The latest studio album from the monstrous Tedeschi-Trucks Band called Signs leads off Ear Bliss this week. As evidenced by Signs, this is a 12-piece unit firing on all cylinders that seems to just keep getting better and better with each outing. As has been customary the last several years, the band will be out on its Wheels of Soul Tour once again this summer with stops planned at Gilford, NH and nearby Marshfield, MA.
The brother duet tradition is alive and well with the other album in this week’s Ear Bliss spotlight. It comes from Minneapolis-based sibling duo The Cactus Blossoms and is called Easy Way. If you dig the Everly Brothers, you will find The Cactus Blossoms much to your liking. Let’s get to it.
Not unlike the Allman Brothers for whom it always seemed like a family affair when making music and touring, the same could be said for the Tedeschi-Trucks Band. It is not all that surprising considering the lineage of co-founder and guitarist Derek Trucks who played in a later years incarnation of the Allman’s, not to mention being the nephew of long-time Allman Brothers drummer Butch Trucks. Trucks would form the Tedeschi Trucks Band in 2010 with his wife, the singer and blues guitarist Susan Tedeschi, and they have since become a juggernaut of a band numbering a dozen members. The new release Signs, the fourth studio album from the Tedeschi Trucks Band, feels like an all-in-the-family affair. From the group collaborations on the songwriting to the interplay between the musicians and singers, democracy is hard at work. The multi-genre sounds of Signs is full-bodied and tight, with heart-on-the-sleeve emotion to spare. With backing from a highly versatile mix of musicians and singers, leading the way is Ms. Tedeschi whose lead vocal work lights up all 11 tracks be it the wallop of cuts like “Hard Case” and “They Don’t Shine,” soulful sides like “Sings, High Times” and “I’m Gonna Be There,” or heartfelt balladry such as “When Will I Begin” and “Strengthen What Remains”. In total it makes for yet another solid album from the well-oiled machine that is the Tedeschi Trucks Band. Visit www.tedesachitrucksband.com.
The Tedeschi-Trucks will perform on July 12 as part of the Levitate Music Festival in Marshfield, MA. The band will also take its Wheels of Soul tour to the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion in Gilford, NH on July 13 with Blackberry Smoke and Shovels & Rope also on the bill.
The Cactus Blossoms
Walkie Talkie Records
Impeccable harmonies rule the roost on the new album Easy Way from The Cactus Blossoms. It is not surprising given the “blood” angle of the two fellows comprising this duo, brothers Jack Torrey and Page Burkum. Hailing from Minneapolis, Easy Way is the group’s second album and continues right where debut record You’re Dreaming from 2016 left off, that being songs with a retro tinge filled with plenty of butter-smooth singing. Since that debut there have been tours supporting the likes of Kacey Musgraves and Lucius and performances at such prestigious locales as Lincoln Center and the Newport Folk Festival. Oh yeah, there was also an appearance in an episode from the third season of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. The quick benchmark for those unfamiliar out there with The Cactus Blossoms in both sound and feel is the legendary Everly Brothers; two voices sounding as one in complete tandem with nary a blemish. Frankly speaking, there’s nothing wrong with that. The Cactus Blossoms hook up with some cool types on Easy Way including Dan Auerbach of Black Keys who co-wrote two songs with the brothers and Chicago hotshots Joel Patterson contributing pedal steel guitar on three tracks and percussionist Alex Hall. Those additions only add to the stylistic luster of the 10-track Easy Way which is a terrific listen from the catchy jangle and strum of opening track “Desperado” straight through to the pure brotherly harmonies that fill closing number “Blue as the Ocean.” Visit www.thecactusblossoms.com.
The Cactus Blossoms perform at The Sinclair located at 52 Church Street in Cambridge, MA on April 12.
It’ll be an evening of jazz fusion at Chan’s Restaurant (267 Main Street) in Woonsocket on Friday night courtesy of the “NYC Edition” of Steve Smith and Vital Information. The group is led by the heavyweight drummer Smith whose credits include stints with Journey and Steps Ahead. The Big Apple flavor continues the following evening on Saturday when the “King of NYC Blues” himself, Poppa Chubby, is in the house for two shows at 8 and 10 pm.
Heavy blues will be in the air in Pawtucket, as well, this weekend with a killer twin bill at The Met Café (1005 Main Street) on Friday night featuring Walter Trout and Anthony Gomes. Doors are at 7 pm. The following evening, Saturday, The Met plays host to the multi-talented guitarist Buckethead who brings his many-flavored sounds to the club for a 9:30 show. The Met closes out the weekend with a special afternoon show at 4 pm on Sunday with Young Rust delivering the ultimate Neil Young experience.
With six chart-topping hits under his belt, four studio LP’s and over 13 million units sold, it is safe to say Rodney Atkins has had a pretty successful career in country music. He has a new album on the way and will no doubt be airing out some of that as well as plenty of old favorites at the Stadium Theater in Woonsocket (28 Monument Square) where he appears on Friday night at 8 pm.
The Atwater-Donnelly Trio makes its annual visit to the Blackstone River Theatre in Cumberland (549 Broad Street) on Saturday night for an 8 pm performance. Over in Pawtucket that same evening at The German Club (78 Carter Avenue), Louisiana dance band The Revelers play Cajun and swamp pop music starting at 6 pm.
Looking into next week, Brasshouse sound originators Too Many Zooz are at Fete Music Hall in Providence (103 Dike Street) on Thursday night, April 18. For those unfamiliar with Brasshouse, it has its origins in the New York City subway system where members of the band busked on baritone sax, trumpet, and bass drums using the natural reverb of the underground to create a whopping big sound. Moon Hooch is also on the bill.
Dan Ferguson is a free-lance music writer and host of The Boudin Barndance, broadcast Thursday nights from 6 – 9 pm on WRIU-FM 90.3.