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Marshall Lawrence has the cure for the blues on “House Call”

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If you’ve got the blues, the Doctor has the cure and he’s willing to make a house call. If that’s not enough, he’s brought along blues gospel icons The Holmes Brothers along to help soothe your soul. He’s also brought along The Twisters’ Dave “Hurricane Hoerl to play some outstanding harp.

 Edmonton’s self-proclaimed doctor of the blues Marshall Lawrence returns for his fourth shift “House Call,” which will cure what ails you. Click here to Hear Marshall Lawrence

While I thought he was going to go electric on this album, he is back with his acoustic guitars for some dazzling toe tapping fingerpicked slide guitar and gut shaking melodies. He has catchy songs to get your ready to go out on the town on “Another Saturday Night” and some thought provoking numbers like “Rich Man Can’t Get the Blues.”

His music has the the cure for pretty much any kind of blues — unemployment, rambling, craving “biscuits,” broken hearts, lying, cheating women and even death.
He begins his examination with “Mean Momma Blues,” an energetic number which will make sure your toes are tapping properly.

  There is a lot of fine fingerpicking throughout especially on “Biscuit Rolling Daddy,” which sounds like classical music coming out of the Mississippi Delta. In a similar vein, “Long Way Back Home” has another cool fingerpicked guitar riff.

 He also puts his own stamp on blues classics like “Canned Heat Blues,” which features some impressive finger picking and on the traditional spiritual “Death’s Black Train.” “ I Wanna Love You” has a smooth, sultry groove with another tasteful harp solo from Hoerl.

And even better, the mandolin is back on “House Call.” Lawrence’s mandolin is what made me a Marshall Lawrence fan in the first place as his debut CD “Where’s The Party” features a mandolin powered version of  blues classic “Key To The Highway” though it is just used for a short but sweet solo on “I Wanna Love You.”

The Holmes Brothers add some spine tingling melodies to  “Factory Closing Blues,” while Dave Hurricane Hoerl is hot for the harp on “ Hey Girl ( Tired of Your Lying).
For something a little different, “ Please Help Me Find My Way Home” features some very cool organ and harp interplay between organist David Aide and Hoerl.
 There are a lot of highlights on the CD including  “Ballad of Molly Brown”  and especially “Biscuit Rolling Daddy.” On “House Call” the Doctor is definitely in.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
CD: House Call
Artist: Marshall Lawrence
Genre: blues

Steve Brockley Band play an array of folk styles on Le Boeuf

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B.C. roots musician Steve Brockley and his band are back with “Le Boeuf” a second helping of tender melodies, tenderly picked guitar and laid back vibe.Click here to hear the Steve Brockley Band
 The band’s second CD is  also sprinkled with an array of styles, including a touch of country music, some honky tonk and even a seven minute long sea shanty as a metaphor of modern politics.
 Brockley also uses a lot of clever metaphors such as on “Classic Car,” one of many highlights on the CD. His voice is a blend of Paul Simon and James Taylor with just a touch of Danny Michel.
 He starts off slowly on  “Lost In the City,” then picks up the tempo on “Too Easy to be Blue,” which is  reminiscent of Ghostkeeper style indie rock.
“ Boots  and Tattoos,” is a more straight ahead alt-country number” and another highlight.
 “If You Let Her” is in a similar vein, but more country with some sighing steel guitar.
 The seven minute epic  “Captain Joe,” is definitely  one of the CD's highlights. It tells a great story and has a catchy, Celtic style “oh, oh,oh,” chorus.
 Another highlight “Work” sounds like an 1800s cotton plantation work chant of it were sung by Paul Simon. It has some pretty vocal harmonies and a catchy guitar hook.
 He ends the CD with a banjo powered bluegrass breakdown, “Out in Time,” which will leave you singing.
— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

CD: Le Boeuf
 Artist: Steve Brockley band
Genre: folk/roots

Sabrina Weeks and Swing Cat Bounce get those toes tapping

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 Sabrina Weeks and  Swing Cat Bounce have “got their eye on you” to make sure your toes are tapping in their new CD “Got My Eye on You.”Click here to hear Sabrina Weeks and Swing Cat Bounce
 They step right out of the horn powered, soul side of the ’70s mixed with a touch of ’50s pop in the background vocals and even a touch of modern country/ western swing. They keep up the pace with “Burn That Bookie,” which sounds like Little Miss Higgins with a horn section.

 They have an unstoppable bass  groove right from the  opening of the title track and don’t let up through a CD which seems all too short.

 There are lots of horns, lots of bass and Week’s  sassy, sultry, sometimes smoky voice sounds a little like Patsy Cline mixed with Carly Simon.

The guitar solo on  “Swing Cat Bounce,” sounds  a little like a  Stray Cats  Brian Setzer solo as the track sounds like a long lost Brian Setzer Orchestra cut.
“Burn that Boogie” is  guaranteed to get an audience burning up many a dance floor. There are some very cool instances of harmonized guitar solos.

“ This Lady Sings the Blues” is lightly slower, but very sultry and sexy, with a bouncing walking bass line.

“Forgive Me,” is  a beautiful, soulful ballad, but my favourite moments are when these cats swing on tracks like “Swing Cat Bounce,” “Sunday” and  “Got My Eye on You”
 “Sunday” is a old school rock and roll boogie and an ode to the weekend with a  modern twist in the lyrics.
One of my favourites is the old school country rocker “Mr. Regret” which sounds like Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks with  a woman singing.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Band: Sabrina Weeks and the Swing Cat Bounce
CD: Got My Eye on You
 Genre: blues/ swing/ jazz

Jake Chisholm plays big slabs of blues and soul

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Ever since the Sheepdogs started making ’70s rock and roll cool again, with their  neo-’70s style of riff rock, a lot of musicians have been following suit. Toronto bluesman Jake Chisholm is one of them on his new CD “Diamond in A Coal Mine.” And that’s all right by me.
 His new CD “Diamond In A Coal Mine” is nine slabs of beautiful, beefy, groovy  southern fried riff rock, slide guitar and bluesy vocals, which the likes of Led Zeppelin made famous.
 Everything about it  is big — big riffs, big voice and a big groove.

 He combines big riffs  Click here to hear Jake Chisholmon with a big soulful voice on the first track “I’m Gonna Let You Be.” He adds a touch of Black Sabbath to menacing yet subtle slide guitar and his massive voice on “Let’s Do It Again.”
A hot, rocking cover of “Traveling Riverside Blues”  makes the blues classic his own. There is still a lot of spooky slide, but  amplified. The sinister slide guitar comes right out of the Delta, while Chisholm’s voice comes right out of  world of Jimi Hendrix as does some of his rhythm playing like on “Don’t Take It So Hard.”
“That’s All They Could See reflects  Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady.”

“Blood Red Sun” wouldn’t be out of place on an old Foghat or Edgar Winter Group album.

 He slows things down on the tender title track “Diamond in A Coal Mine.”

 He also  revamps Young Rascals  ’60s song “You’d Better Run.”
 The CD ends on another slower, Hendrixy  note, “When Love Goes Wrong,” which is reminiscent of Hendrix’s ”Hey Joe.”
“Diamond in a Coal Mine” is definitely a rock solid effort, which shines, shines, shines.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

 Artist: Jake Chisholm
 CD: Diamond in a Coal Mine
Genre: blues/rock

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