This month’s round-up of news from the world of blues features Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Virgil and the Accelerators, Joe Bonamassa, Johnny Winter and more
By Will Harris
Kenny Wayne Shepherd (pictured) will be touring the UK at the end of October in support of his latest covers album, Goin’ Home. The Louisiana-born six-stringer will play six dates, including a stop at the Assembly in Leamington Spa on 1st November.
Joe Bonamassa’s latest album, Different Shades of Blue, drops on the 22nd of this month, via Mascot Label Group / Provogue Records, in good time before his upcoming run of shows at the Hammersmith Apollo in March (tickets on sale now). Bonamassa’s PR is touting the new release as his most experimental record yet – for a taster, watch the video below.
Keyboardist Bob Malone has announced the launch of a limited-edition mini-album just for UK listeners on 1st September via Delta Moon Records. The six-track Mojo EP has been described as featuring ‘rootsy, rocking, never-before-heard originals’ plus a rendition of Ray Charles’ ‘Hard Times’.
Midlands blues-rock act Virgil and the Accelerators have confirmed the release of their new album, Army of Three, which is due on 6th October via Mystic Records. The band will also be touring the UK this autumn, including dates at the Derby Flowerpot (8th November) and The Robin 2 in Bilston (19th November). Watch the video for ‘Blow To The Head’, taken from the new album, below.
Black Crowes’ guitarist Rich Robinson will play a run of shows in support of his third solo album of roots ‘n’ blues-heavy rock, The Ceaseless Sight, in the UK this November, including a date on the 17th at The Robin 2, Bilston. Listen to album track ‘I Know You’ in the video below, taken from rehearsals for the 2014 tour.
The Keith Thompson Band will release eighth album Catch The Fire on 16th September, featuring guest spots from virtuosos such as Buddy Whittington and Laurence Jones. Thompson hopes the latest record will go ‘back to the roots of classic British blues and rock’. He’ll also be touring the UK in September and October, including dates at the Gloucester Brunswick, The Robin 2 in Bilston, SMV Subtone in Cheltenham and the Worcester Marrs Bar.
Sensational contemporary bluesman Gary Clark Jr is due to release a 15-track live album on 22nd September via Warner. He has also put up a stream for one of the songs, ‘When My Train Pulls In’, taken from the record, which will additionally be offered as a download for those who pre-order the live set.
British axeslinger Joanne Shaw Taylor has released a lyric video for a song from her fourth studio album, The Dirty Truth. ‘Mud, Honey’ is the first song to be previewed from the record, due 22nd September via her own Axhouse Music, which will precede a full tour of the UK in November. Watch the video below.
Mike Zito has announced he’ll be leaving the acclaimed soul-rock-blues supergroup Royal Southern Brotherhood to further pursue his solo project, Mike Zito and the Wheel. You can read our review of RSB’s second album, this year’s Heartsoulblood, and keep an eye out for a write-up of Zito’s Songs For The Road live album and DVD, due on 9th September via Ruf Records, on Midlands Rocks soon.
Stevie Ray Vaughan fanatics will be chomping at the bit for a chance to get their hands on a new 12-disc box set celebrating the late guitarist’s work, due for release on 27th October. The Complete Epic Recordings Collection will feature SRV and backing band Double Trouble’s entire studio and live album catalogue alongside two discs of rare archive material.
Phenomenal slide guitaress Erja Lyytinen will be giving UK fans a treat this autumn with the release of her 10th album, The Sky Is Crying, on 29th September, ahead of an eight-date tour including shows at the Jericho Tavern in Oxford on 6th October and The Robin 2, Bilston on 8th October.
British blues-rock trio Absolution release their second studio album, Dusty Road, on 5th September via Blues Boulevard, promising elements of Cream, ZZ Top and Joe Bonamassa in a tight high-gain package.
And finally, it was a sad day for blues fans across the world on July 16th, 2014 when we heard the announcement of the death of legendary guitarist and champion of the blues, Johnny Winter. Mississippi-born Winter rose to fame by playing alongside such blues greats as Muddy Waters and B.B. King, and garnered further acclaim for producing and appearing on Waters’ Grammy-winning 1977 comeback album Hard Again.
Johnny’s new album of covers, Step Back, featuring guest spots from Ben Harper, Eric Clapton, Billy Gibbons, Joe Bonamassa, Joe Perry, Dr John and more, is to be posthumously release on 2nd September via Megaforce Records. Read our review of Johnny’s show at The Robin 2 in Bilston, on what would be Winter’s last UK tour. Meanwhile, below is some classic footage of the guitar great at Woodstock 1969. RIP Johnny, we’ll miss ya.