Gregg Allman bids fond farewell to friends, fans with posthumous release Southern Blood

Southern rocker Gregg Allman‘s final album Southern Blood (Rounder Records) may not be the bluesiest he’s done (which would have been a difficult undertaking following his 2011 solo studio offering Low Country Blues), but will certainly be remembered as his most personal and evocative, featuring 10 carefully chosen tracks that reflected the Rock Hall of Famer’s mindset during the waning months of his life, from the opening, autobiograhical “My Only True Friend” that Allman co-wrote with his band’s guitarist and musical director Scott Sharrard about life on the road — with such chilling lyrics as “I hope you’re haunted by the music of my soul when I’m gone” and “Still on and on I roam, it feels like home is just around the bend/ I’ve got so much left to give, but I’m running out of time, my friend” — to the soulful country folk sound of Bob Dylan’s “Going Going Gone” (“I’m closing the book on pages and text, and I don’t really care what happens next/ I’m goin’, yes I’m goin’, I’m gone”) — one of several songs to feature Greg Leisz on pedal steel, Buddy Miller on harmony vocals, and The McCrary Sisters on powerful backing vocals — to the tender closing cover of Jackson Browne’s “Song for Adam” on which Browne himself joins Allman on vocals, with Leisz contributing on both pedal steel and mandolin.

Album producer Don Was writes in the liner notes: “The choice of songs for this record said everything that needed to be said…it’s the musical last testament of one of the greatest artists of our time. Everything you need to know about Gregg and how he felt at the end of his life is contained in the lyrics to these 10 songs and in the raw and expressive approach he brings to these last performances.”

As touching as much of the album can be, including that bittersweet terrific opening track, it’s probably “Song for Adam” that strikes the most poignant chord, about which Was observed: “Gregg always loved this song because it reminded him of his brother Duane. When he gets to the line ‘still it seems that he stopped singing in the middle of his song’, you can hear him choke up and falter. We decided to stop for the day, and Gregg never got the chance to actually sing those next two lines.”

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Leave Here Running

Here’s another talk-free edition of our world-famous BluesPowR Radio Hour, featuring doubleshots of music from the North Mississippi All-Stars, Grady Champion, and Mitch Kasmar, as well as tracks from Taj Mahal & Keb’ Mo’, Angel Forrest with Steve Strongman, The Cash Box Kings, and more!

Playlist
Miss Maybelle – North Mississippi Allstars (Prayer for Peace)
Off My Mind – Scott Ramminger (Do What Your Heart Says To)
Life Support – Grady Champion (One of a Kind)
Leave Here Running – Grady Champion (One of a Kind)
Spoil Me Up – Angel Forrest w/ Steve Strongman (Angel’s 11)
Blues for Chi-Raq – The Cash Box Kings (Royal Mint)
Diving Duck Blues – Taj Mahal & Keb Mo’ (TajMo)
Too Many Cooks – Mitch Kashmar (West Coast Toast)
Mood Indica – Mitch Kashmar (West Coast Toast)
Deep Ellum – North Mississippi Allstars (Prayer for Peace)

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Listen up! Krystle Warren’s Nae-Nae and Ruthie

There’s a whole lot to like about Krystle Warren‘s latest album Three the Hard Way (Parlour Door Music) and blues is just a small part of it, with the album also including sounds of neosoul, R&B, hip hop, folk, jazz, gospel, and more.

Here’s one of the bluesier tunes off that project, the creeping “Nae-Nae and Ruthie”, with handclap-like percussion, gritty harmonica, subtle keys and guitar work, and Warren’s smooth yet sturdy, full-ranged vocals all combining to create a dark haunting groove.

If that leaves you looking for a little more from the album, you might start with the powerful, passionate “Thanks and Praise”; the slightly breezy, Beatles-esque “Get a Load”; the closing soul gospel of “Move”; or the slow, stirring “Red Clay”, a jazzy, soulful number regarding the weighty topic of a 1921 Tulsa, Oklahoma, race riot during which an African-American community was destroyed by the KKK.

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Lance Lopez shows lowdown blues ways on Live in NYC

Recently, we told you about the latest release from the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band, which incorporates a bit more of an Americana sound than we’re accustomed to hearing from the band. Those who prefer your blues-rock somewhat heavier and more intense might want to check out Texas guitarist Lance Lopez‘s Live in NYC (Cleopatra Records), a rocking, 7-song set produced by Johnny Winter Band guitarist and GRAMMY Award-winning producer Paul Nelson that captures a performance from Lopez at New York City’s B.B. King’s Blues Club.

Having started his career at the age of 14, Lopez served as guitarist in the bands of both soul man Johnnie Taylor and drummer Buddy Miles as well as band leader for Lucky Peterson before venturing out on his own, also holding down lead guitar and vocalist duties for the Supersonic Blues Machine (from whom we expect to hear a sophomore album sometime in the coming months).

Here, Lopez is deepest in the blues on songs like the shuffling opener “Come Back Home”, a hard-driving cover of Robert Johnson’s “Traveling Riverside Blues”, and the slow, burning blues of an 11-minute “Lowdown Ways” , with the remainder of the songs delving a bit further into, say, Van Halen territory, all delivered through Lopez’s gruff vocals and gritty, stinging guitar.

If it’s tough, hard-rocking blues-edged music you’re seeking, then Lopez’s Live in NYC is a good place to turn!

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Heritage BluesFest, Project Blues photos now posted to our gallery

Ronnie Earl

We’ve just posted the full set of photos from our recent weekend roadtrip through West Virginia and Ohio, featuring pics from both the opening night of the Heritage Music BluesFest in Wheeling and the Project Blues Review in Columbus.

With separate albums for Heritage BluesFest Friday night headliners TajMo (the pairing of Taj Mahal & Keb Mo’) and Project Blues headliners Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters, these latest uploads to our BluesPowR Gallery also include shots of artists such as Bob Margolin, Rory Block and Cindy Cashdollar, the Billy Price Band, Jontavious Willis, Sean Carney, Jonn Del Toro Richardson, Tom Holland, The Texas Horns, and more, so check them out today!

Related posts:
Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters, Bob Margolin, and more stand up to cancer at Project Blues Review 2017
TajMo, Rory Block, Jontavious Willis, and others shine at opening night of Heritage Music BluesFest

TajMo

Bob Margolin & Mark “Kaz” Kazanoff

 

 

 

 

 

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Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters, Bob Margolin, and more stand up to cancer at Project Blues Review 2017

This past weekend, we had the honor of attending our second Project Blues Review show in Columbus, Ohio. Still pretty amped after having seen a fantastic performance from Taj Mahal and Keb Mo’ the previous evening at the Heritage Music BluesFest in Wheeling, and with fond memories of our first Project Blues experience back in 2014, a tribute to Muddy Waters that featured John Primer, Bob Margolin, Bob Corritore, Bob Stroger, David Maxwell, and others, we had a sneaking suspicion this was going to be another great night of blues music at the LifeCare Alliance Center. And once again, the organizers of this fine event didn’t disappoint, treating the audience to a superb seven-hour show that included some of the biggest local and national names in the blues.

Carney, Booker & Berichon

The evening started with a set from Drivin’ Home, a local band featuring Project Blues Review producer Mike “Bear in the Chair” Berichon joined by International Blues Challenge winner Sean Carney and members of his band and vocalist Shaun Booker. Together, they tore through a set that included such classics as “All Your Love”, “You Belong to Me”, “Further on Up the Road”, and “Pack It Up”, with Mark “Kaz” Kazanoff of The Texas Horns also joining on harmonica for part of the program.

Next up was the Project Blues Review, featuring local keyboardist Bobby Floyd, local bass player Lenny Paul Fatigati, The Texas Horns, and a rotating cast of guitar-playing frontmen, starting with a shuffling set from Chicago’s Tom Holland that included “Sugar Sweet” and Otis Rush’s “It Takes Time” before Holland conceded the stage to fellow Project Blues host and 2017 Blues Music Award (BMA) Best Emerging Artist Album winner (Tengo Blues) Jonn Del Toro Richardson.

Holland

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TajMo, Rory Block, Jontavious Willis, and others shine at opening night of Heritage Music BluesFest

There were plenty of stars to see across the West Virginia-Ohio region this past weekend, and we aren’t talking about the ones you may have spotted while watching for the Perseid meteor shower. There’s really no telling what all we might have missed taking place above us, with our eyes having been so transfixed on the stages of two of our favorite summer blues gatherings, beginning Friday night at the Heritage Music BluesFest in Wheeling and then trekking further west to Columbus the next afternoon to catch the annual Project Blues Review benefit show. We’ll have more on Project Blues in the coming days, but in the meantime, here’s a recap of the first leg of our weekend musical adventure, the opening day of the Heritage Music BluesFest.

Somehow making his very first appearance at Heritage (but most likely not his last judging by the audience’s enthusiastic reaction), Pittsburgh’s Billy Price and his seven-piece band kicked off the 2017 edition of the festival with a soulful, energetic set that included songs from his new album Alive and Strange and earlier Blues Music Award-winning collaboration with Otis Clay (This Time for Real) as well as classics like “Can I Change My Mind”, “A Nickel and a Nail”, and the closing “I Don’t Want No Woman”.

 

 

 

 

 

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Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band lays it on down on rootsy, rocking new album

Guitarist and singer Kenny Wayne Shepherd and his band are back to their rocking ways on their brand new CD Lay It On Down (Concord Records), where they also add in some new sounds longtime fans may not expect from them.

“I wanted to make an album of great American roots music…,” Shepherd states in the album’s press materials. “I wanted to play to our strengths, but I also wanted to make an album full of music that people haven’t heard from us before.”

From the opening licks of the breezy, radio-friendly “Baby Got Gone” and hard-driving, “Boogie Man”-styled “Down for Love” to the closing, “top down, pedal-to-the-metal, better hold on tight” “Ride of Your Life”, Shepherd and the band lay down their fair share of rocking, cruising-down-the-highway-ready material stocked with terrific guitar grooves. And you’ll also of course hear a few nice ballads along the way, such as the tender “Louisiana Rain”.

But several of the songs (keeping with Shepherd’s interest in cars) veer in new, much different directions, including, for example, the gentle, country-flavored Eagles-ish title track that Shepherd co-wrote with “Blue on Black” collaborators Mark Selby and Tia Sillers (the three of whom also wrote “Louisiana Rain”) and the two countryish numbers that follow in the shuffling, handclap-filled “She’s $$$” and the soft ballad “Hard Lesson Learned”.
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George Thorogood throws rootsy Party of One on debut solo album

George Thorogood certainly isn’t the first rocker to make an album of all blues and roots music (see, for example, Big Head Todd & the Monsters, Gary Hoey, and this recent announcement from Black Stone Cherry), nor is he really the last you might expect to do so, considering the success he’s had over the years with his covers of songs like John Lee Hooker’s “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer”, Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love?”, and Elmore James’ “Madison Blues”. But what might surprise some about Thorogood’s brand-new album is that he chose to record the project in the same manner in which he’s made it known he likes to drink: alone.

The first solo album of Thorogood’s more than 40-year career, Party of One marks a true back-to-the-roots approach for the singer and guitarist who has sold some 15 million albums worldwide and performed more than 8,000 live shows, not only in that Thorogood began his career as a solo acoustic musician, but also in both his return to Rounder Records, the label on which Thorogood first signed back in 1976 and recorded his first three hit albums, and reunion with producer Jim Gaines (John Lee Hooker, Luther Allison, Stevie Ray Vaughan), who produced several of Thorogood’s earlier albums.

Thorogood’s response to the self-posed question of “what’s the one thing you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t done yet?”, Party of One is described in press materials as “Thorogood’s long-awaited tribute to the artists that shaped his musical consciousness” and features the rocker’s unique, mostly acoustic, takes on 15 tracks including blues classics from Hooker, James, Robert Johnson, Willie Dixon, John Hammond Jr., and Brownie McGhee; country numbers from Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and Gary Nicholson; and gems from The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan. Each of the songs features Thorogood entirely on his own — including playing slide guitar, Dobro or harmonica on some numbers — as recorded live in the studio with minimal overdubs.
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If I Ever Get Lucky

If summer’s all about freedom, then this episode of our (have we mentioned talk-“free”?) BluesPowR Radio Hour fits right in, featuring doubleshots from both the Tucci Band and blues-rocking “Mama” Ana Popovic; “Something Strange” from the Billy Price Band; some heavy-rocking “evil” from the Apocalypse Blues Revue; a little bit of zydeco from Corey Ledet and pals; and some gospelish sounds from the Mike Eldred Trio, plus tracks from Bob Corritore and John Primer, Andy Fairweather Low & the Low Riders, and Karen Lovely.

Go ahead and give it a listen or two (and feel free to tell a friend)!

Playlist
“Something Strange” – Billy Price (Alive and Strange)
“When I Leave Home” – Bob Corritore/John Primer (Ain’t Nothing You Can Do!)
“Push Me Away” – Corey Ledet and His Zydeco Band (Standing on Faith)
“Love You Tonight” – Ana Popovic (Trilogy)
“Who’s Yo’ Mama?” – Ana Popovic (Trilogy)
“If I Ever Get Lucky” – Andy Fairweather Low & the Low Riders (Listen Here)
“Somebody Been Runnin'” – Mike Eldred Trio (Baptist Town)
“High Roller” (w/ Larry McCray) – Tucci Band (Olivia)
“Train Blues” – Tucci Band (Olivia)
“Evil Is as Evil Does” – The Apocalypse Blues Revue (The Apocalypse Blues Revue)
“Twist My Fate” – Karen Lovely (Fish Outta Water)

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