CD Review: Mojo Makers ~ Devils Hands

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Devils Hands
Hypertension Music

 

 
Devils Hands, is the follow-up album to Wait Till The Morning released in 2013, this young blues band from Denmark who are making a distinctive sound that is the blues, are not afraid to experiment and add dollops and twists of a myriad of styles, tempo’s and textures in an album that has eleven original toe-tapping tracks. Throughout the album you can pick up the influences from the 1960’s & 70’s with hints of The Doors, Led Zepplin and delta bluesmen including the mighty Leadbelly There is throughout out the album a subtle layer of contemporary rock/ R’n’B driven music added to the basic blues line; while always staying true to the blues/gospel sound they are creating on this album, this gives an energy with the rawness tamed.

The opening track Come On Brother; has a gospel/holler feel to the tempo and the haunting ‘A Capella’ vocals at the beginning of the track before the guitar joins in and some mesmerising drumming so that the track moves along taking you deep into the bayou. There are lots of changes in shape and structures as demonstrated on Howl Away reggae beat but still the blues must be bleggae demonstrated how interconnected music that has its roots implanted into the past of our tribal memories, whether Irish, African or Danish!.
We have hints of Jazz on Fly on Baby and love the clicking finger in the intro and subtle keyboard sound with a strong bass line, showing the versatility of a sound that refuses to tame and stay in its allotted box. The title track Devils Hands, has a gospel feel and if you close your eyes you can imagine with the clapping of the hands Africans toiling trapped in slavery picking cotton this is emotional blues.

Like your blues with a bucket load of rock then they deliver this with strong riffs from the guitar on tracks including Man Fire Soul, Indian Woman and Slight Return, they are all different and the dirty guitar of southern rock with slide on Slight Return is a fitting finale to the album which is full of contrasts making it an interesting listen.

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

CD Review: Tristan Mackay ~ Wire and Wood

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Tristan Mackay
Wire and Wood
Battered Hat Records

 
 
 
Tristan Mackay’s second album Wire and Wood builds on the success that this talented, charismatic singer song writer has been achieving since in 2010 when he was discovered busking by Grammy award-winning producer Martin Leavan. Since that life-changing day he has gathered around him friends in the music industry and a phalanx of fans ensuring that when crowd funding for this album he raised twelve thousand pounds in two weeks.

Wire and Wood the title shows how the guitar is an extension of his soul, the instrument is part of his body, and he uses it as the instrument to emotionally support and enhance is melodic tenor vocals.

He has been compared to Mark Knopfler, John Myer and Jeff Buckley, the reality is this is a young independent man who is ploughing his own style and it is a furrow that you will want to follow. Every track on the album is powerful, not in a loud way but as a message that fits many a mood and is a gentle tonic to the trouble, stressed or worried mind. The title track Wire and Wood is about a battered loved, and cherished acoustic guitar and like many tracks on the album can be heard whenever you get out and see entertaining soft spoke Tristan live. Black Sheep has a cheeky guitar intro, we all have been naughty at times but it is Tristan who can encapsulate falling off the family tree into a melodic song full of gentleness and that honesty gained from acknowledging what we have all done in the past.

Ending the album with Lullaby For Layla, is perfect with its gentle goodnight in this soothing song encapsulating in under two minutes that raw emotion of overwhelming love that he has for his new born daughter.

My favourite track is A Kind of Blue, with its jazz undertones thanks to brushing up the jazz on the drums and an intimate atmosphere is created so that you feel he is singing just for you. This is the track that you just want to sit back, take a sip of a drink and let the sound which is dipped in musical honey sooth the stresses of the day away.

Tristan is a wordsmith, the lyrics are poetry in their own right the guitar accompaniment adds that living dimension like a river flowing through your veins so that you really connect to this true singer/songwriter who crosses the spectrum of music the bottom line is it is very, very good and speaks to you on very many levels.

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

Track Listing
You Win Again
I’ll Be Your’s Tonight
If I Told You
Wire & Wood
The Wine & Me
A Kind Of Blue
Black Sheep
Two Of A Kind
This Old Heart
Lullaby For Layla

CD Review: Glas ~ From The Blues To Your Shoes

glas

Glas
From The Blues To Your Shoes
Independent

 

 
Glas, a popular local band who are out gigging in pubs a clubs on a regular basis and are invited back again and again, they were a hit at Tenby Blues Festival, so they are doing something right and the band have now delivered their second album their growing phalanx of fans have been clamouring for. Glas is Welsh for Blue and are from Blackwood, South Wales the home of The Manic Street Preachers and that is where the commonality ends as the trio of friends deliver a mix of R’n’B, Country, Rock N’ Roll, and Blues they play the music they love.

The album is a perfect showcase for the band with James Oliver larger than life not be in the centre of the stage but is central to the band with his guitar skills, whether playing slide or electric he sets the tempo and gives the band a clarity of sound. Up front is bassist David John whose vocals are clear but at times lacks emotion and tonal texture; ensuring that these two outgoing musicians are contained in a musical form and shape is the job for drummer Huw Hannon and he does this well.

The opening track is one of the self-penned numbers on the album and has quickly become a staple of the set list, The Sky Turned Red And My Face Turned Blue this seven minute track gives every musician a chance to show their skill, this is a track that would have been improved with some judicious editing as the individual parts work but as a whole it is just too long. Whereas Fleur-de-Lys Rag another self-penned number has a tempo that sets your feet tapping a fitting ditty for a local village. She’s Long Gone has some good bass playing and the beat drives the track along with some timely intervention from James on guitar. Robert Johnson’s; Dust My Broom is a permanent fixture on any of their set lists as James has the chance to demonstrate his skills with the slide in his lead break.

This low-budget independently produced album, From The Blues To Your Shoes has been requested by their growing band of fans and they will be delighted to be able to take a little bit of Glas home with them as it does showcase this local band so that you can hear the essence of the Glas sound far and wide as the last track says Glas are Ready, Willing and Able to play.

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

Track Listing
The Sky Turned Red And My Face Turned Blue
Revenge Freak
Fleur-de-lys Rag
The Causing Of It All
She’s Long Gone
Dust My Broom
Shake Rattle & Roll
Shake Your Money Maker
Sea Cruise
Ready, Willing And Able

CD Review: Davy Knowles ~ Outsider

The Outsider Front Cover

Davy Knowles
Outsider
Independent – (Pledge Record)

 

 

Davy Knowles, the name will ring bells yes this is the solo album of the precocious young guitarist from Isle Of Man who was formerly part of the blues-rock band Back Door Slam. Davy is now working as a solo artist and is based in U.S.A gaining a deserved reputation as Davy Knowles & Back Door Slam. Outsider is 14 tracks of a perfect blending of guitar and vocals as he delivers the self-penned numbers with vigour and passion. The words tell a story that are at times introspective, probably autobiographical but they resonate with the listener as they are about striving and life experiences and disappointment we can all relate to.

The open track Ain’t No Grave, has a haunting desolate intro delivered by resonator and Hammond and then you hear Davy’s gravelly distinct voice for the first time, but this is no maudlin track as the beat picks up and a positive vibe takes over with a foot tapping drumming beat and some great lyrics. Work A Little Harder, perhaps will be many people’s anthem for 2015 this track has a feel of a rock anthem you can imagine this delivered in an arena with the audience screaming back the chorus it has real energy. The tempo changes again with Island Bound, a solo style track vocals and guitar and a storyline that makes you want to sit back and listen. What Doesn’t Kill You; has a different riff and feel and certainly could form part of a motivational track listing as he creates a vocal picture that certainly engages. The title track Outsider has some dirty guitar, melodic Hammond and his vocals have a different tone there is an urgency in this song and despair of being on the outside looking in whether that is physical or a mental state you find yourself in. His song/story skills are at the top of the game as he really captures that fear we all have when we feel outside how when we speak the words catch in our throats. The words fall away and then there is the reflective instrumental closing of the track that real works so well who needs words when you are on the outside.

This is an album full of little gems, salient works, delightful riffs and licks and a group of musicians who just want to play and deliver quality music and this is an album like a box of chocolates full of little bits of musical temptation that you just want to listen to.

The album is a showcase for the talent as a singer and song writer and blends his influences from Dire Straits to Woody Guthrie and Pastures Of Plenty is his tribute to the great man himself as a bonus track.
This is an album that makes 2015 feel like a good place to be as it is full of luscious vibrant sound delivered by Davy and the array of talented musicians that he has gathered around him to create Outsider; this is an album that is right at home in anyone’s collection.

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

Tracks
1. Ain’t No Grave
2. Uprising
3. Self Entitled Man
4. Overload
5. Work A Little Harder
6. Island Bound
7. Catch The Moon
8. What Doesn’t Kill You
9. The Outsider
10. A Million Miles Away
11. In A Little While
Bonus Tracks
12. Davy Talks
13. Pastures of Plenty
14. I Knew She Was A Liar (But I Never Would Have Called Her A Thief)

Musicians
Davy Knowles: Guitars, Mandolin, Ukulele & Vocals
Chris Bussey: Drums
Chris Hargreaves: Bass
Paul Siddall: Hammond Organ, Keys & Vocals
Greg Grainger: Drums & Vocals (track 2)
Gary Grainger: Bass & Vocals (track 2)
Mia Simone: Vocals (track 2)
Christine Collister: Backing Vocals (tracks 5 & 8)
Natalie Driver: Backing Vocals (tracks 5)
Paul McKendrick: Backing Vocals (tracks 5, 6 & 10)
Cherie Gears: Backing Vocals (tracks 6 & 10)

Philip Sayce: Influence ~ CD Review

download (11)Influence

Philip Sayce
Mascot Label Group
release Date 25th August 2014

 

 

Blues is often said to be whisky driven, for me this is an album fuelled by quality gin not moonshine, but one of Gin, the spirit flavoured with hints and whispers of various botanical flavours with the key flavour juniper that tease and test your taste buds. Influence does the same for your ear and tests the hearing skills as you find and identify the influences from genres and guitarists including Rock, Rock n’ Roll, Psychedelia, Heavy, guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan Jeff Healey and others the overall influence is the blues of every shade and tone this album is an aural teaser. Every track is different with a balanced mix of divine originals and instinctual covers that take you to a place that is musical and spiritual; they hit that musical nerve at the bass of your spine and send tingles and shivers of delight throughout creating a feeling of oneness with the music.

The opening track Tom Devil, is full of six-string mastery creating a swampy humid riff that drives this heavy moody psychedelic blues, setting the scene for a Sayce album that has a lot to say and refuses to follow a pre-ordained approved pattern for the blues. This is free fall blues and I love it.
The re-arrangement of Little Richard’s Green Power, this is a gem of a classic that really deserves this outing and has a live feel reflecting what producer Dave Cobb said on the second try ‘that’s a take’… and Green Power is certainly a track you return to. Another cover that has been cleverly drawn back in to the light and our consciences is David Nash’s Better Days which displays his vocal skills with a guitar sound which is purer allowing the voice to shine; reflecting that you have to keep on trying you have to do the ground work to get to the next level, this is the album where Sayce has stepped onto the next level.
Evil Women is full of guitar vibrations as the chords pick up and then his voice full of vexed hurt that works with a really grinding set of guitar riffs that reflect the underlying evil as he says “She is full of spite”. Want a change of tempo well Sailin’ Shoes is a brighter sound that gets your feet tapping and has a great chorus line if you feel like singing along, this is a catchy guitar tune that should be getting mainstream airplay; you recognise it well this Lowell George number was recorded by Little Feat.
The longest title and the most traditionally bluesy track on this heavily blues influenced album is Blues Ain’t Nothing But A Good Woman On Your Mind – yes Salt in my coffee and black pepper in my bread… from 1969 Don Covay & Lemon Blues band in 1969 another clever and unusual cover given a Sayce airing for the 21st century.
The album is aptly named Influence, because this is an album full of difference and that makes it such a fun and interesting listen you do not want to miss a note, a guitar lick that twists and turns and takes you to a different place,
Philip Sayce is playing at the top of his game on this album. He certainly achieved his goal when Sayce says “My intention is to move away from ‘flavour of the month ‘ and to reconnect with the spirit” this album will influence your listening for a long time to come.
 
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Bluesdoodles gives this CD out of TEN doodle paws a doodle rating of

TEN ……… pawprint half inch

 

Raw Blues – Will Wilde – CD Review

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There is a rawness about this album, not the raw feel when a band is new on the scene but an emotional gruffness that strips back all emotions to the basics. Having listened to the superb “Raw Blues” album several times I realised the raw texture comes in three forms, firstly the lyrics that take you to the dark corners of life that good blues achieves and then on top of that is the rawness of Wills vocals and the emotionally onslaught he achieves when he puts the blues harp to his lips what a sound he creates. This is a very British take on Chicago Blues that has been stripped down and the pieces re-arranged creating a sound that is perfect for the twenty-first century.
The backing from Stuart Dixon playing guitar that keeps the tension, brings in some lightness to the musical journey providing the perfect foil for Will at the front. Into the mix is precision drumming from Richard Newman and knitting all the elements together through the bass strings is Victoria Smith providing some bass lines that grounds the emotions so that you do not drown. Despite the subjects addressed on the album on tracks such as ‘Paranoia’, ‘Citalopram Blues’ (Depression is the centre of the track); this is not a difficult album to listen to, it certainly does not leave you feeling empty but full having experienced a lyrical and musical journey.“Raw Blues” combines a variety of tones and ‘Thirty Eight’ has a up-beat tempo articulated by crisp drumming and soaring harmonica and ‘Get Me Some’ is a full on semi-rock approach to the blues once again demonstrating the full range of talent being delivered by Will and his band. Another strength within the album is the self-penned songs that mean something to will this comes over in the singing and the production of the CD, each track means something personal and that is what the blues is all about articulating through music personal journeys, the sorrows and the highs. Raw Blues is full of confidence and is a showcase of the fantastic live act this band is. They are worth looking out for at festivals and gigs, but until you can catch the band live this is certainly not a second best option but a CD that you will revisit often and enjoy. Why? – It is simply the powerful combination of strong vocals and a distinctive harp playing by Will Wilde that makes this more than just a little bit special.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD a doodle rating of
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To purchase your own copy of the CD available to buy from Will Wilde

CD Review – Mark Pontin Group – Days of Destiny

Mark P Group

Days of Destiny on Moochee Records is a début album that is delivered with confidence and demonstrates the raw, natural talent of this power trio led by Mark Pontin with his distinctive vocals. This confidence belies the tension that is described in the notes on the long and winding journey that has eventually resulted in a CD any band would be proud of delivering; throughout the nine self-penned tracks Mark has retained the authenticity of the group’s live sound. The title track ‘Days of Destiny’  sets the tone with its driving guitar and bold vocals this is a power trio that has a story to tell you through music and words combining rock and blues to make a wholesome honest sound achieved by some excellent production by Mark Pontin and Tim Hamill, (who also plays the Hammond organ on some tracks).

There is no doubt that this album demonstrates the full range of Mark’s voice that can be warm, then gruff, stern and mellow depending on the context of the lyrics. The guitar solos are not the long meandering lead breaks that stretch out the length of a track but add nothing to the texture and tone of the music, every one of Mark’s solos are there for a reason and add to the whole musical experience as demonstrated on ‘Outcast’. However, stylish the guy up front is he is nothing without the rest of the band and the rhythm section are simply superb providing a stable platform of immaculate timing from the combo of Alun Walters (Bass) and Christopher Baglole (Drums & Backing Vocals) The influences are there to be spotted throughout the album, with gentle nods to styles and approaches, the ghosts of Stereophonics and Stevie Ray Vaughan are captured within ‘Just One More Day’; creating a Pontin sound that I am positive will soon be as recognisable. ‘Traffic Lights’, one of my favourite tracks, has Mark’s growling out the lyrics; whereas the other stand out track has to be the slow blues intro on ‘Fallen Down Again’ followed by another song of strong lyrics with the opening lines of “ When I needed rain, All I had was on the line, I asked for holy water, You gave me holy wine…” and throughout that lovely blues melancholic sound produced by the whole band. The surprise sound, I was not expecting a Hoax sound within the collection but here it was on the penultimate track‘Forever On the Run’; what a glorious sound Mark has produced with the combination of powerful lyrics, vocalisation and that driving guitar sound phew definitely goosebumps-up-the-back time.
mark logo This is a debut that sells the band and it is definitely worth making a trip to see them, the promotion from this project should see the band at gigs and festivals throughout UK and Europe; though this does mean that they will be playing less often in South Wales – our loss will be your gain! On every listening this album reveals a little bit more about Mark Pontin and his band and is a sweeping zephyr of fresh Welsh air sweeping through the blues rock scene this is not jaded and a regurgitation of what has gone before – Days of Destiny is for me in contention for album of 2013, why it has it all, great song-writing, strong guitar sound, melodic backing vocals and a driving rhythm that melds and weaves together to create a live sound that you want to hear again and again.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD a doodle rating of
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Available at Mark Pontin Store

Catch the band live throughout the Autumn – check out the website and sign up to the newsletter click here for information