By Will Harris
If you’ve got an itching for things that jive, jump and boogie this month then don’t despair – read on for the latest news from the world of blues.
First up is news that the legendary Robert Cray will be releasing his 17th studio album, In My Soul, on 31st March, featuring 10 tracks of Stax and Chess-influenced soul-blues numbers. The new release by the five-time Grammy winner appears ahead of a 12-date UK tour that kicks off on 2nd May, including a date at Birmingham Town Hall on 5th November. For a preview of some of the album’s music and a little insight into Cray’s approach to the new record, watch the trailer below.
That’s not all there is in the way of new releases, with a few more decent ones coming this month, including the latest effort from Californian five-time Grammy nominee Robben Ford, A Day In Nashville, the Tennessee-inspired follow-up to last year’s Bringing It Back Home, out on 3rd February. There’s also new music from those scuzzy Southerners The Peckham Cowboys, whose new full-length, 10 Tales From The Gin Palace, is released on Valentine’s Day. The same week, Kim Simmonds & Savoy Brown come back with a new album that sees the time-honoured frontman revisit his musical roots, the aptly-titled Goin’ to the Delta, featuring a track listing dedicated to reviving the old Chicago sound that got him going in the first place.
A big release this month is the new Michael Bloomfield box set, From His Head To His Heart To His Hands, a 3 CD, 1 DVD anthology featuring released and unreleased gems from the Chicago guitar virtuoso’s past. Including solo sessions and live performances, the set is a just tribute to the man most famous for his work with The Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Al Kooper. The DVD features a documentary on the six-stringers’ life, Sweet Blues, and there’ll also be extensive liners notes from Michael Simmons and plenty of pictures of the sadly overlooked guitarist. For a preview of Sweet Blues, watch the video below.
One last release that slipped by us in the last edition of NBTB is the fantastic new album from Vancouver’s rockin’ blues quartet from No Sinner, Boo Hoo Hoo, a raw ‘n’ raunchy record designed to get the blood pumping. Check out the video for the juke-joint jump blues title track:
On the gig front, the Robin 2 in Bilston continues its fantastic programme of blues with RnB from King Pleasure & The Biscuit Boys on 6th February, blues mainstays Nine Below Zero on the 14th and electrifying blues performer Aynsley Lister on the 20th. King King and Alan Nimmo will be playing Farnsfield Village Centre in Nottinghamshire on the 22nd, while Crossroads Blues Club at The Tower of Song in Cotteridge, Birmingham will be hosting its usual open mic nights every Thursday, featuring mainly cover bands except when high-energy acoustic bluesman Matt Woosey appears on 20th February. Hear him tear through his ‘Black Smoke Risin’’ below to get an idea of the level of his manic finger-pickin’ style:
And finally, blues got double recognition from the music world last month with the induction of both Buddy Guy and the late, great Stevie Ray Vaughan into the Musicians Hall of Fame. So to finish off, why not a tribute from the former to the latter? Enjoy – ‘til next time…