It’s August, the sun’s shining and though we might not all have wooden porches to enjoy the summer evenings there’s still a whole lot of blues to keep the night’s even sunnier and the evenings even moodier this month.
Not least is the avalanche of releases due to come out over the 30 days. Monday 5th saw Ruf Records put out the latest in their Songs From The Road series, this time with sensational young Norfolk axe-slinger Oli Brown. This live set contains both a CD and DVD of the live set in a homecoming show in Norwich, recorded in December 2012.
Another new release, this time coming out of the Midlands is that from Worcestershire acoustic duo Wooden Horse, whose second LP, This Kind of Trouble, drops on the 30th. This time around the duo have hired the talents of occasional live accompanist Stuart McIlroy for some extra work on the keys.
Elsewhere in the world, Randy McAllister applies more of his wry, deep-voiced Texan wit to his latest soul-heavy southern blues album, Crappy Food, No Sleep, A Van and Some Songs, while Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and his band the Underthinkers put out their major label blues-rock debut on 6th August. Sound promising? No? How about if I mention that guests on the album include Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart, Chrissie Hynde, Joe Walsh, Derek Trucks, David Hidalgo of Los Lobos and more? And that all the proceeds go to charity? Time will tell.
12th August saw the release of a hot new first outing from, of all places, Germany: the brand new duo known as Grits ‘n Gravy, made up of Cat Lee King and one-man band Mighty Mike. Sounds pretty cool, if Mike’s anything to go by. Check out his single, ‘I Ain’t Got You’, below.
That ain’t the only unexpected place where you can expect to hear some superb blues this month. Israel’s beardy bluesman and six-stringer Lazer Lloyd released his latest LP, Lost On The Highway, on 13th August, presumably with even more sensational guitar playing. You can hear a previous single of his, ‘My Own Blues’, here:
The same day Todd Wolfe also released his latest, Miles To Go, which if it was anything like his last one should be catchy, foot-tappin’ combo of Americana and blues, then a week later Chicago-born Toronzo Cannon unleashes his latest collection of soul-blues fusion, John The Conquer Root.
One notable oldie this month: the release of a compilation of tracks by Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated, on 5th August. From The Roundhouse, To The Ealing Club, To The Marquee comprises the group’s first EP, its celebrated 1962 Decca LP and a plethora of related recordings from the 1960s. It’s a great-sounding collection, and, given Korner’s instrumental role in nurturing young artists like Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts and Jack Bruce, provides the perfect link to place between the old Chicago bluesmen and the subsequent British blues explosion.
A few decent gigs worth making to this month too. Looking for a way to spend that Bank Holiday weekend? Head down to Congleton Jazz and Blues Festival on 24th and 25th August, where they’ve got the sensational Steve Roux and the Brass Knuckle Band and rising acoustic artist Lucy Zirins. Watch Roux and co tear it up in the video below.
The same weekend, genre-skipping Sam Kelly will be appearing with his Chicago-style blues band at the Grainstore Brewery in Leicester, on 24th August. There’s also some great gigs going on at the Robin 2 in Bilston: the USA’s energetic, danceable Joe Louis Walker Band on the 21st; some country-heavy rock ‘n’ roll from Joe Brown and band on the 26th; and gutsy blues songstress Jo Harman & Company on the 29th. While the Jinney Ring Blues and Beer Festival at Jinney Ring Craft Centre in Hanbury near Bromsgrove, saw headliners including the Dr Teeth Big Band, Robert Hokum and the Guvnors and The Sarah Warren Band. Watch the latter get all southern blues on Upton’s ass in the video below — ‘til next time!