Author Archives: Rick Allen

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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Justin Currie

Lower Reaches

The creative team of bassist Justin Currie and guitarist Iain Harvie led the band Del Amitri through several personnel changes over the years. The group was similar to the tough, passionate bantam British bands like Steve Marriott’s Small Faces, the Hollies, and other working-class ensembles (more…)

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Jim and Jesse and the Virginia Boys

Radio Shows

Jim and Jesse’s music, with signature tunes like “The Flame Of Love” and Paradise,” never crossed over to pop success. But from their first broadcast on a Virginia radio station in 1947 through their many years with the Grand Ole Opry starting in 1964 (more…)

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Craig Maki with Keith Cady

Detroit Country Music: Mountaineers, Cowboys, and Rockabillies

Craig Maki and Keith Cady provide a well-researched look at an overlooked part of Motor City’s rich musical history. They offer new or little-known information about the fertile Detroit scene that influenced people such as Del Shannon and Commander Cody and His Lost Planet (more…)

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Paul Asbell

From Adamant to Atchafalaya

On Chicago’s south side, Paul Asbell recorded and played with Howlin’ Wolf, Lightning Hopkins, John Lee Hooker, and other legendary greats, including holding down the rhythm guitar chair for the studio side of Muddy Waters Fathers and Sons LP. Moving east, he expanded his scope (more…)

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Port City Prophets


The Prophets are a blues-rock bar band that brings around a lot of people to music they might not otherwise have heard. The PCPs will remind you of both Grand Funk and ZZ Top. With the opening cut “Close Your Eyes,” they’ll also bring (more…)

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Sean Weaver

Half Past Midnight

Weaver’s album of solo guitar features instrumental treatments that range from “La Alborada (Little Music Box),” a heart-tugging classical piece by Francisco Tarrega, to Rodgers and Hart’s “Little Girl Blue,” to a beautiful working of Don McLean’s “Vincent.” The reflective mood of the album runs (more…)

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The No Refund Band

The No Refund Band

Lead singer/guitarist Ricky Jackson sings with a brassiness and strength that doesn’t come along often in pop music. He’s also an impressive guitarist, partly in debt to the crotch-rock styles of Slash and Joe (more…)

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The Coal Men


The Coal Men – guitarist Dave Coleman and drummer Dave Ray – boast a cowboy romanticism that comes alive on their fourth album, Escalator. Coleman wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on Escalator with Ray, bassist Jay Hitchcock, or other collaborators, creating a definite (more…)

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The Northstar Session

Echoes From the Canyon

Sometimes it’s jaw-dropping incredible how some ensembles can make music together so well. Witness the acoustic guitar-and-piano trio of guitarists Matt Szlachetka and Kane McGee and keyboard man Dave Basaraba, who offer this double-CD collection recorded in an intimate live setting. With full harmonies and (more…)

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