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Monday, February 27, 2017

Danny B Harvey and Annie Marie Lewis
Barbwire Heart (Lanark)

Unions this immaculate appear with such maddening infrequency that they should be held fast unhesitatingly and without release. Hot-lashed guitar expostulations within whose metallic and limber-stringed confederation are the heady stuff of precisely American animation. And exquisite vocal endeavorings blood-rooted in archetypal rock'n'roll genetic landscape, ones that not only pledge vindication but make thoroughly good on that meritorious vow.

Recommended "Don't You Lie To Me," "Fly Me To the Moon," "Easy To Love," "Nitro," "Rock Little Baby," "Cross Roads Blues"

Video "Don't You Lie To Me"

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Quentin Jones Stands Up

There surely is tremendous inner tumult when you know you've got something extraordinary, know you've got something important to say -- and can mentally hear it portrayed in a definite manner -- but are restricted by auxiliary commitments.

Quentin Jones founded Pennsylvania's Lanark Records. While that was to his individual credit, though, the label largely existed to give platform to other artists.  Too, he has earned global plaudits for his strident guitar assertions with the Reach Around Rodeo Clowns; indeed, such is his ability that he now has a Gretsch endorsement. But that distinction also came from works bannering aggregate endeavors.

The Rockabilly Hall of Fame has recognized him for his studio and live toil with so many, including Robert Gordon, the Rockats, Herman's Hermits, and the Gas House Gorillas. So, while it's true that Quentin's tasted fame, it's often been as an adjunct to someone else's project. One might say his lamp was often hidden beneath a bushel.

But, no more. In 2017, he's busting out of the shadow world. Standing tall. Declaring out loud his own, unique artistic identity.

A disc is in the pipeline -- one bearing his name alone, and not that of some collective. The demos he sent me are all of consistently superior quality. All peaks, no valleys. I guess fire comes in messes, 'cause there's a mess of fire coming out of these songs. 

Quentin's formidable, party-crashing guitar jet-streams with amazing nimbleness through arrangements smartly reverential of the old while reinventing it as technicolor newness for contemporary climes.

He's already planning shows as "Quentin Jones and Friends," And numerous major names have signed on to sit in at various gigs: Annabelle Lwin (Bow Wow Wow), Dibbs Preston (Rockats), Billy Burnette, and Billy J. Kramer (of Beatles-related renown).

He's known all along that he had something special. Now, the world's going to know that, too.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Kent Rose with Chris Casello
All That American Night (Memory Train)

So just plain right. Various of these sparkling odes are arrayed to distinction, and stake dissimilar territories. But all bloom from proletarian clay.

Two tracks merit special note: "If You Dig It," its tradition-founded rocking cast as a burstingly animated, vividly contemporary declaration, reminds much of the old/new synthesis so cleverly realized on Robert Gordon's 1981 Are You Gonna Be the One? LP. And, "Pretty World of Make-Believe" honors old-ways honky tonk; Chris's serpentine bass-string guitar line, and Kent's easy, knowing voice, guide toward a luxuriant, natural essence to whose decided tempo one simply must bop.

Recommended "If You Dig It," "Pretty World of Make-Believe," "Why You Wanna," "All That American Night," "This House Gets Lonesome," "Leave This Town," "Workingman's Hands," "Jungle Jaguar Pants"

VIDEO "If You Dig It"

Scott H. Biram
The Bad Testament (Bloodshot)

Scott's stark, one-man band conformation allows him to wring from these way-down-deep chronicles all the out-loud humanity they promise and we appreciate. No more is needed but a tastefully picked gut-box, a voice as capable of slightness as mammoth storm, and the tenacious resolve of a man who, damn-it-all, believes.

Recommended "Just Another River," "Long Old Time," "I Want My Mojo Back," "Judgement Day," "Slow and Easy," "When I Die"

VIDEO "Just Another River"