Lucero WHEN YOU FOUND ME

Lucero
When You Found Me
Thirty Tigers/Liberty & Lament

Darkly Fascinating, Intense and Atmospheric Grown-Up Alt-Something

The mighty Lucero passed me by for most of their career; until I reviewed their 2018 album AMONG THE GHOSTS and I now own a further four of the previous 9 albums they have released since forming in Memphis circa 1998; such is the effect that album had on me.
There’s a visceral intensity to opening track Have You Lost Your Way that is almost electrifying. A couple of nights ago I even found myself cranking the car stereo up way too high for a man my age, just so I could feel those guitars shake my bones!
It’s with no embarrassment to say that this song; alongside Back in Ohio, Good As Gone and A City on Fire sounds like they are channelling their inner Steve Earle through a Nirvana overload, which comes out unlike most anything else you will hear anywhere else in 2021.
While a predominantly dark and very serious album at heart; Lucero also manage to throw some light on what is going on around them with the magnificent Country-Blues of Coffin Nails (which tells the true story of Nichols’ grandfather dealing with the death of his own father, a veteran of World War 1) and the simmering title track When You Found Me, with the wonderfully constructed lines:
When you found me I was drowning
Drifting farther out to sea
Clutching to the anchor as it sank beneath the waves
No way you could get to me
But you found a way
You found a way for me
.”
As with most albums, it will be all too easy to sit back and wallow in the music held herein; but as I’m prone to do, take time and care to listen to the words and stories in the songs; do this and you will quite often be mesmerised at the quality of songwriting.
With a title like Pull Me Close, Don’t Let Me Go you would be forgiven for expecting a cheesy Pop Song; Hell No!
This is an epic in the making with a brooding melody and a grizzled voice half talking and half singing; and again; when you hear Ben Nicholls singing:
While we were apart
I kept you near
Always in my heart
Now I am here
Pull me close – Don’t let go
.”
…. You will get a tight feeling in your chest and barely be able to breath.
Even today I’m not 100% sure which genre to fit this album into, as it’s certainly Alt-Something, but whether that ‘something’ is Country (All My Life) or ‘Rock ‘(City on Fire) will always be left up to conjecture; or at least your own special interpretation.
Not for the first; nor I’m sure the last time this year, selecting a Favourite Song hasn’t been easy; as this is an old fashioned Long Player in the way that you will get the best out of it if you give yourself the time to play it in completion and not fanny about picking out songs on Spotify; this is Grown Up’s music.
But two songs have really captured my imagination; The Match sounds like it could have been written with Johnny Cash’s American series in mind; although I doubt even John could have kept up the tempo and tension that the band create; the other I played on my weekly Podcast and got some great feedback; so Outrun The Moon, with its Tom Pettyesque story and Jason Isbell style refrain actually becomes my #1 Track here, and probably was all along.
Play loud, play often and most of all tell your friends and they will love and admire your taste in music.

Released January 29th 2021
http://luceromusic.com/

BUY DON’T SPOTIFY
CD https://lucero.merchtable.com/music/cds-and-dvds/lucero-when-you-found-me-cd
LP https://lucero.merchtable.com/music/vinyl/black-when-you-found-me-vinyl-lp



Sam Morrow GETTIN BY ON GETTIN DOWN

Sam Morrow
Gettin’ By on Gettin’ Down
Forty Below Records

Introspective and Boogielicious Country Rock For Less Refined Ladies and Gentlemen.

If you know us here at RMHQ, it would come as no surprise that we rather liked Morrow’s 2018 release CONCRETE & MUD. While I/we have eclectic tastes I especially have a penchant for Southern Rock especially when it has an extra splash of Boogieliciousness; and it had both.
Leap forward 2 two and a half years; when one and a half of them were spent flogging the act around USA and Europe and the listener has every right to think ‘has anything changed.?’

The answer is both yes AND no.
No; in as much as Sam Morrow and Band are still treading the same ole road that made the last album and subsequent tours such a success; but ‘yes’ as all that time on the road has tightened up not just their ‘sound’ but Morrow’s songwriting too.
I found myself hissing ‘yeesssssss’ through clenched teeth as the opening bars of Rosarita sashayed out of the office speakers for the first time, a few weeks ago.
Yup; this is the Sam Morrow that I discovered two and a bit years ago; and suddenly all of my First World Problems eased away as I was transported to the same mythical highway Little Feet made famous in Willin’.
The title track Gettin’ By on Gettin’ Down follows; and it’s a torrent of Wah-Wah and fuzztone guitar; and Morrow sounds like he was simply born to Rock & Roll.

While I simply adore Sam Morrow’s songwriting; primarily as he likes a hook, chorus and melody as much as I do; it’s also fair to say that this is a ‘Guitar Rock Album’; not in the meandering self-indulgent ways of yore; but all of the songs are based around riffs that the 70’s Masters would have been proud of.

As you’d expect from the 60’s inspired ‘Groovy’ Haight-Ashbury style album cover; Morrow borrows a lot from his record collection; with Golden Venus incorporating the ‘heavy sound’ we associate with the likes of Moby Grape; but with added country slickness.

Round and Round on the other hand, takes us on a Doug Sahm type of road trip; and I can easily imagine it being drawn out when played live; with enough guitar solos to fill the Albert Hall.

I could be wrong; but for a band with Southern Rock leanings; Sit Crooked, Talk Straight is one helluva brave song to release at the end of 2020; as it’s very much a ‘song of our times’ and may not play too well in some cities across the Bible Belt; even if it does have Waylon Jennings undertones.

I guess any song that includes a cow-bell is going to have Rolling Stones comparisons thrown at it; which is patently unfair on the slick and sleazy Make ‘Em Miss Me; as it blows everything the Stones have recorded this century right out of the water.

Money Ain’t Everything is a tight and punchy Country Rocker that owes more to the Clash than it does Chet Atkins; that’s for sure; such is the eclecticism of Sam Morrow’s songwriting and arrangements.

Selecting a Favourite Track was quite easy; although that’s only because I’ve chose two to tie!
The finale; I Think I’ll Just Die Here finds Morrow solo, with acoustic guitar on his lap reflecting on a life well lived; and a rather fine song it is too.
T’other is as quintessential a Southern Boogie as you will hear this year; Wicked Woman and it’s absolutely everything you would dare hope from a song with that title; and before the feminists start burning their bras, the lady in question is feisty, intelligent and his whole life revolves around her …. just as it should be.

Arguably this is a more mature album than Concrete & Mud; but not in any detrimental way as it sits side by side comfortably; but with slightly more grown up themes and stories.

Released October 30th 2020
https://www.sammorrowmusic.com/

BUY DON’T SPOTIFY
https://fortybelowrecords.com/store


The Allman Betts Band BLESS YOUR HEART

THE ALLMAN BETTS BAND
Bless Your Heart
BMG

Still Carrying the Torch and Waving the Flag for Southern Rock.

Well; you certainly get what it says on the tin, no more and no less ……. two of the famous surnames from not just Southern Rock but Rock Music itself – Allman and Betts from The Allman Brothers Band.
Hey presto, those two surnames are 100% guaranteed to grab the attention of a whole bunch of Rockers of all ages.
But wait, you actually get an even better deal here, cos it’s 3 for the price of 2.
Yes, the 2nd. generation formed the new 7 piece band back in 2017 and are undoubtedly keeping the faith with Gregg’s son Devon Allman (guitars & vox), Dicky’s son Duane Betts (guitar & vox) plus Berry’s son Berry Duane Oakley (bass & vox) along with 4 others talented musicians who somehow, somewhere clearly have the very same rocking DNA.

Sticking to the winning formula of their debut studio album from 2019’s “Down to the River” the follow up entitled “Bless Your Heart” is another cracking collection of Blues, Soul, Jazz & Rock ensuring the legacy lives on. So, fourteen months later, they went back down to Muscle Shoals Sound Studio (where else, I hear you ask) with more confidence and even more ambition. Re-enlisting top producer Matt Ross to repeat his magic, along with further help from singer-songwriter Still Vaughn.

The opener of the 14 tracks “Pale Horse Rider” was one of two tracks released ahead of the album as a teaser and has Devon singing the clear lead vocals and featuring a dual guitar solo highlighting the lonely trek across dry and dusty prairies.
You get a similar western feel with Betts delivering “Ashes of my Lover”. Whilst “Savannah’s Dream” is slightly over 12 minutes long, it certainly recreates an uncanny anthemic bluesy tune, bordering on jazzy even, trademark of the original Allman Brothers iconic sound.
All three Daddies would be rightly proud of this potential classic crowd pleaser.

Of the slower numbers “The Doctors Daughter” stands out, it’s Berry’s song and as well as the lead vocals he also takes over on piano, with Devon happy to cover the Bass duties.
Magnolia Road” was actually the first single released off the album where Devon and Duane share the vocals with the finale building to more terrific slide from the talented Johny Stachela.
Then, you get the Johnny Cash like baritone vocals from Devon on the country sounding “Much Obliged”.

I’m somewhat juberous at elevating any track to my absolute favourite, but if you’re gonna push me then I’d likely vote for “Airboats and Cocaine,” which really rocks, with plenty of glorious slide guitar too.

Sophomore albums are always fraught with doubt and trepidation, but fear not folks, this is a lot more collective than last years effort, it has an additional eclectic spectrum that may have stretched the band, but boy has it been worthwhile.
The albums final track is entitled “Congratulations” and that is precisely what I would say to The ABB, carrying the torch and waving the flag for the sub-genre that was forged by their fathers.
Southern Rock is certainly alive and well.
Bless Their Hearts indeed.

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

Released on 28th. August 2020
https://www.allmanbettsband.com/

The Georgia Thunderbolts GEORGIA THUNDERBOLTS

The Georgia Thunderbolts
GEORGIA THUNDERBOLTS
Mascot Records

Deluxe Southern Rock With Added Fire and Water.

Even before I’d heard a note I pretty much knew that I was going to like this debut EP from Mascot Records’ latest signings; but nothing prepared me for how much!
To the uninitiated and the lazy among the Reviewing Fraternity, The Georgia Thunderbolts sound a lot like Lynard Skynard; but that’s primarily because singer TJ Lyle sounds uncannily like Ronnie Van Zandt; especially on the cocksure and swaggering opening track Looking For an Old Friend; which features some liquid gold guitar breaks from Riley Couzzourt and Logan Tolbert; but the more you check out the fine print, the more you unearth ever more amazing influences that all come together in a way that makes me hanker for being 18 again.
While the twin guitars on track #2 So You Wanna Change the World are ‘trademarked Southern Rock’, their ‘Heavy’ arrangement and actual guitar playing is more Paul Kossoff and Stevie Marriott than anyone I can think of who hails from South of the Mason Dixon Line; and that rock solid bass/drum combo must surely come from a lifetime listening to Andy Fraser and Simon Kirke from Free.
So, dear reader …….. add the Best of Southern Rock to the Best of British Blues Rock with an extra shot of Black Crowes for good measure; and you will understand why the pounding beat of Lend a Hand (courtesy of drummer Bristol Perry and bassist Zack Everett) not just set the hair on the back of my neck upright; but had me desperately trying not to ‘head bang’ in the car!
The songs and stories therein, are instantly memorable and the finale Set Me Free is almost anthemic with a hook so big and phat that I couldn’t help thinking “Captain …….. we’re gonna need a bigger boat!”
Of course there’s one other track on this all too short EP; and that’s the epic and perhaps epoch-making Spirit of A Workin’ Man; which majestically captures the spirit of the bands’ name The Georgia Thunderbolts.
My major criticism is that this is an EP and not an actual Long Player; but Lordy do I wish that I could turn back time to be 18 again and if I could; The Georgia Thunderbolts would easily be my new Favourite Band of all time ……. duuuuude!

Released August 21st 2020
Buy Don’t Spotify https://www.georgiathunderbolts.com/

LeRoux ONE OF THOSE DAYS

LeRoux
ONE OF THOSE DAYS
Gulf Coast Records

Just add Gumbo, Sazerac, Shrimp and Lots of Beer and The Bayou.

At the start of ‘Lockdown’ I was transferred to a new depot an hour from home, which was a Godsend as it meant I could listen to whole albums travelling to work and back again.
Music can play tricks on the mind if you’re not careful, so as soon as I heard the opening salvo to the first track here; One Of Those Days my Hyundai i20 metamorphosed into a ’71 Ford Bronco and my bus driver uniform into a plaid shirt and well worn Wranglers; and I miraculously drove the back-roads from Tucson to Tucumcari and Tehachapi to Tonapah instead of plodding along the A19 in Wearyside!
What a song and what a band! Classic Southern Rock, with twin guitars fighting for your attention, a Hammond Rhodes that swirls like a swampy mist and a bass/drums combo that’s even tastier than a cocktail made with Jim Beam’s finest……. and that’s without Jeff McCarty’s smouldering vocals.
It’s obviously all too easy to get lost in the amazing melodies and solos across this album; and no one will blame you if you did; but there’s so much more here than LeRoux’s insanely catchy choruses; as if you listen properly, the songs and stories are exemplary from start to finish.
While I can list the musical ingredients in this heady musical cocktail; LeRoux assemble them in a way that they make their very own; and I defy anyone to test the DNA of Don’t Rescue Me, The Song Goes On or even No One’s Gonna Love Me and tell me definitively who the Father was ……. the lineage, yes……. but not the actual Daddy.
LeRoux want it known that they ain’t ‘Southern Rock’ …… they are the Sound of Louisiana; and when you hear the last three tracks, Lifeline (Redux), then the fiery instrumental Sauce Piquante and their ‘signature tune’ New Orleans Ladies, you know instantly that this music could come from anywhere else on planet earth.
I was tempted to go leftfield for my Favourite Song and choose the spiky Nothing Left to Lose as it is a real bonafide head down, gut punch Boogielicious Rocker that I’ve loved most of my adult life; but there’s another scorcher that has been something of an ‘earworm’.
Now; I’m not 100% sure if Lucy Anna is a love song to a young lady of the same name; or more likely a luuuurve song to and about the band’s home State of Louisiana or both ……. who knows and who the Hell cares? But; if it’s the latter it’s a wholesome sing-along, fist in the air Anthem that will close any or every concert the band ever plays; and if it comes on in a Roadhouse juke-box expect to clear the table to accommodate dancers of all ages and abilities. Then again, there just might be a little lady somewhere in the Bayou who has had a Classic Rock Love Song written about her …… lucky gal.
For what it’s worth, in 1975 I went along to Newcastle City Hall to see The Warner Brothers Music Show featuring Tower of Power, Montrose, Little Feat, Graham Central Station, the Doobie Brothers, and Bonaroo …… all for about £1.50 and it changed my life; and it’s fair to say LeRoux could easily have replaced any single act that night and fit in perfectly well.

Released June 24th 2020
https://www.leroux.band/



Will Sexton DON’T WALK IN THE DARKNESS

Will Sexton
Don’t Walk the Darkness
Big Legal Mess Records

An Encyclopaedic Classic Southern Dance Party

Roots guitar family royalty Will Sexton’s first album in over a decade starts with the San Francisco psychedelic-gospel of the title track. A guitar wig-out controlled within just over three minutes and punctuated by a piercing single finger organ riff.
The tempo is maintained on the following track “Temptations Call” which is laced with a Memphis horn sound that does Mr Sexton’s hometown proud. The musical journey heads further South still on “Witness” which employs a slow dance Tex-Mex piano-accordion groove with the delicious kind of low-strung guitar twang which may be familiar to those who know his work on his wife; Amy LaVere’s recordings.
“Don’t Take it from Me” has a Wooly-Bullyish beat but is neatly iced with bright 60’s twang and a catchy refrain – co-written with Waylon Jennings towards the end of his life, it’s a song that certainly deserves to see the light of day, as it has an energy and vibrancy that can’t be denied.
So far, every track is dance-worthy and this dance party is continued on the revived track from Sexton’s earlier career “Only Forever” which benefits from the swamp-pop sensibilities of backing band the Iguanas.
Things are slowed down further on the suitably titled “Oh the Night (Night Owls call)” which is classic Neville Brothers in its soulful Louisiana stylings – definitely last dance material.
“What my baby don’t know” musically moves back to the style of the opening title track – organ-led west-coast psych-punk and echoing guitars with a JP Richardson/Jerry lee vocal trill on top of it all; all it needs is a lava lamp in the accompanying video!
The psych organ stays in the room for “Mess around with my mind” which to these ears echoes Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd; don’t turn that lava lamp off just yet, Eugene.
The musical encyclopaedia of styles moves a step towards deeper Soul on “The Whole Story”, a song moved along with an ear still on the dance floor, with its insistent underscore of hi-hat.
Things conclude with the reflective and jazzy “Fell in Straight view” which heads with finger-picked acoustic guitar into a golden southern sunset. It’s good to hear Will Sexton back in solo action again after a few years of not so good times – with this wide-ranging and coherent collection encompassing sounds of Memphis, Louisiana, the West Coast and all points in-between, it’s not going too far to say that the (musical) South has risen again, thanks to Will Sexton.

Review by Nick Barber https://www.flickr.com/photos/efsb
Released 06th March 2020
https://biglegalmessrecords.com/products/dont-walk-the-darkness

Drive-By Truckers THE UNRAVELLING

Drive-By Truckers
THE UNRAVELLING
ATO Records

The Most Powerful and Important Rock & Roll Record of the Decade.

Who knew the nascent Drive-By Truckers were originally formed in 1996? 1996? Seriously? 24 years ago?
I guess they first crossed my path with A Blessing and a Curse; then I suppose I became a ‘fan’ with GO-GO BOOTS ……. which is still a ‘go to’ album every now and again.
I’ve never seen the band play live; but did once see Patterson Hood on a rare solo foray to the North East of England.
With such a rarified and even exalted history; Hood, Cooley & Co could be forgiven for coasting at this stage of their career; but HELL NO they still have fire in their belly’s!
With so much going on in the US of A these days the songs on this album must have almost written themselves!
You are almost lulled into a false sense of security with opening track Rosemary with a Bible and a Gun; if it weren’t for the title itself. A brooding orchestral back-fill behind a haunting piano builds and builds as Patterson takes us on a dark road trip that will eventually send a shiver down your spine with the pay off.
Maybe I’m wrong but I can’t remember a Truckers song anything quite like it.
That sentiment isn’t true of the next song; Armageddon’s Back In Town which is fire and brimstone fuelled Southern Rock Deluxe; and needs to be played as loud as possible with the car windows wound down and the pedal pushed right down to the floor.
Deep metaphors, a melody worthy of Bernstein and choruses that will have audiences braying along with gusto combine to really get your adrenaline flowing like nobody’s business.
That same high tempo and spirited Rock sound follows with Slow Ride Argument; only with Mike Cooley now at the mic; and on most albums would be My Favourite Track; but trails way, way behind the leaders here …….. as Drive-By Truckers deliver one of the most important albums of not just the year; but the whole decade.
I must now jump to the final two tracks, Grievance Merchants and Awaiting Resurrection as they are imminently just as good as Slow Ride; and again on most other albums would be genuine highlights; but with such powerful songs like what I’m about to describe that come in between them; many will miss those three out …… but I urge you to listen intently and cherish them just as much.
Now; sit back and get comfortable.
I’m the King of Hyperbole when it comes to describing songs and albums; but the four songs that make up the middle of this album just ‘speak for themselves’ and prove that Patterson Hood is one of the Greatest songwriters of his generation.
*Thoughts and Prayers is absolutely stunning and captures the current zeitgeist perfectly as he taunts our politicians and Social Commentators unmercifully ……. esp the line:
“Stick it up your ass
With your useless Thoughts and Prayers.”
…….. and so say all of us!
There’s an almost jaunty beat to 21st Century (USA) which comes up next and is a sparkling insight into Smalltown America or indeed anywhere in the UK pre and most likely post-Brexit.
Okay; it’s the type of song Bruce has written over the years; but this is razor sharp and a damn sight more believable and fits in perfectly on this album.
Next up, Heroin Again is probably the sort of feisty Alt-Rocker ‘with a message’ that I may have expected in advance; but when you really listen to the lyrics (beneath those searing guitars) it’s a very personal story about someone close to the writer and will bring a tear to a glass eye.
Then there is just one more song to mention ……. Babies in Cages.
Is it right to make such a horrible song my Favourite? Although ‘Favourite’ is probably the wrong description; but it is such an important song that I need to push it clear of everything else and let it breathe on its own.
The title says it all; but the imagery and articulate way the singer describes the horrific scenes that befall our World in the 21st Century are absolutely mind boggling.
I bang my head against it
Smash guitars and scream and shout
Standing on the beach watching the tide go out
Babies in cages


Standing in the darkness
to answer for our sins
Children changing each others diapers in a pen
Babies in cages
.

It’s the song that you hoped Bob, Bruce or Neil would write for us; but their day has gone …… all Hail Drive-By Truckers for keeping these stories in the public eye.
“It’s Only Rock & Roll” the Rolling Stones once sang; but that’s the medium that has always spoke to and for my generation; and on this album Drive-By Truckers have used the power of song to not just touch our hearts and make us actually think about the world around us in many different forms; but somehow managed to do it without ever sounding worthy or patronising while entertaining us too ……. which is a helluva clever thing to do.

*For the geeks out there
Thoughts and Prayers. – Patterson Hood – Baxendale Acoustic (Capo’d to G)
Awaiting Resurrection – Brad Morgan – Drums and Grunts, Patterson Hood – Gibson SG, Lead Vocal and Heavy Breathing (2nd Solo), Mike Cooley – Electric Slide Guitar (1st and 3rd solos.)

Released January 31st 2020
https://www.drivebytruckers.com/



Mike Farris at Jumpin’ Hot Club, Newcastle

Mike Farris
Jumpin’ Hot Club
Live Theatre
Newcastle
Thursday 16th January 2020

For a variety of reasons; (both work and health) my Gig Going Mojo left me in late 2017; meaning I’ve only been to a handful in those last two years.
This made tonight a ‘big deal’; as even though I implicitly trust promoters Jumpin’ Hot Club, I’d never heard a note from Mike Farris until Thursday morning when I checked him out on You Tube.
Plus; the gig; in the larger theatre room at Live Theatre had completely Sold Out two weeks previously and there was a waiting list for ‘returns’ …… so an expedition was in order.
The support act was being introduced as I chatted to some friends and my ears immediatly pricked up; did they just say ‘Martin Fletcher’? Oh yes Shipcote did!
FYI many years ago Martin was the harmonica player in a local band called the Blues Burglars who were as good a live band as I’ve ever seen; and I’ve seen some megastars!
Tonight Martin was accompanied by singer-songwriter Chris James and the duo regaled us with 40 minutes of ‘Bastardised Blues Classics’ plus a couple of Chris’s own compositions.
The first of these own compositions, was the duo’s ‘Internet Hit’ (147,000 views and counting on FB) Simple Man, which was from the Folkier side of the Blues and I easily realised why so many people would like it; even though Chris forgot the words halfway through!
The set flew by; with Fletcher sounding every bit as brilliant as I’d remembered, with his assortment of harmonicas plus he even got to sing a rather racy Charlie Musselwhite song; but the night really belonged to the languid Chris James and his intricate guitar picking and super-smooth vocals.


Well; I said the ‘night belonged to Chris James’ ……. that was before I saw Mike Farris!
There was a genuine air of excitement in the hall as the band filtered on stage and ‘got a groove going’ and I ain’t heard a roar like it at a gig for years; when Farris made his appearance!
Looking every inch the Rock Star with his jet-black quiff; shades, split knee jeans, biker boots and a sporty leather jacket, he immediatly strapped on a big ole black *Gibson with an obligatory Bigsby and blasted into **When Mavis Sings, which his adoring fans instantly recognised.
On the next song he dispensed with the geetar and stalked the stage dragging the mic stand behind him, like many of the Great Soul singers that have obviously influenced him over the years.
The influences didn’t stop there; as while Mike Farris can write a cracking song, certainly has a fabulously distinctive voice and singing style; his choice of covers at the end of the gig were outstanding; a Tom Petty song then Jimmie Rodgers T for Texas and Mary Gauthier’s A Little Mercy Now bringing the house down; and the encore of Ann Peebles’ I Can’t Stand The Rain being not just a surprise but a highlight too.
In between Farris and band rocked the joint like it was their birth-rite; using the ubiquitous ‘call and response’ several times, much to the delight of the hordes of people who had made their way South from the quaint ***fishing village of Ashington in Northumberland; who had seen him play locally the year before and seemed very excited and excitable all evening; especially when Mike mentioned the difference in local dialects. (Cos they talk right funny up there!)
I was won over very early on; but during his acoustic set in the middle realised I was watching a very clever and professional act that could adapt at will.
One of the joys of Live Music is seeing something no one else will ever see, as every gig is different. Tonight; one of the highlights was when Mike told a story of playing a Charity Gig in Guildford, Southern England earlier in the week and seeing and meeting one of his childhood heroes, Rod Argent and discovering the delights of Andy Fairweather-Low ……… I love the fact that Farris can still get excited about discovering new music at this stage of his own career.
If there was one of his songs that stood out for me, it was Tennessee Girl, a genuine love song written for and about hid delightful wife who was standing at the back watching her husband perform; with a smile on her face all night long.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, for a boy from Tennessee; but this was a clever and very impressive mix of Blues, Gospel, Soul, Country and a hefty dose of Southern Rock that combined to create Mike Farris’s very own, and very enjoyable ‘style’.
Now to find a couple of his albums.

*According to one sharp eyed fan …. it was a Silvertone
**When Mavis Sings? As I didn’t actually know any of the songs I just picked up on the main lines of the choruses!
***An ‘obvious joke’ I thought; but has illicited strange responses ……. Ashington is not actually a ‘fishing village’ but once a mining village and famously home to footballers Jackie Milburn and the Charlton Brothers.

**** Some days I wonder why I bother

Waylon Thibodeaux HERE WE GO AGAIN

Waylon Thibodeaux
HERE WE GO AGAIN
Rabadash Records

South Louisiana Swamp Rock With Some Bodacious Fiddle Playing.

I don’t know if this is going to be ‘thing’ in 2020 but this album is the second one of the year claiming to be ‘the sound of South Louisiana’ and while both are as disparate as is possible; both have the same ‘Musical Gumbo’ at their hearts,
The title track Here We Go Again opens proceedings, and the hirsute Louisiana fiddle player extraordinaire and singer throws down a marker that shows he means business. For the uninitiated (like me) this song; and the rest that follow is a veritable musical hybrid that sounds a bit Charlie Daniels Band, a bit ZZ Top and a big bit Bob Wills all with a sprinkling of Dr John and eventually filtered through the Meters!
While the lyrics can be a bit edgy and topical; Thibodeaux certainly knows how to show us a good time on Fail, Fail, Fail and Way Down South; both of which will have you swiggin’ your beer down so you can get on the dancefloor.
While I can sense that there is a Bluesy core to I’m Stuck With The Blues Again and Our Life’s another Blues Song; it would have to be the type of Blues you hear; or ‘dream of hearing’ on Beale Street or Bourbon Street when the covers bands have gone home.
It appears that Waylon Thibodeaux has been around for a good few years now; and that comes across in not just the professionalism that oozes out of every groove and line; but in the way he is making music that appeals to him and not the guys in grey suits that determine what gets played on the radio; not that these songs don’t deserve airplay ….. they do; and that’s the problem.
Even this early in the year I can get a bit jaded by playing albums that are formulaic; but this album is the antidote!
How can anyone not tap their toes to Riverboat song and smile when the fiddle emulates the steamboat whistle? And it’s not too shabby a love song either.
Speaking of which When Love Comes Back is an absolute sizzler of a Southern Rock love song; and will have crowds of all sizes dancing and waving their arms in the air whenever they play it live.
Even though I adore Smoke Signals; I’m going a bit left of centre with my selection for Favourite Track, Don’t You Make Me Put My Fiddle Down; as it’s a sad ole love ballad and features some of the most haunting vocals and fiddle playing I’ve heard in many a year; and I’m not particularly a fiddle lover.
I hope Waylon Thibodeaux is the Sound of South Louisiana; because that means there are more down there just like him……. and the world will be a better place for that..

Released January 17th 2019
https://www.waylont.com/


Allman Betts Band DOWN BY THE RIVER

Allman Betts Band
Down by the River
BMG

The Future of Southern Rock is Safe in These Hands!

Any band carrying the monikers Allman AND Betts has a lot to live up to, and it also has to be an exciting prospect for a reviewer who was a huge fan of Southern Rock, and in particular The Allman Brothers Band in his teenage years.
This incarnation of the franchise consists of Gregg’s son Devon, Dickey’s son Duane plus Berry Duane Oakley; offspring of Allman’s bassist Berry Oakley Sr. alongside a bunch of stalwart and road ready pro’s.
I may lose some readers here when I state that this band don’t even try to sound anything like their forefathers; and while this is Southern Rock Deluxe ……. The Allman Betts Band have their own distinctive ‘sound’……… which sounds hardly anything like the Allman Brothers…… or anyone else, thankfully.
I smiled when I first heard opening track All Night begin with its mighty clarion call ….. “1, 2, 3…..4!” followed by some seriously crunchy guitar from two leads and a rhythm player who all know exactly what they are doing and whoever that *singer is has a deep, dark voice that could frighten a horse!
(*my download doesn’t detail who sings what here ….. and the actual CD won’t arrive until Thursday).
While I’m sure all three guitarists will get to noodle to their hearts content when they play these songs in concert; mercifully the solos here are measured in seconds not minutes; and when they arrive in the tightly wrapped Try or the monumental Long Gone and even the magnificent Autumn Breeze you know that the genetics have been passed down safely by the Gods of Rock.
I’ve loved the laid back way the band casually drop in quality songs like Good Ole Days and Down By The River with a nonchalant ease; when we all know that creating songs like this barely come along once in a generation; if at all.
There’s also the obligatory ode to the South, which we’ve come to expect from any band hailing from South of the Mason-Dixon Line; and while The Allman Betts Band aren’t exactly waving Old Glory, the ballad Southern Accents (which features Mr Chuck Leavell on piano) and its sentiments just might divide opinion across the States; like Skynard and to some degree Tom Petty did back in the day; but hey ……. it’s only Rock & Roll kids; don’t sweat it!
Finding a Favourite Track hasn’t been as easy as it could have been; as Long Gone has all the hallmarks of being a Classic as the years go by; but I’m closing my eyes and crossing my fingers and selecting the boogielicious stomper Melodies Are Memories, which is absolutely everything I’ve loved about Southern Rock for nigh on 50 years encapsulated in four wonderful minutes …….. especially Oakley’s tremoring bass-line that will drown out the broken suspension on your truck!
Although I have reservations about the band name, which will raise expectations far too high in the wrong direction; The Allman Betts Band have rekindled a fire that has lain dormant for far too long; and I firmly believe they will take the Festival Circuit by storm this Summer and the future of Rock is safe in their combined hands.

Released UK & Europe July 12th 2019
Released USA 28th June 2019
https://www.allmanbettsband.com/