Signs are Positive on Jonny Lang Latest Album

Signs are Positive on Jonny Lang Latest Album

Signs are Positive on Jonny Lang Latest Album

 

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.

Jonny Lang – Signs – Mascot Label Group

Release 25th August 2017

EIGHTpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

  1. Make It Move
  2. Snakes
  3. Last Man Standing
  4. Signs
  5. What You’re Made Of
  6. Bitter End
  7. Stronger Together
  8. Into The Light
  9. Bring Me Back Home
  10. Wisdom
  11. Singing Songs

 

Signs are Positive on Jonny Lang Latest Album

Nothing Poor Boy Blues About The StoneCoats

Nothing Poor Boy Blues About The StoneCoats

Nothing Poor Boy Blues About The StoneCoats

 

The StoneCoats, young blues-rock band infused with the growing popularity of country/southern rock vibe from Brandon Mississippi debut album is definitely one to explore.  The opening track Another Thought For Today, left me with only one thought I want to hear more. The quartet is vocalist who plays guitar Brandon Barnett, Guitarist Carson Bristow, bassist Ashten Frisella and Leighton Bristow combining a rhythm double as bassist and drummer.

The tempo changes with a chugging boogie that hits that tonal zone where music has a driving excitement. The influences from the past sit gentle, yes we can compare to The Doors, Allman Brothers even Grateful Dead. The reality is The StoneCoats are in the process of developing their own sound that is contemporary colliding with the music that has flown up and down Route 61. The title track fails to hit the mark as the standout track, with its gentle swaying melodic lines lacking grit and determination that the title promised. The big keyboard chord and southern guitar leads into Find You, finding the StoneCoats is a pleasure as the debut promises to be the stepping stone for the band to grow. The country vibe takes over for Cheated Heart and we are left with the blues as the album closes with When You Are Down.  If there is one track that epitomizes the sound of The StoneCoats it is Cross That Bridge; with vocals that hit the mark and the guitar licks stay with you, a memorable track on a debut album initiating the listener’s memories of The StoneCoats notable musicianship.

Nothing Poor Boy Blues About The StoneCoats; as they blend the tones of today mixing up a recipe of musical success a pinch of Southern Rock, a soupçon of country mixed together with a shot of Blues we have a recipe for music that will be tasty.

The StoneCoats – Poor Boy Blues  – Nub Country Records

SEVENpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

  1. Another Thought for Today
  2. Blues Boogie
  3. Cross That Bridge
  4. Poor Boy Blues
  5. Roll Over It
  6. Find You
  7. Can’t Live Without
  8. Cheated Heart
  9. Fade Away
  10. When You’re Down

Nothing Poor Boy Blues About The StoneCoats

British Blues Talk About That With John Mayall

British Blues Talk About That With John Mayall

British Blues Talk About That
With John Mayall

 

 

The latest release from the Godfather of British Blues, John Mayall who isn’t returning to the Blues like others, he hasn’t ever left. Building his career with critically acclaimed albums among them the 1966 album known as The Beano (Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton). Talk About That a new studio album is a wonderful way to kick start the blues in 2017.

The album follows the tried and tested format of recent Forty Below Records projects, co-produced by Mayall with engineer Eric Corne, with a mix of eight originals and three covers.

Opening the album with the title track assailed by the glories of the deep blues bass of Greg Rzab and then the distinctive vocals of John Mayall and his keys. Mayall, on Talk About That, captures the spirit, tone and musical atmosphere of a time that will never be re-visited. Two tracks in, and we have Joe Walsh’s guitar joining John in The Devil Must Be laughing and Cards On The Table. The Devil Must Be Laughing with contemporary lyrics fitting neatly into the Mayall blues melody and Walsh’s slide adding a pithy tonal layer to Cards On The Table.

We take a trip to New Orleans with Gimme Some Gumbo, an upbeat horn-drenched number. The three-piece section certainly adds a hot energy to the track combined with percussive stinging piano as we join John on a stroll down Bourbon Street, Memphis. Earlier on we have the first cover introducing us to Memphis soul with Bettye Crutcher’s It’s Hard Going Up where the horns add a piercing infectious tone.

John Athas on guitar adds that extra power and he will be missed as he leaves to follow a solo career. Once again John Mayall’s band is being re-shaped. Now he will perform as a trio with drummer Jay Davenport and bassist Greg Rzab. The sixties flow is captured in Blue Midnight, with its jazz-infused blues with a deftness of touch as a happy home is broken up. Closing with You Never Know, the keys take the lead with the drums gently brushed and like the song says we Never Know what our life will be. One thing you do know John Mayall’s music still captivates.

Younger people try to recapture the essence of the sixties, but you have had to have been there, played and experienced the times to produce the heady and beguiling mix of timing, orchestration a production style that was distilled into the sound of the swinging sixties.
John Mayall, on Talk About That is the real deal; British Blues with its own warmth tempo and approach.

John Mayall – Talk About That – Forty Below Records

EIGHT pawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

  1. Talk About That
  2. It’s Hard Going Up
  3. The Devil Must Be Laughing
  4. Gimme Some Of The Gumbo
  5. Goin’ Away Baby
  6. Cards On The Table
  7. I didn’t Mean To Hurt You
  8. Don’t Deny Me
  9. Blue Midnight
  10. Across The County Line
  11. You Never Know

John Mayall  playing it Live performing Six shows at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club
Two shows each night Tuesday 4th; Wednesday 5th & Thursday 6th April 2017.

Bluesdoodles Recorded Music Reviews 2014

Bluesdoodles Recorded Music Reviews 2014

Sandi Thom ~ Flesh and Blood
Larry Miller ~ Soldier Of The Line
Ian Siegal ~ The Picnic Sessions
Richard Townend/Mighty Bosscats ~ 7 Deadly Sins
Dana Fuchs ~ Songs From the Road
Virgil & The Accelerators ~ Army Of Three
Mike Zito & The Wheel ~ Gone To Texas
Zoe Schwarz & Blue Commotion ~ Exposed
Joe Bonamassa ~ Different Shades Of Blue
Katie Bradley ~ Anchor Baby Sessions
Coco Montoya ~ Songs From The Road
Cut The Funk ~ Weekend Coda
Red Dirt Skinners ~ Live In Aberdeen
Sunjay ~ Sunjay
Red Butler ~ Freedom Bound
Joe Bonamassa ~ Get Back Tomorrow (Single)
Joanne Shaw Taylor ~ Dirty Truth
Tim Aves & The Wolfpack ~ Never Saw Chester
Idle Hands ~ Feeding The Machine
Moreland & Arbuckle ~ Seven Cities
Devenport ~ Concrete Bound
The Midnight Ramble ~ Sink The Pieces & High Time Live
Hamilton Loomis ~ Give It Back
Philip Sayce ~ Influence
Tasty Nuggets ~ Sons Of The Delta
Charlie Wooton ~ Charlie Wooton Project
Mark Harrison ~ The World Outside
Devon Allman ~ Turquoise
Walter Trout ~ The Blues Came Callin’
Royal Southern Brotherhood ~ Heartsoulblood
Matt Schofield ~ Far As I Can See
Malaya Blue ~ Bourbon Street
Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion ~ Blues Don’t Scare Me
Amy Wadge & Pete Riley ~ Afterglow
Ayesha ~ A Thousand Shores
Kyla Brox ~ Live …. At Last
King King ~ Standing In The Shadows
No Sinner ~ Boo Hoo Hoo
Joanne Shaw Taylor ~ Songs From The Road
Robert Cray ~ In My Soul
Ian Siegal ~ Man & Guitar
Tom Gee Band ~ Swapping Stories
Clare Free ~ Butterflies
The Mentulls ~ Time Flies
Blue Touch ~ Old, New, Borrowed Blue
Well Hung Heart – Go Forth and Multiply
Wooden Horse – This Kind Of Trouble
Makuini – Blues In My Bones
Babajack ~ Running Man
T Rogers ~ Simple Life
Foy Vance ~ Joy Of Nothing
Red Dirt Skinners ~ Sinking Mary Rose
North Mississippi Allstars ~ World Boogie Is Coming
Lightnin’ Malcolm ~ Rough Out There
Forty4 ~

Live In 1967 – Vol 2 John Mayall Bluesbreakers

Live In 1967 – Volume Two John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers
Live In 1967 – Vol 2 John Mayall Bluesbreakers

Second volume of thirteen tracks that captures a moment in time 1967 and the British Blues revolution. May have just been re-visited by Joe Bonamassa but this is the real deal John Mayall and The Bluesbreakers performing live at various locations. This short-lived and exciting ground breaking line-up of the Bluesbreakers joining John’s vocals, keys and harmonica are Peter Green (lead Guitar); John McVie (Bass) and Mick Fleetwood on drums. This second volume delivers another aural insight into this inventive period. Three tracks are ‘repeats’, but do not expect the same played on different nights the improvisations makes them feel different in tone and energy every time they are played live. Recorded by Tom Huissen, a staunch fan from Holland, during the three months they were together on a one channel reel-to-reel tape recorded at clubs including Bromley, Marquee, The Ram Jam Club and Klook’s Kleek this is a glimpse into musical history.

Opening with Tears In My Eyes, the recording may be imperfect, but the feeling, tone and the sheer musicality of the quartet spins out of the dusty past and showers down from your speakers. The sound is complex with layers of tones and delicate intricacies, but above all there is a simplicity of men playing music that moves their very being. Joining the band on Stormy Monday, is guest vocalist Ronnie Jones. Ronnie was a lead singer with a British Soul band and original member of Blues Incorporated a contemporary band to the bluesbreakers. Ronnie an American serviceman though would often sit in at a Bluesbreakers gig and remembers John Mayall. As we go into So Many Roads , the audiences delight can be heard then into the music this is history captured, the feel of the fluid freedom of 1960’s music cannot be emulated only copied. The third of the repeats is the Otis Rush track Double Trouble, once again the improvisations makes this a recollection too special to miss out, this isn’t regurgitating what you played last night it is feeling the music, atmosphere and creating the sound for the moment.

Every track is a highlight, Greeny is very special. A great instrumental that flows, the notes ebb and flow and like a river of sound the beat takes you on a journey that you share with Peter Green for five glorious minutes. Peter Green’s guitar work and John on keys meld into a hot pot of musical fire that lights the way as this historical album gives a glimpse into these special three months when John Mayall had these musicians before Fleetwod Mac. These are tracks that continue to inspire and are the cornerstone of rock/blues history we will hear many versions but the raw, live power of London 1967 is definitely extraordinary.

A big debt of gratitude is owed to the technical brilliance of Eric Corne at Forty Below Records. With his tender care and expertise, he has restored the tapes with empathy without losing the live feel and the sounds of the sixties.

John Mayall and The Bluesbreakers – Live In 1967 – Volume Two – Forty Below Records.

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

Track Listing

  1. Tears In My Eyes
  2. Your Funeral And My Trial
  3. So Many Roads
  4. Bye Bye Bird
  5. Please Don’t Tell
  6. Sweet Little Angel
  7. Talk To Your Daughter
  8. Bad Boy
  9. Stormy Monday
  10. Greeny
  11. Ridin’ On The L&n
  12. Chicago Line
  13. Double Trouble

CD Review: Matt Edwards ~ Four Berry Jam

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Matt Edwards
Four Berry Jam
Independent

 

 

This is an album full of taste and texture that a quality Four Berry Jam from a Women’s Institutes stall would be, sharp and sweet richly red in colour full of hidden depths the mix is of twelve original compositions definitely hit your musical taste buds. Opening the album with a sharp guitar lick Behind The Wall with Matt’s vocals the whole sound is reminiscent of early Oli Brown. The opening track is proclaiming this is a band that should be heard far and wide. With a strong rhythm section of regular drummer Andy Norris and the effervescent bassist Roger Inniss Matt knows he has the platform to explore his vocal and guitar delivery. There is a feeling of funkiness as we hit the second track Dreaming of A Time Before, now intrigued by what will unfold through the rest of the album.
The change of styles, funk, rock, ballads does not make the album feel it is jumping from one style to another to add some difference, the tracks link together with the vocals and guitar style that is a consistent tour-de-force throughout the album; the style changes emphasize the depth of the tracks and add to the lyrics. This Year picks up the tempo and we hear and foot stomping rocky number that has some great drumming from Andy, whereas the bass comes to the fore and we hear Roger step up the power in the laid back blues ballad Same Old Self which is the perfect foil to the vocals that have a yearning power. Half way through and the strength of the album is evident with Picking at The Bone pulling back to urban blues roots deep in the heart of Chicago; can the quality be maintained over the next six tracks I will give you an early clue… YES. With the electro edgy intro the guitar picks up and wails through Don’t Need You Anymore and then the story unfolds with the vocals who soar above the guitar but never in competition. Miles and Miles is an upbeat groove that borrows some Jazzy licks that flows and ebbs as the tempo ebbs and flows. The closing track Taking Up Time has an acoustic feel and leaves you with Matt’s vocals swirling round your head; this is an album that celebrates the diversity of musical tones and creates a groove that is sweet and sharp; pure and complex and above all entertains.

The timing throughout the album is pinpoint sharp with lots of engaging instrumentation full of blues, rhythm and soul; if you are expecting Blues with an edge that is not full of well-worn grooves and formulaic riffs then Four Berry Jam will satisfy.

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

Tracks
1. Behind The Wall
2. Dreaming Before Time
3. This Year
4. Same Old Self
5. All In Pieces
6. Picking At The Bone
7. Make A Wish
8. Don’t Need You Anymore
9. Another Round
10. Miles and Miles
11. Walk
12. Taking Up Time

Band Members
Matt Edwards: Guitar/Vocals
Andy Norris: Drums
Roger Inniss: Bass Guitar

CD Review: Brian Ashley Jones ~ Out Of The City

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Brian Ashley Jones
Out Of The City
Independent

 

Out of The City is the third release by Brian Ashley Jones a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist who knows how to write a song as all the tracks are either written or co-written by Brian. Into the mix he has gathered around him a selection of musicians to shape the tone to deliver gentle blues/country harmonies
Opening with See You Wasting Time blends Hammond organ, guitar and a harmonica in an upbeat song that has thread of Southern Rock and elements of the construction of Allman Brothers Whipping Post gets you in the mood to join the party of this album This is a new artist for me so interested to see if this is maintained throughout the album. This is followed by a duet with Jonelle Mosser and the pace slows with stylish Hammond B3 as like Jack & Jill in the nursery rhyme we set of to Fetch A Pail of water; though I am not convinced that the duet adds anything as the whole song feels contrived. We have a display of guitar skills on Free to Miss You, the vocals though fade and drift away. The track Carolina’s Dream, has that little extra and is the strongest track thanks to the fine fiddling from Gary Oleyar making this a highlight in an album that just doesn’t excite. The album finishes with an anaemic acoustic number that left me personally as the listener rather disappointed.

The whole album has a feel that its full potential hasn’t been reached, there is no crescendo of energy, it is just that bit too laid back so it falls over. The music does nothing to displease the ear but there is no doubt that your attention wanders as the album rooted in country fails to connect.

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

Tracks
1. See You Wasting Time
2. Fetch a Pail (Featuring Jonell Mosser)
3. You Have Set you Free
4. Out Of The City
5. Would You Come If I Go
6. Free To Miss You
7. Meet Me In The River
8. Carolina’s Dream
9. River Bones
10. Would you Come If I Go (Acoustic)

Musicians
Brian Ashley Jones: Vocals, Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Bass
Jonelle Mosser: Vocals (Track 2)
Ike Stubblefield: Hammond B3 Organ (Track 1, 3, 5, 6)
Kevin McKendree: Hammond B3 Organ & Keyboards (Track 2)
Jon Loyd: Keyboards (Track 7)
Jim “Turbo” Kirkby: Hammond B3 Organ (Track 8)
Eddie Bedford: Bass (Track 8)
Gary Oleyar: Fiddle (Track 8)
Warren Beck: Keyboards (Track 9)
Ian Walker: Harmonica (Track 6)

CD Review: Barna Howard ~ Quite A Feelin’

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Barna Howard
Quite A Feelin’
Loose Music (Europe) – release date 18th May       Mama Bird Recording Co. (North America) – release date 19th May

 

This is an album that is country folk with gentle cadences, storytelling vocals and guitar that delivers notes to ensure the music ebbs and flows with the vocal emotions.  There is a simplicity of another age in the delivery and Adam Selzer’s production of the album, which so suits the style of singing, guitar playing and the lyrical formation of every track on Quite A Feelin’.

Following  on from his self-titled debut album, this second album  as a narrative that flows and hooks every song into the shape of the  album, as Barna explores relationships with home and new relationships when you find yourself in a new location which you call home.

Nostalgia can be full of fluffy clouds and sugared memories, this is an album of nostalgia tinged with brutal reality as he is the troubadour that sings the songs of emotions we have experienced. Hands Like Gloves is a hard-hitting melodic exploration of domestic abuse; with lines he rolls around his tongue and gently croons with controlled emotions as he sings They found her in the kitchen cleaning up the mess another sleepless morning for the lady with a bloody head this is a bruising track that paints a brutal picture.

The instrumentation is gentle adding a layer of tones or impact to a line using the power of a variety of stringed instruments including, acoustic guitars, Dobro, banjo, mandolin and a bass line that adds an edge but never dominates.  The real star of this album of controlled emotion is Barna Howard’s voice; it has a rough edged sweetness that adds tension and shape to the lyrical stories unfolding as the album progresses.

The tracks form a musical tapestry with high and low colours of musical form, as we are presented with a patchwork of lyrics that allow us to understand small town country living; it may be quiet even a backwater but all the horrors, tears and laughs of any city are shared by the inhabitants and the emotions are all the sharper as each person is known by a small community.  Tracks that show this include Notches On A Frame about growing up has a cheerful beat that moves the song on full of sun tinged memories, then there is an eulogy to the phrase life goes on; your son may have committed suicide;  a widow’s will to live is fading and the impact of ill-health  but the  Rooster Still Crows. 

This is an album that is Nashville Country that has painted life’s tapestry with an uncomplicated approach to the structure of the music so that words are dominant, the ten tracks are small musical pictures freezing in the track a moment or emotions felt as we travel through the complexities of life.

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

pawprint half inch

Tracks
1. Indiana Rose
2. Quite A Feelin’
3. Hands Like Gloves
4. Notches On A Frame
5. Whistle Show
6. Rooster Still Crows
7. Bitter Side Of Blue
8. Then & There
9. Pull Us Back Or Wind Us Up
10. Lend Me A Moment

Barna Howard has the following dates in UK:

13 May – Rough Trade West, London
14 May – Servant Jazz Quarter, London
17 May – Wood Festival, Braziers Park, Oxfordshire