01
Oct
18

RAY BONNEVILLE, SEAN CHAMBERS, CARY MORIN, RACHELLE COBA-CD REVIEWS BY JOHN EMMS

Ray Bonneville writes great songs and the 11 songs on his new album At King Electric features songs that are like short films.

That says a lot considering he never started writing songs till his early forties.

Waiting on the Night and the shuffle of Next Card to Fall put you in Bonneville’s cinematic scope.

Electric piano player Richie Lawrence makes a huge impression throughout the album and Bonneville’s voice on Codeine and The Day they Let Me Out is almost in the room with you.

Haunting Americana from a Canadian in the best possible way.

Cary Morin can do it all by myself and the Montana born picker does on a lot of that on his new album When I Rise.

However he kills with a full band on the Grateful Dead cover Dire Wolf, Carmela Marie and electric whip of Jug Of Water.

It makes you want to hear more of him in this context.

Elsewhere the title track, the gorgeous Devoted One and the excellent track Sometimes are just standout acoustic songs.

Sean Chambers’ new album Welcome To My Blues is just flat out great electric blues.

Out of the gate the title track grabs you in a stranglehold and next up Black Eyed Susie conjures up some Skynyrd type slide mojo.

One More Night To Ride could be in the realm of Walter Trout and You Keep Me Satisfied is Gator-Florida blues rock that is rough and ready as you can get.

Then there is the cover of T-Bone Walker’s All Night Long..

Wow.

Note that John Ginty on Hammond B-3 and Piano is true blue throughout.

All killer no filler as they used to say!!!!!!!

Rachelle Coba has got soul. She rolls you, she rocks you and on Blink her second album she pulls out all the stops.

High and Dry gets it done, No Deals kicks the Devil’s ass and You Stole My Soul, and the title track are both examples of superb R & B songwriting.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, Post Media contributor, and singer-songwriter with Canuck Blues Rockers THE SHAFTMEN

JOHN IS ON TWITTER

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27
Sep
18

JW-JONES LIVE..”AUTHENTIC ELECTRIC BLUES AND MORE” REVIEW BY JOHN EMMS

JW-JONES LIVE showcases an artist and his band who are not afraid to take blues in new directions while still retaining the original vibe of the masters.

Opening with Robert Cray’s A Memo (Nothin” But Love) and then letting his guitar do the talking on B.B. King’s Need You So Bad Jones comes off as an authentic blues man.

Having said that even when I first saw him play live with harp player Steve Marriner in the 90’s it was clear Jones’ knowledge and feel for the blues was for real.

His take on Howlin’ Wolf’s Moanin’ at Midnight is direct and brash in Jones’ fierce heavy and distorted solo with a slice of Jimi Hendrix’s Third Stone From The Sun in for good measure.

Don Cummings on Hammond organ adds nice dimensions to the normal trio format.

Think of Cummings work on here as a sublte Al Kooper vibe.

Laura Greenberg (Bassist of the year Maple Blues Awards 2018) and the interesting fills and sturdy stick work of drummer Will Laurin are a complete joy throughout the album.

Other highlights are a crazy good take on Albert King’s You’re Gonna Need Me, the band’s 17 riffs medley to end the album as well the jazz inflected rip on Early Every Morning scaled to an insane height via Jones’ guitar solo.

Texas, Chicago, West Coast Blues all show up on this album while his excellent original work from Belmont Boulevard, High Temperature etc does not.

Do not hesitate to make this album part of your collection.

It’s totally authentic!!!

Album release September 28th 2018

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, columnist with Post Media and singer-songwriter and band leader with Canuck Blues Rockers THE SHAFTMEN

JOHN EMMS TWITTER

29
Aug
18

JOANNE SHAW TAYLOR-SIGNS NEW SONY DEAL/TOURS USA/WILD RE-RELEASE REVIEW-“BACK TO FRONT..GREAT SONGS”..BY JOHN EMMS

The re-release  of the Joanne Shaw Taylor album Wild proves that Blues Rock is above all about well written songs.

She could play this album live from front to back and it would still kill.

Besides when you check out selected tracks from Gary Moore, Buddy Guy, Foghat, Johnny Winter, Cream, SRV, etc it comes down to how good the songs are.

Sure, Shaw Taylor has great guitar chops but she has become such a good vocalist.

My Heart’s Got a Mind of It’s Own with it’s killer horn charts, I Wish I Could Wish You Back, the slow excellent vibe of Wild Is The Wind and the opening salvo of Dyin’ To Know show off those vocals.

Blues Rock could easily become a major commercial force again.

I put this album up there with Joe Bonamassa’s superb Driving Towards The Daylight as proof.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist,  bandleader with Canadian Blues Rockers THE SHAFTMEN and Post Media contributor.

03
Aug
18

justin saladino band, sons of rhytmn, steve krase band, angel forrest-cd reviews john emms

Toronto’s Sons of Rhythm debut EP is a consistent, infectious and soulful debut.

The band shows deep respect for the Toronto sound steeped in George Oliver, The Lincolns and Domenic Troiano to name only a few

Six songs including a smoking cover of Allen Toussaint’s Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky and originals like Talkin’ Bout My Baby, the Boz Scaggs vibe of You’ve Got A Friend, and the torrid rockabilly tinged Swing Thing are key.

The acoustic Will I Ever See You Again is nice but seems a bit out of place considering the Jimmy Reed on steroids vibe of the opening track My Time Is Gonna Come.

All songs were written by bassist Mick Maratta and the band is anchored by ace drummer Mike Carbone, the gifted axe work of Federico Luiu guitar and a complete wicked star turn by Keyboard/Sax  player Anthony Brancati.

Whether the band does more original work in the future is anyone’s guess but what a start!!!

Justin Saladino Band A Fools Heart their second album falls into a more rock/roots territory. Tracks like Honey which works a Jack De Keyzer R & B vibe, the slower Memphis sound of Put The Hammer Down and A Fool I’ll Stay which has a kind of Sheepdogs vibe work very well

The band touches a lot of different vibes which include funk and acoustic based material.

You’re gonna like it!

Steve Krase is a crazy good harmonica player but Just Waitin” his new album with his solid band is uneven in a few places.

I have to say I prefer his last album I Should’ve Have Seen It Coming.

On the new album covers of Settin’ the Woods On Fire and the the zydeco bend on The Ballad of Jed Clampett rub me the wrong way.

However, Tracks like Just Waitin’ on My Baby  the J Geils band vibe of Blame It All On Love work great as does the excellent cover of My Baby Walked Off

Great guitar work from David Carter throughout.

Angel Forrest is a top live draw with her great band anywhere across Canada.

That is a fact.

This double live album Electric Love is flat out a mix of very good covers of House of the Rising Sun, Walkin’ Blues and the excellent material of All The Way, Spoil Me Up and the killer track Crucify.

Superb work from the whole band which includes the monster axe work of Ricky Paquette.

Forrest can’t miss!!!

JOHN EMMS is veteran music journalist and Post Media contributor. John is also a bandleader with Canadian Blues Rock/Roots band THE SHAFTMEN …..available worldwide

29
May
18

JOE SATRIANI BAND-Festival des Guitares du Monde- MAY 27 2018-“ORGANIC GUITAR PASSION AND BAND DYNAMICS RULE” REVIEW JOHN EMMS

The Joe Satriani Band in full flight with bassist Bryan Beller drummer Joe Travers and guitarist/keyboard man Mike Keneally (SCAMBOT 2) is something to behold.

In support of his latest album the very accessible What Happens Next and playing before an audience of “Satch” heads at Centre de Congrès Rouyn which seats maybe 1000 people JS and his killer band showed why this group is one of the most dangerous bands on tour.

To put it simply his new material like the hard driving Sci Fi vibing number Catbot, the gorgeous Cherry Blossoms ( a fave among female fans on this night) which Satrani called Cinematic and the explosive Energy fit very well with his classic material.

Satch Boogie and Flying in a Blue Dream came early in set 1 and later his classic fan fave Always With Me, Always With You dedicated to his super fan base of 30 years found Satriani in blissful tone mode.

Satriani is a private but gracious man and even though I was I was attending NOT in my OFFICIAL capacity as freelance music journalist with The Timmins Daily Press we did meet by accident.

Myself and neighbor(Taco Bob) both big fans ran into JS the afternoon and he was more than happy to spend some quality time with us realizing we were humble long time fans.

Of course I was there also to review this show before my summer long official festival shows start in earnest next month

Throughout this show the fans were on fire. Chants of “Joe Joe Joe” rocked the walls and fired up the band to big time dynamics.

The title track What Happens Next and the Hendrix overtones of Super Funky Badass had the crowd on their feet.

I can’t say for sure but maybe instrumental music of this quality is in for a big comeback.

Satriani drew some of the biggest fan response I have witnessed in the Rock genre in many years.

This event was very well run and festival staff were courteous and that goes a long way and YES I would recommend this yearly festival.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, RADIO podcast host and musician.

Catch JOHN on Twitter

26
May
18

JOE SATRIANI-WHAT HAPPENS NEXT-REVIEW-“SONGS IN THE KEY OF JOE”, WITH CHAD AND GLENN

Joe Satriani’s musical evolution never gets old.

Simply because it’s always based on killer melody and song structure.

What Happens Next his latest album is a stunning melodic return to his roots of rock with a distinct soulful element.

Recorded with the unique and gifted bassist Glenn Hughes and the powerhouse and at times subtle stickwork of Chad Smith the album breathes deep.

I like to tell my friends “These are songs in the key of Joe” and once we slip this on at a summer get together on the patio heads turn.

Why not?

Even my wife will say who is that?..when the gorgeous melody of Cherry Blossoms  or Santana-esque Smooth Soul is wafting through the summer heat.

If Jimi Hendrix was alive today he would flip for tracks like Super Funky Badass and the lyrical approach to Thunder High On the Mountain and Invisible which both contain some crazy stone cold lock and superior work by Hughes and Smith.

Catbot and the title track show complete different sides of Satriani’s gift for technique and composition.

A Cup of Joe goes a long way morning or night.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist and interviewer with Post Media/Timmins Press

JOHN is also a Songwriter/Vocalist with Canadian Blues/Roots band THE SHAFTMEN

visit JOHN ON TWITTER https://twitter.com/emmsreviews

JOE’s current mini Canada tour is now on

 

01
May
18

SAMANTHA MARTIN & DELTA SUGAR-RUN TO ME-‘SOUL SUGAR” REVIEW BY JOHN EMMS

Run To Me by Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar contains fantastic slices of deep soul sung gorgeously by Martin and played with groove and finesse by her 10 piece band

For starters if you took equal parts Carla Thomas and Etta James and dropped it smack dab in 2018 you would have an  idea of this great voice.

Not only that but tracks such as Wanna Be Your Lover,  Gonna Find It or Good Trouble are good enough to reference Staple Singers or Otis Redding recordings.

Elsewhere  songs such as Over You and Will We Ever Learn could crossover to pop, soul or R & B audiences in Europe or the USA.

The beauty of this album is that Martin’s voice and the band play with restraint and dynamics instead of blowing it out.

WOW.

If Martin and this album does not hit big, there is no soul justice!!!!

JOHN ERMMS is a veteran music journalist, songwriter and band leader with THE SHAFTMEN

20
Apr
18

DULCIE TAYLOR-BETTER PART OF ME-“THOUGHTFUL ROOTS SOUNDSCAPE” REVIEW BY JOHN EMMS

1

Dulcie Taylor’s new album Better Part of Me is a fine roots recording blending personal poetic songwriting and accomplished playing on every track.

Tracks like Long Gone, the opening chime of Used to Know It All  and the title track blend atmospheric shimmering soundscapes behind Taylor’s vocals and thoughtful lyrics.

Having said that 2 or 3 more Americana uptempo driving tracks would have really boosted the overall song order on the album

Halfway To Jesus an environmental track that has a Folk/Americana jump is a single but not as strong as the Folgelberg-esque God Did Me A Favor.

Whether Taylor is going for a more contemporary Christian audience with these tracks is not fully revealed throughout the album’s 11 tracks.

Personally, this album sounds fantastic.

Produced by George Nauful who also plays and co-writes and engineered and mixed by guitarist Damon Castillo it hits a sweet spot.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, freelance writer and songwriter/musician with Canadian blues rockers THE SHAFTMEN

19
Apr
18

JACK DE KEYZER CHECKMATE-“AMPLIFIED BLUES PASSION” REVIEW JOHN EMMS

On his latest album Checkmate Jack De Keyzer and his band prove that passion and chops for the material equals superb distinctive blues that rocks!!!

Covering a ton of Willie Dixon’s Chess Records material and some slow burn Otis Rush songs De Keyzer boasts an amplified blues passion that is fresh and potent.

It’s clear from the first count in on Howlin’ For My Darling with Richard Thornton’s hot tenor sax solo followed by De Keyzer’s Clapton-esque guitar tone the band is on.

From there De Keyzer holds court on the jump of Stranger Blues and has a ton of fun with the Otis Rush nugget All Your Love and the slide potent Talk To Me Baby.

There is a great Muscle Shoals vocal and feel on Do Right Woman and a very hip arrangement on I A’int Superstitious.

De Keyzer has an impressive band.

Thornton’s sax fills and horn arrangements work really well.

Bassist Alan Duffy is inventive while drummer Rick Donaldson and keyboard man Joel Visentin keep it snug.

A blues rock album that does not lose sight of it’s blues roots.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, Post Media contributor and songwriter/musician with Canada’s Blues rockers THE SHAFTMEN.

 

 

08
Apr
18

ALLY VENABLE BAND-PUPPET SHOW-“FIGHTS FOR HER BLUES ROCKIN RIGHTS” REVIEW BY JOHN EMMS

Ally Venable is a no nonsense 19 year old blues rocker who hopes to start diving into the world class blues rock territory of artists like Joanne Shaw Taylor and Ana Popovic to name just a few.

Venable’s new album Puppet Show out April 13 2018 shows a young woman who has the chops and attitude to push the limits.

In fact,  Devil’s Son a whiplash guitar duet with the amazing Gary Hoey, and the sturdy Bridges to Burn with Lance Lopez get the party started.

Vocally Venable gets it done easily and in time may match up to artists like Larkin Poe in that department.

Having said that check out her passion vocal on Comfort in My Soul with it’s killer end guitar conviction.

The fiery passion she displays on guitar is a no brainer on tracks like Backwater Blues, the solid title track, and Cast Their Stones.

Bassist Bobby Wallace and drummer Elijah Owings are tight as hell and it’s easy to imagine with this material adding a keyboard player/or extra guitarist into the live show would be huge asset.

Elsewhere the track Survive kicks it big with another killer solo by Venable and wicked organ workout from Eric Steckel.

You’re going to love it.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, songwriter/vocalist with Canadian Blues Rockers THE SHAFTMEN and Post Media contributor

08
Apr
18

LOGAN MAGNESS-MEMPHIS ON MY MIND-“WARM CHARM” BY JOHN EMMS

As far as debut albums go Logan Magness’ Memphis on My Mind has an immediate warm and inviting “lived in” feel that makes you want to hear more.

These are introspective songs, singer songwriter material.

Certainly not as rockin’ roots or band dynamic as albums by The Jayhawks, Wilco or Blue Rodeo by any means.

Songs like the lonesome Bed of Nails and the introspective Thin Red Line make you a fan.

Magness grew up in Memphis, lived in San Francisco for years and then came back home.

Lyrically the excellent title track and True Love and others reflect this intimacy and the fact of being away and coming back home.

What’s missing is some sturdy roots rock uptempo material like the opening track Don’t Leave Me Alone that would benefit the laid back feel over 11 songs.

Without a doubt a clear passion for songwriting!!

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, songwriter and Post Media Contributor.

John heads up his own outfit Canadian blues/roots rockers THE SHAFTMEN.

 

28
Feb
18

JOHN MAYALL TRIO-THREE FOR THE ROAD-“NO FRILLS WINNER” REVIEW JOHN EMMS

Considering John Mayall has spawned guitar greats like Mick Taylor, Eric Clapton, and Peter Green just to name three you would think touring without a lead guitarist would be tricky to say the least.

This album puts that to rest with a jazzy swinging ode to blues classics and Mayall originals recorded trio style in East Germany

Bassist Greg Rzab and drummer Jay Davenport are not only strong but firmly in the pocket.

Mayall’s covers fit the trio very well.

Eddie Taylor’s Big Town Playboy and I Feel So Bad jump right out but Lionel Hampton’s Ridin’ On the L & N really swings and bops to Mayall’s killer piano solo.

Elsewhere Congo Square ends the album in a  blowout 11 minute blues rave up.

A lot of magic here and if you are a Mayall fan you will want this one for it’s very personal band dynamics.

Mayall heads into the studio possibly this year with strong guitar great lineup TBA

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, songwriter and blues rock bandleader with THE SHAFTMEN

27
Feb
18

CHIP TAYLOR- FIX YOUR WORDS-“THE QUIET REVOLUTION” REVIEW JOHN EMMS

Fix Your Words Chip Taylor’s new album due March 2 2018 is a thoughtful blend of themes dealing with sadness, love, loss and most of all humanity.

Taylor’s narrative warm beauty on his later work and here again puts him in a very special category of must hear singer-songwriters

Up front I have to say this album is intimate spoken word with a spartan background on instruments in the manner of his classic Little Brothers/I’ll Carry for You 2016 work

“We are in this together, and I can feel it’s a good place to be” seems like the current theme of Taylor’s life.

That line comes from the long track The Ground Moving Around Me.

It is is a standout song that would not be out of place on let’s say a Willie Nelson album.

That theme is the main link to the entire album’s passion that holds up If I Am, Crazy Dreams Crazy,  When I Was A Kid and the title track

If Bob Dylan stopped playing rock n’ roll and American standards he may end up here in the restrained warm glow of James Wesley Voight.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, songwriter and contributor to Post Media.

JOHN also heads up his blues rock/roots tradition with THE SHAFTMEN

http://www.theshaftmen.com/home.htm

 

20
Feb
18

SUE FOLEY-THE ICE QUEEN-” CONTEMPORARY BLUES CLASSIC”-REVIEW JOHN EMMS

With her finger picking and vibrato in high form and a host of Texas Guitar Slingers “sittin in” Sue Foley is on fire on her latest album The Ice Queen.

If any artist incorporates and fuses together a better contemporary blues album than Sue Foley’s Ice Queen in 2018 it will be have to be really special.

When you soak in the music chops and vibe of Jimmie Vaughan, Antone’s, Albert Collins and live and breathe Austin Texas it affects your whole career.

The Ice Queen for lack of a better term is as Billy Gibbons would say “the real thang”

The title track would make Albert Collins and John Lee Hooker proud.

I can’t stop playing this 3 piece minimal track.

The Lucky Ones with guest Jimmie Vaughan would get anyone about and “struttin” the room, while Fool’s Gold written with organist/producer Mike Flanigin and performed with Billy Gibbons is what I like,  a well written new blues song.

Gaslight and the Otis Redding-esque If I Have Forsaken You are flat out innovative considering these are new blues songs with horns that sound “lived in” and classic.

Did I also mention that drummers George Rains and Chris Layton are on this album as well as upright bassist Billy Horton

Natch baby!!!!

Elsewhere, Come to Me features Charlie Sexton in a almost Little Feat slide zone, and Sexton again compliments the essential track 81.

The Dance features Foley in solo flamenco mode and the real acoustic traditional solo stuff comes at the end of the album.

This album is a new blues classic!

NOTE….. ALBUM IS NOT OUT TILL MARCH 2 2018.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, Post Media contributor and well know freelance music writer

In his spare time John fronts up Canuck Blues Rockers THE SHAFTMEN

JOHN TWITTER

20
Feb
18

CRYSTAL SHAWANDA-VOODOO WOMAN-TURNING UP THE HEAT..ON CLASSIC BLUES/SOUL

Everybody and their dog has made a blues covers album.

Having said that Shawanda is an known as an excellent country singer and vocalist and until 5 years ago country is where she hung her hat

It’s not her first foray into blues  (2014 and 2016) and nor will it be her last.

Having said that Shawanda can easily do another country album or Indigenous music.

She is unlikely to go fully into the territory of blues/soul belters  such as Susan Tedeschi or Sue Foley or the volcanic style of Layla Zoe, or Finnish powerhouse Ina Forsman

What makes Crystal Shawanda’s Voodoo Woman different is that her soulful voice and the sheer depth of feel is right off the floor powerful.

Her take on Ball and Chain and Hound Dog known from big Mama Thornton has a Janis Joplin feel, and her own original Trouble track is a real dandy.

Her cover of Koko Taylor’s Voodoo Woman has a blues rock feel as opposed to Taylor’s funky original or Susan Tedeschi’s  blues roots cover.

Fave track has to be Misty Blue. Aching and gorgeous this could be a radio add anywhere.

The musicianship on this album is absolute killer.

And without a doubt Crystal can sing it out with emotion.

JOHN EMMS is a musician, songwriter for blues roots rockers THE SHAFTMEN

http://theshaftmen.com/home.htm

JOHN is also a Post Media contributor and freelance music journalist.

John’s Twitter page

26
Jan
18

JIM CUDDY CONSTELLATION “CONFESSIONAL SONGS AND THE HUMAN NARRATIVE SHINE THROUGH’ CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

On sheer musicality and composition Jim Cuddy’s new solo album Constellation is a Home Run.

If you mix the in the emotion and reflection that shines throughout, it’s a Grand Slam.

The sweet spot comes early with the killer bridge on the opening track  While I Was Waiting bursting into Colin Cripp’s atmospheric guitar solo.

Jimmy Bowskill’s mandolin work and Steve O’ Connor’s piano lends a mid period Byrd’s like vibe to Where You Gonna Run.

However, the real honesty and soul of Cuddy’s songwriting comes through with the ballads Constellations and You Be The Leaver.

Both songs about loss are gut punch reflective yet reveal a theme of carrying on.

Through the album  Cuddy’s ear for the human narrative is front and centre.

It’s remarkable that songs like the excellent uptempo Hands on the Glass (check out the bridge on this baby), Cold, Cold Wind with Oh Susanna including solos by Anne Lindsay, Bowskill and outro with Cripps have a gorgeous stereo mix.

The ballad Roses At Your Feet  and the rollicking groove of Things Left Unsaid close the album.

Co-produced by Cuddy and Cripps with engineer Tim Vesely I have to say right now it’s very possible this recording may even sound better on the vinyl copy which is also available.

The musicianship on this album bolsters how good the songwriting is and that is never a bad thing folks.

Cuddy continues to evolve this late in his career and we are along for the ride!

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist and contributor with Post Media.

JOHN also fronts up Canadian Blues rockers THE SHAFTMEN

http://www.theshaftmen.com/home.htm

 

 

01
Dec
17

PETER PARCEK- EVERYBODY WANTS TO GO TO HEAVEN-“ATMOSPHERIC BLUES DELUXE’ CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

Peter Parcek creates an entire album full of prime atmospheric blues on his latest album Everybody Wants to Go To Heaven

Excellent star turns from the great Luther Dickinson, Mickey Raphael and legendary keyboard man Spooner Oldham are very cool.

Yet it’s the covers of Blind Lemon Jefferson’s See that My Grave is Kept Clean and Parcek’s very different take on the title track written by Don Nix that create a big buzz.

Elsewhere Parcek goes instrumental on Every Drop of Rain and Pat Hare with good results but it’s his own Things Fall Apart that comes up aces.

Excellent work from producer and drummer Marco Giovino on keeping the whole album tucked in tight and focused.

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

JOHN  also heads up Canadian Blues Rockers THE SHAFTMEN

30
Nov
17

BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION “INTELLIGENT HARD ROCK AND MUCH MORE” CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

From the count in on the opening track Collide with it’s gut level mojo set to stun and over to the closing mid tempo versatility of When The Morning Comes BCC have created an intelligent modern day rock classic with BCCIV.

If you want to call Over My Head radio friendly then go ahead. With Glenn Hughes’ memorable vocals at times hitting a falsetto on the chorus, a superb bridge and a quick harmony guitar solo by Joe Bonamassa it makes the case for radio.

In 2017 or at any other time Over My Head  would be considered an instant rock radio add, simple as that!

The Celtic/Zep  influence of Bonamassa’s The Last Song For My Resting Place and his  mid song guitar solo is electrifying.

In fact it should be said right here that Bonamassa’s guitar work on this album is totally in the pocket while being improvised.

A total joy.

Along with producer Kevin Shirley this is a team effort by all concerned and should be noted.

For example throughout the album drummer Jason Bonham’s power and groove hits an all time high. Just check out the chops on The Crow and the already mentioned Collide.

Elsewhere Keyboard man Derek Sherinian is the weld on all the material. Whether it’s  his chops on the superb 7 minute power of Wanderlust, or the  introspective mood he creates on When The Morning Comes, Sherinian is the glue.

Again, on the individual and collective side it’s hard to believe bassist and and lead vocalist Glenn Hughes can be hitting his peak this far into his career.

But folks it’s a fact.

His soul and vocal power on tracks such as The Cove, The Crow, and Love Remains is mind blowing.

When you have four musicians at this level creating, giving, and exploring their musicianship and most importantly committed you have excellence.

Of course throughout the opus BCC wears the influence of Blues Rock, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin proudly.

Folks this is one hell of a ride.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, Sun and Post Media contributor, former radio host and musician with Canadian blues rockers THE SHAFTMEN.

JOHN is on Twitter

19
Nov
17

KEVIN BREIT/JOHNNY GOLDTOOTH & THE CHEVY CASANOVAS- PSYCHO TWANG LIVES -CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

“Psycho Twang” in full heat is the best way to describe Kevin Breit’s wacky and brilliant new instrumental album Johnny Goldtooth and the Chevy Casanovas.

If you can’t smile when you hear I Got “Em Too, and Knee High Fizzle, then you are not having a laugh.

The harmonic sparkle of Breit’s guitar solos and string poppin is in full bloom on the opener Chevy Casanova and the spaghetti western soundtrack vibe of Dr Lee Van Cleef which Clint Eastwood would certainly approve

A lot of the tracks are Zappa cool with bass clarinet, upright bass, some organ swirls and the guest spots from the great Davide De Renzo (Tom Cochrane) on drums and sax work from Vincent Henry.

Don’t go on a Crime Holler folks, but the select tour dates tour throughout Canada over the next few months will be a great evening out.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, Sun and Post Media contributor and musician . John rocks THE BLUES with THE SHAFTMEN

http://www.theshaftmen.com/home.htm

09
Nov
17

RONNIE EARL AND THE BROADCASTERS-THE LUCKIEST MAN-“DEEP BLUES FAITH” BY JOHN EMMS

Great playing, good taste and a deep faith stacked high in the blues spills out generously on Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters intimate new album The Luckiest Man.

The reliable smooth Chicago texture of Southside Stomp a staple feel on any Earl and the Broadcasters album is set against the deep warmth of Jim’s Song written and performed by Earl for the memory of bandmate and bassist Jim Mouradian.

Vocalist Diane Blue throws out excellent phrasing and soul on Heartbreak (It’s Killing Me) and just kills on Never Gonna Break My Faith surrounded by supple chops from Dave Limina on Hammond B-3 and Earl’s guitar solos and fills

Personally speaking Sugar Ray Norcia’s song Long Lost Conversation is total blues bliss with Earl and The Bluetones.

It is magic pure and simple.

That song is followed by the gorgeous and soulful Sweet Miss Vee written by Earl.

A cover of Reverend Gary Davis’ Death Don’t Have No Mercy goes deeper than deep in true Davis Piedmont tradition.

You better believe Earl and the Broadcasters are digging deep on this recording.

Ain’t That Loving You?

Amen!

THIS CD is available on NOVEMBER 17th worldwide.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist and musician. John is also a Sun and Post Media contributor.

You can also find John on Twitter

08
Nov
17

CASEY JAMES-STRIP IT DOWN-“SUPERB BACK TO BASICS GROOVE” BY JOHN EMMS

Groove is everything and Casey James’ latest album Strip it Down has tons of it.

If you can’t get your groove on and tubes warmed up with tracks like Bulletproof featuring Texas Titan Delbert McClinton or the Tommy Castro-esque I Got To Go then you are not alive with the blues.

Tom Hambridge produces, writes, drums and finds the “inner” Casey James. The ballad and Little Willie John cover Need Your Love So Bad has a great feel that might hypnotize you under a Texas Moonlight night.

Elsewhere Hard Times Heartaches and Scars is one of the best blues-rock tracks of the year and Supernatural is an easy cross over rock track that James sings the hell out of.

Kevin McKendree pounds the 88’s on the rocker Makin Up and James rips up a cool solo gtr, while Stupid Crazy has a Van Morrison feel.

Title track is one of the best vocals and performances on the album.

An album you can put on from start to finish and feel good about it.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, Sun Media contributor and singer/guitarist and songwriter with Canadian Blues Rockers THE SHAFTMEN

 

07
Oct
17

MIGHTY DUCK BLUES BAND-DUCK SOUP CD REVIEW-BY JOHN EMMS-“DELUXE HOT BROTH”

Punchy, and with great guest vocals MDBB proves you can never underestimate the backing band on their own original album.

Right out of the gate both guest vocalists John Dickie and Cheryl Lescom up the ante on Hammered and Nailed and Don’t Send Me No Valentine the first 2 songs.

Guitar work by Dave Curry (check out Castaway) rips and tears through and the band anchored by bassist Gary Kendall, drummer Jim Casson and organ man Dave Torosian can’t miss.

Chuck Jackson simply one of the best blues singers on the planet struts the edge gorgeously on 3 AM Blues but gets drowned out a bit out by Curry’s loud guitar mix on Cha- Ching

Love the way drummer Jim Casson completely transforms the Queen classic We Will Rock You in under 2 minutes in 18 seconds, while Paul Reddick pulls out a Springsteen meets Tom Waits vibe on Hurricane (not the Bob Dylan song)

Elsewhere Kendall nails his own vocal on  You’re Driving Me Crazy powered by the rolling piano of Lance Anderson and Curry’s guitar solo.

Whether they are backing the best blues artists in Canada or carving up their own songs MDBB  play it it tough on this rocking set.

JOHN EMMS is a Post Media journalist, former radio host, and singer-songwriter with Canadian blues rockers THE SHAFTMEN

http://www.theshaftmen.com/home.htm

 

07
Oct
17

ANDRE BISSON-BREAK CD REVIEW-SOULFUL SONGS AND MODERN BLUES

Break the new album by Andre Bisson and his excellent band showcases an artist who simply sings, writes and performs with conviction.

The tasteful title track could easily have been recorded by an artist like the late Joe Cocker, while the Ray Charles vibe of The Reason Why is a showcase for his vocal work.

All the horn charts throughout the album never overshadow the strong material. Feelin’ Fine and Next In Line are perfect examples of this.

Elsewhere The Beatles Eleanor Rigby gets a smoky rendition and his own funky I Got The Right could power up any set.

Also have to say there is a great mix on this cd

Without a doubt this Hamilton Ontario native displays chops and integrity throughout this set.

JOHN EMMS is a Post Media contributor, veteran music journalist and singer-songwriter with Canadian Blues Rockers THE SHAFTMEN

 

 

23
Sep
17

SHANIA TWAIN NEW CD NOW-15 YEARS AWAY- TWAIN FINDS HER INNER POP VOICE AND GETS PERSONAL-BY JOHN EMMS

If it’s 15 years since you made an album and you have already sold 75 million albums exacting the same formula would be the smart thing to do.

But in 2017 Shania Twain is going to do things her own way.

Looking for the inner voice.

To me this album sounds personal.

In fact her most personal album of her career.

Twain decided to write all of the songs on this new cd.

Off the top you should know this is a very diverse set of songs.

I applaud Twain’s courage.

This album has no reference to the Mutt Lange blockbuster hooks of her career.

For this fact only you don’t know how this album will be received worldwide

This is a pop personal recording.

Not Bruce Springsteen or Chris Stapleton personal.

Twain personal in a pop world.

She could have had 20 or more different c0-writers like every other top artist in the industry.

Personally I don’t like that trend.

It waters down the music to a bland formula.

In fact, over the radio in the last few years I have heard some of the worst songs.

For some reason some of them are hits.

With Now the Timmins’ Ontario hometown sweetheart and international star goes inside herself.

Swingin’ With My Eyes Closed opens with an Any Man of Mine riff  but leads to a sing a long anthem that will have audiences fist bumping and swinging.

Home has a distinct folk but courageous feel and Light of My Life has an almost Nancy Sinatra via 2017 sound.

Personally this alternative feel you would never think would come out of Twain’s songwriting.

It’s a beauty.

Four songs into this album and you realize Twain is getting emotional.

Again Poor Me goes far inside “it’s not white it’s not black, can’t believe he would leave me to love her”

Holy crap you gotta love this folks.

Soldier the piano ballad is a killer vocal performance with no fluff, and that goes ditto for the simplicity of the track Because of You.

We Got Something They Don’t and the first single Life’s About To Get Good sound like solid radio fare but are not the best of what this album offers.

In the end there is a lot to love about the independence of Twain on this album.

Her fans will be behind this album and the tour.

Make no mistake.

Come On Over part 2 this is not.

But that’s ok, this album connects big time on an emotional level.

This album is available Sept 29 2017

JOHN EMMS is a Timmins born songwriter/musician who fronts up Canadian Blues Rockers THE SHAFTMEN

John is also a Post Media music contributor and veteran music writer.

Hear John and the band and their albums on Itunes, Spotify,  Youtube and Facebook.

http://theshaftmen.com/home.htm

 

 

20
Aug
17

BLUES MUSIC HAS TO GROW AND IT DOES-REVIEWS-MILLIGAN/VAUGHAN-DELTA WIRES-NIGHTHAWKS-TUCCI/GARY CAIN BAND

I have been saying for the last 20 or so years that blues music has to grow.  Songwriting and playing the blues can be influenced by the roots of Texas, Chicago, Memphis etc that is cool.

Besides you can’t be beat original artists like Muddy Waters, BB King, Howlin’ Wolf.. etc. and later Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble…but you can take the inspiration and away you go.

New albums reviewed here are inspired by the past and in some places often they create something new.

Delta Wires-Born in Oakland-Right out of the speakers blasts Sunny Day a funky riff with an almost BS&T horn chart, just killer. Sure this band started 30 years but just listen to Vacation a jumpin’ Huey Lewis and the News vibe and Devil’s In My Headset which reminds me of Al Kooper’s early solo stuff.

This band has groove and feel.

Sure, you can call this West Coast Blues but as the song says “good songs to sing about the feeling love can bring”..Delta Wires are bringing it, on this their 7 th album.

Milligan-Vaughan Project-The first thing you notice about this record is how the soul of vocalist Malford Milligan intertwines with guitarist Tyrone Vaughan’s (Jimmie Vaughan/Stevie Ray Vaughan) riffs.

On the opening ripping power of Soul Satisfaction to the gentle Here I Am both written by David Grissom and Davey Knowles they never lose sight of the song, and they never step over each other.

Covering Gene McDaniels nugget Compared To What (Ray Charles) and Buddy Guy’s Leave My Girl Alone (Stevie Ray Vaughan) has been done many times and will draw comparison.

Having said that both songs have real feel and intensity on this album.

A couple of more originals like the slinky Driving You and Little Bit Of Heaven would have been nice.

Both men have deep roots and you won’t be disappointed.

The Nighthawks-All You Gotta Do-Covering Brenda Lee’s That’s All You Gotta Do jump starts this record and then digging deep with Larry Campbell’s When I Go Away (Levon Helm) again shows superb taste.

Sonny Boy Williamson’s Ninety Nine just grooves as Mark Wenner rips. The Standells Dirty Water goes from garage to blues and back again..with axe man Paul Bell sliding in riffs from Gloria, The Yardbirds Under Over Sideways Down and Satisfaction just for fun. Let’s Burn Down The Cornfield  Randy Newman’s classic is devil and spooky.

Having a patio party? Put on this whole cd and just leave it.

Gary Cain Band-Twangadelic Bluesophunk-Talk about an accomplished guitarist, Gary Cain is the real deal. If that was not enough his bassist Tom Nagy and drummer Donnie Mcdougall slip, slide, and groove like nobody’s business.

This album is HOT!!!

The first 3 songs Live Wire, Pipes and Spoons and the funky Thought I Heard You Say with it’s Stevie Ray Vaughan’s flourishes are fiery and dynamic.

Twang Strut is Jerry Reed on steroids and Got Me Where You Want Me gets on the patio ZZ Top style while the ripping Last Dance bares all.

Watch out for The Gary Cain Band in a BIG WAY.

Tucci-Olivia-One dose of Tucci’s latest album Olivia featuring Larry McCray and the late Dan Toler is all the blues inspiration you will need.

I Don’t Need It and the opener High Roller both with McCray reach for the sky and achieve it, Hey Florida and the superb Third Eye recalls The Allman Brothers, while Shawn Murphy rips up a killer vocal on Train Blues.

The band expands on the 4 man format listed on the cover with horns and some excellent organ work by Donnie Richards. (check out his solo on Third Eye)

Larry McCray is such a big presence on this album it will be hard to replace.

Having said that killer axe work from Steve ‘”Doc” Tucci and the consistent stickwork of brother Michael Tucci and bassist Harry Debusk are the glue.

Olivia is one of the best blues albums of 2017 hands down.

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

visit JOHN on TWITTER

 

18
Jun
17

SHANIA TWAIN-LIFE’S ABOUT TO GET GOOD-EMOTIONALLY HONEST, REVEALING, AND POP PERFECT-BY JOHN EMMS

” “I wasn’t just broken, I was shattered” sings Shania Twain on her new single Life’s About to Get Good.

When Twain writes and sings about pain and the thrill of making a new life she makes you a believer on this new single

“Life’s about joy, Life’s about pain,  It’s all about forgiving and the will to walk away”

And BTW Life’s About to get Good….I agree with Shania who would use the hook “About to get Good”..maybe it’s a Timmins thing!!!

Musically there’s a touch of Four Tops Motown in the chorus and the mix is cool and transcendent amidst it’s pop perfection

“It took me so long to be strong
But I’m alive, and I hold on to what I can feel
It hurts to heal”

If the search for love and good music is what Shania is looking for she’s got it here.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist/Post Media contributor and songwriter with Canada’s Blues Rockers THE SHAFTMEN

AND yes John hails from TIMMINS ONTARIO

JOHN is on TWITTER

13
Jun
17

CHECK OUT THE SHAFTMEN ON YOUTUBE

 

JOHN EMMS IS ON TWITTER

 

13
Jun
17

KEITH URBAN- RIPCORD/TIMMINS/ AND SO MUCH MORE BY JOHN EMMS

Now that the Nashville Predators have lost out for The Stanley Cup Keith Urban is going to tear up the stage at Stars and Thunder make no mistake.
Of course hockey or no hockey he will anyway and let’s not forget Timmins is a big hockey town.
But he is going to do it his way.
But fair warning it’s not going to be with your grandparents version of country music.
Considering the New Zealand-born Australian country star is landing  in the town where Stompin Tom Connors and Shania Twain got their start this modern day guitar-slinger is going to reach Timmins and indeed every country fan that comes for the show in a new way
Yes sir, Urban is a man on a mission to bend and blur the rules of country music.
And let me tell you it sounds completely natural for Urban
And if his win for best country album of the year with Ripcord at the Grammy’s sounds strange to some hard core country fans then they are in the minority.
Let’s face it folks, in a land country music songs sounding very similar Keith Urban is in left field in the best way possible on his latest album Ripcord.
Urban takes a ton of chances and uses modern technology to his advantage and then some.
The results show up on the funky beat programming and drumming of Matt Chamberlain which are a perfect fit for multi-layered acoustic guitars that stack up big time on the hit John Cougar John Deere John 3:16.
if that don’t get you moving then check out rapper Pitbull (Yes that Pitbull) and Mr Funk Nile Rodgers’ super clean axe work (Chic, David Bowie) on Sun Don’t Let Me Down.
Or how about the now famous Ganjo (a banjo with 6 strings tuned like a guitar) that Urban uses freely on the album tracks such as Gone Tomorrow (Here Today), Wasted Time and the duet with Carrie Underwood on The Fighter”
As I said this is a player who follows a modern pop focus and blends it with country and if that was not enough the album just went platinum last month
Go figure folks, George Jones who also played Timmins is probably having a laugh in heaven knowing Urban is the real “thang”
Guitar solos are not a big part of the Ripcord album but there is nothing more real then the guitar solos Urban stretches out with in concert.
Urban’s cranked up muscular guitar tone will move a lot of wind across the Hollinger Park and Grandstand
As a guitarist myself I often sit open mouthed telling my wife now that was a “killer” guitar solo.
You want mojo?
Then don’t be caught without a ticket for his show or a copy of Urban’s latest cd Ripcord.
JOHN EMMS is a veteran MUSIC Journalist/Post Media contributor and songwriter/guitarist with Canadian Rockers THE SHAFTMEN
JOHN IS ALSO ON TWITTER

 

11
Jun
17

MY VEHICLE 5 TOP CHOICES-JUNE 2017 JOHN EMMS

Finger Eleven-Criminal-Crushing riff, killer lyrics..I always turn this way up..From the album Five Crooked Lines

Frank Turner..Getting Better…Nobody can touch this guy..for sheer integrity..from the cd Positive Songs for Negative People

The Beatles-Getting Better-yep same title..from the 50th anniversary Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band..the remix of this is incredible.

Keith Urban-Sun Don’t Let Me Down–yep from the above album..best mix of ANY cd in the past year..killer..turn it up

Sam Roberts Band-Fiend..from the cd TerraForm–scoop this album NOW..HYPNOTIC..STUFF

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist/Post Media contributor..  Songwriter/Guitarist…with THE SHAFTMEN

JOHN ON TWITTER

11
Jun
17

TIMMINS’ SONIC DEMOCRACY COMES UP BIG ON DEBUT ALBUM/SHOW REVIEW-BY JOHN EMMS

Whether you are 6 or 60 years of age there is something about watching a very unique experience in your local community.
If it happens to be musical for my taste, even better.
Taking in the Sonic Democracy album release concert June 9th was just that.
I always leave inspired and proud from an SD concert but more this year because the culmination of hard work and originality is very evident.
Teacher Barry Promane provides a template that rewards students in an organic way.
Being onstage playing music is a unique feeling like no other.
Not only was it unique but on this show night some of songs from the full album would be celebrated live by students with a passion for music.
It’s also rewarding if you can come up with an album and shows that display diverse talent on stage and recording.
On the recording side the 8 songs are expansive in content.
Personally the tracks The Best Is Yet To Come sung and written by Paitra Walker and Freedom sung and written by Thomas Sebalj are the cornerstones of what it means to be looking forward and backward musically and life-wise.
Sebalj has a tremendous vocal range and Freedom has a Gowan/Queen influence while The Best is Yet to Come has a Lorde type vibe in a more radio-friendly vein.
Elsewhere the bonus track from Dawson Pablo titled No Needs has an Usher meets Justin Bieber coolness.
Elsewhere We Are Golden and the ukulele and solo Kos tune Here For You, heavy riff rocker My Life, Leave Her For Heaven, and the roots rock of I’m Alive are inspired and round out the cd.
  • ​​I ​can’t think of any player on stage Friday night that did not concentrate and play it for real.
I noticed excellent work on record and live on Friday Night from keyboard player Rylan Chisholm guitarists Griffin Tees Jeremy Moore Ryan Brunette Calvin Fleury drummers Ryan Deschamps and Mitchell Dunstan and dynamic vocalists Katie Kirkpatrick, Antony Kos, and Emma Burton.
With a school band of over 25 members it’s impossible to mention everyone.
 I was totally impressed by the way SD handled the harmonies of The Beach Boys and the 4 way acappella version of Leonard Cohen’s song Hallelujah in the concert setting.
The album is available worldwide..so check it out.
Just go and get it folks!!!
JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist and Post Media writer. John is also the songwriter and vocalist with Canuck Rockers  THE SHAFTMEN
JOHN IS ON TWITTER
19
Mar
17

CHIP TAYLOR-A SONG I CAN LIVE WITH “SUBLIME ROOTS MAGIC”- CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

Chip Taylor’s songs have a way of making you feel at home anywhere in the World.

There are not a heck of a lot of songwriters that can pull that off folks.

On his new album A Song I Can Live With Taylor again cuts to the heart of the matter.

The first two songs Crazy Girl and Until it Hurts flesh out a sublime mix that blends J.J. Cale Johnny Cash and Taylor’s genuine spoken word storytelling.

Only Taylor can reference a treadmill, David Bowie, Lou Reed, Eric Anderson and honesty and make it stick in your heart.

That folks is the magic of Chip Taylor aka James Wesley Voight.

The texture that multi-instrumentalist/piano player Goran Grini adds to the songs brings them to a whole new level.

In fact with John Platania (yes one time Van Morrison brilliant guitarist) adding such killer dynamics on tracks such as Save Your Blues And Your Money and Little Angel Wings it’s up to Taylor to infuse any song with genuine warmth and often humour.

The Title track is a heartbreaking number in a Kris Kristofferson vibe that every songwriter would love to have written.

Without question anyone seeking out this album MUST first check out Taylor’s brilliant opus Little Brothers probably one of the best written albums of the last five years.

Make no mistake A Song I Can Live With is not rock n’ roll.

It’s acoustic roots supreme.

John Emms is a veteran music journalist, Sun Media/Post Media contributor, songwriter and blues rock bandleader with THE SHAFTMEN

JOHN IS ON TWITTER

 

08
Mar
17

STEVE KOZAK BAND, JEREMIAH JOHNSON BAND-CD REVIEWS JOHN EMMS

Dynamic, and passionate if the songs and performances you hear on Jeremiah Johnson Band’s latest album Blues Heart Attack don’t get to you then you better check your pulse.

The sheer grit of Room of Fools, the Marshall Tucker Band feel of Skip That Stone and the jazzy textures of Flat Line where we encounter the lines “Flat Line Baby I had a blues heart attack” are superb.

Besides Johnson’s soulful vocals and guitar work the section of bassist Jeff Girardier and drummer Benet Schaeffer swing. Just check out the tracks Get It In the Middle, Everybody Party and Talk Too Much which also features keyboard man Nathan Hershey and sax man Frank Bauer who make strong contributions to this album.

Other standouts are Southern Drawl and the ballad Here We Go Again.

Exceptional work!!!

You just have to break out and smile when you hear the new album by The Steve Kozak Band It’s Time.

Mixing Chicago and Texas blues styles with great roots music Kozak’s guitar work and vocals shine on the opener Cane Sugar Sweet,  the bar room swing of That’s Cool With Me, and the Georgia-esque chord pattern of Stranger In My Hometown.

Elsewhere the swampy Trouble features the Axe Murderer Matthew Rogers and then watch out their is the very hip cover of Anson Funderburgh’s One Woman I Need.

Tone and feel is everywhere on this album.

Just check out the great taste on the covers of Love, Life and Money, Kiddio and Every Night and Every Day which also guests the Harpoonist Shawn Hall.

You want authentic?

Then check out this album which also features strong chops from Kozak’s band bassist Roger Brant, Dave Webb’s keys and the solid stick work of Chris Nordquist.

Very nice indeed folks.

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

JOHN is on Twitter

 

07
Feb
17

THE BLUES, ROOTS AND MORE-REVIEWS LUCAS HANEMEN EXPRESS, DAWN TYLER WATSON, AND TEXAS BLUES/ROOTS BETH GARNER – BY JOHN EMMS

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Lucas Hanemen Express-Tearing Up the Rails.-Wow, so much variety and tons of dynamics. Check the funky Give Me Life, the soul of Waiting at Your Door, or the excellent roots of Storybook Love which later explodes. Impressive you bet.

Dawn Tyler Watson-Jawbreaker-This is full band DTW and it smokes. Fresh off her win at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis Watson goes Aretha-esque on Shine On,  rolls it out on the whiplash rock n’ roll of Son of A Gun and sings the hell out of Bob Dylan’s Forever Young.  Easily one of the best vocalists in any genre. This is soul baby!!!

Beth Garner-Snake Farm-Can’t say I’m a fan of the Snake cover art, but Beth Garner gets it done for real folks.  A heck of a cool guitarist and amen to her killer band on this album, Check out the groove of Backdoor Freddie, the intoxication of Wish I Was or the smoking Used to Be. I say T for Texas and a holler of a big B for Beth. Get some of this folks!

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, also with Post Media/Sun Media and blues/roots songwriter with THE SHAFTMEN

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

John is on Twitter

https://twitter.com/emmsreviews

 

 

 

           

 

07
Feb
17

JOHN MAYALL REVIEW-TALK ABOUT THAT-“CONSISTENT, URGENT AND NOW” BY JOHN EMMS

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Track for track John Mayall’s latest album Talk About That is required blues listening because it is urgent and now!

The reason is simple, Mayall loves music. It is a life force.

Even his work in the last 15 years excels, let alone his 60’s and 70’s work.

Along for The Ride, Road Dogs, In the Palace of the King, Tough or A Special Life are all sturdy albums.

At 83 John Mayall does not live in the past.

He doesn’t need to.

Recorded in 3 days with drummer Jay Davenport, bassist Greg Rzab, guitarist Rocky Athas and Mayall himself this album speaks modern grooves.

The title track is funky, and jumps out of the speakers, Eagle Joe Walsh (yes that Joe Walsh)  burns an extended solo on the excellent The Devil Must Be Laughing and plays a vibrant slide solo on Cards On The Table.

Elsewhere the horns on Don’t Deny Me and It’s Hard Going Up both covers have Mayall and the band putting out big time especially with the killer guitar solo on Don’t Deny me from Athas.

Mayall will hit the road as a trio and it will be completely interesting.

But right now you have Talk About That which is a treasure!

JOHN EMMS is a blues roots singer-songwriter, and 30 year published music journalist working with all major and indie labels.

Check,  John with THE SHAFTMEN

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

JOHN IS ON TWITTER

https://twitter.com/emmsreviews

 

23
Dec
16

JOHN’S X-MAS ROCK LISTENING DEC 2016-THE LAST WALTZ/ DARK SIDE OF THE MOON-HAPPY HOLIDAYS

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Music albums or the complete purchase of an artist’s work was at times a statement on how you lived your life and how you felt emotionally.
In the Christmas season at our house I am still affected by music I first bought on vinyl and then again bought digitally.
The more tougher the year has been, the more I crave that original feeling I had with certain pieces of music.
This year has been very hard.
So what do I do?
You guessed it. I bring out what makes me feel good.
In 2016 I’m not sure if for example Drake and Adele fans are buying up their vinyl albums or the complete cd so they can feel the whole scope of what the artist was trying to achieve.
Will they still listen 40 years from now?
Quite possibly.
Christmas and at all points now in the year, it’s a fast digital world.
Yet today in 2016 old musical feelings I had still had then are now true to me 40 years later on an emotional and philosophical level
In 1978 when The Last Waltz triple album by The Band was released I purchased it knowing I had a steady job at the mine.
I had a little extra cash.
A triple album was a big purchase at least in the stereo album department
I had married Anna the year before and had cut back some on my live band playing.
But I still wanted to buy new music
This particular album documented The Band’s farewell concert which took place at Bill Graham’s Winterland Ballroom
I was a huge fan right from their debut album Music From Big Pink, so this purchase was kind of a final must have.
Every Christmas that album would come out from my storage shelf and I dropped the needle down to listen for 90 minutes or so.
Hearing The Band rip through songs like Stage Fright, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down and Life Is A Carnival which to my ears were better than the original studio takes was a joy.
Having guest artists like Ronnie Hawkins, Van Morrison, Eric Clapton, Neil Young and Muddy Waters was icing on the cake.
In the same vein, I recently just purchased Robbie Robertson’s exciting and inspirational new book Testimony, which dedicates the first 30 pages about the influence of Ronnie Hawkins who i had interviewed.
As a musician The Last Waltz represents why being a player and songwriter is so important whatever level you reach.
Full circle folks, each holiday season The Last Waltz is part of it
Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon has been played every Christmas every year in every house i have lived in since 1973.
That is quite a statement.
I had bought it originally at Sam The Record Man in Toronto Yonge Street location
Beginning and ending with a heartbeat i can’t think of another piece of continuous music that reflects life as i have experienced it.
I can tell you whether it’s songs like Breathe, The Great Gig In the Sky, Us and Them or Money the music on Dark Side brings unity.
As the ending song Eclipse states in part, “All that you Touch, All That You See, All That is Now and All that is Gone”  always works for me.
In the end, two distinct pieces of music that bring me joy during the holiday season.
Happy Holidays
JOHN EMMS
01
Dec
16

TRIBE ROYAL-COLOURS OF THE SUN-“RADIANT GUITAR POP SUBSTANCE” CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

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Somewhere between the rock and pop of  Big Star, early Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and REM lies Canada’s Tribe Royal

The band’s new album Colours of the Sun interweaves magical guitar pop with ambitious songs.

Catching Up opens up the cd with an almost Sloan/REM vibe, Wasting Time jangles in a mid 60’s Byrds/Skydiggers mode and the guitar hook and harmonies of My Kind of Girl takes it’s cue from a Brit Pop 1965 vibe.

If that was not enough College Radio should be all over songs such as I’m Not Gonna Wait, the almost Greg Keelor/Outskirts haunting moan of Loraine and the gorgeous ballad Don’t You Change which ends with a killer guitar solo.

Impressive?

You bet.

North American Radio and fans should welcome this band with open arms!

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, Sun and Post Media contributor, and singer-songwriter with Canadian rockers THE SHAFTMEN

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

JOHN is on Twitter

 

20
Nov
16

THE ARGUES-SOMETHING NEW-‘SUPERIOR POP/ROOTS JANGLE” CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

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The Argues debut album Something New is pure roots/pop that simply sparkles.

The sonic sweep of the harmonies on the title track along with the chunky rock n’ roll of Get It Done just knocks you over.

16 year old main lead vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Sabrina Argue is always confident but then again the sweet vocal by her sister Lauren on Living Our Lives is gorgeous roots at it’s best.

Mother and Father Michael and Chantale guitar and drums also co-write a number of the songs on this six song EP.

The first single Run Till I Drop is original and exciting pop.

Exhilarating debut and as the song says The Best Is Yet To Be

Wow!!

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist/Sun and Post Media contributor and songwriter with Canuck Blues Rockers THE SHAFTMEN

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/my-baby-says-single/id646408621

JOHN is on Twitter

 

20
Nov
16

SUGAR RAY AND THE BLUETONES-SEEING IS BELIEVING-“FIERCE BLUES POWER”CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

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When guitarist Monster Mike Welsh stabs out his guitar solo on the title track of this new album you quickly realize this is the real thing.

That is not new info for this veteran band.

Along with the opening Sweet Baby and the rollicking Sugar Ray harp punch of Blind Date it is however confirmation.

Check out the rolling piano 88’s on Noontime Bell with Anthony Geraci or the killer 50’s echo vocal by Norcia on Got a Gal or even the powerful Two Hundred Dollars Too Long

This stuff smokes.

The band rarely ventures out of the songwriting pocket to blues rock or jazz and if that’s ok with you, this is your ticket to the real thing!

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, Post/Sun Media contributor and heads up his own blues rocking band THE SHAFTMEN

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

JOHN is on Twitter

07
Nov
16

MONKEYJUNK-TIME TO ROLL-“ACCESSIBLE, IN THE MOMENT SONGS’ CD REVIEW-BY JOHN EMMS

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MonkeyJunk’s latest album Time To Roll showcases tight and accessible songs that sound immediate and in the moment

The band has refined it’s approach to writing and playing and this album sparkles with that groove.

It reminds me some of The Fabulous Thunderbirds work that stayed true to their roots but also grew them a much bigger audience.

For example Time to Roll, See The Sign and a great cover of The Hunter are killer mainstream blues rock performances that really work.

Recorded at Signal Path Studios with Ken Friesen the big acoustic strum. catchy electric riff, and superb vocals on Pray for Rain written with Paul Reddick just can’t miss.

That goes ditto for the smooth Kim Wilson-esque R & B of Can’t Call You Baby  and the mad shuffle on the song Gone.

Honestly, this album is the most focused I have heard the Canuck trio.

The  essential move by simply adding bass guitar to the mix also works wonders.

It is indeed Time To Roll

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist of 30 plus years, a blues/roots songwriter and heads up his own blues rock band THE SHAFTMEN

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

 

 

24
Oct
16

OURS AND MY NORTH, SECRET PATH, GORD DOWNIE-REVIEW BY JOHN EMMS

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It’s not the “norm” to not talk about the music right away in a review when I write.

But first some context.

Growing up in the mid sixties in Northern Ontario and going to school in South Porcupine (5,000  people) 5 miles from Timmins everything seemed the way it should be.

It was for us a Mining culture. Your Dad was a lifer, and many of us worked the summers at the mine.

In public school and at high school even though I knew many First Nations acquaintances, in class, out of class, everything seemed cool hanging out on the surface.

That may be hard for some to understand in 2016 but I’m being honest here.

Yet, none of my friends and I  knew nothing of  the misuse of Governments, and Churches further up the treeline.

We did not know of how their culture and families were being broken up.

Maybe the conversation was not that deep at 17 or 18 years of age in 1970?

Nobody told us.

It was never talked about if we were standing watching a hockey game, or later on having a beer downtown.

Yet fast forward to 2016 my wife and I sat stunned last night as CBC broadcast Secret Path.

It was mind blowing, gut wrenching, we could hardly speak

I had been playing the audio tracks for a few days, but with the documentary and animation it had a generational impact on us both.

I’m 64 years of age folks and if takes Gord Downie to show me things up North where I live have never been harder, so be it.

Let’s be honest our mutual friend Charlie Angus has been the leader and educator on these tragedies while taking a proactive approach.

Both Gord and Charlie know this is a crisis. A Canada wide crisis.

Musically, most songwriters don’t go this deep.

Even Gord’s work with the Hip which has been groundbreaking at times in the group’s career has never cut this close to the bone.

The concept of the album and the true story of Chanie Wenjack a 12 year old indigenous boy who ran away from a Kenora school 50 years ago is powerful.

Chanie later died on a railway track from exposure.

That is something that this country should know about for all kinds of reasons let alone the seven generations who were affected.

The sheer isolation you will feel on the songs like The Stranger, Seven Matches, and the title track I cannot describe musically despite the mostly acoustic instrumentation and Downie’s voice.

This has to be felt.

I find it amazing this album sat on the shelf since 2013.

I also have to say the organic approach that musicians/producers Kevin Drew and Dave Hamelin as well as graphic novelist Jeff Lemire give is essential to this recording.

On the songs I Haunt Them, Haunt them, Haunt them, and the closer Here, Here, Here where Downie sings about the despair of dying alone with visions of ravens and the wind in the trees I felt shame.

On the big screen as my wife and I sat comfortable in our living room watching the broadcast the hurt was very real.

Maybe this fifth solo album will be Gord Downie’s  last album.

I hope not.

I honestly think it’s his most important work and as he has mentioned the most good for his heart.

Growing up all these years in the North it never occurred to me in 2016 I would learn such a lesson that presents itself with this project.

JOHN EMMS is veteran music journalist, singer-songwriter and contributor to Sun Media and Post Media

John also fronts his own band THE SHAFTMEN

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

John is on Twitter

 

 

20
Oct
16

JW-JONES HIGH TEMPERATURE-“JONES BRINGS THE HEAT” CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

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It’s very clear the new JW-Jones album High Temperature continues to build upon the solid foundation of his last album Belmont Boulevard.

However, on High Temperature producer Colin Linden makes an immediate impact by condensing Jones natural blues talent into a more traditional roots southern style.

You can hear this all over the album starting with the first two tracks. Price You Pay and How Many Hearts a superb rave-up duo with country singer-songwriter Jaida Dreyer.

Jones’ B.B. King-esque lead guitar solos and fills are still played with the same passion even as he dips into the amplified Chicago vibe of the Little Walter title track.

Working with his very capable touring band of Laura Greenberg and Mathieu Lapensee this album is integrated with the big addition of Kevin McKendree’s keyboard playing on almost every track.

The layering of organ to tracks like Who I Am, Away Too Long and the fantastic R & B Memphis vibe of Same Mistakes brings in a very Reese Wynans vibe.

The teaming up of Jones with songwriter Dick Cooper (The Cooper Brothers) produces sparks on the excellent Leave Me Out and Already Know which reminds of me mid seventies Elvin Bishop.

The covers of Moby Grape’s Murder In My Heart for The Judge and Charlie Rich’s Midnight Blues are excellent Americana choices although as noted they expand out of  Jones live trio format.

Mixing Americana with blues is not new, but it feels simply righteous on this album.

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

JOHN leads his own blues rocking band THE SHAFTMEN  who are now working on their fourth release.

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

JOHN is on Twitter

13
Oct
16

THE FABULOUS THUNDERBIRDS-STRONG LIKE THAT-70’s SOULFUL-CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

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Soulful , grooved out, and steeped in dynamics Strong Like That The Fabulous Thunderbirds new album gets better with repeated listens.

I can’t say why but if this album was made in the mid 70’s it would not seem out of place.

That’s a good thing friends.

Al Jackson’s Drowning on Dry Land, Kim Wilson’s own Smooth which sounds like killer radio fare, the swampy cover of R & B singer Paul Kelly’s You’re Gonna Miss Me and the excellent title track are flat out superb.

Kim Wilson’s lead vocals and harp work are steeped in confidence and soul, and keyboard man Kevin Anker’s feel on every track adds a glue that is essential to the sound of the band.

Other highlights include the smoky groove of Where’s Your Love Been, The Cate Brothers vibe of Don’t Burn Me and the killer funky groove cover of (I Know) I’m Losing You.

Despite their past superb cred Strong Like That is ample proof this band is as vital as it’s ever been.

Wow!

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

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

John is on Twitter

25
Sep
16

THOMAS WADE-BLUE COUNTRY SOUL-“SMOOTH TOUCH OF CLASS” CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

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Class is not a word you hear often when speaking of an artist’s music but Thomas Wade’s new album Blue Country Soul is classy, smooth and intoxicating.

I will say I was not a huge fan of his previous band Wayward.

Although the hits were numerous in a short span (1996 to 1999) the songs here have much more soul, heart and integrity.

From the gentle opening Funny What Makes You Cry, the Bakersfield vibe of Lock the Door, and the superb and righteous 60’s soul/pop of That’s What Love looks Like, Wade and his excellent band of Steve O’Connor, John Dymond and Gary Craig rule with dynamics and feel.

Wade and the band rock it up on A Lot to Unlearn and deliver big in a jazzy/blues take (check out Wade’s guitar solo) on the classic country gem Am I That Easy To Forget.

As a bonus this album is superbly engineered in an almost vinyl type of way.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, Sun/Post media Contributor and singer-songwriter with Canadian Blues Rockers THE SHAFTMEN

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

JOHN IS ON TWITTER

 

 

06
Sep
16

DUKE ROBILLARD- BLUES FULL CIRCLE-CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS-‘”WORTH WAITIN’ ON”

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The other day barbecuing a few steaks with friends I blasted out Lay a Little Lovin On Me with it’s dirty down guitar fills and solo.

A few guys asked (early 50″s) Who Is this?

I replied Duke Robillard and his band.

Nope.

Have you heard of the Fabulous Thunderbirds?

Yes of course.

He replaced Jimmie Vaughan way back when.

No way was the answer. Yes way.

I was not going to go into the whole Duke or Roomful of Blues history or my wife would kill me sitting about 5 feet away.

Suffice to say as Mourning Dove drifted across our patio with Duke ripping another cool solo, it was decided, let’s leave this on.

Mission accomplished.

Of course Duke and his All-Star band sure as heck don’t need my help.

Pretty soon I was boppin to Last Night with Sugar Ray Norcia and Sax Gordon Beadle sitting in and later ditto with the track The Mood Room with a rollicking piano/vocal from Kelly Hunt.

Everyone was smiling.

A bit later, holy crap it’s Jimmie Vaughan himself trading licks with Duke and there is a honkin’ Baritone sax on Shufflin’ and Scufflin’

Folks, Mr Robillard is back from surgery and rehabilitation.

I’m sure Duke and the band are happy.

We are.

You can pick up Duke’s new CD just about anywhere on the planet.

Worth waitin’ on I would say.

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

John is the songwriter/guitarist who shuffles and scuffles with THE SHAFTMEN

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

JOHN IS ON TWITTER

05
Sep
16

RONNIE EARL AND THE BROADCASTERS-MAXWELL STREET-“GOSPEL IN THOSE FINGERS”

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If the term gospel could be applied to music coming through the fingers of a guitarist then those hands would belong to Ronnie Earl.

That gorgeous tone opens up his latest album Maxwell Street with the heavenly ambience of Mother Angel a major seventh chord pattern that allows Earl and organ player Dave Limina plenty of room to breathe.

Essentially this album leaves space.

Most of the songs are overall slower in tempo than some tracks such as Spann’s Groove or the rockin Blues for the South  Side from previous albums.

Having said that it allows the  band and the listener to be one with the players.

Check out the great feel on the track Elegy for a Bluesman written by Limina.

The song written for the late David Maxwell the former Broadcaster and inspiration for the cd title is bathed in the blue light of Bluesmen past.

Wow.

Although no one could top the Gladys Knight version of her hit I’ve Got to Use My Imagination or the Manfred Mann/Ray Charles version of You Don’t Know Me written by Eddy Arnold vocalist Diane Blue the band’s newest member is a great singer.

Having said that, at times but not always Earl’s fills are a bit busy when she is doing her lead vocal.

The best moments are of course the exceptional Blues for David Maxwell where Limina displays incredible feel on his piano solo and Earl uses his bends and jazzy figures with a Wes Montgomery vibe.

It’s crazy good folks.

I have to say my spotlight has been with Earl and the band’s original material and there are six of them here.

Either way Earl and his band play with deep sensitivity at every turn.

NOTE.. This excellent album is due out September 9

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

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

John ON TWITTER

28
Aug
16

HONEYMOON SUITE, HELIX ROCK TIMMINS KAYAK FEST-AUGUST 27 2016 REVIEW JOHN EMMS

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Love Changes Everything to quote a Honeymoon Suite song is exactly the way a massive Timmins crowd responded when the band not only pulled out all of their hits but did so with a killer show at The Great Canadian Kayak Festival Saturday night.
This has been a banner year for Timmins music fans and it only got better when Canuck metal bangers Helix smacked the crowd upside the head for 60 minutes with opening sets from local rockers Drivyn and Timmins born A.K. McLeod now out of Hamilton played his hometown for the first time.
HMS had the entire crowd singing Wave Babies, Stay In The Light, Feel It Again and New Girl Now while lead vocalist Johnnie Dee sounding the best I have heard him through the years connected with a rain soaked crowd.
It was as if the crowd was transported back to 1985.
The entire band with killer solos all night from guitarist Derry Grehan, and solid backing from keyboard man Peter Nunn, bassist Gary Lalonde and massive stick work from drummer Dave Betts rocked a very large audience.
A.K. McLeod delivered a very solid blues rock set and local hard rockers Drivyn totally impressed the crowd with originals and covers of Deep Purple and Jimi Hendrix.
After the Fireworks Helix hit the stage at 10 p.m.
The Canuck metal rockers played their hits Wild In the Streets, The Kids Are All Shakin, Rock You and others like the killer Deep Cuts The Knife while lead vocalist Brian Vollmer charmed the crowd with in between song banter.
In a big surprise was the band’s newer songs like Gene Simmons Says Rock Is Dead and Even Jesus Wasn’t Loved in His Hometown drew heavy applause.
Timmins Kayak Fest has continued to evolve with a great roster of artist music bookings and literally thousands of people have responded in a big way.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, Sun Media/Post Media contributor and songwriter/guitarist with THE SHAFTMEN

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

JOHN ON TWITTER

 

26
Aug
16

ROSS NEILSEN-ELEMENTAL-CD REVIEW -BLUE ROUTE VIA ROOTS ROAD-BY JOHN EMMS

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For all the right reasons the best songs on Ross Neilsen’s cd Elemental are songs such as the rootsy Nobody Get’s Lonely, the gorgeous City of Regret co-written with Paul Reddick and the Blue Rodeo vibe of

Step Into the Light.

Though Neilsen is blues infused his roots road serves up the goods time in and time out on Elemental.

Producer Steve Marriner has a ton of experience and puts it to excellent use to pull out the emotion of Neilsen’s voice on tracks like the MonkeyJunk-esque Woman’s Name the jazzy textures of The Arrow and

the funky take on Willie P. Bennett’s Ballad In Low E

Not enough can be said about the great Jimmy Bowskill. His guitar solos, pedal steel work or any for that matter any stringed instrument are simply jaw dropping.

Sometimes music is made for the right reasons and Ross Neilsens’s Elemental is secure in that category.

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

JOHN can be heard with Canadian Blues Rockers THE SHAFTMEN

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

John On Twitter

 

06
Jul
16

KENNY BLUES BOSS WAYNE-JUMPIN’ & BOPPIN-CD REVIEW “JOYFUL SOUND”-BY JOHN EMMS

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Kenny Blues Boss Wayne creates a joyous ‘groovy’ album with Jumpin’ and Boppin’ his latest cd.

And there is never anything wrong with slippin’ this cd on at a barbecue or riding down the highway.

It rocks on Bankrupted Blues, it grooves on the fantastic Blues Stew and it gets Jimmy Reed-esque on Blackmail Blues.

Duke Robillard stabs in lead guitar all over the album and with KBBW’s supple piano chops you’re in bop land with the great horn section.

One of the best performances comes late in the album with the exceptional Back To Square One. This song has a 60’s Ray Charles feel.

KBBW also does a great cover of You Don’t Know Me which Charles brought into the top of billboard top 5 in 1962.

As Kenny says “If you don’t know how to rock you sure can roll”

Amen to that

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

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

check out their latest summer drive blues song Burning Rubber & Gasoline

 

05
Jul
16

LEE AARON-CONCERT REVIEW/TIMMINS JUNE 26TH/HERITAGE ARTISTS-by John Emms

13512069_1285304091482420_5936148766615837197_n[1]IMG_0530[1]lee and her band

Two things you should know about Lee Aaron before heading out to see her concert tour or any other acts this summer.

She and her band are in vintage form and her new album Fire and Gasoline  is an intelligent highly listenable rock album.

At a recent tour stop in Timmins, Aaron and her great band “killed it”

Aaron’s set was a muscular one behind the excellent section of drummer John Cody, bassist Dave Reimer and the keyboards/guitar from Kevin Saulnier.

On the front end the expansive technique and superb chops of lead guitarist Sean Kelly provided plenty of firepower.

Aaron’s formidable front lady/voice and sometimes metal queen persona were never in doubt from the opening salvo of Tomboy from her latest album.

In fact if had 10 dollars from every person who approached me after the show or in the following days with the line “Wow, John, Lee Aaron’s voice sounded fantastic” I would have my summer vintage wine selection ready for consumption.

Whether it was songs such as Whatcha Do to My Body, Some Girls Do or Metal Queen (which I banged my head to) or the new and very catchy Fire and Gasoline title track and Bad Boyfriend the band hit a groove that was organic as hell.

However, the one thing that elevates Aaron is her connection to the fans.

It is without a doubt, a total joy to witness.

It is a lock folks!

Stay tune with me later this year when I get my iTunes music podcast back on track with a format that will include Roots/Rock/and Blues.

When Artists such Lee Aaron and others create new and exciting work I will let you know.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, Sun and Post media contributor, former radio host and singer-songwriter with Canadian Rockers THE SHAFTMEN

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

to read john’s interview with Lee

http://www.timminspress.com/2016/06/22/lee-aaron-playing-parkfest-on-tour-of-diverse-new-cd

JOHN is on TWITTTER

25
Nov
10

KEITH URBAN-GET CLOSER-” working the core” cd review by john emms

Keith Urban’s new cd Get Closer proves that when an artist is one with himself his music is one with the world . There are about 3 or 4 killer singles here. And as most people know that by itself will carry an album into the stratosphere.

By nature, country artists don’t make “albums’ as front to back musical statements. (Hotel California, Born to Run, Pet Sounds)

But the more you listen to this record, the more it gets inside you. One thing is clear.

Keith Urban is a man working from the core. This man is putting his soul out there.

What’s going on in Urban’s world you ask?.

For that check out the vintage vibe of Waylon Jennings guitar as Urban pulls it out for Georgia Woods. Hang in there for his monster lead guitar lines on the outro. Check out Keith when he gets swallowed up by enormous weight and substance of Lori  McKenna’s song The Luxury Of Not Knowing. It’s a stunning vocal.

Maybe you want to get inside the push and pull of Right on Back to You. Heck the man can hardly get his breath. This kind of material will move any listener.

Maybe you want to check out the killer dynamics of Urban and the band on Put You In a Song, or the scrappy mid gut punch of You Gonna Fly all done up with some great melody charging out of the groove. There is a “Police/Sting like dynamic to Long Hot Summer and it works big time.

This is a relationship album and for that fact it tries to cover a lot of bases in all relationship scenarios.  Tracks like  Big Promises and All For You at least for me are not as strong as some of  the aforemetioned material.

Urban believes in his instincts. Personally, I believe he should write more of his material.

The album ends with a solid reading of Winning a number that Santana put on the charts back in 1981.

Keith Urban has the ability to put out a classic album in the true sense of the word. Maybe some day he will.

In the meantime this is an album that pulls from his core. Make no mistake it will get inside of yours.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist and musician. Check out John’s own band THE SHAFTMEN

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

John is on Twitter https://twitter.com/emmsreviews

 

 




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