Show 237

This week’s Blues is the Truth is packed with a father and son Muddy Waters and Mud Morganfield, Laura Cheadle, Freddie King, Robert Cray, Buddy Guy, Hans Theessink and Terry Evans, Poplar Jake, Jo Harman, Danny Bryant, Katie Bradley and much more. All from 9pm UK time tomorrow on www.jazzandbossaradio.com


Ruby Tiger - Vistas

Ruby Tiger may not, as yet, be a familiar name, at least outside of their local scene on the south coast. However their release of a debut EP, entitled Vistas, could see all that change, as more people will get to discover their individual blend of roots, blues and jazz.

It’s always difficult to describe something that so effectively straddles so many musical niches. Here it’s clear that the core is old school swing blues of the kind you’s associate with Dinah Washington or Bessie Smith, but that there’s a blend between that and some old school jazz and traditional songwriting. It’s a blend that feels instantly familiar, you’re at home listening to this record, it feels natural and organic, as if it has always been around around. 

Most of the songs are originals, and they show off an adept and intelligent lyricist. There’s a poetry here, with words that flow with the rhythm of the piece rather than being shoe-horned into place. Each track is a  carefully considered piece of storytelling, there are little plot twists and surprises and it all makes for something rather different to the massed ranks of modern music.

Performance wise the musicians fit the material like a glove. Intelligently performed and underrated, it’s  a perfect foil for Ruby’s vocals. I get the sense she’s holding back a lot from what she could do technically and the subsequent benefit to the emotional content is high. Somehow she seems to reach out to the listener and find a shared perspective on the subjects on which her songs dwell. Her regular musical foil, King Rollo, also turns in a hugely involving performance on guitar, resisting the urge to splurge notes to fill every gap and providing tasteful solos only where they will have the most impact.

This is a stunning debut, understated and moving, but without relying on flash to deliver it’s impact. It’s layered and rich, and a great showcase for an emerging talent. On this evidence Ruby is going to be gaining some serious attention, even if it’s only for the beautiful way she introduces vibrato to the final note of Best Friend which ranks as one of 2014’s most magical musical moments.


Blues is the Truth show 236

Tomorrow night’s show has, as you’d expect a fair amount of music from the late, great Johnny Winter. Along with him there are tunes from Olivia Stevens Ruby Tiger, Muddy Waters, Nick Curran, Candy Kayne, BB and the Blues Shacks, Wily Bo Walker, Greg Alman, Back Pack Jones and much more. Tune in from 9pm tomorrow on www.jazzandbossaradio.com


Johnny Winter RIP.

Johnny Winter is dead. The world is a darker place.

Any time someone like him passes it gets a little darker, a little smaller, a little less special. He created something new, a hi-octane take on blues guitar, and most notably slide, that begat many great players. Derek Trucks acknowledged his importance when they played together at crossroads, and rightly so. There was an excitement and fire to his playing that nobody duplicated.

I’m going to miss that sound.


Cathy Lemons - Black Crow

Blues is anything but a single style of music, it’s infinitely varied and diverse if only you take the time to explore what’s on offer. There are some artists who do the exploring for you, and one such act is Cathy Lemons who’s latest disc is called Black Crow. I hadn’t heard of Cathy until I came across this disc, but on this evidence I think she has a fan.

While she does have a hugely varied smorgasbord of styles on the disc, from Texas shuffles to JJ Cale roots songs, it’s a remarkably consistent listen. If many acts attempted this kind of diversity it would fall apart but with the universally high standard of material and Cathy’s rich, velvet voice as a centrepiece, the threads that hold the disc together are strong. That voice is sensuous and expressive, with lyrics delivered with clear enunciation and a minimum of extraneous filigree, she forms an immediate and lasting emotional connection. Her delivery is one that many acts could, and should, be envious of.

Musically the picture that’s built up around her is funky and driving, moving the feet as much as it moves the heart. This is a group of musicians that understand their job is the groove, and not to show off. Even when they have they chance to lay it all down and go for a no holds barred, flat out solo, they hold back and deliver subtlety and real emotion. This restrained performance suits Cathy’s diverse music superbly and stands as a reminder that much modern blues has become a vehicle for showing off.

What all this means is we have an album here that is far closer to the genuine blues than many of it’s contemporaries. The focus is on emotion and not on spectacle, which means it may not grab people who are used to the latter on first listen. However, if you stick with it, as you definitely should, you’ll be rewarded with a depth and richness that eludes the masses. This is a record that deserves repeated listens, that gives you something new on every pass. Each time it hits your record player you’ll love it just a little bit more.


Show 235

Like Blues? You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t, so why not tune in to tomorrow night’s show on www.jazzandbossaradio.com at 9pm to listen to the likes of the Hoax, Coco Montoya, Rick Lollar, 24 Pesos, Red Butler, The Black Keys and so much more. Remember folks, Blues is the Truth!


Walter Trout - The Blues Came Calling

When Walter Trout planned out 2014 it was as a year of celebration. He had overcome addiction and ended up with one of the most successful careers in music and this year marks the 25th anniversary of his debut. Little did he think he would be spending his time fighting for his life, needing a liver transplant and facing death head on. 

When news of his health condition reached the public it worked as a unifying force, bringing the community together to rally around a man who had done so much for the music, but no-one expected that Walter would end up releasing one of the most powerful albums of his entire career. He did, in the form of The Blues Came Calling, a rich and heady disc that’s emotional impact belies the fact that Walter was extremely il during it’s inception and recording.

The album is the third side Walter reunited with his former record company, Provogue, and a continuation of the hot streak that started with Blues for the Modern Daze. In a way it’s typical Walter, erring on the side of blues rock rather than the purely traditional, and packed with big, belting songs, and bigger and even more belting guitars. Where it really shines is in the moments where Walter shares his fragility with the audience, whether it is the breaking of his voice where it used to be rock solid or the lyrical honesty with which he deals with the spectre of potential death that he obviously felt during the sessions. That spectre hangs over a number of the songs, lending a certain darkness to the material. However dark it may be there is a glimmer of hope at the core of every song, as even in the lyrics of the tunes Walter is a fighter.

Walter is joined on a couple of tracks by his old boss, John Mayall, who contributes piano and vocals two the two tracks that buck the trend of the album with their lightness and jaunty feel. While Mayall’s reputation is still a bigger draw that that of his former guitar slinger, his presence does not distract from the fact that this record is Walter through and through. 

Guitars are to the fore, the feel is driving and the intensity is high. If it was anyone but Walter we wouldn’t be talking of fragility, as it’s only in comparison to his past work that you notice those rare moments. It is however this fragility that gives the record it’s greatest asset, Walter is human and this record shows it in all of the power and weakness, form it’s emotional highs and lows, from the sheer fact that it was completed. Walter has made his greatest record at a time when many would give up, close doors and go away. This is music as therapy, as a friend and as catharsis. 

It’s also undeniably brilliant.


Show 234

Tomorrow night’s show has some great tunes from the likes of Hat Fitz and Cara, Jimmie Vaughan, Howling Wolf, The Lol Goodman Band, The Proof with Paul CoxMariëlla TirottoKyle Esplin, Too Slim and the Tail Draggers, Valerie June and much more all from 9pm on www.jazzandbossaradio.comtomorrow.


This weeks show had to have a tribute to Bobby Womack, but that’s not all, theres some Paul Lamb, some Kenny Wayne, Robert Randolph,Freddie King, the Idle Hands and so much more. Tune in tomorrow at 9pm UK time for a great show!

This weeks show had to have a tribute to Bobby Womack, but that’s not all, theres some Paul Lamb, some Kenny Wayne, Robert Randolph,Freddie King, the Idle Hands and so much more. Tune in tomorrow at 9pm UK time for a great show!


Tomorrow night’s show is our last before voting closes in the BBA’s and this week it’s the nominees in the Kevin Thorpe Memorial award with Aynsley Lister, Jo HarmanLucy ZirinsTrevor SewellRichard Townend,and Half Deaf Clatch. Not just that music but the rest of the show is a bit of a party withWhitney Shay, Robben Ford, The Steady Rollin Revue, Jimmie Vaughan, BB and the Blues Shacks, Philip Sayce and much more. All from 9pm UK time on www.jazzandbossaradio.com and don’t forget to join the group for a chat!

Tomorrow night’s show is our last before voting closes in the BBA’s and this week it’s the nominees in the Kevin Thorpe Memorial award with Aynsley Lister, Jo HarmanLucy ZirinsTrevor SewellRichard Townend,and Half Deaf Clatch. Not just that music but the rest of the show is a bit of a party withWhitney Shay, Robben Ford, The Steady Rollin Revue, Jimmie Vaughan, BB and the Blues Shacks, Philip Sayce and much more. All from 9pm UK time on www.jazzandbossaradio.com and don’t forget to join the group for a chat!


There City Boys All Stars - Blinded By the Night

The City Boys Allstars are back with a new album, Blinded By the Night, that showcases the band in a live setting, a record of a night in New York where the band reunited for a very rare public performance. I’ve had a fair amount of time to get to know the record now and can say that it has something a bit special about it.

This band are a little different from the majority of blues bands out there, in a world that forces bands to shrink purely to be economically viable this is a band that has taken the BB King approach with a slick sound and a big horn driven sound. It makes for something that sounds much bigger than most acts and allows them to easily switch between straight blues and more soul or jazz influenced numbers, all united by a massive sound and an undeniably huge groove.

Along with the groove there is something else that marks this album as special. There is a polish to the material that is simply lacking in the vast majority of live recordings. It comes in both the form of performances and arrangements that are as tight as anything you’d expect to hear on a studio recording as well as in the standard of the recording itself. This is an album that has everything laid out in pristine detail. Sometimes that would mean you have a record that is anodyne and antiseptic with feel sacrificed in the name of fidelity, but here it just lets you experience the night exactly as it was with real insight into the way the music was made.

There are, as with the previous City Boys records a couple of real emotional high points. God Bless the Child is a roller coaster of feeling, Testimony is a funky and powerful introduction to the record and the closer bookends the record well with some real blues in the shape of City Boy Blues. There are also real standout performances from individuals, Blue Lou is epic throughout as is Mike Merola, but it’s the varied array vocalists that set the highest bar throughout the record.

This is a record that’s worth investing in, especially in the guise of the double vinyl record. It’s funky and emotionally involving, and really highlights the quality of one of the tightest and most skilled bands in the blues. For me I crave a little more dirt, a little more earthiness and a touch less polish, but that’s my taste, and it takes nothing away from what is one of the best live recordings of the 21st century.


Tomorrow night’s show has the nominees in the harmonica category of the BBA’s with Will Wilde, Paul Lamb, Giles King, Giles Robson, West Weston, Trevor Segel and Alan Glen. Add to that some BB King, Jonny Lang, Keb’ Mo’, Chad Strentz, Roo and the Howl and much more. Tune in tomorrow from 9pm uk time on www.jazzandbossaradio.com
 

Tomorrow night’s show has the nominees in the harmonica category of the BBA’s with Will Wilde, Paul Lamb, Giles King, Giles Robson, West Weston, Trevor Segel and Alan Glen. Add to that some BB King, Jonny Lang, Keb’ Mo’, Chad Strentz, Roo and the Howl and much more. Tune in tomorrow from 9pm uk time on www.jazzandbossaradio.com

 


No Sinner - The Garage - Islington

No Sinner take the stage at the Garage in Islington to a full room. The crowd that has been building since the doors opened at seven is a varied one, hoary old rockers in guitar T-Shirts, suited and booted middle aged men and the young and hip have all come to north London to see the act from Canada perform at their second ever appearance in the capital.

While the crowd has been waiting they have been treated to two fine support acts the first of which are Yassassin. This band supported the main attraction the last time they were in the UK and in the few months since then they’ve only got better, combining bluesy Hoax-esque guitar with the style of the Arctic Monkeys, they do a good job of getting the audience on side and ready for the main act. 

Up second are Jakabo, a band from Berkshire who are new to just about everyone here but me. They’ve changed since the days when we used to share a bill, tightening up and polishing their music and performance to the point they could share a stage with just about anyone out there. They gain great compliments from all of the attendees especially for he vocal and guitar performances that are the real stars of their act.

Now, finally, to the stars of the night. No Sinner take the stage looking every inch a real rock and roll band. They dress in a variety of hippy chic and and, in the case of Collee,n a ridiculously short dress that has male pulses racing even before she’s sung a note. Of course Ian Brown, the drummer, is a degree more polished looking than his bandmates, but now even he seems to have caught a more grungy style. They are a visually perfect match between the dirty sound of their music and the style they portray.

When they play it’s clear that the music has them entirely in it’s sway. They writhe and move as one, and more importantly as if the audience aren’t there. This, of course, may be all part of an act, but if it is its well conceived and invisible in application, it al seems so natural. They blast through a set that covers the majority of their debut album, along with a smattering of new, and very interesting material that hints of a bright future. There are times when things get very close to chaos, where the shambolic  nature of their music threatens to overtake them but it never does, they follow the edge with deftness and provide a really exciting show.

It’s clear at the end of the night who the stars were. The support acts may have been good, but there is something truly special about No Sinner that is only hinted at by their record. You truly need to see them live to understand what a powerful force they are.


Fancy some blues on a Monday night? Of course you do, so tune into Blues is the Truth on www.jazzandbossaradio.com for some great music, featuring Gary Grainger, Walter Trout, Brothers Groove, Keb’ Mo’, Half Deaf Clatch, Blacktop Deluxe, The Riotous Brothers, Muddy Waters and Albert King. It starts at 9pm UK time!

Fancy some blues on a Monday night? Of course you do, so tune into Blues is the Truth on www.jazzandbossaradio.com for some great music, featuring Gary Grainger, Walter Trout, Brothers Groove, Keb’ Mo’, Half Deaf Clatch, Blacktop Deluxe, The Riotous Brothers, Muddy Waters and Albert King. It starts at 9pm UK time!


Colleen Rennison - No Sinner

Colleen Rennison is an enigma. On stage she is a powerful performer, capable of intoxicating a crowd with a sexy, whisky drenched attitude that, quite frankly, makes grown men feel a little like teenage girls at a Justin Bieber concert. Away from the stage she’s completely down to earth, normal and with the attitude of someone who can’t quite believe she’s the person who’s fronting No Sinner, a remarkably powerful band from Canada that are causing a stir across the globe, and are currently touring Europe.

Colleen has tasted fame outside of the music business before now. She’s an award nominated actress and has been gracing TV and movie screens since she was a child, but that has all been put on hold in an attempt to snatch a career in music. The music business is one she sees as fickle, as somewhere chances are fleeting and the workload is high, but the sense of personal reward is more than worth the effort. 

Since she was young Colleen has been compared to Janis Joplin. People have told her she resembles the star, both in looks and voice. While he looks comment is debatable in the extreme the vocal comparison is easier to see, they share a huskiness of tone and an absolute commitment to every performance. Perhaps surprisingly Janis is not one of Rennison’s big influences. She feels that any similarities come more from a collection of shared influences rather than as a direct line. Both talk of Tina Turner, especially in her early career, along with Big Mama Thornton and Etta James as being some of the singers that they relate directly to. In fact the comparison with Joplin caused Colleen to shy away from listening to the woman she’s most compared to.

When it comes to music now Colleen finds it hard to attach a label to No Sinner. With large doses of influence from garage rock, primal blues, classic rock, soul and americana, the band can fit into many boxes. She pulls a word out of the air as we talk, and hits the nail fairly squarely on the head when she says jambalaya. It’s just like the southern delicacy, all the best bits mixed up into a spicy and satisfying whole.

Having just finished a tour of the UK and about to head out into Europe before retuning to Canada, No Sinner are starting to capitalise on the notoriety a series of appearances at the prestigious SXSW music festival earlier this year. While it certainly brought the act some much needed publicity it was not necessarily a pleasant experience for Colleen, the chaos and the constant demands for time from press and transportation left her drained and unable to enjoy the festival. The performances were a series of high points, but the parts in between were hell and it wasn’t until the road trip that took them back home that she began to relax and enjoy herself again. 

No sinner are a class act, with an emphasis on chaotic, raw emotion, and a singer that is every inch a star special things are on the cards. If you haven’t heard them yet, do your ears a favour and check them out.