All of these four-star recordings were released in April or May this year. Maybe you’ll find something to enjoy.
Best wishes and prayers to children who have started or returned to school, especially students who are headed to college or other new campuses.
‘Crowin’ The Blues,’ Professor Louie & The Crowmatix (Woodstock Records,☆☆☆☆)
On this April 7 release, singer/keyboard wizard Professor Louie and his band (singer/piano/percussionist Miss Marie, drummer Gary Burke, bassist/vocalist Frank Campbell, guitarist John Platania, lead guitarist Josh Colow and guest guitarist Michael Falzarano) tackle mostly keyboard-driven blues of all kinds.
My favorites list doesn’t necessarily indicate preference for one blues sub-genre over another. I enjoy the horn-drenched “I Finally Got You,” the zydeco-flavored instrumental “Blues For Buckwheat,” the shuffling “I’m Gonna Plan The Honky Tonks,” the short stop/start of the original “Blues and Good News,” Elmore James’ “Fine Little Mama,” and a smoother-than-usual version of the bar-band fave, “High Heel Sneakers.”
Broad-minded blues backers will dig this disc, which maintains Professor Louie’s ties to The Band by using a song taught to them by the late Levon Helm.
‘Lucky Strike,’ Mary Bragg (Independent Release,☆☆☆☆)
This May 5 release by singer/songwriter Mary Bragg is likely available in multiple formats, like the one above. She co-wrote every song but one on this PledgeMusic-funded release. Backing musicians include co-producer/guitar/bassist Jim Reilley, bassist Jimmy Sullivan, guitarist/pedal steel player Rich Hinman, drummer Bryan Owings, multi-instrumentalist Eric Fritsch and a quartet of backing vocalists, some of whom are co-writers. This is a melodic bunch of mostly but-not-all mellow songs.
Favorites include the unique-sounding “Bayou Lullaby” (which isn’t the least bit Cajun), the haunting “Wildfire” (which isn’t the Michael Murphy hit from my childhood), the twangy “Wreck and Ruin,” Mary’s only solo songwriting credit, “Isn’t It Over Yet,” and the harmony-powered “Done Ain’t Done.”
Fans of good music will dig this one, even if it’s not consistently soft and sweet.
It might have been the spell-checker on my PC, but two things were incorrect on my review of “The Marrying Kind” published July 28:
One of the musician’s names was spelled wrong in the review header: it should be “Kelli,” not “Kelly.”
I wrote “there’s no info about supporting players present.” That’s because they played and sang everything on the album. It says “all songs recorded and produced by Swearingen and Kelli” on the back.
Ricky Flake, a former punk rocker and current music fan, lives in Biloxi. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org