blues Archive

Album Review: Albert Cummings — Believe

Albert Cummings began his recording career in 2000 with The Long Way; his latest, 2020’s Believe is the eighth release from the blues guitarist/singer. The album mixes originals with classics; the latter choices skirt the edges of the blues idiom, but the blues feeling – -its ineffable quality – is there in ample supply. A

Album Review: Roomful of Blues — In a Roomful of Blues

There are a handful of retro (or, if you prefer, classic-minded) acts that transcend nostalgia, doing something special. They trade in forms that had some great popularity in the past, but they continue, making new music in the style, adding their own personal spin. NRBQ is one. Los Straitjackets are another. And Roomful of Blues

30 Days Out, April 2020 #1: Zoe & Cloyd, The Claudettes, Sparrow Pants, Dr. Bacon

We’re living in unprecedented times, aren’t we? No fooling. “30 Days Out” was launched nearly six years ago as a means of letting people in and around my adopted home of Asheville, North Carolina know about upcoming and notable live music performances. Well, as my local brethren might say, “ain’t none of those right now.”

Album Review: Michael Roach — Tryin’ Times

The album opens with a loping, country-blues feel, with just a single guitar. But like a curtain slowly being drawn back to reveal the musicians onstage, the arrangement builds, adding instrumentation and vocal until the net effect is a full band. By the second verse of the title track – a cover of Donny Hathway’s

Album Review: Big Dave McLean — Pocket Full of Nothin’

All of the ingredients required for a successful contemporary blues album are present on Pocket Full of Nothin’, the seventh album from Canadian-born singer-guitarist Big Dave McLean. There are plenty of soulful, beefy horns. There’s a tasty rhythm section. The Wurlitzer electric piano and organ textures hit just the right note. And McLean’s a fine

Album Review: Smoke Fairies — Darkness Brings the Wonders Home

The influence of American blues forms upon the music of Led Zeppelin is widely acknowledged; though they took it in a heavier direction that sometimes tended to exaggerate its more, shall we say, macho tendencies, Zep undoubtedly helped open a generation’s ears to the style. But it’s unfairly reductive to label the band as merely

Eric Gales: (More) Beyond the Blues

To listeners who have followed his work over the last new decades, it may appear that guitarist Eric Gales has evolved his technique. While quite good for what they are, the pair of albums he released in 2006-7, Crystal Vision and The Psychedelic Underground are characterized by what detractors might call overplaying. “My approach has

Hundred Word Reviews for February 2020

Time for some more quick reviews. All good stuff, all worthy of deeper coverage. And all worth your time if you’re in the mood for some new sounds. Previte / Saft / Cline – Music from the Early 21st Century Bobby Previte is a drummer whose work falls into the avant garde/no wave box. Nels

Fantastic Negrito: Never Give Up

When Fantastic Negrito emerged onto the music scene in 2015, he looked to all the world like a new, emerging artist. Winner of that year’s Tiny Desk Contest for his song and video “Lost in a Crowd,” the Oakland musician showcased a sound that built upon the blues, but that didn’t conform to most people’s

Bill Altman: It All Goes Back to the Blues

Bill Altman has a diverse and eclectic résumé. His background as a musician – primarily on guitar but including other instruments as well – includes touring and recording acts in rock, blues and other musical idioms. For more than a decade, he has been first-call guitarist at Flat Rock Playhouse; he has worked as musical