Bring on the blues

New discs on tap by Roomful, Al Basile, and Ronnie Earl
By BOB GULLA  |  December 4, 2007
DAVE’S DEBUT: Howard [top left] raises a ruckus with Roomful.

There’s lots of music in store just around the proverbial corner for local music aficionados, much of which will plaster a smile on blues brothers’ faces. I’ve got my meat hooks on Raisin’ a Ruckus, the upcoming album by Roomful of Blues due out early next year on Alligator. It’s the Rhody titans’ first disc since Standing Room Only in 2005 and it marks the recording bow of new vocalist Dave Howard. As is customary on Roomful albums, they’ve excavated some pretty obscure, pretty great gems to go with a healthy handful of originals, the likes of which I’ll explain later, when you can get your own meat hooks on the record.
In the same vein, Al Basile, founding horn player with Roomful going back 40 years, also has a new album forthcoming. The Tinge, due in February on the Sweetspot imprint, showcases the versatile Basile’s way with R&B and the blues. Of interest to local music historians will be the presence of Duke Robillard (who produced the album), Rich Lataille, and Doug James, collectively known as half of the original Roomful lineup. Notable sidemen Bruce Katz, Marty Ballou, and Mark Teixeira also help put it all together.
And speaking of Roomful alums in the spotlight, transcendent guitarist Ronnie Earl — who often shies way from attention — is back hanging with the Duke on Duke’s own label home, Stony Plain. I Feel Like Going On is due in January. As a guitar player, Earl is less a curator of musical history and more a sonic adventurer. But those keeping track of blues guitar need only hear Earl and Robillard to know what’s going on out in the wider world of the blues.
Outside the blues idiom, Six Star General and Heather Rose and the Drama are releasing discs. Six Star General’s Sick Stars, Sister Cyst is a collection of new songs, covers, a remix, unreleased four-track recordings, and live radio show performances. The disc includes a remix by the Masons’ Kraig Jordan and covers of CCR, Butthole Surfers, and Jonathan Richman.
Heather Rose and the Drama have also gotten into the spontaneous mood. Rose and the boys recorded a practice and turned it into a nifty limited-edition holiday disc, With a Grain of Salt. It’s referred to as a “holiday” album because there’s a song titled “A Disgruntled Ant and His Letter to Santa.” The album features acoustic versions of some of the band’s songs and, according to Heather, a few surprises, too. While we’re sure this and other tracks will provide oodles of pleasure — it’s been a while since Rose released anything of note — the recording doubles as a fundraiser for the band’s proper electric album, which they’re attempting to see through as we speak.

1  |  2  |   next >
Related: Making waves, A long shadow, Plugged in, More more >
  Topics: New England Music News , Entertainment, Heather Rose, Frank Martyn,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   DIGGING IN  |  August 27, 2014
    Savor old favorites and make new discoveries.
  •   STILL MOVING FORWARD  |  March 12, 2014
    In many ways, Mark Mulcahy comes off as a throwback, a musician whose time has come and, for all intents and purposes, gone. But no one told him.
  •   THREE-DAY PARTY  |  August 28, 2013
    This year, the Rhythm and Roots Festival turns Sweet 16, which is pretty gratifying for the adventurous souls that recall its early years.
  •   BACK TO THE FUTURE  |  October 22, 2008
    Since leaving Roomful of Blues, the vintage guitar hero Duke Robillard has moved forward by reaching back into the annals of American blues, swing, jazz, and R&B and by doing so, he’s told a pretty incredible story.
  •   GOT LIVE IF YOU WANT IT  |  September 10, 2008
    Now that the idea that summer has come to a close has set in, it’s time to start thinking about what there is to look forward to this fall.

 See all articles by: BOB GULLA