Joe Bonamassa – Redemption

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From Joe B.’s fan art work!

 

The synthesis of the electric blues, British blues, delta blues, and progressive and classic rock, Joe Bonamassa merges them all  on his new album Redemption to create an  inspiring anthem to the roadhouse blues.  Since his first solo album in 2000, Joe has been building a loyal following among blues rockers, blues fans, and old time classic rockers yearning for a sound that has largely disappeared from main stream broadcasting.  All of them should be thrilled to listen to his latest recording.

Joe is certainly one of the finest electric guitar players on the planet, has a fantastic voice, and is under rated as a song writer. On Redemption, he showcases all three elements of his talent.  The Ghost of Macon Jones is a blues rock ballad with guitar work that hints at Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers Band and has haunting synthesizer and keyboard play by band member Reese Wynans.  On Molly O, Joe creates a rock masterpiece on par with Led Zeppelin’s KashmirAnton Fig on drums and Michael Rhodes on bass provide an insistent beat as Joe takes his guitar to places only the very best can go. On the title cut, Redemption, the delta and gospel blues merge with Led Zeppelin and Black Country Communion influences to create a fantastic rock paean.  Deep in the Blues is a notable song with that same ethereal quality that Eric Clapton has always brought to his music.

On King Bee Shakedown and Evil Mama,  Joe finds that sweet spot between the blues and rock I call the roadhouse blues on upbeat horns infused tunes. On I Got Some Mind Over What Matters, Joe channels a bit of Muddy Waters on a sweet delta electric blues tune.

When Joe was a youngster, B.B. King invited him on stage to give the audience a glimpse of his talent and on Just Cos You Can Don’t Mean You Should Joe displays some of the same mastery of the electric guitar that the King of the Blues saw almost 30 years ago.

Joe B Redemption

Love is a Gamble is some bad ass grindin’ blues in the mold of Albert King, Freddie King, and Luther AllisonPick Up The Pieces is a down home New Orleans style blues tune with echoes of Dr. John in the rhythms and lyrics. And Stronger Now in Broken Places is a heart tugging acoustic number that highlights Joe’s stellar voice.

Over the years, Joe has recorded several songs that seem directed right at me, a laser pointed straight at my heart. Self Inflicted Wounds joins the songs Drive, Different Shades of Blue, and Driving Towards The Daylight from previous albums as soul searching epics that I will never forget.  On an album filled with great songs, it is my favorite.

Joe has earned the admiration and accolades from  music critics and reviewers like myself since the release of his third album, Blues Deluxe, back in 2003. It is my fervent hope that this album finally takes Joe into the main stream for contemporary rock audience downloads; the final piece in the puzzle. The mainstream contemporary rock genre has been decimated over the years; Joe and his music are the path back!  Redemption is an interesting and intense synergy of the blues and rock and worthy of comparisons with the works of B.B. King, Muddy WatersLed Zeppelin, and Eric Clapton. He has internalized influences from some of the greatest and with Redemption makes the statement that he represents the best of all of them: a blues man, a blues rocker, a rock guitar virtuoso, and, in my opinion, the best roadhouse blues man alive today.

Joe Bonamassa – Redemption (2018 J&R Adventures)

 

P.S. You can listen to Joe and enjoy many more roadhouse blues artists on my 24 hour blues stream at Ben Vee Roadhouse Blues !

 

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Colin James – Miles To Go

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Colin James got his start back in the eighties sharing a stage with Stevie Ray Vaughan. In the ensuing years, this Canadian artist has released nineteen albums and assembled a presentation case full of JUNO and MAPLE BLUES awards.  With the release of his new album, Miles To Go, he is certain to add to the collection.

On the latest recording, he pays his respects to some of the greats of the blues (Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Arthur Crudup, Blind Willie Johnson, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and Walter Davis) by bringing their songs a renewed liveliness. For some, they are almost note for note homages; on others he reworks the originals with a flair that is uniquely Colin.  His respect and love of the blues shines through in all cases.  He also includes two songs that he wrote, 40 Light Years and I Will Remain. The latter is a beautiful tune that should get a lot of airplay as time goes by.

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I enjoyed the smooth blues funk of One More Mile and the upbeat delta sound of Dig Myself a Hole and Soul of a Man.  Colin is truly a master of the grindin blues on I Need Your Love So Bad and a song by Jesse Mae Robinson (a popular and prolific songwriter of the 1940’s and 50’s) entitled Black Night.  My favorite roadhouse tunes on the CD are Still A Fool, Ooh Baby Hold Me, and Tears Came Rolling Down; all are perfect platforms for Colin’s voice and artistry on the guitar.

I went back and listened to some of Colin’s prior work and on this album and his previous one, Blue Highways, he seems to be settling in as a serious blues man. Here’s to hoping that in the many miles he has left to travel that he continues to bring us his unique and insightful rendering of the blues.

Colin James – Miles To Go (Stony Plain Records 2018)

Ray Bonneville – Roots Blues at its Best on “At King Electric”

Ray Bonneville

Around the smokey campfire of the roots blues you find drifters and story tellers huddled close together on a cold night drinkin’ whiskey from the bottle or at best with a paper cup and regaling each other with songs and tales of mistaken choices and loves lost; Ray Wylie Hubbard and Bob Dylan come to mind.  Ray Bonneville belongs there too.  Born in Canada, he grew up in Boston, served in the United States Marine Corps in Vietnam, worked as cab driver back in Boston, and then set out on the road in the seventies playin’ small clubs all across North America.  He was good enough as a musician and singer to appear on stage as the opening act for Muddy Waters, B.B. King, and Dr. John. Like Dylan, he can be a one man band with his guitar, harmonica, and a rhythmic tappin’ foot.

Over the years, Ray has released eight albums and several have won him awards and critical acclaim.  His latest, At King Electric,  was recorded in Austin, the natural home of the roots blues.  It is blues at its dark loneliest Americana roots with songs of addiction, Codeine, and eternal drifting, Forever Gone.  The tune, Make a Hole In You, will indeed cut you to the core and South of the Blues takes you to a place where the downtrodden and forlorn can lose themselves.

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Ray is a fantastic songwriter and the imagery he invokes will probe deep into your soul. And the music is just……well …I encourage you download the album for yourself and find out.  Few albums I have heard over the last several years have grabbed me like this one.  From the deepest darkest places the blues can go, Ray has lifted up haunting portraits of misfortune, desolation, and emptiness that accompany all of us at one time or another on our lifetime journey….they are beautiful works of art and worthy of your time and attention.

Ray Bonneville – At King Electric (2018 Stonefly Records)

My Thursday 9/20/18 Playlist on BluesMusicFan Radio

Tune in if  ya get a chance on BluesMusicFan Radio for my Roadhouse blues set today at 3 pm EST!  Below is the intended playlist of the best in contemporary roadhouse blues!

 

ARTIST TITLE
Peter Ward On the Ropes
Chris Antonik The Monarch and the Wrecking Ball
Big Head Todd & The Monsters Hey Delila
James Hinkle Ain’t Looking Back No More
Jonny Lang Make It Move
Jimmy Barnes (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher
Frank Bey Where You Been So Long
Marcia Ball Take A Little Louisiana
Johnny & The Headhunters Watch And Chain (Hey Gyp)
The Lucky Losers Alligator Baptism
Casey James Makin’ Up
Teresa James I Do My Drinkin’ On The Weekend
Joe Goldmark The Wobble
Mike Zito Back Problems
Joe Bonamassa So, What Would I Do
Kat Riggins A Girl In The Boys’ Club
Bennett Brothers, The Junkyard Dog
Mud Morganfield Oh Yeah
Buddy Guy The Blues Is Alive And Well
Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters You Don’t Know What Love Is
Kate Lush Dust My Broom
Colin James Ooh Baby Hold Me
Tom Hambridge This End of the Road (ft Sonny Landreth)
Duke and The Drivers Harder Than Before
Hamish Anderson Trouble
Shemekia Copeland One I Love
Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite The Bottle Wins Again (Blues)

 

Ben Vee’s Roadhouse Blues Bin for Sept 19, 2018

Well…it’s the last day of summer for 2018….where the heck has the year gone??  Here are some more albums and tunes that made their way onto my DJ sets playlists regularly over the last several months……………….

Casey James –  Strip It Down (2017)

Casey James

Great young talent from Texas, Casey plays a fine guitar and sounds a bit like Kenny Wayne Shepherd.  This album has a number of roadhouse tunes on it including a duet with Delbert McClinton entitled Bullet Proof.  Also enjoyed All I Need, I Got to Go, Killin’ Myself, and Makin’ Up.

Joe Goldmark – Blue Steel (Lo-Ball Records 2018)

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A California pedal steel guitar player crankin out some blues…..you gotta listen to this!  The album is largely instrumental with guest vocalists on a number of cuts. Particularly liked Beautician Blues and The Wobble featuring Glenn Walters on vocals. I got a great response to these by my listeners! The CD also includes a number of country tunes including an instrumental Warm Rain that is pretty sweet!  Joe also is a partner in five San Francisco area pizzerias called “Escape from New York Pizza“.  Pizza and some pedal steel blues….not a bad combination at all!!!!

Mud Morganfield – They Call Me Mud (Severn Records 2018)

Mud Morganfield

A son of the great Muddy Waters, Mud is a fantastic blues man in his own right. On his fourth album, he serves up a blues buffet that spans the Chicago blues, funk, r&b, and a bit of jazz. Loved Oh Yeah, the title track They Call Me Mud, Walkin’ Cane, and a duet with his daughter Lashunda entitled Who Loves You. A number of great artists also helped out on the album including Billy Branch, Studebaker John, Mike Wheeler, and Billy Flynn.  Muddy would have loved a snifter of cognac and a fine cigar while listenin’ to his son carry on the blues tradition….I know I did!

Peter Ward – Blues on My Shoulders (Gandy Dancer Records 2017)

Peter Ward

Several times over this past summer I have started my sets with the instrumental On the Ropes from Peter’s debut album. It is a great upbeat tune; perfect to get a roadhouse blues set goin’!  Peter has a real pedigree in the blues having played with Jimmy Rogers, Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, Junior Wells, and toured with the members of the Muddy Water’s inspired Legendary Blues Band and Roomful of Blues.  He wrote all but one of the thirteen tunes on the album and gets some stellar musical help from Ronnie Earl, Anthony Geraci, and Sugar Ray Norcia on a number of the cuts.  She Took It All and What Can I Do To You? are two more of my favorites on the recording.

Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters – The Luckiest Man (Stony Plain 2017)

Ronnie Earl

This past May, Ronnie won his 4th blues award from the prestigious Blues Foundation as Guitar Instrumentalist of the year further cementing his position as one of the great blues men of his generation. I have followed his career for a number of years and he just continues to grow and excel at playin’ the blues.  And he is indeed a lucky man to have such a gifted band with Paul Kochanski (bass), David Limina (piano & organ), Diane Blue (vocals), and Forrest Padgett (drums) to back him up. I absolutely loved Ain’t That Lovin’ You and really enjoyed You Don’t Know What Love Is, and Heartbreak (It’s Hurtin’ Me).    There are also several tasty instrumentals including Southside Stomp, Blues for Magic Sam, and the simply badass roadhouse tune Howlin’ Blues.

 

Hey…..and don’t forget to tune in every Thursday from 3 to 5 pm EST as I play these and other great contemporary roadhouse blues at Blues Music Fan Radio . You can also listen to the roadhouse blues 24 hours a day on my stream at Ben Vee Roadhouse Blues .

Ben’s IN THE BIN Blues Reviews – September 14, 2018

Here’s a trio of albums I really enjoyed listening to this summer……

Ally Venable Band – Puppet Show  (Connor Ray Music 2018)

Ally Venabl

A blues rocker who looks like a super model and plays a guitar like a super star, this nineteen year old from Texas does a great job on her second album, Puppet Show.  She gets some contributions from Lance Lopez, Steve Krase, Gary Hoey, and Eric Steckel….all blues stars in their own right and a sure sign of what they think of her talent. Loved the slow blues grinder, Comfort in my Sorrows, and enjoyed Backwater Blues, Survive, and the title cut Puppet Show.

Crystal Shawanda – Voodoo Woman (New Sun Records 2017)

crystal shawanda

Born and raised in Canada and now based in Nashville, this native American has an incredible voice that encompasses the best of Koko Taylor, Etta James, and Janis Joplin.  The song, Bluetrain (Slight Return)/ Smokestack Lightning Revisited, is a powerful original tune that I really love.  And she does a great job on covers of Ball & Chain, Hound Dog, Voodoo Woman, I’d Rather Go Blind, and Wang Dang Doodle.

The Lucky Losers – Blind Spot (Dirty Cat Records 2018)

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Though they are San Francisco based and recorded the album in San Jose, California, I could have sworn Cathy Lemons and Phil Berkowitz took a pirogue down some black water bayou in southern Louisiana and recorded their third album, Blind Spot, under the shade of a moss covered oak tree next to the water.  She and Phil seem to bring out the best in each other as they take a joyful romp through what I call the “down the bayou” blues….music that is blues infused with a healthy dose of R&B, soul, and a bit of funk. I loved Alligator Baptism, It’s Never Too Early, Love Is Blind, and Supernatural Blues.  And The River is a fantastic showcase for Cathy’s voice.  This album has my early nod for nomination as one of the five best albums of 2018.  It also features some great guitar work by special guests Laura Chavez and Kid Andersen as well as some bad ass guest sax by Nancy Wright and even some violin by Annie Staninec.