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35th AND TAYLOR/I Know You're Trouble: For those of us that never had to genuflect at the big machine and could write off Taylor Swift as aural Velveeta, we have to scratch our heads and wonder just what the hell is in the water in Iowa in that it can keep turning out female led blues rock bands that kick ass and are still in high school. Ingesting too much BGH in the milk and meat out there? At 18, already a veteran of ‘The Voice‘, lead singer Anna Taylor has gleefully rejected the star packaging machine and really brings it from the soul. We'll take this over the Disney assembly line mannequins any day. Amazingly hot stuff throughout.

ADRIENNE FENEMOR'S KIWI BLUE/Blues Jam: Seriously, what's there not to love about this New Zealand blonde babe B3 slinger that can book end a record with Muddy Waters on one end and Jerry Jeff Walker on the other? Not trying to push her teeny voice into belter ranges, this gal will blow your mind as she bites into a Muddy classic and follows through with a blazing B3 jam. Fitting into New York as a transplant that putting down roots in her rootsy tunes, Fememor cooks once again and there's more here than just sizzle. Hot stuff throughout.

MOE BANDY/Lucky Me: What can you say about a honky tonker who's 42 years older than when we first heard him but who's sound hasn't aged a whit? Choosing songs that fit him well and making a few nice duet pairings along the way, Bandy might well be riding outside the lines of fashion as he's always done, but it's served him well and it doesn't fail him here. One of country music's greatest long lasting treasures, he might be Bandy the rodeo clown but sure as hell, his mama didn't raise no fool Well done throughout.

BILL JOHNSON/Cold Outside: Here's an interesting change of pace. The father of the roots scene in British Columbia keeps it blues rootsy but he's putting in psychological lyrics like he's tired of handling the baggage someone else handed you. Ain't that a ways away from picking cotton while still keeping it real? A original throughout that's earned high praise and recognition across the border, he's sending his energy south to grab our ears and it's going to work. A sure handed pro, there's nothing hokey about his approach or his chops and this is pure and simple boomer music for those that want it real and fearlessly traversing the back 40. Tasty stuff throughout that keeps the house rocking.

KAT RIGGINS/Blues Revival: A revival in the sense that she's writing almost all her own stuff and taking the sound back from all the white boys that have been gentrifying the sound. The spiritual grand daughter of Koko Taylor and southern blues show bands, Riggins has the stone cold knack for hitting it out of the park that would make all the southern blues greats before her quite proud. Not unreconstructed but not modern just for the sake of it, Riggins is high on the list of those we want to hear lots more from. Hot stuff throughout.

LEW JETTON & 61 SOUTH/Rain: Kicking off a white boy blues rock set with a track like "Who's Texting You"? The humor and irony are enough to draw you in right there. He might infuse the music with humor but he takes the playing seriously and the combination of a new form of contemporary blues mingling with a solid dose of the Chicago/Delta nexus cut from the true vine makes this a real delight for organic blues rockers that know the real deal from a mile away. Hot, heavy and hearty throughout, this is a cat that's going to be cruising at penultimate altitude for a while and it's going to be a great ride. Hot stuff.

ALIEN OCEAN/Crushed Out: Depending on your point of view, this is pomo surf music either from Mars or from hell. Already well known in left of center circles from their music being used in web ads and cable shows, the polish on display easily separates this from some well intentioned stuff being turned out in some one's bedroom with their eyes on the stars. Too pomo for moldy figs but the funny thing is, I bet Brian Wilson would get this as he's still looking for new sounds. The line has been drawn in the sand. Check it out if you have young enough ears to properly appreciate it.

SMOKY GREENWELL/South Louisiana Blues: A jam band/soul vet, this harp player shows why he is a paragon of pre-eminence when it comes to harp playing in Louisiana and beyond. Loaded with easy going choogling charm designed to bring blues curious into the tent rather than intimidate them away, this is another tasty slice of how the good times just keep rolling down there. A Nawlins soaked set throughout, this is the recipe for how you make a party on a platter. Well done.

DUFFY KING/Acoustically Speaking: A cat that's driven more stuff from the background than you can imagine, the guitarist crafts a set that harks back to the home grown acoustic/solo guitar records from the 70s underground that got you hooked on this sound and vibe in the first place. Super tasty stuff for acoustic music fans, King is aiming for the heart rather than the chart here and he hit's the target dead center. A wise, wily set that isn't for laid back times, he really gets you going here and it's nice to have his own chops front and center to really get a taste of what he's about and can do on his own. Well done.

DONOVAN WOODS/Hard Settle, Ain't Troubled: The first stateside release from a cat that been making more than waves in Canada across three previous releases, Woods has a sound that reminds you of a lot of things but comes together as uniquely his own. Basically a rootsy folk rocker, Woods can be quite hypnotic, urgent and convincing as he waves his web and spell. Solid stuff for those looking for that elusive out of the ordinary experience, someone has been listening to his 70s underground/left of center great and learning the lessons they weren't able to teach themselves along the way. Killer stuff for those who's sensibilities start at singer/songwriter and go seeking from there. Well done.

ON DOLPHIN/Layers: Remember when you first wanted to like Sheryl Crow but thought she should've been a little rougher and less commercial? Melissa Lyn has her finger right on the vibe you were looking for. Getting in touch with her hippie side and dropping out of the real world when things started getting stupid for her, she's made the journey that so many yearn for and seems to have made it from one end of the map to the other successfully. Maybe Crow just needed to be more alt to capture the ears that are easily going to be captured here. Check it out. A vinyl release, of course.

BRIAN LANGLINAIS/Right Hand Road: The Springsteen comparisons are going to be inevitable, but at the heart of the music is the fact that Louisiana provincial pride is a lot heavier than Jersey's. To wit: has Louisiana ever exported a Snooki? Heartland rock ala Cajun roots, you'd easily mistake him for another rocking singer/songwriter at first blush but the southern soul roots are hard to deny as you give it a real listen. A non commercial record with easy accessibility that entertains throughout, this is high octane, down home music for white people. Well done throughout.

BERNWARD KOCH/Touched By Love: What can you say about these Koch tracks that hasn't been said before? Literally. This is a best of collection of the multi instrumentalist's works for the label across many releases with a few new ringers thrown in as well. A well stocked selection that plays almost like a thematically linked original set, this is a marvelous place for anyone that wants to hear more of what he's about to jump in and get acquainted. Deftly woven, gently played selections, Koch's reputation as a new age master is shown to be well deserved here. Check it out.

Volume 39/Number 281
August 9, 2016
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2016 Midwest Record

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