blues Archive

Album Review: American Folk Blues Festival Live in Manchester 1962

Owing to a fascinating and complicated set of circumstances, for many years American musicians of color were recognized and celebrated more in the UK and Europe than they were at home. This was the case for quite a few jazz and blues artists; revered overseas, some made the transatlantic trek to appear in front of

Album Review: Chris Cain — Raisin’ Cain

Though he’s a West Coast musician based in San Jose, California, Chris Cain’s vocal and guitar styles owe a significant debt to Mississippi-born B.B. King. As showcased on Raisin’ Cain, his first album for Alligator Records, Cain’s approach to the blues is one steeped in the postwar electric tradition. Lyrically, Raisin’ Cain traffics in familiar

Album Review: David Rotundo Band – So Much Trouble

A protégé of Danish harmonica star Lee Oskar (of ‘70s funk-rock-soul group War), Canadian musician David Rotundo sings, plays harmonica and occasional guitar, and writes all of the music on So Much Trouble, his fifth album. Toronto-based Rotundo launched his first band in 1997, and was first heard on record when he released Blowin’ for

30 Days Out, May 2021 #2: Asheville Jazz Orchestra, Drivin N Cryin, Hit Dogs, Ana Popović

While it remains to be seen what exactly the “new normal” is, it indeed looks like we’re there. Mask mandates are lifted, responsible people have been getting vaccinated, and venues are feverishly booking live music. Go see and hear some! Here are four live shows happening in and around Asheville in the coming 30 days.

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

30 Days Out, April 2021 #2: Ashley Heath, Day & Dream, Hustle Souls, Travers Brothership

Well, it looks as if live music has now truly returned, after a fashion. Social distancing remains in effect, but the warmer weather opens up opportunities to enjoy live music in (relative) safety. For this welcome-back edition of 30 Days Out, I’m focusing on all local acts. Artist: Ashley Heath and Her Heathens Venue: The

Album Review: Alabama Slim — The Parlor

When key rock musicians acknowledged their debt to blues figures in the 1960s, many of those bluesmen found themselves with a new and younger audience. Their belated wider recognition came just in time, as many were well into their middle years or beyond. Now, a half century later, most all of the blues giants have

Album Review: Selwyn Birchwood – Living in a Burning House

Even before the shrink wrap is off Selwyn Birchwood’s third album, it’s telegraphed that the package represents a more serious offering than what has come before. From its title to the photo of the steely-eyed guitarist, Living in a Burning House establishes a vibe miles away from the youthful, smiling Birchwood of his 2014 major-label

Kirk Fletcher’s Pathway to (and Through) the Blues, Part Five

Continued from Part Four … Fletcher celebrated his 45th birthday in December 2020; that’s still relatively young to be taking a look back at one’s life journey. But in some ways – though he clearly has many years ahead of him – that’s what My Blues Pathway represents. The ten-track release on Cleopatra Blues stands

Kirk Fletcher’s Pathway to (and Through) the Blues, Part Four

Continued from Part Three … I’m Here & I’m Gone was Fletcher’s attempt at making what he calls “a sort of business card, so I could get gigs.” Looking back on that record, he believes that he wasn’t quite ready to make an album. “I can hear my youth and my love for blues, but