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ALBUM REVIEW: Joanna Connor – 4801 South Indiana Avenue

 

Who doesn’t love s bit of Blues to kick off the year? Chicago-based slide guitar virtuoso and singer-songwriter, Joanna Connor, who is best known as one of the reigning Queens of blues rock guitar, releases her 14th album ‘4801 South Indiana Avenue’ on Joe Bonamassa’s new independent blues record label Keeping The Blues Alive on 26th February 2021. The album is available to pre-order.

The new album, recorded at Ocean Way Recording Studios in Nashville, Tennessee, and which follows upon her last well-received album ‘Rise’, was produced by Joe Bonamassa and Josh Smith and sets out to capture “an authentic, alive and kicking non-derivative set of Chicago Blues”. The title itself comes from an actual club “(4801 South Indiana Avenue) was the actual street address of the hallowed funky blues sanctuary ‘Theresa’s Lounge.’ We want the listener to open that door, walk in and feel to their core some of the magic that a place like that brought night after night. It was an honor to bring this to you, the listener.”

As a listen it’s a real joy too, with a set chosen by Bonamassa and Smith, Connor is allowed to set her considerable skills to a real authentic Chicago Blues setlist. From the crash and clatter of the very Rock and Roll ‘Destination’ (originally by the little known band ‘The Assassins’) there’s a wonderful joyful Gospel aspect amidst the flurry of keys and chaos. It’s like being thrust immediately into the middle of  party that’s been in full swing for hours!

The more old-school ‘Come Back Home’ that follows sports some wonderful shuddering slide and Connor’s sublime vocal against Reese Williams driving piano and the take on Luther Allison’s ‘Bad News’ really hits the spot – it’s a moving rendition.

This is the kind of album where you can’t go wrong no matter where the needle lands – and I love the variety – from the heavy and fast boogie of ‘I Feel So Good’ and the beautifully worked Albert King’s standard ‘For The Love of a Man’ to the stylish horns and sweet wail of ‘Trouble Trouble’ all the way to the stomp and groove of ‘Cut You Loose’ which is a real treat.

The quality runs through to the very end here though, with the Chicago staple ‘Part Time Love’ and the Josh Smith-penned ‘It’s My Time’ with its wonderful slide duet featuring Joe and Joanna rounding things out in style. Blues album of the year? In January? There’s a real good chance. I’ll be spinning this for the foreseeable future!

8.5/10

 

Track Listing

1. Destination (3:31)
2. Come Back Home (4:19)
3. Bad News (6:26)
4. I Feel So Good (3:35)
5. For The Love Of A Man (4:20)
6. Trouble Trouble (3:40)
7. Please Help (4:14)
8. Cut You Loose (4:09)
9. Part Time Love (5:06)
10. It’s My Time (4:39)

Joanna Connor’s new album “4801 South Indiana Avenue” is released by
KTBA Records on February 26th via
www.jbonamassa.com/albums/2021/joannaconnor/4801

 

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ALBUM REVIEW: EOS – The Great Ascension

EOS - The Great Ascension

 

EOS state “‘The Great Ascension’ paints vivid, nightmarish visions of man. The solemn journey through spiritual ecstasy, blood lust and pride. A stone to the face of the gods.” 

This seven track album released in December 2020 gives us aggressive, anguish tinged growls telling an intense story with conviction. “Black Winter Bloodbath” originally by Lord Belial is a great tribute to an amazing Black Metal force. The other six original songs from the colossal foundation of EOS, journey from speedy riffs to atmospheric melodies the steady drumming a precise piece of art.

Nightmarish artwork of demonic creatures surrounding a robe-clad man is eye-catching cover art, song titles such as ‘Valkyrie’ and “Draugar” encompass the supernatural creatures in obscure tales of dread.

Torment and pain spew forth from the delicately crafted songs, a fierce horror filled journey, the Australian three-piece are an upcoming powerhouse of decadence and dreadfulness. Abrasive and unrelenting, this mask clad trio should be checked out by Black Metal enthusiasts.

 

TRACKLIST

The Great Ascension
Valkyrie
Amour Propre
Draugar
Memento Mori
Black Winter Bloodbath
Illumination and Will

 

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ALBUM REVIEW: W.E.T. – Retransmission

W.E.T. - Retransmission

 

I have no doubt that this is W.E.T.’s best album to date. Big call I know, but when you hear it I know you’ll know what I mean. Indeed I’d actually go as far to say that this could well be one of the best Melodic Rock Records this side of 2000!

For those not already on the ‘W.E.T. train’ I’ll not revisit the bio, just leave it that the players here have their own very impressive pedigrees and other projects but in coming together in W.E.T. seem to bring more than the sum of their parts. So if you loved the debut and follow-up, ‘Rise Up’ and couldn’t get enough of their last outing ‘Earthrage’ this is an album you’ll have no doubt touted as one to watch in 2021. The real kicker this time is that almost impossibly it raises the bar even higher. Core members Jeff Scott Soto, Erik Mårtensson and Robert Säll have done the seemingly impossible. As the press release says: “Combining powerhouse rhythms and top-notch production, the music is equally classic and contemporary. “Retransmission” is nothing else than an absolute milestone, which is well in keeping with the tradition established by the three amazing records that have preceded this one.

Opening with the big, bold ‘in your face’ fast-paced melodic rocker ‘Big Boys Don’t Cry’ you know that you’re in for something special, and the rock solid ‘The Moment Of Truth’ that follows hot on the heels just crystalizes that thought before ‘The Call Of The Wild’ another great uber-catchy song choc full of melody underlines it all twice. It’s as fine a start to a record I think we’ll her in all of 2021 and just underlines the quality of the musicians here with all pulling out all the stops and seemingly intent on bettering their first three impressive outings,.

‘Got To Be About Love’ the second single, hits about the time you might be expecting something slower but it’s another anthem to remember that I’m sure is already lodged firmly in the ears of fans. ‘Beautiful Game’ that follows is smooth as silk with a belly full of fire; whilst ‘How Far To Babylon’ adds all the bells and whistles and sounds absolutely huge! ‘Coming Home’ is a nice counterpoint to that, potentially the slickest most commercial offering here it just underlines what a real treat we have here!

‘What Are You Waiting For’ is the only slower number here and is blessed with a wonderful melody and it comes just at the right time after a rocking seven tracks. But we’re back in the groove with the next number. There’s a richness to ‘You Better Believe It’ that takes you back in time to the big names of the genre; and ‘How Do I Know’ flies right out of the grooves and just connects right away, it’s currently my favourite track here – it’s the prefect storm of guitars and vocals and puts Jeff right up front in the mix.

‘One Final Kiss’ the last track here is stunning and the one that’s currently fighting the previous track for the best of the entire album. This one has an impossibly huge chorus, plenty of fire and is just relentless! It’s wonderful.

W.E.T. might just have released a modern day masterpiece! It doesn’t get better than this if you are a lover of Melodic Rock.

9/10

 

Tracklist:
Big Boys Don’t Cry
The Moment Of Truth
The Call Of The Wild
Got To Be About Love
Beautiful Game
How Far To Babylon
Coming Home
What Are You Waiting For
You Better Believe It
How Do I Know
One Final Kiss

Line-up:
Jeff Scott Soto: Lead Vocals
Erik Mårtensson: All Rhythm Guitar, Some Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals & Keyboards
Robert Säll: Keys and guitar
Magnus Henriksson: Lead Guitar
Andreas Passmark: Bass Guitar
Robban Bäck: Drums

https://www.facebook.com/wetofficialpage

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ALBUM REVIEW: Kickin Valentina – The Revenge of Rock

Kickin Valentina - The Revenge Of Rock

Produced by Andy Reilly (UFO, Bruce Dickinson) at Muse Productions in Atlanta, and Mastered by Maor Appelbaum (Faith No More, Sabaton, Halford) at Maor Appelbaum Mastering in CA. The Revenge Of Rock’ sounds great as you might expect. Opening up with the sleazy, grungy stadium rocker ‘Freak Show’ the fun doesn’t stop until the last notes of the loud and proud fist-pumping title track have sounded.

Now I’m guessing most will have heard the two singles so far: the more melodic Dokken-like ‘Somebody New’ and the ‘goodtime’ hot summer night rocker ‘End of the Road’ which set out the stall nicely but the rocking doesn’t stop there. In-between we are treated to the mid-tempo clarion-call ‘Strange’; the earthier tale that makes up ‘Lookin’ For Me’ which hangs off an understated riff that just hits the spot and the Bluesier ‘War’ which slithers and shimmies just right.

But it doesn’t stop there, even though there are only nine tracks here it’s clear the emphasis was on quality with the dirty Sunset Strip meets AC/DC rocker ‘Rat Race’ and the lone ballad ‘Heart Tattoo’ threatening to steal the show.

‘The Revenge Of Rock’ will be released in digital, LP and CD formats by Mighty Music on January 22nd 2021.

8.5/10

 

Line-up:
D.K. Revelle: vocals
Heber Pampillon: guitar
Bass: Chris Taylor
Drums: Jimmy Berdine

Webshop:
https://targetshop.dk/en/kickin-valentina

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ALBUM REVIEW: Freddy and the Phantoms – A Universe From Nothing

 

Occasionally a great album slips past you for one reason or another and one of the very best I missed in 2020 was ‘Freddy and the Phantoms – A Universe From Nothing’ which kicks of with the energy and drive of  ‘First Blood Universe’ before it drops a bombshell and hits you with one of the tracks of the decade – ‘River of Hate’ – it really is that good! Imagine Rival Sons were from the 70’s and that’s it!

Now whilst the rest of the album can’t quite match that brilliance, you know what? It’s not that far off. And for those that know FATP for their Blues-based Rock then this record will take the a few steps away from that – being both more of a traditional Rocker and also  concept album!

And the great sounds just keep on coming! ‘Lilith’s Nightmare’ is a huge funky beast that sounds like vintage Gillan-led Purple; whilst ‘Bermuda Blues’ keeps that thought before Andromeda Pt .1 and .2 proves beyond doubt that these guys ARE time-travelers from the early 1970s!

After that wonderfully organic interlude which effectively cuts the album in half things turn hotter and more progressive. Indeed ‘Loners on the Run’ inhabits that mystical territory that bands like Magnum and Dio inhabited; whilst ‘The 11th Guest’ keeps that thought but adds a little dare I say ‘Metal’!

We close the record with three more fine offerings – first ‘Hunger’ hits you with it’s huge riff and stellar Hammond  organ, before the hard rocking swing of ‘Freedom is a Prison’ which has the essence of vintage Rainbow and ends with an homage to Jon Lord! Finally we get ‘Inferno’ a song which again gets that huge groove going. It’s a huge ending to what has been a very fine album indeed.

This is the most ambitious and rewarding album so far by a band who sound like they pushed themselves and exceeded all expectations! Fantastic stuff!

9/10

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ALBUM REVIEW: Crossbones’ Creed – Troublemaker

 

If you like a vocal that will remind you of a sleazy Myles Kennedy and a song that will remind you a bit of Gunners or Sash then opener ‘Easy Ride’ is for you. Sure it’s rougher around the edges but in this ballpark that’s what we’re aiming for a dive bar version of your favourite big name Blues-tinged Hard Rock legends.

These Sochi, Russia-based rockers have been playing since 2014 but this album is the result of a good three years work which is perhaps why is sounds so solid, preceded by first single (in English) ‘My Way’ it’s a record for those who simply love their Gunners, Zeppelin and maybe even Black Stone Cherry.

Of the best here ‘Hole’ has a great Junkyard-like drive but a funkier vibe and great rolling groove; ‘My Way’ which has more of a Southern Rock-via Great White leaning; ‘See You Again’ which starts acoustically and builds into a rollicking rocker throwing up Bon Jovi comparisons; and then there’s the wonderful ‘Water Is High’ with it’s slide intro that just might be the best here!

Great album, great songs, great melodies and sizzling guitar. Had i Heard this by deadline this would have been in my list for Best of 220.

9.25/10

 

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ALBUM REVIEW: (EMN) Every Mother’s Nightmare – Resurrect the Faithful

 

Way back in 1990 EMN or Every Mother’s Nightmare as they were put out one of the best albums of the year in a year full of giant albums. That records is one I can still play from go to whoa just like their last offering ‘Grind’ which brought the sound up to date but still rocked as hard. This one therefore was eagerly anticipated to say the least!

Sadly no one sent me a copy of this to review prior to release so I actually find myself having a first listen AFTER the deadline for albums of the year has been set in stone. ‘Getaway’ is a cool, breezy, crunchy alt-rock stomper that had this been 1995 you imagine it would have ruled the roost. As it is its a very cool song not at all like the early albums of course but possibly even better to what we heard on ‘Grind’ their last release.

The Mid-tempo “Breathe’ that follows is just as grungy but if I’m completely honest despite it being the lead single from the album I actually rate it as one of the weakest tracks on here (we also get a ‘Radio edit’ of course) It’s just one of those strange tunes that doesn’t connect, I feel the energy and the passion but the song just doesn’t take hold. Thankfully it’s the only one here that doesn’t.

There’s a huge swing and groove to the salute to patriots that is ‘Here’s to the Ones’ and ‘Sin In My Heart’ opens with something that Nirvana might have penned before chugging into AIC territory, but adds a melody in the chorus that neither would have been smart enough to conjure. The wonderful ‘When it Goes away’ that follows is more Soundgarden-like in texture. It’s one of the best and most remarkable tracks here.

Half way in the title track drops and it’s mid-tempo crawl kicks some ass. The rest of the album to be honest is just as satisfying with ‘Fray’; ‘Sorry Today’ and ‘Unstained’ all keeping the foot on the gas. The final ‘new’ song is ‘Drown By Luv’ which starts with a frenetic beat tribal beat and punk guitar that you don’t know whether to head-bang or dance to! It’s a great song built for the end of a whisky-fueled night!

We close properly though with a re-fueled and revamped version of the classic ‘Love Can Make Your Blind’ from that wonderful 30 year old debut album. It’s recorded here in a way that just fits with the new stuff and seems grittier. I must admit I love both versions.

And yes if I’d gotten it earlier it would have made our albums of the year list, it would have been riding high in the Top 10… More please!

8.5 /10

 

EMN is: Rick Ruhl (vocals) Troy Fleming (bass) John Guttery (guitars) Travis ‘Gunner’ Butler (guitars) Allan Bone (drums)

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EP REVIEW: Charred Funk – Charred Funk

I very rarely review instrumental albums and I don’t think I’ve ever reviewed an instrumental EP’s so there has to be something rather special about this New York-based Hard Rock Power Trio Charred Funk and their Self-Titled EP, and there is.

Opening track ‘Ironclad Groove’ does what it says on the box and I’d be surprised if you didn’t want to hear more, it’s a meaty instrumental with a great guitar tone and solid riff which gets to the point and doesn’t leave you hanging. Influence-wise we cover a great idea of territory but I’d edge it somewhere into Living Colour territory if pushed, which is OK by me all day long!

‘Funk in A’ comes in with drums that make you think of Hendrix and of course Jimi is one of the enduring threads here (see next song) – Hendrix was of course a man who took songs on flights of fancy and never laid down anything derivative or boring. Here there’s a flavour of him but also a touch of Allmans and a hundred others the main thing though with Charred Funk though is the solidity of the riff that they build their songs upon.

Stylistically though despite the Hendrix/Halen/Walsh flash of guitars from veteran player Peter Milo it’s just as much about the bass and drums here both of which are played to perfection.

Closing out ‘Say Funkel’ of curse gets funky whilst closer ‘Rocker  Ed’ gives away another influence who sadly passed this year.

Released May 5th 2020 the digital album is available everywhere.

7.5/10

Charred Funk: Peter Milo–guitar |Wade Storey–bass| RK Beets–drums |

Tracklist: Ironclad Groove | Funk In A | Mister Jimi | Say Funkle | Rocket Ed

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The Rockpit’s Best Hard Rock & Blues releases of 2020

Best of Hard Rock & Blues 2020

 

2020 has been a hard year for bands and fans alike and this year we’ve put together a Top Ten based on the votes of all our regular reviewers. So here it is the 2020 Hard Rock and Blues ‘All of Site’ list…

 

THE ROCKPIT REVIEWERS
BEST HARD ROCK ALBUMS OF 2020

 

Robert Jon & The Wreck - Last Light on the Highway

1. Robert Jon & The Wreck – Last Light on the Highway

Taking out the overall reviewers album of the year is Robert Jon & The Wreck – Last Light on the Highway – an album that I completely fell in love with at first listen and it seems so did our other reviewers too. Robert Jon & The Wreck have been releasing records since 2011, along the way being nominated for numerous awards and touring with some of Blues’ biggest names like Bonamassa, Buddy Guy and Walter Trout as well as some more contemporary  revivalists like The Chris Robinson Brotherhood and The Rival Sons. It’s therefore a record that’s taken me by complete surprise, not having heard the band before. The 11 songs here sound like they come from a band with a history and as a result one of the first things I’m gonna do after this review is track down their past releases – this is that good!

Read the review here

 

Black Stone Cherry - The Human Condition

2. Black Stone Cherry – The Human Condition

Black Stone Cherry – The Human Condition has to be my favourite album out of this horrible year but it was a close run thing this year and in all honesty all of those in the Top 10 and most in the Top 20 could easily have taken that slot such was the quality. What gave The Hunan Condition the edge is simply tat perfect storm of songs and substance and timing. I always expect great things from Chris and the guys but this one swept me away – it may even be the best record so far.

Read the review here | Interview with Ben Wells

 

Holy Roller Baby - Frenzy

3. Holy Roller Baby – Frenzy

In a year that has held so many lows for so many reasons, I have found there to have been some incredible highlights that have helped me get through these difficult times. Music has always had the wonderful ability to take us out of the moment and transport us into our own little world with the power to distract, aid & heal. The debut album from Texas-based Holy Roller Baby has proved to be one of those albums. ‘Frenzy’ was released on October 9 and has rarely been out of my player since I received it three weeks prior to the release date such is its power to please. The brainchild of singer/songwriter Jared Mullins, ‘Frenzy’ is an album full of catchy riffs, blues-rock vibes & fuzzy distorted twin guitars, all delivered with a funky & memorable 70’s vibe to leave you feeling warm & fulfilled inside.

Read the review here | Interview with Jared Mullins

 

HEAT - II

4. H.E.A.T. – H.E.A.T. II

If you’re looking for great modern 80’s influenced Hard Rock the you can’t go past what turned out to be the best H.E.A.T. record in years. ‘II’ took us right back to the sound that made us fall for this band in the first place but interestingly before the end of the year original singer Kenny Leckremo had rejoined the band replacing the departing singer Erik Grönwall who put in a stellar performance on this one.

Read the review here | Interview with Erik Gronwall

 

Devilskin - Red

5. Devilskin – Red

There really is something rather special about these guys from New Zealand. That balance of Hard Rock and Metal with crushing riffs, meaningful lyrics and killer vocals. It’s a mix that’s only going to see them grow bigger and bigger. Check out Devilskin – Red and you’ll find another world class band from our part of the world.

Read the review here | Interview with Paul Martin  –  Interview with Jennie Skulander

 

Blues Pills - Holy Moly!

6. Blues Pills – Holy Moly

Blues Pills are back with their third studio album ‘Holy Moly!’ and it could very well be the best yet.  Released on August 21 through Nuclear Blast, ‘Holy Moly!’ is a collection of eleven songs that will tease and tear at your emotions as well as drag you in to the bands roots & inspirations of yesteryear.

Read the review here | Interview with Zack Anderson

 

Brother Firetribe - Feel The Burn

7. Brother Firetribe – Feel The Burn

Over the years Brother Firetribe have been remarkably consistent and stunningly good. But Brother Firetribe – Feel The Burn really is something else. Sweeping melodies and soaring riffs make every track here more than memorable. If you love your Melodic Rock slick and sugar sweet then you won’t be able to go past this in 2020.

Read the review here

 

Janet Gardner & Justin James - Synergy

8. Gardner/James – Synergy

You can’t honestly say that too many artists from the 80’s are making music as good as they did back in the day but I can name right here one who is making arguably even better music –  Gardner/James – Synergy  the third album in collaboration with partner Justin James is the most accomplished of Janet’s post Vixen output so far and for this listener at least eclipses all that’s come before.

Read the review here | Interview with Janet Gardner & Justin James  part 1  –  part 2

 

Blue Ashes - Checkmate

9. Blue Ashes – Checkmate

Hailing from Miami and now located in Nashville, Tennessee, Blue Ashes are a duo made up of Danish singer Shila Mariposa Zuniga & her husband Alexis Zuniga from Colombia. They released their debut EP ‘Walking Solo’ in April last year and came out firing on all cylinders!

Read the review here | Interview with Alex & Shila Zuniga

 

Thirteen Stars - Finest Ramshackle Jam

10. Thirteen Stars – Finest Ramshackle Jam

A little like with Robert Jon and the Wreck – another band I’d not come across until this year was Thirteen Stars – Finest Ramshackle Jam is a wonderfully rich release heavy on Blues and Hard Rock and which hits a sweet spot that few have in 2020. It’s also an album that isn’t afraid to be different and aren’t afraid to pack in 15 diverse tracks either. As Hoss puts it “Our favourite bands wrote and recorded over a vast array of genres and styles and we felt that made the albums more interesting to listen to. The album title came from a friend of ours who once described our rehearsals as a Ramshackle jam.” These guys could well be your new favourite band.

Read the review here | Interview with ‘Hoss’ Thompson

 

 

THE ROCKPIT REVIEWERS
BEST BLUES ALBUMS OF 2020

 

Robert Jon & The Wreck - Last Light on the Highway

1. Robert Jon & The Wreck – Last Light on the Highway

Taking out the overall reviewers album of the year is Robert Jon & The Wreck – Last Light on the Highway – an album that I completely fell in love with at first listen and it seems so did our other reviewers too. Robert Jon & The Wreck have been releasing records since 2011, along the way being nominated for numerous awards and touring with some of Blues’ biggest names like Bonamassa, Buddy Guy and Walter Trout as well as some more contemporary  revivalists like The Chris Robinson Brotherhood and The Rival Sons. It’s therefore a record that’s taken me by complete surprise, not having heard the band before. The 11 songs here sound like they come from a band with a history and as a result one of the first things I’m gonna do after this review is track down their past releases – this is that good!

Read the review here

 

The Wolf Inside Me - Bag of Nails

2. Bag Of Nails – The Wolf Inside Me

Whenever I’ve thought of Blues music, my mind always immediately takes me to places like Chicago, Memphis & Detroit.  Greece would never have even registered to me as a place where high-quality Blues rock music could be found & heard… but oh how wrong I was, after stumbling across a wonderful ten-track self-produced debut album from Greek psychedelic Blues-Rock trio Bag of Nails.  ‘The Wolf Inside Me’ was released through Berlin-based Nasoni Records back in December 2019 and oozes riffs & sounds of the seventies with hints of Hendrix, Jethro Tull, The Doors & ZZ Top amongst others.  It’s an album that needs to be turned up to really appreciate the rawness of their sound.

Read the review here

 

Joe Bonamassa - Royal Tea

3. Joe Bonamassa – Royal Tea

Joe Bonamassa is back with his new album ‘Royal Tea’, his latest solo studio offering due for release on October 23rd through Provogue/Mascot Label Group.  Ten tracks make up the collection of varying styles & tempos to make this another incredibly enjoyable listen from start to finish.  It’s no secret that Bonamassa was hugely influenced by his British guitar heroes like Eric Clapton and Cream, John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers and Jeff Beck and he has added a bit more of a British twist by writing & recording the tracks in the legendary Abbey Road Studios in St John’s Wood, London.  How could he possibly take it even further?  By enlisting the likes of former Whitesnake guitarist Bernie Marsden, pianist & Squeeze founder member Jools Holland and ex-Cream lyricist Peter Brown to co-write with him, of course.

Read the review here

 

Cormac Neeson - White Feather Deluxe Reissue

4. Cormac Neeson – White Feather (Deluxe Edition)

Even though we normally exclude re-releases in our ‘Best of’ lists – Cormac Neeson’s 2019 release of ‘White Feather’ was rebooted in 2020 and was arguably even more stunning. Honestly if you’ve not heard the album before you need this, if you love the lighter moments of early Black Crowes you need this and if you let love and soul into your heart and are open to something without the constant crunch and scream of guitars this just might be your wisest purchase all year. Magnificent!

Read the review here | Interview with Cormac Neeson

 

Thirteen Stars - Finest Ramshackle Jam

5. Thirteen Stars – Finest Ramshackle Jam

A little like with Robert Jon and the Wreck – another band I’d not come across until this year was Thirteen Stars – Finest Ramshackle Jam is a wonderfully rich release heavy on Blues and Hard Rock and which hits a sweet spot that few have in 2020. It’s also an album that isn’t afraid to be different and aren’t afraid to pack in 15 diverse tracks either. As Hoss puts it “Our favourite bands wrote and recorded over a vast array of genres and styles and we felt that made the albums more interesting to listen to. The album title came from a friend of ours who once described our rehearsals as a Ramshackle jam.” These guys could well be your new favourite band.

Read the review here | Interview with ‘Hoss’ Thompson

 

Lynne Jackaman - One Shot

6. Lynne Jackaman – One Shot

British rock & blues singer/songwriter Lynne Jackaman has released her debut solo album ‘One Shot’ on August 14 through JackamanMusic and it has been making waves in both the US & UK, with her incredible collection of Soul and R&B. If you are unfamiliar with Jackaman then her previous work is something that needs to be checked out, recording with bands like The Quireboys, Thunder & Cormac Neeson and his band The Answer. Factor into that the wonderful Saint Jude, who’s debut album ‘Diary of a Soul Fiend’ showcased the incredible range of her vocal & songwriting talents and you can see that Jackaman’s versatility has been the key to her career so far.

Read the review here | Interview with Lynne Jackaman

 

Blues Pills - Holy Moly!

7. Blues Pills – Holy Moly

Blues Pills are back with their third studio album ‘Holy Moly!’ and it could very well be the best yet.  Released on August 21 through Nuclear Blast, ‘Holy Moly!’ is a collection of eleven songs that will tease and tear at your emotions as well as drag you in to the bands roots & inspirations of yesteryear.

Read the review here | Interview with Zack Anderson

 

The Allman Betts Band - Bless Your Heart

8. The Allman Betts Band – Bless Your Heart

The first thing that hits you about ‘Pale Horse Rider’ the atmospheric opening track and first single from The Allman Betts Band’s new release ‘Bless Your Heart’ is how timeless it sounds, the cascading guitars and the wonderful vocal, it’s a great song to start a new page in the new legacy, but it’s just the first shot fired on an album that continues to hit some fine notes.

Read the review here

 

Dion - Blues With Friends

9. Dion – Blues With Friends

Music has an amazing power to bring back so many wonderful memories. When I was growing up, I have early recollections of my Dad playing rock n’ roll tunes on long car journeys and one such track was ‘The Wanderer’ by Dion (formerly with The Belmonts). This was probably my first real taste of music as a whole and as my love & appreciation for music evolved, these memories once again came flooding back in 1984 when Status Quo recorded & released their version of the same song for inclusion on their ‘Twelve Gold bars Vol.2’ album. Roll forward to 2020 and once again I find myself recalling those early years, as a now eighty-year old Dion has released a wonderful blues infused album entitled ‘Blues with Friends’, featuring a host of globally recognized artists to accompany the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Famer on fourteen original tracks.

Read the review here

 

Mike Elrington - Aftershock

10. Mike Elrington – Aftershock

Victoria-based Bluesman Mike Elrington has released his ninth album ‘Aftershock’ and it’s one that could cement itself as one of the front runners for Australian Blues & Roots Album of the Year, consisting of twelve-tracks of high quality and with Elrington daring to experiment with varying genres at times, you could be fooled into raising your eyebrows but it works so well and adds to the albums attraction. Written & fueled by the break-up of his marriage, Elrington has used his pain & heartbreak to create a body of work that people going through similar life changes can relate to and this is immediately evident in many of the song titles.

Read the review here | Interview with Mike Elrington

 

 

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EP REVIEW: Iconic Eye – Back From the Sun

 

The press release starts auspiciously: “Critically acclaimed British rock band Iconic Eye are pleased to confirm that Janey Smith, previously known as Janey Bombshell, is their new lead singer. She makes her debut with Iconic Eye when they release their new EP “Back From Behind The Sun” on Friday 4th December 2020.”

Now never hearing of the band before or indeed the fine-voiced Janey Smith I  still took this one for a spin and am so glad that I did. If you love the sounds of female fronted mid-eighties melodic Hard Rock then Iconic Eye is a band to checkout, Janey herself has a touch of Benatar about her voice but on tracks like opener and title track ‘Back From Behind the Sun’ and ‘Ghost Town’ comes into her own. They’re both great and separated sonically by a cover of one of my favourite songs from the 70’s – Jefferson Starship’s ‘Jane’.

Now covering one of your favourite songs is normally asking for it! But I must admit I rather like this version of Jane and love what they’ve done with the bridge. It’s also the prefect song for Janey’s voice and all up makes a rather great first half of the EP.

‘Have My Day’ that follows builds beautifully on a bed of guitar and drums and tells a tale of hanging on and “not giving up. staying focused with your eye on the prize. Not giving up until you have your day.” Closer ‘Femme Fatale’ just smolders and really seals the deal. If this is what these guys are capable of then I can’t wait to hear more…

 

TRACK LISTING: BACK FROM BEHIND THE SUN (3:18) | JANE (4:03) | GHOST TOWN (4:17) | HAVE MY DAY (4:23) | FEMME FATALE (4:16)

ORDER THE EP FROM – https://iconiceyemusic.com/new-ep

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