The Magpie Salute Announce Recording Debut Album

The Magpie Salute Announce recording Debut Album

To Be Released This Summer Via Mascot Label Group
Tour Dates To Be Announced Shortly

Mascot Label Group are thrilled to announce that The Magpie Salute have joined the Provogue label to sit at home amongst some of the finest modern blues icons such as Joe Bonamassa, Beth Hart, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Jonny Lang, Walter Trout, Eric Gales, Sonny Landreth, Gary Hoey and more.

The Magpie Salute which brings together the reunited guitar team of Rich Robinson and Marc Fordfrom the Black Crowes, bassist Sven Pipien (also from the Crowes) along with lead singer John Hogg (Hookah Brown, Moke), drummer Joe Magistro and guitarist Nico Bereciartua have entered a studio in Nashville, TN to begin recording their debut album. The currently untitled record is due out later this summer via Mascot Label Group.

“We’re all very excited to start a new partnership with Mascot Label Group,” Rich Robinson commented.  “We’ve just started recording our first original music for release this summer. We can’t wait to see you out there on the road.”

Mascot Label Group CEO Ed van Zijl on signing The Magpie Salute: “I’m really excited to welcome The Magpie Salute to the Mascot family. They are an incredible band with a huge melting pot of ideas that feels fresh and powerful. They are no ordinary band and you can tell they all have a long history together which shows in their rich songwriting.  Their debut album is going to be a real joy and I feel we are going to have a great future.”

Formed by Rich Robinson in late 2016, The Magpie Salute spent most of 2017 on the road performing over 75 shows in countries around the world. Through the miles travelled the ensemble became a band. From their varied set lists every single night, with the band choosing from repertoire exceeding 200 songs, The Magpie Salute immediately developed a rapid fan base.

The Magpie Salute Announce recording Debut Album


Lance Lopez been there done that and back for more

Lance Lopez in conversation with Wes O’Neill with new solo album Tell The Truth, Supersonic Blues Machin and Rockin’ The Blues tour 2018. As he says, Lance Lopez been there, done that and back for more.. read what they talked about

It’s been awhile since Texan axe slinger Lance Lopez has released a solo album, but it’s certainly been worth the wait. “Tell The Truth” is full of hard rockin blues, deep southern influences and incendiary yet tasteful guitar playing. Add to this a man who certainly has stories to tell and “Tell The Truth” is a sure-fire hit. As Lance sings himself on the opening track, “Nothin’ worth having, ever came easy to me, the sweetest victories came within an inch of defeat”.

WO’N: Your solo album “Tell The Truth” has been coming for a while now, what’s been the hold up?
LL: We recorded it over a period of a few years – we started recording at the end of 2012 but then Supersonic Blues Machine happened! I headed out to Los Angeles to record the first three tracks with my good friend producer and bass guitarist, Fabrizio Grossi, and then a week later Billy Gibbons showed up and they began working on “Running Whisky” and the next thing you know Supersonic happened in our West of Flushing, South of Frisco album! When we began to record that album, we resumed recording “Tell The Truth” simultaneously to it. We’d start off with Supersonic songs, go out and have a bite come back and the work on “Tell The Truth” for the rest of the day and into the night. Sometimes those were 20 hour days that Fabrizio and I were recording for, but man it was fun! It just took time and in between the first Supersonic record and the latest “Californisoul” I recorded on my own in New York, Texas and wherever I happened to be at the time and would send things back to Fabrizio in LA where he would edit them, mix them and then I’d be back in LA where we would resume recording. It was really when we began recording the second Supersonic Blues Machine album that we actually finished “Tell The Truth” midway through.

WO’N: That must of been crazy working on two records at the same time…
LL: In fact, it was easier! Hahaha! One day Fabrizio and I would work on Supersonic, the next my record – alternating days as opposed to giant long days that were in first place. The other thing for why we did it like that then was that we didn’t have very much more to do on “Tell The Truth” ‘cos we had been working on it for a number of years. The main thing behind it taking so long was Supersonic Blues Machine…but that’s a cool problem to have had!

WO’N: Did you have a different mindset or approach for each album?
LL: Absolutely! Here’s the thing, working with Fabrizio Grossi is super cool in that he very much has a vision of how we want everything to sound, how it should be played, sung, attacked, held back…every last detail that’s super polished and just so well produced man. It was particularly in the early recording split days as I said that it was much more of a collaborative process in Supersonic yet more of an out and out producer role with my solo record. This came about in the writing, the vision and overall delivery for “Tell The Truth”, there’s much more of the Texas blues-rock influence in my record than our Supersonic Blues Machine records. You know that was what was really cool – adding a lot more of the blues harp and slide guitar real authentic sounds in “Tell The Truth” which ended up influencing our Supersonic Blues Machine “Californiasoul”. There was a definite mindset to each, but you can’t help being influenced by what you’re around.

WO’N: Tell The Truth is a very thematic album – a lot of references to redemption, luck, nights out gone wrong…
LL: It’s autobiographical and biographical at the same time. There’s Joey Sykes songwriting, ya know the lead guitar player in The Babys, on this record and really great writer and producer Serge Simic who looked at my life and wrote songs about me instead of like “Hey Lance, here’s a song I wrote about something you don’t care for, wanna put it on your album?”. It was very different having guys look at my life, real good times and real bad times, and coming to me with these songs of how they saw me or what had happened in my life so far. It’s one of the most different experiences I’ve had as a musician than before as I’ve wrote and recorded with people before but with this I had folk coming up to me and saying “‘I’ve wrote this song about you”. Just wow man, just wow…

WO’N: Did it make you feel uncomfortable at all having these guys peer into your life like that and how did you deal with that from an artistic vantage point?
LL: It was real interesting, I can tell you that! Hahaa! Songs like “Down to One Bar”, like damn, some of it was hard to hear, you know a song about my…let’s call it “my adventures in the pub”, hahaa! Like the song “The Real Deal” – Joey Sykes wrote that about me so it was kinda strange to stand there and sing that I’m the real deal! Hahaa! But, hey, that was his vision of me and real interesting to sing it from a first person perspective. It was very cool to have that experience  that people were watching my life from the outside and some of it was very good, some of it was bad, lot’s of ups and downs but it’s really cool that we were able to document all that and that’s the premise – like “Blue Moon Rising” which I co-wrote and it was very touching and a good awakening of sorts to loom back and say “Wow, you know I may of been thinking this but other people are seeing it too”. We were just being open and honest through it all, hence “Tell The Truth”.

WO’N: Now then, it wouldn’t be chat between guitar players if I didn’t ask what ladies you used on the album would it?
LL: No man, it wouldn’t be! I mainly used my Gibson guitars. My R9 Les Paul, my Pelham Blue Firebird (you can see them front and centre in the video for “Down to One Bar”) and also a sunburst Firebird which is a newer one which is my slide guitar. On “Never Came Easy” and “Cash My Check” I used a 1963 Melody Maker that belonged to Warren Haynes’s former guitar technician, Brian Farmer who passed a few years back. A good friend of his brought me his guitar in to play and it just sounded fantastic on those tracks. It was very interesting recording the different guitars on different tracks – I did also use a 1963 Telecaster on “Blue Moon Rising”, you know, just to get the old Stax Records R&B vibe going down for the rhythm tracks, that was really cool.

WO’N: I’m thinking that these guitars will be out in force for the first Provogue Rockin’ The Blues Tour which kicks off in Germany on March 9?
LL: Oh for sure man! You know what the great thing is about The Rockin’ The Blues tour is that everybody on it, we’re all dear friends. Eric Gales, Gary Hoey and young Quinn Sullivan – man we’re gonna be out on that tour having a great time and I’m just looking forward to being back out on the road with those guys. That’s one of the great things about being around other guys is the jamming, in that everybody admires each other, respects each other and are good friends.

WO’N: You guys also play in Holland with the final night of the tour being here in the UK at The Garage in London Saturday, March 17…
LL: Yes man, and it’s gonna be the same every show with this tour so when we’re up on stage jamming, people will be able to feel it, not just hear or see it. There’s no competition, there shouldn’t be in music – we’re just all friends having fun!  I’ll be sitting in with Eric Gales and we’ll play some songs from “Tell The Truth”…and all jam at the end, it’s gonna be cool and a trip for the audience.

WO’N: It’s always great chatting with you, thanks again,  to close off – with all the ups and downs in your career so far, what lessons would you pass on to the youngsters?
LL: Well, you know one of the main ones is that practice is what makes you good. Spending time with your instrument and having the dedication to. It’s like when Eric Gales and I were young, that’s all we did was play the guitar and that even happens today when we get together. It’s all we did as kids, we’d sit and play, but then there’s the bad stuff which you need to avoid. There’s the pitfalls of the substances and the booze – you know you don’t need to take anything to play or sound a certain way…I know that we felt like we did when we were younger and it didn’t do a thing but cause us lots of pain and suffering. If you can avoid trying that myth, steer clear of that and practice well, you may get somewhere and I hope you do.

“Tell The Truth” is out now via Mascot Label Group

Ticket link for Rockin’ The Blues with Eric Gales, Quinn Sullivan, Gary Hoey and special guest Lance Lopez at The Garage London UK March 17


Lance Lopez been there, done that and back for more



Lance Lopez been there, done that and back for more

Toby Arrives In Conversation with Greg Koch

The Koch Marshall Trio Debut Album Announcement

Wo’N Your new Album, Toby Arrives – I’ve been looking forward to talking with you for Bluesdoodles having listened to the new album over the last couple of weeks.  How did the new album come about as I have read about the Don Corleone moment which is intriguing in the press release?

GK: Well my son Dylan, who is now at the ripe old age of twenty-three, he had been doing some gigs up in Minneapolis. I am in Milwaukee, we are about a five-hour drive away so little bit of a haul. Doing some gigs with a young guitarist he has been doing stuff with, one of the iterations he has been performing with is an organ trio. So my son would come home and say, Dad you have got to check out this organ played, he is unbelievable and I would say Yeah, Yeah, Yeah! That’s great but it is five hours away when is that going to happen just didn’t seem right. So at some point, my son said you have got to hear this Toby on the keyboard because he is coming to town here to pick up a Leslie speaker that he is buying from this guy in town whose family owned the Hammond dealership for years. Any way to make a long story short he was coming into town on a Thursday and you know I travel quite a bit doing all kinds of stuff. So when my son we should get together and jam with some guy who is coming into town someday is not really high on my priority list. It was the day before he was coming to town my son said Dad Toby is coming to town we need to jam with them. I said well we have that keyboard in the basement we should just go downstairs and hammer it out. Dad he isn’t going to play that piece of shit, he plays B3’s, so what do you suggest. Well, he is going to have his B3 with him so bring it into the front room move the furniture around, yeah your mom is going to groove on that when she comes home from work. Scratched on the hardwood floor yeah that was where we were jamming with Toby, Dylan’s friend.   On Thursday my son was working at the coffee shop Bag N’ Beans and I will home around 2 pm Toby be here around that time.  So I reached out to this buddy of mine with a studio and B3 wired up and ready to go I didn’t know if he was in town. I called him up and said Dude, Dylan has got a friend coming to town who plays the organ can we come over and make some noise for a while? He said no problem come over little after two and I will have everything wired up and I will record it. Great. Toby guy arrives, Dylan comes home from work. I say Toby nice to meet you Dylan’s says you are great. I have booked a studio to jam in and if it all works out will through in some dough and we can start to make a record. They loved it, so we went over for some reason I grabbed my Vibrolux and I grabbed custom Les Paul I have with Peter Green wiring in the middle position I get the duck walky, Peter Green sound that will be fun to jam on.  I bought it over, we set up and got some sounds.  First tune we played I said let’s do a shuffle in G to start off with and that is the first tune on the record as we recorded at the session. When I heard it played back I thought holy shit here we go. Bought them back in two weeks later back in the same studio. At that point, I do all these guitar videos out in Colorado at a place called Wildwood Guitars I bought in the film crew who was actually just one guy with several cameras and he filmed that session. So we basically recorded the whole thing in two and half days of kind of messing around. It was live in the studio though the bonus track I did add an acoustic track after. Everything else is live in the studio we wanted that approach. When I heard the stuff back I was really excited about it and we started to do some gigs most of my material prior to this had been more vocal orientated, always had a certain modicum of instrumental stuff. We just started to do gigs, we just played and everyone dug it even people who didn’t get instrumentals normally because of the energy of the band. The way we treated the material in such a way. It was my own material, my own songs we didn’t do covers people just freaked. So I was going to release the record on my own. My wife has done artwork for my stuff for years, so we did the artwork, packaging and sent it off to get duplicated in late August last year. I picked a random date of September 9th of last year to release it as it coincided with a big hometown gig we were doing. But during that point in time, you know this kinda deserves more of a push.

WO’N: Was this the motivation to get involved with Mascot Label Group and not self-release as planned?

KG: Yes,  I was thinking of the logistics of touring with a B3 be nice to have a bit of the infrastructure that a label could offer us. I knew that Mascot had the best game in town. So I sent Ed at Mascot a link to two of the video’s we had had the chance to edit and posted up online with some bio material told him the story briefly. He got back to me right away this is perfect – Mascot got an imprint coming out called Players Club an instrumental orientated thing you guys will be on the label. So let’s make a deal and that was it. It was kind of weird, I had pre-sold quite a few CD’s from my website so I honoured those pre-sales and then I yanked it from there so CD not available. So there are a few hundred people that already have the record.  So we mastered it and added that bonus track Sin Repent Repeat and vinyl release and all that sort of thing.

WO’N: Regarding songwriting, you went into the studio and jammed based it. Did you have these ideas before or was it from bouncing off your son and what Toby brought to the table?

It was a little bit of both. The first two tunes were literally off the cuff made up the melodic stuff on the spot, So that would have been Toby Arrives & Funk Meat as we call it.  Other tunes like Heed The Boogaloo, Let’s Get Sinister and Mysterioso those were from demos I had.  I went through this songwriting jag with this buddy of mine a singer-songwriter guy a couple of years I did this record all Plays Well With Others. He is a really good singer-songwriter, I would make little demo’s as I was travelling on my laptop throw out a couple of guitar tracks and like play the drums on the desk or whatever the case might be and send them to him. He would turn around in the days with some really cool songs. So we literally had seventy songs we had done together. I also had a cache of tunes that he had never written lyrics too so I had all these little ideas I have them all on my iPhone. When I go on my walks and have it on shuffle these tunes would play and I would think these are really good tunes, I really should do something with that. So three of those were tunes that I had been listening to lately and thought I should try these and throw them at Toby and see what happens.  So that is where those three came from. And then I had Enter The Rats about my son’s girlfriend who had pet rats who walked in as we were tracking the tune with them!

WO’N: You can hear it though, particularly in the intro it’s like they are suddenly creeping in…

GK: So that was kind of off the cuff, so I said let’s do some in ‘A’ I made up ahead then the Boogie tune was kind of the same thing. So a little bit of both some was from sketches I had others in the moment. I foresee that as being the plan to go ahead in the future. We have got reams of stuff ready to go. Then there are days where we get together and play literally as soon as we turn our stuff on we start messing around and we always come up with new stuff whenever we are playing. Future records will be the same some stuff will have been a little sussed out ahead of time and others happen in the moment.

WO’N: Do you think that for guitarists and other musicians reading this that it’s something that is very, very important and maybe has been lost a bit nowadays. From where people would go and spend a long time in the studio to be creative but because of money constraints things are pre-produced an awful lot now?

GK: There is that. I tend not to look at things as real black and white, in terms of right-way or wrong way. Certainly especially with Protools and the ability to kind of reinvent history as far as recording is concerned. The temptation is to fix everything and try to make it as perfect as you can. There is a real magic I think to people just playing in the moment just having that be what it is. That being said if you have a really good take except for that one horrific moment that happens we are going to fix that if we can. If fixing it negates the overall life of the performance then don’t fix it. I think there is something about and from my point of view is liberating as I have a tendency to hear stuff and go OH! Well, I could redo that, redo this and it was a real good exercise for to go no this is it. It was liberating for me to be honest, it does bring an extra life and vitality to hearing performances in that way and the energy supersedes the need for precision not that there isn’t the need for precise things to be going on. A little bit of that Lucy goosiness adds to the whole overall vibe.

WO’N Yes it is good. There are lots of different styles and elements thrown into all the different songs, comparing Funk Meat to Mysterioso, those sort of vibes to it – how can players go about learning to mix styles particularly the youngsters that might be only listening to one or two things? What else could they be getting into and putting into their playing?

GK: Well it is kind of interesting and it has been a blessing and I won’t say a curse. Certainly from making music and having a fun point of view I have always enjoyed being as versatile as possible. There is always a kind of connection to all the different things. The whole reason I got into the country side of playing I heard Albert Lee playing with Clapton and thought that is not the blues scale what the hell is he playing? I started researching who he was influenced by. Part of it was listening to Mark Knopfler and hearing the sound of a clean Strat on the radio in the late seventies was unusual. Hearing that chicken pickin’ way he approached things led me down one way. Then I was always into the Allman Brothers and Dickie Betts was always a kinda fiddlesque way of articulating something’s when he would do more country tinge things. Then there was always this jazz element.  So to me, I just connected the dots in terms of well I would read about Hendrix for instance how he would listen to Hubert Sumlin a lot with Howlin Wolf and Muddy Waters but then he would mention why I did this octave thinking about Watts Montgomery. I would say whose is Watts Montgomery starting listening to that and then hear about George Benson then hear how it all started with Charlie Christian records then I would go back to that. To me, it has always been a little bit of history homework. What makes it infinitely more immediately gratifying in this day and age is that I can mention all these names in an interview and someone can go online and have immediate access to all those people. Back in the day if I was reading a Guitar Player magazine with Albert Lee and he was mentioning guys like Hank Garland or some obscure Jerry Reed thing or talking about Jimmy Bryant those weren’t things I could go into the local record store and have immediate access to. It was more of a quest you had to go on especially in the early eighties when I was in high school learning some of this stuff it was not a time when all this stuff was available in your average record store it was more esoteric. You wouldn’t necessarily hear all these things people were talking about. I remember reading this book obscure contemporary people who Django (Reinhardt) was influenced by and I would immediately go online there was either obscure footage or someone had uploaded these 78’s so you could hear the audio online. Not to mention the fact that there actually video footage of people playing the stuff. So I think the idea of learning all these different styles is something that can be done much easier now than before. In terms of how I approached it, I was never really concerned with kind of learning solos or things transcribing note for note. I was interested in the flavour and I would cherry pick things that I thought were indicative of what this person would do that I could add to my own soup. If I changed it up it would be a little bit more of my own vernacular I always had the vision of being able to take the key elements of someone’s particular playing style and be able to learn to get just enough of it to be able to reference it without having to fully devout my entire vision into being that one thing.

WO’N: You mention learning, do you feel that you are still learning now?
GK: Oh absolutely.

WO’N Where/who are you learning from these days?
GK: I was learning some Big Bill Broonzy stuff the other day and Rev Gary Davis stuff that kind of early stuff. It is a funny story but I got into the Merle Travis stuff earlyish on. But it seemed to me that all the guys into Merle Travis like had an Uncle. Older Brother Dad into Travis. I had none of those things none of my relatives played. So I didn’t have that familial association with these players that stuff is a bitch to play.  Later on, I saw Doyle Dykes playing someplace and damn it I wanted the ability to accompany myself, perform some songs covering bass. Melody and rhythm all at the same time. So I made an effort to immerse myself in learning some Chet Atkins, Merle Travis & Jerry Reed. I would do some of this on the Wildwood videos that are what made that a successful thing for me because I reference all these styles. So if someone bought a high-end guitar they could hear it being played in a variety of styles.  Some guy, some troll he was more of a rock dude he said this is so much better than that Ragtime Wanker Greg Koch. Laughing, I started to refer to myself as a Ragtime Wanker, I should probably brush up on my ragtime. Do I have been messing around with some Blind Blake, Rev Gary Davis and Big Bill Broonzy stuff of late.

WO’N To wrap and go back to the record Toby Arrives what are you hoping people will get out of it, and  is there any danger of seeing you guys over here in the U.K.?
GK: Absolutely, not to sound like an ingrate I have been able to play my guitar and make a living for a long time now. One thing I would wish to happen would be to go to the U.K. and a variety of places I haven’t been able to go and just be able to play at decent clubs people come and want to listen to the stuff and return every year when I have a new record and have fans come out and dig it. So it has been a little difficult, in the past is it blues, is it rock is it country is it shreddelicious. People want to pigeonhole you I think that this particular line up with Toby’s Hammond B playing and of course have my young son play the drums bring the youthful element. I think this is by far the most accessible thing that I’ve been a part of. I think it works across so many different levels. If you are a jazz fan you will dig it, if you are a blues fan you will dig it if you are a jam band person you are going to like it. It is one of those things that is very accessible and the best platform for what I do. So I am hoping it is going to be something that will allow us to perform in places that up to this point only done clinics at or whatever the case may be. The goal is to take this thing on the road. I think that is the vision.

Toby Arrives In Conversation with Greg Koch


Koch Marshall Trio – Toby Arrives – Mascot Label Group.

Reviewed by Bluesdoodles writer Pendragon for an interesting read.

Toby Arrives Launching Koch Marshall Trio

Toby Arrives Launching Koch Marshal Trio

Toby Arrives Launching Koch Marshall Trio

Gregg Koch, uber guitarist, self-titled ‘ King Of Gristle’, practicer of necromantic six-string sorcery, certainly knows a thing or two about a thing or two. So, it was with some trepidation after finally agreeing to his son ( and drummer ) Dylan’s relentless requests, that they booked a studio to jam with Hammond B3 maestro Toby Marshall.

You can feel the utter joyorific amazement on ‘Toby Arrives’, the first song, that also gave the album its title. Those very first never-played-together-before notes are captured here for us lucky people to witness this universal alignment of talent extraordinaire. The resultant shuffle in G allows the listener that rare view of musicians ‘feeling each other out’, creating sparks and trading energies. The sense that the three smiles on those faces grew wider as the song progresses is impossible to ignore. Interplay, chemistry, call it what you will, but yes, Toby certainly has ‘arrived’.

The first signing to Mascot Label Group’s new ‘Players Club’, Koch Marshall Trio present ‘Toby Arrives’ in an organ trio format, with Toby Marshall’s Hammond bass pedals filling out any lack of low end. Second song ‘Funk Meat’ is a one-chord funk feel jam, with straight drums and a cool groove. Gregg’s biting Telecaster howls, moans, snarls and squeaks but always plays for the song. When you have a trick bag as full as Gregg’s it’s easy to show off but on ‘Funk Meat’ and throughout Gregg and Toby showcase but not clutter. It’s Toby and the roaring Hammond B3 that provide the biggest lifts, you can hear Dylan react to the energy with great dynamism.

Production throughout is bold, nice big and full bass, live recorded ( mostly ) in the studio. Dylan Koch’s drums could be higher in the mix for my taste. They tend to get a little lost here and there. He plays more of an accompanist role and it’s a shame he isn’t given just one chance to show his obvious chops. You can hear the youth but the groove is strong with Koch Jr, and he’s got a bright future ahead.

The lead song from the album, ‘ Heed The Boogaloo’ is a quirky, catchy, can’t get it out of your head number, with a classic familiar pounding bass line. The head is nodding once more, with great groove drumming on the beat. Gregg’s motif guitar part is full of his trademark sass, swagger and humour. Again he takes the first solo, country chicken-pickin’ meets Robben Ford, propelling the tune along, with lovely ‘outside’ notes that tease the ear. Toby sticks to more conventional pentatonics, but the energetic roaring Hammond lifts again raise Dylan, resulting in Gregg’s bar raised even further with another world-class lead break.

Stand out track for me is the 9 plus minutes of ‘Mysterioso’, where at last Dylan gets a showcase and takes us away from the bluesy and into Jeff Beck territory, with a great groove. Another flavour from Gregg with a spacey delay, coupled with an almost psychedelic Hammond. This song needs an oil light show, a get stoned on the music prog rock delight. Gregg also shows us what an influence Derek Trucks is on the guitar world with some of his trademark slide licks, trippy, trance-like and triumphant at the climax.

‘Toby Arrives’ is the sort of album you could stack alongside a Thelonius Monk record, a Jeff Beck record or a Mike Landau record. If you went for one of the other three and got this by mistake your day wouldn’t be ruined. Throw in Albert Collins and Albert Lee and you get the picture. The last track ‘Sin Repent Repeat’ is a sign of things to come. This initial meeting and resultant jams could progress to present more composition such as on this number, with an overdubbed acoustic and at last a louder drum mix flowing in a slide led groove that rounds things up perfectly.

As a live concert momento, and a capture the moment jam ‘Toby Arrives’ works perfectly. Whether you’ll still be listening in a week, month or year I’m not sure. Musicians will steal licks and talk tones, but all will look forward with eagerness to the follow-up, ‘Toby Has Been Here A While Now Let’s Get Down To Business’.

Pendragon for Bluesdoodles gives Koch Marshall Trio ‘Toby Arrives’ a jamtastic

EIGHTpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Out via Mascot Label Group 23rd February 2018

Track Listing:

      1. Toby Arrives
      2. Funk Meat
      3. Heed The Boogaloo
      4. Let’s Get Sinister
      5. Mysterioso
      6. Enter The Rats
      7. Boogie Yourself Drade
      8. Sin repent Repeat

    Toby Arrives Launching Koch Marshal Trio

Bootsy Collins Capturing World Wide Funk

Bootsy Collins Capturing World Wide Funk

Bootsy Collins Capturing World Wide Funk

One of funk music’s great pioneers, greatest bass players, rock and roll hall of famer and delightful eccentric Bootsy Collins is back with new release ‘World Wide Funk’ on Mascot Label Group. Following a 7 year hiatus, and at 66 years young the funk is stronger than ever on these 15 stupendous tracks of funkology.

” I wanted to make a musical monster that was born between a pee hole and a a..hole” says Bootsy, and the former James Brown bassist manages to steal the soul godfather’s moves, grooves and funk truths. This album LAYS IT DOWN from the first cut ‘World Wide Funk’ to the last ‘Illusions’. Bombastic, pristine production, each track is full of flavours ear teasers and flow, all the more realised with subsequent listens. You will play this record over and over.

Stellar special guest including amongst others Doug E Fresh and guitarist Buckethead, deliver P Funk influenced head bobbing, groovy, pimped out FUNK to a 2018 audience. Quirky, out there, sometimes risqué, sometimes political, always musical, always funky! Propelled by the unmistakable king of basslines, Bootsy brings aura, humour, psychedelic glow from star shine. ‘World Wide Funk’ envelopes you with the groove, caresses every fibre and music receptor of soul and spirit.

Bass legends Stanley Clark and Victor Wooten trade licks on ‘ Bass-Rigged-System’ and Bootsy makes room for rap stars such as MC Eiht, Musiq Soulchild and rising singing star Tyshawn Colquitt, who shines on ‘Snowbunny’. It’s easy to see the huge future of this Apollo Theatre ‘Amateur Night’ winner.

There is so much going on it’s hard to take it all in, in a good way. You just know you have to listen again and again. Bootsy’s soft and sultry vocals drift up, down, through and around reinforcing the funk with commentary, wit, spaced out wordplay and enticing ‘ come-ons’ to the soloists to ‘Bring It!’.

There is no filler, are no skip tracks and all tracks stand out and up on their own merit. Albums aren’t made like this anymore too often. ‘ World Wide Funk’ is classic P-Funk and modern groove funk that’s as relevant today as it was back in the platform shoe Funkadelic heyday. Bootsy is the Jimi Hendrix of the bass and the guru of the groove. The genuine ‘Brother Nature’, a superstar, a funkmeister.

‘World Wide Funk’ is essential listening, a slam dunk P-Funk gem for all fans of the beautifully weird feelgood eccentric chaos. The link, the glue, the route from pioneer to the innovator. A major talent, a major record.

Every citizen of funkland needs ‘World Wide Funk’, we are blessed to walk in Bootsy Collins purple, sparkly, ‘on the one’ world.

Funk yeah!

Pendragon for Bluesdoodles gives ‘World Wide Funk’ a ‘we are not worthy’

TENpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …


Track Listing:

  1. World Wide Funk
  2. Bass-Rigged System
  3. Pusherman
  4. Thera-P
  5. Hot Saucer
  6. Heaven Yes
  7. Ladies Nite
  8. Candy Coated Lover
  9. Snowbunny
  10. Hi-Heels
  11. Salute To Bernie
  12. Boomerang
  13. Worth My While
  14. Comeback
  15. Illusions

Bootsy Collins Capturing World Wide Funk

Front and Center as Beth Hart Announces Live Album

Front and Center as Beth Hart Announces Live Album


CD/DVD set will be released on April 13th, 2018 via Provogue Records/Mascot Label Group

Watch Hart Perform “Tell Her You Belong To Me”

Switch of the phones, Switch off the world. The click play….  immerse yourself for six minutes within the emotional journey Beth Hart takes you on. Her masterful vocals wrap around the lyrics and pulling you deep into Tell Her You Belong To Me. This single from her forthcoming album Front and Center is Beth Hart immersion therapy for your soul. Leaving you both exalted and emotionally stripped bare. The forthcoming album promises to be an emotional rollercoaster.

On March 7th, 2017, the GRAMMY-nominated “powerhouse vocalist” (Rolling Stone) Beth Hart performed a very special, intimate concert at NYC’s Iridium Jazz Club, which featured songs from her latest album ‘Fire on the Floor’ and from throughout her career. Now, 13 years after the release of her incredibly successful live release, ‘Live at Paradiso,’ Hart is treating fans to a DVD/CD release of this standout performance with Live From New York – Front & Center, out April 13th via Provogue Records/Mascot Label Group. The performance is also featured on the Season 8 premiere episode of Public Television’s critically acclaimed concert series, Front and Center (airing now, check local listings).

Known for her visceral, soul-baring vocals and dynamic range, Hart is riding a creative tidal wave following the release of her critically acclaimed 2016 studio album, Fire On The Floor, as well as her just-released studio collaboration with guitarist Joe Bonamassa, Black Coffee. Leveling audiences with her incredible power and celebrated burnt-honey vocals for 20 years, Hart has just launched a 16-date coast-to-coast US tour, which will be followed by a European tour in April-May 2018.

Hart has had an incredible career, beginning with the release of a fistful of hit albums through the ’90s, then reigniting in the post-millennium as both a solo artist and the head-turning vocalist for guitar heroes like Joe Bonamassa, Slash and long-time collaborator Jeff Beck. But it’s in recent times that Beth has truly blossomed, selling out ever-larger venues in cities around the world, including New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Berlin, Milan, Amsterdam, and Copenhagen. She is recognized as one of the great live vocalists of our time, with a voice “reminiscent of Etta James and Janis Joplin” (Music Connection), topping Billboard’s Blues Album Chart and receiving numerous GRAMMY and Blues Music Awards nominations. Dubbed “the ultimate female rock star” by The Blues Magazine, the Guardian has praised her “daring, brooding performances” and The Times has called her “Extraordinary.”

‘Live From New York – Front And Center’ will be released as a 2-disc DVD/CD set, mixed in 5.1 stereo, featuring never before seen bonus material, including an exclusive interview with Hart. The audio from the performance will also be sold separately as a digital release.
Track Listing

01 – Let’s Get Together
02 – Baddest Blues
03 – Jazz Man
04 – Delicious Surprise
05 – Broken And Ugly
06 – St. Teresa
07 – Isolation
08 – Tell Her You Belong To Me
09 – Fat Man
10 – Love Gangster
11 – Leave The Light On
12 – As Long As I Have A Song

01 – Let’s Get Together
02 – Baddest Blues
03 – Jazz Man
04 – Delicious Surprise
05 – St. Teresa
06 – Tell Her You Belong To Me
07 – Fat Man
08 – Leave The Light On
09 – Can’t Let Go
10 – As Long As I Have A Song

Beth Hart plus Her Band Tours UK/EU Spring 2018

VENUE BOX OFFICE: +353 1 775 5800
BOOK ONLINE: Ticket Master or Beth Hart Website 

VENUE BOX OFFICE: 01473 433 100
BOOK ONLINE: Alt Tickets or  Beth Hart Website 

VENUE BOX OFFICE: 01424 229 111
BOOK ONLINE: Alt Tickets or  Beth Hart Website 

VENUE BOX OFFICE: 0115 989 5555
BOOK ONLINE: Alt Tickets  or  Beth Hart Website 

VENUE BOX OFFICE: 0844 871 3020
BOOK ONLINE: Alt Tickets or  Beth Hart Website 

VENUE BOX OFFICE: 01303 228 600
BOOK ONLINE: Alt Tickets  or  Beth Hart Website 

VENUE BOX OFFICE: 0292 087 8444
BOOK ONLINE: Alt Tickets  or  Beth Hart Website  

VENUE BOX OFFICE: 01223 357 851
BOOK ONLINE: Alt Tickets  or  Beth Hart Website 


VENUE BOX OFFICE: 01253 625 252
BOOK ONLINE: Alt Tickets  or  Beth Hart Website 

VENUE BOX OFFICE: 01482 300300
BOOK ONLINE: Alt Tickets  or  Beth Hart Website 

VENUE BOX OFFICE: 0118 960 6060
BOOK ONLINE: Alt Tickets  or  Beth Hart Website 

VENUE BOX OFFICE: 023 9387 0200
BOOK ONLINE: Alt Tickets  or  Beth Hart Website 

VENUE BOX OFFICE: 0207 589 8212
BOOK ONLINE: Alt Tickets  or Royal Albert Hall
or   Beth Hart Website 

VENUE BOX OFFICE: 01242 850 270 
BOOK ONLINE: Cheltenham Jazz Festival or   Beth Hart Website 

Ruhr Congress, Bochum, Germany – 10 May
Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam, The Netherlands – 12 May
Palais Des Congres, Paris, France – 14 May



Join The Mutual Admiration Society Golden Shred Guitar Playing

Join The Mutual Admiration Society Golden Shred Guitar Playing

Golden Shred: Morse, Luthaker, Vai, Lee and Graydon guest on a guitar led instrumental album which takes 60s classics and gives them new life.


Join The Mutual Admiration Society Golden Shred Guitar PlayingOnce upon a time, two school friends started playing music together. After graduating, one of them, Sterling Ball, joined his father Ernie, who at the time was running a small company making guitar strings. This fledgeling company grew, of course, into a much bigger entity and started to make guitars too. Sterling is now Chief Executive Officer of that company… Ernie Ball Music Man. So, join The Mutual Admiration Society golden shred guitar playing with the company of great musicians.

In 1983 Sterling met up again with John Ferraro, his music partner from school and suggested they start a band to tour the local club scene. John recruited his college mate, Jim Cox, and they formed Biff Baby’s All Stars. The intention was for Sterling, normally a bass guitarist, to play the lead but another longtime friend had other ideas…Albert Lee had known Sterling since they met at a concert in 1972, and he wanted to be part of this new band. He was Albert Lee, so he was in, and Sterling went back to playing bass. This band of friends went on to tour for 30 years!

Fast-forward to 2017 and Sterling suggested they do an album together. What started as a project for these longtime friends grew into something so much bigger. As various guitar legends heard about the get-together, and much like Lee all those years ago, they decided they wanted to a part of it. And so The Mutual Admiration Society was born.

The first track is the Jesse Winchester composed Payday Song. A country stomp with gorgeous fluid playing from all involved. A crystal clear picked solo is the highlight of a familiar standard.

Next is The In Crowd, written by Billy Page, but probably best known from the cover by Brian Ferry. It takes on another life as an instrumental and is graced by the trademark sound of Steve Morse who puts in a sterling (!) performance as usual. A beautifully constructed and original solo without too much double picking and played with real feeling.

Checkin’ Up On My Baby is the Sonny Boy Williamson blues tune covered by Gary Moore and John Mayall amongst others. Here it gets a rebuild, with great organ tones behind every ‘verse’ and providing a cracking solo too. Sterling Ball is on his own here, proving what a good guitarist he is. Baby Please Don’t Go was written by Big Joe Williams. The definitive version is, in my opinion, to be found on Never Turn Your Back on a Friend by the criminally underrated Budgie. This does get close, however, as we get Steve Luthaker doing all of the guitar work and blending in a lovely solo.

Treat Her Right was written by Roy Head and Gene Kurtz as a country blues number. Here it becomes a delightful shuffle with the warmth further enhanced by a Jim Cox keyboard solo. Reminiscent at times of Green Onions, it moves along very pleasantly.

Sugar Shack was a big hit in 1963 for Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs and its inclusion here is thanks to Steve Vai who, apparently has wanted to play this since he was 4 years old. He plays a fascinating wah, wah on the verses before launching into an impressive, very clever interpretative solo. Chuck Berry’s Memphis, Tennessee now comes with a mandolin! A straightforward, countrified reading of this well-known song with Sterling on guitar and mandolin. Most successfully covered by Ray Charles, Cryin’ Time was composed by Buck Owens. Here it becomes a “British Country” tune thanks to the amazing style and performance of Albert Lee.

Now, how about some Jackson 5? Their huge hit I Want You Back is covered here. It sounds so familiar and yet, with Sterling’s picking carving out the verses on both lead and bass it sounds so different. Even more outrageous, how about a Disney Medley? Suggested by the guest guitarist, none other than John Petrucci, this mix of When You Wish Upon a Star and Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah (plus a couple I didn’t know) is transformed by Petrucci’s fretboard work. He turns them into lessons in how to transform the light-hearted into serious guitar workouts. Tremendous fun!

Hank Williams gets the Albert Lee treatment on Hey Good Lookin’. Inevitably, another country approach, brilliantly executed. The penultimate tune is the only original on the album. Composed by Ferraro, Cox and Ball it features Jay Graydon on guitar. Graydon is a noted composer, producer and session musician, responsible for hits by Earth, Wind and Fire, George Benson and Manhattan Transfer to name but few. An almost tropical feel to this, so how they arrived at the title Strip Mall Gourmet I have no idea. Good interplay between guitar and keyboards.

Finally, we get the Guy Clark penned Heartbroke. Clark was a prolific country singer and composer. This song has been covered by Ricky Skaggs and is another excursion into beautifully played country music. A bonus of a bass solo has been imaginatively inserted too.

Before I summarise, a confession:
Within my 2000+ CD collection, you will find every session Steve Morse has ever done (and that is a hell of a lot!). I also own an Ernie Ball Music Man Steve Morse Signature Edition guitar (the original one, with the bewildering array of pick-ups and switches). I’ve followed him since his Steve Morse Band days and celebrated his recruitment into my favourite band, Deep Purple, knowing he could help them become great again. However, although his presence is the reason I bought the CD, there is so much more to this work and, I promise no bias.

Overall then, what you get here is a very country blues feeling collection, interspersed with rockier aspects provided by the guest guitarists. Possibly a little too heavy on the country for some tastes, but if you want time to pass pleasantly and effortlessly, then this is the soundtrack for it.

Thoroughly enjoyable, even if it will only go in the CD player when I want to lie back and relax with an instrumental album and a decent bottle of red wine; and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Join The Mutual Admiration Society Golden Shred Guitar Playing

The Band:
Sterling Ball; bass, electric and acoustic guitar, mandolin, ukulele
John Ferraro; drums
Jim Cox; keyboards

Special Guests: (all guitarists!)
Steve Morse
Steve Luthaker
Steve Vai
Albert Lee
Jay Graydon

Additional Musicians:
Jeremy Moyers; steel guitar
Dave Stone; stand up bass
Brad Hayman; slap bass

Sterling Ball, John Ferraro, Jim Cox – The Mutual Admiration Society – Mascot Label Group

SEVENpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …


  1. Payday Song
  2. The In Crowd (Steve Morse)
  3. Checkin’ Up On My Baby
  4. Baby Please Don’t Go (Steve Luthaker)
  5. Treat Her Right
  6. Sugar Shack (Steve Vai)
  7. Memphis (aka Memphis, Tennessee)
  8. Cryin’ Time (Albert Lee)
  9. I Want You Back
  10. Disney Melody
  11. Hey Good Lookin’ (Albert Lee)
  12. Strip Mall Gourmet (Jay Graydon)


The album was recorded at Broken Prop Studio in California; produced by Ball, Ferraro, Cox, Engineered by Bill Evans, tracked by Gordon Rustvold, mixed by Rich Mouser, and mastered by Robert Vosgien.


Tommy Emmanuel Joined By Superb Artists on Accomplice One

Tommy Emmanuel Joined By Superb Artists on Accomplice One

Tommy Emmanuel Joined By Superb Artists on Accomplice One

A full two years in the making, the brand new album Accomplice One from Australian guitar master Tommy Emmanuel finally lands on Bluesdoodle’s desk. Oh boy, it was sure worth the wait. This time around Tommy has opted to share centre stage with some heavyweight company – all 16 tracks of the album have guest artists featured.
Now it takes a great talent to complement a great talent, and with names such as Mark Knopfler, Ricky Skaggs and Jason Isbell joining Tommy, what we have here is a veritable aural feast.

Things kick off in style and the album mood is set perfectly with ‘Deep River Blues’. Four-time Grammy winner Jason Isbell joins Tommy on an exquisite Blind Lemon Jeffersonesque journey through a riverside blues lament. Exemplary vocals from both. Production is exactly as it should be, the twang of the strings could ruffle your hair and with each singers breath, it could be pulled back in place. Raw, but not ragged, slick when it needs to be, in the room and magnificent.

Ricky Skaggs appears next up, bringing his country storytelling to ‘Song And Dance Man’; surely an autobiographical cut from Tommy; a chronicle of a life lived on the road, town to town, striving for the next show.

Jefferson Airplane guitar legend Jorma Kaukonen and Nashville session harmonica king Pat Bergeson are next up on ‘Saturday Night Shuffle’. “You’re a bad ass cat man!” says Tommy on the intro, acknowledging the skills of both to come. This trio of talent certainly had a ball recording this track, as the shouts of appreciation and mutual respect bounce back and forth.

Up and coming blues/rock psychedelic J D Simo brings his lightning Don Kelley Band Telecaster back out for the first appearance of an electric guitar thus far on ‘Wheelin’ & Dealin”. Emmanuel’s Django acoustic sets the tone but firebrand JD has a few tricks of his own too. Fretboard fireworks to compliment, then up steps Clarksville born banjo legend Charlie Cushman with a searing last solo. Definitely one for the pickers and grinners out there.

What is clear and apparent throughout is that with all of the tremendous talents on show there is never ego, overshadow or dominance. Every track is born from mutual respect and healthy competition.

A cover of ‘Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay’ can be hard to do convincingly but Emmanuel, again joined by JD Simo present a reggae-tinged feel which doesn’t make you long for Otis, but rather sway from side to side in admiration.

The surprise standout track for this reviewer is a cover of Madonna’s early hit ‘Borderline’. The delicate country vocal and sublime violin of Amanda Shires expose this 80s dance track as the great song it really was all along. The 6/8 waltz time improves the original composition, it is truly magical.

A Mark Knopfler song and duet – ‘ You Don’t Want To Get You One Of Those’ is a tale of a favourite rust bucket money pit auto we’ve all had and loved. And miss. Delivered in typical Knopfler fashion, it’s so great to hear Tommy and Mark together on record.

There aren’t many good covers of ‘Purple Haze’ out there. Resonator magician Jerry Douglas assists Tommy in just about making it work, although this version resembles Yardbirds breakout hit ‘For Your Love’ a little rather than the Hendrix anthem.

Tommy’s love of gypsy jazz is always apparent, and what better way to take us to the Hot Club Du France than with virtuoso duo Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo, accompanying on ‘Djangology’, a delightful stroll down the Rue De Rivoli on a warm summers evening.

Suzy Bogguss duets with Tommy’s as always astounding acoustic on the beautiful album finale ‘The Duke’s Message’, a soft and gentle closing before the inevitable ‘play the whole album again’ urge kicks in.

16 tracks of majestic musicianship might get tedious for non-musicians, but interspersed between the jamming and fine fretwork are some gems of heartfelt beauty that any fan will appreciate. Guitarists, of course, will marvel but Accomplice One has enough taste to match the tones, enough subtlety to match the shenanigans and enough dynamic interludes to match the dynamite.

A wonderful piece of work from a fine musician.

Pendragon for Bluesdoodles gives Accomplice One a masterly

NINEpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …


Track Listing:

    1. Deep River Blues
    2. Song And Dance Man
    3. Saturday Night Shuffle
    4. Wheelin’ & Dealin’
    5. C-Jam Blues
    6. (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay
    7. Borderline
    8. You Don’t Want To Get You One Of Those
    9. Keepin’ It Reel
    10. Looking Forward To The Past
    11. Purple Haze
    12. Rachel’s Lullaby
    13. Djangology
    14. Watson Blues
    15. Tittle Tattle
    16. The Duke’s Message

Tommy Emmanuel –  Accomplice One – Mascot Label Group

Tommy Emmanuel Joined By Superb Artists on Accomplice One

Watch Long Lost Sailor From Von Hertzen Brothers Before Download Festival 2018

Watch Long Lost Sailor From Von Hertzen Brothers Before Download Festival 2018

Award-winning cinematic Finnish rockers Von Hertzen Brothers are back with a brand new video for their exceptional track Long Lost Sailor, taken from their brand new album War Is Over which is out now on Music Theories Recordings/Mascot Label Group.

The band have also been confirmed to play this year’s Download Festival at Donington Park. They will also be performing at Ramblin Man Fair 2018 in Kent.

Watch Long Lost Sailor From Von Hertzen Brothers Before Download Festival 2018

The chart-topping band with three #1 albums (Stars Aligned, New Day Rising, Love Remains the Same) and another two Top 5 albums (Nine Lives, Approach) in their homeland. This has led to them scooping an Emma Award (The Finnish Grammy) and a Progressive Music ‘Anthem of the Year’ Award as well as nominations and plaudits along the way due to their ability to blend complex arrangements, expansive musical landscapes and surging tension all entwined with gloriously uplifting melodies.

It is this sonic exploration that has seen them blaze a trail across Europe since 2006, leading them to play with artists from Foo Fighters, 30 Seconds to Mars, Neil Young, Biffy Clyro, The Wildhearts and ZZ Top to Anathema and Opeth.

War Is Over follows on from 2015’s acclaimed New Day Rising and saw the band take a new approach to their songwriting technique. Brothers Mikko, Kie and Jonne von Hertzen took time to write separately. “Our family has a summer cottage outside Helsinki”, explains Kie. “All three of us would take turns to withdraw and head up there to write music. It’s a beautiful place in the inner Archipelago of the Eastern Sea. It’s where we used to spend our childhood summer’s, so all of us have a deep and personal connection to the place. The main part of composing happens there in total peace and quiet.”

While seeking to build on the bands long-standing domestic success, the band has looked to assemble a new team around them globally to help them replicate this internationally. The recent appointments include of both new management & booking agents while also most recently signing a new worldwide deal with Mascot Label Group, home to Joe Bonamassa, Black Stone Cherry, Black Country Communion, Monster Truck, Ayreon & Beth Hart to name but a few.

Following New Day Rising the trio wanted to invert themselves, strip everything back and except for drums, play all of the instruments and produce the record themselves. “We wanted to re-invent the inspiration and energy in our doing. We had a discussion between us about if we still have it in us, and whether we are still up for this?” Kie ponders. “We wanted to break everything we’ve built into pieces and start again afresh. After doing this for years, we had to ask ourselves whether we still have the passion and music within us? After the last tour, we planned on having an open-ended break before starting to dig deep in writing new music. To our relief songs started to sprout” he reveals. After getting inspired by each other’s new songs, we realized that we are on a VHB mission, we’re not going to bend and break.”

Mikko wrote most of his lyrics whilst on a one month break in India during January 2017. A connection worth mentioning considering his long association with the country. Back in the day, he spent seven years living in an Ashram with the spiritual guru and leader Amma, also known as ‘The Hugging Saint’. During his twenty years long association with the country and it’s music, one can hear the influences seeped into the VHB songs. As an example, one of the songs of the new album called To The End of the World brings in these were written in an Indian scale.

The album was produced by all three brothers between Helsinki and Porvoo. Each one of the brothers produced their ‘own’ songs; Mikko wore the producer’s hat on songs To The End of the World, The Arsonist, Frozen Butterflies and Beyond Horizon. Jonne on Blindsight and Kie on War Is Over, Who Are You?, Long Lost Sailor, Wanderlust and Jerusalem – which also features Janne ‘Burton’ Puurtinen of Finnish rockers HIM on keys.

For the new and fresh War is Over the band drafted in an old friend and welcomed back drummer Sami Kuoppamäki; one of Finlands finest drummers, who played on the 2006 Emma Award-winning Approach album. Known as the drummer for the acclaimed Finnish cult band Kingston Wall, his talents have been used also for the Finnish metal giants Apocalyptica and Stratovarius.

They are also pleased to announce that Sami and their Swedish friend and amazing keyboard player, Robert Engstrand, will be joining them for both of our upcoming tours. Robert is best known for his work with Turisas and the Swedish prog band The Flower Kings.

War Is Over isn’t a concept album, but the War theme does run through key songs. “There is this underlying texture throughout the album, which I see as a huge question mark: ‘what are we as humans doing to preserve a loving and kind world? Why are we fighting every day and blaming others for our problems?’” Mikko remarks before adding there is “anxiety and the constant struggle, so, come and join this movement, let’s not succumb to fear.”

Reflecting the nature and tone of the record, the artwork soon followed. A cover was needed to be as plain and simple as possible. “We wanted a Dove of Peace” Kie adds. “Our own Dove of Peace, a VHB Dove of Peace.” So they enlisted the help of Tero Ahonen, an enthusiastic graphic designer and photographer from Helsinki to take over the concept. Listening to the album and its atmosphere, he came up with the mosaic idea and spent a week painstakingly putting together the mosaic design piece by piece to create the wonderful cover.


Watch Long Lost Sailor From Von Hertzen Brothers Before Download Festival 2018

Steaming Hot Black Coffee Courtesy Of Hart Bonamassa Combo

Steaming Hot Black Coffee Courtesy Of Hart Bonamassa ComboSteaming Hot Black Coffee Courtesy of Beth Hart Joe Bonamassa Combo

Black Coffee is only as tasty as the beans selected and then the careful roasting to leave a smooth, tasty brew with depths of flavours and tastes to excite those taste buds. Has this been achieved as Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa collaborate once again on Black Coffee?  We have waited four years for the album to be brewed and the wait is worth it the tonal textures and shapes excite adding new nuances to the selection of songs chosen by Hart & Bonamassa for our aural stimulation. The production takes the music and adds that magic to the sound just as master coffee roasters use all of their sense so does Kevin ‘The Caveman’ Shirley.

The songs have been selected to touch your soul as they have been re-imagined and given magical sparkle to the lyrics as they are vocalized through the phenomenal vocal chords of Ms Beth Hart. With the guitar playing of Joe Bonamassa that laughs, cry’s and squeals as the emotion are wrung from the tracks by his six-strings. Added to the mix Hart & Bonamassa have surrounded themselves with musicians who understand intuitively the way Beth & Joe work. The Black Coffee is definitely steaming, as the album invigorates the classics.

Opening the album is the guitar of Joe Bonamassa, full on the distorted ear-catching heavy rock with the horns picking up the notes and heralding the vocals of Beth. Whenever I hear Beth her voice sends that luscious tingle of pure pleasure down my spine. Give It Everything You Got, the Edgar Winter number from his White Trash album is a masterstroke as the opener as it is telling you this is music that has been blended with skill and understanding and you are filled with the warmth of soulful sounds.  Turning next to Etta James, Damn Your Eyes. Her voice is the focus of the album as Hart blends the inner chemistry of great women singers, to simply compare her to Janis Joplin or Nina Simone is just not enough. Her vocals are power and vulnerability pure and dirty. She is Beth Hart and her vocals are incomparable as she makes this number her own with a warmth that adds to the inner mystery of the number.

The Title track, Black Coffee associated with Humble Pie & Steve Marriott was originally sung by Ike & Tina Turner. She sings each word with a tonal depth that you just want it to go on and on Black Coffee, dark, hot and tasty. Beth’s voice captures every sip of coffee that invigorates your soul. The instrumentation is minimal, chords from keys plus the addition of backing vocals echoing Beth’s refrain of Black Coffee.  Three songs in – I am well and truly hooked. Every number is superb, definitely an album that once loaded stays on re-play.

Now we travel to Broadway with Lullaby of The Leaves, the temperature changes. The sound is a gentle soothing refrain with the guitar work from Bonamassa adding to the quality of re-imagining Etta James’ number from Hello Dolly. We are now calm, refreshed and ready for what else the album unfolds. This is the perfect duet of vocals and guitar captured by Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa, the intensity is palpable.

We are all Saved by the lyrical dexterity that is demonstrated by Beth on a number covered by many and sung originally by LaVern Baker.  The tempo is picked up and we are now moving with the vibe created. Then a classic has been done so many times you do wonder do we need another one? Yes, we do! The Howlin’ Wolf number grounds the album with this version that has a sting in its tail a mix of coffee ground and cream. Beth’s vocals drawl through the lyrics with the splash of guitar and the judiciously added tone from keys.

Closing out with Addicted from a collaboration that sparkles and shines every track has a dimension that thrills, surprises and leaves with a musical smile of delight. Choosing not to close with a well-known, establish classic they have left one surprise in the coffee pot a track from Austrian trio Waldeck a new name for me. Shirley came across this 2007 trip-hop leaning album whilst on holiday and “shazamed” it. If you weren’t Addicted to the Beth & Joe combo you will be after a swig of this layered and tuneful album. Black Coffee that will always hit all the right spots.


Black Coffee – Beth Hart & Joe BonamassaMascot Label Group

TENpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Track Listing

  1. Give It Everything You Got
  2. Damn Your Eyes
  3. Black Coffee
  4. Lullaby Of The Leaves
  5. Why Don’t You Do Right
  6. Saved
  7. Sitting On Top Of The World
  8. Joy
  9. Soul On Fire
  10. Addicted
  11. Baby I Love You (Bonus Track)


Band Members
Anton Fig (Drums/Percussion)
Ron Dziubla (Saxophone)
Lee Thornburg (Horn Arrangements/Trumpet/Trombone)
Reese Wynans (Keyboards)
Michael Rhodes (Bass)
Rob McNelley (Rhythm Guitar)
Paulie Cerra (Saxophone)
Mahalia Barnes (Backing Vocals)
Jade Macrae (Backing Vocals)
Juanita Tippins (Backing vocals)

Recorded at the Palms, Las Vegas


Steaming Hot Black Coffee Courtesy Of Hart Bonamassa Combo