Bluesdoodles Album Picks Second Quarter 2017 the recorded music keeps arriving such diversity and quality the excitement of sound captured to be relived again & again. It is proving to be a bumper year for music from Blues to Americana – Rock to Prog Rock many intriguing albums and musicians skills that cross the genres merging styles, melding influences into a diversity of sonic delights that intrigues and keeps your entertained. 2017 is going to have a overflowing memory box of special music as the cascade of albums arriving through the letterbox both the electronic format and the traditional front door.
Over the last thirteen weeks, I have listened to many and thirty-four reviewed by Bluesdoodles keyboard warrior, Liz Aiken loves the listening, enjoys the typing. The hard part is deciding the number of doodle paws for the superb musicianship and variety of styles we listen to. At the end of the second quarter of 2017 from the 1st of April through to 30th June 2017: TEN albums shone bright, thus ten doodle paws stamped on the cover.
Ever wonder about the doodle paws category?
All numbers given to artistry are subjective, mine are no different; they are indicative in relationship of previous music released by the musicians; also how the music compares to the current releases. We rarely give below five as so many excellent albums below satisfactory rarely see the light of scrutiny.
10 Doodle Paws Stupendous
9 Doodle Paws Exceptional
8 Doodle Paws Marvellous
7 Doodle Paws Splendid
6 Doodle Paws Pleasing
5 Doodle Paws Satisfactory
Clicking the album cover takes you to the review:-
Check out the other albums reviewed they are an exciting mix of music many not to be missed and will become firm favourites.
Having often been accused of being a Scatterbrain, often getting me into trouble I was intrigued by the title of the album. Was it going to be a Scattergun approach to styles? Would it like a Scatterbrain never finish one thought process before diving off into a different direction? Would the album be cohesive of the eclectic mix of the trio forming the collaboration? KXMcomprise of guitarist George Lynch (Lynch Mob), drummer Ray Luzier (KoRn) and Kings X front man, Doug Pinnick. Lets put the music on the deck, listen and then decide! Scatterbrain is the follow-up album to the 2014 self-titled album.
Having listened a few times it is unarguably drum led full of tricksy turns as it is kind of Muse meets Volbeat. This is Prog Metal, new with a raw intensity that makes every track grow in its impact on every listen . On repeated listening new grooves, licks and riffs click into place as a sonic picture of a New World Order captured in an exciting collaboration that is cohesive; thoughtful and full of directed melodic force.
Opening with the title track, the album hits all the right spots, huge chorus, lyrics that are memorable coated in a lushness of sound from the start, there is a feel of controlled chaos, manic energy being held just this side of sanity working perfectly as the opening track. As we pull into the third track of the album we are now understanding the twists and turns that are the signature of KXM. Heavy burst of guitar ladled over catchy choruses, pounding beats and large anthem swoops of sound. George’s guitar sparkling with a glistening kaleidoscope of textures and tones and Doug with his crisp distinctive vocals making the mix a sound that has a big sky leading out over the horizon of possibilities.
Then we are taken to a new sound with eastern undertones that open out into a Claypso. Always hard rock the number cleverly collects into its lexicon of sounds African drums, reggae vibe and the smooth Latino groove. Now the heat is rising your musical antennae are twitching we are liking the KXM Scatterbrain approach to its music. The album keeps it’s shape as they do not jump from one thematic feel to another as Not A Single Word flows from Calypso building the warm Caribbean infused rhythm and movement.
The harmonising and rich seam of rhythmic shapes that twist and turns around your ears on Panic Attack, raises the senses into a maelstrom of hits form the notes that paints in sound the vertigo of a Panic Attack. As KXM sings It’s Never enough an understanding dawns that the reality is the one genre of music is never enough we all love the phrasing of a multiplicity of styles and KXM have skilful blended the varied complexities of Punks, Ska and more combined with lyrics that speak to the music of the fan of today.
Yes, Scatterbrain is music of today, but they loop in nostalgic memories threading the past with the future of rock, Noises in the Sky has a sixties feel, capturing your inner Beatle and the closing number Angel a lullaby that excites rather than soothes with its deep riffs that capture the essence of blues whilst never being anything than a tuneful gentle rock love ballad.
On the topic of the musical direction and overall vibe of the new album, Ray recently told Modern Drummer Magazine; “It’s a darker record than the first one, it’s really heavy and it’s very soulful with Doug’s voice leading the way”. Ray further describes the direction of the newbie: “There is some straight ahead rock, bits of prog, ska and tons of dynamics!” and “There is a lot involved but it still sounds like KXM!”
With its thirteen tracks that rock out with an intensity that burns the ears, electric guitar sparks flashing of the deep sonic bass and reverberating around the drums that just keep on rolling. KXM, with Scatterbrain have hit a deep vein of contemporary rock blending styles into a magnificent, cohesive powerhouse as blues is locked into punk, prog and rock.
BD: Thank you for taking time to talk to Bluesdoodles again we are ready and waiting for Black Magic your new highly anticipated album to arrive on the desk from Listenable Records. In the meantime you have released the first single as a tempter “Last Chance”. The number feels heavier, what inspired you to write the number? JJN: It is definitely heavier, the whole record is full of different shades, tones and styles. People will not be expecting it to be so heavy, decided to release Last Chance to come out with a bang from the new album to grab the ear. It is a sample of styles the album will be exciting lots of blues influences and some really great moments with even some funky stuff.
Listen to Last Chance Here
BD: You have talked a lot about the inspiration the Blues provides you. What do you believe spicing it up with Rock adds to the format; or what is your definition of The Blues in 21st Century?
JJN: Playing now, it is music that when I play the masses of 2017 can relate to understand and enjoy the music. It is a fine line with the blues, honouring the blues legacy with what music people want to listen to. I try to bridge the gap with influences from the classics with modern influences. I have absorbed the music of people I have supported from Walter Trout; Zakk Wylde; UFO; Saxon they do influence with the reaction from different crowds. Underlying is always the Blues. Sprinkling the blues through the music so my generation can re-discover the blues. With the music alive and exciting fresh and modern, that way the blues will survive and grow with new guys and girls playing and appreciating the music.
BD: You are back in the UK with a mix of shows, headlining supporting and Festivals. What excites you about playing in the UK; as your recognition grows? JJN: Every time I return it gets better, the audiences in the UK really get the music I play. The audiences have a respect, love and knowledge of music; you can talk to a guy at the bar and they will have a depth of knowledge and understanding. I love playing here as I have been heavily influenced by the British Blues explosion.
Starting out with two headline shows tomorrow Wednesday 21st June at the Grimsby Yardbirds and couple days later in Milton Keynes Craufurd Arms Saturday 24th June. Then the following week starting on the 25th opening for Blue Oyster cult, which I am very excited about. Then it is back to USA to do work on finishing my forthcoming album Black Magic. Then it is back to UK for opening for UFO which will be a blast and then two great festivals Ramblin’ Man & Steelhouse. The live shows will be such a great opportunity to play to new audiences.
Full Details of the tour can be found on Bluesdoodles post HERE
BD: Do you make any changes to your set list depending on who you are opening for? Or is it a shorter version of your standard headline selection? JJN: I change the set list to reflect who I am opening for to feed the crowd. With Walter I could include in the set cold slow blues whereas Zakk Wylde something heavier, like Mountain or Cream. Love to include music that adds an edge from Muddy Waters through to Grand Funk Railway cater for the artist and the audience. I just do it all when it is a headline show. We never really have a set list on the floor. We go with the flow, talk it through play two songs and build from there using the crowd’s reactions. The music flows and the live event gives it a feel that suits the occasion.
BD: You are coming to Wales to drive up the Mountain to Steelhouse, it will be a very different venue to when you opened for Walter Trout at The Tramshed last year. Does Wales dig your form of Blues Rock? JJN: It is great playing in Wales, love the scene the audiences love the same stuff as I do. First time I played was at a rugby club near where Steelhouse is held; the people were awesome they love to rock out. Great to play in such a fabulous new venue in Cardiff and looking forward to returning to play at a festival. Sounds a real blast and want to be part of the fun.
BD: You are the ultimate power trio with the guitar flashing its licks & riffs. Have you played with the rhythm boys for a long time as there is an innate understanding of the direction you are taking each track. JNN: Met the guys in Los Angeles when I first moved from Wisconsin. Erik was the first guy I met in LA he had just moved from Sweden; I saw the bass and asked if I get any gigs would you like to play with me. I then asked him if he would like to jam and we needed a drummer, he knew Dennis who had moved from Sweden a couple of weeks previously. We jammed and then got gigs that was five-and-a-half, nearly six years ago. We grew organically jamming to start with now we have played over five-hundred gigs we know what we are doing. There is a special kind of vibe we know how someone is going to react. With only three guys in the band can’t hide behind anything; it is fun to push the music as far as you can. Every time we play a song live it is different; sometimes solos are longer other times more bass we bring in changes.
BD: What other plans and excitements have you got planned for 2017 & beyond into 2018? JJN: Touring with Saxon & UFO in the Fall across USA & Canada for 5-6 weeks. Obviously completing and releasing the album and hope to be over to the UK again end 2017/beginning 2018 to showcase the new record.
BD: We asked you your fantasy band when we talked last year so what are you listening to at the moment; whether on the tour bus or relaxing? JNN: Mmm; I am making an effort to listen to new music loving the latest from Blackberry Smoke; and following on from touring with Walter Trout his stuff and off course all the usual suspects. I am loving listening to live bootlegs on You Tube. If you type into search any artist Bootleg lots of exciting music comes up including Jimi Hendrix; Cream; Eric Clapton and more. Digging back to find unknowns so much stuff is covered in dust.
BD: Once again thanks for your time and looking forward to see you at Steelhouse and having the opportunity to review the new album Black Magic
Check out Bluesdoodles Reviews –
Jared James Nichols Live – @ The Tramshed supporting Walter Trout HERE
Jared James Nichols Live – @ Robin 2 supporting Glen Hughes HERE
EP review – Highwayman HERE
Album Review Old Glory and Wild Revival HERE
Black Star Riders Entertains The Tramshed Cardiff
Thursday 2nd March
Support Amorettes & GUN
Black Star Riders, attracted the rock fans of Cardiff and beyond tonight at The Tramshed. Tonight with a trio of bands would we have three jackpots in a row?
Up first, in the slot machine roulette at The Tramshed were The Amorettes. With a dramatic entrance Gill, Heather and Hannah set off at a pace with Steal The Thunder. The opening set heated the room, with pure rocking joy as the Amorettes played a storming opening set. The Scottish trio of hard rocking, rock n’ roll loving women are building a reputation of playing a set of music that brings joy. Tonight they blasted across the Tramshed a set list that won them many more fans, mixing it up with raw delights of White Russian Roulette and the single from White Hot Heat, Let The Neighbours Call The Cops. No one would be calling the police to stop this band from playing tonight or any night. Thirty minutes of raw, classic rocking delights with vocals that rasp, grasping with lyrics and spitting them out, an infectious opener that they should never be ignored. Those who missed the set missed a moment of live music, I recommend get to see the support they are the future you could be queuing for next year and across the decade. A full house of three shot glasses brimming with sparkling rock.
Second, go at the Tramshed’s music slot machine delivered Gun to the stage. Let It Shine opened the set and the rock gods did shine on everyone in the room as Gun delivered. The Glasgow based quartet were shooting from the hip determined to entertain from the first note to the last. The line-up has changed but the music remains foot stomping Rock n’ Roll that thrills. With Dante Gizzi now out front loving every moment as the lead vocalist. In the mix the set included songs from across the decades and a new song, She Knows, from forthcoming album out in summer 2017. GUN were pistol sharp shooters tonight blasting their full force through every barrel. We all stamped our feet and joined in with Hold Your Head Up, no one was staring at the floor tonight we were as one focused on the band. Wow, the energy the force of music through the speakers. What a night to join with bassist Andy Carr and help celebrate his thirtieth birthday with a loud Cardiff cheer. GUN’s guitars gunned the beat, the hooks capturing the vocals their melodic rock captured the audience. The blinding set a prelude to Black Star Riders closed with a rip-roaring rendition of Beastie Boys (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!) Tonight we partied with another jackpot of Glaswegian tartan rock.
A short breather and the packed, crowded, hot Tramshed were ready for the third dose of rock with headliners Black Star Riders. Opening with Heavy Fire, the title track of the album that is on continuous play on many a rock house turntable. With a lengthy back catalogue, Black Star Riders born out of Thin Lizzy only had one of their tracks The Boys Are Back in Town. They definitely were. The venue was buzzing with red hot rock. The set had tracks from the latest album, but as important are the favourites that have become part of the legend that BSR are rapidly becoming, with Bloodshot and The Killer Instinct. Tramshed was throbbing with the stamping of feet and the loud reverberation from the Marshall stacks. Dancing With the Wrong Girl had Cardiff singing the chorus before the Celtic branding of their rock appeared with Soldierstown. Ricky Warwick was full of bounding focused energy, happy to be back in Wales in front of an audience that wanted to join in the fun the boys were having on stage. The new tracks fitted into the set perfectly as if they had been played for years and not recent additions to the choice of music to play live. Cold War Love, Who Rides The Tiger, and Testify or Say Goodbye kept the crowd engaged stamping and demanding more. With Hey Judas from All Hell Breaks Loose, a memory captured of opening for Judas Priest being a highlight. With a sincere plea for music lovers to buy physical copies of music that you can hold and connect with as we were Bound For Glory of live music with Black Star Riders. Closing with Finest Hour, for many this was Tramshed’s finest night of rock to date. Tonight was loud and full on the fans were in their element. The neutrals from conversations I overheard enjoyed the ride especially the two opening bands. Tonight was definitely a triple jackpot with Black Star Riders delivering with Heavy Fire of rock.
IRON MAIDEN’S STANCE AGAINST EXPLOITATIVE TICKETING PROVES A HUGE SUCCESS AS THEY CHAMPION THEIR FANS WITH A SERIES OF ANTI-TOUT INITIATIVES FOR THEIR UK ARENA TOUR
LISTINGS ON SECONDARY SITES ARE DOWN BY OVER 95%
IRON MAIDEN’s recent and continued efforts to safeguard their fans against touting and counterfeiting ahead of 2017’s The Book Of Souls UK arena tour which starts on May 4th has been hailed a triumph by fans, promoters and legitimate ticketing sites.
By implementing an extensive “Paperless Ticketing” policy and ensuring all other available tickets would carry the name of the purchaser and would also require the purchaser’s credit card and ID on entry, amongst other measures, the number of tickets available at inflated prices on the secondary platforms plummeted by over 95% compared with the band’s last UK arena tour in 2011. By eliminating many of the resale platforms there was nowhere for the so-called ticketing “power brokers” and counterfeiters to go to sell, thus largely eliminating touting and keeping tickets on the official box office at the correct pricing, with over 100,000 tickets sold first day all at the intended price.
Proof of the success of the Maiden initiatives includes:
In November 2010 when tickets went on sale eight months in advance for Maiden’s 10 date 2011 Summer UK arena tour, 6,294 tickets appeared overnight on three of the biggest secondary ticketing platforms (Viagogo, Seatwave, Getmein) compared with just 207 tickets in 2016, all of which were listed only on Viagogo.
Of those 207 tickets listed by Viagogo in 2016, most were identified as bogus and are now in the hands of the relevant authorities investigating criminal activity. The few genuine tickets which made their way onto Viagogo have been made null & void per our conditions of ticket purchase.
Maiden’s promoter Live Nation confirms that overall sales are higher than the equivalent sales point in 2010.
Live Nation also confirms that customer feedback has been excellent and Ticketmaster report that they have had only positive comments about the fact the artist is trying to restrict exploitative pricing via the resale market.
Having our own dedicated support team helped our Fan Club’s ticketing experience be as seamless as possible.
Maiden’s Manager Rod Smallwood comments,
“We are delighted that the paperless ticketing system and other measures we instigated here in the UK have proved a massive deterrent to touts and counterfeiters. We want to thank our fans for their enduring support and patience. We appreciate that our stringent policy has meant fans having to jump over one more hurdle in the ticket-buying process but the results speak for themselves and I think everyone can agree this was well worth it. On the first day of public sale, we sold over 100,000 tickets nationwide direct to genuine fans through the proper legitimate channels. This is an incredible achievement and victory for concert-goers, not least as this is a full 12 date UK tour we’re undertaking, not just a couple of dates in the bigger cities. We’ve calculated that around one million pounds worth of mark-up on tickets, is not sitting in the hands of touts, but instead the tickets are sitting in the hands of the fans at the correct price and we think that is a great result and makes all our efforts worthwhile.
Secondary ticketing sites operate a billion pound profiteering industry offering little to the consumer in return for their hugely inflated prices. There have been many instances highlighted in the UK media recently about the reselling of tickets for corporate or personal gain so we very much welcome the excellent work of the FanFair Alliance and the fact that the Culture, Media & Sports Committee recently re-opened the debate in the House Of Commons on this ongoing problem and trust that common sense and good judgement will prevail.”
Andrew Parsons, Managing Director, Ticketmaster UK says, “Iron Maiden has been clear from the beginning: eliminate resale and get tickets directly into the hands of fans. We’re proud that our Paperless ticketing technology has been able to achieve this for the band, their team and the fans.”
Andy Copping, President UK Touring, Live Nation adds, “The plan put in place to help Iron Maiden minimise resale has been a huge success. It’s great to see so many fans get behind the band and understand what they were aiming to achieve. I look forward to the tour in May.”
Reg Walker, Operations Director, The Iridium Consultancy (ticket security specialist) concludes, “Iron Maiden have shown what artists who genuinely care can do to protect their fans against being ripped off by touts. These measures are the gold standard for the industry and other artists should consider doing the same. The most successful anti touting operation I have seen in recent years.”
Although both shows at London’s O2 Arena and most other shows are already sold out for the May tour, due to all these initiatives fans can still get their hands on tickets AT FACE VALUE for IRON MAIDEN The Book Of Souls UK Tour 2017 in Aberdeen, Newcastle, Leeds, Sheffield and Manchester via TicketMaster.co.uk or Iron Maiden
2016 has seen many miles on the clock, dark roads and festivals and venues that make the trip worthwhile. The live music we have heard has been reviewed thanks to the winning combination of my trusty note taker and the driver of the car Kevin Hewitt and my Camera capturing the moment that memories are made of. We also need to include our faithful hound Othello our Labradoodle who loves his music and Bandanas. Sometimes my trip planning can be faulty classic example South Wales to Salisbury to Derby and home to Blackwood, South Wales. The bonus was we did get to see both Alan Nimmo aka King King and Stevie Nimmo that weekend and eat fabulous cake thanks to Sandy and Paul Gregory at Cup Cake Heaven. The rewards of listening to have been amazing and the music tremendous – hot loud and live. Forever etched in my memory bank will be the Friday evening phone call and a trip across the Atlantic. Before we get to that let’s roll the year back to January 2016.
Started the year with bands that play at the opposite ends of the music spectrum Oysterband 3 and RavenEye and then the annual trek to Skegness for a weekend of musical fun and meeting up with old friends and making new ones. Another wild weekend of cold weather and hot music. As ever the music is mashed up from Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Catfish and the magic of seeing Rebecca Downes, one to catch on stage her voice is spellbinding and The Della Grants rising to the occasion on the main stage. (Friday – Saturday – Sunday reviews)
January warmed us up for a hot music fuelled February. The first visit to the new Cardiff venue Tramshed; it proved to be a great venue that delivered music throughout 2016; for The Cadillac Three who were stunning combined with a new band for us and a find of 2016 Whiskey Myers who delivered one of the strongest sets of the weekend at the end of the year at Planet Rockstock. This was quickly followed by King King opening for the mighty Thunder at Colston Hall. King King just keep improving another gig of the year would be the winning combination of Dan Patlansky and King King later in the summer. The glories of February continued with Runrig at Colston and then the first time we would see Devon Allman live starting at The Flowerpot, Derby courtesy of Raw Promo a venue that consistently put on music that thrills. The second time was at The Scene in Swansea, both competing to be the gig of the year. Could the momentum of the first two months continue in 2016 yes it can we were on the road to prove it.
March saw the winning combo of King King with support from Laurence Jones at The Globe, blues and rock collided this is the highest standard of British R n’B and then back at the Tramshed a hot night with Jack Savoretti entertaining and delighting the jam-packed house. A quick visit to Bristol Jazz & Blues Festival and Ian Siegal with his band opening his celebration of touring with a band for twenty-five years. The enthusiasm to deliver his wild Rock n’ Roll music cocktail infused with country, blues and hill country music swampy, moody and surprisingly refreshing.
As the weather warmed the gigs increased with so many bands touring in April. Welcoming compelling prog rock from Karnataka at The Globe and Canadian bluesman J W Jones to The Garage in Swansea and rockers The Sheepdogs to The Globe saw the red Maple leaf fluttering with musical pride over Wales. The Sound Garden was hushed as Chris Cornell held the audience enraptured with his sell out solo acoustic show and Colston Hall. A first for us was a trip to Sheffield for HRH Blues Festival weekend what an array of talent that just played the blues with heart, soul and a helping of rock. Ten Years After acoustic was a sight to see and a joy to listen as was their headlining electric jamboree.
At the start of May, we said farewell to Fish at Robin 2 and across the land a performer that will be missed from the circuit. Gov’t Mule at the 02 Academy, Bristol was a scorcher wow we just can’t get enough of Warren Haynes at Bluesdoodles HQ. The Tunnels delivered with stellar guitar playing from Simon McBride, and then a double act full of anecdotes laughs and stunning music as the wayward sons Ian Siegal & Jimbo Matthus entertained. The final of the trio of Tunnel delights was the effervescent JJ Grey & Mofro. The journey of the year followed, and I will not live this down for a while. We can see both the Nimmo brothers perform this weekend journey looks fine to me the non-driver of the Bluesdoodles team. So stage one Wales to Salisbury fortified by two delicious cakes celebrating Introvertigo and Reaching For The Light from Cupcake Heaven in Salisbury as King King & Dan Patlansky performed at The Civic Centre. Up early next day for a cross-country jaunt to Derby and the winning combination of Ben Poole opening for Stevie Nimmo and a finale with Aynsley Lister joining in – what a top-notch weekend. Plus some Prog rock Yes in Bristol and Magnum in Cardiff, May played out in every musical style.
June nearly half way through the year and Bonnie Raitt certainly bringing a ray of musical sunshine to Colston Hall. Brightening June with high energy entertaining nights of music were Vintage Trouble at Tramshed and Kaz Hawkins Band at The Convent. Soulful. delights at The Tunnels from JJ Grey & Mofro. The festival celebrating a Silver Jubilee, Blues On The Farm was not so much a festival in the midsummer sun but more of a deluge of water and mud thankfully drowned out by the glorious selection of acts that kept smiles on out faces and the thought of British Summertime in our hearts. Festivals for Bluesdoodles is meeting friends and discovering new and interesting acts and those we just never tire of hearing play. These included Ian Siegal; King King and Stevie Nimmo Trio. New discoveries were Sari Schorr and The Engine Room, Debbie Bond and Thorbjorn Risager & The Black Tornado. A first and quite possibly the last time I will hear the bagpipes played in a Blues band; Dr. Schwamp definitely delivered a musical feel good vibe.
A first for me in July I was asked to act as interviewer/link person for a celebration of women in music. Sisters definitely bought blues and friendship
to the Convent. A scary but definitely fun night. July also meant a local festival and a trip up a mountain. Firstly taking us back to a mellow Blues explosion that shaped the 1960’s and beyond was Joe Bonamassa at Colston Hall. Two days later and we had sunshine and wet and cold just had to be Steelhouse Festival, near Ebbw Vale, South Wales. The rock was varied loud and very good. The mountain thundered its roar of approval. With so many highlights, laughs with friends. Bands that
caught attention who I had not seen play live before were Bigfoot, Vega, Von Hertzen Brothers. Into the mix add RavenEye, Dirty Thrills, The Answer, Thunder and The Dead Daisies the festival was musical mayhem and fun.
With the summer upon us, highlights of August were hearing Devon Allman and his band for the second time and LaVendore Rogue with their special music mix-up with hints blues. punk/rock and always quality. Off to Old Bush Blues, where Matt once again opened the pub and grounds to bands that just want to entertain. This is a weekend to kick off your shoes and enjoy yourselves. With Chris Farlowe, Northsyde, jammings sessions that left you breathless, any excuse to taste the real ale again!
Autumn, life is in a spin as Liz won a competition on Planet Rock Radio, a weekend to Boston to see the Dead Daisies play in Worcester. The excitement and delight will take many months to wear off. What a weekend from taking off at Heathrow until we landed back home. What laughs and adventures, staying in the same hotel as The Daisies, going to the gig on the tour bus and the AAA passes. This was a magical few days filling many pages in the music memory diary. Could any gigs compete as the year drew to a closes yes they could! Sari Schorr playing The Tunnels followed by Mike Zito at TheScene, Swansea with Albert Castigalia opening and kicking up a Blues storm. These two acts definitely kept live music hot and exciting as the year tumbled into October.
For me it has to be one of 2016 best events The Tubes in Cardiff, what a musical spectacle, myriad of costume changes, music energy and lyrical messages. Pure platinum entertainment. The nights were dark but the music and the warmth and light to cheer the shortening days. Saxon in Bristol another highlight even the gig of the year if it hadn’t been for that trip to Boston! Then two amazing nights by artists whose vocal power and emotional intensity always capture my musical soul. Ian Siegal celebrating twenty-five years on the road with his band and Beth Hart celebrating her wonderful album Fire On the Floor. These two are my absolute highlights of the year. when artists have that fire in their performance it is a real privilege to be in the audience. In the midst of the gigs, we went to the 3rd UK Blues Challenge at Robin 2 organised by UK Blues Federation. The four acts were superb, Rebecca Downes, Wille and The Bandits, Dove and Boweevil and Kaz Hawkins Band. On the night the judges agreed that Kaz Hawkins delivered, winning the challenge and will in 2017 represent Britain for the fist time at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis and will sing in the European Blues Challenge. Great opportunity to be heard and noticed. The emotion was raw and the blues deep when Walter Trout visited Tramshed in Cardiff. A trio of acts closed November as The Planet Rock Roadstars. We saw them at The Globe & The Tunnels as two British bands blues rockers Federal Charm and young rising star Aaron Keylock were joined by SIMO from Nashville Tennessee. SIMO stole the show they were superb with high-octane music that flowed with a cascade of notes and beats. Closing out November Black Stone Cherry at St Davids Hall, Cardiff. A sit-down venue seems wrong for BSC. But it worked. The first half acoustic the second portion rocking BSC with tracks from Kentucky played loud sending through the rafters and out into the night. The final act though was for Alter Bridge supported by Gojira and Volbeat. Volbeat stole the show the heaviest band I have seen this year but one I will definitely go again too.
December started with Planet Rockstock, what a weekend friends, laughs rock and the seaside of Porthcawl always a winning combination. Stage two delivered those wow must see them again moments with JoanOvArc; Tequilla Mocking Bird and Lazuli. With a French Horn played the first time for me outside of an orchestral piece. Lazuli delivered progressive horn, chapman stick and so much more. Broken Witt Rebels fulfilled my expectations and more looking forward to seeing them in 2017 as they open for King King. The other highlights of the weekend were seeing SIMO again and Stone Broken, A Thousand Horses and Whiskey Myers they rocked. Hitting the notes once again with their irascible brand of Rock n’ Roll the Dead daisies re-ignited the excitement of September. What a difference a year makes as Inglourious returned and they were glorious full of confidence the crowds were ecstatic. Closing the festival Black Stone Cherry left everyone on a Winter rock fuelled high.
Once again 2016 confirmed that from January to December music will always take Bluesdoodles on a rollercoaster of musical highs.
We attended fifty-seven gigs; five festivals and 1 UK Blues Challenge. Notching up a few many miles and hearing a myriad of notes, chords and voices having listened to and watched over One Hundred and Sixty acts.
What a fabulous year for music at Bluesdoodles HQ. I have enjoyed listening to all the recorded music sent. Liz makes a note (must do better in 2017 and review more! I have started a new hopefully more organised system!).
Album Highlights 2016
One Hundred and Forty-eight reviewed. What an array of music from Folk to Metal Rock to Blues. The genre to everyone at Bluesdoodles HQ is unimportant, that is a marketing tool it is whether the music vibes hits our collective DNA. Liz, Kevin & Othello a very discerning Bandana wearing Labradoodle.
Album of 2016
Now this was difficult almost impossible with so many contenders With Thirty-Six albums with the Ten-Doodle Paw accolade considered throughout December. what a delight to play and listen to them all again. The final choice is mine, yes it is subjective and has changed there are many that have not been mentioned that will continue to be regularly played and enjoyed in the House of Bluesdoodles
I wrote when I reviewed in September that it was a contender for album of the year I was right. The fire in the album burns brightly from the floor to the heavens. Beth Hart, Fire On The Floor has gathered together a dozen tracks that flow and warm up the speakers with a raw, charismatic and open delivery of intensely personal emotionally driven lyrics. Fire On The Floor is a majestic album and will burn brightly long after 2016 fades into a memory.
Ride Or Die, is a journey full of colour and texture in the tone. With flashes of blue and twists of granite rock and country green woven into a musical tuned magic carpet. This is an album that takes you on a journey full of anguish, hurt, pain and the pleasures of living life where you Ride or Die whatever your journey remember hope will be present.
Roots wither and die whether music or plants without green shoots. Red Dirt Skinners are an imaginative duo creating beautiful shoots of glittering music that will ensure roots/country music will continue to thrive Behind the Wheel. With this, their fifth album, the duo with the unique combination of acoustic guitar, drum and saxophone have made a noise that pleases all who listen.
All twelve tracks have a purpose and in addition to the new arrangements and musicianship we have the blending, and mixing of British traditional music and blues in many guises and the common heritage of themes, lyrics and melodies the two traditions share.A definite for your acoustic collection. I recommend close the curtains block out the world, sit back and be absorbed into the music and the power of the lyrics.
Celebrating twenty-Five years of playing live with the band a trio od CD’s celebrate the enigmatic and varied tones that the wandering troubadour Ian Siegal delivers and delights.This is the Opus Majus of an artist who whether playing solo, as a duo or with a band electric or acoustic always entertains and the box set does just that. You would be Hard Pressed to find a better collection and this is a trio of delights that will never be sent to Quarantine
The energy flows in a studio album that has a live, raw edgy feel and at the same time everything has its place and has been considered. Kentucky has a flow, no songs feel forced or put in as a filler this is Black Stone Cherry entertaining through the medium of brilliant rock grinding, demanding and immensely listenable.
The combination of powerful lyrics, blues guitar of such purity it makes you weep and a Nimmo’s vocals we can be sure The Sky Won’t Fall when there is music of this magnitude being created. The album is a mix of tones, texture and tempos. Seven tracks in and you are Still Hungry for more music. This is power-driven rock-blues of the highest order. A track that would work well if stood out alone, surely this will get acres of radio play. It is full of smokey riffs, power and rocks your socks off!
Introvertigo with its carefully crafted lyrics that blend urbane wit and honest observation, this is blues pertinent to today’s lifestyles, not so much whiskey and women more the corruption of power and social interaction. Ten tracks there are no fillers every number is full of strength and tonal power but there is not an off note or lyric. This has been achieved by production that keeps the live heat flowing from guitar and vocals.
There are three that really made us sit up and listen:-
Inglorious – Self-titled album reviewed late January. We are licking our lips and tuning our ears for the follow-up album early in 2017. Inglorious are stupendous live getting better with every performance the expectations are very high for 2017!
Broken Witt Rebels – Georgia Pines Reviewed in February. A perfectly formed EP leaving you wanting to hear more. An album with Huge Guitar Riffs and vocals that delight. Fingers-crossed a full album is out soon consolidating the marker they set down in 2016.
Sari Schorr and The Engine Room – A Force Of Nature, Reviewed in August.Sari Drives the Blues, bringing a wealth of experience from life, influencing her songwriting and vocal delivery. Looking forward to Sari playing live in 2017 and hopefully will be back in the studio very soon.
RavenEye – Nova – Frontiers Music s.r.l The album’s name NOVA is a perfect reflection of the explosion of recognition that RavenEye has achieved in such a short time. The band is a rock explosion they certainly have suddenly brightened the firmament of the British rock scene and will be shining their Supanova Rock for many years to come.
Kaz Hawkins – Feelin’ Good an album full of Kaz sparkle and joy. Having won the Blues Challenge organised by UKBluesFederation. We wish you well as you head for the 34th International Blues Challenge in Memphis in 2017. This is the first time that British Blues has been in the challenge. Then she will be representing British Blues in Denmark at the European Blues Challenge a busy start for 2017.