blues Archive

Hundred-word Reviews for July 2016, Part 5

Today wraps up my week-long collection of new album reviews in concise (read: exactly 100 word) form. Rogue Wave – Delusions of Grand Fur While nothing on Delusions of Grand Fur sounds as if it’s lifted from other artists, I get the nagging feeling that I’ve heard it all before. The songs are melodic and

Hundred-word Reviews for June 2016, Part 1

Here we go with another baker’s two-dozen (okay, 25) capsule reviews. Five a day, all work-week long. Today it’s (more or less) blues. Zuzu Welsh Band – Fault Line Good timin’ meat-and-potatoes blues rock is served up by this Asheville NC-based quintet. Tasty electric slide guitar is the centerpiece on some tracks, and the songs

Album Mini-review: Janiva Magness — Love Wins Again

File next to: Bonnie Raitt, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Shemekia Copeland Though she’s been making albums for decades now, blues vocal powerhouse Janiva Magness was initially an interpreter of other composers’ music. It’s only been in recent years that the seven-time recipient of Contemporary Blues Female Artist award has turned her attention to the task of

Book Review: Rollin’ ‘n’ Tumblin’

I don’t claim to know whether Reverend Keith A. Gordon‘s title is an honorific, or if he’s truly a man of the cloth. But what I do know is that he’s here to spread the good news. And that news takes the form of a new book crammed full of album reviews (with some book

Album Review: Johnny Winter with Dr. John — Live in Sweden

There are countless recordings of Johnny Winter live onstage; they all exist at various points on the spectrum of legitimacy. A new archival release, Johnny Winter with Dr. John – Live in Sweden has a number of things to recommend it. The recording dates from near the end of Winter’s time on Alligator Records, a

Blues Vocalist Janiva Magness Opens Up on ‘Love Wins Again’

Though award-winning blues vocalist Janiva Magness has recorded a dozen albums to date (her latest, Love Wins Again, was released April 8), she came to songwriting long after her career began. “I did not want to be a writer,” she says. “It made me nervous; I didn’t like the idea. I wanted that idea to

Album Review: Eric Ambel — Lakeside

Indie cred: it’s an elusive quality, one that most artists would be pleased to possess. Indie cred connotes a level of achievement that suggests one’s work is more than ephemeral, more than disposable, worth further investigation. Once you’ve got it, if you’re the real deal, you’ll hold onto it. One fine Exhibit A for this

Album Review: Robin Trower — Where Are You Going To

It’s rare for a guitarist to change styles mid-career, but there is some precedent. Jeff Beck played one style when he was with the Yardbirds, and then headed in a sort of blues-jazz hybrid with the Jeff Beck Group and beyond. One could argue that he “found” his true style after trying different ones on

John Mayall: Bluesbreaker and Beyond (Part 2)

Continued from Part One… Considering the string of eleven albums the Bluesbreakers released on Decca between 1965 and 1969 (not to mention John Mayall‘s fifty-plus albums since then), one of the most striking qualities – beyond the sheer instrumental firepower of the various lineups – is the stylistic breadth of the music. Those records serve

John Mayall: Bluesbreaker and Beyond (Part 1)

A renewed interest in American blues gave rise to a musical movement in 1960s Great Britain. The British blues boom would launch the musical careers of countless musicians who would go on to greater fame. And with good reason, John Mayall is known as the godfather of that movement; his band, the Bluesbreakers, saw many