15
Jan
16

SANDY CARROLL LAST SOUTHERN BELLE-SOULFUL SOUTH-CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

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Not everyone understands the myths or reality of the South of the USA. That is fair and goes for any area on the planet.

You grow up in West Tennessee or the hard rock mining city of Timmins you write about where you live.

This is a beautifully played and sung album wherever you live.

The title track and Southland Rules shimmer with upbringing themes and supple vocal restraint by Carroll.

The best song on the album has to be Heading Out On Empty.

Great guitar solo by Will McFarlane, superb lyrics and of course Carroll wrings out every nuance vocally.

Not every song is as good as the above three, yet there has to be at least a few more (Southern Woman, Family Reunion Day) that would fit easily on any radio playlist

Production by Jim Gaines and guest musicians such as David Hood and Steve Potts go a long way.

DUE OUT FEB 19

JOHN EMMS is a 30 year veteran music journalist, songwriter, musician, and heads up his own blues/roots outfit THE SHAFTMEN

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

 

27
Dec
15

2015 JOHN EMMS SOME THINGS I LIKED (AND DID NOT LIKE) MUSICALLY-PART 1

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Creative people live longer. Well, at least we act younger.

Most of my friends in music internationally and locally are creative.

It can’t be helped. Sure, we live your life, but kind of live in our own world.

Colin Linden’s Rich In Love is the best roots album this year. The track Everybody Ought  To Be Loved should be on everyone’s playlist.

There are many more but start with that.

Sure, I listen to new artists. I really did not enjoy The Weekends’ material. The new single Hills was too disjointed.

Disjointed is cool when you have Lana Del Rey with High On the Beach, love that track or the funkiness of Alabama Shakes Don’t Wanna Fight.

Then again what is the idea on the  “Shakes” new cd of  having the mix run over all the lead vocals.

That shit gets messy.

Nothing can beat good band dynamics in 2015 or any year. That’s why you have albums like Monkey Junk’s Moon Turn Red

What, you don’t own it?

Play the track Light It Up then talk to me. Holy crap stand back folks

Ian Fletcher Thornley’s new album Secrets will blow you out of the room

The intelligent emotional songs will find a way into your life.

I can’t put it any simpler than that. Tracks such as Just To Know I Can, Feel and Step Outside the Line are soul deep.

Impressive work from drummer Glenn Milchem and bassist Dave McMillan create ambience that’s intoxicating.

Another killer roots album of the year has to be Jason Isbell’s (former Drive By Trucker) new album Something More Than Free.

If It Takes  A Lifetime and 24 Frames are killer, start with those two tracks.

Of course I listen to Adele.

25 is damn good. Remember it’s not all slow. Funky tracks like Send My Love are blissful, but then again When We Were Young will tear your heart out.

Still what can explain how excellent Keith Richard’s Cross-eyed Heart is

Has he not written enough classics?

Apparently not. Trouble Is. Robbed Blind, Nothing On Me and many more songs raise the bar.

Should it shock us that he continues to be this vital?

More to come soon!

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music columnist, Sun Media contributor, and blogger read in 106 countries.

JOHN is also a musician and songwriter with Canadian Blues Rockers THE SHAFTMEN

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

JOHN on Twitter

https://twitter.com/emmsreviews

 

03
Nov
15

ERIC BIBB JJ MILTEAU LEAD BELLY’S GOLD-POTENT RELEVANCE-CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

Bibb-milteau_gab16

It’s not a stretch to say that Lead Belly’s Gold is the most important roots/folk album of 2015.

Yes, you have heard these songs by tons of artists, but I can guarantee you NOT LIKE THIS!!

In fact, this excellent new cd by Bibb and Milteau shows that Lead Belly’s music is as potent and relevant in today’s society as it was in the 30’s and 40’s.

The real gift is the interplay by the players (check out Stewball, When that Train/Swing Lo Sweet Chariot) and the sheer sound of Bibb’s voice.

On tracks such as On A Monday, the gentle shuffle roots of Midnight Special and of course Where Did You Sleep Last Night with an incredible solo by Milteau Bibb is powerful and poignant all in one.

The original songs such as When I Get To Dallas and the haunting Chauffeur Blues which I consider a new modern classic are gems.

A mix of 11 live recordings and 5 studio tracks, a gorgeous booklet, plus incredible detailed notes by Bibb.

The care and class of this entire project by everyone involved is timeless.

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

JOHN is on Twitter

https://twitter.com/emmsreviews

John’s blues/roots music with THE SHAFTMEN is on Youtube, Amazon, Apple Music and Spotify

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

 

13
Oct
15

BRYAN ADAMS-GET UP-“FRESH GARAGE RETRO ROCK- REVIEW BY JOHN EMMS

bryan adams 1 get up

Bryan Adams comes off sounding very fresh in a garage retro rock vein on his sparkling new album Get Up.

In fact, I feel 20 years younger just sitting here with this baby cranked up.

Thunderbolt, and Do What Ya Gotta Do smack you upside the head with guitar crunch, while Don’t Even Try sparkles with mid 60’s Beatle-esque vibes.

Adams simply is joyous when he belts out  “A battered Vox and a beat up Gibson, that’s all you need to get the job done” on That’s Rock n’ Roll

And he makes you a believer. 

Working with Jim Vallance and the remarkable Jeff Lynne on the new cd Adams sounds like he has found a new voice.

“We had a ball making this record,” Adams says through his new album bio. 

“The thing was, we ended up doing a song every other month and eventually we had an album. What’s interesting is we’d never discussed the idea of ‘making an album’ together, it just happened!”

If this is what “just happened” sounds like,  then I’m going to plug in my guitar and amp soon as I finish this review.

Elsewhere We Did It All has gorgeous chord changes and a vocal that’s as good as anything Adams has ever done.

You Belong To Me is Canuck groove via ELO and Go Down Rockin whips up Reckless, The Rolling Stones and Oasis in under 3 minutes.

The four recordings of the new material with just Adams on acoustic guitar and solo voice on this album will floor you.

Back in 1965 on the single Do You Believe In Magic by The Lovin’ Spoonful John Sebastian wrote “I’ll tell you about the magic, and it’ll free your soul, But it’s like tryin’ to tell a stranger ’bout rock and roll

Adams has got that magic on Get Up, make no mistake!!

THIS cd is available this Friday-Oct 16th 2015.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, singer-songwriter, radio podcast host and Sun Media contributor.

JOHN also has a blast Rockin the blues rock/roots with THE SHAFTMEN

CHECK THEN OUT

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

JOHN is on TWITTER

https://twitter.com/emmsreviews

12
Oct
15

DULCIE TAYLOR & FRIENDS RE-DEFINE COUNTRY ROOTS/ MUSIC WITH WIND OVER STONE-BY JOHN EMMS

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I can’t think of many other roots/country artists whose songwriting is as potent as Dulcie Taylor.

Her new album Wind Over Stone is an Americana masterpiece.

The trick here on this album, like with any great singer-songwriter is to let the listener be able to be on the “inside” with the artist.

And that is what Wind Over Stone captures in abundance

Not Here Not Today is tip of the freedom hero sword,  Only A Dreamer lets you in on the inside heart and When The Cherokee Roamed is cinematic in it’s scope.

And, folks you have only heard by this point the first 3 songs of the cd.

Other highlights include the Mellencamp feel of Heart In A Cage, the gem Love Like Yours and Mine and George Nauful’s vocals on I Wanna Ride.

In fact Nauful’s work on this entire album along with the great mix by Keith Olsen acts like a glue of musical substance

Forget about “bro country” and the top charts of country.

This album is the real thing.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, singer-songwriter, podcast radio host and Sun Media contributor.

Visit JOHN on Twitter

https://twitter.com/emmsreviews

JOHN’S MUSIC WITH THE SHAFTMEN  WORLDWIDE HERE

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

23
Sep
15

MADCHILD-SILVER TONGUE DEVIL-PERSONAL PAIN MEETS BIG SKILLS-CD REVIEW BY JOHN EMMS

madchild 1

It’s impossible not to like an album that is this tenacious, angry, inspired, and hopeful all at the same time.

But that’s what you get on Madchild’s latest cd Silver Tongue Devil.

Songs as good as Painful Skies, Jackel, Devils and Angels and Everyday featuring CeeKay Jones galvanize the listener.

To be sure some may find this rhyme fest explicit, disturbing. and controversial.

Yet the lyrics also reflect and inspire thousands with his true life story

The album’s hooks suit Madchild’s confidence in himself.

On this album Madchild continues to push ahead on his own re-invention.

This cd demands your attention!!

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

JOHN is on Twitter

https://twitter.com/emmsreviews

check out John’s and his Blues Rockin friends THE SHAFTMEN

http://www.theshaftmen.com

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

 

 

23
Sep
15

COLIN LINDEN-RICH IN LOVE-“EXCEPTIONAL ROOTS TAPESTRY” BY JOHN EMMS

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Rich In Love Colin Linden’s new album combines the songwriter, the player and the singer into gorgeous roots Americana

These are stories worthy of the first three Band albums and mid period Tom Waits.

Songs like Delia Come For Me, The Hurt, and the masterful title track featuring Charlie Musselwhite and then Amy Helm on the outro breathe in an ambience of blues, roots and gospel.

Elsewhere tracks like I Need Water, No More Cheap Wine and Luck of A Fool featuring Resse Wynans add some Nashville meets Memphis via Linden’s own organic guitar work .

Date With The Stars is easily one of Linden’s best songs period. If Elvis Presley was alive he would have probably covered it.

All this is held together by drummer John Dymond and bassist Gary Craig who seem to anticipate Linden’s every nuance.

With the possibility of Rosanne Cash’s The River and The Thread I can’t think of any recent album that is so completely inside of it’s songwriter.

This may be Colin Linden’s closest personal feelings put out for all to see.

Exceptional recording on all levels.

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

Check John with his Blues Rockin’ friends THE SHAFTMEN

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

http://www.theshaftmen.com

JOHN is on Twitter

https://twitter.com/emmsreviews

 

18
Sep
15

KEITH RICHARDS-CROSSEYED HEART-“GROOVE, HEART AND PLENTY OF SOUL” CD REVIEW BY JOHN EMMS

keef studioKeith Richards Album Graphic

When you make a cd this soulful and fiery at 71 years old, retirement is not even a thought.

This is a man making music that he feels and plays deeply.

Check out the opening acoustic solo title track. It’s mixed so up front you would think you were right in the room.

The band, mostly Richards on guitar and bass, the fantastic groove of co-writer/co-producer Steve Jordan, guitarist Waddy Wachtel and plenty of guests breathe feel and dynamics into every track.

The sheer propulsion of Heartstopper, Trouble, and Amnesia with the late and great Bobby Keys sitting in just kill.

The spiritual ballads Just A Gift and the exquisite Robbed Blind with gorgeous steel guitar from Larry Campbell rank up there with the best ballads of Richards long career.

Cameos with Aaron Neville on the soulful Nothing On Me and a duet with Norah Jones on Illusion with Richards on piano dig deep.

Jordan, the Winos and Richards always get in the reggae pocket and the track Long Overdue fits well next to rockers like Substantial Damage and the Otis Redding-esque ballad Lovers Plea.

Rolling Stones albums and Keith Richards solo work are different beasts.

If anyone else made an album this good, this late in their career it would be held in high esteem.

And so it is!

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

Check out John with THE SHAFTMEN

http://www.theshaftmen.com

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

VISIT JOHN ON TWITTER

https://twitter.com/emmsreviews

 

16
Sep
15

MONKEYJUNK-MOON TURN RED-CATCHY WITH SUBSTANCE-CD REVIEW BY JOHN EMMS

mj moon turn red

If any cd could be called catchy with substance then it’s Moon Turn Red the fourth release from Canada’s MonkeyJunk.

It is impossible not to love the hooks and musicianship on this album.

From the killer tone of Tony D’s slide work on the opener Light It Up, with Steve Marriner ripping a throaty lead vocal and harp behind Matt Sobb’s shuffle one thing  is clear.

This band has come to lay it down.

After the push and pull accents of You and the Blues Traveller/Black Keys vibe of Show Me Yours, your ready to hear Hot Hot Papa.

David Wilcox lends his own genius to his classic re-make and if your not dancing on your patio with this, you should take a nap!!!

MJ take their songwriting to a whole other level on the Free/Paul Rodgers vibe of Live Another Day and the gorgeous Luther Allison influenced R & B/ Soul of Meet Me At Midnight.

Showing your influences while creating a unique original sound is a gift.

Mixing that with the chops of this trio just ups that ante.

Moon Turn Red is the band’s most cohesive work to date.

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

Check out John on Twitter

https://twitter.com/emmsreviews

Check out John’s Blues Rocking Band THE SHAFTMEN

http://www.theshaftmen.com

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

 

08
Sep
15

DAVID GOGO-VICKSBURG CALL-“PRIMO BLUES ROCK”-CD REVIEW BY JOHN EMMS

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The “straight on” blues rock takes on David Gogo’s new album Vicksburg Call are hard to resist.

Case in point, I cranked this up at a recent barbecue and everyone asked who is that? It sounds great.

Exactly.

You just know it works.

From the outset of Cuts Me To The Bone, the punchy What’s Not To Like or the covers of Stephen Stills/Manassas Jet Set or Neil Young’s The Loner Gogo keeps it simple while ripping off some killer lead work.

The mid tempo ballad Our Last Goodbye is a gem, Kim Simmonds of Savoy Brown fame takes care of the solos and fills on Fooling Myself  and Gogo goes pop with a superb vocal on Annie Lennox’s track Why.

Drummer Bill Hicks and bassist Jay Stevens go a long way in keeping this album feeling cohesive.

Simply put.

Gogo knows his stuff and your gonna’ like this folks!

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist/blues rock singer-songwriter, radio host and Sun Media contributor.

Check out John and the band here.

http://www.theshaftmen.com

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

 

08
Sep
15

JOHN MAYALL-FIND A WAY TO CARE-“STILL PROMINENT, STILL VITAL” CD REVIEW BY JOHN EMMS

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One listen to John Mayall’s new album Find A Way To Care and it’s clear that his playing is as vital as it’s ever been.

Check out the horn section and Mayall’s killer organ solo on The River’s Invitation, his solid vocal/piano solo on the upbeat title track and his gritty cover of I Want All My Money Back.

Wow!

Guitarist Rocky Athas burns his way through the afore mentioned Money Back, the bonus track War We Wage while the great  drummer Jay Davenport and bassist Greg Rzab are inventive and sturdy.

Elsewhere, Mayall accompanies himself on Crazy Lady, gets funky on the cover of I Feel So Bad and absolutely nails the piano solos on Long Summer Days.

Mayall. is a Blues Music pioneer and as far as I can hear as vital and prominent as he ever was.

Excellent work!

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, blues rock songwriter, Sun Media contributor, radio host and vocalist with THE SHAFTMEN

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

13
Jul
15

JEFF HEALEY-BEST OF THE STONY PLAIN YEARS-VINTAGE JAZZ, SWING AND BLUES-“PULLING ON THE HEART STRINGS”-CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

jeff healey jazz

Due out this July 17th Jeff Healey Best of The Stony Plain Years Vintage Jazz, Swing and Blues will knock out music fans with a sweet swing of jazz inspiration.

Jeff and the band swing like mad on the opening Three Little Words, then have a good time nailing The Sheik of Araby live at the Montreal Jazz Festival.

I mean this compilation is contagious stuff folks!!

Jeff grabs an electric guitar on I Would do Anything For You, everyone solos and you just can’t help but smile.

Healey did literally sell millions of records around the world as a blues rock bandleader but the sheer warmth of Jeff on tracks like Pardon My Southern Accent and indeed anywhere on this disc is downright emotional.

Yes you heard me, Emotional

If you want to get to Jeff Healey’s heart then all you have to do is listen.

This glow reminds me of when Jeff and myself walked into Stompin’ Tom Connors’ music birthplace at the Maple Leaf Hotel in Timmins Ontario.

It was only a moment in time but smiling ear to ear in yesteryear we was.

An absolute must have.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, songwriter/musician.

Have some fun and check out John and THE SHAFTMEN here

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

JOHN is on twitter

https://twitter.com/emmsreviews

13
Jul
15

PORQUIS ROCK & BLUES-THE NEW EVOLUTION-MONKEYJUNK, DIGGING ROOTS, CONOR GAINS, AND MORE UP THE ANTE-REVIEW BY JOHN EMMS

DIGGING ROOTSGHOST TOWN BLUES BANDSTEVE MARRINERTONY DP REDDICKERIN

NOTE..

This review will run copy in shorter length with Post Media Timmins Daily Press copy due shortly

thx John.

Summer days and nights at Porquis Junction took on new significance this weekend.
With a diverse set of artists that could best be described as roots with rock and blues overtones there was a sense of musical community.
The fans and staff I spoke with came away with a sense of listening to the realness of what the artists were putting out.
“I think this weekend shows that enough people from this area want this festival to continue to be a special summer event. We have had tremendous help from yourself and media outlets who are excited explained organizer and guitarist Luc Doiron
That sentiment was echoed by musician/event person Jack Larabee.
‘We are already making plans for next year, in fact were having draws for tickets for 2016.
Adding a small portion of Rock Music on the Friday night to the event is a good thing and the crowd response to it and the award winning recording artists here on Saturday shows it’s all about the music. and that’s a good thing’ said Larabee.
Friday was highlighted by a hard rock set by Drivyn with Deep Purple, Jimi Hendrix, Black Sabbath covers and originals, to the always solid  R & B/Rock grooves of Jack and the Ripperz to a crowd pleasing dance floor blues set from Jake and the Fundamentals with superb vocals by Jesse Thomas and the killer dynamics of Jake Thomas’ guitar and band.
I could not make the opening set from Inviolet due to a previous engagement..
Saturday drew heavy on recording artists and audience involvement.
This was easily set in motion by Saturday’s opening set by 23 year old Cambridge Ontario native Conor Gains.
Gains makes you a believer.
Gains and his band displayed not only solid original material but organic covers of Bob Dylan all set ablaze by killer guitar trade offs with the incomparable Jimmy Bowskill who was sitting in with the band
.
This basically set the tone for what turns out was a hot day musically and weather wise.
Erin McCallum who also acted as emcee set her music apart by standout Memphis style vocals on slower tempo songs like Complicated Woman and It’s Time .
Harp wizard and storyteller Paul Reddick who actually had fans in attendance from his Sideman era group days played a mix from four cd’s including his latest project Wishbone.
It was a blistering set backed by alumni from Monkeyjunk.
By far, two of the most interesting sets came via The Ghost Town Blues Band all the way from Memphis Tennessee and Digging Roots an amazing Native family group fronted by Raven Kanatakta and ShoShona Kish.
GTBB led into their set by playing the New Orleans anthem When the Saints Go Marching In as they entered from the audience to the stage.
What followed was a high musical standard of Allman Brother Band classics, New Orleans Gumbo-esque music and superb originals from their cds Hard Road To Hoe and Dark Horse. Songs like like Big Shirley and Memphis Train stood out.
To say this band was funky and entertaining is an understatement. Wow.
Digging Roots are all about good vibes, family grooves and indigenous roots.
Stand out original songs like Rich Girl, Hwy 17, and I believe a song title  For The Light transcend musical genre.
The audience dance participation on a fantastic native dance number was superb.
MonkeyJunk took to the stage shortly after 10 p.m.and drew out the campers and the entire audience onto the dance floor doing what I call “The Porquis Shuffle”.
Crowd pleasing is the word for this Juno winning Ottawa trio.
And the best part of the band’s music is it’s done from the perspective of hard working solid musicality.
The sheer amount of groove coming from drummer Matt Sobb, organic guitar master Tony D and the very gifted front man Steve Marriner is vital.
Including at least 2 excellent tracks from their fourth album to be released in a few months, as well as songs You Make a Mess, Jah Nay Say Kwah and their cover of Muddy Waters Tiger In Your Tank their set stuck like glue
It was clear the band was having fun.
Vocalist Steve Marriner took a few minutes to pay tribute to Peter “Sab” Sabourin one of the founders of the Porquis Blues Festival and dedicated a song to his inspiration .
It was very classy and moving and drew an emotional response from the crowd.
Porquis Rock and Blues will flourish with new musical artists, old friends, new friends, and memories of things past and present.
The evolution has begun.
photos John Emms and Jean Marc Regimbal
JOHN EMMS  is a veteran music journalist/Sun Media freelance, online radio host and songwriter
JOHN fronts up the hard blues/ roots band THE SHAFTMEN
The band has released 3 original albums and gained consistent airplay on Galaxie Blues and CBC Radio
Read John in the Timmins Daily Press
13
Jul
15

ALAN JACKSON-ANGELS & ALCOHOL-THE FIRST REAL COUNTRY ALBUM OF 2015-CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

alan jackson cd cover

Alan Jackson makes real country music, that’s just the plain truth.

And on his new album Angels and Alcohol due out July 17 he hits it out of the park.

No cookie cutter stuff here folks, and thank God there are still artists of Jackson’s credibility.

For his first new cd in 3 years Jackson writes 7 of the 10 tracks.

The stunning less is more approach pays huge dividends on the title track and the opener You Can Always Come Home.

Basically, on those tracks it’s Jackson’s clear and concise vocals, an acoustic guitar, some banjo, a dobro here, a fiddle there.

And feel, folks.

You know that long forgotten element that is devoid for the most part in country songs sounding like another and another for the last 5 years.

Band wise things get bumped up on the goodtime “leaving anthem” Jim and Jack and Hank, in reference to Jim Beam, Jack Daniels and Hank Sr

Jackson then goes Roger Miller-esque on the terrific track Flaws. and has a ton of fun with the “temptation” jump of  You Never Know.

Elsewhere Jackson sings the hell out of I Leave A Light On.

Heck Ol’ George Jones is smiling listening to this one.

I guarantee you that folks.

Jackson’s integrity is in full force on Angels and Alcohol

It’s the real deal, let there be no doubt

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, his blog is read in over 105 countries

JOHN also fronts his own roots rockin’ band THE SHAFTMEN

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

CATCH JOHN ON TWITTER

https://twitter.com/emmsreviews

 

28
Jun
15

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

DSC03097HIP KLG DOWNIE

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

B ABSHER 1

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

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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

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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

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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

tom cochrane 2015 jpeg

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

jamie culldecemberistsPrintcreate_image[1]

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

rosanne cash 1

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.

kooks 2 2011

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

trombone shorty 2

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

bcov

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

SONY DSCjohnny-winter-40-years-001r block 1Billy Boy Arnold - PortraitjdkJW-Jones-Belmont-Boulevard-CD-Cover-HIGH-RES

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

Roly-Platt-EPK-HiRes-sml

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

r block 1

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/

 

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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