Buddy Guy – Born To Play Guitar

Buddy Guy – Born To Play Guitar
RCA Records – 88875-12037-2
Sometimes as a reviewer, you have to throw superlatives, hyperbole and cliches out the window. Not that every new CD by a legend is a masterpiece. But when you hear Mr. George “Buddy” Guy pontificate “I’ve got blues running through my veins,” in the eponymous lead track of his latest effort “Born To Play Guitar,” you have absolutely zero doubt that he is telling the Gospel truth. He talks it, walks it, lives it, breathes it, unleashes it from his Strat like the voice of the blues gods. If you doubt me, put on track 2 “Wear You Out” and strap yourself in, because it will do just that. “Back Up Mama” follows with a pure, sweet ballad dripping displaying Buddy’s incredible vocal chops. Buddy enlists many friends on this CD, including Joss Stone with a delectable vocal trip on “(Baby) You Got What It Takes.” When Van Morrison joins Buddy for the emotion dripping “Flesh & Bone” tributing B.B. King, followed by an equally fervent tribute to Muddy Waters, “Come Back Muddy,” if you don’t start misting up or getting a lump in your throat you had better get a hold of an AED post-haste. OK, I know I said you have to throw superlatives, hyperbole and cliches out the window, but I used a few choice ones here. Well, Buddy Guy deserves it. One of blues’ elder spokesmen less than 365 and a wake up from being an octogenarian, Buddy shows no signs of letting up. – MW
BuddyGuy
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Jeff Mamett – “Here’s Your Hat”

Jeff Mamett – “Here’s Your Hat”
Jeff Mamett obviously loves the roots of country music. By roots I mean the western swing roots, those that seem to escape many of today’s homogeneous sounding performers. Jeff’s music is a bit more than nostalgia though, as he also seems to draw influences from the more Americana singer-songwriters with a subtly humorous touch to some of the more usual country subjects. Songs like the honky-tonk shuffle “No More Tears,” the snappy “Hot Tamales,” and the deft rock hybrid title track show that he has a solid songwriting talent pool to draw from. His tribute to the late great Townes Van Zandt is an emotional version of the classic “Pancho and Lefty.” What really makes these songs stand out is Jeff’s rich baritone warble, like a more melodic Johnny Cash with a dash of Waylon thrown in for good measure. While this music may be more popular with those who prefer the classic country sound, it has a comforting but still peppy vibe that will catch the ear of the more modern country lovers. A very entertaining debut effort. – MW
JeffMamett

The Surreal McCoys – The Howl & The Growl

The Surreal McCoys – The Howl & The Growl
Across The Aisle Records – B014L69KWM
Perhaps no band has done a purer mix of punk and Americana than The Surreal McCoys. Sure, other people have blended various styles of heartland or country music with punk before. Jason and the Scorchers comes to mind. There is just something about how this fivesome who formed while attending the University of Notre Dame that you cannot really put your finger on – you just have to kick back and enjoy it. The lead track “You Can’t Afford It” lets loose like a sonic microcosm, giving you a delicious taste of what to expect.  “Blonde-Sided” is the kind of honkey-tonk rocker most of the current Nashville posers wish they could pull off.  “Whole Lotta Folsom” is just what the name suggests; a Led Zeppelinized take on the Man-in-Black classic, and I am not being hyperbolic by saying this is one of the best mashup covers I have heard in a long time. The aptly named title track is another signature sounding ripper with a rhythmic power that could make a 747 go supersonic. The band members all have serious chops and the lyrics are poignant, brimming with life experience and often darkly humorous. Killer production by Eric Ambel who played guitar with Joan Jett and Steve Earle in the past adds further fuel. This is their second CD and I kick myself for not hearing of the first one, but this is a band I am glad to now know, and after one listen, I can imagine you will be glad as well. – MW
SurrealMcCoys

Capsule Reviews by Mark E. Waterbury

Cashew & Cleary – Fathers Vol. 2: Like A Rich Man
Wiener Records
This eclectic L.A. duo are unafraid to weave the most diverse influences possible into cognizant, enjoyable songs. You can feel tendrils of 50’s malt shop, early Seattle garage rock, twisted Americana ala Southern Culture on the Skids, a sensibility of good old rock and roll, and maybe even listing to a few Ennio Morricone soundtracks. But as I said previously, this music is cognizant, by my definition –  the myriad of influences is weaved wonderfully into songs that are a pure balance of catchy and edgy. If these five songs are any indication, watch out for these guys! – MW
Cashew&Cleary
Corte – Seasoned Soul
The CD title is an understatement, but the contents of it are a poignant statement of prodigious talent. Veteran vocalist Al Corte lets loose with his phenomenal pipes on songs from the likes of Otis Redding, Albert King, Delbert McClinton and many others. Ranging from intensely powerful ballads to rollicking blues shuffles and bawdy barrelhouse soul, Al infuses his vocal stamp taking classic songs to another level…a stratospheric level! A must for any lover of the creme-de-la-creme of soul/blues/R&B vocalists.  – MW
Corte
JC Crossfire – AWOL Blues
With his 4th CD, south Florida’s Joe Cannizzo AKA JC showcases that he is a blues force to be reckoned with. He has all the tools you need; a robust voice that can twist with different emotions, a penchant for fat cords and searing solos, and a knack for creating songs that can get you grooving no matter the tempo. And that musical tool bag is enough when you use the tools as well as JC does. Extra intrigue is added with the searing vocals of Marybeth DeSarle on “Sweet Thing” and on the final track “Sunflower Mississippi,” co-written and recorded with the legendary Matt “Guitar” Murphy. – MW http://www.jccrossfire.com
JCCrossfire
Love Love – Love Love
The debut EP from this Boston-based band fronted by singer-songwriters Chris Toppin and Jefferson Davis Riordan smacks of songwriting intelligence. Ear-catching rock with just the right touches of edginess and a folk-retro feels blends perfectly with the thoughtful, occasionally dark lyrics. Both Chris and Jefferson are talented vocalists as well, with the juxtaposition of their style variances adding further intrigue to the musical landscape. – MW
LoveLove
Love Love – Love Love
The debut EP from this Boston based band fronted by singer-songwriters Chris Toppin and Jefferson Davis Riordan smacks of songwriting intelligence. Ear catching rock with just the right touches of edginess and a folk-retro feels blends perfectly with the thoughtful, occasionally dark lyrics. Both Chris and Jefferson are talented vocalists as well, with the juxtaposition of their style variances adding further intrigue to the musical landscape.