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L.A. Beat

CD Reviews

Papa King Cole release long awaited CD “Gutted to the Studs”

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Papa King Cole has been a familiar face on Lethbridge’s music scene for many years. He rarely plays live and records even rarely so his new CD is a special treat, not only because it features music he has been working on for a long time, but also features some of Lethbridge’s hottest young talent backing him.Papa King Cole playing with Darryl Düus and Evan Uschenko. Photo by Richard Amery. photo by Richard Amery
 “Gutted to the Studs” features the lead guitar of Scott Mezei sprinkled throughout. He plays with several local bands including Adequate, and is a familiar face to fans of New West Theatre.

 The Cd also features long time band members,  guitarist Darryl Düus and Evan Uschenko , who have moved away to Lethbridge so it is nice to hear them both on a recording. Steve Keenan, who has played with Zojo Black and Paul Kype and Texas Flood lends a solo to “Beale Street Boogie,” one of my favourite Papa King Songs.

But front and centre is Papa King’s big, gravelly Tom Waits/ Dr. John timbre voice and a plethora of different acoustic guitars, (which are lovingly listed  on each song they are featured on)  picking beautiful delta style blues music. The CD is expertly and crisply recorded. So you hear every single note as clearly as if King was playing in your own kitchen.

 the CD mostly features King’s original music including several inspired by his day job as a long haul trucker like “Fiver Hundred Horses” as well as long time crowd favourites including “Beale Street Boogie.”
 He also puts his own stamp on blues classics like Big Joe Williams’ “Please Don’t Go” plus  WC Handy’s “Hesitation Blues” ( which features Paul Kype and Texas Flood]s Earle McAuley on j keyboards and Suite 33 bassist Doug Freeman) and  “Saint James Infirmary.”

It is tough to choose a highlight off the CD as all of the songs are so well done.

“Sugar Bee” is a catchy shuffle while pretty much everyone  will be able to identify with the sentiment of “ Early Mornin’ Blues.”
“Box of Tools” also stands out with it’s smooth, slinky Pink Panther  groove.
 The groove is strong in “Shaken” as well which will get your toes a tapping.

 Also very cool is a live jam caught between King, Uschenko and Düus called “Right on Time.”
 He ends on the  traditional blues  shuffle of “ Hesitation Blues.”
The CD  is very folksy and personal. Like a lot of modern folk and blues CD, King provides liner notes lovingly listing the performers and anecdotes about what inspired the songs and the stories behind some of them. As he doesn’t have them on sale online, you’ll have to get a copy for your very own by going to one of his  shows, such as Jan. 9 at Plum.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
CD: Gutted to the Studs Blues and Boogie Reno
Artist: Papa King Cole
 Genre: blues

The Night Crew show what they can do on debut CD

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“ Introducing the Night Crew” is a good introduction to the  London/ Ontario  ’60s/’70s inspired rock trio featuring frontman Tommy “Solo” Carriere.
The eight song CD is reminiscent of bands like CCR and the Doobie Brothers on songs like “ Baby Turns Me On.”

Click here to hear the Night Crew They come by their ’70s influence naturally as Tommy Solo was a familiar face in  the ’70s playing with numerous bands all over Ontario.

. Solo evened turned down the lead guitar spot in a band that was to become Honeymoon Suite.

 But they begin with a more of a roots rock feel on  “We Were Young” which they revisit  the catchy “ When I Call.” which reminds me of British rockers Sweet. “ Without You” combines the riffs along with touches of blues and soul, especially on  the big guitar solo, which really does step right out of the ’70s.
“Turn on the Light”  is a big riffed’70s style rocker but Carriere also shows some prodigious acoustic  guitar chops on “Lisa’s Song,” which is reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.”
They also have a Can con ’70s feel along the lines of a more groovy Trooper.
To add to the ’70s feel they cover the BJ Thomas/ Blue Swede’s  hit  “Hooked on a Feeling.”
 So the eight songs really do provide an introduction to what the band can do and the different styles they can play.

—By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat editor
 CD: Introducing the Night Crew
Band: the Night Crew
Genre: rock/ blues

The Y Brothers “rise” to the occasion with new name and new CD

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Popular Calgary blues rock trio the Y Brothers, formerly known as Bluesmyth, are “rising” with their new CD “Rise.”Click here to hear the Y Brothers
The Y Brothers aka bassist/ vocalist Jason Yaholkoski, guitarist/ lead vocalist Chris Yaholkoski and drummer/ vocalsit Celene Yohemas bring out a little bit of funk and a whole lot of groove on their new CD “Rise.”

 It is chock full of big, loud, chunky riffs beginning with the the title track and they get lost in a massive groove on“Crashing Down.”  They are immediately reminiscent of bands like Govt Mule and David Gogo with just a touch of Clutch and quite a bit of ZZ Top thanks to that blues rock groove and thick, Texas style guitar sound and gravelly voice of guitarist/ lead vocalist Chris Yaholkoski.

 They have a more  laid back groove in the middle of the CD on a couple of tracks including the very soulful  “Not the Way the World is.”

They show a more groovy and jazz tinged, more funk powered “Rise (Revisited)” featuring a gorgeous guitar solo. The slower feel continues on“ Til The End” and “ Nothings Going To Change Us.”
 But they pick things up and add some more solid groove on one of the more David Gogo style blues rockers  “Back To You” which features a hot solo as well as a beautiful chordal bass groove.
 They end the CD on a couple of higher notes with another rocker “Blink of an Eye” and another groovy rocker “Puppet on a String” which sounds like a more bluesy Pearl Jam.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
CD: Rise
Band: The Y Brothers
Genre: Blues rock

Bottle Rockets celebrate the simple things on South Broadway Athletic Club

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For me , a new record from St. Louis are based  roots rock/ alt country band the Bottle Rockets is a cause for celebration.Click Here to hear the Bottle Rockets
 They must have crowd funded for it as the liner notes are dominated by a huge list of “executive producers,” which goes to show I’m not the only one who loves the Festus, St. Louis roots rockers who were there at the beginning of the alt-country/ roots rock /No Depression movement of the ’90s which spawned the likes of Whiskeytown later Ryan Adams, Wilco, Son Volt, Uncle Tupelo, the Old ’97s and many more. But the Bottle Rockets are still going as strong as ever with this new CD.

 They have long been the champion of the working poor in the mid-west. They can weave a gritty tale of rural, white trash discontent that will raise the hair on your arms.
 But South Broadway Athletic Club is the picture of contentment. It is the story of a man, presumably frontman Brian Henneman who wrote most of these 11 songs on his own, who takes pleasure in the simple things of life like a good dog, a good woman, simple blissful ignorance,  a happy weekend or just spending the day lazing around the house.
In addition to loving the simple things in life, Henneman also loves his electric 12 string guitar which takes centre stage on the CD as much as his whiskey soaked croak does.

That jangling 12 string grabs the listener by the earlobes from the first track “ Monday Morning (Every time I Turn Around.)”
 “Big Fat Nothing” is about the joys of doing absolutely nothing after a hard week’s work. But “Dog” cuts the meaning of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to it’s essence.
“I love my dog, if you don’t love my dog, that’s okay, I wouldn’t want you to, He’s my dog. Sometimes life is simple, sometimes life really is that simple,“ Henneman croons.

Ain’t that the truth. It’s why the CD has barely left my CD player since I got it. It even has a gorgeous, straight to the point, perfect guitar solo. All in just over two minutes.
 The new, happier Henneman might be a little disconcerting for fans used to the more serious, gritty Bottle Rockets who brought us harrowing, blood curdling tales like “Kerosene, “ Wave that Flag” “Dead Dog Memories” and “Indianapolis,” so to remind listeners of their glorious past, they redo an earlier song “Building Chryslers,” by turning it into a louder, darker, more grungy number which is an anomaly on a CD of bright, cheerful, jangling rockers. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
To quote another band, the polar opposite of the Bottle Rockets “ It ain’t a crime to be good To yourself.”
 Long live the Bottle Rockets.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. beat Editor
CD: South Broadway athletic Club
Band: The Bottle Rockets
Genre: rock/ roots rock
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