Danny Bryant In Conversation its A Revelation

Danny Bryant Always a Revelation and Yours For A Song

BD: As ever Bluesdoodles, was delighted to have the opportunity to review your latest album Revelation leaving fans in anticipation to hear the songs live on your forthcoming tour across the UK.

 BD:  Before we come up to date lets go back to the early days. What were your first influences growing up in Royston, Hertfordshire.

DB: I still live in Royston about a mile from my parents’ house. First influences were my parent’s collection, Rory Gallagher, Eric Clapton, Hendrix and lots of Bob Dylan. All on vinyl, I have now inherited the vinyl collection. Though I think now it is back in fashion Mum wouldn’t mind having it back.

I then looked at the music that influenced the people I was listening to, who they were listening to. It is even easier to do that now with so many resources. YouTube and downloading is so very easy. I have to admit I tend to listen via YouTube it is easily accessible, the way we all listen to music has changed in an age of instant gratification.  There is definitely more music, consumed differently, if you order from Amazon, for example, you get an audio file to rip so before the Cd arrives you already have it to listen to through your speakers.

 

BD: Was the guitar always going to be your instrument of choice, with your late father on Bass as the counterpoint to your talent in RedEyeBand.
DB: It was always going to be the guitar. I didn’t consider anything else. Suddenly I wanted a guitar like a lot of kids does at some stage. For me it was the right time, I was quite insular and wanted to practice all the time. I have tried to learn the harmonica, then I hear a guitar being played and think I could learn that and it is back to the guitar trying to get better and better. Dad played finger-picking blues acoustic when I was growing up. I could hear him playing downstairs, and so is a soundtrack of my childhood. Dad took up the bass to help me out. There were not any young bass players around that wanted to be in a blues band.  What started out as a temporary fix became a permanent fixture.

 

BD: When did you decide to use British guitar maker Fret-King as your six-string of choice. What do these guitars add to your playing that other guitar manufacturers would not bring to your sound?

DB: I have worked with Fret-King guitars for a number of years and the guitar suits the sound I want to achieve. The guitar looks like a strat but is different. When you fly and can only take one guitar this covers all bases. With my signature Danny guitar in the range, that is, in my opinion, good value for money. Fret-king guitars have worked well for me for quite a while now.

BD: Revelation is a deeply personal album, out 20th April via Jazzhaus Records. Despite the dark shadowy album cover the album is a Revelation as you let the light shine into the corners of your emotions. Tell our readers why you found writing the album such a challenge?

DB: It was a challenge with the music I wanted to create, it did not come easy. It was not necessarily a thing I wanted to deal with. But Dad’s passing had happened and it was a therapeutic process. Hence lyrically the album is quite dark, with a heavier sound. The horns add a different tone and dimension. Big Band Project was something I always wanted to do. We played three shows and on the live album. Promoters were interested so now will run alongside the band. I kept the sound in the current album as it adds another layer of textures and interest. Logistically touring with a nine-piece is a huge and expensive challenge.

 BD: Yo talk about how music has been your personal salvation do you feel the tracks on Revelation speak to everyone who listens who have their own personal dark moments.

DB: Yes, I hope this album connects with people.  It was a personal and at times a difficult process exploring difficult parts of my life. We all loose loved ones, go through hard times, feel lost. The other thing in common is we all interpret music and songs differently.  For example, Roy Orbison songs speak to me in one way may not be the way Roy intended but that doesn’t matter. Again with my music it doesn’t matter what you get out of the lyrics what is important what you hear and connect with and that it speaks to the listener on some level. It is like art some people look at a painting and analyse looking for meanings whilst others just say looks nice going to hang that on my wall. Neither approach is wrong nor right, it is how you connect with art that is important. When you write a song it is a snap shot of how you feel at that moment; not how you feel all the time. Lyrics have always interested me, love the guitar but the solo is pointless unless within a decent song with a strong melody striking a balance across the number.

 BD: Blues is never far from your music, do you have a favourite or special track on the album.

DB: If I have to pick a track it is Isolate I like ballads that are not soft but have power and some balls in them. It is a track that is fun to play live and I am always a sucker for a guitar solo. Revelation the title track is also a favourite, it is different and that keeps everything interesting with changes in texture and tone.

BD:  With the new album and touring 2018 is going to be a busy year and your fans will be delighted that you are back on the road in the UK once again.

DB: Yes, back touring in UK is always going to be fun. Logistically & financially it is impossible to tour with the Big Band Project. What is new is we are now a four-piece with keyboardist Stevie Watts joining the band.  Having added keys into the Danny Bryant sound there was no going back to being a trio.

 

BD: If you were putting together the perfect band with members from across the years (dead or alive) who would you have playing
DB:
Guitar:  BB King
Vocals: Otis Redding
Bass: Willie Dixon
Drums: Willie “Big Eyes” Smith
Keys: Otis Spann

 

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Bluesdoodles revelation Review

Danny Bryant In Conversation its A Revelation

Rebecca Downes Opens For MAGNUM Entertainment

Rebecca Downes Opens For MAGNUM Entertainment

The Tramshed on a cold February night as the queues lengthen and the anticipation rose for MAGNUM back in town tonight as part of the Lost on the Road to Eternity tour.  The chatter was about how many tracks from the superb new album, and what favourites from the past would be on the setlist. For the majority waiting, Rebecca Downes was the unknown. For Bluesdoodles who has followed her career we knew they were going to be in for a vocal treat and no-one would be left disappointed by the support tonight.

The band stepped on to the stage and then the blond dynamo that is Rebecca Downes opened her lungs and got the musical journey underway. The band were on top form tonight surrounding Rebecca’s vocals that are sultry, bluesy, rocky shaping the song. Rebecca’s vocals that change with colour and tone can be defined as stunning. Rebecca fronts the band she is the consummate show woman. Opening with Never Gonna Learn, that may be true in a song. The reality is Rebecca and the band keep on developing building on experiences of playing songs live from her albums Be Live and Believe.  The set was too short but perfectly formed. A lively opening to the evening, as ever very professional. Rebecca’s stage presence has changed the constants are her voice and the touch of leopard skin, now found on the guitar that adds a layer of rhythm to the sound, adding to Steve Birkett’s guitar playing. Birkett’s guitar is crisp with a mix of the slide, blues and harder edge rock.  Night Train was a highlight and Sailing on a Pool of Tears is always a musically emotive charged journey. Then the hint of the music to come on her anticipated album with a new number If I Go To Sleep, with its intriguing sonic opening and heavier sound this is Downes and her band stretching the musical style with accomplished maturity. Rebecca will always charm the audience with her warm smile and charismatic chat. The fans bathed in her vocals as she complimented the MAGNUM fans for turning up to hear her play. As she succinctly said, “Magnum fans really know their music”.  Closing the set giving the audience opportunity to give voice a Joplinesque cover of With A Little Help From My Friends. Tonight got off to a flying musical start with the huge talent that is Rebecca Downes.  An opening set has heated up the venue and has built up everyone’s expectations for the headline act to follow.

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The atmosphere rose a notch or two in the anticipation of the entrance of tonight’s progressive star turn MAGNUM. With their excellent latest album Lost On The Road to Eternity adding to the thrill and expectation. With a new line-up since the band’s last visit to the Tramshed May 2016. Joining original members Bob Catley and Tony Clarkin plus long-term bassist Al Barrow are Rick Benton on keys who with a synergy was Rebecca Downes’ keyboardist and Lee Morris on his spectacular drum kit.

Opening with Why We Were Younger taking us back to the 2007 album Princess Alice and the Broken Arrow our evening of MAGNUM immersion therapy begins. The band tonight hit the ground running as with Rebecca’s set the sound was superb. MAGNUM was on fire tonight, great sound, great mix of numbers and entertaining the fans with every note and dramatic swirls from Bob.  The tour name may have coincided with the album, but the set-list was not a sales drive from the album. The four carefully selected tracks, the title track, Peaches and Cream, Without Love and Show Me Your Hands gave the perfect taster. The four tracks were probably even better live than on the album they were superb.

We danced and cheered and sung along as old numbers were re-imagined and enjoyed. New numbers including from 2016 album Sacred Blood “Divine” Lies”, Crazy Old Mothers morphed into Without Love from the current magus opus from the Prog Rockers we love to hear played live and up close.

With every number the excitement rose, the heat in the room increased as the Tramshed was lit up by music that compels you to listen. The fans loved to hear How Far is Jerusalem and join in on the chorus. What a number that remains ringing tunefully in your ears long after the venue falls silent. When Bob sang Show Me Your Hands, the Cardiff crowd did just that with hands held aloft in unison. The crowd were very animated and bouncing with every note from keys through to guitar. Mesmerised by the drumming and feeling the bass groove. MAGNUM with Bob conducting the atmosphere feeding out of their hands. The stagecraft, interaction with the audience was a masterclass for any aspiring rock band/performer. The MAGNUM hits just kept pouring through the speakers we were already to be part of MAGNUM’s Vigilante force.

All too soon the stage fell silent. Not for long MAGNUM were back for the obligatory encore and ten more minutes of MAGNUM joy.  Starting with The Spirit and rock spirit was strong tonight as we Chase The Dragon in Cardiff. Closing the night with When The World Comes Down tonight we were on a high as we stepped back to Vigilante album from 1986. This was an anthemic classic which they don’t always play live. A fantastic top quality gig full of progressive rock enjoyment and fun.

What a night of live music on fire the audience purred with delight a set list full of old favourites forgotten gems and new songs to hear live for the first time. Result! Tonight On A Storyteller’s Night fell silent replaced by a new live favourite Peaches and Cream.  We all say come back to Cardiff really soon Rebecca and her band and MAGNUM you will always be welcomed.

 

 

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SetList – MAGNUM

When We Were Younger
Sacred Blood “Divine” Lies
Lost on the Road to Eternity
Crazy Old Mothers
Without Love
Your Dreams Won’t Die
Peaches and Cream
How Far Jerusalem
Les Morts Dansant
Show Me Your Hands
Twelve Men Wise and Just
All England’s Eyes
Vigilante
Don’t Wake the Lion (Too Old to Die Young)

ENCORE
The Spirit
When The World Comes Down

Rebecca Downes Opens For MAGNUM Entertainment

Gerry Jablonski and the Electric Band Playing Through Heavy Water

 

Double-sided single Heavy Water & Soul Sister is unarguably a duo of songs that promote the inner talent of Gerry Jablonski and the Electric Band. Heavy Water is a deep swirling turbulent flow of blues outpouring. The sound is electric blues, considered, crafted and imperious. Blues that flows through your veins as the guitar drops down the melody and the harp pierces through with shape and form.  The fluidity of musical patterns reflecting water that is raw and heavy with intent to reach the sea. The guitar riffs are stinging with salty licks.

Then there is Soul Sister, a faster tempo with a rawness that opens your blues soul the perfect antidote to Heavy Water. Gerry Jablonski and the Electric Band is a band that plays with a collective energy and this double A-sider has captured the live energy in the studio. Having teamed up with Grammy award-winning producer Stacy Parrish (He won a Grammy for his work with Robert Plant and Alison Krauss on their multimillion-selling “Raising Sand” album). The top-notch production adds a shimmer and shine. The Jablonski sound is polished but never over-refined it is still raw, gutsy and blue.

Let’s hope these two numbers are a taster of the album to follow as this is the best work from the band to date.

Gerry Jablonski and the Electric Band Playing Through Heavy Water

Creating Black Magic Jared James Nichols Guitar

Jared James Nichols Announces New Album Black Magic

U.S. guitarist, Jared James Nichols, has a new album Black Magic. It is the follow up to 2015’s impressive debut album Old Glory & The Wild Revival. Since that release, Jared has built up a solid reputation on the back of touring in support of his debut. With such luminaries as ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Zaak Wylde, Glenn Hughes, Walter Trout, Blue Oyster Cult, UFO and Saxon giving him a support slot, this gives a guide to the uninitiated as to where his music has its roots. Rock, Blues and a bit of Soul make up Jared’s sources of inspiration and he uses them to great effect on this new release.

Listening to this, and his debut reveals an instinctive approach to his playing. I cannot detect a plectrum in use anywhere. Picking styles (apart from the master, Jeff Beck) tend to be the reserve of acoustic players. Jared proves the exception and, even when playing slide, this style works very well indeed. The ‘power trio’ cliché will have to be deployed too. This three piece are tight, complimentary and accomplished. Vocally he is very strong too and has that rare quality of being able to sing while enunciating clearly.

Before we go any further, however, I do have one major complaint with this album… out of ten tracks, only two last longer than 3 minutes and none more than 4. It is too short Jared!

Opener Last Chance, starts with phased guitar and kicks into a storming riff. A solo of barred strings and hammering is a delight. The next song, The Gun, is a delta shuffle electrified. Subtle slide phrases expand the riff and it builds into a potential crowd-pleasing call/response section. A slide solo spoiled only by being too short (a repeating theme?!). Don’t Be Scared follows with a riff, which has echoes of Deep Purple’s Never Before. A talk box is deployed, but not overplayed. Honey Forgive Me brings funk into the equation. This could have been on the Stax label in 1970. Backed by the delightful vocals of Jessica Childress (apparently, she was a huge success on The Voice in America in 2013) she helps ensure that a soulful feel is to the fore. A bit of Southern-tinged rock comes into play on Home. Slide guitar warms the opening and reminds me so much of the Allman Brothers in its structure and execution. A Chicago style electric blues shuffle opens Got To Have You. This is such a good track in every way…apart from being too short. Makes a lie out of the assumption that blues should be sad; this is a rocking, blues love song with bite. Yet another glorious solo of picked perfection. End Of Time is out and rock with a blues tinge. Reminiscent of Pat Travers in many ways, it is another short and sweet song. Simple can be good, and Run is notable for gaps in the chord progressions. Inevitably, this style brings Free and Kossoff to mind, and the solo is similarly expressive without forcing too many notes into it. Back to 70s rock with Keep Your Light On Mama. Structured like a  Mountain song in the Mississippi Queen era, this has acres of power.  A power trio will always make Cream spring to mind; particularly on the final song, What Love. A Badge like bass intro opens into an echoey slide and vocal. Again, Jared shows he understands that less can be more and doesn’t try to overload every song with a guitar ‘attack’. The picked slide solo here is just sublime and makes this my favourite of a great bunch. Although have I said this before? It is far too short!

This is a great album for blues, rock and blues/rock enthusiasts and should cement Jared’s reputation as a guitarist of rare skills. So, if you want long widdly solos do not buy this. If, on the other hand, you want high-quality guitar playing with crafted, unflashy yet excellent solos, then buy this…you will not be disappointed. Praise too for Holm and Sandin for such solid and empathetic backing. The production by Perry ensures that we can appreciate their playing throughout. I only wish other producers would consider this before they bury sounds in electronic wizardry. (Are you listening Mr Ezrin?)

EIGHTpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Track Listing:

      1. Last Chance
      2. The Gun
      3. Don’t Be Scared
      4. Honey Forgive Me
      5. Home
      6. Got To Have You
      7. End Of Time
      8. Keep Your Light on Mama
      9. What Love

The Band:
Jared James Nichols (guitar, vocals), Dennis Holm (drums), and Erik Sandin (bass, vocals), Jessica Childress (backing vocals)

Recorded at the Boneyard, Boston and Johnny Depp’s home studio.
Produced by Tony Perry and Jared James Nichols.

Creating Black Magic Jared James Nichols Guitar

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

Starting Gun fired for The Bad Flowers Album Launch

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Three bands, one album launch all in The Asylum. These Wicked Rivers, Those Damn Crows and top of the bill The Bad Flowers. The race is on to hear the music before the Starting Gun is fired and The Asylum has been ripped apart with the rock and roll majesty that is The Bad Flowers.

The running order tonight is These, Those, THE… Starting off with rock that flowed as These Wicked Rivers took to the stage. The four-piece from Derby hit the stage with a hefty, groove that set the scene. With drummer Dan Southall the star reigning from the back with a tight performance. The impressive set with John Hartwell on vocals adding a gruff intensity to every vocal lyric. Jon Hallam’s bass work captured a deep reserve whichever bass of choice. With frets, and without he ensured the bass line zinged with power; leaving the guitar work from Arran Day to pull the four-piece together in a melodic sound pulling on modern influences and capturing the inner steel of rock-blues.

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Short change over and the tempo changed as Those Damn Crows stepped up to be heard as the sold-out venue was becoming packed. The band from Bridgend where determined that we would remember the set and that they were here, like These Wicked Rivers, to entertain and party in celebration of The Bad Flowers debut album.

This was not the time for chatter and introductions. It was about the music and the heavy rocking sound left you wanting more despite the fact that we were all waiting for the main act of the night to perform. The five-piece used every inch of the stage including a box for Shane to stand on singing out into the audience full of vim and vigour. Crows were definitely the perfect warm-up act for The Bad Flowers. This is a band with attitude as they opened their account with Don’t Give A Damn. The anthemic track Rock n’ Roll Ain’t Dead had the venue partying on a Saturday night. What an impressive set young bands playing rock n’ roll with gritty determination. This is a band on the dark side of having fun with music as the twin guitars create a wall of sound.

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Having written a rave review, broke my own review rules and gave debut album top marks, I was hoping The Bad Flowers would not let me down when playing live at the sold-out album launch gig. Unsurprisingly, the set was dominated by tracks from Starting Gun. We wanted to hear the tracks live and dirty. The venue was hot and packed, an old-fashioned gigging venue where you were up close and personal with the bands. The amount of smoke pouring off the stage at times made the vocals feel as they were coming from a disembodied Tom Leighton and the band members shrouded in coloured fog. This did nothing to distort the good time rock that is the trademark of a trio that plays as if they are a larger band. Tom Leighton with his vocal dexterity that shapes every song is joined by a powerhouse of a rhythm section. Dale Tonks on bass and Karl Selickis on drums creating an incendiary rock that fills the venue with power and glory.

The crowd were responsive. They loved every act so far and now the atmosphere was superb for the trio from Cannock. As they hit the chords of Hurricane. They were building up storm-clouds of rock that cascaded across the venue. Tom is everything a band needs charismatic, with his distinctive sound that sends the lyrics across the venue like a clarion call.

The Flowers have created a bouquet of rock that is a listening experience that delights as we were royally entertained by a young band that has all the credentials to go to the top of the rock tree. The band took us back in time with Run Run, Run from their first E.P. and a thank you to the many fans who have been on this musical journey together. The rock shimmered with blues riffs that ground the band in the past, yet the sound is one-hundred percent of now!   They nailed every track leaving nothing to disappoint, a great performance that kicked the numbers into a living breathing rocking shape.  Highlights were Thunder Child the first single of the album, City Lights a song we all want to sing along to and Lions Blood. A triumphant triumvirate of numbers.  The Bad Flowers play indigo rock that shimmers as the vocals curl around the riffs and chord changes. Tom has something to sing about and he sings loud and clear. Your attention never falters when the trio is on stage.

Now they had planned an encore and the crowds wanted more. BUT the speakers were silent. The band is confused, the audience perplexed. Still, time before curfew and the crowds had been noisy but well behaved. So why were we getting the silent treatment? The sound man had switched of the desk and left the building. Tom thought about it. Jumped off the stage. Got sound back live and we had a cracking double encore. Now were are back in the land of Rock n roll and a celebratory album launch. Living The Dream, tonight the Flowers definitely were and a cracking cover of War Pigs. The sound went up a few decibels as we sang and partied with the band of the moment The Bad Flowers.

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Hurricane
Who Needs A Soul
Big Country
Lions Blood
Secrets
Let’s Misbehave
Run Run Run
Be Your Man
Rich Man
I Don’t Believe It
Thunder Child
City Lights

Encore

Living The Dream
War Pigs (Black Sabbath cover)

 

 

The Bad Flowers are out on the road opening for Stone Broken & Jared James Nichols 

 

http://bluesdoodles.com/bluesdoodles/who-will-join-stone-broken-on-probably-the-tour-2018/

 

Starting Gun fired for The Bad Flowers Album Launch

Blues Celebrating Friends Along The Way With Mitch Woods

Blues Celebrating Friends Along The Way With Mitch Woods

We all need friends. The harmony and deep joy sharing what we love with friends sustain you through hard times and dark times. Friends Along The Way, Mitch Woods eleventh album, is the perfect soundtrack to celebrate friendship. Mitch has gathered around him a galaxy of music stars on Friends Along The Way. The musicians are friends from across his career that has spanned four decades. Joining Mitch on the album are Van Morrison, Taj Mahal, Elvin Bishop, Charlie Musselwhite, Ruthie Foster, Joe Louis Walker, Maria Muldaur, Cyril Neville, Marcia Ball, John Hammond and Kenny Neal.

The album celebrates, friendship. The musical harmony of blues played together as guitar, drums and harmonica join forces with the boogie of the piano allowing the vocals to tell the narrative of life on the road.  Friends Along The Way is a timely reminder of the central roll the piano has played in the blues. Blues is not just guitar-driven it has also been nurtured and fulfilled by the tinkle of the ivories. Mitch Wood’s piano playing is astounding with a personal acoustic connection. Classically trained his boogie-based piano has an energy and finesses that shines through as he plays with his friends.

Every track brings a blues spark ad element to the album. Opening the party with his friends Mitch Woods goes back in time joined by Van Morrison and Taj Mahal on a Leadbelly classic Take This Hammer. Van Morrison’s vocals are joined by his percussive tambourine playing as a drumstick tinkles the tambourine so the sound cascades with force across Taj’s guitar and the signature of the album, Mitch’s stylish piano playing.  Ruthie Foster’s vocals on Singing The Blues adding textures with her guitar and the piano playing underneath. The urgency of the beat is intensified by an energy as the words take centre stage.  John Hammond’s vocals take us back in time with Mother in Laws Blues. Leaving us Cryin For My Baby with a healthy dose of blues harp from Charlie Musslewhite. This is blues that is sharp, defined and shaping your mood with the piano of Mitch Woods never silent. No album with Mitch at the keys will be without a helping or two of Boogie Woogie. First up is Nasty Boogie, the party now is swinging who can resist smiling and swinging the hips with this vibe, as Joe Louis Walker adds to the mood with his stinging guitar and vocals.

Empty Bed Blues with Maria Muldaur on vocals, is deep, moody and sultry, a jazzy take on the blues. Wow, what a classy number that flows and her smoky voice caresses you as you succumb to her embrace. Cyril Neville and Mitch have a conversation as The Blues are celebrated. The legacy as we move forward and the musical heritage teat lives on in The Blues. This track is spoken narrative. I recommend that you sit back and listen to Cyril as his narrative is accompanied by Mitch’s piano. You will be captivated for five- minutes.

The tempo changes with more boogie as we turn for home with Saturday Night Boogie. Wow ow Wow the slide guitar from Elvin Bishop just fizzes against the piano. The six-strings and ivories are in musical harmony.

By track fourteen blues have been shaken and stirred, then we hear the guitar and vocals of John Lee Hooker joining Mitch’s piano on Never Get Out of These Blues Alive. This is blues played with a clarity of form and simplicity of shape. The result is perfection. Closing the album with In The Night. Friends have come together had fun and now Marcia Ball & Mitch Woods duet on the piano and vocals. This is pure fun the perfect closing number as Professor Longhair is celebrated full of vim and energy.

The combination of the songwriting skills across the ages, instrumentation of the melodies are the underlying essence of the blues. Mitch Woods, has proved on Friends Along the Way that without friendship, companionship blues would just be notes and words. It is the interaction with humanity good and bad that makes the blues an emotive force as relevant today as yesterday. Blues is relevant that is why Friends Along The Way.

 

Mitch Woods – Friends Along The Way – Entertainment One

EIGHTpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Track Listing

  1. Take This Hammer
  2. CC Rider
  3. Keep A Dollar In Your Pocket
  4. Singing The Blues
  5. Mother In Law Blues
  6. Cryin For My Baby
  7. Nasty Boogie Woogie
  8. Empty Bed Blues
  9. Blues Mobile
  10. The Blues
  11. Saturday Night Boogie
  12. Blues Give Me A Ride
  13. Chicago Express
  14. Never Get Out Of These Blues Alive
  15. Midnight Hour Blues
  16. In The Night

Blues Celebrating Friends Along The Way With Mitch Woods

Travel Down Sonia Leigh Musical Rabbit Hole with Mad Hatter

Travel Down Sonia Leigh Musical Rabbit Hole with Mad Hatter

Having heard Sonia Leigh play live in Bristol opening for The Broken Witt Rebels on a boat in Bristol. I was delighted to have the opportunity to review her studio album, Mad Hatter.  The studio Album is an Americana ride down a musical rabbit hole. Expect a variety of sound and textures as we taste the musical elixirs on offer across the eleven tracks. Some are edgy, others, nostalgic some are sad. Like any great tea party, it is the combination and flow of sounds that makes Mad Hatter a truly wonderful listening experience.

Mad Hatter starts with Waste The Day, energized sound that pumps out the energy and fun captured by the instrumentation, The first thing is the voice it is rough and smooth, low and fall of emotionally driven contours. As we Waste A Day again with Sonia Leigh. The sound is always rooted in country, country celebrating modernity and we love wasting a day at the Mad Hatter musical mayhem.  Now how to follow that let’s turn the corner swirl around 180 degrees with a journey in the Sky Submarine. The electro buzz burns through the country vibe as you stamp your feet and cheer on the dynamic vocal charms that capture the force that is Leigh.

No way will you ignore the title track Mad Hatter. It hits your listening senses from the off.  Sonia’s vocals have the cadences of Mary Gauthier. As she sings She didn’t wish me Happy Birthday this Year. Guess that says it all.  Then we go back in time the song tinged with sadness and regret. Time has passed but that friendship has never be rekindled. The story is told through Alice in Wonderland characters. Here again clever effects never overused but making a statement underpin the narrative of the song that is the purpose of the music.  This is a clever, edgy track everything a title track should be. We explore the narrative of losing your own sense of reality.

The songs have something to say Diamond in the Desert is sharp with use of violins it is country that intrigues and pleases. We are lost in the desert in the company of the wonderful vocals of Leigh. The country vibe is deep in Shelter with the whine of guitars and percussive beats. Again Gauthier’s vocals are r-kindled and shaped by Sonia’s tones. The singing across the album is personal. The narrative shared are for you to explore and relate to. AS we get lost in Leigh’s world at her invitation.

Then we have a scuzzy, fuzzy crescendo with Jack Is Back. This track works brilliantly live. The sign of a great number is when it fits in an album perfectly. Drink deep from this number it is dirty, grungy and full of vocal rawness as you join Leigh for a swim in the Tennessee River because Jack Is Back. This is down the creek whiskey-fueled rockier guitar speaking number.

Closing out this album that has taken you the Mad Hatter’s table. Sonia Leigh cloaks you in music that rests in the world of country/Americana. Then breaks out with rockier numbers, pop-infused ditties and music that is blended with pure talent. As we taste the last morsel with the Mad Hatter we have rap-infused Mind on the Prize.

This is an album that your mind stays in tune with every number. As you travel down Sonia Leighs Musical Rabbit Hole with Mad Hatter you explore her agony and ecstasy. The light and dark of her soul and above all the contained aggression gives determined grit from the first to the last note.

EIGHTpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Track Listing

  1. Waste The Day
  2. Sky Submarine
  3. Mad Hatter
  4. Walking in the Moonlight
  5. Diamond in the Desert
  6. Acid Rain
  7. Shelter
  8. N.Y.C.
  9. Jack is Back
  10. Dead Mans Sunrise
  11. Mind on the Prize

Travel Down Sonia Leigh Musical Rabbit Hole with Mad Hatter

Will Wilde Harmonica Stylishly covers Classics in a unique way

Will Wilde Harmonica Stylishly covers Classics in a unique way

Will Wilde hails from Brighton and his first foray into performing was when he formed The Neptune Blues Band in 2005 when he was 17 years old, and released his debut album “Nothin’ But Trouble” in 2008. Since then he has released two studio and one live album under his own name.

He comes from a musical family. “Music was always around me.” He says. “British hard rock and blues was the soundtrack to my childhood.” His grandfather was a wartime jazz ‘n’ blues pianist and his sister, Dani Wilde, is an acclaimed blues performer with whom I’m sure you are familiar.

Wilde studied drums at the Brighton Institute of Modern Music and yet it was the harmonica, guitar and vocals that ended up captivating him. None more so than the harmonica, obviously.

His latest release is one that brings shivers of expectation or horror from music lovers. Bring It On Home is covers with a twist expect the choice of numbers to be unexpected. This album pays homage to blues and rock giants, including Purple, Free, Sabbath, Tull and the master mouth organist, Sonny Boy Williamson II amongst others. Anyone brave enough to cover such recognisable classics needs to be not only good but also able to interpret in a way that pays tribute while being distinct. Not an easy job; does he achieve it? The answer is a conservative yes; musically they are all very faithful yet imaginative interpretations. The finest one of all is the last track. Parisienne Walkways has to be heard to be believed. The harmonica/mouth-organ/blues harp/moothie or gob-iron (as Ian Gillan calls it) playing actually replicates Moore’s guitar sound in a way beyond comprehension…stunning!

Many of the original tracks featured the harmonica, making it more acceptable to hear, albeit featuring more prominently. The first track is the brilliant Gallagher song, Bad Penny. There is quality guitar backing, recalling the ‘jangling’ intro of the original. There is a very flat sounding foot/bass drum on this, and some of the tracks, which irritates, However, the vocals are up to scratch too, but it’s when the harmonica takes the solo that the fascination grows. It actually works! Lazy, too had harmonica sections, but here Blackmore’s guitar and Lord’s Hammond are replaced by it. Again, it actually works. Vocally Wilde is no Gillan, but it doesn’t spoil the enjoyment, and Danny Giles puts in a very decent guitar solo too. I’m You Witchdoctor is so faithful; you would think Mayall was a guest (he isn’t). Harmonica instead of the ubiquitous flute on a Jethro Tull cover? Locomotive Breath is still instantly recognisable and enjoyable. Great guitar backing again from Giles. Peter Green era Mac is next. Love That Burns does just that; it is a superb reading of a great blues track. Sabbath’s The Wizard is the first misstep; this is the only time when Wilde’s vocals just don’t fit. Musically it is good, and the bass playing is actually the highlight. His version of Yer Blues reminds me of Jeff Healey’s brilliant take on this Beatles song; except with harmonica, of course. My Brother Jake sounds a little empty as the track is played straight, with the harmonica just echoing one verse. Next, a song written by the great Willy Dixon and first performed by the king of the mouth-organ, Sonny Boy Williamson II (oh, and Zeppelin), Bring It On Home is faithful to the Robert Plant version.

In summary then, a very enjoyable album with some exquisite interpretations and a few disappointments. It is worth getting for Parisienne Walkways alone and I doubt you will be disillusioned with many of the songs. A very worthwhile effort.

SEVENpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Track Listing: (original artists in brackets)

  1. Bad Penny (Rory Gallagher)
  2. Lazy (Deep Purple)
  3. I’m Your Witchdoctor (John Mayall)
  4. Locomotive Breath  (Jethro Tull)
  5. Love That Burns  (Fleetwood Mac)
  6. The Wizard  (Black Sabbath)
  7. Yer Blues  (The Beatles)
  8. My Brother Jake  (Free)
  9. Bring it on Home (Sonny Boy Williamson II)
  10. Parisienne Walkways  (Gary Moore)

Note: The commercial release should also include Politician by Cream

The Band:
Will Wilde: harmonica/vocals
Danny Giles: guitar
Victoria Smith: bass
Alan Taylor: drums

Recorded at Brighton Road Studios
Engineered by Ali Gavan
Produced by Danny Giles