Monday, August 30, 2010

Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival - Fredericton NB Canada -September 14-19th, 2010

September 14-19th, 2010
Fredericton NB, Canada
The Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, is celebrating its 20th anniversary from September 14th to 19th in what’s sure to be a jam-packed week of world-class performances by over 125 artists on 23 stages across four downtown city blocks!

The Festival takes over the entire downtown of New Brunswick’s capital city for one week in September, as the best of blues, jazz, world and alternative music spread through big-top tents, open-air stages, theatres, and bars.

Headliners of this year’s Festival include blues giants such as the Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi Band, John Hiatt, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Maria Muldaur and a New Brunswick native who took first place at the 2010 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Matt Andersen.

On the jazz side, the Festival has Grammy winning jazz singer Kurt Elling, all-star jazz ensemble Jane Bunnett’s African-Cuban Jazz Project, New Orleans’ Kermit Ruffins & the BBQ Swingers, rising star Meaghan Smith, and Richard Underhill, as well as unique jazz collaborations playing in our all-jazz venue all week long.

The Festival knows how to rock out as well, with shows by Canadian rock royalty, Big Sugar, The Trews, Hill Country Revue (the new project of members of the North Mississippi All Stars), Elliott Brood, and Australian troubadour Xavier Rudd & Izintaba, to name a few.

Over 35% of our programming is free, while ticketed shows range from $5-$55 dollars, allowing something for everyone, no matter your musical taste or budget!
Come soak up the music, experience our famous Maritime hospitality, and have a week you will never forget! Enjoy amazing performances in uniquely intimate festival venues and outdoor stages with historic backdrops along the beautiful St John river...truly the best international festival experience on Canada's East Coast! 

For more information on the Festival,
visit our website at

Harvest is also on Facebook at
and Twitter at

Whiteboy James And The Blues Express -Last Time Was The Last Time - Peter Blewzzman Lauro

Whiteboy James And The Blues Express
"Last Time Was The Last Time"
Rip Cat Records
By Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro © August 2010

Whiteboy James And the Blues Express, a band that's self proclaimed as being "a detonative force not to be reckoned with" consists of: Whiteboy James on vocals and harmonica; Scott Abeyta on guitar; Blake Watson on bass; Max Bangwell on drums; and having absolutely nothing to do with the music at all, but certainly adding pleasure to the discs appearance - Bridget Blonde as the cover model.

Everything I'm reading about this band - the one sheet included with the disc, the liner notes written by Dan Jacobson of Southland Blues Magazine and quotes at the bands' website - all indicate that this is one hell of a band to catch live. Let's see if my ears will lead me to agree.

The opening track, "Chicken And The Hawk", immediately starts off in high gear and never lets up. This smoker is highlighted by wickedly wild rhythm from Max - on drums, and Blake - on what sounds like a stand up bass. Dancers, especially the swingers, will surely love this one.

The title track, "Last Time Was The Last Time" is one of several tracks which feature Whiteboy playing harp. As good as he is, I'm surprised there aren't a lot more of these wonderful harp highlights. The rhythm, as you'll probably hear me say throughout, is once again intense.

This instrumental is only 80 seconds long, but it's full throttle all the way. It could be that there was a "Fat Chance" the guys could go on at this pace much longer. I got out of breath just listening.

Being written by the guitarist, "T-Bone For Daisy" just so happens to feature some of the discs best guitar work. From the pen to the pick, this instrumental is all Scott. Slow, scorching blues, just the way I like it.

"Worried Life Blues" is another of what appears to be many well done tracks. Strong vocals from Whiteboy and hard driving guitar from Scott highlight this one. As a matter of fact, right about now I'm wondering how the heck I haven't heard of this incredible guitarist - who also happens to own the label - before this disc.

Untamed musicians, performing untamed acts on their instruments can only lead to one thing - "Untamed Melody". Track after track the Blues Express has continued to blow me away. This is another free for all instrumental led by "Mad" Max on drums and "Scorching" Scott on guitar.

"Shave 'em Dry #2" is another of the tracks that the "Parental Advisory" on the disc jacket applies to. On this one Whiteboy seems to take pleasure in graphically describing his sexual pleasures as well as patting himself on the back for his apparent superior ability in performing them. If you can hear past the lyrics on this one you'll experience some remarkable guitar chords from Scott.

Other tracks on "Last Time Was The Last Time" include: "By My Side", "Upside Your Head", "Reefer Man", "Don't Fuck Around With Love", "Keep It Clean", "Walk Around The World" and "Kiss Me When I Kiss".

From what I just heard, I'd have to agree with live show sentiments mentioned earlier. The guys are certainly talented enough, definitely entertaining enough and surely crazy enough to make me want to see them.

If you'd like to pickup a copy of "Last Time Was The Last Time", and I think you should, just go to While you're there, please tell the guys that the Blewzzman's hoping they make it to Florida someday.

By the way - and this might be a good idea for interested radio stations - there is a PG version of the disc available. Just ask the band for the details.

Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro
Blues Editor @

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A big weekend at Smoken Joe's BBQ - August 27th-29th

A BIG weekend at;

Smoken’ Joe’s BBQ and Blues

Peter Parcek Trio
Friday, August 27 at 9PM
Sara Thompson featuring Ron Levy
Saturday, August 28 at 9PM

Geoff Bartley w/ Special Guest
Sunday, August 29 at 7PM

351 Washington Street Brighton, MA 02135


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Boston All Star Blues Revue - Londonderry NH - September 10th, 2010

Check out this UNBELIEVABLE show on September 10 at Tupelo Music Hall in Londonderry NH at 8pm. The Boston All Star Blues Revue featuring Toni Lynn Washington, Monster Mike Welch, Brian Templeton, Lydia Warren, Bruce Bears & Mr. Nick with backing band The Dirty Tricks. Tickets are only $20 for this phenomenal show. Please come support these stellar Bluesicians and enjoy what will surely be a night to remember!

Blind Willy - Willing to Crawl - Peter Blewzzman Lauro

Blind Willy
"Willing To Crawl"
Spec Records
By Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro © August 2010
    Blind Willy consists of: Doug Jones on vocals, guitar and harmonica; James Cook on bass and background vocals; Derek Mixon on drums; Johnny Neel on keyboards; Joanna Cotton on background vocals; Chris West on saxophone; Adam Jones on trombone; and Dan Cohen on guitar (1 track).  The disc is an EP which contains five outstanding original tracks.
    Doug may be "Living The Blues" but, as he happily states on this opening track, he's "not going down without a puttin' up a fight - 'cause he fells like rockin' tonight".  Atta boy, Doug!  Right from the get go the band gets into one of those toe tappin', head bobbin' grooves - led by the rhythm work of James, Derek and Johnny - and they lock it right in.  That, combined with the amazingly harmonic vocals and background vocals sung by Doug and Joanna, make this one hell of a track.  While writing this paragraph, it's a close call as to what my fingers hit more - the keypad or the replay button.  Excellent stuff!
    In order to get his woman back, Doug's not only man enough to let her see his teardrops fall, but he's also "Willing To Crawl".  The emotions relayed through his powerfully yet passionate vocals, leave absolutely no question as to his sincerity.  With a steady, intense organ background and a strong drum rhythm behind him Doug's at discs best as he squeezes tears out of his guitar as well.  
    "My Little Feelgood" is a heck of a party song.  As a matter of fact, there's quite a party going on in the background.  This one's highlighted by wind - hot wind and lots of it - Doug blowin' it into the harp and Chris and Adam blowin' it into their horns.  Add some hand clapping, lots of laughing and several people singing background and you've got a real smoker goin' on.
    "Leave The Light On" is an absolutely exquisite and sensually sung ballad.  About two thirds into the track Doug hits some notes that sent chills through my body.  I know there are literally thousands of beautifully sung love songs out there, but this one's got to be one of the best.  My apologies to the rest of the guys in the band - I know you're there, but I'm lost in the vocals on this one. 
    I'm sure the guys worked up a "Sweat" while recording this one, because they all sound on top of their game.  James, Derek and Johnny are at it again - serving up some intense rhythm, Chris and Adam are blowin' fire outta their horns, and Doug..... oh he's just up to his usual singin' the hell out of the song.  
    Even though it's an EP, I believe I may have just listened to the front runner in the 2010 "Blewzzy Award" competition.  Short of offering a money back guarantee, I am promising you that there won't be one second of this disc you will not love.  Go - right now - to and get one (being an EP, it's priced right).  And while you're there, tell Doug the Blewzzman says "WOW!" 
Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro
Blues Editor @

Pat Ramsey and The Blues Disciples - "Live In Key West!"

Pat Ramsey and The Blues Disciples
"Live In Key West!"
Snailworx Productions
By Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro © August 2010


It's a pleasure and an honor to have the opportunity to work with this posthumously released Pat Ramsey CD.  Besides being one of my favorite harmonica players and vocalists, Pat was also a very dear friend. It seemed like we bonded from the very first minute we introduced ourselves, at Alligator Alley, in Sunrise, FL.  That was ten years ago, and since then the club is gone and so is Pat. Although it saddens me that he won't be able to read these words, I'll always have a fond memory of Pat that will forever put a smile on my face. Following a Saturday night gig about 10 minutes from my house, I had Pat and the band over for a good old fashion Sunday afternoon Italian dinner, before they headed back to Tallahassee.  I swear, I never saw a bunch of skinny guys eat so much, and after we were done, Pat said it "was the best Italian food he's ever had." It's a compliment I'll never forget, especially since it came from the best harmonica player I ever heard.

"Live In Key West!" was recorded from Pat Ramsey and The Blues Disciples in Key West, FL shows during 2004. The band consisted of Pat Ramsey on vocals and harmonica, Dave Renson - Pat's band mate for over ten years - on guitar and Dobro,  Duane Waider on drums and John Wentzien on bass.

The sincerity in his voice, and the feeling he puts into his words, leads you to believe he really needs it when he says "Somebody Loan Me A Dime".   The first eight minutes of this eleven minute soulful ballad is all Pat - singing and blowing his heart out as he did so well. Of course, on a track this long you couldn't keep Dave quiet the whole time.   Some excellent crying guitar licks add to the melancholy mood.

Just saying the name of this track pretty much tells the whole story - "Whammer Jammer". Those two words should be listed in the dictionary with a description that states: "One hell of an ass kicking, all out free for all instrumental jam led by fierce and frantic harmonica playing." Did I make my point? I'm betting even Magic Dick and J. Geils would love this version.

One of the two original tracks on the disc, this one penned by Dave, is "Got Love If You Want It".   Coincidence or not, some of the discs best guitar work can be heard right here. Fueled by a hot rhythm, led by Duane on the drums, Dave tears it up on this one.

One of my favorite styles of harmonica playing is the type that Jimmy Reed made famous - that high pitched, sharp, piercing sound. On the cover of his "Honest I Do", Pat nails the sound. The smooth sound coming out of Dave's guitar and the mellow rhythm being produced by Duane and John, on drums and bass, make this a classic for a slow dance.

At the opening of "Dead Shrimp Blues" there's a three minute harmonica intro that could have been a song in itself. Then there are several vocal breaks where the band, at discs best, just locks into a groove that would have had me saying "lock the door and throw away the key" if I was in the room.  Great rhythm, great guitar leads, and great vocals make this the best version of this song I've ever heard.

Other tracks on "Live In Key West!" include: "Dog House Blues", "Jammin' In The Jungle", "Stingin' Stang", "Highway 49/Highway 61 Revisited" and "Last Night".

This is the part of the review where I always advise the reader to visit the artists' website - to purchase a disc, and to send my regards to the artist as well. Well, you can get the disc at, but the regards part won't be necessary.  My friend Pat already knows I'm thinking of him.


It's always been my opinion that Pat Ramsey was one of the artists that the blues community so wrongfully overlooked. How or why he never achieved the recognition he so deserved still baffles me.  Maybe his time is yet to come - here are some words from someone who believes that as well......

"The overall musicianship of the band was outstanding and Pat's vocals sounded like the real thing. I was very impressed by the dynamics, performances and song combinations of Pat Ramsey & The Blues Disciples. My label has just submitted this CD for Grammy consideration for Best Contemporary Blues Album."

Michael Lewis
Snailworx Productions

Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro
Blues Editor @

Monday, August 23, 2010

Review of JJ Grey & MOFRO - Georgia Warhorse

Georgia Warhorse
Alligator Records (B003TTZSY2)
Release date : August 24th, 2010
Review by Georgetown Fats
If the legendary Bruce Iglauer thinks enough of a group or an artist to sign them to his label, then the artist or group is worth my time to give a few spins.  For Iglauer to have formed Alligator Records just to record Hound Dog Taylor, and then to make Alligator Records a home to such legendary artists as Koko Taylor or Charlie Musselwhite or up and comers Lil Ed & The Blues Imperials then his opinion and label holds a great deal of weight in my music purchasing decisions.  After a few spins of “Georgia Warhorse”, clearly I am missing something.
For those who have lived under the same rock I have recently, JJ Grey & MOFRO  are a  seven piece soul/funk/R&B/Blues/southern rock band from Jacksonville Florida.  Have been the latest ‘it’ band for “Blues Review” or people cover musicians on the blues jam circuit looking to do something a little different during their sets, I had expected a great deal when I finally had a chance to be exposed to their original recordings.  Having learned this was their 2nd release on the legendary Alligator Records label, I have to give Mr. Iglauer a pass for signing this radio friendly/pedestrian act.
“Georgia Warhorse” opens with “Diyo Dayo”.  Guitarist Daryl Hance’s abrasively thin guitar tone does nothing to distract from JJ Grey’s overly processed vocals.  By the time the rest of the band kicks in with the song, I am already uninterested.  From the opening track, Grey may be a multi-instrumentalist by being credited with work on piano, acoustic and electric guitar in addition to harmonica in addition to his vocals.  He should focus on his vocals first.
The opening of “King Hummingbird” features JJ Grey’s acoustic guitar work accompanying his vocals.  While Grey may show some soul in his vocal work during “King Hummingbird”, his brand of soul is derivative.  Other advertised soul artists have delivered a lot more convincing performance with a lot more originality.  
“Hottest Spot in Hell”, the sole hotspot on “Georgia Warhorse” Grey’s overly processed vocals and guitarist Daryl Hance’s abrasively thin guitar tone may be back, but due to the subject matter it fits.  In one of the few rockers on “Georgia Warhorse” it is bound to be released as a single, delivered to bait many into random purchases.  
Ultimately I expect JJ Grey & MOFRO to earn considerable airplay with this radio friendly release.  The mix of radio-friendly soul/blues is bound to sell a considerable volume of units helping assure Alligator Records can continue to bankroll more original artists.  So they serve a purpose.  Just allow me to go out on a limb, and predict JJ Grey & MOFRO tunes to one-day reach overplayed/over-covered contemporary blues status.

Charlie Musselwhite - The Well - Alligator Records

Charlie Musselwhite 
The Well Alligator Records (B003TYOABO) 
Release Date – 8/24/10 
Review by Georgetown Fats   

Scheduled to be released on August 24th, 2010 back with Alligator Records since 1993, Charlie Musselwhite’s latest offering “The Well” puts the legendary Alligator Record label back with “The Ace of Harps”.  Reunited and it sounds so damn good.  “The Well” contains thirteen tracks of autobiographical material covering early days in Mississippi, complimented by succinct liner note for each track. 

Opening with the mid-tempo shuffle “Rambler’s Blues”, testifies to his love of the open road.  As Musselwhite attests in the liner notes, this song reflects some of his earliest desires and passions to roam the world over.  Musselwhite’s effortless and mellow vocal style continue his matter-of-fact delivery detail how he “rolls in with the dust, and out with the wind”. 

Musselwhite treats the listening to a geography lesson, delta style, on ‘Where Highway 61 Runs”.  Part updated rendition of the Musselwhite classic “The Blues Overtook Me” part aural Mississippi Delta Tourism brochure, Musselwhite proves that though he his home base may be in San Francisco his heart and soul will always be in Delta. 

With the help of his long-time friend Mavis Staples, Musselwhite’s offers a heart-wrenching piece on missed opportunities and guilt after the loss of his mother.  Having lost his mother to a murder in Memphis, Musselwhite obviously carries considerable pain from the incident and has the skills of offer this cathartic piece.  Though Staple’s vocal melody is restrained to match Musselwhite’s delivery her soulful gospel voice shines throughout. 

Though Musselwhite does carry himself southern gentleman way, there was a time earlier in his life when personal demons allowed him to run afoul of the law.  This time in particular, Musselwhite details being sentenced due to a cop who had lied about his case.  Having only been introduced to Charlie Musselwhite in his southern senior years it is another poignant piece on the emotional scars inflicted over his hard living phase of life. 

Approaching his 67th year, though Musselwhite has carved out a secondary career as an in-demand session player and harmonica clinician, with the release of “The Well” Musselwhite proves he still has many more stories to tell and stops on the road.

James Superharp Cotton LIVE at Fitchburg State University

Living blues legend James “Superharp” Cotton, a Grammy-winning member of the Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis, comes to Fitchburg State University in his 66th year in the entertainment business. Cotton performs at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6, at Weston Auditorium on the Fitchburg State campus as part of the CenterStage at Fitchburg State University arts and culture series.
Tickets are $28 for adults, $25 for seniors and $10 for students.
Born in Mississippi in 1935, Cotton’s earliest memories include his mother playing chicken and train sounds on her harmonica. He learned to play on a 15-cent harmonica and by age 9 was playing with Sonny Boy Williamson. Soon he was playing with the legendary Howlin’ Wolf and was recording on Sun Records by the time he was 15 years old. And he was just 19 when Muddy Waters came to him in need of a harp player.
Cotton’s performance at Fitchburg State is co-sponsored by Worcester Magazine.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

Pole-Catting Around with Jim Chilson of The Ten Foot Polecats

Pole-Catting Around
Jim Chilson of The Ten Foot Polecats

Live at the Heavy Rebel Weekend

Being a musician, just like for the music fan, the festival season is an exciting time.   Not only do you get to see a lot of music under one tent, but it provides you the opportunity to play your music for larger audiences than you would normally get at a weekend club/bar show.   Blues festivals run rampant in the summertime not only here but across the country as well.  But there are also festivals across the country that are almost untapped to Blues based acts but they could very well fit into their musical lineups.  These festivals are hot rod/chopper shows and you can find them from New England to California in all different forms.  Basically these festivals offer a plethora of activities such as: vintage hot rods, custom vehicles, tattoo artists, pinup contests, strongman competitions, etc.  In turn these festivals  typically bring in anywhere from 300 to 600 (or more) people due to all the different activities.  However, the main theme is live music and  this past summer we got to play at three of these events:  Muddy Roots Festival in Cookeville TN, Heavy Rebel Weekender in Winston-Salem NC, and just recently we played Return to Milltown IV in Palmer MA, and have two more on tap for September.
I hate to use labels on music, but just for description sake, at all of these festivals there were an eclectic mix of music ranging from Rockabilly, Psychobilly, Outlaw Country, Bluegrass and Appalachian music mixed with Punk.  But you also had some influx of juke joint Blues in there as well.   The audiences were, let’s just say, alot less reserved than you see at a typical festival.  Some of the things you might see from this crowd at these festivals,  as we were witness to and victims of,  are getting empty beer cans thrown on the stage (which is a form of applause), getting beer sprayed on you while you are playing, sloppy yet inspired dancing in front of you and on you sometimes,…err..lots of drinking (obviously), and even a  mosh pit.  You don’t find many mosh pits to country, bluegrass, or blues music!
This might not be your cup of tea as some of you reading this might not like what you hear from the details, BUT there is something very exciting about an active audience that drives a musician.  From my impression, they don’t want to hear Stormy Monday and old blues standards but they want to hear what you have inside you and what you need to express.   Frankly, blues has always been a renegade music , especially in it’s early inceptions, and they are accepting of original hardcore renegade blues music as part of this scene as well.
Because of these festivals, we got to meet a lot of new musicians, friends, fans, promoters, and venue owners.  We also got to set up more shows with these promoters, venues and musicians across the country.  But most importantly, it brought our music to a new fan base that might have never heard us in the first place.  Just something to think about for 2011.
Jim Chilson
Ten Foot Polecats

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Daddy’s Beach Club - Hull MA

By Karen Nugent

I remember going to Nantasket Beach - and of course its famous amusement park- as a child. It was a blast then, and it’s still a lot of fun.  But I’m talking grown-up fun, as in blues, cocktails, and to-die-for pizza.
While the amusement park is long gone, something almost as exciting has sprouted.
The Boston Blues Society recently formed a partnership with Daddy’s Beach Club, 280 Nantasket Ave. in Hull, right across from the beach.
The club, formerly the Dry Dock, re-opened in April, after owners Jeffrey Lemkin and Paul Papetti, the general manager, spent more than $750,000 on renovations and back taxes. 
The 135-seat club has a full bar – including a dozen or so  micro-brew beers- and has become well-known by foodie-types for its thin crust New Haven-style pizza. That comes with all kinds of great toppings such as artichokes, baby spinach, olives- you name it.
“There is never a cover charge,” Papetti said. “We know people are on a budget. They can come here for good food, great music, and a cold beer.  The pizza is the main stay. People say it’s the closest to Italy they’ have ever had.”
Daddy’s, which is open year-round, features mainly blues acts on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, with a 2-6 p.m. show each Sunday, along with a second evening show. Sometimes, there are rock bands in the mix, and in the summer, there is the occasional reggae band to add to the tropical beach ambiance.
Recent acts included Mission of Blues, Greg MacKenzie, and Erin Thornton and the Soul Drivers. Lois Greco, that rockin’ blues babe, is a regular, Papetti said. Guitar great Ricky King Russell is scheduled for September.
 “I love it there,” said BBS Secretary Carole Mellor. “You can sit by the big open windows and the sea air comes in. It is a very good size with the dining room to the left overlooking the ocean, and a very large bar area with tables to the right and stage in between. I feel like I'm on vacation when I am sitting there by the ocean enjoying the music and eating the awesome pizza.” 
“Also, it is kid friendly and early in the evening you can see little kids eating and dancing in their seats to the music,” she said.
Actually, there’s something for everyone each night of the week at Daddy’s. Mondays are open mic nights, and its karaoke time on Tuesdays. Wednesdays showcase country and cowboy music; Thursdays are DJ dance nights.
Papetti, a Mattapan native, has been in the music management business for more than 30 years, booking acts and managing clubs. He decided to re-open after nearly five years because of the great location.
“It’s always a beach party!” he said.

Smoken Joe's BBQ September Music Schedule

Smoken Joe’s BBQ, is dedicated to the promotion, education, and preservation of Southern culture through good down home cooking and lively entertainment. It is features nightly live music seven days a week. For more information call 617-254-5227 or visit the website at

September Music Schedule

Wednesday 7:30pm SEPT 1 Alizon Lissance w/ Cheryl Arena

Thursday at 8:30pm SEPT 2 Phil Pemberton Band featuring Ron Levy

Friday at 9pm SEPT 3 Juke Joint 5

Saturday at 9pm SEPT 4 Shirley Lewis

Sunday at 7pm SEPT 5 Geoff Bartley w/ Special Guests

Monday at 7pm SEPT 6 Bruce Marshall Open Mic

Tuesday at 7:30pm SEPT 7 Soul Alley

Wednesday at 7:30pm SEPT 8 Alizon Lissance w/ Diane Blue

Thursday at 8:30pm SEPT 9 Phil Pemberton Band featuring Ron Levy

Friday at 9pm SEPT 10 Timo Arthur Band

Saturday at 9pm SEPT 11 TBA
Sunday at 7pm SEPT 12 Geoff Bartley w/ Special Guests

Monday at 7pm SEPT 13 Bruce Marshall Open Mic

Tuesday at 7:30pm SEPT 14 Soul Alley

Wednesday at 7:30pm SEPT 15 Alizon Lissance w/ Henri Smith

Thursday at 8:30pm SEPT 16 Barrett Anderson, Ron Levy & Per Hanson Allstar Band!

Friday at 9pm SEPT 17 Erin Harpe & The Delta Swingers

Saturday at 9pm SEPT 18 David Maxwell's Maximum Blues

Sunday at 7pm SEPT 19 Geoff Bartley w/ Special Guests

Monday at 7pm SEPT 20 Bruce Marshall Open Mic

Tuesday at 7:30pm SEPT 21 Soul Alley

Wednesday at 7:30pm SEPT 22 Alizon Lissance w/ Ed Scheer

Thursday at 8:30pm SEPT 23 Phil Pemberton Band featuring Ron Levy

Friday at 9pm SEPT 24 Love Dogs host Blues Audience party

Saturday at 9pm SEPT 25 Prof Harp Band

Sunday at 7pm SEPT 26 Geoff Bartley w/ Special Guests

Monday at 7pm SEPT 27 Bruce Marshall Open Mic

Tuesday at 7:30pm SEPT 28 Soul Alley

Wednesday at 7:30pm SEPT 29 Alizon's Monthly Jam

Thursday at 8:30pm SEPT 30 Phil Pemberton Band featuring Ron Levy

Thursday, August 19, 2010

AJ Wachtel interviews Livingston Taylor as submitted to “The Noise”

AJ Wachtel interviews Livingston Taylor as submitted to “The Noise”

A member of Massachusetts First Family of Music, Livingston has just released a new cd, "Last Alaska Moon", and its wonderful folk-inspired melodies may be the best music release of the year.

And currently on tour performing his catalog on the left coast, he was cool enough to call me from an airport between flights and then again the next day during some rare down time to make sure we were able to talk. Read on and hear what this master musician has to say:

The Noise: You're a great storyteller and in your new songs you specifically mention people by their names-Little Jimmy T, Katy, Erin, Stan, Henry Crossenfeld, Abigail, Grace and Gwynnie. Are these real people and are the songs telling about actual events in your life or are they fictional and mentioned for other reasons?

Livingston: They are generally fictional. Gwynnie, I just used cause I liked the name Gwynnie. Gwyneth Paltrow's name is Gwynnie, but the song has nothing to do with her, I just really like the name. I DO know Katy and Stan, and Erin is a young woman who I met when I was writing the song and I found her a very nice person and I just used the name Erin. And there's Erin Burnett from CNBC. I like the name.

The Noise: Many of the song titles on Last Alaska Moon seem to have spiritual meanings-"Never Lose Hope", "Answer My Prayer", "Walk until Its Heaven" and "Christmas Is Almost Here". What is your message to the listener and why is this feeling important for you to share?

Livingston: It's really not a message. It's things that interest me. I don’t have a sense I have a message for my listener. Hopefully, it’s interesting for other people to listen to. Hope is a good thing. Walk until its heaven; I love that image. To keep it going till you get it right. Until it does get right. The idea of "moving forward" and "moving ahead" is very compelling to me.

The Noise: The tunes on your new CD range from folk with an easy, acoustic sound to folk ballads and country & western, bluegrass and blues with a southern feel. Can you comment on this?

Livingston: The fact is I'm enamored with good melodies. I’m a very melodic guy and I’ve loved them since I was a little boy. In my most successful melodies I write the melodies first then find a story to put to that melody.

The Noise: What musicians do you listen to these days?

Livingston: Well, I find that generally, like the rest of the world, I pick and chose a song here and there. Anita Baker, Mamas and the Papas with Cass Elliot, Karen Carpenter, Frank Sinatra, it's all very eclectic and all over the board.

The Noise: You and your sister Kate both have new releases in 2010. Is this a coincidence or part of a bigger Taylor music conspiracy?

Livingston: (Laughs) I wish in this case it was the result of a vast conspiracy but it’s just a coincidence.
The Noise: The Taylor family has great songs about your childhood state, North Carolina. James with "Carolina (In My Mind), Kate with "Sun Did Shine In Carolina" and your new "Call Me Carolina". What is the story behind this? And what's the difference between music scenes down south and those up in New England?

Livingston: It's the word Carolina. Certain states have a very sayable word, like Carolina. NY-less so. NJ-it’s just-it’s a tough sell. Minnesota-it doesn’t work so well. And more important is the "Carolina experience". Down there, the idea of creative arts as a career choice is very acceptable. Nothing is better than being in an infrastructure where your music can be heard.

The Noise: Kate told me her song" (Sun Did Shine) in Carolina" is "about my brothers and our time in Chapel Hill, NC". What do you think of her recollections?

Livingston: Well, I think her recollections are lovely. Kate is a wonderful songwriter and a beautiful spirit. I treasure her recollections, I have different ones.

The Noise: Any advice to give to young artists trying to get their music heard?

Livingston: Yeah, above all else you must play live. You must bring your music to the people. You must watch it land. You have to watch what effect it has on your audience.

The Noise: What did you find most challenging in recording and releasing "Last Alaska Moon"?

Livingston: Again, the great challenge is finding the financial resources to hire the best players on the planet.

The Noise: In "Never Lose Hope" you sing "even Boston lost the curse". Is this a reference to the "curse of the Babe" and the Red Sox?

Livingston: Yes it is. It was a cheap little line that just fell in there at the time.

The Noise: Tell me about the musicians and the production behind your new cd.

Livingston: I used a great recording studio, Paragon, in Franklin, Tenn. I had great players and a GREAT mixer.

The Noise: Why Last Alaska Moon? Why not Last Vineyard Haven Moon?

1. Livingston: It just really alliterated great and I really liked the image of Last Alaska Moon.

The Noise: When I went to your brother A.T's wake you, James Hughie and Kate sang "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" together. Do you ever sing together anymore?

Livingston: We don’t get together terribly often. It's light and informal if we do. We've spoken about going on tour together but that's really in James' hands. And it’s not something he's waiting to do other than single shows.

The Noise: There's another generation of Taylor family performers. Do you ever get together with them and sing?

Livingston: Absolutely! My niece Sally and my nephew Ben. I love to play with those guys, they're great music forces, and it’s FUN!

The Noise: What's in the future for you? Are you very prolific these days? Are you writing songs for your next CD yet?

Livingston: I'm writing all the time. The great problem isn’t writing its getting the financing to get these projects to life. Right now Shelly Berg, head of the music dept. at the University of Miami and I are thinking of doing a project together. And I have plenty of things in the works like that.

The Noise: How are people on the left coast enjoying your shows?

Livingston: Yeah, again, when I come out West people who haven’t had a chance to see me in a while come to the shows. It's beautiful and much appreciated.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Diane Blue w/ Jimmy "Two Suits” Capone and The Chan Clan

Diane Blue w/ Jimmy "Two Suits” Capone and The Chan Clan
Live at Chan’s
Review by Georgetown Fats

Live disks from a mostly cover band can be a very dicey proposition.  Usually the cover material chosen has been so overdone that the covers never stand up to the originals, which probably also have live renditions by either the songwriter or the artist that made the songs famous.  Very few live cover recordings and cover acts can challenge the originals.  Thankfully Diane Blue w/ Jimmy "Two Suits" Capone and The Chan Clan happen to have the chops which help make their “Live at Chan’s” recording such a welcome aural relief.

“Live at Chan’s” is not entirely a cover CD.  Ms. Blue and company do provide some stirring renditions of four of Ms. Blue’s original works. They are all good, solid offerings.  It is when the recording heads deep into ‘pop blues/wedding band act’ that “Live at Chan’s” shines.

“At Last”, the track made famous my Etta James, has taken on a “Stormy Monday” for female vocalists.  Having even witnessed Etta James extoll venom on the commercialization of the tune and how the majority of listeners miss the point of the track, I was extremely skeptical Ms. Blue could pull off a rendition anywhere as close to the original. For the second track on the disk, it was a very bold choice.  Luckily Diane has the power and chops to stand up to the challenge.  Bolstered by the work of the Chan Clan Horns, Jimmy “Two Suits” Capone, Bruce “The Goose” McGrath and Johnny “Blue Horn” Moriconi sticks close to the original arrangement which allow Diane to give a maximum effort performance.

On the Bill Withers classic “Use Me”, guitarist Timo Arthur locks in with bassist Lenny Bradford and Hammond B3 player Cliff Spencer on that signature hook.  Ms. Blue shows plenty of finesse by singing just a hair behind the beat, creating an irresistibly carnal dance groove.  When Timo Arthur takes the requisite guitar solo he does nothing to distract from the groove, there is just enough wah-wah to keep that that lustful groove but not enough to completely muddy up his tone.

Probably my personal favorite track on “Live at Chan’s” is Diane Blue w/ Jimmy "Two Suits" Capone and The Chan Clan is the rendition of “Fever”.  Sticking close to the Peggy Lee arrangement embrace the pop standard. Jeff “Jungle Boy” Thompson’s drum work keep the sparse instrumentation moving forward and locked in on this slow burner.  “Jungle Boy” proves to have the finesse to keep this jazzy rendition going while giving just enough power in the drum fills as to offer a spike in the dynamics without getting in the way of the tune.

“I’ll Take You There” also sticks close to the Staples Sisters recording, highlighted by Johnny “Blue Horn’s” stirring trumpet solo.  In addition to the trumpet work, Diane Blue proves to not just be a vocalist with a rocking yet understated harp solo.  Not content to just shred notes at a dizzying speed, Blue’s harmonica work offer justification to the adage of “it’s not just about the notes you play, but it’s about the spaces between the notes"...

Diane Blue w/ Jimmy "Two Suits” Capone and The Chan Clan “Live at Chan’s” is available through Ms. Blue’s web site or available at any of her live gigs such as their CD release party at Ryles on August 28th, 2010.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

WACHTELIGENCE - Johnny A. A is for Awesome!

                                         By A.J.Wachtel
Johnny A.

A is for Awesome

Walls shake when Johnny A plays. For years in bands like The Streets, Hidden Secret, and Hearts On Fire, his extraordinary guitar playing set standards that left audiences shaking their heads in disbelief and nightclubs demolished by his performances. He also was chosen to put a band together for Derek and the Dominoes keyboardist Bob Whitlock, the man who co-wrote, with Eric Clapton, all the songs on Layla Read on and listen to Johnny look back and also hear what he is doing currently.

AJ: In the mid 80's, you played in a band fronted by the keyboardist for Derek And The Dominos, Bob Whitlock , and you played some gigs in a few states. How did that happen and who else was in the band?

JA: Our association started in 1978. I went down to stay at The Record Plant in Los Angeles to do some work and I met Whitlock and also Doug Clifford the drummer for Creedence Clearwater and we jammed and traded phone numbers and then I got a call that they wanted me to start a band with them. We started to do rehearsals and then I opted out because the band didn’t seem to have a direction. I was still in The Streets so I came back to Boston. And Bobby and I kept in touch. Then my friend Peter Lembo started handling him and I was called to be the music director and get a band together for him for a string of New England and east coast dates. Stu Kimball (now playing with Bob Dylan) was on guitar, Dave Amaral on bass, and Steve Barrett on drums along with Bobby on keyboards.

AJ: Looking back 25 years after your band Hearts On Fire lost the 1986 WBCN RUMBLE to punk pioneers Gang Green what's your take on your loss in the finals? Did you get robbed?

JA: I wouldn't exactly call them "pioneers" of punk. The punk movement was pretty well in full swing by the time they got there. Having said that, I thought they probably did a better job of what they did then we did. No, I didn’t think the talent was better. I’ve heard recordings of that night and I didn’t think it was my most stellar moment either. Carter Alan called me before the Rumble and asked me to put the "Hearts on Fire" band back together for the contest, and for a band put together for the rumble-in terms of substance of material, songwriting and melodies- I think we were the better band. I think they had a better delivery that night. On a personal note, they were totally unprofessional backstage.

AJ: Your guitar blues phrasing is legendary. Who were your idols growing up?

JA: I listened to James Burton, Chet Atkins, Les Paul, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, Wes Montgomery, Pat Martino.

AJ: What's the greatest Blues show you've ever seen in Boston?

JA: Probably 1969 The Caldwell-Winfield band with Billy Caldwell at The Psychedelic Supermarket. It was one of those nights. It reminded me of The Butterfield Blues Band and the like. A great night.

AJ: What famous artists have you opened for or shared the stage with over the years?

JA: Jeff Beck, B.B. King, Robert Cray, Jimmy Vaughn, Buddy Guy, I played the Eric Clapton Crossroads Festival, Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson. George Thorogood.

AJ: What are you doing now?

JA: For the past 11 years I've had guitar instrumental project. I have three albums out and an instructional CD/DVD out. Currently, I have a 2 disc set-CD/DVD out called "One November Night" which was recorded live at Scullers.

AJ: You and Stu Kimball had all the Duane and Eric licks down pat when you played the Layla songs. What were practices like?

JA: We didn’t have a lot of rehearsals, maybe a week or so. Everyone did their homework and came to the gig prepared. Me and Stu were friends and we talked on the phone: "you take that part" or "I'll do that solo". It was pretty well divided up what our roles were before we got to the first rehearsal too.

AJ: What was your favorite Layla song to play and why?

JA: The "(Layla) Assorted Love Songs" album was important to me growing up and we played all of it." Tell The Truth"," Anyday" "Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad"........Playing the slide solo at the end of "Layla", a pretty epic song.

AJ: Whitlock seemed like a hard drinking Mississippian with a young blonde permanently attached to his arm. What was he really like and do you still keep in touch with him?

JA: He was like what he appeared to be. Yeah, we communicate a couple of times a year. Last time I saw him he came to a show of mine in Austin, Texas where he is living now. That was last year.

AJ: Will you ever play together again?

JA: You never know.

AJ: Any advice to young musicians trying to get their music heard?

JA: Go to school and become a lawyer. (laughs)

AJ: What did it feel like being onstage playing classic tunes with the co-author of them?

JA: It was a thrill. One thing about Bobby-he's an absolute raw talent. When he plays his B-3 or when he's singing he never mailed it in. It’s the real deal. Anytime you play with an artist who leaves blood on the stage it’s ALWAYS a special experience.

*******Check out for more information about Johnny A.