Saturday, May 14, 2022

Bonham-Bullick - Bonham-Bullick

So it’s a covers album, innit?
Well yeah, that’s true.  This outing by singer Deborah Bonham (sister of you-know-who) and guitarist Pete Bullick (who did the strumming for Paul Rodgers on his Free Spirit tour and album), does consist of 13 cover versions, of varying vintages.  What it isn’t, though, is a collection of everyday favourites drawn from the Great Blues-Rock Songbook, given the same old, same old treatment.  No, this is something with a much more distinctive flavour than its prosaic title would suggest.
Okay, so there's the familiar Albert King toon, ‘Can’t You See What You’re Doing To Me’, delivered in funky blues fashion, on which all and sundry swing with abandon around Richard Newman’s perfectly behind-the-beat drums, while Bonham's soulful vocal makes it clear that
Sepia-toned imagination from Pete Bullick and Deborah Bonham
she knows this kinda stuff inside out.  But the rest of the album finds them venturing, mostly, into more adventurous territory.
One of the highlights of the album, for example, is ‘Bleeding Muddy Water’, a song by the late Mark Lanegan, who is not someone I’ve ever really followed.  And it’s a lurking, mysterious thing, with distant echoes of ‘No Quarter’ in its dappling keyboard theme, but otherwise a low-down sound all of its own, with Bonham asserting that “You’re the bullet, I’m the gun”, and Bullick delivering a searing solo that’s positively Kossoffian in its use of sustain, before an outro that combines that recurring keyboard motif with moaning, overdubbed vocals and more haunting guitar.
This vibe is very much in keeping with both the opening ‘See You Again’ and the closing ‘The Changeling’.  ‘See You Again’ opens with spooky guitar and pattering percussion, while Bonham demonstrates that Sari Schorr is by no means the only female around these days who can deliver a brooding vocal.  It’s seven minutes’ worth, but builds in intensity with some soaring and swooping guitar from Bullick, and speckles of programmed synth.  ‘The Changeling’ comes over like late period Robert Plant going a bit Americana, atmospherically minimalist in form with halting drums and bass from Marco Giovino and Ian Rowley, ghostly pedal steel from BJ Cole, and a slow, intense Bullick solo.  There’s more in a similar vein along the way, with the likes of the restrained and reflective ‘Trouble Blues’, which showcases Bonham’s voice very nicely indeed, and the ominous ‘When The World Comes To An End’.  And there’s a similar intensity to the Hayes and Porter composition ‘I Had A Dream’, but in a more straightforward blues ballad form, which may not be as overwrought as Zep’s ‘Since I Been Loving You’, but carries more heft than Johnnie Taylor’s original soul reading, good as that is.
Other highlights include the suppressed soul of OV Wright’s ‘I Don’t Know Why’, on which Paul Brown (aka Brother Paul of The Waterboys) revs up his Hammond organ to provide another gear, though it still feels like it could do with another dimension.  Stephen Stills’ ‘Sit Yourself Down’ offers up some quality pop-rock, with urgency provided by the clattering drums, thrumming bass and helter-skelter guitar, ahead of a false ending and a coda driven by more Hammond from Brown.  Meanwhile shimmers of piano introduce the slow ballad ‘Why It Don’t Come Easy’, and the piano continues to be to the fore as it develops into a big, dramatic affair, counterpointing crashing waves of drums with chocolate box piano and sounding like a downbeat Elles Bailey moment – or perhaps more likely, Bailey’s forerunner Elkie Brooks.
When you get down to it, 14 tracks (including the radio edit of ‘See You Again’) and 65 minutes is too much, with a couple of lesser tracks applying the brakes along the way.  All the same, Deborah Bonham and Pete Bullick have assembled an enjoyably different and eclectic collection here. So yeah, Bonham-Bullick is a covers album Jim, but not as we normally know it, and credit is due for its vision and imagination.  
 
Bonham-Bullick is out now on Quarto Valley Records.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Ian Siegal - Stone By Stone

A maverick.  A troubadour.  A curator.  A provocateur.  Ian Siegal is all of these things and more.  While he’s ostensibly a blues artist – and he’d probably refute that label – every album he delivers is capable of stirring the pot and producing new twists on classic recipes.  So what’s he up to this time?
Well, Stone By Stone has a stripped back vibe similar to his Picnic Sessions album, but with some new prime accomplices in the form of Robin Davey and Greta Valenti.  It’s also like two mini-albums folded together – a batch of downbeat, man-and-guitar focused material on the one
Ian Siegal - never blows smoke up your ass
Pic by Rob Blackham
hand, and a clutch of brighter, more percussive tracks on the other.
The album opens in the latter mode, with the clapping, clanking, clunking gospel-derived ‘Working On A Building’, with elasticated bass from Davey contributing to a juke joint rhythm while Siegal is joined at the mic by Jimmie Wood and JJ Holiday, who respectively add harp and guitar to the mix – in Holiday’s case including a delightfully scratchy solo.  It runs to six minutes, and is worth every second.  The gospel thread then continues with the Sam Cooke-meets-civil-rights-anthem soul of ‘Hand In Hand’, a chirpily positive affair on which Siegal duets with Shemekia Copeland, the latter on top form and sounding particularly carefree.  It edges towards New Orleans along the way, with Davey making his slide guitar sound like toots of trumpet around some gorgeous harmonizing from Siegal and Copeland.
This upbeat side peaks with ‘I’m The Shit’, a co-write by Siegal and frequent conspirator Jimbo Mathus that comes over like the theme for some gleefully lurid David Lynch movie.  It’s witty both musically and verbally, swings like a trapeze, and has a killer chorus that’ll drill its way into your brain for the day.  And between them Siegal and Davey get clever on guitar, to make like fiddle and mandolin adding some twirling accents towards the end.  There’s more fun too with ‘Monday Saw’, returning to the gospel feel with handclaps, footstomps, tambourine shakes and little else as backing for Siegal’s voice, as he tosses out shaken’n’stirred biblical images about “Mary Magdalen wearing a little cocktail dress”, and “The devil with five aces, smiling on both faces”.
Meantime the album’s more reflective aspect begins with ‘The Fear’, a slice of acoustic Americana redolent of Johnny Cash’s American Recordings.  “The last time you were wasted brother, did you even taste it going down,” asks Siegal in a low-pitched vocal, receiving complementary toots of harp from Jimmie Wood, before progressing into an exhortation to “let love be the guiding light”.  ‘Psycho’ is a macabre tale of brooding violence dating back to the 60s, given a suitably claustrophobic treatment that combines faint guitar strumming, plonking bass, and Siegal’s magnetic, close-up crooning.  And ‘KK’s Blues’ is a collaboration with Mathus that sets the sad tale of a girl who won’t dance to country anymore to a sweet, irresistible melody and a lilting acoustic guitar motif.
For me the balance of the album leans a tad too far in the direction of this sombre side, but there’s still no arguing with the quality of songs like ‘Gathering Deep’, an elegiac ballad featuring Mathus supplying mandolin and vocal harmonies, or the rolling, two-guitar-weaving ‘This Heart’, with echoes of Springsteen á la Nebraska.  And ‘Onwards And Upwards’ is a worthy curtain call, just Siegal and his guitar in Townes Van Zandt mode.  Along the way though, ‘Holler’ injects more rhythm and grit into the minimalism – a pure country blues with acoustic guitar that’s both glittering and percussive, while Siegal’s voice well and truly lives up to the title.
Ian Siegal is a character, who can come over like a doesn’t-give-a-shit contrarian.  But his albums never go through the motions.  Stone By Stone is another outing that’s full of freshness and depth.  This is roots music for grown-ups.
 
Stone By Stone is out now on Grow Vision Records, and can be ordered here.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Robin Trower - No More Worlds To Conquer

Robin Trower does what Robin Trower does.
I could stop right there, and it would just about sum up No More Worlds To Conquer.  Just about.  There is a little more to be said though, so let’s get to it.
The opening ‘Ball Of Fire’ finds Trower twanging his way into a lean but sturdy riff, over behind-the-beat drums from Chris Taggart and his own supple bass lines.  There’s a catchy enough
Robin Trower cosies up to best friend
Pic by Rob Blackham
chorus, and some warped, wiry guitar soloing that’s typically-Trower.  And if you’re a dyed-in-the-wool fan of yer man then there’s plenty more of this kind of thing to keep you happy.  But for those of us who are, shall we say, less devoted listeners, there is an additional element to be considered.  Because on this platter Trower has recruited one Richard Watts to perform the vocal duties, and even if he’s not quite Jimmy Dewar (and to be fair, who is?) the soulful results are still waaay better than Trower’s own efforts on the likes of 2017 album Time And Emotion, which were passable at best.  This is a major plus point in my book.
The lack of dynamics through much of the album, on the other hand, becomes rather wearing.  'No More Worlds To Conquer' itself is up second, and it’s slow, languorous and one might even say minimalist.  Watts essays a patient vocal, and Trower nods heavily towards Hendrix – now there’s a novelty – from the ‘Hey Joe’ inflected intro to his restrained, wah-wah-ing solo.  It’s the languid pace though, that sets the tone for several tracks to follow.  There is not, as it were, a whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on.
There are faint traces of funk in ‘Deadly Kiss’, to go with snatches of falsetto from Watts and some sparks of originality in Trower’s guitar sound, with some tension and release added to the studied discordance.  ‘Losing You’ is a mite more sprightly, but otherwise is notable only for an angular guitar break.  Meanwhile ‘Waiting For The Rain To Fall’ features sparkles of guitar around a warmer, more inviting tune, then a fluid solo before it fizzles out.  There’s a fair bit of fizzling out in the course of No More Worlds To Conquer.
It's not until the eighth track, ‘Cloud Across The Sun’, that something more upbeat emerges to seriously vary the diet.  The funk quotient is turned up a bit on a semi-shuffle, around which Trower’s guitar stirs and probes, sparks and flickers with life.  The chorus has a decent hook too.
Two of the best tracks are saved till last.  ‘The Razor’s Edge’ may not be as vigorous or energetic as ‘Too Rolling Stoned’ of ‘Day Of The Eagle’, but it points in that direction all the same.  It’s muscular and spiky, with a stronger tune than many of the other tracks, with Watts at his most Dewar-esque as he nails the vocal, while Trower adds reverberating, prickly guitar fills.  And the closing ‘I Will Always Be Your Shelter’ shows just what a slowie can be.  It’s a soulful lullaby of a song, well delivered by Watts, that draws the listener in effortlessly, while Trower serves up his most emotive solo of the whole album.  Beautiful stuff.
So yes, there are some good moments along the way here.  But the discerning reader will have recognised that I don’t go a bundle on Trower’s go-to modus operandi of rather torpid six-string exploration.  The mournful collage of ‘Fire To Ashes’, for instance, put me in mind of a radio interview with Michael Schenker, in which he kept banging on about “artistic expression through playing electric lead guitar”.  Me, I’d like a bit more snap, crackle and pop for Richard Watts to get his vocal teeth into.  But if Robin Trower doing what Robin Trower does floats your boat, then No More Worlds To Conquer should be just the ticket.
 
No More Worlds To Conquer is out now on Provogue Records, and can be ordered here.
 
Note – Incidentally, for anyone who’s wondering, the title of the album comes from a misquotation about Alexander The Great in the movie Die Hard, of all places.  Further illumination can be found here.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Gimme 5 - Robert Jon Burrison of Robert Jon & The Wreck hits the Blues Enthused jukebox

Robert Jon Burrison is lead singer and guitarist with Californian roots rockers Robert Jon & The Wreck, who head out on their latest British tour on 9 May.  So here he is occupying the Gimme 5 hotseat to share 5 songs that have been on his radar lately; 5 artists who have been a key influence on his music.  Get ready for a real smorgasbord of stuff ranging from Southern rock to modern soul for us to sample - play that funky music, Robert Jon!

Gimme 5 songs, old or new, that have been on your radar recently.  [Check out the links to listen to all Robert Jon’s selections.]
 
Let Me Ride by Allman Brothers Band:  "The Allmans album Seven Turns has been on heavy
Robert Jon & The Wreck get ready to hit the road
Pic by Robby Boyd
rotation for me lately,but the song from it that I keep coming back to is Let Me Ride. It has an amazing groove and a chorus that sticks in your head all day long.
 
Shooting Stars by Rival Sons:  “Rival Sons has been on repeat since my son was born earlier this year.  I liked this song before but every time it’s played my son calms down and goes to sleep.  He seems to like it even more than I do.  He’s in charge so it's played in my house almost everyday!”
 
Cumberland Gap by Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit:  “Jason writes everything you need in a song.  It has energy, it has the groove, and it’s such a great chorus that you can't help but sing.  I love Jason Isbell's song writing and tend to listen through his records pretty often.
 
Leave the Door Open by Silk Sonic:  “Silk Sonic is Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak's new group.  It has the throw-back sound of 70s soul with two of the heaviest hitters in the industry right now. It also helps that my wife seems to always throw it on whenever she gets a chance.
 
Drugs by Anderson East:  “It's one of Anderson’s newer songs.  I'm still very much into his older stuff but for some reason when the bass-line starts and it comes on my Alexa or Spotify, I never skip it.  This track has a great feel and just makes ya want to dance. 
 
 
Gimme 5 artists or bands who have had a big influence on your work.
 
Amos Lee:  “There's something about his body of work and craftsmanship in his songs that makes him at the top of my list. I still listen to him almost daily.  I really love his voice and what
Rock'n'roll influencers Aerosmith growing old disgracefully
he does with it.”  [Must admit I wasn't familiar with Amos Lee, so if you're in the same boat here's his song 'Worry No More', from his recent album Dreamland.]
 
The Black Crowes:  “They have such a solid body of work that stretches through so many genres.  I love that kind of diversity. The groove and feel to the songs just puts you in that right place that makes you want to recreate in your own way.
 
Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats:  “Their recordings are amazing but their live show has blown me away. The songs are simple and heartfelt, but at the same time have the such great big production. The horns and arrangements make for such great tracks.  It's hard to let these songs pass by without being a heavy influence.
 
Ray LaMontagne:  “Similar to Amos I listen to a lot of singer/songwriters.  What Ray does when he delivers his songs is mesmerizing.  You feel the connection to him immediately.  He's written some of the greatest songs that have ever been written, which is why he is such a large influence on my songwriting.
 
Aerosmith:  “Straight up Rock'n'Roll. They got the swag, they got the songs, and they’ve got the talent to boot.  I've been a fan since I was young and I feel like everyone needs that straight up rock n roll sometimes. Whether they know it or not.

Gimme 5 guests you’d love to invite to your ideal long lunch.
 
Uber-chilled Willie Nelson - would he get on with Gordon Ramsay?
Dave Grohl:  “Because it's Dave Grohl Who wouldn't want to have lunch with him?”
 
Will Ferrell:  “Because he's hilarious and you need the comic relief to keep a lunch party moving along.”
 
Gordon Ramsey:  “If we were to have lunch, I'd like to hear what Gordon Ramsay has to say about the meal that we are eating in person. It would make for an easy ice breaker I'm sure.
 
Zac Brown “Because I feel like we'd just get along. I don't know that to be true but I just have this feeling we would and if we didn't I'd take my chances with inviting . . .”
 
Willie Nelson:  “’Cause I don't know anyone that wouldn't get along with Willie Nelson!”
 
Just one track – pick one of your tracks that you’d share with a new listener to introduce your music.
 
“I’d go for ‘Waiting for Your Man’.  Its our brand new single. It's heavy hitting and features exactly what we do and who we are.




Check out the Blues Enthused review of the band's latest album, Shine A Light On Me Brother, here.

Robert Jon & The Wreck tour the UK from 9-20 May, tickets available here - details of all dates shown below.





Sunday, April 24, 2022

Matt Pearce & The Mutiny - The Soul Food Store

Where to begin?  I know – Julia Roberts.  Remember that scene in Pretty Woman where Julia comments on the length of her legs, and tells Richard Gere that she’s providing “88 inches of therapy wrapped around you for the bargain price of three thousand dollars”?  Well, I don’t suppose Matt Pearce has Jools' pins, but The Soul Food Store provides 56 minutes of musical pleasure for the bargain price of eleven quid.
Gotta Get Home, the attention-grabbing 2019 debut album from Matt Pearce & The Mutiny, was a Stevie Wonder-tinged chunk of funky rock, and The Soul Food Store picks up where that left
Matt Pearce, floored by positive Blues Enthused review
Pic by Tina K
off, as opener ‘Got A Thing Going On’ bowls in with a funky, good-time groove, seamlessly melding together crunching guitar chords, thumping drums, bubbling bass and flaring horns.  It’s a hook-laden pleasure, topped off with a burst of wailing sax from Steve Beighton that gives way to a brief but scorching guitar break from Pearce.
So far so very good.  But while this was very much the sound of Gotta Get Home – and there’s more of it to come - Pearce and his crew pull some different rabbits from the hat this time around.  ‘All The Gods’ features another strong hook, but this time in the course of an epic-leaning slowie.  It's got a nagging guitar riff, fluttering keys, and some weighty guitar chords in the bridge, as a preface to a moody, thematic solo from Pearce.  ‘Promised Land’ has a toughened-up Latin vibe, with a neat and catchy staccato pre-chorus, and progresses through some skidding keys from Jon Moody into a fierily Santana-esque Pearce solo.  Then he gets a slide on his finger to deliver some swooning notes over simple piano chords on the intro to the Beatle-ish, guitar-weeping ‘Bring It All To Me’.  There’s a wistful chorus, soulful organ, and subtle, spot-on backing vox from Daliah Sherrington, and even as Pearce knocks out some Duane Allman-sweet slide breaks it remains all about the song.  Later on, too, there’s the delicious ballad ‘Beautiful Disguise’, which bridges the woozy late-night vibe of ‘Cry Me A River’ and the romance of ‘Sea Of Love’.  It’s an old-fashioned kinda thing, with strings courtesy of Richard Heacock, given a modern, glossy delivery, and with an exquisite, melodic guitar solo to boot.
Getting back to the booty-shaking fare though, ‘From Here To The Moon’ has a finger-popping, sax-smooching intro before bursting into vibrant life with a simple, chunky riff, another killer hook, and – underlining a clear Pearce forte - another course of serpentine slide playing as Kelpie McKenzie’s bass locks in the snapping drums of Joe Lazarus. It’s funky rock to be sure, but here and on the upbeat, driving ‘Never Get Away From Love’, with its tripping rhythm and spacy solo, there’s a distinctly British slant in evidence.  Hell, the punchy, strutting ‘Don’t Take It So Hard’ even down-shifts into an extended, razor-sharp guitar solo that melts into sax and vocal harmonising carrying echoes of ‘The Great Gig In The Sky’.  It’s a seven and a half minute noodle-free zone.
There’s a nu-soul side to the slinkiness of the chilled title track, mixing brittle-toned guitar and jazzy organ.  But the pace is hotter on ‘A Better Way’, with its handclaps and scuffling guitar riff, and if Matt Pearce demonstrates throughout that he knows the vocal vibe of stuff like this inside-out, with on-the-money phrasing, he’s still not shy about capitalising on Sherrington’s top-notch singing, which provide some smart counterpoint here.  And there’s more wiggling, wriggling funkiness on the album closer ‘King Of The World’, with its throbbing bass, popping snare.
Salutes and medals are due to all of Pearce’s Mutineers, an ensemble who are on it throughout, and sound like they’re having fun in the process, revved up and given clear direction by Pearce, who leads the whole enterprise with brio.  The Soul Food Store is music with a smile on its face, and it works an absolute treat.

The Soul Food Store is released on 29 April by Mutinear Records, and can be ordered here.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Black Pearl - Black Pearl

If two out of three ain’t bad, then three out of four must be pretty good, right?  Which I reckon is a pretty fair assessment of Black Pearl.  This new collaboration between singer and guitarist Marcus Malone, ex-Wishbone Ash guitarist Muddy Manninen, and songwriter/blues deejay/promoter Pete Feenstra scores on several fronts, namely Malone’s soulful vocals, Manninen’s arrangements and guitar, and Feenstra’s often intriguing lyrics.  What it could do
Marcus Malone rockin' the soul
with though, is stronger melodies on several songs.
When they get it right, as on the opening ‘Angel Town’ for example, and the recent single ‘Price
On Love’
, this is pretty tasty, sophisticated fare.  ‘Angel Town’ features weeping slide guitar from Manninen in the intro and beneath the chorus, while Malone does justice to an atmospheric tale of life in LA. It’s set to a steady tempo, and harmonised backing vocals build a semi-epic feel in readiness for Manninen’s sweeping solo.  Meanwhile ‘Price On Love’ is a dreamy reverie on love – as in you can’t put a price on it – that comes over like Hall & Oates, or maybe Toto having a stab at laid back funkiness.  Feenstra comes up with some decent lines, about being “one push short of a shove” and “dancing like a Roman candle”, and the chorus is sneakily earworm-like.
‘Cheap Perfume’ has a brighter tone, and sweeter slide fills, producing an AOR vibe that’s more tasteful than the lyrics about a less than elegant night on the town.  Malone is on the money vocally again – the soul dimension of the material is meat and drink to him – and Manninen comes up trumps with a twinkling, almost banjo-esque solo.  A cavalcade of intertwining guitar parts, variously rolling, stuttering and sparkling, create admirable depth on ‘Natural Light’ to go with robust drumming, matched by a satisfying melody that includes a decent hook.  And the rockier, funkier, quirkier ‘Luxury Girl’ conjures up a catchy arrangement,with a snappier rhythm section and some Morse Code guitar backing, even if the tune and lyrics are less ear-catching.
Smooth grooves and easy-going funkiness are the order of the day on a few other tracks where
Muddy Manninen contemplating guitar grooves
the melody could be stronger, like the drifting, loping ‘Delivery Man’, the dreamy ‘Handmade Pearl’ (adorned by more appealing slide commentary from Manninen), and the deeper groove of ‘She Knows Every Move’, with its cinematic lyric set to a slightly discordant melody enhanced by clinks and clanks of percussion and spells of eerie keys.
They get good with a couple of Latin-tinged outings.  The funky strut of ‘Mexican Romance’ leans towards the Eagles in rock mode, then benefits from a Latin touch to its chorus, before some jazzy twists and turns in the bridge lead the way into a swinging guitar solo.  And on the closing ‘With My Baby By My Side’ hints of Hispanic grow into the middle eight and then the twitching, funky solo, before a good, more purposefully Latin-rhythmed outro.  The slightly off-kilter melody is maybe meant to bring a surreal haze to the lyric about some born-to-run couple, and even if it doesn’t quite cut it, there’s still a convincing vibe – a true romance duo in their roof-down rag-top car, rolling down some Southern highway with the breeze in their hair.
Black Pearl feels like a bit of a throwback to the 70s and 80s at times, and if the past is another country then this album’s locale would be a California where Steely Dan are working on studio tans, and hot shot musos get together on sophisticated AOR grooves.  Sure, it could do with handful of livelier melodies and hooks, but there are always other ingredients in the mix to spice up this sunny, funky, literate platter.

Black Pearl is released by Redline Records, via Cadiz, on 22 April, and can be ordered here.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Gimme 5 - Troy Redfern does the Desert Island thing

Troy Redfern, who heads out on tour as special guest to When Rivers Meet from 21 April, is the latest guest for Blues Enthused's Gimme 5 feature, sharing 5 songs, old or new, that have been on his radar lately; 5 key influences on his music; and 5 people he'd like to hang out with for a long lunch.  And Troy dares to be different with an eclectic range of interesting selections.  So whaddya got for us, Troy?

Troy Redfern tunes up his Resonator in readiness to go on tour
Pic by Halek Gurer

Gimme 5 songs, old or new, that have been on your radar recently.  [Check out the links to hear all Troy's selections.]

'Taking Me Back' by Jack White:  "Jack White has always put out great records, but his lead single from his new album Fear of the Dawn really caught my ear. What I like about it is the combination of the old school garage vibe meets futuristic production." 

'Halfway Home' by Royston Langdon:  "Royston is one of my all-time favourite writers and vocalist, I absolutely loved his work with Spacehog. This single from his new Chains EP really hits the mark for me." 

'Scarlet Town' by Gillian Welch:  "The Harrow and the Harvest is such a beautiful album, the interplay between Gillian's vocals and Dave Rawlings guitar work is sublime. 'Scarlet Town' is as about as perfect as a song can be, stunning songcraft."

'Preaching Blues' by Son House:  "The newly released Forever On My Mind is astonishing in its primal beauty capturing Son in his later years. Son is the grandfather of the blues and was the guy that really made me want to play resonator guitar. 'Preaching Blues' is one of my favourite Son House tunes so it's great to hear this new version."

'Tension and Release' by Joe Satriani:  "Growing up Joe's albums Surfing With The Alien and The Extremist were on heavy rotation, I've always followed his releases. His new release The Elephants Of Mars is fantastic. Satriani continues to write amazing instrumentals with his unique voice on the guitar.

Gimme 5 artists or bands who have had a big influence on your work.

Son House:  "I discovered Son when I was about 14, it was a real turning point for me. Before then I'd been listening to later blues artists like Hendrix and Buddy Guy but getting back to the source was a revelation. His visceral, honest approach to the guitar really affected me, it really informed the mindset that I still have today every time I pick up the guitar."

Frank Zappa:  "Zappa's catalogue is whole musical universe unto itself.  From the early avant-
Cosmically colourful and complex Frank Zappa
garde, the blues influence, extended solos, beautifully complex compositions, and all executed with fierce originality. His music, from when I first heard it as a teenager has had a profound influence on me, and still does. It has everything that I love about music."

Queen:  "The very first band I got into when I was 6 was Queen. I would incessantly listen to A Night At The Opera and Sheer Heart Attack, loving the detail in the production. Brian May's guitar tones and harmonies are some of the best guitar parts ever recorded in my opinion." 

Mississippi Fred McDowell:  "Fred's slide guitar playing is as honest and raw as you can get.  I've always been a huge fan of hill country blues, it always felt more honest than the slick Chicago style. Fred's lead phrasing, touch and vibrato really speaks to me. There's a beauty in the rawness."

Bill Frisell:  "The sound scape, out of focus style of Bill Frisell is special. He's a master of weaving beautiful guitar melodies into a tapestry of unique textures and compositions. His approach really influenced me in the way you can build layers, especially using loops which I like to do live in my solo set."

Gimme 5 guests you’d love to invite to your ideal long lunch.

Graham Hancock:  "Graham's a British writer whose best-known work is Fingerprints of the Gods. It would be great to talk ancient civilisations with him, I've always loved the fascinating subject of early megolithic cultures and the strange anomalies that exist around the world, like
Bill Harkleroad shocked at lunch invite
that of Gobekli Tepe.

Jacques Vallée:  "Now that the once taboo subject of UFO's has had a paradigm shift with the recent Pentagon report delivered to Congress last year, it would be great to talk to one of the leading authorities on the subject. The case reports of military encounters since the 40s are mind-blowing."

Vinnie Colauita:  "Vinnie is one of my all-time favourite drummers. I'd love to talk polyrhythms and nested tuplets with him (nerd alert!), especially about his work during the years he spent working with Zappa." 

Gianni Russo:  "Now this guy has lived a life! His stories about his time with the mafia, his fling with Marilyn Monroe and singing lessons with Sinatra would be great to hear."

Bill Harkleroad:  "Bill played guitar for Captain Beefheart, I absolutely love his angular slide guitar playing. It would be ace to hear his stories of working under the iron fist of the good Captain and the process of constructing the parts for the Trout Mask Replica album.

Just one track – pick one of your tracks that you’d share with a new listener to introduce your music.

If I had to pick one track it would probably be 'Ghosts' from my 2021 album The Fire Cosmic.  It has all the elements that define my style.  


Check out the Blues Enthused review of The Fire Cosmic here.

Troy Redfern is special guest on When Rivers Meet's UK tour, which starts on 21 April.  Tickets are available from The Gig Cartel here.

If you want to read the Gimme 5 feature with When Rivers Meet's Aaron Bond, you can find it here.

If you want to listen to all of Troy Redfern's selected tracks at once, then check out the playlist on the Blues Enthused YouTube channel, here.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Gimme 5 - Aaron Bond of When Rivers Meet picks'n'mixes

Gimme 5 is the Blues Enthused feature in which guests name five songs that have got their attention lately; five key influences on their work; and five people they’d like to hang out with for a long lunch.  Today's guest is Aaron Bond of UK Blues Award-winning duo When Rivers Meet, who kick off their headline UK tour on 21 April, with support from Troy Redfern.  Let's go, Aaron!

Windswept and interesting When Rivers Meet
Pic by Rob Blackham
Gimme 5 songs, old or new, that have been on your radar recently.  [Check out the links to hear all Aaron's selections.
]
 
'Sleeping On The Blacktop' by Colter Wall:  "Love his stripped back contemporary style of an old bygone era of music. It is just great just absolutely love it."
 
'Waiting For Your Man' by Robert Jon & The Wreck:  "Robert John & The Wreck are a great band, and they create such a great sound, and they are contemporary and just love it, just awesome!"  Check out the Blues Enthused review of Robert Jon & The Wreck's latest album Shine A Light On Me Brother here.
 
'Ghosts' by Troy Redfern:  "Troy is a great guitarist and Troy is joining us on our April/May tour around the UK and we can’t wait to hear him and see his stuff. It will be awesome!"  'Ghosts' comes from Troy Redfern's latest album The Fire Cosmic, reviewed here.
 
'Royal Tea' by Joe Bonamassa:  "Joe Bonamassa is the godfather of modern blues and a real trailblazer, and someone to be respected and listened to. We learn a lot from Joe Bonamassa." 
 
'Bulletproof' by Samantha Fish:  "Samantha Fish is the queen of the cigar box guitar, absolutely love what she does. We went to see her a couple of years ago before lockdown in Norwich and we were absolutely blown away by her. Absolutely fantastic, highly recommend!"  'Bulletproof' comes from Samantha Fish's 2019 album Kill Or Be Kind, reviewed here.
 
Gimme 5 artists or bands who have had a big influence on your work.
John Lee Hooker:  "He got me into the blues music from an early age, love his style, love his voice, and love everything about John Lee Hooker. Just so thankful that I heard his track'Boom Boom Boom' because it literally got me into the blues."
John Lee Hooker - cool blue stole my heart


Led Zeppelin:  "They were the most iconic band of all time, ranging from plenty of unique styles. They are the go-to band for classic rock and blues." 
 
Bad Company:  "The reason Bad Company is so significant is because of Paul Rodgers. His voice is absolutely amazing he is arguably the best rock and blues singer of all time." 
 
Guns N’ Roses:  "In my opinion Guns N’ Roses are the best rock band of all time. They had every influence running through every part of their music." 
 
Cream:  "They are the kings of classic rock and blues, and we just love everything bout them, especially Eric Clapton’s blues licks. His guitar playing is spectacular."
 
Gimme 5 guests you’d love to hang out with for a long lunch.
 
Axel Rose:  "He is the driving force behind Guns N’ Roses. I bet he has got a million stories to tell about his life. He’s led an interesting life and continues to do so. I would love to hear some of his stories."
 
William Shatner:  "His stories would be absolutely amazing, from his stage days because he was a thespian in Canada. Then going on to the pioneering programme Star Trek which I am sure
William Shatner - "Mr Sulu, turn the amps up to 11!"
lots of people will know about - and the man that has gone into space at 90 years old. Oh my god, would love to hear some of William Shatner’s stories."
 
Sylvester Stallone:  "There is something about Sylvester Stallone you’ve got to love and respect. He is very truthful about where he comes from and what he’s done and what he’s accomplished. Yeah, he would be an amazing person to listen to." 
 
David Attenborough:  "I mean if you are going to have a table full of people that are going to tell stories, David Attenborough if you love history and wildlife and things like that and anything to do with the planet it’s got to be him. He would be amazing to listen to." 

Lee Evans:  "I don’t think you can have a table full of absolute all-stars without having probably the top comedian of all time Mr Lee Evans. He’d be absolutely hilarious and yeah, I think he would have everybody laughing for sure." 
 
And finally, just one track – pick one of your tracks that you’d share with a new listener to introduce your music.
 
'He’ll Drive You Crazy' is our latest single from our second album Saving Grace, of which we are really proud. It’s gritty, it’s rocky, I am playing cigar box and Grace is playing the violin and it embodies our rocky blues side. So yes, that would be the one I would suggest to anybody – 'He’ll Drive You Crazy'."  Check out the Blues Enthused review of Saving Grace here.




When Rivers Meet's UK tour with special guest Troy Redfern starts on 21 April.  Tickets are available from The Gig Cartel, here.

If you want to listen to all of Aaron's selected tracks at once, then check out the playlist on the Blues Enthused YouTube channel, here.

You can also read the Gimme 5 Q&A with WRM's tour guest Troy Redfern, here.