blues Archive

100-word Reviews for November 2017: New Music

So much great music and so little time. Here’s ten reviews: all new music, each summed up in 100 words. All are worth your time. Bryant Fabian Marsalis – Do For You? (Consolidated Artists) I struggle with a lot of current-day jazz. No matter how I try, much of it leaves me cold. Here’s a

Ana Popović: A Different Kind of Blues Guitarist

Ana Popović is nobody’s idea of a typical blues guitarist. Born and raised in Belgrade, Serbia, she nonetheless grew up immersed in the quintessentially American musical form. “I was inspired as a little girl of six or seven years old,” Popović says. “My father and his friends would play Albert King, Elmore James, Stevie Ray

Ashley Heath Takes a Break from Coffee

Two short years ago, singer-songwriter Ashley Heath was working by day as a barista, and playing music at night. She made the jump and became a full-time musician, releasing her debut album in 2016. And in July she headlined an evening of Asheville-based acts – all of whom are female-fronted – at the Orange Peel.

Ten 100-word Reviews: Archival/Reissue Releases

With a great deal of my time these days spent working on my new book and various artist interviews, I tend to amass a backlog of albums for review. To lessen that backlog, I present ten reviews, each distilled down to its essence. Or at least to 100 words. All of these titles are reissues,

Bluesman Mac Arnold Still Has a Lot on His Plate

Mac Arnold’s story is a familiar one to fans of the blues. Born 1942 in upstate South Carolina, he was a sharecropper’s son and one of 13 children. When his father left home temporarily to pick oranges in Florida, one of Mac’s older brothers decided to build a guitar for himself, using materials at hand.

A Chat with River Valley Blues Fest Headliners Janiva Magness and Grady Champion

Growing quickly from a 2015 local event in a bar ten miles outside of town to its current form – a two-day event featuring world-class talent – this year’s River Valley Blues Festival boasted a lineup featuring internationally-touring headliners Grady Champion and Janiva Magness. The festival took place August 19 and 20 at Salvage Station.

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