Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Mike Zito Live Streams New Show


There is no doubt that Coronavirus, aka Covid 19, has disrupted all of our lives. I’m not getting into any politics, just stating a fact. A few states are starting to allow some business openings, including bowling alleys so you might finally be able to pick up that 7-10 split. If you do go, BUY YOUR OWN SHOES and bring your own ball.
You can thank me later.
Bowling alleys aside (and I have spent many hours displaying my unerring accuracy in tossing gutterballs with either hand), no one is opening up clubs or festivals. For artists, this means they are still locked out of a large chunk of their income.
But artists are nothing if not creative and resilient. So many have taken to the internet to
play concerts with information up as to where to make donations to the band. The average blues fan can, on any given night, find great shows with top artists who otherwise might not make it to their towns.
Even after the virus restrictions lift, it’s impossible to tell what venues will still be operating (we hope all of them). Artists are going to have to do a lot of rebooking and hope that their audience will feel comfortable attending shows.
With most of these on-line shows currently, the band plays and hopes that people will do the right thing and contribute a few bucks. This is basically the same model that National Public Radio uses. The entertainment is out there, and if you find that it’s important to you, please send in your pledge of support.
But as Nobel Prize Winner Bob Dylan said, “The times they are a-changing.”
Coming up this Saturday, April 25th, at 3:00 p.m. Central Time (that’s 4:00 p.m. for us Eastcosters), the sensational blues-rock guitarist Mike Zito will present a Live Streaming Electric Band Blues Concert on his website. In case said website is not in your address book, you can find it here
This is not going to be the usual web show. Zito explains, "This will be a two-camera, pro sound event," Zito says. "It's easy to buy the ticket ($10.) and watch - just join my website and pay for the ticket. The show will air at 3:00 p.m. Central Time on Saturday. It'll stay up on the website for 72 hours, so folks that miss viewing it initially can still see the show."
Take it from me, ten bucks is not much to catch a show of this magnitude. Zito will be joined by Carl Richardson on bass and Tod Stark on drums. All of this is going to be broadcast from Zito’s home studio in Texas.
Zito and company have already been helping out during this time by recording an album titled Quarantine Blues, which is available for free download here.  Zito recorded the album with his touring band of Matt Johnson, Doug Byrkit, and Lewis Stephens when their 30-city European Tour was scuttled by the Coronavirus Pandemic.
There are so many shows one can check out, but this is the one that’s going to get my sawbuck. While you’re there on his website, you might want to pick up a few of his other albums. My collection isn’t complete, so I’ll be doing the same thing!
PS-please let me know if you or your band will be doing any web shows, as I am trying to keep up with all of them. I would like to start keeping a calendar so send me the info: Who, What, When, Where, and Website! Drop a line to timefortheblues@gmail.com

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Deltaphonic ~~ The Funk, The Soul & The Holy Groove


If you asked someone to describe New Orleans in just a few words, you would be hard pressed to come up with a better description than the title of this new album from Deltaphonic. Indeed, The Funk, The Soul & The Holy Groove is a collection of different sounds that one wouldn’t think would mix well, but somehow do creating the musical equivalent of jambalaya. Those three words summon up the spirits of past and present to create a unique flavor that once sampled, will be difficult to forget.
This is the third album for the group, the first that has come across my desk, and the ten original songs bring together the sounds of funk, soul, rock tinged country-blues into music that occupies a place that defies description.
We’ll have to put this under the heading of Americana, although each song has its own style. In fact, the songs vary widely from track to track, so if you’re a fan of adventurous music and don’t mind different styles within the same album (I certainly am one of those people) this could be a sleeper album for you.
If you like albums that sound the same from track to track, you might want to keep looking, there’s nothing wrong with that, and the shelves are pretty well stocked with those.
Deltaphonic is a four-man trio. By that I mean that Andrew T. Weekes plays guitar and handles the vocals; Paul Provosty supplies the lead guitar, and the drumming is split between Trenton O’Neal and Ciaran Brennan. There are a few guests on the album including backing vocals from Josh Kagler, bass from Jerry “Jblakk” Henderson, and Andriu Yanovski on keys.
The group kicks off the album with Liars, and they shout their way into a multilayered song with some very cool lyrics. They paraphrase a quote from gonzo journalist and gun nut Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, “[It’s] a cruel and shallow money trench/Where thieves and pimps run free.” They use it as a reference to the music business, and while it’s certainly true, Thompson actually said that about television journalism. It’s nitpicky on my part, and just for the Thompson purists, if such a thing exists. Don’t let my shallow aside pull you away from a great song with tight harmonies, and some damn fine orchestrations. Don’t take my word for it, checkout the video here. 
The band follows up with Ghosts with a cool rock vibe. Listen for the subtle keyboards in the opening and enjoy the way they change tempos just a little way into the song. The second song on the album, and I am fascinated by Weeks’ songwriting. He tells some great stories and Provosty’s guitar answers beautifully. This band is showing that they really have a solid approach to both music and words.
Next up is Bad People and the slow funk factor is upped. Organ riffs punctuate the song and the drums carry out an interesting beat. There’s a gospel fervor in the vocals and Provosty lands a solid guitar break that takes the song in another direction.  
The slow, sweet, Starlit follows with its soulful jazz approach. This one is going onto my personal playlist. It won’t be the right fit for Time For The Blues, but I am sure I am going to hit repeat several times around the house. Might even get a little emotional on the third or fourth listen…
Just when you think you know what the guys are going to do next, they unleash New Mexican Rockstar. It’s got an early rock and roll vibe, kind of a Ricky Nelson feel and tells a great sad story. I love the song, even if I can’t put it on the blues show, but if I ever get an Americana program, it’s going to be on quick and fairly often.
Things get swampy on the next song, If It Don’t Bleed. This one has that North Mississippi by way of Cajun Country feel and it is very cool. This one could make it onto Time For The Blues and probably will. I’m not sure what that Theremin sound is part of the way through, but I like it a lot!
With a title like Don’t Have To Be Good, that could fairly well sum up my personal philosophy. No matter what you do, no matter what art you create, put your heart into it and put it out in the world. Some will like it, some won’t. This is a kick ass song, full of punch and one that’s going to stay with you.
Next up is the slow, luxurious Mississippi. A lovely guitar intro establishes the song and Weeks’ voice does the rest. You can almost feel the heat, smell the dirt and the river as the song places you in a different world. Once again Weeks and Provosty deliver a surprise with the song. At this point it’s obvious that I’m going to have to give the album a few more listens to unlock all of the little moments the group has put into each song. Mr. Weeks, this ex-philosophy major appreciates your use of my favorite Heraclitus quote, “No man ever stands in the same river twice.”
It has been a long time since high school English where I learned about story elements: rising action, climax, and denouement. That last one is what happens after the climax, the falling action or the wrap up. I mention this, because the next song is The Denouement. It really does feel like the band is wrapping up their own stories and the use of keys and strings adds to the dreamy quality of the track. I know this one is going to end up on my personal playlist. You might feel the same way.
The group winds up the album with See Red, a faster paced song with some heavy bass and drums driving it. The band definitely wants the listener to go out on a high note, and they have chosen wisely.
I’m no prognosticator, if I were, I might have won a few lotteries. I can’t predict the future for Deltaphonic, but I can appreciate the work that has gone into The Funk, The Soul & The Holy Groove. The lyrics read like poetry and tell wonderful and sad stories while the music is surprising and exciting in a way that is rare in many albums.
While they are in a great musical city, one of the best actually, being in New Orleans, even that city may not be enough to contain their talent. Check them out at their website.  Pick up their albums and keep an eye peeled to see when they hit the road!

Previous Albums
Texas, Texas
See Red