Enjoy Taking Backroad Carnival With Cory Seznec. After living in Ethiopia for over three years Cory’s second album, Backroad Carnival is released. Once again with the musicians, he has surrounded himself he has conjured up an array of songs reflecting the light and dark sides of Carnival. The album refuses to be ring-fenced into a marketing genre. This is music that flows over the ten tracks reflecting the breadth and depth of Cory’s talents. The sound ebbs and flows with shards of brilliant sunshine countered by complexity of sounds and shapes hidden in the shadows.
Cory Seznec knows how to instil a feeling, capturing and freezing a moment in time in the beat and cadences captured in the percussive melodic forms that share sounds from mainstream through to alternative. Sounds of Africa melding with melodies from the streets of Paris. How has he retained the simplicity of roots music in the complex world we have created? Cory has gone analogue, recording the album mainly at Tonehouse Studios in Noisy-le-Roi, France on a Studer A80 24 track tape machine with old amps and other gear, the sound produced is warm and full. This approach combines the modernity of rock with music rooted in tradition melding but never obliterating the tonal shape each number has created.
If you expect the album to have an Ethiopian fuelled tone, then you will be disappointed the stories that fill the lyrics are shaped, honed and turned by experiences of his travels through Africa and beyond combined with modern events and Cory’s worldview in his bespoke and special world-music.
Opening with Picayune Baliverne, an instrumental number that invokes a carnival Carousel turning mixed with jazz, Eastern European beats fused together with hints of Cajun into a distinctive Seznec sound that defines Backroad Carnival. The mood changes as we hear Sell My Soul. The song inspired in Ethiopia when a young boy tried to sell him his two sisters! Here afrobeats morph into a blues-rock salvo that fits the story with the howl that curls around the melody hitting the mood now the backroad carnival is definitely on the move. Throughout the album, Cory’s distinctive vocals shape the story being told with artfulness and creativity so not a word or meaning is left. Hawk On A Haystack opening with a banjo and reminiscent of the sound created with Groanbox yet totally fresh and new. Every track has a new angle and star turn on Pigeon Man it is the claps and slide guitar, as we learn about the man who feeds the pigeons in Paris. With Zanzibar (Ebb & Flow) no words are required the percussive form and African guitar take us deep into the backstreets of a town scented with spice and mystery. Closing the album of many colours reflecting the movement of a backroad Carnival, we are left with The Parting Glass. The folk is traditional and a tear jerker as the timeless flow of Scots-Irish music is reflected in the African fingerstyle of the guitar.
This is an album of the expected and unexpected. The quality of lyrics and composition of melody is expected from Cory Seznec. The unexpected is the carefully crafted, mixed musical styles. Creating a musical cocktail of sounds that never clashes but enhance each other without ever losing their originality and authenticity.
Like any Carnival, we have that beguiling mix tasty and intriguing as we listen and travel with Cory Seznec on his Backroad Carnival once again.
Going to be wall to wall music at the friendly award-winning festival at Pump Bottom Farm. Returning after a fun set last year are Brilleaux – headlining on Friday the mighty King King and a Blues On The Farm favourite The Blues Band
Early morning discount on tickets UNTIL MIDNIGHT 31st DECEMBER 2015 – check out website HERE
Read what Bluesdoodles thought of Blues om The Farm 2015 – HERE
Check out what Julian Moores Blues on the Farm festival Organiser had to say when we had a chatHERE
Some photographs from 2015 capturing the moment!
NOVEMBER 2016 UK TOUR
PLUS VERY SPECIAL GUEST BETH RETURNS TO THE UK IN NOVEMBER 2016 FOR SEVEN CONCERTS INCLUDING LONDON ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL
Following her critically acclaimed May UK tour in 2015 and the rapturous response to her latest studio album, Better Than Home, Grammy nominated singer-songwriter, Beth Hart and her band will embark on a Nationwide 7-date UK tour in November 2016. Sultry blues, jazzy influences, rocking tunes and touching ballads; Beth Hart does it all!
Bluesdoodles loved her show in Colston Hall Read what we said HERE then book your seat at a show near you…
The Mascot Label Group are thrilled to announce the first edition of our new free quarterly newspaper, Mascot Messenger. The exciting new publication with be distributed throughout Europe and will give the reader a little insight into the label with news and regular interviews from the various artists signed to Mascot Label Group. Distribution in the US will follow throughout 2016.
Talking about the label, owner Ed Van Zijl adds; “In the end, it all comes down to the guitar, the instrument I adore. If played right, it is the most expressive tool in music, after the voice of course. We are very lucky in being able to work with great talents such as Joe Bonamassa, Beth Hart, Eric Johnson, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Jonny Lang, Walter Trout, Robert Cray, Leslie West, Robben Ford, Warren Haynes amongst others but also in the past bands like Volbeat. It’s not just the music but also the stories they have that are great. We will try and share some of that through this paper.”
The Mascot Messenger has a circulation of 240,000 copies and is available in English, French and German. The 8-page full colour paper will be sealed with upcoming editions of The Blues Magazine and Classic Rock (UK), Guitar Part (France) and Rocks Magazine (Germany) and will be distributed by JPC in Germany, the indie record stores in the UK and various retail outlets in The Netherlands, Spain, France and Germany. The Mascot Messenger will also be sealed with all new releases on vinyl, will be packaged with all MLG Web Shop orders and can be found at the merch booth during shows of touring MLG artists in Europe
8th December 2015
Mica & Kardanski – Trouble
ENTERS THE MUSIC WEEK BREAKERS CHART AT #1
Set in the urban beauty spots of Manchester’s concrete jungle, ‘Trouble’ sheds light on life growing up in the city and the perils that may be found there. The innocence of a street-bound child dancer is juxtaposed with the dark looming threat of cold-hearted muggings and violence. As the Mica sings, “You never know when trouble is going to come your way”.
Buddy Guy’s “Born To Play Guitar” is nominated for two Grammy’s – “Best American Roots Performance” and “Best Blues Album” – in the 58th Annual GRAMMY awards – full list nominations HERE
Read what Bluesdoodles said about Born To Play Guitar back in August HERE
3rd December 2015
With over £22,000 pledge already Planet Rock DJ Wyatt sets of to ride from London to Wales to enjoy a weekend of live music Rockstock.
On the heels of his critically acclaimed album from 2014, prog instrumentalist Leon Alvarado is releasing a new short film and accompanying soundtrack single titled “Persistence” on December 15, 2015. The film is being described as “a short adventure of sight and sound”. The soundtrack single features King Crimson’s Trey Gunn, and was mastered by Andy Jackson who co-produced the latest Pink Floyd album.
Bluesdoodles has launched a music inspired Advent Calendar will it be rock, blues. folk or pop each day will be something different will we have Three Kings, Shepherds, Star and Santa Claus by the 24th December?
Foy Vance announces that he has signed with Ed Sheeran’s Gingerbread Man / Atlantic Records! Foy Vance has also completed three weeks in the studio for a Spring 2016 album release. Check out this acoustic late night rendition of “She Burns”.
Electronic synth light on the ear with a deft touch of flowing rhythms – Delorean’s re-mix of Delaire’s Belief listen for yourself…
This has been getting lots of positive comments:_
Hunger, “You’ll be in Dis’belief’ when you hear this remix of Delaire’s new song… If you loved ‘Belief’, you are going to adore the remixed version.”
Delorean have put remix touches to some of the most formidable names in music including Shura’s ‘Touch’, HAIM ‘If I Could Change Your Mind’ and The XX’s ‘Islands’, so Delaire is in great company as she continues to pave her way as one of the most exciting new female prospects on the London scene.
24th November 2015
TONIGHT – The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson BBC1 @ 10.35pm
Click HERE for more information
Remember the name, as this Lincolnshire-based 4-piece
are primed and ready to become 2016’s brightest UK rock prospects.
Young, vibrant bringing back the hidden punk at Bluesdoodles HQ – you can hear their influences from Clash & Jamie T!
Why were they flown to California to record their debut album? Because Joey Armstrong liked what he heard and told his dad – Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day.
The album features Billie Joe on Bass and Joey plays Drums – Father and son rhythm combo.
You may have to wait until Spring 2016 to hear Back In The Morrow album – but instant gratification can be found click on the video below to have a listen to the new single ‘Turn Me On’
As NME said “Matt Grocott & The Shrives are unafraid to experiment, with their music veering from solid indie to pop to punk-funk.”
Joe Satriani is on “My Planet Rocks” on Planet Rock radio at 7pm on Sunday November 8th. Joe will be talking about his favourite songs and playing tracks. Stream the interview tomorrow night from 7pm UK time and listen to the hour-long interview on PLANET ROCK While waiting read what Bluesdoodles said about the Fireworks at St Davids Hall on Thursday 5th November with Dan Patlansky as special guest – HERE
Cardiff Busker remembered in style – read what was said ‘What do you say about a man who lived life to the fullest?’ Last respects paid to Cakehole Presley busker HERE
5th November 2015
Walter Trout becomes a Patron of the British Liver Trust
He has been given the gift of life and now he wants to help others
“I’m only still here because someone donated their liver” Walter Trout
You can find out more info on the British Liver Trust, become a doner and get a free download of the song Move On HERE
Joe Bonamassa’s concert at the BIC Bournemouth on Wednesday October 28th has been cancelled. Please see his official Twitter message to his fans: “Unfortunately due to unexpected head cold that settled in over night we are gonna have to reschedule our gig at the BIC tonight.” NOTE: Fans can still buy tickets to the Brighton Centre gig on Friday October 30th, however, the second Brighton Centre gig on Saturday October 31st is sold out.
25th October 2015
The winning band UK Blues Challenge 2015 are RED BUTLER they will be representing the UK in Italy. The event was organised by UK Blues Federation and Boom Boom Club Sutton provided superb sound, lights and venue thank you Pete Feenstra
21st October 2015
The four Bands at The Challenge on 24th October 2015 – The Boom Boom, Club Sutton
Weekend Gold– 4 day ticket. Access to Thursday night too with free Planet Rockstock T-shirt
Weekend – 3 day Friday – Sunday
Thursday night – Tickets only £10 plus booking fee headlined by Toseland Friday Night
Saturday – SOLD OUT Sunday – a chance to see both second and main stage.
20th October 2015
Celebrating the start of launch of their UK tour tomorrow which kicks off at the The Brewhouse in Burton Upon Trent, King King have issued an official Alan Nimmo / King King enamel badge. More info: HERE
Prog rock pioneer Steve Hackett has announced the release ‘Premonitions – The Charisma Recordings 1975-1983’, a comprehensive reissue project that includes his first 6 albums on the Charisma label, together with a wealth of previously unavailable recordings as well as remixes by Steven Wilson. ‘Premonitions’ is released on 23rd October by Universal Music Catalogue/Virgin.
‘Premonitions’ comes in a Super Deluxe box set featuring a total of 135 songs on 10 CDs and 4 DVDs (5.1 mixes), plus an extensive booklet; included in this version are 67 previously unreleased recordings between old and new tracks, live and remixes.
“I’m pleased that Steven Wilson has done several new mixes in both surround and stereo” – Hackett has declared – “The box set will also contain a number of live shows from the era. I’ve enjoyed being involved with this comprehensive trip down memory lane. There’s also a substantial booklet containing a lot of background info along with many wonderful Armando Gallo shots, and Roger Dean has painted a beautiful picture for the cover. For me it’s a proud souvenir that highlights those years. I’ll play plenty of this early work at shows in the autumn which will include some numbers not played live for many moons, like ‘Icarus Ascending’ and ‘Star of Sirius’ plus all time faves such as ‘Every Day’ and ‘Spectral Mornings’.”
Tickets for all shows (apart from London) £29.50, £27.50; London: £37.50 level one, £33.50; (All tickets subject to booking fee). Online: BookingsDirect.com“>HERE . Showtime will be 7.30pm – there is no support.
Juno Award-winning hard hitting rockers Monster Truck return with a colossal brand new track Don’t Tell Me How To Live which will appear on the bands highly anticipated forthcoming sophomore album due out in early 2016 via Mascot Records/Mascot Label Group(Black Stone Cherry, Black Label Society, Joe Bonamassa).
Monster Truck’s unabashed dedication to creating killer riffs and putting every ounce of themselves into their show night after night, has created quite an impression not only with fans across the globe, but iconic rock bands as well. In recent years, they have been championed by the likes of Slash and Alice in Chain’s Mike Inez, have toured extensively in Canada, the U.S, Europe and the UK alongside such iconic acts as Alice in Chains, Slash, Nickelback, Deep Purple, ZZ Top, Buckcherry, Alterbridge, Kid Rock, The Sheepdogs, and Vista Chino (Kyuss) and has performed a blistering set at 2013s Download Festival as well as Bonnaroo, Welcome to Rockville, Rock on the Range and Edgefest.
Hamilton’s prodigious sons are one of the biggest groundswell stories in recent Canadian rock with two crushing No.1 singles at Canadian Rock radio, a 2013 Juno Award for ‘Breakthrough Artist of the Year’ and 2014 Juno Award nomination for ‘Rock Album of the Year’, under their belt. Their critically acclaimed debut Furiosity was a furious statement of intent and Don’t Tell Me How To Live is a raucous taste of what’s to come.
Bluesdoodles enjoyed the album MONTEREY – Read what we said HERE
January 20th – Ludenscheid – Kulturhaus – Germany January 22nd – London – Union Chapel – United Kingdom – TICKETS
January 23rd – Utrecht – Tivoli Vredenburg (Cloud Nine) – The Netherlands
January 24th – Berlin – Passionskirche – Germany
January 25th – Stockholm – Sodra Teatern – Sweden
January 26th – Oslo – Kulturkirken Jakob – Norway
THE RIVER COLLECTION’ 4CD/3DVD BOX SET OUT 4th DECEMBER
Columbia Records will release Bruce Springsteen’s ‘The Ties That Bind: The River Collection’ on 4th December. A comprehensive look at ‘The River’ era, the set contains 52 tracks on 4 CDs with a wealth of unreleased material, and 4 hours of never-before-seen video on 3 DVDs. It is comprised of the original ‘The River’ double album; the first official release of ‘The River: Single Album;’ a CD of 1979/80 studio outtakes; a two-DVD film of never-released, newly edited multi-camera footage from Springsteen’s famed 1980 show in Tempe, AZ, long rumored but never-before-seen; rare tour rehearsal footage; a brand new documentary “The Ties That Bind” about ‘The River;’ and a coffee table book of 200 rare or previously unseen photos and memorabilia with a new essay by Mikal Gilmore.
‘The Ties That Bind: The River Collection’ is available for pre-order at Amazon HERE and iTunes HERE.
13th October 2015
Frontiers Music Srl is delighted to present one of the most talented new hard rock bands to emerge from the British underground scene – INGLORIOUS!
INGLORIOUS are five young men with a mutual love and respect of the classics of Hard Rock music, big guitar riffs, and soulful vocals. Their influences stem from iconic rock and roll shrine of Rock albums from the 1970s – many years before the band members were born. Formed in February 2014, the band is fronted by Nathan James, who made a name for himself having sung for the multi-platinum selling Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and Scorpions guitar legend Uli Jon Roth.
Nathan was looking for like-minded musicians that desired to make incredible rock music in a very honest fashion. Inspired by musical giants such as Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Whitesnake, Bad Company, Aerosmith, the band has recently completed the recording of their self-titled debut album which will see the light of day in February 2016. The band’s song “Breakaway” has already found its way on to Planet Rock’s playlist.
Inglorious will appear live at the Planet Rockstock Festival in Trecco Bay, Wales on December 4th and are working to set more shows around the release of the album.
The four Bands at The Challenge on 24th October 2015 – The Boom Boom, Club Sutton
Ian Siegal tickets for Darlington are on sale in Guru Boutique and in Voodoo Cafe right now… Exclusive gig. Entry is limited to 100 so grab yours as soon as possible! This will be great!!! For more info contact Guru Gigs on 01325461479
For more information and Ireland & European tour dates check out the LINK
28th September 2015
Planet Rock have added <strong>Chantel McGregor ‘Take The Power‘ single and opening track to her new album Lose Control to their playlist from Monday September 28th. When you hear it, shoot the presenters a message on their Planet Rock web page to let them know how much you dig it.
Congratulations to everyone, recognition by fans who love the music you play and venues across Britain
Jo Harman releases new E.P. ‘Found A Place’ – Jo’s first studio recordings since the 2012 recording of her critically and commercially successful debut, ‘Dirt On My Tongue’ – is now released. Availability is currently limited to physical CD form only.
Two versions are available – a standard 5 track EP (with an additional bonus radio edit track) at £7 (including post and packaging) and a DELUXE edition, at £15 (p&p included) which includes a second disc containing a live concert recording, around 60 minutes long.
Copies will be available at Jo’s shows LINK HERE and also via paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org, subject to stock availability.
Jo returns to Nashville/Memphis this month to work on her much anticipated second studio album, with a March 2016 release date
14th September 2015
Sonny Landreth – Bound by the Blues Lyric Video
Octavia Blues Band On Touring U.K. September 2015
Octavia, from the USA, is Pennsylvania’s First Lady of Blues. She’s a singer, songwriter, guitarist, harmonica player and blues-infused wonder. Octavia wows her audience with her wicked harmonica playing, sultry powerful vocals and her top notch high energy show engaging her audience – one of the hottest Blues-Roots acts around.
John Emil Slide guitarist from U.S.A. touring U.K. September 2015
17th Acoustic Oak @ The Royal Oak , Corsham,
18th The Marquis of Lorne, Stevenage,
19th The Bear Club, Luton
22th The Railway Southend-on-Sea Essex
24th Hop Pole Inn, Bromsgrove
25th The Wharf, Macclesfield
26th Hunsley Acoustic Music Elloughton
27th Marchington Music Club Uttoxeter
28th The Caledonia, Liverpool
29th Hopstar Brewery Number , Darwen
1st The Spinning Top Bar, Stockport
2nd Carlisle Folk & Blues Club
3rd Ye Olde Man n Scythe Bolton
4th The Leek Blues & Americana Festival @ The Cock Inn, Leek
6th The Millers Bar, Brighouse
7th Blakey’s Cafe Bar Newcastle-Under-Lyme
8th Platform Tavern, Southampton
9th The Belle Vue High Wycombe, Bucks
11th Winchester Gate, Salisbury
Israel Nash and his band are excited to release the first single, “LA Lately,” on 2nd October. The track is taken off their new album Israel Nash’s Silver Season, due out on October 9th on Loose/Thirty Tigers.
Of the song, Israel says, “‘LA Lately’ is a song that was written on the road while we were leaving LA after my first headline show. There is something magical about that city and the song is all about our experience. From getting there, to being there, and -as we do- moving along and leaving.”
Portland, Oregon-based folk-Americana singer-songwriter Hip Hatchet announces September-October 2015 UK tour in support of his excellent new album Hold You Like A Harness.
Hip Hatchet – September-October 2015 UK Tour
Wednesday 23 Bristol – Kingsdown Wine Vaults
Thursday 24 Newport, Gwent – Le Pub
Friday 25 Bishop’s Castle, Shropshire – SpArC Theatre
Saturday 26 Nottingham – The Guitar Bar
Monday 28 London – Green Note
Tuesday 29 Norwich – The Bicycle Shop
Wednesday 30 Stafford – The Market Vaults
Thursday 1 Newcastle upon Tyne – The Cumberland Arms
Friday 2 Sheffield – Café #9
Sunday 4 Worth Matravers,nr. Swanage – The Square & Compass
Monday 5 Bristol – The Old Duke
Thursday 8 Folkestone – The Chambers
Sunday 11 London – Ace Hotel, Shoreditch
FRANKIE LEE hear new track BUFFALO’ ~ Debut album ‘AMERICAN DREAMER‘ released – 02 OCTOBER 2015 VIA LOOSE MUSIC
“Acoustic Americana with warm guitars and The War On Drugs-style psych elements. It’s an old-soul performance in the vein of classic country-wanderers” THE LINE OF BEST FIT
“Narcoleptic Minnesotan singer – literally – releases a dreaming, hazy piece of Americana” THE GUARDIAN
Frankie Lee will release his debut album ‘American Dreamer’ through Loose Music on 2nd October. Recorded at Real Phonic Studios in Minneapolis, MN, the album will be available on LP, CD and as a download.
Ahead of the album, Frankie has shared a new track, ‘Buffalo’
All votes are appreciated by this Band that is redefining British Rock Blues.. VOTE HERE
Bluesdoodles loved their latest album Reaching For The Light it is definitely in the running for Bluesdoodles 12 albums of 2015.. see what we wrote HERE
King King are touring UK this Autumn check out the dates and book a show – HERE
Check out the seventeen countries already registered for the European Blues Challenge 2016 – HERE
Boston’s Willard Grant Conspiracylast toured the UK in 2013 – His band is a loose, ever revolving cast of up to thirty musicians, with the only constant being singer and songwriter Robert Fisher, their Facebook page states, “If someone tells you they play with us, they probably do”.
Willard Grant Conspiracy have shared two new songs ahead of their UK tour, which starts Thursday 10th September in Glasgow. Robert Fisher explains a little bit about the songs: “These songs were recorded live in David Michael Curry’s living room. Jonah Sacks plays cello, DMC plays viola and Robert Fisher plays guitar and sings. The recordings were done as reference demos for future recordings; “Chasing Rabbits” was being played for the third time! The songs are a work in progress and you can hear the three of us listening to each other and reacting during the playing. We like the feel of these tracks and hope you do too.”
Starting off with a tune using Eastern and Western approaches to slide guitars as Michael & Mannish showcase their respective slide skills with Sweet Heart Darling from the album Call Of The Blues. The hauntingly sweet sound from Manish Pingleechoed by the deeper hue of Michael’s resonator. The instrumental floated and glided across the stage in front of the alter, as the two styles spoke to each other and found harmony in the music. As Michael re-tunes he effortlessly chats to the audience about how he met up with Manish when at Mumbai Blues Festival. He has had a long ambition to play slide guitar blues with a Hindustani guitar. It was a collaboration of musical understanding, playing gospel blues and they connected. Tonight, the convent audience was treated to country blues melded with an Eastern essence of spiritual understanding with the Tabla adding a percussive beat thanks to the skills of Gurdian Rayatt. This is blues textured, controlled and played with immense feel and lightness of touch portraying deep dark emotions of the Blues. Yes! You Got The Blues tonight in The Convent.
The lights shimmered with a deep blue resonating with this unique take on traditional country-blues from the delta including Fred McDowell, Michaels’ vocals sang the blues along with the beats and musical textures and shapes from Manish and Gurdian, blending and at times leading the resonator we are used to hearing accompany country-blues. This is sitting on a porch listening to blues in a totally new and exciting context. The instrumentals show the melding of cultures, I love Michaels phrasing as he sneaks in Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. The informative interaction as Gurdian explains the complexity of the Tabla provided a fascinating insight into a new percussive instrument. We heard the simple sounds, phrases and then sentences and showed it was like a language as Manish spoke the Tabla language then Gurdian played the increasingly complex phrases, informative and entertaining as the two spoke to each other in Tabla and music was made. The commonplace, well-known tunes became uplifted being explored again with a compilation of Rollin’ & Tumblin; If The River Was Whiskey it was fun. The added technology with the use of a loop on Luck Charms, you know when it is live when there is a technical hitch on stage. This was soon resolved and Son House’s County Farm Blues followed. With a track played for Matthew Roberts who could not be at The Convent the music flowed across the venue and further afield like this music crossing continents and artificial divides. Sweet Baby Mine? Manish turn to explain it is a modified guitar. The Indian slide guitar with its many strings first three strings the melody and the others are drone strings This is a new instrument first played in the 1960’s and is being modified giving an Indian sound. Now they swap guitars essentially a three stringed guitar says Michael gave demo that it doesn’t sound Indian as they play Steel Guitar Rag. Whereas, Michael’s takes on the spice of India showing music is interpretation and feel. What a collective thrill the music was blues with a twist of spicy intrigue. The encore Bluer That Blue summed up the evening of music with every shade of blue shaped by textures and timbre’s connecting East & West through the soul of blues.
Tonight’s, performance shows that music of the folk has an integrity that is understood by all and transcends boundaries laid-down by treaties and geography books, It is the music, beat and the truth within the lyrics that speaks to all and makes for a better place, listen to music and connect to humans on a basic and wonderful level. Thank you, Michael, Gurdian and Mannish for refreshing display of blues with feeling and respect.
Michael Messer’s Mitra Live at the Convent
Eastern Shades of blues tonight fills The Convent in Stroud available on Netgig
Bluesdoodles review of Michael Messer’s Mitra – Call Of The Blues HERE
Hoka is an epic Journey from Nahko and Medicine for The People. The album is complex diverse full of intrigue and interest it is an eighteen track epic musical voyage of discovery combining rock, pop, world music and spiritual chants. It is not surprising that Hoka has a feeling of a voyage of discovery and journey of finding self in a complex world since Nahko’s back story explains this spiritual wandering, the incessant searching for texture to the beat on many of the tracks. He was adopted by a white middle-class American couple as a baby, learning the piano and always respecting music. Then disillusionment set in, captivated by vagabond life and the story-telling tradition of Americana musicians he left home in search of adventure and self-discovery. He had in his arsenal stories, guitar, determination and a gritty desire to bridge the cultural gaps dividing his own psyche. The track All Can Be Done encapsulates the drive with horns, dancing carnival instrumental chorus and piano, an anthem for shaping all our destinies. Via the internet he found his mother learning his true ethnicity of Puerto Rican, Native American (Apache) and Filipino descent. His self-branded ‘real talk music’ is the result of the personal journey of healing and acceptance that followed.
The video released with the album of San Quentin is the forgiving the man responsible off murdering his biological father. A surprisingly upbeat number full of positive energy and freedom of thought and letting go in the process of forgiving. Nahko ventured on the visit so he could get some closure after spending the majority of his life unravelling the truth of his childhood. With his father murdered and his mother forced into human trafficking.
Nahko’s story is immense. The album opens with the title track; Hoka. The Native American chanting and spoken vocals give the start of the journey context and shape. And as for the album title? “Hoka is a Lakota word, it is a call to action. It’s what Crazy Horse would say when he went into battle, ‘Hoka, hey!’ My call is to put action to the words that I speak and the lyrics I sing. Not just to talk, but to do.”
Then we are into a piano intro and his distinctive emotionally charged vocals with Directions and so the album journey begins. Everyone will have a track that deeply affects them, personal favourites. What the album is not is a dirge of self-pity and misery; it is finding yourself and accepting who you are. The musicianship is eclectic and at times fiery but always bedded in western tradition of music for folk with a story/purpose. Intertwined in traditional cadences is a mix of hip-hop and rock beats. Joining Nahko are Chase Makai (lead guitarist), Justin Chittams (drums), Pato (bass guitar), Max Ribner (horns) and Tim Snider (violin).
The album Hoka is full of texture and tonal interest and is medicine for the people. Stand out tracks for me are Love Letters To God with the clapping beat and horns you are drawn into the lyrics. Who can resist a track called Tus Pies, a stripped down acoustic number. Inspired by Chilean poet and politician Pablo Neruda. “It’s about friendship and being an anchor for someone. ‘Pies’ is the Spanish word for ‘feet.’ At the end of one of his poems, Neruda says a line I cherish: ‘I love your feet for how they walked on the mountains and through the rivers and through the valleys until they found me.’ Closing with The Wolves Have Returned a lyrical number celebrating nature, the power of nation and the need to find ones-self and tread gently as we journey across the planet.
Nahko has successfully weaved a tapestry of sound, reinforced by lyrics that have something to say. This is music for our times celebrating diversity, celebrating the planet and how we need to nurture each other and look after this fragile world and its complex relationships.
Nahko and Medicine for The People, have much to say and the journey is long, the album works as there is light and shade a musical exploration of emotions and hurts unraveled and put back together a vocal novel or film. Hako has validity giving Nahko’s life experiences and place to be heard.
Bluesdoodles gives this CD EIGHT doodle paws out of TEN ….