Author Archives: Rick Allen

Bernard Allison Group

In The Mix

Bernard Allison’s father, Luther, was a modern-era blues great. And while Bernard is most definitely in the family business, blues isn’t the only musical color on his palette. When he stretches out for a slide solo on “Move From The Hood,” he may be sizzling hot (more…)

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Cailyn Lloyd’s former life as a blues rocker of the Peter Green school gave her the stuff to put blood into the New Age music she has been making for the last few years. Her latest uses British composer Gustav Holst’s orchestral suite, “The Planets,” as a (more…)

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Ruf Records 20 Years Anniversary

20 Year Anniversary

The guitar was once derided as a “woman’s instrument,” and in the early 20th century, blues was considered a woman artist’s medium. Things have changed over the intervening years – and perhaps too much so. Nowadays, too often too little attention is paid to female guitarists, (more…)

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Erin Harpe and the Delta Swingers

Love Whip Blues

Some retro acts are more concerned with image and outfits than music. This record is a bit theatrical but with enough substance to give it staying power. A charming, versatile singer, Erin Harpe’s guitar playing is an on-time reminder of how effective and essential the guitar (more…)

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Howard Glazer

Looking In The Mirror

Detroit’s rich musical heritage includes a blues scene that has thrived in the bars along the Detroit River and on the city’s East Side. The MC5, Iggy Pop, and Bob “Catfish” Hodge sweated it out in those clubs with sets loaded with John Lee Hooker and (more…)

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Matt Szlachetka

Waits For A Storm To Find

Northstar Session songwriter, lead singer, and guitarist Matt Szlachetka is more introspective here than with the Session but his considerable strengths are in full flower – especially his ability to craft a song organically into something pleasing to the ears. For “Wasting Time” or “You’re Home (more…)

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Burke Long

Silver Queen

This infectious record has the homemade feel of mom’s Sunday dinner. North Carolina boy Burke Long evokes writing models like Rodney Crowell and Gene Clark for the almost California country of “About Love,” which features pedal steel from a very able John Macy. But Long’s (more…)

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Stan Martin

Whiskey Morning

Stan Martin is a keeper of the traditional country music flame. He’s a Don Rich/Danny Gatton-schooled Telecaster-loving guitar picker, a virtuoso who is not a showoff. And he’s a skilled writer and musician who is unabashedly, unapologetically country. Martin’s original songs have a moving, sometime (more…)

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Joel Selvin

Here Comes the Night: The Dark Soul of Bert Berns and the Dirty Business of Rhythm & Blues

Every garage band owes Bert Berns. Without him 1960s radio would have been almost as dull as it is today. Berns shepherded the early careers of Van Morrison and Neil Diamond, and his production of the Isley Brother’s hit on his (as “Bert Russell”) and Phil (more…)

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Johnny A.


As the liner notes state, Johnny A.’s musical mantra is “melody is king.” And oh, how he proves it here – even when he dusts off his EBow for a side trip into psychedelia on “Out Of Nowhere.” That melodic perspective is extremely important for an (more…)

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