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Listen. Hear. Feel. Share.

We can't help to be moved by music, and we hope the samples of our recent releases get you grooving.

Discover the "perfection" (Goldmine magazine) of Duke Robillard's The Acoustic Blues and Roots of Duke Robillard, the "seriously good record" (ICONfetch.com) that is MonkeyJunk's Moon Turn Red and Colin Linden's "deep, broad spectrum" (Elmore magazine) on Rich In Love.

Or delve into the "deeply felt and beautifully executed" (Living Blues magazine) Father's Day from Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters.

"One of this country's finest songwriters" (Folk Roots, Folk Branches) Ian Tyson turned 82 this year, and also released Carnero Vaquero, on which "you’ll hear the honest voice, singing the honest songs of a real cowboy" (Cashbox Canada).

Having proudly worked with Jeff Healey for a number of years before his untimely death in 2008, it was an honour to release The Best of the Stony Plain Years: Vintage Jazz, Swing and Blues, which exhibited "Healey's staggering command of old-school jazz guitar" (Vintage Guitar magazine).

Then there's Guitar Heroes, a "once-in-a-lifetime gathering" (Sing Out! magazine) of James Burton, Albert Lee, Amos Garrett and David Wilcox from 2013's Vancouver Island Music Fest.

Share. Feel. Hear. Listen. There's always something new to discover.

Reviews:

Blues Blast Magazine
By John Mitchell
 

Whatever style he adopts Duke is a wonderful player, able to adapt across the spectrum of blues and jazz styles and this is another strong album from him. Recommended.

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Duke Robillard spent over a year unable to play guitar following a serious shoulder injury and this album had to be delayed until further recording sessions had taken place once Duke had recovered. In terms of releases the gap was filled by the excellent The Acoustic Blues & Roots of Duke Robillard but this is the album that Duke planned to release. Tracks were recorded before and after Duke’s enforced lay-off but the personnel throughout is unchanged with Duke on guitar and vocals and his long-standing band in support: Bruce Bears on keys, Mark Teixeira on drums and Brad Hallen on bass. There are some guests who feature on one track each: Sugar Ray Norcia (vocals), Kelley Hunt (vocals/piano), Jimmie Vaughan (guitar), Sax Gordon Beadle (tenor/baritone sax) and Doug James (baritone sax). Duke wrote all the material apart from two covers and one shared writing credit with Jimmie.

The format here is small band blues with a selection of shuffles, slow and rocking blues, Duke’s guitar reflecting each song’s mood perfectly. He really is one of the masters of this sort of ensemble playing, possibly the best example being the extended "Shufflin’ And Scufflin’" which comes from an as yet unreleased session with Jimmie Vaughan, both guitarists getting plenty of space alongside Doug James’ bubbling baritone. Kelley Hunt wrote a tune dedicated to Duke’s recording studio "The Mood Room" and Duke invited her to revisit the song with his band, Kelley’s piano taking the lead on an upbeat tribute to the “hippest joint in town”. Sugar Ray Norcia is on vocals for a cover of Jimmy ‘Baby Face’ Lewis’ Last Night which is a stand-out cut with Ray’s suave vocal and Sax Gordon’s great sax work behind Duke’s swinging guitar.

Duke’s familiar deeper vocals are featured on the remaining tracks which include the amusingly cynical "Fool About My Money" on which the band adopts a New Orleans rhythm and the slow blues tribute to Guitar Slim, "Blues For Eddie Jones". "Lay A Little Lovin’ On Me" opens the album on a funky note courtesy of Bruce’s piano and Duke’s searing guitar fills before the rolling blues of "Rain Keeps Falling", Bruce’s piano again spot on for the tune and Duke bending the strings impressively. The pace drops for the slow blues of "Mourning Dove" but not the intensity of Duke’s playing and the swinging "No More Tears" harks back to Duke’s original incarnation of Roomful Of Blues, without the horns. Duke’s tough guitar and Bruce’s almost ragtime piano on "You Used To Be Sugar" is a winning (and swinging!) combination and "Come With Me Baby' closes the album with another trademark rolling blues.

Whatever style he adopts Duke is a wonderful player, able to adapt across the spectrum of blues and jazz styles and this is anot

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Blues Blast Magazine
By Steve Jones

"Kenny "Blues Boss" Wayne flamboyantly jumps and bops through this fine new swing recording on Canada’s Stony Plain Records.

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Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne - Jumpin’ & Boppin’

Stony Plain Records

www.kennybluesboss.com

13 tracks/45 minutes

Born in Spokane, Washington, schooled and trained in New Orleans and now based in British Columbia, Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne flamboyantly jumps and bops through this fine new swing recording on Canada’s Stony Plain Records. Featuring the great Duke Robillard on guitar along with Russell Jackson on bass, Charlie Jacobson on guitar, Joey DiMarco on drums, Sherman Ducette on harp, and Dave Babcock on sax, this is a fine ensemble of players backing this great keyboard player and vocalist.

This is Kenny’s third outing on Stony Plain and his tenth overall recording. He has self produced this one and the last and he’s done a fine job with both of them. Duke Robillard adds a lot with his guitar work and the talents of all the musicians really shine brightly.

The album opens with “Blues Boss Shuffle,” a sweet instrumental where everyone gets a chance to impress the listener. Wayne’s piano, Babcock’s sax and Robillard’s guitar offer up well done solos. “Bankrupted Blues” follows, a tune about losing jobs, cars and homes. It’s a sign of the times and the band gives us a great performance. Robillard has an extended solo that was cool. “Jumpin’ & Boppin’ With Joy” is a high energy cut with frantic vocal that Wayne does a good job with. Robillard comes in for a swinging solo then Wayne takes over on the keys. “Blues Stew” slows things down and offers a bit of a respite. Wayne paces things out nicely as he let’s the piano take the lead in this more thoughtful cut.

You Don’t Know Me,” the albums’ lone cover, is a fine slow blues with some great sax accompanying the vocals. This is very smooth and sultry stuff. “Blackmail Blues” is a swinging mid tempo piece with guitar, organ and piano up front leading the charge. Evenly paced, it’s an interesting number. The boys jump and jive with “Look Out! There’s A Train Coming.” Horns and keys trade licks and Robillard's smooth guitar gives this one a fantastic feel. “I Need Your Lovin’” continues in that vein with the organ laying out a groove and a nice piano solo and later guitar solo to spice things up. “Ciao, Ciao Baby” slows things down a tad as Wayne sways though this one nicely on vocals. The saxes and guitar add a nice dimension again; Robillard offers a prolonged solo that was quite nice.

Slow blues return with “Back To Square One.” Thoughtful piano and guitar work well together to open this one. Wayne comes in on vocals and struts his stuff and then Robillard offers another keenly smooth solo. Harp opens “I’m Comin’ Home” and the band lays it on in this jump cut. The harp blows sweetly for it’s solo and maintains a steady groove throughout. “Rock, Rock Little Girl” features some big boogie woogie piano, sax and guitar in this rocking number. Kenny testifies to us in this 50’s style rocking jump blues with a rocking guitar solo. The CD closes with “Boogie To Gloryland,” a keen instrumental that Wayne drives from the piano bench. It’s a whirlwind ride up and down the 88 keys as he does an impressive job on this boogie tune.

This is a fine jump blues album with some great new songs. Wayne, Robillard and friends do a dynamite job and offer up some outstanding work on this album. The interplay and balance is sublime and fun. I thoroughly enjoyed this CD!

Reviewer Steve Jones is president of the Crossroads Blues Society and is a long standing blues lover. He is a retired Navy commander who served his entire career in nuclear submarines. In addition to working in his civilian career since 1996, he writes for and publishes the bi-monthly newsletter for Crossroads, chairs their music festival and works with their Blues In The Schools program. He resides in Byron, IL.

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No Depression
By J.M. McSpadden III

Canadian Paul Reddick’s latest release, Ride the One, hits like a punch in the throat from the first note.  It is blues rock as a primal roar, as spooky as a condemned house, as visceral and chilling as a Stephen King novel.

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Canadian Paul Reddick’s latest release, Ride the One, hits like a punch in the throat from the first note. It is blues rock as a primal roar, as spooky as a condemned house, as visceral and chilling as a Stephen King novel. Reddick’s voice howls on the lead track “Shadows,” decidedly sinister, and more frightening than Lon Chaney staring at a full moon. Coupled with a desperate aural assault on blues harp, the song is as close to a major cardiac event as you can get.

Reddick has a thing for repetition. I’m not talking Van Morrison meditation-style mantras. He isn’t waxing mystical, Reddick is jonesing bad. The thing is, I’m never really sure what he’s going on about, but damn if he doesn’t make you sit up and take notice. On “Shadows” Reddick growls and bellows like a rabid dog. The whole rhythm section churns and thunders along with him, and I am sure somewhere nearby are the four horseman, taking up the reins for their doomsday ride.

Reddick’s skills are impressive, and between his voice and his blues harp it is hard to tell which is more insistent on getting your attention. The pace continues on “Celebrate” as the drumming of Derek Downham drives the tune into a tribal frenzy, and if you told me that the band had walked on hot coals after cutting the track I would have no trouble believing you.

The third track, “Mourning Dove” is one of my favorites. In an album drenched in moody, foreboding atmospherics, this one came across as cinematic in scope. I could feel the dew dripping from the Spanish moss, haunting echoes coming from the bayou. It has the taut suspense of a classic film noir. 

“Gotta Find A” slows the pace a little, giving the listener a chance to come up for air. “It Goes With You” is fueled by a combination of Reddick’s harp and his manic wails, and the razor sharp guitars of Greg Cockerill and Steve Mariner. When Reddick sings, “All the love, it goes with you,” it is in an obsessive lover’s voice, the kind that earns a restraining order from the one who broke off the relationship.

“Diamonds” is another high point on an album that excels at painting pictures. Reddick doesn’t so much write clever lyrics as he writes simple verses that he injects with emotional excess. Repetition works to great effect on this number, a swampy rhythm set against an unyielding drumbeat. Over the backbeat Reddick keeps asking, “Wasn’t that a time? All those diamonds in the sky.”

As the song progresses, he throws out phrases that feel like clues to arcane prophecy:

Wasn’t that a time

all those diamonds in the sky

you held them

like an ancient book

you held them

 like an ancient book

all that said

in just a look

Reddick’s lyrical poetry gains its strength not through direct story telling but rather through what it leaves out, interacting with the listener by dredging up emotional connections to the moments in life for which we have no answers. Reddick has assembled a band that knows what he wants and delivers it in spades. The tightly focused ensemble playing is superb and builds the internal pressure in each song, simmering with implied threat and all too happy to boil over.

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No Depression
By Joe McSpadden
"The strength of Ledbetter’s work, and the prison-to-palace arc of his life, make Lead Belly’s Gold an extension of Bibb’s last effort, Blues People, if not a sequel to it. Ride this train, people, you won’t want to get off. " (more)

Eric Bibb is a devotee of pre-war blues and folk music. On his latest release, Lead Belly’s Gold, Bibb and brother-in-arms JJ Milteau mine the rich vein of Americana that is Huddie Ledbetter. We are all the better for the effort, and wiser for the reminder that roots music owes a deep debt to African-American artists.

I usually approach cover albums with a sense of apprehension. When it's been recorded by an artist I admire, I want to hear their work over that of their mentors. All too often, tribute albums mean more to the artist than the artist’s following. Worse yet, in some cases, these albums are contract fulfillment items. That is definitely not the case here. Bibb and company turn in a spirited and honest record that is important on several levels.

Coming on the heels of Bibb’s mountaintop testament to racial healing, Blues People, an album of covers might seem to be a letdown, or an example of an artist taking a breather. Nothing could be further from the truth. Instead Bibb returns with a batch of songs that seem more like an extension of his previous album than one might think. In fact, Lead Belly’s Gold could be seen as a sequel of sorts.

American roots music has been all the rage for decades, but never more so than in the wake of Joel and Ethan Coen’s quirky film O Brother, Where Art Thou? That film, and the score by T Bone Burnett exposed a hunger in audiences for something that felt organic and honest, and kicked off a fever for string band music.

Thank God for Eric Bibb and others walking the path of restoration. Artists like Bibb, Guy Davis, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, and the Ebony Hillbillies remind us that there is much more color in the rainbow of the great American Songbook than we often see in the headlines. Bibb and his compadres are restoring to us a more complete picture of our musical heritage, and the results are deeper and sweeter than the whitewashed hoedowns sold to suburban middle class kids. We are enriched as a result.

One of the first things an album of covers forces us to ask is the question of whether or not the artist is committed to the project. If the artist is truly committed to the project, then the next query has to do with audience. Is the artist playing to a memory in his head that no one else can see? Or is the artist able to come down from the mountain and deliver the vision?

The good news is that Bibb is fully immersed in this work, and there is no better evangelist to reach the next generation than the son of Leon Bibb. The album is full of gems that stay with the listener. In agricultural terms, this is a harvest in seed form. When one realizes that they are fed not from the ear of corn, but from the seed that produced the ear, then one can begin to grasp what Huddie Ledbetter means to contemporary music, and what prophets like Eric Bibb mean to a culture that is seeking its sense of self.

Roots music is, at its very core, diverse. The tag “Americana” is problematic at best. While at times it comes very close to hitting the motherlode of creativity, it can, in the next instant, drift perilously close to becoming its own parody. Eric Bibb is proof that Americana is about more than a hipster beard and a charge account at a vintage clothing store. His presence also reminds us that we have a shared history; that we are more alike than we are different, and that color and culture are not reasons to divide us but rather to cause us to rejoice.

Rooted firmly in the Village folk scene, and in the pre-war blues he loves so much, Bibb is able to integrate the works of Lead Belly and Seeger, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Sebastian and Dylan, Rev. Gary Davis and Woody Guthrie -- not to mention Dr. King -- all in to a patchwork quilt that defines us far better than the popular trend towards faux-retro expression.

Americana music, like films about the 1960s, risks skirting the real thing in order to celebrate a sugar-coated memory. Bibb brings a much needed dose of reality to our pink sunglasses view of the past. We need this more than we know. Lead Belly’s Gold, if given more than a cursory listen, takes the listener out of the instant fix of current trends, into a river of song as deep and wide as the Mississippi river.

Oddly enough, Bibb starts out by making us uncomfortable. “Grey Goose,” a traditional song, serves as metaphor for the struggles of Ledbetter, and for others who have faced a world designed to see them demeaned and diminished. The treatment of the Goose gets harsher verse by verse. The imagery is brutal. The Goose becomes a symbol of survival, and of victory, flying across the sea, as Ledbetter himself did. That the Goose is shot down and rises from the ashes to fly, not alone but with his goslings, is a resurrection story worth telling. That Bibb is one of Ledbetter’s goslings cannot be denied.

The second track on the album brings a message of hope and redemption. “When That Train Comes Along/Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” finds Bibb in familiar territory, seeking the light that we desperately need. Bibb is joined on the track by Big Daddy Wilson on harmony vocals, and his warm pipes provide reassurance that salvation is indeed at hand.

“On a Monday” tells the plight of a man whose troubles grow worse with each day of the week. “The House of the Rising Sun” becomes, in Bibb’s hands, a song of quiet resignation and regret. The tone of his voice, more so than the lyrics, portray a soul surrendered to his fate. With a song this well-known the trick is not to trivialize it, or send it up. Bibb’s interpretation is that of man communing with his own thoughts, unable to affect the outcome of his days.

“Midnight Special” is a real pleaser. Never one of my favorite songs, Bibb’s take on the train song won me over. The Cajun-flavored arrangement, with its accordion and harmonica duet, feels as though it could have been recorded on the gallery of a clapboard shack in James Lee Burke’s New Iberia. This track would be great on the soundtrack of a Dave Robicheaux film, if someone in Hollywood could ever find a way to do Burke’s creation justice.

There is so much to like here. The beauty of it all is the way Bibb breathes new life into songs that have been performed countless times. “Pick a Bale of Cotton,” with Big Daddy Wilson on hand, is a delight and rivals Sonny and Brownie’s version for sheer fun.

Bibb provides a couple of fine original numbers and another, “When I Get to Dallas,” co-written with JJ Milteau. The latter depicts Ledbetter making plans to send for his woman once he gets set up in Dallas. Perhaps the biggest surprise is another train song, “Rock Island Line.” Bibb and Milteau ride on the steady drumbeat of Larry Crockett. Bibb the conductor punches our ticket while Milteau blows like a steam engine on his harp, Crockett’s drum clicking like steel wheels along the rails. This is a party train and it’s clear the brakes are gone. Bibb gets us to the station but can’t quite bring it to a complete stop, pulling up in a cloud of steam and Pentecostal fervor. Milteau outdoes himself here, becoming the mighty furnace of the great engine, hauling everyone on board along with him.

“Bourgeois Blues” follows, and returns us to Earth. Ledbetter’s song exposes the hypocrisy of discrimination in Washington, D.C., the so-called capitol of representation. “Chauffeur Blues” is next and turns the tables in a “look who’s driving who now” fashion.

As usual, Bibb surrounds himself with first class talent. Milteau is nothing short of amazing. He is a harp player who knows when to step to the fore, and when to ease back. On Lead Belly’s Gold he is a primal force. Milteau has an uncanny knack for knowing when to howl, and when fade, when to lead and when to follow. His sensibilities complement Bibb’s passionate delivery and together the two men create a musical document that honors Lead Belly’s legacy, all the while moving it a little further on down the road.

The strength of Ledbetter’s work, and the prison-to-palace arc of his life, make Lead Belly’s Gold an extension of Bibb’s last effort, Blues People, if not a sequel to it. Ride this train, people, you won’t want to get off. 

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Living Blues
By Frank Matheis

"This album is packed with on great song after the next. In short, this album just makes you happy."

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When you disperse white light through a prism you get the full color spectrum because that light contains a collection of component colors-the rainbow. Likewise, when listening to Colin Liden's new album Rich In Love you get the entire audible spectrum of American roots music. Some will hear early roch 'n' roll, some will call it blue, others will say it's Americana with a bluesy twang. Arguing which is best or stronger is like debating which color is prettiest. Surely you will inherently hear what you like-roots and blues by one of North America's best-kept musical secrets, the Canadian singer-songwriter and guitarist extraordinaire, Colin Linden. The multiple Juno Award winner, leader of the Rodeo Kings and brilliant producer and sideman, is also a superlative string virtuoso of immaculate taste and skill. He has played with T Bone Burnett, Leon Redbone, Rhiannon Giddens, Bob Dylan, Bruce Cockburn, Emmlou Harris, Robert Plant, and Alison Krauss. His critically acclaimed solo projects like Big Mouth, Southern Jumbo and From the Waters have always been steeped deeply in the blues.

Rich In Love is a real gem that may take weeks before you can get it out of your CD player. This album is produced, recorded and performed by the Rotting Matadors, with Colin Linden on guitar, ukulele, mandolin, and vocals-and he is masterful on all. The rhythm section consists of John Dymond on bass, and Gary Craig on drums. Harmonica ace Charlie Musselwhite join them on The Hurt and Rich in Love. Reese Wynans guests on keyboards. Amy Helm, daughter of Levon Helm and a lovely singer on her own right, recently with Ollabelle, backs up on harmony.

Notably, the interesting lyrics, the perfect instrumentation, musical diversity, and brilliant songwriting of Rich in Love would be enough to make this a keeper, but Linden manages to acheive what most singer-songwriters only dream of-it comes from the heart and you feel it in your soul, and the music instantly grabs you in a deep way. He means what he sings and the listener can make and immediate connection. The disc is simply a wonderful, rare gem.

These fiery 12 songs, consistently even fit, like worn-in shoes. In Delia Come For Me a falsely accused man pleads to his love, followed by The Hurt where he declares, "I want to see the word, hear the hurt, I want to know the hurt before I believe a word" Charlie Musslewhite adds an exclamation point, followed by Linden's lashing, emotive lead guitar. Everybody Ought to Be Loved is a sensitive, tender song about the ultimate truism. The title track starts off with a 1950s surf guitar vibe before it shifts into a sad moan as Musselwhite accentuates Linden's singing: "My baby used to cry, cry, cry as she she lay sleeping." When Linden sings "Nobody but you, there's never been nobody but you," it will twang your inner vibe. That's what good music can do. The album is packed with one great song after the next. In short, this album just makes you happy.

 

- Frank Matheis

 

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Gonzo Online
By John Kereiff

"Their passion, conviction and dedication to their music makes itself known in every lick, beat, lyric and solo. Great song writing and intuitive musicianship make this one hell of an album, one of the greats of 2015 in any genre."

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Oh BABY!  This Ottawa-based trio’s fourth long player is a scorching selection of rockin’ blues tunes ready to take on the world.  If you’re into stuff like David Wilcox, Big Sugar,  JJ Grey & Mofro and Black Keys, Monkeyjunk is singing your songs and I can guarantee that this is the way you want to hear ‘em!   

“With each record we make, we feel we’re pushing more boundaries” says singer/ baritone guitarist/ harmonica and organ player Steve Marriner. “We explored grooves we’ve never hit on before, and experimented with new sounds.”  That much is evident as they kick the door open with Light it Up, a party anthem if there ever was one.  It is this continued forward motion that makes each Monkeyjunk release even better than the last, and the biggest reason Moon Turn Red the best one of all- so far.

Some really cool grooves over the course of these 10 songs, from the reggae vibe of Love Attack to the aforementioned Light It Up and Hot, Hot Papa (a Wilcox original, David plays guitar and sings on this one), to soulful love songs in Learn How To Love and Meet Me At Midnight that will really put some lead in your pencil. The diversity of grooves and vibes had me thinking of Big Sugar primarily, so it was not a huge surprise to learn from the press kit that Gordie Johnson is buddies with lead guitarist Tony D. “Gordie and I both come out of the blues- we’ve known each other for over 25 years” says Tony.  “It was serendipitous that he happened to be touring in the vicinity (when we were recording).  After all these years, we finally got a chance to work together!”

Moon Turn Red is grimy in all the right places, a collection of songs that make you want to move- either get up on the dance floor, or just jump in the car and go.   It’s an outstanding addition to an already impressive body of work, and an example of musical camaraderie.  Their passion, conviction and dedication to their music makes itself known in every lick, beat, lyric and solo.  Great song writing and intuitive musicianship make this one hell of an album, on of the greats of 2015 in any genre.

ESSENTIALS:  Light It Up, Love Attack, Learn How To Love

- See more at: http://www.gonzoonline.ca/music/music-news/882-the-record-box-for-sunday-sept13th-2015.html#sthash.xmRBDi47.dpuf

Oh BABY!  This Ottawa-based trio’s fourth long player is a scorching selection of rockin’ blues tunes ready to take on the world.  If you’re into stuff like David Wilcox, Big Sugar,  JJ Grey & Mofro and Black Keys, Monkeyjunk is singing your songs and I can guarantee that this is the way you want to hear ‘em!   

“With each record we make, we feel we’re pushing more boundaries” says singer/ baritone guitarist/ harmonica and organ player Steve Marriner. “We explored grooves we’ve never hit on before, and experimented with new sounds.”  That much is evident as they kick the door open with Light it Up, a party anthem if there ever was one.  It is this continued forward motion that makes each Monkeyjunk release even better than the last, and the biggest reason Moon Turn Red the best one of all- so far.

Some really cool grooves over the course of these 10 songs, from the reggae vibe of Love Attack to the aforementioned Light It Up and Hot, Hot Papa (a Wilcox original, David plays guita

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