Conquerin the Blues – Anthony Rosano

Anthony RosanoEasily a nominee for 2017 Contemporary Blues band of the year, Anthony Rosano and the Conqueroos embody all that is best about the modern blues.   Tinged in rock but true to their blues core, the band’s new self titled album is great from beginning to end.  Based out of Norfolk, Virginia, they are a “must see” if they get close….great vocals and bad ass musicians.  From the delta acoustic “Proud of my Sins” to a fantastic blues ballad “Bound To You” (that I am getting repeated requests for during my blues sets) to sexy  rockin blues songs like “Wicked Grin” and “Revolve”, this is the rare CD where I love EVERY tune.

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ANTHONY ROSANO and the CONQUEROOS (Independent Artist label 2017)

 

 

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Eric Clapton – The Cream Always Rises to the Top

In late 1963, Eric Clapton joined the Yardbirds and began a career that few will ever surpass as a guitarist, singer, and songwriter.  He is a three time member of the Rock & Roll hall of fame (solo, Yardbirds, Cream) as well as a member of the Blues and the Songwriters halls.  Often referred to as a guitar god during his youth, Eric has experienced all the highs that fame and fortune can bring to an artist as well as the lows …..drug dependency….and grief at the loss of his 4 year old son, Conor, and his good friend Stevie Ray Vaughan on a fateful helicopter ride from a concert where they had both performed that night.

Eric ClaptonMy lovely wife, Annette, and I finally got to see him on Sunday, March 19th at Madison Square Garden. It was just days before he celebrated his 72nd birthday and frankly, I figured he would be good but……. .    Well, was I ever wrong!  He was absolutely in top form on stage in terms of his voice as well as guitar playing.

 

Starting and ending the concert with Cream tunes, he spent two hours on an impressive foray through a number of his hits.  At times acoustic and others electric, Eric sounded and played as well as he comes across on his studio albums.  He was not particularly talkative but you could tell by his facial expressions as the full house sang along to his songs that he was enjoying himself.  He played rock songs, pretty songs, tunes from his Tulsa period, and of course lot of blues music.  His encore song was “Before You Accuse Me”, a blues standard, and featured both Jimmy Vaughan (brother of Stevie and a great artist in his own right) and Gary Clark Jr. who performed earlier in the night.

To say that we enjoyed ourselves would be an understatement.  It was the most money I have ever paid for a pair of tickets to a concert and it was worth every dime.  He will be returning to the United States for a limited tour in the fall of 2017.  If he is on your bucket list, as he was mine, then check your listings and go see him!

Albert Cummings…The Badass Master Craftsman of the Rockin Blues

If you are working man or woman in Germany, Japan. Great Britain, the United States, Canada, or anywhere else in the world, Albert Cummings is a kindred spirit.   He is a master carpenter and home builder as well as being, according to the late great B.B. King, one of the world’s best blues guitarist. I got so see him this past Friday (February 17, 2017) at Stage One in Fairfield, Connecticut.  It is a small cozy venue without a bad seat in the house and it was a perfect setting for his style and music.

Albert comes across as an everyday person.  Dressed in an untucked maroon long sleeve shirt and jeans and wearing a grey baseball cat, Albert is your average working guy…..until he strikes a chord on his guitar and begins to belt out tunes with his distinctive voice.  He started playing the electric blues guitar while he was in college…drawn to it by the music of Stevie Ray Vaughan. And in 2003, he put out his first solo album, From the Heart, with no less than SRV’s group, Double Trouble, as his studio band and producers.  In 2006, he recorded, Workin’ Man Blues, on the album Working Man.  It is a remake of song written by Merle Haggard that fit’s Albert persona and will forever be the way that I think of him.

 

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On stage, Albert smiles and grins a lot.  It is obvious that he loves playing the blues.  And once he got started, it was rapid fire rockin blues for two hours.  Backed by a tight bass guitarist and drummer, he covered songs for his latest release, Someone Like You, on Blind Pig Records (a powerhouse blues label… http://www.blindpigrecords.com/ ) as well as favorites like Cry Me A River, Hoochie Coochie, and The Blues Make Me Feel So Good from his previous albums.

Afterwards he mingled with the crowd and I got him to sign my Albert Cummings baseball cap. He was as friendly in person as on stage. We chatted about the blues and he wished me the best as a blues dj and blogger and his thank you for me playing his tunes on my stream was just so damn genuine.

Over the next two months, Albert will be playing venues all over the northeastern United States, the mid west, and the South.  Check out his tour dates at http://albertcummings.com/tour-dates/ and if he comes your way, go spend an evening listening to the rockin blues of the Workin’ Man Albert Cummings.

Full Steam Through the Night with Thorbjorn Risager & The Black Tornado

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The first great blues rock album of 2017, Change My Game, is by Copenhagen based Thorbjorn Risager and the Black Tornado. A true mesh of blues, rock, and soul, the album resonates with a contemporary sound.  Thorbjorn was a distinctive voice meant for steamy nights at the club or home. Musically, the album makes tasteful use of horns, keyboards, and backup vocals to compliment the outstanding guitar and percussion work.

I have noted previously over the last year that a number of music artists have revived the true rhythm and blues and soul sound of the sixties and seventies on their releases. These genres are important categories of the blues and deserve the attention and respect they are getting from contemporary artists.  Beth Hart, Melissa Etheridge, along with perennials Curtis Salgado and Janiva Magness come to mind and Thorbjorn fits nicely into this group of stellar performers.  The title cut is vintage funk…upbeat and snappy. Long Gone is a slow lyrical masterpiece filled with late night images of sorrow and pain. And I Used To Love You is a beautiful song with some awesome blues guitar riffs and a nice beat.

thorbjorn-1On a number of cuts on the album, Thorbjorn continues to expand on the blues for contemporary audiences.  Train is just badass contemporary upbeat rockin’ blues…ridin full steam through the night. Holler and Moan builds on the delta roots of the electric blues and makes tasteful use of blues chant and horns as well as the banjo to highlight the growling vocals of Thorbjorn…a very cool tune.  Maybe It’s Alright is a perfect synergy of the blues, soul, and rock that should drive people to the dance floor at juke joints worldwide.

Without a doubt, Thorbjorn Risager and the Black Tornado, are world class talents.  This is the tenth record release for the group and with the power and drive of blues giants Ruf Records behind them, they should get a lot of airplay on blues stations and streams (like mine) across the globe.  They will be touring in Denmark, Germany, and Sweden to support the new album over the next several months. As the airplay builds for the record, I expect the tour to expand through the rest of Europe during the summer.  I know it is very expensive for an eight member European band to travel and play in the United States, but I do hope they will make one foray to the northeastern United States and Canada. I know enough about the current blues and blues rock music scene to say with full confidence that audiences in New York City, Hartford, Boston, Montreal, and Toronto will love their music!! I just hope I get to see them soon…..or can find a cheap flight to Copenhagen!