I wonder what B.B. King would think about the situation we’re in right now? In 2008 he said to me, “I used to hear when I was a boy that people shouldn’t cry and sob so when they lose someone. They should do that with the incoming. When a baby’s born, they should cry. Sob for that baby because the person that just died don’t have to go through life again as a lot of us have had to go through.”

B.B. was an orphan at age 10 living on a plantation in Indianola, Mississippi. “You probably won’t believe what I’m about to tell you, but I never thought of it as a situation. I was just alone and lonely, and when a person has one child, you are alone when you lose that parent if you only have one. I was lonely and lonesome, yes. But there was a little we called it a little thicket, a lot of trees, not big trees. Small trees where a lot of animals like squirrels, rabbits and stuff like that, birds, a lot of birds, and after my mom died, I used to go down and sit down.

“There’s a little spring down there, a spring that’s still running today. I was down there a few years ago, and I used to sit down and drink the water. I would be sitting on it sometimes, and I would have peanuts and food like that, corn and stuff, and animals I guess trusted me for some reason. They would come up and almost eat out of my hand. And they were my friends. I’ve had a lot of fans and a lot of acquaintances through the years, but I haven’t had a lot of friends. I don’t think it’s because I haven’t been friendly, but it’s just something about me. I don’t know what it is, but that is true. Even squirrels and rabbits and something like that.”

B.B. had just released an album called One Kind Favor, the title taken from a line in the Blind Lemon Jefferson song “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean.” In 2015 B. B. was buried at his museum in Indianola.

“I was down to my hometown all last week,” he told me in 2008, “and I found the gravesite that I’d like to be buried in, and I hope they’ll remember that. Keep my grave clean. I’d love for people that love me or think well of me to be able to come to Indianola, Mississippi and see it. A long time ago I thought about being cremated. Then, I thought about that some more and said, ‘Oh, no. If there’s any such thing about coming back again, I want all my parts with me.’

(chuckle) Yeah, I ain’t gonna take that chance. So, bury me. Put it all together. (Laugh) I don’t wanna be missing some of the vital parts. We have a word in this business about pushing up daisies. Well, I wouldn’t mind having that job at all because I think daisies are beautiful flowers, and the pretty daisies I’ve seen while living I’d like to be able to push them up, too. So, I think, though, that I went to this grave site right in my hometown, and I have some relatives buried out there. So, I think I’d like to be there.

Then, they got the museum that’s gonna open in September, and people will be coming to see it. So, those that love me and care about me I would like for them to come out and people keep my grave kept clean, so people can see my name and see where I’m laid out. I’d like to be available. I’d like to be able to go out to where I’ve heard where Blind Lemon is buried and I’ve heard where Robert Johnson is buried, but I’ve never seen ’em. So, I’d like to be available to the people that have kept me all these years. I’d just love to be available for them.

My old friend Robert Lockwood Jr. I don’t know where he’s buried either. So, there’s so many I don’t know. So, I feel a lot of people don’t either. So, I’d like to be somewhere where people that love me could see me and the ones that are inquisitive could find me. That’s what I’d like, and song that Blind Lemon sang, ‘Please See that My Grave Be Kept Clean,’ I believe that kind of hits me pretty good.

Yes, I’ve felt blessed, sir. I have heard it said by Native Americans that the great spirit some people call God and Allah, whatever it’s called, but whomever and whatever that great spirit that have kept me alive, I’m grateful. And my prayers I guess ain’t too good, but don’t only say ’em when I’m in trouble and need something, but I stops now and then and say thank you. Now and then, I say thank you.

I’m gonna tell you something I told my son a few days ago, that’s not a very sad subject to me. I’m 82 now, and I think people have been so good. My bad days I had in the early days. I practically throw ’em in the back of my mind and don’t think about ’em. I only think of the good things and the way things have been.

I believe all people are good. Some just do bad things, but I think God has been good to me, whatever people call it, and you know, I’m I won’t say ready because I don’t think I’ll ever be ready to die. Too crazy about looking at these pretty women, but oh, yeah, I’m old, boy. I made a slip the other night on stage, but I was tellin’ the truth. I said, ‘I think all women are beautiful,’ and I do, and I love all of them, and I do, and I said, ‘but I don’t want to sleep with all of them,’ which is the truth, but I slipped and said, ‘but I’d like to sleep with as many as I can.’ (Laugh) I said that the other night. People laughed. So, I hope they don’t hold it against me, but it’s true. Thank God for Dr. Viagra and Cialis.”

Later in our interview he summed up by saying, “Today I’m not alone. I have a lot of children. I have a lot of acquaintances and friends. People seem to care for me. It’s a good feeling.”

I often wonder if B. B. was just being humble, or did he really not realize how many millions of friends and admirers he had. I count myself as one!

BB King

*Feature image Timothy W Willis

The post Keep B.B. King’s Grave Clean appeared first on American Blues Scene.

TALKIN’ APOLLO 13 BLUES LAUNCHES TODAY!

Scottish blues musician Jed Potts releases his tribute song, Talkin’ Apollo 13 Blues to mark the 50th anniversary of the USA’s third mission to land on the moon, a near-fatal event which NASA deemed to be ‘a successful failure’.

When not performing solo, Jed is lead singer and guitarist with his power trio, Jed Potts & the Hillman Hunters. The band released their eponymous debut album in 2018 to critical acclaim for its 1950s and 60s downhome authentic blues sound. The Bishop’s review in Blues Matters concluded; “Blues titans Jed Potts and the Hillman Hunters are as timeless as the classic British car but with the performance, power and refinement of a Formula One racer.” The blues has been in Jed’s blood from an early age, with his parents having, taken him to B.B. King and Robert Cray gigs as a child. Potts has been playing the blues professionally since he was 16 and is now one of the premier bluesmen in his native Edinburgh and beyond, including America where he has performed with Piedmont harp maestro Brandon Santini.

The versatile Potts swaps his Fender Stratocaster for an acoustic guitar and sings solo in the tradition of “talking blues”, a song format popularized during the Great Depression by the likes of Woody Guthrie. Potts’ vocal phrasing and timing are impeccable given the speed at which the words have to be recited in three minutes! Jed tells the story with an increasing sense of drama commensurate with the oxygen tank explosion which catastrophically damaged the spacecraft and forced the crew to orbit the moon without landing and to return to earth.

Once upon a time in the United States would unfold the story of three crewmates… When the day of the launch was finally here the skies ‘round the Cape were bright n’ clear…

A short while later they were well on their way and without being too cocky it was probably safe to say a successful moon landing was as good as in the bank until the boys in mission control asked the crew to stir-up a cryo tank. There was a real loud bang and all hell broke loose and the thing flew around like a headless goose and just when they were getting it to stay in one place they looked out and saw they were venting something into space. Turned out to be the oxygen. Houston, we’ve had a problem.

At mission control, it was clear within the hour the ship was losing air but also losing power. To get the crew home safe was the new objective of the mission but to turn the ship around was too risky a proposition. They wouldn’t land on the moon but they’d still have to go around. Would the oxygen last ‘til they were back on the ground? To lose an American in space was out of the question. Get our boys home with time to spare. Failure is not an option…

A very cold three days later the most dangerous part was yet to come: re-entry was drawing near. Would the damaged spaceship’s heatshields hold or would it burn up in the atmosphere? *Stand-by for communications black-out. This radio silence should last three minutes but that had come and gone.

Everybody in Houston held their breath as time dragged on and on… Odyssey, this is Houston, do you copy? Thirteen, this is Houston, do you copy? Thirteen, this is Houston, do you copy? Then out of the sky a most glorious sight: three parachutes did appear! Roger that, Houston, this is Thirteen. We read you loud and clear. Everyone rejoiced, cigars were smoked, what an adventure this had been. And that’s the story of a successful failure, the story of Apollo 13.

To summarise the story, sustain the tension and maintain the relentless pace throughout with mesmeric strumming and fingerpicking background guitar work is a great achievement on Jed’s part.

All in all, this is a neat tribute with a blues vibe to accompany it.

Talkin’ Apollo 13 Blues is accompanied by a video created by graphic design company Lentil, which will premiere via the Jed Potts Music Facebook page on Saturday the 11th April at 19:13 UK time – the 50th anniversary of the exact minute of the launch. www.facebook.com/jedpottsmusic

The song is available on all major streaming platforms including Spotify, and available for purchase on Bandcamp.

By The Bishop.

(the video will be added here later today)


Sitting In With… Jed Potts by Colin Campbell – Images by Alan Ferguson.

Jed is one of the hardest working musicians in Scotland; he has got various musical projects working, sometimes all at the same time! Whether it be fronting his band Jed Potts And The Hillman Hunters, guesting on guitar with ace American blues artist Brandon Santini, funking things up with Swampfog or jazzing it with Katet, he’s always got something to do, so what happens when the world, including Edinburgh, is in lockdown!

Jed has just brought out a new release, a solo song called “Talkin’ Apollo 13 Blues” to mark the 50th anniversary of the moon landing expedition, quoted as “A successful failure” by NASA.

Hi Jed, how’s it going, where are you today?
I’m hunkered-down in Leith, in Edinburgh.

How are you coping with lockdown procedures in relation to the COVID-19 virus, what’s the most upsetting or frustrating thing that affects you as a musician?
The weirdest thing in general, which I’m sure is weird for most people, is the absence of social activity. Being a musician is a very social job, whether it’s being at a gig or just being around the people in your band, and I’m also a very social person anyway, and I love ‘the hang’. Normally I’m trying to appeal to people to ‘C’mon oot’, and now I’m appealing to them to ‘Stay hame’.

You are usually a very active and busy musician, how are you spending the time out just now?
I’ve basically been getting ready to release Talkin’ Apollo 13 Blues since the lockdown came into effect, so that’s kept me plenty busy.

Without going into the minutia of your interest in Space technology, what got you interested in wanting to write a song about the Apollo13 Mission?
I’m honestly not sure exactly what got me really interested in the subject – I was never into space as a kid – but the idea for the song specifically hit me whilst reading the Apollo 13 Haynes Manual by David Baker. It was a present from my folks, so thanks again, Mum and Dad.

image of jed potts

Why did you specifically take the stance of the narrator of this piece it sounds really authentic, any influences on your style? It is just you singing and playing here, what was that like and where did you record the song?
So the song is obviously in the style of a “Talking Blues” – for a couple of great examples check out Woody Guthrie’sTalking Dust Bowl Blues” and Townes Van Zandt’sFraternity Blues” – and so I guess I was just following what I thought sounded right in my head. To be honest, it never occurred to me to sing it any other way than as the narrator. And I suppose I’m probably doing a little bit of a Woody Guthrie impression. I did consider singing it in my own accent but it felt wrong for the style. The song was recorded at Chamber Studio in Edinburgh, by Graeme Young, and we did it just as all of the coronavirus stuff started kicking-off, we literally recorded the song and then loaded a bunch of equipment from the studio into Graeme’s car so that he could get set-up to work from home. It’s just me playing and singing at the same time with a couple of mics on me. We had it in a few takes, I was ready, and actually the first take was pretty damn close.

With so many bands in tow, what musical genre do you feel represents you as a musician, or is it all just music and you’re naturally a musicaholic?
I’ve always referred to blues as my musical first language, but I suppose I love playing – and listening to – all sorts of stuff. I’ll listen to Tony Bennett right after Mesuggah nae bother.

What music did you listen to growing up and where was your first gig?
Neither of my parents is musical, but they’re both huge music fans, and there was music was on in the house all the time when I was growing up, particularly blues and rock. The inner-sleeve of Joe Walsh’s But Seriously, Folks… leaning against the sideboard is a specific memory. That’s still one of my favourite records. I’m pretty sure the first gig that I played was at the Royal Overseas League on Princes Street, which I just saw they’re turning into a hotel.

image of jed potts

How did you get involved with working with Brandon Santini and what have you learned most out of your American touring experiences?
I got hooked-up with Brandon through a project that the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival put together a few years back. Basically it was an opportunity for me and Sandy Tweeddale to collaborate with some musicians from overseas. Brandon was the best guy on Beale Street, so I wanted to work with him. The thing that’s always stuck out to me is how comfortable the American bands are with promoting themselves on stage, and how comfortable the American audiences are with it, too. You could discuss ad nauseam where that comes from culturally, whether it’s healthy, whether it’s appropriate to the art form etc but the lesson I took from it was that there was no point in being a reluctant frontman; I might as well lean in, embrace it, and find my own way to do it. The other side of that is that it’s not necessarily something you can just transfer wholesale; I’ve seen American artists push the sales patter too much on a Scottish audience and it didn’t go well at all.

What were the venues like that you’ve played in?
The venues on the most recent tour with Brandon included everything from a big outdoor festival, to a sort of gastropub, to a liquor store (it was sort of like playing in a Vicky Wines) but I truly enjoyed all of the shows. The one in the ‘gastropub’ was great, actually. We were set-up in a really small space – much smaller than I think the boys were used to, and there was no choice but to really lock-in musically.

Do you prefer playing intimate venues as opposed to festivals?
There are equal opportunities to have a great, or not so great gig, in any type of venue. I think it’s all about not undermining the potential of the situation. There were many times on tour with the Blueswaters where we’d walk into a space that was less than ideal, and we’d set about giving ourselves the best chance of having a great gig. I don’t mind having a bad gig, as long as I know there was nothing more I could’ve done to save it.

Any funny things happen to you when touring?
On the last tour with Brandon? So many. The funniest of which will remain a secret, but for some reason, the thing that comes to mind is the girl on night-shift at a Florida gas station telling me to “make sure you got some water for that bitch” when I was buying a spicy Slim Jim. She was right; it was hot.

What’s the best advice musically you have had?
I can’t pick an all-out favourite, and it wasn’t even really advice, but I once had a conversation with an American comedian called Al Lubel where he said that doing a gig is like going on a date with the audience – you can’t really totally prepare for it, and you don’t know if you’re going to get along, you just have to show up and see. I think he said that it was Bob Newhart that originally made the analogy but I got it from Al, so…

image of jed potts

Guitar wise, do you have any heroes?
Of course! Sean Costello, Jimmie Vaughan, B.B. King, Eddie Van Halen, Jonny Winter, Dimebag Darrell, Peter Green, Zal Cleminson, Taylor Goldsmith… I could go on forever.

What was the first guitar you played and what was the first one you bought? (you can get techy here if you want!)
I can’t remember the first that I played, but the first that I owned was an old acoustic that my Uncle Pat gave me. The action was so high that I later used it to practice lap steel. But it got me started.

If you weren’t a musician, what do you think you would be?
I could probably work in a shop. A haberdasher or something…

Do you get a chance to go and see other blues-based bands locally and would you recommend any to our readers that they’ve possibly not heard of?
Under normal circumstances, I go out to gigs whenever possible and off the top of my head I can highly recommend the likes of Nicole Smit, Tim Elliott, Sandy Tweeddale, Gus Munro and Logan’s Close.

Anything about Jed Potts that his fans don’t know about and that you’d like to share?
I love the movie Phenomenon starring John Travolta.

What are your plans for the next year musically?
Everything’s up in the air a bit at the minute but hopefully, I’ll be releasing a whole load of new original material with the Hillman Hunters, and also with Swampfog, some more Katet vs. John Williams shows, and hopefully some more stuff with Brandon.

Thanks for chatting to Blues Matters, and good luck with the new single launch!

For more info – www.jedpotts.com

 

The post JED POTTS Talkin’ Apollo 13 Blues appeared first on Blues Matters Magazine.

In advance of the May 22 release of Jeff Healey’s Heal My Soul 2CD deluxe edition, Eagle Records is releasing a new lyric video of “Moodswing.” Additionally, those who pre-order the album, which is available now, will be eligible to receive the first “instant gratification” track “Dancing With The Monsters” – out now via digital platforms.

Originally released in 2016, on what would have been Healey’s 50th birthday, Heal My Soul was a “lost” album of 12 unheard songs that the guitarist/blues-rock vocalist recorded from 1996-1998. For the very first time, Heal My Soul will be paired with its companion album Holding On — a collection of five additional studio tracks and a live performance from Rockefeller Music Hall in Oslo, Norway — in this deluxe version.

Known for his unconventional way of playing guitar in a lap-steel fashion, fretting with all five fingers, Jeff Healey (who was blind since childhood due to a rare form of eye cancer) solidified a legacy as a musician’s musician. His style of blues-rock earned the Canadian artist fans worldwide, before his untimely passing in 2008. This deluxe edition of Heal My Soul is a collection of material from one of Healey’s most creative periods, for both veteran and new fans.

Jeff Healey

Pre-Order Heal My Soul Deluxe Edition

The post New Lyric Video From Jeff Healey’s ‘Heal My Soul’ Deluxe Edition “Moodswing” appeared first on American Blues Scene.

When not performing solo, Jed is lead singer and guitarist with his power trio, Jed Potts & the Hillman Hunters. The band released its eponymous debut album last year to critical acclaim for its American 1950s and 60s down home authentic blues sound.  One reviewer opined, “Blues titans Jed Potts and the Hillman Hunters are as timeless as the classic British car but with the performance, power and refinement of a Formula One racer.” The blues has been in Jed’s blood from an early age, his parents having taken him to BB King and Robert Cray gigs as a child. Potts has been playing the blues professionally since he was 16 and is now one of the premier bluesmen in his native Edinburgh and beyond, including America where he has performed with Piedmont harp maestro Brandon Santini.

The versatile Potts swaps his Fender Stratocaster for an acoustic guitar and sings solo in the tradition of “talking blues,” a song format popularized during the Great Depression by the likes of Woody Guthrie. Potts’ vocal phrasing and timing in “Talkin’ Apollo Blues” are impeccable given the speed at which the words have to be recited in three minutes! Jed tells the story with an increasing sense of drama commensurate with the oxygen tank explosion which catastrophically damaged the spacecraft and forced the crew to orbit the moon without landing and to return to earth.

Once upon a time in the United States would unfold the story of three crewmates
When the day of the launch was finally here the skies ‘round the Cape were bright n’ clear

A short while later they were well on their way and without being too cocky it was probably safe to say a successful moon landing was as good as in the bank until the boys in mission control asked the crew to stir-up a cryo tank. 
There was a real loud bang and all hell broke loose and the thing flew around like a headless goose and just when they were getting it to stay in one place they looked out and saw they were venting something into space. 
Turned out to be the oxygen. 
Houston, we’ve had a problem

At mission control it was clear within the hour the ship was losing air but also losing power. To get the crew home safe was the new objective of the mission but to turn the ship around was too risky a proposition. 
They wouldn’t land on the moon but they’d still have to go around. Would the oxygen last ‘til they were back on the ground? To lose an American in space is out of the question. Get our boys home with time to spare.

Failure is not an option…

A very cold three days later the most dangerous part was yet to come: re-entry was drawing near. Would the damaged spaceship’s heatshields hold or would it burn up in the atmosphere? 
*Stand-by for communications black-out. 
This radio silence should last three minutes but that had come and gone.

Everybody in Houston held their breath as time dragged on and on… 
Odyssey, this is Houston, do you copy? 
Thirteen, this is Houston, do you copy? 
Thirteen, this is Houston, do you copy? 
Then out of the sky a most glorious sight: three parachutes did appear! 
Roger that, Houston, this is Thirteen. We read you loud and clear. 
Everyone rejoiced, cigars were smoked, what an adventure this had been. 
And that’s the story of a successful failure, 
the story of Apollo 13.

To summarize the story, sustain the tension and maintain the relentless pace throughout with mesmeric strumming and fingerpicking background guitar work is a great achievement on Jed’s part. 

All in all a neat tribute with a blues vibe to accompany it.

“Talkin’ Apollo 13 Blues” is accompanied by a video created by graphic design company Lentil. which will premiere via Jed Potts Facebook on Saturday the 11th April at 19:13 UK time – the 50th anniversary of the exact minute of the launch. 

The song is available on all major streaming platforms including Spotify, and available for purchase on Bandcamp.

 Jed Potts

The post Jed Potts – ‘Talkin’ Apollo Blues’ Launches Today, 50 Years After Apollo 13 Mission appeared first on American Blues Scene.

Mississippi-born, St. Louis Bluesman and former club owner, Big George Brock died Friday morning at his home after an extended illness. He was just a month shy of his 88th birthday.

Big George Brock Photo from the artist’s Facebook

Born on May 16th, 1932 in Grenada, Mississippi, Brock was a man of many parts. He went from cotton picker to boxer (once winning a bout against Sonny Liston), then blues artist and club owner, carving out his own legend after moving to St. Louis from Mississippi in the early 1950s. His first opened Club Caravan in 1952, where he was not only the owner, but bouncer and entertainer as well. Brock’s band, The Houserockers, shared the Club Caravan stage with artists including Albert King, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Jimmy Reed, and Ike & Tina Turner. When a shooting took the life of Brock’s wife in 1970, he closed the club doors. He eventually opened at new Club Caravan at Delmar Boulevard and Taylor Avenue, but closed those doors as well in the late 80s.

Learning harmonica as a child, Brock played it with such force that the sound could shake the room. His booming baritone voice left no doubt there was a bluesman in the room. In the early 1960s, he turned down a record deal with Chess Records. Although they promised him a tour bus and live show proceeds, they refused to pay him royalties.

Brock was known for his colorful, tailored suits and dramatic entrances, often appearing from the basement steps, or the back of a club. He always gave the crowd more than they expected, playing extended sets of blues music as he knew it. “I wanna show people the blues ain’t dead,” he once said.

He was nominated for a Blues Music Award in the category of Best Comeback Album in 2005 for Club Caravan on the Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art label. His follow-up on Cathead, Round Two, garnered Brock 3 more nominations the following year. He was also featured in Hard Times, a documentary film on his life in 2006.

George Brock was the patriarch of the St. Louis blues scene. He attended the opening of the National Blues Museum (where one of his suits is on display), played regularly around town including at his own 87th birthday at the Ambassador last year, and was a mentor for other St. Louis artists including blues guitar ace Marquise Knox and 2019 International Blues Challenge champ Ms. Hy-C.

The post St. Louis Blues Legend Big George Brock Dead at 87 appeared first on American Blues Scene.

In the two years since A Partner to Lean On, Benton’s life has undergone several large changes, namely the dissolution of LVL UP, the indie rock quartet he co-founded in college, and a move to Kingston, a small city in New York’s Hudson Valley.

Composed during-but not directly inspired by-this transition, Trace Mountains‘ second record, Lost in the Country (available today via Lame-O Records) reflects Benton’s need to reconnect with his inner world. Prompted by an urge to access a more authentic voice, Lost in the Country finds Benton digging deeper into candid songwriting. “I wanted to open myself up and write lyrics that are a little bit more direct,” he explains. “I write a lot of songs that are about myself and a lot of songs that aren’t, but on this record, the focus is turned inward either way.” The result is Mountains’ strongest and most assured record yet, 10 songs driven by a desire for introspection and self-discovery.

The backdrop for this insularity is an expanse of wide blue skies, seas of trees, and winding roads, ideal locales for thoughts to blossom into greater reflections of the outer world. The slow-burning “Absurdity,” which Benton modestly says is about “hiking and standing in the country,” uses the sublimity of the wilderness to comment on technology’s inescapable presence. Similarly, the driving opener “Rock & Roll” transforms the premise of a “simple song about being a rocker” into a stream-of-consciousness, apocalyptic poem about delusions, regrets, and getting lost in your own limited perspective. This self-examination culminates with the record’s ambitious and anthemic title track. Channeling the cosmic sprawl of the War on Drugs or Kurt Vile, Benton recalls a moment of deep loneliness and depression outside a concert venue in the Netherlands, and how an unexpected moment of compassion led to a moment of awakening.

Despite its frequently bucolic setting, Lost in the Country‘s underlying current is an urgent commitment to Trace Mountains and “finding a creative process that requires me to be honest with myself.” “I know I sing to forget, I sing to hold my breath, to feel the thumping in my chest,” Benton sings on “Cooper’s Dream.”  This line is “rooted in the importance of music in my life, it’s definitely a reflection on that and how I can keep it in my life, because if I’m not careful and I don’t nurture it, I could lose it.” The self-imposed pressure has been empowering for Benton. “I really like having full control in making a record, deciding what songs are going to be on it, as well as shaping the vibe or narrative of the whole thing,” he says. “It brings a peace of mind knowing that I am responsible for just my voice.”

While Benton is Trace Mountains’ songwriter, he asserts that Lost in the Country is by no means a solo effort. Collaboration is crucial to the project and Benton is quick to credit the contributions of his bandmates, which include Jim Hill (Slight Of), Greg Rutkin (LVL UP, Cende), Sean Henry and Susannah Cutler (Yours Are the Only Ears). “It’s definitely our record,” Benton says. “I couldn’t make this thing without them.” After beginning the recording process at Brooklyn’s Studio G with engineer Matt Labozza, Benton finished Lost in the Country at his home studio in Kingston, where he also added contributions from Carmen Perry (Voice), Stew Cutler (Guitar, Lap Steel), Dan Goldberg (Synthesizer) and ARTHUR (Samples, “AB” by ARTHUR). It was then mixed by Mike Ditrio and mastered by Ryan Schwabe.

Trace Mountains

*Feature image courtesy of the artist

The post Trace Mountains ‘Lost in the Country’ Out Today appeared first on American Blues Scene.

The passing of John Prine on April 7th sparked several of his contemporaries, friends and fans to take to social media with their thoughts and remembrances of one of America’s greatest songwriters. We’ve included a few of them here.

John Prine - John Prine Album Cover

The first came to me from country singer/songwriter Heidi Newfield, formerly of the group Trick Pony, whose new album The Barfly Sessions, is due out August 28th.

“My first ever live concert at the esteemed ‘mother church’  The Ryman Auditorium was John Prine…and I sat there like a school kid waiting for the spring break bell, I was so excited…he did all his greatest hits, but at that time (around 1995)…he was especially pushing his newest body of work, Lost Dogs and Mixed Blessings.

I believe I had a spiritual awakening when I heard him and his full band do ‘Lake Marie’ for the first time, in THAT venue. I mean, my soul shook. Funny thing is, I still feel that way EVERY time I hear it now, long after….just like I do when I hear ‘Ain’t Hurtin Nobody,’ ‘All the Way with You,’ ‘We Are the Lonely,’  ‘I Love you So Much It Hurts,’ and ‘This Love is Real’. There’s not a weak song on the whole damn record, but then….that was John. He was one of those lyrical untouchables, but every word, every single word, reached out and touched you. He was the epitome of real. All those great songs, all those great records, such a lovely man…such a gentle soul. Good God!!!

We cried in our kitchen tonight when we found out he’d passed away. Matt and I both realized we’d only met him once each, but both experiences equally important enough to remember for life. John remembered your name. He made such tender-hearted eye contact,  he shook your hand and made you feel like you were long lost family. He wasn’t a show-boater or a grand-stander and he didn’t seem like he had much use for those that were.

He wrote simple songs with fairly simple chords about real life things, but NOBODY could do em like he could. You could tell he had a mind that was deep as the deepest well and that’s why writing simple songs is so complex. It’s flat out hard to say the smayer daname ol’ thing and make it sound new, fresh, genuine, and poetic. John Prine was one of my all time favorite poets. The world will be one less honorable and talented man going forward. One less legend. Selfishly, I’d just wished I’d have gotten to sit and share lunch with him at his favorite meat and three where we met once, and visit a spell….or sing a duet with him….and watch him do his thing from a few feet away, I’ll always be a little extra sad about that. I wish love and support to his wife Fiona and his family during this confusing time in our universe. Bless you all. 

One of the all time favorite quotes from the movie Daddy and Them was a line John so perfectly and timely delivered:

‘Don’t never let it be too late…’

John Prine, you were right on time, and you touched the hearts of every set of ears that got to hear you. Until we meet again, I look forward to that lunch.”

Peter Holsapple (of the dB’s and R.E.M.) had this to say:

“My world, the world of songwriters and guitar pickers, is reeling from the death of John Prine yesterday. We labor at our craft in hopes we can attain some vague approximation of the easy genius of his songs.

John Lennon said the artist’s role is as ‘a reflection of us all,’ and no one did that with as much facility as Prine, in my opinion. From Mr. Peabody’s coal train to a poster of an old rodeo to hammering nails in planks to hair so unnaturally curled, any listener could relate to his characters and his takes on love and life. There was a plain generality to it, but it was filled with so many tiny bejeweled details that addressed the specific as well. And oh, the emotion from that road-worn beat-up voice. The real thing in every respect.

We are left with a catalog of his songs, a phalanx of his albums and minds full of memories to assuage this loss as best we can. It’s so vast, yet I think we all hoped for even more from John, had his life not been cut short.

We will have to learn to be satisfied with what we have and to revel in all of it.

We hoped for a miracle that did not come for John; and when it didn’t happen, he accidentally became someone in one of his own songs.”

Rock/Folk/Blues artist Peter Himmelman (who is about to release a new album, Press On) shared:

“In the summer of 1973, days after I’d seen my first rock concert (Grand Funk Railroad), Steve Leder, my friend and band mate, took me downstairs to his teen lair and played me John Prine’s ‘Dear Abby.’ ‘Whaddya think,’ he asked. ‘Country’ I thought. ‘I hate country.’ Steve picked up the needle and played the song again. And once more after that. I started to hear something in those lyrics; John Prine was speaking to me. He was wry, he made me smile, he was doing something different. It wasn’t Grand Funk. It wasn’t Alice Cooper or The Rolling Stones either. With just his acoustic guitar and a ragged voice it became clear that you didn’t need stacks of Marshall amps to blow people away. You needed only to mine the minutiae of living and take careful notes to make people feel the weight of their humanity.” 

Americana artist James McMurtry, (His song “Choctaw Bingo” is possibly the closest thing I’ve ever heard to a John Prine song) who was once in a “supergroup” called Buzzin’ Cousins with Prine, John Mellencamp, Joe Ely, and Dwight Yoakam, shared a personal moment:

“More than once, I saw Prine get so tickled with himself he couldn’t keep his teeth in his mouth, the grin would overtake him, but he’d keep talking anyway. I remember him pointing at the TV screen one night in the early nineties. The news was showing clips of the crowd at a folk festival that had taken place that afternoon and the people looked like they were trying to re-create Woodstock, headbands, tie dye, the usual. Prine said, ‘Look at them out there trying to be hippies. There’s not a cavity in that whole crowd. I never met a hippie chick didn’t have a mouth full of rotten teeth.’ John Prine was a realist.”

Our final remembrance comes from blues/folk/gospel great Ruthie Foster whose achievements include induction in the Texas Music Hall of Fame, 3 GRAMMY nominations, and 9 Blues Music Awards (7 of which were the Koko Taylor Award for Traditional Blues Female Artist of the Year):

“John Prine was one of the most introspective songwriters of our time.

I was introduced to John Prine’s songs while on Navy leave in a small club in Charleston, SC many years ago. Songs like ‘Dear Abbey’ and ‘Sam Stone’ drew me in as a fan of great lyrics. But ‘Hello In There’ and ‘Angel From Montgomery’ stole my heart and became my favorites.

John Prine not only inspired me to be a songwriter, but to want to be a better songwriter. I’m still working on that…

Rest In Peace John.”

Heidi Newfield

Peter Holsapple

Peter Himmelman

James McMurtry

Ruthie Foster

The post Artists Share Their Memories of John Prine appeared first on American Blues Scene.

In a career that has already spanned a half-century, guitarist and vocalist, Jorma Kaukonen has been one of the most highly respected interpreters of American roots music, blues, and Americana, and at the forefront of popular rock-and-roll. A member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and a Grammy recipient, he is a founding member of two legendary bands, Jefferson Airplane and the still-touring Hot Tuna. Jorma Kaukonen’s repertoire goes far beyond his involvement creating psychedelic rock; he is a legend and one of the finest singer-songwriters and master instrumentalist in music today. Jorma tours the world bringing his unique styling to old blues and writing new songs with insight and imagination.

Last Saturday over 5,000 friends and fans joined in to watch the first show in the Live From Fur Peace Ranch series! Together we are a family!

Jorma will now perform the second show live from the Fur Peace Ranch spreading the message to Stay in Peace! Join us for his second stream from the Fur Peace Ranch Youtube Channel. On Saturday, April 11 at 8 p.m. EDT, Jorma will perform and answer questions through the chat feature on the Fur Peace Ranch YouTube channel.  There will be giveaways too through the chat feature!

Here’s the link to listen in and participate: 

 While the ranch is closed, the music has not stopped. The Fur Peace Ranch online store offers recordings from the many artists that have played and taught at the Fur Peace Ranch over the years. Many albums are difficult to find! Purchasing an album provides income to the artists who cannot tour during these difficult times, provides support of this independent small business, and provides hours of listening pleasure for you! Check it out!

 Jorma will be teaching online classes and weekend workshops from the Fur Peace Ranch. Stay tuned to hear more!  Sign up here.

The post Jorma Kaukonen to do 2nd Show Live From Fur Peace Ranch appeared first on American Blues Scene.

Joe Bonamassa has released a full-length instrumental album Easy To Buy, Hard To Sell as he debuts his brand new project, The Sleep Eazys.

The album takes a slight departure from Bonamassa’s revered repertoire, with the intent of honoring Danny Gatton, one of his most influential mentors, as well as covering instrumental versions of some of his favorites from Frank Sinatra, Danny Gatton, Tony Joe White, King Curtis and more. Bonamassa shares his excitement on the project, “To be honest I have always wanted to do a record like this. But, to be even more honest I’m not sure I was ready both professionally and musically, until now. The time finally felt right to finally pay tribute to a mentor, a friend and one of the greatest guitarists of all time: the late great Danny Gatton. My time hanging out and jamming with Danny as a child shaped my playing and musical pathway more than just about anyone.”

Largely comprised of Joe’s touring band, the Sleep Eazys includes Late Night with David Letterman’s Anton Fig (percussion), Musician’s Hall of Famer Michael Rhodes (bass), Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Reese Wynans (keyboards), Lee Thornburg (trumpet), Paulie Cerra (saxophone), along with Jade MacRae and Juanita Tippins on background vocals, and of course, Bonamassa on guitar. Accompanying the stellar and tight-knit cast are Jimmy Hall on harmonica and esteemed multi-instrumentalist John Jorgenson. Fans of Bonamassa will enjoy the larger-than-life sound of the star-studded collective that is The Sleep Eazys, providing an array of sounds in everything from jazz to bluegrass, funk, rockabilly and more! With the caliber and expertise of musicians on this album, it is sure to catch fire.

Joe Bonamassa

The post The Sleep Eazys ft. Joe Bonamassa ‘Easy to Buy – Hard to Sell’ Out Today appeared first on American Blues Scene.

Hailing from Athens, but sounding as if they stepped out of mid-70s America, The BuzzDealers share their vision of rock on their first LP, Blooming. The dual-guitar led quartet avoids common debut pitfalls in that they keep the tracklist lean and stick to making music they love. Riff-based rhythms, fleshed out in colorful analog, are the cornerstones around which the band sings its unique prose, all in English. Non-native turns of phrase and liberties taken with the language create some memorable verses and expressions that reveal themselves through subsequent listenings.

Wearing their heart on their sleeve, The BuzzDealers ride in on a building-echo of guitar distortion that leads directly into the fuzzed-out main riff. “I need a song to reshout it, break my amp,” shouts Zannis Psilopoulos on “Like an Old Song,” before making way for an early guitar solo. Direct in their delivery, and wasting little time, the band lays out the song, turns up the energy and distortion, and moves on to the next tune. As a result of this method, the tracks are all good. There is no filler. Brooding and confident, “Electrocution” focuses around a creeping, chunky guitar line and Thanasis “Buddha” Georgakis’s double duty on bongos in addition to his standard kit. It’s one of the standouts on the album and it could feasibly be slipped into a Black Sabbath record undetected, if not for the distinctive musical personalities of the band members.

“Sweaty Moves” takes its cue from Georgakis by quickening the tempo which leads to some sharp guitar interplay.  One tone thickly fuzzed, the other awash in choral gloss, they nicely fill out the sonic spectrum on this song as they do throughout the set. Psilopoulos finishes the tune with a perfect example of the poetically oblique verses found throughout Blooming:

A feat of commoners
Exploded flowers
Filled up with happiness
Think up in your way

“Sling” incorporates a taste of funk, and along with the slower and softer mood ofz “So Divine,” displays a couple different components of the band’s rock amalgam. Power chorus loving listeners will gravitate towards the refrain on “Who’s Gonna Save My Roll.” The BuzzDealers smartly reuse the structure of the chorus as a foundation for lyrics, vocalizations, and solos, all in their respective time. Fans of psych-prog rock won’t be disappointed with either “Hypersonic Jaunt,” or “Sex Me.” Mixed in a way to maximize the aural space, the song-ending, unison harmony between vocals and guitar is a highwater mark along with the lyrics. Words like “vernality” and “inanity” are not usually used by native speaking American songsmiths.

For an album dependent on deep guitar grooves, the choice to end with the mellowest number of the set manages to work perfectly and extends the band’s range. “Pretty Maze” slips in a trumpet that rises to the front, ping-ponging in stereo against yet another different version of Psilopoulos’s voice.

None of this is possible without the tandem guitar attack of Alex Argyros and Tolis Kyteas. Throughout the album, their catchy riffs—some thumping, others speedy, a few funky—serve as the genesis of the pieces and propel them forward. But The BuzzDealers work because there is an inherent balance between the members’ contributions. Blooming is full of quality songs, vividly composed musically and lyrically. The album is energetic, it’s believable, and most importantly, it’s fun.    

The Review: 8/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Like an Old Song
– Electrocution 
– Sex Me
– Pretty Maze

The Big Hit

– Sex Me

Review by Willie Witten

Buy the album: Amazon | Amazon UK