BluesMusicFan Radio Playlist for Nov 1st – Ben Vee

My intended playlist for today on Blues Music Fan Radio from 3-5 pm EST! Join us on your computer, tablet, or cellphone if  ya get a chance!

ARTIST TITLE
Bernie Marsden Get You Shorty
Shemekia Copeland Great Rain (ft John Prine)
Eric Clapton Every Little Thing
Marcia Ball Dance With Me
Crystal Shawanda Hound Dog
Anthony Geraci Why Did You Have To Go
Joe Bonamassa King Bee Shakedown
Sean Chambers Red Hot Mama
Kenny Wayne Shepherd She’s $$$
Peter Green Smile
Rita Chiarelli Hey Memphis
Rocky Jackson & The Igniters Let Me Love You Baby
Hamish Anderson Hold On Me
Oli Brown Can’t Get Next to You
Lindsay Beaver She’ll Be Gone
Johnny Jenkins Rollin’ Stone
Jim Allchin Found The Blues
Jimmy Z & The Z-Tribe Li’l Hurricane
Joanna Connor Rock Me Baby
Layla Zoe Are You Still Alive Inside
Marcus Malone Hurricane
Dry Johnson Little Bird
Harry Manx Roses Given
Melody Gardot Preacherman
Joe Louis Walker Ridin’ High
Nick & The Backbone Ridin’ With The Blues
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Layla Zoe – Gemini

layla zoe 1

Great art takes you out of your comfort zone. It often makes you look at life through another lens: Salvador Dali‘s dripping clocks (The Persistence of Memory) or Picasso‘s cubism (Girl Before A Mirror) are two examples.  They distort your perception of what should be and then challenge you to think and perceive in new ways. Layla Zoe’s new album, Gemini, did that for me. I have followed her career for awhile and have found her to be a powerful and sexy Canadian singer of the roadhouse blues; I did not expect the edginess,  depth, and emotion of the lyrics and songs on this album. It has changed my perception of her. She is not just another blues singer with a great voice; she is a crown jewel of the roadhouse blues and worthy of elevation to the same status I give Jeff Healey, her countryman.

As the title cut states she lives two different places …in the pain and the power.  Part of the album is power blues rock, part is great roadhouse tunes, another piece is beautiful  acoustic delta blues, and part is some intensely dark blues portraits of people in pain and crisis. The graphic explicitness of a few of the lyrics will probably offend some (and limit mainstream air play) as she relates through song riveting images of individuals at the crossroads.

layla zoe gemini

I can think of no other contemporary blues or blues rock artist that has put herself on the line and just laid it out there like Layla Zoe has on this album.  Certainly because of her voice, there are the inevitable comparisons to Janis Joplin. But in Layla’s case, I don’t think she is living the darkness in life (as Janis and Amy Winehouse did with their heavy drug use) as much as bringing it to vivid clarity for us.  As she relates in the song, The Deeper They Bury Me, the truth indeed will set you free. And she lays bare on several songs the deep and lonely truth of what the blues is for those in despair: equal parts anger, a need for revenge, and a profound sadness.

There are 20 songs on this double CD and normally I note each of the individual cuts that I liked the most on albums I review.  In this case, no one single will do justice to Layla’s talent or the portraits she conveys in song on this album. Certainly, Are You Still Alive Inside, a beautiful slow tempo blues rocker should get a lot of airplay. But you need to buy the album and experience her music in toto.  Afterwards, I’d love to hear what you think as comments on this web page!

Layla Zoe – Gemini (Self Release 2018)

Ben’s Best – 2016 Rockin’ Blues Bundle (Part Two)

As I stated in part one of this blog, there were some great tunes and albums released in 2016 by both established stars of the rockin’ blues genre and some exciting new artists. The artists noted are in no particular order….I encourage you to buy their music to help the blues to continue to thrive!

 

memphis-rock-and-soul-album

 

Melissa Etheridge – Memphis Rock & Soul

This is a GREAT album by one of the world’s best music artists.  Her voice and soul/rhythm & blues music were meant for each other.  She can rock it…she can funk it…she sings with soul…every cut on this album is a jewel! I particularly loved her covers of Rock Me Baby and Born Under a Bad Sign that feature John Mayer on guitar!  Kudos to Stax Records for releasing this masterpiece!!

 

colin-james-bule-highways

 

Colin James – Blue Highways

A Canadian national treasure, Colin’s latest album just reinforces his status as one of the best artists of the rockin’ blues. I loved the cuts HooDoo Man Blues, Going Down, and Gypsy Woman.  He is on my bucket list to see and interview!!

 

layla-zoe-breaking-free

Layla Zoe – Breaking Free

She’s a sultry rocker with a blues soul and a voice that brings the inevitable comparisons to Janis Joplin.  Another Canadian to make my 2016 Rockin’ Blues Bundle, I can’t wait for the chance to see her belt out her tunes. I loved the title cut, which is a rockin’ blues anthem to a woman taking charge of her life, as well as Work Horse and Wild One (a very adult tune..grins).

 

sonny-landreth

 

Sonny Landreth – Bound by the Blues

An artist from my birthplace in Lafayette, Louisiana, Sonny Landreth is one of the best slide guitarists on the planet according to Eric Clapton!  Though this album was released in 2015, it has so many great tunes on it that it continued to top the charts throughout 2016. Featuring a distinctive vocal style and tone on guitar, Sonny cranks out great covers of Walkin’ Blues, Dust My Broom, and Key to the Highway as well as the autobiographical original The High Side and the title cut.  Another selection for this list where you should enjoy all the tunes on the album.

monkeyjunkMonkeyjunk – Time to Roll

Following in the footsteps of their great 2015 album, Moon Turn Red, their latest offering builds on their reputation as one of the best of the contemporary blues artists out there.  From Ottawa, they are yet another Canadian group to blues their way onto the 2016 list! I loved the title cut, Undertaker Blues, and their cover of a Albert King tune, The Hunter.

 

 

stonesblueandlonesomeThe Rolling Stones – Blue & Lonesome

With the December 2016 release of this fantastic blues album, the Rolling Stones pay tribute to their roots.  Though arguably the greatest rock & roll band of all time, the Rolling Stones started out back in early sixties as a blues band. On this album, they pay tribute to the artists that made them who they are and they do it with respect. They play almost all the tunes on the album “straight up” with little attempt to embellish on the original arrangements…what emerges is a powerful blues sound played by band members in love with the music.

allyvenable1

 

 

Ally Venable Band – No Glass Shoes

It has been many years since I have heard a SEVENTEEN year old play guitar like this young lady based in Houston, Texas. She also has a good voice and obvious song writing talent. I enjoyed Wise Man, Train Wreck Blues, and her cover of a Bonnie Raitt tune written by Chris Smithers, Love Me Like a Man. She will have to pay her blues dues as the years go by but her talent reserves her a place on the stage for years to come.

popa-chubby-the-catfishPopa Chubby – The Catfish

When you want bad ass blues played from the heart with shredding guitar solos and lyrics sung by someone you know has lived them….you want Popa Chubby and his latest album. He tours worldwide..he plays hundreds of venues a year..he has bad ass cover art…he is THE ROCKIN BLUES.  Enuff said.

balkun-brothers-280x280Balkun Brothers – Balkun Brothers

A perfect representation of the contemporary rockin’ blues, this duo hails from my current home in Connecticut. I loved the cuts She Got It All and I Know What Ya Did off their debut self titled album.  Their music takes a traditional blues structure and then rocks it out with an interesting mix of both vocal and musical talent.  They are bringing their high energy sound to Memphis in late January to participate in the International Blues Challenge. I hope to make their fund raising gig for the trip in Berlin, CT on January 17th!!

danielle-nicole-wolf-denDanielle Nicole – The Wolf Den

Danielle’s debut album as a solo artist was released in 2015 but dominated the blues charts through all of 2016. Former lead singer for Tangled Under Foot, she is from Kansas City and has a powerful sultry voice and rockin’ blues stardom written all over her. I loved the title cut as well as It Ain’t You and her version of I Feel Like Breakin’ Up Somebody’s Home. She is definetely on the “must see” list!

jason-elmore

 

Jason Elmore & Hoodoo Witch – Champagne Velvet

A three piece band out of Texas, these guys play some smooth badass blues. Jason has a great blues voice and his guitar work is first class. (He reminds me a good bit of a young Jimmy Thackery.) I love Midnight in Memphis, Cross-Eyed Woman, and Double My Money.

 

 

lisa-mannLisa Mann – Hard Times, Bad Decisions

I fecommended this album earlier in the year in a separate blog. Lisa is based out of Portland Oregon (which is a hot bed of the blues!). She is blessed with a strong voice and some very good songwriting skills. AND she happens to be the reigning blues bassist of the world….for two years running. (Blues Music Award from the Blues Foundation, 2015 & 16). With her fourth album, Lisa has matured into a genuine contender for Female Blues artist of the year. The title cut is a great heart wrenching song, autobiographical in nature, that pulls no punches. I also enjoyed the thought provoking Judge a Man Forever and My Father’s House.

mikezito-makebluesnotwarMike Zito – Make Blues, Not War

Mike is the quinessentail rockin’ bluesman. A talented guitar player, songwriter, singer, and music producer, he has captivated blues audiences all over the place since he started crankin’ it out in 2008.  He is also the cofounder of the Royal Southern Brotherhood band which has captured the attention of the blues world in a big way.  His album Pearl River (one of my favorites) won Blues Album of the Year in 2010 and his latest work seems destinied to garner similar nominations. I loved the title cut as well as Bad News is Comin, Chip Off the Block, and Wasted Time.

ina-forsman

 

Ina Forsman – Ina Forsman

I have stated repeatedly over the past several years that the European blues scene is HOT and none is hotter than Ina Forsman.  A young Finnish artist with a strong sexy voice, she represents the leading edge of the next wave of European rockin’ blues women. I enjoyed Don’t Hurt Me Now and the “down the bayou” and New Orleans feel of the tune Hanging Loose.

 

thorbjorn-risagerThorbjorn Risager & The Black Tornado – Songs from the Road

Though released in 2015, this live album by Swedish artist Thorbjorn Risager got extensive airplay during 2016. It features some great crankin rockin’ blues and jump blues tunes that highlight Thorjorn’s gravely blues voice.  I loved If You Wanna Leave, Paradise, Too Many Roads, and Rock ‘N’ Roll Ride.

 

Well, I hoped you enjoyed this bunch of rockin’ blues tunes reviews that I assembled to represent the year 2016. As with all such lists, the constraints of time and space prevent me for listing and reviewing all the other great artists and tunes from the past year. (I can think of at least another 20 or so that could have easily made this listing.) Thanks for taking the time to read this and here’s wishing the best of the rockin’ blues for YOU in 2017.

North of the Border – Great Canadian Blues

Canadian MooseOver the years, I have spent considerable time in Canada in places like Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver.  Canadians as a rule are great people who love their beer and their hockey.  What I was surprised to find was how many love the electric blues and Jeff Healey in particular.  And in the last several years, there has been a surge of high quality blues rock emanating from our blues brothers and sisters north of the border.I thought I might turn you on to several!

David Gogo

Encouraged by Stevie Ray Vaughan at the age of 16 to pursue the blues, David labored at his craft throughout Canada and Europe as a young guy and put out his first album at the age of 25 (1994).  Fourteen albums later, he has created a master piece with the release of Vicksburg Call. The title cut is just bad ass electric blues..yah gotta listen to it!

David Gogo – Vicksburg Call

Layla Zoe

She has a fantastic voice that caught the attention of no less a bluesman than the great Jeff Healey some years ago.  Her love of the blues started with delving through her father’s record collection as a teenager and ten albums later, she is poised to breakout as an international blues star.  Her new album, Breaking Free, features 10 originals and a great cover of the Rolling Stone’s Wild Horses. My favorite Layla tunes are all lusty blues numbers and she continues the tradition on the new album with Wild One.  (Caution….this song contains strong sexual innuendo)

Layla Zoe – Wild One

Monkeyjunk

With the release of their fifth album, this Ottawa based band caught my attention.  Featuring two guitars and drums, but no bass, MonkeyJunk cranks out an exuberant brand of blues rock. Their latest album, Moon Turn Red, has two cuts I love: Light It Up and Show Me Yours.

MonkeyJunk – Light It Up

The Paul DesLauriers Band

This Montreal based trio cranks out some great blues rock.  Their second album, Relentless, is doing well on the blues charts and I look forward to seeing them if they get down in the Connecticut area.

The Paul DesLauriers Band – Up In the Air

Rootbone

Led by Darren Poole (formerly of the super blues group Fathead), this group’s debut album, The Long Road Home, features a cut, Wrong Way Jack, that I just love.  Darren does the lead vocals, all guitars, and serves as co-songwriter along with Ms. Bobbi Richards on vocals and percussions.  A nice tight band with a great future.

Rootbone – Wrong Way Jack

Colin James

A fixture on the Canadian blues rock and swing scene for over 25 year, Colin’s 15th album, Blues Highways, is due out in a couple of months. I can’t wait.  A talented guitar player, vocalist, and songwriter, no list of current Canadian blues rockers would be complete without him on it.  One of my favorite tunes by Colin is his cover of an old Robert Johnson tune, Walkin’ Blues, that he just aces with a blues rockin’ version.

Colin James – Walkin’ Blues

Hope you enjoyed the article and the tunes….and remember to support your local blues club and artists….help us keep the blues alive and vibrant!  All of these tunes will be featured on my 24 hour stream, Ben Vee Roadhouse Blues.