blues Archive

Seth Walker Opens Up

This feature was first published in Bold Life Magazine. Seth Walker was born in a tiny town – really tiny – and was trained from an early age in classical music. So the fact that he ended up playing his own steeped-in-the-blues music is a bit surprising. But to the North Carolina-born songwriter and guitarist,

Album Review: Johnny Iguana’s Chicago Spectacular!

Pianist Johnny Iguana (born Brian Berkowitz) may not have been born in Chicago, but he’s long since made the Windy City his home, and his understanding of Chicago blues is deep and finely textured. Iguana comes from – and is central to – a scene that extends beyond the blues; he’s grounded in punk, jazz,

Album Review: Bobby Rush – Rawer Than Raw

At age 86, bluesman Bobby Rush has nothing left to prove. Recipient of a dozen Blues Music Awards and winner (for Porcupine Meat) of the 2017 Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album, Rush could be forgiven if he chose to rest on his laurels, looking back proudly on an impressive body of work that

Hundred-word Reviews: January 2021 #1

Welcome to 2021. Let’s hope it’s better for the world’s citizens than 2020 was. Some things, at least, never change. And one of those is my commitment to covering music that might otherwise escape readers’ notice. My hundred-world review entries are an attempt to do just that. Here are five new releases you should know

Virginia and the Slims: Push on Through

Sporting a name inspired by ‘70s era cigarettes marketed to women, Asheville-based Virginia and the Slims have endured a convoluted history. Musicians have come and gone – to the point where only one founding member remains with the jump blues/swing band – and with those changes came shifting musical perspectives. The current lineup of Virginia

Hundred-word Reviews for November 2020, Part Three

And here’s the last of this current run of hundred-word reviews covering new releases. Soul, powerpop and blues; something for most tastes. All worth your time. Sonny Green – Found! One Soul Singer Don’t let the cheesy, lurid, chartreuse album art dissuade you from the contents: this is the real deal. Sonny Green is one

30 Days Out, November 2020 #1: JJ Grey & Mofro, Russ Wilson, Empire Strikes Brass, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band

Is it November already? How did that happen? Things aren’t much better with regard to the pandemic, but we’re all continuing to find our way forward with regard to things like live music. The four artists covered below – two local to Asheville, two actually on tour – have found ways to bring live music

Chocolate Samurai: More from My Conversation with Fantastic Negrito (Part Two)

Continued from Part One … Police violence and racial disparity have been in the news a whole lot more in recent times than they had been in a long time. Do you think things are actually getting worse or are people just starting to get fed up and it’s starting to get reported on more?

Chocolate Samurai: More from My Conversation with Fantastic Negrito (Part One)

Thanks to my friend and former bandmate Jeff Japp, I discovered the music of Fantastic Negrito right around the time he released his stunning – and eventually Grammy-winning – debut, The Last Days of Oakland. I’ve also been lucky enough to see him live onstage no less than three times, and I’ve had at least

Fantastic Negrito: ‘These are My Friends’

This feature appeared previously in SF Weekly — bk When Xavier Dphrepaulezz reinvented himself as Fantastic Negrito, his self-described “black roots music for everyone” struck a chord with the listening public. While he had released an album in the ‘90s as Xavier, the life-changing aftermath of a serious auto accident in 1999 led to his