19
Nov
14

BILLY BOY ARNOLD-THE BLUES SOUL OF BILLY BOY ARNOLD-“ARNOLD SHINES WITH ALLSTAR CAST”-CD REVIEW BY JOHN EMMS

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Genuine and as natural as butter on hot bread Billy Boy Arnold and Duke Robillard have created an album that plays itself.

It’s rare that you make a great album at any age (let alone at Arnold’s 79 years) that is so unforced.

From Robillard’s staccato riffing on You Give Me Nothing To Go One to Arnold’s swamp ready vocal on 99 Lbs, over to the swing horn charts on Don’t Set Me Free, Arnold and the All-Star band are in total command.

A good portion of the album consist of covers.

The nuances of Robillard’s and Arnold’s solos on B.B. King’s Worried Dream and Work Song vary from popular takes by Peter Green and Paul Butterfield.

And, that’s where the magic happens.

One listen to this version of Joe Tex’s Mother’s Prayer and you will know what southern soul is all about.

An entire night  filmed “live” dedicated to this album would be a dream.

But for now, you have it all here.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, Sun Media contributor, and songwriter/vocalist with Canadian blues rockers THE SHAFTMEN

Check out their latest

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

JOHN’S online radio podcasts are free on Apple iTunes

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

17
Nov
14

ROLY PLATT-INSIDE OUT-“BENDING THE BLUES’ CD REVIEW BY JOHN EMMS

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There is a purity of tone and feel good presence on Roly Platt’s debut cd Inside Out that just makes you want to play it time and time again.

Platt who has gigged and recorded with musicians as diverse as David Clayton Thomas and Matt Minglewood and also made numerous Jingles and Film/TV work is only recording his first cd.

Or as he jokes “Every 56 years I like to put out my own cd”

Maybe he should do it more often, listening to the strength of this recording.

Platt and the superb band led by Lance Anderson leave space and dynamics at every turn.

They can turn up the heat on the blues-rock of Mad River, bring the dynamics to a quiet storm halfway through Put It Where You Want It or blow your mind with an innovative instrumental take of Over The Rainbow.

There are four vocal tracks of the 11 songs on the cd led by the excellent Ocean of Tears featuring Steve Strongman.

The track has a distinct Paul Butterfield vibe and that can never be a bad thing.

Platt covers Ray Charles I Got A Woman, Georgia On My Mind both of course covered considerable times by numerous artists.

On each of these and indeed the whole cd drummer Al Cross shines on any style they tackle.

Unlike Paul Butterfield, Donnie Walsh or Charlie Musselwhite Platt is not the singer-bandleader type who makes multiple career recordings.

That said, the performances by Platt and this band on this album would sound very cool at any live gig.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist and Sun Media free lance contributor. John is also the songwriter/ vocalist with CANADIAN blues rockers THE SHAFTMEN

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

JOHN’S roots/blues/rock radio show is here

http://emms.podbean.com/

 

13
Nov
14

NICKELBACK-NO FIXED ADDRESS-‘TOUGHER SONIC REVOLUTION” CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

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Snarling and Axes sharp, Nickelback come roaring out of the gate with No Fixed Address.

Say what the hell you want but the full throttle attack of Million Miles An Hour and the political grunge angst of Edge of  A Revolution will knock you into next week.

Simply, put these two tracks on and turn it way up!

The Canucks get anthemic on What Are You Waiting For and greasy on Sister Sin.

In between Flo-Rida gets tight guesting on Got Me Runnin’ Round and yes the horn section is a superb add.

Sure, there is a catchy same formula attached to tracks like Get Em Up and Make Me Believe Again, but the dance rock funk of She Keeps Me Up is a charmer.

Nickelback may not lose any haters from Rolling Stone Magazine readers with this latest album, but they kick ass in more than a few places.

It should be noted Production and Mixing on the cd is tight and focused

This Cd is due out November 17th 2014.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, Sun Media freelancer and lead vocalist/songwriter with CANADIAN Blues Rockers THE SHAFTMEN

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

you can check out John’s roots/radio show here

http://emms.podbean.com/

28
Oct
14

RORY BLOCK-HARD LUCK CHILD-“FEELING GOOD ALL OVER”CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

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Rory Block’s Hard Luck Child is an album that you makes you feel good, despite the sometimes tragic lyrical content.

Although this is Block’s fifth in her blues mentor series, for some reason her take on the Skip James material offers hope.

James’s lyrics have always been open to interpretation and everyone who has jammed any of his songs have always included their own take on them.

Block has a innate feel to what she sings.

You almost feel a kind of comfort even in the lonesome Cypress Grove Blues “I would rather be buried 6 feet in my grave, than be treated this way”

Heck, Hard Time Killing Floor Blues could be about the hard times of 2014 “If you say you got money, you better be sure, cuz these hard times will drive you from door to door”

Block’s take on I’m So Glad is one of the best versions I have heard period.

Again there is joy in these blues.

This is exactly what great blues brings.

People somehow have forgot this essential fact.

Another standout is the very special guitar and soulful take on Special Rider Blues.

In fact, the overdubs sound almost “blues orchestral” if there is such a thing.

Captivating, soulful, intimate and in the end this is music that opens up your world.

Special indeed!

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist and Sun Media contributor. JOHN also fronts his own blues rock band THE SHAFTMEN

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

check out John’s roots/blues/rock radio show here

http://emms.podbean.com/

 

28
Oct
14

SIXX: A.M.-MODERN VINTAGE-“HIGHLY MELODIC INTOXICATION” CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

sixx am modern vintage

Wake up everyone!

Modern Vintage is one hell of a highly melodic chunk of great rock n’ roll.

If lead vocalist James Michael is not singing his ass off then who is?

Besides the passion of Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters I can’t think of another.

Michael hits diverse moods on tracks like Let’s Go, Give Me A Love and Relief.

The band literally explodes these tracks. Nikki Sixx and the combustible guitar work of DJ Ashba is very focused

It should be said that drummer Jeff Fabb who joined the band in the studio brings a whole new set of dynamics to these tracks.

That’s a good thing folks!

There is a vintage Cheap Trick vibe to Gotta Get it Right and a solid cover of The Cars classic Drive.

But who the heck is going to beat Benjamin Orr’s lead vocal from 1984?

No one of course.

There is a power pop dance feel to Miracle and the opening track Stars packs a wallop because I can’t say I enjoy the Stars “cinematic” Meat Loaf-esque version as an added track.

SIXX: A.M.’S instincts are right. These are very good rock/pop tracks.

Sixx; A.M. can’t forget they are a rock band, and if the live shows are as dynamic and even more powerful in that context then the band will gain even more momentum.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, and Sun Media music contributor.

JOHN is also the singer-songwriter/vocalist with Canadian Blues Rockers THE SHAFTMEN

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

Check out John’s cool roots/rock radio show here

http://emms.podbean.com/

 

27
Oct
14

JACK DE KEYZER-VOODOO BOOGIE-“BLUES POTION/ VOODOO GROOVE”-CD REVIEW JOHN EMMS

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Jack De Keyzer’s potent potion of blues/soul and rock n’ roll is like your favourite leather jacket.

It feels great, fits perfect and is vintage cool.

In concert De Keyzer and his killer band have only 2 modes.

Good and Scary Good

On Voodoo Boogie the companion cd to his 2009 Juno winning (American Grammy) album he hits on both modes with ease.

Cover-wise the title track is solid Chicago inspired blues, but De Keyzer’s guitar chops on the cover of Willie Dixon’s You Shook Me and Bob Dylan via Jimi Hendrix All Along The Watchtower offer up astounding feel and technique.

Elsewhere his own Cinderella gets a superb tenor sax solo by Chris Murphy and piano/organ man David McMorrrow trades hot licks with De Keyzer on the dance floor groove of Rock Till We Drop.

Whether you prefer his covers on both cd’s via Marvin Gaye I Heard It Through The Grapevine here, or on The Corktown Sessions with his killer job on Signed Sealed Delivered is all fan based.

The real mojo is that De Keyzer simply killed with his last studio album the excellent Electric Love, while his live show is exciting and all about groove.

De Keyzer’s respect by peers and ever increasing fanbase is genuine and real.

That folks is a win-win!

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist and Sun Media music contributor.

JOHN is also the singer-songwriter/ lead vocalist with Canadian Blues Rockers THE SHAFTMEN

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

John’s roots/blues radio show draws fans from around the world http://emms.podbean.com/

13
Oct
14

BOB SEGER-RIDE OUT-“OLDER, WISER, AND STILL WITH THE FIRE DOWN BELOW”-CD REVIEW BY JOHN EMMS

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With Ride Out Bob Seger’s latest album, it’s clear his passion and songwriting gift has not left him.

In fact, it’s focused like the growl of a classic Mustang Cobra.

This album is going to surprise people.

Why?

Because the new songs plus the great covers have a solid chance of finding a whole new younger fanbase.

“Let’s talk about chemicals in rivers, let’s talk about cash as king” on the solid It’s Your World is going to find a new audience, while the title track Ride Out bristles with lyrics “where the hills meet the valleys, far from campaigns and rallys’

Both of these tracks could easily make it on to a new Seger tour setlist.

The album starts with a cover of John Hiatt’s Detroit Made with it’s distinctive “”American Rock”” via Nashville groove and the Nashville sound is a major ambience on Seger’s excellent cover of Steve Earle’s The Devil’s Right Hand.

The Nashville players like Glen Worf and Rob McNelley command major respect but it’s clear when Seger’s Silver Bullet Band gets a hold of any song on this album it’s going to be “road worthy dramatic”

Elsewhere, on the acoustic side Seger goes into the heartland with help from Vince Gill on high harmony on the track Listen, while he looks backward on the poignant All Of The Roads and the short You Take Me In where he declares ‘Sometimes I’m frail, sometimes I fall, sometimes my best intentions bring nothing at all”

In fact, You Take Me In could be thought of as a coming of age song from the other side considering Seger is 69 years old.

For his 17th album Seger has created an honest and distinctive album of new songs that deliver.

The album comes out tomorrow Oct 14th.,

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, and singer songwriter with the CANADIAN roots/blues band THE SHAFTMEN

Check out their heartland rock here

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

JOHN also hosts his own roots radio show

http://emms.podbean.com/

30
Sep
14

THE SHAFTMEN..HEAVY IT UP ON THEIR LATEST BLUES ROCK TRACK.. NORTH COUNTRY BLUES/STATUS QUO/BUDDY GUY

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BLUES ROCK has been a huge part of THE SHAFTMEN’S sound..since the beginning….. exactly like some of their fave artists STATUS QUO AND BUDDY GUY

FROM THEIR LATEST CD..IT’S NORTH COIUNTRY BLUES

30
Sep
14

NEW BOB SEGER COMING SOON/PLUS..NEW JEFF HEALEY .. JOHN EMMS MUSIC REVIEWS

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I will be reviewing both new cd’s by BOB SEGER and JEFF HEALEY.. DUE IN EARLY OCT

You can check out my other reviews of Jeff Healey on this blog….

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, radio host and founding member of CANADIAN BLUES ROCKERS..THE SHAFTMEN

CHECK OUT…………..their music here

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

JOHN’S RADIO SHOW..ROCKS HERE

http://emms.podbean.com/

 

 

 

29
Sep
14

BRYAN ADAMS-TRACKS OF MY YEARS-“SOULFUL VOCAL WORK HIGHLIGHTS NEW “OLDIES” ALBUM

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Simply put, Bryan Adams sings his butt off on his new cd Tracks Of My Years his first studio album in six years.

For starters, Adams’ superb take on Bobby Hebb’s often covered song Sunny has a soulful strut that just kills.

It may surprise a lot of people but Adams vocal work is the key to this album, and one listen to his organic version of Don Gibson’s/Ray Charles I Can’t Stop Loving You will knock people out, it’s that good.

The Beatles Anytime At All has a superb jangly John Lennon feel, while his cover of Bob Dylan’s Lay Lady Lay has a gorgeous dry vocal track right up front.

Produced by Adams, David Foster, and Bob Rock the deluxe version of the cd has 16 tracks..

Mostly mid tempo to ballads are here but Adams however does come off well when he rips Chuck Berry’s Rock N’ Roll Music while also doing a very solid take on the John Fogerty/CCR classic Down on the Corner.

It’s hard to top Carl Wilson’s original vocal on the Beach Boys God Only Knows, but this mostly only piano/slide guitar enhanced take has tons of feel and a very cool introverted chord progression a bit on the jazz side

Of the new songs the excellent She Knows Me written with Jim Vallance sounds like it could have come off his 2008 effort Bryan Adams 11.

Of course, not everything works and some hard core Adams fans will bemoan the fact that Adams could have kicked a little more ass.

Others will be puzzled by Adams versions of Help Me Make It Through The Night and Never My Love both easily two of the most covered songs in pop history.

But on both, Adams vocal work is on the money.

Worldwide Adams fans are waiting on his new album work with Jeff Lynne, and hoping it will rock as hard as Reckless and Waking up the Neighbours.

In the meantime, this is a classy organic piece of work.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, and is the singer-songwriter of Canadian Roots/Blues rock band THE SHAFTMEN..Check out their music on Apple iTunes

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

You can find John’s rocking radio show here

http://emms.podbean.com/

26
Sep
14

THE WORLD’S GONE CRAZY…BUT THE BLUES IS ALIVE-THE SHAFTMEN..BLUES FROM CANADA

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CHECK OUT THE TITLE TRACK FROM OUR THIRD ALL ORIGINAL CD..HERE

 

 

26
Sep
14

CHICAGO BLUES MEETS THE SHAFTMEN..LATEST VIDEO-DON’T TAKE IT THE WRONG WAY

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CHECK OUT THE VIDEO..HERE

 

21
Sep
14

BEST OF JOHN EMMS RADIO..BLEED ALL OVER ME..KILLER SHOW

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ROCK THIS SHOW..

http://emms.podbean.com/

CHECK OUT THE SHAFTMEN..FEATURING JOHN

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

21
Sep
14

BEST OF JOHN EMMS RADIO..MIDNIGHT RAMBLER..BACK TO 2010..KEITH RICHARDS, JOHNNY DEPP, RORY GALLAGHER

New Rolling StoneRORY G CALL

JOHN WILL BE PUBLISHING SOME OF HIS BEST OF RADIO EPISODES..THIS IS KILLER FREE RADIO..JUST CLICK

http://emms.podbean.com/

 

17
Sep
14

JW-JONES BELMONT BOULEVARD-“MOVING ON UP TO THE SOUTH SIDE”

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For all the right reasons Canadian guitarist JW-Jones’ new album Belmont Boulevard may be considered his breakthrough into major US markets.

Working with noted Grammy winning producer/songwriter/drummer Tom Hambridge the pair have fashioned an album that is  modern sounding without losing it’s traditional core.

The first track Love Times Ten blasts out of the speakers with gritty guitars, solid vocals and a big American R & B/ Rock sound.

From there, things go Louisiana way when JW whips up the Bobby Charles classic Watch Your Step, before delving into what sounds like Memphis meets Canada on Blue Jean Jacket, snapping out a killer guitar solo on the coda.

Elsewhere, Thank You owes a lot to the Fabulous Thunderbirds mid 80’s sound and What Would Jimmie Do completes the homage to Jimmie Vaughan.

Cocaine Boy is very experimental and introspective and may throw listeners for a loop, while Magic West Side Boogie is an instrumental guitar workout half Bo Diddley/half Jimmy Thackery riffarama.

The flip of those two songs is the Hambridge penned If It Feels This Good Tomorrow. It features a gorgeous Jones vocal and is easily the album’s most radio friendly cut.

Elsewhere Jones modernizes Buddy Guy’s What’s Inside You with stand out Hammond B-3 work from Reese Wynans and gets a good snap your head groove going on his own Never Worth It.

Breaking into a huge US market where diverse stars like Tommy Castro, Damon Fowler and Roy Rogers draw huge is not easy.

JW-Jones has always had the dedication and the chops. This album gets him a winning hand and he is likely to bet on it!

This excellent cd will be available Oct 14th in the US and Oct 7th in Canada.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, and singer-songwriter with Canadian blues rock/roots artists THE SHAFTMEN

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

John is a free-lance journalist with Sun Media and you can check out John’s roots/blues radio show here

http://emms.podbean.com/

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

http://emms.podbean.com/

 

 

 

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




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