TAMI Velvet & Steel

Velvet & Steel
Man In The Moon Records

A New Blues Butterfly Finally Emerges From the Shadows.

I seem to have been listening to a lot of Country Music lately; so it was with great glee I slid this debut album, (after only 25 years in the business) into the office CD player and breathed a sigh of relief when the punchy piano led Strong Woman came fussin’ and fightin’ out of the speakers!Here I am a week later; and this Feminist and Feminine Rocking and Rolling Anthem could have been written not just for; but actually about Tami, who has had more knock backs than my mate Malcolm on a Friday night; but boy oh boy, she is never knocked out! 
What a helluva voice this young lady from Oklahoma has; channelling Tina, Beth and even Cher as throws down her marker to any man who wants to take her on.
The second song was and is a major surprise as she reinterprets the first of two Joe Bonamassa songs; and certainly in this case she adds a warmth and sensitivity to Dustbowl that is missing from the original; and whoever is playing the guitar sure knows his way around a fret-board! 
All 13 songs here are selections from the Great Soul and Blues Song Book; and even though I didn’t recognise most, Tami sure has great taste seamlessly combining songs from half a century or more ago with contemporary songs like Bonamassa and Chris Stapleton’s to showcase her extraordinary vocal prowess. 
As we all know by now the Blues comes in many and various formats and Tami is right at home in all, grooving her way through Sugar Shack and Ready To Be Rescued then slowing things down real, real slow with Gretchen Peter’s Love’s Been Rough On Me and the sumptuously gorgeous Love song, which is best known for Adele’s rendition; but when Tami wants to Rock…..ain’t nobody gonna stop her!
She sure sounds sassy and sexy on both Chris Stapleton’s The Cure and Ready To Be Rescued, then on the other Bonamassa song Bridge To Better Days  Tami and band wrap it up as tight as a gnats chuff, almost suffocating any careless listener! 
There’s no doubt I love the ‘rockers’ here; and they came along just at the right time; but nothing beats a slow burning Blues song; and Tami sure knows how to sing a mean old humdinger, which is why I nearly chose the wonderful 1952 ‘murder ballad’ The River’s Invitation as my Favourite Song here; then I dithered and thought it should be her authentic take on Jimmy Reed’s Honest I Do; not least because it features the legendary Charlie McCoy on harmonica, but today I’m nearly sure my Favourite Song here is……….Maybe Someday; a song hidden for almost half a century but now finding itself absolutely perfect for the political climate that is currently permeating around the world, as Tami channels both Mavis Staples and Sam Cooke on a wonderful and powerful Gospel song that deserves to be heard as loud as possible on radios absolutely everywhere.  
It’s mind boggling to think of this as a debut album; as everything about Velvet & Steel is classy from start to finish; but Tami has been honing her immense talent in the background until now; and this album could see her finally metamorphosing into the beautiful Bluesy Butterfly she was always destined to be.

Released October 12th 2018 



Suzie Vinnick
Shake The Love Around

A Gin Fizz Cocktail of the Blues. 

Sadly I rarely get the time these days to let albums ‘grow on me’; but my workload this week has meant that reviews had to go on the back burner until the weekend; so I left this beauty in the car stereo and my patience has most certainly been rewarded.
Not for the first time recently SHAKE YOUR LOVE AROUND didn’t quite  capture my attention when I first played it a couple of weeks ago, but there was ‘something’ in Suzie Vinnick’s voice that made me want to come back to it; then on Sunday night ‘BINGO’ it hit me.
Hypothetically, if Bonnie Raitt was a cocktail she’d most likely be an Old Fashioned with it’s exotic blend of fiery whisky and exotic herbs; so using that logic Suzie Vinnick would be a Gin Fizz……..smooth but with an occasional sweet and sour after taste; and with more than one cherry on the top!
Some rather funky guitar chords open Happy as Hell before Ms. Vinnick’s sultry voice glides into the groove on a bitter sweet late night Urban Blues song that is just perfect for the last dance.
Maybe it’s the mood I’ve been in recently; but these predominantly sad tales have really captured my heart; with the harmonies on Lean Into The Light and Find Some Freedom, mercifully taking the edge off two raw heart-breakers  and later on the winsome Drift Away she could bring a tear to a glass eye!
As aficionados know, there can be a playful side to The Blues Too and Suzie Vinnick shows her sassy side on All I Wanna Do and the mildly anthemic Find Some Freedom, which, I’m sure will have the mobile phones held aloft when played in concert. 
Many of my favourite Blues artistes have always occasionally flirted with Jazz at times; and that’s the case here on Creaking Pines and perhaps  A Hundred and Ten In The Shade too; but in fairness that’s the type of Southern Blues that dips it’s toe into many musical ponds and comes out fresh and cool in equal measures.
While it was most certainly Suzie Vinnick’s vocals that brought me back here; but she sure plays a mean  guitar too, which is probably why I made the Bonnie Raitt connection. Listen to her make her electric guitar moan and groan in time to the clever lyrics and story in Watch Me and an acoustic on the beautifully incisive Golden Rule when she goes all Laurel Canyon for us. 
As I said at the beginning there are certainly a couple of ‘cherries on the top’ of this Gin Fizz of an album; Lean Into The Light is just one of those songs that it’s difficult to put into words why you like it; but that bass-line (again provided by Ms Vinnick) is straight outta the Chic play book, but the song is Blues Deluxe! The other Joint Winner of the RMHQ Favourite Song Accolade is Danger Zone and it’s actually a bit of an oddity as it’s just Suzie accompany herself on the bass guitar; but bizarrely it works a lot better than it has any right to. 
In a ‘blind tasting’ I doubt anyone would hear this album and guess Suzie Vinnick is Canadia born and bred; but she is and that possibly even helps her sound as cool and reverential as she does throughout this dozen quite exquisite songs.
Shake The Love Around? It’s a keeper! 

Released Canada March 9th 2018
Released Europe 16th November 2018


Walter Trout “Me, My Guitar And The Blues” (Video Single)

Walter Trout 
Me, My Guitar And The Blues (Single)
Mascot/Provogue Records 

Those who know me and my humble website will already know of my love and admiration for Walter Trout and his music; so the idea of yet another album of shiny new material; albeit cover versions, called SURVIVOR BLUES due out on 25th January has sent me giddy with excitement; as has this taster/single Me, My Guitar & The Blues! 

Here’s what the blurb; and Walter has to say about the album :- 

“No ordinary artist. No ordinary covers album. From the day he conceived the project to the moment he counted off the first song in the studio, Walter Trout had a bolder plan for ‘Survivor Blues’. “I’m riding in my car sometimes,” says the US blues titan. “I’ve got a blues station on – and here’s another band doing ‘Got My Mojo Workin’. And there’s a little voice in me that says, ‘Does the world need another version of that song?’ So I came up with an idea. I didn’t want to do ‘Stormy Monday’ or ‘Messin’ With The Kid’. I didn’t want to do the blues greatest hits. I wanted to do old, obscure songs that have hardly been covered. And that’s how Survivor Blues started…”
Opener ‘Me, My Guitar And The Blues tips a hat to cult hero Jimmy Dawkins, whose records Trout devoured while cutting his teeth as a ’60s axe-slinger in New Jersey. ‘Nature’s Disappearing’ nods to his celebrated ’80s tenure in John Mayall’s near-mythical Bluesbreakers. In-between, you’ll find cherished favourites from a lifetime’s listening, with songs that caught Trout’s ear at key junctures in his journey, from backing up John Lee Hooker in the ’70s, to bringing the groove to Canned Heat in the ’80s or breaking through as a solo artist in the ’90s.
Trout made it his mission to harness the power and spirit of the originals, while stamping his inimitable musical personality onto each new take. “My idea was to do these songs like me, to arrange them for my band and style,” he explains, “not to just copy the originals note-for-note.”
It takes a stellar lineup of musicians to reinterpret the greatest sunken treasures in the blues genre. But last September, as recording began at the Los Angeles studio of iconic Doors guitarist Robby Krieger, Trout and long-standing producer Eric Corne shared their vision with the only band who could measure up. The thunder and finesse of drummer Michael Leasure. The muscular groove of bassist Johnny Griparic. The spell-casting fingers of keyboards session god and regular Trout conspirator, Skip Edwards. “I’d play them the original,” remembers Trout, “and then I’d say, ‘Here’s how the song goes, what have you got?’ I’d give these guys a lot of freedom. The record was mostly done live, with us set up in a circle, just to get the feel of us going there together. And you can feel it, y’know?”
Sunnyland Slim’s ‘Be Careful How You Vote’ is a rollicking barn-burner that stresses the importance of choosing carefully at the ballot box, without taking sides. Universal themes are also explored on Otis Rush’s defiant ‘It Takes Time’ and the funk-flavoured groove of Luther Johnson’s ‘Woman Don’t Lie.’ In Trout’s hands, ‘God’s Word’ becomes a glowering twelve-bar stunner.  There’s rarely been a Trout record without a tip of the hat to Mayall, and here the Brit-blues godfather is represented by ‘Nature’s Disappearing’: the environmental call to arms to that lit up 1970’s ‘U.S.A. Union’ album. On Hound Dog Taylor’s ‘Sadie’, Trout trades his trademark combustible Strat style for something more mind-expanding. “I was trying to steer clear of clichés,” he reflects. “Not just trying to play ten thousand notes, but phrase and play something interesting. The solo on ‘Sadie’, I wanted to do something where you’d hear it and say, ‘Wow, that’s different’.”
You don’t hear a track like ‘Goin’ Down To The River’ every day either, with Mississippi Fred McDowell’s ancient gem decorated with slide guitar from a very special guest. “Robby Krieger was coming in every day, listening and hanging out, so I said, ‘I’d love it if you played on this song’. So when I say ‘Play it, Robby’ – that’s Robby Krieger from The Doors. We just did that in the studio – boom, there you go.”
All they needed was a title. And as Trout surveyed his bloodied-but-unbowed cohorts – and reflected on a collection of blues songs whose raw power remained undimmed – he knew the suggestion of his wife and manager, Marie, couldn’t be topped. “We started thinking about these enduring songs and the guys playing on the album,” he reflects. “Mike is in recovery. Johnny almost didn’t make it. Skip has had a triple bypass. And I almost didn’t make it after my liver disease in 2014. So Marie said to me, ‘You’re a group of survivors. You’ve all been through hell and you’ve come back. These songs are survivors. This album needs to be called Survivor Blues’. I just looked at her and said: ‘You got it’.”

Track List:

1. Me, My Guitar And The Blues
2. Be Careful How You Vote
3. Woman Don’t Lie (feat. Sugaray Rayford)
4. Sadie
5. Please Love Me
6. Nature’s Disappearing
7. Red Sun
8. Something Inside Of Me
9. It Takes Time
10. Out Of Bad Luck
11. Goin’ Down To The River (feat. Robby Krieger)
12. God’s Word

Paul Oscher COOL CAT

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Paul Oscher
Blues Fidelity

The Title Says It All!

In a week when I’ve nearly caught up with my backlog of albums to review I happened upon this one in the box of tricks. Although from my ‘secret source’ in the US of A, who has never let me down in the last 12 months it was actually the Blue Note style album cover that first caught my eye, and when I flipped it over and saw the song titles I thought it might be worth a spin.
Ooh, ooh and thrice OOH!
The first song, Money Makin’ Woman simply sizzles like breakfast bacon, the way it attacks all of your senses at once; and of course makes you salivate at the prospect of what else is to come. A tasty treat it is too with Oscher’s leathery voice sounding like it’s coming from a man with a twinkle in his eye, and his red hot guitar licks plus a couple of swinging sax’s in the background take us back to some late night dive, two alleys back from Bourbon Street, where only the ne’er do wells dare drink.
Next up Oscher slows things down to a late night stroll with Blues and Trouble, and not for the last time on this album he does things with his electric guitar that are still illegal in four states!
Now you  are hooked; I can let you into a secret…….Paul Oscher played in Muddy Water’s band from 67 through 76; and even lived in his basement! That’s how good he is.
For a native of LA who has been settled in Austin for a long while; there’s a cool Chicago vibe going on here, with Work That Stuff and Dirty Dealin’ Mama being the type of Blues I’ve dreamt about re-discovering for years now; Oscher blowing a mean ole mouth-harp on the former and on the latter I can only imagine that Miss Lavelle White sings it with one hand on her hip and the other waving in the air as she hisses and purrs the sassy lyrics like a woman who has been wronged; very wronged more than once in her life and gets her mean revenge on Oscher who plays guitar and piano with as much guilt as he can muster.
When I tell you that there’s a poem here; Mississippi Poem don’t despair as it’s a precursor to the Talking Blues, Ain’t That a Man (Dedicated to James Cotton) and the pairing is quite exquisite!
Then; there’s also a Jazz instrumental, On The Edge, and, in this setting it proves that there’s only a sliver of difference between the Blues and Jazz.
Oscher pays homage to Muddy Waters with a cool mid-tempo arrangement of Rollin’ and Tumblin’ and if I’m honest, it was an early contender for the Favourite Track title; but that has gone to, not just one song but two, or is it three….or sort of?
The title track Cool Cat makes it’s first appearance with Paul giving a heartfelt and amusing monologue explaining who (or what) Cool Cat was; and it not just made me smile each time I’ve heard it…… but giggle a couple of times too. This is followed by a delightful 4 minute instrumental with Oscher at the piano and nodding in the direction of Booker T and the MG’s. It’s so good that if I still had my radio show I would certainly incorporate it into an intro tune.
Then Cool Cat makes another, but this time epic appearance at the end with 9 and a half minute full on Rhythm and Blues whig out, with Miss Lisa Leuschner sexily purring the words; a la Eartha Kitt in her Catwoman guise “Cool Cat…..Cool Cat” over the end credits; and I can’t think of a better way to close such a cool, classy and occasionally sexy album like this.

Released October 19th 2018

Colin James MILES TO GO


Colin James
True North Records

The Perfect Accompaniment After Midnight.

My ‘relationship’ with Colin James is quite limited; as I only ‘discovered’ him in 2016 when he supported Beth Hart; and my initial reaction was “Wow! This kid will go far!” Which was funny; as by then he was already turned 50, had released 15 albums and won numerous Awards in his native Canada!
Then, a week later I received a copy of his Blue Highways album and straight off realised why he already had a successful career on the other side of the Atlantic – not only can he play the electric guitar as well as the best of them, he has a wonderful singing voice too.
MILES TO GO is not just the follow up to that career defining ‘covers album’ but a sequel as James delves even deeper into his record collection; putting his own distinctive stamp on 10 Classic (and/or occasionally rare) Blues standards while seamlessly sliding in two of his own; written especially for the project.
I wasn’t aux fait with the Otis Grand tune One More Mile before having my breath taken away by James’ scintillating version; which I guess pays homage to the original with a blues-wailing harmonica; groovy organ and swinging horn section in the background; but first and foremost James sounds like he ‘believes’ every single word he is singing as he oozes class on his electric guitar.
Some songs here I did know; but mostly the songs are brand new to me and even Need Your Love So Bad and See That My Grave Is Kept Clean are virtually unrecognisable in the way Colin James has deconstructed them and made them both sound very contemporary indeed; especially the former.
James’ own songs, the soulful I Will Remain and the unrequited-Love Song 40 Light Years with it’s uber-cool chorus and Steve Marriner’s superb harmonica solos both fit in extraordinarily well; and either could easily have come from Muddy or maybe John Mayall’s back catalogue if you didn’t know any better.
James and gang manage the near impossible here; creating a timeless Blues album that is also fresh, exciting and very contemporary with Still a Fool coming out of Chess Studios in 1951, but now evoking memories of Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac and also bits of Joe Bonamassa’s recent works; and it’s a similar feel to Howlin’ Wolf’s Ooh Baby Hold Me; which now sounds like the best song Eric Clapton never recorded in the 70’s!
This is one of those albums when you can close your eyes and stick a pin into the cover to find your Favourite Track; as yesterday it was going to be the funky foot-stomper Soul of a Man, but tonight I’m going for Black Night; no not the Deep Purple song! But something from 1950, originally by someone called Charles Brown and subsequently covered by Buddy Guy and Joe Bonamassa, but whatever, James turns it into the type of late night Blues where you come home from work, loosen the tie, pour something long, cold and strong and kick back and wallow in the lush magic coming from the speakers in a darkened room.
Obviously it’s a case of ‘each to their own’ when it comes to the Blues; and I personally grew out of interminable and loud for the sake of being loud guitar solos a quarter of a century ago; so I absolutely love this type of smooth and grown up Blues performed by a singer-guitarist and assorted high-quality musicians who appreciate the songs and music as much as the end recipient, the listener will do as well.

Released UK November 9th 2018
Released North America 21st September 2018



BLUE MUSE Music Maker Foundation
Big Legal Mess Records

Keeping The Blues AND It’s Musicians Alive!

This is an interesting/fascinating/wonderful idea; an idea of eclectic and often ‘rare’ Blues songs AND a photography book AND a graphic novel all coming out to raise much needed funds for …………..
“Music Maker Relief Foundation – the non-profit organization that helps traditional, southern musicians who live in poverty and has been featured on PBS News Hour, CBS News, and NPR.

I’ve got a copy of the compilation album BLUE MUSE celebrating its 25th anniversary that will be released on February 1st 2019, but not had a chance to listen to it all yet never mind review it……but until then here’s the PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED Eric Clapton track MISSISSIPPI BOUND.

This is why you should pre-order your copy NOW……

“The album features contributions from Rock & Roll Hall of Famer and 17-time GRAMMY winner Eric Clapton (in a previously unreleased track), Blues Hall of Famer, two-time GRAMMY winner, and Americana Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award winner Taj Mahal and GRAMMY-winner founding member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops Dom Flemons.
In keeping with Music Maker’s mission to preserve the musical traditional of the south by supporting the musicians who make it, the album spans a range of living southern music culture and fans will hear blues, folk, songster, jump blues, soul, Appalachian, garage blues, and gospel musics here. The 21-track set features liner notes by Vogue and Guardian writer Rebecca Bengal.”

“‘Blue Muse’ accompanies a photography book of the same name by Tim Duffy coming out February 25 on UNC press in association with the New Orleans Museum of Art; and an exhibition at the New Orleans Museum of Art premiering April 25.”

“Music Maker has supported over 400 artists over the course of its 25-year history.”

01) La Collegiale – The Grotto Sessions
02) Spike Driver Blues – Taj Mahal
03) Old Black Buck – Captain Luke
04) Route 66 – Eddie Tigner
05) I Got The Blues – Alabama Slim
06) Age Don’t Mean A Thing – Robert Finley
07) Polly Put The Kettle On – Dom Flemons
08) Hambone – John Dee Holeman
09) Snap Your Fingers – Algia Mae Hinton
10) I am the Lightning – Willie Farmer
11) D.O.C. Man – Dave McGrew
12) Sweet Valentine – Martha Spencer & Kelley Breiding
13) I Wanna Boogie – Boot Hanks w/ Dom Flemons
14) Mississippi Blues – Eric Clapton w/ Tim Duffy
15) Landlord Blues – Guitar Gabriel
16) Widow Woman – Drink Small
17) Cabbage Man – Sam Frazier, Jr.
18) Sing It Louder – Cary Morin
19) Loose Diamonds – Ironing Board Sam
20) I Know I’ve Been Changed – The Branchettes
21) Something Within Me – Theotis Taylor

For more information on Music Maker Relief Foundation, please contact Nick Loss-Eaton at nick.losseaton@gmail.com or 718.541.1130 or Cornelius Lewis at 919.643.2456.


Laurie Jane & The 45’s ELIXIR OF SARA MARTIN

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Laurie Jane & The 45’s
Down In The Alley

Taking Some Old-School Louisville Blues Back To The Future

Where to start with this captivating new album of reinvigorated 1920’s style Blues songs?
Laurie Jane & The 45’s have been playing variations of Blues music in and around Louisville, Kentucky for longer than their cherubic young looks would have you believe and have decided to reignite the faded memory of Sara Martin, who in an era best remembered for Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith actually recorded a record on Okeh long before either of those legends went into a studio and then went on to write and record a further 100 tracks; some of which were recorded by Fats Waller and Sylvester Weaver. Yet I and I guess you have never heard of her.
That’s all about to change when you hear belters like opening track Late Last Night, where Laurie Jane takes Sara’s words and reinvents them as a sizzling 1950’s meets the 21st Century Rockin’ Boogie, with gutsy guitars and a saxophone that tries to blow the roof off.
Not every song here is from Sara Martin’s pen, but they are all songs she recorded and boy oh boy does this band of reprobates do her memory proud on the slow and seedy My Man Blues, but it’s the still crackling around the edges authentic versions of Strange Loving Blues and the raw Pleading Blues that make this album really extra special; and show the world what an expressive voice Laurie Jane herself has.
As long as I live I will never comprehend how a contemporary musician can hear an original 1920’s or earlier recording and have the imagination to dust them down, pick them apart at the seams and then put them back together to sound as if they’d been written in the last month, such is the treatment given to My Man Blues.
Arguably my introduction to such witchcraft was hearing Cream do Crossroads back in 1971; and I feel suitably impressed hearing these cats re-invent WC Handy’s Joe Turner Blues and another Sara Martin song, I’m Gonna Be a Lovin’ Old Soul and make them sit comfortably alongside any of the modern Blues songs I receive most weeks.
Although she doesn’t actually sound like her; Laurie Jane has the same swagger and self-confidence in her voice that I remember from Dame Maggie Bell many decades ago; on Can’t Find Nobody To Do What My Daddy Do and more especially the swinging Sugar Blues.
To some degree this could have been an LP of two very separate half’s as there is an appealing mix of Blues Rockers sitting side by side with richly authentic acoustic cuts, with ‘specially added crackles and pops; and it is one of those when Laurie Jane Duggins takes us on a super-cool midnight stroll with Sugar Blues, from the pen of Clarence Williams and now featuring some delightful electric guitar solos from Screamin’ John Hawkins alongside the piano of Cort Duggins and some truly spine tingling trumpet from guest Eric Snyder.
Everything about ELIXIR OF SARA MARTIN, from the cover artwork through the songs themselves and the memories they evoke is pure class from start to finish; and now I’d love to hear Laurie Jane & The 45’s pull out all the stops on an album of their own songs.

Released October 13th 2018

Swampcandy MINE

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Raw, Passionate Hillbilly Punk Infused Blues.

In a month when I’ve had releases by Sir Rod Stewart, Elvis Costello and the legendary John Hiatt to review, an album by a little known band from the backwoods of Americay, who nobody I know has ever heard of has not just captured my imagination but my heart as well!
Swampcandy are a definitive Roots-Rock band first formed in 2007 but really came to life in 2010 when singer/bassist Joey Mitchell joined original singer Ruben Dodd and, as they say…..the rest is history!
Best described as a Blues/Hillbilly/Folk/Country hybrid opening track JC’s Revenge is a really powerful foot stomper that made me do a double take the first time I played it. Best played LOUD Ruben Dodd sounds like he’s either got the Devil on his tail or Old Nick has actually inhabited his larynx as he growls and wheezes his way through four amazing minutes.
Oohhee! Joey Mitchell then kick starts the album on the second track with the jaunty and whoopielicious Party With The Devil and the darkly delicious frame of mind is set for what is to follow.
Those of a sensitive disposition can leave now.
When I first started reviewing Swampcandy’s ‘style’ would have been described as ‘Old Timey’; which it is……but boy oh boy….. is it contemporary and at times, frighteningly futuristic too!
Red Shoes finds the two singers bouncing off each other like electrons, then Burn The Meadow takes Olde School American Folk music into uncharted territory but on Dead Man Walking and Sack o’ Bones the band somehow manage to out Punk the MC5!
There’s a little bit of everything here, showing Swampcandy’s diverse and fascinating skill sets in all their ragged glories; none more so than on the fleshy Ragtime-Folk of San Francisco (the hills of) or the majestic Years on End, which features luscious and almost Angelic harmonies and a demonic Grand Piano; or my Favourite Track, the simple and delicate Knock Out which is a brittle and beautiful observation of the times the ‘working man or woman’ finds themselves in.
Swampcandy are ‘different’ in many ways from what you will normally hear; treading a very lonely and personal musical path that won’t ever be commercial in financial terms; but will bring joy and pleasure to everyone who invest the time in actually listening to their music.
I’ve just had another thought……. Swampcandy are the type of band that will play to a crowd of 50 in a tent at Glastonbury when U2 or Coldplay or whoever are headlining in front of 250,000 across the field; but two years later those 50 people will still be talking about the night that they had their lives changed.

1st October 2018



Keb Mo & Roseanne Cash PUT A WOMAN IN CHARGE


Keb Mo & Roseanne Cash

WOW! What a great combination…..Keb Mo AND Roseanne Cash on a wonderful new stomping single called PUT A WOMAN IN CHARGE.
With all that’s going on politically in the US of A it’s a wonderfully romantic notion to boot men to one side and PUT A WOMAN IN CHARGE, but before anyone gets carried away remember the UK has Theresa May ‘in charge’ and we are going to Hell in a handcart and the memory of the divisive Madam Thatcher still sends a shiver down the spine of most people North of Watford Gap; but hey……it’s still a really cool song.

” Mo’ hopes the track can be a gift to women everywhere “My mother just recently passed at the age of 91. She was smart. She was strong. She was a leader. This video is dedicated to her and amazing women everywhere that are getting the job done.”

Written by Keb’ Mo’, John Lewis Parker (“Hard Habit To Break,” “Can’t We Fall In Love Again”), and Beth Nielsen Chapman (“This Kiss,” “Happy Girl”), “Put A Woman In Charge” is now available through all digital retailers, including Apple Music, Amazon, Spotify, and more.
Music force Rosanne Cash, who delivered a powerful speech while accepting the Spirit of Americana Free Speech Award during this year’s Americana Music Awards teamed up with Keb’ and sings on the track. On Nov. 2, Cash will release her first new album in nearly five years, titled “She Remembers Everything.” The poetic, personal and incisive collection features ten songs, all written or co-written by Cash, that reckon with a flawed and fragile world from a uniquely feminine perspective.



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Hadden Sayers
Blues Is Art

Two Contrasting Albums of the Same Great Songs.

This is not just an interesting, but a fascinating concept……. an album chock full of Blues Rockers, then the same songs by the same artist done acoustically.
Can it work? Will it work?
Without spoiling your fun; the answer is a resounding YES.
As is often the case I’d not heard of Hadden Sayers before receiving these two discs; but not only is DOPAMINE MACHINE his 9th album he plays guitar for Ruthie Foster whom we have a warm and soft spot for here at RMHQ.
The ‘electric’ album kicks off with a roar of ZZ Top proportions on Unsatisfied; and it’s no surprise that Maestro Billy Gibbons reckons Hadden is “pretty much my hero” as Sayers threatens the listeners sensibilities with his gruff singing voice and buzz-saw guitar licks; on a pretty cool song; it has to be said.
Now I’ve played the album 5 or 6 times; the sound of ZZ Top is certainly the ‘elephant in the room’ on a few songs but hey; that’s certainly no bad thing when they are of the quality of Hit The Road, Peppermint Patty and the raw muscle power of Backbreaker on which Sayers makes Ozzy Osbourne sound quite wimpy in comparison!
Not everything here actually trods that path though, no no no……Blood Red DeVille slows things down to a country stroll on a Sunday evening, and Sayers shows the versatility he’s acquired after so many years on the road by slinging in a cool slice of sexy Funk Rock with Good, Good Girl which, showcases his sizzling guitar skills better than just about anything else here.
On an album that is predominantly ‘Rock’ based I’m actually choosing two slower songs as my joint favourite tracks (it’s an age thing!); Gravity is one of those beautiful Acoustic-Rock ballads that builds and builds to a crescendo that used to litter the airwaves in the Eighties; and Hadden does the genre proud, with a very well written and constructed song.
The other was a much easier and probably more obvious choice for me, as Waiting Wanting is not just a gorgeous song in it’s own rite but actually features Ruthie Foster too which is never a bad thing.
DOPAMINE MACHINE is a really good collection of songs, which together showcase a talent that I’d not been aware of but will try my best to discover his back catalogue.


I wish I knew who once said “you know the strength of a great Rock song when it can be played just as well on an acoustic guitar” (or something like that) but Hadden Sayers certainly puts this adage to the test when he re-recorded all of the songs on DOPAMINE MACHINE In a way that sounds like they are from his bedroom with only his trusty Gibson ’54 acoustic and the (very) occasional assistance of Jim Ed Cobbs on percussion and the return of Ruthie Foster on Waiting Wanting.
For me, Sayers tale of addiction Dopamine Machine which opens the second disc is even more powerful in this raw state, as his voice virtually spits out the lyrics and you can hear every intimate breath in between lines too.
One fascinating aspect of the Acoustic album is the way the songs are re-ordered which appears to tell the same ‘story’ but in a much more coherent manner.
Learning to Disappear in this format becomes a breathtaking tale our modern times and the waste we create, told through a cracked voice and a man who has a compelling way with an acoustic guitar.
It’s a personal thing but I love the way Sayers counts himself in on Peppermint Patty and yet again a song I adored in its Rocky version, takes on a whole new life as the story unfolds in a much more personal manner; which is also true of Good Good Girl which now sounds like something Bruce might have written for The River but never got around to recording.
Obviously the whole point of these two collections is to ‘compare and contrast’ but it’s sometimes not fair; as both versions of Gravity and Backbreaker sound so completely different from each other I defy you to tell me they are the same songs; yet both are fabulous with Sayers really getting his Country-Blues on with both Acoustic versions.
Waitin Wanting (featuring Miss Ruthie Foster) is absolutely spellbinding and much more sensitive and sensual in this really basic formula, and when Ruthie supplies her background vocals I swear I went weak at the knees the first time I heard it.
Funnily enough I can’t slide a cigarette paper between two songs when choosing my obligatory ‘Favourite Track’ but two completely different songs from the ones on the ‘electric album’ which I think is quite odd.
Blood Red Deville isn’t a million miles away from the original; but without any other distractions Sayers sounds like he is drifting away into a whole other universe as he delivers his very private lyrics; and the other song, I Feel Love seems to delve into the Jose Feliciano arena, as Sayers delves deep into his soul to bring out the passion in absolutely every word and note he squeezes out of that classy wooden box.

DOPAMINE MACHINE is every inch a good Blues-Rock album full of ire, brimstone and majestic guitar playing and I’m sure it will appeal to his core fan base and even bring in new fans too but; and it’s just a personal thing but I very much prefer the ACOUSTIC DOPAMINE album; as it’s the style of music from the Americana/Blues spectrum that I listen to most these days; and Sayers is suddenly right up there with some of my favourite performers, with this album going on the shelf next to Jason Isbell, Chuck Prophet and Tom Russell.

Released September 14th 2018