Irish Rock Album Solas is this The Answer


Irish Rock album Solas is this The Answer

Irish Rock Album Solas is this The Answer

Do not confuse the title with anything maritime! Solas is Irish Gaelic for Light, not the acronym – Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). With that clarified what about the music on their seventh studio album Solas? If you expect Rock with a loud shout you  will be disappointed. If you want light-rock fused with roots of Irish folk, lyrics that curl around with melodic intensity you are in the right listening zone.

The Answer, have taken one helluva musical journey over the ten years since the debut album Rise with its blues-infused rock.  Now on Solas the exploration of their Gaelic heritage in the musical tone and lyrical shaping full of misty mysticism, fear of the dark, hidden regrets and the light of hope is apparent.

Opening with the title track with a wave of sound or percussion that feels like a wave, James Heatley’s relentless drumming is the backdrop for Cormac Neeson’s vocals.  The chorus is melodic full of Celtic harmonies flowing as the music takes you deep into the soul of the band, their experiences and reflecting the light of Solas. The guitar work is huge as the number closes with a lead break that promises much from Paul Mahon.  Rock firmly rooted in the traditional shapes Beautiful World with its captivating opening chords full of Eastern promise. That opens up with instrumentation with the energy of rock contained to be played at eight, not eleven. The result is the lyrics dominate and it is the voice that is the main instrument, with Micky Water’s bass, along with the guitar and drums playing a supporting role filling in the gaps acting as lead breaks for the words.

Yes, now three tracks in this Irish-infused rock harnessing tones and textures from the folk tradition. The Answer, on Solas have a story to be told and heard. The ballad Battle Cry, this will be fantastic live as the audience picks up the chorus and lifts the spirits of all hearing the music. This is Irish folk-rock that fills the heart with melodic joy as Gaelic merges with the English. Half-way through Thief of Light takes us with mandolin and Celtic harmonious riffs far away with a reflective sound, that reminds us that sometimes we need to start again as if the dark is to be conquered and energy regained.

Then, a change of musical shape with Being Begotten as we head to a blues-infused Southern Swamp leaving the emerald-green of Irishness. This blues-infused feel reflecting their debut album Rise is found again with Southern-rock Demon Driven Man, with a rock n’ roll upbeat feel upfront and full of energy.

The three bonus tracks have an acoustic feel In This Land, Light In The Darkness both full of folk-inspired chords and structure and then a fuzzy reinterpretation of Pink Floyd’s Money.

The Answer on Solas deliver reflective rock, light and at times whimsical not something to play loud and hard but to sit and enjoy. Reflecting the turmoil of life and the need to go back to their roots and bring pure Irish gold into their rock. This is Rock that has a gentler edge softened by the winds of time and gives you space to reflect before cranking up the volume with a rock offering from a different part of The Answer’s journey or someone else in your collection.

That said Solas definitely has a place in your rock collection bridging rock with tradition. It is an album you will return to and on every occasion, your appreciation of the subtleties will grow as you hear more of the clever lyrics missed on the last outing.

The Answer – Solas – Napalm Records

NINE pawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

        1. Solas
        2. Beautiful World
        3. Battle Cry
        4. Untrue Colour
        5. In This Land
        6. Thief Of Light
        7. Being Begotten
        8. Left Me Standing
        9. Demon Driven Man
        10. Real Life Dreamers
        11. Tunnel
        12. In This Land
        13. Light In Darkness
        14. Money (Pink Floyd Cover)

 

Review Recording of Joe Bonamassa ~ Live at Radio City Hall

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Joe Bonamassa
Live at Radio City Hall
Provogue – Mascot Label

 

 

The album is as you would expect songs from a live concert with cutaway applause which is throughout warm and heartfelt as New Yorkers were lapping up and loving Joe Bonamassa. Yes the album is recorded live and I personally thoroughly enjoyed hearing Different Shades of Blue the title track from his last album live. The album for me though felt flat whilst the guitar playing is superb Joe B’s vocals getting stronger and stronger but yes another album from the man who is making blues mainstream wherever he plays. CD version of  Live at Radio City Hall,  is a selection of tracks from the concert and interestingly in a different sequence from the video. Now the video is something completely different listen to this first last and forevermore whenever you have the opportunity – the music comes alive and yes the same recording but you can see, hear and feel the audience and the excitement that Joe B is feeling playing Live at Radio City a boyhood dream. All that the CD is lacking can be found here I would have had more of the live interaction incorporated into the CD to differentiate for the studio. The video has an authenticity of a live event, the build up to the show, the anticipation and excitement and throughout the DVD the warm interaction between Joe and the audience, he genuinely is having a great time playing New York at Radio City a life-long dream now reality and as well as the sell-out audience we can all enjoy the performance with two distinct segments opening for himself as acoustic Joe with the Fabulous Huckleberries entertaining and weaving their magic. As the cheers die down the stage is dark and Mats Wester on his nyckelharpa entertains and then the stinging sound of Joe Bonamassa plugged in and electric, with horns and the keys of Reese Wynans the temperature goes up a few degrees and we are pulled into the music once again. This is the drama missing from the album this is live music in your living room and Mr Bonamassa is on fire.

The acoustic set is a musician comfortable with the blues and his music with the confidence to explore and experiment as the Huckleberries weave in intricate Celtic melodies the melding is a perfectly tightly formed Celtic knotted blues full of intricacies and hidden depths. Dust Bowl opens the set full of driving energy and then introduces the skillfully used feature throughout the DVD of the split screen connecting Joe with the other musicians on stage ensuring the viewer at home connects to Gerry O’Connor (Irish Fiddler) Mats Wester (Mandola & nycleharpa), Reese Wynans (keyboardist) and Lenny Castro (Percussionist) there may be no bass but the bass lines are filled in by dramatic and interesting keys and percussion. The nyckelharpa adds a special sound full of celtic warmth and the sound whirls and swirls around the acoustic guitar and Joe’s vocals are strong adding another dimension to the percussive mix as shown on Still Water, the waters may be still but the music is dynamic and very good. When he introduces the The Huckleberries and says ‘Hi!’ to the audience you’re not sure who was more excited to be there Joe Bonamassa or the crowd… no the most excited is Joe. Slide Guitar and Black Lung Heartache, show his dexterity on the acoustic and the instrumentation is once again superb drawing the Blues out of the Delta and twisting it into World Roots derived music. Closing the Fabulous Huckleberries set with a blond wood acoustic guitar and a gentler tone the melodies flow and Joe’s vocals are the best I have ever heard them, the piano from Reese is beautiful on Happier Times. This is unmistakably a clever opening set the cinematography is superb as the camera angles give you a feeling of watching the show and being there as an integral part of the audience.

The electric hour shows Joe as a confident bandleader with the timing sharp and the music pure, the tempo goes up the music texture changes as his regular touring band join him on stage for the main event. This is an artist mature and confident in his own music and the musicians he has surrounded himself with, Keyboardist Reese Wynans, rhythm section of bassist Carmine Rojas and Tal Bergman on Drums and a horn section that is pure delight Lee Thornberg, trumpet, Nick Lane, trombonist and Paulie Cerra on saxophone. The centre-piece is most definitely the searing guitar sound produced by Joe the lead breaks pull you in so you are totally self-absorbed in every action he makes. The set comes alive with and energy and intensity on Hidden Charms, the horns snap and crackle the rhythm section and power and Joe is having fun on stage. The set moves smoothly from one song to the next as you find yourself wanting to hear the next offering but not wanting to stop relishing the track a little bit longer as on Living On The Moon with the horns filling to tonal gaps with their full tour-de-force. His version of Double Trouble is full of tension and the contours of sound is outstanding and the use of little gaps and gentle solos before the lead break is spellbinding. This is blues that is happy to have some funk to change the tempo and play with the beat Love Ain’t A Song has the full funky sound. We even have a Happy Birthday for his Mom on stage before the music picks up again with JB’s big Band approach to the blues with I Gave Up Everything For You, ‘Cept The Blues gain it is the power of the vocals that surprises and the control of the guitar just enough so that your interest is maintained and your ears are awash with a cascade of sound that rises and falls shaping the mood. Closing the set with a ballad that allows the tempo to slow and reflect on the quality of musicianship heard tonight at Radio City Music Hall , he filled the stage and auditorium with a rich warm sound that simply delighted.

The set is a banquet of Joe Bonamassa guitar playing, acoustic and electric there are the visual delights and the tasters of two newly recorded songs, then the next musical delicacy nine unreleased live tracks then the main course of over two and half hours of live footage, all bought together thanks to the artful production of Philippe Klose plus a collectors book and you even have sneak preview into his childhood.

The Bonus is for every fan now and in the future as home, Joe Bonamassa as he shares his thoughts from a young child through to today; we see how the wardrobe is put together and insight from his Mom Debra; it all feels very natural and you get to know the real Joe.

For the first time we have a discrepancy in the doodle paws with the DVD coming out on top.
CD – EIGHT pawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

DVD – TEN pawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

CD Tracks
1. I Can’t Be Satisfied
2. One Less Cross To Bear
3. Living On The Moon
4. I Gave Up Everything For You, ‘Cept the Blues
5. Dust Bowl
6. Trouble Town
7. Still Water
8. Different Shades of Blue
9. Happier Times
10. Never Give All Your Heart
11. Hidden Charms
12. Love Ain’t a Love Song
13. So, What Would I Do

DVD
Bite the Big Apple (titles)
Dust Bowl (The Huckleberries)
Trouble Town (The Huckleberries)
Still Water (The Huckleberries)
Different Shades of Blue (The Huckleberries)
The Huckleberries – Introducing Acoustic Band
Black Lung Heartache (The Huckleberries)
Happier Times (The Huckleberries)
Never Give Your Heart
Hidden Charms
Living On The Moon
I Can’t Be Satisfied
Double Trouble
One Less Cross to Bear
Love Ain’t A Love Song
Introducing the Electric Band
“Happy Birthday Mom!”
I Gave Up Everything For You, ‘Cept The Blues
So, What Would I do?

Bonus Feature
Joe Bites The Big Apple – Behind The Scenes

2015 UK OCTOBER TOUR
THE GUITAR EVENT OF THE YEAR

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Friday 30th – BRIGHTON CENTRE NEW DATE ADDED!Book Tickets Online: HERE Box Office: 0844 847 1515

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Duke Garwood @ The Louisianna, Bristol

San Duke Garwood -Louisiana  Apr 2015- _0031lDuke Garwood
The Louisiana Bristol

The evening was sunny and bright full of hot April sunshine, but before the music time to sit and have a conversation with Duke about his music, influences and ambitions.

Duke Garwood, a musician to the core from Kent is a bluesman who delivers in the studio with solo albums and through many collaborations.

Currently finishing a tour, tonight is his penultimate show and onwards to London to finish this road trip promoting his latest album Heavy Love, that is full of musical artistry blues with an edge and receiving critical acclaim – read Bluesdoodles Review here.

Bluesdoodles asked: <strong>What is your inspiration when writing and playing your music?
Duke: I listen to loads of stuff, I hear lots of snatches spoken words, overheard conversations, and this all distils and turns around in my head. I then, when in the right place, sit down in silence and the music comes to the guitar. So it is the melody first? Yes, often in a way it is doodling of sound and the words that fit.

B: How do you define yourself?
Duke: That is difficult, not as a Singer/songwriter, nor do I want to be boxed into a genre. I have a high ambition of being a Music Maker. I have to work hard to create as it is easy to get lazy, hence different projects’ all helping to create a sound and style that define who I am and the philosophy I live by. I do have to work hard and that keeps me motivated and not falling into a style that is safe but not pushing my own and musical boundaries.
B: Tell the readers a little bit about your guitars?
Duke: On the road I have two loyal hollow body guitars a Gibson and a Harmony; when I am recording any that are around will do! I have nothing special in terms of pick-ups using P90 pickups and heavy gauge strings, pedals, I keep special effects limited with four pedals including my favourite Reverb.

B: How do you keep motivated on the road?
Duke: I like to travel, see different towns and cities, road closures and traffic can be hard work but the high point is the music, doing the show every time. Music is what it is all about and travel is part of being a musician you have to accept.

B: Who were your original Musical Inspirations?
Duke: I loved the early blues musicians and when I was 17 years old I heard Jimi Hendrix again and I was inspired to pick up and play the guitar. Why? Because Jimi Hendrix orchestrated with the guitar he made the music ‘classical’, gave it a wide-angle view in a sense it was a cinematic sound. Definitely from the blues guitarists, for example John Lee Hooker played the world creating a world, sending a chill down the spine, but the music was as an accompaniment to the words. I already played piano, and was at that time bored by stuff and this energised me. Then there were wordsmiths like Tom Waits. I was also inspired by music heard elsewhere, I loved movie music, it tells a story, I found an advert inspiring when at the Cinema in Bromley, Kent it was an advert for Pepe Jeans, visual a mix of Jeans and beautiful people but the guitar intro, with no words at the time I didn’t know it was The Smiths, How Soon Is Now; with the Cinema sound it was an amazing sound; I wanted to make music with the same scope with massive space.

B: Your latest Album Heavy Love; is there a track or tracks that you really pleased with?
Duke: The album I was delighted with every track they all worked well together creating an album, Disco Lights is the track I would pick out as being especially pleased with. There is no filler track, it took time to put together in fact I have eight more tracks, good enough to be included on another record.

B: You have an album you are delighted with, receiving great reviews and a tour nearing the end what plans have you got?
Duke: I would love to tour USA and have that as a goal and Europe is a definite and to write another album with Mark Lanegan. There are dates organised during the summer and festivals including Latitude and Red Rooster either with the band or solo. I have projects in the pipeline with other people and then there are always the jam sessions with other musicians this keeps you musically sharp as you may play the same tune it is refreshed. When playing your own songs are important they are kept fresh. In the immediate future, complete the tour and re-charge the batteries.

B: Thanks for your time looking forward to the show later this evening.

Duke Garwood @ The Louisiana, Bristol

San Moritizz -Louisiana  Apr 2015- _0002lOpening the show tonight was San Moritzz, a solo artist behind his leopard skin draped keyboards, the sound began with layers of electronics and the track never ended – was it one tune, in which case I could see the elements, or more than one track strung together? This keyboard dominated electro-music using a synthesiser and pedals had a very 1980’s sound, tinges of Human League Unlimited Orchestra. There was an atmosphere created and he was appreciated by many in the audience. For me it was music that almost connected but after a searing anthem, there was discord something for me is missing vocals or even a projected backdrop to give the sounds a visual context. For me I didn’t get the music it was instrumental and mute, not a word was spoken introducing the music giving a track explanation and then he left the stage without a word I was definitely confused; though the music was definitely played well and experimental.

San Duke Garwood -Louisiana  Apr 2015- _0026lQuick, break and Duke Garwood and his band stepped onto that stage and the anticipation went up as many had heard his music on previous visits to Bristol. The crowd in the room over the bar filled and the guitars struck the first note, with Duke up front with vocals and guitar and Paul V. May on Drums and John J. Presley on guitars, this touring trio understood each other and the music being delivered; and we had talking communication between stage and audience and the vocals; much more my sort of music.

San Duke Garwood -Louisiana  Apr 2015- _0007lDuke’s guitar with the heavy gauge strings means that the lack of a bass guitarist is not an issue as the range of tones needed to create balance were present. The music was stripped down, creating an earthy sound rich in the heritage of blues, folk, and given a modern cutting edge that suited the vocal tones that reminded me of Jim Morrison.
Tonight was about showcasing tracks from his latest album; Heavy Love; this is not done with a hard sale, as there is a humbleness about Duke, he wants you to enjoy, relate to and understand his music far more than doing a sales pitch for the music for sale. He is a singer/songwriter that knows how to deliver his music so that the eclectic demographic in the crowd could all enjoy the music being performed, it made a change to see such a wide range of ages at a live music venue; all enjoying the same music. The title track Heavy Love works well, live in an intimate venue delivered by this trio of modern musical troubadours, Dukes vocals have power, not through shouting but the way his voice curls around the words and are delivered with a whispered intensity. We have audience harmonious Woow and then the track Disco Lights given an outing that again added to the mood of the venue and created a full musical delight. Interspersed through the set are tracks from previous albums and the link between Duke and the audience gets stronger, the guitar at times sweet, other times mystical and even creates a feeling of the desert, there is nothing dry in the delivery full of tones and textures that enchant every listener who collectively create a silent backdrop for Duke to play against. The guitar delivered by Duke is recognisable as he lingers and hangs on the notes then creating space for the reverb pedal to feel the room. The guitar of Duke with its heavy reverb filled the space and vibrated its musical essence around the venue imitating the chilled laid back overtones of Duke’s vocals. I loved his rendition of Hawaiian Death Valley and the collection of songs just kept going. With a demand for an encore we were rewarded with more time in Dukes’ company and then the stage lights went dark and the Duke roadshow moved on. So until the next time.

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CD Review : Dan Patlansky ~ Dear Silence Thieves

danpatlansky cdDan Patlansky
Dear Silence Thieves

This is an album that has stylish design and a clever theme of sound reflecting the album’s title Dear Silence Thieves – encapsulating what so many of us feel when audiences chatter rather than listen; and is dedicated to two Silence Thieves who left a venue embarrassed when an artist stopped his music and said “You two need to shut the F#@K up or get out!” This is an album you will want to listen to and remember to challenge next time someone steals your silent space as it opens as it means to continue delivering quality music with a rock whacked with solid blues licks and riffs the sound just endears itself so that you find yourself putting the album on repeat, that way you get to hear all the nuances that Dan Patlansky incorporates into the guitar playing and delivering his self-penned lyrics.

The opening track of his seventh album; Backbite is full of power, charisma and soul as he makes the six-strings of his fender bend to his command and the gruff vocals are the perfect foil for the music line on this track with its catchy licks; this is rock-blues that deserves your attention.
Pop Collared Jockey is dirty blues that draws you in so that you want to know all about the jockey and the echo effect of the vocals gives another layer of interest of depth and then the cymbals clash and the tempo is upped and the rocky Dan is unleashed.

We have a change of tempo now that you are hooked Hold On is more laid back with gentler lyrics reflected in the vocals and guitar breaks that are so emotionally drenched it feels like you are being pulled into the vibe and is one of the stand-out tracks of this deservedly critically acclaimed album.
With Windmills and the Sea, the mood calms down and we see the acoustic talent as he delivers a song full of intimacy and emotion and back to electric with another salty water inspired track; Only and Ocean and his vocals show a lyrical side as he switches from a Tom Waits growl to a vocal range that could front any Prog Rock Band.

We have the wavelength of Gary Moore with attitude on Our War the strongest track for me on this album with Tom Waits style delivery of the lyrics, a balanced shining gem on an album that has a balance of tempos and style but keeping shape and with every track recognizably Dan Patlansky.
There is no doubt that Dan Patlansky’s name in the UK will be recognized as this South African singer-songwriter and guitarist knows how to release quality exciting music. It is not surprising that Bruce Springsteen personally chose him to open for him at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, it is more amazing that he is an unknown on the British circuit.
Buy the album and enjoy Blues-Rock that is sublime and wonder why you have never heard of the talented 30 year-old guitar slinging maestro – better still see him live at The Borderline London, Monday April 27th 2015

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

Track Listing
1. Backbite
2. Pop Collar Jockey
3. Fetch Your Spade
4. Hold On
5. Taking Chances
6. Windmills And The Sea
7. Only An Ocean (Reprise)
8. Your War
9. Feels Like Home
10 Madison Lane

Disocgraphy
Dear Silence thieves (2015)
Wooden Thoughts (2013)
20 Stones (2012)
Move My soul (2009)
True Blues (2004)
Standing at the Station (1999)

Feeding The Machine ~ Idle Hands CD review

download (17)Feeding The Machine
Idle Hands
Independent

 

 

 

Idle Hands has scored a real rocky blues success with Feeding The Machine their latest album to hit the airwaves and this is a band that delivers every time. The band brings a distinctive dimension to all the songs they sing and this album is no different. From the off you know it is Idle Hands with vocalist Phil Allen, he is flamboyant on stage and this energy and pzazz is carried through in this studio recording. There is no doubt that without the band behind he would not have the confidence to run from the front, the rhythm section keeps shape and drives the beat through each track and consist of drummer Paul Heydon and on bass guitar and backing vocals Jaimie Burns with Dave Robinson adding those riffs, licks and motifs of guitar thanks to his super Strat.

Feeding Machine stands out from the crowd who are producing rocky blues, why there are variations in timing, tones and textures the guitar and vocals are both strong and given the space they need to develop each and every track to its full glorious heights. Sad Again is an example of slowing it down letting the guitar sing the emotions in this sublime three minutes of instrumental; there is just pure emotion being expressed through the precise and considered guitar work of Dave Robinson full of sentiment with more than a glimpse of Gary Moore’s influence. Then we have a contrast up goes the tempo with Phil’s vocals spitting out the lyrics on Might Be Foolin’ as the rhythm is full of dance beat, funk and movement.
What I really enjoy about Idle Hands on this album is the musical confidence portrayed as they mix up the genres refusing to be stuck in a rut, not dependent on power chords or riffs that go on and on; we have hints of country, twists of psychedelia. The longest track on the album Weatherman, for me this track is a perfect balance between vocals and instruments and hope the length doesn’t stop this being played as the blues is long slow with a rocky edge adding feeling and depths; reminiscent of timeless classics from the past but delivered with a freshness on Feeding The Machine.
It is not all about electric blues rock, they slip in a couple delightful acoustic numbers. Firstly, Your Song Goes On that would please the purest of the blues aficionados despite its country undertones with slide guitar that is class and vocals that goes round in a circle. The other Second Time Around is a whiskey fueled faster tempo acoustic that is Dylanesque in its delivery but this is no copy cat of a track it is pure Idle Hands mixing the musical approach up and we like it!
On all the tracks Idle Hands use their influences to inspire but not dictate over the self-penned twelve tracks you see the real sound of the band, this album is the next best thing to seeing them live.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD  

EIGHT  doodle paws

out of TEN ……… pawprint half inch

download (18)

King King – Standing In The Shadows ~ CD Review

King_King__Standing_In_The_ShadowsKing King
Standing In The Shadows
Manhaton Records

Second albums like follow-up novels can be problematic, King King definitely have climbed the mountain and hit the ground running with the opening track ‘More Than I Can Take’ and definitely are not Standing in The Shadows of the last album. This is an album produced with empathy so that the live sound that is integral to King King is retained. It is the sharpening refining all the talent that Alan Nimmo brings to the party with his soulful voice that melts your resistance and draws you into the music delivered by his blistering guitar work. The long low bass line that is Lindsay Coulson, who co-writes many of the tracks with Alan, combined with Wayne Procter on drums who allow alsn’s talents are to blossom and shine through. This trio produces a wonderful sound but King King are not complete without the funky passionate, sometimes manic, keyboard style of the effervescent Bennett Holland. The four members intermesh the sound to build layers, but it is the lyrics and Alan’s vocals that are king.

This is an album that showcases every track, I was hooked from the first track with its rhythm driven top line with a twist of funk and a whole basket of music ‘More Than I can Take’ is a perfectly formed number that introduces the listener to all the talents of this award winning band. There is confidence in the lyrics, with the soulful emotional remorse of ‘Taken What’s Mine’ where Alan’s superlative guitar work in a master class of a guitar solo. Change of tempo with a seven minute version of ‘A Long History of Love’, the journey is of love’s trials and tribulations making “…him a better man somehow…”, Bennett Holland’s keyboards add that mournful drive that moves the song along and a beautiful duo between guitar and keyboards makes this track stand out and shine so that despite its length you want it to go on so we have a happy ending to the journey. The two covers on the album bring the King King magic to fellow Scotsman Frankie Miller’s ‘Jealousy’ that is full of torment emotions the vocals drip with raw emotions that touch the soul. The second cover, Free’s ‘Heavy Load’, wow what a soulful rendition of the excellent Paul Rogers’ lyrics you are left hanging on to the notes as the piano fades away. Then the tempo picks up with a lighter track ‘Let Love In’ full of positivity and the lyrics are full of promise and the guitar playing open and free as your feet start tapping, great way of ending this emotionally charged album. Every track on Standing In The Shadows is a measure of the depth of true talent that is King King the sound is distinctive and approach to each song is undeniably emotionally bound up with the lyrics, the instruments then reflect back the emotion building the tension and keeping you entranced.
download (5)Looking forward to album number 3 as Bluesdoodles gives this CD out of TEN doodle paws a doodle rating of

NINE and a Half ……… pawprint half inch

Catch them live:- in Germany, France, 20th June 2014 Big Wheels Blues Festival, Isle Of Man, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and 29th August 2014 Weyfest, Farnham and 30th August The Garage Swansea…. Keep checking their website as dates keep being added.

CD Review – Mākuini – Blues In My Bones

Mākuini                       19065579-23675407-thumbnail
Blues In My Bones
MCD Records

The album title is one-hundred percent apt as the collection of 10 classic songs that ooze the blues from every note has and added layer of pure blue by the artistic interpretation by Mākuini, (pronounced Mā Queenie, meaning White Queen) she is definitely a Blues Queen. There is a seductive quality to her vocals and timings that shout out the Mississipi Delta, as demonstrated on ‘Born on The Bayou’ with the hypnotic blues beat that opens with the Hammond organ that draws you in, and then the voice weaves it spell and you are ‘Chasin’ down a hoodoo there’. In reality it is another river thousands of miles away, Whanganui River, in the rural village of Jerusalem, New Zealand.
Her band provides the perfect soundboard for her melodic voice with very instrument used at the right place augmenting the lyrics and emotions of the ten classics. Every track is delivered with a precision and clarity. This is a singer that is at top of her profession, reflecting the years of performing on stages and in shows. The album at times seems to lack that emotion that makes a blues song that little bit special as the artiste surprises you as they go off-piste but keep the integrity of the song. This I feel is most apparent on ‘I would Rather Go Blind’ it is beautifully sung with sublime instrumentation but it lacks something – you want MaKuini to open up and share all that emotion. That said this is an album that you want to listen to again and it does encapsulate the Blues, my personal favourites are ‘Don’t Start Me Talkin’ where you feel you get to know MaKuini a little bit more and love the Hammond organ interlude and the last track ‘Rock Me Baby’ which does leave you wanting to hear more of the talented MaKuini and I for one am looking forward to hearing the music live and her next album as more classics are given the Makuini treatment.

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

Band Members are :-
Sarge Frampton – Guitars
Paul Burgess – Drums
George Glover – Keyboards
Wayne Morgan – Bass Guitar
Dave Boraston – Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Steve Parry – Sax, Trombone, Hammond* At Last
Christelle Berthon – Harmonica
Melanie Winters – Percussion

Track Listing (Writer Credits in brackets)

1. At Last (Mack Gordon – Harry Warren)
2. The Blues Is My Business (Todd Cerney – Kevin Bowie)
3. Born on the Bayou (John Fogerty)
4. Don’t Start Me Talkin (Sonny Boy Williamson)
5. Drivin Wheel (Roosevelt Sykes)
6. Hush Hush (Jimmy Reed)
7. I Got My Mojo Working (Preston Foster)
8. I Just Want to Make Love to You (Willie Dixon)
9. I’d Rather Go Blind (Ellington Jordan – Billy Foster)
10. Rock Me Baby (Melvin Jackson – B B King)

CD Review – T Rogers – Simple Life

T rogers CD

T Rogers – Simple Life – www.trogers.hu

This self-published gem of an album from Hungarian band T.Rogers is a breath of fresh air with the feel of good solid blues music, which knows no boundaries and refuses to be boxed in. They deliver on every track, whether one of the nine self-penned tracks or the two covers ‘Angelina’ featuring Keb’ Mo’ and Elmore James, ‘It Hurts Me Too’ . Simple Life is an album that is a great introduction to this band a lively six-piece band from Budapest who weave the sounds of the individual instruments into a timeless tapestry of sound with Ferci’s vocals adding some contour and texture. All the tracks are sung in English by Ferci Kovacks and yes there is an accent adding in my opinion to the tonal range and ensures the sound is a little bit different so that they will stand out of the crowd. There name is a play on the Hungarian word “troger”, meaning basically someone with a relaxed attitude towards life, who likes to enjoy each and every day and this attitude is reflected back in the music they deliver. There is no doubt that this is blending of electric and acoustic traditional driving blues beats with a swirl of European rock blues. The opening track ‘Far and Slow’ has a great introduction that makes you want to pick up your bags and join T.Rogers on the musical road trip they will take you on for the next 50 minutes, so kick of your shoes and let the music create a buzz and take you down by the delta. You will be treated to a little bit of country and a dollop of Rock on ‘Gotta Go’; whilst ‘Angelina’ has a Country feel due to the resonator and the harmonising between Keb’ Mo’ and Ferci. The title track has a balladic quality about it with the stripped down acoustic and the haunting harp that accentuates the slow lyrics, for 6 minutes you are on a sunny day watching a lazy river flow by.
Simple Life is an accomplished album that should see T.Roger’s profile rising like a Blue Star across Europe and I expect these tracks to be heard on the plethora of radio shows as T Rogers delivers a Blues cocktail of sound that reflects the listening demands of the twenty-first century blues lover, with music playing homage to the past but not set in a genre aspic jelly but free flowing and intertwining styles and textures to make the listening trip exciting and leaving you wanting to hear a little bit more.
The band is a complete unit made up from a laid back team – T. Rogers are:-
Trodgers2 (Custom)
Béla Baráth (drums); Stewart Hay (harmonica); Ferci Kovács (guitar,vocal)
Pál Sturmann (guitar); Zsolt Szatai (bass); Vince Széll (percussion).

Bluesdoodles gives this CD out of five doodle paws a doodle rating of
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Navacross – All The way Home CD Review

Navacross All The Way Home Album Cover
Navacross – All The way Home – Hi4 Head Record (Jan 2013)

There is an inner confidence that shines through on Navacross’ second CD, this is a CD that is not tied to one style but melds and highlights a variety over the ten tracks. Navacross deploy the blues throughout with delightful grooves that hit you with a wall of sound that is fresh from the off with ‘Overload’ with its dirty guitar, slide and then the blues harp so that like the lyrics sung by Dean Baker it is a form of overload, as the chorus line states “my brain’s on overload” It is not a gentle sound that Navacross have produced this is an album that is foot stomping, with an inherent energy that makes you want to listen to more. ‘Open Your Eyes’ has a gentler tempo but it has strong lyrics that stops you from being lulled into a doze with its soothing melodies. ‘Waiting on The Line’ has a punchy British sound, with soaring harp and the drum setting a perfect rhythm , this is a self-contained number that works well by every instrument having its own space achieving that blending together of sound and then bursts as each instrument takes the lead, creating a very live almost jamming sound giving this track authentic energy. ‘Steer’ is the longest track and has a different tempo from the rest of the album more acoustic in feel, a little bit downbeat which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but perhaps when included among such jaunty tracks could have benefited from tighter editing so that it was a little bit shorter, despite this it is one of my personal favourites with some great drumming from Andy P. I love the lyrical link between the opening track and Clowns, musically the mix of slide and ukulele really work well giving the track a hint of country, ‘world is run by a bunch of clowns’ resonates with many people’s frustrations making this album relevant now and not tied into a another era whilst using lots of licks, styles and approaches from early blues, punk and other genres. What Navacross have managed to do successfully is mix them up creating their own modern sound that has depth of feeling, strong lyrics and great musicianship. The band have considered the ordering of the tracks so that there is a flow and ‘Too Much’ the penultimate track has a cheerful lively beat reflecting the chorus ‘I’m Alive’ reflecting the energy that is portrayed through this song the last track is the shortest and they leave you wanting to hear more. This is a CD worth adding to your collection and get to see them live as I am sure one of their gigs would be great fun.

Bluesdoodles gives this CD a doodle rating of
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