The Paul Deslauriers Band, at its core, rocks like a 1950s group. Not to say they’re retro or rockabilly. They’re not. But the underpinning of Bounce is a very 50s American sound (coming via Montreal), adorned with some contemporary blues and rock and roll touches. It’s a lot of familiar sounds but Deslauriers’ guitar-playing and singing bring an intensity that put a shine on their material.

Deslauriers is the all-too rare singer/guitarist who’s equally talented at both. He has a strong rock and roll voice that works on fast songs, but also conveys emotion when the band slows things down. And while all of his guitar playing is solid, his slide work is a pleasant surprise. And his band, drummer Sam Harrisson and new bassist Alec McElcheran, establish their musical personalities without tracks feeling like they’re getting pulled in different directions.

“Happy Wasting Time with You” is a great example of the album’s sound. It’s a familiar blues rock progression that could have been written or recorded any time in the past seven decades. Deslauriers’ slide guitar guides the song, like the road ice that makes a car skid, but that also moves the vehicle down the highway. Deslauriers’ slide isn’t chaotic, but it creates an excitement beneath the song. And, of course, his vocals inject a fun gravitas.

One of the album’s best tracks is “Driving Me Insane,” which is surprisingly funky. The vocals are bombastic rock and roll, but in an accessible way. The guitar solo is wild, going to lots of different places, and feeling downright out-of-control. But Harrisson and McElcheran stick to Deslauriers, helping the guitar to stay within the song’s lines.

“Jumpin’ at Shadows,” the Duster Bennett tune made famous by Fleetwood Mac and Gary Moore (unfortunately, separately) is a slow blues featuring J.P. Soars. While the band is a power trio, the track has some lovely organ that goes a long way toward softening the song. Deslauriers’ vocal is impossibly vulnerable. He has an effortlessly powerful voice, which allows him to lay back on his vocals—just a bit—making his performances feel natural. He’s not trying to wow us. It’s just a side-effect of his talent.

Bounce can meander at times. “Loosy Goosy Jam #769,” an instrumental, delivers on the premise of the title way too well. “Waiting On You,” the album’s final track is a pretty, serious slow blues, much like “Jumpin’ at Shadows,” that eventually transitions into a big rock finish, like a cross between The Who and Deep Purple. While it’s a very cool way to end the album, the nearly-11-minute track doesn’t necessarily hold up to repeated listening.

Deslauriers has a big rock voice that isn’t afraid to show some sensitivity. He’s also an impressive guitar player. While his band isn’t breaking much new ground musically, that concept works for their sound because there’s something charmingly throwback about Deslauriers. He rocks hard but isn’t afraid to show some emotion. His ability to unite those two sides makes this an album worth hearing.

The Review: 7.5/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Driving Me Insane
– Happy Wasting Time with Your
– It’s All On Your
– Jumpin’ at Shadows

The Big Hit

– Jumpin’ at Shadows

Review by Steven Ovadia

Buy the album: Amazon | Amazon UK

The Chandler Center For the Arts, a very intimate setting with great acoustics and not a bad seat in the house, was about to witness something special. Samantha Fish and band walked out to a very quiet, still, didn’t-even-know-if-they-were-awake-at-times, sold-out crowd. Samantha changed that pretty quickly. By the fourth tune she started winning them over. And when she pulled out the cigar box guitar, she had them eating out of her hand, ending the night with a standing ovation from this low-key bunch.

Fish played a bunch of her older tunes and a few from her new album, Kill Or Be Kind. Her strong guitar playing and vocals won over the crowd so much that by the end they were up dancing and swaying to her high beat sound. This was simply just fun to watch. Samantha’s vocals and tight, bluesy guitar sound has her rising to the top. For an hour Samantha played music that ended with the crowd wanting more. After the show she greeted a long line of folks, signed autographs, took selfies, and just chatted it up. Classy as always as her new friends embraced her. Check out Samantha Fish as she continues on the road with Marc Broussard in the US before leaving for the UK in February of next year.

Setlist:
Love You Lies
Kill or be Kind
Watch it Die
Love Letters
She Dont Live Around Here
You Got it Bad
Little Baby
Fair Weather
Bulletproof
Crow Jane

Samantha Fish

*All photos © Rick Scuteri

Nicholas David is excited to bring his original music to listeners. He is readying the release of his disc Yesterday’s Gone produced by Samantha Fish for Fish’s imprint, Wild Heart Records. To support the release, Nicholas will be opening for Fish on her upcoming December Tour.

The St. Paul, MN native is at this point through two related major events that led to this debut on Wild Heart. David is a family man with young children who had a strong regional following in Minnesota, having released a steady output of albums and EPs over the past 15 years. He had begun to work on the songs heard on this album when he took a solo opening spot for the Devon Allman Project in 2015. This led to a 2017 invitation, which he accepted, to join the Devon Allman Project as a keyboard player on the 2018-19 world tour. Among the many notable musicians David met during the 14-month-long trek across the globe was musician Samantha Fish. David was struck by the beautiful sincere quality of Samantha’s music. “She moved me and a song or two of mine caught her attention. She asked me to come to New Orleans as she’d like to help me make the record,” David said.

David took Fish up on her offer and headed to New Orleans to commence work on this album, with Fish in the producer’s chair. That week in January resulted in a collection of 13 songs that displays beautifully both the heartland tug and Crescent City yearning possessing David’s musical mind, body, and soul. He says, “I’ve had some people tell me I sound a bit like Dr. John and it’s funny because I never really listened to his music until now. This pull of The South has become such a strong force that I feel like I understand some of Dr. John’s language now.”

This is not to say that David sounds like Dr. John. He doesn’t try to sound like anyone but Nicholas David, He never has. What he’s realizing now though is that he’s more naturally pulling from the wells of blues and Southern Soul in his music. Surely, he leans into pop as well but that’s likely one of the reasons that Fish wanted to sign him. She is certainly genre-defying as well and seems to be increasingly attracted to those kinds of artists, trying to establish Wild Heart as a home for unique artists rather than simply a “blues label.”

In 2012 David was invited to audition for NBC’s hit reality competition series, The Voice. Nicknamed by the show producers as the “Family Man”, David soon captured America’s attention with his outstanding vocal prowess and outsized personality. It’s fitting that, by the nation’s measuring stick, he nearly was crowned champion of The Voice.

A Top-Three finish catapulted David from regional musician to international success. His recordings routinely charted on Top 10 lists for Billboard and iTunes, with over a million hits on Soundcloud, numbers that would take a touring band two to three years to amass. David and his Feelin Band toured behind his newfound notoriety, playing support on bills with national acts ranging from The Avett Brothers to Rusted Root to The BoDeans. But fatefully the opening slot for Devon Allman was solo.

Nicholas David likes to say he’s long tried to make music from the heart, for the heart. His newest achievement is certainly true to that mantra. The album will surely play to a more roots-music attuned audience than his prior work. “I’m excited to see what can happen from this record,” David says.

On Tour Supporting Samantha Fish
Dec 1 Des Moines, IA Wooly’s
Dec 3 Bloomington, IL The Castle Theatre
Dec 4 Milwaukee, WI Shank Hall
Dec 5 Madison, WI Majestic Theatre
Dec 8 St Louis, MO Old Rock House
Dec 10 Chattanooga, TN Songbirds North
Dec 11 Atlanta, GA Terminal West
Dec 12 Charleston, SC Charleston Pour House
Dec 13 Asheville, NC Salvage Station
Dec 15 Greenville, NC The State Theatre
Dec 17 Wash DC 9:30 Club
Dec 19 Philadelphia, PA World Café Live
Dec 20 NY, NY Playstation Theater
Dec 21 Derry, NH Tupelo Music Hall
Dec 22 Cambridge, MA The Sinclair

Nicholas David

Wild Heart Records

72-year-old bluesman Jimmy “Duck” Holmes‘ new album, the Dan Auerbach-produced Cypress Grove, captures the raw, explosive sound of real Mississippi juke joint blues today.

Featuring an all-star cast of players including Auerbach, Marcus King, Eric Deaton and Sam Bacco, as well as Holmes’ repertoire of songs spanning nearly a century, the adventurous 11-song set is an untamed bridge between the present and the classic sounds of the Delta.

You see, Holmes wants you to visit his juke joint, the Blue Front Cafe in Bentonia, Mississippi and Cypress Grove is your invitation. Produced by Auerbach of the Black Keys for his Easy Eye Sound label and available on October 18, Cypress Grove is an aural postcard of a typical Saturday night at the Blue Front, America’s longest operating juke joint. The album is anchored by tradition — which is natural, since Holmes is the last of the original torchbearers of the rural style known as Bentonia blues.

“I like to work with people who inspire me, and Jimmy inspires me,” Auerbach explains. “Jimmy’s music is rough and tumble, and it can shatter a lot of preconceptions purists have about Delta blues. At the Blue Front, you never know who’s going to show up, or what instrument they’ll be playing. There could be three guitars, bass, drums, mandolin, and fiddle one weekend, and then the next weekend a banjo player or a saxophonist shows up. So the sound always reflects the ages and experiences and styles of the musicians who are there, and that keeps it fresh, modern, and totally unpredictable.”

Dan Auerbach and Jimmy “Duck” Holmes

“I didn’t know who Dan Auerbach or the Black Keys were when my manager told me Dan wanted to make an album with me,” Holmes says. “But when we started to play, I knew after a couple songs that him and those other fellas were passionate about it. And that’s what you need to play this music. It’s about passion. It’s not about dollars. You don’t make no money playing the real blues. There ain’t none it in.”

As for “Little Red Rooster,” the Willie Dixon-penned song has become a blues standard, having been covered hundreds of times. From Howlin’ Wolf’s original recording to Sam Cooke’s soulful rendition to the Rolling Stones’ slow, intense version the song has stood the test of time. On Cypress Grove, Auerbach and saxist Leon Michels expand “Little Red Rooster” with a unison countermelody that blooms into a sonorous finale. But no matter the version, “Little Red Rooster,” is rooted in the Delta blues tradition.

Holmes was seemingly born into that tradition on July 28, 1947, a year before his parents opened the Blue Front. He took over the Café in 1970 and, except for when he’s been on tour or sick, has run it seven days a week for the ensuring 47 years. Also in ’72, Holmes and his mother, Mary, started the Bentonia Blues Festival, which he still hosts every June on his family’s farm, near the club.

“I want to play this music as much as I can, because I want younger people to see it and get the passion for it and carry it on,” Holmes declares. “It’s important. It’s blues, so it’s the foundation all American music was built on. And it’s the truth — all true stories about real life, ’cause country blues got no room for lies. I thank God for being blessed enough to be able to have the opportunity to create music that stays true to those old guys who taught me, and that people appreciate it. I’ve never cared for being famous or wealthy.But as long as I live, I’m gonna be on a stage somewhere, singing the old-style country blues.”

Jimmy “Duck” Holmes

Easy Eye Sound

Album Review for Deep Blue Sea – Strange Ways – Released on Razor Edge Records – 2019.

This is a four-piece band with an international flavour.

Combining two guys and two girls the band cut a swathe through blues, rock, folk and Americana with ease. Rock Star Status opens proceedings as a hard rock/blues no holds barred full-on song. Superb guitar solo and thumping drums give this song it’s balls.

Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You continues in the same vein. Rock/blues with the added dimension of the international personalities that go to make this band what it is. The two girls deliver vocals and drums and the guy’s deliver guitar and bass.

There is no doubt that this band are really made for each other. Their swagger and confidence ooze throughout the entire album.

All but one of the tracks are written by the band themselves which fills me with the same confidence that they have in abundance.

The Well is down and dirty blues at it’s very best. The way they interact with each other shows the tightness and on this track, it shows. Stunning guitar from Iago Banet is something to be admired. It’s right on the money is this. Brilliant.

Twist, is the longest track on the album at some eight minutes long. A very lively up-beat start that gently comes down to an almost melancholy blues tale. Then all of a sudden it goes straight back up then slides down once again into mellow blues.

Running in the background the guitar bass and drums combine perfectly to keep the song on an even keel through the ups and downs of the melody.

You don’t often get an instrumental on an album these days so IntroMental is a nice reminder of how good they can be when done correctly and not just thrown together. Pure R&B that raises the pulse and has you wanting to get up and boogie like no tomorrows.

Nothing Like Love is a heady mix of folk/blues and Americana. Then partway into proceedings rockabilly makes an appearance to add another twist to the tale. What you have is a melting pot of the history of American music in a song. The mix of everything is what appeals to me most. Even a die-hard blues journalist such as I can broaden their horizons when the right band comes along with such great personalities.

All Our Yesterdays treats us to a rockabilly R&B type song. Scotty Moore guitar gives us the R&B side whereas the vocals take us in another direction.

The album concludes with Rest In Peace. The only song not written by the band. It lends a feeling of peacefulness and brings you slowly back down from the previous tracks.  A gentle way to end what is a fine debut album.

I think the international mix of personnel makes the coming together of all the different styles on show here make sense. Rock, blues-folk and pure R&B are joyous. A very good album that I enjoyed immensely.

Band Members are… Dregas – Lead Vocals, Piano/Keyboards. Iago Banet – All Guitars/Backing Vocals. Graeme Wheatley – Bass/Backing Vocals (lead vocals on No Pasaran). Amanda Dal – Drums/Backing Vocals.

Album Review by Stephen Harrison

For More Info – Deep Blue Sea

The post DEEP BLUE SEA – Strange Ways appeared first on Blues Matters Magazine.

Nicholas David is excited to bring his original music to listeners. He is readying the release of his disc Yesterday’s Gone produced by Samantha Fish for Fish’s imprint, Wild Heart Records. To support the release, Nicholas will be opening for Fish on her upcoming December Tour.

The St. Paul, MN native is at this point through two related major events that led to this debut on Wild Heart. David is a family man with young children who had a strong regional following in Minnesota, having released a steady output of albums and EPs over the past 15 years. He had begun to work on the songs heard on this album when he took a solo opening spot for the Devon Allman Project in 2015. This led to a 2017 invitation, which he accepted, to join the Devon Allman Project as a keyboard player on the 2018-19 world tour. Among the many notable musicians David met during the 14-month-long trek across the globe was musician Samantha Fish. David was struck by the beautiful sincere quality of Samantha’s music. “She moved me and a song or two of mine caught her attention. She asked me to come to New Orleans as she’d like to help me make the record,” David said.

David took Fish up on her offer and headed to New Orleans to commence work on this album, with Fish in the producer’s chair. That week in January resulted in a collection of 13 songs that displays beautifully both the heartland tug and Crescent City yearning possessing David’s musical mind, body, and soul. He says, “I’ve had some people tell me I sound a bit like Dr. John and it’s funny because I never really listened to his music until now. This pull of The South has become such a strong force that I feel like I understand some of Dr. John’s language now.”

This is not to say that David sounds like Dr. John. He doesn’t try to sound like anyone but Nicholas David, He never has. What he’s realizing now though is that he’s more naturally pulling from the wells of blues and Southern Soul in his music. Surely, he leans into pop as well but that’s likely one of the reasons that Fish wanted to sign him. She is certainly genre-defying as well and seems to be increasingly attracted to those kinds of artists, trying to establish Wild Heart as a home for unique artists rather than simply a “blues label.”

In 2012 David was invited to audition for NBC’s hit reality competition series, The Voice. Nicknamed by the show producers as the “Family Man”, David soon captured America’s attention with his outstanding vocal prowess and outsized personality. It’s fitting that, by the nation’s measuring stick, he nearly was crowned champion of The Voice.

A Top-Three finish catapulted David from regional musician to international success. His recordings routinely charted on Top 10 lists for Billboard and iTunes, with over a million hits on Soundcloud, numbers that would take a touring band two to three years to amass. David and his Feelin Band toured behind his newfound notoriety, playing support on bills with national acts ranging from The Avett Brothers to Rusted Root to The BoDeans. But fatefully the opening slot for Devon Allman was solo.

Nicholas David likes to say he’s long tried to make music from the heart, for the heart. His newest achievement is certainly true to that mantra. “The album will surely play to a more roots-music attuned audience than his prior work. “I’m excited to see what can happen from this record,” David says.

On Tour Supporting Samantha Fish
Dec 1 Des Moines, IA Wooly’s
Dec 3 Bloomington, IL The Castle Theatre
Dec 4 Milwaukee, WI Shank Hall
Dec 5 Madison, WI Majestic Theatre
Dec 8 St Louis, MO Old Rock House
Dec 10 Chattanooga, TN Songbirds North
Dec 11 Atlanta, GA Terminal West
Dec 12 Charleston, SC Charleston Pour House
Dec 13 Asheville, NC Salvage Station
Dec 15 Greenville, NC The State Theatre
Dec 17 Wash DC 9:30 Club
Dec 19 Philadelphia, PA World Café Live
Dec 20 NY, NY Playstation Theater
Dec 21 Derry, NH Tupelo Music Hall
Dec 22 Cambridge, MA The Sinclair

Robbie Fulks is coming to City Winery Chicago with a large group of players and a new record. An unusual and personal double-album, five years in the making, its title is 16, and all its music is drawn from the Bob Dylan album, Street-Legal.

The record is based on a very simple idea: if you returned after an absence of decades to something that enchanted and mystified you as a teenager, what would you make of it? The idea isn’t specific to musicians. A fundamental human drive is to remold one’s environment; another universal instinct is to hold early influences and loves above all others. The sum of these two is the creative reshaping of old memories. This in a nutshell is the impetus of 16. It’s in no way a tribute, but rather a revisit to a private long ago with artistic tools and values gathered over a lifetime.

Fulks acquired banjo skills from none other than Earl Scruggs, but is also a self-taught fiddler. It was his father who turned him on to acoustic guitar. The Pennsylvanian-born entertainer planted strong Chicago roots after moving to the Windy City in the 1980s and embarking on a twelve-year teaching stint at the iconic Old Town School of Folk Music, after honing his songwriting skills in Greenwich Village.

Constantly venturing into new terrain, Fulks has accompanied New Orleans pianist Dr. John and violinist Jenny Scheinman. His songs have been covered by the likes of Sam Bush and Old 97’s. And his current North American Tour which ends in mid-April includes stops on a major cruise line as well as beloved local watering holes.

Fulks enjoyed 2017 double-Grammy nominations for 2016’s Upland Stories. His frank narratives on this Steve Albini produced gem hit the heart with the likes of “Aunt Peg’s New Old Man” where the main character “had no use for the modern stuff”. On “Alabama at Night,” Fulks built phrase to phrase suspense, most earnestly illustrated in the poignant line, “where their faces had said nothing.” Earlier, Fulks re-examined his bluegrass sensibilities on another Albina–produced studio project, 2013’s Gone Away Backward.

Always keen for collaboration, Fulks teamed up with Linda Gail Lewis last year for the life-affirming Wild! Wild! Wild! One would be hard-pressed to find a more exuberant blend of voices. Then again, maybe the intimacy of the stage provides the best setting for which to witness this triple-threat’s finest moments… Welcome home, Robbie Fulks.

Robbie Fulks

City Winery Chicago

Purchase Tickets

*All photos © Philamønjarø

In a Blues Rock Review premiere, stream “Bad News” from Ghost Hounds, the first single off the group’s upcoming album, Roses Are Black.

“David (Grissom), Kevin (Bowe), and I wanted to write a fun rock and roll song that made you want to move when you heard it,” says guitarist Thomas Tull. “From the opening chords, to Reese Wynans incredible piano solo, we tried to create something new that recalled a classic sound. Frankly, I only know how to write something I want to hear myself and that’s what we have with Bad News.”

The band is set to begin tour dates with ZZ Top and Bob Seger later this month.

GHOST HOUNDS TOUR DATES

Thursday, October 17th – PPG Paints Arena – Pittsburgh, PA^
Tuesday, October 22nd – King Center for the Performing Arts – Melbourne, FL*
Wednesday, October 23rd – Donald L. Tucker Civic Center – Tallahassee, FL*
Friday, October 25th – MGM National Harbor – Oxon Hill, MD*
Saturday, October 26th – The Wind Creek Event Center – Bethlehem, PA*
Sunday, October 27th – Foxwoods Resort Casino – Mashantucket, CT*
Tuesday, October 29th – Warner Theatre – Erie, PA*
Wednesday, October 30th – Wings Event Center – Kalamazoo, MI*
Friday, November 1st – the Wells Fargo Center – Philadelphia, PA^

^ opening for Bob Seger
* opening for ZZ Top

On September 24th, Jeff Beck rocked Phoenix’ Celebrity Theatre. The Celebrity is an intimate theater in the round, and there’s not a bad seat in the house. It was the perfect venue to witness a night with Beck, and he threw in a couple of surprises.

This sold out theater was packed with a guitar-watching crowd, mesmerized by the legendary axe slinger’s licks. Marc Zimmerman of New York commented to me, “Beck is as big a legend as Clapton. They just took different roads.” Beck definitely backed this theory up as he played flawlessly throughout the night.

Jeff had a little bit of help from his friends. Former Prince bassist Rhonda Smith, an incredible player in her own right, just killed it, adding solos here and there that were simply brilliant. Later, Johnny Depp, joined Beck on stage during “Rumble” (Link Wray cover), helping out on guitar and afterward singing “Isolation” (John Lennon cover). The guests did not stop there. Southern Rock’s Wet Willie singer Jimmy Hall came out and sang “Little Wing” (Jimi Hendrix cover) and “Superstition” (Stevie Wonder cover), finishing the night with “Hey Mr. Millionaire”.

Jeff Beck really knows how to win a crowd over. With his style of guitar work, a kick-ass band, surprise guests, and a great setlist of tunes, this was a nice little jam. This show was at the end of a tour, that included 4 other US stops, plus Crossroads and a reunion show with Rod Stewart at the Hollywood Bowl. Hopefully you can catch him on the next round. He never disappoints!

Setlist:
Space for Papa
Stratus
Just for Fun
You Know You Know
Nadia
Mna na heireann
You Never Know
Caroline
Lonnie on the Move
Big Block
We Ended as Lovers
Rumble
Isolation
Heddy Lamar
Brush with the Blues
Little Wing
Superstition
A Day in the Life
Mr. Millionaire

Jeff Beck

*All photos © Rick Scuteri