Author Archive for john emms



20
Apr
18

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

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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

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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

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