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Cool New Spring Blues Releases with a Dash of Jazz
Here are some great new blues, jazz, and "other" releases that have come across the desk recently.
The Duke Robillard Jazz Trio Wobble Walkin'
On this new jazz trio disc, which features Brad Hallen on upright bass and Mark Teixiera on drums, Duke offers a tasty menu of standards and original compositions. Among the former are the Gershwin classic "They Can't Take That Away From Me" and Cole Porter's "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To," as well as "Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You" and "All of Me." Duke's original tunes, "Wobble Walkin'," "Sunday Mornin'," "Skippy's Dream," and "Jesse's Blues," demonstrate that he's not only one of the great interpreters of the Great American Songbook but also a composer of similarly timeless music.
Walter Trout Blues for the Modern Daze
"Too loud, too many notes." It's Trout's cheeky motto, and his latest album upholds the guitarist's bra approach. In the autobiographical opening almost-swampy blues "Saw My Mama Cryin'," Trout bashes his strings with cathartic abandon during the solos, yet he's equally able (if not always willing) to bring it down when the situation calls for restraint, as on the Pink Floyd-like slow blues "Recovery." (Yes, I really did just describe a blues as Pink Floyd-like. Listen for yourself, and you'll get it.) Trout's electrifying fretwork aside, his primary muse is a nostalgic look at how life and the world have changed over the course of his career. Is it heavy at times? Yes, but then, that's what the blues is all about, isn't it?
Sauce Boss Live at the Green Parrot
Just in time for the summer BBQ season comes this mouthwatering platter of juicy and, pardon the pun, saucy blues courtesy of Bill "Sauce Boss" Wharton. This is down-home-Florida-gator-in-the-backyard-blues slide guitar at its best. Highlights include the resonator-driven uptempo "Lonesome Rider," the jazzy blues of "Gumbo Recipe," the funky "Chicken in the Gumbo," and his signature piece, "Let the Big Dog Eat." Known for cooking gumbo onstage while performing and then feeding his audience—free of charge—the Sauce Boss serves up one rip-roarin' good time.
Lurrie Bell The Devil Ain't Got No Music
Lurrie Bell has a storyteller's voice, at once authoritative and soothing, and when combined with an acoustic guitar attack that ranges from sparse to fiery, the resulting deep Gospel-blues offers timeless appeal. Highlights include the uptempo opener "Swing Low"; "Peace in the Valley," which features haunting slide work by guest Joe Louis Walker; the percussion-driven Tom Waits piece "Way Down in the Hole"; and the closing meditation "Death Don't Have No Mercy," written by Reverend Gary Davis.
Lynyrd Skynyrd to Release New Studio Album "Last of a Dying Breed" August 21
NEW YORK, NY (May 2, 2012) - Loud & Proud/Roadrunner Records announced today the release of Last Of A Dying Breed from Lynyrd Skynyrd, the band's first studio album since the September 29, 2009 release of God & Guns which debuted at #18 on the Billboard Top 20 and gave the band their highest debut since 1977. Last Of A Dying Breed reunites the band with producer Bob Marlette who produced God & Guns.
"It was great to get back in the studio with Bob for this new album," said guitarist Gary Rossington. "We kind of went back old school this time—all of us playing together in the studio as a band, tracking songs and creating licks. We had a lot of fun and the music really flowed for us, so that's when you know you are on to something good. We can't wait to let the fans hear these songs and play 'em live."
Led by core members Gary Rossington (guitar), Johnny Van Zant (vocals) and Rickey Medlocke (guitar), along with longtime drummer Michael Cartellone, Lynyrd Skynyrd have recorded an album that continues the tremendous legacy that began over 35 years ago in Jacksonville, Florida, a legacy that was halted for a decade after the 1977 plane crash that killed three band members, including Ronnie Van Zant and Steve Gaines. Since then, the band tragically lost Billy Powell, Ean Evans, Allen Collins, Leon Wilkeson and Huey Thomasson, yet they rock on.
Joining Lynyrd Skynyrd will be bass player Johnny Colt, an original member of the Black Crowes who has also played with Train and Rockstar Supernova. When asked about receiving a phone call from Rickey Medlocke on behalf of Lynyrd Skynyrd to join the band, Johnny said, "What else do you say to Medlocke, Rossington and Van Zant? We're talking southern rock royalty. We're talking Lynyrd Skynyrd. The only thing out of my mouth was when and where!"
With a catalog of over 60 albums, sales beyond 30 million worldwide and their beloved classic American rock anthem "Sweet Home Alabama" having over two million downloaded ringtones, Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Lynyrd Skynyrd remains a cultural icon that appeals to all generations.
Lynyrd Skynyrd will be on tour throughout the summer in North America and Europe. View a complete list of dates here.
North American tour dates as follows:
5/4 Baltimore, MD
5/5 Fredericksburg, VA
5/11 Crewe, VA
5/12 Chester, PA
5/18 Mahnomen, MN
5/19 Welch, MN
5/25 Indianapolis, IN
5/26 Little Rock, AR
7/6 Kahnawake, QUE Canada
7/7 Varysburg, NY
7/8 Westbury, NY
7/13 Bridgeview, IL
7/14 Jackson, MI
7/19 Monticello, IA
7/20 Belmont, OH
7/21 Kingsport, TN
7/22 Leonard, MD
8/3 Charlotte, NC
8/4 Raleigh, NC
8/9 Sturgis, SD
8/11 Tower, MN
8/16 Bethlehem, PA
8/17 Wallingford, CT
8/18 Havelock, ON Canada
8/24 Bossier City, LA
8/25 Orange Beach, AL
8/31 Memphis, TN
9/1 Atlanta, GA
10/4 Fresno, CA
10/5 Stockton, CA
10/6 Saratoga, CA
10/27 Miami, FL
Alter Bridge Live at Wembley DVD Review
Captured November 29, 2011, as the band wrapped its European tour, Live at Wembley marks a career-topping moment for Alter Bridge—a band that has had to humbly build up from the club and theater circuit into finally, seven years later, a bona fide arena headliner.
From the eerie opener "Slip to the Void" right into the pummeling riffage of "Find the Real," the band is on their game for this, the biggest gig of their career. The 21-song set list strikes a near equal balance of material between the band's three albums, and the Wembley audience was with the band every step of the way, enthusiastically singing along waving their arms from front-of-house to the back rafters.
The performance here is so strong that it's tough to choose specific highlights. On "Metalingus," drummer Scott Phillips plays with such aggression that if you could bottle it, it would be classified a performance-enhancing drug. Guitarist Mark Tremonti—who has appropriately earned the title of modern-day guitar hero—simply shreds the outro solo on "I Know It Hurts" (which is precisely what he must tell his fingers after such a fretboard workout). Similarly, the nonchalant manner in which he pulls off the finger-twisting main riff in "One Day Remains" never ceases to impress. Keeping up with Tremonti on these riffs while keeping in lockstep with Phillips is no meager task, but bassist Brian Marshall manages it all with deceptive prowess.
Finally, there is Myles Kennedy's spine-tingling vocal performance. From the powerful "I don't wanna die" interlude of "Ghost of Days Gone By" to his goosebump-inducing solo acoustic medley of "Wonderful Life" and "Watch Over You," you see that Kennedy—like his idol Jeff Buckley—possesses that rare ability to fill not just an arrangement but an entire arena with just a guitar and his voice. The humble singer would most certainly shy away from such a comparison, but there's no denying the connection Kennedy makes with the audience here.
The performance wraps with a triumvirate of the band's biggest songs. The foundation-shaking "Isolation" leads to the adrenaline-fueled "Open Your Eyes," which is followed by a bit of head-cuttin', courtesy of Tremonti and Kennedy, with each showing off an impressive display of fretboard agility and personality. The band then launches into closing number and signature track "Rise Today," culminating in an explosion of pyro, lasers, and confetti and leaving the 10,000-strong Wembley crowd to the best heavy metal hangover they're likely to experience in some time.
Director Daniel Catullo III used 16 cameras to capture this performance, which was also recorded in 5.1 DTS Surround Sound, and the audio/video experience is nothing short of stunning.
The "Extras" on the DVD include a photo gallery set to a soundtrack of "Ghost of Days Gone By" and the very engaging tour documentary "Road to Wembley." Over the course of this 55-minute rock-doc, the guys talk about touring Europe and its associated "culture shock," when and why they picked up their instruments, and the importance of their fans.