Archive Page 2



When I first heard Cream’s album Disraeli Gears and Johnny Winter’s Second Winter I was over the top a huge Blues-Rock fan.

I had already purchased Blues Breakers with John Mayall and B.B. King’s Live At The Regal so I did have some experienced listening

Don’t get me wrong, I was also a fan of The Beatles, and Rolling Stones.

But it’s safe to say I went backwards to get the real stuff from Muddy Waters, more B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf and Albert King to name a few.

This year I want to include some 2017 albums with the 2018 albums.

Some albums I received late. These include Layla Zoe’s fantastic double album Gemini and Chris O’ Leary’s superb new album 7 Minutes Late, which I cannot stop playing.

No particular order, here is my required listens in the Blues/Blues rock genre.

Colin James-Miles To Go-Mostly covers and one of the best recorded albums I own. Punchy, superb clean mix with guest artist the Mighty Steve Marriner. Fave tracks One More Mile, 40 Light Years and Soul of a Man.

Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa-Black Coffee-Don’t even think about not having this baby. Superb vocals, killer guitar work, excellent production and great song selection.

Billy F. Gibbons-The Big Bad Blues-A stunning return and a highlight of 2018 this will blow you right out of the water. My Baby She Rocks, sizzling cover of Bring It to Jerome and killer production and superb feel

Jack De Keyzer-Checkmate-Blues album of covers that sizzles like the band is playing in your front room. One of the top 5 blues albums in North America in 2018.  De Keyzer’s guitar work is inventive and the band sticks to him like glue. Stranger Blues, Broke Down Engine Blues and All Your Love are big. Otis Rush is smiling somewhere!!!!

Kenny Wayne Shepard Band-Lay It On Down-Wow, this feels like a classic roots album but with soul, blues and R & B mixed in. Fave tracks Diamonds and Gold, the rock ballad vibe of the title track and the explosive Baby Got Gone.

Downchild Blues Band-Something I’ve Done- From 2017. Superb arrangements, well written songs and a great add to their extensive catalog. Can’t Get Mad At You has a Dutch Mason feel, Albany Albany is crisp and punchy and the title track swings like mad. A Must have!!!

Buddy Guy-The Blues is Alive and Well-82 years and still the master. It’s safe to say BG’s albums of the last 15 years are simply killer. This is produced so well, Guy and the band are on top of it. Check out Keith Richards and Jeff Beck on Cognac

JW-Jones Live-This cd is in my vehicle, on my stereo and on download. Check my original full review on this site.. Love it.

Sean Chambers-Welcome To My Blues-Chambers and his band are Loaded for Bear and this album again shows why he is known as a superb guitar man among other players. Cherry Red Wine, Black Eyed Suzie and One More Night To Ride are just the tip of this excellent release.

Rocky Athas-Shakin’ The Dust- From 2017. Athas’ guitar work is monsterous and loaded with soulful tone.  A standout with John Mayall or on his own, RA and his excellent band blast off with Dictator and You Pushed Me Too Far but check out the excellent ballad Time Flies.

Joe Bonamassa-Redemption-This is the best I have heard JB sing. The songwriting is really up there and the guitar work is total swagger.. Boom Boogie for sure!!!

Bernard Allison- Let It Go-So glad this makes my top list. It’s hard to think of an album that has this much variety and soul in the playing and the songwriting.

Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar-Run To Me-More R & B then blues but so good and in the pocket it’s crazy.

Ronnie Earl and The Broadcasters-The Luckiest Man. See my original review of this 2017 gem.

George Thorogood-Party of One-Back to 2017. An organic gem where GW does solo acoustic and some electric one man stuff. Astounding

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist for over 30 years. John is a singer-songwriter and fronts up blues roots rockers THE SHAFTMEN

The Timmins Daily Press/Post Media is a mainstay and John is on Twitter





There is still great rock n’ roll being made.

These ten tracks are essential from 2018

I know what you are saying it’s all been done before.

You’re right.

If you are into good songs, here’s 10

These tracks are not in any particular order.

The Trews-  Leave it Alone. From the album Civilianaires-Power, killer hooks and great vocals. Wow.

Paul McCartney-C’Mon To Me-Nobody saw this coming. Macca rocks it down. From the album Egypt Station.

Father John Misty-Mr Tillman-Possibly one of the best new songwriters in the last 5 years.  From the album God’s Favorite Customer…Love it

The Arkells-Hand Me Downs. Is there a better live and songwriting band then these guys? Don’t think so-From the album Rally Cry

Elvis Costello and the Imposters-Under Lime-From the album Look Now. This track is as potent as his early material.

Tribe Royal-Holding On-Wow., simply gorgeous track. Like a throwback of Big Star meets the pop side of Sloan-From the EP The Road to Muscle Shoals.

Marcus King Band-Where I’m Headed-The best new musicians are few and Marcus is on the short list. An astounding guitarist and killer band.-From the album Carolina Confessions.

Liam Gallagher-I’m All I Need-Love this track which was released in 2018, but the album As You Were came out in 2017. Killer!!!!

Arctic Monkeys-Anyways-Straight out of a John Lennon solo album sound. OMG for sure. The b side of their new single 2018

Paul Weller-Mayfly-The acoustic side of the Modfather. Superb track from the album True Meanings.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist. Freelance music guy for Timmins Daily Press/Post Media.  Singer, songwriter and guitarist with Canada’s Blues Rockers THE SHAFTMEN

JOHN is on Twitter



Ray Bonneville writes great songs and the 11 songs on his new album At King Electric features songs that are like short films.

That says a lot considering he never started writing songs till his early forties.

Waiting on the Night and the shuffle of Next Card to Fall put you in Bonneville’s cinematic scope.

Electric piano player Richie Lawrence makes a huge impression throughout the album and Bonneville’s voice on Codeine and The Day they Let Me Out is almost in the room with you.

Haunting Americana from a Canadian in the best possible way.

Cary Morin can do it all by myself and the Montana born picker does on a lot of that on his new album When I Rise.

However he kills with a full band on the Grateful Dead cover Dire Wolf, Carmela Marie and electric whip of Jug Of Water.

It makes you want to hear more of him in this context.

Elsewhere the title track, the gorgeous Devoted One and the excellent track Sometimes are just standout acoustic songs.

Sean Chambers’ new album Welcome To My Blues is just flat out great electric blues.

Out of the gate the title track grabs you in a stranglehold and next up Black Eyed Susie conjures up some Skynyrd type slide mojo.

One More Night To Ride could be in the realm of Walter Trout and You Keep Me Satisfied is Gator-Florida blues rock that is rough and ready as you can get.

Then there is the cover of T-Bone Walker’s All Night Long..


Note that John Ginty on Hammond B-3 and Piano is true blue throughout.

All killer no filler as they used to say!!!!!!!

Rachelle Coba has got soul. She rolls you, she rocks you and on Blink her second album she pulls out all the stops.

High and Dry gets it done, No Deals kicks the Devil’s ass and You Stole My Soul, and the title track are both examples of superb R & B songwriting.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, Post Media contributor, and singer-songwriter with Canuck Blues Rockers THE SHAFTMEN




JW-JONES LIVE showcases an artist and his band who are not afraid to take blues in new directions while still retaining the original vibe of the masters.

Opening with Robert Cray’s A Memo (Nothin” But Love) and then letting his guitar do the talking on B.B. King’s Need You So Bad Jones comes off as an authentic blues man.

Having said that even when I first saw him play live with harp player Steve Marriner in the 90’s it was clear Jones’ knowledge and feel for the blues was for real.

His take on Howlin’ Wolf’s Moanin’ at Midnight is direct and brash in Jones’ fierce heavy and distorted solo with a slice of Jimi Hendrix’s Third Stone From The Sun in for good measure.

Don Cummings on Hammond organ adds nice dimensions to the normal trio format.

Think of Cummings work on here as a sublte Al Kooper vibe.

Laura Greenberg (Bassist of the year Maple Blues Awards 2018) and the interesting fills and sturdy stick work of drummer Will Laurin are a complete joy throughout the album.

Other highlights are a crazy good take on Albert King’s You’re Gonna Need Me, the band’s 17 riffs medley to end the album as well the jazz inflected rip on Early Every Morning scaled to an insane height via Jones’ guitar solo.

Texas, Chicago, West Coast Blues all show up on this album while his excellent original work from Belmont Boulevard, High Temperature etc does not.

Do not hesitate to make this album part of your collection.

It’s totally authentic!!!

Album release September 28th 2018

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, columnist with Post Media and singer-songwriter and band leader with Canuck Blues Rockers THE SHAFTMEN




The re-release  of the Joanne Shaw Taylor album Wild proves that Blues Rock is above all about well written songs.

She could play this album live from front to back and it would still kill.

Besides when you check out selected tracks from Gary Moore, Buddy Guy, Foghat, Johnny Winter, Cream, SRV, etc it comes down to how good the songs are.

Sure, Shaw Taylor has great guitar chops but she has become such a good vocalist.

My Heart’s Got a Mind of It’s Own with it’s killer horn charts, I Wish I Could Wish You Back, the slow excellent vibe of Wild Is The Wind and the opening salvo of Dyin’ To Know show off those vocals.

Blues Rock could easily become a major commercial force again.

I put this album up there with Joe Bonamassa’s superb Driving Towards The Daylight as proof.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist,  bandleader with Canadian Blues Rockers THE SHAFTMEN and Post Media contributor.


justin saladino band, sons of rhytmn, steve krase band, angel forrest-cd reviews john emms

Toronto’s Sons of Rhythm debut EP is a consistent, infectious and soulful debut.

The band shows deep respect for the Toronto sound steeped in George Oliver, The Lincolns and Domenic Troiano to name only a few

Six songs including a smoking cover of Allen Toussaint’s Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky and originals like Talkin’ Bout My Baby, the Boz Scaggs vibe of You’ve Got A Friend, and the torrid rockabilly tinged Swing Thing are key.

The acoustic Will I Ever See You Again is nice but seems a bit out of place considering the Jimmy Reed on steroids vibe of the opening track My Time Is Gonna Come.

All songs were written by bassist Mick Maratta and the band is anchored by ace drummer Mike Carbone, the gifted axe work of Federico Luiu guitar and a complete wicked star turn by Keyboard/Sax  player Anthony Brancati.

Whether the band does more original work in the future is anyone’s guess but what a start!!!

Justin Saladino Band A Fools Heart their second album falls into a more rock/roots territory. Tracks like Honey which works a Jack De Keyzer R & B vibe, the slower Memphis sound of Put The Hammer Down and A Fool I’ll Stay which has a kind of Sheepdogs vibe work very well

The band touches a lot of different vibes which include funk and acoustic based material.

You’re gonna like it!

Steve Krase is a crazy good harmonica player but Just Waitin” his new album with his solid band is uneven in a few places.

I have to say I prefer his last album I Should’ve Have Seen It Coming.

On the new album covers of Settin’ the Woods On Fire and the the zydeco bend on The Ballad of Jed Clampett rub me the wrong way.

However, Tracks like Just Waitin’ on My Baby  the J Geils band vibe of Blame It All On Love work great as does the excellent cover of My Baby Walked Off

Great guitar work from David Carter throughout.

Angel Forrest is a top live draw with her great band anywhere across Canada.

That is a fact.

This double live album Electric Love is flat out a mix of very good covers of House of the Rising Sun, Walkin’ Blues and the excellent material of All The Way, Spoil Me Up and the killer track Crucify.

Superb work from the whole band which includes the monster axe work of Ricky Paquette.

Forrest can’t miss!!!

JOHN EMMS is veteran music journalist and Post Media contributor. John is also a bandleader with Canadian Blues Rock/Roots band THE SHAFTMEN …..available worldwide



The Joe Satriani Band in full flight with bassist Bryan Beller drummer Joe Travers and guitarist/keyboard man Mike Keneally (SCAMBOT 2) is something to behold.

In support of his latest album the very accessible What Happens Next and playing before an audience of “Satch” heads at Centre de Congrès Rouyn which seats maybe 1000 people JS and his killer band showed why this group is one of the most dangerous bands on tour.

To put it simply his new material like the hard driving Sci Fi vibing number Catbot, the gorgeous Cherry Blossoms ( a fave among female fans on this night) which Satrani called Cinematic and the explosive Energy fit very well with his classic material.

Satch Boogie and Flying in a Blue Dream came early in set 1 and later his classic fan fave Always With Me, Always With You dedicated to his super fan base of 30 years found Satriani in blissful tone mode.

Satriani is a private but gracious man and even though I was I was attending NOT in my OFFICIAL capacity as freelance music journalist with The Timmins Daily Press we did meet by accident.

Myself and neighbor(Taco Bob) both big fans ran into JS the afternoon and he was more than happy to spend some quality time with us realizing we were humble long time fans.

Of course I was there also to review this show before my summer long official festival shows start in earnest next month

Throughout this show the fans were on fire. Chants of “Joe Joe Joe” rocked the walls and fired up the band to big time dynamics.

The title track What Happens Next and the Hendrix overtones of Super Funky Badass had the crowd on their feet.

I can’t say for sure but maybe instrumental music of this quality is in for a big comeback.

Satriani drew some of the biggest fan response I have witnessed in the Rock genre in many years.

This event was very well run and festival staff were courteous and that goes a long way and YES I would recommend this yearly festival.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, RADIO podcast host and musician.

Catch JOHN on Twitter



Joe Satriani’s musical evolution never gets old.

Simply because it’s always based on killer melody and song structure.

What Happens Next his latest album is a stunning melodic return to his roots of rock with a distinct soulful element.

Recorded with the unique and gifted bassist Glenn Hughes and the powerhouse and at times subtle stickwork of Chad Smith the album breathes deep.

I like to tell my friends “These are songs in the key of Joe” and once we slip this on at a summer get together on the patio heads turn.

Why not?

Even my wife will say who is that?..when the gorgeous melody of Cherry Blossoms  or Santana-esque Smooth Soul is wafting through the summer heat.

If Jimi Hendrix was alive today he would flip for tracks like Super Funky Badass and the lyrical approach to Thunder High On the Mountain and Invisible which both contain some crazy stone cold lock and superior work by Hughes and Smith.

Catbot and the title track show complete different sides of Satriani’s gift for technique and composition.

A Cup of Joe goes a long way morning or night.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist and interviewer with Post Media/Timmins Press

JOHN is also a Songwriter/Vocalist with Canadian Blues/Roots band THE SHAFTMEN


JOE’s current mini Canada tour is now on




Run To Me by Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar contains fantastic slices of deep soul sung gorgeously by Martin and played with groove and finesse by her 10 piece band

For starters if you took equal parts Carla Thomas and Etta James and dropped it smack dab in 2018 you would have an  idea of this great voice.

Not only that but tracks such as Wanna Be Your Lover,  Gonna Find It or Good Trouble are good enough to reference Staple Singers or Otis Redding recordings.

Elsewhere  songs such as Over You and Will We Ever Learn could crossover to pop, soul or R & B audiences in Europe or the USA.

The beauty of this album is that Martin’s voice and the band play with restraint and dynamics instead of blowing it out.


If Martin and this album does not hit big, there is no soul justice!!!!

JOHN ERMMS is a veteran music journalist, songwriter and band leader with THE SHAFTMEN




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

March 2021