New Music Revue – 3/7/20

Wherein I lay out a few new tunes for your dining and dancing pleasure ….

On their Facebook page, the band Down North says, “It’s like the Red Hot Chili Peppers covering Prince with an early James Brown frontman.” Their website says, “Raised on James Brown and Sam Cooke, frontman Anthony Briscoe combines a style of emotional impact reminiscent of Prince in his vocal expressions and proudly steals the spotlight with his ballet-trained dancing.

Psychedelic-jazz guitarist Nick Quiller dominates the fretboard with a limitless imagination that explores the soundscape from high to low. Bassist Brandon Storms blends slap and pop bass lines with deep synth, and pitch bent solos that parallel guitar leads, while drummer Conrad Real glues together a foundation through impeccable groove and powerful chops, his finesse, intensity, and strength are evocative of Chris Coleman and John Blackwell.”

All I know is this shit hits a relentless groove and doesn’t quit. Be sure to listen for the smoking guitar late in the song. Funk beyond reason!

Here’s “Heartbreaker.”

Spotify link

A few words about the Scott Allen Project from their press kit: “SAP is an “Instrumental Progressive Hard Rock band based around Musician’s Institute (GIT) trained guitarist Scott Allen. Catching the guitar bug by discovering the magic of one Edward Van Halen at age 10, Scott dedicated his teen years to studying the electric guitar, and upon graduating high school he relocated south from his home of Sacramento to the fabled glitz of Hollywood.

Returning home, Scott recruited drummer Tom Frost and bassist Brian Kinney and began to hit the club scene. After many shows together Frank Hannon of Tesla offered to produce the first SAP album entitled What Lies Beyond Words. Scott Allen Project is releasing a new EP entitled Escape Velocity.”

The song ‘Wrecked’ constitutes some heavy-duty shit, cooks right along and is incredibly well-played. Progressive heavy metal minus the dopey lyrics:

Spotify link

Bluesman Tinsley Ellis has been around forever but this is the first time I’m writing about him (and I’ve yet to see him.) “Born in Atlanta in 1957, Ellis was raised in southern Florida. He acquired his first guitar at age seven, soon after seeing The Beatles perform on the Ed Sullivan Show. He took to it instantly, developing and sharpening his skills as he grew up.

One night in 1972, Tinsley and his friends went to a Saturday afternoon performance by B.B King, sitting transfixed in the front row. When B.B. broke a string on his guitar, Lucille, he changed it without missing a beat and handed the broken string to Ellis.

After the show, B.B. came out and talked with fans, mesmerizing Tinsley with his warmth and kindness. Tinsley’s fate was now sealed; he had to become a blues guitarist. He saw Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters and every other blues artist who came through town, always sitting up front, always waiting to meet the artists, take photos, and get autographs. To this day, he still has B.B.’s string.

Tinsley’s latest album is Ice Cream in Hell and this smoker is called “Don’t Know Beans.”

Spotify link

Wikipedia: “Hazmat Modine is a musical group based in New York City and led by singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Wade Schuman. Their music is rooted in blues and also touches on folk, jazz, and World music. The most recent lineup of the band circa 2015 features harmonica, tuba, trumpet, saxophone, drums, and two guitars, as well as solo and harmony vocals.

“Hazmat” is a portmanteau of “hazardous material”, and “Modine” is the name of a company that manufactures commercial heaters but may be used to refer to the heater itself.”

“Delivery Man” is an oddball tune. Is it blues? Sometimes it sounds like klezmer. And there’s a harmonica in there somewhere. Anyway, I dig it.

Spotify link

Last but hardly least is the Filippo Dall’ Asta Quartet doing “Django’s Tiger” at Zelda’s Jazz Room in merry Olde England. (Pictured at top of post). If you need a refresher on Django Reinhardt, read this. I’ve featured Filippo and his exquisite guitar before.

His website advises that he is “an Italian Gypsy jazz guitarist, composer, bandleader, and arranger, mixing the sounds of Gypsy jazz with traditional Indian music, to forge his own style of progressive guitar playing. Filippo began playing at the age of 5 in Parma, Italy and studied music in his native country as well as Germany, France, Holland, and India.

I will likely never reach the level of playing this stuff but sure as hell do enjoy listening to it. Here’s “Django’s Tiger.”

International Gypsy Jazz Guitarist


12 thoughts on “New Music Revue – 3/7/20

  1. This is great stuff, Jim. Spontaneously, I’m mostly drawn to Heartbreaker by Down North. To me it’s one of those rare tunes where only after a few bars you know you’re gonna dig it.

    Tinsley Ellis, who I don’t know, sounds like he’s right in my wheelhouse as well.

    And ’bout Hazmat Modine? Never heard of these guys either, but that tune you highlighted surely grooves.

    Filippo Dall’ Asta Quartet definitely falls outside my core wheelhouse, but how could I not be impressed with the killer guitar-playing. Best of all, look how relaxed these musicians are – amazing!

    Scott Allen Project sounds more like an acquired taste to my ears. But, I’m not saying it’s bad. Plus, four out of five ain’t bad! 🙂


    1. Down North like like they know how to throw a party, eh? No way you could sit down with that one. What I liked about Scott Allen is that heavy metal/prog/instrumental thing. I couldn’t listen to a steady diet of it but I liked it. Tinsley Ellis has been around forever, tours quite a bit. I’m surprised he hasn’t turned up in one of your blues expeditions on Spotify. A journeyman, like Walter Trout. In fact they’ve played together. This is from a show just a couple of years ago.

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  2. Good mix. I’m going to give Hazmat more listens. Has a Waits vibe to it. Ellis is a solid blues-man for sure. Familiar with him. I’m with on the Scott Allen style music. I like a lot of it until the vocals come in.


    1. Yeah, I like heavy prog-rock. But prog has sometimes obtuse lyrics so you need a singer like Jon Anderson or Peter Gabriel to pull it off. Stick either of them in Rush and you have a better band.

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      1. Even some of that real nasty Metal sounds good until one of those Grogs (close enough. You know what I mean) from Lord Of The Rings starts singing.
        Weve talked about singers before. Some of the more popular ones, I’m reaching for the off button. Why I never heard those guitars in Hotel California. Make or break. All a matter of taste. Some peoples sweet is an others sour (pretty good analogy CB)


        1. Yeah, I recall you’re not an Eagles fan. I’ll disagree there. I love Henley’s voice. But then again, I could listen to Dylan all day long but some people can’t stand his voice, never could. Paul Simon says: One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor.

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        2. The first artist you featured sure sounds like someone I’ve heard or a combo of a few.
          Food, music, etc personal tastes. I’ve tried to get into certain vocalists. Just wont take. When I did the take on ‘Heavens Door I remember quite a few people weren’t crazy about the GNR version. It’s that vocal for me.


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