DarielB – Flying Under the Radar

CD Picks: Stocking Stuffers

Posted in CD Picks by darielb on December 2, 2009
Normally around this time of year, I write a piece about my favorite CDs, but this year I thought I’d change it just a little. So here are some stocking stuffer ideas from other folks who listen to a lot of music!
Donald Jordan
Guitarist (Craig Woolard Band, formerly with the Embers):
Robert Cray Live From Across The Pond (Vanguard, 2006), because he lets his soul just pour out onto the stage. When he takes his guitar solos you can hear him moaning faintly into the vocal mic. I have seen him many times and if someone has never had the chance to, it is just like being there. It doesn’t sound polished or produced ; it sounds just like Robert does live, which is pure soulful bliss!!
“Orianthi, who was supposed to play guitar with Michael Jackson on his  new tour can kick your ass. She has a new release, Believe (Geffen Records, 2009) that came out a couple of weeks ago. Her new single is kind of pop music, I don’t know yet how the rest of the album sounds but I’m gonna get it. I do have some of her earlier, hard-to- get stuff and it is bluesy in nature and the girl can really play a guitar….. period.”
Michael Buffalo Smith
Musician, author, blogger
I have been loving Billy Bob Thornton’s band The Boxmasters and their whole Modbilly album. (Vanguard, 2009). They covered Michael Nesmith’s “Joanne” and it is great. Listen to The Tommy Talton Band’s Live Notes from Athens (Hittin the Note, 2009). Talton was in the band Cowboy in the 70s and is a killer singer, songwriter and guitarist. I love all music by Paul Thorn, including his latest Long Way From Tupelo (Perpetual Obscurity, 2008). And the new Kris Kristofferson is one I play every day. Closer to the Bone (New West, 2009). Very good…..
Dave Harrison
Blues podcast host
A listener from Australia sent me a copy by Kevin Borich Express called Heartstarter (Self-produced, 2002) … It’s a heavier blues rock CD that also has a boogie John Lee Hooker groove when its not head banging blues.
I’m also listening to a CD that I was sent for possible use for the show from The King Bees called Stingin & Swingin it’s a good CD of a band that has been cranking the blues out for a long time! But I also have two other faves that I stumbled upon at a local music store that sells used CDs. It breaks my heart to see folks get rid of music like this but when you can pick up great blues CDs for $4 each, what a steal!
I picked up a Bryan Lee Greatest Hits CD (Justin Time Records 2003). Great stuff! Finally I stumbled on a Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee CD for $4 called But Not Together (Tomato Music, 2003). Great stuff! Real raw blues delivered the good old fashioned way! Not cleaned up and sanitized… Just great blues!
Michele Seidman
Musician (Michele & the Midnight Blues)
Organizer, National Women in Blues):
Lately I have been playing the Tommy Castro CD Soul Shaker (Blind Pig, 2005) over and over. Even through I love my blues women, this CD has been speaking to me lately and when I had a recent harsh medical procedure, I played it in my MP3 player to try and ignore the pain. Music can be magical.
Tammy Brackett
Moonstruck Productions music publicity
Blogger (alunatunes.wordpress.com):
There is a band from Charlotte, N.C. called Transmission Fields that I am really liking. Only heard stuff online but it is ethereal and cool and hip all at the same time  (myspace.com/transmissionfields). Their CD was released Nov. 24 and is called Words, Numbers and Phonetic Sounds.
Jason “Lefty” Williams
Atlanta, Ga. guitarist/vocalist
Inspiration Information by Shuggie Otis [originally released 1974 (Epic), rereleased 2001 (Luaka Bop) ] cause it’s awesome and funky. The kid was like 13 when he wrote and recorded all of that stuff.
Mary Sack
Artist management
Self-titled Among The Oak & The Ash (Verve Forecast, 2010). This very cool band project from Josh Joplin and Garrison Starr sounds as great live as it does on this record. Brilliant concept of contemporizing traditional PD tunes with a twist. Bonus high energy track: “Big Mouth Strikes Again.”
From Hail The Size,  I Can’t Die In L.A.(Good Drummer Music, 2009) Hail The Size is the L.A.-based songwriting team of Charles Ezell and drummer, Matt North. This is the second record I’ve heard from these fellas and it’s a creeper record. Upon the first listen, the groove is good and perhaps two or three of the well-crafted tunes really stand out. Upon re-listening to those, the rest of the album creeps back in and somehow it all makes great sense and is great fun. Apparently this album was meant for film/tv licensing – but dang, if it doesn’t get me moving through my workday and on the highway. Somewhat infectious.
Robert Erickson
Norwegian music lover and supporter:
Have been listening to many different CDs the last few weeks,and the ones I’ve listened the most to,are:
Delbert McClinton & Dick50 Acquired Taste (New West, deluxe edition).This CD is in our car,so we listen to it every day. Delbert’s been my favorite artist since the early 90s,and even though it took some time to get used to his new album, I now love it! It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Delbert wins another Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album next year; at least he should get a nomination! A Delbert album is always a mix of many musical styles, and that’s one of many reasons you never get tired of listening to his records. Acquired Taste is filled with blues, country, soul, rock and jazz, and is an album I highly recommend!
Wayne Toups & Zydecajun Live 2009 (Swallow Records). Bought this CD a few weeks ago, and really like it! I always get in a good mood when I listen to Wayne Toups, and hearing him live definitely puts the smile on my face! Wayne Toups’ music makes you want to dance, and is filled with Cajun, Zydeco, blues, R&B and a dash of country. Party music from A-Z!
Tommy Castro, Hard Believer (Alligator Records). Have been a fan of Tommy for about ten years,and Hard Believer is his best album so far, in my opinion. Tommy’s a very soulful vocalist, one hell of a guitar player, and is great live! I love horns, and that’s one of many reasons why I like Tommy Castro. Great horn arrangements by Keith Crossan (sax) and Tom Poole (trumpet) on this CD!
Watermelon Slim, Escape From the Chicken Coop (Northern Blues Music, 2009).Heard Watermelon Slim first time three years ago,and have been a fan since! I had already heard rumors about this CD in July 2008, so I bought it straight after it had been released. Watermelon Slim was backed by Delbert McClinton’s great band, Dick 50,   on this album, and ace songwriter Gary Nicholson played on it too, so I knew before I bought it that it would be something special! One of my favorite country albums it has become!
Jonell Mosser Trust Yourself (Better Angels). Jonell Mosser is definitely among my favorite female artists,and her latest album is great! Jonell really puts her heart and soul into her music, and that’s one of many reasons why she’s so special. Will have the pleasure of seeing Jonell live on the Delbert & Friends Sandy Beaches Cruise 16 in Jan. 2010, and I simply can’t wait!
Tommy Womack
(Daddy, previously Government Cheese and the bis-quits); author:
Beck, Guero. The second record he did with the Dust Brothers, the first being the brilliant Odelay.  One thing about Beck that I love is, if you don’t like how a song sounds, give it 15 seconds and it’ll change.

Led Zeppelin, The Song Remains The Same: Expanded Reissue.  This beats the pants off the original double LP. Some of the tracks that appeared on that LP are different takes, and the unreleased stuff is superb.  Jimmy Page wanks all over the place, but it’s wanking of the first order. I can see why people pegged them as devil worshippers.  Jimmy’s guitar playing sounds way more like Satan than anything Charlie Daniels ever dug up in Georgia.

Bill Lauderbach
I’m listening to David Gerald. Great blues artist from Detroit. His CD Hell and Back (self-produced 2009) is amazing. Also listening to a lot of Jason Mraz.
Rickey Godfrey,
I like the new Levon Helm CD, Electric Dirt (Vanguard 2009).  I was really impressed with the Buddy and Julie Miller CD Written in Chalk (New West 2009). Randall Bramblett’s The Future Is Now (New West, 2008) I think a lot of artistically. Fortunately, too, I hear a lot of  rock & roll that my daughter, Heather, has turned me onto like Panic At the Disco’s first CD, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out (Decaydance 2005). Nickelback’s  All the Right Reasons (Roadrunner 2005) and Pappa Roach’s Getting Away With Murder (Geffen 2004). I love The Fray’s album, Over MyHead ( Cable Car) (Bmg Int’l, 2007), especially the title track. What a great communicator that singer is! My daughter also turned me on to the group, Paramore. I think their lead singer, Hayley Williams, is one of the best female singers I’ve heard in a long time.
Kyle Deibler
President, Phoenix Blues Society
I’ll give you three to think about.  The first is Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters disc, Living in the Light (Stony Plain, 2009).  Ronnie is just a fantastic guitarist and always puts out great music.   Much of the disc is instrumental and it is a joy to listen to.  Two others that have caught my ear recently are more obscure.  The first is Woodbrain’s disc, Swimming in Turpentine (Yellow Dog, 2009) and Tom Rigney – Back Porch Blues (Parhelion, self-produced, 2008). Woodbrain is a band out of Portland and is receiving rave reviews for a very fresh and new approach to blues.  Definitely not a traditional approach at all.  Tom Rigney is a violinist and we rarely get to hear that in the blues.  A very enjoyable acoustic disc and one that a lot of folks are finding hard to resist.
Lan Nichols,
Producer & host/ WHQR 91.3FM
Co-director/Cape Fear Blues Festival
Board of directors/Cape Fear Blues Society:
I have the unique position of hearing a lot of music from my work at Public Radio, booking performers for the Cape Fear Blues Festival and just wearing out my music collection at home.  These choices are a reflection of that.
The Bo-Keys, The Royal Sessions (Yellow Dog, 2004) – Sprouting from a 1998 recording session backing the legendary Sir Mack Rice, this 21st century soul-jazz instrumental project is steeped in the Memphis/Stax tradition.  Sports an awesome rhythm section and powerful horn arrangements.
Etta James, The Chess Box (MCA/Chess, 2008) – This re-mastered collection is focused on Etta’s finest work at Chicago’s legendary rhythm & blues label, Chess Records.  It also features previously unreleased material among the 72 tracks on this three-CD set.  You’ll melt when you hear “I’d Rather Go Blind.”
Ottmar Liebert, Nouveau Flamenco (Higher Octave) – This groundbreaking 1990 CD has been re-released with extra tracks showcasing Liebert’s deft guitar work and the flourishes of jazz, pop and world music that frame his later efforts.  Passionate Latin beats and melodies for neither purists nor the faint-of-heart.
Phil Berkowitz, All Night Party (Dirty Cat, 2009) – A San Francisco harp player who has a love for everything from Louis Jordan to Billy Boy Arnold, Berkowitz is all about variety on this new release.  Firmly based in the blues, this CD has a little bit of swing and a whole lot of shuffle goin’ for it.
Dwight Yoakam, Reprise Please Baby! (Rhino, 2002) – An unparalleled, four-disc retrospective of one of country music’s most enigmatic figures, Yoakam blends the aura of Hank Williams with the rhinestone flair of Buck Owens, and marries it seamlessly with blues, twang and rockabilly.  Irresistible and infectious.
Mary Anne McLaurin-Norwood
Blues promoter (LiveBluesWorld.com):
Blue Mother Tupelo – Love Live – Five songs  From the Road (2007), independent release, each CD is “assembled with love” by Micol. Or something like that. They are home burned discs, sold at shows and through their website (I think). They have several CDs out there and just released a new one. If you don’t know BMT, you will LOVE them. If you know who they are, you already love them.
Chris Huff
Self-professed geek, blogger
Okay, so I don’t listen to CDs anymore, it’s all downloaded to iTunes and into my iPod, but as the man says, “It’s still rock and roll to me.”

You might think that a geek like me is listening to the new Star Trek sound track or some obscure folk singer, but I am stranger than any geek you’ve ever met. I’m listening to Tom Waits.

I just downloaded Tom Waits new live album, Glitter and Doom Live (Anti 2009). Recorded from performances across the U.S. and Europe during the 2008 tour, it is Waits at his best.

Why Tom Waits? (And if you don’t know Tom, you are missing out. For the more main stream of you out there, he did the “tango” version of “Roxanne” in Moulin Rouge and “A Little Bit of Poison” for Shrek.) Because, there is nobody else who takes the most hedonistic parts of rock, old time blues and weirdness, twists them together, and produces a style that defies classification and makes you want to hobo across America with a guitar or move to New Orleans and sing about all your ex-lovers on street corner.

Neal “Soul Dog” Furr
Internet Radio Host, Way Down South

All Christmas right now on my Internet show – one particular CD is a compilation from the Ace US label (1999) called Please Come Home for Christmas. Great tracks from Willie Clayton, Charles Brown, Ronnie Lovejoy, Huey Smith etc…..great soul holiday grooves!! SouL Dog
If you’ve got some faves you want to add, please leave a comment! THANKS!
© 2009 Dariel Bendin. Author Dariel Bendin can be reached on the Internet at Facebook.com, Twitter.com/darielb, Live Blues World.com and MySpace.com/culturejunkie.

CD Pick: Daddy/For a Second Time

Posted in CD Picks by darielb on June 3, 2009


For a Second Time
(June 16, 2009)
Label: Cedar Creek Music
Genre: Americana/Alt-country

Well, today’s convoluted music news is that Daddy’s gonna be a daddy for a second time with For a Second Time, and if you understand what I’m talking about, then God love ya and log onto ReverbNation.com/DaddyTheBand PDQ because time’s running out to get your copy of this baby with the name-your-own-price option.

That’s right, the CD hits the streets on June 16 and Daddy’s letting you set the price (plus S&H) until June 6, all in time for Father’s Day.

I first heard about Daddy from Jeff Roberts, owner of the very independent Sounds Better Records in Myrtle Beach, S.C. “You need to know about Daddy,” he told me, “You start out with two solid singer/songwriters who are at different ends of the playing field and the place where they meet is  completely different… it’s like two and two equal five … and they rock!”

He was right, so I did a story about their live Myrtle Beach performance courtesy of South By Southeast [Alternatives NewsMagazine, vol. XXV, No. 2, issue Aug. 28-Sept. 11, 2008] and  later blogged about their first CD, a live recording titled Daddy At the Women’s Club.

For the uninitiated, Daddy, which made its official debut at this year’s SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas,  is made up of five super talented players. Founders and touring duo Tommy Womack and Will Kimbrough deliver rockin’ guitar licks and write some of the wildest songs around. They first worked together in the bis-quits on John Prine’s Oh-Boy! label.We’re talking early 90s. Will was the 2005 Americana Music Association Instrumentalist of the year and Tommy has twice received the Nashville Scene Best Song award.

The rest of Daddy includes monster talents Dave Jacques on bass (John Prine, Emmylou Harris), John Deaderick playing keys (Dixie Chicks, Michael McDonald, Patty Griffin), and Paul Griffith on percussion (John Prine, Todd Snider).

After listening to this bluesy-country group for the last three days, I’m happy to report that the band’s latest offering has been worth the wait. For a Second Time is a ten-track recording that’s classic Daddy – schizophrenic rants that morph into crystal clear observations of life. This little slice of roots-rock Americana with its gospel overtones and rockabilly undertones  gets better with each listen.

Here’s how Tommy describes the opening track, “Nobody From Nowhere:” Will and I wrote this one together with acoustic guitars in my house. I love how the tunes came from that and flowed to a place that sounds like the bayou coastline looks, with flashes of Memphis. You can dance to it. It fuses and Motown and the Allman Brothers like probably never before.”

“Early To Bed, Early To Rise,” is another written and performed by Womack. He says, “It’s a tough song for tough times. I play the part of the curmudgeon commencement speaker who needs to put the fear of God into the young, fresh hearts and minds of this country. Warren Zevon meets Crazy Horse.”

Next up (and the only track not written by one or both) is folk classic, “The Ballad of Martin Luther King,” which comes from singer/songwriter Mike Millius, who reportedly wrote it the same night Dr. King was assassinated.

Track four is “Wash & Fold,” written by Will Kimbrough. Tommy calls it “Will’s tune of love in a laundromat.” The backstory is that it was inspired after bringing some gamey “tour-filthy” laundry to a city laundry and being subjected to utter rudeness after choosing wash-and-fold instead of springing for wash-and-press.

“He Ain’t Right,” track seven features Tommy’s lyrics, Will’s music. Basically, it’s Kimbrough singing Womack’s story.

The melancholy album closer, “Redemption Is a Mother’s Only Son,” was written by Kimbrough and Jeff Finlin, another talented American singer/songwriter traveling under the radar.

For more information, visit the band’s ReverbNation page; go to MySpace.com/DaddyTheBand; or check out YouTube.com/DaddyTheBand.

CD Picks: Daddy, Davis Coen, Pat Pepin

Posted in CD Picks by darielb on March 12, 2009


(2005) http://www.myspace.com/daddytheband
Daddy At the Women’s Club
Genre: Roots Rock

Will Kimbrough and Tommy Womack, who are the backbone of Daddy, may be flying under the radar of the mainstream public, but alternative and roots fans know them well. Kimbrough was the 2005 American Music Association Instrumentalist of the Year. Womack has twice won the Nashville Scene Best Song Award.

Back in the eighties, Kimbrough was the frontman for Will & the Bushmen. About the same time, Womack was part of Government Cheese. They would go on to earn kudos as the post-punk Bis-quits. Together they bring cynicism, humor and needle-sharp song lyrics together with guitar mastery and rockin’ licks. This 14-track CD was recorded live in Frankfort, Ky. and the energy is through the roof. Daddy ranges from a gospel sound on “Glory Be” to  the NPR humor of “I Miss Ronald Reagan” to full-on rock ‘n’ roll with  “Nightmare.” Also playing on the CD are Dave Jacques on bass, John Deaderick on keyboard (who also handles engineer chores) and drummer Paul Griffiths.
Davis Coen
Blues Lights For Yours and Mine
Label: Soundview Records

It’s hard to pigeonhole this CD. It’s both contemporary and traditional; kinda funky and kinda country. Whatever, it is, it’s the blues and I like it. The 11-track disc features a mix of covers and originals. The opening track is a fast paced  original tune titled “Basement With the Blue Light.”

Right out of the gate, the musician hits us with a voice you’re either going to love or hate. Coen’s gravelly voice is ideal for “Jack of Diamonds” and the original “Accelerated Woman.” My favorite track is probably “Mambo Jumbo,” another original by Coen.

The Charleston musician is a regular on the blues circuit. In fact, he’s playing at the Lowcountry Blues Bash going on in Charleston as this goes to press. He’s also one of the contributors to “The Blues,” Martin Scorsese’s PBS television series.
The CD was mixed and recorded by Chris Wimberley at Nightsound Studio in Carrboro, N.C. in Dec. 2007. Davis Coen handles guitar and vocals; drummer is Joe Izzo; Trevor Coen plays electric bass and piano; Adrian Duke also plays piano; Ben Palmer is on doghouse bass; and Lance Ashley is playing organ.

Pat Pepin
Blue Stories
Genre: Blues

I was lucky enough to catch the raw vocals and saxophone of Pat Pepin live at the 2008 National Women In Blues Festival in Wilmington, N.C. last Sept. She blew the roof off the room. Pepin is the daughter of a trucker; she grew up in Maine, one of five kids in a small home with no running water. Her music swells with the hardship and humor of her life.

The 13-track CD includes five originals and eight covers, including a somewhat subdued version of “I’d Rather Go Blind,” penned by Ellington Jordan and Billy Foster and still associated with Etta James. She does a super job with the E. G. Kight-Richard Fleming tune, “A Woman Can Tell.” Originals “Year of the Blues” and “Personal Ad Blues” showcase her ever-present sense of humor. Guitar work by Steve Jones and piano/organ by Bob Colwell.

Tommy Womack, Will Kimbrough at Historic Train Depot, Myrtle Beach, Sept. 13

Posted in Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on September 9, 2008

Jeff Roberts and Seth Funderburk have once again put together a show that’s sure to appeal to alternative music aficionados, adults who still don’t play well with others, and other seekers of truth, insight and wit. On Sept. 13, South By Southeast is bringing Nashville “undersiders” Tommy Womack and Will Kimbrough to the historic Train Depot in Myrtle Beach. Get your tickets now, because – though these guys may be flying under the radar of the mainstream public – alternative buffs know them well.

Singer/songwriter Tommy Womack has become something of a alternative country hero. The Village Voice said of him, “Think Spalding Gray if he’d grown up in Kentucky with a guitar and a vinyl copy of Black and Blue.” He has earned kudos from media outlets and bloggers around the country. Touring now in support of his fifth solo CD, There I Said It, Womack reveals a wicked, sometimes dark, sense of humor in tracks like “Too Much Month At the End of the Xanax” and “Alpha Male and the Canine Mystery Band.”

In addition, the talented writer is releasing his second book, “The Lavender Boys & Elsie,” which is a fictional collection of letters documenting the Civil War’s only all-gay Confederate regiment and other craziness. His 1995 autobiographical memoir of life on the road, “Cheese Chronicles: The True Story of a Rock & Roll Band You Never Heard Of” has become nothing short of a cult classic.

The other half of the duo, Will Kimbrough, is also no stranger to cynicism and humor. His newest offering is Americanitis, which demonstrates not only a healthy social conscience, but also the Mobile native’s impressive songwriting talent. Named American Music Association Instrumentalist of the Year, Kimbrough is also a sought-after guitarist.

Together, Kimbrough and Womack are the backbone of Daddy, a two- to five-piece band that delivers guitar mastery and rockin’ licks along with tongue in cheek tunes like “I Miss Ronald Reagan.” This will be the first time I’ve seen these guys, and I can’t wait.

If you’ve never been to a South By Southeast music feast, you’re missing out on a unique experience. Where else does your $25 ticket ($20 if you’re a member) get you a night of fantastically never off-the-shelf music, free dinner, free wine and free beer? And chocolate chip cookies?

South By Southeast is a nonprofit organization devoted to showcasing top quality musicians whose talents have either not yet been noticed or are generally ignored by the national media.

For reservations, call Jeff Roberts at Sounds Better Records at 843-497-3643. Better yet, stop by the store at 9904 N. Kings Hwy in Hidden Village in Myrtle Beach, SC. (There will be an opening act – don’t know who yet – starting at 7 p.m. Tommy Womack and Will Kimbrough will go on about 8 o’clock.) Photo: L-R, Will Kimbrough, Tommy Womack. Photo by Russ Riddle.