Man, there ain’t nuthin’ like summer time, you can do what you want and take the music with you. Loud and proud standin’ out in the crowd with these tunes just perfect for summer fun….
Lady Bianca – Servin’ Notice (Magic-O Records)
Starting with that groove that makes your head nod – up and down to that funky, syncopated rhythm of the ages. “He told Me The Same Thing Too” the first cut, is timeless in its simplicity of statement and also in it’s passionate vocals by this talented lady from the West Coast.
Following that funk is a slow burner “You Got Me Drinkin’ ” features a bottom of the barrel bass line that will act like a defibrillator on your heart should you need it coupled with lyrics that deftly expresses this lady’s need for the bottle as she calls them by name as if they were part of the family.
Lady Bianca shows her smooth touch on the ivories as she tells the tale of “Stealin’ “. Yes indeed, love is always so nice when you’re stealin’, the thrill of the act at damn the consequences. A modified second line feel helps the feel of the songs message keeping it light but passionate, good yet oh so bad.
This twelve song release showcases Ms. Bianca’s vocal range and talents very well. She can burn down the mission or raise the rafters of the church, slow smoke lies till they are sweeter than the truth and tell you a story that is at once timeless while being spank brand new. Check her out, this is a wonderful and much needed soul R&B blues release that should garner awards in the years balloting. She could be the best kept secret on the soul blues circuit, but not for long.
Shawn Starski – self titled (cookitup music)
Speaking of names to know, Mr. Shawn Starski has earned a solid reputation by playing with the likes of Jason Ricci, Kelley Hunt and Otis Taylor – that’s not chopped liver for sure. This is THE album we have been waiting for.
Straight out of the box Mr. Starski rocks us with “Sea of Faces “ a biographic anthem that aptly states his position and his resolve to move forward as spoken thru the lyrics and his guitar work.
Picking it up with da funk of “Was It You” he grooves it a nasty bit of fuzz-faced guitar work over a high end funky chicken sort of rhythm – his vocals are somewhat reminiscent of Joe Bonamassa with a low end depth that I did not expect but love.
Throughout this release Shawn shows his versatility and expertise at various styles and forms of music. Whether it be the jump swing styled “Dirty Deal “, the Mississippi Hill Country influenced “How It Come To Be “, or the sultry torch burner “The Truth” with his wife, Ellen Deible. One track that showcases his wide swath of abilities is the instrumental “Hallows Eve”. A very tasty bit of Jazz that weaves in and out in a musical tryst that combines Return to Forever, Joe Beck/David Sanborn progressive rock-jazz music of the seventies. Quite tasty indeed in it’s capture of the era and his moving forward of the styles. His several instrumentals are captivating and wondrous to behold.
As I mentioned earlier this is THE release we have been waiting for. It firmly places Shawn in the forefront of the young guitarists club. His style, tone and tasteful licks are a joy to hear and I am certain that there will be more in the future that will build upon this success.
Harper And Midwest Kind – Live at The Blues Museum
Summer also holds for us a certain nostalgic feel, we like to return to places we have been before. The feel of those old cut offs against our skin in just the right places is vital to many a summer recollection.
This is what we have in Peter Harper’s new release Live At The Blues Museum. A comfortable, good fitting set of excellent music that feels good against our ears. Recorded in December, 2011 Harper and his band Midwest Kind were inducted into the Canada South Blues Society Hall of Fame – congrats.
Opening the release with his signature fast paced harmonica gyrations that blends into a funky bit of soul strutting by him and the band that once again morphs in to “Sure There’s A Place” at about 2:30. Mr. Harper has one of the finer voices in the Blues/Roots family of music. Stunningly clear and quite versatile, no doubt to the cessation of cigarette smoking, he provides us with his prayer that he can surely find a place to call home.
To the slashing wah-wah work of Matt Besey on guitar Peter and the Kind takes us into his world of political/cultural songwriting with “Does Anybody Really Care”. Harper hails from Australia and is very close to the Aboriginal culture that are native to his home land. He takes it a step further and reinforces his ties to them by playing the Didgeridoo – not your typical Blues instrument. A hollowed out tree trunk that can be fashioned to any key by adjusting the length of the tube it is a very unique instrument that is also used in healing rituals by the Indigenous people of Australia.
What seems to be an anthem of sorts the break into a deep grooved “Love = Peace = Freedom” once again riling the political close mindedness and separatists that if we all came together and worked for the common good we would truly attain the freedom that is ours to claim. This track moves right into “One Day” where we get some more luscious harp licks intertwined with nasty guitar chord work and a rock steady bottom end by Chris Wiley Smith.
This is a super capture of his live shows, there is a certain dynamic edge that has been somehow transcribed into the grooves (ahh, burned into the digital media logs – ugh sounds rather lame huh?). A solid choice for blasting at the beach or for settling into a groove on the front porch with some iced tea, NOT a Foster’s.
So there it is, some sizzling releases for your early summer enjoyment. There are many more out there that could fill the bill from harp masters, to guitar wizards and yes some keyboard gymnasts who tickle the ivories with style and aplomb. All ya gotta do open yer mind and look for them, ya never know when you will find a keeper that might turn into your own personal anthem for the summer months to come.
Until next time,
Love, Peace & Chicken Grease
photos: courtesy of artists