Saturday, September 19, 2015

Clarence "The Blues Man" Turner -- "The Caster Blaster"

Clarence "The Blues Man" Turner's second cd, "The Caster Blaster" (2015) is a strong follow up to his debut "Pay Day." (2012) Turner is a true triple threat--singer, songwriter, guitarist, bass player, drummer--and this disc is a big step up from "Pay Day." This time  around, the Washington, D.C. area artist and winner of numerous awards presents what will be his deserved breakthrough release. Eight songs are Turner originals and there are three covers There are three covers, Chuck Willis' "CC Rider," Ray Charles' "Black Jack," and Willie Dixon's "I'm Ready." The band with Turner are  Sean Graves (drums), Charles Pearson (keyboards), David Satterwhite (bass), Gene Meros (saxophones) and Gary Hendrickson (trumpet).

Turner has earned the title "The Blues Man" and he shows himself an excellent ear as a songwriter throughout. He is also a fine singer, and a very good guitarist too. He can play the fast blues as well as anyone, and he when he slows things down, as on "Black Jack," he makes every moment shine. Pearson has several fine moments on keyboards, most impressively on "Nadine." Graves and Satterwhite keep everything effortlessly moving in the pocket. And I think any artist who makes an entire cd with a horn section must have plenty for them to do--and this cd is no exception. Meros and Hendrickson add great color, depth and intensity to "Sabrena," "Fender Bender," "Happily Married Man."

Everything here is well done and the result is a fine cd. Equally good as music for a party or for quiet introspection, this is one I highly recommend. The fact that Clarence is a real good guy--that's just an added special bonus.  

You can buy this one at      

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Crooked Eye Tommy -- "Butterflies And Snakes"


Crooked Eye Tommy releases their debut effort,
Butterflies And Snakes, eleven memorable songs written by Crooked Eye Tommy front-person and band namesake Tommy Marsh and Tommy's brother, guitarist-vocalist, Paddy Marsh.

These brothers are the creative force that is Crooked Eye Tommy. Paddy Marsh sings and writes three of the eleven tunes on the record including “Come On In”, “I Stole The Blues”,  and “Tide Pool.” Tommy Marsh sings on the other eight songs. The other members of the band are Glade Rasmussen, on bass; Tony Cicero, on drums; and Jimmy Calire, on saxophone/piano/Hammond B3.

This band came out of the Santa Barbara Blues Society in 2013 and the album is a rocking blues powerhouse. These guys do Southern style blues with chops and taste, and, as you can guess from the name of the album, several of the songs deal with the relationships between the sexes. The title track drew me in right off the bat with an excellent balanced ensemble sound featuring strong vocals and stinging guitar work. I like a blues band that wants to sound like a blues band, not a group of guys just waiting to get the next screamin' solo. These guys get it done--it sounds like they all turned down the volume just a little and they all play together beautifully.

Another favorite to me was the rocking number, "Time Will Tell," which is "the source of the album's name," states Marsh. "The second verse talks about the duality of women:

Women are made of butterflies, butterflies and snakes
Trying to please a woman can give a good man the shakes

"Somebody's Got To Pay" is a sexy Blues shuffle where Marsh laments in song, "the way the world is today, somebody's got to pay." He explains: "I wrote this song while dealing with a tax issue...I was very frustrated with the whole government and how no matter who is in office, it's always about who has the money."

Another really good song, IMO, is "I Stole The Blues," which features Paddy Marsh singing over a solid rhythm section and really good guitar by brother Tommy. This one has all the elements of a good blues radio friendly number--in fact, I have played it several times on my Mo' Blues Show and it always gets a good reaction. There is a hot sax solo by Jimmy Calire on this one.

Crooked Eye Tommy has made a really fine debut album. Santa Barbara and Ventura County California have a lot to be proud of here. Scorching performances and original music firmly rooted in traditional blues, which feels at once both familiar but somehow new.

You can buy this cd at

Friday, September 11, 2015

Brad Wilson -- "Blues Thunder"

"Blues Thunder" is the latest from Brad Wilson. It follows 2014's "Hands On The Wheel" and it is fine blues and blues-rock. Brad Wilson is on guitar and sings. He also wrote all 12 songs. Brian Beal is on bass. Amrik Sandhu is on drums. Kirk Nelson is on keyboards. Tumbleweed Mooney is on harmonica. 

Things open with Is It Any Wonder, which sounds radio-ready. Wilson, who takes lead vocal and guitar, sings smoothly in quiet pop form but with tasty guitar riffs throughout.  The next song, Change It Up, is an uptempo song with a kind of Santana feel. The next song, Blue Shadows, is a 50s style ballad featuring clean piano work by Nelson. I could imagine this one sung by Sinatra. Quite tasty! The next two songs, Step By Step and the title track, are a return to blues-rock. Tumbleweed Mooney shines on harp on Step By Step. On the title track Wilson burns up the fretboard. Some readers will love this one, some will think it overwrought, but the guitar work is top-notch. The next song, Let's Go Barefootin' It, starts out as a blues with a Bo Diddley rhythm, but soon gets around to cooking. Mooney's harp work here is excellent. The next song, My Faith Has Been Broken, is another shift in style, this time towards classic rock. The guitar on this one reminds me of the great Terry Kath of Chicago. Next up, Cool Runnin', is a radio-ready understated song featuring Wilson's vocals. The guitar work here is hot from beginning to end. The next song, Home, is another stylistic move featuring acoustic guitar. The opening reminds me of Led Zeppelin's Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, but it morphs into something like an unreleased Bruce Springsteen song. The next song, Black Coffee At Sunrise, is probably my favorite. This one is a 50s style jump blues with very sweet jazzy guitar. The next song, Sugar Sweet, features jazzy guitar but weak lyrics. Last up, Never Again, is a solid rock song. Wilson really wails on this one. A nice conclusion.

Brad Wilson's new cd is a strong follow up to his 2014 release. He shows a number of styles in both his songwriting and guitar. I enjoyed this one.

You can buy this one at