November 14, 2017
Jim Roberts has had two distinct periods to his music career, divided by 16 years as a police officer and raising a family. Before leaving the music scene he opened for such acts as Ricky Nelson, Della Reese, and Danny O’Keefe. He even made a television appearance on the Mike Douglas Show during the 1980’s.
Today he is firmly entrenched in the blues, who backed by his band The Resonants, has just released his new album Beneath The Blood Moon. He is an excellent slide guitar player but it is his expertise with a three-string cigar box guitar that defines his sound. It gives his sound a more primitive feel, which is an important part of his approach to the blues.
Roberts music is direct and hard-hitting. Songs such as “Dog Done Bit My Baby,” “Gold Train Fever,” “Dark Down The Delta,” and “The Hell Hounds Due” are all energetic excursions in the realm of the blues with some stops in Americana and roots rock.
Jim Roberts has re-invented himself as a first class bluesman. If you like your blues direct and at times raw, then Beneath The Blood Moon is an album for you.
November 14, 2017
“We skipped the light fandango, turned cartwheels ‘cross the floor, I was feeling kinda seasick, but the crowd call out for more.” So begins “A Whiter Shade Of Pale,” in 1967, which propelled Procol Harum into the rock and roll limelight. They will now release their 13th studio album Novum in celebration of their 50th anniversary.
Procol Harum, beginning with their self-titled debut album in 1967, issued a series of albums including Shine On Brightly, A Salty Dog, and Live In Concert With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, which combined elements of classical music with what would be shortly recognized as progressive music.
While musicians such as Robin Trower, Keith Reid, and Matthew Fisher have passed through the band, the one constant has been vocalist/songwriter/pianist Gary Brooker. The band now includes long term members Geoff Whiteman, Matt Pegg, and Geoff Dunn, plus lyricist Pete Brown of Cream fame.
They have wisely chosen not to re-invent themselves or their sound on their new release. In many ways the music is less complex but more melodic than in the past. Their ability to create a sound that allows the listener to just drift in the music remains intact.
Brooker’s voice shows some wear after 50 years but he is still capable of providing a smooth listening experience and he has wisely surrounded himself with a group of veteran musicians who have coalesced into a tight band. Brown adds some new dimensions and sophistication to the lyrics, which is welcome. His presence puts the emphasis more on the lyrics than the music, which is a new direction for the band.
Novum shows that Procol Harum is still relevant as a band after a half-century on the road and in the studio. It is at its foundation, an album of solid rock and roll.
November 14, 2017
Folk music is alive and well down-under. Little known in the United States, The Waifs are folk music icons in their home country of Australia, having plied their trade for the past quarter-century.
Donna Simpson, Vikki Thorn, and Josh Cunningham, with supporting musicians David MacDonald and Ben Franz, gathered at Cunningham’s home and recorded a live, mostly acoustic set of original songs. The result was their new album Ironbark, which is a two-CD, 25 song set.
Thorn, Cunningham, and Simpson have voices that are made for harmonizing together, whether in two’s or three’s. They also rotate the lead vocals, many times on the same song, and also have the capacity for providing dual lead vocals as well similar to the Everly Brothers style.
They write all their own material, which are story songs in the folk tradition. Instrumentation is kept mostly to a minimum in order to keep the focus on the words and voices.
Tracks such as “Ironbark,” “Song For Jacqueline,” “Higher Ground,” and “I Won’t Go Down” represent their approach. The stories are reflective while the music washes over you. It is music for the mind and soul rather than the dance floor.
Ironbark is a folk album in the traditional sense. The Waifs have put together an album of tales that is well-worth exploring.
November 14, 2017
Steve Strongman is a guitar player who just attacks the blues. He is able to bend the strings in a way that creates a sound that is unique to him.
He has just released a new album titled No Time Like Now. It consists of nine original tunes written with producer/bass player Rob Szabo and the classic rocker “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet” composed by fellow Canadian Randy Bachman, who guests on the track.
Strongman is able to fuse the blues and rock so that it emerges as an energetic concoction that washes over the listener.
Steve Strongman has produced a solid album of modern day electric blues. Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.
November 14, 2017
All right, boys and girls, it time to climb into the way back machine for a journey in time to the mid-1960’s English psychedelic music world.
For every English band that made it, there were hundreds who quickly disappeared and dozens more who shined brightly for a brief moment or two, and then were gone. Bands such as The Action, The Attack, The Sorrows, and Tomorrow fueled elements of the American Psychedelic movement and British rock, released a few tunes, but ultimately could not evolve with the changing music scene.
The Creation was one of the leading proponents of this British pych/rock movement. They existed from 1964-1068. They had one Top 40 hit in their home country and every once on awhile one of their songs appears on a compilation album of the era. Many people remember them for their last lead guitarist, Ronnie Wood, who would go on to fame and fortune with the Rolling Stones.
The Creation is one of those bands that represent a period in time. They had a raw energy that encapsulated the psychedelic era. Their entire recorded catalogue, plus four tracks from the pre-Creation Mark Four Band, has now been released as a two CD compilation titled Action Painting. The sound has been remastered and there is an 80 page booklet devoted to the band.
They had elements of the Who in their approach but without the power of their straight rock and roll. “Painter Man” was their only hit but it represents their style and sometimes odd approach as they use a violin bow to play the guitar. The new stereo mix adds depth to the song. They covered such tunes of the day as “Cool Jerk,” “Hey Joe,” and “Like A Rolling Stone” which are all journeys through the lives of struggling bands.
Action Paining is a must listen for anyone interested in the history of the psychedelic era. They represent a short but important stop in the evolution of British rock and roll.
November 14, 2017
I always have a soft spot for saxophone players and Vanessa Collier is an evolving force on the instrument. She studied at Boston’s Berklee College Of Music and was further schooled on the road with the likes of Annie Lennox and Willie Nelson. She has just released her second album titles Me And My Shadow.
In addition to being a talented saxophone player, she is also a vocalist and an adept songwriter who penned eight the album’s eleven tracks.
While she travels into pop and soul; she is at heart a blues artist as her music presents her stories and experiences. She has a wonderful soul-styled voice that compliments her sax sound.
Whether it be her own “Whiskey And Women” and “”Devil’s On The Downslide” or covers of Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s “Up Above My Head I Hear The Music In The Air” and “Deadric Malone’s “You’re Gonna Make Me Cry;” she presents her music with a combination of simplicity and sophistication.
Vanessa Collins is an artist whose music is well-worth exploring as she continues to progress and evolve.
October 19, 2017
The origin’s of Zydeco music are lost in the mists of time. It ‘s history traces back to combining French Creole music with rhythm & blues and expanding outward from there.
Corey Ledet is one one the leading practitioners of Zydeco music today and he has just released his ninth album Standing On Faith.
Ledet is an accordion player/songwriter/vocalist/band leader who fuses Zydeco rhythms to other musical formats.
The song titled “Intro” is a funky album opener. He quickly moves in a pop direction with the instrumental “Love Never Felt So Good” and the smooth title track. He then adds a little reggae influences with “A Good Day” and finishes his gumbo concoction with the bluesy “Street Light.”
Ledet has developed the capacity to create Zydeco music as it should be. Standing On Faith is a joyous romp through the world of Zydeco music.