blues Archive

The Nighthawks: From Acoustic to Full-on Electric Onslaught

Since their start in 1972, journeyman blues outfit The Nighthawks have been faithfully doing their part to keep the blues alive. Though the lineup has changed – only founder-leader Mark Wenner remains from the original group – the Washington, D.C.-based quartet has consistently breathed fresh life into the uniquely American musical form. Joined by vocalist

Best of 2016: Interviews

In 2016 alone, I’ve interviewed more than 140 artists; that’s nearly half the number I interviewed in the decade prior to this year. I hope 2017 will be at least as busy; I find my conversations with creatives extremely rewarding. I’ve learned a few things along the way, and one of the most important realizations

Best Music of 2016: Concerts

There’s a bit of overlap where my best albums and best concerts of 2016 are concerned. And there are some old favorites, too. John Mayall Neighborhood Theatre, Charlotte NC March 11, 2016 It was only around this time that I pivoted to writing as a full-time job (in other words, how I make my living).

Best Music of 2016: Reissue/archival Releases

I love new music, but I’m also attuned to keeping up with the latest in reissues and archival releases. Sometimes those feature some of my favorite artists; other times they turn me on to music of the past that I’ve never even heard. In 2016 I’ve been able to select my Top Ten reissue and/or

Captivate and Provoke: The modern black roots music of Fantastic Negrito

Note: this is the second of two features I’ve written recently about Fantastic Negrito (here’s the first one). Expect more; this guy is one to watch. — bk Fantastic Negrito is the musical persona of Xavier Dphrepaulezz. Raised in a strict Muslim family, he ran away from home at 12 and never returned. He would

Hundred-word Reviews for Nov./Dec. 2016, Part 8 of 10

Manu Katché – Unstatic Style: jazz This is an album of tasty mostly-instrumental jazz that sometimes – but not always – leans in an Afro-Cuban direction. Luca Aquino’s trumpet is often the lead instrument, but there is plenty else going on throughout. The overall vibe is more subtle than fiery, but there’s some fascinating interplay

Hundred-word Reviews for Nov./Dec. 2016, Part 6 of 10

All through last week, I plowed through my to-be-reviewed CD shelf, covering 50 discs (45 CDs, 5 DVDs) in five days. All of the music was reissues, compilations and/or archival releases. This week the march toward a clean shelf continues, with the focus now on new (as in, released in 2016) CDs. Off we go!

Hundred-word Reviews for Nov./Dec. 2016, Part 2 of 10

Rolf Trostel – Inselmusik When we think back to synthesizer-based innovators circa 1980, names like Gary Numan pop right up. But German musicians had been exploring the possibilities of synths – and more specifically, synth-based (as opposed to synth-accented) music – for quite awhile by then. Rolf Trossel’s instrumental explorations – using the then-revolutionary PPG

Hundred-word Reviews for Nov./Dec. 2016, Part 1 of 10

Time to clear out the backlog before the year’s end. Here’s the first installment; lots of great titles here. Consider doing your holiday shopping, and note that I’ve provided purchasing links (when available) to Amazon. As it happens, these five are all from Real Gone Music, one of my favorite reissue/archival labels. Fanny – Mother’s

Fantastic Negrito: Fantastic Reinvention

The story of Fantastic Negrito is the stuff of Hollywood legends. But it has the distinction of being true: the man born Xavier Dphrepaulezz taught himself to play a multitude of instruments, scored a record deal, made a good album that stiffed, had a car wreck and nearly died, worked his way back to health,