DayDreams in Blue with Anthony Geraci

Years ago down in Birmingham, I got my start managing bands and helping to produce concerts. And at least once a month, I would wander into an aging hotel downtown that was long past its prime. Most of the guests were budget vacationers traveling in the South or just off the bus from the Greyhound terminal down the block. But it was a warm and friendly place with a great little smokey piano bar with smiling waitresses, great martinis, and some damn fine jazzy blues. It had a healthy mix of old timers and young people from the local area as well as the occasional hotel guest and was just a fun place to hang out and listen to the music.

Listening to Anthony Geraci on his new album Daydreams in Blue brought back memories of that place and time with his virtuoso piano playing of both upbeat roadhouse style tunes and jazzy blues numbers that let you drift off into memory land. Dennis Brennan does almost all of the singing on the album and his Randy Newman style voice is a perfect fit for Anthony’s music. Monster Mike Welch does most of the guitar playing with other guest appearances by Walter Trout (guitar), Peter Ward (guitar), Troy Gonyea (guitar). Michael Mudcat Ward handles the acoustic bass, Jeff Armstrong is on drums, and Scott Arruda along with Mark Early do some badass horn playing. Overall, it is a fantastic supporting cast for the album.

With regards to the roadhouse blues, I loved the blues shufflin’ Mister. Anthony pounds those ivories and Dennis wails on his harmonica…..badass tune. One note from the guitar on No One Hears My Prayers and you know Walter Trout is in the studio. The back and forth between Anthony’s keyboards and Walter’s guitar is simply awesome. And another little jewel is Tutti Frutti Booty with Anthony on vocals. It is some classic boogie woogie that will get ya boppin’ in your easy chair.

Among the more jazzy blues tunes on the album that highlight Anthony’s keyboard talent, I loved Daydreams of a Broken Fool, Hard to Say I Love You, and the sultry Jelly, Jelly. My favorite Dennis Brennan vocals on the album are on Living in the Shadow of the Blues… the song and lyrics are picture perfect for him.

Every song on the album was enjoyable and I hope you will download and give it a listen. Daydreams in Blue is never a bad way to spend an afternoon or evening sometime soon. In fact, you can catch Anthony and Dennis live online Friday, July 10th at 7:30 pm ET. Just follow these links for more info… https://www.facebook.com/epsfalloutshelter and https://www.youtube.com/user/alternateroot1?fbclid=IwAR1dBUei%20wqPhULzrXjYLvfmeEwCJKa1lkkKHRi3bILcVDLs2eGpguSRqTM .

Anthony Geraci with Dennis Brennan – Daydreams in Blues (2020 Shining Stone Records)


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.

Ben’s Bin Full of Blues Reviews for Oct 30 2018

 

My thoughts go out to the people of the Jewish community in Pittsburgh as they mourn the senseless and hateful act of violence in their midst. I think I can speak for the blues community when I say that we share your grief and stand next to you arm in arm in the battle against bigotry and hate.

With that stated,   I move on to quick reviews of some albums I have listened to recently.

Eric Bibb – Global Griot (Stony Plain Records, 2018)

Eric Bibb

The term griot (gree-oh) refers to a class of traditional West African musicians and storytellers that carried on the oral traditions of their people.  Eric Bibb certainly merits inclusion given his roots and his artistry on the acoustic and electric guitars and his easy story telling voice.  Reflecting a truly global perspective with recordings for the album done in France, Sweden, Jamaica, Ghana, England, and the United States, this two CD set was an enjoyable listen.

I particularly liked Gathering of the Tribes, All Because, Grateful, Remember Family, and Race & Equality. And the song, Michael…Row Da Boat Ashore, brought back memories of long road trips with my parents and five kids in a Chevy station wagon. My mother would lead us in singing old gospel and traditional tunes. I thank Eric for reawakening memories that bring both sadness and joy; it is the truly the power of music in the fingers and voice of a master!

John Akapo – Paradise Blues (Mensch House Records, 2018)

john akapo

Hawaiian born and Samoan blooded, Big John Akapo is a talented acoustic guitarist with the perfect voice for the style of delta and mellow blues that he plays on his debut recording, Paradise Blues.  I loved his renditions of the blues classics, I Can’t Be Satisfied, and Ramblin’ On My Mind.  I also enjoyed his original songs Little Lani, Don’t Believe Her, and Maui Drive.

John has stated that “I think my music is like a tree rooted in traditional blues but sprinkled with Pacific salt water.”  Here’s to hopin’ that the tree continues to flourish and that we hear much more from him as the years go by!

Anthony Geraci – Why Did You Have To Go (Shining Stone Records 2018)

anthony geraci

Anthony Geraci is a gifted blues pianist  His career spans over 40 years and he is an original member of both Sugar Ray and the Bluetones and Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters. His blues pedigree attracted the likes of Ronnie Earl, Sugar Ray Norcia, Monster Mike Welch, Kid Ramos, Dennis Brennan, Jimi Bott, Sugaray Rayford, Willie J. Campbell, and Michelle “Evil Gal” Willson to contribute to his newest recording, Why Did You Have To Go.

The album features 13 all original tunes and showcases the blues, R&B, and even a bit of jazz. Though based in Massachusetts, he spent sometime in Clarksdale, Mississippi, the epicenter of the delta blues, as he wrote songs for the album and the influence shines through on the song, Baptized in the River Yazoo.  My favorite on the album is the title cut, a great soulful R&B tune. I also loved Fly On the Wall, Don’t the Grass Look Greener, and the down the bayou feel of Long Way Home. And if all that wasn’t enough, the song My Last Good Bye is some great deep down grindin’ blues.

Overall, this is an joyous celebration of the blues….a worthy addition to my collection and hopefully yours!