Monday, February 28, 2022

LP Kelly



The sound of LP Kelly comes broadly from the early days of American roots music: when bluesmen sang from front porches on hot afternoons; when swing bands played dances in speakeasies late into the night; when troubadours were tradesmen and not celebrities. From his base of operations in the Appalachian Mountain town of Blacksburg, VA, Kelly has worked tirelessly to encourage a renaissance in music that has a history and a place – not a watered-down Americana that could exist anywhere on the Internet, nor a rigid recreation of the past, but original music that demands the listener dig deeper to find its roots in geography and time. It’s original music that still sounds familiar. A couple of guitars, a banjo or two, a suitcase of harmonicas, and a whole lot of guts.

A child of a military family, LP Kelly (born Liam Patrick Kelly) got used to travel at an early age, and roots were something that other people had. Every few years, the family would pick up and move to another navy town in another part of the country, and the process of trying to blend in would start again. Learn how to talk like the locals talk. Pretend to be interested in their sports teams, their churches, their food. Listen a lot and don’t say too much. As an adult, old habits die hard. Kelly kept moving, became a musician, and tried on a dozen different roles. Irish musician, punk musician, folk singer, alt-country guitarist, sea shanty singer, etc. But in the old-time music of the mountains of Southwest Virginia, Kelly found something that he hadn’t seen before: a music inextricably tied to geography. Tunes that were played differently from one county to the next. Square dances that were called differently from one mountain to the next. With it came the realization that while you could travel and learn to play the music from a place, you weren’t really taking the music with you. You were just borrowing it for a while, and you needed to give it back eventually.

So LP Kelly fell in with The Jugbusters, a band with a twenty year history in the region, and for the first time in his life, he stayed in once place long enough to become a co-creator of a local tradition instead of just a borrower. The Jugbusters were an old-time mountain string band turned honky-tonk band, and played every tiny country dance hall in the central Appalachian mountains. They shared the stage with pig farmers; they shared the stage with two governors and Senators of the state of Virginia. As before, Kelly learned to listen hard and not say too much, learned to fit in and talk like the locals talk. But unlike before, he actually went native. In places like the Floyd Country Store where he had first gone to take photos as a tourist, now the tourists were taking photos of him. He learned to square dance, and then learned to call square dances. He learned to play fiddle, banjo, upright bass, and won ribbons at fiddlers conventions in each. He took pedal steel guitar lessons from the great Buddy Charleton, steel player for Ernest Tubb, Patsy Cline and Porter Wagoner (to name but a few).

When the Jugbusters finally folded due to the death of their fiddle player, LP Kelly formed The Streetsweepers and started writing new material. It wasn’t exactly old-time Appalachian music, nor honky-tonk country, nor western swing music, but it unmistakably came from all of those places, from all of those years spent playing in the dance halls of southwest Virginia. Elements of clawhammer banjo merged with elements of pedal steel guitar. Old-time mountain fiddling melded with honky-tonk piano and swing drum rhythms. A new music was born, but not born from nothing. It still belongs to a time and place, but it knows how it got there.

A veteran of other recording bands (The Jugbusters, The Don’t Tell Darlings), LP Kelly (formerly Old Man Kelly) released his first solo album, Songs, Stories, Shanties, and Shenanigans in 2013 and his second album, Off My Lawn, in 2016. The start of 2021 brings Love Songs For Loners, a new collection of ten original songs. In the intervening time, LP Kelly has made hundreds of public appearances at bars, festivals, swing dances, square dances, radio shows, house concerts, and on any other stage run by folks who understand that American music has both a past and a future, and that being there matters.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

John Mayall


For over 50 years, John Mayall has served as a pioneer of blues music, rightly earning him the title, "The Godfather of British Blues". In 2013, John signed with producer Eric Corne's label, Forty Below Records, and has since been experiencing a true artistic and career renaissance, including a Blues Hall of Fame induction in 2016.

On his latest single, "I'm as Good as Gone," The Godfather of British Blues serves up a deep and funky groove for a song about love on the outs. Written by Grammy winner Bobby Rush, the track features Americana legend Buddy Miller on lead baritone guitar with Mayall mixing it up on Hammond B3 organ. Also, on hand are Mayall’s dynamic Chicago rhythm section of Greg Rzab on bass guitar and Jay Davenport on drums, along with Austin’s Carolyn Wonderland on guitar. As with his last handful of albums, Mayall again shares production duties with Forty Below Founder Eric Corne who also handles engineering and mixing duties.  

The November 20th single release is set to coincide with John's 87th Birthday and will surely be a cause for celebration in the blues community and beyond. A full-length album is expected in 2021.

Mayall’s last release 2019’s “Nobody Told Me” boasted an impressive and diverse list of guest guitarists, all personal favorites of Mayall’s including Todd Rundgren, Little Steven Van Zandt of The E Street Band, Alex Lifeson from Rush, Joe Bonamassa, Larry McCray and Carolyn Wonderland who has since joined the band on tour. 

The album was recorded at The Foo Fighters’ Studio 606 on the same legendary Sound City Neve console his one-time protégés from Fleetwood Mac used to record parts of the best-selling Rumors album.

“This project has been a true labor of love for me and I can’t wait for people to hear the fireworks that took place,” beams Mayall. Nobody Told Me is an apt title for the blues icon who suffered a recent unexpected health scare shortly after recording the album. But, the seemingly ageless road dog, who famously takes no days off and carries his own gear on tour, has been given a clean bill of health and plans to return to his usual grueling touring schedule to support the release.

Mayall’s last release, 2018’s Three for the Road, features cuts drawn from two exuberant concerts recorded live in Germany in 2017. "Sounding like a man half his age, Three for the Road is a heady cocktail of originals and ‘favorites’.” - Goldmine Magazine. The title is a nod to the trio format featured on Mayall’s 2017 world tour, which includes longtime bassist Greg Rzab and drummer Jay Davenport.

In 2016 Mayall released Talk About That, which featured Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Joe Walsh on two tracks. People Magazine called the album “A master class in Blues” and American Songwriter praised it as “A brand new masterpiece from a man who has made masterpieces for decades.”

For Joe Walsh, playing on a session with one of his musical heroes also held a special place. “It has been a bucket-list item since 1970 to play with John Mayall,” he states. “John had a run of GREAT British guitarists (one after another) with his ‘Bluesbreakers’ albums, and that’s how many of us in the States became aware of them. Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Taylor - I studied them all for hours and became a much better guitarist as a result. The albums were legendary stuff and I have wanted to work with John for years and years, wondering what it would be like.”

The release of Talk About That came on the heels of Mayall's internationally-acclaimed, Find A Way To Care in 2015.“Listeners who value a diverse, lyrical taste and a heavy dollop of classic blues music” enjoyed Find a Way to Care, an album that “fulfilled on every level.” (Blues Rock Review), and A Special Life released in 2014. "I'd easily put this one among Mayall's best efforts - and that includes 'Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton,' 'A Hard Road' and 'Blues from Laurel Canyon!" (

In April 2015, John and Forty Below thrilled the blues world with the release of the historical Bluesbreakers album, Live In 1967, featuring the three original members of Fleetwood Mac: Peter Green, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood. "Sunken treasure doesn't get much better" (Classic Rock Magazine). Live in 1967 - Volume Two followed in 2016 and was hailed as a "welcome second helping" by Rolling Stone, and "essential listening" by Blues Music Magazine.
John Mayall was born on the 29th of November 1933 and grew up in a village not too far from Manchester, England. It was here as a teenager that he first became attracted to the jazz and blues 78s in his father's record collection. Initially it was all about guitarists such as Big Bill Broonzy, Brownie McGhee, Josh White and Leadbelly. However once he heard the sounds of boogie woogie piano giants Albert Ammons, Pete Johnson and Meade Lux Lewis, his desire to play in that style was all he could think of.

At the age of 14, when he went to Manchester's Junior School of Art, he had access to a piano for the first time and he began to learn the basics of this exciting music. He also found time to continue learning the guitar and, a couple of years later, the harmonica, inspired by Sonny Terry, Sonny Boy Williamson and Little Walter.

After his two years at art school, he joined the art department of a major department store while starting to build up his own record collection that was to be his source of inspiration. At age eighteen, when he was due for National Service, he spent three years in the Royal Engineers as an office clerk in the south of England and in Korea all the time playing whenever he got a chance. As no one seemed to be interested in this type of music, John felt pretty much of an outsider throughout his twenties up until 1962 when the news broke in the British music magazine Melody Maker that Alexis Korner and Cyril Davies had opened a club in Ealing devoted to blues music. After Britain's ten year traditional jazz boom had about run its course, a new generation was ready for something new. Out came the amplifiers, guitars and harmonicas and out came young enthusiasts from all over the country eager to form their own groups.

This was all the encouragement thirty-year old John needed and, giving up his graphic design job, he moved from Manchester to London and began putting musicians together under the banner of the Bluesbreakers. Although things were rough at first, the music quickly took off thanks to the popularity of the Rolling Stones, Georgie Fame, Manfred Mann, The Animals and Spencer Davis with a young Steve Winwood. John also backed blues greats, John Lee Hooker, T-Bone Walker, Eddie Boyd and Sonny Boy Williamson on their first English club tours.

After a couple of years and many personnel changes, Eric Clapton quit the Yardbirds and John quickly offered him the job as his new guitarist. Although John had previously released a couple of singles and a live LP for Decca, the now classic collaboration between Eric and John resulted in the all-time best-selling classic album, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers featuring Eric Clapton. However, by the time it was entering the charts, Clapton and bassist Jack Bruce had left to form Cream. So began a succession of future stars who would define their roots under John's leadership before leaving to form their own groups. Peter Green, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood became Fleetwood Mac. Andy Fraser formed Free, and Mick Taylor joined the Rolling Stones.

In 1969, with his popularity blossoming in the USA, John caused somewhat of a stir with the release of a drummer-less acoustic live album entitled The Turning Point, from which his song, "Room To Move" was destined to become a rock classic. Attracted by the West Coast climate and culture, John then made his permanent move from England to Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles and began forming bands with American musicians. Throughout the '70s, John became further revered for his many jazz/rock/blues innovations featuring such notable performers as Blue Mitchell, Red Holloway, Larry Taylor, and Harvey Mandel.

In 1982, motivated by nostalgia and fond memories, John decided to re-form the original Bluesbreakers. Mick Fleetwood was unavailable at the time so John hired drummer Colin Allen to join with John McVie and Mick Taylor for a couple of tours and a video concert film entitled Blues Alive. Featured greats were Albert King, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells and Etta James. By the time Mick and John had returned to their respective careers, public reaction had convinced John that he should honor his driving blues roots. In Los Angeles, he selected his choices for a new incarnation of the Bluesbreakers. Officially launched in 1984, it included future stars in their own right, guitarists Coco Montoya and Walter Trout.

Throughout the '80s and '90s, John's popularity went from strength to strength with a succession of dynamic albums such as Behind The Iron Curtain, Chicago Line, A Sense of Place, and the Grammy-nominated Wake Up Call that featured guest artists Buddy Guy, Mavis Staples, Albert Collins and Mick Taylor.

In 1993, Texas guitarist Buddy Whittington joined the Bluesbreakers and, for the next ten years, energized the band with his unique and fiery ideas. Making his recording debut on John’s Spinning Coin album, he proved to be more than equal to following in the footsteps of his illustrious predecessors. Other modern classics followed; Blues For the Lost Days and Padlock On The Blues, the latter featuring a rare collaboration with his close friend, John Lee Hooker. On Along For The Ride, John re-teamed with a number of his former mates, including Peter Green, Mick Taylor, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, as well as ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons, Steve Miller, Billy Preston, Steve Cropper, Otis Rush, Gary Moore and Jeff Healey. The younger generation was well represented by teenage guitar sensations Shannon Curfman and Jonny Lang. In 2002, Stories debuted the Billboard blues charts at #1.

At a 70th Birthday celebration in aid of UNICEF in Liverpool a concert was filmed, recorded and released as a DVD and double CD in December 2003. Along with the Bluesbreakers, it featured old friends Eric Clapton, Mick Taylor and Chris Barber. The BBC also aired an hour-long documentary on John's life and career entitled The Godfather of British Blues to coincide with the release of Road Dogs. In 2005, John was awarded an OBE on The Queen's Honours list. In the Spring of 2007, John Mayall's 56th album release, In The Palace Of The King, was an entire studio album that honored and paid tribute to the music of John’s long-time hero of the blues, Freddie King. All garnered great reviews, critical and popular acclaim and represented Mayall's ongoing mastery of the Blues and his continuing importance in contemporary music.

In addition, over the last ten years, John released live recordings on his own online label, Private Stash Records. (Some still available from his website They included Time Capsule (containing historic 1957-62 live tapes), UK Tour 2K, (from a 2000 British tour), Boogie Woogie Man, (a selection of solo performances), Cookin' Down Under, (a live DVD from Australia) and No Days Off, (another British live show) and a 3 volume CD set of live performances covering the years 1970 to 1998 entitled Historic Live Shows.

In October 2008, John Mayall made the decision to permanently retire the name "Bluesbreakers" and move on to make a brand new start. It was a sad occasion to say farewell to Buddy Whittington and the guys after twenty years of great music and camaraderie but things had reached another turning point. This caused quite a stir in blues circles and led to rumors about total retirement. Happily for the fans, early in 2009 Eagle Records called upon John to come up with a new album. Feeling much revived after a couple of months off the road, he put together a new band for the project.
A few years ago, Whittington had introduced John to a fellow Texas guitarist, Rocky Athas and he recalled how impressed he'd been at the time. Luckily he answered John 's call and was eager to come on board for the proposed album. With the need for a rhythm section of dynamic strength, Mayall turned to bassist Greg Rzab who recommended his fellow Chicagoan Jay Davenport on drums. Finally, the three guys were put together with keyboardist Tom Canning and within two days of meeting up in Los Angeles, the album Tough was in the can. It had taken all of three days in the studio and ever since its release, and a growing schedule of world tours, a new era was born. Soon after its release Canning left to pursue other projects.

A leaner four-piece line-up gave John more room to stretch out as an instrumentalist and the band's chemistry hit new heights. For the next seven years, John and the band continued to tour extensively throughout the world, and racked up their usual target of over a hundred shows per year. In 2010 a concert in London was filmed, and Live in London was released as a double CD and DVD through Private Stash.

After being invited to do a guest spot on Walter Trout's The Blues Came Calling album, John re-connected with engineer/producer Eric Corne  and was impressed enough that he asked him to record his next album, A Special Life. The album was released on Corne’s Forty Below Records in 2014 to rave reviews, followed by an extensive tour of North America, Europe, and The UK to celebrate John’s 80th birthday.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Ry Cooder



Ryland Peter "Ry" Cooder was born March 15, 1947. He is an American musician, songwriter, film score composer, record producer, and writer. He is a multi-instrumentalist but is best known for his slide guitar work, his interest in traditional music, and his collaborations with traditional musicians from many countries.

Cooder's solo work draws upon many genres. He has played with John Lee Hooker, Captain Beefheart, Gordon Lightfoot, Ali Farka Touré, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Neil Young, Randy Newman, Linda Ronstadt, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, David Lindley, The Chieftains, The Doobie Brothers, and Carla Olson and The Textones (on record and film). He formed the band Little Village, and produced the album Buena Vista Social Club (1997), which became a worldwide hit; Wim Wenders directed the documentary film of the same name (1999), which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2000.

Cooder was ranked at No. 8 on Rolling Stone magazine's 2003 list of "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time", while a 2010 list by Gibson Guitar Corporation placed him at No. 32. In 2011, he published a collection of short stories called Los Angeles Stories.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Rory Block


Rory Block may not see herself the way her fans, the music world, and the press view her career. But seminal Blues guitarist Robert Johnson’s grandson Greg Johnson says, “When I hear Rory Block’s music, it’s as if my grandfather is here all over again.” Rolling Stone Magazine credited her with recording “some of the most singular and affecting Country Blues anyone, man or woman, black or white, old or young, has cut in recent years."

In a career that has thus far produced 36 albums, six Blues Music Awards, and numerous world tours, Rory Block's fabled odyssey finds her at the absolute height of her talents, and at the top of the touring world, while at the same time living life as a music producer, author,  ordained minister (she refers to it as "Preaching the Blues"), a music producer, festival promoter, mother, wife and friend to thousands at her ChurchLIVE venue in rural Chatham, New York.

The Blues Foundation wrote “Today she is widely regarded as the top female interpreter and authority on traditional country blues worldwide." It can easily be said that she is the best acoustic blues artist performing today, having been nominated in January 2020 for the Blues Foundation’s prestigious Koko Taylor Award as Traditional Female Blues Artist, coming off a 2019 award for the Acoustic Artist of The Year.

Rory Block is the standard bearer for early American roots blues- a celebrated, multi award winning artist, and a songwriter whose originals ring with unadorned power and truth. Everything she performs becomes anointed, whether songs by legacy artists like Son House, Robert Johnson, or Bessie Smith. Asked how she finds the common denominator in the wide ranging styles and experiences she sings about, she responds “No matter what the outward circumstances, we all share in the same universal experiences, we’re all essentially rowing in the same boat, which is life. You can be an anointed painter. You can be an anointed writer or musician- it’s about doing what you love, and allowing a spirit to come through you that channels something bigger than you.” The New York Times called her playing “perfect, her singing otherworldly as she wrestles with ghosts, shadows and legends.” People Magazine said it simply, "If you like music steeped in tradition and genuine feeling, this is your woman."

The daughter of a Greenwich Village sandal maker and influential country fiddle player, she spent her childhood surrounded by the likes of John Sebastian, John Hammond and Maria Muldaur who frequented her dad’s Saturday afternoon jam sessions. Bob Dylan lived just a few doors from the Sandal Shop at the height of the folk music revival of the early ’60s. She remembers seeing the young Dylan visiting with her father and found inspiration in his unique artistic presence.

She cut her first album at age 12 backing her father on The Elektra String Band Project, a folk concept album featuring many of the dedicated musicians who were part of the folk revival of the 60's. At 14, blues guitarist Stefan Grossman introduced her to Delta blues giants Son House, Rev. Gary Davis, Mississippi John Hurt, Skip James, Mississippi Fred McDowell, and Bukka White, all of whom she would later honor with her Mentor Series of tribute recordings on Stony Plain.

After running away from home at age 15, she and Stefan hitch-hiked their way to the west coast, which boasted its own unique roots music scene. There she met Mississippi Fred McDowell and a host of other luminaries while continuing to build on the foundation of her own musical inspiration. She recalls playing Tommy Johnson's "Big Road Blues" on stage at the Jabberwoke Caffe in Berkeley, when someone in the audience jumped up and shouted "She plays like a man!" “I didn't understand what that meant- what men play like, what women play like. I didn't see divisions or categories, I didn't separate myself by age, gender, race, demographics or even centuries… those things felt irrelevant. The music and the passion was deeper than anything outward. I was inspired by the powerful forces around me when I was growing up, and that's how it happens.”

Back on the east coast she accompanied Stefan to the home of Rev. Gary Davis, where a handful of fortunate students, including David Bromberg, Roy Bookbinder and Woody Mann, showed up to take lessons. “I remember the warm lighting, the framed 'God bless this home' plaque on the wall, the doilies over the arms of the thread-bare chairs. He and Stefan would start the lesson. The Reverend would play at full speed and you had to leap in. He never stopped to explain, you just had to keep up. That was very typical of the way players learned from each other in the early days. They didn't have teaching videos- you were never going to be spoon-fed. You had to get really good at learning by watching and working hard.”

When her original song “Lovin' Whiskey” became a gold record in Holland, fans repeatedly thanked her for its message of surviving a relationship with an alcoholic, saying that the song had given them the strength to make it through and move on. It was then that she realized she was having an impact. And with this realization came an acceptance that she was not just someone who happened to sing and play guitar, but was uniquely driven by a mission to keep the old music alive, and to write songs about the most intense matters of survival and triumph- this, to her, became the essence of blues, and this is what has defined her musical journey.

Maybe it was the letter from a man who decided not to kill himself after hearing Lovin' Whiskey.

Maybe it was all the letters she received after her son Thiele's memorial album "House of Hearts."

Perhaps it was the moment Stevie Wonder played harmonica on "Gypsie Boy" while she stood next to him in the studio with tears rolling down her face.

Maybe it was when Mark Knopfler played a heart wrenching solo on Rory's song "Faithless World,"

Or when she and Bonnie Raitt played "Big Road Blues" together on stage.

Whatever the moments were, they collectively helped her to realize that she was having an effect on people, that the music that had saved her own life was universal and that she had an important mission to expand on its legacy. And gradually, she became too busy to recognize that she was becoming as iconic as her mentors – and as talented.

 Parcbench stated: "Rory Block is an interpreter par excellence... she has an uncanny ability to capture the essence of the original while letting her own artistry shine through. Her voice comes with its own, instantly identifiable survivor's rasp, and her guitar work is equally stunning. There is no doubt that someday there will be many a tribute album to the great Rory Block."

“There’s a real level of comfort I feel as I get more and more experienced, more mature, less insecure and more determined,” says Rory today. “I know what I’m doing. I’m still here, and I might as well stay the course and do it as fully and completely as possible. Now there’s a freedom in it. Perhaps there is a mantel of protection in the realness of blues itself. No matter what else happens or goes wrong around me, the music provides the life boat. I want to use this opportunity to do something of value for others. That right there is the essence of what I need in my life- to be of service. That’s why I’m here.”

Her latest CD, Prove It on Me, is the second in her Power Women of The Blues series that began with her 2018 release A Woman’s Soul: A Tribute to Bessie Smith. This recording is an important step forward. On it she finds a new more mature voice uniquely her own while paying homage to some of the groundbreaking blues women of a bygone era.

On Prove It on Me she erases the decades, breathing fresh life into Ma Rainey’s version of the title cut and Memphis Minnie’s “In My Girlish Days” interjecting them with both a sass and sensibility in a clarion call torn from today’s headlines. Plus, she introduces us to some women who got lost in the rewriting of a musical history that figuratively buried some of the best female singers of the ’20s and ’30s with: “He May Be Your Man”  by Helen Humes, who replaced Billie Holiday in the Count Basie Orchestra in 1938; the attitude dripping “If You’re A Viper” originally released by a Chicago singer known as The Viper Girl Rosetta Howard; and “I Shall Wear A Crown” by blind gospel singer Arizona Dranes.

"With this recording I decided to celebrate some of the great female artists who were not as well-known (with the obvious exception of Ma Rainey and Memphis Minnie). Women of that era were certainly not given support to leave home, children and families to hop a freight train and go from bar to bar,” explains Rory. “Society really would have frowned utterly on that, and women knew it. They didn’t have permission to go out there as much as men did. Their recorded material might have been left in the back of an archive somewhere, and perhaps not widely promoted as a result. Some of their recordings probably got swept under some rug somewhere, and many great women artists essentially disappeared. Still other voices did make it through, people like Big Mama Thornton, Rosetta Tharpe, Sippie Wallace, and some of the women who sang jazz like Ella Fitzgerald, and also gospel, like Mahalia Jackson. Knowing the above, my goal with Prove It On Me was to bring to light some of these great talents who for whatever reason did not become as famous.”

The surprise bonus on Prove It on Me is a Rory Block autobiographical original “Eagles,” with its lyric: My parents did not want me/They were just too young/Their lives and dreams were calling/Taking care of number one/So I grabbed a guitar/Touched the strings of steel/Never put it down,/the way it made me feel.

Sure to become a signature song with as much pathos as anything Willie Dixon ever wrote for Koko Taylor, it was the last number recorded, an afterthought that took on a life of its own. “It turned out to be a different tempo and chord progression than the original song I set out to record – in essence it was a whole other song, so I either had to abandon it or create something new. I was listening to it really loud in the studio, and all of a sudden, I got this hair raising feeling about what it needed to say. So I just started scribbling words, and singing. I wondered, ‘Is this as powerful as I think it is?’ I got swept away, and decided I had to write that song.”

Rory Block, today’s everywoman, finally recognized for what she’s grown to be, the premier voice of today’s acoustic blues guitar, renewing the promise of long forgotten blues women of the past and adding new energy that’s a piece of her heart. “My husband, Rob and I, we talk about it a lot. We jump into the car every day and listen to whatever we just recorded. That’s what gives us energy. That’s what gives us purpose. I think to myself if I’m ever not recording, there’s going to be some kind of dropout to my life. There’s going to be some kind of void. I always have to be surrounded with music to feel the energy I need to live. I mean, its energy, its spirituality. I live and breathe music.”

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Mark Lanegan

Mark William Lanegan (born November 25, 1964) died yesterday, he was an American singer-songwriter, author, and musician. First becoming prominent as the lead singer for early grunge band Screaming Trees, he was also known as a member of Queens of the Stone Age and The Gutter Twins. He released twelve solo studio albums, as well as three collaboration albums with Isobel Campbell and two with Duke Garwood. Lanegan was known for his baritone voice, which was described as being "as scratchy as a three-day beard yet as supple and pliable as moccasin leather."

Lanegan began his musical career in 1984 as the frontman of the psychedelic grunge band Screaming Trees, with whom he released seven studio albums and five EPs before their disbandment in 2000. During his time in the band, he also started a solo career and released his first solo studio album, The Winding Sheet, in 1990. He subsequently released a further ten solo albums, which received critical recognition but only moderate commercial success. Following the end of Screaming Trees, he became a frequent collaborator of Queens of the Stone Age and featured on their albums Rated R, Songs for the Deaf, Lullabies to Paralyze, Era Vulgaris, and ...Like Clockwork.

Lanegan also collaborated with various artists throughout his career. In the 1990s, he recorded an unreleased album of Lead Belly covers with Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, and joined Layne Staley of Alice in Chains and Mike McCready of Pearl Jam in the band Mad Season. He formed the alternative rock group The Gutter Twins with Greg Dulli of The Afghan Whigs in 2003. Between 2004 and 2011, he released three critically acclaimed albums of duets with Scottish singer Isobel Campbell of Belle and Sebastian. He also contributed to releases by Moby, Bomb the Bass, Soulsavers, Tinariwen, The Twilight Singers, Manic Street Preachers, and Unkle, among others.

Lanegan struggled with drug addiction and alcoholism throughout his life, but sustained sobriety for over a decade up until his death. Encouraged by his friend Anthony Bourdain, Lanegan released his first of two memoirs Sing Backwards and Weep in 2020, followed by Devil in a Coma, about his near-death experience with COVID-19, the following year.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Charlie Vitamine



The Charlie Vitamine Band (CVB) was founded Charlie Vitamine which devotes itself to the development of a rock'n'blues repertoire centered on personal compositions, therefore also to the production of a new CD + DVD box set. The time for the slightest concession, which ultimately brings nothing to anyone, is over. The CVB will not adapt (or no longer) to concert venues or fashions, but will therefore always perform in public if the group is welcome for its show. 

The organizers will therefore commit us well for our music because we do not know how to make music on order to adapt to a style that will not be ours (electric groovy-rock'n'blues). The strengths and specificities of the band: experience, sincerity, passion for groove and rock, the need and the pleasure of singing and playing, a very personal sound and style of guitar, and the specialty of the band: a style of sounds rather similar to sound paintings..., and without any concessions (take it or leave it...). the band works essentially in a passionate way, where the spirit of the music takes precedence even over the sounds... Charlie Vitamine has already had the chance to perform on the American continent (USA and Canada) and in more than 770 concerts in Europe with the release of more than 12 CDs or DVDs...

 More on





Tuesday, February 22, 2022

The Griswolds



 The Griswolds are an Australian two-piece indie rock band from Sydney, Australia.

The official music video for "Red Tuxedo" premiered on the VICE Noisey website on Valentine's Day (14 February), 2014. The band's song "Beware the Dog" is the first song vocalist Chris Whitehall and lead guitarist Daniel Duque-Perez wrote together. Whitehall described it as being "about losing someone we were really close with to heavy drug use. [... It's] about that journey – the good and the bad times."

In March 2015, the band confirmed that once they return to Australia, following their tour alongside Passion Pit, they were going to commence work on their second album.

The first single off their second album, Out of My Head, was released on 12 August 2016. High Times for Low Lives, was released on 11 November 2016.

In September 2016, the band was picked as Elvis Duran's Artist of the Month in the United States and was featured on NBC's Today show hosted by Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb and broadcast nationally where they performed live the single "Out of My Head".

On 30 August 2019, the band released Nice To Meet Ya!, the lead single off of their second EP and first release since 2016.

Steve Lukather


 Versatile musician, guitarist, vocalist, composer, producer and arranger Steve Lukather was born in Los Angeles on October 21 in 1957. Before his father bought him a guitar (a simple Kay acoustic) and a copy of Meet the Beatles at the age of seven, Luke started to play drums and keyboards. "I love keyboards, I write all my songs on keyboards except for the real obvious 'burn' tunes. I find it much easier, you have all these great synth sounds and you play a C chord and it's sounds like God, and you start thinking melodies as opposed to chops." (Lukather, 1986).

The guitar and the Beatles album changed the life of the young boy. "Just the sound of it overcame my whole soul, if you want to call it that. I knew that's what I wanted to do. I remember George Harrison played a solo in I saw her standing there and just the sound of the guitar bending and the reverb struck a nerve inside of me." (Lukather, 1993).

In the years following Lukather taught himself how to play the guitar. He hung out with older friends who showed him how to play and how to set the chords. At high school he met the Porcaro brothers who were a couple of years older than him. Jeff Porcaro and David Paich were already doing session stuff. "I was selftaught until about 15 and then I started taking lessons with (classical/jazz/country player) Jimmy Wyble. He taught me how to read and I took a lot of other classes, like orchestration. I wanted to learn. At that point i was really intrigued by the whole session thing. It wasn't something I wanted to do since I was a little kid. I didn't know anything about it until I was in high school. I always thought it was kind of cool to be able to play on all these great artists' records." (Lukather, 1993).

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Saturday, February 19, 2022

Kris Barras Band


One of the UK’s breakout artists over the last 18 months, the Kris Barras Band have had a whirlwind rise which has seen them sell out a string of dates across their biggest headline tour to date in October 2019.

The rise? Well, from the release of 2018’s ‘The Divine And Dirty’, there have been the A-list radio singles, sold out shows across every headline tour they have taken on, and played to an audience of 3 million on BBC Radio 2 on two occasions, which is extraordinary for a new artist. Barras has toured Europe as the frontman with the legendary Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) in Supersonic Blues Machine. Making history along the way, the Kris Barras Band are the only band to play 3 years in a row at Ramblin’ Man Fair, including 2019’s explosive main stage appearance.  They are also the only artist ever to have an unprecedented one in-one out performance at 2018’s Planet Rock Radio’s Rockstock Festival, where they returned in December 2019 to play the main stage.

The Devon-born Barras and his band have barely had the time to catch their breath, having a non-stop year that has seen them zig-zag the UK and Europe supporting the likes of Bon Jovi, Kentucky arena-rockers Black Stone Cherry, Beth Hart, The Magpie Salute (Rich Robinson of The Black Crowes), Joanne Shaw Taylor, John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, Walter Trout and Jonny Lang.

 They capped this off with a flood of critical praise and an ever-growing fervent fan base which contributes to them winning Planet Rock Radio’s prestigious 2019 ‘Best New Band’ Award. The rise has continued to propel the band further as 2019’s follow-up album ‘Light It Up’ crashed in the UK album charts at #49 announcing the band to a wider stage and with it, followed the flood of critical praise, sold out shows and highlights them as one of the most exciting artists in the UK at the moment. Kris also moonlight’s as a radio DJ, having hosted a regular slot on Planet Rock and currently presenting a show on Feedback Radio.


Friday, February 18, 2022

Marco Droetto



Marco Droetto sings and plays the four basic instruments : guitar, bass, keyboards, percussions.

From the beginning of his musical passion he has personally written arranged and produced all his music and has also collaborated with other artists and producers.

He presents his music , a music made by the heart of the artist for the spirit of the people.


Thursday, February 17, 2022

Brendan Kelly



In the face of adversity, some people just flourish by sheer determination!

At aged six, Brendan was the victim of a road traffic accident and was pronounced clinically dead. He had to be revived in hospital, but was left paralyzed and told he'd never walk again!Brendan saw this as a challenge and, after many years of surgeries and through his personal strength of character and sheer determination, Brendan proved the Doctors wrong.

Brendan always had a love for music, and at age twelve he could play three chords on his guitar. Then he began writing songs. He soon became 'The Entertainer' within his local area.This is Brendan's first venture into recording his own songs, and described the experience as "euphoric - like reliving my childhood"!

Since his first single release in 2017, Brendan has over two million video views. Winning many awards for his song writing in the UK & America. His first album of original music was released in 2019 “ Our Crusade “.

Brendan’s new single “ BROTHER “ November 2021

This song is based on the bond between brothers and the bond between friends growing up. Always having each other’s back, never running away from whatever was in front of us. Always being there for each other. As time goes by, even when life gives you a hard time, whether it be mental health, financial or family issues, we will always be there for each other.Giving advice and support to each other. It will get better for you and I will be right by your side until it does, “ As the song says “ “ Go out and live your life “


Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Madison Mueller


Madison Mueller's unique sound and style has captured the hearts of those that have been watching her grow online over the past 8 years, as well as those that catch her live shows, up-close and personal.
Madison grew up in the heart of Barrie, Ontario, which has been a hub for art and music for the past 15 years or more, which she has contributed to for most of her musical journey. Whether it be teaching piano and vocals for the past six years, playing at local bars and venues, or out busking downtown during the summer months, Madison is very involved in making her presence known locally. She has been working with a Canadian Co-Operative called OMCI for the past three years, learning, and now teaching the ins and outs of the music industry to aspiring musicians and artists. Her love for her community and those within it brought her to receiving the Emerging Artist Award at the Barrie Arts Awards in 2019.

Since 2016, Madison has been releasing music on all the major streaming platforms. Her first single, “Who Am I?” began to gain online and FM radio-play after it’s release, and since then she has been consistently putting out new music each year that has been receiving the same accolades and traction across many different countries around the world.

Since her first release, Madison has given her fans five other singles, several of which have been nominated for different independent award shows, and has also topped the charts on several online radio stations! Madison began gaining more of a presence in the industry when she began to travel to different places to propel her career forward! She attended Judy Stakee Songwriting Retreat in Nashville, Tennessee in 2017, and then in 2018 she was a feature performer at the Millenium Music Conference in Pennsylvania. One of her most influential trips was to the Josie Music Awards in Tennessee, coined as the largest independent awards show in the world. In 2018, she won Young Adult Artist of the Year, and in 2019 she took home Pop/Contemporary Rising Star of the Year. In 2019, she also attended the International Singer-Songwriter Awards in Atlanta, where she performed at the after show, and took home the award for International Female Rising Star of the Year; and in 2020 she won International Young Adult Artist of the Year, as well as the International Silver Music Video of the Year for her song “Exhale”! Her most recent trip to the United States was to record her song “Too Nice”, which was produced in Pennsylvania with Andrew Chervak from MIDNIGHT STUDIOS.

Madison’s newest release is a song called “Sweet Bitterness”, which was released April 28th, 2021. With this song, the desire to look at life the same way you would when you were a child is the most prominent source of inspiration. The hitting line in the song is “I wanna feel alive”, which encompasses the entire meaning of the song. The song was co-produced with Michael Jack, a very talented producer who has worked with artists such as Rush, The Trews, Hillary Duff, Bono, and many others. He has had singles charting on Billboard, and has received 25 Gold and Platinum Records. “Sweet Bitterness” also includes several other talented artists that have received national, and international awards over the past decades. The song has been nominated for "Song of the Year" at both The Josie Music Awards and The International Singer Songwriter Awards!

While she has garnered quite a bit of attention from these accomplishments, you wouldn’t expect it from the young artist. Her ability to remain genuine and humble throughout all her successes is some of what keeps people coming back to see what else the songwriter is achieving. Her music, with storytelling and vocals that remind people of Joni Mitchell, mixed with a modern pop/rock flare, appeal to many different groups of people. Her goal is to allow her audience the ability to relate and see themselves in her songs, no matter the age or demographic.

With a lively personality, ability to experiment, and talent for songwriting, Madison Mueller is an up and coming artist that you’ll want to keep your eyes on.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Tom LeClerc


 Tom LeClerc was born in Inverness, Florida 1982. Yet raised in the western foothills of Maine.
He aspired to be a singer-songwriter since the days of first picking up a guitar.
Although finding his place in music, all genres have helped to shape him today.
One thing was always clear, that of which a true connection between a man and his guitar.
This helping to bridge the gap between mere words evolving into song.
Always donating through the years his time & effort with other local musicians for families in need.
"The realist part of being a musician is bringing people together for a cause."

Monday, February 14, 2022

Gov’t Mule

Influenced by jazz, blues, and rock music, Gov’t Mule blends these styles into their own version of an improvisational power trio. Drummer Matt Abts, singer/guitarist Warren Haynes, and bassist Allen Woody formed the group in 1994, while the latter two were still in the Allman Brothers Band. After three years, the trio decided to dedicate all of their time to Gov’t Mule. After Woody died in August of 2000, Gov’t Mule continued to record and tour with guest bass players.

By the time they formed Gov’t Mule, each of the members brought years of rock ‘n’ roll experience to the recording studio, as well as to the stage. Haynes, a native of Asheville, North Carolina, previously played with David Allen Coe and the Dickey Betts Band. He joined the Allman Brothers Band in 1989 and recorded five albums with the group. He also released a solo album, called Tales of Ordinary Madness, in 1993. Woody was born and raised in the musical city of Nashville, Tennessee. In the mid-1980s, he performed with the Artimus Pyle Band and then joined the Allman Brothers Band, where he met Haynes. Born in Oklahoma, Abts grew used to traveling at a young age, when he and his family moved to various military bases around the world. At the age of 16, Abts settled down in Virginia. He played with groups like Montrose and with Mick Taylor, former guitarist for the Rolling Stones. He met Haynes when they played together in the Dickey Betts Band.

The birth of Gov’t Mule began with a conversation between Haynes and Woody while they were on tour with the Allman Brothers Band in 1994. They started talking about the extinction of the improvisational power trio in music and their interest in bringing it back. Woody decided that all they needed was a drummer to make it happen, and Haynes knew just the person. Haynes told Woody about Abts.

The duo decided to get together with Abts for a jam session in a Los Angeles club after an Allman Brothers show. The chemistry worked immediately. “It was pretty exciting,” Haynes recalled in the band’s biography on the Gov’t Mule official website. “As we played together more and more, we got to thinking that maybe we should put the time and effort into making it a real band.” The group’s name was found during a conversation between Woody and Allman Brothers Band drummer Jai Johanny Johanson. Johanson had used the phrase in the conversation, and Woody liked it so much that he suggested it to Abts and Haynes. “It can mean different things to different people,” Haynes explained in the Gov’t Mule official website biography. “Besides, the name kind of describes us: we’re a slow, hard-working, non-glorious animal.”

With their name in place, the trio headed into the recording studio to produce their debut, Gov’t Mule, which was released on Relativity Records in 1995. 


Sunday, February 13, 2022

Vargas Blues Band


Javier Vargas is the creator of the Vargas Blues Band, he was born in Madrid in 1955, but his family moved to Argentina when he was barely six years old. At the age of ten, his father gave him his first guitar and he began guitar and music theory lessons, although he soon grew tired of those classes and continued to learn on his own. He is self-taught in music. His beginnings were influenced by blues, the fashionable rhythm at the time. In 1971 he went to Venezuela, although it would not be long before he left for the United States, where he really wanted to learn from the true blues masters and discover the new prevailing trends. 

His first contact in North America took him to Tennessee, where he drank from the sources of country and collaborated with the Loco Covers Band, doing covers of famous groups. His next step was to go to Los Angeles, where he rubbed shoulders with many established stars, such as Van Halen. In 1977 he returned to Spain. In his beginnings he collaborated with Miguel Ríos, Joaquín Sabina and Manolo Tena, with whom he made the album 'Sangre Española'. Parallel to these collaborations, he created the band called 'Vargas Blues Band', with a bass and a drummer, and dedicated himself to touring Spain to make himself known. In 1991 he published his first album, 'All Around Blues', with the collaboration of Elena Figueroa, among other prominent friends. In 1992 he published 'Madrid-Memphis', with which he achieved notable success in Spain and sold a considerable number of copies. In 1994 he released his third album, 'Blues Latino', with the collaboration of Chris Rea, Andrés Calamaro and Flaco Jiménez among others.

 The title track of the album was also performed by Carlos Santana on his album 'Santana Brothers'. A year later, the Vargas Blues Band published 'Texas Tango', recorded in the United States, and in 1996 Carlos Santana invited him to participate in a concert in Paris, in which they played as a duo. In 1997 'Gipsy Boogie' came out and a year later 'Feedback' and 'Bluestrology', which includes his songs with more blues feeling. In 2000 he released 'Madrid-Chicago Live', a live compilation of his best songs. 

Saturday, February 12, 2022



The heart and the heritage of country music and farming are intertwined in EllieMae. Born and raised in Southern Idaho, EllieMae is familiar with the dirt roads that led to both harvest and song lyrics. As a songwriter, EllieMae writes what she knows: country life, family, love and loss, and Coors Light. She’s the best parts of country – good music and incredible storytelling.

EllieMae’s gumption is evident from the first note she sings. Listeners know she is exactly what she sings: hard working, kind, persistent and won’t take shit from anyone. Her lyrics are thoughtful and relatable with a touch of sass. Her stage presence is like watching a friend play you a song and then realizing that friend is on the cusp of country music greatness.

She was a member of Team Blake on NBC’s the Voice, and she’s recorded with Grammy winning engineer, Eric Delegard. EllieMae has opened for John Micheal Montgomery, Ian Munsick, Sam Riggs, Lainey Wilson, Morgan Wade, Koe Wetzel, Read Southall Bank, Chris Janson, Sundance Head and Jessie G.  From county fairs to the Idaho Inauguration Ball, HWY 30 Music Fest to Iowa State University homecoming, EllieMae has a sound that’s raw and real. She’s been compared to Kasey Musgraves and Miranda Lambert and yet, she holds her own on every stage she sets foot on.

Friday, February 11, 2022






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John Lee Hooker


John Lee Hooker, bynames John Lee Booker, John Lee Cooker, Texas Slim, and Birmingham Sam and His Magic Guitar, (born August 22, 1917, Clarksdale, Mississippi, U.S.—died June 21, 2001, Los Altos, California), American blues singer-guitarist, one of the most distinctive artists in the electric blues idiom.

Born into a Mississippi sharecropping family, Hooker learned to play the guitar from his stepfather and developed an interest in gospel music as a child. In 1943 he moved to Detroit, Michigan, where he made his mark as a blues musician. On such early records as “Boogie Chillen,” “Crawling King Snake,” and “Weeping Willow (Boogie)” (1948–49), Hooker, accompanied only by an electric guitar, revealed his best qualities: aggressive energy in fast boogies and no less intensity in stark, slow blues. A primitive guitarist, he played simple harmonies, pentatonic scales, and one-chord, modal harmonic structures. Later hits included “Dimples” (1956) and “Boom Boom” (1962). He toured widely from the 1950s and appeared in the motion pictures The Blues Brothers (1980) and The Color Purple (1985). Hooker, whose music influenced such bands as the Rolling Stones and the Animals, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991. Among the more than 100 albums he recorded are The Healer (1989), which features appearances by Bonnie Raitt and Carlos Santana; the Grammy Award-winning Don’t Look Back (1997); and The Best of Friends (1998).

Thursday, February 10, 2022


Versatile artist Olya K is known for the Pop gem 'Hollywood". She traveled around the world to achieve sucess as a singer and a songwriter. From Bulgaria to Chicago, and from Nashville to Los Angeles...

She's a global artist with a sense of humor that shines through her lyrics.

Recently she recorded a new version of her song "Waking up in Nashville" -  this time in the style of Rock and Roll.

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Lance Lopez


There's no doubt about it, the state of Texas is well known world wide for its fiery blues guitar players.

Even just a cursory look will reveal the state's rich tradition, which easily rivals Chicago and Mississippi for producing players who have been both originators and contributors to the legacy of the guitar's significant role in the genre's history. Dating back to the 1920's with "Blind" Lemon Jefferson, continuing through the 1950's with such legends as Freddie King, T-Bone Walker and "Lightning" Hopkins, with the advent of the rock era of the 1960's the pressure cooker exploded.

Albino blues giant Johnny Winter, from Beaumont, in 1968 was signed to what was then the largest advance in the history of the recording industry---$600,000. Houston's ZZ Top, with the Reverend Willie G, i.e. Billy F. Gibbons - armed with a '59 Les Paul- during the 70's went from being "That little ol' band from Texas" to being world wide ambassadors with their unique brand of deep blues infused boogie rock.

Although disco and subsequently new wave lessened blues rock's influence in the late 70's, by 1983 it was another native Texan, Dallas born Stevie Ray Vaughan, whose combination of raw blues mixed with Hendrix styled pyrotechnics spearheaded yet another resurrection as the genre rose its evil head once again. A breath of much needed fresh air amongst the synth heavy offerings on MTV and radio airwaves of the time, the guitarist's massive influence has extended long beyond his untimely, tragic death twenty years ago.

One such player whom Vaughan touched the soul of was young, gifted blues/rock axeslinger Lance Lopez. Although born in Shreveport, Louisiana, at the age of 12, his family moved to Dallas, where with the exception of a spell back in New Orleans and Southwest Florida, the guitarist has called his home ever since.

A professional musician since the age of 14 when he began playing local bars in and around the New Orleans, Louisiana area, at 17 he was hired by soul great Johnnie Taylor, with whom he toured for six months. By 18 he was hired as the band leader of blues legend Lucky Peterson's band, spending three years touring throughout the world.

It was while with Peterson in Europe that he struck up a close friendship with the larger than life drummer Buddy Miles, subsequently becoming the guitarist for The Buddy Miles Express for a brief time. The former Band Of Gypsys legend would go on to mentor Lopez, leading to him co producing his debut album 'First Things First', along with Grammy winning producer Jay Newland (Norah Jones) which was released independently in 1998.

From 2003 to 2007 Lopez recorded, and released three studio and one live CD for a small independent label, Grooveyard Records - all of which were heavily influenced by another of the guitarist's main influences - Jimi Hendrix. Despite the hindrance of being released on such a label, the albums are all prime examples of post Hendrix heavy blues, filled to the brim with awe inspiring fretwork, which led to him garnering a cult following amongst guitar fanatics world wide.
After a three year break, Lopez came back with a brand new studio album 'Salvation From Sundown', his first release on MIG Music/String Commander Records, based in Hannover, Germany. 'Salvation From Sundown was produced by legendary Producer/Engineer, Jim Gaines (Stevie Ray Vaughan, Santana) 

Intentionally conceived as a more traditional Texas blues styled offering, which has elicited none other than guitar god Jeff Beck to call him "A very exciting and intense blues guitarist".   In 2012, MIG Music released 'Handmade Music', Lopez's 6th studio album. Again, he worked with legendary producer Jim Gaines and recorded at the legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis, Tennessee. It's one of  the guitarist's most mature recordings to date, showcasing strong songwriting while still retaining the red-hot fretwork. 'Handmade Music' shows him poised to take his rightful place as one of the finest blues players on the planet. In 2013 Lance began work on his 7th album with Producer Fabrizio Grossi (Joe Bonamassa, Leslie West, Steve Vai) in Los Angeles. They are currently writing and recording material for this new album. 

Lance Lopez continues to tour internationally playing, clubs, Blues, Jazz and Rock Festivals, biker rallys, charity events and concerts. He  also works as a producer and songwriter for other artist, as well as teaching guitar lessons to hand picked students when his schedule allows. If you are just now discovering what many die-hard fans of obscure Blues-Rock and guitar music have known about for many years, take the time to delve into Lance's catalog spanning 6 albums and you will soon find, that he is one of the greatest guitarist that the State Of Texas has ever produced...