Monday, January 14, 2019

Australian singer-songwriter / guitarist Gus McKay releases "Talisman" album..a blues-rock stunner

Australian singer-songwriter/guitarist Gus McKay is making blues-rock fans very happy with his latest album, Talisman. Blues and roots-rock influences  abound, including  J.J.Cale, mixed in with Gus' Peter Green meets ZZ Top inspired vocals. Essential for blues and rock fans, Talisman is a fascinating spin start to finish. Songs about purpose and dignity are at the core of Talisman, which also has a deep connection to rural life in Australia. A sense of sparseness permeates Talisman, which is very much centered on Gus’ own ideas of life, while his lyrics are underscored by the excellent sound that Gus receives from his band, including Ronan Charles (drums, keyboards, and tenor sax) and Phil Waldron (bass, double bass, bouzouki, fiddle, trumpet,  cello, banjo, pedal steel and tin whistle). The first thing that grabs you about Talisman is the sonic depth of these songs, while guitar fans will be amazed at the sound that Gus coaxes from his many fine guitars, including Teles and Strats as well as a 1940's Dobro and an Australian “Galvo” tricone resonator made from 100 year old galvanized roof tin/iron.The art of modern electric blues is alive and well on Gus McKay's Talisman

official website:

Gus McKay is a successful songwriter and musician with 20 years as a seasoned recording artist, performer and producer. A farmer and stockman most of his life, but now a full-time musician, Gus McKay sings and writes all his own material, plays guitar, blues harmonica and tenor sax. Gus also performs in a number of bands and as solo artist in his hometown, Fremantle in Western Australia, Gus McKay's earthy style of music features roots and blues infused music but with a new alt/jazz flavor, building a future style for upcoming releases on his self-funded and self-produced RPM (Rollin’ Plains Media) label.

Marty's review: this most stunning release shows the diversity in Gus McKay's talents and professionalism. The album is a musical introspective that creates a  landscape of sounds and lyrics that Gus has threaded together from his experiences and visions of everyday life. The lyrics are sometimes dark but also honest and poignant. His guitar playing is sprawling and skillful and the production on the whole album is expansive and at times breathtaking. This is one release that will certainly be noticed and roots music fans and the like will wrap it around themselves and enjoy the warmth and textures that are created.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Laurie Jane and The 45's new release "Late Last Night...Elixir of Sara Martin"

Louisville, Kentucky's Laurie Jane and The 45's find themselves walking new paths that are at the same time as familiar as turning down the street to home on "Late Last Night," their new release on Down in the Alley Records.

The goal of Laurie Jane and The 45's is to revive the work of Louisville's prohibition-era blues singer Sara Martin. But they're not doing it in a purist way: Instead of trying to capture every nuance of music that's nearly a century old, the group reaches out to deliver Sara's music in the same way the great British rock bands introduced most of us to the blues. Sara's words ring true through the careful, thoughtful delivery of Laurie Jane's vocals, while the band's Southern soul shines with layers of rich horns, cascading guitars and their trademark raucous rhythms.

1. LATE LAST NIGHT (Sara Martin) 2:55
(Clarence Williams, Spencer Williams, Clarence Johnson) 3:12
3. BLIND MAN BLUES (Eddie Green and Billie McLauren) 4:18
4. STRANGE LOVIN' BLUES (Sara Martin) 2:34
5. SUGAR BLUES (Clarence Williams) 2:47
6. MY MAN BLUES (Sara Martin) 4:31
7. JOE TURNER BLUES (W.C. Handy) 3:45
DADDY DO (Sylvester Weaver) 3:02
9. PLEADING BLUES (Sara Martin) 2:49
10. ATLANTA BLUES (W.C. Handy and Dave Elman) 2:31
(Sara Martin and Clifford Hayes) 4:43
(Everett Robbins and Porter Granger) 4:23

Laurie has a lovely classic, clear voice that comes across the airwaves strong and true to the style of music she sings. Her sweet voice, her easy style, and her graceful presence could easily fit into the era where vocalists really sang, conscious of tone and feel.” - Susan O'Neil, Louisville Music News

Damn decent blues & soul & rock, sometimes pounding, honed by the everyday world, without hocus-pocus, sometimes tenderly.” - Jens Sienknecht, Lebensfreundschaft Rock N Roll

An interesting band who meld the sounds of big-city blues from the ‘50s with jazz and high-energy rockabilly and soul into a package that’s totally their own.”
- Marty Gunther, Blues Blast Magazine

Cort Duggins – Guitars, piano
Scott Dugdale – Drums
Jason Embry – Bass
Laurie Jane Duggins – Vocals
Brian “Boss” Hogg – Saxophone
Special Guests: Screamin' John Hawkins – Guitar
Eric Snyder - Trumpet

Marty's review: Laurie Jane and the 45's have delivered in a big way with this tribute to Louisville's blues original Sara Martin. Combining traditional blues with contemporary soul and raunch this outstanding release comes together seamlessly and shines throughout. With dynamic and flawless vocals from Laurie Jane backed by the upbeat and rollicking 45's, each track is expertly played and will have you up and dancing with ease.

official website:


Monday, January 7, 2019

Bert Wray Blues second album release Hometown Hostage..tales of hometown relationships

Bert Wray Blues recently released their sophomore album Hometown Hostage on the local Charlotte NC indie label Third Lock Records (established 1986). The album is a concept record about the relationship with one’s hometown and features artwork by Knoxville TN comic/rock’n'roll artist Tommy Smith. The music takes you on a tour of hometown living whether you stayed, escaped, ran away, or came back. The record is full of the band’s unique brand of alternative blues rock that is grounded in a fusion of the long underground music history of its members and their love of swampy blues boogie. 

Bert Wray Blues is an alternative blues-rock band from Charlotte NC. The band has released two albums Gut Bucket Radio (2017) and Hometown Hostage (2018). Slide guitarist-singer Bert Wray leads the band on a high energy ride of all-original juke joint rockers. Bert is joined by drummer Mitch Cooper and bassist Dave Wall. The band has played festivals, music halls, and dive bars across North Carolina while the Gut Bucket Radio album has received airplay on Charlotte's 99.7 FM The Fox and many internet radio stations. 

official website:

Marty's review: This 2nd album release by Bert Wray Blues combines clever lyrics with a poetic story-telling vibe about the trials and tribulations of hometown life. The 8-tracker invites you in and takes you by the hand on a tour of what sounds like a small town but could be anywhere you wish to be. The sound is a very rootsy Americana/alternative-blues rock with some excellent slide guitar by Bert Wray and a well-rounded rhythm section that drives along with an upbeat and positive tempo. Take some time out and have a listen to this outstanding release and enjoy the visit.