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  • The Kilborn Alley Blues Band CD review Better Off Now
    works up a soothing lather that retains just enough grit to break down the greasy dirt Musically it s the perfect balance between smooth and rough Another standout is the Train To Memphis a funky track with a taut percussive guitar riff reminiscent of Jimmy Dawkins Joe Asselin s vibrato style harmonica which sounds as if he s channeling Carey Bell counterpoises Josh Stimmel s guitar It s a cut that surely packs the dance floors when performed live Perhaps the best standout tracks are two atmospheric pieces straight out of the Muscle Shoals tradition Better Off Now and Tonight with guest musician Eric Michaels organ setting the tone for a closing time soliloquy It isn t just the instrumentation and vocals that pack a wallop the lyrics of the leadoff track Nothin Left To Stimulate rip through the current economic woes with acerbic accuracy It s echoed at the end by the CD s one classic cover John Brim s Hard Times a spot on coda for the no frills no nonsense body of work on the mostly original CD All nine of the original songs on Better Off Now were written collectively by the five piece band frontman vocalist guitarist Andrew Duncanson Joe Asselin on harp Josh Stimmel on guitar bassist Chris Breen and drummer Ed O Hara The group s musical style is very much in the ensemble tradition of Chicago blues artists like Muddy Waters Kilborn Alley shows remarkable maturity depth and music history smarts considering that Duncanson and Breen were still in high school in Champaign Urbana Illinois when they started the band back in 2000 Kilborn Alley s founding members cut their teeth on Chicago s titans of blues and R B Muddy Junior Wells Buddy Guy and all of the Chess artists along

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/kilborn-alley-cd/kilborn-alley-better-off-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • THE HOLMES BROTHERS, Feed My Soul, CD review
    voices remain in the background here allowing the Holmes clan to shine on their own Russell also plays a well placed mandolin on one tune The addition of Glenn Patscha on Hammond B 3 Wurlitzer piano and keyboards was a brilliant move The versatile player helps set the tone and moves the music along whether the song calls for a swirling B 3 gospel flourish a honky tonk piano or a funky organ solo The gospel flavored Dark Cloud opens Feed My Soul with a socio political message that asks U S citizens Won t you tell me tell me tell me where you stand The current events theme continues on Edge of the Ledge set to impossibly bouncy and joyous music which contrasts with the somber lyrics of the chorus Standing on my head at the edge of the ledge Tryin to figure out how to keep my family fed I lost my job they even repossessed my bed Standing on my head at the edge of the ledge The title track is the sincerest of love songs a warm soulful ballad written by Wendell who lets us know that it was the love of his life who helped pull him through his crisis You forgave me baby when I needed forgiving You gave me the strength to keep right on living The harmonizing between the brothers and the ladies is subtle and sublime The pattern of song selections alternates with one romantic ballad followed by an upbeat catchy as hell toe tapper You re the Kind of Trouble I can get in to Living Well is the Best Revenge Without Love in Your Life I Believe You I Think and Rounding Third fall into the latter category and will have you singing along with the three part harmonies

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/holmes-bros-cd/holmes-bros-feed-soul-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • NICK MOSS, Privileged, Blue Bella, CD review
    organ and dense instrumental textures commanding equal attention with his larger than life guitar riffing The next track Howlin Wolf s Louise finds Moss channeling RL Burnside into a rollicking grooving Delta barnstormer The guitars uncoil from the swamp lashing out with venom and a blood red eye weaving in and out like Medusa s head with sharpened teeth The deceptively simple groove builds into a crescendo of menacing sonic heat reminiscent of Exile era Stones After a sweeter turn with the acoustic slide on Georgia Redsnake Moss serves notice that the Boss is in the house with the unrepentantly rocking songs Privileged at Birth and Politician Moss strict Cream era interpretation is so blatantly derivative that it amounts to a smackdown challenge to all comers His matchless guitar vocabulary and authenticity gives the selection an awareness and purpose that would be forgettable or dreary in any less competent hands Warning Nick Moss will cut your head She s So Fine Born Blind finds Moss continuing this theme taking Born Blind Rice Miller s Eyesight to the Blind and straining it through Eric Clapton and Cream s classic version of Crossroads Once again Moss bold take no prisoners guitar is a sonic smack in the side of the head Don t try this at home Tear Em Down finds Moss and company quarrying material that will be more familiar to fans of the Black Crowes than Jimmy Dawkins A careful listen will reveal luscious tones and musical detail that marry the exhilaration of great rock n roll with the soul of great Blues Moss and the band really do display an underlying sense of rhythm and restraint that distinguishes this material from its less knowledgeable purveyors Be warned Nick Moss will kick your ass Despite its jammy exterior this is music that has been carefully crafted and thought out there is a maturity and depth to these arrangements that signify Nick Moss s emergence not only as a musical artist but as a sensitive producer as well Perhaps to that end Moss has made the decision to reassemble his instrumental backing for Privileged Gone is the Flip Tops moniker its association being so emblematic of his traditional Blues band that its use here would be ineffective This is music that demands a more careful listen than the appellation The Flip Tops would suggest With a band that includes at various times Brother John Kattke keyboards Gerry Hundt guitar mandolin Stumpy Hutchkins bass and Bob Carter drums Moss has found a group of top flight musicians that interact like only a seasoned band can Their sympathetic musical senses are a delight to listen to Particularly notable is Moss pure 60s soul version of Buffalo Springfield s For What It s Worth It s the only tune on Privileged not sung by Moss with drummer Carter assuming the lead His rendering of this cultural classic leaves the listener wondering if Moss has plans to showcase Carter s vocal prowess more often This

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/nick-moss-cd/nick-moss-privileged-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Guitar Shorty, Bare Knuckles, Alligator Records
    young Jimi Hendrix in Seattle during the early 60s As Guitar Shorty recalls it He d i e Jimi stay in the shadows watching me I hear my licks in Purple Haze and Hey Joe He told me the reason he started setting his guitar on fire was because he couldn t do back flips like I did The back flips were part of an energetic acrobatic stage show Guitar Shorty picked up himself from the legendary Guitar Slim while touring with the New Orleans based great While the stage acrobatics may have slowed down for Guitar Shorty his fretwork acrobatics and vocal prowess have certainly not diminished and he delivers powerful soulful songs with conviction on this new CD Produced by his bass player Wyzard and Alligator Founder and President Bruce Iglauer the CD offers a nice diverse collection of contemporary blues and blues rock numbers that address current issues and politics In the opening track Please Mr President Shorty pleads for him to lay some stimulus on me and he sings about the plight of scarred and disabled Iraq Afghanistan war veterans in the aptly titled Slow Burn blues number Shorty and his band also do a couple of nice covers from younger generation artists Kenny Wayne Shepherd True Lies and Tommy Castro Get Off but half of the music on the new album comes from the band itself with Shorty contributing to three songs 1 The opening track Please Mr President 2 Texas Women and 3 Too Late On all twelve songs comprising the album Shorty delivers heart felt genuine interpretations that could only come from decades of life experience and honing his craft Shorty cut his first single Irma Lee with Willie Dixon in Chicago back in 1957 for the famed Cobra Records label after wowing

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/guitar-shorty-cd/guitar-shorty-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • CASH BOX KINGS: I-94 Blues, Blue Bella Records
    Cash Box Kings are certainly blues devotees and are expert in the ways of the masters who came before them but as the band shows on its latest release I 94 Blues they are also musicians of today able to write songs about modern life and unafraid to throw in a style twisting cover when appropriate The band Joe Nosek harp vocals Kenny Beedy Eyes Smith drums Chris Boeger electric and upright bass and Oscar Wilson vocals shows remarkable musical chemistry in all they do and the vocal and instrumental work here is on a very high level The Kings are joined by ace Chicago blues veterans who share their devotion to the blues titans Billy Flynn lead and rhythm guitar mandolin banjo Steve Freund guitar Joel Paterson lead guitar Barrelhouse Chuck on the ivories drummer Mark Haines also on acoustic guitar and Jimmy Sutton on upright bass and vocals If you don t know these names you might want to Google them They all have outstanding blues cred Nosek s harp work is especially satisfying The songs are equally well done The original Default Boogie tells a story ripped from today s headlines but also echoes economic woes of

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/cash-box-kings-cd/cash-box-kings-i94-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • MATTHEW STUBBS: Medford and Main, Blue Bella Records
    and jazz He s mastered the sounds and created original compositions reflecting but not imitating these influences These 11 original songs exude confidence taste style intelligence and most importantly creativity and soul not flashy but always grooving in a solid head bopping way The style overall is easygoing relaxed and fun and reflects his proficiency as a guitar virtuoso He s backed on this CD by stellar musicians including Boston s Sax Gordon who also arranged the horns trumpet tenor and baritone sax that complement Matthew s style Just as on his excellent self produced debut CD Soul Bender there are no vocals only Matthew s unique compositions and outstanding guitar playing which serve to touch the listener with his distinctive passion for the music He s assembled that same tight Boston based band for his sophomore disc Medford Main he is from New Hampshire and plays regularly in Boston when not touring with Charlie No vocals no problem His guitar just sings keeping your attention through the entire CD His virtuosity in playing and composing is evident not in a head banging way but in a more subtle and soulful manner It s not about the speed or volume of his guitar And the compositions are anchored solidly in Matthew s knowledge of the music that has influenced him so profoundly The grooving Tube Top Temptation with its strong rhythm raw sax and guitar conjures up a major 50s sound Yikes Ike is a nod to the funky riffs of 50s and 60s rhythm and blues This isn t a retro CD yet there is a déjà vu quality a feeling of familiarity and comfort but it s totally fresh and new His music seems timeless and not stuck in any era Matthew s knowledge extends to the hardware

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/matt-stubbs-cd/matt-stubbs-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • SUGAR BLUE Threshold CD Review
    on bass Sergio Monaleni on guitar Samuel Torres percussion Ivano Ghidoni on sousaphone When was the last time someone acknowledged the sousaphone player outside of a marching band record eh The styles explored in this CD encompass jazz rock blues and pop And several different styles within styles the jazz songs range from European to Fusion to New Orleans The blues vary from a different funky take on i e Junior Wells Messin with the Kid and a very Chicago sounding Leiber Stoller s Trouble dedicated to Elvis to a very stark Ramblin that features a haunting duet of two harmonicas The opening tune Living Your Love is a heartfelt rock ode to the drama of ghetto life that kicks in the best message when Sugar picks up the harp I d like to hear more background vocals on this song to really run it on home especially on the Living Your Love chorus Sugar keep that in mind when your touring to support this album The Cotton Tree written for mentor James Cotton is a jazz ballad It s also Sugar Blue s theme song and ultimate message like the blues I ll always be there I felt this song to be one of the best on the album but it s a toss up to Noel News a New Orleans styled tune dedicated to the NOLA spirit The Average Guy carries a European feel and thematically reminds me of Worried Man a song Johnny Cash used to perform Aren t we all a little worried at this point Don t Call Me is kind of scary for Sugar Blue It s a very soft Bread like ballad that could go over well in a 1970s lounge act We ll let him slide on this one Nightmare is funky

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/sugar-blue-cd/sugar-blue-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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  • COCO MONTOYA CD review
    career 15 years ago after serving as a protégé of both Albert Collins and John Mayall before that Later on Montoya signed with Alligator Records for two discs and he recently hooked up with Germany s Ruf Records Coco s debut on that label is being produced by none other than Keb Mo The Essential Coco Montoya includes cuts that encompass a variety of styles from his 1995 critically acclaimed debut Gotta Mind to Travel 1996 s Ya Think I d Know Better and his third CD 1997 s Just Let Go Songs from Gotta Mind to Travel include Am I Losing You Too Much Water Same Dog and You Don t Love Me This debut solo CD earned him four W C Handy nominations plus the award for Best New Blues Artist Ya Think I d Know Better contributes Seven Desires Monkey See Monkey Do and You d Think I d Know Better By Now Coco s sophomore disc paired him with Stevie Ray s producer Jim Gaines with great sounding results Just Let Go tracks are Fear No Evil Sending Me Angels Do What You Want To Do Just Let Go and Give It To A Good Man Once again the Montoya Gaines team plus stellar studio bandmates prove a winning combination Essential successfully serves to exemplify Coco s considerable talents as a versatile impassioned guitarist soulful singer and top notch songwriter a true triple threat The songs hang together well and they don t sound dated thanks to the excellent production throughout My only quibble is that they should have included the two collaborations with his former mentors John Mayall and the late Albert Collins from the first CD That said let me sing the praises of this artist Thanks to his apprenticeships as a guitarist with

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/reviews/cd-reviews/coco-montoya/coco-montoya-cd-page.html (2016-02-16)
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