Archive for February, 2011




                                                                                                      It used to be you had to have talent to get recognized in the music business. Could you imagine Neil Young or Bob Dylan pimping themselves out to the lowest bidder and making sure their music did not offend anyone back in the day.

Hell, if Ol’ Neil said no I’m not going to write OHIO, just because 4 kids were killed on campus.

Give me a break. Not all music these days is “shite”  But if it’s not human WTF.

Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf, John Lennon and even people like Kurt Cobain. Heck, I hope they don’t have t.v. wherever they are . They will die all over again. 

As a musician and music fan I don’t really follow any genre. Inspiration of course.  The blues and great songwriters inspire me.

But inspired by Amercian Idol and radio playlists who make sure the commercials on the radio are more important than the music.

Give your head a shake!

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

Check out John’s radio show here




Took my grandson to  see Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never 3d movie. I really enjoyed it.

Look the young man has a lot of talent. Just don’t like the way the songs are represented.

Too much programming. Don’t know?

One thing is for sure

Sounds cool when he or his friend are playing the acoustic guitar or Justin is sitting down at the piano. That’s when you realize Bieber is decent. But that don’t sell now does it?? 

On top of that the movie shows this young man is just one  good guy. He remembers his friends.

Remember NKOTB..they only had a small but cool window. Grab it when you can, I guess.

Look I’m not much on the Grammy Awards. Too much b.s to go through to watch a few inspiring performances. I simply can’t get through those 2 or 3 hours.

Another reason.

Bugs me  that Rush or Hendrix have never won a Grammy Heck, that is just WRONG 

Maybe I will watch it when Neverest makes it to the 2012 Grammys.  I consider them as talented as Bieber and by this time next year I would not bet against them.

Neverest are a solid pop act from Canada.  Hey it’s all part of our Canuck plan. That all started with Paul Anka, Neil Young and our friend Shania Twain. 

Look I will  watch Mick Jagger pay homage to Solomon Burke, and of course I have to watch Eminem. The guy is simply on fire. I’m outta here.

JOHN EMMS is a musician and veteran music journalist who writes for all major labels. Check out John’s radio show here


SHANIA TWAIN-WHY NOT on Oprah t.v.-YOU LOVE HER..BUT will you subscribe to the speciality channel-by john emms

All you Shania fans all over the world. Shania has did it all for you guys and girls. Whether she was inspiring you with her life story, posing in lingerie (for you guys) singing her songs all over the world, or getting over heartbreak and is happily married again (for you girls)  Look, on my end, folks  she is very likeable.  

But, are you going to pay a speciality channel price to see her show here in Canada or anywhere in the world?

And to be honest I  think the show is going to be super interesting on all levels. If the show was part of your regular cable or satellite package then that would be okay.

For example if it was broadcast  just on regular t.v. CTV, Global etc. or whatever no problem. But, extra bucks for the Oprah t.v., which I will not watch. Umm, don’t know. 

Look,  Shania  was about  a 2 minute walk from my home in Timmins  not long ago filming with the Oprah TV team. I saw the buses but it just looked like a stay away thing. In fact, I was walking to the corner store to buy a lottery ticket.

None of the media in our city were told about it. I knew it on the day, and made a brief post on facebook page. Then took it down. I did not want to be un-professional because I like Shania and the way she has inspired people

I liked her 30 years ago, when she was singing in the bars and our band was playing across the street.

I liked her when I got the first nod for questions in the media tent on her homecoming concert.  And yes I think UP is one of the best pop albums of the last 20 years.

But  again, will I or you pay extra bucks to view the Oprah Network?

 On the musical side of things, I believe Shania has been recording some stuff in the studio secretly.  I’m also thinking the producer on some songs COULD BE the hugely talented Kevin Churko (Ozzy’s latest)

If Shania is going to talk about initmate details on her new t.v. show and reveal them in her new book, then let’s hope she also writes a few songs in the same manner. I like the pop songs, but let’s hear some really heartfelt gut emotions in NEW songs.

Oprah t.v comes to Canada in about 2 weeks.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist who writes and reviews products for all major music labels.   John has his own roots radio show  John also writes columns for  and is a musician



Jeff Beck’s Rock N Roll Party Honoring Les Paul has the integrity and musicality to become one of the most important documents of his career. On emotion and soul alone Beck and a giving host of players launch this concert experience into the stratosphere simply by being themselves.

Filmed in high definition at The Iridium Jazz Club this is probably one of the best looking Blu-Ray concerts that I have seen. This room holds only 200 or so people, and this intimate setting simply lets the audience experience the musicians and their chops  

The show is authentic and true to the spirit of early rock n’ roll and Beck’s guitar tone and solos on Baby Let’s Play House, Double Talkin’ Baby and Cruisin embrace the Scotty Moore/Cliff Gallup feel.

Later in the show, Beck steps up and out as only he can. Vocalist/guitarist Darrel Higham is in great voice, and his chops get even better as the show continues. In fact along with May his vocals frame the entire evening

Imelda May is a total joy. Her vocals on Cry Me A River, The Shangri-Las Wallking In The Sand andthe multiple tracked Mary Ford tributes on How High The Moon and Bye Bye Blues will raise the hair on the back of your neck.

However, the whole feel and emotional impact of the night revolves around Jeff Beck’s astounding guitar playing. He is  simply one of the most gifted musicians in any genre of music.  On tracks like Apache, Sleep Walk and Peter Gunn he iginites emotions from everyone in the room.

There are  spot on guest shots from Gary US Bonds (New Orleans) and the explosive playing of Brian Setzer who raises the stakes in a super cool riff- fest with Beck on Twenty Flight Rock, as well as Trombone Shorty who blows his soul out on Peter Gunn.

On the players side I have to be honest and say Bassist Al Gare and drummer Steve Rushton may start looking for a raise in pay after this star turn. They are incredibly tight and along with the gifted tone of well known piano man Jason Rebello stoke the fire in Beck while never getting in the way of his emotive phrasing. Sax man Leo Green (Van Morrison) is a wicked solist and together with Lou Marini and Dave Priseman they form a  tight but fluid horn section.

Bonus features to look for are an excellent behind the scenes look on how this film and show was put together along with a a hip feature At Home with Jeff Beck and his Guitars (my personal bonus fave), along with a blues jam with Les Paul and Beck from 1983. Yep believe it folks, that clip is a beauty.

It is simply amazing that Jeff Beck’s career is on the rise with his last two releases. I’ll be darned and say his pairing with Eagle Rock Entertainment on these past two dvd/blu-ray concerts is a gift that gives his fans a close up look at his genius. Considering Beck has fans all over the world, look for this concert dvd to sell big numbers.

This product is set for release Februray 22/2011.

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




The biggest international names in a wide blues genre such as B.B. King, Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, The Allman Brothers Band, Van Morrison and others all understood that blues music incorporated styles such as soul, gospel, acoustic blues, blues rock, and even country blues. It was that blend that launched their careers and was always there in their songwriting.  And in the case of new albums by Gregg Allman, Morrison and Clapton it is still there today.

 Canadian blues artists such as Jack de Keyzer, Colin James, Downchild Blues Band and others are well aware of  this fact when releasing new recordings. Here are some new albums that fall into this genre

Damon Fowler-Devil Got His Way-This is one of the few blues albums that I have heard this year that simply gets better with each listen. First off,  there are no tricks here folks.

It’s all in Fowler’s relaxed groove and songwriting that keeps you surprised all the way through.

The title track has a slippery groove and slinky slide work. American Dream has a  great storyline , We’ve Got A Good Thing has a swampy staccatto riff that just won’t quit, and Once In Awhile just jumps out at you

Elsewhere Fruitstand Lady gets southern countrified, 28 Degrees gets a Ry Cooder groove, and Don’t Call Me could have come from The Atlanta  Rhythm Section and sounds like it would kill at radio.

 At 25 years of age Fowler and his sturdy band are a treasure.

Fraser/Daley-Self Titled-If you mixed Hank Williams, Fred Eaglesmith, and Charlie Angus into a stew and simmered it you would probably have a version of Fraser/Daley.

 The duo’s debut cd is countrified blues.  Heck you may find yourself singing along to tracks like 140 on the 401, the ultra hip song  Blues All Around Me and even The Relentless Gambler which sounds like The Delmore Brothers via Johnny Cash.

Musically the sound is Fraser playing  brush bass, and Daley playing both acoustic/electric rhythm/solo styles of guitar with both guys singing.  Bottom line is it works like a charm at plenty of points on the cd. Their version of  Bad Luck Blues is totally organic and a good indication of  their sound.

On the other hand there is no doubt some fans may enjoy the bluesier tracks to the acoustic country of Turn This Rig Around,  Jesse Fuller’s She’s No Good complete with kazoo solo or even the “steer holler” of Lemonade Stand

A cool side project by very experienced players.

Danny Brooks/The Rockin Revelators-Soulsville Three/Live at the Palais Royale-Let’s face it. Few musicians have the whole package.  But Danny Brooks is without a doubt one of them.  Gifted vocalist, excellent musician, solid songwriter and integrity at his core, he is in every way the “Real Thing”

Bottom line, as soon as you hear Brooks sing your transported. Busting out with the slide drenched Carolina into the gospel soul of Hold Your Head Up, or over to his stunning cover of Somebody On Your Bond Brooks and his killer band rule.

Check out tracks like Other Side of The Cloud, the swampy Righteous Highway,  the sanctified No Turning Back, and Still Got This Thing For You. Solomon Burke surely is looking down at Brooks and smiling!

The core band featuring Lance Anderson’s Hammond B3′, Bucky Berger on drums, bassist Denis Pinhorn and Papa John’s King tastefull guitar work the groove without over playing.

A must have cd for fans of blues and deep soul music!!!  

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




gary moore-john emms cd reviews-the essential montreux-blues power”

September 16, 2009 john emms Edit Leave a comment Go to comments

gary moore pic (2)LIKE his  Irish colleague RORY GALLAGHER..GARY MOORE’S true spirit and soul comes to the fore at a “live” gig. This set of 5 cd’s from Montreux has some of the best blues guitar playing by anyone, anywhere at anytime. I’m often left shaking my head at end of one of Moore’s searing solos. The first cd is taken from 1990 the time when the Belfast native had just released his Still Got The Blues album.  Midnight Blues, the Otis Rush classic All Your Love and Cold Cold Feeling with guest Albert Collins are standouts. Disc 2 comes from 1995 and features a horn section on some tracks and 5 Peter Green songs. Green of course is probably Moore’s single biggest influence. Tracks like Long Grey Mare, Oh Pretty Women, and the slow blues of I Loved Another Women are simply killer. If that was not enough John Mayall’s Key To Love and Freddie King’s the Stumble blaze.

Disc 3 comes from 1997 and is a rock set. Literally only an handful of  blues, and 9 of the 11 tracks are Moore originals When I’m in a blues mood it I will skip this cd.  However I have to say it is by far the most interesting cd in the pack and I will play it from start to finish. Disc4 is back to the blues with blues standards from Elmore James, Jimmy Rogers, Otis Rush,  Wilie Dixon and even a rockin’ cover of Jimi Hendrix chestunt Fire and a dazzling take on Thin Lizzy’s  Parisienne Walkways written with Phil Lynott

Disc 5 comes from 2001 bookending Moore’s astounding journey at the world reknown festival. Check out his take on Stormy Monday,  and B.B. Kings’; You Upset Me Baby. Then again in his  own songs Too Tired and How Man Lies are rough and ready blues rock. FOR THE GARY MOORE FAN-THIS IS ESSENTIAL

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



Night at Sky Church Heart’s latest dvd release shows a lean and clean band ready to eat up anything in it’s path. The first evidence of this is when the group launches into a hip and stunning version of Straight On three songs into this dvd set.

This is quickly  followed by a mezmerizing groove of Love Alive, the concert fave Mistral Wind and a balls out version of WTF from their latest cd Red Velvet Car

Hell, if you watched this year’s god awful performance of The Black Eyed Peas at the Super Bowl halftime show the first thing that strikes you about this dvd is  “holy shit this is what  a real band sounds like’

This is  good news if your thinking of checking out the band as they rock  towns and cities across Canada on the Heart Comes Home tour 2011 currently underway. 

What’s also important to note is that on this particular dvd the sisters have one hell of an “organic’ band.

 In fact, all through this dvd drummer Ben Smith is a force of groove and dynamics. Elsewhere bassist Kristian Attard, keyboard player Debbie Shair and in particular the dynamic fret work of guitarist Craig Bartock is a joy to behold. They just smoke!!!

The band’s new material is very strong. Songs like Safronia’s Mark, the gorgeous Red Velvet Car and the encore Sand bring a whole new dimension to the core songlist. These songs are that good

Alison Krauss (These Dreams of You) and producer Ben Mink make cameos on the dvd and their playing is intuitive and on the mark

However in the end it is the Wilson’s willingness to give of themselves to each other and to their audience that makes this show so special.

35 years after Dremaboat Annie was released Heart prove with Night At Sky Church that great muscianship never goes out style

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

This dvd is available February 15th 2011 from Eagle Rock Entertainment

February 2011