Elvis Club features mostly original songs, written or co-written by Scott Kempner. There is just one cover, Neil Young’s “Southern Pacific,” which ends the album. And though this album is rock, it does not have anything like a generic feel.
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Duke Robillard latest album extends that run of successes. Augmenting his rhythm section (Bruce Bears, keyboards; Brad Hallen, bass; Mark Teixeira, drums–a trio that seems as telepathically linked as it is stylistically unlimited) is guest guitarist Monster Mike Welch, a fellow New Englander who regularly gigs as one of Sugar Ray Norcia’s Bluetones–that is, when he is not recording albums as a front man (I count five or six to date). Robillard maneuvers this superb and sympathetic cast through and around a dizzying scope of blues, jazz, and roots music on Independently Blue.
The album opens with two of three compositions penned by Robillard’s former Roomful bandmate, Al Basile. “I Wouldn’t-a Done That” is a swaggering shuffle with a pair of snarling, tangled-in-barbed-wire solos. Believe it or not, the tune modulates into different keys at least twice, an exceedingly rare move in the blues that makes for a very cool and compelling structure. “Below Zero” is a bluesy, moderately paced rocker that rides out on a duel between Duke’s bright single-note lines and Monster Mike’s bassy, fuzzed-out licks.
It was the kind of back-story that country music loves: a young girl who never got past the eighth grade, grew up in trailer parks, waitressed and bartended in bars and clubs to get by, and sang on the side when she could bursts onto the country scene and becomes an instant star with a single song. Released in 2004, “Redneck Woman,” an iconic song that celebrated just such a ragged trailer park life and did it with resilient pride, instantly put Gretchen Wilson on the superstar celebrity fast track, and she handled it as well as anyone could have when all was said and done. Yeah, Sony dropped her in 2009 when she failed to generate another million-seller like “Redneck Woman,” but Wilson has rebounded nicely, starting her own label, Redneck Records, and with three albums due in 2013, she’s firmly in charge of her own career for the first time. The aptly named Right on Time shows that Wilson is capable of much more than just country honky tonk anthems, and in fact, this set is way more garage rock blues than it is country, with some late-night jazz, soul, and funk thrown in as well, and it’s clearly a statement that Wilson isn’t about to sit still musically. Only the lead track here, “Get Outta My Yard,” really sounds country, actually, and even this song roars along on garage rock guitars, while the monstrous-sounding “My Truck” certainly seems country, although it’s more like country on heavy dance-pop steroids. The real surprise, if there is one, is the diversity of Wilson’s voice, which belts out the barroom truth on one song, goes hushed and hoarse on another, and then emulates Etta James doing uptown blues in a late-night jazz club on yet another. Right on Time is all about showcasing Wilson’s range, and she is a revelation on songs like the bluesy and brutally honest “Crazy,” the relentless cautionary tale “The Well Run Dry,” the Eagles-like ballad “Right on Time,” the swampy and electric “Dust & Bone,” and the delightful “I’ve Been in Love,” a bright, breezy bit of jazz-funk-pop that sounds closer to Bette Midler than Dolly Parton, although Wilson seems to channel a little of both of these icons (along with Etta James) on this strong, confident, and diverse album. This may not be country, but it’s how Wilson sees it, and it’s difficult to say that she’s wrong, not with an album as varied and good as this.
Spring Break Of The Soul is nothing short of a full-on, multimedia art project. First, musically, Baird’s ever-teeming brain spills forth 17 new songs captured on analog tape and spread across two records. As usual, each is a genuine avant-pop nugget that evokes the untouchable sounds of Syd Barrett, Van Dyke Parks, Harry Nilsson, Ray […]
For their 4th studio record, Post-Heroic, Surrogate took their newfound self-sufficiency to new levels, moving into a dilapidated studio deep in the heart of their hometown’s college ghetto for two years of writing, recording, drinking cheap beer and taking their sweet ass time. Slimmed down to a four-piece, Post Heroic found all four members taking […]
Juba Dance is the title of the new album which marks the long-standing collaboration between the famous American bluesman Guy Davis (only true heir of Robert Johnson and John Lee Hooker), and the harmonica of international Italian Fabrizio Poggi, co-album and starred with his harmonica on several tracks. An acoustic record, authentic blues, essential and […]
‘Can You Stand The Heat’ is the follow-up to 2011 album, Unconditional, which was nominated for two Blues Music Awards and landed in the top 15 of Guitar World’s top Blues & Roots Rock Albums. ‘Heat’ was co-produced by long-time BB King drummer Tony Coleman, Tommy Sims and Ana. ‘Can You Stand The Heat’ was […]
This River was produced by Grey and Dan Prothero, and recorded at Retrophonics Studio in Saint Augustine, Florida, with additional recording done in Grey’s home studio, known as ‘The Egg Room’. “Many of the new songs,” says Grey in a statement, “are about being your own worst enemy, and about normal folks pushing themselves over […]
After a successful Pledge campaign Annie Dressner is gearing up for the formal release of her EP East Twenties early next month with a launch show on April 9th at The Slaughtered Lamb, now UK based the title of Annie’s EP is taken from her New York home neighbourhood of East Twenties , as well […]
Run Boy Run is… Jesse Allen – Upright Bass Grace Rolland – Vocals, Cello Matt Rolland -Fiddle Bekah Sandoval – Vocals, Fiddle, Guitar Jen Sandoval – Vocals, Mandolin Tracks: 1.So Sang the Whippoorwill 2.Get Up Jake 3.Silver Dagger 4.Red Rocking Chair 5.Cora Belle 6.Roving Davey 7.Little Girl 8.Two Brothers 9.Hoot Owl 10.Down in the Willow […]