Tag Archives: blues music

Get it or forget it – Chris Daniels and the Kings, Hodera, Billy Burnette, Cairo Knife Fight

Tuesday was Election Day here in Montana for a plethora of local officials, including our mayor, judges and city council.  Seems like a perfect day to review some new indie music, and vote on our favorites.  We’ve got four albums for you today, including an artist we recently met at the Durango Songwriters Expo in Denver last month.  Enjoy these new tunes and let us know what you think.

Artist NameChris Daniels and The Kings (with Freddi Gowdy)

Album NameBlues with Horns, Volume 1

Label:  Moon Voyage Records

Genre:  Blues

Track Listing:  1.  Sweet Memphis; 2.  Fried Food/Hard Liquor; 3.  Get up off the Funk; 4.  Soothe me Baby; 5.  Wouldn’t Treat a Dog (the way you Treated Me); 6.  Baby’s in Love with the Radio; 7.  Can’t Even do Wrong Right; 8.  You can Stay but That Noise Must Go; 9.  Them Changes; 10.  Rain Check

Publicist:  HyPR Media

Review:  I recently served with Chris Daniels on the DIY panel at the Durango Songwriters Expo last month, where we discussed his latest project.  After listening to the first track, “Sweet Memphis,” I was amazed that he has previously released 14 albums but had never crossed my radar, because this man and his music personifies old time blues, complete with an amazing horn section that rivals the Tower of Power horns.  This album has everything you like in the blues – great sax and horns, a powerful vocal with amazing harmonies, great songwriting, and that soulful harmonica rising above it all.  Every musician in this band is a stand-out, and the recent addition of Freddi Gowdy on vocals creates a special vocal harmony that, to quote track four, “is soothing for me.”  This one is perfect for repeated listens, as you will hear different things every time you listen.  Our favorite tracks include “Fried Food/Hard Liquor,” “Get up off the Funk,” “Soothe me Baby,” “You can Stay but that Noise Must Go,” and “Them Changes.”

Recommendation:  Definitely Get this one.  It is one of the best blues albums we have heard in a long time.

Artist NameHodera

Album NameFirst Things First

Label:  Take This to Heart Records

Genre:  Alt-Americana/Roots Rock

Track Listing:  1.  Out of Sync; 2.  Highways; 3.  North Dakota; 4.  Best Intentions; 5.  Four White Walls; 6.  Baltimore; 7.  Just for Today; 8.  The Saddest Sentence; 9.  My Daily Chemicals; 10.  Holding Patterns

Publicist:  The Syndicate

Review:  Hodera has a unique sound that incorporates the best of indie rock and Americana music.  Their music is upbeat, with well written lyrics and music, incredible vocals and instrumentation.  The songs are memorable, with catchy melodies, great hooks and a down home sound that makes you want to listen over and over again.  Considering the subject matter, it is amazing how this band makes their message positive, much like The Mavericks’ “All You Ever Do is Bring Me Down.”  Our favorite tracks include “Out of Sync,” “Best Intentions,” “Baltimore,” and “Just for Today.”

Recommendation:  This is a good one for your Americana collection.   Grab it when you can.

Artist NameBilly Burnette

Album NameCrazy Like Me

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Rockabilly/Alt-Country

Track Listing:  1.  Tear it Up; 2.  (All I Can Do Is) Dream You; 3.  Crazy Like Me; 4.  Oh Well; 5.  When I Remember You; 6.  It’s Late; 7.  Nothing to do (and all Night to do it); 8.  Ghost Town; 9.  Do I Ever Cross Your Mind; 10.  She’s Burning the Honky Tonks Down; 11.  She’s Going to win Your Heart; 12.  River of Love; 13.  All Nighter; 14.  Anywhere you Go

Publicist:  MSO PR

Review:  You may or may not know that Billy Burnette was a long-time fixture for Fleetwood Mac, but his latest CD shows that he has the right stuff to make a name for himself as a solo artist.  The sound is very reminiscent of Brian Setzer and the Stray Cats, crossed with a little Jerry Lee Lewis, bringing us back to the early days of rock and roll.  This one is just plain fun, and provides the perfect backdrop for your next friendly get-together.  Our favorite tracks include “Tear it Up,” the title track, “Oh Well,” “It’s Late,” “Ghost Town,” “She’s Going to Win Your Heart,” and “River of Love.”

Recommendation:  If you love classic and original rock and roll and alt-country music, then you owe it to yourself to Get this album.

Artist NameCairo Knife Fight

Album NameSeven

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Alternative Rock

Track Listing:  1.  (1); 2.  A-Nine; 3.  (5); 4.  Six; 5.  (7); 6.  A-Four; 7.  (9); 8.  A-Seven; 9.  (3); 10.  A-Two; 11. (11); 12.  A-Three; 13.  (12); 14.  A-Eight

Publicist:  HyPR Media

Review:  Cairo Knife Fight is a very unique band that incorporates a radical hard rock soundtrack to support its well-crafted and substantial lyrics that discuss social issues and themes.  Interestingly, there is some rhyme and reason to their uninspiring song titles, as the titles in parenthesis are instrumental interludes between the different songs that are designed by the prefix “A-.”  Their music will get your head banging and your feet stomping while the lyrics will make you stop and think about their message.  The final track has been converted to a music video, which we recommend you check out.

Recommendation:  If you love hard rock acts like AC/DC and Rush, then this just might be the perfect album for you.  For the rest of us, it’s still a worthy addition to our musical libraries.

 

Monday mashup 2017: Vol. 40 (UPDATED)

Greetings from the road.  We’ve been on tour with Jerad Finck for the past week, completing five shows in seven days.  He has a show on Wednesday at Genghis Cohen in Los Angeles before heading down to Lestat’s in San Diego for a show on Saturday.  After that we head back for a final tour show at the Ole Beck VFW Post in Missoula, Montana on November 2.

GAYLE SKIDMORE NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT

Former San Diego indie musician Gayle Skidmore, now living in the Netherlands, has created an amazing lyric video for her song, “No Ordinary Life,” which is an entry into the Little Women competition.  She is currently in first place and needs your help to stay there.  Please check out the video and vote for her once a day before the competition ends on October 29.

MEDIA OUTLET DAMAGED IN FIRES NEEDS YOUR HELP

Music Junkie Press, a great rock and roll online site based in Santa Rosa, was burned to the ground in the Tubs fire. They lost everything – offices, computers, their home, a collection of 70 vintage guitars and over 100 classic drumheads, all their photo equipment, their antique camera collection and all their paper records, including 40 years of rock memorabilia.  They are still reporting on rock concerts and posting photos from shows online, although they are living in a motel room and using borrowed equipment.  They could use some help in rebuilding.  Check out the GoFundMe campaign set up by bands for them.

NEW SINGLES

Check out the new single from Late Night Episode, “Golden Age.”  If you live in Los Angeles, they will be having a show at The Peppermint Club on October 26.  We think you should definitely check them out.

Check out this amazing electronic pop song from Swedish duo Felin, “21st Century.”  This should get you up and ready for a new week.

Last but not least this week, here is TYA with their new single, “Hustle.”  This is another upbeat song that will get your toes a tapping and propel you into another work week.  Let us know what you think.

NEW MUSIC VIDEOS

Here is an amazing blues video from icon Matt Hawkins, combining great steel with some amazing native instruments including didgeridoo and wood flute.  The cinematography is breathtaking.  We think this one is a winner.

Electro pop seems to be the theme of the day.  Check out “Sky Wide Open” from TRISTN, as well as an acoustic video for her latest single, “Nothing to Say.”  Get up and dance!

Our final video today comes from Oh Geronimo.  Another cinematic masterpiece, and the song is pretty awesome too.  Check out “No More Stones.”

 

2017 Flathead Lake Blues Festival (day 2) – live performance review

Hope you enjoyed our reviews of day 1 of the Flathead Lake Blues and Music Festival, which featured some of Montana’a best musicians.  The theme for day 2 was “Ladies of the Blues,” and Steve Pickel pulled out all the stops to bring four of the finest and brightest to light up the stage.

First up was Missoula native Andrea Harsell with her new band, Luna Roja.  Harsell has become a Missoula icon with her sound, primarily as a solo artist.  She began hiring drummer Antonio Alvarez and guitarist Nick Hamburg for her gigs, and then asked them to join her as a band.  They hired bassist Michael Rhead to complete the band, and Alvarez came up with the name Luna Roja (Red Moon) because of his Spanish heritage.  They also recorded an album, which will be celebrated with a show at the Top Hat on September 15.  The album will also be reviewed shortly on this blog’s Get it or Forget it series.  Their sound is a mixture of Americana, rock, R&B and blues.  Harsell has a voice akin to Janis Joplin, and it showed on many of their songs, including new tunes “Oh Boy” and “Hard Times,” as well as on their cover of the Sam Cook classic “Bring it on Home to Me.”  The only thing missing was the stage banter, but we are sure that will come as they continue to grow as a band.

Next up was the power-packed sound of Seattle’s Michelle Taylor Band.  If Harsell had the sound of Joplin, then Taylor is the reincarnation.  With her band composed of Robert Morrill on drums, Lissa Ramaglia on bass, Jim Barnes on keys and vocals and her husband, Justin Dean on guitar and vocals, the MTB truly brought the blues home to Polson.  With a mixture of original tunes like “Black Lace” and “Trashy Queen,” and pop hits like Duffy’s “Mercy,” Elle King’s “Exes and Ohs,” Grace Potter’s “Paris” and “Medicine,” Bonnie Raitt’s “Angel From Montgomery,” Tracy Chapman’s “Give me a Reason,” and Stevie Wonder’s “Superstitious,” MTB proved that any song can be stylized as blues.  But what really drove home their exceptional talent was their version of Ike and Tina Turner’s classic “Proud Mary,” which truly allowed Taylor to shine as both a singer and a performer, as she brought Tina’s unique energy to the show.  This performance was one of the pinnacles of the weekend.  Kudos also to both her husband and badass female bassist Ramaglia on their outstanding licks on guitar and bass.  The band also received the first encore of the Festival, and delivered a rousing version of Led Zeppelin’s “Been a Long Time” in response.

The third band for the day was Estelle and the Atomic Jive, who brought something entirely different to this day.  Atomic Jive is reminiscent of a combination of the Royal Crown Review and one of Brian Setzer’s various bands in that they bring an army of sound to the stage.  The band features Estelle on lead vocals, surrounding by the amazing talents of Mike Ruggles on guitar, Lee Cardella on bass, Brian Seagrave on keys, Bob Briley on drums and a horn section that is as powerful as the one from Tower of Power, composed of Russ Hoffer on sax and Mike Baker on trumpet.   Some of the highlights of the show were their version of the “Stray Cat Strut,” the classic jazz standard “Don’t Roll Your Bloodshot Eyes at Me,” Roy Head’s 1965 classic “Treat her Right,” and the theme from the Blues Brothers’ movies, “Peter Gunn.”  This was classic New Orleans jazz-tinged blues, and elevated the musical standard to a new level.

The final act for the weekend was another Seattle band, Polly O’Keary and the Rhythm Method.  We had the distinct pleasure of awarding them the Best Blues Band trophy for the LA Music Critic Awards for the first half of 2017.  O’Keary was totally taken by surprise, and the band joined in her gratitude for the award.  O’Keary is a red ball of energy, constantly dancing across the stage as she delivers true bad ass licks on her brand new wireless LedBelli Blackbird 6-string bass and vocals that stir the soul.  The band also includes the amazing David Miller on guitar and O’Keary’s husband, Tommy Cook, on drums.  The band performed primarily original material, many of which came from their latest album, Black Crow Callin.‘  Included in their amazing performance were “I Don’t Understand,” “Yours to Lose,” “Red Light,” “Wish You Could See me Now,” “Reconciled,” and “How the Mighty Fall,” which reminded this reviewer of “Mustang Sally.”   They also did a stirring rendition of Eric Bibb’s classic “In my Father’s House.”  Cook laid the perfect foundation on his drums, while Miller proved to be a true guitar aficionado, even playing the guitar behind his head at one point.  The band brought their set and the Festival to a close with an amazing encore with Michelle Taylor and Justin Dean of ZZ Top’s “Tush.”  It was the perfect cherry on top of a super delicious weekend of music.  Special thanks to Steve Pickel and Anderson Broadcasting for bringing these amazing artists to us.  We can hardly wait for next year!!!

 

Monday mashup 2017: Vol. 32

Welcome to another week of indie music.  As we mentioned on Saturday, we attended the River City Roots Festival in Missoula.  Saturday’s line-up was impressive, and featured the guilty pleasure of The Whizpops, followed by the soulful roots of songwriter Malcolm Holcombe, the impressive showmanship of The Ghost of Paul Revere, the roots rock tunes of The Band of Heathens and the awesomeness of one of blues finest guitarists, Anders Osborne, as headliner.  We also got to see more blues with Mudslide Charley at the Top Hat following the close of the Festival.  Watch for the reviews coming soon.

INDIE MUSIC NEWS

Lots of great music coming down the pike from indie artists, including Jerad Finck, the winner of the 2016 grand prize in the USA Songwriting Competition, who will be heading out for a west coast tour next month.  He is planning to visit Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Idaho and Montana before closing out the tour in his native Spokane.  Watch his official Facebook page for more tour info.  Other artists touring in those areas include several from the Roots Fest: The Ghost of Paul Revere, The Band of Heathens and Anders Osborne, who will also be playing with Bonnie Raitt.

MUSIC TASTES GOOD TO DONATE ADDITIONAL PROCEEDS TO AMFAM

Earshot Media has announced that 100% of the proceeds from tickets sold on August 31 will be donated the Oxfam America, a charity that seeks to end poverty.  You can purchase your tickets here.

Music Tastes Good passes start at $75 per day, passes for the new “Taste Tent” experience start at $150, and VIP passes start at $225. The event, to be headlined by Ween and Sleater-Kinney, with appearances by RIDE, Charles Bradley and his Extraordinares, ALVVAYS, Bomba Estereo, Los Lobos, of Montreal and many more, is scheduled to take place September 30 and October 1 at Marina Green Park in downtown Long Beach, California.

NEW SINGLES

Some impressive new singles are being released, including these three we want to feature today:

If you like your music rocky, check out the latest single, “Get up and Go” from Love and a .38.  The full song is available on iTunes.  Just click the link to preview and purchase.

Get up and Go

If ballads are more your thing,  you will love the latest single, “Dragonflies,” from Sweden’s Elin K.  She will be performing at the Youbloom Festival in Los Angeles on September 21.

Last but not least, here’s the new single, “Rio,” from surf-punk rockers, Knifey.  It’s got the energy most of us need to kick-start our new week.  We think you’ll love it.

NEW MUSIC VIDEOS

We are happy to welcome back Straw to our Monday Mashup with their latest single, “1965.”  This family keeps the blues alive with their impressive sound, well written songs and spectacular videos.  Hurry up and come tour America.

Here’s a very interesting lyric video from Superet for their new single “Who is This Guy.”  We think it’s the perfect song for your Manic Monday.

We have long been fans of the Americana duo honeyhoney.  Recently, Suzanne Santo released her first solo album and single, which we reviewed last week.  We think you will also love the music video for “Ghost in my Bed.”

 

Get it or forget it: Amilia K. Spicer, Janiva Magness, Scout Durwood

After taking a week off to organize all the album review requests, we are back with three more Get it or Forget it reviews.  Check out the latest from Amilia K. Spicer, Grammy-nominated artist Janiva Magness and Scout Durwood, the latter two both being on the amazing Blue Élan Records.

Artist NameAmilia K Spicer

Album NameWow and Flutter

Label:  Free Range Records

Genre:  Americana Folk

Track Listing:  1.  Fill me Up; 2.  Harlan; 3.  This Town; 4.  Shotgun; 5.  Lightning; 6.  Train Wreck; 7.  Shake it Off; 8.  Windchill; 9.  Down to the Bone; 10.  Wild Horses; 11.  What I’m Saying; 12.  Shine 

Publicist:  Miles High Productions

Review:  Amilia K Spicer is the consummate Americana artist.  Her music is folky and soothing while her earthy vocals perfectly tell the stories in her songs.  What an amazing collection of songs she has gathered, seamlessly written to tell those stories in the down-home tradition of great folk music.  Spicer kicks the album off with the wonderful track “Fill me Up,” and then proceeds to take the listener on a journey of sound that could soothe even the most colicky baby.  From gem to gem she takes us on that journey, until all too soon it is over.  But never fear, you can simply restart the journey at any time.  This is definitely the kind of album you want to hear again and again.  It is hard to pick the best songs on this album, but we really like “Harlan,” “This Town,” “Lightning,” “Down to the Bone,” and “Wild Horses.”

RecommendationWow and Flutter was released on April 28, and is a sure-fire hit for Spicer.  We highly recommend you Get it as soon as you can.  You won’t be sorry.

Artist NameJaniva Magness

Album NameBlue Again

Label:  Blue Élan Records/Fathead Records

Genre:  Blues

Track Listing:  1.  I Can Tell; 2.  I Love you More Than You’ll Ever Know; 3.  If I Can’t Have You; 4.  Tired of Walking; 5.  Buck; 6.  Pack it Up 

Publicist:  Conqueroo

Review:  Janiva Magness has the perfect voice for blues – deep, soulful and full of passion.  Her musical accompaniment is also first rate, with appearances by such legends as Kid Ramos, Sugaray Rayford and T.J. Norton.  It is easy to understand why her last album was nominated for a Grammy, and why we think there are more Grammy nominations and wins in her future.  Blue Again is a true blues album, and firmly places Magness among the greats in blues, like BB King, Etta James, Bonnie Raitt and Janis Joplin.   To prove my point, check out the incredible second track, “I Love you More Than You’ll Ever Know.”  This is the album for the consummate blues fan, who will love every track.  We just wish there were more than six tracks.  For the ultimate reminder of blues perfection, check out the duet on track three with Rayford.

RecommendationBlues Again was released on May 12 and is a requirement for every blues-loving music aficionado.  Get it today.

Artist NameScout Durwood

Album NameTake One Thing Off

Label:  Blue Élan Records

Genre:  Comedy/Spoken Word

Track Listing:  1.  Intro; 2.  Sex Positive; 3.  Take one Thing Off; 4.  Drinking; 5.  All the Pretty Bottles; 6.  Baseball Game; 7.  Fallin’ in Love; 8.  Men in LA; 9.  Brooklyn Ca. 2009; 10.  The NFL; 11.  The Wedding Song; 12.  I’m Cool, Right?; 13.  My Funny Valentine; 14.  Strip Club; 15.  Go Go; 16.  Anxiety Lions; 17.  Taxi Take me Home; 18.  Hate Crime; 19.  Here we Are 

Publicist:  The Syndicate

Review:  We were not prepared for this awesome album, with its tongue-in-cheek sexiness.  Scout Durwood is a comedic force to be reckoned with, and the female version of Weird Al.  Whether delivering a comedic monologue or singing the title track, Durwood delivers sexy, adult-themed comedy for real adults.  This album is definitely not for kids and is NSFW.  Her songs are fun and hilarious, while her stand-up routine keeps you in stitches.  Our favorite songs include the title track, “Fallin’ in Love,” Brooklyn Ca. 2009,”  “I’m Cool, Right?” and “Go Go.”  The album includes live comedy routines from her show at The Pack Theater in Los Angeles, and entices the listener to get out and see her live.  If you live in LA, you can see her at The Hotel Café on May 20 at 9 p.m.  We wish we could be there.  Grab your tickets today.

RecommendationTake one Thing Off is scheduled to be released on May 19.  We strongly suggest you Get it and see her live on May 20.

 

Get it or forget it – Jeffrey Halford & the Healers, Single by Sunday, Polly O’Keary and The Rhythm Method

Happy Friday – welcome to our final Get it or Forget it of the week – can you believe this will make 12 album reviews this week?  We continue to be overwhelmed by the amazing indie music being released and are proud to introduce you to these artists.  Enjoy your Friday and join us again next week as we continue our journey through the world of indie music.

Artist NameJeffrey Halford & the Healers

Album NameLo-Fi Dreams

Label:  Shoeless Records

Genre:  Americana

Track Listing:  1.  Two Jacksons; 2.  Elvis Shot the Television; 3.  Door #3; 4.  Good Trouble; 5.  10,000 Miles; 6.  Last Kiss; 7.  Bird of Youth; 8.  Sweet Annette; 9.  Looking for a Home; 10.  Great Divide 

Publicist:  Doug Deutsch Publicity Services

Review:  If you can imagine Tom Petty singing vocals for the Eagles while BB King plays dirty blues, then you have a taste of the awesomeness that is Jeffrey Halford.  On his eighth CD, Lo-Fi Dreams, he strips down his sound and lets the magic erupt.  The first track, “Two Jacksons,” sets the stage, and every song thereafter continues the story with amazing vocals, lyrics and musicality.  We simply cannot say enough about this album, which truly shines.  Every song is worthy of accolades, but we are especially fond of “Two Jacksons,” “Door #3,” “Bird of Youth,” “Sweet Annette,” and “Great Divide.”

Recommendation:  Jeffrey Halford should definitely be on your list of favorite artists and his latest album deserves a preferred spot on your playlist.  We are proud to recommend Lo-Fi Dreams, and strongly encourage you to Get It when it is released on May 19.

Artist NameSingle by Sunday

Album NameWatch out World

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Pop/Punk/Rock

Track Listing:  1.  22.5.16; 2.  Nevereverever; 3.  It is What it Is; 4.  I Can’t go on Like This 

Publicist:  Neon Tetra Music PR

Review:  If we could package the energy exuded by Single by Sunday, we would be no energy crisis.  These four lads from Scotland have an immense amount of talent, and although they have taken the UK by storm, they are still relatively unknown in the States.  With the upcoming June 2 release of their latest EP, that could drastically change.  The band has already gotten airplay on KROQ in Los Angeles, and other stations are sure to follow their lead.  All four songs are powerful radio songs, and the first single, “Nevereverever” has also been released as a music video.  The beat is driving, the vocals are tight and the songs are upbeat and fun.  Their music is just what commercial radio needs to wake up and grab ahold of their listeners.

Recommendation:  We think that this band has a bright future in American music, and are happy to recommend you Get their EP ASAP.

Artist NamePolly O’Keary and The Rhythm Method

Album NameBlack Crow Callin’

Label:  Self-released

Genre:  Blues

Track Listing:  1.  Hard Hearted World; 2.  A man who can Stand; 3.  Red Light; 4.  Black Crow Callin’; 5.  Yours to Lose; 6.  One Life; 7.  Reconciled; 8.  I Don’t Understand; 9.  Plan B; 10.  I am the One 

Publicist:  Frank Roszak Promotions

Review:  Long a bastion of male musicianship, the blues is becoming more enticing for female musicians.  Case in point is Polly O’Keary and The Rhythm Method, who are breaking down the door that separates and busting into the forefront of the genre.  With powerful pipes like Bonnie Raitt and Etta James, bass licks worthy of Sir Paul or Sting, and a musical chemistry that is head and shoulders above many other bands, these cats have come to sing.   They immediately grab your attention from the first note of the album, and never let up.  O’Keary provides bass and vocals, while she is complemented by guitar and vocals from David Miller and drums and vocals from Tommy Cook.  The combination of rich guitar and bass riffs and soaring blues vocals creates music that will stimulate your senses and make you want to move.  Our favorite tracks are “Red Light,” the title track (with its sassiness and downhome dirty sound), “Yours to Love,” “One Life,” and “I Don’t Understand.”

Recommendation:  This is our favorite album reviewed this week, and strongly encourage you to Get up and Get out and get it when it is released on May 19.  You’ll thank us later.

 

Get it or forget it: Sharif, Steven Graves, The King Brothers

We’re back with another edition of Get it or Forget it, focusing on Americana and blues today.  Check out these three amazing artists and keep the indie music spirit alive.

sharif

Artist NameSharif

Album NameTangled Dreams and Empty Bottles

Label:  None

Genre:  Americana/Medicana

Track Listing:  1.  Hold On; 2.  When She’s Drunk; 3.  Last Night’s Lanterns; 4.  Burn in the Breeze; 5.  One Fine Day; 6.  Fatal Love; 7.  Waiting on a Whisper; 8.  Lay Your Arms Down; 9.  When He’s Drunk 

Publicist:  Judi Kerr

Review:  Sharif has been creating amazing music for several years.  He recently completed his Masters at Berklee in Spain, focusing on melding the sounds of Middle Eastern music with Americana, creating a new genre which he calls Medicana.  He has incorporated several uniquely Middle Eastern instruments, including bouzouki, sitar, oud and glissentar into the soundtrack of this album.  He also has added the sounds of several gifted musicians to the mix, including Daniel Clark (Ryan Adams), Josh Grange (Sheryl Crow, Dwight Yoakum) and John O’Reilly Jr. (Beck), which further elevates this CD among most other indie music.

From the first notes of “Hold On,” it becomes quickly obvious that this new music will be quite special.  Add to that the smoky smooth vocals and the listener soon learns how great indie music can be.  Best tracks include “Hold On,” “When She’s Drunk”, “Fatal Love” “Lay Your Arms Down,” and his amazing cover of Carole King’s “One Fine Day,”  although every song is worthy of attention.

Recommendation:  We have reviewed quite a few albums from Sharif, and this one just happens to be his best.  We highly recommend you immediately Get It and add it to your collection.  We think you’ll listen to it over and over again.

steven-graves

Artist NameSteven Graves

Album NameCaptain Soul

Label:  None

Genre:  Americana/Roots

Track Listing:  1.  Light Turns to Day; 2.  Man From a Different Planet; 3.  Walk With Me; 4.  Somewhere, Somehow; 5.  Take you for a Ride; 6.  Fly Like the Dove; 7.  Forever Wild; 8.  Called her an Angel; 9.  No one Left to Blame; 10.  Heaven in Your Hands; 11.  Another Day 

Publicist:  KB Music Press

Review:  Steven Graves has been recording music for quite some time, and Captain Soul is his seventh studio album.  Raised on country music, Graves naturally gravitates to that genre, with a healthy helping of Americana, roots, gospel and classic rock thrown in for good measure.   This message-infused music provides an ample supply of food for thought, making Graves the Arlo Guthrie of his time.  Best tracks include “Somewhere, Somehow,” “Take you for a Ride,” “Fly Like the Dove,” “Forever Wild,” and “Another Day.”

Recommendation:  Steven Graves is truly a voice for his generation.  His meaty tunes combined with an excellent soundtrack make Captain Soul a definite Get It.

king-brothers

Artist NameThe King Brothers

Album NameGet up and Shake It

Label:  Club Savoy Records

Genre:  Blues

Track Listing:  1.  Rock me Baby; 2.  Just Driving Around; 3.  Hound Dog; 4.  Hootchie Cootchie Man; 5.  Just the way I Like It; 6.  Blind Snake; 7.  Close to You; 8.  Get up and Shake It; 9.  Bigg Legged Woman; 10.  Tore Down 

Publicist:  Club Savoy Entertainment Group

Review:  Talk about blues history.  The King Brothers, second cousins to the legendary Freddie King, have also shared the stage with the king of blues himself, BB King and their adopted “uncle,” Albert King.  They have been playing together for more than 60 years, and every song on their latest Get up and Shake It is proof of their amazing talent.  With a combination of original instrumentals and outstanding covers of such classic blues songs as “Hoochie Coochie Man,” “Tore Down,” and “Blind Snake,” the King Brothers will have you singing the blues in no time at all.  This disk is delightful from start to finish, and hard to believe it’s only their third album.  Definitely check out their tribute to Freddie King on the Leon Russell penned tune, “Big Legged Woman.”

Recommendation:  If you are moved by the blues, then this is a must have for your collection.  By all means, get out and Get It.

 

Getting to know the 2016 LA Music Critic Award winners – Diana Rein

Welcome to our new series on Indie Voice Blog.  Now that the winners of the LA Music Critic Awards for the first half of 2016 have been announced, we decided to help you get to know the winning artists through a series of interviews/stories about them.  Our first featured artist is three-time winner Diana Rein.

Rein won “Best CD – Female” for Long Road, “Best Blues Artist” and was the overwhelming selection for “Fan Favorite,” getting almost twice the votes of her nearest competitor.

All of these articles will follow the same format, so dig it and learn things about Ms. Rein and her music.

IVB:  How long have you been performing?

DR:  I officially started performing in 2007, although I have always loved music.  Unfortunately, those early performing years took a toll on my vocal cords and I developed polyps, forcing me to take a break in 2011 for vocal surgery.  I was doing an exercise during acting class where the teacher had me screaming.  After the class, I couldn’t talk for three weeks.  I realized I needed help, so I consulted a doctor, who scheduled me for the surgery.  After taking time to heal, I started learning to play guitar in 2013, culminating in the recording of my album in 2015.

IVB:  Who are your influences?

DR:  I break down my influences into two categories.  For my vocals, they would be Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston.  As a child I was also influenced by the music of Prince as a child.  My uncle was a drummer in a band.  When I was 8, I was at the Back Room in Chicago where he was performing and I invited to perform.  The vocalist in the band taught me the blues signature and I got to improvise on stage.  For my guitar playing, it would definitely be Stevie Ray Vaughan, although I was also heavily influenced as a child by the playing of Tom Kefer of Cinderella.  Other contemporary influences are the blues legends, like BB King and Buddy Guy.

IVB:  What made you decide to DIY?

DR:  I just wanted to send it (my music) out into the universe and see what happened.  At the time my son was only two, and I was with him almost 24/7, so I couldn’t leave him to go off to a studio and record.  Doing my stuff the DIY way allowed me to work around my schedule and record when I was free without feeling guilty about it.  I had the tools and the room to do it.  I taught myself how to play bass and program the drum machine.  I also reached out to friends and fellow musicians for advice on how to do it.

IVB:  Are you seeking to be a mainstream artist?

DR:  Right now I am very happy being an indie but would love to be more involved in the mainstream blues world.  I love how Bonnie Raitt’s career has taken shape because she is a household name, but is also very revered in the Blues world.  I truly love being surrounded by blues-loving people.

IVB:  What are your future plans?

DR:  I recently joined up with Kenny “Big Daddy” Williams and his band the Papermoon Gypsys.  We will be performing at some upcoming blues festivals and charity events.  We are also competing in the Temecula Valley Music Awards showcases.  We are performing at the Real Blues Festival at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano on August 14 at 4 p.m.  Our set is just before James Harmon Band and KK Martin Band play.  We are also playing at the Long Beach New Blues Festival in September.  With the Papermoon Gypsys, we are working on a new album of more traditional blues.

IVB:  Do you have any good stories from touring/recording/performing?

DR:  I haven’t done any touring yet, but have recently learned not to wear leather at a hot outdoor venue.  We recently played the Orange County Fair on a hot sweltering day and learned that (wearing leather) was a mistake.

IVB:  Where can your fans find out more about you?

DR:  I have the usual social media.  They can follow me on Twitter and Instagram, like my fan page on Facebook, and check out my website.  I love hearing from my fans.  They can also subscribe to my YouTube channel.  Also check out my publicist, Doug Deutsch Publicity Services, if you need a great one.