As this writer wrote in his previous article about his favorite concerts of 2015, one can only rate the ones that one has seen. This article will recommend only CDs this writer has heard. There are releases that are really good, but this writer hasn’t had a chance to hear them yet. One such example would be Walter Trout’s Battle Scars.
People might think that there isn’t that much new blues coming out, but every week there is something this writer comes across that he had never heard of before. There is some good and some not so good. Here are a few worth listening to:
Last January, the Redrova CD by the Balkun Brothers was released. This disc contains a variety of blues styles, from hard rockin’ to traditional electric and delta blues and even a little funk. Brothers Nick and Steve formed in 2010 and hail from Hartford, Connecticut.
The hard rocking ‘Oh Yeah! (Last Jam)’ leads off the disc. It’s followed by the title cut which is also a guitar heavy rocker. By track four ‘Keep Me Warm’, it’s time to slow it down a bit so one can catch their breath. All through the album there is nice slide or great pickin’ going on by Steve Balkun.
In February, Smokin’ Joe Kubek & Bnois King released Fat Man’s Shine Parlor. It would be their last together as Joe passed away in October from a heart attack while on tour in North Carolina. Joe was only 58. This album is classic hard driving Texas guitar. Joe described his music as too rockin’ for blues, but too bluesy for rock. That would describe this disc well.
March brought the St. Amant Sessions by Peter Novelli. This CD is what might be described as Cajun blues. It was recorded in the small town of St. Amant in Louisiana. An example of Cajun blues would be Sonny Landreth, who makes a guest appearance on the opening track ‘Louisiana Sunrise’.
In June, while at the Chicago Blues Festival, this writer ran into Rockin’ Johnny Burgin who was handing out flyers to a show later that night at Reggie’s Rock Club. I struck up a conversation with him and he turned me on to a copy of his new CD Greetings From Greaseland California. The CD was recorded at Greaseland Studios in San Jose. It features Aki Kumar on harmonica and Kid Anderson on guitar. Kid also produced the project. Great songs such as ‘She’s A Hit’, ‘Love Me Like I Want It’ and ‘Havanna Blues’ are true Chicago style blues. Johnny is a triple threat singing, playing guitar and adding harmonica on a couple of tracks. ‘Empty Bed Blues’ features a gut wrenching harp that is quite impressive.
Part 2 will feature CDs by Buddy Guy, Pinetop Perkins & Jimmy Rogers, Dudley Taft and more.