Posted in Music

Warren Haynes taps all his Southern roots on the new “Ashes & Dust”

Warren Haynes has strong Southern roots and he uses them all on his new album, Ashes & Dust, which will be out July 24. He has long been a favorite in the Atlanta area and has performed here many times.


Haynes is best known for his 25 years with The Allman Brothers and his long career with Gov’t Mule, as well as for touring with the remaining members of The Grateful Dead as The Dead. For this CD, he very successfully joins with Railroad Earth to create a CD that perfectly captures Southern culture and experience in sensitive songs that draw on blues, country, and folk to evoke a thoughtful storytelling mood.

“Company Man” especially resonated with this reviewer because I grew up in a company town and my father worked for the mill all his life, as did nearly everyone else in town, until it closed. Haynes does a wonderful job of capturing this pivotal element in the lives of so many generations of Southerners.

Another favorite on the album is “Blue Maiden’s Tale,” a ballad firmly rooted in Appalachian folklore but with a twist.

The most surprising favorite for this writer is”Gold Dust Woman,” featuring Grace Potter as Haynes’ duet partner. Not being fond of Stevie Nicks as a vocalist has sometimes kept me from appreciating this admittedly well-written song, but this version is just spectacularly good.

In fact, all of these songs are exceptional and the music is perfect. The fiddle throughout, provided by Tim Carbone is particularly effective, while John Skehan’s mandolin and Andy Goessling’s banjo and National steel guitar also provide just the right mood with Haynes’ electric, acoustic and slide guitar. Then there is that marvelous harmonica provided by guest Mickey Raphael on “Wanderlust,” which also benefits from sensitive harmony vocals by Shawn Colvin. Other guest musicians include Oteil Burbridge on bass on”Spots of Time”and Marc Qinones on drums and percussion on “Spots of Time” and “Beat Down the Dust.”

It is amazing, really, that a performer can record and tour for decades and still sound as pure and strong as he did when he started, and Haynes’ writing has never been better. Railroad Earth is an ideal backing band for him as well. This album is as strong as anything in Haynes’ extensive catalog and belongs in the collection of any lover of roots and Americana music.

Originally  published on

Posted in Music

Bobby Messano Just Keeps Getting Better: “Love and Money”

Bobby Messano lives on the road. Music is the one constant in what can be best described as a turbulent life. He’s been playing for decades and even did a stint as Steve Winwood’s guitar player and music director. He is an amazing guitar player and a passionate and powerful vocalist. With every album he puts out, I think Bobby has reached his peak this time. But no! And now he has done it again. Just when you think Bobby Messano can’t improve on the magnificent Welcome to Deltaville he does with the excellent Love & Money.

Bobby has been through an inordinate amount of strife in the last few years and he has encountered some very dark days. Like the best artists, he deals with these emotions with honesty, pouring his soul into the songs.. But don’t be expecting dirges here. He marries his darkest lyrics, as on the opening tune “April Showers,” with driving guitar and a perfect blend of rock and blues. It certainly does not hurt that he is backed up by what is undoubtedly the strongest and best group he has ever recorded and toured with. Suavek Zaniesienko on bass, Freddie Gasparini on keyboards and Dave Hollingsworth on drums simply create a perfect storm here,

The title track,, “Love and Money,” decries the twin obsessions that cause so much trouble in the world, but does not fail to offer hope. In fact, no matter how dark things get, Bobby’s music never loses hope and, most often, a wry humor is lurking somewhere about. That hope and humor is evident in “What I Got,” in which Bobby explains exactly what he does and doesn’t have. The funky interplay between Bobby’s guitar and Freddie’s organ really enhance this song as well as “Welcome To My Failed Career,” which contrasts glitter and glitz with real, authentic musicianship.

As an example of how Messano continues to add variety to his sound, “Everything Is Gonna Be Alright” adds fiddles and a country tinge like the best Southern rock of the ’70s. Not bad for a Wisconsin native! He follows it up with a blast from his own past, with a fantastic cover of Winwood’s “Had to Cry Today,” which just happens to fit perfectly with the theme of the album.

These are just some of the highlights on this excellent recording.  To summarize: You will not find a better blues-rock album anywhere than Love and Money. Bobby Messano and his band continue to amaze and entertain as well as anyone in the business. Get it now!

Check out the original article at  Making a Scene! fpr videos and other extras!

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Voo Davis – “Midnight Mist”

Voo Davis was born in Alabama and moved to Chicago as a child. Although he is based in Chicago now, the South obviously has filled a huge part of his soul. His voice evokes Joe Cocker and other growly-voiced rockers and the sound may have a bit of Chicago grit but it has large doses of classic Southern rock and blues. Add evocative lyrics that make you see and feel that midnight mist and hear and experience the sounds and sights of Clarkesdale, Mississippi and the Cajun country of Louisiana and the Alabama coast and you have a fantastic musical journey

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Welcome to Rhetta’s reviews!

Welcome to the new home for my music reviews! Most of them will be music reviews and often they will have links to other places they have appeared, such as, Blogcritics or Making A Scene, the most common paces I write reviews. I will note if those links will take you to slideshows and videos as well. I will aoso be sharing extra photos from shows that I love but could not use on the original reviews!

This is so that I and anyone interested can find any review I have posted easily and quickly.

Hope you find these reviews helpful!