An enticing Open Road to the Blues with some new Colin James

Every life is an open road. It’s a lyric from the title cut for Colin James‘ 20th album which was released this week. In Colin’ case, the certainty and direction of his musical journey was cemented when fate intervened back in the 1980’s in his hometown of Regina, Saskatchewan. A late no show and a desperate last minute search for an opening act for Stevie Ray Vaughan led to Colin. After the show, Stevie told him , “I’m opening doors for you….walk through them!”.And that he did!!

In 1988, Colin released his first self-titled album which contained two self-penned hits, Voodoo Thing and Five Long Years that garnered him the first of his 7 JUNO awards and a spot touring with Keith Richards. Over the ensuing years, Colin has rocked it, been credited with reviving swing music in Canada, and, with the last three albums, solidified his standings as one badass roadhouse bluesman.

The OPEN ROAD album is an impressive collection of original songs as well as covers of tunes he recalls first firing his imagination at the age of 12. It has rockin’ blues songs, traditional blues numbers, and beautiful roots tunes. Overcoming the challenges of the pandemic, Colin drew together the talents of Chris Caddell (rhythm guitar), Steve Pelletier and Norm Fisher (bassists), Simon Kendall and Jesse O’Brien (Hammond B3 organ), and Geoff Hicks (drums) to make the recording. It was mixed at the famed Abbey Roads Studios in London by producer Dave Meszaros. And the product, which includes guest appearances by Steve Marriner (harmonica) and Jerry Cook and Steve Hilliam (saxophone) is in my opinion his best overall release to date and worthy of consideration as one of the best blues recordings of 2021 world wide, not just in Canada. To give you a feel for just how good it is, I use a 5 star rating system for songs and there are 13 on the Open Road recording. My overall rating is an incredible 57 out of a possible 65. As context, my normal rating for an album I considered great would be 40 to 45! This recording is special!!

The album opens with some tasty guitar pickin’ on the Tony Joe White song As The Crow Flies. Colin then takes on challenge of covering an Albert King tune, Can’t You See What You’re Doing to Me. He follows that up with some badass lowdown blues on That’s Why I Am Crying. The fourth song Open Road was written by Colin and Craig Northey. It is insightful observation on life and the travails of a traveling musician. On the fifth tune, Change It, Colin pays tribute to his fateful meeting with Stevie Ray with a song written by Doyle Bramhall. The album also contains two songs written by Colin and Colin Linden, another of my favorite Canadian artists, Raging River and There’s a Fire. Colin cranks out a signature rockin blues tune, Leave This House, that he wrote with Tom Wilson as the seventh cut. Colin’s version of the Bob Dylan song, It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry is a showcase for his voice and some more tasty guitar licks. And he absolutely aces another Dylan tune, Down On the Bottom, that served as one of the “promo singles” released back in September. Colin also delivers a fabulous cover of the John Lee Hooker song, Bad Boy. One of my all time favorite bluesmen is Otis Rush and the recording of It Takes Time featuring some exquisite harmonica by Steve Marriner is just simply badass roadhouse blues! And to top it all off, the last song on the album is a soulful rendition of Otis Redding‘s I Love You More Than I Can Say.

I have been told that the average music lover buys a dozen or so albums a year. In what is fast becoming the new age of the single, I highly recommend that you purchase the entire recording to truly appreciate what an incredible recording this is! And in the coming months, I will be more than willing to hit the open road to see Colin James work his musical magic on stage….how about you?

Colin James – Open Road (2021 Stony Plain Records)


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. He also has a 24 hour stream devoted to the Roadhouse Blues… WRHB

Roadhouse Blues Nooner (12-2pm EST) on BMFR

Mhmm…got some badass new Roadhouse blues today during my Nooner on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com from 12-2 pm EST!. Have tunes from Alabama Slim (see his cool photo in the post), Johnny Gallagher, Bjorn Berge, Joanna Connor, Kirsten Thien, The WildRoots, Ally Venable, and a couple of classics from R.L. Burnside and John Lee Hooker!

Below is the intended playlist:

ARTISTTITLEALBUM
The Mighty KlucksC JamBackyard Blues
What the FRNKHey YaThere’s Something About You
3TIMES740 DaysSmile While I Sing The Blues
The Mighty KlucksMore WhiskeyBackyard Blues
Rocktrain Slaves5 String BluesThe Rock Springtime
Alabama SlimFreddie’s Voodoo BoogieThe Parlor
R.L. BurnsideDon’t Care How Long You’re GoneMississippi Hill Country Blues
John Lee HookerDimplesAnthology 50 Years – CD1
Johnny GallagherShake That TambourineA 2020 Vision (A Collection of Johnny Gallagher’s Work from the Last Ten Years in One Box)
Trainman BluesUndivided SeerShadows And Shapes
Kelly’s LotTook It BackBlind Raccoon Nola Blue Collection Volume Three Disc One
Trevor B. PowerWomanWhat Is Real
Bjorn BergeAlone AgainHeavy Gauge
Rocky & The House BandBall And ChainBackyard Blues
AJ Crawdaddy BandLove & WarPromo Single
Kenny James Miller BandGive That Dog A BoneTear In My Eye
Joanna ConnorIt’s My Time (feat. Joe Bonamassa)4801 South Indiana Avenue
Johnny Mastro and Mama’s BoysChild WolfElmore James For President
Rose Hudson With BarrelhouseThe Blues Will Burn YaBackyard Blues
Clas Yngstrom & Big Tex ThreeOutlaw BluesMr Bob’s Blue Devils
Kirsten ThienShoulda Been (Rock Slide Radio Mix)Blind Raccoon Nola Blue Collection Volume Three Disc One
The WildRoots634-5789WildRoots Sessions Volume 1
Ally VenablePlayed The GameHeart Of Fire
John Henry and the RainmakersPsycofillyJohn Henry and the Rainmakers
Brad StiversThree Times a FoolSIX
Krokfoss BandHave MercyAre You Ready
Mick ClarkeCrazy with the BluesCrazy with the Blues
Dudley TaftGoin’ Away BabyCosmic Radio
Jeremiah JohnsonDaddy’s Going Out TonightUnemployed Highly Annoyed

May 21st Good Time Roadhouse Blues on BMFR

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!!

Below is the intended playlist:

ARTISTTITLE
Dr. JohnHoney Dripper
Jeff FettermanGoin’ Down To Nashville
Geoff AchisonI Wish You Were Mine
Trevor B. Power BandI Wrote It Down
Three’s Company BluesUncover Me
Eliza Neals/Joe Louis WalkerThe Devil Don’t Love You
Lucinda WilliamsWhen The Way Gets Dark
Mike ZitoI Wouldn’t Treat a Dog (The Way You Treat Me)
Chuck BerryHouse Of Blue Lights
John Lee HookerI Need Some Money
Keb’ Mo’I Remember You
Cash Box KingsHot Biscuit Baby
Wayne Nicholson & John CampbelljohnStanding At The Crossroads
Be Sharp BandPut ‘Em Down
Terry HanckI Still Get Excited
Victor Wainwright & The TrainRecovery
Jersey Swamp CatsI Get Evil
Tony HolidayPaying Rent
The Mighty Mojo ProphetsPawnshop Bound
Jack PearsonI Feel All Right
Eric LindellI Got A Girl
Sam JohnstonTraveler
Meena Cryle & The Chris Fillmore BandTi-Na-Nee-Na-Nu (Live)
Brandon SantiniThis Time Another Year
Crankshaft and The Gear GrindersTrail of Tears
Lucinda WilliamsYou Can’t Rule Me

Roadhouse Blues Nooner for May 21st on BMFR at 12 pm EST

Hey Folks!  Got some new tunes…some classics…and a whole lot of contemporary blues today on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com during my Roadhouse Blues Nooner at 12 pm EST.

You can find the intended playlist below.

ARTIST TITLE
Arlen Roth Tuff Tele
Jimmie Vaughan Don’t Cha Know
Tony Cuchetti And Joe Flip Do Your Thing
Big Joe Shelton Hole In Yo Soul
Rosie Flores Mercy Fell Like Rain
Sean Taylor The Other Side Of Hurt
Kenny ‘Beedy Eyes’ Smith & The House Bumpers Keep On Pretending
Sugar Queen and the Straight Blues Band I Can’t Wait
Tony Holiday, James Harman, Kid Ramos Pickpocket Fingers (feat. James Harman & Kid Ramos)
Dennis Brennan & The White Owls Nothin’ But Love (Live)
Abel James Swamp Thing
Zakiya Hooker (ft John Lee Hooker) Rock These Blues Away
Black Carl Mama, Mama
Vidar Busk & His True Believers She’s So Fine
Karise Eden Gimme Your Love
Treynwrek Did You
Chris Bell & 100% Blues Cold Hearted Woman
Wes Jeans I’m a Good Man
Mike Henderson & The Bluebloods All My Money’s Gone
Chris Rea Never Tie Me Down
Myers Brothers Band Straight From The Woods
Wingman Tony Black The End of the Line (ft Lance Lopez)
Levi Platero One Day
Eliza Neals Windshield Wipers
Myles Goodwyn Good Man In A Bad Place
U. Pasanen Band The Bond

Something Old..Something New…and Always Blue on BMFR today at Noon EST!

Join us at NOON today on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com for my Roadhouse Blues set. I have some new Eric Gales, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Eric Jerardi, and John Mayall along with some classic tunes and plenty of contemporary upbeat blues from Europe, Australia, and North America.!  Below is my intended playlist. Hope ya tune in on your computer, tablet, or phone!

ARTIST TITLE
Johnny & The Headhunters Ace Of Spades
Kjell Gustavsson Rhythm & Blues Orchestra Wasting My Time
Willie May Don’t You Cry
Dion DiMucci Guitar Queen
Travellin’ Brothers The Spur
Ash Grunwald 180
John Lee Hooker I Need Some Money
The Allman Brothers Band Temptation Is A Gun
Boz Scaggs Radiator 110
Dana Fuchs Sad Solution
The Blue Chevys Witchcraft
Jon Butcher Box Of Miracles
U. Pasanen Band Compi Coupé
Dominic Schoemaker Fly Away
Big Jay McNeely Going To Paint The Town Red
Z.Z. Hill Shade Tree Mechanic
Tedeschi Trucks Band They Don’t Shine
Eric Jerardi Don’t Take It Personally
John Mayall What Have I Done Wrong (ft Joe Bonamassa)
Electric Blues Collective Smokestack Lightning
Haole Kid Local Boy Blues Project Money Bird
Hans Theessink Late Last Night
Long John And The Killer Blues Collective Hell Ain’t No Place To Be
Eric Gales With a Little Help From My Friends (ft Beth Hart)
Johnny Winter Let It Bleed
Robin Trower None But The Brave
Tommy Castro & The Painkillers Blues All Around Me
John Hiatt Over The Hill
Mark Knopfler Coyote