Posted in blues, Music, Uncategorized

Jeff Jensen – “Wisdom and Decay”

Jeff Jensen’s new album. Wisdom and Decay is a marvel. It seems impossible that it can be better than his previous albums, and yet I believe it is. The production, certainly, is the best yet. That, too, is done by Jensen. The work of his band, Bill Ruffino on bass and David Green on drums, is perfect and Jensen’s vocals are heartfelt and his guitar playing masterful. The band is joined by a number of special guests as well.

It all starts out with a Little Milton song, “Living ‘off the Love You Give,” a fast, cheerful tribute to a band favorite. Then comes a haunting original, “2000 Days,” about struggling with and overcoming addiction, emerging scarred yet triumphant. “Pretend Forevers” is an emotionally charged song about being in love and wanting it to last forever, yet knowing at some point it must end. It should touch the heart of anybody who loves anybody. The song features a string quartet and was recorded at Sam Phillips Recording Studio in Memphis, further emphasizing the band’s strong ties o hat city and its musical heritage.

“Good Woman Back Home” is a happy celebration of love with horns and great background vocals for emphasis. It is especially meaningful in light of Jensen’s recent marriage.

“Downtown” is a gritty song about the uglier side of any city, given more menace through Jeff’s distorted vocals. “Luck Is Gonna Change,” on the other hand, is a cheerful, gospel style song about misplaced optimism: making bad choices and expecting good results. Despite the clear message, it sounds like everyone in the studio had a great time on this one.

“What We Used to Be”is a political message, presented in a vaudeville-style number and using a comedic touch to say something true about where we stand today. It is followed by a fantastic version of one of my favorite Dylan songs, “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You.” Jeff sings it with great sincerity and only Dylan’s original version could equal it.

The album ends with “Something in the Water,” which lets Jensen shoe off his creativity and skill as a guitarist in a mellow style, and “The Water Jam,” which lets the whole band shine energetically.

Every album The Jeff Jensen Band has done so far has made an indelible mark on this listener and many others. This one already has, too. Everything ..the writing, singing, playing arranging and production.even the cover art, was done with skill and love, and that is why this album makes you feel so good. Is it his best? Maybe. Listen and see what you think.

originally published by Rherra at /Making A Scene

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Posted in blues, Uncategorized

The Blues Music Award Winners

Here is a complete list of the BMA winners. For once, people I voted for actually won!

1. Acoustic Album: Break the Chain – Doug MacLeod
2. Acoustic Artist: Taj Mahal
3. Album: TajMo – Taj Mahal & Keb’ Mo’ 
4. B.B. King Entertainer: Taj Mahal
5. Band: Rick Estrin & the Nightcats
6. Best Emerging Artist Album: Southern Avenue – Southern Avenue
7. Contemporary Blues Album: TajMo – Taj Mahal & Keb’ Mo’
8. Contemporary Blues Female Artist: Samantha Fish
9. Contemporary Blues Male Artist: Keb’ Mo’
10. Historical: A Legend Never Dies, Essential Recordings 1976-1997 – Luther Allison (Ruf Recordings)
11. Instrumentalist-Vocalist: Beth Hart
12. Instrumentalist-Bass: Michael “Mudcat” Ward
13. Instrumentalist-Drums: Tony Braunagel
14. Instrumentalist-Guitar: Ronnie Earl
15. Instrumentalist-Harmonica: Jason Ricci
16. Instrumentalist-Horn: Trombone Shorty
17. Pinetop Perkins Piano Player (Instrumentalist – Piano): Victor Wainwright
18. Koko Taylor Award (Traditional Blues Female): Ruthie Foster
19. Rock Blues Album: We’re All In This Together – Walter Trout
20. Rock Blues Artist: Mike Zito
21. Song: “The Blues Ain’t Going Nowhere” written by Rick Estrin and performed by Rick Estrin
22. Soul Blues Album: Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm – Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm
23. Soul Blues Female Artist: Mavis Staples
24. Soul Blues Male Artist: Curtis Salgado
25. Traditional Blues Album: Right Place, Right Time – Mike Welch and Mike Ledbetter
26. Traditional Blues Male Artist: Rick Estrin

 

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

 

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’!

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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.