Sunday, April 28, 2019

Cara Being Blue new release "Grit"...sassy blues and rock with a Nashville twang

Grit is an eclectic mix of sassy blues and rock with a Nashville twang from Music City-based blues artist Cara Being Blue. Her own world-class band is joined by select friends, including NY Blues Hall of Fame guitarist Dave Fields and former Allman Brothers guitarist Jack Pearson. Cara dedicates Grit, her first full-length album, to women with grit, especially two close friends who, after fighting with integrity and grace, passed away of cancer.

As a popular pro blues jam host, and following the successful release of her debut EP in 2016, Full Throttle, Cara is already familiar to blues fans. Mentored by Boston’s great “Regal Queen of the Blues” Shirley Lewis, Cara left Boston for Nashville over a decade ago to develop her live performance skills. She quickly won the hearts and respect of the local industry, blues radio, her peers, and fans. Cara and her band have been nominated for blues awards four years in a row by the Nashville Industry Music Awards. In 2016, Cara was honored by the Tennessee Rhythm and Blues Society for her contributions to the blues genre.

official website:

Marty's review: Cara Being Blue's aptly titled album release is a powerful force of rocking blues and soul that is delivered with a passion and energy that comes at you with all guns blazing. With a confident and no-nonsense approach to her music Cara's dynamic vocals and poignant songwriting grab you by the throat and make you sit up and pay full attention. The production on the album is a wall of tight rhythms, bursts of searing guitar licks and an overall sound that is soaring and top-flight.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Critically acclaimed Guitarist/Vocalist JD Simo new album release "Off At 11" electric tour de force

Revered guitarist/vocalist, JD Simo, recently released his latest album, "Off At 11". The Chicago-born, Nashville-based recording artist channels classic sounds from acid rock, traditional blues, folk, soul, to free form jazz, reinvigorating them into a kaleidoscope of sound for a new generation of music lovers. NPR declares, “Simo sounds as if it comes to us straight from 1968.”  

Produced by Simo in association with co-manager Michael Caplan, OFF AT 11 consists of 8 tracks that are laid out on the record like a musical journey through gifted guitar playing and singing, incredible rhythm section arrangements and lyrics that convey that “all the feels” momentum. One can almost touch the ghosts of the brilliant, wounded masters of the blues who have shaped and guided JD’s art and craft.  Simo's brand of blues is like the surge of sound from a classic car, say a Chevy V-8. It starts with a roar, then a rumble, then a low, throaty hum. The explosion of the gas in the cylinders are like emotional triggers - liberating, visceral and intense. 

The recording of this rocking, blues driven, electric tour de force took place over a three day period in the summer of 2018; “Our next summer of love,” says Simo. Recorded during a brief break in touring, including Simo’s first shows as a guest of Phil Lesh and Friends, he and his band laid down these musically dense and inspiring tracks in a “groovy space” to lay down something authentic, filled with fun and no edits, no tricks.  “Just honesty and a tape machine” he explains. Simo continues, “There’s an underlying theme of LOVE that permeates the album. Both outward love but also inner and self love. These days, everything is so heavy, but I just want to point out some joy, love and deep passion; in this world, we all share that spirit. OFF AT 11 does that.”

official website:

Thursday, April 18, 2019

blues-rock outfit Land Mammal release self-titled debut EP..a wholly unique adventure

Land Mammal are 5-piece rock/roots outfit from Dallas,Texas and have just released their debut, 4-track, self-titled EP. Their creed is very intriguing: "Sprouting from the earth, an electrical current takes hold. The sound grows within, gaining power and momentum to break free from the soil. Bursting with synergy a new sound echoes strong. All of life unified underneath one sun."

Marty's review: This very impressive release has an electric blues/rock feel with a nod to 60's psychedelia/prog-rock. Driving guitars, classic-rock style vocals and a solid beat provide a surrounding sound that encompasses the soul and resonates as a wholly unique adventure. Favourite tracks for me are "Earth Made Free"and "Dark With Rain".

Land Mammal are:
Kinsley August - lyrics, vocals 
Will Weise - guitar 
Phillip PJ Soapsmith - bass 
Stephen Smith - drums 
True Turner - key, synth

Sunday, April 14, 2019

“It’s About Time” is the debut album from Susan Williams & The Wright Groove..polished and refined

It’s About Time” is the debut album for this group of veteran musicians from the Chicago area. Together for three years, they bring their combined experience and the use of TWO basses to wow the listener with their unique, funky approach to the blues. They were selected to compete in the 2018 International Blues Challenge, and the CD was selected to compete in the 2019 IBC in the Best Self-Produced CD category.

This stellar band consists of Susan Williams, Darryl Wright, Mike Gallemore, and Rob Davis. The album was recorded at Studio 401 in Georgetown, IL. Susan’s voice is reminiscent of Bonnie Raitt and Susan Tedeschi, with a tinge of Janis Joplin, and has been described as “rich and smoky, with perfect raspiness.”

official website:

Marty's review: This very impressive debut album from Susan Williams and The Wright Groove is a polished and refined production that highlights the talent and songwriting skills of all players involved. With Susan's soulful vocals and the band's tight and masterful playing, including the double bass attack, this combination of contemporary blues, soul, funk and groove with have you snapping your fingers and wiggling your toes to this collection of upbeat and throbbing numbers.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Texas Americana storyteller and songwriter Jarrod Dickenson EP release "Under A Texas Sky"

Storytelling is something of a Texas tradition. Tall hats and even taller tales are woven into the fabric of The Lone Star State, and singer-songwriter Jarrod Dickenson can spin a yarn with the best of them. Hailing from Waco, now based in Nashville via Brooklyn, Dickenson spends most of his time on the road bringing his own particular brand of soulful Americana to a wide variety of music loving audiences around the globe.

"Under A Texas Sky is a collection of songs by classic, Texas-born artists that have inspired me and my own musical journey. As a native Texan, I’ve always been aware of the rich musical heritage of my home state, but as one often does with the place they’re from, I took it for granted. It wasn't really until I moved away from Texas that the music that grew up from that soil truly started to grab a hold of me. For quite a while now I’ve wanted to pay tribute to the many great artists from The Lone Star State, and thus the first installment of Under A Texas Sky was born. On this first EP I recorded my own renditions of classic songs by rock and roll crooner, Roy Orbison, the soulful R&B singer, Esther Phillips, the red-headed stranger known as Willie Nelson, Americana trailblazer, Doug Sahm and the master songsmith, Guy Clark."

"His songs carry an independent spirit and grit... a hard-bitten, yet romantic eye that seems bred into Lone Star Songwriters"-Q Magazine

"A smokey-toned Texan with a smooth line in Americana-Soul..."-Uncut Magazine

"Painting extraordinarily cinematic pictures with his words..."-Rocking Magpie

"In the tradition of old southern Americana, but with a feel of something current; storytelling with soul."-Chris Hawkins, BBC Radio 6 Music

Marty's review: Jarrod Dickenson's renditions of songs by his fellow Texan singers and songwriters are delivered in a Roots/Americana style that highlight the emotions and lyricism of the originals. His respectful and passionate approach is more than complimentary and the production has a warm feel to it that is as engrossing as it is satisfying. Favourite track for me is Guy Clark's Dublin Blues.

Friday, April 5, 2019

singer/songwriter Willa Vincitore sophomore release "Choices"...accomplished and exceptional

Willa Vincitore is a singer/songwriter based in the Hudson Valley region of New York. She arrived on the scene seemingly out of nowhere in 2017 with her first release Better Days, which was met with high praise and held its own for six consecutive months on the Roots Music Report’s Top 50 contemporary blues albums of 2017. Half of the singles charted, an impressive debut for a previously unknown, independent artist performing all-original material.

Reflections in Blue blogger Bill Wilson said, "Willa Vincitore has one of those voices that will stay with you for life. Good, even great, vocalists are a dime a
dozen...but every now and then, someone comes along who brings everything back into perspective in a big way.”

Her sophomore release, Choices, continues to showcase her eclectic songwriting, digging deeper lyrically and rejecting classification in any one
genre. Many influences can be heard here, ranging from ‘70s and ‘80s pop, rock and R'n'B, to Americana, blues and even gospel tones. Unlike Better Days, which was entirely original material, Willa chose to cover one tune on this release, paying homage to Annie Lennox with her funky cover of “Money Can’t Buy It.” She brought back many of the top-flight musicians from Better Days, including co-producers Lee Falco and Brandon Morrison (The Restless Age, Donald Fagen, Marshall Crenshaw, Amy Helm). Falco also played drums on the release, while Morrison engineered and mixed.

official website:

Recently inducted into New York State’s Blues Hall of Fame, Vincitore spent the early part of her stage career backing Chris O’Leary (Levon Helm’s Barnburners and The Chris O’Leary Band) as an original member of his band, but she’s been performing on her own with a collection of extraordinary musicians since 2013.

Marty's review: The accolades that have been bestowed upon Willa Vincitore are certainly well deserved, even more so after listening to this latest release. Powerful, soulful and passionate blues are what Willa delivers on this 10 track production that is everything a contemporary blues album should sound like. The accomplished and exceptional songwriting on the 9 originals each stand out in their own individual way and her cover of Annie Lennox' "Money Can't Buy It" is treated with style and sophistication. Her backing musicians come to the fore with a tightness and vitality that seal this all round top-flight effort.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Garage/Blues-Rock outfit Resonator release debut album "Swallow Your Concerns"...hypnotic sounds

Sprouting from seeds laid down by modern rock artists such as The Black Keys and The Strokes, a tasty blend of garage/blues rock has melted together to form Resonator. The group was formed by Cincinnati natives Ian Campbell (guitar/vocals) and Jackson Burton (bassist) in 2016 and later joined by Nathan Hoeweler (drums) in 2017.

After experiencing a mainstream studio setting back in 2017, the band decided to self-record their  album, "Swallow Your Concerns." Once hearing about the band's self-recording pursuits, a local Cincinnati friend, and member of "The Never Setting Suns" offered up his basement studio to the band. After months of recording in the basement, audio engineering at Jackson's crib, and spicy band debates, the album was released on January 4th, 2019.

"There are times when you sit down to listen to a record where everything simply falls into place, where anything that might be otherwise perceived as a technical limitation instead is just texture – in short, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. 'Swallow Your Concerns,' the new offering from Cincinnati’s Resonator, is one such example." - Cincy Music

"These guys put on a show and produce a sound so noisy and bluesy it’s hard to believe the band only consists of 3 members. With raspy yet buttery vocals, smooth bass and guitar parts, and hard hitting drums, Resonator is set to take the Cincinnati scene by storm." - In The A.M.

Listen to the album on Spotify

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Marty's review: Resonator's impressive debut album takes me back to the garage-blues of the late 60's to early 70's with a nod to artists such as Jimi Hendrix and Hot Tuna. A down to earth and rootsy production allows the band to stretch their talents to deliver tight rhythms and scratchy, fuzzy guitar work that results in a surprisingly well-rounded and punchy sound that is fluid, focused and at times hypnotic.