Monthly Archives: November 2019

Lee Ranaldo, Rosalia Collaborator Team for New Album ‘Names of North End Women’

Lee Ranaldo had an epiphany about his new album while wandering through a neighborhood in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Each street on his journey was named after a woman — just their first names — and as he walked by Lydia, Kate, Dagmar, Harriett and Juno, Ranaldo wrote those names down. He was fascinated by the fact that the names seemed to come from nowhere, with no explanation as to why each street bore that title.

“Somehow it became an impetus for the lyrics in terms of the people that drift in and out of one’s life, some significant, some fleeting,” he said in a statement. “I had this idea of using given names as a device that could inform some of the lyrics. It doesn’t play through all the lyrics, but quite a few employ this idea.”

The result is Names of North End Women, a joint album with Rosalía collaborator Raül Refree out February 21st via Mute. The video for the title track — an edit of Austrian avant-garde filmmaker Peter Tscherkassky’s 1999 film Outer Space — is out Wednesday. Refree previously worked with Ranaldo on his solo album, Electric Trim.

Although both are revered guitarists, the duo opted for a more experimental feel on Names of North End Women, using marimba, vibraphone, samplers, a vintage two-inch Studer tape recorder and a modified cassette machine to weave new tunes. “This record began as playing with samplers and cassette players,” Refree said, “as experimental music, musique concrete, poly-rhythms.”

Ranaldo dug poems out his archives for the lyrics, and repurposed bits and bobs written by author Jonathan Lethem, who also contributed to Electric Trim. The full tracklist is below:

Names of North End Women Tracklist

  1. Alice, Etc.
  2. Words out of the Haze
  3. New Brain Trajectory
  4. Humps
  5. Names of North End Women
  6. Light Years Out
  7. The Art of Losing
  8. At The Forks

MerleFest 2020 Makes Initial Lineup Announcement

MerleFest, presented by Window World, is proud to announce the initial lineup for MerleFest 2020, which will be held April 23-26. The annual homecoming of musicians and music fans returns to the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

“For over 30 years, one of the major factors that has built and sustained MerleFest has been the quality of the artists and performances that our guests see over the 4-day festival,” says Ted Hagaman, Festival Director. “People truly feel that the festival is a great value and that is why music fans and families return year after year. We feel that the 2020 lineup again reflects the diversity and quality of performers, and we look forward to another successful festival in April.”

The complete lineup for MerleFest 2020 will be announced over the next few months. 

Today’s lineup announcement includes Willie Nelson & Family, Alison Krauss, The Jerry Douglas Band, Sam Bush, Jim Lauderdale, Kruger Brothers, The Waybacks, Scythian, Donna The Buffalo, Peter Rowan and the Free Mexican Airforce, Tommy Emmanuel, Shinyribs, Charley Crockett, Darrell Scott, The Steel Wheels, Robbie Fulks, Amythyst Kiah, Cordovas, Alison Brown, Andy May, “B” Townes, Banknotes, Bill & The Belles, Bryan Sutton, Carol Rifkin, Charles Welch, Chatham Rabbits, Che Apalache, The Cleverlys, Creole Stomp with Dennis Stroughmatt, David Holt, Fireside Collective, Flattop, Happy Traum, Hogslop String Band, InterACTive Theatre of Jef, Irish Mythen, Iron Horse Bluegrass, Jack Lawrence, Jeff Little Trio, Jody Carroll, Joe Smothers, Ken Crouse, Laura Boosinger, The Local Boys, Los Texmaniacs, Mark Bumgarner, Mary Flower, Mitch Greenhill, Pete & Joan Wernick, Piedmont Bluz, Presley Barker, Rev. Robert Jones, Roy Book Binder, Sierra Ferrell, String Madness, T. Michael Coleman, Tony Williamson, Wayne Henderson, The Moore Brothers, The Williams Brothers, and Wyld Fern. 

Tickets for next year’s festival go on sale November 12, 2019, and may be purchased at or by calling 1-800-343-7857. MerleFest offers a three-tiered pricing structure and encourages fans to take advantage of the extended early bird discount.

Early Bird Tier 1 tickets may be purchased from November 12 to February 16, 2020; Early Bird Tier 2 tickets from February 17 to April 22. Remaining tickets will be sold at the gate during the festival.

New for MerleFest 2020 is “The Patio at MerleFest.” This ticket-upgrade includes comfortable seating in a covered area with great views of the Watson and Cabin stages, access to the friends and family seating area (formerly named VIP), a deluxe air-conditioned mobile bathroom unit, snacks and beverages, and live video displays from the Watson and Cabin stages. Fans wanting to gain access to this exciting new addition to MerleFest should act quickly, as seating is limited.

?MerleFest would also like to remind potential participants that the entry period for 2020’s Chris Austin Songwriting Contest is still open. Now in its 28th year, CASC is an extraordinary opportunity for songwriters to have their original songs heard and judged by a panel of Nashville music industry professionals, under the direction of volunteer contest chairperson, Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Jim Lauderdale.

Aspiring songwriters may submit entries to the contest using the online entry form at or by mailing entries to MerleFest/CASC, P.O. Box 120, Wilkesboro, NC, 28697. All entries received during October and November will receive an early-entry discount price of $25 per entry, while submissions received in December and January will require a $30 fee per entry. All lyrics must be written in English and no instrumental entries will be accepted.

The deadline to enter is February 1, 2020.

Bob Margolin ‘This Guitar and Tonight’

2019 Shaun Murphy 2

Bob Margolin is best known for his electric guitar work with Muddy Waters, but on This Guitar and Tonight, he pivots to country blues, sounding much more like Waters’ circa Folk Singer (which featured Buddy Guy’s stinging acoustic guitar) than the electrified Waters so many of us are used to.

Waters once told Margolin he preferred acoustic blues to electric, which inspired Bob to unplug here. And Margolin bravely scales it all back to just his voice and guitar. There’s nothing else, save some Bob Corritore harmonica on one track and some Jimmy Vivino guitar on another. It makes for a stark album that in many ways is more a tribute to country blues players like Lightnin’ Hopkins and Robert Johnson, than Waters. The vibe is a lot like Tony Joe White’s 2018 Bad Mouthin’, which was similarly stripped down.

Margolin uses a low-key energy to frame the songs. His guitar sits quietly in the mix, making the album feel almost like a field recording. Similarly to the country blues masters, he’s constantly switching between lead lines and rhythm, even using a slide for both tasks. The challenge of this kind of music has always been making it seem like a whole band is playing when it’s really just one person. Margolin always has something going on beneath his vocals, but isn’t necessarily playing a straight rhythm the whole time. It’s not downbeat-driven blues rock, nor is it the type of blues that sounds like electric blues played with acoustic instruments. The style provides plenty of space for his voice.

Margolin takes a similar approach with his singing. There’s some talking blues. There are some howls. There’s some traditional singing. He obviously went back to the source material and is taking his cues from that.

Given the idea behind the album, it feels a little unfair to spotlight one of the two tracks that isn’t Margolin all alone, but “Blues Lover,” his Corritore collaboration, has an upbeat, infectious energy. Corritore’s waves of harmonica feel like they’re radiating out of the past, but they
partner perfectly with Margolin’s simple guitar playing and a vocal delivery that sounds like Bing Crosby injected with a shot of Mississippi mud.

Bob Corritore and Bob Margolin Photo: Marilyn Stringer

“Dancer’s Boogie” also stands out, with its Django Reinhardt-inspired jazz lines crossed with a ragged blues stomp. Margolin’s voice cries out over it all with a primal urgency. In many ways, it’s the most modern track on the album, composed of parts of older genres in a way that doesn’t feel new, but that I’ve never heard before. It’s a fun track.

It would be easy for Margolin to make the standard blues record that he’s been doing so well for so long. It would also be easy for him to get a bunch of big-name guests on the album to sell more units. So it’s admirable that Margolin’s making an album that speaks to his respect for Waters, rather than something more commercial. This Guitar and Tonight derives its power from Margolin’s appreciation for the blues and that’s always something to applaud.

Artist: Bob Margolin

Title: This Guitar and Tonight

Label: VizzTone Label Group

Release Date: October 25, 2019

Running Time: 41:31

Bob Margolin

Classic Rock Performers Who Have Had A Lasting Influence On Music

Classic Rock Performers Who Have Had A Lasting Influence On Music

Classic rock is a fundamental part of American history. Many of today’s leading bands can trace their styles back to the influence of certain musicians. While every song made available to the world has had an impact on the music industry, there are certain performers who will eternally stand at the forefront of music.

From folk rock to psychedelic rock, there have been many groundbreaking sounds and voices. Here are the top ten most influential classic rock bands in history.

Elvis Presley

While Elvis is not traditionally viewed in the classic rock genre, it is impossible to ignore his influence on the world of Rock-n-Roll. As the first to expose mainstream America to something other than traditional family music, he faced a tremendous amount of opposition from the mainstream.

Despite the extreme racism exhibited during the 1950’s, Elvis never hesitated to give appropriate credit to his inspirations. Mainly African-American performers influenced Elvis’ sound and style. Southern radio disc jockeys originally refused to play Elvis’ singles, because they sounded “too Negro” for white stations to air.

It was not just Elvis’ sound, but also his performance, that drew controversy. The movement of his hips in a suggestive manner sparked an entire decade of debate.

Despite the firestorm of criticism that surrounded Elvis’ reign, his continuing popularity has ensured that Elvis’ crown as the King of Rock and Roll would remain valid for decades, even decades after his death.

The Beatles

As the best selling musical act of all-time, it is hard to deny the influence of the Beatles, not only on the musical culture of America, but also on every aspect of human life. The Beatles included John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Star, and George Harrison.

Their innovative style defined the music of the 1960’s — twice. They began their career in England, and when they came to America, they were already a huge success in the United States. In their early years, they had defined pop music for a new generation.

As the hippy days of the late 1960’s began to take hold of America’s young people, the Beatles redefined their music again, with another new style of music lauded by the masses. Their very loud stance on drug use and war made them a controversial group, but their popularity never wavered. Although the Beatles retained the loyalty and admiration of their late 1960’s audiences until the group broke up, the touring days of the Beatles ended in 1966 when John Lennon proclaimed, “The Beatles were more popular than Jesus Christ.”

Bob Dylan

Dylan has one of the most easily recognizable voices in the world. Raspy and full of passion, Bob Dylan’s sound is distinctive. His songs are amazing and defined a generation obsessed with the themes of social unrest, an anti-war stance, and encouragement for the civil rights movement.

A traditional folk singer, Dylan’s works transcended all genres and appealed to countless young Americans. His sincere lyrics spoke to many and made it possible to empathize with his many causes.

Jimi Hendrix

As the undisputed master of the electric guitar, Jimi Hendrix is a classic rock foundation. The self-taught guitar player refused to be limited by many of the conventional views of guitar players.

Prior to Jimi Hendrix’s development as a guitar player, the electric guitar was considered to merely be a louder version of the acoustic guitar. Hendrix embraced the uniqueness of the electric guitar and showed his appreciation for it to the rest of the world.

Pink Floyd

Easily considered the greatest band of all time, Pink Floyd’s unique style and showmanship defined psychedelic rock. Their concept albums were thematic masterpieces that appealed to countless audiences. The Dark Side Of The Moon, Animals, and The Wall each still stand out today as great Rock masterpieces.

The Who

Also known for their thematic records, The Who pioneered the idea of rock opera. Most famous for their collaborative efforts with every major musical figure of their time, Tommy The Rock Opera ensured the longevity of the band into the future.

Their success and fame were not limited to their unique approach to concept albums. Their musical skills are still highly regarded in both mainstream circles and in the entertainment industry. Their music is currently being used as the theme song for at least three of the most popular show on TV on the air today.

The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones have easily maintained their position as one of the longest lasting bands in recording history. Like most popular rock bands of the age, they were an England-based band that was more than happy to take on America.

Their grungy unkempt image became so popular; many artists are still attempting to master it. Their unique sound and high quality lyrics have kept them at the top of the charts for almost 40 years.


Cream, featuring guitarist Eric Clapton, was one of the most technically advanced music groups of their time. Their instrumental techniques became legendary and paved the way for other bands to focus on developing their instrument techniques, in addition to their lyrics.

The Doors

The Doors have always been one of the most controversial bands that had ever existed. Jim Morrison’s wild behavior set the tone for the countless musical bad boys that would follow in his footsteps.

The poetic lyrics of The Doors, as well as their outrageous behavior, made them a crowd favorite.

Led Zeppelin

The road to heavy metal was paved by Led Zeppelin. Their first album was pivotal in its inclusion of distorted amplification techniques. Over the years, their experimentation included mixing acoustic and electric sounds, with the addition of synthesized melodies. The success of Led Zeppelin helped establish a strong base for the development of metal music.

Few people of their generation or the current generation realize that like Elvis, Led Zeppelin took most of their inspiration from African-American performers. As a lifelong fan of Led Zeppelin, it is was oddly fascinating to listen to some of the not-so-famous African-American rhythm-and-blues performers of the 1930’s, and to be able to hear the Led Zeppelin songs we have loved for years in a whole new way.

Final Thoughts

Clearly, these ten bands had a significant impact on the evolution of Rock-n-Roll music through the generations, but it is more difficult to put them into an ordered list of important groups. Let’s just agree that most of us love all ten bands on this list.

Keb’ Mo’ – Moonlight Mistletoe & You

2019 Shaun Murphy 2

I remember my grandparents always playing some sorta holiday cheer. Whether it was Frank Sinatra or Nate King Cole, we always had some good Christmas music on during the holidays. If we were decorating the tree, baking cookies, cooking dinner, or just spending time with loved ones there was always something good to listen to.

By the time Christmas hits Im usually burned out and sick of the radio playing the traditional holiday stuff. But this year Kevin Moore, AKA Keb’ Mo’, 4-time Grammy Winner, has released a new Christmas album on October 18, 2019 via Concord Records. Moonlight, Mistletoe & You was produced by Moore himself, it’s a keeper.

Keb’ Mo’ just has that gifted voice, mixed with his jazzy/blues style makes this a must
have. Singing about peace and love, this album gets stronger as it goes, ending with a great tune “One More Year With You.” this one will surely set the mood with your loved one. You can’t miss with any of these tracks, “Moonlight, Mistletoe, And You” to “Santa Claus Blues.” There is something for everyone.

This is not just another boring Christmas album, this is one you can play over and over again. Pour yourself a glass a wine and relax, you will not be disappointed. I tip my hat to you on this one Mr. Moore, well done. I am definitely adding this to my collection.

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Artist: Keb’ Mo’

Title: Moonlight, Mistletoe & You

Label: Concord Records

Release Date: October 18, 2019

Running Time: 35:24

Track List:

1. Please Come Home for Christmas
2. Moonlight, Mistletoe, And You
3. Better Everyday
4. Santa Claus Santa Claus
5. Christmas is Annoying
6. Merry Merry Christmas
7. I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm
8. Santa Claus Blues
9. When the Children Sing
10. One More Year With You

Keb’ Mo’

*Feature image © Rick Scuteri

Gibson launches Alvin Lee’s ‘69 Festival’ Replica ES-335 Big Red Guitar

2019 Shaun Murphy 2

The art of the luthier reaches its zenith with this beautifully constructed custom guitar from the master craftsmen at Gibson whose passion, perfection and precision are evident in their prized instrument. To make an identical replica of what a 60-year-old ES-335 looked like at Woodstock in 1969 is an achievement of pure genius. The aging cherry wood adds to the distressed appearance, the scratches are consistent with years of hard playing and the guitar is authentic in every detail including the famous sticker motifs. Gibson has made 50 limited edition signature replicas of this fabled ’69 Festival’ axe. The famous Nashville guitar company had previously nominated Lee as the greatest musician ever to play that particular model, deservedly ahead of Chuck Berry and BB King. This commemorative Big Red guitar is an important legacy considering the outpourings of grief and universal respect for the legendary musician who passed away in 2013 at the peak of his creativity. 

In the mid to late 1960s Alvin Lee, as vocalist and guitarist in the UK provincial band Ten Years After, was already gaining the moniker of “Captain Speed Fingers.” While his talents and reputation had not made much impact across the pond all that would change on the final evening of the 1969 Woodstock Festival in New York. Ten Years After were at the forefront of the British blues-rock explosion, and they closed their phenomenal set with the titanic rock and roll epic “I’m Going Home.” At the center of the maelstrom was this guitar virtuoso Alvin Lee whose spellbinding fretwork of unprecedented velocity mesmerized the 500,000 festival crowd. Woodstock and the subsequent soundtrack and film recordings focusing on Lee’s scintillating solo accelerated his status to that of icon. He would become a worthy member of the pantheon of guitar gods, among Clapton, Hendrix and Gallagher. It is now 50 years since the festival which captured the spirit and sound of the hippie era and changed the world, so it is perfect timing for “the guitar that ate Woodstock” and its owner to be celebrated by Gibson. 

Loraine Burgon was Alvin’s girlfriend at the time of his Woodstock experience and she remembers vividly what it meant to him and Big Red in this unique account:

Alvin’s pent-up energy from waiting so many hours to start playing after the storm resulted in an intense and extraordinary set from the word go. Initially there were some technical issues with the tuning because of all the atmospheric damp. This only served to increase the band’s energy, drive and bite. Alvin sang from the depth of his being and played like a force of nature; watching him as I had for many years, he seemed further transformed at Woodstock. Big Red was a part of his body over which he had complete mastery, moving from slow, drawn-out feedback to mind-blowing speed and dexterity. Sometimes head-to-head with Leo’s pounding bass, the two of them caught up together in pushing the music as far as they could. Tracks such as “I Can’t Keep from Crying,” written by Al Kooper, had developed over the previous three years from five to twenty minutes. Alvin’s solo travelled from fast, tight complex patterns to a climax that included de-tuning and gradually re-tuning the low E string in rhythmical steps to the highest end of the top E string. Shredding, bending the strings, working with his hands and Big Red, through the Marshall set-up produced sonic extremes. Alvin never used foot pedals, or effects boxes on stage, Big Red went straight into his Marshall amp and the rest was technique. Their closing track “I’m Going Home” was a song Alvin had written for me some years earlier in Scandinavia, when there was no money for me to travel with him. It’s the track that was featured in the Woodstock film documentary, and a chance for me to dance and sweat out any remaining energy. In the middle of it there is a medley of rock and roll classics that took Alvin and bass player Leo right back to their teens in The Jaybirds in Nottingham. One final intense, sweaty workout triumphantly ended a completely magical set. The audience had danced, screamed, shouted and sung along. Woodstock was not the only festival they played that summer, but it was the biggest stoned, hip audience, the most extreme, extraordinary event. There were no logos on tee shirts at Woodstock and the message everywhere, painted on signs, flags and faces was Peace and Love. 

Alvin once declared his famous Gibson ES-335 to be “the best investment I ever made: I bought it for £45 in Nottingham and it even had a fitted case.” Although the guitar has been referred to as a 1958 or 1959 model, it’s impossible to know the year of its make. The neck was replaced in the early 1970s after Lee broke the original at the Marquee in London, England, after accidentally ramming it into the club’s low ceiling. Perhaps the guitar’s most distinguishing features are the stickers on its body, some of which have been in place since Woodstock. “They just got thrown on, actually,” Lee explained. “But when I broke the neck at the Marquee, I sent it back to Gibson for repair, and when it was returned they had lacquered over all the stickers so they couldn’t come off.” Alvin treated Big Red with respect, changing strings before each performance and maintaining it to a meticulous standard.

It does not end there, however, as the next stage in this remarkable history of Big Red has yet to be determined. It has been kept in a vault for many years since Alvin was offered half a million pounds for it. His family has recently decided to sell the guitar on which Lee’s nimble fingers had weaved his magic and it is being sold by Its place in rock and blues history is unique as Lee’s undisputed favorite main guitar on stage and in the recording studio. Having defined a generation and stolen the show at the biggest festival in the world, Big Red is heading to a new home.  Given that the Woodstock guitar played by Jimi Hendrix fetched $2 million at auction, what is the value of this original Gibson E-335 modified and customized by Alvin over four decades? The answer to that question is eagerly awaited.

For readers interested in the technical specifications, the Festival model features a three-ply maple/poplar/maple body with an aged sixties cherry finish, a solid mahogany neck with an authentic medium C-Shape profile and an Indian rosewood fret board with a hide glue fit. Pickups-wise, it has uncovered Alnico III Custombuckers in the neck and bridge, plus a Seymour Duncan SSL-1 in the middle position. Elsewhere, there’s a No-Wire ABR-1 bridge, Bigsby B-7 tailpiece and Kluson Single Line, Single Ring Tulip tuners.

Here is Joe Bonamassa playing Big Red:

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Guitar Greats

Guitar Greats

No two guitar aficionados will be able to agree on the list of guitar greats, but like so many lists, it can be fun to try to make. What each considers greatness will vary too – is it technical ability or some hard-to-define quality like ‘soul’?
The blues guitarist Robert Johnson features on many lists. He has the added attraction of a shadowy legend all his own. The story goes that he was a pretty average, even bad guitarist, but in just one year he became phenomenal… Where had this new talent come from? Nobody wanted to believe it was just practice and hard work, so the tale started that Johnson had made a pact with the Devil.
The deal had been done, so the story goes, at a crossroads somewhere in the Deep South. Johnson himself immortalized the meetings, probably ironically, in songs like Crossroad Blues and Me And The Devil Blues. These were some of the few tracks he was able to record before his death in 1938 at the tender age of 27. To this day no one knows if he was stabbed or poisoned or if the devil himself came to claim what he was owed.
A tragically young death isn’t essential to become a guitar great, but another man who makes most lists also died aged only 28. Jimi Hendrix took guitar playing to an entire new level of showmanship. But sometimes people remember the antics – playing solos behind his back or with his teeth, setting his guitar on fire (an idea which owes a lot to Jerry Lee Lewis) – and forget how fantastic he was as a musician.
Hendrix was an all-round musician, equally adept at blues, rock and jazz. Believe it or not, he only had a bassist and drummer in his live concerts. He was a great exponent of playing guitar and very innovative as well. Being left handed, he re strung his guitar upside down.
All legends have lots of controversies associated with them and Hendrix was no exception. He has been blamed for covering other bands songs in concert and on record. Once he did the Beatles ‘Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club It is believed that he could play a song after listening to it for just once. He is also credit to have pleased the stubborn Miles Davis with his music.
Guitar players rule the roost in many forms of music. People do not view them only as rock or blues man. That is why Django Rheinhardt, John Williams and Paco de Lucia are considered universally great. No doubt complete agreement on guitar legends cannot be achieved.

Black Stone Cherry Gets Black To Blues – Again

2019 Beth Hart wide

Kentucky heroes, Black Stone Cherry, dug deep once again into their blues roots and have issued a new EP, Black To Blues 2, on the Mascot label.

By now it should be no surprise that Black Stone Cherry, southern roots rockers who are kin to the Kentucky Headhunters, are dyed in the wool blues lovers. They listen to old school, classic blues while sipping bourbon on their tour bus after all. Those iconic tracks seeped not only into their music, but their DNA as well.

Black To Blues 2 pays tribute to Freddie King, Robert Johnson, Otis Rush, Howlin’ Wolf, Elmore James and Son House, launching off with a heavy cover of King’s “Big Legged Woman.” Chris Robertson’s voice is powerful and the dual guitars of he and Ben Wells add a touch of Southern Rock flair.

Robert Johnson’s “Me & The Devil Blues,” follows. Done the BSC way, it’s a rockin’ version indeed, as they pretty much re-wrote the song for their entire band to play. In fact all 6 tracks will have the familiar BSC sound as their fan base is made up of rock n rollers after all. That said, frumpy, traditional blues aficionados may poo-poo the effort, but a younger generation will be introduced to the Golden Age of blues music much the same way I was by artists such as the Rolling Stones and Savoy Brown.

Guitarist Wells agrees with me. “It’s incredible!! The coolest part is hearing young fans say they never listened to these artists until we made them aware of them. That’s amazing for us!”

“All Your Love (I Miss Loving)” is now considered a blues standard. Written and recorded by Otis Rush in 1958, it was also the major influence for Peter Green’s (and later Carlos Santana’s) “Black Magic Woman.” Maintaining the Afro-Cuban rhythm of the original, BSC was able to electrify it even further, adding some balls to the vocals.

A Willie Dixon classic, “Down in the Bottom,” gets the Kentucky treatment as BSC speeds up and adds some thundering bottom to the song first made famous by Howlin’ Wolf. They also add some of that Afro-Cuban rhythm from “All Your Love” to the Elmore James classic, “Early One Morning.” James’ version had the feel of a “Stroll,” while Cherry’s reimagining brings it a more 70s funk vibe.

The final song on the EP is also the longest. Black Stone Cherry stretched out Son House’s “Death Letter Blues,” to nearly six minutes, and added some half-crying/half-screaming guitar that sets it firmly in place as our pick for favorite track. I couldn’t help but think they were going to break into that double guitar assault intro to “Soulcreek” any minute. This time though they kept it true to form but added some overblown harmonica licks and Yates McKendree’s piano. The additions give it a Delta feel as much at home as Mom’s meatloaf.

“We could have never dreamed of the reaction we got from Black to Blues,” says singer/guitarist Robertson. “It was amazing to have such a positive reaction to our take on some of our biggest influences in music. We kept a couple artists in the line-up from last time and introduced a few others into the mix as well! We can’t wait for everyone to hear and feel how much fun we had recording this project!”

“Always leave them wanting more,” or so the old saying goes. Black Stone Cherry left us wanting more 2 years ago with Black To Blues and now in 2019 have more than delivered with Black to Blues 2.

You can catch Black Stone Cherry on tour throughout the south with The Lacs before they spend December down under on a tour of Australia.

Black Stone Cherry

*Feature image Harry Reese

Mandy Moore is Ready to Take Over in 2020

Written by Emily Frances Algar.

To open November,  Mandy Moore released the second single — ‘I’d Rather Lose’ — from her upcoming untitled album, due out next year on Verve Forecast. It marks her highly anticipated return as Moore has not released any original music in the last decade but has devoted herself to acting, namely the critically acclaimed This Is Us for NBC. 

Many fans of Moore have been patiently awaiting new music since Wild Hope. The anticipation is largely because Moore has a way of creating music that is honest and deeply introspective but never depressing. Rather it always manages to bring a unique and perhaps hidden perspective to an emotion or an experience that makes you question it. 

The music itself is part Laurel Canyon, part Fleetwood Mac, with pop and a little dark Americana. You know when you hear a Mandy Moore song – her breathy expressive vocals, part steely anger and part vulnerability. 

In February of this year it was revealed why Moore had not released any new music in the last 10 years: Ryan Adams. 

A New York Times article pulled back the curtain on another #MeToo case within the music industry, and this time it involved singer-songwriter, musician and producer, to whom Moore was married to for seven years. The NYT article accused Adams of dangling career opportunities in front of female artists and musicians whilst simultaneously pursuing them for sex and retaliating when they rejected in him by withholding already recorded albums or not fulfilling promises of writing and recording sessions. 

Dozens of female artists and musicians came forward to describe a familiar pattern of manipulative emotional abuse from Adams: Mandy Moore was one of those artists.

In the article Moore said that ‘Adams discouraged her from working with other producers or managers, effectively leaving him in charge of her music career’. 

Moore added that he would lord his own artistic accomplishments over her head, telling her, repeatedly, “You’re not a real artist because you don’t play an instrument.” 

“Music was a point of control for him,” said Moore — a sentiment the other women who came forward echoed. Adams denies these claims.

Moore has taken back this control back and has started recording new music again. 

In September of this year she released ‘When I Wasn’t Watching’. A song that discusses that all too familiar feeling of, ‘How did I get here?’, ‘Who have I become?’ and more importantly, ‘Do I like this person?’ 

Where was I when this was going down?/ Maybe sleeping in, maybe outta town?// How do I start to retrace the steps/ I haven’t even taken yet/ The fear of what I’m facing in the mirror/ Stops me cold and leaves me here

‘I’d Rather Lose’ is about, in Moore’s own words, “the idea of trying to live according to your moral compass, whatever that be.” It is a darker, bluesier song, harking back to the mood of Amanda Leigh.

I’d rather lose/ If the only way to win/ Is by breaking all the rules/ I’d rather lose

Mandy Moore is an artist to watch in 2020 because she has taken back control on her terms, and as a high profile voice amongst lesser known artists and musicians she has given other cases a higher platform than it otherwise would have gotten.

It would have been easier for her to stay silent, but is glad that she spoke out. “I very much feel like I’m at the helm of the ship now, where I’m stepping back into music completely on my own terms,” said Moore.

Neil Young Says His Application For US Citizenship Has Been Delayed Due To His Marijuana Use

Despite being outspoken about the United States’ politics for decades, Neil Young has remained a Canadian citizen. But that was all set to change this week when Young was scheduled to have his American citizenship approved so he could be a dual citizen and vote in the upcoming election.

In an interview with The Los Angeles Times a few weeks ago, he talked about what it would mean to finally be able to have a democratic voice in the country that he’s spent most of his life in. “I’m still a Canadian; there’s nothing that can take that away from me,” he said. “But I live down here; I pay taxes down here; my beautiful family is all down here — they’re all Americans, so I want to register my opinion.”

But in a recent post on his Neil Young Archives website, Young has revealed that, even though he passed his citizenship test and was scheduled to take the oath this Tuesday (11/12), his approval has been delayed because of his marijuana use.

I want to be a dual citizen and vote. When I recently applied for American citizenship, I passed the test. It was a conversation where I was asked many questions. I answered them truthfully and passed. Recently however, I have been told that I must do another test, due to my use of marijuana and how some people who smoke it have exhibited a problem.

The problem is defined in an April 19, 2019 addition under Attorney General Sessions. USCIS issued a Policy Alert which includes:

‘An applicant who is involved in certain marijuana related activities may lack GMC (Good Moral Character) if found to have violated federal law even if such activity is not unlawful under applicable state or foreign laws.’

I sincerely hope I have exhibited good moral character and will be able to vote my conscience on Donald J. Trump and his fellow American candidates, (as yet un-named).

I will keep you posted, but I don’t think I will be able to remain parked here during the proceedings.

Young recently released his first album with Crazy Horse in seven years, Colorado.

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