Don McLean in a Botanical Gardens

Don McLean in a Botanical Garden

The title track announces Don McLean’s 19th Studio Album, the first in eight years was it worth the wait. Yes, it was. The title Botanical Gardens is the hook that the whole album revolves around. Like all gardens, the thirteen tracks are reflective as Don puts it, “the whole album really revolves around the title song. Later on, I realized that the gardens are really a metaphorical heaven, and there’s a kind of death and rebirth.” Botanical Gardens from the first track to the closing Last Night We Were Young has an intimacy created by the easy flow of the songs. Nothing has been over processed there is the rawness of the natural below the surface this is a garden built on the song.

The album is timeless as the tones of textures from Americana, country and easy listening are woven with the insertion of boot stomping rocking tones.  Don McLean will forever be instantly connected to American Pie, his biggest hit. Many years have flown under the bridge, Botanical Gardens is more reflective, with an assured delivery the voice has mellowed but the delivery still has an intensity and the tones of American  Pie can be heard as an echo linking the past to the presence on many of the phrasing and guitar licks throughout the album.

The title track has been inspired by walks around the gardens in Sydney, opens with a rocky drum roll and determination. This is not loud clashing rock but a singer/songwriter catching the power of rock. A narrative that sets the tone of the album. We are going to wander through the flowers on a path of stepping stones labelled, with Trouble, Love, Life,  Regrets, Relationships, Pain and Peace the garden is a journey of reflection through life so we can assess the present.

The happy sunny beat of The Lucky Guy lifts the spirits, the tempo and vocal range suiting McLean’s vocal range and the rolling driving rhythm is a wonderful detour in the garden that at times is rather serious. This is fun, he is The Lucky Guy. Waving Man is a jaunty road trip we get in the car and take a musical country journey picking up the beat adding a lightness to the album, whilst the lyrics look back showing we all have a history of memories many are sad. Now the highlight of the album a complete juxtaposition to Waving Man. Opening with the stillness of a piano, When July Comes attracts your attention immediately. Now McLean with is reliable companion his Martin guitar and his vocals at their best. The vocals pour with emotional pain looking for redemption. The tones and range give the song a melancholy air with the strings underpinning the lyrics.

The change of tempo with a good old Rock n’ Roll Your Baby, this is a number that makes you smile and tap your feet. The music flows and you are taken on an imaginative journey that can at times seem self-indulgent but this is avoided by the witty and at times humble approach from Don McLean demonstrated on Total Eclipse, an Americana fuelled number.

Closing with Last Night We Were Young, the Sinatra cover closes out the journey through the imagined Botanical Garden as we all reflect back to the days when American Pie was young and fresh.

Overall, Botanical Gardens is at times too safe, there are no unexpected but exciting weeds springing up among the at times contrived rhymes.  Highlights that give the garden some of the sparkles that after a rain shower and the sun comes out again are, When July Comes and The Lucky Guy. The album is a welcomed addition to every Don McLean fans collection the gems really do sparkle,

EIGHTpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Track Listing 

  1. Botanical Gardens
  2. The Lucky Guy
  3. A Total Eclipse Of The Sun
  4. Waving Man
  5. When July Comes
  6. You’re All I Ever Had
  7. Rock ‘n’ Roll Your Baby
  8. I’ve Cried All The Tears That I Have
  9. Ain’t She A Honey
  10. The King of Fools
  11. Grief and Hope
  12. You’ve Got Such Beautiful Eyes
  13. Last Night When We Were Young



Pre-order now with Amazon, iTunes, Spotify  and more and visit Don’s new Pledge store for exclusive signed copies of the CD, vinyl and tour posters.


Don McLean in a Botanical Garden

Beware Of My Dog Carolyn Gaines Debut Album Statement

Beware Of My Dog Carolyn Gaines Debut Album Statement

Blues that flow deep and true on every number recorded for this debut album from Carolyn Gaines. Beware Of My Dog, is a mix of re-imagined and worked classics and her own numbers. Beware Of My Dog perhaps is a double-entendre loved by the genre. The album could be named Beware of My Voice, as Carolyn’s vocals say I am coming to cast a blues spell over you.

Like many debuts, the opening track is the title track. It opens with a spoken cast of blues players that have and continue to inspire. Listen to the fine instrumentation and colouring you hear the echoes from Hound Dog, connecting you to Big Mama Thornton and Elvis Presley. This is no imitation and the tenor-sax lead break is stunning. Carolyn’s vocals are warm and determined this is a singer not to be messed with she means it when she sings Beware of My Dog.

Now it is well known that dogs and cats often don’t get on I’m Your Cat, Baby sits perfectly following on from the title track reinforces that Carolyn and her band are a smooth and stormy act to be reckoned with. The beat smooths out with the harmonica that sings with a melodic refrain that curls around the vocals as we are Stone Out Your Raggly Mind. This is picked up by the sax that is stunning as her vocals shape and bend the lyrics this is singing that comes as natural as talking to this talented vocalist.

Now for an exploration of the nearly covers! First up is Hoochie Coochie Woman. Starts off similar to Muddy Water’s I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man. Then with a beat of the drum, it changes and this becomes a song owned by a woman. It is modern and the lyrics have shifted that makes you once again really listen to the re-working of a classic. This album is stinging blues now for a change of tone as David Junior Kimbrough’s Done Gone Old is explored around the tongue of Carolyn. Her vocals have a dark timbre that is personal, mischievous and slightly dangerous working so well in contrast to the acoustic guitar. We now have a change of blues tempo and colouration with country blues that dances. Played with a lightness of touch and is fun inspired but never dictated by Blind Boy Fuller’s I Want A Piece Of You. Carolyn and the band are having a good time and no-one can resist the foot-tapping beat and energy of Mr. Dill Pickles.

I Want Your Money Honey. This is the darker Carolyn’s vocals we are treading on dangerous waters if we challenge the interpretation of the blues, fuelled with rock n’ roll and the rawness of the vocal interpretation of the lyrics.

The harmonica on Jerry Rice – Busy man is the perfect foil for Gaines vocals on this country blues number. Her blues song is written in dedication to her Mum and Buddy Guy as we are treated to some wonderful harmonica playing on Charlie Mae & Chicago. Closing out the album with an organ opening that immediately gains your attention is a remake of Big Jay McNeeley’s Something On Your Mind. You are left loving Gaines varied and consistent interpretation of blues that is modern and exciting. A debut album that leaves you wanting to hear more.

A celebration of the distinctive vocal tone that has a roughness that is never smoothed into something it isn’t. Her vocals are full of warmth and expression.


Carolyn Gaines – Beware Of My Dog – Polka Dot Records

EIGHTpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Track Listing 

  1. Beware of My Dog
  2. I’m Your Cat, Baby
  3. Stone Out Your Raggly Mind
  4. Catch That Train
  5. Hoochie Coochie Woman
  6. Done Got Old
  7. I Want Your Money, Honey
  8. Mr. Dill Pickle
  9. Jerry Rice “Busy Man”
  10. Charlie Mae & Chicago
  11. Something on Your Mind


Beware Of My Dog Carolyn Gaines Debut Album Statement

The Della Grants Buzzing throughout the Live Sessions Album

The Della Grants buzzing throughout the Live Sessions Album

The Della Grants, keep on giving their blues with a twist. Ten tracks on Live Room Sessions are a mix of something old, something new and lots of blue. The only cover is Too Fast, notably recorded in the past by Creedence Clearwater Revival. The rest are Della Grants compositions, the album recorded live in July 2017 in the White Room at Yellow Bean Studios, West End Leicester.

Opening with Lay My Head, the harmonica leads us into the tone and texture of the album building the tempo as drums join the party your feet are already tapping this is Blues that fits the bill. Max’s vocals are crisp and have a tonal quality that is tinged with devilment and a rough edge that bites into the lyrics and spits them out across the instrumentation. The band are playing and breathing as one no one will be laying down their head in despair while The Della Grants are playing. This is one of the four tracks included from their Time For Change album – Too Fast, Fairground Soul and Weaker Man. Fairground Soul, we now are off down the country road, the soulfulness of Max’s vocals give a gentler reprise to a song steeped in sadness and regret.  Weaker Man takes us to an age of jazz and bootleg spirit and speakeasies. It’s the tonal notes of the Trumpet that paints this visual picture from the sound.  The song may be about a Weaker Man as Max’s tones are reminiscent of Marcus Bonafanti there is nothing weak about the number. These four tracks show the depth of approach to the music they love, but what do the new numbers say?

The quartet of new tracks The River, Sunrise, Midnight Special and William Clay ensure the album has something new to add to the band’s discography. Stinging guitar drives the numbers crisp and melodic and capturing the essence of the blues. The vocals are deeper and act as a counterbalance to the guitar. The River is confident and the development of the band’s skills are evident in the flowing combination of instruments and vocals. This is a river not ideally flowing but determined and knows the direction it wants to go. The river is a metaphor as he sings “I know things are going wrong. Take me back to the place where the river flows.  We all have that place that makes us stronger in darker times.” The musicianship is blistering.

Following on with a change of tempo and tonal shape as we greet the day with Sunrise. Another reflective number, making sense of life and finding a reason in a person as you see the sunrise on your face. A gentler song easy on the ear with wonderful keys underlying the melodic shape of the number.

Midnight Special is not captured in the witching hour. The narrative of the lyrics starts with waking up in the morning. Then the gospel-infused chorus refrain with “Let The Midnight Special, Shine a Light on Me”. This is an upbeat foot-stomping number, played live no audience could resist the invitation to sing the chorus with feeling.

Last of the new numbers William Clay, starts at a pace with a harder beat and honky-tonk piano accompanying the uplifting vocal delivery. This is about trying to be someone else and becoming at ease with yourself.  With William Clay, goes by the name Memphis Bill, we are on Beale Street catching snatches of this tale. Including “Stay Young Don’t Ever Get Old”. The Della Grants are full of youthful vim and vigour delivering 21st century blues.

Closing out the live sessions with Red Mist, from their First fix EP still played with the anger you feel when you see the red mist coming over your eyes.  This high energy track leaves you with the enduring memory that this is a band you want to hear live and in the meantime, you have The Della Grants Buzzing throughout the Live Sessions Album. Blues with a twist that adds spice but never loses its integrity still is the music of the folk.

There are so many elements that set The Della Grants apart. The distinctive vocals that growl and rumble with melodic swampiness. The combination of instruments including harmonica and trumpet and driving rhythms. They should be in such demand on the blues circuit. This is blues with a Leicester delta twist, but importantly the band is The Della Grants buzzing throughout the Live Sessions Album. The music flows, ebbs and flows but is never stagnant with the inherent energy of a band playing with feeling, soul and the fluidity of playing live.

NINEpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Track Listing 

  1. Lay My Head
  2. The River
  3. Sunrise
  4. Too Fast
  5. Fairground Soul
  6. Midnight Special
  7. William Clay
  8. More Than Pray
  9. Weaker Man
  10. Red Mist

Max Manning – Vocals and guitar
Tom Best – Vocals, guitar & Harmonica
Andy Boulton – Bass Guitar
Tom Walker – Drums
Tony Robinson – Keyboard & Trumpet

Producer: Jez Burns

The Della Grants buzzing throughout the Live Sessions Album

Join the Blues Party with Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion

Join the Blues Party with Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion

Zoë Schwarz has been a big name on the blues scene for a few years now, with her live performances particularly lauded by fans and the press. Now with her band, Blue Commotion comes an album that should lift all of them to the heights they deserve. The band got together in 2012, and this is their 5th studio album in six years; that is quite an output in a short space of time. Fortunately, there has been no sacrifice in quality, and The Blues And I Should Have A Party, has class and high production values by the bucket load. It is also a generous album with 13 tracks clocking in at over an hour.

The band is packed with talent and, even though there is no bassist listed, there are some fantastic bass lines behind some of the tracks and the sound they all achieve throughout fills any room with warmth and paints pictures with the sound they conjure.

Please Don’t Cheat On Me has a great bouncy riff and typical classy guitar from Rob. To my ears, this track is the only (very) minor disappointment on such a strong album; the lyrics and the vocals feel a bit disconnected. All is forgiven when the 6 minute plus masterpiece and title track, The Blues and I Should Have a Party kicks off. Majestic is the word…vocals, guitar and Hammond combine to give an object lesson in what blues is and should be. The guitar solo is simply superb, with notes all across the fretboard; no histrionics just sheer class. You’ve Changed is ‘Bassey does the blues’… in a good way. Zoë should do the next Bond theme, in fact, the singing is so powerful, they should write a movie to fit this song! It has an enigmatic, harmonic quality that is fleshed out by great Hammond backing and a solo of such depth and simple skill. The drumming is ingenious too; fills and flourishes you wouldn’t think would fit.

Way Down in the Caves is a true story of an unlikely venue, with lyrics written by blues promoter and broadcaster Pete Feenstra. Chislehurst Caves are actually old mine workings and, in the 1960s, provided a major music venue. The song tells of acts that appeared there “Hendrix, The Doors, David Bowie too”. That must have been one hell of a venue and here, the tale is conveyed in the lustrous tones of Zoe with Rob playing up a storm on a Marshall fuelled Les Paul. It starts off like the Stranglers had put blues into their repertoire. It also manages to evoke a flavour of some of the bands they name check in the lyrics, particularly the Yardbirds. Don’t Worry Blues has a conventional structure with an oft-forgotten appreciation of space. Rob again showing he knows how and when to play the right note and not go for unnecessary filling. With the expressive keys and subtlety throughout, I can’t help but think of Purple’s When A Blind Man Cries in the song’s atmosphere. Next comes a lovely guitar/bass/keys piece of interplay introducing Shout. This is pure 60s blues boom refined. A sort of slow progressive blues feel echoes through You Don’t Live Here Anymore. This is a beautifully sung recounting of a “hollow space where once a warm embrace”. A guitar solo of such thoughtfulness backs this emotion-laden song. We are quickly back in the groove, literally, with My Handsome Man. This has an infectious, catchy 60s poppy feel to it and will make any toe tap.  A great up-tempo swing introduces Tell Me, the only sub 3-minute track here. The three musicians are obviously having a ball and you can’t help but be caught up in the fun. Zoe’s “pulse is way too high” as she mirrors the energy with a great melody.

Don’t Hold Back is next, and, although a slow paced blues, they don’t hold back! Unexpected key changes keep the song on the edge, reflecting the steamy blues behind the melody and lyrics. Although rooted in sadness, the next song was written after the loss of Zoë’s Mother, In Memory of You has an impetus behind the fascinating chord sequences. The genius behind this is the up-tempo beat that illuminates the words, where the subject matter would suggest something much slower. The solos again are pure fascination. The mood is lifted with Pete Feenstras lyrics providing the inspiration for Time Waits for No One. If like me, some social media applications leave you cold, then the theme will surely resonate… “Changing values with different peers, digital living with new ideas”. The music takes these words and makes them real. Beautifully sung and with the instrumentation utilising an oblique time signature, it just flows out of the speakers and transfixes. It has an early psyche feel at times with echoes of a very velvety Velvet Underground. Final Track, Thank You, is just that. The band thanking all of us lovers of music be it recorded or live. This song is so clever in its composition; expansive guitar, heavy Hammond, a drum kit tour and a wonderful vocal. This listener reciprocates those thanks. Zoë, Rob, Pete and Paul have supplied an album which delivers everything a blues lover could wish for. Zoe’s vocals are always striking, but the real revelation is the breathtaking playing by the band. Every song has clear demonstrations of skills so subtle and yet so damned effective. The first track remains a weak point for me, but the album is so strong overall, frankly who cares?

NINEpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …


  1. Please Don’t Cheat On Me
  2. The Blues and I Should Have A Party
  3. You’ve Changed
  4. Way Down In The Caves
  5. Don’t Worry Blues
  6. Shout
  7. You Don’t Live Here Anymore
  8. My Handsome Man
  9. Tell Me
  10. Don’t Hold Back
  11. The Memory Of You
  12. Time Waits For No One
  13. Thank You

All songs written by Rob Koral & Zoë Schwarz except on tracks 4 & 12 lyrics by Pete Feenstra


Zoë Schwarz – vocals
Rob Koral – guitars
Pete Whittaker – Hammond organ
Paul Robinson – drums & percussion

Recorded at Superfly Studios by Andy Banfield, Nottingham on 9th to 14th October 2017

Mixed by Wayne Proctor & Steve Wright at Y Dream Studios, Wales
Mastered by Jon Astley at Close To The Edge Mastering Design


Join the Blues Party with Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion




Support from Mollie Marriott and her Band

Tickets are selling fast three venues SOLD OUT, Leek, Sheffield & London  Manchester, Newcastle, Bristol catch up and make these shows Sold out. Dan is one of the hottest guitar players on the planet. Get the remaining tickets they are hotter than any hot cross bun!

TICKETS –  The Gig Cartel or DanPatlansky 

Manchester, Deaf Institute             Thursday 15 March           

Newcastle, The Cluny                      Friday 16 March

Leek, Foxlowe Arts Centre              Saturday 17 March SOLD OUT

Bristol, The Tunnel                          Sunday 18 March 

Sheffield, Greystones                     Tuesday 20 March SOLD OUT

London, Borderline                        Wednesday 21 March SOLD OUT     

South African singer-songwriter and guitarist, Dan Patlansky, is set to the release his new studio album Perfection Kills in the UK on Friday 2nd February 2018. The album is the follow-up to 2016’s critically acclaimed Introvertigo which was voted #1 BluesRock Album 2016 by Blues Rock Review.




 New Album Perfection Kills


Dan Patlansky Guitar and Vocals asks if Perfection Kills

Bluesdoodles loved the album Introvertivgo . We listened and reviewed Perfection Kills a perfect 10 doodle paw album in our opinion. We said this and more “Dan may say Perfection Kills – one thing for certain very track is a Killer and who cares about perfection? We love the tone, texture, feel and organic energy captured by voice and guitar that define Dan Patlansky on every track he plays. Blues that definitely rocks perfection of its pedestal.” Read the Rest of the Review…

Angel Forrest Captures Live On Electric Live

Angel Forrest Captures Live On Electric Live

New album Electric Love and debut UK tour Angel Forrest will be getting attention as the blues diva shakes the stages across England and Scotland. For many Angel Forrest, will be a new name. That is so untrue with an award-winning career spanning three decades across her native Canada. Angel has sung at European festivals but now is the first opportunity to hear her distinctive voice and band in the UK.

The fifteen track album is a mix of originals and covers are given a healthy shake of Angel dust on this double-album of live recordings. The recording captures the heat and energy exuded by the band that is topped off with Angel’s vocals. The musicians on the album are superb, guitarists, Ricky Paquette & Denis Coulombe will be touring with her. Electric Love the rhythms are deep and full of blues from the bass of Alex McElcheran and Sly Coulombe behind the drum kit.

The album is a showcase of an artist that relishes being onstage. The energy fizzes with electricity, sparks of blue of every hue delivered with soulful passion. The album title Electric Love is perfect as Angel and her band exude the love for the songs, and music across the fifteen numbers that entertain from the first to the last note.

Many of the tracks selected are unsurprising from her current studio album Angel’s 11, no not eleven tracks but the eleven guitarists who are featured on the album. Angel builds friendships and this live album will build many more friends who are lovers of stinging blues.

Opening with All The Way, her vocals are gritty with edges smoothed out; the tones are a mix of velvet, tobacco and huskiness that cajoles and invokes the lyrics. No wonder there are three numbers that are renowned Janis Joplin numbers, Piece of My Heart, Turtle Blues and Kris Kristofferson number immortalized by Janis, Bobby McGee.

The sound that Angel produces live is captured in the title Spoil Me. She spoils the audiences with the depth and power of her voice, making the lyrics capture the emotion and soulfulness delivered to every member of the audience personally.  The first set is closed out with Move On, slow blues that curls around the speaker, you feel that you are sitting in the audience.  Her vocals are gentler almost spoke and as the huskiness grows the performance is both mesmerizing and moving in perfect harmony with Angel.

The second segment opens with Goodbye, with the hurricane force of intoxicating music power no one would have said goodbye yet! No wonder the audience is whistling with delight as the band starts to play again. Showing a romantic softer side the music is captivating sit back and enjoy the ride Angel will take you on.

Crucify stings as the guitar cries and Angel’s voice mourns and pours out the hurt; here her vocals are similar to the blues diva Sari Schorr with a helping of Joplin and the lyrical interpretation that is as throughout the album on originals and covers 100% Angel.

What a voice the texture and articulation is spell-binding. This is a voice you want to hear live. Closing out with a double hit of Mama/Whole Lotta Love. Fifteen minutes that absorbs you as Angel hits the highs as she captures the Zeppelin classic Whole Lotta Love. Robert Plant would be delighted with this version.

Electric Love is full of verve, energy and atmosphere everything a live album should have.

SEVENpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Track listing Disc 1

  1. All The Way
  2. Spoil Me Up
  3. Piece of My Heart
  4. Walkin’ Blues
  5. House of The Rising Sun
  6. Move On

Track listing Disc 2

  1. Goodbye
  2. Roll On Down
  3. Hold On Tight Mr I’m Alright
  4. Crucify
  5. Mother Tongues Blues
  6. How Do You Do
  7. Turtle Blues
  8. Bobby McGee
  9. Mamma/Whole Lotta Love


Tour Dates

15th March 2018 Corporation, Sheffield
18th March 2018 Academy 3, Manchester
22nd March 2018 The Fleece, Bristol
23rd March 2018 The Shack Aberdeen
24th March 2018 Think Tank, Newcastle
25th March 2018 Eleven, Stoke
28th March 2018 Half Moon Putney, London
29th March 2018 Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh
30th March 2018 Oran Mor, Glasgow


Angel Forrest Captures Live On Electric Live -



Joe Bonamassa Playing on Dry Land In Cardiff

Joe Bonamassa Playing on Dry Land In Cardiff

Tonight, Joe Bonamassa opening his UK tour with a mix of jetlag and experiencing for the first time in 2018 playing on dry land. The Motorpoint Arena was ready and waiting and Joe B and his stupendous band delivered with fifteen deliciously tasty helpings of blues.

Joe Bonamassa did not seem jetlagged, he was pumped to deliver a night that will be etched on the musical antenna of everyone who had a seat tonight in Cardiff. Joe B was full of energy, confidence and the pure delight to be bringing his band to Cardiff once again. This was reflected in the inclusion early on in the set of new numbers which will be on the new album due out later this year.  Opening with King Bee Shakedown he hit the ground running with this rousing rockin’ and rolling number a real musical charge to make sure everyone one was sitting up in their seats revelling in the cascading riffs and licks from the Bonamassa guitar. His band around him were having fun from the horn section of the fabulous duo of Lee Thornberg and Paulie Cerra the renowned blues Saxophonist the dancing and tremendous backing duo from Australia Jade McRae & Juanita Tippins. Now into the mix and the compelling mix of drumming that is powerful and subtle, exquisite playing of the top hat as ever Anton Fig’s sticks and brushes ruled from the back. Adding to the rhythm and groove was bassist Michael Rhodes and magician on the keyboards Reese Wynans. The band that Joe surrounds himself with have been playing with him for years and tonight’s performance showed that this stability creates an innate understanding of the music and how to make Joe’s guitar and vocals buzz with vibrancy.

The set was a mix of something new, a lot of blue and something old. What had gone from the set-list and will be missed by many, despite the rising demand and popularity for gin, was that tonight Joe decided to drop Tim Curry’s Sloe Gin from the cabinet of songs.

The new tracks from the off led to some confusion as people thought I don’t know these, for me, it is always exciting to hear the music live before the studio version arrives. Just Cause You Can and Self-Inflicted Wounds are a pair of strong new Bonamassa numbers.

From his album Live at The Greek Theatre a tribute to the three Kings, his interpretations of Breaking Up Someone’s Home & I Get Evil had the crowds tapping their feet in time with the glorious blues, sharp exciting and entertaining.

The pair of numbers from Blues of Desperation worked well live. No Good Place For The Lonely with its confident driving beat and the change of the backdrop from red to deep blue and back to red added to the drama of the show. The number delivered in perfect harmony down to the matching Gibson Thunderbirds, guitar and bass creating a wonderful sound that reverberated around the arena. With a quick change of guitars How Deep This River Flows a number replete with delectable Bonamassa riffs and guitar fireworks. The long instrumental extravaganza once again making the show so much more than a guitar lead break. The keys danced through the melody and the horns a sting to the tail. Adding to the sparkling live rendition the horns and backing vocals filling out the sound in the arena.

Going back-in-time with Slow Train and Driving Towards the Daylight the arena was alive with pure musical joy. No longer could we sit as we wanted to Boogie with Stu along with Joe and his band. Closing with Led Zepplin’s How Many More Times reflecting his tour celebrating British Blues and forthcoming live album.

With the mix of instruments and the celebration of Joe B’s guitar playing that was gritty, harmonious and above all steeped in blues tones of every shade.  We wanted more, plenty of whoops, cheers and We Love You, Joe, bought the band back on stage for one final song for Cardiff tonight. Closing the night of fabulous live music with Hummingbird, a favourite number of Joe to play live and left the audience very satisfied as we stepped out of the arena with our heads full of riffs, and licks that Joe Bonamassa shared with us tonight courtesy of his dancing fingers over the six-strings.


Set List
King Bee Shakedown
Evil Mama
Just Cause You Can
Self-Inflicted Wounds
I Get Evil
No Good Place for the Lonely
How Deep This River Runs
Breaking Up Someone’s Home
Slow Train
Driving Towards the Daylight
Boogie With Stu
Last Kiss
How Many More Times



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Ian Siegal New Album Is Definitely All The Rage

Ian Siegal New Album Is Definitely All The Rage

New studio album from Ian Siegal, drops on the doormat. Thank you, Mr Postman bringing the hope of joy with a shiver of anticipation of something solid, positive and reassuring in a world of uncertainty. The album cover monotones of dark greenish hue and stark font Ian Siegal All The Rage has arrived. Now Listen!

The album All The Rage has been fuelled and inspired by the world that Siegal looked out on last year. He saw poison in the veins of the planet, the election of President Trump, the rise of right-wing factions across Europe. His starting use of words is evidenced in the title – All The Rage – normally understood as popularity, being a craze, here we have a shaking of the Siegal’s fist on our behalf in anger, frustration and bemusement in the distorted rise of populist politics and world solutions that do not rest easy on our consciences.

Going straight to the track listing, rewarded with the immense intrigue of what these ten new original songs will be like. The songs all have Siegal’s hand in the mix with six of the tracks co-written this will be an interesting first listen.  Three of the numbers co-written by album producer Jimbo Mathus who Ian has toured with as an alluring double act. The album is definitely full of promise before a note is heard, but here is the question will it deliver?

So turn up the speakers ready to sit back and absorb the songs. The album was explored a number of times before the review, mostly played for the pure unadulterated pleasure of hearing Siegal’s vocals, guitar and the interplay with his band.

Drumming followed by the familiar guitar sound the perfect intro to the latest album adding to Ian Siegal’s amazing and powerful discography that ensures he remains the award-winning troubadour delivering the strong songs we want to hear.  As the opening track, Eagle-Vulture fills out with slide-guitar with an urgency and vocals, Eagle-Vulture is a number demanding your attention like the military walking through your headspace.

As you would expect from the mercurial troubadour that refuses to be defined by genre every track brings a new twist in lyrics and tonal texture. The beat compliments the lyrics and the vocals change to suit sometimes spat out, other times delivered with a cajoling tone the words as required with melodic spiciness.

The trademark recognisable riffing squealing guitar opens The Sh*t Hit, for a brief moment you expect Mortal Coil but no this is dark and new. This is sharp, blues that is gritty reflecting the moment that we are living in.

A highlight of an album that sparkles with glorious riffs, lick and lyrics is Ain’t You Great. This is Siegal dark penning dark lyrics and combining with a dancing Latino beat. This contradiction of styles works it makes you listen to the lyrics that have a political prophecy.  A number where the album title is hidden and the charismatic wonders of listening to Dusty Ciggar’s guitar playing shines through like a beacon of hope.

The trio of numbers written with Jimbo Mathus has a special tonal quality this is a pairing that captures the blues but never confined by convention. My Flame is a gentler finger-picking number with an intimate personal delivery. With the blues of If I Live capturing your ears and Sweet Souvenir following conversation with a bartender as we try to remember. This is a trio of numbers once heard never easily forgotten.

The two tracks written by a trio of talent have lyrical storytelling and at the heart is the infectious Jacob’s Ladder with its mix of guitar and even some whistling. Jacob’s Ladder is the stand out track until you hear One-eye King a classic from birth. A ballad with oomph and again the darkness that Siegal has enfolded the album in so you are never far from death and destruction of our own making

The final track, Sailor Town, as Ian explains, “Herrera and I were discussing the areas we grew up in…” Siegal described his as “kinda rough y’know a ‘sailor town”. Herrera declared, “Boom, there ya go – that’s the title of our first song together!” closing out the album with a number full of Siegal swagger, verve and style that is present throughout All The Rage. From meeting the devils blues, ballads and cowboy songs all woven together by the power of vocal delivery of the clever storytelling lyrics.

TENpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Ian Siegal – All The Rage – Nugene Records

Released  16th March 2018 Available for pre-order

All The Rage – dedicated to the memories of Freddy James and Jim Dickenson


  1. Eagle-Vulture (Siegal)
  2. Jacob’s Ladder (Azier/Den Haring/Siegal)
  3. The Sh*t Hit (Siegal)
  4. Won’t Be Your Shotgun Rider (Siegal)
  5. Ain’t You Great? (Siegal)
  6. My Flame (MathusSiegal)
  7. One-eyed King (Azier/Den Haring/Siegal)
  8. If I Live (MathusSiegal)
  9. Sweet Souvenir (MathusSiegal)
  10. Sailor Town (Herrera/Siegal)


Band Members
Ian Siegal: (Vocals, electric, acoustic, slide and resonator guitars; percussion)
Dusty Ciggaar: (Electric, acoustic and pedal steel guitars, backing vocals)
Danny Van’t Hoff: (Bass, backing vocals)
Rafael Schwiddessen: (Drums, percussion, backing vocals)
Merel Moelker: (Backing vocals)
Jimbo Mathus: (Electric & acoustic guitars, mandolin, piano, organ, percussion, drums (track 7) backing vocals)

Recorded at Island Studios, Amsterdam
Produced by Jimbo Mathus

All The Rage, Album Launch tour April 2018 – dates, venues and links to ticks for a gig you do not want to miss HERE


Ian Siegal All The Rage New Album plus Tour

The Divine and Dirty Kris Barras Band supply riffs aplenty

Devon born Kris Barras isn’t new to the blues-rock stage, having released his first album, Lucky 13, in 2015. This new release is a step up for Barras, however, as it is his first for the Provogue/Mascot Label Group and should see him deservedly gain a wider audience.
He is a man with an intriguing history; after all, not many blues guitarists list their former occupation as a Mixed Martial Artist who has fought in arenas across the globe. “People used to think I was crazy to be fighting in cages, risking damage to my hands,” he says. “Truth is though, I always enjoyed it and found that the fighting world offered me more opportunities than the music industry. I got to fight in front of 8000 people in Asia, I would’ve much rather have played to them instead of getting punched in the face.” No argument from me!
He reveals a broad range of influences that include Led Zeppelin, the Stones, Howlin’ Wolf and Free, but has developed these with a modern take which defies direct comparison. His new album, The Divine and Dirty, is more rock than blues, has country undertones and an 80’s metal, anthemic approach apparent in many of the tracks.

There’s an emphasis throughout on big riffs, ‘earworm’ hooks and a strong vocal with enough versatility to cover the different styles. The production could have been a little cleaner, as the very capable band do not always have the clarity or separation I would prefer. For example, the drums are sometimes very flat in the mix. I am a fan of all instruments and like to hear them as clearly as the main protagonist. There is also a fine group of backing singers whose identity I have been unable to find, so well done to you, and sorry for no credit.

The album opens with Kick Me Down. It has a Bonamassa feeling to the layered guitars; the subtle slide and keys bring a great atmosphere to the song. The a cappella opening of Hail Mary leads to a lovely picked/slide riff. The superb solo and female backing vocals add to the texture. I Don’t Owe Nobody Nothing is next. Apart from terrible grammar, this has a slow burn start and builds, via a tantalising riff, to another great sing-along section. It does get a little repetitive, however. Propane sounds like it was written to be a single and is weaker as a consequence, although the solo is inspired. Wrong Place, Wrong Time gets us back rocking with a Pat Travers sounding intro and develops into a great fast shuffle blues. The piano gives a nice colour to the verses before the solo, which blisters and then soothes in equal measure. Yet another great slide driven riff opens Lovers Or Losers. Barras shows his vocal capabilities best here, and then gives a lesson in fast, not widdly, soloing. She’s More Than Enough has a Southern Rock flavour with a pleasing piano solo punctuating the repetitive multi-tracked whoa-whoas. Stitch Me Up has brilliant echoes of a Faces type honky-tonk piano sound filled out with a great chorus and a fiery solo. Gospel-tinged ballad Hold On For Tomorrow is the first ‘quiet’ track. If Poison had released this as a follow up to Every Rose, it would have sold bucket loads. Blood On Your Hands has an opening riff, which sounds like Walter Trout playing lead for the Eagles and benefits from another strong vocal and a vibrant guitar solo. The closing track is the heavy blues of Watching Over Me. The lyrics suggest that this is a heartfelt song for his late father. Emotionally delivered both vocally and instrumentally; the ‘just enough notes’ solo is a delight.

Overall then, The Divine And Dirty is a very good album. He is an excellent guitarist and with so many hooks and bristling solos, the album has drive, intensity and passion. There is a minor downside. I can’t help but feel that this is what Bon Jovi could have become if they didn’t remake Slippery When Wet with every release. Having said that, it is still very much Barras’ album and has a definite identity behind it. I’d like to think his next album will see his personality shine through even more.


Kris Barras Band – The Divine and Dirty – Mascot Label Group

Out 23rd March 2018 – Available to Pre-Order Now

Available in the following Formats – CD, Vinyl and Digital Formats

EIGHTpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …


1. Kick Me Down
2. Hail Mary
3. I Don’t Owe Nobody Nothing
4. Propane
5. Wrong Place, Wrong Time
6. Lovers or Losers
7. She’s More Than Enough
8. Stitch Me Up
9. Hold On For Tomorrow
10. Blood On Your Hands
11. Watching Over Me

The Band:
Vocals Guitar / Kris Barras
Keyboards / Josiah J Manning
Bass / Elliott Blackler
Drums / Will Beavis

The Divine and Dirty Kris Barras Band supply riffs aplenty

Tour Dates

23 March – The Wharf, Tavistock
24 March – The Palladium, Bideford
27 March – The Comrades Club, Caterham
28 March – Ypres Tavern, Sittingbourne
29 March – The Iron Road, Evesham
30 March – Yardbirds Club, Grimsby
31 March – Aatma, Manchester
04 April – The Bullingdon, Oxford
05 April – The Face Bar, Reading
06 April – The Warehouse, Harrogate
07 April – The Supporter’s Club, West Hartlepool
13 April – The Musician, Leicester
14 April – HRH Blues O2 Academy, Sheffield


The Divine and Dirty Kris Barras Band supply riffs aplenty

Women in Music – International Women’s Day

This is a place for all women involved in Music who celebrate their art through Blues, Americana, Roots and Rock music the focus of Bluesdoodles. Welcome aboard and join the day women’s voices were heard louder with confidence. Email your story to and get involved with Bluesdoodles Women in Music. Today and every day.

Today is International Women’s Day and thought how male-dominated Bluesdoodles the ration is dismal not deliberately but how music is promoted perhaps or internal and unrecognized biases.

As a woman and blogger of music, it dawned on me that this needed to be rectified not for one day but every day. So to celebrate International Women’s Day 2018 a new page is being launched Women In Music.

The Women In Music Zone is a place for women involved in the music business, singers, musicians and as importantly women involved across the industry. Photographers, Sound & Lighting Engineers, Producers, Promoters, bloggers etc.

This is a place for all women involved in Music who celebrate their art through Blues, Americana, Roots and Rock music the focus of Bluesdoodles.

Welcome aboard and join the day women’s voices were heard louder with confidence.

Email your story to and get involved with Bluesdoodles Women in Music. Today and every day.


You can find the fledgeling Women in Music Page HERE