Rick Keene Music Scene – The Ronnie Wood Band Plays Tribute to Jimmy Reed.

Ron Wood knows his music. Like all of his bandmates in The Greatest Rock n Roll Band in the World; Wood is a student of music.

As most Stones fans ( music fans) are aware; The Stones output of original music has been stalled since the album A Bigger Bang released in 2005. That’s a lot of time for each member to find things to do.

Jagger – always a ball of energy, has dabbled in producing films, acted in films and released quite a bit of music both solo and collaborations. Sir Mick also survived a heart scare. Keith Richards ( aside from out living everyone) has released a solo disc and played Johnny Depp’s father in the Pirates of The Caribbean franchise. Charlie Watts has periodically performed with his Jazz band in various formations and even put out a disc. Oh – and recovered from throat cancer.

Ron Wood has battled cancer twice, fathered twin girls ( got married), released a couple of books containing his artwork and periodically joins his former Faces’ mates to play classic Faces’ tunes. He also released a tribute to Chuck Berry in 2019. It seems only normal Wood would get around to releasing an album whose concept started way back in 2013. A tribute to Jimmy Reed.

Wood recruited a few guys to play on this album. A few guys who are also schooled in music.

“Jimmy Reed was one of the premier influences on the Rolling Stones and all the bands that love American blues from that era until the present day,” Wood said in a statement. “It is my honor to have the opportunity to celebrate his life and legacy with this tribute.”

Once upon a time – Ron Wood replaced Mick Taylor in The Rolling Stones. Two guitar players with totally different approaches to playing guitar in a band. Taylor – the virtuoso and Wood – the collaborator. Wood called upon his predecessor to do a lot of leads on the new disc and even manages to recruit Taylor into the ‘ancient art of weaving ‘. Jimmy Reed after all – not exactly Steve Stevens and / or Randy Rhodes.

Paul Weller also joins in the mix and the result seems so pleasantly bizarre in a world where Rock n Roll has about as much swing as a ninety – five year old legless grandma.

Music has become so fake, overproduced and far far removed from its true Jazz / Blues / Country form – Wood’s tribute to Reed is a necessity. Reed’s contribution to the history book of music is a chapter worth reading.

Seldom is a disc released that contains musicians who understand the building blocks. Rarely do musicians gather who have also played with the very same building blocks. The students on this disc didn’t just read the books – they’ve spent the night with the authors.

Mr. Luck is the name of the album. Luck is not part of the equation when Wood chose to complete this album. Lucky in Love is more accurate as Wood’s second album in a trilogy befits this well planned crime in progress.

Bobby Bank/WireImage

Track Listing

  • Essence
  • Good Lover
  • Mr. Luck
  • Let’s Get Together
  • Ain’t That Loving You Baby
  • Honest I Do
  • High & Lonesome
  • Baby What You Want Me To Do
  • Roll and Rhumba
  • You Don’t Have To Go
  • Shame Shame Shame
  • I’m That Man Down There
  • Got No Where To Go
  • Big Boss Man
  • I Ain’t Got You
  • I’m Going Upside Your Head
  • Bright Lights Big City
  • Ghost of a Man

Rick Keene Music Scene – Gino Vannelli Shines Brightly on New Album

Sometimes – it is worth the wait.

Gino Vannelli ( Montreal’s wayward son) made a rule when he was younger. ‘Never put out music without a purpose …’

That is the reason why it has been over ten years since music fans heard something new from Vannelli. Wilderness Road is the name of the new record and it is a mark of beauty. It is a different sounding Gino yet it still sounds like Gino …

” Well … I can’t sound different …” Laughs Vannelli. ” I am who I am and my style and voice remain the same.”

Wilderness Road is a Bluesy / Americana – themed album and it is exactly the type of recording Gino wanted to do.

” I did not want to do a Jazz or Classical album or anything I had done before. I wanted to explore the rootsy side of things with the focus on storytelling. I had about forty songs written and the ones on the album are the best stories. All the songs were written in the last five years.”

The disc may be ‘ rootsy’ with elements of Blues and Jazz but Gino’s keen ear for perfection and production are what make Wilderness Road a typical Vannelli recording. That unique talent is what made Herb Alpert ( co- founder of A&M Records) sign Gino in the first place. A signature sound which eventually led to twenty million records sold worldwide.

” It is not so much as audio perfection.” Says Gino. ” It is getting an authentic sound. A real sound which comes from the soul. That is what I try to do in the studio.” He laughs. ” My brother Joe has something to do with it also … “

The album is part reflection. Part of an older man looking back but it is also a collection of personal stories and tales which have affected Vannelli in different ways.

The Woman Upstairs is about an abused lady who lived above my wife and I when we lived in Ahunstic. I couldn’t come up with a name for the song when it was done so I asked my wife. She said why not ‘ The Woman Upstairs …?”

Another tale is about the story of a five year old boy whose body was discovered headless. The killer was thought to be found but he was killed in an accident before he could stand trial.

The album is truly about the human condition.

” I saw this woman taking care of her husband, pushing him in a wheelchair. He had Parkinson’s disease or had a stroke.” Says Vannelli of the song Yet Something Beautiful. “I thought of all the unsung heroes in this world like this woman. The love and patience she had. We don’t hear enough stories like this”

Wilderness Road contains many ‘wistful’ ballads containing a Blues’ backdrop. A canvas which tends to arrive when Gino writes songs on guitar.

” When I am writing on my acoustic, the tendency is towards Blues and Folk. Rootsy / Americana sounding songs. Black Cars for example, was written that way but we turned it into an eighties’ sound to fit the times. The original ‘Black Cars’ could easily be on Wilderness Road – it would fit right in …”

Gino’s new album (his 20th) was not made because of a recent trend of older musicians making Blues’ records. (The Stones, Myles Goodwyn (April Wine) and Randy Bachman ( Bravebelt, The Guess Who, BTO) all have recently returned to their roots).

” I don’t know why they made these albums …” Admits Gino.

” If I had to guess I think it is because they want to ensure storytelling and their own expertise in storytelling does not fade away. I think in this day and age – the art of telling stories in songs has been lost. Some artists want to remind people before it is lost forever.”

Vannelli is in his fifth decade as a recording artist and he is not interested in ‘ fitting in’ with the trends or sounds of today.

” I just do what I feel is right. I don’t pretend or aspire to being anything different. After all these years people know who I am. I know who I am and that’s okay for me.”

Vannelli lives in Portland, Oregon and spends time jogging in the mountains to stay in shape. Once a year he gives Master Classes and it was during one of those classes he met a girl from Quebec who travelled to work with Gino. A voice which ended up on Wilderness Road …

Gino will be in Montreal April 26th and 27th.

Listen to The Long Arm of Justice Below

Get Tickets Here !

Visit Gino Here

Rick Keene Music Scene – Juno Nominee Sue Foley is ‘The Ice Queen’

Canadian women going to Texas to play the Blues was not an everyday event …

The year was 1989 and Foley was planted deeply within the Austin Blues scene. It was a time for learning and because the (then) twenty – one year old Sue took her craft seriously, a quick assent took place.

Foley cut her ‘chops’ in the subsequent years and it all came into Canadian fruition in 2001 as Foley won a Juno Award for Best Blues Album. Love Comin’ Down cemented Foley’s place in Canadian music history.

Please listen below to my chat with Sue about her ‘time off’ from solo albums and her Juno nomination for Best Blues album in 2019 with her latest release – The Ice Queen

Visit Sue Here !