Watermelon Slim - Church of the Blues
Watermelon Slim's latest release is equally split between covers of blues classics and self-penned originals, and in each case Slim's earthy vocals and slide work on his Resonator guitar are the stars. Slim tunes into the hard luck side of the blues here, and the best of his own songs include "Post-Modern Blues," which amusingly begins with the words "I'm obsolete!" and the rollicking and politically-charged "Charlottesville (Blues for My Nation)". Among the covers are takes on Allen Toussaint's "Get out of My Life Woman," a romp through Howlin' Wolf's "Smokestack Lightning" and a funky interpretation of Mississippi Fred McDowell's "Highway 61 Blues." Guest players include Bob Margolin, Joe Louis Walker, Albert Castiglia and John Nemeth.
Midnite Johnny - Long Road Home
This blues rocker kicks off Long Road Home with "Your New Occupation," a cut that has the swagger of a Bob Seger tune, while the self-penned instrumental "Lookin' Good" has both hints of Molly Hatchet-style Southern rock and a piano-pounding nod to Jerry Lee Lewis. Hammond B3 work from Steve Zoyes flavors lots of the music here, and Zoyes also co-writes standout cuts "Motels, Whiskey & Me" and the breezy "Out of Time" with Johnny. Zoyes is the sole composer of "That's All You Gonna Get," also playing piano on the cut to Johnny's stinging guitar licks. A satisfying vocalist, Johnny also takes a turn at J.J. Cale's "Crazy Mama" and blues classic "Key to the Highway."
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