Archive for June 18th, 2010


new hendrix remasters-explosive 40 years later-JOHN EMMS CD REVIEWS

jimi hendrix new cd VALLEYS OF NEPTUNE-REVIEW BY JOHN EMMS/cd out march 9th

March 6, 2010 john emms Edit Leave a comment

WOW..IS THE WORD when  I received this new cd of mindblowing unreleased JIMI HENDRIX material . THIS material not only SHOWS HIS GUITAR GENIUS but more than that details his creative ORGANIC output after the Electric Ladyland album.

THE BIG NEWS is a lot of the songs here feature just the trio format live in the studio, AND THEY SMOKE.

 The majority is Noel Redding on bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums as well as cameos from Billy Cox on bass and Rocki Dzidzormu on percussion.

It’s important to point out that songs like STONE FREE, RED HOUSE, HEAR MY TRAIN A COMIN’ AND FIRE are included on this cd BUT NEVER THESE VERSIONS..

The sheer power of the trio despite Hendrix fueding with bassist Redding at the time cannot be overstated on Elmore James’ Bleeding Heart, Mr Bad Luck, Lover Man and a blistering unreleased version of Fire. IT’S THAT GOOD

There is even an instrumental of Cream’s Sunshine of Your Love, which is pure jam!

The mixing/engineering work of EDDIE KRAMER on this set  is nothing short of  exceptional. Elsewhere The killer title track and the song Ships Passing Through The Night gives a clear indication of where Hendrix could take his songs.

Fans will also want to check out the detailed 20 page booklet. No Hendrix fan should be without this release!!!


evolution of the blues-JOHN EMMS MUSIC REVIEWS

 music evolves.. top picks 2009 by john emms

January 7, 2010 john emms Edit Leave a comment

BLUES MUSIC  is changing and evolving to include more blues rock, soul and roots than ever before. VERY COOL … 

Here are  top blues cd picks for 2009, plus very good honourable mentions

JOE LOUIS WALKER-(pictured 2nd from top)  BETWEEN A ROCK AND THE  BLUES-solid songwriting, astounding vocal work R & B and soul influenced music

SONNY LANDRETH-LEVEE TOWN-By far Sonny’s best and most realized work of his career.Outstanding!!!

RONNIE EARL- LIVING IN THE LIGHT-Spiritual,  absorbing and moving Earl delivers (again)

ROY ROGERS-SPLIT DECISION- Tradition with hipness. Quality songs!

DEREK TRUCKS BAND-ALREADY FREE-(see 3rd photo) Integration of roots, and blues, may be their career album?. It’s that good

JOHN MAYALL-TOUGH..gets better with every listen, guitarist Rocky Athas shines

DOWNCHILD BLUES BAND-I NEED A HAT-new songs that just smoke. Superb vocal work by Chuck Jackson and sizzling guitar and arrangments from  MR DOWNCHILD Donnie Walsh  (see top photo)

ROBERT CRAY-THIS TIME-Groove, Groove and more Groove. Tight and soulful  

DUKE ROBILLARD-STOMP THE BLUES-Always evolving as a musician. Consistent and joyous music.

BIG JAMES-RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW-Big surprise here. Great vocal work. Lots of soul, less blues

COCO MONTOYA-THE ESSENTIAL-I Don’t usually do compilations, but this is bang on stuff

solid honourable mentions-these cd’s all contain some great blues tracks


 SAB & THE FAMILY BAND-FLYIN HIGH LIVIN’ FREE-produced by Michael Fonfara



THE SHAFTMEN -PAYCHEQUE BLUES-produced by Jack de Keyzer

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, with over 20 years of working with all major and  indie  music labels both domestic and international.

JOHN is also a musician and songwriter/vocalist with blues rockers THE SHAFTMEN 



mayer-bluesman or pop artist-JOHN EMMS MUSIC REVIEWS

john mayer-battle studies-john emms cd reviews

December 17, 2009 john emms Edit Leave a comment

JOHN MAYER is one of the most misunderstood and brilliant musicians of  his generation. An incredible guitarist and gifted songwriter Mayer recordings always display craft over guitar heroics. This can be frustrating for fans of his fiery chops.

Battle Studies his new cd continues this trend. Everything on this Cd screams solid songwriting and excellent vocal  work. Tracks like Heartbreak Warfare,  the folky Who Says, and the George Harrison influence on Friends Lovers or Nothing are understated gems of love won or lost. Perfectly Lonely has a great R & B groove, and his cover of Crossroads is bang on. Gorgeous production values and superb stickwork from from Steve Jordan and  in the pocket bass work from Pino Palladino  emphasize the class of this recording.

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

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blue rodeo-remaining vital-JOHN EMMS MUSIC REVIEWS

November 26, 2009 john emms Edit Leave a comment

Thank God and the passion within that BLUE RODEO still have FIRE IN THEIR  BELLY. Think that’s easy. Did you get this memo?

Conventional wisdom states that after countless albums, tours and the music business being what it is few artists can still dig deep to come up with the goods late in an already successful career.

Jim Cuddy, Greg Keelor, Bazil Donavan, Glenn Milchem and Bob Egan apparently never recieved that memo. Instead the band has forged an album rich in lyrical content and high in muscianship.

Should anyone care that a band spreads out and tackles a double album opus in these non attention to detail times?

That would depend on who’s listenening. I still listen  to records the old fashioned way.

WITH MY EARS. The disc opens with a soon to be Greg Keelor classic. (You may recall he has written a few already)  It’s the title track and offers up shimmering colors, intimate lyrics and a powerful Beatlesque chorus that blows you out of the room. Jim Cuddy fires up the “rhodes” piano mid tempo One More Night with his passionate vocal,   small town vibe and everyman stance it displays Cuddy and the band at the top of their game.

Despite these new inflections fans can still take stock that Waiitng for the World, One Light Left In Heaven and Sheba all three Cuddy written tracks offer up craftsmanship without sacrificing melody and depth.

However, Keelor always known to take chances with his material spreads the sound into a wide  open D concept soundscape  with the refreshing Million Miles and his gorgeous “Harvest’ era Neil Young inspired  Don’t Let The Darkness In Your Head.

The beauty of Blue Rodeo as an outfit is that multi-instrumentalistist Egan, Milchem’s expressive stickwork and Donavan’s always vital bass lines invoke musicanship first and foremost providing Keelor and Cuddy’s song framework with emotion. With this in mind it should be said that as a recent add in tour and  studio player piano man Bob Boguski adds tremendous depth and clarity to a lot of the material

Other highlights include the big ambience of Venus Rising, The Band Stage Fright era roots inflections of  Arizona Dust and Keelor’s own Lost Togther era track Wasted.

Earlier in the year as this album was being mixed I had conversations with Keelor and Cuddy about how this album was going to be received and conceived as a double album/four sided opus. For the band to pull this off with integrity intact remains a testament to the band’s musicality.   Yes, it’s good, and I NOW HAVE THE DOUBLE VINYL..ah now that’s fun


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





Categories: Uncategorized



March 18, 2010 john emms Edit Leave a comment

With Intelligent and challenging new material ALL IN GOOD TIME proves that despite Steve Page’s departure BNL remain viable and vital artists in their own right.  As sure as the steady no blinking look ED ROBERTSON displays at the camera lense in the above photo, BNL muist know deep down they have made a worthy album.

Whether it  brings multi-platinum sales is another cog in the industry wheel, but from the very first listen of  the opening track You Run Away BNL behind one of Ed Robertson most gorgeous songs ever display emotional depth and dynamics to kill for.  That trend continues in the odd time signatures and atmospheriuc wash of Summertime.

At this point the band surprises when  Kevin Hearn breathes new life into BNL with his superb song Another Heartbreak (think early America with a bit of muscle) Bassist Jim Creegan drops in with his own lead vocal on his track On The Lookout which displays a yearning Emitt Rhodes type feel.

Although Ed Robertson gives in one time to his quirky songwriting on the obvious track Four Seconds he more than redeems his gift with the tracks Ordinary, the punchy I Have Learned, and his outstanding ballad The Love Were In.

Elsewhere drummer Tyler Stewart long the glue that binds the band’s music never overplays and is always in the pocket. In addition to Hearn’s Watching The Northern Lights and Creegan’s John Mayer-ish pop of I Saw it BNL have proved that beyond any doubt they are alive, well and at the driving wheel

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, musician and radio show (see below) host. His product reviews, artist interviews are copy worldwide

JOHN is the songwriter/vocalist with blues rockers THE SHAFTMEN

his new  SOLO indie roots/pop cd goes to ITUNES  in June of 2010

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celleste-ready to fly-JOHN EMMS CD REVIEWS


June 9, 2010 john emms Edit Leave a comment

Unforced and totally organic Celleste’s Ready To Fly is  easily one of the most vibrant and refreshing cd’s  I have heard this year.

 Let’s put it this way,  When you listen to about 20 new cd’s a month you may only really completley dig a new artist 2 or 3 times in the entire year. Celleste’s Ready to Fly is one of the those finds.

 This cd took  me by complete surprise. First off the songs, vibe, and Celleste’s vocal work hits you in a distinctive way.

Almost dare I say like an old vinyl recording. If  that was not enough producer and co-songwriter Eric Dick’s skill at integrating  melodies and riffs is at the heart of the cd.

I love the fact the cd blasts off with two distinctive rockers Real Love and Yer Goin’ Down.  The riffs and hooks are deep. From there the acoustic rootsy Drive and piano based Falling capture a deeper vocal feel and ambience.

The mid tempo Whatcha Doing To Me and the  70′s classic rock Dreamboat Annie  Heart era title track expand what Dick and Celleste are tring to achieve.

The feel of a classic rock recording in 2010. To their credit  they come awful close.  

John Emms is a veteran published journalist working with major  and indie labels.  His new roots/rock radio show can be heard here and as a feature podcast on Apple iTunes John is the songwriter/vocalist with The Shaftmen  His new solo c d will be out  July 2010

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stones in exile dvd..JOHN EMMS MUSIC REVIEWS


June 9, 2010 john emms Edit Leave a comment

This dvd has been the missing link in my love affair with the original vinyl recording of The Rolling Stone’s  Exile On Main Street. 

For literally a million other fans, it’s possible it will be a must have piece of  “Stones”  history, which of course will make the people at Eagle Rock Entertainment (the distributor) very happy.

But for now just for a pargraph or so let’s back up a bit

I bought the original vinyl copy of this album in the summer of 1972 at Sam The Record Man in Toronto. Some of my friends were not sure if  was all that great. 

I disagreed.  I lived this album. Thirty something years later I still find the soul of  this recording to mean something in my life.  Sure I’m older I have a grandson, I have been through many of life’s up and downs, played in lots of blues rock bands and yet still this album lingers. Vintage seems to be a good description.

Back to the DVD.  Due out June 22/2010 this dvd shows some amazing archival footage and photos of The Rolling Stones at Nellcote. This where some of the songs were initially recorded but had yet to be fully devoloped.

 The film also has narration from Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts, Mick Taylor, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and photographer Dominque Tarle as well as Anita Pallenberg and engineer Andy Johns.

In addition you get assorted rock star cameo comments from Jack White, Sheryl Crow film director Martin Scorcese and current Rolling Stone producer/musician Don Was to name a few. 

At 145 minutes it goes in depth to say the least. The only thing better than this would be a full on 2 hour archival concert from the 1972 American Tour.

As Bill Wyman states in an interview segment on this dvd  ”No band could touch us at this point in our career.  No one was  even close”

Amen to that.  This dvd will available June 22/2010

John Emms is a veteran music journalist and musician. Emms does product reviews for many major and indie labels. His new rock roots radio show COLLECTION OF SONGS is now available as a podcast at Apple iTunes and online at

JOHN is the songwriter/vocalist with THE SHAFTMEN  His new solo cd will be out July 2010



Sarah McLachlan-Laws of Illusion-”Gorgeous songcraft” john emms cd review

Delivering an album this good 20 years into your career is no easy feat. But Laws of Illusion Sarah McLachlan’s first cd in 7 years catches her at a creative peak.

 With 10 new songs and 3 bonus singles, McLachlan enticies the listener with gorgeous songcraft and an intuitive sense of her own abilities.

 If there is one word that could describe McLachlan’s work here it is atmospheric.

In addition, a big plus from the stellar opening track Awakenings and throughout the album is the fact that there is a band atmopshere. Contributers like drummer Matt Chamberlain and  guitarists Colin Cripps, Bill Dillon and Luke Doucet make important dynamic touches behind McLachlan’s superb song choices.

The bouncy piano pop of the first single Loving You Is Easy is effortless. Indeed  the meat of the album comes via the superb melodies of songs like Changes , Illusions Of Bliss, and Out of Tune as well as the  Gabrile-esque pop of Heartbreak.

Producer/Musician Pierre Marchand’s contributions to this cd as usual cannot not be overlooked. Whether as an engineer or player Marchand offers up an organic sense of  musicianship that creates a balance of old and new without sacrifice to McLachlan’s songwriting.

Look for at least 3 major singles to appear from this album.  McLachlan’s hugely popular Lilith Fair is almost underway and the  Grammy winner looks poised and ready to tour behind a very strong album

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist who writes product reviews for all major and some indie labels. His new roots/rock radio show COLLECTION OF SONGS is available as a podcast on Apple iTunes and can heard  24/7 here

JOHN is a member of THE SHAFTMEN and his new solo cd is due out in July 2010

June 2010