Posted in Americana, blues, Music, Uncategorized

Congrats to the blues and roots Grammy winners!

Best Traditional Blues Album: “Blue & Lonesome” — The Rolling Stones

Best Contemporary Blues Album: “TajMo” — Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’

Best Regional Roots Music Album: “Kalenda” — Lost Bayou Ramblers

Best American Roots Performance: “Killer Diller Blues” — Alabama Shakes\


Best American Roots Song: “If We Were Vampires” — Jason Isbell, songwriter (Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit)

Best Americana Album: “The Nashville Sound” — Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

The Rolling Stones started out as a blues band way back in the ”60s, and not only played the music bu actively supported the blues musicians who were living and working at the time, It is great to hear them get back to their roots. And surely no one can argue with the greatness of Keb Mo and Taj Mahal, a pairing that had to happen.

As for the roots and Americana artists, Alabama Shakes really were killer on :Killer Diler Blues.: And The Lost Bayou Ramblers, working with Jack White, did something very different with  Kalinda, a whole albun inspired bty one song. It was a gamble, but it paid off!

I had never heard “If We Were Vampires,” so I listened on Spotify and it is a beautiful song about love and the fear of loss and a worthy winner.

Congrats to all the winners!

Posted in Americana, blues, Uncategorized

Peter Karp – ‘Blue Flame’

Peter Karp

Blue Flame

Peter Karp is soon to release a new album, Blue Flame. The title, according to the liner notes, comes from a conversation with the great bluesman and songwriter Willie Dixon. Dixon told Karp, “When it’s honest and real it burns hot, like a blue flame.”

Karp took those words to heart, and these songs deal with real personal issues and feelings to which listeners can relate. He handles it all with a wry humor and songwriting skill. Add to that Karp’s strong, true voice, and ability to play a host of instruments including National steel guitar, harmonica, and various keys, plus a hand from some talented friends and it is no surprise that this is an excellent album. Some of the songs also appeared on Karp’s album The Arson’s Match in 2016, including “The Arson’s Match,” but even if you have that album, you will enjoy hearing them here along with the new songs. They fit together so well to tell a coherent story.

The first song, “Rolling On A Log,” establishes a recurring theme in the album: trying to keep your balance no matter what life throws at you. In this case, life was throwing pretty hard stuff, but Peter’s still on that log. Kim Wilson adds some tasty harmonica. Next, “Train O’ Mine” brings up another theme, which is to keep on moving on, leaving trouble behind and heading for the next thing. It’s a driving song with some great harmonica,

A change of pace comes with my personal favorite track, “Your Prettiness.” Here Karp recites a long list of his woman’s attributes that make you wonder where he found that “prettiness.” She cusses, wears tacky clothes, has bad skin, bad teeth, messy hair, but hey, she’s pretty. Karp’s droll delivery here reminds me strongly of Lyle Lovett, a comparison I have made in writing of Karp’s work before This song will make you laugh if you are not dead.

“Valentine’s Day” is a lilting love song for a holiday that really does need more songs, In it, Karp lists all the things he appreciates about his woman and then in the spoken outro, he lists his offerings:”I’ve got the candy, I’ve got the flowers…:” This one is so much fun and you know it is getting played at our house on February 14.

The rocking “Treat Me Right” takes on a serious message in a deceptively light way as Karp explains how he told his woman she just doesn’t treat him right. “The Turning Point” then takes us into a completely serious, yearning look into the heart of a man who knows things have to change. This is a true “blue flame” song.

“Loose Ends” returns to wry humor as Karp explains the ways the loose ends always get you. I could not help but compare it to Alanis Morrisette’s “Ironic,” though Peter’s version is far more entertaining.

“The Arsons Match” is the title song from Karp’s CD that I reviewed in 2016. That was a live recording from 2004 that was lost for nearly 10 years and then rescued and ultimately released. It features Mick Taylor and this track uses an upbeat blues style to tell the true story of how an arson burned Karp’s house and everything he owned.

“From Where I Stand” has more than a touch of early Dylan in the delivery. It’s a song about family and loss and not knowing what you have until it rushes by. “You Know” is straight up blues about the lessons you only learn alone in the dark. Fantastic harp on this one.

As we near the end of the album, “Round and Around” reminds me of the late Tom Petty as Karp examines the circular nature of relationships. “Young Girl” ends the recording with an old man delivering the message of it all to a young girl who doesn’t know what to do: you keep on. Karp’s raspy-voiced delivery of the old man’s words is perfect.

Peter Karp is one of those people who is keeping the singer/songwriter tradition alive. Blue Flame is a worthy addition to that tradition and a must for your collection.

peter karp

Posted in Americana, blues, Music

Video: Heather Luttrell at Darwin’s Blues Club

We saw Heather Luttrell and Possum Den at Darwin’s on Saturday August 26. I had not seen her in a  while and had forgotten how good she really is! She was playing with Possum Den which consists of her daddy on guitar and a friend about her daddy’s age on bass. The woman has a great voice and she sings a mixture of blues, country and rock that really is Americana, a term that is not always used  so accuratelyI got this one originally on FacebookLive and posting it here for you to enjoy.  If there is no sound right click and “unmute.”