Pejak/Forsman/Venable – “Blues Caravan 2019” (Ruf Records, 2019).


The Blues Caravan rolled again. In 2019 – just like every year since the first trek back in 2005 – you could experience a night of house-rocking live music, as three unique artists hit the stage at clubs across the US and Europe. On this CD + DVD live album you get chance to see and hear the hottest insider tips of the scene again! The concert was recorded on 15th February 2019 at Café Hahn in Koblenz! Here are your favorite musicians from the Blues Caravan 2019. Ina Forsman is no stranger to anyone who’s serious about modern blues. The Finland-born belter lit up the Blues Caravan back in 2016, when we first heard her head-turning smoky vocal and the material from that year’s acclaimed self-titled debut album (dubbed “joyous” by Classic Rock). This time, Ina returns to the Caravan with the speaker-rattling soul, blues, Latin and acid-jazz flavours of her upcoming second album, Been Meaning To Tell You. “I’ll be bringing a bunch of as-yet-unheard songs,” she says, “as well as some funky hidden treasures from back in the day. It’s going to be a once-in-a-lifetime tour, full of raw female power.” And they don’t come much more powerful than Ally Venable. Adding her modern twist to the proud heritage of Texas blues, this Lone Star State gunslinger has gathered armfuls of awards for her burn-it-down guitar style and the original songs of her recent Puppet Show release. Now, as she lights up the Blues Caravan 2019 – ably backed by the locomotive rhythm section of Roger Innis (bass) and Elijah Owings (drums) – you’ll walk in curious and leave as a convert. “I’m excited to bring my show and my Texas-influenced guitar slingin’ background to this Blues Caravan,” says Ally. “When I play live, I want to connect with people and for them to let go of their troubles.” There must be something in the water in Belgrade. The Serbian capital has already given us Ruf legend Ana Popovic – and Katarina Pejak promises to make the same impact. With her soulful piano-playing, purred jazz vocal and sneak previews of the material set to appear on her forthcoming Mike Zito-produced album, this Berklee College Of Music graduate will have the crowd in her hand. “My shows provide a blend of blues, country, jazz and rock ‘n’ roll wrapped in a piano-driven sound,” says Katarina. “Between me and the other two ladies, the audience will get a 360 tour around the crossroads where blues meets with other genres.”

Hannah Aldridge – “Razor Wire” (Trodden Black Entertainment, 2014).


The artwork of this Muscle Shoals, now residing in Nashville, singer/songwriter’s debut is black and white with blood red fonts. As such, it’s a perfect visual introduction to Aldridge’s self-described “dark Americana.” Fiery opener “You Ain’t Worth the Fight” sets the tone with its take-no-crap-from-a-bad-old-boyfriend lyrics and a soulful yet relentless swamp rock punch that reaches out, grabs hold of your ears and won’t let go. Aldridge is all attitude but never lets her arrogance get in the way of terrific songs that simmer and boil. Sharp, tough and immediate playing by her rugged band, led by guitarist Andrew Sovine, builds the tension of tunes such as the menacing “Strand of Pearls.” A surprising yet perfectly placed bowed saw section helps establish the mood too.

Tom Furse – “Ecstatic Meditations” (Lo Recordings, 2020).


Dal genio e dalla sregolatezza del basso elettrico (e synths) dei The Horrors, (band dell’Essex britannico), arriva un vinyl-tap tutto nuovo e “scattoso”: assume un che di radioattivo e silenzioso la supernova di Tom Furse (lo stesso dei meravigliosi acquerelli indie-rock di “Primary Colours”, per XL Recordings 2009) l’osservazione al di là delle nuvole di quel piccolo e meraviglioso mondo interno fatto di dettagli, giganti e riflessioni musicali che qui si fanno new-age. 48 minuti di suite separate da 6 mistiche tracce e da abstract noise cocenti. Non è semplice ambient: ancora una volta dobbiamo fare i conti con (l’exotica=) l’espressionismo dell’artista, e dell’uso dei suoi patterns analogici: overlaps, roots & co. Buon ascolto!


Hexvessel – “All Tree” (Sony Music, 2019).


Credo sia stato il rumore del vento a svegliarmi stamattina. Il vento si è agitato, perfino dentro la mia stanza riesco a sentirne il ruggito. Mi immagino là fuori, a respirare l’aria fresca, come quando in Accademia uscivamo in cortile nelle pause tra una lezione e l’altra. Se ci penso adesso, mi sembra di ricordare un altro mondo. Le Basi Buie non sono male come si pensa. Qui c’è tanta gente, nessuno si occupa delle percentuali o assume elisir. Le strutture si avvitano verso l’alto in tantissimi piani, più di quanti si riesca a contarne. Non ci sono luci artificiali qui dentro: quando arriva la notte polare, per sei mesi c’è solo buio. Qui tutto è oscurità, fuori come dentro. Inganniamo il tempo chiacchierando. Ognuno ha una storia da raccontare, anche se dopo un po’ iniziano ad assomigliarsi tutte.