Rockin’ Dopsie Jr & The Zydeco Twisters – Rockin Zydeco

Rockin’ Dopsie Jr & The Zydeco Twisters are one of the most requested bands for Corporate Events, Casinos, Fairs and Festivals. Rockin’ Dopsie Jr. (pronounced Doopsie) is considered the ultimate entertainer bringing a high energy stage show that has led to him being called the James Brown of Zydeco, but that’s not all – throw in some New Orleans Funkiness with a Gumbo of Soul, R N B and the Dopsie brothers Anthony on accordian and Tiger on drums plus the top notch musicianship of The Zydeco Twisters and you have the best high energy show around.

Biography

“When Rockin’ Dopsie, Sr. unexpectedly passed away in 1993, the Dopsie family vowed to keep his memory alive, mainly in the incarnation of this band, Rockin’ Dopsie, Jr. & The Zydeco Twisters. In doing so, it’s become its own phenomenon. No other zydeco band has ever been fronted by a washboard player. It’s usually the accordionist, and it’s also a safe bet that there’s never been such a flamboyant personality as Rockin’ Dopsie, Jr., who can turn a house upside down on a moment’s notice.”The word zydeco is derived from the French les haricots (which translated means string beans), and which is pronounced “lay zah ree’ co.” One supposes that this music must have been played during the harvesting of the bean crop. Little by little, “zah ree’ co” evolved into zydeco.

Zydeco music is a bubbling, melodic gumbo concocted from Cajun/Acadian music, Afro-Caribbean rhythms and melodies, and blues. Over the past few years, this funky and highly danceable music has broken out of its Southern Louisiana breeding ground to enjoy widespread popularity throughout the world.

Rockin’ Dopsie, Jr. (pronounced Doop’ see) & The Zydeco Twisters are the greatest living practitioners of this music. Dopsie, Jr. presents zydeco with the conviction and authenticity of its rich heritage. His earliest musical memories are of his father’s accordion playing. Dopsie, Jr. was given a basic accordion by his father at the age of nine. He taught himself to play, as had his father, by listening to and playing along with the radio.

“I really loved that sound, but I needed more mobility so I could jump up and down and do my splits, you know. I must’ve inherited my love for the blues from my father ’cause I still listen to BB King, Jimmy Reed, the Vaughn Brothers and Bobby Bland, but when I was growing up, the Jackson Five, Sly Stone and James Brown were really happening.” Both genres are evident in Dopsie, Jr.’s performances.

He played in several bands in his early teens, but at age 21 was given his first rub board, a must for the authentic presentation of zydeco. The rub board was his ticket to joining his father’s band, in which he became an official member in 1982. Dopsie, Jr. was then able to play the music that he loved, while dancing like the psychedelic stars of the time.

The team of father and son netted the band international notoriety. Today the Zydeco Twisters’ sole leader is Rockin’ Dopsie, Jr. His brother, Tiger Dopsie, is the band’s drum virtuoso and maintains the highly danceable beat. Anthony Dopsie, a great accordion player, replaced his father in the band playing the button accordion in a manner similar to his father’s, but with the fervor of youth.

Rockin’ Dopsie, Jr. and The Zydeco Twisters have continued to develop in their own right. The junior Dopsie is considered to be the best rub board player in the world, and is a charismatic and electrifying stage performer. His dancing, splits, and audience participation antics make the band’s performances exciting and keep listeners involved and dancing.

Besides having performed extensively on their own tours, the band has shared the stage with Tina Turner, Bonnie Raitt, BB King, The Neville Brothers, Dr. John, and Jimmy Buffet. In 1978 they performed on the song That Was Your Mother (Standing On The Corner In Lafayette, Louisiana), which was released on Paul Simon’s multi-platinum Grammy award-winning album Graceland. The band has also recorded with Cindy Lauper and Bob Dylan (Oh, Mercy&emdash;1989.)

In 1994, Rockin’ Dopsie, Jr. & The Zydeco Twisters performed at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, on the occasion of the presentation of the late Rockin’ Dopsie’s crown (he was indeed “the King of Zydeco”) for permanent exhibit. Rockin’ Dopsie, his band, and zydeco music were honored by this historic event as they had never been honored before.

Rockin’ Dopsie, Jr. & The Zydeco Twisters, still referred to as “Zydeco’s Royal Family,” have performed in Australia, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, Sweden, and many other countries as well as throughout the United States. They have appeared at the most prestigious music festivals and fairs at home and abroad.

The band has made television commercials for Burger King, the Louisiana Lottery, Close-Up toothpaste, Community coffee, Maalox, Danny and Clyde’s and Popeye’s Fried Chicken. They also appeared in the movie Delta Heat which featured several tracks from their Atlantic album.

They were the house band for the Gayle King Show in January of 1998, the house band on Live With Regis And Kathie Lee in January 1999, house band for a week on Wheel Of Fortune in January 2000, played with Harry Connick, Jr. at the Orpheus Ball in New Orleans during Mardi Gras ’98,’99 and ’01, entertained President Clinton and the White House press corps on the White House lawn in September 1999, and danced and sang at the Chicago House of Blues with Dan Aykroyd in May 2000. In February of 2002, Dopsie and his brothers performed with Britney Spears and Mystikal on MTV’s two-hour Mardi Gras special.

Dopsie really heats things up whenever he and the band perform. Above all else, they create a high-energy, audience participation, dance ’til you drop, dynamic show. It all begins when you hear, “Ladies and Gentlemen, Rockin’ Dopsie, Jr. & The Zydeco Twisters!”

The Band…

Rockin’ Dopsie, Jr.
(David Rubin)
Rub Board and Vocals

Tiger Dopsie
(Alton Rubin, Jr.)
Drums and Vocals

Anthony Dopsie
(Anthony Rubin)
Accordion

BB Factory – First World Blues

A cracking live band with seasoned international musos oozing from their ranks, playing original contemporary & progressive blues/roots

BB Factory released their debut full length all original album “First World Blues” in May 2018 with every single released so far peaking at #1 on the iTunes Blues/Roots charts.

 

Harold Jackson – Vocals, Harmonica [USA]

Jackson’s musical history starts in 1975 when he moved to Red Oak, North Carolina to live with his aunt. In a true rite of passage he picked cotton and tobacco, and used backboards driven by mules. He sung in the fields and absorbed the sound of the blues harp being played there.  And so Jackson began to sing his own blues with family and friends.

Upon moving back to New York, his father placed Jackson behind the congas in his band. Although it was a Salsa band, they often played the blues for his son. It was during this time that Jackson picked up saxophone, guitar and keyboard, but singing the blues remained his first love.

When Pedro invited Jackson over for a jam at his studio after having met each other at a blues jam, they instantly recognised that he had finally found a front man to be reckoned with.

Thereafter known as BB Factory’s “Toastmaster General”, Jackson is a natural singer able to transpose his voice from the soulful clean to the downright dirty blues shouting from the yesteryear.

Pedro Verhoeven – Guitar [NLD]

Also known as the “Professor” because of his work behind the studio console and perhaps for his experimental approach to improvised solos, Pedro found a musical partner in crime when he crossed paths with Jackson.

Born and raised in Holland until age 14, Pedro has been in several original blues/rock bands since arriving in Australia in the early 80’s.

Like his bandmates, it’s always been the Blues that Pedro has gravitated towards and enjoyed performing the most. It was a hidden track on his all original album ‘Being’ (1999) that showcased his love for improvised blues guitar.

As a regular at blues jams in Brisbane and the Gold Coast, Pedro was able to discover the bandmates that would eventually complete BB Factory.

Cvitan Barac – Drums

Since graduating from SCU in 1999 (BContempMus), Cvitan has established himself as a veteran of the blues scene, having been a member of Blind Lemon for 11+ years he has played all the major blues festivals including Byron Blues &Roots and festival, Blues onBroadbeach, the Gympie Muster and many more.

As a sideman, Cvitan has played drums with the likes of Ray Beadle Band, Phil Emmanuel, Phil Manning, Vasti Jackson, Geoff Achison, Lazy Eye, Ross Ward (Wards Express Band Blues Band), Mick Reid Boogie Band, Andrew Baxter Band, BrodieGrahamBand, Wiley Reed Band, Dee Dee Lavell Band to mention just a few.

Affectionately known ashe “Human Metronome” or the “Manchine”, it was actually Cvitan’s ability to authentically play the full gamut of rolling, Texas, cross stick shuffles & swings that stood him out from the rest of the pack when Pedro was looking for BB Factory’s man behind the skins.

Bruce Crouch – Keys [AUS]

Bruce’s keyboard skills provide complementary tones and then some. A self taught talent from an early age, Bruce is originally from the Brisbane area and now resides in Northern NSW. With influences from Blues, Jazz, Rock and Country, Bruce brings a unique smooth style to the ebony and ivory.  Smoky Hammond organ and classic pianos are at the heart of his performances. Some of the bands Bruce has been associated with include Brisbane’s favourite powerhouse party band The Massive Fergusons, The Blue Lanes, Mark Ds Big Three, and Free Soul Collective.

Craig Hamilton – Bass [AUS]

Bass player Craig is originally from the Sunshine Coast and has played with a diverse cross section of bands over the years. One of the highlights was recording the Dave Hole produced Stones And Colours album (1995) and touring the UK and Europe throughout 1997 with the renowned international blues artist Rob Tognoni. He has lived in Brisbane for the last 15 years and made his mark with a number of blues bands including Howlin Time and Whiskey & Rye and various cover bands such as Rockbreaker, Down Under, Just Like That, A Noble Few, The Selfies, Flat Chat, We’re No Angels, Harro’s Party, Rastafarian Stagedivers, Space Cadet and Engineroom.

 

VOX POPULI – UNEDITED LISTENER REVIEWS

“Slow and sultry vibe intro that leads into silky-smooth blues vocals. Completely got into this as if I was a fish captured in a net. Perfectly matched vocals, lyrics and music. Loved this song and this artist knows what he’s doing. Thanks for this listening enjoyment. Amazing work! Keep it up!

— Reverbnation Crowd Review

“Nice. Very groovy very bluesy. The singer has some serious soul too. I like the guitar and piano voicings. The over all sound is just superb. Everything is balanced very well and the sound quality is awesome. The singer is definitely singing from the heart and I can tell that every word was thought out and has a good story to it

— Reverbnation Crowd Review

“Oh man I love it. Old school blues done right! Love the classic intro and the greasy guitar licks. Nice tinkling of the ivories in the second verse too. This singer has a great voice for the blues. Sings with real conviction. The guitar is hitting all the accents just right. This is an artist I’d love to see perform live. I’m happy this old genre is still getting new songs recorded and new artists are still playing it. I will always be a blues fan and we are legion.

— Reverbnation Crowd Review

“Amazing. Loved the lyrics and the perfect pitch voice of this artist. I loved the introduction right to the end. Very similar to the type of music i listen to. I thought the lyrics to this song was tastefully done. I felt the pitch in this artist voice was powerful and classy.

— Reverbnation Crowd Review

“This is really good blues. it reminds me of one of the kings of blues BB king my favorite blues artist. nice guitar and vocals I recommend it for the people who love old fashion american blues and other music of the sort. love passion and good music are what keeps people going.

— Reverbnation Crowd Review

“Amazing artist. The band played so well you can hear the jazz musicians play with their heart . This is the type of quality music that needs to be played every where! I felt that the artist and the band were very authentic with their music and sound. I I could hear the passion come come the lyrics! I really think this was a master at hand.

— Reverbnation Crowd Review

Becky Kapell – That Certain Ache

For Becky Kapell, the truth was out there. “I was listening to Terry Gross interview David Duchovny when The X Files were coming out again,” Kapell recalls. “She asked him about the relationship between Scully and Mulder, and he said, ‘Well, it definitely had that certain ache.’ And I just really liked that line and I knew what he meant.”

Thanks to Duchovny, Kapell came away with what would become the title of her new album, That Certain Ache. Kapell celebrates the release of the album with a show on Friday, May 18, at the Hook & Ladder in Minneapolis. Ahead of the release, Kapell, along with guitarist and album producer Paul Bergen, stopped at Radio Heartland for a conversation with Mike Pengra.

Although Duchovny provided the title, Kapell says the melodies are largely influenced by Dolly Parton. Kapell has long been inspired by classic country. “It probably started with Johnny Cash,” she says. “When I was a kid, my mom had all the 45s she’d bought from 1958 up to maybe 1962 or so. She had ‘Ring of Fire’ … I think that’s where it started.”

The video for the album’s title track was inspired by something special in Kapell’s house. “It’s actually a hand-painted mural,” Kapell explains. “I don’t know what year the mural was painted; the house was built in 1926. The mural was painted by the woman that lived there for 68 years, her name was Constance Hanson; her husband built the house. Sarah Jean Shervin, who directed that video, saw my bathroom at some point and decided to make a video in there of some sort, and then she heard my song ‘That Certain Ache’ and she was inspired to do that.”

 

Wood & Wire – North Of Despair

You can’t rightly say that bluegrass bands have never gone out of style, but they’ve certainly never gone away – even if they’re not as popular as they once were. Wood & Wire is a band that will make you glad bluegrass has never gone away.

It doesn’t take long to realize that this is traditional bluegrass. “Eliza” is a song that features some amazing picking – just like you hear from classic bluegrass acts like Ralph Stanley and The Clinch Mountain Boys. If the picking in this song doesn’t get you stomping your feet, it’s hard to know what will. The vocals also bring classic bluegrass to mind. It’s hard not to think of “Black-Eyed Susie” when you hear the chorus of this song.

One thing that has always been a staple of bluegrass is an instrumental song that allows all the band members to showcase their considerable skills. “Summertime Rolls” is one of the instrumental songs on this album, and you can’t help but be impressed with the picking. When you listen to the banjo and mandolin in particular, it’s hard to imagine fingers moving that quickly. Meanwhile, the bass player drives the song with a thumping bass line. Don’t be surprised if you’re out of breath just listening to this one. “Wingding” is another instrumental showcase for the band, It may not be as fast in tempo as “Summertime Rolls”, but it still shows what all the band members can do. It’s pretty difficult to stay still when you hear this one – especially when you hear the bass line.

“Just Don’t Make ’em” is another song that is incredibly impressive. The lyrics are about someone’s dad who would fix any broken thing by himself, and another man that built his own house by himself. As good as the lyrics are, the banjo is really the thing that grabs your attention. Throughout the song, Trevor Smith plays at a speed that is hard to comprehend. Even without seeing his hands, you know they were moving at an incredible speed when this song was recorded.

Like most traditional bluegrass, this album features a lot of short songs. It contains 11 songs, but only lasts for 39 minutes, which leaves you wanting more of the amazing picking and harmony vocals. If you’re a fan of bluegrass, this is an album you should add to your collection.

Smoke Wagon Blues Band – Cigar Store

Smoke Wagon’s critically-acclaimed album CIGAR STORE has won three 2017 Independent Blues Awards:

  • Best Modern Roots Album 
  • Best R&B Soul Song
  • Best New Artist

 

Discover what all the buzz is about – LISTEN NOW:

      


Music Charts:

Album Charts – Roots Music Report:

In less than 2 months, Cigar Store reached #42 on the US Roots Music Report’s Top 100 Blues Rock Albums for all of 2016

In 2017 the album hit #2 on the Canadian Blues and Roots Charts, #6 on the US Blues Rock Charts and #16 on the Australian Roots and Blues Charts.

Singles Charts – Roots Music Report:  

Every track from Cigar Store has appeared on the US Top 50 Blues Rock Single Charts – for 47 consecutive weeks…

Singles Charts – Stingray Music:

Cigar Store has been in the top 10 Canadian Stingray Blues Charts for 10 months straight...


Independent Blues Awards:

The band is humbled to be recognized along such greats as Colin James, Bobby Rush, Joe Bonnamassa, John Mayall, Ben Harper, etc… “We are ecstatic that “Cigar Store” has been so well received. Thanks so much to all our fans who voted and to all our favourite DJ’s. It means the world to us that folks are listing…”

 


Cigar Store:

The Smoke Wagon Blues Band’s latest studio release features 50 minutes of new blues classics. Interpreting historic tales from the Yukon, the underground railroad, and bootlegging, combined with old school R&B, stomping swamp boogies, and new edge barn burners, Cigar Store will get you on your feet and remind you of a time when storytelling and music were at the forefront.

Recorded and Produced by Steve Sherman Productions and mastered by the Legendary Nick Blagona, you’re going want this gem in your audio collection.

Midnight Skyracer – Fire

The reservoir of talent on the current acoustic-folk-bluegrass scene seems nigh bottomless!…  Those cheeky Carrivick Sisters Charlotte and Laura seem to crop up everywhere these days, notably in newgrass-contemporary-flavoured quartet Cardboard Fox (who’ve just released their second album Topspin), and this fresh-sounding all-female quintet is yet another string to their bows (so to speak).

Here in this sparky new “girl-power bluegrass” outfit Laura and Charlotte are teamed up with virtuoso banjoist Tabitha Agnew and mandolinist Leanne Thorose – both of whom also sing (and how!) – and double bass player Eleanor Wilkie (who doesn’t sing, but as it turns out has also written some of the songs for this debut Midnight Skyracer album).

 

High-energy playing, characterful and strongly individual solo and harmony singing, high-class original songwriting, and a real talent for cutting through to the core of old-time bluegrass standards like Hazel Dickens’ Working Girl Blues (and that one’s a blinder!) – well what more could you want? Just get the opening track, Leanne’s Fuel To My Fire, slotted into the player, and feel the hard, tough, gritty energy she voices, set to one of the most driven, motoring rhythms you can imagine, not a beat or note missed – wow!

Leanne’s gutsy, commanding voice takes the lead on five tracks; Tabitha’s altogether gentler vocal presence (equally effective in its own way) leads on three, and Laura on just one (an impeccably-harmonised, true-hearted cover of the gorgeous Bill Monroe number Sitting Alone In The Moonlight). As for the remaining track, well you can tell by its title that Spinous Shark, is gonna be an edgy instrumental tour-de-force – and so it proves. In fact, it’s a surprise not to find at least a couple more instrumental cuts here, given the superlative chops on display (but then again, you could say that the lasses’ proficiency isn’t strictly On Display but just part of their furniture and the air that they breathe!).

 

The disc’s menu and careful sequencing both celebrate and showcase the expressive variety and individuality of the participants. But even so, you can’t fail to sit there open-mouthed at the astounding dexterity of the playing, which is brilliant even by championship-standard bluegrass standards – for there’s sensitivity in shading and dynamic balance too alongside and inside the high-octane note-spinning virtuosity. You just can’t believe the band’s been together barely a year!  Yeah, I gotta say it, this CD is tremendous.

Tour Dates

5TH MAY • CROSSOVER FESTIVAL • CONGLETON, CHESHIRE

8TH MAY • SUDHAUS • TÜBINGEN, GERMANY

9TH MAY • FABRIKBEITZ • WÄDENSWIL, SWITZERLAND

11TH MAY • JENAER FRÜHLINGSMARKT • JENA, GERMANY

12TH MAY • PRIVATE CONCERT • BÖLLENBORN, GERMANY

13TH MAY • WODAN HALLE • FREIBURG, GERMANY

14TH MAY • KAUFMÄNNISCHE SCHULE – NEUBAU • BAD URACH, GERMANY

15TH MAY • NEUE WELT • INGOLSTADT, GERMANY

16TH MAY • RATTLESNAKE SALOON • MÜNCHEN, GERMANY

17TH MAY • CLUBHEIM • VÖHRINGEN-ILLERBERG, GERMANY

18TH MAY • SCHWIIZER PÖSCHTLI • RIFFERSWIL, SWITZERLAND

19TH MAY • SPRING BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL • WILLISAU, SWITZERLAND

27TH JUNE • BURNETT’S HILL CHAPEL • MARTLETWY, PEMBROKESHIRE

28TH JUNE • LYCEUM FOLK CLUB • NEWPORT, GWENT

29TH JUNE • SPARC THEATRE • BISHOPS CASTLE, SHROPSHIRE

30TH JUNE • MUSIC AT THE BUILDINGS • ASHINGTON, WEST SUSSEX

1ST JULY • WHITSTABLE SESSIONS • WHISTSTABLE, KENT

2ND JULY • THE HARRISON • KINGS CROSS, LONDON

3RD JULY • DARTFORD FOLK CLUB • DARTFORD, KENT

4TH JULY • THE MUSICIAN • LEICESTER, LEICESTERSHIRE

6TH JULY • PRIDDY FOLK FESTIVAL • PRIDDY, SOMERSET

7TH JULY • ABBOTSBURY FESTIVAL • ABBOTSBURY, DORSET

9TH JULY • THE BELL INN • BATH, SOMERSET

15TH JULY • FOLK BY THE OAK • HATFIELD HOUSE, HERTFORDSHIRE

27TH JULY • BEER AND BLUEGRASS • POOLE, DORSET

10TH AUGUST • CROPREDY FESTIVAL • CROPREDY, OXFORDSHIRE

19TH AUGUST • PURBECK VALLEY FOLK FESTIVAL • HARMAN’S CROSS, DORSET

24TH AUGUST • SHREWSBURY FOLK FESTIVAL • SHREWSBURY, SHROPSHIRE

25TH AUGUST • TWINWOOD FESTIVAL • TWINWOOD. BEDFORDSHIRE

30TH AUGUST • UPWOOD VILLAGE HALL • UPWOOD, CAMBRIDGESHIRE

6TH OCTOBER • DERBY FOLK FESTIVAL • DERBY, DERBYSHIRE

Sarah Mary Chadwick – Sugar Still Melts in the Rain

Multi-instrumentalist and visual artist Sarah Mary Chadwick is not a new face to Melbourne’s music community. After moving to Australia from her native New Zealand to pursue a career in music, Sarah spent a decade fronting the grunge band Batrider. Eventually becoming tired of the collaborative requirements intrinsic to band life, Sarah shifted her focus to songwriting independently, drawing inspiration from “weird old New Zealand musicians” like Peter Jefferies, Chris Knox, and Australia’s Pip Proud and the way they tinker away and work for decades for “little to no commercial success.” This inspiration is obvious in Sarah’s performance as she simultaneously savors and mocks the pedestal that her creativity affords her, acknowledging that “it’s a position of power being on a microphone” and how “it’s a desperate demand to be seen. It’s funny and really sad.”

To listen to Sarah’s music is to be a quiet observer to her thoughts on love, death and mental health. Sometimes this anguish bears itself in sullen, quiet moments, but more often torment manifests at the break of Sarah’s voice as she sing-shouts painfully vulnerable, self-aware lyrics. This is all front and center on Chadwick’s newest Sugar Still Melts In The Rain. From the album’s moody (though by SMC standards, uplifting) first track ‘Flow Over Me’ to its larger moments where Sarah cries ‘raise your glass to my health and to everyone going away’ in the title track, the album is undeniably committed to the uncomplicated, relying solely on piano, keys, bass and percussion. 

Learning that Sarah’s songwriting is thoroughly autobiographical is perhaps more unnerving than her artistic process of watching sexually charged movies to inspire her pornographic art. She drinks, she watches porn, she draws and she writes. When the blur of the evening fades, what remains is a colorful orgy on the page and Sarah’s recollections immortalized in ‘Wind Wool’, “oh no I’m losing memory, did we just piss away time? And does it matter anyway, I’ll die, you died, we die…”. To Sarah Mary Chadwick, all tragedy is comedy.

Sugar Still Melts In The Rain marks her first release for her new label Sinderlyn (home to Homeshake, Jaye Bartell and Tim Cohen). Having already released three solo records on Bedroom Suck, Siltbreeze and Rice Is Nice, this album is her 4th solo work. It was recorded and mixed by friend, musician and filmmaker Geoffrey O’Connor in Vanity Lair and Phaedra Studios in Melbourne. The album came together so quickly partly as a result of the duo’s commitment to efficiency and partly due to Sarah’s lack of attachment to the idea of “the perfect vocal take.” She knows she isn’t a virtuoso; tongue firmly in check, she is quick to reference those limitations mockingly. Yet, it’s within those boundaries that she thrives, disinterested in the perfect take in lieu of her best take – unique, somber and raw.

Tommy DarDar – Big Daddy Gumbo

Like so many albums I receive I’d not heard of Tommy Dardar before receiving this album; but why would I? He played in and fronted bands in and around South Louisiana for aeons but sadly died in 2017 before these tracks originally recorded in 2001 would ever be released.
But after reading the accompanying Press Release and listening to the loving way his friends and family have re-worked and polished those recordings I really wish I could have not just seen him playing live; but even met the guy as he sounds a fascinating character.
I’m pretty sure the album artwork would have caught my eye in a record shop and if the man behind the counter played track #1 It’s Good To Be King I would gratefully have shelled out the £10 or so to buy whatever came next.

That song is an absolute doozy; opening with some stinging guitar from Johnny Lee Schell and when Tommy’s rich voice and most blues-wailin’ harmonica come in I knew instantly that this was music I would absolutely luuurve.
Oh boy, oh boy….oh boy songs like Baby I Can Tell and Shake a Leg are the type of Rocking Blues music fans like me fantasise about hearing coming from a downtown club somewhere South of the Mason-Dixon line while on holiday.
Then there is Dangerous Woman and C’mon Second Line; oohheee……are these cool or what? Dardar and friends produce the musical sounds that Van Morrison must hear in his head before he goes into a studio; but has failed to reproduce for 30+ years #fact.
Favourite track? How am I supposed to choose only one from this parcel of musical gems; but choose I must.
Perhaps the Honky-Tonk of Let’s Go Back to New Orleans; featuring the legendary Jon Cleary on piano and Tommy Dardar at his crooning best or will it be the funklicious Big Daddy Gumbo which closes the proceeding with even more sizzling guitar and saxophone than a man my age can handle; and don’t get me started on those sexy backing singers!
But I’m going for In My Mind; a slow burning sensual ballad that will bring tears to a glass eye and a song Tommy Dardar can proudly leave as his finest legacy, as is the record itself.

Ally Venable – Band Puppet Show

East Texas has produced yet another formidable young guitar player with award-winning, Ally Venable on her newest Connor Ray Music release, Puppet Show, due out April 13th. Powerhouse singer and guitar player, Ally Venable was the 2014 and 2015 East Texas Female Guitarist of the Year, and the Ally Venable Band won 2015, 2016, and 2017 honors as East Texas Blues Band of the Year.

Ably backed by drummer Elijah Owings and Bobby Wallace on bass, along with some thrilling and enthusiastic guest appearances by guitarists Gary Hoey and Lance Lopez, and Eric Steckel on keys, Puppet Show features eight originals and two covers. It is another solid step forward in the early stages of what will likely be a long and interesting career for the still teenage blues sensation, Ally Venable Band.

The collection starts with the powerful, riff-driven “Devil’s Son.” The impressive guest guitar work from Gary Hoey is almost beside the point as we’re introduced to Venable’s powerful vocal belts and confident guitar-handling.

Two more scorchers follow with “Bridges to Burn” and “Cast Their Stones” both raising the stakes with sharp vocals, tight and more-complicated-than-they-might-sound rhythms and the kind of guitar work you’ve already come to expect from Ally, even if all you’ve ever heard before is the opening track of this album. “Bridges to Burn” also features guitar slinger, Lance Lopez.

“Back Water Blues” gives the listener a bit of breather, taking you back to the front porch at twilight with some sweet vocals, harmonica and unadorned guitar – for the first minute. Of course, the intro interlude soon gives way to a beer-soaked Texas-blues style rave-up. This is the tune that could go very long in a live set and no one would probably complain. Next up, we hear Ally’s unique take on Taj Mahal’s “She Caught The Katy.” Though not quite as gritty as the well-known Blues Brothers cover, her powerhouse vocals will still definitely hold your interest.

Landing near the middle of the collection, the title track “Puppet Show” gives us a hint at the decades of solid songwriting and lyrical soul-baring we are all hoping lies ahead for Venable and her band. She also demonstrates some adult touches in the tender vocals of torch song-y “Comfort in My Sorrows” that still leave room for her equally expressive and atmospheric guitar break.

A warbling and insistent organ sound drives “Survive” giving the tune that big ol’ Blues Hall weight and groove that you can feel the entire band leaning into with gusto. The additional organ sound also gives Ally something new for her guitar to play off of, raising the intensity for everyone. In fifteen or so years “Waste It On You” will be a classic song about no-good men. For now, it is a good song about clueless boys, but I have a feeling this tune will age well and take on new meaning for Venable – and for her many fans.

The album closer “Sleeping Through The Storm” rolls in a more bouncy style than most of the tracks on the album, but it gives Venable’s lead guitar one last spotlight while it manages to touch on the central themes that played out in the nine songs before it: Ally is sharing her message of hope and perseverance in the face of the struggles and battles that everyone is going to have to face sooner or later, and isn’t that usually the whole point of singin’ (and listening to) the blues?

For more information on Puppet Show and Ally Venable:

Website: http://www.allyvenableband.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AllyVenableBand/

Trixie and The Trainwrecks – 3 Cheers To Nothing

FROM BERLIN AND LONDON LED BY TRIXIE AND HER 3 MEN BRINGS US THE RAW AUTHENTIC TRAIN HOPER BLUES TRASH FOLK COUNTRY FROM THE STREETS DIRECT INTO YOUR EARSWAYS

TRIXIE TRAINWRECK:
Wild child, Trixie Trainwreck aka Trinity Sarratt was born in San Francisco and moved to Berlin on a whim when she was 18. She started her musical endeavors in the underground trains back in 1999 and went on to make a name for herself working in and promoting shows in almost every bar in town as well as touring the EU and the USA with a handful of bands (Kamikaze Queens, Cry Babies, Runaway Brides) and most recently with her one woman show as Trixie Trainwreck No Man Band. She’s probably the hardest working girl in showbiz…and a mother, too!!

LINE UP :
Trixie Trainwreck: vocals & rhythm guitar
Charlie Hangdog : blues harp
Paul Seacroft: lapsteel & lead guitar
Bruce Brand: drums & percussion

 


THE RECORINGS:
When Dylan Walshe introduced Trixie Trainwreck to Charlie Hangdog on the premise of playing around London, no one could have predicted what would happen next. After a handful of shows and what may have been a one- off session with Bruce Brand (Thee Headcoats, Milkshakes, Holly Golightly, Hipbone Slim) and Paul Seacroft (The Selector, played with members of Jim Jones Revue, Urban Voodoo Machine, Prince Buster) they would end up recording a whole album with Ed Deegan at the amazing Gizzard Studios for Voodoo Rhythm Records! Well, that’s just what happened and this is what we got just 3 action packed days later! Recorded 99% live and analogue, here comes 13 overdriven-long-gone-broken-hearted-country-blues-trash numbers from the wrong side of the tracks. And it feels so right. “3 Cheers to Nothing” sums up the last 18 years of the San Francisco born, Berlin based Trixie Trainwreck in exile, taking you along on her personal adventures and inner struggles with the ghosts of yesterdays past, angels, demons, and everything in between. The sound is just as unexpected as the rest. We call it Trainwreck Blues!