Arkansas Dave’s debut album features a variety of influences including blues, rock and indie and features 13 tracks. The self-taught musician recorded the album in only eight days at Muscle Shoals’ infamous Fame Studios where legendary musicians such as Will McFarlane, Clayton Ivey and Bob Wray all recorded music.
Arkansas Dave may be releasing his debut record but he’s no stranger to the performing scene, having performed on several stages ranging from Austin to overseas in Hamburg, Germany. He’ll be hitting the road again in support of his newest effort, starting out in Little Rock, Ark. on Feb. 6. His late winter tour with several spring and early summer tour dates will conclude on June 22 in Switzerland. Top festivals he’s billed on include the Folk Alliance International conference in Kansas City, Miss.
It’s a romantic cliché to find an escape in music and the blues, but living that life is a different matter. Ask Arkansas Dave about growing up in a broken home, with fundamental Christianity on one side, and crippling drug-addiction on the other, and you can see in his eyes that this is no easy ride, and that at times music really was his only friend.
Chasing his dream of music, Dave played in bands, funding his music with a succession of jobs where he had to find his feet quickly – from busboy to assembly-worker in a trash-bag factory.
His wake up call came at the edge of a breakdown with a cataclysmic weekend epiphany. He headed home for a rare visit, and was persuaded to play a few songs to his family. The response he got from his grandfather sent his mind racing, only for him to find out the next week that his grandfather had died 24 hours later.
Determined to clean himself up, and sort his life, Arkansas Dave enrolled on an audio engineering course at Media Tech in Austin Texas, driving into town with a trailer loaded with all his possessions, ‘like something out of the Beverly Hillbillies’. And that’s where everything changed – the college was housed at that time in the famous Arlyn Studios, home to sessions from Willie Nelson, Neil Young and Ray Charles. Dave with his musical co-horts took the night shift at the studios – laying down tracks and learning the ropes.
A succession of bands followed, picking up a strong local following around Austin. The final part of his musical education saw Dave touring North America as a member of old bluesman Guitar Shorty’s band, where he learned ‘what it took to be a professional musician’
Fast forward to 2016 and Dave has written the album he’s always wanted to create – a wide ranging blues-rock based record that tells the story of his life, but resonates with all of us.
The project just needed one more ingredient, so enter the Swampers, the legendary Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. In a blistering eight-day recording session at Fame Studios the band laid down the backing tracks, and Dave returned to Arlyn to complete the vocals.
So the next chapter of Dave’s life is about to be written as he pulls his band together and takes his album out on the road – this time on a road that he’s building….
Texas blues queen Kathy Murray and her band, The Kilowatts return with their fourth album, Premonition Of Love, in a new partnership with Nola Blue Records. The ten original tracks and three inspired covers, mixed and mastered by multi-award-winning Jack Miele, explore the range of blues and roots music that their home of Austin, Texas is famous for. Fellow Nola Blue recording artist, Benny Turner, Freddie King’s younger brother and bass player, makes a special guest appearance on four tracks to help launch their label debut with extra flair.
Kathy wastes no time kicking off the album with the horn infused Boogaloo ‘First Do No Harm,’ and preaches the virtues of peace and love, while her long-time partner Bill “Monster” Jones rips a jagged lead guitar. The title track, ’Premonition Of Love,’ is a burning chunk of Texas Funk inspired by legend of the Lone Star state Freddie King. Turner leads the bump and grind blues for the smoking ‘Beggars Can’t Be Choosers,’ and spars with Kathy on the slinky horn funk ‘Always Fooling Me.’ The dance floor fills up for the jump blues ‘Grow Some,’ featuring great walking bass and honky-tonk piano from Matt Ferrell.
Kathy lays it on thick, pouring out her sex appeal, drawing comparisons to Ruth Brown and LaVern Baker on the Lowell Fulson 1965 classic ‘Black Nights,’ a brassy and sassy feel-good tune despite the sorrowful lyrics, featuring a horn section that moans and wails. The reverb soaked take of Magic Sam’s bone-cutting blues ‘What Have I Done Wrong,’ highlights more hot leads from Jones and showcases the core sound of the Kilowatts. Turner returns along with Kim Field on scorching blues harp for down and dirty, gritty blues ‘Final Verdict.’ Jones dons the accordion for a side trip to the bayou for the joyful Cajun romp, ‘Sugar Bee,’ then drummer Nina Singh delivers the authentic Bo Diddley beat for ‘Answer Yes.’ Piano man Floyd Domino jumps in on the roadhouse blues rocker ‘All These Questions,’ as Kathy plays the part of a women scorned and ready to fight for her man. The Texas-styled shuffle of ‘I Got This’ swings with a dose of boot-scootin’ boogie. Kathy concludes her sermon of empowerment, encouraging us all to embrace the freedom to love deeply and keep our eyes on the prize, on album closer ‘The Bigger Picture,’ an easy-going rhumba that sweetly sails off into the sunset.
Rick J Bowen
With their recent signing to Nola Blue Records and their successful 2017 release of Let’s Do This Thing that was the Austin Blues Society’s entry for Best Self-Produced CD at 2018 IBC, Kathy Murray and her band, the electrifying Kilowatts, reassert their place in the blues pantheon that helps Austin, TX keep its reputation as the Live Music Capital of the World.
This is far from Murray’s first time at the rodeo. For decades she has helped keep a spotlight on the Texas capital’s blues scene. She cut her teeth during the golden era of Austin’s blues and R&B scene in the 1980s and early 90s, sharing the stage with the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughan, the Fabulous Thunderbirds and blues godfather W.C. Clark. In addition, she also took her rightful place among a veritable Murderer’s Row of formidable Austin blues women, including Marcia Ball, Lou Ann Barton and Angela Strehli. Along with the Kilowatts, she has shared the stage with headliners of the caliber of Albert Collins, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Albert King, Koko Taylor and others.
“The first night I saw a live band in Austin, I was 16,” Murray told the Austin Chronicle. “David (her brother, guitarist David Murray) was 14 and we snuck into the Armadillo World Headquarters where there was a triple bill of Storm, with Jimmie Vaughan, the Nightcrawlers with Stevie Ray, and Paul Ray & the Cobras. My little teen self was totally blown away!”
Throughout her professional evolution, the blues has been the foundation of Murray’s music and songwriting, but she’s never been just a one-trick pony. “My sound encompasses the influences of all of Texas’ rootsy regional music styles that I’ve been exposed to throughout my life: blues, swamp pop, rock, zydeco, soul, rockabilly and conjunto,” says Murray.
Born to a service family, Murray moved all over the country before her father settled the family in Austin upon his retirement in 1968. At the time, the city was experiencing the first stirrings of what would become a vibrant live music scene. Murray cut her musical teeth on her older sister’s Elvis 45s, later graduating to the blues-tinged country of George Jones and Hank Williams. But it was experiencing the blues in person, at legendary clubs like Antone’s and the Armadillo that was a life-changing experience for Murray. Local talents like Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan and Blues Boy Hubbard and national acts like Freddie King and Muddy Waters found a rabid fan in Murray. At the same time, she took a deep dive into the classic recorded blues canon, devouring records by Magic Sam, Bobby “Blue” Bland, B.B. King, Memphis Minnie and myriad others.
One critic described Murray’s soulful, emphatic vocals as “the love child of Jimmy Reed and Wanda Jackson.” Another noted that her music “oozes Texas’ low-down smooth and sexy blues.” Murray describes herself as “both a big-voiced blues singer and a prolific songwriter with a strong modern voice. I feel I’m taking the blues into the future by writing new songs in the styles that influenced me.” Alluding to contemporaries like Bonnie Raitt and Susan Tedeschi, Murray says, “We all have a foundation in common in our passion for blues music, but we stepped out of the box and incorporated aspects of rock, soul and other styles into our music.”
The new Premonition of Love will join a Kathy & the Kilowatts catalog that also includes Let’s Do This Thing,Relatively Blue and Groovin’ With Big D (dedicated to the late drummer, SRV songwriter and musical mentor, Doyle Bramhall, Sr.). The latter project has a long pedigree, dating back to sessions that Murray, along with longtime musical partner (and husband) Bill “Monster” Jones, cut with Bramhall in the 90s.
2018 sees not only the release of Premonition of Love, but also forthcoming tours of the US, Scandinavia and Spain. Kathy Murray believes, not without justification, that even after a lifetime onstage and on record, the best days for Kathy & the Kilowatts are still ahead.
TME.fm Radio favorite Kathy and the Kilowatts new album Premonition of Love
With their recent signing to Nola Blue Records and the release of “Premonition of Love” on April 13, 2018, along with the successful 2017 release of “Let’s Do This Thing”, Kathy Murray and her band, the electrifying Kilowatts, reassert their place in the blues pantheon that helps Austin, TX keep its reputation as the Live Music Capital of the World.
I know four weeks isn’t long but don’t worry it will still get lots of airplay afterwards or I’m not the musical director.
Singer/songwriter Meg Williams balances her big guitar playing with a sweet and sultry vocal style and razor-sharp lyrics. The recent transplant to Music City from upstate New York, Williams has made the most of her first year in Nashville, playing showcase gigs as a solo as well as with her full band, and releasing a new EP, Maybe Someday. The original six tracks aren’t what you’d expect from an East Nashville studio. They are full-blown blues rock and soul tunes, no country twang here. Williams busts out with the deep-fried funk ‘Not My Problem,’ as the opening track delivering some real Girl Power soul. She then rips into the straight-ahead blues shuffle ‘Bad Lovin,’ peeling off Magic Sam guitar leads. Swamp rocker ‘Little Bit Of The Devil’ features greasy slide guitar from Dan Wecht on the cautionary tale of a dangerous women. The title track ‘Maybe Someday,’ is a lesson on optimism infused with sweet gospel swing, taking generous influence from Tedeschi Trucks Band. The album’s first single ‘Let Me Down,’ is built off a heavy riff, a deep NYC rock groove and tough girl grit. The set ends with the head bopping rocker ‘I Feel A Heartache Coming,’ highlighting Williams power pop songwriting skills and unlimited potential.
Rick J Bowen
Meg has been busy performing all around Nashville at respected Writer’s Nights and Songwriter Showcases, and numerous venues with both her band, Meg Williams Band, and as a solo/duo act – you can find her on a stage nearly every single night (sometimes 3x a night!) After living in Nashville for only over a year, she has already been the Featured Artist at several songwriter showcases, shared the stage with many established songwriters & artists, and competed in the 2016 Nashville Blues Challenge. She has additionally performed in Memphis during the International Blues Challenge week (2017 & 2018), performing at the highly respected B.B. King’s Blues Club Memphis (2018), toured southern California three times in the past year, performed twice at the Re-Axe booth at the Summer NAMM showcase in Nashville, recently played at Knoxville’s WDVX Blue Plate Special, and performed at Cheyenne Frontier Days and Loretta Lynn’s Ranch as a guitarist for another Nashville-based artist. Often compared to Susan Tedeschi and Bonnie Raitt, Meg’s guitar playing has captured the attention of listeners throughout all of Nashville and increasingly the US.
Frozen solid, after having it broken almost beyond repair, it would take a blow torch to melt Sue Foley’s heart. At least that’s the impression she gives in a tough, mean little nut of a title track—drawn out slowly, with Foley swearing off love, maybe for good—on the Canadian blues songstress’s sassy and sublime new album The Ice Queen, as she declares, “Before I compromise my love again, it’ll be a cold, damn day in hell.”
Taken advantage of too many times, Foley surely means it. Hardened by experience, Foley’s vocals suffused with world-weary resignation, she’s not going to be anyone’s fool going forward. And yet, her strong, bold vocals can turn vulnerable and yielding, as they do in the soulful “If I Have Forsaken You” – where smooth, shapely horns wrap her pleas in vintage R&B velvet right before Foley’s delightfully wicked retelling of Bessie Smith’s murderous “Send Me to the ‘Lectric Chair.” Just as she exhibits a great bluesy feel playing her trusty pink paisley Fender Telecaster, expertly plucking out mean, satisfying guitar licks throughout, Foley also sings with attitude, style and honesty, her coquettish charm as intoxicating as French perfume.
It’s easy then to see why guest stars such as ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, Charlie Sexton and Jimmie Vaughan were so drawn to working on The Ice Queen with Foley, a past Juno Award winner whose increasing maturity and diversity as a songwriter is something to behold. From the wild, ‘60s garage-rock swagger of “Run” to the smoldering, organ-driven “81” and a warm, cheery “The Lucky Ones,” where a coy Foley duets playfully with Vaughan, The Ice Queen—one of the most enjoyable blues records in recent memory—is moody, but easy to love. Just don’t try any funny business.
Songwriter. Guitarist. Bluesman. Interpreter. Performer. Over 50 years later, Chris Smither is truly an American original.
Call Me Lucky is his latest studio album of brand-new originals in six years, featuring his long-time producer and multi-instrumentalist David Goodrich, drummer Billy Conway (Morphine), Matt Lorenz (aka The Suitcase Junket), and engineer Keith Gary. The four musicians went in to the session to record ten songs. What they ended up with is a double-album offering commentary on the human condition in the way that only Chris Smither can. These songs pull deep from the soul and make for the kind of reflection that come when facing a higher power or natural disaster. From the opening track of “Blame’s On Me” to “Lower the Humble”, Smither raises his own bar when it comes to his songwriting.
Reviewers including the Associated Press, NPR, MOJO, and The New York Times agree that Smither remains a significant songwriter and an electrifying guitarist – an American original – as he draws deeply from folk and blues, modern poets and philosophers. And with Call Me Lucky Chris Smither keeps doing just that.
Chris Smither’s 18th album in his 50 plus year career finds him embracing his roots from Boston’s rich music scene through his collaboration with some of its finest players. That includes his longtime producer, David “Goody” Goodrich, Matt Lorenz (the amazing one man band, aka The Suitcase Junket) and Billy Conway (Morphine). For ‘Call Me Lucky,’ Smither has worked up a two disc collection which features one disc of mainly originals and a couple covers; and a second disc of reworked/rearranged songs from disc one, plus a “surprise” cover.
Not only has Chris been known to be a favorite go-to songwriter for people like Bonnie Raitt, The Dixie Chicks, Diana Krall, John Mayall and others, he’s also known far and wide for his astute song interpretations. Oftentimes, it’ll be halfway through the song before the familiarity of the tune will hit. This time around is no different with Smither’s covers becoming something completely of their own, especially his take on Chuck Berry’s “Maybelline.”
Recorded at Goody’s Blue Rock Studio just outside Austin in the Texas Hill Country, it’s clear the atmosphere was relaxed. Every player on the album wore different hats during the making of, with the drummer playing the guitar and the engineer jumping on keys. With ‘Call Me Lucky’ being his first new material in six years, it’s clear he used that time to rest and reflect for this project. The highlight of the album, “The Blame’s on Me,” find Chris’ delivery, from vocals to guitar, as if he were urgently conveying his message, but in the most laid back manner. It’s truly a special talent of his that continues to make an impression.
In total, Smither’s performance is energized and right at home, sounding like an inspired musician with still much left to do and say.
Baxter Hall is an American blues, country, jazz guitarist from Boston MA. Baxter Hall grew up in Jamaica Plain, MA. He began playing guitar at age 13 after finding a Fender Stratocaster in his grandmother’s attic. He grew up in a musical environment. Baxter Hall began playing blues after being inspired by artists such as Anson Funderburgh, Magic Sam, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, & T-Bone Walker. At age 15 Baxter started a rock band called “Monty’s Lobster” based out of Lyndonville VT. In 2017 he began a country rock roots band called “Haggins Hall Band” with young music great “Dwayne Haggins”. In 2018 Baxter opened for Nashville guitarist “JD Simo”. Baxter has also shared the stage with several musicians such as James Montegomery, Neil Vitullo, George McCann and Duke Robillard. Baxter recently recorded on a Duke Robillard album. Baxter Hall has been acknowledged amongst many as “future of the blues”. Baxter Hall has played shows in many states across the country including Texas, Vermont and New York. He also has played shows in the Netherlands and music has been played on radio stations in Russia.
Yes Folks 30 days of Victor and his Train here on TME.FM Radio.
Though his career began over a decade ago with genuine rock n’ roll honky-tonk, Wainwright has broadened his artistic scope over the years to include music representing virtually every corner of the blues. His insatiable interest in music discovery, sheer love for entertaining and curiosity have led him all around the world, and the resulting perspective is a reflection of his passion for entertaining and creating progressive roots music in an effort to move the art-form forward. Composer, producer, vocalist, and award wining entertainer and piano player; Victor Wainwright is a raucous high-octane, dynamic performer and crowd pleaser with soul to spare.
“Wainwright serves as an electrifying guide to a good time-spinning tales, telling his listeners how to beat the blues, and meticulously conjuring raw soul and energy out of his acoustic piano. He displays a sharp sense of humor and a knack for storytelling… every track is brilliant.” -Living Blues Magazine
“Victor Wainwright is a world champion piano player, two times over! Not only is Victor one of the greatest blues piano players in the business, he’s also a world class entertainer and vocalist.” – Blues Revue Magazine
“Victor Wainwright, winner of this year’s Pine Top Perkins Piano Player Award at the BMA’s, is a force to be reckoned with on a piano. He IS honky-tonk and boogie, with a dose of rolling thunder. Wainwright’s playing is simply beautiful madness.” -American Blues Scene
“Savannah, GA native Victor Wainwright is all about boogie woogie piano, deep soul, and a voice that recalls Dr. John at his best. He is a blues star, a tremendous player.” -Chicago Blues Guide
These punchy, wonderful recordings not only propagate the blues. They enrich its character, and most importantly, its significance.
This is one of the most interesting collaborations of blues we have heard in some time. A trio of French musicians – Tia Goutteble (guitar, voice), Gilles Chabenat (Hurdy-Gurdy – a traditional French instrument), and Marc Glomeau (percussion) call themselves the Hypnotic Wheels Trio. Their music draws its inspiration from traditional French music and North Mississippi Hill Country Blues. In some respects, it’s like the efforts of groups like Tinariwen from Mali – marrying their native music with American blues. In this case the Hurdy-Gurdy is used as a second guitar. This is the first time that music from these two cultures have combined. So, to make this, their second album, even more authentic, the trio travelled to Mississippi and collaborated with some of the major local artists.
Without recording studios or top shelf technology, field engineer Pierre Bianchi captured these sessions with an 8 microphone preamp and a computer. The recordings took place on front porches, back porches, and historic landmarks in Mississippi. With no gimmicks the sound is not only authentic but especially engaging as you can hear train whistles and highway traffic on occasion.
One year of work was necessary to sort out all of the details of traveling in the United States and getting familiar with the countryside of North Mississippi. The results were: four tunes with Cedric Burnside (vocal, acoustic guitar) at Sherman Cooper’s in Como, three with Sharde Thomas (fife, vocals) under the front porch of Moon Hollow Farm in Como, two with Cameron Kimbrough (guitar, vocals) at the same location, and two with Pat Thomas (guitar, vocals) at the Highway 61 Museum in Leland. The trio themselves perform three tracks on their own at Dockery Farms in Cleveland (2) and at B.B. King’s Club Ebony in Indianola.
Burnside, Shade Thomas, Kimbrough, and Pat Thomas are all descendants of their prestigious elders (RL Burnside, Otha Turner, Junior Kimbrough, James Son Thomas). None of the four approach the project with a “take charge” mentality. Instead, they give humble, passionate performances, immersing themselves in the music. And, these musicians certainly passed on that North Mississippi Hill County feel to the trio. Listen to Cedric Burnside leading “See My Jumper Hanging on the Line” or Sharde Thomas leading “Glory” and then catch the trio doing Mississippi Fred’s “Shake ‘Em On Down.” No doubt, they got it.
After spending at week in Memphis appearing in two special showcase performances during the IBC week, being called up to do a spot at the world famous Silky O’Sulivans by Barbara Blue, visiting all the sites that Memphis has to offer, suffering with the coldest weather Memphis had for 20 years,being TME.fm Radio Spotlight Artist, Val Starr & the Blues Rocket ended a special week by reaching NUMBER ONE on the Electric Blues Chart at RMR.
Top 50 Electric Blues Album Chart for the Week of Jan 20 2018 Roots Music Report
Sacramento blues woman, Val Starr, describes her music as “songs written about love and loss, breaking free of bad relationships, and learning to live with the good ones.” All that, and more, can be found on the 12 tracks of her fourth album of all original material “I Always Turn The Blues On.” Starr is backed by the veteran trio The Blues Rocket, which includes her partner in crime, John Ellis on bass, Frankie Soul on lead guitar, and Paul Farman on drums.
The tunes run the gamut from traditional blues shuffles to bold blues ballads. Kicking off the album is a girl-power call out, ‘High Time To Go,’ followed by the easy swing of the title track featuring Todd Morgan of Todd Morgan & The Emblems on keys, while Starr spells out her love of the blues. A bumping groove underpins the life lesson ‘What Happens After Midnight (Nothin’ Good)’ that Starr wrote for her teenage sons. Bay Area guitar slinger Daniel Castro adds gritty lead guitar to the powerful anthem to social consciousness ‘Whether Blues’ and some fine pickin’ to the country ballad ‘Please Don’t Go Away Mad.’ Tim Barron joins in on harmonica for the bump and grinder ‘Bad Luck & the Blues.’ The Rockets show they know how to play authentic Chicago blues on the hot shuffle ‘Out With The Old’ and a touch of Memphis soul on the saucy number ‘The Baby Mama Song.’ Steve ‘Beer Dawg’ Wall adds angular lead guitar to the tale of a women scorned ‘Blind Eye.’ Starr shows off all her feminine wiles during the jazzy slow blues ‘Bye Bye’ and then closes out the set with a rambling blues tune about life’s up and downs ‘It’s Always Something.’
“I Always Turn The Blues On” from Val Starr & The Blues Rocket gives proof to her stature as an acclaimed female blues singer/songwriter and prominent figure in the Northern California blues scene.