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

 

Definitive Karen Dalton Documentary Opens Oct 1

Definitive Karen Dalton Documentary Opens Oct 1

American Blues Scene Staff

“My favorite singer in the place was Karen Dalton…Karen had a voice like Billie Holiday and played the guitar like Jimmy Reed, and went all the way with it.” – Bob Dylan

Greenwich Entertainment announces the release of Karen Dalton: In My Own Time, a brand new documentary that not only honors the long-overlooked legacy and musical impact of the late folk legend, but saves her largely misunderstood story from near devastation. Directed by Robert Yapkowitz and Richard Peete, and executive produced by the multi Academy Award-nominated Wim Wenders, Light in the Attic Records and Delmore Recording Society, the film will open in theaters across the country beginning October 1, 2021, with a premiere at New York City’s Film Forum.

Following a tragic fire in 2018, which destroyed all the remains of Karen Dalton’s personal archive, Yapkowitz and Peete worked closely with her family and estate to capture the vanishing fragments of her life. From troves of newly unearthed material and raw footage, to candid conversations with Dalton’s daughter Abralyn Baird and commentary by loved ones, ex-lovers, collaborators and close friends, Karen Dalton: In My Own Time serves as an essential portrait of her singular voice and indelible influence.

Karen Dalton: In My Own Time also features Dalton’s handwritten poetry and journals read by Angel Olsen, music composed by Julia Holter, plus interviews with fans like Nick Cave and Vanessa Carlton, Woodstock creator and Dalton’s one-time label head Michael Lang, country singer-songwriter Lacy J. Dalton, Peter Walker, Peter Stampfel and more. The film was produced by Traci Carlson and Richard Peete at Neighborhood Watch (Blue Ruin, Low Tide, Super Dark Times), and The Hollywood Reporter says, “As [Karen Dalton: In My Own Time] introduces a one-of-a-kind artist to the uninitiated and celebrates her for aficionados, above all it listens – and invites us to do the same.”

Following its theatrical release, Karen Dalton: In My Own Time will be available on-demand via digital platforms and DVD starting November 16th.

While Dalton’s music has been rediscovered, reissued, and celebrated by the likes of Courtney Barnett, Lucinda Williams, Patty Griffin, Sharon Van Etten, Vagabon and increasingly newer generations in recent years, to many she remains “the most tragically beautiful folk singer you’ve probably never heard of” (VICE). When she arrived in New York City’s Greenwich Village in the 1960s – an early twenty-something from Oklahoma with two children, two marriages and a whole life behind her – she stunned contemporaries such as Bob Dylan, who once said, “My favorite singer in the place was Karen Dalton…Karen had a voice like Billie Holiday and played the guitar like Jimmy Reed, and went all the way with it.” On her only two albums, 1969’s It’s So Hard to Tell Who’s Going to Love You the Best and 1971’s In My Own Time, her plaintive, affecting and nuanced performances showed how she could inhabit songs and convey meanings that were never apparent to anyone else. But between an apprehension for the music industry and a personal dichotomy of darkness and self-confidence, Karen discarded the traditional trappings of success and led an unconventional, reclusive lifestyle until her untimely death from AIDS in the early 1990s.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Dalton’s 1971 album, In My Own Time, the film’s co-executive producers, Light in the Attic Records, will be presenting a beautifully packaged expanded edition of her masterpiece, featuring unreleased songs, newly remastered audio, and rare photos, along with liner notes and testimonials from Lenny Kaye, Devendra Banhart, and Nick Cave. More info will be available soon at lightintheattic.net.

*Feature image courtesy of Greenwich Entertainment

The Allman Family Revival Unveils Massive 18-City Tour

The Allman Family Revival Unveils Massive 18-City Tour

American Blues Scene Staff

A celebration of Gregg Allman ft. The Allman Betts Band, Robert Randolph, Lilly Hiatt, and many more!

Devon Allman announces the fifth annual Allman Family Revival — a celebration of the life, spirit, and music of Gregg Allman. The event will be hosted by son Devon Allman, and anchored by The Allman Betts Band

On what would have been Gregg Allman’s 70th Birthday (December 8, 2017), Devon decided to gather his talented friends to pay homage musically. Musicians that had toured with Gregg, jammed with Gregg & inspired by Gregg turned up to throw down. Legends like Robin Zander of Cheap Trick, wunderkind Marcus King, and the Orbison’s, all took part in the inaugural performance, laying the groundwork for The Allman Family Revival to be an annual who’s who of musical talent. 

Now it’s a yearly tradition, and it’s grown from an annual celebration in San Fransisco to a full fledged coast to coast tour. Based on the format of “The Last Waltz” concert with The Allman Betts Band as the house band and featuring up to a dozen marquee names in music, it’s an epic 3 hour show unlike any other. This year the touring lineup will include The Allman Betts Band, Robert Randolph, Donavon Frankenreiter, Lilly Hiatt, Cody and Luther Dickinson, Eric Gales, Joanne Shaw Taylor, Jimmy Hall, Lamar Williams Jr. plus many more to be announced.  The Allman Family Revival will also feature Kenny Wayne Shepherd, G. Love, Samantha Fish, Alex Orbison, and Kenny Aronoff in select markets.

“Hard to believe we are in the fifth year of The Allman Family Revival shows! Says Devon, “This year is going to be bonkers! 18 cities, coast to coast in historic theaters with our beautiful, talented friends jamming all night long. Can’t wait!”

Public on-sale begins 9/17. For tickets and all up to date information, visit allmanfamilyrevival.com.

 

2021 Allman Family Revival

11/27 @ The Factory | St. Louis, MO

11/29 @ Majestic Theater | Dallas, TX

11/30 @ ACL Live at The Moody Theater | Austin, TX

12/1 @ Saenger Theater | New Orleans, LA

12/2 @ Coca-Cola Roxy | Atlanta, GA

12/3 @ Van Wezel PAC | Sarasota, FL

12/5 @ The Paramount | Huntington, NY

12/7 @ Orpheum Theater | Boston, MA

12/8 @ Beacon Theater | New York, NY

12/9 @ The Met | Philadelphia, PA 

12/10 @ Fillmore | Silver Springs, MD

12/11 @ Michigan Theater | Ann Arbor, MI 

12/12 @ Chicago Theater | Chicago, IL 

12/14 @ Brady Theater | Tulsa, OK

12/16 @ Arizona Federal Theatre | Phoenix, AZ

12/17 @ Theater at Virgin Hotels | Las Vegas, NV

12/18 @ The Fillmore | San Francisco, CA

12/19 @ The Wiltern | Los Angeles, CA

 

*Feature image credit: ABS’s Rick Scuteri

 

Eric Clapton ‘The Lady in the Balcony: Lockdown Sessions’

Eric Clapton ‘The Lady in the Balcony: Lockdown Sessions’

American Blues Scene Staff

The project was initiated as the result of the forced cancellation of Eric Clapton’s concerts scheduled for May 2021 at the Royal Albert Hall due to the continued disruption caused by the pandemic.

Eric Clapton returns with a remarkable new release, The Lady In The Balcony: Lockdown Sessions on November 12. Available via Mercury Studios on multiple formats, the 17 songs find Clapton and longtime bandmates Nathan East (Bass and Vocals), Steve Gadd (Drums) and Chris Stainton (Keyboards) performing acoustic renditions of Clapton standards and an assortment of other numbers encompassing blues, country and rarified originals.

Overseen by Clapton’s legendary longtime Grammy-winning producer Russ Titelman (James Taylor, George Harrison, Brian Wilson, Randy Newman, Rickie Lee Jones) and recorded live at Cowdray House in West Sussex, England, the performance finds Clapton and company revisiting such timeless classics as “After Midnight,” “Layla,” “Bell Bottom Blues,” “Tears in Heaven,” “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out” and “Key to the Highway.” In addition to revisiting some of Eric’s best-loved selections from his own extensive repertoire, Clapton and crew also offer their own versions of songs that had a profound effect on his career and those of his contemporaries including the Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac tracks “Black Magic Woman” and “Man of the World.”

The project was initiated as the result of the forced cancellation of Eric Clapton’s concerts scheduled for May 2021 at the Royal Albert Hall due to the continued disruption caused by the pandemic. Looking for a viable alternative and hoping to keep his options open, he reconvened with his band to the English countryside and staged a concert in the presence of only the participants themselves while letting the cameras roll. (Clapton’s wife Melia, the sole outside observer inspired the Sessions title.) The mostly acoustic set was envisioned to be like an Eric Clapton Unplugged II, but not quite, as three songs are played with electric guitars. The result became far more than simply a sequence of greatest hits. Rather, it’s one of the most intimate and authentic performances of Clapton’s entire career, an offering flush with real insight into the make-up of his indelible catalogue.

After his time with the Yardbirds in 1963, Clapton began a career as a professional musician that has seen numerous bands, an abundance of albums, countless worldwide sold out shows, an impressive array of accolades, unwavering critical acclaim and his consistent display of legendary guitar work.

The Lady in the Balcony: Lockdown Sessions will be available on DVD+CD, Blu-ray+CD, 4K UHD+Blu-ray, 2 LPs pressed on yellow vinyl, and a Deluxe Edition containing the DVD, Blu-ray & CD packaged in a 40 page 12” x 12” hardback photo book, digital video & digital audio. In addition, a CD-only version will be available exclusively at Target.

Track Listing:

Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out

Golden Ring

Black Magic Woman

Man of the World

Kerry

After Midnight

Bell Bottom Blues

Key to the Highway

River of Tears

Rock Me Baby

Believe in Life

Going Down Slow

Layla

Tears in Heaven

Long Distance Call

Bad Boy

Got My Mojo Working

 

Pre-Order The Lady in the Balcony: Lockdown Sessions

Mo Lowda & The Humble Share New Single ‘Snowbird’

Mo Lowda & The Humble Share New Single ‘Snowbird’

Mixtape Media

“The ‘Snowbird’ itself being the figure in our lives who helps us through the winter blues.”

Indie rock’s cinematic and lyrically driven, Mo Lowda & The Humble release their first single of 2021 with “Snowbird” as they embark on a fall tour that will take them through the United States before returning to their hometown’s Union Transfer on November 19th. “Snowbird” follows the critically acclaimed release of frontman Jordan Caiola’s Only Real When Shared and the band’s 2020 LP, Ready Coat.

Of the band’s new single, Caiola shares, “Snowbird’ deals with themes of seasonal depression, and being fortunate enough to have someone who helps you through it. Instrumentally, the driving acoustic guitars provide the most glaring departure from our previous material. Locking in with the featured electric guitar riff, the bass and drums bump throughout. The song actually started with a four-year-old voice memo/demo that I dug up and revisited. It was labeled ‘Brownie Groove’ and was essentially just a loop of that sort of cyclical intro riff and it lacked a strong lyrical direction. After some time tinkering around with it again, the verse chords were written and the lyrical content soon followed.”

“That falsetto hook was the first thing to come out of my mouth while I was just strumming the chords and trying to find melodies,” he continues. “I really loved that imagery, so I structured the rest of the narrative around it. The ‘Snowbird’ itself being the figure in our lives who helps us through the winter blues. The entire outro/bridge was written in-studio during the recording process and made this seemingly short song into a journey that moves quite a bit from beginning to end, which we loved about it. Plus, the drop out really highlights the acoustic guitar that pushes the song throughout.”

Mo Lowda & The Humble will be touring throughout the US this fall with more dates to be announced for 2022.

September 18th                              Isle of Palms, SC

September 22nd                              Atlanta, GA

September 23rd                               Athens, GA

September 24th                               Charlotte, NC

September 25th                               Richmond, VA

September 30th                               Boston, MA

October 1st                                      Brooklyn, NY

October 2nd                                     Pittsburgh, PA

October 3rd                                     Columbus, OH

October 5th                                     Newport, KY

October 7th                                     Louisville, KY

October 8th                                     Chicago, IL

October 9th                                     Appleton, WI

October 10th                                   Appleton, WI

October 12th                                   Madison, WI

October 13th                                   Omaha, NE

October 14th                                   Greely, CO

October 15th                                   Denver, CO

October 17th                                   Steamboat Springs, CO

October 21st                                    Amarillo, TX

October 22nd                                   Dallas, TX

October 23rd                                   Austin, TX

October 26th                                   Baton Rouge, LA

October 27th                                   New Orleans, LA

October 28th                                   Mobile, AL

October 30th                                   Bluffton, SC

November 18th                                Washington, DC

November 19th                                Philadelphia, PA

 

Mo Lowda & The Humble is Jordan Caiola, Shane Woods, Jeff Lucci and Kirby Sybert. The band produces all of its own music and with the release of this new single, they continue to expand their sound and explore new sonic territory.

 

Connect with Mo Lowda & The Humble online:

Official | Instagram | YouTube | Spotify | Apple Music

 

Zac Harmon Says, ‘Long As I Got My Guitar’

Zac Harmon Says, ‘Long As I Got My Guitar’

American Blues Scene Staff

“After a year of picking up my guitar and then putting it down, I finally realize that as long as I got my guitar, all is good with my soul.” – Zac Harmon

Catfood Records announces an October 1st release date for Long As I Got My Guitar, the new album from Texas-based award-winning blues singer/guitarist Zac Harmon. Produced by Grammy-winner Jim Gaines (Santana, Steve Ray Vaughan, and Journey) and recorded at Sonic Ranch in, Tornillo, Texas, Long As I Got My Guitar features 10 songs performed in Harmon’s inimitable funky, soul-blues sound.

Backing Zac’s lead guitar and vocals on most of the tracks are The Rays: Bob Trenchard – bass; Richy Puga – drums; Johnny McGhee – guitar; Dan Ferguson – keyboards; plus SueAnn Carwell and Corey Lacey – background vocals; with Harmon’s regular touring band on additional tracks. Catfood Records released his 2019 label debut, Mississippi Bar BQ, also produced by Jim Gaines, to rave critical acclaim and extensive radio airplay.

The songs on Long As I Got My Guitar include a number of tunes co-penned by Harmon and Catfood Records owner Bob Trenchard. The album’s repertoire runs the gamut of the blues experience: from the uptown sound of “Soul Land” and “Love for You Baby;” to the gritty “Deal with the Devil,” “People Been Talking,” “Waiting to Be Free,” “New Year’s Day” and the title track, the latter two especially distinguished by Harmon’s stinging blues guitar attack. Dan Ferguson’s accordion playing on “Crying Shame,” even adds a little Zydeco touch to that track.

This probably is the most memorable record of my career. Bob Trenchard and I were so much on the same page with all that we went through in 2020 that it spawned some incredibly emotional song testimonials, such as ‘Scatter My Ashes to the Wind.’ Great songs, great musicians and a great producer have once again created a great musical presentation.  – Zac Harmon

Born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi, Harmon is a true embodiment of the music that emanated from the city’s historic Farish Street district, home of blues legend Elmore James. Given that Zac was exposed to a lot of music in his home, neighborhood, and local culture, it’s not surprising that he turned out a blues musician. His mom played piano, and his dad, the city’s first state registered black pharmacist, played harmonica and tended to the needs of artists such as Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Ike and Tina Turner, Albert King, and Little Milton.

Zac started his professional career at age 16, playing guitar with Sam Myers, a friend of his father’s. Two years later he was playing with Dorothy Moore, Z.Z. Hill and other well-known blues artists who were passing through on regional tours.

At age 21, he moved to Los Angeles and worked as a studio musician at first, eventually establishing a very successful career as a songwriter and producer. Zac worked on major films, television shows and well-known national commercials, even being hired at one point by Michael Jackson as a staff writer for his publishing company, ATV Music. Harmon wrote songs for the likes of Troop, Karyn White, Evelyn “Champagne” King, Freddie Jackson, The Whispers and The O’Jays, among others. He also produced songs for reggae band Black Uhuru’s Grammy-nominated Mystical Truth album in 1994.

After composing and performing some blues songs for a movie score, Harmon felt compelled to pursue his longtime dream of returning to his roots and recording his first blues project. The result in 2003 was Live at Babe & Ricky’s Inn, an electrifying testimony to Mississippi blues, which showcased the sound at its best and introduced Harmon as a true torchbearer for the “next generation of the Blues.”  In 2004, Harmon and his band, the Mid South Blues Revue, sponsored by the Southern California Blues Society, traveled to Memphis and won the Blues Foundation’s prestigious International Blues Challenge title of “Best Unsigned Band.”

His next release, in 2005, was The Blues According to Zacariah, which garnered major national airplay, including XM, Sirius and the American Blues Network.  XM listeners voted Harmon “Best New Blues Artist” in the inaugural XM Nation Awards in 2005.  In 2006, Harmon won the coveted Blues Music Award for “Best New Artist Debut” for The Blues According to Zacariah.  Later that year, he was featured in Blues Revue magazine as one of the 10 artists that “represent the future of the blues,” calling him a “latter-day Eric Clapton or Robert Cray with shades of Luther Allison and BB King.”

Harmon entertained U.S. troops in Iraq and Kuwait in 2008 as one the stars of Bluzapalooza and while headlining “The Pizza & Pyramid Tour” of Sicily, Italy and Cairo, Egypt in late 2009, Zac and company made history with a rare performance on the site of the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx, making the ensemble only the second roots act to do so; Louis Armstrong being the first.

In 2009, Zac was honored for his career achievements in his beloved hometown at the Jackson Music Awards, and weeks later in Memphis, the Jus’ Blues Music Foundation bestowed the “Little Milton” Guitar Award for “Outstanding Guitar Player” upon him.  That same year Harmon branched out into acting, with a major role in the independent feature film, Black and Blue, released in 2010.

Zac was a featured performer for the 2010 “Mississippi Celebrates its Grammy Legacy” celebration, hosted by Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, where he was presented with a Peavey Award, which honors the state’s Grammy winners and nominees as well as individuals who have played a significant role in developing and furthering Mississippi’s musical heritage.

Since then he’s been on a roll, becoming one of the blues’ strongest live performers, thrilling fans everywhere from Memphis to Mumbai.  His live performances combine elements of everything that influenced him: soul-blues, gospel, reggae, and modern blues-rock.

 

Zac Harmon

Tributes Flood In Following Death Of British Folk And Blues Genius Michael Chapman

Tributes Flood In Following Death Of British Folk And Blues Genius Michael Chapman

David Scott

“On a rainy night in 1966 I went into a pub in Cornwall but I couldn’t afford to pay to go in. I said, I don’t want to stay outside in the rain, I’ll play the guitar for half an hour for you. They offered me a job for the rest of the summer and I’ve been at it ever since.”

The great British singer, songwriter and guitarist Michael Chapman passed away last Friday at the age of 80. His family led the tributes: 

“It is with regret and indescribable sadness that we must tell all of his friends that Michael died earlier today at home. Please raise a glass or two to a gentleman, a musician, a husband, a force of nature, a legend and the most fully qualified survivor.”

Credit: Andy Craig

Michael contributed to and produced the iconic 2018 album, If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get Dangerous for Americana musician Sarah McQuaid, whose forthcoming release St Buryan Sessions includes a cover of Chapman’s “Rabbit Hills.” This song now takes on a new meaning and poignancy for a man she calls her dear friend. In Sarah’s words, “I was absolutely devastated by the news that Michael has left this world, he was a real musical mentor to me.

“I wouldn’t have ever started playing electric guitar if he hadn’t handed me his Ibanez Artist and said ‘Play this.’ My heart goes out to his wife Andru; she and Michael have both been such good friends to me. I can’t express how sad it makes me to know that I won’t see him again.”

As a student in the late 1960s I watched Michael, the self-confessed “white blues guy,” perform as often as possible around the pubs in his native West Yorkshire. I shared his love for the blues greats who had influenced him such as Big Bill Broonzy and Leadbelly. I last saw Chapman at a gig in Rothbury, Northumberland nearly 10 years ago, the septuagenarian playing with that same energy, enjoyment and enthusiasm and still attracting fans from all over the country. 

In my review I wrote, “The set opened with a medley of his train song guitar compositions, including, ‘The Last Polish Breakfast,’ ‘Little Molly’s Dream’ and ‘Flahey’s Flag.’ Chapman used his brilliant slide technique to sail effortlessly across the strings, complemented by intricate finger picking, his thumb providing a deep, steady bass. Somehow Michael also added innovative riffs and solos, producing tone which put the audience in a trance, the subtleties in the notes and the spaces in between giving the listener time to reflect upon the music. Not surprisingly, John Fahey is right in your head, but so is Kelly Joe Phelps and Mississippi John Hurt; above all Michael Chapman is unique.”

As Charles Shaar Murray explains, Chapman’s music grows from, “The gritty solidity of the blues, from fields to factories, from Delta electric slide to chugging overdriven funky electric, deeply rooted in struggle, sensuality and hard work.” 

Chapman was the consummate storyteller and a superb lyricist. In “Just Another Story,” a song about a truck stop waitress, he comes up with the immortal line, “ With her ponytail and pickup truck, she’s high on her heels but down on her luck.” 

One of my favorite Chapman stories was his reminiscence of writing “The Mallard” on a cold, wet platform at York station and his wry reflection on how “It’s the glamour that gets you down!” Well, his existence may not have always seemed glamorous to him but it is a glorious one for those who were privileged to see and hear one of the best English guitarists, singers and songwriters of his generation.

A frequent encore for Michael was “La Madrugada,” a haunting, echoing, spellbound instrumental inspired by visits to churches in northern Italy and Spain, usually followed by his confession to the audience, “I played to God in case there is one!”

Michael Chapman 1/24/1941- 9/10/2021 – RIP

Days pass so slowly

In the valley of my time

The trees sway so gently

There is something on my mind

Like a fly that buzzes ‘round

There’s nothing I can do

I guess it’s just

The memory of you

 

From Michael’s stunning anthem to loss and regret, “In The Valley.” 

 

Duo Debut ‘Lindsay Beaver & Brad Stivers’ Out Today Via Vizztone

Duo Debut ‘Lindsay Beaver & Brad Stivers’ Out Today Via Vizztone

American Blues Scene Staff

Happy release day to Lindsay Beaver and Brad Stivers!

Today sees the release of Lindsay Beaver and Brad Stivers‘ eponymous album! Two of the hottest young singers and musicians coming out of the Austin, Texas music scene, Lindsay is known for her intense, fearless vocals and drumming, and Brad for his ferocious guitar playing and signature vocal style. 

Beaver hails from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Stivers made his mark in Colorado before they both were drawn to Austin where their exceptional musical chemistry came together. 

Brad released his VizzTone debut in 2017 and Lindsay’s Alligator album dropped in 2018. In 2020 Brad released an EP and Lindsay did a single with old friend Jimmie Vaughan. For their self-titled duo debut they went to the Halifax studio of Garrett Mason, one of Canada’s premier blues musicians, along with Joe Murphy and Barry Cooke, plus guest guitarists Kirk Fletcher and Zach Zunis. The 12 powerful tracks, including 11 originals, showcase their musical depth in blues, Americana, soul, and Texas R&B.

Recently, ABS premiered the single “One Condition” — a taste of hard-driving Texas soul, featuring guest guitarist Kirk Fletcher and perfectly matched harmony vocals from Lindsay and Brad. Listen below!

VizzTone label group · One Condition Ft. Kirk Fletcher

Lindsay Beaver & Brad Stivers – Choose Preferred Service

 

Listen: Steve Tyrell Salutes Ray Charles with New Recording of Ballad ‘You Don’t Know Me’

Listen: Steve Tyrell Salutes Ray Charles with New Recording of Ballad ‘You Don’t Know Me’

American Blues Scene Staff

Tour kicks off September 9th with stops In Los Angeles, Boston, Dallas, Atlanta

Producer, singer, songwriter and legendary raconteur Steve Tyrell shares a beautiful rendition of “You Don’t Know Me” off his new album, Shades of Ray. The entire collection is a celebration of his lifelong inspiration, Mr. Ray Charles.  Tyrell’s tour begins tomorrow, and his version of “You Don’t Know Me” is available today.  The album’s release on September 24th via Arts Music is timed to salute what would have been Ray Charles’ 90th year.  Fans can pre-save Shades of Ray here and here.

“You Don’t Know Me” is a deeply romantic version of the beloved Ray Charles chart-topper. The timeless  ballad was written by Cindy Walker  who is hailed as one of the finest composers in country music history. The song has been covered by dozens of artists but it’s Ray’s version that reached not only the top of the charts but touched depths of listeners’ hearts. Tyrell shares, “Even when I was singing the standards, I always came from a bluesier place than some of the other artists I loved and respected… and that’s because of Ray. I remember listening to his records early on and thinking, ‘If I ever made an album, that’s the way I’d want to do it.’”

The original track combines the passion of gospel with the rawness of the blues — earning Ray Charles his very first gold record and transforming his life — for the rest of his career he closed every concert with the song.  Tyrell’s interpretation of “What’d I Say” adds a sexy and cool retro vibe to the tune. “Ray’s versions of these songs are so timeless that there’s no point in trying to copy him,” Tyrell explains. “What I tried to do is take the influence he’s had on me over the years and let that inspire performances straight from my heart.”

Tyrell spent the past year hunkering down at home during the COVID-19 pandemic and playing Charles’ records on repeat as he put the finishing touches on what will become his thirteenth studio album, Shades of Ray.

Recorded in New York and LA, the collection honors the late soul icon’s towering legacy. Tyrell’s interpretations of the classics are both deeply reverent and boldly original, with sweeping, cinematic arrangements that land somewhere between the lush orchestration of the Great American Songbook and the old school rhythm and blues the Houston native cut his teeth on growing up. The result is a singular, wide-ranging take on one of the most revelatory artists of the 20th century, a joyful, exuberant celebration not only of Charles’ well-established place in the American pantheon, but of his profoundly personal impact on Tyrell’s own life and work. 

Tyrell’s honest, intimate approach proves to be an ideal lens through which to explore Charles’ wonderfully diverse catalog, and the Shades of Ray tracklist runs the full emotional and stylistic gamut, from punchy, horn-fueled funk (“I Got A Woman”) and big band swing (“Hallelujah I Love Her So”) to tender torch songs (“I Can’t Stop Loving You”) and romantic ballads (“You Don’t Know Me”) plus a few other surprises. It’s impossible not to feel the appreciation and respect flowing through these tracks, to sense the genuine admiration and gratitude behind each performance. In the end, Shades of Ray isn’t just an homage to Ray Charles, it’s a heartfelt thank you for a lifetime of joy and inspiration.

Tyrell looks forward to performing these songs live when he begins a series of dates starting in Los Angeles on September 9th, with more to be announced soon.

Tour dates:

09/09 – Hollywood, CA @ Catalina Bar & Grill

09/10 – Hollywood, CA @ Catalina Bar & Grill

09/11 – Hollywood, CA @ Catalina Bar & Grill

09/12 – Hollywood, CA @ Catalina Bar & Grill

10/07 –  Portsmouth, NH @ Jimmy’s Jazz and Blues Club

10/08 – Boston, MA @ Sculler’s Jazz Club

10/09 – Boston, MA @ Sculler’s Jazz Club

10/10 – Westhampton Beach, NY @ Westhampton Beach PAC 

10/29 – Charlotte, NC @ Middle C Jazz Club

10/30 – Charlotte, NC @ Middle C Jazz Club

10/31 – Charlotte, NC @ Middle C Jazz Club

11/02 – Newberry, SC @ Newberry Opera House

11/03 – Atlanta, GA @ City Winery

11/05 – Edmond, OK @ Jazz Lab, University of Central OK

11/06 – Dallas, TX @ Arlington Music Hall

11/20 – Costa Mesa, CA @ Segerstrom Center

11/28 – Annapolis, MD @ Rams Head On Stage

11/29 – Alexandria, VA @ The Birchmere

 

 

Connect with Steve Tyrell:

Official |  Facebook |  YouTube |  Twitter |  Instagram

 

*Feature image credit: Paul Moore

 

 

 

The Twangtown Paramours Are Ready to ‘Double Down on a Bad Thing’

The Twangtown Paramours Are Ready to ‘Double Down on a Bad Thing’

Mark Pucci

Full album of roots, rock and blues Set for Release February 4, 2022 — new singles coming September 17 and October 15 via Spotify and other digital platforms

MaryBeth Zamer and Mike T. Lewis – aka the Twangtown Paramours – announce the upcoming launch of their new singles to Spotify and other digital platforms. The singles “Talk about Peace” and “Double Down on a Bad Thing” will be released as a prelude to their new full-length album, Double Down on a Bad Thing (out February 4, 2022 on Inside Edge Records). The Nashville-based duo will additionally release a special Christmas single, “My Gingerbread Man,” on November 12 to all digital outlets, which will also be included on the new album. 

The Twangtown Paramours are an award-winning husband and wife duo who are three-time Kerrville Folk Festival finalists and winners of Texas’s Wildflower Contest. The team of Lewis and Zamer are excited to release a project that represents a new and energetic musical direction for them. In contrast to their earlier acoustic work, Double Down on a Bad Thing is electric, rhythmic, and band-centric.  This full band album is mostly uptempo and upbeat. 

 The core group on Double Down on a Bad Thing consists of MaryBeth on vocals, Mike on guitars and bass, and Shawn Pelton of the Saturday Night Live band, Shawn Colvin and Roseanne Cash fame on drums and percussion.  Some of the other featured musicians on the album include Dave Keyes, who is a two-time Blues Music Awards Pinetop Perkins pianist nominee; Rave Tesar, music director of the band Renaissance; Steve Conn, pianist for Sonny Landreth; New York session piano player and organist, Ed Alstrom; and horn players Dan Nigro and Vinnie Cutro from Smokey Joe’s Café.

“‘Talk About Peace’ is a song with a clear message,” says Mike T. Lewis about the first single. “We live in a society that is set against itself. We all know how to fix it, but we haven’t so far. Every major religion tells us what to do: think of others before you act, love thy neighbor as thyself, don’t let ego and greed get in the way, be kind, and forgive. This song is an anthemic plea for action instead of lip service.”

“Our second single, ‘Double Down on a Bad Thing,’ is the title track and goes right to the heart of what the album is about – a retro early 1960s sound, a great catchy melody, a hard hitting groove, and a lot of fun,” volunteers MaryBeth Zamer. “The tune features Dan Nigro and Vinnie Cutro in a Memphis-sounding horn section.”  

Lead singer, MaryBeth Zamer was a fixture in the Washington, D.C. club circuit for many years. She performed with the band Ignition and sang background vocals for Eva Cassidy in the band Method Actor. She is also the main author of the some of the most meaningful songs in The Twangtown Paramours’ catalog. 

Mike T. Lewis is a session musician, producer, and hit songwriter. He is the author of a #1 platinum pop tune in Korea, “A Heartbeat Away,” which is ranked as the second biggest-selling female ballad of all time in that country. He also sometimes plays upright bass for Jimmie Dale Gilmore and does a little TV acting. He has appeared on the Investigative Discovery Channel and as a background actor on CMT’s “Nashville.” Mike is the main writer of the tunes on Double Down on a Bad Thing.

In their exciting, hard-hitting, largely retro, and often whimsical album, Double Down on a Bad Thing, the Twangtown Paramours ask their audience to recall when catchy pop melodies and great blues-influenced grooves ruled the world, when dynamic Beatlesesque chord progressions served as the soundtrack of a confident and evolving society, and when music inspired forward thinking and action.  If the positive feel and energy of a past musical era can help change people’s mindsets to one of positivity and hope, this is the album to do it. If not, it will at least cheer folks up while they are listening.

Double Down on a Bad Thing is the third album by The Twangtown Paramours. Their first two acoustic albums went to #11 and #2 on the folk charts and received accolades for singing, songwriting and performance. Songs from those projects tackled serious subjects and have been featured in holocaust museums across the world, at a Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire memorial in NYC, and are now being recorded by other artists such as the Price Sisters on Rebel Records.

“It’s our hope that while listening to this record, people will smile and dance around their living rooms like nobody’s watching,” MaryBeth Zamer declares. “We may be living in difficult and divisive times, but if a good groove and musical energy can help change people’s mindsets to one of positivity and hope, this is the album to do it.”

Adds Mike T. Lewis: “Influences of the Beatles and Memphis blues are prominent, but those sounds are re-interpreted and combined to form something new. This is the kind of record we’ve wanted to make for a long time and we plan to follow it up with live band touring.”

 

Twangtown Paramours

 

Billy Bragg’s Single ‘Pass It On’ Out Today

Billy Bragg’s Single ‘Pass It On’ Out Today

Lauren Leadingham

‘The Million Things That Never Happened’ is out October 8!

Today Billy Bragg releases a new single, “Pass It On,” from his tenth studio album. The Million Things That Never Happened, produced by Romeo Stodart and Dave Izumi, is due out October 8 via the Cooking Vinyl label. 

Yet another example of the raw and refined songwriting talents of Bragg, “Pass It On” is a warm reflection on ancestry and its historical interconnectedness. “I read somewhere that the second most googled thing after pornography is ancestry,” says Bragg. “People want to know where they come from, why they were born, where they were born. You can get facts from the web, but details are priceless and can often only be learned orally from relatives. Yet too many of us rue the fact that we are left to piece together family stories from fragments we recall because we never asked our elders those questions.”

On Thursday September 9th, Billy Bragg on…, an online concert experience, will be streamed on the Stabal platform. The show will explore both The Million Things That Never Happened and his unparalleled catalogue. 

Billy Bragg on… will also offer on-demand passes with bonus features that will include extra encore performances, exclusive interviews, a look at his new album, an in-depth songwriting discussion with Billy and Romeo, plus a behind-the-scenes look into the making of the concert. Get tickets here. Latest tour dates can be found here.

 

The Million Things That Never Happened

 

*Feature image credit: Jill Furmanovsky

Springsteen-Produced Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers’ ‘American Babylon 25th Anniversary Edition’ Out This Fall

Springsteen-Produced Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers’ ‘American Babylon 25th Anniversary Edition’ Out This Fall

American Blues Scene Staff

Springsteen is heard on eight of the album’s tracks and his voice is heard on “Light of Day,” his own song, as well as on the Chuck Berry version of “Down The Road Apiece.”

This fall will see Cleveland International Records start to issue a slate of archive album releases that underscore the iconoclastic label’s rich and eclectic heritage.  A very special expanded 25th Anniversary edition of Joe Grushecky and The HouserockersAmerican Babylon is set for digital and streaming release on October 29 with a vinyl LP set to follow early in 2022. Long a fixture on the Pittsburgh music scene, originally fronting the Iron City Houserockers, Grushecky is the son of a coal miner whose “day job” is in special education. He has become a legend among heartland rockers. His loyal following is testimony to his down-to-earth approach and honesty as a songwriter, bandleader and performer since the 1970s.

American Babylon, first issued in 1995, was produced by Bruce Springsteen whose friendship with Grushecky predates the album’s sessions and has endured in the intervening decades.  The new American Babylon2 CD set offers 27 tracks including the album’s original 12 selections among which are “Chain Smokin’,” “Only Lovers Left Alive,” “What Did You Do In The War” as well as “Homestead” and “Dark and Bloody Ground,” the latter two co-written with Springsteen.  Original demo recordings of “Chain Smokin’,” “Never Be Enough Time” and “Only Lovers Left Alive, never previously released, round out the first disc.   A 13-track companion disc documents live performances recorded at Nick’s Fat City in Pittsburgh during the Houserockers’ legendary “October Assault” tour that launched the album that month in 1995. Joe and the band performed not only in Grushecky’s hometown but also in Philadelphia, New York, Chicago and Asbury Park as well.  

Springsteen is heard on eight of the album’s tracks and his voice is heard on “Light of Day,” his own song, as well as on the Chuck Berry version of “Down The Road Apiece,” the album’s closer. One track featured on the live disc that is not part of the American Babylon tune stack is “Pumping Iron,” a fan favorite from The Iron City Houserockers’ 1980 Have A Good Time But Get Out Alive album.

On the topic of collaborative songwriting, Grushecky commented to Rolling Stone, “It’s a great thing for me to write with a talent like Bruce who is obviously one of the greats. I think that in a quiet way it sort of says something about my writing ability.”   Rolling Stone’s Andy Greene chronicled the relationship between Joe and American Babylon’s recently:  “As the leader of the Pittsburgh-based Iron City Houserockers, Joe Grushecky hammered out four heartland rock albums in the late 1970s and early 1980s. These won over more critics than fans, so he became a special education teacher to support his family. Still, he maintained a close friendship with Bruce Springsteen, and in 1995, they teamed up for American Babylon. The two remain tight and play together at least once a year, but this album remains their greatest joint accomplishment.”

The collaboration was not pre-planned and came about quite organically.  Joe recalled, “I was thinking about making a new record and had a couple songs written. My wife suggested ‘Why don’t you ask Bruce to play?’ I hemmed and hawed for a while and finally we got in touch. It sort of just took on a life of its own. It was fun working with Bruce; he added little twists and turns that I wouldn’t have come up with on my own which made the record a lot of fun to do musically. Once we got together, it just seemed like we were real sure of what we were doing. There wasn’t a lot of second guessing and pulling your hair thinking, ‘Is this good?” We just sort of went in and did it in a very relaxed atmosphere, so it was fun.”

The 25th anniversary edition of American Babylon was preceded by the August 27 release of the live version of “American Babylon” (title song) as well as the demo for “Only Lovers Left Alive.” Stream/download “American Babylon” (live) and “Only Lovers Left Alive” demo.

 

Pre-order American Babylon 25th Anniversary Edition

 

*Feature image: Wonder Bar w/ Bruce Springsteen / Credit: John Cavanaugh

 

Gulf Coast Records Signs Jason Ricci and Joe Krown – Debut Duo CD Out October 22

Gulf Coast Records Signs Jason Ricci and Joe Krown – Debut Duo CD Out October 22

Mark Pucci

Pre-order ‘City Country City’ Starting September 10

Gulf Coast Records announces the signing of New Orleans-based artists Jason Ricci and Joe Krown, and will release their debut duo album, City Country City, on October 22. Harmonica player/singer Jason Ricci is a multiple Blues Music Award-winner, while organ/piano player Joe Krown has legendary Crescent City credentials and is currently the keyboardist in Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s band. Together, they team up as Ricci/Krown on their new CD, City Country City, a retro soul-infused outing that features Jason’s gutsy vocals and stellar harmonica, overlaid with Joe’s melodic and earthy organ playing. City Country City brings back the sound and feel of early 1960s jazz/blues with an original sound all its own.

 

“I first met Joe Krown as the organist of the Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown band,” recalls Gulf Coast co-owner/artist Mike Zito in announcing the signing. “Joe went on to become a staple first-call musician in New Orleans and a member of the Kenny Wayne Shepherd band. His style is very soulful and organic. Jason Ricci and I were signed to Eclecto Groove Records in the late 2000s in Los Angeles.

Jason was touring full time with his band, winning awards and lighting the world on fire with his incendiary harmonica playing and deeply honest song writing. I had never seen anyone play the harmonica the way Jason plays. He is celebrated with BMA awards and nominations for best harmonica. I got a call from Jason last year and after catching up on things, Jason told me about a new project he was really excited about. He had been playing some shows with Joe Krown on organ and famed New Orleans drummer, Doug Belote. They were doing an ‘Organ Trio’ style group, but with harmonica, organ and drums. Jason was singing as well. He told me this is what he’s wanted to do for a long time and they were considering making an album. I got very excited, as I have been a fan of these gentlemen for some years now and the thought of them playing together sounded intriguing.

“The duo with Doug Belote on drums got into the studio in spring of 2021 in New Orleans and got to work recording fresh new original music and covering some classics as well. The sound is pure joy. The music has air and electricity all at once. It breathes and is urgent. Hearing the tracks for the first time was an experience all its own. It was like hearing music you have never heard before and something you have known all your life. The chemistry between Joe and Jason is obvious and they complement each other’s styles perfectly. I am so excited for everyone to hear this album, City Country City, wonderful music that is a listening pleasure to experience over and over. I am proud this album is released on Gulf Coast Records and I look forward to more music from Jason Ricci and Joe Krown.” 

“Working with Joe Krown makes me feel like I’m finally beginning to be a musical grown-up,” says Jason Ricci about the new album. “But we still have as much fun as little kids! Being linked up with a New Orleanian with Joe’s heavyweight history is truly a dream come true.” 

“Jason and I quickly connected musically,” adds Joe Krown. “We’re both blues musicians that have also extended into jazz and funk. Within a short period of time we started booking shows under both of our names regularly around New Orleans and beyond.  Our biggest hurdle is finding time that we can play together given both our busy schedules, but Jason and I have always made time and will continue to make time to perform together.”

Jason Ricci is one of the best and most imitated blues harmonica players of the 21st century. He picked up the instrument as a teenager when he started playing in a punk rock band. His journey started in earnest when he watched and later was mentored by legendary harmonica player Pat Ramsey in Memphis. As Ricci gigged and grew as a player he found work and support from the southern blues community. He lived and played with Junior and David Kimbrough in Mississippi and then worked as a sideman with Big Al and The Heavyweights for more than a year. In the late ‘90s, he formed Jason Ricci and New Blood, a band that toured around the world for more than a decade and released critically praised albums like Done with the Devil and Rocket Number 9.

Ricci’s latest chapter is the New Orleans band Jason Ricci and The Bad Kind, which is influenced by the sounds of New Orleans and artists like The Meters and Doctor John.  What defines Jason Ricci as an artist is the fearlessness with which he approaches his instrument and music and translates the hardships we all face into unforgettable music. 

Joe Krown is a New Orleans-styled piano and Hammond-endorsed B-3 player. He held the keyboard chair with Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown & Gate’s Express from 1992 until Gatemouth’s passing in the fall of 2005. Joe is featured on the chart topping Gatemouth albums The Man, Gate Swings, American Music Texas Style and Gate’s final studio recording, Back to Bogalusa. Joe’s played the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival every year since 2001 and the French Quarter Festival every year since 1998. Along with touring all over the U.S. and the world as a solo artist or with one of his bands, he is currently performing as the organ/piano player for the multi-award-winning Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band, and played on Shepherd’s The Traveler and Straight to You Live albums. Krown has also toured with Mavis Staples and Allen Toussaint, among many others, as well as recorded a dozen of his own albums.

In addition, Krown has won multiple local New Orleans “Big Easy” and “Offbeat” awards.

 

Jason Ricci
Joe Krown

Pioneering Producer and Vocalist Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry Dies Aged 85

Pioneering Producer and Vocalist Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry Dies Aged 85

American Blues Scene Staff

Lee “Scratch” Perry OD (March 20, 1936 – August 29, 2021)

Reggae and dub legend Lee “Scratch” Perry passed away on August 29 at Noel Holmes Hospital in Lucea, Jamaica due to an unspecified medical issue. He was 85 years old. 

Born in 1936 in Kendal, Jamaica, Perry’s innovative figure looms large in the world of reggae, as his use of samples, echo, and reverb effects paved the way for other experimental artists and genres. Perry had been active as a producer and vocalist since the early ‘60s, when he started working with Clement “Coxsone” Dodd’s groundbreaking sound system. And in the ‘70s he went on to produce iconic works by the Congos, Bob Marley & the Wailers, and Junior Murvin — as well as dub albums by his band the Upsetters. 

Credit: David Corio/Redferns

Perry collaborated with such groups as the Clash and Beastie Boys. Mike D took to social media, “We send the most love and respect we can to Lee Perry who passed today, to his family and loved ones and the many he influenced with his pioneering spirit and work. We are truly grateful to have been inspired by and collaborated with this true legend.”

Despite certain lows throughout his career, Perry churned out many solo albums. He was recognized by the Jamaican honors system in 2012, elected to Commander class in the Order of Distinction. The following year, he was awarded a Gold Musgrave Medal by the Institute of Jamaica.

Keith Richards once told Rolling Stone, “You could never put your finger on Lee Perry – he’s the Salvador Dali of music. He’s a mystery. The world is his instrument. You just have to listen. More than a producer, he knows how to inspire the artist’s soul. Like Phil Spector, he has a gift of not only hearing sounds that come from nowhere else, but also translating those sounds to the musicians. Scratch is a shaman.”

 

Tangerine Records Releases New Ray Charles Lyric Video for ‘A Song For You’

Tangerine Records Releases New Ray Charles Lyric Video for ‘A Song For You’

American Blues Scene Staff

Limited Edition Box Set ‘True Genius’ Out September 10

Tangerine Records has released a new lyric video for Ray Charles’ Grammy-winning 1993 recording of “A Song For You,” which was first written and recorded by Leon Russell. The song will be featured on True Genius, a newly remastered, limited edition set featuring 90 of the greatest songs from his legendary career and all of Ray’s biggest hits. The set also includes a special bonus disc of eight previously unreleased tracks recorded live in Stockholm in 1972. True Genius will be released on September 10, 2021, in celebration of what would have been Ray Charles’ 90th birthday year, and is currently available for pre-order here.  

Also available to stream today is a sampler playlist of some of Charles’ most timeless recordings of classic pop tracks, featuring “Busted,” “Eleanor Rigby” and “Hallelujah I Love Her So (Live),” along with “A Song For You.”

“We’re extremely proud to present this collection, which maps the breadth and depth of Ray Charles’ music, presented in chronological order so the listener can join Ray on his journey through the most expansive and creative period of his legendary career. I’m also thrilled that this music will be widely available on all streaming services for the very first time, so that new and future audiences will continue to discover the True Genius of Ray Charles.”  – Valerie Ervin, President Ray Charles Foundation

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.

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

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

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

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

 

 

Gabe Stillman Shares Track ‘No Time For Me’ From ‘Just Say The Word,’ Out Today

Gabe Stillman Shares Track ‘No Time For Me’ From ‘Just Say The Word,’ Out Today

American Blues Scene Staff

Listen to the track “No Time For Me” from Gabe’s debut full-length release, ‘Just Say The Word,’ out today!

Winner of the prestigious Gibson Guitar Award at the Blues Foundation’s 2019 International Blues Challenge, Pennsylvania-based Gabe Stillman is a quiet young man who speaks through his music and has a lot to say. 

Just Say The Word, packed with thirteen thoughtfully crafted originals plus two covers, will further solidify Gabe’s reputation as an accomplished guitarist and now as a meaningful songwriter.

Produced by Anson Funderburgh at Wire Recording in Austin Texas, the album is a compelling listen from beginning to end, with powerful contributions from the Texas Horns and special appearances by Funderburgh, Sue Foley and Greg Izor. 

The lyrics and arrangements are interesting, diverse, and heart-throbbing with messages that are both personal and universal. Just Say The Word will appeal to Gabe’s vast following in the blues world while stretching the boundaries into that realm of “just great music” that defies category. 

Of his new effort, Gabe tells us:

I loved the experience of making this album. From the songwriting and arranging, through the recording sessions in Austin with Anson Funderburgh, then to the mixing and mastering; we all worked hard to make this record special.

I’m proud to present ‘Just Say The Word’ as my debut full-length release, and I’m excited to be a part of the VizzTone Label and family.

VizzTone label group · No Time For Me

Buy/stream Just Say The Word

 

*Feature image credit: Soulshine Photography

Listen: Patti Smith Releases ‘Live At Electric Lady’ EP

Listen: Patti Smith Releases ‘Live At Electric Lady’ EP

Lauren Leadingham

Listen to Patti’s surprise live album from the famed NYC studio!

Today, the one and only Patti Smith released a new seven-song EP — her first solo recording since 2012’s Banga. In partnership with Spotify, Live at Electric Lady was recorded in celebration of the famed studio’s 51st anniversary.

Live At Electric Lady features live versions of her own songs, such as “Broken Flag,” Ghost Dance,” and “Birdland.” Smith also takes on Stevie Wonder’s “Blame It On The Sun” and Dylan’s “One Too Many Mornings.”

 

“We are very proud to be part of Spotify’s Live at Electric Lady series, our favorite recording studio,” Patti Smith said in a statement. “It was a unique challenge and offered us an exciting and innovative platform. We are grateful to Spotify for their generous support and willingness to present a live performance with all its possibilities of risk and revelation.”

Electric Lady’s GM/Partner Lee Foster expressed:

Prior to recording, I had been discussing cover song options to present to Patti with Tony Shanahan, Patti’s MD and longtime bassist/pianist. We’d yet to mention to Patti that we’d hoped to record a cover during the session, so she was unaware at the time. Days went by and Tony and I couldn’t find the right song together.

Then, as we’d just begun to agonize over it, he called me excitedly and asked “is ‘Blame It on the Sun’ from Talking Book [Stevie Wonder’s 1972 album recorded at Electric Lady]?” I looked quickly to confirm and told him yes. For no reason at all that morning Patti had texted him to say that the song was stuck in her head and that she wanted the band to learn it. Kismet.

Listen and enjoy below.

Patti Smith – Vocals ⁣

Lenny Kaye – Lead Guitar ⁣

Tony Shanahan – Piano, Bass ⁣

Jackson Smith – Guitar, Bass⁣

Jay Dee Daugherty – Drums ⁣

Produced by Tony Shanahan, Lee Foster ⁣

Executive Producers: Michele Santucci, William Garrett, Lee Foster ⁣

Tracking/Mixing: James Frazee ⁣

Assisted by Lauren Marquez, Carl Bespolka, John Rooney ⁣

Photos by Jessica Lehrman, Steven Sebring ⁣

Artwork by Iris Sofia

 

*Feature image credit: © Phil Solomonson / Philamonjaro Studio

Marcia Ball Pays Tribute to Walter Hyatt on Forthcoming ACL Tribute Album

Marcia Ball Pays Tribute to Walter Hyatt on Forthcoming ACL Tribute Album

American Blues Scene Staff

“Looking at Walter’s lyrics in a book, on a sheet they read so wonderfully, many times they didn’t need music, they were poetry. Very few people write songs like that, that appeal to you on several levels.” – Marcia Ball

Uncle Walt’s Band (David Ball, Champ Hood, and Walter Hyatt) were one of the most popular acts in late ’70s/early ’80s Austin, Texas, where the South Carolina band relocated after a long stint in Nashville. Their on-point songwriting, playing, and singing garnered them local fans, but also Texas luminaries like Willis Alan Ramsey (in a very rare appearance), Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and (then Texas A&M student) Lyle Lovett. After a few self-released albums and cassettes (all available again via Omnivore Recordings), the band went their separate ways, with Hyatt returning to Nashville with his wife, Heidi.

In 1990, Lovett produced Hyatt’s major label debut, King Tears, and went on the road with Walter as his opening act. Three years later, Hyatt released Music Town. Then, sadly, he died in the 1996 ValueJet plane crash that took the lives of all passengers and crew. Lovett helped organize tribute concerts to benefit Hyatt’s wife and children. In 1997, Austin City Limits broadcast one of those tributes featuring friends and fans including Lovett, Ramsey, Gilmore, Junior Brown, Marcia Ball, Allison Moorer, David Halley, Shawn Colvin, and his Uncle Walt’s Band partners, Ball and Hood.

Now, nearly 25 years later, the 11 songs from that original broadcast are available on CD and Digital for the first time as Mighty Fine: An Austin City Limits Tribute to Walter Hyatt. Due from Omnivore on October 1, 2021, the set adds six tracks recorded for, but not shown on Austin City Limits. To make this collection even more special, four previously unissued Hyatt recordings make their debut. The packaging features photos and a new essay from North Carolina author and musician Thomas Goldsmith. It truly is Mighty Fine.

Of Marcia Ball’s performance, producer Mark Michel says:

Marcia first met Walter in the clubs around Austin in the early 70’s when she was leading the hippie country band. ‘Freda and The Firedogs.’ Uncle Walt’s Band introduced her to the music of Professor Longhair, and soon after she changed her direction from country to New Orleans blues and swing. Marcia often sat in with Uncle Walt’s Band and The Contenders, Walter’s electric band that followed Uncle Walt’s Band.

Of Hyatt’s songwriting, Ball says:

You think his songs are simple when you listen to them, you start humming the melody and working out the chords and you realize they are crafted. Looking at Walter’s lyrics in a book, on a sheet they read so wonderfully, many times they didn’t need music, they were poetry. Very few people write songs like that, that appeal to you on several levels.

Austin City Limits Tribute to Walter Hyatt

1. As The Crow Flies – Willis Alan Ramsey

2. Houston Town – David Ball

3. Georgia Rose – Jimmie Dale Gilmore

4. Are We There Yet Momma – Marcia Ball

5. Lonely In Love – Willis Alan Ramsey

6. Motor City Man – David Halley

7. Tell Me Baby – Allison Moorer

8. Diggeroo – Junior Brown

9. Babes In The Woods – Lyle Lovett with Shawn Colvin

10. I’ll Come Knockin’ – Lyle Lovett

11. Aloha – Ensemble

Bonus Austin City Limits Recordings not Included in Original Broadcast

12. Rollin’ My Blues – Champ Hood

13. Teach Me About Love – Lyle Lovett

14. Going To New Orleans – Champ Hood

15. Message In A Bottle – David Ball

16. I’m Calling – Lyle Lovett

17. River Road – Champ Hood

Previously Unissued Walter Hyatt Recordings

18. Jungle Flower

19. In A Christmas Dream

20. Early Days

21. Shouldn’t Have Told Me That

 

Mighty Fine an Austin City Limits Tribute to Walter Hyatt

Fantastic Negrito’s ‘Rolling Through California’ (Ft. Miko Marks) Takes On Wildfires, Displacement, and Climate Change

Fantastic Negrito’s ‘Rolling Through California’ (Ft. Miko Marks) Takes On Wildfires, Displacement, and Climate Change

Lauren Leadingham

Watch the official video for “Rolling Through California” featuring Miko Marks!

Today, Fantastic Negrito shares his new single “Rolling Through California,” a blues-funk number and a clarion call for unity and solidarity. The song addresses water management challenges, rapid climate change, and the continuous calamity of California’s annual fire season.

Recorded at Fantastic Negrito’s own Storefront Records studio in Oakland, “Rolling Through California” boasts dynamic backing vocals from fellow Bay Area singer-songwriter Miko Marks.

“I remember waking up to an apocalyptic sky,” says Fantastic Negrito. “The sky was orange, the sun looked bloodshot and people’s anxiety levels were very high. It felt and looked like doomsday. It really made me think about climate change and the environment – how our actions impact where we live and the choices we make.” 

Accompanying the single is a new music video, which depicts a young firefighter seeking refuge on a ranch run by the Oakland Black Cowboy Association. “The little fireman feels so alone because he’s looking at a fast changing world of climate change, displaced people and a California fire season that makes the air more toxic to breathe every year,” Fantastic Negrito explains. “He finds his home in a group that is historically marginalized, overlooked and that’s the Black Cowboys of America who are at home on their farm.”

Fantastic Negrito has partnered with Defy:Disaster so that a portion of the song proceeds will go to support firefighters, first responders, and communities impacted by wildfires throughout North America. To donate and learn more, visit: defy disaster.org

Mud Morganfield’s Single Debut on Delmark Records Available Now

Mud Morganfield’s Single Debut on Delmark Records Available Now

American Blues Scene Staff

Listen to single debut “Praise Him” – Lyrics and Music by Mud Morganfield

Multi-award-winning artist Mud Morganfield is an established star in the world of blues music. The eldest son of the legendary Muddy Waters, Mud was brought up surrounded by many of the finest musicians  in the Blues. 

Mud’s singing is firmly in best of traditions of Chicago Blues, but he is also a writer of great new songs and he is backed by some of the best musicians playing today. He is acclaimed by artists and critics, including Buddy Guy and Jools Holland for his own musical ability.

Mud’s single debut on Delmark Records is out now! On “Praise Me,” a spiritual new song, he is joined by Rick Kreher (guitar), Mike Wheeler (guitar), Cameron Lewis (drums), Luca Chiellini (keyboards) as well as choir singers Felicia Collins, Shantina Lowe and Demetrius Hall.

“I’ve done and seen many things in my life. From drugs to gang wars, to hustling the streets. I not only have a duty but a responsibility to tell you all that I am a walking testimony to what God can do.” – Mud Morganfield

Mud Morganfield: vocals, bass  

Rick Kreher: electric guitar 

Mike Wheeler: electric guitar 

Cameron Lewis: drums, percussion

Luca Chiellini: keyboard 

Choir Singers: 

Felicia Collins 

Shantina Lowe 

Demetrius Hall 

Recorded by Blaise Barton at Joyride  Studios, Chicago IL on June 1st 2021 

Mixed by Blaise Barton & John Grimaldi

Mastered by Blaise Barton 

Cover Photo by Peter M. Hurley 

Design by Jonathan Hill

 

 

Mud Morganfield

Beloved Rolling Stones Drummer Charlie Watts Dies Aged 80

Beloved Rolling Stones Drummer Charlie Watts Dies Aged 80

American Blues Scene Staff

Charlie Watts (June 2, 1941 – August 24, 2021)

Legendary Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts died in a London hospital on Tuesday, according to his publicist. He was 80. With the band since 1963, Watts played on every single one of their studio albums.

“It is with immense sadness that we announce the death of our beloved Charlie Watts,” Bernard Doherty said in a statement.

“He passed away peacefully in a London hospital earlier today surrounded by his family. Charlie was a cherished husband, father and grandfather and also as a member of The Rolling Stones one of the greatest drummers of his generation.”

Recently, Watts had announced he would not tour with the Stones in 2021 because of a health issue.

This is a developing story. 

Larkin Poe & Nu Deco Ensemble Release Live Performance of ‘Sometimes’ (Bessie Jones)

Larkin Poe & Nu Deco Ensemble Release Live Performance of ‘Sometimes’ (Bessie Jones)

American Blues Scene Staff

‘Paint the Roses’ documents a collaborative, streamed concert by the two artistic groups in December, 2020 at Miami’s North Beach Bandshell

Acclaimed roots-rock duo Larkin Poe have partnered with innovative hybrid orchestra Nu Deco Ensemble for Paint the Roses: Live in Concert — a new album that reinterprets Larkin Poe’s music, including their 2020 release Self Made Man and more, through an orchestral lens. The latest single from the project, a version of Bessie Jones’ stomp-and-clap “Sometimes,” is out now.

Originally recorded for Larkin Poe’s 2019 Grammy-nominated album Venom & Faith, the sister duo explains: “We have always held out hope that we’d someday be able to ‘Sometimes’ with a horn section. Performing this song with the support of Nu Deco Ensemble — and their incredible horn section — was a dream finally come true!”

Nu Deco Ensemble Co-Founders and Artistic Directors Jacomo Bairos and Sam Hyken were thrilled to bring “Sometimes” to life. Bairos explains: “This pump-you-up, full of energy song is just what is needed to rocket you off towards an amazing day! I fell in love with it because of the marching band-esque breakdown in the middle, which brought me such nostalgia from when I was a kid in band.” Hyken continues: “This was one of the first songs we requested as part of our collaboration, as it fits the ethos of our ensemble perfectly. This arrangement preserves all of the fantastic elements found within their studio record, while adding new string lines and percussion to create an exciting and virtuosic opener to our album.” 

Paint the Roses documents a collaborative, streamed concert by the two artistic groups in December, 2020 at Miami’s North Beach Bandshell. The performance was part of Nu Deco’s 2020-21 virtual and socially-distanced concert season, which featured the ensemble’s genre-bending orchestral music and its powerful first collaboration with Larkin Poe.

Larkin Poe — a Nashville-based sister-duo comprising multi-instrumentalists Rebecca and Megan Lovell — had recorded their fifth album Self Made Man (which topped the Billboard Blues Album chart and UK’s Independent and Americana Albums charts)in the summer of 2020 but could not take the music on the road due to COVID-19 restrictions. Nu Deco Ensemble’s collaborative concert provided the duo their first chance to play the new record’s songs for a live audience. The tracks on Self Made Man (and now on Paint the Roses) draw on wide influences but are rooted in the creative heritage of Larkin Poe’s beloved American South and Southern Gothic themes. 

“During the challenging times of this past year, music served the critical purpose of connection to one another,” Jacomo Bairos and Sam Hyken of Nu Deco Ensemble explain. “Among those valuable connections was our first collaboration with the amazing duo Larkin Poe and the live album that resulted from it.” 

Larkin Poe added, “Before we could even speak in full sentences, our introduction to the language of music began with classical violin and piano lessons; ever since then, music has been the bedrock upon which we’ve built our lives.

“Over the years we have drawn inspiration from a wide range of genres, but it has always been a dream of ours to find a way to honor our classical upbringing. ‘Paint The Roses’ was born out of a fortuitous, one-night collaboration with Nu Deco Ensemble.

“In hearing our Roots Rock n Roll repertoire reinterpreted through an orchestral lens, it felt like a creative circle was being completed; we wanted to share the performance on a grander scale and, thus, our first-ever live album came into being. We are deeply indebted to Sam Hyken for writing such incredible orchestra arrangements and also to Jacomo Bairos for conducting such a magical evening of music.”

 

Larkin Poe
Nu Deco Ensemble

 

Don Everly, Older Brother of the Harmonizing Duo The Everly Brothers, Dies Aged 84

Don Everly, Older Brother of the Harmonizing Duo The Everly Brothers, Dies Aged 84

American Blues Scene Staff

The Everly Brothers were among the first group of acts inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Don Everly, the last surviving member of the harmonizing country-influenced rock ‘n’ roll duo The Everly Brothers, has died at the age of 84. Everly died on Saturday at his home in Nashville, according to the family spokesperson.

Don Everly speaks during the 2019 Musicians Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony & Concert in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images)

“Don lived by what he felt in his heart. Don expressed his appreciation for the ability to live his dreams… with his soulmate and wife, Adela, and sharing the music that made him an Everly Brother,” a statement said. 

Recognized for their close harmony singing and steel-string acoustic playing, The Everly Brothers began writing music in 1956 and had hits worldwide in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Among them were “Bye Bye Love” and “All I Have To Do Is Dream,” “Wake Up Little Susie,” and “Cathy’s Clown.” 

Kyle Young, CEO of Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, expressed: “As a singer, a songwriter, and a guitar innovator, Don Everly was one of the most talented and impactful artists in popular music history. His influence reverberates through songs like ‘So Sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad),’ ‘I Wonder If I Care as Much,’ and ‘Cathy’s Clown,’ through open tunings and rhythmic sensibilities that helped give rise to Keith Richards and many others, and through the ethereal harmonies he conjured with his brother Phil.”

The Everly Brothers influenced bands such as The Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel. In the early 1970s, the pair released solo recordings, and in 1973 had an official onstage breakup. They reunited in 1983 and performed on occasion until Phil’s passing in 2014.

The Everly Brothers were elected to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, inducted by Neil Young, and given a lifetime achievement award at the Grammys in 1997. 

America’s ‘Storyteller’ Tom T. Hall Dead at 85

America’s ‘Storyteller’ Tom T. Hall Dead at 85

JD Nash

“I started playing the guitar when I was four years old and I’m just as good today as I was then.” – Tom T Hall

Country Music Hall of Famer Tom T. Hall died at his home in Franklin, Tennessee on August 20th according to his son, Dean Hall. He was 85.

Photo from the Country Music Hall of Fame

Born Thomas Hall on May 25th, 1936 in Olive Hill, Kentucky, Hall benefited greatly from the tutelage of his childhood friend and mentor, Lonnie Easterly, writing his first song at age nine. In 1971, Hall penned a tribute to his friend and mentor, “The Year That Clayton Delaney Died.” It became his second number 1 song on the country charts.

I started playing the guitar when I was four years old and I’m just as good today as I was then.

In all, he wrote 12 number one songs, and 26 more that landed in the Top 10. Country music legend Tex Ritter dubbed Hall, “The Storyteller.”

After a stint in the army, Hall worked as a radio DJ on stations in West Virginia and Kentucky. In 1964 he moved to Nashville, and began working as a $50-a-week songwriter, writing up to half a dozen songs per day. Dozens of country music stars recorded his songs including Johnny Cash, George Jones, Waylon Jennings, Loretta Lynn, and of course, Jeannie C. Riley who took Hall’s “Harper Valley PTA” to the number one spot in 1968.

A multi-instrumentalist and wordsmith like no other, Hall penned hundreds of songs and from 1976 to 1996 wrote nine books. His way of using intimate details in lighthearted lyrics set him apart. Hall himself released 35 studio albums, 9 compilation albums and 50 singles in his career. Some of his most famous tunes include “A Week in a Country Jail,” “I Love,” “I Like Beer,” “Faster Horses (The Cowboy and The Poet),” “Fox on the Run,” and my personal favorite “(Old Dogs, Children and) Watermelon Wine.”

Hall largely retired from writing new music in the mid-1980s and from performing in the early 1990s. His last public performance was also his first in several years, taking place in 2011.

 

Hall became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1971. He won a Grammy® in 1973 and was nominated again in 1976, both for liner notes he wrote for his albums. He won Bluegrass Songwriter of the Year 12 times, and is an inductee in the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame, Country Music Hall of Fame, International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame, and Songwriters Hall of Fame.

*Feature image Tyler Mahan Coe

Tipitina’s Record Club Offers First Digital Release, Professor Longhair’s ‘Fess At Home,’ Out Today

Tipitina’s Record Club Offers First Digital Release, Professor Longhair’s ‘Fess At Home,’ Out Today

Big Hassle Media

Professor Longhair’s ‘Fess At Home’ out today via all DSPs

Earlier in the summer, Tipitina’s, the legendary New Orleans nightclub owned and operated by the band Galactic, unveiled Tipitina’s Record Club. The new subscription service offering six annual vinyl selections celebrating the music and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South is offering its first digital companion release today with Professor Longhair’s Fess At Home. A previously unheard recording showcasing the groundbreaking singer-pianist in a uniquely intimate and personal setting is available at all DSPs now.

 

Tipitina’s Record Club presents specially curated, bi-monthly releases spanning archival milestones, never-before-heard rarities, out-of-print reissues, and brand new recordings, all on limited edition, 180g custom-colored vinyl exclusive to subscribers. Bi-monthly and annual subscriptions are available now. Free shipping will be included for subscribers in the contiguous United States.

 

“Being a musician and playing at Tipitina’s, one feels the history and the greatness that has blessed that stage – Professor Longhair, Clifton Chenier, James Booker, The Meters, The Neville Brothers and so many more local and national treasures,” says Galactic’s Ben Ellman. “When Galactic took over ownership, it became our mission to preserve the important role Tipitina’s has played in the culture of New Orleans music and the Gulf South. Creating Tipitina’s Record Club, we get to dig into archives to present never-before-heard recordings, rare reissues, and some amazing new music we know you’ll love. We’re presenting this to everyone on a limited edition piece of art in the form of vinyl. This will make the music something special…just like Tipitina’s.” 

“Our band has been on both sides of the stage at Tipitina’s,” adds Galactic’s Robert Mercurio. “We all started going there as fans, then we started playing there often, and now we are the stewards of the ship. We know there is a deep well of musical history associated with the club and thought that this Record Club would be a great way to share part of this history with everyone – and what more fitting then for it to be on vinyl. We have been digging deep into our chest of treasures and have some great performances and super rare reissues planned.”

Tipitina’s is of course one of America’s most iconic music venues. Since its opening in 1977, Tipitina’s has stood the test of time by hosting the most talented musicians and groups from New Orleans and the world at large, including the renowned Crescent City-based instrumental outfit, Galactic.

In late 2018, Galactic announced their purchase of the internationally famous two-story yellow building on the corner of Tchoupitoulas Street and Napoleon Avenue, promising to both further Tipitina’s rich traditions while also continuing to honor the remarkable musical history of the Gulf South. Galactic’s most recent LP, last year’s acclaimed Already Ready Already, is available now via the band’s own Tchoup-Zilla Records.

 

Connect with Tipitina’s Record Club: Official | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

 

Bubba Sullivan, King Biscuit Godfather, Passes

Bubba Sullivan, King Biscuit Godfather, Passes

Don Wilcock

The road goes on forever and the music never dies. Remembering Bubba Sullivan: the mover, the shaker, and the blues star maker.

Bubba Sullivan has passed. I can’t wrap my head around it. It’s like being told the sun won’t shine anymore.

Bubba was one of the founders of the King Biscuit Blues Festival. There was the Mississippi River, the hundreds of acts that grace the stage in Helena, Arkansas. And Bubba! He introduced all the acts on the main stage, sat at the back of stage throughout and held court absorbing the best blues in the south decade after decade, year after year, day after day, hour after hour.

I nicknamed Bubba the Godfather of the Biscuit. It was tongue in cheek in that he was about as much like a Mafia mobster as the grandfather I never knew. It’s as hard to imagine the Biscuit without him as it was to imagine King Biscuit Time Radio Show after Sunshine Sonny Payne passed.

He would call me once or twice a week usually in the early afternoon, and we’d trade war stories. He’d pay 50 cents to see Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis in an Arkansas club in 1954. He helped Billy Gibbons find a fan for a fan. He sold Taj Mahal hundreds of dollars’ worth of records, and he was in orbit that Bobby Rush sang at his 81st birthday a couple weeks ago.

Bubba Sullivan on The King Biscuit Blues Festival: “We decided to (present King Biscuit) and had no idea in the world. It’s just like a young guy meets a good looking woman, and he says, ‘Man, that the prettiest woman I’ve ever seen in my life,’ but he knows good and well she isn’t gonna have a damn thing to do with him. But he keeps on, and he keeps on. It’s like King Biscuit. After you worry somebody for a long time. ‘Well, hell, I’m going out with him just because he’s bugging me to death.’ That’s the way the music was. It just kept getting better and better, and everybody heard about it.”

Photo courtesy of King Biscuit Facebook

“I’ve always been in the right place at the right time,” Bubba told me in 2020. “You want to see the festival keep going and all these musicians ’cause you think there’s been a ton of musicians that have been here that are already dead and gone. We probably got people that come to the festival now that never got to see Frank Frost. They never got to see Sam Carr, but might not have got to see Robert Lockwood or Pinetop or any of those guys that played in Muddy’s band.”

“Robert Lockwood would come over to the shop early, and he’d get in town early and we’d sit there and just talk about stuff, you know. He was so like my second father. My father died in ’93.

Robert Lockwood to Bubba Sullivan: “You think Robert Johnson is the only guy that got poisoned? Back at the time there was 15 millionaires in Tunicca, 14 of ’em was white and one was black. Old hard face, he owned a liquor store and a gambling joint. “(I was) with a white lady. She happened to be a nurse, and one of the people in town spiked my drink. Lucky she was there. Being a nurse and all, she got me rejuvenated back up.” Bubba told Lockwood, “Robert, I never heard Sonny Pane tell that story.” And Lockwood shot back: “I don’t tell Sonny Payne every damn thing in this world.” 

Bubba Sullivan on KFFA’s Sonny Boy Williamson on King Biscuit Time: “(Sonny Boy) talked about how he wanted to send out a song to Aunt Pearly Mae, and you think about it. In 1942 there wasn’t any blacks on the radio, and for Aunt Pearly Mae to be sittin’ at home and putting on King Biscuit Time and here was a song dedicated to her.”

Bubba Sullivan on King Biscuit Entertainers at county stores: “There was like 142 – 152 county stores out around the county, and Mr. Max Moore was selling King Biscuit Flour, and so it came time for him to be on the radio, and so they gave 15 minutes to King Biscuit Time radio show, and Sonny Boy got on the air and said, ‘Meet me and greet me there.’ Two or three days a week they would show up, and they would announce it all day. ‘The King Biscuit Entertainers are gonna be in Elaine and Marvel and Wabash,’ and they would stop at all these stores, and there would be these crowds. You could just imagine what it was like back in those days.

“I worked in a country store in Wabash Howe Lumber Company, and they would come down and play in Wabash and Elaine and Marvel and all the places. They’d bring a pickup truck down. I mean a truck and Dudlow Taylor was the piano player, and he was so big they had to leave him sittin’ up on there.

“They’d pull up in front of a store and play maybe 30 minutes or whatever and advertise their flour and corn meal and, man, there was a lot of people in Phillips County then and a lot of families. I know the store I worked in. I was 13. I worked at my uncles’ store owned by the Howe Lumber Company, Jim Howe’s dad, and them, and man, we sold a hell of a lot of flour and corn meal back in those days, and we weren’t the only store that did that.”

Bubba Sullivan on Paul Thorn: “Reba Russell happened to be standing by, and she said, ‘I’ll tell ya what you need to do when Paul Thorn comes on. You need to go get you a beer or a drink of whiskey, and you need to get up to the top of that damn levy, and you set back and just listen. There’s just something about him that he just has the crowd in his hand.’ You think about what he played. I mean he got B.B. King coming on next, but that didn’t faze Paul Thorn one bit.”

Bubba Sullivan to Jimmy Dawkins at KBBF: “You used to be called Fast Fingers. Then, they say in the last year or so you just don’t play as well as you used to, but My God in heaven, you were wild.” He said, “Young man, I grew up in Mississippi. I’m back home.” 

Bubba Sullivan on Son Seals at KBBF talking to media:Look, young man, I come back to Arkansas. They invite me back to King Biscuit Time. I’m an Arkansas resident. I mean this is where I grew up. I get paid better down here than in most places on the circuit.’ They started asking him about racism. He said, ‘There’s not racism at King Biscuit. It’s about community.’ And he said ‘The sad (thing) about that is, you people on TV, you don’t understand. You gotta be from this area. You gotta be a musician and understand how things work.’”

Bubba Sullivan on Billy Branch:Billy Branch had taught music here. He would come in on a Sunday or something, and go out to Central High School, and they would get on stage on Friday night, and most of those kids had never seen a damn harmonica on Monday, but by God, they got up and played down there and were pretty good. Billy Branch is amazing because not only is he a great harp player, but when he got the key to the city award two years ago, his wife told me, or his girlfriend, she said, ‘Billy felt like he was back home.’” 

Bubba Sullivan on Frank Frost at KBBF in 1999: “Pinetop Perkins had to be way up in age then, and Frank got up on the stage and he just couldn’t blow that harp or anything, and that was Saturday, and then on Monday they were going to put Frank back in the hospital. So, I went over there, and Frank said, ‘I’m not going back in the hospital. If I can’t blow harp, I’m ready to go.’ And so he did I think on Tuesday, and I had to sit with him till the coroner came, And he was just laying in the bed, died peacefully, you know. When he couldn’t blow that harp anymore, he didn’t want to be around.”

This was my birthday message to Bubba: 

Happy 81st birthday to Bubba Sullivan, the mover, the shaker, and the blues star maker.

Congratulations to the survivor of the pandemic who’s never academic.

The professor of the masses with a B. S. in b.s. and a B.A. in T and A.

You are the spark that lights the flame that barbecues the Biscuit.

The medium that has the message.

Your weekly calls bring me up when I’m down, and the tall tales you tell are all true.

I bow down and kiss the ring of The Godfather.

The road goes on forever and the music never dies. And, if by some odd twist of fate, that’s not true, we’re all gonna die trying to make it true, and you, Bubba, will lead that charge.

Love ya, brother of another mother. 

Here’s to 81 more!

*Feature image courtesy of King Biscuit’s Facebook

Singer-Songwriter/Activist Lilli Lewis Announces New EP and Fall Tour

Singer-Songwriter/Activist Lilli Lewis Announces New EP and Fall Tour

Howlin’ Wuelf Media

‘Americana’ due out October 29!

Powerhouse New Orleans singer-songwriter / pianist / activist Lilli Lewis has announced her fall tour (subject to virtual pivots), and album release date for Americana – a follow-up to critically acclaimed EP My American Heart Red + Blue.

Lewis has been on a roll this summer – releasing the “Wrecking Ball” video from My American Heart Red + Blue in conjunction with her selection for Global Music Match, an online collaboration showcasing 78 artists from 17 countries.

The last #GlobalMusicMatch included a virtual showcase at Folk Unlocked, the digital Folk Alliance International Conference, where Lewis spearheads FAI Committing to Conversation to promote racial equity in folk.

Lewis’ advocacy has extended to co-founding the inaugural Black Opry Festival originally planned for New Orleans and pivoting to virtual in fall 2021, as described in Offbeat Music Magazine’s article: Numbers Don’t Lie: Lilli Lewis Talks Black Presence in Americana. For updates, search for the hashtag #BlackOpryFest. 

Trained as an opera singer and classical pianist, Athens, Georgia native Lilli Lewis has been a composer, producer and performer for over two decades. After carving out space as an African-American lesbian of size, Lewis is lending her voice to the industry’s need to diversify, as quoted in panels from Billboard to Rolling Stone. 

Lewis has been featured at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation’s Chanteuse series and The Kennedy Center’s Arts Across America, held virtually. In 2021, The Folk Rock Diva played WWOZ FM’s star-studded Piano Night, performing “My American Heart” – a song one reviewer compared to “a contemporary Jessye Norman if folk rock had been her genre,” and Mandy Patinkin compared to “the color of light.”

Lewis performs folk, roots, country-soul, gospel and jazz, and has integrated New Orleans traditions by singing lead for Dirty Dozen Brass Band founding member Kirk Joseph’s Backyard Groove. VP and head of A&R for Louisiana Red Hot Records, Lewis’ releases include 2018 solo piano The Henderson Sessions, 2019’s We Belong and 2020’s My American Heart Red + Blue EP. Up next: Americana, Oct. 29, 2021.

Lilli Lewis Fall Tour / LLP = Lilli Lewis Project

8/27              Hot August Nights Riemers (solo)          Hammond, LA

8/28               Cutting Edge Showcase                         New Orleans, LA

9/18               Baton Rouge Blues Festival (LLP)           Baton Rouge, LA

9/22-23          AmericanaFest                                            Nashville, TN

9/24               Broadmoor (Brown Sugar)                       New Orleans, LA

10/2               French Quarter Fest (trio)                          New Orleans, LA

10/8               Allerton Park Music Barn Festival (CANCELED) Monticello, IL

10/15             Marc Stone Presents: “Love in Vain”

                       Blues roots of The Rolling Stones           New Orleans, LA

10/27-31       Black Opry Fest (virtual)                            New Orleans, LA

10/29             “Americana” Album Release (virtual)      New Orleans, LA

11/6              NOMA Concert Performance (LLP)       New Orleans, LA

 

Connect with Lilli Lewis:

Official | Amazon Music | Twitter | Apple Music | Spotify

 

 

 

Listen to Bluegrass Singer/Guitarist Junior Sisk’s New Single, ‘I Wanna Be Where You Are’

Listen to Bluegrass Singer/Guitarist Junior Sisk’s New Single, ‘I Wanna Be Where You Are’

Lauren Leadingham

Listen to the hard-driving bluegrass of Junior Sisk and his band!

Through the graces of Mountain Fever Records Junior Sisk shares his new single, “I Wanna Be Where You Are,” a reminder that bluegrass is not just surviving, but thriving.

This sweet ditty about missing the one you love was written by Michael Stillwell and David Stewart — recorded at Mountain Fever Studio and produced by Aaron Ramsey (2021 International Bluegrass Music Association nominee for Engineer Of The Year). Sisk is accompanied by his fine modern traditional band: Tony Mabe on banjo and harmony vocals; Jonathan Dillon on mandolin; Doug Bartlett on fiddle; Curt Love on bass; and Heather Berry Mabe, his singing partner with whom he trades verses. 

Sisk is currently nominated for three 2021 International Bluegrass Music Association Awards; Male Vocalist Of The Year,  Album Of The Year (Load The Wagon), and Song Of The Year “Just Load The Wagon.”

Syntax Creative · Junior Sisk – “I Wanna Be Where You Are”

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Sue Foley Set to Release New CD ‘Pinky’s Blues’ in October

Sue Foley Set to Release New CD ‘Pinky’s Blues’ in October

American Blues Scene Staff

“We wanted to make something representative of the Texas blues that we had been schooled on in Austin. So, we picked great songs and I wrote a few of my own to round things out. Everything on it is a labor of love.” – Sue Foley

Stony Plain Records announces an October 22 release date for Pinky’s Blues, the new album from award-winning blues guitarist/singer Sue Foley. Featuring several Sue Foley originals, as well as songs from some of her favorite blues and roots artists, Pinky’s Blues was recorded at Fire Station Studios in San Marcos, Texas. Joining Sue Foley (guitar, vocals) for the recording sessions were Jon Penner (bass), Chris “Whipper” Layton (drums) and Mike Flanigin (Hammond B3 organ), who also produced the album. The legendary Jimmie Vaughan joins in as a special guest on rhythm guitar for the track, “Hurricane Girl.”

To support the release of her new disc, Foley will embark on an extensive tour schedule that includes both an official showcase on September 25 at the upcoming Americana Music Conference in Nashville, as well as a set at the Kessler Day Party Showcase on September 23 during the conference.

Foley also shot videos for three songs from the new album that were directed by Tim Hardiman, who directed the latest Black Keys video.

Pinky’s Blues is the follow up to Sue Foley’s award-winning breakout album, The Ice Queen, released in 2018. Foley’s new album is a raw, electric guitar driven romp through the back roads of Texas blues, with Foley’s signature pink paisley Fender Telecaster, “Pinky,” at the wheel. She won “Best Traditional Female (Koko Taylor Award)” at the 2020 Blues Music Awards in Memphis, was nominated for a Juno Award (Canadian Grammy), and she took home the award for “Best Guitar Player” at the Toronto Maple Blues Awards.

For the last few years Foley and her band have kept a rigorous touring schedule across the USA, Canada and Europe. Some highlights were appearances at The Beacon Theater (NYC), guesting with Jimmie Vaughan (opening for Eric Clapton) at Royal Albert Hall in London, Montreal Jazz Festival, Ottawa Bluesfest  (w/ Buddy Guy), Moulin Blues (Holland), NPR’s Mountain Stage (with Bela Fleck), Doheny Blues Festival, and the Jungle Show in Austin, Texas.

Foley and producer Mike Flanigin decided to make the album in the middle of the COVID lockdown in 2020.

Mike, drummer Chris Layton and I had just finished making Mike’s album, West Texas Blues, and we needed another challenge to keep us busy, And because we’d been hanging out together we were comfortable in each other’s presence, and this would be a very low-key closed session. I brought in Jon Penner to play bass, who was my first bass player and had been on all my early records. So just the four of us along with engineer Chris Bell went into the studio and recorded the entire album in three days.

What you’re hearing is live, off the floor, in the moment the music was played totally spontaneously and, mainly, improvised. And, we wanted to make something representative of the Texas blues that we had been schooled on in Austin. So, we picked great songs and I wrote a few of my own to round things out. Everything on it is a labor of love.

Some of the album’s many highlights include her takes on classics such as Lavelle White’s “Stop These Teardrops,” Frankie Lee Sims’ “Boogie Real Low” and Lillie Mae Donley’s “Think It Over,” alongside newer songs like Angela Strehli’s “Two Bit Texas Town” and Foley’s own “Dallas Man.”

Foley consider her guitar a living extension of who she is and it helps guide her through the rambunctiously-deep renditions of everything she performs. It was while playing Pinky and doing a series of live-streaming events with Mike Flanigin that much of Pinky’s Blues came together.

During the COVID lockdown, Mike Flanigin and I had started a livestream show called ‘Texas Blues Party’, and all we were doing was livestreaming from Mike’s house, just the two of us along with a drum machine and playing and talking about the history of Texas blues. It was a fun concept and it ended up being the foundation for both Mike’s album and mine.

We called Angela Strehli one day and ended up learning some of her songs. I think she’s one of the most soulful blues singers there ever was. And besides being such a great singer Angela is also a wonderful songwriter, so I was thrilled to be able to include two of her incredible songs on this album.

The disc’s first single, “Dallas Man,” also bears special significance to Foley. “I realized when I wrote ‘Dallas Man’ it was just about all these great guitar players from Dallas and right around there,” Foley says. “I’ve always been infatuated with Blind Lemon Jefferson and had been reading about him and working up some of his songs. Between Blind Lemon Jefferson and Frankie Lee Sims, and then working on some Freddie King and always watching Jimmie Vaughan came the idea of ‘Dallas Man.’ Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmie Vaughan, Freddie King, T-Bone Walker, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Frankie Lee Sims, Anson Funderburgh, Zuzu Bollin, Doyle Bramhall II, Denny Freeman and Derek O’Brien all came from that area. That’s almost a whole album right there!”

Leaving Canada as a young player, Foley knew she had to go where the music thrived. All her years in Austin, and including those when she left to learn new approaches to life, have all come together on Pinky’s Blues. “The fact that I have ended up back in Austin just seems right,” Foley says.

“My home is Canada and I definitely identify as a Canadian. But I had a yearning for this music and I can’t even put my finger on why or how. It got in my soul when I was a teenager. I guess I was open and I got imprinted by the sound and the force of blues music. I saw my first blues show at 15 and I swear I’ve never been the same. I was lucky because I was able to play with so many legends before they passed away. That direct transmission, as we know, is what it’s all about. I have the kind of experience and education that you can’t even get anymore. In a way it’s a big responsibility to carry the message of these giants.

“But even more important, it’s about finding your own voice within this framework. In blues, that takes time. The beauty of blues, and something I’ve always loved about it, is that you get better as you get older. I’ve always been a fan of older musicians. There’s something about the message, the life experience, the whole package. If you can keep a good perspective on life, a sense of humor, and a love for what you’re doing, you have much more to give. This is when it all really happens.”

The “cabin fever” atmosphere created by the pandemic, also afforded her an opportunity to really map out her next moves. “I’ve had a lot of time to think about what the next chapter is,” Foley admits. “After being home for so long, all I really want to do is turn up and play my guitar for as many folks as I can. I can’t wait to get out on the road!”

Pre-Order Sue Foley’s Pinky’s Blues here.

*Feature image by Danny Clinch