John Cee Stannard’s Latest Album Takes You To The River

John Cee Stannard’s Latest Album Takes You To The River

John Cee Stannard’s Latest Album Takes You To The River


With a jig in your step, you embark on John Cee Stannard’s latest album that Takes You To The River. The flow of music is fresh, free-flowing with the sparkling sunshine and the fish leaping with Stannard’s exploration of country blues with the Blue Horizon.

Behind the glow of the music are darker messages that explore life and human frailties. With ten John Cee Stannard originals with the essence of blues the done the British way and two re-worked classics by Jelly Roll Morton, Winin’ Boy Blues and the eponymous House of The rising Sun given a complete makeover.  The Blue Horizon are the lynchpin to the Stannard sound, Mike Baker and Howard Birchmore providing guitar and harmonica layers of texture and tone building on the rhythms laid down by drummer Julian Brown & Andy Crowdy’s double bass, with special guests keeping the music varied and full of interest.

The music and vocals have a bright spring in their step as the album opening with Do It All Over Again.  Full of sharp melodies and a witty look at life how we just do it all over again as we try to get ahead despite bills and taxes! This is feet tapping music that has a wide appeal as the tempo rises in Separation-2 rag blues suiting the tribulations of coping with several girlfriends. He shares the problem again with tuneful humour as he rhymes the ditty with the women names he has chosen. Opening with delightful harp, we learn about Margery, Eleanor and the rest of the girls. The styles of blues/country incorporated are done with a gentle and deft touch so the shape is always British keeping the Stannard feel and approach.

The title track, Run To The River, flows with vocals filled out with the Farnham Community choir and guest vocalist Julia Titus. A high point of the album full of gospel power as we reach the half-way point with the first cover.  Winin’ Boy Blues, beautifully captured harnessing the music of country in the America of the 1930’s. Gospel and slide guitar form a winning combination on The Good Lord Didn’t Tell Me, slow full of mournful shading with Julia and the choir returning. Starting slow almost at a funeral pace John opens House of The Rising Sun, the guitar picks up the pace as the classic is reformed and the harmonica just rises the sun superb.  Blues is the theme, so a train song is often hidden in the track list. With Simon Mayor’s fiddle adding a sharp piquancy and the extra vocal power from Julia provide a positive train song we are going home. This is a get up and dance tune, Let The Train Whistle Blow. The closing track Nothing is What You get leaves us up-tempo with Simon Mayor’s fiddle adding a ragtime beat when combined with the piano of Matt Epson that makes a statement that adds to the tonal texture and shape.  The clever lyrics, slightly tongue in cheek from wordsmith John Cee Stannard shapes the album, influencing pace and approach on a happy album as John Cee Stannard’s Latest Album Takes You To The River

EIGHTpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

  1. Do It All Over Again
  2. Separation – 2
  3. History
  4. Have Your Fun
  5. Run To The River
  6. Winin’ Boy Blues Jelly Roll Morton
  7. The Good Lord Didn’t Tell ME
  8. House Of The Rising Sun Traditional
  9. The Wretch
  10. Let The Train Whistle Blow
  11. Ain’t No Livin’ With The Blues
  12. Nothin’ Is What You Got

John Cee Stannard’s Latest Album Takes You To The River

Lightnin’ Malcolm Foot Soldier Delivering Roots Delights

Lightnin’ Malcolm Foot Soldier Delivering Roots Delights

Lightnin’ Malcolm Foot Soldier Delivering Roots Delights

Music Soldiers attention! Get your ears tuned in for Foot Soldier. The album is definitely a new chapter in the book of Hill Country Blues. With Lightnin’ Malcolm returning to the one-man-band format.  Yes! He is simultaneously playing guitar, playing drums and delivering vocals with powerful intensity.

Opening with Done Wrong you know instantly that you have done the right thing putting Lightnin’ Malcolm’s latest album on play. This is swampy, deep Hill Country Blues, the album is Lightnin’ Malcolm flying solo. He plays guitar, drums and sings simultaneously. The relentless beat allows the lyrics to unfold. The eleven tracks send you to a different world, your ears and mind are hypnotised and taken back through the mists of time with music that hooks into Africa. This is blues that captures a historical timeline and delivers a sound that is fresh, contemporary and relevant.

Opening with Done Wrong, we start the journey of a musician who has picked up beats and rhythms, a tapestry of blues with threads of funk, soul and rock and those West African beats this has a blues shade and is electrifying. Hero has a deep funky base line that just curls around your ears and then the hill country vibe pulls the track together in its full instrumental delight. Waves is like the sea it washes over you, refreshes your soul with a groovy hill country groove that gets your feet tapping music of the juke joint to get those dancers dancing. The Delta meets the hills with a gritty dark number, Getting’ Dark. The sound is loud, the blues felt in the one-man band reincarnation of Lightnin’ Malcolm. The effect of the Malcolm playing and singing all the parts simultaneously is a live, authentic sound that picks up the forces of nature and feeling that defines the blues. Best Friend’s Wife is reflective a quieter tempo and showcases this multi-talented Mississippi bluesman in another shape of the blues.

Every track counts with textures and tones that keep you dancing and smiling.  Foot Soldier is eleven tracks where Lightnin’ Malcolm entertains you with twists and turns and mighty fine Hill Country Blues. Closing with Big Jack, pure Malcolm sound with big bass sound, churning rhythms you are transported to a very good place as a Foot Soldier of Lightnin’ Malcolm and his dark tribal blues roots in the Hill Country. This is blues music of the world and worldly wise.

Lightnin’ MalcolmFoot Soldier – Shakedown Records

NINE pawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

  1. Done Wrong
  2. Tree
  3. Hero
  4. Don’t Bitch
  5. Waves
  6. Gates Of Hell
  7. Getting’ Dark
  8. Treat That Woman Right
  9. Best Friends Wife
  10. Good Boy
  11. Big Jack

Call Of The Blues Filled With Eastern Spice and Magic

Michael Messer's MitraCall Of The Blues

Filled With Eastern Spice and Magic



Michael Messer has re-shaped the blues with a melding of southern spices and those of the Indian sub-continent. Two great rivers Ganges and Mississippi are powerful forces and have shaped the music. This debut album of Michael Messer’s Mitra works. The strength and integrity of blues is never lost as the fusing of blues slide guitar with Tabla for rhythms and classical Hindustani slide guitar. This is a fusion that fits, there is nothing forced in the seamless melding of the tones and textures of traditions. The Tabla’s tone blends with the guitars and creates a percussive beat, whilst the Mohan Veen adds a sharper tone, together bending into the tonal shape of Indian dance. This textural dimension weaves into the sonic range of Michael’s resophonic steel guitars.

Mitra is the Hindu god of friendship so the album is Michael Messer’s friends, this friendship is apparent in the stripped back blending of cultural diverse music. The sound created is unique and with the best of fusion of cultures the mixing is subtle nothing is lost but everything is gained,

Anyway the Wind Blows includes feet tapping rhythms from Piano and this is Eastern Blues a box of surprises but every note is blues that shimmer like sari silk. This album is a success due to the melodious delivery of the lyrics from Michaeal. Plus the grounding of his resophonic guitar skills keeping the blues rooted in the soul. The Tabla and Mohan Veena add texture and tone and twists in the beat and cadences of the blues. Following on from a unique rendition of Rollin’ and Tumblin’ with its Eastern derived lead break, we have the most eastern infused track Bhupali Blues, with the interaction of the Tabla’s rhythmic tones created by complicated fingering and the distinctive chords and tone from the Mohan Veena. As this instrumental track unfolds Michael’s resophonic guitar picks up the music and the Ganges and Mississippi flow as one. Blue Letters, not to be confused with Fleetwood Macs Blue Letter. This is a Michael Messer composition bringing us back to Mississipi with a hint of spice and rolls and flows like a lazy summer’s afternoon. The title track of Michael’s album Lucky Charms, is given the eastern treatment and it is given a fresh lease of life with the intricate beat of Gurdian Rayatt’s Tabla.

Closing with Sweetheart Darling, captures leaving, farewell, sadness and the feeling of the sunset that closes a chapter. The instrumental has a reflective flow that allows the instruments to speak for themselves in a celebration of diversity of the blues the essence that adds spice to call Of the Blues.

Having travelled to Indian to perform in a festival in Mumbai Michael Messer met and jammed with Manish Pingle ( (pronounced ‘Pinglay’). Manish easily transferred his skills from Hindustani music to the country blues style of Michael he was hearing for the first time. The rapport between them was natural and this is heard throughout Call Of The Blues. Now the music has been shaped and recorded in an album that is ten tracks that makes Blues imaginative and definitely innovative. Once again demonstrating the power of music rooted in a culture can transcends borders and take flight with integrity, Call of The Blues is a mighty voice.

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

Michael Messer’s Mitra – Call Of The Blues  Release date 29th January 2016 Purchase HERE release date – 5th February 2016

Track Listing

1. You Got To Move
2. Anyway The Wind Blows
3. Rollin’ and Tumblin’
4. Bhupali Blues
5. You Gonna Be Sorry
6. Blue Letters
7. Rolling In My Sweet Baby’s Arms
8. I Can’t Be Satisfied
9. Lucky Charms
10. Sweetheart Darling

Michael Messer, Vocals, Slide & Lab Steel Resophonic Guitar
Manish Pingle, Mohan Veena (Indian Slide Guitar)
Gurdian Rayatt, Tabla
With Richard Causon, Piano, Organ

Sweetheart Darling

Hillbilly Zen-Punk Blues – Reverend Freakchild

Hillbilly Zen-punk Blues - Reverend Freakchild

Hillbilly Zen-Punk Blues – Reverend Freakchild



With the title of the artist and album, Hillbilly Zen-Punk BluesReverend Freakchild  I was intrigued and looking forward to a sound that would challenge my definition of the blues and hopefully delight. Unfortunately I was greeted with little difference just some stretching of the Blues but this is basically an acoustic Blues album delivered by Reverend Freakchild with stomping rhythms, steel guitar and vocals that spit out the lyrics.

Opening with All I Got Is Now; the feel is traditional porch-step country blues that ebbs and flows around guitar and vocals , the chorus was Zen like but there was nothing deeply eastern and spiritual despite the biblical references and home-brewed philosophy of “Yesterday is a History,  Tomorrows are a mystery , All I Got Is Now”. We have guitar and vocals that tell the tale of Keep on Truckin; a journey track that keeps us on the road with some hard edge drumming from Chris Parker. That said this is blues that you can listen to and delivered in a wholesome upbeat musical form.  The change from the norm is the inclusion of three instrumentals when traditional blues always associated with the power of the story telling of clever lyrics. The instrumentals are Angel$ of Mercy, calming tempo and hints of eastern chords open Lullaby, and Soul Transforming Realization driven by combo eastern riffs and Chris Parker’s drumming.


Hillbilly Zen-Punk Blues – Reverend Freakchild is not a traditional blues album for the purist it sits on the stoop between purity and anarchy. For me be bold break out of the mould shake it up even more add more Eastern twists and the harshness of punk, beng the secular Rev. who cares about music but not its straight-laced genre boundaries. Tears of Fires picks up the tempo and is the nearest to tip toe into punk style guitar and closing with I Wish I was In  Heaven the steel guitar playing rules there is nothing on this album to really shake, rattle roll or shock the listener out of their blues complacency!

Hillybilly Zen-Punk Blues, for me needs to turn up the punk fill the gaps with Zen filled silence and shake it up so this is no Reverend in the shape of Gary Davis delivering Blues that shocks and delights.

Seven tracks are originals, they have a feel and hark back to licks riffs and ideas we have seen before this is music put through the sieve of time and that treated with a contemporary style, blues treated with irreverence.

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

Track Listing

  1. All I Got Is Now
  2. Angel$ of Mercy
  3. Its Gonna Be Alright (Rev Gary Davis)
  4. Keep On Trucking
  5. Lullaby
  6. Moonlight Messages
  7. She Wants My Name (Hugh Pool)
  8. Soul Transforming Realization
  9. Tears of Fire
  10. I Wish I Was In Heaven Sitting Down (Traditional)



Paul Cowley Album – Rural

paul cowley

Paul Cowley Album – Rural



Rural is an album crammed with good songs, endearing vocals and acoustic guitar that sings. This is country blues with a collection of classics and a handful of self-penned numbers showing that Paul understands the beating musical legacy of the blues. Rural is not an album lurking in the backwaters, it is a celebration of blues songs that have no need for effects and add-ons it is a perfect demonstration of stripped-back music in its simplest form.

Stripped-back does not need to be dull and leaden as the foot tapping Jitterbug Swing shows with the harmony of guitar, stomp board and lyrics that reflect good times as captured in Bukkha White’s iconic number.
All the classics were delivered with feeling and panache especially Candyman and the last track Muddy Waters’ I Can’t Be Satisfied; anyone who loves music that is a simple combination of harmonies between guitar and vocals this is an album that will please the listener every time you will be satisfied!.

The hidden gems are Paul’s own compositions, the four numbers are not replications of pieces from a music museum. Every one of his own numbers has a modern feel to the lyrics shaped and honed to fit into the musical format of the album. These are tracks that reflect the earlier music and works giving the album clarity of musical form and a foot in the past and the present.

There is for me something missing a layer of sound to augment and give punctuation to the lyrics could be a different tone from guitar, blues harp or percussive tones. The album leans for me heavily on the tried and tested Blues format of the front porch and hasn’t captured the feel of modernity that makes the album stand out from the crowd with an unexpected twist in the blues being delivered.

That said, there is no doubt the Paul Cowley Album – Rural, delivers what the artwork promises this is country blues, full of acoustic delights found in the rural heart and soul of stripped back roots music.

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

Track Listing

1. Write Me A Few Of Your Line (Mississippi Fred McDowell)
2. Monday Morning Blues (Mississippi John Hurt)
3. Jitterbug Swing (Bukka White)
4. Not What They Seem (Paul Cowley)
5. Pay Day (Mississippi John Hurt)
6. Death Letter (Son House)
7. Candyman (Rev Gary Davis)
8. I Like A Girl (Paul Cowley)
9. Franklin Nashville (Paul Cowley)
10. You Gotta Move (Mississippi Fred McDowell)
11. At The End Of The Day (Paul Cowley)
12. I Can’t Be Satisfied (Muddy Waters)

Have listen –

Martin Simpson & Dom Flemons Live @ St David’s Hall

- Martin Simpson and Dom Flemons - St David's Hall - Oct 2015_0050lMartin Simpson & Dom Flemons
@ St Davids Hall Cardiff
13th October 2015

Tonight delivered everything that this show, as part of the Roots Unearthed on the 3rd Floor of St David’s Hall, promised to be; two hours of superb musicianship the blending, and mixing of British traditional music and blues in many guises and the common heritage of themes, lyrics and melodies the two traditions share. Above all this was the joy of listening to two musicians who devour the stories and share the joy with the audience with nuggets of information about the songs, the history, the narrative and emotions creating the perfect music experience.

- Martin Simpson and Dom Flemons - St David's Hall - Oct 2015_0136lWe heard nineteen delicious songs that spanned country, vaudeville and delta blues with folk songs from the English lexicon we had ballads, sauciness and infectious guitar licks and the percussive quality of bones the ethereal piping of the quills and harp playing and the joy of banjo tunes played with skillful dexterity. Tonight like all of the gigs on the second tour of this duo was recorded with the tantilising and exciting promise of a CD celebrating the bond of common love of the songs they play and the mutual respect they have for each other’s talent as they uncover and share with us the power of tunes and lyrics that need to be heard and remembered.

- Martin Simpson and Dom Flemons - St David's Hall - Oct 2015_0052lOpening the show Martin delivered St James Hospital a traditional song and in reply Dom brings the ‘over-the-pond’ rendition of St James Infirmary the songs are similar rooted deep in musical memory but the translation and changes reflect the two nations. Like so much music nothing stands still the tunes and lyrics develop and modify to reflect audiences and the times in which they are sung. Music is an organic form nothing is set in aspic once musicians add their own interpretation and arrangement it is what keeps live music vibrant and the pure pleasure it brings to everyone in their seats tonight.

- Martin Simpson and Dom Flemons - St David's Hall - Oct 2015_0111lTonight for many we were introduced to the Quills as part of the multi-instrumentalist repertoire that is Dom Flemons, the first outing for this pipe-like instrument was Bulldose Blues, inspiration for Canned Heat’s Going Up Country this combined with his vocals that have an authority and intensity as he spans the octaves with a purity and a mighty fine holler when required. Added into the mix is the superb finger work, finger picking and slide guitar of Martin Simpson as the music just rolled from their fingers and lips. We had a parody of Stephen Foster’s 1850 Hard Times Come Again No More, not the American Civil war soldiers re-writing Hard Tack Come Again No More; this is an English song during the Cotton Famine in the 1860’s due to blockades of Confederate ports during the Civil War and rename Short Times, found by the Martin & Dom when visiting Cecil Sharpe House, the archives of English Folk songs and dance. All too soon the first half was finished with a flurry as they delivered Leadbelly’s Poor Howard and Champagne Charlie with its links to the music hall tradition across the UK and Europe.

- Martin Simpson and Dom Flemons - St David's Hall - Oct 2015_0016lOpening the second installment with My Money Never Runs Out, Dom plays banjo on this Gus Cannon number. We heard about Minstrel shows and how their popularity spread across the world, segregation Vaudeville and the difficulties of early black musicians and and how blues changed and adapted. The wealth if historical knowledge was as deep and immense as the music they were playing. Stealin’ a jug band number featured a St David’s Hall Jug/Carafe and added another layer of tonal experience the evening bought. The evening closed far too soon with a rousing version of Little Liza Jane and enthusiastic singing from the audience, this was an evening that has that special element that you all get if you were sitting in the audience.

Every song they sung deserves a mention and the story that went with it but to get that go and see them live they are still on tour see below you will not be disappointed. They are touring extensively throughout October, November and December check out the dates and venues HERE

Set List

St James Hospital
St James Infirmary
Bulldose Blues
Little Sadie
Short Times
Old Folks At Home
Poor Howard
Champagne Charlie
My Money Never Runs Out
If I Lose
Coalman Blues
Too Long/I’ve Been Gone
John Hardy
Buckeye Jim
Little Liza Jane

CD Review: John Cee Stannard & Blue Horizons – Stone Cold Sober

John CeeStone Cold Sober is an album that makes you smile with warmth and pleasure, melodic country infused blues where the lyrics tell a tale and the melodic interweaving of fiddle, harp and percussion join into the party feel. The album is full of wit and perspicacity as the trio that is the base of John Cee; Mike Baker & Howard Birchmore are joined by guest performers and the rhythm section that was so powerful on his last album Bus Depot Blues. The eleven self-pen tracks are full of originality and refuse to be cornered into a blues cul-de-sac as he weaves in influences from the Southern States roots scene the music is as fresh and clean as clothes blowing on a washing line under a deep blue sky. John Cee’s version of Blind Blake’s Lead Hearted Blues suits the album as rag-time style guitar was the signature style of Blind Blake. The humour throughout the album works as it is steeped in the real world the truth that shapes all our lives. the tone and shaping of the album has a feel of The Great Depression and dust bowl of the 1930’s but not mimicking the American experience this is British blues inspired by a period of history and reflecting the experience in the here and now.
Opening with I Don’t Want You Anymore, there is a hint of jazz and the harmonica playing from Howard Birchmore is sublime with the feet tapping and the smile is present you feel that you definitely want more of John Cee Stannard & Blue Horizon. Closing with This Rag Of Mine you are left with a party feel with Simon Mayor’s fiddling driving this rag tune along and singing “you need a little more action”; the answer is just play the album again you know you want to. There are many gems in between the opening and closing track The Story stands out with its narrative style, strong lyrics and a melody that flows with a harmonious mix of percussion and violin pulling you so you want to know all about the man the tale is shaped around, full of a downward spiral of gambling and drinking and a woman who wants him to change his way is a classic! Another track that shines is the harp intro and slower tempo of Worse Off Than You a song that has that element of hope again gambling a loss is interwoven into the narrative; “don’t sit there moaning when there is something you can do always someone worse off than you..” the track ends with a curl of the harp and what a great way of looking at life in general
The resonator guitar darkens the tone and tempo on Poverty Blues and this is a track that makes you sit up and listen as John Cee plays guitar and sings ‘did you hear my news’ a cry from the heart; as the reality of homelessness and how you are ignored and shunned a powerful song the double bass gives a backdrop shaping the music to fit the emotion behind every word sung.
The feeling of joie de vivre created throughout Stone Cold Sober does not mean simplistic and chorus heavy lyrics it is the exact opposite every emotion you would expect blues music to explore lost love, hurt, poverty, and so much more in the dozen uplifting, inspiring tracks. There is a change in tempo and influence throughout Stone Cold Sober making every track exciting whether listening for the first time or on the ‘will be oft repeated’ returns to listen to an album full of blue sparkling gems. If you love blues with feeling driven by the song and melodies that underpin the words but never dismal then Stone Cold Sober is the album for you.

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

John Cee Stannard & Blue Horizon ~ Stone Cold Sober – Cast Iron Recordings

Track Listing CD

1. Don’t Want You Anymore
2. Don’t Worry None ‘Bout Me
3.The Story
4. Rum Ol’ Do
5. So Long
6. Lead Hearted Blues
7. Stone Cold Sober
8. Poverty Blues
9. Right Back at the Start
10. Worse Off Than You
11. Dream The Blues
12. This Rag Of Mine

The Della Grants ~ Time For Change

Scan0004This is a debut album that has a maturity of sound and celebrates the wall of sound of British Rhythm and Blues with loads of attitude hitting all the right notes as they twist in some driving rock riffs.  This is soulful blues and as with any band serious about the blues the attention has to be in the lyrics and then the vocals sharing the tale with you and  Maxx Manning does that with his voice that sears through the combined musicianship of the rhythm section, bassist  Andy Boulton & Tom Walker on drums. This is a trio who have played together for many years and the addition of Tom Best on guitar and vocals adds another dimension allowing Maxx the freedom to truly explore the lyrical heights of his stunning voice.  This is music that slides into the blues spectrum picking up the tones from the Delta converting them so they reflect British Blues as they share ten tracks that are self-penned and reflect the energy, drive and depth of musicianship of The Della Grants when they play live. This is achieved by putting the album together over six days keeping the sound fresh and not over thinking the detail.  The result is an album that has a depth of sound and continuity and a very high standard of true music production. The cover is not one of the well-chosen pack but Keb’ Mo’s Am I Wrong, with its dirty delta guitar and a hand clapping hip jigging beat and a great lyrical tale fits neatly as a glove with the tracks of the album.

Opening with Too Fast the tempo is just right to pull you in as Maxx weaves his vocal magic and there is a similarity in tone to Marcus Bonfanti and the guitar lead break pulls the tempo along, not too fast or too long it is just right.  This is no copycat sound it is The Della Grants interpretation of the blues and making certain the lyrics are there to tell a narrative that is worth listening to. Lay My Head  is an upbeat number that has the feel of a jam that has been honed and has the perfect mix blues harp distorted and falling through the speaker courtesy of Tom and guitars that sweeten the whole mix up is led by some powerful drumming and then the guitar and vocals lick in and the story begins “Two times a hero once a villain …. like a time-bomb where did it all go wrong Tick Tock  Truth Don’t Cost A  Penny” is the reprise of this drum loaded track that makes you sit up and take notice.  Fairground Soul is Country blues with a layer of soul and there is a yearning sorrowful tone reflected in the pedal steel as the song plucks at your heartstrings. Greed To Feed is a fast guitar led track with the interplay between Maxx and Tom once again shows the power of two guitars that reflect each other’s tones and not a battle of who can play louder and faster. Closing with Awkward Feeling, the album has taken us through the textures and tones from Texas to the Delta and across the Atlantic; this is a slower number that leaves you knowing there is nothing awkward about this band producing a sound that should be heard throughout the land and at festivals. Why they know their blues and can entertain with soulful and deep musicianship. If this is a debut they have set the bar very high for the much awaited second album at Bluesdoodles HQ.

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

The Della Grants ~ Time For Change – Independent

Track Listing

  1. Too Fast
  2. Weaker Man
  3. Lay My Head
  4. Truth Don’t Cost A Penny
  5. Fairground Soul
  6. But You Don’t
  7. Circus Debut
  8. Am I Wrong (Keb’ Mo’)
  9. Greed To Feed
  10. Keeping Me Away From You (Featuring Mark Stanway)
  11. Awkward Feeling




CD Review: Brian Ashley Jones ~ Out Of The City



Brian Ashley Jones
Out Of The City


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

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)

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: Justin Townes Earle ~ Absent Fathers


Justin Townes Earle
Absent Fathers
Vagrant Records
/ Loose Music

This is Justin’s sixth album, a companion to Single Mothers and completes a circle that will be resonant in many listeners memories of childhood. The album is packed with emotion that flows through words, vocal tone and musical contours collectively they shape the album and the theme. Justin Townes Earle’s talent in writing as sitting in a confessional is cathartic for the listener as abandonment and all the hurt and bewilderment this leaves as a deep emotional scar that beds itself in and refuses to go away.

It is an album that has a nostalgic feel too much of the music with Nashville country, Memphis rock and soul yet the over-arching dominant force is the vocal tones that can deliver lyrics that are enriching, twist your heart and bind your soul as he takes you on a journey full of anger, regret an d sorrow. The opening track Rather From Me opens with the lines “Wish I could say that I know you, Cause lord, I wanna understand; Need you to know there’s nothing I want more in this world as a man.” Least I Got the Blues is a country blues number, we always have the blues that is a constant and is followed by Call Ya Momma which is an oxymoron of a track with its somber hurtful lyrics backed with a feel good jaunty feet-tapping melody; irony hangs heavy across the speakers and is the first single of the album.
Watch or Listen here


Following the release of his critically acclaimed album Absent Fathers via Loose Music earlier this year, Justin Townes Earle has now shared a new video for single ‘Call Ya Momma“.
The video was directed by Andrew Van Ball, which here gives a Western twist on Ambrose Bierce’s classic short story, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.

This is not a negative album it is also full of how Justin is resilient and after many attempts at re-hab he has been sober since 2011 and the album shows how we can change recover and not be constrained by the hurt that has shaped us. Day and Night is moving into the light “Today’s got me a good woman; Standing in the kitchen with the sun comes through the curtains”; a recognition of the power his wife has had in his life, looking forward and bringing him out of the dark, the lyrics are accompanied by stripped down accompaniment and is wrapped in emotional relief.
Slow Monday, with acoustic guitar has a country feel and has a contentment, gentleness about the delivery and has a positive vibe; there is a normality of living as he croons “I hate Slow Monday Afternoons”. Closing the album with Looking for a Place to Land; this track pulls the album together and gives it a full stop as we have that bitter-sweet combination of heartache and happiness, that his journey has found a resting place; that there will be peace.

Throughout the album as we get to know the darkness behind Justin we cannot forget the title is a direct reference to his father Steve Earle; this adds another layer of tension; at times he is the victim but on every track the winner is the song and the musicians who deliver them with the passion and honesty. They deserve an album that will also be listened to when you need songs to help you make sense of an emotional whirlwind that life throws at you. This is an album that delves into the dark and comes out the other side we are all a little bit stronger after listening to Absent Fathers. I get a feeling that Absent Fathers as an album is at a crossroads in Justin Townes Earle’s musical lexicon and the best is yet to come.

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