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L.A. Beat

CD Reviews


Jerry Leger spins yarns about the beaten down and downtrodden

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Toronto songwriter Jerry Leger and his fabulous band the Situation’s new CD “Early Riser” is an excellent slice of alternative country music and folk, with just a touch of the blues.

 Click Here to hear Jerry LegerHis weather and road wearied, raspy voice sounds a well worn and beaten down as the characters in his songs.

He sounds very similar to Americana star Rodney Crowell, right from the first track  “Factory Made”  which has a beautiful fiddle solo and carries that feel through to  one of my favourites “Cashing In” which is marked by mournful steel guitar.

His voice is immediately appealing as he tells stories of the broken down and beaten.

 “ Pretty Girl In and Ugly  World” is  an uptempo rocker that reflects this quite well.
“ Got Myself a Thinking is another uptempo rocker.”

James Mckie plays some fine fiddle throughout and a beautiful guitar solo on  the blues tinged “No Woman’s Man.”

 On the other hand, “To Let Me Go” has a ’60s pop feel.
There are a couple of really bluesy tracks including  “Bad Ole Dog.”  
Women going through tough times is  prevalent theme of a lot of the songs as he shows his laid back folky side on the sad “Nobody’s Angel”  and “Bad Penny.”

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
CD: Early Riser
Artist: Jerry Leger
Genres: Alternative country

Jack DeKeyzer shows subtle taste and feel on new live CD

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Two time Juno award winning Toronto bluesman Jack DeKeyzer is a Canadian treasure and he is ready to boogie on his new live CD “Voodoo Boogie.” Click here to Hear Jack DeKeyzer

 Throughout the CD, which was recorded in Hamilton back  on May 1, 2009, he has a very subtle, and often jazzy feel to his guitar playing.

 The show includes a variety of  DeKeyzer  originals and various jams on blues classics like “Shake your Moneymaker” and “You Shook Me,” obscurities like  J.B Lenoir’s “ Voodoo Woman” and he gets to show off his soulful voice on  R and B classic “Heard it through the Grapevine.”

 He shows  off his jazz chops on “Cinderella,”but cuts loose on a seven minute jam on “Cinderella” which features a tasty saxophone solo from Chris Murphy which draws  some polite applause from the audience and a drum solo.

  The rhythm section, bassist Allan Duffy and drummer David Colter play in the pocket throughout especially on “Cinderella.”
DeKeyzer has an amazing, tasteful feel throughout the set,  which focuses on material from his first two CD and blues classics but shows some impressive licks like on “Pleasure is My Business.”
 He shows some rock and roll roots on “Rock Till You drop,” which features an upbeat boogie woogie piano solo from  David  “Groove Dr.” McMorrow who also adds also vintage organ throughout the CD adding extra musical colours.

I love his  toe tapping take on Elmore James’ “Shake Your Moneymaker.”
He isn’t afraid to sit back and relax a little like on his jazzy, laid back and groovy cover of ”All Along the Watchtower.”
The J.B Lenoir cover of “Voodoo Boogie” and “C.O.D, ” which doesn’t appear anywhere else in his back catalogue,  is a highlight as is the beautiful version of  the slow blues “ You Shook Me” which lets him cut loose on guitar.
The entire CD is  a beautiful slice of blues, capturing   the man in his element— on stage.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
CD: Voodoo Boogie
Artist: Jack DeKeyzer
Genre: Blues
Record label: Blue Star Records

Lee Palmer embraces acoustic roots and lots of slide on 60 Clicks

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Lee Palmer Is doing what he does— playing  laid back mid tempo blues on his latest CD “60 Clicks.”Click here to hear Lee Palmer's 60 Clicks
 His band, the One Take Players supply some fine, easy to listen to  mid tempo acoustic  blues music which veer  lot towards the folk end of things from the first track “ Do What I Does.”
 There is a lot of country, real roots country influence  on the CD with lots of slide  guitar and dobro, especially on “Parent's Child.”

It is not all country, though,  “Waiting on My Love to Come” is a laid back acoustic blues number with a strong groove.

 The harp is front and centre on this CD and he has a crack  group of musicians playing beautiful acoustic grooves including percussionist Al Cross, upright bassist Alec Fraser, acoustic and Spanish guitarist Elmer Ferrerr, harmonica player Roly Platt and Burke Carroll playing all things slide. Wendell Ferguson plays on a couple of the more countryish tracks “Wrong Not To Write” and one of the few electric tracks on the CD “Fighting the Blues” and Neil Donnell sings background vocals.

Lee Palmer himself sings in his velvety baritone and plays guitar.
 It sounds like he got the whole gang together on their balcony one humid summer night, just to drink a few beers and break out the acoustic instruments.

Things are too Good to be Blue” sums up the feel of the CD. It is one of the more jazz tinged numbers which reminds me of Hills and Lemelin.

The title Track “60 Clicks”  is a beautiful tribute to  a friends of his who passed away.
“Changed Man” is a very pretty Spanish influenced number which also features on of many sweet slide guitar/ steel guitar solos.

“ Fighting the Blues” is a is a little more up tempo and reflects  fellow Southern Ontario roots band Blackie and the Rodeo Kings.

 His voice is reminiscent of Blackie and the Rodeo Kings' Tom Wilson.
 He ends his CD on an energetic, foot-stomping rave up full of more excellent slide  guitar and harp on “Together We Roll.” which brings together all of the best the CD has to offer — lots of slide, lots of harp and lots of laid back acoustic grooves.

— By Richard Amery, l.A. Beat Editor
CD: 60 Clicks
Artist: Lee Palmer
 Genre: blues/ roots/ country

Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer expand their sound

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Vancouver blues duo Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer are back with a fine new album “ A Real Fine Mess.”
They have spread their wings a little as they explore the sounds of the ’60s  touching on ’60s pop to R and B music and take a few beautiful detours along the way.Click here to Hear Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer
 I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time.
They are more their own band than your typical Black Keys style blues influenced duo.
The CD features plenty of fine harp playing from “Harpoonist” harp player /vocalist some time bassist Shawn Hall.
They wind down the CD with a kind of gospel influenced rave up featuring the unstoppable drums of “Axe Murderer” / guitarist/drummer keyboardist Matthew Rogers who sounds like he must have three or four extra hands considering all of the instruments he plays simultaneously.
 The duo add a more ’70s funk/ R and B sound which comes to the fore on  “Closer to Death” and the first track “ Back and Blue.”

 Tom Heuckendorff also plays keyboards and organ on the CD. There are a lot of highlights on the CD.
 “Do Whatcha” is a mid tempo groover that is most reminiscent of their previous work and has a catchy, sing along chorus.
 Another hot one is the spooky “They Just Don't Make them Like They Used To.”
There are several tracks that have a ’60sish soulful vibe like the sexy “Feel Me Now.” They have also added a few other musicians on the CD including tenor saxophonists Chris Startup and Brock Miller and baritone sax player Chad Makela, who play on the background of this track.
“In and Out of Love” has a Bo Diddley old school blues boogie feel thanks to the harp and the groove. “In the End ” also has a vintage blues / ’60s sound.
  “Mama's in the Backseat,” is a highlight as it is one of Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer’s beloved blues rock scorchers with a fantastic harp solo and the drums and guitar locked in with each other.
 “ My Paradise” has a similarly toe tapping groove and background vocals which add to the ’60s sound of the CD.
The CD ends on a slower, groovy note with “A Real Fine Noise“ which features and interesting warbling harp solo which reminded me of Carlos Del Junco.

 — By Richard Amery,  L.A.  Beat Editor
 CD: A Real Fine Mess
Band: Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer
Genre: Blues

New music from Paul Kype and Texas Flood is a long time comin’

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The long awaited CD from Paul Kype and Texas Flood  is truly a “long time comin’.”
 After a tasteful intro which only gives a taste of Kype’s talent on guitar, the cd starts with a roots rock cover of AC DC's “Bad Boy Boogie” — one of several  cool covers including blues standard “ Walking By Myself” and “ You Don’t Love Me.”Click here to hear Paul Kype and texas Flood

Though there are several subtle guitar solos, the CD is not really about the guitar solo as I would have expected from Kype who is a pretty phenomenal guitar picker, but about the songs.

There are many upbeat, catchy originals which show off Kype’s vocals and steady rhythm.
 He has a talented band backing him on CD — the same band who play with him live.Greg Gomola adds extra guitar throughout.

 Earl McAuly‘s keyboards are a highlight throughout the CD especially on  the honky  the barrelhouse boogie “ Hair All Tangled,” which also features some nice slide guitar. The keyboards are usually pretty subtle , though come to the fore on tracks like their cover of “Hair All Tangled”  but help drive the songs. The tender, slower blues “I Can Only Love You” is a highlight.

Kype is at his finest when he picks up the tempo on tracks like “Baby You Ain’t The One, Heed the Call” and Rattle My Chains, to name a few.
He  explores his county side on slower songs like “ Cowgirl,” which feature Ryan “Skinny ” Dyck on steel guitar.
 Craig Erdman and Tyson Maiko both share bass duties a while Jerry Adolph and Brady Valgardson share drum duties.
 there are a lot of highlights including “Heed the Call” and “Rattle My Chains,” which has a catchy , bluesy groove.
They end with a rollicking version of blues classic “Walking By Myself.”

— By Richard Amery, L.A. beat Editor
CD: Long Time Comin’
Band: Paul Kype and Texas Flood
Genre: blues/rock
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