Trio of 2022 Canadian Releases You Need to Give a Listen

Would you like to listen to some new roadhouse blues tunes? Here are some Canadian artists that you ought to lend an ear!!!

The Hogtown Allstars – Hog Wild (Stony Plain Records 2022)

Featuring Chuck Jackson and Gary Kendall (of Downchild fame), this Canadian group, The Hogtown Allstars, cranks out some lively jump blues and a bit of classic R&B. Also loved the title cut, Hog Wild.

HOROJO TRIO – Set the Record (Stony Plain Records 2022)

Featuring JW Jones, an incredible guitar player, the fantastic voice of Jeff Rogers, and the steady drumming of Jamie Holes, this Canadian band’s debut album Set The Record features an array of R&B and soul tunes that I loved listening to: Hard As I Can, Man of Steel, A Little Goes a Long Way, and Real Deal….(and that they are!).

Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne – From Chicago to Paris (Stony Plain Records 2022)

The new recording, From Chicago To Paris, is a tribute by Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne to the music of Memphis Slim and Willie Dixon, two icons of the blues. Kenny is an expat from the United States and a long time resident of Canada who is one badass keyboard player and a master of the boogie woogie blues style. The album features 17 selections of which I loved Rock and Rolling This House and The Way She Loves a Man the best.


#blues #roadhouseblues

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 personal 24 hour stream devoted to the Roadhouse Blues… WRHB as well as a Youtube channel.

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

Sue Foley – A Canadian at home in Texas on Pinky’s Blues

Sue Foley saw her first blues concert in Canada at the age of 15 and she has been captivated by the blues ever since. She is a Texas infused Canadian who has released 16 albums since 1992. A talented singer, songwriter, and guitarist, she exhibits her talent and her love of the blues genre on the new recording Pinky’s Blues. The name of the album comes from her hot pink Fender guitar which is front and center on the songs.

The album was recorded over a three day period during the pandemic in 2020 and features Chris “the Whipper” Layton of Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble fame, Mike Flanigin on the Hammond B3 organ (he also produced the album) and Jon Penner on bass who has been with Sue on a number of her recordings over the years.

The signature cut on the album is Hurricane Girl which features a special appearance by the renown Jimmie Vaughan on rhythm guitar. It is simply some badass roadhouse blues and a perfect vehicle for Sue’s talent. As she sings in the song, she is a force of nature that has paid her dues in a career spanning over 30 years. Check out the video here !!

Another song and video release from the album is Dallas Man. It is vintage upbeat Texas blues and she wrote it while thinking of all of the great bluesmen that have come out of Dallas including Freddie King, Bugs Henderson, Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughan, Anson Funderburgh, and Doyle Bramhall II to mention just a few. There is also a third song and video that I really enjoyed, Southern Men, because of the numerous shots focused on Sue playin’ that damn guitar.

I also enjoyed Two Bit Texas Town (written by another Texas legend Angela Strehli), Stop These Tears (written by Lavelle White), and Frankie Lee Sim’s Boogie Real Low. And if you want a straight up sampling of Sue’s guitar playing prowess just listen to the instrumental title cut….mhmm.

Sue has embarked on an extensive tour of Canada, the United States, and Europe over the next year to support the album. I hope to be among the crowd that gets a chance to see this stellar performing artist.


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

Steve Marriner – The Quintessential Roadhouse Bluesman releases HOPE DIES LAST

Steve Marriner is a man after my own heart as he drifts effortlessly from roots music to contemporary blues to blues rock on his new release, HOPE DIES LAST. He is the quintessential roadhouse bluesman from Canada who is balancing a solo career while also being part of the Manx Marriner Manline and a favorite band of mine, MonkeyJunk. Over the years he has performed extensively with Colin James, one of the superstars of the Canadian roadhouse blues, as well as Samantha Martin, Paul Reddick, Delta Sugar, and Lee Holmes.

For the new recording, Steve teamed with Jimmy Bowskill, a renown blues rocker, to produce the album. The result is some roadhouse magic! The first single/video released back in June was How High, a crankin’ blues rocker. A couple of days before the official release of the album on July 2, another video for Long Way Down came out. It is a haunting sad roots tune about addiction that is simply beautiful. The “radio ready” tune Take Me to the City is my personal favorite with a catchy beat, some great guitar licks, and some nasty harpin’. Honey Bee is some badass raw roadhouse blues and Coal MIne highlights Steve’s incredible voice. You Hear My Heart is another song on the album that ya just have to give a listen……the music….the voice….the guitars…and the harmonica…WOW! Another interesting tune on the recording is Petite Danse. It is a perfect “down the bayou” tune from my home state of Louisiana that Steve sings in French. From Montreal to New Orleans, it will have people dancing in the aisles!

Steve is a hard working talent balancing his time between a number of bands. I just hope he can make the time to tour on his own in the coming years and gets a chance to showcase his talents as a songwriter, singer, and musician. He is well on his way to becoming a roadhouse blues superstar and another of the musical treasures of the great nation of Canada.

Steve Marriner – Hope Dies Last (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

A Bin Full of Roadhouse Blues 2020 (They Make GREAT Christmas Gifts) – Part One

So you still have people on your Christmas list to shop for or maybe just a little something for yourself? No problem!! Here are some roadhouse blues albums that will endear you to your friends and help out the blues artists….all of whom have been financially struggling during this hideous year while producing some fantastic tunes!

Steve Strongman – Tired of Talking (Stony Plain Records 2020)

Steve Strongman drifts effortlessly from traditional blues to R&B and soul and then to roots acoustic music on this fine album, Tired of Talking. This Canadian artist sings, plays the guitar, dobro, and does some damn fine harpin’ also. He’s good enough to have opened for B.B. King, Johnny Winter, and Buddy Guy and that is damn sure good enough for me….and hopefully for YOU! Give Just Ain’t Right a listen!

Grainne Duffy – Voodoo Blues (2020 Independent Release)

With a powerful gritty soulful voice, this Irish lass has delivered a masterful roadhouse blues recording with the release of her seventh album, Voodoo Blues. Part roots blues, southern rock, and blues rock, overall it is representative of the talent and bright future that she has. Her style is ready made for live performances and festival appearances. As soon as the pandemic recedes, expect to hear a lot more from her! Give the title cut, Voodoo Blues, a listen….see what I mean!!

Johnny Iguana – Johnny Iguana’s Chicago Spectacular! (Delmark Records 2020)

If you love some rockin’ vibrant piano blues….have I got the album for you or someone you know! This badass blues man hails from Chicago and on Johnny Iguana’s Chicago Spectacular, he does rousing covers of 44 Blues, Down in the Bottom, Shake Your Moneymaker, and Stop Breaking Down. He was part of Junior Wells Band for a time and has toured or recorded with Buddy Guy, Billy Branch, Billy Arnold, and a number of other Chicago blues greats. Now, on his first album as the band leader, Johnny pounds the ivories through some great contemporary songs as well as blues classics. Cool tunes from a great guy!!

Brother Jon Band – Open Jam (Independent Release 2015)

I’m honored that so many independent artists choose to send me copies of their recordings. Just recently, I got one from Minneapolis that just blew me away. The Brother Jon Band has a badass roadhouse blues sound that is reminiscent of Canned Heat and the Black Crowes with hints of Guns ‘N Roses. Music like this brings back a lot of memories. Give WHEN SHE CRIES a listen (on Spotify) or BOBBY’S BLUES (on Youtube) and see if you don’t agree and then go to this link and download the album, Open Jam!

Duke Robillard – Blues Bash with Duke Robillard & Friends (Stony Plain Records 2020)

Photo by David Lee Black

I absolutely love 1950’s style upbeat blues. It was an era when the blues was in the process of giving birth to rock ‘n roll and the Duke captures the essence of that golden era for music with the new Blues Bash with Duke Robillard & Friends recording. It is an excellent album to have playing for small Christmas party gathering. The tunes are danceable, bright, and energetic. (Try Do You Mean It! This Grammy nominated artist and five time winner of the Blues Music Award as best guitarist has been thrilling audiences all over the world since 1967 and this recordings demonstrates why he won’t be stopping anytime soon.

Kerry Kearney – Tales from the Psychedelta (2020 Highlander Records)

A slide guitar player who I would put up against the likes of Sonny Landreth and Derek Trucks, Kerry Kearney is a Long Island native who released his 18th recording this year, Tales From The Psychedelta. It is actually a compilation album that includes tracks that are no longer in print making it a nice gift for those familiar with him as well as new fans. Listen to his vocals and the badass guitar licks on Voodoo Down The River and I think you will understand why I named this album one of the 40 best blues rock albums of 2020 earlier this week.

Michael “Iron Man” Burks – Show of Strength (2012 Alligator Records)

Michael Burks’ Show of Strength album is one that I place among the pantheon of stellar blues recordings alongside works by Luther Allison and Buddy Guy. Tragically, Michael never got to hear the final mix of his work. He died suddenly of heart failure while returning from a tour of Europe. A son of Arkansas, Michael was the complete blues man; a showman, stellar guitar player, and he possessed a powerful voice that dripped with the soul. There isn’t a bad song among the 12 tracks and my personal favorite is Storm Warning. You can’t go wrong with this as a stocking stuffer for a friend or family member.


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.

The term “roadhouse blues” refers to modern contemporary blues that are primarily upbeat in nature and incorporate the influence of rock, roots music, soul, and R&B.

Checkin Out the Blues for June 2020

Some artists that I have checked out during June….that you should too! (Links in blue are to the albums on Spotify.)

Rory Block – Prove It On Me (2020 Stony Plain Records)

A first class acoustic guitar player with a great voice and a true appreciation for the blues, Rory Block (a six time winner of blues awards from the prestigious Blues Foundation) unearths some gems by early female blues singers and applies her special touch to them. This is the second Power Women of the Blues recordings she has done and it is a great listen.

I enjoyed her new song Eagles as well as He May Be Your Man (Helen Humes), It’s Red Hot (Madlyn Davis), and Wayward Girl Blues (Lottie Kimbrough).

Kyle Yardley – St. Louis to Savannah (2020)

Some badass Chicago blues from singer and harmonica player Kyle Yardley who hails from St. Louis and is now lives in Georgia. Particularly loved Little Girl which features some licks from one of my favorite guitarists, Johnny Burgin, and also loved That Ain’t Right, Savannah Georgia Women, and Country Girl (alternate version).

Evelyn Rubio – Crossing Borders (2020 Productions On Seaspeed LLC)

Evelyn Rubio hails from Mexico City and is now based in Houston. A singer and saxophone player, when she turns up the volume and lets it wail, she is at her finest. Really liked I Made a Mistake, Just Like A Drug, and One More Last Time.

Joshua Batten – The City Within (2020 Batten Down Music)

Joshua Batten hails from Australia and at 23 has just released his second recording that features a range of tunes across several genres. I loved the blues rocker Tell Me I am Wrong as well as Silver Dollars and The Fox and The Hound. All three will get airplay during my roadhouse blues shows on Blues Music Fan Radio.

Jose Ramirez – HERE I COME (2020)

Produced by the great Texas bluesman Anson Funderburgh, Jose Ramirez’s new album features some stellar guitar playing and singing and is full of catchy blues tunes. Jose hails from Costa Rica and is now based in Tampa, Florida. With a Robert Johnson tat on his arm and a distinctive guitar tone, he is more than ready to pay his blues dues. I loved One Woman Man as well as Gasoline and Matches and Stop Teasing Me. Keep an ear out for this guy…..he has a very bright bluzin’ future!

Jan JamesJUSTIFY (2020 Blues Palace Records)

Jan James has been singin’ the blues and payin’ her dues for many years. The new album Justify may finally get her the broad based recognition she is due as one of the contemporary blues’ great female singers. I loved the songs A Different Life, Believe in Me, and I’m Always Coming Back. Her long time partner Craig Calvert plays some mean guitar licks as well on all the songs. Overall, a great blues recording!!

What have YOU been listening to over the past month?? Leave a comment with an album that you have enjoyed….we wants to know!!!


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.

Kenny ‘Blues Boss’ Wayne – Doin’ It Mighty Fine!

At the age of 75, Kenny ‘Blues Boss’ Wayne has cooked up a fine blues gumbo of 13 songs that range from boogie woogie to a compelling blues rendition of a Lynyrd Skynyrd classic. An expat from the United States who has lived and recorded in Canada since the 1980’s, the Blues Boss released his eleventh studio album, GO, JUST DO IT!, a couple of weeks ago to a chorus of applause from across the blues spectrum. With talent on the keyboards, and a soulful energetic voice, Kenny reminds us with some stunning riffs and rolls that the piano and other keyboard instruments have been as vital a part of the blues over the years as the electric guitar.

My personal favorite on the recording is the title cut that features a vocal duet performance with Canadian Dawn Tyler Watson, a rising blues star in her own right. It’s a funky upbeat tune with lots of horns that sends a message that resonates in my life; don’t let folks tell what you can’t do……Go…just do it!

Another song that made me sit up and listen on the album is You’re In For A Big Surprise. It is 60’s style martini bar jazzy blues number that is splendidly delivered by Kenny and Grammy Award winning Diane Schuur. The keyboard playing is stellar and the horns are terrific. It brought back memories of Nina Simone and that is nevah a bad thing!!

Additionally, That’s the Way She Is is a great roadhouse blues tune that I will be giving a lot of spins during my radio shows. I also enjoyed the boogie woogie instrumental Let the Rock Roll as well as Lost & Found, Motor Mouth Woman, and You Did a Number on Me. Kenny also takes on the Lynyrd Skynyrd classic They Call Me the Breeze and produces a great bluzin’ cover.

Kenny was ably assisted on the recording by a slew of talented musicians including horn players Jerry Cook and Vince Mai (Powder Blues), guitarist Yuji Ihara (Boogie Patrol), renown harmonica player Sherman Doucette, Russell Jackson on bass (B.B. King), Joey “the Pocket” Dimarco on drums (Studebaker John) , Barry Sharbo on tamborine, and additional vocals by Julie Masi (Parachute Club) and Kenny’s son Corey Spruell.

So…if ya wanna hear one of the great singing and piano talents of the blues (and a member of the Boogie Woogie Hall of Fame) givin’ it all he has….buy this album……GO, JUST DO IT!

Kenny ‘Blues Boss’ Wayne – Go, Just Do It (2020 Stony Plain 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 Monday Blues Bin (7/15/19)

It’s summertime in Connecticut.  I am sittin’ out in my man cave enjoying the heat, smokin’ a cigar, and listening to some new albums.

Zac HarmonMississippi BarBQ (Catfood Records 2019)

Zac Harmon

A great mix of soul, Chicago blues, and a touch of blues rock, the new Zac Harmon album Mississippi BarBQ was produced by Jim Gaines (Stevie Ray Vaughan, Santana).  It also features a stellar group of studio musicians known as the Rays: Bob Trenchard (bass), Richy Puga (drums), Johnny McGee (guitars), Dan Ferguson (keyboards), Mike Middleton (trumpet), Andy Roman (alto sax), Nick Flood (tenor and baritone sax), and Drake Dominigue (trombone & tuba).

Zac has been recording since 2003 and with this CD, he steps it up to a new level. The voice is fabulous, his guitar playing is first class, and the song writing conveys images that give witness to his Jackson, Mississippi roots.  The songs are all originals except for a great rendition of Dylan’s Knocking on Heaven’s Door.  I enjoyed Make a Dollar Out of Fifteen Cents, Gypsy Road, Honey Pleez, Smoke and Mirrors, and So Cold.

A gifted artist, a world renown producer, and some fantastic studio musicians meld together for a first rate recording that also features cuts by his current touring band. Make sure to give the title cut Mississippi BarBQ a listen….with some barbeque, cornbread, mustard greens, black eyed peas and, of course a cold beer at the ready!!

The Texas HornsGet Here Quick (Severn Records 2019)

Texas Horns

 

Three of the most bad ass horn blowers on the planet got together down in Texas, invited some gifted friends, and created a delightful RnB recording entitled Get Here Quick. Mark ‘Kaz’ Kazanoff (tenor sax), John Mills (baritone sax), and Al Gomez (trumpet) can truly be judged by the company they keep with the likes of Carolyn Wonderland, Curtis Salgado, Guy Forsyth, Gary Nicholson, John Nemeth, Ronnie Earl,  and Anson Funderburgh steppin’ into the studio to assist; they got the rhythm and they damn sure got the blues!  This is an awesome CD!

A long time favorite of mine, Carolyn belts it out on I’m Doin’ Alright At Least For Tonight. And Curtis lends his soulful voice to Sundown Talkin’. My favorite tune on the album is Guitar Town that is sung by Guy Forsyth with backing vocals by Carolyn and lead guitar work by Anson. Gary Nicholson contributes two of his songs, Soulshine  & Fix Your Face, and both recordings are mighty fine. Anson does the lead guitar on Soulshine and another of my favorites, Ronnie Earl, does the honors on Fix Your Face.

There are also several tasty instrumentals on the album that showcase the talent of this horn blowin trio. My favorite is Truckload of Trouble written by John Mills and I also enjoyed the title cut contributed by Kaz Kazanoff.

I have to say when I opened the CD I was thinkin’ “now who are these guys?”.  Man…was I pleasantly surprised after listening to the entire recording. Download and give this a listen…hope you are pleased too!

The Duke Robillard BandEar Worms (2019 Stony Plain Records)

Duke Robillard

The new album, Ear Worms, has a fifties and sixties feel to it and is a pleasant listen.  Duke Robillard has been playing and recording for over fifty years and is a superlative guitar player.  I particularly loved the instrumental You Belong to Me that I first heard sung by Patsy Cline many years ago. It was one of my mother’s favorites and Duke shows it the love and tenderness it deserves.

I also enjoyed Don’t Bother Trying to Steal Her Love with Dave Howard on vocals and the song Yellow Moon which is sung by drummer Mark Teixeira.  The rest of the band is Bruce Bears (keyboards & vocals) and Brad Hallen on bass and they are a very tight knit group of artists.  The album features a number of guest vocalists including Sunny Crownover, Chris Cote, Mark Cutler, and Klem Klimek.  This is definitely a recording to relax with on warm summer evening.

 


Send along a comment if you would like! Love to hear what your thoughts are on these albums and blues music in general!!

 

Roadhouse Blues Bin for Mid April 2019

It’s spring time, well almost in New England, and here is what I am listening to as I await freakin’ warmer weather …..

Manx Marriner MainlineHell Bound for Heaven (2019)

Manx Marriner

Harry Manx is a blues original.  His primary musical instrument is the Mohan Veena,  often associated with classical music from India, which gives Harry’s music a surreal sound that is perfect for the blues. His partner for the album is Steve Marriner, a gifted harmonica and guitar player who also performs on the drums, organ, and bass.  Both have great voices and contribute songs for Hell Bound for Heaven, released by Stony Plain Records.

The recording has a mix of what I call roots blues and gospel tunes.  I particularly enjoyed their rendition of the legendary Charlie Patton’s Rattlesnake.  And the songs Hell Bound for Heaven, Nothing, and Everybody Knows will get a lot of spins on my personal stream (http://s1.nexuscast.com:8043) and during my upcoming sets on Blues Music Fan Radio.  Great tunes from a duo of Canadian artists!!!

Stony Plain Records 2019


Harpdog Brown – For Love & Money (2019)

Harpdog brown

To be officially released on April 26th, Harpdog Brown’s For Love & Money recording is a great throwback to the swing and jazzy feel of the blues in the late 1940’s.  If I didn’t know better I would swear this Canadian from British Columbia had grown up in New Orleans.  With a heavy emphasis on piano and horns on the album, Harpdog reminds me alot of the best of Dr. John….gravely voice, gritty lyrics, and fantastic musicianship.

I particularly enjoyed Thinkin’ and Drinkin’, Blue Light Boogie, Buzzard Luck, and Vicious Vodka.  An album best enjoyed with your woman and a martini and cigar in hand for sure!

Dog House Records 2019


Brandon Santini – The Longshot (2019)

Brandon Santini

Brandon Santini turns up the amplifier (and I’d say it’s about time!) on his new album, The Longshot.  An up and coming harmonica player and vocalist who has already been nominated for the BMA blues harmonica player of the year award (2014), his future is bright to say the least! I always have felt that Brandon, who I became aware of in 2012, had the ideal voice and harmonica skills to lay down some badass blues rock……and now he has.

He is backed on this outing by a solid group of musicians; Timo Arthur and Jed Potts on guitars, one of my favorite keyboard players John Ginty, Chuck Combs on bass, and Reid Muchow on drums.  Ginty, Santini, and Ben Elliot produced the album.

I loved Somebody’s Gotta Go, Back to You, Beggin’ Baby, Going Home, and Drive You Off My Mind.  All of them are now in rotation for my DJ sets.

I certainly think this album deserves early consideration as a nominee for Blues Rock album of 2019!  Keep crankin out dem roadhouse blues Brandon!!!

American Showplace Music (2019)


Mark Wenner’s Blues Warriors (2018)

Mark Wenner

A side project for long time Nighthawk Mark Wenner, this album is a refreshing celebration of tunes by Muddy Water, B.B. King, Sonny Boy Williamson, Fats Domino, Big Joe Turner, Elmore James, and Slim Harpo.  Mark is a gifted singer and harmonica player and his brilliance carries this upbeat bluzin’ album.  Fellow Nighthawk, Mark Stutso joins him on drums, along with talented guitarist Zach Sweeney, singer and guitarist Clarence “The Bluesman” Turner, and features the double bass of Steve Wolf.

I loved every cut on this CD including King Bee, Trust My Baby, Rock A While, Hello Josephine, (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear, It’s My Own Fault,  and Dust My Broom. The album includes a really nice cover of a relatively unknown tune by Muddy Waters Diamonds at Your Feet that I have worked into my blues sets al ot over the years and the only original song, written by Mark, is an instrumental tribute to the legendary Jimmy Reed entitled Just Like Jimmy.

If you want to spend some time listening to straight up rockin’ blues from the fifties, you can’t do better than downloading and listening to this album!

Ellersoul Records 2018


Ben Vee’s Roadhouse Blues Bin for Nov 12 2018

A selection of albums I have been listening to lately:

Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne – Inspired by the Blues (Stony Plain Records 2018)

Kenny Blies Boss Wayne

Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne is the Chicago Boogie Woogie Blues Boss!  On his latest recording, Inspired By the Blues, he goes full tilt classic style boogie and blues with help from Duke Robillard (guitar) , Billy Branch (harmonica), and B.B. King’s long time bass player Russell Jackson. Kenny can pound those ivories and was named the “Most Outstanding Musician (Keyboards)” by the prestigious Living Blues Magazine in 2015. He has also won Juno and Maple Leaf blues awards in Canada and the new album is a great addition to my collection of roadhouse blues tunes.

Kenny makes the sounds of the late forties and fifties relevant for modern audiences with superb songs like Old Brick Wall, Start Rockin’, Make Up Your Mind, and Jimmy & Johnny.  I particularly enjoyed the tune That Raggedy Shack. Primarily upbeat and featuring great musicians, I think you will enjoy listening to this as much as I did!

The Bob Lanza Blues Band – Kids, Dogs, and Krazy Women  (ConnorRayMusic 2018)

Bob Lanza

Bob Lanza‘s new album Kids, Dogs, and Krazy Women is some fine roadhouse blues.  Up tempo for the most part, it features some particularly great musicianship from band members Vin Mott (harmonica), John Ginty (keyboards), Anthony Krizan (guitars, vocals, drums) and David Lockhart (bass) as well as Bob himself who has a great voice and plays some badass guitar. I have followed the solo careers of Vin Mott and John Ginty for some time and Bob brings out the best of their talents on this recording.

I loved Hey Baby, the title cut, Let Me In, Little Momma, and Problems.  Bob does a nice cover of Patsy Cline‘s Walking After Midnight and the grindin’ blues tune I’m Not the Man I Used to Be is absolutely fantastic.

Overall, I think this album merits a nomination for Contemporary Blues album of the year!

Cary Morin – When I Rise (Cary Morin Music 2018)

Cary Morin

Cary Morin is a native American who is a member of the Crow tribe. He was born and raised in Montana and is now based in Colorado.  He has long been known for his accomplishments on the acoustic guitar and his style of music would be equally at home in the juke joints of the Mississippi delta or in the folks clubs of Greenwich Village.  On his latest album, he includes a number of electric guitar and pedal steel guitar tunes that are well worth a listen.

The album has an electric and an acoustic version of Jug in the Water that I really enjoyed. I also liked the roadhouse sound of Carmela Marie. The acoustic tune and title cut of the album, When I Rise, features some great harmonica work by Dexter Payne and has both delta and native american influences..interesting tune to say the least.

All the songs are originals except for a delightful cover of Duane Allman’s Little Martha and a nice rendition of the Grateful Dead’s Dire Wolf. Generally, I would classify the album as Americana or roots music with some great blues influences.  And if he ever gets up into the northeastern part of the United States, I would drive a good ways to see one of his performances!