Summertime Blues You'll Want to Hear

Posted by Michael Mueller on June 11, 2014 at 2:26 PM

Dudley TaftDudley Taft Screaming in the Wind (American Blues)
Cincinnati-based blues guitarist Dudley Taft gets his power tubes glowing on his latest release. On "Red Line," Taft channels a young Billy Gibbons, interspersing powerful blues phrases with trademark pinch harmonics. The title track sees Taft take a decidedly modern tack, with ultra-low fuzz octaves ala Jack White. The funky "Pack It Up," a Freddie King tune, features the Muscle Shoals horn section, while his other cover—Skip James's "Hard Time Killing Floor Blues"—features some of Taft's most muscular soloing, calling to mind Stevie Ray Vaughan's sinewy lines.

James ArmstrongJames Armstrong Guitar Angels (Catfood Records)
Contemporary bluesman James Armstrong offers up a heavenly listening experience on Guitar Angels. Leadoff track "Grandma's Got a New Friend" is a groovy shuffle that puts the shake into the audience's collective booty. The poignant R&B number "Healing Time" chronicles the loss of producer Michael Ross's brother and contains some of Armstrong's tastiest playing on the album. Armstrong reinvents the Eagles' ballad "Take It to the Limit" as a bluesy shuffle and pays respect to Johnny Copeland with his deft take on "Blues Ain't Nothin'." Armstrong also boasts one of the smoothest voices on the scene today. Don't miss this one.

Dave KellerDave Keller Soul Changes (Tastee Tone)
If you like your blues served up smothered in soul gravy, you'll find Dave Keller's stellar new album quite satiable. Eschewing flash for depth and richness, Keller's nimble fretwork is a tasty pairing to his stellar original song craft and well-chosen covers. Keller recorded the six original tracks in Memphis, with Al Green's Hi Rhythm Section holding it all down. Album highlights include "17 Years," which laments Keller's divorce, and "Lonely and I," which is a time-machine track to classic '70s soul, as well as The O'Jays' "It's Too Strong" and the Patterson Twins' 12/8 ballad "Back in Love Again."

Joanne Shaw TaylorJoanne Shaw Taylor Songs From the Road (Ruf)
On this, her first and long-awaited live CD/DVD, Taylor carries on the grandiosity of the British blues-rock canon. Beating the notes out of her Les Paul, Taylor's playing here embodies the best of a live recording—relentless, powerful, and often careening along the fine edge of fearlessness. Leadoff track "Soul Station" features much of the latter, whereas the second track, "Tied & Bound," sees Taylor attack with equal ferocity but a noted boost of command. Her fretboard continues its hot burn through a cover of Hendrix's "Manic Depression," the high-energy "Jump That Train," and set closer "Going Home."

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