31
Aug
14

COUNTING CROWS-“SUPERB SONGCRAFT LIFTS SOMEWHERE UNDER WONDERLAND TO LOFTY HEIGHTS” CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

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Counting Crows new album Somewhere Under Wonderland is an album of rich melodic songs with real band dynamics.

Hearing the band count-off stand out rock songs like Earthquake Driver, the killer shuffle of Cover Up The Sun, the thick groove of Scarecrow and the dirty percussive riff of Dislocation is a total joy.

This is clearly a band firing on all cylinders.

Adam Duritz’s eloquent lyrical work, songs and expressive vocals are up front but the band  including drummer Jim Bogios, guitarist  David Bryson, songwriter/guitarist Dan Vickrey and multi-instrumentalists Millard Powers, David Immergluck and Charlie Gillingham deliver an ambience to the tracks as good as Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers.

Palisades Park and God Of Ocean Tides are intricate songs that deliver an exhilarating feel that seduces you as the listener.

It’s very safe to say there are not many bands attempting this kind of songcraft this far into their career.

Elsewhere the twin guitar workout behind Bogios explosive drum fills on Elvis Went to Hollywood, the band dynamics and slide guitar on John Appleseed’s Lament and the Kennedy era references on Possibility Days offer a broad spectrum of Americana.

This album will easily make my top ten list of 2014

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, radio host, and singer-songwriter with Canadian Blues/Roots rockers THE SHAFTMEN

http://www.theshaftmen.com

Check out John and the band worldwide on Youtube, Amazon, and Apple iTunes

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/close-another-door/id392307439

JOHN EMMS RADIO

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31
Aug
14

KENNY BLUES BOSS WAYNE-“Soul Inflected Vocals and 70’s Warmth -cd review by JOHN EMMS

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Rollin with the Blues Boss is what a blues inflected piano album sounded like in the early 70’s.

And baby that is good news, because it’s 2014.

Warm, inviting and full of soul

Although Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne is known for his strident piano licks and long time road work throughout North America it’s his voice that knocks me out.

In fact it’s almost a jazz inflection on Can’t Believe It,  it’s upfront and funky on Leavin’ In The Morning and a southern smoky tenor on Slow Down.

As a long time lead vocalist I can tell you it’s heaven listening to it’s warmth.

Where is the blues you ask?

Here is the key, everything Wayne does is wrapped in all the variations of blues turnarounds, motifs, R & B, boogie woogie and songs outside the normal 12 bar formation

Keep On Rockin, brings to mind Fats Domino via 2014, guests Diunna Greenleaf blows the roof off the gospel Baby, It Ain’t You and Eric Bibb shuffles up the ante on Two Sides.

My fave track is the killer horn charts and groove to You Bring The Jungle Out of Me.

It’s Vancouver uptown blues, meets New Orleans.

Powder Blues front man and producer Tom Lavin completely captures Wayne’s essence and then some with some focused playing from some very hip  players on this session.

They don’t make records this warm anymore so bravo to everyone involved.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, hosts a blues/roots/ rock online radio show and is the singer-songwriter with Canadian Blues Rockers THE SHAFTMEN

http://www.theshaftmen.com

Check out John and the band worldwide on Youtube, Amazon and iTunes

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

John’s radio show

http://emms.podbean.com/

 

 

 

 

30
Aug
14

JOEL JOHNSON-“FIERY AND EXCITING” BLUES JOOSE VOL 2-CD REVIEW BY JOHN EMMS

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When your wife likes a blues artist that you pop into the cd player and your neighbours say “who is that playing?” it’s all good.

Joel Johnson is one hell of a blues axe man and vocalist.

To top it off, I can’t say how many new young blues players I enjoy from first listen.

It’s not a big number, but Johnson is one of them.

This is a modern blues recording. Punchy big sound but with traditional feel.

If you think of Albert Cummings or the groove of Guitar Shorty you will get the idea.

From the start Johnson rips off impressive lead solos on Out of My Mind, the funky Raise Your Wind, and the slow blues horn infused I’ll Be Just Fine, where he really lays down an impressive lead vocal to go with the exciting chops.

An instrumental nod to Luther Allison and covers of Crossroads and Little Wing are included but Johnson works best on his own tracks.

A little more variation on the song-writing side in the manner of Tommy Castro, and Walter Trout’s work would be cool but Johnson rocks hard and true.

The backing band of keyboard man Wayne Dagenais, drummer Mike Fitzpatrick and bassist Steve Pelletier are flexible and always in the pocket, and give a big boost to the overall band feel on the tracks.

Your going to like this cd a lot!!!

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, radio host and singer-songwriter with Canadian Blues Rockers

THE SHAFTMEN

http://www.theshaftmen.com

You can check out John and the band worldwide on Youtube, Amazon and iTunes

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

JOHN’S BLUES ROOTS RADIO

http://emms.podbean.com/

 

 

 

 

 

30
Aug
14

MUD MORGANFIELD/KIM WILSON CD REVIEW -FOR POPS-“ROOM FULL OF GOOD BLUES POWER’ BY JOHN EMMS

MudThe easiest thing you can do is listen to solid musicians play for the joy of it.

If you mix in a tribute to Muddy Waters, his music, his son Mud, Kim Wilson and the groove these cats put out it’s a no brainer.

This album is a winner, because you can’t fake real blues feel.

On tracks like Gone to Main Street, I Want You to Love Me and Nineteen Years Old it’s clear the organic nature of chops by guitar man Billy Flynn, and piano man Barrelhouse Chuck just kill at every turn.

That is the key to the whole entire cd in a nutshell. It’s Mud’s convincing vocal work and Kim Wilson and the band just rolling and tumbling.

Nobody is saying that on the 100th anniversary of Muddy Water’s birth young blues fans should not check out his entire catalogue, but by god these guys nailed this session.

Slip this cd on, grab a drink, and turn it up!!

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, radio host and singer-songwriter with Canadian Blues Rockers THE SHAFTMEN http://www.theshaftmen.com

Check out the music below

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

24
Jul
14

READ JOHN’S TOUCHING ODE TO JOHNNY WINTER ON THIS BLOG/CHECK OUT JOHN MAYALL’S LATEST CD/HEAR THE SHAFTMEN’S LATEST CD

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https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

JOHN EMMS RADIO IS FREE ON ITUNES

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https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/superb-song-choices-john-emms/id376049866?mt=2

 

 

24
Jul
14

ERIC CLAPTON & FRIENDS-THE BREEZE-CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS-AN APPRECIATION OF JJ CALE-“JEAN JACQUES SMILES AGAIN”

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One year after  JJ Cale’s death Eric Clapton & Friends capture the simple beauty and roots nature of  Cale’s Americana’ vibe on this new album.

On tracks like the superb Cajun Moon, The Same Old Blues with Tom Petty and especially Sensitive Kind featuring Don White, Clapton and Friends get to the essence of Cale’s work from albums like Naturally and Troubadour.

John Mayer grooves natural with Clapton on Lies, and rocks with him on Don’t Wait.

Christine Lakeland and Derek Trucks add the gorgeous subtle touch to Cryin’ Eyes while Mark Knopfler’s distinctive vocal and chops work the beauty of the track Someday.

The prettiest moment on the cd besides Willie Nelson’s take on Songbird is again John Mayer with the eloquent Magnolia.

Cale’s legacy was left in good hands and Jean Jacques is smiling and grooving.

Each listen I get more relaxed.

This cd is available July 29th

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, radio host and blues/roots singer-songwriter with Canadian Blues Rockers THE SHAFTMEN

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

JOHN EMMS BLUES/ROOTS RADIO

http://emms.podbean.com/

 

 

24
Jul
14

DUDLEY TAFT-SCREAMING IN THE WIND-“BLUES ROCKER BETTER ON EACH LISTEN” CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

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Blues Rock is getting big again.

It may not reach the heights of Cream, prime Johnny Winter, ZZ Top,  or the Texas Blues of Stevie Ray Vaughan but  adding rock power to blues inspired songs is what the public wants

And Dudley Taft and his band are right in the thick of it on their new album Screaming in The Wind

Working with producer Tom Hambridge (Buddy Guy) and SRV’s mojo organ man Reese Wynans this album bends into modern blues without loosing  clout.

Tracks like the hard hitting Red Line, the open tuning crunch of Sleeping In The Sunlight, a cover of Freddie King’s Pack It Up with the Muscle Shoals Horns Section, and the pop sensibility of Barrio (which would kill at mainstream radio) Taft and his band don’t miss the mark.

Believe or not Tears in The Rain has an almost Soundgarden-esque vibe, while Wynan powers up the B-3 organ on the excellent The Reason Why.

Bassman John Kessler and drummer Jason Patterson stick to Taft’s riffing and solos which adds glue in the right places.

Bottom line has always been the songs.

Tracks like  ZZ Top’s Beer Drinker’s and Hellraisers, Cream’s Sunshine of Your Love or Canadian blues rocker Colin James’ Just Got Back have hard crunching radio friendly hooks

Taft has plenty on this album too.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, online radio host and founding member of Canadian Blues Rockers THE SHAFTMEN

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/paycheque-blues/id365389443

http://emms.podbean.com/

 

 

17
Jul
14

JOHNNY WINTER “RIP”..SO THIS IS BLUES ROCK’ REVIEW BY JOHN EMMS

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I was 17 years old in 1969.

I was a huge Beatles and Stones fan. I was buried deep into The Beatles Abbey Road album and the Stones Let It Bleed.

However, Johnny Winters’s three sided vinyl album Second Winter was sharing equal time if not more on my turntable.

What people tend to forget is Johnny Winter was a very big rock star in the 70’s.

My friends and I loved the fact that Johnny and his brother Edgar were powering up the blues.

Yes, friends you had BLUES ROCK.

I wore out my Winter vinyl albums (as you can see by the photo), watched him on  Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert with his trio. Randy Joe Hobbs on bass and this wild drummer

Hell, they just blew me away.

It was pure excitement.

Bottom line is we just ate up his live album “Johnny Winter And” with Rick Derringer, we must have erased the grooves.

Johnny Winter made you want to play rock and blues and turn it up.

If you got it right on stage you felt like a rock star.

Still Alive and Well, Saints And Sinners, John Dawson Winter and later albums like Third Degree are killer albums.

Johnny’s music was a big part of my late teens and early 20’s and I still listen to it.

It has staying power.

RIP JOHNNY, You rocked our world!!

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, online radio host and works out with his own blues rock friends in THE SHAFTMEN

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

JOHN EMMS BLUES/ROOTS RADIO

http://emms.podbean.com/

 

 

 

 

15
Jul
14

JOHN MAYALL-A SPECIAL LIFE-‘POTENT QUALITY ABOUNDS” CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

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Simple fact is John Mayall’s new cd A Special Life regardless of any type of blues genre is very potent and sturdy.

If that’s not enough his band of super bassist Greg Rzab, the mighty tone of guitarist Rocky Athas and  timekeeper pro Jay Davenport just  groove.

Opening with special guest CJ Chenier on his father’s Zydeco jem Why Did You Go Last Night, the band whips Sonny Landreth’s Speak of the Devil under the spell of Athas’s deep bend guitar tone, all the while watching headmaster Mayall tear it up on the political World Gone Crazy.

Elsewhere Mayall sounds energized on Eddie Taylor’s Big Town Playboy, while his songwriting skills are sharp on the superb Heartache and the cover of I Just Got To Know is solid!

It should be noted one of the standout tracks on the album is courtesy of Rzab and Athas with the powerhouse minor chord standout Like A Fool.

This is going to surprise young and old blues fans, but people in the know understand that Mayall has been very consistent over the years beginning with the Buddy Whittington era, let alone his classic early career highlights.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, radio host and heads up his own blues rock outfit THE SHAFTMEN

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/paycheque-blues/id365389443

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

 

 

 

 

01
Jul
14

JOE LOUIS WALKER, LONG JOHN BALDRY GET “THE BEST OF STONY PLAIN YEARS” TREATMENT–“AND BOY DOES IT WORK”-CD REVIEWS JOHN EMMS

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Artists don’t become legends overnight.

Unless you count American Idol, Rising Star and all that other crap.

Then again, don’t get me started on that “shite”

No, you get your dues when you pay your dues.

These two releases will begin Stony Plain’s best of compilation series.

What a way to start.

The very cool liner notes, by label head Holger Peterson are very insightful and often moving.

It adds to the package in a big way.

My 12 cd changer in the vehicle is never without a Joe Luis Walker cd.

That’s a fact. I love his work as whole albums.

Having said that you simply cannot go wrong with tracks like Highview with Duke Robillard, the excellent solos on Hustlin, or the simply coolness factors of tracks like Eyes Like a Cat, the live Slow Down GTO, or the matter of fact blues belt of I’m Tied.

Why not end with the great soul of Witness, one of my fave soul vocals of all time.

It hits me emotionally every time.

Honestly folks if you don’t know JLW this is a great place to start.

Long John Baldry’s voice was and still is a force of nature.

There is no other way to put it.

If you have heard Jack White’ Little Willie John cover of I’m Shakin then you must hear the LJB version on this cd

Just listen to the superb musicianship on Easy Street, Midnight Hour Blues, the wicked shuffle of Gallows Pole and the oh so excellent Time’s Getting Tougher Than Tough with Jimmy Witherspoon

Talk about killer!!!

Fans will also love to check out the great guitar work of Papa John King and the always spine tingling vocals of Kathi McDonald

BTW…..I still own my two vinyl copies of It Ain’t Easy and Everything Stops For Tea

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, online radio host and songwriter/guitarist/vocalist with Canadian Blues Rockers THE SHAFTMEN … the band’s latest cd is here

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

 

 

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01
Jul
14

DEANNA BOGART-“CHOPS THAT MESMERIZE’ CD REIVEW jUST A WISH AWAY-JOHN EMMS

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DEANNA BOGART’S new album  Just A Wish Away has chops that simply mesmerize.

But as many folks already know, this is not a straight, or even blues blend album.

Bogart tries on a lot of genre hats. The excellent Maybe I Won’t is an example of this.

A great song, influenced by a soul/blues mix

Straight out of the box, the galloping If It’s Gonna Be Like This mixes country and slide induced rock n’ roll, Find Me Good Bayou brings on the “answering”  Bonerama Horns, while Back and Forth Kid simply is one of the most intimate songs I have heard in 2014.

A gorgeous ballad it is breathtaking in it’s scope lyrically and dynamically

Elsewhere the covers,  a funky version of Sly Stone’s Hot Fun In the Summertime, and a jazzy take on SRV’S Tightrope has a killer piano solo but does not fire you up like the original.

Collarbone an instrumental shows off a superb tenor sax solo from Bogart, and Conversing With Lincoln with it’s  Paul Simon”Graceland” hook are examples of how this is just straight up great playing by the whole band.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, online radio host and vocalist/guitarist/songwriter with Canadian Blues ‘rockers THE SHAFTMEN    https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

 

23
Jun
14

RONNIE EARL AND THE BROADCASTERS-“GETTING TO THE ESSENCE” CD REVIEW-GOOD NEWS-JOHN EMMS

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On their new album titled Good News Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters get to the essence and marrow of blues and soul.

It’s not about how many notes, scales or riffs you play it’s all about FEEL and this band has tons of it.

Check out Ronnie’s Grant Green-esque feel to Time To Remember, which also includes a gorgeous piano intro and Hammond solo by Dave Limina.

Having said that I’m happy to cruise down the highway listening to Earl’s guitar solos on Puddin’ Pie, the James Burton nods to I Met Her On That Train or Blues For Henry the co-write and tribute to Hubert Sumlin which also sports an Al Kooper/Michael Bloomfield essence.

Elsewhere, Dave Limina’s title track recalls the mid 60’s influence of Booker T and the MG’s, and vocalist Diane Lane inspires the band on Junior Well’s In The Wee Wee Hours, and Sam Cooke’s classic A Change Is Gonna Come both of course which have had tons of interprets.

Yet by holding back and letting her soulful vocals sit in the pocket Lane is a nice add to the band’s overall sound.

Lorne Entress and bassist Jim Mouradian sit beneath the Broadcasters sound and like all great  sections their fills and  grooves are a  support system  any artist would  love  to have.

It’s summer, it’s warm and breezy and this great cd is enveloping my patio.

That friends, is never a bad thing.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, and singer/guitarist/vocalist with Canadian blues rockers THE SHAFTMEN

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

 

 

 

 

Runnin’ for Peace ends the album inspired by lyrics from the finish line bombing at the Boston Marathon

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23
Apr
14

LEON RUSSELL GETS BACK, BILLY BRANCH & THE SONS OF BLUES, JOHNNY DEMARCO-CD REVIEWS JOHN EMMS

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Leon Russell-“This is a record of my musical journey through life,” Russell writes in a package essay for Life Journey.  “It reflects pieces of things that I have done and things I never did, for one reason or another.”

Amen to that. This is classic Leon. Smart lean arrangement with Robben Ford on That Lucky Ol’ Sun,  Rockin 50’s vibe to his own Big Lips, a galloping stride on the classic Fever and Robert Johnson’s Come in My Kitchen kicks it off.

Johnny Demarco-Living Out Our Dreams-Demarco is a solid songwriter, no doubt. Big Bryan Adams influence on most of the album especially on the title track and  Never Gonna Be Good Enough. Superb acoustic version of Stop In The Name of Love

Billy Branch and The Sons of Blues-This is the real deal in blues, despite the fact that the album touches on a lot of genres. Great band feel on all tracks, in fact Billy’s band is super tight.

Sons of Blues works in horns, great lyrics and groove,  title track has a funk feel with nice slinky slide guitar from Dan Carrelli, Going To See Miss Gerri One More Time a song dedicated to 93 year old Gerri Oliver is hands down one of the best songs I have heard this year.  Other standout songs include a ripping take on Boom Boom and the swinging Crazy Mixed Up World.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, online radio host and singer songwriter with Canada’s blues/roots rockers THE SHAFTMEN

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

 

22
Apr
14

ARDEN RULES ON NEW ALBUM, BACH REDEEMS HIS HARD ROCK POWER-CD REVIEWS BY JOHN EMMS

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Jann Arden-Everything Almost-This can’t miss.

Teaming up again with Bob Rock this is a pop record that screams credibility. You Love Me Back has a magic modern production overlay, killer chorus and an almost Mutt Lange/Shania Twain sensibility.

Elsewhere Counting Mercies has a multiple tracked breathtaking lead vocal, while Hard To Be Alive offers up a bed of crunch guitars interwoven with  strings and almost Celtic feel in places.

The opening track Comin’ Round For Us packs a wallop of  stacked harmony vocals by Arden, while the closing title track is Arden longing and poignant.

This possibly is the best I have heard Arden sing in her career.

It’s a monster album, to be sure.

Not out till April 29th.

Sebastian Bach-Give ‘Em Hell–Roaring out of the gate with heavy riff dominated songs and lead vocals that will raise the hair on the back of your neck Sebastian Bach takes no prisoners on this new album.

On the tracks like Harmony, the opener Hell Inside My Head and the slow mid tempo  burn of  Push Away Bach sings his ass off.

Ripping falsetto, brash and dangerous all in one song Bach rules like never before, especially on the new single All My Friends Are Dead.

Solid cover of April Wine’s Rock N’ Roll is a Vicious Game, huge guitars, and help from John 5, Rob Zombie, Duff McKagan and scorching guitars from Steve Stevens this album will make a believer out of anyone who dares to crank it up and soak it in!!!  This album  is out today.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, online radio host and singer-songwriter  with Canada’s blues/roots rockers THE SHAFTMEN

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

 

 

 

 

 

07
Mar
14

DAMON FOWLER-SOUNDS OF HOME-“ELECTRIC SOUTHERN ROOTS GUMBO”-CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

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Damon Fowler has never been afraid to take chances with his electric southern roots gumbo.

Lyrically strong, and pushed by bassist Chuck Riley and drummer James McKnight Fowler’s gritty third cd heats up those tubes.

Often funky, strutting, and vibrant all in the same song this Tab Benoit produced album encompasses roots music in all it’s forms.

You can delve deep down with Old Fools, Bar Stools and Me, get Stones-esque funky on the title track, or catch the gator groove on Grit My Teeth.

What comes out is Florida “Natchall” strut. You have to be born with it.

And Fowler lives it on his cover of Elvis Costello’s Alison and his slide cover mantra  TV Mama.

Exceptionally strong, and powerful, Fowler and his great band are way gone and that’s a good thing.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist

online roots radio host http://emms.podbean.com/ and roots/blues songwriter with Canadian rockers THE SHAFTMEN https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/paycheque-blues/id365389443

07
Mar
14

24th STREET WAILERS-WICKED-‘ROAD CHOPS AND BLUES DELUXE”-CD REVIEW-JOHN EMMS

Nothing grabs your attention more than a good solid road band with chops to spare, and The 24th Street Wailers are that band.

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On their new cd Wicked, there is plenty to spare in that Ol’ blues gas tank.

From the blistering title track, to the short hip swing inflections on the instrumental Boones Bounce, over to their Bobby Darrin cover of Love Me Right,  24th Street Wailers walk the walk baby.

Truth be told I can listen to, jump around the room to, or check out the chops on Lindsay Beaver’s songs like I Need You, Aim To Please, or the Emily Burgess’ rocker Solid Ground.

The gig is also Jon Wong’s tenor sax solos ripping through you like good Ol’ Junior Walker, and bassist Mike Archer gets tons of groove with drummer Lindsay Beaver and her superb lead vocals

The band does not push new boundaries in their own blues songwriting.

Instead, the writing is traditional, with enough changes and killer feel to keep the listener on his or her feet.

That is the key . Your enjoying yourself.

Produced and engineered by Billy Horton in Austin Texas, the group has now added piano player Jesse Whiteley

Either way, Wicked is blues deluxe.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, online radio host, and blues/roots songwriter with Canadian Rockers THE SHAFTMEN  https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

24
Feb
14

SAB SABOURIN-ROCK N’ ROLL HEART..AND THE HEALING POWER OF MUSIC-BY JOHN EMMS

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Peter Sabourin aka SAB steps lightly as he exits his van with loving wife Teena and greets his fans and friends at the door of Kirkland’ Lake’s Northern College entrance.

Still wincing in pain from his recent cancer treatments that have sent him into remission, he is without a doubt the result of a miracle. 

Maybe a rock n’ roll miracle.  

The kind you read about it, and get choked about it that is. 

Sab and his Family Band are here for his first major concert since his remission. 

It’s a sold out show with David Wilcox as headliner, but it is abundantly clear that people have come from all over the North to see and greet him.

As he walks through the hallways towards the stage with his entourage he is greeted by many people in his trademark new leather top hat, new embroidered coat, and of course his famous snakeskin boots. 

Sab is no mere mortal. 

No folks, Sab represents the true living and breathing rock n’ roll spirit. You simply don’t see it anymore.  

It harks to old road stories, living on a smoky dream that was built upon small clubs and hard won and lost personal relationships.  

SAB is a throwback to the days of Bobby Orr who has on this night through the help of Robin Connelly and the Kirkland Lake Festivals Committee, and Canadian rock icon Tom Cochrane donated an autographed number 4 Orr Jersey that Sab lost in the fire that destroyed his farmhouse. 

The fire which made national news came at height of his 2 year battle with Leukemia, and tonight’s presentation that I witness from the front of the stage, clearly moves Sab, his band, and the audience. 

This of course sets the stage for a dramatic set of music. 

From the outset, this is where the healing power of music sets in. 

It starts with the special eye contact that only the secret brotherhood of musicians knows about. 

The feeling of the music and dynamics that takes the players on a musical rush that only musicians know about. 

It does not happen often. All of us know that. 

It’s hard to describe, but maybe think of the Bobby Orr goal photo in mid-air or how you felt when you cranked up Life Is A Highway on a hot summer night.  

Flanked by long time (22 years) musical foil and friend Danny “Waxxie” Belbin his bassist and harmony vocalist Sab plays the 50 minute show like it was his last.  

On this night he also joined by Timmins Alumni Moe Guiho on congas/vocals, Yvon Clouthier on sax and Monty Kirkpatrick on trumpet.

In fact, his solo on the coda of Sab’s hit song Friendships wafts through the air floating on breathy elegance as Sab and Waxxie tear the heart out of the vocals. 

If that was not enough Sab is backed by Partland Brothers/Ronnie Hawkins piano player Brent Bailey, 13 year old drummer Levi Post and 17 year old lead guitarist Brody Post who Sab describes as his “sons”

All three provide spontaneous combustion to the engine driving the set to exhaustion. 

That engine is of course Sab.  

That would be the man with the hearty laugh, the big heart, and the soul of a true rock n’ roll outlaw. 

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, online blog and radio host and singer-songwriter with Canadian rockers The Shaftmen http://www.theshaftmen.com

 

24
Feb
14

THERE ARE STILL GOOD SONGS…BUT DO WE HAVE THE TIME TO REALLY LISTEN?-BY JOHN EMMS

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I get it we are really busy.

Nothing wrong with that.

Look, I used to listen to whole albums/cd’s all the way through.

I can honestly say I still do.

Not as much  though.

Why?

Too busy with my own shit, my lot in life, social media, cleaning the house, writing new songs, you name I’m doing it.

Bullshit, that’s what it is.

Okay I agree, we have to get rid of that shit music that’s done with 6 different songwriters, 4 producers and no fucking band.

Just a computer..

Holy shit what’s up with that crap!

I’m listening to the new Beck cd Morning Phase. Hell it’s as good as classic Neil Young.

I know readers are reading this around the world,  so I ‘m listening to the new Downchild Blues Band cd Can You Hear the Music.

They are from Canada, where I live. It’s as good as the new album last year from  Buddy Guy.

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Holy shit, 30 minutes has went by, better check my email..

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, singer-songwriter and blues/roots musician, radio host…and now has to go clean his house..but sure you can check out the links somewhere on this page

 

 

 

20
Feb
14

BENMONT TENCH-YOU SHOULD BE SO LUCKY-“AND THE SINGER’S GONNA SING A SONG”-CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

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Benmont Tench has found his voice.

It’s real, earthy, unmasked, and the results are going to really surprise everyone.

In fact, You Should Be So Lucky is a superb roots record, that sounds gloriously organic.

For people living under a rock, Tench is best known as the keyboard virtuoso with Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers

On the opening track Today I Took Your Picture Down, the soulful, easy going vocal is underscored by a supple piano solo.

Next up, Veronica reveals a superb pop song that comes out in an almost Jayhawks vibe.

I’ll be damned if Veronica is not a radio hit folks!

And while were at it that goes ditto for the excellent Blonde Girl, Blue Dress

If that was not enough this work is produced by the legendary Glyn Johns

Elsewhere, Hannah has a Willie Nile vibe, and the title track has a rave-up 60’s influence that weaves and bends.

The backing core band of bassist Don Was, multi-instrumentalist Ethan Johns, guitarist Blake Mills and drummer Jeremy Stacey are in the pocket.

Heck, they sound like they are having fun.

Guest players include Tom Petty, Ringo Starr, and Ryan Adams among others

Tench pulls out killer dynamics on his cover of Corrina, Corrina and gets a lot of air on the instrumental standout Ecor Ridge

I’ll be honest I would love to hear the vinyl version of this album.

According to Universal Canada release date is Feb 25 2014, however the digital version is already available on ITunes, etc.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, radio host and musician with Canadian blues/roots rockers THE SHAFTMEN

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/paycheque-blues/id365389443

20
Feb
14

NEW BENMONT TENCH/NEW BECK/..”THE QUIET REVOLUTION”-CD REVIEWS COMING SOON-BY JOHN EMMS

EVERYONE IS QUIET AND REFLECTIVE..ON THESE 2 NEW CD’S..REVIEWS COMING VERY SHORTLY

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20
Feb
14

JOHN EMMS LINKS… READERS ASK..RADIO..IT’S COOL..IT’S FREE/THE SHAFTMEN/ON APPLE ITUNES/THE SHAFTMEN ON YOUTUBE/JOHN EMMS SOLO CD

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READERS YOU ASKED..WHERE IS YOUR RADIO SHOW?

http://emms.podbean.com/

DO THE SHAFTMEN HAVE VIDEOS..YES..ABOUT 15 VIDEOS..SOME LIVE..THIS SHOULD GET YOU STARTED

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znai12Y4co8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=635vHlYZMok

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znai12Y4co8

ARE YOUR CD’S ON ITUNES..YES..ALL 3 ARE UP THERE..PLUS SINGLES

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https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/paycheque-blues/id365389443

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/mining-the-blues/id365721505

IS YOUR SOLO CD OUT..YES IT’S HERE

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/close-another-door/id392307439

THANK YOU..FOR YOUR INTEREST

19
Feb
14

DAVID CROSBY-CROZ-“CROZ RULES THE HEART AND THE HEAD-CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

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Pristine, heartfelt and above all loaded with excellent songs David Crosby’s new album Croz is a major triumph.

At 72 years old and undergoing heart surgery Crosby, his son James Raymond, along with major vocal and guitar work from Marcus Eaton have crafted an album of textured jazz influenced songs that are inspired and accessible.

On songs such as What’s Broken featuring Mark Knopfler , the powerful Set that Baggage Down and the superb feel of The Clearing Crosby and the band offer a very wide musical spectrum with a killer mix from Daniel Garcia.

Despite his age Crosby’s vocal work is endearing and of very high quality. Holding On To Nothing, the eerie If She Called and the excellent Time I Have are of reminders his intelligence and musical vision.

As usual Crosby uses strange chord changes and open tunings but they work remarkably well.

Crosby’s heart condition has resulted in a number of his new album tour dates to be cancelled for now, but this album is a high water mark without a doubt.

Yes it’s that good!

JOHN EMMS  is a veteran music journalist, radio host and songwriter with Canada’s blues/roots rockers THE SHAFTMEN  https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

11
Feb
14

PAUL RODGERS-THE ROYAL SESSIONS-“AUTHENTIC SOUL REVIVAL” BY JOHN EMMS

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Paul Rodgers has created his own classic with his latest album The Royal Sessions.

Delving deep into Memphis Soul with the dynamics of a superb band featuring among others B-3 player Charles Hodges Sr, drummer Steve Potts, bassist Leroy Hodges Jr , guitarist Michael Toles, Archie Turner on Wurlitzer piano and The Royal Horns Rodgers has cut a very consistent recording.

From the count in on Sam & Dave’s funky I Thank You, to the complete soul revision of Burt Bacharach’s Walk On By, over to show stopping nuanced vocals on Otis Reddings’s I’ve Been Loving You Too Long and  superb takes on Albert Kings’ Down Don’t Bother Me and Ann Peebles’s I Can’t Stand The Rain Rodgers never over sings.

Producer Perry Margouleff, and mixer William Wittman have a ton of respect for the players and it shows in a warm inviting mix.

For Rodgers, his respect for the songs results in an authentic expression of emotion.

It does not get any better than this.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, online radio host and veteran singer-songwriter with his own good time band THE SHAFTMEN  https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

05
Feb
14

SAM ROBERTS BAND-LO-FANTASY-BIG SONGS, AND INTELLLIGENT WORDPLAY=BIG HIT-REVIEW BY JOHN EMMS

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Undeniably catchy and very radio friendly Lo-Fantasy the new album by the Sam Roberts Band can’t miss.

On tracks like the modern vibe of Angola, and the big chorus songs like We’re All In This Together as well as the opening track Shapeshifters the band hits on all cylinders.

Elsewhere, there is a Cars-like ambience to Human Heat and Metal Skin while the excellent mid tempo Never Enough and the sunny vibe of  Too Far are steeped in the band’s own classic rock sound.

Underneath all of this Roberts’ lyrical value and the band’s dynamics get more detailed on repeated listens.

In the end the band is moving into new soundscapes without sacrificing their credibility.

Kind of the best of both worlds.

This cd is due out Feb `11 2014

JOHN EMMS is veteran music journalist, radio host and singer songwriter with Canadian rockers THE SHAFTMEN www.theshaftmen.com https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

25
Nov
13

DOWNCHILD-CAN YOU HEAR THE MUSIC-CD REVIEW-BY JOHN EMMS-“AUTHENTIC AND LOCKED IN”

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Leaning into it with the groove on lock and bristling with authentic feel Downchild’s latest album Can You Hear The Music is a must have for any blues fan worldwide.

No fooling around here folks.

In fact, Mr Downchild and his groove hugging band led by the infectious lead vocals of Chuck Jackson could play this entire album back to front in order and it would be the best blues medicine you had this year.

I dare anyone to find a more killer blues performance than I Need A Woman, or the slow blues of Blue Moon Blues both featuring Chuck Jackson at his passionate vocal best while Donnie Walsh’s guitar solos and fills light the fuse and spark up the band.

If that was not enough, the horn arrangements by Pat Carey welded into Walsh’s ripping harp on Fasten Your Seatbelt just kill.

Elsewhere, the hoodoo organ work of Michael Fonfara and the exquisite slinky lock of drummer Mike Fitzpatrick and bassist Gary Kendall work wonders against Mr Downchild’s harp and  guitar solos on Jackson’s own My Mississippi Queen.

To say the latter song would be Tony Joe White approved is an understatement.

One In a Million sports a gospel Staples-esque feel and the title track opens the album swinging and jumping behind the groove of a band that’s still ready to take on all comers.

Can You Hear The Music is the group’s 17th album and easily stands up as one of the band’s career highlights.

To quote Donnie Walsh. “Downchild has always been bigger than the sum of it’s parts and I can’t explain why”

Kudo’s have to go out to engineer L. Stu Young for a clean, punchy mix that begs for repeated listens.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, radio host http://emms.podbean.com/ and singer-songwriter with Canada’s blues rockers THE SHAFTMEN……You can check the band’s work here  https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

13
Nov
13

CELLESTE-UNPLUGGED-DECONSTRUCTING THE INFESTATION-CD REVIEW-“ORIGINAL AND EXCITING”-BY JOHN EMMS

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This 6 track acoustic set is so good and natural I can’t figure out what is keeping Celleste from a national audience.

Personally, I had totally enjoyed her debut cd  Ready To Fly in 2010.

There was an old school 70’s rock vibe to the album

This for me seemed to be the direction her talent aspired to.

Then in In 2012 Celleste recorded a 9 track pop cd Join The Infestation. It had a promising Black Keys/Katy Perry vibe to it.

It seemed right for the time.

Celleste’s excellent vocals were on the money, but the album did not bring her the audience that she deserved.

Fast forward to 2013 and the duo decides to take 6 songs from the 2012 album strip them down to an acoustic band and wham.

It’s magic

Join the Infestation (the song) in this form should be gaining a radio audience somewhere between Lorde and KT  Tunstall.

Elsewhere Call Me Crazy, Superstar and Onto Something strut a sexy jazz/blues groove that kills

Production and mix by Dick is gorgeous.

What’s next is the total key.

Maybe an opening slot on a national tour with a major artist?.

As it is with many artists the tricky part seems to be finding out how to get Celleste a bigger audience.

One thing for sure, you’re going to love this EP

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, radio host and singer-songwriter with Canada’s blues rockers THE SHAFTMEN

www.theshaftmen.com

13
Nov
13

CHECK OUT THE SHAFTMEN ON APPLE ITUNES 3 CD’S 2 SINGLES/JOHN EMMS SOLO ROOTS CD

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PAY BLU 3

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https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/paycheque-blues/id365389443

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/mining-the-blues/id365721505

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/close-another-door/id392307439

12
Nov
13

JOHN EMMS/ THE SHAFTMEN TOP LINKS

JOHN SUNGLASS RADIOje profile 2

PASSION HEALS THE HEAD AND HEART..AND THE ODD TIME THOSE TIRED MUSCLES

HAVE FUN

THE SHAFTMEN..latest single https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/my-baby-says-single/id646408621

JOHN EMMS TIMMINS DAILY PRESS http://www.timminspress.com/2013/10/24/hockey-concert-combo-would-be-awesome

THE SHAFTMEN CATOLOGUE 3CD’S -2 SINGLES- https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

JOHN EMMS RADIO-FREE DOWNLOADS- https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/superb-song-choices-john-emms/id376049866?mt=2

JOHN EMMS SOLO SONGS AND CD’S https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/its-here-its-all-in-our-time/id519898242

JOHN EMMS CLOSE ANOTHER DOOR https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/close-another-door/id392307439

JOHN EMMS ON YOUTUBE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMRsfWvIvWw

THE SHAFTMEN ON YOUTUBE  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jnF6Zi7t4c

12
Nov
13

THE BEATLES -CD REVIEW-ON AIR-LIVE AT THE BBC-BY JOHN EMMS-VOL 1 AND 2-MUST HAVE HISTORICAL COLLECTION-“DOING IT LIVE 4 PIECE”-MASTERS OF THE POP REVOLUTION

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THIS CD SET IS  HISTORICAL

And if you dont’ have it..

SANTA is coming

But there is a lesson to be learned here.

Listen up you bar band players and reality tv show contestants.. Do you think THE BEATLES just became instant celebrities?

No they did not get great from  getting votes, or not practising, and most of all not writing their own songs

Hard Work

They became the band that would write the greatest songs of all time because they worked at it.

Heck, they toured Hamburg and played 7 hour gigs when everyone in the crowd was drunk and out of their heads.

That was before they were famous

But they made the connection, because they not only played with passion but started to write their own songs.

They did not use a computer or backing tapes to help them perform.live

They played their own instruments, and sang their own harmonies.

Even when they ended  it.

On the roof playing live.

Ending the biggest most influential band in the World

LIVE ON A ROOFTOP..WOW…

But here is the real deal.

I don’t usually do this in my reviews but please..

check out this press release..and the quote from GEORGE HARRISON and RINGO STARR

The group played 88 distinct songs in their BBC sessions – some were recorded many times; others performed just once. At the time, three national BBC stations provided all daytime radio broadcasting in the U.K. Only the Light Programme network might occasionally play a record. Most broadcast music was live music. Consequently, to promote their releases, The Beatles had to play live at the BBC. “Everything was done instantly,” remembered George Harrison, “But before that, we used to drive 200 miles in an old van down the M1, come into London, try and find the BBC and then set up and do the programme. Then we’d probably drive back to Newcastle for a gig in the evening!”

Between March 1962 and June 1965, no less than 275 unique musical performances by The Beatles were broadcast by the BBC in the U.K. The group played songs on 39 radio shows in 1963 alone. Ringo Starr said in 1994, “You tend to forget that we were a working band. It’s that mono sound. There were usually no overdubs. We were in at the count-in and that was it. I get excited listening to them.” On their busiest BBC day, 16 July 1963, The Beatles recorded 18 songs for three editions of their Pop Go The Beatles series in fewer than seven hours.

My highlights and notes.

The BBC Broadcasts were recorded live to tape..

Which means the band could do another take

I hear a vocal overdub here and there.

But, unlike today this is it.

The Beatles Live

Money That’s What I Want-John Lennon tearing it up, Ringo kicking in the backbeat

I Saw Her Standing There..Listen as the other Beatles urge Paul on-George rips the lead gtr

Pop profiles of the whole band-..separate..in depth interviews-priceless..has to be heard to be believed

RARE-i’ll Be On My Way-Lennon and Macca original-live tape..wow

She Loves You…live in the studio…………so hip…are you kidding me?

My review of Paul McCartney’s NEW..is also here on my blog

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, radio host and singer songwriter with the hard working and original rockers

THE SHAFTMEN

check out Apple iTunes to hear John and the band on their brand new SINGLE-MY BABY SAYS

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/my-baby-says-single/id646408621

OR THE JOHN LENNON INFLUENCED SHELTER FROM THE STORM-TRACK 6

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/close-another-door/id392307439

12
Nov
13

SONGWRITING-KEY TO THE HUMAN CONDITION-TARA’S BLUES AND WHY WE ARE STILL MOVED-BY JOHN EMMS

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This time each year I listen to a lot of music.

Maybe it’s part of the holiday rush

I don’t usually write a random thought into a column but I will make this brief

Whenever  I hear a great new song the latest being the amazing Tara’s Blues by Blue Rodeo, I realize after all these years I’m still moved by a great song.

All of us remember a great song. Where you were when you first heard it. How it made you feel. And most importantly the connection it made and still makes in your life.

Then again I believe it’s our human condition.

What fans don’t often know is most songwriters who are actually good at it have already lived the song before we hear it

Maybe it’s nostalgia for our younger life.

The emotion of the artist/songwriter from Van Morrison, to Bob Dylan, Jagger and Richards, Neil Young  or Blue Rodeo’s Keelor and Cuddy comes back to us.

Our lives are made richer by a great song.

That will never change.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, music fan, radio host and himself a songwriter.

solo-https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/close-another-door/id392307439

band https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/gold-mine-single/id564971023

12
Nov
13

COMING SOON-JOHN EMMS REVIEWS THE BEATLES LIVE ON THE AIR BBC VOL 1 AND 2, LADY GAGA ART POP, CELLESTE UNPLUGGED, THE WHO TOMMY PETE TOWNSEND REMASTER 2013

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JOHN EMMS RADIO-http://emms.podbean.com/

CHECK OUT JOHN AND THE BAND https://www.facebook.com/theshaftmen

 

11
Nov
13

BLUE RODEO CD REVIEW- IN OUR NATURE- “MUSIC FROM BIG FARMHOUSE, KEELOR RETURNS” BY JOHN EMMS

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Like any great sports team, when the chips are down the team and players come through with a gut level check win.

Musically speaking  Blue Rodeo has really come through with In Our Nature.

There is a natural communal vibe and clarity that comes off of the new Blue Rodeo album In Our Nature. The more I listen to the recording I kind of refer to it as “Music From Big Farmhouse”

With a nod to Music From Big Pink but coming from Ontario and Greg Keelor’s farm (Lost Cause recording studio) instead of Woodstock N.Y In Our Nature shows off a cohesive seven piece band that sounds for lack of a better term “natural”

The other huge effect on this album is the return of songwriter founding member Greg Keelor to full prominence.

It’s not like Keelor has been off to Mars with his long suffering Tinnutis (ringing in the ears) but his songwriting and singing on tracks  such as Tara’s Blues (possibly the album’s standout track), Wondering,  the title track, Never Too Late and Mattawa  seem to lift the band and this album to another level.

The inclusion of new band members Colin Cripps on guitar and vocal harmony and Michael Boguski piano and organ has upped the ante on the overall band dynamics.

The lock of the whole band with stick man Glenn Milchem, bassist Bazil Donovan and the ultra cool multi-instrumentalist Bob Egan is especially noticeable if you have witnessed the live in studio shows on Canadian TV.

Co-leader Jim Cuddy coming off the gorgeous solo album Skyscraper Soul relied on his gut instinct as a great songwriter to come up with new stellar songs such as When The Truth Comes Out (great solo and fills from Cripps) the lead off single New Morning Sun, his own piano ballad Made Your Mind Up and the absolute stunning You Should Know.

The recording and mixing by James McKenty on In Our Nature whether it’s on the headphones or room mix really breathes and that deserves kudos.

Also included on the cd is a very faithful cover of Robbie Roberston’s Out Of The Blue.

Blue Rodeo is no doubt an inspiration to fans and other artists, especially in Canada.

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that In Our Nature is one of the best albums of their career.

This cd will  make my top ten list of best albums of 2013

John Emms is a veteran music journalist, online radio host, http://emms.podbean.com/ and singer-songwriter with Canada’s blues/roots rockers THE SHAFTMEN https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

www.theshaftmen.com

29
Oct
13

SAMMY HAGAR & FRIENDS-CD REVIEW-“IT ROCKS, IT ROLLS, IT TWISTS AND IT’S REAL-BY JOHN EMMS

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On the album Sammy Hagar & Friends, Hagar and company do what musicians are supposed to do.

Sing and play really well.

This cd has that in spades.

But fans should know, the album is all over the place,

Yet because of that fact  there is at least 4 or 5 songs primed for radio

Father Sun has a New Orleans feel on verses with a shots of riff rock and that could have come from Hagar’s Three Lock Box era.

Album radio will love both Winding Down a blues based track written with Taj Mahal and the re-make of Personal Jesus which just kills all the while letting friend Neal Schon break free with a kick ass solo.

There are some strange twists like Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville (covered too many times) with Toby Keith which does neither artist justice,

Yet the live version of Space Station #5 from The Ronnie Montrose Benefit Concert (deluxe version) just smokes and features a dazzling vocal by Hagar and dangerous axe work from Joe Satriani

Prettiest song  is without a doubt the short and catchy All We Need Is An Island with Heart’s Nancy Wilson.

Sammy Hagar has been living and breathing rock n’ roll for 40 years.

Let’s face facts.

He is pretty damn good at it!

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, has a rockin’ radio show  http://emms.podbean.com/ and rocks the blues with his band THE SHAFTMEN https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

23
Oct
13

JOHN EMMS RADIO-FREE DOWNLOADS-BEST IN BLUES, ROOTS AND ROCK

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http://emms.podbean.com/ or

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/superb-song-choices-john-emms/id376049866?mt=2

 

 

22
Oct
13

PAUL McCARTNEY-CD-REVIEW-NEW-RE-INVENTING HIS LOVE OF THE MUSE-BY JOHN EMMS

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Heck, if your NOT a musician because you love it, stop now.

Paul McCartney as varied as his career has been is a musician because he always loved it.

He does not need the money folks.

Making music for musicians as famous as McCartney or even heck myself is all about making people feel what your writing and playing.

It’s that simple.

And on McCartney’s 16th solo album you “feel it”

This album woke me up to the realization that even after all his success McCartney has no intention of living off his amazing catalogue of great songs.

Think about that.

The tracks on New feel fresh but familiar.

It does not mean your going to think everything here is or should be a hit.

Why should it be.

Been there done that with The Beatles folks.

What you have here is four producers Paul Epworth, Mark Ronson, Giles Martin and Ethan Johns interacting with McCartney on a musical level.

New is a varied piece of work.

Tracks like Queenie Eye and Save Us have inventive chord progressions and they rock

Heck,  Ethan Johns and Macca will bring you almost to tears with Early Days.

The song brings out the innocence of why anybody ever bothered to get excited about being in a band and making music

It’s that good!

Giles Martin lets the melodies speak, and then surrounds them with a more modern spare studio production. At the heart of On My Way to Work, Looking At Her and the piano driven of hidden song Scared (not the Lennon song) the songs are laid bare for all to see.

Mark Ronson gives us the Venus and Mars feel of the trippy Alligator, and then the killer pop of the title track.

I will be playing a lot of this new album on my radio show. That’s a given.

It’s simply really good folks

In the end McCartney summed it up in a press release.

“The next thing for me is to get together with the band and learn the whole album,” he says. “I’m really looking forward to it – I’ve never done that ‘Play the entire album’ thing. People have asked me about this before and I’ve always said I’ve got too much other stuff to play, but now I’m really excited to see how the songs will sound – there are a few I have my eye on that were made to play live!”

JOHN  EMMS is a veteran music journalist, radio host and singer-songwriter with THE SHAFTMEN

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

www.theshaftmen.com

and solo https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/close-another-door/id392307439

21
Oct
13

CONEY HATCH FOUR-CD REVIEW “POWERHOUSE ROCK RETURN” BY JOHN EMMS

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No one expected an album this good after over a 25 year gap, but Coney Hatch Four simply brims with muscular riffs and good solid songcraft.

Fans should have no reservations about scooping up this album worldwide.

Why?

It kills.

From the four on the floor rumble of Blown Away with Andy Curran’s bottom end and drummer Dave Ketchum’s musuclar drumming into the wah wah guitar solo of Steve Shelski everyone is aboard Carl Dixon’s passion on the very first track

The music somehow just feels right.

Curran takes the reigns on the anthemic powerhouse of Boy’s Club, the Cheap trick vibe of  Do it Again (not the Steely Dan track) and the great chunk heavy chorus of We Want More.

Elsewhere, Dixon’s sense of songcraft is in excellent form on Holding On and Revive.

It’s no secret the band flies higher thanks to Shelski’s great sense of guitar dynamics and inventive solos, but it all comes down to the chemistry of the four players.

With  the amazing gutsy return of Carl Dixon from his near fatal car crash this album is steering it’s own course!

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist,

radio host

http://emms.podbean.com/

and songwriter/vocalist with Canada’s newest blues rockers THE SHAFTMEN

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

21
Oct
13

JONNY LANG-CD REVIEW- FIGHT FOR MY SOUL-“JONNY’S VOCAL WORK SUPERB”

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The first thing you notice on Jonny Lang’s new album Fight For My Soul is how Lang’s passionate vocals have become more nuanced, direct and focused.  And yes, he still displays some very hip guitar work.

However, some reviewers seem to be missing the point that Lang has invested a lot of emotion in this recording.

On tracks like the R & B numbers  What Your Looking For, and the terrific title track Lang and producer Tommy Sims would make Curtis Mayfield proud.

Elsewhere Breakin’ In sounds like a pop hit, while the eloquent Seasons and The Truth are revealing tracks, the latter eventually busting into some Gary Moore-esque guitar work behind Jonny’s superb lead vocal.

There is no doubt some blues based fans would love to have more tracks like the modern muscle and funky riff of the Stevie Wonder influenced We Are The Same and the single Blew Up the House.

This is new territory and one heck of a soulful return.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, blues radio host   http://emms.podbean.com/   and songwriter with Canada’s blues rockers THE SHAFTMEN https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

09
Oct
13

TIM HUS- WESTERN STAR-CD REVIEW- “BONAFIDE COUNTRY MUSIC STORIES AND PICKIN” -BY JOHN EMMS

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If Hank Snow was alive and in his prime Tim Hus and Hank would qualify as one heck of a tour. Pack it all in the back of a Western Star and Move On.

Yep, folks this is one heck of a batch of great songs written by Hus.

Produced by Harry Stinson and using amazing players like guitarist Kenny Vaughan and Hus’s own fiddler Billy MacInnis with Stinson’s drums in the pocket with upright bassist Riley Tubbs make you just want to turn this up driving and pass everything in sight.

Honestly, it’s hard to believe but Hus can sing about any subject and it make it bonafide

Check out the lyric for the title track.

I’m a two-way teamster transport truckin’
Diesel demon double-clutchin’
Makin’ my way along every highway whenever you are
I’m a white line wrangler wheeling my wide load in my Western Star

Elsewhere Halifax Blues and The Church of Country Music celebrate Alexander Keith, South Shore girls, and George Jones at the country music altar with condolences to Merle Haggard and Hank Williams.

Heck, I’m telling you Hus has written some gems on this album .

The tone and the lyrical vibe of Madawaska River is a musical nod to the great Stompin’ Tom Connors and would have gone down well at the Maple Leaf Hotel in Timmins Ontario, where I once brought Jeff Healey because he wanted play in the same room as Stompin’ Tom.

And yes, for you Alberta folks that’s a true story.

In one word folks Tim Hus’s Western Star is BONAFIDE

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, online radio host and songwriter with Canada’s real life’ hard rock miners THE SHAFTMEN..

The band’s music is available worldwide including AMAZON, SPOTIFY, and APPLE ITUNES https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

04
Oct
13

JOHN EMMS RADIO..BEST BLUES, ROOTS, AND ROCK on the Planet

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http://emms.podbean.com/….

 

 

23
Sep
13

MONKEYJUNK-ALL FREQUENCIES-“NO STATIC MONKEY BUSINESS”-CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

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Bridging the vibe of  R. L. Burnside’s Mississippi Blues with  blues rock power has MonkeyJunk coming in with no static on their new album All Frequencies.

From the heat of Tony D’s stunning guitar solo on Say What (not the SRV track) to the gumbo-osity of the very catchy You Make A Mess over to the almost Big Sugar vibe of Sirens In The Night MJ’s  sound is evolving.

Without a doubt Steve Marriner’s lead vocals and harp/baritone guitar shine brightly over the spectrum of this album

Elsewhere drummer Matt Sob’s groove always sticks while pushing the band.

Whether it’s propelling Jah Nah Say Kwah or reacting dynamics with Marriner and Tony D on the excellent Yearning for Yesterday Sob is integral to MJ’s sound

Either way there is wedge of mojo that all three players whip into each track that is totally unique.

As I write this the coolest instrumental of the last 5 years titled Swank sounds like an outtake from a 70’s Barney Miller episode.

And yep that’s cool folks!

And so is this album.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, online radio host and blues/roots songwriter with Canada’s blues rockers THE SHAFTMEN. The band have just released their third album The World’s Gone Crazy https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

16
Sep
13

THE RIDES-CAN’T GET ENOUGH-“BLUES INFUSED PASSION” CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

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The Rides new album firmly establishes that Blues Rock played with conviction and passion is an artistic force.

While Stephen Stills and Kenny Wayne Shepherd share front man and guitar duties, people probably forget that Barry Goldberg practically invented blues rock. Yes, he was the keyboard player in The Electric Flag and the Paul Butterfield Band and he just may be The Rides secret weapon.

That aside this album comes down to passion. Songs like Only Teardrops Fall  and Can’t Get Enough of Loving You,  written by Stills, Goldberg and Shepherd and their slow smoking cover of Honey Bee, and the groove run on Elmore James’ Talk to Me Baby sound like these guys are having fun!

Drummer Chris Layton and bassist Kevin McCormick just kill whether it’s on Roadhouse or the covers of Rockin’ In The Free World or The Stooges Search and Destroy.

Word Game an older gem written by Stills is a tour de force. it is without a doubt a searing highlight of this album

The stereo mix by Eric Thorngren on this album is a total blast. Essentially the band sounds real.

What a concept.

Real music by real players

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, online radio host and musician with Canadian Blues Rockers. THE SHAFTMEN. www.theshaftmen.com

16
Sep
13

THE SHAFTMEN’S NEW SINGLE. THE WORLD’S GONE CRAZY..SHOWS THE BLUES CANUCK ROCKERS MAKING A MOVE TO THE PASSING LANE-BY JOHN EMMS

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The Shaftmen are cruising in the passing lane. The band’s new single and title track/ video takes the best of Paul Butterfield and The Electric Flag era of the 60’s and jump starts it’s electric blues into 2013

The Shaftmen are creating a sound that’s original and hip

Try it on for size,,…video..is here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HGDC9V_1I0

https://www.facebook.com/theshaftmen

www.theshaftmen.com

 

09
Sep
13

SOUTHSIDE SHUFFLE SOUL..Walking Through The Heart of The Blues-BY JOHN EMMS

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Recently I was walking through the Heart of the Blues 800 kilometers from my home.

You know, it felt good.

Didn’t know a soul or hardly a face in thousands of people.

Sure, I had some musical friends I wanted to see and had my guitar strapped into the backseat along with our band

But I felt a kinship in a crowd that I could not put my finger on.

We’re all searching for something, right?

Been to many festivals, played a few too.

But what was this extra feeling?

Maybe Southside Shuffle had the Soul? The Vibe?.  But was it more than just the music?

Yes, we all know the healing power music can bring

So what is this magic ingredient that I felt at Southside Shuffle that I have not felt at other music festivals

From my observation it could be the look I caught in a fan’s eye as Chuck Jackson wrung out his soul  during a knockout performance of Joe Cocker’s version of With A Little Help From My Friends with the killer chops of The Mad Dogs Englishmen tribute show grooving in.

That fan was gone. Caught up in the moment.

Then again, maybe all the people down front knew that  Jackson and staff had put the work in to make It happen again.

15 years again that is

Maybe it was when David Vest stopped his show and said here is a heartfelt song and wish for Lester Chambers (Time Has Come Today) and then sung People Get Ready a song that Chambers was assaulted for singing after mentioning Trayvon Martin.

That my friends is the real thing.

Maybe it was the gospel of Thornetta Davis or Danny Brooks, the roots of The Weber Brothers and the uptown blues of master guitar man Jack De Keyzer that had fans in euphoria

Heck, it could have been the joy on the faces as people jammed in the Spice Lounge to welcome our band The Shaftmen.

Some fellas from 800 kilometers away singing original songs bred from mining life in Timmins Ontario.

What has Mining and the blues go to do with life in Port Credit Ontario?

Apparently a lot.

Maybe it was everyone’s fave rock n’ roll soldier Sab bravely yelling out 19 more fffffffff…times recovering from recent and ongoing medical treatment.

Heck, that Sab cat has got the cajones eh?

I can’t list everyone but I do know one gospel truth.

You have to believe in people.

I have seen it up close.

You see,  when volunteers, musicians, regular folk, and good corporate sponsors with ties to the community work very hard, the end result is the healing power of music.

Today I spent some time with my grandson.

Hey, Poppa did you enjoy yourself?

Yes, James I did, and it’s good to be back home with you

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, radio host and founding member of The Shaftmen www.theshaftmen.com

05
Sep
13

THE KENDALL WALL BAND-THE WAY WE WAS-CD REVIEW-“INSPIRED BLUES BLAST IS A REVELATION” BY JOHN EMMS

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No blues aficionado should be without this album. It’s required listening

Sounding fresh and vital this set of songs by the Kendall Wall Band proves that good playing and groove never goes out of style. Bassist Gary Kendall who has always had great taste has out did himself rescuing these ‘lost tapes’ from 25 years ago.

Most of the rest of Canada never got a chance to see The Kendall Wall Band. Cash Wall who died in 2009 is in fine form on his own You Got A Way and Won’t You Stay both with gorgeous changes that could easily be a hits on the radio in 2013

Elsewhere guitarist Richard Smyth sparkles on everything he touches and a younger Teddy Leonard delivers as ever (check out the vibrato on Just One More Time)  Piano man Martin Aucoin, and harp player Jeff Baker who also sings lead vocal on two tracks come off seasoned and eclectic.

Bassist Gary Kendall could easily score a hit radio single with the gospel track I Don’t Know (what This World’s Coming To)  Heck if 2013 needed an anthem for this troubled world then this track is almost as good as classic period Motherlode (When I Die)

Drawing equally from all parts of the blues this cd is a revelation.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, radio host and blues rocker with Canada’s Shaftmen https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

05
Sep
13

DAVID GOGO-COME ON DOWN-CD REVIEW..”ROOTS, ROCK REVIVAL”

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There is a richness of tone and sheer joy of playing  that is at the heart of David Gogo’s latest album Come On Down. It’s not a stretch to say this roots album by the Canadian guitarist would sit well as you are cruising down Route 66.

Original Songs like Call Your Name, the title track and Kings have a Peter Wolf/Stones vibe while Blue Eyed Daisy owes more to the Southern Rock of 38 Special than to the million selling blues revival of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble.

With plenty of covers including  Christine McVie’s  Spare Me A Little of Your Love and ARS’s So Into You this cd is by no means a straight blues album.

Having said that Gogo is an excellent guitarist and whips off some nasty slide guitar on Lindsey Buckingham’s World Turning, nails a muscular take of The Faces Bad n’ Ruin and even rocks the dance/pop groove on a cover of Robert Palmer’s Looking For Clues.

Despite the different styles you will find yourself playing this album a lot for friends.

That is never a bad thing folks!

JOHN EMMS is veteran music journalist, online radio host  https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/superb-song-choices-john-emms/id376049866?mt=2 and singer-songwriter with blues rockers THE SHAFTMEN www.theshaftmen.com

06
Aug
13

BUDDY GUY..RHYTHM & BLUES-CD REVIEW..OLDER, WISER, STILL BITING”-BY JOHN EMMS

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This album a double cd of over 20 tracks would have killed at 12 tracks. Having said that this cd has a ton of radio ready blues rock that begs for airplay. I still prefer Guy’s Skin Deep (2008) Living Proof (2010) and Sweet Tea (2001) for complete albums.

Yet, Buddy Guy has always been a been a unique artist who is known for his impulsive stage and guitar dynamics.

A foray into this many tracks should not come as a surprise.

On this album and others producer/songwriter/drummer Tom Hambridge for my money is easily one of today’s gifted producers for contemporary blues.

His sound and vision for his artists comes from a players perspective and this works wonders on the superb groove of Best In Town, the slinky I Go By Feel, the excellent All That Makes Me Happy Is The Blues and the gutsy What You Gonna Do About Me with a sizzling co-lead vocal from Beth Hart.

All these tracks feature the whomp and groove of the mighty Muscle Shoals Horns. If that was not enough, the stereo mix on this entire album is a total delight.

The core backing band of Hambridge, Michael Rhodes on bass, guitarist David Grissom and the B-3 of Reese Wynans is dangerous but always in the pocket

For younger listeners Buddy Guy’s modern day blues icon status began with Damn Right I’ve Got The Blues his 1991 smash which included the hit title track, a killer remake of Mustang Sally and guests Eric Clapton Jeff Beck and Mark Knopfler.

Stevie Ray Vaughan who died in 1990 had vaulted the blues/blues/ rock to multi-platinum status and the Jeff Healey Band had international success.

Guy’s modern day blues rock at this time came with perfect timing

For many older fans of Guy’s work some considered him a blues legend from his work with Junior Wells and his high end gain and tone guitar that influenced Jimi Hendrix,  Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton

Other notable tracks on Rhythm & Blues are the straight ahead 12 bar number Blues Don’t Care with Gary Clark Jr  and the ripping Too Damn Bad.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, singer-songwriter with Canada’s blues rockers THE SHAFTMEN https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570 and online radio host http://emms.podbean.com/

19
Jul
13

SELENA GOMEZ-STARS DANCE-Gomez Solo Debut Is Superb Pop-REVIEW BY JOHN EMMS

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When pop music is this good it’s charms are flat out undeniable. Hands down this is a superb debut for Gomez as a solo artist.

Straight to your ears Gomez and her production team come out swinging with the ultra-hip Birthday as she gets down with “Tell them that it’s my birthday, when I party like that.  And oh by the way, she says “I’m feeling fine and free”

With her birthday the day before this cd release July 23, what more could her fans wish for.

But that’s just the start. The killer guitar hook that pumps at the heat of Slow Down gives way to Gomez’ best vocal on the title track. In fact Stars Dance (the song) is probably one of the top 5 pop songs of the last few years.

Come And Get It (the first single) is a monster track already but songs like Write Your Name, the Coldplay feel of Forget Forever and the mid tempo piano number Love Will Remember are downright tuneful.

Love Will Remember written about her relationship with Justin Bieber digs deep and gets squarely to the point with conviction and emotion.

The feeling throughout Stars Dance is of letting go and high spirits. If Gomez wanted to make a pop statement then she has. Britney Spears is surely smiling.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, online radio host and roots rocker. Check out his band THE SHAFTMEN http://www.theshaftmen.com and on iTunes    https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570

12
Jul
13

LITTLE WALTER TO THE MASSES-REMEMBERING LITTLE WALTER-BILLY BOY ARNOLD, MUSSELWHITE..AT THE ALTAR OF HARP

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This album is important. The reason being, it will introduce a whole new audience to Little Walter’s music.

You have to remember this is blues music that is hugely accessible. Heck, even my wife likes this blues album.

Just like the music of  Jimmy Reed and  Muddy Waters. When Mark Hummel blasts out I Got To Go, and Charlie Musselwhite gets down and dirty on Just A Feeling that’s when you realize these are damn good songs

Elsewhere Billy Boy Arnold continues his huge comeback with a gorgeous rip roaring take on Your So Fine, while Sugar Ray Norcia really lets you feel the barroom vibe of Mean Old World.

There is not a weak track on this disc which features a closeout stomp on My Babe. have a few “pop’s and let this rip on your summer patio.

JOHN EMMS  is a veteran music journalist, online radio host and founder of THE SHAFTMEN. www.theshaftmen.com

05
Jun
13

JOHN EMMS RADIO..IS BACK..BEST ROOTS/BLUES/ROCK..ON THE PLANET

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27
May
13

IAN TYSON-ALL THE GOODUNS VOL 2-“THE ULTIMATE COWBOY RIDES ON” BY JOHN EMMS

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This collection of 19 songs taken from 1999 to 2012 is a very potent reminder why Ian Tyson is considered one of the most important songwriters of his generation. The quality of the cowboy narratives, and the evolution of his songwriting powers is simply a force of nature.

It cannot be explained any other way.

Songs like This Is My Sky, Lost Herd, Little High Plains Town, The Road To Los Cruces and the pureness of the track Song In A Dream have no equal except for possibly Bob Dylan.

Tyson would be the first to acknowledge that the musicianship of the players he chooses is important. That may be true, but like his peers Gordon Lightfoot and Leonard Cohen it’s the songs that are key.

Now nearing 80 years of age and in almost full recovery of a damaged voice and still touring and writing Ian Tyson’s influence on folk/country music cannot even be calculated.

If indeed everything is fast forward and the years go flying by Ian Tyson continues to redefine his role as the ultimate cowboy.

This album/cd is available May 21 in Canada and in the United States June 18th 2013.

John Emms is a veteran music journalist, online radio host, singer-songwriter and bandleader with Canada’s blues rockers The Shaftmen www.theshaftmen.com




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