Tag: Muddy Waters

New Audio: Introducing the Arena Rock Friendly Blues Rock of The Blue Stones

Comprised of high school friends Tarek Jafer (vocals, guitar) and Justin Tessier (drums, percussion, backing vocals), the up-and-coming alt rock duo The Blue Stones can trace their origins to when the duo, who had attended college together decided that they should start a musical project together. While being among an increasing number of blues-tinged rock duos including The Black Keys, The White Stripes, Royal Blood, and others, the duo cite Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Jimi Hendrix, The Stooges, MC5, Alice Cooper, MUTEMATH, My Morning Jacket, Jay-Z, Kanye West, J. Cole, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and B.B. King as influences on their overall sound and aesthetic.

Jafar and Tessier spent seven years honing and perfecting their sound, during which they wrote and recorded an independently released EP. As the duo’s Tarek Jafar says in press notes, “It takes a lot to be a success. You have to stay proud and focused.” Building upon several years of hard work and dedication, the duo’s full-length debut Black Holes is slated for an October 26, 2018 release — and the album, which will feature “Rolling With The Punches,” a single that has received placements on USA Network’s Suits, Showtime’s Shameless and ESPN’s Monday Night Football and the attention-grabbing lead single “Black Holes,” which has amassed 8 million streams, will further cement the duo’s growing profile for  playing blues rock that as the duo’s Justin Tessier says is “lean, raw, tight, without a wasted note.” Thematically, the album as Jafar explains is “. . . about being a young adult and entering the real world from a sheltered environment, like college. Feeling torn between taking the secure path or doing something that might be riskier but you’re passionate about . . . following what you love as opposed to sticking to the straight and narrow.”

Over course of the year playing across the national festival circuit with stops at Carolina Rebellion with MUSE and Queens of the Stone Age, Northern Invasion, Winnetka Music Festival and Bonnaroo Festival. Interestingly, Black Holes’ third and latest single is the sultry and anthemic “Be My Fire,” which sonically is indebted to The Black Keys, Jimi Hendrix, North Mississippi All Stars as its built around enormous power chords, thundering drumming and arena rock friendly hooks — but while being centered around an urgent and plaintive yearning for someone, just out of reach. The song possesses a compelling name-taking and ass-kicking, swaggering bombast underpinned with a sincerity and earnestness. 

If you’ve been following me through my various social media platforms, you’d know that I’ve been in Chicago for the past few days for a conference related to my day job — and of course, while in town I’ve been running around to see friends, eat good food, drink good beers and catch as much live music as I could possibly take in. Naturally, while en route here and towards the bars, music venues and restaurants I’ve eaten in, I’ve spent it listening to a variety of music — especially Chicago blues, particularly my favorites, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters and B.B. King. Check out this (mostly) Windy City-inspired playlist below. (Of course, there will likely be additions as I’m commuting to and fro for the next few days, so feel free to keep checking it.)

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 Audio: The Devil Makes Three’s Cover of A Ralph Stanley Classic

Now earlier this month, you might remember that I wrote about Redemption and Ruin’s first single, a slowed-down, twangy, Johnny Cash, Sun Records-era-leaning cover of one of my favorite Muddy Waters tunes “Champagne and Reefer” that retained the original’s wicked sense of humor and gleeful debauchery. The album’s second single is a cover of bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley’s classic and oft-covered “I Am The Man Thomas,” and as Bernhard told the folks at Relix, “‘I Am The Man’ is a gruesome tale of the capture and crucifixion of Jesus sung by none other than the late great Ralph Stanley. It may be the most metal Gospel song ever penned by mortal hand. What better song to include on Redemption And Ruin, This tune has it all, the chase the death and the rise from the grave.” The Devil Makes Three cover is a subtly and deceptively straightforward cover that puts a bit of snarl and muscle into it — while with a deeper emphasis on the gruesomeness and cruelty of the cruxifixction and Jesus’ eventual redemption.

Alt country/folk-rock/blues-rock artist Lee Miles, best known Chief Ghoul has quickly become a JOVM mainstay artist for a sound that channels and owes a major debt to the Delta Blues — in particular, the blues of Lightnin’ HopkinsBlind Willie JohnsonRobert JohnsonMuddy Waters‘ acoustic blues and John Lee Hooker as Miles’ work had a tendency to be sparse, most self-accompanied and concerned itself with some prototypical blues themes and motifs. Seeking to expand the project’s sound, Miles recruited Chase Coryell (bass) and Justin Brown (drums) to flesh out the project’s sound, expanding the project to a full-time trio.

Damned is Miles’ fourth Chief Ghoul album, and the album’s latest single “Let Me In” is a twangy ballad that sonically draws from outlaw country and the blues — and that shouldn’t be surprising as the song’s narrator sings ruefully about a lover with whom he had a conflicting and confusing relationship; in typical blues fashion, the narrator recognizes that the love interest is dangerous to him and yet he can’t pull himself away.

 

 

 

 

Over the past few months, Jack Berry, a Reno, NV-born and Nashville, TN-based singer/songwriter and rock/blues artist has quickly become one of my favorite artists of 2016 as I’ve previously written about two singles off Berry’s forthcoming full-length Mean Machine  The Bull,” a sultry and bluesy single with an anthemic hook that sounded as though it were Superunknown-era Soundgarden — in particular “Mailman” “Spoonman,”and “Fell on Black Days,” as well as “Bad Dog,” a swaggering, cocksure song that continued in the arena rock-friendly vein of “The Bull” but bluesier, as though Berr were attempting to channel Howlin’ WolfMuddy Waters and John Lee Hooker.
Mean Machine’s latest single “Coal” will further cement Berry’s growing reputation for bluesy and anthemic power chord-based rock that manages to possess a moody, sensual and contemporary take on hard rock and the blues,  complete with his signature cocksure swagger.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 2016’s JOVM Spotify playlist will likely continue the wild variety I’m so proud of but with a number of mainstay artists including tracks by Victoria + Jean, Anna Rose, Rene Lopez, Anika, Shabaam Sahdeeq, Gosh Pith, Marco Benevento, New Order, Boulevards, Mavis Staples, Sofi Tukker, Charles Bradley, Majid Jordan, La Sera, Pr0files, Atmosphere, We Are Temporary, Beacon, Elephant Stone, Caveman, Octo Octa and several others who you’ve become familiar with through this site. But you’ll also come across a couple of tracks from one of my favorite new artists of the year, Sophie and the Bom Boms, some classic blues from Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley and George Thorogood, porto-metal and stoner rock and countless more. Check it out!