Author Archives: Rick Allen

Hans Theessink & Terry Evans with Ry Cooder

Delta Time
Blue Groove

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

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

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

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

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

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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Grant Dermody

Lay Down My Burden
Grant Dermondy THUMB

Harmonica whiz Dermody is the honcho on this tribute to the real roots of modern blues and popular music, and he employs a host of fine guitarists to help. Dermody is smart enough to make sure things work organically; no one crowds anyone else. The (more…)

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Arty Hill

Another Lost Highway

Good musicians just might outnumber good songwriters, but don’t tell Arty Hill. This album of 11 originals out of 12 cuts sports snappy country swing and blues numbers like the energetic “Mae Dawn” that prove that not only do they write ’em like they used (more…)

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Claude Hay

Deep Fried Satisfied
Ingot Rock
Claude Hay thumb

Australian Claude Hay is an intensely spirited one-man band. He works himself into such a frenzy performing his multi-layered songs (“How Can You Live Without Yourself”) they become improvisation-like outpourings of a man possessed. Whatever his inspiration, Hay has a knack for writing unique songs. (more…)

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Hot Club of Cowtown

What Makes Bob Holler
Proper Records

Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys and Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grapelli’s Hot Club both blended early 20th century blues and jazz with the folk music of their culture. Both featured hot-shot fiddlers and guitarists, and both operated in their classic form from 1934 (more…)

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