Katie Bradley Anchor Baby Sessions

Katie Bradley Anchor Sessions.jpeg

Submitted by Iain Patience

'Anchor Baby Sessions' is a debut release from a young UK singer-songwriter, Katie Bradley. About half the numbers on the ten-track album are written by Bradley together with guitarist Dudley Ross.  Overall, the mix is very good and this rock-blues launch well worth checking out.

Bradley is a strong, effective singer with a light, positive and confident touch; she is also, something of a rare thing, a female Harp player. Indeed her playing is, like her vocals, also confidently pitched while guitarist Ross provides welcome variety switching between acoustic slide and driving electric fretwork with apparent ease.

Bradley is already fast making a name for herself on the club and festival circuit, in the UK and Europe and with this release she is likely to go from strength to strength for sure.  Tracks include pretty fine covers of 'Little By Little', Rock Me Baby',  'I Got My Mojo Working' and a powerful version of 'I'd Rather Go Blind'.  Two differently honed takes of the self-written 'Long Way From Home' stand out as mature, well-fired pieces.

This is an excellent album of blues-rock standards mixed with new, self-penned material of real quality.  Throughout the album, there's a clear nod to tradition coupled with a clear eye to the future all wrapped and packaged with great musical style and class. The result is a highly recommended new comer.

Eric Sardinas And Big Motor: Boomerang

Eric Sardinas and Big Motor Boomerang.jpg

Submitted by David Bowling
Cashbox Magazine

There are thousands of blues artists on the road and in the studio, so it takes an accomplished musician and artist to get noticed. Eric Sardinas and his backing band Big Motor, consisting of bassist Levell Price and drummer Bryan Keeling, are one of those blues bands who have continued to improve and are now on the rise toward the top of their profession. They have now returned with their third album titled Boomerang.

In addition to being a good vocalist and competent songwriter; Sardinas is a unique musician. He performs with an electrified dobro resonator plus steel and acoustic resonators. The sound he is able to create with his unique approach to the blues is different from most of his contemporaries.

His newest album consists of eight original and two cover tunes. The old Elvis song “Trouble” is twisted all out of shape and emerges as an energetic blues piece. Muddy Waters’ “How Many More Years” is a trip back to the Southern Delta.

The eight original compositions are vehicles for his voice and instrumental expertise. “Run Devil Dun,” “Bad Boy Blues,” “Morning Glory,” and the title track are all solid, gritty blues tunes with enough room for some creative solos.

Eric Sardinas continues to improve and evolve. Boomerang is another link in his musical chain.

Mark Harrison: The World Outside

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Submitted by Iain Patience

Harrison is one of the new current crop of English bluesmen, busy carving a reputation as a leading-edge writer and guitarist in the bars, clubs and music festivals of Europe and the UK.  All twelve tracks that make up this release were written by Harrison and more than adequately illustrate his mastery of style and subject.

What makes this guy stand out from most of the rest is the simple key element that underpins everything he does: he plays acoustic, generally slide guitar in a traditional style but with his own material which is bang up to date. An interesting mélange that few can pull off with success, Harrison, not only succeeds he positively triumphs.

On this release he is joined by his old buddy Ed Hopwood on drums and vocals, plus a number of other fine backing musicians; the Harp work of Will Greener is particularly  strong and the vocal support from Josienne Clarke, who also doubles up on Tenor Sax, Flute and Piano, is a positively welcome addition.

The twelve tracks here are fine examples of modern blues in the UK today from a guy with his ear to the musical ground coupled with humour and a deft turn of phrase and pacing. Many themes are modern while others reflect an interest in social issues with lively thought.

At times introspective, 'The World Outside' represents a very fine slice of British acoustic blues music from a clearly talented singer-songwriter with a finely balanced sense of self-deprecating wit.


Secoya: Ghosts

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Secoya is an ambient/experimental project of George Robinson, a producer from Bristol, UK. He started his musical journey by playing piano at early age. George's music is characterized by commonly extensive dynamic changes. These contrasting atmospheres develop in nostalgic and melodic brand of ambient music. Ghosts is the debut album from Secoya. The album combines reverb laden melodies and nostalgic chord progressions with a lo-fi feel to create an aural reflection of Robinson’s thoughts, feelings and surroundings at that time. The opening track ‘Hey’ starts off with a dreamy, incandescent feel, then builds to a full flowing tune, rippling effects of sound, that fade out with an eerie echo on the end, while the title track ‘Ghosts’ is strangely comforting, making you feel like you are floating through gauze and clouds to gaze to ‘the other side’. ‘Corsica’ is a rhythmic feel with repeating sounds that sound like raindrops on a summer night while ‘Ajuda’ has world sound instruments used to create an effect of water and time colliding, while ‘Realise’ is unsettling and probably trying to draw on your attention to realize your journey ahead. The last track ‘Faded’ brings you back to the comforting sounds of the melodic offering of Secoya and the music.Listening to Secoya is like a gate that opens to the past for all of us. Get ready go through old movies, amusement parks and dusty things in the attic. The nice  touch is the ‘pops’ and ‘clicks’ that make it sound like you are listening to a record.

Monica Chapman P.S. I Love You!

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Submitted by Sandy Graham

The music business, in my opinion, is 50% talent and 50% tenacity. Somewhere in between is who you know and what contacts you can collect along your travels. Monica Chapman is has managed to have it all. She has the talent, no doubt, the connections being produced by the amazing Bill King, and she is tenacious beyond belief.

It took her four years of working with Bill King to release her first CD, But Beautiful, which was released in the summer of 2013 and garnered some great media attention and some wonderful live performances.

Now back with a second offering, King has put the finest renowned musicians in Canada on this album with Bill himself on piano, Dave Young –acoustic bass, William Sperandei – trumpet, Nathan Hiltz – guitar and Mark Kelso on drums. Produced and arranged by Bill King, the CD was recorded at Inception Sound Studios, engineered by Michael Haas, mixed and mastered by Michael Hass and Chad Irschick.

The result – P.S. I Love You !

Mariella Tirotto & The Blues Federation Live In Concert

Mariella Tirotto and the  Blues Federation Live in Concert.jpeg

Submitted by Iain Patience

This is the third release from Tirotto, an Italian singer-songwriter and long time resident of the Netherlands, where this album was recorded live before an enthusiastic audience towards the close of 2014.

Although her backing band appears to suggest a blues outfit, in reality this album has as much rock as anything else at its core. There are shades of jazz, funk and soul also audible in the mix. Overall this is one of those genuinely gripping albums that rips and roars along from track to track with bags of high energy fun and musical facility evident throughout.

It's clear from the raucous recording that the crowd are with her all the way here and she rises to the occasion to produce a cracking album of rocking blues and soulful music full of razor-edged guitar work from one of Europe's finest guitarists, Micha Sprenger, here doing a guest-spot as emergency stand-in for the bands' usual fretman, Loek van der Knaap. Heins Greten adds some excellent keyboard and soaring Hammond B-3 work, together with Arno Hagemans on both Bass and Double Bass. Jim Kakiay completes the group on Drums with  another guest, pounding extra Percussion, from Onny Tuhumena.

An album that should appeal to lovers of good-time, fun-filled rock-blues at its best.

Doug MacLeod: Exactly Like This

Exactly Like This Doug MacLeod.jpeg

Submitted by Iain Patience

MacLeod may have a Scottish Islanders name but he's actually American. Long resident in West Coast USA,  Dubbs,  as he's affectionately known, is easily one of the most accomplished and admired acoustic bluesmen of his generation with countless international awards to his name.

'Exactly Like This' is his latest release, an eleven track masterpiece, choc full of recognisable and nimble fretwork on resonator guitar and careening slippery slide sounds that are his hallmark. His voice seems to improve with age, like a fine Malt whiskey or an expensive vintage wine.

All tracks on this release were written by the man himself and range across the usual subject matter of love, life, hope and despair. From the 1950s Louis Jordan inspired boogie sound of the opening track, 'Rock It Till The Cows Come Home' to the echoes of Duke Ellington on the closer, 'You Got It Good (And That Ain't Bad)', this is an album that showcases MacLeod's captivating, talented artistry to the full.

Backed by Mike Thompson (for many years and currently The Eagles keys-man) on piano, the wonderful Jimi Bott on Drums and equally splendid Denny Croy on Bass, this is nothing less than a marvellous album from a marvellous musician.

Sean Webster & The Dead Lines See It Through

Sean Webster & The Dead Lines See It Through.jpeg

Submitted by Iain Patience

This is the fifth release in about ten years from Webster, who spent a good few years in Australia but was finally tempted back into the studio in 2013 to record this excellent ten-track album.
Two of his previous efforts, the debut 'Long Time Coming' (2004) and follow-up 'If Only', both won critical acclaim with Webster being tipped for great things. Instead, the Brit seems to have adopted a less ambitious and quieter life Down Under for some years. Given his musical pedigree and style, however, it appears clear that any suggestion of a quiet life is far from likely and with 'See It Through' Webster again throws his hat into the ring with considerable flair.

This is good-time rock-blues with a raucous feel, driving energy and high-energy soloing from a guy who is not afraid to fly high.  Webster's guitar soars and sings - it even sighs, when required - with polished licks aplenty and remarkable riffs. His voice is powerful, growling and gutsy. And his songwriting skills are evident here with a maturity and virility that matches his driving vocal delivery.

All in all 'See It Through' is a very fine bit of work featuring an accomplished musician in his prime, clearly enjoying a return to the stage and the studio.

George Shovlin Blues Band: Got Blues…If You Want It

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Submitted by Iain Patience

Shovlin hails from the North East of England. Blues music seems to course through his veins. This album is a simply marvelous mix of old traditional numbers given a singularly individual and fresh lick of paint and colour.

Tracks included in this 13-track self-produced release include classic blues masterpieces from Blind Boy Fuller, Lightnin' Hopkins, Skip James, Furry Lewis, Leadbelly, Muddy Waters, Jimmy Rodgers and Jimmy Witherspoon. All are given a fabulously refreshing make-over, with some striking guitar cover and gravel pit vocals.

Shovlin and his band are clearly aware of the limits of blues norms and unafraid to break the mould and push ahead, beyond the usual constricting confines of traditional form and structures that these revered classics normally generate. And while the usual twelve-bar blues proliferates, the originality of the musical interpretations make this an inspired and inspiring recording.

Coming from the region that produced Eric Burden and the Animals many moons ago, it's hardly surprising to find Shovlin also pushing the blues boundaries to the limit and beyond. This is one of those rare things, a cracking album of classic  traditional blues played with enormous flair, confidence and originality.

Duffy Kane Dead Man Walkin'

Duffy Kane Dead Man Walkin'.jpeg

Submitted by Iain Patience

This is an album that rips away from the very off. The opening track, ‘Roadhouse Boogie Woogie’, gives the disc an immediate rolling appeal and Kane makes the most of things here with some mighty fine fretwork, shoring the whole thing up from start to finish.

Kane's sixth release to date, Dead Man Walkin' highlights the Texan's mastery of his home-built guitar while bringing fresh lyrics and power to the 11-track mix. Themes covered include his despair with the state of modern America, love, loss and optimism. Some withering cynicism and humour also feature, though ultimately he clearly remains hopeful for the future of the US despite the warnings that pepper the songs of insight here.

Interestingly, Kane describes himself as being 'a craftsman' rather than an above the wire artist. Nevertheless, despite his protestations, his artistry shines brightly throughout this album, reflected clearly in the quality of the guitar-work, the strength of his song-writing, vocal talent and the overall production values brought to the table with this CD.

He includes, perhaps with some daring, a neatly tailored arrangement of 'America The Beautiful', where the guitar picking is marvelously laid-back yet holds an inherent power to captivate, reflecting his hope and respect for America's fundamental ideals.

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