Review Rundown: Jeff Healey Band, Damion Suomi and the Minor Prophets, Rory Gallagher, Duff McKagan’s Loaded

This Review Rundown features looks at new releases from the likes of the Jeff Healey Band, Damion Suomi and the Minor Prophets, Rory Gallagher, Duff McKagan’s Loaded and Ben Waters.

Purchase - Get Me Some
File Under: Blues/Rock

The Jeff Healey Band – Get Me Some (Eagle): Though he passed away nearly three years ago, Jeff Healey is gone but not forgotten, as evidenced by the recently released Get Me Some from the Jeff Healey Band. This album should as a fitting tribute to both Healey and his counterparts, a perfect sonic template of what this band did very well – the delicious co-mingling of rock and blues. Opened by the excellent “Which One,” Get Me Some features more than its fair share of standout moments, including the acoustic wail of “Love is the Answer,” the hooky “the Damage is Done,” and guitar driven “Feel Better” and “I Should Have Told You.” Things get spectacular during the funk-fest that is “House is Burning Down,” though Get Me Some isn’t all roses as some tracks (“I Tried,” “Runaway Heart”) fail to leave a substantial impact and come across more as banal filler than anything else. Get Me Some is a must-own for all fans of Healey and his impressive body of work, and really should be classified as a must-own for any and all fans of guitar driven rock and roll. (
Grade: B-
Go Download: “Which One” 

Purchase - Go, And Sell All Of Your Things
File Under: Folk Rock
Damion Suomi & the Minor Prophets – Go, And Sell All Of Your Things (Hopeless): Go, And Sell All Of Your Things, the latest offering from Damion Suomi & the Minor Prophets is powerful without being overt, simultaneously honest and endearing, a trio of qualities that gives the album a charming luster. The record is roots too the core and through and through folk-sy, but not preachy, full of lyrical witticisms and stories interpreted through Suomi’s bouncy zeal and airy ways (“Mustard Seed,” “Holy Ghost”), but it’s not all funs and games as the album trends a bit heady and somber at times, emulating the still sullenness of Mumford & Sons (“the Teacher”). Suomi’s soulful croon penetrates time and time again, showcasing its heft via his ability to always remain earnest, a true engaging trait. There is a certain grittiness to Go, And Sell All Of Your Things that cuts through, a sound akin to that of mellow Dropkick Murphys, just not as rough and tumble or belligerent. Go, and Sell All of Your Things is a good record to be sure, but most of all it’s real. (
Grade: B+
Go Download: “Mustard Seed”

Purchase - Irish Tour
File Under: Guitar Rock Wonderment
Rory Gallagher - Rory Gallagher Irish Tour (Eagle Rock Ent.): It’s a shame that just because Rory Gallagher never made it onto the big stages in America that he to this day remains mostly an afterthought in the annals of guitar history. Well, Rory Gallagher Irish Tour is a heaping dose of sonic proof that Gallagher is a legend in every sense of the word when it comes to his guitar playing prowess. This new ‘re-mastered and rediscovered’ release finds the six-string virtuoso at the very apex of his abilities, which jump off the wax at you throughout classics like “Tattoo’d Lady,” “Too Much Alcohol,” and “A Million Miles Away.” Though Gallagher’s lead absolutely scorch on the afore mentioned trio, it’s the man’s ability to drop jaws no matter what type of axe he may be wielding, be it acoustic (“As the Crow Flies”) or blues (“I Wonder Who,” “Walk on Hot Coals,” “Back on My Stompin’ Ground (After Hours)”). Rory Gallagher Irish Tour is both iconic and live, but it’s a crime that a lot of people didn’t appreciate Gallagher until he was gone. Well, Rory Gallagher Irish Tour is a suitable way to pay homage to both the man and his skill. (
Grade: B+
Go Download: “Cradle Rock”     

Purchase - Taking
File Under: Star-Studded Hard Rock
Duff McKagan’s Loaded – the Taking (Armoury): With gigs like Guns N Roses and Velvet Revolver littering Duff McKagan’s resume, it might come as a surprise to hear that his solo new venture Loaded (Duff McKagan’s Loaded collectively) doesn’t sound like either, effectively establishing itself as its own sonic entity, a tall task in and of itself to be sure. The bands the Taking release roars out of the gate guns ablaze with the snotty punk sounds of opener “Lords of Abbadon,” but the Taking only gets better from there. “Executioner’s Song,” only the albums second track mind you, takes the album in an entirely different direction, sounding like a lost Alice in Chains penned track, immediately adding a ballsy breadth to the affair. “We Win” shows off some radio readiness through tight Foo Fighters-esque melodies, moments of “Easier Lying” has Loaded borrowing a page out of Muse’s playbook, and “Cocaine” is one of the few instances throughout the Taking that finds McKagan paying slight homage to his prior stops, especially Gunners, as the former GNR bassist’s vocal work comes off sounding a bit Axl-ish, pissing and raving about the effect of, you guessed it, cocaine. The Taking is a really good hard rock album by itself, and the fact that friggin’ Duff McKagan is at the bands’ helm should only serve as a sweet, sweet bonus. (
Grade: B+
Go Download: “Executioner’s Song”    

Purchase - Boogie 4 Stu
File Under: A Boogie-Woogie Tribute
Ben Waters - Boogie 4 Stu: A Tribute to Ian Stewart (Eagle Rock): Ian Stewart was not only a founder member of the Rolling Stones back in 1962, but he was also the father of boogie-woogie piano. So, if one was to set out to pay tribute to Stewart and his sensational body of work, such an undertaking would have to be helmed by someone truly worthy, credentials Ben Waters sports in spades on Boogie 4 Stu: A Tribute to Ian Stewart. Waters timing and skill are impeccable, whether he is tickling the ivories all by his lonesome (“Boogie Woogie Stomp”) or teaming, well dueling probably works better here, on keys with Jools Holland (“Boogie for Stu”). Holland isn’t the only friend that stops by to help pay homage to the late Stewart, as Stones members show up en mass to lend a hand. Not only does drummer Charlie Watts man the drum kit for most songs, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood apply vocals to the blues-y, alt-country number “Worried Life Blues,” though their vocal offerings seem overshadowed by Mick Jagger’s vocal contributions on “Watching the River Flow,” which supply the highlight moment of Boogie 4 Stu: A Tribute to Ian Stewart. With Boogie 4 Stu: A Tribute to Ian Stewart, Waters has managed to avoid the stagnate, sterile feel most tribute albums offer. No, this doesn’t sound like a mere compilation album, it sounds real, and that might just be the best thing about it. (
Grade: B+
Go Download: “Boogie for Stu”