Friday, March 01, 2024

Supergroup Black Country Communion Announce 'V' - Glenn Hughes, Joe Bonamassa, Jason Bonham, Derek Sherinian

Black Country Communion is back! The band has just announced the release of their forthcoming new album V, and has released the lead single "Stay Free" too. Read my review of the band's memorable performance at City National Grove of Anaheim in June 2011 HERE...Robert Kinsler

Black Country Communion in Anaheim, CA in June 2011.
Photo credit: Bob Steshetz

Supergroup Black Country Communion Announces Highly Anticipated New Album 'V' and Unleashes Lead Single "Stay Free"
Glenn Hughes, Joe Bonamassa, Jason Bonham and Derek Sherinian come together to release new music for the first time in 7 years
Listen to “Stay Free” HERE
Pre-order/save ‘V’ HERE
Cover Art Designed by Hugh Syme
Black Country Communion, the iconic rock supergroup featuring the talents of Joe Bonamassa, Glenn Hughes, Jason Bonham, and Derek Sherinian, is thrilled to announce the upcoming release of their highly anticipated fifth studio album, V, available worldwide on June 14. To celebrate, fans are treated to the immediate release of the album's heavy funk lead single, "Stay Free," out today on all major streaming platforms. Watch a teaser for the upcoming music video HERE.
Produced by longtime collaborator Kevin Shirley, 'V' marks a monumental chapter in the band's storied career, embodying a renewed spirit and an evolution of their unmistakable sound. Shirley captures the essence of the band's journey, stating, "For a band that started out as a collection of the best practitioners of their instruments, they very quickly found a unique sound. This time around, it has more purpose, the riffs are tougher, and there are hooks! Yes, hooks! It’s the most cohesive record, full of soul and grit, and I think this is the one that’s going to be the benchmark for Black Country Communion." Glenn agrees, “In my opinion, we had the best time recording this record at Sunset Sound in Hollywood, tons of fun & a magical recording. Meet you inside the Music.”
"Stay Free," the lead single, is a powerhouse track that blends hard rock's raw energy with a heavy dose of blues, channeling the spirit of legends like AC/DC and Led Zeppelin. It sets the tone for what fans can expect from 'V' – a testament to the band's dynamic synergy and creative evolution.
Photo by Rob Bondurant
Since their debut in 2010, Black Country Communion has delivered a series of critically acclaimed albums, each showcasing the group's ability to fuse British blues-rock with American soul in a way that captivates audiences worldwide. Their return with 'V' and the single "Stay Free" reaffirms their status as rock royalty and showcases their growth as musicians and storytellers.
Kevin Shirley's insight into the recording process highlights the unique chemistry and camaraderie within the band. "When we convened in 2023 to start recording the album V, it really was like picking up the day after the most recent gig," Shirley reflects. "The camaraderie is immediately evident. Once they start playing, everyone is deadly serious, and the music sounds like this band, and nothing else sounds like it."
'V' is a milestone that celebrates the journey, talent, and vision of Black Country Communion. As the band embarks on this new chapter, they invite fans old and new to join them in experiencing the depth and power of 'V' and the electrifying energy of "Stay Free."
The news follows the announcement of the band’s upcoming performance at the Culture Room in Fort Lauderdale, FL on Sunday, March 17th. This rare appearance will be the first live performance in America from the band in over 11 years. Presented by Joe Bonamassa's Keeping the Blues Alive Foundation, all profits from the concert will be donated to support music education and musicians in need. The band is also set to appear on the Keeping the Blues Alive at Sea cruise, sailing from Miami to Cozumel, Mexico from March 18-22.
The album 'V' is available for pre-order now. For more details, exclusive content, and updates, please visit
Track Listing:
1. Enlighten
2. Stay Free
3. Red Sun
4. Restless
5. Letting Go
6. Skyway
7. You're Not Alone
8. Love And Faith
9. Too Far Gone
10. The Open Road
About Black Country Communion
BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION is a powerhouse supergroup fusing the incredible talents of Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Trapeze), Joe Bonamassa (Blues Rock Legend), Jason Bonham (Led Zeppelin, Sammy Hagar and the Circle, Foreigner) and Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Sons of Apollo). Their brand of earth-shattering rock is heavily influenced by both British and American classic hard-rock and blues-rock music. The reputation they’ve cultivated after 15 years since their inception, not only as amazing songwriters, but as a powerful live act, is only exceeded by their dedication to their craft and willingness to challenge each other to make the best music imaginable.

Omnivore Recordings announces Ohio Players’ 'Observations In Time: The Johnny Brantley/Vidalia Production'

Check out this exciting news on Omnivore Recordings' upcoming release featuring the Ohio Players...Robert Kinsler

Omnivore Recordings Announces Ohio Players’
Observations In Time:
The Johnny Brantley/Vidalia Production

All 24 tracks from the Funk and Soul Powerhouse from 1967–1968, such as “Fire” and “Love Rollercoaster” collected together for the first time

Available on CD and Digital April 5, 2024

Omnivore Recordings has announced the CD and Digital release of Ohio PlayersObservations In Time: The Johnny Brantley/Vidalia Production, out on April 5.

Formed in 1964 as The Players, and eventually The Ohio Players, the group was “doing Chicago and Blood, Sweat & Tears-type stuff long before they were. Our crowds at home were so big by 8:30 you couldn’t get anywhere, and this wasn’t blacks, this  was whites!” according to founding member Clarence “Satch” Satchell. Meeting up with producer Johnny Brantley in 1966, the band began recording the following year. After a single on Ray CharlesTangerine label, they released two singles on the Compass label, and landed a contract with Capitol Records.

Observations In Time appeared in January 1969, containing a number of Ohio Players originals including “Here Today And Gone Tomorrow,” which David Bowie would make part of his Diamond Dogs tour and release it on 1974’s David Live. Covers include Allen Toussaint’s “Mother-In-Law,” the band’s take on “Over The Rainbow,” and a version of the immortal “Summertime” from Porgy And Bess. After the release of the Capitol album, the band parted ways with Brantley and re-emerged in 1971 with their LP Pain aon Detroit’s Westbound Records. When they hit superstardom with the million-selling “Funky Worm” (1973) on Westbound and million seller “Fire” (1974) and Gold-single “Love Rollercoaster” (1975) on Mercury Records, Brantley repackaged the remainder of their original pre-Capitol sessions across various releases in 1976–1977.

Now, for the first time, all 24 tracks from this pivotal and influential period of their long and successful career are available on Observations In Time: The Johnny Brantley/Vidalia Productions. Containing the entire Observations In Time LP, their two Compass singles, and the material released afterward, Observations In Time: The Johnny Brantley/Vidalia Productions is the ultimate early look at a group that would transform modern R&B multiple times, eventually becoming part of the inaugural class inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame in 2013.

With packaging featuring new liner notes from Tim Dillinger-Curenton outlining the story, Observations In Time: The Johnny Brantley/Vidalia Productions is a perfect release to showcase a band that was always on the cutting edge of musical exploration and excellence.

Observations in Time tracklist:
1. Here Today And Gone Tomorrow
2. Mother-In-Law
3. Stop Lying To Yourself
4. Over The Rainbow
5. Find Someone To Love
6. Cold Cold World
7. Summertime
8. Bad Bargain
9. The Man That I Am
10. Lonely Street
11. Street Party
12. A Little Soul Party (A Woman & Some Soul)
13. A Thing Called Love
14. My Neighbors
15. Tell Me Why
16. You Don’t Mean It
17. Trespassin’
18. I Got To Hold On
19. It’s A Cryin’ Shame
20. Alabama Soupbone (Pt. 1 & 2)
21. I’ve Gotta Get Away
22. Love Slips Thru My Fingers
23. The Man That I Am (Instrumental)
24. Street Party (Instrumental)

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

New music: Mike Zito, Tom Rush, Jeff Rogers

Modern day bluesman Mike Zito, legendary singer-songwriter great Tom Rush and Canadian soul singer Jeff Rogers are back with new albums.

 Mike Zito
Title: Life Is Hard (Gulf Coast Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Gary Moore, Walter Trout, Joe Bonamassa
Tell me more: Blues great Mike Zito's aptly-titled Life Is Hard is an outstanding album, bolstered by uniformly incredible musicianship, the impressive production talents of Joe Bonamassa and Josh Smith, a truly stellar track listing and an emotional backdrop where Zito's wife Laura passed away from cancer prior to the recording of the 12-track project. The uptempo take on Little Milton's "Lonely Man," searing Fred James-penned Chicago blues title track (the latter really showcasing Zito's strong vocals), gospel-meets-blue take on Stevie Wonder's "Have a Talk with God" and his own soulful "Forever My Love" are among the early terrific cuts on the album. A gritty Southern fried take on Tinsley Ellis' "Dying to do Wrong," sumptuous cover of the Guess Who classic "These Eyes," yearning reading of Tab Benoit's "Darkness" bolstered by fiery lead guitar work, Zito's own romance-themed "Without Loving You" and chilling "Death Don't Have No Mercy" (written by Gary Davisextend the album's palpable magic on its last half. Information:

 Tom Rush
Title: Gardens Old, Flowers New (Appleseed Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Jimmy Buffett, Donovan
Tell me more: Legendary folk singer Tom Rush is set to return with his wonderful new album Gardens Old, Flowers New on March 1 (the Appleseed Records title marks his first new album since 2018's Voices). Among the earliest heroes of the singer-songwriter movement, Rush is joined on his highly-anticipated return by a group of great players who add keyboards, hurdy-gurdy, percussion, dobro, sax, penny whistle, harmonica and more to the disc's wonderful acoustic soundscape. The Matt Nakoa-produced Gardens Old, Flowers New finds Rush, 83, exploring the highs and lows of life, and frequently using humor to further propel the compelling originals. The range of material amazes at every turn, and Rush's strong vocals and acoustic guitar work perfectly enhance the tracks. Highlights include the Americana anthem "Glory Road," the nuanced instrumental "Lullaby in E," nostalgic "Toy Boat Song," mortality-minded "One More Time Around the Sun," bewitching "Siena's Song" and yearning "The Harbor." The Celtic-tinged "If You Will Love Me" explores the magic of romantic connection with poignancy and poetic grace. Information: and

 Jeff Rogers
Title: Dream Job (Diesel Management Productions)
You might like if you enjoy: Bill Withers, Otis Redding, Gavin DeGraw
Tell me more: Canadian singer-songwriter Jeff Rogers brings a wealth of soul to his wonderful new album Dream Job. Recorded at Wishbone Studios in legendary Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Rogers is backed by guitarist Kelvin Holly (Little Richard, Bobby Bland), keyboardist Clayton Ivey (The Staple Sisters, Thelma Houston), drummer Justin Holder (Keb' Mo', Delbert McClinton) and bassist Shonna Tucker (Booker T. Jones, Drive-By Truckers) upping the musical proceedings across the nine-track album. First and foremost, Rogers' incredible lead vocals make a bold and memorable statement across Dream Job, notably on the soulful opener "Her Kind of Trouble," infectious R&B track "Lock & Key," deeply affecting title track, soul-drenched blues ballad "Wish You Wouldn't Go" and heartfelt "Saving This Bottle of Wine." Adding icing on the sonic cake are guests Colin Linden (whose slide guitar is heard on the New Orleans-flavored "Mind of Your Own") and Kellylee Evans (whose vocals shine on the romantic gem "So Worth the Wait"). Information:

Robert Kinsler

Saturday, February 24, 2024

dada is back! Band's highly anticipated return begins tonight at The Coach House

Concert preview by Robert Kinsler

dada, from left, features Joie Casio, Phil Leavitt and
Michael Gurley. The band's tour kicks off at The Coach
House in San Juan Capistrano on Saturday, Feb. 24,.

dada is back! The celebrated trio performs at the legendary Coach House tonight, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024. The band will also perform at Pappy + Harriet's on June 7, at the Troubadour in Los Angeles on June 8, and at The Rebel Lounge in Phoenix on Aug. 1.

Beginning with the release of dada's incredible 1992 full-length debut album Puzzle, singer-guitarist Michael Gurley, singer-bassist Joie Calio and drummer-singer Phil Leavitt have effortlessly and artfully created memorable rock songs blending progressive rock musicianship, breathtaking vocal harmonies and melodic power pop ear candy. In addition to Puzzle, the band's other great album releases include American Highway FlowerEl Subliminoso and How to Be Found.

This writer has seen dada in concert a score of times since the early 1990s and the band's performances are always exhilirating; (read my review of dada's 2017 performance at The Coach House HERE).

dada was founded when Gurley and Calio began writing songs and performing as an acoustic duo. Their additional strengths as top-tier songwriters was bolstered when virtuoso drummer Leavitt completed the lineup in time to record Puzzle (released Sept. 8, 1992).

The album's first single "Dizz Knee Land" found widespread airplay on both alternative and mainstream rock outlets. The band was soon touring around the globe, opening for the acclaimed likes of Crowded HouseSting and Depeche Mode.

For more information on dada's upcoming tour dates and to learn more about the band, visit the band's official website HERE.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

New music: Tinsley Ellis, Kevin Burt & Big Medicine, Pete Ham tribute

New albums from blues great Tinsley Ellis, singer-songwriter/guitarist Kevin Burt and late Badfinger frontman Pete Ham are worth exploring. 

 Tinsley Ellis
Title: Naked Truth (Alligator Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Robert Johnson, Leo Kottke, Keb' Mo'
Tell me more: Atlanta-based blues guitar great/singer-songwriter Tinsley Ellis is heard in a decidedly different light on his latest full-length album titled Naked Truth. Ellis' 21st album remarkably marks the celebrated bluesman's first-ever solo acoustic album; after hearing the marvelous dozen-track collection fans will be wondering what took so long. Armed with his top-tier talents as both singer and guitar player, Ellis' collection additionally benefits from a riveting authenticity that draws favorable comparisons with the classic recordings of beloved heroes including Robert Johnson, Son House, Muddy Waters and Leo Kottke. Indeed, the album was recorded live in the studio with Ellis playing his 1969 Martin D-35 and his 1937 National Steel O Series guitars. The disc opens with the fiery Delta track "Devil In The Room," an infectious and toe-tapping blues gem adorned with his artful slide work. A cover of Son House's "Death Letter Blues" genuinely taps into the spirit of the anguished original. Other standouts on Naked Truth include the rhythm-fueled instrumental Silver Mountain, playful take on Willie Dixon's "Don't Go No Further," luxurious take on Kottke's elegant "The Sailor's Grave On The Prairie," intense "Horseshoes and Hand Grenades" and sumptuous closer "Easter Song." This writer's favorite selection is the gentle Skip James-inspired original "Windowpane," which is bolstered by Ellis' falsetto vocals and nuanced fretwork. Ellis is currently on tour in support of Naked Truth; check out his upcoming tour dates HERE. Information:

 Kevin Burt & Big Medicine
Title: Thank You Brother Bill: A Tribute to Bill Withers (Gulf Coast Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Bill Withers, Aaron Neville, B.B. King
Tell me more: The spirit and music of the late Bill Withers shines across Kevin Burt and his band Big Medicine's new album Thank You Brother Bill: A Tribute to Bill Withers. The carefully selected track listing of 13 songs is presented via affecting and original versions showcasing Wither's timeless song craft as well as the stellar talents of Burt (lead vocals, guitar, harmonica), Scot Sutherland (bass), Ken Valdez (lead/rhythm guitar, backing vocals) and Eric Douglas (drums, percussion). Burt's resonant and soulful baritone vocals are the perfect fit with Withers songs; the performances captured at The Sound Box Recording Studio in Cedar Rapids, Iowa absolutely soar across the disc. The funk-tinged opener "Who Is He (and What Is He To You)?," electrifying soul sortie "World Keeps Going Round and Round," nuanced "Just the Two of Us" (the latter bolstered by Burt's sublime harmonica play), electric blues mining "Ain't No Sunshine," explosive "The Same Love That Made Me Laugh" and mournful "Hope She'll Be Happier" are among the impressive cuts on the terrific album. Information:

 Pete Ham
Title: Gwent Gardens (Y&T Music)
You might like if you enjoy: Badfinger, Paul McCartney, The Beatles
Tell me more: Although it has been nearly 50 years since his premature death at the age of 27 in April 1975, Pete Ham's legacy as the principal singer-songwriter of 1970s power pop great Badfinger shines bright. Now a treasure trove of newly-discovered home demos recorded between 1966 and 1972  many of them songs that were never recorded or released by Badfinger or that group's earlier incarnation The Iveys — have been gathered together for release on an essential limited edition audio CD titled Gwent Gardens issued by Y&T Music. The tracks on the physical special CD version of Gwent Gardens set for release on March 8, 2024 will also be available via all streaming services on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. 

The impressive demos feature Ham performing with guitar or piano accompaniment; the prolific artist often double-tracked his vocals to add heft to the recordings. The 18-track collection begins with the poignant "The Day Begins," where Ham's signature vocals deliver a beautiful and yearning original. Equally poignant is the lovely "Let The Sun Shine Through," which is bolstered by Ham's falsetto vocals and several overdubbed instrumental tracks to showcase his vision for a full band version of the melodic gem. The parade of terrific songs includes the John Lennon-flavored "Love Will Be," tuneful rocker "I'm Only Human," evocative "I Miss You," Baroque mining "Little Mary" and "Scarlett Willow," soulful "Think It Over" and irresistible "Something On My Mind." 

Editor's note: 2023 also saw the release of a special Pete Ham tribute album, Shine On  A Tribute to Pete Ham. That album featured 35 artist covering all of Ham's compositions recorded by Badfinger. Among the artists paying tribute to Ham on the title are Shelby Lynne, Dan Baird, Melanie, Dennis Diken, Sweet Lizzy ProjectStan Lynch & The Speaker Wars, and many more. Read Robert Kinsler's review of that album HERE. Information:

Robert Kinsler

Old 97's set to release new album 'American Primitive' on April 5

Check out the wonderful music video for the new Old 97's track "Where The Road Goes" and get details on the beloved band's forthcoming new album "American Primitive" set for release on April 5...Robert Kinsler 

Old 97’s Celebrate 30th Anniversary with 
New Album American Primitive 
Out April 5 via ATO Records
Official Video for New Single
West Coast Tour Kicks Off April 3

February 20, 2024: 
Thirty years after the release of their powerhouse debut Hitchhike to Rhome, alt-country pioneers Old 97’s are celebrating with the announcement of their lucky 13th studio album American Primitive that will be released on April 5 via ATO Records. Opening with the lyric “You’ve got to dance like the world is falling down around you, because it is,” American Primitive radiates with rambunctious joy even as Miller’s lyrics contend with complex questions of love and mental illness and the routinely daunting state of the world. Today, the three-decade-long lineup of singer and guitarist Rhett Miller, bassist Murry Hammond, guitarist Ken Bethea, and drummer Philip Peeples released the official video for first single “Where The Road Goes” which features Peter Buck on guitar.
“I was in Montana and found myself on the banks of the Blackfoot River, watching the water pounding with a ferocious power, and I started building this song as a statement of gratitude for having survived this long,” explains Miller. “It revisits some of the darkest moments of my life, including a suicide attempt at age 14 that by all rights I shouldn’t have lived through and yet somehow did. In a way it’s like a spiritual travelogue that rolls back through all the places that shaped me for better or worse, and ends up in this beautiful place that I felt so thankful to experience.”
Produced by Tucker Martine (My Morning Jacket, The Decemberists, Neko Case) and featuring iconic guest musicians like Peter Buck of R.E.M. and Scott McCaughey of The Young Fresh Fellows and The Minus 5, the album took shape in a series of deliberately whirlwind sessions at Flora Studio in Portland, Oregon. “This was the first record we’ve ever done with zero pre-production,” Miller points out. “It’s us working completely on instinct, leaning on 30 years of playing together to come up with something on the fly rather than overthinking any of our choices.”
The album’s title was lifted from a bit of fictional art criticism in Stephen King’s psych-horror novel Duma Key and experienced a full-circle moment when King himself tweeted the news about the album early. In choosing the cover art for American Primitive, Old 97’s selected a painting created by Hammond’s 17-year-old son Tex Hammond — a prodigious talent who, at age 14, became the youngest artist ever to exhibit at the prestigious LA Art Show. It’s a fitting choice for a band who’ve maintained a certain youthful exuberance more than three decades into their career, and for an album in which a palpable sense of wonder prevails despite its world-weary undercurrent. 
“Over the last year of touring in celebration of our 30th anniversary, it’s been impossible not to feel some emotion welling up at the idea that my bandmates and I have been in this close brotherhood for so long,” says Miller. “I think a lot of that longevity has to do with the fact that we’re really the same band we were back then. We’ve experimented with pushing in different directions, and we’ve had experiences outside the band where we’ve learned new things, but the way we approach this music has fundamentally remained the same. Our heart is still in the exact same place.”
Old 97’s will kick off a spring west coast tour in Santa Fe, NM on April 3 and make stops in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and more. Find a full list of tour dates below or visit their website.
Early Acclaim for Old 97’s American Primitive:
“If it’s the end of the world as we know it, this is the record we want to hear to push us on through to the next level.” Rosanne Cash
“Little did you know, Jerry Lee Lewis and Leonard Cohen had a bunch of bastard children that were raised in a dumpster behind a bar in Amarillo and their names are the Old 97’s.” 
Rainn Wilson
“This is all I'll be listening to until the next Old 97’s album.”
- Tig Notaro
American Primitive tracklist:
1) Falling Down
2) Somebody
3) American Primitive
4) Where The Road Goes
5) Honeypie
6) By The End Of The Night
7) Masterpiece
8) Incantation
9) Magic
10) Western Stars
11) Chased The Setting Sun
12) This World
13) Estuviera Cayendo
Tour Dates:
4/3 – Santa Fe, NM – Tumbleroot Brewery
4/4 – Tucson, AZ – Hotel Congress
4/5 – Pioneertown, CA – Pappy and Harriet's Pioneertown Palace
4/6 – Los Angeles, CA – The Fonda Theatre
4/7 – Solana Beach, CA – Belly Up
4/8 – Morro Bay, CA – The Siren
4/9 – Roseville, CA – Goldfield Trading Post
4/11 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
4/12 – Bend, OR – Domino Room
4/13 – Portland, OR – Aladdin Theater
4/14 –Seattle, WA – The Showbox
4/16 – Missoula, MT – The Wilma
4/17 – Bozeman, MT – The ELM
4/18 – Billings, MT – Pub Station - Ballroom 
4/19 – Laramie, WY – Gryphon Theatre
4/20 – Englewood, CO – Gothic Theatre
4/21 – Jackson, WY – Jackson Hole Center for the Arts  Center Theater
Website – Instagram – Facebook – Twitter
Photo credit: Jason Quigley