Andy T & Nick Nixon - Livin' It Up (Delta Groove Records): This duo struck gold back in early 2013 with their debut release, Drink Drank Drunk, and they don't let up a bit on their sophomore effort. Andy Talamantez's guitar work is crisp, clean, and concise, and Nick Nixon's robust vocals will make you wonder why you haven't heard of him before the last couple of years. There are several excellent new songs, mostly written by Nixon, that cover a pretty wide range of blues from Texas to California to Chicago. Anson Funderburgh produced their first release and he's back for this follow-up, which is appropriate because at times, Talamantez and Nixon make you think of the long, successful collaboration the Texas guitarist had with the late, great Sam Myers. Hopefully, Andy T and Nick Nixon's partnership will last at least as long.
Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters - Good News (Stony Plain Records): Guitarist Earl recently won the Best Guitarist award at the BMA's, and if you questioned the voters' decision, you definitely need to listen to his latest release to understand that voters knew their stuff. For his eighth Stony Plain album, Earl and his band are joined by guest guitarists Zach Zunis and Nicholas Tabarias on a couple of tracks, as Earl moves from jazz to Chicago-styled blues to spiritual-based songs. Singer Diane Blue, who appeared on Earl's previous release, also contributes some nice vocals on several tunes, but the real star here is, as always, Mr. Ronnie Earl. Sometimes it's hard for a mostly instrumental album to hold a listener's attention for the duration, but Earl's wonderfully expressive string bending is always a pleasure to listen to, and the Broadcasters always provide great support.
David Michael Miller - Poisons Sipped: Buffalo, NY resident Miller grew up in the church singing gospel music, but was also enthralled by blues and soul. He puts those musical roots to good use with his remarkable debut release, which also features the contributions of Chuck and Darick Campbell's lap and pedal steel guitar on several tracks. Miller doesn't need a lot of assistance though.....his versatile, soul-drenched vocals and guitar work are pretty fine as well, thank you very much. Blues and soul lovers will want to get their hands on this one, and it's certainly worth finding.
David Vest - Roadhouse Revelation (Cordova Bay Records): Piano man Vest has been playing professionally since the late 50's, starting with Jerry Woodard & the Esquires (which included several future Muscle Shoals session musicians), moving to Big Joe Turner, and later writing some of Tammy Wynette's first recorded songs, and touring with country star Faron Young. He also shared frontman duties with the late Paul DeLay in DeLay's last band......pretty good credentials. Vest's new release is just outstanding with lots of great blues and boogie-woogie piano, with some rock & roll thrown in to boot. This is the second or third great piano blues release that FBF has heard this year.....a trend that I hope continues indefinitely.
That's just four of the great new releases hitting the racks this summer. Friday Blues Fix will be back to look at a lot more in the next couple of weeks. Next week, we sit down for Ten Questions with a young rising star. Don't miss it.