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The Last Prophet of the Funky Texas Blues….
Now that’s a bold statement to make, and Willie J Laws Jr. definitely has a divine gumbo full of funky blues simmered and spiced just right with a mix of Country, R&B, Texas Boogie Blues, Tex-Mex, and straight up Blues. And every bite is served up with a whole lot of soul!
Every Wednesday in Cranston RI there is a great place to unwind in the middle of a stressful week with some smooth blues and fun swing.
Down at the Pub on Park is the hidden gem, the Vintage Rhythm and Blues Ensemble lead by Tom Ferraro, that is the perfect way to relax and or try out your swing footwork. Each week they bring in a guest artist which can vary from regional treasures to national (and in some cases international) touring artists. But at it’s core it is a solid traditional Blues and Swing Blues band that holds true to the purist heart of the classics.
An old soul in a young body, gifted beyond his years!
Tyler Morris is one of those rare individuals that has talent far beyond what all logic would dictate by looking at the number of years he’s been alive. It’s no wonder then that he has worked with a long and ever growing listed of big names in Blues and Rock.
Do you like your Blues to Rock? How about loud? Who doesn’t love a bit of peace? But what about love, ya gotta love love!?
If you said yes, then Anthony Gomes is your man.
AG can go from 0-110 in a single note and then land you in a sweet soulful place.
In the finest tradition of Rock born of Blues, AG is bringing the Blues back to Rock.
Modern with retro respect.
Joe Moss brings in the feel and push of the ever evolving Chicago Blues sound without losing or disrespecting a single note of the rich and storied history of Chicago/Dela Blues origins.
He constantly works to bring in talented artists alongside him while he continues the work of finding and exploring the future of the Blues. His upbringing amongst the music in Chicago by his parents has richly informed his career. You can clearly see this in his ever evolving and growing repertoire of music.
Nick Black is defying all of the norms and blending genres in a way that hasn’t been seen since the days of Motown when they took R&B and Pop and Soul and turned it into something beautiful.
Playing brand new music and building on the giants, Nick Black and his amazing band have made a whole new genre all their own. Soul-Pop. Seamlessly blending Blues, Funk, 2nd Line (with that horn section!), Motown, and Soul has truly been a triumph!
For nearly 100 years this man moved through our world building and learning, loving, sharing, inspiring, and in my case...saving us.
Today BB King would have been 93. He left this world three years ago, just shy of his 90th birthday.
The first time I had the pleasure and privilege to see the Delta Generators live was at The Bull Run Restaurant and I was left quite startled, having not had the chance prior to see them since I moved to the region I couldn't believe that I'd stumbled onto pure gold. How is it that this uniquely New England force of nature is not hitting the news every night for blowing the walls down at every venue they touch?
A mixture of Blues and Roots with a hard driving guitar that will hold you enthralled from the first note.
One of the most unique of venues I've visited has to be Nelson's Candies. How often do you get to enjoy world class Blues in a candy store?!
In scenic Wilton New Hampshire you get a leisurely drive through the region and are rewarded with a delightful venue full of everything sweetest in life; good people, good music, and great sweets handmade!
Energetic. Classy. Soulful. Kind Hearted. Mischievous. and Fantastically Fun.
Just a few of the words one could use to describe a concert that is so tight, so locked in, and completely ready to take you on a ride through Chicago like you've never gone before.
The Welch Ledbetter Connection are something to behold as they seem to exist in that rare air at the top of world.
I want to start this review off by simply stating that prior to seeing Zac Harmon live, I honestly didn't know much about him. Honestly I wasn't all that familiar with his work. Which now that I HAVE seen him live, a couple of times in fact, I can't believe He wasn't already in heavy rotation on my playlists.
A Jackson MIssissippi native…
We lose celebrities frequently and we are saddened but move forward. When we lose icons and individuals who have moved more than concert ticket sales or election cycles, but instead moved us as a people forward in a positive manner, those are moments that will always live with us. Musicians, leaders, scientists, authors, and friends, when we lose those individuals then we are left with a mark on us of bittersweet memory.
I'm going to take a departure from my review postings for a few moments. I need to tell a personal story of how I came to the Blues and how they have saved me.
BaHa Brothers is one of those venues that is a delight but you might easily miss it with it being nestled away in its own oasis.
In the heart of Taunton MA is a great venue that hosts a regular weekly blues night along with other great events throughout the week. The band, BaHa Brothers was founded by Jay Gonsalves, Bill Strojny, and Matt Wasylow in 1992 to fill the need for a beach party band in the Boston and Cape Cod area.
When you think of the Rock Blues category there are some stand out artists that come immediately to mind. Walter Trout, John Mayall, Eric Clapton, SRV, etc.
There's another name that should always be on that list and that is Albert Castiglia (pronounced ka-steel-ya). The man has a gentle good humor that stands in contrast with his hard driving guitar and a voice that absolutely matches every note!
Bobby Messano has a long and well travelled career where he has worked with the likes of Steve Winwood, Jimmy Wayne, Rodney Atkins, Joe Lynn Turner, Fiona, Clarence Clemons, and Lou Gramm. He served as the Music Director for Steve Windwood on his UK and European tour, and has made every bit a name of his own carving through the years!
Touring with his Broken Toys, you get the fun and personal experience of someone who has not only seen some great musical history, but has helped create it along the way as well!
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Well of course you don't miss a chance like that!
The Iron Horse Music Hall is located in the heart of Northampton MA, and has that downtown "smallish town" feel. The venue lends itself truly to the feel of an intimate Blues club. And it's one that brings in big artists!
From the outside you would never know the depth of what is yet to come. The staff are all quite friendly and work hard to keep up with a packed room at showtime. They truly put their full energy into the work. I've yet to have a bad experience.
Where do you start when you try to describe Roomful of Blues...? With a band that has existed and evolved over 50 years of history, that has had 48+ band members throughout the years, and has amassed an amazing (and well deserved) list of awards and accolades. It's a challenge to find a starting point that is remotely sufficient to the task of describing or even attempting to review such a talented group of musicians!
In fact, this review is rather late because I've had trouble starting it for just this reason. I only hope that I succeed in conveying just how amazing they are!
When you first walk into 9 Wallis there are a few things that stand out. The first are the friendly and personal greetings you get at the door by the owners and staff, and the second is being taken to where your seat is. You're not left to wander through the venue trying to figure out where your table may or may not be hiding. (Although, there is no hiding in this venue, everything is easy to navigate!)
The next thing that will stand out pretty quickly is the venue itself, from the clean and fresh exterior to the attention to detail that has been given on the inside. Beautiful flooring and woodwork, stained glass, a bar that looks like it just rolled out of a glamorous movie set from the 50's, and bathrooms that are some of the nicest I've seen in any venue.
The venue itself…
Marcia Ball is one of those singers/musicians that really stands out on a list of artists when you scan the list of top performers in the Blues. Her blend of Texas and Louisiana country and party Blues really is unique experience. You really don't see or hear many people that can take two genre's and blend them into a third AND make it work. Marcia's ability to take you on a ride through the countryside and lead you right down Bourbon Street and hang a left only to land in Texas truly is the recipe for a fun night out!
When she takes the stage one is instantly struck by the irreverent and totally classy nature that she carries herself. It's just one of the many ways that she takes what would be a harsh contradiction amongst most and then turns it on it's ear to make you instantly feel engaged with her.
I wasn't sure what it would be like to have live Blues in the middle of a Chinese food joint, but I'd heard good things so I went in optimistic, and oh boy was I impressed. John Chan greets every person coming into the venue as he checks you in and then personally walks you to a seat of your choosing.
My advice is to get there early (the doors open 90 minutes before show start times) to make sure you get the seat you want. My second bit of advice…
The first time I had the chance to see Janiva live was truly an emotional experience for me. I'd seen her concert at Bull Run being advertised on Facebook off and on and kind of just kept getting distracted.
Then on the day of the concert that night I decided to take a leap and go see her for the first time and at a venue I'd never visited. It's funny how the most wonderful things happen out of the blue.
I went in and sat down…
The first time I attended an event at Bull Run I was truly surprised that such have a gem existed here in New England and that it took me nearly 11 years to find it,
My first visit was quite the experience, as I didn't know what the food would be like or where a good seat would be. I quickly found out that there's not a bad seat in the entire place and that the food is fantastic.
They pride themselves on locally sourced foods which are then expertly prepared and presented in a professional and impressive manner. It is refreshing to see a venue, or any establishment, take such pride in supporting their local community and industries. And while you may see prices that seem a bit more, they are truly worth it, without hesitation.
I highly recommend the sweet potato fries!
The Nick Moss Band never disappoints and with their album release tour for The High Cost of Low Living on Alligator Records proves once again that they bring their A game everywhere they go.
During their recent dates in New England (03/22/2018 Iron Horse Music Hall, 03/23/2018 Chan's Fine Dining, 04/05/2018 Bull Run Restaurant, and 04/07/2018 at 9 Wallis) they proved why this band has been nominated for a Blues Music Award, with Dennis earning his own nomination as well.
Classic rocking Chicago style Blues were on full display with Dennis playing his heart out, Taylor absolutely killing it on the piano, and a rhythm section that keeps the band moving forward at a pace that keeps the listener moving in their seats (and on the dance floor)!