2015 blues and roots picks from Ellen
by Ellen Rocco on December 31st, 2015
- Eric Clapton, 2-cd set, “Forever Man”—a great collection of work from previously recorded and live performances through the past few decades, heavy emphasis on blues.
- Keith Richards, “Crosseyed Heart”—yes, that Keith Richards, from the Rolling Stones. A rockin’, bluesy collection.
- Buddy Guy, “Born to Play Guitar”—Buddy has been putting out a new recording almost every year during the past decade. This is the latest. Review in 5 words: He has still got it.
- Tommy Castro and The Painkillers, “Method to My Madness”—Hard-driving blues tempered just the right amount by Tommy’s middle-aged sensibility these days.
- Patty Griffin, “Servant of Love”—Ever since Patty released “Downtown Church” (which you should run out and buy if you don’t have it), I’ve been a hard-core fan. This is her latest. As usual, a mix of roots, folk, country, blues and gospel.
- Pokey LaFarge, “Something in the Water”—This guy hit the musical landscape big time during the past year. He has several earlier albums, all of them wonderfully musical. He has a one-of-a-kind voice that works perfectly for his style of swing, blues, rootsy music. Sounds like an escapee from the ‘30s and ‘40s.
- John Nemeth, “Memphis Grease”—John just keeps getting better as a blues, R&B and roots singer. This is his best album yet.
- Shemekia Copeland, “Outskirts of Love”—Shemekia keeps getting better and better, too. Her material is much more musically and lyrically interesting these days. I am a total groupie of this album.
- Jorma Kaukonen, “Ain’t In No Hurry”—A mix of some old standards (e.g., “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out”) and some interesting new material. Jorma is a great musician and singer. Rootsy more than bluesy.