant, who Europe’s leading blues & rock publication “Classic Rock Blues” recently called a “National Blues Treasure” makes his first appearance at The Atkinson on Thursday, 27th February, 8 pm.

Riding high on the European blues scene for over a decade, yet still only 32, Danny has carved a name for himself the old-fashioned way having played over 2,000 club and festival shows to his many fans around the world and is acknowledged by those in the business as one of the cream of the crop.

Following many sold out club tours across Europe and numerous major festival appearances that have seen the power trio perform on the same bill as such names as Joe Cocker, Carlos Santana, Buddy Guy and Peter Green to mention a few.

Previously hailed as a young guitar virtuoso, and a protégé of Walter Trout, Danny Bryant is building a formidable reputation as a leading British blues rock guitar heavyweight in his own right.

In May 2013, Jazzhaus Records released his new studio album “Hurricane” in the UK. Recorded as a power trio, the new album was produced by Richard Hammerton (Manic Street Preachers). The nine songs showcase the evolution of Bryant as both guitarist and songwriter. The album bursts with power-fuelled originals, groove-driven up-tempo songs, and soulful blues ballads. Danny retreated to the rural solitude of the county of Cornwall in the South West of the UK to record the new album. “It was just like time travel,” says Danny. “Since there was almost no phone reception or internet connection, I spent between 15-18 hours a day concentrating on nothing but the music.”

The difference to the previous studio album “Just As I Am” (2010) is based mainly in the production says Danny – “The songs are the result of hard work and have gained considerable complexity.” This is evident not only in the melodic title track, but also with the ballad Can’t Hold On, not to mention the funky-bluesy “Greenwood 31″ – a song that harks back to a similar urgency in the style of Jimi Hendrix mixed with the attitude of Lenny Kravitz

Tickets for Danny Bryant are £10 / £12 doors and are on sale now! They are available online at www.theatkinson.co.uk or by calling The Atkinson Box Office on 01704 533333. You can also purchase your tickets over the counter during The Atkinson’s opening hours.

*Please be advised there is a £2 booking fee for booking over the phone and online bookings.

News: Damon Fowler – Sounds Of Home release

Posted on: Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014

“SOUNDS OF HOME” DEBUTS ON BILLBOARD CHART!
 New Damon Fowler Release Critically Acclaimed
http://mailman.305spin.com/users/blindpigrecords/images/DamonFowlerWeb.jpg  “Sounds of Home” the new Blind Pig release from roots guitar guru Damon Fowler, debuted this week at #12 on the Billboard blues chart!

Damon chose swamp blues master Tab Benoit to produce the album at Tab’s rural Louisiana home studio, and their collaboration has resulted in Damon’s strongest effort to date.  Damon has spent much of the last year touring with the critically-acclaimed group Southern Hospitality, whose Easy Livin’ Blind Pig release was also produced by Tab.

Americana publication No Depression said of Sounds of Home, “A blend of sacred steel, backwater blues and howling, greasy swamp rock, Fowler’s music is a primal, atavistic sound that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up.  Fowler is that rare artist whose studio recordings pack as much of a wallop as his live shows. This one will pin your ears back and track swamp fonk all over the place.”

USA Today said, “Fowler nails the region’s bluesy, easy-rocking, gospel-tinged sound. The covers are well-chosen, but Fowler’s originals and nimble guitar work are the reasons to visit.”

Last week Damon and his band played a live set to a standing ovation on the national radio “Mountain Stage” program that will be broadcast at the end of April.  This week he’ll be stopping by the New York City offices of Relix magazine for an video interview and feature.

The group is just beginning a national tour in support of the new album.  For a complete list of dates, please click HERE.

For more info, or to purchase the CD, please click HERE.  To hear samples from the album, or to purchase downloads, please visit iTunes HERE.

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New Orleans treatment for Guns N’ Roses classic

Posted on: Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014

Great post over at The Blues Magazine.

If you’ve ever wondered what Guns N’ Roses might sound like if they’d been around in New Orleans in the 1920s…..

http://blog.thebluesmag.com/post/77058421204/new-orleans-treatment-for-guns-nroses-classic

http://youtu.be/kJ3BAF_15yQ

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Chris Bergson Band – Live At Jazz Standard

(2 Shirts Records: CD1005)

The very excellent Chris Bergson first came to my attention with his ‘breakthrough’ album in 2008, “Fall Changes” – which was named as “Mojo” music magazine’s album of the year, and deservedly too . . . this fine writer, singer and guitarist from Brooklyn, NYC – now based in Manhattan – is pretty hard to ‘pigeon hole’, with his superb music covering blues, jazz, soul and classic rock flavours – the latter maybe from playing with a legend like the late Levon Helm from The Band.

On this recently-released live album, recorded at Jazz Standard  on ‘home turf’ in NYC over two nights in June last year, Bergson and his excellent band revisit some of his back-catalogue alongside eight new songs – and what a joy this is! Apart from Bergson on vocals and electric and acoustic guitars, the band comprise: Craig Dreyer (organ and Wurlitzer), Matt Clohesy (bass) and Tony Leone (drums and backing vocals), and an absolutely crack horn section of Ian Hendrickson-Smith (baritone saxophone), Freddie Hendrix (trumpet) and David Luther (tenor saxophone), with guest vocalist, the soulful Ellis Hooks.

The driving opener “Greyhound Station” get the release off to a rocking, but funky start – it’s one of many co-writes between Bergson and his wife, Kate Ross – it shows the tightness of the band with fine guitar work and soloing, and  a tough vocal from Chris Bergson; the following “Mr. Jackson” is a horn-drenched soulful affair, highlighting Messrs Hendrickson-Smith, Hendrix and Luther, as well as the immaculate rhythm section of Matt Clohesy and Tony Leone. Ellis Hooks contributes a joint vocal on “The Only One”, which he penned with Bergson and Ross, with the horn arrangement of Jay Collins giving the tune a classic Stax feel . . . and very reminiscent of the late, great, one and only Otis Redding.

The music takes a major change in direction with “Heavenly Grass” – Chris Bergson taking a Tennessee Williams poem, and putting an acoustic Delta blues feel to his self-penned music, with the drums of Tony Leone featuring, and a spotlight for a fine Wurlitzer solo from Craig Dreyer. The gentle “Chloe’s Song” is a delight, with its summery feel, and again acoustically flavoured, with one of the best vocals on the album. The whole band get funky again on Ronnie Shannon’s “Baby I Love You, with some spiky lead guitar lines from Bergson and the punchy horn section again to the fore.

Elsewhere, the soulful ballad “Just Before The Storm”, penned by Bergson together with Craig Dreyer and Ellis Hooks, is another standout, with a beautiful fluid guitar solo; the whole ensemble hit a New Orleans groove on the superb “Christmas In Bethlehem, PA”. The album ends on a high note with two of the cuts from “Fall Changes” – the jazz-tinged “The Bungler” and the ode to his old-stomping ground on “Gowanus Heights” . . . a blistering end to a most enjoyable release, from its punchy horns, funky keyboard playing, driving rhythm section . . . and above all Chris Bergson’s exemplary guitar and vocals.

Needless to say, this comes highly recommended . . . and it would be great to see a more extended visit to our shores!

GRAHAME RHODES

www.chrisbergson.com

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(Photographs by Ahron R. Foster)

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YouTube: Blues in Liverpool

Posted on: Monday, Feb 17, 2014

Great to see my favourite Liverpool cocktail bar getting a good mention. But no mention of the main blues club in the area: Johnny’s Blues Club, nor many of the other great bands from the region.

http://youtu.be/o3Cm8yUQ5vg

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Details have been announced for the 18th Nantwich Jazz, Blues & Music Festival, held in venues around the town over the Easter weekend, 17th-21st April.

Check out the website for full details:

www.nantwichjazz.com

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A St. Patrick’s Day treat at Telford’s Warehouse, on Monday, 17th March with a show by Northern Ireland’s own Simon McBride.

Full details can be found here: www.telfordswarehousechester.com/2014/03/17/simon-mcbride

http://youtu.be/3cZreugRs54

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The Bob Lanza Blues Band – ‘Til The Pain Is Gone

(Self-release)

This is the second album from the New Jersey born and based Bob, in the time honoured manner the course of his career has taken in a number of roads and avenues to create just the right sound that fits him and band; for in his early days he played in Floyd Phillips ‘Mudflaps’ and went on to become the bands leader after the unfortunate demise of Floyd; he also has over the years backed the legendary harmonica maestro James Cotton and Nashville legend Dave Perkins.

The tightly performed mixture of twelve originals and covers presented here by Bob and the band contain an alluring combination of loping and prowling Texas blues, heavily supported by a dense and hard driving Chicago blues backbone, it all slips down rather nicely courtesy of their marvellously ‘greased’ Kansas City swinging feel. Providing this aural treat are; the Reverend Sandy Jorden; bass, David ‘Snakeman’ Runyon; harmonica, Noel Sagerman; drums and last but, by no means least Bob; guitars and lead vocals.

‘I’ll Take Care of You’, has an almost solemn stride that is led by purposeful pounding drum work, whilst a driving and surging  organ soberly backs a solid and meaningful Albert King influenced guitar lead which is sympathetically joined by an impressively emotive harmonica; in fact ‘Snakeman’ who also has benefitted from time spent with the highly influential James Cotton has developed a very naturalistic and expressive style that strangely,  reminds me of  not James Cotton but, more of the equally talented, late and much admired harmonica player Larry Adler, who may not have played the blues but, certainly knew how to make the harmonica pull the emotion filled heartstrings and trust me, Snakeman certainly does just that, especially so, on the seriously footappin’ harmonica led instrumental ‘Snake Byte’, lusty, wheezy contortions wonderfully emerge from Snakeman in conjunction with Bobs lyrical fizzy, jazzy fretwork this is simply joyus music.

The title number is a rocking blues with high rolling, lusty, rinky-dinky piano, alongside this there are  bursting harmonica passages all wrapped up in sweetly screaming guitar barrages that simply hurls you happily along. The slow burning and emotion swirling ‘Outskirts of Town’, again features Bobs sweetly lyrical and emotive fretwork alongside a slowburning and seductive pulsating and sombre organ. ‘Every Night and Every Day’, has a full blown frontal brass intro which determines the onward tramping, traipsing Chicago blues feeling which is helped along by a stirring, surging organ, over the top of this is a solid muscle bound guitar that weaves in and  out with convincing vigour.

The really hot to trot number here is the Jimmy Reed influenced ‘Sugar Sweet’,  a wonderful and deliciously jaunty, jingling pub piano leads this rollicking, rolling rumbling cobweb blasting dance floor shuffler, your granny will certainly like this one!

Highly Recommended!

BRIAN HARMAN

www.facebook.com/TheBobLanzaBluesBand

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At this spiritual home of the blues here in Chorley, Crossfire, from the North West of England, now a quality blues/rock trio have reformed and I have to say they are making a great success of it, because it’s always a challenge to set out your stall when you have parted company with other excellent musicians for one reason or another.

The balance and tight co-ordination is paramount to any band and Crossfire achieve this with no problem at all. Steve Nunn on bass guitar and lead vocals fronts the band and is an accomplished musician of some years.

The other half of this strong rhythm section is Chorley’s own Jon Lowe, a drummer who has honed his craft and is one of the best blues/rock drummers around on the North West circuit, in my opinion.

To round up this very talented threesome was on lead guitar Dave Knight –  a no-nonsense top drawer performance, skilled to say the least.

Crossfire performed a host of hot blues covers and entertained us with “Hoochie Coochie Man”, “Crossroads”, “Thrill is Gone”, “Roadhouse”, “Pride and Joy”, “Jesus Just Left Chicago”, and many more. Crossfire are a good honest band that has its roots well and truly soaked in the blues. Thanks guys.

KEITH BLACKLEDGE

National & international music reviewer        

2014 Blues Foundation Hall of Fame Inductees

Posted on: Thursday, Feb 13, 2014

The Blues Foundation has announced the 2014 inductees into the Hall of Fame.

2014 Blues Hall of Fame Inductees

Classic of Blues Literature
Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke – Peter Guralnick (Little, Brown and Company, 2005)

Classic of Blues Recording – Single or Album Track
“After Hours” – Erskine Hawkins and His Orchestra (Bluebird 1940)
“Catfish Blues” – Robert Petway (Bluebird 1941)
“High Water Everywhere, Parts I & II” – Charley Patton (Paramount 1930)
“It’s Tight Like That” by Tampa Red & Georgia Tom (Vocalion 1928)
“Milk Cow Blues” – Kokomo Arnold (Decca 1934)

Classic of Blues Recording — Album
Hawk Squat – J.B. Hutto (Delmark, 1969)
Moanin’ in the Moonlight – Howlin’ Wolf (Chess 1959)

Individuals
Dick Shurman
Don Robey
Mike Kappus

Performer – Living
Big Jay McNeely
Eddie Shaw
Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson
R.L. Burnside
Robert Pete Williams

You can read more information on the Blues Foundation Website.

https://www.blues.org/#ref=halloffame_inductees

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Review: The Deluxe – Some Good Bits

Posted on: Wednesday, Feb 12, 2014

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The Deluxe – Some Good Bits

The Deluxe hail from Carlisle and are a great down to earth, rockin’ four piece blues band. They describe their music as: “The Deluxe sound is blues with an edge. More rhythmic emphasis. We  give the audience something new to take away, something to get their toes tapping”. Which seems to ring true with their album ‘Some Good Bits’!

The band line up is Christian Sharpe on vocals/guitar, Martin McDonald on guitar, Rod Mackay on bass and Scott Broadhurst on drums. They draw their influences from Peter Green, BB King, Albert King, Freddie King and others from the Chicago generation.

The first track, ‘Watch Out’ (Green), is a jazz-influenced, uptempo number. Some great guitar input, all kept simple but very effective. Do I hear brushes on the drums? The bass is doing what a bass should, a superb track. Slowing the tempo down on ‘ Heart Fixin’ Business’ (Banks/Jones) we have a standard Chicago blues.

I loved the next track, ‘You Don’t Love Me’ (Cobbs). An uptempo number with great vocals with the guitars working well together and the bass and drums keeping that rhythm. Slowing the pace down, a standard blues, ‘How Blue Can You Get?’ (Feather/Feather).

A classic track ‘Shake Your Money Maker’ (James), with some great slide guitar and drumming in a very ‘Fleetwood’ style. Rockin’ it up a bit with a blues band standard from years gone by, ‘Stepping Out’ (Frazier). It was nice to hear that one again.

An excellent take on the classic ‘I Loved Another Woman’ (Green) followed by an uptempo blues and ‘foot tappin’ number ‘Like It This Way’ (Kirwan).

‘Long Grey Mare’ (Green) is another cover, but well put together with some great guitar work and vocals. This leads us into a classic Muddy Waters track ‘Champagne And Reefer’ (Morganfield), one of my all-time favourites, which was covered well with some great slide guitar.

An earthy 12 bar blues ‘It Hurts Me Too’ (London), where the slide guitar works well, with shades of Jeremy Spencer. Super vocals too. The final track of this ‘go back in time’ album, is an uptempo blues ‘Rollin’ Man’ (Green/Adams). A great way to finish this ‘true blues’ album where the influence are in strong evidence, but performed in the Deluxe’s own style. There definitely were ‘Some Good Bits’, so the album was well named.

ROSY GREER – Lancashire Blues Archive

www.facebook.com/lancsbluesarchive

www.thedeluxeblues.weebly.com

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