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Supersonic Blues Machine: West of Flushing, South of Frisco Review

February 11th, 2016

superSupersonic Blues Machine, formed by bassist and vocalist Fabrizio Grossi, and drummer Kenny Aronoff with guitarist Lance Lopez, has just set out on their maiden voyage with their release West Of Flushing South Of Frisco. In addition to the already stellar line up, the release features guest performances by Billy Gibbons, Walter Trout, Warren Haynes, Robben Ford, Eric Gales and Chris Duarte making this super group even “more super.”

If you are familiar with Lance Lopez’s music then you know that this album is all about hard driving southern rock and blues based riffs. The album opens with the southern rock inflected “Miracle Man.” All the Lopez penned tracks are strong but here he shows off his knack for great hooks. In the right hands (or wrong hands depending on your point of view) the hooks are catchy enough to find a home on country radio. But don’t be alarmed. He follows up with the minor key grooving “I Ain’t Falling Again” and from that point on, the album just burns the entire farm to the ground.

The guest artists all put their unique stamp on their perspective tracks. Billy Gibbon’s “Running Whiskey” could be a lost ZZ Top track and “Remedy” with Warren Haynes would sound at home on a Gov’t Mule record. Both Chris Duarte and Eric Gales give empassioned performances. The ballad “Let’s Call It A Day” is a perfect vehicle for the legendary Robben Ford and shows him at this melodic best. He and Lance even do a little harmony work on the intro as well as near the end of the track.

West of Flushing, South of Frisco is a total treat for the those of us who crave great hard driving blues based rock and ear frying guitar playing. The core of Supersonic Blues Machine of Lopez, Grossi, and Aronoff have nothing to prove. They could easly have carried the entire project themselves. The guest stars are just icing on an already very tasty cake.

The Review: 9.5/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Miracle Man
– Running Whiskey
– I Ain’t Falling Again
– Nightmares and Dreams
– That’s My Way

The Big Hit

– Remedy

Leslie West: Soundcheck Review

November 24th, 2015

west soundcheckFor his sixteenth solo album, Soundcheck, Leslie West, gives us his take on some of the coolest blues, rock, country, and traditional music from the past one hundred years. This well chosen set demonstrates that Leslie West’s monstrous guitar tone and crushing voice are still going strong. Soundcheck is raw and ballsy and a fun listen from start to finish.

The record opens with the slide guitar drenched blues rocker “Left By the Roadside to Die.” This sets the tone (pun intended) for what’s to come. Other highlights include West’s lick trading with Queen’s Brian May on the rowdy standard “Goin’ Down” (which also features Bonnie Bramlett and Bobby Whitlock).  Also of note is the acoustic guitar instrumental “Stern Warning,” an original that he penned for his longtime friend Howard Stern. One of the real surprises on this record is the Leslie West/Peter Frampton collaboration on the singalong  “You Are My Sunshine.” They replace the familiar major key sing-songy melody and give it a minor key treatment. This ends up being one of the most interesting tracks on the record. Other fun covers include the Gretchen Wilson hit “Here for the Party” and the Willie Dixon penned “Spoonful” featuring the late Jack Bruce on vocals and bass. Also of note is an instrumental take on the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” that’s played by band bassist Rev Jones.

Considering a career that dates back to the Vagrants in the late 1960s, hard rock titans Mountain during the 1970s, and a legendary solo career that has spanned five decades, Soundcheck is an excellent addition to the Leslie West catalog and legend. If you haven’t checked out what Leslie has been up to lately this Soundcheck is a great place to start.

The Review: 8.5/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Goin’ Down
– You Are My Sunshine
– Spoonful
– Here For The Party
-Left By The Roadside To Die
The Big Hit

-Left By The Roadside To Die

 

Dirty Streets: White Horse Review

October 27th, 2015

whiteFor those of you who have been lamenting that there is no “good music” out there, let not your hearts be troubled. Dirty Streets are here to wipe away your tears. Their brand new record due out November, 2015 called White Horse is a collection of 11 rock and roll tracks that will make you swear that you’ve been transported back to 1970. Get out your lava lamp, throw on your cleanest dirty tie dye and fire up some incense so the folks won’t get a wiff.

White Horse from the Memphis power trio of Thomas Storz, Justin Toland, and Andrew Denham, feels like a natural progression from their last record, Blades of Grass, which had the boys experimenting a bit with keyboards and such. Here they just simply bust out the jams.  They describe their sound as proto-punk but do not let that fool you.  White Horse is some of the best rock and roll you will hear this year.  The production is lean and mean. All the sounds are very warm and natural. The vocals and guitar work are soulful and the bass and drums lay down one tastey groove after another.

White Horse opens with the sing along “Save Me” and the boys keep things rocking hard until we get to the acoustic country-soul of “The Voices.” The only other a brief respite from the ear bleeding is the psychodelic and very melodic “Dust” where the Streets reference the “Hey Joe” bass line.  The rest of the record is one catchy, grooving, guitar driven track after another.

While some may try to marginalize  Dirty Streets as some sort of revival act, there is no denying the passion and excellent songwriting craft here.  If you like your rock and roll down and dirty saddle up and take a ride on the White Horse.

The Review: 9/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Save Me
– Looking For My Peace
– White Horse
– Think Twice
– Good Pills

The Big Hit

– Save Me

Review by Lou Lombardi

The Sheepdogs: Future Nostalgia Review

October 16th, 2015

the sheepdogsLet’s step into Mr. Peabody’s Wayback Machine forFuture Nostalgia the latest from Saskatoon’s The Sheepdogs. We will set the dial for the late 1960s to early ’70s and just cruise, while The Sheepdogs straddle the difficult line between nostalgia and being original.

This time around frontman Ewan Currie along with engineer Matt Ross-Spang handled the production duties. The aptly titled Future Nostalgia delivers 18 classic rock inspired tracks. The signature guitar and vocal harmonies which have been a Sheepdog staple from the beginning remain firmly intact throughout.

It’s hard to pick favorites on such a great record. The rocking opening track “I’m Gonna Be Myself” has a catchy lyrical hook and Jimmy Page-esque guitar work.  The Sheepdogs follow up with the guitar harmony drenched chorus of “I Really Wanna Be Your Man” and each subsequent track opens new vistas of sound in the “neo-classic rock” arena. Finally there is suite of six tracks that close the album. These gems are strung together like side two of Abbey Road. It’s a fitting conclusion to an album that owes so much to the music of that era.

It’s easy to  listen to this album over and over. Each song has something of value; hooks that won’t let you go and very warm production that beckons the listener to come back for seconds and thirds. Don’t be shy. By all means, help yourself to as much Future Nostalgia as you like.

The Review: 9.5/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– I’m Gonna Be Myself
– Back Down
– Giving It Up For My Baby
– Help Us All
– I Really Wanna Be Your Man

The Big Hit

– I Really Wanna Be Your Man

Robert Cray: 4 Nights of 40 Years Live Review

October 15th, 2015

crayRobert Cray has been recording his unique style of soulful blues for over forty years. That’s over twenty albums and thousands of live performances. 4 Nights of 40 Years is an attempt to present Robert Cray’s career in a fan friendly, three disc package.

The first disc is billed as the “Main Feature.” Recorded last December at several L.A. rehearsal halls and venues, Cray’s current line up of bassist Richard Cousins, drummer Les Falconer and keyboardist Dover Weinberg are augmented by  saxophonist Trevor Lawrence and trumpeter Steve Madio of Paul Butterfiedl and Stevie Wonder fame.  Producer Steve Jordan adds percussion to give the band a full R&B flavor with extra bottom. From the opening track “I Shiver” it’s apparent that both Robert’s voice and guitar work are still as soulful as his fans have come to expect. Guest vocalist Kim Wilson turns in a fine performance on “Wrap It Up,” which was a huge hit for the Fabulous Thunderbirds in 1980s. However, the band stays closer to the 1968 Sam and Dave original, right down to the horn section. Lee Oskar also sits in on “Sitting on Top of the World.”

Disc 2 is the bonus disc and includes performances from the Dutch television show “Countdown” from 1987, and the Robert Cray Band’s set at the 1982 San Francisco Blues Festival. The band was touring behind the Strong Persuader release and this show contains music from that period. Peter Boe on keys and drummer David Olson were the rhythm section for this outing, with Cousins on  bass, Some of the highlights are “Guess I Showed Her,” “Right Next Door,” “Smoking Gun” and “Still Around.” The 1982 tracks feature Warren Rand on alto and Mike Vannice on tenor and organ. “Too Many Cooks” and “T-Bone Shuffle”  from the festival are great examples of what a 28-year-old Robert Cray could do with a Stratocaster even at that early age.

The DVD is a treat for any Robert Cray fan. There is lots of well put together biographical information as well as footage from the 1982 and 1987 shows interspersed throughout the disc, showing the band members discussing the trying times early in their careers. There are interviews with a lot of great musicians, including Buddy Guy, Keith Richards, Jimmie Vaughan, Bonnie Raitt and Eric Clapton. Of particular interest is producer Steve Jordan discussing how Keith Richards introduced him Robert Cray.

All in all 4 Nights of 40 Years is one giant Robert Cray love fest. In addition to the 3 discs there is a full color booklet with some great photos and even more information about Cray’s illustrious career.  The package is a fun retrospective of one of contemporary blues’ most beloved artists and is a must own for all Robert Cray fans.

The Review: 8.5/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Too Many Cooks
– Wrap it Up
– Smoking Gun
– Guess I Showed Her

The Big Hit

– Right Next Door

Joe Bonamassa: Live At Radio City Music Hall Review

October 7th, 2015

blueIn January 2015, Joe Bonamassa took the stage at Radio City Music Hall for the first time for a sold-out, two-night run.  These concerts have been nicely captured on CD and DVD/Blu-Ray and a version will also air this fall on the Palladia HD TV network.

It seems that Joe has been on a mission to record and release a live album from all of his “fantasy” venues.  Live at Radio City Music Hall is live album number eight, and features over 75 minutes of music, including two newly recorded songs, nine unreleased live tracks, over 2.5 hours of live footage, a special 45-minute behind-the-scenes featurette, a 40-page collector’s book with exclusive photos, and a sneak peek into Bonamassa’s childhood home and musical heritage. The package definitely was obviously put together with the afficiando in mind.

These shows were the culmination and the finale of Bonamassa’s special half acoustic/half electric tour, which he showcased around the world for the past year and half. The first set has Bonamassa playing alongside the acoustic band The Huckleberries and features Irish fiddler Gerry O’Connor, Mats Wester on niyckelharpa and mandola, keyboardist Reese Wynans, and percussionist Lenny Castro. He then shifts into electric mode for the second set with his regular touring band of bassist Carmine Rojas, keyboardist Reese Wynans, drummer Tal Bergman, trumpeter Lee Thornburg, trombonist Nick Lane, and saxophonist Paulie Cerra. As one would expect, Joe covers a lot of territory here. The electric set has Joe sporting a slightly brighter guitar tone that seems to work nicely with the “uptown” horn arrangements.  On the acoustic set he gets a bit country-ish with “Trouble Town” and “Still Water.”  The acoustic material is very tuneful and provides a nice dynamic against the high energy electric set.  All in all, Live at Radio City Music Hall is more traditional both on the electric and the acoustic sets but never sacrifices the blistering lead guitar that we have come to expect from Mr. Bonamassa.

I wasn’t sure what to think when I read that J.B. was doing yet another live album.  However, this one has some nice variations on his style and as always the playing is flawless. Live at Radio City Music Hall is a must have for all true Joe Bonamassa fans.

The Review: 9/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– I Can’t be Satisfied
– Trouble Town
– Still Water
– I Gave Up Everything for You
– One Less Cross to Bear

The Big Hit

– One Less Cross to Bear

Review by Lou Lombardi

Buy the album: Amazon

Upcoming UK Tour Dates

Newcastle Metro Arena – Wednesday Oct 21
Liverpool Echo Arena – Friday Oct 23
Leeds First Direct Arena – Saturday Oct 24
Nottingham Capital FM – Arena Sunday Oct 25
Cardiff Motorpoint Arena – Tuesday Oct 27
Bournemouth BIC – Wednesday Oct 28
Brighton Centre – Friday Oct 30
Brighton Centre – Saturday Oct 31

David Gogo: Vicksburg Call Review

September 11th, 2015

davVicksburg Call is the fourteenth album from British Columbia’s David Gogo and  Gogo shows no sign of slowing down. Vicksburg Call is one blistering rocking blues track after another.  The album opens with the power chord rock of “Cuts Me to the Bone.” This sets the tone for the entire record. Speaking of tone, Gogo’s guitar sounds like it’s on fire. His website says that he has recently acquired a new Les Paul but every musician knows that the tone is your hands. Gogo strangles and wrenches every bit of passion, soul, grit and grime from those six strings from start to finish.

Vicksburg Call features some fine blues rock writing. Of note are the title track,  “Vicksburg Call,” the boogie woogie rocker “Coulda Shoulda Woulda” and the hard driving shuffle of “Fooling Myself.” David also has a reputation as “the great interpreter.”  He lives up to that moniker with his renditions of Neil Young’s “The Loner” and the Stephen Stills penned “Jet Set (sigh)” but one of the most interesting tracks on Vicksburg Call is Gogo’s bluesy version of Annie Lennox’s “Why” which closes the album.

Gogos’ rhythm section of Bill Hicks (drums) and Jay Stevens (bass) is solid and gives Gogo lots of room to stretch out both on his Les Paul as well as vocally. Kim Simmonds and Shawn Hall appear as guests to round things out. Vicksburg Call is a solid album from one of Canada’s most electrifying guitarists and should satisfy the anyone one who is hungry for great roots and blues drenched rock.

The Review: 8.5/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– The Loner
– Shoulda Woulda Coulda
– Vicksburg Call
– Cuts Me to the Bone

The Hit

– Cuts Me to the Bone

David Michael Miller Interview – Blues Rock Review.Com

August 31st, 2015

daveRecently, singer-songwriter David Michael Miller gave Blues Rock Review the inside scoop on his journey from singing in church as a child to more recently touring the country with his band. Despite a hiatus several years back, the guitarist feels a pull to the blues scene that’s as strong as ever. With a sound that might be best described as “modern traditional,” the release of his second solo album is no doubt, anticipated.

Take us to the beginning – how did you get started with music?

You know, it started in the church for me. I was raised up with half my family [being] Pentecostal with Protestant circles on the other side, [who were] a little bit more conservative. So, I had those two worlds, which was interesting. My grandpa on the one side was an Evangelist. You have some pretty wild stuff happening there – I remember going to tent meetings and revivals. But, growing up singing in church, that’s what I remember from the little age. I was singing on my grandpa’s radio show at four, just singing spiritual hymns and choruses and that’s how it got started.

You have an interesting story because you started getting into music very seriously and then you stopped, right? You took a break?

Yeah, there [were] a couple of starts and stops. One is when I was a young man in high school [playing] in bands. Then in college I was looking to do music, trying to figure that out and did an internship in Nashville at a large distribution company that at the time owned some studios and I was having a hard time seeing myself in the industry. I mean I just saw it as kind of… for the lack of a better word, corrupt. I guess it seemed to be ruled by businessmen and I was trying to find the art in it. So I ended up getting married young and that was my first detour really; a…major detour where I kind of put that on a back shelf and worked every job I could to help support this young family that were starting out. [I was] trying to figure all that out and worked my way through it and eventually got more and more involved in the church and became involved musically in church. [I became] a worship leader and had a worship team on Sunday mornings. Then I did a small album but was it was more focused to a Christian audience. It was nothing commercial – that wasn’t really the focus. The focus was work. I started building a tech company doing software design and had folks working for me and we did a lot of fun stuff. Music was always kind of on the side or the back burner, you know what I mean? It wasn’t the focus. It wasn’t really until two years ago where I had gotten out of running my own business [when it became the focus]. I went to work for somebody else for six years [and] that was going well and then they went though some change. All the people that hired me were let go and then my day was not long after that. My whole team got wiped out then I was like, “What do I want to do? Do I really want to do this, or do I want to do what’s always been this passion of love that I’ve always had?” And that’s really [what] the last few years were like. We were just working as hard as we could and put out a great product and did some incredible shows trying to figure out how to lift this rocket off the ground.

So you are essentially a new artist even though you have been a musician for a very, very long time in the industry.

I would say so, yes. I would consider myself a new artist.

You have two solo records out – Poisons Sipped and Same Soil. You have a very wide range of things that you are able to accomplish vocally. This is one of the things that I really enjoy about your music, it doesn’t matter what setting you are getting into, you are able to just vocally, completely command it. Tell me about your vocal influences.

Growing up, it was listening to gospel music. I listened to a wide range of stuff but I remember listening to Andrae Crouch and BeBe and CeCe Winans and some great gospel music. But I remember hearing on the radio R&B and soul and everything from Motown all the way up through. I remember listening to Ray Charles, B.B. King, and blues and a little bit of Bill Withers even though I didn’t know who he was, I just knew a couple of his songs. I started listening to some guys, [thinking], “Man, they’re singing from some place deep.” That is what inspired me and that’s what I’d do in the shower. But I didn’t usually let that stuff out in public because it seemed a little out of place on this white country kid, like, “What am I doing trying to let myself out like that?” So it took me to pretty much be a grown man before I let myself off the hook and let myself be myself.

David Michael Miller

So when it comes to your vocal approach, when you sit down to cut a vocal or figure out what you want to do vocally, are you consciously drawing on people like Andrae Crouch and Marvin Gaye? Is it like that, or is it just how you feel?

It’s just how I feel. I can’t say that I consciously do it, [but] I’m sure that it happens. There’s a song that I wrote with my old band many years ago and that whole tune is just about all the influences that I have. It’s one of those things where I don’t think you always know, even though [you] do. I remember on my last album, the one before Poisons Sipped, I do remember singing a line and going, “That was so John Legend. What was all that about?’” And I recognized it. But sometimes it’s not really a conscious thing, I just try to sing what I feel, and what the lyrics and the emotion or even the moment is bringing out and however that happens, is how it happens.

Okay, so it’s just flowing and you’re just kind of being yourself with the music. What about songwriting? How does that come about?

It’s interesting. Songwriting has always come easy. I never felt like I had to reach too far for an idea. Ideas always come in. My phone right now is full of little messages to myself: here’s a line or a here’s hook – it’s just something that I’m hearing. I think where it becomes interesting is what happens with that idea. Every once in a while, a song comes out done. It just floats right out like it was pre-written and handed to me. But sometimes it’s like a concept or a feeling that I’m trying to communicate and with those I kind of have to let it come out when I’m ready. So I’ll run over the line and if something keeps going and I feel that there’s a flow, I’ll keep moving with it. If I feel that I’m hitting a stopping point, then I’ve learned not to force it because when I force those ideas, they never seem to stick with me. They feel like manufactured versus homegrown.

Talk to me a little bit about the progression from Poisons Sipped to Same Soil. You did one solo record that went pretty well. Does [your band] Miller and the Other Sinners happen in between and then Same Soil?

Poisons Sipped started off as just me trying to communicate what was going on in my life. It was something I felt I needed to do and I had no intention of releasing it other than just locally. I wasn’t going to try pushing it out in any fashion, but I wanted a producer because part of my struggle in releasing products is always trying to self-produce. I couldn’t figure out how to get past that initial recording. It just wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t capturing it and I would be hard on myself and it would never be released. So I found this producer, Jesse Miller, who is a wonderfully talented producer artist up here in Buffalo, and he listened to my stuff and he said, “Man, I know the rhythm section you’ve got to work with,” and he introduced me to Carlton Campbell and Darick Bennett of The Campbell Brothers. I wasn’t really familiar with those guys up to that point but as soon as I found out who they were, I dove in and listened and thought, “Oh my gosh, this is amazing.” We went to the studio and we tracked about eleven songs in about eleven hours. These guys just knew where I was coming from. It was amazing. I’ve never connected with a rhythm section in that way before – and I’ve had some great rhythm sections. It was on another level. Really, what happened is through the recording of that album and then having the Campbells’ say, “You have to get this out there. You need to do something with this.” As I started to go toward that we kind of started gelling into something and that something at first was David Michael Miller with members of The Campbell Brothers. Who wants to promote that? So it became Miller and the Other Sinners. As that band was forming, I also made an acquaintance with Mike Brown. He is the guy who recorded, engineered and co-produced Same Soil. He brought me down to his room. He’s got this killer studio called Temperamental Recordings and it’s been on American Pickers. He showed me his studio and I’m thinking, “I’ve got all this material that would work.” He was describing how he records and how he uses this minimum mic … and I’m thinking man the songs that I have and a couple that I want to write, together would be killer in this space. So that really is how that second album came about. At the same time, we started recording our first Miller and The Other Sinners EP. We now have about four songs that are close to done that I wrote that are kind of a continuation of Poisons Sippedwith that feel and that kind of an arrangement. Working with Carlton Campbell from the Campbell Brothers to record so now we’re doing it together, producing it together and getting everybody in the same room and the same page. It’s a little harder because they’re all busy, so we’re trying to move together toward making Miller and the Other Sinners the big stage band. That’s the dream. I had the opportunity and I didn’t want to pass it up because I knew there would be a time frame in getting to the first note of the Miller and the Other Sinners album. So I took advantage of it and went in and we came out with this album. It feels pretty good. This was what I was looking for with these songs that were raw and were paying tribute to me as the foundation of what I do and how I do what I do, which is all blues and soul and kind of that old country where country and blues were walking down the same road together. That’s the stuff that really moves me and I wanted to do that and I wanted to bring that out in this album. Now we’re promoting that album and touring that album with the goal of introducing Miller and The Other Sinners. We’re playing material from both albums and what’s going to be on the new album and trying to get the people ready for the big thing.

The band that you worked with on Same Soil – is this The Campbell Brothers?

Only on a couple of songs. I kind of wanted it that way because I wanted the sound different since this was going to be – at least for a while I envisioned – my last solo record. The record’s going be moving on and it will be Miller and The Other Sinners and it would be more of a collaboration in those key players. In this album I picked musicians that I played with in Buffalo that I just felt were going to give the songs justice that would give me the feel that I had in my head. On some of the songs I used Robert “Freightrain” Parker who was just inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame a week or two ago. I also used Shannon Street. Shannon’s been drumming with me for the last six years and he’s started to play a lot with Bobby.  And with the rhythm section, I kind of knew that for certain songs they’d give me a certain kind of feel. I did use Carlton Campbell from The Campbell Brothers on a few tunes: “Got Them Blues” and “If You Hear Me” and “Born to Lose.” And Ritchie Valentino because they’re a cool team for bass and drums that give a little bit of gospel flavor and funkify things just a little bit. I just knew that would work. I had the opportunity to work with my son, who actually in just a little bit we will be doing a rehearsal, and we have him play on, “Shoes to Shine,” he’s the drummer on that. And my nephew Nick Peterson is on that. Jim Ehinger is all across this album. Jim plays organ and keys on this. I’ve been working with Jim now for a while. If you look up his resume, it is amazing. He has toured with Bonnie Rait. He has toured with Albert Collins. You name an artist and he’s probably done shows with them, done sessions with them and it’s pretty incredible. I used a couple of saxophone players including Jason Moynihan and Barry Arborgast.  When I can do the big band those two guys together is a show in itself. Mike Brown is on there playing some percussion and other instruments like banjo. A couple of bass players pitched in as well. There was a couple of moments like that that happened. For the most part these were guys we worked with in some capacity around here and I knew that they would add the right flavor to theses songs.

There’s some great guitar work on Same Soil. Are you playing the lead guitar?

Yes, I did all the guitars on the album; all the electric guitars, the acoustic. Obviously Mike Brown did some mandolin and some tenor banjo but other than that, I think I did everything else.

We talked about vocal influences, what about with the guitar? You’re obviously a dynamite guitar player as well.

Oh, well, thank you, well there’s a bunch of them. Obviously, I think it’d be silly to hear some of the stuff on there and not go, “Hey did you ever listen to Derek Trucks?” Derek’s a hero of mine, he just is. I actually made a fool out of myself with him the other night because we got back stage passes. I opened for him once in Buffalo a year ago. So we went back stage talked to the folks, talked to him and you know I always stick my foot in my mouth around him for some reason. He’s just a humble, wonderful dude and a monster (in my opinion) of phrasing. I can almost hear words when he plays. It’s incredible. He’s a big influence. And I learned a lot from jamming with the Campbells’ – Darick Campbell and Chuck Campbell and some of those guys… then trying to vocalize like that on my 335 you know, that’s kind of cool. But then I’ve listened to a bunch of guys. Joe Bonamassa was an influence on me for a while and I got the chance to open for him as well years ago. [He is] a guy who can pretty much play whatever he wants, stylistically. I love listening to B.B. [King], man, I really do. To this day, he’s quite a player but even in his simplicity …[it’s] the right notes, the right space, the right feel at that point in time. I’ve drawn from a lot of those guys and local guys. There is an incredible guitar player around here by the name of Tommy Z, whose last album was really great. I’ve learned a lot from watching him play and just trying to absorb it. But mostly I try to play like I sing. I try not to learn riffs. I just try to play what I would try to sing because I want it to be an extension of my voice.

You mentioned different things about the Buffalo scene. Could you talk a little bit about that? From what I hear, there are some very cool things happening in the Buffalo music scene.

Oh absolutely. We’ve got a strong blues society here – the Western New York Blues Society. There’s a lot of cool events – not just blues, there’s all kinds of music happening in Buffalo. I travel a lot …and [when you’re traveling] you can go into a really great club on a weekend and you can hear that band, that killer weekend band, and go, “Man, they’re good.” If you come to Buffalo on a Tuesday night for an open mic, that’s what you’ll hear. That’s a Tuesday night open mic band. We’ve got a lot of incredible, talented music and an incredibly nurturing music scene here in Buffalo – people jamming with each other. There are so many gigs: you can work a lot in Buffalo as a musician and that’s great because you can sit in with guys and learn on the job and I really think that’s where great music happens: where you get inspired by the guy next to you while you are on stage. And so we have a lot of that going on. I call it the “Austin of the North.” I think we get paid a little bit better, but it’s that kind of a thing [where] you know you can pick a night and there’s a dozen clubs that have great music. You just go to one and enjoy it. That’s the Buffalo scene.

Well, David you’re not just hanging out in Buffalo – you are doing some touring. Tell us about the tour – what’s the band, is this Miller and the Other Sinners? Where are you going to be touring?

We’re taking a few of the Sinners. We’re doing a four-piece band and tomorrow we head out to Pittsburgh and we’re doing some shows through Pennsylvania and come back up to Central New York the following week. Then we’re heading down again to Pennsylvania, and we’ll work toward the Philly area then to Northern Virginia, and then a few weeks later, we head out for a five-week tour that’s taking us out to 14 states. We are heading out to the Midwest. We are opening for Shemekia Copeland on one of those dates, but we’re heading out through Illinois and Iowa and Kansas, Denver, New Mexico, Phoenix, Utah, back through Kansas and Tennessee and Ohio and home. We’re all over the place for five weeks, which I’m really excited about. Even beyond that we’re booking right now on the East Coast and then down into Florida in January and February because, hey, I live in Buffalo – it’s nice to get out during that time of the year.

So there’s a method to the touring schedule, I see. There’s some ulterior motives here.

Completely self-serving – no question about it.

Okay, David, that’s pretty much it. Is there anything you would like to add or promote or talk about here before we wrap up?

Well you know I just think that obviously we all know that the music industry is in a weird spot. We’re all trying to figure out how to make it work. I have respect for anybody who is trying to figure it out. We still need people to support our music, both our live shows and maybe pick up an album… because that is still a part of the picture. That’s how we try to do it. So we encourage folks to not forget about your local musicians who are throwing it down and offering their CDs up at gigs. Take advantage of it and try to help them make more art.

Interview by Lou Lombardi

 

Albert Cummings: Someone Like You Review

August 28th, 2015

someonelikeyou-300x300Someone Like You is the exciting new album from carpenter turned blues-man, Albert Cummings.  There are plenty of great tunes, soulful vocals and of course there is a plethora of  ferocious guitar work.  The sonic territory is diverse but well executed.

The album opens with the hard driving rocker “No Doubt.”  Immediately the David Z production is heard. The snare drum will take your head off. The Z and Cummings combination is a winner from the outset. All of the tracks have a very muscular sound. Even the ballads sound tough.

Some highlights include, the Delbert McClinton inspired swagger of ”I Found You” and the southern rock ballad “So Strong.” Both demonstrate Cumming’s Gregg Allman-esque vocals very nicely. The up tempo boogie rock of “Stay Away From My Sister” and the slow blues “Little Bird” are good examples of what Albert can do with more traditional forms. The latter showcases Albert’s well honed phrasing and ability to solo in a jazz style over traditional blues changes. One of the most interesting tracks is the instrumental “Meatlocker.” Here Albert gets into Robben Ford territory soloing effortlessly over the rhythm changes in the chorus. These forays into jazz-blues are a real treat and leave the listener longing for more.

Someone Like You is Albert’s seventh album and his first collaboration David Z. and guest guitarist Jimmy Vivino.  Over the years, Albert Cummings  has gained a reputation for putting out consistently good material and Someone Like You continues that tradition.

The Review: 8.5/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– No Doubt
– I Found You
– Finally In Love
– So Strong
– Meatlocker

The Big Hit

– I Found You

Lady Flint: Hard Time Review

August 28th, 2015

hardtime-300x300Lady Flint is an explosive two-piece band, formed in 2012 from the collision of two mavericks from Marseille, France.  Tony More on guitar and vocals, and Gran Dav on drums play a brand of blues based rock that has more in common with Wolfmother and The White Stripes than Buddy Guy or B.B. King.  Their sound is self described as “garage blues and dirty stuff.”

Their first full length CD, Hard Time is a full force post grunge, post alternative, post punk blues riffing assault. More and Dav never let up. They burn through all ten tracks like their lives depend on it. There’s an exciting new breed of blues based artists out there today but none play with quite the intensity of Lady Flint.

The songwriting is solid and memorable. They showcase their penchant for hardcore riff rock on  “Bring Your Love Back There.”  “Crocodile” is  an amped up, Black Sabbath on speed track, full of piss and vinegar and “Blazing Fire” is a great example of the band’s unabashed love for post punk, alternative rock. The Nirvana-esque “Call It Suicide” could easily land Lady Flint on alternative rock radio. Just like blues loving rockers of the past from Led Zeppelin, to The Black Crowes, Lady Flint, understands that blues isn’t a scale. It’s about soul and these guys bring the soul in spades. They are the voices crying in the wilderness.

Hard Time may not be for everyone. Some will say “That ain’t blues!’  To them I say, “The times they are a changin’.” This is blues for the brave new world.

The Review: 8.5/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Crocodile
– Call It Suicide
– Blazing Fire
– Ocean
– Bring Your Love Back Here