Dr. John
Things Happen That Way
Rounder Records

This Party Gets Real and Raw and Absolutely Rockin’

“One, two, tree, fowuah…”
That voice!
That piano!
Unmistakable and sorely missed.
We lost Mac a little over three years ago and yes, it’s funny how time slips right away…..And as the record boldly states … “Things Happen That Way.”

As if dropped from heaven at a time when we desperately need his cooler than cool, Dr. John’s new record, “Things Happen That Way” opens with a haunting rendition of “Funny How Time Slips Away” in true Dr. John style; as if he’s sending us a message from the great beyond. 
Absolutely nothing is missing from this tasty gumbo of New Orleans Blues. 
The Voodoo builds on “Ramblin’ Man.”
Bones shakin’ and slide guitar sneaking right up your spine, hitting every tiny tingle in your body, Malcolm John Rebennack Jr may be deceased, but he ain’t gone.
Not by a long shot.  

“Holy Water” is the track that stopped me cold and took me “there.”
Katie Pruitt’s voice shines bright against the wear & tear of Dr. John’s in this tale of redemption and forgiveness. 
It’s a march that gets you set up straight and thinking while the dobro slides you back down easy to realize that we are all just human.

The party gets real and raw and rockin’ on “Sleeping Dogs Best Left Alone.” The R&B and Soul drips like honey from the brilliant background singers, horn section and wah-wah electric guitar solo.
“Clean & Unclean. Seen & Unseen.” Get your cans on and dig these lyrics my friends.
There is GOLD in these hills and y’all better get ready to whistle while ya work, and mine the wisdom righ-chere.

Dr. John has never been afraid to touch on the “stuff” that might ruffle a feather or two.
Maybe that’s why he wore so many.
Always ready and able to take on a massive topic and boil it down to its divine essence, all the while keeping it groovy, the introspective “Give Myself A Good Talkin To” is one of those tunes that brings a moral compass to a gunfight and wins every time.
Truth be told.
Even in 2022; I still have a private weekly dance party to Dr. John’s GENIUS record, “Locked Down (2012),” and I highly recommend that y’all do the same — “Things Happen That Way” appropriately finishes off the record with a sigh, a tear and then a smile.
A classic on a classic.
What could be better. 

Dr. John’s final studio album features three brand new tunes, as well as hypnotic & psychedelic version of Dr. John’s 1968 classic “I Walk on Guilded Splinters,” and some cool, fresh takes on classic songs penned by Willie Nelson, Cowboy Jack Clement, Hank Williams, and an incredible Louisiana shuffle “End of The Line” by The Traveling Wilburys, featuring Aaron Neville.
Guest appearances by Katie Pruitt, Willie Nelson and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real bring the family circle, full circle, and may that circle remain unbroken and ever-expanding throughout the universe and down thru many generations of artistic heritage, keeping the memory and the  music of Dr. John alive forever.

Review by Emily Duff
Official release September 23. 


Kaz Hawkins MY LIFE & I

Kaz Hawkins
My Life & I
Dixie Frog
All Killer, No Filler N’orn Irish Powerhouse R&B Belters and Ballads

I first encountered Kaz Hawkins way back in 2013 at the inaugural Belfast Skyline Americana Festival; when in the middle of the afternoon she made a short and sharp appearance, which garnered this in my review …
The stage was cleared and refilled with military precision for the fulsome figured Blues ‘belter’, Kaz Hawkins, who immediately cranked the party up a couple of notches with her raucous Honky Tonk songs, and I feel I really must mention the outstanding Lipstick and Cocaine from her forthcoming album in September, which was a real pot-boiler.”
I reviewed her subsequent debut album, but while tenuously following her career on Social Media; I never received anything else until two weeks ago when this retrospective arrived.
After a couple of plays; I began regretting calling her a ‘Blues Belter’ back in ’13; as she is much much more than that; starting with the pure Gospel of opening song Pray, which is full of nuance, subtlety and passion; and will blow your socks off so hard you may never find the left one!
This is followed by the wistful and simpering heartbreaker; Because You Love Me with Sam York’s gentle and evocative piano playing hatching thoughts of this being sung late at night in the Bada Bing! nightclub, with Tony Soprano crying his eyes out in the corner.
Later there’s a song called Surviving which uses a similar template; but listen very carefully two or three songs and you will hear a woman unburdening herself of a time in her life that needs putting out of harms way; in a way I’ve rarely heard in 50 years of buying music.
There are 17 tracks here and I can’t possibly tell you about each and every one; life’s too short, so if I miss anything out it’s not because it’s a ‘duffer’ …. it’s not – there ain’t any filler here – it’s definitely all KILLER!
Kaz covers a couple of Classic Blues tunes; and certainly puts her own inimitable spin on them; starting with Feelin’ Good; which sounds as if it was written with her in mind as she uses her voice like a sonic missile at times.
The two Etta James covers: ‘Something’s Gotta Hold On Me’ and ‘At Last’, show new listeners where she’s coming from; but Kas sure ain’t looking back here; she shines them up for 21st Century cosmopolitan listeners; and the results are absolutely glorious.
The other ‘cover’ is/would be a song that she would be contractually obliged to include in every set of hers growing up in the bars and clubs in and around Belfast; and that’s her funky big band rendition of Van’s Full Force Gale which more or less stands head and shoulders beside the Master’s original …. honest!
Of the others, Hallelujah Happy People! is every syllable as exciting and tragically beautiful as it was that first afternoon 9 years ago; and Drink With The Devil tells it’s very own story that will have many of us smirking at the memory.
I’m pleased to report that there is plenty of light and shade here; with Kaz showing what a truly wonderful ‘singer’ she is on Don’t You Know, Believe With Me and the gut wrenching ballad; Surviving when the arrangements allow her to take us on an emotional rollercoaster that will leave even the average music fan a tear stained wreck the first time they hear them.
For my choice of Favourite Song I’ve managed to narrow the field down to three songs that all could and should be Classics of the genre if only the world was a fair place.
The album closes with Shake which lets Kaz finally loose her stays and give it some welly! Boy is it a way to leave the listener wanting more.
The River That Sings is one of those beautifully maudlin songs that; perhaps I’ve got this wrong; but will resonate with anyone who has moved away from the family home to seek their fortune; and even only mentally, this song draws them back like a magnet.
The other is from her Live album; and is the song that captured my heart that weekend in Belfast when I first saw Kaz Hawkins …. Lipstick and Cocaine. If you already know this song … you know it is a heartbreaker par excellence and if you haven’t …well…. you’re in for a very rare treat. While I’ve found numerous songs here that have knocked me sideways; Lipstick and Cocaine is a diamond in a pile of ruby’s and topaz ….. it shines like no other.
It’s still not too late for Kaz Hawkins to get the reward that her talent so deserves; and that talent deserves nights singing these songs at the Royal Albert Hall, Carnegie Hall, the Philharmonie de Paris in her adopted homeland and of course the Waterfront in the heart of Belfast.

Released September 23rd 2022.


Jimmy Hall READY NOW

Jimmy Hall
Ready Now
Keeping The Blues Alive

A Mesmerizing And Deeply Emotional Collection of Contemporary Yet Timeless Blues Tunes

Jimmy Hall has always been a “larger-than-life” and charismatic presence as the vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and front man of the legendary Mobile, Alabama Southern Rock band, Wet Willie. The Wet Willie Band was an exceptional, yet incredibly underrated band that toured with the Allman Brothers in 1971 and enjoyed a few chart hits, one reaching the Top 10. Interestingly comprised of Jimmy, his brother Jack and their sister, Donna, among others, and eventually the sensational singer, Ellie Brooks, this “family” band went through many changes from 1971 to 1979.  Jimmy’s long career as a solo artist kept that genius alive, raised the ante and sweetened the pot. 

“Ready Now,” produced by Blues guitarist, and legend in his own right, Joe Bonamassa, is a superb and soulful brand new record that re-establishes and solidifies Hall as a formidable force of classic, genre-defying Roots Rock and roll that grows out of the rich Southern soil of Country, Blues and; of curse Soul.

Straight out the gate this record satisfies and lifts me up.  “Jumpin’ for Joy” defines Feel-Good Anthem and “Rise Up” will not let you down either.
“Dream Release” is a beautiful surprise in all its glorious, 1970’s blue-eyed soul vibe that recalls that enduring Wet Willie sound, as well as one of my favorite bands, The Left Banke. 

With a band of seasoned, sensitive players including Joe Bonamassa, Josh Smith, Reese Wynans, Michael Rhodes, Greg Morrow, Warren Haynes, and Jared James Nichols, Jimmy Hall succeeds in winding us through a complex journey of well-crafted songs, stellar performances and musical tasty-treats in every color and tone of the Rock & Roll rainbow.  

Jimmy’s harmonica looms large on these tracks, and thank The Good Lord it does!
Jimmy Hall is a bona fide harp virtuoso and his gritty, low-down in the dirt sound adds flourishes that tip the tunes into a steamy, blues-drippy swamp of finger-lickin’ goodness.
“Will You Still Be There” and “Eyes in the Back of Your Head” are perfect examples.

“Without Your Love” featuring Jared James Nichols on guitar is a beautiful love song that shimmers with the interplay between Nichols’ guitar and the B3 organ that ties this confessional story of second chances and redemption together, bringing Hall’s plaintive and apologetic vocal into the realm of raw and real admission to accept responsibility like a man and move forward, ever wiser.  I felt true penitence and was moved to tears. 

“Love For It” is my new “strut.”
This tune has a built in power-stance that could drive away the doubts and demons anytime, anywhere.  Jimmy’s performance and the background vocals on this song are goosebump inducing till the very end. 

Hall’s voice is strong and expressive and really shines on the title track, “Ready Now,” which features brilliant slide guitar work by the outstanding, Warren Hayes who, as the kids say, SLAYS!
Jimmy Hall is obviously ready now, and how lucky are we, that he’s collaborated with Joe Bonamassa for this album and remains a mesmerizing front man with this deeply emotional new collection of tunes, extraordinary musicians and massive commitment to his immense talent, faith and powerful belief in himself and the potency of his timeless music. 

Reviewed by Emily Duff
Released September 16th 2022




Sunny Sweeney
Married Alone
Thirty Tigers/Aunt Daddy Records

Country Songs That Are Double Dipped in Sour Mash, Then Rolled in Heartbreak!

Without being a ‘spoiler’; this album couldn’t be any more ‘Country’ if it was double dipped in Sour Mash and then rolled in heartbreak!
Opening track, Tie Me Up is the type of (female) Country Song that people wearing Willie or Dolly t-shirts think doesn’t get made anymore …. but they are wrong, wrong, wrong.
It’s not as kinky as the title at first suggests; as Sunny firmly tells her man ….
You can tie me up
You can take my time
You can tattoo your name on this heart of mine
You can tie me up
…… but you can’t tie me down!

Let’s just say Sunny Sweeney is a ‘spirited’ woman …. and pretty much ‘speaks’ to and for women everyware; especially on the finely detailed Wasting One On You; where she tells ‘him’ that she isn’t wasting anymore cigarettes worrying about him and his dalliances.
How’d I End Up Lonely Again is a Country Heartbreaker that will get repeat plays in houses and apartments late at night all over the world when the kids are fast asleep; and the lonely female can’t get any sleep at all.
There are a lot of men who will associate with Fool Like Me, which follows a similar trajectory, with Sunny pouring her broken heart out over a stark piano and intricate and claustrophobic backing from the band shadowing her.
I’ve got a whole collection of heartbreak songs in Blues, Rock and even Folk varieties but nobody ‘gets it’ better than a Country singer; and Sunny Sweeney does it better than most.
Invariable singing about a broken heart from the bottom of her own heart and making each word sound like she’s lived the story herself, with the crunchy Country Rock Ballad Leaving Is My Middle Name being one of the best; and when you hear the opening lines, when she tells you that it’s not always the man’s fault and make you take a deep breath so as not to miss a note ….
I came here tonight for a good time
I can have one of those on my own
Thanks for the wine, but just keep in mind
I’m looking to leave here alone
I’m a heartache waiting to happen
I’m a chance you don’t want to take
One your Mama warned you about
A chance you don’t wanna take!”

There are so many memorable songs here, it’s hard to believe this is still only Sunny’s 5th album in 15 years; the writing, phrasing and invariably the arrangements are superb and far more ‘genuine’ Country than anything you will hear on Country Radio or see at the CMA’s.
There’s no filler here; and at times Sunny Sweeney even takes huge risks with the way she creates her songs; not least the closing song Still Here, when if you close your eyes you would think you were listening to Nanci Griffith; and much earlier on A Song Can’t Fix Everything she bares her soul alongside Paul Cauthen, without the aid of a safety net; and then on Easy as Hello she enters Stevie Nicks territory, in words and deeds and comes out totally unscathed.
Choosing a Favourite Song here is as difficult as ever; as each individual song has touched me and/or tugged at my heartstrings at one time or another; but the title track Married Alone is actually quite astonishing; even by Country standards; and I’d gamble there’s not a person who hears this duet with Vince Gill doesn’t wipe a tear from their eye; even if they are in the stablest of relationships (like I am!), especially when the pair combine on the chorus
There may be rings on our fingers, but we’re married alone,”
a the pedal-steel wails in the background like a coyote on the prairie that smells imminent death.
Just shading that beautiful heartbreaker, is actually the song that follows it and the one that provides the light to a lot of shade; Someday You’ll Call My Name, a co-write with RMHQ friend, Miss Brennen Leigh; which is Country Rock Deluxe; and when you first hear it you presume it’s another break-up song; albeit a cracker ….. but it was actually first written ten years ago when Sunny Sweeney was a struggling songwriter and this was/is an FU to all those ‘suits’ that turned her down!
This really is a Country album that I can’t recommend highly enough; and after many years flying under the radar has all the hallmarks of being a game changer for this fabulous singer AND songwriter.

Released September 23rd 2022



Jimmy Carpenter
The Louisiana Record
Gulf Coast Records

Classy Re-Workings of Louisiana’s Finest Songs.

Sax player Jimmy Carpenter?
Never heard of him …… but when I saw that this was being released on Mike Zito’s Gulf Coast Records; and Zito himself pitched the idea of resurrecting a bunch of Louisiana themed songs to Jimmy Carpenter I was intrigued; and then a cursory look at the track list had me instantly reaching for the ‘on switch’ on the office hi-fi!
The result is a total blast from start to finish with some old standards getting a shiny overhaul, a couple of long forgotten belters brought to life for a new generation and even a couple of songs I’d never heard before quickly becoming family favourites – what’s not to like?
The ‘party‘ or should I say; ‘Fish Fry‘ starts with a sultry rendition of I Hear You Knocking; which I predominantly know as the Hit single for Dave Edmunds in my teenage years; but here Carpenter takes it right back to its roots with some honkin’ sax playing and gorgeous piano playing courtesy John Gros.
This is followed by a truly stompin’ and dancelicious I Got Loaded, which I didn’t recognise at all, but still couldn’t stop myself shuffling my hips and then my feet, the first time I played it; as I pretended I was in a steamy dive bar somewhere South of Baton Rouge, instead of a cold kitchen in NE England as the rain fell outside.
To me, even though I didn’t necessarily know that these songs were of Louisiana extraction; the selection is quite impeccable and while being all eminently danceable; several are thought provoking too in one way or another.
I’m particularly thinking about Pouring Water on a Drowning Man and Travellin’ Mood which I knew previously, but in these versions made me think about the shadows in the lyrics that I hadn’t previously noticed before.
This also applies to one of the songs I didn’t previously know; Something You Got which is a real ‘bum hugger’ of a slow burning and danceable love song that could easily be rearranged for guitars and pedal-steel instead of sax and piano to be a Country Heartbreaker; if I’m not mistaken.
In these edgy times; it’s been a real emotional release to hear the honky-tonkin’ and reelin’ and a rockin’ Barefootin’ again. These cats really get in a groove on a song I first discovered many moons ago when Robert Parker’s original version was featured on a cassette given away with NME magazine, and became a staple on my mixtapes for years afterwards.
I didn’t recognise the title of All These Things; but as soon as I heard the longing in Carpenters’ voice on the Allen Toussaint standard, I had to kick back and just wallow in the sound all concerned have created just for us.
Somewhere in my collection I’ve certainly got another version of Lonely Lonely Nights; and I think it’s a little bit faster than this tear-jerking version; but I can’t be bothered to look for it as I’ve taken this glorious version to heart.
As I sit listening and typing this morning, two albums from my teenage years suddenly sprung to mind; as to some degree both Bryan Ferry’s THESE FOOLISH THINGS and Harry Nilsson’s A LITTLE TOUCH OF SCHMILSSON IN THE NIGHT changed the way I listened to music; and certainly influenced the eclectic collection I now own; while also introducing me to songs and singers I’d never have found any other way.
Which brings me to the difficult choice of a single Favourite Track on an album that needs to be listened to as a complete package rather than dipping in and out of; a little part of me wants to choose the swinging instrumental Rockin’ At Cosimo’s which closes the album; but Carpenter and Crew’s steamy and sensual reworking of Sam Cooke’s Bring It on Home To Me had the hair on the back of my neck standing on end; so it had to be a contender too.
But I’m giving the accolade to a song I’d never heard before hearing it hear; and it’s one that Carpenter’s voice really shines on ….. Cry To Me, a timeless ballad that just oozes class in every note and stanza from start to finish.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first received this album; but it very quickly got put next to the hi-fi as a ‘palette cleanser’ at the end of the day; and it’s been a welcome companion in the car too ….. if only there was a Saturday night fish-fry I could take it to, too.

Released September 16th 2022


RMHQ Radio Show Ep. 20 @NovaRadioNE

RMHQ Radio Show Ep. 20
Nova Radio NE
September 18th 2022

Another week; another Roots Rock radio show … only this week’s programme; like last week’s was ‘different’ … in as much as a National Minute’s Silence was due at the end …. which certainly focusses the mind.
With that in mind the mix was as laid back as I could manage; with no emphasis on ‘new releases’ although I still slid a couple in; as I did with local Newcastle acts.

George JonesAmazing Grace
Jimmy LaFavreThe Beauty of You
Cowboy JunkiesBlue Moon Revisited (Song for Elvis)
Jason Isbell & The 400 UnitSave it For Sunday
Josienne Clarke & Ben WalkerMy love is like a red, red rose
Wayne HancockThy Burdens are Greater Than Mine
Yola CarterOrphan Country
Johnny CashBird on a wire
Kelly WillisThe Circle
Corey LeggeStrangest Times Aus
Aztec CameraWe ciould send letters
The ByrdsEight Miles High
Neil YoungSuch a woman
Shemekia CopelandBarefoot in Heaven
Colin JamesThat’s Why I’m Crying
George BoomsmaSoaking Southern Town
Martin StephensonWholly Humble Heart (Live)
ShipcoteNorth of England
Paul JonesIt’s got to be the Blues
Kaz HawkinsBelieve with me
Jay ByrdDays roll by
Caleb CoundleI don’t fit in
Matt AndersenPeople Get Ready
Bonnie RaittDimming of the dawn
Hank WilliamsThere’ll be no teardrops tonight
Willie NelsonFunny how time slips away
Dolly PartonMama Say a Prayer
Mahalia JacksonAmazing Grace


The Claudettes 
The Claudettes Go Out!
40 Below Records

Your New Favorite Band Have Made a Stellar, Timeless Record.

A well tuned piano in a temple of sound with a sensitive, knowing foot confidently dancing on the sustain pedal is an earful of delight.
Combine that with cleverly crafted songs, skillful and soulful musicians, a pear-shaped voice that is sent straight from the angels, Kevin Killen’s mix mastery, cinematic strings, rock solid bass and Michael Caskey’s drumming that puts you behind the kit with the band, and VOILA!
You have an opening track that slips you right into the pocket of “YES!” when you initiate what I am calling the Pure Pleasure Sequence that is “The Claudettes Go Out!

Billed as Sultry, Cinematic Noir-Pop From Chicago,
wielding a one-of-a-kind, piano-powered roots-pop sound, The Claudettes merge earthy blues and soul with pop hooks and punk spirit, writing an intriguing new chapter in American roots music,”
I am here to tell you that you can … and you should believe the hype…because They Really Do all of the above! 

Pianist/Songwriter Johnny Iguana takes center stage as the record kicks off with “A Lovely View,”  the airy studio embracing the piano and lifting it off into the ether to prepare the listener for the angelic, breathy vocals of Berit Ulseth.
The sparseness of this track sets us up for the sonic sweetness to come with tracks so diverse in genre that they recall Everything But The Girl, The Jam, Leon Russell and DEVO all at once. 

“Time Won’t Take Our Times Away” is the song I can’t stop listening to. 
Recalling an early Elton John/Bernie Taupin vibe with lyrics that compel the listener to tune out the world and finely tune in the song (what music is supposed to do), I keep going back for more, discovering another layer to investigate and love with each and every listen. 

“Cowboy” is a stone-cold hit that warns us about taking up playing music in a band as a bad habit that we should “give up for drinking” and recommends living in a “world without eighth notes.” 
This song makes me laugh aloud while marveling at The Wrecking Crew good vibrations that get me on my feet in the middle of my tiny NYC living room, spinning ceaselessly like the hypnotized music freak I am.

The final track, “The Show Must Go On (And Then The Show Must End)” channels a lost track from The Who’s “Tommy” and that’s no understatement.
A fantastic finale that demonstrates the bands ability, prowess and passion for collaborative music making. They are a well oiled unit and they graciously allow us into their conversation.
The last song has to be your best….” sings Berit as the album draws to a satisfying close, and you realize that you have a new favorite band who have made a stellar, timeless record that you will enjoy for the rest of your life.  

Review courtesy Emily Duff
Released 14th October 2022



Duwayne Burnside
Acoustic Burnside
Dolceola Recordings

Undisputedly Honest and Raw Mississippi Blues…. Bentonia Blues to Be Precise.

Well alright there….
I’m gonna get ready to do my thing and review this record; ….
sitting down to listen to the unadorned, compelling new record by Duwayne Burnside, I was thunderstruck by the gravity of the last name and impact of this hypnotic and authentic American artist.
The lineage is pure, undisputed Mississippi Blues…. Bentonia Blues to be precise; and the feel is for ‘real‘ on every level.
As Burnside so beautifully declares,
“… you can hear this music come right out of my heart, because that’s where my daddy put it.
Yes you certainly can, Duwayne and Thank You!

The son of the legendary, R.L. Burnside, Duwayne Burnside’s “Acoustic Burnside” is a return to the stripped down guitar and vocal “good-time” chug with a hefty serving of ancestral joy and deep-rooted love for an art form that was passed down in the mud, the blood & the bone.
From the first track; R.L.’s “Goin’ Down South,” Burnside’s slightly out of pitch guitar puts us on a road trip that feels as if the wheels will fall off at any moment and yet manages to steady and stay on course throughout.
There is fear and trepidation in every verse all the while remaining committed to the end that surely awaits.

His version of “See My Jumper Hanging on the Line” throws the swing into the tune and summons a metronome to measure the pulse of a classic tune, reinterpreted by a son for his father with reverence and delight.

“Poor Black Mattie” caught me like a fish on a hook; and I wiggled there for a long long while, bathing in the rhythm and cadence of the tale that took me to Memphis looking for my own baby too.
The guitar riff is so propulsive and this song is so H.O.T, as Duwayne puts it, “Cherry Red,” I swear that I broke a sweat just listening to it!
Transfixed and bewitched, I left this tune longing to know “Poor Black Mattie.”
A stunning portrait, simply painted by an artist who is uncomplicated by adornment but schooled in the craft of storytelling.

Throughout the record, Burnside pays homage to his father as well as fellow Mississippi Bluesman, Junior Kimbrough as well as several other legends via the songs, “Alice Mae,” “Goin’ Down South,” “Lord Have Mercy on Me,” and the ubiquitous “Dust My Broom.”
This record, released on Dolceola Records, a label fixed on preserving traditional music via analog-style field recordings, certainly captures that vibe, as it was produced by George Mitchell for R.L in 1968. Dolceola’s founder, Dan Torigoe has succeeded beyond measure in capturing the raw, unprocessed, natural sound for a modern audience.

“Meet Me in The City” is a departure with a most welcome effect.
More of a Soul song with a Blues feel, this tune captures a Sam Cooke overtone.
“Stay All Night” gets FUNKY A.F and it’s just what the doctor ordered.
The guitar is the star in this desperate lover’s plea to be loved all night long.
A gripping performance indeed.

“44 Pistol” contains a hook on the guitar that pushes the tune along, weaving Burnside’s excellent guitar work throughout.
Usually an electric guitar player, Duwayne Burnside implements the acoustic so deftly on this song that I can’t imagine it sounding any better on an electric.
He is so firmly set in the groove that it moves like a well-oiled machine.

“Bad Bad Pain” and “Lord Have Mercy on Me” finish off the record in syncopated style.
The latter, written by Junior Kimbrough adds piano and percussion and includes room sounds, starting the tune off with talking amongst friends in the room.
These tracks, alive with presence and vitality, time and place, capture the essence of the blues and the birthright that is Duwayne Burnside.
A rich compilation of songs and performances that come from a deep, delicious well of talent, as well as culture and generosity of spirit that will no doubt excite and encourage a new generation of Mississippi Blues acolytes and loyal, lifetime fans.

Review by Emily Duff
Released September 23rd 2022


Beth Nielsen Chapman CRAZYTOWN

Beth Nielsen Chapman
Cooking Vinyl

A Beautifully Aged Voice That Summons All The Tenderness In The World Via Her Outstanding Words

Calling all songwriters!
Listen up.
Beth Nielsen Chapman’s new record, CrazyTown, her 15th studio album is a masterclass in observational songwriting, rhyme-scheme brilliance and rhythmic genius.
An even dozen perfectly crafted numbers that epitomize and salute the heart and soul of American Roots Music.  

Kicking off with “All Around The World,” I am immediately drawn into the record with a strong feeling of recognition and “belonging” in the lyric that draws me towards something I thought the past two plus years tore from my grasp….comfort. 
The freedom this tune exudes spills over into its well-crafted, pop-music celebration of joy and humanity.  The leap of faith begins at track one and I’m in! 

“Put a Woman in Charge” is a song I heard when KeB Mo’ released it with Rosanne Cash back in 2020.  Beth’s version is a completely different vibe; and sung with so much honesty, heart and conviction, you can touch the core of her impetus to write this anthem during such a crucial time. 

Beth Nielsen Chapman’s voice is beautifully aged and summons all the tenderness in the world on “With Time.”
A cello pulling on the heartstrings, sets off a full orchestration that slips us into a warm bath of remembrance and melancholy the same way Randy Newman pushes us over the edge with his ballads in “Toy Story.” 
Hello Pixar! This song is the ticket to your next animated feature full of feels….Believe me.

“Dancing With The Past” is a confident strut forward. that gives no f*cks and suffers no fools.  Surrendering to the “big don’t know” is something we all should do and figure out the steps to keep on trucking.
Beth Nielsen Chapman is singing the roadmap to make our battles disappear like shadows and keep dancing. 
I seriously could not LOVE this song more — and yes, I wish I wrote it!

“The Truth” is dark – but sometimes it is boys & girls (and all y’all).  The color of this song is different from the first five and well it should be.
Beth Nielsen Chapman really shines like that diamond in the dirt she’s singing about. It recalls Bonnie Raitt at her grittiest, but possesses its own vulnerable moments in the bridge that soars to heaven from the depths of hell, Hallelujah, “..let’s go home.”
The guitar work on this song is especially effective and I thank Producer, Ray Kennedy for this naked, stirring, three and a half minutes of reflection and gospel.

Catapulted into “The Universe,” this song is a sonic slingshot that flings us into everything all at once.  What I realized during the active listening of this tune, is that most songs need to be ingested multiple times. 
Just like babies who need to taste a food 17 times ’till they recognize it as something they like or don’t, we aren’t meant to swallow life in one bite or one gulp. 
We can’t be in too much a rush to get it over with. 
The overwhelming nature of it all does us in. And unlike “Dancing with The Past,” we can, and should go back for review, if only to fully understand what Beth Nielsen Chapman is trying to tell us. 

Each song is an important lesson told to us by a reliable, generous friend with a big heart and a great sense of humor.
They each and every single one touched me profoundly and for that I am grateful. 
The art of making records that are conceived, written, performed, produced, mixed, mastered and sequenced beautifully is a treasure, and this record is an entire trove overflowing with gems and prizes that will render the lucky listener richer from it’s inexhaustible genius. 
Now excuse me while I go listen again! 

Review by Emily Duff
Released 23rd September 2022



Hollie Rogers
Criminal Heart

Cleverly Constructed, Articulate and Sometimes Powerful Songs From Genre Defying Singer-Songwriter.

Not the most prolific of recording artists (this is her fourth album in 14 years); I’m guessing Hollie Rogers has a strong quality control system, that means only the very best songs ever makes it onto her albums.
The title track, Criminal Heart kick starts the album like a classic BSA or Triumph motorbike; it’s a bit of a ‘roar’ that could frighten the neighbours; but will go on to give immense pleasure to many other people who get the opportunity to hear it too.
I think it’s fair to say that Hollie’s songwriting and use of language is quite extraordinary for someone flying so low under the radar; with observations and especially her metaphors as good as any I hear from our household name counterparts in the New World.
Now I’ve said that; and this is a very personal thing, three songs here necessitate the addition of clean/radio versions for the delicately natured such as I.
The first is Strange; which really doesn’t need the sweary version at all; it’s not as if those inclusions make Hollie’s tale of jealousy at the end of a relationship any the more ‘powerful.’ It’s not as if the ‘F’ word really has the ability to ‘shock’ these days; is it?
Hey ho; but it means I’ve played the ‘radio’ version on my radio show and had some great feedback.
The other is Bring Me Some Peace; which includes ‘shit‘ and this time it flies past so quickly you hardly notice; but on the ‘radio version’ it’s replaced with ‘sh..’ and doesn’t harm the world weary wisdom in her story one little bit; so did we really need the first version.
OK I’ve spent too long writing about two or three words that won’t bring down Western Civilisation; but I feel it had to be said.|
Even when those two songs came on the car speaker; I still knew that both songs were very special indeed; and ….. they still didn’t come close to being my Favourite Song on the album.
Which isn’t true of the Electro-Americana of Girl on a Mission; it’s ‘different’ in many ways; not least the backbeat which is as deep as the ocean and the claustrophobic arrangement makes for a windswept and interesting four minutes; and this time; because of the way the song is constructed I had to listen quite intensely to hear where the ‘F Bomb’ was; and this time it’s hardly noticeable; and the ‘radio version’ made it into the running for Favourite Song.
Sometimes a song can be so cleverly constructed the listener has to sit back several times, letting things unravel and take on a life of their own; which has been the case with Youth, Sinner and the beautiful piano led City of Colour, which closes the album and makes you want to go straight back to the beginning.
Even though I’ve more or less fallen in love with this album and especially Hollie Rogers’ vocals; it’s not been easy trying to find a slot to fit this in in a record shop. Of course she’s a singer-songwriter; but in the ‘grown up’ Commercial mode of someone like Joan Armatrading and Nora Jones; but there’s an edge to songs like The Man You Had To Be and/or One Last Time which point me towards the likes of Beth Nielsen Chapman and Mary Gauthier, who write from a very lonely channel in the back of their hearts and appeal to music fans who are willing to invest in not just an individual song; but the album as a whole.
After all these years do I really have to explain that the song I choose as my Favourite isn’t necessarily the ‘best’ on an album? A Favourite is just that; a song or sometimes two that captures the attention and doesn’t let go even for a second.
Which has been the case with both the imaginatively emotional The Coast Road which really is as good as this album gets and proves what a suburb songwriter Hollie Rogers can be.
The other; Love and Distance features Jamie Lawson and Robben Ford; but you hardly notice them as Hollie focusses your attention from start to finish (and back again) …..with glorious ease.
I know next to nothing about Hollie Rogers apart from she’s just entered her thirties, is a single Mum and was/is a Spice Girls fan ….. which she attributes to her fiercely independent approach to her career and may even have influenced a couple of songs; and who am I to argue?

Released September 9th 2022