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Friday, November 16, 2018

Keith Stone with Red Gravy new album release...blues with a taste of New Orleans


Keith Stone is back with his highly anticipated second release, and this time he’s teamed up with Red Gravy, made up of three of the most well-respected musicians to call New Orleans home.

This band delivers ten songs of original, tasteful blues, all run through the New Orleans cookbook of funk and R'n'B to create an exotic and spicy musical dish, but here in the Crescent City, it’s all home cookin’.

Keith Stone with Red Gravy come by the name the same way Keith’s Sicilian mama cooked up her beloved sauce: by carefully simmering New Orleans spices and spirit. The new album works the same way. Drawing from the sounds of the city that gave us Earl King, Guitar Slim, Professor Longhair and Dr. John, the band pays homage to these pioneers of New Orleans Blues while carving out an identity all its own. Longtime friends Jimmy Carpenter and Brent Johnson dropped in to lend their talents and love for all things New Orleans.

There are cities, regions, and neighborhoods all over the country that can lay some claim to “the blues.” That’s all fine and good, but Keith Stone with Red Gravy is damned certain that the blues that comes out of New Orleans is the best, most unique and funkiest there’s ever been. Listen to the album and you’ll agree.




“It started as a front-man with a band, but now we’re a band with a front-man”

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Boston’s Southern-flavored blues/roots rock quartet Sunshine Riot release "Interstate"...raucous Americana


Boston’s Southern-flavored blues/roots rock quartet Sunshine Riot recently released "Interstate" from their album Lonely Hotel, the band’s 3rd full length studio album. It was produced by 19-time grammy nominated producer, George Dussault, at Galilee Studios in Cumberland RI, who calls Sunshine Riot a, “"great, soulful band. . . a favorite of mine.”

Already featured on  Sounds of Boston, Diffuser FM, Alternate Root, Glide Magazine and Elmore Magazine, among others, the "4-piece band from Boston, Massachusetts takes elements of country, blues and punk and twist them into their own rock Southern sound.” (Pure Grain Audio) 

The album reflects the perspective of a band that has been writing, touring, performing and generally "doing the thing" for about 10 years. Still maintaining their focus on writing the best, most honest rock and roll songs they can, Sunshine Riot also are not just business, as they deliver twelve songs, including one about Applebee's. The name of the record (which half the band hates), is a reference not only to time spent on the road but  to the fundamental feeling which seems to find its way into most of the songs: a kind of restlessness and yearning. 




With “grit and the most raucous Americana sound that combines the angst of Nirvana with the temperament of Wilco" (Rockwired.com), Jonny Orton (vocals/guitar), Jeff Sullivan (bass),  Mark Tetreault (lead guitar) and Chris Alvarado (drums) produce a freewheeling mix of country, rock, blues and punk. Coming together in 2011, the band has made swift headway, releasing their debut album A Fresh Bottle and a Brand New Day in 2012 and Black Coffee Sigh in 2015.  Between playing 80-100 shows per year, Sunshine Riot are ramping up to release Lonely Hotel, which features  vocal work from Carl Smitty Smooth and Malyssa Bellarossa and soulful horn work from Collin C. Larkin. 





The band have toured extensively, opening for national acts like Deer Tick, and  will continue spilling drinks and making impressions throughout the fall. Keep an eye out for more from Sunshine Riot, “one of the most remarkable live acts Boston has produced in a long, long time" (The Nashville Observer).



For More Information:

Monday, November 12, 2018

Blues guitarist/songwriter Billy Hector album release "Someday Baby"..true soul on a Stratocaster

Billy Hector recently released his new album, "Someday Baby." Whether Hector is teasing you with his sultry slide work, picking through Delta blues or flat-out cranking it up and crunching out electric blues-rock on his beloved vintage Fender Stratocaster, his music reflects the true soul and origins of the blues, always passionate, engaging and dedicated to making the audience move and sweat. Having honed his chops and style through three decades of performances, Hector is critically recognized as one of the hottest and most interesting guitarists/songwriters on the original circuit and has even been called “a New Jersey state treasure” by music writers.

Billy Hector has served as touring guitarist for Hubert Sumlin and Joe Louis Walker. He has been named “Best Guitarist,” “Best Blues Band” and “Living Legend” at the Asbury Park Music Awards, is a two-time winner of the East Coast Rocker’s “Best Guitarist” award and has received the Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Foundation’s “Lifetime Achievement” award.

Billy Hector is veteran guitarist with roots in the Asbury Park and Jersey Shore music scenes. This oft-awarded, self described workingman's musician, has released sixteen albums to date and is a revered icon in New Jersey and beyond. Hector's voice is strong, confident and convicted. It augments his playing in a similar way that Jimi Hendrix's vocals complimented his playing”. Bluesblast Magazine

official website: http://www.billyhector.com






Friday, November 9, 2018

All-Star blues ensemble The Proven Ones album release Wild Again...pure soulful blues from awarded collective


The Proven Ones are truly an all-star ensemble, with dynamic Boston blues legend Brian Templeton on vocals, modern blues icon Kid Ramos on guitar, and Grammy-nominated Anthony Geraci holding down the keys. The master rhythm section includes Willie J. Campbell on bass and Jimi Bott on drums.

Among the many awards the musicians have won are: Kid Ramos: Orange County Music Awards Lifetime Achievement, 13 BMA nominations; Jimi Bott: BMA drummer of the year 2015, Cascade Blues Association Hall of Fame, 12-time Drummer of the Year; Anthony Geraci: Grammy nomination, 3 BMA nominations; Willie J. Campbell: 5 BMA nominations.




Band members have been on hundreds of recordings and have been members of some of the most influential modern blues bands of the last 40 years, including The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters, The Radio Kings, The James Harman Band, Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers, The Mannish Boys, and Sugar Ray and the Bluetones.





official website: http://www.theprovenones.com

Marty's review: this powerhouse of talent has produced a solid, dynamic and top-flight collection of soulful blues that is pure and effortless displaying the sprawling talents of each player. Elements of Memphis Soul and New Orleans blues abound making it an instant hit with lovers of the blues-soul sound. These guys know their stuff and the sophistication of their musicianship is certainly notable.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Independent blues artist Black Lark releases self-titled album..blues with a good vibe, honesty and a loud guitar!


Black Lark is blues, honesty and a loud guitar. The unforgivingly personal lyrics feels like bare bone excerpts from a diary and the music is raw and dirty. Having grown up listening to the likes of John Lee Hooker and Johnny Winter, he continued his musical explorations through rock, jazz and folk only to find his way back to the blues.

Being fed up with the clean and polished sounds of a lot of modern albums in the genre, Black Lark's debut album stands for something completely different. It was recorded quickly and with a very modest setup to best capture the mood of the songs. Recorded over two days in August 2018. Everything played live to tape except organ on "Won't Catch Me Sleeping" which was added later the second day at a different location. 


Marty's review: the blues doesn't get any more raw than this debut by Black Lark. Recorded "live" with a straight, no nonsense style, this is pure blues roots with the essence of the original blues masters and Black Lark's own poignant and masterful story-telling. A very impressive release that deserves attention from any blues and roots music aficionado.

The album is now available on all the usual platforms on-line.

It’s blues for today, not yesterday.

Links to the album:

Links to social media:

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Virtuosic Quintet Big Apple Blues new album Manhattan Alley celebrates the soul of New York City



On the new album Manhattan Alley, the virtuosic quintet that is Big Apple Blues continues to celebrate the soul of New York City with the signature, powerful brand of blues fusion that has brought them worldwide acclaim. Big Apple Blues’ ambitious 2015 concept album Energy set out to capture the feel of a single day in New York City. Its creative fusion of instrumental blues, soul, funk, and rock captured the admiration of critics worldwide, sold more than 1 million digital distributions, and led to tours in the US, Europe, and Asia.

Now the band returns with 10 new tracks celebrating life, creativity, and the city that never sleeps, with a nod to Tin Pan Alley, the collection of New York City music publishers and songwriters that dominated popular music in America in the late 19th and early 20th century. The album, recorded old-school in a single room, has the depth of the New York subway, the height of the Hudson breeze, and the energy of the city of millions of striving, dreaming, beating hearts that inspired the unique musical style becoming internationally known as “The Big Apple Blues" sound.



official website: http://bigappleblues.com

stream and download album here: https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/bigappleblues4

A glorious melange of blues fusion, from New York’s finest. Unreservedly recommendedPeeter Fenstra, The Blues Magazine

Big Apple Blues has put together a set of originals listenable enough for you not to miss the singer! Dan Forte, Vintage Guitar

This CD covers so many differing styles, but above all, the outstanding feature here is the musicianship of those playing. It’s an absolute blast from start to end. Brilliant and could end up my album of the year! Merv Osborn, Blues Matters

Monday, November 5, 2018

Blues Guitarist from Chicago Khalif Wailin' Walter new album "Nothin' Left To Lose"


Chicago-based blues guitarist, singer/songwriter and former Lonnie Brooks band member Khalif Wailin Walter, has just released his new album "Nothin' Left To Lose" on the German Pepper Cake Records (ZYX Music Int.) label.

Khalif "Wailin' " Walter without a doubt belongs to the the new generation of Blues players coming from the Windy City and contributing to it's rich legacy of the Chicago Blues. This definitely ain't your grand-daddy's Blues though. Khalif's music, while firmly rooted in the Chicago electric blues guitar tradition is fused with elements of Funk, Soul, Rock, and Reggae to create his own kinda funkin' boogie groove. With his 2012 CD She Put The Voodoo On Me and the newly released Nothin' Left To Lose (Pepper Cake Records), he has garnered international recognition and acclaim.



Khalif “Wailin’ “ Walter's electrifying live performances have lit up the Chicago Blues music scene and stages throughout Europe with his unique style of Funk drenched Boogie Blues that rocks the house down to the ground. So where have you seen him? Khalif “Wailin’ “ Walter appears regularly on the Chicago Blues circuit, and performs in venues and festivals throughout the U.S., E.U. and Africa.

official website: https://www.damnyalljamn.net

Music is my religion.
I am only the messenger.
And "the Groove"???..."the Groove" is God!!!!
                                             ---Khalif Wailin Walter   

Thursday, November 1, 2018

The Little Red Rooster Blues Band release "Lock Up the Liquor"..a homage to Chicago and West Coast blues



With a style that pays homage to traditional Chicago and West Coast blues, but a sound all their own, the Little Red Rooster Blues Band’s new release, "Lock up the Liquor," reflects 30 years of bringing laughter and tears to audiences on the East Coast circuit. Featuring three-time Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year nominee Anthony Geraci on piano and world-renowned harp virtuoso Steve Guyger, formerly of the Jimmy Rogers Band, on harmonica, this collection of 15 original songs is a blues tour de force.

From the rowdy opener, “Pitchin’ Woo,” through the hilarious “Thrift Store Rubbers” and the driving closer “Trouble in the Jungle,” there’s plenty on the album to get fans on the dance floor. Harp lovers will delight at “Cotton Mouth,” the band’s tribute to James Cotton. And tear-stained tracks like “Ready for Goodbye” and “Just a Distant Memory” demonstrate the band’s mastery of the emotional power of the blues.



Thirty years of living and loving the blues is all captured on this release with an infectious combination of reverence for the music and a whole lotta fun!

official website: http://www.littleredrooster.com

Marty's review: The Little Red Rooster Band celebrate their 30th anniversary with this new release of 15 all-original tracks of traditional Chicago/West Coast style blues that pay homage to their roots and the artists that inspired them. Their sound is upbeat with a tightness and professionalism that is thunderous and exhilarating in its delivery.  Top-notch instrumentals and soulful vocal numbers make this an all-round blues collection that will delight lovers of classy, polished blues.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Blues vocalist/songwriter Kat Riggins new album "In the Boys Club"....a collage of all things blues



Kat is back!

“Uh oh, fellas. There’s a girl in the boys’ club” … A fitting line for not only the title track of Kat Riggins' new album, but for the project as a whole. Much like Kat’s “Blues Revival” album, “In the Boys Club” is a collage of all things blues. From traditional blues tracks like “Cheat or Lose” or “Kitty Won’t Scratch” to the hard-driving blues-rock of “Fistful O’ Water” and "Johnnie Walker," Kat Riggins encompasses everything she loves about this ever-flowering genre. 

This release is meant to be a bold representation of the female presence in this “man’s world.” All twelve songs were penned by Kat and arranged together by Kat and her band to highlight a woman’s strength, humility, resilience, ambition, passion and compassion. This is not just for the blues lover; it's is for all those who love music.



Kat Riggins was born in Miami, Florida and grew up in a household where there was always background music. Because of the wide range of genres in her parents’ collection, Kat developed a love for all types of music from gospel and soul to country and rock and everything in between. "I can remember being in the car with my mom and sister singing along to Tracy Chapman one minute and Chuck Berry the next", says Kat. However, even then, she was drawn to the smoky gritty sounds of artists like Bessie Smith, Sam Cooke, Nina Simone, Tina Turner, Denise LaSalle, Etta James, Ray Charles, Koko Taylor, Janis Joplin and the list goes on. 


Kat's own musical style is a blend of the blues with hip hop, pop, rock, gospel and even country music. "It's all related anyway", she exclaims. She is inspired by young artists such as Janelle Monae, Karreim Riggins, SyncOpera and ZZ Ward and Andra Day who share in her passion to revive music from the vinyl days. "It's about the raw emotion in every note", Kat says. " If I can move someone to feel what I feel when I sing a song, then it's all worth it". With her own band, Blues Revival, she travels the world with the intent to "wake up the blues one song at a time"! 


official website: https://www.katriggins.com



Marty's review: Kat Riggins' new release is nothing short of a contemporary blues masterpiece. Featuring 12 self-penned songs taking in all styles of blues from rootsy traditional to the power of blues-rock, this is a collection of the finest in blues-roots music. With Kat's dynamic vocal delivery and a musical production that is top-flight and thunderous, this is one that delights from start to finish.  

Thursday, October 25, 2018

UK Americana/Country artist Katy Hurt release "Revved Up"...rockin' country with attitude


Following on from the success of her first single, “See Ya Later” back in July, Katy Hurt, a shining light on the UK Americana/Country scene, has recently released "Revved Up", the second single from the Unfinished Business EP. It was recorded in Winnipeg, during the icy cold of January, with Juno award winning producer Murray Pulver and her band. 

It’s a take-no-prisoners, Bonnie & Clyde story inspired by The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, and draws on the sounds of both Miranda Lambert and The Brothers Osbourne with a pinch of ZZ Top to create a unique blend of swaggering country rock.

official website: https://www.katyhurt.com



Marty's review: Katy Hurt's latest release is an up front, backs to the wall rocking country number that Katy delivers with plenty of style and a definite attitude. It's packed with raunch and punch and is the sort of piece that will floor you and leave you breathless. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Australian-born guitarist Matty T. Wall electrifying new album "Sidewinder"..the blues is alive and well Down Under


The electrifying guitar of Matty T Wall extends from his native Australia to the world. With the release of his latest collection, "Sidewinder," Matty is writing a new chapter in the musical narrative, revealing the power of his expanding artistry through guitar, voice, band and songs.

Key to the sound of "Sidewinder" is the presence of legendary Grammy-winning producer-engineer Bob Clearmountain. Famed for his work with the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and David Bowie among hundreds of other platinum artists, it is testimony to Matty T Wall’s musical integrity that Clearmountain provides the sonic sparkle that reveals "Sidewinder" in all its gritty glory. Indeed, with his newest release, all of the sides of Matty T Wall are in full frame. A young man with a reverent link to his lineage and a vital musical vision for the future: With Sidewinder, Matty T Wall turns it all the way up.




"Australian-born guitarist Matty T. Wall proves the blues is alive and well Down Under....Infectious chops and a swagger that's soulful enough to rival that of any blues-fueled, American shredder...an album that’s bound to leave a big smile on your face." - Guitar World Magazine, International 

Marty's reviewMatty T Wall delivers his second album with a blistering sound that takes his hard rocking blues to a whole new level. With the added bonus of being produced by the legendary Bob Clearmountain, the upfront and in your face approach that Matty is known for is even more prevalent here. Of the 12 tracks eight are self-penned, showing a maturity in Matty's songwriting talents as well as his stratospheric guitar licks that are as sharp as a switchblade knife and with the energy of bullet train. Covers of Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come", Trombone Shorty's "Something Beautiful", Freddie King's "Going Down" and Chris Thomas King’s revelatory “Mississippi Kkkrossroads” are all given a unique and respective treatment that not only revives the originals, but also accentuate Matty's influences and style. An exceptional release that I'm sure will expose Matty to a bigger and newer audience.

official website: https://www.mattytwall.com



stream and download on iTunes:

Monday, October 22, 2018

London-based Irish-born songstress Linda Em new EP release "London Irish"..poetic storytelling


London-based Irish-born songstress Linda Em presents her new EP ‘London Irish’, released via Talking Elephant Records

This EP is the first step in a different direction for Linda, towards a more atmospheric and spacious sound and vocal performance. It is both poetic and storytelling while still being brutally honest and personal. Her pure and raw vocals beautifully convey a nostalgic lyrical narrative, her warm endearing vocals drawing the listener into her musical story telling.



Linda draws an ethereal energy flow from her inspirations, citing numerous artists as influences, including Leonard Cohen,  Edith Piaf, Nina Simone, Portishead, Hank Williams, Ennio Morricone and the poetry of Ted Hughes.

Linda Em produces music in an extraordinary mix of influences and genres, blending folk (revisited from a current London / Irish cultural perspective), pop rock, Celtic melody and American blues. Her music is timeless, filtering new compositions through the prism of her musical heritage to produce an overall modern day eclectic feel.

FOR FANS OF: Stevie Nicks, Nick Cave, Lana Del Ray, Marianne Faithfull, Mazzy Star, Kirsty MacColl

EP available here: http://www.talkingelephant.co.uk


Keep up with Linda Em
Site | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | Soundcloud | iTunes | Spotify | Press contact

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Two-time San Diego Music Award winner Whitney Shay new album A Woman Rules the World


A two-time San Diego Music Award winner for Best Blues Artist, vivacious young vocalist Whitney Shay sings with a commanding authority that's usually associated with artists twice her age. No less an authority than soul legend Candi Staton called Shay "one heck of a singer" and asserted "She really has heart." The Beach and Bay Press further stated, "Shay is one of San Diego’s most electrifying artists, with a sassy, brassy stage presence that makes her one of the area's top performers to watch.” 

The excitement that Shay is currently generating, through her live performances and her new album, A Woman Rules the World, has its roots in the artist's lifelong love for music and performance. Her high energy and great passion for soulful music is contagious and her audiences find her absolutely irresistible.  Those assets have won her an enthusiastic audience on her home turf, where she performs more than 200 shows per year.




Shay’s talent and charisma are on display throughout A Woman Rules the World, her first new album in six years and her first to showcase her original songwriting. The album is a smart mix of original tunes and covers of soul classics by Little Richard, Dinah Washington, Candi Staton, Little Denise and Bill Coday, with a compelling undercurrent of female empowerment.

Marty's review: Whitney Shay delivers in a powerful and relentless style on this 10 track collection of bold and brassy blues-soul numbers that showcase her up-front vocals and passion for the blues. With a tight and dynamic production and a solid choice of material, including 4 she co-wrote with Adam J.Eros, this album announces that she is back in a big way and wants you to know it.

The album mirrors my journey, and this year it seems like a lot of things are coming to fruition with the women’s rights movement,” says Shay. “I think it really resonates right now because people are sick of the status quo.” 

find out more here:

Friday, October 12, 2018

Big Harp George releases "Uptown Cool" ... harmonica blues that's witty, brassy and smolders


Big Harp George, the only blues artist featuring the chromatic harmonica, burst onto the international blues scene in 2014 with the stunning "Chromaticism" that was nominated both for Blues Music and Blues Blast Magazine awards for “Best New Artist Album.” As one critic commented: “I haven’t been this impressed by a harmonica player’s national debut since William Clarke’s 1990 tour de force "Blowin’ Like Hell.”

Now comes this masterpiece of twelve new original songs ranging in topic from online dating to the human costs of disruptive technologies. No one is spared George’s irreverent wit — neither the powerful, nor aging blues fans, nor himself — but it’s all in a spirit of unity and rollicking good fun.

As always, George surrounds himself with top talent, who thrive in the space he ensures them as band leader. No indulgent solos here, just smart, tasteful playing. The influences are diverse: a strong Memphis/New Orleans brew infuses some songs, but Brazilian jazz and smoldering Chicago blues surface as well.

Big Harp George is redefining the role of chromatic harmonica in blues. But he is also commenting perceptively on life in the twenty-first century, helping to restore blues to rightful prominence in American popular music.

official website: http://www.bigharpgeorge.com



Wednesday, October 10, 2018

New roots music releases..Suzie Vinnick, Steve Dawson, Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar, Jay Kipps Band


You don’t have to travel far into Suzie Vinnick’s catalogue of music to know you have found something singular and unforgettable.

Hailing from Saskatoon and now settled in Ontario’s Niagara Region, Suzie is one of those rare performers who knows when to deliver the vocal knock-out and when to pull back to a whisper, bending notes and phrases that tiptoe across your heart. Even her humming is like a warm caress.

Singing is like sleeping and breathing for me. If you can’t sing with feeling, you can’t move people.” She performs with a warmth and generosity that makes her at home on your best friend’s front porch or under the lights of the National Arts Centre.

official website: http://www.suzievinnick.com
soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/suzie-vinnick


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Award-winning musician and producer Steve Dawson releases his 8th album, “Lucky Hand”.  “Lucky Hand” represents a high point of more than two decades of musical searching. Comprised of ten stunning new finger-style and slide guitar-based instrumentals, performed alongside an incredible string quartet, or in solo and duo formats, Dawson has never released music as sweepingly dynamic or visually suggestive as this.

Enlisting his old partner, Jesse Zubot, to create complementary and adventurous arrangements for his guitar excursions, these completely realized compositions – with Zubot’s orchestration adding colour to the sepia-tinged melodies – represent Dawson’s finest recording yet. 2018 marks the 20 years since the debut of Zubot and Dawson, and their collaborations never cease to inspire.

official website: https://www.blackhenmusic.com/#home-2-1
soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/makers-and-shakers



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Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar’s latest recording is entitled “Run to Me”. Produced by Darcy Yates (Bassist in Bahamas), the new album explores the full range of the vicissitudes of love: desire, betrayal and, at times, emotional and sexual satisfaction. The lyrics are incisive, the melodies are constantly arresting and the harmonies and arrangements call up the best of the soul sounds of Stax Records and such contemporary artists as Leon Bridges, Sharon Jones, and Lee Fields.

Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar’s debut release, 2015’s Send the Nightingale, was a stripped down affair consisting of Martin, her two co-singers Sherie and Stacie, and guitarist Mikey McCallum. For Run to Me, Martin elected to record her emotionally wrought material with an expanded band, augmenting the core of Delta Sugar’s gospel-infused harmonies with a full rhythm section, piano, organ and an ever-so-soulful horn section.

official website: http://samanthamartinmusic.com
soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/sam-111



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Somewhere between bluegrass and the blues there's some nice blue surf, with spaghetti western between the waves. That's where you'll find the Jay Kipps Band's brand of new-roots, Americana music with killer harmonica, a funky rhythm section and tasty guitar tones.

A blues/Americana band that fans describe as more blues than country and more roots than grass. The Jay Kipps Band presents a powerful, groovy rhythm section, unique, tasteful guitar tones, passionate lead harmonica and killer vocals, all skillfully combined to create a sound that is unmistakably unique and enjoyable for all.

How To Polish Your Longhorns is the band’s impressive, full-length debut offering, showcasing the band’s ability to blend multiple genres into a cohesive recording - "effortlessly pushing the boundaries of traditional blues into a modern, Americana landscape."

bandcamp: https://jaykippsband.bandcamp.com/album/how-to-polish-your-longhorns
official website: https://www.jaykippsband.com
soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/jaykippsband


Monday, October 8, 2018

Saratoga blues artist Mark Tolstrup releases deeply personal album "Northstar"


Yes, this is a really personal record,” says Saratoga Springs blues man Mark Tolstrup of his new album Northstar, his first solo effort since the 2007 release of The Backroads of America. In the time since that resonator guitar driven collection of classics by the likes of Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters and The Beatles, Tolstrup has focused more and more on his own songwriting, finding an avenue informed by favorites like Son House and Bob Dylan, but filled with rich insights all his own. While on that path, the loss of both his father and brother, in quick succession, put Tolstrup in an introspective place, which is heavily reflected in his latest work.

The title track was, in fact, written to be sung at his father’s funeral  “I wasn’t even sure it was a song at first,” Tolstrup says, but it is. And how.  “Which way do you turn when your Northstar is gone, and the needle stops pointing the way back to home,” he intones as the disc opens. “And there’s nothing to talk about, and there’s no one to blame, but nothing will ever be the same.”

 Longtime fans will find all they need to love here, but they should also prepare for a dive into Tolstrup’s psyche. “Free Brother” is the sibling flipside to “Northstar.” “City in the Rain,” the collection’s initial germ, is a broken love song worthy of Randy Newman. And the bittersweet, sax-tinged “I Don’t Know” is a sharp-eyed, late-night look at romance and its consequences.

While Bessie’s Smith’s “Backwater Blues,” and Tolstrup’s own stompers “Hey Hey Baby” (with a full horn section) and “Milk and Honey” tip to the raw and raunchy, covers of Tom Waits’ “On the Nickel” and Albany songwriter Michael Eck’s “Dead Man’s Shirt” (reinterpreted in distinctly Mississippi hill country fashion) hew to Northstar’s familial themes.




Tolstrup recorded the project—which began its life as a simple “ten song demo”—at Chris Carey’s Millstone Studio in Ballston Spa. Much of it is virtually live, with a serious supporting cast including Carey, Rick and Sharon Bolton, James Gascoyne, Oona Grady, Dave Lambert, Jeannine Ouderkirk, Woody Strobeck and Jessica Wern.

“Working with Chris was a joy,” the singer, also known for his combos Streetcorner Holler and Brass & Blues, says. “It’s the best recording experience I’ve had.”

Wern, Tolstrup’s stepdaughter, drums throughout and adds heart-piercing vocals, while Grady’s fiddle lends a true Irish keen to “Nickel” and the instrumental “Requiem for Coyote.”

“Jessie,” he says of Wern’s work, “knows what to do with these songs. I’m not really rock and roll, I lean more towards a New Orleans sound. She’s a jazz drummer and she’s listened to me play for her whole life.”

Tolstrup’s guitar, electric on this outing, is still there, at the heart of everything, even if it bows to the mouth harps, horns and fiddles, as well as the tunes themselves.

“I didn’t have to get more of myself into the songs,” Tolstrup says. “I didn’t need to step forward, because I’m already here. Nobody else could have made this record.”





For more information, visit marktolstrup.com 

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Chicago Blues Hall of Fame artist Paul Filipowicz album "Unfiltered" pays homage to the masters


Here it is! Paul Filipowicz’s tenth recording, “Unfiltered,” is the smokin’ summer soundtrack of 2018. From the first gutbucket note of Magic Sam’s “All My Whole Life Baby” to the low-down pool hall and jukebox sounds he heard in the early ‘60s, Chicago Blues Hall of Fame guitarist Paul Filipowicz breaks the filter off his smoking blues and gives it to you straight. “I got my blues education the old-fashioned way,” Paul says. “The only way my dad could get out of the house on a Saturday night was to take us boys along, and man did we see some joints!

On this recording, Paul pays homage to the masters. Three Magic Sam tracks draw on Paul’s history of playing an all-Magic Sam set in the ‘70s, and Lowell Fulson and Howlin’ Wolf tracks are also represented with a deftness of hand that is true to their creators. The album includes five Paul Filipowicz originals, including the rollicking “Riding High” and the four-on-the-floor ass shakers “Brand New Hat” and “My Woman.” On the moody harp instrumental “Canal Street,” inspired by long-ago late-night memories, harp master Benny Rickun takes it all the way downtown before the boys take you back uptown with the rowdy guitar shuffle and title track “Unfiltered.”



The Paul Filipowicz Blues Band, with an all-star lineup featuring alumni of the Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys, the Tommy Castro Band, The Groove Hogs, Brian Lee, and Dave Mason, has been bringing it strong every night for over 40 years.

official website: http://www.paulfilipowicz.com



Friday, September 28, 2018

Alt country, folk/americana, blues artists Max Caddy, Ferentz & The Felons, No Dry County and Jackie Venson

With so much cool music being submitted I will be doing some multi-posts in an attempt to keep up with them and get some exposure out there. Take some time to check these artists further and visit their relevant pages and videos...enjoy the music....Marty

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Acoustic blues/Americana duo, Max Caddy recently release “Who You Are to Me” from their new EP, Straight to the Face,  Comprised of singer Corina Corina and guitarist Jesse O’Neill, both have had bustling solo careers. "Who You Are to Me" is a 12-bar blues shuffle for the modern era. The duo playfully trades verses about missed signals and frustrations with a tinge of apathy toward a long-burning torch that hasn't quite burned out yet. The recorded guest instrumentation is a first for Max Caddy as it strives to recapture its collaborative live sound. 

stream and download EP here: https://maxcaddy.bandcamp.com


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NJ-based alt/folk rock band, Ferentz and the Felons announce the release of “Hudson County,” title track from their new album.  The title song/video, “Hudson County”  is inspired by founder, Zak Ferentz’s tough upbringing  in the projects of Hudson County.  Alternative Nation declares,, “...if you weren't hooked by the strong verse, explosive chorus or subtle yet impactful guitar solo, as the track ends you will be completely sucked into ’Hudson County.’” 

facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ferentzandthefelons/


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Americana folk-rock band No Dry County (better known as NDC) and the new tracks,  "Elvis Gun Runner" and "Sheep in Wolves Clothing" (feat. Brandy Zdan)  from their new album, Panhandle Music.  Taste of Country says, " it's almost certainly the only song of its kind you'll hear this year .... or possibly, ever."  “I'm not sure how many bands there are that I hear that sound like early Bruce. I'm talking pre-Born in the U.S.A.. I mean straight out of "Welcome to Asbury Park" years. Lubbock, Texas roots rockers No Dry County are the closest things I've heard in years to that sort of sound.” (Baeble)

official website: http://www.nodrycounty.com


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Austin-born, soul/pop guitarist/vocalist, Jackie Venson, recently released ​videos for "Only Have You" via The 405 and , "Don't Lie to  Me" via Soulbounce, and "Rollin and Tumblin" via Popmatters,  follow ups to her EP Transcends (9/30/17). Jackie was hand-picked by NPR as a "Tiny Desk Entries We Love."  She also received the honor of being incorporated in a mural celebrating Black History Month, painted on the East Side of Austin.  "With today's modern rock overrun by formulaic pop-rock choruses, purposeless guitar solos, and desperate electronic bass integrations, Venson sets fire to the faux-rock sounds plaguing the airwaves. With veracity and candor, she has been winning fans over left and right through heartfelt lyrics, a powerful voice and unapologetic guitar work"

official website: http://jackievenson.com

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Sunday, September 23, 2018

Down Home Blues: New York, Cincinnati and the North Eastern States: Tough Enough (4 CD box set)


Just released is the third box set in Wienerworld’s Down Home Blues series that explores the unique regions of the black American blues scene. This release features 37 artists, many of whom were influential in developing the down home blues scene, including Brownie McGhee, Big Chief Ellis, Alonzo Scales, Cousin Leroy and others.

The box set contains the down home blues of the territories of the North Eastern States that encompasses two important cities that certainly helped in the development and growth of this blues genre. Mainly from artists who were far more comfortable playing their music within the bars and out-of-town juke joints. The tough little venues that were quite different from the bigger rhythm and blues, jazz orchestrated venues that New York and North-eastern cities had established for those bigger sounds.




This is black American musicians, many with pre-war country blues roots which had evolved with an edge that didn't have to come out of the Delta and migrate up to the Illinois or Michigan cites during and after the Second World War. Here, many hailed from Florida, Georgia, Alabama and The Carolinas. 110 performances from single solo artists who were lucky enough to get just one, sublime record release, up to the tight small combo groups of musicians whom all produced equally fine intense recordings.



A four CD set, packaged in a deluxe digipak with an outer slip case, featuring 110 rare tracks, all digitally remastered, some of which have never been reissued since their original release.

Also features an 80 page book on the origins of the music and the blues scene in this region by eminent blues writer and scholar Chris Bentley, complete with essay, rare photos, track listing and full sessionography.

official websitehttps://www.wienerworld.com

Marty's review: This very comprehensive compilation of authentic black American blues from the 1940's to 1960's is expansive and emotionally rich. Many of these artists will be unfamiliar to blues enthusiasts but their recorded output is essential not only as historical documents but to the development of blues music as an art form. Covering all genres of blues from acoustic, electric, piano, harmonica, vocal and instrumental to male, female and group artists it is timeless in its presentation while being very accessible as an album of raw, energetic blues.

The audio restoration, engineering and mastering is technically polished making each track harmonically-rich and highly-listenable. Trying to select highlights from a 110 track list is near impossible as each track stands on its own and is equally entertaining and dynamic as the next. 

The accompanying 80 page book is a treasure in itself. Well researched, written and compiled by Chris Bentley, it contains a biography of each and every artist and their relevant recordings with rare pictures, disc labels and track by track listing.

This not just another blues compilation or a rehash of previously released tracks but a very satisfying and exceptional collection of notable artists displaying their talents in top-flight mode.