Sunny Lowdown – Shady Deal – Released on the CoolStreme label, September 2019.

Sunny Lowdown’s first release was entitled “The Blues, Volume Low”, and that remains his approach to the blues on this latest release, “Shady Deal”, a follow-up to his Blues Blast Music Award-nominated “Down Loaded”.

He takes his time and doesn’t hit you over the head. His power is in his tone and phrasing. You might call it a Clint Eastwood approach. No screaming – just a quiet “make my day” that sends chills up your spine.

From his swampy reworking of The Rolling Stones‘ “Satisfaction” to his stark “Christmas Eve Blues”, to the romantic “Tried And True” and the hilarious whims of “Clip On Man Bun Blues”, to the wild textures of “Chicken In A Basket” performed with The Uptown Food Syndicate, Sunny is his own man, giving you his own take on a world we all struggle with day to day.

Sometimes it’s a celebration. Often it’s a shady deal.

Sunny Lowdown was only sixteen when he played his first professional gig backing John Lee Hooker. He has since worked with many of his favourite blues musicians: Howlin’ Wolf guitarist Hubert SumlinMuddy Waters pianist Pinetop Perkins, Chicago blues legends Otis Rush and George “Wild Child” Butler, Fat Possum recording artists R.L. Burnside and Cedell Davis, and others.

Before acquiring the nickname “Sunny Lowdown”, Sunny had achieved renown as Louie X. Erlanger, guitarist for the group Mink DeVille, during which time Mick Jagger had called him one of his favourite guitarists.

His guitar playing can be heard in many feature films, including “Breathless”“Pope of Greenwich Village”“In The Land of Women”“Blue Collar” and the recent popular Showtime TV series “Billions”.

 Album Review for SUNNY LOWDOWN –SHADY DEAL                                                

Released on the CoolStreme label.

Shady Deal is a follow-up album to the 2017 release Down Loaded. Now when you open an album with a cover of an iconic song such as Satisfaction, then you need to make it count.

This version is as far away from the original as you can imagine. Delivered in a slowed-down blues style this is a terrific opener to the album.

In total there are eleven tracks on the album six of which are original songs. Christmas Eve Blues being one of the originals. If you wanted to get close to Charley Patton, Son House and Robert Johnson then this is the tune for you. Acoustic blues, melancholy lyrics and understated vocals are just a joy to behold. Throw in deep meaningful guitar and you have the whole package.

Two songs in and I’m already in love with this album. Sad Letter is a version of a song originally done by Muddy Waters, but once again Lowdown puts his own stamp so firmly all over this.

It’s clear to me that having played with such icons as Pinetop Perkins and Hubert Sumlin then Lowdown has become a blues artist with his own identity because he understands so well the structure and the feel of blues music. Lightnin’ Hop is a lovely instrumental that pretty much says it all in the title. With the focus primarily on Lowdown, the guy’s around him have the space to provide the perfect back-up to him.

Clip On Man Bun Blues is not a title that rolls off the tongue easily. Who’d have thought a title like that would fit so well into a blues song? This is the genius of a guy that has blues running through his veins.

Chicken In A Basket ends what is a stunning album. I cannot find anything I don’t like about this artist or his music. Therefore, it would be remiss of me to try and pick out a favourite track. The whole album is so good.

Get this into your collection. You won’t be disappointed.

Album Review by Stephen Harrison

For More Information on Sunny Lowdown click here



The post SUNNY LOWDOWN Shady Deal appeared first on Blues Matters Magazine.

MANCHESTER — Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign on Wednesday announced it will hold a Get Out the Vote Concert Rally with The Strokes on February 10th.

At the concert, Sen. Sanders will speak to an audience of supporters and primary-goers, with a VIP section reserved for super volunteers including those who have knocked over 250 doors in New Hampshire.

“We are honored to be associated with such a dedicated, diligent, & trustworthy patriot—and fellow native New Yorker!” said Julian Casablancas, lead singer for The Strokes. “As the only truly non-corporate candidate, Bernie Sanders represents our only chance to overthrow corporate power and help return America to democracy. This is why we support him.”

The Sanders campaign announced the show with an exclusive concert poster, designed by artist Kii Arens in collaboration with Bernie 2020.

Here are the details:

Monday, February 10

7:30 p.m. Bernie 2020 GOTV Concert Rally with The Strokes

Whittemore Center Arena, 128 Main St, Durham, NH 03824

Information for the public: This event is open to the public. Tickets are not required, but an RSVP is encouraged. Entrance is provided on a first come, first served basis.


Multi-award winning rock vocalist Sass Jordan has placed her bets on a new album of blues music coming out March 13, 2020 via Stony Plain Records. Rebel Moon Blues is an album she wasn’t ready to create until her husband Derek Sharp (The Guess Who), helped point out the natural blues vibe her powerful, gritty voice evokes.

“I was very slow on the uptake. As usual,” the high-spirited Canadian rock queen cracks,
bursting into raucous laughter. “It was one of those things that’s so dang obvious you just can’t see it. But yeah, the blues has always been a huge part of my life. It’s a big part of what I grew up with. It’s been there through my entire career. People have always said, ‘You’re so bluesy.’ And it’s true. My singing is blues-inflected. My songs use blues-type licks. If you listen to my album Rats, it’s totally blues-based. I didn’t do any of that on purpose. It isn’t contrived. It’s just me. So it’s always been there. It just took me this long to decide I could finally do it for real. Or at least do my version of it.”

Rebel Moon Blues was cut off the cuff and on the fly at Toronto’s Canterbury Music
Company studio in just three fast-paced days, with Jordan and her band, the Champagne Hookers, with help from blues harp master Steve Marriner and keyboardist Jesse O’Brien. This, after a great deal of crate digging to find just the right songs. Taj Mahal’s update of Sleepy John Estes’ “Leaving Trunk,” Rory Gallagher’s interpretation of J.B. Hutto’s “Too Much Alcohol,” and the Allmans’ iconic take on Elmore James’ “One Way Out” were some of her choices.

Then, there’s the song that lit the fuse. “Still Got the Blues (For You)” was written by Northern Irish guitarist Gary Moore, and was the title track of his eighth studio album in 1990. “Derek suggesting this song to me was what got the whole project started,” Sass shared with us. “I realized the enormous goldmine of songs I’ve loved and that have made such a big impact on me, and now having the opportunity to do my own versions.”

If one thinks about it for more than a minute, the choice makes perfect sense. Still Got the Blues marked a significant change in Moore’s style, as prior to its release he was focused on harder rock music (Thin Lizzy, Skid Row, G-Force, etc). The leap that Jordan makes with Rebel Moon Blues is much in the same vein.

Sass is so invested in the transition that she’s even named her own brand of whisky after the title.

But when it’s all boiled down, it’s the music that matters, and Jordan brings it like few others could. On “Still Got the Blues,” her voice loses a great deal of its signature growl, but retains the emotion that will break your heart. A better song choice couldn’t have been made for her blues debut, and we’re proud to bring it to you here.

Pre-order Rebel Moon Blues here.

Sass Jordan

*Feature image from the artist’s website

The Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh – 18th January 2020.

Edinburgh Blues Club hosted a fantastic sold-out concert in the city’s Traverse Theatre.

The evening was to be a tribute to Little Walter and it began with a stomping opening set from the UK’s only Alligator Records recording artist Giles Robson with accompaniment from the Sons of Blues who consist of Aryio on keys, Andrew Blaze Thomas on drums, Marvin Little on bass, and Giles Corey on guitar.

Robson played a variety of Little Walter numbers such as Off The Wall, Mean Old World and You Better Watch Yourself.

The next segment of the evening came from Little Walter’s daughter Marion Diaz and Rosa Branch (Billy’s wife) as they shared anecdotes from Marion’s childhood. Billy Branch (harmonica) and Giles Corey (guitar) sat in on this too and played a stripped-down version of My Babe to accompany Marion’s wonderful stories. We heard about things like her dad preferring the boot of his car to a bank for storing his cash. It would have been great to hear a little more about Little Walter himself at this stage but maybe that’ll come as the show progresses and tours.

Following a short interlude, EBC called the raffle with the big prize of the evening being a book donated by Chicago born, photographer Jennifer Noble called 50 Women in the Blues.

Billy Branch and the Sons of Blues returned to the stage and opened with a belting rendition of Sons of Blues and played numbers from both his latest BMA nominated album Roots and Branches, and from the Blues Shock album.

Billy described the tracks from Roots and Branches as being his tribute to the world’s most innovative harp player Little Walter, as being performed in his style, and with his spin on them.

He belted out tracks such as Roughly, My Babe, and Last Night all with the power and passion that you’d expect from a band of this calibre and the crowd certainly enjoyed it, especially when Billy went walk-about and got up close with some of the audience members. 

Billy unfortunately then encountered some technical difficulties with his mic, and he handed the reigns over to the talented guitarist Giles Corey who went on to sing a really beautiful and soulful version of Wilson Picket’s Don’t Let The Green Grass Fool You which we all absolutely loved.

Following this Billy and the band went on to give us an outstanding rendition of Sympathy for the Devil, with Billy doing his thang and strutting around belting out the harp, it was a real crowd pleaser!

Solos then came from each band member, beginning with drummer Andrew who played a tight and joyful set with a wrist cast on and I can tell you it did not hinder his playing in any way! Keys man and long-time band member Aryio also blew us away with his legendary keyboard wizardry and showed us exactly why he’s played with some of the greats such as B.B. & Albert KingOtis Rush & Stevie Ray Vaughan. Marvin Little also joyfully interacted with the crowd during the show and kept everything tight with his excellent performance and funky bass lines.

There was also a young man called Matt Kay, aged 18 in the audience who had travelled all the way up from England on the off chance that he’d get to play and jam with one of his heroes. And wearing his Junior Wells t-shirt he got up and played several tunes. Giles Robson also joined in for a powerful and thrilling jam. We spoke to Matt after the show and he was blown away to have been given this opportunity. Keep an eye out for this young man in the future, I have a feeling he’ll be popping up again on the British blues scene real soon.

The band went on to do Blues Shock as the encore and this is where Billy really pulled out all the stops and showed us all exactly why he’s a blues master! The crowd loved it and pleaded for more which they got with gusto. Billy then invited everyone to join him, the band and Marion Diaz at the merchandise table for photos and chat.

Marion was also promoting the Little Walter Foundation and had various items from there for sale and promotion. She also requested that if anyone had any little stories, they’d like to share with her about harmonica playing then she’d love to hear them. She wants to know how or if her dad impacted people and their love of harps. So, if you have a story then please go to her Facebook page and let her know.

Billy has been nominated for 5 music awards in the upcoming BMA’s and was inducted into the official Blues Hall of Fame by The Blues Foundation on the 10th January 2020.

For More Information – Billy Branch Official

For Information on the Blues Music Awards & The Blues Foundation click here

For The Little Walter Foundation click here

For Edinburgh Blues Club click here

All photographs are by Jennifer Noble


The post BILLY BRANCH & THE SONS OF BLUES appeared first on Blues Matters Magazine.

Marcus King has released an acoustic performance of “Break” featuring Dan Auerbach. The track is featured on King’s new album, El Dorado. “Break” is about two people in a broken relationship.

“The one party knows they’re going to hurt the other one because it’s kind of in their way and the other person knows they’re going to be broken hearted. It’s just to kind of say that if you’re going to have your heart broken anyway, at least let me be the one to do so,” says King.

There are no right or wrong answers with music. It’s subjective and everyone brings their own preferences and past experiences to the listening process. So what works for one person won’t necessarily work for another. Having gotten that out of the way, Tinsley Ellis does blues rock right and Ice Cream in Hell is positively correct.

Ellis is a guitarist’s guitarist, with 17 solo albums to his name, but not enough name recognition. I’m not sure if Ice Cream in Hell will address that marketing challenge, but in a perfect world, it would, because it’s a phenomenal album. Where Ellis’ 2018 album, Winning Hand, featured the same high-quality guitar playing, there was something a bit staid about it all, like he was striving for perfection at the expense of emotion. Ice Cream in Hell has guitar playing that’s frighteningly close to perfect, but what seals the album is the passion beneath the guitar playing.

Ellis’ guitar work is so good, it’s easy to ignore his singing, which is charmingly ordinary. I have no idea what it’s like to have talent, but I imagine it’s very easy to hide behind it. If I could play half as well as Ellis, you’d hear me jamming on every street corner and subway car from here to Maryland. Ellis could just as easily lean on his guitar prowess, but he doesn’t, putting a lot of work into his vocals. On the title track, he sounds delightfully ragged, like he recorded the track after doing a live show. It’s bluesy and brave as anything.

And while we’re on the subject of the title track, that song is surprisingly pretty. Ellis’ guitar hops through the track with lines that have that bright Allman Brothers feel, but also a dark gritty bluesiness. Keyboardist/co-producer Kevin McKendree sets a beautiful table for Ellis, on this and each of the album’s tracks. The two musicians have a great relationship, obviously listening to each other and playing off each other, while maintaining every song’s structure. There are plenty of gorgeous musical passages and licks, but the two always turn back to the song.

I was blown away by how fluent Ellis is in so many styles. The songs, all Ellis originals, sound familiar. He has his own takes on blues rock classics, but his ability to nail all of those licks we know so well, while still preserving his own muscular playing, which lies firmly in the Albert King/Stevie Ray Vaughan camp, consistently impressed me. “Sit Tight Mama” has Ellis playing slide in the style of Hound Dog Taylor. “Evil Till Sunrise” recalls Jimi Hendrix’s “Stone Free.” “Everything and Everyone” features a Carlos Santana sound. Ellis isn’t stealing licks or trying to present himself as someone he’s not. He’s just paying tribute to his inspirations.

If you’re a blues rock fan and aren’t familiar with Ellis’ work, this is a great place to check in. Ice Cream in Hell is blues rock from a master at the height of his power, vocally and instrumentally. Ellis showcases monster tone, vibrato that feels like an earthquake, and all-around tasteful playing. He is always the right answer.

The Review: 9.5/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Evil Till Sunrise
– Everything and Everyone
– Your Love’s Like Heroin
– Last One to Know
– Ice Cream in Hell

The Big Hit

– Ice Cream in Hell

Review by Steven Ovadia

Buy the album: Amazon | Amazon UK

The Strokes have added a trio of North American tour dates ahead of their South American and European festival slots. They will be headed to Vancouver, British Columbia, on March 5th; Seattle on March 9th; and Los Angeles on March 14th on this short run. However, you can catch them in Miami at Mana Wynwood on May 1st.

General tickets for the L.A. show go on sale Friday, January 31st at 10 a.m. PT, and the Seattle and Vancouver dates follow at noon PT. Citi card members can access a pre-sale for Seattle and L.A.

“Surprise. 2020 here we come. We took the 2010’s – whatever the fuck they’re called – we took ’em off but now we’ve been unfrozen and we’re back,” Julian Casablancas said at their New Year’s Eve show in Brooklyn. The Strokes debuted a song that night called “Ode To The Mets,” confirming a new album to be released in 2020.

The Strokes’ full tour schedule:

Mar. 5th – Vancouver, British Columbia – Rogers Arena

Mar. 9th – Seattle, WA – WaMu Theatre

Mar. 14th – Inglewood, CA – The Forum

Mar. 27th – Santiago, Chile – Parque O’ Higgins

Apr. 3rd – Sao Paulo, Brazil – Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace (Interlagos)

May 1st – Miami, Fl – Mana Wynwood

May 16th – Zapopan, Mexico – Corona Capital Festival

Jun. 4th – Barcelona, Spain – Parc del Forum

Jun. 12th – Hilvarenbeek, Netherlands – Best Kept Secret Festival

Jul. 9th – Lisbon, Portugal – NOS Alive Festival


Official Strokes Website

The Strokes Tickets


The blues will be celebrated along historic Beale Street this January as part of The Blues Foundation’s 2020 International Blues Challenge Week, which takes place in Memphis, Tenn. from Tuesday, January 28 through Saturday, February 1. The Blues Foundation kicks off the festivities on January 28 with performances happening in 21 different venues along historic Beale Street straight through to the Finals on February 1 at Memphis’ Orpheum Theatre (203 S. Main St.) at 12 noon. The International Blues Challenge, the world’s largest and most renowned blues music competition, attracts more than 800 musicians to Memphis from all across the globe to battle for glory, bookings, and prizes. Besides the challenger performances which are the heart of the IBC, Beale Street will be packed with themed showcases, youth workshops, jams, parties, and master classes occurring day and night.

During IBC Week, notable events happen every day. The Blues Hall of Fame (421 S. Main St.) hosts a trio of special events on Wednesday, January 29. Multiple Blues Music Award winner and GRAMMY® nominee Janiva Magness will conduct a reading, Q & A, and book signing of her new autobiography Weeds Like Us at 12 noon. At 2 p.m., the “Music Across Borders” panel discussion will explore why the blues has garnered such a large international following and how artists and their music can expand their reach outside of their home countries. Presented by the Consulate General of Canada, the panel will be moderated by Leigh Shockey and will include Canadian blues music artist Shakura S’Aida, founder and president of Intrepid Artists Rick Booth, president of Music Marketing International Bruce Morel, and producer of the Cahors Blues Festival Robert Mauries. The Blues Hall of Fame celebrates the opening of its new “Women of the Blues” exhibit at 3:15 pm. Curated by photographer/journalist Lynn Orman Weiss, the captivating display spotlights works from a wide range of blues photographers and features images of blues women from all ages and backgrounds who represent styles ranging from Southern soul blues to Chicago blues and blues rock.

Complementing “Women of the Blues” is IBC’s keynote panel, “Blues Women – Creators, Conductors, and Catalysts,” which takes place Friday, January 31 at 2:30 pm at Alfred’s on Beale (197 Beale Street). Moderated by author Dr. Marie Trout (The Blues: Why It Still Hurts So Good), a panel composed of Multiple Blues Music Award winning and GRAMMY® nominated Shemekia Copeland, BMA-winning blues musician/educator/activist Gaye Adegbalola, award-winning media consultant and founder of the African American Public Relations Collective Gwendolyn Quinn, and BMA and GRAMMY® winning producer and co-founder of Omnivore Recordings Cheryl Pawelski will discuss the tremendous influence women have had on the blues genre, both as performers and as behind the scenes industry leaders.

Thursday, January 30 features the premiere of a newly remastered, 4K edition of the landmark documentary Deep Blues: A Musical Pilgrimage to the Crossroads. Made by music critic and author Robert Palmer and documentary film maker Robert Mugge, in collaboration with David A. Stewart and his brother John J. Stewart, this 1991 movie chronicles the world of Delta blues and North Mississippi hill-country blues, with filming in Memphis as well. The Los Angeles Times hailed Deep Blues as a “movie no blues lover, no popular music aficionado, and no devotee of American culture and folkways should miss. It’s a genuine document, deep and earthy; a peek into our national soul.” At the 11:30 a.m. screening, at Blues City Café (138 Beale Street), Stewart will give a video intro and Mugge will participate in a post-screening Q&A. (Blues City Café also hosts a midnight showing on Friday night, January 31.)

A unique musicians’ workshop, “Leading Your Own Career with Bobby Rush,” also is happening January 30. The Blues Hall of Famer, multiple Blues Music Award winner, and GRAMMY® winner will share distinctive insights on how to protect one’s brand as a performing blues musician, as well as tell stories from his own illustrious career. The workshop, which also includes an audience Q&A, will be held at King’s Palace (162 Beale Street) starting at 12:30 pm.

The nine Keeping The Blues Alive Award recipients will be recognized for their life-long achievements at the KBA brunch on Friday, January 31 at 10:30 a.m. in the Holiday Inn Memphis-Downtown Ballroom (160 Union Avenue). Chosen by a select panel of blues professionals, the honorees not only hail from across America, but also Canada, Denmark, Poland, and Colombia.

During IBC Week, The Blues Foundation will again host health screenings for diabetes, cholesterol, elevated PSA, Hepatitis C and more, all offered free of charge to IBC musicians and attendees. This year, for the first time, private and confidential onsite behavioral health consultations with psychiatrist Rebecca Dulit, MD will be available to attendees. Sponsored by The Blues Foundation’s HART (Handy Artist Relief TrustFund, these screenings will be provided on Wednesday, January 29 and Thursday, January 30 from noon-2:30 p.m. on the second floor of Club 152 (152 Beale Street).

For more information about the International Blues Challenge, including the full schedule of events, IBC merchandise, and links to reserve discounted hotel rooms in Downtown Memphis, please visit the IBC website.

**Watch for LIVE UPDATES on American Blues Scene Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram during the 2020 International Blues Challenge**

The Blues Foundation

Blue rock is the greatest song genre for anyone looking to enjoy the best in both worlds. The real-life struggles and intimacy of the blues combine with the electrifying adrenaline rush that rock ‘n roll delivers. As a result, blues rock updates the 21st-century blues, informing the future and reminding us of how far we’ve come. Here are the five timeless blues rock albums. 

Like the Caesars casino, blues rock started from humble beginnings. As such, some of the greatest blues rock albums were inspired by rhythm & blues.

  1. Led Zeppelin II by Led Zeppelin (1969)

While there’s a great misconception about the first album by Led Zeppelin, it’s undeniable that this band transformed the blues rock music genre in the 70s. This album was released in 1969, leaving an indelible mark on the music scene as it was a bit different from the Zep I, which was a private collection of tracks.

Packed with strong emotions and brutal soul, the Zeppelin unveiled something that had never hit the market before. Their tactic tool hoary old, classic blues and managed to turn them into fearsome beasts that came with fierce criticism. However, the music was inspired by blues purists.

  1. Inspiration Information by Shuggie Otis (1974)

Released on Epic Records in 1974, Inspiration Information was the third album created by Shuggie Otis and one of the best blues-rock albums of all time. The album’s sound is a combination of lounger jazz instrumentals, smooth and organ-driven California funk, and quasi new-age psychedelia. This album was Otis’ debut project as a producer and an adult, having been backed by his father in his first two projects as a teenager.

  1. Silences by Adia Victoria (2019)

If you love southern gothic blues, then Silences is one album you’re going to enjoy. That is the second studio album released in 2019 by American songwriter Adia Victoria under Atlantic Records. In this album, Victoria draws themes that affected her as a black woman in the south, including oppression, powerlessness, race, and religion.

  1. Blunderbuss by Jack White (2012)

Released in 2012 through digital download and in vinyl & compact disc editions, Blunderbuss was the first solo album for Jack White. The album was released under White’s music label, Third Man Records, and is written almost entirely by Jack White. Multiple music styles are present in the album, ranging from rock, blues, country soul, and folk. Even better, the album got positive reviews from critics, debuting at the top position in five countries.

  1. Southern Blood by Gregg Allman (2017)

The eighth album by American singer and songwriter Gregg Allman, Southern Blood, was released in September 2017 as his final studio project. The album is heavy on covers, with a song originally done by the Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne, and Tim Buckley. However, all the songs in the album hold a deep meaning to Allman and tell his story.

Tali Haim

This month we talk to Marcus Malone and Innes Sibun about their latest collaboration and album. James Oliver is wowing the crowds and now has an album ready to launch, we get the lowdown. Back On The Road Again features Northsyde, which will please many fans and from what we hear they are off to a flying start with Marcus Prestgaard-Stevens playing Jules’ Red Gibson 335. We’re Blown’ Up A Storm with Part 1 of a series on Harmonicas and Blues In Britain readers can have a free month’s trial through the online teaching platform Ben’s Harp Club at

The Five Points Gang introduce themselves and we get some background on Giles King. The Festival Guide continues to fill up and as always we have your gig and festival reviews and our guides to gigs and IBBA radio shows.

Until next month, get out and see some live music and enjoy yer blues.

Paul Stiles