Author Archive for john emms

03
May
22

GARY CAIN-NEXT STOP-REVIEW JOHN EMMS

Gary Cain is a fierce guitarist and definitely no slave to musical fashion.

He picks up his guitar and rips.

Although he often works in blues riffs, funk, and rock he ultimately bridges the gap between all three on his new album titled Next Stop.

In fact the Canadian-born, Austin-based guitarist, singer, and songwriter also plays bass and drums casting himself as a one man power trio.

Blasting off the album with “Billionaires In Space,” Cain rips it up over a Johnny Winter-esque riff, while “Confusion” drills down in Hendrix territory.

The real bonus is the excellent lyrics when you check out the master funk of “Gatekeeper”

“Hey gatekeeper, tell me what’s your role?/Wine and dine, always looking fine in the
emperor’s new clothes/Oh gatekeeper don’t try to tell me what you know/I had my ten thousand
hours in about ten thousand hours ago.”

Elsewhere on “House On Fire” and the gorgeous “Gone” Cain’s virtuosic Stratospheric solos reach new heights.

Cain has a blindingly fast technique on guitar and that’s a no brainer but as evidenced On Gone and Crazy, vocally he more than gets it done.

The SRV influenced instrumental “A Short, Furious Goodbye,” which ends the album is absolutely killer. Next Stop shows Cain as a confident artist with superb guitar “hero” chops.

This year he will be performing with his excellent band in the US, Canada, UK &
Spain.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, musician, Post Media contributor, Juno Awards Judge and former tv and radio host.

Twitter https://twitter.com/emmsreviews

28
Apr
22

BROCK DAVIS-A SONG WAITING TO BE SUNG-REVIEW JOHN EMMS

This is a hell of a good album made with Nashville’s top session players.

Can’t Get Enough of You with the huge wash of Michael B Hicks organic Hammond B3 and the gorgeous title track are superb.

Davis’ vocals are solid and inspiring on the ballads Your One and Only Life and the gorgeous acoustic Second Time Around.

However I could not find any videos of Davis playing live on YouTube and that is very strange.

There are a few regular videos made a few years back but that’s it

If your going to go out with a big sounding album as this is there should be some live stuff up there.

Other standouts include I Don’t Want To Be That Guy and the excellent and Bullets and Blood.

Let’s see some of these songs and Brock live.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, Juno Awards Judge, musician with Canada’s Blues Rockers THE SHAFTMEN and former radio and tv host, as well as a Post Media free lance columnist

Twitter

12
Apr
22

RONNIE EARL AND THE BROADCASTERS-MERCY ME-REVIEW BY JOHN EMMS

The Luxury of being Ronnie Earl is not having to rely on a career of being tied to a certain decade or time period.

Mercy Me his latest album sounds timeless because the emotional center is still the sound of his guitar.

The album especially on the instrumentals has a unique power of oneness.

The beauty of the instrumental songs Soul Searching, A Prayer For Tomorrow with piano man Anthony Geraci and Blues For Duke Robillard are really at the heart of Earl and the band.

On these songs the playing and band dynamics are almost spiritual.

The 12-song album features the absolute killer work of Dave Limina on piano and Hammond B3.

Diane Blue is a great vocalist and gets it down and earthy on the chestnut Please Send Me Somebody To Love while Mark Earley, baritone sax and Mario Perrett, tenor sax are featured on the album and blow solos on the Dave Mason cover Only You Know and I Know

Forrest Padgett on drums, and Paul Kochanski on electric and upright bass. guitar keep the groove harnessed while Earl and Limina explore.

The cover of Higher and Higher (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) is in Diane Blue’s R & B wheelhouse and differs from both the widely known Jackie Wilson and Rita Coolidge versions.

Elsewhere Earl covers the John Coltrane classic Alabama possibly one of most emotional jazz songs of all time in his own inspiring take.

This album is quite different than 2020’s Rise Up but will satisfy Earl’s audience in a big way.

Ronnie Earl and The Broadcasters will release Mercy Me, his 14th album in partnership with Stony Plain Records and his 28th career album April 15th 2022.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, musician, Post Media contributor, Juno Awards Judge and also works with The Toronto Blues Society.

John Emms Twitter

02
Apr
22

HOROJO TRIO-SET THE RECORD-OUTSTANDING SOULFUL DEBUT

HOROJO TRIO’S debut album Set The Record is a gorgeous fusion of R & B, Contemporary Blues, and in the end just damn good Rock n’ Roll.

An album by an Ottawa Canada trio that has an International roots feel deep in it’s grooves.

Heck did I mention the 11 track 39 minute album is very addictive?

Okay now you know!

Jeff Rogers the piano playing lead vocalist has a voice somewhere between Boz Scaggs and Robert Cray that can be playful, soulful and in the case of the ballad The Night a very Leon Russell emotional center.

Rogers tears it up on the opening track Man of Steel driven by the groove of drummer Jamie Holmes and the organic guitar sound of JW-Jones.

This is followed by the very radio friendly A Little Goes a Long Way produced by Steve Strongman.

If the above mentioned song is not a hit on any roots radio in North America then something is wrong.

Things get Neville Brothers funky on the Title Track and Hard As I Can has a crisp Cooper Brothers Pop/R & B feel with a great Jones solo and fills.

It should be motioned that veteran Ottawa songwriter Dick Cooper co-wrote 9 out of 11 songs with the band.

Elsewhere, Stay Crazy would not sound out of place on a Los Lobos album and is beautifully sung by Rogers.

Something You Should Know locks in again via the killer stick work of Holmes and the stinging Albert King attack of Jones’ fluid guitar.

The album ends with Real Deal an all out rocker that breaks down into a blues middle before swinging for the fences.

Exciting, distinctive and contemporary this debut can’t miss!

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist/Post Media contributor, musician, and Juno Awards Judge.

Twitter https://twitter.com/emmsreviews

27
Mar
22

JUST A SEASON-LEAVE TO COME HOME-REVIEW JOHN EMMS

Just A Season’s third album Leave to Come Home has a gorgeous cohesion that stands it apart from a lot of new albums

Opening with You’re Gonna Be Okay into the life affirmation of the title track over to the “Jessica” Allman Brothers feel of She’s The One there is an alt country band vibe that rings throughout.

Queen of the Underground has a Wilco/early Blue Rodeo vibe that would kill at radio while That Sunday Sound has sweet 70’s feel with a great slide guitar outro.

The album ends with the majestic almost gospel feel of Anything You Want simply one of the best songs I’ve heard this year.

Americana or Canuck essence Scott Smith and his band are sounding fresh and vibrant

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, Post Media contributor, musician, and former radio and tv host

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27
Mar
22

DUKE ROBILLARD BAND-THEY CALLED IT RHYTHM & BLUES-REVIEW BY JOHN EMMS

-“The Real Thing Accept No Substitute”

When you have great musicianship and friends chances are when you make an album it will come out joyous

They Called It Rhythm & Blues by The Duke Robillard Band is the real R & B, an album with heaping amounts of special sauce

Check out No Good Lover Featuring Sue Foley, the brash exciting Tell Me Why featuring Kim Wilson and Sugar Ray Norcia blowing hard on Rambler Blues.

Turn it Up I dare you!!!!

You can be professional and Duke and the gang are but when the pros have fun look out.

Chris Cote the band’s vocalist sings the hell out of The Way You Do, In The Wee Wee Hours and Here I’m Is

If that isn’t enough how about John Hammond singing Howlin’ Wolf’s No Place To Go…WOW WOW

Duke’s band is hotter than hell and this is the real thing accept no substitute

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, POST MEDIA contributor, musician and Juno Awards Judge

JOHN EMMS TWITTER

JOHN EMMS is a Veteran music journalist, Musician, Post Media Contributor, Juno Awards Judge and former radio and tv host

06
Mar
22

REVIEW KENNY BLUES BOSS WAYNE-BLUES FROM CHICAGO TO PARIS-A Tribute to Memphis Slim and Willie Dixon

Let’s Face it Kenny Blues Boss Wayne is one hell of an entertainer and his new opus Blues From Chicago to Paris: A Tribute to Memphis Slim and Willie Dixon a 17-track album is a clear winner

It’s so damn natural you simply turn it up and groove to it’s straight forward clean no frills style.

Tracks like the 7 minute plus New Way To Love or the 3 minute pleaser Ain’t Gonna Be Your Money Man are so cool Otis Spann would approve

Bassist Russell Jackson and drummer Joey Di Marco and Wayne can’t miss on the The Way She Loves a Man and Somebody Tell That Woman and Don’t Let the Music Die which are all superb gems and a total joy

You Need This

John Emms is a veteran music journalist, musician, Post Media Contributor and Juno Awards Judge

18
Oct
21

ALEX BIRD & THE JAZZ MAVERICKS YOU ARE THE LIGHT AND THE WAY-“THE NEW COOL”REVIEW BY JOHN EMMS

On You Are The Light and The Way Alex Bird & The Jazz Mavericks prove through musicality and improvisation that 12 new original songs sound familiar enough as to suggest they belong in a new version of The Great American Songbook.

Call it “The New Cool” if you will.

Ewen Farncombe (piano-B-3) and Bird write the songs that blend into a melting pot which is both richly melodic and economic.

The bravest investment has to be the string quartet employed with Bird’s stunning vocal on Where The Blackbird Sings.

If that was not enough check out the fills via the sax and clarinet work by Jacob Gorzhaltsan here and throughout the album.

Fool For Love with nods to Nat King Cole and Tony Bennett brims warmly over the bed of Farncombe’s B-3 organ and Bird and Gorzhaltsa’s interplay. It’s a definite live set crowd pleaser as is the wildy Mel Torme inspired My Cutie Pie

Elsewhere the title track puts Bird’s unique killer voice upfront in a Bobby Darin type way while Old Soul swings madly behind a 4 piece horn section and Eric West’s excellent drumming and Leighton Harrell’s consistent bass work.

Sophisticated and beautifully recorded the album shines especially on revealing and intimate songs such as Tell Me It’s You (gorgeous solo by Farncombe) and the organic Sittin’ By My Lonesome.

Original and daring the possibilities of Bird and the Jazz Mavericks to be true stylists is wide open.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, musician and contributor to Post Media, The Juno Awards and Toronto Blues Society

on Twitter


ALBUM DUE OUT NOV 5TH 2021

https://twitter.com/emmsreviews?lang=en

05
Aug
21

Steve Marriner Sean Chambers, Tito Jackson-REVIEWS JOHN EMMS

First things… with a torn rotator cuff and dislocated shoulder it was hard to type or put on a guitar.

Still rehabbing for sure.  But that should explain the last 4 months of inactivity with reviews

 On with the gig

Steve Marriner-Hope Dies Last-Passion is hard to explain but everyone knows it when they hear it.

On Hope Dies Last Steve Marriner takes 10 well penned songs that show gritty musicianship and soul and let’s it fly. 

Check out the rock urban mix of Take Me to the City and the inside the gut punch of Somethin’ Somethin which just also happens to be a sure fire radio song.

Damn it the track also features a killer pedal steel solo and great background soul vocals by some fine sounding ladies.

How High features Jimmy Bowskill and Glenn Milchem and the video was filmed at The Carmeron House just in case it wasn’t already cool enough. 

Elsewhere Coal Mine shines and the funky Petite Danse would come Dr. John approved.

Also check out Honey Bee a Tom Petty cover that has tons of swagger,

Long Way Down ends the album in a sombre reflective feel.

It’s important to know this is NOT a MonkeyJunk album or reflective of his road dawg work with so many other artists.

It’s just a respected solo artist/musician feeling it and playing it for you.

Love it.

Sean Chambers-That’s What I’m Talkin About-Tribute to Hubert Sumlin

Wow, this simply kicks butt.

From the opening monster riffage of Chunky to the growling Rockin Daddy or the fantastic gem Hidden Charms Chambers and his band are lean and mean.

Put this cd on at a barbecue and watch people start to groove.

Tito Jackson-Under Your Spell-Legendary guitarist Tito Jackson yes that Jackson from the Jackson 5 blows it out of the water on his blues debut album due out August 6 2021

If that was not enough Stevie Wonder, Joe Bonamassa and Kenny Neal and a ton of others guest.

But make no mistake this is Tito J all the way as songwriter, guitarist and bandleader along with the killer talent of Micheal K Jackson. 

Wheels Keep Turning gets the groove on and the title track features Joe B on slide.

Dyin’ Over Here, Love One Another and That Kind of Love are punchy straight forward songs that beg for repeated airplay.

George Benson guests on the B.B. King nugget Rock Me Baby and Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff wrote

All In the Family Blues for Tito.

Damn it this is real fine stuff.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran published music journalist, musician, Juno Awards Judge and former radio host

 JOHN ON TWITTER

25
Mar
21

ALEC FRASER JR-ON THE WINGS OF THE WIND-“TROUBADOUR” REVIEW JOHN EMMS

Big time Bassist, award winning producer, blues man and yes now Troubadour on his first official solo album.

On the Wings of the Wind Fraser’s new album is a beautiful collection of introspective songs.

Songs like Ocean of Emotions, My Father’s Ashes and the title track bear likeable dependable changes and melodies.

Don’t Cry For Me featuring a great fiddle solo and fills from Chris Bartos would sound great on any roots radio format.

In addition Terlingua Night a gentle rolling song featuring Jimmy Bowskill on mandolin works magic.

Considering his many musical hats as a producer and engineer his productions and bass work have won 23 awards worldwide

However it’s no stretch to say the inclusion of any of these songs at a gig would be very welcome.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, Musician, Sun Media contributor, Juno Awards Judge and former radio and television host

john emms (@emmsreviews) / Twitter




May 2022
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