Author Archive for john emms



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

JOHN TWITTER

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20
Feb
18

CRYSTAL SHAWANDA-VOODOO WOMAN-TURNING UP THE HEAT..ON CLASSIC BLUES/SOUL

Everybody and their dog has made a blues covers album.

Having said that Shawanda is an known as an excellent country singer and vocalist and until 5 years ago country is where she hung her hat

It’s not her first foray into blues  (2014 and 2016) and nor will it be her last.

Having said that Shawanda can easily do another country album or Indigenous music.

She is unlikely to go fully into the territory of blues/soul belters  such as Susan Tedeschi or Sue Foley or the volcanic style of Layla Zoe, or Finnish powerhouse Ina Forsman

What makes Crystal Shawanda’s Voodoo Woman different is that her soulful voice and the sheer depth of feel is right off the floor powerful.

Her take on Ball and Chain and Hound Dog known from big Mama Thornton has a Janis Joplin feel, and her own original Trouble track is a real dandy.

Her cover of Koko Taylor’s Voodoo Woman has a blues rock feel as opposed to Taylor’s funky original or Susan Tedeschi’s  blues roots cover.

Fave track has to be Misty Blue. Aching and gorgeous this could be a radio add anywhere.

The musicianship on this album is absolute killer.

And without a doubt Crystal can sing it out with emotion.

JOHN EMMS is a musician, songwriter for blues roots rockers THE SHAFTMEN

http://theshaftmen.com/home.htm

JOHN is also a Post Media contributor and freelance music journalist.

John’s Twitter page

26
Jan
18

JIM CUDDY CONSTELLATION “CONFESSIONAL SONGS AND THE HUMAN NARRATIVE SHINE THROUGH’ CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

On sheer musicality and composition Jim Cuddy’s new solo album Constellation is a Home Run.

If you mix the in the emotion and reflection that shines throughout, it’s a Grand Slam.

The sweet spot comes early with the killer bridge on the opening track  While I Was Waiting bursting into Colin Cripp’s atmospheric guitar solo.

Jimmy Bowskill’s mandolin work and Steve O’ Connor’s piano lends a mid period Byrd’s like vibe to Where You Gonna Run.

However, the real honesty and soul of Cuddy’s songwriting comes through with the ballads Constellations and You Be The Leaver.

Both songs about loss are gut punch reflective yet reveal a theme of carrying on.

Through the album  Cuddy’s ear for the human narrative is front and centre.

It’s remarkable that songs like the excellent uptempo Hands on the Glass (check out the bridge on this baby), Cold, Cold Wind with Oh Susanna including solos by Anne Lindsay, Bowskill and outro with Cripps have a gorgeous stereo mix.

The ballad Roses At Your Feet  and the rollicking groove of Things Left Unsaid close the album.

Co-produced by Cuddy and Cripps with engineer Tim Vesely I have to say right now it’s very possible this recording may even sound better on the vinyl copy which is also available.

The musicianship on this album bolsters how good the songwriting is and that is never a bad thing folks.

Cuddy continues to evolve this late in his career and we are along for the ride!

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist and contributor with Post Media.

JOHN also fronts up Canadian Blues rockers THE SHAFTMEN

http://www.theshaftmen.com/home.htm

 

 

01
Dec
17

PETER PARCEK- EVERYBODY WANTS TO GO TO HEAVEN-“ATMOSPHERIC BLUES DELUXE’ CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

Peter Parcek creates an entire album full of prime atmospheric blues on his latest album Everybody Wants to Go To Heaven

Excellent star turns from the great Luther Dickinson, Mickey Raphael and legendary keyboard man Spooner Oldham are very cool.

Yet it’s the covers of Blind Lemon Jefferson’s See that My Grave is Kept Clean and Parcek’s very different take on the title track written by Don Nix that create a big buzz.

Elsewhere Parcek goes instrumental on Every Drop of Rain and Pat Hare with good results but it’s his own Things Fall Apart that comes up aces.

Excellent work from producer and drummer Marco Giovino on keeping the whole album tucked in tight and focused.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist and Sun and  Post Media music contributor

JOHN  also heads up Canadian Blues Rockers THE SHAFTMEN

30
Nov
17

BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION “INTELLIGENT HARD ROCK AND MUCH MORE” CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

From the count in on the opening track Collide with it’s gut level mojo set to stun and over to the closing mid tempo versatility of When The Morning Comes BCC have created an intelligent modern day rock classic with BCCIV.

If you want to call Over My Head radio friendly then go ahead. With Glenn Hughes’ memorable vocals at times hitting a falsetto on the chorus, a superb bridge and a quick harmony guitar solo by Joe Bonamassa it makes the case for radio.

In 2017 or at any other time Over My Head  would be considered an instant rock radio add, simple as that!

The Celtic/Zep  influence of Bonamassa’s The Last Song For My Resting Place and his  mid song guitar solo is electrifying.

In fact it should be said right here that Bonamassa’s guitar work on this album is totally in the pocket while being improvised.

A total joy.

Along with producer Kevin Shirley this is a team effort by all concerned and should be noted.

For example throughout the album drummer Jason Bonham’s power and groove hits an all time high. Just check out the chops on The Crow and the already mentioned Collide.

Elsewhere Keyboard man Derek Sherinian is the weld on all the material. Whether it’s  his chops on the superb 7 minute power of Wanderlust, or the  introspective mood he creates on When The Morning Comes, Sherinian is the glue.

Again, on the individual and collective side it’s hard to believe bassist and and lead vocalist Glenn Hughes can be hitting his peak this far into his career.

But folks it’s a fact.

His soul and vocal power on tracks such as The Cove, The Crow, and Love Remains is mind blowing.

When you have four musicians at this level creating, giving, and exploring their musicianship and most importantly committed you have excellence.

Of course throughout the opus BCC wears the influence of Blues Rock, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin proudly.

Folks this is one hell of a ride.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, Sun and Post Media contributor, former radio host and musician with Canadian blues rockers THE SHAFTMEN.

JOHN is on Twitter

19
Nov
17

KEVIN BREIT/JOHNNY GOLDTOOTH & THE CHEVY CASANOVAS- PSYCHO TWANG LIVES -CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

“Psycho Twang” in full heat is the best way to describe Kevin Breit’s wacky and brilliant new instrumental album Johnny Goldtooth and the Chevy Casanovas.

If you can’t smile when you hear I Got “Em Too, and Knee High Fizzle, then you are not having a laugh.

The harmonic sparkle of Breit’s guitar solos and string poppin is in full bloom on the opener Chevy Casanova and the spaghetti western soundtrack vibe of Dr Lee Van Cleef which Clint Eastwood would certainly approve

A lot of the tracks are Zappa cool with bass clarinet, upright bass, some organ swirls and the guest spots from the great Davide De Renzo (Tom Cochrane) on drums and sax work from Vincent Henry.

Don’t go on a Crime Holler folks, but the select tour dates tour throughout Canada over the next few months will be a great evening out.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, Sun and Post Media contributor and musician . John rocks THE BLUES with THE SHAFTMEN

http://www.theshaftmen.com/home.htm

09
Nov
17

RONNIE EARL AND THE BROADCASTERS-THE LUCKIEST MAN-“DEEP BLUES FAITH” BY JOHN EMMS

Great playing, good taste and a deep faith stacked high in the blues spills out generously on Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters intimate new album The Luckiest Man.

The reliable smooth Chicago texture of Southside Stomp a staple feel on any Earl and the Broadcasters album is set against the deep warmth of Jim’s Song written and performed by Earl for the memory of bandmate and bassist Jim Mouradian.

Vocalist Diane Blue throws out excellent phrasing and soul on Heartbreak (It’s Killing Me) and just kills on Never Gonna Break My Faith surrounded by supple chops from Dave Limina on Hammond B-3 and Earl’s guitar solos and fills

Personally speaking Sugar Ray Norcia’s song Long Lost Conversation is total blues bliss with Earl and The Bluetones.

It is magic pure and simple.

That song is followed by the gorgeous and soulful Sweet Miss Vee written by Earl.

A cover of Reverend Gary Davis’ Death Don’t Have No Mercy goes deeper than deep in true Davis Piedmont tradition.

You better believe Earl and the Broadcasters are digging deep on this recording.

Ain’t That Loving You?

Amen!

THIS CD is available on NOVEMBER 17th worldwide.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist and musician. John is also a Sun and Post Media contributor.

You can also find John on Twitter




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