World Music Network’s New Blues Compilation Will Leave Listeners Anything But Blue

Courtesy: World Music Network

The blues is one of the most pure American forms of music that exists today, if not the single purest genre.  Originally rooted in the Deep South during the age of slavery, the blues has evolved into its own unique art form, even incorporating elements of country music to form one of its subgenres – country blues.  World Music Network has culled more than two dozen classic country blues songs for its latest compilation record The Rough Guide To Country Blues.  Due out June 28, the 25-song collection is a strong new offering from WMN and an equally strong introduction to this blues subgenre for those who are not so familiar with the styling.  The songs that make up the body of the record are themselves the main reason for that success.  They will be discussed shortly.  The collection’s track listing adds more interest to the compilation’s presentation and will be discussed a little later.  Its liner notes put the final touch to its presentation, rounding out its most important elements.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of The Rough Guide To Country Blues.  All things considered, they make The Rough Guide To Country Blues a positive addition to any blues fan’s library just as much as to any music educator’s library.

World Music Network’s new blues compilation The Rough Guide To Country Blues is a positive addition to the library of any blues fan’s music library.  It is just as welcome in the library of any music educator.  That is due in part to the compilation’s overall makeup.  The collection is composed of 25 songs recorded by some of the most rell-known and respected figures in the history of the blues (E.g. Leadbelly, Mississippi John Hurt, Blind Lemon Jefferson, etc.).  Each of the songs shows in its own unique way, the connection between the world of the blues and country music.  Case in point is the twang of the guitar in Big Bill Boozy’s ‘How You Want It Done?’  That twang and the upbeat rockabilly style arrangement and its dual chord foundation is so similar to works from Elvis, Johnny Cash and so many other country music stars.  Tommy Johnson’s yodeling in ‘Cool Drink of Water Blues’ and his general arrangement is similar in its own right to the songs that so many country music songs exhibited around the same time as him.  It is very reminiscent of the type of songs that one might expect in old cowboy western flicks and TV shows even.  Again, here audiences hear for themselves the similarity between the blues and country music.  Much the same can be said of Clarence Greene’s ‘Johnson City Blues.’  That twang is there, but there is still a certain blues element added to the mix to round out the song.  It’s just one more way in which the songs featured in this recording serve to show their importance.  They show how two genres that one might not think have any connection are in fact more closely related than many might in fact think.  That in itself creates a starting point for discussions on that connection between the genres.  The discussions will deepen even more when looking at the artists themselves and the time periods in which their songs were released.

The artists, songs and time periods of the songs’ releases are all listed on the packaging for The Rough Guide To Country Music.  What is interesting to note is that all of the songs featured in this compilation were crafted between the late 1920s and mid 1930s.  The earliest of the recordings were crafted in 1927, just before the stock market crash.  This is important in that it can lead to discussions on stylistic differences in the various songs pre- and post-crash.  That is not to say that the market crash caused any changes in style, but one never knows.  Regardless, it makes for its own in-depth discussion.  Another discussion that can be generated through the information provided in the recording’s packaging is the differences and similarities between the featured musicians’ styles.  Those discussions, coupled with the history lesson that is just as easily generated, show without question the importance of the information featured in the recording’s packaging.  With this in mind, the information provided in the recording’s packaging and the songs themselves go a long way toward making this compilation even more appealing for listeners.  The noted items are not the last of the recording’s notable elements either.  The information presented in the compilation’s liner notes puts the finishing touch to its presentation.

The liner notes add their own appeal to this recording in that they present so much additional background to the songs that can be added into the discussions generated through the recording’s songs and primary information.  Listeners learn in reading the recording’s liner notes, about the roots of the blues, the elements that made up country blues (gospel, Dixieland, Appalachian, etc.)  the backgrounds of some of the featured musicians and even the reality that country blues was a musical form at the time that crossed racial barriers.  Between these notes and others shared in the collection’s liner notes, the information provided in the booklet joins with the information presented about the songs, their performers and years, and the songs themselves to make the record in whole a work that will appeal to blues fans across the board.

World Music Network’s forthcoming blues compilation The Rough Guide To Country Blues is another welcome addition to its ongoing The Rough Guide To…” series of compilations.  That is because it takes listeners back in time through its featured songs.  The information provided about the time period in which the songs were released adds to the recording’s appeal in that said information is certain to start discussions among academics and the uninitiated alike.  The information provided about the featured recordings and artists in the recording’s liner notes is just as certain to create its own share of discussion among listeners, increasing the recording’s appeal even more.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of The Rough Guide To Country Blues.  All things considered, they make the compilation a work that blues fans of all ages will enjoy.  More information on this and other titles from World Music Network is available online now at:










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Bonamassa Still On A Roll With His Latest Live Release

Courtesy:  J&R Adventures

Courtesy: J&R Adventures

Joe Bonamassa has been on quite the roll as of late.  After having released what was one of 2012’s Top 10 Live Recordings last year, Bonamassa has picked up 2013 exactly where he left 2012; with one of this year’s top live recordings.  That recording is An Acoustic Evening at the Vienna Opera House.

An Acoustic Evening at the Vienna Opera House has been released both on Blu-ray and DVD as well as double CD set.  That audiences have been offered so many options alone makes this new recording one of 2013’s best.  The audio companion to the Blu-ray and DVD portion is nice to have.  Though, the Blu-ray and DVD offer audiences the best experience.  The video and audio are both top notch, especially on the Blu-ray.  That is especially the case for those with a home surround sound theater system.  Collected here in this performance are stripped down versions of songs from Bonamassa’s previously released albums.  Long time fans will recognize: ‘The Ballad of John Henry’, ‘Jelly Roll’, ‘Seagull’, ‘Dust Bowl’, ‘Sloe Gin’, and the title track from his most recent album, ‘Driving Toward The Daylight’ just to name a handful.  They are just part of the enjoyment that audiences get from this latest live release from one of the music industry’s current top guitarists.

The songs performed in this set are enjoyable in and of themselves.  But it’s not just the songs that are enjoyable.  The concert’s setting adds to the enjoyment factor.  It’s a basic, stripped down set with J.B. sitting calmly out front, singing and playing his instrument, and his band mates backing him.  There are no special effects, no pyrotechnics, and no special lighting rigs.  It’s just a group of musicians, their instruments, and the audience.  It’s music as it should be experienced.  Watching J.B. with nothing but his shades and his guitar, sweating as he played the blues echoed hints of legends the likes of Robert Johnson and Mississippi John Hurt.  It is simply put a pure, raw experience.  And thanks to those behind the cameras, the experience is that much more incredible.

Thanks to producer Kevin Shirley, director Philippe Klose, and all others involved, the recorded performance has made for one of 2013’s Top 10 Live Recordings.  Both the video and audio presented in the Blu-ray disc are crystal clear.  The performance here is presented in widescreen, adding yet another touch to the overall product.  That the performance was recorded at the Vienna Opera House makes it even more special.  The juxtaposition of this modern artist performing a mix of modern and classic blues pieces in one of Vienna’s most famed structures puts the whole thing over the top.  Now, had the CD, DVD and Blu-ray been released in one large box as an option, it might have made its way to the very top of the year’s Top 10 Live Recordings list.  Regardless, considering all of what has been noted, it still remains one of this year’s top Live Recordings.  It is both an excellent introduction to Joe Bonamassa’s music for new audiences, and a must have for long time fans.  It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct from the official Joe Bonamassa website at

For those itching to see Joe live, he is currently touring in support of this new live release.  He is currently finishing up a string of U.K. dates and will be returning to the U.S. on April 12th at the Paramount Theater in Seattle, Washington.  Fans in North Carolina will possibly get the chance to see him later this year as he is scheduled to perform at the Crown Theatre in Fayetteville, North Carolina on November 10th.  That performance will be followed up by a performance at the Ovens Auditorium in Charlotte, North Carolina on November 12th.  For a full listing of tour dates and all the latest news, go online to the official Joe Bonamassa website, or his official Facebook page,

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