r&b Archive

Randall Bramblett: Lucky That Way

The music business has a built-in tendency to categorize artists: they’re a rocker, a country act, a jazz cat, a rapper or something else. And in those relatively rare instances when an artist ventures even slightly outside of his or her appointed lane, they earn the crossover-artist tag. Yet there do exist a few extra-special

EP Review: Diplomats of Solid Sound – The Live EP

This nine-person ensemble released a fine album, A Higher Place, in 2019. That was my first exposure to the Iowa group, but I soon discovered that they have been together more than two decades. So any suggestion that they’re following on or bandwagon jumping is egregiously wrong. The group’s latest release is a five-song collection,

Album Review: Ben Levin — Still Here

Postwar jump blues, swing and proto-rock ‘n’ roll is the order of the day on pianist Ben Levin’s latest release, Still Here. Informed by the rollicking New Orleans piano stylings of Fats Domino, Levin’s record is an organic, retro affair that captures the sound and essence of music of a bygone era. Backed by a

Album Review: Tito Jackson — Under Your Spell

If you’re any of the offspring of Joe Jackson of Gary, Indiana, your surname carries with it a great deal of baggage. The stunningly talented Jackson 5 (later The Jacksons) racked up three Grammy nominations, induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Vocal Group Hall of Fame and – three times –

30 Days Out, November 2021 #2: John “Papa” Gros, Mike Zito, Hiss Golden Messenger, Steve Gunn, Jeff Parker

The new normal, yeah. Heck, even I am going to shows again. But I wear a mask, I’m vaccinated, and I’m getting the booster soon. Because let’s display at least a modicum of care for our fellow humans, shall we? Some great music is making its way to Asheville in the coming 30 days. Even

There is the Love: NC Music Hall of Fame 2021

North Carolina has a rich and varied musical heritage. As a means of honoring that state’s contributions to music, the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame was established in 1994. Each year, a select roster of musicians is inducted into the Hall, representing all genres of music. The pandemic forced the cancellation of the 202

Album Review: Etta James — The Montreux Years

Announced in March 2021, an archive of historically significant musical recordings is now beginning to be shared with the wider listening audience. Run by Claude Nobs, the highly regarded Montreux Jazz Festival hosted some of the biggest names in jazz (and beyond) in Switzerland for its annual concerts. In a new arrangement with BMG, selected

Album Review: Jimmie Vaughan – The Pleasure’s All Mine

Among the wider population, Jimmie Vaughan is known as the older brother of Stevie Ray Vaughan, as the founding guitarist in the Fabulous Thunderbirds and for his work with that group during its most high-profile period. But blues aficionados have long appreciated the Texas-born musician for the music he has made under his own name

Things Get Better: Soul Man Eddie Floyd (Part 3 of 3)

Continued from Part Two … That success extended well beyond Eddie Floyd’s records. In fact – as he recounts in detail in his new memoir, Knock! Knock! Knock! On Wood: My Life in Soul – Floyd got his start at Stax as a songwriter, not a performer. His first success as a Stax house writer

Things Get Better: Soul Man Eddie Floyd (Part 2 of 3)

Continued from Part One … During that “Knock on Wood” writing session, there was a torrential rainstorm going on outside. “In Alabama where I live,” explains Floyd, “the rainstorms can be fierce.” Even though “Knock on Wood” was shaping up to be a love song, he decided put that idea into it: “It’s like thunder,