Thomas Wynn and The Believers Album Wade Waist Deep

Thomas Wynn and The Believers Album Wade Waist Deep


Thomas Wynn and The Believers Album Wade Waist Deep

Thomas Wynn and The Believers album Wade Waist Deep their third album and should get the name known far and wide with this cross over album that is not a road trip but the weaving of the lexicon of American music from roots to rock.  Labelled a Rock album Wade Waist Deep is so much more  exploring how we can build an open better world, not through preaching but a common understanding of tolerance and love. Wade Waist Deep moves beyond the confessional songwriting as he sought relief from heartbreak and addiction on the previous album and look beyond self to a collective conscience. The music is mature, thoughtful with strong lyrics, powerful harmonies and ear catching melodic rhythms. For Thomas Wynn, life & music have changed since the birth of his son Abel a year ago; “It’s that yearning, that longing for the person that you want to be,” says Wynn.

Joining Thomas as The believers are his sister Olivia, her vocals have a searing purity shaping harmonies that sing with an ethereal energy. With vintage Hammond sound from Colin Daniel Fei and wail of  the blues harmonica from Chris ‘Bell’ Antemesaris. The rhythm and deep grooves are laid down by  David Wagner and Ryan Miranda; on bass & drums respectively.  Enough of the background what about the music? It is superb from the first note to the last, clarion clear, gentle and urgent full of light and dark phrasing from every member of Thomas Wynn and the Believers.

Opening with a harmony of voices Man Out Of Time lets us step onto the spiritual musical journey this album will take us on over the dozen tracks. This is primeval, raw and full of growing tension as the blues captured and shaped the sound is hypnotic as we learn about Man Out Of Time. The chorus is melodic vocal wail no words required as the emotion unfurl, calling us to explore the music and lyrics.  ‘In The darkness light was mine’ intones Olivia as the music builds around her this is raw power energy that rocks.  Following on is the title track, the drums are hypnotic the guitar wields the power of the six-strings as Thomas’ voice implores  as we go down to the water and we are Waist Deep in the water.  A title track soaked in emotion the guitar weeps and Thomas finds the tonal texture to ‘wash my feet wash my soul… and I will find my Peace’. This is rock that is full of nuances and is not about the volume but tcomposition of melody and lyrics taking us out of ourselves to be part of the story that Thomas Wynn and The Believers are sharing.

Heartbreak Alley, the angst is raw, the organ swelling with emotion the singing from Olivia soulful and powerful. The album now has three different sounds and they are held together by a narrative that flows and the linking back to the wealth of music that has shaped modern America. If you are exploring life then Death cannot be ignored and with the powerful rhythms from David & Ryan shaping the emotional outpouring from Thomas’s vocals and the cascading harmonies as Olivia joins him on My Eyes Won’t Be Open; with the Hammond adding tonal depth after the chorus this is a song that remains long after the last note is sung.

The guitar opening of I Don’t Regret is sweet, with acoustic feel and adds another element to the yearning in Thomas’ vocal, simple with an inherent beauty.  As the guitar volume increases the music opens up like sun coming out from behind a cloud the music fills the room.  Gospel meets Country Rock and we realise that regretting what has been done is pointless it is the future that can be changed.

The rock in the band falls out of the speaker with the penultimate number We Could All Die Screaming; volume and intensity are raised but the clarity is never lost. This is Thomas with a determination in the delivery of the vocals, a tinge of anger and it builds throughout the four minutes. Closing with Turn It To Gold, the intensity is captured as the musicians bring an album to a climax.  The bass deep and with a drone like quality catches the ear with wonder a rock anthem that is so much more.

Wade Waist Deep has layers of complexity, thought-provoking vocals and a message never preaching it is about Country Rock from a band that has something to say connecting us all back to Orlando, Florida where they live. Through a to Sputnik Sound studio in Nashville, where the band recorded Wade Waist Deep with four-time Grammy award-winning producer, Vance Powell (The White Stripes, Jack White, Chris Stapleton). “I really wanted to do it outside of our hometown,” said Wynn. For the month of August 2016, Wynn and The Believers went on a journey to a sonic place that’s big, bright, and visionary.

If I had to describe the album full of complexity in a simple sentence.  Spiritual, Country Rock that has gathered into the music blues, soul; with the awakening hope brings when combined with the power of love. This is Life in Music, things can be different, it can be better.  I thoroughly recommend you immerse yourself and Wade Waist Deep in to the musical waters that are Thomas Wynn and The Believers.

Thomas Wynn and The Believers Wade- Waist Deep Mascot Group Label

TENpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

  1. Man Out Of Time
  2. Wade Waist Deep
  3. Heartbreak Alley
  4. My Eyes Won’t Open
  5. Thin Love
  6. I Don’t Regret
  7. You Can’t Hurt Me
  8. Mountain Fog
  9. Burn As One
  10. Feel The Good
  11. We Could All Die Screaming
  12. Turn It Into Gold

Thomas Wynn and The Believers Album Wade Waist Deep

Honest Man Canadian Matt Andersen Beguiling Songs Soulful Vocals

Honest Man Canadian Matt Andersen Beguiling Songs Soulful Vocals

Honest Man Canadian Matt Andersen Beguiling Songs Soulful Vocals



The latest melodic, politically charged outpouring from Canadian Matt Andersen is full of tonal depths and interest. Acoustic at the heart filled out with rhythmic beats deep keyboard chords and brass Honest Man goes Pop with rhythmic soul.

This is Matt Andersen, lighter in tone having fun as he explores new territory on Honest Man. In the new songs, Matt combines his soulful gospel-rich voice with the power of Commissioner Gordon. “Gordon has worked with so many different people, like Santana and Quincy Jones, on so many historic albums,” says Andersen. “He has such a great approach and was able to tie-­in so many new ideas to what I’ve done in the past without losing touch with my sound.”

This is Matt Andersen with a spring in his fingers moving on from the guitar driven acoustic wealth of Coal Mining Blues, he has created a fresh and bright Honest Man. Opening with Break Away, one thing for certain is that from the first to the last you will not want to break away from the music that Matt is producing.  Opening with upbeat with cascading chords from the organ and country fuelled sound with the hint of reggae in the beat your feet will connect you to the rhythms and your soul will soar with the vocals.

The title track, co-­written with Chris Kirby, was inspired by a US political cartoon. Has a deep rhythmic pull with the trumpet pushing the melody on and Matt’s gospel-toned vocals adding blues to Honest Man as politics are explored. The movers and shakers may be turning their backs on Matt we certainly won’t be. The music as he explores both the personal and the political has an honest pull music that is of and for the times we are all wading through.

Let’s Get Back,  is an anthem for now as you realise things have changed and not necessarily for the better how we can find our way back in a soul of searing demanding vocals with the cadences of Warren Haynes with added brass acting as the cheerleaders.  The album touches on the questions posed post elections and referendums, what is the truth or Who Are We Listening To? How social media influences and how we can make up our own minds with honest information.

For the personal side of Matt as the Honest Man check out, I’m Giving In, stripped back combination of piano and vocals works perfectly on this ballad as he considers making a commitment. Then we continue with the personal journey with All the Way, written with Gordie Sampson, has a dance beat that swings with energy as Matt sings about taking the step and committing to a relationship with all the emotions, fears and hope this journey will take your life on.

A new branch of the  Matt Andersen musical journey is being formed in Honest Man. Across the ten tracks styles are explored and sounds are experimented with. The important thing is the essence of Matt Andersen is never lost or drowned out by the new approach. The music has a freshness, with a twist of retro and crosses across genres if you love a good song, superb vocals and interesting melodies then Honest Man will be a much-loved addition to your collection of music that is personal and political.

Honest Man Canadian Matt Andersen Beguiling Songs Soulful Vocals

Matt AndersenHonest ManTrue North Records

TENpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….


Track Listing

  1. Break Away
  2. The Gift
  3. Honest Man
  4. I’m Giving In
  5. Quiet Company
  6. Let’s Get Back
  7. All The Way
  8. Last Surrender
  9. Who Are You Listening To?
  10. One Good Song

Catch Matt Andersen European Tour 2017

bringing to you his

Honest Man Canadian Matt Andersen Beguiling Songs Soulful Vocals

Honest Man Canadian Matt Andersen Beguiling Songs Soulful Vocals

Kaz Hawkins Band Created a Warm Red Musical Glow

Kaz Hawkins-5032

Kaz Hawkins Band Created a Warm Red Musical Glow

Tonight,  Kaz Hawkins Band Created a Warm Red Musical Glow. Her music is wrapped in the blues but never shrink wrapped in conformity. Her music embraces you with open arms embracing the spirit and soul captured in the power of words and true emotions. The  Altar stage was bathed I a warm, enticing red glow as her Band of men picked up their instruments and then started to play, her entrance was bold, loud and a swirl of a deepest red dress. The Black gloves were soon disposed of as this was a night of rejoice. Her vocals have a spectacular range, full of power and they colour each lyric with its own musical tone. Kaz Hawkins is the business, her music is the real deal. Songs are all written from the heart that connects with the hopes, fears and disappointments we have all experienced on life’s journey.

This is a night where we explore her life, inspirations, and her two studio albums. The Feelin’ Good Tour, is promoting her latest album, and building on the loyal following she has around her, and then opening with Don’t Make Mama Cry, from the Feelin Good album. Kaz with her huge heart dedicated the number to Paul Gallagher who is about to graduate as a mature student and is really ill back home in Belfast. Once a friend of Kaz she is your friend for life, Kaz relishes the joy her music brings as she connects with her fans. Picking up her acoustic guitar adding another guitar tone to those of the electric Dr Nick to her left, the music is empowering with This Is Me, an anthem that celebrates the joy of presenting yourself to the world. Combined with I Saw A Man, affectionately known as Norman’s song in honour of the homeless man who was the inspiration behind the music of a moving track from her debut album Get Ready.

Kaz Hawkins Band Created a Warm Red Musical GlowKaz creates an aura that absorbs everyone around her into a bubble that is ruled by music, including one of the Convent cats, not sentimentally sweet but full of the realities of life. Nina Simone’s classic Feelin Good is given the Kaz treatment as she re-works the number with the energy and electric sparks that is Kaz. Her rhythm section affectionately known as the Slovakian Army are brothers who have settled and made Belfast their home. On Bass, Mr Janny and drumming out the beat that drives the song is Mr Pete, who was joined by Kaz at one point. The music flows with a live vibrancy reflected in the red glow and swish of Kaz’s petticoats and flutter of her fan. Highlights are impossible to pick out as every track is superb. Touching my soul tonight is the wonderful song written for her daughter Because I Love You, and the celebratory feel good sing-a-long energy of Hallelujah Happy People. During Hallelujah, Kaz does her own thing once again, leaving the stage to sit in the audience, yet without missing a beat takes time to apologise to camera as she intuitively decides she wants to sit with us. Closing with her very special re-arrangement of Willie Dixon’s I Just Wanna Make Love; the re-shaping of a classic takes guts and Kaz has the confidence to make the song work for her and more importantly for the audience. It is like hearing the song for the first time and I am positive that Willie Dixon approves. This was a night where everyone’s energies raised we felt the music flow through our veins and deep into our collective souls.

The encore Shake, may only be four minutes on Get Ready, tonight we have a jam and weaving of tunes and songs as we have a very special extra fifteen minutes and that wasn’t enough. A marvelous animated set of great music celebrating the glorious vocals of Kaz as she delivers her commanding lyrics.
Once again, The Convent has created a vibe of miraculous proportions as Kaz Hawkins and Her Band, do more that entertain she invigorates, empowers sending joyous shivers of happiness through our bodies. Tonight is what memories are made of!


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Enjoy The Ride, Debbie Bond instructs with blues and more

Enjoy The Ride, Debbie Bond instructs with blues and more

Enjoy The Ride, Debbie Bond instructs with blues and more

Debbie Bond is taking you the listener on a musical mystery tour, with travelling companions the blues, soul, rock and Americana. The album is Debbie’s fourth album. Eleven originals full of soul and traditional Alabama Blues. The Blues pay homage to some of Debbie’s mentors Willie King, Eddie Kirkland, and Jody Williams.

The album opens full of confidence with the title track her vocals and slide guitar combine to ensure you want to hear much more. Enjoy The Ride has a flow like a journey that is planned but the surprises keep popping up the piano and harp in Wishbone and Muscle Shoal and a horn sound as gospel vibe is the stop off point as we Find A Way to love again with Debbie Bond. Building on the firm foundations laid down with her previous album That Thing Called Love, Debbie surrounds herself with musicians who understand the sound that this journey has been constructed around. On Harp once again is Radiator Rick Anderson, who adds textural tone and depth and mirrors her love and respect for Willie King who they both played with. This is underpinned by a classy cover of King’s I Am The Blues, which is given the Bond treatment and the back vocals curl in behind Debbie’s vocals this is a stopover on the journey that is worth staying a while and listening again. Throughout the album, we have stopovers that explore the hurt and pain of love the despair of Jodie Williams in Left Me In the Dark. The guitar is deep with melancholy and the vocals defiant. The pensive Start With Love is country infused blues that has a percussive drive as the world keeps turning as love is explored. Humble Pie is up-tempo with luscious organ, horn section, and Debbie’s vocals that sear through the orchestration a track that certainly engages. Closing with The Train Song, the excitement, movement and motion of the train is conjured up with harp and guitar and this is the perfect final track for an album, Enjoy The Ride Debbie Bond instructs with blues and more. And we did.

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

Debbie Bond – Enjoy The Ride, Shoal Sessions – Blues Roots Productions
Track Listings

  1. Enjoy The Ride
  2. Rainbow
  3. Love Vibration
  4. Left Me In The Dark
  5. Find A Way
  6. I Am The Blues
  7. Humble Pie
  8. Wishbone
  9. Remedy
  10. Start With Love
  11. Train Song

Mojo Found With Kaz Hawkins Full-On Soulful Blues

Mojo Found With Kaz Hawkins Full-On Soulful Blues

Mojo Found With Kaz Hawkins Full On Soul and Blues

Mojo Found With Kaz Hawkins Full-On Soulful Blues. How? The mesmeric power of Kaz’s tubes and a band that just understands her every nuance.

We are definitely ready after the amazing debut of Get Ready and having listened to Feelin Good Kaz raises her game and her second album is a triumph. With two covers the other eight tracks come straight from the big heart of Kaz whose emotional soul runs deep. Live the darling from Belfast mashes up the styles blending 1950’s swing dress with Dr Martens. The music is the same with the granite edge of rock with thick veins of blues, soul and a twist of gospel running through she moves you with her music. This is not Kaz Hawkins but Kaz Hawkins Band and the band fits around her attitude like a glove augmented with classy licks and bass that drives the tension through the album. Her band is a rhythm powerhouse, brothers Pete & Jan Uhrin originally from Slovakia have made Northern Ireland home for over 10 years. The synergy and natural initiative of understanding is a result of playing together since childhood. Guitarist Nick McConkey who has been with Kaz for over four years remains in the mix and joined by his cousin Deanne Jones on backing vocals. The band is tight and the controlling reins are firmly in Kaz’s hand as she shapes the music around her vocals and the lyrics that have deep meaning and are always personal.

No track is more personal than the official single and video release from the album a statement This Is Me. Opening with Kaz at piano and her voice deep with soul and emotional and then the words they are spell-binding. Stop what you are doing and listen this is a soulful philosophy for life This is Me and all I wanted to be. The guitar and drums add tonal textures as they take up the melody. Wow it is powerful yet never swamps the other nine tracks it fits into the flow. Opening with background studio you first hear Kaz saying she has lost her mojo. Oh no she hasn’t Pray is gospel A-Capella that draws you deep into the velvet complexity of Kaz’s vocals from the high to the low notes. The Drum joins with a pounding beat and we are off on a rollercoaster of emotions of Kaz Hawkins Band. We have a change of tempo with Don’t Make Mama Cry as the band sweeps Kaz along on a waterfall of rhythmic tempo. The title track nestled in the middle, is a sumptuous cover of a Newley & Bricusse number. Opening with chords from Nick’s guitar we wait for Kaz’s voice and now we have a gentle reflective tone and you are left moved as she sings the well-known refrain It’s a New Life a New Day.
How to follow that? Put some funk into the mix, with a deep opening bass as the instruments join in Kaz joins the party. Don’t Run Away, you won’t this is an album that beckons you to keep returning to. Closing with a Willie Dixon Classic I Just Wanna Make Love the circle closed and blues the strongest vein of shining blue is captured in the supremacy that is Kaz Hawkins.

On every listen there is another gem of instrumentation that you missed on the first, second and third listen. Every track has a different approach that needs time to explore and you will make the time to explore Kaz Hawkins and her band on this outstanding album Feelin Good.
Catch Kaz on tour it will be fun – for dates – click the link


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

Feelin Good – Kaz HawkinsIndependent – Release Date 25th May 2016

Track Listing
1. Pray (Hawkins)
2. It Ain’t You (Hawkins)
3. Don’t Make Mama Cry (Hawkins)
4. This Is Me (Hawkins)
5. Belfast Town (Hawkins)
6. Feeling Good (Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse)
7. Don’t Run Away(Hawkins)
8. Because You Love Me (Hawkins)
9. Soul Superstar (Hawkins)
10. I Just Wanna Make Love to You (Willie Dixon)

Feelin Good albums will be available for sale via the band’s website after 28th May 2016. Digital downloads will not available for the foreseeable future. The only other place to get a hold of the album will be from the Feelin Good UK Tour venues of which there is a comprehensive list on the band’s website.

CD Review: Kaz Hawkins ~ Get Ready

Scan0001Blues is miserable, downbeat and introspective; if that is your stereotype then Get Ready you haven’t heard and definitely not seen Kaz Hawkins and Her Band O Men perform. This may be a debut album but there is a world of musical knowledge and talent that pours out of Kaz’s immense and powerful vocal chords. From the first note to the last, the warmth and personality of Kaz shines through this is an album that catches and the mix of styles that has influenced blues or been influenced by blues are threaded through the tracks so each and every one is shaped and honed. We here echoes of field hollers, gospel, soul, honkey-tonk and jazz what we have is the Kaz effect Wow! That is really a great fresh contemporary sound you want to listen to and enjoy.

Her album opens with Hallelujah Happy People, you will want to join her where the happy people go for two positive reasons to raise your spirits and hear her spellbinding vocal delivery. Throughout it is full of vocal allure and the raw energy that tells the lyrics exactly as it is. Every track has a tale of interest delivered with an honest reality that connects I Saw A Man is slower full of heart-wretching soulfulness painting a lyrical picture as we come to know and understand what Kaz has seen and motivated her to write about this unnamed man. There is no doubt that we all believe in Kaz having experienced her musical journey through the album Get Ready; the title track sums it up instead of sing “Get Ready for Peace, Get Ready for Love” it should be Get Ready for Kaz Hawkins and Her Band O Men.

Get your dancing shoes on and join the party for Shake and Can’t Afford Me you will be smiling and moving and grooving with every perfectly produced note. Drink With the Devil a cleverly produced song that feels and sounds as if it is echoing the feel of speakeasy bars during prohibition. Closing with Walking On My Own there is a personal tale but with music of this quality walking on her own is a thing of the past for Kaz.

There can be no argument that Kaz does Belfast proud continuing a music tradition that has to be heard far and wide and very, very often as we can explore the music and understand the reflective tone and language of a life lived to the full with all the bumps in the road and the tears of laughter and of joy.
Get Ready, is an album of extraordinary depths, emotional maturity and a vocal dexterity that demands to be heard and admired and her Band O Men just add the tonal dimensions for her talent to fly high as she hits the warmest of blues notes.

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



Kaz Hawkins ~ Get Ready – Independent

Track Listing
1. Hallelujah Happy People
2. I Saw A Man
3. Believe With Me
4. Shake
5. Get Ready
6. Can’t Afford Me
7. Coz You
8. Drink With The Devil
9. Born To Be Lovers
10. Walkin On My Own

CD Review: The Black Tongued Bells ~ Every Tongue Has A Tale To Tell

The Black Tongued Bells - Every Tongue Has A Tale To Tell - (CD COVER)

The Black Tongued Bells
Every Tongue Has A Tale To Tell

Many an album then there are the emails with a link that arrive at Bluesdoodles; some are a disappointment, many are interesting BUT Every Tongue Has A Tale To Tell, the debut album of Los Angeles based band The Black Tongued Bells was a delight. The musical journey the album takes you includes all the influences of Rock n Roll recorded on a modern rock blues album, it is a cocktail for your musical taste buds. Explore the tracks as they roll by with roots, rock, blues, soul and gospel not a cacophony of styles , these have been mixed with a musical black magic resulting in a sound that is a true pleasure. The album is jam-packed with creativity and free-thinking approaches to their music. The result is an earthy sound that shapes and then breaks the mould to create a sound that is in your face and authentic, with steamy guitar work, awesome vocals and a percussive force that makes you take notice. The baritone vocals are delivered by the band’s guitarist D. Miner has timbre that appears to have been soaked in bourbon to quench the fire in his throat resulting in at times a smooth mellowness as he sings the lyrics other times raw emotion.

The fourteen tracks spread across the music of the USA, opening with a funky number that pulls you down down deep into the tones and musical textures that epitomizes the band, Comin Back For More is certainly prophetic because this is an album I will keep revisiting.

We have a slower tempo as the tale unfolds of the long road ahead until we reach the Pearly Gates, with some fine guitar playing creating a long winding road on Long Way To Go. Kingbee Jam is a Rock N Roll number that would have delighted the teenagers and scared the adults back in the days; the music has a high rev danger pulsating through every beat. The version of Merle Travis Land, Sixteen Tons is finger clicking good.

Ending with Hello Misery with the chatting in the background we have a live number we are now truly in the Juke Joint, with a bluesy number that rocks with attitude and the howling horns and she sucks me like a vampire… We are deep in the bayou with this classy closing track with another welcome for Mary Stuart’s vocals this is a great number to close the album leaving you wanting to hear more.

The Black Tongued Bells refuse to be categorised and have distilled the finest licks, riffs, phrasing and approaching of American music since recordings began… To quote their website the band has created in the album Every Tongue has a Tale to Tell “Gothic-Gospel Juju anyone?” This is an album that deserves your attention.

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

The Bells CD Insert and Tracklist

The Heritage Blues Orchestra @ The Moon Club Cardiff – Saturday 5th July

This was an evening when the blues hit Womanby Street, Cardiff opening the evening was a local delta blues-man Mr. Hugh Price who delivered classic numbers from John Lee Hooker, Skip James, Sam Chapman and more; a good laid- back platform for the main act tonight. Hugh Price - The Moon Club Cardiff - July 2014_0002lThen we had Bella Collins & The Blue to follow. Bella takes the lead fronting the band with her skilful vocals and guitar she has a great trio of support in the band local bluesmen who we have seen play in a number of re-incarnations, Lead Guitarist Jeff Coleman; bassist Paul Higgins and drumming tonight Paul Westwell . Bella Collins - The Moon Club Cardiff - July 2014_0032lThey delivered a mix that suited Bella’s voice and built up the atmosphere and anticipation before The Heritage Blues Orchestra stepped onto the stage at The Moon Club.




The Heritage Blues Orchestra - The Moon Club Cardiff - July 2014_0068lThe Heritage Blues Orchestra are touring the U.K as a quintet, Chaney Sims bringing her warm vocals to the band that are full of tones and inflections a little bit gospel, a whole lot of soul and buckets full of glorious musical shapes. The two guitarists play with perfect understanding they are not duelling with each other, never do they try to out compete because they know they are both class, Bill Sims and Junior Mack, any band with two guitarists should watch, learn and emulate. The quintet is completed by Parisian harp player Vincent Boucher and topped off in all his glorious drummer technique and style Chicago drummer Kenny ‘Beedy Eyes’ Smith.

The Moon was dark inside and very hot, steamy hot without a breath of fresh air as the quintet played a really authentic sound as they took the crowd on a journey through the history of the blues through the Mississippi, Louisiana and deeper back in time to a darker age with more rhythm drive beats from Mali and Senegal; the heat in the room was authentic too. Son House’s Clarksdale Moan featured Junior Mack as did Eric Bibb’s, Don’t Ever Let Nobody Drive Your Spirit Down delivering sublime guitar playing which met up to my expectations of a player who had played with the greats, worked and collaborated with many major American recording artists including: The Allman Brothers Band, Derek Trucks, Chaka Khan, Magic Slim, Honeyboy Edwards and the list goes on. His influences of the two kings B.B. and Freddie along with Lighntnin’ Hopkins shine through but the technique and delivery is uniquely his as he makes his Gibson SG sing super cool!

The Heritage Blues Orchestra - The Moon Club Cardiff - July 2014_0055lInto the mix we had W.C. Handy’s St Louis Blues, invoking Bessie Smith’s sung by Chaney Sims, who bought the spirit of Bessie into the room and on this steamy July night this slow number suited the atmosphere. Then there is the drumming throughout which flashes at a speed that catches your ears like a flying fish catching your eye when leaping out of the water full of glistening silver gone in a flash but lingering on your senses. The drumming is clean fresh and interactive and keeps the beat deep within the soul of the music. Muddy Water’s Catfish Blues sees the drumming pushing the beat along.

The Heritage Blues Orchestra - The Moon Club Cardiff - July 2014_0201lWe were treated to some acoustic guitar from Junior Mac as the other members took a well deserved breather, the members joined them once again on the tiny stage and they continued to deliver and delight as the night rolled on and the audience were asked to help out, you never have to ask twice in Cardiff. C-Line Women with some lovely harmonies delivered courtesy of the crowd was a special moment and the stage and the club morphed into one harmonious body all singing in the moment and full of harmonious cohesion.

The Heritage Blues Orchestra - The Moon Club Cardiff - July 2014_0112lVincent on the blues-harp playing is at times frenetic in the style of Little Walter was at a very special level with the flair of someone who plays with verve and style, loving the music he is playing and added another layer of sound and tonal quality filling in the gaps when vocals faded away and the guitars were in the background.

The Heritage Blues Orchestra - The Moon Club Cardiff - July 2014_0090lThe two tracks that for me that had that spine-tingling live music moment was their version of St James’ Infirmary, this American folk-song shows the depth and scope of the combined talents of the quintet with a long slow rendition of this number I have never heard it sung or articulated so well, and the wonderful original take on the classic Hard Times with Chaney leading the vocals and then the gospel harmonies as they all join in.

The whole set was wall-to-wall music, full of energy, emotion, charm that fizzled with talent and vitality , you just have to smile, dance and join in the singing this is a quality act that know how to perform and keep you engaged and entertained. Come back to the U.K. very soon and bring the whole Heritage Blues Orchestra next time; at least those who didn’t already have their Grammy-nominated début album, And Still I Rise could take a little bit of the magic home with them.

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Blind Boys Of Alabama – St Davids Hall

Blind Boys Of Alabama - St Davids Hall May 2014_0058lBlind Boys Of Alabama –
St Davids Hall 26th May –

Bank Holiday Monday, and if you want your spirits raised then St David’s Hall, Cardiff was the place for you. Before The Blind Boys of Alabama stepped on the stage the crowd were entertained by a duo of Chris King on guitar & vocals, and Owain on keyboards, as the crowd waited for the spirit to descend upon them. The Blinds Boys Of Alabama filled the auditorium with a full-on sound and a quality lesson in enjoying the gospel sound. They first sang together in 1944 and even after seven decades of singing their harmonies are still spot on, full of vocal colours and textures. The songs flowed one after another with different members taking the lead with a running commentary from Blind Boys founding member Jimmy Carter so the audience felt included and they showed their love and affection back. At times it was being in a Church as at one point everyone was up on their feet, swaying to the beat with hands in the air clapping, etc. They showcased their latest CD; I’ll Find A Way including God Put a Rainbow In the Cloud; I’ll Find A Way (To Carry It All) and then there was the wonderful high tenor almost soprano singing on There Will Never Be Any Peace (Until God Is Seated At The Conference Table). Into the mix they threw in tracks everyone recognised including I Shall Not be Moved and a really different version of Amazing Grace to the chord sequence of House of The Rising Sun.. This was a feel good evening with audience members getting involved with chanting arm waving and smiling yes, everyone left feeling good.

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Dana Fuchs – Bliss Avenue

Dana Fuchs – Bliss Avenue – RUF Records – Released 9th July 2013

dana f

The opening and title track is blisteringly good, it is as hot as the summer’s day outside, I was totally absorbed into the power and emotion of ‘Bliss Avenue‘ for just under 3 minutes I was spellbound as Dana weaves her musical magic around me the combination of her voice and the understated but powerful beat of the musicians. The lyrics are powerful, soulful and gut wrenching this is a glorious cocktail mix of influences from the gospel, southern rock/blues with generous measures of soul and roots of the highest calibre mixed in and poured over icy granite rock. My only concern was how could this high-powered opening number be followed, well when an artist of this quality and style with such a wonderful voice combined with the song-writing skills that with her guitarist Jim Diamond she has created an album full of texture, charm, sorrow and gritty determinism as Dana sings about loss, loneliness from her perspective BUT this is never a self-centred introspective collection of songs. The tracks all have merits and the CD engages you throughout the twelve songs and nearly fifty minutes; for me the tracks that stand out are ‘How Did Things Get This Way’ with its gritty rocky beat matches and at the same time contrasts Dana’s vocals; ‘Baby Loves the Life’; a gentler tempo with a hint of country and this makes the lyrics stand out, ‘Long Long Game’ with a nod at the hollering style of a gospel choir mixed with country rock, but still for me the real stand out track is the opening title track – ‘Bliss Avenue’. The band that delivers a beautiful sound for Dana to hang her lyrics are Jon Diamond (Guitar); Jack Daley (Bass); Shawn Pelton (Drums); Glenn Patascha (Keys) they deliver track after track with the tempo, style and rhythm to meld the whole show together. This is life in all its colours delivered on a small gleaming disc, ‘Bliss Avenue” is perfectly formed, there is no doubt that Dana’s vocals are compared with Janis Joplin, Bonnie Raitt and even Patti Smith but the reality is Dana’s style and approach is uniquely her own and a distillation of the road she has travelled since as a twelve-year-old she sung in The First Baptist Church on the outskirts of town until today and the release on the 9th July “Bliss Avenue” on RUF Records. There is no doubt this is an album with loads of confident swagger… so please tour the UK very soon so we can hear you live on stages across the country!

Bluesdoodles gives this CD a doodle rating of