Backed by her band, the Champagne Hookers, Sass Jordan’s brand new blues album is a delightful taste of classic sound in the 21st century. Long-time and world-renowned rock singer, Jordan has been greatly influenced by blues growing up and has incorporated aspects of the genre into the work of her 40-year career. Rebel Moon Blues is Jordan’s first blues album and one to impress. 

The album kicks off with “Leaving Trunk,” with outstanding brassy sounds that compliment Jordan’s low, gritty voice. The overall pitch and key of the song leans on the higher side compared to the third song on the album, “Am I Wrong,” a foot tapper with a steady rhythm on drums and guitar. The catchy riffs in this song emulate the blues style wonderfully. “Palace Of The King” is similarly filled with solid guitar riffs which build up to a very open sounding chorus featuring backing vocals and a whistling lead guitar. This song is a major peak in energy for the album with its higher tempo and heavily layered instrumentals. In comparison, “Too Much Alcohol” features a lighter instrumental behind a classic blues song structure. This combination is always a joy to find in the contemporary blues rock scene where artists often load their songs with instrumentals. The minimal instrumental puts a focus on the narrative storytelling style that is so important to blues as a genre. Nonetheless, the guitar that is present is packed with punch and intensity. 

Rebel Moon Blues is a great taste of blues with a refreshingly classic sound. Jordan truly understands the genre and writes a fantastic homage to it in this exciting new album. 

The Review: 7.5/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

-Am I Wrong
-Palace of the King
-Too Much Alcohol

The Big Hit

-Palace of the King

Review by Sabrina Tian

Buy the album: Amazon | Amazon UK

 

Two time Grammy winner and member of the Tedeschi Trucks Band, Mike Mattison is back with an exciting second solo album. Afterglow features a delightful blues rock sound with poetic lyrics and lovely melodies that shape the album’s nostalgic feel. The album’s wide range of sounds are a testament to Mattison’s skill as a songwriter. Each song stands out on its own and each is equally enjoyable. 

Mattison starts Afterglow off strong with “Charlie Idaho.” Mattison’s voice perfectly suits the story-telling structure of the song and the details on keys in the back of the track. This song sounds straight off a movie soundtrack for a Western movie with its nostalgic overtone and swaying chorus. The second song on the album is the title track, “Afterglow,” a much more upbeat song that gets you dancing. The melodies for this song are dynamic and the little flourishes on guitar keep the song interesting. Mattison’s vocals adapt to fit the feel good nature of the song, already showing his skillful vocal delivery. Similarly, the song “Kiss You Where You Live” fills your ears with good vibes that make you want to sing. With outstanding lyrics and an energetic drumline, this song’s pacing and control of rhythm are fantastic. In comparison, “On Pontchartrain” is a much more steady song, suiting its soulful, more blues-leaning style. Featuring changing, this song might be the perfect song for an in-concert sing-along. Mattison’s drawl in this song is yet another example of his gift as a vocalist. This can be seen perfectly in the last two songs on the album, “I Really Miss You” and “Got Something for You” which stand in black-and-white contrast, the former being an emotional ballad performed in the higher register and the latter being a gritty foot-tapper with heavier drums and electric guitar. 

Afterglow offers listeners many rich flavors and is a joy to listen to. No matter the style of song, Mattison is able to make a high quality work of art with his trademark of expert lyricism and powerful melodies. 

The Review: 9/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Charlie Idaho
– Afterglow
– Kiss You Where You Live
– On Pontchartrain 

The Big Hit

– Charlie Idaho 

Review by Sabrina Tian

Buy the album: Amazon | Amazon UK

Sari Schorr is completely honest in her newest release, Live In Europe. Recorded on her last tour, the album is composed of twelve powerful and raw performances that showcase Schorr’s talent and stunning stage presence. The natural sound of each track makes the album all the more impressive and moving, setting Schorr apart from overproduced music scenes of the twenty-first century. 

Schorr kicks off her album with “New Revolution,” filling listeners’ ears with a classic sound. Off the bat, Schorr’s vocals are outstanding and her delivery matches the instrumentals perfectly, never outshining them while also standing out without any production. Like many songs on this album, “New Revolution” is dynamic and filled with ups and downs that continue to excite. But Schorr also shows a more mellow side in “Turn the Radio On.” Schorr’s vocal tone shifts in this song to match the peaceful keys in the instrumental. Perhaps due to the setting of a live show, this emotional performance is extraordinary. Even when accompanied by just a piano and guitar like in “Ready For Love,” Schorr sounds amazing and delivers a touching performance paired by a beautiful solo on keys. This contrasts with the fifth track on the album, “Damn Reason,” a song that shows off Schorr’s growly vocals with crashing drums and catchy ad-libs. This contrast truly highlights the dynamism that Schorr can pack into one night’s show. 

Live In Europe captures the excitement of going to show downtown on a Friday night with your best friends. Each song is candid and equally moving. As Sari gears up for her biggest tour yet, fans can anticipate a night full of energy and emotion as they hurry to buy their tickets. 

The Review: 8/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

-New Revolution
-Turn The Radio On
-Ready For Love
-Damn Reason

The Big Hit

-Damn Reason

Review by Sabrina Tian

Buy the album: Amazon | Amazon UK

Australian blues artist, Matty T Wall, returns with his newest album, Transpacific Blues Vol. 1. The album is completely refreshing as Wall explores the genre of blues across the ocean, collaborating with artists far from home. As such, Transpacific Blues is a great melting pot of talents and different takes on such a worldwide genre of music. 

Wall opens his album with “Boom Boom,” a powerful intro with searing guitar solos and a total feel-good vibe. It’s evident from the beginning that Wall is here to have a good time, employing text painting in the song with low drums that accompany the onomatopoeia in the title of the song. This holds true in the following song, “Hi Heel Sneakers,” which starts off with a bright guitar imitating a whistle. The song is a great take on traditional 12 bar blues. It sounds so classic but the subject matter is unconventionally lighthearted. Even with slower songs like “Stormy Monday,” Wall keeps listeners very entertained. While the tempo of the song is lower, listeners can find great dynamism in the guitar composition as well as Wall’s vocals that rise and fall frequently, keeping the energy alive. Even towards the end of the album, this energy remains high. “I’m Tore Down” is a perfect combination of blues and rock. With a very familiar rock rhythm, and strong electric guitar, the song is a twist on a classic sound. Wall’s lyrics maintain the tradition of blues storytelling with a melancholy subject matter. The difference is that the instrumental sounds totally joyful in comparison to the actual content of the lyrics. 

Transpacific Blues Vol.1 is a testimony to the capacity of growth that the genre of blues possesses. The album is a breath of fresh air full of fun and surprises that will please and delight any listener. 

The Review: 8.5/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

-Boom Boom
-Hi Heel Sneakers
-Stormy Monday
-I’m Tore Down 

The Big Hit

-I’m Tore Down 

Review by Sabrina Tian

Buy the album: Amazon | Amazon UK

Ben Poole’s newest album captures the essence of powerful live performances. Recorded at Old Schoolhouse in Barnsley, The Half Moon in South London, and Bootleggers in Kendal, Live ‘19 is a thrilling listening experience. The songs are all hits off Poole’s albums Anytime You Need Me and Time Has Come. With Wayne Proctor on drums, Steve Amadeo on bass, and Ben Poole on guitar, each song is a delight.

Right off the bat, Poole’s vocals stand as he puts just the right amount of air into his voice. “Take It No More” couples his vocals with a grungy and screeching guitar playing a groovy melody and a perfectly executed guitar solo. The fourth track on the album, “Start The Car,” is equally exciting with a perfect balance of guitar and drums. The song has a bit of a pop feel with its fun strumming pattern and addictive chord progression. While the instrumental is fairly light, it compliments Poole’s voice very well. Poole continues to impress with “Further On Down The Line.” The song has a fairly mellow tempo but it’s so packed with energy from Poole’s delivery and fantastic play with rhythm that it could be a feel good dance song. This clear control of energy is also evident in “Stay At Mine,” the 12th track of the album. Beginning with strong drums and a beachy strumming pattern, the song features a powerful build up in the bridge which is followed by an awesome guitar solo that’s bound to get the audience to scream. 

Live ‘19 is evidence of Poole’s incredible performance skills that make him one of the UK’s most promising and impressive blues rock artists. After hearing this album, fans will surely hurry to get their hands on tickets to Poole’s upcoming shows. With such a dynamic show, Poole’s setlist isn’t one to miss. 

The Review: 8.5/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Take It No More
– Start The Car
– Further On Down The Line
– Stay At Mine

The Big Hit

– Take It No More 

Review by Sabrina Tian

Marcus Malone and Innes Sibun of Malone Sibun form one of the most exciting blues rock groups on the UK scene right now. Both Malone and Sibun have climbed the rank of blues rock artists as distinguished musicians. Teaming up, the power duo were nominated for Best Band at the European Blues Awards before releasing their debut album. Their long anticipated release, Come Together, is everything fans wanted and more. 

The album kicks off with the title track, “Come Together” which instantly hooks listeners in with cool and crunchy guitar tunes complimented by nice keyboard details. Paired with powerful vocals from both Malone and Sibun, “Come Together” sets the tone of the album perfectly while setting the bar high for the songs to come. The second song on the track list, “Let Me Love You,” meets that standard with belting vocals full of soul and whiny, howling guitar. The song is a lively groove powered by a steady drumbeat. From the start, it’s clear that Malone Sibun are experts at writing energetic and electrifying music. The duo’s soft side shines equally bright as seen in their most sentimental and emotional song, “Taste Of Your Love.” Paired with sweet guitar and poetic lyricism, there is a feeling of comfort in the melodies of this song. Their outro, “Everyday’s A Miracle” is just as sweet and leaves listeners with a feel-good, positive message. Malone Sibun have established their status as skilled songwriters and “She’s My Girl” proves it. It has everything a hit song needs: plays on rhythm, catchy vocal melodies, and a bit of a contemporary twist. “She’s My Girl” is a perfect sing along song. 

Without a doubt, Malone Sibun is a duo to watch. Their outstanding skill, chemistry, and talent shine through right off the bat. Malone Sibun will be at the Top Secret Blues Festival in March as well as the Cotton Blues Festival in May in addition to their own tour dates. 

The Review: 8.5/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Come Together
– Let Me Love You
– Taste of Your Love
– She’s My Girl

The Big Hit

– Come Together

Review by Sabrina Tian

Buy the album: Amazon | Amazon UK

Keb’ Mo’ emulates the Christmas Spirit in Moonlight, Mistletoe, & You. Recorded in Tennessee, the album definitely shows off Keb’ Mo’s gift for writing blues while also giving listeners a taste of his fresh R&B style. Highlighting the romance and joy that come with the holiday season, Moonlight, Mistletoe, & You is a wonderful winter listen. 

Keb’ Mo’ opens the album with a cover of “Please Come Home for Christmas,” a familiar tune with a blues twist. The memorable melody is easy to sing along to, but Keb’ Mo’ changes the lyrics to be a bit more positive and arguably better suited for the holiday spirit. With listeners already in a festive mood, the second track on the album is his original song, “Moonlight, Mistletoe, & You,” a romantic and touching ballad with a soulful saxophone solo. To contrast the more serious and traditional songs is the humorous yet nostalgic “Christmas is Annoying.” Keb’ Mo’ successfully pokes fun at the holiday season while reminiscing of the joys of Christmas in his youth. The sudden change of pace and energy certainly keeps listeners on their toes and makes the album a stand out to the more monotonous and boring Christmas albums out there. To further add to the diversity of Christmas songs, Keb’ Mo’ follows the track with “Merry Merry Christmas.” The song has a rock spirit with a guitar solo and hard hitting drums, making it much more exciting than the average Christmas tune. 

Overall, Moonlight, Mistletoe, & You is a great album to put on replay this holiday season. Keb’ Mo’s Christmas spirit is honest and soulful as it shines through beautifully in his voice. The album is cheery and truly captures all the feelings one can experience through the holidays while playing with different music genres and themes. 

The Review: 8/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Moonlight, Mistletoe, & You
– Christmas is Annoying
– Merry Merry Christmas

The Big Hit

– Merry Merry Christmas

Review by Sabrina Tian

Buy the album: Amazon | Amazon UK

Growing up in a musical family, brothers Chris and Courtney Barnes formed a fresh gospel duo in Memphis Tennessee. Known as The Sensational Barnes Brothers, the pair have a natural gift for music which is exemplified in their album, Nobody’s Fault But Mine

“Trying To Go Home,” kicks the album off with a lively intro and impressive vocals that appeal to listeners of all ages. This energy is carried over to the album’s title track which includes an exciting horn section and the familiar and catchy repetition of a gospel song. Incorporated are also subtle blues melodies and playful vocals that keep the song interesting and constantly in motion. This is nicely contrasted with the following song, “Let It Be Good.” This song is much more mellow with lighter instrumental and relaxing guitar picking. The lyrics are comforting and are made even more moving with soulful vibrato in the vocals. Likewise, in the last song on the album, “Try The Lord,” the Barnes Brothers pair uplifting lyrics with emotional melodies that are altered each and every time they are sung. “Try The Lord” is the perfect song to end on; it leaves listeners with a great take away message which is truly at the center of each song on the album. 

Spreading positivity and good tunes,The Sensational Barnes Brothers are a group to keep an eye on. Their music is relatable, empowering, and moving. Nobody’s Fault But Mine is only the beginning of what’s sure to be a very successful musical career for Chris and Courtney. 

The Review: 7.5/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– I Made It Over
– Nobody’s Fault But My Own
– Let It Be Good
– Try The Lord

The Big Hit

– Nobody’s Fault But My Own

Review by Sabrina Tian

Buy the album: Amazon | Amazon UK