Blues The best music site on the web there is where you can read about and listen to blues, jazz, classical music and much more. This is your ultimate music resource. Tons of albums can be found within. http://theblues-thatjazz.com/pl/blues/2316.html Fri, 03 Dec 2021 01:41:13 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management pl-pl Matthew Skoller - Blues Immigrant (2016) http://theblues-thatjazz.com/pl/blues/2316-matthew-skoller/24534-matthew-skoller-blues-immigrant-2016.html http://theblues-thatjazz.com/pl/blues/2316-matthew-skoller/24534-matthew-skoller-blues-immigrant-2016.html Matthew Skoller - Blues Immigrant (2016)

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1 	Big Box Store Blues 	3:46
2 	The Devil Ain't Got No Music 	4:20
3 	Blues Immigrant 	5:58
4 	Only in the Blues 	2:50
5 	Tear Collector 	4:56
6 	Story Of Greed 	4:10
7 	747 	3:54
8 	Organ Mouth 	2:51
9 	My Get It Done Woman 	3:59
10 	Get Down To The Nitty Gritty 	3:59
11 	Blue Lights 	3:07

Skoller - Harmonica and Vocals
Johnny Iguana – Keyboards
Felton Crews – Bass 
Giles Corey – Guitar
Eddie Taylor Jr. – Guitar 
Marc Wilson – Drums
Mike Avery and Stevie Robinson – Background Vocals
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Carlos Johnson – Lead Guitarist
Brian Ritchie – Shakuhachi

 

Chicago blues harp great emigrated to Chicago from the Big Apple (Brooklyn to be specific; that’s important to New Yorkers) to Chicago in 1987. That technically makes him an immigrant to Chicago blues which he celebrates with this fine CD. Featuring a lyrical insert with a tricked up passport from Brooklyn, Skoller wrote eight of the eleven songs on this CD. His soulful vocal and vibrant harp make him a fixture in the Windy City Blues scene, and he showcases his talents on this album.

The songs are very cool and offer many comments on modern life. “Big Box Store Blues” decries the destruction of local business by the Costco’s and Sam’s membership stores and the mega food and department stores like Walmart. Skoller blows some mean harp and Iguana’s piano backs him up sweetly. It is a take off of Sonny Boy’s “Welfare Store Blues.” Following it is “The Devil Ain’t Got No Music.” This is a great cut he wrote for Lurrie Bell’s super album of the same name. He sings that devil can tempt you and that he’s got everything that you need, but as the title says, “The Devil Ain’t Got No Music.” It’s a swampy sort of cut with a tasty groove and Skoller and Company offer another fine performance. The title track follows, an autobiographical piece by Skoller. He sings of his grandparents coming here to Ellis Island and then him emigrating to play the blues. He claims influence by the late 1960’s and 1970’s social upheaval that began his trek, He goes on to the environmental issues and Reagan in the 1980’s which solidified his dissent and precipitated his move to Chicago. Great and thoughtful lyrics and a nice beat along with good musicianship make this a winner. “Only In The Blues” jabs at the blues music world where he sings that foundations and clubs keep the blues alive with suppressed wages, nine year olds get the press over long time musicians, and record producers get all the profits. As Skoller sings, “It’s a funky situation found only in the Blues.”

A song of relational woes follows; “Tear Collector” is a somber cut about the icy woman that stole his heart. “Story of Greed” is next, a cut about the rich getting richer. This is Carlos Johnson’s first cut of two and he and Brian Ritchie on shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute) and the tribal drums make this very cool sounding as Skoller tells us of corporate greed and the erosion of the world in perhaps a darkly humorous way. Cool Papa Sadler’s “747” is a great cover of a song popularized by Joe Louis Walker. Skoller’s harp adds flavor from prior versions where the piano and guitar did many of the harp parts. This is the second cut with Carlos Johnson, one of my Chicago guitar favorites. The instrumental “Mouth Organ” opens with a real organ intro and then Skoller takes over. He and Iguana trade licks and have a lot of fun with this.

“My Get It Done Woman” offers a driving beat and wickedly hot harp blowing. Skoller sings of his woman who gets things done on all fronts. Luther “Snake Boy” Johnson’s “Get Down to the Nitty Gritty” is the other cover, a hard core 1970’s Chicago blues cut that Skoller does well. Johnson was a protégé of Muddy Waters; Skoller stays true to the big guitar sound and then adds his harp to the mix. Iguana’s piano also give good Chicago flavor to the cut. Taylor’s guitar solo is sweet, too. The album closes to “Blue Lights,” the final cover which is a Papa Lightfoot cut. This is a beautiful slow blues that slips and slides sweetly with ample grease and grime to dirty things up. Thoughtful guitar work, a nice harp lead and piano fills make this a fine instrumental piece.

Skoller is a true presence on the Chicago blues scene. Approaching his 20th year in town, his impact on other’s music and the production of his own excellent stuff truly make him one of the great blues music acts of today. His harp is poignant and tasteful, with traditional phrasing that he tweaks to make his own. His vocals are gritty and authentic and his song writing is top notch. This is an outstanding album that should garner a lot of attention! Most highly recommended! ---Steve Jones, bluesblastmagazine.com

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Matthew Skoller Sat, 15 Dec 2018 14:55:00 +0000
The Matthew Skoller Blues Band - These Kind Of Blues (2005) http://theblues-thatjazz.com/pl/blues/2316-matthew-skoller/8199-the-matthew-skoller-blues-band-these-kind-of-blues-2005.html http://theblues-thatjazz.com/pl/blues/2316-matthew-skoller/8199-the-matthew-skoller-blues-band-these-kind-of-blues-2005.html The Matthew Skoller Blues Band - These Kind Of Blues (2005)

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01. Get Paid 4:11
02. Ghosts in Your Closet 4:36
03. Handful of People 4:49
04. These Kind of Blues 4:27 play
05. Let the World Come to You 6:27
06. Wired World 4:17
07. Stolen Thunder 4:12
08. Down at Your Buryin' 5:55
09. Julia 4:16 play
10. Where Can You Be 4:06
11. Handful of People 6:02

Personnel:
Matthew Skoller (Harmonica,Vocals)
Lurrie Bell, Larry Skoller (Guitar)
Johnny Iguana (Piano)
James Wingfield (Organ)
Willie Samuels Jr. (Bass)
Kenny Smith (Drums)
Brian Ritchie (Shakuhachi)
Willie Henderson (Baritone Sax)
Mike Avery, Bob Friedman, Willie "Vamp" Samuels Jr. (background vocals).

 

Hardcore blues fans might have noticed harpist Matthew Skoller's name in the backup band credits for artists such as Koko Taylor, Bernard Allison, Larry Garner, and John Primer, but unless you're a resident of Chicago, it's unlikely his work is familiar to you. Weekly gigs in the Windy City have sharpened Skoller's edge, and on his third indie album These Kind of Blues! he proves what blues musicians have known for years: he's ready for the major leagues. Like Charlie Musselwhite, he's pushing the blues borders, even into rap on the G. Love-styled remix of "Handful of People," a song available in two versions. There are echoes of Paul Butterfield's thick, gutsy, amplified sound in Skoller's tone, as well as masters like James Cotton and Little Walter. His songs also traffic in edgier areas than those more closely associated with the blues, as with the politically charged "Handful of People," and the philosophical musings of "Let the World Come to You." The latter track is enhanced by soulful backing vocals and even Brian Ritchie's shakuhachi, not a typical blues instrument. The link to Chicago's fertile harp masters is emphasized by the appearance of guitarist Lurrie Bell, the son of legendary harmonica player Carey Bell. Skoller's vocals are husky and assured, bending around the lyrics and his rugged harp attack. Unlike many bandleaders, Skoller never overdoes his solos, bursting into songs with confidence and pulling out before the listener has fully absorbed his monstrous sound. In fact, there are times when you wish he would further emphasize his intense playing. A grinding, melancholy cover of James Cotton's "Down at Your Buryin'," one of only three covers, is a showstopping album high point, revealing his band's restraint, a terrific slow burn lead from Bell, and Skoller's masterful touch. It's only one highlight from a talented contemporary blues artist who respects his roots but isn't afraid to push the genre's boundaries. ~ Hal Horowitz

 

The Matthew Skoller Band is an outstanding group that expresses blues in the Urban or Chicago Blues idiom. This collection of gifted musicians rocks with innovative versatility. Skoller, a brilliant harpist and vocalist, is a minimalist on the Mississippi saxophone and his insightful riffs remind at once of Junior Wells or John Lee Williamson. Though the harmonica punctuates and anchors the mood or tone of this band; nevertheless superior craftsmanship on guitar, organ, bass and drums is not to be overlooked. Most notable are the surprising adept and original nuances reflected in Lurrie Bell's guitar works.

These Kind of Blues features Matthew Skoller out front vocally and on harp. It is safe to say that he has found his voice on both instruments. Skoller's vocal evocations are personal and reflect the utterance of someone with total conviction in what he says. This singer's voice is clear and he uses its vocal range to testify in lyrics ranging from the socially conscious "Handful of People" to the lyrically poignant "Let the World Come to You." Matthew Skoller is a rarity. He is a blues artist who orchestrates his mastery of blues idioms, blues traditions, blues harmonica, and blues singing to forge a highly individualized and personal vision expressing blues in its magnificent contemporary wardrobe. Skoller is not someone covering blues standards made famous by someone else. He is an artist squeezing every drop of wine from meanings gleaned from his experience.

Several examples show how Skoller's songwriting is anchored in a historical body yet exhibited in contemporary wardrobe." Handful of People, telling the Whole World how to Live" is an example of lyrics and song that could refer to the foreign policy of this nation in a contemporary gesture, or it may refer to any small group with too much authority over others. The theme of "Handful of People" is anchored firmly in veins of today's realities. This song further privileges the contemporary by being presented in both genres of Chicago Blues and Rap.

The Matthew Skoller Band: Lurrie Bell and Larry Skoller, guitars; Sidney James Wingfield, Hammond organ and piano; Vamp Samuels, bass; and Kenny Smith, drums is a superb ensemble. The outstanding percussion work of Samuels and Smith lays down a sturdy foundation while Wingfield embellishes it with his rhythms. Also to be noted is the poignancy with which Larry Skoller's guitar comments on "Down At Your Buryin'." It is always a rare opportunity to witness vintage Lurrie Bell. Perhaps no one playing today is as sure and original with guitar licks. On These Kinds of Blues his genius is blended within the expression of an excellent band.

Finally, These Kind of Blues offer Matthew Skoller as a brilliant and significant songwriter, arranger, harpist, vocalist, and bandleader. His songwriting echoes the spirit and craft of a poet: "things won't get no better / till you face your fears" or "a fist full of give me / and a heartful of never give." The blues language of Skoller incorporates the cell phone and computer language. All in all, he presents contemporary blues with silhouettes of Junior Parker, James Cotton and Jimmy Reed. Skoller is someone to watch and contend with. He refuses to compromise his intelligence and roots and presents the necessary blues. These Kind of Blues is living and breathing the pathos of tradition and history. --Sterling Plump - University of Illinois Chicago)

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administration@theblues-thatjazz.com (bluesever) Matthew Skoller Fri, 11 Feb 2011 19:38:50 +0000