Davy Knowles Review Cottonmouth, July 1, 2023

Davy Knowles Review Cottonmouth, July 1, 2023

Davy Knowles Review Cottonmouth, July 1, 2023

Davy Knowles Review
Cottonmouth, July 1, 2023

Sometimes, it all comes together, and such as the case at Cottonmouth southern Soul Kitchen when Davy Knowles and his band came to town. And gave those in attendance a night to remember. This was one of the best shows I’ve seen!

Touring with Tod Bowles on bass, and Mark Hansen on drums, the band hit the stage at 8PM and performed a non-stop 2-hour set that left the audience standing and asking for more.

But before we get to the review of Davy’s show, Steve Arvey opened for Davy, and in typical Steve fashion, had the audience entertained with his wit, songs, and guitar playing. First starting with a cigar box guitar instrumental, Steve switched to his signature acoustic guitar for most of the one-hour set.  Deftly using a stomp-box, Steve performed classic blues, and brought Deacon Gibson to the stage for harmonica playing. Steve entertained the audience, and solicited many laughs, with tales from his storied blues career. Make no mistake about it, while Steve is an entertainer, he is a serious musician with significant skills. These skills will be revisited later, as Steve ends his set playing a red Stratocaster that will be a central part of the show later in the evening.

———

Playing from many of his recordings, Davy and the band took the stage and set a high-energy tone with Ain’t Much of Nothin’ from his 2016 recording “Three Miles From Avalon”. Davy’s blistering guitar work was spot on and engaged the audience from the downbeat. Next up was Riverbed, first heard during Davy’s days with Back Door Slam. Completing a frenetic first three songs the band launched into Catch The Moon from 2015’s “The Outsider”. If any newcomers to a Davy Knowles show did not know his guitar talents, they understood after the first three songs.

The band, and the audience, needed to catch their breath, and next up was Devil and the Deep Blue Sea from the latest release, “What Happens Next”. To be sure, this song shows a different side of the band and is a well-crafted entertaining piece of music. Equally, entertaining if not downright spectacular was the bands treatment of Cream’s Outside Women Blues. This song featured a tight jam with the band complete with some amazing technical guitar work by Davy.

——–

Changing guitars, Davy brought out the slide and demonstrated his significant skills with the slide while performing Ain’t No Grave, once again from “The Outsider”. Hell To Pay, from “What Happens Next” was a particular highlight, with Davy using dynamics to build and release emotions from the audience. Masterful.

——–

Steve Arvey was brought to the stage and traded licks with Davy on Garbage Man, and following this song Steve took the vocal lead on a nice version of Ain’t Nobody’s Business.  The band then surprised with a smoking version of the funky classic Fire On the Bayou, with Davy providing some of the hottest licks of the evening. But this surprise paled to what came next. For the first time in the evening, Davy showed his equally entertaining side of a storyteller. As expressed in my last article about Davy, he has a gift for storytelling and this art is part of the charm of a Davy Knowles performance.

Davy picked up Steve’s red Stratocaster, and proceeded to say that he just could not resist this opportunity.  And then explained that when he started playing guitar he wanted to be like Mark Knopfler. And there it was: the band launched their version of the Dire Straits classic Sultans of Swing. As someone who has attended many shows at Cottonmouth, the ovation at the end of this song was among the loudest and most sustained I’ve witnessed in Bradenton’s Village of the Arts. The song was a tour de force from start to finish.

The audience was unrelenting with their applause and the band provided an encore of Wake Me Up When The Nightmare is Over. Sort of ironic because this evening of music provided joy and sweet dreams for the attendees, who witnessed a special night of music in Bradenton. This band, if they should so choose, is ready to take the next step to larger venues. They are that good.

 

  • Scott Morris
  • Photo’s by Jim Hartzell

 

 

Selwyn Birchwood  – “Exorcist” CD Review

Selwyn Birchwood – “Exorcist” CD Review

Selwyn Birchwood – “Exorcist” CD Review

Fourth Alligator Records Album from Innovative Award-Winning
Guitarist, Vocalist and Songwriter

On Friday, June 9, award-winning Florida bluesman Selwyn Birchwood will
release Exorcist, his highly anticipated fourth Alligator Records release. The young guitarist, lap steel player, songwriter and vocalist sets a course for the future of the blues with his visionary, original music. He calls it “Electric Swamp Funkin’ Blues,” an intoxicating mix of deep blues, blistering, psychedelic-tinged rock, booty-shaking funk and sweet Southern soul, played and sung with fire-and-brimstone fervor. Tastemaker Americana music magazine No Depression says, “Selwyn Birchwood reaches back in the blues tradition to launch something out of this world.” Exorcist will be available on purple vinyl LP, CD and at all popular streaming and download sites. The first single, the ripped-from-the-headlines howler FLorida Man, hit radio and streamers in May.

On Exorcist, Birchwood delivers the most far-reaching, musically adventurous album of his career. Recorded in Florida and produced by Grammy Award-winner Tom Hambridge, each of the 13 vividly detailed songs was written and arranged by Birchwood. The soul-baring tracks all hit with lasting rhymes and unexpected rhythms. Each twists its own tale, ranging from the love-gone-wrong Horns Below Her Halo to the love-gone-terrifying Exorcist to the autobiographical Underdog. According to Blues Music Magazine, “Selwyn Birchwood heralds a fresh, exciting new direction in the blues. Toe-tapping, hip-shaking, joyful and inviting…expansive and focused, exploratory and time-honored, but always original.”

Live, Birchwood is a force of nature. His ability to win over an audience—any audience—is proven night after night on the bandstand. With his warm, magnetic personality, Birchwood is as down-to-earth as his music is thought-provoking and electrifying, with Birchwood’s band featuring the pulsating interplay of his blistering guitar with Regi Oliver’s driving baritone sax. When he sits down to play his lap steel, he takes the crowd to a whole other level, with the music exorcising any bad times and troubles.

Now, with Exorcist, Selwyn Birchwood and his band are ready to deliver the new songs live to expanding, enraptured audiences around the world, lifting spirits while banishing demons. Asked what fans can expect when they see him, Birchwood replies, “My goal is to be sure you cannot listen passively. We’re going to make you dance, and we’re going to make you think.” One listen to Exorcist will no doubt convert many new true believers: this is visionary contemporary blues written and performed by an endlessly creative, modern-day blues master.

 

John Primer – “Teardrops for Magic Slim” CD Review

John Primer – “Teardrops for Magic Slim” CD Review

John Primer – “Teardrops for Magic Slim” CD Review

Artist:  John Primer
CD Title:  Teardrops for Magic Slim
Label:  Blues House Productions

Many years ago guitarist/vocalist John Primer had the fortunate circumstances of working alongside Magic Slim. And though Slim passed on several years ago, John Primer has clearly emerged as a forerunner to the present blues scene in Chicago.  If you visit Rosa’s Lounge on FB, they stream many live shows and if the timing is right, you might catch Primer holding court and presenting his no nonsense thrills of electric Chicago blues. And Rosa’s Lounge proves a great jump-off point for a live album.  Wanting to salute his previous employer, Primer delivers a good time package of getting loose in Teardrops for Magic Slim.

What’s important to Primer is that people coming to see his band have a good time. This cd epitomizes house-rocking music and Primer is the chef to deliver a hot gumbo.

The party couldn’t start on a better note then with “Mama Talk To Your Daughter” that is a sweat-infused mojo boogie riding a sturdy backbone of rhythm provided by drummer Lenny Media and bassist Danny O’Connor. 

Primer keeps the party favorites coming.  His licks punch up Jimmy Dawkins’ “Luv Somebody” into a bump’n grind that can awaken a gator in the Florida swamps.

There is a nice slow blues burn In “Every Night, Every Day.” Primer’s leads are fresh and impart confidence while he is supported by second guitar player Jon McDonald.

John Primer can’t resist the shuffle template that causes patrons to head to the dance floor. And they probably did when the groove and vibrations were on in D. Malone’s “Ain’t Doing Too Bad.” Three songs into this cd you wonder if the momentum can continue.

However the pace continues and Primer holds the fort down in the moderate rocking blues of “Buddy Buddy Friend.”   Primer’s band is a backline of musicians who fire on all cylinders and push their boss to connect with his audience.  The man needs no effects. Plug your guitar into an amp and let ‘er rip. A concept that works well.

Primer shakes the set, fluctuating between moderate, fast and slow material. “Trouble Of My Own” may take the proceedings down a notch or two but it never stagnates as Primer showcases some mean fretboard skills.

Things take a slight upturn as Primer takes the infamous Willie Dixon “Let Me Love You Baby”  and turns it into party central.

That ought to be enough for fun. But this serves as the best time to unfurl the Elmore James classics “It Hurts Me Too” and “Look Over Yonder Wall.” Primer’s love for the true fathers of the blues is an education in itself and a passing of the torch from one prodigy to another. Guitar player Shawn Holt joins Primer for a couple of numbers lighting up the skies with additional guitar fireworks.

If you find yourself in Chicago and wish to soak up some live blues, head to Rosa’s Lounge. And if John Primer is gigging that night, go on in and wear your dance shoes. To sit idle through a John Primer set of raw electric Chicago Blues is impossible. Sometimes old school blues are the best thing.

Gary Weeks

 

Suncoast Blues Society offer for discounted Tampa Bay Blues Festival has ended

Suncoast Blues Society offer for discounted Tampa Bay Blues Festival has ended

Suncoast Blues Society offer for discounted Tampa Bay Blues Festival has ended

The Suncoast Blues Society offer for discounted Tampa Bay Blues Festival tickets ended on Friday, March 24. 

If you are still looking for tickets for the Tampa Bay Blues Festival, please go directly to their website

https://www.tampabaybluesfest.com/tickets.php

 

Tom Craig – “Good Man Gone Bad” CD Review

Tom Craig – “Good Man Gone Bad” CD Review

Tom Craig – “Good Man Gone Bad” CD Review

Tom Craig
Good Man Gone Bad
By Scott Morris

’Good Man Gone Bad’ is just out and about to make a big splash in the blues world.” Tas Cru

 

Pennsylvania blues man Tom Craig hits the mark with his second recording “Good Man Gone Bad”.

Produced by harmonica ace Mikey Junior and mixed at Fat Rabbit Studios by Dave Gross, this set of tunes follows Tom’s first recording with Soul Patch. “Get Ready for Me “. Comparatively speaking “Good Man” documents Tom’s growth as a musician all while presenting an enjoyable collection of 13 songs that cover most blues styles. But it’s Tom’s writing, and co-writing with Mikey Junior, along with the soulful delivery that rang true for me.

Beginning with the first cut “I’m Working Too Hard” Tom sets a lyrical theme for the recording that hops from one side of a relationship to another. Accompanied by a driving beat Tom professes to be “I’m working too hard for your love”. Many probably have felt similar, but wisely, for the health of their specific relationship kept their own council. Tom’s words might have you saying to yourself “I feel you brother”!

I really enjoy the next track “What A Man’s Gotta Do”. The guitar work accentuates the beat and the harmonica by Mikey Junior lends a nice touch throughout the song, specifically as the song fades out. Performed live this song has people up and dancing.

The title track (You Made A) “Good Man Gone Bad” appears third on the recording and Tom’s soulful voice resonates in this song. This bluesy ballad bespeaks of making “the worst of a good situation”, leading the listener to speculate on the destructive nature of succumbing to temptation. Tom’s vocals are spot on and clearly Tom is at home base with these types of blues ballads.

Harmonica sets the tone on another ballad “It’s All My Fault”, another one of Tom’s fine ballads. The band lends just the right touch with a beat that fits the lyrics. Tom’s guitar solo is perfectly measured.

“Sheepdog”. Well truth be told on first listen I was not quite sure how I felt. But on repeated listens; yes, Tom has crafted a winner! This rocking blues song is a fan favorite during performance, especially memorable was the version performed during Blues Bash at the Ranch with Gabe Stillman lending a hand on slide guitar. This song grew on me. On a recording where my ear preferred the soulful ballads, this is more than an add-in change of pace. “Sheepdog” is a fine song and deserves presence within Tom’s performance set list.

Slowing down, Tom showcases his vocals on “When You Love A Bluesman”.  Perhaps this is when Tom is at his best. His soulful blues vocals and smart lyrics fronting a tight band, and in this song the harmonica rings true. Tom chips in with tasty blues licks on his guitar. The groove captured me right away. Most enjoyable.

“Treat Your Daddy Nice” has a familiar blues beat, and the lyrics make this song work. Once again, this hard-working bluesman asks “baby” to “treat daddy nice” because after all,” I’m the one that makes you feel all right”.

“My Turn to Cry” finishes off the recording with a soulful, saxophone backed ballad. Once again demonstrating that Tom knows how to deliver a song that places “Soul in My Blues”.  Close your eyes and picture slow dances late at night. The symmetry on the recording of the hard-working hero from the first song now practicing patience on the last song is a subtlety that I enjoyed. And the delivery lets the listener speculate on the cause of the tears.

On a personal note, it’s been a pleasure to see Tom perform and grow musically over these past few months. Wintering in Florida Tom put together a tight band that delivered an enjoyable show experience. Secondly, Tom switched roles from front man to sideman while touring with Tas Cru, sometimes on the same day. Tom is putting in the work, to fine success. This is an up-and-coming bluesman to keep an eye on.

Tom has a clear vision of what he wants to achieve as a musician. I intend to “keep my eyes wide open” to see where Tom’s musical journey takes him; I suspect that after a few listens to “Good Man Gone Bad” you will choose to do the same.

“Good Man Gone Bad” is due to be released on April 20, 2021. The recording is presently available for pre-order. For more information visit Tom Craig Band’s website.

Youth Day at Tampa Bay Blues Festival

Youth Day at Tampa Bay Blues Festival

Youth Day at Tampa Bay Blues Festival


Youth Day at Tampa Bay Blues Festival
Sunday, April 16th, 2023

 The Tampa Bay Blues Festival (TBBF) is a 3-Day event held in beautiful
Vinoy Waterfront Park, St Petersburg, Florida  April 14-16, 2023.
Some of the world’s preeminent Blues Music artists will perform.

Blues is the foundation of American Music, from Gospel to Jazz, from
Rock-n-Roll to Hip Hop. Blues music is the springboard that launched it all.

Suncoast Blues Society and TBBF are committed to introducing youth to this historic form.
We are making a special offer to our next generation of Blues music lovers…

Youth up to age 18 and a chaperone can receive a
Free Complimentary Pass!!

  1. The TBBF promoter has also arranged for one of the performing artists to meet with our “young guests”.  He will announce it from the stage Sunday April 16th.
  2. To receive your Free Complimentary Pass for Sunday’s festival, everyone attending must supply their names to jamesrandolph@verizon.net by March 24th, 2023.
  3. Your Pass will be available at the ‘Will Call’ ticket booth under your names on Sunday, April 16th. School age youth and chaperone must present ID (school ID, drivers license, etc.) to claim “comp pass”. (No youth or adult info will be used for marketing or shared with any other organizations.)
  4. Neither TBBF nor SBS accepts any liability for youth and adults accepting this free offer (regular ticket price for this day is $50!) to attend Sunday’s festival event. Chaperones are responsible for youth behavior.
  5. If you have questions, you may contact Terri O’Brien at president@suncoastblues.org

Sunday’s lineup features:

JT Lauritsen & The Buckshot Hunters
Jimmy Carpenter
Vanessa Collier
Mr. Sipp
The Fabulous Thunderbirds