Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Dave Fields "All Wound Up"

There's just something about 3rd cds--by the time an artist has gotten to their 3rd cd they either have it figured out or they don't. Well, Dave Fields has it, that magic something that makes him a major talent, a musician to reckon with. In this, his third solo release, Fields shows off a bundle of blues styles with taste and talent. Fields wrote all these songs, and he plays guitar and organ and bass and piano and sometimes drums. He brings the hot and heavy rockin blues in Hendrix style on "Train To My Heart" and the energetic party blues on "Let's Have Ball" and the slow heavy blues Robin Trower style on "Cold Wind Blowin'" and the in your face screaming guitar style on "Screamin'" and in the New Orleans combo style on "Still Itchin'." And there are a couple of great guests here too--Ada Dyer brings her great gospel-flavored voice to "Ain't No Crime" and "Guide Me To The Light" and Billy Gibson brings his great harmonica playing to four songs including "Big Fat Ludus." But throughout this is a Dave Fields' showcase, and it cooks from beginning to end. This is a great cd--it needs to be played loud and often. Every time I have sat down to listen to it I find I'd rather listen to it than write about it. Go listen to your favorite blues radio station for one hour, and if you don't hear one of these songs call up your DJ and say "Why are you not playing this?" It deserves to be there--this is one of the 4 or 5 best discs I've reviewed in the entire time I've had this blog, along with "Hope Radio" by Ronnie Earl, "These Are The Days" by Albert Castiglia, "We Can Get Together" by Sean Costello, and Mavis Staples' "We'll Never Turn Back." Dave Fields is somebody every blues fan needs to know about. You can buy this cd at: http://cdbaby.com/cd/davefields2

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Review: Paul Reddick -- "Sugarbird"

This is Reddick's fourth cd for Northern Blues, following Rattlebag (2002) and Villanelle (2006) and Revue (2007). It is a really delicious cd. Paul Reddick's work reminds me of the great music by The Band--and this disc, like "Music From Big Pink," shines with a deeply burnished musical wisdom. The first two or three times you hear this you might not be impressed--but then when you keep listening you'll make connections and you'll see the links and you'll began to notice that there is a lot going on under there, a lot of good stuff going on. Speaking on intelligent musical types, this disc is produced by Colin Linden, who also plays guitar and contributes two of his own songs. Players here include The Band’s Garth Hudson on accordion on three tracks, LA bass player extraordinaire Hutch Hutchinson from Bonnie Raitt’s band, Nashville drummer Bryan Owings (Emmylou Harris, Shelby Lynne), and the core of Blackie & The Rodeo Kings’ rhythm section, Gary Craig (drums) and John Dymond (bass). Alternate bassist Dave Roe, from Dwight Yoakam’s band, worked with Johnny Cash for 12 years. Arrangers Chris Carmichael and Darrell Leonard are also make significant contributions on strings and horns respectively. And the songs--the songs are the best part of it all! Reddick fills out this cd with a truly Dylanesque set of songs. He is a songwriter of rare ability--he should be declared a national treasure in Canada.

A special treat--the lyrics are available at: http://www.northernblues.com/cd_sugarbird.html

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Review: Nicole Hart "Treasure"

I have been a fan of Nicole Hart for several years--I used to play the NRG Band Live disc at KJLU nearly every Sunday night when I was on the radio. Nicole has always had a great voice, and a way to "sell" a song, and a really good band leader in Lance Ong. I've always thought that the key for her is strong material. Well, "Treasure" is her major label debut (on Blues Leaf Records) and she has captured all that Nicole Hart magic on one disc. Nicole sings her ass off, and she gets strong musical support from a group of New Jersey's A-listers, including Sonny Kenn, Ron Rauso, and Marc Shulman on guitars, Swami and Ian Carroll on drums, and Sandy Mack on harmonica on two tracks. She covers a wide range of styles from country to R&B to hot blues to mid tempo ballads. The strongest songs here include a hot cover of Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground," featuring the aforementioned Lance Ong on keyboards. Albert Castiglia brings his tasteful guitar to one track, a wonderful Patsy Cline-ish cover of Percy Mayfield's "You Were Lyin' To Me." And Hart does a bravura take on the Fletcher Henderson/Henry Troy song "Gin House Blues." There is a sweet cover of Paul Kennerley's "Heart Trouble" which cuts the take by Martina McBride. And there are two Hart/Ong originals, including the title track, which fit right in.

Do you get the idea I like this cd? It's real good. Give it a spin and you'll agree with me. You can buy this cd at http://www.BluesLeaf.com.