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Brad Absher & Swamp Royale- Tas Cru- Robin Banks- Bill Phillippe

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Get the Blues, where we have a listen to some of the hottest new blues releases!

Brad Absher & Swamp Royale
Lucky Dog

Montrose Records

I need a drink! Well, a tall cool one sure would go good with this new set from singer/guitarist Absher, but "I Need a Drink" is one of the many self-penned tunes included here that showcase his soulful voice and his penchant for the classic Memphis sound, flavored throughout with funky sax riffs and lots of Hammond organ. Absher knows how to pick cover songs too, eschewing the usual suspects in favor of cuts like Leon Russell's "Rather Be Blind," Allan Toussaint's "Lipstick Traces" and William Bell's "Miss Your Water." And Absher's version of traditional gospel tune "Jesus on the Mainline" will have listeners shouting "Amen!"

Preview and purchase the album here.

Tas Cru
You Keep the Money

Crustee Tees Records

This entire album and the title cut in particular are inspired by a personal interaction that Cru had with the now-deceased blues man T-Model Ford. Cru and his band played a show to benefit the elderly Ford but when it came time to hand over the dough, Ford refused it, saying, "Tonight just show me the love, you keep the money." Those words also serve as the chorus of its namesake song. Cru penned every song here and you can hear the authenticity, no doubt fueled by other real life incidents, in the boogie of "Half the Time," the cleverly-titled guitar showcase "A Month of Somedays" and the playful "Bringing Out the Beast" where Cru gets animalistic in pursuit of, er, companionship.

Preview and purchase the album here.

Robin Banks
Modern Classic

(Self-released)

Normally thought of as a blues singer, here Banks tunes into more of a Memphis soul sound with sublime, Dusty Springfield-like tunes like "Superhero" and "A Man is Just a Man" before getting flirty with jazz cuts like "My Baby Loves Me" and "Tonight." Banks' set of a dozen originals is definitely geared to uptown, not the roadhouse, and the songs are made all the more classy by the stellar guitar work of Duke Robillard, who also produced the record.

Preview and purchase the album here.

Bill Phillippe
Ghosts

Arkansas Street Records

Phillippe, who performs here with just his voice and acoustic guitar, begins Ghosts with a nice take on the oft-covered Robert Johnson tune "Come on in My Kitchen" before showcasing his own songs like the quiet, folky "Father's Lament" and "Wedded Heart" which vaguely recalls David Crosby. About half the album is made up of traditional songs though, and listeners will enjoy Phillippe's arrangements of familiar tunes like "Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning," the well-traveled "Motherless Children" and "In My Time of Dying."

Preview and purchase the album here.

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