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Meg Williams album Take Me As I Am: The Muscle Shoals Sessions from Nola Blue Records released on Good Friday.

Now we know why it is called Good Friday, you all get a chance to get your copy of Take Me As I Am: The Muscle Shoals Sessions, we have had a digital copy for airplay a few weeks now and it is a cracker of a recording.

It’s a SHAME pure rocking blues will not be Song of the Month, doesn’t need that title to get lots of airplay. SHAME will not be played on a Spotlight Album of the Month, the album is already in the Spotlight.

WHAT ABOUT ME? sings Meg, “what about you?”asks our music director shrugging his shoulders. “calling me Baby will not get you made Artist of the Month“. Our music director is a hard man.

Don’t worry though because as you sing “TELL EVERYBODY” we will be telling everyone about Take Me As I Am: The Muscle Shoals Sessions every chance we get.

OK so we know what Meg and her album is not going to be? but what about a review? Now there is a problem, our highly paid reviewer has gone on holiday so the music director is writing one right now. While you wait watch the video below ok.

 

Well the Music Director is taking a lot of time with his review so our very own Program Director has copy/pasted the review provided by Meg’s PR company and written by Rick J Bowen.

Thanks to Betsie the Blind Raccoon for providing this time filler.

“Originally from the Finger Lakes of NY State, singer/songwriter/guitarist Meg Williams (now based in Nashville), has signed with Nola Blue Records for her debut full-length album, “Take Me As I Am: The Muscle Shoals Sessions.” Her 2017 EP, “Maybe Someday,” opened many doors for Williams, including the chance to compete in the 2019 International Blues Challenge (Memphis, TN), representing the Kentucky Blues Society, and become the house band director for the Women In Blues Showcase.
Williams, who draws instant comparisons to Susan Tedeschi and Bonnie Raitt, was obviously inspired during her sessions at FAME Recording Studios to take full advantage of the aesthetic of the space that gave birth to 100’s of hit records and is home to the world-renowned Swampers rhythm section, and its formula for rocking soul and R&B.

The sessions, produced by Meg and engineered by John Gifford Ill, has Williams backed by an all-star rhythm section including Will McFarlane on guitar, Bob Wray on bass, Clayton Ivey on keys and Justin Holder on drums. Also appearing are Dan Wecht on guitar/slide guitar and Sara Rogers on background vocals. The album is a collection of 12 original songs, penned by Williams alone or in collaboration with Nashville-based songwriters Claire Kelly, Scott Barrier, Chase Walker, Terry Goose Downing, and Jenny Teator, that includes new versions of ‘l Feel A Heartache Coming’ and ‘Little Bit Of The Devil’ from the EP.

The bump and grind blues ‘Come On Over To Me’ kicks open the set with greasy slide guitar and alluring vocals from Williams. But don’t be confused, this isn’t a soft-sell record as Williams dons her Gibson for the country-fired riff rocker ‘Tell Everybody,’ shouting out the chorus before throwing down hot lead guitar on the heavy-duty funk burner ‘Shame.’ The tale of a wild woman, ‘Little Bit Of The Devil,’ is revved up and refined into a tighter narrative showcasing the tasty chops of the rhythm section. Fellow Nashville transplant Chase Walker co-wrote the tome of hard luck and trouble ’Played By The Blues,’ a fine update of a familiar theme. While singer-songwriter Claire Kelly helped her write the optimistic love song ‘Sometimes I Need You Too’ that ramps up to a great jamming Allman Brothers vibe.

The title track is Williams declaration that she is in this for the long haul, and will be true to herself, as she sings about life, love and the choice to compete in the ruthless world of the music business. Some fine Hammond B3 from Clayton Ivey sweetens the easy groove of ‘What About Me?’ and the dynamic rocker ‘Can’t Keep Waiting On You,’ has a slow-burning intensity, while the full-blown soul rock blaster ‘I Feel A Heartache Coming,’ lets loose all the fury of Williams and the crew. Williams plays the femme fatale for the slinky ‘Make A Move’ and the album closes with a classic swinging blues ballad ‘Take A Chance On My Love,’ surrounding Williams’ sultry alto with Gospel flavored harmonies and soaring guitar from Will McFarlane.

With each track tinged with that Muscle Shoals Sound, “Take Me As I Am” exquisitely sets the stage for Meg Williams to become a rising star in the blues rock world.”

Quotation marks added by our Blues DJ, Dick.

Program Director is one finger typing so while he finishes off the review let us all read Meg’s Bio.

Meg Williams performs frequently at venues across the country with her band, Meg Williams Band, as a solo/duo act, and as a guitarist for other artists. She recently competed in the 2019 International Blues Challenge (Memphis, TN), representing the Kentucky Blues Society, and was the house band director for the Women in Blues Showcase. Meg has additionally performed main-stage at the 2018 Venice Blues Festival (Venice, FL), RedGorilla Music Festival (Austin, TX), Blues Radio International during the BMA’s (Memphis, TN), Knoxville’s WDVX Blue Plate Special, Tennessee Motorcycles & Music Revival Festival, & Loretta Lynn’s Ranch as an artist, and performed at Cheyenne Frontier Days & CMA Fest as a guitarist for other artists.  Meg’s newest blues-rock EP, ‘Maybe Someday,’ has been played on SiriusXM’s Bluesville and radio stations world-wide – ‘Maybe Someday’ reached #10 on the Top 50 Blues Rock Album charts and on the Roots Music Report, and #38 on the Top Blues Album charts. Often compared to Susan Tedeschi and Bonnie Raitt, Meg’s guitar playing has captured the attention of listeners throughout Nashville and increasingly the US. Meg just signed with Nola Blue Records and  released her full length album, recorded at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, AL, “Take Me As I Am: The Muscle Shoals Sessions” on April 19, 2019.

Well not much to gossip about in that biography was there.

 

Indie Music Women interview

Maybe some gossip here, thank you Indie Music Women. (click on the photo and you can read it, if you leave here don’t forget to come back for the review)

You back? Ok a few photos to look at and the review will be ready.

Ok not very big but Blind Raccoons don’t care.

 

So the review of Meg Williams album Take Me As I Am: The Muscle Shoals Sessions from Nola Blue Records is ready, are you?

 

“Splendiferous.”

Oh, there is a word you don’t see much in reviews never mind being a review! At least he tried.

 

Finally some links to Meg and that is it for another review post. See you all soon.

 

ARTIST LINKS

 

 

 

Hope no bias toward Blind Raccoon was noticed, if you did then that is your problem, they are only doing their job of promoting one of their artists.

 

No payment is received for using that image, just a way of saying thank you to Nola Blue for allowing the world to hear “Take Me As I Am: The Muscle Shoals Sessions”.

 

BLUES IN MY BLOOD the SPOTLIGHT ALBUM for MARCH from Tiffany Pollack & Eric Johanson.

TME.fm Radio

 

With rave reviews everywhere it was an easy choice this month.

Here is what Rick J Bowen wrote and we agree with every word.

“There is a long tradition of vocal duos in country and folk music, with groups like Sugarland and Shovels and Rope continuing to see success and popularity with the formula. Tiffany Pollack, an acclaimed New Orleans jazz singer, and Eric Johanson (performing courtesy of Whiskey Bayou Records), former lead guitarist for Cyril Neville, have teamed up to bring that winning tactic to the blues and roots world on their new album “Blues In My Blood.” Eleven tracks of original and select standards showcase the depth of each one’s talent with a new collaboration that is fresh and natural. The Louisiana natives, who each have been building a strong career, met when Pollack was reunited with her biological family at 25, and discovered they are cousins and third-generation members of a musical family with a rich history. After years of the cousins’ mothers pushing for them to work together, the duo project has come to fruition for a very personal family project in celebration of the blues.

The opening track ‘Blues In My Blood’ sets the stage for the passion play, recorded and produced in New Orleans by Grammy, Emmy, 4-time Telly and 2-time Global Music Award-winner Jack Miele at The Music Shed Studios. The roaring Southern Gothic blues tome recants Pollack’s life story and her journey to discover the true origin of her musical gifts and a desperate longing that that has haunted her soul from birth. The mournful tone of Johnny Sansone’s harmonica echoes the heartfelt vocal from Johanson on the lover’s lament ‘Memories To Forget.’ He then shows of his formidable slide guitar skills on the southern fried funk burner ‘Keep It Simple,’ sparing with Pollack’s scorching vocals. Life experience often makes for profound art as exemplified in the sorrowful tribute to a fallen soldier ‘Michael,’ delivered form the unique prospective of the undertaker, a role Pollack played while working in the mortuary business. Her vocals weave a spell on us that is only broken when the 504 Horns join the Jazz Funeral Procession in the New Orleans’ first-line tradition. The duo joins together on the chorus of the politically charged blues rocker ‘Diamonds On the Crown,’ followed by a lovely reading of a deep cut from The Rolling Stones’ album “Beggars Banquet,” the lilting country ballad ‘No Expectations.’

Pollack then bravely steps into the shoes of Nina Simone, paying tribute to the jazz legend by digging deep into the classic ‘Do I Move You?’ with sultry finesse. The introspective ‘Slave Of Tomorrow’ is a heady dish of southern jam rock and the gently swinging blues ‘Get Lost With Me’ has a classic Memphis style that features a searing solo from Johanson. Pollack soars on the cover of Joni Mitchell’s ‘River,’ staying true to the original, while adding just enough of her own fire to put her mark on the masterpiece. The album’s finale is a gospel-fueled reinvention of the freedom song ‘If I had A Hammer.’ The duo trade verses and slow the tempo to allow in-depth focus on each phrase and emphasize the importance and truth in the lyrics written by Pete Seeger in 1949 in support of the progressive movement.

This inspirational duo of Tiffany Pollack and Eric Johanson bring an indie, roots-based approach to the blues, both honoring and expanding the traditions they learned growing up in Louisiana. Their powerful songwriting is a gift that flows from the undeniable blues in their blood.”

BIOGRAPHY

Tiffany Ann Pollack was born and raised in the musical mecca of New Orleans, where she began singing as soon as she could talk. Although never receiving formal training, countless hours of her childhood and teens were spent at her parents’ old 70’s organ and later the out-of-tune piano they bought for her, writing songs by ear and singing very loudly. Her family’s annoyance never discouraged her from sharing the songs in her heart.

Tiffany had her first opportunity to perform professionally when neighbor Russell Batiste learned that she could sing and invited her to sing backup with his band Russell Batiste & Friends. After several years, Tiffany formed her own band called Beaucoup Crasseux with some of the members of Russell’s band. In addition, Pollack begin singing in many other bands including Ph Fred’s The Round Pegs and The Consortium of Genius. Beaucoup Crasseux ultimately fizzled, and Pollack entered mortuary school. In the ensuing years, she was married, had children and focused on her mortuary career. After the birth of her third child, Tiffany left the mortuary business to focus on music fulltime. She developed a strong passion for jazz and eventually formed her own jazz band, Tiffany Pollack and Co.

At age 25, Tiffany gained new appreciation of the music in her soul when she was reunited with her biological family. Adopted at birth, the pieces of her musical puzzle became clear. Her mother, Margaret, plays bass and sings in a jazz band. Tiffany’s half-brother makes electronic music. Margaret’s sister, Frances, sings in a jazz band (and is mother of blues artist Eric Johanson).  Frances and Margaret’s brothers are also performers.  Tiffany’s grandfather owned a piano store and played clarinet. Her grandmother was a cellist, pianist and opera singer.

Today, Tiffany performs regularly throughout New Orleans singing primarily jazz with The Dapper Dandies and her jazz band Tiffany Pollack & Co, as well as doing session vocals at The Music Shed Recording Studios in New Orleans.

New-Orleans based Eric Johanson was tearing up nightclub stages in Louisiana with his soulful blues guitar before he finished high school. He has toured across the US and internationally as lead guitarist for the legendary Cyril Neville, Grammy-winning Zydeco artist Terrance Simien, and performed onstage with Tab Benoit, JJ Grey & Mofro, Eric Lindell, Mike Zito, Anders Osborne, the Neville Brothers, and many more.

Recently signed to Whiskey Bayou Records, his debut album, “Burn It Down,” was produced and engineered by Tab Benoit. Following its release in October of 2017, Eric has been touring across the US supporting Benoit.

Josh Lief – “LOVE IN DISGUISE” Album with 8 new original songs coming 11/2/18

Album Notes
Josh Lief is singer-songwriter, guitar player based in Richmond, VA. Love In Disguise was recorded at Montrose Recording in Richmond, VA. Josh recorded Love In Disguise with the Josh Lief Band, that is playing gigs in Central Virginia and beyond. The Josh Lief Band includes Josh and the rhythm section of Debbie Flood on drums and Thomas Schoppe on bass. Both are veterans of several well known Richmond bands and Debbie has toured extensively as well as recorded with many artists. Debbie and Tommy are a great team and bring a solid yet exciting rhythm section to the upcoming album and live performances.

BIOGRAPHY

 Josh’s album “Redemption” was released in April, 2017. The album, recorded at Montrose Recording in Richmond, VA, contains 8 original songs, and is a mixture of Americana, Country-Rock and Blues and is available on CDBaby.com, Apple Music, Spotify, and other download services as well as in RVA at Plan 9 records.  The first single from the album, Five Forks Woods, got airplay on over 70 radio stations across the U.S. and is still in rotation on several stations.  

Josh recorded his second album in 2 years – “Love In Disguise” – that will be released on November 2, 2018.  The single Love In Disguise, including a live-action video was released 9/7/18. Also recorded at Montrose Recording in Richmond, VA, Josh recorded Love In Disguise with the Josh Lief Band.  Ben “Wolfe” White of the Trongone Band joined the band on keyboards on several of the tracks on Love In Disguise., and Wolfe and Andrew Trongone sang backup on one song (Andrew contributed some licks on one song as well).  The album contains 8 original tracks, and like Redemption, contains a wide range of music.  Love In Disguise has a more blues/rock sound to it but still contains some elements of Americana/Folk.

The Josh Lief Band plays gigs throughout Virginia and beyond The band includes Josh and the rhythm section of Debbie Flood on drums -www.dflooddrums.com – and Tommy Dacat on bass. Both are veterans of several well known Richmond bands and Debbie has toured extensively as well as recorded with many artists. Debbie and Tommy are a great team and bring a solid yet exciting rhythm section to the upcoming album and live performances.   In addition to band gigs, Josh plays solo acoustic shows on a regular basis.

Josh started playing guitar when he was 6 years old. His style is a mixture of the all the music he loved as a young musician. His influences started with his big three of Hendrix, Clapton, and Led Zeppelin. He also learned a lot of country style lead guitar from being a big Southern Rock fan as well as of the classic country of Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings. He is also loves the music of Neil Young, the Allman Brothers and the Grateful Dead and they can be heard in his lead playing and writing. He can play a wide range of styles from rock to blues to country to folk and in his solo acoustic shows does just that.

Kara Grainger – Living With Your Ghost

“Talk about star power, a killer voice and guitar skills. She said to the band as much to the audience, “I think tonight, we’ll just play some blues.” Playing slide guitar, Grainger began with rootsy blues, her voice full-bodied with plenty of soul. There was clarity there too with that unmistakable bell tone mixed with grit. We were in for some serious musicianship with Kara Grainger. Her vocals packed a punch and she played monster guitar solos that had the crowd whooping andclapping. Nice to see a female musician kick some a** like that”. – Rock & Blues Muse

“But the highlight of the opening set will be Aussie soul slinger Kara Grainger who is known for her groove-rooted sound and mean slide guitar; her sultry vocal melting hearts and minds, a true delight to see”. Zaki Zufri, Insing.com

 

Her music career began in a small suburban town of Sydney Australia and since then  has taken her on an incredible journey throughout the globe.  Combining tasteful blues and slide guitar, soulful vocals and a heartfelt approach to songwriting,  Kara’s  truly unique sound will leave you  uplifted, inspired and always wanting more.

At the age of 16 Kara joined with her brother Mitch Grainger to form the band “Papa Lips”. The band toured consistently throughout Australia and produced two studio albums that received national air play.

The band was heavily influenced by the sounds of Stax recording in Memphis, and by the Funky style of blues and soul that derived from New Orleans.

In 2008 Kara signed to Australian label “Craving Records” and was invited to the US by producer David Kalish where she recorded her debut solo album. The recording entitled “Grand and Green River” received critical acclaim and remained in the top 30 of the Americana Charts for 38 straight weeks.

Since then Kara has made two further albums whilst residing in the US. In 2011 “LA Blues” was recorded live at Studio City Sound. The cd paid tribute to some of Kara’s earliest blues inspirations and in 2013 kara recorded and released”Shiver and Sigh” through Los Angeles record label “Eclecto Groove.” The album was produced by grammy award winning producer David Z with some of LA’s finest musicians, including Mike Finnigan, Hutch Hutchinson, James Gadson and Kirk Fletcher among others.

Recently Kara was invited to play in North east India by the Himalayan Blues Foundation. Her performance at the “18 degrees cultural Festival” introduced the local community in Shillong to roots and blues music for the very first time.

She has traveled to Indonesia several times to perform at the the Jakarta International Blues Festival, performing together with her US band and also as a special guest with “The Jakarta all Women Blues Review”.

In 2011 she toured Japan with “The Swampers and Donnie Fritts”, the infamous house Rhythm section for “Fame Recordings” in Muscle Shoals…She has taken her band to Switzerland where she performed at the “Sierre Blues Festival” as well as “Lucerne”. The band has also toured in Belgium, Germany, France, Luxembourg and Spain..

In 2015 Kara performed at the “Beautiful swamp Festival” in Calais France and also to sell out crowds on her debut tour of the Uk. One of the highlights was perfoming at “Ronnie Scotts”, Londons premier blues and jazz venue.

In the US Kara has performed at several Festivals such as ‘The Portland Waterfront Blues Festival’, ‘Blues from the Top’ in Colorado and “Austin City Limits”. She has also opened the show for many extraordinary acts such as Peter Frampton, Buddy Guy,Taj Mahal and Jonny Lang, to name a few.

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ANTRY – Devil Don’t Care

Blues based Americana music with spiritual lyrics, soulful vocals and blazing guitar.
One of the pleasures of running a radio is the monthly package of cd’s from Blind Raccoon and last month was a treasure house.
Steve Antry has given the radio producers an album that is a delight to add to playlists, an eclectic mix that blends in so easily,ballads,blues rock,blues and gospel soul.
Devil Don’t Care the title track is there to please blues lovers.
Always With Me is a lovely americana type ballad.
How Far Down easily fits into any Southern rock playlist and is a showcase for Antrys voice.
Fishin’ is definitely not blues but a delightful folk song about father and son.
Prince Of Peace is a cover of a Leon Russell song and Steve puts his stamp on it very well.
Borrowed Angels country gospel? whatever its a cracker.
Devil Gone Fishin’ Blues with a gospel message.
Sending Me Angels slows the pace down but not the quality.
Get Up Delta blues and gives Shaun Murphy a great opportunity to show off with the backing vocals.
Jimmy Duncan’s Special Angel rounds off the album with Steves take on the famous rock song.
The musicians are terrific Greg Morrow on drums; Michael Rhodes on bass; Rob McNelley, Pat Buchanan, and Brent Mason on electric guitar; Dan Dugmore and Danny Rader on acoustic guitar; Dugmore also plays lap steel guitar; David Smith and Mike Rojas on piano, B3, and keys; Buchanan on harp; and Eric Darkken and Peter Carson on percussion.
OK the spiritual side of the album could put some listeners off but believe me it shouldn’t, if the Devil Don’t Care why should anyone else.
One of the surprises of the year so far,well done Mr. Antry, see you at #1 very soon.
Genre: Blues: Electric Blues
Release Date: 

Album Notes

“From the scorching guitar solo, as one is caught between the forces of good and evil, to the impeccable vocals of Steve Antry throughout this album; if one is not moved, then start searching for the answer why. The fond memories of a kid, to living in a far-from-perfect world, Antry reminds me of why God created man in the first place.” – Billy Austin Martin, Tulsa Blues Society.

Antry’s earliest jobs was working as a track laborer for the Frisco railroad in Tulsa. He was underage, but claimed to be 18 to get hired. This turned out to be his defining “Woody Guthrie moment”, as he describes it. While driving steel with much older gentlemen, with nicknames like ‘“Stokes” and “Bones” (who actually played the spoons), Antry became entranced by the music that was sung out in the country while repairing old railroad track. Everyone would sing along to the rhythm of the maul hitting a spike. That was Antry’s first unwitting exposure to the Blues, in its purest form. Now a singer songwriter, he remembers the circuitous path that got him to this moment. He grew up accomplished in sports, from wrestling and mixed martial arts to ice hockey, while getting his hands dirty doing just about anything manual. Then, as fate would have it, an unlikely mentor crossed his path.

In high school, when work, wrestling and the outdoors were occupying most of his free time, a buddy said to him “the girls in the church choir are pretty cute, we should go.” While attending his first rehearsal his voice caught the attention of the church Music Director, who happened to also be the Dean of Music at the University of Tulsa and Director of the Tulsa Opera. The director took him under his wing and became his music mentor, giving Antry free vocal training every Saturday for years. “I received more inspiration and life lessons from him than any sports coach I ever had,” says Antry of his inspirational classical voice teacher from whom he learned music theory and correct projection and breath control, while developing his three-octave range. Antry was offered a music scholarship from Dr. Sowell, but fate led him to a degree in finance, and a career building businesses and supporting a family. But he always sang, purely for the love of it, at weddings, memorial services and in Gospel choirs, which always brought back those railroad track gang memories of Stokes and Bones and the crazy rhythm of the spoons. “The Southern Gospel choirs are where I learned that presentation is as important as content. There was a lot of movement while singing, which was half the fun,” says Antry of those years.

He discovered the harmonica (and guitar) as an adult, but found he had a natural aptitude for the Blues Harp. He advanced his skills in short order by applying his vocal training to this new obsession; and now travels with a Seydel pouch of Hohner Special 20s everywhere he goes. He regrets never attempting to master the spoons like old Bones. Antry had the opportunity to fulfill his musical dreams and begin a second life with fire and gusto, when he partnered with Peter Carson in 2015 to produce his debut solo album, “Devil Don’t Care,” in Nashville, diving head long into the process of recording and writing his own music for the first time.

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GORDON MEIER BLUES EXPERIENCE

 

“Every musician is a product of their influences. It would be dishonest for me to deny the influence of B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Lightnin’ Hopkins and others however the two profound “game changers” were Freddie King and Magic Slim. A quote from B.B. or Muddy may come at any time in my performance, but the giants who take me to the gig and stand with me are Slim and Freddie. Freddie was an obsession of mine throughout the ’70s. I played all of his instrumentals as have many famous guitarists. In the late ’70s, I discovered another giant. While searching the record bins at a record store known for obscure recordings, I discovered Magic Slim and The Teardrops. This lead to a pilgrimage to Chicago in the hopes of finding Slim. The liner notes on the Austrian record label said that he was in Chicago and was relatively undiscovered. At the time, there was at least 50 blues clubs in Chicago cooking every night of the week. I only knew of two; B.L.U.E.S. on N. Halstead and The Checkerboard Lounge (owned at the time by Buddy Guy and Jr. Wells) in the South Side. There was no internet. If you wanted to find something, you had to search and ask…. a lot. So, my quest began to find Magic Slim. I drove to Chicago and went to B.L.U.E.S. on N. Halstead to ask about Slim’s whereabouts. When I got there, Magic Slim and The Teardrops were playing! It was packed so I couldn’t talk to Slim. The following night, I went to the only other club I knew of, The Checkerboard Lounge. I walked in and saw Slim sitting at the bar. I introduced myself and explained my shock and disbelief that I found him two nights in a row with no prior knowledge of his whereabouts. He looked at me and said “Well…that’s why they call me Magic Slim”. That began a friendship that lasted over 30 years until his passing in Feb. 2013. I became very close to Slim and his band and played with them many times through the years. John Primer was the last guitar player in Muddy’s band and when Muddy passed, John went with Slim.

In the 13 years that John spent with Slim, we also became good friends. One of my favorite tunes by John is covered on this album, “Stop Draggin’ That Chain Around”. Slim encouraged and inspired me to find my own voice in performing the blues. If there’s a moment while listening to this album that you find yourself tapping your feet or playing air guitar or drums, I’ve succeeded in bringing you Magic. Whether it was Magic Slim or Freddie King that lead to that moment, it’s clear to me that they are both responsible for the way I interpret my music and so I have named this album……..MAGIC KINGDOM. Hopefully, you will find this album inspirational in some way and together we can share these moments that help to keep the Blues Alive!” Gordon Meier

Jim Allchin

 

Fret board aficionados, tone junkies and fans of hot stove blues guitar will be glad to hear the return of Seattle guitarist Jim Allchin, who is preaching to the choir on his third album “Decisions.” The 14 tracks were recorded at the famed Blackbird Studio in Nashville by a production team led by Grammy winning producer, drummer and songwriter Tom Hambridge. The group of A list players involved also includes Michael Rhodes on Bass, Reese Wynans on piano and Hammond B3, Guitarists Pat Buchannan and Rob McNelly and the “Heart Attack Horns,” led by Bill Bergman and Lee Thornburg. If this wasn’t enough fire power Allchin and Hambridge recruited Niki Crawford, Wendy Moten, Seattle soul man Mycle Wastman and international blues super star Keb’ Mo’ to join in on vocals, rounding out the all-star team.
The core quartet opens the album on the rockin’ blues shuffle ‘Artificial Life,’ with Allchin extolling the turmoil and tribulations of the modern-day working man blues. The team then heads south of the border on a rollicking trip to ‘The Mexican End,’ an easy going four-on-the-floor groove with hot horns and lead guitar. Allchin then cranks up the volume for the heavy hitting track ‘Bad Decisions,’ featuring more molten fret work and organ from Wynans on one of several songs co-written by Hambridge. The mood mellows for the introspective ‘Healing Ground,’ with Allchin trading verses with Keb’ Mo’ speaking to the precious gift of life that surrounds us and the power of healing available to all, if we will only listen.

The house rockin’ shuffle ‘Blew Me Away’ features the “Heart Attack Horns,” who bolster Allchin’s guitar chops on a good old-fashioned song about falling in love at first sight. The piano driven ‘She Is It’ continues the theme as he testifies to the virtues of the love of his life during the easy pop ballad. The gang whip out all the Nashville cat tricks on the blazing boogie woogie instrumental ‘Just Plain Sick,’ trading hot licks like old pros. The barn-burning slow blues ‘Friends’ rolls out like a staple from the B.B King songbook, with Allchin delivering a sermon on trust and being wary of fair-weather toadies and sycophants. Allchin dons an acoustic guitar to emphasize his point and our need for peace and understanding delivered via the easy-going country blues of ‘You Might Be Wrong,’ celebrating our differences in a party atmosphere to sell an important life lesson. The second instrumental in this collection centers around soaring guitar melodies and intertwining harmonic lines that ebb and flow with emotion. The edgy ‘Don’t Care’ finds Allchin playing the role of a man done wrong and standing his ground while his guitar does most of the talking. He then digs deeper into the blues for the torch song ‘Stop Hurting Me,’ featuring dulcet piano from Wynans and a solo from Allchin that rips like Garry Moore. The tender tribute ‘My Father’s Eyes,’ will touch the heart of anyone who lost a parent at an early age and longs for them to know how much they are missed and still loved. The album closes with a third guitar-driven instrumental simply titled ‘Destiny,’ with Allchin pouring out the passion he feels for this magical instrument, through his fingertips.
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Jim Allchin describes the collection in the album notes as a study in the decisions we make in our life about identity, relationships, and “how to live life authentically.” Themes reflected in the lyrical content and in the choice of every note from his cerebral guitar work and soulful vocals. This is quite an album; the stuff dreams are made of.

TITLE
DECISIONS
LABEL
SANDY KEY MUSIC
RELEASE DATE
JUNE 16, 2017
LINKS
Artist Website
Artist Facebook

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