Afton Wolfe KINGS FOR SALE

Afton Wolfe
Kings For Sale
Grandiflora Records

Emotional and Rough-Edged Jazzy Country-Blues

Afton Wolfe released his debut EP in 2020;. Petronius’ Last Meal and was full of jazzy Country-Blues and rough-edged vocals, with a batch of well-written songs.
Kings For Sale reprises that formula; while kicking it up a notch with a colorful production by Grammy winner Oz Fritz that includes plenty of horns and some winsome pedal steel to go with Wolfe’s gruff, evocative voice.

The cover image shows Wolfe seemingly looking backward and forward at the same time, his inner thoughts reflecting on his outer self? A good primer for the music it accompanies.

The lead off track, “Paper Piano,” is a rocking delight complete with a perfectly matched horn section and rollicking piano.
The risqué “Dirty Girl” has a New Orleans flavor, making broad use of Wolfe’s sandpaper rough vocals and some simmering blues by his studio band.

Solid story telling with an old world melody and flavor in “Mrs. Ernst’s Piano” that goes beyond the simple morality tale it invokes. Interesting that this is the most easy to sing along with song on the album. Nothing like a tale of hard-headed racism at all, changing times, and karmic retribution to sing along with.

The fact that this tale seems to be set in olden days, yet is still sadly all too familiar today says much about our society. We need more like this.

“Fault Lines” reminds me a bit of John Murry’s lighter efforts; that is to say, this song is all rainy day grey, and bleak droning.

Yes, that is a compliment, by the way.
“Cemetery Blues” is the odd duck out on this collection in that it rocks the hardest with its distorted guitars and overblown rhythm section, yet it fits right in lyrically and emotionally.
A haunting memory—has a lover left, or are they dead?
When you’re so far gone in dark dreams and loss does it really matter?
This song is the bones of the dead cracking under your feet as you run headlong into the void, a dream of never ending desire that won’t let go.
Ending the album is “O’ Magnolia” and this is the song the state of Mississippi might not want, but sure does need.
A song of a changing South, a transition to a better, more inclusive future?
A hymn, not just to the new state flag of Mississippi, but to the South, and the United States of America in general. “Redemption will still take years,”
Wolfe sings on the final verse, knowing it’s not over yet, but in order for change to happen, one has to take that first, tentative and fateful step.
This is a smart song, as are all Wolfe’s song choices on this fine album, yet the emotion is not hampered by wordiness or all too clever for it’s own good word play.
Afton Wolfe is The Real Deal in a very shallow world.
Kings For Sale is a solid sophomore effort; give it a listen.

Review by the Legendary Roy Peak

Released 18th June 2021

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The Flatlanders THE TREASURE OF LOVE

The Flatlanders
Treasure Of Love
Rack’em Records & Thirty Tigers

A Timeless Set of Old and New Classic Tunes That Define Americana.

As the publicity shouts, this is the first album from the legendary combo in twelve years and therefore … expectations are high.
Content-wise, lockdown has given the trio the chance to collect and finish recording songs of their own songs and a few covers that have appeared in their live sets, but had never been fully realised in the studio until now.
The covers chosen suit the harmonies and heartbreak that have laced the Flatlanders’ output over many years – the Everly Brothers’ “Long Time Gone” sounds just as fragile as that earlier take, but now adds a wry world-weariness.
Initial single release “Sitting on Top of The World” is a rollicking turn-taking ear-worm, whereas “Give My Love to Rose” is as much imbued with the spirit of Johnny Cash as you’re ever likely to hear in the 21st Century.
Arrangements throughout are unfussy and wrought from the road; with the story and the timbre of the voices to the fore.
Allocation of song to voice is strong too – Jimmy Dale Gilmore’s tremulous tones suit the melancholy title track “Treasure of Love;” whereas Ely and Hancock tend to take the narrative course on songs like “Satin Shoes” and “Mobile Blues”.
In the trio format, there’s a good mix of turn-taking and two and three part harmonies, which offer a great deal of light and shade – “Ramblin’ Man” being a perfect example of where the egos retreat for the benefit of the song.
With fifteen songs to go at, there’s plenty of variety too – favourites for me are all the ones where Jimmy Dale Gilmore takes the lead; but especially “The Ballad of Honest Sam” with its Western imagery and mythology – timeless and Classic.
One low spot for me is the inclusion of the jokey “Mama Do the Kangaroo,” which is no doubt a live crowd-pleaser, but which sounds somewhat one dimensional and jars against the other material on offer – still, when you’ve got a skip button and fourteen other excellent tracks, I’m not complaining.
Twelve years did you say?
Let’s hope it’s not that long before The Flatlanders’ catalogue is further expanded, based on this timeless set of Classic tunes, old and new.

Review by Nick Barber

Released 9th July 2021
https://www.theflatlanders.com/

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Vincent Neil Emerson SELF-TITLED

Vincent Neil Emerson
Vincent Neil Emerson
La Honda Records / Thirty Tigers

A Reflective, Thoughtful and Warmly Human Set of Texas Singer-Songwriter Tales.

Arising and evolving out of a tradition of Texas songwriters such as Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, and Steve Earle, Vincent Neil Emerson throws his contribution to that body of sound with gusto; and comes out with his own distinct take, on this self-titled release.
There are elements of these listed influences scattered through the album – “Learnin’ to Drown” is vocally very Steve Earle in essence, and opener “Texas Moon” has the melodic feel of a young Guy Clark (and a bit of non-Texan John Prine too?) while “The Ballad of Choctaw-Apache” is very much in the Van Zandt story song mould.
Such pigeon-holing would do Vincent Neil Emerson a disservice though – those are just starting points to get a handle on where his music has been birthed form, inspirationally, and there’s a lot more personal observations and experience too in this album.
The aforementioned “Learning to Drown” is a cathartic release, dealing with Emerson’s father’s passing:
And I thought about closin’ the door
And endin’ it all
Like my father did before
But it ain’t worth
All the people who won’t see me anymore

Then there’s the earlier released single; “High on Getting By” which is a man coming to terms with the terms of our existence
Well I been drunk
On the ideas of my future
And I been high
On gettin’ by”
.
Both are musically framed with washes of acoustic stringed instruments like mandolin and fiddle along with keyboards around a picked guitar and Emerson’s caramel vocals.
Vincent Neil Emerson has certainly done his dues on the road, playing with friend Colter Wall, The Turnpike Troubadours and Charley Crockett too; and that road-toughness and sensitivity to other musicians is prominent throughout his own songs.
Stylistic changes such as shifts into bluegrass territory on “High On the Mountain” and the Western Swing flavoured album closer “Saddled Up and Tamed” are handled and sequenced with careful placing – big praise must go to producer Rodney Crowell here too; who has forged a big and warm sound throughout; yet still managing to make each song sound ever so intimate at the same time.
There are gems of lines to be found everywhere:
I pulled into Austin
‘Cause Fort Worth ain’t the same
” from “High on the mountain” is one of many that will bring a wry knowing smile to any listener’s face.
Over the ten tracks of the album, there’s a great deal of variety and depth but at the same time, there’s a clear Vincent Neil Emerson “sound” that is more than a just a composite of his influences.
If Country singer-songwriter is your bag and you’re missing some of those that have left us and are looking for the next wave to roll up on the shore, you could do worse than getting your feet wet on this thoughtful and warmly human showcase of Vincent Neil Emerson tunes.

Review by Nick Barber
Released June 25th 2021

https://vincentneilemerson.com/

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Kyle Culkin PORK CHOPS & BLUES

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
https://www.kyleculkin.com/bio

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Ted Russell Kamp SOLITAIRE

Ted Russell Kamp
Solitaire
PoMo Records

File Under: Classy and Classic Modern Americana/Country-Rock With West Coast Overtones and Folk Undertones

We’ve been late to the party with Ted Russell Kamp; only discovering his multi-talents and great voice three years ago with his 11th solo album, WALKIN’ SHOES, which we loved to bits; as we did with the follow up, in 2020 DOWN IN THE DEN …… and without spoiling your surprise; SOLITAIRE is very much in the same laid back, West Coast Country Rock Singer-Songwriter vein and it’s held a special place lately in the Magmobile on weekend journeys around the highways and by-ways of the Kingdom of Northumbria.
Opening track My Girl Now is real toe-tapper and actually a bit faster than you think it is ….. try singing along ….. it’s nearly impossible without gasping for breath half way through. Kamp’s slightly raspy voice is almost perfect for this tale of winning a heart after a long and troubled courtship of sorts …… and very much sets the tone for what is to follow.
Probably best known as the bass player in Shooter Jennings’ Band; Ted is also a Producer of some repute too; but IMHO he is also one of the finest songwriters in the idiom as I’ve heard since the heydays of Country Rock in the 1970’s. .
Birds That Sing at Dawn finds Kamp’s already husky voice dropping down a key or two as he sings about a beautiful if flawed love affair……. ‘the one that got away’ ….. and I bet you don’t pout; as I did the first time you hear the chorus;
I’ll just sit here drinking whisky
Waiting for the birds that sing at dawn
.”
Like so many other songwriters; these songs came to Kamp as he was housebound during Lockdown I in 2020; and there’s a claustrophobic feel to a couple because of that; Be Your Man and Exception to The Rule are prime examples; with sparse arrangements that enable the singer to sound as profound and heartbroken as music allows.
While most of these songs are from the Country Love Song playbook; i.e. lost love and broken hearts are the threads that hold everything together; what else would you expect from titles like Only a Broken Heart and/or A Rose or Two? and they both live up to the billing; but don’t worry …… Ted Russell Kamp has a special way with his words and arrangements that will tug at your heartstrings while still allowing you a ‘knowing smile’ at the same time …. the intricate title track Solitaire, being the type of song we’d normally associate with someone like JJ Cale and again later on The Spark too.
We need to go back to the beginning for my Favourite Song on this rather fine album; and even then it’s a coin toss between two …… the intricate and articulate Path of Least Resistance being ‘one of those songs’ where I’ve been left thinking ‘where did that come from’? The use of imagery and metaphor is simply outstanding; more so from someone best known as a side-kick!!
The other follows immediatly after and is by far the most up-tempo track here; bordering on actual Country Rock and if you were to hear it on the radio you would presume it was a killer tune from Poco or The Eagles or maybe even The Pure Prairie League; but no sirree You Can Go To Hell; I’m Going to Texas is 100% Ted Russell Kamp and you need to hear this song ASAP.
One of music’s problems these days is that too many musicians get pigeonholed for lazy fans on streaming sites; which has to be a dilemma for someone like Ted Russell Kamp as I doubt there’s a genre called Classy and Classic Modern Americana/Country-Rock With West Coast Overtones and Roadhouse Undertones ….. but I could be wrong of course.

Released May 7th 2021
https://tedrussellkamp.com/

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Dust Radio SHOTGUN SHACK

Dust Radio
Shotgun Shack
Lunario Records

Scandalously Good North Mississippi Blueswailin’ Stompers with a Punk Twist or Two.

I’ll tell you how good this album is; Mrs. Magpie has walked out of the room not once….. but twice when I’ve been playing it!
Now, that’s not a derogatory statement about her taste in music; just that these five blistering tracks of raw Blues music which derive their origins from the shacks of North Mississippi, but actually come from the start of the Mersey Delta in Greater Manchester to be pedantic; but if played loud enough are capable of stripping paint off the doors …. I know; I’ve tried.
I’ve seen similar acts over the years and I’m always left stunned how just a handful of musicians can kick up such a ruckus and fill the room with an absolute Wall of Sound….. but they do.
Dead Man’s Crawl which opens proceedings is an hypnotic stomper, with the most blueswailin’ harmonica you might ever hear in this lifetime; throw in some of the dirtiest guitar this side of a scrapyard and some Shaman shakers; it matters not what the neighbours think …. let them move!
It’s fair to say in advance none of these five songs are of the introspective, bedsit troubadour variety …… this is the Primeval Blues from the History Books but with some razor sharp 20th Century Punk twists too.
The title track, Shotgun Shack comes next; and the walls will still reverberate; only now we get to hear Paddy Wells rusty vocals in all their glory while Tom Jackson goes off on a a variety of fascinating and meandering guitar solos that bely his place in the duo’s shadows.
Things slow down for the sultry Fault Line; which will surely have the happy loving couples swirling around the dancefloor of any and every Roadhouse these cats ever play.
The finale Siren Song, has a narrative and rifftastic melody that takes more than their fair of left turns, but never strays too far from the Blues Reservation to scare the hard core; but I can’t say the same for purists.
Which leaves Backslider; arguably the most commercial track here; but that’s like saying ‘in the land of the blind, the one eyed man is King.’
There’s a hint of the Allmans about it; possibly even early Bob Segar and I absolutely love it, especially the hypnotic chorus; ….. hence it’s my Favourite Song here ….. and I can’t wait for a) the album which is scheduled for later in 2021 and b) a UK Tour.

Released May 28th 2021
https://lunariarecords.com/dust-radio/


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Paul Handyside LOVELESS TOWN

Paul Handyside
Loveless Town
Malady Music/Bandcamp

A Musical Arcade of Roots, Americana and Good Olde Folk Songs.

Aha! There’s a new album from Paul Handyside coming out and it pains me to say that neither Bob Harris or any of our popular TV shows Lorraine, Jonathan Ross, Graham Norton or even Later With Jools Holland will feature him; but all (apart from Bob ….. probably) will interview Tom Jones and the Tax Avoider from Take That and give them precious air time to promote music no one will buy.
Life’s not fair is it?
But the discerning music fans like you and I don’t need them; do we?
This is Newcastle singer-songwriter Paul Handyside’s fourth solo album; and I’ve been playing it on and off for two months now; sometimes when I was even supposed to be listening to someone else for review purposes.
I’m a great believer in the opening track being a ‘strong song’; something to capture the attention and …….. the title track, Loveless Town just might be the best song Paul has ever released.
Seriously.
A self-confessed Roots Songwriter; Paul goes all Hill Country George Jones siphoned through Steve Earle, with trusty sidekick Rob Tickell playing a lap steel as if he’s channelling the spirit of Buddy Epson …… I know that’s a lot to take in; but I’m not wrong.
Just as you try to get your breath back, Handyside and Tickell hit you with the sucker punch that is Light of My Life; a more spacious, but still maudlin love song that takes us on a journey of love that needs a video akin to a lonesome cowboy sitting on the trail, or possibly a travelling musician sitting in a windswept bus station at midnight with the only the moon and memories for company.
Beware; Paul is a Roots songwriter; not just Country Music; he can and does change direction in the blink of an eye; but his rich baritone voice and Rob’s symbiotic accompaniment take us on all kinds of journeys, not least with the gently swoonsome heartbreaker Don’t Let Your Heart be a Hotel or the bittersweet bedsit troubadour love song Only You and of course there’s the punchy Lord, Show Yourself which is Roots Music at its richest and most expressive.
As with many albums I’ve received lately; this was written and recorded during 2020 during various Lockdowns and Paul somehow keeping his head above water while working in the Health Care sector and Rob, like so many like him, losing his day job in the Arts; but those frustrations and occasional angry bursts come out in the music …… although not always literally.
With so much on offer here; it’s been incredibly difficult to select an out and out Winner of the Favourite Track accolade.
I first heard Paul sing Hartley Pit Disaster two or three years ago and it hit me like left hook to the solar plexus …… and I’ve subsequently requested it at two further concerts. A Modern Folk Song, about a real coal mining disaster at a local Northumbrian colliery that eventually changed the laws; and is actually best served by hearing Paul tell the story before you hear it. While a ‘local song’ it will touch the hearts of any and everyone from coal mining communities around the world where these tales are all too sadly commonplace.
BTW There are harmonies in the mix; but at some stage I’d love to hear this Paul and Rob perform this song with a Colliery Band and associated choir …… it bloody deserves it!
Anyway, that’s not even my second Favourite Song here!
I know …… but the quality of writing and singing is exceptional.
#2 is most likely the finale; another beautiful, if bittersweet love song Someone Like You that manages to marry the essence of modern Bedsit Troubadour stylismo, with Cowboy Country Music melancholia and imagery too.
Then, there is a song that kind of sums up a lot of what we have all suffered politically and even emotionally in not just the last two or three years; but in the case of Great Britain; 10 or more …….. Not In My Name captures the frustrations and angst of a nation; any nation and is surely destined to be a thunderous end of night sing/shout a long that initially brought back memories of a Red Wedge Tour many moons ago and if ever there was a time for a Folkie to turn up at the barricades with a guitar and a bag of full of Anthems; now is the time and Paul Handyside (with Rob too) is just that man!
His time has come …….. this by far; is probably/definitely Paul Handyside’s most complete and finest body of work so far; as I’m sure there is more and hopefully even better to come.

Released May 21st 2021
https://www.paulhandyside.com/home

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Jesse Terry WHEN WE WANDER

Jesse Terry
When We Wander
Wander Recordings

Laid Back and Easy Going Americana With Deceptively Killer Lines and Hooks.

As I’ve said many times over the years; “If I was aimlessly flicking through the racks of a record shop and stumbled on this; the cover alone would grab my attention and lead me to asking the person behind the counter if I could hear a couple of tracks.”
(Remember those days kids?)
The cool pic of a handsome young man in a Rough Rider jacket, looking straight at you, effortlessly leads you into the the laid back and easy going songs that follow …….. but; in the best TV Detective manner; there’s a glint in them there eyes that hides the fact that he’s more than capable of delivering a killer line or couplet when you’re least expecting it.
To begin with, the title track When We Wander gently squeezes your heart until you can’t breathe for fear of missing a note or sepia tinged image …… phwoar!
Jesse Terry has a such a lovely and yet deceptive voice that you would be forgiven for putting this album on as ‘background music’ ….. but; trust me here …… something will catch your ear and you won’t be able to stop yourself jumping up and taking said song back to the beginning; be it the sumptuously reflective Hymn of a Summer Night, the Honky Tonk delights of Pretty Good Hand or even the bittersweet love song, In Spite of You; all have something that will pique your interest and maybe even look back on your own life.
Seven albums in and 150+ shows a year don’t necessarily make for an apprenticeship that makes a songwriter this good; but Jesse Terry uses every single experience in his life to create his Art; and in many ways his songs are Art.
Our new friend Neilson Hubbard’s gentle production gives this a bit of a West Coast/Laurel Canyon vibe; with Ghost Stories and the punchy Little Fires sounding as if Terry had overdosed on Jackson Browne and David Gates for 72 hours solid and wanted to tip his hat in that direction; and the world is a better place for it.
While a wholly gorgeous and slightly edgy album from start to finish; on any other album the title track would be my Favourite Track; no question but such is the quality and class on offer it doesn’t even make the Top 3!
Little Fires, with its searing pedal-steel spine, has an easy going melody that lulls you in until the story unravels and you find you unconsciously have a tear in the corner of each eye and your bottom lip is puffed up ….. yup; it’s a bonafide heartbreaker.
Jesse Terry can also Rock It Up when he wants to too; and the powerful Hanging the Stars effortlessly straddles Classic Country Rock and the new fangled Alt. Country with ease and is just perfect for the radio on a hot and stifling Saturday night.
Then, there is the overall winner …….. cue drum roll …… the Springsteen inspired Strangers In Our Town.
Like all great songs it will appeal to listeners on different levels; but to me this claustrophobic love song had me looking at Mrs. Magpie and thinking; ‘come on ……. let’s us be strangers in our town‘ i.e. let’s look at our lives from a whole new angle … we’re never too old to Rock & Roll; are we?
All that’s left for me to say is to tell you about the Press Release; as is my won’t I skimmed down to see if my name was included (it isn’t) and then I saw a quote from a radio DJ.
Mercifully for once it wasn’t Bob Harris; but someone you’ve never heard of but has been a huge influence on my listening taste and hopefully broadcasting skills over the las 50 years ……. one Paddy MacDee from my local BBC Radio Newcastle.
At one stage Paddy had three very different shows running 7 days a week and wholeheartedly supported ‘proper music’ and especially the local scene, not just on radio but turning up to gigs on his nights off too.
So; if Jesse Terry is good enough for Paddy MacDee, he’s certainly good enough for the likes of me and you!!

Released May 14th 2021
https://www.jesseterrymusic.com/

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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

Eddie Turner CHANGE IN ME

EDDIE TURNER
Change In Me
7-14 Records

A Man Who Doesn’t Follow the Well-Worn, Accepted Format in Creating His Art

Born in Cuba and raised in Chicago Eddie Turner was exposed to a cornucopia of musical influences growing up; jamming with his pals at school, hanging out in alleys or; better still, even sneaking into shows whilst underage to watch true icons such as Muddy Waters, Jimi Hendrix or later; The Clash.
Turner grabbed an early opportunity to be part of Zephyr for their last album in 1985 and was then invited by his buddy Kenny Passarelli to form The Otis Taylor Band, a commitment that lasted 10 years and included recording 5 albums, up to 2004.

As a solo artist Eddie has previously released 3 studio solo albums; plus the one live effort of ‘Naked In Your Face’ which nicely leads us to the ten new tracks on Change In Me.
Again, he involves his good pal Passarelli, as well as Tim Stroh, to assist with the production duties whilst the album was recorded in both New York and Colorado. With a plethora of styles clearly developing from his eclectic taste in music this is not just any old genre bending album.
In fact, the magazine Classic Rock Here And Now states that “Turner has developed a sound that’s informed by tradition, yet adventurous enough to not be limited by it.”

The title track Change In Me starts off proceedings with a cool tempo, subtle guitar and B3 working together, supporting the lyrics with an added bonus of a sultry female backing vocalist.
It’s an impressive start highlighting the fact that unlike so many of todays artists Eddie knows when to leave things out of the mix.
One of 3 covers, Hendrix’s “My Friend” provides a very effective, albeit pedestrian vocal, almost like Jimi’s own droll delivery on his posthumous ‘The Cry of Love’ album.
Lou Reeds “I’m Waiting For My Man” again paints a vivid underworld of danger and intrigue, complimented by further effective female backing vocals.
The third and most distinctive cover comes from the pen of Chicago Blues Legend – Willie Dixon and is as vastly a different version of “Hoochie Koochie Man” that I’ve ever heard, but you know what … it works.

Jazzy piano keeps “Whoa, Whoa, Whoa” yomping at a pace with the familiar female vocals providing answers to some of Eddie’s comments and observations.
The lyrics to “This is Your Night” tell another haunting almost mysterious tale starting with the scene setting lines
Revenge is a serenade that lasts through the night,
Jealousy’s soft parade,
the Angels are right”

with the repeated memorable lyrics of
You pour me another wine, then you realise,
This is your Night”

completing each verse.
Just for a change, drums and bass prominently feature on “Standing on the Frontline” before some Ernie Isley type guitar licks punch through the funky backbeat.

It’s not exactly easy listening as you plough your way through this album; but the more I’ve listened, the more I like it. Push me for my Favourite Track then it would have to be “Dignify Me” which steps the pace up a gear or three, each verse ending with catchy punch-lines

“You’ve got to dignify my presence,
Dignify my soul, my soul…..Dignify
”.

Undoubtedly, Eddie Turner doesn’t follow the well-worn, accepted format in creating his art, with mostly machinating lyrics and downbeat melodies that ignore the well-worn paths to popularity. To me this borders on him being somewhat enigmatic and probably an acquired taste that will fly over the heads of the masses.
However, all power to his elbow for sticking to his personal idiom and patently not changing himself just to optimise any potential sales.

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

Released on 14th. May 2021
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