Listen: Episode 1602

The first few weeks of each new year provide an opportunity to catch up after the holidays with new release albums that came out at the end of the previous year. That’s what you’ll hear, this week, on Full-Time Blues Radio. There are seven albums featured in this playlist that have never had music on the show before!

Courtesy JP Cadillac Records

Courtesy JP Cadillac Records

The featured selection from inside “Johnny’s Mailbox” is “Brand New Fool” by the Knickerbocker All-Stars, featuring Sugar Ray Norcia on vocals. It comes off the new CD Go Back Home To The Blues, which is available now. The Knickerbocker All-Stars are a somewhat rotating group of the American northeast’s best Blues musicians who have been a part of many great bands over the years, including Roomful of Blues, the Duke Robillard Band, Sugar Ray and the Blue Tones and others. Men who play on this disc include Sax Gordon, Mark Teixiera, Monster Mike Welch and Al Basile!

All proceeds from the sale of this CD and digital album will benefit the non-profit Knickerbocker Music Center, which is “a non-profit formed to preserve, cultivate, and grow the “Knick’s” unique brand of blues, as well as expand access to music of all kinds by transforming the Knick into both an exciting performance venue and an exceptional center for music education.” Complete details are available on their official website at

1. Mike Zito & The Wheel – Chin Up – Keep Coming Back
2. Tim Williams – Lightnin’ – So Low
3. Voo Davis – Low Hangin’ Fruit – Midnight Mist
4. Walkin’ Cane Mark – Arizona Woman – Tryin’ To Make You Understand: Remastered
5. Omar Coleman – Sit Down Baby – Born And Raised
6. Mississippi Bigfoot – Mighty River – Population Unknown
7. Luther Dickinson – Vandalize – Rock N’ Roll Blues
8. Joyann Parker & Sweet Tea – Jigsaw Heart – On The Rocks
9. Paul Thorn – Doctor My Eyes – Looking Into You: A Tribute To Jackson Browne
10. Hurricane Ruth LaMaster – Built For Comfort – Winds Of Change EP
11. Jackie Payne – Somewhere Down the Line – I Saw The Blues
12. Sean Costello – Feel Like I Ain’t Got A Home – In The Magic Shop
13. Knickerbocker All-Stars – Brand New Fool – Go Back Home To The Blues

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Listen: Episode 1543

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The Blues spectrum is incredibly varied, and there are several hues represented on this week’s program. It kicks off in a big way with brand new Tommy Castro, shifts into a set of acoustic based numbers; then you enjoy a jazzy selection, some soulful material, and we wrap up with true-to-form Chicago Blues.

Courtesy Elrob Records

Courtesy Elrob Records

The featured selection from inside “Johnny’s Mailbox” is the fantastic slow Blues, “A Fool’s Lament” by Zora Young & Little Mike and the Tornadoes. The song appears on the new album, Friday Night, which is available now from the independent label Elrob Records.

This project is a New York meets Chicago collaboration that sees Chi-town’s Blues diva teaming up with the New York boys for 11 total tracks. The songs are a great mix of original compositions and covers of songs by Little Walter, Howlin’ Wolf and Otis Spann. The band is frequently touring, and you can find their full tour schedule, as well as information about Friday Night and more on their official website

1. Tommy Castro & The Painkillers – All About The Cash – Method To my Madness
2. Chaz DePaolo – Angel On My Shoulder – Resolution Blues
3. Sad Sam Blues Jam – Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out – Finally…The EP
4. Empire Roots Band – Orangitang Rag – Music From The Film Harlem Street Singer
5. Andy Cohen – Spread the News Around – Road Be Kind
6. Mick Kolassa – Nothin’ Left To Lose (Robin’s Blues) – Ghosts Of The Riverside Hotel
7. Colin Linden – Smoke ‘Em All – Still Live
8. Nick Fishman Band – Extra Simple – California Fresh
9. Paul Thorn – Get You a Healin’ – Too Blessed To Be Stressed
10. Lara Price – Undone – I Mean Business
11. Royal Southern Brotherhood – Here It Is – HeartSoulBlood
12. Benny Turner – I Wanna Give It To You Baby – Journey
13. Zora Young & Little Mike and the Tornadoes – A Fool’s Lament – Friday Night

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Review: Paul Thorn – ‘Too Blessed To Be Stressed’

This review was written by “Johnny Full-Time John Luttrell, and it originally appeared in the Kentuckiana Blues Society newsletter, February 2015.

Courtesy Perpetual Obscurity

On Paul Thorn’s last album, 2012’s What The Hell Is Going On, he dealt with some heavy topics on the title cut. For this new release, Too Blessed To Be Stressed, Paul embraces the positivity found in the title track. The disc opens with “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright,” and your toes are instantly tapping. Paul’s cinematic lyrics play through your mind on “Too Blessed to Be Stressed,” as Thorn provides slice of life glimpses into several different American experiences. He hits the warm and fuzzy trifecta with “Everybody Needs Somebody,” singing “…when you make a friend, that’s when everybody wins. A little love can put a smile on your face.” It was at this point in the CD that my wife asked what we were listening to, “I really like this,” she added.

Paul Thorn has always written the truth into his lyrics, whether it’s the honesty of the male figures he grew up watching in a song like 2010’s “Pimps and Preachers,” or the social commentary of American culture in this record’s “Mediocrity Is King.” So, you can believe him when he sings about his continued attempts to “be a good man” in the track “I Backslide On Friday.” It’s important to note the impact of Paul’s songwriting partner, Billy Maddox, who shares credit on all of these songs with Paul, save for one. “Get You A Healin’” was written by Carlo J Ditta.

It’s the songwriting that sets Paul Thorn apart from everybody else. Sure, the arrangements are fantastic, and the playing is top notch; but personally, I come to every new Paul Thorn record with excitement about the words in these songs. Let’s not gloss over the band, though. Give a call to Bill Hinds (guitar, harmonies), Jefferey Perkins (drums), Ralph Friedrichsen (bass, harmonies, co-writing credit on “Everybody Needs Somebody”), and Michael Graham (keys) for the work they did on this album. Paul also renews his relationship with the incredible McCrary Sisters, who provide backing vocals on three tracks. The liner notes include this fun fact: the McCrary Sisters were recorded for this album at sea during the Sandy Beaches Cruise.

The Blues has always been about heartache and pain; but they’ve also been about joy and celebration. With that in mind, Paul Thorn’s album Too Blessed To Be Stressed is worth your time for the 43 minutes of sonic joy that you’ll get listening.

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Listen: Favorite Albums of 2014 (Episode 1447)

Stream This Episode On Demand

As mentioned at the beginning of the show, this week, it’s a pretty gutsy thing to craft a list of albums and say they’re “the best.” Yet, every December, countless media outlets try to hammer you with their opinions of the best releases from the last 12 months. I don’t think art can be judged that way, so this week’s playlist features music from my favorite albums of 2014. – Johnny Full-Time

The show features a wide selection of Blues styles, and some truly independent releases alongside some big name artists like Gary Clark, Jr., Paul Thorn, and Janiva Magness, to name a few. There’s no featured selection from inside “Johnny’s Mailbox,” this week. However, several of these albums were featured throughout the year.

Courtesy Vizz-Tone

My absolute favorite album of 2014, although close to call, is In The Magic Shop, the posthumous release from Sean Costello by the Vizz-Tone Label Group. This episode closes with an incredible cover by Sean of Rod Stewart’s “You Wear It Well.” Don’t Miss It!

Remember, 100% of the proceeds made from the sale of this album benefit the Sean Costello Memorial Fund for Bipolar Research. You can find complete information on their official website:

1. Paul Thorn – Too Blessed To Be Stressed – Too Blessed To Be Stressed
2. John Nemeth – Keep the Love A-Comin’ – Memphis Grease
3. Johnny Winter – My Babe ft. Jason Ricci – Step Back
4. Mark T Small – Stone Pony Blues – Smokin’ Blues
5. Eden Brent – Valentine – Jigsaw Heart
6. Thorbjorn Risager & the Black Tornado – Through the Tears – Too Many Roads
7. JD McPherson – Steal Away – The Warm Covers EP
8. Gary Clark, Jr. – Numb – Live
9. Janiva Magness – Everything Is Alright – Original
10. The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer – Tea For Two – A Real Fine Mess
11. Jarekus Singleton – Come Wit Me – Refuse To Lose
12. Mike Farris – Mercy Now – Shine For All The People
13. Sean Costello – You Wear It Well – In The Magic Shop

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Listen: Episode 1446

Listen: Episode 1445

Listen: Episode 1437

Stream This Episode On Demand

This week, the Home for New & Independent Blues Music is crafting a playlist filled with big name new release music. There’s new Blues from Gary Clark, Jr., Marcia Ball, and the Blind Pig Records debut of JW Jones. In addition, Johnny Full-Time recently visited Jack White’s Third Man Records in Nashville, Tennessee and recorded a report directly onto a vinyl record! Hear that report, along with a number off of Jack’s incredible album Lazaretto.

Courtesy Perpetual Obscurity

The featured selection from inside “Johnny’s Mailbox” is “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.” The track is the opener to Paul Thorn’s new album, Too Blessed To Be Stressed. That album is available now from Paul’s own label, Perpetual Obscurity; and you can get it in a variety of formats, including vinyl LP.

In the mean time, Too Blessed To Be Stressed features Paul Thorn’s amazing songwriting, featuring cinematic lyrics that play out slices of life in song. Look for standout numbers like the title cut, “Old Stray Dogs and Jesus,” and “Everybody Needs Somebody,” which you can watch the official music video for, just under this week’s playlist. If you’d like more information about Paul Thorn, Too Blessed To Be Stressed, and his tour schedule – Visit

1. JW-Jones – Coming After Me – Belmont Boulevard
2. Marcia Ball – Clean My House – The Tattooed Lady And The Alligator Man
3. The Knickerbocker All-Stars – Turn on Your Love Light – Open Mic At The Knick
4. Liz Mandeville – Silver Lining (Shirley’s Blues) – Heart ‘O Chicago
5. Iko-Iko – Pet de Kat – Bullets In The Bonfire, Vol. 1
6. Jack White – Three Women – Lazaretto
7. Gary Clark, Jr. – Numb – Live
8. Jimmy Carpenter – When You’re Ready – Walk Away
9. Jeremiah Johnson – Call a Taxi – Grind
10. Markus James – Head for the Hills – Head For The Hills
11. Pork Chop Willie – Devil In My Soul – Love Is The Devil
12. Paul Thorn – Everything’s Gonna Be Alright – Too Blessed To Be Stressed

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