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Rock - Released November 12, 2021 | Provogue Records

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Rock - Released November 11, 2021 | Provogue Records

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Blues - Released October 22, 2021 | Provogue Records

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Blues - Released October 21, 2021 | Provogue Records

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Blues - Released October 15, 2021 | Provogue Records

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Blues - Released August 20, 2021 | Provogue Records

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The scion of a musical dynasty (his father was folk-singer Leon Bibb and his uncle was jazzman John Lewis), Eric Bibb released his first album almost 50 years ago. He grew up in the blues, but he has long been much, much more than simply a bluesman. He has travelled and lived extensively outside the United States, sought inspiration in African music, and refined his technique through contact with other styles and musicians. Dear America, released in the year of his 70th birthday, is a kind of return to his roots. This is a historian's album, which visits some tragic pages of Afro-American history in song. Musically, this is a record rooted in blues, soul and gospel choirs. These are genres so old and well-worn that one wonders how musicians can still draw life from them without falling into clichés. But Eric Bibb succeeds, and with young-at-heart verve, he transforms this return to the roots into an elixir of youth. He does not handle this old music like an antiques dealer, but like a craftsman or a sculptor who is perpetually dazzled by the forms that emerge from the raw material. The picking is soft, the tempo laid-back, and all the tracks here are bathed in a sober elegance. He moves from blues to acoustic soul or folk with a unique fluidity that he shares with his musicians, including drummer Steve Jordan, bassist Ron Carter, guitarist Eric Gales, singers Shaneeka Simon and Lisa Mills. This is an album of American music by a zen master of the form. © Stéphane Deschamps/Qobuz
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Blues - Released August 13, 2021 | Provogue Records

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Blues - Released June 4, 2021 | Provogue Records

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Blues - Released May 27, 2021 | Provogue Records

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Blues - Released April 30, 2021 | Provogue Records

How Blue Can You Get collects a selection of unreleased material from the late Gary Moore's archives. Included are takes of Freddie King's "I'm Tore Down," Elmore James' "Done Somebody Wrong," and Memphis Slim's "Steppin' Out," alongside some of Moore's own material. © Rich Wilson /TiVo
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Soul - Released April 23, 2021 | Provogue Records

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One of the most gifted of all '60s sidemen, Steve Cropper (Stax house band Booker T. & the M.G.'s guitarist and Otis Redding's co-writer on "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay"), has a rocky history when it comes to solo records. Several attempts in the '80s on which he tried his hand at vocals were eminently forgettable though he scored a notable success with 2011's Dedicated, the all-star tribute to The 5 Royales that featured a raft of vocal stylists from Sharon Jones to Steve Winwood. Perhaps trying to dispel some of the ghosts from those previous misfires, the guitarist, now nearing 80, is calling Fire it Up "the first Steve Cropper album since 1969." Along with longtime friend and multi-instrumentalist Jon Tiven and bombastic vocalist Roger C. Reale, once of long lost '70s punk pop band Rue Morgue, Cropper has fashioned ten tracks from what he calls "old grooves" he's had in his head for years, many of which faintly recall his Stax glory days. A long list of guest drummers headed by Anton Fig and Simon Kirke add their stick skills but what's curiously lacking here are more trademark solos from Cropper himself. While everything he plays is worth hearing, he's never featured on any tracks outside the opening and closing instrumentals "Bush Hog, Pt. 1" and "Pt. 2" which for some reason are then combined into a final track titled just "Bush Hog." If there's a Stax-flavored gem here it's "One Good Turn," a midtempo number with Cropper's friend Felix Cavaliere of the Rascals on organ and Cropper's most realized solo in his signature single note style. Unlike the vocal wonders to be found on Dedicated, Fire It Up will ultimately be judged on Reale's shouted vocals which have more volume than warmth or nuance. Also, in an odd twist, the horns heard on many tracks—always a Stax trademark—are not credited and seem to all be keyboard effects rather than actual players. A mixed bag from an old pro. © Robert Baird/Qobuz
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Blues - Released March 19, 2021 | Provogue Records

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Blues - Released January 22, 2021 | Provogue Records

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Blues - Released November 27, 2020 | Provogue Records

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Jazz - Released November 13, 2020 | Provogue Records

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Recorded at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in 2019, Weekend in London captures legendary singer/guitarist George Benson in an intimate performance that marks his first official concert recording in 30 years. Produced by Kevin Shirley, the album finds Benson framed in illustrious fashion, backed by a funky jazz ensemble, strings, and a horn section. In many ways, the record brings to mind his classic 1978 live album Weekend in L.A. and finds him reinvestigating many of his most beloved recordings. The album opens with an effusive take on his 1980 hit "Give Me the Night" that perfectly sets the tone for the vintage '70s and early-'80s soul-jazz vibes that follow. We get equally inspired readings of cuts like "Turn Your Love Around," "Nothing's Gonna Change My Love for You," and "Never Give Up on a Good Thing." Benson also dips into his varied catalog, offering a rendition of Dave Bartholomew's "I Hear You Knocking" off his 2019 album Walking to New Orleans: Remembering Chuck Berry and Fats Domino, as well as a stirring take on Donny Hathaway's "The Ghetto," which he first covered on 2000's Absolute Benson. Although 76 years old at the time of recording, Benson sounds as engaged as ever, even as his bright tenor croon has gained just a modicum of grit and gravitas in the years since Weekend in L.A. marked him as an R&B superstar. Weekend in London is a fitting showcase for Benson's smooth jazz skills and a further reminder of his soulful legacy. © Matt Collar /TiVo
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Blues - Released August 28, 2020 | Provogue Records

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The life of a traveling blues musician isn't easy. The vocation is rife with loneliness, bad food, cheap hotels, and lack of sleep. Walter Trout is a survivor of that life (just barely). During the late 1960s and '70s, he worked the road with Big Mama Thorton, Joe Tex, and John Lee Hooker. In the 1980s, it was Canned Heat and John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. He's led his own bands since 1990 and experienced cycles of triumph, tragedy, alcohol and narcotic addiction, and recovery from a near-fatal liver transplant that required two surgeries. Trout's dues are paid and then some. Ordinary Madness was produced by longtime collaborator Eric Corne and cut in analog at guitarist Robby Krieger's studio. Its many surprises reveal it to be unlike any other record in his large catalog. Its 11 songs detail with brutal honesty incidents of childhood and adult trauma, struggles with mental, emotional, and physical health issues, personal shortcomings, and more, all without grousing. The title track is introduced with ambient electronics before emerging a slow, intense guitar blues, appended by organ, electric piano, and rhythm section. Trout's harrowing lyrics portray a mind observing itself in an act of self-destruction, frustrated by its lack of control: "It feels like a stalker, that's always around/It's an interior talker, that's trying to take you down." His slow, screaming solo ratchets the intensity. "Wanna Dance" is a scorching hard rocker examining life on the edge, soothed by music and the motion it dictates. "Heartland" is a love song that weds electric and acoustic guitars to an intricate roots rock melody. The uncharacteristically tender "My Foolish Pride" unflinchingly reflects on Trout's failures with hard-earned wisdom and equanimity -- as well as the influence the '70s singer/songwriter era: "Ain't it hard/when you've got no one but yourself to blame." "The Sun Is Going Down" is singular in Trout's recording career. It's a slow, droning, desert-tinged blues, drenched in Hendrix-ian psychedelia. Trout borrows from the Delta blues in the opening line, "Stones in my passway...," before addressing the inevitable encounter with mortality in his own words, "And time has no mercy, it just don't seem to care," then cuts loose with the first of two blistering solos in overdrive. In "Make It Right," he employs funky Chicago blues and soulful vocals in trying to make amends with his beloved before the clock runs out. There is real anger and frustration in his solo, while the band pushes hard for more. Set closer "OK Boomer" is a perfect manifesto for Trout as a guitar slinger nearing 70. He turns the generational insult on its head with raucous, loud, dirty hard rock blues that's indebted to records by early Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin. On Ordinary Madness, Trout takes unprecedented chances with his legacy. His musical and lyrical depth reveal an overflowing abundance of restless creativity. This album is perfect for American audiences to finally embrace Trout as a blues icon; Europeans did that decades ago. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released April 3, 2020 | Provogue Records

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Blues - Released February 28, 2020 | Provogue Records

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Blues - Released February 21, 2020 | Provogue Records

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Louisiana guitar slinger Sonny Landreth returns to the studio with his quartet two years after 2017's Grammy-nominated Recorded Live in Lafayette. Blacktop Run is more than just a new studio outing, however. Landreth reunites with producer R.S. Field for the first time since 2005's Grant Street. Field produced Landreth's three breakout sets for Zoo as well as several later albums. He is a studio empath and extends artists full faith and credit. Landreth possesses a distinct sound to be sure, direct, resonant, and simple, but he's restless when it comes to experimenting with styles. He juxtaposes, combines, and balances them with alarming regularity and reckless abandon. But he always anchors them into easily relatable grooves. He and the band recorded live to tape at Dockside Studios. Landreth's band includes keyboardist Steve Conn, drummer Brian Brignac, and bassist David Ranson. The guitarist wrote eight of these ten tunes; Conn penned the other two, which include the stellar instrumental "Beyond Borders," a jam that melds hard Southern swamp rock, electric slide blues, and Latin cumbia. The opening title track begins with fingerpicked National Steel guitar, a droning bassline, washboard, and bumping tom-toms. Landreth's singing voice at almost 70 years of age is better than ever: he glides through the lyrics, allowing his guitar to help carry them with his deft plectrum and slide-guitar picking, often in the same line. The tune is a rambling blues, infused with the energy of a pickup rolling down the open highway. "Lover Dance with Me" is a dirty Cajun blues instrumental with funky overtones. Landreth's scorching leads crisscross jazz, R&B, and garage rock on his way to blues while Ranson's bass growls with distorted passion in the backdrop propelling him forward. "Mule" is a Cajun stomper complete with button accordion; zydeco and Delta blues melt together on a honky tonk dancefloor. "Groovy Goddess" is a spiky instrumental showcasing Landreth's electric slide-playing swing. It has a hooky chorus line inserted to break up the pyrotechnics, but only holds them in check momentarily "Somebody Gotta Make a Move" is a cautionary tale with a reggae-cum-R&B backbeat injected into swamp blues. "Don’t Ask Me" brings the acoustic National Steel back to the fore in front of a shuffling drumkit and singing accordion. While "Many Worlds" commences as a slow-ish Americana tune, Landreth's nasty electric slide delves deep into shades of Southern blue. "Something Grand" is a country song written by Landreth. Accompanied by martial snares and a shimmering, soulful Hammond B-3, Landreth's fingerpicked acoustic frames a vulnerable lyric that amounts to narrative poetry. It argues the place for love: one that heals tragedy, ruin, and broken promises. It sends Blacktop Run out on notes of tenderness and mercy born of grit. Landreth and Field bring out the best in one another. They are symbiotic in their restless energies and experimental visions, and have consistently delivered excellence together; Blacktop Run is no exception. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Blues - Released February 14, 2020 | Provogue Records

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