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Maple Blues Archive


Sept 2020 – Elvin Bishop and Charlie Musselwhite

Elvin Bishop and Charlie Musselwhite 100 Years of Blues Alligator Records

Nobody should look to veteran guitarist Elvin Bishop and old-timer harmonica blower Charlie Musselwhite for political blues music, nor should they. What they present on 100 Years of Blues, set to drop Sept. 25, is reliable entertainment of the front-porch, down-home, shoot-the-electric-breeze kind.

Sept 2020 – Fantastic Negrito

Fantastic Negrito Have You Lost Your Mind Yet? Cooking Vinyl/Warner

Though the title of the Oakland-bred bluesman Fantastic Negrito’s third album ends in a question mark, it’s more a reasonable suggestion than a question looking for an answer. Because if you’re not out of your mind these days, you’re probably not paying attention.
“All kind of things can happen in the world,” chants the artist who was born Xavier Amin Dphrepaulezz, on the hand-clapped interlude Shigamabu Blues. Sure, all kinds of things can happen – we knew that. But all at the same time?

Sept 2020 – Brian Blain

Brian Blain I’m Not Fifty Anymore Independent

Brian Blain was born Sept. 11, 1946. I’ll let the mathematics enthusiasts figure out his age, but Blain is old enough to know that there’s no sense putting out an album if one doesn’t have something worthwhile to say.
With I’m Not Fifty Anymore, Blain offers topical and occasionally personal middle-of-the-road blues in accessible, avuncular ways.

Sept 2020 – David Rotundo Band

David Rotundo Band So Much Trouble Dreams We Share

The harp-blowing Canadian singer David Rotundo is associated with a happy kind of blues. His music jumps and jives, shakes and rattles, and almost always rolls. Maybe his smiled mood has something to do with wintering in Mexico, which is something he does.

Sept 2020 – Dione Taylor

Dione Taylor Spirits in the Water Matay Records
On an album of shimmering gospel and swampy Americana sounds, the chanteuse Dione Taylor has got those restless dropped-G blues. Take, for example, the existential questioning of Where I Belong, in which the Regina-born, church-raised singer is runnin’ and searchin’ and has to “keep on movin’.”

On the acoustic-slide-driven Down the Bloodline, the song’s protagonist is “runnin’ and runnin’ down the line.”
There’s a chugging, clapping Slim Harpo groove to Workin’. Taylor sings about cookin’, cleanin’ and “always dancin’ for the man.”

Sept 2020 – Top Blues

This month’s recommended listening by Greg Torrington, programmer of Stingray’s blues channels.

Sept 2020 – Loose Blues News

Something in the Water? What do Dione Taylor, Brian Blain and Michael Schatte have in common? They’re all releasing new CDs this month and all three of them have a strong focus on water. Dione Taylor’s new album is called Spirits in the Water, Brian Blain’s first single from his new album is “The Water Song” and “Water In the Kettle” is the opening cut from Michael Schatte’s new album. All three releases will be premiered on TBS channels and socials this month (see “Mark Your Calendar” for details).

September 2020 – Salome Bey

  • Remembering Salome Bey: 1933-2020

August 2020 – Book Review – Brother Robert: Growing Up With Robert Johnson

With the publication last summer of “Up Jumped The Devil: The Real Life of Robert Johnson” by Gayle Dean Wardlow and Bruce Conforth, we discovered there was previously unknown Memphis chapter in his history. Incidentally this book has won the Penderyn Prize for the best music book of any kind. We now have as full a description of the solid family life there as we’re ever likely to have.

August 2020 – Cootes Paradise

Cootes Paradise is, as you’ll recall, both the former name of the town of Dundas and a beautiful park. Their self-titled first album was nominated for a Maple Blues Award and we are now treated to the follow up. Downstream features all the veterans that made that first one led by the co-vocalists Sue Leonard and Wayne Krawchuk. They call their sounds roots and blues but for this album at least they are into a bluesy soulful blend.

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