Archive for December, 2020


blues and roots year end roundup-2020-still alive

Holy shite I listen to a lot of music in a year.

And this Covid 19 Health Crisis has made it a shitty year for everyone, not just musicians.

That’s why we need more new music.

The blues/roots music genre spans a big section.

Some of these albums go back to late 2019

My listening pattern is all over.

During the year I will go from big names like Walter Trout, Sonny Landreth, Tinsley Ellis, and Ana Popovic to Canadians like Jack De Keyzer, JW Jones, Downchild Blues Band, David Gogo or Samantha Martin.

I can’t always get to it all.

But damn it, some of the artists you may not be familiar with are fantastic players and songwriters.

Here is a small list and there will be more to come in the next few weeks.

Federico Luiu-Walkin’ The Blues-A standout crisp 7 song set.

Also note killer horn arrangements from sax man Anthony Brancati.

Luiu has a superb guitar tone that jumps out of Funky Bee and the opener You Don’t Love Me.

The album’s best track She’s Gone (not the Hall and Oates song) features the one and only Matt Schofield.

Tearing it up..  Very nice.

Michael Schatte-Conundrum-This is easily one of the top 5 roots albums of the year.


Mind blowing guitar work throughout and excellent production from Schatte.

Water in The Kettle and Dry Black Powder which open the album will knock you over.

Silly Old Man rips and the title track has a very cool standout Richard Thompson vibe.

Meanwhile Daria could easily make radio playlists.

Excellent work from bassist Ryan Spratt and drummer Riley O’Connor.

Rick Fines-Solar Powered Too-This is a gorgeous album of roots/folk.

The album was recorded in a little gazebo in North Kawartha with solar power during our current pandemic.

The aching beautiful One Lone Loon is probably one of the most heartfelt songs I have heard this year.

If that was not enough Jimmy Bowskill’s pedal steel is the icing on the cake..

Worry Be The Death of Me gets out the slide guitar and features the great Roly Platt on Harmonica, while the shuffle Yellow Moon, Indigo Sky with Suzie Vinnick and Laundry On The Line set each mood perfectly.

Producer Alec Fraser does a fantastic job letting the album breathe.

Other standout songs are the opening Below the Surface and the excellent cover of Jesse Winchester’s That’s What Makes You Strong.

Topics on Love and Life are plenty and carry the day.

Love it.

Beauwater-Who Works For Who-The East Coast Rock feel is well represented on this album.

The tracks are versatile in their moods and the superb groove is blues rock based and takes no prisoners.

Jonathon Reid has a powerful vocal and funky guitar presence.

Check out Flavour of the Week and the blues drenched The Real McCoy with harmonica from Kelly Hoppe.

They set the tone for this album.

Drummer Michael Maddox and bassist Greg Newhook are inventive and hold things down at the same time.

Tonight’s She’s Gonna Burn has tons of atmosphere and Long Way Down funks it up in a Wide Mouth Mason feel.

Elsewhere The title track and The New Disease have an almost Trews like vibe and kick butt big time.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, musician, Maple Blues Awards panelist,  Juno Awards Judge and songwriter.

Twitter-john emms (@emmsreviews) / Twitter

December 2020