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Archive for October, 2015

Dirty Streets: White Horse Review

Tuesday, 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

Friday, 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

Thursday, 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

Wednesday, 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