What a great time we all had in Memphis at the IBC’s – truly a remarkable event that EVERY blues fan should attend at least once in their life.
Music everywhere on Beale Street, just like back in the day. Blues ringing out of each club and venue – all styles and forms, electric, acoustic, jazz tinged, Mississippi based, Chicago electric, Texas thumpers damn it was just like a bit of blues heaven right here on earth in the home of the blues – Memphis.
One thing I thought was super was the amount of artists who had sampler discs to hand to fans, other artists etc., a nice way of showcasing their talents and sharing their vision of the blues. So since I glommed a few of these from artists that I was not familiar with I thought I would share my take on them with y’all.
The Kirby Sewell Band: Bought Myself a Hammer
A very large presence both on the street and in the Canadian Blues world, Kirby is a solid vocalist who presents a variety of -what he would call – not blues. Now I am not sure about this but understand where he is coming from. With the seeming slant toward a ‘purist’ point of view being the reigning POV on the street, Mr. Sewell was somewhat hesitant about being categorized. Yo’ bro’ don’t worry, what I am hearing is the blues and that’s enuf for me and a whole bunch of others.
The title track ‘Bought Myself a Hammer’ rocks out with a feel of solid rock blues but not of the current vein. More like the early days of blues-rock when there were no acid etched lines in the concrete of the genre. Think Pacific Gas & Electric but with the ability to play the instruments and to sing with real feeling not overzealous vocalizations.
‘Own Way Home’ is a ballad of loneliness – a deep felt and overwhelming emptiness that occurs in everyone’s life. It is this universal theme that, to me, qualifies this as the blues – universal feelings from the inner soul.
Three other cuts fit nicely into this world of ‘blues-not-blues’ – the world of the common human experience laid right out on the table for us to hear and relate to. Tunes shrouded in simple yet complex musical frames that are new yet familiar to us. Nice job big guy. I like it.
Gotta love it when someone goes by one name – yeh bring it on. Markey is a sultry voiced singer/songwriter out of Nashville and lives up to the ‘country side’ of the blues.
Opening track ‘Rock Me’ is a full disclosure anthem about her and her requirements for the would be lovers. Oh yeh, this has the spunk and attitude of some of the past blues ladies who demand a sixty minute man who can roll the dough and make some good ol’ jellyroll. ’Comin’ Home’ features some nice slide and harp work that definitely has the Nashville flavor to it. Just a little bit twangy but with a dose of funk lying there in the bass lines to make ya think twice.
Slowing it down to a slow blues burner ‘When It Rains It Pours’ has the guitar licks that we know and they make us take notice. Markeys’ vocals are spot on and as has been the case with many a lady blues singer a few more years and that voice will be right where she wants it – with a bit more grit and desperation tinged making it just perfect. She has the feeling and depth now and belts it out in the style of Tracy Nelson – not too shabby here.
The Bo Diddley paced ‘Sweet Corrina Shine’ is her tribute to Bo whom she states was one of her heroes. True to the man the cut has some nice slide work added to an almost gospel Bo Diddley beat.
A nice sampler that offers us a good look at what she is doing in the Nashville end of the blues, and it is as welcome as fried chicken for breakfast (which is a really good thing).
Julia Magness: Take Me Home
Recorded live at Antone’s Nightclub and the Poodle Dog Lounge in Austin. This sampler gives us a live taste of the talented Ms, Julia Cruz (Magness). I must say I wish the sound was a tad better on this sampler – a bit muddy and bottom heavy, which tended to muffle her fine voice.
Starting with ‘Little By Little’ the band shuffles along as Ms. Cruz sings deep and true one of the most popular standards of the blues world. She offers just enough attitude to make her point that “…your love is slipping away’. With a solid cover of Freddy Kings ‘Someday After Awhile’ she proves her self up to the task of covering classic blues tunes with surety and aplomb that allows her to show off her fine voice. One more cover of Memphis Minnie’s ‘World of Trouble’ really allows her to use her vocal skills to paint a desolate picture of a life turned to the bad. Accompanied by tasteful and well appointed guitar work this may very well be the best of her tributes – it seems closely held by her and it rings true in her voice and delivery.
She offers us two originals ‘Play on Player’ which features some sparkling keyboard work on a jump dance inducing song. On ‘Home Town Blues’ she again lays down the law with lyrics and delivery that shows promise for the future of Ms. Cruz in the world of blues. As the crowd testifies, she has the pipes and can use them.
Until next time,
Love, Peace & Chicken Grease