Grainne Duffy Third Album Where I Belong Delights

Grainne Duffy Third Album Where I Belong Delights

This is Grainne’s third album having listened unless it’s by choice, it amazes me that a major label has not taken up this stunning talent. Now I am, by preference a stompin’, blues-rocking type and it may surprise some, that this is not as blues/rock biased as her previous releases, but this album is a pearl of quiet, beautifully performed songs. It deftly weaves a heartfelt tapestry of emotions. Recorded with the help of such luminaries as Doyle Bramhall II, this is a majestic, mainly acoustic journey through this lady’s heart & soul.

The new album,  Where I Belong kicks off with the title track, the lovely warm acoustic guitar washes across the background as Grainne’s voice (especially on the multi-tracked parts) takes hold of you and doesn’t let go. Whilst on Blame It On You sharpens the tempo with its gorgeous and far too short electric guitar solo which grabs as much as the lyrics. One word of caution if you have recently been parted from a loved one the track Don’t Want To Be Lonely will reduce you to tears… yes, she can put that much emotion into her voice and playing so that it feels as if it is your heartstrings she is stroking rather than guitar strings. A piano introduction followed by a guitar sound to die for leads us into the final track… the instrumental Canyon Road. Three minutes of such lyrical playing, that words would have been superfluous; a perfect demonstration of how to play the right amount of notes.

Grainne Duffy Third Album Where I Belong delights you, relaxed and full of rootsy Americana tones with one boot in the blues.  That hits the right places and fills the moments with a rounded sound showing a different side as rock is pushed to one side for the different side of Grainne Duffy. She is joined by a host of talented musicians including Paul Sherry with backing vocals and various guitars joining Grainne once again. With the rhythm section and piano add colour depth and shape to the stripped back approach taken by Grainne on the album.

Rather than dissect each track, it is easier to summarise by saying simply buy this album and, when the mood is right, lose yourself in a landscape of quiet country-infused soulful blues – you will not be disappointed. Why? Grainne pronounced Graw-nya; the red-haired Irish beauty delivers perfect country infused blues.

NINEpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Track List:

  1. Where I Belong
  2. My love
  3. Don’t You Wanna Know
  4. Home
  5. Shine
  6. All Of My Life
  7. Blame It On You
  8. Don’t Want To Be Lonely
  9. Open Arms
  10. Canyon Road


Grainne Duffy: Vocals, Lead Guitar/ Rhythm Guitar/Acoustic Guitar
Paul Sherry: Backing Vocals, Lead Guitar/ Rhythm Guitar/Acoustic Guitar
Shawn Davis: Bass Guitar
Aaron Redfield: Drums
Tyler Chester: Keyboards/Piano


Previous Grainne Duffy reviews by Bluesdoodles: 2nd Album  Test of Time; and Live at Beaufort South Wales



Grainne Duffy Third Album Where I Belong Delights

Justin Townes Earle New Album Kids In The Street

Justin Townes Earle New Album Kids In The Street

Justin Townes Earle New Album Kids In The Street



For the first time Justin Townes Earle has worked with an outside producer and he chose Mike Moogis, for Kids In The Street as he releases the album on his New West Records and the first not recorded in Nashville, a trio of debuts that definitely gives the album curbside appeal.

Following his previous critically acclaimed albums Single Mothers followed by  Absent Fathers; this album, Kids In The Street completes the trio has an upbeat, optimistic feel that makes you want to play hopscotch on the street as you did as a child; kick off your shoes and run through the grass and make daisy chains. The originals have a fresh simplicity, an enchanting fluidity as the meaningful lyrics entwine themselves around the melodic guitar chords.

The album kicks off in high rolling fast-moving rock n roll beat as we toast Champagne Corolla. With this upbeat number we hear the refrain Pretty little thing riding by in a champagne Corolla; an ode to car life and far much more as you explore his clever lyrics. Achieving the goal from the off-classic rhythms with a modern lyric. We have the country twang of steel guitar and piano and a clicking rhythm building up to a swirl of sadness and Justin sings What’s She Crying For leads in to a 15-25 looking back with the feel of New Orleans the keys have a Professor Longhair feel as his vocals drawl and have a lopping lazy feel as the tempo picks up. Leading into the title track, taking us back with the simple guitar intro the vocals “ My best friend lived in this house we played ball after school…”  looking back to simpler times of 1990’s; full of nostalgia but not rose-tinted glasses just memories that have smoothed out the rough edges. Is this a track that pops out at you? Bringing the album together, not really just misses as so much of the album on first listen it is good, but delving deeper it never raises the game to excellent.

The reflective, retro hazy feel is the tonal phrasing for much of the album; the tone is  brought up with a jolt with Justin’s version of Stagolee, the guitar is harsher, his voice deeper and seems not to fit a pebble sending ripples across Kids In The Street. The re-working is subtle a more drastic re-arrangement may have slotted in but this feels like the unwanted guest at a party. Same Old Stagolee certainly has not received the gentrification that the streets of Nashville referred to in many of the tracks on Kids In The Street.

Closing the album with There Goes A Fool, deep, darker and full of introspective and skillful songwriting, before hitting the bonus track Paul Simon’s Graceland. This acoustic version closes out an album that just doesn’t quite reach the potential that sets it apart from other Americana albums,

The album is reflective and moves on from his last album Single Mothers and Absent Fathers delivering his own innovative Americana feel, where Justin leads others have followed. The music is to Muscle Shoals to be Country – too retro to be cutting edge. Who cares? Kids In The Streets with its layers of music with old style guitar and lyrics that have something to say it is a good listen and has a purpose in its commentary. What more do you want from an album. For Bluesdoodles Kids In The Street is a welcomed addition and will be played for the sheer enjoyment of listening to Justin Townes Earle.


Justin Townes Earle – Kids In The Street –  New West Records

EIGHTpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

  1. Champagne Corolla
  2. Maybe A Moment
  3. What’s She Crying
  4. 15-25
  5. Kids In the Street
  6. Faded Valentine
  7. What’s Goin’ Wrong
  8. Short Hair Woman
  9. Same Old Stagolee
  10. If I Was The Devil
  11. There Go A Fool
  12. Graceland (Bonus Track)

Earle has announced a quartet of UK dates in the summer:
Monday 26 June – The Tunnels – Bristol
Saturday 01 July – Maverick Festival – Suffolk
Monday 03 July – The Crescent – York
Tuesday 04 July – Omeara – London



Justin Townes Earle New Album Kids In The Street

CD Review: Danny & The Champions of The World ~ What Kind Of Love



Danny & The Champions of The World
What Kind Of Love
Loose Music



You could spend hours trying to pigeon-hole Danny & The Champions of The World into a particular genre and as you listen you pick out an array of influences and styles from early on including Van Morrison, Staple Singers; Sam Cooke and so many more have fun pick out where it reminds you but do not over-analyse this is a British band delivering music that fits. Why waste the energy just sit back and enjoy the music Danny Wilson and his band play on this his fifth studio album. What Kind of Love lights up your Summer it is full of energy, it is no saccharin sweet love album it is 10 tracks exploring love through music and lyrics that connect on so many levels.
Opening with a sound full of soul and clash of drums and horns cascade from the speaker as you sit up and take notice and then the voice melds into the guitar that Clear Water has a full infectious sound and like Clear Water you want to dive in and swim and just immerse yourself in the pleasure. Recorded at the bassist Chris Clarke’s London Studio Reservoir we have ten songs exploring love written and developed while on tour they chew over the many types and aspects of love that are delivered with Danny’s crone that explores the words re-shapes them and sends them out as musical poetry. We have mockery in the title This is Not A Love Song, on an album exploring love “…and what went right and what went right… This is not a love Song” he sings with the full choir coming in on the title creating a deep melodic rootsy sound. There is a country feel from the intro on What Kind Of Love and this is full of yearning and like the musical influences woven through the instrumentation finds the questioning lyrics, it is as if the music and words are trying to find the right path to finding love; and it works as the whole arrangement is harmonious with the odd jarring interlude as we despair we can’t get it right echoed by some stylish saxophone. The vocal tone changes with a hint of Rod Stewart on Just Be Yourself, this is a slow dance that flows into a track that has southern funky guitar licks It’ll Be Alright in The End and again the horns swell with the vocals leaves you up-lifted. The Sound of The Train co-written with Ian Siegal ends the journey we have shared with drums and guitars that encircle through the lyrics, a lyrical picture is draw of a train in the distance and that nervous buzz of anticipation as you wait for the train drawing the album to a wondrous end. Feel bereft, love lost as the note fades away for the last time, do not despair the solution is simple put it on repeat this is an album that does not tire your musical soul however many times you play in fact as you get to know the songs the full depth of the lyrics and the exploration of love becomes clearer.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD TEN doodle paws out of TEN ….pawprint half inch

1. Clear Water
2. Precious Cargo
3. This Is Not A Love Song
4. Can I Change My Mind
5. What Kind of Love
6. Words On The Wind
7. Just Be Yourself
8. It’ll Be Alright In The End
9. Thinking About My Friend
10. The Sound Of A Train

U.K. Tour Dates 2015

9th June Cambridge Junction
10th June Bristol, Louisiana
11th June London, Islington Assembly Hall
12th June Reading, South Street Arts Centre
13th June Oxford, Bullingdon Arms
16th June Colchester, Arts Centre
17th June Norwich, Waterfront
18th June Wakefield, Hop
19th June Preston, The Continental
20th June Glasgow, Broadcast
21st June Nottingham, The Maze
26th June Brighton, Bleach

CD Review: David Philips ~ If I Had Wings



David Philips
If I Had Wings
Black and Tan Records



This is an album that captures moods that can be delicate, fleeting and definitely ethereal and distils them gently so that a purity of musical notes ebbs and flows so you can travel on the musical journey David Philips takes you on If I had Wings. David, from the U.K but living in Spain is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and vocalists who combines his immense talents to produce work that connects with your inner musical being on so many planes. His guitar playing has a tone of warmth a joining together of wire and wood in harmony as he uses the percussive quality of the instrument to underline the lyrics with style. There is a curtailed stripped back approach that leaves nothing unsaid. The second track in you are hooked into the tonal shape of the music and the theme that gently runs through many tracks on If I Had Wings, a spiritual shape with Angel. His abilities are showcased throughout the album giving a vast array of tonal textures and lyrics that just beguile with his acoustic guitar and his voice turning the lyrical poem of Hummingbird into a musical tapestry that makes you cry as he sings “Will a butterfly fly if its wings are wet, will a hummingbird hum if caught in a net…” but leaves you with that tantalizing glance of hope. The following track with its drum intro adds some intensity and urgency to the track Quiet due to the change of approach of the guitar beat that hints at a psychedelic world that spins and turns, the track again has a “not of this world and time” feel about it. That Dirty Road has a harder edge to the acoustic guitar demonstrating this is an album that will just keep surprising you as it refuses to be as singer/songwriter album loosely defined as Folk; we have jazz, Americana who cares what the influences are the whole sound is spiritual, thoughtful and keeps you entranced with the stylish lyrics.
Ending the album with the longest and followed by the shortest David, keeps you listening; Venomous Soul is over twelve minutes long and is a narrative that unfurls itself with a yearning tone to the voice and guitar that just wants to keep this poetry in a musical form. We have the inclusion of saxophone and is not a conforming track which, like much of the album, demonstrates David Phillips ability and willingness to experiment and shape things up so we can cut ties with convention and let the magnificent music flow through and touch our hearts. Above all this is a track of ambitious proportions that the guitar will capture your attention as the strings are manipulated and contorted into the shape that suits the moment. The tempo changes about half way through as it seems the track is ending then the guitar continues at a slow measured tempo and it works, never a note too long or a chord to many, Venomous Soul is full of understated power and control.

The final track of this superbly produced and carefully thought out album is a tender jazz infused three minutes of What Will I Do Without You. If I Had Wings is an album that will remain timeless, one to re-visit and you will catch a phrasing style you haven’t noticed before that hint of Pink Floyd, twist of Zeppelin and styles that can trap a musician David Phillips has a pair of musical wings and wound them all at different times to share with us his musical thoughts.

David Philips’ current album that doesn’t need to be defined by any musical box it is purely exquisite music, beautiful lyrics that touches emotions on so many levels.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD TEN doodle paws out of TEN ….pawprint half inch

Ian Siegal @ The Tunnels, Bristol

Ian Siegal - The Tunnels - March 2015 -  5 - _0097l


Ian Siegal
The Tunnels, Bristol
26th March 2015


Ian Siegal - The Tunnels - March 2015 -  5 - _0030l

It is Thursday so it must be Bristol in a tour the has seen Ian Siegal and his current band on a tour that has seen him up and down venues in England and Scotland; the tour is drawing to and end and there is that ‘we are getting the end of the road’ fever in the delivery of the set tonight. Opening with tracks from his current album One Night In Amsterdam, the gig was off to a high-octane start with lots of witty sharp and at times tongue-lashing banter that was always delivered with Siegalist irony and a wicked gold glinting smile. The version of Brandy Balloon had a frenzy of funkyness with James Brown inspired guitar playing by Dusty Ciggaar. Ian Siegal - The Tunnels - March 2015 -  5 - _0050bwl Temporary is a superb track written by the Austrian Ripoff Raskolnikov, who like the character in Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment spins the words. We had an on fire performance of Tom Waits Jockey Full of Bourbon, a track full of clever lyrics that spin-off the Siegal silver tongue that is driven by the avant-garde Latin beat this so suits Ian’s current Pirate persona with the lines “16 men on a deadmans chest, And I’ve been drinking form a broken cup”.

Ian Siegal - The Tunnels - March 2015 -  5 - _0112lAs ever the set list changed tonight as we heard Ian’s version of Warren Zevon’s Carmelita done tonight with verve and style the arrangement suiting the drumming of Raphael Schwiddessen, and the solid delivery of bass from Danny Van’t Hoff giving the band a solid rhythm section that adds a deep tone and structure allowing Dusty and Ian the freedom to develop riffs and play off each other. It is though Ian’s powerful vocals that sets the delivery of music that bends twists and spits out a range of genres that sets this band out from the rest there is no doubt he is the leader of the pack. Tonight we saw Ian at his dirtiest and naughtiest attitude both on guitar and his vocals giving that extra layer of passion, as he shared with the audience his thoughts on British Society and politics and his despair for how people think. So adding The Revelator into the set suited the evening with the medley in the middle that includes Backdoor man that allows freedom of expression and then with a flick of his hand the band brings the chords of Revelator back in an inspired delivery. No set whether solo or with a band is compete without the amazing song Gallo Del Cielo, Tom Russell’s lyrics so suit the style of Ian and the band with Dusty on a Baritone guitar, loved by writers of theme music for Spaghetti Westerns and Duane Eddy gave the sound a real Tex Mex edge as described by Ian as one of his musical styles on an earlier interview with BBC Radio Bristol; tonight as ever it ended in tragedy all hope of returning home lost.

Ian Siegal - The Tunnels - March 2015 -  5 - _0008lAmongst these inspired re-workings of great songs were many of Ian’s including a new version of Early Grace, Falling On Down and Hard Pressed with some Prince thrown into the mix. Tonight we also heard a fantastic jazz infused instrumental from the band who are The Rhythm Chiefs and have been playing together for over ten years in the Netherlands. The tone that the guitarists got from the instruments just plugged straight into the amplifier with no pedals was amazing, especially Dusty Ciggaar; who has to be one of the best players on the planet today.

Ian we hope we keep seeing you in The U.K; solo, duo with a band the venues and everyone who has come to see you love your originality, anarchism and your polished skill vocally and on the guitar you make every song sound exceptional. Ian Siegal live should not be missed TOUR DATES

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CD Review: Joe Pug ~ Windfall

Joe_Pug_Windfall_Cover_1500x1500Joe Pug
Loose Music Release Date – March 2015

The album Windfall, is the third from Joe Pug, but for Bluesdoodles this is a first – so downloaded and listened to the album with open ears and no preconceptions, and I was rewarded with a collection of songs that are full of compassion, melancholy and they wrap you in a mood blanket that you need to listen to at Goldilocks volume neither too loud or hushed. His lyrics reflect this observation Veteran Fighter with the melancholy wail of the harp and deep drone of the bass make this a track that takes you many places this literary journey is a vehicle used throughout the album as his lyrics take you to places as he explores feelings of hope, hurt and love with a twist of positivity. The positive twists are achieved not through luck of a windfall but through diligence, honesty and work, this ethos is reflected on tracks such as The Measure and Burn & Shine with its upbeat country feel.
Stand out tracks for me are Great Hosannas that is a jigsaw of images that Joe pulls together into an array of imagery that is a decoupage of sound and pictures through the power of voice and music, a track that is full of the reflective qualities of this album full of soul. Another favourite is O My Cheasapeake an autobiographical tale that highlights the skills of Joe as a singer/songwriter he is a singer of songs and a teller of tales, a modern troubadour delivering modern folk that is relevant and fixes us in the moment of now whilst hooking into the span of musical tradition taking us back to the mist of time to our earliest memories.
Closing the album, If I Still Can’t Be Found pulls the album together as he sings of the fortitude needed to keep moving on, walking on never in vain but hope and Wilco’s Pat Sansone on Mellotron and the sound that is distinctive and recognizable since the Beatles used one.
There is no doubt that Windfall is the brightest and tastiest windfall fruit of the season as the songs have an accomplished fell with artful blending of musical tones that underpin the narration of the song, Joe Pug’s vocal ranges are perfect for this style of material and his interpretation of a style that loosely can be called Americana but reality is this is American Folk songs about life’s journeys, the good, bad, happy & sad. An excellent album full of skillful composition and a dexterity of sound from an artist full of confidence, belief and passion ensuring the enduring authenticity of lyrical composition and musical delivery.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD NINE doodle paws out of TEN ….pawprint half inch