Tuesday, 18 November 2014

New Music In Brief

It's a very busy time here at Marsh Towers and there are lots of products to review. Due to time constraints some of the recent album releases will have much shorter coverage than others. So today - with apologies for brevity - we present a quick round up to bring the new releases up to date, with longer reviews resuming later in the week, starting with the new Dana Fuchs album - Songs From The Road.

Zoe Schwartz Blue Commotion
Zoe Schwarz and the band are back with their third album, featuring 13 songs. There are plenty of fine guitar solos on Exposed but the real strength is Zoe's great vocal performance and the sheer range of songs on display.

According to Blues Matters, ''Zoe and her band have reached the point where they can't be ignored and are poised to make the international breakthrough they deserve.'' I agree with the assessment. Exposed offers a great sound and I'm sure Zoe Schwarz and Blue Commotion will be even better live.

Time On Our Side
Colosseum can hardly be classed as prolific, at least in recent times; 11 years have passed since Tomorrow's Blues, their last album.

Time On Our Side presents a fine selection of jazz-blues compositions, with Hammond organ and saxophone well to the fore. We are hoping to return to this album for a longer review in the near future.

Larry Miller
Soldier of the Line
Larry Miller leaves no doubt about his assessment of Soldier of the Line, stating: ''This is my best album ever. In love the blues rock genre but I'm always wanting to hear something more, take it somewhere else but never losing sight of passionate playing from the heart.''

The title track was inspired by the combination of images of shell shocked soldiers, hospitalized in WW1, and Larry seeing a photo of his grandfather in military in hospital uniform. The resulting song is clearly the influence on the album cover too.

Elsewhere, there's a good mix of power blues and rockers.
John Cee Stannard and Blue Horizon
Bus Depot Blues
This acoustic trio was formed to tour John Cee Stannard's first solo album in 2013. The gigs were a success and new songs continued to flow.

John is going through a very productive period. ''I have been asked several times where the songs come from. The truth is that in 2011 one day a door opened and they all started coming through.''

The songs on Bus Depot Blues are all originals bar a single cover of That's Alright by Arthur Crudup.This is a slice of feel good music, pulling the standard blues trick of making sad songs sound happy. Pop it into your CD player, tap your feet and forget your own troubles for a while.

Price to Pay
Robbie Hill and the Blue '62s
Robbie Hill, originally from Scotland, spent some time in Scandinavia where he teemed up Jesse King (bass) and Tatu Parssinen (drums), forming the Blue 62's.

Price to Pay is a mixture of new songs and covers. The music is still in the blues genre, but with strong influences from the African, jazz and world rhythms side of things. It's an uplifting album.

Vargas Blues Band
From the Dark
From the Dark is a speedy follow up to last year's Heavy City Blues and it has already been gathering great reviews, with early speculation hinting at it being the best album yet from the Vargas Blues Band.

Javier Vargas has shared the stage with a whole range of rock luminaries including the likes of Santana.

From the Dark is blues from the rock side of town; uptempo, fuelled by heavy riffs and lots of energy. Guest vocals from Dani Wilde (who, incidentally, has a new album out soon) add an important extra texture to proceedings.

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