Monday, May 27, 2019

Canadian roots, country and blues artist Suitcase Sam releases 'Get It To Go' and playful

Toronto, ON - Canadian roots, country and blues artist Suitcase Sam is pleased to announce the recent release of his remastered/repackaged EP  'Get It To Go' on Curve Music. 

The seven-track EP is laden with guitar pickin' and twinkly, jangly piano punctuated with the occasional horn and kazoo charming listeners with its nostalgic sound and unique vocals.

 "The Sweetest Hippopotamus", a fan favourite off of the EP, was adapted into a BravoFACT short-film of the same name in 2012. The soundtrack went on to win Best Soundtrack Short award at the AOF International Film Festival. Suitcase Sam appears as himself in the film which can be viewed here.

Perpetually mysterious, Suitcase Sam had this to say about himself: "There is a whole symphony of Suitcase Sams. There's the wee-hours, suit-wearing, parlour singer. Then there's the road-hardened troubadour, who lives his life out of someone's "borrowed" suitcase. Regardless, Sam is a constant eccentric who is never tardy and certainly earlier than these times would knowingly permit. He is the something else you are searching for. That's it. That's enough."

Fans old and new can look forward to hearing a lot more from Suitcase Sam when he releases his debut full-length album 'Goodnight Riverdale Park' on Curve Music in the fall.

Marty's review: Suitcase Sam's EP is a treat for fans of traditional roots music. Sounding like it's coming straight out of an old honky tonk bar or speakeasy, Sam presents 7 tracks of pure nostalgia with mostly acoustic instruments of guitar, piano, trumpet and few other interesting implements, plus a vocal style that is his own and easy on the ears, this is not only a fun and playful set of tunes but here is an artist that is pining for recognition.

Connect with Suitcase Sam

Friday, May 24, 2019

Atomic Road Kings release "Clean Up The Blood"..recorded in mono on vintage analogue equipment

Clean Up The Blood mixes the soul, dynamics, and grit of traditional American roots and blues music with a nod at modern society and stories of modern living. The album was recorded live at Atkinson’s own Bigtone Studios using vintage gear and all-analog equipment from the 1940's and 1950's, creating an original sound born of 1950's gospel, blues, rock'n'roll and more.

The Atomic Road Kings is the project of two musical powerhouses; veteran Orange County harmonica man Eric “Jailhouse” Von Herzen, long-time side man for Walter Trout, Social Distortion, Kid Ramos, Junior Watson, and the 44's, among others; and the brilliant young multi-instrumentalist Big Jon Atkinson, also the back-up guitarist for Kim Wilson’s solo project. 

Atkinson’s raw vocals and moody guitar and Von Herzen’s rich harmonica tones create the perfect vehicle for Atkinson’s word-wise lyrics. There is no roots band today that more masterfully builds on the tradition of classic American music, deeply authentic enough to thrill any purist, while musically sophisticated enough to please the most contemporary audiences.


Marty's review: The Atomic Road Kings serve up a big beefy slice of traditional electric roots blues on this latest release. Recorded "live" to tape on analogue equipment it comes back at you in glorious mono and sounds just sensational! With a stellar line-up lead by Jon Atkinson on lead guitar and vocals and Eric Von Herzen on wailing harmonica, this is powerhouse raw blues at its best and will leave you gasping for more. A real treat for blues and roots fans.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Roots artist Aaron Matthew releases debut EP "Steppin' Stones"...a breath of philosophical fresh air

Aaron Matthew was born in Jacksonville, Florida and raised in the rural Deep South of Georgia, but people think he's from California for some reason. The Deep South is a strange place that forever embedded the blues, jazz, funk, folk, and hip-hop into his songwriting and his soul.

He's been performing music live since 2007 when he got his first gig at a local cafe playing for coffee and tips. In 2012, he began to awaken and was compelled to shift realities. He sold nearly all of his possessions and bought a one-way ticket to a foreign country. He didn't know anyone and didn't speak the language. In exchange for working, he was blessed to live on an organic farm. There, he built permaculture gardens, took care of the land and animals, and spent countless hours meditating with Mother Earth. 

Today, he still calls the Dominican Republic home, but travels often to the U.S. to visit family and tour. He performs live regularly and also works as a professional cannabis industry writer and researcher. 

He has just released his debut EP "Steppin' Stones" and says he couldn't be happier with it. He gained a lot from making the songs and hopes that they bring you the message that you need as they have done for him. 

You can download the EP below:

Social Media and website      

Marty's review: Aaron Matthew's exposes his freewheelin' spirit and "simple" approach to life on this very impressive debut. A combination of acoustic and electric tracks with a slightly reggae/Caribbean feel makes this an enjoyable and satisfying set of songs that allows one to breathe in the "philosophical" fresh air and enjoy the eternal sunshine (even if you physically can't!). 

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The Burndown Brothers Blues Band release "Beautiful Soul" and "Can't Go Back"..Texas-style blues

The Burndown Brothers Blues Band is not your run-of-the-mill, fedora and Cuban shirt-wearing "wasn't that a fun show, honey?" kind of blues band.

Showcasing a blazing two-guitar Texas-style blues attack, a thunderous rhythm section and powerhouse vocals, they live up to their namesake every show and burn the house down.  

So if you're ready for a fiery blues show that's full of groove, and you don't mind having your face rocked clean off your noggin, make some time to forget about your worries and get lost in a soul-scorching set from one of Phoenix's hottest blues acts . It's guaranteed to move you. 

Beautiful Soul (view on YouTube)

official website:

Can't Go Back  (view on YouTube)

Saturday, May 18, 2019

What makes the blues sound like the blues?...article excerpt

What makes the blues sound like the blues?

By Chris Slattery - excerpt from

From the difficult lives of formerly enslaved African Americans in the Deep South came the blues. Those humble, hardscrabble origins and the African musical heritage of the performers helped shape the genre and its main elements. Let’s take a look at some of the characteristics that make a song a blues song.

One element of the blues traces its roots back to the fields. There toiling slaves sang not just to pass the time at their tedious, backbreaking work picking tobacco and cotton but also to communicate. The pattern they often used in their work songs was called call-and-response. In this singing, a leader sings a line, and the group answers. For example, the leader might sing “I’m going home tomorrow” and members of the group might respond “I’m going with you.” Coded messages disguised in the songs—just meaningless melody to the overseer or slave master—could lead the most daring to a spot on the Underground Railroad. The call-and-response pattern became part of some blues songs. You might hear a singer call and other singers respond, a performer sing a call and then respond with an instrument, or a musician perform a call-and-response entirely with instruments.

Lyric Structure
Perhaps one of the easiest clues to identifying a blues song is the pattern of the lyrics, or words. You’ll often hear 3 lines of rhyming lyrics, typically expressing very strong emotions. The singer sings a line and then repeats it (though it might be sung slightly differently the second time to emphasize the emotion being expressed). The singer then sings a different third line that often responds to or reflects on the previous 2 lines. Notice this pattern (also sometimes referred to as AAB) and the rhyme in “Hound Dog,” first performed by blues singer Big Mama Thornton and later adapted into a rock ’n’ roll  song by Elvis Presley this way:

You ain’t nothing but a hound dog, cryin’ all the time
You ain’t nothing but a hound dog, cryin’ all the time
You ain’t never caught a rabbit and you ain’t no friend of mine.

And notice that this is just one element of the blues that paved the way for rock ’n’ roll  music!

Read the full article here:

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Song crafter Paul Nelson new album release "Over, Under, Through"...a roots music treasure

Song crafter, blues explorer and mystery muser Paul Nelson brings the music home with his new album, Over Under Through. Traveling through a landscape of blues, roots, and folk, Paul delivers a musical experience that captures and inspires with songs like “Ghost in the Basement”, “Color It Blue”, “Go Down Ezekiel” and the title song. 

With the release of this album listeners will discover that Paul’s music does not easily settle into any one musical format, but is a masterful blend of American roots and blues, gospel, folk, rock and jazz.

Recorded outside Boston in Newburyport MA and produced by Tom Eaton, the new album is a showcase for the writing and playing that comes after many years of pursuits outside of music.  Nelson has assembled a stellar band of New England folk and blues icons to bring these songs to life, including guitarist Kevin Barry, drummer John Sands, bassists Richard Gates and Paul Kochansky, and vocalist Kristin Cifelli. The recordings were made at Universal Noise Storage and completed in October of 2018 with guest contributions from Nelson’s mentor Ellis Paul and Bay area horn player Jeff Oster. 

Drawing inspiration and direction from genre-bending artists like Amos Lee, Ray Lamontagne, and Lyle Lovett, Paul’s heartfelt, rootsy songwriting and passionate live performances are sure to delight and charm fans across a wide range of musical tastes and backgrounds, and with the release of Over Under Through should resonate in listening rooms, house concerts, open mics, and churches throughout New England and beyond.

official website:

Marty's review: Paul Nelson's multi-genre album is a treasure of roots music that will inspire, delight and touch the heart strings in many ways. With a warm and expressive voice, he delivers 10 self-penned tunes plus his rendition of Johnny Cash's "I Walk the Line" in a sensitive and emotional tone that can send shivers down the spine and pierce the senses from all directions. The equally talented musical accompaniment fits right in and production values are top-notch. Good one, Paul!

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

singer/songwriter Alf Hale releases new album "The Rainy Season"...human emotions from the dark side

Having spent almost a decade in the wilderness, singer/songwriter Alf Hale had a spectacular return to the music scene with his EP 'Misanthrope' which chronicled his remarkable journey from the depths of alcoholism to his eventual redemption.

This was swiftly followed up by his debut album 'City on a Hill' which saw Alf, accompanied by fiddle player Jade Morris, channel the dark underbelly of Southern American Country, Folk and Blues infused with his unmistakable English charm.

Hoping to build on the success of his first two releases comes "The Rainy Season", which sees Alf yet again take on a new musical direction. Unlike City On a Hill, a more stripped back affair, The Rainy Season saw Alf take to the studio with a full band in tow delivering a fuller, darker sound. 

Marty's review: Alf Hale's latest release is a roots-based, 11 track gem that sees him tackling subjects of human emotions like love and loneliness and presenting them with a genuine, honest and beautiful delivery that tugs at the heart strings like an open book. The instrumentation is dark and sparse with a country tinge on some tracks but also increases in volume on others. Alf's vocals are clear and sculptural and his songwriting skills certainly invites the listener to pick up on each word and verse. An excellent effort that needs to be heard.

You can find links to Alf's socials and music below:

Saturday, May 4, 2019

singer/songwriter Danny Lynn Wilson release "Peace of Mind"...a personal collection of original roots recordings

After years of traveling along life’s dusty roads, Danny Lynn Wilson has emerged sharing his “Peace of Mind” - a personal collection of original roots recordings expressing his profound inner experiences. Polished with the persistent help of his band and the grinding force of time, these songs
received a new breathe when Danny was introduced to producer/multi-instrumentalist Dave Gross. The addition of the subtle nuisances of Dave’s skill transcend the music to a higher dimension. Guided by the natural ebb and flow of the universe they freely explore themes such as love, longing and kindness through the blues while challenging the listening to become a better person.

Throughout all the ups and downs, Danny has discovered the power in the intimate connection of the universal language that is music. His honest approach to song writing encourages all that the everyday struggle is worth the experience garnered as we travel through life. By maintaining the belief that he is forever a beginner, childlike insight comes humming effortlessly over his humble voice on tunes such as “Long Way Home”, “Love Only You” and “Peace of Mind”. Above all, this album portrays a majestic triumph over darkness, convincing us to look for the positive despite what life throws in our direction.

If you have peace of mind, you can find happiness under the most difficult circumstances.

official website:

Marty's review: This roots-based, slightly country-tinged release by Danny Lynn Wilson shows a masterful story teller who is open to sharing his life's experiences and observations in a wry and sometimes poignant way but also with honesty and a moody feel that is compelling and genuine. The production rocks in places and is sometimes sparse but beautiful, and producer Dave Gross manages to capture the essence of Danny's sculptural style that is expressive and richly textured.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Award-winning bluesman and multi-instrumentalist Al Lerman releases his third studio album Northern Bayou

Bluesman Al Lerman is a multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter. He was founder and leader of the 2X JunoAward-winning band FATHEAD, and along the way built a solid career touring as an acoustic solo act, accompanying himself on guitar and rack harmonica. An engaging and skilled artist, he is regarded among the top harmonica players in the country and his prowess on the instrument has earned him no less than ten Maple Blues Award nominations.

Northern Bayou is his third solo release. the album offers up a tasty acoustic/electric musical gumbo that will not only please fans, but will undoubtedly make many new ones as well. Produced by Alec Fraser (bass), Lerman is also joined by Lance Anderson (piano/organ) and Chuck Keeping (drums). Special guest Morgan Davis (guitar) adds to the mix on the rollicking harp instrumental “Delta Stomp” which highlights Lerman’s masterful prowess on that particular instrument.

Recorded live in the studio over two days with minimal overdubs, the disc’s eleven standout tracks capture the fun and excitement that is generated when a handful of seasoned pros (who also happen to be very good friends) get together to play.

Lerman’s talent as a songwriter and storyteller shines brightly as he explores a wide variety of subjects including love, mortality, the joy of music, fishing, coming home, prejudices, sorrow and deception. The lone cover included in this set, the traditional American song “Deep Ellum Blues” (about the tough Dallas neighbourhood where blues legends Blind  Lemon Jefferson and Leadbelly hailed from) serves up an infectious groove that is wider than the Rio Grande.


Marty's review: this latest outstanding release from Al Lerman has the word FUN written all over it. Al sounds like he has having a grand time here with effervescent instrumentation that's roots based with pumping piano, wailing harmonica, ecstatic guitar licks and very soulful vocals. The songwriting is top-notch as he takes us on a journey through his favourite subjects and pastimes. An enjoyable treat that is guaranteed regular spins. Thanks Al!