blues Archive

Hundred-word Reviews: September 2017

Time for some more hundred-word reviews; new music from many different genres. Linsey Alexander – Two Cats (Delmark) A lot of modern-day blues has a sterility that makes it the sonic equivalent of a museum display: too perfect, too slick, soulless. Linsey Alexander is having none of that on Two Cats. The 75-year old blues

Selwyn Birchwood’s Long Road to Overnight Success

Guitarist Selwyn Birchwood’s fourth and latest album, Pick Your Poison is his most fully-realized release yet. Based in the blues idiom, it draws from gospel, soul and r&b as well. “There are a lot of different shades of blue,” he says. “And I like them all.” At 32, Birchwood is already an established journeyman musician.

Three New Album Reviews

Jamie Saft, Steve Swallow and Bobby Previte with Iggy Pop – Loneliness Road File next to: Stooges, Tony Bennett Popular music has seen some unlikely pairings: Bowie and Bing Crosby, Lou Reed and Metallica. And beyond the marquee value of the artists involved, such collaborations don’t always work. On the face of it, a project

Album Mini-review: TajMo

File next to: BB King, Ry Cooder The cover of John and Yoko’s Two Virgins features a Paul McCartney quote: “When two great saints meet, it is a humbling experience.” While – then as now – it’s difficult to receive that quote with a straight face, if applied elsewhere it can actually mean something. Case

Album Review: John Lee Hooker — Whiskey & Wimmen

John Lee Hooker was one of the most important blues artists of his – or any other – generation. With a style that managed at once to be thoroughly authentic and somehow commercial, Hooker’s output has become part of the American musical lexicon. After a stint on a smaller label, Hooker signed with Vee-Jay, for

Album Review: Paul Butterfield — Live New York 1970

A blues vocalist and harmonica player extraordinaire, Paul Butterfield is most fondly remembered for his time leading the Butterfield Blues Band, an exemplar of the successful hybridization of electric jazz and blues; not insignificantly, the result of that hybrid sounded and felt a lot like rock (of the more adventurous variety). For reasons one suspects

Book Reviews: Two by Rev. Keith A. Gordon

Today I present a special Saturday blog post. — bk And I thought I was prolific! One of the leading lights among my music journo brethren has released yet another – actually, two – book in his ongoing series of criticism/review collections. With astounding regularity, in recent years the Right Reverend Keith A Gordon has

The Beth Hart Interview, Part 2: “It’s just about being fuckin’ honest and real.”

Continued from Part One … Bill Kopp: Wait a minute … did you just say 65 songs? Beth Hart: Oh, yeah. At first, you know, some people are better at learning things than others. Some people have really great memory, so they can just do it. And then with other people, it takes time. But

The Beth Hart Interview, Part 1: “If we have a bad show, no one’s going to die.”

Beth Hart is one of the most popular vocalist-songwriters working in the blues idiom today. But she doesn’t confine her work to one genre. Her latest album, Fire on the Floor is all over the place stylistically, and that’s meant in the best possible way. I interviewed Hart for a story that was scheduled to

Album Mini-review: Otis Taylor — Fantasizing About Being Black

File next to Ali Farka Touré, Robert Johnson, Miles Davis Otis Taylor is one of the foremost modern-day practitioners of the blues. He doesn’t make bar-band electric blues; instead, his largely acoustic approach to the form is built upon the Delta traditions of old, delivered with a decidedly contemporary mindset. Honored recipient of a dozen