NEW RELEASES, 1/12: TINSLEY ELLIS, ANDERSON EAST, BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB, JOE SATRIANI and some sweet live BIG STAR from the archives!

Back in business for 2018, New Releases comin’ your way. We’ve got some guitar wizardry from Tinsley Ellis and Joe Satriani, a little Anderson East, and a membership in the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, among other delights. And check that Big Star live album out! Read on…

TINSLEY ELLIS, Winning Hand (CD)
Winning Hand, the new album from Tinsley Ellis on Alligator Records, is the veteran bluesman at his finest as a songwriter and guitarist. The epic six-minute slow blues “Gamblin’ Man” is alone worth the price, but the album is packed with hard-hitting, groove-driven electric blues. Winning Hand, the new album from Tinsley Ellis on Alligator Records, is the veteran bluesman at his finest as a songwriter and guitarist. In the very first track an unexpected key change introduces a wailing guitar solo that brings Jimi Hendrix to mind, and throughout the album Ellis’s titanic, elemental solos cut like a leopard’s fangs. Kevin McKendree lays down organ and piano lines that rock between screaming and sensitive, while Steve Mackey and Lynn Williams motor it all unstoppably forward on bass and drums respectively. The songs span Chicago blues, rock, and soul with ease, whether Ellis is playing a Gibson or a Fender guitar. (For guitar enthusiasts, the CD insert notes the exact instrument he played on each track.) The album delivers a dose of just about everything electric blues can offer: the darkly contemplative mid-tempo rock of “Autumn Run,” the loping, surging drive of “Soul of a Broken Man,” the snaky minor-key orchestral blues of “Don’t Turn Off the Light.” Ellis decorates the insistent soul of “I Got Mine” (one of my favorite tracks) with the sweet sound of a 1959 Fender Telecaster, while the rattle of McKendree’s barrelhouse piano sustains the good-time Chuck Berry crunch of “Satisfied.” The band even cooks up a bit of New Orleans gumbo with the album’s sole cover, Leon Russell’s “Dixie Lullaby.”

BIG STAR, Live At Lafayette’s Music Room (CD)
It is well known that Big Star played a one-off promotional show for the Memphis Rock Writer’s Convention at Lafayette’s Music Room in Memphis in May of 1973. It cemented them into legendary status due to the writers who witnessed it and carried the message of Big Star out in their writing, even though the band had only released one album, #1 Record, and were unsure of recording a second after the departure of co-founder Chris Bell. What may not be so widely known is that the trio played the same venue four months earlier with the same power and passion opening shows for the Houston R&B band, Archie Bell & The Drells. The 20-track set features material from their debut, #1 Record, songs that would appear on the (not yet recorded) follow-up, Radio City, and choice covers from The Kinks, Todd Rundgren, The Flying Burrito Brothers, and T-Rex. 

ANDERSON EAST, Encore (CD)

BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB, Wrong Creatures (CD)

MONTEVERDI/JEFFREY SKIDMORE, Ex Cathedra: Madrigals Made Spiritual (CD)

LINZ BRUCKNER ORCHESTRA, Korngold: Cello Concerto, Much Ado About Nothing (CD)

JOE SATRIANI, What Happens Next (CD)

UMPHREY’S MCGEE, It’s Not Us (CD/LP)