Archive for the ‘2017 Releases’ Tag

Willie Nile Sings Bob Dylan- Positively Bob review   Leave a comment

willie-nile-dylan-500.jpgI’ve never been a huge fan of Willie Nile. Nothing against him; I just haven’t consistently sought out his music although I have a handful of his discs on my shelf. Over at Country Standard Time, I have reviewed his latest, a tribute to Bob Dylan- like the world needed another of those. It is an enjoyable listen, offering lively interpretations of mostly familiar songs. You will find my review HERE.

Thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee. Donald

New James King music, via Po’ Ramblin’ Boys   Leave a comment

PRB James King At Fervor Coulee Bluegrass, I feature two new songs from The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys, one of the more traditional of the recent crop of bluegrass bands. You will find my piece at http://www.countrystandardtime.com/blog/FervorCouleeBluegrass/entry.asp?xid=1118

 

Amanda Anne Platt & the Honeycutters- review   Leave a comment

Amanda Anne Platt & the Honeycutters
Amanda Anne Platt & the Honeycutters
Organic Records

By Donald Teplyske

AMANDA-ANNE-PLATT-HONEYCUTTERS-ON-WALLHaving recorded four impressive albums as The Honeycutters, including the masterpiece that was 2016’s On The Ropes, Asheville, NC’s outstanding roots outfit has re-branded themselves as Amanda Anne Platt & the Honeycutters.

Featuring the consistent Honeycutters line-up of Matthew Smith (pedal steel and electric guitar), Rick Cooper (bass), Josh Milligan (drums and percussion), and Platt (lead and harmony vocals and acoustic guitar), with the addition of Evan Martin (keyboard including Hammond B3), the group’s approach to music has continued to evolve, becoming increasingly mainstream while retaining the appealing and authentic qualities that have made them one of the most satisfying Americana outfits recording.

Platt is a strong songwriter and an impressive and memorable vocalist. She has that important capability to write in a variety of voices, making each genuine and authentic to the experiences conveyed.

Again co-produced with roots and bluegrass veteran Tim Surrett, Platt gently establishes the group as a vehicle under her control launching into “Birthday Song” as the self-titled album’s lead track, a song that brings to the fore Platt’s command of writing, singing, and song arrangement. Deceptively languid in atmosphere, and sounding like no one as much as Natalie Maines, the introspective Appalachian honky tonk singer observes that with the passage of years and the compounding of commitments, “some days the answers just get farther.” Similarly, one observes initial forays toward adulthood with “Late Summer’s Child.” The group could do worse than to seek inspiration from the likes of the Dixie Chicks.

One of the most acutely realized examples of country-based Americana recently released, Amanda Anne Platt & the Honeycutters comes in at a generous 54-minutes, and doesn’t waver in focus or intensity. Utilizing a focus on lyrical rhythm similarly to Zoe Muth’s modern classic “If I Can’t Trust You With A Quarter,” “The Guitar Case,” with an impressive guitar and keys instrumental foundation, finds our road warrior focusing on the positives of the chosen life. Platt doesn’t take the easy way and bask on the weary harshness of life, preferring to find positives when possible. A relationship has crumbled amicably within “The Road,” and “Diamonds in the Rough” looks at various observed circumstances through warmly colored lenses.

Consistently across the album, The Honeycutters demonstrate their ability to ideally frame songs to complement Platt. As she’s the group’s songwriter, this is obviously by design but that doesn’t detract from its effectiveness. Intriguing and timely progressions of notes highlight songs at just the right moment, as when Platt is contemplating the last five years of a relationship (“Brand New Start”) and with a bit of Don Rich-inspired flavor on “The Things We Call Home.”

Another welcome offering from Amanda Anne Platt and her group; as always true, country music is in fine hands.

TG Swampbusters- Swamp Rock review   Leave a comment

TG Swampbusters- Swamp Rock Country Blues Booze Records

tgswampbustersWith an abundance of rockin’ boogie (“Honky Tonk Song” and “Twist My Rubber Arm”) and a touch of late-night reflection (“Whiskey Woman” and “Five Minutes Past Midnight”), TG Swampbusters deliver a satisfying collection of unapologetic roots rock. The clean-playing Hamilton trio (Tim Gibbons, vocals, guitar, and harmonica; Patch, drums; and Joe Klienfiltr, bass) make no attempt to coat their garage rock-blues with any type of veneer. There are occasions where TG Swampbusters take on a southern visage, as on “Georgia Rollin’ Stone” and “One Hundred Proof Blues,” but these approaches simply contribute additional colour to their impressive approach to good-time sounding music. Of course, as with any blues-roots band worth listening to, there is a bit more hiding within the lyrics, as when considering the place from where you come (“Cranberry Corners”) or the one that went away (“She Gave Me the Blues.”) A good album, every bit as impressive as their previous, Swamp Tooth Comb. Not fancy, but like an ice-cold Canadian on a summer afternoon, nothing to complain about either.

Steve Kozak Band- It’s Time review   Leave a comment

Steve Kozak Band- It’s Time

sk-cd-cover-3My formative FM radio years were 1978-1983, and during those years bracketing high school I spent most of my time tuned to K97 out of Edmonton, as station that—in those days—had a seemingly liberal approach to the music they played. There was plenty that would become defined as classic rock, but there appeared to always be a little room for things that were more bluesy, especially if it satisfied CanCon requirements. So, between the endless plays of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Moody Blues, there was usually some Powder Blues, Downchild, Pat Travers Band, or David Wilcox.

All of which is a long way to say that It’s Time from the Steve Kozak Band—had it been released thirty-plus years ago—might have found itself getting mainstream radio play. Produced by Matthew Rogers (The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer), Kozak delivers a compelling guitar-based blues album that blends distinctive original material with covers of songs from Jody Williams (“You May”), Henry Glover and Julius Dixon (“Love, Life and Money”), and Magic Sam (“Every Night and Every Day.”) Brook Benton’s “Kiddio” is stretched out just enough, allowing it to fill the room with no little magic, and Jerry Cook’s saxophone is especially appreciated. Kozak’s originals do not pale beside these classic tracks. The lead track “Cane Sugar Sweet” is instantly appealing, “Trouble” digs deep, and “Stranger In My Hometown” has a gentle melancholy made all the sweeter by  Dave Webb’s Hammond organ.

The Steve Kozak Band is building up steam and are nominated for a Break Out West award as Blues Artist of the Year. It’s Time would suggest that their time is now.

Andy T Band- Double Strike review   Leave a comment

AndyTband_DoubleStrike_cvr_sq-300x300

Andy T Band Double Strike  American Showplace Music

I love receiving albums from groups I’ve never previously heard. Thanks to a growing network of publicists who send me material to review, this has been happening a bit more often recently as when Double Strike showed up in my mailbox a week ago.

I don’t know where the group is based, but the publicity material tells me it is fronted by Andy Talamantez, a blues guitar vet who has had the band going for three albums and a number of years. Previously the group’s lead singer was Nick Nixon, a soulful vocalist who contributes to half of the songs on this current recording. More recently, Alabama Mike Benjamin from the San Francisco Bay area signed on with the group to replace the retired Nixon. That’s where the Double Strike comes in, I suppose—two distinctive and powerful lead singers fronting an electric blues combo that matches them blow-by-blow.

Nick Nixon has a voice. Man, he sings! While the instrumentalists boogie and swing, Nixon just goes deep with a distinctive style that refuses to compromise. A pair of Chuck Willis songs—”Juanita” and “I Feel So Bad”—showcase Nixon’s plaintive manner, as does a take of Goree Carter’s “Drunk or Sober.” Nixon’s most robust performance comes on his final appearance on the album, “I Was Gonna Leave You,” an Andy T original. Not to be outdone, Alabama Mike takes control from the top, wailing “I Want You Bad” and Larry Van Loon’s simmering “Somebody Like You.” When he sings, “Baby since you left me, my life has been so sad” (“Sad Times”) I smile, not because I don’t feel his emotion, but because he sounds so damn good singing of his heartbreak.

A collaboratively written number from Talamantez, Benjamin, and album co-producer Anson Funderburgh (who’s “One Woman I Need” is covered on the Kozak album reviewed above) “Doin’ Hard Time” is another deep blues track, one that features solos from both Andy T and Funderburgh, but also some steppin’ horns. At other times the band swings, as on the closing track “Where Did Our Love Go Wrong” and “Deep Inside.” Mid-set, the Funderburgh instrumental “Mudslide” allows the core band including Van Loon on Hammond B3 and the rhythm section of Johnny Bradley and Jim Klinger additional space to shine.

Double Strike is worth searching out, and apparently the Andy T Band featuring Alabama Mike will be making an appearance at the Calgary Blues Festival in August, as well as a one-nighter at Lorenzo’s Cafe in Enderby, BC August 4; good for the fine folks of the north Okanogan community, bad news for the group’s tour router.

Josh Hyde- The Call of the Night review   Leave a comment

JoshJosh Hyde The Call of the Night www.JoshHyde.com

I don’t know Josh Hyde, but within two minutes of listening to his “Mississippi Bridge,” I knew I had to know more. Written out of the experience of moving between the homes of his divorced parents every second weekend, Hyde has crafted a stark and relatable travelogue of a child spending his childhood on a Greyhound. It is a damned fine song.

Across this compact, 32-minute and nine song album, Hyde repeats this feat. He finds a way out of his personal experiences to communicate in a manner that is immediately universal. The title track is as sultry as a humid summer evening. A child of Louisiana, there is no surprise that Hyde seems to connect on a visceral level with the shadier sides of life, from the guy sneaking around the house when you’re “Offshore” and missed opportunities (“It’s Not Too Late.”) Both these songs feature Sonny Landreth on slide guitar.

Featuring all original material (“Offshore is a co-write with Brett Brunson), The Call of the Night has darkness running thought it (“Need a Lil More,” “Close”), but it is buoyed by Hyde’s melodically-rich approach to songwriting. And in what seems to be today’s theme, some lovely keyboard work (this time from John Gros) is apparent across the album.