Marcus King Pays Tribute To Neal Casal On ‘No One Above You’

Marcus King Pays Tribute To Neal Casal On ‘No One Above You’

American Blues Scene Staff

“I feel so blessed and honored to have the opportunity to take part in an album celebrating the life and music of a great songwriter and a beautiful soul.” Marcus King

Marcus King‘s rendition of Neal Casal‘s “No One Above You” becomes the sixth single released from Highway Butterfly: The Songs Of Neal Casal, a forthcoming 41-song tribute to the late songwriter and musician who passed away in August 2019. Featuring guitarist Eric Krasno and joined by a band that includes keyboardist Adam MacDougall, additional guitarist Jesse Aycock, bassist Dave Schools and drummer Tony Leone, King turns Casal’s reflective acoustic ballad from his 2001 album Anytime Tomorrow into a soaring southern soul tour-de-force. It’s yet another shining example of Casal’s accomplished songwriting that never received its due in his lifetime.

I feel so blessed and honored to have the opportunity to take part in an album celebrating the life and music of a great songwriter and a beautiful soul. Neal and I met many times over the years on the road and through mutual friend groups. He always had a smile on his face and song to share. I was a fan of Neal’s instrumental music and a fan of his as a guitarist, but it wasn’t until I was asked to be part of this project that I truly dove into his work as a songwriter. I’m thankful for his music and I’m so thrilled for the release of this album. There are so many wonderful friends and musicians I’m humbled to be mentioned among.

Accompanied in its release with a lyric video  animated by Deren Ney, “No One Above You” was the final song tracked in March 2020 during the original Highway Butterfly recording sessions at co-producer Jim Scott’s PLYRZ Studios in Valencia, CA. The recordings would come to an abrupt halt due to the Covid-19 pandemic, thus leading Scott and Highway Butterfly‘s other producer Dave Schools to begin sourcing additional performances from participating artists’ own studio sessions.

“We were working steadily at the pace of a song a day at PLYRZ Studios recording songs for the tribute record and all of it was fantastic. But things were getting weird out in the world with COVID-19 creating confusion and fear. We had our own little musical bubble going on at Jim Scott‘s studio. Marcus King’s session would be the last recording before we scrapped the rest of the sessions as the world was locking down,” explains Schools. “The band was crackerjack and the tune was just soaring. It felt so soulful and right on time. Marcus delivered big time both vocally and as a guitar hero. He made the song resonate with positivity. We had a giant choir made up of many of the artists who had been participating in the recording sessions that week singing the chorus at the end of the song and it took the track over the top. It felt special and it was a great way to wrap up an already amazing week of recording.”

Highway Butterfly: The Songs Of Neal Casal, is scheduled for release November 12 via The Neal Casal Music Foundation and Royal Potato Family. Available on 5-LP and 3-CD box sets, as well as digital formats, the collection presents performances of Casal’s songs by artists including Susan Tedeschi & Derek Trucks, Bob Weir, Hiss Golden Messenger, Fruit Bats, Steve Earle & The Dukes, Jonathan Wilson, Billy Strings, Shooter Jennings, Leslie Mendelson, Vetiver, Beachwood Sparks, Jaime Wyatt, Tim BluhmJ Mascis, Dori Freeman, Warren Haynes, Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band, Cass McCombs, Kenny Roby, Mapache, Aaron Lee Tasjan and Tim Heidecker among others.

All proceeds from sales and streams of Highway Butterfly: The Songs Of Neal Casal will benefit the Neal Casal Music Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit formed in 2020, which provides musical instruments and lessons to students in New Jersey and New York state schools where Casal was born and raised, while also donating proceeds to mental health organizations that support musicians, including MusiCares and Backline.

Pre-Order Highway Butterfly: The Songs of Neal Casal

*Feature image photo: Kevin Wells

Grammy-Winning Blues-Rock Guitarist Micki Free Unleashes Incendiary New Album ‘Turquoise Blue’

Grammy-Winning Blues-Rock Guitarist Micki Free Unleashes Incendiary New Album ‘Turquoise Blue’

American Blues Scene Staff

“I get my mojo from the classic greats—the masters of blues-rock and even classic rock, but everything I play comes from my own heart…” Micki Free

Heralded by Carlos Santana and Billy Gibbons, among many others, Grammy-winning blues-rock guitarist Micki Free announces a February 4, 2022, release date for his new album, Turquoise Blue, on the Dark Idol Music label, distributed by Burnside Distribution / The Orchard / Sony. Free’s mastery of tone is showcased on the new disc’s 13 originals, plus a scintillating cover of the Jimi Hendrix classic “All Along the Watchtower.” The album was recorded, mixed and mastered by Ken Riley at Rio Grande Studios in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Special guests on Turquoise Blue include Gary Clark Jr., Steve Stevens, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram and Cindy Blackman Santana. Free teases the album’s release with his debut single, “Bye 2020,” on November 12, featuring additional guitar pyrotechnics from long-time Billy Idol six-stringer Steve Stevens.

I wrote ‘Turquoise Blue’ over the period of time when Covid first broke out and we were advised to remain at home. Interacting with my peers was just not an option. The songs are a direct testament of how I felt during that crazy time. Take my song, ‘Bye 2020;’ it tells exactly how I felt that year, with the dying, the masks, the quarantine, the protests, the fake news, the misinformation…. I just wanted to say, ‘Bye 2020!’ I enlisted my good buddy Steve Stevens from Billy Idol to lay down the first guitar solo and I did the second solo.

I get my mojo from the classic greats—the masters of blues-rock and even classic rock, but everything I play comes from my own heart, and with ‘Turquoise Blue,’ I feel like I’m really getting to the core of what I do in a way I hope people will connect with, because making music is about a connection so strong that it transcends language.

Free’s resume reads like an almost-mythical backstory to a movie: a protégé and guitar-slinging peer of KISS’s Gene Simmons, Prince, Billy Gibbons, Carlos Santana, and Cheap Trick’s Rick Neilson; glorified in a popular Chappelle’s Show episode of “Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories,” as part of Prince’s team in a now-legendary basketball game. A featured member of R&B hitmakers Shalamar, he scored a top 20 hit with “Dancin’ in the Sheets” and won a Grammy in 1985 for the song, “Don’t Get Stopped in Beverly Hills,” from the Beverly Hills Cop film soundtrack.

Free was born in West Texas of mixed blood Cherokee/Comanche Native American and Irish descent. Soon after, his family relocated to Germany, where his father was stationed as a sergeant in the Army. It was there at age 12 that an older sister took him to see Jimi Hendrix.

Jimi just blew my mind. He came out dressed like a gypsy with scarves and a flowing, psychedelic shirt, and his guitar was the most incredible thing I’d ever heard. From that moment on, I knew what I wanted to do with my life.

After his family moved to Illinois, Free formed his first rock band, Smokehouse. When Smokehouse opened a concert bill that included the group KISS, Gene Simmons, himself, walked up to Free as his band was coming offstage and declared him “a star.” By that time, Free, had already developed a flair for rock ‘n’ roll fashion and the dynamic stage presence that’s one of his trademarks. Free was 19 years old when Simmons became his first manager. Since then, he’s been in the whirlwind of the music business, having recorded, written songs, and played with Simmons, the Rolling Stones’ Bill Wyman, Janet Jackson, Diana Ross, Prince, Little Steven, Sam Moore, Cheap Trick, Billy Gibbons, Carlos Santana, and Jean Beauvior of The Plasmatics.

During his nine years with Shalamar, Free was nominated for Grammy Awards three times.

I loved being part of that band and its success, but as a musician I felt I really couldn’t be myself. I was a blues-rock guitar player and songwriter who just wanted to let it fly and play from my soul.

Once free from the constricts of playing in a commercial R&B format, Free reconnected with his roots in big guitar tones and epic soundscapes, and songs written from the heart and not for the charts. You can hear the exploration that culminates in Turquoise Blue on five previous studio albums, including the critically heralded Tattoo Burn, from 2017, as well as Micki Free—American Horse Live at Hyde Park, which captures a 2010 London concert that featured guest Bill Wyman and Native American dancers.

I’ve grown and matured as a songwriter since my Shalamar days, and brought my blues-rock guitar playing, which has been my passion since I saw my first concert – Jimi Hendrix –  front and center. With this album, I’ve been able to thread every element of my life and my playing together in a way that reflects my entire journey. I’ve kept it honest to the bone, so listeners can feel it, too. This album is, basically, Micki Free.

Another standout track on the new CD is ‘World on Fire,’ a song definitely about the sign of the times. The music for the song started out as sort of homage to my buddy Carlos Santana, who I’ve jammed with many times in the last five years or so. I idolized him and Jimi Hendrix growing up as a boy. The lyrics again were inspired by current events during 2020-2021. I have my old bandmate Cindy Blackman-Santana, wife of Carlos Santana, on drums, Andy Vargas, lead singer of Santana, and Karl P. on percussion. I produced the track and played all the guitars.

An additional highlight is Free’s treatment of the Hendrix/Dylan classic, “All Along the Watchtower.”

After seeing Jimi perform ‘All Along the Watchtower’ in-person, his version was just so haunting to me and I always wanted to cover it…to this day my favorite Jimi Hendrix song…written by Bob Dylan.

Through it all, Free has also embraced his heritage. As a musical activist, he has created the Native Music Rocks program, which gives Native American musicians performance opportunities. He also founded the first Native American record company (Native Music Rocks Records) and is an advocate for the Seminole Tribe of Florida. In addition to his guitar prowess, Free has mastered the Native American flute and has recorded five albums on that instrument, including 2016’s The Native American Flute as Therapy. Next to his Grammy, his accolades thus far include five Native American Music Awards, including Male Artist and Pop Rock Artist.

Micki Free

Feature image photo credit: Marie Gregorio-Oviedo

Allison Russell Covers Tracy Chapman’s ‘Behind The Wall’ for Sounds of Saving

Allison Russell Covers Tracy Chapman’s ‘Behind The Wall’ for Sounds of Saving

American Blues Scene Staff

“It’s hard to imagine an artist who has lived and articulates the message of SoS more than Allison Russell – that music, art and speaking out about even the most horrific of experiences can be pathways out of cycles of trauma and stigma and towards experiencing joy.” – Sounds of Saving

The poet, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and activist Allison Russell has collaborated with with Sounds of Saving (SoS) and National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for the release of a new installation of their “Song that Found Me At The Right Time” series. The series interviews artists from across the musical spectrum to discuss the song that helped them most during difficult times. Alongside the Q&A the artist performs their take of the chosen track.

For this release Russell chose Tracy Chapman’s “Behind The Wall.” She shares, “It was the song that made me understand for the first time that I wasn’t alone. Music helped me crawl out of that pit. There was another way. And I learned that there was another way through poetry, through art, through music, through Tracy Chapman’s album that I heard when I was nine years old that was revelatory to me.

“She was telling me a very different story about being a woman, about blackness, about her experience of the world, about her experience of America, a very different story than my adoptive father told me. And I liked her version better….There are these lifelines that we get thrown, maybe therapy will be your lifeline, maybe meeting someone who has had a similar experience to you will be your lifeline. That’s why we have to hang on because you would have no idea what joy awaits you.”

Sounds of Saving note, “It’s hard to imagine an artist who has lived and articulates the message of SoS more than Allison Russell – that music, art and speaking out about even the most horrific of experiences can be pathways out of cycles of trauma and stigma and towards experiencing joy.

“We feel that Allison’s voice – in song and in advocacy – can truly save lives by expressing how healing from abuse is possible and by encouraging others to find support. It was a true pleasure to be in her presence, to hear her story and her take on Tracy Chapman’s song that found her at the right time and arguably saved her life. We feel her debut LP Outside Child is not only one of the best albums of 2021 but one of the most important bodies of musical work ever to express the journey from an unimaginably painful past to cathartic beauty and joy.”

Sounds of Saving created the “Song that Found Me At The Right Time” in 2019 to help promote honest, intimate conversations about mental health. They emphasize the impact of music of all genres on human connection, coping during difficult times and maintaining mental wellbeing.

Engaging with musicians, the series reveals how a song found each artist at the right time, as well as sharing how each artist has managed to cope and even thrive in the face of difficult times and emotional crisis. For every one person that dies by suicide, 316 people think seriously about suicide but go on to live out their lives. These are untold stories that must be shared. During the pandemic approximately 1 in 4 young adults has had suicidal thoughts.

 

Allison Russell
Sounds of Saving

Matthew Skoller Launches New Blues Podcast

Matthew Skoller Launches New Blues Podcast

American Blues Scene Staff

Skoller will draw upon his 40 years of relationship building within the community, knowledge of Blues history and familiarity with today’s Blues scene and industry to create an essential dialogue about the Blues today.

On October 11, 2021 the preview/inaugural episode of the new podcast, Blues and World Report with Matthew Skoller, was launched.

For this new podcast, harmonica player/songwriter/festival curator Matthew Skoller will interview some of the most powerful voices in Blues Music today and explore, through the lens of Blues artists and other artists whose work has been influenced and shaped by the Blues, what Blues music is, where it came from and who and what it has influenced. He will also focus on the artists’ process, history and take on what is happening in the turbulent times we are living through.

Skoller will draw upon his 40 years of relationship building within the community, knowledge of Blues history and familiarity with today’s Blues scene and industry to create an essential dialogue about the Blues today.

Skoller will reminisce with some of the living heroes/sheroes of Blues music about experiences, projects and tours they shared together as well as talking to great poets, playwrights, actors, dancers and producers whose work has been inspired and informed by Blues music. He will also be meeting the ‘new kids on the Blues block’ and initiating new relationships through the podcast.

Tune in to the first episode of BWR and hear Skoller’s interview with legendary Blues Diva, Chicago’s very own Deitra Farr! This singer/songwriter/journalist/painter/community activist talks about her life from the very beginning as a little girl growing up on the Southside of Chicago.

Episode 1 with Deitra Farr

This episode will be followed by a special edition of Blues and World Report that will be recorded at The Logan Center Bluesfest at The Logan Center for the Arts (University of Chicago) where Skoller is the curator for the festival. In this special edition Matthew will be interviewing 25 year old Blues phenom Jontavious “Quon” Willis.

Blues and World Report with Matthew Skoller

Omar Coleman & Eddie Roberts Collaborate on New Single ‘You’ve Been Cheatin’

Omar Coleman & Eddie Roberts Collaborate on New Single ‘You’ve Been Cheatin’

American Blues Scene Staff

When you put “You’ve Been Cheatin’” in a musical centrifuge, you extract a multitude of depth within classic blues themes.

The New Mastersounds’ guitarist, bandleader, and producer Eddie Roberts, has joined forces with Chicago’s West Side soul sensation, Omar Coleman, to release Eddie Roberts Presents Omar Coleman: Strange Times via his record label and music platform Color Red. When Chicago-based producer David Vandenberg brought The New Mastersounds to the US for their first time to open for Greyboy All-Stars in 2004, little did he know nearly two decades later there would be full-circle energy tied into that first night out in Chicago and working with Omar Coleman, an icon-clad staple in the city heralded as ‘Home of the Blues.’ Coleman has released the third single, “You’ve Been Cheatin’,” on Roberts’ imprint.

When you put “You’ve Been Cheatin’” in a musical centrifuge, you extract a multitude of depth within classic blues themes. With Roberts producing the track, there are extracted elements of Daptone-esque horn lines, guitar riffs and organ stabs tastefully placed throughout, and a viscous layer of strings pads to contrast the rhythmic particles present throughout the composition.

Coleman’s harmonica wails and tell-it-like-it-is vocals call out a lover’s infidelity and demand the truth be told in a precursor to his full-length album ’Strange Times,’ coming out via Color Red in early 2022. Joining Coleman on the track are Dan Africano (Ghost Light) on bass, Chris Spies (Matador! Soul Sounds) on keys, Cole Rudy (Dragondeer) on guitar, Carl Sorensen (Dragondeer) on drums, Eric “Benny” Bloom (Lettuce) on trumpet and Nick Gerlach (Michal Menert) on saxophone.

Color Red · Omar Coleman – You’ve Been Cheatin’ | Color Red Music

Whether dating back to picking up a harmonica at his local music shop to pass downtime as a barber or deep diving into instructional books on leathersmithing, a now 10-year side hustle of Coleman’s, curiosity and refusal to be confined to a singular scene have proven to be pillars of longevity in Coleman’s career. After cutting his teeth at Eddy Clearwater’s Sunday jam, he took the plunge to become a full-fledged professional touring musician in 2010. He’d embark on month-long tours in Brazil twice a year, make frequent appearances in Japan, and perform over 30 dates in Europe both solo and with as the lead vocalist/harmonica player in the award-winning Sean Carney Band, a group that has won the International Blues Challenge. He’s had notable plays as the headliner for  “Blues for a Cure” benefit in Columbus Ohio for 3 years straight; Spain Blues Fest; San Francisco Blues Festival, and more and has been featured on the all-star compilation Diamonds in the Rough: Chicago Harmonica Project.

Coleman’s debut single and title track “Strange Times” is reflective of the modern state of the world while the bulk of the rest of the album will unveil classic blues themes and uncanny coincidences dating back to that first meeting of Roberts and David Vandenberg (who also produced Coleman’s 2017 album West Side Soul) in the early 00s. On Roberts’ very first night in Chicago, Vandenberg took him to Rosa’s, a legendary blues club on the West Side of town, a club that Coleman had been playing for decades. While laying down his original tune “Old Man Teaser,” Coleman explained it was a story about the lady behind the bar at Rosa’s teasing all the older blues musicians.

An instance like that goes beyond coincidence and demonstrates the ripple effect of Color Red’s collaborative spirit and the minuscule degrees of separation in their musical network. As for the album’s title, it’s an ode to The New Mastersounds’ 2001 debut record, Keb Darge Presents: The New Mastersounds, that was championed by the iconic Scottish DJ and curator launching the band into a 20+ year career and nine more records to boot. Now, the baton is passed to Roberts as a leading voice in the modern funk and soul revival era with notable producer and bandleader accolades and the launch of Color Red that curates top-notch musical talent from all over the globe.

 

Omar Coleman

Chickenbone Slim Shares Boogie Blues Single, ‘Wild Eyed Woman’

Chickenbone Slim Shares Boogie Blues Single, ‘Wild Eyed Woman’

American Blues Scene Staff

The first single from ‘Serve It To Me Hot’ releases today!

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 set for release on November 19, 2021.

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 Chickenbone calls Roots Rock —an eclectic  mix of short stories with danceable grooves. 

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.”

The first single from Serve It To Me Hot releases today! 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.

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

Chickenbone Slim
“Wild Eyed Woman” – Choose Preferred Service

Sol Roots With Guest Ron Holloway Perform for Clarendon Concert Series

Sol Roots With Guest Ron Holloway Perform for Clarendon Concert Series

American Blues Scene Staff

On Wednesday Oct 13, the Sol Roots band with guest Ron Holloway (of Gov’t Mule, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Little Feat) perform for Clarendon Concert Series in Arlington, Virginia!

A fantastic free outdoor concert is coming up on Wednesday, October 13 in Arlington, Virginia. The Sol Roots band with special guest, world-renowned saxophonist Ron Holloway, will be performing for the Clarendon Concert Series. The band creates a blend of energetic rock, deep blues, raw funk, greasy soul, and hypnotic rhythms.

Photo credits: Josh Brick Graphics and Chris Gamber Photography

Sol Roots is a fierce guitarist and soulful vocalist who has toured with many musical legends around the world. Sol has an incredible roster of musicians that he also brings in as special guests to add to the band’s versatile and exciting performances. The band have shared the stage with acts such as Jon Cleary, Victor Wainwright, Eric Lindell, New Orleans Suspects, Booker T Jones, Walter “Wolfman” Washington, Shemekia Copeland, Sonny Landreth and more.

Paying homage to the greats, and with a love of Universal Music as the guiding light, Sol brings together a powerful and unique group of talented musicians. He is an official Home Grown Music Network artist and a “Next Generation” Music Maker Relief Foundation artist.

World renowned master saxophonist Ron Holloway has worked with groups such as Little Feat, Gov’t Mule, Warren Haynes, Dizzy Gillespie and many more.

Ron Holloway is one of the busiest tenor saxophonists on today’s music scene in any genre! Recently, Ron toured extensively with The Warren Haynes Band, in support of two critically acclaimed releases on the Stax Records label. Holloway is a frequent guest of Gov’t Mule, Tedeschi Trucks Band, The Allman Brothers Band, and many others. Over the years, he has been a member of an eclectic roster of groups, including; the Susan Tedeschi Band, the Dizzy Gillespie Quintet, Gil Scott-Heron and Root Boy Slim.

This free outdoor concert will be held on Wednesday October 13 from 5:30pm until 7:30pm at the Clarendon Central Park in Arlington, Virginia. This wonderful, community enriching concert series, Music By The Metro, is presented by Clarendon Alliance in partnership with Arlington Arts.

 

Sol Roots Music
Ron Holloway

 

 

Glenn Alexander’s Sixth Annual Pig Gig To Feature Southside Johnny

Glenn Alexander’s Sixth Annual Pig Gig To Feature Southside Johnny

Lauren Leadingham

American Blues Scene is proud to be one of the sponsors for this pig roast with a purpose

Organized by Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes guitarist Glenn Alexander, the sixth annual Pig Gig returns on Sun., Oct. 24 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Italian American Club in Scotch Plains, New Jersey. 

 

Pig Gig 6 is a benefit with all profits going to the The Fibrolamellar Cancer Foundation in honor of Glenn’s nephew, Jay, who lost his battle to the disease in 2011. Fibrolamellar carcinoma is a rare cancer of the liver that typically grows in teens and adults under 40 years old. Sadly, no one has ever survived it.

Glenn, who has also played with Bruce Springsteen and Conan O’ Brien’s band, will be performing this year with both Shadowland and Blue Americana. Other acts include The Lonesome Pines, James Maddock, The Weeklings, and none other than Southside Johnny! 

All attendees must be vaccinated. Tickets can be purchased at this here.

American Blues Scene is proud to be one of the sponsors for this pig roast with a purpose. Other sponsors include:

Scotch Plains Police PBA Local 87, Ace Brothers Service Center, Bill’s Ineffable Automobile Rehabilitation, Cioffi’s Convenience Corner, Danny Clinch Photography/Transparent Clinch Gallery, Craig R. Stock Landscape Design, Custom Construction MDH, East Coast Emergency Lighting, Father John Paladino, Grano Italian Tavern, Grillestone, Green Village Packing Co./Swine Time, Health and Fitness Professionals, JVD Towing, Joe Nizzardo, K9 Resorts Luxury Pet Hotel, Lawn-Gevity, Lou’s Automotive, Mountain Deli, neuNERDesign, NJ Arts.net, RBC Wealth Management, Romano Landscaping, Roosterspin, Rossi Funeral Home, Silverstein Works, Scotch Plains Fanwood UNICO, Westfield Local NJ, and TAPintoScotch Plains-Fanwood.

 

Six-Time Grammy Nominee Maria Muldaur Declares ‘I’m Vaccinated & I’m Ready for Love!’

Six-Time Grammy Nominee Maria Muldaur Declares ‘I’m Vaccinated & I’m Ready for Love!’

American Blues Scene Staff

“As I drove away from receiving my second vaccination shot, I was immediately overwhelmed with an immense feeling of Liberation, Exhilaration, Lightness and Joy.” – Maria Muldaur

Six-time Grammy nominee Maria Muldaur — who’s been dubbed “The First Lady of Roots Music” for previous albums touching on her wide-ranging influences from blues, country, folk, jazz and jug band music — releases  new single “I’m Vaccinated & I’m Ready for Love!” on Stony Plain Records.

“As I drove away from receiving my second vaccination shot, I was immediately overwhelmed with an immense feeling of Liberation, Exhilaration, Lightness and Joy,” Maria recalls as the inspiration for her new song. “It was a beautiful Spring day, so I rolled back my sunroof to enjoy the ride, and before I knew it I spontaneously started singing ’Vaccinated and I’m ready for love’ at the top of my lungs all the way home! I sort of chuckled to myself and forgot about it, but the next day the refrain returned and I found myself singing it throughout the day!

“I realized this was a pretty catchy refrain that wouldn’t go away, so I called my guitar player Craig Caffal and told him, ‘I’ve got the title and I’ve got the hook – help me write the song!’ “He did and we recorded it, and made a video to go with it. It is my hope that it will be a useful message in convincing vaccination reluctant folks of yet another good reason to get vaccinated. If all the other good and common sense reasons of protecting loved ones, children, the elderly, etc., didn’t do it, perhaps the thought of being liberated to safely resume/pursue a happy active love life will be the motivation that does the trick!”

Muldaur’s current album, Let’s Get Happy Together, was released in May and is an excursion into the vintage jazz and blues sounds of the 1920s/’30s, which features her collaborating with acclaimed New Orleans street band Tuba Skinny.

Maria Muldaur

Robert Finley Announces Fall 2021 Tour, Premieres ‘I Can Feel Your Pain’

Robert Finley Announces Fall 2021 Tour, Premieres ‘I Can Feel Your Pain’

American Blues Scene Staff

“’I Can Feel Your Pain’ relates really to what is going on today. From people losing loved ones to the pandemic, all the marches going on, people being slaughtered by the police…this song is for them.” – Robert Finley

Robert Finley has announced additional upcoming fall tour dates that will include headline shows at venues across the US, including New York’s Mercury Lounge on October 18 and Philadelphia’s City Winery on October 19. Finley will also make a two-day festival appearance at Lancaster Roots & Blues Festival on October 16 & 17.

Finley also premiered a music video for “I Can Feel Your Pain,” a powerful soul ballad from his celebrated album Sharecropper’s Son, produced by Dan Auerbach and released earlier this year.

Speaking about the song, Finley commented, “‘I Can Feel Your Pain’ relates really to what is going on today. From people losing loved ones to the pandemic, all the marches going on, people being slaughtered by the police. Even if you don’t really know about the situation from a personal perspective you feel sympathy for that person who had to go through those things and this song is for them.”

Sharecroppers Son showcases Finley’s formidable vocals, which take center stage and encapsulate his remarkable life story and reflect on his childhood during the Jim Crow era south. Rooted in the classic sounds of southern soul, country and rhythm & blues, it features songwriting by Finley, Auerbach, Bobby Wood, and contributions from respected country songwriter, Pat McLaughlin. The album features an all-star band including guitar expertise from Auerbach himself, Kenny Brown, Russ Pahl and Billy Sanford. They are joined by other notables: Bobby Wood, Gene Chrisman, Nick Movshon, Eric Deaton, Dave Roe and Sam Bacco.

 

Robert Finley

 

*Feature image credit: Alysse Gafkjen

Hanna PK Releases First Single, ‘Bad Woman’

Hanna PK Releases First Single, ‘Bad Woman’

American Blues Scene Staff

‘Blues All Over My Shoes’ out via Vizztone November 12!

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. She has a  dynamic songwriting style ranging – from a funky tune with socially conscious lyrics to a 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, a full length album produced by internationally known bluesman Kenny Neal, 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.  

 

She’s releasing her debut album on the Booga Music label of internationally-known bluesman Kenny Neal in  cooperation with VizzTone Label Group in November 2021. 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’s 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 band wagon. 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 smogasbord. 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 track 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. 

 

 

Bad Woman” – Choose Preferred Service

Dave Specter To Release ‘Six String Soul, 30 Years on Delmark’ October 22

Dave Specter To Release ‘Six String Soul, 30 Years on Delmark’ October 22

American Blues Scene Staff

Double album celebrating Dave’s 30 years on Delmark Records — with a stellar line-up of guests including Otis Clay, Jorma Kaukonen, Lurrie Bell, Billy Branch, Jack McDuff, Ronnie Earl, etc.

Dave Specter has earned an international reputation as one of the premier talents on the Chicago music scene. Since 1985 Specter has performed regularly at top Chicago venues in addition to clubs, festivals and concert halls throughout the USA. International performances include: Argentina, Brazil, England, Northern Ireland, Denmark, France, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Belgium, Sweden, Switzerland, Poland, Luxembourg, Israel, Canada and Mexico. Specter celebrates 30 years of prolific releases for Delmark Records with a 2-CD retrospective titled Six String Soul, 30 Years on Delmark Records, featuring a myriad of special guests he has collaborated with over the years.

Specter’s career has been interwined with the deepest roots of Chicago blues and Delmark’s rich musical history. This double CD release constitutes a definitive testimony to one of today’s most tasteful and versatile blues artists, featuring Specter in a wide variety of styles. Specter’s single, “The Ballad Of George Floyd,” is now showcased at the Woody Guthrie Center as part of the Songs of Conscience, Sounds of Freedom exhibit in Tulsa alongside Bruce Springsteen’s lyrics. Specter spoke to Rolling Stone about his dark period in songwriting and why he was inspired to write it.

Before forming his own band in 1989, Specter toured extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe behind such blues greats as Son Seals, The Legendary Blues Band, Hubert Sumlin, Sam Lay and Steve Freund. Specter has also performed and/or recorded with such artists as Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Otis Rush, Jimmy Rogers, Robert Jr. Lockwood, Jimmy Johnson, Jack McDuff, Johnny Adams, Snooky Pryor, Kim Wilson, Tad Robinson, John Primer, Johnny Littlejohn, B.B. Odom, Mighty Joe Young, Magic Slim, Lonnie Brooks, Ronnie Earl, Otis Clay, Floyd McDaniel, Pinetop Perkins and Jorma Kaukonen. Dave has performed for the President of the United States, the Governor of Illinois and the Mayor of Chicago.

Dave appears on over 50 albums and DVDs as a guitarist, bandleader and/or producer, with 12 albums as a leader or co-leader on Delmark Records. Specter appears on compilation albums with artists such as B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, T-Bone Walker, Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana and Mike Bloomfield. Dave was inducted into The Chicago Blues Hall of Fame in 2018.

Dave is also partner at one of the Chicago area’s most acclaimed music venues, Evanston SPACE, where the album release party will be held on Tuesday, November 2 at 8:00 pm CDT. He also hosts the podcast, Blues From The Inside Out.

For more information visit www.delmark.com and www.davespecter.com.

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss Share New Song, ‘High and Lonesome’

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss Share New Song, ‘High and Lonesome’

Lauren Leadingham

‘Raise The Roof’ out November 19 on Rounder Records!

Today sees the release of a new song from Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, “High and Lonesome,” from their upcoming 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 their folk, blues, country and soul influences with refreshing renditions. “High and Lonesome” is the collection’s original written by Plant and T Bone Burnett, who makes his return as album’s producer. The remainder of the album contains 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. 

“High and Lonesome” is the second preview, following lead single “Can’t Let Go” — a take on the Randy Weeks/Lucinda Williams song.

Listen to Plant, Burnett, and Krauss in harmony and backed by drummer Jay Bellerose, bassist Dennis Crouch, guitarist Marc Ribot, and pedal steel player Russel Pahl. In addition, Viktor Krauss on mellotron, Jeff Taylor on bass accordion, and Burnett on electric guitar and mellotron.

 

Pre-order Raise The Roof

St. Paul & The Broken Bones Return With ‘The Alien Coast’

St. Paul & The Broken Bones Return With ‘The Alien Coast’

American Blues Scene Staff

“When the settlers—or invaders, really—first came to the Gulf Coast they couldn’t figure out what it was, and started referring to it as the Alien Coast. That term really stuck with me, partly because it feels almost apocalyptic.” – Paul Janeway

St. Paul & The Broken Bones have announced their new album The Alien Coast will be released January 28, 2022 on ATO Records. Produced by Matt Ross-Spang, and featuring eleven new, original songs, The Alien Coast is the first SPATBB album tracked in the band’s hometown of Birmingham, AL. The arrangement allowed the octet to spend more time and tap a broader creative community than ever before, resulting in their most ambitious work to date.

Led by singer and lyricist Paul Janeway – a former bank teller and preacher-in-training who learned to sing in his church choir – the octet explore thrilling new territory on The Alien Coast, a fever dream convergence of soul and psychedelia, stoner metal and funk, animated by the very “fire and brimstone” which Janeway invokes in the album’s opening line. Unlimited studio-time allowed individual members of the band to experiment with synths and samples on The Alien Coast, and even collaborate with Birmingham beatmaker and hip-hop artist Randall Turner.

Janeway cites a similarly disparate range of influences that wove their way into the writing for The Alien Coast, from Greek mythology and dystopian sci-fi, to works of art like Bartolomé Bermejo’s Saint Michael Triumphs over the Devil and 17th-century Italian sculpture, to colonial-period history books. “The title actually came from reading about the history of the Gulf of Mexico, which is home for us,” he recalls. “When the settlers—or invaders, really—first came to the Gulf Coast they couldn’t figure out what it was, and started referring to it as the Alien Coast. That term really stuck with me, partly because it feels almost apocalyptic.”

Lead single “The Last Dance” has been released with a video directed by Machete Bang Bang (Coldplay, Jeff Goldblum, Evan Rachel Wood). The primary dancer featured in the video is Liv Mai, whose credits include Euphoria, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Transparent.

The juxtaposition of dancing while facing certain doom is what “Last Dance” is all about. Like dancing through a Mad Max scene. So naturally the video had to be a dance video. It was a pleasure to work with Machete Bang Bang and all the folks involved on this. I hope y’all enjoy – Paul Janeway.

St. Paul & The Broken Bones is Janeway, Jesse Phillips (bass), Browan Lollar (guitar), Kevin Leon (drums), Al Gamble (keyboards), Allen Branstetter (trumpet), Chad Fisher (trombone), and Amari Ansari (saxophone). International tour dates from this fall into next year have been announced, with more being revealed soon. The band will kick off their album release with a short in-store tour of the southeastern US, hitting some of their favorite record shops and selling an exclusive vinyl version only available at these performances.

St. Paul & The Broken Bones has reached incredible heights since breaking out with their first album in 2014. Their previous three albums each debuted in the Billboard 200, their legendary NPR Tiny Desk has over 7 million views, they’ve opened for the Rolling Stones, shared the stage with Elton John, and appeared on several television shows including Jimmy Kimmel Live, Austin City Limits and more. They were also the first-ever musical performance on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show.

 

St. Paul & The Broken Bones
Pre-Order The Alien Coast

 

*Feature image photo credit: Bobbi Rich

Steve Martin Banjo Prize Announces 2021 Winners

Steve Martin Banjo Prize Announces 2021 Winners

American Blues Scene Staff

Banjo prize winners will be featured on Deering Live on October 6

Steve Martin and the board of The Steve Martin Banjo Prize have announced two winners for the 2nd annual edition of the Prize. Building on the board’s mission to recognize excellence across the spectrum of banjo styles, this year’s winners embody the best of both 5-string bluegrass and 4-string jazz traditions. Each of the winners will receive an unrestricted check for $25,000.

“I am so proud to have my name on the new, expanded Banjo prize, with its wider scope and broader considerations,” says Martin. “The world of the banjo is expanding and our goal is to bring it under one roof.”

 On October 6th at 3:30 PM PT / 6:30 PM ET, Martin will introduce viewers to each of the winners on the Deering Banjo Company’s livestream channel, Deering Live, to be followed by a video feature of each winner together with interviews and live performance, as well as remarks from Wynton Marsalis and Sam Bush. Deering Live will also be available to view on the Facebook pages of the following co-sponsors and friends of the prize: The FreshGrass Festival, Compass Records, No Depression, Folk Alley and The International Bluegrass Music Association. Viewers can click HERE to watch.

 The 2021 winners are:

Alan Munde: One of the true titans of the 5-string banjo, Munde launched his professional career in the late 1960s playing with bluegrass legend Jimmy Martin. He went on to join the Flying Burrito Brothers, and later, The Country Gazette, whose members included fiddler Byron Berline.

A master of both traditional and melodic styles with a discography of over 20 recordings, Munde has influenced generations of bluegrass banjo players, including progressive stylists Béla Fleck, Alison Brown and Noam Pikelny, and has been pivotal in reimagining the possibilities for the 5-string banjo. 

Don Vappie: 4-string banjo maestro, Creole cultural expert, and jazzman extraordinaire, Don Vappie is a living embodiment of 300 years of New Orleans music. Vappie began playing at Preservation Hall in the late ’80s and for over 25 years has appeared regularly with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

He has presented educational programs for Carnegie Hall, NPR, and the Smithsonian Institution, recorded eight albums, and composed music for film and television, including Treme and American Creole: New Orleans Reunion, a PBS documentary which he co-produced and in which he was also featured.

Originally conceived of and launched in 2010 by comedy legend and banjo player Steve Martin, the Steve Martin Banjo Prize for Excellence in Banjo & Bluegrass put half a million dollars into the banjo community over the course of a decade with an unrestricted $50K award given annually to a master bluegrass or old-time banjo player.

Winners included some of the instrument’s brightest stars: Rhiannon Giddens, Noam Pikelny, Jens Kruger and Kristin Scott Benson. At the end of 2019, having fulfilled its initial mission of giving ten awards, Martin and the board determined that the Banjo Prize needed a new vision and infrastructure to move forward. Sponsored by The FreshGrass Foundation, The Steve Martin Charitable Foundation and The Compass Records Group, the new Steve Martin Banjo Prize recognizes outstanding achievement across all styles of 5 and 4 string banjo with an unrestricted cash award.

Current board members include Steve Martin, Alison Brown, Béla Fleck, Noam Pikelny, Anne Stringfield, Tony Trischka, Pete Wernick, Johnny Baier, Kristin Scott Benson, Roger Brown, Jaime Deering, Dom Flemons, Paul Schiminger, Chris Wadsworth and Garry West. Please visit, Steve Martin Banjo Prize.

Billy Bragg Is ‘Mid-Century Modern’ On New Single

Billy Bragg Is ‘Mid-Century Modern’ On New Single

Lauren Leadingham

Watch the video for “Mid-Century Modern”

Today, Billy Bragg releases an introspective, wall-of-sound single about turning over a new leaf. “Mid-Century Modern” is from his forthcoming tenth studio album, The Million Things That Never Happened, which has been rescheduled to October 29th (with Vinyl LPs releasing on November 12th in the US).

The accompanying performance video is from a streamed concert, originally streamed last month via Stabal. You can access the concert until October 10. 

Elaborating on the meaning of the song, Bragg remarks, “As a mid century modern geezer, I’m aware that my notions of personal relationships were formed almost fifty years ago, likewise my politics. To cling to that and imagine that you’ve nothing to learn from younger generations, you’re in danger of becoming a dinosaur. Kids have got new priorities and new ideas. Thatcher’s dead. The world has moved on. I’m trying to respond to the things I’m hearing now, rather than reminding folk of ‘the good old days.’”

The musicians featured on the track are Billy Bragg (electric guitar & vocals), Romeo Stodart (acoustic gtr, bass, piano), Dave Izumi (Hammond organ), Joe Harvey Whyte (pedal steel, lap steel), and Darren Beckett (drums).

In addition to recording artist, live performer, and singer-songwriter/activist, Bragg is also a best-selling author/musicologist. In 2017 he released Roots, Radicals & Rockers – How Skiffle Changed the World and, more recently, The Three Dimensions of Freedom.

The Million Things That Never Happened track listing:

  • Should Have Seen It Coming
  • Mid-Century Modern
  • Lonesome Ocean
  • Good Days And Bad Days
  • Freedom Doesn’t Come For Free
  • Reflections On The Mirth Of Creativity
  • The Million Things That Never Happened
  • The Buck Doesn’t Stop Here No More
  • I Believe In You
  • Pass It On
  • I Will Be Your Shield
  • Ten Mysterious Photos That Can’t Be Explained
  •  

    Billy Bragg 
    The Million Things That Never Happened – Choose music service

     

    *Feature image credit: American Blues Scene’s Phil Solomonson / Philamonjaro

     

     

    Guitar Stylist Steve Hill Takes On Robert Johnson’s ‘Hellhound On My Trail’

    Guitar Stylist Steve Hill Takes On Robert Johnson’s ‘Hellhound On My Trail’

    Sarah French

    “It’s pretty deep — one I couldn’t have sung as a younger man.” – Steve Hill

    Steve Hill is back with a new single, Robert Johnson’s “Hellhound On My Trail.”

    Widely considered one of Canada’s most prolific guitarists, Steve Hill has never stopped delivering wildly ambitious performances and satisfying original albums. Heralded wherever he goes, the guitarist, singer, drummer, harmonica player, songwriter and accomplished producer is a musical force to be reckoned with.

    Forget the fact that he has won a Juno award, played concertos with Kent Nagano and the Montreal Symphonic Orchestra, won enough Blues awards to fill a bathtub and walked the boards of too many stages to count throughout his 27-year career, when you stop to hear his music you know you’re listening to the real deal.

    A guitar stylist with a wide musical vocabulary, he has performed over 2,500 concerts in many configurations. For the past 8 years he has toured extensively throughout Canada and Europe in support of his critically acclaimed Solo Recordings albums trilogy and one man band show. Steve got his start as an 18-year-old sideman in 1993 and released his first album in 1997. Since then he has shared the stage with many of his heroes, like Ray Charles, B.B. King and ZZ Top, to name a few, and has played at some of Canada’s biggest music festivals. With 11 albums of original songs to his name, he has explored everything from Rock, Country, Folk, and all kinds of music, while continuing to fuse it all with his first love, the Blues.

    ‘It’s a very special song,” says Hill. “I’ve been into his music for over 30 years, covered a lot of his songs over the years but I used to stay away from that one. It’s pretty deep — one I couldn’t have sung as a younger man. I wanted to pay homage to the master, as well as make my own version of it.”

    Steve Hill Music

    Johnny Cash Covers Bob Dylan on Grateful Dead Soundman’s Never Released Live Recording

    Johnny Cash Covers Bob Dylan on Grateful Dead Soundman’s Never Released Live Recording

    American Blues Scene Staff

    In never-released collision of musical worlds, Johnny Cash covers Bob Dylan in recording from Grateful Dead’s sound wizard Owsley “Bear” Stanley

    While Johnny Cash had covered Bob Dylan throughout the 1960s leading up to his 4/24/68 show at San Francisco’s Carousel Ballroom, his performance of “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright” from that evening takes on a special level of significance due to the show’s audio engineer: Grateful Dead sonic innovator and “Wall Of Sound” architect Owsley “Bear” Stanley. As Cash and his Tennessee Three infuse the folk anthem with signature “boom-chicka-boom” flair, Stanley’s recording is similarly rich in sonic experimentation and filled with the idiosyncrasies of his own corners of the musical universe.

    Each bringing their own distinctive touch to the cover, Cash and Stanley simultaneously bring the impacts of Sun Studios and Haight-Ashbury to a Greenwich Village classic; marking a rare and early confluence of perhaps the 20th century’s most important musical movements. Today, Stanley’s recording of the Cash cover has officially been released, making it public for the first time beyond just the 700 or so audience members who heard it live. “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright” is one of two Dylan covers which Cash played and Stanley recorded at the Carousel that evening, joined in the set – and on the new album – by his first-known performance of “One Too Many Mornings.”

    At The Carousel Ballroom will be released widely on all digital formats by Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment, and also be available on CD/2LP from Renew Records/BMG. It will feature new essays by Johnny and June Carter Cash’s son John Carter Cash, Starfinder Stanley, The Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir, and Widespread Panic’s Dave Schools, as well as new art by Susan Archie, and a reproduction of the original Carousel Ballroom concert poster by Steve Catron. This release marks the latest entry in the Owsley Stanley Foundation’s Bear’s Sonic Journals series, which has previously included Stanley’s live recordings of The Allman Brothers Band, Tim Buckley, Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, Doc & Merle Watson and many more.

    Pre-order the full album Bear’s Sonic Journals: Johnny Cash, At The Carousel Ballroom, April 24 1968 here before its October 29 release.

    *Feature image courtesy of the John R Cash Trust

    Bobby Rush Celebrates 50 Years of ‘Chicken Heads’

    Bobby Rush Celebrates 50 Years of ‘Chicken Heads’

    American Blues Scene Staff

    In 2021-22 Rush and his compilation co-producer (and longtime manager) Jeff DeLia embarked on a project that would honor the legacy of his breakthrough composition/recording. They sought to create four new versions from the artist himself and a group of his high-profile friends.

    In 1971, Bobby Rush released Chicken Heads” on Galaxy Records (later sold to Fantasy Records and Concord Music) and in the subsequent months it inched up the Billboard R&B chart, marking his first career hit. The B-side was a track called “Mary Jane.”

    The song’s 50th anniversary is this year. And on Record Store Day/Black Friday (November 26, 2021), Rush will celebrate with new duet versions featuring three blues giants: Buddy Guy, Gov’t Mule, and Christone “Kingfish” Ingram. A limited-edition 2,000-unit pressing of a 12″ vinyl will be released exclusively in independent record stores across the United States and Europe on Bobby Rush’s own Deep Rush Records, distributed via Nashville’s Thirty Tigers and The Orchard.

    Over the years “Chicken Heads” has been a staple of Rush’s live performance, whether with his full Southern soul band and two booty dancers or stripped down acoustic and solo, with Rush sharing the story of how the record deal came to be with the aid of his colleague, A&R man/producer/songwriter Calvin Carter.

    Since 1971, the song has been utilized in film and television, leading to its second emergence on a Billboard chart as part of the soundtrack for Black Snake Moan, the 2006 release starring Samuel L. Jackson and Justin Timberlake. It also appeared in HBO’s Ballers (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), The Deuces on HBO2 (James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal), and several other shows. In 2015, “Chicken Heads,” “Mary Jane” and 72 other gems from the Bobby Rush catalog were packaged into a 50-year career retrospective box set (Blues Music Award and Living Blues Award winning) titled Chicken Heads: A 50-Year History of Bobby Rush on Omnivore Recordings.

    “Chicken Heads” topped the soul charts in Chicago and many other markets. Its laid-back, rhythm guitar-driven style stood in stark contrast to the sounds of the Dramatics, 100 Proof Aged in Soul, the Spinners, and Jerry Butler— all of whom were mainstays of soul radio at that time.

    In the course of the last half century, Bobby Rush has established himself as a consummate entertainer, prolific songwriter, successful recording artist, mentor, independent artist, and businessman, leading to an induction in the Blues Hall of Fame, two GRAMMY® Awards among six nominations, 14 Blues Music Awards among 54 nominations, the Crossroads of American Music Awards presented by the Grammy Museum Mississippi, the keys to 14 U.S. cities, the first performance of a blues artist at the Great Wall of China (leading to the title from China “Ambassador of the Blues”), and hundreds of other awards and honors.

    In 2021-22 Rush and his compilation co-producer (and longtime manager) Jeff DeLia embarked on a project that would honor the legacy of his breakthrough composition/recording. They sought to create four new versions from the artist himself and a group of his high-profile friends.

    The result: “Chicken Heads” reimagined in the unique styles of iconic multi-GRAMMY® winner Buddy Guy, jamband Gov’t Mule (which features Allman Bros. alum Warren Haynes), and rising blues star Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, with Rush featured on each track, plus Rush’s own new take made in Mississippi in the downhome Southern soul style that his band has been playing it in for these last several decades. The recordings were laid down in various studios across the U.S.: Gov’t Mule in Connecticut and L.A., produced by Gov’t Mule; Christone “Kingfish” at Royal Studios in Memphis, produced by Nick Goldston, engineered by Boo Mitchell (GRAMMY winning Engineer of “Uptown Funk”); and Buddy Guy in Nashville, produced by multi-GRAMMY winner Tom Hambridge.

    These are artists close to Rush’s heart: Buddy Guy has included a version of the song at his concerts for years and the two are dear friends. Gov’t Mule has long performed another Rush song in their shows. Rush and Warren Haynes got reacquainted at the B.B. King Tribute in early 2020, which sparked a new friendship. Christone “Kingfish” Ingram is a rising star, longtime friend and mentee of Bobby Rush, and also a resident of Mississippi. Kingfish has gone on record stating that Bobby Rush was one of his early influences.

    Bobby Rush was born Emmett Ellis Jr. in Homer, La., on November 10, 1933. The son of a guitar- and harmonica-playing pastor father, he moved throughout the South before settling in Chicago in 1953. Backing the likes of Muddy Waters and Little Walter, he was soon making his own recordings for Checker, ABC, and Salem before “Chicken Heads” put him on the map. Since then, he has released 27 studio albums and countless singles on labels such as Jewel, Philadelphia International and Warner Bros. After settling back in the South in Jackson, Miss. in the ’80s, he recorded for LaJam, Urgent, Malaco/Waldoxy and his own Deep Rush Records.

     

    Bobby Rush
    Record Store Day/Stores

    Guy King Premieres Autobiographical Title Track, ‘Joy Is Coming’

    Guy King Premieres Autobiographical Title Track, ‘Joy Is Coming’

    American Blues Scene Staff

    ‘Joy Is Coming’ is available now! Listen to the title track!

    Blues and jazz singer-guitarist Guy King is more than just his distinctive guitar techniques, which have been likened to another blues King (Albert, that is). On his new album, Joy Is Coming, King realizes an artistic breakthrough and sings soulful songs from the heart.  

    Seven of the tracks were co-written with author/songwriter David Ritz, whose first song ever written was Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing.” Joy is Coming is the product of their longtime collaborative chemistry that comes natural, as they write in the moment about real experiences and real feelings. With creative string arrangements and masterful guitar and vocals, this is an album everyone should add to their collection. Both lyrically and musically, Joy Is Coming marks a chapter of King’s autobiography. Each song expresses a deeply personal story and connection. 

    Recently, King released the singles “Devil’s Toy” (featuring the great Joe Bonamassa), “Choices,” and “Sanity.”  Today, ABS is proud to present the title track from Joy Is Coming.

    Of the track which King considers to be a fusion of rock, soul and R&B, he shares with ABS:

    I wrote the song when my wife was pregnant with our first born daughter Rahel (she is the “Joy” I’m referring to in the song). I wrote it with legendary songwriter David Ritz, and the song also talks about the positivity and the good that is in all of us.

    Joy is Coming, available on vinyl, CD, and download, was produced by Guy King and co-produced by guitar great Josh Smith. For the vinyl lovers, the vinyl is a “deluxe” edition that comes with a mp3 download card and an insert with song lyrics and poster.

     

    Guy King

    ‘Another Side’ Of The Meters’ Lead Guitarist Leo Nocentelli

    ‘Another Side’ Of The Meters’ Lead Guitarist Leo Nocentelli

    Lauren Leadingham

    “What you’re telling me is an amazing discovery. That’s a part of my life that I thought was gone forever.” – Leo Nocentelli

    Before his GRAMMY® and entering the hallowed halls of the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, guitar great Leo Nocentelli was a session musician, backing up the likes of Otis Redding, the Supremes, and Lee Dorsey and the Temptations. By the mid-60s, he co-founded The Meters, who over the next decade would perform on records for Dr. John, LaBelle, Paul McCartney, etc. By the ‘70s, The Meters were on the Billboard charts, and a generation later sampled by major hip-hop artists including A Tribe Called Quest, N.W.A., 2Pac, and Public Enemy. 

    Nocentelli still lives in New Orleans and still makes music. The celebrated archival reissue label Light in the Attic has announced the release of Another Side, a previously unreleased Leo Nocentelli studio album. Due out November 19th in vinyl, CD, cassette, and digital formats, this unearthed gem highlights the funky guitarist’s stripped-down approach. Backing Nocentelli is an all-star line-up of New Orleans royalty, including Allen Toussaint (piano), James Black (drums), and both George Porter Jr.(bass) and Zigaboo Modeliste (drums) of The Meters.

    Recorded at Cosimo Matassa’s Jazz City Studio in New Orleans between 1970 and 1972, Another side features nine original tracks — with the addition of his soulful take on Elton John’s “Your Song,” which had just hit the airwaves at the time. Remarkable that these recordings were unused for decades and even survived Hurricane Katrina. They were later discovered 2,000 miles away by record collector Mike Nishita at a Southern California swap meet in 2018. 

     Listen to the first single, the folky and enchantingly executed “Thinking Of The Day.” 

    Pre-order Another Side

     

    *Feature image credit: Michael P. Smith © The Historic New Orleans Collection

     

     

     

    Sol Roots Band With Guest Gabe Stillman To Perform at Legendary JV’s

    Sol Roots Band With Guest Gabe Stillman To Perform at Legendary JV’s

    American Blues Scene Staff

    Saturday Oct 2, the Sol Roots band with guest Gabe Stillman perform a night of deep blues, uplifting soul, and powerful rock at the legendary JV’s in Northern VA!

    On Saturday Oct 2, the Sol Roots band with guest Gabe Stillman perform at the legendary JV’s in Falls Church, Virginia. This special blues/soul/rock celebration will showcase world class musicians in a relaxed venue that has been known for decades for showcasing some of the best national and regional musical talent.

    Sol Roots is a powerful guitarist and soul-soaked vocalist who regularly brings in an incredible roster of guests to work with his band, which adds excitement and diversity to each show. Frequent guests have included personnel such as harmonica legend Phil Wiggins (Cephas & Wiggins), saxophone master Ron Holloway (Gov’t Mule, Little Feat), trombonist Lil Joe Burton (of BB King, Junior Wells), Dan Leonard (of Deanna Bogart) and more.

    Sol is proud to be an official Home Grown Music Network artist and a “Next Generation” Music Maker Relief Foundation artist. Sol Roots was awarded “Best Blues Act/Group” 2019 by The Wammies / The MusicianShip

    Gabe Stillman is recognized as a rising star in the blues world, who always brings energetic, acrobatic, and fiery guitar performances. Gabe is a graduate from the prestigious Berklee College of Music, and has a sound remarkably rooted in the blues, while drawing from the deep well of all American roots music. Gabe Stillman recently signed with Vizztone Records and has put out an acclaimed new album, Say The Word, which produced by Anson Funderbough. The Gabe Stillman Band has been touring steadily in support of this album, as well as Gabe being a guest feature on shows with additional friends such as The Nighthawks and Sol Roots band.

    “Gabe Stillman is one of the most promising young blues talents on the scene today” – Bruce Iglauer (President, Alligator Records)

    These two fantastic performers, Sol Roots and Gabe Stillman, will join forces Saturday, October 2nd for a special one-night-only concert, which will feature musicians that have worked with acts such as Danny Gatton, Chuck Berry, Beverly “Guitar” Watkins, Taj Mahal, Tom Principato, The Nighthawks and more.

    The legendary JV’s has been showcasing the best in national, regional, and local Washington D.C. area blues, rock, soul, rockabilly, folk, and more for decades. JV’s has also been supporting the local community with free food for the homeless, first responders, full time musicians, and more ever since 2020.

     

    Gabe Stillman
    Sol Roots Music

     

    *Photo credits: Choice Photography & Alan Grossman Photography.

    Royston Langdon Announces Second Solo Project, ‘Chains’

    Royston Langdon Announces Second Solo Project, ‘Chains’

    American Blues Scene Staff

    EP release coincides with 25-date U.S. tour with The Psychedelic Furs, kicking off on October 16th!

    English vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, and songwriter Royston Langdon (former lead singer for the British rock band Spacehog) is set to release his second solo project this fall. Available to pre-order now, Langdon’s six-track EP Chains (due out October 29th via BFD/The Orchard in CD and digital formats, with a vinyl edition coming next year) features all-new compositions, as well as covers of songs from David Bowie and Iggy Pop.

    In conjunction with the EP’s pre-order launch, Langdon released the lead single, “Halfway Home.” Langdon shares, “‘Halfway Home’ was written with a sense of urgency. I know I’m at a crossroads but I’m still full of life. Perhaps, with the benefit of a small amount of wisdom, I feel more aware now (than ever before) that one is emotionally always halfway between life and death. I’m lucky in that I survived, where many of my peers haven’t. So, to that end, the song is about accepting where we’re at in this very moment and let’s face it, we’ve all been locked up for awhile and I for one, have given rise to the feeling that there’s not a hell of a lot of time left…so let’s get on with it.”

    Recorded in Brooklyn, NY, Langdon enlisted Bryce Goggin (Antony and the Johnsons, The Apples in Stereo) and Adam Sachs to produce and engineer Chains. Langdon handled the songwriting on the four original tracks (along with Matt Hackett on the song “Chains”) and played all the instruments heard on the EP, with the exception of “Chains” and “Creepy Crawly” featuring drummer Parker Kindred (Jeff Buckley, Black Beatle) and “Halfway Home” featuring Sachs on drums.

    In support of the EP, Langdon is embarking on a 25-date U.S. tour with The Psychedelic Furs, kicking off on October 16th in Tucson, AZ and wrapping up on November 21st in Concord, NH. The tour includes stops in Houston, Dallas, Austin, New Orleans, Orlando, and New York, among others. 

     Regarding Chains, Langdon shares, “I’ve often found it difficult for me to move on in my life and in my work. At times, I’ve chosen seemingly reliable mechanisms of avoidance, rather than face the more difficult confrontation and change required. This practice has in turn, created its own sort of trauma loops, which include repeating the same old patterns over and over, eventually leading to the destruction and recycling of relationships, and leaving me scared to get close.

    “During this destruction and confusion, I notice similarities to the world around me and the world online, where we try to create a new and better version of the world for ourselves — one in which we can merely scroll and in doing so, immediately recognize certain patterns in others, eventually leading to our development of an entirely new sense or instinct to help us better navigate our reality. Sometimes, I catch myself zoned in on the idea of this pretend, online version of reality because it’s more beautiful and better than my actual present reality (with all its frailties), which I’m afraid of. 

     This inspired the self-titled track ‘Chains,’ where I use a metaphor for the world’s rich building McMansion after McMansion, row after row, in hopes of creating a new version of ‘a better life.’ In being so desperate and willing to go to any lengths to avoid their own fears, by creating a fake of a fake, they manufacture a ‘today’ which is just another version of what they had yesterday, and never another tomorrow.”

     Now based in Los Angeles, after 25 years in New York, Langdon is gearing up for the release of his second solo project and sharing his new music live with fans all over the U.S. this fall. 

    2021 U.S. tour dates with The Psychedelic Furs:

    October 16: Tucson, AZ @ Rialto Theatre

    October 17: Santa Fe, NM @ Lensic Performing Arts Center

    October 19: Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall

    October 20: Dallas, TX @ Granada Theater

    October 21: Austin, TX @ Emo’s Austin

    October 23: New Orleans, LA @ Tipitina’s Uptown

    October 27: Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ Revolution Live

    October 29: Clearwater, FL @ Bilheimer Capitol Theatre

    October 30: Orlando, FL @ Hard Rock Live Orlando

    October 31: Saint Augustine Shores, FL @ Ponte Vedra Concert Hall

    November 2: Charlotte, NC @ Neighborhood Theatre

    November 3: Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle

    November 6: Rockville, MD @ Robert E. Parilla Performing Arts Center

    November 5: York, PA @ Appell Center for the Performing Arts

    November 7: Tarrytown, NY @ Tarrytown Music Hall

    November 9: New Haven, CT @ College Street Music Hall

    November 10: Phoenixville, PA @ Colonial Theatre

    November 12: Atlantic City, NJ @ Hard Rock Cafe

    November 13: New York, NY @ Apollo Theater

    November 14: Beverly, MA @ The Cabot

    November 16: Northampton, MA @ Academy of Music

    November 17: Montclair, NJ @ The Wellmont Theater

    November 19: Huntington, NY @ The Paramount

    November 20: Albany, NY @ Empire Live

    November 21: Concord, NH @ Capitol Center For The Arts

     

    Connect with Royston Langdon: 

    OfficialFacebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTubeSpotify | Apple

     

    *Feature image credit: Harmony Gerber

     

     

    Nicholas Tremulis & The Prodigals Live At City Winery Chicago, September 22nd

    Nicholas Tremulis & The Prodigals Live At City Winery Chicago, September 22nd

    American Blues Scene Staff

    ‘Rarified World’ debuted at City Winery Chicago!

    Veteran Chicago singer-songwriter/producer/arranger Nicholas Tremulis releases his new record, Rarified World (available on limited edition vinyl and download), with 17-piece band The Prodigals in late fall.

    The album debuted at City Winery Chicago on September 22nd. For this premiere, Tremulis has assembled a super group of Chicago’s music elite, brought together to perform his unique form of genre-bending music that Rolling Stones bassist Darryl Jones describes as “A total masterpiece from front to back.” A list of musicians that reads like the credits of a documentary of the greatest contributions to American music by music giants spanning rock, blues, soul, jazz, Motown and gospel.

    The raw honesty and triumphant arrangements of Rarified World are a direct result of a year of devastating loss. Tremulis narrowly overcame his battle with COVID-19 virus only to be blindsided by the death of his son Stephanos, to whom the album is dedicated. Rarified World is presented in a beautiful and thoughtful package, a deluxe color-vinyl LP release featuring photography by international award-winning photographer Sandro Miller — with a bonus download card of never-before-heard recordings, including his jazz-infused piano record, “For Homer,” an ode to his musician father. Check out his video for J Paul Getty.

    Ensemble:

    Rick Barnes-(Ronnie Spector, Steve Earle, Cool Dreams)

    Larry Beers-(Marianne Faithful, Sir “Mack” Rice, Blondie Chaplin)

    Derek Brand-(Hubert Sumlin, Charlie Sexton, Kim Myzelle)

    John Pirruccello-(Keith Richards, Autumn Defense, Erik Scott)

    Kahil El Zabar-(Dizzy Gillespie, Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone)

    Jose Rendon-(Paquito D’ Rivera, Arturo Sandoval, Aretha Franklin)

    Andy Baker-(Aretha Franklin, Mavis Staples, Yo La Tengo)

    Jean-Christophe Leroy-(Lalo Schifrin, Miami Sound Machine, Howard Levy)

    Isaiah Oby-(Noname, Eryn Allen Kane, Billy Davis)

    Renee “Squeeky” Robinson-(Albert Collins, Mavis Staples, Darryl Jones)

    Efren Vasquez-(Grupo Vanguardia, La Anarchia, Los Crudos De Durango)

    Roger Reupert- (Todd Rundgren, Alejandro Escovedo, Fareed Haque)

    James Perkins-(Ringo Starr, Famadou Don Moye, The Chi-Lites)

    Corey Wilkes-(Ethnic Heritage Ensemble, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Roy Ayers)

    Paul Von Mertens-(Brian Wilson, Poi Dog Pondering, Phil Ramone)

     

    Full photo gallery below. All images: Phil Solomonson / Philamonjaro

     

    Rarified World

     

     

     

    Landslide Records Announces New 40th Anniversary Two-Disc Compilation

    Landslide Records Announces New 40th Anniversary Two-Disc Compilation

    American Blues Scene Staff

    “I feel privileged to have been able to work with so many highly-talented musicians and producers, several of whom have become close friends over the years. It’s been a great ride so far.” – Michael Rothschild, Landslide Records Founder and President

    Landslide Records is proud and excited to announce an October 29 release date for LANDSLIDE RECORDS, 40TH ANNIVERSARY, a double-CD package commemorating its 40th year in business. The album features many of the notable recording artists who have appeared on the label over the years, including The Derek Trucks Band, Widespread Panic, Col. Bruce Hampton, The Brains, Tinsley Ellis, Sean Costello and Webb Wilder.  The specially-priced album, consisting of 33 tracks and over two hours of music from its catalog, is an eclectic mix of Southern Roots, Blues, Jazz and Rockabilly genres that will also appear in all digital formats.

    “‘You should start a label, man,’ said the beyond-classifiable Atlanta musician Bruce Hampton (then known as the city’s ‘only living art object,’ but not yet a ‘Colonel’) in 1981 during one of our many discussions about music,” Landslide Records founder and president Michael Rothschild recalls. “Hampton was coaxing me into producing the other-worldly material he’d been creating with his musical partner, the terrific multi-instrumentalist Billy McPherson, who were known professionally as The Late Bronze Age (LBA).  I’d seen some of their shows, which were fun, but the songs, though rhythmically catchy, contained impenetrable and wholly non-commercial lyrics.  ‘The annexed vortex tranquiled an address thief’s grief’ and ‘merged moons perpetuated a resurgence of guesswork’ were lines obviously not destined for the Billboard pop charts.  Nevertheless, making a record with these talented characters promised to be an entertaining sideline from my corporate job.  Hampton also assured me that consequently ‘we would all be riding around in limousines.’  Even if the truth fell short of his assessment, it was the beginning of Landslide Records.”

    Founded in Atlanta in 1981, the label’s first release was Outside Looking Out by The Late Bronze Age.  The album was received well critically and, along with early records by percussionist David Earle Johnson (with jazz guitarist John Abercrombie and pianist Dan Wall) and reed master Paul McCandless, the company was able to establish offices in downtown Atlanta and set up credible independent national distribution. Early on, Landslide released debut albums from Webb Wilder and The Beatnecks, Widespread Panic, Cigar Store Indians, the Lost Continentals and The Derek Trucks Band.  It has since focused on a wide array of roots-oriented Southern-based recording artists, including its latest release, Alafia Moon, by Tampa blues-rocker Damon Fowler.

    Outside Looking Out garnered some excellent reviews, but despite a rave by Robert Palmer in the Sunday New York Times Arts and Leisure section, the album sold maybe two records in every state – a total stiff,” Rothschild remembers. “Yet, right off the bat we were deluged with demo submissions from aspiring artists across the country, all of whom apparently thought that if we’d released The Late Bronze Age, we’d release anything.  Moving forward, Hampton helped point the label towards a jazz-based roster with friends like David Earle Johnson, joined by John Abercrombie and Paul McCandless.  In 1983, Tinsley Ellis and his hardworking blues band, The Heartfixers featuring Chicago Bob Nelson, came on board, and along with The Brains, new wavers led by an innovative singer/keyboardist/songwriter named Tom Gray, opened up fresh genres for us to pursue.

    “We are proud to have since released debut albums from Webb Wilder, Widespread Panic and The Derek Trucks Band, and to continue on at 40 years to market an abundance of high quality, roots-oriented Southern artists.  I feel privileged to have been able to work with so many highly-talented musicians and producers, several of whom have become close friends over the years. It’s been a great ride so far. We’ve coped with all the music business changes along the way…from vinyl records to cassettes to compact discs, to digital downloads and streaming, all of which presented new challenges. Currently, we look forward to moving ahead with a new slate of releases scheduled for 2022.”

    LANDSLIDE RECORDS, 40TH ANNIVERSARY’s colorful package was designed by the company’s longtime art director, Atlanta’s J. Flournoy Holmes, who has designed most of its album covers since the beginning.

    LANDSLIDE RECORDS, 40TH ANNIVERSARY will be available at retail accounts, online, and through www.landsliderecords.com

    World Premiere Track: Ryan Lee Crosby ‘Down So Long’

    World Premiere Track: Ryan Lee Crosby ‘Down So Long’

    JD Nash

    “Lyrically, ‘Down So Long’ is an acknowledgement of the truth of suffering. The melodies derive equal inspiration from the North Mississippi blues of Robert Belfour and the songs of Malian singer/guitarist Boubacar Traoré.” – Ryan Lee Crosby

    Deep bluesman Ryan Lee Crosby traveled from his native Boston to Memphis, TN to record his upcoming album, the dirty, electric Winter Hill Blues. With a street date of June 14th, 2022 via Crossroad Records, Winter Hill Blues was produced by Fat Possum’s Bruce Watson, famed for producing albums for Junior Kimbrough and RL Burnside. The result is the best work of Crosby’s career.

    Already, Crosby has toured Germany multiple times, played the Deep Blues Fest and Juke Joint Fest in Clarksdale, MS, and taped an episode of the syndicated radio show Beale Street Caravan (which airs on over 100 stations).

    Perhaps most significantly, for a musician who focuses on the North Mississippi and Bentonia blues styles respectively, he has spent serious time with musicians like Grammy nominated Jimmy “Duck” Holmes,” who has served as a mentor to Ryan.

    The reason this premiere is so early is due to the fact that today Crosby is playing at Holmes’ famed Blue Front Cafe in Bentonia for its anniversary party. Ryan is also scheduled to appear with Holmes and Shawn Marsh at the Green Room at Crosstown Arts in Memphis on October 9th. For anyone in the area, these are don’t miss shows.

    On “Down So Long,” Crosby is joined by Memphis’ George Sluppick (JJ Grey & Mofro, Albert King) on drums and Mark Edgar Stuart (Jack Oblivian, Alvin Youngblood Hart) on bass.

    Lyrically, ‘Down So Long’ is an acknowledgement of the truth of suffering. The melodies derive equal inspiration from the North Mississippi blues of Robert Belfour and the songs of Malian singer/guitarist Boubacar Traoré. The guitar on this track is a joyful imagining of what a musical conversation between these two artists might sound like, filtered through the feeling of my playing. – Ryan Lee Crosby

    Ryan Lee Crosby
    Pre-Order Winter Hill Blues

    Tangerine Records Releases Lyric Video For Ray Charles’ ‘Till There Was You’

    Tangerine Records Releases Lyric Video For Ray Charles’ ‘Till There Was You’

    American Blues Scene Staff

    One of the greatest artists of all time, Ray Charles successfully mastered and forever changed the blues, jazz, gospel, rock, pop, and country music landscapes.

    In celebration of what would today have been his 91st birthday, Tangerine Records has released a new lyric video for Ray Charles’ timeless recording of “Till There Was You.” The song is included in the recently released limited-edition box set True Genius, which features 90 of the greatest songs from Charles’ legendary career.

    The highly anticipated set, which has been featured in Rolling Stone and American Songwriter, also includes a special bonus disc of eight previously unreleased tracks recorded live in Stockholm in 1972. True Genius is available now on all digital platforms, making dozens of Ray classics available at streaming services for the first time. Stream or purchase True Genius HERE.

    Tonight at 7:00PM Eastern, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is proud to host a free virtual panel discussion on the life and career of Ray Charles. Panelists will discuss Tangerine Records, the label Charles founded in 1962, his mastery of multiple musical genres, and his enduring cultural legacy. The free virtual event will take place tonight on the Rock Hall’s YouTube channel.

    Event panelists include John Burk, producer on Charles’ seminal duets album Genius Loves Company as well as the True Genius box set.  He is also a partner in Exceleration Music.  Joining in the event is David Ritz, music historian & author of Charles’ biography Brother Ray. The panel will be moderated by Jason Hanley, the Rock Hall’s Vice President of Education and Visitor Engagement and Andy Leach, the Rock Hall’s Senior Director of Museum & Archival Collections.

    The digital release of True Genius marks the first time this incredible collection of Ray Charles most important works will be widely available on streaming platforms, bringing classic hits such as “Hit The Road Jack,” “Crying Time,” “Busted,” “America The Beautiful,” “A Song for You,” “Unchain My Heart,” and many, many more back to streaming after more than a decade.

    The box set also includes a beautifully designed coffee table style book with rare, unseen photos, and detailed liner notes by Ray Charles Foundation President Valerie Ervin, legendary writer and music journalist A. Scott Galloway, and featuring a special message from Quincy Jones.

    Tangerine Records will also release True Genius: Sides of Ray on November 19th, a double disc vinyl collection that illustrates Charles’ many musical “sides” by focusing each album side on the genre categories he visited most: soul, jazz & blues, country, and pop, available for pre-order here.

    On August 16th, The Country Music Hall of Fame announced that Ray Charles has been inducted as an official member. Charles, who revolutionized the country genre and brought it to new audiences with albums like 1962’s Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, was inducted in the “Veterans Era Artist” category.

    Memphissippi Sounds: ‘Welcome to the Land’

    Memphissippi Sounds: ‘Welcome to the Land’

    American Blues Scene Staff

    When Cameron and Damion met up, something clicked instantly. Damion had never heard hill country old-school groove music, but as soon as he did, he realized he’d been a fish out of water with more conventional blues.

    Two young men playing original blues, the one-chord trance drone chanting form that preceded what most folks think of as the traditional 12 bar/ AAB lyric structures, might seem like a musical anachronism. But when the song’s vocal chant kicks in “get cha foot off my neck,” you know it’s 2021 and as modern as can be.

    This is the work of Memphissippi Sounds, the duo of Damion “Yella P” Pearson and Cameron Kimbrough. Their new release from Little Village is called Welcome to the Land, and it will be out November 15th . It was recorded at Memphis’s legendary Sun Studios and produced by Aki Kumar, a Little Village artist and board member who plays a very mean harp himself.

    As we know you can guess, Memphissippi is a partnership of musicians (Damion, harmonica, and Cameron, drums—both play guitar and sing as well) from, respectively, Memphis and North Mississippi, which are essentially adjacent and also
    worlds apart.

    Music hasn’t changed so much in North Mississippi, so it’s less surprising that Cameron was in touch with these original blues, particularly because his grandfather is the well-known Junior Kimbrough.

    But Damion grew up on his father’s record collection, which featured George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic and the Ohio Players. Local and national rap and hip hop, from Playa Fly and Dr. Dre mixed with church every Sunday growing up. He picked up on blues from Memphis’ stalwart blues station WDIA, and he studied it seriously, “the older the better for me,” from John Lee Hooker to Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Jimmy Reed, and both Sonny Boys. His family was first-generation Memphis, and the rest of the family still lived in Madison County, Tennessee, some in town and some on the farm, so he was never too far from the blues.

    Cameron, from the North Mississippi country village of Pott Camp, “deer hunting, four-wheel riding,” did indeed grow up surrounded by the blues….and a few other forms of music. His early favorite was Metallica’s “No Leaf Clover” with the San Francisco Symphony. “It was so dramatic.” It led to System of a Down, Nirvana, Incubus, and rap, as well as the Holly Springs Saturday morning blues, “a southern soul circuit type of blues.” He moved on to years of playing R &B, but his life blew up in his late twenties when the trucking company he worked for got caught selling commercial driver’s licenses and Cameron lost his job, his truck, his house, and his life to that point. Suddenly, the blues were truly meaningful, and he held them close.

    When Cameron and Damion met up, something clicked instantly. Damion had never heard hill country old-school groove music, but as soon as he did, he realized he’d been a fish out of water with more conventional blues. “I play with a lot of feeling, which is deeper than a lot of guys on Beale Street doing the 12 bar, so I always felt like I was out of place. Then I found Cam and realized, this is where my music is, my harmonica can really take off with him and with this kind of music. I was having my own kind of feeling and that feeling, once I really honed in on it, just worked with this type of music. Like James Brown said, ‘Trust in the one,’ and follow the groove.”

    Cameron felt the same way. “I think Damion pretty much fed off of my energy of what I was playing, you know, he’s a really top guitarist, and so he had the technical way of doing things and I had the spiritual way of doing it. And I think he combined his spirit with my spirit and it just kind of took off from there. We didn’t have any conversation, we just started playing together. Actually, we were walking around somewhere playing on the street and we caught people’s attention and that’s when we started to realize that maybe we got something, because we was just having fun with it, but when we played it seemed to draw people in, and people started asking us what our name was.”

    Enter Aki Kumar, who’d met Damion at a harmonica workshop in Holly Springs. After “stalking” him on his Instagram page, Aki found out about Memphissippi Sounds and proposed recording. Damion steered them to Sun, which pleased his partner. “Man, I was geeked to be in there recording. I knew, you know, that we might not go platinum, but we got some juju on this one. I was surprised at how fast the engineers worked. Aki really surprised me because he really did play a large part of the ideas that kind of came together …Just his presence and the way that we all worked well together in that studio. It was like clean, pristine. Everything was fast if you wanted something. They made sure it happened. It was just a smooth operation.”

    In his first stint as producer, Aki was equally impressed with the duo. Never having seen them play together, he avoided going in “with any kind of predetermined agenda. This instinct was a fairly good one. Both gentlemen, being the seasoned musicians that they are, took very little time getting up and running and required very little direction/course correction. They were jovial, relaxed, free-flowing and took creative chances even while holding themselves to a high musical standard. I’m grateful they were open to whatever inputs and suggestions I provided on occasion.”

    The album opens with Damion’s “Who’s Gonna Ride,” an anthem to the pandemic, George Floyd, and Black Lives Matter. “Seeing that,” he said, “but also personal experiences of seeing friends or myself in those kind of situations, and if something happened to me personally, would the whole world come out, ‘who’s going to ride, who’s going to ride with me.’ If I can’t speak for myself, who is going to ride? Who is going to tell my story? But also there was a Tupac song where he said that as well, who’s going to ride, so it’s a hip hop saying. If I got to go down there and if I got to march, who’s coming with me? It takes a community to make this change and it came out of that as well.”

    Little Village Foundation · 01 Who’s Gonna Ride

    Welcome to the Land isn’t all politics. In Cameron’s words, “After you get through getting your neck stepped on, you need a little love after that. If you’ve heard any of my music, 95 percent of it is involved with making love to some woman or trying to figure out what’s going on with a woman. And you could never go wrong with that concept and, you know, that’s kind of where I am, you know, I want to keep that Kimbrough vibe going. It’s really about wooing the woman, loving the woman and the blues—we all get blue. If you can’t relate to any other blues, you can relate to a woman leaving.”

    Raw, by turns searing and romantic, this music will move you. It’s a perfect example of why Village Music set out to uncover music that needed a hearing.

    Damion Kereem Pearson, aka ‘Yella P,’ is a multifaceted artist from Memphis creating a sound rooted in the Delta blues with shades of soul, gospel, and hip-hop. Mostly self-taught, Damion began playing harmonica at age 13, saving up his lunch money for a month to purchase the instrument. Adding to his arsenal, Damion later learned to play the guitar, saxophone, trombone, and piano. He got his start on Beale Street playing with ‘Big’ Jerry Parnell.

    Cameron Kimbrough, the grandson of North Mississippi Hill Country Blues Legend Junior Kimbrough, and the son of blues drummer Kent Kimbrough, the Blues seems to be Cameron’s birthright. Over the years he taught himself to play the drums and the guitar while developing a rich vocal quality that touches the soul. His eclectic style is influenced by a diverse host of artists from the likes of John Lee Hooker to Linkin Park to Chris Brown. Cameron is the next generation of North Mississippi Hill Country Blues. His unique style of Blues has strong traditional characteristics of rawness and simplicity peppered with flavors of rock, neo-soul and R&B.

     

    Memphissippi Sounds
    Little Village Foundation

    Hector Anchondo Acoustic Album ‘Let Loose Those Chains’ Out Today

    Hector Anchondo Acoustic Album ‘Let Loose Those Chains’ Out Today

    American Blues Scene Staff

    Hector created a powerful album that delivers insights into emotions across the spectrum…

    Hector Anchondo grew up on a Missouri farm, taking in all the influences he could. Old-time blues, bluegrass, roots, and Latino music formed the soundtrack of his life. When his contemporaries were heading off to college, he headed straight to Omaha, Nebraska, diving head first into the music scene. It was an all-or-nothing leap that is paying off in big ways.

    Let Loose Those Chains is the acoustic album Hector always wanted to make. Winning First Prize in the solo/duo category of the Blues Foundation’s 2020 International Blues Challenge provided the inspiration, so Hector gathered two acoustic guitars and some favorite personal songs from his past twenty years of writing, and got to work in studio spaces in Bradenton, Florida and Crystal Lakes, Illinois. 

    Hector created a powerful album that delivers insights into emotions across the spectrum of love and heartache, the ups and downs of his life so far. The twelve original tracks reflect Anchondo’s many influences, including bluesmen like John Lee Hooker, Taj Mahal, Keb Mo and the Allman Brothers, plus some Folk, Americana, and a touch of Gypsy Jazz. A showcase for his songwriting, expressive singing and versatile guitar work, Let Loose Those Chains is a landmark work for a quickly rising star.

     

    Let Loose Those Chains – Choose Music Service

    New Dion Album ‘Stomping Ground’ Ft. Mark Knopfler, Keb’ Mo’, Boz Scaggs, Billy Gibbons, More Out November 5

    New Dion Album ‘Stomping Ground’ Ft. Mark Knopfler, Keb’ Mo’, Boz Scaggs, Billy Gibbons, More Out November 5

    American Blues Scene Staff

    “Dion is a star who knows well how to start again, how to keep shining. He looks at his watch every few years. Damn! Let’s make a record.” – Pete Townshend

    Dion is following up his critically acclaimed and commercially successful 2020 album release Blues With Friends with Stomping Ground, a new album that finds him collaborating yet again with music greats with whom he shares mutual admiration. Set for release November 5, Stomping Ground was produced by Wayne Hood with Dion and will be released through Joe Bonamassa and Roy Weisman’s KTBA Records.  The album will be available digitally as well as on CD and as a two LP set.  

    Most of the album’s songs were written by Dion and his songwriting partner Mike Aquilina.  Guest artists appearing on tracks with Dion include Boz Scaggs, Mark Knopfler, Eric Clapton, Peter Frampton, Patti Scialfa, Bruce Springsteen, Billy F Gibbons, Keb’ Mo’, Sonny Landreth, Joe Menza, Mike Menza, Marcia Ball, Jimmy Vivino, Rickie Lee Jones, Wayne Hood, Joe Bonamassa and G.E. Smith with Pete Townshend’s liner notes which Dion characterizes as “amazing.”

    The album’s voluminous notes include an intro by Dion that succinctly summarizes the philosophy behind the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s latest recorded endeavor:

    “When I was young, I was always striving for accolades and admiration. Those were my goals.  But when I reached them, they didn’t satisfy.  I discovered joy when I leaned to stop caring about all that – when I learned to relax and make music with friends… music that would make more friends for us through its joy.  To make music with friends, and to make friends through music: I can’t imagine a better life than this.  I am grateful to my friends who made Stomping Ground with me – and my new friends who are listening.”

    The album was preceded last month with the release of “I’ve Got To Get To You,” a track featuring Boz Scaggs along with the father and son guitar team of Joe and Mike Menza.  This week marks the release of “Take It Back,” on which Dion is joined by Joe Bonamassa. Next month (10/13) will see the release of “Angel In The Alleyway” that features Patti Scialfa (vocals) and Bruce Springsteen (guitar and harmonica).

    The album’s notes include a foreword by Pete Townshend, which reads, in part:

    “Dion, like a circling star that never fades, generates the energy and fire we need to pull ourselves up and start again. Dion is a star who knows well how to start again, how to keep shining. He looks at his watch every few years. Damn! Let’s make a record. Take care. This one will blow those little white things in our ears right into your brain.”

    Beyond Townshend’s literary contribution, Dion provides a track-by-track description of all the album’s 14 selections, the sole non-original being “Red House,” the Jimi Hendrix song that has become a blues standard.  On Stomping Ground, Dion is joined by Keb’ Mo’ on that song.  Dion notes, “We had a blast grooving on ‘Red House.’ I’m honored to have him join me on this Jimi Hendrix cover/tribute.  We did it as only we could. I think Jimi would approve!”  It’s worth mentioning that the follow-up single release to Dion’s 1968 smash hit “Abraham, Martin and John” was “Purple Haze,” serving to underscore the connection that Dion has long had with the legacy of Jimi Hendrix.

    There’s more Dion news. The Wanderer, a musical based on the life and music of Dion will stage its world pre-Broadway premiere at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ on March 24, 2022.  Michael Wartella (Wicked) stars as Dion, alongside Christy Altomare (Anastasia) as Susan, Dion’s wife. Original New Kids on the Block member Joey McIntyre (Waitress) plays Johnny, Dion’s best friend.  The Wanderer was written by Charles Messina (A Room of My Own) and directed by Kenneth Ferrone (Cruel Intentions) and choreographed by Sarah O’Gleby. Tony Award-winner Beowulf Boritt is the scenic designer. The Wanderer is produced by Paper Mill Playhouse in association with Jill Menza and Charles Messina.  

    Visit DionDimucci.com or KTBArecords.com for more information. 

    Read an ABS interview with Dion, honoring Sam Cooke, here.

     

    Pre-order Stomping Ground