Best of the Blues 2019 – Five Most Creative Songs of the Year

The year 2019 was an exciting and invigorating one for blues lovers with the largest number of new albums released that I can recall since at least 2012. Amongst all the songs that I heard and spun for the year (and that was thousands!), these five struck me as the most creative in terms of the sound or lyrics or voice or a combination of all three!! (Links to the songs on Spotify or Youtube are shown in blue.)

HeavyDrunk – If I Loved You Hard Enough (Holywater 2019 on 4142 Music)

With lyrics that are Shakespearean in terms of the pathos and images created for your mind to wrestle with, If I Loved You Hard Enough is about a dysfunctional love that has spanned the lovers lives since they were kids. The opening lyrics portray a shocking scene at a Piggly Wiggly parking lot and it just gets better from there!

The song was written by Rob Robinson, the leader and front man for the Leipers’ Fork Tennessee soul blues band and is just one of many great tunes on the album Holywater. Rob also owns and operates a roadhouse style eatery south of town called Puckett’s…..mhmm…fine food and great roadhouse blues..I gotz to get there soon!

Amnesia Blues BandFast Johnny Cool (Hailstone 2019 on CDBaby)

Amnesia Blues Band hails from Gippsland, Australia. Paul “Buck” Buchanan is the lead vocalist and primary songwriter and they have penned an incredible song, Fast Johnny Cool, on their latest album Hailstone. An infectious bass driven beat and a great voice frame a song about a battle of guitar players at a low down roadhouse.

I got to chat with them a couple of months ago and they warned me not to visit them “down under” with a great voice or guitar. Listen to the song…you will know what they mean!

Jason Ricci & the Bad KindBreak in the Rain (My Chops Are Rolling 2019 on EllerSoul Records)

A transplant from Maine to my hometown of New Orleans, Jason Ricci is one of the great harmonica players of the blues genre. Break in the Rain has an insistent beat with fabulous guitar licks, some awesome harmonica riffs, and lyrics about a day jumpin’ in puddles and layin’ in the tall grass… naked! Hell yeah!

The song was written by band member and guitarist John Lisi. The Bad Kind band also includes Jason’s wife, Kaitlin Dibble, on backing vocals on the song. I hope to see them perform tunes from My Chops Are Rolling the next time I am back down in the Big Easy!

Ghost Town Blues BandDirty (Shine 2019)

One of traits of some blues lovers is a kind of conservatism about what is and is not the blues. There are any number of blues purists out there that I respect but don’t agree with. As B.B. King stated once in an interview that I saw, it was only natural for the blues to evolve as more and more people were exposed to it and began to play and interpret it from their own individual perspectives. First it was the delta acoustic blues. Then it was electrified when it moved into urban areas like Chicago. Eventually it was rocked up by the British blues bands of the last sixties. And now we have the wide variety of contemporary blues that I love and spin regularly. I use the term “roadhouse blues” to describe this fascinating mix of modern blues with rock, soul, rhythm and blues, gospel, swing, roots music, and, yes…even a bit of rap influence!

On their latest album, Shine, Ghost Town Blues Band out of Memphis includes an original and creative song entitled Dirty. It’s a southern blues rockin’ tune about dealin’ with the life that fate sometimes deals and includes the tasteful use of rap. It is just such a natural fit for the song and blues in general. Kudos to the band for having the creativity (and bravery to face the blues purists) with such a fine recording! And people certainly love the album. It rose to number one on the Billboard Blues Charts soon after it’s release this past October.

Left Lane Cruiser Smooth Commander (2019 Shake & Bake on Alive Records)

Left Lane Cruiser hails from Indiana and is a duo consisting of singer/guitarist Joe Evans IV and Pete Dio on drums/percussions. One of the songs on the new album SHAKE & BAKE is entitled Smooth Commander and it is about a sojourn across the world and his father’s love for the blues. The use of a resonator guitar is awesome and Joe’s voice is distinctive. And as he sings in the song, the blues will bring everybody around…..that it will surely do!!!

And kudos to the renown illustrator William Stout for providing such a creative album cover!


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 Thursday Dec 19th Roadhouse Blues on BMFR

Tune in for new tunes from CW Ayon, Sean Poluk, Janiva Magness and a bunch of other contemporary blues artists of 2019 on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com at 3 pm EST! Hope you have time to grab your favorite beverage and kick back and enjoy the music!

Here is the intended playlist:

ARTISTTITLE
Widow BluePow Wow Blues
Hakon HoyeOne Floor Down
Lucky PetersonPack It Up
Mindi Abair & The BoneshakersGood Day For The Blues
Honey HoundsShine On
Dynamite Blues BandMessed It Up
CW AyonI Need You Now
Janiva MagnessSomeday Never Comes
Tedeschi Trucks BandThey Don’t Shine
Ray Wylie HubbardJessie Mae
Jessie Mae HemphillDC 9
Joe KopickiLet’s Boogie
Jack BroadbentThe Other Side
The Allman Betts BandShinin’
Brandon SantiniGoing Home
Heather NewmanHigh Mountain Blues
Keb’ Mo’Put A Woman In Charge (Feat. Rosanne Cash)
The Nick Moss Band with Michael LedbetterHard Luck Woman
Martin HarleyHotel Lonely
Sean PolukEverybody Lies
Rev Neil DownWithout You I Can’t Ride
Left Lane CruiserSmooth Commander
HeavyDrunkMemphis
Dawn Tyler WatsonThe River
Matchedash ParishAfraid
Dom MartinThe Rain Came
Shaun MurphySame Old You
Demian BandWaiting

Gettin Close to Christmas Roadhouse Blues on BMFR

Tune in today on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com for my Gettin’ Close To Christmas Roadhouse Blues Nooner at High Noon EST! I’ll have some new tunes by Lucky Peterson, Diane Blue, Sugaray Rayford as well as some classics by Luther Allison, Freddie King, and Johnny Copeland.

The intended playlist is below:

ARTISTTITLE
Arlen RothTuff Tele
Luther AllisonGive Me Back My Wig
Travellin’ Blue KingsNinety Minutes
Mindi Abiar And The BoneshakersAll I Got For Christmas Is The Blues
Ash GrunwaldTrouble’s Door (feat Mahalia Barnes & Kim Wilson)
Dan Bubien & The Delta StrutsMemphis Sky
Freddie KingThe Danger Zone
Buddy GuyHome For Christmas
Sugaray RayfordSomebody Save Me
Honey HoundsGirl Like That
Dynamite Blues BandI Still Don’t Know
Albert CollinsDon’t Mistake Kindness For Weakness
Ana PopovicSoulful Dress
Coco MontoyaBluesman’s Christmas
Johnny CopelandEverybody Wants A Piece Of Me
Annika ChambersTwo Bit Texas Town
Albert KingAngel Of Mercy
Diane BlueThat’s a Pretty Good Love
Ben Racine BandThe Pleasure’s All Mine (Live)
B.B. KingBack Door Santa
Lucky PetersonThe Blues Is Driving Me
Big Daddy WilsonCrazy World
Zack Walther BandPayin’ For It Now
Angel ForrestRoll On Down
Dave P. MooreFort Necessity
HeavyDrunkPick You Up Along The Way
Delta MoonChristmas Time In New Orleans

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

Nov 19th – A Roadhouse Blues Nooner Tuesday on BMFR from 12-2 pm EST

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.

ARTISTTITLE
Johnny BurginLouisiana Walk (Feat. Nancy Wright)
Frank ChristopherSave Me From Myself
Al BasileSo Called Story Teller
Gregory SuttonJust One Dollar
Frank MagnoliaGot Juice Got Gas
Gracie CurranThings We Love
Tennessee RedemptionWe Got A Thing Going On
Bob Corritore and FriendsI’m Gonna Keep What I’ve Got (feat. Mighty Joe Milsap)
Altered Five Blues BandHalf Of Nothing
Luxuriant SedansWalk In My Shadow
GA-20Naggin’ On My Mind
James HarmanPump Our Own
Amnesia Blues BandNever Loved You Anyway
Giles RobsonLife, With All Its Charms
Ash GrunwaldAin’t My Problem (feat. The Teskey Brothers)
Holler and the BonesJimmy James
Tedeschi Trucks BandWalk Through This Life
HeavyDrunkPick You Up Along The Way
The Allman Betts BandLong Gone
Mark CameronNext Stop Is The Blues
Chris O’LearySecond Time Around
Josh NewcomGirl Got The Mojo
Griff Hamlin and The Single Barrel Blues BandNothing Better
Sparky ParkerThis Old Thing
Gov’t MuleWorried Down With The Blues
Tullie BraeBreak These Chains (Feat. Brandon Santini)

The October Beachin’ Blues

I’m down along the beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama this week. Here are some tunes that we are listenin’ to while drinking….eating oyster poboys…jambalaya…nookie burgers…red beans & rice…and oh…some more drinkin’….. (links to Spotify in blue)

Alabama Gulf Coast

Arsen ShamakhovSunset Beach

Couldn’t sing it bettah myself!! Arsen hails from British Columbia and has a hot new album, Rain City Blues.

Arthur “Big Boy” CrudupKeep On Drinkin’

Arthur inspired Elvis and was one badass delta bluesman!

Pinetop Perkins5-10-15 Hours (featuring Carolyn Wonderland)

Recorded in his mid nineties….Pinetop is one of the all time best.

Albert KingRoadhouse Blues

Some badass lowdown grindin’ blues from the master himself.

JJ Grey & MofroTen Thousand Islands

Some swamp blues are perfect for chillin’ on the beach.

HeavydrunkIf I Loved You Hard Enough

Absolutely one of my favorite tunes of 2019, the lyrics are modern Shakespeare and a vivid picture of a dysfunctional and powerful love.

Beth HartThankful

I am so thankful for my family and friends and the life I have…..Beth Hart sings my thanks bettah than I can express on her brilliant new album War In My Mind.

Hundred Seventy SplitHelp Me Baby

Two of the original members of Ten Years After have a new band and lay down a powerful rendition of their blues rock classic.

Tony Joe WhiteThe Beach Life

If Tony Joe White can’t get ya to chill out on the beach….it can’t be done!

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A note about streaming (which is great for exposing new artists and songs)…..it may surprise you to know that for every 10,000 streams of a song, the artist may make as little as $40 (US). But when you buy their CDs, they can make a decent living plying their craft. SO…….if ya love the music…use your favorite site and download the albums. And if you go see the artists live….buy those CDs, tee shirts, and hats at the show…….helps them defray road expenses and, in many cases, eat for the night.

Got the 7-11 Blues at 3 pm EST on BMFR!

I have got a passel of roadhouse blues from Australia, Europe, and across the USA today at http://www.bluesmusicfan.com (BMFR) from 3 to 5 pm EST.  Tune in…I promise ya these are some BADASS tunes!

Below is the intended playlist.

ARTIST TITLE
Ronnie Baker Brooks Pick Power
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram It Ain’t Right
Jimmie Vaughan It’s Love Baby (24 Hours A Day)
The Cash Box Kings Back Off
Peter Frampton Band I Just Want To Make Love To You (Feat. Kim Wilson)
Shemekia Copeland In The Blood Of The Blues
Savoy Brown Ain’t Gonna Worry
Diana Rein It’s You
The Rudy Boy Experiment This is How My Life Goes
John Pops Dennie You Got Another Thing Comin’
Little Billie Band Last Dollar
Josh Smith Half Blues
Keb’ Mo’ I Should’ve
Whitney Shay Love’s Creeping up on You
Southern Avenue Keep On
Michael Lee This Is
Jontavious Willis Liquor
Fruteland Jackson Two Steps To Hell
Lonesome Shack Trying To Forget
HeavyDrunk and the Hurricane If I Loved You Hard Enough
Grizzlee Train Gone Away
The Allman Betts Band Down To The River
Rockin’ Johnny & Quique Gomez The Jinx
Amnesia Blues Band Fast Johnny Cool
David Gogo From a Buick 6
Big Wolf Band Just Can’t Find You
Marcus Malone One More Time