Jonny Lang, going back to his roots with an album that has a deep vein of blues timing and tempo to explore. Into this vein of rich musical treasures, he weaves in soul and the rawness of deep roots music, making sure your interest is always whetted with anticipation of what is coming next.
The first sign of this album has a fresh approach is the opening track Make It Move with the deep gospel, chain gang infused choruses. This is contemporary roots, porch step blues. We are making the move, going to the mountain rather than waiting for it to come to you; making that effort to put the first step forward as the guitar squeals demanding attention. Signs is an album replete with textures and tones have been blended, shaken and stirred into a cocktail of guitar, electrics and vocals that rasp out the lyrics
Never constrained by traditional rules of electric guitar blues, Lang re-shapes the sound as we meet snakes in the grass the power of the guitar licks build with blinding riffs full of venomous intent as funk collides with blues and a driving octane that is the signature of Jonny Lang as he meets the Snakes on track two. The power builds the drive becomes more determined and though he sings Last Man Standing you know if it is a contest of guitar playing many will fall by the wayside as Lang plays on full of grit, skill and determination that rocks.
The title track often reveals a lot about the intent of the album. The Signs are definitely clear on this title track. The guitar taking the lead it is eventful, full of activity and at times pulling blues into the cocktail of mixed up sounds. The vocals pull the mix of solo guitar and then the deep riffs that curl around the ear making the sound fizz. Bitter End, again has the feel of an urgency to throw in all the ingredients into the cocktail, often like taste the ear can only comprehend so much and simplifying the sonic onslaught makes the tone structure more memorable as you are not rushing onto the next cascade of sound.
Signs is a journey of a musician looking for a contemporary space which has not been caught like a spider in a web of a particular guitar based genre and approach. The signal that Lang is putting together his own earthy sound rooted deep in the earth of guitar creativity is emerging on this album Signs. As we head home the album slows, the frenetic pace is stilled as we have the first of a trio of tracks that have been stripped back to a more ordered structure. Bring Me Back Home, his voice is soulful full of emotional yearnings giving the lyrics the power. The energy and drive of the stomp are picked up on Wisdom. The sound is electric in its simplicity showcasing the vocal tones of Jonny’s voice combine by clear cut precise guitar. Closing out with Singing Songs is my favourite, redeeming the album making you go back and explore all the pathways Lang has taken us along on Signs. The breathlessness of the vocals fill out as the chorus picks up we will go on singing songs/ The reason why Jonny Lang continues to perform it is that the song is at the heart of Signs whether wrapped in guitar complexity or stripped down on the last few numbers.
Signs builds with an intensity at first, and it can seem confused, too busy, not sure what the sound wants to be. Then as the tracks become more familiar on every listen you unpick another cadence, sound bite the cocktail of styles now makes sense as Signs becomes the musical cocktail of choice. There is no doubt that Signs, his first album since signing with Mascot Label Group has a maturity of a young man who after two decades of success at the age of thirty-six has mixed up the genres creating a new sign post ‘Lang Sound’; get to know the new direction before deciding as there is much that is good about the direction even if the pathway at times is cluttered. Signs with it complexity grows with every listen.
JW Jones Raising Blues to a High Temperature that is a certainty on his latest album; the follow-up to his critically acclaimed and Juno nominated Belmont Boulevard. JW has raised the temperature steaming the notes and forming a new a new sound full of warm tones with his vocals adding to the tonal colour of blues infused music full of soulfulness.
Thirteen original numbers, twelve of them co-written by Dick Cooper, of the Cooper Brothers. The song making up the baker’s dozen, How Many Hearts is co-written by Jaida Dreyer and Colin Linden. The songs are a mix of the personal, playful and painful, life is being tempered by the high temperature of the guitar playing and strong songwriting.
Opening with Price You Pay, the guitar is sharp as a gun slinger looking for a challenge, it is a statement this is my stage I am in control of the sparkling blues. The lyrics unfold a story unfurled and we know what the price it is we have to pay. Introducing us once more to his touring bassist Laura Greenberg, whose tones reflect back the sound of Jones’ six-strings. The drummer on the album is Bryan Owings as High Temperature was recorded before Will Laurin joined the band as the drummer.
Focusing on the power of JW Jones, there is not an array of guests the sound is what you expect to hear when JW tours with his band, and the exception to the rule, there has to be one, is Jaida Dreyer joining him on her own composition How Many Hearts. The two vocals harmonise and curl around the lyrics, beat and keys courtesy of Kevin McKendree. Quickly followed by the title track full of swing and mellow blues a big band sound that lays down the influences that dominate the album High Temperature. This is Blues for a good time full of delicious tonal licks, shuffles and the cutest hooks for JW to hang his vocals from. The sound is luscious full-on with the layering of the instruments so that the sound has a richness and depth that is worth every minute that your ears explore the cadences. This is big time Blues, full of confidence and pizzazz.
The first three numbers lay down the quality of JW Jones Raising Blues to a High Temperature; under the skills of the producer Colin Linden’s hand. The studio sound is crisp and warm; with the free from the fluidity of Jones’ live performances. The reach of the vocals is far connecting to the listener with a genuine heartfelt affection of tone. Opening up even further than he did on Cocaine Boy on Belmont Boulevard, you get to know about the real JW Jones on Who I Am. On this emotionally charged blues number, the guitar squeals as the vocals connecting blues in the blood with the life ethics his Grandfather instilled in him making sure he has love in his heart. The cascading keys is a statement of the roads travelled to have the confidence to state this is Who I Am. The album is outward looking, never self-absorbing, the beat picks up with driving rhythms encouraging foot-tapping not tears.
The blues are never far from any JW Jones number blue sparkles and shimmer deep as a sapphire under the brightest moonlight on Midnight Blues. Full of static electricity and the power of the big band sound of urban blues at the top of their game.
Closing out the album we have a turn in the bending road of blues infused music with a country feel. This is fast high-tailing music where the guitar takes centre stage on this instrumental allowing the instruments to take us on a journey painting a picture leaving us with the Wham factor.
High Temperature, from JW Jones is a must for lovers of electric blues, the album goes beyond the genres delighting guitar driven music lovers everywhere when combined with the infectious nature of a soulful voice.
High Temperature Tour and Album with JW Jones bringing double joy from the blues power that is JW Jones: New Album High Temperature released Friday 20th October 2017 plus touring the UK throughout November and December 2017.
“His evolution as a musician and vocalist shine through on this record like never before. Real songs, real playing by real people. JW is the real deal.” – Chuck Leavell (The Rolling Stones)
JW Jones, the award-winning Canadian blues rock guitarist and singer-songwriter, will release his new album “High Temperature” on Solid Blues Records via Proper Distribution in the UK and Europe
“High Temperature”, produced by Nashville-based Colin Linden, recently won “Best Self-Released CD” at the 2017 ‘International Blues Challenge’ (via Blues Foundation in Memphis), and was also named the ‘Hot Shot Debut’ on the Billboard Top 10.
“High Temperature” is the follow-up to JW’s JUNO Award nominated 2014 album “BelmontBoulevard”, which was nominated for a Maple Blues Award, and held the #1 position on Canadian roots radio stations for 13 weeks.
Bluesdoodles saw JW Jones live last year. Wow what a show, thoroughly recommended Do Not Miss Him This Time. “Swansea heard and felt the sinews of blues emotional magic weave around the venue tonight. Come back soon JW Jones” – Read what we said HERE.
News from Colne August Music Festival Jessica Foxley Bands Announced
Unsigned Artist Competition – Winners Announced playing live on main stage at Great British Rhythm & Blues Festival, Colne on Saturday & Sunday.
The festival requested unsigned acts… and received them by the bucket-load! Following an overwhelming response, The Jessica Foxley Unsigned judging panel chose 8 finalists to open the festival main stages this summer.
The eight bands all bring to the stage all the excitement of live music. One of the eight will then be chosen toparticipate in the UK Blues Challenge on 10th September 2017 at the Iconic venue The Cavern Club in Liverpool.
Jessica Foxley Unsigned Band will be performing alongside the four bands, LaVendore Rogue; Elles Bailey; Zoe Schwarz & The Rainbreakers. The winning band will step into the shoes of Kaz Hawkins who in 2017 was semi-finalist at The International Blues Challenge in Memphis and Winner of the European Blues Challenge.
Seeking Festival VolunteersThe festival seek volunteers to help at the event.In return for skills, time and energy, volunteers receive free festival tickets, vouchers for food and refreshments, an exclusive crew t-shirt, plus of course, be part of what is shaping up to be one of the best blues-rock based event of the year.Colin Hill, the CEO of Colne Town Council comments “And… for any young person over 16, not yet experienced in the workplace and wanting to gain some hands-on experience of what running an event like this entails, this a great opportunity to be part of something exciting and challenging…”To register interest and for further information, here’s more…Festival ‘Headline’ Sponsors Announced
Barnfield Construction are based in Nelson and have been established for over 40 years. The family run contractors, developers and investors offer honest, thought-through and practical solutions to a diverse array of new and refurbishment building contracts ranging from industrial, commercial, retail, leisure, plus hospitality and residential schemes.
Roaming Roasters are a farm shop and deli on Barrowford Rd, Higham, and sell locally sourced, grass fed and free range meat, along with handmade pies and loads more tasty stuff.
Hippodrome Theatre, Friday Evening, 25th August
Ian Siegal & Band – celebrating 25 years of professional touring with his songs that are real, shows that resonate and vocals served raw +
The Lachy Doley Group – “The Jimi Hendrix of the Hammond Organ” +
Tom Attah & The Bad Man Clan – A modern, living bluesman…
The Muni, Friday Evening, 25th August
Joanne Shaw Taylor – UK’s number one star in the blues rock world + Stevie Nimmo Trio – one half of Scotland’s highly respected ‘Nimmo Brothers’ + The Revelator Band – unpredictable, fun festival-style blues.
Aynsley ListerWhen explosive natural ability collides with fiery, emotionally charged compositions, the result is Aynsley Lister… + Rob Tognoni Explosive guitar playing and unique songs + TJ & The Suitcase Vocal / Harmonica / Suitcase drum / Home made tambourine beater pedal… Its time to get packed!
The Muni, Saturday Evening, 26th August
Grammy nominee Janiva Magness + the blues, soul, gospel of Jo Harman + The Kaz Hawkins Band – Northern Ireland’s fun, heartfelt, soulful rock ‘n’ roll-blues…, Lisa Mills
Hippodrome Theatre, Sunday Evening, 26th August
Lucky Peterson –Searing lead guitarist, fantastic organist, and first-rate vocalist Clay Shelburn – Funk, rock, blues and country from this incredible selftaught multi-talented artist Michael Messer’s Mitra – A remarkable fusion of country blues with Hindustani music
The Muni, Sunday Evening, 26th August
King King – Soulful, dynamic, blues-rock from Glasgow John Fairhurst – The Wigan Jimi Hendrix Gwyn Ashton – Solo, hardcore, 21st Century, alternative blues
_____________________________________________________________ This is just a snap shot of the array of music available at the Festival:- The Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival:
12 Official venues
1 Great Festival
Ray Dorset aka Mungo Jerry Talking About Ealing, Festivals and Blues
In 1970, Mungo Jerry enjoyed world-wide fame with a song called “In The Summertime”. That song went to number three on the US chart and number one in England. Ray Dorset of Mungo Jerry talked with us about the history of the group. Now performing as Mungo Jerry and popular at Blues Festivals, performing this July at Ealing Blues Festival.
BD: I was delighted to have the opportunity to talk with you today, the writer of In The Summertime
BD: Lets start off with the here and Now. Mungo Jerry not in the 1970’s band format performing at Ealing Blues Festival July 2017. RD: Mungo Jerry is me Ray Dorset. I am Mungo Jerry the artist performer. I have owned the name since 1972. Before I was even fired from the band. Once I was fired they considering the vocalist from the Strawbs to replace me it wouldn’t work. BD: Why?RD: They very quickly realised without Mungo there was no band called Mungo Jerry. In retrospect having the Mungo Jerry was a good move for me. Gives me an identity linking back to the band and suits the widespread music I play, African and world music rooted in the blues.
BD: Now playing in the Summertime in West London at Ealing’s Blues Festival what will you associated with 70’s pop bring to the Blues vibe? RD: Mungo Jerry is not pop as it is known today. I will be playing In The Summertime it is expected. You can be assured I will not be doing what Shaggy did at Glastonbury with In The Summertime get crowds to wave arms in the air never expect a worldwide performer to keep asking people put arms in the air just can’t do it. The hit the band Mungo Jerry had with In The Summertime was one of many. Even then the essence of blues was present. BD: How? RD: We had no drummer; the percussion was from Cabasa combined with my foot stomping on the floor picking up from John Lee Hooker’s style..
BD: Back to Ealing Festival RD: As I said I don’t do pop. I play some of my hits that is to be expected. Most importantly I play music I enjoy playing. I gauge the crowds reaction and what else is on the festival line-up. I am not there to educate or display a virtuoso performance. I am at a festival to entertain, hopefully the music will be a positive and therapeutic experience. I give something in my performance and get something back from the crowds it is karma. What will be fun at Ealing will be playing music the audience wants to hear. You have to remember the majority of the crowd what to be entertained on a summer’s day. They really do not care about the genre and if it is recorded music who produced it is of little importance. Music for them they either like or dislike. Hopefully they will like my music and I am really looking forward to playing Ealing this July and you never know there may even be schools mates from when I lived in West London.
BD: What were your introduction to music growing up in West London? RD: I grew up in Ashford Middlesex in 1955 the population was approximately 16,500 the whole family was very, very musical. My Father played the harmonica and Mum the Piano and sang. On any occasion, Christmas, birthdays, family get-togethers we all did our turn playing and singing. I had no brothers or sisters so was taken by my Gran to lots of movies, particularly Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire and especially musicals. Such as Annie Get Your Gun, The King & I, and Singin’ In The Rain. There was something in the rhythm and groove that had a therapeutic effect. When I was eight or nine my Great Uncle would take me to the local football club socials; I would sit as close to the band as possible I could feel what it would like to be the drummer. I started playing the washboard, then made a tea-chest bass and then saw it up to make a guitar. I had for Christmas a terrible plastic guitar and then when I was ten I got a proper guitar for Christmas. By the time I was eleven I was in my first skiffle band with friends from school, rehearsing around each other’s houses, yet never thought about being a professional musician.
I had an interest in electronics and had a crystal set for Christmas one year, build that and then investigated how it worked. A friend discovered transistors used to buy ex-government components and old radios and take them apart. Then I got a job in Timex in Brentford working in research drawing up quality control equipment. Hand –in-hand whilst I was playing in a band in the evenings and weekends. By the time I was fifteen I was playing in the White Hart and Red Lion in Sutton, on alternate Saturday evenings. The Rolling Stones played there on a Thursday evening. We were running out of repertoire from across various genres so started to write songs.
BD: You obviously loved playing music and the effect music had on yourself when listening and others when playing. Who influenced you? RD: So many, from across the genres. From playing in the same venue as the Rolling Stones to when my band supported the Yardbirds, they were phenomenal, unique and real. Then bands like The Who created a fantastic groove the maximum R n’ B from three musicians; and rooted in the blues. From the British Blues Scene I explored the music that influenced them I have always been inquisitive and asked questions.
As I found music I explored the roots and the road led back to blues whether Bob Dylan or Woody Guthrie; who played a lot of Leadbelly. I listened to music from far and wide and continue to find new experiences like Daddy Long Legs based in America he does a great version of Bourgeoise Blues full of raw energy. Through discovering his music recorded in jail by Alan Lomax I found the other artist captured on Lomax’s tapes. Blues run deep from Robert Johnson through to Muddy Waters & BB King the list could go on they have been so influential.
BD: That leads us nicely to and linking back to Ealing Blues Festival. What does the Blues mean to you and can it be defined? RD: Blues has a fundamental drive it is honest music. I have always listened to music associated with the blues, the old timers, British Jazz and my Mother loved Frankie & Johnny with Elvis Presley and I was paying in a Skiffle and Blues Band. Rock N Roll came to the fore with Bill Halley then Elvis Presley they go back to rural blues. Country and blues and of course Rockabilly white ghetto blues.
Enough people have defined the blues intellectually and socially for me it is about a feeling. There are so many different aspects of blues. There is an element of soul to it the feel is kind of rooted in the blues. The feel and soul reaches back to slavery, servitude working in the fields creating rural blues. Rising out of intense misery singing about the discontent, hurt complaining to a beat can be persuasive. Blues is about writing about what is happening and can be triggered by an event such as a hurricane or newspaper headline or a phrase overheard. You could say the roots of I Don’t Like Monday title and theme is a link in the chain of blues impacting popular music.
Blues is personified by for example, Sleepy John Estes, Married Women Blues electric guitar into a basic amp both bought from a department store yet created music that was timeless. The same goes for the legendary twelve-string played by Leadbelly both influential musicians over the decades. Stripped down to its basics it is guitar and foot stomping, from likes of John Lee Hooker as you get more excited the stomping gets harder creating a fundamental tempo. The instruments, lyrics and player meld into one delivering the blues. Blues has always been commercial once they sold records Howlin’ Wolf wanted to sell his records and was commercial and there is so much more than 12-bar blues it is a much more complex genre. It has to have an element of being unique not just replicated what has already been done and definitely for me in the blues less is more; I have definitely made that mistake. I find that today so many blues artists play the same style all the time reflecting what seems to be taught and the influence of X-factor type programmes. Take Joe Bonamassa he can play the guitar BUT it has all been done before.
I have written blues in various styles always been an influence. Looking to write and record in the future something that has not already been done in the past. It will definitely be influenced by all the soulful blues energy and hopefully create something unique. Music that isn’t just for a black guy to sing. American population is made up of immigrants from Europe, Asia and Africa. The music became the melting pot with influences from Eastern Europe, Germany, Ireland as they got together in homesteads and East met West. The instruments were mixed together whatever was available, parlour piano, banjo, harmonica, accordion all got mixed together as remembered folk music formed and re-formed into music we recognise today.
BD: During your long career, a jam with Peter Green & Vincent Crane resulted in the Katmandu Album, Case For The Blues RD: I first met Peter Green when he was in Fleetwood Mac; he recommended a guitar shop to me. Then met him again when I was living in Grayshott Surrey where I lived for a while in a large house with a recording studio. Chris Hollands asked me if I fancied a jam with Peter Green I said yes, come round to my studio. Few days later another phone call Vincent Crane fancies a jam. So we got together with Peter Green, Vincent Crane(Keyboards), Len Surtees an old school friend on bass and cousin of motorbike racer John Surtees; Jeff Whittaker on percussion with sharp skills. We realised that we didn’t have a drummer so asked Jackie Lynton Band’s drummer Greg Terry to come round. So we had a big jam session, and thought possibly have a record from this so recorded on a cassette and 2” multi track.
BD: If you were putting together the perfect / fantasy band with members from across the years (dead or alive) who would you have playing RD: No not doing that the past is the past only now. BUT I would love to have a jam with Bob Dylan; Bruce Springsteen and Eric Clapton. If I could bring someone back to play it would be Vincent Crane he was a genius the way he played, whether classical progressive or rock. There would have been no ELP or Crazy World of Arthur Brown without his influence and keyboard skills. So sad he committed suicide a real loss.
Thank you for your time, been wonderful chatting with you as we wondered around the world of music, Mungo Jerry and In The Summertime
Ealing Blues Festival Leads with The Blockheads and Mungo Jerry
Leading the line-up this year are The Blockheads, one of the most underrated British bands of all time. Since 2000, Derek Hussey has been fronting the band, adding 21st century bite to the everyday observations of their late frontman Ian Dury. They will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of their album ‘New Boots & Panties’ by bringing their witty lyrics to their biggest London show of the summer.
Joining them as headliners across the weekend are Mungo Jerry, the blues, jugband & skiffle influenced band whose frontman and founder Ray Dorset played a number of Ealing venues in his formative years. The group are famous for their feel good summer anthems and responsible for one of the best-selling singles of all time, “In The Summertime”, which has sold over 30 million copies.
As always, Ealing Blues Festival will present the artists at the heart of the British blues scene, with performances from 2016 British Blues Awards finalists Tim Aves, Northsyde, Sam Kelly & Laura Holland, 2016 Sky Arts Guitar Star series finalist Steve Morrison and Amy Mayes, who recently performed with Jools Holland’s band for his Radio Two show. It is also proud to champion a number of emerging blues artists, and will feature showcases from Winnie & The Rockettes, Georgie Chapple, Du Bellows, Andy Twyman and Tom Walker.
Ealing Blues Festival began as an independently-sponsored ‘free’ event in 1987. Over the years, the festival has developed in partnership with Ealing Council & The Event Umbrella to become one of the biggest blues festivals in the UK, with almost 6,000 people attending last year alone. Acts will perform across three stages in Ealing’s beautiful Walpole Park.
Ealing Blues Festival is one of 2017’s Ealing Summer Festivals, a series of eight separate events taking place in the borough between July and September. Set in some of Ealing’s most beautiful parks, the festivals bring people together in a collective appreciation of exceptional local and international talent across a range of artistic disciplines.
Tom Walker Band
Laura Holland Band
Bourbon Street Revival
Amy Mayes Band
Georgie Chapple Band
Tim Aves & Wolfpack
Steve Morrison & Blues Abuse
Sam Kelly’s Station House
Dan Sowerby & Hugh Budden
Winnie & The Rockettes
Geoff Garbow Band
Robert Hokum’s Blues Festival All Stars
King Buster Blues Band
The cover is alluring, Karen’s bejewelled eyes inviting you to explore the dozen tracks that tell me once again the Karen is never a Fish Outta Water when singing the blues with soulful emotions. Building on the power and impressions left from her acclaimed 2010 release Still The Rain. On Fish Outta Water, Karen has handed much of the song writing over to producer Eric Corne; Five tracks have the Lovely skills two co-written with her producer, two co-written with Mark Bowden her touring Guitarist.
At the heart of the album is the seductive vocals of Karen Lovely; the tones and textures bounce of the musicians who she has surrounded herself with on Fish Outta Water. Two guitarists are used across various tracks, either Rick Holmstrom or Doug Pettibone with bassist Taras Prodaniuk and Drummer/percussionist Matt Tecu pulling in the deep driving rhythms that the heartbeat of the album. Other instruments blended in shaping of tracks, used as colourful punctuation.
The title track pulls you deep under the watery depths; as you listen you feel in the company of friends you can breathe; Fish Outta Water not Karen Lovely Singing Blues. The instrumentation syncopated to reflect and build on Karen’s powerful vocalization. R’n’B that draws on a moody vibe; lit up by the Skip Edwards mastery of the Hammond B3.
With a beat of the drum, the mood is change as we are sitting Under The Midnight Sun setting the pace and full of clever licks and the use of saxophone adding a soulful aire to the proceedings. Having listened to the album a number of times I know that it is the variation that makes you sit up, listen and pay attention to every track. The words are there for a purpose as the story of the song is unveiled with a mix of tempos; we have a thread of continuity Karen Lovely’s vocals her understanding of the blues.
Looming with intent is countrified Big Black Cadillac, this is no city slicker leading into for me the song of the album Hades’ Bride (There Was A Time); a slow burner as Lovely explores domestic violence and sexual assault. Opening with beautiful acoustic guitar tones from Al Bonhomme, the mournful tones picked up by the searing violin and deeper tone of cello creating the tonal palette of the track. The story is sung by Karen with thoughtful delivery of the prose as blues and country meld in a perfect flowing harmony across words of pain and control; as wings are clipped and punches thrown. Emotive words spun with shrewd connections. Atlas, the world on his shoulders, Frazier’s punch and the use of being the Bride of Hades heroes from myths pulled together with clever phrases creating the allusion that all is well whilst underneath living‘s hell. Hades Bride a love song, how it can be distorted turned hateful with the control and misuse of power creating a life full of hurt and pain feels like a true story from the past many have lived through. And sadly, many still living through. For Karen this is more than a song as she actively supports RAINN USA’s largest anti sexual violence organisation.
How to follow that opening to the second half of the album, with explosive upbeat sound of Molotov Cocktails. Doug Pettitone’s guitar is sharp underpinning the vocals. The tempo maybe upbeat there is a darker feel once again front the chords of the organ and guitar as Karen sings, “let’s have another round of Molotov Cocktails”. The song as you would expect form Karen is not a girls night out in a cocktail bar having fun it is the darker underbelly of geo-politics of living in a world surrounded by social justice.
All change as we shuffle into Chicago for an optimistic number Next Time things will be better! Closing out the album we have a country fair vibe almost a jug band sound as Punk Rock meets Johnny Cash. Vocals observe a busker playing for nickles and dimes in a subway. Once again gritty side of life is captured in a few words in a melodic cry as a picture of now is painted by Karen Lovely’s vocals and words. Closing with a The River’s Wide, we are back at the waters side. Down by the water with the Hammond Organ and Karen’s soulful vocals as once again we visit pain divisions widen.
Karen brings a fluidity to the album it flows and no track is a Fish Outta Water; this is an album that feels at home in any lover of modern blues infused with country and soul collections. This is an album where the song is the key and every track tells a story you want to hear. Stupendous album of blues that demands you to listen to. With every play you hear another crafted lick; astute vocal phrasing. Fish Outta Water never when in the company of Karen Lovely. I recommend you explore the album it is full of hidden depths; no written review will ever be able to convey.
Kenny Wayne Shepherd says Lay It On Down on New Album
Kenny Wayne Shepherd new album Lay It On Down; Bluesdoodles can sum up his eighth solo album as searingly confident modern blues. You want to read a little bit more? Happy to oblige as I listen once again with intense pleasure to Lay It On Down.
Lay It On Down, on Mascot Group Label with a release date of 21st July 2017. The album was recorded in January as Shepherd and his band entered the Echophone Studios in Shreveport, Louisiana. New Year, New Project , with an ambitious mission statement: the greatest songs of Shepherd’s career. No more. No less. “The point of this album,” he says, “was that I wanted to put a heavy emphasis on the songs themselves and the writing behind them. I wanted each song to really stand on its own with the songwriting, the music, the words.” Having listened mission accomplished full of fresh vibes; strong lyrics surrounded with the brilliance of electric blues.
Throughout the album the guitar sizzles with a controlled intent. The shining Goldilocks never too hot, never too long and definitely not cold. Kenny always leaves you wondering as the voice is hooked in what guitar lick was left out for the main event the lyrics. It is that feeling of intrigue, the notes that have not been played that leaves you not wanting more but satisfied, intrigued and with melodies and lines that flash into your head as the most welcomed of earworms. Lay It Down, the music has been laid down with thought, commitment and self-belief that less is often more when it comes to electric guitar lead breaks.
Opening the narrative that connects the album’s eleven tracks is Baby Got Gone; starting off at full throttle with rock that is full of attitude we know we are embarking on a musical journey that will take us around an interesting circuit of songs recorded in Nashville out of Louisiana as rocks in the road are explored. Rock and romance in the air combine on romantic number Nothing But the Night. Diamonds & Gold is full of soulful luxuriousness, a cascade of notes on guitar, drum and horns the sound is funky, modern and energised. The title is two objects of desire signifying for many power, and wealth giving us our status and identity. Shepherd manages through the lyrics to look beyond to bigger more meaningful and fulfilling things as the guitar squeals delivering a crescendo of sound more valuable to the listener than Diamonds & Gold.
With a floating, Americana feel of the title track, Lay It On Down takes the musical road in another direction. This light and fresh number has a darker lyric trapped in a gilded cage as Shepherd sings “Who broke your will now honey who stole your dreams like money who made you think you were keeping around”. The lyrics build the story, the guitar break fills in the gap as we travel the road knowing we need to look at the inner beauty to pass the self-doubts that we often show to the world. .
The lap-steel curls with a depth of tone on Hard Lesson Learned and the electric guitar adds a salty sharpness. Then into blues shuffling glory that is the signature of Kenny Wayne shepherd for many. Followed by another vintage bluesy number we are then showered with Louisiana Rain. The acoustic guitar is gentle reflecting rain on a window, distorting the view with its shades of grey. A song sung with heartfelt personal emotions. As we are led to the final stop on the journey that is Ride Of Your Life. The music hooks back to the driving rocky feel of the opener. This is as it says a Ride Of Your Life the guitar crackles with static electric power, the flashes of sparks are iridescent with every shade of blue from baby blue to darkest indigo. The encore is an acoustic version of the title track; we revisit the bird in the gilded cage the lyrics suit the acoustic sound. Lay It On Down is an album that will grow with very outing and tracks will become live favourites..
By the eighth album an artist can become predictable, all feels like heard that before. DEFINITELY NOT with Lay It On Down, Kenny Wayne Sheppard, picking up on his other passion motor cars has given his music a complete overhaul, the guitar driven engine still has its power and integrity but added to the accelerator taking us on a journey are strong lyrics and modern Americana influence. As KWS said recently, “I feel like the band’s best days are still ahead of us. And the next album could be completely different…” He has certainly succeeded as Kenny Wayne Shepherd says Lay It On Down on New Album. While we wait for the next re-vamp we can Lay It On Down with pleasure in the company of Kenny Wayne Shepherd and his band.
The re-formed Red Devils are touring with ZZ Top this summer. When they visit the UK and Ireland they will have a few days open before returning to the US …..
Twenty-five years after their seminal live recording “King King” THE RED DEVILS continue to inspire a generation of blues lovers drawn to their gritty Chicago and Texas-inspired blues, by way of Hollywood, California.
Members of the band from that album recording PAUL “THE KID” SIZE (guitar), BILL “BUSTER” BATEMAN (drums) and JONNY RAY BARTEL (bass) are joined by MIKE FLANIGIN (who toured with the band though didn’t record). Taking the role of the late Lester Butler is Delta Groove recording artist BIG PETE, a monster harp player, front man and singer who attributes his entire musical existence to seeing The Red Devils in 1993.
From their Monday night haunt at Hollywood club “King King” they developed a cult-like following. Producer Rick Rubin was one of those regulars, eventually producing the band’s “King King” album (recorded live at the club). Rubin then brought them into the studio with fan Mick Jagger. Years before the Rolling Stones returned to their blues roots on record, Jagger and the Devils laid down nearly two dozen rowdy blues classics that sounded raw and real. The sessions went unreleased officially, but circulated widely as a popular bootleg. One cut “Checkin’ Up On My Baby” finally was released on Jagger’s 2006 “Very Best” compilation.
After that session, Rubin again called on the Devils, this time to back the legendary Johnny Cash. Those recordings were also shelved until the Cash “Unearthed” box set. The Allman Brothers fell in love with the Devils’ sound taking them on their 1992 East Coast tour. The Red Devils disbanded in 1994 and front man Lester Butler died in 1998 aged 38, but a fervent fan base keeps The Red Devils’ fame alive.
A re-formed line up of the legendary LA-band THE RED DEVILS is touring with ZZ TOP this summer. When they visit the UK and Ireland they will play three standalone shows – July 28 in Belfast, July 29 in Poynton and July 30 in London. Twenty-five years after their seminal live recording “King King” THE RED DEVILS continue to inspire a generation of blues lovers drawn to their gritty Chicago and Texas-inspired blues, by way of Hollywood, California.
Rainbreakers Talking About 2017 UK Blues Challenge
BD: firstly, thank you for taking the time out to chat about participating in the 4th UK Blues Challenge, Blues, your music and more.
RB: Thanks for having us.
BD: 2017, sees the fourth UK British Blues Challenge. This year the UKBlues Federation are “Bringing The Blues back to The cavern 60 years on..” Tell us what it means to The Rainbreakers to have been nominated to participate in the challenge with the chance of representing the UK in Hell, Norway and Memphis U.S.A in 2018?
RB: We were overwhelmed to have been nominated, especially when we don’t really consider ourselves to be a blues band as such. We think it shows willingness from theK scene to accept the new approach to the blues that some of the younger bands of today are displaying. Obviously we would be thrilled to go through to the European and American challenges especially as we are hugely influenced by a plethora of bands from the states!
BD: What are the Blues to The Rainbreakers? Do you feel British Blues has a different feel to what is being currently produced in Europe, United States and elsewhere in the world?
RB: To us the Blues is just good music that is soulful and portrayed with meaning. The blues has influenced almost the entirety of modern day music, so to us it’s a huge umbrella term covering a wide variety of different styles. We would say that the British Blues scene has just as much variety and depth as any of the styles we’ve seen coming from Europe and the US. The bands we’ve met from both places have their own unique style and are usually influenced by a melting pot of artists from both sides of the pond anyway. So, yeah the Blues here has its own feel as much as the Blues there has its own.
BD: Your latest EP is entitled Rise Up; tell us a bit about your EP and do you have plans for a full album.?
RB: The latest EP was a chance for us to explore our own songwriting and recording ability. We have a friend, Robin Andrews, who is an amazing Drum and Bass producer signed to Blu Mar Ten Music, and he was willing to spend time with us in our own studio to explore some different ideas and come at the recording process in a different way. The hope was always to use his differing background to most producers in the scene and see what came out of it. We were pleasantly surprised with the results and all of the feedback from reviewers and fans alike has given us huge encouragement to keep on experimenting with our ideas when it comes to recording again. For now all we can say is that we do have plans for another record. You’ll have to wait and see….
BD: What do you feel The UKBlues Federation can bring to the UK Blues what would you like the Federation to be doing for Blues artists on the circuit in Britain today?
RB: The main task of the federation has and should always be to reenergize the scene in the country so that more people keep music live and try new ways to draw in the younger crowds because without the younger audience taking the mantle the scene won’t last forever. All they can do for now is continue to give new bands, like ourselves and the other acts in the challenge, a chance to perform in front of people and push their careers further. Without opportunities like this we couldn’t keep reaching new fans and keep performing.
BD: If you were putting together the perfect band with members from across the years (dead or alive) who would you have playing?
RB: Good question!! We’d have to have the drummer from The London Souls, Chris St. Hilaire, insane rhythms and ability. Then with Chris Wood of The Wood Brothers, incredible player on both electric bass and double bass!! Oh and then we’d have Brian J from Pimps of Joytime as the frontman, great vocals and guitar work! Then for us it would have to be King Zapata from Gary Clark Jr’s band for his guitar work, both as lead and his playing ability as rhythm. That’s a band right there! Especially when you complete it with Mariachi Flor de Toloache, the backing singers and players from The Arcs, doing what they do best! If you havent’ heard of them, look ‘em up, you will be amazed!!
Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion Talks about 2017 Blues Challenge
BD: firstly, thank you for taking the time out to chat about participating in the 4th UK Blues Challenge, Blues, your music and more.
ZSBC: It’s our pleasure… it’s going to be a new experience for us, and we are determined to enjoy the whole occasion, performing and listening to the other bands… we don’t normally think of music as being a competition… but it’s going to be a great night. A big Thank you.
BD: 2017, sees the fourth UK British Blues Challenge. This year the UKBlues Federation are “Bringing The Blues back to The cavern 60 years on..” Tell us what it means to Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion to have been nominated to participate in the challenge with the chance of representing the UK in Hell, Norway and Memphis U.S.A in 2018?
ZSBC: Firstly, the fact that the number of our peers nominating is so large gives real credibility to the artists involved, so we are also proud about that. We are also proud to be nominated as we see it as a recognition of our original music, concept and style. We don’t write the songs to any kind of formula or to fit in with any cliche or pre-conceived ideas of what defines blues in 2017.
BD: What are the Blues to Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion? Do you feel British Blues has a different feel to what is being currently produced in Europe, United States and elsewhere in the world?
ZSBC: Being born and raised here in the UK, the Blues to us the germ and seed planted by the British pioneers of the 60’s Blues Boom. However, our influences have not stopped there, and we have just blended all our collective experiences into what we believe is OUR personal sound and concept.
BD: Your latest album is This Is The Life I Choose, to Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion, tell us a bit about the album, and is the title a reflection of your own feelings being a musician in Britain today?
ZSBC: The title ‘This Is The Life I Choose’ talks about the fact that our current way of living which does not accommodate the existence of live music at all, it is simply not valued by a bureaucratic system that does not accommodate ‘art’. However, we have no choice, it’s a desire and passion that overrides all else. The song describes the hardships of making enough money to live on, but on the other hand describes the joy of making music no matter what. Typically, the songs for this album are very diverse because once again we imposed no artistic restraint or prejudice to the way we felt like writing.
BD: What do you feel The UKBlues Federation can bring to the UK Blues what would you like the Federation to be doing for Blues artists on the circuit in Britain today?
ZSBC: Firstly, work towards unifying all elements of British Blues, bringing cohesion and unity, breaking down destructive and unproductive factions working against each other. From what we hear, and understand, this very element ultimately fragmented and undermined the Blues Boom of the 60’s.
Perhaps the UKBlues Federation can apply for funding with a view to helping bands tour/record/promote.
Provide a central database of information, re venues, festivals, musicians directory, recording studios etc..
BD: If you were putting together the perfect band with members from across the years (dead or alive) who would you have playing?
ZSBC: We are very lucky that within our band, that the guys are not only personal friends of many years, but also have CVs so immense that they cant help but bring colour, experience, diversity and finesse into the melting pot. Chemistry within a band is a huge factor.
Rob’s heroes include, Stevie Winwood, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Robben Ford, Matt Schofield.