Ben Vee’s Roadhouse Blues Bin for Nov 12 2018

A selection of albums I have been listening to lately:

Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne – Inspired by the Blues (Stony Plain Records 2018)

Kenny Blies Boss Wayne

Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne is the Chicago Boogie Woogie Blues Boss!  On his latest recording, Inspired By the Blues, he goes full tilt classic style boogie and blues with help from Duke Robillard (guitar) , Billy Branch (harmonica), and B.B. King’s long time bass player Russell Jackson. Kenny can pound those ivories and was named the “Most Outstanding Musician (Keyboards)” by the prestigious Living Blues Magazine in 2015. He has also won Juno and Maple Leaf blues awards in Canada and the new album is a great addition to my collection of roadhouse blues tunes.

Kenny makes the sounds of the late forties and fifties relevant for modern audiences with superb songs like Old Brick Wall, Start Rockin’, Make Up Your Mind, and Jimmy & Johnny.  I particularly enjoyed the tune That Raggedy Shack. Primarily upbeat and featuring great musicians, I think you will enjoy listening to this as much as I did!

The Bob Lanza Blues Band – Kids, Dogs, and Krazy Women  (ConnorRayMusic 2018)

Bob Lanza

Bob Lanza‘s new album Kids, Dogs, and Krazy Women is some fine roadhouse blues.  Up tempo for the most part, it features some particularly great musicianship from band members Vin Mott (harmonica), John Ginty (keyboards), Anthony Krizan (guitars, vocals, drums) and David Lockhart (bass) as well as Bob himself who has a great voice and plays some badass guitar. I have followed the solo careers of Vin Mott and John Ginty for some time and Bob brings out the best of their talents on this recording.

I loved Hey Baby, the title cut, Let Me In, Little Momma, and Problems.  Bob does a nice cover of Patsy Cline‘s Walking After Midnight and the grindin’ blues tune I’m Not the Man I Used to Be is absolutely fantastic.

Overall, I think this album merits a nomination for Contemporary Blues album of the year!

Cary Morin – When I Rise (Cary Morin Music 2018)

Cary Morin

Cary Morin is a native American who is a member of the Crow tribe. He was born and raised in Montana and is now based in Colorado.  He has long been known for his accomplishments on the acoustic guitar and his style of music would be equally at home in the juke joints of the Mississippi delta or in the folks clubs of Greenwich Village.  On his latest album, he includes a number of electric guitar and pedal steel guitar tunes that are well worth a listen.

The album has an electric and an acoustic version of Jug in the Water that I really enjoyed. I also liked the roadhouse sound of Carmela Marie. The acoustic tune and title cut of the album, When I Rise, features some great harmonica work by Dexter Payne and has both delta and native american influences..interesting tune to say the least.

All the songs are originals except for a delightful cover of Duane Allman’s Little Martha and a nice rendition of the Grateful Dead’s Dire Wolf. Generally, I would classify the album as Americana or roots music with some great blues influences.  And if he ever gets up into the northeastern part of the United States, I would drive a good ways to see one of his performances!

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Al Basile counts that Quiet Money as he Swings the Blues!

Al-Basile-Quiet-Money-Hi-Res-Cover-150x150

To me, Al Basile is the Randy Newman of the blues.  A talented song writer, as well as cornet player who has been playin’  for over forty years, Al has a nice vocal delivery similar to Randy’s and a penchant for songs that paint vivid images. His last recording, Mid-Century Modern, was nominated for 2016 Contemporary Blues Album of the year and his new album, Quiet Money, delivers some great forties and fifties style R&B and swing with the backing of Duke Robillard (who also produced the album) and several members of his former band, Roomful of Blues.  If you like your blues smooth and primarily upbeat, you are gonna love it!

I enjoyed Put Some Salt on It and Simple Ain’t Easy It which feature some nice guitar playin by the Duke.  On Time Is Now, Al lays down a cornet solo that is great. And my favorite song on the CD is You Got Two…..give it a listen and you tell me if he doesn’t channel a bit of Randy Newman… blues style!

Another song that really struck me on the album was Who’s Gonna Close My Eyes?  It is a story of a lonely man who has outlived his family and is contemplating who will be there for his last days.  It’s a pretty slow song set to an R&B beat with plenty of the horns that Al loves so much.

In an age when flash and shock value seems to count for more than they should, here’s my bet on Quiet Money…..Tasteful and thought provoking blues can still deliver!!

Al Basile – Quiet Money     Sweetspot Records 2017