The reason this site exists. We built this city on rock n roll and all that.

This is the place for reviews of CDs mainly, but books about rock n roll and, of course, live gigs may feature here too.

Albums reviewed here.

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EMMA WILSON2022-07-17
Wish Her Well
OWN LABEL

Paul Rodgers may be Teesside's best-known blues artist to date, but Emma Wilson's Wish Her Well is proof that the blues is alive, thriving, and in very safe hands in Smoggieland. We wish her well too.



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VICTORIA KLEWIN2020-12-14
Straight And Narrow
Self-release

Whilst it's just a single song taster from Bristol-based chanteuse Victoria Klewin, it's impressive enough to make us impatient for the release of further material she promises to deliver next year.



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THE STEEPWATER BAND2020-06-09
Turn Of The Wheel
DIAMOND DAY RECORDS

Chigagoans The Steepwater Band's seventh album Turn Of The Wheel continues in the band's eclectic vein whilst maintaining and developing their own sound. Another triumph.



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Iain Sutherland inteview2019-12-13

RNR magazine

We don't really do obituaries here, but cannot let Iain Sutherland's untimely death go by without commemoration of a brilliant musician and writer.

Here's the interview I carried out with Iain in November 2015.

Thanks to my friend and RNR editor Sean McGhee for his permission to publish it in tribute.



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GHALIA & MAMA’S BOYS2017-12-20
Let The Demons Out
Ruf Records

New from the incessant Ruf conveyor belt of blues talent is Ghalia Vauthier, who has paid her dues by immersing herself in the locations and lore of her US blues heroes, busking and learning all the time. New Orleans's Johnny Mastro & Mama's Boys help her out, to very pleasing effect indeed.



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ALBERT CASTIGLIA2017-12-19
Up All Night
Ruf Records

Albert Castiglia, with Mike Zito in the producer's chair again, continues to enhance the fine blues reputation he's built through previous Ruf releases Solid Ground and Big Dog.



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THE WHISKEY CHARMERS2017-12-10
The Valley
No label details

A second album from Detroit-based Carrie Shephard and Lawrence Daversa, throwing twangsome guitar, natural and emotional imagery and thoughtful vocal delivery into a mix that levers at the malleable 'alt' edges of alt-country.



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ALICE DIMICELE2017-11-28
One With The Tide
Alice Otter Music

There's something of a concept here as Alice DiMicele expresses concerns about how we're destroying nature. She couples that concern with commentary on more human emotional matters, and wraps it all up in the sound that she describes as organic acoustic groove.



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PAUL MOSLEY AND THE RED MEAT ORCHESTRA2017-11-27
Wintertide EP
Folkwit Records

At last, from the beautifully-creative Paul Mosley and a willing cast, a Christmas record that can be played, without irony, even after the mince pies and plum duff are merely regrettable January inches on listener waistlines.



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JASON BUIE2017-11-21
Driftin’ Heart
No label details

With twenty years on the North American blues circuit behind him, supporting and collaborating some impressive names, Jason Buie proves, with Driftin' Heart, that energetic and thoughtful elelctric blues is just as comfortably at home on the club dancefloor as it is on the ordered record shelves of less-energetic listeners.



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AMELIA WHITE2017-11-20
Rhythm Of The Rain
White-Wolf Records

Even with this recording's story of admirable bravery, East Nashville's Amelia White opens 'Little Cloud Over Little Rock' by advising us, "Don't think too much, people", hinting, perhaps, that what is about to unfold is fiction. If so, what follows are nine masterful, thought-provoking dramas played out beautifully, drawing on the deft touch of her backing band and Amelia's own matched-to-the-song vocal delivery.



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HAMMY AND THE PILGRIM2017-10-24
Nothing To See Here (EP)
No label details

A three-track EP from a hard-working young Limerick quartet makes pleasant listening and bodes well for a future full-length release.



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FRONT COUNTRY2017-10-23
Live at The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen
22 October 2017

Nearly two years on from a memorable Glenbuchat appearance in 2015, Front Country’s return to NE Scotland, despite a puncture in Glenshee and their being a man short with Leif Karlstrom’s early departure to the US, was the predicted triumph.



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ROCK CANDY FUNK PARTY2017-10-18
The Groove Cubed
Provogue

Rock Candy Funk Party is this loose collective's fourth album, ambitious in its vision to create audio gold from studio jams, incorporating everything "from dance and electronica, to rock, funk and jazz and everything in between". Get into the groove.



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THE WINTERLINGS2017-10-15
American Son
Own label

Wolff Bowden and Amanda Birdsall's fourth release is an exemplary exhibition of ecomony and intensity, brimming with well-chosen natural imagery and simplicity of arrangements. They sing and play well too. Released on 1 November 2017.



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BOB BRADSHAW2017-10-12
American Echoes
Fluke Records

2013's Home, and Whatever You Wanted  from two years ago, were widely-lauded, as Bob Bradshaw, now settled in Boston after criss-crossing North America, always gathering material for his songs, hit his stride impressively. On American Echoes, he may even have exceeded the quality he's already demonstrated.



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LAURA MULCAHY2017-10-08
Funeral, Home, Lizard...
Own label

In the words of Laura Mulcahy's producer Wayne P Sheehy, "Listen to her words! I locked on to them, clung on for dear life and followed my musical instinct and feelings. It's dark, it's light, it's highbrow, it's folk, it's punk it's classical, it's Gregorian. If it was a house, it would be a home you would never be bored in, but still find peace". No further comment is necessary.



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ROBERT HOKUM2017-10-08
Trippin’ Backwards: A Live Retrospective
OWN LABEL

Whilst most of us might celebrate a landmark birthday with a lavish party, a bucket list holiday, or the purchase of a pre-CBS Fender Telecaster (you have five years to save up or to Crowdfund this one for me, thank you), Robert Hokum does his own thing and releases a twelve-track restrospective of his recent career as frontman and accompanist in three discrete situations. It's honest and raw, as the blues should be.



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BROOKFIELD2017-10-06
Brookfield
GOLDEN RULE RECORDS

A collaboration between a drumming boxing journalist poet and a blues performer whose stock is rising - what could possibly go wrong? Nothing - it's great, and has been a regular on the iPod for weeks. It's worth checking out.



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THE MARTHA FIELDS TRIO2017-10-05
Live at The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen
03 October 2017

We've enjoyed many memorable nights at The Blue Lamp over the years (or decades for some of us). Almost Blue Promotions' gig list for the rest of 2017 looks delicious too. The Martha Fields Trio, though have set the high water mark for others to match. Aberdeen will take delight in observing the challenge.



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DORICANA FESTIVAL2017-09-28
STONEHAVEN TOWN HALL
23 SEPTEMBER 2017

Back for its second year, Stonehaven's Doricana Festival once again thrilled a sizeable and appreciative crowd. With acts representing all components of the chimera that is 'Americana', there was something here for everyone, and it was all to support good local cuases. We look forward to its third year in 2018.



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MARTIN GOYETTE2017-09-27
MG’s Big Beets
EDITIONS AD LITTERAM

Proving that fellow Canadians The Band got it right with 'Acadian Driftwood', as they eulogised the Gallic connect between Quebec and Louisiana, Martin Goyette has the Pontchartrain in his nostrils and the Big Easy in his heart with this delivery of a beautiful set of New Orleans-evoking blues.



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MATT PATERSHUK2017-09-25
Same As I Ever Have Been
Black Hen Music

Canadian Matt Patershuk, like so many of his countrymen and women over the decades, looks over the southern border for sonic and lyrical influence, and his third album is a very satisfying collection of edgy and earthy story songs, delivered with grit and guts.



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KOSSOFF…THE BAND PLAYS ON2017-09-12
Cottiers Theatre, Glasgow
07 September 2017

There aren't many shows that I'd undertake a 300-mile round trip to see, and to do it twice in just over 6 months might seem crazy. This, however, was all about the legacy of Paul Kossoff. Enough said.



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CIARA SIDINE2017-08-27
Unbroken Line
Own label

Ciara Sidine’s debut album Shadow Road Shining offered great promise, and Unbroken Line unequivocally fulfils the potential that excited critics and fans six years ago. Defying labels or genre boundaries, its dozen songs show a fine eclecticism and come with integral messages.



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GARY CAIN BAND2017-08-16
Twangadelic Bluesophunk
No label details

An enforced break due to an issue with his vocal cords forced Ontarian Gary Cain to re-appraise his approach to performing. “I was making a living playing music, which had been my goal, but I realised through that experience that what mattered more to me was playing what felt right to me, not necessarily what paid my bills.  After that experience, I didn’t even touch my guitar for three months.  For me that was a big deal - it was normal to play every day, six or eight hours.  In summers when I wasn’t in school it would be 13 hours a day.  It’s all I ever wanted to do. When I came back to it, everything was different.  I didn’t try to label what I was playing, or worry about what kind of music it was.  I just followed that magical feeling that made me pick up the guitar in the first place.”  

Twangadelic Bluesophunk neatly describes what he's provided on this, his debut album.



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WALTER TROUT2017-08-15
We’re All In This Together
Mascot/Provogue

In 2014, the universally-respected blues colossus Walter Trout was at death's door. Regular bulletins from his bedside suggested that he was on very limited borrowed time. As the eulogies were prepared, and prayers offered, a last-minute liver transplant saved him. His recovery continues, in the only way he knows.



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MARK LAVENGOOD2017-08-15
We’ve Come Along
Own label via Kickstarter

We’ve Come Along, Mark Lavengood's third solo album, has been on the stocks a long time, his sleeve note declares, but a final crowd-funded lift has seen it completed and delivered. And a splendid thing it is too.



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AMANDA ANNE PLATT & THE HONEYCUTTERS2017-08-12
Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters
Organic Records

Me Oh My and On The Ropes from this Asheville collective remain go-to recordings on the Bluesandmoreagain iPod. This, their fifth album, is hereby given that status.



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BLACK STONE CHERRY2017-08-08
Black To Blues
Mascot Records

Hard rockers look back and pay respectful tribute to their blues heroes. That's no bad thing at all.



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BRUCE ‘MISSISSIPPI’ JOHNSON2017-08-07
The Deal Baby
Own label

A considerable music presence in France's jazz scene, Bruce 'Mississippi' Johnson widens his scope and embraces his Delta roots in a sophisticated, modern collection of emotional tales, aligning contemporary urban soul with the gutsy, blue collar spirit of the Mississippi.



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SUSAN CATTANEO2017-08-04
The Heart & The Hammer
Jersey Girl Music via Pledge Music

Back in recent years from her stint as a Nashville writer, Susan Cattaneo releases her second full collection since 2009. Here's why, who with and how.



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KENNY WAYNE SHEPHERD BAND2017-07-28
Lay It On Down
MASCOT

Back in his own right after collaborating with The Rides on two excellent albums, Lay It On Down is Kenny Wayne Shepherd's seventh solo album, where he widens his scope and embraces influences beyond his go-to blues muse.



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KINNABER JUNCTION2017-07-26
Looking At The Tracks
Own label

Seeing "Montrose" emblazoned on an album sleeve when the late Ronnie of that ilk released his scorching debut in 1973 was amild surprise to those of us who associated the name with Links Park and the Gable Endies. Now that fine Angus town has its own spokesman and songsmith, whose album, credited to Kinnaber Junction, has been pleasing interested listeners since its June release and launch.



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MADAM TSUNAMI 2017-07-19
Long Way From Home
OWN LABEL

Adam and Coralie Usmani are now resident in Aberdeen, having relocated from New Zealand, and the Celtic hints on Long Way From Home suggest that they're liking it here.



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STEWART MITCHELL2017-07-05
St Valéry And Its Aftermath
Pen & Sword Military

The story of the forgotten casualties of the ill-fated 1940 British Expeditionary Force, whose fortunes did not extend to evacuation at Dunkirk, is told by Stewart Mitchell, with fresh Gordon Highlanders' input from those who had anything but "an easy war".



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HILLFOLK NOIR2017-07-02
Junkerpunch
Own label

Floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee, the seventeen-round Junkerpunch is worthy of a Lonsdale Belt and a place at the top of the card. Seconds out...



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FRONT COUNTRY2017-07-01
Other Love Songs
Organic Records

Front Country's second full-length album builds on the eclectic rock, pop, soul and country stew that was 2014's Sake Of The Sound, fulfilling every last drop of potential that that beguiling collection displayed. It's only the beginning of July, but this is already the best new record I've heard this year, and it is difficult to imagine that being topped.



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ANDREW TAYLOR2017-06-30
From The Outside Looking In
Rock Indiana Records

He's a prolific fellow, Andrew Taylor. His band Dropkick's 2015 album Balance The Light, is still warm on fans' record decks, and the band's fifteenth album is currently being mastered. Just to keep his hand in, he's released a solo album, containing all-new songs. Ten reasons to be cheerful right here.



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MALCOLM HOLCOMBE2017-06-14
Pretty Little Troubles
Gypsy Eyes Music

Whilst there's an element of guilt in taking pleasure from the articulation of human suffering, Nathan Bell's recent Love>Fear (48 Hours In Traitorland), and this offering from North Carolina's Malcolm Holcombe show that this is a trait of human resilience, as the blues and its component parts have always been.



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Bryan Glennie with Scott Burns2017-05-10
Craiginches - Life In Aberdeen's Prison
Black & White Publishing

In Craiginches, Bryan Glennie takes an always realistic, but generally affectionate look at his decades as a prison officer in Aberdeen's forbidding granite penitentiary of that name. In accentuating the positives of his experiences, it is obvious that he is more in the conciliatory mould of Officer Barraclough than the hard-bitten, but magnificent Porridge disciplinarian Mackay.



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WESTERN CENTURIES2017-05-09
Live at Glenbuchat Hall
6 May 2017

A spring Saturday evening.

The best honky-tonk music.

Glenbuchat's effusive community hospitality.

Cowboy hats and dancing.

We're all going to hell, but in wonderful company.

 



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THE LOWEST PAIR2017-05-09
Live in Cluny, Aberdeenshire/The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen
25 April/03 May 2017

Together now for four years as a twin banjo duo, Kendl Winter and Palmer T Lee made their first UK trip almost a year after the simultaneous release of albums Uncertain As It Is Uneven and Fern Girl And Ice Man. It was a privilege to meet them and observe their craft close up.



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VARIOUS ARTISTS2017-04-27
The Rough Guide To Jug Band Blues
World Music Network

Continuing its hugely interesting and informative Rough Guide series, World Music Network heads to St Louis and Memphis to examine the "play what's at hand" ethos of jug band blues. Ray Dorset didn't invent this you know.



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WOODY PINES2017-04-24
Live at The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen
23 April 2017

Woody Pines and his co-conspirators in "down home swing" have always seemed to miss Aberdeen when they've toured before. Not in 2017, and with just a quarter of 2017 gone, the fifty punters who were dazzled by this show will be wondering if it can be bettered in the nine months ahead.



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STEVE KOZAK BAND2017-04-10
It’s Time
No label details

Maple Blues Award Winner Steve Kozak has been delighting Canadian blues audiences for over thirty years, and It’s Time is convincing in its appeal to fans of Canada's own West Coast take on the simplicity and complexity of the blues.



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TG SWAMPBUSTERS 2017-04-05
Swamp Rock Country Blues
No label details

From the sound and lyrical contents of Swamp Rock Country Blues, Tim Gibbons has been, in his own words, "chugging on a jug of one hundred proof blues". Hamilton, Ontario seems to have an intersting alternative to a water supply.



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THE MOJO STARS2017-04-05
Under The Influence
No label details

Ahead of a 2017 tour, re-constitued British Columbians The Mojo Stars release a part live-part studio collection drawing influence from blues, soul and rock n roll.



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THE STEVIE NIMMO TRIO2017-03-13
Live at The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen
12 March 2017

Last time out at Drummonds, supported by Ben Poole, Nimmo and his ultra-tight in-the-pocket rhythm section thrilled Aberdeen blues fans, and with the three-piece ready for a bigger, more prestigious venue this time around, Blues Rock Aberdeen opted for The Lemon Tree. It was a fabulous show.



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BRONWYNNE BRENT2017-03-12
Live: house concert, Westhill/Glenbuchat Hall
10/11 March 2017

Bronwynne Brent's honest Mississippi modesty saw her scarcely able to believe that those turning up for her shows north of Scotland's Central Belt, had been impatiently waiting for three years for her to visit, following the relelase of 2014's beguiling Stardust. Audiences have been enthralled by the shows, and Bronwynne humbly appreciative of the praise.



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MARTY MANOUS2017-03-02
Know My Name
Lucky Street Music

Manous's 2015 album Transcendence was received very positively, and a tough gigging schedule, including support slots with The Fabulous Thunderbirds, The Derek Trucks Band and Foghat has rasied his profile and stock by several notches.



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KOSSOFF…THE BAND PLAYS ON2017-02-28
Websters Theatre, Glasgow
18 February 2017

It's 48 years since Tons Of Sobs introduced Free, 44 years since their mourned demise, and 42 years since Paul Kossoff's swan song, the 1975 Back Street Crawler tours. His death in March 1976, aged only 25, was a black day for many, and he is still mourned.

But he's celebrated too, and Koss's friend and Back Street Crawler singer, Terry Slesser, has taken a stellar band on the road to remind the UK what a talent existed whilst Koss trod the boards. Not that many at Glasgow's Websters Theatre needed reminding.



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JENNY STURGEON2017-02-21
The Wren and The Salt Air
Fit Like Records

Jenny Sturgeon's From The Skein was a delight, and hard on its heels comes an EP, commemorating St Kilda's thirtieth anniversary as a World Heritage site. Among its contributors are that abandoned rock's birdlife, and it's all in a worthy cause too.



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AMYTHYST KIAH2017-02-21
Live at The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen
09 February 2017

Back in Aberdeen after wowing fans with a support slot to Chuck Hawthorne in August 2016, this time headlining in her own right, Tennessee's Amythyst Kiah weaved blues, gospel and country magic in Gallowgate, to the delight of a respectful capacity crowd.



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HAT FITZ & CARA2017-02-15
After The Rain
Own label via MGM Distribution

Antipodean/Hibernian husband and wife duo Hat Fitz & Cara, return with their fourth album, burrowing even deeper into the rich seams of blues, country and gospel to deliver their grittiest, rootsiest collection yet.



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RED BUTLER2017-02-09
Nothing To Lose
Own label

When Red Butler released Freedom Bound almost three years ago, critcs and blues fans alike were surprised and delighted by its maturity and sure-footedness. Since then, the band has been a significant draw live, and Nothing To Lose, born and honed on the road, is a worthy successor to that debut.



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THE DGB2017-02-07
More Is More
Power Of Three Records

A new name for many, The DGB seem to have years of touring and writing experience behind them, evident from the contents and production of a very promising and satisfying debut album.



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BEN POOLE2017-02-06
Live at The Tunnels, Aberdeen
3 February 2017

Blues Rock Aberdeen’s first show of 2017 saw the return of Ben Poole to Aberdeen, and the local blues fraternity having warmed to his performance in support of Stevie Nimmo in May 2016, turned out in good numbers.



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MANITOBA HAL2017-01-22
Live In Ghent
Hal’s Kitchen

A double album of blues played on a ukulele? From Canada? Recorded live in Belgium? It all fits in the hands of the craftsman that is Manitoba Hal.



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MARTHA HEALY2016-10-19
To Be Free
Frog Eye Records

Just before her move to Nashville to record her second album, and to stay for an extended period to give full-time musicianship her full focus, Glasgow's Martha Healy leaves us with a four-track effort recorded in a single weekend in her native city.



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THE STRAY BIRDS2016-10-18
Live at Glenbuchat Hall/The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen
15 & 16 October 2016

NE Scotland was blessed by two absorbing back-to-back shows from The Stray Birds, one of the hottest tickets on the scene right now, and who leave us with some beautiful, heart-warming memories. At The Blue Lamp, the intense country blues ‘Harlem’ was appreciated in stunned, rapt silence. With the Comedy Festival going on in the city at the same time, you might have heard a pun drop.



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ERIKA KULNYS2016-10-14
Rise Up
Own label

Nova Scotian Erika Kulnys is something of a Renaissance woman, a classicially-trained conservatoire graduate and a global traveller in pursuit of her desire to promote social justice through music. Rise Up excels in its finely-crafted and arranged protest and personal songs, delivered with unwavering conviction.



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Doricana Festival2016-10-11
Stonehaven Town Hall
8 October 2016

Months in the planning, the anxieties, worries and late nights endured by co-organisers Martin Raitt and Colin Clyne, with their army of unsung hero helpers, were all proven to be worthwhile as a packed Stonehaven Town Hall declared its affection for the outstanding Americana acts coralled into action for the first Doricana Festival. More please.



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Ryan McGarvey2016-10-10
Café Drummond, Aberdeen
7 October 2016.

International multi-award winning bluesman Ryan McGarvey was the latest sensation brought north by Blues Rock Aberdeen, and it proved to be the evening of exciting, cranked-up blues that was predicted.



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BLUE MOON MARQUEE2016-09-27
Gypsy Blues
No label details

"Hailing from the badlands of the Rocky Mountain prairies, Blue Moon Marquee is a self-styled gypsy blues band...influenced by early blues, swing, and ragtime". Resistance is futile.



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CAHALEN MORRISON AND ELI WEST/COLIN CLYNE2016-09-24
Live at The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen
18 September 2016

Cahalen Morrison and Eli West's 2016 UK tour started badly with the theft of their rental car and 160 CDs in Leicester. The show must go on, however, and putting this misfortune behind them, they once more delighted an impressive Aberdeen audience on the northernmost, and final night of their welcome visit to our shores.



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NORMA MACDONALD2016-09-18
Burn The Tapes
Own label

Born in Cape Breton, and now resident in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Burn The Tapes is Norma MacDonald’s fourth album, and her first self-production, bringing together classy country writing with beautifully-judged vocal and instrumental performances.  



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PETE COUTTS2016-08-31
Northern Sky
Fit Like Records

As a member of Catford and Ballad Of Crows, Pete Coutt's reputation as a writer and performer is well-established. Taking the plunge as a solo artist on his own debut album Northern Sky, he celebrates his native NE Scotland roots beautifully and movingly.



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BETH HART2016-08-30
Fire On The Floor
Mascot/Provogue

Following the unanimous critical hosannas which greeted Better Than Home, Beth Hart describes Fire On The Floor as a cathartic reaction to the pain in losing Better Than Home co-producer Michael Stevens.



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RICHIE AND ROSIE2016-08-30
Tractor Beam
OWN LABEL

Trailing a planned 2017 UK tour, Tractor Beam was a 2013 US release from a duo whose melodic and emotional mountain blues and folk promise to delight UK audiences next year.



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BILL JOHNSON2016-08-25
Cold Outside
Own label

More and more music continues to arrive from Canada for appraisal. From Halifax, Nova Scotia, comes the latest gem from Bill Johnson, described by his publicist Sarah French as "among the vanguards of great new Canadian blues artists now being discovered by blues fans everywhere". No arguments here.



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LAURENCE JONES2016-08-15
Take Me High
Ruf Records

At a rate of an album a year since Thunder In The Sky introduced Laurence Jones, his efforts in both the studio and onstage have seen his reputation deservedly soar. 2016's Take Me High is the Jones album UK blues fans have been waiting for. Not quite in his mid-20s, one wonders how far this award-winning bluesman can go.



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GARY HOEY2016-08-10
Dust & Bones
Mascot/Provogue

Dust & Bones is Gary Hoey’s twentieth album, so it is a surprise that bluesandmoreagain’s radar hasn’t seen a blip from him before. Now aged 55, he admits, “This is where I belong – playing this ferocious blend of blues and rock music”, and it seems like it’s been worth the wait.



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THE APOCALYPSE BLUES REVUE2016-07-02
The Apocalypse Blues Revue
Mascot/Provogue

The final (bonus) track of The Apocalypse Blues Revue's debut album is a suitably dark and voodoo-heavy take on The Doors' '(When The) Music's Over', a fitting postscript to a brooding collection of sometimes-harrowing anguish and pain, strikingly expressed.



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GOV’T MULE2016-07-01
The Tel-Star Sessions
Mascot/Provogue

Mascot Records proved with their recent sensitive release of Jeff Healey's Heal My Soul that promotion of product from the vaults is not always inspired by record company cash-in greed. Likewise, the issue of the nascent Gov't Mule's early steps has been considered and carried out with care and respect, and it is quite thrilling to hear the genesis of a contemporary giant in its raw, unadorned glory.



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AL LERMAN2016-07-01
Slow Burn
Own label

Following his own advice just to "be yourself", Al Lerman's Slow Burn refutes the self-indulgence that's unfortunately never far away from "the blues", and treats us to an album of deceptive simplicity, delivered with soul, skill and honesty.



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JENNY STURGEON2016-06-29
From The Skein
Tamarch Records

It's heartening to know that NE Scotland produces terrific music, rich in all its forms and genres. Putting a marker down for contemporary rootsy folk, Jenny Sturgeon corrals a willing co-operative of local talent around her on her debut solo album, and the results are very pleasing indeed.



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HANNAH ALDRIDGE and LILLY HIATT2016-06-28
Live at The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen
22 June 2016

With close on half of 2016 gone, some memorable evenings have been had in Aberdeen and the city's hinterland. The first post-Solstice Blue Lamp line-up featured Lilly Hiatt from Nashville, and Hannah Aldridge from Muscle Shoals, both of whom combined to uphold the reputations of those southern musical powerhouses with sensitivity, grit and honesty.



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THE KAT KINGS2016-06-21
Swingin’ In The Swamp
Own label

There’s a mess of product coming our way from Toronto just now, and among it is that city’s Kat Kings’ second album, a “second chance” for leader Kevin McQuade, whose tour promoting 2011’s debut Winning Hand was interrupted when his daughter was seriously hurt in a road accident. It rocks.



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THE APPLESEED COLLECTIVE2016-06-20
Tour Tapes
Own label

The last studio offering from Michigan's Appleseed Collective was Young Love, over two years ago. Might something new be imminent? Tour Tapes, a five-track live EP from shows in 2015, is a tasty tit-bit in the meantime.



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THE STEEPWATER BAND2016-06-16
Shake Your Faith
Diamond Day Records

More than a blues band, The Steepwater Band, demonstrate a pleasing eclecticism on their eighth studio album. Thanks to Graham Robertson for the heads-up and Tod Bowers for the information.



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THE SUPERSONIC BLUES MACHINE2016-06-07
West Of Flushing South Of Frisco
Mascot/Provogue

'Guest star' albums can be a bit hit or miss. Beautifully produced by Fabrizio Grossi, West Of Flushing South Of Frisco is a definite hit, and there is no evidence of egoes as several stellar accomplices plug into the desk, enhancing the core trio's own high-quality efforts.



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THE DANBERRYS2016-06-02
Give & Receive
Crowd-funded via Indigogo

Was there ever a better title for a crowd-funded album than Give & Receive? Ben DeBerry and Dorothy Daniel's third release lives up to its name in giving subscribers a beautiful and soulful ten song collection in return for not very much outlay from you at all. You know what you have to do.



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BERT DEIVERT & COPPERHEAD RUN2016-06-01
Blood In My Eyes For You
Hard Danger/Rootsy

Having shared stages and studios with T-Model Ford, Wanda Jackson and Eric Bibb, among others, and having called on Charlie Musselwhite's skills in the past, New Hampshire's Bert Deivert has been around the block a few times. Blood In My Eyes For You captures him in scintillating form with Swedish blues conspirators Copperhead Run as they mix their "distinct flavour of blues cocktail" with style, panache and infectious energy.



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JON HART2016-05-31
Reborn
NO LABEL DETAILS

Jon Hart's debut album, "by far the most enjoyable and challenging experience of my musical career so far" according to the man himself, is "a culmination of nearly three years' graft". Folky, jazzy and bluesy in turn, with beautifully-dextrous playing, it demands attention, including yours.



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KRIS BARRAS BAND2016-05-26
Lucky 13
OWN LABEL

With the addition of keyboard player Matt Vowels and beautifully-judged guest appearances by Simon Lane on harp and singer Phoebe Ions, Lucky 13 sees the Kris Barras Band's previous power trio sound augmented significantly, but never over-bearingly. Lucky 13 is a fine document of a frontman and band pursuing the same goals and producing some impressive sounds in the process.



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DYLAN WICKENS & THE GRAND NATURALS2016-05-15
Hi Lo-Fi
NO LABEL DETAILS

Blues trio Dylan Wickens & The Grand Naturals call in from Ontario with a hard-riffing second album full of funk and soul, and very fine it is too.



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RUSSELL DECARLE, STEVE BRIGGS, DENIS KELDIE2016-05-03
Live at Glenbuchat Hall
29 April 2016

There have been some amazing evenings in Glenbuchat's atmospheric community hall, but the bar has been raised yet further by a Canadian trio on top of their game and who gave the impression that they'd have been happy to play all night



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JAKE GREEN BAND2016-05-02
Plugging In
DME

Every community should be cycle-friendly, have state-of-the-art leisure facilities, sound educational establishments, a range of guitar shops and a three-piece blues band. Copenhagen is such a dream city, and its Jake Green Band fulfills that final criterion.



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CONNIE LUSH BAND2016-04-28
Renaissance
OWN LABEL

With a new band in tow, Renaissance sees Connie Lush return in triumph with a subtle, measured collection of grown-up soul and blues.



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THE RAILSPLITTERS2016-04-26
Live at The Blue Lamp Aberdeen
24 April 2016

On their last night on the UK mainland before braving the crossing to Shetland, The Railsplitters brought joy and sumptuous melody to Aberdeen, powered by chocolate, a secret guilty obsession with I Love Lucy, and talent.



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SWAMPGRASS2016-04-20
One Eye Open
Own label

It's not all, mud, tents and new age cosmic jive in Glastonbury, as Swampgrass demonstrate with a eclectic set of "alt.blues" well worth an hour of your time.



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DANNY MARKS2016-04-16
Cities In Blue
No label details

Utilising his considerable experience as a blues musician, Danny Marks' Cities In Blue is a travelogue, tracing the blues geographically across North America, and commemorating memorable and influential destinations in ten original songs.



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MR RICK2016-04-16
Mr Rick Sings About God + Booze
Own Label

From Toronto, by way of his home town Detroit, Mr Rick gets to the heart of the conflict between Lord and liquor as he expertly and respectfully interprets gospel, blues and country. There is no declared winner, except the listener.



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3hattrio2016-04-13
Dark Desert Night
Okehdokee Records

With the stated aim of creating music evoking their southern Utah desert base, Greg Istock, Hal Cannon and Eli Wrankle follow up 2014's Year One, drawing on folk, western and blues influences to inform the thought-provoking atmospheric songs of a unique and affecting collection.



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Thorbjørn Risager & The Black Tornado2016-04-12
Songs From The Road
Ruf Records

Ruf Records' double-pack CD/DVD releases Songs From The Road offer tremendous value. We've already reviewed those featuring Canned Heat, Spin Doctors and Dana Fuchs, but, hand on heart, Thorbjorn Risager & The Black Tornado's is the best yet.



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Danni Nicholls2016-04-11
Live at The Blue Lamp Aberdeen
10 April 2016

With her second major album Mockingbird Lane universally-lauded since its release late in 2015, Danni Nicholls, with Max Milligan, closed her Scottish tour at Aberdeen's Blue Lamp, commenting, "So much love Aberdeen. Can't think of a lovelier place to finish the Scottish tour than The Blue Lamp. A beautiful room full of beautiful people." We are honoured.



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LAYLA ZOE2016-04-06
Breaking Free
Ruf Records

Currently sharing a stage with Ina Forsman and Tasha Taylor on 2016's Blues Caravan, Layla Zoe's tenth album Breaking Free is being promoted to coincide, and it's a hefty, emotional collection filled with power and passion.



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KYLA BROX2016-04-05
Throw Away Your Blues
Pigskin Records

Gigging since she was thirteen, Kyla Brox has amassed considerable experience of both stage and recording studio. On Throw Away Your Blues, her sixth studio album, she displays, with pen, voice and flute, a well-developed dramatic ability to get right inside her top-drawer, ultra-soulful songs, co-written with bassist and partner Danny Blomely, and guitarist Paul Farr.



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FRASER ANDERSON2016-03-24
Under The Cover Of Lightness
Membran

Like most of us, I suspect that Fraser Anderson learned a few rudimentary guitar chords in his youth. Quite how he has made the colossal melodic and structural leaps from 'Skip To My Lou' and 'House Of The Rising Sun' to the astounding creative diversity on show on Under The Cover Of Lightness is mysterious to those of us still slightly-perplexed by major sevenths.



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FRED EAGLESMITH AND TIF GINN2016-03-22
Live at The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen
18 March 2016

Judging by the online reactions to this, the latest of Almost Blue Promotions’ ambitious 2016 calendar of live shows, this was among the best yet of the diverse acts that Martin Raitt has brought north.



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LOCUST HONEY2016-03-22
Live at The Deeside Inn, Ballater
17 March 2016

Sixteen months on from their spirit-affirming appearance at Glenbuchat Hall, representing that fine venue’s first successful touring artist gig, Locust Honey unpacked fiddles, guitars and a bass on the other side of the Dee-Don watershed, on a beautiful early Spring evening. We were there.



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CALE TYSON2016-03-14
Careless Soul
Clubhouse Records

With his highly-regarded 2015 debut, Introducing Cale Tyson, still on many playlists, Cale Tyson has followed the well-worn path of country and soul artists to Muscle Shoals’ Fame studios to record Careless Soul.



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WOODY PINES2016-03-10
Live at Glenbuchat Hall
5 March 2016

The thought of an evening in one of NE Scotland's most appreciative venues in the company of an artist of the stature of Woody Pines proved irresistible. Not even the poor weather forecast and an emergency detour through Donside following an unfortunate house fire in the area could keep us away from a hugely enjoyable event.



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JEFF HEALEY2016-03-07
Heal My Soul
Mascot/Provogue

There is no cash-in morbidity about the release of Heal My Soul, a collection of Jeff Healey tracks repectfully curated, mastered and released by the Jeff Healey Estate, and in its diversity and soulfulness, a fine reminder of a much-missed bluesman's creativity and sensitivity.



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INA FORSMAN2016-03-07
Ina Forsman
RUF RECORDS

In the same stout GFI Promotions jiffy bag as Tasha Taylor's outstanding Honey For The Biscuit came Ina Forsman's self-titled debut album, suggesting that we are witnessing the beginning of something special in blues and soul as Ruf Records put their weight behind this superb Finnish lyricist and dramatic interpreter treading in the footprints of innovators and pioneers from Bessie Smith to Amy Winehouse.



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MONSTER TRUCK2016-03-07
Sittin' Heavy
Mascot/Provogue

It's not often that bluesandmoreagain shoves a heavy rock offering in the CD player for appraisal, but Monster Truck's Sittin' Heavy sounded attractive from the press release, was given a spin and was thoroughly enjoyable in its unabashed heavy riffing, bluesy way. A fine follow-up to 2013's well-regarded Furiosity and a trip down memory lane to Deep Purple and Thin Lizzy-obsessed teen days.



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DEVON ALLMAN2016-02-25
Live at The Tunnels, Aberdeen
21 February 2016

A member of Southern Rock's most famous family in Aberdeen? Astonishing, and Devon Allman lived up to his reputation in a memorable show.



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TASHA TAYLOR2016-02-24
Honey For The Biscuit
Ruf Records

"It's clear that Tasha hasn't just inherited her father's talent, but also his tireless work ethic" says the PR one sheet accompanying Honey For The Biscuit. Thirteen tracks of gorgeous, uplifting soul confirm that statement as Tasha Taylor adds freshness and modernity to her beautifully-written and arranged songs.



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THE RED DIRT SKINNERS2016-02-17
Behind The Wheel
SIDEGOAT RECORDS

Incessant touring in the UK, Europe and Canada has seen The Red Dirt Skinners garner a strong and loyal following. Equally at home on festival stages or in the intimacy of house concerts, they are constantly chiselling songs from their experiences, and somehow find time to record. Behind The Wheel catches them at their peak.



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CANNED HEAT2016-02-09
Songs From The Road
RUF RECORDS

Hands up everyone who believed that the beloved boogie brothers of Canned Heat had gone their separate ways decades ago?

Not so. Harvey Mandel, Larry Taylor and Adolfo de la Parra  have preserved the spirit and back catalogue of Canned Heat, bringing in assistance as required, but always maintaining the original blues ethos of Al Wilson's vision, developing estimable new material along the way. Mandel, suffering from ill-health, was unable to perform on this live recording.



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SIMO2016-02-09
Let Love Show The Way
Mascot/Provogue

From Nashville, brash but soulful and tasteful, comes JD Simo and his tiny band of brothers. Holed up in the Allmans' Macon hideaway, Let Love Show The Way seems to have absorbed the house vibes and legendary Allmans' improvisational energy to produce an album of power, emotion and inventiveness.



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GORDIE TENTREES AND JAXON HALDANE2016-02-06
Live at The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen
05 February 2016

Aberdeen is in for an extremely busy year gig-wise, as Almost Blue Promotions' timetable is already packed with high quality country and Americana acts drawn to the city by Martin Raitt's hard work and increasingly good reputation as a principled and enthusiastic promoter. First out of the blocks were Gordie Tentrees and Jaxon Haldane, on a rainy January night. They set the quality bar high, in a challenge to those booked to appear in subsequent months, in a heart-warming evening  in Gallowgate.



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BIG BOY BLOATER & THE LIMITS2016-02-05
Luxury Hobo
Provogue/Mascot

Fronting his stripped-down four-piece, Big Boy Bloater turns in his fifth album Luxury Hobo "about modern day life and society". It's always energetic, but with its share of laidback soulful and reflective moments, Luxury Hobo is a fine return to recording from a man who's been battling personal health issues that we hope are now behind him. Release date 11 March 2016.



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NORRIE MCCULLOCH2016-02-03
These Mountain Blues
Black Dust Records

These Mountain Blues caused an all-too-rare rush of feel-good endorphins on first listen, soundtracking a stroll by an equally powerful, rain-swollen River Don. It gets better and better on repeat, as its organic goodness seeps from the timbers of piano and double bass adding depth and honesty to McCulloch's perfectly-judged melodic narratives.



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VARIOUS ARTISTS2016-01-29
Rough Guide To Americana
World Music Network

Is it country? Is it folk music? Is it bluegrass, or string band, or old-time? What about soul and blues? Or pop? Rock?

There are as many definitions as there are genres informing it. World Music Network illustrates where it comes from and features some of its finest artists on its latest Rough Guide.



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JAMIE WILLIAMS & THE ROOTS COLLECTIVE2016-01-28
Live 'n' Kickin' At The Brasenose Arms
Ashwill Records

'Pub rock'. Rock n roll in a pub, and a media-tagged 'movement' in the mid-70s that saw stalwarts such as Ace and Ducks Deluxe have their moment in the sun. The pub is still where many go to imbibe a bit of unpretentious rock n roll, and there is no finer venue, I am told, than The Brasenose Arms. Jamie Williams & The Roots Collective popped in on a mini-tour in 2015, and this is an honest record of that night.



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Lindi Ortega2016-01-25
Live at The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen
24 January 2016

With four acclaimed albums and a Grand Ole Opry appearance to her credit, Lindi Ortega brought warmth, drama, heartache and a blistering band to Aberdeen's Lemon Tree. Three weeks into 2016 and the live performance bar has already been set high.



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DR FIONA-JANE BROWN2015-12-01
Hidden Aberdeenshire: The Land
Black & White Publishing

Hidden Aberdeenshire: The Land is Dr Fiona-Jane Brown's third easily-digestible and informative guide book, moving inland from her previous guides to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire's coast, maintains the admirable standards she has set.

This review first appeared in Aberdeen Voice in November 2015.



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RICHARD GORDON2015-12-01
Tales From The Dugout
Black & White Publishing

Review of Richard Gordon's Tales From The Dugout which first appeared in Aberdeen Voice in October 2015.



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MIKE ZITO & THE WHEEL2015-12-01
Keep Coming Back
RUF RECORDS

With Jimmy Carpenter, Lewis Stephens, Scott Sutherland, Rob Lee and guests, Mike Zito's Wheel rolls on purposefully, gathering momentum, accolades and new fans as he fuses blues, soul and rock to delicious effect.



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FRONT COUNTRY2015-11-22
Live at Glenbuchat Hall
13 November 2015

The Water of Buchat, even in its swollen post-Abigail state, hardly matches it in its magnificence, but Front Country brought more than a little of Mississipian mountain melody and delta spirit to Strathdon on their 2015 UK tour.



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BEN ROGERS2015-10-24
Live at The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen 23 October 2015


It was a privilege to breathe the same oxygen as Ben Rogers as Almost Blue Promotions' penultimate Blue Lamp show of 2015 delighted a sizeable and appreciative Aberdeen audience.



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KRIS BARRAS BAND2015-09-23
Kris Barras Band
NO LABEL DETAILS

Musical prodigy Kris Barras hooks up with his equally-experienced rhythm partners Ricky Mitchell and Jon Perrin on an eight-track collection which suggests that there could be bigger things to come.



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DAN PENN & SPOONER OLDHAM2015-07-20
Live Review. The Sage, Gateshead


The songs and stories of Muscle Shoals and Memphis when Southern Soul was at its zenith. From the banks of the Tennessee and Mississippi to the south bank of the Tyne, it was an honour to attend when Penn and Oldham held court.



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LAURENCE JONES2015-06-23
The Tunnels, Aberdeen, 22 June 2015
Live review

It's been quite a fortnight here in NE Scotland. As the warmer rain heralds Summer, in the past 11 days we have witnessed outstanding, energetic live shows from Hamilton Loomis and Blackeberry Smoke. Audience numbers have been impressive, none more so that at The Tunnels, where Laurence Jones, a week after his billing at the Albert Hall Lead Belly tribute, demonstrated why he is destined for greater things.



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THE REVELERS2015-06-19
Get Ready
SELF RELEASE

The Revelers' 2013 debut set souls and soles on fire with its good-time Louisiana-rooted mix of Cajun, soul and blues. Get Ready maintains the groove and is even better. They'll be in the UK next year too. See you there, dancing shoes on.



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RYK MEAD & THE LONDON BLUES MACHINE2015-06-16
Chicago
SELF RELEASE

Road veteran Ryk Mead takes time off from touring long enough to corral his London Blues Machine into the studio. Chicago  is the result, and very pleasing it is too.



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HAMILTON LOOMIS2015-06-13
Live at The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen
12 June 2015

Fledgling Aberdeen promo agency Funky Blues brought Hamilton Loomis to Aberdeen before. This time, it's Friday night, it's been the hottest day of the year and The Blue Lamp is impressively populated. We have lift-off...



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SAMANTHA FISH2015-06-06
Wild Heart
RUF RECORDS

For her third studio release, Samantha Fish calls on Luther Dickinson to help her explore the more rural and earthier blues territory he knows so well. Wild Heart is the result. Listeners will be delighted as country and electric blues are delivered with soul and sensitivity.



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JONATHAN BYRD & THE SENTIMENTALS2015-06-06
Mother Tongue
SELF RELEASE (supported by KODA and DPA)

Soren Kierkegaard and Bob Dylan inform this Danish-US collaboration, "...a sort of audio handshake and international conversation between philosophy and rock n roll".



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THE RAILSPLITTERS2015-05-31
Live
Glenbuchat Hall 30 May 2015

With a critically-acclaimed 2013 debut album and new release The Faster It Goes impressing audiences and critics alike, it was a coup for Glenbuchat Hall to host the opening date of The Railsplitters' UK tour.



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ROYAL SOUTHERN BROTHERHOOD2015-05-30
Don't Look Back: The Muscle Shoals Sessions
RUF RECORDS

With Mike Zito and Devon Allman now departed, can new boys Bart Walker and Tyrone Vaughan step up to the plate to season the Brotherhood 'trademark gumbo'? You bet.



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DIANE MORGAN2015-05-28
Aberdeen's Union Terrace Gardens
Black & White Publishing

The future of a beautiful urban defile in Aberdeen, “the place where the new city took over from the medieval town” has divided opinion in recent years, and as Diane Morgan's meticulous research proves, this is nothing new. Originally reviewed in Aberdeen Voice 22 May 2015.



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SPIN DOCTORS2015-05-27
Songs From The Road
RUF RECORDS

The blues roots of Spin Doctors, who hit paydirt with the riffy rock of Pocket Full Of Kryptonite in 1991, are showing again in this raucous German show from 2013.



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JP HARRIS & THE TOUGH CHOICES2015-05-26
Live in Aberdeen 23 May 2015


Tunnels, Telecasters, Tough Choices.... JP Harris and his band of brothers bring honky-tonk heaven to an adoring Aberdeen country audience. With dancing.



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SONNY LANDRETH2015-05-14
Bound By The Blues
MASCOT

His first out-and-out blues release in a dozen years, Sonny Landreth's Bound By The Blues proves worth the wait.



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LAURA CORTESE & THE DANCE CARDS2015-05-13
Glenbuchat Hall 12 May 2015
Live review

Three adopted Bostonian visitors, with just twelve strings between them, bring soul and joy to a community ready to party on a Tuesday night. Don't miss them if they're in your neighbourhood.



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CHRIS CULGIN2015-05-08
It's Only Time
SELF RELEASE

It's Only Time is an excellent country album from Chris Culgin, who lives in a shed in Peterborough, Ontario, his amusing website claims.



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SEAN WEBSTER & THE DEAD LINES2015-05-08
See It Through
SELF RELEASE

The third studio release from Sean Webster sees his blues and soul sensibilities develop even further. He's been compared to Joe Cocker. Praise indeed.



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CAHALEN MORRISON AND ELI WEST2015-05-07
THE BLUE LAMP, ABERDEEN 06 May 2015
Live review

You missed Cahalen Morrison and Eli West playing in Aberdeen this week? Here's a snapshot and reminder to get along next time.



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THE BLACK CIRCLES2015-05-06
From The Top
SELF RELEASE

From Warrington, The Black Circles' 4-track EP mixes emotional guitar-driven blues with hints of psych and swamp.



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RAINBREAKERS2015-05-04
Blood Not Brass
SELF RELEASE

Shrewsbury 4-piece debut with a gritty and funky 4-track EP, suggesting that they could be destined for greater things.



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WILY BO WALKER & KARENA K2015-05-02
A Long Way From Heaven
MESCAL CANYON RECORDS

Frontman with Rattlin' Bone and The Mescal Canyon Troubadours, Glasgow's Wily Bo Walker shares the mic with Karena K in a splendid, soulful six song masterclass of writing, arrangement and performance.



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Mark Olson and Ingunn Ringvold2015-05-01
The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen, 26.04.15
Live review

Former Jayhawk, accompanied by Norwegian multi-instrumentalist Ingunn Ringvold braved a late April blizzard to charm The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen on the final date of their UK tour.



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The Graham Parker Duo (featuring Brinsley Schwarz)2015-04-28
Lemon Tree, Aberdeen. 25 April 2015
Live review

Just before Graham Parker and the Rumour's new album Mystery Glue is released, GP and his long-time lieutenant Brinsley Schwarz tour the UK playing stripped-back versions of Parker classics. This was Aberdeen on 25 April 2015.



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PHARIS AND JASON ROMERO2015-04-14
A Wanderer I'll Stay
LULA RECORDS

The third album from Canadian backwoods husband and wife banjo-making duo, Pharis and Jason Romero. Their best yet? We say yes.



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DELTA LADIES2015-04-09
Refugee
SELF RELEASE

'Good time rhythm and roots' is the strapline of their website, describing accurately the blues and country-derived contents of Refugee. But the roots go beyond the Mississippi Delta...



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THE WESTIES2015-04-08
West Side Stories
NO LABEL DETAILS

Taking his band name from a gang of Irish punks who ruled NYC's Hell's Kitchen in the 1960s and 70s, Michael McDermott's songs inspired by the gang's story, resonate with the energy, brutality and emotion of, in Yeats's words, that "terrible beauty".



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QRISTINA & QUINN BACHAND2015-04-02
Little Hinges
BEACON RIDGE PRODUCTIONS

Multi-award winning British Columbian siblings Qristina and Quinn Bachand offer up an album of two halves, experimenting with their beloved traditional folk, and winning new fans along the way.



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The Laura Holland Band2015-03-31
Dare I Believe
SELF-RELEASE

Laura Holland leads her six-piece horn-driven combo through their follow-up to The Smokehouse Sessions, demonstrating that classic soul is alive and kicking in 21st century Britain.



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Billy Walton Band2015-03-31
Wish For What You Want
VIZZTONE RECORDS

Billy Walton Band continues to dig deep into the soulful side of blues on Wish For What You Want



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VARIOUS ARTISTS2015-03-27
Orgreave Justice
PHILOSOPHY FOOTBALL

Like-minded artists rail against the injustices and brutality of the 1984-85 miners' strike in a collection from which the profits go to the Orgreave Justice Campaign.



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