No, it’s not all work and no play here in the world headquarters of Blues411, we try to keep a blusifying attitude and to help with that modus operandi we put the iPod on random and it cranks out the tunes that keep us movin’ & bluesin’ while we work for y’all.
These releases have been set into the favorites play list and hope some of ya’s check them out and add them to your collection too. Remember ‘Office Music’ is just a quick look at what’s playing and not an in-depth review but should certainly peek your interest and maybe you can check them out in a really significant way.
Vasti Jackson: Stimulus Man
This cat is a throw down blues boogie man, always entertaining live and this record captures that feel inside a studio setting. Opening with “Blues Booty” this track sets the stage for a good ol’ time. This feel continues thru the release featuring “Stimulus Man” a very smart twist on the old theme of double entrandre’ set in a fabulous current theme. Not just a one-trick pony, Vasti can melt your heart with such slow tempo blues burners such as “I’ll Dry Your Tears” and “No Pay Day” which captures the current work and economic situation. High and wide is his style and you will not be disappointed in his body of work.
Vasti always has his hand on the pulse of real music for real people and you should check this cat out.
Mary Bridget Davies: Wanna Feel Somethin’
Hottdamn, the title track – “Wanna Feel Somethin’ – is about as funky as you wanna get. Often when some artists try to do ‘funk’ they come up just short of the real deal. Ms. Davies and the band certainly hit the mark here, and it usually disrupts the work pattern when its cranking on the system. Ms. Davies has many influences musically and vocally but what she puts down is totally herself, and that is a good thing.
Tripping into the soul sound of the 70’s but with a solid repositioning into the current soul revival scene we get “Real Thing”. A nice twist on the Eagles hit, “Take It To The Limit” shows us the gospel side of the song and Ms. Davies’ vocal abilities.
You might not know this lady’s name or music but I can assure you that if ya check this out – you won’t forget her.
Earl & Them: Special Blend
Earl Cate heads up this band along with some help from Jimmy Thackery on the release. These cats are nothing short of scorching tail-shakin’ music makers.
With the opening notes from a funky wah-wah treatment “Puttin’ Out Fires” sets the stage for some serious groove tunes that keep coming through the entire release. “Loved By You” is a throw back visit to wailing wall of Soul, with a nice laid back style that might just give ya a crick in yer neck from the bobbing and weaving you will be doing.
They choose their covers with a keen eye to their abilities and their talent for interpretative skills. Case in point the Neville Brothers classic, “Yellow Moon”, “The Shape I’m In” and one of my favorite Band tunes “Ophelia”.
Not a barn burner, heavy guitar styled release that you might associate with a Jimmy Thackery appearance but a soulful, tasty bit of southern soul & swamp boogie from down in Arkansas, check it out.
Beth McKee: Next To Nowhere
American Roots Music at it’s best, to hell with genres and classifications, Ms. McKee comes straight out of the chute and wins us over with the Cajun spiced title track “Next To Nowhere”. Accordion ablaze and just a touch of good ol’ guitar pickin’ makes this a super introductory song to her music.
With vocal influences ranging from Tracy Nelson, Janiva Magness, and Lou Ann Barton, Ms. McKee knows how to utilize her voice and tonal quality in a wide variety of song styles. “Shoulda Kept On Walkin’” is a nice horn aided funky step up song that speaks of inner focus and how sometimes we wished we woulda kept on walkin’, like we never been there huh ?
“Same Dog’s Tail” is a sweet visit to that Cajun/Louisiana land of wit and proverbs that are so aptly spoken, or in this case sung. Words to remember for sure. A strong release of original songs Ms. McKee certainly captures our ear and deserves a serious listening session with us all.
Suzanne & The Blues Church: The Cost Of Love
WHOA – check this lady out. With the opening track “Cheatin’ On Me” she had me hooked. I had no idea who was spinning on the iPod but when I heard the hook and the lyrics, I headed straight over there to see who it was.
Suzanne has the street cred to play anything she wants to. Check out her story at her website to see what I’m putting out here. “Pay Day Loan” speaks of the eternal problem of those who inhabit the ever growing fringe of society who need to engage in these usury loans to make ends meet but that road always seems to lead back to the line. As she says ‘\”I still got my guitar” oh yeh, you surely do and she plays it with such feel and style that you will plead her not to sell it.
“Mr. Bailey” is an homage to her mentor, Mr.Ray Bailey, who has had his own share of Blues in his lifetime. Evoking aural images of Robert Johnson and crossroads she tells the story of her quest to learn to play like Mr. Bailey.
With her roots in the church, her vocals based in the Bettye LeVette, Etta James styled voicing, and guitar hearkening to Ernie Isley, Prince, with a good measure of Rosetta Tharpe, Suzanne will please almost anyone with a soul and ear for the Blues.
So that’s what getting ‘air’ play here at Blues411, it’s always very rewarding to just let the music play, we often find stuff that we would not have otherwise. So check out these artists, and maybe step outside your comfort zone and see what you can find.
Until next time,
Love, Peace & Chicken Grease
photos: courtesy of artists