“I Got Plenty” by Big Daddy Wilson, from the album “Deep in My Soul”

 

Deep In My Soul was the project that lured Wilson back to the USA in May of 2018 to begin pre-production in Memphis with ace guitarist Laura Chavez and bassist extraordinaire Dave Smith. That December, tracking began at Bessie Blue Studios in Stantonville, Tennessee with Grammy-winning producer Jim Gaines (Santana, Stevie Ray Vaughan) at the helm. The record was finished at the legendary FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, where Etta, Aretha, and Duane Allman captured lightning in a bottle all those years ago. Even on such hallowed ground, Wilson’s art more than measured up and expanded from his normal acoustic sound to a full band set powerful enough to turn goat’s milk into gasoline.

The record opens with the smooth and brassy soul of “I Know” that shows Big Daddy Wilson giving a fresh spin to the classic soul music recipe. His genius is in his songwriting and the way he makes quintessential American styles sound new and original again. It’s a bit of magic Wilson performs over and over on Deep In My Soul that would fall flat in the hands of lesser creatives.

Thanks to Mike O’Cull for the words taken from review at Rock & Blues Muse

 

“Judgement Day” by Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown, from the album “Truth And Lies”

Indeed, if there’s one thing Truth And Lies makes plain, it’s that Tyler Bryant is fast developing into a songwriter of serious repute. He’s now capable of putting his singular stamp on material as eclectic as the witty, ‘Born Under A Bad Sign’-esque ‘Judgement Day’ and the turbulent alt.rocker ‘Couldn’t See The Fire’, while ballads showcasing his vulnerable streak, including the redemptive ‘Shape I’m In’ and the heartfelt ‘Out There’ (“Love will break your heart/Life will break your bones”), are also fast becoming his forte.

 

Miss Bix & The Blues Fix shows her stuff on video!

A few days without a post, real life can be a pain sometimes, so to make up for it here are two videos from Miss Bix.

The concept of this collection of songs is inspired by the home of the blues, the Crossroads in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Leslie Bixler (aka Miss Bix) spent several months there soaking in the culture and learning the blues from the founders themselves. This is a rare find, 12 songs that pack a punch, in a conceptual flow, reminiscent of days past, when albums told a story.
Leslie Bixler and co-producer Ralph Carter (previously with Eddie Money and Sugaray Rayford), who brings bass, percussion, guitar and keys to many of the songs, are joined by John ‘JT’ Thomas (keyboardist with Hornsby), Gary Mallaber (drummer previously with Van Morrison, Steve Miller and more), blues guitarist extraordinaire Franck Goldwasser (aka Paris Slim), sax man Bill Bixler, and harp player RJ Mischo.

The songs reflect the culture that permeates the south – ‘Voodoo Man,’ ‘Black Widow,’ ‘Slave To The Grave’, and ‘Crazy ‘Bout You’ all have the smoky sensuous sound of the bluesy south. At the same time, Bixler creates a sound and voice that is all her own, and each song tells a different story. The Hendrix inspired ‘You’re A Child’ harkens back to the excitement of early rock days, and features the amazing RHCP drummer, Chad Smith, with whom Leslie worked on the children’s album “Rhythm Train.” The opening track ‘Follow Me Down’ draws the listener in with a trance-like psychedelic groove and from there the excitement builds.

Artistic influences like Sheryl Crow, Bonnie Raitt, Peter Gabriel, Sting, John Mayer, and many others weave together in this altogether new package. Hints of Motown are perceptible in the R&B feel of ‘Baby Come Back’ and the ending cut is a sensitive homage to the muse herself, that never ends, in ‘All The Time.’ The title cut ‘We Don’t Own The Blues’ is a playful look at the nature of love and heartbreak, and is destined to become a blues classic, as is the romping ‘If You’re Doing What I’m Thinking.’ The vocal stylings of the heartbreaking ballad ‘It Wasn’t Me’ are beautifully framed with the gorgeous keyboard virtuosity of John ‘JT’ Thomas.

 

BIOGRAPHY

LESLIE BIXLER aka MISS BIX aka LESLIE LETVEN has been writing, recording and performing since her early twenties. Her first international record “Make It Right” was released on Syndrome Records under her maiden name Leslie Letven and did very well in the smooth jazz category, reaching #12 on the charts, and still receiving radio play today. At that time, she was collaborating with her talented husband Bill Bixler of the Wild Blue Band and nightclub.

Moving back to LA, Leslie and Bill produced and self-released “Porcupine,” which she sold at gigs and on CD Baby. After the birth of her son, Leslie turned her attention to children’s music, spending several days a week doing music circles with preschool age children. It was there that she wrote and test-ran several children’s songs which attracted the attention of Dick Van Dyke and Chad Smith (drummer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers), whose child was in her class. She produced two albums “Moon Food” with Dick Van Dyke and “Rhythm Train” with Van Dyke and Chad Smith. She toured with Dick and Chad promoting those albums and received notable press from many celebrities and publications and won a parent’s choice award.

Once her son grew up, Leslie’s yearning for a new musical start led her to Clarksdale Mississippi where she fell seriously in love with the blues, something she had always gravitated towards. Working with co producer collaborator Ralph Carter (former Musical Director with Eddie Money and co-writer of his hit tune ‘Shakin’’) Leslie began writing “We Don’t Own The Blues,” a group of blues-based songs that reflect a new and exciting musical direction: passionate, intense, and sultry.

“Train 66” by Black Cat Biscuit, from the album “That’s How the Cookie Crumbles”

 With Train 66 the Biscuits immediately start the album with a snazzy, somewhat dirty, intro. Then comes a cracker up-tempo blues song.

 

The biscuits are from Belgium

 

 

“Woke up This Morning” by Jason Robert, from the album “The Death of Stone Stanley”

 

Former front man for the Californian band Stone Stanley, guitarist Jason Robert has released his first solo album, a mix of seven originals and five traditional blues/gospel tunes. Jason plays guitar, drums and kalimba and handles all vocals; two of his band-mates from the new Jason Robert Band join him, Scott Longnecker on bass and, on two tracks, Jim McComas on lead guitar and harmonica.

As befits the title of the album, the palette is generally dark and sombre. Mississippi Fred McDowell cover “Woke Up This Morning”, a funereal dirge which Jason suggests is about the death of Stone Stanley, now awakening on a distant shore – a metaphor for his own new career beyond the band?

 

“Medicine Man” by Elles Bailey, from the album “Road I Call Home”

The song begins by introducing the guitar riff that carries throughout the song (good luck getting it out of your head—not that you’ll want to) and the song’s protagonist, who ultimately discovers that a trickster Medicine Man hoodwinked her. The song’s story is fun, but the repeating riff is what sells it—and Bailey’s deep, resonating vocals push the quality up a notch further.

Full Review

 

“Whatcha Gonna Do” by Ina Forsman, from the album “Been Meaning To Tell You”

 

 

24-year-old Finnish blues belter Ina Forsman has a voice that transcends genre.  While it’s clearly blues-soaked, her voice floats effortlessly through many styles. Now for her fantastic follow-up to her critically acclaimed self-title debut, Been Meaning to Tell You (released January 25th on Ruf Records), expands both her sound and the content of her lyrics, taking two years to write the material, laying her soul bare.

Recorded at Austin’s Wire Recording Studio with producer Mark ‘Kaz’ Kazanoff and featuring his Texas Horns along with Red Young and Jay Stiles on keys, Laura Chavez on guitars, Chris Maresh on bass, and Brannen Temple on drums, Been Meaning to Tell You continues Forsman’s impressive run of all-original material that uses the blues as a strong foundation, but not as a crutch. On top of that base, she uses gospel, R&B, soul, jazz, and pop to propel her lyrics of empowerment, love, joy, heartbreak, and perseverance.

“Memphis Soul Stew” by Michele D’Amour & The Love Dealers, from the album “Heart Of Memphis”

 

 

“There are the places we grew up and the places we call home; and there are other places that feel like home the first time we visit and draw us back again. Here’s to Memphis, which instantly felt like home for the band and where much of this CD was recorded.” So elegizes the leading lady of Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers on their new album, Heart of Memphis. Although based in Seattle, this dynamic ensemble found an instant kinship with the home of “Memphis Soul Stew” (number eight, and this release’s sole cover). The title track pays obvious homage to it, but the spirit of the city shines through on every song. Speaking of singing, the one thing Michele’s vocals have in spades might be called “grit,” edge,” or “worldliness.” No dulcet tones issue forth from her throat, but the smooth and seamless instrumentation more than makes up for this minus. It’s some of the best big band blues/jazz that yours truly has heard this year. BY RAINEY WETNIGHT