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***Upcoming Release*** Eric Corne ‘Happy Songs For The Apocalypse’

Bluespowr review ‘Happy Songs’

“This is one of those recordings that continues to grow on you with each listen, so do yourself a favor and don’t wait for the apocalypse to draw nearer before you pick up a copy.”
Read more & stream ‘Ridin’ With Lady Luck (feat. Walter Trout)

American Blues Scene Premieres

new track ‘Pull String to Inflate’

“‘Pull String to Inflate’ sort of uses the metaphor of a life raft because right now it feels like the world is sinking,” Corne told us. “I think the song is really summed up in the lyric ‘It seems like the future is running a little late. I’m driving backwards through a different day. Pull string to inflate’.”

Read more and listen to the track

Eric Corne ‘Happy Songs For The Apocalypse’

1. Mad World
2. Ridin’ With Lady Luck (Feat. Walter Trout)
3. Locomotion
4. The Gilded Age
5. Short Wave Preachers
6. Pull String To Inflate
7. History Repeats
8. The Distance You Run
9. Forbidden Town
10. Ashen Heart
11. Trail Full Of Tears
12. Sing, Little Darlin’ Sing

Eric Corne’s new album Happy Songs for the Apocalypse is a patchwork of Americana; drawing on folk, blues and rock n’ roll with tinges of alt country. Lyrically, the album is an indictment of a world careening into a second gilded age, numbed by new technologies and the false hope of materialism. “It seems the future’s running a little late/and I’m driving backwards through a different day,” sings Corne on “Pull String to Inflate.” The song features lead guitar by long-time Mavis Staples axman, Rick Holmstrom, one of many top-shelf sidemen Corne calls on to animate this ambitious collection of songs.

Founder and President of Forty Below Records, Corne is an award winning producer/engineer and songwriter with over a half dozen top 5 Billboard Blues albums to his credit, including a recent #1 for Walter Trout’s duets album, We’re All in This Together. Corne’s resume also includes recording the likes of John Mayall, Joe Walsh, Edgar Winter, C.J. Chenier, Kim Deal (The Pixies), Glen Campbell, Lucinda Williams, Nancy Wilson (Heart), Joe Bonamassa, John Doe (X), Michelle Shocked, and Devotchka.

Corne and lead singer, Nick Urata developed a friendship when Corne engineered parts of  DeVotchKa’s A Mad and Faithful Telling. Urata later tapped Corne to engineer several of his film scores, including Crazy Stupid Love and I Love You Phillip Morris. Urata returned the favor, singing on two songs for Corne’s Kid Dynamite & the Common Man (“One of the year’s most dramatic debuts!” – Blurt Magazine), including “Trampolines” which played in an episode of HBO’s True Blood.

Sonically, Happy Songs for the Apocalypse is a vibrant production, brimming with horns, violins, tack piano, pedal steel, dulcimer, accordion, harmonica and Theremin. Emotionally it runs the gamut, one moment reveling in heartache “Take this Ashen Heart and sweep it to the wind. I know it will never beat again.” The next, flush with optimism: “I’ve got a notion that they can’t kill/There ain’t no potion/There ain’t no pill/Like a Locomotion, you can’t sit still on a wave.”

The album begins with “Mad World”, a slice of cosmic folk and the image of a world in cardiac arrest, “If we stumble, if we fall/find our backs against the wall/revolution of the world begins to stall.” Then, pivots with “Ridin’ with Lady Luck”, an alt blues rocker that features blues legend Walter Trout (John Lee Hooker, Canned Heat) on lead guitar, trading with Corne’s distorted harmonica. “Trail Full of Tears” sets a lush horn arrangement by Corne and David Ralicke (Dengue Fever, Beck) against a stark rhythm section, reminiscent of Tom Waits “In the Neighborhood”. In “Short Wave Preachers” Corne calls out politicians for their role in America’s growing corporatocracy, protesting “Joan of Arc doesn’t live here any more/just leaders looking for pay.”

Also featured on the album is former Bob Dylan/k.d. lang guitarist Freddy Koella on fiddle, My Morning Jacket keyboardist Bo Koster, Fitz & the Tantrums bassist Joe Karnes, multi instrumentalist Nick Luca (Calexico, Iron & Wine), Doug Pettibone (Lucinda Williams) on dobro, Skip Edwards (Dwight Yoakam) on keys and pedal steel, drummers Blair Sinta (Alanis Morissette, James Blunt) and Matt Tecu (Cat Power, Jakob Dylan) and two mainstays of Corne’s productions, guitarist Eamon Ryland and keyboardist Sasha Smith.

Some of the talented young artists Corne is working with at Forty Below Records include breakout country artists Jaime Wyatt and Sam Morrow.

A prolific songwriter, Corne has written songs with Walter Trout, Sam Morrow and Karen Lovely, writing the majority of her critically acclaimed album Fish Outta Water, including the chart topping title track.

In 2014, Corne signed classic rock luminary and Blues Hall of Fame member John Mayall to Forty Below Records, producing three studio albums together and currently working on a fourth. In addition, Corne re-mastered and released two archive Bluesbreakers albums Live in 1967 Volumes I and II, which featured the original members of Fleetwood Mac.

With several new productions in the works, Corne doesn’t expect to tour extensively but he does plan to play some select dates over the next year.

Marcia Is having a Ball and Shining Bright

For the 15th album of her illustrious career, Marcia Ball enlists Steve Berlin (Los Lobos) to handle the production, and one listen proves that was a wise decision. Recorded in Austin and at the legendary Dockside Studio in Maurice, Louisiana, Shine Bright finds Marcia being backed by different bands—each providing a touch of the local flavor of their respective cities. The album features nine originals and three covers (Ernie K-Doe, Ray Charles and Jesse Winchester). From the opening moments of the funky, groove-laden title track “Shine Bright,” a song that manages to tie together Ken Kesey and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, you know you could only be listening to Marcia Ball. Like a great roux, one that takes time, care and attention to create, Marcia Ball, over the course of 50 years as a professional musician, has developed a style that, while imitated, is uniquely hers. Whether it’s Texas Roadhouse Blues or the boogie-woogie barrelhouse sounds of legendary New Orleans piano players, it’s all stirred up and presented in a soulful and classy, yet down home and funky manner. And while Marcia’s musicianship and delivery are second to none, she has become quite the songwriter, one who is not afraid to tackle the difficult issues that we face today. However, the message is often delivered on top of such wonderfully infectious grooves that even heavy topics provide opportunities to feel good and dance. If you are doubtful then check out “Pots And Pans.” “They Don’t Make ’Em Like That” returns the listener to a simpler time; and while those times are gone, at least we are lucky enough to still have originals like Ball in this world full of built-in obsolescence. The sax work of Steve Berlin (baritone) and Eric Bernhardt (tenor) ebbs and flows with Ball’s piano and takes a wistful lyric and propels it into a feel-good dance party.

While Ball has certainly made a career of delivering infectious swampy dance grooves, don’t think for a second that she can’t still deliver soulful ballads and tender love songs. Ball’s road-weary vocal delivery on songs like “What Would I Do Without You” and “World Full Of Love” tends to lend an air of extra authenticity to each. On “I Got To Find Somebody” and “When The Mardi Gras Is Over,” Ball tackles quintessential New Orleans institutions like Ernie K-Doe and Mardi Gras with the confidence and swagger required. Of course, getting help from a backing band that features Roddie Romero (guitar), Eric Adcock (Hammond B-3), Lee Allen Zeno (bass), and Jermaine Prejean (percussion) paired with Berlin and Bernhardt on sax certainly helps to liven up the celebration. That same backing band is in full swing on “Once In A Lifetime Thing,” giving Romero and company a chance to shine as they lay down a swampy groove that is reminiscent of the classic swamp pop sounds of yesteryear.

Shine Bright closes out with Ball covering Jesse Winchester’s “Take A Little Louisiana.” This is a match made in heaven; and while Jesse is no longer with us, his spirit is certainly kept alive by performances like this. So take their advice and take a little Louisiana with you… and make sure to take a little Marcia too!

—Christopher Weddle

 

A career-defining album produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos.  Marcia is simply on fire throughout, with an exuberant array of piano-fueled roadhouse romps seasoned by incomparably soulful ballads.  Tracks include nine new Marcia originals, plus brilliant takes on the music of Ray Charles, Ernie K-Doe and Jesse Winchester.  Producer/saxophonist Berlin guests on five tracks.  “Rollicking, playful, good-time blues and intimate, reflective balladry…her songs ring with emotional depth” Rolling Stone

Perfection is not attainable, but “Ma Polaine’s Great Decline – The Outsider” gets close.

Described as “like a young Billie Holiday gate-crashing a Tom Waits Swordfishtrombones recording session”, blues and roots duo Ma Polaine’s Great Decline continue to build a reputation as an intriguing and hard to pigeon-hole act.

2016’s EP release Small Town Talk gained rave media reviews, building on 2015’s nomination as an emerging artist in the British Blues Awards, winning a Reveal Records emerging act competition, an international song-writing semi-final spot for Suffer It Well from 2013 EP of the same name. Throughout last year Ma Polaine’s Great Decline toured the country, taking in the finest of intimate venues and enjoyed a busy festival season, culminating with triumphant sets at Towersey Festival and Purbeck Valley Folk Festival.

From the start Beth Packer and Clinton Hough always sought to keep their song-writing influences open. A strong base of blues is there, with jazz and country also holding sway, original writing is the focus, with oddness, sparsity and a subtle quality that is their own. There is a freedom for Packer to explore her vocal qualities and lyric writing, creating tales of haunting beauty, veiled sorrow, and a darker image of happiness.

The live band has moved through several line-ups and have returned to their roots as a duo. Live Packer moves between double bass, accordion and harmonica, with Hough on electric or acoustic guitar, all accompanying Packer’s powerful yet sensitive vocal.

TME.fm Radio

99/100. This awesome album lost one point because “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”

Roots Music Report

“5 stars”, “Ma Polaine’s Great Decline once again generates a dark, highly seductive atmosphere part jazz, part cabaret; the potency of which is magnified by their minimalist approach”.

​​

Folk All

“Ma Polaine’s Great Decline inhabit that twilight zone between decadence and respectability but they never let you know in which camp they are going to plant their musical foot”.

Blues And Soul Magazine

“8/10”, “Crying out to be used on sound tracks. A very cinematic sound.. The icing on the cake is their vocalist. Stunning singer Beth Packer is someone to get to know”.

Northern Sky Magazine

“4/5”, “an utterly compelling soundscape”.

 

ARKANSAS DAVE Releases self titled album today

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 McFarlaneClayton 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….

Photographer: Jaxology Studios

April 13 sees release of Kathy and the Kilowatts new album Premonition Of Love

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

 

BIOGRAPHY


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.

LINKS
Artist Website
Artist Facebook

Spotlight Album for the next Month is….

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.

Meg Williams EP. Maybe Someday added to playlist, Someday is today.

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

BIOGRAPHY

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.

 

Sue Foley – The Ice Queen

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.

—Peter Lindblad

Chris Smither – Call Me Lucky

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 – Baxter Hall Plays The Blues

Album Notes
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.