G. Love has released a music video for “The Juice” featuring Marcus King. It’s the title track from G. Love’s upcoming album, which will be released on January 17. The Juice is produced by Keb’ Mo’.
Month: October 2019
The Kris Lager Band has released a music video for “Plugged In and Turned On.” It’s the opening track for the band’s new album, Spectrum.
Eclectic blues/hip-hop artist G. Love has announced the January 17 release of The Juice via Philadelphonic/Thirty Tigers, and a 2020 tour in support. Co-produced and co-written with four time Grammy award-winner Keb’ Mo’, The Juice is an electrifying album that features a slew of special guests including Robert Randolph, Marcus King and Roosevelt Collier.
*Feature image Kaelan Barowsky
The singer-songwriter is releasing his sixth album in three years – his best since 1997. Would he like to expand on how he made it, or why he chose his collaborators? He would not
There is a song on Van Morrison’s 1991 album Hymns to the Silence called Why Must I Always Explain? in which the Northern Irish singer-songwriter appears to rail against the endlessly tiresome process of giving interviews. “And I never turned out to be the person that you wanted me to be,” he sings. “And I tell you who I am, time and time and time again / Tell me why must I always explain?”
The song is in my mind when I meet Morrison on a midweek morning in Cardiff. The singer sits by the window in a fourth-floor hotel room; a pale white knuckle of a man in a blue patterned shirt, his hair a sweep of bracken red. Beyond him, the view over the bay has been obscured by heavy autumn mist.
I don’t need to explain what I do or how I do it. Other people might do, but I don’t. To me, it’s OK if it’s a mystery
Related: Van Morrison – 10 of the bestContinue reading...
Chuck Berry, the artist, was a genius. We owe just about everything great about rock and roll to Berry (and his pianist/collaborator, Johnnie Johnson). Singer/guitarist Mike Zito pays tribute to the artist on Rock ‘n’ Roll – A Tribute to Chuck Berry.
Berry, the man, was more complicated. He was an African American who perfected a largely white artform. His career stalled due to a Mann Act conviction, which many believe to be a racist statue. People have maintained that after his 20-month jail sentence, Berry came out a changed, meaner person. In the 1980s and 1990s, there were all kinds of allegations against Berry: assaulting women, video cameras in bathrooms, and videotapes of minors. He is both survivor and a perpetrator, easy to sympathize with but hard to root for.
There’s a fantastic scene at the end of Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll, the documentary about the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards efforts to organize a tribute show for Berry. Berry tortures Richards for most of the film, treating Richards more like a court-appointed dentist than as a huge rock star trying to honor Berry’s legacy. At the end of the show, Richards, who has seen some things, looks completely desiccated, totally broken by Berry. Altamont and Hells Angels were one thing. But Berry was next-level pain.
But people like Richards and Zito pay their respect because Berry’s music is just that good. Blasting this album over a weekend, my one-year-old daughter would consistently bop to Zito’s takes on these classic, instantly-recognizable songs. It says something when music resonates that powerfully with a person so young.
Zito says the album originated from his time living in St. Louis, Berry’s hometown, where he got to know Berry’s drummer and son. I suspect Zito also hoped to introduce Berry’s music to younger fans, who might not be familiar with many of these classic songs. Similarly, Zito features an impressive array of guests across the album, using this as an opportunity to promote lower-profile artists (although there are also big names, like Joe Bonamassa and Luther Dickinson, who finds time to appear on what seems to be thousands of albums a year).
There are also some cool surprises. “Downbound Train” is trippier than Berry’s original, featuring guitar right out of Led Zeppelin’s “Dazed and Confused.” The guitar comes courtesy of Alex Skolnick, best known for this work with the thrash-metal band Testament (but also an accomplished jazz guitarist). “Rock and Roll Music” is re-imagined with slide guitar and backing vocals from the amazing Joanna Connor. And “Too Much Monkey Business” features a laid-back Dickinson co-vocal that gives the song a different complexion than Berry’s higher-energy original.
Despite the stunning number of guests, Zito is never lost. His vocals and guitar are present on every track, gracefully allowing his collaborators to shine, but also not deferring to anyone. Zito never lets the songs stray too far from the Berry originals, but provides space for different takes on material that is canonically seared into the minds of many. For instance, “Brown Eyed Handsome Man,” one of my all-time favorite Berry tunes, here features singer/guitarists Kirk Fletcher and Josh Smith, but doesn’t deviate too far from Berry’s original. They throw in some slightly flashier guitar licks and put a little mustard on the vocals, but otherwise the performers know better than to mess with perfection.
The perfection of Berry’s music is the challenge of an album like this. Back to the Future, which wasn’t a documentary, features a scene where Michael J. Fox, having traveled back in time to the 1950s, performs Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” at a high school dance, using all of Berry’s moves, both of the guitar and duckwalk variety. Berry’s cousin runs to call him, holding the phone up so Berry can hear the new sound he’s supposedly been looking for. It’s a goofy joke, but there’s a larger message: that Berry’s music is historically significant. The world would be a sadder place without the music of Cream or the Allman Brothers, but would things be that different? Now think about where we would be without Berry. What music wouldn’t have been written without his (and Johnson’s) coming first? Would we have a Beatles or a Stones without him?
And that’s what works about this album. It’s timeless music respectfully presented by talented artists. Zito uses his visibility not just to honor Berry, but to also re-introduce him to a generation (or two) of fans who might not be familiar with his work, which still stands up remarkably well, all those decades later. Adding on to the good deed, Zito also uses this as an opportunity to showcase contemporary artists who might not be as well-known as they should be (and many of whom have been produced by Zito, like the criminally good Albert Castiglia, who performs Berry’s “30 Days”). Great music and great intentions makes for a beautiful tribute.
The Review: 9/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Brown Eyed Handsome Man
– Too Much Monkey Business
– Rock and Roll Music
– Downbound Train
– Johnny B. Goode
The Big Hit
– Johnny B. Goode
Review by Steven Ovadia
Now Available via Concord Records
Four-time GRAMMY Award-winner Keb’ Mo’s first-ever holiday album, Moonlight, Mistletoe & You,has reached the #1 position on Billboard’s Blues Chart, following its debut at #7 on the Seasonal Chart and #19 on the Americana/Folk Albums Chart.
AllMusic raves, Moonlight, Mistletoe & You “winds up as a cozy listen, all due to Keb’ Mo’s emphasis on sweetness and good humor. The entire album is a celebration.” Since becoming available via Concord Records on Oct. 18, the new release has received recognition from critics and fans alike and can be heard here: https://found.ee/KebMo_MMY
Taking over a decade to compile, the 10-track album was produced by Keb’ himself and recorded by Zach Allen at Stu Stu Studio in Franklin, TN. The seasoned musician offers up a melting pot of holiday tunes with six newly penned songs and four covers that seamlessly marry holiday standards with tongue-in-cheek humor and orchestral ballads.
Oklahoma continues its run on the Billboard Blues Chart, and in its 19￼ consecutive week of appearing on the chart, the release is positioned at #12. Keb’ will embark on the
Keb’ Mo’ on the web:
In this month’s magazine we hear from Graeme of Deep Blue Sea who has some further thoughts on Trev Turley’s piece about pigeonholing in September’s issue, whilst Trev reflects on the New Crawdaddy Club which is closing at the end of this year. Wille Edwards, without his Bandits, is doing a short tour to raise funds for charities supporting the homeless. Black Stone Cherry, probably better known for their rock output have released a second blues album, so we get some details and background. Another ‘rocker’ is on the road but his roots are firmly in the blues as we find out when we talk to Glenn Hughes. Holy Moly & The Crackers introduce themselves this month.
Needless to say it’s a busy time of year for album releases, so we’ve allocated extra space and as usual we have your reviews of gigs and festivals, whilst our Radio Guide starts on Page 42.
Enjoy the read and get out and see some live music.
Enjoy Yer Blues!
October 28, 2019 – Fat Possum Records releases two newly-recorded Mose Allison tracks from IF YOU’RE GOING TO THE CITY: A Tribute to Mose Allison out November 29. Grammy-Award winner and blues mainstay Taj Mahal has recorded “Your Mind is on Vacation,” while mulitplatinum singer/songwriter Jackson Browne puts his spin on “If You Live.”
The collection features Taj Mahal, Robbie Fulks, Jackson Browne, The Tippo Allstars feat. Fiona Apple, Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite, Chrissie Hynde, Iggy Pop, Bonnie Raitt, Loudon Wainwright III, Richard Thompson, Peter Case, Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin, Anything Mose!, Frank Black, and Amy Allison with Elvis Costello. The CD and LP packaging will include a DVD copy of Paul Bernay’s 2005 documentary on Mose Allison titled ‘Ever Since I Stole The Blues.’ It was originally produced for the BBC.
Taj Mahal says, “Long before Butterfield & Bloomfield, The Rolling Stones & “The British Invasion”, Canned Heat or The Blues Project,…. Mose was and still is “the man!!!” He totally influenced Dave “Snaker” Wray.”
Amy Allison notes about her father, “Mose’s singular style- a unique blend of jazz and blues, his incisive humor, and knack for distilling deep themes into simple potent lyrics made him a major influence on a generation of musicians. It didn’t take much convincing for the producers (Don Heffington and Sheldon Gomberg) to bring a host of top artists onboard. Each artist chose a favorite Mose Allison song to interpret.”
Sweet Relief Musicians Fund is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that provides assistance to career musicians who are struggling to make ends meet while facing illness, disability, or age-related problems. Grant recipients include recording artists, club and session musicians, and composers and songwriters from every musical genre. Since its inception, Sweet Relief has helped musicians with medical and living expenses, including insurance premiums, prescriptions, medical treatment and procedures, housing and food costs, utilities, and other basic necessities.
Born in 1927 in the Mississippi Delta, Mose John Allison grew up listening to jazz and blues greats such as Louis Armstrong, Memphis Minnie, Duke Ellington, Louis Jordan and the Nat Cole Trio. He learned to play piano and trumpet as a boy. After a stint in the army and then several years playing in clubs around the South, he moved to New York City to make his career as a pianist, songwriter, and performer fronting his own trio. Allison performed with jazz greats such as Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, and Gerry Mulligan, and developed a distinctive style of playing that fused blues and jazz with succinct and timeless lyrics. Mose Allison became a favorite among his peers and his songs have been covered by other great artists such as Van Morrison, The Who, Bonnie Raitt, Elvis Costello, The Clash and many others. Allison passed away in 2016 at the age of 89.
If You’re Going to The City Tracklist:
1. Taj Mahal – Your Mind Is On Vacation
2. Robbie Fulks – My Brain
3. Jackson Browne – If You Live
4. The Tippo Allstars featuring Fiona Apple – Your Molecular Structure
5. Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite – Nightclub
6. Chrissie Hynde – Stop This World
7. Iggy Pop – If You’re Going to the City
8. Bonnie Raitt – Everybody’s Crying Mercy
9. Loudon Wainwright III – Ever Since the World Ended
10. Richard Thompson – Parchman Farm
11. Peter Case – I Don’t Worry About A Thing
12. Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin – Wild Man On the Loose
13. Anything Mose! – The Way of the World
14. Frank Black – Numbers On Paper
15. Amy Allison with Elvis Costello – Monsters of the Id
Calling all Blues lovers – The Achievers need your help!
Crowdfunding is now at the halfway mark for this year’s winners of the 6th UKBlues Challenge – The Achievers and they need your help to assist with expenses as they go on to represent the UK in 2020!
The Achievers are the winners of the 6th UKBlues Challenge which took place at the Bluefunk Rhythm & Blues Club, Poynton, Lancashire on Saturday 21st September 2019.
Funds are being raised to help cover the costs for The Achievers to go and represent the UK at the 2020 International and European Blues Challenges.
The band will be representing the UK at the…
36th International Blues Challenge organised by The Blues Foundation and it takes place between January 28th – February 1st, 2020, in Memphis, USA and…
10th European Blues Challenge organised by the European Blues Union on 17th and 18th April 2020 in Zaandam, near Amsterdam.
The Achievers are one of the most talked-about and critically acclaimed new bands on the UK Blues and Roots music scene. With a reputation for innovation and originality, they prove that soul, groove and song-craft still matter in the blues.
Their own brand of modern, secular ‘Dancefloor Gospel‘ has catapulted them from near-complete obscurity to rave reviews and big-stage appearances across Europe. Their new album ‘The Lost Arc‘ was recorded mostly ‘live in the studio‘ and is as much of an event as it is an album – it marks the arrival of The Achievers as a new force in British Blues & Roots songwriting.
The band draw on their obsession with American vintage dancing music and the songwriting pioneers of early Rhythm & Blues, Americana and Southern Soul. With their infectious rhythms, joyful melodies and four-part harmonies The Achievers stand proudly as British Blues & Roots outliers.
The band say…
“We are absolutely thrilled to have been selected to represent the UK at the International and European Blues Challenges. It’s such a huge honour and an exciting opportunity, we can’t wait to get started on our journey!
We now need your kindness and support to raise funds to help us cover some of the costs of getting to Memphis and The Netherlands – in return we will be offering great rewards, lots of things we think you’ll actually want! Without your support so far we would never be in this position, to begin with, and we can’t thank you enough.
The next stage of our story can’t continue without you – we promise to do you proud and make it a lot of fun along the way!”
– Lots of love, Steve, Aron, Rufus, Jack & Robbie.
There are tons of goodies to be had over on their Crowdfunding page with prizes ranging from £7 to £750!
There are lots of marvellous prizes from the band and the UKBlues Federation including everything from signed CD’s, posters, through to house concerts, caricatures, O2 tickets, festival tickets, a Fender Acoustic Bass and a fabulous ‘Live Blues Blowout‘ package with tickets from 5 British Blues Festivals.
The UKBlues Federation have also kindly donated £2,000 towards their costs.
The following video is of The Achievers playing our Blues Matters stage earlier this year at the Great British Rhythm & Blues Festival in Skegness, the crowd absolutely loved them!
If you can spare anything even just a small donation to help these guys in their quest to represent UK Blues in these 2 highly esteemed competitions then please go to their Crowdfunding page and pledge what you can, I know they will be super grateful to receive it.
The links you need are…
The European Blues Union (European Blues Challenge)
The Blues Foundation (International Blues Challenge)
To read an article on the band’s win at the UKBlues Challenge click here
To read an article on the Kyla Brox Quartet who were last years winners of both the UKBlues Challenge and the European Blues Challenge please click here.
Blues rock guitarist Diana Rein sits down with Blues Rock Review to discuss her latest album, Queen Of My Castle, her influences, joining Gulf Coast Records, and more.