Quinn Sullivan WIDE AWAKE

Wide Awake
Provogue Records

A Second Album That Elevates This Talented Young Man To A Whole Other Strata Altogether.

For many people who were once heralded as a child prodigy, the path to prolonged success can be fraught and disappointing; so many never seem to fulfil all that early promise.
That ‘prodigy’ badge is both a blessing and a curse, plus for the artist, an unnecessary millstone.
Quinn Sullivan certainly qualifies for the description and follows a long line of such ‘prodigies’ in the music world; i.e. Doug Sahm, Billy Preston, Stevie Wonder, Steve Winwood & Derek Trucks to name a just a few.

At 21 years of age, this inchoate musician from Massachusetts has already experienced so much more than 99.99% of aspiring performers, having the benefit of being under the guidance of Buddy Guy and releasing 3 previous albums (since 2011), all involving multi-Grammy winner Tom Hambridge. You can also add to his resume all the various live TV appearances and an array of gigs that include three Montreux Jazz Festivals and an Eric Clapton Crossroads Festival.

Wide Awake marks a vicissitude crossroads of his own, with a significant change of producer/collaborator, this time travelling to LA to work with Oliver Leiber (Paula Abdul, Ke$ha and Adam Lambert) with an obvious prescient to encompass much more than just his fabulous pluripotent guitar playing and strong singing voice. Although Quinn has always considered himself a songwriter, preparing for this album has seen him increase his efforts with pen and paper, concentrating on the lyrics and melodies with Leiber that will elevate his craft, not just for Wide Awake but for further albums down the road.

So, I hear you ask, has it worked on this, his fourth album. Well, from my perspective it’s very much a resounding yes. Much more of a mainstream rock effort with lots of hooks, overall it contains scale, scope and colours (not just blue) that project a whole gamut of sub-styles.
Baby Please” could quite easily have been a cover of a Ed Sheeran effort, while “In A World Without You” has a distinctive Latin feel, and then “She’s So Irresistible” has the twin cities funk of Prince Rogers Nelson all over it.

She’s Gone (and She Ain’t Coming Back)” starts off like a Coldplay classic but then vocally it moves into different territory; whilst lyrically there are some superb references,
we made love to Marvin;
singing girl let’s get it on;
baby I’ve heard it all through the grapevine;
that we’re done, that we’re done
followed by a beaut of a chorus.
It gets a little harder and bluesier with the punchy “Strawberry Rain;” with its ‘Oasis sounding like The Beatles’ chorus bolstered by an iconic wah wah guitar solo straight out of the Hendrix catalogue.
Jessica” provides some further poignant lyrics that recall another long lost love, with yet another memorable chorus “what do you see when you look in the mirror;
cos I see an innocent child;
Jessie I know you’d feel better inside;
if you could just see yourself through my eyes”.
For a 21 year old many of these lyrics are quite remarkable.

Honestly, there are no iffy fillers on here, but the King Magpie will want me to select my favourites.
The accolade almost fell to the song that was released as a teaser single, earlier this year, the anthemic “All Around The World” with its empowering message of positivity and hope.
But, I’m now leaning toward the blue eyed Soul of “How Many Tears” that sounds like it has come straight out of Philadelphia; sung by Hall & Oates at their almighty zenith.

Sullivan and Leiber have cast their net far and wide to encompass an entertaining range of musical influences into creating this enchanting album; and without any shadow of a doubt Messrs Guy & Hambridge helped create the very sturdy platform from where Quinn evolved and developed his awesome natural guitar skills and robust singing style. However, Wide Awake elevates this talented young man on to another strata, an altogether higher level that ought to ensure that he reaches a much, much wider audience.

Jack Kidd AKA “Messin’ with the Kidd” on lionheartradio.com

Released 4th June 2021

LP https://www.mascotlabelgroup.com/products/quinn-sullivan-wide-awake-vinyl
CD https://www.mascotlabelgroup.com/products/quinn-sullivan-wide-awake-cd


Kyle Culkin
Pork Chops & Blues
Tonebucker Records

A Little Ray of Rhythm and Blues Sunshine and a Bit of an Emotional Rollercoaster

I’ve been back in a dark place mentally recently; which as usual makes me think “Why do I bother” regarding the website ……. sad; but true; then along came Kyle Culkin with his Pork Chops & Blues; instantly the clouds began to lift and a little ray of sunshine entered my life.
A twenty year man at the coal-face of being a working musician; with only one previous solo release to his name; Kyle Culkin has been a ‘go to’ session man and touring geetar player for the great and the good (and no doubt the average too) with very little glory; apart from BB King saying “This kid can play!” but always paying the rent; so has that apprenticeship done him any good?
Hell yes it has!
The Pork Chop Song comes at you like a drunk on the dancefloor on a Saturday night ……… is it literally a song about Culkin’s favourite meat meal; or is it a metaphor for something sexual in nature? This is the Blues with a mighty streak of Rhythm so it could be either or both; and boy is it a crowd pleaser.
Now four days into this album and I can tell you that if you were wandering down a rainy Lonely Street one Tuesday evening and you saw the Kyle Culkin Band were playing in the Heartbreak Hotel your spirits would be lifted in such a way you may even try to marry the barmaid …… even if you are a woman!
On Delbert McClinton’s Why Me, Kyle certainly sounds like he has a twinkle in his eyes as he sings it; a bit of a Country-Rock spine to it; but it’s a pure Honky-Tonking Blues stomper of the highest order; and will have you dancing like no one’s watching ….. even if you’re in the kitchen.
While I love that song; Culkin’s slow and slinky songs really do it for me ……. both; Nothing From Nobody and Wouldn’t Change a thing are guaranteed to have you shouting “Ain’t that the truth Brother!” and Culkin and friends’ playing ain’t too shabby either, with barely a note out of place on two incredibly well constructed songs.
At only 8 tracks long this album still somehow manages to be an emotional rollercoaster, with By The Blues and the awe inspiring album closer Wouldn’t Change a Thing being the types of broken hearted love songs that have you reaching for a glass, then raising it to the stereo as Culkin makes you feel that you aren’t alone with these feelings.
Then; there has to be a Favourite Song of mine; here I’ve decided on two very different styles of song to battle it out.
Burn It All Down is an A-Typical Rhythm and Blues stomper with searing guitar; heart breaking harmonica and a singer who isn’t giving up easily …… and a chorus that is designed especially for public participation.
The other; and more likely winner is the song that blew my clouds away …….. a bit of a big band (BB King style?) production finds the singer sitting in his dressing room thinking when did I become So Damn Old!
Yep ….. that’s me Kyle Culkin is singing about; or possibly you too ……
Tell my wife and kids they should have seen me
back in my prime the age of 23
I could go all night long
Now with any luck ………
I need three cups of coffee
Just to get out of bed!”

Some days I think that there is too much music out there; and then albums like this arrive from someone I’ve never heard of ……. and my faith in the restorative powers of music; especially The Blues is restored; and the future looks rosy again.
Thank you Kyle Culkin.

Released May 28th 2021


Chris Gill Between Midnight and Louise

Between Midnight & Louise
Endless Blues Records

An Authentic and Intimate Bentonia Blues Experience.

Chris Gill is an established blues musician from Jackson, Mississippi who has spent his life fusing the sounds not just of the Blues but Calypso, Jazz and N’Awlins Funk too; encapsulating a unique and fresh approach to this type of music.
This is very much a solo effort; as opposed to recording with his band, the Sole Shakers; simply Gill’s voice and his very interesting collection of old guitars to add tone and create the various vibes.
It’s very much a stripped down recording, just two microphones, a small amp, no overdubs and a lot of love for the Blues.

When listening to albums for ‘review purposes’ if the opening track on an album doesn’t hook me in; then it can be a struggle to wade through the rest to find something worthwhile listening to.
Thankfully, on Between Midnight & Louise it appears that Chris Gill certainly knows how to sequence tracks on an album; and I loved “Thank You For Another Day” a delightful finger picking guitar instrumental, which I’ve discovered is a tribute to his Grandaddy, that put a huge smile on my face.
Cherished memories of sitting around his Grandma’s kitchen table too,, was the germ of an idea for “Fleas and Ticks” being all about summertime bugs in the Delta region.

As well as family references there are songs inspired by legendary Bluesmen too, “Song for Honeyboy” came to Chris after reading Honeyboy Edwards’ autobiography and this songs final verse is also a nod to one of Hubert Sumlin’s last wishes.
Similarly, some guitar inspiration (this time from Taj Mahal and Mississippi John Hurt) inflects the love song “You Never Know (That’s What Love Will Do)”.
Then a darker sound (heavy on the slide to increase the effect) hits you on “Souvenir of All These Blues” whilst “Long Distance Highway” is lighter, but winsome reflections of life on the road and living the dream.
Faith endures on “Back To Paradise” reflecting on these pandemic affected troubled and worrying times, but with the optimistic hope of getting back on track.

Covering a couple of songs from the pen of his long-time friend Virgil Brawley (RIP) was an inspired decision, as I understand “I Fell In Love With The Blues” is the favourite track on the album of Chris’s, and I too loved the lyrics with a poignant chorus of
Rio Texas,
Wolfman howl, late at night, we gonna be on the prowl,
I want the blues, I’m on the prowl,
I feel in love with the blues, love till the day I die”.
However, my preference for the favourite cut is Brawley’s recollection of a drive through the town of Eden, Mississippi, aptly titled “Walking Through Eden” with the opening lines of
walking through Eden,
saw three crosses by the road”.

Closing this splendid set of 11 tunes is; like the opener, an instrumental that coincidentally is the album’s title track. It’s taken from a road sign just outside of Yazoo City at the start of the Mississippi Delta and Chris always had an inkling that it would make a good song title.
Between Midnight & Louise”, as a track and a full album clearly highlights the Hill Country and Betonia style Blues that are normally best suited in a Juke Joint; but, fear not, as the quality and commitment of these recordings will undoubtedly filter through your speakers to provide a genuine, authentic Blues experience that deserve to be heard by a much. much wider audience.

Jack KiddMessin’ with the Kidd” on lionheartradio.com

Released 14th May 2021


RMHQ Music Hour Ep:20

RMHQ Music Hour
Episode 20
May 14th 2021

It’s that time of the week again …. MUSIC HOUR TIME!
It’s another eclectic mix of old, new, borrowed and Bluesy …… with a great and slightly surprising Gateway Song from Martin Stephenson; plus brand new tracks from fellow Geordies Shipcote and Paul Handyside; plus Dust Radio alongside Classics and rarities from the great and the good across Roots Music.
Twenty shows in and we still haven’t played the same song twice ….. and nor will we.

Linda Ronstadt#20 PODCASTBlue Bayou
Jeremy Pinnell#20 PODCASTAint Nothing Wrong
Nanci Griffith#20 PODCASTEverything’s Coming Up Roses
Malcolm Holcombe#20 PODCASTThe Empty Jar
Bap Kennedy#20 PODCASTReckless Heart
Jaime Wyatt#20 PODCASTDemon Tied to a Chair in my Brain
Dust Radio#20 PODCASTDead Man’s Crawl
John Clifton#20 PODCASTBrand New Way to Walk
Green on Red#20 PODCASTTime Ain’t Nothing
Hurricane Ruth#20 PODCASTWho I Am
Curse of Lono#20 PODCASTSaturday Night
Paul Handyside#20 PODCASTLight of my Life
Shipcote#20 PODCASTslow Walk on Wheels
Martin G Stephenson#20 PODCASTWe Are Storm
The Doors#20 PODCASTRiders on the Storm

RMHQ Music Hour Ep:17

RMHQ Music Hour Ep:17
24th April 2021

All a bit rushed this week … but all’s well that ends well!
Really excited to get a Gateway Record from John Fusco btw.

Jimmie Vaughan#17 PodcastNo one to talk to but the Blues
Stephen Flatt#17 Podcast/El Camino
Angela Perley#17 PodcastLost and found
Heath Cullen#17 PodcastThe Song Always Remembers
Ashley Monroe#17 PodcastUsed
Bloodkin#17 PodcastJohn Coltrane in Nagasaki
Eric BurdonLocal#17 PodcastDon’t Bring Me Down
John FuscoGateway#17 PodcastOphelia
Allman BrothersGateway#17 PodcastAllman Bros JELLY JELLY
Allman Betts Band#17 PodcastTry
Our Man in the Field#17 PodcastPockets
Lauren Housley#17 PodcastTwo Lovers Lost in Space
Doug Hoekstra#17 PodcastSeaside Town
Laurie Jane and the 45s#17 PodcastStrange lovin Blues
Paul Oscher#17 PodcastAin’t That a Man (dedicated to Mr Cotton)


Good Man Gone Bad
8th Train Records

A Good Blues Man Gets Simply Better and Better

Tom Craig has never looked back on music since receiving a guitar for his 11th. birthday. Formal coaching in jazz singing and then, completely immersing himself into the kind of blues that also embraces soul and R&B ensures that approximately 40 years later he has the perfect platform to showcase his undoubted talent.
Good Man Gone Bad is the follow up to 2016’s critically acclaimed ‘Get Ready for Me’ and has the added benefit of being produced by harmonica ace Mikey Junior.
Dave Gross not only plays Bass here; but is also credited with the mixing and mastering plus the band includes many of the top bluesmen in the Keystone State.
Whilst Tom’s debut album was in a more Soul and R&B vein, this sophomore effort has a more defined direction planted firmly in the Blues with a capital B.
Working Too Hard” is the opening track and really sets the scene with it’s up-tempo beat, distinct riff and catchy lyrics.
What’s a Man Gotta Do” keeps up the splendid quality followed by the slower piano led title track “You Made a Good Man Go Bad,” where his jazzy vocals convey the sentiments of temptation followed by regret.
What a start! Surely, Tom can’t keep up this standard?
But remain listening and just like me you’ll discover that he most certainly can.
It’s All My Fault” is another slow song about love gone wrong; with its melancholy chorus of remorse;
I didn’t give her what she needs. When I saw the look in her eyes.
 that’s when I realised. 
That it’s my fault. 
It’s all my fault” 
Which will clearly resonate with many of us.
The pace increases with “Sheepdog”, another song with a pleasing chorus featuring Mikey Junior’s harp and Eric Johnsons Hammond driving hard behind the clear vocal delivery.
All of the 13 songs were written by Tom, with the exception of “When You Love a Blues Man” which he co-wrote with Mikey.
No chorus to this, but three very memorable versus that kick off with
All the women I love are mad at me. 
I did nothing wrong as far as I can see. 
I’m just trying to do the best I can. 
That’s what you get when you love a Bluesman”.
Neither the attention grabbing riff of “Headhunter” or the Robert Cray sounding “One Way Love Affair” or even “I like Soul in my Blues” with it’s funky horn section qualify as fillers in my book; all are here on merit.
Fact is, quite a few of the tracks could have been elevated to being my favourite, indeed “Change my Way of Living” and the up-beat “Long Time Coming” came pretty close; then again my preference almost leant to the swinging shuffle of “Treat Your Daddy Nice” which kept all ten toes tapping in time from start to finish.
However, along comes the final track on this splendid album that just wins the overall accolade of outright favouritism. “My Turn to Cry” has Bill Heid’s ivory tinkling with a subtle country vibe to compliment Tom’s sensitive delivery of some poignant lyrics
And when the storm tries to run my ship aground.
I will find safe harbour in this peaceful sound.
I’ll just have to be patient, right now it’s just my turn to cry.
I’ll just have to be patient, right now it’s just my turn to cry”.

If you may be vacillating after reading the above review then why not take notice of John Nemeth, he states “Tom Craig is a bad man, enjoy his new record, I do.” That folks; is clearly in the modern vernacular; meaning the absolute polar opposite.
Good Man Gone Bad is a genuine treasure of a discovery and Tom Craig should be seen as an artisan with tasteful, poetically inspiring lyrics, crisp, sometimes stinging guitar playing and his passionate vocals which certainly turns the title on it’s head, maybe it should read Good Man Gets Better and Better with every listen.

Jack KiddMessin’ with the Kidd” on lionheartradio.com

Released April 20th 2020




Gary Moore
How Blue Can You Get

Unreleased Tracks That Would be Career Highlights For Many of His Peers.

I was ‘late to the party’ regarding Gary Moore; pretty much missing out on his whole career before his untimely death 10 years ago; but thanks to those nice people at Provogue Records, who are keeping the Flame Alive with a yearly series of releases; I’m nearly up to speed.
Normally with albums that are full of ‘unreleased material’ my gut reaction is to shy away, as 99% of such music was left in the vault for a reason ….. it wasn’t good enough.
But yet again, Gary Moore kept songs back that would have been career highlights for many of his peers; and even a cursory listen to opening track (Freddie King’s) Tore Down let’s you know that this kid could not just play his electric guitar as well if not better than most; but what a voice he had!
Speaking of guitar playing; Moore does things on track #2 Steppin’ Out that are still illegal in several US States! By my normal standards it’s LOUD, but by Jove he has a delicate touch even when shredding the strings on his trusty guitar of choice.
Honestly, there’s not a Blues Fan out there that will hear HOW BLUE CAN YOU GET and think any track is ‘filler’ and there to milk the audience’s bank balance.
As per usual this album is a mix of Moore’s own penned love songs and a heady mix of his intelligent re-interpretations of songs by the Masters; and the new; and rather beautiful version of Love Can Make A Fool Of You will send a shiver down your back and by the time you get to finale, Living With The Blues you will know that you are in the presence of a Modern Master of the Blues idiom; very few of his generation, if any at all can combine the sensitivity of singing the Blues in all it’s forms with the way Gary Moore plays an electric guitar.
For a Favourite Track I’ve been torn between going for the stunning re-inventions of Elmore James’ Done Somebody Wrong and the heart-breaking ballads How Blue Can You Get? and In My Dreams, with the latter being in a similar vein to Parisienne Walkways; but with added zip; and on the former Moore pays homage to BB King, when he adds extra sparkle to a song I’ve loved for near 40 years.
So, today ……. cue drum roll …….. I’m going for In My Dreams, primarily because it suits my mood this evening; but Hell …… how and why Gary Moore left this in a drawer will remain a mystery for decades to come!
As I sit here I got to thinking about where Gary Moore sits into the pantheon of British and indeed Worldwide Blues Guitarists (for which he’s best known). Even though he packed concert halls across the UK and stadiums in Europe he barely gets a mention; and that’s not fair as his legacy is as good and probably more varied than many who have stolen a living for decades, hawking out the same few riffs over and over again to an ever greying audience.
Gary Moore – he’s Up There, both figuratively and literally.

PS When I last visited his home town of Belfast in 2013 his family and friends were petitioning for a statue in his honour; and now it’s picking up some momentum ……… I recommend you check the website out and do what you can; as Gary Moore was the original Belfast Boy.

Released April 30th 2021



RMHQ Music Hour Ep:15

It’s April already and the Music Hour is getting ever more listeners every episode …… thanks for being there.
This week’s edition features exciting new tracks from Wonders of The Yukon, Amy Speace, The Annie Oakley, Mary Karlzen and Jesse Brewster.
A Modern Blues Classic from Johnny Winter follows the wonderful Samantha Fish in our Blues section; and our Gateway Record is from Canadian singer-songwriter Jerry Leger and is quite a surprise; but a pleasant one.
I’ve slid in quite a few of my ‘favourite songs’ from the last few years and the show closes with a song I heard by the bass player in Slaid Cleaves band, which made me contact Slaid’s wife Karen to buy the album it came from and sent hard cash via the post as this was long before the Internet and Paypal were a twinkle in anyone’s eye!
Samantha Fish#15 PodcastAmerican Dream
Johnny Winter#15 PodcastMean Mistreater
Wonders of The Yukon#15 PodcastRachel and the Goofs
The AgencyLocal#15 PodcastPoor Robin
Amy Speace and Orphan Brigade#15 PodcastShotgun Hearts
Jesse Brewster#15 PodcastBitter Pill
Mary Karlzen#15 PodcastTry to Find
Jerry LegerGateway#15 PodcastDen of Sin
Dillard and ClarkGateway#15 PodcastOut on The Side
Hannah White and Nordic Connection#15 PodcastPay me a Compliment
Ian Segal and the Mississippi Mudbloods#15 PodcastBayou Country
Annie Oakley#15 PodcastHow Could I Have Known? (Single 16 April)
Jeff Crosby#15 PodcastHotel Bibles
Robbie Fulks#15 PodcastSarah Jane
Ivan Brown#15 PodcastHe’s Old He’s Six

New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers Vol II

New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers
Volume 2
Stony Plain

A Blues Super-Session Played Honestly and Full of Fervour and Wilful Abandonment.

Late last year I had the good fortune to review the New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers Volume 1, which was full of great musicians playing live ‘in the moment’ while the tape rolled.
Classic Blues and rock songs, as well as a few original songs too, played honestly with fervour and wilful abandonment. You see, way back in 2007, producer Jim Dickinson gathered a group of musicians including Charlie Musselwhite, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Jimbo Mathus and brothers Cody and Luther Dickinson, to jam together on what was loosely termed a “hardcore blues” session.
They would record everything and see what stuck.
Sadly, Jim Dickinson passed away before any of these recordings saw the light of day and they were shelved for more than a decade. Now thanks to the folks at Stony Plain, we’re finally able to hear these fantastic renditions ourselves. Volume 1 was as expressive as it was moving (check out that review here: https://rockingmagpie.wordpress.com/2020/09/11/new-moon-jelly-roll-freedom-rockers-vol-1/…)
and I’m glad to say that volume 2 is more of the same and then some.
We get to thrill our ears with such gems as “She’s About a Mover,” (a classic song if there ever was one!) sung by Alvin Youngblood Hart.
Reckless and rough hewn, the way it oughta be.
Hart also sings on “Millionaire Blues” too, which is dirt floor blues done right.
“Oh Lord, Don’t Let Them Drop That Atom Bomb On Me,” with vocals by Jim Dickinson, clears the air for Jimbo Mathus singing “Greens and Ham” and a charming juke joint instrumental called “Blue Guitar.”
It’s easy to say that each and every song on here is well worth your while, whether you’re a bonafide Blues fan or not, but the one that truly TRULY does it for me here is “Black Water,” which is a nearly seven minute long deep and menacing timeless funk about the darkness of war and our times in America and beyond.
Recorded a decade and a half ago and still hitting the mark.
An ambience of a deteriorating Sly Stone with voodoo vocals by Charlie Musselwhite, verbed up harp, distorted guitar, and syrupy bass and drums.
A thick monster of a groove, spooky and scary,
The darkest song on both volumes by far and most definitely my favorite.
Guys, if there’s anymore like this one on the reel, please, please, please release it! Until then, I’ll just put this album on repeat for a while.

Review courtesy Roy Peak

Released March 26th 2021


RMHQ Music Hour Ep:14

If you’re listening ‘live’ it’s Good Friday – if not, it isn’t!
A belting show this week with more loud R&B than normal …. but that’s the mood I’m in; plus two EXCLUSIVE FIRST PLAYS, singer-songwriter Steve Grozier’s new single AND a first play for a track from the forthcoming Danny and The Champions of The World Live Album, Los Campeones which comes out at the end of April.
The Gateway Record this week comes from Scottish singer Roseanne Reid and it’s a surprise on two level; it’s a lot rockier and grittier than I’d have expected plus it’s our first ‘doubler’ ….. keep listening to hear what it is.

Until next week; thanks for listening.

EASTER Good Friday#14 Podcast
Hitman Blues Band#14 PodcastNot My Circus Not My Monkey
Dr Feelgood#14 PodcastNo more milk and alcohol
Bottle Rockets#14 PodcastBuilding Chryslers
Danny and the Champs#14 PodcastNever in the Moment (live) EXCLUSIVE
LindisfarneLocal#14 PodcastMeet me on the corner
Brigitte DeMeyer#14 PodcastAlready In
Steve Grozier#14 PodcastPower in the Light
Lucinda Williams#14 PodcastPineola
Jarrod Dickenson#14 PodcastYour Heart
Roseanne ReidGateway#14 PodcastYou underestimate me
Steve EarleGateway#14 PodcastJohnny Come Lately
Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa#14 PodcastSittin on top of the world
New Moon Jelly Roll Rockers#14 PodcastMessin with the kid (ft Jim Dickinson)
Rev’d Peyton#14 PodcastNothin’s easy but you and me