28
Jun
15

TRAGICALLY HIP-TO KIRKLAND LAKE AND THE NORTH WITH LOVE AND MUSICALITY-REVIEW JOHN EMMS

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The Tragically Hip know and love The North.

This night was the first of two sold out nights on the Kirkland Lake leg of The Tragically Hip’s 2015 Fully Completely Tour.

This being the tour that features that 1992 Diamond selling album live in it’s entirety.

The Hip and the North.

It’s all good folks.

Maybe some of our readers have forgot the group played Fort Albany back in 2012 for the Great Moon Gathering.

And of course all of us in Canada and the city of Timmins know that Fifty Mission Cap is written about our own and former Maple Leaf star Bill Barilko

That song, along with Tom Cochrane’s Big League is easily a blue print for hockey anthems.

Heck, I had just watched the hockey draft before heading out to the show.

Hockey aside, and the Emms family name knows hockey, this was simply a magical night.

 

Their blistering all encompassing first opening night provided fans with a glimpse into the group’s tough yet at times intimate sound.

The love of Kirkland Lake and indeed all who attended from all over the North, Quebec, and points south was felt

“Oh yes, we can feel that vibe” said guitarist Paul Langlois talking after the show.

We feed off of it and it becomes an integral part of what we do live on stage.

It’s impossible to describe the band’s sound but it’s safe to say the whole band comes from a righteous place of heart and musicality

And besides Langlois should know.

His interlocking guitar work with lead guitarist Rob Baker is a mainstay of the band’s compelling groove.

With the swagger and pull of Johnny Fay’s drum work in tandem with superb bass work from Gordon Sinclair it’s the perfect fit for one of Canada’s most important frontmen/songwriters Gordon Downie

Downie’s swagger and intelligent lyrics often bring transcendence to any Hip concert fan.

This is a singer who looks his fans in the eye and reacts with the band on every dynamic.

Yep, he’s that good!

Hip Fandom is a whole other other gig folks!

You may remember these guys have headlined festivals where there have been upwards of 50,000 people.

But, on this night it’s all about KL and the incredible Kirkland Lake Festivals committee headed up by hard working Robin Connelly with massive support from the community.

What can you say?

The Hip for not one but two nights.

That will suffice.

I’m a writer not a photographer but I did ask to get moved along the front barricade for a decent shot.

I found myself up next to a smiling man in his mid 30’s

“Hey man how are you?  he asked

Good I said, What a vibe coming off the band, it’s incredible.

Oh yeah, for sure he replied it’s my 19th show.

“My friend and I drove down from Sault Ste Marie, we knew this would an intimate show.

The Timmins turnout alone for this show let alone the next night was large.

The Hip have always operated on their own internal musical clock.

Highlights of this show were many

At The Hundredth Meridian, Locked In the Trunk of a Car, Wheat Kings, My Music At Work and Blow at High Dough come to mind.

Most of it all, it comes down to 5 guys performing great songs.

A dialogue between the band and fans that on this night captured a unified voice!

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, songwriter/musician and Sun Media contributor.

JOHN fronts up his own blues/roots group THE SHAFTMEN

The band has released 3 original albums with a keen eye to The North and Canada

And, is writing on their fourth ..Check out the band on ITunes and youtube worldwide.

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

 

08
Jun
15

BRAD ABSHER & SWAMP ROYALE-LUCKY DOG-SOUL ROOTS SUPREME-CD REVIEW-JOHN EMMS

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Anyone who thinks the 70’s Soul/R & B sound is not vital has not heard this absolute vital cd.

With updated 2015 engineering but still funky with old school roots Lucky Dog is always on my playlist.

Every song makes sense in groove and melody.

Whether it’s Absher’s classy originals like I Can’t Wait, I Need A Drink, and the swampy I Wanna Be Your Man or covering the great William Bell songbook on Miss Your Water and grooving New Orlean’s style on Allen Toussaint’s Lipstick Traces, Absher sounds relaxed and confident.

On his own Not Tonight, Absher gives in to a best Nashville-esque ballad.

And it works wonders.

Absher’s band on this cd bassist Larry Fulcher, drummer Mike Patton, and keyboard man Barry Seelen just can’t miss.

Lucky Dog is soul/roots supreme folks.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist/Sun Media contributor/online radio host, and songwriter/musician.

Check out John’s band THE SHAFTMEN on Youtube and Apple iTunes worldwide

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

Follow John on Twitter

https://twitter.com/emmsreviews

07
Jun
15

JOHN MAYALL’S BLUESBREAKERS-LIVE IN 1967-MIND BOGGLING BLUES BUCKET LIST SET-CD REVIEW BY JOHN EMMS

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JOHN MAYALL’S BLUESBREAKERS-LIVE IN 1967, are you kidding me.

Why, this was not released before is insane.

It may be a mono recording with no fancy pants , but hold onto your hat folks

John Mayall’s interview from his promotion recalls:

“I’d known for a decade or two of the existence of these tapes and in fact Tom Huissen had sent me a CD with 50 second teasers for some of the tracks that he’d secretly recorded at our London shows,” recalls Mayall. “Last year, Tom decided he wanted the world to hear these performances and work soon began on restoring the already fine quality on the old reel-to-reel tapes.”

Let’s face it readers, if you could go back in a time machine and witness John Mayall, Peter Green, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood gig at the Marquee Club in 1967  it would make any blues fan bucket list.

In fact, the fly on the wall effect on hearing this lineup at this time is mind boggling.

How good were they?

Just listen to Peter Green rip guitar solos through Looking Back, The Stumble and his inspirational solo on Stormy Monday.

This is the stuff of legend folks.

John Mayall is and always has been one of the greatest band leaders period.

Here, as is now Mayall is the glue and the organic centre.

His work on this cd with Have You Ever Loved A Woman, Some Day After Awhile, the groovy organ solos on Streamline or blowing mean and lean on Brand New Start is the real deal.

Mick Fleetwood and John McVie support the solos, bang on in the pocket and went on to form Fleetwood Mac with Peter Green.

That says it all.

Some of the songs vary a wee bit in quality, but I can tell you Freddie King and Otis Rush are smiling from ear to ear in blues heaven.

A must have for any John Mayall or blues fan worldwide.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, songwriter/musician, Sun Media contributor, and radio host.

John also fronts his own blues/roots rockers from Canada.  THE SHAFTMEN

The group has released 3 original albums all gaining National Airplay.

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

VISIT JOHN ON TWITTER

https://twitter.com/emmsreviews

 

 

07
Jun
15

CHERYL LESCOM & THE TUCSON CHOIR BOYS-1953-ROOTS, BLUES, AND ALL THAT’S GOOD-CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

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Authentic, powerful and filled with gutsy emotion Cheryl Lescom has released one of the best blues/roots cd’s of 2015 with 1953.

Opening with the street life hustle of Dime Store Lover, then gliding into the 50’s radio friendly Soul Shakin’ Romance and channeling a modern day Lena Horne vocal on songwriter Lynn Jackson’s Surrender, Lescom hits the heart’s centre.

Not enough can be said about how well the players in the Tucson Choir Boys and the guest musicians understand the soul of the material.

Dave The Cat, Les Graham, Sameday Ray, Kristine Walsh and Robert Reid pull off gorgeous chops on the beautiful It’s Not You It’s Me  which has a standout vocal by Lescom.

In fact, it’s one of the prettiest tracks I have heard over the last few years on any level.

Then, there’s the powerful mid tempo track Places I’ve Been also written by Lynn Jackson and the punchy lioness fire of Nice Mix of Crazy.

Either way, Lescom and Tucson Choir Boys turn out a distinct and powerful performance.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, songwriter/musician, radio host, and Sun Media contributor.

JOHN has his own fun with his blues/roots band THE SHAFTMEN.. The band has released three full length albums and gained National Airplay with all.

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

Follow John on Twitter

https://twitter.com/emmsreviews

 

 

19
Apr
15

GUITAR HEROES-JAMES BURTON, ALBERT LEE, AMOS GARRETT, DAVID WILCOX-“UNFORCED TELECASTER PASSION”-CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

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Guitar Heroes  is a landmark one night only, no edits live “guitar extravaganza” cd that proves passion for music has no restrictions.

The guitar work on this cd by James Burton, David Wilcox, Albert Lee and Amos Garrett is off the chart natural and unforced.

Whether it’s an original song like Wilcox’s Bad Apple, the instrumental Coming Home Baby or the classic That’s All Right Mama it’s all done with a respect for what live music is supposed to be.

A celebration.

Amos Garrett and David Wilcox come up with unexpected bends and solos that defy category and make you grin from ear to ear.

James Burton and Albert Lee take more than a few chances, while still retaining the sound you fell in love with in the first place.

On the over 7 minute cover of Ray Charles’s Leave My Woman Alone everyone rips and trades licks.

And yes it’s never a mess.

For fun, the band ends with a quick 10 second nod to Eric Clapton’s Layla.

Again readers, this is a GUITAR featured album.

Absolute fave track has to be the gorgeous Only The Young.

You may remember the track from The Ventures and the Ricky Nelson vocal version from the mid 60’s.

Make no mistake…Great support band with Jon Greathouse, Will MacGregor and James Harrison Smith.

Crank this up at your next BBQ!!

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, songwriter/vocalist/guitarist with Canadian Blues/Roots Rockers THE SHAFTMEN

THE BAND’S music is here.

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

JOHN is now on TWITTER

https://twitter.com/emmsreviews

17
Apr
15

SAB.. LIVING OUR DREAMS-BY JOHN EMMS

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Peter Sabourin aka SAB was not afraid to live his dreams.

In his dreams he could possibly become an award winning commercially successful artist.

And let’s be very clear.

Sab was an amazing frontman and force of nature.

Yet in this dream, he could take care of his family, his friends, and tour the world like other musical icons.

But, Sab became much more.

In his dignity, and his loyalty and right up to the end he became what we all wish to be

The hero of other’s dreams.

I’m not talking musicians.

I’m talking about children who grow up now having a dream.

Believe me I see it in the face of my grandson James.

He has dreams, that I want to help him with.

I watched this dream in the faces of seniors who came to Sab’s funeral and may have not known a single song of his.

They got it, whether they followed their dream or not.

Sab’s dream unified people you may only see and talk with once a year.

Or for that matter never met until the funeral

We were caught up despite our fears, our success, our own lives.

It may sound dramatic but Sab’s Dream should remain a lasting lesson.

You can go out on your shield, but don’t forget your shield offers protection to others.

Sab’s notoriety was his humanity.

And believe me, that is a great legacy.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, vocalist/songwriter with Canadian Blues Roots Rockers.. THE SHAFTMEN

Their music is available worldwide

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

john’s radio show/podcast is free on iTunes and can be heard here.

http://emms.podbean.com/

 

14
Apr
15

BACHMAN-HEAVY BLUES-“INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH RIFFOLOGY” CD-REVIEW BY JOHN EMMS

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Combining explosive riffs and late 60’s power trio dynamics Randy Bachman re-invents himself and in the process delivers an excellent new album with Heavy Blues.

Backed by the vigorous female rhythm section of drummer Dale Anne Brendon and bassist Anna Ruddick the trio rips through dangerous hooks and well crafted songs.

Bad Child features guest axe-man Joe Bonamassa flying in a Cream-vibe solo, while Neil Young pinches out harmonic overtones on Little Girl Lost, and then Peter Frampton and Bachman combine on the title track which I could best describe as Humble Pie meets BTO.

In one word this album is just plain exciting.

Elsewhere, Wild Texas Ride burns high jalapeno riffology, and simply put Ton Of Bricks should be an immediate add to new classic rock radio.

Recorded in one week and produced and mixed by Kevin Shirley, Heavy Blues in undeniably powerful.

JOHN EMMS is a 30 year veteran music journalist, Sun Media Freelancer, roots radio host and songwriter/guitarist with Canadian Blues Rock Honchos THE SHAFTMEN

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

 

 

 

31
Mar
15

john campbelljohn-chin up-“blues re-invention”

johncampbelljohn On his new album Chin Up John Campbelljohn delivers a harder edge and it works wonders.

To make this album more diverse he continues to find ways to re-invent the blues genre and baby it’s all good.

On tracks like How Stupid Is That there is a David Wilcox vibe, Castaway has a killer punchy groove  while I Got It All locks in his distinctive slide riffology. Elsewhere, on tracks like Sally in the Alley,  Attitude and Stop Making Excuses the band kicks into a blues-rock groove.

Check out the Sonny Landreth-esque track The Poor Man Pays  or the excellent Fantastic Supremo with a stunning slide solo sounding like a cross between David Lindley and Los Lobos.

But let me make this perfectly clear it’s all John Campbell John, and his solid section of Noel Robertson and Ronald Hynes While I’m at it, heck, why isn’t a great song like Good Morning Mr Blue Sky not all over radio? Excellent album!

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist read in 100 countries, and a Sun Media free lancer with over 30 years experience.

JOHN of course heads up his own blues/roots honchos THE SHAFTMEN Their catalogue is available worldwide. https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

JOHN is also on Twitter

https://twitter.com/emmsreviews

30
Mar
15

ringo starr’s infectious new album-cd review Postcards From Paradise- john emms

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Wildly entertaining with superb songs and even better playing Ringo Starr’s new album Postcards From Paradise is what happens when you have great players with one vision.

And that vision is Ringo Starr.

The album produced fully by Starr shows his evolution as a melodic songwriter.

To say this album is some of his best solo career work is not a boast but reality.

The title track written with Todd Rundgren has an 80’s Cars like groove with plenty of Beatle song references which not only makes you smile but sing-along.

Steve Lukather works some blues guitar magic underneath a bed of percussion by Starr and Gregg Bissonette on You Bring The Party Down and Bridges written with Joe Walsh burning down a coda solo is bang on the money.

Elsewhere, the opening track Rory and The Hurricanes written with Dave Stewart with it’s Warren Zevon-esque like groove recalls Starr’s early pre-fab four bar band.

It may be strange to some but this is Starr’s 18th solo album, he has chalked up close to 800 Ringo’s All-Starr Band shows and unlike other performers he continues to move ahead in his career.

Simply put you get great songs like Let Love Lead with country songwriter Gary Nicholson, the wicked groove of Island In The Sun written with his current road band which includes a superb in the pocket sax solo by Warren Ham and the excellent pop of Not Looking Back with Richard Marx.

Starr will be inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame by Paul McCartney on April 18th as a solo artist under the music excellence category.

Postcards from Paradise is available tomorrow March 31 2015

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist with over 30 years experience of album reviews for all major and indie labels

JOHN is also a songwriter/musician with Canadian Blues/Roots rockers THE SHAFTMEN

Their full album catalogue is available worldwide

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

 

30
Mar
15

24th street wailers-plenty of good where evil grows-review john emms

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It’s all a good ‘thang” as my readers from Texas would say.

From the moment I heard Jon Wong’s honkin’ tenor solo on Just Wait and Lindsey’s Beaver’s Etta James- esque lead vocal crossed with Mike Archer’s bass work on the title track I was back in ‘wailer zone”

Having said that how about Elliot Sewell’s reverb drenched solo on Spitfire or the Fats Domino style to All I Think of is You with Jesse Whiteley’s piano and Wong’s solos back to back.

I recently took this cd into my vehicle heading to my last blues gig as inspiration and it heated the vibe very nicely.

Absolute jump track for my house party is You Know.

Git It!!!!

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, 30 year plus diggin’ reviews

JOHN also honks with his fellow blues/roots cronies THE SHAFTMEN

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

JOHN is on TWITTER

https://twitter.com/emmsreviews

 

 

 

30
Mar
15

NEW RINGO NEW BOZ SCAGGS REVIEWS COMING SOON-JOHN EMMS REVIEWS

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COMING THISA WEEEK..TONS OF NEW REVIEWS

J.E.

03
Mar
15

SHANIA TWAIN- STILL THE ONE-LIVE FROM VEGAS-CD REVIEW”HAVING BIG FUN WITH TWAIN AND WILL SHE TOUR THIS EXCELLENT SHOW’-BY JOHN EMMS

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Shania Twain’s Still The One Live From Vegas cd/dvd  not only rocks the pop, and rolls the country, but it’s sheer musicality is very impressive!

After 105 shows and selling over 337,000 tickets in her Las Vegas residency this is a superb reward for fans who did not see the actual live show

From the start of the cd it’s very obvious Shania’s band of 10 musicians and 3 background vocalists is not just solid but their chops are superb.

With  I’m Gonna  Getcha Good,  You Win My Love and later on with the rollicking That Don’t Impress Me Much Twain’s voice sounds natural and unforced.

This is a confident Shania Twain and it shows.

Underneath the massive groove of drummer JD Blair and bassist Andy Cichon, the guitar/fiddle/vocal work of bandleader Cory Churko and the impressive lead fills and solos by Joshua Gooch simply kill.

Gooch’s guitar work can go from Clapton-esque, to bright country twang often in one song.

Elsewhere, the retro jangle of Up and the gorgeous country of No One Needs to Know finds Shania blending gorgeously with her sister Carrie Ann Brown and Canadian twin vocalists Ryan and Dan Kowarsky.

This killer vocal blend goes on for the entire performance and is as pure as snow falling on a Timmins Winter Day.

According to Twain’s press release the Vegas show “has been a labour of love for over three years and it was a privilege to live out my visions on that stage””

Elsewhere, it has to be said the ambience of the fiddles, pedal steel of Justin Schipper and keyboard work of Hardy Hemphill works like glue.

The acoustic part of the show starts with short versions of among others of C’mon Over, and a brand new inspired song titled Today Is Your Day.

Without a doubt Twain sings her heart out on the ballads Still the One and From This Moment On.

It’s an intimate moment to say the least.

I first watched the T.V special this past weekend and it was a spectacle.

Costumes and stage design as well as front porch jams, horses and the stage backgrounds were very crisp and multi-sensory.

This is all included on the dvd part of the package which I will delve into later today.

The important thing to realize is that despite the Vegas flash this holds up musically very well.

A tour of this show would kill.

Another Timmins Ontario concert of this particular all out impressive show would be bigger than her homecoming concert in 1999.

That I have no doubt.

This is a  must have cd/dvd for any Shania Twain fan.

RELEASE DATE IS TODAY MARCH 3 2015

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist of over 30 years with all major and indie labels.

John is also a songwriter/musician and his work with THE SHAFTMEN and solo is here

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

on youtube

 

25
Feb
15

THE BEST OF JOHN EMMS REVIEWS-30 YEARS EXPERIENCE AND PASSION IN MUSIC JOURNALISM/JUST A CLICK AWAY

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Read the best of JOHN EMMS..Blog …JUST GO TO THE SIDE MENU..PICK A MONTH AND YEAR..OR PUT AN ARTIST NAME IN THE SEARCH BOX

WISH TO PURCHASE JOHN EMMS ORIGINAL MUSIC AS A SOLO ARTIST OR WITH ..THE SHAFTMEN..AVAILABLE ON ITUNES, SPOTIFY, AMAZON.COM..ETC

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/close-another-door/id392307439

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

MUSIC JOURNALISM

http://johnemmsreviews.com/2014/07/24/eric-clapton-friends-the-breeze-cd-review-john-emms-an-appreciation-of-jj-cale-jean-jacques-smiles-again/

http://johnemmsreviews.com/2013/11/11/blue-rodeo-cd-review-in-our-nature-music-from-big-farmhouse-keelor-returns-by-john-emms/

http://johnemmsreviews.com/2014/12/23/joe-cocker-the-singers-singer-by-john-emms/

http://johnemmsreviews.com/2014/03/07/24th-street-wailers-wicked-road-chops-and-blues-deluxe-cd-review-john-emms/

http://johnemmsreviews.com/2014/09/29/bryan-adams-tracks-of-my-years-soulful-vocal-work-highlights-new-oldies-album/

http://johnemmsreviews.com/2012/10/29/van-morrison-cd-review-born-to-sing-no-plan-b-john-emms-the-benchmark-of-soul-and-vans-band-shines-on/

 

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, musician, songwriter and radio host

READ IN OVER 100 COUNTRIES

24
Feb
15

SHANIA TWAIN RETURNS-TIMMINS PASSION AND PRIDE/ JOHN EMMS LOOKS BACK AND AHEAD

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Shania Twain is back!

For Timmins locals, Canadian fans and for many countries in the world Twain’s brand of country/pop rock rules.

Twain, has a new retrospective cd/dvd Live From Vegas which hits retail March 3 2015.

She will visit Canada this week to promote this new Live From Vegas package.

Twain has not released a full new original album since Up in 2002

It was and still is a great cd.

That’s over 13 years.

As a 5 time Grammy and 12 time Juno Award winner it’s way too long for her fans to wait.

Purely to show perspective Bruce Springsteen has released 6 or 7 newly recorded albums and songs in the same period.

Me, well I’m reflecting.

On what you ask?

How about back to Timmins and her hometown concert on July 1 1999?

Wow, on that day we were feeling Timmins and world pride folks.

Stoked and rocking in the heat of 20,000 people euphoric in the heart of Hollinger Park.

It was a moment etched in time

For everyone.

Whether you were from anywhere on the planet or from Timmins or Toronto Ontario you felt that inner sense of pride about the city of Timmins and Twain.

Heck you can also go back to the Olympic torch run with Twain in January 2010.

I was standing outside in the -35 below temps with my grandson James.

Yes, readers let your mind go back to that time.

Whether you liked Twain’s music or not (and millions still do) you felt great

Truth is that particular level of pride has been missing for many years.

That civic pride at least on the entertainment level is at least one of the factors of why Timmins does not draw big name acts like Bryan Adams.

Think of it, Bryan played 3 hours away in Sudbury.

Talk about a world class rock n’ roller that still kicks butt, well folks he still has the passion.

Most people these days lack that Ol’ Rock n’ Roll passion on many levels.

For that matter, in every walk of life.

Hey, I’m guilty of watching my fair share of “on demand” movies in my easy chair.

But really folks,  it’s time to wake up and get back some passion.

Back in 1999, I was there to review the concert for the Timmins Daily Press.

In those moments and now as I type this I reflect on my own and my friends musical past.

The days when 20 or more Timmins clubs were packed.

Where every musician like myself and my friends rocked away weekends.

It was a way of life in the 70’s and 80’s.

Fresh from underground mining or a day in the mill you and your friends went out early to get a table at the bar.

Our group of players and I’m sure Eilleen (Shania) who was there remembers those days.

JP’s Lounge in Timmins, The Riverview, The Rock n Tap, The Empire Hotel, The Travel Host, or The Maple Leaf where Stompin Tom put the boot to the plywood.

I could go on and on!

Four sets a night folks.

May I remind readers this is not fiction it’s fact.

This Saturday, February  28th Shania’s Vegas show airs on the ABC TV Network.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist and Sun Media contributor

His blog is read in over 104 countries worldwide.

FOLLOW JOHN ON TWITTER

https://twitter.com/emmsreviews

JOHN is a songwriter/musician with Canadian Roots/Blues rockers THE SHAFTMEN

Their cd’s and singles are available on iTunes, Spotify and other outlets

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

John Emms The Shaftmen..Packing Up

17
Feb
15

TINSLEY ELLIS-TOUGH LOVE-“BLUE TONE FIX” CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

Tinsley Ellis

Tinsley Ellis hits a home run with a slinky groove of minor key blues and soul on his latest album Tough Love.

Ellis’ superb guitar tone oozes out on Seven Years, jumps in your face on Midnight Ride and gets Albert King-esque on the superb Should Have I Lied.

I recently took this cd on a road trip and basically let it play.

I don’t do that often, but this cd demanded it.

Elsewhere, Ellis hits a Sonny Landreth groove on Hard Work and lets the horns loose on All In The Name Of Love.

Standout work from keyboard man Kevin McKendree and excellent vocal work by Ellis throughout.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist read in over 100 countries.

John is also a songwriter/musician with his Canadian Blues/Roots band THE SHAFTMEN

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

FOLLOW JOHN ON TWITTER

https://twitter.com/emmsreviews

JOHN’S BLUES/ROCK RADIO

http://emms.podbean.com/

 

07
Feb
15

THE REAL TOP 10 YOU SHOULD BE LISTENING TO-COLDPLAY, KRALL..AND MORE..JOHN EMMS JUKEBOX

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Sure, your getting excited for The Grammy’s and you have checked out iTunes top songs.

But here are the real songs you need to check out now.

Coldplay-Ink-If Paul Simon and Brian Wilson got together with Coldplay this would be the result-Stunning pop-craft-cd-..Ghost Stories

Diana Krall-I’m Not In Love-Think you know 10cc’s classic?-wow not until you hear this-cd-..Wallflower

Fall Out Boy-Centuries-Yes, this is the new version of FOB..I too like the rock they used to do, but this is a great pop song-cd-American Beauty/American Psycho

Ron Hawkins & The Do Good Assassins-Propellers-The most important indie rock song you need to hear…cd-..Garden Songs

Jake Bugg-Messed up Kids-It will only hurt for a minute-The future of rock n’ roll? Perhaps.cd-…Messed Up Kids EP

Tom Cochrane-The Ones That I’ve Known-Combining Rosa Parks and Terry Fox into a roots masterpiece.-..cd Take It Home

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, radio host, Sun Media contributor and musician

Read in 104 Countries

Follow John’s Twitter page

https://twitter.com/emmsreviews

 

 

 

 

07
Feb
15

INTELLIGENT ALBUM REVIEWS AND MORE-READ IN 104 COUNTRIES WITH 65,000 VIEWS-JOHN EMMS

cropped-john-radio-31.jpgeminem1024733741M_BobSegerB630_PhotobyPeytonHoge_011713jdkNew Rolling StoneSHANIA 2012paul_mAlan Doylejim cuddy skyscraper soul 1 (2)scan3trombone shorty 1colin James hearts on fireda rideshart-bonamassa-01

You have to have passion for music.

Just like a great band, you have to have feel and dynamics.

That’s the way I feel about music journalism, and about music.

JOHN

07
Feb
15

DIANA KRALL-WALLFLOWER-” POP CLASSICS REBORN” REVIEW JOHN EMMS

krall 2

Diana Krall and producer David Foster have produced a master stroke of pop genius with Krall’s latest album Wallflower.

The intimate and intelligent arrangements to songs like California Dreamin’ with it’s gorgeous piano solo by Krall, and the vivid soundscape of Neil Finn’s Don’t Dream It’s Over are stunning

Listen to the superb duet vocal with Bryan Adams on Randy Newman’s Feels Like Home.

It has a ton of feel and integrity.

In fact if the Krall/Adams duet is not a major radio hit we all might as well all hang it up now .

Elsewhere be ready to be blown out of the room with her take on the Eagles I Can’t tell You Why.

Krall’s piano solo floats above key changes while her intimate vocal brings you to another place sonically.

And that Folks is where the genius of David Foster lies.

The orchestrations are killer, but listen to the vocal takes that Foster gets out of Michael Buble and Krall on Gilbert O’ Sullivan’s Alone Again Naturally.

In one word spellbinding.

Krall tackles an unreleased Paul McCartney track If I Take You Home Tonight and turns the chord changes into a superb showcase for her voice.

Krall also completely makes 10cc’s I’m Not In Love her own.

Awash in a killer mix that literally fills the room it makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck.

An international album without a doubt, but there is a huge Canadian connection here.

Krall, Adams, Buble’ all Canucks including myself grew up listening to rock/pop radio here in Canada.

A ton of great international pop hits came out of our radios.

But it was also important to know that up in Canada in the 70’s you could hear songs like Foster’s own band Skylark on the radio, or the huge hits like the Guess Who’s Undun or Gordon Lightfoot’s Early Morning Rain.

You may not know it, but that fact and vibe is ingrained in this record from a DNA point.

Elsewhere, Bob Dylan’s little known track Wallflower (the title track) bears an almost Linda Ronstadt vibe that really works.

This album is very refreshing, and is going to surprise people.

What we have here is a melodic re-invention of pop classics.

Expressive and exhilarating work for sure.

JOHN EMMS is a 30 year veteran music journalist, radio host and musician.

Read in 104 Countries worldwide with 65,000 views

You can check out John’s songs with roots/blues rockers THE SHAFTMEN

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

Follow John on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/emmsreviews

 

05
Feb
15

BJORK-VULNICURA-“IT HURTS TO BE IN LOVE” BY JOHN EMMS

bjork-Press-Photo-2015

We have all been there.

Out of love.

So what do you do?

Of course you write about it.

First off, this album is much more experimental than her other “hurt” album Homogenic from 1997.

That was a huge hit, and still is a fan fave.

I have to admit in some places the production gets in the way on tracks like History of Touches, Family and  even the lead track Stonemilker.

Having said that Lionsong, Quicksand and Atom Dance will take care of things at radio.

But like any true artist, Bjork could not care what you think personally.

No, that’s all taken care of on the 10 minute Black Lake.

You don’t want to be on the wrong side of this song.

It’s personal.

And baby, we all feel your heat and hurt.

Bjork’s work is still important and this album shows why

John Emms..is a veteran music journalist, radio host and singer-songwriter with Canadian roots/Blues rockers The Shaftmen

Read in 104 Countries with 65,000 views

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

 

05
Feb
15

BUT WHAT DO NORMAL PEOPLE WANT?-MUSIC MATTERS..MAYBE….BY JOHN EMMS

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Look, my wife will walk into the room when I’m reviewing cd’s and I will be excited or not about new releases.

My grandson James will do the same.

I’ll say do you like that?

Would you like me to put in on a playlist for your iPod?

Most of the time, it’s no that’s okay.

Sure, my wife knows Bob Dylan was ahead of his time.

She gets it.

James loves The Beatles whenever I play them.

He gets excited.

They have both heard me write and perform my own songs.

They may be proud that I’m up there sweating on stage or on iTunes.

However, I don’t think music holds the same power over people that we as musicians think it does.

It’s true.

Do they care about whether vinyl sounds better than cd’s.

Do they care if they have ear buds or $400 dollar headphones.

One thing I do know.

You have to be passionate about things in life.

Your family, your friends, the environment, politics and yes music.

I tell this to James all the time.

Just be passionate about LIFE.

I’m not going to sit you down and make you listen to  both sides of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon.

And no, I won’t sit through an entire New Direction movie.

But I think as musicians we all know making music makes us feel alive.

That’s why we do it.

And if we feel alive, everything is better in our world and theirs.

JOHN EMMS  is a veteran music journalist, online radio host and musician.

05
Feb
15

TOM COCHRANE-TAKE IT HOME-“INSPIRED EMOTION AND NEW ANTHEMS”-CD REVIEW-JOHN EMMS

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Tom Cochrane’s intelligent wordplay and gut emotion is firmly intact on his new album Take It Home.

In fact, two of the new tracks Pink Time and The Ones That I’ve Known are powerful anthems of personal relationships,  hope, and inspiration that recall Bruce Springsteen’s work from his Rising album period.

Pink Time rises from mandolins, airy acoustic guitars and the ambience of Ken Greer’s killer steel guitar to a gut level mid song vocal by Beverley Knight that busts down the door.

All this stems from the fact that Cochrane’s poetic metaphors are as fully intact now as they were at any high point in his career.

Pink Time’s story line of  a man working away from home “Don’t shoot me I’m the messenger, I’m driving this 10 ton to get my cargo in” is really a relationship song about a couple looking for redemption.

It’s a powerful statement that all of us have encountered.

The One’s That I’ve Known is simply put one of the best songs I have heard in the last few years.

The lyrical power recalls the influence of Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan on Cochrane’s songs.

Having said that Cochrane has always been his own man.

An old school troubadour reflecting on the past and connecting in the modern world as we all do

With it’s references to Rosa Parks and the courage of seeing Terry Fox running down the highway it’s a song only Cochrane could write.

At the coda with the lines “the ones that have stayed the course and gave so much for freedom” he rests the song into a joyous celebration of life.

Co-producer Bill Bell does a killer job of garnering Cochrane’s powerful integrity into under 4 minute blasts of heartland rock n’ roll.

In fact, Diamonds and Can’t Stay Here both of which feature the world class chops of drummer Jim Keltner (Travelling Willburys) and James Hutchinson (Bonnie Raitt)

are standout Americana roots songs.

Elsewhere the swamp distorted licks on First Time Around recall Mad Mad World, while Country Girls Never Get Old pays an ode to Cochrane and Greer’s Red Rider Victory Day and Boy Inside Man era.

This brings us to Sunday Afternoon Hang a song that has already and continues to just absolutely make people want to just open up and have fun.

It’s a lake song folks.

Of course as only Cochrane can he flips the “lake” theme on it’s side with the terrific Another Year.

“The Winters last forever round here, few days in between then summer re-appears, the kids have all grown up, but we all put it off for another year” will choke you up.

It’s a piano ballad that Paul McCartney would be proud of.

This album could easily strike a chord with the American public.

Some would say that’s important.

But they would be wrong.

What’s important is that Cochrane still has the cultural and emotional gravitas to make us all feel something.

It’s obvious by this album that he continues to do just that.

CD RELEASE DATE IS FEB 10 2015

JOHN EMMS is a 30 year veteran music journalist, musician, radio host and singer-songwriter behind Canadian roots/blues rockers THE SHAFTMEN

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

 

04
Feb
15

RON HAWKINS & THE DO GOOD ASSASSINS-GARDEN SONGS-“SETTING A NEW HIGH STANDARD”-BY JOHN EMMS

gardensongs-albumartRon Hawkins - DGA

On Garden Songs Ron Hawkins and his band The Do Good Assassins reach for an emotional depth and richness of song and nail it.

A song cycle of 10 tracks the album embodies life in any city or town with lyrics evoking images of lovers, losers, and personal circumstances.

The lead song Peace and Quiet is a love letter to the neighbourhoods of Toronto as potent as Jim Cuddy’s Skyscraper Soul.

Kingdom of The Sun reflects on “T-Rex on the radio, Sunlight dancing on the kitchen floor, and keeping your friends and family close”

A tour de force on any level it is one of Hawkins best songs of his entire career. And yes at Kingdom’s song coda “It’s Gonna Be Allright”

It should be said that both of these songs and a number of others on this cd have a very accessible radio appeal.

Most of the tracks are quiet or mid tempo with full band power at different points.

Hawkins reprises DFW from Ten Kinds Of Lonely with the gorgeous cello ambience of Alex McMaster, while Propellers and Garden Song lets the feel of the Do Good Assassins band, drummer Jesse Capon

multi-instrumentalist McMaster, guitarist Steve Sing, and bassist Derrick Brady take hold.

Elsewhere Small Victories, Waiting  On Something That’s Already Here, and South Ontario are potent reminders of Ron Hawkins’ writing gift.

Each song on this album creates it’s own movie.

That’s as good as it gets folks!

Album release date is this week Feb 3 2015

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, Sun Media contributor, radio host and singer-songwriter with Canadian Roots/Blues rockers THE SHAFTMEN

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

VISIT JOHN on Twitter

https://twitter.com/emmsreviews

 

30
Jan
15

COLIN JAMES-HEARTS ON FIRE- “SLOW BURN GUMBO” CD REVIEW BY JOHN EMMS

colin James hearts on firecolin james jpeg

Hearts On Fire finds Colin James in an earthy slow burn of reflective song gumbo.

The title track is simply one of the best songs of his career. A steamy song of love and hurt set up against the backdrop of a modern relationship

It kills with Southern ambience.

Next up, the excellent Just A Little Love finds ace guitarist/co-producer Colin Linden, and the famed rhythm section of Willie Weeks and drummer George Receli setting up a shuffle that would make Bonnie Raitt proud.

This album has a lot of quality laid back songs such as the Mark Knopfler influenced How Does It Feel, James’ superb lead vocal on the Sam Cooke-esque groove of You Were Never Mine and one of his most personal songs ever titled Stay.

James has never sounded as vulnerable as he does on Stay.

A song of  understanding, of forgiveness, and of longing Stay would be a high point on any album.

It should be said this is NOT the blues rock album that his previous album Fifteen was.

He has plenty of killer songs in that category from his varied career.

There is the mid-tempo slinky Heartbreak Road with Reese Wynans and the extraordinary talents of vocalists Ann and  Regina McClary and also the roadhouse smoke of Honey Bee.

But in the end, it’s songs like Stay and Dreams Come and Go with lyrics like “I gave it away for a band of gold, “All strung out down on my floor” that strike at the heart of the matter.

This is a brave album.

Like the smell of a spring morning or the haze from a sleepless night the best songs on this album remain with you long after the music fades.

NOTE…ALBUM DUE DATE IS FEB 3, 2015

JOHN EMMS is a 30 year veteran music journalist, Sun Media contributor, songwriter, and radio host.

http://emms.podbean.com/

JOHN’S BLUES AND ROOTS BAND THE SHAFTMEN

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

 

 

 

27
Jan
15

THIS WEEK..COMING UP-NEW FULL REVIEWS JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE, THE DECEMBERISTS, JAMIE CULLUM, COLIN JAMES-BY JOHN EMMS

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Yes, you heard right..it’s busy for the start of the year

 

PLUS NEW TINSLEY ELLIS..TOUGH LOVE..Killer work from Tinsley!!!

 

Tinsley Ellis

visit me on twitter

https://twitter.com/emmsreviews

on radio

http://emms.podbean.com/

JOHN EMMS  is a veteran music journalist, Sun Media contributor, radio host and musician

check out the band

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

 

 

25
Jan
15

REAL MUSICIANS PLAYING IS NOT DEAD-2015-I SAY CHECK OUT THE PASSION/NEW ARTISTS/VINTAGE ARTISTS/ALBUM TRACKS/NEW REVIEWS -BY JOHN EMMS

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arkells 3Alan Doyle

I have been reviewing albums for every major and indie label in the world for over 30 years.

You have to have a passion for it.

And of course I do.

So that is what I’m going to bring to you.

Artists who are creating music with passion and may be breaking new ground.

It may not be ‘the single” could be an album track.

It can come from any genre.

Your job will be to go and check out these tracks and artists.

I’m also going to bump up my radio show this year with new artists, new music

http://emms.podbean.com/

One more thing..(EDM) Electronic Dance Music can rule the charts. It’s cool, And I dig it.

But my real calling is exposing you to the playerstrombone shorty 2

LET’S START WITH THESE..

Check..  the tracks…on Google/iTunes/your phone/ music app or whatever

 

Arkells-One of Canada”s most important new artists-Track-Crawling Through The Window-Big chords and great storyline-Cd-High Noon. –

Trombone Shorty-New Orleans most important new player-Track-Get The Picture-Funky Horns/and Big Groove-cd-Say That To Say This.

Alan Doyle-Track-Sins of Saturday Night-Small Towns, Big Dreams, Love Won and lost-Doyle says it all-cd -So Let’s Go.

jann arden

 

Jann Arden -Hard To Be Alive-album track-Passionate vocal and yes as Jann says “it’s weird and wonderful at the same time’-CD-Everything Almost

Lana Del Ray-Sad Girl-Stunning ambience and haunting vocal-album track-cd -Ultraviolence.

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Rosanne Cash-Modern Blue- from the cd The River and the Thread-Uptempo groove, revealing  lyrics-her best original work-buy this cd.

The Kooks-Murderer-From the cd Listen-Wow acoustic, new groove..This is what I mean about making new music that’s important

You need this track big time.

JOHN EMMS-Is a veteran music journalist, Sun Media contributor, radio host and singer-songwriter with Canadian  Roots/Blues Rockers THE SHAFTMEN

check out their craft and songs here

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

 

24
Jan
15

TROMBONE SHORTY-SAY THAT TO SAY THIS -“THE GROOVE THAT NEVER QUITS”-CD REVIEW-BY JOHN EMMS

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Trombone Shorty’s latest album Say That To Say This is an album that could be played anywhere in the world.

And it should be.

Why you ask?

Because the ‘groove” never quits.

That’s the key. Drop this music anywhere and it will move you.

Look folks, great musicianship  never goes out of style!

Songs like Get The Picture, and the Meter-esque instrumental title track mix funky guitars, punchy horns, and above all accessible hooks that finish in under 3 minutes.

If that was not enough Andrews gets The Meters back together in the studio for an airy and elegant take on Be My Lady

It kills, just like the Neville/Kravitz inspired Dream On and the funky time signature that drives the track Long Weekend.

What Andrews and his superb band Orleans Avenue do on Say That To Say This is almost what Steely Dan used to do for their hit songs.

That is, make intelligent and eclectic music.

Co-producer Raphael Saadiq can take a lot of credit for how this album is integrated.

In fact, Saadiq (also an excellent musician) knows what a band sounds like locked in.

And for lack of a better term Saadiq’s production work is like a glue.

It bonds Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue into a distinctive sound.

You need this!

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, Sun Media contributor, radio host, and singer-songwriter with Canadian blues/roots rockers THE SHAFTMEN

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

 

 

 

23
Jan
15

THE SHAFTMEN-PACKING UP-A RELATIONSHIP ROCKER-FROM OUR LATEST CD

YES WE DO WRITE SOME NON-BLUES SONGS..HERE IS A DANDY

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https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

 

23
Jan
15

NEW COLIN JAMES REVIEW -Hearts On Fire-COMING SOON-“KILLER WORK BY COLIN LINDEN AND COLIN JAMES’ BY JOHN EMMS

colin James hearts on fire

JUST A NOTE FOLKS..COLIN’S NEW CD IS DUE FEB 3RD..it’s natural, and the players are “in the pocket”….I’m digging it

J.E.

14
Jan
15

ALAN DOYLE-SO LET’S GO-“DOYLE BLENDS TRADITIONAL WARMTH INTO A MODERN EXCITING RELEASE”-CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

Alan Doyledoyle cover 1

Earthy, at times moving, and brimming with just plain great songwriting Alan Doyle’s second solo album So Let’s Go may be the most cohesive work of his career.

Sure, that’s saying a lot considering his work as co-founder and lead vocalist with Great Big Sea but Let’s Go has an international feel that could translate way beyond Canada.

The title track written and produced by Doyle and Thomas Salter has a killer feel that jumps out of your speakers.

Doyle’s joyous vocal turns the track into an anthem.

That goes ditto for the infectious singalong rave up  1, 2, 3 4 written with Ed Roberstson.

If there was ever an encore song that could muscle out a Great Big Sea hit at a concert this song would be it.

Doyle gets deeper on the poignant Shine On written and produced with the talented Jerrod Bettis who also co-writes My Kingdom with Todd Clark and Doyle.

In fact, both songs show off the perfect blend of a modern mix with a traditional vibe.

Other key tracks include the working class Celtic soul of Take Us Home, Sins Of Saturday Night, and I Can’t Dance Without You.

Inspiring and consistent So Let’s Go is a winner.

Note the Album release date is Jan 20th/2015

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, Sun Media contributor, and songwriter/vocalist with Canadian roots/blues rockers THE SHAFTMEN

Check out John and the band here

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

23
Dec
14

JOE COCKER-THE SINGER’S SINGER-BY JOHN EMMS

JOE C 1JOE C 2

For any lead vocalist, Joe Cocker was a benchmark. The face and body had it all.

The first time I witnessed Joe Cocker was in my hometown movie theatre at a screening of Woodstock The Movie when I was about 17 years old

Unforgettable performance!!!

The next time was live at the old O”Keefe Centre in Toronto.

The look on Cocker’s face at any point in his career is a man enveloped by the music.

I’ve been a lead vocalist since 1972.

I can honestly say, to consistently put that much emotion into your vocals for a career that started with his debut With A Little help From Friends in 1969 is impressive.

That debut is still one of my faves, and one of the most impressive debut albums in rock history.

Of course in the same year, he puts out the sophomore album titled Joe Cocker and yes, it is even better than the debut.

Now, who puts out 2 excellent albums in one year?

Nobody!!!

Now the benchmark for vocalists is incredibly low.

Between the use of using backing tracks in a live concert to bolster a vocalist and auto-tune it’s pathetic.

And besides, do you honestly think  any winner of The Voice or the American Idol in the past is going to have a 40 year plus career of international recognition.

No, not going to happen folks.

Hell, Cocker’s 2012 album Fire it Up is killer

Go ahead check it out.

While your at it, Hard Knocks his cd from 2010 is almost as good.’

Had a tear in my eye, when I played You Are So Beautiful yesterday.

Still moved this many years later by someone’s voice is a testament that great music never dies.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, Sun Media contributor and Lead Vocalist/Songwriter

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

 

18
Dec
14

JOHN EMMS TOP BLUES PICKS OF 2014

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I originally came to the blues through the early Rolling Stones albums. Later on, John Mayall, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and Johnny Winter made me sit up and take notice But it was B.B. King’s Live at Cook County Jail vinyl album that put me over the top as far as discovering The Masters.

Having said that I’m still very much a “Blues Rock” guy. Yep, Still like ripping out an Old ZZ Top, Ten Years After album or playing any era of Buddy Guy. These days contemporary blues albums contain musical genres such as R & B, country blues, blues rock, and tinges of jazz and soul. That is the way I like it.

I have not heard every blues cd this year. But from what I have this is……………

My Top Blues Cd List.

JW-Jones- Belmont Boulevard. Contemporary blues, well written songs, and tons of soul in the playing, and production. You need this.

Ruthie Foster-Promise Of A Brand New Day-Possibly the most expressive root/blues vocalist I have heard in recent memory besides Beth Hart. Every track is killer on this cd. Amazing.

Eric Gales-Good For Sumthin’-Simply put, Gales is a tour de force. Funky, hard core blues rock. You have to crank this up!!

Johnny Winter-Step Back-Wow, a must have for any blues fan. classic songs, killer guests, and outstanding performances. What a tribute!!!

Rory Block – Hard Luck Child- Tribute to Skip James-Impossible to resist. My fave of her “masters’ series.

greg-allman-all-my-friends All My Friends-Tribute to Gregg Allman-So many great songs, great guests and chops galore. Outstanding.

Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters-Good News-Perfect combination, a killer band and one of the most compelling blues guitarists on the planet.

Jack De Keyzer-Voodoo Boogie-This set of live songs date back to 2009 but was released this year. Scorching and intense. For the new stuff check out his killer Electric Love album from 2012

Billy Boy Arnold-The Blues Soul Of- This album stays in my vehicle and is always on. Duke Robillard and Arnold offer up the “real thing” on every track.

Duke Robillard Band-Calling All Blues-A total combination of superb work that touches genre related soul, Texas blues and so much more.

Robin Banks-Robin has always had one of the best sultry voices at any live show. But, finally this set of songs shows off of all her attributes in a variety of roots related fields A killer band, good songs and above all that superb voice.

Rob Stone-Gotta Keep Rollin’-Infectious, vintage and modern all at once. Great harp tone, solid material.

Rolly Platt-Inside Out-Master class in all styles of harp playing. Plus, it’s only his debut..Excellent

I HAVE probably forgot a few..but will let you know…..

NEW.UPDATE…..As I predicted…I did forget.. some very cool BLUES TOP CD’S OF 2014..

drum roll..please

Joel Johnson-Blues Joose Vol 2 -Absolute killer stuff–Get it NOW!!!

24TH_731_011johnmayall_band

24th Street Wailers-Wicked

Eric Bibb-Blues People

John Mayall- A Special Life

Mud Morganfield/Kim Wilson-For Pops-Tribute to Muddy Waters

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, Sun Media freelancer, and singer-songwriter with Blues Rockers THE SHAFTMEN

N https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

19
Nov
14

BILLY BOY ARNOLD-THE BLUES SOUL OF BILLY BOY ARNOLD-“ARNOLD SHINES WITH ALLSTAR CAST”-CD REVIEW BY JOHN EMMS

Billy Boy Arnold - Portrait

Genuine and as natural as butter on hot bread Billy Boy Arnold and Duke Robillard have created an album that plays itself.

It’s rare that you make a great album at any age (let alone at Arnold’s 79 years) that is so unforced.

From Robillard’s staccato riffing on You Give Me Nothing To Go One to Arnold’s swamp ready vocal on 99 Lbs, over to the swing horn charts on Don’t Set Me Free, Arnold and the All-Star band are in total command.

A good portion of the album consist of covers.

The nuances of Robillard’s and Arnold’s solos on B.B. King’s Worried Dream and Work Song vary from popular takes by Peter Green and Paul Butterfield.

And, that’s where the magic happens.

One listen to this version of Joe Tex’s Mother’s Prayer and you will know what southern soul is all about.

An entire night  filmed “live” dedicated to this album would be a dream.

But for now, you have it all here.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, Sun Media contributor, and songwriter/vocalist with Canadian blues rockers THE SHAFTMEN

Check out their latest

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

JOHN’S online radio podcasts are free on Apple iTunes

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/superb-song-choices-john-emms/id376049866?mt=2

17
Nov
14

ROLY PLATT-INSIDE OUT-“BENDING THE BLUES’ CD REVIEW BY JOHN EMMS

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There is a purity of tone and feel good presence on Roly Platt’s debut cd Inside Out that just makes you want to play it time and time again.

Platt who has gigged and recorded with musicians as diverse as David Clayton Thomas and Matt Minglewood and also made numerous Jingles and Film/TV work is only recording his first cd.

Or as he jokes “Every 56 years I like to put out my own cd”

Maybe he should do it more often, listening to the strength of this recording.

Platt and the superb band led by Lance Anderson leave space and dynamics at every turn.

They can turn up the heat on the blues-rock of Mad River, bring the dynamics to a quiet storm halfway through Put It Where You Want It or blow your mind with an innovative instrumental take of Over The Rainbow.

There are four vocal tracks of the 11 songs on the cd led by the excellent Ocean of Tears featuring Steve Strongman.

The track has a distinct Paul Butterfield vibe and that can never be a bad thing.

Platt covers Ray Charles I Got A Woman, Georgia On My Mind both of course covered considerable times by numerous artists.

On each of these and indeed the whole cd drummer Al Cross shines on any style they tackle.

Unlike Paul Butterfield, Donnie Walsh or Charlie Musselwhite Platt is not the singer-bandleader type who makes multiple career recordings.

That said, the performances by Platt and this band on this album would sound very cool at any live gig.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist and Sun Media free lance contributor. John is also the songwriter/ vocalist with CANADIAN blues rockers THE SHAFTMEN

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

JOHN’S roots/blues/rock radio show is here

http://emms.podbean.com/

 

13
Nov
14

NICKELBACK-NO FIXED ADDRESS-‘TOUGHER SONIC REVOLUTION” CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

nickelback 2014

Snarling and Axes sharp, Nickelback come roaring out of the gate with No Fixed Address.

Say what the hell you want but the full throttle attack of Million Miles An Hour and the political grunge angst of Edge of  A Revolution will knock you into next week.

Simply, put these two tracks on and turn it way up!

The Canucks get anthemic on What Are You Waiting For and greasy on Sister Sin.

In between Flo-Rida gets tight guesting on Got Me Runnin’ Round and yes the horn section is a superb add.

Sure, there is a catchy same formula attached to tracks like Get Em Up and Make Me Believe Again, but the dance rock funk of She Keeps Me Up is a charmer.

Nickelback may not lose any haters from Rolling Stone Magazine readers with this latest album, but they kick ass in more than a few places.

It should be noted Production and Mixing on the cd is tight and focused

This Cd is due out November 17th 2014.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, Sun Media freelancer and lead vocalist/songwriter with CANADIAN Blues Rockers THE SHAFTMEN

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

you can check out John’s roots/radio show here

http://emms.podbean.com/

28
Oct
14

RORY BLOCK-HARD LUCK CHILD-“FEELING GOOD ALL OVER”CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

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Rory Block’s Hard Luck Child is an album that you makes you feel good, despite the sometimes tragic lyrical content.

Although this is Block’s fifth in her blues mentor series, for some reason her take on the Skip James material offers hope.

James’s lyrics have always been open to interpretation and everyone who has jammed any of his songs have always included their own take on them.

Block has a innate feel to what she sings.

You almost feel a kind of comfort even in the lonesome Cypress Grove Blues “I would rather be buried 6 feet in my grave, than be treated this way”

Heck, Hard Time Killing Floor Blues could be about the hard times of 2014 “If you say you got money, you better be sure, cuz these hard times will drive you from door to door”

Block’s take on I’m So Glad is one of the best versions I have heard period.

Again there is joy in these blues.

This is exactly what great blues brings.

People somehow have forgot this essential fact.

Another standout is the very special guitar and soulful take on Special Rider Blues.

In fact, the overdubs sound almost “blues orchestral” if there is such a thing.

Captivating, soulful, intimate and in the end this is music that opens up your world.

Special indeed!

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist and Sun Media contributor. JOHN also fronts his own blues rock band THE SHAFTMEN

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

check out John’s roots/blues/rock radio show here

http://emms.podbean.com/

 

28
Oct
14

SIXX: A.M.-MODERN VINTAGE-“HIGHLY MELODIC INTOXICATION” CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

sixx am modern vintage

Wake up everyone!

Modern Vintage is one hell of a highly melodic chunk of great rock n’ roll.

If lead vocalist James Michael is not singing his ass off then who is?

Besides the passion of Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters I can’t think of another.

Michael hits diverse moods on tracks like Let’s Go, Give Me A Love and Relief.

The band literally explodes these tracks. Nikki Sixx and the combustible guitar work of DJ Ashba is very focused

It should be said that drummer Jeff Fabb who joined the band in the studio brings a whole new set of dynamics to these tracks.

That’s a good thing folks!

There is a vintage Cheap Trick vibe to Gotta Get it Right and a solid cover of The Cars classic Drive.

But who the heck is going to beat Benjamin Orr’s lead vocal from 1984?

No one of course.

There is a power pop dance feel to Miracle and the opening track Stars packs a wallop because I can’t say I enjoy the Stars “cinematic” Meat Loaf-esque version as an added track.

SIXX: A.M.’S instincts are right. These are very good rock/pop tracks.

Sixx; A.M. can’t forget they are a rock band, and if the live shows are as dynamic and even more powerful in that context then the band will gain even more momentum.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, and Sun Media music contributor.

JOHN is also the singer-songwriter/vocalist with Canadian Blues Rockers THE SHAFTMEN

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/paycheque-blues/id365389443

Check out John’s cool roots/rock radio show here

http://emms.podbean.com/

 

27
Oct
14

JACK DE KEYZER-VOODOO BOOGIE-“BLUES POTION/ VOODOO GROOVE”-CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

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Jack De Keyzer’s potent potion of blues/soul and rock n’ roll is like your favourite leather jacket.

It feels great, fits perfect and is vintage cool.

In concert De Keyzer and his killer band have only 2 modes.

Good and Scary Good

On Voodoo Boogie the companion cd to his 2009 Juno winning (American Grammy) album he hits on both modes with ease.

Cover-wise the title track is solid Chicago inspired blues, but De Keyzer’s guitar chops on the cover of Willie Dixon’s You Shook Me and Bob Dylan via Jimi Hendrix All Along The Watchtower offer up astounding feel and technique.

Elsewhere his own Cinderella gets a superb tenor sax solo by Chris Murphy and piano/organ man David McMorrrow trades hot licks with De Keyzer on the dance floor groove of Rock Till We Drop.

Whether you prefer his covers on both cd’s via Marvin Gaye I Heard It Through The Grapevine here, or on The Corktown Sessions with his killer job on Signed Sealed Delivered is all fan based.

The real mojo is that De Keyzer simply killed with his last studio album the excellent Electric Love, while his live show is exciting and all about groove.

De Keyzer’s respect by peers and ever increasing fanbase is genuine and real.

That folks is a win-win!

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist and Sun Media music contributor.

JOHN is also the singer-songwriter/ lead vocalist with Canadian Blues Rockers THE SHAFTMEN

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

John’s roots/blues radio show draws fans from around the world http://emms.podbean.com/

13
Oct
14

BOB SEGER-RIDE OUT-“OLDER, WISER, AND STILL WITH THE FIRE DOWN BELOW”-CD REVIEW BY JOHN EMMS

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With Ride Out Bob Seger’s latest album, it’s clear his passion and songwriting gift has not left him.

In fact, it’s focused like the growl of a classic Mustang Cobra.

This album is going to surprise people.

Why?

Because the new songs plus the great covers have a solid chance of finding a whole new younger fanbase.

“Let’s talk about chemicals in rivers, let’s talk about cash as king” on the solid It’s Your World is going to find a new audience, while the title track Ride Out bristles with lyrics “where the hills meet the valleys, far from campaigns and rallys’

Both of these tracks could easily make it on to a new Seger tour setlist.

The album starts with a cover of John Hiatt’s Detroit Made with it’s distinctive “”American Rock”” via Nashville groove and the Nashville sound is a major ambience on Seger’s excellent cover of Steve Earle’s The Devil’s Right Hand.

The Nashville players like Glen Worf and Rob McNelley command major respect but it’s clear when Seger’s Silver Bullet Band gets a hold of any song on this album it’s going to be “road worthy dramatic”

Elsewhere, on the acoustic side Seger goes into the heartland with help from Vince Gill on high harmony on the track Listen, while he looks backward on the poignant All Of The Roads and the short You Take Me In where he declares ‘Sometimes I’m frail, sometimes I fall, sometimes my best intentions bring nothing at all”

In fact, You Take Me In could be thought of as a coming of age song from the other side considering Seger is 69 years old.

For his 17th album Seger has created an honest and distinctive album of new songs that deliver.

The album comes out tomorrow Oct 14th.,

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist read in over 100 countries.

John is also the singer songwriter with the CANADIAN roots/blues band THE SHAFTMEN

Check out their heartland rock here

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

JOHN also hosts his own roots radio show

http://emms.podbean.com/

FOLLOW JOHN ON TWITTER

https://twitter.com/emmsreviews

 

30
Sep
14

THE SHAFTMEN..HEAVY IT UP ON THEIR LATEST BLUES ROCK TRACK.. NORTH COUNTRY BLUES/STATUS QUO/BUDDY GUY

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BLUES ROCK has been a huge part of THE SHAFTMEN’S sound..since the beginning….. exactly like some of their fave artists STATUS QUO AND BUDDY GUY

FROM THEIR LATEST CD..IT’S NORTH COIUNTRY BLUES

30
Sep
14

NEW BOB SEGER COMING SOON/PLUS..NEW JEFF HEALEY .. JOHN EMMS MUSIC REVIEWS

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I will be reviewing both new cd’s by BOB SEGER and JEFF HEALEY.. DUE IN EARLY OCT

You can check out my other reviews of Jeff Healey on this blog….

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, radio host and founding member of CANADIAN BLUES ROCKERS..THE SHAFTMEN

CHECK OUT…………..their music here

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/paycheque-blues/id365389443

JOHN’S RADIO SHOW..ROCKS HERE

http://emms.podbean.com/

 

 

 

29
Sep
14

BRYAN ADAMS-TRACKS OF MY YEARS-“SOULFUL VOCAL WORK HIGHLIGHTS NEW “OLDIES” ALBUM

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Simply put, Bryan Adams sings his butt off on his new cd Tracks Of My Years his first studio album in six years.

For starters, Adams’ superb take on Bobby Hebb’s often covered song Sunny has a soulful strut that just kills.

It may surprise a lot of people but Adams vocal work is the key to this album, and one listen to his organic version of Don Gibson’s/Ray Charles I Can’t Stop Loving You will knock people out, it’s that good.

The Beatles Anytime At All has a superb jangly John Lennon feel, while his cover of Bob Dylan’s Lay Lady Lay has a gorgeous dry vocal track right up front.

Produced by Adams, David Foster, and Bob Rock the deluxe version of the cd has 16 tracks..

Mostly mid tempo to ballads are here but Adams however does come off well when he rips Chuck Berry’s Rock N’ Roll Music while also doing a very solid take on the John Fogerty/CCR classic Down on the Corner.

It’s hard to top Carl Wilson’s original vocal on the Beach Boys God Only Knows, but this mostly only piano/slide guitar enhanced take has tons of feel and a very cool introverted chord progression a bit on the jazz side

Of the new songs the excellent She Knows Me written with Jim Vallance sounds like it could have come off his 2008 effort Bryan Adams 11.

Of course, not everything works and some hard core Adams fans will bemoan the fact that Adams could have kicked a little more ass.

Others will be puzzled by Adams versions of Help Me Make It Through The Night and Never My Love both easily two of the most covered songs in pop history.

But on both, Adams vocal work is on the money.

Worldwide Adams fans are waiting on his new album work with Jeff Lynne, and hoping it will rock as hard as Reckless and Waking up the Neighbours.

In the meantime, this is a classy organic piece of work.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, and is the singer-songwriter of Canadian Roots/Blues rock band THE SHAFTMEN..Check out their music on Apple iTunes

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

You can find John’s rocking radio show here

http://emms.podbean.com/

26
Sep
14

THE WORLD’S GONE CRAZY…BUT THE BLUES IS ALIVE-THE SHAFTMEN..BLUES FROM CANADA

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CHECK OUT THE TITLE TRACK FROM OUR THIRD ALL ORIGINAL CD..HERE

 

 

26
Sep
14

CHICAGO BLUES MEETS THE SHAFTMEN..LATEST VIDEO-DON’T TAKE IT THE WRONG WAY

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CHECK OUT THE VIDEO..HERE

 

21
Sep
14

BEST OF JOHN EMMS RADIO..BLEED ALL OVER ME..KILLER SHOW

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ROCK THIS SHOW..

http://emms.podbean.com/

CHECK OUT THE SHAFTMEN..FEATURING JOHN

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/paycheque-blues/id365389443

21
Sep
14

BEST OF JOHN EMMS RADIO..MIDNIGHT RAMBLER..BACK TO 2010..KEITH RICHARDS, JOHNNY DEPP, RORY GALLAGHER

New Rolling StoneRORY G CALL

JOHN WILL BE PUBLISHING SOME OF HIS BEST OF RADIO EPISODES..THIS IS KILLER FREE RADIO..JUST CLICK

http://emms.podbean.com/

 

17
Sep
14

JW-JONES BELMONT BOULEVARD-“MOVING ON UP TO THE SOUTH SIDE”

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For all the right reasons Canadian guitarist JW-Jones’ new album Belmont Boulevard may be considered his breakthrough into major US markets.

Working with noted Grammy winning producer/songwriter/drummer Tom Hambridge the pair have fashioned an album that is  modern sounding without losing it’s traditional core.

The first track Love Times Ten blasts out of the speakers with gritty guitars, solid vocals and a big American R & B/ Rock sound.

From there, things go Louisiana way when JW whips up the Bobby Charles classic Watch Your Step, before delving into what sounds like Memphis meets Canada on Blue Jean Jacket, snapping out a killer guitar solo on the coda.

Elsewhere, Thank You owes a lot to the Fabulous Thunderbirds mid 80’s sound and What Would Jimmie Do completes the homage to Jimmie Vaughan.

Cocaine Boy is very experimental and introspective and may throw listeners for a loop, while Magic West Side Boogie is an instrumental guitar workout half Bo Diddley/half Jimmy Thackery riffarama.

The flip of those two songs is the Hambridge penned If It Feels This Good Tomorrow. It features a gorgeous Jones vocal and is easily the album’s most radio friendly cut.

Elsewhere Jones modernizes Buddy Guy’s What’s Inside You with stand out Hammond B-3 work from Reese Wynans and gets a good snap your head groove going on his own Never Worth It.

Breaking into a huge US market where diverse stars like Tommy Castro, Damon Fowler and Roy Rogers draw huge is not easy.

JW-Jones has always had the dedication and the chops. This album gets him a winning hand and he is likely to bet on it!

This excellent cd will be available Oct 14th in the US and Oct 7th in Canada.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, and singer-songwriter with Canadian blues rock/roots artists THE SHAFTMEN

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

John is a free-lance journalist with Sun Media and you can check out John’s roots/blues radio show here

http://emms.podbean.com/

31
Aug
14

COUNTING CROWS-“SUPERB SONGCRAFT LIFTS SOMEWHERE UNDER WONDERLAND TO LOFTY HEIGHTS” CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

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Counting Crows new album Somewhere Under Wonderland is an album of rich melodic songs with real band dynamics.

Hearing the band count-off stand out rock songs like Earthquake Driver, the killer shuffle of Cover Up The Sun, the thick groove of Scarecrow and the dirty percussive riff of Dislocation is a total joy.

This is clearly a band firing on all cylinders.

Adam Duritz’s eloquent lyrical work, songs and expressive vocals are up front but the band  including drummer Jim Bogios, guitarist  David Bryson, songwriter/guitarist Dan Vickrey and multi-instrumentalists Millard Powers, David Immergluck and Charlie Gillingham deliver an ambience to the tracks as good as Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers.

Palisades Park and God Of Ocean Tides are intricate songs that deliver an exhilarating feel that seduces you as the listener.

It’s very safe to say there are not many bands attempting this kind of songcraft this far into their career.

Elsewhere the twin guitar workout behind Bogios explosive drum fills on Elvis Went to Hollywood, the band dynamics and slide guitar on John Appleseed’s Lament and the Kennedy era references on Possibility Days offer a broad spectrum of Americana.

This album will easily make my top ten list of 2014

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, radio host, and singer-songwriter with Canadian Blues/Roots rockers THE SHAFTMEN

http://www.theshaftmen.com

Check out John and the band worldwide on Youtube, Amazon, and Apple iTunes

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/close-another-door/id392307439

JOHN EMMS RADIO

http://emms.podbean.com/

 

 

 

31
Aug
14

KENNY BLUES BOSS WAYNE-“Soul Inflected Vocals and 70’s Warmth -cd review by JOHN EMMS

Kenny Wayne Seated-web

Rollin with the Blues Boss is what a blues inflected piano album sounded like in the early 70’s.

And baby that is good news, because it’s 2014.

Warm, inviting and full of soul

Although Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne is known for his strident piano licks and long time road work throughout North America it’s his voice that knocks me out.

In fact it’s almost a jazz inflection on Can’t Believe It,  it’s upfront and funky on Leavin’ In The Morning and a southern smoky tenor on Slow Down.

As a long time lead vocalist I can tell you it’s heaven listening to it’s warmth.

Where is the blues you ask?

Here is the key, everything Wayne does is wrapped in all the variations of blues turnarounds, motifs, R & B, boogie woogie and songs outside the normal 12 bar formation

Keep On Rockin, brings to mind Fats Domino via 2014, guests Diunna Greenleaf blows the roof off the gospel Baby, It Ain’t You and Eric Bibb shuffles up the ante on Two Sides.

My fave track is the killer horn charts and groove to You Bring The Jungle Out of Me.

It’s Vancouver uptown blues, meets New Orleans.

Powder Blues front man and producer Tom Lavin completely captures Wayne’s essence and then some with some focused playing from some very hip  players on this session.

They don’t make records this warm anymore so bravo to everyone involved.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, hosts a blues/roots/ rock online radio show and is the singer-songwriter with Canadian Blues Rockers THE SHAFTMEN

http://www.theshaftmen.com

Check out John and the band worldwide on Youtube, Amazon and iTunes

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

John’s radio show

http://emms.podbean.com/

 

 

 

 

30
Aug
14

JOEL JOHNSON-“FIERY AND EXCITING” BLUES JOOSE VOL 2-CD REVIEW BY JOHN EMMS

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When your wife likes a blues artist that you pop into the cd player and your neighbours say “who is that playing?” it’s all good.

Joel Johnson is one hell of a blues axe man and vocalist.

To top it off, I can’t say how many new young blues players I enjoy from first listen.

It’s not a big number, but Johnson is one of them.

This is a modern blues recording. Punchy big sound but with traditional feel.

If you think of Albert Cummings or the groove of Guitar Shorty you will get the idea.

From the start Johnson rips off impressive lead solos on Out of My Mind, the funky Raise Your Wind, and the slow blues horn infused I’ll Be Just Fine, where he really lays down an impressive lead vocal to go with the exciting chops.

An instrumental nod to Luther Allison and covers of Crossroads and Little Wing are included but Johnson works best on his own tracks.

A little more variation on the song-writing side in the manner of Tommy Castro, and Walter Trout’s work would be cool but Johnson rocks hard and true.

The backing band of keyboard man Wayne Dagenais, drummer Mike Fitzpatrick and bassist Steve Pelletier are flexible and always in the pocket, and give a big boost to the overall band feel on the tracks.

Your going to like this cd a lot!!!

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, radio host and singer-songwriter with Canadian Blues Rockers

THE SHAFTMEN

http://www.theshaftmen.com

You can check out John and the band worldwide on Youtube, Amazon and iTunes

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

JOHN’S BLUES ROOTS RADIO

http://emms.podbean.com/

 

 

 

 

 

22
Jun
10

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN/WORKING ON A DREAM-ORIGINAL REVIEW-30 years of great album reviews-BY JOHN EMMS


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will be reviewing the new Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band Live from The Agora 1978 in Cleveland.

30 years of album reviews, no BS….from the musician  standpoint

JOHN EMMS RADIO

http://emms.podbean.com/

JOHN EMMS ON TWITTER

https://twitter.com/emmsreviews

John rocks blues and roots with THE SHAFTMEN

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

 

 




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