Category: Blues

The late bluesman Roscoe Chenier was born in the tiny town of Notleyville, LA. And although his sharecropper family were extremely poor, Chenier grew up within a deeply musical family. Although he was related to zydeco legend Clifton Chewier and bluesman Morris “Big” Chenier, his father, Arthur “Bud” Chenier, a cajun accordionist, who was frequently accompanied by his first cousin, fiddler John Stevens (the father of Duke Stevens) was the Roscoe Chenier’s bigger influence; in fact, Bud Chenier and John Stevens were best known for playing at popular weekend house parties, where Roscoe would soak up the music.

In 1958, Roscoe Chenier was invited to join one of the region’s hottest traveling bands in the region — CD and the Blue Runners, which featured Lonesome Sundown on lead guitar and three of the Gradnier brothers on harmonica, drums and bass. Chenier played with CD and the Blue Runners until 1970, finding enough work to survive as a bluesman despite the popularity of the British Invasion acts of the 1960s. However, as tastes changed, Chenier like a lot of the great old bluesman discovered, it was difficult to eke out a living — especially when some gigs paid maybe $6 per man per night. And throughout the better part of the 70s, Chenier began a succession of jobs as a truck driver while picking up the occasional hired gun gig, playing in the backing bands of Good Rockin’ Thomas, Good Rockin’ Bob, his old bandmate Lonesome Sundown, Clarence Randle and Duke Stevens.

By 1980, Chenier was leading his own band and through a combination of reputation, luck and skill, he was able to recruit a number of talented musicians while desperately trying to remain as financial independent as possible, which by the late 90s became increasingly difficult. And yet, Chenier and his band managed to play several of Europe’s most prestigious festivals including Blues Estafette (in 1992, 1993, 1996, 1998 and 2001), North Sea Jazz Festival, toured across Europe several times and released a few albums before his death in February 2013 including 1998’s Roscoe Style and 2006’s Waiting For My Tomorrow. Roscoe Chenier’s last record, featured a haunting and folksy, acapella rendition of the old gospel standby “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” that immediately brings the early Delta Blues to mind — in particular, Son House, Lightnin’ Hopkins, early Muddy Waters and the like.

Interestingly, ElectroBluesSociety, a Dutch blues act, comprised of Japser Mortier (drums, bass) and Jan Mittendorp (guitar, production), who worked with Roscoe Grenier on several releases and several European tours decided to pay tribute to their late friend by adding a spectral and moody arrangement Chenier’s vocal that’s appropriately bluesy yet subtly modern, while retaining the timeless vibe of the original vocal take.




New Video: Two from Boston-based Cinematic Psych Blues Act Matthew Stubbs and the Antiguas

Matthew Stubbs is a Boston, MA-based guitarist and songwriter/composer, who has been Charlie Musselwhite’s touring guitarist since 2007, and as a solo artist has released two solo instrumental record, drawing from the Memphis, TN soul/blues tradition, 2008’s Soulbender released through Vizztone Records and 2010’s Medford and Main released through Chicago, IL-based Blue Bella Records. In 2016, Stubbs, along with Just Lopes (organ), Chris Rivelli (drums) and Marc Hickox (bass) as an instrumental, psych rock-based project inspired by the desire of bringing back popular instrumental work along the lines Duane Eddy, Link Wray, Booker T and others, mixed with elements of garage rock, the blues, movie soundtracks and Afrobeat, — all while focusing on the vibe and energy of the live performance. 

The band’s self-tiled full-length debut is slated for a January 26, 2018 release and from “Death Grip” and ” Unwinder,” two singles off the soon-to-be released album, the material on the band’s self-titled debut manage to have a decidedly retro vibe, sounding as though they could have been part of the soundtracks to late 60s and early 70s B movies but with a tight groove; in fact, as Stubbs says of “Death Grip,” “The song was inspired by the wild scenes in those cult, car racing movies of the ’70s. I wrote it with that cinematic, yet frenetic approach in my mind.” “Unwinder,” on the other hand finds Stubbs and company, drawing from 60s psych rock and surfer rock and blues, complete with that soaring organ sequence — and they do so in a way that nods at The Castaways’ “Liar Liar” but with a subtle nod at shoegaze and dub. 

Earlier this month, I wrote about the  The Liza Colby Sound, a New York-based rock act comprised of Liza Colby (vocals), Tom McCaffrey (guitar), C.P. Roth (drums) and Alec Morton (bass) that has developed a reputation both across town and elsewhere for a swaggering and soulful take on blues rock, and for their frontwoman’s stage presence, which some  some have described as Tina Turner prowling the stage like Iggy Pop. And as you may recall “Cryin” off the band’s soon-to-be released EP Draw was a sultry, whiskey soaked, power chord-based rock song that paired Colby’s soulful pop star belter meets  Janis Joplin vocals with anthemic hooks and a propulsive backbeat; but as Colby explained in press notes, the song is rooted around a duality between muscular insistence and vulnerability, “‘Cryin” is the devastation of heartbreak. It’s an explosion of emotions. The manic, mixed with moments of complete composure. It’s thinking you have a winning hand and realizing it was shit.”

The band’s latest single “White Light” finds the band pairing slow-burning power chord-based blues-inspired, classic rock with a psych rock-like melody, nodding at Led Zeppelin‘s “How Many More Times,” and “Ramble On,” complete with an anthemic hook but throughout the song, the song’s narrator questions what it is to actually be human. As Colby describes the song it’s a “psychedelic journey through the human existence.”


New Video: The Psychedelic Visuals and Arena Rock Blues Rock Sounds of Shadow of Jaguar’s “Don’t Want to Die Here”

Comprised of Brian Hubbert (vocals, guitar) and Andrew Oakley (drums), the New York-based indie rock duo A Shadow of a Jaguar formed in early 2015 in Boulder, CO — and as the story goes, the duo of Hubbert and Oakley bonded over their mutual desire to write and make the kind of music they felt was sorely missing from their local scene. Within a few weeks, the duo began writing and recording original material while honing their sound and live set playing shows locally and throughout the country; in fact, their debut single “Mama Needs the Bottle,” and its follow up “Keep On Knocking” were received to praise from the likes of AXS and Live for Live Music. 

Since then, the duo have been touring and writing and recording the material that comprises their soon-to-be released album RAW, recorded, mixed and mastered in Denver, CO, by Todd Divel and Justin Peacock at Silo Sound. And as the duo explains in press notes, the album, which is slated for release later this month, was made “to stick a big middle finger up at all the fears and doubts that plague us. The goal was to force upon people the uncontrollable urge to scrunch their faces and nod their heads. ” RAW’s latest single, “Don’t Want to Die Here,” will further cement the duo’s growing reputation for explosive, arena rock-friendly blues rock, along the lines of The Black Keys and others, but complete with a swaggering and boozy vibe. 

Directed and produced by Wondering Works and the members of A Shadow oF a Jaguar, the recently released video for “Don’t Want to Die here” features dancer Cara Diaz expressively dancing to the song in front of projections of country roads, explosions, billowing smoke, and other psychedelic splashes of color. 

New Audio: North Mississippi Allstars’ Explosive Yet Moody Tribute to R.L. Burnside

Comprised of Hernando, MS-based sibling duo Luther (guitar, vocals) and Cody Dickinson (drums, piano, synth bass, programming and vocals), the sons of renowned pianist, vocalist and producer Jim Dickinson, North Mississippi Allstars are a critically applauded, commercially successful, multi Grammy Award- nominated, Grammy Award-winning Southern fried rock/blue duo celebrated their 20th anniversary together with a national victory-lap-like tour, and reportedly along the way, the duo booked studio time in Memphis, New Orleans, their father’s studio in Hernando, MS, and about six other cities, writing, tracking and recording their recently released eighth full-length effort Prayer for Peace, an album that finds the band based around the boogie blues and fuzzy funk of their live sets and a message of positivity, inclusion, hope and the power of familial bonds.

Co-produced by Boo Mitchell, and featuring guest spots from an incredible list of friends and associates including Oteil Burbridge, who has had stints with The Allman Brothers Band and Dead & Company; Grahame Lesh, a member of Midnight North and The Terrapin Family Band, vocalist Sharisse Norman, Dominic Davis, a member of Jack White’s backing band and Shardé Thomas, vocalist/fife player and daughter of Mississippi blues legend Otha Turner, Prayer for Peace features both original and covers and will further cement the band’s reputation for celebrating the blues’ legacy and history while pushing it into new, contemporary directions; in fact, the Electric Blue Watermelon: Screwed and Chopped EP found the band meshing the classic blues sound with Houston’s screwed and chopped hip-hop movement, creating a sound that was bluesy yet lysergic.

Interestingly enough, the first single off the Grammy Award-winning duo’s eighth full-length effort is a stomping, swaggering, arena rock-friendly cover of R.L. Burnside’s “Long Haired Donkey” that features explosive slide guitar riffs played through layers upon layers of effects and a tight groove. Reportedly, the song is a nod to the duo’s early years when fellow Mississippi bluesman R.L. Burnside took them under his wing. After Burnside’s death in 2005, the duo paid homage to their friend and mentor by adding “Long Haired Donkey” to their setlists, making it a live show staple before they officially put it on wax, 15 miles west of St. Francis Hospital where Burnisde spent his last days. And as a result, the recorded version possesses a moody and spectral vibe underneath the free-flowing, you-were-there improvised feel.

More than enough real and virtual ink has been spilled on Iggy Pop throughout his incredibly influential, lengthy and prolific music career — a music career that he can trace back to 1960. And with the legend’s 70th birthday on Friday, we should all enjoy him for as long as he’s here to kick ass. Interestingly enough, Iggy Pop has collaborated and championed a number of contemporary bands including the Miami, FL-based rock trio Jacuzzi Boys, who in 2015 started their own label Mag Mag Records with the primary purpose of releasing their own music.

April 21, 2017 marks the release of Mag Mag’s new flexi disc series, which begins with the release of a dusty and scuzzy, Mississippi Delta blues-inspired new single from the iconic Iggy Pop titled “Asshole Blues.”







New Video: The Noirish and Bluesy Sounds and Visuals of KaiL Baxley’s “Killin’ Floor”

KaiL Baxley is a Williston, SC-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who has seen praise from the likes of NPR and KCRW for a sound that draws heavily from old school soul and Mississippi Delta – – and for songwriting that draws from characters of his life — including an outlaw father, whom he only met once; but whom Baxley insists is a good, decent man; his mother, who was once an inmate at the same state penitentiary James Brown was in — and as Baxley mentions, Brown sang at the prison’s church and later taught a shy, young Baxley how to dance; his wise and very dear grandfather, whose anecdotes and wisdom he still quotes to this day; and the best guitar player, he personally ever met, his small town’s local mechanic. But along with that, his material draws from his own life and experiences. At one point Baxley was a Golden Gloves champion, with a chance of competing for the US Olympic boxing team before a run in with the law and a gunshot wound on his left shoulder sidetracked that dream. Sometime later, as a singer/songwriter and guitarist, Baxley left his small town and drove across the country with a few dollars and his guitar. And when he arrived in Los Angeles, he slept in an RV parked on Selma Blvd to pay for the studio time to record his full-length debut, Heat Stroke/The Wind and the War, an effort that went on to be nominated as NPR’s album of the year.

Building on his growing reputation as a singer/songwriter, Baxley’s sophomore effort A Light that Never Dies was released last year to critical praise from KCRW and NPR, who hailed the album as a reflection of the Williston-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter’s greatest talent — seeing beauty in our darkest and most desperate moments. Interestingly, with the release of “Killin’ Floor” and “High on the Moon” earlier this year, the Williston-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter continues with the bluesy and soulful sound that won him critical praise and national attention.

“Killin’ Floor,” Baxley’s first single of 2017 draws heavily on classic, back water blues, “the acapella, foot stomping kinda thing you find in the rural south where I’m from,” the Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter explains. “The song stems from the feeling of you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.” Sonically speaking, the slow-burning song sounds as though it bears the dusty, old-timey imprint of legendary singer/songwriter and producer T. Bone Burnett — thanks in part to a sparse, atmospheric arrangement featuring shuffling guitar chords, brief bursts of soulful organ, gently padded drumming that gives Baxley’s soulful vocals enough room to express a familiar, timeless and visceral ache.

Directed by Ryan Sheehy and based on a general idea that both Sheehy and Baxley came up with about a Black Widow type, driving into the desert to bury the young lover, she just killed, the recently released, cinematically shot video features Baxley’s friend Michelle Forbes as the female lead. And while possessing an old-fashioned sensuality, there’s a palpable sense of dread an unease throughout.

New Video: The Bluesy Sounds and Visuals for Winstons Barn-burning “Enough”

Comprised of Lou Nutting (guitar, harmonica, vocals) and Ben Brock Wilkes (drums, vocals), the up-and-coming Virginia-born, Brooklyn-based duo Winstons can actually trace their origins to when the duo met while working at Williamsburg hotspot Baby’s All Right. With the release of two EPs Turpentine and Black Dust back in 2015, the Brooklyn-based duo received attention for a soulful, garage, blues rock that owes an equal debt to The Black Keys, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins complete with a visceral and forceful earnestness — and for making a decided point of recording live to tape, with no touch-ups, no overdubs, no retakes; first thought, best thought.

Earlier this year, I wrote about “Without You,” off their “Without You”/”Enough” 7 inch, a single bluesy single that possessed a forceful immediacy and heartache and an anthemic, arena rock sized hook. And building upon the buzz that “Without You” has received, the duo released the B side single “Enough” a single which will further cement their burgeoning reputation for crafting raw, urgent, blues-leaning garage rock with arena-friendly, anthemic hooks — and while drawing from The Black Keys, the mid-tempo barnburner manages to nod at The Band and The Animals.

Directed by Buried Muse, the recently released music video for the single follows in a similar vein as the visuals for “Without Out,” as the video follows the duo jamming on the roof and performing inside Williamsburg’s Baby’s All Right, broodingly smoking cigarettes out of their window, thinking about the past, and heading to a local bar, where they encounter their dopplegangers — with a natural sense of suspicion. In some way, it captures the rock ‘n’ roll life, suggesting that it’s far more cooler than living an actual life, complete with banality, routine and utter boredom.

Mark Lanegan is a Ellensburg, WA-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, best known as the frontman, and founding member of  Seattle-based grunge rock pioneers Screaming Trees, and for collaborating with an incredibly diverse array of artists and bands throughout his lengthy career including Nirvana‘s Kurt Cobain on an unreleased Lead Belly cover/tribute album recorded before the release of Nevermind. The Ellensburg-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter was also a member of renowned grunge rock All-Star supergroup/side project Mad Season with Alice in ChainsLayne Staley and Pearl Jam‘s Mike McCready. After Screaming Trees broke up in 2000, Lanegan joined Queens of the Stone Age and is featured on the band’s last five albums — 2000’s Rated R, 2002’s Songs for the Deaf, 2005’s Lullabies to Paralyze, 2007’s Era Vulgaris and 2013’s . . . Like Clockwork. He’s also collaborated with The Afghan WhigsGreg Dulli in The Gutter Twins and has collaborated with former Belle and Sebastian vocalist Isobel Campbell on three albums. Additionally, he has contributed or guested on albums by Melisa Auf der Maur, Martina Topley-Bird, Creature with the Atom Brain, Moby, Bomb the Bass, Soulsavers, Greg Dulli’s The Twilight Singers, UNKLE and others. And although he’s managed to be rather busy throughout the years, Lanegan has also developed a low-key solo career in which he’s released nine studio albums that have been critically applauded and have seen a fair amount of commercial success.

Lanegan’s 10th full-length effort Gargoyle is slated for an April 28, 2017 release through Heavenly Recordings and interestingly enough, Lanegan can trace the origins of the album’s material and sound back to early 2016. At the time, the renowned grunge rocker was working on some ideas for what might be a new solo album, when he received an email from a friend and collaborator, the British based musician Rob Marshall, who he had first met several years before when Marshall’s former band Exit Calm had supported Soulsavers, a band that Lanegan had been fronting. The email thanked Lanegan for his participation on an album that Marshall had recorded with his newest project, Humanist while offering to write music for Lanegan to return a favor to the grunge pioneer. As Lanegan recalls in press notes, his response was along the lines of “Hey man, I’m getting ready to make a record, if you’ve got anything? Three days later he sent me 10 things… !”

Early on in the writing process, Lanegan had written “Blue Blue Sea,” a rippling mood peice that he thought and felt would be more fruitful direction for the songs on the album. “It’s almost always how my records start,” the Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter explains in press notes. “I let the first couple of songs tell me what the next couple should sound like, and it’s really the same process when I’m writing words. Whatever my first couple of lines are, tell me what the next couple should be. I’ve always built things like that, sort of like making a sculpture I guess.” Within about an hour, Lanegan and written words and recorded vocals for two of the instrumental tracks Marshall had written and recorded at Mount Sion Studios in Kent UK. Interestingly, the music Marshall had written had managed to fit perfectly with the direction Lanegan had been thinking of for some time — an expansion of the Krautrock-inspired electronic sounds and textures of his previous two albums Blues Funeral and Phantom Radio. Eventually Marshall wound up co-writing six of the album’s 10 songs with the remainder of the album being written and produced by Lanegan’s longtime collaborator Alain Johannes at 11AD Studios in West Hollywood.

As the story goes, everything was polished and finished within a month, which has been unusually fast by Lanegan’s recent standards. “I definitely feel like I’m a better songwriter than I was 15 years ago,” Lanegan stays in press notes. “I don’t know if I’m just kidding myself or what, but it’s definitely easier now to make something that is satisfying to me. Maybe I’m just easier on myself these days, but it’s definitely not as painful a process, and therefore I feel I’m better at it now. But part of the way that I stay interested in making music is by collaborating with other people. When I see things through somebody else’s perspective it’s more exciting than if I’m left to my own devices.”

Gargoyle‘s second and latest single “Beehive” pairs Lanegan’s imitable boozy, growling baritone vocals with a bluesy and swaggering production featuring shimmering guitar chords and enormous tweeter and woofer rattling beats, essentially pushing Lanegan’s recent forays into the blues into the 21st Century; but in a way that feels both warmly familiar and yet new.







Comprised of three siblings, twins Alexis (bass) and Zandy Fitzgerald (guitar), along with their brother Darius (drums) and cousin Jasmine Mullen (vocals, guitar), The New Respects are a Nashville, TN-based blues rock act, that has been heavily influenced by the gospel music they were surrounded by — but also by a healthy amount of secular and pop artists including Aretha Franklin, Alabama Shakes, John Mayer and others. Produced by Leagues‘ Jermey Lutito, the Nashville, TN-based quartet’s debut EP Here Comes Trouble is slated for a March 10, 2017 release through Credential Recordings and with the release of the EP’s first single “Trouble,” which has seen recent placements on ESPN’s Major League Soccer coverage, Fox Sports’ Road To The Octagon and TNT’s NBA coverage, as well as praise from NPR World Music Cafe‘s Jewly Hight. And unsurprisingly, as a result, The New Respects’ debut EP may arguably be one of the most highly-anticipated EPs of the first few months of 2017.

Here Comes Trouble‘s second and latest single “Money” is a gritty yet funky and soulful that not only displays The New Respect’s genre-defying sound — a sound which effortlessly meshes blues, arena rock, pop and hip-hop; but it also reveals a band that has an uncanny ability to write an swaggering and anthemic, power chord friendly hook paired with a sinuous bass line, a darting yet funky guitar line, thunderous drumming and Mullen’s powerhouse, pop belter vocals. Sonically speaking “Money” will likely remind listeners of The Black Keys, Robert Randolph and The Family Band and others and while that would be a fair comparison, lyrically the song has struck me as an ironic take on “If I Was a Rich Girl” that not only points out that being filthy rich won’t buy you more time, nor would it buy you much in the way of happiness.  In fact, the song suggests two things that seem to be an anathema in our consumer world — that having money and a lot of possessions actually distracts you from life’s true purpose: to love someone else and to be here now.

Directed by Ry Cox, the artfully shot, recently released music video follows the members of the band as they break into the home of some rich guy as he’s away to play music and invite friends and other associates to the house, along with footage of the band languidly enjoying the fruits of greed and power as they sing the song’s hook. And while being kind of trippy, the video ends with the band disappearing before the rich man’s return.

The quartet will be opening for Robert and The Family Band throughout March. Check out tour dates below.


Supporting Robert Randolph & The Family Band

3/15 — Cincinnati, OH @ The Ballroom @ Taft

3/16 — Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom

3/17 — Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall

3/18 — Madison, WI @ Majestic

3/20 — Kansas City, MO @ Knuckleheads

3/22 — Fort Collins, CO @ Aggie

3/24 — Boulder, CO @ Fox Theatre

3/25 — Denver, CO @ Gothic Theatre

3/26 — Aspen, CO @ Belly Up