Brad Wilson released “Blues Thunder” in June and the more this writer spins the disc, the better it sounds. Although Brad is known as a rockin’ blues guitarist, there is plenty that will give that blues feeling. All 12 songs were penned by Brad. He also provided all vocals. His voice is not gravelly. Some may feel it’s not bluesy enough. It’s a very polished, clean sound. “Blues Thunder” is the follow up to 2013s “Hands On the Wheel”.
The title cut is a rocking blues number that takes a ride on a California highway along the coast. Hot harmonica by Tumbleweed Mooney on “Let’s Go Barefootin’ It” is a great blues tune with a Bo Didley beat. “Blue Shadows” has a hint of jazz due to the keyboards of Kirk Nelson. The opening song “Is It Any Wonder” opens with a very melodic steady sound. “Black Coffee At Sunrise” is a tribute to rock-a-billy. A little acoustic guitar on “Home” leads to a progressing build up that takes one to the finish. Other tunes this writer enjoyed included “Step By Step”, “Sugar Sweet” and “Never Again”.
Another disc getting regular rotation is Dudley Taft’s “Skin and Bones”. It will not be released until October 16th. Fortunately a copy was sent to this writer a couple of weeks ago. It should be described as a kind of swampy blues rock CD with 90s vocals.
Dudley grew up in the Midwest. His first band out of high school was with friend Trey Anastasio called Space Antelope. This album was recorded in Cincinnati (where he now lives) and Nashville. The session in Cincinnati was at Peter Frampton’s former studio. This will be Dudley’s fourth solo release. He was also in 90s bands Sweet Water and Second Coming. Second Coming had some success with the song, “Vintage Eyes” that had chart success and got a lot of MTV airplay.
The opening title track got that swampy blues sound that could have been recorded in the 70s by a southern rock group. There is a cover of Johnny Winter’s “Leland Mississippi Blues” where he pays tribute to one of his heroes. On “Lonesome Memphis Blues” the music has a harder edge, but the backing vocals provide a softer layer to it. “One of These Days” has a very hypnotic sound, reminding one of his previous bands. “Fuzzy Dice” starts out with the sound of an airplane, paying tribute to WW II pilots who had fuzzy dice with seven displayed for good luck. It’s a good rocker. “Space Cake” is a reference to a certain pastry with a special filling. It’s another example of the southern rock sound. There are other tunes that any guitar fan will like. This is a guitar lover’s album.
Another release from earlier this year is Peter Novelli’s “St. Amant Sessions”. It was released in April. The disc was recorded in a small Louisiana town with the same name. It’s swampy blues with a healthy helping of zydeco. It takes one on a trip to the bayou. Peter’s vocals have been compared to John Hiatt.
On the opening track “Louisiana Sunrise” guitarist Sonny Landreth appears. It has that familiar Sonny slide. It sets the tone for everything that follows. The fine sounds continue on instrumentals like “Boudin” and “I-10 Boogie”. Two moving numbers shine with fine guitar work on “Je ne sais quoi” and “Spirit Passing By”. “Bourbon Street Blue” slows the pace to tell the story of waking up with the blues. “Woman of My Dreams” contains a smooth guitar pace throughout. The zydeco sound flows to the end of the album with “Thinkin’ or Drinkin’”, “I-10 Boogie” and “Zydeco Ride”.