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Sound Impressions
It's a fast paced world and you only get one chance to make a first impression...

To make your Sound Impression, send 2 copies of your CD or DVD to:
BarrelhouseBlues.com
43 Meadow Lane, Suite 2
Bridgewater, MA 02324
ATTN: Sound Impressions

There are no guarantees that all submitted CDs or DVDs will be reviewed.


The Fight Is ON - Blind Pig Records
Popa Chubby
The label on the disc reads, "To be played at full volume for maximum effect," and with the opening salvo we understand why. The Fight is On could stand as a rallying cry for anyone supporting a cause worth fighting for.
The music is POWERFUL, and it rocks! But it also has its more subtle moments as in the tuneful, "The Right Time," and "Switchblade Combs and Candy Cigarettes." But it always comes back to the tough stuff. Take a listen and if a song like "Steelhorse Serenade" doesn't move you, call 911 cause you're in need of pulmonary treatment.

   
My Turn - Eclecto Groove Records
Kirk Fletcher
A soaring sonic delight. That's how we'd describe this disc if we had to do so in one sentence. Superbly performed and expertly engineered, the sound, arrangements and songs compel the listener to move, groove and smile along.
We suspect that if Freddie King were still alive and performing, the music would sound much like this - melodic, soulful and full of fire.
Kirk Fletcher seems to fly with that kind of spirit - able to carry a song with either his guitar alone or with a combination of vocals and guitar.
A spirited release by a soulful performer.
   
Shake For Me - Delta Groove Music
The Mannish Boys
A ten. If you like your Blues firmly rooted in tradition, and performed with flair and style, that's what we give this disc. A ten.
This CD's lineup consists of Kirk Fletcher, Frank Goldwasser, Finis Tasby, Bobby Jones, Kid Ramos, Nick Curran, Mike Zito, Fred Kaplan, Arthur Adams, and Rod Piazza to name only a few.
The band's approach to mining Blues nuggets from the past and breathing new life into them for today's generation of Blues enthusiasts works like a charm. Or more like a sparkling gemstone.
This is Blues like it should be performed. Honest, straight forward and full of life. A ten.
   
Medford & Main - Blue Bella Records
Matthew Stubbs
Among modern guitarists, Matthew Stubbs is a rarity - a player that has the ability and imagination to communicate directly to his audience through his guitar. No vocals required.
Many musicians and most guitar players can comfortably comp behind a vocalist and play a million notes when it's time to solo. Few can play melodically and use a few notes to speak volumes. Matthew Stubbs is one of these rare few.
Like his first CD, "Soul Bender," this new disc is a thoroughly enjoyable romp filled with memorable and danceable melodies. Guitarists will especially appreciate the reference to what model guitar and amplifier is utilized on each track.
If you're a fan of Blues, soul, or early rock n' roll, this is a disc you don't want to miss.
   
The Bluesmasters - Direct Music
featuring Mickey Thomas
This compilation of traditional Blues tunes are performed masterfully with a modern touch.
Mickey Thomas brings soulful stylin' to all the selections and is perfectly complemented by The Bluesmasters. It's especially rewarding to hear "Fooled Around and Fell in Love" once again.
It Rocks! Other tunes like "Can't Get No Grindin," and "Walkin' Blues" pay tribute to the original Blues Masters Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson but aptly demonstrate why these guys call themselves Bluesmasters. Rock on!
   
Believe I'll Make a Change - Root Blues Reborn Records
Little Joe McLerran
This disc is fun! - and the label, "Root Blues Reborn," is perfectly descriptive of the musical journey upon which it brings the listener. Traditional Blues, but performed artfully and energetically by skilled musicians that project the enjoyment of the performances perfectly. Everything about the disc - the song selections, the performances and the sonic production seems to coalesce into a perfect musical gem.
Our hats are off to Little Joe, et al.
   
Deep in America - Delta Groove
Hollywood Blue Flames
Make a joyful noise, oh yeah! From the opening track, Nit Wit, of the 1st CD, The Hollywood Blue Flames explode onto the sonic landscape of your aural consciousness with a bang! Contrast this to the same tune on the second CD where The Hollywood Fats Band and his incendiary guitar ignite the tune into the stratosphere. Either way, the new incarnation, or the original real deal, brings the listener to a place where ensemble Blues became a springboard for early rock n' roll and jump blues. They capture the essence of the music like few others. Paying homage to the past, preserving it, and pushing it forward for a new generation. Way to go!
   

Beale Street to the Bayou - Wild Root Records
Victor Wainwright and the Wildroots
Every now and then a new artist comes along that just seems to "get it." They understand the music and its traditions and they instinctively know how to interpret and perform the music with a freshness and a flair that breaks through all the clutter on the sonic landscape. In short, they score a musical Bull's Eye.
Victor Wainwright and the Wildroots are just such artists and their CD, "Beale Street to the Bayou" definitely hit the Bull's Eye.
Steeped in a variety of American Roots music, the CD explodes with exceptional songs and musicianship. The song "Run" is a perfect example. As the saying goes, "It hurts so good."
Throughout the CD, Victor's vocals anchor the commanding performances of the Wildroots and it all sounds so beautiful that we just don't want it to end.

   

South New York - MMM...Records
The Michael Louis Band
Our first "Impression" on the first track of of this CD was, "Wow, the vocals sound a lot like Bob Segar." This led us to be a bit skeptical, as we don't like to approach a review with preconceived notions.
The further along we got into the tracks however, the more the CD began to weave it's magic. The mostly original tunes display a great deal of stylistic variety. Songs like "Country Girl," "Let It Go,"and "Molly" had us enjoying, tapping, and wanting to sing along.
We like to feel good, and music that makes us feel good is a good thing. The CD contains great tunes arranged and performed with an abundance of musical twists and turns. We'll spin this one again.

   

Pearl River - Eclecto Groove Records
Mike Zito
From the opening track, "Dirty Blonde," (which was difficult to get past, having had to hit the repeat button over and over again because of the sheer joy of listening) this CD captivated our interest and our ears.
The combination of Mike's gritty and understated vocals, his stellar guitar solos and his amazing ability to under score a song with absolutely perfect rhythmic comping results in a sonic treat.
Once we got past the opening salvo, our ears were drawn to other aural pleasures such as, "Shoe Blues" and "Sugar Sweet."
All in all, a more than satisfying CD full of modern Blues, Soul, and Rock, Rhythm n' Roll.
If this CD has one drawback it is that it has left us waiting with great anticipation for Mike Zito's next release. Go get it.

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