Listen: Spiritual Side of the Blues 2015

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Each year, right around Easter, it provides me with the perfect time to produce one of my favorite special episodes: The Spiritual Side of the Blues. The great American music has always walked a fine line between the sacred and the profane; and as we’ll see, the Blues and the Christian faith have an incredible number of parallel themes. In the end, though, it all stems out of the hope for a better tomorrow. This week, that hope comes in the form of spirituals, Gospel-inflected Blues tunes, and prayers through song.

Courtesy McC Records

The featured selection from inside “Johnny’s Mailbox” this week is “That’s Enough” by The McCrary Sisters. The track comes off their brand new album, Let’s Go, which just came out on McC Records.

The McCrary Sisters are the daughters of Rev. Samuel McCrary, a longtime member of The Fairfield Four. They grew up surrounded by music and faith, and performed from an early age in one form or another. Their signature harmonies have been in constant demand by music artists from a wide range in genres and levels of fame. Bob Dylan, Paul Thorn and Mike Farris are just an incredible few of the big names who have sought out these sisters to have them sing on their works.

The McCrary Sisters released their debut album in 2011, and Let’s Go is only their third record. With it, though, they are front and center, crafting an incredible record with producer Buddy Miller. Let’s Go is available now from a variety of sources, and you can find out more information about the women, the music and more on their official website, McCrarySisters.com

Programming Note: I hope you enjoy this week’s episode. For the first time, I’m expanding the Spiritual Side of the Blues programming to two weeks on Full-Time Blues Radio. Next week, I’ll be joined for conversation by Dr. Gary Burnett, author of the new book The Gospel According To The Blues. We’ll discuss the Blues, faith, civil rights and much more. Don’t Miss It! – Johnny Full-Time

1. The McCrary Sisters – Let’s Go – Let’s Go
2. Kelley Hunt – Golden Hour – The Beautiful Bones
3. Neil Barnes – Don’t Let the Devil Ride – Hyde And Seek
4. Toots Lorraine – Wade In The Water – Make It Easy
5. Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar – Take Us Swiftly Home – Send The Nightengale
6. Kirk Davis – Going With the Lord – Blues And Greys
7. Mike Farris – Real Fine Day – Shine For All The People
8. Otis Clay & Johnny Rawls – Hallelujah Lord – Soul Brothers
9. Flora Molton – In the Little Country Town Where I Was Born – I Want To Be Ready To Hear God When He Calls
10. Jeff Jensen – Going Home – Morose Elephant
11. Michael Jerome Brown – Choose Your Seat and Sit Down – Sliding Delta
12. Rory Block – Jesus Is A Mighty Good Leader – Hard Luck Child: A Tribute To Skip James
13. Jorma Kaukonen – Suffer Little Children to Come Unto Me – Ain’t In No Hurry
14. The McCrary Sisters – That’s Enough – Let’s Go

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It’s an hour of hot music to chase your winter Blues away, this week, with the majority of songs featured coming from 2015 releases. The show kicks off with a salute to springtime by John Campbelljohn. In addition to the new selections, you’ll find marquee names like The Black Keys, Watermelon Slim, and JW Jones. One of the new releases featured is the self titled EP by Danielle Nicole. Danielle Schnebelen was one third of the highly regarded Blues trio Trampled Under Foot with her two brothers. That band was dissolved last year, and Danielle teamed with Anders Osborne, who produced the studio tracks on this new EP. The other two songs are recordings from Danielle’s appearance on The Bridge 90.9 in Kansas City.
Scroll below this week’s playlist to watch videos of those two performances!

Courtesy Jorge Salan

The featured selection from inside “Johnny’s Mailbox” is a cover of the Howlin Wolf track “Who’s Been Talking” by Jorge Salan and the Majestic Jaywalkers. It comes off the album Madrid//Texas, which features eight songs total, with additional covers of BB King and Robert Johnson.

Jorge Salan is from Spain and was kind enough to contact Full-Time Blues Radio right here on the website. He is known primarily as a Rock guitarist, but wanted to capture his love for the Blues with this new album. The guitar work is incendiary, calling to mind Joe Bonamassa’s fiery fretwork. Madrid//Texas is available now from all major digital retailers. Click Here to Sample Madrid//Texas on Amazon You can also find out more information on his official website, JorgeSalan.com

1. John Campbelljohn – Good Morning Mr. Blue Sky ft. David Myles – Chin Up
2. James Day & the Fish Fry – Weather Blues – Southland
3. Watermelon Slim & the Workers – Prison Walls – Bull Goose Rooster
4. Dave Duncan – Heartache Who’s Time Has Come (Radio Single)
5. The Black Keys – It’s Up to You Now – Turn Blue
6. Danielle Nicole – You Only Need Me When You’re Down – Danielle Nicole EP
7. JW-Jones – Magic West Side Boogie – Belmont Boulevard
8. Breezy Rodio – The Day I Met You – So Close To It
9. Big Harp George – Smack Dab in the Middle – Chromaticism
10. Chris Daniels & the Kings – Something You Got – Funky To The Bone
11. Jack Mack & the Heart Attack Horns – Sha La La – Lookin Up EP
12. Sean Costello – Trust In Me – In The Magic Shop
13. Jorge Salán – Who’s Been Talking – Madrid//Texas

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Although I take great care in curating the playlist each week on the show; I feel this week’s playlist is one of the strongest non-special theme episodes, musically, that I can think of in a while. This week’s selections are stout, and they flow very nicely with one another. There are five 2015 releases, with many of the 2014 selections arriving on our doorsteps late. Out of 13 tracks featured this week, eight of them are from albums that have never been featured on the show!

Courtesy Big O Records

The featured selection from inside “Johnny’s Mailbox” is “Long Way To Memphis” by Greg Nagy. It comes off his third studio album, Stranded, which was recently released on Big O Records. The album was produced by Jim Alfredson, who also plays on the record. There are also appearances by Dave Gross, Jim Shaneberger, and others on this disc.

The highlight, though, is simply being able to enjoy new music from Greg Nagy. He shares co-writing credit on many of the nine original numbers, here. There’s only one cover out of the 10 tracks, coming in the form of a new interpretation on Bobby “Blue” Bland’s “Ain’t No Love In the Heart of the City.” Nagy’s voice is powerful, and at the same time, vulnerable; and he continues to explore his genre influences beyond simply Blues music. You can find out much more on Greg, his music, and his tour schedule on his official website, GregNagy.com and be sure to scroll below the playlist, where you will find a video from Greg’s YouTube channel, featuring a sampler of all the tracks from the new album Stranded.

1. The Muggs – Straight Up Boogaloo – Straight Up Boogaloo
2. Ghost Town Blues Band – Big Shirley – Hard Road To Hoe
3. Savoy Brown – Laura Lee – Goin’ To The Delta
4. Ray Goren – Stop – Save My Soul EP
5. JJ Thames – Souled Out – Tell You What I Know
6. JP Blues – Meet Me Halfway – Live At Darwin’s
7. Dana Fuchs – Bliss Avenue – Songs From The Road
8. Toots Lorraine – Hindsight – Make It Easy
9. Dave Riley and Bob Corritore – Laughing Blues – Hush Your Fuss
10. Harrison Kennedy – Shake The Hand – This Is From Here
11. Kat Danser – Sun Goes Down – Baptized By The Mud
12. Cécile Doo-Kingué – Little Bit – Anybody Listening, Pt. 1: Monologues
13. Greg Nagy – Long Way To Memphis – Stranded

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This week’s shift inside the home for new & independent Blues music features a divers selection of songs, ranging in a wide variety of Blues styles. The show is also diverse in the location these artists sent their music from. You’ll hear music from Oslo, Norway kick off the program, and by the time the show’s over, we’ll have heard independently released tracks from Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio, among others!

Courtesy Bryan Himes

Courtesy Bryan Himes

The featured selection from inside “Johnny’s Mailbox” is “Beautiful One” by Bryan Himes. It comes off his latest album, One Night In The Delta, which was released late in 2014 and just found its way to our studios. Bryan is an independent artist from Lexington, Kentucky who plays a healthy mixture of electric and stripped down acoustic Blues. His catalog includes fantastic covers of tracks by Robert Johnson, RL Burnside, John Lee Hooker and many more. In addition to the song featured on this week’s show, if you scroll below the playlist, you can watch Bryan perform the acoustic original track “Don’t Mess With Me.”

Click Here For One Night In The DeltaVisit Bryan Himes’ ReverbNation Page

1. Joakim Tinderholt & His Band – I Need A Woman – You Gotta Do More
2. Doug Adamz – The House of Curiosities – National Steel
3. FrontPorch Revival – Outside Woman Blues – Exclusive Live Recording
4. Macy Blackman & the Mighty Fines – Kidney Stew – Friskin’ The Whiskers
5. Fo’ Reel – Leave Your Love Alone – Heavy Water
6. The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band – Music and Friends – So Delicious
7. The Blues Disciples – Elouise – Big Bang
8. Long Tall Deb – Let’s Get Lost – Raise Your Hands
9. Hilda Lamas – Last Thing On Your Mind (iTunes Single)
10. Ken Tucker – Simone – Upcoming Benevolent Blues Release
11. Balkun Brothers – Tell Me – Redrova
12. Bryan Himes – Beautiful One – One Night In The Delta

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