Friday, April 29, 2016

Donald Ray Johnson – These Blues, the Best of Donald Ray Johnson | Album Review

Donald Ray Johnson – These Blues, the Best of Donald Ray Johnson

Self Release

13 tracks / 59:00

Donald Ray Johnson has certainly managed to get around, and has come a long way since he was born in Bryan, Texas. As a young man he worked the cotton fields and learned how to play the drums, leading to a career that started when he was 14 with legendary blues pianist, Nat Dove. After an all expenses paid trip to Southeast Asia (courtesy of the US Navy), he returned to Southern California, where he hooked up with the blues scene again. You may know of him as a member of A Taste of Honey, which won the Best New Artist Grammy in 1979.

Johnson moved to Calgary, Alberta in 1989 and since then he has recorded six mighty fine blues albums, and his voice is just as good as his work on the traps. These Blues, the Best of Donald Ray Johnson is a compilation of nuggets from this body of work, though it must have been tough to narrow it down to only an hour of material. The thirteen tracks on this disc reveal a lot of versatility as it includes a little rhythm and blues and a touch of country, but it is mostly hard-hitting Chicago style blues. For a Canadian citizen that grew up in Texas and honed his craft in LA, he has a lot of the Windy City in him!

Nine of these tracks are originals, and he included four pretty cool covers for good measure. Donald opens the set with one of these, the Reverend Al Green’s “Ain’t No Fun to Me” which has a rock-solid backline (not surprisingly, he is a drummer after all), with plenty of harp, horns and Hammond. Johnson’s voice is a wonderfully hearty, but still smooth. This is a great tune, and all of the other tracks are just as good, which makes it hard to pick favorites, but I will give it a shot. Here are a few:

- It seems like every great bluesman has written at least one drinking song, and “Me and Jack (Daniels)” is Donald’s contribution to the community. This romp features a popping bass line, and an incredibly visual depiction of a man’s battle with the bottle. In this case the bottle always wins…

- “Always On My Mind” is one of my all-time favorite tunes, and this one provide a cool contrast to the most famous version, which was done by Willie Nelson (sorry, Elvis fans). Though this one also uses mainly country-style acoustic guitar as accompaniment, Donald’s voice is so much smoother than Willie’s that it makes this sad song new to me again.

-Johnny Taylor’s “Last Two Dollars” makes my list, as Johnson lays down some of the sexiest rhythm and blues lyrics you will ever hear. Of course, it helps that he started out with a very well written song that motors right through when played by one of the tightest bands you could put together.

- “No Guitar Blues” has plenty of guitar in it, courtesy of Michael Huston. This slow-rolling smooth blues track bemoans the fact that the blues community expects a front man to have an axe over their shoulder, and not be sitting behind a drum kit. The lyrics are witty and there is a glorious sax break and killer leads from Huston. This original song defines what Johnson is all about, so there was no way he could leave it off this “best of” compilation.

If you are not familiar with his work, These Blues, The Best of Donald Ray Johnson would be a perfect way to become familiar with his work. But be careful, after hearing it you might end up buying his other six CDs!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Blues Blast Magazine Review: All My Friends: Celebrating The Songs and Voice of Gregg Allman

Good day!

This CD review was originally published in the November 27, 2014 edition of Blues Blast Magazine. Be sure to check out the rest of the magazine at

Various Artists -- All My Friends: Celebrating The Songs and Voice of Gregg Allman

Rounder Records

2 CDs / 26 tracks / 2:31:54

1 DVD / 2:40:55

The Allman Brothers Band has survived its share of adversity since their first paying gig in 1969, and after 45 years they have finally called it quits and had their finals shows at New York City’s Beacon Theatre. One of the founding members, Gregg Allman, will continue on with his solo career, which is to be expected as he has quite a following of fans, including countless professional musicians.

On Friday, January 10, 2014, some of these legendary artists joined at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia to honor Gregg and join him in song. All two-and-a-half hours of this show were captured on two CDs and a DVD, so you can experience this magical evening for yourself! All My Friends: Celebrating The Songs and Voice of Gregg Allman includes 26 songs with performances from a lengthy list of industry hard-hitters and hall-of-famers, including Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, Dr. John, Eric Church, Pat Monahan, Jackson Browne, John Hiatt, Vince Gill, Martina McBride, and more! Gregg Allman joined in the celebration too, along with the rest of the Allman Brothers Band for a.

The set list is chock full of Allman goodness, with early Allman Brothers Band albums represented as well as tunes combed from Gregg’s solo catalogue. It is noteworthy that the Allman Brothers Band actually performed a few of the tunes, but they also assembled a house band to die for that played for the rest of the evening. This included Don Was on bass, Kenny Aronoff on the skins, Jack Pearson and Audley Freed on guitar, Chuck Leavell on piano, Rami Jaffee behind the Hammond, and Jimmy Hall tearing it up the harmonica. This would have been good enough, but they also brought in the McCrary Sisters on backing vocals and a killer horn section of Jim Hoke, Vinnie Ciesielski, and John Hinchey. These are all pros with centuries of combined stage experience and they made the evening enjoyable and complete.

This is a high-quality release with excellent production values, and the producer for this Rounder Records project is the one-and-only 3-time Grammy award winner Don Was. He was definitely qualified for this task, with credits that include The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison and Neil Diamond. The sound and mix is as good as you will get with a live album, and the cinematography and editing of the DVD is crystal clear and it was put together so that fans get to see everything worth seeing.

Listening to the CDs is more challenging than the DVD as the first few times through it is difficult to envision what is happening on stage and who is actually singing – and most of the time it is not Gregg Allman. In fact, he does not even appear on stage until almost an hour in, when he joins Grammy-winning blues musician Taj Mahal on “Statesboro Blues.” But, without the visuals there is also a better of idea of who is getting the mail delivered, and there are definitely standout vocal performances. The highlight of the evening was “Midnight Rider” with Zac Brown and Gregg on lead vocals and Vince Gill backing them up on the harmonies: it induced goose bumps! Not far behind was McBride and Monahan’s duet of “Can You Fool” and the Sam Moore (of Sam & Dave) take of “Please Call Home.”

But the best part of the set is the DVD, and if you are not terribly busy you can take most of an evening to sit back and watch it. There are no special features or commentaries, but it is probably one of the better-produced concert videos that you will ever see. On the screen you get to see the mountains of amplifiers and the huge cast of musicians that made this tribute possible. This video gives a better idea of what a bang-out job that the house band does, including the powerful drumming of the indefatigable Aronoff, and the kicking yet subtle contributions of Pearson and Freed on guitar. The pedal steel work of Robert Randolph on “You Can’t Lose What You Ain’t Never Had” was a complete jaw-dropper and he did a righteous job alongside Gregg’s son, Devon Allman, on guitar. Also, the finale of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” is very touching as all of the musicians returned to the stage one last time with Gregg kicking things off.

If you are a fan of Gregg Allman or the Allman Brothers Band, then purchasing All My Friends: Celebrating The Songs and Voice of Gregg Allman will be an easy decision. If you like Southern rock, you will certainly want to pick up a copy too. But the universal appeal of this well-produced set is that it includes work from some of the most influential artists of today, which makes adding this well-rounded music collection to your library almost irresistible, even if you are only the least bit interested in the man or the band. Check it out for yourself, and do not be surprised if you end up buying a copy too!


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

MONO M80 Dual Guitar Gig Bag Review


There was a time when I sneered at gig bags, and would only get hard cases for my guitars and basses. My attitude has since turned around on this opinion, and most of my instruments are in gig bags now.

I would feel differently if I was playing out a lot and had to stick my gear in a van with the rest of the band’s crap, but that is not my situation. For around the house or loading up my car a gig bag is plenty for me. You will find that lightweight and less space are big bonuses, especially if you are using public transportation.

I got the chance to try out the MONO M80 Dual Guitar Gig Bag Review earlier this year, and it blew me away. In fact, you could even say that I am tickled pink with it. Hee!

For starters, this is a double bag so it holds two solid-body electric guitars, which makes for a tidy package when travelling, and it is always nice to have a spare guitar at a gig. It fits most of my electrics, including the Strat, Tele, Les Paul, SG, and even a pointy headstock metal thing. Of course my Gibson Explorer will not fit, but I never through for a second that it would, and Flying Vs are probably out of the equation too.

In case you are wondering it is around 42 inches long, and will fit guitars with a 12 inch upper bout and a 14 inch lower bout. More or less. And the whole thing weighs in around 7 pounds, without any guitars in it. That is pretty heavy, but fortunately it has comfy built-in backpack straps that tuck neatly out of the way if you are not using them.

Those guitars are very well protected inside, thanks to generous padding and a super-nice neck support system that might be able to keep you from snapping your Les Paul headstock off. It has a heavy-duty nylon exterior that is pretty much water-resistant, and the dual zippers are as heavy as they come. There are plenty of pockets, and they are well padded to keep the contents safe, as well as keeping whatever is in them from damaging your guitars.

Ergonomically the MONO 80 is awesome, as it Is very well through out, and it even balances well on the carry handle. This is the nicest gig bag I have ever used, but it is not terribly cheap. One of these will set you back $329 ($415 list), though that does include the MONO limited lifetime warranty. For that price, I cannot imagine them hassling you too much if you have to file a claim.

Check one out for yourself and see what you think, I think you will be impressed!


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Blues Blast Magazine Album Review: Sam-One – Bad Boy of the Blues


This CD review was originally published in the November 11, 2014 edition of Blues Blast Magazine. Be sure to check out the rest of the magazine at

Sam-One – Bad Boy of the Blues

Self Release

8 tracks / 37:51

For every big-name blues artist with a record deal there are thousands of blues bands out there, playing their own style of music and grinding out gigs at bars and clubs around the world. One of these is Sam-One, a singer and guitarist from Pittsburg, California who is carving out his own niche.

Though he now lives in this San Francisco Bay Area town, Sam Wesley Jr. (his birth name) hails from Memphis where he started playing guitar when he was eight. 55 year later he is still at it, and he has certainly learned a few thing over the years, including singing, songwriting and arranging. Sam cut his first album, You Ain't Right, in 2009 and this southern soul disc got him in the door of a few radio stations and some hard-earned airplay.

Bad Boy of the Blues is Sam-One’s self-released sophomore effort and this time he has gone for more blues and less soul, which really works for him as his guitar chops are wonderful. It is a fairly short disc, coming in at 37 minutes, but all eight tracks were written and produced by Wesley. Sam takes on the guitar and vocal duties, and he is joined by a solid band that includes Niklas Nordstrom on bass, Twist Turner on drums and the horn section of Gino Archimede, Adrian Justice and Mark Sullivan.

“Somebody Lied” is the first song in the set and it might not be what you expect from the title. This is not a song about infidelity, but is instead a rebuttal those that say the blues genre is dead. As he calls out the familiar blues heroes in his weathered voice Sam is backed by the simple yet spot-on foundation of bass and drum and a brief but smooth guitar solo.

Things get fun quickly with the next track as “My Baby” is a catchy tune with plenty of funk that lets Nordstrom step out on bass as the horn trio pecks out their staccato accents. There is a similar vibe to “You Ain’t Feelin Me” which artfully uses the counterpoint of Sam-One’s reverb-soaked guitar and a brief solo interlude.

There is also a smooth love song, “Forever & Beyond,” which has a funky jazz feel thanks to Mark Sullivan’s flute parts. Wesley shows versatility in his vocals and his guitar playing, which adapts well to this lighter and slower pace. The time that he spent playing southern soul appears to have paid off in allowing him to change his sound up as needed.

After a passel of three-minute songs, the album finishes up with a couple of double-length tunes that give Sam-One a chance to cut loose on his guitar and he really can play! His feel, bends, and timing are terrific, and his work is as clean as a whistle. There is a smoky feel to “You Think You Fooling Me” which features fine clean guitar leads, and poignant lyrics about the darker side of relationships. For the closer, Sam picked “Do You Want Me Baby” with its classic blues structure with a slow-grinding beat. The horns go a bit crazy in this one, and there is one last chance to squeeze in a couple of tasty guitar solos. This may be the best track on the record!

One thing to keep in mind that this a self-released album and it did not have the benefit of a big record company budget, so there are a few production issues. Post-production engineering is uneven in spots, particularly with the horns, which are generally too far forward in the mix. That being said, this disc is still an enjoyable listen – it is just that at times it sounds more like a live album than a studio recording.

Sam-One’s Bad Boy of the Blues is a fun straight-up blues album and a strong reminder that there are countless souls out their spreading the gospel of the blues everyday. There are many clubs in the Bay Area that support the genre, and if you are in the area you might just run into Sam. If you do, be sure to pick up a copy of his CD!


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Andy Poxon – Must be Crazy | Album Review

Andy Poxon – Must be Crazy

EllerSoul Records

13 tracks / 58:00

Folks like Andy Poxon are the future of the American music scene, and that is a good thing. Just barely into his 20s, he has three albums to his credit, each one has showed marked improvement over the previous, and they are all entertaining. Must Be Crazy, from EllerSoul Records, is his latest release and it is a must-buy in my book.

Andy comes from a musical family, and has seriously devoted himself to the guitar and mastering the art of writing and performing American music: blues, rockabilly, soul, rhythm and blues, and even a little jazz. He cut his first disc when he was 16, using this as a springboard to play even more shows around Washington DC and up and down the east coast.

Must Be Crazy features Andy on vocals and guitars, and he got a killer band together to back him up at the Rock House Studio in Franklin, Tennessee. The crew included Kevin McKendree on keys, Kenneth Blevins on drums, Steve Mackey on the bass and Jim Hoke on sax. Oh yes, and the fabulous McCrary Sisters and Chloe Kohanski on backing vocals! This disc was produced by Poxon and McKendree, and Kevin’s son, Yates, sits in on one track behind the organ.

A lot of hard work was put into this album, and it comes with 13 tracks, all of them written by Andy, with co-writing credit going to a McKendree on five of them. The title track is first up, and Poxon channels a little Elmore James with his big guitar and his swinging vocals. McKendree’s piano and Hoke’s sax make “Must Be Crazy” complete and give it that big city sound. This is followed up by the soulful “Living Alone,” which looks at the brighter aspects of being newly single, as he found out “how little he had to lose.” He does a nice job of punctuating his lines with smoky little riffs as necessary. There is not enough space here for a rundown on every song, but here are a few other highlights:

- This album is not all guitars and glory, and on a soul song like “Give Me the Chance” it is wise to let the piano and organ lead the way, at least to start things off. Poxon’s voice is smooth and the McCrary Sisters deliver the goods in a big way here. This is one of the standout tunes on the album, and shows how far Andy has come with his songwriting skills.

- “Harder Everyday” is a lovely R&B ballad that also features the McCrary Sisters, and very tasteful organ work from the elder McKendree. This song has a lot of neat textures, in particular a few layers of Hoke’s sax really help to make the mood and add a little drama where needed.

- Songs of love and loss are pretty common here, and “Already Gone” really dials things back and lets Andy lead with his vocals. Chloe Kohanski does a good job of matching her voice to Poxon’s, and the end result is another lovely bit of rhythm and blues.

”Rebound” closes out the set, and this instrumental features 14-year-old Yates McKendree on the organ. Andy flirts a bit with jazz on this lighthearted and funky piece, and it turns out to be a mellow way to end the set.

I hope that we see more albums from Andy Poxon, as Must Be Crazy shows a maturity in writing and musicianship that goes far beyond his years. My biggest worry is that some big name act will suck him up as a hired gun for his guitar, and that he will fade from the spotlight. I think he has a lot to say and it would a shame if we do not get to hear it!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

ESP LTD GL-200K George Lynch Signature Model Guitar Review


I still have a soft spot in my heart for one of the most ridiculous guitars I have ever owned. It was a gorgeous ESP custom shop George Lynch Kamikaze 1 guitar. Remember dreamy George from Dokken or the Lynch Mob? I do…

It was a one-trick metal-god riding pony, so it did not stick around long. But it had looks that made the girls’ knees go weak, and when it is plugged in it made babies cry and old ladies faint. Besides, these are really expensive guitars, with a list price of $6398 and a street price of $3999. That is right, four thousand bucks.

Well, there is a route that will get you pretty close for $3600 less, and that would be the LTD GL-200K George Lynch Signature Model. In case you are not familiar with the brand, ESP is a Japanese company that has been building amazing instruments since the 1980s, and is the favorite of guitar gods such as Kirk Hammett and George Lynch. As these guitars are ungodly expensive, ESP introduced the LTD line to make their popular models more affordable for us common folk. The hardware, electronics, and wood are a little cheaper, and the labor costs are a lot lower as they are put together without using Japanese labor – this LTD instrument was built in China.

As we go through the construction and features I will point of the differences between this LTD and the real deal. The body shape and graphics are the same, which is good as this the only reason I want one. The LTD is made of light and soft basswood, instead of hard and heavy maple, and the edges of the body seem a little more radiused. The bridge is a Floyd Rose Special that is considerably sloppier and lighter than the real Floyd Rose that comes on the ESP.

The maple neck and headstock have the same profile, and that is good as I love the really fat “U” feel to the back of the neck and the 13.7-inch radius fretboard (rosewood in this case, not ebony). There are still 22 extra jumbo frets and the scale length is still 25.5 inches. There is a 1.693-inch wide locking nut and really cheap LTD logo tuners in some sort of black chrome.

The electronics package falls far short of the original, which for the Japanese models is a super-intense Seymour Duncan Screamin’ Demon at the bridge, and an ESP SH-100 single coil at the neck. This LTD guitar comes with an “ESP Designed LH-150 humbucker” at the bridge and an LS-120 single-coil at the neck. More on these in a minute. As with the original the controls are simple: there is a single volume knob that has a push-pull switch for pickup selection.

How does it all work? Pretty well for the money, honestly. The finish on the body and headstock is good, and the neck feels the same as my old ESP. The frets are pretty well done too, and it came out of the box as a playable instrument. I am not happy with the feel and operation of the tremolo and am even less impressed with the electronics. They serve up a very weak-assed sound and there is one hell of a pop when using the push-pull part of the volume knob.

But it is totally worth the money, and I am toying with the idea of adding in the correct electronics and tremolo, and I would still be way ahead of the game as long as these guitars are cheap. Cheap, as in $499 street price (list is $713), and the sale price at Musician’s Friend is $366.77 right now. That is the bargain of the century.

By the way, I had the opportunity to meet George Lynch at a trade show a few years back. He was very personable, and was nice enough to spend some time chatting with me. And he is still a damned nice-looking man!


Saturday, April 9, 2016

Mike Osborn – In the Dog House | Album Review

Mike Osborn – In the Dog House

Je Gagne Records

11 tracks / 45:00

Few albums that I review can be classified as pure blues, as they often have elements of rock or country in them, and in Mike Osborn’s case, his In The Dog House disc has a little bit of everything in it. After moving from Illinois to Woodland, California (near Sacramento) in his early teens, Mike took up the guitar and by the time he was 16 he was playing lead guitar in a country rock band; since then he has played a bit of everything: classic rock, blues, and metal. After taking a break from gigging to take care of his children, about ten years ago he got back into the business in a serious way. The result was his killer 2009 debut album, Fire & Fury, and now his follow-up, In the Dog House.

Though Mike now lives in the San Francisco Bay area, this disc was recorded in Southern California with Grammy winner Alan Mirikitani doing the mixing, mastering, and taking on the producer role. Mirikitani also wrote seven of the tracks with his collaborator Dennis Walker; Osborn wrote three of the other songs, and John Fulbright wrote the remaining tune. Mike took care of the vocals and guitars, and he was joined by a bunch of stone-cold professionals in the studio. These folks include Johnny Griparic on bass (Slash and BB Chung King), Lee Spath on the skins (Robert Cray and Rod Stewart), and Teddy Andreadis on keyboards (everybody, including Carole King and Guns & Roses). Whew!

What these guys put together is incredible: the songs are all very well-written, musicianship is first-rate, and Osborn’s guitar work and vocals are amazing. Each song is different and cover more genres than would seem possible in a 45 minute album that actually sounds like it is a singular piece of art. They kick this diverse set off with “Love vs. Ego” a blues rocker with nice Hammond from Andreadis and hearty vocals from Mike. He says “love wins,” but I am not too sure about that…

Though In the Dog House seems to be mostly focused on love and its associated games, Osborn finds time to address two subjects other than romance on this album. One of these, “Company Graveyard,” is a hard driving boogie about a man who does not want to be tied down by the man. And “Veterans Song” is an ode to our armed forces, a pleasant rocker with neat vocal harmonies.

But the other tracks are all about love, all the way down to its most graphic level, as found in “Tied Up.” This straight up blues tune matches a raunchy guitar tone to the lyrical content, and Andreadis’ organ is amazing. Get it?

One of the standout tracks on this disc is “Jump in Your Fire,” a Texas boogie that has a lot of “La Grange” in it. Except that Osborn’s growly vocals are a bit more intelligible than you might expect from the intro. This track rocks to the highest degree, and it shows that Mike’s talent has a lot of depth.

And to provide the icing for this tasty cake, guest artist Randy Mitchell (formerly with Warren Zevon) lends his slide guitar to the John Fulbright song, “Satan & St. Paul.” Though beautifully built, this countrified ballad is stone cold bummer as Osborn dissects a romance gone horribly wrong with vocals that he grads from deep within his soul.

The set draws to a close with the title track, and again we get something just a little different and unexpected. The surf-rock inspired instrumental has a slamming beat, jangly guitars and a cool melody. It is cool that Mike got to show off his mad guitar skills one last time -- he is the real deal, for sure.

Mike Osborn’s In the Dog House is a winner from every perspective. He delivers a passionate and intelligent album that was carefully put together by one of the best in the business. I have heard his live performance is just as good, so I look forward to checking his show out for myself at my earliest convenience!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Pick Punch Standard 351 Guitar Pick Maker Review


Today we are looking at a tool that is a little nutty, and that may not make the most sense in the world, but I love it anyway. It is none other that The Pick Punch Standard 351, a tool that allows you to make your own guitar picks.

The Pick Punch is a heavy duty handheld or desktop device that is a step or two above the paper hole punches that we have all used at one time or another. But this one has heavier cutting blades and a die that will pop a nearly endless supply of guitar pick shaped pieces of plastic stock. Where are you going to get this plastic stock? Well, you could buy it from the Pick Punch people, or from sellers on eBay or Etsy, but what is the fun in that? I get great satisfaction from cutting up old credit cards or the endless supply of promotional faux credit cards that banks and the cable company keep sending me in the mail.

This appears to be a quality tool, and I have a hard time imagining it ever wearing out. It punches out picks without too much effort, though the edges can tend to be a little rough. I like smoothing them a bit and beveling the edges with a piece of sandpaper before using them. There is actually a little chunk of sandpaper built into the base of the punch, or a nail file works too.

The Standard 351 got its name because that it the shape of picks that it punches out, but there are other models available that will do triangular (rounder or pointy corners), teardrops, those little jazz picks, and even shirt collar stays.

The Pick Punch Standard 351 sells for $20 or $25, depending on where you buy it. Of course, you could buy a lot of picks for 25 bucks, but this is fun, and it would be a great gift for the guitarist in your life. Really!


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Mississippi Bigfoot – Population Unknown | Album Review

Mississippi Bigfoot – Population Unknown

Silver Tongue Records

9 tracks / 46:00

Mississippi Bigfoot formed in 2015, but they have not wasted any time getting moving and have already released their debut album, Population Unknown, and it is a kick! Their sound is a refreshing blend of swamp blues, rock, rockabilly, and funk that has to be heard to be believed.

The band includes Christine Vierra on lead vocals and ukulele, Johnny Holiday on lead guitar, Ashley Bishop on guitar, Cade Moore on bass, and Doug McMinn on drums and harmonica. This quintet formed the band after a show in Clarksdale, Mississippi, but most of these folks hail from the Memphis, Tennessee area. This disc is a sweet piece of work that was recorded at the famed Ardent Studios in Memphis; it includes eight originals that were written by the band and one really awesome cover.

They kick off this set with “Burn That Woman Down” a heavy does of swampy blues rock that highlights Vierra’s ultra-strong vocal abilities and plenty of smooth slide guitar work. The guys pitch in on backing vocals (“Whoa-o-o-o!”) as McMinn keeps the beat with a heavy snare. Things switch up right away with “Mighty River” which has cool uke chords from Christina and hard rocking layers of guitars from Bishop and Holiday, as well as a slick solo break. Then they throw out “Wag the Dog” a fast-driving rocker which features some righteous cigar box guitar from Bishop and harp from McMinn. This is how the whole album goes – every track is different than the rest!

A perfect example of this is “No Flesh in Outer Space” which is a funk tune that is held in place by the stellar backline of Cade and McMinn. Vierra digs deep on the vocals, and there are multiple levels of heavily processed guitars from the two guitarists. This track, with its complex sound and fun lyrics, ends up being one of my favorites in the set.

They also grabbed a really cool Albert King song for the lone cover, and “The Hunter” ends up being totally different than King’s or any of the other versions I have heard of this tune (by the way, Ike and Tina Turner’s blues version is terrific, too). Mississippi Bigfoot took this one into the Texas boogie realm, which has some rough and ready harmonica from McMinn and great solos trading back and forth between Holiday and Bishop.

”Tree Knockin’” finishes things off with a little roadhouse blues, and we get to hear a little bit about the band’s namesake. Listen closely, or you might miss something…

In a world of bands that play Muddy Waters covers and throw a Hammond on every other track, Mississippi Bigfoot stands out and Population Unknown is a fantastic way for new fans to get to know them. They are on to something here, and they have plenty of festivals and shows booked in the United States and Europe this spring. Head over to their website and see if they will be playing somewhere near you as I think their show will be quite the experience!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Inventory Update: 2nd Quarter of 2016

Hi there!

Another three months have gone by, and here is the quarterly list of what is stacked up in the studio. The pile has not really grown since New Year’s, but things are always coming and going. If you see anything here that you cannot live without, drop me a line. It is all good stuff…

First off, the basses:

∙ EBMM Stingray 4

∙ EBMM Stingray 5

∙ 1974 Aria Telecaster Bass

∙ MIJ Fender 1970 re-issue Precision Bass

∙ ESP Phoenix-B (2 of them)

∙ 2015 Rickenbacker 4003

Electric Guitars:

∙ MIJ Fender ‘62 re-issue Stratocaster

∙ MIJ ’52 re-issue Telecaster

∙ 1990 Gibson Les Paul Standard

∙ 2001 Gibson SG Special

∙ 2010 Gibson Explorer with custom pimp paint job

∙ LTD George Lynch Kamikaze 1

∙ Memphis Cigar Box Guitar by Matt Isbell

Acoustic Guitars:

∙ Martin D-18 Golden Era (the King)

∙ Martin Backpacker steel string

∙ Kala solid mahogany soprano ukulele (on loan to a friend)

∙ Epiphone PR 150 NA

∙ 1990s Sigma SDM-18

∙ Taylor GS Mini E Mahogany


∙ 1967 Acoustic 260 Guitar Head

∙ Genz Benz Shuttle 9.2 with Aguilar GS112 and GS112NT Cabinets

∙ Fender Acoustasonic 30 DSP

∙ Fender Champion 300

Check in again in July to see what is still around. As always, you know it will be different!