The first single from the debut album by Austin, Texas singer Candace Bellamy has just about everything a soul and blues fan needs: powerhouse vocals delivering a from-the-heart lyric, snaking organ dueling with flashing guitar and heavy horns punctuating a mean, mean groove.
Playing a mixture of R&B, country and funk, Honey Island Swamp Band performed at the Old Rock House on Thursday night.
In his own cagey yet warm-hearted way, Gurf Morlix has amassed the accomplishments befitting an icon of American music. The superlative guitarist, producer and songwriter isn't living in the past. His latest album is very much in the present tense.
Outside the windows that illuminate stage left of the Old Rock House, a train rolled forward with slow determination over the dark Mississippi to a destination unknown. The Arch rose up in the background as the Royal Southern Brotherhood took the stage and the crowd gave them a warm, enthusiastic welcome.
If soul music is anything it's the expression of unfiltered feeling -- in melody and rhythm, theme and voice. Sometimes it's utterly primal, and sometimes, as in the music of Jesse Dee, it's finely, joyfully arranged.
"Don't cry baby!" Insistent. The guitar echoes with an urgently blasted chord followed by plangent trail of single notes. "Please don't cry." Pleading. The guitar cascades down the blues scale, with an eloquently delicate tone to each note.
The year has barely begun but exceptional new releases are coming fast and feverish -- with many more to follow. Apparently, the DJs of 88.1 KDHX are champing at the bit to hear them all.
Fusions of blues and rock don't come much grittier than Nick and the Ovorols (a Chicago band featuring Nick Peraino, Carlos Showers, Vic Jackson and Lance Lewis). Heed the words and music they deliver.