We will spend the first hour of today’s roadhouse blues rock show on www.bluesmusicfan.com from 3-5 pm covering some fabulous tunes by Robert Johnson PLUS I have some great new songs from Dom Turner, Dyer Davis, GeminiiDragon, Jeff Pitchell, Joe Louis Walker, JD SIMO, and Dr. Helander & Third Ward! Hope you get a chance to join us!
Hope you get a chance to listen in today to the Ben Vee Roadhouse Blues Nooner on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com from 12-2 pm EST. We will roll out with a Faces tune featuring Rod Stewart from back in the day and then spend the rest of the show spinning some incredible new contemporary blues from artists all over the USA and around the world:Manny Fizzotti, Joe Louis Walker, Natalia M. King, Malted Milk, Bad Temper Joe, Colin James, Carolyn Wonderland, and a whole bunch more!!
Three Button Hand Me Down
Joe Louis Walker
Two Trains Running
Son Of Dave
Gimme A Doctor
Natalia M. King
Pink Houses (Feat. Elliott Murphy)
Mick Schafer Band
Don’t Wanna B Judged
Zoom With Shawn Kellerman
Born To Sing The Blues
Does Anybody Know
P K Mayo
Santana ft. Chris Stapleton
Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats
I’m On Your Side
I Want My Crown (Feat. Joe Bonamassa)
Altered Five Blues Band
All Suit, No Soul
The Head Hunters Blues Band
Forty Days And Forty Nights
Turn Me On
Let Me Ride
Circle Of Mud
Andreas Diehlmann Band
Made It My Way
Bad Temper Joe
3rd Floor Elevator Blues
The Doobie Brothers
Broken Hearted Blues
When They Put Me in My Grave
Just Need A Kind Hearted Woman ( Feat Robben Ford )
This year has been another great one for Roadhouse Blues releases AND they just keep comin’!!!! Here are some that might interest you…….
Santana – Blessings and Miracles
It’s album number 26 for the band Santana and the groove nevah felt better! The band gets an assist from Chris Stapleton and Steve Winwood on a album chocked full of other guest appearances.A bluesey cover of Whiter Shade of Pale is worth the price of admission!
The Kentucky Headhunters – That’s a Fact Jack!
Southern influenced blues rock…oh yeah!
Out this week:
Gov’t Mule – Heavy Load Blues
Warren Haynes says this is the first Gov’t Mule to explicitly focus on the blues. Listen to the promo video single Make It Rain and understand why I can’t wait to get my hands on the entire recording.
Joe Louis Walker – Eclectic Electric
He started out years ago hangin’ backstage with Jimi Hendrix and released his first album in the mid eighties. I have been a big fan ever since and even got to trade shots with him one night at Black Eyed Sally’s in Hartford, CT. The album is truly an eclectic mix of blues’d up songs featuring his prowess on guitar and that distinctive voice.
Coming in December
Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Barn
When ya just want the windows to rumble to the music…..Crazy Horse will always do!
Due out in early 2022
Keb’ Mo’ – Good To Be
Tinsley Ellis – Devil May Care
Willie & the Bandits (UK) – When the World Stood Still
John Mayall – The Sun is Shining Down
John had recently announced that he would no longer tour but only perform locally in California so I was happy to hear he will put out a new album in late January 2022 featuring Marcus King, Buddy Miller, and Mike Campbell. A music icon and elder statesman of the blues; anything he cares to record I want to listen to.
Eric Gales – Crown
This will be an interesting album. Eric collaborated with Joe Bonamassa on the recording and if the first single I Want My Crown is any indication it will be pretty badass.
I’m back! I’ve got the Roadhouse Recovery Blues for ya today at High Noon on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com. Thanks to many of you for the thoughts and prayers! My playlist today includes new songs by Veronica Lewis, The Murray Brothers, Trevor B. Power, the Thirsty Mamas, as well as great tunes by George Thorogood, Joe Louis Walker, Long Tall Deb, and a bunch of others!
Below is the intended playlist:
Me & You
You Ain’t Unlucky
Long Tall Deb & The Drifter Kings
The Private Dicks Band
Late Night Man
Peter Veteska & Blues Train
Baby You’ve Got What It Takes
The Band Of Heathens
The Murray Brothers
Come Back Home
George Thorogood & the Destroyers
So Much Trouble
Trevor B. Power
Kris Lager Band
Kris Done Took My Woman [Feat Magic Slim]
Joe Louis Walker
Ain’t That Cold
Hound Dog Taylor & The Houserockers
Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite
Found The One
Blackie & The Rodeo Kings
Sometimes It Comes Easy
See See Baby
Lookin for Somebody
Men In Blues
Don’t Take My Blues Away (ft Roy Young)
Born Under a Bad Sign (with Steve Cropper, Keb’ Mo’, & Albert Lee)
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.
Another Day in San Jose
Love & Peace
Force of Will
Rebel Moon Blues
Billy Walton Band
Snowy White and the White Flames
Something on Me
Rae Gordon Band
Wrong Kind of Love
Robert Jon & The Wreck
Last Light on the Highway
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!
If You Don’t Know By Now
The Allman Betts Band
Bless Your Heart
Thorbjorn Risager and The Black Tornado
Come On In
The New World Blues
Church House Blues
Avey Grouws Band
The Devil May Care
The Reverend Shawn Amos & The Brotherhood
Be Sharp Band
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.
Ice Cream In Hell
The Good, the Bad and the Bette
Joe Louis Walker
Blues Comin’ On
Joanne Shaw Taylor
Black Crow Moan
Tales from the Psychedelta
THE BEN VEE ROADHOUSE TOP TEN BEST BLUES ROCK ALBUMS OF 2020
#10 – Albert Cummings – Believe
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 Taildraggers – The 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 Poe – Self 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 Brown – Ain’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 Gomes – Containment 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 Johanson – Below 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 Zito – Quarantine 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 Flam – Ain’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 – Dion – Blues 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 Trout – Ordinary 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.
My first Roadhouse Blues Nooner of the fall season is today (Sept 20th) from 12-2 pm EDST. Tune in for songs by Casey James, Kiko Garcia, Sass Jordan, Keb’ Mo’, Cary Morin, the One Dime Band, and many more!
Below is the intended playlist. I hope you enjoy several enough to download them from your favorite music site and support the artists! During this pandemic, many bands and musicians have been particularly hard hit worldwide because there is no place to perform! Every paid download helps!!
It’s back to the real world after a long Labor Day Weekend here in the United States. Join us from High Noon until 2 pm EST today on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com for the Ben Vee Roadhouse Blues Nooner.
Here is the intended playlist:
Sugar Ray & the Bluetones feat. Little Charlie Baty
Too Far from the Bar
New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers
Night Time (feat Jimbo Mathis)
The Longer That I Live
2020 Blues Sampler Alligator Records
Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters
You Don’t Know What Love Is
Mary Bridget Davies
Thunder and Lightin’
Wanna Feel Somethin’
Chris Bevington Organisation
Bad Bad Bad
Sand & Stone
A Band Called Sam
Voice Of The Blues
I Believe I Got Off Cheap
2020 Blues Sampler Alligator Records
Let The Music Get Down In Your Soul
S.O.S.-Save Our Soul
Living In A Burning House
2020 Blues Sampler Alligator Records
Sugar Ray & the Bluetones feat. Little Charlie Baty
Gonna be spinnin’ alot of blues rock and several tunes from the new DION album during today’s Ben Vee Roadhouse Blues Nooner at http://www.bluesmusicfan.com from 12 to 2 pm ET. Also have songs from the Quarryteen Men, Joe Bonamassa, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Ana Popovic, Sue Foley. Beth Hart, and many more.
Below is the intended playlist:
Getting To The Point
Way Down (I Won’t Cry No More) (Feat. Stevie Van Zandt)
Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Anywhere The Wind Blows
The Quarryteen Men
John Cook, Rich Newman, Rory Gallagher, Spoon
Leaving Town Blues
Woke Up Dreaming
Call Me Crazy
Blues Comin’ On (Feat. Joe Bonamassa)
The Rolling Stones
Living In A Ghost Town
Get Back Home To You
Funky Guitar Blues
I Can’t Stop The Blues
I Got Nothin’ (Feat. Van Morrison & Joe Louis Walker)
I have new songs by Lucinda Williams, Jeff Fetterman, Tony Holiday, Eliza Neals, Victor Wainwright, and many more Good Time Roadhouse blues tunes today, May 21st, at http://www.bluesmusicfan.com from 3 to 5 pm ET. Grab yer favorite beverage and call/message a friend and ask them to share the social distancing blues with ya!!