Hope ya get a chance to tune in for my Roadhouse blues show today, December 5th at 3 pm EST on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com. I will be featuring a brand new tune from Marcus King and several songs from Louisiana artists Tab Benoit, Sonny Landreth, Eric Johanson, Tiffany Pollack, Charlie Wooten, and the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band.
During a stellar year of new recordings by blues artists, I have kept returning to songs off two 2019 albums: The Longshot and Tennessee Redemption. Both these great recordings (one is a solo album while the other is a group recording) feature the voice and harmonica playing of Brandon Santini. He is my 2019 Roadhouse Bluesman of the Year!
Brandon is a 37 year old resident of Memphis who has plied his trade on Beale Street for almost 20 years. He made the move to Memphis at the age of 19 and over the ensuing years, he refined his harmonica playing to the point where he was nominated for Blues Harmonica Player of the Year by the prestigious Blues Foundation in 2014. And this past October, he received the Blues Blast Magazine 2019 award for The Longshot as Best Contemporary Blues album of the Year.
Brandon’s years in the Memphis clubs taught him the golden rule for performing music which is in part: Be Kind to Musicians. It is one that I practice also. I do not write bad reviews of artists; if I don’t enjoy a recording I simply don’t write about it. It is a practice that I wish some fellow DJs and bloggers, as well “mainstream” critics, would follow also.
His Beale street years also have taught him that you have to be an entertainer, not just a singer or musician. Music is in large part an experience of feelings. How does the song make you feel? Does the singer move you emotionally? Brandon delivers on both counts. He has a deep gravely voice reminiscent of Dr. John and his song writing is engaging and evocative. Take a listen to Drive You Off My Mind from The Longshot and you will see what I mean.
For his second recording of the year, he teamed with long time friend and fellow Beale Streeter, Jeff Jensen (guitar & vocals), and formed the group Tennessee Redemption. They released their self titled debut album this past September. The album is a fusion of southern style blues, Americana, and Memphis R&B and is absolutely delightful. Give See About Me and Back to Tennessee a listen. I know you will enjoy them!!
Brandon Santini represents the next generation of blues men and women who are coming into their own. He has paid his blues dues with hundreds of performances in small clubs in Memphis and elsewhere around the country. And he has earned and deserves the accolades that are now beginning to flow in. Receiving my 2019 Roadhouse Bluesman of the Year award is no big thing but I hope he, as I often do on special occasions (well hell…any event really) , lights a cigar after one of his gigs and smiles. I’ll be lighting one after finishing this article….Here’s to you Brandon for having a great year in 2019 and for the many more that are sure to come!
Ben Vee is an internet DJ and writer from New Orleans that now lives in Connecticut with his wife Annette. He started spinning records back in the 1970’s and has been writing about the roadhouse blues since 2011. He does two roadhouse blues shows each week on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com and he writes about the blues when the urge strikes on http://www.benveeblues.com.
The holiday season is upon us and my hope is that one of the tunes during today’s Roadhouse Blues Nooner will inspire you to download the album and gift it to a friend! Join us at High Noon EST on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com for a mix of the best in contemporary blues including a new promo single from Albert Cummings plus some vintage Bob Dylan and an “almost the blues” Creedence Clearwater Revival tune that I love.
It’s cold outside here in the eastern United States! Keep that blood flowin’ hot by tuning in for my roadhouse blues Nooner at http://www.bluesmusicfan.com. Got tunes by Gracie Curan, Tennessee Redemption, Chris O’Leary, Gov’t Mule, and a bunch more. CYA at High Noon EST for two hours of the best upbeat blues that I can deliver.
Below is the intended playlist.
Louisiana Walk (Feat. Nancy Wright)
Save Me From Myself
So Called Story Teller
Just One Dollar
Got Juice Got Gas
Things We Love
We Got A Thing Going On
Bob Corritore and Friends
I’m Gonna Keep What I’ve Got (feat. Mighty Joe Milsap)
I’ve always thought of Al Basile as the Randy Newman of the blues and his new album B’s Hot House just reinforces the notion. Al first started recording in 1998 and has been nominated 8 times over the years for his work as a songwriter/singer/cornet player by the Blues Music Foundation.
The new album is what I call the bedrock blues; solid earthy tunes with engaging lyrics and heartfelt vocal delivery that are backed by talented veteran musicians. Al’s band mates are people he has recorded with over the years and features the renown guitar player Duke Robillard (who also produced the album), Mark Teixeira (drums), Brad Hallen (bass), Bruce Bears (keyboards), Doug James (tenor sax), and Jeff “Doc” Chanonhouse (trumpet). Mark, Brad, and Bruce are members of the Duke’s band and the horn section are old friends from Al’s days with Roomful of Blues. Together, these talented artists have created an enjoyable blues and R&B recording.
Lyrically as well as musically, the song So Called Storyteller encapsulates Al’s talent as a musician and songwriter and is my favorite on the album. I also loved Razor Wire; the guitar licks are great and Al’s cornet gives the tune just the right feel. Al does a bit of political commentary with Don’t Fool With the Truth; an upbeat song with some biting lyrics. Additionally, I will be working Five Roads, I See You There, and Looking for a Cookie into my roadhouse blues shows on BMFR.
Overall, this 14 song (all originals) recording enhances Al Basile’s reputation as a great singer/songwriter who also happens to play a badass cornet.
Al Basile – B’s Hot House (2019 Sweetspot Records)
Got some chilly November blues for ya during my Roadhouse Blues show today on BMFR from 3 to 5 pm EST. New tunes from Dov Hammer, Fuel Junkie, Eddie 9V, Frank Christopher, Eric Schenkman, and many more. Hope you have time to listen in! http://www.bluesmusicfan.com