Thursday, April 19, 2018

20 year old Irish singer-songwriter Ghost releases debut single "On the Road"...indie-roots with dark overtones

Ghost is a 20-year old musician from Ireland and has just released his debut single "On the Road" It is the first single from the upcoming debut EP "DIARY OF A HEARTLESS ROMANTIC".  The track is an indie-roots style composition with dark overtones and sparse instrumentation. An excellent release from this promising new artist.

Find out more:

Follow GHOST online: (@the_life_of_ghost)

Monday, April 16, 2018

Backtrack Blues Band new release "Make My Home In Florida"...most accomplished and respected

One of Florida's longest-running and most accomplished bands, The Backtrack Blues Band has performed high-energy, Chicago-style blues continuously since its founding in 1980. The group has established a strong reputation for creative songwriting through six CD's and one DVD of original music -- all of which charted on the U.S. blues radio charts.

The quintet's latest masterpiece of an album, "Make My Home in Florida," is an exciting in-concert collection that's the next best thing to experiencing them in the flesh, capturing the group as it lights up the stage of the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg. The set list ranges from stone classics of the blues genre (B.B. King's "Woke Up This Morning," Sonny Boy Williamson II's "Your Funeral and My Trial," T-Bone Walker's immortal "T-Bone Shuffle") to Sonny Charles originals such as "Heavy Built Woman," "Shoot My Rooster" and the title track.

The members of Backtrack bring with them authenticity and immense talent. Sonny Charles is an accomplished harmonica player whose tone recalls Little Walter and Paul Butterfield, while Kid Royal, whose style was influenced by the great Texas guitar players, is widely respected as one of Florida's top players. Joe Bencomo is an exceptional drummer who has played in Tampa Bay blues and jazz bands for 40 years; Little Johnny Walter adds solid rhythm guitar and backup vocals; and bassist Stick Davis was a founding member of the Amazing Rhythm Aces (of "Third Rate Romance" fame). The Backtrack Blues Band has appeared with legendary blues artists from B.B. King, Buddy Guy and Stevie Ray Vaughan to Gregg Allman, Robert Cray and Johnny Winter. The group has garnered three Tampa Bay Music Awards as the area's "Best Blues Band."

official website:

Friday, April 13, 2018

Norwegian band The NaveBlues release "Possess You" combines alternative rock with soulful blues

Norwegian band, The Naveblues, pride themselves on eccentric sounds and the marriage of a myriad of musical genres. They have crafted a sound that demands to be heard, lulling into a rootsy blues style before rocketing to an electrifying indie rock anthem. Their ample use of the harmonica, often used where lyrics and melodies typically exist, is another defining differentiated when it comes to their sound. 

Their newest single, “Possess You” incorporates the energy of alternative rock and the soul of the smoothest blues track. True to form, the star of the show is the earthy, reverberation of the harmonica running rampant throughout. It’s an equal mix of ferocious rock style and a simmer blues sensibility that turns explosive when you least expect it. The Naveblues are carving out a space for themselves where one didn’t exist before, combining a multitude of genres that bend and build cohesively as one sound. They understand the intricacies of hard rock just as effortlessly as they do the earthy, unadulterated soul of classic blues— and single “Possess You” brings it all together.

The Naveblues self-titled album is an experiment in mixing genres and highlighting the sounds of the blues that have enticed listeners for generations. The 9 track album is unique in its array of arrangements, each different from the next, starting with the dynamic, classic blues style of "Sexy Kiss" which melds seamlessly into the smokey, smooth blues rhythm of "Say My Name.” The piano-forward ballad, “In A Quiet Place” infuses a sense of sensuality, showcasing a softer side. Both the single “Possess You” and “The Ghost Collector” are explosive mixtures of rock sensibility and harmonica gold, an instrument that The Naveblues fold into every moment with mastery, all in an effort to make it a mainstream staple. It all comes to a soulful, reflective end with the Led Zeppelin cover, “Thank You,” dripping with classic blues style and indie rock energy. 

Marty's review: The NaveBlues' roots-based sound incorporates classic blues, soul and alternative rock that comes together in this energetic album release that will more than excite fans of blues and roots music while also being accessible to contemporary indie music followers. 

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Memphis TN Ghost Town Blues Band release live album 'Backstage Pass'

After almost nine years, thousands of shows and countless hours spent doing what they love, Memphis, Tennessee's Ghost Town Blues Band recently released their fourth and greatest record, "BACKSTAGE PASS." And best of all, it's a live album! One of Ghost Town's defining features is the group's lively energy onstage, and they've managed to capture that energy on their most action-packed record thus far. 

With a shoot-from-the-hip Memphis attitude, and a STAX-busting explosion of modern blues vision, GTBB represents a welcome changing of the guard.” -Living Blues Magazine

Recently featured at Montreal Jazz Festival, Beale Street’s latest success story, 2016 Independent Blues Award winner for “Best Contemporary Blues Song”, 2015 Blues Blast Music Award Nominee for “Best Blues Band” and 2014 International Blues Challenge Runner-up is Ghost Town Blues Band. Not your grandpa’s blues band, their live show has been captivating audiences in the U.S. and Canada with a second-line horn entrance, cigar box guitars and electric push brooms to Allman Brothers style jams and even a hip-hop trombone player.

Horns, harmonies and homegrown instruments combined with an energetic and roots rich festival set makes Ghost Town Blues Band one of the “must see live bands on the festival circuit today.” Both Preston McEwen behind the drums and Matt Karner on the bass guitar are a punishing rhythm section behind multi-instrumentalist/frontman Matt Isbell with raunchy cigar box guitar licks and raspy “Dr. John-like, whiskey and gravel-soaked vocals.” With the addition of Trombonist Suavo Jones, Tim Stanek on B3 and Taylor Orr on lead guitar, GTBBs well-versed arrangements go from traditional and reverent to completely unique and unreal as the band gains more notoriety in the blues festival and jam circuit. Ghost Town Blues Band has performed hundreds festivals, theaters and clubs across the US and Canada in the past couple of years crafting the most energetic and fresh blues show of the decade.

sample the album at official website:

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Singer-songwriter Crystal Shawanda new album release Voodoo Woman...soulful and rootsy

Recently released is the amazing new album VooDoo Woman from award-winning blues belter Crystal Shawanda

With an impressive array of awards and accolades, thousands of concerts to rapturous audiences throughout North America under her belt, and a remarkable recording pedigree to her credit, Crystal Shawanda still struggled mightily for many years to find her place within the music industry.  

A Juno Award-winning singer/songwriter whose soulful, rootsy sound has allowed for a nearly seamless bridging of the traditional country and blues worlds, Shawanda’s unique aboriginal cultural background has left her feeling like an outsider at times. But that search may be at an end, as the process of creating her latest album, the cathartic, bold and refreshingly authentic VooDoo Woman, the talented Shawanda not just coming to terms with her unique place in the industry, but embracing and truly celebrating it.  

VooDoo Woman stands as an example of an artist who has truly found her voice, and it is a voice that is rich, powerful, charming and intimately real. She has captured the blues with her rendition of these timeless songs and thrown in a couple of her own unique and powerful original tunes as well.  

Crystal Shawanda is reminiscent of a time gone by. She will make you feel every word with a powerful voice that never fails, pure and gritty at the same time. 

official website:

Marty's review: Crystal Shawanda takes classic blues numbers, injects them with fire and soul, mixes in a steamroller attack of instrumentation and delivers with her raspy, belter vocals that shake the foundations and leave you breathless. Her take on standards like "Hound Dog", "Ball and Chain" and "Wang Dang Doodle" are done in her own punchy, take no prisoners style which gives them a new lease of life.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

The Jim Shaneberger Band release 2nd album "Above and Below"...rockin' blues, funk and soul from Michigan

Jim Shaneberger, a skilled guitarist, bassist, songwriter and vocalist, leads the Jim Shaneberger Band (JSB), hailing from West Michigan. Bassist Jeffrey Baldus and drummer Steve Harris each add their own energy and playing styles for a lively, energetic, and eventful stage performance. With influences like Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Led Zeppelin, and Motown classics, JSB mixes rock, funk, soul, and blues into a sound all their own. 

JSB’s second album, "Above and Below," was released late 2017. The album was written collaboratively and showcases more heavily the influence of drummer Steve Harris and bassist Jeffrey Baldus. This is especially demonstrated on track 8, an instrumental titled “Just Saying Bro.”

"Above and Below" has a diverse array of genres represented, and each song has a unique feel. The rocker of the collection is “Indifference,” a social justice song inspired by the 2016 shooting of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. The song serves as a call to action for citizens to stand up for each other.

official website:

Marty's review: JSB come at you loud and proud on this their second album release. Nine powerful tracks of rocking blues, funk and soul that sound like they are more than a 3-piece band. With Jim Shaneberger's skillful guitar licks leading the charge backed up by plucking bass lines from Jeff Baldus and a solid backbeat from drummer Steve Harris, this collection of down and dirty raucous blues will shatter the neighbour's windows with only minimal volume!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Little Freddie King live album release "You Make My Night" blues from New Orleans

Little Freddie King is a country-style blues musician, links to an era when live music poured from the back-of-town nightclubs that were ubiquitous throughout New Orleans’ African-American neighborhoods, fostering a musical subculture of down home Mississippi blues that developed from the ground up in New Orleans. He is also one of the few survivors and the last of what has become a footnote to the Great Migration of Southern blacks: the Mississippi country bluesmen like Boogie Bill Webb, Jewell “Babe” Stovall, and Arzo Youngblood who carried their tradition farther south rather than north. He is also a cousin of Lighting Hopkins.

 “YOU MADE MY NIGHT” (MWR72) 2017 is Little Freddie King’s way of saying “thank you” to his rowdy and enthusiastic audience after one of his classic low down dirty blues performances. The album was recorded live at “The World-Famous D.B.A Music Club” in New Orleans, La. The songs are a mixture of originals and four of his favorites from his blues friends. The recording is a “time-capsule” featuring eleven tracks of authentic “juke-joint” style music in which perfect pitch and well-tuned guitars just don’t matter. He’s got a rough Mississippi roots electric sound with a New Orleans edge. His brand of the blues is moonshine dripping from the backyard porch, still made from the remnants of the Delta farm he was raised, until jumping a train to New Orleans. His sound is harsh, dirty and powerfully authentic.

Marty's review: Little Freddie King plays a collection of classic blues numbers in this live setting that captures his style of blues the way it should be heard, loud, dirty and no frills. Just imagine yourself standing in this crowd of raucous admirers and "getting down" to traditional blues and soaking it all in. Enjoy!


Monday, March 19, 2018

Ron Campbell & the bLUES bUSTERS throw a haymaker with 'The Main Event'

album uses boxing metaphor to deliver the blues

“The Main Event” is 16 original tracks from Canadian blues band Ron Campbell & the bLUES bUSTERS (

Though perhaps little known internationally, the bLUESbUSTERS are hardly novices; in a career stretching back to the mid-'60s, they've honed their blues chops on a thousand smoky roadhouse stages and are the pride of their hometown, Powell River, Canada. Guitarist/songwriter Ron Campbell has charted on college radio, has written for film and stage, and has won several songwriting awards.

“I've been doing this for 51 years,” says Campbell. “I've recorded a few other CDs, but this -- finally -- is the one that feels right.”

Ron Campbell & the bLUESbUSTERS are a Chicago-style blues dance band with a jazzy twist. This four-piece group -- Ron Campbell (guitar/harp/vocals), Dennis Fox (bass/vocals), Neko (drums), and “Burnin'” Ted Durnin (keys/sax/vocals) -- have been described as “a cross between Joe Bonamassa and Dave Brubeck.”

Not limiting themselves to the usual guitar-based lineup, their prominent use of both saxophone and blues harp, as well as the vocal jazz-style harmonies of their three lead singers, definitely set them apart. Fans have praised their “jazzy, swinging tunes,” their “brilliant songwriting” and their “strong blues vocals.” Of their newest CD, Campbell says, “The preliminaries are over. This is the album I've worked a lifetime to create. To me, it truly is The Main Event.”

In an advance review, Blues Matters magazine said, “'The Main Event' contains something for every blues fan. The songs fit into that slow blues, slightly funky groove [with] enough shifts in mood and key to keep the listener interested. Songs like 'If The Train's On Time' have a pleasing, road-worn timbre, full of down-and-dirty slide guitar and Johnny Johnson-like piano playing. 'Ben's Bounce' is a Hammond organ, harmonica and saxophone-led upbeat stomper. The distinctiveness of the vocals ... and a good production style present 16 original songs which all show their musicians and writers to good effect.”

Once described as “Canada's best-kept blues secret,” Ron Campbell & the bLUESbUSTERS have, with 'The Main Event,' become contenders.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Americana Blues Duo Screamin' John and TD Lind's "Big Bad Coraline" from new album "Gimme More Time"

Screamin’ John Hawkins and T.D. Lind take their game up a notch with their first collaboration in two decades, the new album Gimme More Time. The album was recorded live over three days at La La Land Studios with a roster of friends and former bandmates. The familiarity of the musicians with one another resulted in a hard edged sound that imbues the blues with the raw energy of early Rock 'n’ Roll.

Lind is originally from England. He relocated to America in 1991 to pursue music. In the late 90's, he fronted the Louisville band Edenstreet, which featured Screamin’ John Hawkins and Chuck Mingis on guitars along with bassist Jeff Crane and drummer Paul Culligan. Edenstreet disbanded after its record label, A&M, was sold to Universal Music Group. Lind pursued a solo career while Hawkins, Crane, and Culligan ended up playing in the Predators.

Gimme More Time was originally conceived as a Screamin’ John Hawkins solo album. He recruited Crane, Culligan and harmonica player Joel Pinkerton for the project. Then he got the idea to bring in Lind. “I am generally not a fan of albums by guitar players who don’t sing,” Hawkins confessed. “Tim seemed like a good solution to the problem. There was never any bad blood between any of us. When Edenstreet disbanded, he was on a work visa so he had to go back to England. We always enjoyed playing together.”

Marty's review: these guys play the blues like there's no tomorrow; down the middle, straight to the punch with a dirty feel that grabs you and shakes you around until your head is spinning. The album is a knockout and was recorded "live" in the studio over three days. The sound that comes out is from a bunch of seasoned professionals that love what they play and ain't scared to lay it all up front for you. A big thumbs up from me!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Mama SpanX release State of Groove...virtuoso collective belt out funky grooves, blues-rock and 70's soul

Singer, songwriter, bandleader and New York Blues Hall of Fame inductee Nikki Armstrong put together some of her favorite musicians from both the East & West Coast's R&B, rock & funk scenes to form the band Mama SpanX. The name came from legendary soul-jazz guitarist Melvin Sparks whom Nikki collaborated with for several years until his passing in 2011. Bands such as Tower of Power, Cold Blood, Sly & the Family Stone, Ike & Tina and especially James Brown inspired the songs, arrangements and grooves on "State of Groove."

Known for her diverse songwriting, unique voice, dynamic stage performance and her ability to build a "smokin'" band, Nikki plus the "Spankers"; seven virtuoso musicians, form Mama SpanX. The self-produced, nine-track, "old school" analog recording of "State of Groove," the band's first release, was recorded and engineered by Richard Robinson (Fleetwood Mac, Pinetop Perkins) with final mixes by Howie "The Doctor" Lindeman (Roberta Flack, Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway). The original material ranges from R&B to blues/rock to funk with some fun pieces, such as "Being Beautiful," and one cover, "Alligator Boogaloo," based on the 1967 Lou Donaldson soul jazz hit, with additional music and lyrics about being in love with an alligator.

Other songs are reminiscent of early 70's soul, inspired by artists such as Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Sly and the Family Stone and Tower of Power. "State of Groove," the last track, is also the mission statement of Mama SpanX. It is about the joy of creating the groove as a band, each artist having their own unique voice while supporting each other to create a new "state" of excitement. So, put down that remote, the cell phone, get off the screens! Get into the groove and get ready to laugh, sing and dance your butt off with Mama SpanX's "State of Groove."

Marty's review: Aptly titled, this album is what it claims, a powerhouse of groove that hits you from the word go and never lets up. With funky rhythms, searing guitars, soul style keyboards and a shiny brass section, the production is top notch. Add to this the songwriting and vocal talents of the NY Blues Hall of Fame inductee Nikki Armstrong, and you have an album that showcases the talents of this fine group of musicians.

Official website:

Friday, March 2, 2018

UK Indie-Americana collective Carousel release debut EP...soaring harmonies and folk-rockers

Carousel are 4-piece Indie-Americana music collective are based in Southend-on-Sea on the coast of Essex, UK. They fuse Americana, country, folk, rock’n’roll, blues and roots music into their own unique approach whilst taking full advantage of having four accomplished vocalists at their disposal. The band’s influences include an array of artists from Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash to the modern day Americana stylings of Brandi Carlile and The Lone Bellow. The band’s aim is to breathe new life into music venues and street-level performances around the UK, with a view to remove the barrier between artist and audience.

Marty's review: Their highly anticipated 5 track debut EP was released late last year and features their combined talents from beautiful, soaring harmonies on the tracks "Porcelain" and "Comfortable Skin" to the raunchy, all-out rocker "Throw Me to the Wolves". Add to this their proficient songwriting and instrumentation talents and you have a debut that will win over new and old fans alike. Take some time out and plug your ears into this one.

Stream and download on Bandcamp:

Official website:

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Guitarist/Songwriter Davide Pannozzo new album "Unconditional Love"...modern blues with panache

Internationally renowned blues guitarist Davide Pannozzo's new album, Unconditional Love, was produced by Grammy-winning producers Steve Jordan and Will Lee. Davide, who recently reached the semifinals at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, has performed as a headliner in the United States, Italy, Germany, France and the UK, and has been described by critics as one of the most interesting artists in contemporary blues guitar. 

Davide -- whose style is very much his own, even though splashes of Jeff Beck, David Gilmour, Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix can be heard in his music -- is living proof of the existence of the American dream. After releasing an album through Universal, he started working on new music and decided, unsolicited, to send his material to Steve Jordan. Recognizing his talent, Jordan gave him a call and offered to work together on the project. Davide promptly relocated from Italy for New York to begin work on the new album. 

Unconditional Love talks about our times. It’s a modern blues album that overflows with strong storytelling, all underpinned by Davide's belief that each person is valuable and can play a role in making the world a better place. Jordan and Lee helped him forge a powerful, elegant sound that highlights Davide's sophisticated guitar playing, powerful singing, and intricately nuanced songwriting, making the album unique in its genre. The incredible Unconditional Love features the stellar musicianship of Shawn Pelton, Ricky Peterson and Oli Rockberger, and includes eight original songs plus inspired covers of George Harrison's Wah Wah and Billy Cobham's Stratus.

Official website:

Marty's review: the multi-talented Davide Pannozzo impresses on a high level with this latest release, showcasing not only his amazing talent as a guitarist but also his accomplished songwriting skills. Featuring 8 originals plus covers of Wah Wah and Stratus, this is one killer of an album and only further demonstrates why this artist deserves the accolades and recognition he receives and deserves.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Blues guitarist/vocalist James Kelly releases first solo album Rock N Roll Samurai..raucous and smoldering!

James Kelly hails from Sydney, Australia, and, after almost 25 years of playing guitar in countless bands across the country, he finally got around to releasing his own solo album. The album goes by the name of Rock N Roll Samurai and it features James on guitars, bass and vocals, Carlos Adura on drums and the legendary Big Blind Ray Lechminka on harmonica. The music is a raucous, smoldering stew of so many of his musical influences, drenched in a swampy, blues rock gravy.

Marty's review: James Kelly's brand of hot, pumping, balls to the wall style of blues-rock hits you right between the eyes and will leave you breathless in a very short time. James doesn't hold back with his subject matter either, with everything from (in his own words) "sadistic femme fatales, pushers and dealers, cannibalistic villains and nihilistic abandon!" He delivers the lyrics with a devilish rasp in his voice and his tight band are up front and in your face. With track titles like "Light the Fuse", "My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama" and "Cocaine Carolina", what more can you say. Plus his version of John Lee Hooker's "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" is a killer!

Official website:

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Patrik Jansson Band new album "So Far to Go"... hot and pumping blues-rock from Sweden

So Far to Go is the third album from Patrik Jansson Band and the follow up to the critically acclaimed 2014 release Here We Are. The all new lineup includes Patrik Jansson on guitar & vocals, Gustaf Andersson on Hammond B3, Fender Rhodes and Piano, Martin Forsstedt on Drums and Thomas Andersson on Bass. The band chemistry is more apparent than ever and each musician’s contribution as well as the songs themselves makes So Far To Go their strongest album yet.

Mikael "Mike" Fall (Harmonica world champion 2013) does a guest appearance on the track Too Blind To See as well as Therese Thomsson who sings a duet on Can't Get You (Out Of My Head). A horn section on four of the tracks also contributes to giving the album a sophisticated classic sound.

PJB has further expanded up on their sound and while some songs are even more in the line of traditional Chicago blues, like Can't Get You (Out Of My Head) and the blues ballad Those Days Are Gone, which best can be described as a mix of B.B. King and Walter Trout. There are on the other end of the spectrum contemporary blues-rock songs like the first single Life Without You, a funky, groovy and highly energetic rocker. As well as the funky instrumental That 70's Thing which brings to mind 70´s era Freddie King. The common thread through it all is the apparent focus on great songwriting and creating great melodies, arrangements and musical performances that makes each song stand on its own.

Listening to the album you can spot influences of contemporary blues masters like Joe Bonamassa, Walter Trout, Gary Moore, Robert Cray, Jeff Healey and Matt Schofield, but also the old blues giants like B.B. King, Freddie King and Stevie Ray Vaughan. But most of all it sounds like Patrik Jansson Band 2017.

Marty's review: fans of traditional and contemporary blues will eat this one up and find it very easy to digest. Searing blues guitar from Patrik Jansson backed by his tight and professional band of accomplished musicians with some guests added in the mix. Some highlights are the keyboard solo on Life Without You, guest vocalist Therese Thomsson on Can't Get You (Out Of My Head) and the funky groove of That 70's Thing. Blues fans will find plenty of influences from artists past and present but the PJB make the sounds their own and deliver them with gusto and finesse.

Recorded at Sound Society Studios, Gävle. Mixed and mastered by Patrik Jansson and Martin Karlegård at Sub Mob Studios, Stockholm 2017.



Friday, February 9, 2018

Blues/Rock/Soul artist Popa Chubby new album "Two Dogs"..a big, bad sonic bomb!

Popa Chubby drops a big, bad, sonic bomb with his excellent and timely new album, “Two Dogs.” On it, Popa explores myriad musical styles and genres while keeping it close to his rock and soul core. You’ll hear the Popa you know and love and things you haven’t heard before.

Popa started work on “Two Dogs” with a lot of amazing sounds in his head and powerful feelings in his heart. Recorded at his home studio in New York’s Hudson Valley, Popa engineered and produced the record. He also plays drums, bass and percussion on some tracks. Renowned keyboard player and Popa’s long-time collaborator, Dave Keyes, appears throughout the album. Popa’s daughter, Tipitina Horowitz, plays trumpet and contributes horn compositions. Ace drummer, Sam “Freight-train” Bryant keeps the beat real and rocking.

In the album’s liner notes, Popa expresses how he feels about the times we live in and expands on the inspiration behind the title song: “We have become polarized as a race. There is a battle inside each of us. Each day we rise and must choose our path calling upon each other and our own spirits for strength and courage. The dog we feed is the one that rules, the dog we starve dies of neglect. It is up to each of us to use our spirit to feed the dog that will enable all of us to thrive.”

This quote from a review of “Two Dogs” published in Blues Magazine does a good job of summing up the man and his music: “To call him a blues artist is to belittle who he is and what he stands for. Horowitz is so much more than that: Singer, songwriter, guitar stylist, his passions run deep and shine bright. With a performance style he describes as “the Stooges meets Buddy Guy, Motörhead meets Muddy Waters, and Jimi Hendrix meets Robert Johnson,” Popa Chubby is an endearing character who is one of the genre’s most popular and innovative figures.”

Official website:

Marty's review: Popa Chubby delivers his brand of rocking blues with soul on this latest release that doesn't hold back. Top-notch production, songwriting and fine musicianship all combine to make this one that will be worthy of many listens. Popa's years in the business and multiple talents come together on this 13 track release that covers several genres, all with the Popa Chubby sound that fans know and love, big, bad and boom!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Guitarist Andy Gunn aka Scotland's B B King new release "Warm Heart Blues"...classic blues sound

Andy Gunn is sadly one of these special artists who’s lived what he sings and has been through a lot, but, like many a blues musician, Andy’s been gifted with 9 lives... His music, life story and determination have really inspired and he was recently heralded as ‘a great lost Scottish talent and one of our finest ever blues players’. When Rob Ellen wrote ‘Andy Gunn is the blues’, he was referring to the deep personal tragedies that have affected Andy’s life and health.

Born with Haemophilia, as a child, Andy was one of the patients affected by blood products contaminated with HIV and Hepatitis C in the 1980. For many years, Andy campaigned to bring justice for his fellow victims of the contaminated blood scandal. These protests eventually helped to bring ex-gratia payments to others who were affected by the tragedy. These infections played a large part in him falling into the world of alcoholism and addiction as a teenager, he has now been in recovery for many years and tries his best to give back to others suffering from depression and addiction in the community.

Too Many Guitars to Give Up Now” hasn’t been the easiest to make, having been suffering from Peripheral Neuropathy (numbness) in his hands due to his ill health Andy had to fight on to produce this remarkable record. Inspired by a conversation about owning an embarrassing number of guitars, when asked “how many do you have?” all Andy could say was “put it this way, I’ve got too many guitars to give up now!” and so this album was born.

Recorded on an analogue system to retain that warm classic blues sound the album was recorded live over two days due to Andy’s Peripheral Neuropathy. His determination and strength as a guitarist is truly inspirational, This is an record as real as the life he’s lead through the ups and the downs. Andy can articulate the blues like no other, his optimism, style comes across on this record and transends words live. Seeing him perform is an electrifying, uplifting and unforgettable experience. When Blues in Britain described Andy’s music as ‘a resounding triumph over adversity’, they were on to something. 

Going from strength to strength, and playing gigs throughout the UK Andy will be on touring to support the release of this record alongside some of Scotland’s finest musicians, please see his UK tour dates below..

2nd Balintore Inn, Balintore 9pm
3rd Wick Assembly Rooms 7:30pm £7
10th Blue Lamp, Aberdeen £15, £10 concessions
16th Stramash, Edinburgh 7pm start
17th Stereo, Glasgow 7pm £8
23rd Eden Court, Inverness 8pm £13
24th MacPhail Centre, Ullapool 7pm £7

8th Cluny, Newcastle £8
9th The Whisky Jar, Manchester £8
10th The Magnet, Liverpool £8
11th Half Moon, Putney London £8 (£10 on door)
17th Smokestack, Leeds £6
18th The Maze, Nottingham £6

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Andrea Marr new album release "Natural"...high-energy blues-soul with the sound of Stax and Motown

Andrea Marr’s first full-length soul album is a high-energy, horn-laden ride into the music that she loves the most - the sound of Stax and Motown, James Brown, Otis Redding, Etta James and Sharon Jones, but with her own distinct spin on it. ‘Natural’, Andrea’s 7th release, is an album that gives you the best of her, the expressive and passionate songwriter, with 9 originals on the album. Andrea was born in Sri-Lanka then immigrated to Melbourne, Australia at the age of 14. From the age of 19 onwards she sang professionally in bands, forming her own blues band in 1999. Among her many awards and accolades in Australian Blues, Andrea has won the 2009 Australian Female Blues Artist of The Year Award and the 2005 and 2012 Blues Performer of The Year Award, representing Australia at the IBC in Memphis twice.

This album features Andrea’s 8 piece soul band The Funky Hitmen, who formed in 2012 and released the EP “Sass and Brass” in 2013 on Chicago’s Blue Skunk label. This is the full album of what was started back then - although some of the players have moved on, the sound remains the same, dynamic, energetic, joyful and powerful.

Marty's review: Fans of old school soul a-la Motown and Stax will eat this one up with its high-energy, funky, brass-powered assault and the powerful, up-front vocals of Andrea Marr. 11 tracks, 9 of them written or co-written by Andrea, that take you back to that soul sound of the 60's and 70's with a contemporary production that is delivered with gusto and polish. This lady deserves all the credit she has received and definitely delivers in a big way.

‘Andrea is truly a first class singer, with a dynamic, gospel fuelled voice’ - Blues Blast Magazine Chicago
Andrea Marr’s voice is so sensual and sassy, her command of her idiom so assured that one wants to accost strangers to tell them’ - The Age Newspaper Australia
‘Marr has inherited a style that made Etta James a legend and Sharon Jones a cult phenomenon’ - Leicester Bangs UK
‘If you like Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings or The Dynamites, you’ll go for this!’ - Rhythms Magazine Australia

Official website:

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Dozens new EP release "Test"...female-fronted blues and southern rock

THE DOZENS return to the airwaves with the follow up to their critically acclaimed 2015 EP.  Their newest release, “TEST” expands upon their swampy, southern R&B roots while also exploring new musical and lyrical territory for the band.  A harder, yet soulful edge emerges from each new track showing a band more determined than ever to get their long form live show condensed and captured on tape.  The powerful opening track TIDAL WAVE is as literal as it is figurative.  Shelley Butler’s vocal fury builds and drops into a sudden halt until the DOZENS' trademark dual lead guitar lines ride out with Steven Butler’s thundering drums. TOOK A WALK features a reflective side of the band with swirling keyboard textures from Dan Hocter while HAVE A HEART inspires with an uplifting and deep message against a vintage R&B bass line from Brent Irvin.  BATTLE SCARS reflects Butler’s introspective and self-affirming lyrics against an energetic rhythm section. Classic New Orleans grooves and straightforward rock are both presented with CHASE ME while THE END allows the guitar section of Travis Posey and Chip Dews to explore instrumental avenues with extended solos and layers of guitars. The final track, SOME KIND OF VOODOO, dives into swamp blues with acoustic slide guitar on top of a sparse but soulful vocal from Butler.

Pot-luck R&B, hippie-rock, skeleton blues, country-funk and candlelit balladry surface on The Dozens’ sophomore EP, “Test.” The North Alabama/Tennessee Valley band cut the seven-song release on analog tape at Decatur’s Clearwave Studios. Jeremy Stephens recorded “Test” and co-produced the record with The Dozens.  Standout cuts include opener “Tidal Wave,” writhing with jungle grooves, wah-wah guitar and front woman Shelley Butler’s river-flow vocals. (The Dozens’ lineup also features drummer and Shelley’s husband Steven Butler, guitarists Travis Posey and Chip Dews, bassist Brent Irvin and keyboardist Dan Hocter.) Allman-esque slide skids across “Have a Heart” and “The End,” while silver Hammond organ swirls pool on “Take a Walk.” A boogie coda gooses “Chase Me.” “Some Kind of Voodoo” closes the EP with an acoustic dirge echoing classic Black Crowes hidden-track "Live Too Fast Blues/Mercy, Sweet Moan." Fans heartbroken about the Crowes going kaput - or just fond of Gov’t Mule concerts and old Delaney & Bonnie records - will find solace in this soulful set.

Marty's review: all elements of roots music abound on this impressive EP release from The Dozens. From blues to soul to funk and groove, all bases are covered here for an entertaining and exhilarating ride on this 7 track collection of outstanding tunes. With Shelley Butler's soulful vocals up front backed up by polished and professional group of musicians, this will please roots music fans, particularly if you're fond of southern blues-rock.


Friday, January 19, 2018

International Blues Challenge # 33...14 tracks of the best in contemporary blues

Over the past thirty-three years, one of The Blues Foundation's key events, the International Blues Challenge, has blossomed into an industry-leading annual showcase of the best new talent the genre has to offer. What began in 1984 as a handful of acts displaying their talents today stands as the world's largest gathering of blues musicians. The IBC makes careers, forges relationships between artists and industry veterans, and unites blues fans in their love for the music.

The 14 tracks on this CD, the result of a partnership between The Blues Foundation and Frank Roszak Promotions, were drawn from this year's Solo/Duo division and Band division finalists. First Place Band winner Dawn Tyler Watson's gospel-infused "Shine On" kicks off the compilation in powerful fashion. "Let’s Hear Some Blues," by Johnny Fink & The Intrusion, is a down-and-dirty shuffle you can't help but sing along to. Randy McQuay's "Til I Get To Memphis" features white-hot slide guitar and an impassioned vocal, while Brody Buster’s One Man Band takes blues storytelling into the future on "2029." Next up is First Place Solo/Duo winner Al Hill with "Don’t Dig Today," a deeply felt piano blues. It's followed by The Sobo Blues Band, whose "Catfish Boogie" builds to a pounding climax punctuated by an irresistible guitar riff. 

"I Don’t Have Proof," by Ruth Wyand & The Tribe Of One, offers a new twist on the time-tested blues topic of infidelity, while The Souliz Band Featuring Sugar & Spice looks at the happier side of romance on the ebullient "Good Lovin' (Hot & Fresh From The Oven)." Felix Slim invokes the down home simplicity of front-porch country blues on "I Hate You Cause I Love You," followed by another acoustic artist, Wes Lee, who tells the tale of an escapee running from the law on "Chains That Bind." Keyboardist Sam Joyner's "Onions Ain’t The Only Thing" plays with a clever blues analogy over some stinging fretwork, and Rae Gordon & The Backstreet Drivers cook up a tight groove with "Elbow Grease." Closing out the CD are King Bee, whose "Dangerous" is as hard-hitting as blues-rock gets, and Sugar Brown, who rides off into the sunset with a world-weary howl on "Meet Me In The Country."

Together, these fourteen wide-ranging artists show why the International Blues Challenge is one of the premier events in today's blues world.

Now available from the official Blues Foundation site

1. “SHINE ON” 5:12
 Dawn Tyler Watson, Montreal Blues Society (Dawn Tyler Watson)
 Johnny Fink & The Intrusion, Dayton Blues Society (J. Fink)
 Randy McQuay, Cape Fear Blues Society (Randy McQuay)
4. “2029” 3:56
 Brody Buster’s One Man Band, Kansas City Blues Society (B.
5. “DON’T DIG TODAY” 4:47
 Al Hill, Nashville Blues Society (Al Hill, Whit Hill)
 Sobo Blues Band, Israel Blues Society (A. Ganzman, D. Kriman)
7. “I DON’T HAVE PROOF” 2:45
 Ruth Wyand & The Tribe Of One, Triangle Blues Society (R.Wyand)
 Souliz Band feat. Sugar & Spice, Suncoast Blues Society (V.Glover)
 Felix Slim, Asociación Musical Blues Hondarribia (Felix B. Amieva)
 Wes Lee, Mississippi Delta Blues Society of Indianola (Wes Lee)
 Sam Joyner, Vicksburg Blues Society (Sam Joyner)
12. “ELBOW GREASE” 3:23
 Rae Gordon & The Backstreet Drivers, Cascade Blues Assoc.
(Ruth Gordon, Pat McDougall)
13. “DANGEROUS” 5:38
 King Bee, Magic City Blues Society (D. Cunningham, S. Cummings)

 Sugar Brown, Toronto Blues Society (Ken C. Kawashima)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Jimmy Zee Band..What You See Is What You Get...rootsy blues with a touch of soul

The latest compilation of tunes from Jimmy Zee features some of Canada's greatest players including, Rob MacDonald, Tim Porter, Harpdog Brown, Darryl Havers, Joel Fountain, Miles Hill, Steve Hilliam, and Nadine States. Feature guests include Annabelle Chvostek on backgrounds, Terry Townson on Trumpet, Elliot Polsky on percussion and Rick Threat (Backroads). Produced by Mark Henning and Jimmy Zee.

Jimmy Zee's unmistakable bluesy-soulful voice is the musical trademark that has forged his path throughout the music business for 25 years. Zee's vocals approximate a cross between Joe Cocker,Tom Waits and Robbie Robertson's latter spoken style. 

Marty's review: It took me a while to get around to listening to this album but I'm glad I did. 10 killer tracks of rootsy blues with a touch of soul and Jimmy's unique vocal style make this a must have for blues fans. A good mix of electric and acoustic numbers, outstanding guitar work, harmonica and tight rhythm section all come together to produce an album that confirms the talents of this veteran blues man. My favourite track, "I Ride Alone".

Sample the album here: