Saturday, April 28, 2012

Ian Siegal and The Youngest Sons -- "The Skinny"

First, a few lines of apology to you, dear readers--I have been focused elsewhere for about the past three weeks. As I indicated in my last post here, I am now presenting two hours weekly of Texas Blues on the internet radio station It can be heard every Thursday from 4-6pm eastern time. There have been many things I had to learn to make this project work--mostly having to do with figuring out how to load and store enough Texas Blues music into my Dell laptop that I could do a show from it. My personal blues library totals about 400 cds, but only part of those could be classified as Texas Blues. So it was great earlier today when I wandered into my local independent record store, Decatur CD, and when I left a little while later I had a sack of GOOD STUFF for the radio show. (And no food money for the next week, but sometimes that's the price you pay.) I've built up almost a thousand songs in the laptop, and I feel pretty good about the progress of the radio show. It was amazing to discover that I am investing about 8 hours a week to do a 2 hour radio show, but I am loving the results. So the frequency of my blogging has fallen some--but I want to jump back on that horse starting today, and I want to showcase a cd that deserves your ears: Ian Siegal and the Youngest Sons "The Skinny." I mean, after all--it was the #2 cd of 2011 according to Mojo magazine and the Nugene Records website! This is one of those cds that takes a few listens to show its true power. I listened to it once last winter & it didn't move me...but that was my fault. As I kept circling back around and listening to it I finally began to "get" Ian Siegal's vocals. On his previous records I've had trouble with his singing style, but starting with "2009's "The Dust" he is growing on me. Let me tell you, "The Skinny" is a really good cd. Siegal sings his ass off here, and he is backed by a truly great band--Cody Dickinson (on drums, bass, boogie board, backing vocals and percussion, and he produced the cd), Garry Burnside, (on bass, vocals, rhythm guitar), Robert Kimbrough (on rhythm & lead guitar), and Rodd Bland (on drums). Without a doubt, these guys can all flat out play the deep blue Hill Country Mississippi blues music like no one else--they have been playing it since they were children--and their work on this disc is TIGHT, with a side dose of telepathic. The cd was recorded at Zebra Ranch Studios at Coldwater Mississippi. Add to the mix Mr Siegal on guitar and vocals and talents like special guests Alvin Youngblood Hart, Andre Turner and DuWayne Burnside, and you've got a band who can, to quote a man who ought to know about it, (the honorable Donald "Duck" Dunn) "turn goat piss into gasoline." And they do. If you are a fan of the Hill Country blues, this is a natural choice. But if you love Moreland and Arbuckle, or if you love Derek & the Dominos, or almost anybody in between, this cd will find a home in your cd player. I'm just sorry I didn't catch on to it several months ago--I could have had "Natch'l Low (Coolin' Board)" in my head, especially Robert Kimbrough's wicked good guitar solo. I could have been enjoying "Garry's Night Out," with Garry & Ian on dueling acoustic slide guitars, sounding exactly like this year's equivalent to the great duet by Eric Clapton and Duane Allman on "Mean Old World." Oh well, better late than never. Highly recommended. You can buy this cd at

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Playlist: Bruce's Texas Blues Show

PLAYLIST PLAYLIST PLAYLIST I have recently begun presenting a weekly Texas Blues Show on This is the playlist from show # 3, which aired earlier today. The show airs on Thursdays 4-6pm eastern time. Give it a listen! Artist--Song T-Bone Walker--Blues Is A Woman Leadbelly--Midnight Special Lightnin' Hopkins--Sat Down On My Bed And Cried Lonnie Mack & Stevie Ray Vaughan--Oreo Cookie Blues Johnny Ace & Cathy Lemons--Move On Jim Suhler--Dallas Danny Barnes--Too Long Lil' Cliff & the Cliffhangers--Twenty-Nine Ways (To My Baby's Door) Albert Collins/Robert Cray/Johnny Copeland--T-Bone Shuffle Jim Suhler/Alan Haynes--Oh My Baby's Gone Johnny Winter--Further On Up The Road Albert King--Born Under A Bad Sign Hadden Sayers--Take Me Back To Texas Omar & the Howlers--Jimmy Reed Highway Cee Cee James--Watermelon Lucy Willie Nelson & Francine Reed--Funny How Time Slips Away Jelly Roll Kings--Look Over Yonder Wall James Hinkle--Rolling Up The Sidewalks Peter Karp & Sue Foley--You've Got A Problem T-Bone Walker--Call It Stormy Monday Johnny Copeland--Old Man Blues Nathan James & the Rhythm Scratchers--Later On Marcia Ball/Irma Thomas/Tracy Nelson--Yield Not To Temptation Stevie Ray Vaughan--Cold Shot Stevie Ray Vaughan--Couldn't Stand The Weather Kay Kay & The Rays--Big Bad Girl Albert Collins--Conversation With Collins Lazy Lester--Five Long Years Anthony Gomes--Everyday Superstar Volker Strifler--Let The Music Rise

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Janiva Magness -- "Stronger For It"

Janiva Magness has made the finest record of her career, and one of the most powerful blues cds of the past decade. Ten years from now, I think we will remember 2012 as the year of Janiva Magness. This is the same way I felt when I first heard Springsteen's "Nebraska." It's simply the best cd I've heard in the entire 4 years I've been writing this blog.

Magness is an eleven-time Blues Music Award nominee, and she won the coveted 2009 Blues Music Awards for B.B. King Entertainer Of The Year (she is only the second woman to ever win this award, Koko Taylor being the first) and for Contemporary Blues Female Artist Of The Year, an honor she also received in 2006 and 2007.

This cd follows Magness's BMA nominated albums on Alligator Records, "The Devil Is An Angel Too" (2010) and "What Love Will Do" (2008). Quite an impressive set.

After struggling through what she has termed "the most personally challenging year that I can ever remember" in 2011, Magness threw herself into the music and come up with a gem of an album. "Stronger For It" was a cathartic experience for Magness, and the way she sings on each song of loss and recovery, pain and redemption, hurt and healing her story becomes our story as well. Her singing is clear, powerful, and deeply emotional. This is not a cd for background music.

Production is by Dave Darling. The band includes Matt Tecu on drums, Gary Davenport on bass, Zach Zunis and Dave Darling on guitars and Jim Alfredson on keyboards. For the first time since her debut album in 1997, Magness wrote three songs with Dave Darling. Her three autobiographical songs stand out here, even among covers by top-notch songwriters like Tom Waits, Grace Potter, Shelby Lynne, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Matthew Sweet and Julie Miller.

Just invest the time to listen to "There It Is" or "I Won't Cry" (written by Magness & Darling, as is "Whistlin In The Dark") or "I'm Alive" or "Dirty Water" or "Whoop And Holler." Listen to one song and I can only believe that you will buy the whole cd, and one listen to "Stronger For It" and you will understand what I'm trying to say. Five Stars.

This cd was released on March 13th. You can buy it at