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Monday, January 23, 2017

Teresa James and The Rhythm Tramps new album release "Bonafide"...blues with passion



Originally from Houston, Texas, Teresa James is based in Los Angeles where she has assembled a group of some of the top LA based touring and session musicians in her band, The Rhythm Tramps. They have been working in the LA area and at blues festivals and clubs throughout the US and Europe for many years. For the last 12 years, the band has also been a favorite on Delbert McClinton's Sandy Beaches Blues Cruise.

She has performed live with such legendary artists as Levon Helm, Delbert McClinton, Eric Burdon, Marcia Ball, Tommy Castro, Big Al Anderson, Kirk Whalum, and many others. Her voice is featured on albums by Randy Newman, Eric Burdon, Tommy Castro, Bill Medley, and Walter Trout, among others. She has also sung for television and movie soundtracks; She and her band were featured in the Disney movie and soundtrack for "HOLES".

Teresa's band is an eclectic mix of Los Angeles based musicians who have worked with a wide range of artists including: Jimmy Reed, Eric Burdon, Jackson Browne, Taj Mahal, Bonnie Raitt, Jennifer Warnes, Was Not Was, Johnny Nash and many, many others.


Marty's review: On this latest release, Teresa James delivers the blues with power, soul and passion. Backed up by her stellar band, The Rhythm Tramps, the 13 killer tracks on "Bonafide" pick you up by the scruff of the neck and won't let you go. It's blues that is full on, up front and tight with no holds barred. Teresa's voice is strong and slightly raspy and her experience in singing the blues certainly comes through on each and every track.

Find out more on the official website:

Sample and stream on Soundcloud:






"Teresa James is a true original. When she sings you can feel it in your bones."... Levon Helm, "The Band"

"Jump on this band-wagon while there is room..." ... Blues 411

"Teresa James has a voice that comes from deep down in the soul, as real and authentic as it gets When she sings, you know she means it."... Graham Clarke for Blues Bytes

"I haven't heard pipes of this caliber in a long time... this is an amazing body of work...this lady has star written all over her." ... James "the Blueshound" Nagel,  producer/programmer KPFT Houston


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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Derrick Procell - Why I Choose to Sing the Blues...Blues that Sizzles



When Derrick Procell began writing songs with Grammy winner Terry Abrahamson, he hadn't planned on releasing the music under his own name. But as overwhelming positive feedback from other blues artists came back -- all of them wondering who the singer/producer was -- it became clear that Procell needed the world to hear his versions of the songs before they became hits for others.

After releasing self-produced CDs under the Americana banner, "Why I Choose to Sing the Blues" is Procell’s debut blues album. Most of the 12 original songs were co-written with Abrahamson, while the others are solo Procell compositions.

Stream and download the album on Bandcamp HERE

"Blues fans around the world who are seeking smart, powerful modern blues songs that honor the legacy of the genre’s masters will find it here. ... It’s refreshing to hear an album that is entirely devoted to the service of the song. Highly recommended!" - Chicago Blues Guide




Marty's review: Derrick Procell takes the blues by the horn on this release and gets down and dirty with 12 sizzling tracks that come out at you with power, force and passion. Derricks vocals are more than suited to singing the Delta blues and the production and backup on this album are tight, bold and brassy. Blues aficionados will eat this one up.

A fiery live performer since his early days covering blues classics with his college band, Parchman Farm, Procell brings his full energy to the proceedings whether he's playing piano or harmonica. What really sets him apart, though, is his soulful, passionate, gritty vocals. Procell has become a sought-after studio singer for television and radio ads, and his songs have been included in such high-profile programs as "The Office," "Boston Legal," "True Blood" and "Criminal Minds."

"Some of the best songwriting I've heard in a long time; great lyrics, great melodies, great grooves. A record that's good enough for musicians to enjoy, but also really musically accessible. ... His singing style reminds me of Marc Cohn, Gregg Allman or Delbert McClinton. It's a refreshingly different blues record because there are a lot of styles, not just a bunch of 12-bar blues songs. Smart songwriting, great singing, playing and arranging." - Amazon.com

More on his official website http://www.derrickanamerican.com/



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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Australian New Blues duo HPKNS new single release "Amy Spencer Blues"



Australian New Blues duo HPKNS (James Deville and David Lovegrove), have just released their third single "Amy Spencer Blues". 

"Amy Spencer Blues" ties together the riff-driven blues of their first single "Soda Man" and the melodic pop sensibilities of previous release "LA Andy." HPKNS trademark pounding bass heavy beat and grooving guitar lines are prominent throughout , whilst sections of focused vocal harmony stand-out and add an extra dimension rarely seen among other riff based rock."

Stream the track on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/wearehp kns/amy-spencer-blues

James and David are from Bayside Melbourne (Jet, British India) and have been writing and performing together for over 10 years. Sending demos back and forth whilst traveling in 2013 and 2014, they ultimately made the decision to quit their full-time careers and follow their passion for music, culminating in their new Blues based project HPKNS. 




Following in the footsteps of the foot-stomping style made famous by Lightnin’ Hopkins, John-Lee Hooker and others while incorporating a bass heavy underbelly and their penchant for melody and harmony, HPKNS aim to develop the Blues in their own unique style.

HPKNS previous 2 singles “Soda Man” and "LA Andy" received airplay on MMM’s Homegrown and JJJ's Roots and All as well as numerous positive reviews on Australian and International music blogs such as semplesize.com and blackbullblues.com .

Find out more: wearehpkns.com // soundcloud.com/wearehpkns






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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

American Blues Guitarist Landon Spradlin album release No More Blue Mondays



Landon Spradlin’s blistering guitar solos come through no matter what style of blues he is playing. From the Louisiana delta to B.B. King’s in Memphis, from jamming in Texas to recording sessions in London, his throaty, gut-wrenching vocals, songwriting, and guitar work communicate the heart and soul of the blues like few musicians can. No More Blue Mondays, recorded with members of Eric Clapton's band and originally released in 1995, is available now.

Spradlin has shared his musical gift with countless fans over the years, playing on street corners, in bars and music houses, at festivals and churches, and even at Madison Square Garden in New York City. He has been a featured artist at the International Guitar Show, in Dallas, for many years and has shared stages with The Kentucky Headhunters, Lee Roy Parnell, Anson Funderburgh, Buddy Whittington, Rick Derringer, Cyril Neville, the Nighthawks and many other artists.

Spradlin and his band won the Piedmont Blues and Preservation Society's Blues Challenge in 2009 and went on to represent the society at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, where they made quite an impression. For Spradlin, being soulful isn't limited to a specific sound; rather, it's simply a natural part of who he is. His guitar playing and his voice, deep and full of emotion, are powerful in a soul-stirring way. No More Blue Mondays is definitive proof that he belongs in the company of the greatest artists the blues genre has to offer.

"Landon Spradlin is a blues treasure, a force to be reckoned with. He's like Ray Charles meets Johnny Winter." - Jimmy Wallace, Dallas International Guitar Show





Marty's review: emotion and passion are the 2 key ingredients on this most stirring album by preacher, blues guitarist and singer Landon Spradlin. Taking all the elements of traditional blues and adding a bit of soul and gospel, the 9 amazing tracks on this album will certainly wake up something inside you and open your eyes and ears to the talents of this very unique artist. The production is tight, the songwriting is from the heart and the delivery is just exceptional. My favourite track is his soaring gospel version of Dobie Gray's "Drift Away".


Find out more on his official website: http://www.landonspradlin.com/

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Friday, December 30, 2016

An Interview With Australian Blues Influenced Guitarist and Songwriter Matty T.Wall



A young man with an old soul: Matty is connected to music with a wealth of history as he distills a diversity of genres into his own blues-influenced soul, jazz, and rock signature. For Matty T.Wall - a guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and bandleader – it is the supernatural sound that crossed the ocean to Perth, Australia to ignite his imagination and give power to his art.

His points of references are wide; he has studied and played a spectrum of styles including flamenco, swing jazz and funk, and he attests to a love for “heavier things” in his youth, bands like Metallica and Sepultura among them. But he remembers how the musicians he admired would honor the blues masters who came before them. And following the trail of Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan backward, he was hooked.

Matty T.wall has been featured previously on this blog (see original post here). I recently caught up with him (via email) and fired a few challenging questions....

What was your first exposure to the blues?
I was actually exposed to blues without realising it when I was younger. My dad would always be playing Eric Clapton in the house, so that blues influence was always there. When I was in my teens, I heard Gary Moore's "Still Got The Blues" album and was absolutely BLOWN AWAY. I was into Metallica and Joe Satriani at the time, so hearing Gary Moore play blues in this way was very appealing to me. My first "real" USA blues influence was a video that my older brother had called "Blues Alive" - It had some incredible performances by Buddy Guy and Albert Collins. That's where I really got to know how blues music worked.
Are there any guitarists that have influenced your style?
Way too many to list, so I will just name a few - maybe. Eric Clapton's phrasing always impressed me. Stevie Ray Vaughan's intensity blows me away. John Scofield's 'out there' note choices are great, whilst maintaining that blues base, Django Reinhardt's swing feel combined with his attack is very appealing to me also. Albert Collins awkward but fiery style is a favourite too. I was mostly attracted to very intense styles of playing though. These are just a few influences, however there are many. As a teenager, I obsessively studied James Hetfield's (Metallica) approach to rhythm playing and that has become a part of my style also. I can't finish this paragraph without mentioning Jimi Hendrix though - talk about innovation.
Do you like to emulate other guitarist styles or do want to be totally original?
Ideally, I want my own voice on the instrument. These days, I am not trying to play like anyone. I would rather try new things that are interesting to me and try to keep them sounding cool within the feel of blues, to create a personal style. There is a reason I play SG customs - I don't want to play Stratocasters or Les Pauls like everyone else. Picking a different instrument that most other blues players use goes a long way to playing the guitar in a different way. Albert Collins was very outspoken about this, and I agree with him wholeheartedly. Find your own voice.
I can't 100% say that parts of my playing don't sound like other artists. That is just part of the journey when trying to find your own sound.
Did leaving Perth expand your musical knowledge and help to hone your talents?
Touring in other cities and playing with other artists DEFINITELY makes you realize how good you have to be in this industry to get heard. It was quite a reality check playing alongside some incredible musicians and discovering that I have a long way to go. You are forced to get better or accept a certain standard. Motivation is one of the most important things when it comes to working on your instrument, you have to use everything as a source of motivation, stay positive and not let it bring you down.
What other music do you listen to when you are not playing?
All sorts. Could be Tchaikovsky, could be Pantera, anything that gives me goosebumps! I always try to keep my blues roots though, so I might come back to John Lee Hooker or RL Burnside etc. to make that happen if I stray too far! Right now I am listening to a lot of Jeff Buckley. Damn, he is a great vocalist!
How would you compare the blues scene in Australia to other parts of the world?
The blues scene in Australia is really quite strong and there are always blues festivals in Australian happening all throughout the year. Many different types of blues are popular here, however due to the vast distances needed to tour this country, the "solo artist" - acoustic, or electric with loop pedals seems to be pretty well represented. As per normal, there are 'blues purists' who prefer a very authentic style, however, the Australian mentality is very laid back and open-minded which is good when playing blues that pushes the boundaries. As I like to do.
Do you have 5 favorite albums you would take to a desert island?
Stevie Ray Vaughan - Texas Flood
Van Halen - Van Halen
Jimi Hendrix - Band Of Gypsys
Jeff Buckley - Grace
Pearl Jam - Ten
I can think of quite a few more, but this would be a start.
What would you say any aspiring young guitarists who are also passionate about playing music?
Listen to music that you are passionate about - don't care what other people think. Play music that you are passionate about - don't care what others think. Work on your instrument daily - even if just for 10 minutes -make it a routine - these days the standards are pretty high, so you need solid skills. Once your playing technique is good, then "phrasing" becomes THE most important thing - it is how your music communicates with the listener.
There is always something new to work on in the music industry, whether it be stage presence, marketing, song writing - embrace it all and don't let it get you down. There is no such success like "X-Factor". Opportunities will come up - just work to be the best you can be and you will be rewarded with the satisfaction that comes along with it. Things started happening for me when I decided to really pursue music because it makes others happy when I play, rather than for personal reasons. Play music to make this world a more interesting and enjoyable place for others - detach yourself from the ego and things become so much easier and fun.
Is there any one special place you would like to do a gig at?
Coming full circle to talking about that "Blues Alive" video I used to watch as a young boy, it would have to be Buddy Guy's "Legends" bar in Chicago. That is where Albert Collins and Buddy Guy were filmed in that video, and really is the ultimate blues venue that I would like to play at. I hope I can get there someday.

Check out more on Matty T.Wall:

Websitehttps://www.mattytwall.com/
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/mattytwall/


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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Mississippi Heat new release "Cab Driving Man"...Chicago, Delta Blues and more



The blues are universal and there’s no better example perhaps than a multiracial Chicago band inspired by the Mississippi Delta, led by a talented Belgian blues harpist with a French sounding name, who travel well, spreading their blues power from Montreux to Istanbul and other faraway pockets of American roots music lovers.

Mississippi Heat are an American blues band based in Chicago, led by harmonica player Pierre Lacocque. Formed in 1991, the band has toured in the United States, Canada and Europe, with occasional performances in South America and North Africa.

Mississippi Heat has recorded 12 albums: four on Van der Linden Records, the band's own label (1992–1998), three on the European label CrossCut Records (1998–2005) and six with Chicago label Delmark Records since 2005.

Cab Driving Man is their latest release. Passionate and melodic harmonica player Pierre Lacoque leads his band by providing 11 original songs, while maestro guitar player Michael Dotson sings on 3 of his own compositions. Lead singer Inetta Visor delivers stellar vocals on 12 songs, including 2 covers: "Don't Mess Up A Good Thing", here a duet with Giles Corey, originally made famous by Fontanella Bass and Bobby McClure, and "Smooth Operator", previously recorded by Sarah Vaughan. Cab Driving Man takes you from vintage, low-down Chicago and Delta blues to exciting boogie, Latin beats and R'n'B ballads. Delmark Records has high expectations for this award-worthy release.

Find out more on their website: http://mississippiheat.net/

Available on Amazon and iTunes..........




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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Canadian blues-roots band Hidden Stash new album release "Mixed Cassette Tape"



Hidden Stash is a new 6-piece roots band offering up rock, pop, blues, soul, C&W and folk with a retro twist. Their debut album Mixed Cassette Tape is a 70’s inspired rock album that takes listeners back in time when people used to listen to albums from start to finish.

The band's songwriter and lead vocalist, Michael Gray, has some family connections that are of major interest. Being the son of Jerry Gray, the legendary folk musician who was a founding member of The Travellers and the brother of James Gray who served more than 13 years in Blue Rodeo, Gray grew up surrounded by music.  The band name Hidden Stash comes from the idea that he has kept this hidden stash of songs that he wrote for years and is now ready to reveal them to the world.



Mixed Cassette Tape is expertly co-produced and arranged by Derek Downham (The Beauties), and features Divine Brown, Damhnait Doyle, Shelley Coopersmith, Denis Keldie, Jim Bish, Russ Boswell and a sizzling duet with rising roots n’ roll singer Samantha Martin.




A stand out track “Chasing Sunsets” features Juno award winning vocalist Divine Brown with a personal story about finding yourself and chasing your dreams. “Wasted” is about an executive who’s on the road chasing his next fix.  “I had written it with a Little Feat kind of vibe,” says Gray, “then Derek created this really great acoustic slide riff at the top, and turned it into a funky New Orleans tune.” “Are You With Me?” has special meaning to Gray as it was his wedding song that he had written for his wife.  The talented Samantha Martin joins him for a powerful duet.

The song of most importance to Gray is “Sweet Brother James” the ballad he had written a day or two after his brother had passed away in 2013.  “Usually, the lyrics process takes me a long time, but the song flowed out of me in less than an hour,” he says, “it was the best way I could show my appreciation for my brother.”

Marty's review: "Mixed Cassette Tape" is aptly titled, with 11 original tracks that are roots based with influences of blues, pop, country and even a touch of funky jazz. Michael Gray's exceptional and personal songwriting skills are at the forefront and will make you listen just that little closer. The talented group of musicians that he is surrounded by give us their expertise on dobro, violin, accordion, cello, saxophones, banjo and flute, all supported by harmonised background vocals. Favourite track for me is the bluesy "Wasted".

Find out more on their website: 

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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Randy McAllister new album release "Fistful of Gumption"... a true blues-roots original



Randy McAllister is one of America’s true Blues-Roots originals and one of Texas’ most revered and critically acclaimed artists. He has been flying in the face of convention his whole career… no smoke, no mirrors, choreography or industry machines. One of the most talented blues men from Texas, Randy plays driving drums and world-class harmonica, writes incredible songs, and sings like no one else. 

Randy’s new release, Fistful of Gumption, once again features his current touring band, The Scrappiest Band in the Motherland, and is out now on Reaction Records.






Raised in the small Texas town of Novice, McAllister is a fifth generation Texan, whose father was both a fireman and a drummer in a band called The Flames. Randy followed in his footsteps from a very young age, but the drums were just the beginning. McAllister found the harmonica in his early 20’s while stationed in Massachusetts as a member of the USAF taking cues from Blue’s Legend “Earring George” Mayweather. By the time he returned to Texas in 1992, he was a strong, skillful harp player who was establishing his vocal and songwriting skills. In 1997, McAllister signed with JSP Records releasing three highly acclaimed CD’s before going on to issue recordings through Severn Records and Reaction Records. A true ambassador of East Texas music with a career spanning almost 30 years and 13 albums to his credit.





“McAllister is a skilled craftsman in the art of songwriting. He combines first-rate melo-dies with valued lyrics… a superbly soulful singer with an ample range who sings each song with a legitimate conviction.” Vivascene

“...genius at work… awesome vocals and the tastiest harp work heard in a long time” Blues Review Magazine

“One of the most uniquely talented songwriters and performers the blues currently has to offer.” Blues Bytes

“With and expressive vocal register falling somewhere between the soulful effervescence of Al Green and the blunt hammer of Johnny Taylor, a shrewd wit and admirable turn of a phrase, McAllister cements himself as a blues bard archetype.” Living Blues Magazine

“Rough hewn and wild at times, this is Texas blues the way it should be. This is real mu-sic, not conveyor belt blues.” Blueprint Magazine

“This is high energy East Texas roots music at its best. His music stirs the soul.”

North Padre Island Press


Randy McAllister




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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Singer, songwriter and producer Stevie J new album release "Back 2 Blues"



Singer, songwriter and producer Stevie J., based in Jackson, Mississippi, announces the release of "Back 2 Blues," his first album in several years. 

The son of a pastor, Stevie J. has been a professional musician practically his entire life. With roots in gospel music and Southern soul, it was only a matter of time before the blues became his main passion. Stevie was a member of Bobby Rush's band on his acclaimed album "Folk Funk" (2004) and also toured with the legendary soul-blues artist. He has represented the Central Mississippi Blues Society at the Blues Foundation's International Blues Challenge, in Memphis. In 2010 he was named Contemporary Blues Artist of the Year (Male) at the Jus' Blues Awards.




"More than just straight-up 12-bar blues, Stevie J. weaves in female backup vocals and lively horns ...he knows how to compose a song and tell a story ... the talent and passion are there!" - Amazon.com

"A killer ... lively and swingin’!" - The Rock Doctor 

"Reminded us that you can muster a great Southern soul vocal without shouting and screaming and writhing and wailing -- in fact, without vocalizing much higher than a sugary whisper." - Daddy B. Nice

The best description of Stevie J is a limitless Blues man. With the versatility and knowledge of the history of the Blues to take an audience on an historical musical journey of the Blues from the 1930's thru 2020. So many guys jump in the Blues world without studying the history. It takes more than guitar licks and a hat to be a true Blues man.




Marty's review: this man has the blues in his blood, and, with this new release, he presents us with what I would call a musical in blues history. The tight production, exceptional musicianship and the high quality of songwriting all come together in a collection of 11 killer tracks that will leave the listener with more than a gasp or two. Favourite track for me is "Son of A Sanctified Preacher".

Sample and stream tracks on official website http://www.steviejblues.me/

..and also at Mississippi Delta Blues Inc


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Friday, December 2, 2016

Folkways Reissue: Cat-Iron, "Cat-Iron Sings Blues and Hymns" OOP since 1958




Exit Stencil recordings is proud to announce the re-issue and licensing of the long out of print American Blues / Folk album by Cat-Iron, Cat-Iron Sings Blues and Hymns. Originally released on the Smithsonian Folkways label in 1958, this forgotten classic is getting it’s first US vinyl pressing since its original release.

Cat-Iron was born William Carradine in 1898 (according to gravestone, but records say 1896) in Garden City, Louisiana.  The nickname, “Cat-Iron,” was not a nickname he used but, rather, a mishearing of his surname on the part of folklorist Frederic Ramsey, Jr. Little has been written about the artist but we know he was married and served as a private in the US Army during World War I.


Cat-Iron - Poor Boy A Long, Long Way From Home


As the story goes, the alto saxophone player Thurman Monroe introduced Frederic Ramsey, Jr. to Cat-Iron, when during a chance meeting, it was discovered that Ramsey was looking to record some authentic Blues / Folk down in Louisiana.  When the duo arrived at Cat-Iron’s house in Buckner’s Alley in Natchez, they had to coax him to play a few songs, with Cat-Iron even remarking, “I got no guitar...”  Having converted to Christianity, Cat-Iron originally balked at the idea of playing any blues songs.  However, with persistence and fellowship, Ramsey was able to cull a collection that is equal parts blues numbers and equal parts sacred---all recorded right in Cat-Iron’s living room.

As Ramsey stated in the original linear notes, “Cat Iron might be singing religion, but he was playing it with the heart of a blues-man.” 

When Exit Stencil re-issued 15-60-75 (The Number’s Band)’s, Jimmy Bell’s Still In Town, back in 2013, we became so enthralled with the title track, that we worked backwards to the song’s originator, which is often credited as Cat-Iron. Robert Kidney loaned us his original 1958 copy of the record and we started the process with Folkways to make this a living, breathing, record once again.

The record is being reissued in a limited edition of 500 copies on translucent yellow vinyl---just like the original press.  Includes a faithful reproduction of the 8 page booklet and linear notes authored by Frederic Ramsey, Jr.

Purchase HERE from ExitStencil site



Cat Iron - Jimmy Bell


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