Reviews

Every Soul’s a Star on New Dave Keller CD, Due from Catfood Records on October 19

Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Catfood Records announces the October 19 release of Every Soul’s a Star, the label debut from acclaimed soul/blues singer and guitarist Dave Keller. Produced by Grammy-winner Jim Gaines (Santana, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Luther Allison) and recorded at Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, Texas, Every Soul’s a Star showcases 10 original songs, plus a scintillating cover of the Aretha Franklin classic, “Baby, I Love You.”

Keller’s soulful vocals are beautifully supported by The Rays, which includes not only legendary Motown guitarist Johnny McGee, but also Bob Trenchard – bass; Dan Ferguson - Hammond B3, Wurlitzer, keyboards; Richy Puga – drums; Mike Middleton – trumpet; Nick Flood - tenor and baritone sax, plus the heavenly voices of Janelle Thompson and Shakara Weston - background vocals; and Christopher Serrano – percussion.

Catfood label head Bob Trenchard calls Dave Keller, “The most-talented songwriter I've ever worked with,” and it was he who suggested Jim Gaines to produce the new project.

“This record, for me, is about honoring the star in each person,” Dave Keller says. “The songs are about both love and heartbreak, of course, but also speak about the beauty in each of us, as unique individuals and as people standing up together. This record feels like my strongest yet. I felt more at ease singing than I've ever felt in the studio. That comfort helped me sing more dynamically than I've ever sung before on record.”

Dik Banovich Hot Cookin’ Mama

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Submitted by Iain Patience

Banovich is an interesting guy, a guitar picker and songwriter with his feet firmly planted in both blues and Americana music traditions, a wealthy combination that often produces genuine pearls when least expected.

Following on from his 2016 release ‘Acoustic Roots and Blues,’ Banovich here serves up a cracking dish of modern classics peppered with his own writing in the genre, while always pushed along by his punchy and often fiery fretwork. Tracks range from classic standards like ‘Walkin’ the Dog’ and ‘Walking Blues’ to the folk-roots classic, ‘Black is the Color’ and the seldom heard ‘Blues Run the Game’ originally from the mostly long-forgotten and overlooked sixties US writer-picker, Jackson C Frank.

As a result, Banovich, a Scot who was partly raised in the blues hotbed of Chicago, brings a refreshingly delightful and innovative take to the blues music table with ‘Hot Cookin’ Mama,’ a twelve-track release that rocks and ripples with sensitivity, hooks and hotspots throughout. This is an acoustic-driven album to savor, a rare thing these days, and a thing of great beauty. Buy it while you can.

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William Bell : Born Under a Bad Sign

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Submitted by Iain Patience

Veteran blues-soul man William Bell smiles when I suggest he’s been working the music business for half a century, before correcting me with a laugh: “Sixty years now, in fact,” he says. Bell was one of the earliest Stax musicians, signed to the label back in 1961 primarily as a songwriter, he always had the ambition to make his mark as both writer and performer. An ambition he readily achieved and three-score years later, he continues to deliver top-notch material with scarcely a trace of effort.
Currently working on a new album, Bell is studio-bound though he still loves life out on the road: “I never tire of the travel, meeting the fans, working hard,” he confirms. “Right now I’m working on a bunch of new songs, some for other artists, and some for a new release I’m working with.”

When Bell talks about writing for others, it’s near-impossible to overestimate his past power, a force that remains vital and dynamic. With credits that include co-authoring the massive blues standard, ‘Born Under A Bad Sign,’ and ‘Private Number,’ – recorded with Judy Clay in 1968 – this is a guy to take note of. He is particularly pleased to add: “When Carole King, a wonderful writer, records one of your songs, ‘Every Day Will Be Like a Holiday,’ you know you’re doing something right.”

Lost Cousins Release Soaring New Single ‘City Escape’

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Psych-rock outfit Lost Cousins are no strangers to places of deep unfamiliarity. The group's journey to pursue music thus far has re-directed their inspirations, allowing them to examine grappling life transitions and the domino effects of choice. You can stream and share the band's new single "City Escape" below - officially out on all DSPs this Friday, August 31.

"STREAM / SHARE "CITY ESCAPE" @ SOUNDCLOUD"

Growing up, moving on, and pushing forward into change isn't always as easy as it looks - but consistently reaps big rewards. This is none more apparent than on the track "City Escape" with a steady, pulsing riff before the drums kick in and you feel swept away before the vocals cue up.

"City Escape is about a relationship that spans two different cities," the band explained. "It speaks to feeling trapped within a certain space and routine, and finding solace in another person's day-to-day. The lyrics reminisce on time spent in unfamiliar new places, and how this experience can feel like an escape from reality."

Lost Cousins - Cam Duffin (drums), Lloyd McArton (guitar, saxophone), and Thomas Dashney (keyboards) - are influenced by contemporary indie rock outfits like Tame Impala, Bombay Bicycle Club, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Local Natives, but pull, too, from the foundations of rock music, and pop sensibilities to create anthems to sing-along to.

Jill Jackson Are We There Yet?

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Submitted by Iain Patience

This is hardly a blues release but, that said, it’s a truly wonderful album from a young(ish) Scottish singer-songwriter, who can sure put together a fine lyrical flourish with some equally fine melodies. All ten tracks are self-written and the package was produced by musician, Boo Hewardine, in Glasgow, at Rab Noakes’ Kyoti Recording studios. The result is a truly exceptional release, an irresistible offering that is both hauntingly aching and delightful in pretty much equal measure.

Jackson has delivered an album that takes you back to an era of naivety and undiluted beauty, simpering schooldays and the birth of rock-n-roll, with edges of Buddy Holly and a nostalgic nod to a time when life was just so much simpler. Her writing is purposeful and prose-like, with a strong sense of imagery and an impact that pulls the entire package together with an unexpected power and purpose. Anyone of a certain age, especially those who recall Holly, Haley, Elvis and the birth of modern pop music with the Beatles and the like, will recognise the themes Jackson presents and the warmth of her vocal delivery, coupled with very fine support from a range of diverse UK musical talents, ensure that this offering is never boring, trite or easily forgotten.

Canadian Roots and Blues Singer, Songwriter Judy Brown Releases 'Say It’

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

British Columbia roots and blues singer, songwriter, guitarist Judy Brown celebrates the southern Ontario launch of her new full-length solo recording titled ‘Say It’ with two key concerts. The first show is in Hamilton at Mississippi Queen Foods Restaurant on Thursday, September 6, and the second is in Mississauga at the Southside Shuffle, 20th Anniversary Port Credit Blues and Jazz Festival on Friday, September 7, 2018. Note: See all concert details below.

Produced by Maple Blues and JUNO award-winners Gary Kendall (Downchild Blues Band) and Teddy Leonard (Fathead) – ‘Say It’ (released May 18, 2018) – represents Brown’s journey in roots and blues that began in Alberta, followed by 30 years in the Toronto music scene and now marks an exciting next chapter. After taking time to raise her two children, in 2017, Brown made a move west to Nelson, BC (to be near family and a supportive arts community) and returned to recording with long-time musical friends and collaborators Kendall and Leonard.

Ace Frehley Releases New Track Rockin’ With The Boys

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada
Photo Credit Jay Gilbert

Founding KISS guitarist and Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame member, Ace Frehley, has released a new song called Rockin' With The Boys. This is the second song Frehley has released this year, from his forthcoming all-new Spaceman album, due October 19, 2018, via Entertainment One (eOne). Frehley previously released the track, Bronx Boy, in April.

Spaceman, Frehley’s eighth solo LP, features nine new original tracks including a cover of Eddie Money’s, I Wanna Go Back, a ripping power pop makeover of the original.

“No need to worry, I’ll be home soon, ’cause I’m rockin’ with the boys,” Frehley sings on Rockin’ With the Boys, which tells the tales of life on the road. Ace says he wrote the original version of the song back in KISS’s heyday in the ’70s. Both Rockin With The Boys and Bronx Boys are available on all streaming platforms today and are iTunes instant grat tracks for fans who pre-order the album.

Wily Bo Walker: Almost Transparent Blues

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Submitted by Iain Patience

Wily Bo Walker is one of those guys who never seems to fail to deliver interesting, varied, finger-on-the-pulse blues music that rips and roars along pulling in a huge variety of influences and crossing genres at almost every twist or turn. Originally from Scotland, Walker is a London-based picker, singer-songwriter who is prepared to nail his colors and balls to the wall with a remarkable release bulging at the seams with sheer class and originality.

In recent years he has turned out albums that always surprise and delight in pretty much equal measure. His fretwork is gripping and driving while his voice scratches the paint from bar-room walls and clears the head with ease. With this latest offering, ‘Almost Transparent Blues,’ Walker again turns up the heat to produce an eleven-track album that holds echoes of Stevie Ray one moment followed by Lightnin’ Hopkins and Springsteen or Joe Cocker the next. Each successive cut draws the listener deeper into his revelatory riptide and rattles the roof with startling effect and essence.

Joined, as usual, by two of his oldest buddies here, ED Brayshaw and Karena K, Walker kicks-off with some smouldering Memphis horns before moving on to cover Americana, soul, blues, roots and almost everything in between before throwing in a down-south, swampy voodoo vibe and a touch of Tom Waits to the mix.

Mike Munson: Rose Hill

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Submitted by Iain Patience

This is a new artist and a new label both with strong connections to bluesman Jimmy ‘Duck’ Holmes and his family-run downtown café-bar-juke joint in Bentonia Mississippi. Munson has released a few self-produced indie efforts in recent years but ‘Rose Hill’ marks a change with a new US blues label and an optimistic purpose that shines through each successive track.

Munson favours acoustic guitar mostly, with some enjoyable and understated slide-work also thrown into the mix. His own approach is clearly influenced by the likes of Skip James and Jack Owens, both pioneers of the style now largely labeled, ‘Bentonia Blues,’ a type of picking that leans heavily on tradition but sparked-up by haunting, eerily redolent minor tunings. This is the style favored by Jimmy ‘Duck’ Holmes himself, who guests here on one track, and which pretty much owes its origins to Holmes’s family business, the renowned Blue Front Café in Bentonia where the album was recorded.

Munson includes covers of a few blues standards including ‘Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning,’ Bukka White’s ‘Shake ‘Em On Down’ and perhaps most fittingly Jack Owens’ ‘Jack Ain’t Had No Water,’ a song and late player-writer who also helped create the Bentonia sound way back. At other times, Munson hits an instrumental note with picking that holds clear echoes of Charlie Parr, an evident influence with his strikingly original fretwork and always the near-unique style of attack.

That Summer Compilation featuring 0 hype, Ed Roman and Nina Amelio

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Submitted By BWH MUSIC GROUP

Some of the greatest artists in our modern lexicon have been introduced to us through the magic of mixtapes and compilation albums. A lot of the time, comps aren’t necessarily geared towards conveying a specific artistic narrative or theme and purely designed to get attention and commercial interest ignited in a record label, and other times they represent a change in the tide culturally and professionally throughout music and pop culture. BWH Music Group has become synonymous with hosting some of the biggest and brightest young stars on their roster, and the label’s epic new comp That Summer is nothing short of an eclectic, albeit insightful look into what the future of pop music in a variety of genres is going to look like in the next ten years.

That Summer particularly highlights some of the incredible Canadian talent that BWH is boasting right now, chief among the hip-hop community rapper 0 hype, who contributes “Ease My Mind” to this disc alongside the brilliant Chris Chand. 0 hype is building quite the reputation as one of the most innovative voices in the presently emerging new generation of rap thanks to his unique flow style and sonically provocative beats that push the limits of the genre to the very brink. “Ease My Mind” is a perfect fit on That Summer, immaculately appointed with a stylish melody that speaks to the core of our summer passions and evokes chill vibes from the very start of the track.

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