Posted in blues, Music, Uncategorized

‘The Ally Venable Band – “Puppet Show”

 

Puppet Show

Teen blues sensation Ally Venable is about to release her second album, Puppet Show. Not only does she prove herself once again a powerful blues vocalist and an extraordinary guitarist, but she also wrote 8 out of the 10 songs on the album, and they are good. With the help of several guests, she and the band explore some intense emotional territory as Venable asserts her ability to suffer and to overcome.

The first song on the album, “Devil’s Son,” features guest guitarist Gary Hooey on lead guitar, with Venable backing him up. With her confident vocal delivery, they establish that this album can rock and is equally driven by the guitars and Venable’s voice.

The next song, “Bridges To Burn,” also features a guest, Lance Lopez, who plays together with Venable. This time the guitars emphasize the intensity of the song, which resonates just the right amount of bite. Venable then continues the hard rocking and the theme of overcoming adversity in “Cast Their Stones.”

“Back Water Blues” changes the pace and shows that this woman can handle more traditional blues. It features tasty harmonica from guest Steve Krase. Continuing that vein, Venable next delivers a fantastic cover of “She Caught The Katy (And Left Me a Mule To Ride,”) which is one of my favorite tracks just because she does such a delightful job with it.

“Puppet Show” illustrates Venable’s remarkable writing skills. This is a strong declaration of independence from a controlling presence. “Comfort In My Sorrow” is a slower but no less intense song about searching for help. It has a bit of a country blues feel, possibly because Venable’s tone and her ability to sound both strong and vulnerable remind me of Dolly Parton.

“Survive” continues to echo the theme of fighting through hard times through sheer willpower. “Waste it On You” features some excellent guitar solos as it addresses the source of Venable’s disillusionment directly.”Sleeping Through The Storm” gives the drummer a chance to shine along with the guitar in the driving riff as it once again asserts her determination to overcome any storm that comes her way.

Venable may not have reached full maturity yet, but it seems her music has. This is a strong and vibrant album and highly recommended.

Originally published at Making A Scene Magazine

 

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Posted in blues, Music, Uncategorized

This weekend: Blues all around Atlanta March 31-April 1

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Happy Easter! That means only two things I know of on Sunday but Friday and Saturday are packed! Check out the listings below!

Friday

The Jess Goggans Band is at Darwin’s and Blind Willie’s celebrates its 32nd Anniversary Weekend with Sparky & Rhonda Rucker, Steve James, and The Shadows. Mudcat and the Atlanta Horns are at Northside Tavern. Big C is at Fat Matt’s and 808 is at Nik’s Place. Ravenshine visits MoonShadow Tavern. Seminole Jackson is at Two Urban Licks. There is an open jam with the Tom Hill Band at Buckeye’s Getaway and The North Mississippi Allstars continue at Eddie’s Attic. Frankie’s Blues Mission is at Maxwell’s Cigar Bar in Woodstock and The Larry Griffith Band is at The Painted Duck.

Saturday

The MuddBuggs & Music Festival takes place at Duluth Town Green, featuring Zydefunk, Trey Dahl & the Jugtime Ragband, and Machine Kid. Wavetree is at Darwin’s and Blind Willie’s continues to celebrate its 32nd Anniversary. Garrett Collins is at Fat Matt’s and Uncle Don’s Band is at MoonShadow Tavern. DynaGroove is at Nik’s Place Seminole Jackson are at Two Urban Licks. SaturDAY Drinking with Fatback Deluxe takes place at 2 pm at DJ Rockin’ Road Trip in Decatur.  David T & Friends are at Smith’s Olde Bar and The Kerry Hill Band is at the Utopia Bar, in John’s Creek.

Sunday

Uncle Sugar is at Northside Tavern.  Bean & Bear and  Hey!Alligator are at Darwin’s.

That’s it! Have fun and keep on bluesin’!

Posted in Music, Uncategorized

Honoring Sean Costello

Seann Costello was a young musician who died some years ago. Each year, we honor his memory with an event that shares the blues music he loves and benefits The Sean Costello Memorial Fund for Bipolar Research, which seeks to help those who have the disorder that Sean had. Below is this year’s poster with the lineup and locaion for the April event.

SeanCostelllo

 

 

 

Posted in blues, Uncategorized

Chicken Raid!

The Chicken Raid has been a tradition at Northside Tavern for years/ It honors Mr. Frank Edwards and benefit our local blues legends and mentors. Here is this years lineup”

SATURDAY, MARCH 24 – 1pm
Wasted Potential Brass Band
BluesDude
Skye Paige
Ross Pead 
Sandra Littel
Shelton Powe
Little G Weevil
Beverly Watkins
Essie Mae Brooks & Family
Bill Sheffield
The Rainmen
Mudcat and the Atlanta Horns
Lola
Stoney Brooks
Roy Lee Johnson
Robert Lee Coleman
Albert White
Frankie’s Blues Mission
Cool John Ferguson

SUNDAY, MARCH 25 – Noon
Gospel Hour
The Radio Ramblers
Nate and Haley
Jason C Waller
Jeff Evans
Essie Mae Brooks & Family
The Rockaholics ATL
Cody Matlock
Freddie Vanderford
Mac Arnold & Plate Full O’ Blues
Dr. Dixon and François Blues
Swami Gone Bananas
Little Joey’s Jumpin’ Jive
Uncle Sugar featuring Eddie TignerChicknRaid

Posted in blues, Music, Uncategorized

Miss Freddye: Lady of the Blues

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Miss Freddye is best-known around Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio, but that is about to change with Miss Freddye: Lady of the Blues. The album is co-produced by Kid Andersen and Andy Santana, who are all over it, providing guitar and harmonica respectively, and Santana also wrote many of the songs. Miss Freddye’s band really cooks, and there is an amazing horn section, too.

From the first sassy notes of “Miss Freddye’s Gonna Fix Ya,” you know you’re in good hands. “Luv Ya Baby” is the first of two duets with John”Blues” Boyd with an irresistible 70’s s sound.

The next three are rocking blues and paint a picture of a woman who might have taken some stuff in the past but isn’t going to anymore. “Lady of the Blues,” “Use the Back Door,” and ‘Home Improvement,’ all follow this theme.

“Doorway to the Blues” proves that she can swing with the best of them, with a jazzy trumpet and Andersen providing a Willie Nelson-like piano solo. while “These Are My Blues” is a more contemplative but still upbeat song with great harmonica. “Freight Train” is another a jazzy, swinging number with a vintage sound.

The album ends with a slow blues, “A Losing Battle,” which is more upbeat about infidelity than you might expect.

Miss Freddye is not breaking any barriers here. She is, as she says, a “lady of the blues.” As such, and with great support from her producers and the band, she provides a very satisfying experience with this album.

Posted in blues, Music, Uncategorized

Victor Wainwright and The Train

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Having established himself firmly in the last few years as a multiple-award winning piano player and entertainer, Victor Wainwright is making some changes. He has a new band,  The Train, a new record label, Ruff and a new album, simply called Victor Wainright and The Train, coming out March 9. I got an early listen and it’s amazing.

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As Victor says on the song “The Train”: “If you wanna boogie get aboard this train/Get yourself a ticket or get out of the way.” With these 12 original songs, this train is going exactly where Wainwright wants it to go, with stops at traditional, rock, ballads, his signature boogie, and even a side trip into psychedelia!

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It all begins with that pounding piano as Wainwright starts us off with “Healing,” a soul extravaganza with horns, organ, piano, and passionate vocals. Next is the new Orleans-flavored tale of poor Peggy and the”Wiltshire Bridge.
This is one of the songs that plays down the piano for the vocals and the organ and horns.

Then here comes the train. This one is going to pick you up and sweep you away! After Victor exhorts the band to get the train started, It goes faster and faster until it hits that ferocious piano and then ends with the horns. Whew! Wipe your forehead and get ready to switch gears for “Dull Your Shine,” with its message that ‘those who mind don’t matter, and those that matter, they don’t mind.” This one features a poignant guitar solo as well as more restrained piano and a persistent drum beat to underscore the uplifting message.

“Money” is a sly, funny soul shuffle with a message we will all recognize. It is followed by a moving and heartfelt tribute to Lucille, BB King’s guitar. It is a highlight of the album and is likely to get a lot of play on blues radio.

“Boogie Depression” is a fast boogie about the power of music to cure depression, with some real piano pyrotechnics to remind you that the man is a piano playing genius. Then the mood slows down for the slow, sweet love song, “Everything I Need.”

Switching moods again, “Righteous”  is a spooky song about “righteous” anger. Listen closely and you will get a chill. “I’ll Start Tomorrow” comes as a relief, with its funny message about procrastination.

It is followed by the entirely different, Eastern-influenced and psychedelic “Sunshine,” which features guitar, horns, and drums and a short, plaintive vocal. It really allows the band to show off their skills, and Wainwright to show that an organ can be psychedelic. Then the album ends with another sweet, slow ballad, “That’s Love To Me” It is a huge compliment in my mind that these slow songs remind me of the great Leon Russell, while still being completely Victor’s own.

Wainwright and The Train take us on one amazing journey here, with still some astounding piano but a whole lot more besides, showing that Wainwright can break out in all sorts of wonderful directions. Be prepared to jump on board, it’s coming your way soon!