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From our news archives:
Taylor Wins W.C. Handy Award for Best New Artist!
The 2002 W.C. Handy Awards were a terrific success for NorthernBlues Music and Otis Taylor. Taylor, nominated for four W.C. Handy Awards (including
a nomination for blues album of the year for 'White African'),
walked off with a Handy for Best New Artist Debut. The Otis Taylor Band also played two songs at the Handy Awards
and were a smash hit at the post-Handy jam session.
The Handy weekend was a total blast with the Otis Taylor Band at Blues City and Paul Reddick & The Sidemen
at Silky O'Sullivans! On Friday night, Colin Linden sat in with Paul, and on saturday night, Charles Musselwhite
sat in with Otis!
The Dead Garnering Incredible Reviews
Otis Taylor's new CD, Respect
The Dead, is garnering
fantastic reviews. For instance, Billboard Magazine said that
"Taylor follows the release of his superb, Handy Award-nominated album White African with an equally compelling record that is, unfailingly,
a galvanizing listening experience.....Taylor is a rare talent, and this is easily one of the most important blues
albums of 2002."
CMJ New Music Monthly says that "Already, this is one of the great blues albums of the year."
And from the Toronto Globe & Mail: "With last year's release of White African, Otis Taylor moved to the front of the acoustic-bluesman pack. With
The Dead, the lead lengthens."
For more reviews
The Dead, please go
to the NorthernBlues web site. Visit Otis' new website! www.otistaylor.com
& Otherwise Also Getting Great Reviews
Harry Manx's new CD, Wise
and Otherwise, is also
garnering fantastic reviews. The Chicago Sun-Times said that "Rarely has folk-blues sounded as hauntingly
beautiful as when played by Harry
Manx, a British-born
Canadian who has been profoundly influenced by Indian music....Cooder is as good a point of reference as any for
newcomers to Manx. But while such comparisons may work to describe Manx's fretwork, the raw sensuality of his sound
is all his own."
Harry even made it into the Washington Post where they said that "Blues fans partial to the music of Kelly
Joe Phelps and Ry Cooder should certainly welcome Vancouver-based guitarist Harry Manx's new release, "Wise and Otherwise" A smart, thoughtful songwriter, Manx
often uses a slide to subtle effect, deftly underscoring the emotions that inspire his tales."
You can read more incredible reviews on the NorthernBlues web site!
Cds from David Jacobs-Strain and the JW-Jones Blues Band
NorthernBlues Music is proud to release new CDs from 18-year-old guitar phenom David Jacobs-Strain and the JW-Jones Blues Band.
David's new CD, 'Stuck
on the way Back', will
hit the stores on June 18th in the US, and is now starting to get critics hearts a-fluttering. David is one of
the best young acoustic guitar players in this continent, and you are sure to be wowed by this incredible-sounding
CD (produced by Kenny Passarelli who produces Otis Taylor). The early reviews are coming in and here is what the
Cascades Blues Society said about 'Stuck
on the way Back', "David
Jacobs-Strain is an accomplished player well beyond his years. He writes music like an untamed animal just waiting
to be unleashed upon the world, shouting out, "Hey everybody! Listen up! I've got something to say!"
And it's not your everyday bump'n'grind guitar licks happening here, either. His material comes across like a master
as yet undiscovered. An acoustic gem ready to take on all comers and deservedly awaiting his place among the elite
of his profession." Wow... if you want to read more, here is the link: http://www.cascadeblues.org/NWBlues/DavidJacobStrain/
Blues Band are one of
Canada's hottest young bands, and 'Bogart's
Bounce' brings the band
to a whole new level. JW-Jones is only 21, and his harmonica player, Southside Steve, is just 17. Still, JW managed
to convince Kim Wilson to guest on this CD, and he also brought in Gene Taylor to play piano throughout the disc.
Close your eyes, and you'll hear the Fabulous Thunderbirds... This is what the Ottawa Citizen had to say about
'Bogart's Bounce', "Where once the quartet got by on good basic chops, a little flash, and a lot of energy
(and those cute boyish grins) the bandmembers have stepped up every element of their craft. Jones's guitar work
is a dream on practically every style, from competing jazz-tinged west coast-ish numbers to back-to-basics hard
blues. Southside Steve Marriner's harp work is wild, and bassist Nathan Morris and Matt Sobb have fused into a
solid groove unit. Production is hot and the songwriting is cool."
NorthernBlues Sampler is now available
The new NorthernBlues sampler, "The Future of the Blues", is now available. The CD features
tracks from all current NorthernBlues CDs and some from upcoming CDs as well. At 14 tracks and over 50 minutes,
this low-priced sampler is a great deal. It even has the critics buzzing... "NorthernBlues president Fred
Litwin has every right to feel gratified. Since February 2001, his label has radiantly released nine CDs which
have received numerous award nominations. Obviously his simple philosophy is being fulfilled. It's a philosophy
that he states in the liner notes ... "All of our CDs have to be outstanding. There's no room for anything
mediocre." With 14 tracks (including material from upcoming releases) lasting 52 minutes, a 16 page full-color
booklet and a list price you'd expect to find at Wal-Mart, this may be "the best damn blues sampler ever!"
(Tim Holek on MNBlues.com)
News from NorthernBlues Music
- 4 Otis Taylor songs will be in
a new Billy Bob Thornton movie called "The Badge" this fall!
- Harry Manx just finished recording
his next CD, which will be a joint venture between Harry and Kevin Breit (Cassandra Wilson's guitarist). Look for
this CD in early January, 2003.
- Look for a major feature on Otis
Taylor in the next issue of Blues Revue Magazine!
- Check out the new W.C. Handy Award
CD called 'Blues Greats' on the Tornado label with tracks from Otis Taylor and Paul Reddick & The Sidemen!
- Now's the time to check out the
listening posts at Borders - both 'Rattlebag' by Paul Reddick & The Sidemen, and 'Respect The Dead' by Otis
Taylor are now on the listening posts across the US!
- Harry Manx will be in Belgium in
July; JW-Jones is now in Brazil for a festival.
Music is proud to announce its two latest releases - Otis Taylor's Respect The Dead, and Harry Manx's Wise and
Otherwise. Both CDs will be available in stores on April 2, 2002.
Respect The Dead is yet another masterpiece - with another
set of 12 hard-hitting original songs. Here's what the All Music Guide said about Respect the Dead:
"Otis Taylor might
well be the best and most inspired of contemporary bluesmen. His White
African album was a masterpiece
- which makes the task of following it double difficult. With Respect
the Dead, however, he does
a superb job - the man is still very much on a roll...Taylor doesn't work within standard blues structures, and
his lyrics stray far from the standard blues lines to encompass history and mythology. Where others seem content
with the established limits, Taylor is pushing them further and further - and in doing so, he's making some of
the most exciting music around."
Wise and Otherwise continues Harry Manx's experiment of fusing
Indian melodies into the blues idiom. However this time around, Harry has been aided by the use of the 6-string
banjo. Again, here's what the All Music Guide said about Wise
"To call Harry
Manx a wizard of slide guitar is perfectly true, but not the whole story. Add banjo, harmonica, and the Indian
veena to that, and you're approaching the real story. On Wise
and Otherwise he demonstrates
the full range of his talents, which are firmly based in the blues, but extend far beyond - all the way to Indian
music...In some ways he mines similar territory to Kelly Joe Phelps, but by now Manx is assured enough in himself
to have a remarkably distinctive sound that comes not from the Delta, but some mystic place beyond. There are few
performers like this around who can connect the dots between musical styles with such resonance and make themselves
seem a part of them all."
NorthernBlues Music is proud to announce that Dog My Cat by
Harry Manx won the Canadian
Indie Award for Blues Album of the Year!
NorthernBlues Music is extremely proud that two of its releases, Breakfast at Midnight by Rita Chiarelli, and Rattlebag
by Paul Reddick & The Sidemen, were nominated
for a Canadian Juno Award in the blues category. The Juno Awards represent
the best in Canadian Music - and NorthernBlues received 2 out of the 5 nominations for blues!
In addition, NorthernBlues Music received 3 nominations for the Canadian Independent Music Awards
with Rita, Paul Reddick and Harry Manx picking up nominations!
NorthernBlues Music Receives 5 W.C. Handy Blues Award Nominations!
Otis Taylor's White African Nominated for Blues Album of the Year!
||Rattlebag Named Best Canadian Blues Recording of 2001!
Music signs David Jacobs-Strain
Two New Releases from NorthernBlues Music
Otis Taylor and Paul Reddick
to be in the movies
Music Signs David Jacobs-Strain - America's Best Young Blues Guitarist!
one of the hottest new blues labels in North America, is proud to announce the signing of David Jacobs-Strain. At age 18, he is one of the best young
blues guitarists in America! David's new CD Stuck
On The Way Back will be
released on June 18th, 2002.
"David Jacobs-Strain is the future of the blues", says Fred
Litwin, President of NorthernBlues
Music. "He's a gifted
guitarist, a very good songwriter, and has an uncanny ability to move audiences with his music. I am incredibly
excited about adding David to our roster. It not only shows our commitment to nurturing young talent - it showcases
our commitment to finding the best talent period."
NorthernBlues Music and David Jacobs-Strain
fit well together. The label tries hard to find artists on the cutting edge of blues - artists that can stretch
the blues envelope. According to David, "The originators of blues music in the deep American south were innovators
in their own time. To keep blues alive, innovation must continue. I want to bring new sounds and textures into
the music while preserving the underlying 'oral history' of passions and emotions. I am greatly honored to join
ranks with NorthernBlues artists whom I greatly admire, such as Otis
Taylor and Harry Manx, who are pushing the music foward into new dimensions."
Stuck On The Way Back was produced by Kenny Passarelli, who also
plays bass, piano and organ on the CD. Passarelli has had a long career playing bass for a variety of rock stars
like Stephen Stills and Elton John, but has now produced a string of incredible-sounding CDs. Passarelli has received
wide acclaim for his production of Otis Taylor's White African, one of the top blues sellers in 2001. According
to Kenny, "David Jacobs-Strain is the new voice of the blues. He's a gifted
guitar player with great promise as a song writer and has a powerful voice."
NorthernBlues Music was founded in the summer of 2000 in Toronto,
Canada. To date, the label has 7 releases including the critically acclaimed White African by Otis Taylor. Other artists on the NorthernBlues
Music roster include the
Blues Band, Rita Chiarelli, Harry Manx, Paul Reddick & The Sidemen, Archie Edwards, Johnny Jones, and now David
New Releases from NorthernBlues Music
We are proud to ship our two latest releases:
Edwards: The Toronto Session (NBM0006)
Jones: Blues is in the House (NBM0007)
The long-awaited Archie Edwards
CD, The Toronto Sessions,
is finally out and shipping. NorthernBlues is really proud of this CD - it's our most extensive production yet.
The CD comes with a 28-page booklet that contains a biography of Archie Edwards, Commentary by Archie on his music,
complete song lyrics, and additional commentary on each song. In addition, we've added lots of pictures, and a
note from myself on the CD. Barry Lee Pearson from the University of Maryland wrote the liner notes, and Juno-award-winning
designer, Michael Wrycraft, did the CD design. The front-cover picture of Archie is bound to get lots of peopel
reaching for this CD! But, besides the super package, the best part is the sound quality! Archie sounds like he
is playing right next to you - it's really amazing!
The Johnny Jones CD is a huge treat, and is just plain fun.
Johnny Jones is a legend in the blues business, having backed up Bobby Bland, Freddy King, Gatemouth Brown, and
others in Nashville. Now, Johnny gets the chance to lead his own band, and he shows why he is so respected. No
pyrotechnics - just some great emotional guitar playing. Rusty Zinn, no slouch on the guitar front, wrote the liner
notes - Johnny Jones is one of his heroes!
Taylor and Paul Reddick to be in the movies
Music from Otis Taylor and Paul Reddick & The Sidemen will be in some new movies in the upcoming year. Otis will be featured
in a new Billy Bob Thornton movie in the spring, and Paul's music will
be featured in a new independent film entitled "Triggermen" with Pete Postlethwaite.
We'll forward more details as these films open.
Edwards CD Launch Party in Washington DC
Harry Manx to tour Australia
Edwards Launch Party in Washington DC
We had a terrific launch party in Washington for the Archie
Edwards CD. The Archie Edwards
Memorial Foundation put on the affair which featured many local bluespeople performing Archie Edwards songs; lots
of stories about Archie, and selected tracks from the CD. It was a terrific time and people were over the moon
with Archie's new CD. During the weekend, I also went to Archie's barbershop for a Saturday afternoon jam. You
never know who'll show up at the barbershop - while I was there, there was a documentary film crew (and I was interviewed).
You can see the coverage in the Washington Post at:
Manx to tour Australia in November/December
Harry is off to Australia at the end of November for a 22-date tour of Australia. While he is down under, we will
be launching his second CD, Wise
& Otherwise. While he
is there, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) will be taping one of his shows for nation-wide broadcast!
From Blues Revue
Paul Reddick & The Sidemen
This bold release instantly distinguishes itself as 'smart' blues. There's simply no better way to describe something
so studied and so original in its approach. Paul Reddick is a serious student of the genre and has woven a haunting
work that celebrates the prewar country blues of Sleep John Estes and Mississippi John Hurt, the Mississippi Sheiks,
and the popular string-band music of the '20s and early '30s. The Sidemen inject guitar- and harp-driven grooves,
adding a dark, brooding energy to their fourth outing. Reddick's original songs draw heavily from his knowledge
of Alan Lomax's Library of Congress field recordings; his abstract lyrical style draws from such disparate sources
as the poetry of William Blake, North American Indian dream poems, and the observational storytelling endemic to
Reddick himself is key to the Sidemen's sound. His distinctive vocals are mixed forward, creating an intimacy that
adds to the disc's foreboding nature. Reddick's harp can produce a wall of sound or an authentic Chicago wail on
demand. "Dreamin' Dreamin'" is reminiscent of "Spoonful" but sits back far enough to have a
personality of its own. The title track recalls Texas blues while underlining the power of the musicianship; skintight
rhythm, blistering guitar, hauting harp, and moody keyboards built around a swaggering central figure. Kyle Ferguson's
guitar muscle deserves special recognition. Of course, another key to Rattlebag's success is the deft production
of Colin Linden, a Howlin' Wolf afficianado who also donates one of his originals ("Blind River Blues")
and contributes mandolin, Dobro, and guitar. A favorite track is "I'm a Criminal," which begins as a
sluggish boogie and builds to incorporate
wry rhythmic twists and impressive solos.
Hard blues for modern times? Mostly. But this is not a pure blues record; it's a dark, bluesy excursion with Delta
roots and rock undertones. The resulting manic feels comes off, on occasion, as a less warped version of early
Beefheart. It's that good.
(Cascade Blues Society)
"Open your ears and mind to a whole new blend of blues-related
music. Harry Manx not only gently crosses over cultures, he takes
giant leaps. At first listen to the opening numbers on this debut
CD, you may believe that Manx is simply a clone in the mold of a
Kelly Joe Phelps with his lap-style slide guitar. But, the further
you explore this disc, you suddenly find yourself emmeshed deeply
into an Eastern mystique of Delta-flavored music. Not the Mississippi
Delta, mind you, but more like the Ghanges.
Manx' Indian-influened songs, may not appeal to everybody, but
they do provide a whole new aspect for the music to explore. He
is quite an adept performer when it comes to standard Blues outings,
though, which are very nicely covered on the CD with covers Muddy
Waters' "I Can't be satisfied" and Jimmy Reed's "Shame Shame Shame"
doing justice to both numbers. His self-written pieces, as stated
before, are quite comparable to the best of Kelly Joe Phelps, perhaps
it's the lap-steel sound. Songwriter, vocalist, guitarist, Harmonica
player, even on the mohan veena, Harry Manx is an interesting artist
that can only be described as in a category all his own. Eastern
and Western cultures truly collide on "Dog My Cat".
JW-Jones Blues Band