blues Archive

Album Review: Vince Junior Band — Refreshingly Soulful Blues

On one hand, Refreshingly Soulful Blues is a mightily odd title to give to an album; it reads more like sales copy or a review than a proper title. From the standpoint of truth in labeling, it does better, earning a 67% rating or better (refreshing, yes; soulful, yes; blues, sort of but not really).

Hundred-word Reviews for February 2019

I’ve been doing these hundred-word reviews for many years now; they’re a handy way to communicate my enthusiasm for new and newly-reissued albums without taking the time for a deep-dive critical assessment. Here’s my second installment for 2019, featuring five new titles along with five reissue, compilation and/or archival releases. Divine Weeks – We’re All

Album Review: Larkin Poe — Venom & Faith

On KIN, their 2014 debut as Larkin Poe, sisters Megan and Rebecca Lovell debuted a modern roots style that owed a debt to blues but didn’t fit comfortably into the admittedly wide framework of the genre. Stinging slide guitars provided a sonic connection to the tradition of classic electric blues, but songs like “Jailbreak” had

Video Roundup 2018

Covering DVDs and Blu-Rays takes more time than reviewing albums; I have to set up in my living room, with a recliner, a couple of cats and (generally) a good Scotch In order to do so. So with a general yet heartfelt apology for the delayed nature thereof, here’s my take on five titles released

Album Review: Cedric Burnside — Benton County Relic

As the grandson of famed bluesman R.L. Burnside, multi-instrumentalist Cedric Burnside has quite a legacy to live up to. But as a three-time winner of Drummer of the Year at the Memphis Blues Awards, he’s his own man. And his 2015 album Descendants of Hill Country earned him a Grammy Nomination. But all along he

Holly Golightly: The Country-punk-blues One-take wonder

British-born Holly Golightly was an important part of the UK garage-punk scene of the 1990s. Today her music effectively combines that foundation with a sound that draws equally from classic American country and western music. Her latest album, Clippety Clop, was created in her well-established way: working with life-and-music partner Lawyer Dave, Golightly recorded the

Todd Cecil: Have a Cigar

Cigar box guitars are very much in vogue now; it’s not at all unusual to see a nationally touring act take the stage with a hand-fashioned instrument featuring a body made from a wooden cigar box. But the instrument favored by Todd Cecil is quite a bit more exotic than most. “That’s the Lowebow,” he

Hundred-word Reviews, November 2018 Part 2

Here we go: even more hundred-word reviews. All new or recent releases, all worth a listen. RC & the Moonpie Band – All This I love me some rock ‘n’ roll. And I like (and occasionally love) the blues. What I enjoy far less often is the point on the Venn Diagram in which the

A Few Moments with Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal (born Henry Saint Clair Fredericks) is equal parts musician, songwriter, folklorist and musicologist. But despite his impeccable credentials, the man has never taken an academic approach to music. With more than 30 albums to his name — solo records, collaborations, live sets — Taj Mahal has created a virtual audio travelogue, exploring the

Fantastic Negrito: We Can Turn It Around (Part 4 / conclusion)

Continued from Part Three… And even though Fantastic Negrito is now a high-profile Grammy-winning performer and recording artist, he still feels and maintains a close connection to that neighborhood. “The people I started my collective label [Blackball Universe] with, they’re all guys I grew up with,” he says. “We did everything – committed crimes and