Tag Archives: blues music

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 – Kate Lush – Feb 2016

Kate-Lush-Blues-EP

Artist:    Kate Lush
Title:
     Kate Lush
Label:     Independent
Year:       2015

Tracks:   8

Web:       http://www.katelush.com

Location:  Sydney, Australia

Review
It doesn’t hurt that Groove Me  the first track on this robust EP is one of my favourites.  Kate delivers the King Floyd classic with groovy gusto, showcasing a swingin’ sax solo by Jason Bruer.
Next up Tired of My Tears, first released in the 60’s by Ray Charles, keeps faithful to the original feel by capturing that old-gold soul sound.

KateLush-5Written by Kate, the standout on the EP  Do You Know What Love Is creates a moody bluesy feel with plaintive, pleading vocals appealing for an answer to the impossible question.

Originally recorded by American blues artist Robert Johnson in 1936, this cover of Dust My Broom lifts your spirits with its 12-bar blues boogie rhythm which is more akin to the later Elmore James version;
then continuing the livelier tempo Loving You is Sweeter Than Ever, written by Stevie Wonder and released by the Four Tops, steers the album in a soulful direction with this unique arrangement.

Another favourite is the Kate penned True Fire which has an odd beginning that doesn’t quite make sense until you watch the video (TrueFire) – but get past that bit and the song morphs into a soul-drenched, organ-infused burner that engraves itself on your brain.

The uptempo When You Pray gets the foot tapping and head nodding in the same way gospel music demands attention.  At the back end of the EP, Set Me Free launches into a spirited blues belter with Kate letting loose on this fabulous finalé to her first-class release.

Already achieving local awards and gaining high marks on Australian blues charts, there’s no doubt this album, because of its varied content, excellent production, musicianship and undeniable talents of Ms Lush herself, will continue to entertain soul and blues fans well into the future.

Album Personnel

KateLush-2

Kate Lush

Kate Lush – vocals
Matt Roberts – guitar, vocals
Chris Wright – guitar
Tim Wilson – bass, vocals
Lachy Doley
– organ, keys
Damon McMahon
– keys
Wes Harder
– keys
Sam Boyd
– keys
Jason Bruer – sax
Stewart Kirwan – trumpet
Paul Derricott – drums
Tony Boyd – drums
Jo Fabro – BV’s
Robert Susz – harmonica

Production:  Michael Carpenter
Mastered by: Rick O’Neil @ Turtle Rock

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

CD Review – Dee Lavell – June 2012

DeeLavell-CD coverTitle:        Mama Told Me
Label:       Independent
Year:         2012
Tracks:     11
Website:
http://www.deelavell.com
Location:  Brunswick Heads NSW

Having known Dee for many years, when her CD arrived I put it aside to listen later so I could give it my full attention rather than a cursory listen.
I’m so glad I did because I could not STOP listening!

The soulful opening track oozed out of the speakers with Dee’s captivating rich contralto voice seeping into my soul where it stayed put!  Supported by some fine backing vocals and superlative musicianship, this album is one for blues and soul lovers, alike.

But make no mistake, this is not an album full of sad blues.  It also boasts some big bad blues belters like “Do Your Thang”  and “Friday Night” into which Dee pours her considerable experience with gusto!
Along with guitarist and writing partner, Geoff Wright, I’d say Dee Lavell has definitely listened to what “Mama Told Me”!

Album Personnell:
Guitars – Geoff Wright,
Drums – Grant Gerathy & Greg Ohlback,DeeLavell-whitebodice
Bass – Thierry Fossemalle, Saxes – Martha Baartz, Dave Sanford, David Ades & Don Raffaele, Percussion – James Patugalan, Flute – Martha Baartz,
Piano, Keys & Hammond – Alan Park, Harmonica – Guy Kachel,
BVs – Belle Hendrik, Lydia Storey, Mohini Cox, Liza Ohlback & Greg Ohlback.
Produced by:  Geoff Wright & Dee Lavell

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