Blues Bytes

What's New

July/August 2013

an associate Order these featured CDs today:

The Slide Brothers

The Soul of John Black

Too Slim and the Taildraggers

Frank Bang

Paul Gabriel

Kirsten Thien

Isaiah B Brunt

Pam Taylor

Austin Young

CD Woodbury

Les Lucky

Emanuele Fizzotti

Kat & Co

Bart Walker  

Trampled Under Foot


Slide BrothersIt’s past time that this happened…..a gathering of the current standard bearers of the Sacred Steel tradition. Robert Randolph, who has moved the sound to the mainstream over the past five years, has brought together four of the genre’s living legends: Calvin Cooke, Aubrey Ghent, Chuck Campbell, and Darrick Campbell. The foursome, dubbed The Slide Brothers, put all their talents and skills on display for the Randolph/John McDermott-produced tour de force, Robert Randolph Presents The Slide Brothers (Concord Records).

If anything, Randolph’s success has shown the exciting possibilities of the music as he has combined it with elements of blues, rock, R&B, and funk, blending gospel and secular music in a way that breathes exhilarating life into both . This latest release follows suit, as the four guitarists mix their traditional gospel songs with several blues standards that will be familiar to blues fans. However, to say that they breathe new life into these classic blues tracks would be an understatement.

On the gospel side, Chuck and Darrick Campbell team up with Blind Boys of Alabama vocalist Jimmy Carter for a cathartic reading of George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord,” and an awesome instrumental version of “Wade In The Water” (not really instrumental as the Campbell Brothers’ steel guitars “sing” the lyrics), and a powerful remake of “Motherless Children,” patterned after the Eric Clapton version from the early ’70s.

Ghent and Cooke work together on a couple of more traditional gospel tracks, “Sunday School Blues” and “Catch That Train,” where they both sing and play. Ghent, known as the “Preaching Deacon,” takes center stage for the irresistible closer, “No Cheap Seats In Heaven,” while Cooke, recognized in Nashville as “the B.B. King of gospel steel guitar,” sizzles on his own composition, “Help Me Make It Through.” Randolph and the Family Band back Shemekia Copeland on the Fatboy Slim track, “Praise You,” nearly raising the roof in the process.

The quartet also throws in a few blues tracks for good measure, paying tribute to three blues slide guitar legends, Duane Allman (“Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’”), Tampa Red (“It Hurts Me Too”), and Elmore James (“The Sky Is Crying,” backed by Randolph, Chuck Campbell, former Hendrix bass player Billy Cox, and former Double Trouble drummer Chris Layton). Cooke takes the lead vocals on all three and does a fantastic job.

If you’re a fan of the Sacred Steel tradition, you probably already have Robert Randolph Presents The Slide Brothers. If you’re not familiar with Sacred Steel, this is a great place to get started. Chances are very good that you will be wanting to hear much more.

--- Graham Clarke

John BlackLooking for that perfect soundtrack for your summer season? Well, look no further….it’s now available, courtesy of A Sunshine State of Mind, the latest release from The Soul of John Black on Yellow Dog Records. If this release doesn’t put a smile on your face and a hop in your step, somebody needs to call the coroner.

As on their previous releases, John “JB” Bigham’s soul-roots group fuses elements of soul, blues, R&B, and funk together to produce an irresistible mix. Bigham sings and plays all of the instruments on the album, with assistance from various musicians on several tracks (Oliver Charles – drums, Jacob Luttrell – keyboards, Chris Joiner – keyboards, Andre Holmes – bass, Jonell Kennedy – background vocals). Bigham also wrote all the songs, all of which have a carefree, lighthearted feeling that will remind listeners of cruising around during those summer months with the windows down and the radio blaring.

The disc is chock-full of highlights, moving from uptempo jams like “Magic Woman,” the funky “East L.A. Lady,” “Johnny Bear (Give It To Me),” a modern look at the suggestive songwriting of early bluesmen, “Shake It Off,” and “Lemonade,” to mellow soul numbers like “Beautiful Day,” and the Al Green-influenced “Summertime Thang.” Midtempo numbers like the inspirational “Higher Power,” “Lenny Love Cha Cha” (a tribute to Lenny Kravitz’s late ’80s/early ’90s catalog), and the laid-back “Too Much Tequila” also abound.

As a Chicago native, JB infuses the blues into whatever music he plays, mixing the soul-flavored Chicago blues sound with the vast conglomeration of styles he’s worked with over the years (Miles Davis, Dr. Dré, Nikka Costa, Eminem, Fishbone). If you’re a newcomer to The Soul of John Black, this is an outstanding place to get started. A Sunshine State of Mind may have a summertime vibe to it, but it will be great listening all year long.

--- Graham Clarke

Too SlimBy now, you have a pretty good idea of what to expect from Too Slim and the Taildraggers, fierce lead and slide guitar, gritty vocals, and some of the best songwriting on the modern blues scene. Tim Langford (a.k.a. “Too Slim”) has joined forces with the producer Tom Hambridge (who also plays drums), Tommy McDonald (bass), Rob McNelly (guitar), and Reese Wynans (Hammond B3 organ) to release his 12th studio disc, Blue Heart (Underworld Records), which manages to improve upon his previous efforts.

With tracks like the scorching opener, “Wash My Hands,” the aching heartbreaker “Minutes Seem Like Hours,” and the Chicago-based title track (which also features harmonica from special guest Jimmy Hall) opening the disc, you know that great things have to lie ahead. Hall also sings lead on the slow blues, “Make Me Smile Again,” which features a great guitar break from Langford on a disc loaded with great guitar breaks, like on “If You Broke My Heart,” and “When Whisky Was My Friend.”

There’s no let-up on the second half of the disc either. Langford’s guitar sears through “New Years Blues,” a tune about helping a friend in need, and offers up some incredible slide work on “Preacher,” before closing the disc with the spiritual “Angels Are Back,” which mixes acoustic and electric guitar. The album’s lone cover is another “good ‘un,” Dave “Double D” Duncan’s “Shape of Blues to Come.”

Too Slim and the Taildraggers continue to maintain an amazing consistency, with 17 excellent releases over nearly 30 years as a band. Blue Heart continues that streak and raises the bar even higher. If you have an iota of blues in your soul, you will want to hear this disc.

--- Graham Clarke

Frank BangFrank Bang’s musical journey has found him moving from the AC/DC/Metallica/Z.Z. Top phase to SRV and Hendrix to Buddy Guy, with whom Bang served a five-year tenure as second guitarist. Over the years, he has picked up additional guitar skills, particularly slide guitar, by listening to the likes of Warren Haynes, Robert Randolph, and Aubrey Ghent, and also honed his songwriting chops with influence from Americana craftsmen like John Hiatt and Malcolm Holcombe.

Those myriad influences and inspirations were combined to produce Double Dare (Blue Hoss), Bang’s first release in six years. He had basically withdrawn from the music scene until he discovered, via the internet, how much he was missed (and how much his old albums were selling for on Amazon). Backed by the Secret Stash (Bobby Spelbring – drums and Ryan Fitzgerald – bass) with production from Manny Sanchez (Rod Stewart), Bang’s latest finds him well-rested, tanned, and ready to pick up where he left off.

The first four tracks (the title track, “Burnin’ Up In The Wind,” “Lose Control,” and “God Fearin’ Man”) pretty much keep the pedal to the floor, but Bang also drops things down a notch with “Wonder Woman,” a slide/harmonica-driven ballad about the power of love. “This is What it’s All About” is also a reflective tune, focusing on the things in life that really matter.

The acoustic “My Own Country Way” allows Bang to strut his stuff on dobro, and “All’s Well” is a steady midtempo rocker that’s augmented by Daryl Coutts’ B3. The country rocker “18 Wheels of Hell” puts anything coming out of Nashville right now to shame, and “All I Need” has that same country feel to it, but slowed down a notch or two, with Coutt’s B3 in the background. The acoustic closer, “Mattie’s Girl,” brings the album to a satisfying close.

Double Dare is a diverse set that mixes equal portions of rock, soul, and even country with the blues, reflecting Frank Bang’s wide range of influences. Hopefully, he won’t take so long between releases next time around.

--- Graham Clarke

Paul GabrielConnecticut-based guitarist Paul Gabriel has been on the New England music scene for over 40 years, appearing on three of Harry Chapin’s recordings and with Rory Block on her Grammy-nominated Mama’s Blues (playing slide guitar), touring with Michael Bolton, and touring and recording with several bands of his own.

For his new album, What’s The Chance (Shining Stone Music), Gabriel and his band (Billy Bileca – bass, Nick Longo – drums, Larry “Buzzy” Fallstrom – keyboards) join forces with producer/guitarist/longtime buddy Duke Robillard, guitarist Steve Pastir, keyboardists Mark Naftalin and Bruce Bears, and the Roomful of Blues horns (Rich Lataille – alto, tenor sax, Mark Earley – tenor, baritone sax, Doug Woolverton – trumpet).

Gabriel wrote 11 of the 13 tracks (bass player Bileca contributed the instrumental, “C.M.C.,” and the lone cover is Chris Kenner’s “Something You Got”) and if you’re familiar with Robillard’s solo work and his tenure with Roomful of Blues, you will be pleased with the music offered here, mixing blues, R&B, jazz, and swing. Gabriel is a fine expressive guitarist and he and Robillard make a great team, as evidenced on tunes like “Old Time Ball,” “What’s The Chance,” “All That Time Gone,” “Ride Ride Ride,” “Magic,” and the instrumental “328 Chauncy Street.”

Naftalin joins in on two tracks, the traditional “Devil’s Daughter” and “Fine At’tire,” a cool old-school R&B duet. Other standout tracks include “Roomful of Blues,” which, despite the title, is not a tribute to the band of the same name…instead, it’s a pleading soul/blues track that features a soulful vocal from Gabriel and a wonderful sax break from Lataille, and the closing shuffle, “Spoda Be.”

As expected, Gabriel’s guitar work is excellent, with just the right amount of blues and jazz mixed in. He’s also a strong, expressive vocalist, and has provided some memorable songs as well. What’s The Chance is a good mix of blues, R&B, and jazz in the fine tradition of other New England-based blues artists.

--- Graham Clarke

Kiresten ThienBrave soul that she is, singer/songwriter Kirsten Thien appeared at the Meinsenfrei Blues Club in Bremen, Germany last October, armed with only a guitar and her wonderful voice…a departure from her previous full-band, electric releases. The club seats several hundred people, and usually features larger, louder blues and rock bands, but judging from Solo Live From The Meisenfrei Blues Club (Screen Door Records), she found a very receptive audience that enjoyed an exciting, eclectic set of acoustic blues, soul, and rock.

Thien performs 15 songs, eight originals which include the opening four songs, “Hold Onto Me,” “A Woman Knows,” “Thank You (For Saying Goodbye),” and “You’ve Got Me.” The other four original songs (“The Sweet Lost And Found,” “Ain’t That The Truth,” “Please Drive,” and Nobody’s Ever Loved Me Like You Do”) are mixed throughout.

The cover tunes are a wide-ranging set, with the blues being well-served by the Sippie Wallace classic, “Women Be Wise,” Leon Russell’s “I’d Rather Be Blind,” and Ida Cox’s “Wild Women Don’t Have The Blues.” She also does a first-rate job on Bob Dylan’s country blues “It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry.” Thien also transforms Sheryl Crow’s pop tune, “Leaving Las Vegas,” into a blues with a nice vocal performance, and presents Elvin Bishop’s “Fooled Around and Fell In Love” from a woman’s perspective.

While I’ve heard most of these songs before, they were in a band setting, and I don’t think I fully appreciated Thien’s vocal talents in that setting. Here, backed only by her acoustic guitar, you really get the full measure of that voice….sweet when it needs to be, gritty when that’s called for, and loaded with soul. Solo Live From The Meisenfrei Blues Club is an impressive live set of acoustic blues, that captures one of the most talented blues ladies currently performing at her best.

--- Graham Clarke

I B BruntAbout a year and a half ago, I reviewed a wonderful little EP by Isaiah B Brunt. Brunt, an Australian, worked in the music industry for years as an audio engineer, playing music on the side until 2006, when he decided to focus on the blues. Though he’s thousands of miles away, he has as firm a grasp on tradtional American pre-war blues as if he’d lived in the Mississippi Delta all his life. That was apparent from the first note of his EP release.

For Brunt’s release, Nursery Rhyme Blues, he updates his sound just a bit. The traditional roots are still present, but on this new recording, Brunt not only plays acoustic and slide guitar, but also ukelele on several tracks, piano, electric bass, harmonica, synths, and percussion. He also incorporates various musicians playing vibraphone, acco-rdion, flute, cello, and sousaphone on assorted tracks. The result is an eclectic mix of blues styles that’s sometimes breezy, sometimes haunting, sometimes lovely, and always compelling.

I really like the opener, “Just a Beautiful Thing,” a carefree Delta blues tune, and “Beale Street Memphis” is a fun track, with Brunt playing ukelele while accompanied by Rod Herbert’s sousaphone. The title track has a haunting quality, a different twist on the subject matter , with cello (courtesy of Nick Comino) and ghostly backing vocals. That’s just the first three tracks. The entire album has the same qualities. “Marilyn Monroe” is a wistful homage to the beautiful movie star and with Brunt playing harmonica and ukelele, and includes flute from Dahlia Goldfried-Brunt. “Before You Lay Me Down” is another haunting track, with cello again.

Tracks like “Full Moon Breaking” “Time Will Come,” “Humming Blues,” and “Vinegar Hill” feature Brunt playing unaccompanied for the most part and remind listeners of the gentle vibe of Brunt’s EP. “That Place In The Road” is interesting, with Brunt doubling on ukelele and harmonica, and the reflective closer, “Over Time,” has a gospel feel, with the soothing background vocals from Karana Nepe and Paula Punch.

I really like Isaish B Brunt’s approach to the blues. He holds close to the traditional sounds and themes of the blues, but he also mixes in enough modern touches to keep things fresh. The more I listen, the more layers I uncover within each song. Acoustic blues fans will want to hear this, but there’s something for every blues fan to enjoy with Nursery Rhyme Blues.

--- Graham Clarke

RB StoneBlues/Roots rocker RB Stone returns with Loosen Up! (Middle Mountain Music), his 16th release. This time around, Stone is produced by Tom Hambridge, whose name will be familiar to blues/rock fans from his recent work with Buddy Guy, George Thorogood, and Susan Tedeschi. Backing him is a powerhouse ensemble consisting of Hambridge (drums), Robert Britt (lead guitar), Tommy McDonald (bass), and Jefferson Jarvis (piano, organ).

Stone and the band rip through ten dynamic original tunes, including the boogie blues opener, “High Horse,” the southern rocker, “Long Gone Lonesome Blues,” and the raucous rockers “Loosen Up!” “Texas Drunk Tank Blues,” and the scorching closer, “Harley Heart.” There’s plenty of good solid traditional blues present also, with “A Bad Case of Blues Goin’ On,” the Chicago-flavored “I Ain’t Buyin’ That Bull Today.” Stone also gets funky on “Gone As Gone Can Be,” and shows his inspirational side on the moving spiritual ballad, “God Heals You When You Cry.”

As on Stone’s previous release, there’s nothing fancy here…..just a great collection of muscular roadhouse rock, blues and soul from an artist who knows all three genres like the back of his hand.

--- Graham Clarke

Pam TaylorMost listeners might be surprised to learn that Hot Mess is the first recording from the Pam Taylor Band. The South Carolina native has assembled a strong set of Southern blues/rock that would indicate that she is a longtime vet. Backed by her father, Mike Taylor on sax, along with a tight group in support (Rusty Gilreath – bass, Kyle Phillips – guitar, LA Freeman – drums, Ryan Christ Winters – keys, Gerry Hagsted – drums), Taylor’s vocals mix soul and grit in equal doses.

An interesting and unique characteristic of this band is that Mike Taylor’s sax is as big a driving force behind the band’s sound as the traditional guitar work. That’s evident from the get-go with the opening track, “Smile Again,” and also on the title track, plus “Not The Only One,” and the jazzy “It’s So Easy.” Other tracks, like the sultry “Whatcha Doin” and the country-styled “All The Same To Me” feature standout guitar work from Taylor and Phillips.

There’s plenty of straight blues present as well, with the slow blues original “Next Time You Think of Cheating,” with more great guitar work, and the country-blues closer, “All I Got Left.” Taylor also covers Etta James’ standard, “I’d Rather Go Blind,” which includes some first class sax work and a nice vocal performance.

Hot Mess will certainly please blues/rock fans with its novel sax/guitar approach to the genre, and introduces another fine female blues singer to the fold. We will be hearing more from this band in the future.

--- Graham Clarke

Austin YoungAustin Young, first picked up a guitar at age 12. Now 17, he has developed into an amazing guitarist, influenced by the usual suspects (Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Eric Clapton). A native of Colorado, Young performs regionally and nationally with his band, no difference. He’s also a good singer with a natural, unforced feel for blues songs, and a pretty adept songwriter…..good enough that Vizztone has released his debut recording, Blue As Can Be.

Backed by his father, Tim Young, on drums and 18 year old Noah Mast on bass, Young offers up a mix of blues styles on Blue As Can Be, showing an impressive versatility in songwriting and fretwork in the process. From the opening track, the hard-charging “Thunderhead,” you know this is going to be something special. The title track is the band’s tribute to Muddy Waters, a down-and-dirty electric blues. “Disappearing Railroad Blues” is a soulful ballad, which is followed by the searing rocker, “Signal.” “Springtime Snow” is a fine pop-styled ballad that showcases Young’s vocals, pretty strong and confident on most of these numbers, given his youth.

The lovely ballad “Magdalena” finds Young playing National steel guitar, followed by another blues rocker, “Not As Strong.” It should be noted that on this track and several others, Tom Tapec contributes some excellent supporting keyboards to go along with an inspired guitar solo from Young. “Who’s Coming Out” is a roadhouse rocker that’s a sure bet to get folks on their feet. The inspirational “Borrowed Time” is a mid-tempo rocker that really builds to an exciting conclusion, and “That’s It” has a jazzy feel to it, with some electrifying guitar mixed in.

As the disc begins wrapping up, Young pulls out one of his best tracks, the seven-minute-plus slow blues, “Give Me One Good Reason.” This track, more than any others on the disc, show that Young’s roots are solidly and firmly the blues….just a standout track. The disc closes out with a couple of strong rockers, the optimistic “Walking Through,” and “Miss You Moore,” which started out as an instrumental tribute to the late Gary Moore, one of Young’s idols.

On Blue As Can Be, Austin Young proves that he’s a talent on the rise, with considerable guitar chops and fast-developing songwriting and vocals. Young, hotshot guitar slingers seem to be a dime a dozen these days, but based on his debut, Austin Young will definitely be standing tall when the smoke clears.

--- Graham Clarke

CD WoodburyThe CD Woodbury Band has been together since 2009. Woodbury has worked in jazz, blues, and rock, primarily in the northwestern part of the country, but his primary focus is on blues and American roots music. He joined up with the former rhythm section (Mike Fish – bass, Don Montana – drums, Chris Kliemann – keyboards) of the Bluescats, later adding sax man Mike Marinig in 2010. Since their inception, the band has won numerous regional awards and released a live CD in 2010. Monday Night! is their debut studio effort, on Wide Willie Productions.

The band is comfortable playing slow blues (“Pawn Shop”), classic shuffles (the opener, “These Blues Keep Me Right Here”), swing (“Ring A Ding”), R&B (the New Orleans-styled title track), jazzy blues (“SauBall Blues” and “The Pleasure’s All Mine”), funk (“Burn The Bridge”), and even a tasty take on southern rock with “Mean Jenny,” which sounds like it could have come from the pen of Tony Joe White.

Woodbury, Montana, and Marinig share lead vocals and each bring a distinctive flair to their songs. With guitarist Woodbury, keyboardist Kliemann, and sax man Marinig, the band has three outstanding soloist and each get ample opportunity to strut their stuff over the ten solid compositions, which were all written by the band. Monday Night! is a stellar, well-rounded set of blues and R&B that is definitely worth checking out.

--- Graham Clarke

Les LuckyLes Lucky was born in the Midwest, but has spent the bulk of his life in and around New York City, where he has worked as a music producer for TV and radio, while playing in various bands around the NYC area, performing as a solo act and with artists like Les Paul, Elton John, Harry Belafonte, Levon Helm, and Phyllis Hyman. Despite that versatile list of performers, Lucky’s primary influences, when following his own muse, are the blues and jazz.

For Lucky’s debut release, Frets & Hammers (Red Kat Recordings), Lucky wrote all 12 songs, produced the disc, and played all instruments (guitars, piano, organ, bass, drums, synths, and percussion). There’s a variety of styles present, opening with the country-ish "I’ll Take My Chances,” moving to the country blues of “Lone Wolf,” to the keyboard-driven “Everything’s Gone Wrong,” which sounds a lot like the country-rock tunes of the early ’70s.

The upbeat “Goin’ To See My Baby” is followed by the ominous “When The Deal Goes Down” brings to mind the sparse rhythms of J. J. Cale. “Shades of Blue” is a heartfelt blues ballad, and “Stop Talkin’ About It” and “I’ve Had Enough are both solid ventures into funk territory. Lucky goes topical on “An Ill Wind Is Howling,” a driving blues with lyrics that can easily be tied into current events. The closer, “You Win Again, Jen,” is a soulful chronicle of a doomed relationship.

Les Lucky put everything he has into the disc, literally. Though his instrument work is first-rate on everything he plays, his warm and heartfelt vocals really breathe life into his insightful, and often personal lyrics. Frets & Hammers was a pleasant surprise that I didn’t see coming, and with each listen I find something else about it to enjoy. I know that it will appeal to blues fans, as well as music fans in general.

--- Graham Clarke

Emanuele FizzottiThe last time I heard about Emanuele Fizzotti was when his CD, Out To Play, was released in 2009, and so it’s good to hear how he has changed and progressed. His new CD, Manny’s Blues (Rock 'N Rattle Records), comprises seven original songs, one traditional and two covers, so there is plenty of variety here for the listener.

The album opens with a cover of a Dylan number “Odds and Ends,” which is something that I hadn’t heard before. It’s a good paced rocker and gets the CD off with a bang, although it’s not what a lot of people would term “blues.”

However, track two, “Hey Baby,” is definitely blues, and it’s an original by Fizzotti. It’s got a good driving beat and showcases Emanuele’s guitar work really well. If I was producing the album, I’d have made this track one without a doubt!!

--- Terry Clear

I KatTone Trade have picked themselves a winner with this band Kat & Co, and that’s proved by this flagship CD, Kat The Blues. Ten great tracks, and eight of them are written by band members. The two exceptions are Johnny Winter’s “Tired Of Tryin’ “ and Mark Knopfler’s “Your Own Sweet Way.” Kat Pearson grew up singing gospel in Oklahoma, spent some time in Los Angeles, and then set the South of Spain alight in the late 1990s providing vocals for one of the hottest Spanish blues bands in Malaga. She can sing fast, slow or medium, and all with a special smoky flavour that gets in your head and won’t leave.

The album starts off with a track co-written by Kat Pearson, Francisco Accurso and Federico Parodi – vocalist, guitarist and keyboard player in that order. “New Spleen Blues” is a haunting slow to medium paced blues with some interesting lyrics about growing old.

Track three features a very special guest artist, Mud Morganfield – son of the late great Muddy Waters. I was privileged to see the start of this tie-up a few years ago, when the two of them performed together at the Mijas Blues Festival in Spain. “Payin’ My Dues” is a strong, well written, song, and a contender for my favourite track on the CD.

These guys make a good job of the Johnny Winter track, “Tired of Tryin’” – good vocals and some inspirational guitar work from Accurso make this a really good cover. Another contender for my favourite track is number nine on the CD, “The Scene,” which also features some guest artists, Lil’ Jimmy Reed and Chad Strentz. This is slow-based driving blues and Lil’ Jimmy Reed really adds some flavour with his vocals contracting with Kat’s. Parodi adds some magical keyboard work which elevates the track to a good level.

The CD winds up with “Your Own Sweet Way,” written by Dire Strait’s Mark Knopfler. It’s a slow bluesy ballad, showcasing Accurso’s guitar and Kat’s vocals equally, and it’s not a bad way to finish off the album.

My Verdict for favourite track goes to “Payin’ My Dues,” but it was a close run thing. Buy the CD and see for yourself.

--- Terry Clear

Bart WalkerBart Walker blew through Colorado recently as part of the Ruf Blues Caravan tour 2013 and it was great to see him kicking it with his new signature model Delaney guitar. Bart’s got a new record out, Waiting On Daylight, and it’s apparent that this Nashville-based Bluesman is learning his lessons well. Waiting On Daylight is a guitar-driven tour de force from front to back, so let’s give it a listen.

Bart and the band open with “It’s All Good,” featuring a hard driving drumbeat from Steve Potts. Here we find Bart content with the daily ins and outs of living and earning a paycheck, knowing most of it is going right back to the banker. “It’s all right…yea it’s ok…well…I wouldn’t have it any other way…it’s all good…it’s all right…baby, it doesn’t cost a thing to snuggle up at night!” A good woman by his side and Bart will make it work, for sure!

Dave Smith’s bass compliments the solid back drumbeat as we move onto our next tune, “Black Clouds.” A tune of despair, black clouds seem to be present everywhere. “Rain pouring down…on this dirty old coal mining town…black clouds hanging low…keeping us in the dark…there ain’t no hiding it…when the ash is falling…there’s more to come!” Bart’s guitar comes to the forefront on our next cut, “Took It Like a Man,” a classic party tune. “I got drunk…stayed out all night…got my ass kicked in a barroom fight…I lost my car…and I lost my lunch in a garbage can…it didn’t bother me…I took it like a man!” Bart segues off into a blistering guitar solo that reminds me why he won the most promising guitar award at the International Blues Challenge a couple of years back.

“Girl You Bad” is up next and finds Bart enamored with the object of his affections. “Oh baby…the way you move it…is cool as an autumn breeze…oh mama…the way you move it…got me thinking…pretty please…girl…you bad!” Bart being in love seems to be a continuing theme as we move onto “Gotta Be You!” “I ain’t gonna run…I ain’t gonna hide this time…I know you’re the one…and whatever I do…I’m going to see this through…it’s gotta be you!” The hard driving beat echoes Bart’s heart pounding in his chest as he declares this woman to be the one and he’s hanging around for the long haul this time!

The title cut, “Waiting on Daylight,” is up next and it’s a great tune written by Bart, Gary Nicholson and Brandon Gower. “Waiting on daylight…to come back to your door…after all those second chances, Lord…I’m just praying that there’s one more…this time…I’ll find a way to make it right…Lord, I’m just waiting on daylight!” “Waiting on Daylight” is a classic tune and deserving of some votes for song of the year I’m thinking.

Bart’s rocking side is back out as we move onto the next tune, “Happy.” Here we find Bart free and easy, not a care in the world. “I don’t need no preaching…about what I need to be…knock down that door…you’ll be just like me…I’m happy…that’s all!” The band and Bart cover a J.B. Hutto tune next, “Hipshake It!” “Hipshake…I said…my…my…my…hipshake it for me!” I hear Rick Steff lend some keyboard flavor to this tune and it’s an excellent arrangement by Bart.

The tempo slows down just a tad for our next cut, “Mary & Me.” “When the lights go down…and the river sounds…Mary is all I need!” The tune is about a simple man, in love with his woman and not needing much else to get him through! Blistering notes emanate from Bart’s guitar to signify the passion the man in question feels for his woman, Mary.

“99%” is probably the closest thing to a ballad that you’ll find on Bart’s record and it’s all about folks taking a stand for what they believe is right. “What happened to the days…when this land was yours and mine…what happened to the days…when we took pride in what we did…we are the…we are the 99%...we are the ones…who took a stand…we are the ones…who can make this land a dream again!” Sweet…sweet notes emanate from Bart’s guitar on this tune to show the people’s passion for the land they came from and want to see rise again.

Dave Cohen takes to the organ for our final cut of the record, “Whipping Post.” “She took all my money…she wrecked my new car…now she’s out...with one of my good timing buddies…sometimes…I feel…like I’ve been tied to the whipping post…good lord, I feel like I’m dying!” Bart’s in definite pain over his love for the woman who done him wrong and the best thing to do is to just let her go. But Bart’s a man of faith and letting her go is just not an easy thing for Bart to do.

Waiting on Daylight is a strong record for Bart Walker from front to back, and I’m happy to hear the strength of this new record come to life. Bart’s a phenomenal guitar player and this disc is definitely one of the strongest, guitar driven albums I’ve heard so far this year. Jim Gaines did an amazing job of pushing all the right buttons and the result speaks for itself. Bart’s been touring the country as part of the Ruf Blues Caravan and I’m sure will be out soon on his own to support this great disc. To order a copy or catch up with this Nashville-based bluesman, check out his website at and catch a live gig if you can --- you won’t be disappointed!

--- Kyle Deibler

Trampled Under FootThere’s a lot of angst in the new record, Badlands, from Trampled Under Foot, but as Son House once said, “Ain’t but one kind of Blues…and that consists between male and female that’s in love.” It’s hard to say who’s in love and who’s out of it on Badlands, but it’s all Blues and easily a record that will receive serious consideration at Blues Music Awards time. Tony Braunagel returns as the producer on this latest effort from Nick, Kris and Danielle and it’s an impressive record indeed. Let’s give it a listen.

Danielle kicks it off by letting us know she’s having misgivings about the man in her life on “Bad Bad Feeling.” The signs are there, she answers her man’s phone and someone hangs up, he’s giving her the cold shoulder, something is definitely not right here. “I see you watch her…as she slinks on by… I know that you know her and I’ll tell you why…the last time I smelled that perfume…it was all over you…oh my baby‘s doing something wrong!” This relationship is definitely coming to an end as Danielle’s instincts are right on. “I trusted you and I had your back…you turned on me and that’s a fact…my bad bad feeling is my baby’s doing something wrong!”

We move on to “Dark of the Night” and here we find Danielle commiserating on the state of life when times are tough. “But there’ll come a time…we can make things right…and make it through the dark of the night!” Her optimism is infectious and Nick chimes in at just the right time with a wicked guitar solo that implies both despair and hope in one fell swoop. Ultimately faith will carry them through and they’ll make it “through the dark of the night!” Nick takes a turn on the vocals and tells us what he’s looking for from the woman he loves. Here we find that actions will speak louder than words to Nick. “I love this little girl…but I can’t waste my time…to wait on her kisses…beware of goodbyes. Don’t want no woman…to tell me she loves me…I just want my woman…to show me she loves me…it might be a labor of love!!”

Mike Finnegan tickles the ivories on the organ as Danielle begins to tell us about her friend, “Mary,” a calculating relationship assassin if there ever was one. “She’s my best friend Mary…her heart is cold as ice…she’s my best friend Mary…danger is her own device!” Mary is a woman who definitely gets what she wants when she wants it…and often to the detriment of those around her. At least Danielle is onto the ways of her friend and knows what to look out for when Mary’s on the prowl.

Deep bass notes from Danielle provide the intro as Nick tackles the title cut, “Badlands.” The Badlands represent a ghost town devoid of inhabitants who left because there was nothing more for them to hang onto. “We’re living in the badlands…I used to think of badlands as part of the Western scene…but now they’re urban, dirty, desperate and mean…no cows and cactus, just poverty and crime…no beautiful sunsets…just the moving sands of time!” Times are tough and getting tougher and the only way out is for us to come together as a people and face the demons that confront us all.

Mike is back at the piano this time as Danielle tells us all about young love in “You Never Really Loved Me.” There’s a real difference between love and infatuation and sometimes we all miss the clues that tell us the difference. “I pledged my love to you…we became man and a wife…eternal loyalty…a commit for all our lives…I thought you really loved me…oh…I thought you really cared!!” The time comes for Danielle to leave and she finds herself wondering if the man in her life really loved her at all. “You never really loved me…you never really cared!” Unfortunately it doesn’t sound like he ever really did and he lost a good woman in the process.

Kris’s kick drum and Danielle’s bass power the bottom end as Nick tells us about a rough patch he went through in “Pain in My Mind.” “We both have been mean…and that breaks my heart…so many lonely nights…when I know we’re still apart…its building deep inside of me…so much I can’t deny…so much hurt…I can’t look you in the eye…the pain in my mind…just won’t walk away!!” We move on to “I Didn’t Try” and here we find Danielle facing the end of a relationship as both parties just grew apart from each other. “Yea…you can air my dirty laundry…expose me as a fraud of love…but I just couldn’t…I couldn’t live a lie…but it’s not like I didn’t try…you broke my heart and made me cry!”

The tempo slows a bit and Nick takes the mic again to tell us about his “Desperate Heart.” “Night after night…the same old fight…over…this desperate heart…in darkness and fear…you feel like you’re losing…the one you love.” Working through the issues to make love last is definitely hard but it’s better to fight for a good love than to be weak with a desperate heart!”

Nick picks up his resonator and picks the intro to “Down to the River,” a tune he sings about young love and happier times. “We go down to the river…want to jump into the water…gonna swim down the river…as far as it goes…deep is where the water’s cold!” Definitely an era of happier times and a much simpler life than the one we have now. Danielle’s back at the mic on “Home to You” as she tells us about life on the road and the impact it has on her life. “Every day…a different city’s view…there are several roads alike…and they all lead me home to you…rainy days…and cold nights…in my hotel room…nothing could be better…than to be warm and cozy with you!” Leaving home is always hard and there’s nothing better than to get back home to the arms of the one who loves you most.

Danielle is nothing if not a survivor and she reminds us of that in our next tune, “Two Go Down.” “You loved it while the sun shines…and while it rains…but no one can tell you…anything you ain’t already heard…but someday…someone might call your bluff…well, when the two of you go down…who’ll be the one coming back up?” In the end, no matter what happens, Danielle will be the one still standing.

Trampled Under Foot closes out Badlands with Danielle’s rendition of “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.” And she’s completely right when she sings, “This is a man’s world…Lord, but it wouldn’t be…nothing without a woman or a girl!” Amen to that!

This disc is a serious contender for several Blues Music Award nominations come next May, and I would make it a point to grab this disc from TUF when you see them on the road or order it from their website at To close, I think producer Tony Braunagel said it best, “Thanks to Danielle, Nick and Kris for another great musical experience!”

--- Kyle Deibler



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