End of the Year Roadhouse Blues on BMFR from 12-2 pm EST

Join me today at High Noon 12 pm EST for some end of the year Roadhouse Blues on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com. I have new contemporary blues tunes by RJ and the Houndogs, Bette Smith, The BluesBones, George & Noriko, Austin John, and many more.

Below is the intended playlist:

ARTISTTITLEALBUM
Sonny LandrethThe Milky Way Home (Live)Recorded Live in Lafayette
Bills, TheAsking For MoreTil The Blues Have Gone
Seasick SteveToes In The MudLove & Peace
Eddie 9VBrighter DaysBrighter Days (digital 45)
The Lucky LosersHalf a NothingGodless Land
Larkin PoeHoly Ghost FireSelf Made Man
R J and the HoundogsCut LooseSwamp Religion
New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom RockersNight Time (feat Jimbo Mathis)Volume I
Bette SmithFistful of DollarsThe Good, the Bad and the Bette
Curtis and the ShakerzThe Blues Down In My SoulPromo Single
Brigitte PurdyMemphis HotlineSingle release
Fantastic NegritoChocolate SamuraiHave You Lost Your Mind yet?
The War and TreatyBeautiful (feat. Jason Isbell)Hearts Town
The BluesBonesBetter LifeLive on stage
George & NorikoKuroishi Yosare BushiHowlin’ Sun
George & NorikoQueen Of UndergroundHowlin’ Sun
The Bush LeagueI Feel Like Going HomeHere We Are …Again
Eric JohansonDown To The BottomBelow Sea Level
BackslidersShake Em On DownBonecrunch
GA-20Sit Down BabyPromo Single
Austin JohnTake It Easy BabyDiggin’ In
Jimmie VaughanI Ain’t Gonna Do It No MoreThe Pleasure’s All Mine
Trainman BluesI’m FirePromo Single
Thorbjorn Risager and The Black TornadoCome On InCome On In
The Barrett Anderson BandEmma LeeHypnobooge
The Immediate FamilyCruel TwistSlippin’ and Slidin’
Henrik Freischlader BandWhat Have I Done to YouMissing Pieces
BeauwaterNodding OffWho Works For Who?
Alberta & The Dead EyesHopscotch BluesNo, No. You Go.

The Ben Vee Roadhouse 40 Best Blues Rock Albums of 2020

I am publishing my annual lists early this year with the hopes that people who follow me will give the gift of music for the holidays to friends and family to financially help a group of creative people that have been particularly hard hit by public gathering restrictions. No single working group other than restaurant workers has been hit as hard during the pandemic as artists and musicians. My heart goes out to them and 2021 can’t get here soon enough!

My criteria for picking the 40 best blues rock albums that I have heard during 2020 are pretty simple: 1) A judgement of the body of work on the recording, not just the fact that it may have a hit single. (Which I address in my annual Roadhouse 66 Best Blues Songs of the Year review.) 2) In the blues community there is a lot of respect given to artists and groups that “have paid their dues” through years of recording and performing which I reflect in my weighting of selections for the list. With that stated…..get your credit cards ready and your favorite music purchase app loaded….and chose a couple or more of these albums to help the blues community survive the 2020 pandemic!!

The Top Forty Blues Rock Albums (Listings 31 through 40)

These ten selections include Australian Simon Kinny-Lewis performing a rousing rendition of “I Just Want to Make Love To You” and getting help from Robben Ford on the song “Dagger Eyes”. American expat Seasick Steve cranks out a message to all of us to give each other a break, come together, stop the hatred, and get back to “Love & Peace”. Hurricane Ruth is a blues rockin’ Mama out of St. Louis that continues to do an awesome job of rockin’ the blues with tunes like “She’s Golden”. Some of you may not know of King King out of the UK where they are a perennial blues rockin’ favorite. Their lead singer, Alan Nimmo, has a voice you just have got to hear!! Give the song “I Will Not Fail” a listen!! Sass Jordan delivers a purely blues rockin’ album that includes a great version of “One Way Out” by the Allman Brothers and covers of blues favorites “Palace of the King” and “Leaving Trunk”. The UK’s Snowy White recorded with Thin Lizzy and Pink Floyd back in the day and has put out a string of awesome blues rock albums over the years. Give a listen to “One More Traveler” and “Commercial Suicide” from his latest recording to understand why I think it is one of the very best albums of 2020.

Top FortySimon Kinny-LewisAnother Day in San JoseAustralia
Top FortySeasick SteveLove & PeaceUK
Top FortyHurricane Ruth Good LifeUSA
Top FortyDave FieldsForce of WillUSA
Top FortyKing KingMaverickUK
Top FortySass JordanRebel Moon BluesCanada
Top FortyBilly Walton BandDark HourUSA
Top FortySnowy White and the White FlamesSomething on MeUK
Top FortyRae Gordon BandWrong Kind of LoveUSA
Top FortyRobert Jon & The WreckLast Light on the HighwayUSA

Top Thirty Blues Rock Albums (selections 21 to 30)

Our next grouping of artists includes Casey James who is a talented Texan with a Hollywood smile, a great voice, and plays a badass guitar. One testament to his talent is that Roadhouse Hall of Famer Delbert McClinton recorded the song “Bulletproof” with him on the new album. The Allman Betts Band featuring the sons of the Allman Brothers Band released their sophomore album this past summer. Give “Pale Horse Rider” and “Savannah’s Dream” a spin to understand why I believe they will be one of the great touring bands of this decade. I love the depth of sound of big bands and the seven piece ensemble that backs Thorbjorn Risager as the Black Tornado are world class. Thorbjorn’s voice has driven a number of listeners to my Blues Music Fan Radio shows to jump on chat and ask me “who is THAT singing?”. Give the title cut and “Last Train” a listen…you will understand why. Another fabulous voice of the blues is Canadian Crystal Shawanda who belts out “Evil Memory” and “Move Me” on the new recording. Dudley Taft has done well enough in the music biz over the years to purchase Peter Frampton’s studio in Ohio and record some stellar albums there. Give the title cut of Croatia’s Be Sharp Band recording and you’ll understand why I am so high on this European group. One of my picks for breakout group of 2020 has to be the Avey Grouws Band out of Iowa. They have been nominated for a Grammy and their future is very bright!

Top ThirtyCasey JamesIf You Don’t Know By NowUSA
Top ThirtyThe Allman Betts BandBless Your HeartUSA
Top ThirtyThorbjorn Risager and The Black TornadoCome On InDenmark
Top ThirtyDudley TaftCosmic RadioUSA
Top ThirtyAlastair GreeneThe New World BluesUSA
Top ThirtyCrystal ShawandaChurch House BluesCanada
Top ThirtyMarcus KingEldoradoUSA
Top ThirtyAvey Grouws BandThe Devil May CareUSA
Top ThirtyThe Reverend Shawn Amos & The BrotherhoodBlue SkyUSA
Top ThirtyBe Sharp BandAshesCroatia

Top Twenty Blues Rock Albums (Selections 11 to 20)

This selection of albums includes new recordings by perennial favorites Joe Bonamassa, Tinsley Ellis, Joe Louis Walker, Sonny Landreth, and Joanne Shaw Taylor. All of them are super stars of the blues in general and blues rock in particular. And any of their albums would make great stocking stuffers for Christmas! The selection also includes some interesting newer artists. Eliza Neals, from Detroit, can dang sure belt out a tune with feeling. Andy Watts hails from Israel and gets contributions from Eliza Neals, Joe Louis Walker, and a gravely voiced singer by the name of Roy Young on the Supergroove recording. Hailing from New York City, you need to give the fierce vocals and gritty realism of Bette Smith’s lyrics a listen on “Fistful of Dollars”, “I’m A Sinner”, and “Don’t Skip Out on Me”. Another New Yorker on the list, from Long Island, is Kerry Kearney. His new album includes some stellar cover tunes (“Lawdy Mama”, “Mean Old Frisco”) as well as several badass originals including “Voodoo Down the River”. And last but nevah least is the new recording from Jeff Fetterman. Give “49/61” and his incredible cover of “All Along The Watchtower” a spin to understand why I love his talent.

Top TwentyAndy WattsSuperGrooveIsrael
Top TwentyJoe BonamassaRoyal TeaUSA
Top TwentyTinsley EllisIce Cream In HellUSA
Top TwentyBette SmithThe Good, the Bad and the BetteUSA
Top TwentyJoe Louis WalkerBlues Comin’ OnUSA
Top TwentySonny LandrethBlacktop RunUSA
Top TwentyJeff FettermanSouthern SonUSA
Top TwentyJoanne Shaw Taylor Reckless BluesUSA
Top TwentyEliza NealsBlack Crow MoanUSA
Top TwentyKerry KearneyTales from the PsychedeltaUSA

THE BEN VEE ROADHOUSE TOP TEN BEST BLUES ROCK ALBUMS OF 2020

#10 – Albert CummingsBelieve

Albert Cummings first started recording in the late 1990’s and his stellar guitar playing earned him instant notice. Over the last 20 years, he has released six studio albums prior to this one. Given that he has a day job as a custom home builder, he has not toured as extensively as many of the others on this list. But that hasn’t stopped him from developing a loyal following including one Ben Vee! Give “Call Me Crazy”, “Me and My Guitar”, or his cover of “Hold On” and “My Babe” a spin to get a good feel for his talent.

#9 – Too Slim and the TaildraggersThe Remedy

If ya just want to listen to power trio blues rock to chase the black clouds in your mind away, there is no better remedy than Too Slim and The Taildraggers. Tim “Too Slim” Langford has a distinctive gravely voice and cranks out sonic pyrotechnics that are a meld of Robin Trower and ZZ Top. Give “Devil’s Hostage”, “She Got the Remedy”, and “Reckless” a listen to understand my amazement at the number of people that don’t know who this group is though they have released over TWENTY albums since the mid 1980’s.

#8 – Larkin PoeSelf Made Man

This talented sister duo has taken the world by storm over the last several years and are probably the best selling artists on this year’s list. Their music is highly accessible as evidenced by their crossover appeal to blues, rock, country, and gospel audiences. During the pandemic, I have tuned into several of their live performances on Facebook and it is incredible to watch them just wing their way through their songs while chatting, laughing, and having a generally fine time from a small room. Give a listen to “Every Bird That Flies”, “Holy Ghost Fire”, and “Danger Angel” to understand what all the commotion is about. I can’t imagine you going wrong giving this album as a gift to anyone on your shopping list!

#7 – Savoy BrownAin’t Done Yet

The music of Kim Simmonds and Savoy Brown helped coin the phrase “blues rock” back in the late 1960’s. Over 50 years later, Kim is still producing amazing songs! The title cut is definitive blues rock, “Jaguar Car” will get ya moving in your computer chair, and “Rocking In Louisiana” is a tribute to the music and people of my home state. Every tune on this recording rocks the blues….enough said.

#6 – Anthony GomesContainment Blues

A Canadian blues rocker with a distinctive voice and incredible guitar talents, Anthony Gomes released his first album in the late 1990’s. Over the ensuing years, he has released eight more studio albums and garnered a very loyal following. He has the swagger of a rock star and the persona to match. While he can crank it out with the best of them, he also writes beautiful blues rock ballads like ” Until the End of Time” that is included on the latest release. My bet is if ya love blues rock, you will love “Hell and Half of Georgia”, “Make a Good Man (Wanna Be Bad), and “Tell Somebody”. And kudos to Anthony for having the courage to record “Stop Calling Women Hoes and Bitches”….I’ve had enough of the use of these hateful terms in “pop culture”…how about you?

#5 – Eric JohansonBelow Sea Level

In 2017, Eric Johanson released his debut album BURN IT DOWN on Tab Benoit’s Whiskey Bayou and spent the next two years touring with and opening for Tab. I spun it all the time during my internet radio shows. In early 2019, he made a duet recording with Tiffany Pollack entitled BLUES IN MY BLOOD. I spun it all the time again. Now in 2020, he has released BELOW SEA LEVEL and guess what? I spin it all the time!! Eric, who lives in New Orleans, does a great job of melding the blues with rock in a style that is distinctively his own. On the latest release he expands the limits of the blues with tunes like “Buried Above Ground”, “Down to the Bottom”, and “River of Oblivion”. Ya gotta listen!! Eric is a blues rock star in the making!

#4 – Mike ZitoQuarantine Blues

Some people have the talent and inspiration to make the best of any situation. Mike Zito is one of those people. A gifted singer, songwriter, guitar player, producer, and now record company owner, Mike exudes confidence with a proverbial twinkle in his eye. Another artist that I have watched on Facebook several times during the pandemic (and made my first Venmo contribution to on my phone), Mike is as relaxed playing in his home studio as he is before large audiences. I first got turned on to Mike with the release of Pear River in 2009 and he just keeps gettin’ bettah and bettah. Give “After the Storm”, “Dark Raven”, and “Don’t Let the World Get You Down” for a tiny glimpse of his talent. Oh..and by the way…the title cut is my defining song of the 2020 pandemic.

#3 – Wily Bo Walker/Dennis FlamAin’t No Man a Good Man

I’ve been a big Wily Bo Walker fan since I first became aware of him in 2015 and his latest collaboration with Dennis Flam is a jewel of a recording. This British artist channels Dr. John as he weaves music and storytelling into a magical series of songs. The title cut and associated “return” tune “Build My Gallows” are absolutely incredible. So much so that they got stuck in my head for days on end. “Ain’t Hungry No More”, “Fool For You”, “Walking with the Devil”, and “Night of the Hunter” should give you a good feel for his style and talent. Additionally, he does a great cover of “St. James Infirmary Blues” as well as a tune called “Did I Forget” that would fit perfectly during a set at Tipitina’s in New Orleans. If you have friends that enjoy Night Tripper style blues, this album will make a great stocking stuffer for them.

#2 – DionBlues With Friends

Dion started out as a teenage rock and roller back in the early 1960’s. Now in his eighties and still a fantastic artist, a literal who’s who of the music world have gotten together to pay homage to this giant of American music on the Blues With Friends recording. Billy Gibbons, Joe Bonamassa, Bruce Springsteen, Patti Scialfa, Sonny Landreth, Paul Simon, Rory Block, Stevie Van Zandt, Samantha Fish, Joe Louis Walker, Jeff Beck, Van Morrison, and John Hammond all make contributions. This recording is not only a great blues rock album, it will almost certainly be in contention for the prestigious 2020 Blues album of the year award at next year’s Blue Music Foundation ceremonies in Memphis.

My favorite cuts are “Blues Comin’ On” with Joe Bonamassa, “I Got Nothin'” with Van Morrison and Joe Louis Walker, “Way Down (I Won’t Cry No More)” with Stevie Van Zandt, and the contemporary gospel song “Hymn to Him” with Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa.

You can’t go wrong giving this album as a Christmas present to anyone you know that loves music. On an interesting side note, this is also the first label release for Joe Bonamassa’s new recording company, Keep The Blues Alive (KTBA)….quite an impressive start!

#1 – Walter TroutOrdinary Madness

At the age of 69, Walter Trout has released possibly the greatest album of his long and storied career, Ordinary Madness. He started out in the late 1960’s playing bars and juke joints in his home state of New Jersey alongside other bands including one that featured another blossoming talent, Bruce Springsteen. By the time the eighties rolled around, his guitar playing and love of the blues had landed him gigs with John Lee Hooker and Canned Heat and drawn the attention of John Mayall. In 1984, he became another of the legendary guitarists (e.g. Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Taylor) to play in the Bluesbreakers.

In 1989, he started his own band and became an overnight sensation in Europe. He played and released albums there for almost ten years before his United States solo debut in 1998. And during the past decade he has released eight of what I consider to be the finest albums of the blues rock genre including one, Luther’s Blues, that paid homage to the great Luther Allison.

Walter’s blues are often described as hard core, a term that reflects as much how he lived his life as the music he played. Renowned for his live performances, the constant touring lead to bouts with alcoholism that culminated in liver failure in 2014. He was able to receive a life saving transplant that year and returned to performing in 2015 with an album, Battle Scars, that chronicled his desperation and fears while awaiting a suitable matching liver.

Ordinary Madness is an unapologetic blues rock recording with songs that address his observations on life and time (“Final Curtain Call”, “The Sun Is Going Down”, “Ordinary Madness”) and thoughts on love and relationships (“All Out of Tears”, “Heaven in Your Eyes”, “My Foolish Pride”). My favorite three songs on the album are “Up Above My Sky”, “Make It Right”, and the simply incredible “Wanna Dance” which is likely to be my favorite single for 2020 when I publish my Roadhouse 66 list of the best songs of the year.

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All in all, it was an incredible year for fans of the blues rock genre. I hope you enjoyed reviewing the list and PLEASE download one or more of these albums to help the artists that you enjoy listening to.


Ben Vee started out spinning songs on terrestrial radio and at nightclubs back in the 1970’s in his home state of Louisiana. After a career in the construction business, he returned to DJing in 2011. He now hosts two shows each week on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com and writes about the blues at http://www.benveeblues.com from his home in Connecticut.

Good Time Roadhouse Blues 3-5pm EST on BMFR for Sept 3rd

Join us as we get ready for the long Labor Weekend in the United States on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com. Tune in from 3 to 5 pm EST today for new tunes by Paul Buchanan’s Voodoo Preachers, CD Woodbury, The Hi-Jivers, and Gregg Martinez and lots more!

Below is the intended playlist:

ARTISTTITLEALBUM
Omar & The HowlersOmar’s BoogieI’m Gone
New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom RockersLet’s Work Together (feat Jim Dickinson)Volume I
Wynton Marsalis & Eric ClaptonJoliet BoundPlay The Blues – Live From Jazz At Lincoln Center
Grant DermodyReal Time ManMy Dony
Ash Grunwald180Trouble’s Door
Vintage TroubleNancy Lee (live)Limited Edition Bonus Disc
BMFRARTISTID – The Hi-Jivers – You’re Listening to BMFR****
The Hi-JiversKnee High & RisinSingle
Lucinda WilliamsReal Live Bleeding Fingers And Broken Guitar StringsWorld Without Tears
Eric JohansonLove Is  RebellionBelow Sea Level
James House & The Blues CowboysBallad Of The Troubadour KingsJames House & The Blues Cowboys
Taj Mahal & Keb’ Mo’Don’t Leave Me HereTajMo
Avey Grouws BandLet’s Take It SlowThe Devil May Care
Sugar Ray & the Bluetones feat. Little Charlie BatyFrom the Horses MouthToo Far from the Bar
Joanne BrohWicked CoolLive
Ronnie Earl & the BroadcastersBig Town PlayboyRise Up
BMFRARTISTID – Voodoo Preachers – You’re Listening to BMFR****
Paul Buchanan’s Voodoo PreachersSome Kind Of VoodooTestimony
Frankie MorenoBack to the BoogieBack To the Boogie
The Barrett Anderson BandGood ManHypnobooge
BMFRARTISTID – Gregg Martinez – You’re tuning in to BMFR****
Gregg MartinezThis HouseMacDaddy Mojeaux
Greyhound George BandDown Home GirlElectrified
Don BryantYour Love is to BlameYou Make Me Feel
BMFRARTISTID – CD Woodbury – You’re Listening to BMFR2****
CD WoodburyI Didn’t KnowWorld’s Gone Crazy
Keb’ Mo’Cold OutsideOklahoma
Eric ClaptonFloating BridgeAnother Ticket
Warren Haynes BandMan In MotionLive At The Moody Theater
Jack Mack & The Heart AttackTake Me To The RiverLive From Centennial Park – Atlanta 1996

The Roadhouse Blues Nooner for August 25th 12 – 2 pm EST

The end of summer is coming up fast on us! I appreciate all of you for supporting me during the pandemic and helping to spread the news about all the great new contemporary blues groups that are out there. Join me today at 12 pm EST on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com for great new tunes by Paul Buchanan’s Voodoo Preachers, Wily Bo Walker, Lisa Mann, Trevor Sewell, Walter Trout, Savoy Brown, and a number of others.

You can find the intended playlist below:

ARTISTTITLEALBUM
Gary HoeySoul SurferDust & Bones (Deluxe Edition)
Joe BonamassaI Know Where I BelongA New Day Now (20th Anniversary Edition)
Paul Buchanan’s Voodoo PreachersLittle SisterTestimony
Savoy BrownBorrowed TimeAin’t Done Yet
Turn OnSave My SoulThe Ghost On The Wall
Kiko García BandLate NightsMojo Ringer
Johnny & the MongrelsLouisiana GirlCreole Skies
Wily Bo WalkerVelvet Windows (Tremé Trippin’)Ain’t No Man a Good Man (Deluxe)
The California HoneydropsHeartbreaker (Live In Portland, Or)Honeydrops Live
Super Chikan and Terry ‘Harmonica’ BeanWavy ThoughtsFrom Hill Country To Mississippi Delta Blues
Lisa MannEverybody’s Making MoneyOld Girl
Sugaray RayfordHomemade DisasterHomemade Disaster
Walter TroutAll Out Of TearsOrdinary Madness
Trevor SewellHey Joe (Live)Live In Portugal
Jack SavorettiWritten In ScarsSleep No More
Peter WolfWhen Women Are LonelyUp To No Good!
Pierce Dipner & The Shades Of BlueGoing DownGet Out Of Your Life
Plain Dirty Blues BandShe Suits me to a TeeFive Dollar Cover
Eric JohansonThe FugitiveBurn It Down
Gurf MorlixSliver Of LightImpossible Blue
Hadden SayersWant what you HaveRolling Soul
Steve MillerKilling FloorWelcome To The Vault
The Hitman Blues BandMoving OnThe World Moves On
Hamish AndersonHold On MeTrouble
Casey JamesFight You For The BluesStrip It Down

Ben Vee’s Good Time Roadhouse Blues 3-5 pm ET Thursday, August 6th

Join me this afternoon for new songs by Savoy Brown, Kirsten Thien, Eric Johanson, Mojomama, and Lucinda Williams on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com. The show runs from 3 to 5 pm ET….hope ya can make it.

Below is the intended playlist:

ARTISTTITLE
Omar & The HowlersOmar’s Boogie
Omar & The HowlersSnake Oil Doctor
CD WoodburyWang Dang Doodle
Savoy BrownJaguar Car
Eric JohansonDown To The Bottom
Kirsten ThienI Gotta Man
SoulmateI Sing the Blues
Larkin PoeEvery Bird That Flies
Martin HarleyThe Time Is Now
Bettye LaVetteI’m Not The One
Katie KadanTake Me to the River
Bridget Kelly BandFind My Way Back Home
Mo’ JakeThe Queen Of Losers
Kyle YardleyLittle Girl (ft. Johnny Burgin)
The Ryan McGrath BandSpent Like a Dollar
JONNY LANGA Quitter Never Wins
Joshua BattenSilver Dollars
Kara GraingerWorking My Way Back Home
MojomamaWithout Your Love
Lucinda WilliamsYou Can’t Rule Me
TBellyWalk With Me
MandalynBaby On The Run
Mike ZitoCall Of The Wild
Scott Weis BandJesus Just Left Chicago
Main Street BluesBreaking Up Someone’s Home

Best of the Blues 2019 – Five Best Roadhouse Blues Debut Albums of the Year

During the course of 2019, I was thrilled at the number of new artists that released debut albums. It bodes well for the future of the roadhouse blues in the next decade. My selections for the five best debut roadhouse blues artists of 2019 are (in alphabetical order) Christone “Kingfinsh” Ingram, Tennessee Redemption, The Allman Betts Band, The Weary Times, and Tiffany Pollack & Eric Johanson.

Christone “Kingfish” IngramKingfish ( 2019 Alligator Records)

Christone “Kingfish” Ingram hails from the heart of the delta blues in Clarkesdale Mississippi. This rising blues prodigy is only twenty and has already captured the attention of blues lovers with the release of his debut album KINGFISH. Released on the prestigious blues label, Alligator Records, the album shot to the top of the blues charts this past May and has garnered him attention around the blues world.

He started out playing and singing gospel in church and by the time he was fifteen performed at the White House for Michelle Obama as part the Clarksdale Delta Museum Band. In 2017, he was a guest artist on Eric Gales’ Middle of the Road album. Eventually he caught the attention of the living blues legend Buddy Guy, blues maestro Keb’ Mo’, and Grammy award winning artist and producer Tom Hambridge. With the touch of a master, Tom brings out the best in Christone on the debut album.

KINGFISH is a traditional blues album chocked full of great tunes. Fresh Out features the mastery of Buddy Guy, Hard Times is some fine delta acoustic blues, and Listen is a great duet with Keb’ Mo’. Few debut albums feature such a strong cast of world class supporting artists. It is a tribute to Christone’s talent and a beacon pointing to a very bright future.

Tennessee RedemptionTennessee Redemption (2019 Endless Blues Records)

Brandon Santini, my 2019 Roadhouse Bluesman of the Year, received the award in part for the release of this self titled album TENNESSEE REDEMPTION. After years of honing their craft on Beale Street in Memphis (sometimes together sometimes apart), Brandon (lead vocals, harmonica) teamed with long time friend Jeff Jensen (lead vocals, guitar) and incorporated Timo Arthur (guitar, bass), Bill Ruffino (bass, vocals), and David Green (drums, vocals) to form this solid and tight band.

The album includes eight original songs plus a cover of the Tom Waits tune, Come On Up to the House and a great rendition of Little Walter’s Watch Yourself. Back To Tennessee is a fabulous jam tune steeped in the southern sound that emanated out of Macon Georgia back in the 1970’s and features some great guitar playing by Jeff and Timo. Glad To Be recounts Brandon and Jeff’s time playing on Beale Street and collecting dreams that have been realized with release of this recording. Given my love for the beaches, people, food, and tequila found in the small towns of our southern neighbor, it should be no surprise that I also enjoyed I’m Going To Mexico. See About Me, Souls In the Water, and the funky We Got A Thing Going On are also highly recommended.

Tennessee Redemption is an ideal example of the roadhouse blues with its roots in the blues but also reflecting the influences of gospel, southern rock, classic R&B, and soul. I look forward to seeing how they develop and mature their sound as the years go by.

The Allman Betts Band – Down to the River (2019 BMG Rights Management LLC)

Few groups in recent years have debuted an album to such popular and critical acclaim as THE ALLMAN BETTS BAND. The core of the band is three sons of the Allman Brothers Band (ABB): Devon Allman, Duane Betts, and Barry Oakley Jr.. Additionally Johnny Stachela provides some stellar slide guitar playing along with one of my favorite Hammond B3 organ players, John Ginty. The band also features percussionist R. Scott Bryan and drummer John Lum. And as if that wasn’t enough, former ABB keyboard player Chuck Leavall (currently with The Rolling Stones) and the Hammond B3 player for the Greg Allman Band, Peter Levin, make guest appearances on the recording.

Down to the River was recorded at the legendary Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Alabama and features nine songs. My favorite on the album is a tune steeped in the legacy of ABB, Shinin’. All Night is a great showcase for Devon’s vocal talent and Melodies Are Memories is reminiscent of The Band and the Grateful Dead at their best and features Duane on vocals. Long Gone is a terrific ballad and the title cut, Down To The River, is some sweet easy classic R&B. Autumn Breeze is a song I can’t wait to see them jam to in concert. And Good Ol’ Days is a beautiful reminder that we need to embrace and live the “good ol’ days” now.

Since the album was released last summer, the Allman Betts Band has been on an ambitious tour of the United States and Europe. It is my understanding that the crowds have been huge and the audience response phenomenal. They are definitely on my bucket list of groups to see in 2020.

The Weary Times – The Weary Times (2019 Way Down Records)

THE WEARY TIMES, a band out of Boise Idaho, first caught my ear this past summer with Why Are You So Lonely. It’s a sad song that captures the feel of early sixties doo wap enhanced by the gravely voice of Ryan Curtis and the sparse and delightful guitar playing of Mike Simon. The tune, Piece of Mind, also grabbed me with the keyboard playing of Mike Swain and is a throwback to the very best that Eric Burdon & the Animals kicked out back in the day. Nick Archibald on bass and Ben Wieland on drums complete this creative quintet of musicians that proudly claim the blues and early rock’n’roll as the basis for their sound.

Nostalgic blues rock is the best way that I can describe The Weary Times debut album overall. Mixing in reverb and fuzz to give several songs an energetic garage band feel just adds icing to the cake. Ain’t Done Drinking and Anymore rock the blues, Best For You is another Eric Burdon & the Animals style tune, I Don’t Know Why and Hard Times are great sixties psychedelia, and Give And Take is a slow insightful song about aging after a hard lived youth.

I listened to literally hundreds of new albums during 2019 and very few were as unique and imaginative as an overall recording as this one. They have captured the essence of the early and mid 1960’s music sound (which was always based on the blues) and reintroduced it, after a fifty year lapse, with contemporary themes. It is music nostalgia for modern times.

After playing small clubs and venues across the Pacific Northwest the past couple of years, the Weary Times have earned the opportunity with this debut recording to expand their fan base and turn the rest of the roadhouse blues world on to their music. I just hope they are ready for the wild ride!!

Tiffany Pollack & Eric Johanson – Blues In My Blood (2019 NOLA Blue Records)

The best debut album by a duet couple since Joe Bonamassa and Beth Hart back in 2011, Blues In My Blood is a solid recording by New Orleans based Tiffany Pollack and Eric Johanson. Tiffany comes to the blues from her roots in jazz music and Eric is an up and coming bluesman who has caught the attention of non other than Tab Benoit!

They combined their writing talents to pen seven of the 11 songs on the recording. My absolute favorite is the title cut, Blues in My Blood. It starts with a gospel inspired delta feel and then builds in intensity with some great guitar work by Eric and a powerful vocal delivery by Tiffany. Another favorite is Diamonds on the Crown with great harmonies and thoughtful social commentary. Eric has a voice similar to another great blues man from Louisiana, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and his guitar style is stellar on the song. Tiffany takes on the Nina Simone classic Do I Move You? and aces it with a sultry jazzy performance. Eric takes the vocal lead on Get Lost With Me, a blues ballad, and again wowed me with his guitar.

I also enjoyed the roots blues tune Memories to Forget as well as a knockout performance by Tiffany of the Joni Mitchell song, River, which I consider a great Christmas time tune. I played it several times during my DJ sets this past season and the response was tremendous!

Musicians that contributed their talents to the recording include Brentt Arcement (drums), Phil Wang (bass), John Gros (keyboards), producer Jack Miele (bass, bass guitar, and percussions), Sean Carey (backing vocals) and a guest appearance by the great Jumpin’ Johnny Sansone as well as the 504 Horns.

My only disappointment is that I have seen no evidence since the release of the album last spring that they have toured to support the recording. Both have returned to their solo careers. Tiffany & Co are playing jazz venues in New Orleans and Eric is touring with Tab Benoit who produced his 2017 highly acclaimed album, Burn It Down. I hear that Tab is playing drums for Eric during his part of the show; I’d pay to see that!!

My hope is that, as Joe and Beth have done, they will get back together from time to time and lay down some more tracks…..they both have blues in their blood!


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.

Jan 14th Roadhouse Blues Nooner on BMFR

It’s a fabulous Tuesday for the Roadhouse Blues! Join us at High Noon EST for my Roadhouse blues Nooner featuring a mix of contempory and roots blues tunes by John Hiatt, Bob Dylan, Omar & the Howlers, Miss Bix and the Blues Fix, Popa Chubby, Eric Johanson, Bonnie Raitt, Susan Tedeschi, and many more. Plug in at http://www.bluesmusicfan.com.

Oh….and a big GEAUX TIGERS for all the football fans that watched LSU win the national championship last night! I know there was alot of roadhouse bluzin’ goin’ on in the French Quarter afterwards!!!

Here is the intended playlist:

ARTISTTITLE
Peter ParcekPat Hare
J.J. CaleThirteen Days
Dave AlvinDon’t Let Your Deal Go Down
John HiattJohnny ’99
Bob DylanThe Levee’s Gonna Break
Omar & The HowlersWhen Sugar Cane Was King
Bonnie RaittThe Kokomo Medley
Susan TedeschiMama He Treats Your Daughter Mean
Rita ChiarelliLast Train
The Marcus King BandSide Door
Anders OsborneTracking My Roots
Monti AmundsonLooking Back
The Cold StaresThorns
Eric JohansonBurn It Down
OSLUOne Good Man (ft. Jade Thunder)
Arlen RothWhite Lightning
Markey BlueCash Is Always King
The Jeff Healey BandWho’s Been Talking
Paradise KingsSlow Down
Popa ChubbyI Was Looking Back
Miss Bix and The Blues FixIf You’re Doing What I’m Thinking
Parking WestShow Me The Way
Mississippi ShakedownTalking to My Baby
The Cash Box KingsAin’t No Fun (When The Rabbit Got The Gun)
Tom HambridgeThis End Of The Road
The Kentucky Headhunters with Johnnie JohnsonWalking With The Wolf

Thursday Dec 5th Roadhouse Blues on BMFR

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.

You can find the intended playlist below:

ARTISTTITLE
Widow BluePow Wow Blues
Laurence JonesLong Long Lonely Ride
Mike ZitoDown Bound Train
The Cornbread ProjectHobo Blues
JC Gafford And FriendsBackseat Blues
Christone “Kingfish” IngramBefore I’m Old
Black Cat BonesNot so Funny
The Mick Fleetwood Blues BandBlack Crow Blues (Live) [feat. Rick Vito]
Mindi Abair & The BoneshakersGood Day For The Blues
The B. Christopher BandIt’s Alright
Crazy HambonesCornbread, Peas And Black Molasses
Noah WotherspoonHip to Your Jive
Brother Snakeoil & The Medicine MenEarly In The Morning
HeavyDrunkI Can’t Be Satisfied
Nico Duportal & The SparksSweet Brown Eyed Woman
Lloyd SpiegelTrack Her Down
The WolvesWatch What You Do In The Night
Lazy EyeGame Over
Laurie McVayHoochie Coochie Man
Tennessee RedemptionSee About Me
Marcus KingThe Well
David GogoTomcat Prowl
Kenny Wayne Shepherd BandTailwind
Tiffany Pollack & Eric JohansonRiver
Eric JohansonSo Cold
Tab BenoitShelter Me
Mike Zito & The WheelRainbow Bridge (With Sonny Landreth)
Charlie Wooten Project feat. Sonny LandrethTell Me A Story
Sonny LandrethCongo Square

Ain’t Nuthin’ But the Roadhouse Blues during my Nooner on BMFR at 12 pm EST Today

Ain’t…it’s a word that was frowned on by my teachers and, more importantly, my mother back when I was a kid. Today’s set includes a number of songs that use the nefarious word….tune in at 12 pm EST for my roadhouse blues Nooner… and join the rebellion against good grammar while enjoyin’ some badass tunes! http://www.bluesmusicfan.com

Here is the intended playlist.

ARTISTTITLE
Jeff Beck and The YardbirdsJeff’s Blues
Nick SchnebelenAin’t Got Time For The Blues
The Cash Box KingsAin’t No Fun (When The Rabbit Got The Gun)
Rockin’ Johnny & Quique GomezAin’t No High Roller
James House & The Blues CowboysAin’t No Way
Tinsley EllisAll I Think About
Jimmy ReiterWhat’s In It For Me?
Haranni HurricanesKill Me
Call Me DaddyWhat Can I Do
J.P. SoarsLonely Fire
Carl WeathersbySomebody Help Me  (Live)
Sugaray RayfordTime To Get Movin’
Glen ClarkAccept My Love
Chris O’LearyOne More Chance at Love
Joe Louis Walker747
Jay StollmanA Change Is Gonna Come
Tab BenoitAin’t Gonna Do It
Bonnie RaittAin’t Gonna Let You Go
Sari Schorr & The Engine RoomAin’t Got No Money
Keith HoweAce In The Hole
Eric Johanson4 O’ Clock
Matt Pearce & The MutinySet Me Free
Danny BryantToo Far Gone
Jeff Beck and The YardbirdsI’m A Man