Pick of the Albums Reviewed – 2016: January – March

Pick of the Albums Reviewed – 2016: January – March

Bluesdoodles listens to music recorded and live from across the genres. Bluesdoodles reviews all albums received with an open-mind and will always look for the elements that make the music stand out from the crowd!. The albums we award 10 doodle paws too, for us have a special connection, and acknowledge like all reviewers our scoring is subjective. Between 1st January and 31st March 2016 Bluesdoodles reviewed 49 albums that reflect the depth and breadth of music being recorded in studios around the world. Remember albums not included on the lists are still excellent; definitely worth listening to and purchasing especially go see music live at venues near you support music and the artists who travel the roads so we can hear music full of passion and the special ingredient of a live performance..

This is the first list of 2016 and all of these will be in with a shout for the Bluesdoodles Dozen of 2016..

Jeff Healey – Heal My Soul
Kyla Brox – Throw Away Your Blues
Joe Bonamassa – Blues of Desperation

Monster Truck – Sittin Heavy
Red Dirt Skinners – Behind The Wheel
Mumbo Jumbo – Sonic Gumbo

Ben Poole – Time Has Come
Ian Siegal & Jimbo Mathus – Wayward Sons
Michael Messer’s Mitra – Call of the Blues

Stevie Nimmo – Sky Won’t Fall
Big Boy Bloater & The LiMiTs – Luxury Hobo
The Temperance Movement – White Bear
Danny Bryant – Blood Money

Behind The Wheel with Red Dirt Skinners

Behind The Wheel with Red Dirt Skinners

Behind The Wheel for a Ride of Originality

Thanks Red Dirt Skinners

Roots wither and die whether music or plants without green shoots.  Red Dirt Skinners are an imaginative duo creating beautiful shoots of glittering music that will ensure roots/country music will continue to thrive Behind the Wheel. With this, their fifth album, the duo with the unique combination of acoustic guitar, drum and saxophone have made a noise that pleases all who listen. How have they done this gritty perseverance, hours behind the wheel driving to gigs and festivals and the hard work behind the scenes with emails and phone calls. Hard work and talent pays off the reward is full shows and another album that delights on so many layers.  Yes, there are the dissenters – why? because this sound that is stripped back to a raw intensity will not neatly slot into a genre. Red Dirt Skinners blend and distill a sound that is recognisable as their’s rooted deep in musical traditions, folk, country and the shading of blues. It is going to be an enjoyable musical ride Behind The Wheel with Red Dirt Skinners.


Once again, Behind The Wheel excels. With its haunting and alluring combination of Sarah’s soprano saxophone, Rob’s acoustic guitar, strong lyrics and harmonies that are spellbinding. Opening with the title track the Saxophone and percussion creates a mood and then the vocals create a story of gypsies on the road they have a house but freedom has its delights. Some great lead breaks and the soprano purity of Sarah’s award winning skills; this is roots music picking up a theme that it is about the journey, travelling a harmonious adventure into the unknown a theme coming across from traditional music across the world. All nine tracks are special, The Other Half is a love song with gentle heartfelt emotion. Rob’s vocals and guitar playing are a perfect combination as the track opens then the gentle saxophone and Sarah’s reply; a duet that clutches at your heartstrings, a love song that reflects the depth of a relationship of two halves. The lyrics have a power the phrasing of the words and instruments create a sound that has a sweetness tinged with an edgy rawness. The up tempo Bad Apple is a clever re-working of a bad apple in a barrel. Here it is down in the greenhouse. The saxophone sings its own tune and we all know a bad apple has fallen far from its tree.

The longest track on the album Daybreak is the synthesis of all things that are great about the Red Dirt Skinners. The music curls around the country fueled tempo and lyrics. Daybreak is full of the feelings of a day just about to begin full of hope.  Nothing is rushed between them the duo create space to explore as the melodious tunes linger on the lyrics. There is no rush the next track will come along just when we are ready. Like slow cooked food, this is about depth of tone not a quick flurry and move to the next thing on the agenda. Closing with Eleanor Joan (reprise), we have a second helping of the track heard earlier in the album, this time an instrumental that fades as the album closes.

The economy in the riffs, licks and saxophone lead breaks complement each other perfectly. This is an album that will not be reviewed and put away it will be listened to time and time again.

Red Dirt Skinners, are a rootsy duo, Behind The Wheel is worldly-wise music with a story to tale and a tune to sing.  Check them out the mould is broken and the music pours out, full of integrity, inspiration and individuality. Red Dirt Skinners do not mimic they create a sound that is Rob & Sarah’s.

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

RED DIRT SKINNERSBehind The WheelSIDEGOAT RECORDS OUT 24th March 2016 – Available HERE

Track Listing

  1. Behind The Wheel
  2. Home Sweet Home
  3. The Other Half
  4. Eleanor Joan
  5. The Inspiration
  6. Bad apple
  7. Thoughts Of The Past
  8. Daybreak
  9. Eleanor Joan (reprise)

Red Dirt Skinners – Sinking Mary Rose CD Review

mary rose

Listen to this the third album from Red Dirt Skinners with an open ear, they refuse to be pigeon-holed into the blues or country, having reaped nominations in both British Blues Awards & The British Country Music Awards during 2013. “The Sinking of the Mary Rose”; it has a distinctive shape and the self-penned numbers have a recognisable Red Dirt Skinners sound, they create a sound that has a complex weft and warp creating a moving tapestry of sound that is a careful blending of Country, Folk, Blues especially the tradition of the holler making the sound full of American influences but the style of lyrics and delivery is definitely British. Sarah’s emotive Saxophone playing makes many of the tracks take on an emotional heart searching that makes the sound stand out in the crowd, especially when blended with Robs melodic tenor and his percussive and guitar playing, seen to great effect on their self-penned number ‘Still Water‘. The two covers included in the mix the Delmore Brothers’ Browns Ferry Blues with some good banjo befitting of this bluegrass influenced song, and Clarke, Cooper, Peadon’s Idabel Blues are delivered with style. It is their own numbers that really let their collective talent shine through; ‘Just 18’ and ‘Last Card’ both have the bitter hurt timbre to their voices as they sing of hurt and loss pulling you into the lyrics. This is a quality album with great production that ensures every note is heard and the textures, contrasts and tempos are perfectly balanced; and ‘Mr Landlord‘ who is no jolly publican but a Landlord who cares nothing for his tenants misery and uncomfortable living conditions. Despite this the guitar has a jauntiness that is reflected back later on by a fine sax solo and some powerful vocal harmonies.

This is a carefully crafted album of songs that have something to say that uses the musical skills of Rob & Sarah who have followed the tradition of many songwriters using their own experiences to shape, colour and add true emotion and feeling to the tracks.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD out of five doodle paws a doodle rating of
pawprint half inchpawprint half inchpawprint half inch