Album Review for Chasin’ The TrainDead Man’s Handle – Released Independently.

The Scottish blues scene is still flourishing with top-notch bands. Here is an example of one of them, the band Chasin’ The Train, who all hail from the Dumfries delta country. This is their debut release and packs a punch, just like their live shows which are not to be missed, very special.

They are a five-piece band comprising of Tom Cuddihy on lead vocals and guitar. He is joined by Bob “Howlin” Clements on blues harp. Next is Peter Jamieson on bass, keyboards and backing vocals. Rory Nelson provides great licks on guitar and Jason “Moon Drummer” Little on percussion.

image of band chasin the train

Usually, their sets are peppered with cover versions but here are nine self-penned tracks of different musical genres, including blues, some jazzy tones and classic rock throughout. The opener, Beat Up Ford, incorporated a rock and roll style with a nod to Chuck Berry.

FWPB next, (First World Problem Blues) a tongue in cheek take to modern living is very quirky some very good harmonica here and a good groove. Temporary Man starts with a wonderful scything slide guitar lick, and then the song explodes into a real shuffle of a tune, exhibiting the band’s big sound and tight form. Some good guitar solos complement the vocals also, a highlight.

Down Home mellows the tone altogether at least initially, and then the pace quickens. It seems to allude to their home town Dumfries, locals call themselves Doonhamers, and so here is the town’s upcoming anthem, catchy chorus, and fine musicianship.

Whisky Bottle has a good chorus also, good rhythm section here marrying searing harmonica tones. Too Much Sugar has an up-tempo jump jive beat again with fine guitar playing. Exit Wounds is a fantastic slow blues song with a laid back groove here. No Blues opens with a great drum beat, another optimistic tune with a great vibe.

The final track is, Don’t You Lie To Me, a mellow tone to this again showcasing the band at their best. This is a talented band that is full of electrifying rhythm and lots of energy. Certainly, a band to look out for, if you get the chance to see them on stage, catch them.  A great release, diverse sounds and catchy riffs and choruses, what’s not to like!

Album Review by Colin Campbell

For More Info – Chasin’ The Train

 

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Well the shutters came rattling down as we went to press. Instantly making some of our content this month redundant, but such is life.

With the live music scene closed the artists still need to bring in an income, so if you were going to see an artist during the month (see our gig guide) why not get along to their website and buy a CD or a T-shirt to help keep the funds flowing.
In this month’s magazine we get some background on Mark Flanagan, Hannah Wicklund and Mike Zito all of whom you would have been able to see in the coming month, but I’m sure there will be opportunities again in the future and now you’ll be better informed. There’s some interesting news from Brits in Northern Cyprus where they are starting up a new Festival, lets hope we can get there by June. Shaun keeps blowin’ up a storm with part three of his series on Harmonicas and on this occasion getting the right amp for your sound.
Zoë Schwarz Blue Commotion have a new album, we get the full lowdown and we introduce you to George Jack.
Clearly for the near future Album reviews and radio shows will be the way forward, in addition some artists are organising online festivals, selling music in new ways - personalised streaming of solo shows and new collaborative album projects are starting, all available on social media and internet video channels.
Until next month, keep healthy and enjoy yer blues at home!
Paul Stiles
Editor

Choosing ten tracks from a blues world that is so huge, sprawling and covers so many styles and musical tastes is a virtual impossibility. From Chicago to Delta, acoustic to electric, slide to steel…where to begin, where to end?

I started my own journey coming from the electric end but moved into the world of acoustic as I discovered more and more astonishing music. Looking back, the first true blues musician I saw live was probably John Mayall in Glasgow in the 1960s when Mick Taylor was on guitar, though Lightnin’ Hopkins also played a part in my blues voyage in the early 70s.

1 – Muddy Waters – I’m A King Bee

First place must be Muddy Waters and ‘I’m A King Bee.’ What a track, one that almost everyone knows, loves and has heard – often without knowing just what it is – some time or other in their weary lives.

2 – Mississippi John Hurt – Richland Woman Blues

Mississippi John Hurt. Richland Woman Blues is a towering track, melodic, delightful lyrically, suggestive and bearing all the hallmarks of truly great acoustic blues picking from an absolute master. While John was the master, Maria Muldaur’s wonderful version (from her album, ‘Richland Woman Blues’) featuring 60sSummer In The City’ Loving Spoonful’s John Sebastian on guitar is maybe just the finest version ever recorded.

3 – Johnny Shines – Kind Hearted Woman Blues

Johnny Shines. Shines was one of those truly remarkable old bluesmen. A guy who worked the road and played with the blues godfather, Robert Johnson, sadly Johnny often slips below the blues radar for that very reason. But, many would say, Johnny could do it all, and I for one would tend to agree.  Shines lived a bluesman’s life, full of ups and downs, trials and tribulations but always with a hugely, generous warmth and welcome and a talent that is genuinely astonishing. I’ve had the wonderful good fortune to befriend his family and musical buddies in Alabama recently and believe the recently released for the first time live recordings from the Ann Arbour Blues FestivalThe Blues Came Falling Down’ is simply superb. Give  ‘Kind Hearted Woman Blues’ a listen and see what you think.

4 –  Reverend Gary Davis

Reverend Gary Davis. An absolute giant in every way, the blind Harlem street preacher picked guitar like nobody else. His vocal delivery was jaw-dropping and his fretwork incomparable. For me, this is as good as it gets. Almost anything from his album, ‘Harlem Street Singer’ works just dandy.

5 – Blind Willie Johnson – Soul of a Man

An essential in any blues toolkit. A track needing no introduction, recorded by many but never bettered than the original, though Pittsburgh’s Ernie Hawkins comes damn near close.

6 – Fleetwood Mac – Hellhound On My Trail

What can be said that’s not been said about the original line-up? And that amazing album, ‘Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac’ with Green’s guitar on ‘Hellhound’ or ‘Shake Your Moneymaker.’ An absolute must-have release.

7 – Bonnie Raitt – Love You Like A Man

Now Bonnie’s never easy to categorise. Blueslady for sure, she can slip into the rock world with ease. For me, her cover of the wonderful Chris Smither song, ‘Love You Like A Man’ is always a pleasure…and for once, she leaves that slide behind.

8 – Fred McDowell – Good Morning Little Schoolgirl

Fred McDowell was a giant from Como, Mississippi. Thanks to the Stones, he received some recognition before passing in 1972, when they both recorded and credited him for ‘Good Morning Little Schoolgirl.’ And how many of us don’t know and love that same track?

9 – John Mayall

John Mayall. The Godfather of British Blues truly influenced so much of the modern UK blues scene and has made an undeniably enormous impression on the music globally over most of our lifetimes. I guess a track from the revered ‘Beano’ album won’t go amiss – with Clapton making his presence felt – though I personally think John moved way beyond this as his career progressed.

10 – Ry Cooder – Vigilante Man

An odd choice maybe. Ry Cooder and ‘Vigilante Man.’ Not a true blues track, more a modern Americana bit of work. But what a song, lyrics from the legendary US roots giant Woody Guthrie and stunning guitar picking from one of the greatest acoustic slide pickers ever. A combination positively made in heaven.

Today’s list was compiled by our editor at large, Iain Patience, to contact Iain please email editor@bluesmatters.com

 

 

The post IAIN PATIENCE’s Top 10 Blues appeared first on Blues Matters Magazine.

Mike Zito has released a music video for “Don’t Let The World Get You Down.”

“I had been playing with these 3 chords and this title for a month leading up to this life changing event. I knew I liked the simple melody and meaning behind the saying. Little did I know the world would literally change in the next 30 days. When I got home and began my quarantine, this is the first song I wrote and it wrote itself in minutes. I am so proud my son Zach stepped in and created a music video that shares the emotion of this song. I truly hope people will hear the song and follow the advice I have been giving myself Don’t let the world get you down,” said Zito about the track.

Joe Diffie, the hitmaker behind such timeless 90s country songs as “John Deere Green” and “Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox (If I Die)” has sadly passed away today, March 29, due to complications from COVID-19. Diffie’s rep shared the news of the diagnosis on Friday, March 27.

The Grammy winner and Grand Ole Opry member will be remembered for his great vocal range, and for being an unrivaled interpreter of neo-traditional country music.

“Don’t spread my ashes out to sea don’t lay me down to rest / You can put my mind at ease if you fill my last request / Prop me up beside the jukebox if I die.”

 

 

Hello, I’m KatWoman of the Blues and proud to be a part of the fabric and history of this beautiful city (London, UK).

Singing the Blues, sometimes it feels like I’m connecting directly with my ancestors, this gives me a lifeline and reason for being.

I’m from Los Angeles, California but live in North London close to markets, venues and neighbourhood pubs that have rocked my world for the past 30 years.

I’ve chosen these artists for different reasons. But most of all, I wanted to feel them, hear them, and acknowledge how through their artistry we can see the Blues past, present and future.

1 – Big Mama Thornton – Everything Gonna Be Alright

She Reminds me of a gentle giant…so much character in her voice and like many, paved the future for some of our most popular artists.

2 – Bonnie Rait – I’m In The Mood

I remember exactly where I was and possibly the time when I first heard this song. Bonnie handles that slide guitar like she was born in a swamp!

3 – Lynn Jordan – If I Can’t Sell It

The Sassy Strong Blues singer has always attracted me. Her vocals are full of character and confidence with a story to tell.

4 – Anne Harris – Hymn For Her

Reminds me of how the “real” roots of the Blues was born. “The Blues has probably always been about whites learning from blacks, blacks learning from whites” The sound of the African instruments married the sound of European instruments… West Africancall and response” mix with European Folk music. (Read: “White people, blues music and the problem of cultural appropriation” – https://medium.com/@IRahmanJones/white-people-blues-music-and-the-problem-of-cultural-appropriation-3e61b8d25c03)

5 – Deitra Farr – In A Dark Place

Now, this Sista has got the BLUES! That rumble of the base and the cry of that harp digs into your soul. “Sometimes you have to go dark to recognize the light” Deitra Farr.

6 – Thornetta Davis – Please Send Me Someone To Love

I sing this song nearly every day…I’m waiting, hahaha! The whole package here on stage is undeniably Beautiful!

7 – Zakiya Hooker – Desconfio (mistrust)

The first time I’ve ever heard an English-as-a first language person sing in another language and still GIVE ME DA BLUES!

8 – Peaches Staten – Hoochie Coochie Woman

One of my favourite Zydeco Rubboard players and all-around Blues artist.

9 – Muddy Magnolias – Down by the Riverside

Wishing these ladies will help to bring the Blues to the forefront of popularity for our younger audiences.

10 – Southern Avenue – We’re Gonna Make It

One of our “youngins of the Blues” signed to STAXX Records. I think they will help to change the face of Blues.


Kat Pearson is a solo singer/songwriter under her own name and London-based band Kat & Co – for more info go to – Kat Pearson.

To read about Kat’s latest album My Roots please click here

To read about Kat’s previous album Blues is The New Cool with Kat & Co. please click here

 

 

 

The post KAT PEARSON’s Top 10 Blues appeared first on Blues Matters Magazine.

Of the many unprecedented facts concerning the coronavirus is that the increasing severity of the pandemic continues to catch the media with its pants down. From the feared freezing of computers in 2000 to the various Ebola, Swine flu, Bird Flu and other new diseases that threatened to end the world, the ever-growing plethora of news sources went way over the top in predicting Armageddon. This time, the CBS and NBC Evening News week after week would lead with stories about violent storms sweeping across the country and stranding millions in their wake. Nothing about this Chinese epidemic, or if there were a story it was buried near the end of the broadcast.

Now they’re playing catch-up ball. As a news junky, nothing makes my stomach churn more than watching the news zero in on the abject horror of the ever-changing epicenters of the pandemic. I see 18-wheelers loading bodies into freezer compartments and military trucks transporting bodies from Milan. Yet, locally in upstate New York I make my journey out of quarantine to buy milk at Stewarts and rice and soup at WalMart, and if I didn’t know better I’d think it was business as usual.

Increasingly, things are becoming far worse than Stephen King could have conjured, and the cable news stations are “breaking news” every few minutes with another horror story. About the only comic relief is watching the brothers Cuomo on CNN dual with each other about ventilators. My son Michael calls me now every few days to check in. He, better than anyone, understands my personal demon who sits on my shoulder and warns me of my impending doom, a psychosis I’ve had ever since my mom had breast cancer in 1948. But she lived to be 92. Michael gave me a reality check. This time, he said, my paranoia is not psychosis. I’m not leaving my property again until its “safe.”

*For more articles from Keeping the Blues Alive Award-winning writer Don Wilcock, click HERE.

**Feature image David Wilcock

Album release management, PR, and graphics & merchandise developer New Outlaw is offering a weekly Virtual Gig Guide for performances in the UK.

This week’s offerings include:

Saturday 28th March – Clare Free 9:30 PM (BST) ‘Live From the Living Room

Clare Free Photo: Paul Telford-Dinsmore

Saturday and Sunday 28th and 29th March- The Isolation Music Festival 1-6 PM (GMT)

Saturday, 28 March – Lockdown Music Festival Episode 2 3:00 PM – 11.30 PM (BST)

Saturday 28 March – Iain ‘The DJ’ Ridgley‘s First Ever Facebook Showcase 12:30 – 23:00 (GMT)

Sunday 29 March – Dan Burnett live stream 6:30 PM (BST)

New Outlaw

*Feature image courtesy of the Isolation Music Festival

Blues Matters writer Dani Wilde has released a brand new single today called Howling at the Moon and it has been released via the Vizztone Label Group.

British Blues Award winner Dani Wilde burst onto the international blues scene in 2007, opening for Jools Holland at London’s Royal Albert Hall and signing to prestigious blues record label Ruf Records.

The entire audience was silenced and caught in the spell of deep emotion… she won the hearts and souls of everyone in the crowd – outstanding.” – Music News Magazine

Since then she has toured extensively (playing up to 250 concerts a year) across the UK, Europe, America, Canada and Africa charting in the blues and country charts in Europe. USA concerts have included headline shows under her own name, and performances with girl group “Girls With Guitars” alongside Samantha Fish and Cassie Taylor. The group’s 2012 record, produced by Mike Zito in Berlin, was a hit in Europe; the single ‘Bitch’ reaching the Number 1 spot in the iTunes blues charts in Italy.

In 2017, Dani signed with Vizztone Label Group to release a live in the studio album entitled “Live at Brighton Road”.

Her relationship with Vizztone continues as she reaches for new heights with the release of a brand new single ‘Howling at the Moon’.

Composed and produced by Wilde, the track takes influence from both her British and American influences: “I was listening to British artists Paul Weller and 80’s pop-soul singer Sam Brown who inspired my arrangements and vocals, as well as taking guitar influence from my American blues heroes Albert Collins and Sean Costello.” The track is about a darker time in Wilde’s life where she was “struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel having had my heart broken and stamped on – I was so lost back then but now I can look back and see that I’m a stronger and happier person today because I lived through that.”

For More Info – Dani Wilde

Dani Wilde was interviewed for Issue 112 of Blues Matters magazine and she was our featured cover artist for this edition. If you’d like a copy of this then please go to our subscription tab where you can order single copies or order your print and digital subscription. Click here for your copy.

 

 

 

The post DANI WILDE – Howling At The Moon (new single) appeared first on Blues Matters Magazine.

Following the widespread cancellation of tours and gigs, with associated loss of income, American Blues Scene contacted four UK and Irish blues musicians to assess the impact of this awful virus on their livelihoods. We also asked them how they are coping and what steps they are taking to continue promoting their music and engaging with fans.

Grainne Duffy: Irish singer, songwriter, guitarist

Well, of course it’s had a huge impact on my life and my husband too as we are both musicians, so it’s our employment gone temporarily (and our upcoming festivals). We were super excited about returning to Glastonbury 2020 but in the whole scheme of things it’s only a small short-term price to pay. I’m so worried for all the smaller festivals and clubs. These places have been our lifeline and keep us alive. They need to work so hard to keep going even in a good climate. I’m really hoping the governments do all they can to help and support them to stay alive.

I’m trying to stay in touch with fans out there. I’m doing videos from the studio and will hopefully do a small concert live. Even doing wee online live video collaborations with other artists has started now since the outbreak which is a positive thing. Who knows where they might lead in the future. We also have a few fun ideas for upcoming posts lined up too which I am excited about.

Grainne’s Facebook Duo Recording

Thankfully our wee boy Bobby Joe who’s one and a half keeps us entertained for the most part. We are making this a good opportunity for quality family time, nature walks, cycles, art and crafts etc. Mainly we try to exercise and take time to write and record songs that we haven’t had the chance to do. We also take time to listen to older albums that we had never got the time to enjoy and watch videos from artists who inspire us. I love reading too, I’m reading Alan Lomax, The Land Where The Blues Began. It’s a super read, very informative. I believe this will provide us with a new way of looking at and appreciating Mother Earth, slowing down a little and really appreciating our families and valuing their importance even more than we do. 

It’s the simple things in life. Maybe we all needed to press stop momentarily. Nothing really stops this modern world turning but this has and it really makes you stop and think about what’s most important in life. Hopefully we will get back to making and enjoying music together soon.

Phil Woollett: Lead singer and guitarist with the John Doe Trio

Phil Woollett on right

The Covid-19 situation is hugely disruptive and costly for us, both as individual working musicians and as a band.  From the band perspective, the entire tour designed to promote our new album Railroaded has collapsed and, with it, the impetus it would have brought to its promotion.  As an independently produced album, with no record company backing, there is also a major financial consideration, as the album cost over £2000 to produce and the majority of sales in our part of the musical marketplace still come from CD sales at gigs. We were looking to mitigate this by live streaming some gigs but the latest UK government regulations in term of group gatherings make this impossible to do.  There is potential for modern online technology to allow us to perform as a band from completely different locations and this is something that our bass player Craig is looking into.  I am also going to experiment with streaming solo sets from home and am even thinking about having a “virtual” Craig and drummer Paul, by using the album stems of their recorded parts and playing live alongside these. 

We are trying to maximize streaming opportunities for Railroaded and our debut album, Stranger. Whilst the lack of financial benefits to the recording artists are well publicized, it still allows us to get the album heard all over the world.  The financial element of recorded music tends to be of secondary consideration these days, contrary to when I first started in the business.  Back then, artists would release an album and then tour to promote it and encourage sales, which would be their primary income source.  Nowadays this has flipped onto its head, with recorded music being used to popularize artists in order to sell tickets to live shows: these now being the main source of income.  Sadly the effect of this is that artists such as Joe Bonamassa are charging large sums for tickets, which feels like it’s pricing folks out of the market, when in fact I suspect that, were the individuals to calculate how much they used to spend on albums rather than streaming etc. the costs wouldn’t be so different.

Another vital source of assistance for bands like us, during these gig-free times, is the Independent Blues Broadcasters Association (IBBA) and the likes of journalists in the written press.  They really are so important to us as, even more than streaming, writers allow our music to still get to the ears that we want to listen to it.  Especially now, it’s very easy to just think in monetary terms about the music scene (particularly if you are currently a couple of grand out of pocket as I am) but the primary purpose of John Doe Trio (and most other blues bands, I would opine) is to provide entertainment and pleasure to those who appreciate our style of music.  The blues radio broadcasters and blues journalists allow us to do this, even when we are unable to get out and perform to folks directly.  I can’t express enough how important this is to the likes of our band.

 

Brooks Williams: Statesboro Born Country Blues Singer

These are strange times indeed. My internal soundtrack is bouncing between moody Skip James, apocalyptic Blind Willie Johnson and ecstatic Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Aretha Franklin and Susan Tedeschi next, I think!  The direct impact on me is up to 60 cancelled shows. Perhaps more depending on how long this all continues. We’ve been working two years toward the release of Work My Claim (March 2020) and the celebration of my 30 years on the Road (a tour from late February to early July). I was a couple of weeks into the tour when we had to pull the plug. The grim reality is lots of money invested in PR, advertising and preparation for this tour over the last year or so, and thousands lost in just weeks through cancelled shows. I have built my career on gigging. I identify as a ‘road dog,’ if you know that expression. For me, it’s all about the face-to-face. Not only do I count on it for my livelihood, but I genuinely love it. To my way of thinking, music is all about what happens in a room with an audience. All the rest of it is just a means to get you to that room with those people. I’m old school in that way, I guess. Gigging has been the constant of my 30-year career. Now that is off the table, I’m trying to figure out a way to stay connected with my audience. They have been great before and I’m assuming we’ll find new ways to connect. 

Like so many others, the strategy is to try and keep in touch via social media. I have a new Patreon page and an email list that I connect with every week or two, but I also use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I’m filming videos of songs – deep cuts from my back catalogue, old blues songs – and beginning to post them. We’re also planning a series of live streaming concerts from my office. Additionally, I’ll be doing online guitar lessons as well. Of course I’ll keep co-writing with my collaborators – we can do that online – and figuring out other ways to stay connected with my musician friends. I’m not tech-phobic by any means, but I’ve never had a home studio or a live streaming set-up before. To be honest, I didn’t have time. Now I have the time and I have the need, so taking ‘baby steps’ learning how all this works and asking lots of questions. Many of my peers are way ahead of me here, but I’m kind of enjoying the process. It inspires me to think outside the box. We’re all being challenged to be inventive in a way we haven’t had to be before. 

I don’t really have any hobbies other than guitar, song writing and music, so those continue as part of my daily routine. I’m re-discovering reading and trying to re-learn the fine art of sitting still and being attentive to what’s around me. I’ve put the flight cases in the loft for now and have truly unpacked for the first time in I don’t know how long. Who knows what can happen? I’m also listening to my music collection again and making it a point to explore the music of other musicians, something I’ve not had the opportunity to do. I watch their videos and, in some cases, order their music. Long before thirty years ago I loved this acoustic roots music and I’m delighted to discover I still love it not only as a player but as a listener.

Giles Robson: Harp maestro both sides of the Atlantic

Giles Robson with Billy Branch (photo credit: Tim Russell)

Our first cancellation on arrival in Calais on, yes you guessed it, Friday 13th March, was for a gig that evening in Abbeville, France. We were on a double bill with Chris Bergson and Ellis Hooks. As soon as the Eurotunnel train hit Calais I got a message from my agent saying that France’s President Macron had banned events of over 100 people. Myself and the band waited in Calais for a couple of hours for final confirmation that the show was off, which inevitably came and so back we went. Slowly over the next few days it became clear that all of my work for March April and May in Europe and the UK would be cancelled. I must admit this was initially a great shock. The work was some of the best I had received in France, Romania and Holland and Spain and it seemed that we’d turned a corner this year with sold out shows in Paris and just outside Lyon. 

On a more practical level – there was the money situation which is pretty nightmarish I’m sure for all musicians and indeed any creative freelancers who are living on a job by job basis without anything saved up. The next few months will be challenging to say the least and hopefully the government will step up a bit more and help the self-employed somewhat further, and whilst I write this it looks like they will be. The one positive thing about being a professional musician is that if you’ve stuck with it and toughed it out over the years, you’re used to fighting through unexpected situations, cancellations and financial challenges that have made you stronger in the face of adversity because you have no choice if you want to carry on.

I’ve decided to use the vast amount of new free time as positively as possible to start building up my online teaching presence internationally and to try and monetize it. It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for some time. I love breaking down both the legendary masters of the harmonica and writing new stuff to help with understanding different aspects of instrument and the art of playing the music. I’ll also be writing and planning my new album. That way I’ll be on top of the overall concept, songs, artwork photography etc. when the touring kicks back in. I will also be writing some articles on  blues masters of the past and also interviewing blues masters of the present for some magazine articles including Billy Branch.

I wish all my fellow musos well, and look forward to catching up on the other side of this.