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Blues - Released February 8, 2019 | Provogue Records

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Blues - Released October 5, 2018 | Provogue Records

It took Doyle Bramhall II 15 years to deliver Rich Man, the sequel to 2001's Welcome, but only two to follow that 2016 record with Shades. Appropriately, Shades feels looser than its predecessor and more direct, too. Where Rich Man was dotted with epics, Bramhall keeps things generally concise on Shades, and he also firmly grounds the album in soul. The first sounds on Shades may recall the thick, heavy blues grooves of the Black Keys but by the time Bramhall gets to the chorus of "Love and Pain," he spins the song into classic '60s R&B. He's too restless a musician to stay there -- with the Greyhounds, he kicks up some noise on "Live Forever," the Tedeschi Trucks Band pulls out some deep blues on a cover of Bob Dylan's "Going Going Gone," and he indulges in psychedelia on "Parvanah" -- but he keeps circling back to sounds steeped in Southern soul. It results in a more cohesive album than its predecessor, but it's the lack of fussiness that makes Shades a better record: now that he's just knocking out songs and records, his music feels bracing and immediate. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Blues - Released July 20, 2018 | Provogue Records

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The Apocalypse Blues Revue is coming back strong with this second album released by Provogue, The Shape Of Blues To Come. A rather dangerous music! Did the Florida-based American band sell their soul to the devil in exchange for such mastery of electric blues? The question can be raised. Made up of Shannon Larkin (drums), Brian Carpenter (bass), Ray Cerbone (vocals) and Tony Rombola (guitar), the quartet respects the essence of blues while still imposing their own style. Right from the first track, Open Spaces, the suspense is at its peak. A gong, followed by whispers, then a deep, wearisome singing, almost voodoo-esque. In 2016, the band had already taken this path down to the purgatory with their first eponymous album. Two years later, they venture towards hell itself, for a diabolical concert. Between metal and roots music, the Apocalypse Blues Revue is capable of composing around blues as well as moving away from it. With them, boredom is forbidden. Incendiary riffs, an energetic voice swinging on the chorus of Have You Heard?! and carried by Larkin’s rhythmic force… There’s nothing to envy to heaven! There is a Morrison vibe to To Hell With You, but in this case Jim would be dressed in a rather Goth style to announce the apocalypse and the quartet’s takeover. © Anna Coluthe/Qobuz
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Blues - Released July 20, 2018 | Provogue Records

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Blues - Released July 29, 2016 | Provogue Records

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Blues - Released July 5, 2013 | Provogue Records

Omar Dykes, of Omar & the Howlers, pays tribute to blues icon Howlin' Wolf on Runnin' with the Wolf. All of the tracks on this disc were written by either Wolf or Willie Dixon except for the Omar original "Runnin' with the Wolf." Dykes stays close to the original versions of these songs, which most listeners have heard in some form or other: "The Red Rooster," "Back Door Man," "Smokestack Lightning," "Wang Dang Doodle," and "Killin' Floor." That doesn't mean these are straight covers. The passion in the performances is undeniable, but so is the fun these musicians are obviously having. Dykes has the perfect voice for this project and is complemented by Derek O'Brien on guitar, Ronnie James on bass, Ted Roddy on harp, and Wes Starr on drums along with Mark Kazanoff and Les Izmore on saxophones, Nick Connolly on organ, and Mike Buck on percussion. © Al Campbell /TiVo
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Blues - Released June 7, 2013 | Provogue Records

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Blues - Released April 20, 2012 | Provogue Records

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Blues - Released October 7, 2011 | Provogue Records

Maybe you didn’t think blues-rocker Popa Chubby was the type to offer poignant social commentary, but title track “Back to New York City” -- and arguably, most of this album -- is a rocking response to a full decade passing since the 9/11 attacks. Think of this as a semi-sequel to the 9/11 commentary “Somebody Let the Devil Out” from his 2002 album The Good, the Bad and the Chubby and this passionate yet scattered set of tunes begins to make sense as it takes George W. Bush’s 2001 comment that America should “enjoy life, the way we want it to be enjoyed” in an entirely more anti-establishment direction. After all, Chubby’s decision to join Bush’s optimist club comes after ten years of anger (Peace, Love and Respect, 2004) and rage (The Fight Is On, 2010) and it’s delivered with a Leonard Cohen cover (the apocalyptic “The Future”) and a straight rock (as in almost AC/DC) call to arms called “It’s About You.” These grand, well-written social statements seemed to dominate the other material before, but switching to more carnal pleasures (“She Made Me Beg for It”) and clever guitar virtuoso material (“Jesus Joy of Man’s Desire”) is a much easier transition now as Chubby attacks all with equal desire. No matter what the topic, he sounds like a gigantic guitar machine coming down the mountain, or Stevie Ray Vaughan morphing into the Hulk, making Back to New York City a well-rounded effort with absolutely no sense of selling out. © David Jeffries /TiVo
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Rock - Released September 16, 2011 | Provogue Records

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Rock - Released August 26, 2011 | Provogue Records

Boogie/blues-rock slide guitarist Sardinas has a lot going for him: a snarling attack that can be acoustic or amplified to 11, and a killer live show that leaves him, along with his tight two-piece backing unit and most of the audience, drenched in sweat. Unfortunately, his debit column includes a hoarse voice with minimal range, a predilection to shout instead of sing, and a narrow, melodic songwriting style he seems content to milk every drop out of. While his previous release tamped down some of these limitations with a larger palate and somewhat more intricate arrangements, he's returned to a stripped-down sound for this one. Fans won't mind, since he's slinging out typically fiery licks amid all the bluster, but with by-the-numbers, occasionally misogynistic boogie rockers about tired, even clichéd concepts such as "Full Tilt Mama," "Road to Ruin," and "Burning Sugar," this is not going to expand his relatively narrow reach. What's particularly frustrating is that Sardinas has studied and understands the great slide guitar playing country/Delta bluesmen, and should be capable of more variation and imagination in his own music. Instead, he aims for lowest common denominator: hell-raising boogie which, even when energized by female backing vocals or guest organ, doesn't color outside its own limited lines. A solo acoustic, unaccompanied "Ratchet Blues" heads in the right direction, but at under two minutes, it's little more than a diversion from the full-throttle attack that follows on "Behind the 8," the album's only instrumental. That track is filled with hot riffs but, like the majority of Sardinas' work, lacks the subtleties that separate great bluesmen from the also-rans. With his resonator guitar and undeniable six-string prowess, he's a talented and distinctive enough player to be able to elevate his music above the amped up, dumbed down performances on Sticks & Stones. © Hal Horowitz /TiVo