Monday, February 25, 2013

Lucky Peterson Band -- "Live at The 55 Arts Club Berlin"

This 2 cd + 3 DVD set is a massive achievement, showcasing one night at the end of the Lucky Peterson Band's 2012 tour of Europe.  Lucky Peterson is one of the most versatile blues musicians on the international blues scene: blazing lead guitarist, fantastic organist and a first class singer. He has been playing music since he as 3 years old. Under the tutelage of Willie Dixon, he made his first album when he was 5 years old. Now After 12 albums and a lifetime of playing the blues, Lucky Peterson has absolutely no trouble filling three hours with his supercharged personality and great music.

The band is a perfect match for him. Shawn Kellerman on guitar, Tim Waites on bass, and Raul Valdes are a rootin' tootin' blues powerhouse band. They tear the house down and build in back up again on song after song. Lucky plays Hammond B-3 and guitar and sings, and he is joined on vocals by the supremely talented Tamara Peterson.

I'll tell you how good this set is: if the only thing they released was the portion of the show from Ray LaMontagne's "Trouble" and "Blues Medley" and "You Shook Me," that 32 minute section alone would be in the running for CD of the year. Similarly, if the only thing they released was the portion starting with "Knocking" through "How Do I, Why Do I" and "I Don't Like You But I Love You" and "Been So Long," that 23 minute section alone would be in the running for CD of the year.....for Tamara Peterson. Luckily, those two sections come one right after the other and that's not even all of the first half of the show. In the second half of the show there is a similar section from "I'm Ready" to "Who's Been Talking?" to "Dust My Broom" and "The World's In A Tangle" and Prince's "Kiss" that is even stronger than all that has gone before--everybody is on fire. It is truly superlative music-making. This is a career highlight set for Lucky Peterson, the best he has ever played, and that's saying a lot. And if you are tempted to save a few $$ and just get the cds, please don't cheat yourself. The first two DVDs are the same as the cds but with the addition of visuals, and the third DVD includes a number of songs with just the band of Kellerman/Waites/Valdes. Those three guys by themselves are worth seeing--you watch that DVD and you understand that Lucky and Tamara had to be on top of their game or the band would blow them right off the stage. 

This release has earned The Lucky Peterson Band a 2013 BMA nomination in the DVD category.       

You an buy this set at in either the 2 cd set, or in the deluxe 2 cd + 3 DVD sets.

Friday, February 22, 2013

James "Buddy" Rogers -- "My Guitar's My Only Friend"

Vancouver native James "Buddy" Rogers began playing in public when he was 11 years old. By the time he was 15 his band Texas Storm was well-known all over Canada opening for headliners. He spent 5 years touring all over the US and Canada with BB King's bassist Russell Jackson. In 2000 he formed his own band. Now he is 37 and this is his debut release.   

The cd is produced by Tom Lavin. The songs are all originals by Rogers/Lavin. The band is James "Buddy" Rogers on lead guitar and vocals, Bill Hix and Ivan Duben on drums, Bill Runge and Tony Marryatt on bass, Mike Kalanj on Hammond organ, and Tom Lavin on rhythm and bass guitar. 

Rogers' guitar and vocals sound like Robert Cray, which is a high compliment. With every song here Rogers shows he has a ton of talent. There are a variety of styles on display--from the Albert King-style opening song "My Guitar's My Only Friend" to the party song "Let's Get Loose" to traditional blues songs "I'm On The Road Again,” “Disappearing Baby Blues,” “Sweet Little Girl,” and “Blame It On The Blues.” "Guitar Sue" sounds like it was written 40 years ago, maybe a lost Chuck Berry song? But no, everything here is new--it just sounds like these songs should have been around for a long time. That's how well-written it is. The whole band plays top-notch throughout, and the whole cd has that great "Loan it out & people will like it" thing going on. Maybe my favorite song is the instrumental closer “Buddy’s Walk," which gives Rogers a chance to just play his guitar--and he plays it great. On the jewel box of my copy of this cd is a note that says "All are fine for airplay."   

James "Buddy" Rogers is a real triple threat--strong on guitar and vocals and songwriting. I'm looking forward to whatever he does next.  

You can buy this cd at

This is post # 200 on the Sunday Night Blues Project. I'm proud of that, and I'd like to thank you for reading these reviews. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Altered Five -- "Gotta Earn It"

Altered Five are one of my favorite new bands of 2012. They come out of Milwaukee Wisconsin, they have been together since 2002, and they have been playing the upper Midwest ever since. Still, I didn't know anything about them until last November. This is their 2nd cd, after 2008's "Bluesified" (Cold Wind Records). Nowadays Altered Five is stepping out under their own banner, and I like the way they wrote it on their website--"After nearly a decade of molding the music of others into their own image, the group began to apply its sound to original songs and other lesser known blues and soul tunes." I wish I could catch these guys live. I'll bet they are dynamite in a live setting. 

The band is made up of Jeff Taylor (lead vocals), Jeff Schroedl (guitar and background vocals), Mark Solveson (bass and background vocals), Raymond Tevich (keyboards), and Scott Schroedl (drums and percussion). The band wrote seven of the ten songs here. The three covers are all remarkable: a driving, bluesy take on the early Smokey Robinson-penned Motown hit “Ain’t That Peculiar”; a revved-up reading of Willie Dixon’s 1961 Buddy Guy Chess recording “Watch Yourself”; and another Smokey Robinson-penned Motown original, “You’ve Got to Earn It.” The originals are all terrific, too, featuring the big voice of Jeff Taylor, really good guitar work by Jeff Schroedl, cool keyboards and top-notch rhythm work by the powerhouse duo of Schroedl and Solveson. Every time I play this cd I find myself focusing on a different element--today I'm digging the great bass work on "Older, Wiser Richer." I think my favorite song here is "You've Got To Earn It," which I have played several times on my Texas Blues Show on (It airs every Thursday 4-7pm EST if I am allowed to make a shameless plug on my own blog.) I know these guys are not from Texas, but good music is good music, no matter where it comes from.

This is a terrific cd--I only wish I had discovered these guys years ago, so I could have been telling people about them all this time.

This cd is on Conclave Records. You can buy this cd at the band's website, and you can also see several concert performances. Go to