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Author Archives: Rick Allen

The Cash Box Kings

Holler and Stomp
Blind Pig
 
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The Cash Box Kings are part of the multi-ethnic, crossgenerational, Chicago-based community of musicians that includes the Killborn Alley Blues Band, guitarist Billy Flynn, producer/multi instrumentalist Gerry Hundt, and other like-minded souls. Like the others, the Kings put as much fire into country blues (more…)

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Shelby Lynne

Revelation Road
Everso Records
 
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Revelation Road comes from an artist who knows exactly what she wants and how to get it, and can come up with an end product that displays brilliantly the worth of the work put into it. This may be a country record ostensibly, but Alabama (more…)

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The Clutter Family

The Clutter Family
(Self-distributed)
 
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Whatever else happens to The Clutters, they will never be invited to Sarah Palin’s house for Thanksgiving dinner – the name of their song about her can’t even be printed. But they are clever satirists and seriously talented folk/rock musicians who (more…)

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Phil Lee

The Fall and Futher Decline of the Mighty King of Love
Self-distributed
 
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There’s something special about a songwriter who can break your heart and make you come back for more. Phil Lee does it in style with “Cold Ground,” a song about unimaginable grief. Lines like “I’m not a tough guy but I can fake it for (more…)

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Hans Theessink & Terry Evans with Ry Cooder

Delta Time
Blue Groove
 
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Despite the title’s implication of down-and-dirty blues, this is closer to what we think of as folk music. Of course, the blues is exactly that, but Theessink and Evans’ blues is more the folky, ragtime-influenced East Coast blues and gospel-anchored music of Pops Staples than (more…)

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Steve Hunter

The Manhattan Blues Project
 
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Picking a highlight of Steve Hunter’s latest is a tough chore, as there’s many tracks to recommend. Top of the list may be his lovely interpretation of the Marvin Gaye classic “What’s Goin’ On.” Or perhaps it’s his breathtaking, almost solo instrumental of “Solsbury Hill” with (more…)

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Big Daddy Love

Let It Grow
Little King Records
 
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This North Carolina-based band makes its own rules. Call their music bluegrass or newgrass, Southern rock, hippie country, or anything else, and it’s still refreshingly original music from a quintet whose members must have kept their ears and minds open to a variety of (more…)

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Paxton Norris

Something's Gotta Give
Self-distributed
 
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Norris is an unabashed acolyte of Duane Allman. “Your My Girl” (sic) is a soul ballad that has the late guitarist’s stamp all over it. “It’s Alright,” an uptempo boogie, and “Hard Luck Case,” a slice of swamp jazz/rock thickened by Mike Lynch’s B-3, would (more…)

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Diunna Greenleaf

Trying To Hold On
Blue Mercy
 
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Texas blues singer Greenleaf has gathered a host of noteworthy guest guitarists to help highlight her considerable virtues and versatility as a writer and singer. Three of the tunes here – “The Beautiful Hat,” “You Don’t Feel That Way,” and “’Cause I’m A Soldier” – (more…)

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Amy Black

One Time
Reuben Records
 
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There’s a solid old-school thump to Amy Black’s modern, acoustic-guitarbased blues. Sometimes (as on “Stay”), she leavens her music with a rockabilly flavor with the help of fiddler Dan Kellar, who gets some of his best moments on the title cut and the dark (more…)

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