Album Reviews

Holly Hyatt And Jon Burden - Shufflin' The Blues

holly hyatt jon burden

Music was considered back in the days one of the most powerful arts, able to bring people together everywhere in the world. That was a time when artists would come on stage at a music festival, armed just with a guitar and their voices to bring joy in the lives of thousands of people. The sound was simple, direct, without any artefacts of any sort, pure stripped-down music right to its bone.

This recipy has been at the heart of any music genres, folk, rock, blues, you name it. Times and technology have then, through the years, partially dismantled the concept of that straight-to-your-face music approach and because of this, it is an absolute joy to see that, in this present time of the world, there are artists brave enough willingly to play simple and wonderful music belonging to a sadly bygone era.

Holly Hyatt and Jon Burden from Canada, on their third official release called Shufflin' The Blues, bring back, under form of a live concert, the purity and beauty of playing acoustic and semi-electric blues without any overdubs or programming in a 9-tracks live performance recorded at The Silverton Gallery in British Columbia.

The voices and the instruments of Hyatt and Burden work in magnificent harmony throughout the whole record. While Hyatt's voice is able to travel gracefully and flawlessly through a wide variety of genres like jazz, folk, blues or even be-bop (she is also a talented bass player), Jon Burden has instead a more classic blues vocal approach although still very deep and intense. He also showcases repeteadly his incredible talent as a guitarist too, no matter whether it's an acoustic guitar, a slide or an electric one.

The album's setlist is well balanced and alternates original material from the Canadian duo together with homages to giants of the blues like Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters or Memphis Slim. Accompanied on stage only by Marvin Walker on drums and percussion, Hyatt and Burden open the show by offering a hot rendition of the 1953's Muddy Waters evergreen Blow Wind Blow, with a magnificent guitar solo from Burden.

This is a duo that has got so many layers of talent to unleash on each passing song. Holly Hyatt's vocals on Black Crow are absolutely sublime, while Burden's acoustic guitar sound flies effortlessly and beautifully through the walls of The Silverton Gallery. Get Your Own Man is a slightly uptempo blues tune with tinges of jazz, able to demonstrate once again the fabulous vocal skills of Holly Wyatt.

Let's Boogie has got a distinctive 60's vibe. It's a song where Hyatt's voice feels like the sweetest caress in the middle of the darkest night, with Burden's craftmanship on guitar in full swing.

The closing Slushy Blues amalgamates once again fragments of blues and jazz, with Burden, Hyatt and Walker interplaying very well with one another and capturing perfectly the artistic essence of the music style of the Canadian duo.

Hyatt's voice and Burden's guitar are a match made in heaven. Their music formula is simple and essential and that is the real secret behind the greatness of this album. Shufflin' The Blues is a record of timeless beauty that travels through the sounds of the 60's and the 70's blues with a more contemporary twist, something that cleverly links together different generations of music fans. A very inspired live performance.

  

 

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

 

 

 

 

Shufflin' The Blues is out now via Flood Plane Records and can be purchased via Holly Hyatt And Jon Burden's Website

 

 

 

"Buy a record, support the artists, preserve the future of music"

 

 

Bridget Kelly Band - Outta The Blues

bridget kelly band

 

2014 has been a memorable year for the Bridget Kelly Band. Their second album Forever In Blues received numerous accolades, both from the press and blues fans in the United States. making many believe that the band must have been feeling slightly under pressure through the making of their third album.

Outta The Blues, their new record, confirms once more the elegance and class of a band that is able to spread their music wings even further on their new offer, by combining the unmistakable trademark sound coming from Beale Street in Memphis with a more robust Texan blues/rock one.

The outcome is a wonderfully crafted album, in which the arrival of a brand new rhythm section made by Mark Ambrecht on bass and Alex Klausner on drums, add the perfect sonic ground to the silky, smooth voice of band leader Bridget Kelly and the powerful guitar sound of that magician of the instrument that is Tim Fik.

Recorded at Alpha Sun Studios in Gainesville, FL, Outta The Blues is a record that dazzles the listeners in many ways, either by offering moments of flawless vocal deliveries by the very talented Bridget Kelly, such as in tunes like When The Nighttime Comes, Lovely Time In June and Sweet River Blues or through the many thunderous guitar solos of Tim Fik. Fik's pinnacle of artistry on guitar reaches the absolute best in the song Dangerous Man, containing an authentic killer solo.

The band is in great form and there are moments of sheer brilliancy on the album. The cover version of Up And Gone/Smokestack Lightning is truly inspired. The song is the perfect fit for Bridget Kelly's singing style and the musical ability of each individual band member.

Touches of funk emerge here and there on Outta The Blues, making tunes like If You See My Baby or Hard Time In The City sound even more palatable and entertaining, ulterior signs of an artistic maturity that gets better and better on each passing albums of the Bridget Kelly Band.

The powerful Rocket To The Moon closess the record in the best way possible, through another excellent performance of the whole band in a tune that fully showcases the band's craftmanship in all its beauty.

Outta The Blues is a message of love and passion for the blues and also a record that confirms, once again, the Bridget Kelly Band as among the best blues crusaders worldwide.

 

 

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

 

 

 

 

Outta The Blues is out now and it is available via Amazon

 

"Buy a record, support the artists, preserve the future of music"

Joe Bonamassa - Live At The Greek Theatre

live at the greek theatre

Joe Bonamassa is not just one of the most celebrated guitarists of this generation but also somebody that likes to express his talent through venues of a certain grandiosity. Last time he chose to record a live album in a fairly small club was few years ago at The Borderline in London, UK, at the time of The Tour De Force project. Since then, all of his live albums have been recorded in some of the most important music venues worldwide.

Located few miles away from where the Guitar Maestro lives, The Greek Theatre is a magnificent structure situated almost opposite to Berkeley University in California, the perfect place for Bonamassa to end the 14-dates Three Kings Tour, dedicated to Albert King, Freddie King and B.B. King's music.

In comparison to his previous live release, a tribute to Howlin' Wolf's wide discography, Live At The Greek Theatre shows a greater determination and passion in honouring three of all-time giants of the blues genre.

Although the choice of songs selected by Bonamassa maybe sometimes debatable for each of the Three Kings, there is no doubts that the 10 musicians accompaining Bonamassa on stage put their very best effort and craftmanship to please the crowd in this very special night of music.

The show is divided in three different segments of six songs each, starting with Freddie King, continuing to Albert King and concluding with Bonamassa's most favourite Blues Guitar Hero B.B. King. Out of the whole setlist, there are some serious highlights and occasional little disappointments, mostly due to a bit too much over-arrangements on some of the tracks perforrmed.

Sittin' On The Boat Dock is one of those tunes that should have given more justice and retribution to Freddie King's talent, at the time the song was released and it is great to see Bonamassa paying respect to this music jewel by performing a splendid version of this great song at this show. Albert King's Breaking Up Somebody's Home and Angel Of Mercy are, though, the real stand out tracks of the entire show, with the latter especially played with such intensity and passion by the American guitarist, something that Bonamassa has reserved just to defining moments of his live activity, like the 2009's Royal Albert Hall concert, for example.

As one would expect, Bonamassa leaves the B.B. King section for last, with some highs and lows. While Hummingbird's arrangement is a little bit too overstretched, on the other end Nobody Loves Me But My Mother, one of Bonamassa's most favourite B.B. King songs, is pitch perfect and shows, once again, the reason why the blues genre and Bonamassa's talent are a match made in heaven.

The encore includes three songs, one for each of The Three Kings, in which the instrumental Freddie King's Hide Away is the perfect platform to showcase, once again, Bonamassa's majesty on guitar.

Live At The Greek Theatre is a highly entertaining show but we already knew very well Joe Bonamassa's stature as a performer or his artistry as a guitarist, prior to this new release. The American guitarist seems to be able to express his very best, artistically speaking, particularly when he feels a song close to his heart and soul, a little like he does on Angel Of Mercy, as previously stated and that is the Bonamassa that so many music fans love and respect.

Bonamassa has showed on this album, once again, that when it comes to put up a sumptuous live show, very few are able to do so as well as it does in nowaday's music business and credit to him for doing always a lot for the blues and the survival of the genre. Now it's time for the Guitar Maestro to concentrate his attention on following up his latest studio album, Blues Of Desperation and write again his own masterpieces, like he did on albums like You And Me, The Ballad Of John Henry or Black Rock, for example. Because we are sure that Bonamassa has got still plenty left to gift the fans with, as a songwriter. Until then, let's enjoy his personal homage to The Three Kings through the beautiful Greek Theatre show.

 

 

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

 

 

Live At The Greek Theatre is due to be released on 23rd September 2016 and it is available via Mascot Label Group/Provogue

 

"Buy a record, support the artists, preserve the future of music"

 

How Long? - Little Mike

little mike

 

Every time Muddy Waters chose to take an artist under his protective wing, his choice was never dictated by chance but by an immediate gut feeling for pure talent. The twenty years-old from Queens, New York that he chose back in the days, has come a long way. Mike Markowitz, aka Little Mike, has not only perfectly assimilated the lesson of his all-time idols, such as John Lee Hooker and Pinetop Perkins, to name a few but also had the privilege of playing with them.

Through the musical path that led him to play with the cream of the blues and blues/rock worldwide and to become one of the most loved and respected multi-instrumentalist blues in the whole blues scene, since the mid-eighties Little Mike has been one of the greatest torchbearers of the genre, along with his own band, The Tornadoes. The American artist has been carrying religiously the traditions of the American blues, thanks to his immense talent and a deep understanding of the roots of the genre, incorporating in his own music formula the sound of the Delta Blues, the big-band and foot-stomping sound of the Chicago Blues and even the more contemporary New York style.

How Long ?, Little Mike's new solo album, is the perfect reflection of what Markowitz loves musically the most: an insane passion for blues united to the greatest respect for those blues masters which have inspired him professionally and personally. The album is a true homage to blues, although it als offers, at times, interesting insights about Little Mike's universal love for music through different sonic elements embroided in his style and in his songs. 

When it comes to play harmonica or piano, everybody knows that Little Mike is a real phenomenon but often many forget how much of an excellent singer the American artist is too. On thie latter, his great skills as a vocalist can be fully admired in tracks like When My Baby Left, Eddie Taylor's cover Bad Boy and the song that closes the album, Sittin 'Here Baby, the definite proof that we face a true artist in many respects.

How Long? gives many moments of high artistic level, together with those already mentioned above. The class of the New York born and raised bluesman emerges repeatedly on both the instrumental Cotton Mouth and Sam's Blues, where his superb harmonica playing dictates the music tempos to the talented musicians that have accompanied him in the studio for this album. Smokin 'is perhaps the song that symbolizes the most Little Mike's charisma, with the artist tailoring a wonderful blues uptempo, built with his favourite instruments, harmonica and piano in a rousing and highly entertaining tune.

One of the most beautiful surprises of the album is the song Not What Mama Planned, a track that incorporates shades of blues, jazz, funk and even tinges of Southern Rock. Whatcha' Gonna Do also offers a different angle of Little Mike's vast music background, by carrying throughout the song a beautiful, harmonius and solid R&B sonic carpet. Two songs which are true testimony of the musical impact that artists like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Robert Cray, with which Little Mike has performed with throughout his career, have also given to the rich and eclectic sound of this very talented artist.

How Long? is a record that entertains, captivates, surprises and moves at the same time. The album is a timeless journey in the traditions and history of the blues, performed by an artist at the peak of his career and able to understand the artistic importance and the social impact that a genre like blues gave and still gives to all the music coming from every part of the planet. How Long? is more than a record, it is food for soul because written, played and sang by the soul of a true bluesman.

 

 

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

 

 

 

 

How Long? is out now and it is available via Amazon and ELROB Records.

 

"Buy a record, support the artists, preserve the future of music"

An Evening With Todd Rundgren, Live At The Ridgefield - Todd Rundgren

todd rundgren

 

In an ideal musical encyclopedia, it becomes an impossible task to place Todd Rundgren in a specific category. Multi-instrumentalist, producer, singer/songwriter, sound engineer and, most of all, a great music experimentalist, the Pennsylvania-born artist has written among the most inspired musical pages of the last half a century of music history.

Recorded at The Ridgefield Playhouse in Ridgefield, Pennsylvania, Rundgren's new live album is the one that better paints the most faithful portrait of one of the most original artists ever. This live concert, recorded at the end of 2015, incorporates the highlights and, at the same time, some of the less known songs of Rundgren's incredible career.

Despite a slightly shaky start on I Saw The LIght, one of his most famous hits, Todd Rundgren and his band lead the crowd through a whirling and enthralling setlist, combining the most glorious moments of Rundgren's solo career with many songs not played by the American artist for a very long time, belonging to his 70's music projects Nazz and the prog-rock orientated one called Utopia.

What really impresses about Rundgren's performance on this live album is, at this time of his life and career, the capacity of combining a hugely inspired and eclectic songwritng with a truly unique interpretation of his songs, through his voice able to carve a song in the same way a sculptor does with one of his most precious works.

It's incredibly difficult to pick highlights in a stellar performance like this that combine Philadelphia Soul, Funk, Rock and even Ska. Thankfully, Rundgren dig so much deep in his vast music catalogue and gifts the Ridgefield crowd with a stellar version of Lost Horizon, a splendid soul tune from the 1985's album A Cappella. Rundgren's interpretation is certainly one of the best he has ever done in a live format of this song. Buffalo Grass, Kiddie Boy and Drive are epic rock and roll music lashes, in which Rundgren reminds us once again how talented he is as well as a guitar player.

Bang The Drum All Day, another of Rundgren's pinnacles of his great music career, is pure joy to listen to, with that catchy ska tempo that brings the whole Ridgefield Playhouse to a total  crowd partecipation. Love Science, available only on the DVD that comes together with the CD, transports the crowd in a funk universe through a stunning rendition of a song that shows once again Rundgren's great ability to evolve himself as a musician. Ability combined with an incredible understanding of music at 360 degrees that very few artists in their lifetime have been able to match.

An Evening With Todd Rundgren - Live At The Ridgefield is certainly, among the many live albums that Rundgren has released in his fabulous career, the one that shows the most the talent, artistic honesty and versatility of this American artist. At the respectable age of 68, his energy and passion for music are highly infectious and admirable at the same time. Rundgren is an unstoppable music machine and a highly meticolous connoisseur of any music genres. As he sings in another of his most famous hits and closing track of this live album, One World, "... Down here in the street, we got it under control...". Judging by this fabulous performance, there is no doubts that he still has got it all under control.

 

 

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

 

 

 

An Evening With Todd Rundgren, Live At The Ridgefield is out now and can be purchased here

 

"Buy a record, support the artists, preserve the future of music"

Brigitte Rios Purdy - EP

BRP 001

 

Sometimes artists have to pursue their dreams a little bit harder than the normal, especially in a tough world like music business. Brigitte Rios Purdy is a young American singer and songwriter that has been known for some times in the American music scene as one of the finest Blues and R&B performers of the country.

The self-produced debut EP from Rios Purdy is a musical box full of unexpected jewels, in which the American artist showcases extraordinary vocal skills and an impressive versatility in the six tracks (5 original and 1 cover) present in the album.

Rios Purdy released, back few months ago, her debut single called Lucille, Don't You Weep, a song with clear references to B.B. King signature guitar. This blues ballad exalts many aspects of the singer's capacity to move flawlessly through different tonalities within the song, thanks to her unique voice. A voice that shines, on this occasion, at its best for style and execution and it is certainly one of the highlights of the EP.

Read more: Brigitte Rios Purdy - EP

Bedwyr Morgan - EP

bedwyr Morgan When Bluebird Reviews heard that somebody of the talent of Bedwyr Morgan was finally releasing his first solo material after almost 30 years spent On The Road with the iconic Welsh band MOjO, there was a lot of curiosity and excitement about it.

Morgan is an artist that, throughout the years, has always shown signs of great craftmanship, either from a songwriting point of view and as a singer and a guitarist too. His first self-titled solo effort is a mini EP containing 4 original tracks, 3 of which sang in Welsh language, the same tracks sang also in English version, plus a truly beautiful instrumental for a grand total of 7 songs.

The Welsh artist, despite the short length of the album, shows in full his potential through a blend of soft-rock that carries echoes of traditional Celtic music and the sound of 80's America's West Coast. The opener Ti Yw'r un (You Are The One) is an excellently crafted radio-friendly tune, on which Morgan skillfully builds great choruses to support a melody that could easily come out from the songbook of artists of the level of Chris Rea, just to make an example.

Read more: Bedwyr Morgan - EP

The Bluesbones - Double Live

The BluesbonesWhenever you get to hear a band like the Belgian collective The Bluesbones, even though you are not a blues or a blues/rock fan, you cannot avoid to fall in love with their music recipe. Following their self-released 2015 studio album Saved By The Blues, the Belgian quintet returns with their second live album, simply called Double Live, recorded in front of an audience in Mechelen, Belgium at the Hyperstudio.

For any artists, performing on a stage is certainly the most congenial element to express their art and The Bluesbones, on their new release, manage successfully to crack a fabulous live set, full of musical fireworks.

What amazes the most, about The Bluesbones and their style, is the capacity of incorporating many different music genres in only one track and still making that track to sound like you are listening to a blues song but with one or many twists. The way they dazzle effortlessly in this live album, adding to their blues roots the sound of the Mississippi Delta (Moonshine), the 50's Rockabilly (Riding Out), Funk (Broken Down Car, No Good For Me) or Jazz-Rock (Devil's Bride) is truly remarkable.

Read more: The Bluesbones - Double Live

Gov't Mule - The Tel-Star Sessions

Tel Star SessionsWhen it comes to create new musical emispheres, very few artists in the world are capable to do a better job then Gov't Mule. Back few years ago, while Warren Haynes, guitarist extraordinaire and Mule's frontman was digging into the vast music archive of the band, he stumbled by accident into the first ever demo sessions recorded by himself, Allen Woody on bass and Matt Abts on drums at The Tel-Star Studios back in June 1994 during the band's early days.

Haynes thought that the sessions recorded back then sounded so fresh and contemporary and that it was finally the time to release them to the world. A very smart decision from the Mule's main man.

The 10 tracks included in the Tel-Star Sessions offer so many interesting aspects about the way that the Gov't Mule have evolved sonically, through the years. There are so many different influences in the sound of the band, influences that vary from a 90's rock, almost grung-esque style, noticeable in a song like World Of Difference or the catchy Blind Man In The Dark to more blues-rock territories very close to the heart of the Mule's sound, like in the song Rocking Horse.

Read more: Gov't Mule - The Tel-Star Sessions

The Paul DesLauriers Band - Relentless

Relentless

The history of rock and roll has been re-written thousand times, each times in a different way. Some artists succeed in the attempt to disassemble and re-build the genre through their own personal visions, some others fail miserably.

Thankfully, there is also who does not need to re-write a rock and roll history book, like the Canadian power trio The Paul DesLauriers Band, because they know exactly all about the genre by heart very well and understand that the secret in playing real rock and roll has always been and always will be instinct, immediacy and, most of all, bags of talent.

Through their second album called Relentless, the band steps up definitely in their music formula by delivering, through 10 superb tracks, an authentic and complete music vernacular that goes from the genesis of rock and roll (blues) to the evolution of the genre (roots and funk).

Individually, each musician is in a class of their own. Paul DesLauriers is a true virtuoso, when it comes to play guitar and he is also an excellent singer. Greg Morency on bass dazzles the listeners with such flawless fluidity and ability. Sam Harrisson on drums and percussion dictates the changes of tempo on the album with pitch perfect chronometric precision.

By having three musicians like these, recording together the whole album locked in the same room at the same time with a spotless interplay, the end results cannot be less then phenomenal and Relentless is indeed, to say the least, a phenomenal album.

There are different shades of rock for all different palates, on the Canadian band's new record. From the epic sound of tunes like the opener Stewtro Rock (Just Got Back) and Wipes Away Your Sin to the foot-stomping blues/rock of I'm Your Man and We Just Might until stepping into more rootsy territories, like in the song Up In The Air.

Even when The Paul DesLauriers Band delves into the roots of rock and roll, as in that magnificent blues ballad called If I Still Had You, the quality of their craftmanship and the consistency of their delivery is always first class.

The tracks Gonna Make You Move Part 1 and Part 2 might have been, originally, a long suite that the band decided to split in two separate segments.The first part is more rootsy, with little infusions of funk, sprayed cleverly throughout the tune. The second part, which also closes the album, is a perfectly executed instrumental blues/rock tune and frankly, those two tracks couldn't define any better the artistic message of a band with a great knowledge, respect and understanding of rock and roll. 

Relentless is an album of rare beauty, whose sound frames beautifully the past and present of rock and roll at its very best. The Paul Deslauriers might have just pulled, through Relentless, one of the best albums of 2016.

 

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

 

 

Relentless is out now and it is available via Amazon

"Buy a record, support the artists, preserve the future of music"

Ina Forsman - Ina Forsman

Ina Forsman

 

It is a very special feeling to hear young artists respecting and loving music genres which are not exactly radio friendly, nowadays and putting, at the same time, so much dedication, hard work, love and passion in their works.

This is exactly the case of Ina Forsman, a very talented young singer/songwriter coming straight from the beautiful city of Helsinki in Finland. After working for few years side by side with her music mentor and one of the most respected harmonicists in the world, Helge Tallqvist, this superb Finnish artist has gradually developed an unconditional love for genres like blues, soul, R&B, jazz and swing, a love so beautifully illustrated in Forsman's self-titled debut album.

Recorded in only one week in Texas, United States with a group of excellent studio musicians and the special support of Tallqvist himself plus the fabulous brass band The Texas Horns, Ina Forsman's record delivers to the listener 11 music pearls, showcasing in full the beauty of her voice at 360 degrees.

If you happen to listen Forsman's voice for the first time, you will be immediately reminded of  top performers like Christina Aguilera or Amy Winehouse but Ina Forsman is much more than that. This phenomenal singer, which has penned 10 of the 11 songs of the album, shows an outstanding maturity in understanding and appreciating music in its entirety and she does so with flawless class and elegance throughout the record.

Ina Forsman's album never falls flat or repetitive in any moment. Instead, it engages and challenges the listener to follow Forsman in every direction of her music path, doesn't matter whether it is a 1920's swing tune like Bubbly Kisses, a song about drunken sex or No Room For Love, a soulful R&B song in which Ina Forsman's intense vocal delivery reaches such an outstanding level of perfection somehow unimaginable, for such a young artist.

The closing track of the album is the only cover of the Finnish artist's self-titled record and it's Nina Simone's classic I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl. Once again, Ina Forsman delivers an impeccable version of this song with the sole accompaniment of the piano, giving the listeners real shivers in the spine through her incredible vocals.

One of the highest qualities of this record, together with Forsman's great artistry, is the purity and passion that transpires from each individual song. There is true honesty, genuinity and a great will from the Finnish singer/songwriter to show how much she cares about music and how much she gives all of herself in every different expressions of her unique music talent.

A talent that, through the years, will surely take Ina Forsman to be recognised worldwide as one of the most inspired and eclectic artists of this generation.

 

 

Giovanni "Gio" Pilato

 

 

Ina Forsman's debut album is out now and is available via Ruf Records

"Buy a record, support the artists, preserve the future of music"

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Out On The Tiles

Why You Should See "Frampton Comes Alive!" on Tour.

peterframptonpressphoto2

Photo Credit: Gregg Roth

Published with Permission.

Review by Bluebird.

Why You Should See "Frampton Comes Alive!" on Tour.

Frampton Comes Alive at the Hanover Theatre: Worcester, MA February 4, 2012

Steam came from behind the drums as the set opened on this ornate theatre. Peter Frampton is announced and videos of the album "FRAMPTON COMES ALIVE!" were projected onto the screen behind the stage. Peter walked toward the crowd with his arms stretched out. He wasted no time getting into the first song of this legendary album, "It's Alright, Something's Happening!" With a blast of the guitar solo, the crowd went instantly wild! Read more ...

 

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Maine Music News

Dont let the name fool you! Maine Music News provides live concert reviews and photography for shows throughout all of New England. Our photographers cover shows in Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts and anywhere else we can! Our writers provide detailed album reviews and expertly written interviews as well. We may be called Maine Music News, but we dont let the Maine border stop us!