Previews & Reviews
Paul Rishell and Annie Raines
A Night in Woodstock
Mojo Rodeo MOJR1950
Moreland & Arbuckle
Northern Blues Music NBM0044
Paul Rishell and Annie Raines, along with Moreland & Arbuckle, are two Dynamic Duos of the guitar-harp-and-vocal acoustic blues. Moreland & Arbuckle is actually a trio, for, in addition to Aaron Moreland, guitars, and Dustin Arbuckle, harp and vocal, there is Brad Horner on drums, adding a nicely rocked-up feeling to the music that serves importantly in making Moreland & Arbuckle’s blues a hybrid between city and country styles.
From the Bluff
Swirldisc SD 78453 630
Memphis six-man band FreeWorld’s fifth CD, From the Bluff, is a delightful admixture of influences: horn-driven soul/funk rhythms, modern jazz, Frank Zappa cacophonic sound mixtures and 1960s to early 1970s rock, with powerful sound lyrics that are both streetwise and philosophical, in the best of the San Francisco hippie tradition.
FreeWorld was founded in 1987, when its bassist/lead and backing singer, Richard Cushing, approached legendary Memphis jazz saxman Dr. Herman Green about forming a band. Now 78, Green had played and recorded with the likes of B.B. King, Miles Davis, Lionel Hampton, John Coltrane, Clark Terry, Bob Weir and many others in a 63-year career.
It Must Be the Blues
Brent Bennett Music
Bookends from the Soul
The summer crop of new CDs brought solid new offerings from three strong singer/songwriter/guitarists in the Central Indiana region. All are steeped in the blues, although, as they show on these new CDs, they are each comfortable and convincing in other genres as well. Below are three thumbnail sketches of the new summer CDs from Brent Bennett, Fast Johnny and Jethro Easyfields.
08.20.42 - 08.10.08
01.10.17 - 08.15. 08
Two of the greats of soul, R&B, recently died within five days of each other. Isaac Hayes, as close to a one-man definition of soul music for the late 1960s and early 1970s as one gets, died Aug. 10. He was 65.
Five days later, one of the greatest soul, R&B and blues record producers of all time, Jerry Wexler, passed on also, at age 91. The passing of both leaves a hole in the soul of the music they both cherished and did so much to nurture and develop. "The Sky Is Cryin'" indeed, as Elmore James, Albert King and Stevie Ray Vaughan all told us in song earlier.
But this end is just the beginning, for the magnificent legacies both men left. So it's appropriate to exult with the late Little Milton also, "The Blues Is Alright." The blues masters come and go, but the blues -- and its babies, rock, soul, R&B, live on, and on, and on!
Emanuel Young with Howard Glazer and the EL 34s
Live in Detroit
recorded live at The Halligan Bar, Detroit, Michigan
Random Chance RCD-35
Howard Glazer and the EL 34s
Liquor Store Legend
Random Chance RCD33
Detroit blues vocalist/guitarist Emanuel Young is described in the short biography included on the sleeve notes to Live in Detroit as a "living Detroit legend." He's been playing the blues in the Motor City since the end of the 1950s and held one of the longest runs in Detroit musical history as host of blues night at Cooley's Lounge from 1978 until the place closed in 2005.
He's played with many of the greats of Detroit blues, including a year-and-a-half stint with John Lee Hooker, and has also played with Albert King, Jimmy Reed and Martha Reeves, lead singer with the Motown soul group Martha and the Vandellas.
It's good to be back in the saddle again! Recurring viral infections have kept me away from my computer keyboard, so that this is my first "Blues and More" column since Feb. 24. I'm happy to be able to devote it to another top regional blues-based group, Indianapolis's Stone Martin Band, same as I had the honorable pleasure of devoting my Feb. 9 column to Mike Milligan and Steam Shovel.
The Stone Martin Band describes itself as an "eclectic, blues-oriented show band" whose repertoire not only includes modern blues, but also ample soul and funk, and blues classics from the 1940s and early 1950s revamped in contemporary blues and blues-rock arrangements, a la Buddy Guy, Albert King and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Covered material ranges from Muddy Waters to James Brown, and also includes band originals.
Unrequited love, artistic failure, death, and--comedy?
It might seem odd, given the first three themes, but comedy is undeniably present from the start of The Seagull, the IU Department of Theatre and Drama's latest production of Anton Chekhov's 1895 classic, when Masha comments, "I'm in mourning for my life" to Medvedenko, the schoolmaster who is desperately in love with her.
Chekhov's play, though centered on the depressing aspects of the human experience, also points out the humorous -- and often ridiculous -- elements to even the most painful moments in life. And the IU production, which opened this past Tuesday at the Ruth N. Halls Theatre at the Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center, highlights this well, thanks to the cast and set design.
The Seagull is the final MFA thesis project for several of the students involved in its production -- including director Erik Friedman, actress Allison Moody (Arkadina), scenic designer Chris Wych and lighting designer JoJo Percy -- and all should be pleased with the result.
Two recent benefits for members of Indianapolis's blues community were three positive things: 1.) an outpouring of solidarity and compassion for "its own" when they developed major medical problems (and corresponding expenses); 2.) significant and helpful philanthropic fundraisers; and 3.) outstanding displays of blues talent and musicianship. They were displays of Indianapolis's blues community at its best, outpourings of love, artistry and devotion from fans and artists alike.
Cardinal Stage Company is doing it again. And this time, the star is -- a goat.
On Feb. 22, O Lovely Glowworm, or Scenes of Great Beauty, will open at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. It is sponsored by Cardinal's 2007-08 season sponsor, Irwin Union Bank, and is a part of Arts Week, an IU community winter arts festival.
According to the news release for the production, O Lovely Glowworm is "the outrageously funny and profoundly moving story of a goat desperately trying to figure out who he is, where he is and why he is."
I've had the pleasure of knowing Mike Milligan for a decade now and during this time watch him grow as a guitarist and musician, a songwriter and a singer, becoming, with his band Steam Shovel, national-quality blues-rock performers who are respected as such -- while still continuing to live in Central Indiana!
Mike, now 36, and the two other permanent members of Mike Milligan and Steam Shovel -- brother Shaun, 33, bassist, and Robert "Tiny" Cook, drummer -- are all full-time musicians, although "Tiny" is also an engineer for Escience, a multi-million dollar home theater company that's made home theaters for former Indiana Pacers star Reggie Miller, pizza entrepreneur Papa John and the Drake Hotel. Mike formed Steam Shovel in 1993, with Shaun joining in 2000, and Cook in 2005.