Danny Bryant In Conversation its A Revelation

Danny Bryant Always a Revelation and Yours For A Song

BD: As ever Bluesdoodles, was delighted to have the opportunity to review your latest album Revelation leaving fans in anticipation to hear the songs live on your forthcoming tour across the UK.

 BD:  Before we come up to date lets go back to the early days. What were your first influences growing up in Royston, Hertfordshire.

DB: I still live in Royston about a mile from my parents’ house. First influences were my parent’s collection, Rory Gallagher, Eric Clapton, Hendrix and lots of Bob Dylan. All on vinyl, I have now inherited the vinyl collection. Though I think now it is back in fashion Mum wouldn’t mind having it back.

I then looked at the music that influenced the people I was listening to, who they were listening to. It is even easier to do that now with so many resources. YouTube and downloading is so very easy. I have to admit I tend to listen via YouTube it is easily accessible, the way we all listen to music has changed in an age of instant gratification.  There is definitely more music, consumed differently, if you order from Amazon, for example, you get an audio file to rip so before the Cd arrives you already have it to listen to through your speakers.

 

BD: Was the guitar always going to be your instrument of choice, with your late father on Bass as the counterpoint to your talent in RedEyeBand.
DB: It was always going to be the guitar. I didn’t consider anything else. Suddenly I wanted a guitar like a lot of kids does at some stage. For me it was the right time, I was quite insular and wanted to practice all the time. I have tried to learn the harmonica, then I hear a guitar being played and think I could learn that and it is back to the guitar trying to get better and better. Dad played finger-picking blues acoustic when I was growing up. I could hear him playing downstairs, and so is a soundtrack of my childhood. Dad took up the bass to help me out. There were not any young bass players around that wanted to be in a blues band.  What started out as a temporary fix became a permanent fixture.

 

BD: When did you decide to use British guitar maker Fret-King as your six-string of choice. What do these guitars add to your playing that other guitar manufacturers would not bring to your sound?

DB: I have worked with Fret-King guitars for a number of years and the guitar suits the sound I want to achieve. The guitar looks like a strat but is different. When you fly and can only take one guitar this covers all bases. With my signature Danny guitar in the range, that is, in my opinion, good value for money. Fret-king guitars have worked well for me for quite a while now.

BD: Revelation is a deeply personal album, out 20th April via Jazzhaus Records. Despite the dark shadowy album cover the album is a Revelation as you let the light shine into the corners of your emotions. Tell our readers why you found writing the album such a challenge?

DB: It was a challenge with the music I wanted to create, it did not come easy. It was not necessarily a thing I wanted to deal with. But Dad’s passing had happened and it was a therapeutic process. Hence lyrically the album is quite dark, with a heavier sound. The horns add a different tone and dimension. Big Band Project was something I always wanted to do. We played three shows and on the live album. Promoters were interested so now will run alongside the band. I kept the sound in the current album as it adds another layer of textures and interest. Logistically touring with a nine-piece is a huge and expensive challenge.

 BD: Yo talk about how music has been your personal salvation do you feel the tracks on Revelation speak to everyone who listens who have their own personal dark moments.

DB: Yes, I hope this album connects with people.  It was a personal and at times a difficult process exploring difficult parts of my life. We all loose loved ones, go through hard times, feel lost. The other thing in common is we all interpret music and songs differently.  For example, Roy Orbison songs speak to me in one way may not be the way Roy intended but that doesn’t matter. Again with my music it doesn’t matter what you get out of the lyrics what is important what you hear and connect with and that it speaks to the listener on some level. It is like art some people look at a painting and analyse looking for meanings whilst others just say looks nice going to hang that on my wall. Neither approach is wrong nor right, it is how you connect with art that is important. When you write a song it is a snap shot of how you feel at that moment; not how you feel all the time. Lyrics have always interested me, love the guitar but the solo is pointless unless within a decent song with a strong melody striking a balance across the number.

 BD: Blues is never far from your music, do you have a favourite or special track on the album.

DB: If I have to pick a track it is Isolate I like ballads that are not soft but have power and some balls in them. It is a track that is fun to play live and I am always a sucker for a guitar solo. Revelation the title track is also a favourite, it is different and that keeps everything interesting with changes in texture and tone.

BD:  With the new album and touring 2018 is going to be a busy year and your fans will be delighted that you are back on the road in the UK once again.

DB: Yes, back touring in UK is always going to be fun. Logistically & financially it is impossible to tour with the Big Band Project. What is new is we are now a four-piece with keyboardist Stevie Watts joining the band.  Having added keys into the Danny Bryant sound there was no going back to being a trio.

 

BD: If you were putting together the perfect band with members from across the years (dead or alive) who would you have playing
DB:
Guitar:  BB King
Vocals: Otis Redding
Bass: Willie Dixon
Drums: Willie “Big Eyes” Smith
Keys: Otis Spann

 

Check out Tour Dates

Bluesdoodles revelation Review

Danny Bryant In Conversation its A Revelation

Gerry Jablonski and the Electric Band Playing Through Heavy Water

 

Double-sided single Heavy Water & Soul Sister is unarguably a duo of songs that promote the inner talent of Gerry Jablonski and the Electric Band. Heavy Water is a deep swirling turbulent flow of blues outpouring. The sound is electric blues, considered, crafted and imperious. Blues that flows through your veins as the guitar drops down the melody and the harp pierces through with shape and form.  The fluidity of musical patterns reflecting water that is raw and heavy with intent to reach the sea. The guitar riffs are stinging with salty licks.

Then there is Soul Sister, a faster tempo with a rawness that opens your blues soul the perfect antidote to Heavy Water. Gerry Jablonski and the Electric Band is a band that plays with a collective energy and this double A-sider has captured the live energy in the studio. Having teamed up with Grammy award-winning producer Stacy Parrish (He won a Grammy for his work with Robert Plant and Alison Krauss on their multimillion-selling “Raising Sand” album). The top-notch production adds a shimmer and shine. The Jablonski sound is polished but never over-refined it is still raw, gutsy and blue.

Let’s hope these two numbers are a taster of the album to follow as this is the best work from the band to date.

Gerry Jablonski and the Electric Band Playing Through Heavy Water

Creating Black Magic Jared James Nichols Guitar

Jared James Nichols Announces New Album Black Magic

U.S. guitarist, Jared James Nichols, has a new album Black Magic. It is the follow up to 2015’s impressive debut album Old Glory & The Wild Revival. Since that release, Jared has built up a solid reputation on the back of touring in support of his debut. With such luminaries as ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Zaak Wylde, Glenn Hughes, Walter Trout, Blue Oyster Cult, UFO and Saxon giving him a support slot, this gives a guide to the uninitiated as to where his music has its roots. Rock, Blues and a bit of Soul make up Jared’s sources of inspiration and he uses them to great effect on this new release.

Listening to this, and his debut reveals an instinctive approach to his playing. I cannot detect a plectrum in use anywhere. Picking styles (apart from the master, Jeff Beck) tend to be the reserve of acoustic players. Jared proves the exception and, even when playing slide, this style works very well indeed. The ‘power trio’ cliché will have to be deployed too. This three piece are tight, complimentary and accomplished. Vocally he is very strong too and has that rare quality of being able to sing while enunciating clearly.

Before we go any further, however, I do have one major complaint with this album… out of ten tracks, only two last longer than 3 minutes and none more than 4. It is too short Jared!

Opener Last Chance, starts with phased guitar and kicks into a storming riff. A solo of barred strings and hammering is a delight. The next song, The Gun, is a delta shuffle electrified. Subtle slide phrases expand the riff and it builds into a potential crowd-pleasing call/response section. A slide solo spoiled only by being too short (a repeating theme?!). Don’t Be Scared follows with a riff, which has echoes of Deep Purple’s Never Before. A talk box is deployed, but not overplayed. Honey Forgive Me brings funk into the equation. This could have been on the Stax label in 1970. Backed by the delightful vocals of Jessica Childress (apparently, she was a huge success on The Voice in America in 2013) she helps ensure that a soulful feel is to the fore. A bit of Southern-tinged rock comes into play on Home. Slide guitar warms the opening and reminds me so much of the Allman Brothers in its structure and execution. A Chicago style electric blues shuffle opens Got To Have You. This is such a good track in every way…apart from being too short. Makes a lie out of the assumption that blues should be sad; this is a rocking, blues love song with bite. Yet another glorious solo of picked perfection. End Of Time is out and rock with a blues tinge. Reminiscent of Pat Travers in many ways, it is another short and sweet song. Simple can be good, and Run is notable for gaps in the chord progressions. Inevitably, this style brings Free and Kossoff to mind, and the solo is similarly expressive without forcing too many notes into it. Back to 70s rock with Keep Your Light On Mama. Structured like a  Mountain song in the Mississippi Queen era, this has acres of power.  A power trio will always make Cream spring to mind; particularly on the final song, What Love. A Badge like bass intro opens into an echoey slide and vocal. Again, Jared shows he understands that less can be more and doesn’t try to overload every song with a guitar ‘attack’. The picked slide solo here is just sublime and makes this my favourite of a great bunch. Although have I said this before? It is far too short!

This is a great album for blues, rock and blues/rock enthusiasts and should cement Jared’s reputation as a guitarist of rare skills. So, if you want long widdly solos do not buy this. If, on the other hand, you want high-quality guitar playing with crafted, unflashy yet excellent solos, then buy this…you will not be disappointed. Praise too for Holm and Sandin for such solid and empathetic backing. The production by Perry ensures that we can appreciate their playing throughout. I only wish other producers would consider this before they bury sounds in electronic wizardry. (Are you listening Mr Ezrin?)

EIGHTpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Track Listing:

      1. Last Chance
      2. The Gun
      3. Don’t Be Scared
      4. Honey Forgive Me
      5. Home
      6. Got To Have You
      7. End Of Time
      8. Keep Your Light on Mama
      9. What Love

The Band:
Jared James Nichols (guitar, vocals), Dennis Holm (drums), and Erik Sandin (bass, vocals), Jessica Childress (backing vocals)

Recorded at the Boneyard, Boston and Johnny Depp’s home studio.
Produced by Tony Perry and Jared James Nichols.

Creating Black Magic Jared James Nichols Guitar

Blues Celebrating Friends Along The Way With Mitch Woods

Blues Celebrating Friends Along The Way With Mitch Woods

We all need friends. The harmony and deep joy sharing what we love with friends sustain you through hard times and dark times. Friends Along The Way, Mitch Woods eleventh album, is the perfect soundtrack to celebrate friendship. Mitch has gathered around him a galaxy of music stars on Friends Along The Way. The musicians are friends from across his career that has spanned four decades. Joining Mitch on the album are Van Morrison, Taj Mahal, Elvin Bishop, Charlie Musselwhite, Ruthie Foster, Joe Louis Walker, Maria Muldaur, Cyril Neville, Marcia Ball, John Hammond and Kenny Neal.

The album celebrates, friendship. The musical harmony of blues played together as guitar, drums and harmonica join forces with the boogie of the piano allowing the vocals to tell the narrative of life on the road.  Friends Along The Way is a timely reminder of the central roll the piano has played in the blues. Blues is not just guitar-driven it has also been nurtured and fulfilled by the tinkle of the ivories. Mitch Wood’s piano playing is astounding with a personal acoustic connection. Classically trained his boogie-based piano has an energy and finesses that shines through as he plays with his friends.

Every track brings a blues spark ad element to the album. Opening the party with his friends Mitch Woods goes back in time joined by Van Morrison and Taj Mahal on a Leadbelly classic Take This Hammer. Van Morrison’s vocals are joined by his percussive tambourine playing as a drumstick tinkles the tambourine so the sound cascades with force across Taj’s guitar and the signature of the album, Mitch’s stylish piano playing.  Ruthie Foster’s vocals on Singing The Blues adding textures with her guitar and the piano playing underneath. The urgency of the beat is intensified by an energy as the words take centre stage.  John Hammond’s vocals take us back in time with Mother in Laws Blues. Leaving us Cryin For My Baby with a healthy dose of blues harp from Charlie Musslewhite. This is blues that is sharp, defined and shaping your mood with the piano of Mitch Woods never silent. No album with Mitch at the keys will be without a helping or two of Boogie Woogie. First up is Nasty Boogie, the party now is swinging who can resist smiling and swinging the hips with this vibe, as Joe Louis Walker adds to the mood with his stinging guitar and vocals.

Empty Bed Blues with Maria Muldaur on vocals, is deep, moody and sultry, a jazzy take on the blues. Wow, what a classy number that flows and her smoky voice caresses you as you succumb to her embrace. Cyril Neville and Mitch have a conversation as The Blues are celebrated. The legacy as we move forward and the musical heritage teat lives on in The Blues. This track is spoken narrative. I recommend that you sit back and listen to Cyril as his narrative is accompanied by Mitch’s piano. You will be captivated for five- minutes.

The tempo changes with more boogie as we turn for home with Saturday Night Boogie. Wow ow Wow the slide guitar from Elvin Bishop just fizzes against the piano. The six-strings and ivories are in musical harmony.

By track fourteen blues have been shaken and stirred, then we hear the guitar and vocals of John Lee Hooker joining Mitch’s piano on Never Get Out of These Blues Alive. This is blues played with a clarity of form and simplicity of shape. The result is perfection. Closing the album with In The Night. Friends have come together had fun and now Marcia Ball & Mitch Woods duet on the piano and vocals. This is pure fun the perfect closing number as Professor Longhair is celebrated full of vim and energy.

The combination of the songwriting skills across the ages, instrumentation of the melodies are the underlying essence of the blues. Mitch Woods, has proved on Friends Along the Way that without friendship, companionship blues would just be notes and words. It is the interaction with humanity good and bad that makes the blues an emotive force as relevant today as yesterday. Blues is relevant that is why Friends Along The Way.

 

Mitch Woods – Friends Along The Way – Entertainment One

EIGHTpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Track Listing

  1. Take This Hammer
  2. CC Rider
  3. Keep A Dollar In Your Pocket
  4. Singing The Blues
  5. Mother In Law Blues
  6. Cryin For My Baby
  7. Nasty Boogie Woogie
  8. Empty Bed Blues
  9. Blues Mobile
  10. The Blues
  11. Saturday Night Boogie
  12. Blues Give Me A Ride
  13. Chicago Express
  14. Never Get Out Of These Blues Alive
  15. Midnight Hour Blues
  16. In The Night

Blues Celebrating Friends Along The Way With Mitch Woods

Share Valentines Love VOTE Today FORMUKBlues Awards

Share Valentines Love VOTE Today FORMUKBlues Awards

A reminder that there are just two weeks left to make sure that you have had your say in deciding who are the winners in the inaugural FORM UKBlues Awards.

Already many thousands of votes have been cast. UKBluesFederation thanks, everyone who has shown their support for what the UKBlues Federation is doing with these new Awards.

UKBlues Federation is delighted to say that by and large, people have been playing by the rules, we even sorted out the anomaly mentioned in our last Newsletter and confirmed that the votes were genuine and that they have been counted!

There are those who have suggested that they have been over-zealous with our security measures but they would, almost certainly, be the first to cry foul if our system was less robust.

Overall the UKBluess Federation is delighted that so many people have complimented us on the robust steps we have and are taking to ensure that the Awards have integrity and credibility. We also congratulate the management of some of the finalists for mobilising their teams and fanbases.

It has taken a great deal of work to set up a bespoke voting system and to keep a watchful eye on the voting process and our thanks go to the Board members, and others, undertaking this. When voting closes we will be carrying out a major data analysis and, we will be contacting those whose entries are flagged up as potentially suspicious to verify them, or otherwise!

If you have already cast your votes, thank you. Both we and the finalists appreciate your support.

If you have yet to join in, then you should be aware that there is a simple, two-step process to do so.

First, you must register and you can do this by visiting www.ukbluesawards.com/register where you will be asked to create a username, a password and supply your first and last names and e-mail address. You will then be asked to prove you are not a robot and, assuming your registration is accepted, will be taken to the voting page.

If you have any problems with this process, there is a help e-mail address shown on the Registration page which you can contact for assistance.

All the finalists in the 17 categories are detailed on the Finalists page  – where you will also find links to their websites and, where appropriate, video of the artists/acts so that you can familiarise yourself with all the finalists.

Share Valentines Love VOTE Today FORMUKBlues Awards

But remember, voting closes at midnight GMT 28th February 2018

Share Valentines Love VOTE Today FORMUKBlues Awards

Danny Bryant Always a Revelation and Yours For A Song

Danny Bryant Always a Revelation and Yours For A Song

I have been a long time fan of Danny Bryant since his early RedEyeBand releases. He is a consummate guitarist and listening to all of those albums again, his development and maturity have been a revelation. So highly regarded is he by his peers that Danny was honoured (and brave enough) to front Walter Trout’s band while Walter was recovering from all of his well-documented health issues.

His last studio album, Blood Money, was simply superb. His profile had grown so much that he was joined by Trout and Bernie Marsden on that recording. His last release was a bit different. A live album with a full horn section and keyboards brought another level to his performances.
In light of all of that, I was looking forward to his latest release Revelation. I was expecting another rocking blues album along the lines of Blood Money and, at first, was disappointed. This is a slower paced, moodier and deeper album. The horns and keys add a different dimension to nearly every track.

However, after a few listens, you can start to appreciate what Danny is trying to communicate… passion and a deftness in his playing which makes you appreciate him anew. Perhaps the man himself best explains this: “When I began writing this album, I knew that it was going to be one of the toughest challenges of my career. It wasn’t lack of material, it wasn’t a lack of desire, but I realised from the beginning that, if this record was to achieve the things I wanted it to say, I would have to go deep inside of myself with these songs and confront memories and emotions I didn’t really want to face.”

The first, and title song, illustrates this perfectly as, after a piano introduction he screams “Revelation” and it sounds torn from the bottom of his heart. The guitar riff stays subtle as the horns cut in, colouring of the middle section in an unexpected way. The vocal, in addition to his guitar prowess, points to why he was the perfect front for Trout’s band. Towards the end, we get a fluid, laid-back wah, wah solo.

Isolate drenched in emotion and features some beautiful guitar, both in the solo and as he underpins the melody of the verse. A slow-paced piece of genius. Liars Testament with the lyric “I believe in a life of resentment”, gives a hint of the darkness occupying a lot of the songs and gives us more guitar soloing and horn backing. This is drenched in the blues in every way and is one of many spine-tingling moments. Next up, is the acoustic Some Day The Rains Will Fall. This is the only let down for me on the entire album. Yes, the atmosphere Danny generates is palpable but it soon becomes a little repetitive.

Truth Or Dare lifts the pace up again, supplying a ‘traditional’ full-blooded blues shuffle. Here we get the horns and guitar sounding so natural together and then the bonus of a sultry keyboard solo. A nice call/response section leads to the concluding guitar solo. Shouting At The Moon is a slow, burning blues number, with lovely yet understated keys. The voice is straining at the high notes of the chorus but the solo arrives to make you lean back, close your eyes and listen to every carefully thought out, spacious note. Sister Decline has bass, drums and keys backing the verses before guitar and horns fill out the choruses. Another fluid solo, again proving it isn’t how many notes, more how they’re played and how they fit…they fit!

May I have A Talk With You is classic blues. The introduction is very familiar, before the horns, interspersed with illuminating guitar phrases, take the song into a pattern of its own. Yours For A Song wraps up the album. Another slow, classic and crafted blues. The gentle chord picking surrenders to a power chord or three and gives a Bonamassa kind of feel to the structure, but it is still all Danny.

A word has to be said for Alex, Dave and Stevie. The bass is so carefully pitched and played (particularly as it warms the backing of Isolate) and the drums are solid and so supportive of the music. The keys are never intrusive; always providing the right fills, solos and backing.

Revelation is a very, very good blues album by any and every definition. Danny’s voice occasionally doesn’t quite match the song behind it, but that is totally forgivable as the music takes you on a journey of light and shade, and it is a journey really worth making.

As I hinted at the beginning, do not be tempted to form an opinion on the first listen. This cultured album needs to be absorbed to be appreciated. Give it the time and the rewards are simply stunning.

NINEpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Track Listing:
1. Revelation
2. Isolate
3. Liars Testament
4. Some Day The Rains Will Fall
5. Truth Or Dare
6. Shouting At The Moon
7. Sister Decline
8. May I Have A Talk With You
9. Yours For A Song

The Band:
Danny Bryant: guitar, vocals
Alex Phillips: bass
Dave Raeburn: drums
Stevie Watts: keyboards
The Big Horns

Produced by Richard Hammerton

RELEASED FRIDAY 20th APRIL 2018 VIA JAZZHAUS RECORDS

AVAILABLE ON CD, DIGITAL DOWNLOAD AND 180 GRAM VINYL
“SISTER DECLINE” AVAILABLE AS INSTANT GRAT TRACK ON
ITUNESAMAZON AND SPOTIFY

For exclusive bundles and signed merchandise, visit the official
Danny Bryant “Revelation” store

 

Danny is touring U.K. May/Jun 2018  dates & venues can be found here

Danny Bryant Always a Revelation and Yours For A Song

Blues and boogie from One Man One Band Extraordinaire

Blues and boogie from One Man One Band Extraordinaire

Blues and boogie from One Man One Band Extraordinaire

When I was a youngster, all those years ago, a one-man band was a novelty act on programs such as Opportunity Knocks. Ah, remember Hughie Green and the Muscle Man etc.? Just me then!
This trip down memory lane is to assure you that Steve Hill is not a novelty act; one man he may be, and he does play guitar, bass and snare drums, cymbals and harmonica simultaneously, but he does it with flair and it actually works. (He even has a drumstick attached to the head of his guitar).
Hill is very successful in his homeland of Canada and has racked up a lot of support for his previous releases. On his own, he is able to effortlessly bring to mind full bands such as Foghat, the Bluesbreakers and the Faces. Blues and boogie from One Man One Band Extraordinaire Canadian Steve Hill is more than a One Man Band He Rocks on Solo Recordings Volume 3.

The opening number, Damned, sets the scene for most of the electric numbers which follow. There is a distinctly live feel to the recording and, Hill’s voice, whilst not being the best in the genre, is a perfect match for this kind of blues. Added to that, he brings a sense of fun with the backing rhythm his various limbs provide, as he expands on the song’s main riff.

Dangerous is laid back blues with a smooth rock lilt, throughout which I keep hearing early Gary Moore’s approach to the blues. Still A Fool and A Rollin’ Stone, the first cover is probably best known from the version by Muddy Waters and has Hill pulling real emotion from every string. Similarly, the rocker Rhythm All Over has a great riff and moves into a slide solo which is so fluid it just melts! Can’t Take It With You has sublime, echoey guitar moving neatly into a mid-paced guitar section. The other covers, Rollin’ & Tumblin/Stop Breaking Down are faithful, albeit electrified, to the Robert Johnson originals, including some glorious slide guitar.
When Hill moves to acoustic, as on Slowly Slipping Away, we see the other, mellower side to him. This track and Smoking Hot Machine feature some smouldering harmonica to show the depth of writing and performing that Hill can bring to the party.

Troubled Times is a fingerpicked, folky blues tune, and he uses the body of the acoustic as well as the strings, really effectively to evoke the “cold is coming” theme. Emily is a rhythmic bluesy shuffle, bringing to mind The Kinks in their heyday.
Going Down The Road Feeling Bad is undoubtedly blues with a slight hint of a thoughtful ballad. A beautiful acoustic introduction takes us into the body of the song. The Grateful Dead is probably best known for this track, although the original is a 1927 folk blues covered by many, including Woody Guthrie.

The album finishes with a true, fuzzed blues-rock track. Walking Grave has Hill letting rip with guitar soloing that tips its hat to, I’d guess, influences such as Hendrix and Gallagher.
When listening to this great album, it can be difficult to remember this is just one man. How he coordinates all of the instruments is beyond me, but I am more than happy to benefit from this man’s skills. Blues and blues/rock combine on a very satisfying album.
Catch Hill live and believe! in the power of blues and boogie from One Man One Band Extraordinaire. Check out tour dates NOW!

NINEpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Track Listing:
1. Damned
2. Dangerous
3. Still a Fool and a Rollin’ Stone
4. Slowly Slipping Away
5. Rhythm All Over
6. Smoking Hot Machine
7. Troubled Times
8. Emily
9. Can’t Take It With You
10. Rollin’ And Tumblin’/Stop Breaking Down
11. Going Down The Road Feeling Bad
12. Walking Grave

Band Members:
Steve Hill… just him, on all instruments!

 

Steve Hill is back in the UK as the special guest on King King & Danny Bryant’s tours throughout April, May & June 2012018.

Special Guest King King Tour April / May 2018

Special Guest  – Danny Bryant Tour May/June 2018

Blues and boogie from One Man One Band Extraordinaire

Babajack In Departure Lounge Before A New Destiny

Babajack In Departure Lounge Before A New Destiny

Babajack In Departure Lounge Before A New Destiny

Departure is a collection of recordings made in 2 017, originally intended to form part of a full CD now released as a Limited Edition. Following the decision of Trevor Steger to leave the band and pursue his solo career, the band decided to release the tracks already recorded as a tribute to the original Babajack line up  The band are now working on new songs, with a new band member, Troy Redfern, who had joined them on tour in 2017.

The first track, Daddy’s gone, asks “What are you going to do when your Daddy’s gone?”. It is a familiar-sounding rootsy Babajack track, with Becky’s voice and Trevor’s guitar blending well and a driving beat from Becky’s cajon drum to take us on.

800 miles is a gentler song, showcasing Becky’s voice and a full band sound. Some soulful guitar work in the middle before the vocals build again, gently and steadily to the chorus. A really dynamic track, this one, building and sinking away to a quiet and poignant finish.

It’s your parade is a rhythmic song with some great harmonica in the middle. It is hard to hear the lyrics on this album without thinking of the back story and the emotion is clear throughout. This is particularly so on Nobody’s fault but mine, the old Blind Willie Johnson classic, This is the only non-original song on the EP and it is sung with enormous feeling by Becky, with some superb slide guitar from Trevor. The song starts with just the vocals, then the slide comes in and the voice picks up, echoed by harp. With lyrics part sung, part spoken over a solid instrumental background the track develops, accompanied by Trevor’s growled “how hows ” before dying away to the single voice to end. This is one of the best versions of this song that I have heard in a good while.

The final track on the EP is Long time dead. Once again, this brings us the familiar Babajack approach and showcases the strengths of all the band.

I came to this disc with mixed feelings, but having played it several times, I am glad the band have chosen to release these tracks. They show how strong there were and this, for me, is the key indicator of how much more they have to give in the future. I will look forward with relish to hear.

Babajack – Departure – Running Rooster Records

EIGHTpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

 

  1. Daddy’s Gone
  2. 800 Miles
  3. It’s Your Parade
  4. Nobody’s Fault
  5. Long Time Dead

 

Babajack In Departure Lounge Before A New Destiny

Join The Mutual Admiration Society Golden Shred Guitar Playing

Join The Mutual Admiration Society Golden Shred Guitar Playing

Golden Shred: Morse, Luthaker, Vai, Lee and Graydon guest on a guitar led instrumental album which takes 60s classics and gives them new life.

 

Join The Mutual Admiration Society Golden Shred Guitar PlayingOnce upon a time, two school friends started playing music together. After graduating, one of them, Sterling Ball, joined his father Ernie, who at the time was running a small company making guitar strings. This fledgeling company grew, of course, into a much bigger entity and started to make guitars too. Sterling is now Chief Executive Officer of that company… Ernie Ball Music Man. So, join The Mutual Admiration Society golden shred guitar playing with the company of great musicians.

In 1983 Sterling met up again with John Ferraro, his music partner from school and suggested they start a band to tour the local club scene. John recruited his college mate, Jim Cox, and they formed Biff Baby’s All Stars. The intention was for Sterling, normally a bass guitarist, to play the lead but another longtime friend had other ideas…Albert Lee had known Sterling since they met at a concert in 1972, and he wanted to be part of this new band. He was Albert Lee, so he was in, and Sterling went back to playing bass. This band of friends went on to tour for 30 years!

Fast-forward to 2017 and Sterling suggested they do an album together. What started as a project for these longtime friends grew into something so much bigger. As various guitar legends heard about the get-together, and much like Lee all those years ago, they decided they wanted to a part of it. And so The Mutual Admiration Society was born.

The first track is the Jesse Winchester composed Payday Song. A country stomp with gorgeous fluid playing from all involved. A crystal clear picked solo is the highlight of a familiar standard.

Next is The In Crowd, written by Billy Page, but probably best known from the cover by Brian Ferry. It takes on another life as an instrumental and is graced by the trademark sound of Steve Morse who puts in a sterling (!) performance as usual. A beautifully constructed and original solo without too much double picking and played with real feeling.

Checkin’ Up On My Baby is the Sonny Boy Williamson blues tune covered by Gary Moore and John Mayall amongst others. Here it gets a rebuild, with great organ tones behind every ‘verse’ and providing a cracking solo too. Sterling Ball is on his own here, proving what a good guitarist he is. Baby Please Don’t Go was written by Big Joe Williams. The definitive version is, in my opinion, to be found on Never Turn Your Back on a Friend by the criminally underrated Budgie. This does get close, however, as we get Steve Luthaker doing all of the guitar work and blending in a lovely solo.

Treat Her Right was written by Roy Head and Gene Kurtz as a country blues number. Here it becomes a delightful shuffle with the warmth further enhanced by a Jim Cox keyboard solo. Reminiscent at times of Green Onions, it moves along very pleasantly.

Sugar Shack was a big hit in 1963 for Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs and its inclusion here is thanks to Steve Vai who, apparently has wanted to play this since he was 4 years old. He plays a fascinating wah, wah on the verses before launching into an impressive, very clever interpretative solo. Chuck Berry’s Memphis, Tennessee now comes with a mandolin! A straightforward, countrified reading of this well-known song with Sterling on guitar and mandolin. Most successfully covered by Ray Charles, Cryin’ Time was composed by Buck Owens. Here it becomes a “British Country” tune thanks to the amazing style and performance of Albert Lee.

Now, how about some Jackson 5? Their huge hit I Want You Back is covered here. It sounds so familiar and yet, with Sterling’s picking carving out the verses on both lead and bass it sounds so different. Even more outrageous, how about a Disney Medley? Suggested by the guest guitarist, none other than John Petrucci, this mix of When You Wish Upon a Star and Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah (plus a couple I didn’t know) is transformed by Petrucci’s fretboard work. He turns them into lessons in how to transform the light-hearted into serious guitar workouts. Tremendous fun!

Hank Williams gets the Albert Lee treatment on Hey Good Lookin’. Inevitably, another country approach, brilliantly executed. The penultimate tune is the only original on the album. Composed by Ferraro, Cox and Ball it features Jay Graydon on guitar. Graydon is a noted composer, producer and session musician, responsible for hits by Earth, Wind and Fire, George Benson and Manhattan Transfer to name but few. An almost tropical feel to this, so how they arrived at the title Strip Mall Gourmet I have no idea. Good interplay between guitar and keyboards.

Finally, we get the Guy Clark penned Heartbroke. Clark was a prolific country singer and composer. This song has been covered by Ricky Skaggs and is another excursion into beautifully played country music. A bonus of a bass solo has been imaginatively inserted too.

Before I summarise, a confession:
Within my 2000+ CD collection, you will find every session Steve Morse has ever done (and that is a hell of a lot!). I also own an Ernie Ball Music Man Steve Morse Signature Edition guitar (the original one, with the bewildering array of pick-ups and switches). I’ve followed him since his Steve Morse Band days and celebrated his recruitment into my favourite band, Deep Purple, knowing he could help them become great again. However, although his presence is the reason I bought the CD, there is so much more to this work and, I promise no bias.

Overall then, what you get here is a very country blues feeling collection, interspersed with rockier aspects provided by the guest guitarists. Possibly a little too heavy on the country for some tastes, but if you want time to pass pleasantly and effortlessly, then this is the soundtrack for it.

Thoroughly enjoyable, even if it will only go in the CD player when I want to lie back and relax with an instrumental album and a decent bottle of red wine; and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Join The Mutual Admiration Society Golden Shred Guitar Playing

The Band:
Sterling Ball; bass, electric and acoustic guitar, mandolin, ukulele
John Ferraro; drums
Jim Cox; keyboards

Special Guests: (all guitarists!)
Steve Morse
Steve Luthaker
Steve Vai
Albert Lee
Jay Graydon

Additional Musicians:
Jeremy Moyers; steel guitar
Dave Stone; stand up bass
Brad Hayman; slap bass

Sterling Ball, John Ferraro, Jim Cox – The Mutual Admiration Society – Mascot Label Group

SEVENpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Tracklisting:

  1. Payday Song
  2. The In Crowd (Steve Morse)
  3. Checkin’ Up On My Baby
  4. Baby Please Don’t Go (Steve Luthaker)
  5. Treat Her Right
  6. Sugar Shack (Steve Vai)
  7. Memphis (aka Memphis, Tennessee)
  8. Cryin’ Time (Albert Lee)
  9. I Want You Back
  10. Disney Melody
  11. Hey Good Lookin’ (Albert Lee)
  12. Strip Mall Gourmet (Jay Graydon)

 

The album was recorded at Broken Prop Studio in California; produced by Ball, Ferraro, Cox, Engineered by Bill Evans, tracked by Gordon Rustvold, mixed by Rich Mouser, and mastered by Robert Vosgien.

 

Cameo of Rainbreakers Live Performance Jaks Skegness 2018

Cameo of Rainbreakers Live Performance Jaks Skegness 2018

Cameo of Rainbreakers Live Performance Jaks Skegness 2018. Rainbreakers are back to set Skegness alight once again. This year they headline Saturday in Jaks; the stage organised by Blues Matters. The venue that is dark, moody hot had the venue that has seen amazing nights we all still talk about the night Larry Miller set Jaks ablaze with his music. The anticipation was high amongst the many who have heard The Rainbreakers play live before. Into the mix and those who just came to see what the fuss was about or party and drink into Sunday morning.

Cameo of Rainbreakers Live Performance Jaks Skegness 2018The band was on fire full of energy as the band from Shrewsbury blended the music to create a music fuelled party atmosphere. Having spoken to members of the audience many just popped in for five minutes and now determined to stay to the end. This was no surprise to me as having been captivated by the sound since I first heard and reviewed in 2015 Blood Not Brass. 

What is Rainbreakers sound? What makes then stand-out on a crowded circuit? They have stretched the blues from the Mississippi Delta, up to Chicago across to the sun-drenched West Coast and sound drenched in the seventies full of soul. Musicians ready to conquer the here and now.  A quartet mix power with subtlety. A rhythm section drummer Sam Edwards and bassist Peter Adams lay down the scaffolding of their brand of Blues-rock. Guitar work from Charlie Richards bending the notes as vocals are delivered by Ben Edwards. The unit is tight and the live sound electric.

Cameo of Rainbreakers Live Performance Jaks Skegness 2018Tonight in Jaks they came set-up and allowed their music to conquer. That is exactly what they did. Saturday in Jaks was a happy place to be as they played music that made you get up and dance, smile and be happy with tracks from the second EP; Rise Up. This is what Jaks as we all rose up as one and enjoyed the moments they played a storming set, to be remembered long after Jaks falls silent. The Rainbreakers were the last Saturday night headliners to play the small stage in Jaks.

Cameo of Rainbreakers Live Performance Jaks Skegness 2018

Bluesdoodles Reviews:

2015 E.P. – Blood Not Brass

2017 E.P. – Rise UP

In Conversation about 2017 UKBlues Challenge

 

Now on tour supporting, Wille and The Bandits, do not miss any opportunity to see this young band play live as we await the anticipated full-length studio album from The Rainbreakers

 

 

 

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