Yates’ New Record Could Put Her On “The Other Side” Of Country Music Stardom

Courtesy: Awaken Love Music/Press Junkie PR

Courtesy: Awaken Love Music/Press Junkie PR

Country musician Crystal Yates released her latest recording this past May.  The record, The Other Side, is an offering that any country music fan should hear at least once.  This is the case even with the record boasting a grand total of five songs.  Those five songs will move listeners deeply in so many ways over the course of the record’s twenty-one minute run time.  That is thanks to the combination of the record’s musical arrangements and its lyrical content.  From one song to the next this record offers plenty for country music fans to appreciate.  By the time the record ends it leaves listeners with quite the impression.  It is an impression that will leave listeners agreeing that Yates’ could be one of the next big names in the country community.

Crystal Yates’ new record The Other Side is a record that any country music fan should hear at least once.  That is because through the combination of its musical arrangements and lyrical content, it shows her to potentially be one of country music’s next big names.  One of the songs that best exemplifies this is ‘Already Yours.’  This song stands out on Yates’ new record in part due to its musical arrangement.  The song starts out very tentative and slow.  Over the course of its four-plus minute run time it gradually picks up a little more; not so much in its tempo but in its confidence.  Yates’ own soulful vocals echo the power in the song’s musical arrangement, too adding even more power to the arrangement.  The song’s gentle opening and its gradual growth is a direct mirror so to speak to its lyrical content.  That is noted as Yates sings in the song’s opening verse, “If you’re feeling down/And you’re all alone/Then I’ve got a hand you can hold/Put your hand in mine/Let me walk you through/There ain’t nothing that/I wouldn’t do/Don’t you even think/Just call/You ain’t gotta ask at all/If you want my love/It’s already yours.”  McKenzie Smith keeps a solid tempo on the drums, showing that truly talented drummers don’t always have to have machine gun speed beats.  Sometimes it is the ones who play slower and with control who show true skill and talent.  Yates’ gentle approach continues in the song’s second verse.  Though, it is clear as the verse progresses that so does the power in both her Bonnie Raitt meets Susan Tedeschi style vocals and the song’s general musical arrangement.  Ultimately it culminates with that gentle reminder from Yates, “If you want my love/It’s already there.”  All things considered here, this song proves to be one of this record’s best compositions if not its outright best.  It is just one of the songs that proves why Yates could potentially be one of the next big names in country music.  ‘Made To Last’ follows ‘Already Yours.’  It is another of the record’s most standout compositions.

‘Already Yours’ is one of the key compositions included in Crystal Yates’ new record.  That is thanks to the obvious attention paid to detail both in regards to its musical content and its lyrical content, and how the two elements work together.  The end result is a song that is possibly one of the record’s best moments if not its best.  Keeping that in mind, it is not the record’s only key composition.  ‘Made To Last’ follows ‘Already Yours.’  It is another of the record’s key compositions.  Unlike ‘Already Yours,’ this song is a full-on country song.  Its musical arrangement harkens back to the likes of Reba McEntire and Martina Mcbride (the latter of whom Yates has shared the stage).  That is clear not only in its upbeat arrangement but also in Yates’ own vocal delivery.  It presents such a positive vibe from beginning to end.  That alone is more than enough to make this song another hit for her.  The song’s lyrical content is just as certain to make it a hit.  It directly echoes the upbeat energy of the song’s musical arrangement.  This is made clear as Yates sings playfully in the song’s lead verse, “That cat has started getting’ on your nerves/I can’t stand your Nickelback T-shirt/But that’s how it goes/And don’t you know/Falling is the easy part/But when times get hard is when the real thing starts/Real love is not a chance we take/It’s a choice we make/Each and every day/But then what happened happens/I want a love that’s made to last.”  The playful yet straightforward commentary about real love here is certain to put a smile on any listener’s face.  And that line about hating a guy’s Nickelback T-shirt will undoubtedly get more than a few laughs, too.  This is just the start of the positive vibes in the song’s lyrical content.  She goes on to sing, “When people get as close as you and I/You can bet that we butt heads sometimes/But makin’ up/Can sure be fun/You might never clean the dishes up/I’m gonna be have a few bad days each month/But letting go/is how we’ll grow/Falling  is the easy part/But when times get hard/It’s when the real thing starts/Love is not a chance we take/It’s a choice we make/Each and every day/But then what happens, happens fast/I want a love that’s made to last.”  Yates’ reality check goes on from here dispelling the myth about the long white dress, the house and picket fence, etc.  She notes again that what is most important about a good life together is a love that (again) lasts.  It is a statement that rings loud and clear from beginning to end.  When coupled with the song’s upbeat musical arrangement, the song in whole proves to be another great addition to Yates’ new record.  Together with ‘Already Yours’ it is yet more proof of why Yates could potentially be one of country’s next big names.

‘Already Yours’ and ‘Made To Last’ are both key additions to Crystal Yates’ new record.  Both songs stand solidly on their own merits.  This includes both their musical arrangements and lyrical content.  While both songs stand out in their own right they are not the record’s only standout songs.  The record’s closer, also its title track, is one more of its most notable compositions.  This song stands out from the record’s other tracks just as much as they do from one another.  In regards to its musical content, it is a solid, blues-based gospel tune that once again echoes those hints of Bonnie Raitt and Susan Tedeschi.  Yates’ vocals are just as powerful as the song’s musical arrangement.  She sings here about getting to “the other side.”  It is clear here that she is singing about going to Heaven here.  That is especially clear as she sings, “I know we’re gonna pass…to the other shore/Oh, we’re gonna see the lord/I said oh, we’re gonna see the lord.”  She goes on to sing, “Ain’t gonna let nothin’ stop us/From the other side.”  It’s a classic gospel style song at least in terms of its lyrics.  In regards to its musical arrangement, that is not an entirely original approach.  But it is one that is rarely taken by any artist.  The only name that this critic in particular can come up with when thinking of blues-based gospel, is the Blind Boys of Alabama.  To that end, this song is yet another standout composition for Yates’ new record.  It shows just as much as ‘Already Yours’ and ‘Made To Last’ why this young singer-songwriter could very well be one of country music’s next big names.  That is not to ignore the record’s other two songs, ‘Leave Me Alone To Die’ (which is actually about a kidnapping that she personally experienced at one point in her life) and ‘Hell On My Soul.’  Those two songs offer up their own interest to this record, too.  All things considered, this new record may only boast five songs and run twenty-one minutes but it is still a record that any country music purist should hear at least once if not more.  That is because it could be the next step in making her one of country music’s next big names.

Crystal Yates could very well be one of the next big names in the country music community.  She has already made quite the impact with two previous recordings.  Now with her latest record The Other Side she is that much closer to actually making that become true.  That is because over the course of this record’s five songs and twenty-one minutes, she offers audiences so much to appreciate.  Each song stands out from the others both musically and lyrically.  And each one is just as entertaining as the others, too as has already been noted.  From a powerhouse blues-based gospel closer in its title track, to a fun, upbeat song about the realities of marriage, to an equally moving piece about a person’s (likely a woman’s) love for another, and beyond, there is plenty to appreciate about this record.  All things considered, The Other Side could very well be the record that takes Crystal Yates to the “other side” of music stardom.  It is available now and can be ordered direct via Yates’ official website at http://www.crystalyatesmusic.com/merch/.  More information on The Other Side is available online now along with all of her latest news and more at:

 

 

Website: http://www.crystalyatesmusic.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/crystalyatesmusic

Twitter: http://twitter.com/crystal_yates

 

 

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ACL Celebrates 40 Years Is A Wonderful Celebration Of A Show And Of Music Itself

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

PBS and its hit concert series Austin City Limits celebrated two major landmarks for the series this fall. This past October Austin City Limits celebrated forty years on the air. That landmark makes the concert series the longest-running concert series on television to date. Making the anniversary even more special is the fact that this October, the show’s original studio was added to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s tenth Rock and Roll landmark. Both of these marks are big honors for ACL and for PBS. In honor of these honors, PBS released on DVD today the brand new concert recording Austin City Limits 40 Years. There is a lot to like about this concert recording starting with the show’s all-star lineup. Featured in the concert is a who’s who of the music industry. It features legendary names such as: Willie Nelson, Buddy guy, Bonnie Raitt, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Foo Fighters, and even the original members of Double Trouble among so many others. There are even performances from up-and-coming blues/rock band Alabama Shakes. It’s a display in its own way of how many generations this series has reached over the course of its four decades on the air. Making the set even better is the concert’s set list. Emmylou Harris covers Willie Nelson’s hit ‘Crazy.’ There’s also an all-star tribute to Sam & Dave with a performance of ‘Wrap It Up.’ And just as enjoyable is the multi-song, all-star tribute to blues legend and Austin native, the late great Stevie Ray Vaughan. These are just some of the examples of what makes the show’s set list so important to the presentation in whole. Last but hardly least noteworthy regarding the recording’s success is its bonus material. Included as bonus material, is forty-five minutes of bonus performances. There is also a bonus behind-the-scenes look at the work that went in to making Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years a reality. It’s all set against a great performance of SRV’s hit song ‘Texas Flood.’ These bonuses, partnered with the show’s all-star list of performers and its equally wonderful set list, serve to help make Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years one of this year’s surprise best new live recordings of 2014. It also serves to show yet again why PBS is the last bastion of worthwhile programming on television today.

Austin City Limits has been on television for forty years this year. That is a huge landmark for PBS’ concert series. It has outlived MTV’s Unplugged Series. It has also outlived VH1’s Storytellers and CMT’s Crossroads. In the four decades since it made its debut, ACL has gone from focusing on just one or two genres of music to being one of the preeminent destinations for some of the music industry’s biggest names. Elvis Costello has been on the show. Kings of Leon appeared just last year. And even none other than Nine Inch Nails appeared this year. It just goes to show how much this show has grown since its earliest days as has its importance in the music industry. That is shown just as much in the list of performers tapped to appear on Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years. The list of performers tapped to appear on this recording is a who’s who of the music industry from past, present, and even the future. It includes the likes of Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Guy, Foo Fighters, Sheryl Crow, Guy Clarke, Jr., Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Emmylou Harris, and up-and-coming blues/rock band Alabama Shakes and so many others. With such a wide swatch of performers, that list becomes for all intents and purposes a music history lesson live on stage. It shows not only where ACL has been and where it is going but where music itself started and to where it has come today. And every act tapped to perform is an excellent example of both histories. It’s just one of plenty of reasons that audiences will enjoy this DVD.

The list of performers tapped to perform on Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years is itself plenty of reason for audiences to pick up this brand new release from PBS. That list is itself a music history lesson and a lesson on the history of ACL. The performers themselves serve as plenty of reason for any music lover to check out this DVD. The songs that they perform make the recording just as enjoyable if not more so. Audiences will love Willie Nelson’s performance of the classic song ‘On The Road Again,’ and Emmylou Harris’ cover of Willie Nelson’s ‘Crazy.’ If that’s not enough, there is a star-studded, multi-song tribute to Austin, Texas’ own Stevie Ray Vaughan. That tribute features performances from Buddy Guy, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and almost every member of the a-list cast of performers. There is also a special tribute to Sam & Dave in the performance of ‘Wrap It Up.’ That song is handled by Bonnie Raitt, Jimmie Vaughan, Gary Clark, Jr. and Brittany Howard from Alabama Shakes. As if all of that wasn’t enough, the star-studded tribute to SRV is complemented with an equally gran tribute to Buddy Holly. These are just some of the performances included in the concert that audiences will enjoy in watching this recording. There are plenty of other great performances along the way that audiences will enjoy just as much. Collectively, all of those performances make for yet another wonderful reason for every music lover to see this concert.

If the who’s who list of performers tapped for this concert and their performances aren’t enough for audiences, the bonus material included on the DVD will convince audiences. PBS has included forty-five minutes of performance footage as bonus material on this DVD. That forty-five minutes includes a performance of ‘Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die’ from Willie Nelson and ‘Freight Train’ from Gary Clark, Jr. and Sheryl Crow among the bonus performances. Robert Earl Keen handles ‘I Gotta Go’ and Joe Ely covers ‘All Just To Get To You’ as part of the bonus performances, too. Partnered with that is a special behind-the-scenes look at the concert set against a performance of SRV’s hit song ‘Texas Flood’ by Buddy Guy, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Robert Randolph, and others. It’s a double whammy for audiences. Not only does it give audiences a behind-the-scenes look at the concert from pre-pro to show but it also offers audiences a bonus performance. Audiences are given another bonus performance by Bonnie Raitt and company in their rehearsal for their performance of ‘Wrap it Up.’ It’s a nice finisher to a concert recording has already more than proven itself one of this year’s best. Together with the aforementioned list of performers and set list, it pushes this recording over the top, once again proving why ACL has run so successfully for forty years and why its original studio is now part of music history thanks to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It shows once more why PBS is the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming.

So much can be said of what makes Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years a success and a total enjoyment. And so much has been said, obviously. It goes without saying that the show’s production values are just as impressive as everything else already noted here. Whether one is taking in the concert on a regular TV or one with a high-priced surround sound home theater system, every viewer will agree that all of the other positives noted here would be nothing without those top notch production values. The concert looks and sounds just as good as other performances recorded over the years. It is that proverbial cherry on top of the musical sundae that is this recording. It is that last part that makes this recording well worth the listen by music lovers of every age.

Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years is available now on DVD. It can be ordered direct online via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=50214636&cp=&sr=1&kw=austin+city+limits&origkw=Austin+City+Limits&parentPage=search. More information on this and other recordings from Austin City Limits over the years is available online at:

Website: http://acltv.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/austincitylimitstv

Twitter: http://twitter.com/acltv

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PBS Celebrates Four Decades Of ACL With Special Anniversary Concert

Courtesy:  PBS

Courtesy: PBS

PBS’ Austin City Limits hit a major milestone this year.  The network’s hit music series celebrated forty-years with PBS.  In celebration, PBS is releasing a special DVD celebrating the long-running series next month.

PBS will release Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years on Tuesday, December 2nd.  Austin City Limits’ four-decade long run on PBS is especially important to both the network and to music lovers alike.  In the four decades that Austin City Limits has been on PBS, it remains the only TV series to be awarded the Medal of Arts.  Also in that time, MTV’s Unplugged and VH1’s Storytellers have gone by the wayside.  And even CMT’s on Crossroads series has failed to maintain the stability and reputation of ACL.  Throughout its now forty-years on television, ACL has seen and continues to see some of the industry’s biggest names take to the stage.  Those names include the likes of Elvis Costello, Foo Fighters, Nine Inch Nails, and so many others.  Many more names are sure to be added to that list as there appears to be no end to this landmark series.

In honor of the series’ fortieth anniversary, many of those same big names have come on board for this celebratory concert.  Bonnie Raitt joins Jimmie Vaughan, Gary Clark, Jr and Brittany Howard from Alabama Shakes for a performance of the Sam & Dave classic ‘Wrap It Up’ to open the concert.  Howard returns later in the show alongside Gary Clark, Jr. for a special performance.  Willie Nelson, the red-headed stranger himself, joins Emmylou Harris for a performance of Nelson’s ‘Crazy.’  Singer/actor Kris Kristofferson and Sheryl Crow team up for a performance of Kristofferson’s ‘Me and Bobby McGee.  Foo Fighters even make an appearance to perform Roky Erickson’s ‘Two-Headed Dog.’  That performance was recorded at the original ACL television studio especially for the concert.  Actor Jeff Bridges hosts the night’s festivities.  He also performs a special rendition of ‘What A Little Bit Of Love Can Do’ from the late singer-songwriter Stephen Bruton.  Bruton was a big influence on Bridges’ Oscar-winning role in the movie ‘Crazy Heart.’  As if all of this isn’t enough, Joe Ely and fellow local legend Robert Earl Keen make an appearance.  Blues legend Buddy Guy rounds out the show with a performance of ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb.’  And finishing off the whole thing is a star-studded tribute to Buddy Holly and the one and only Stevie Ray Vaughan.  A who’s who of guitarists performs Holly’s ‘Not Fade Away’ and SRV’s ‘Texas Flood’ for the night’s biggest finish.

Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years was taped live at the ACL Live at the Moody Theater and the show’s original studio, Austin PBS affiliate KLRU’s Studio 6A.  The complete list of performers is: Alabama Shakes, Doyle Bramhall II, Jeff Bridges, Gary Clark Jr., Sheryl Crow, Double Trouble, Joe Ely, Mike Farris, Foo Fighters, Grupo Fantasma, Buddy Guy, Emmylou Harris, Robert Earl Keen, Kris Kristofferson, Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Robert Randolph, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Jimmie Vaughan.

Austin City Limits Celebrates 40 Years will be available Tuesday, December 2nd.  It will retail for MSRP of $24.99.  It can be ordered online direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=50214636&cp=&sr=1&kw=austin+city+limits&origkw=Austin+City+Limits&parentPage=search.  More information on Austin City Limits is available online at

Website: http://acltv.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/austincitylimitstv

Twitter: http://twitter.com/acltv

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The Spirit Of Satch Is Anything But Another Covers Album

Courtesy:  Concord Records

Courtesy: Concord Records

Covers albums, like greatest hits albums, are among the most overly used records in the music industry.  Regardless of genre, there are almost as many covers and hits albums in stores and online every year as there are albums of new music from artists across the genres.  The problem with these albums is that it’s obvious that they are nothing more than fillers used for the purpose of contractual obligations.  One listen through their track listings proves this. For all of the forgettable covers and hits albums that pollute store shelves and online outlets each year, there are thankfully those diamonds in the rough that actually stand out among the masses.  Those hidden gems show that for all of the space fillers that are out there, there are those artists that take covers albums, hits albums and tribute records with at least a certain amount of seriousness.  One of those hidden gems that has been revealed in 2014 comes from veteran performer Dr. John in the form of his Louis Armstrong covers/tribute album Ske-Dat-De-Dat: The Spirit of Satch.  This thirteen-track record is more than just a collection of covers from one of the greatest names in the industry.  The covers included on this record exhibit not only the spirit of Satchmo, but also the very creative spirit of music itself.  While the songs on this record are largely full-blown re-imaginings of Armstrong’s original works, the creativity used in each song will lead this record to grow on even the most hardline of Louis Armstrong fans.  And it all starts right off the top with Dr. John’s re-imagining of Armstrong’s greatest hit, ‘What A Wonderful World.’  Dr. John’s jazzy cover of ‘I’ve Got The World on a String’ will most certainly impress audiences as it’s one of the few songs on this record that stays close to the original work.  The addition of blues great Bonnie Raitt doesn’t hurt the song, either.  And his collaboration with the famed Dirty Dozen Brass Band on ‘When You’re Smiling (The Whole World Smiles With You’ is the perfect closer for this record.  As impressive as these songs prove to be in the long run, they’re only part of what makes Ske-Dat-De-Dat: The Spirit of Satch such a rare release.  The album’s other ten tracks are worth their own listen, too.  And in hearing all thirteen tracks on this disc, any listener will agree that this record definitely stands out as one of this year’s truly rare covers/tribute albums worth hearing.

Dr. John’s new Louis Armstrong covers/tribute album Ske-Dat-De-Dat: The Spirit of Satch is one of 2014’s rare covers/tribute albums that is actually worth audiences’ attention.  And it isn’t just because it is from one of the most respected names in the music industry today.  That is proven right off the top with his cover of Armstrong’s most beloved of songs, ‘What A Wonderful World.’  Dr. John collaborated on this cover with gospel greats The Blind Boys of Alabama and fellow New Orleans native Nicholas Paton.  At first listen, the song will most certainly leave some audiences scratching their heads.  That is because it is a completely re-imagined take on the classic tune.  Rather than taking the safe route here, Dr. John and company give the song a decidedly upbeat almost gospel-style turn, making it into more of a celebratory song than the more reserved piece which audiences have come to know.  Of course that is thanks to the inclusion of The Blind Boys of Alabama on this take.  It may not grab some audiences at first.   But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  That’s because it will grow on said audiences that give the song more than one chance.  Those audiences will realize that the more celebratory tone, as different as it may be, actually works when one takes into consideration the song’s lyrics.  Armstrong once sang on this song of all of the things that make the world so, well, wonderful.   Audiences that take that into consideration will in turn appreciate this rendition for the surprisingly positive re-working that it proves to be in the long run.  And in doing so, it will lead audiences to give this album’s other songs just as much of a chance, too.

If the re-imagining of ‘What A Wonderful World’ doesn’t win over listeners, then perhaps his duet with fellow blues legend Bonnie Raitt on ‘I’ve Got The World on a String’ will.  This hybrid jazzy/bluesy cover comes as close to the original as possible without actual mirroring said song.  Raitt and John both pay proper tribute to Armstrong in this take.  Audiences that are familiar with both artists’ style will be pleasantly surprised by their ability to balance the song’s jazz roots with their own bluesy addition to the composition.  Audiences that have heard Tony Bennett and k.d. Lang’s Armstrong covers album won’t be able to ignore the comparison to their covers here.  That’s because both Raitt and John exhibit a true reverence for Armstrong’s work here more than anywhere else on the album.  That reverence will most certainly have purist Armstrong fans dancing arm in arm and *ahem* cheek to cheek (bad pun fully intended here).

Dr. John’s duet with Bonnie Raitt on his cover of ‘I’ve Got The World on a String’ is without a doubt this record’s peak moment.  Coming in a close second is the cover of ‘When You’re Smiling (The Whole World Smiles With You).’  The song, which features Dr. John’s fellow New Orleans musicians in The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, closes out the album.  And such a song proves to be the perfect way to close out such an imaginative collection of covers.  The song’s run time comes in at just under three minutes.  To be exact, it clocks in at two minutes and forty-two seconds.  Dr. John takes a back seat throughout most of the song, letting the members of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band have the spotlight instead.  For those audiences that are less familiar with the work of the band, this song is a wonderful first impression from its members.  Those that are more familiar with the band’s body of work will be just as impressed with the ability of the band members to mix its trademark Dixieland sound with a more Latin-tinged sound.  The end result is one more truly creative and original cover of one more of Armstrong’s most beloved works.

The collaboration with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band as the final number for Ske-Dat-De-Dat: The Spirit of Satch proves to be the perfect way to close this record.  That is because it once more exhibits Dr. John’s respect for Louis Armstrong’s legacy and Armstrong himself.  Just as with all of the songs that come before it, it pays homage to Armstrong’s legacy by balancing the song’s original sound with something of a more original arrangement.  In this case, it doesn’t stray too far from the original tune.  Because it doesn’t, it is sure to leave listeners with that warm, happy feeling of nostalgia.  And what better way to go out after such an intriguing musical ride than with that warm, happy feeling?  By the song’s end, audiences will agree that having heard it and the album’s other songs, Ske-Dat-De-Dat is anything but another run-of-the-mill covers album.  It is one of the most creative covers/tribute albums released by any artist to date.

Ske-Dat-De-Dat­: The Spirit of Satch is available now online and in stores everywhere.  Fans can order it online now direct from Dr. John’s official Facebook page and website at http://www.facebook.com/DrJohn and http://www.nitetripper.com.  Audiences can also purchase Dr. John’s new album at any of his upcoming live performances.  Fans can check out Dr. John’s tour itinerary now on both sites as well.  They can also keep up with all of the latest news and updates from the man himself on both sites.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

The Blues Broads Are Four Ladies Who Can Really Sing The Blues

Courtesy: Delta Groove Productions

Bonnie Raitt, Etta James, Koko Taylor.  All three of these women are among the most famous names in the world of the blues.  But how many audiences out there have ever heard of a female fronted four-piece known as The Blues Broads?  This four-piece is made up of some of music’s greatest female names.  The group is comprised of Mother Earth singer Tracy Nelson, Stoneground founding member Annie Sampson, Dorothy Morrison (of the Edward Hawkins Singers), and Angela Strehli.  Strehli has sung with some of the blues most famed names such as:  Muddy Waters, Albert King, and Stevie Ray Vaughan.  The combination of these four women has led to what is one heck of a group.  And now thanks to the group’s new live CD/DVD release, odds are that the name of The Blues Broads may  become as well known as its members other projects, if not more so.

The Blues Broads’ live CD/DVD release was recorded at the Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley, California.  This double disc set shows just how talented these women are.  The CD and DVD set lists aren’t exactly the same.  But that’s beside the point.  Every song in this performance makes for a great time for any blues lover and music lover.  There’s the up-tempo rocking cover of, ‘River Deep’, the easy going country/blues style of ‘Blue Highway’, and what has to be the absolute standout song from this performance in ‘Walk Away.’  This Stevie Ray Vaughan style song is classic twelve bar blues in every sense.  And while it was performed in a nice club (as is seen in the DVD portion of the performance), this is one of those songs that immediately conjures images of a smoky, dimly lit bar. 

The Broads are extremely talented singers.  There is no doubt at all about that.  The ladies’ backing musicians—Steve Ehrmann (bass), Paul Revelli (drums), Gary Vogensen (guitar), Mike Emerson (keyboards), and Deanna Bogart (keyboards, vocals, tenor sax)—add their own flair to each song.  All together, they add so much to the song that helped make Dorothy Morrison famous in ‘Oh Happy Day.’  Gary Vogensen plays as well as Stevie Ray Vaughan on ‘Walk Away.’  There is so much more that could be said and written of what makes this such an enjoyable live recording.  But audiences would do best to experience it for themselves.  It hits store shelves next Tuesday, September 18th.  While fans count down the days, they can check out all the latest from The Blues Broads online at http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Blues-Broads/223064757721593 and http://www.thebluesbroads.com.  Fans can also check out more about The Blues Broads online at http://www.deltagrooveproductions.com.

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“Everybody’s Talkin'” will leave everybody talkin’

Derek Trucks has made quite the name for himself, both as a solo artist and with the members of the legendary Allman Brothers Band.  His wife, Susan Tedeschi, has equally made her own place in the music world.  The two together have made one heck of a mark.  The Tedeschi Trucks Band’s debut album, “Revelator” earned a Grammy for Best Blues Album at this year’s Grammys.  And now, the band has followed up its award winning debut album with its equally impressive live release, “Everybody’s Talkin’.”

“Everybody’s Talkin'” is one more wonderful addition to the ranks of this young year’s best releases.  It comes across as one giant jam fest from the first notes of the album’s title track to the last tones of the cover of the Staple Sisters’ ‘Wade in The Water.’  Susan Tedeschi is a powerhouse, yet again, as she belts out tune after tune.  Her vocals could easily rival those of fellow blues legend Bonnie Raitt.  And husband Derek Trucks’ guitar work proves once again why he is one of the best guitarists around today.  He really gets his time to shine on the breakout jam sessions on ‘Learn How to Love’, ‘Bound For Glory’ and the band’s cover of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Uptight’, which is arguablythehighlight of the whole compilation. This cover is one of the moments when the band’s brass section–Maurice Brown (Trumpet) and Saunders Sermon (Trombone)–really shines.  Saxophonist Kebbi Williamsand fellow Derek Trucks Band member, Kofi Burbridge also gets to showcase his talents.  He gets his moment on the live take of ‘Nobobdy’s Free.’  That’s another aspect of this release’s greatness.  Although the band is named after the husband/wife duo of Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, the live performances included in this set allows the whole band its moment to shine.  And does it ever shine.  Every member of the band shows what makes TTB the amazing organization that it is.

Whether it be any of the aforementioned songs or any of the other amazing pieces included on this double disc set, “Everbody’s Talkin'” is hands down, one of the best records of 2012.  It’s one of the best live albums to come along in a long time, too.  Much like Miles Davis’ groundbreaking record, “Kind of Blue”, “Everybody’s Talkin'” is one of those releases that fans will be enjoying years from now.  It’s one of those works in which listeners could easily get lost in a good way.  That’s because it’s what one could call a “Multi-purpose record.”   What that means is that it’s one of those records that is perfect for a lazy summer day, relaxing in the sun (or in a sunroom), for a road trip, or a rainy evening.  It’s even great for a cold, grey snowy day to warm people’s moods.  Every song has a different mood that’s fitting for one situation or another.  It fits any situation and any type of day.  There simply is not one bad song on this live release.  That being the case, even as a live release, “Everybody’s Talkin'” is going to be one of those records that fans are going to remember years after its release.

The band is currently out on tour.  Fans in North Carolina will get to see the band live when it performs at the annual MerleFest next Saturday, April 28th in Wilkesboro.  For more information on the festival, fans can go to http://www.merlefest.org.  More information on the band and its tour is available on the band’s website, http://www.tedeschitrucksband.com, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/DerekandSusan and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/DerekandSusan.