Grand River Blues Society Music Picks

 

 

 Cotton Mouth Man James Cotton

“The once-robust singing voice of James Cotton has been all but silenced by throat cancer in recent years, but his full-bodied harmonica blasts have joyously survived unscathed to record and tour anew. Case in point: Cotton Mouth Man, the followup to his Grammy-nominated 2010 Alligator set Giant.

“…Since James can’t sing ‘em, a parade of name guest vocalists roll through the proceedings, sometimes falling a tad short of Cotton’s own fondly remembered front work. Gregg Allman does a vocal turn on “Midnight Train;” Warren Haynes tears through the rock-slanted one-chord boogie “Something For Me,” which comes slathered in raucous slide, and Keb Mo largely keeps it low-key on “Mississippi Mud” (it’s weird to hear him sing about Cotton’s life in the first person) and “Wasn’t My Time To Go.”

“…We can be thankful that James Cotton didn’t give up when throat cancer threatened his livelihood. His discography harking all the way back to 1953-54, when he made two singles for Sun Records in Memphis, through a lengthy apprenticeship with Muddy and then the mid-‘60s launch of his own career as a front man (his spectacular high-energy approach, where sweat would spray the stage in torrents as he bounced around like a manic pinball, was a sight to behold), Cotton continues to give all he can to the genre that made him an enduring star.”

– Bill Dahl

Buy Cotton Mouth Man at Amazon


 

John Hammond

“Hammond has often recorded with a band, but live he works mostly solo, with slide guitar and harmonica, which is the way he is to be heard on Timeless, a live club set which marks his 50th anniversary as a recording artist.

Although Hammond is a Johnson disciple, his taste in blues is broad, taking in Chicago as well as the Mississippi Delta, and extending through modern strains of the music as far as the Tom Waits songbook.

This set opens with a Waits song, No One Can Forgive Me But My Baby, and includes his wonderfully dissolute Jockey Full of Bourbon.

Hammond performs few of his own compositions, but there is one here, Heartache Blues, alongside songs by Elmore James, Skip James, Little Walter, Sleepy John Estes, Jimmy Rogers and Chuck Berry, among others.

Waits once said of Hammond that he has “a blacksmith’s strength and rhythm” and years as a one man band have allowed him to develop a forceful swing.

Although this is an all acoustic set, many of the tunes gravitate towards a driving Bo Diddley beat, including the traditional New Orleans standard Junco Partner – a slice of lowlife which anticipates Waits by several decades.”

 – Robin Lynam

Buy Timeless on Amazon.


Five Finger Discount
Jon Knight & Soulstack

“Hard-hitting blues band Soulstack came out with guns blazing on their debut album, Big Red. It notched great reviews, international blues radio play and a No. 2 slot on National College Radio. They avoid any sophomore jinx with a powerful follow-up sure to expand their audience. Five Finger Discount is produced by singer/guitarist Jonathan Knight, who gets songwriting assistance from keyboardist Mark Wessenger, while award-winning drummer Tom Bona helps nail the groove. Soulstack has deservedly been nominated for Electric Act of the Year at the [2014] Maple Blues Awards.

 – Kerry Doole

Buy Five Finger Discount at nimbitmusic.

Buy Five Finger Discount on Amazon.


stranger_Right_cvr

“From haunting originals to reinterpreted covers, Julian Fauth is the embodiment of the musicians he grew up with, those who pointed the way. With a sound so entrancing, he’s surpassed his role as medium, having taken their mantle to forge a monumental contribution of his own. Driven by his heart, fuelled by his muse, Julian Fauth is a willing prisoner of his blues. Yet his musical story – and the way in which he tells it – is completely, authentically his own. Like his cherished musical heroes, he lives to open the blues up into fresh territory. On EVERYBODY OUGHT TO TREAT A STRANGER RIGHT (his 3rd release for this adventurous label)…. he does exactly that.”

– Eric Thom

Buy Everybody Ought To Treat A Stranger Right at Electro-Fi Records.

Buy Everybody Ought To Treat A Stranger Right on Amazon.

 

“Hard-hitting blues band Soulstack came out with guns blazing on their debut album, Big Red. It notched great reviews, international blues radio play and a No. 2 slot on National College Radio. They avoid any sophomore jinx with a powerful follow-up sure to expand their audience. Five Finger Discount is produced by singer/guitarist Jonathan Knight, who gets songwriting assistance from keyboardist Mark Wessenger, while award-winning drummer Tom Bona helps nail the groove. Soulstack has deservedly been nominated for Electric Act of the Year at the [2014] Maple Blues Awards.

 – Kerry Doole

Buy Five Finger Discount at nimbitmusic.

Buy Five Finger Discount on Amazon.

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