Blues Jam Session


Sunday, December 4, 2016

Singer, songwriter and producer Stevie J new album release "Back 2 Blues"

Singer, songwriter and producer Stevie J., based in Jackson, Mississippi, announces the release of "Back 2 Blues," his first album in several years. 

The son of a pastor, Stevie J. has been a professional musician practically his entire life. With roots in gospel music and Southern soul, it was only a matter of time before the blues became his main passion. Stevie was a member of Bobby Rush's band on his acclaimed album "Folk Funk" (2004) and also toured with the legendary soul-blues artist. He has represented the Central Mississippi Blues Society at the Blues Foundation's International Blues Challenge, in Memphis. In 2010 he was named Contemporary Blues Artist of the Year (Male) at the Jus' Blues Awards.

"More than just straight-up 12-bar blues, Stevie J. weaves in female backup vocals and lively horns ...he knows how to compose a song and tell a story ... the talent and passion are there!" -

"A killer ... lively and swingin’!" - The Rock Doctor 

"Reminded us that you can muster a great Southern soul vocal without shouting and screaming and writhing and wailing -- in fact, without vocalizing much higher than a sugary whisper." - Daddy B. Nice

The best description of Stevie J is a limitless Blues man. With the versatility and knowledge of the history of the Blues to take an audience on an historical musical journey of the Blues from the 1930's thru 2020. So many guys jump in the Blues world without studying the history. It takes more than guitar licks and a hat to be a true Blues man.

Marty's review: this man has the blues in his blood, and, with this new release, he presents us with what I would call a musical in blues history. The tight production, exceptional musicianship and the high quality of songwriting all come together in a collection of 11 killer tracks that will leave the listener with more than a gasp or two. Favourite track for me is "Son of A Sanctified Preacher".

Sample and stream tracks on official website

..and also at Mississippi Delta Blues Inc

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Friday, December 2, 2016

Folkways Reissue: Cat-Iron, "Cat-Iron Sings Blues and Hymns" OOP since 1958

Exit Stencil recordings is proud to announce the re-issue and licensing of the long out of print American Blues / Folk album by Cat-Iron, Cat-Iron Sings Blues and Hymns. Originally released on the Smithsonian Folkways label in 1958, this forgotten classic is getting it’s first US vinyl pressing since its original release.

Cat-Iron was born William Carradine in 1898 (according to gravestone, but records say 1896) in Garden City, Louisiana.  The nickname, “Cat-Iron,” was not a nickname he used but, rather, a mishearing of his surname on the part of folklorist Frederic Ramsey, Jr. Little has been written about the artist but we know he was married and served as a private in the US Army during World War I.

Cat-Iron - Poor Boy A Long, Long Way From Home

As the story goes, the alto saxophone player Thurman Monroe introduced Frederic Ramsey, Jr. to Cat-Iron, when during a chance meeting, it was discovered that Ramsey was looking to record some authentic Blues / Folk down in Louisiana.  When the duo arrived at Cat-Iron’s house in Buckner’s Alley in Natchez, they had to coax him to play a few songs, with Cat-Iron even remarking, “I got no guitar...”  Having converted to Christianity, Cat-Iron originally balked at the idea of playing any blues songs.  However, with persistence and fellowship, Ramsey was able to cull a collection that is equal parts blues numbers and equal parts sacred---all recorded right in Cat-Iron’s living room.

As Ramsey stated in the original linear notes, “Cat Iron might be singing religion, but he was playing it with the heart of a blues-man.” 

When Exit Stencil re-issued 15-60-75 (The Number’s Band)’s, Jimmy Bell’s Still In Town, back in 2013, we became so enthralled with the title track, that we worked backwards to the song’s originator, which is often credited as Cat-Iron. Robert Kidney loaned us his original 1958 copy of the record and we started the process with Folkways to make this a living, breathing, record once again.

The record is being reissued in a limited edition of 500 copies on translucent yellow vinyl---just like the original press.  Includes a faithful reproduction of the 8 page booklet and linear notes authored by Frederic Ramsey, Jr.

Purchase HERE from ExitStencil site

Cat Iron - Jimmy Bell

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Monday, November 28, 2016

Tom McCartney new EP release "Well Dressed Man"...bluesy rock'n'roll

Describing himself as "a bluesy rock 'n' roll artist with some country twang", Tom McCartney is a 17 year old, up and coming blues, country and rock 'n' roll artist from Nottingham, England. After 3 years of performing music, it has finally been announced that Tom will be releasing his debut EP, entitled "Well Dressed Man".

This is the future of the blues: young artists such as Tom keeping the flame alive with passion and talent. Tom is nothing short of a prodigy  - Sonicabuse

“He’ll blow your socks off with his whisky-stained husk of a voice.” – LeftLion

"His vocal delivery was first to surprise, having a rough, Tom Waits-esque groan, powerful-yet-controlled...the kid has some serious, serious talent." – Nottingham Live

Track listing:

1. Not From Around This Town
2. Well Dressed Man
3. Hard Times A' Comin'
4. The Bottle Ain't For Me


Marty's review: sounding like a blues man straight out of the Mississippi Delta, Tom McCartney's new EP is a take-no-prisoners affair combining acoustic and electric blues with a slight country tinge. That's topped off with his gravelly voice that blends in so easily with the raw and effortless production on this 4-track release. This young man sounds as if he's been playing the blues for more than his 17 years of age, with a clear appreciation of where it has come from and where it goes. The energy and emotion come through with a passion like a non-stop freight train passing in the night.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Americana singer-songwriter Rod Melancon new EP release "LA14"

Deep in the swamp lands of South Louisiana, in the small towns off State Highway 14, there are stories waiting to be told. There are ghosts to conjure up in the night fires and the bayou jamborees. Much like Johnny Cash captured the Arkansas of his childhood and Bruce Springsteen brought Asbury Park alive for millions, singer-songwriter Rod Melancon has introduced to listeners the stories of South Louisiana’s small towns and conflicted characters. The Daily Country raves that Melancon’s tales are "experiences personal and universal to one of Americana’s finest rising artists, destined to create his own legend and legacy." The latest vehicle for Melancon’s intriguing storytelling is his five-song EP, LA 14, released via Blue √Član Records.

LA 14 is a preview of the full album to be released next year. With the help of producer Brian Whelan (Dwight Yoakam), Melancon has pushed his song-cycle into a swamp-tinged, country blend that moves out to the parameters of psychedelic-rock and deep southern blues. His songs here, while entirely original, echo the poetic soul of Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt.

The centerpiece of LA 14 is “Lights of Carencro,” a chillingly dark and personal song and video. Emerging from Melancon’s father’s point of view, “Lights of Carencro” tells the story of the death of his brother in 1976. Melancon vividly paints the experience of tragedy and loss as he tells the engaging narrative, performed through a nightmare-like spoken word mixed in an eerie high frequency.  

For more information on Rod Melancon, visit his social media: FACEBOOK | TWITTER |YOUTUBE  | INSTAGRAM

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Friday, November 18, 2016

Debut Release by Magic Dick and Shun Ng...Soulful and Rockin' Blues

Magic Dick, the legendary harmonica player of The J. Geils Band partners up with award-winning guitarist and vocal sensation, Shun Ng for their debut release, "About Time". The music is soulful and rockin' yet intimate and intricate, performed by arguably two of the top musicians at their respective instruments. As an acoustic duo, each song and arrangement showcases the breadth and depth of the two instruments and the wide-ranging, adventurous spirits of these two artists and the results are astonishing. Recorded with no overdubbing or layering of the instruments, this album is a collection of technically daring interpretations of old classics and virtuosic originals. Most of all, it is a faithful representation of experiencing the duo live. 

Stream the album and download HERE at cdbaby

See also video for Whammer Jammer

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Brooklyn-based duo Sunshine Nights new roots release "A Brooklyn Biography". Urbangrass is born!

Sunshine Nights is an Americana-roots songwriting partnership between Amy Priya and Stephen Sunshine. Their songs evoke a charming union of styles, a dichotomy of the old and new, indie folk sentiment blended with old time blues, bluegrass and a tinge of traditional jazz. Their new EP, A Brooklyn Biography, is a collection of stories from their home borough. The songs are unique, written in the context of bustling New York life far removed from the Appalachian and Southern origins of the music they love. The songs of this 6 song EP raise the question: Can there be a genre called Urbangrass?

Sunshine Nights was born one fine day in Manhattan's East Village when Amy sang a song and Stephen played a guitar. They quickly realized that making music together was fun and sounded pretty cool, so they started writing songs and singing together. After they moved to Bushwick, Brooklyn, Amy picked up the double bass and Stephen the lap steel. Their first gig was in August 2009 at Public Assembly in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Sunshine Nights draws inspiration from their Bushwick neighborhood’s vibrant and diverse artistic culture. Since they moved there in 2006, the area has shaped their songwriting and creative process. Their influences include Alberta Hunter, Dr. John, Big Bill Broozy, Lil’ Green, and Lou Reed.

A Brooklyn Biography is the product of a year of intimate studio sessions recorded with an immense appreciation for the analog process that brings forth a pure, honest, and raw sound to the duo's heartbroken harmonies and passionate musicianship. The tracks were laid down on 2” 8 track tape. The EP features Amy on vocals, upright bass and harmonica, Stephen on vocals, guitar, lap steel and piano, Kain Naylor on percussion and Jeremy Kasha on mandolin. The EP was recorded and mixed at the legendary Maid’s Room in New York City by Jack McKeever (Rufus Wainwright, Devendra Banhart).

Marty's review: Sunshine Nights' latest EP release, A Brooklyn Biography, is a 6-track, stripped back roots production using all acoustic instruments and bringing to the fore the vocal and songwriting talents of Amy Priya and Stephen Sunshine. Taking their surrounding Brooklyn neighborhood as inspiration for their songwriting, they create and weave stories that make you feel like you're walking the streets with them and taking in the sights, sounds and characters they experience. The music itself has that "front porch" sound and is one that resonates with a crisp, clear tone that is a delight and pleasure to listen to. My favorite track is the bluesy "Bedford Stomp". 

A Brooklyn Biography is released through Wake Up Records on Friday, November 18, 2016. They will celebrate the release with a performance and party at The Bat Haus in Brooklyn on Thursday, November 17, 2016.

band camp:
youtube channel:

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Friday, November 11, 2016

LA-Based Alt-Country Blues Singer Michael Colton new video for "Won't Fall Away"

Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Michael Colton’s video for his new single “Won’t Fall Away.”  It’s the third track from his upcoming EP “California Blue” and it showcases a more melancholic, soulful side of the vibrant performer. It was produced by Marty Rifkin (who played alongside Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and others) and Steve Trovato and is taken from his forthcoming album “California Blue” 

Singer/ songwriter Michael Colton has penned the ultimate oath of enduring love with his charming new country -tinged ballad, “Won’t Fall Away.” According to, Colton “has depth, warmth, and grit - and he can play the hell out of his guitar.”

Produced by Marty Rifkin (Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty) and Steve Trovato, Colton’s upcoming release, California Blue, displays Colton’s blend of storytelling, straightforward tunefulness, and incendiary guitar work. Colton’s recent live appearances include SXSW, The Sundance Film Festival, and Los Angeles’ House of Blues. 

More information on Colton is available on his official website.

Diving deep into the explosive traditions of virtuosos Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, and Eric Clapton, Colton began his musical career as a cocky young guitarist. Exploring that music led him further down that road, all the way to blues legend Robert Johnson. Colton went on to record an EP of Johnson’s songs, the critically acclaimed The Robert Johnson Sessions.

For more information on Michael Colton, visit his social media:

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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Gig Listing : The Nest Collective Presents American Roots Group, Furnace Mountain - 30th October

The Nest Collective Presents Furnace Mountain
Venue: Courtyard Theatre - Hoxton

Date: 30th Oct
Time: 19:00 - 22:30
Price: £10

“Furnace Mountain are a truly exceptional group and deserve to be in the upper tier of American roots groups” Rock and Reel R2 Mag

Though often overshadowed by Southwest Virginia and its famed Crooked Road, the Shenandoah Valley and Virginia’s northwestern counties have always been fertile ground for traditional music, and they continue to be home to many of its finest practitioners.

Furnace Mountain has performed throughout the world, from the Yangtze River in China to the banks of the Shenandoah River, where they are the host band of Watermelon Park Festival, held on the site of one of the very first bluegrass festivals, in 1965. Furnace Mountain plays music from the American Appalachian traditions, as well as original compositions, and songs penned by their favorite song writing friends.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Progressive Folk artist Nessi Gomes' debut album "Diamonds and Demons" review

I was so impressed with this new release that I had to write up a second post. I think you will be too once you've heard this most amazing album.

Marty's review: Nessi Gomes' "Diamonds and Demons" is one of those albums that you know you're going to love right from the first opening bars.  The production surrounds the listener with a swirl of musical fragrances that light up the soul and soothe the inner heart. Nessi's voice has a uniqueness to it that lingers like a fresh floral scent and the mostly acoustic instrumentation floats in the air and arouses the senses. If you want some comparisons I would mention contemporaries like Lisa Gerrad, Alison Krauss, Bjork, Kate Bush, Enya and Marianne Faithfull (fine company to be in I would say). 

See previous post on this blog HERE 


 All songs Lyrics & Music: Nessi Gomes
Produced, Engineered, Arranged: Duncan Bridgeman
Post production and sound processing: Nigel Butler
Mixed: Joe Dworniak, Nigel Butler, Duncan Bridgeman
Mastered: Joe Dworniak

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Connecticut purveyors of Americana, Birds Over Arkansas, new release "So Much Sky"

Connecticut-based band Birds Over Arkansas have released a new song with a crisp, harmonious American roots foundation layered with progressive, subtly unorthodox structures and historically-based spiritual themes.  Formed in 2011, Birds Over Arkansas consists of Scott Haskitt (guitar, lead vocals), Laura Hartshorn (keyboards/vocals), John Mondick (guitar/mandolin/vocals), and Ryan Berg (drums/percussion).

According to lead singer Scott Haskitt, “So Much Sky” is about “being too often consumed by life's bigger picture, and, consequently, losing sight of its finer details.” While the chorus lyrics juxtapose the act of sky-gazing with that of internal self-reflection, the verses tell the story of the struggles of Reinhold Rudenberg, a scientist and inventor who was in part responsible for the development of the electron microscope.

Stream "So Much Sky" HERE 

Official Website

For more information on Birds Over Arkansas, visit their social media: FACEBOOK| TWITTER| YOUTUBE

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Sunday, October 9, 2016

British-Portuguese musician Nessi Gomes new album release "Diamonds and Demons"

Diamonds and Demons is the debut album by the British-Portuguese musician Nessi Gomes, a composer and lyricist of rare invention and beauty. Ensuing tales of darkness and light allow a deeper exploration of the human condition, psyche, collective fears and torments. Nessi has produced a record that is at once lustrous and shadowy, mysterious and magical, which she sings in a voice that is intimate and idiosyncratic.

The creation of the album took place over the last 18 months, while traveling through London on the Regents canal inside a portable studio on a little rusty blue boat called 'The Wild Goose’.

Nessi and her producer Duncan Bridgeman (Grammy nominee, '1 Giant Leap’) together dug an uncharted tunnel into the artist's turbulent heart and soul.

Navigating through layers of her inner geography and a yearning sense of separation they examined her very depths.  Deep childhood traumas, attempted suicides, indeed, every level of resistance she felt to every ray of light. Every moment of darkness to every dream. Inner diamonds and demons were deconstructed under a magnifying glass and her blood, sweat, and tears finally transmuted into music.

Born on the tiny Island of Guernsey to a family of immigrants from Portugal, Gomes channels influences from both sides of her ethnicity, blending the essence of the traditional, ‘larger than life’ Fado folk music with progressive British inspiration.

“Hauntingly atmospheric and lushly textured nods to Bjork & Kate Bush” Paul Lester – The Guardian

Marty's review: Nessi Gomes' "Diamonds and Demons" is one of those albums that you know you're going to love right from the first opening bars.  The production surrounds the listener with a swirl of musical fragrances that light up the soul and soothe the inner heart. Nessi's voice has a uniqueness to it that lingers like a fresh floral scent and the mostly acoustic instrumentation floats in the air and arouses the senses. If you want some comparisons I would mention contemporaries like Lisa Gerrad, Alison Krauss, Bjork, Kate Bush, Enya and Marianne Faithfull (fine company to be in I would say).

The first video of the album is now live here: (These Walls)

Pre-order on iTunes:

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