Sunday, March 04, 2007

Kelly's Lot - Come To This

Here is the latest release from Los Angeles based Kelly’s Lot titled Come To This. This recording smokes from the first not to the last.

They open with Train, I neat rockin’ tune with interesting lyrics. I can see a definite Janis Joplin influence in Kelly’s lyrics and style, but maybe a bit more focused. Next is the title track, Come To This. I really enjoyed the lyrics and arrangement of this song. I know of many who could relate to the message in the words here. The music is outstanding. They follow with Woman’s Love, the first really bluesy song on the recording. This is a great showcase of Kelly’s blues style as well as for all the band members to hit their stride. It is a slow shuffle that just smokes. At times Kelly reminds me of Beth Hart, but is far more focused in her approach and delivery of the message in her music. This isn’t fluff music either, Kelly’s Lot delivers a message at all times. From the feeling in a sax solo, guitar or her deeply felt vocals or even the punctuation of a drum. Happy Girl is next, and this is a nice upbeat tune with a great dance beat. The guitar solo in this is very well done. Not flash or show but a nice piece that really fits the mood and flow of the song, as does the sax solo. Only Human follows and is a neat slow number that lyrically explores some of the vulnerabilities of the human spirit. They follow with Take This Heart. I believe this is my personal favorite. They close with Today, a great song that speaks of doing what one must to get through the day. This song has excellent music and great lyrics as with the rest of the recording.

I would also like to commend Kelly’s Lot for their work with various charities and causes. They have done many shows and benefits to help with these organizations:

The American Liver Foundation, American Cancer Society, Millerwood Animal Shelter, Women's Care Cottage, STOP CANCER: The Next Generation, Aids Healthcare Foundation, Team Fierce, Jonnies Charity, Dubnoff Center, Valley Trauma Center, James Graham Brown Cancer Center, Phoenix House, Valley Community Clinic, Wellness Community, John Tracy Clinic, Red Cross, Santa Monica Fire Dept's Fund for 9/11, Childrens Hospital, Shriners Burn Center, ...and a friend in need.

Great Job!

Visit Kelly’s Lot at:

Try Come To This here:

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Drummer Needed

I just received word from Anthony Gomes that he has lost his drummer effective immediately and is looking for a qualified individual to join the band on their domestic show dates.

All qualified and interested drummers should contact Anthony at either or to set up an audition date and location.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Kevin Phillips & The It Men - Big Chop Suey

Here is my introduction to a band from Toronto, Ontario, Canada called Kevin Phillips & The It Men. These guys have a sound as smooth as hot butter and left me saying wow. To say I enjoyed this music would be the understatement of the year. These guys have a great sound and should do very well. This cd is titled Big Chop Suey and shows that these cats came to play. They are dishing out awesome music from start to finish.

They open with Gravy Train, a cool slow shuffle type song with very neat lyrics. The piano solo in this song leads to a great sax solo and both are outstanding. Next up is the title track, Big Chop Suey. This song has a beat that could make a corpse dance, just great. New Shoes is next and represents a look at the humor of these guys. Who would have thought a new pair of shoes could walk off the blues? Next they give us a song we can all relate to in Couch Potato Day. This song relates the thoughts of a man who just wants a day to relax and not be bothered with any form of activity, including giving his wife some lovin’. A really neat humorous ditty this one is, set to a slow shuffle rhythm.

Next is D.W.’s Pastiche, a song with a neat rhythm and great groove. The jazz influence on this number is very evident and welcome. Change Me follows and is another modified shuffle sounding tune. It features a medium slow tempo and great lyrics. I really enjoy this next fast medium paced shuffle called Porter. As train songs go this one is great. They give us several time changes and some very neat chord progressions. I found myself listening to this many times as I was struck by the unique arrangement and time changes. Kitchen is next, and shows a neat melding of jazz and blues sounds not seen much since the golden days of the 50’s. This is a very welcome and enjoyable sound. My personal favorite is next and is it is a very tongue in cheek type of song called Headache. Very original lyrics and great sound make this a very entertaining song that is sure to be a favorite. Waiting For Spring is next and says just what I am always thinking at this time of year when snow lies everywhere and the temperature struggles to see 30 degrees. They close the offering with a song called Kick Ass. Surely not one that will gather much radio play but a neat song nonetheless. It should be popular in live shows as it features a great dance beat.

The varied musical influences at work on this band are pretty evident in their music and make for a fresh sound. The writing is excellent and no fault can be found in their arrangement or delivery. These guys are just smokin’ from beginning to end. A special guest helped with this effort and deserves a big thank you for his contribution to a great cd. Thanks for being there Jerome Godboo…

Visit Kevin Phillips & The It Men here:

Try Big Chop Suey here:

Whiteboy Slim - Aka Whiteboy Slim

Here is the latest release from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan native Whiteboy Slim titled aka Whiteboy Slim. Slim has produced a set of music that you will either love it or hate it. That is true with much of his music, and the verdict so far has been people love it… If you enjoy lots of original material and a few covers thrown in but performed in a way that makes them his own, you should enjoy this release.

He opens with It Ain’t Art, a neat song written by slim that pokes at the politically correct and out to impress types. Next is another original titled Hey, Hold On Stop. It features some nice harp from Slim and neat lyrics. This is a nice slow shuffle style song. The first of four cover songs is next and is 20% Alcohol written by J.B. Hutto. This song describes an alcoholic woman and the problems her drinking creates. Next is another cover, Too Many Drivers penned by Dave Bartholomew. This is a classic song and receives a slowed new treatment by Slim as he has slowed the tempo of an already slow tune which tends to make it a whole different sound. Blue Murder follows and is another Whiteboy Slim original. It features some neat lyrics and great slide guitar by Slim. Cards On The Table is another original, this was a favorite of mine for the lyrics and music. He offers some nice guitar on this song. Next is I’ve Been Down So Long and was written by Slim. This is a classic blues subject tune. It has some very nice harpwork and a guitar solo that really fit the song well. It’s Strange Out There is another original and couldn’t be more truthful in light of society today. Next is one that has already been very popular with Radio Dj’s and fans I have shared it with, Krispy Kreme Woman. This shuffle has resulted in many comments when I shared it with radio personalities, all positive. Next up is She’s Into Something written by Carl Wright. This song has been covered many times by a whole host of great artists and each has given it a personal touch, Slim is no exception. He has done a fine job on a truly great song. Be Cool Baby is next and is another Slim penned song. He gives a more funky sound on this with an intro on synthesizer. He has employed some neat sound effects to change things up a bit throughout the song. He follows with another original called Tears On My Pillow. I really enjoy this song as it has a beat that just isn’t meant for sitting still. The funniest track he has included is next in You’re Perfect, I Love You, Now Change. The title says it all… He closes with a great old song penned by Taj Mahal called She Caught The Katy And Left Me A Mule To Ride. He has provided a neat musical arrangement for it with song great harmonica to start it off.

Like it or hate it, this is a very solid effort from Whiteboy Slim. He is true to his signature style of pushing the limits of the music he plays. He is no cookie cutter blues artist, as he always manages to come up with a sound all his own whether the music is his or a cover he has chosen.

Visit Whiteboy Slim here:

Try aka Whiteboy Slim here:

Monday, February 12, 2007

Introducing The Lever Agency

Due to the overwhelming response from artists featured here I have opened a booking agency.
The Lever Agency was officially launched in late January. I wish to thank the Joe Galea Band, Brian Curran, Those Delta Rhythm Kings, Ralph Bassinger and Whiteboy Slim. If it hadn't been for you The Lever Agency would would not exist. A special thank you to Joe Galea, you were the first to put your trust in me and I hope to make sure you never regret that decision.

The Lever Agency will focus on Blues artists exclusively. I hope by concentration on just one genre of music that I can build the contacts needed to serve these people well.

A special thank you I wish to extend to Sean Bassinger, Sean was the one who designed what I have come to call the Lever Clef and it makes a great logo. Many thanks Sean.......

Lever's Blues will still exist to showcase some of the great talent out there thru the reviews and postings I have been doing for several months. This blog has been a labor of love for me and will continue to feature new artists as long as the artists are submitting their music for review.

The Lever Agency is my commercial venture and I hope it enjoys the success that this page has. I will be working hard to see to it that it is built on honesty, integrity and as always my great love for the blues.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

FolknBluesGrass - Folk'n Around At The Focal Point

This offering from FolknBluesGrass (Brian Curran’s band) was recorded live on the River City Acoustic Program on KDHX Radio on 06/24/06. The first nine tracks were recorded at the Focal Point and the final two tracks were recorded in the KDHX studio with DJ Drea. For those who like acoustic blues you will love this offering.

FolknBluesGrass is:

Brian Curran – National and International Guitars and Vocals

Steve Bauer – Rock Star Mandolins and Vocals

Travis King – Dog House Upright Bass and Vocals

Fred Altiere – Kitchen Sink Percussion, Kazoo and Vocals

This offering opens with the introduction of the band, and each member introduced by Brian Curran. Next is Diddy Wa Diddy/Shouldn’t Do That by Blind Blake & Casey Bill Weldon. I love the original sounds they manage to get from unorthodox instruments in the percussion section. Their sound reminds me of the back porch tunes of the south in the early 1900’s. Next is Let’s Get Drunk Again by Bo Carter. These guys would have made Bo pretty proud at the way they deliver his song as well as the fact that there is someone who is keeping his music alive in a traditional sound. Next up is Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives To Me and is credited to Swanstone-Carvon-Morgan. Brian adds a nod to the Jim Kweskin Jug Band as well. They next tackle the prohibition era song by Tampa Red titled Can’t Get That Stuff No More and do a superb job. Next up is a little ditty called the Saint Louis Rag written by Brian Curran himself. I love these old style ragtime songs and these guys really do an outstanding job in the delivery and show some great harmony as well. Jail House Blues by Robert Wilkins is next. I enjoyed hearing the music of Robert Wilkins covered here as to the best of my knowledge he only released two albums before getting religion and stopped playing blues. Another Brian Curran original is next in The Gambling Man. I enjoy the stories preceding some tracks on this cd as well as the banter between Brian and the other band members. It makes for a fun time. The Hank Garland song Sugar Foot Rag ends the Focal Point portion of this offering and is done in fine style as with the rest of the material covered. Next is the Play’n with Drea at KDHX Studios segment and I found myself laughing at this as Brian and the band show their sense of humor in the interview that precedes the song Street Walkin’ Woman written by Sonny Boy Nelson.

Brian tells me that both himself and the band are ready to hit the road and play for people wherever and whenever. If you know of a place that would like to host either Brian solo or with FolknBluesGrass please let me know and we will do our best to get him there.

Visit FolknBluesGrass here:

Try FolknBluesGrass here:

RX Blues - I Hate My Boss

Here is an excellent release from St. Louis based RX Blues. This offering showcases the outstanding talent of this group both in their performance and songwriting. All thirteen tracks were penned by either Dr. Jose Diaz (lead/rhythm guitar) or Jeff Davis (lead/rhythm guitar). This cd was released in 2001 and recorded at Music Masters in St. Louis, Missouri. I found these original tracks to be well written and delivered. The current band lineup is:

Jose Diaz - Lead Guitar
Joe Kennedy - Bass and Vocals
Tim Compton - Saxophone, Keyboards, & Vocals

They open with I hate My Boss, a swinging shuffle that makes you start moving from the start. This is followed by Problems No More. Here again they come at you with a beat to get you moving, and the lead guitar smokes. Next is Memphis, Beale Street, The Blues And Me, here is a great swingin tune that you just can’t sit still to. They follow with a great song and one of my personal favorites from this cd titled Sad Bad Lovin’ Blues. It is a bit of a funky style tune that just stuck a chord with me. The sax on this song is really great too. Next they deliver another shuffle in the St. Louis Shuffle, a great tune with a 50’s shuffle swing sound. Eat Good Eat Bad is next, and as with the rest will keep you moving. A well written and arranged song I enjoyed very much. Neon Jungle is next and is a pretty neat set of lyrics. It seems to Describe the club scene pretty well in my opinion. Big Daddy is next and shows us a more conventional blues sound. It is written and delivered as as slow shuffle. Hit It Twice is next and continues the dance beat very well. We are treated some nice horns and a great bass to anchor the song as well as some real nice lead riffs from the guitar. I really enjoyed the way the bass and drums work with each other which will make or break a great song. Blacklisted is next and is a return to a slow shuffle in true blues form. The vocal work on this entire cd is just great as well. Next is another favorite of mine in The Wolf Is At Your Door. This is a set of lyrics that everyone can relate to. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t felt that the wolf was at the door at one point. The organ on this is outstanding also. This next song I could hear all night and is titled Middle Of The Road. It is a slow song which I think is just great. For me it is one of those songs that if heard once just stays in your head all day for some reason. They close out this offering with Empty Pockets, a really nice bit of slide guitar combined with great lyrics.

I understand after hearing this music why they have been fortunate enough to open for some top acts, including:

Long John Hunter
Little Charlie And The Nightcats
Tommy Castro
Chuck Berry
Buddy Miles (Legendary Drummer For Jimi Hendrix)

Tab Benoit

James Solberg

Visit their web site at:

Try I Hate My Boss here:

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Brian Curran - Made Myself Lonesome

This latest offering from St. Louis’s Brian Curran is a delight to hear. I enjoyed this cd from beginning to end as I have always loved the old traditional delta blues songs and rags. For such a young man Brian has an astounding understanding of this music and great ability in delivering it in an authentic style.

Brian opens with a self penned tune called Tuesday Night At Venice, This is a neat instrumental showing us some great finger picking and slide work in true delta fashion. He next moves into a wonderful cover of an old Mississippi John Hurt song called Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight. His finger picking is nearly mesmerizing; he has obviously used his nearly 20 years as a guitar picker well. Next he tackles an old favorite of mine called Mind Your Own Business, written by Hank Williams. I have spent many hours listening to this and enjoyed every one of them. He follows with another original called Made Myself Lonesome, the title track. This is a tune I could relate to unfortunately, and I just love his guitar work on this slow shuffle. Next he treats us to a Sonny Boy Nelson song called Street Walkin Woman. This tune bemoans having a woman who runs around all night and spends his money but neglects him at home. This is an old favorite of mine. We next get his treatment of the old standard Statesboro Blues penned by Blind Willie McTell. He has set these great lyrics to a great piece of guitar work. He next tackles Robert Johnson’s Walkin Blues and does so in a manner that would have left Johnson proud. Next is another of Brian’s originals, an instrumental called Who Gives This Bride. This tune is an absolutely beautiful instrumental. Brian follows this with Avalon Blues by Mississippi John Hurt. He next gives us a taste of vacation misery with a true story set to music in tongue in cheek fashion called Talkin Homestead. The next song is a Mississippi John Hurt song that Brian claims is both his favorite and the first song he ever performed at a gig, called Pay Day. I just love his guitar playing on this one.

Next up is My First Love and it is another song penned by Brian. It is a neat song and very fun listen. He rocks for us just once on this cd and it is on this next song called Who Do You Love by Ellis McDaniel. He gives this song a neat Bo Dildley treatment. Brian dedicates the next song to his grandmother. It is an instrumental version of Amazing Grace which is just beautiful. He follows with another spiritual called This Train and uses an arrangement by Big Bill Broonzy. He closes the offering with a neat session in which he and Sharon Foehner were messin’ around in the studio. It came out great.

Appearing on this cd with Brian are the following artists and friends.

Sandy Weltman on bones

Mike Graham on Bass

Bennet Schaeffer on drums

Eric McSpadden on harmonica

John Wolf on euphonium

Garry Curran on washboard

Jon Erblich on harmonica

Sharon Foehner on guitar

Matt Murdick on piano

Bill Murphy on piano, Billy Engel, Dan Randant, Kari Liston on background vocals

Visit Brian at:

Try Made Myself Lonesome here:

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Billy Jones - Prime Suspect For The Blues

Here is the latest from North Little Rock; Arkansas’s Billy Jones titled Prime Suspect For The Blues. I found Billy’s music to be very entertaining. His use of soul, R&B and Blues to create a wonderful mix is truly outstanding.

This cd sizzles from the opening track I’m Gonna Marry My Mother In Law all the way through Breakdown which closes the cd. You will be treated to great vocals, smokin’ Hammond B3 organ and great guitar playing along the way. Billy has assembled a great group of musicians to back him and the results show a very tight arrangement.

He opens with I’m Gonna Marry My Mother In Law, a very cleverly written song of a mother in law who treats her son in law better than his roaming wife. This song has great guitar, awesome Hammond B3 solos and a very smooth sound. Next is Slip Away, a more R&B sounding song with tons of soul. He follows with Come Back Tonight. This has an R&B sound with a soul feel, the combination is dynamite. I found myself listening to this track many times. Next up is Doin’ Alright Again and is one of my personal favorites. This is a true blues sound as is the first track. Billy has a great sound and feel for blues music. This little shuffle is awesome. Let’s Straighten It Out is next, and is a very soulful blues number. He has achieved a perfect melding of Blues and Soul here. Ain’t Good Lookin’ follows and is a funky song with the same tight sound arrangement we have come to expect by now. Next up is Her Daddy’s Alligator Farm. This is another straight up shuffle in true delta style. The One For Me is next and is another soul/R&B number with a great sound. Be Your Man follows and is another shuffle at a slightly faster tempo. Next is Don’t Answer The Door. Another straight up blues song in fine style. I think Billy really shines on these shuffle blues numbers as he has a sound that works very well in this context. The piano here is a great addition too. Anything You Say is next and is another shuffle. This song made me do a double take as I could have swore I was hearing Roomful Of Blues. A higher compliment cannot be made. The Rumor is next and is a great R&B number. Make Love Tonight is next and is a great shuffle with an old style sound that works well. Next up is Barnyard Love. I laughed at this title when I read it but the song wasn’t a joke. This is another awesome blues number. It features some neat lyrics that elicit a smile but this is as blues as blues gets. He leaves us with Breakdown, a neat funky rhythm with more great organ. I found this offering to be one of the best I have had the opportunity to listen to.

This cd is a great one for anyone who likes Blues, R&B and Soul music. It travels well in any setting from intimate to the dance club. My hats off to Black & Tan records for seeing what I see in Billy Jones, a very bright future for blues music. This isn’t your granddad’s blues for sure, but this is a great new sound with delta charm. I have never heard a cd that has the potential that this one has for drawing new fans to blues music and for crossover success.

Visit Billy Jones’s web site at:

Try Prime Suspect For The Blues at:

Homesick James Passes

It is truly sad the number of blues greats we have lost this year. We now must add Homesick James to that long list.

Homesick James died December 13, 2006. He was in his mid 90's and said to have been resting comfortably at home in Springfield, Missouri. I will reprint the biographical information from the Blueswax article as it is about the best available.

"Born in Somerville, Tennessee, he began playing guitar at around age ten and soon ran away from home, eventually becoming the last of the Delta players who made their way from Mississippi via Memphis to Chicago, and transformed the sound of post-war Blues. His slide guitar was the sound of Maxwell Street in its heyday. He gave various birthdates, but April 30, 1910, is generally accepted; some sources give his real name as James A. Williamson, others as James (or John) William Henderson. He was said to be a cousin of Sonny Boy Williamson, and claimed to be a cousin of Elmore James, to whom he was very close and who was certainly a major influence. He was also acquainted with Robert Johnson.

He played with virtually everybody, often as a sideman. He made his own first recordings for RCA Victor in 1937 and acquired his nickname from his classic "Homesick," recorded for Chance Records in 1952-53, said to be among his finest sessions. He recorded for many labels, including an album for Prestige in 1964, four tracks for an anthology on Vanguard in 1965, and as recently as 2004 on Fedora.

The funeral will take place on December 23 in Covington, Tennessee; and then an era will be well and truly over."

Rest in peace Homesick.

Tina Mayfield Passes

This appeared in Blueswax today and I felt deserving of mention.

Tina Mayfield died this week in California of cancer. She was the widow of Percy Mayfield (1920-84), and also looked after Lowell Fulson (1921-99) after Fulson's wife Sadie passed on. Blues wives don't get enough credit for everything they do, and Tina was one of the greats. She will be missed.

There are always great ladies behind the men, and Tina was an exceptionally great lady.