Writing articles about the blues exposes one to music that otherwise would never have been heard. Several releases for 2013 graced these writer’s ears and many were pretty damn good. Writing about the new generation of women blues artists exposed some really fine music. Sometimes publicists send samples via the good ol’ U.S. Mail. Others might send links to downloads. Anyway, letting others know about these tunes are the goal of this article. All are worthy of a listen. All of them have been added to this writer’s iPod.
Port City Prophets – Mule The Port City Prophets hail from the marshlands of South Carolina. Mule was recorded on James Island, South Carolina between the swamp and 1000 year old oaks. Mule is their debut album. It’s a recording that grabs your attention right away with its smoking pace. One will want to play it again once it ends. That’s how good it is. They refer to themselves as authentic low-country blues soul. It’s just really good music that needs no titles. Mule is this writer’s favorite from this batch of 2013 recordings. Mule is a guitar lover’s delight.
Joanne Shaw Taylor – Songs From the Road This girl rocks with soulful vocals. This live album makes a person want to go out and see her because of this recording. It brings back memories of some great blues rockin’ performers like the late great Rory Gallagher, Humble Pie and the late Alvin Lee with Ten Years After. This recording is good from start to finish. It’s another CD that you’ll want to start over when it ends. Good stuff. She could be the blues next big thing.
Randy Scott – Out of the Blue - Originally from Detroit, Randy took his dream to Hollywood. After not having any luck, he sold his gear and got a job with a software company. While waiting for friends, he wandered into a Guitar Center. While messing with a guitar the manager of the store liked what he was hearing and convinced Randy to enter their King of the Blues competition. He won the competition, beating out thousands of guitarists to be named Guitar Center’s 4th Annual King of the Blues.
The album is a blend of different sounds. It’s very smooth and polished. Playing with him on the record is bassist Larry Carlton and drummer Gary Novak from Robben Ford’s band. Keyboardist Jeff Babko played with Larry Carlton’s jazz group. Also featured is guitarist Albert Lee on “Mean Hearted Woman” and “Hell to Pay”. There are hints of Eric Johnson and not surprisingly Robben Ford. There are a couple of instrumentals. The title track is the best guitar rocker.
Howard Glazer – Stepchild of the Blues – Howard is another Detroit native, but he stayed at home instead of California dreaming. This is a blues guitar lover’s type of album. It’s a nice blend of blues and blues rock. Plenty of slide guitar a la Johnny Winter on songs “Cried All My Tears”, “Honey & Spice” and “Hurtful Feelings”. He gets a real nice sound out of his metal body resonator on “Gas Pump Blues”. Rockers include “Don’t Love You No More” and “Honey & Spice”. Some down and dirty Detroit blues on “Hurtful Feelings”, “Telephone Blues” and “Cried All My Tears”. Nice harp provided by longtime collaborator Harmonica Shah.
Jon Zeeman – Down On My Luck Jon grew up outside New York. He’s played and recorded with Susan Tedeschi, the Allman Brothers Band and Janis Ian. Released in June, “Down On My Luck” features ten original blues rocking tunes and one Johnny Winter cover, “I Love Everybody”. It’s his vocal debut. The opening track “You’re Right, I’m Wrong” grabs your attention right away with a nice clear blues guitar. “Hangman’s Bridge” and “Waitin’ For the Storm” show that playing with the Allman Brothers rubbed off on him in a good way. “So Bad” tips its hat to Stevie Ray Vaughan. “Money” has a Tinsley Ellis feel to it. Add it to your iPod.