Joe Bonamassa ‘Live At The Royal Albert Hall’ – A Masterclass In The Blues

Words by: Erik De’Viking

Before his landmark gig at the Royal Albert Hall in 2009, Joe Bonamassa was known to us blues aficionados but he hadn’t reached global stardom. On that fateful night, Joe played with his idol Eric Clapton at the hallowed venue fulfilling a life-long dream. The platinum-selling Live From The Royal Albert Hall DVD set a precedent, and the rest, is as they say history.

While the 4th of May is technically the 10th anniversary of that spectacular concert, as Joe reminded the audience, he gave a heartfelt speech about what it all meant to him. Stating that, “my life changed since that first gig. We have toured the globe, and I’ve played here so many times now that people think I’m British. They come up to me surprised by my accent and realise they were wrong.” This elicited a lot of laughter and cheers from the audience, as he continued, “Thank you all, it has been an honour and a privilege.”

Adding a final anecdote, Joe mentioned, “I try to impress my friends. I have like six friends. Just six! And very very very rarely do I have guests. When I do, I serve my coffee in Royal Albert Hall mugs. After they’ve been sitting there for a few looking at the mugs, they ask, “so where did you get the cool mugs?” and without hesitation I say, “why the Royal Albert Hall of course!”  And on he went giving every ounce of himself to the sold-out crowd as he worked through a number of tracks off his latest album Redemption as well as classic tracks and covers.

As Joe took us through a masterclass in the blues, the audience sat enraptured by the spectacle that he was creating through his mastery of the guitar. Opening with ‘Tiger In Your Tank’, the band played on through ‘King Bee’, ‘Evil Mama’, ‘Just Cause You Can’, and ‘Self Inflicted Wounds’. Reese Wynans’ stunning piano intro to ‘This Train’ set an altogether different mood before the band chimed in and went full tilt, with Anton Fig channelling a raging locomotive with his punchy drum lines and fills.

While the night wound on, we had ‘Blues of Desperation’, ‘No Good Place For The Lonely’, and finally one of the stand-out moments of the night, ‘Sloe Gin’. The stunning arrangement of one of his most iconic songs took on a gospel infused feeling. Opening with simple keys and Joe’s isolated vocal, the band slowly joined in as if a spirit was rising within them. This soulful transformation of the song transcended the original, as Joe made his guitar cry like a soul departing this world, leaving all their pain and sorrow behind.

Following on from ‘Sloe Gin’, we had ‘Well Well’, and ‘Boogie Woogie Woman’, which featured guest guitarist Kurt Fletcher. Giving the band and Kurt a chance to take featured solos, the audience was up on their feet, dancing in the aisles by the time they finished. Now quickly approaching the second hour of the show, it was clear that it was time to get hard and heavy. With a little more than a bit of Led Zeppelin influence on the arrangements, we had a medley of ‘Tea For One / I Can’t Quite You Babe’, which was followed by ‘How Many More Times’. Finishing off the main set with an extended solo, the crowd stood enraptured as he said goodnight and the band left the stage.

We didn’t have long to wait before Joe was back on stage by himself with just an acoustic guitar. Taking centre stage, with just a single spotlight, Joe gave us ‘Woke Up Dreaming’ and masterful acoustic solo before the band returned to close out the night with a brilliant rendition of ‘Mountain Time’.  After thanking the crowd and taking a number bows, Joe and the band left the stage. It was clear throughout the night that everyone was in great spirits and having a lot of fun. The backing singers (Mahalia Barnes & Jade MacRae) were stunning, the brass section (Lee Thornburg & Paulie Cerra) was strutting and grooving to the music, the keys were masterfully handled by Reese Wynans, Anton Fig was totally on point with the drums, and Michael Rhodes on bass really brought everything together and acted as the glue throughout the night. It is fair to say that this was two-hours and fifteen minutes of the blues and blues rock at its best. Definitely one ticked off the bucket list for sure. If you ever have the chance to see Joe Bonamassa live, do not pass it up.

While you’re here, why not check out our review of Joe’s latest album, Redemption.

Written by: Erik De’Viking

My Global Mind – UK Editor

Erik De’Viking is a London based freelance music journalist. His musical interests include music in all its forms, and he is constantly on the lookout for new bands and genres to discover and later preach about to the masses.

Socials: TwitterInstagramLast.FMSpotify

Billy F Gibbons The Big Bad Blues Review

A must have for any blues devotee.

Released by:  Snakefarm Records

Release Date: 21st of September

Genre: Blues, Blues Rock

Links:  https://www.billygibbons.com

Line Up:

Billy F Gibbons: Guitar, Harp & Vox

James Harman: Additional Harmonica

Joe Hardy: Fender Bass Guitar

Greg Morrow & Matt Sorum: Drums

Mike Flanigin: Keyboards 

Tracklist: 

(all songs by Billy F Gibbons except where noted):

1. Missin’ Yo’ Kissin’ (Gilly Stillwater)

2. My Baby She Rocks

3. Second Line

4. Standing Around Crying (Muddy Waters)

5. Let the Left Hand Know…

6. Bring It to Jerome (Jerome Green)

7. That’s What She Said

8. Mo’ Slower Blues

9. Hollywood 151

10. Rollin’ and Tumblin’ (Muddy Waters)

11. Crackin’ Up (Bo Diddley)

In what can only be described as a love letter to the blues, Billy F Gibbons follows up his successful Cubano flavoured solo album Perfectamundo with The Big Bad Blues, which takes us on a journey to the Mississippi Delta to listen to Billy reinvent his favourite classics as well as add a number of his own to the mix. Having assembled an all-star line-up of musicians to bring his vision to life, Billy describes The Big Bad Blues as, “something which our followers can enjoy with the satisfaction of experiencing the roots and tradition and, at the same time, feeling the richness of stretching the art form.” Expanding on that he added, “There’s something very primordial within the art form, and nobody gets away from the infectious allure of those straight-ahead licks!” There is certainly no denying that. Any lover of the blues is going to be swept up by this album and will find it hard to put down. As Billy says, “The blues is alive!” And this album is certainly proof of that.

Discussing the tone of the album, Billy added, “The dirtier, the grittier, the better. Dirt is its own reward, but you have to go low to get it in.” And this album most certainly goes low. There are some heavy, fat, deep, and slithering riffs dominating every track. Opening with the first single of the album, “Missin’ Yo’ Kissin’”, I can’t help thinking that it sounds more ZZ Top than ZZ Top. It’s a catchy song with an infectious beat that will get you up and moving as you groove along with it. Billy’s vocals are as good as ever, and he doesn’t miss a lick in this energetic track.

Opening with a blast of harmonica, “My Baby She Rocks” is a down and dirty blues bar anthem driven along by a traditional 4/4 blues beat and that sweet harmonica tone howlin’ in the background, riffing along with the band. With “Second Line” Billy lays down a funky blues grove, which segues nicely into “Standing Around Crying” which is the first of four covers on the album. This classic homage to Muddy Waters contrasts well against “Rollin’ and Tumblin’” which is sure to have the ghost of Muddy Waters dancing at the crossroads. The tone produced by Billy’s guitar is just superb. Discussing the tracks, Billy added, “Muddy was the man who changed the world in a very real way. He took the rural blues out of the Delta, went up to Chicago, ‘discovered electricity,’ and the world was forever changed. Muddy’s at the root of just about everything that came after.”

The rest of the album just cracks on with one excellent blues song after another. “Let the Left Hand Know” is a swinging blues track with sweet harmonica riffs, a step-beat shuffle, and harmonised vocals all driven along by Billy’s fat guitar sound. “That’s What She Said” is a tongue in cheek and irreverent blues song featuring outstanding harmonica work. “Mo’ Slower Blues” is pure Delta blues brought into the 21st century. This raucous blues shuffle claws its way through supported by the haunting tack piano in the background, the thrumming basslines, weighty guitar riffs, and Billy’s signature voice. “Hollywood 151” is a modern gritty blues ditty, with an impressive amount of heavy fuzz infused into the track, which is cut through by Billy’s gravelly voice, the pulsing bass and punchy drums. It’s a perfect highway tune. Rounding out the covers are two songs associated with Bo Diddly. First up we have “Bring It To Jerome”, which opens with a raspy harmonica, and breaks into a ballsy blues strut with a chugging guitar a proper old-school stomp beat on the drums. And the song that closes the album, “Crackin’ Up” features a bright guitar riff that echoes Bo’s signature sound, in this feel-good cover of the classic. A terrific ending to an outstanding album.

Recorded at Foam Box Recordings in Houston, and co-produced by Billy and Joe Hardy, The Big Bad Blues represents a carefully crafted and curated collection of songs brought to life by Billy’s undying love for the blues and good ole’ fashioned rock n’ roll. The Big Bad Blues has a distinctive vibe about it, with a larger than life, live sound that feels at times as though the speakers will barely contain it. I can only imagine how impressive it’s going to be performed live. When listening you can’t help but be swept up in the passion Billy clearly has for the blues and these songs in particular. His voice is full of energy and his guitar tone is unmatched on this recording. The chemistry he has with his backing band is absolutely palpable, and you can tell they had as much fun recording this album as Billy did. I am certain this album will stand out as an all-time blues classic and is a must have for any blues devotee.

Ratings: 10/10

Written by: Erik De’Viking

My Global Mind – Reviewer / Music Journalist

Erik De’Viking is a freelance music journalist based in the South of England. His musical interests include rock and metal in all its forms, and he is constantly on the lookout for new bands and genres to discover and later preach about to the masses.

Socials: Twitter: @Erik_DeViking Instagram: @Erik_DeViking Last.FM: @Erik_DeViking Spotify: Erik De’Viking

Ben Poole – Anytime You Need Me Review

A soulful and mature album that is a must have for any fan of the contemporary blues scene.

Released by: Manhaton Records

Release Date: September 14, 2018

Genre: Blues

Links:  http://benpooleband.com

Line Up:

Ben Poole: Guitars, Vocals & Backing Vocals

Beau Barnard: Bass

Wayne Proctor: Drums

Ross Stanley: Hammond Organ, Wurlitzer, Piano, Synths

Tracklist:

  1. Anytime You Need Me

  2. Take It No More

  3. You Could Say

  4. Found Out The Hard Way

  5. Further On Down The Line

  6. Dirty Laundry

  7. Start The Car

  8. Don’t Cry For Me

  9. Let Me Be

  10. Holding On

     

Hailing from the school of the modern British Blues scene, Ben Poole is an international blues-rock singer-songwriter and guitarist with a funky soul vibe about him. Preceded by the critically acclaimed albums Time Has Come (2016) and Live At The Royal Albert Hall (Recorded by the BBC in 2014), Anytime You Need Me is Ben’s latest album, due to be released on Friday 14th of September 2018 via Manhaton Records. Discussing the release, Ben explained, “There’s a rawness and edginess, but also a subtlety and intimacy. I think we captured what I’m all about with that album (Time Has Come), but with the new album the small but amazing team around me pushed me even further as an artist, and as a result we’ve created something way beyond what I could have ever imagined I was capable of.” This album certainly reflects the hard work that Ben Poole has put in over the past eight years, and is a testament to how he has grown as an artist.

Title track “Anytime You Need Me” sets a relaxed and funky tone which expands over the course of the album. Ben added that, “the message in the song is clear and simple. It’s about being there no matter what for those people you care about; be it friends, family, or your partner.” “Take It No More” is one of the heavier tracks on the album, with a gritty blues grind that permeates the song. “You Could Say” has been a long time coming, with Ben adding that, “the main riff in this song was something I’ve been playing around with for the past couple of years, and provided the basis for the song. However, this tune in particular certainly took a lot of work to get to where it is now. We spent a hell of a lot of time working on the main vocal melody, but as a result I think it’s one of the best melody’s I’ve ever written with a lot of interest both melodically and rhythmically.” This soulful tune will sound great on the radio. “Found Out The Hard Way” is a languid pop ballad, that stretches out into sweet harmonies, and Ben adds, “I’m extremely proud of the harmonies on this track in particular. I’ve also always loved moving the harmony from major to minor and vice-versa and this track is a perfect example of that where it goes major into the chorus which creates an emotional lift.”  The funk-fuelled “Further On Down The Line” features vocals as smooth as caramel backed by crunchy fuzz and vibrato tones, thrumming bass, and punchy drums.

“Dirty Laundry” is the first of two covers on the album. A self-confessed Eagles and Don Henley fan, Ben wasn’t sure about covering his hero at first, but at the instance of co-writers Steve and Wayne, he decided to give it a try. The result makes for a faithful, but unique rendition of this classic song. It’s definitely the standout track on the album. “Start The Car” is the second cover on the album. The obscure hit for Jude Cole is brought to life by Ben and the band, and its infectious groove will get you up and out of your seat. This will no doubt be a live favourite in no time. Discussing the track, Ben said, “I’d actually never even heard of Jude Cole until Steve Wright told me about him and about this song in particular which Jude had a hit with in the 80’s. I thought the song was badass as soon as I heard it, even if the original production is a little dated now. The original has literally everything but the kitchen sink thrown onto it in terms of instrumentation and I thought it would be awesome to do a stripped back blues rock version of it with the basic four piece line up of drums, bass, guitar and keys. I also thought it fit really well in terms of lyrics, as well as style, with the rest of the songs we had written.”

Written by Steve Wright, “Don’t Cry For Me” is a melodic and sweet guitar ballad that really highlights Ben’s vocal prowess. “Let Me Be” Ben says, is “a song about that one person in your life who you’ll never be able to see eye to eye with, no matter how you might try. You’ll always just have to agree to disagree with them. I’m really proud of the work we did on the lyrics of this song in particular. The first of the two heavier songs tail ending this album, with more fuzz tones along with an octave pedal to give extra lows and highs to an already big sounding rhythm guitar.” Finishing off the album is “Holding On”. Discussing the song, Ben added that, “Originally, I thought about having this as the opening track on the album, but then decided it might be a little too much on the heavy side. Instead it’s the big closing statement of the album. The main idea came from a song I’d written a few years ago and we had actually been playing live for a while. We stripped it back to basics, changed the rhythm into this 6/8 feel inspired a little by Jimi Hendrix’s Manic Depression, and built it all up again from there. Lyrically it’s about following your hopes and dreams, and ignoring those people who doubt you in your life.” The measured and churning pace of the song truly brings that feeling to life and closes what has been a superb album.

Recorded at Superfly Studios in Ollerton, Nottinghamshire, the album was produced by Wayne Proctor of King King fame, who also features on the drums. Discussing the album, Ben says, “It was an absolute joy to work again with Wayne. He has a great ear and knows me well as an artist, and the result is amazing.” Feeling that this album truly captures the essence of his live sound, as well as all the elements that come together to influence his song-writing, Ben sought to craft a sound that “showcases a lot of grit and a swagger, with special emphasis on guitar tones and instrumental performances.” While the primary focus was geared towards writing excellent songs, Anytime You Need Me seeks to place a finer focus on Ben as an artist, and the results are stunning. At times I was reminded of early Lenny Kravitz, Gary Clark Jr., and Walter Trout. Co-written with Wayne Proctor and Steve Wright, this is a soulful and mature album with a very radio-friendly sound and amazing production values. It is a must have for any fan of the contemporary blues scene.

Ratings: 9/10 

Written by: Erik De’Viking

My Global Mind – Reviewer / Music Journalist

Erik De’Viking is a freelance music journalist based in the South of England. His musical interests include rock and metal in all its forms, and he is constantly on the lookout for new bands and genres to discover and later preach about to the masses.

Socials: Twitter: @Erik_DeViking Instagram: @Erik_DeViking Last.FM: @Erik_DeViking Spotify: Erik De’Viking

Hound – Settle Your Scores Review

A return to the halcyon days of rock.

Released by: Metalville / Rough Trade

Release Date: Out Now!

Genre: Classic Rock

Links:  https://hound-hardrock.bandcamp.com

Line Up:

 Wanja Neite: vocals

Nando Grujic: guitar

Jonas Gehlen: organ

Yannick Aderb: bass

John Senft: drums

Tracklist: 

  1. Not So Long Ago
  2. Jim Vance
  3. The Perilous Realm
  4. Cursed Place
  5. Thoughts & Prayers
  6. Not At All
  7. The Poacher
  8. The Secret Commonwealth
  9. Grit
  10. Flesh & Bone
  11. Settle Your Scores
  12. Awful Fellow

Known for their tireless touring and amazing live performances since 2014, Hound is comprised of musicians from Hildesheim and Hannover who have planted their altar firmly at the feet of classic, psychedelic, and blues rock. With songs driven by powerful guitar riffs, grungy Hammond organ, progressive basslines, and energetic drums, this German quintet are here to hit you with all they’ve got. Clearly influenced by the likes of Deep Purple, The Doors, Uriah Heep, Thin Lizzy, Led Zeppelin, and even perhaps a bit of classic Rush, the songs on Settle Your Scores have a familiar edge to them, but are delivered through a fresh and invigorated aperture that is guaranteed to put you under their spell.

The album opens to a thundering start, with a cool, retro 70s era psychedelic prog-rock vibe in track “Not So Long Ago” which sets the stage for the blistering tunes that comprise Settle Your Scores. Segwaying into “Jim Vance” with its staccato guitar riff intro, followed by “The Perilous Realm” featuring roaring riffs, thundering drums, and a rather nimble performance on the Hammond organ by Jonas Gehlen, Neite’s vocals rip through the track, making it the perfect fit to the boisterous song.

With their lightly distorted guitar and lush Hammond organ piping along happily in the background, tracks “Cursed Place”, “The Secret Commonwealth,” and “Awful Fellow” echo the California sound of the late 60s and 70s and present an atmospheric blues-rock sound. “Thoughts & Prayers” is bound to be a live favourite, with its classic stomp-progression that features a mid-song twist, it’s bound to get you bopping along. Bombastic songs “Not At All”, and “The Poacher” are full of raw energy from start to finish, but “Grit” is one of the heaviest songs on the album, as it opens with dominating organ riffs that build into a barnstorming rock anthem. “Flesh & Bone” has a stripped back intro which builds into a dream-like hazy ballad where Neite’s vocals really take centre stage. And finally, title track “Settle Your Scores” rounds off the album nicely, with a hard rock sound that harkens back to a halcyon age of rock and ties all the elements of the other eleven tracks together perfectly.

Settle Your Scores is the debut album by Hound, and it has left me undeniably impressed. I can easily envision a long career for this young band if this is the kind of music we can expect from them. My only complaint is that the vocals get a bit lost in the production. It’s clear that Wanja Neite has a powerful voice with quite an impressive upper range, but it’s often muted against the rich production of the instrumentals. However, with track after track of quality songs, this album has something for every rock lover.

Ratings: 8/10 

Written by: Erik De’Viking

My Global Mind – Reviewer / Music Journalist

Erik De’Viking is a freelance music journalist based in the South of England. His musical interests include rock and metal in all its forms, and he is constantly on the lookout for new bands and genres to discover and later preach about to the masses.

Socials: Twitter: @Erik_DeViking Instagram: @Erik_DeViking Last.FM: @Erik_DeViking Spotify: Erik De’Viking

 

RHR – Mahogany Drift Review

A master class in Southern Blues-Rock.

Released by: Taller Records

Release Date: November 1, 2018

Genre: Southern Rock, Americana, Blues-rock

Links:  www.facebook.com/RedfernHutchinsonRoss

Line Up:

Troy Redfern: Guitar & vocal
Jack Hutchinson: Guitar & Vocal
Mike Ross: Guitar & Vocal
Darren Lee: Drums
Jack Browning: Bass

Tracklist: 

  1. She Painted The Moon (Ross)
  2. Rapture (Hutchinson)
  3. Home On Judgement Day (Redfern)
  4. Mahogany (RHR)
  5. Ghost Hound Rider (Ross)
  6. Satisfied (Redfern)
  7. Solemn Song (Hutchinson)
  8. Drift (RHR)
  9. Holler (Hutchinson)
  10. Leviathan (Ross)
  11. Miles Away (Redfern)

Featuring a triple guitar-frontman line-up consisting of Troy Redfern, Jack J Hutchinson, and Mike Ross, RHR is a new collaboration which mixes elements of Americana, southern rock and blues, and is rounded out by Jack Browning on bass and Darren Lee on the drums. Jack J Hutchinson joins the band on the back of an international tour and chart success for his latest album Paint No Fiction. The London-based singer-songwriter and guitarist has been described by Classic Rock Magazine as “southern-smoked blues-rock with hooks, choruses, the lot,” and when you hear this talented musician perform, you quickly understand why. Mike Ross, referred to by Mojo Magazine as “fuzzed up, fierce, and full-frontal fiery attack coupled with sexy, smooth slidin’, southern soul,” is known for his Americana inspired sound. And finally Troy Redfern brings gritty and intense indie blues passion to the mix, which Blues in Britain calls, “physical, engaging and emotive.” Together this trio has crafted what can only described as a masterclass in southern blues-rock.

“She Painted The Moon” stages a psychedelic opening that would make Hendirx proud, before breaking down into a T-Rex style heavy blues strut that will make you want to swagger about. Followed by “Rapture” which features cowbell driven southern rock at its finest, this radio ready track will definitely be a crowd pleaser. One of the standout tracks on the album, Hutchinson comments that the song, “was written at 4am in a random hotel in the middle of Spain when I was on tour. It’s about a girl who is trouble and a guy who can’t seem to let go. Is it autobiographical? I think we’ve all been there from time to time.” “Home On Judgement Day” opens with a melancholy melody offset by military style snare, which builds into duelling acoustic guitars which set a dark vibe against Redfern’s haunting vocals. A moody and atmospheric song, Redfern states that it’s a song about “half remembered feelings and images from a childhood steeped in religion, especially the apocalyptic narratives of the book of revelation. All this set against a silhouette of resonator guitars, old timey mountain riffs and a dark southern vibe.”

Title track “Mahogany” is one of two instrumental tracks on the album, along with “Drift”. While “Mahogany”, conjures images of the more bluesy offerings of the Doors, “Drift” breaks down into a modern contemporary blues-rock sound that reminds me of the likes of Walter Trout and Joe Bonamassa. “Ghost Hound Rider” is pure classic rock with a psychedelic southern twist, and wouldn’t sound out of place alongside Blackberry Smoke’s greatest hits. Commenting on the song, Ross added, “I was thinking about magic buses, about Robert Johnson’s body being buried out by Highway 61 so his spirit could grab a Greyhound and ride. Reflecting on Skydog Allman’s swooping soaring slide and George Harrison’s biting solo signature. I reminisce over gospel tambourines and sparkling, lucid acid dreams of outlaw gangs on chrome-finned hogs in hippie finery and mirror shades. This ghost hound rider’s ALIVE!” With a dark and gritty rhythm, and distorted vocals, “Satisfied” thunders its way through, leaving the band pounding on the walls with this grungy rock anthem.

“Solemn Song” opens with a bright, clean guitar, before breaking into a country-waltz inspired ballad that really allows Hutchinson’s vocals to take centre stage. “Holler” features sweet southern harmonies and layered guitar, which instantly takes you back to the early days of Lynyrd Skynrd. It’s a sweet, summer radio song, and will sound perfect cranked up to 11. “Leviathan” is rooted in deep, dark Delta Blues, and is truly the standout track on the album for me. With echoes of classic Americana, the slide work on the guitar is simply superb. With its stripped back, evocative melody, Ross’s vocals cut through this song like a knife to the heart. This dark and moody song is going to be stunning live. And finally, finishing off the album is “Miles Away” which is another song ready for the radio. This feel-good song has an infectious vibe that you simply cannot ignore, and will leave you wanting for more.

Mahogany is such a tight and expertly executed album, that it is hard to believe these guys haven’t been playing together all their life. The chemistry is palpable from song to song, and their varying styles and influences meld together to create something special. If that wasn’t enough, the album was recorded in just two days, with producer Al Scott at Brighton Electric Studios. Featuring excellent production values, clear, crisp recording, and an absolutely plush sound, this is a faultless album. If you are a fan of the Black Crowes, Blackberry Smoke, Gov’t Mule, Lynyrd Skynrd, Walter Trout, Black Country Communion, and / or T-Rex, then you are in for an absolute treat. I cannot recommend this album enough.

Ratings: 10/10

Written by: Erik De’Viking

My Global Mind – Reviewer / Music Journalist

Erik De’Viking is a freelance music journalist based in the South of England. His musical interests include rock and metal in all its forms, and he is constantly on the lookout for new bands and genres to discover and later preach about to the masses.

Socials: Twitter: @Erik_DeViking Instagram: @Erik_DeViking Last.FM: @Erik_DeViking Spotify: Erik De’Viking

“We went to see people like Slim Gaillard and boogie woogie players like Big Joe Duskin.” Big Boy Bloater on growing up: Ramblin’ Man Fair 2018

Words: Francijn Suermondt

Pictures: Adrian Hextall \ MindHex Media

Big Boy Bloater & The Limits are an inspiration to all those that love the blues and they have some pretty serious fans too, from Jools Holland to Imelda May and Mark Lamarr! 

Getting ready and enjoying the Ramblin Man Fair vibe in his VERY groovy Airstream caravan in the main arena, MGM took time for a catch up and a beer (how naughty!) with Big Boy Bloater.

FS – I’m here with Big Boy Bloater today having a chat for myglobalmind.com … how are you?

BBB – Hello!!!!

FS – So you are scheduled to play the Bourbon Blues Stage tomorrow … but …are you also playing another stage as something has happened to Chas & Dave hasn’t it?

BBB – Yes, unfortunately Chas & Dave have had to pull out and so I got the phone call saying “Bloater can you fill in for Chas & Dave?” And I thought wow that’s some big shoes to fill so I will give it a go. So that’s on the blues stage tomorrow at 5.30pm…primetime!

OUR REVIEW FROM THAT  SET IS HERE: 

https://myglobalmind.com/2018/07/10/ramblin-man-fair-2018-highlights-from-day-two-sunday-july-1st/

FS – That’s awesome! So you are here at the festival very early if you are not playing until tomorrow. How come? Is it so that you can see the other bands and soak up the festival vibe?

BBB – Obviously as we can speak no one can see us, but we are sat in our lovely Airstream trailer…

FS – It’s awesome, I love it!

BBB – And we have been allowed to park up in the arena right near the main stage, so we came up early yesterday just to get a great spot. I’m really looking forward to seeing Mott The Hoople tonight.  We’ve got a prime spot to watch them from …

FS – I know where I am coming to see them!!! Anybody else you are looking forward to seeing?

BBB – Loads of people ….Yes, Kris Barras, The Cult …….there is so much on  I can’t remember them all, I can’t even remember who I am (both laugh)…it’s a great line up!

FS – You seem very, very excited….

BBB – Well I have had a beer already … do you want one?

FS – Well I try to be good when interviewing and don’t drink until my job is done …

BBB – Well I find it helps

FS – Oh mate, go on then you have twisted my arm, maybe after this interview.  You have been involved in other projects in the past, even a 50’s type blues band ….

BBB – Yes actually I started with that type of rhythm and blues, more the American side and always loved Howlin’ Wolf and that kind of stuff and I think you can hear that in my sound.

FS – And you also had your own blues radio show at one point?

BBB – I had a radio show on Team Rock Radio and unfortunately they are no more, but it was fun while it lasted. Never expected to do that kind of thing, but it was great I got to meet loads of people, people like Robert Cray, Joe Bonamassa … people like that.

FS – Would you want to do that again, or is your band taking up all of your time now?

BBB – The playing and the singing doesn’t take up so much of my time, it is the paperwork and boring stuff that takes up the time. But I would still love to run a radio show again it is so much fun.

FS – Where does your love of blues stem from do you think?  Can you remember the age you were when the light bulb moment happened?

BBB – As a kid I was taken to our local venue at the end of the 70’s and the beginning of 80’s and there were still loads of blues acts coming through then. We went to see people like Slim Gaillard and boogie woogie players like Big Joe Duskin.  There was so much about then at the end of the 70’s and we got to see a lot of that and yeah I think that combined with a lot of stuff in the charts at the beginning of the 80’s that did not appeal to me at all, it just seemed like a no brainer. My first band, we played at our school assembly and it was our first gig and we played a Bo Diddley song. I think all the other kids thought “What the hell is this?” …yeah I was about 11 years old I think.

FS – So a really long standing love of the blues! And am I right in thinking you are still a session musician sometimes?

BBB – I haven’t done so much of it lately…although actually I did a couple of weeks ago for an old rock n roll guy, called Freddie Boom Boom Cannon, from the 60’s, he had a big hit with Palisades Park, played guitar for him a couple of weeks back and that was good fun. But I don’t get so much time to do it now, I used to work with a lot of blues guys, but a lot of them have died now, it is sort of getting to that point where we are losing everybody you know, so work is drying up a little bit, but very privileged that I go to work with people like The Flamingos and The Teenagers, although they are not teenagers anymore! So, yeah it’s been good fun!

FS – When it comes to writing and recording, how does it work between you and the guys in your band? Does the process start with a lyric, a riff or the music?

BBB – It kind of starts with me, I will put together a song and a demo of how I sort of think it should go and I give it to the guys. And then they go “Ooohhh what you should do is try this …” and then we take it to the next level, but song writing wise it could work many ways, sometimes I get an idea for a title or be on tour and see something and think that would be a good line for a song, or it could be a riff that comes to me. So in about 6 months I have lots of little bits and pieces that I have written down and I start putting them together, thinking, that works with that and that works with that.  It’s kind of a gradual thing over a few months, but then I bring it all together at the last minute.

FS – So there’s no sort of template that you use each time? It’s creatively what you see or feel at that moment?

BBB – Yes it just sort of strikes you then ….it could be anywhere, sometimes it’s on the tour bus, sometimes it’s on the toilet …who knows when inspiration will strike eh? (both laugh)

FS – So your latest album ‘Pills’ which was released two weeks ago, there seems to be some angst in there but also, I am very pleased to know, seems to be a big love of horror movies, and I am a big horror and Alfred Hitchcock fan. So I would love to know the background of this album and your story about some of the music….it seems that maybe you had a bit of a hard time on your last tour?

BBB – With the last album ‘Luxury Hobo’ I had a bit of depression before and so after touring with the album my head was a lot clearer. I was more in the moment and taking on board things that were happening, so it was a great source of inspiration for song writing at that point, with touring ‘Luxury Hobo’. So that was cool ….yeah I think this album is definitely in the same vein as ‘Luxury Hobo’ but we have moved on a little bit.

FS – Do you think this album is more personal?

BBB – Ooooh I don’t know if it could be any more personal than the last album, but some of the songs on both albums are very personal. But I think that is kind of a good thing it makes it easier for people to relate to you know.

FS – especially nowadays when it is getting more open to talk about depression especially in the music and sports industries.

BBB – It seems that creative people do suffer a lot from it, I don’t know why that is exactly but the best thing for me was actually talking about it.  If anybody feels like they are suffering just talk to somebody, that really was the best thing for me.

FS – And obviously smiling … cos you smile a lot …I know you say that you have had a couple of beers, but I don’t believe it is just that!  So Ok … horror movies, what are your three favourite movies of all time ?

BBB – Ok …. See my horror movies love comes from being a kid and on a Saturday night when my mum and dad went out, they would leave me and brother at homes and BBC 2 would always have a double bill of horror movies …

FS – Hammer House of Horror …I used to watch them with my dad

BBB – Yeah, the Hammer and Amicus and all those British 70’s movies, oh I just loved them! So I think ‘From Beyond The Grave’ is my favourite, that’s an Amicus one I think.  And it’s those ones when they all have four or five different stories in them you know?

FS – I know what you mean they are ace aren’t they, a bit like the Twilight Zone sort of thing.

BBB – Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah … in some ways we kind of made ‘Pills’ the album a little bit like that cos there are all little stories which are sort of joined together in the same way kind of thing. I didn’t want it to be an album that was same all the way through, I wanted it to have different kind of feels about it. Just like those old horror movies where you would have Peter Cushing you know, who runs a little curiosity shop and people come in ….

FS – I love Peter Cushing! His face was awesome he had the best face ….

BBB – Such a brilliant actor ….

FS – And he was in Star Wars ….. what’s not to like ? Bonus!

BBB – There you go ! A god!

FS –  Ok you have a new album just launched,  do you have any other ‘Hot Off The Press’ news for us

BBB – Well apart from standing in for Chas & Dave tomorrow of course …we are in tour in September, so we will be going all around the UK, well England and Scotland, Wales still don’t want us enough!

FS – How far south are you coming?

BBB – We are doing Bristol!!!

FS – Cool!  And my final question, which I always ask people the first time I interview them.  If you were having a dinner party and could invite 6 people dead or alive, who would they be and why?

BBB – See I’m not sure if the people I invite would be suitable for a dinner party … it might all kick off!

FS – No that’s great cos my dinner party would be exactly the same!

BBB – Ok, controversial one first, I would have Ike Turner, I know he was a pretty bad man in his life, but he made some amazing music. And a lot of his early 50’s stuff really influenced me a lot,  I would love to have a chat with him! And of course he was the guy who was the talent scout who discovered Howlin Wolf …

FS – WOW I didn’t know that !

BBB – …so I would have Howlin’ Wolf along to the party too. Again a huge 6ft 6 bloke, pretty scary you know, but that would be so interesting.  Right who else ..I would have Nick Lowe just to throw something a bit different in there, I am a big fan of his song writing. Maybe Dave Edmunds as well…..

FS – What about some horror people ?

BBB – Peter Cushing!

FS – He could be handy you could slice the cheese from the cheese board on his cheekbones!

BBB – (laughs) He has got amazing cheekbones! I heard a story once, I think it was Simon Pegg was on a film set and he opened a trailer and there was Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee just sitting there having a little chat.

FS – Do you think they were wearing cravats and drinking cocktails? And smoking cheroots ….

BBB – Yeah, yeah … (both laugh) and you if you want …

FS – OK done, I’ll serve, I don’t mind being the waitress (both laugh)….Thank you so much or your time! It’s been great !!!!

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Blues Pills – Lady In Gold: Live In Paris Review

Genre: Hard Rock/Blues Rock/Psychedelic Rock

Released by: Nuclear Blast

Release date: 3rd November 2017

Links: http://www.bluespills.eu/index.php/en/

 

Line up:

Elin Larsson – Vocals
Dorian Sorriaux – Guitars
Zach Anderson – Bass Guitar
Andre Kvarnstrom – Drums/Percussion

 

Tracklist:

Disc 1:

1. Lady in Gold (live)
2. Little Boy Preacher (live) 3. Bad Talkers (live)
4. Wont Go Back (live)
5. Black Smoke (live)
6. Bliss (live)
7. Little Sun (live)
8. Elements and Things (live)

Disc 2:

1. You Gotta Try (live)
2. High Class Woman (live) 3. Aint No Change (live)
4. Devil Man (live)
5. I Felt a Change (live)
6. Rejection (live)
7. Gone So Long (live)

 

Within a relatively short time frame Blues Pills have built up a substantial following and it’s not difficult to see why; even so it has been my opinion since my first experience of this band, just over two years ago, that they need to be seen live to be fully appreciated – the talent, energy and passion infused in every live performance clearly evident.

This two-disc CD is the accompaniment to a live DVD filmed on 30th October 2017 at Le Trianon in Paris where the band played a sold-out show to 1200 fans, it stands to reason therefore that with a reputation for exceptional live exhibitions the band have chosen this for their latest release.

Recorded on the Lady in Gold tour, the band eager to showcase their new wares kick off with three tracks from their latest album before winding back slightly with ‘Black Smoke’ from their debut self-titled album Blues Pills, the rest of the album alternates between tracks from both albums and their EP Bliss.

I have always had a penchant for live albums with many of them being my favourite releases of all time, they just have that edge for me – you can almost feel the atmosphere, you can hear the vocalist interact with their audience, you feel a sense that you are actually there. To top all that you get to hear the musical experimentation which often occurs, taking the music you love to a whole new level and in many instances, I prefer the live versions so much that I rarely listen to the studio renditions thereafter. Of course in order to be turned into a live release either in DVD or CD format the performance needs to be pretty spectacular. Here, captured for all eternity is a band performing at the very top of their game, encompassing everything I love about live recordings. The vocals are raw and powerful, the guitar an exceptional blend of control and frenzy, the explosive percussion and fantastic bass groove in perfect synchronicity.

Tight but loose, these musicians meld perfectly and singer Elin Larsson has a phenomenal stage presence, an ease and rapport with the audience which is clearly demonstrated on this recording.

‘Bliss’, ‘Little Boy Preacher’ and my personal favourite – (both on the Lady in Gold album and on this release) ‘Elements and Things’ have already been released as singles pending this special edition box set. Blues Pills unquestionably have a winning formula and an intoxicating sound and like everything they have produced to date, it is impossible not to be impressed and impatiently awaiting the next instalment…

 

Review by Karen Hetherington

SCORE: 10/10

 

Kenny Wayne Shepherd Support – Laurence Jones Picturedrome, Holmfirth 30 July 2017

 

Words & Pics By David Thrower

 

 

The Picturedrome in Holmfirth is one of live music’s greatest secrets. Nestled away amidst the rolling hills of the Pennines this inconspicuous venue regularly plays host to some stellar names in the industry and all set within the cosy, some would say ‘intimate’, surroundings of an old movie theatre that originally opened its doors one year before the advent of the Great War. So much so that when Kenny Wayne Shepherd was asked to perform at this year’s Ramblin Man Fair he chose to add one extra date during his short stop-over in the UK and as a result sold out the venue – and rightly so.

I had first seen tonight’s support act Laurence Jones and his band perform some years back, ironically supporting Kenny Wayne Shepherd only that time at The Sage in Gateshead, and found the young trio entertaining enough with front-man Jones delivering suitably bluesy guitar albeit a fair few steps off the pace set by the current leaders. Tonight, however, was a completely different kettle of fish as they showed that practice, and the art of honing your craft on the road, does indeed make perfect. Now performing as a quartet thanks to the inclusion of a keyboard player the band are a class act as they ran through a short set that culminated in a crowd sing along as the band cranked out ‘Sweet Home Chicago’ underlying exactly why Jones has been voted ‘Young Artist of the Year’ on three consecutive occasions at the British Blues Awards.

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Kenny Wayne Shepherd, on the other hand, is in a different league. Despite the age-old guitar player’s adage that they are always learning and never fully proficient, Shepherd has been setting the blues world alight with his incendiary playing since the release of his debut album ‘Ledbetter Heights’ in 1995. Twenty-two years later, and with new record ‘Lay It On Down’ proving yet again his musical skill and versatility, he ran through a marathon set that began with favoured, long-term opener ‘Never Lookin’ Back’ and culminated with a blistering take on the Hendrix classic ‘Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)’. Backed by a band that has more pedigree than a high-end dog show and partnered up front by the powerful vocal talents of Noah Hunt the headliners kept a packed house transfixed with powerhouse blues that barely stopped to take a breather – ‘The House is Rockin”, with Shepherd highlighting that he’s no light-weight when it comes to singing, was as raucous as SRV’s original, new track ‘Diamonds & Gold’ may have lacked the horn stabs of the album version but lost none of the bounce and ‘Nothing but the Night’, another newbie, also retained its 80s AOR tone but felt a bigger monster in the live environment. Chuck in some wonderful covers which included the Elmore James standard ‘Talk to Me Baby’, a track Shepherd covered on his first outing with The Rides, alongside the slow beauty of ‘Hard Lesson Learned’ and the wonderful ‘Blue on Black’ and it was an evening that those present, and no doubt the band, will remember for a long time.

Blues is big business these days and KWS is finding the European market ready to welcome him with open arms whenever he decides to cross the big pond – so much so that he will be back on these shores come October to do it all over again. I, for one, can’t wait.

Setlist

Never Lookin Back
The House is Rockin’ (SRV cover)
True Lies
Hard Lesson Learned
Baby Got Gone
Down for Love
Heat of the Sun
Talk to Me Baby (Elmore James cover)
Deja Voodoo
Born with a Broken
Diamonds & Gold
Nothing but the Night
Woke Up this Morning (B. B. King cover)
You’ve Done Lost Your God Thing Now (B. B. King cover)
Shotgun Blues

Encore

Blue on Black
I’m a King Bee (Slim Harpo cover)
Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) (Hendrix cover)

King King – “Live” Album Live Show Review

Released by: Manhaton

Release date: 21 October 2016

Genre: Blues rock

Links:  Kingking.co.uk , Facebook

 

Lineup:

Alan Nimmo – Guitars and lead vocals

Lindsay Coulson – Bass

Bob Fridzema – Keyboards and backing vocals

Wayne Proctor – Drums

 

Track Listing

CD1

01. Lose Control

02. Wait On Time

03. Waking Up

04. Rush Hour

05. A Long History of Love

06. More Than I Can Take

CD2

01. You Stopped the Rain

02. Jealousy

03. Crazy

04. All Your Life

05. Stranger To Love

06. Let Love In

 

Blues rock artists have always been a major part of the music scene since the days of The Muddy Waters Band, The Rolling Stones and Stevie Ray Vaughan to simply name a few. Recently, however, its becoming increasingly difficult to find contemporary blues rock artists outside of mainstream acts like The Black Keys.   So when King King’s “Live” album, recorded at the O2 ABC in Glasgow, came to me for review alongside an invite to see them play at the Islington Assembly Hall in Angel, London, I eagerly looked forward to the listening pleasures that lay ahead. The Glasgow based quartet recently released their first live album on 21 October 2016 and have since been touring the country and Europe to promote their new album.

The opening track for the evening, Lose Control, is just the appetizer that sets the mood for the concert. Alan, with his thick and welcoming Scottish accent, introduces the first verse with a short but punchy guitar riff as his dominating voice takes control of the song. It being the first song on the album, there’s a measured execution to the track which, I’m sure for those who’ve seen them before in concert, was simply the foundation for a great evening. A simple blues rock structure to this track, with a captivating solo half way through offers a glimpse of the tunes and musicianship that lies ahead.

The timber of vocals in a band makes a huge impact on how full songs can sound when the instrumentation is minimal. Rush Hour, with its quiet high hat and single note keyboard opening line, allows listeners to appreciate the tone and power of Alan’s vocals. If vocal timbers were defined in terms of trees, Alan’s voice would be a Redwood, dominating, thick and matured to perfection. Such is the make-up of Alan’s vocal chords making them perfectly suited for this style of music. 

Wait On Time, classically in the mould of a Stevie Ray track, kicks off with a tension building drum beat over which Alan cracks out some sweet blues notes from his Fender backed by Coulson’s bass providing a solid rhythmic backbone to the song. Tone is such a key element of getting the blues rock genre right and these guys seem to have that down for each of their tools. Most notably on this track, Bob’s work on they keys brings back memories of Ray Manzarek and Jon Lord not to mention his effortless solo composition. As with so many live blues shows, the frenzy of the solos gave way to some quite interplay between the drums, keys and bass while Alan welcomes the crowd and sets himself up with some neatly crafted hammer-ons building up into a frantic blues solo towards the end, all the while raising the energy levels. Classic blues tones and structures in this track which I’m sure Stevie would have been proud of.

Perhaps one of my favourite tracks on the album and from their Angel gig, though there are so may to choose from, is Waking Up. I’d have to say the tonal colours of each of the instruments on this track are what resonated with me the most. The clean twang of Alan’s guitars through the verse and chorus, Bob’s intricate keyboard compliments of the vocal melodies through the second verse and Coulson’s bumping bass come together to produce one fantastic track. As Alan’s overdrive solo kicks off, I can feel his fingers bending each string to make the guitar cry out and emote what every molecule in his body must have been vibrating to. This is one of the special songs on the album and the evening, although as I write this I’m sure I’ll be saying the same about a number of other tracks.

A Long History of Love, a down tempo classic blues tune with its church organ tones and mellow verse and chorus structure showcases the variety of sound that King King are capable of. A gripping solo by Bob builds in intensity as the backing instrumentation gets more involved finally giving way to a Strat toned solo by Alan which calls on many of the classic blues rock modes. For those who love solid instrumentation and extended solo work this one is a sure hit with its ebbs and flows in intensity throughout the middle sections of the track till Alan finally brings it to a close with a short verse and chorus. Buttery sweet tones on this track.

A fitting tribute to Stevie on the album is You Stopped the Rain. Perhaps most noticeable from the off is the push-pull nature of the bass line through the chorus which alternates octaves as a groovy bass line is delivered by Coulson throughout the track. Alan’s solo work following the last chorus of the song finds him attacking the fretboard, belting out melodies full of harmonised lead, long pitch bends and all the while building the tension in the solo as he climbs higher up the neck of his guitar as if reaching for the heavens. Maybe he was trying to reach for Stevie !

Crazy is yet another example of the compositional diversity of King King. A pounding bass line holds together the verse while Bob’s Hammond Organ at the outset reminds one of early Deep Purple tracks. The track airs on the darker side of blues rock mostly on account of the minor notes that make up the backbone of the track, the bass line.

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As if the above were not enough, All Your Life is one funky track with its wah based guitar riffs and playful organ parts. The clean twang of the Fender through the verse is a definite recognition of the tones of yesteryear when electronics were yet to muddy the purity of quality pickups. The track features some great breakdowns and Bob’s organ solo builds and builds in intensity till Alan takes over the reigns and carries on in the same vein as he’s done through the album.

The penultimate track on the album is hauntingly groovy with the full sounding bass laid down by Coulson backed by gentle guitar swells and staccato organ melodies. As the bridge develops, one can sense early Allman Brothers melodies and songwriting, not to mention the similarity in timber of Alan’s voice to that of Warren Haynes when he shouts “don’t be a stranger to love“. It being a 12 minute track means listeners are treated to a fair bit of jamming as Alan and Bob improvise sections of their solos, feeding off the vibe and mood set by the rhythm section. Perhaps one of the best examples of each of their skills.

Overall, having seen them live just last week at the Islington Assembly Hall in Angel, London, I can confidently say these guys know exactly what ‘their’ sound is and how best to deliver that. Listening to ‘Live‘ and their show I can honestly say there is not much that separates the two in terms of sound, tone, execution and composition which is testament to their purity of their sound and abilities as a band.

Do yourself a favour, get the album, catch them live and your life will be all the better for it !

Rating: 9/10

Written by – Karan Dutta

Gary Hoey announces Release of Dust & Bones

Gary Hoey announces Release of Dust & Bones, Out: 29th July 2016.

The ferocious guitarist fuses his blues and rock influences On 11 original songs that celebrate Johnny Winter, Led Zeppelin, Robert Johnson, Robin Trower, and others. Lita Ford (The Runaways) guests on “Coming Home”

Check out BOXCAR BLUES:

“This is where I belong—playing this ferocious blend of blues and rock music,” says guitarist Gary Hoey about his 20th album, Dust & Bones. “I did my last album, Deja Blues, to prove to myself that I could play authentic blues, and now that I feel more at home there, I felt it was time to mix my favorite guitar styles into something seamless, organic, and powerful.”
 
Released through Mascot Label Group, Dust & Bones showcases Hoey’s Fender Stratocaster-driven fury alongside open-D-tuned resonator guitars plugged into half-stacks. The massive sonic attack was essential for paying sincere and appropriate homage to some of Hoey’s influences, such as Johnny Winter (“Steamroller”), Robin Trower (“This Time Tomorrow”), and Brian Setzer (“Who’s Your Daddy”), as well as a thrill-a-minute mash up of Robert Johnson meets Led Zeppelin (“Boxcar Blues”). There’s also a classic power ballad (“Coming Home”) where Lita Ford (The Runaways) sings a duet with Hoey.
 
“This is the biggest-sounding album I’ve done in years,” says Hoey. “From the guitars to the vocals to the rhythm section—everything was designed to produce a huge impact. I’m just so proud of this record.”
 
For the Dust & Bones tracks, Hoey went with a power-trio configuration, rocking hard with drummer Matt Scurfield and bassist AJ Pappas. The other selections on the 11-song CD are the first single, “Dust & Bones,” as well as “Born to Love You,” “Ghost of Yesterday,” “Back Against the Wall,” “Blind Faith,” and “Soul Surfer.”
Hoey press Framed
 Guitar Player Magazine  Has This To Say:
 
Gary Hoey’s awesome command of styles, tones, and techniques drives so many different moods on Dust & Bones that you’ll feel as if he transports you across the musical universe and beyond. Buckle up! —Michael Molenda, Editor in Chief, Guitar Player magazine
If You Dig Your Rock With A Healthy Shot Of Blues… Check Him Out!