Tag Archives: blues music review

CD review – Blues Arcadia – Feb 2017

Blues Arcadia
Artist: 
  
Blues Arcadia
Title:
     Blues Arcadia EP
Label:     Independent
Year:       2016

Tracks:   7
Web: 
      www.bluesarcadia.com Location:  Brisbane, Qld. Australia

Review
Don’t mistake this album for a sleeper because with successive listens, each track tends to deposit itself into your brain-bank of hum-able songs.  Alan’s voice is not sweet or demure, it has a raw frankness and passion that adds a nostalgic footprint to each track as he portrays his poignant stories of heartbreak and happiness.
With an old-fashioned yet contemporary blues-rock approach, this Brisbane band has simultaneously captured influences from yesteryear and present-day in these genuinely creative compositions.  Well worth a listen!

Track 1 – Corner Girls   Currently making lots of noise on the Blues Music Awards, including a nomination for Song of the Year, Alan’s raw vocals contrast subtly with sweet guitar and stride piano breaks.

Track 2 – Take The Money   Husky vocals blend well on this bluesy shuffle sporting catchy hooks, powerful lyrics and unrelenting drums that keeps everything cooking while building to a very satisfying conclusion.

Track 3 – Miss Lonely   This up tempo ‘boy wants girl’ groove gets your foot tapping and head nodding.  Although employing standard blues chords, there’s nothing standard about this groover.  Includes obligatory guitar solo, played with great gusto.

Track 4 – Here Comes The Rain   Plaintive blues ballad that begins with a humble cry, then proceeds to build until the track breaks into a tasty guitar solo.  The intensity is maintained throughout, concluding with an unexpected contrast.

Track 5 – Operator Please   This standard 4 x 4 blues refrain has arresting lyrics, great use of  ‘space’ alongside guitar stabs and progressions that keep things interesting.

Track 6 – Time and Again   Not quite a ballad, the song begins with sweet acoustic piano accompanying Alan’s distinctive vocals pouring out his desolate feelings.  Great use of light and shade throughout – another well-crafted song.

Track 7 – Rockin’ Chair   Up tempo blues belter with a foot stomping melody and teeth sharpening lyrics, urges us not to take things lying down.  Along with the effective inclusion of horns, the blistering piano/guitar call and response keeps the whole thing rocking along!

Blues ArcadiaWell done, Blues Arcadia… you have my vote!
bluesarcadia-alanboyle
Album Personnel 
Alan Boyle
– vocals
Chris Harvey  – guitar
Jeremy Klysz – bass
Parmis Rose – keys
Steve Robin – drums
Shaun Ballagh – tenor saxophone
Brad Esbensen – trumpet
Joseph Roberts – baritone saxophone

Horn arrangements
Shaun Ballagh, Chris Harvey, Parmis Rose

Recorded live to tape at The Barn Studios, Plainlands, Queensland, Australia
July 2016.   Release date  14 November 2016.
Engineered, mixed and mastered by Mike “Beachy” Wild, assisted by Joe See.

 

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CD Review – Zkye – December 2013

Zkye-JustTheWayItGoes2012Title:      Just The Way It Goes
Label:    Independent
Year:      2012
Tracks:  10
Website:  http://www.zkye.com.au
Location:
Adelaide, South Australia

Born in Adelaide, Zkye (pronounced Sky) Compson-Harris has been singing since she was very young.  Unfortunately I had not heard of Zkye until I received this CD, so I had absolutely no idea what she sounded like.

After first listen, what struck me was the distinctive timbre and gutsy-ness of her voice.  I expect others have compared Zkye with many and varied blues singers from contemporary to bygone days including Koko Taylor, Etta James, Irma Thomas and Janis Joplin, and this girl certainly does not ‘look’ like her voice sounds!

If I’d heard her without seeing her, I would not have expected this diminutive diva who doesn’t just write great blues songs, she sings them with oodles of soul, gusto, passion and credibility.  And on “Just The Way It Goes” her self-penned songs fit comfortably amongst the other well-chosen selections.

Although blues based, the album has elements of rock and soul mixed with its country leanings.  The songs – full of raw emotion and heartfelt lyrics, the musicianship, the production, the CD continuity, in fact the whole shebang makes for a fine blues album which can be enjoyed time after time.

Once you’re familiar with the songs they become like comfortable slippers that you can slip into any time for a leisurely listen.
Here’s hoping Zkye makes the journey back to Sydney some time soon!

Zkye-Reddress

Zkye

Album Personnell:
Electric guitar – James Mitchell
Acoustic guitar – Pat McGrath
Drums – Greg Morrow
Bass – Damien Steele Scott
Hammond B3, Electric Piano, Piano 
Dennis Wage
Backing Vocals – Gale Mayes, Angela Primm
Diane Dixon, Callum Campbell, Zkye Compson-Harris
Produced by:  Damien Steele Scott

GIG Review – Joe Robinson – Jan 2011

Joe@Lizottes
Joe Robinson @ Lizottes

ARTIST:
Joe Robinson with Bernard Harris & Marcus Hill

DATE:   Thurs 20 January 2011
VENUE:
Lizottes,  Pittwater Rd, Dee Why, NSW

.
Joe’s Website: http://joerobinson.com/
Lizotte’s Website:  http://www.sydney.lizottes.com.au/live/index.asp

On a warm summer’s night, the cool air of Lizottes was refreshing as our table for 6 enjoyed the outstanding cuisine which we’ve come to expect from Lizottes restaurants.

As we savored the last morsels of our main courses, we all agreed that the food was so delicious we had to try the desert.  We were not disappointed!  Table service was friendly, attentive and courteous without being pushy.

When Australian guitarist Joe Robinson along with his Nashville rhythm section Bernard Harris (bass)  and Marcus Hill (drums) took to the stage we anticipated a good show but we weren’t prepared for such a marvelous display of musicality, craftsmanship and sheer talent from the 3 young musicians.

We were also looking forward hearing Joe sing for the first time and to our delight his gentle yet strong voice did not disappoint.  The band members entertained us with different styles of groove and blues infused songs, written mainly by Joe, who also performed a number of solo pieces.  Throughout the show many favourable comments were overheard from nearby tables.

Joe allowed both Bernard & Marcus to shine during their respective solos, and we were astounded by Bernard’s incredible bass playing (including Piccolo bass), at times causing his instrument to sound like an organ.  Not only was he an exceptional player, but his soulful, baritone voice was a knockout!

Bernard Harris’ playing was a great match for Robinson’s mind-blowing guitar-work and their impressive call and response challenges wowed us all, causing many outbursts of applause.  All the while Marcus, whose gaze barely strayed from Joe, kept the trio glued together with his deft yet subtle drumming, occasionally leaving the kit to perform interesting percussion pieces on a Cajon box drum.

The enthralled audience loved every moment, and continued applauding and whistling long after the 2nd set had ended, until the boys returned to perform an amazing FIVE song encore!  What an absolute treat!

After a standing ovation at the end of the encore, it was obvious that the satisfied audience left with full appreciation of  the night’s outstanding entertainment.

I definitely won’t miss the chance to see the exceptionally talented Joe Robinson again.

JoeRobinson-Lizottes2