King King has released a lyric video for its new single, “I Will Not Fall.” The band features three new members joining frontman Alan Nimmo since its last studio album, Exile and Grace.

“I reached a stage where I felt that I wanted to regain control of my life, career and future,” says Alan Nimmo. “I made a number of changes within the band and people surrounding the band. That was a lot of changes at one time. It was a daunting feeling, but they were important decisions that had to be made.” Nimmo adds, “When you listen to “I Will Not Fall”, you know it’s King King.”

The band is set to tour the UK in April with Hannah Wicklund and the Steppin Stones.

Cardiff Y Plas Friday 3 April
Salisbury City Hall Saturday 4 April
Bexhill De La Warr Pavilion Sunday 5 April
Bury St Edmunds The Apex Arts Centre Monday 6 April
Sheffield Leadmill Wednesday 8 April
Glasgow Old Fruitmarket Friday 10 April
Manchester Academy Saturday 11 April
York Grand Opera House Sunday 12 April
Birmingham Town Hall Tuesday 14 April
Newcastle Boiler Shop Wednesday 15 April
London Electric Ballroom Friday 17 April

Playing It Natural!

An interview with Kevin Moore, better known in the music world as Keb Mo. He has been recording now for over twenty-five years and is not planning to stop at any time soon. With his very distinctive guitar style and charismatic persona, his music is often personal and easy to connect to. This seems partly why he has had so many awards and is sought after by many fellow musicians as the go-to man to play with.

So, another year, and another Grammy Award, this time it’s for Best Americana Album for Oklahoma. Yet it’s difficult to categorise his music.

Hi Keb, thanks for chatting to Blues Matters magazine, much appreciated, where are you today?
Nashville, Tennessee, at home with a cup of Espresso coffee. It’s rainy and grey and there’s even some snow, I’m cosy, it’s a good day to stay in with a hot cup of coffee and work.

You’re not long back from Mahindra Blues Festival in Mumbai, what was that like, there was a great bill of blues talent?
That’s a great experience. We did a show with Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Next night, one with Buddy Guy! It’s a cool festival, Mumbai is a very different mindset, beautiful chaos I would call it!

You never seem to stop touring; you must like being on the road, what helps keep you focussed on playing live venues?
Well. It’s my job! It’s my destiny in life it’s what I do. It’s my deal so I do it. If I was doing something else I’d be looking for a break. The best thing now when I’m on my break, is I’m at home. Being home is important. I do errands at home. Like today I’m getting my ears cleaned out! At home, I can clean my teeth, fix my car; mundane things that you do when you’re not on the road.

Festivals or intimate small venues, what would be your choice or is there no difference in the atmosphere?
I think anywhere you play is an intimate venue if you know how to make it one, it’s about connecting. When the venue is small, that’s like a tactile thing. One of my favourites is The Hollywood Bowl; Etta James could turn that place into a hundred seat Night Club.

I saw you recently play Big Burns Supper in Dumfries, and you could hear a pin drop during some of the acoustic songs, how do you manage to get the balance right?
The sound guy, haha! When you’re playing to a larger group of people you need a good team behind you. The guy behind the desk is translating what you are doing intimately, he has to get it and understand it.

You’re playing Cheltenham Jazz Festival in the UK on May 9th this year, how do you choose the venues you play and does it fit in with your musical style to play at a Jazz Festival?
I would love to choose my own venues; I would play Wembley, Dodgers Stadium. Unfortunately in my line of work I have to take what I can get!! Maybe in my deeper conscience, I am choosing the venues I play. I am constantly choosing the best things for me at that time

On that, to people who don’t know, how would you describe your own musical style?
I don’t. Go to Apple Music or Spotify and people can make up their own minds. If I describe it I might say something wrong. There is nothing like experiencing the real thing. If you don’t like it don’t tell me what you think! It’s a deeply spiritual question. We try and provoke thought and connection with our music.

Congratulations on getting a Grammy for your Oklahoma album, what does this mean for you as a performing artist?
Thanks, I was shocked and honoured by this. This Grammy was for a different category, Americana. It awards a creative feel. It’s more for where I’m at and it means a lot to me. What it means to other people I don’t really know. To me it’s encouraging and uplifting, but not in a look how special I am, way! It means, how can I be more effective? it gives you the privilege to reach out to people.

image for album cover for keb mo oklahoma album

Oklahoma

Talk about the album Oklahoma, the production and theme running through it, thinking in particular, songs like, “Put A Woman In Charge“ sung with Roseanne Cash, and “This Is My Home”.
There’s a theme running through it that was not intentional. It related to when the songs were written. There’s no real theme as such. When you listen to songs made in the ’20s and ’30s and every other decade there is a feeling to that music. When you say the ’80s, it’s oh yeh Cyndi Lauper. 2019, throughout America, had a feeling to it! We had a President who was not much fun. No disrespect to him, it created a subject matter. The environment was a factor on, “Don’t Throw It Away”, respect the environment, also other cultures and our neighbours from any country seeking refuge for a better life. It’s about all that stuff.

Any criteria for inviting guests to play with you?
Yeh, whoever shows up! It’s very organic. With, Put A Woman In Charge, a friend of mine suggested Roseanne Cash, and I thought that was perfect! She agreed to do the song and it was lovely.  Robert Randolph was here on a project, also Taj Mahal, so they joined in too.

What would you say is your songwriting technique, does the tune come first, the lyrics or can it be anything?
The song has to have a job firstly. I think, what’s the job of this song? When I write a song it becomes a living entity itself. It has the subject matter, it has a life to it you know. When you’re putting the lyrics and the melody in, you’re breathing life into some sound. That sound can live on for many years depending on how good that song is doing its job.

Your lyrics are very emotional and poetic at times; as on the song “Just Like You”, can you describe just how that feels to you when you’re singing it to an audience?
I go back to when it was written. It’s clear that moment never goes away. All these songs are written about a clear moment. The memory lives in the song, I draw on that and I go back to the beginning of why it was written and sing it with that intention.

You brought out a Christmas album, “Moonlight, Mistletoe & You”, how did this come about; have you always wanted to make a Christmas album?
No, but Christmas is the biggest holiday of the year. The season is so powerful. This album is a collection of songs that were around, some are covers. “One More Year With You” was written on January 2nd about eight years ago. The title song was not written during the Christmas season. It was written for a project that didn’t come to fruition. We were writing it for a movie. It was a country song about an imaginary country singer

 “Christmas Is Annoying“ is a particular favourite of mine, care to talk about this?
Self-explanatory. Over here Christmas is annoying. The Christmas Season starts before Halloween, why not just start it in July!!

What’s the best advice musically you have been given in your career and by whom?
It was about songwriting. It was a conversation I overheard in a restaurant. Two songwriters were asking how you get someone else to record your song. They said, “You can’t write for that person, you just have to write a good song that means something to you, then that’s probably what will sell the song”.

What would your advice be to up and coming young musicians?
Be fearless!

If you were not playing music what do you think you would be doing?
First of all that ain’t going to happen! But I would be a gardener, I’d make the neighbourhood look better!

Is there anything about Keb Mo that your fans and readers do not know about and that you’d like to tell us?
I can’t tell you these things, I’d have to kill you! I’m a folky, at heart. I’m not very outgoing and I’m not lazy, but I love sitting around and doing nothing. There’s something I love about sitting with nothing on my mind. At the moment I’m watching the rain turn to snow as it is coming down that’s pretty cool.

What are your plans for the future?
Getting my ears cleaned out at 1.30 today! Going on tour, going to New Orleans, Europe, and working on a new album! This next record is going to be very interesting. I’m planning songs. I have to do something that excites me and intrigues me. I want to do something fresh, it’s a real challenge. The soundscape and the atmosphere is important when organising this.

You are always well dressed on stage, care to talk about this?
I think dressing well is important. Clothes are a language. By what you wear, you can communicate with people, through clothes. If you go to a black-tie affair in blue jeans and a t-shirt people will know you don’t give a shit! Grammys are open in dress code.

What other kinds of music do you listen to?
Not very much, old stuff, old blues, 60’s and 80’s R&B, Jacob Collier, Herbie Hancock. I listen to what’s popular at that time. You have to say what you do in a song with the least amount of lyrics as possible. I lead an ordinary life! People see you on stage and think you go partying and stuff but, I’m so boring and I like it like that. Being onstage is an enhanced version of who you are.

Sounds like your persona onstage is the same as offstage then?
Yeh, you have to be yourself, that’s what makes you, you. Trying to make something up never works!  A real friend is someone you can sit around with and not say anything. I have a lot of trust in who we are, and the way life plays itself out. It’s always right where you’re supposed to be. You have to be gracious! If you walk around being invisible, that can be just as torturous as being famous.

What’s the strangest place you’ve ever played?
They are all strange! There’s a place in California called The African Palace. A dive joint, they sold beer and wine. The only person who came in there was a cross-dressing man! He was quite pretty as a woman. That was a time when I played with Lowell Fulson, it was cool but he yelled at me all the time, I was young and stupid!

It really has been an honour talking to you.
You too, bye!

Interview conducted by Colin Campbell, images by Jeremy Cowart.

For More Info – www.kebmo.com

Discography:

Moonlight, Mistletoe & You – 2019
Oklahoma – 2019
TajMo – 2017
Live – That Hot Pink Blues Album – 2016
Bluesamericana – 2014
The Reflection – 2011
Live & Mo’ – 2009
Suitcase – 2006

 

 

 

The post A Conversation with KEB MO appeared first on Blues Matters Magazine.

American Blues Scene brings you the premiere of “Honest As Daylight,” by Carla Olson with R&B/Soul legend Percy Sledge. The song comes from Olson’s newest offering of duets, Have Harmony, Will Travel 2, which arrives from Sunset Blvd. Records on March 20.

This album from Olson, the Austin, Texas-born, Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter-producer features duets with 11 guests, and is a successor to 2013’s Have Harmony, Will Travel, which found her collaborating vocally with such artists as Peter Case, Richie Furay (Buffalo Springfield), John York (the Byrds), Scott Kempner (the Del-Lords), and Juice Newton.

Like the previous collection, Have Harmony, Will Travel 2 was inspired by Olson’s youthful days as an aspiring musician, when she marveled at the diverse sounds she heard on Austin’s top-40 station KNOW. For this follow-up she teams with not only Percy Sledge, but also Stephen McCarthy of the Long Ryders, Gene Clark of the Byrds, Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits, Terry Reid, Timothy B. Schmit of the Eagles, and more.

L-R Rick Hemmert, Carla Olson, Mick Taylor, Percy Sledge. Photo: Gary Nichamin…From Carla Olson scrapbook

“‘Honest As Daylight’ began as a set of lyrics written by Textones drummer Rick Hemmert which Bobby McDonald and I composed music for,” Carla told us. “Having two legends participate in the recording was more than we could have imagined – soul man Percy Sledge and former Rolling Stone Mick Taylor. I’m glad it’s getting a second lease on life.”

Carla Olson

Reuben and the Dark returned to Chicago’s North Side, bringing their brand of indie folk rock one of the city’s favorite music clubs, Schubas Tavern. Fronted by Calgary’s Reuben Bullock, the band played to a small but devout room of fans.

With the recent release of UN | LOVE they played new songs including the title track and “Faultline.” The band is out playing select dates thru mid-March, so catch them if they are near you.

Reuben and the Dark Tour Info

 

Reuben Bollock

*All photos © Philamonjaro

The Kris Barras Band has released a music video for “What A Way To Go.” The track is featured on Barras’ latest album, Light It Up, which was voted #15 on Blues Rock Review’s top 20 albums of 2019.

“This was the very first song that I wrote for the Light It Up album and it has always been one of my faves,” says Barras. “I wanted to have a bit of fun with the video. The original plan was to have a good mate of mine play the main character. He would’ve been perfect as he has an amazing mullet! However, he had an accident and broke his collar bone a few days before we were due to start filming. So I made a quick pit stop at a fancy dress shop and we went to work! It was great fun to do something that we hadn’t done before with our videos. We had a lot of fun making it!”

The promo video for the title track from Leonard Cohen’s critically acclaimed posthumous release Thanks For The Dance, debuts today.

London-based fashion photographer Harley Weir is the latest contemporary artist invited by NOWNESS to share her artistic interpretation of title track “Thanks For The Dance”. “I’m a huge fan of Leonard Cohen,” says Weir. “His lyrics are so raw and yet so warm. I am honoured to be a part of his legacy.” With her fresh and incomparable eye for the expressive and emotive, Weir’s images speak to the universal appeal and eternal quality of Leonard Cohen’s timelessly inspiring music.

Weir’s lyrical tapestry weaves together visual totems for birth, growth and death through which American actress Rowan Blanchard (Girl Meets World/The Goldbergs) plays a bride caught between the pain of transition and the promise of rebirth.

Adding to the cast is British model, actor and entrepreneur Lily Cole, posed in the style of Botticelli’s Venus and surrounded by a trio of infants to conjure an image of love, fertility and new life.

Released last year, and nominated for a 2020 JUNO Award for ‘Adult Alternative Album of the Year’, Thanks For The Dance was an unexpected harvest of new songs from the master. Collaborating with producer Adam Cohen, friends and colleagues gathered to support and complete the work Leonard had begun, making an album that echoes the sounds of his catalogue, yet remains fresh, current and impactful.

Thanks For The Dance” is the latest video in the series Thanks for the Dance: Artistic Responses to Leonard Cohen. Created by NOWNESS, the series offers a video representation of the album; an imagery interpretation of Cohen’s life and lyrics that is deeply personal to each filmmaker involved.

WHAT THE PAPERS SAID ABOUT ‘THANKS FOR THE DANCE

…this remarkable posthumous album honours the singer’s legacy while reminding you that his creative powers in that last period were not just undimmed, but fierce, inquisitive and tenacious.’ Sunday Times

…the sparse, sublime instrumentation never takes the focus away from Cohen’s inimitable voice, which is lush, deadpan, warm and poetic…’  The Guardian

Playful, profane, spiritual and scholarly….Leonard Cohen departed as he had arrived, singing the song that only he could sing.Mail On Sunday

‘…(a) priceless collection delivered in that low world-weary rumble.’ The Sun

Poetry of finality and poignancy and star-crossed memory lives on in his unmistakable voice.  A beautiful gift from father to son, and vice versa.’  Daily Mirror

He is greatly missed.’  The Times

‘…songs of hard-won wit and wisdom delivered in a familiar husky whisper.’ Daily Mail

‘…this loving father-son dialogue has produced a worthy epilogue to one of music’s greatest songbooks.’ Q

‘There is no lack of substance here, brought to us with care by a devoted son.’ Uncut

‘Leonard Cohen’s profound ‘Thanks for the Dance’ is a posthumous Grace Note.’ Rolling Stone

‘Posthumous album showcases fearless artistry right to the end.’ NME 

For More Info – Leonard Cohen

The post LEONARD COHEN’S Thanks For The Dance appeared first on Blues Matters Magazine.

Since the early 1990s, the Phantom Blues Band has been touring the world as the two-time Grammy-winning band for Taj Mahal, and appearing as a world-class all-star band on their own. The band members have a long list of credits as touring artists and top-call studio musicians for the likes of Bonnie Raitt, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King, Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, Robert Cray, and many more. Their newest offering, Still Cookin‘, proves there is a lot of life (and music) left in this blues supergroup.

 

The band is comprised of Tony Braunagel (drums), Mike Finnigan (keyboards & vocals), Larry Fulcher (bass & vocals) Johnny Lee Schell (guitar & vocals), Joe Sublett (saxophones). Les Lovitt (trumpet). The band members themselves boast many individual Blues Music Awards as well as a joint BMA and a couple of GRAMMY awards.

So what happens when a busy group like this gets the time to get into the studio? Pure magic. Their last offering was eight years ago, when they brought us Inside Out, and trust when we say we’ve been missing the sound that Taj Mahal created when originally forming this group.

Still Cookin’ kicks off with a tight cover of Wilson Pickett’s “Don’t Fight It.” All three vocalists in the band add their solid pipes to this one and it’s a perfect starting point. They make it sound easy – nay, fun – and it comes across just that way.

The funky vibes continue with songs such as “Stop Runnin” and “Wingin’ My Way.” It’s Finnigan’s vocals that stand out on this record, although when they all get in the mix like they do on the Latin-flavored “Tequila Con Yerba,” or the strolling vibe of “Fess On Up,” things really heat up.

“Shine On” brings a Caribbean feel as well as a positive message. The blues in R&B come out on “I’m Just Your Fool,” as the guys bring back the big band sound of the original 1954 Buddy Johnson release.

Band members wrote or co-wrote more than half the songs on Still Cookin’, and the band credits their combined influences for their songwriting and song selections:

We all grew up on great songs from the late 50’s on, and extended our library of influences from the Great American Songbook, including the roots of the Blues.

A couple of don’t miss tracks include “I Was Blind,” which adds the superb backing vocals of Tulsa, Oklahoma songstress Maxayn Lewis, who has backed everyone from Ike & Tina and Bobby “Blue” Bland to Van Morrison and Sammy Hagar. “Blues How They Linger” showcases Finningan’s soulful vocals and key skills.

Everything the Phantom Blues Band does is a collaborative effort, however guitarist/vocalist Schell steps up on this one as co-producer, mixer, and engineer.

Yes – the Phantom Blues Band are Still Cookin’ and what they’re serving up is dee-licious! Get yourself a heaping helping and don’t be bashful about coming back for seconds.

Artist: Phantom Blues Band

Title: Still Cookin’

Label: VizzTone

Release Date: February 14, 2020

Running Time: 48:15

Phantom Blues Band

Palladium, London
A surprise appearance by original Fleetwood Mac member Jeremy Spencer was just one highlight of a concert where Noel Gallagher and Steven Tyler painted Green’s blues

Mick Fleetwood has enjoyed a long and impressive career, though this is surely one of the highlights. A tall, bearded figure, he sits behind his drum kit and delightedly introduces the extraordinary cast he has managed to assemble for this tribute to one-time Fleetwood Mac partner Peter Green. From Britain, there is his one-time boss, the veteran blues hero John Mayall, along with David Gilmour, Pete Townshend, Bill Wyman and Noel Gallagher. The American contingent includes Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top, Steven Tyler from Aerosmith and Kirk Hammett from Metallica.

And then, of course, there are members of Fleetwood Mac, with whom he has now spent 53 years. They may be best known as a massively successful Anglo-American AOR band but Fleetwood wants their early years remembered. So he has curated this high-profile event (which is also filmed), focusing on the band’s role in the 60s British blues boom and the importance of Green, who quit Fleetwood Mac half a century ago. Fleetwood has described him as his “greatest mentor”.

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Mazzy Star co-founding guitarist and keyboardist David Roback has passed away at the age of 61. A representative of the band announced today that Roback died on Monday, a cause of death not yet released. Roback got his start in the Los Angeles Paisley Underground scene in the 1980s, playing in Rain Parade and Opal.

From the ashes of Opal, David formed Mazzy Star with vocalist Hope Sandoval in 1989, and together the two wrote all of the band’s songs. In addition to being the primary songwriter, he also produced the band’s albums. Between 1990 and 1996, Mazzy Star released three albums: She Hangs Brightly, So Tonight That I Might See, and Among My Swan. After a long hiatus, they released Seasons of Your Day in 2013.

Mazzy Star is best known for their mainstream hit, “Fade Into You,” which has appeared in countless TV soundtracks. Sometimes hastily dubbed shoegaze, Mazzy Star brought certain colors, tones, and textures not heard before — a profound interfusion of dream pop, alternative, and neo-psychedelia. 

I’m remembering David Roback tonight with my favorite Mazzy Star songs: