Thursday, March 29, 2018

The Jim Shaneberger Band release 2nd album "Above and Below"...rockin' blues, funk and soul from Michigan

Jim Shaneberger, a skilled guitarist, bassist, songwriter and vocalist, leads the Jim Shaneberger Band (JSB), hailing from West Michigan. Bassist Jeffrey Baldus and drummer Steve Harris each add their own energy and playing styles for a lively, energetic, and eventful stage performance. With influences like Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Led Zeppelin, and Motown classics, JSB mixes rock, funk, soul, and blues into a sound all their own. 

JSB’s second album, "Above and Below," was released late 2017. The album was written collaboratively and showcases more heavily the influence of drummer Steve Harris and bassist Jeffrey Baldus. This is especially demonstrated on track 8, an instrumental titled “Just Saying Bro.”

"Above and Below" has a diverse array of genres represented, and each song has a unique feel. The rocker of the collection is “Indifference,” a social justice song inspired by the 2016 shooting of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. The song serves as a call to action for citizens to stand up for each other.

official website:

Marty's review: JSB come at you loud and proud on this their second album release. Nine powerful tracks of rocking blues, funk and soul that sound like they are more than a 3-piece band. With Jim Shaneberger's skillful guitar licks leading the charge backed up by plucking bass lines from Jeff Baldus and a solid backbeat from drummer Steve Harris, this collection of down and dirty raucous blues will shatter the neighbour's windows with only minimal volume!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Little Freddie King live album release "You Make My Night" blues from New Orleans

Little Freddie King is a country-style blues musician, links to an era when live music poured from the back-of-town nightclubs that were ubiquitous throughout New Orleans’ African-American neighborhoods, fostering a musical subculture of down home Mississippi blues that developed from the ground up in New Orleans. He is also one of the few survivors and the last of what has become a footnote to the Great Migration of Southern blacks: the Mississippi country bluesmen like Boogie Bill Webb, Jewell “Babe” Stovall, and Arzo Youngblood who carried their tradition farther south rather than north. He is also a cousin of Lighting Hopkins.

 “YOU MADE MY NIGHT” (MWR72) 2017 is Little Freddie King’s way of saying “thank you” to his rowdy and enthusiastic audience after one of his classic low down dirty blues performances. The album was recorded live at “The World-Famous D.B.A Music Club” in New Orleans, La. The songs are a mixture of originals and four of his favorites from his blues friends. The recording is a “time-capsule” featuring eleven tracks of authentic “juke-joint” style music in which perfect pitch and well-tuned guitars just don’t matter. He’s got a rough Mississippi roots electric sound with a New Orleans edge. His brand of the blues is moonshine dripping from the backyard porch, still made from the remnants of the Delta farm he was raised, until jumping a train to New Orleans. His sound is harsh, dirty and powerfully authentic.

Marty's review: Little Freddie King plays a collection of classic blues numbers in this live setting that captures his style of blues the way it should be heard, loud, dirty and no frills. Just imagine yourself standing in this crowd of raucous admirers and "getting down" to traditional blues and soaking it all in. Enjoy!


Monday, March 19, 2018

Ron Campbell & the bLUES bUSTERS throw a haymaker with 'The Main Event'

album uses boxing metaphor to deliver the blues

“The Main Event” is 16 original tracks from Canadian blues band Ron Campbell & the bLUES bUSTERS (

Though perhaps little known internationally, the bLUESbUSTERS are hardly novices; in a career stretching back to the mid-'60s, they've honed their blues chops on a thousand smoky roadhouse stages and are the pride of their hometown, Powell River, Canada. Guitarist/songwriter Ron Campbell has charted on college radio, has written for film and stage, and has won several songwriting awards.

“I've been doing this for 51 years,” says Campbell. “I've recorded a few other CDs, but this -- finally -- is the one that feels right.”

Ron Campbell & the bLUESbUSTERS are a Chicago-style blues dance band with a jazzy twist. This four-piece group -- Ron Campbell (guitar/harp/vocals), Dennis Fox (bass/vocals), Neko (drums), and “Burnin'” Ted Durnin (keys/sax/vocals) -- have been described as “a cross between Joe Bonamassa and Dave Brubeck.”

Not limiting themselves to the usual guitar-based lineup, their prominent use of both saxophone and blues harp, as well as the vocal jazz-style harmonies of their three lead singers, definitely set them apart. Fans have praised their “jazzy, swinging tunes,” their “brilliant songwriting” and their “strong blues vocals.” Of their newest CD, Campbell says, “The preliminaries are over. This is the album I've worked a lifetime to create. To me, it truly is The Main Event.”

In an advance review, Blues Matters magazine said, “'The Main Event' contains something for every blues fan. The songs fit into that slow blues, slightly funky groove [with] enough shifts in mood and key to keep the listener interested. Songs like 'If The Train's On Time' have a pleasing, road-worn timbre, full of down-and-dirty slide guitar and Johnny Johnson-like piano playing. 'Ben's Bounce' is a Hammond organ, harmonica and saxophone-led upbeat stomper. The distinctiveness of the vocals ... and a good production style present 16 original songs which all show their musicians and writers to good effect.”

Once described as “Canada's best-kept blues secret,” Ron Campbell & the bLUESbUSTERS have, with 'The Main Event,' become contenders.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Americana Blues Duo Screamin' John and TD Lind's "Big Bad Coraline" from new album "Gimme More Time"

Screamin’ John Hawkins and T.D. Lind take their game up a notch with their first collaboration in two decades, the new album Gimme More Time. The album was recorded live over three days at La La Land Studios with a roster of friends and former bandmates. The familiarity of the musicians with one another resulted in a hard edged sound that imbues the blues with the raw energy of early Rock 'n’ Roll.

Lind is originally from England. He relocated to America in 1991 to pursue music. In the late 90's, he fronted the Louisville band Edenstreet, which featured Screamin’ John Hawkins and Chuck Mingis on guitars along with bassist Jeff Crane and drummer Paul Culligan. Edenstreet disbanded after its record label, A&M, was sold to Universal Music Group. Lind pursued a solo career while Hawkins, Crane, and Culligan ended up playing in the Predators.

Gimme More Time was originally conceived as a Screamin’ John Hawkins solo album. He recruited Crane, Culligan and harmonica player Joel Pinkerton for the project. Then he got the idea to bring in Lind. “I am generally not a fan of albums by guitar players who don’t sing,” Hawkins confessed. “Tim seemed like a good solution to the problem. There was never any bad blood between any of us. When Edenstreet disbanded, he was on a work visa so he had to go back to England. We always enjoyed playing together.”

Marty's review: these guys play the blues like there's no tomorrow; down the middle, straight to the punch with a dirty feel that grabs you and shakes you around until your head is spinning. The album is a knockout and was recorded "live" in the studio over three days. The sound that comes out is from a bunch of seasoned professionals that love what they play and ain't scared to lay it all up front for you. A big thumbs up from me!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Mama SpanX release State of Groove...virtuoso collective belt out funky grooves, blues-rock and 70's soul

Singer, songwriter, bandleader and New York Blues Hall of Fame inductee Nikki Armstrong put together some of her favorite musicians from both the East & West Coast's R&B, rock & funk scenes to form the band Mama SpanX. The name came from legendary soul-jazz guitarist Melvin Sparks whom Nikki collaborated with for several years until his passing in 2011. Bands such as Tower of Power, Cold Blood, Sly & the Family Stone, Ike & Tina and especially James Brown inspired the songs, arrangements and grooves on "State of Groove."

Known for her diverse songwriting, unique voice, dynamic stage performance and her ability to build a "smokin'" band, Nikki plus the "Spankers"; seven virtuoso musicians, form Mama SpanX. The self-produced, nine-track, "old school" analog recording of "State of Groove," the band's first release, was recorded and engineered by Richard Robinson (Fleetwood Mac, Pinetop Perkins) with final mixes by Howie "The Doctor" Lindeman (Roberta Flack, Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway). The original material ranges from R&B to blues/rock to funk with some fun pieces, such as "Being Beautiful," and one cover, "Alligator Boogaloo," based on the 1967 Lou Donaldson soul jazz hit, with additional music and lyrics about being in love with an alligator.

Other songs are reminiscent of early 70's soul, inspired by artists such as Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Sly and the Family Stone and Tower of Power. "State of Groove," the last track, is also the mission statement of Mama SpanX. It is about the joy of creating the groove as a band, each artist having their own unique voice while supporting each other to create a new "state" of excitement. So, put down that remote, the cell phone, get off the screens! Get into the groove and get ready to laugh, sing and dance your butt off with Mama SpanX's "State of Groove."

Marty's review: Aptly titled, this album is what it claims, a powerhouse of groove that hits you from the word go and never lets up. With funky rhythms, searing guitars, soul style keyboards and a shiny brass section, the production is top notch. Add to this the songwriting and vocal talents of the NY Blues Hall of Fame inductee Nikki Armstrong, and you have an album that showcases the talents of this fine group of musicians.

Official website:

Friday, March 2, 2018

UK Indie-Americana collective Carousel release debut EP...soaring harmonies and folk-rockers

Carousel are 4-piece Indie-Americana music collective are based in Southend-on-Sea on the coast of Essex, UK. They fuse Americana, country, folk, rock’n’roll, blues and roots music into their own unique approach whilst taking full advantage of having four accomplished vocalists at their disposal. The band’s influences include an array of artists from Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash to the modern day Americana stylings of Brandi Carlile and The Lone Bellow. The band’s aim is to breathe new life into music venues and street-level performances around the UK, with a view to remove the barrier between artist and audience.

Marty's review: Their highly anticipated 5 track debut EP was released late last year and features their combined talents from beautiful, soaring harmonies on the tracks "Porcelain" and "Comfortable Skin" to the raunchy, all-out rocker "Throw Me to the Wolves". Add to this their proficient songwriting and instrumentation talents and you have a debut that will win over new and old fans alike. Take some time out and plug your ears into this one.

Stream and download on Bandcamp:

Official website: