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

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

Dream Train Flying Blues From Alastair Greene

Dream Train Flying Blues From Alastair GreeneAlastair Greene’s musical qualifications are impressive. He has guested with such luminaries as Eric Burdon, Walter Trout, Coco Montoya, Savoy Brown, John Nemeth, and Debbie Davies.

Now, after touring the world as the guitarist for the Alan Parson Project, Alastair has released a solo album called Dream Train. As he says, “I’ll always be grateful for the opportunity Alan gave me to handle guitar and vocal duties in his band. After 7 years, the time has come for me to truly pursue my own musical dream.”  Hence the album title one would assume. (A great interview with Alastair is available here on Bluesdoodles  Alastair Greene Interview by Wes O’Neill

It is clear from the people he guested with previously and who appear on this album where his musical roots lie. Here we are treated to blues variations aplenty, with shuffles, boogies and rocking tracks with soul sensibilities mixed in.

His touring band provides a solid, rhythmic background across the whole album with special guests filling out the sound on selected tracks. Greene is a skilled guitarist and has a subtle feel for electric blues and can transfer this subtlety to acoustic playing too. That’s not to say he doesn’t unleash a stinging solo or three along the way. Throughout the album, I hear hints of S.R.V., Trower and Snowy White in his playing, although the style is very much his own.

The opener and title track is an out and rocker with alternated picking and slide driving a fast, almost 12 bar riff. Then comes a superb slide solo; just what a good blues/rock track needs, although it is far too short. Big Bad Wolf has the vocals following the guitar melody making an effective build before a full-fat solo. The bass guitar on this is stunning too.

Nome Zayne is the only non-Greene composition. This one is written by none other than Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top fame. The title is deliberately obtuse; when it is sung it becomes “Know what I’m sayin’”! Typical Gibbons lyrically and musically and well executed here.

Another Lie has typically beautiful complimentary guitar from Walter Trout. A slower paced traditional electric blues. It also benefits from the warmth of the keyboard fills courtesy of Mike Finnegan (a Hammond B3 specialist who has played with Hendrix and the Phantom Blues Band amongst many others). Both guitarists stuff more feeling into this track than most blues albums can boast.

Acoustic skills are to the fore on the simply complicated instrumental, Song For Rufus. A purposeful oxymoron, for the tantalizing slide in the bridge, creates a complex weave to produce a brilliantly crafted and, for an instrumental, a lyrical composition. Grateful Swagger features Debbie Davies, known also for her work with Duke Robillard, Coco Montoya and J Geils amongst others. She adds a funky touch to this sweeping blues instrumental. This also has a rare, albeit short, great bass solo.

Lucky 13 has Mike Zito, a blues legend in his own right as well as being a co-founder of Royal Southern Brotherhood, sharing guitar duties. A faster paced blues with a ‘standard’ approach and the two guitarists trading sections brilliantly.

Greene may not be the strongest vocalist you’ll hear but has sufficient depth to carry all of the demands of this varied and wide-ranging blues album. The songs, the musicians and the production ensure that Dream Train is never less than engaging. Most of it is a thrill and if you keep your feet still throughout, then you probably need to seek medical attention!

 

Alastair Greene – Dream Train – Rip Cat Records

SEVENpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Track Listing

  1. Dream Train
  2. Big Bad Wolf
  3. Nome Zayne
  4. Another Lie
  5. Song For Rufus
  6. I’m The Taker
  7. Dare Devil
  8. Grateful Swagger
  9. Rain Stomp
  10. Demons Down
  11. Iowa
  12. Down To Memphis
  13. Lucky 13

MUSICIANS
Alastair Greene: guitar and vocals
Jim Rankin: bass
Austin Beede: drums

SPECIAL GUESTS
Walter Trout: guitar track 4
Mike Finnigan: organ tracks 4, 7, & 11
Dennis Gruenling: harmonica track 7
Debbie Davies: guitar track 8
Mike Zito: guitar track 12

ALL SONGS WRITTEN BY

Alastair Greene, except Nome Zayne written by Billy Gibbons

Dream Train Flying Blues From Alastair Greene

Laurence Jones speaks the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth

Laurence Jones speaks the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truthLaurence Jones speaks the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

4 albums in, what do you do next? You look for something new and fresh, dig deep into your heart and see what comes out, to see what other sides there are to you. This is what Laurence Jones has done with his new album “The Truth”. Laurence continues to make a name for himself on the blues-rock circuit in the UK and Europe and his new album with its commercial feel but rocky edge will no doubt win him new fans further afield. Laurence took a few moments out from rehearsals and over a drink at an after-show party to chat as we were seeking honest answers…

 

“The Truth” is a few steps down a different path than your previous albums in its sound and arrangements…

Well, and between us, I want to be the next Justin Bieber, he’s my hero! Hahaha! But seriously, it is a crossover album for me in terms of the writing and production for sure. You know, all of my real heroes like John Mayer and Eric Clapton have stepped into different territory before and not just relied upon the guitar playing so I guess it’s my turn to do that. I don’t want to churn out the same album time after time as nobody wants to hear that and I’d get bored. I like challenges and I like to challenge myself which is what I’ve done with “The Truth”. Before we go any further, assure your readers that this album was all made with real instruments and real players!

You had me worried for a moment there thinking this isn’t the Laurence Jones I know…

There’s different sides to all of us and I wanted to show a different side of me with this album. I really focused on the songwriting, lyrics and melodic content. I’ve really been building up to making a record like this is taking the guitar side of things and mixing it with something that’s modern but true to itself. We talked about guitar playing when we were at the Black Country Communion after show party at Hammersmith (man what a gig eh!) and I’ve really pushed myself in the guitar solos to make them memorable, like a song in a song. Take the solo in “Hotel California”, that’s crazy long but you can sing it and it tells a story in itself. I hope that mine on this album do that for anyone who listens to it.

We’re talking about putting yourself out there and opening up here…

Absolutely. I can only write about things I know, not what’s up in the sky that I don’t know about. The songs really do the talking on this album and they’ve been finely picked from a whole bunch of demos. It was a dream to have a few weeks of pre-production in Curacao which is a Dutch island in the Caribbean, before heading to Miami to record at the old Sony Studios. Such a cool place man. The legendary Gregory Elias has produced this album and he brought so much to the table but still allowed me the freedom to go my own way. You know, Gregory is the man who brought The Rolling Stones to Cuba and put on a free gig for everyone, how cool is that! That just shows what a nice guy he is and inspirational. If you take songs such as “Hold Me Close”, “The Truth” and “Take Me” my heart’s on my sleeve right there, for better or for worse and I want the listener to feel that. Sure, there’s some rockier moments in “Give Me Your Time” and “Gone Away” but the emotional content is there in all of the songs. It was all about writing catchy songs with guitar solos and I keep up to date with all music out there, it’d be great to hear more guitar in the charts and these songs are more of a commercial feel than my rockier stuff so you never know!

 

What can we expect from your live shows this time around with this fresh take on your writing?

20-minute guitar solos! Hahaha!, not really. There will be some moments where we’ll be jamming out on a few songs, extending the solo’s a bit, in fact, I’m at rehearsals now and we’ve been working the set-out. I’ve got a really cool new band in Bennet Holland on keys, Phil Wilson on drums and Greg Smith on bass. We were playing in Holland before and everything just went super well. The crowds were great, singing along and getting right into it. It’s sounding really slick, the new songs are transferring well to a live setup and we’re psyched to be taking them out on the road. I love playing live and it’s great to connect with the audience and bring something to their day – you never know what’s going on with people and them coming out to your gig may be something they really need in that moment so we’ll be giving everything, every night of the tour. We’ve got a show January 23 at The Borderline in London, love that venue, and the UK tour really begins on May 3 in Manchester at Band On The Wall.

 

What do you think of the current scene in the UK and any advice for those younger than yourself as you had some great success at an early age?

When I first started all this, there was really only myself, Joanne Shaw Taylor and Simon McBride out doing what we do. That was cool, but it’s a lot cooler that there’s more and more bands and artists on the blues-rock scene in the UK now. I never view it as competition and it’s great to see people out playing, the new festivals that have come about as that shows there’s a demand for the music we play and love. As for those starting out, just don’t be afraid to try things. Don’t copy, take influences and mix them up and try and put your own stamp on things.

 

If you could pick any album to have written and made yourself, what would it be?

Oh, that’s tricky. C’mon man, can I have two? Yes? Ah great…it’d have to be “Riding With The Kings” of Eric Clapton and BB King, such a great record and has that crossover feel to it like my new album and Jimi Hendrix’s “Are You Experienced”, just because I’d love to know what was going on in his mind when he was writing it!

 

New Album New style The Truth still Laurence Jones

 

Laurence Jones new album “The Truth” is due for release Friday, March 9th 2018. Tour dates and ticket links can be found below and pre-order “The Truth” 

Just a Click away

Line-up touring The Truth Tour 2018:-

Laurence Jones (Vocals, Guitar)
Bennett Holland (Keyboards, Backing Vocals)
Phil Wilson (Drums, Percussion)
Greg Smith (Bass Guitar)

Planet Rock presents
LAURENCE JONES –  “THE TRUTH 2018 UK TOUR”
All Tickets: £15.00

London, Borderline – Tuesday 23 January

Book Online: Gig Cartel; See Tickets
24 HR Box Office: 0844 478 0898
Ticket Hotline: 0844 847 1678

Manchester, Band on the Wall – Thursday 3 May

Book Online:  GigCartel; Ticketline
24 HR Box Office: 0844 478 0898
Venue Tel: 0161 834 1786

Leamington Spa, Zephyr Lounge – Friday 4 May

24 HR Box Office: 0844 478 0898 – Venue Tel: 01926 311 311
Book Online: Gig Cartel or Eventbrite


Southampton Talking Heads – Saturday 5 May

Book Online: Gig Cartel  – Venue Tel: 02380 361 970


Birmingham, Hare & Hounds – Thursday 10 May

Book Online: Gig Cartel 24 HR Box Office: 0844 478 0898
Venue Tel: 0121 444 2081

Nottingham, The Bodega – Friday 11 May

Book Online: Gig Cartel or Alttickets

24 HR Box Office: 0844 478 0898 – Venue Box Office: 0115 896 4456

York, Fulford Arms – Saturday 12 May

Book Online: Gig Cartel 24 HR Box Office: 0844 478 0898
Venue Tel: 01904 620 410

Newcastle, The Cluny – Sunday 13 May

Book Online: Gig Cartel or See Tickets

24 HR Box Office: 0844 478 0898 – Venue Tel: 0191 230 4474

 

Laurence Jones has built his reputation in the studio and playing live check out his discography 

Albums in BOLD checkout Bluesdoodles review.

Discography

The Truth (2018)
Take Me High(2016)
What’s It Gonna Be (2015)
Temptation (2014)
Blues Caravan (2014)
Thunder In The Sky (2012)

Laurence Jones speaks the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth

 

Spiritus Powerhouse Blues from Jane Lee Hooker

Spiritus Powerhouse Blues from Jane Lee HookerSo, we reach 2018 and what better way to kick-start the New Year than with a dose of high energy, punky blues/rock. Enter New York 5 piece, all-girl powerhouse Jane Lee Hooker, who kicked the scene door down with 2016 debut album ‘No B’, a collection of blues covers done with atypical New York grit and punk attitude. With former members of Nashville Pussy in the ranks, it’s no surprise then that follow up ‘Spiritus’ continues with that same East Coast swagger.

Opener ‘How Ya Doin’ is a front row, in your face, high energy insight into what Jane Lee Hooker do best – a kick-ass live show. Immediately striking are the astonishing vocals of lead singer Dana ‘Danger’ Athens, made even more impressive by the obvious live-feel recording of Spiritus. Production is raw, real and honest throughout this and all other tracks on the album. Forget finesse, forget technique, forget polish. Think punk attitude, think Brooklyn sleaze, think garage band-gang on a mission. A nod to Mick and Keef here, a wink to rock and roll rebellion there.

Spiritus manages to steal the infectious boogie from band name inspiration John on stand out tracks ‘Black Rat’ and ‘Be My Baby’. The latter would be a radio favourite if it were trimmed down to the catchy chorus and hooks sans the unnecessaries. In a Blues/rock world full of pedal board heroes and perfection we tend to forget some of the best songs are just attitude and adrenaline. Perhaps with a ‘one-eye-on-radio’ producer, JLH could have aimed more of this ten song set at commerciality. You get the feeling however that Spiritus is a ‘ this is how we would be live’ record, a token of the no doubt blistering live show. You’re not here to admire lyrical prowess or originality, you’re here to sweat, scream, pump fist and pogo.

Things do get more chilled with gospel-tinged ‘How Bright The Moon’. Dana takes us to church with a heartfelt vocal, perhaps the highlight album vocal, which sets up this piano-led breather ballad as a welcome interlude. No rest for the wicked though as the same church has its roof blown off by ‘Turn On Your Love Light’, evoking memories of cartwheeling Jake and Elwood captivated by the Reverend Cleophus James in the Blues Brothers movie.

The final song, ‘The Breeze’ is an as-the-sun-comes-up, sore head, loose slow blues jam; doesn’t really go anywhere other than ’round and ’round the post-party, bottle-strewn club. Self-indulgent, but the perfect remedy for the partied out, spinning and ready to drop.

Spiritus –

Lacks originality? Maybe – Lacks technical prowess? Maybe – Lacks direction? Slightly

Who cares, Spiritus is a window to an epic live show, a night of nights, a sweat addled assault on the primal senses. Not to be judged in any other way. Go to a show, buy the album and relive that night over and over with a wry smile.

Pendragon for Bluesdoodles gives Jane Lee Hooker Spiritus a splendid

SEVENpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Track Listing:

  1. How Ya Doin?
  2. Gimme That
  3. Mama Said
  4. Be My Baby
  5. Later On
  6. Black Rat
  7. Ends Meet
  8. How Bright
  9. Turn on Your Love Light
  10. The Breeze

Spiritus Powerhouse Blues from Jane Lee Hooker

Ilya Portnov Debut Album Strong Brew

Ilya Portnov Debut Album Strong Brew

Ilya Portnov Debut Album Strong Brew

 

Russia born, now based in the USA harmonica player Ilya Portnov loves the blues. His debut instrumental solo album, Strong Brew, is a mix of old-school blues and ragtime with gypsy and tango-influenced tunes. Ilya says he wanted to feature different kinds of music that played a big role in his life. Originally, he had planned to include Brazilian choro and forro tracks but now he plans to release these on a separate album. Strong Brew, with seven self-penned tracks and two covers. The lively arrangement of the Rev Gary Davis classic, Cincinnati Flow Rag and in complete contrast, In a Town Garden. A composition from Malvey Blanter and Alexey Fatyanov a popular Russian tune of the 1940s and a favourite of Portnov’s grandmother. Ilya plays a mean diatonic harp and is ably backed by keys, guitar, drums and violin as he moves from 12 bar blues to ragtime to tango. The appropriately named track 1928 would work as music for a black and white film set in a smoky 1920s dance club while Surfing the Baltic Sea brings us a lilting gypsy influenced tune with virtuoso harp playing. Occasionally verging on the pedestrian but the album is ultimately intriguing. Ilya’s harmonica blends blues with folk music of Eastern Europe the combination of roots-infused music works. The mix of music is a refreshing take on the range of the harmonica and Ilya’s musical influences. Stand out tracks for this reviewer were the 12 bar blues Behind the Wall and the final blues track Till The Early Morning. The title track, Strong Brew is a smooth mix of bluesy harp over a prowling, slinky dance background – this could be the way to go for this versatile musician.

Ilya Portnov  – Strong Brew – Independent

SIXpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Track Listing

  1. Sunny Afternoon Blues
  2. Surfing The Baltic Sea
  3. Dance of A Lonely Doll
  4. Cincinnati Flow Rag
  5. In A Town Garden
  6. Behind The Wall
  7. Strong Brew
  8. 1928

Ilya Portnov Debut Album Strong Brew

Wonderful One-Man Band Steve Hill – Solo recordings Vol 3

Wonderful One-Man Band Steve Hill - Solo recordings Vol 3

Wonderful One-Man Band Steve Hill – Solo recordings Vol 3

 

 

Well, why have I not heard of Steve Hill? Why have I had to wait until Volume Three to discover Steve Hill as a Phenomenon? A One Man Band who is loud, bad and a little bit dangerous. His love of blues and rock spills out of every number he plays on the album Solo Recordings Vol 3. All the instruments are played to an incredibly high-standard live, vocals, guitar and kick drum creating a fluid and fluent sound that makes you want to drink and party. You can hear some amazing bass notes as well how? By feeding 3 strings through an octaver guitar pedal hooked up to a bass amp.  He is ready to amaze you on this album.

Steve is no longer one of Canada’s best-kept secrets. The cat is out of the bag, Steve has burst, with tone and attitude, onto the international stage an overnight sensation that’s 20 years in the making. He’s an ambitious and raucous force to be reckoned with on the Canadian blues-rock scene. Now, he’s ready to break out internationally

Steve Hill is a multi-instrumentalist with a shelf of awards including 2015 JUNO award winner for Blues Album of the Year. With Solo Recordings – Volume 3 more awards must be just following along…

The album has three distinct elements all portraying the depth of imagination of tone and power that defines Steve Hill One-Man band on Solo Recordings Volume 3. The first element is powered by rock, beats that are raw, raucous and exciting, there are six originals. Then we have a further two sets of three songs, stripped backed melodic acoustic and the re-imagined, mainstays of man tables band set list. There may be three styles and approaches but this is for certain they are equally exciting, colourful and brilliant.

Your first exclamation when Damned pours through your speakers. Is dam that must be a band who else is playing with Steve Hill?  The rock with influences that are mined deep in the heart of the blues is rich and multi-layered. How can one person make this sound as a one-man band?  This is an individual that wants to recreate the sound and energy of rock without bandmates.  He achieves that and as he proclaims on Rhythm all over. Joining guitar and his wonderful rich vocals is the harmonica as he is now a Smoking Hot Machine.

This is a one-band band that has a multitude of tonal facets that glisten and make your speakers purr with delight.  As he slots in through the album his solo renditions of blues with the deepest blue seas flowing through Still A Fool & A Rollin’ Stone. As he constructs the mood, it is deep, dark and there is a feeling that there is something lurking just out of eyesight. Is it the devil to see if Steve Hill should be down at his infamous crossroads? The guitar takes on new tonal cadence hard-hitting as we are Rollin and Tumblin with Hill’s solo experience he is sharing with us.  Lovers of music want to join Steve and be part of the moment he creates. The energy, authenticity and raw power make every track red hot. We definitely will not be Breaking Down in despair in front of the monstrous sound created by Hill.

Joining the blues to the rock and the rock to the blues are the trio of acoustic tracks Slowly Slipping Away, Troubled Times and Emily. The harmonica and the gentle punctuation of the guitar as the vocals become deep and personal singing the lyrics for you. One thing for certain no-one would be Slowly Slipping Away in Steve Hill’s company. Troubled Times a song with a gentle rendition of harsh and thoughtful lyrics with finger-picking showing another facet of his skills. The number flows into Emily and the beat picks up with a country vibe. The tone changes we are having fun.

Steve closes out the musical journey with a rocking original Walking Grave completing the circle of sound he began Damned. The album proving once again Steve Hill performs with his heart on his sleeve, using the textures and tones of all the instruments creating a mood. He plays with instinctive feel letting each part of his band have a voice. Throughout Steve Hill’s voice is in control commanding your attention.

 

Steve Hill – Solo Recordings: Volume 3 – No Label Records

NINEpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Track Listing

    1. Damned
    2. Dangerous
    3. Still A Fool & A Rollin Stone
    4. Slowly Slipping Away
    5. Rhythm All Over
    6. Smoking Hot Machine
    7. Troubled Times
    8. Emily
    9. Can’t Take It With You
    10. Rollin Tumblin / Stop Breaking Down
    11. Walking Grave

Wonderful One-Man Band Steve Hill - Solo recordings Vol 3

 

Lionize In The Studio Produces New Album Nuclear Soul

Lionize In The Studio Produces New Album Nuclear Soul

Lionize In The Studio Produces New Album Nuclear Soul

 

Lionize In The Studio Produces New Album Nuclear Soul. The Maryland rockers have captured maturity in sound; the lyrics are emotionally driven. Modern cutting rock for today as the genres are captured under the skilful direction of Clutch’s Jean Paul Gaster with J. Robbins and the band themselves. The album is an explosion of sounds and sonic shapes that hits the speakers with a blast of keys from Chris Brooks’ Hammond – what an intro. The opening track draws you into the music on their sixth album. This is classic rock bending and blending influences full of funky attitude. Darkest Timeline is a great introduction to the sound of rock for 2017 and beyond with lines including You know I’ve got American Blues”, We’re on the darkest timeline.  This theme is returned to. This is not a dark, discordant album it is one crafted with care pulling thoughts together through the medium of rock. Lionize entertains with the power of the quartet throughout Nuclear Soul.

The album flows with a passionate dexterity. What sets Nuclear Soul apart from the pack is the crafted blending into the rock beat, funk, jazz, blues at times the beat of heavy metal. This mix of influences packaged with a ribbon of grunge and sparkle of the energy of Rock n Roll labelled with lyrics that tell a story. Lyrics to reflect the times. Lionize on Nuclear Soul have captured the soul of our times. Nailed it across the eleven tracks.

The beauty, yes beauty, of Fire In Athena as they take the sound down the acoustic guitar is exquisite. Unexpected with the sound building an undercurrent of Thin Lizzie. This is a highlight only three tracks in. The band delivers energy and lyrics with a poignancy. The sound swells and fades. Nate Bergman sings fragile and alone Burning In The Streets … What was left ringing in our ears. Was a bell with a never-ending toll … then the power as we have a crescendo of sound riffy guitar from Nat, rhythmic beats from Hank’s bass & Chase’s Drums. Follow that. They do with Power Grid fast dirty greasy bluesy funk that excites.  Election Year, reflecting the time of recording the album. The phrase Don’t Trust The Government ring with a truth in your ears combined with we get what we deserve. There is a fearful driving urgency across the number as Lionize re-shape their sound and approach.

One track that perhaps doesn’t quite mesh in is aptly titled Let You Down. What it does do is showcasing Nate’s vocal versatility with its bluesy feel.  The title track is a humdinger as the quiet opening with the Brooks keys reflecting Nate’s vocals is counterintuitive to the lyrics. This is a drama of being cast into a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Reflecting the news headlines of impending disaster all around us from nuclear and environmental threats. A song for our times.

Lionize close out Nuclear Soul with a band member saying play it faster. Blindness to Danger is a fast furious up-tempo number. With the final chorus ringing in your ears. Lionize are a band on a crest of a wave of global success

Lionize throughout the album flaunt their immense collective talent. One listen and Lionize have their hooks into your ears. An album that will be played loud, with pleasure and often. A real go-to album when rock music is the order of the day.

Lionize –  Nuclear Soul – The End Records

NINEpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN …

Track Listing

  1. Darkest Timeline
  2. Face Of Mars
  3. Fire In Athena
  4. Power Grid
  5. Aint It A Shame
  6. Election Year
  7. March Of The Clones
  8. Let You Down
  9. The Mad Scientist Of Sunshine
  10. Nuclear Soul

Lionize In The Studio Produces New Album Nuclear Soul

 

King King taking a new direction on Exile & Grace Album

King King taking a new direction on Exile & Grace Album

King King taking a new direction on
Exile & Grace Album

 

 

King King taking a new direction on Exile & Grace Album. The mix is matured and has a vibe of intent to deliver the music the growing army of fans want to hear.  The music has the solidity of granite rock and definitely a new cadence to the vocals from our kilt wearing Alan Nimmo.  The honeyed vocals have sharpened with a soulful considered delivery that rocks with a bluesy haze.

Opening number Gimme No Lovin will be instantly recognised thanks to the considerable airplay the number has received. There is definitely a nod towards Thunder. Danny Bowes’ vocals have curled their way into Alan’s vocal lexicon. On first listen that is what dominates, get to know the number then the vintage King King sound simmers and boils to the top, thanks to the stunning keys from Bob Fridzema who just keeps adding spicy phrasing to every number.  Exile & Grace has a fullness of tone modern and retro as Alan nods his head towards influences of his youth.

Nine tracks that take you on a winding road of textures and tones. Heed the Warning opens with a sound that is infectious as Wayne Proctor’s drumming combines with the bass of Lyndsey Coulson. Pulling in guitar riffs and scrumptious chords from Bob’s fingers. Then the vocals from Alan Nimmo.  Heed The Warning take note this is King King with a clear direction and a story to tell. Classic King King that is going to get the fans smiling when played live. As the notes fade, then the crescendo opening of Broken. This is a track where the lyrics dominate. Reflecting on society and no escape to higher ground. This is about a broken world punctuated by the King King Trademark instrument notations.  Heavier and reminiscent of early Whitesnake. this is a band defining the album. As they grow in stature carving out their own distinctive, recognisable sound.

How to follow that, take it down a notch or two. Draw a breath and a Nimmo ballad helps you Find Your Way Home. The angst and anguish flow out of the speakers and across the room from the vocals and the instrumentation. Alan begs for you to Find Your Way Home.  Broken hearted and trying to make sense this is a ballad we can all relate to. Another number that will be the next mainstay of the live set.

Wayne’s drums, crisply open up Long Time Running, a classic King King sound. As they said cowbell would have neatly fitted in but they resisted and the number is all the better for it.  Closing out with I Don’t Wanna Lie, Stevie Wonder style keys punctuate the lyrics framed by juicy tones from Alan Nimmo, A fun number leaving you on a High, you may be in Exile but you will always have Grace delivered by a King King quartet who have never strayed down an alleyway distracted by a musical style on an album full of rock credentials.

The Album is King King the band are a unit with a distinctive tone and musical approach. This is not a scatter gun approach trying to please blues and rock fans at the same time. The result was albums that at times disappointed them as seen as to blues for rock and to rock for blues. This is classic rock dipping their toes in the British Blues Explosion sound and reforming as the sound of King King 2017. Full of melodic intent, the cohesive force of a band enjoying the music they are playing. It took a few listens.  I had to cleanse my ears of previous albums including 2015 Reaching For the Light, where the music was so accessible. Preconceptions had to be washed away with the new King King approach.  My verdict it is a winner! Despite it being very short only thirty-nine minutes. The cover of Whitesnake’s 1987 classic Give Me All Your Love does not grace the CD but is a bonus track on the vinyl version of the Exile & Grace.

King King on Exile & Grace has found a mature structured sound.  The challenge they set themselves as a band definitely works. The production is crisp. Exile & Grace will never be exiled to the dusty corner of your collection, It will be in a constants state of Grace as the music is played often and loud lifting your mood every time. Rock just got classic again thanks to Exile & Grace with blues roots are never exiled. The fourth studio album builds on the past and King King sound shines brightly as they explore Exile & Grace.

 

King King – Exile & Grace – Manhaton Records

TENpawprint half inchdoodle paws out of TEN ….

Track Listing

  1. (She Don’t) Gimme No Lovin’
  2. Heed The Warning
  3. Broken
  4. Find Your way Home
  5. Tear It All Up
  6. Betrayed Me
  7. Long Time Running
  8. Nobody Knows Your Name
  9. I Don’t Wanna Lie

 

King King taking a new direction on Exile & Grace Album

 

Bluesdoodles Album Picks Second Quarter 2017

Bluesdoodles Album Picks Second Quarter 2017

Bluesdoodles Album Picks Second Quarter 2017

 

 

Bluesdoodles Album Picks Second Quarter 2017  the recorded music keeps arriving such diversity and quality the excitement of sound captured to be relived again & again. It is proving to be a bumper year for music from Blues to Americana – Rock to Prog Rock many intriguing albums and musicians skills that cross the genres merging styles, melding influences into  a diversity of sonic delights that intrigues and keeps your entertained. 2017 is going to have a overflowing memory box of special music as the cascade of albums arriving through the letterbox both the electronic format and the traditional front door.

Bluesdoodles Album Picks Second Quarter 2017Over the last thirteen weeks, I have listened to many and thirty-four reviewed by Bluesdoodles keyboard warrior, Liz Aiken loves the listening, enjoys the typing. The hard part is deciding the number of doodle paws for the superb musicianship and variety of styles we listen to. At the end of the second quarter of 2017 from the 1st of April through to 30th June 2017: TEN albums shone bright, thus ten doodle paws stamped on the cover.

Ever wonder about the doodle paws category?

All numbers given to artistry are subjective, mine are no different; they are indicative in relationship of previous music released by the musicians; also how the music compares to the current releases.  We rarely give below five as so many excellent albums below satisfactory rarely see the light of scrutiny.

Bluesdoodles Album Picks Second Quarter 2017

10 Doodle Paws Stupendous

9 Doodle Paws Exceptional

8 Doodle Paws Marvellous

7 Doodle Paws Splendid

6 Doodle Paws  Pleasing

5 Doodle Paws Satisfactory

Clicking the album cover takes you to the review:-

Bluesdoodles Album Picks Second Quarter 2017 Bluesdoodles Album Picks Second Quarter 2017Bluesdoodles Album Picks Second Quarter 2017Bluesdoodles Album Picks Second Quarter 2017

Bluesdoodles Album Picks Second Quarter 2017

Thomas Wynn and The Believers Album Wade Waist DeepBluesdoodles Album Picks Second Quarter 2017Bluesdoodles Album Picks Second Quarter 2017Bluesdoodles Album Picks Second Quarter 2017

Bluesdoodles Album Picks Second Quarter 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out the other albums reviewed they are an exciting mix of music many not to be missed and will become firm favourites.

All albums reviewed by Bluesdoodles can be found over at – Recorded Music Reviews