Hollis Brown Recreates Rolling Stones’ Seminal Album with ‘In The Aftermath’

Hollis Brown Recreates Rolling Stones’ Seminal Album with ‘In The Aftermath’

American Blues Scene Staff

Watch Hollis Brown perform “Under My Thumb” live in studio!

Hollis Brown’s upcoming album, In The Aftermath,  is the deliciously depraved outcome of an all-night rock n’ roll riot. The Queens, New York-based quintet escaped to the Poconos to record with a few handles of whiskey, and, in one 24-hour session, ran down the Stones’ seminal first album of all originals, 1966’s Aftermath. Tracked live in the studio with minimal overdubs, In The Aftermath is potent proof the five-piece group is one of the last great American rock n’ roll bands. The album will be released on February 4th via Mascot Label Group/Cool Green Recordings. 

“It was a whirlwind recording session—we were on no sleep, and getting liquored up. You can definitely hear the looseness on that final track, ‘Going Home,’” singer-guitarist Mike Montali recalls, laughing. He continues: “We weren’t focused on cleanliness—we were after a feeling.” Previously, Hollis Brown issued Gets Loaded, saluting Velvet Underground’s Loaded. The five-piece band enjoyed doing the VU album so much they began to joke about doing a “Hollis Brown presents…” series, covering formative records in their artistic continuum.

Aftermath became the Stones album to dive into for a myriad of reasons. For one, it’s become something of a lost classic as it’s the first album to contain all Stones originals, including the defining track “Paint It Black.” Also, many of the songs are concise ultra-catchy rock n’ roll rave-ups that mine similar blues and country roots to Hollis Brown’s own signature aesthetic.

Yet on In The Aftermath, Hollis doesn’t try to out-Stones the Stones. Instead, they find clever ways to salute the Stones legacy. For the first album single, “Under My Thumb,” they distill the track down to a punky snarl inspired by the lean and mean Some Girls album. Hollis Brown turns in a faithful reading of “Dontcha Bother Me” replete with Muddy Waters-approved slide guitar, seething vocals, and lonesome harmonica. The guys bravely tackle “Paint It Black,” and harness the ominous power of the track through swapping its classic, world-music perspective for a muscular guitar-rock approach. Here, the drums are essentialized down to an infectious garage-rock beat that perfectly aligns with the burly guitar riffage.

Hollis Brown has amassed an engaged fanbase through touring tirelessly, making its way through the U.S. and Europe, both on their own and supporting the likes of Citizen Cope, Counting Crows, Jackie Greene, Jesse Malin, and the Zombies, among others. The guys pinched the band name from the Bob Dylan song, “Ballad of Hollis Brown,” and its moniker neatly epitomizes the group’s commitment to melding a signature Americana blend with fine song-craft. Hollis Brown will perform select sets of In The Aftermath on its upcoming February and March tour –  and inspiration from the album’s freewheeling recording sessions will definitely impact the band’s next album of all originals which is mostly written.

“Making this record sent us back to the drawing board,” Mike reveals. “It was about going back to the essence of American roots music—blues and country—which is a tradition our band was founded upon.”

In The Aftermath tracklisting:

  • Paint It Black
  • Stupid Girl
  • Lady Jane
  • Under My Thumb
  • Doncha Bother Me
  • Think
  • Flight 505
  • High And Dry
  • It’s Not Easy
  • I Am Waiting
  • Goin’ Home
  •  

     

    Pre-order In The Aftermath 

     

    The Infinite Cool of the Legendary Dr. John

    The Infinite Cool of the Legendary Dr. John

    Matt Marshall

    On what would be the 80th birthday of the legendary Dr. John, we’re sharing Matt Marshall’s 2013 interview with Mac himself

    Dr John at the King Biscuit Festival, 2010

    When musical legend Dr. John walks into a room, the air electrifies. Without effort, and in a low rasp not far above a whisper, the musical legend behind a thousand funky beats and decades of hits like “Right Place Wrong Time” commands attention. Mac Rebennack, his family name, is one suave, internationally celebrated New Orleans son of Funk, Jazz, Blues, and Rock.

    The seventy-two year old piano icon, with a characteristic swagger, a chest full of beads (nearly every one meaning something special) and his outrageously classy wardrobe, brings the funk to any room he walks into. But it’s not strictly his charisma, cool and famed voodoo stage performance that the good doctor’s known for; it’s his ability to make music that has remained fresh, fun, and most importantly, funky for over four decades.

    To call Dr. John “living history” would be doing something of a disservice to the masterful musician. One spin of his latest, Locked Down, proves that the ever-vigilant piano master has never been more in touch with defining what popular music should sound like.

    Under his always-present, timeless hats is a walking encyclopedia; a sponge of knowledge and prowess about blues, jazz, New Orleans music, and dozens of genres, styles, and performers. Why has he managed to capture what so few performers in the world have accomplished: a consistently unique, constantly endearing, never-ending cool sound and personality?

    “Comin’ up I listened to everything my pa had. He had a record shop,” he says, relaxing at a wide oak table high above the Big Muddy Blues Festival in an ancient part of Saint Louis. In less than an hour, he’ll headline the show, playing to thousands of packed and screaming fans with what has to be one of the best bands on the road. “My pa had four kinds of records he sold, which was race records like Rhythm & Blues and blues, jazz… it was bebop, traditional jazz, and afro-cuban music, and spirituals like hymns and stuff like that, and it was hillbilly music.”

    “Most of that hillybilly music was Hank Williams or somethin’ like that. So that’s kind of what I grew up hearin’”

    A literal lifetime of experiences in and around the music, as well as coming up in the gritty underbelly of New Orleans, has continued to shape one of the crescent city’s most famous residents. But he never just listened; He lived it, absorbed it, learning from and sharing music with the people he calls “the best there was”. With a stable of names he’s worked with including Cher, Gregg Allman, James Booker, Muddy Waters, Gatemouth Brown, Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, and nearly every other who’s who of popular musicians throughout the years, “the best there was” is an understatement.

    Looking back at those that had influenced him, Dr John had no shortage of incredible stories. “I seen Muddy Waters playing The Last Waltz [Martin Scorsese’s rock concert masterpiece]. He played Nine Below Zero the night before they filmed it. I saw every so-called badass guitar player with his jaw droopin’ and saggin’… I wish they’d filmed that.” he boasts. “And that’s the kind of things I been blessed to see.”

    “I remember Gatemouth. I never forget. I said to Gate, ‘I play your song Okie Dokey Stomp for my Theme Song!’ and he says… ‘Don’t fuck it up, kid’. I quit playin’ it as a theme song after hearing you say that! So that’s how much I admire Gate.”

    “James Booker was on the road with me for five years.” Booker, also a New Orleans native, was one of the most gifted pianists of the 20th century — but a tortured soul who struggled with lifelong addictions. “There was so many guys quit the band over Booker. And in some way, I didn’t care. I loved the way Booker played… And it’s my band! All them guys all kept me in different ways. Just like Professor Longhair did in New Orleans, Huey Smith helped me in New Orleans, Earl King helped me on the guitar. There was so many guys around.”

    How does an artist who gains popularity in the 70s maintain a career that spans decades? “I ain’t tryin’ to be mister predicable.” he sternly laments in a richly southern accent. True to that statement, he collaborated with The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach to produce and play on his latest album, Locked Down. The album, a stunning, highly celebrated set of rock and afro-beat richness, took home a Grammy. “If someone ever say they expect me to do something… they probably gon’ be wrong. Cuz I’ma roll how I roll.” And wrong they were. Nobody was expecting the explosive direction of Locked Down. Rebennack growls across tracks that pan the CIA and the KKK with equal disdain, boasts about being a big shot, seethes on the subject of death and poverty, and praises God for saving his soul — and he does it all across ten electrifying tracks with Auerbach on screaming guitar, eerie drumbeats, and, of course, his endlessly cool piano prowess.

    For all of his years playing the music industry, popularity and seasoning doesn’t make it any less difficult. “Hey, there ain’t no easy maneuvers out there. Of course there’s guys that’s still payin’ dues… I’m still payin’ dues,” he proclaims, with a faint hint of pride and the under-the-surface melancholy of years of road life, “and I’m supposed to be some sucker that’s like, ‘oh I figured something’ out. Well what I’m tryin’ to figure out is to don’t get beat as much as I used to!” His unbridled, constantly unique language can’t help but keep you hanging on his every word, his humor masks the fact that you’re sharing company with a five-time Grammy winner and Rock n Roll Hall of Fame inductee, and one of the most inventive musicians of our time. “And I’m tryin’ to shift that gear some more,” he quips.

    If it could be boiled down to it’s most basic elements, though, Dr. John says with pinpoint accuracy what making music is about. “Dancin’. Dancing is a very big part of all of what we do. If you don’t make people dance… what the fuck you doin’ playin’ music?”

    And in the future, if he plans to keep rolling with the style he did on Locked Down, he minces no words with a stare and a two second pause that means, ‘listen the hell up, son’ before he commands the conversation; “I ain’t tryin’ to be mister predictable. I ain’t tryin’ to be anything-able. I just wanna make music. And I want to make music to the best of my abilities.”

    Chickenbone Slim Releases ‘Serve It To Me Hot,’ Vizztone Debut ft. Guitarist Laura Chavez

    Chickenbone Slim Releases ‘Serve It To Me Hot,’ Vizztone Debut ft. Guitarist Laura Chavez

    American Blues Scene Staff

    Chickenbone has created a reputation for pleasing crowds and impressing critics by mixing traditional Blues with West Coast swing, Americana and Rockabily in a distinctive way

    Vizztone has recently signed San Diego blues singer, guitarist, and songwriter Chickenbone Slim (AKA Larry Teves). His Vizztone debut, Serve It To Me Hot, is out today!

    Since forming his band in 2012, Chickenbone has created a reputation for pleasing crowds and impressing critics by mixing traditional Blues with West Coast swing, Americana and Rockabily in a distinctive way.

    Serve It To Me Hot was recorded at Christoffer “Kid” Andersen’s  Greaseland Studios in San Jose, California, and features Slim’s current band: internationally acclaimed guitarist Laura Chavez (2020 BMA Best Guitarist nominee), drummer Marty Dodson (Fabulous Thunderbirds) and longtime bassist Andrew Crane. Andersen guests on piano, organ, and choice guitar licks, his wife Lisa adds background vocals, and harmonica player Aki Kumar guests on a track.

    The album is a collection of all original material including the title track, “Serve It To Me Hot,” cowritten with Andrea Ryan. Chickenbone calls the album Roots Rock — an eclectic mix of short stories with danceable grooves. Slim states, “From my core I’m a blues guy: T-Bone Walker, John Lee Hooker… somewhere between Hound Dog Taylor and  Dave Edmonds. I want people to listen to the songwriting.”

    Built on the driving boogie groove of Magic Sam’s “Lookin’ Good,” “Wild Eyed Woman” tells the story of Chickenbone Slim’s unstoppable voodoo woman. Impeccable guitarist Laura Chavez holds down the tight rhythm part until drummer Marty Dodson explodes on the turnarounds, launching her into perfect, stinging lead lines. Listen below.

    VizzTone label group · Chickenbone Slim – 02 – Wild Eyed Woman

    Chickenbone Slim
    Serve It To Me Hot – Choose Preferred Service

    Danielia Cotton’s ‘Super Cool’ is Steeped in Gritty Memphis Soul

    Danielia Cotton’s ‘Super Cool’ is Steeped in Gritty Memphis Soul

    American Blues Scene Staff

    “Super Cool,” is a charming love song filled with euphonious verses and rollicking guitar riffs.

    Danielia Cotton, who The New York Times says is “soulful enough to fill a revival tent” has announced her new studio album Good Day out January 21st, 2022. The new record channels Danielia’s eclectic mix of soul and rock while honoring the notion that “we are all warriors.” The album announcement is heralded by the new track “Super Cool,” a charming love song filled with euphonious verses and rollicking guitar riffs.

    “Super Cool” was recorded at the Power Station at Berklee NYC with musicians Charlie Drayton (The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash), Marc Copley (Rosanne Cash, Billy Squier, Kiefer Sutherland) on guitar, Andy Hess (The Black Crowes, Gov’t Mule) on bass with production by the Grammy-winning Dave O’Donnell (James Taylor, Sheryl Crow, Bettye LaVette).

    Danielia also worked alongside an array of talented musicians on the album including Kareem Devlin (Lady Gaga) and Grammy-nominated Jeff Cohen (Josh Groban, The Band Perry, Sugarland).

    I’m 54 years old, I’ve been making music whether in my bedroom or on a stage for the past 30 years. Maybe it’s taken me that long to realize that there need not be a theme to a collection of songs, that endangered species we used to call an album.

    What I will say is I have never been more proud of a collection or of my collaboration with the best producer, musicians and fellow songwriters that I have ever worked with.

    This album is called ‘Good Day,’ not because it’s the theme but because it’s what I wanted most fervently these songs to give me when I listened to them, and thus also my audience: a good day, or at least a good mood for 3, 6, 9, 50 minutes. As it says in the title song, ‘it’s been a long, long year, so let’s dance, let’s sing.’

    Most recently, Danielia paid tribute to the late Charley Pride with a moving cover of his number one single “(I’m So) Afraid Of Losing You Again.”

    Having been compared to rock counterparts Lenny Kravitz and The Black Crowes, Danielia steps into the rock landscape without sacrificing her musical values or sound. an authentic flare for her audience.

    Danielia’s soulful vocals merged with gritty, rock ‘n’ roll elements, and her lyrics are spawned by her angst-ridden youth and early life experiences confronting race, gender and wealth disparity. Danielia not only has embraced the notion of Black Rock–she has redefined it. Coming from a small town in New Jersey with few faces of color like her own, Danielia was raised by a single mother who showcased the value of music and education. Although her hometown is more racially diverse now, it was her no-shortcut-taking upbringing that helped her discover rock ’n roll music.

    Danielia Cotton

    *Feature image Photo Credit: Jimmy Fontaine

    First Annual Louisiana Sunshine Fest to Raise Funds for Hurricane Preparation

    First Annual Louisiana Sunshine Fest to Raise Funds for Hurricane Preparation

    American Blues Scene Staff

    First annual Louisiana Sunshine Fest will take place Nov 28th from 2:30PM to 8PM at The Broadside featuring music from Lost Bayou Ramblers with special guests 79ers Gang, Lady Red, and more, plus performances by Corey Henry & the Treme Funktet, Amigos Do Samba, and Julie Odell.

    The First Annual Louisiana Sunshine Festival will be held at The Broadside in New Orleans, Louisiana on Sunday, Nov 28. Presented by Feed the Second Line in collaboration with the Louisiana Solar Fund and the makers behind music documentary On Va Continuer, the festival features live music, food, solar demonstrations, and an outdoor screening of the documentary. Proceeds will benefit the Louisiana Solar Fun and Feed the Second Line’s solar project Get Lit, Stay Lit.

    Stay-Lit Solar Stage (Feed The Second Line)

    2pm – Footprint Project Solar demonstration

    3:30 Lost Bayou Ramblers feat. Lady Red, 79rs gang, and a surprise guest

    6pm On Va Continuer screening

     

    Rodé Soleil stage (Louisiana Solar Fund)

    2:30 Amigas de Samba-

    5pm Julie Odell

    7pm Corey Henry The Treme Funktet

     Musicians will play on two solar-powered stages with solar demonstrations by the Footprint Project, an organization which aims to provide cleaner energy for communities affected by disasters. The festival brings together mutual aid efforts of local musicians, filmmakers, and revelers with a conscious mind on preparation for upcoming climate trials in communities of South Louisiana.

    Feed The Second Line (FTSL) has been working to support the culture bearers of New Orleans since the beginning of the pandemic. With Hurricane Ida, Feed the Second Line helped tarp/repair 150 culture-bearer homes, delivered mutual aid to the bayou communities, and launched the Get Lit Stay Lit campaign to help better prepare Louisiana communities for the next hurricane.

    It’s the simple things that are most needed in times of emergency – cold water, a phone charger, shelter from the sun, food. Get Lit Stay Lit is raising funds to outfit neighborhood restaurants in New Orleans with solar panels and batteries to enable these businesses to become community through the aftermath of natural disasters and to lessen food waste and job insecurity during recovery.

     “We have to be realistic and build resilience block by block,” says FTSL founder Devin De Wulf. “We all know it’s on us to make Louisiana better prepared for the inevitable next storm”

    GLST has raised 90,000k so far and 50% proceeds of the first Louisiana Sunshine Festival will go to the organization.

    Louis Michot, lead singer and fiddle player of Lost Bayou Ramblers, also hit the ground running when Ida made landfall.

    Louis Michot, courtesy of Worklight Pictures

     Says Michot, “When Hurricane Ida hit, I was checking in on friends in Houma and Golden Meadow who lost pieces of their roofs from the 140mph+ winds, and at the same time started seeing people in Laplace turning to twitter for rescue as their town unexpectedly flooded, leaving many on their roofs or stuck in their attics. I wished at the time that I had been prepared to help, but it was the middle of the night, and I was a hundred miles away while the hurricane was still in full force. The next day I decided to put together a team of friends with trucks and tools, and a call for funds, which had surprisingly amounted in $10,000 in 24 hours. We made our first trip to Houma on September 2 to patch roofs and bring essential goods, but we would only be able to offer temporary relief. Houses that survived served as refuges for multiple families at a time who had lost their own homes, and the largest need after food and water was a generator and gas, both which were initially in short supply. We were able to bring a few generators, and hundreds of gallons of gas to keep people mobile and air conditioned in the heat, but it had to be brought from hours away, and took so much time and more gas to procure.”

     This trip to Houma solidified the realization that shelter and reliable power are needed as soon as possible after a storm if rebuilding is going to be an option- and so sparked the Louisiana Solar Fund, a 501c3 under CRIA (Cultural Research Institute of Acadiana). The solar fund is active through GoFundMe with currently $16,000 in donations to purchase solar-powered generators as well as deep freezers that can run off of one small battery and a solar panel for residents affected by Hurricane Ida.

    The first solar installation is set for November 12 in Pointe-Au-Chien, Louisiana, to power a prototype “Rescue Shelter” being developed by Another Gulf is Possible along with Williams Architects. Pointe-Au-Chien Indian Tribe (PACIT) is a traditional village descended primarily from Chitimacha, but also Atakapas, Biloxi, and Choctaw—all farmers, fishers, and hunters—who have been living in lower Pointe-au-Chien along the Louisiana Gulf Coast for centuries. PACIT is a state-recognized tribe but has been seeking federal recognition since the 1980s.

    The tribe is in crisis because of the changing environment of the Louisiana wetlands. They were one of the hardest hit communities is just one of the communities the LSF aims to provide with solar setups moving forward. 50% proceeds of the first Louisiana Sunshine Festival will go to the Louisiana Solar Fund.

    On Va Continuer!

    “On va continuer,” in Louisiana French “we will continue,” has become an unofficial mantra for Michot and is the title of a documentary featuring his band Lost Bayou Ramblers. Filming began during the flooding in South Louisiana in 2016 when director Bruno Doria met Louis Michot at cleanup efforts at Dockside Studios in Maurice. Following Louis and his brother, accordion artist Andre Michot, along with the other members of the band, the film joins the Ramblers on tour and delivers a message of cultural, lingual, and environmental preservation.

    Says the film’s director/DP Bruno Doria, “We made this film with a focus on the language of Louisiana French and the culture of the music, but it all comes down to the people. To keep our culture alive, we have to support the people of our communities. That means providing music and enjoyment in good times, but also responding when times are bad. We went through this with the floods in 2016, now with Ida, and we will see this happen again. We want to contribute to find better solutions for the people who live here.”

    Money made from the state tax incentive filming the movie was used to fund this event, along support from the Louisiana Solar Fund and Feed the Second Line.

    First annual Louisiana Sunshine Fest will take place Nov 28th from 2:30PM to 8PM at The Broadside featuring music from Lost Bayou Ramblers with special guests 79ers Gang, Lady Red, and more, plus performances by Corey Henry & the Treme Funktet, Amigos Do Samba, and Julie Odell. Doors at 2:00pm, music begins at 2:30, and screening of On Va Continuer! The Lost Bayou Rambler Rockumentary at sundown. Food and drinks are included in the ticket price.

    Footprint Project will start a solar workshop at 2pm when the doors open, and Another Gulf Is Possible is bringing a “ Rescue Shelter” to demonstrate, which will be outfitted with solar panels and a Powerpac at the venue, preparing for shipment to the next resident in need.

    As huge hurricanes come more frequently, the communities of south Louisiana are looking for ways to bring together and share resources during tough times. Mutual aid efforts after Ida are still ongoing, but there is a lot of work to do.

    Harmonica Legend Lee Oskar Reminds Us to ‘Never Forget’

    Harmonica Legend Lee Oskar Reminds Us to ‘Never Forget’

    American Blues Scene Staff

    “I want to make music that inspires and unites people, that says we can achieve things together and that it’s really time to think more about what we can accomplish working with each other rather than focusing so much on what separates and makes us different.” – Lee Oskar

    Composed, produced, and illustrated by Lee Oskar, recorded, mixed and co-produced by Brandon Busch, Never Forget powerfully addresses the atrocities of the Holocaust, while also serving as a stirring reminder that great music is a universal force for everything positive and vibrant throughout society. Never Forget’s nine largely instrumental tunes are sequenced like a soundtrack. The son of a holocaust survivor, Never Forget is Oskar’s musical memoir – Passages Through Music – telling his journey, his and his family’s story but also humanity’s story.

    The messages here and the theme were the critical elements. I thought in every composition that the melodies and the meanings, as well as the playing, was designed to reinforce that underlying point that we’re taking you on a trip and it’s a trip designed to make you never forget the horrors of the Holocaust. In many ways I see this as my ultimate statement.

    The album’s large cast of supporting musicians includes not only guitarists, bassists and drummers, but string musicians, reed players, background vocalists, even on occasion the services of an oud player and a flamenco guitarist. Such compositions as “Last Moments (Saying Goodbye)” or “Liberty (An American Waltz)” resonate powerfully thanks to sweeping orchestrations, soaring strings and evocative horn parts. Lee Oskar’s harmonica lines perfectly drive and anchor every selection. Oskar’s instrumental conception emphasizes delivering his trademark harmonica fills, accompaniment and solos in the same manner as a great vocalist makes lyrics resonate.

    The beautiful opening number “Far Away Dreams,” features soaring melodies and arrangement. Two numbers that directly connect back to the disc’s theme, both “Song From Mom” and the title track “Never Forget” feature an intensity and poignant edge that decisively affirm the memories of, on one hand, a family tragedy that should always be remembered, but on the other hand a desire for humanity to never again let that type of horror or ugliness occur. By contrast, the songs “Liberty” and “World For Peace” have a triumphant, celebratory quality that offer a sound of hope and positivity for the future.

    Oskar’s mother & her sister, both young teenagers at the time, escaped from the death march coming out of the Stuthoff extermination camp in Poland, and walked across bitterly cold terrain to escape — eventually landing in Denmark. “For all my life the things my mother told me about that experience have remained with me,” Oskar said. “It’s something I wanted to make certain is never forgotten and in many ways that’s always been on my mind and always been a driving force in my work, those memories…”

    Oskar was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1948. He’s been playing harmonica since childhood, when a family friend gave the then six-year-old his first instrument. His fond memories of listening to Danish radio growing up include a special fondness for the music and singing of Ray Charles. He’s someone whose delivery and sound have greatly influenced me,”Oskar said. I’ve always wanted my sound to have that quality of soulfulness very much like his singing.”

    Another aspect of his artistic personality was also developed very early — his love for and prowess as a visual artist. Never Forget‘s striking cover painting represents some of Oskar’s visual work. For many years I did all the art direction for the War albums,” he continues. Painting for me is another vital part of my life. If the art isn’t right on a project, that sets the wrong tone. It’s definitely a different vibe for me, but the connection is certainly there. They are both huge parts of my life, and it was just as important that the art direction for Never Forget clicked with the music.”

    At 18, Oskar made the move to New York, despite having no money, relatives or connections there. After a period as a street musician, there were other stops in Toronto, San Francisco and ultimately Los Angeles.

    Oskar met Eric Burdon at a jam on the Sunset Strip in LA and they started hanging out & going to jams together. Burdon decided he wanted to form a group with Oskar and began looking for a band to back them up. They heard about a group playing at The Ragdoll called Nightshift, who were backing Deacon Jones, and went to check them out. Oskar sat in with the band, and the rest is history.

    The original group was Eric Burdon and War, though Burdon eventually departed the band. Their 1969 debut LP included the hit “Spill The Wine,” while the follow-up two-disc set The Black Man’s Burdon wasn’t as successful, but the band’s reputation for freewheeling idiomatic eclecticism became well known (they’re famous for a 60-minute version of “Mother Earth” at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London with Jimi Hendrix that would be his final public performance).

    The distinctive twin sax/harmonica sound pairing Oskar’s harmonica with saxophonist Charles Miller was always something that I wanted to have happen. It was something I had envisioned for many years. Oskar also recalls sitting around a swimming pool with the other members during a discussion about what to call the group. I remember talking about the battle between what drives you creatively and other aspects of your personality, the war that happens within the human spirit,”  Oskar continued. That’s where we got the name War.

    War emerged as a supergroup in the early ’70s, and had a lengthy string of hit singles and albums through the remainder of that decade as well as the ’80s and into the early ’90s. The Oskar harmonica lines were memorable parts of such War staples as “Lowrider,” ”The World Is A Ghetto,” “Why Can’t We Be Friends” and “Me and Baby Brother,” among others.

    Oskar also began pursuing a solo career while maintaining his ties with War. A trio of solo LPs between 1976 and 1981 earned him a 1976 Triple Crown, being voted top Instrumental Artist of the Year in Billboard, Cashbox and Record World.

    His love for harmonicas led him into another phase of the music business in 1983. Oskar formed a company to manufacture high-end harmonicas, and Lee Oskar Harmonicas continues as a major harmonica manufacturer both nationally and internationally.The company sells harmonicas for every known music idiom. Oskar manufactures them in conjunction with the Japanese factory, Tombo Musical Instrument Company. The harmonicas are produced with replacement parts that allow the user to change reed plates when/if the instruments become worn down by constant use, and also allows the mixing of different tunings. Lee Oskar Harmonicas celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2023.

    Now a resident of Washington State, Lee Oskar has earned ASCAP writing awards, and even had his signature sound celebrated in Pitbull and Kesha’s recent hit  “Timber,” which was inspired by Oskar’s harmonica contributions in the song “San Francisco Bay.”

    Lee Oskar’s Never Forget will ultimately take its place alongside other great LPs such as Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On or Curtis Mayfield’s solo debut Curtis. These stand as works whose messages and impact have a decisive and hugely positive impact that extends far beyond just enjoying the music. Indeed, Oskar hopes that everyone who hears the compositions on Never Forget will embrace its ultimate purpose: bringing people together. Those qualities have always been evident in his work. They were first a vital part of the original group Eric Burdon and War. Then they became a key ingredient in War’s core sound during their peak years. Oskar’s maintained a warm and ongoing relationship with original War members Harold Brown, Howard Scott and the late B.B. Dickerson, and they formed the Lowrider Band after War.

    The best expression of humanity’s creative spirit has always been represented in the arts. They stand as a chronicle of the greatest achievements from every world community. They have also provided the essential inspiration to carry people through the toughest times and harshest experiences. Whether it’s music, painting, literature, or dance, the arts stand as a bastion and motivating force that elicits the best qualities in societies around the globe.

    All people, no matter their backgrounds, have much more in common than the things that make them different. I want to make music that inspires and unites people, that says we can achieve things together and that it’s really time to think more about what we can accomplish working with each other rather than focusing so much on what separates and makes us different.

    The wonderful performances and evocative playing of Lee Oskar have always done that, and he accomplishes it with verve and flamboyance throughout every number on Never Forget.

     

    Lee Oskar
    Pre-Order Never Forget

     

    *Feature image © 254MochaCharlie Photography

    Tangerine Records To Release Double Vinyl Collection ‘True Genius: Sides of Ray’

    Tangerine Records To Release Double Vinyl Collection ‘True Genius: Sides of Ray’

    American Blues Scene Staff

    Ray’s unique mastery of music allowed him to continue to explore all forms of music, freely floating between jazz, blues, pop, rock, soul and country while continuing to combine them in new, unprecedented ways.

    Tangerine Records has announced True Genius: Sides of Ray, a double vinyl disc collection to be released on November 19th. The collection illustrates Ray Charles’ many musical “sides” by focusing each album side on the genre categories he visited most: soul, jazz & blues, country, and pop.

    Ray’s unique mastery of music allowed him to continue to explore all forms of music, freely floating between jazz, blues, pop, rock, soul and country while continuing to combine them in new, unprecedented ways. His dramatic expansion of the boundaries of country music was celebrated in August 2021, when he was officially inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

    True Genius: Sides of Ray follows the September 2021 release of True Genius, a newly remastered, limited edition CD set featuring 90 of the greatest songs from his legendary career and all of Ray’s biggest hits.

    Ray Charles’ recordings are major landmarks in American culture. By blending country and roots with other popular sounds, this visionary singer, songwriter, pianist and composer brought his expansive musical vision to a worldwide audience. Charles’ albums, released during the heart of the Civil Rights Movement, broke down both racial and genre barriers. The incredible crossover success of Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Volumes 1 & 2 led Willie Nelson to remark, “Ray Charles did more for country music than any other artist.” Ray continued to do something no other artist had done before or since, conquering all genres of music, from gospel and R&B to soul, country, jazz, blues, and pop, which led Frank Sinatra to dub Ray Charles, the only “True Genius” in music.

    Ray further helped bring Americans together with his rendition of “America the Beautiful,” and he remains the only artist in history to create and define a national anthem.  Charles was also one of the first recording artists to have ownership of his masters as well as complete creative freedom.

    Charles’ staggering achievements over a 58-year career include 17 GRAMMY Awards, induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Blues Hall of Fame, and Country Hall of Fame, a Lifetime Achievement and the President’s Merit Award, the Presidential Medal for the Arts, France’s Legion of Honor, the Kennedy Center Honors, the NAACP Image Awards’ “Hall of Fame Award,” and numerous other music Halls of Fame, including those for Jazz and Rhythm & Blues, all testament to his enormous influence. In 2019, he was honored by the Grand Ole Opry with An Opry Salute to Ray Charles, which was broadcast across PBS stations.

    One of the greatest artists of all time, Charles successfully mastered and forever changed the blues, jazz, gospel, rock, pop, and country music landscapes. He teamed up with the best of the best in each stylistic genre, including B.B. King, Aretha Franklin, Lou Rawls, Hank Williams Jr, Willie Nelson, Stevie Wonder, and countless others. As he described himself. “I’m not a country singer. I’m a singer who sings country songs. I’m not a blues singer, but I can sing the blues. I’m not really a crooner, but I can sing love songs. I’m not a specialist, but I’m a pretty good utility man. I can play first base, second base, shortstop. I can catch and maybe even pitch a little.”

    Ray Charles was more than just the Genius of Soul; he was the Genius of Music.

     

    Pre-Order True Genius: Sides of Ray

     

    *Feature image: Norman Seeff

    Beth Hart Presents ‘A Tribute to Led Zeppelin’

    Beth Hart Presents ‘A Tribute to Led Zeppelin’

    American Blues Scene Staff

    “In the days of my youth, I was told what it means to be a woman.” – Good Times Bad Times, Beth Hart

    Grammy-nominated powerhouse vocalist Beth Hart takes on one of her most profound undertakings to date by channeling the legendary voice of Robert Plant on A Tribute To Led Zeppelin. The album will be released on February 25, 2022, via Provogue/Mascot Label Group and will be available digitally, on CD and 3 different vinyl colors.

    The nine track album highlights the incredible musical spectrum that Led Zeppelin operated in, from powerhouse rock to psychedelia, folk, jazz, prog, blues, funk, soul and beyond. Rumors about the album had been circulating for a few years. At the helm were super-producer Rob Cavallo and engineer Doug McKean, along with an A-list team of musicians.

    All that was left was the final piece of the puzzle… the voice.

    Things clicked into place when Cavallo was producing Beth’s previous album, War In My Mind, and she did an impromptu version of “Whole Lotta Love” in the control room during the session.

    And here we are! Beth Hart presents A Tribute To Led Zeppelin.

    Beth Hart
    Pre-Order A Tribute to Led Zeppelin

    Provogue Records/Mascot Label Group Announce ‘Legacy: A Tribute To Leslie West’

    Provogue Records/Mascot Label Group Announce ‘Legacy: A Tribute To Leslie West’

    American Blues Scene Staff

    “I’ve worked with some of the greatest guitarists on the planet, and nobody could hold a candle to Leslie.” – Bob Ringe

    Famed guitarist Leslie West passed away on December 23, 2020. Provogue Records / Mascot Label Group has announced the release of Legacy: A Tribute To Leslie West on March 25 in celebration of the guitarist. Friends, and many whom were influenced by the loved West, have contributed to this special release. Amongst those who performed are Dee Snider and Twisted Sister bandmate Eddie Ojeda, Robby Krieger, Slash, Zakk Wylde, Yngwie Malmsteen, Randy and Tal Bachman, Jethro Tull’s Martin Barre, Joe Lynn Turner, Blackberry Smoke’s Charlie Starr, The Cars’ Elliot Easton, George Lynch, Marty Friedman, Steve Morse, Dirty Honey’s Mark Labelle, Mike Portnoy, and West’s band members Bobby Rondinelli and Rev Jones. The release will be available as a limited-edition box set, on LP and CD, digitally, and as a web shop exclusive limited LP variation manufactured with digital.

    When West passed away in December of 2020, he left behind a towering legacy of epic recordings that few rock guitarists can match. But there was more to him than great songs (although, to be sure, he created a ton of them); there was his brilliant, idiosyncratic sound, a gargantuan earth-mover that razed arenas and stadiums across the globe. More than just paralyzing tone, though, he also had a touch nobody could beat. Stinging, swooning and sensual melodies leapt from his fingertips – with a deft flick of his wrist, he sounded like a Delta bluesman had picked up a violin. These elements and more helped to make West one of the most significant, influential and irreplaceable guitarists of the rock era.

    “There was nobody on earth quite like Leslie,” says the guitarist’s widow, Jenni West. “The second you heard him play, you knew it was him. He loved playing the guitar and making music. He lived to make people feel good – it was his passion. He was famous to his fans throughout The World, but he was adored by other musicians. Everybody from country stars, rappers and heavy metal players – they all loved Leslie. He found it surprising, but I think he was also pleased to know how much he inspired other musicians.”

    West’s longtime manager, Bob Ringe, agrees, saying, “I’ve worked with some of the greatest guitarists on the planet, and nobody could hold a candle to Leslie. He was so unique and special – his sound, his style, his power and warmth. Any guitarist I talk to has been influenced in some way by him. They broke the mold when they made him, and he took it with him when he passed away. He was a true one of a kind.”

    Originally, the album was intended to be a retrospective celebration of West’s music on which the guitarist himself would perform some of his best-loved cuts with notable guests, along with a collection of new tracks. Two weeks before recording was set to commence, however, the guitarist passed away. Once Jenni West, Ringe and Lappen changed gears and put a tribute album in motion, they discovered that the process was far easier than they could have imagined: “We really didn’t have to reach out to many people,” Jenni says. “They came to us. What’s really amazing is, if Leslie himself had whispered into my ear and told me who he would want on this record, these would be the people he would have requested.”

    West’s longtime rhythm section of bassist Rev Jones and Bobby Rondinelli laid down brilliant basic tracks for the guest artists to contribute their talents. One of the two exceptions is the dramatic retelling of “Theme for an Imaginary Western” (which West recorded with Mountain for the band’s 1970 debut, Climbing!), which features the walloping drumming of Mike Portnoy and commanding bass work by legendary Quiet Riot / Ozzy Osbourne bassist Rudy Sarzo. Two Twisted Sister alums – singer Dee Snider and guitarist Eddie Ojeda – turn in poignant performances on this grand and sweeping track.

    Unquestionably, West’s most famous song remains “Mississippi Queen,” and who better to tackle such a historic sonic behemoth than Guns N’ Roses’ guitar titan Slash? Joining the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer on an absolutely ripping, rifftastic rendition is singer Marc LeBelle, currently riding high as the front man for the band Dirty Honey.

    In 1969, West had left his band the Vagrants and began what was to be a solo career, but his album Mountain turned out to be the unofficial debut of the power trio of the same name. From that record, Zakk Wylde chose the tour de force stomper “Blood of the Sun,” and like West himself, he’s a formidable, show-stopping double threat on guitar and vocals.

    In later life, West befriended Charlie Starr, singer and guitarist for the band Blackberry Smoke. Starr was in in awe of West, and he selected the soulful gem “Silver Paper” (from Climbing!) as his way of remembering his late pal. Responding to the muscular rhythm section of Rev Jones and Bobby Rondinelli, as well as the bravura keyboard playing of Mike DiMeo, Starr laser beams on the song’s joyous spiritual center and doesn’t let go. “I love ‘Silver Paper,’ and it’s got one of the coolest guitar licks of all time,” says Starr. “Leslie played exactly what the song needed; his timing was impeccable. He played way back in the pocket, and it was so nasty and so great – the kind of things that you aspire to. I’m very proud to be part of this project. God bless Leslie West.”

    Doors legend Robby Krieger also knew West well – the two had shared numerous concert bills through the decades. “The coolest thing about Leslie was the way he played blues – it was just very natural,” he says. “He and Clapton were the best at the time. They just had the feel for the blues. Maybe in their former lifetimes they were blues guys.” Krieger picked a deep cut for his tribute – the ripping barn burner “The Doctor,” from the 1972 album Why Dontcha by West’s power trio supergroup West, Bruce and Laing (featuring Cream’s Jack Bruce and Mountain’s Corky Laing) – and he burns spectacularly on the song’s dizzying, slippery lead lines. Rising to the occasion, singer Ronnie Romero, a veteran of bands like Lords of Black, Rainbow and the Michael Schenker Group, howls with grit and grace.

    As the album unfolds, more treasures are revealed: The celebrated father/son duo Bachman and Bachman seamlessly splice two tracks from 1976’s The Leslie West Band – “Money” and “By the River” – and fold them into one feisty, good-time flame thrower. Cars’ guitar star Elliot Easton is paired with singer Ronnie Romero on a sparky and frisky take on “Sittin’ on a Rainbow” (from Climbing!) – Easton’s fluid style is a spot-on fit for West’s country-flavored solo. Climbing! is revisited once more with “Never in My Life,” which features a go-for-the-throat repeat performance by Dee Snider and the paint-peeling guitar work of former Dokken lead picker. And Dixie Dregs/Deep Purple guitar god Steve Morse (along with a return trip by Ronnie Romero) heads into the outer limits, firing off leads that are by both spacey and fiery, on the gnashing title cut of Why Dontcha.

    “Long Red” is one of the most fascinating songs of West’s career. First featured on the guitarist’s 1969 solo album, it was also a highlight of the 1972 Mountain album, Live: The Road Goes Ever On. Over the years, the psychedelic-funk groover has grown in stature thanks to the mind-boggling number of hip-hop artists – everyone from Kendrick Lamar to Kanye West to Ice-T – who have sampled it on mega-selling hits (even Mariah Carey used it on her 2014 cut “Money”). Here, international guitar icon Yngwie Malmsteen (backed by the ace rhythm section of drummer Bobby Rondinelli and bassist Rev Jones) locks into the bluesier aspects of the song and injects his own inimitable shred madness – and the results are wicked. With singer Teddy Rondinelli flooring it full-throttle, it’s a stone-cold slam dunk.

    Jenni West sums the album up thusly: “Nobody in this world has ever made me feel loved as much as Leslie, and I feel so honored and grateful that I could give him this gift.” She laughs. “He would often say, ‘If it doesn’t make my balls rumble, it’s not right.’ And I think there’s some balls-rumbling tones on this record! When you’re listening to it, you might even think it’s Leslie playing – and that’s a good thing. He really believed that adage of imitation being the sincerest form of flattery. Even when some of the players do their own twists on the music, they’re still doing it in a way that’s authentic and respectful, and Leslie would have appreciated that.”

    Pre-Order Legacy: A Tribute to Leslie West

     

    *Feature image: Leslie West at House of Blues in 2011 – Lauren Cohen

    Keb’ Mo’ Pays Tribute To His Friend Bill Withers with Cover of ‘Lean on Me’

    Keb’ Mo’ Pays Tribute To His Friend Bill Withers with Cover of ‘Lean on Me’

    American Blues Scene Staff

    New album ‘Good To Be’ out January 21 via Rounder Records!

    Today, five-time GRAMMY winner Keb’ Mo’ released a cover of Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me” from his forthcoming album, Good To Be, that will be released on January 21, 2022 via Rounder Records. Good To Be is now available for pre-order.

    “‘Lean on Me’ is probably one of the most famous songs about friendship. I wanted to record it to honor my friend, Bill Withers, who we sadly lost last year. What makes this version special to me is the contribution from my lifelong friend, the Freedom Rider, Ernest ‘Rip’ Patton, who passed on this year. This was the last time I got to record his booming bass voice. I’m gonna miss calling on my brothers,” explains Kevin Moore, who is best known by his stage name Keb’ Mo’. 

    Last Month, Keb’ Mo’ announced the album with the official video for “Good Strong Woman” featuring Darius Rucker. Earlier this year, he released “Sunny and Warm” and  “The Medicine Man” (feat. Old Crow Medicine Show), which will both appear on the forthcoming album. 

    Good To Be was co-produced by Keb’ Mo’ alongside country music legend Vince Gill, who produced three of the album’s 13 tracks, and three-time GRAMMY winner Tom Hambridge (B.B. King, Buddy Guy). Darius Rucker, Kristin Chenoweth, and Old Crow Medicine Show all make guest appearances on the album. 

    The album was written between Nashville and his childhood home in Compton, California, which Keb’ recently purchased and renovated. He often found himself reflecting on the idea of home and contemplating what it means to belong and what it takes to stay true to yourself. ​​“You can’t bring an attitude to Compton,” reflects Keb’. “You can’t pose. You can’t be anything but real when you’re walking down the same streets you used to ride your bike on as a kid. In a lot of ways, coming back there felt like it completed me.”

    Tour Dates:

    11/14/21: Atlanta, GA – City Winery (2 Shows)

    11/15/21: Atlanta, GA – City Winery (2 Shows)

    11/16/21: Charleston, SC – Gaillard Center

    12/09/21: Nashville, TN – Country Music Hall of Fame (Keb’ Mo’ Solo)

    12/11/21: Nashville, TN – Country Music Hall of Fame

    01/20/22: Alexandria, VA – The Birchmere

    01/21/22: Alexandria, VA – The Birchmere

    01/22/22: Annapolis, MD – Rams Head On Stage (2 Shows)

    01/23/22: Easton, MD – Avalon Theatre

    01/25/22: Hartford, CT – Infinity Hall

    01/28/22: Portsmouth, NH – The Music Hall

    01/30/22: New York, NY – City Winery

    01/31/22: New York, NY – City Winery

    02/02/22: Fairfield, CT – The Warehouse

    02/03/22: East Greenwich, RI – Greenwich Odeum 

    02/04/22: Brownfield, ME – Stone Mountain Arts Center

    02/05/22: Waterville, ME – Waterville Opera House

    02/11/22: Orlando, FL – Phillips Center (Keb’ Mo’ Solo)

    03/01/22: Fort Lauderdale, FL – Parker Playhouse

    03/03/22: Stuart, FL – Start Theatre (6:00 pm)

    03/03/22: Stuart, FL – The Lyric Theatre (8:30 pm)

    03/04/22: Jacksonville, FL – Florida Theatre

    03/05/22: Newberry, SC – Newberry Opera House

    4/13/22: Grass Valley, CA – Center For The Arts Grass Valley

    4/15/22: Monterey, CA – Golden State Theatre

    4/26/22: Solana Beach, CA – Belly Up

    4/27/22: Solana Beach, CA – Belly Up

    7/14/22: Colorado Springs, CO – Pikes Peak Center

     

    Connect with Keb’ Mo’:

    Official | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

     

    *Feature image credit: Jeremy Cowart

     

     

    Hanna PK’s ‘Blues All Over My Shoes,’ Produced by and ft. Kenny Neal, Out Today

    Hanna PK’s ‘Blues All Over My Shoes,’ Produced by and ft. Kenny Neal, Out Today

    American Blues Scene Staff

    ‘Blues All Over My Shoes’ out today via Booga Music / VizzTone!

    Hanna PK is a solid pianist, soulful vocalist, and vibrant performer, born and raised in South Korea, currently residing in  Rochester, NY. She plays a wide variety of the blues & swing, old school folk, and boogie-woogie. Her dynamic songwriting style ranges from funky tunes with socially conscious lyrics to mournful slow blues; from a pop-edged ballad to an uplifting swinging number; and from barrelhouse boogie to jazz.

    Her first Booga Music/VizzTone release, out today, is a full length album produced by internationally known bluesman Kenny NealBlues All Over My Shoes presents what has been developed and honed over years in the woodshed and nights gigging with her band.  

    When meeting Hanna, it’s not uncommon to wonder how a young woman born and raised in Korea stepped into the  Blues. But her music makes it clear she is not only touched by it, but also dedicated to this great art form. Hearing  her strong left hand bass rocking steady with her swinging right hand on the piano, one cannot deny she has done  her homework and is carrying on the tradition. Her original songs also prove her to be a creative artist who will  continue to build her fans in a wide range of ages and backgrounds. 

    On stage, her warm personality invites the audience right to her heart — she is a soulful singer who can accompany  herself on a piano, with an impeccably steady and strong left hand bass, and a swinging and shuffling right hand freely cascading over it. She also plays the guitar and a few other instruments. This all-in-one package allows her  the flexibility of being able to play as a solo act or in any ensemble small or big.  

    Though Kenny had met her in Memphis during IBC  2019, and during his tour in upstate New York, what got his attention to sign her to his label was a video of hanna’s  performance on a Curtis Jones’ tune that she recorded in her U-Haul storage room.  

    “My first impression of Hanna is that she was very interested in music itself, the blues itself. I mean  there wasn’t something else, like jumping on the bandwagon. Instead, it was something sincere,  like from the heart.” – Kenny Neal 

    For her first major outing, she’s packed the album with 10 originals, with just one cover song – yet no two songs are  alike. World blues fans, especially piano blues fans, will get their fill from this smorgasbord. Kenny Neal really  wanted to focus this album on PK and her songs, showcasing her ability to lead a band with her roaring keyboard  along with her resonating voice. But he also performs on a few tracks which is a special treat.  

    “I think this album is not only a blues album but also catches Hanna’s style. She got her own ideas, and I think this album is catching that, and that’s what I like about it.” – Kenny Neal 

    But words, and even recorded samples, cannot fully convey the essence of Hanna’s music — to really understand it  and feel it, you have to hear her perform live. Her music continues to evolve and reflects the very moment she is  living in — the happenings and vibe in the room, the reactions of her listeners, the musical contributions of each  band member, and even the events of the week in the world, all combine to inspire a new and different performance of each song. As is the case with all true blues performers, she works from and in the tradition of the music while  bringing her own stamp of creativity and originality to it. Her music tells a story, sometimes an age-old one, but she  tells it in her way from her perspective, which in turn informs and expands our experience.

     

     

    Blues All Over My Shoes – Choose Preferred Service

    Hot Tuna Winter/Spring Tour Includes Little Feat, David Bromberg Quintet, Steve Kimock & Friends, The Midnight Ramble Band

    Hot Tuna Winter/Spring Tour Includes Little Feat, David Bromberg Quintet, Steve Kimock & Friends, The Midnight Ramble Band

    American Blues Scene Staff

    Acoustic or electric Hot Tuna live in a multidimensional musical world

    Come out for the music and the joy of life – Hot Tuna‘s on tour!  In the coming months Hot Tuna will be joined by David Bromberg Quintet, Steve Kimock & Friends, The Midnight Ramble Band and Little Feat!

    For over 50 years Hot Tuna – Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady – have brought a wealth of emotions to their music through deep perceptions and tremendous talent. They are always injecting fresh energy into their sound with constant improvisation taking their musical horizons further.

    From their days playing together as teenagers in the Washington, DC area, through years of inventive psychedelic rock in San Francisco (1996 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees), to their current acoustic and electric blues sound, no one has more consistently led American music for the last 50 years than Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady, the founders and continuing core members of Hot Tuna. Together the duo have forged a way through the last five decades always expressing the emotions of the contemporary times.

    Hot Tuna Tour Dates:

    Nov  07  The Mill Event Center, Lancaster, OH, Acoustic Hot Tuna

    Nov  13  Fur Peace Station, Pomeroy, OH, Electric Hot Tuna*

    Nov  24  The Birchmere, Alexandria, VA, Electric Hot Tuna w/ Steve Kimock & Friends

    Nov  26  The Paramount, Huntington, NY, Electric Hot Tuna w/ David Bromberg Quintet

    Nov  27  The Mahaiwe Theater, Grt. Barrington, MA, Elec. Hot Tuna w/David Bromberg Quintet

    Nov  28  The Wilbur, Boston, MA, Electric Hot Tuna w/ David Bromberg Quintet

     

    Nov 30  Flynn Theatre, Burlington, VT, Electric Hot Tuna w/ David Bromberg Quintet

    Dec 01  The Egg, Albany, NY, Electric Hot Tuna w/ The Midnight Ramble Band

    Dec 03  Penn’s Peak, Jim Thorpe, PA, Electric Hot Tuna w/ The Midnight Ramble Band

    Dec 04  The Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, NY, Electric Hot Tuna

    Dec 05  Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank, NJ, Electric Hot Tuna w/ David Bromberg Quintet

    Dec 07  Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall, Munhall, PA, Elec. Hot Tuna w/ Steve Kimock & Friends

    Dec 08  Kent Stage, Kent, OH, Electric Hot Tuna, w/ Steve Kimock & Friends

    Dec 09  Ludlow Garage, Cincinnati, OH, Electric Hot Tuna w/ Steve Kimock & Friends

    Dec 18  Mineral Point Opera House, Mineral Point, WI, Jorma Kaukonen

    Dec 19  Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago, IL, Jorma Kaukonen

     

    Dec 28  Freight & Salvage, Berkeley, CA, Acoustic Hot Tuna

    Dec 29  Freight & Salvage, Berkeley, CA, Acoustic Hot Tuna

    Dec 30  Freight & Salvage, Berkeley, CA, Acoustic Hot Tuna

    Dec 31  Freight & Salvage, Berkeley, CA, Acoustic Hot Tuna

     

    2022

    Jan 07  The Ark, Ann Arbor, MI Jorma

    Feb 06  Capitol Theatre, Clearwater, FL  Acoustic Hot Tuna

    Feb 07  The Parker, Ft. Lauderdale, FL  Acoustic Hot Tuna

    Feb 08  Plaza Theatre, Orlando, FL  Acoustic Hot Tuna

    Feb 11  Main Street Crossing, Tomball, TX  Acoustic Hot Tuna

    Feb 12  Granada Theatre, Dallas, TX  Acoustic Hot Tuna

    Feb 15  Knuckleheads, Kansas City, MO  Acoustic Hot Tuna

    Feb 17  Sheldon Opera House, St. Louis, MO  Acoustic Hot Tuna

    Feb 18  Franklin Theatre, Franklin, TN  Acoustic Hot Tuna

    Feb 19  Bijiou Theatre, Knoxville, TN  Acoustic Hot Tuna

    Apr 14  Asbury Hall, Buffalo, NY  Acoustic Hot Tuna

    Apr 15  Kirby Center, Wilkes Barre, PA  Acoustic w/Little Feat

    Apr 16  DAR Constitution Hall, Washington DC  Acoustic w/ Little Feat

    * Electric Hot Tuna is Jorma, Jack and Justin Guip. Justin Guip (rhymes with deep) is a three-time Grammy winner, drummer and percussionist. He is all about the groove, the heartbeat at the essence of all great music.

    Jorma | Jack | Hot Tuna | Fur Peace Ranch | YouTube

     

    Reddog and Friends Announce Release of New CD, ‘Booze, Blues and Southern Grooves’

    Reddog and Friends Announce Release of New CD, ‘Booze, Blues and Southern Grooves’

    American Blues Scene Staff

    “My music style is soulful, Southern blues. That’s how I describe my music. I want the listener to hear it but also feel it! Muscle Shoals, Alabama was where I needed to record to get that sound.” – Reddog

    Southern Blues guitarist/singer Reddog announces the release of his new CD, Booze, Blues and Southern Grooves, coming February 4, 2022, on the Survival South Records label. A long-time fixture of the Atlanta blues scene in the 1980s and 1990s, Reddog has been based for many years in Pensacola, where he’s been touring regularly throughout the region with his rock-solid band.

    The late, great Southern Rock producer Johnny Sandlin invited Reddog to record at his Duck Tape Studio in Decatur, Alabama, where three of the tracks on the new disc were recorded, with Sandlin, himself, engineering. These recordings became the basis of Booze, Blues and Southern Grooves.

    My music style is soulful, Southern blues. That’s how I describe my music. I want the listener to hear it but also feel it! Muscle Shoals, Alabama was where I needed to record to get that sound.

    Johnny asked me if I’d like him to bring in any special musicians for my CD. My only request was Clayton Ivey on keyboards and Johnny looked at me like, ‘How the hell do you even know who Clayton Ivey is?’ I knew! The three songs we recorded at Sandlin’s studio were ‘Simple Song,’ ‘Searching for Some Soul’ and ‘Honest Man’.

    The players for those sessions were Reddog on guitar, Clayton Ivey on keyboards, legendary Muscle Shoals bassist David Hood and acclaimed former Capricorn Records drummer Bill Stewart (Gregg Allman, Cowboy and Bonnie Bramlett).

    All the other tracks on the new disc were recorded at East Avalon Recorders in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The players were Reddog on guitar, Clayton Ivey on keyboards, David Hood on bass, Justin Holder on drums and Carla Russell, Mary Mason and Angela Hacker on background vocals.

    One thing unique to Muscle Shoals, they want the music being recorded there to sound great. Everyone involved is working as a team to make your songs shine. They have a way of making you feel like your recording is the only thing going on in town. It’s inspiring!

    Recording songs like ‘Searching for Some Soul’ and ‘She’s a Georgia Peach’ were pure fun to record. We were laughing and cutting up during the process. As much fun as we were having, I hope the listener has to put a smile on! ‘Simple Song’ was inspired by the late, great Eddie Hinton, who was from Alabama.

    Atlanta, Georgia, was home for the band Reddog and Friends for many years. Reddog is a fiery, blues-based guitarist, heavily influenced by Freddie King, Duane Allman and Otis Rush. Other band members included the late Donnie McCormick on drums/vocals, from the Capricorn Record band Eric Quincy Tate, and Chris Long on bass/vocals, who later went on to work with the talented guitarist/songwriter Oliver Wood.

    Reddog and Friends

    *Feature image: Ruth Spicer

    Mark Hummel Celebrates 30th Annual Blues Harmonica Blowout

    Mark Hummel Celebrates 30th Annual Blues Harmonica Blowout

    American Blues Scene Staff

    Mark Hummel’s 30th Annual Blues Harmonica Blowout is a Tribute to Big Walter “Shakey” Horton

    Mark Hummel’s Blues Harmonica Blowout celebrates 30 years in January 2022. The Blowout started on a Sunday night in 1991 at Ashkenaz in Berkeley with four harmonica players – Rick Estrin, Mark Hummel, Dave Earl and Doug Jay. Throughout the years, the traveling blues show has featured many of the top Harp Blowers, including Huey Lewis, John Mayall, James Cotton, Charlie Musselwhite, John Hammond, Magic Dick, Lee Oskar, Jerry Portnoy, Corky Siegel, Jason Ricci, Howard Levy, Lazy Lester, Carey Bell, Snooky Pryor, Billy Boy Arnold, Rod Piazza, Kim Wilson, Rick Estrin, Sugar Ray Norris, James Harman, Paul DeLay, Sam Myers, Norton Buffalo, Curtis Salgado, Carlos Del Junco and Gary Primich.

    The guitar chair is equally stunning with Elvin Bishop, Duke Robillard, Anson Funderburgh, Jr Watson, Steve Freund, Little Charlie Baty, Billy Flynn, Rusty Zinn, Bob Welsh, Charles Wheal…Blowout tours have covered thousands of miles to every part of the US and Canada, even a few Euro tours. Mark Hummel’s Blues Harmonica Blowouts have carried the Blues Torch to many blues fans everywhere!

    2022’s 30th Annual Blues Harmonica Blowout is a Tribute to Big Walter “Shakey” Horton — one of the most revered Chicago Blues Blowers. Willie Dixon called him “THE GREATEST Harmonica Player I EVER HEARD IN BLUES!!!”…and Dixon recorded with Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson & Jimmy Reed. Big Walter is rumored to have schooled both Sonny Boy & Little Walter. He was known to have the deepest tone of them all, both amplified and acoustic. Charlie Musselwhite commented that “Shakey would be really Happy about this Blowout.”

    Blowout Producer, Grammy nominee/Blues Award winner/author/podcaster/harp man Mark Hummel started playing harmonica in 1970 and has gone on to become one of the premier blues harmonica players of his generation. Hummel’s been featured on over thirty recordings since 1985, including the Grammy-nominated 2013 release Blind Pig recording Remembering Little Walter (a recording of a Hummel Blues Harp Blowout.)

    The 30th Anniversary Blowout features Hummel, along with harpists Kim Wilson, Curtis Salgado, Sugar Ray Norcia, and Aki Kumar; guitarists Duke Robillard and Anson Funderburgh, bassist Bob Stoger; drummer Wes Starr; and keyboardist Bob Welsh.

    Check out this video from 2019.

    FRIDAY & SATURDAY, JANUARY 7 & 8, 2022 – Freight & Salvage (no Kim Wilson), Berkeley, CA

    MONDAY, JANUARY 10 – Shed Institute, Eugene, OR

    TUESDAY & WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 11 & 12 -Triple Door, Seattle, WA

    THURSDAY, JANUARY 13 Seasons Ctr For The Arts, Yakima, WA

    FRIDAY, JANUARY 14 – Tower Theatre, Bend, OR

    SATURDAY, JANUARY 15 – Cascade Theatre, Redding, CA

    SUNDAY, JANUARY 16 – Rio Theatre, Santa Cruz, CA

     

    Mark Hummel Blues Harmonica Blowout

    Josh Abbott Band To Release First Holiday EP, ‘Christmas Was’

    Josh Abbott Band To Release First Holiday EP, ‘Christmas Was’

    American Blues Scene Staff

    “Reflecting on a wild year, grateful for my wife & kids & family, I was motivated to record some songs that would be special to them.” – Josh Abbott

    Country favorites Josh Abbott Band will release their first holiday EP, Christmas Was, on November 19, 2021 via Pretty Damn Tough Records.  The album produced by legendary producer Marshall Altman, will feature their renditions of holiday classics and originals such as “Silent Night.” “Marshmallow World,” “The New Kid in Town,” “Christmas Was,” and “Santa Better Knock.”

    A staple in the Texas music scene since forming in 2006 at Lubbock’s Texas Tech University, country fans have been singing JAB songs for more than a decade already. The seven-piece group’s relentless on-stage attitude quickly made it a successful touring act, building out from a Texas band to a regional act to a national crew with a devoted following from coast to coast. Concurrently, JAB developed its own label, Pretty Damn Tough Records, before that was an accepted practice in country circles. Two of their projects, Small Town Family Dream and Front Row Seat, scored top 10 debuts on the Billboard country albums chart, while five titles cracked the Billboard country singles lists.

    Led by the true-to-life cycles in his life, Abbott ambitiously documented the dissolution of first marriage in Front Row Seat. And the expansive Until My Voice Goes Out, recorded as Abbott tended to an ailing father, mixed elegant strings and a Memphis-tipped horn sound.  In 2019 JAB released a four track EP, Catching Fire and in 2020 the band released the album The Highway KInd.  The band was recently presented with their first RIAA Certified Gold Singles for “Oh, Tonight” and “She’s Like Texas.”

    Josh Abbott Band is Josh Abbott (vocals, guitar), Edward Villanueva (drums),  Jimmy Hartman (bass), Caleb Keeter (electric guitar), Austin Davis (banjo), David Fralin (Keyboard).

    I’ve thought about recording a Christmas project for years but never found the inspiration. Christmas 2020 was that inspiration. Reflecting on a wild year, grateful for my wife & kids & family, I was motivated to record some songs that would be special to them. So this one is for them and I hope all of you enjoy it too.

    Josh Abbott Band

    *Feature image by Joseph Llanes courtesy of Shorefire Media

    Blues Rocker JD Simo Releases New Album ‘Mind Control’

    Blues Rocker JD Simo Releases New Album ‘Mind Control’

    American Blues Scene Staff

    JD Simo on co-headlining North American tour with GA-20!

    JD Simo today releases his new LP, Mind Control. Rather than simply roll up to those fabled crossroads of blues lore, Simo builds a bridge by hand. The Chicago-born and Nashville-based singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer connects the missing link between Motown and Woodstock as he fuses fluid and fiery fretwork with vital and vulnerable vocals.

    Logging hundreds of gigs annually, he has collaborated with Jack White, Tommy Emmanuel, Luther Dickinson, Blackberry Smoke, and more. Not to mention, he graced the bills of festivals, including Bonnaroo, Warren Haynes Christmas Jam, and Mountain Jam. Phil Lesh, iconic co-founder of The Grateful Dead, invited him to join Phil Lesh and Friends.

    He spent lockdown playing virtually, and from there his third solo album was born — the product of like-minded musicians using the creative process for therapy and the fun of playing music. The record, which showcases his growth as a musician and a songwriter, was written and recorded by JD at the House of Grease, Nashville, TN.

    ABS recently premiered the video for the second single from Mind Control. “That’s When You Know You’re Down” is a guitar-driven, blues-based psychedelic rocker that echoes the avant-garde sound of early Captain Beefheart — affording the listener imaginative thrills.

    Of the song, JD shared with us:

    I wrote “That’s When You Know You’re Down” late one night after listening to a bunch of Captain Beefheart. It’s definitely got a lot of his influence. The riff itself is a take off of an old Magic Sam kind of thing. The song is a meld of those two worlds, I suppose. Love how it turned out!

    Watch him perform “Go Away Satan” for Paste in Nashville.

    Simo’s guitar work is unmatched, and his impressive and tasteful solos display his prowess with the instrument. JD is currently on a co-headlining tour with Boston-based blues band GA-20. 

    Tour Dates 2021:

    NOV 5 FRI Chipper’s College Lanes Fort Collins, CO

    NOV 6 SAT The Animas City Theatre Durango, CO

    NOV 7 SUN Launchpad Albuquerque, NM

    NOV 9 TUE 191 Toole Tucson, AZ 

    NOV 10 WED Rhythm Room Phoenix, AZ

    NOV 11 THU Coach House Concert Hall San Juan Capistrano, CA 

    NOV 12 FRI The Siren Morro Bay, CA

    NOV 13 SAT The Mint Los Angeles, CA 

    NOV 14 SUN Soda Bar San Diego, CA 

    NOV 16 TUE Felton Music Hall Felton, CA

    NOV 17 WED Cornerstone Craft Beer & Live Music Berkeley, CA 

    NOV 18 THU Humboldt Brews Arcata, CA

    NOV 19 FRI Wow Hall Eugene, OR 

    NOV 20 SAT The Jack London Revue Portland, OR 

    NOV 21 SUN The Crocodile Seattle, WA

    JAN 7 FRI City Winery Nashville, TN

    JAN 8 SAT Revolution Music Room Little Rock, AR

    JAN 10 MON Belle Isle Restaurant & Brewery Oklahoma City, OK 

    JAN 11 TUE Tulips FTW Fort Worth, TX 

    JAN 12 WED Antone’s Austin, TX

    JAN 13 THU Sam’s Burger Joint San Antonio, TX 

    JAN 14 FRI Continental Club Houston, TX

    JAN 15 SAT DBA New Orleans, LA 

    JAN 18 TUE Buddha Live Fort Myers, FL

    JAN 19 WED Culture Room Fort Lauderdale, FL 

    JAN 20 THU Tuffy’s Sanford, FL

    JAN 21 FRI Ruth Eckerd Hall Clearwater, FL 

    JAN 22 SAT Union Hall Lakeland, FL

    JAN 23 SUN Ponte Vedra Concert Hall Ponte Vedra, FL 

    JAN 25 TUE Neighborhood Theatre Charlotte, NC 

    JAN 26 WED The Pour House Music Hall Raleigh, NC 

    JAN 28 FRI Grant’s Lounge Macon, GA 

    JAN 29 SAT Vinyl at Center Stage Atlanta, GA

     

    Connect with JD Simo:

     Official | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

     

    *Feature image credit: Adam Abrashoff

     

    25th Annual Maple Blues Awards Nominees Announced

    25th Annual Maple Blues Awards Nominees Announced

    Sarah French

    The Maple Blues Award winners will be announced on January 31, 2022 at the LIVE Maple Blues Award Show to be held at Koerner Hall in Toronto. Tickets are on sale now!

    There’s no stopping the blues – not even a second year of a global pandemic. In a year like no other, 2021 has proven that Canadian blues artists are tenacious, forward-thinking, and incredibly creative in the face of adversity.

     

    Despite ongoing challenges and changes, Toronto Blues Society continues to support and promote Canadian Blues artists by announcing the nominees for the upcoming 25th annual Maple Blues Awards. The winners will be announced on January 31, 2022 at the LIVE Maple Blues Award Show to be held at Koerner Hall in Toronto,

    Leading the way with multiple nominations is Steve Marriner, who has received seven nominations including Entertainer of the Year, Electric Act of the Year (with MonkeyJunk), Acoustic Act of the Year (with David Gogo), Male Vocalist of the Year, Recording/Producer of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, and Harmonica Player of the Year.

    Another nominee in multiple categories is Sue Foley, who has been nominated for Entertainer of the Year, Electric Act of the Year, Recording/Producer of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, and Guitarist of the Year

    There are promising newcomers nominated for the New Artist of the Year award including Beauwater, Broke Fuse, Endrick & The Sandwiches, Lowdown Dirty Mojos and Shakey Trill

    25th Annual Maple Blues Awards Nominees:

    Entertainer of the Year 

    David Gogo

    Dawn Tyler Watson

    Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar

    Steve Marriner

    Sue Foley

     

    Electric Act of the Year

    Colin James

    Jack de Keyzer

    MonkeyJunk

    Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar

    Sue Foley

     

    Acoustic Act of the Year 

    Brandon Isaak

    David Gogo & Steve Marriner

    Harrison Kennedy

    Rick Fines

    Rob Lutes

     

    Male Vocalist of the Year

    Chuck Jackson

    Colin James

    Harrison Kennedy

    Matt Andersen

    Steve Marriner

     

    Female Vocalist of the Year

    Crystal Shawanda

    Dawn Tyler Watson

    Dione Taylor

    Miss Emily

    Samantha Martin

                                       

    New Artist of the Year

    Beauwater

    Broke Fuse

    Endrick & The Sandwiches

    Lowdown Dirty Mojos

    Shakey Trill

     

    B.B. King International Artist of the Year

    Bonnie Raitt

    Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

    Elvin Bishop

    Larkin Poe

    Tedeschi Trucks Band

     

    Recording/Producer of the Year

    Colin Linden – bLOW / Highway 20/Thirty Tigers (Colin Linden)

    Jack de Keyzer – Tribute / Blue Star Records (Jack de Keyzer)

    Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar – The Reckless One / Gypsy Soul (Darcy Yates, Renan Yildizdogan)

    Steve Marriner – Hope Dies Last / Stony Plain (Steve Marriner)

    Sue Foley – Pinky’s Blues / Stony Plain (Mike Flanigin)

     

    Songwriter of the Year

    Colin Linden

    Kat Danser

    Rick Fines

    Steve Marriner

    Sue Foley

     

    Blues with a Feeling Award (Lifetime Achievement Award)

    Alec Fraser

    Bobby Dean Blackburn

    Brent Parkin

    Dalannah Gail Bowen 

    Danny Brooks

    Harrison Kennedy

    Murray Porter

    Shakura S’Aida 

    Tom Lavin    

     

    Guitarist of the Year 

    David Gogo

    Garrett Mason

    Jack de Keyzer

    Sue Foley

    Tony D

     

    Harmonica Player of the Year 

    David Rotundo

    Guy Bélanger

    Harpdog Brown

    Roly Platt

    Steve Marriner

     

    Piano/Keyboard of the Year 

    David Vest

    Duane Blackburn

    Jesse O’ Brien

    Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne

    Lance Anderson

     

    Bassist of the Year

    Alan Duffy

    Alec Fraser

    Alec McElcheran

    Gary Kendall

    Keith Picot

     

    Drummer of the Year

    Tom Bona

    Gary Craig

    Jim Casson

    Lindsay Beaver

    Matt Sobb

     

    Horn Player of the Year

    Alison Young

    Chris Whiteley

    Mat ‘Moose’ Mousseau

    Mike Clark

    Richard Thornton

    Nominees for the Maple Blues Awards are selected by a distinguished panel of some 53 blues experts. Co-Chaired by a steering committee consisting of Cindy McLeod, Yanick Theriault, Terry Parsons, and Brant Zwicker, the panel includes radio hosts, journalists, and festival organizers regionally distributed across Canada. Members of the Nominating Panel are not eligible for any of the awards.

    Winners in instrumental categories — guitar, harmonica, piano/keyboards, horn, drum, and bass — will be determined by the Nominating Panel. Winners in all other categories will be selected by blues fans across the country.

    The Maple Blues Awards is Canada’s national blues awards program. Its goal is to promote blues music across Canada and to recognize outstanding achievements in the field. The nominees are selected by a distinguished panel of blues DJ’s and journalists from across Canada. Members of the Nominating Canada. Members of the Nominating Panel are not eligible for any of the awards. The winners are selected by the votes of blues fans from across Canada. 

    Blues fans can cast their votes online at www.mapleblues.ca. Public Voting opens November 3, 2021 at 12:01 am Eastern Time and closes December 1, 2021, 11:59 pm Eastern .

    The Maple Blues Award winners will be announced on January 31, 2022 at the LIVE Maple Blues Award Show to be held at Koerner Hall in Toronto. Tickets are on sale now here.

     

    *Feature image credit: Danny Clinch

    Robert Plant and Alison Krauss Reimagine Bert Jansch on ‘It Don’t Bother Me’

    Robert Plant and Alison Krauss Reimagine Bert Jansch on ‘It Don’t Bother Me’

    Lauren Leadingham

    Final preview of ‘Raise The Roof,’ out November 19 via Rounder Records

    Today sees the release of a new Robert Plant and Alison Krauss song, “It Don’t Bother Me,” from their forthcoming album. Out November 19 via Rounder Records, Raise The Roof is the pair’s first offering in 14 years. 2007’s Raising Sand earned six Grammys, including Album and Record of the Year.

    Raise The Roof honors the two artists’ folk, blues, country and soul influences with refreshing renditions. T Bone Burnett makes his return as the producer on an album containing deep cuts by Merle Haggard, Allen Toussaint, The Everly Brothers, Anne Briggs, Geeshie Wiley, Bert Jansch, Calexico, and more. Recorded at Nashville’s Sound Emporium Studios, sessions for Raise The Roof began in late 2019 and finished just weeks before lockdown. 

    On “It Don’t Bother Me,” the final preview of the album, the pair reimagine an acoustic composition by Bert Jansch in an arrangement led by Krauss — featuring dolceola, marxophone and pedal steel, handclaps and percussion, and meshing guitars of Marc Ribot and Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo

    Robert Plant said in a statement, “I’ve been a big follower of Bert Jansch’s work since I was a teenager, and of that whole Irish, Scottish, English folk style that has a different lilt and different lyrical perspective. I was very keen to bring some of that into the picture.”Alison Krauss added, “One of my favorite parts of this is the songs and songwriters that I had never heard of. Working with Robert, and with T Bone, is always a great education in music history.”

    “It Don’t Bother Me” follows lead single “Can’t Let Go,” which just spent 10 consecutive weeks at #1 on the Americana radio charts, as well as the album’s sole original song, “High and Lonesome,” penned by Robert Plant and T Bone Burnett.

    “It Don’t Bother Me” Credits

    Robert Plant & Alison Krauss – lead & harmony vocals

    Jay Bellerose – drums, percussion, claps

    Viktor Krauss – bass

    Marc Ribot – electric guitar

    Russell Pahl – pedal steel

    David Hidalgo – electro–acoustic guitar, claps

    Jeff Taylor – dolceola, Marxophone

     

    Written by Bert Jansch

     

    Pre-order Raise The Roof

     

    *Feature image credit: David McClister

     

     

    Blues-Rocker Tinsley Ellis To Release ‘Devil May Care’

    Blues-Rocker Tinsley Ellis To Release ‘Devil May Care’

    American Blues Scene Staff

    Ellis delivers one imaginative and memorable song after another. Now, with ‘Devil May Care’ and a new tour booked, Ellis is more than ready to make up for lost time.

    On Friday, January 21, 2022, world-renowned guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Tinsley Ellis will release his new Alligator album, the propulsive, soul-searching, raw and cathartic Devil May Care. The album, Ellis’ 20th, will be available on CD and on red vinyl LP, as well as on all major streaming and download services. That same day, Ellis will kick off his coast-to-coast North American tour from his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia.

    Devil May Care features ten of Ellis’ most dynamic original compositions, mixing muscular rock ‘n’ roll and hard blues into his own instantly recognizable sound.  The emotionally-charged guitar solos soar in full service to the songs, as if Ellis is living and breathing the sound rather than simply playing the notes. “The goal,” says Ellis, “was to make the guitar sing.”

    While the worldwide pandemic and subsequent shutdown profoundly affected every musician (and every person), Ellis used his time off the road to write over 200 new songs. In March 2020, Ellis was forced to cancel the tour promoting his previous release, Ice Cream In Hell, only six weeks into the 60-date run. He almost immediately began composing on amps and guitars that he hadn’t used for decades. He explored obscure studio and live recordings from some of his greatest musical heroes, such as the Allman Brothers, Freddie King, Michael Bloomfield, B.B. King and beyond, and was inspired by his favorite artists all over again. Somehow, in the most unlikely of times, Tinsley Ellis committed to growing his already formidable talent.

    As early as April 2020, he began regularly releasing his new material online, keeping his fans engaged and soaking up their comments and responses. He knew, thanks to the reactions of his fans to his new songs, that he needed to make a record and get back on the road as soon as possible. Ellis whittled the 200-song list down to ten, enlisted his friend and co-producer, keyboard master Kevin McKendree, and headed for Franklin, Tennessee’s famous Rock House recording studio. The result is Devil May Care, a record Ellis says, “is for the fans as much as for me.”

    Ellis has been immersed in music his whole life. Born in Atlanta 1957 and raised in southern Florida, he acquired his first guitar at age seven, inspired by seeing The Beatles perform on the Ed Sullivan Show. He took to guitar instantly, developing and sharpening his skills as he grew up. Like many kids his age, Ellis discovered the blues through the back door of British Invasion bands like The Yardbirds, The Animals, Cream and The Rolling Stones as well as Southern rockers like the Allman Brothers. One night in 1972, he and a friend were listening to Al Kooper and Michael Bloomfield’s Super Session record when his friend’s older brother told them that, if they liked Super Session, they should go see B.B. King, who was in town that week. Tinsley saw that show from the very front row. As fate would have it, King broke a guitar string while playing, and after changing it without missing a beat, he handed the broken string to young Tinsley. And yes, he still has that string.

    Today, Ellis is among the world’s most celebrated blues-rock performers, and one of the genre’s most original and prolific songwriters. He has toured the world non-stop for 35 years. He has captivated and amazed fans in all 50 United States, as well as in Canada, all across Europe, Australia and South America. He’s earned a massive, fervent fan base that can never seem to get enough of Ellis and his music. Fueled by his blazing, every-note-matters guitar work and his gruff, spirited vocals, Ellis delivers one imaginative and memorable song after another. Now, with Devil May Care and a new tour booked, Ellis is more than ready to make up for lost time.

     

    Tinsley Ellis

     

    *Feature image: Elaine Thomas Campbell

    Aoife O’Donovan Announces 2022 US Tour Dates, Shares Performance Video With Allison Russell

    Aoife O’Donovan Announces 2022 US Tour Dates, Shares Performance Video With Allison Russell

    American Blues Scene Staff

    Tour to support ‘Age of Apathy,’ out January 21. Watch the video for “Prodigal Daughter” filmed backstage at Newport Folk Festival.

    GRAMMY-winning singer Aoife O’Donovan has announced an extensive spring 2022 tour in support of her eagerly anticipated new album,  Age of Apathy, which is set for January 21, 2022 release on Yep Roc Records.

    Following a fan presale on Wednesday, November 3rd at 10:00 am local time, tickets to Aoife’s 2022 performances will go on general sale beginning Friday, November 5th. A portion of all presale tickets will support the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, a grassroots organization dedicated to ending disenfranchisement and discrimination against people with convictions. Learn more about the organization’s mission here, and find all dates and additional information about Aoife’s tour here.

    Produced by fellow GRAMMY-winner Joe Henry (Bonnie Raitt, Rhiannon Giddens), Age Of Apathy finds O’Donovan in rare form. Atop richly textured arrangements — ornate but never fussy — O’Donovan reflects on the emotional disconnect wrought by the internet age and strives to carve out a more joyful personal experience. Recorded through a unique residency with Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL, Aoife worked both on-site at their studio with GRAMMY-nominated engineer Darren Schneider (Deep Purple, Koryn Hawthorne, Trivium) while collaborating entirely remotely with Henry. O’Donovan, Henry and Schneider discussed and previewed the album in September at an Americanafest panel hosted by WXPN’s Bruce Warren.

    Last week, Aoife released “Prodigal Daughter,” the second advance track from Age of Apathy. Today, The Newport Folk Festival shared Aoife’s stunning performance of the song with guest vocalist Allison Russell, filmed backstage at the Fest earlier this year. 

    2022 EUROPEAN TOUR DATES:

    January 26 – Mitchell Theatre – Glasgow, UK

    January 28 – Out To Lunch Festival at Rosemary Street Church – Belfast, UK *

    January 29 – Liberty Hall – Dublin, IE *

    January 30 – Live at St. Luke’s – Cork, IE * 

    February 1 – St. Paul’s Church — Birmingham, UK *

    February 2 — Barbican, Milton Court Concert Hall – London, UK *

    February 3 – Hallé St. Peter’s – Manchester, UK *

    February 4 – Sage 2 – Gateshead, UK *

    February 5 – Junction 2 – Cambridge, UK *

    February 8 – Tivoli Vredenburg – Utrecht, NL *

    February 9 – Alice – Copenhagen, DK *

    February 11 – Haus der Musik 2 – Vienna, AT *

    February 12 – Orpheum – Graz, AT *

     

    SPRING 2022 DATES

    February 24 – Bolivia, NC – Odell Williamson Auditorium 

    February 25 – Washington DC – Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater

    February 26 – Fairfield, CT – The Warehouse

    February 27 – South Burlington, VT – Higher Ground

    March 1 – Portsmouth, NH – The Music Hall

    March 2 – Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair

    March 3 – Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg

    March 5 – Albany, NY – Swyer Theatre

    April 7 – Berkeley, CA – Freight & Salvage ^

    April 9 – Grass Valley, CA – Center for the Arts ^

    April 10 – Carmel, CA – Sunset Center ^

    April 12 – Santa Barbara, CA – Lobero Theatre ^

    April 13 – La Jolla, CA – The Loft 

    April 14 – West Hollywood, CA – The Troubadour ^

    April 15 – Scottsdale, AZ – Virginia Piper Theatre ^

    May 13 – Hamilton, MT – Bitterroot Performing Arts Center ^

    May 14 – Denver, CO – First Baptist Church ^

     

    * support from Donovan Woods

    ^ support from Taylor Ashton

     

    Pre-order Age of Apathy

     

     

    Kenny Neal Signs To Ruf Records

    Kenny Neal Signs To Ruf Records

    Devious Planet

    In December, Kenny will tour with The B.B. King Experience featuring Claudette King

    Kenny Neal is pleased to announce that he has inked a record deal with indie blues giant Ruf Records. The president of the label, Thomas Ruf, has stated, “Kenny is a unique talent, whose accomplishments are incomparable. We are thrilled to have him on the label.” Kenny’s new self-produced album, Straight from the Heart, due out May 6th, was recorded in his studio and mixed at Royal Studios in Memphis with engineer Boo Mitchell.                         

    One of the most vital modern proponents of Baton Rouge swamp blues, Kenny Neal is a second-generation southern Louisiana bluesman who is mindful of the region’s venerable blues tradition and imaginative enough to steer it in new directions.

    Neal was born on October 14, 1957, in New Orleans. His dad, harpist Raful Neal, was a Baton Rouge blues mainstay whose pals included Buddy Guy and Slim Harpo (the latter gave three-year-old Kenny his first harmonica.) At age 13, Neal was playing in his father’s band, and at 17, he landed a job playing bass for Buddy Guy.

    The guitarist recruited some of his talented siblings to form the Neal Brothers Blues Band up in Toronto (brother Noel later played bass behind James Cotton.) In 1987, Kenny Neal cut his debut LP for Florida producer Bob Greenlee, an updated swamp feast initially released by Kingsnake Records as Bio on the Bayou. Alligator Records signed Neal the following year and reissued the debut under Big News from Baton Rouge!! 

    Neal’s sizzling guitar work, sturdy harp, and gravelly, aged-beyond-his-years vocals served him well, and he cut four albums for Alligator Records between 1989 and 1994. An acclaimed 1991 stint on Broadway in a production of Mule Bone found him performing acoustic versions of Langston Hughes’ poetry set to music by Taj Mahal.

    In 1998, Neal moved from Alligator to Telarc Records, releasing three albums for the label: Blues Fallin’ Down Like Rain (1998), What You Got (2000), and One Step Closer (2001.) In the new millennium, Neal recorded sets for a variety of independent labels, including Easy Meeting (2003,) and Double Take (2004,) a one-shot return to Alligator,) and A Tribute to Slim Harpo and Raful Neal (2005.) A couple of Blind Pig releases followed, Let Life Flow (2008) and Hooked on Your Love (2010).

    Kenny’s 2016 release, Bloodline, was nominated for a Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album and also won two BMAs (Blues Music Awards); one for Best Contemporary Blues Album and the other for Best Contemporary Male Blues Artist. 

    In December, Kenny will tour with The B.B. King Experience featuring Claudette King.

     

    The B.B.King Experience 

    featuring Kenny Neal & Claudette King

    Dec 4—France

    Dec 6-12—Germany

    Dec 13—France

    Dec 17—UK

    Dec 18—Netherlands

    Dec 19-20—Germany

    Dec 22—Chicago, IL

    Dec 31—Reno, NV   

    TBA—Puurs, Belgium

    Jun 3—TBA

    Jun 4—Leeuwarden, Netherlands

    Jun 5—Oss, Netherlands

    Jun 6—Vorstin

    TBA—Burghausen, Germany

    Jun 26—Hampton, VA

     

    Connect with Kenny Neal: 

    Official | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

    New Single From Gaye Adegbalola, ‘Tell Mamala’

    New Single From Gaye Adegbalola, ‘Tell Mamala’

    American Blues Scene Staff

    “Tell Mamala” echoes the need for a phenomenal woman —one who can comfort, but who can inspire with her class and sass, her swagger and stank eye.

    VizzTone has released Gaye Adegbalola’s “Tell Mamala,” the first single of her Freedom Song Trilogy.

    Social activist and multi-instrumentalist/songwriter/griot Gaye Adegbalola (pronounced AH – DEG – BA – LOLA), is a Blues Music Award (BMA) winner and a founding member of Saffire -The Uppity Blues Women (1984-2009). Gaye has received the Kristen Lems “Social Change Through Music” Award at the National Women’s Music Festival in 2018 and, in 2019 the “Koko Taylor Queen of the Blues Award” for preserving traditional blues from the Jus’ Blues Foundation. Along with her music recognition she is a former Virginia State Teacher of the Year (8th grade science) and has been honored as an OUTstanding Virginian by Equality Virginia. The Library of Virginia has recognized her as one of the 2018 Virginia Women in History Honorees (along with Barbara Kingsolver, Rita Dove and others).

    Having penned many blues chestnuts, her songs are known for biting social commentary often cloaked in humor. Saffire recorded exclusively for Alligator Records. Gaye has 6 CDs on her own label, Hot Toddy Music — 3 of those in partnership with the VizzTone Label Group. Her CD about LGBTQ issues, Gaye Without Shame was nominated for a BMA and her children’s CD, Blues in All Flavors won the Parents’ Choice Gold Award.Her 2019 release, The Griot chronicles topical blues for topical times.

    2021 ushered in a new spirit for singer/songwriter and activist griot Adegbalola, and that creative spark burst into flames with Gaye’s Freedom Song Trilogy. The first song of this trilogy, “Tell Mamala” echoes the need for a phenomenal woman —one who can comfort, but who can inspire with her class and sass, her swagger and stank eye; one who won’t take abuse but also brings immense joy in pearls and “chucks” and Mary J. The VP was called “Mamala” by nieces and stepchildren and that sweet title spawned this song. (Sorry, Etta James.) Gaye penned the compositions and created her Trilogy with the able assistance of engineer/multi-instrumentalist Jeff Covert of Wally Cleaver’s Studio in Fredericksburg, VA, New Orleans-flavored horn arrangements by Zachary Smith, and Executive Producer Mark Weiss.

    Gaye Adegbalola

    *Feature image Sylvia De Voss

    New Solo Acoustic Blues From Corey Harris ‘Insurrection Blues’

    New Solo Acoustic Blues From Corey Harris ‘Insurrection Blues’

    American Blues Scene Staff

    “I felt there was a duty, a responsibility, to use the craft to say something.” – Corey Harris

    Insurrection Blues is Corey Harris’ 20th album overall and first for M.C. Records, continuing a blues journey that began with his debut album Between Midnight and Day in 1995. The songs are full of topical relevance, yet steeped in tradition and informed by his musical explorations over the decades. Recorded in Italy under shutdown conditions, the album returns to the solo acoustic format that’s been his base since his early days as a busker in New Orleans. This marks Corey’s 1st release in over 3 years.

    Given his gift of synthesizing many musical strands into a seamless piece of work, it’s no wonder Harris has received many accolades. Among them is being awarded a MacArthur Fellowship — commonly referred to as a “genius award” — from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and an honorary music doctorate from his alma mater, Bates College in Maine. He’s a sought-after collaborator, too. He was featured in the Scorsese film Feel Like Going Home and on the now-classic Mermaid Avenue albums of rediscovered Woody Guthrie songs, for which he wrote some of the music. Corey has collaborated with B.B. King, Tracy Chapman, and Dave Matthews.

    In Insurrection Blues Harris brings some necessary commentary into his acoustic universe. Like many of us, he was paying attention to national events during the pandemic lockdown. And when he saw the profoundly disturbing events in Washington DC on January 6th, the path of his next album became clear.

    I was on Twitter and probably saw the first video five minutes after it was posted. I play music because I have something to say, and I’m thankful that I can eat because of it. I felt there was a duty, a responsibility, to use the craft to say something.

    His feelings about the insurrection made a framework for the album, whether the songs were explicitly connected or not.

    As an African American living in America, as a descendant of slaves that built this country, I am looking at the survival mechanisms that have existed for people to persevere in difficult times. And when we think about that, the blues always comes to mind.

    It all ties in with Harris’ mission as a modern bluesman with an ear to the ground.

    M.C. Records

    Pianist, Singer-Songwriter Ben Levin Releases Masterful Album ‘Still Here’ Via Vizztone

    Pianist, Singer-Songwriter Ben Levin Releases Masterful Album ‘Still Here’ Via Vizztone

    American Blues Scene Staff

    Happy ‘Still Here’ release day to Ben Levin!

    Today sees the release of blues pianist, vocalist, and songwriter Ben Levin’s third Vizztone album, Still Here. Ben has been playing 100 shows a year since he was 15 years old, embracing the authentic sound of his heroes such as Professor Longhair, Pinetop Perkins, Otis Spann, and Ray Charles.

    Piano lessons with world-renowned Cincinnati-based blues/boogie pianist Ricky Nye led Ben into a passion that has not let up since. Ben’s first festival appearance was for his local Cincy Blues Fest at age 13; by age 15 he was the full-time piano player in his father’s band weekend band The Heaters.

    “Steady Rollin’” Bob Margolin writes in the liner notes:

    Ben Levin, 21, brings vintage style with youthful fire to his piano, singing and songwriting. The songs written by Ben and his father, guitarist Aron Levin, and the well-chosen covers reflect the music and sound of Cincinnati’s historic King Records along with what’s in their hearts today.

    Ben’s piano influences are New Orleans greats Professor Longhair, Fats Domino, and Smiley Lewis. From Chicago Blues, he mixes in Otis Spann, Pinetop Perkins and Henry Gray, along with the relentless drive of Cincinnati’s Big Joe Duskin.

    Aron Levin contributes deep songwriting and guitar playing that can be only from a family connection. His tone, phrasing, and ability to ride styles with clever originality make for seamless musical and genetic collaboration.

    The original songs are organic and homegrown. The stories come from Ben’s and Aron’s lives. Their Blues, perspective and philosophy is brilliantly paced with their danceable, upbeat songs.

    A New Orleans stroll in an eight-bar format, the single “Love and Friendship” features Ben’s pounding left hand driving the rhythm behind his agile melodies and a tasty solo from guitarist Aron Levin.

    Originally performed by Jimmy Witherspoon, this song showcases the most virtuosic piano playing and singing Ben Levin has recorded to date, with licks that span all 88 keys.

     

    Still Here – Choose Preferred Service

    Disability and Inclusion Ambassador Ruth Lyon Releases Sensational Debut EP ‘Nothing’s Perfect’ and Lead Single ‘Motormouth’

    Disability and Inclusion Ambassador Ruth Lyon Releases Sensational Debut EP ‘Nothing’s Perfect’ and Lead Single ‘Motormouth’

    David Scott

    “The title ‘Nothing’s Perfect’ stems from my own life mantra celebrating the beauty in imperfection which has got me through many a rough patch and my own self acceptance.” – Ruth Lyon

    There are few recording artists who have successfully merged pop and folk-blues traditions in a collection of self-penned songs with infectious melodies, soulful atmospherics and deeply personal, poetic lyrics. Ruth Lyon achieves this and more on Nothing’s Perfect, each of the five tracks representing a different shade in her multiple musical palette. Ruth’s music comes from the heart and is steeped in life’s experiences good and bad, most recently as a wheelchair user with a chronic illness who is devoted to raising awareness of inclusivity for disability in the arts.

    Given that the EP was born out of wanting to experiment and have fun, “Fast Food” appropriately celebrates the joy of new freedoms, Lyon’s tongue in cheek, gritty and energetic vocals oozing wit and absurdity. She possesses the rare skill of maintaining a voice of grace, emotion and clarity while delivering a compelling, entertaining and fun-filled message. Against a backcloth of funky rhythms courtesy of co-producer/percussionist Rhiannon Mair and bassist Tommy Evans, Ruth the consummate wordsmith celebrates her life as a rock and roller doing exactly what she wants to do. 

    Fast Food is totally unlike the other tracks I have released and more like a bit of fun, documenting my mind melting over the past year! And a very silly lockdown video to match! We had such a great time making it though. 

    Lemon Tree” might sound like an indie-pop love song but it is also a revelation about the end of the world! The lyrics like the vibe are carefree, confessional and evocative: “Lemon tree scent’s all over me/ Intoxicating, nectar drunk I fell asleep/ You color in my dreams/ With broad brush strokes of a memory.”

    Despite its upbeat vibes, this is actually an apocalypse anthem! It’s about finding that person in your life that makes you feel so good that even the end of the world couldn’t bring you down. When everything turns to shit and there’s nothing left, meet me where you’ll know I’ll be, under the lemon tree. That’s how I like to envisage the end anyway! 

    The bluesy ballad “Paper Aeroplane” showcases Ruth at her most powerful and nostalgic, her classy keyboard and clarinet accompaniment complementing perfectly a truly stunning vocal performance. “A hurricane is howling but I feel safe inside /A storm is breaking but I got a place to hide.”

    This is the child inside looking out for us: “In my imagination I found out what I used to know,” and is clearly a song with special significance for Ruth.

    On “Motormouth,” with its heavy opening riffs and rapping hip hop vocal style intro, Lyon regrets saying the words “I love you, never met anyone quite like you” and speaking too soon. It is yet another example of her incisive lyricism and storytelling, this one with attitude. The atmospheric synths and echo effects of Ruth’s backing vocals contribute to this mesmeric song’s rich texture. John Martindale’s talented and empathetic production team at Blank Studios achieves an exceptional sound quality. 

    I can’t count the amount of times I’ve died of embarrassment opening my mouth too soon – but we’ve all been there, right? I wear my emotions like clothes and I’ve been hurt because of it. But I won’t apologize for it and I’m certainly not going to change at this point.

    The finale comes all too soon with “Little Blue,” a dark song about Ruth’s symbiosis with the medications she relies on, epitomized by a little blue pill which makes her ‘lazy’ and ‘hazy.’ From the stark opening piano chords to the sumptuous classical strings of the simpatico ensemble, delicate filigree meets impassioned crescendos courtesy of the tasteful team of musicians.

    The exquisite tones of Ceitidh Mac’s cello and multi-instrumentalist Ruth’s violin and viola are just perfect. It is Grammy winner Cameron Craig’s turn to take a bow for his high quality co-production and innovative musical inputs. Lyon explores her psyche to its depths with angst but not anger as she confronts a central impasse in her life with trademark fortitude, “I can’t live like this forever but I wanna live forever.”

    While the EP is entitled Nothing’s Perfect, the opposite is true of this pathos infused, introspective, inspiring, and above all, gloriously joyful musical journey. Only a year into her solo career, award-winning campaigner Ruth Lyon’s creativity, positivity and ineffable spirit make her a powerful role model shining a light for her generation.

    Little Blue

    Little blue you make me lazy

    Little blue you make me hazy

    Little blue take me away from this room

     

    Mon ami take a trip with me

    Mon ami You give me love for free

    Mon ami It’s always you and me drifting at sea

     

    Oh sweet Delphinium I’ve found my equilibrium 

    I slide down the triptyline

    Dead in my tomb but I never left my room

    On and on I can’t do this forever

     

    I can’t do this forever, forever

     

    Little blue did I come to too soon

    Little blue could I ever cut you loose

    Tangled together will be friends forever

     

    Oh sweet Delphinium I’ve found my equilibrium

    I slide down the triptyline

    Dead in my tomb but I never left my room

    On and on I can’t do this forever

     

    I can’t live like this forever 

    I can’t live like this forever

    But I wanna live forever, forever

     

    I could forget you

    but would it make it all better

    Or would I fall, would I fall

    Back to blue

    Feels like I’m sinking

    But I don’t believe it

    Chalk it down to dreaming, dreaming

    I’m deep in my mind

     

    I can’t live like this forever

    I can’t live like this forever

    I can’t live forever, foreverrrrrrrr

     

    I can’t live like this forever 

    I can’t live like this forever

    We all wanna live forever

     

    Pink Lane Records 2021 

    EP produced by Ruth Lyon and co-producers Cameron Craig, Rhiannon Mair and John Martindale

    Engineered by Conrad Bird

    Mastered by John Greenham

    Photography by Jonny Sabiston

    Motormouth Video by Kraken Cinematic with special thanks to Polestar Studios 

     

    Available on Spotify and other major music streaming platforms from October 22nd.

     

    Connect with Ruth Lyon: Official | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

     

     

     

    John Mayall to Release ‘The Sun is Shining Down’ January 28, 2022

    John Mayall to Release ‘The Sun is Shining Down’ January 28, 2022

    American Blues Scene Staff

    “Each of these special guests brings something unique to the album, and our team works so well together. I think you can hear that chemistry in the music.” – John Mayall

    On his latest album, The Sun Is Shining Down, out January 28th via Forty Below Records, Blues legend John Mayall teams up with a stellar cast to deliver a funky, soulful affair punctuated by brass, violins, harmonica, and electric ukulele.

    Special guests include The Heartbreakers’ Mike Campbell, fast-rising roots rocker Marcus King, Americana icon Buddy Miller, Scarlet Rivera of Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Review, Chicago blues guitar mainstay Melvin Taylor and Hawaiian ukulele star Jake Shimabukuro. Also on hand is Mayall’s longtime dynamic Chicago rhythm section of Greg Rzab on bass guitar and Jay Davenport on drums with Austin’s multi-talented and charismatic Carolyn Wonderland on guitar.

    The album was recorded at Strawhorse Studios and also at Robby Krieger’s (The Doors) Horse Latitudes studio with Grammy-nominated Producer Eric Corne, The Sun is Shining Down is Mayall’s 5th studio album for Forty Below Records, a fruitful partnership that began with 2014’s A Special Life.

    I couldn’t be happier with the new record. I can’t wait to share it with my fans. Each of these special guests brings something unique to the album, and our team works so well together. I think you can hear that chemistry in the music.

    The album explores a range of styles and eclectic instruments. Scarlet Rivera’s violin beautifully compliments two Mayall originals, the timely “Got to Find a Better Way” and a spirited reboot of the Mayall classic “Deep Blue Sea.” Mike Campbell sounds like a natural-born Bluesbreaker on the funky Bernard Allison cut “Chills and Thrills,” and Marcus King sizzles throughout the soulful “Can’t Take No More,” another Mayall original.

    Buddy Miller’s baritone tremolo guitar adds a unique and memorable flair to the Bobby Rush composition “I’m as Good as Gone.” At the same time, Jake Shimabukuro’s electric ukulele is nothing short of astonishing on “One Special Lady.” Melvin Taylor proves why he’s been wowing Chicago blues audiences on “Hungry and Ready” and “Driving Wheel” for decades. Finally, Carolyn Wonderland brilliantly concludes the record with a sensitive moving performance on the title track.

    As significant as each of these guest turns is, however, they can’t overshadow Mayall’s own spirited vocals, iconic harmonica, and lyrical keyboard work on The Sun is Shining Down. “John shines throughout this album, exuding joy and gratitude that are infectious. We all want to give that back to him,” adds producer Eric Corne.

    For over 50 years, John Mayall has served as a pioneer of blues music, rightly earning him the title, “The Godfather of British Blues.” In 2013, John signed with producer Eric Corne’s label, Forty Below Records, and has been experiencing a true artistic and career renaissance, including a Blues Hall of Fame induction in 2015.

    John Mayall

    Ally Venable to Tour w/ Buddy Guy, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Jimmie Vaughan & Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

    Ally Venable to Tour w/ Buddy Guy, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Jimmie Vaughan & Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

    American Blues Scene Staff

    Ally used her pandemic vacation wisely, recording fourth album ‘Heart of Fire’ with world-renowned producer Jim Gaines

    Ally Venable the badass guitarist from Kilgore, Texas announces that she’ll spend the fall touring with the legendary Buddy Guy, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Jimmie Vaughn and ascending blues star, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram. To launch the tour, she has unveiled a new video, “Hateful Blues.”

    Not even a global pandemic could derail her momentum. Working at the Bessie Blue Studio in Stantonville, Tennessee with world-renowned producer Jim Gaines, Ally used her pandemic vacation wisely, recording her fourth album with world renowned producer Jim Gaines. Heart of Fire released in Feb 2021, made its debut on the Billboard Blues charts at #2 and held court in the Top 3 for four consecutive weeks. Not bad for a 22 year-old from Kilgore,Texas.

    Anyone who has left an Ally Venable show with ringing ears will come expecting rip-it-up guitar work, and Heart Of Fire is a lovely way to burn. In a world of electronic pop, this old-soul gunslinger riffs up a storm on the Led Zeppelin-worthy sting of “Hard Change” and “Do It In Heels,” revs up the slinky hook of “Sad Situation” and drives the title track’s intro with a heavy-booted wah lick. “That song is about being in a state of sadness,” she explains, “and someone comes along and brings you out of it, and then nobody is able to take out your flame.”

    While nobody is better at squeezing fresh juice from the blues-rock genre, Venable’s songwriting frequently forks into left field. There’s the chain-gang stomp of the Bessie Smith classic, “Hateful Blues,” its lyric cursing a cruel lover. There’s the pace-changing cover of Bill Withers’ classic “Use Me,” reborn here with congas, rubberband bass and a grooving lick. And don’t miss the impossibly wistful “Road To Nowhere,” with Southern rocker Devon Allman dovetailing with Venable on the chorus harmonies. “Devon jumped right into the song, elevated it and brought it to life,” she remembers. “His vision for the song aligned perfectly with mine, and I’m so happy with how it turned out.”

    The same could be said for Heart Of Fire. Defiant, passionate, honest and raw, this is the record these times demand, from an artist who refuses to wait for the storm to pass, but prefers to dance in the rain. “My goal for this album was to give an outlet for people,” Venable considers. “That’s really where the core of these songs comes from…”

    TOUR DATES:

    Oct 22        Veterans Memorial Civic Center*    Lima, OH
    Oct 24        Salvage Station*                   Asheville, NC
    Oct 25        Eddie’s Attic                          Decatur, GA
    Oct 27        Maxwell King Center*            Melbourne, FL
    Oct 29        Hardrock Casino                    Gary, IND
    Nov 5         Des Plaines Theatre***           Des Plaines, IL
    Nov 6         Arcada Theatre***                   St Charles, IL
    Nov 7         Victory Theatre***                   Evansville, IND
    Nov 10        Santander PAC*                    Reading, PA
    Nov 12        Scottish Rite Auditorium***    Collingswood, NJ
    Nov 13        Colonial Theatre***                Phoenixville, PA
    Nov 14        Whitaker***                            Harrisburg, PA
    Nov 16        Kodak Center***                    Rochester, NY
    Nov 17        The Egg***                            Albany, NY
    Nov 18        Sixth & i****                           Washington D.C.
    Nov 19        Keswick Theatre ****            Glenside, PA
    Nov 20        Town Hall***                         NY, NY
    Nov 21        Bullrun Restaurant               Shirley, MA
    Dec 4          Hard Rock Casino               Gary IND
    Dec 31        Six Springs Tavern              Richardson, TX

    SUPPORTING

    *Buddy Guy

    **Jimmie Vaughan

    ***Kenny Wayne Shepherd

    ****Christone Kingfish Ingram

    Ally Venable

    ‘Nina Simone and Her Friends’ Deluxe Reissue Coming on December 3

    ‘Nina Simone and Her Friends’ Deluxe Reissue Coming on December 3

    American Blues Scene Staff

    On deluxe reissue of ‘Nina Simone and Her Friends,’ a brand-new stereo remaster showcases a legend on her ascension to stardom

    Originally released by Bethlehem Records in 1959, Nina Simone and Her Friends was a compilation album comprising the few remaining unreleased tracks from the 1957 Little Girl Blue recording session plus songs recorded by two other former Bethlehem artists, the powerhouse jazz vocalist Carmen McRae and the elegant song stylist Chris Connor.

    An RSD-Essentials exclusive “emerald-green” limited-edition 180-gram LP will be available, along with CD and digital/streaming versions (high-definition and standard) on December 3, 2021. The reissue features a fresh stereo master done by four-time Grammy winner Michael Graves as well as a vinyl remastering by the renowned Kevin Gray. Grammy winner Cheryl Pawelski produced the set, which includes a new essay by Daphne A. Brooks, author of Liner Notes for the Revolution.

    As Brooks explains in her essay, “Bethlehem clustered their work — tracks that had previously appeared on the label’s Girlfriends compilation — together with the younger, upstart Simone’s and essentially offered up a collection of songs that span a range of genres — folk, jazz, pop song staples, and torch song laments, plus a couple of provocative original compositions by McRae and Simone. Each track is a reminder of the clear-eyed independence, verve, and confidence of three artists whose music, taken together, brims with the majesty and the assured talents of the late 1950s women artists who led with conviction and invention as musicians and song interpreters.”

    Available today, October 20, as a sneak-peak, “African Mailman” is an instrumental track recorded during the Little Girl Blue sessions, showcasing Nina Simone’s incredible piano playing. At the time, Simone was in her mid-20s and still aspiring to be a classical concert pianist. As Brooks describes it: “A magisterial original composition of Simone’s which, as she recounts it, ‘was made up on the spot in the studio and recorded in one take,’ finds her moving across an Afrodiasporic terrain of percussion, leading at the keyboard, rolling and tumbling, building waves of contrasting chromatic depth and spinning, ethereal flight.”

    Nina Simone

    ‘Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free’ Debuts Globally Today In Honor Of His 71st Birthday

    ‘Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free’ Debuts Globally Today In Honor Of His 71st Birthday

    Lauren Leadingham

    “The lesson of ‘Wildflowers’ is that we all belong somewhere we feel free.” Happy birthday to Tom Petty!

    After a long time coming, Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free: The Making of Wildflowers sees its release on what would have been the American treasure’s 71st birthday. A one-night global celebration via Trafalgar Releasing, encore screenings will be in select cinemas on October 21. 

    The 89-minute documentary was directed by award-winning filmmaker Mary Wharton (Jimmy Carter: Rock and Roll President, Sam Cooke: Legend, Elvis Lives!, The Beatles Revolution) and won the Audience Award at SXSW 2021 and Best Documentary Film at the Boulder Film Festival. The film also delves deeper into 2020’s critically acclaimed certified gold reissue, Wildflowers & All The Rest, which revealed the second half of the album. 

    Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free: The Making of Wildflowers serves as a time capsule as it focuses on the years 1993-1995, when Tom worked with producer Rick Rubin for the first time — also marking a period of intense creativity and accompanying turmoil. Produced by Peter Afterman with executive producers Mary Wharton, Dan Braun and Adria Petty and presented by Warner Music Entertainment and Warner Records, the film features never-before-seen footage drawn from a newly discovered archive of 16mm film. In addition, it will include new interviews with Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell and Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench. 

    Director Mary Wharton made this statement: 

    “In the summer of 2020, I got a call from an old friend that felt like a lifeline. I had recently left my home in New York City, fleeing the terrifying first wave of the pandemic. It broke my heart to leave the city, but it didn’t make sense to stay. It was a strange time, and I really didn’t know where I belonged. The phone call came from Adria Petty, who explained that a treasure trove of archival footage of her father, Tom Petty, had been discovered. There was a documentary to be made, and it needed a director. She and the film’s producer, Peter Afterman, had been talking about me. I hung up and danced with joy, and then spent the next eight months with Tom Petty’s music in my head, 24 hours a day. It was like carrying around a box of sunshine in a dark time.

    “The footage of Tom Petty making his Wildflowers album with Rick Rubin, Mike Campbell, Benmont Tench, Howie Epstein, Steve Ferrone and George Drakoulias is truly a treasure. Martyn Atkins, who filmed most of the material, did an amazing job of capturing these events in such a beautifully intimate way, and the camaraderie in the studio is palpable. The editor Mari Keiko Gonzalez and I agreed that we wanted this film to have a loose, classic verité feel. Whereas most major artists these days are only seen in tightly edited and overly polished imagery, here we get a rare, unvarnished view of a master of his craft at work in the creative process. That process sometimes gets messy, and you can see in the film that Tom isn’t always sure of himself. As viewers, we get to watch him find his way into a song, and when he gets there it feels like catching a garden snake in a jar. It’s slippery, beautiful and exciting.

    “All of the new footage for the documentary was also shot on 16mm film so that we’d never have to feel the hard, steely edge of digital video. To bring Tom’s voice into the film, we chose to only use interviews from the time of “Wildflowers,” because when we tried more recent soundbites it always became disjointed. The feeling of an older man looking back was conspicuous even when you couldn’t see his face on-screen. It seemed important that his voice remain in that time and place where he felt free. It was a choice that forced us to work harder to get the story right, because we were limited to just a few recordings. But for the most part, the film manages to stay captive to the “Wildflowers” era, like a time capsule meant to be opened in 2021.

    “Back in 1994, I was a young associate producer at VH1 when I got to work on a documentary about Tom Petty at the time that he was releasing “Wildflowers.” The interview shoot was in Los Angeles and that was the first time I’d ever been to California. It rained so hard the entire time that I never got to see the California sun. But I got to meet Tom Petty and work with an early mentor, Tom Kaniewski, who taught me how music docs are made. The last words spoken in “Somewhere You Feel Free” come from that 1994 interview, and if you listen closely you can hear the rain in the background. ‘Everybody’s been knocked around a little bit,’ Petty reminds us in the clip, ‘but you’ve got to keep some faith in yourself, and you’ll probably be alright.’

    “The lesson of Wildflowers is that we all belong somewhere we feel free. I’ll be forever grateful that Tom Petty came into my life to teach me that, right when I needed it most.”

    YouTube Originals’ worldwide release in full 4K resolution on the Tom Petty YouTube Channel is slated for later this year. Watch the first look, featuring “Only A Broken Heart” as well as Rick Rubin, Mike Campbell, and Benmont Tench reflecting on the recording process below.

    Tom Petty had a way of giving a certain voice to a certain feeling. Sometimes I reach for particular songs of heartbreak or righteous indignation to help me work through pain. Some feelings awaken upon hearing him, such as uplift and enlightenment. I still to this day struggle with explaining this quality, unique to him, satisfactorily. 

    As with a lot of my interviews, Tom Petty comes up in conversation. Most recently: a phone call with folk rock diva Lilli Lewis, who helped me and made me love her even more. She described it in a way I’d not been able to by saying, “It’s the whole range — his complete command of intimacy and command of rock and roll. The kind of person you want to sit on the porch with, but the way he could weave completely relatable stories into utter poetry… Everything hits the way it hits because he understood every word he was singing. He was never just singing the song he was singing… And because I could feel what he was feeling, he gave me a wider emotional vocabulary.”

    I said this last year (and maybe a couple times before), but I’ll feel this way for as long as I live: My rock n’ roll hero since day one, Tom defined the good times and made the bad times endurable. Often, and especially on his birthday, I find myself still grieving someone I never got to meet. 

    Here’s to Tom and our emotional vocabulary. 

     

    Get Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free Tickets Near You

    Scout LaRue Willis Releases New Single, ‘Love Without Possession’

    Scout LaRue Willis Releases New Single, ‘Love Without Possession’

    American Blues Scene Staff

    “I wrote this song in 2016 in the midst of profound heartbreak, hope, confusion, tenderness and growth. It kept me company…” – Scout LaRue Willis

    Scout LaRue Willis has released “Love Without Possession,” the first single off of her forthcoming debut solo album, slated for spring of 2022. To mark the occasion Scout has also shared the stunning companion video directed by Julianna Giraffe and Nicky Giraffe of Giraffe Studios. Earlier this month, a remix version of the single was used as the backdrop at Paris Fashion Week’s presentation of Chloé’s Spring / Summer 2022 collection. The single and forthcoming album were co-produced by Scout Willis & Greg Papinia and recorded in Highland Park, CA.

    I wrote this song in 2016 in the midst of profound heartbreak, hope, confusion, tenderness and growth. It kept me company, narrating a story I was living in real time and softening the edges of my pain as only art can. Recording this song in 2020, my intention was to share as vulnerably as I could in the hope that this song might keep you company too.

    Deeply inspired by Patsy Cline, Scout’s music is unadorned and cinematic. But it’s the modalities of her one-of-a-kind alto and her emotional prowess that give the songs such resonance. It’s those qualities coupled with her confessional lyrics that puts the listener at the center, anyone can imagine themselves as the protagonist in her stories.

    Although “Love Without Possession” marks her first effort as a solo artist recording under her own name, she is no stranger to music and performing. She formed her original band Gus + Scout while still studying at Brown University. Together with childhood friend Gus Wenner, they released their self-titled EP and kicked off music careers while barely of drinking age. Life and adulthood brought a wealth of material to Willis, and after working more deeply on her skills as a guitar player she began to write her solo debut. Like the album, “Love Without Possession” is a stark look at Willis’ internal life, a life that took years of practice to lay bare. 

    Scout, the daughter of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis, was the Captain/Lead Singer of her school choral group, but first made her name as an actress in films including The Scarlet Letter, Bandits, and Moonrise Kingdom.

    Scout LaRue Willis