Friday, September 28, 2018

New Blues For You - September, 2018 Edition

I decided this week to post a few mini-reviews at FBF's Facebook page......just a few lines here and there.  Well, our Facebook page has a few members, but the blog has a few more visits each week, so I thought I'd share those reviews on the blog this week.  I'll be sharing a few here and at Facebook whenever I get a chance.  

I first heard Houston harmonica ace Steve Krase a couple of years ago as he backed Trudy Lynn on her Connor Ray Music recordings.  Not long afterward, I got to check out one of his solo releases and was really impressed with it.  Recently, he released Just Waitin' on Connor Ray and it's an excellent album that not only includes several tough blues songs, but also a couple of tracks that flirt with country......a rocking Hank Williams cover kicks off the disc......and a zydeco reworking of "The Ballad of Jed Clampett."  Yes, you read that correctly....."The Ballad of Jed Clamplett".......and it's guaranteed to get toes to tapping and booties to shaking.  There's a lot of great harmonica players out there today, and Steve Krase is certainly near the top of the heap.  Blues fans need this one in their collection, no question about it.

City Soul is the new release from Chicago singer/harp player Russ Green. It's a rock solid release of Chicago blues and R&B. Green began playing music as a young adult and was influenced by Jimi Hendrix, seeking to replicate the guitar legend's sound on an instrument he could afford at the time, his harmonica. After hearing Sugar Blue, he found his sound. Not only is he an excellent harmonica player, he's a smooth and soulful singer and a great songwriter. This is a fine disc of modern Windy City Blues and Soul that is worth a listen.

Several months ago, I listened to a podcast interview with Dick Shurman and he mentioned that he had worked with Steve Wagner on an upcoming Carey Bell tribute album, Tribute To Carey Bell, with Lurrie Bell (guitar/vocals) and his brothers Steve (harmonica), Tyson (bass), and James (drums, vocals). I couldn't wait to hear it and I was not disappointed at the results. 
Let me tell you right now, that if you're a blues fan, particularly a Chicago Blues fan, you need to have this disc in your collection. This was truly a labor of love for all involved and includes appearances from Billy Branch, Charlie Musselwhite, Surrito Ariyoshi, and Eddie Taylor, Jr. The Bells, dubbed the Bell Dynasty for this release, need to consider doing future recordings together because this one was very enjoyable.

Several years ago, I met a drummer from Denmark named Tim Lothar Petersen on the old Blues Access message board. Tim was looking for an article on the great drummer Fred Below. I sent him a copy of one that I had and we struck up a friendship. Turns out that he was the drummer in a Danish blues band called Lightnin' Moe. A few years ago, he taught himself how to play guitar and embarked on a solo career, releasing several very good albums, which show his dexterity as a guitarist and his ability to interpret old songs and write his own compositions.

His most recent album, called More Stories, is a sequel of sorts to his previous solo effort called, you guessed it, Stories. He allowed me to look in on the creative process with this he developed the songs and the early "scratch" recordings that he did on them and it really opened my eyes to the entire creative process. It's a great disc with some very personal songs, some reflective, some humorous, some poignant.

Tim also recently released an acoustic album with some of his friends, harmonica player Peter Nande and percussionist Mik Schack, called Walk Right In. It's a delightful set of mostly old classic pre-war blues and gospel blues recorded at Schack's home in Copenhagen in front of an appreciative audience. The trio plays acoustic guitars, harmonica, suitcase drum, washboard, woodblocks, and jub, and they are joined on a couple of tracks by Svante Sjoblom Vrak, who plays banjolin and lapsteel. It's obvious that this isn't their first rodeo because they complement each other so well.
Tim's recordings are on iTunes and some are available on Amazon or CDBaby, so check this talented guy out. There are a lot of talented folks in Europe like Tim and Peter that are making some fine blues music.

More reviews coming in the future.  You can check them out here or on our Facebook page.  

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