Archive for Kenny Wayne Shepherd

America’s Best Kept Secret: Hannah Wicklund and the Steppin Stones

Posted in Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 21, 2018 by 80smetalman

As most of you already know, I’ve come to America these past two weeks for not the happiest of reasons. However, in between my mother’s memorial service, the scattering of her ashes into the ocean and my getting stuck into cleaning her house, (she was a heavy smoker), there have been other more happier events like the wine tasting day my sister and her husband took me to. I also got to hook up with my old friend and true metal fan, Frank Formica, at a karaoke night. He even sang “Battle Hyms” by Manowar for me. So, it hasn’t been all gloom for me while I’ve been here, something I’ve been really grateful for.

Having some wine

On one of these more happier occasions, while at my sister and her husband’s house, they told me about this new lady blues guitarist whom they happened to see at some fair in New Jersey not long ago. The guitarists’ name was Hannah Wicklund and my brother in law, Mark Pickeral, who is a pretty good guitarist himself, was so blown away by this lady that he bought two of her albums. I believe this self titled one is her fourth album. But before I get into what a great album “Hannah Wicklund and the Steppin Stones” is, I have to say that when they showed me concert footage of Hannah, I was just as blown away. The album is excellent, it’s going to move into my top 15 for sure, but she is even more kick ass live. I hope that one day I have the opportunity of seeing her do so.

Hannah Wicklund has been called a combination of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. I can see the comparison here because she has the power vocals of Janis and she can play guitar like Jimi. When I listen to her blues based guitar rock, I am reminded of other greats in this genre like Rory Gallagher, Robin Trower, Pat Travers, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and even  Eric Clapton. Her guitar playing can hold its own with any of these mentioned but none of them come close to her in her vocal ability. My God, can she sing! What we have here is a great singer who can shred brilliantly. For me, what’s not there to like?

The hardest thing I find to do when listening to “Hannah Wicklund & the Steppin Stones” is to pick a favourite track. Every time I think I might have chosen, another comes along and vies for the title. This is down to the fact that there are ten great songs on the album. Her vocals come through straight away on the opener, “Bomb Through the Breeze” and her sheer power is stamped on “Ghost.” Then she changes up on “Looking Glass.” My vote, possibly, for best guitar solo comes on “On the Road.” Then just when you think you got her pegged, she surprises you with a near ballad like closer, “Shadow Boxes and Porcelain Faces.” But on every song, Hannah’s vocal and guitar skills shine through.

Track Listing:

  1. Bomb Through the Breeze
  2. Ghost
  3. Looking Glass
  4. Mama Said
  5. On the Road
  6. Crushin
  7. Strawberry Moon
  8. Too Close to You
  9. Meet You Again
  10. Shadow Boxes and Porcelain Faces

Hannah Wicklund

Hannah Wicklund- lead vocals, guitar

I can’t find his name anywhere- bass

Luke Mitchell- drums

Note: Luke is also Hannah’s brother who fronts his own band, The High Divers.

One song wasn’t enough to do Hannah justice here so that’s why you are getting three. Hopefully, you will find as I do that Hannah Wicklund kicks ass and she is destined for great things.

Next post, I’ll decided that when I get back to the UK next week.

To get Rock and Roll Children, go to: https://crreadac.cf/current/ebooks-free-download-rock-and-roll-children-fb2-by-michael-d-lefevre.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Tribute to Blues Based Guitarists

Posted in 1980s, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2013 by 80smetalman

Like I did with the “Who’s the Greatest Rhythm Guitarist?” poll, I have decided to put in an extra thought between the years of my metal history tour. So, since I have finished with 1980 and before heading into 1981, I thought I would take a moment to reflect on some of the great blues based guitarists I have come to know and love over the years. Now, I have always been a sucker for a good long guitar solo played in the mentioned fashion. Even when they were performed by guitarists who may not have been known for such a style. That is probably why my all time favourite Jimi Hendrix song is “Hey Joe,” although the lyrics may have something to do with it as well. Then the other day, I was listening to the Rainbow “Anthology” album and I must say that I was relatively blown away by Ritchie Blackmore on the final song, “Difficult to Cure.” 

 

Jimi Hendrix

      Jimi Hendrix

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One guitarist who many have considered one of the all time greats was old slow hand himself Eric Clapton. I had the pleasure of seeing him live in 1985 and despite the fact that the record company was trying to get him to go new wave, that night he played many of his classic guitar jams. In fact, I thought it was an act of sacrilege when the other guitarist in his band played a solo on “Cocaine.” Still, Eric showed why he is one of the all time greats.

Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton

 

 

Rory Gallagher

Rory Gallagher

 

Pat Travers

Pat Travers

 

Robin Trower

Robin Trower

True most the guitarists I have featured here were from the years I have been visiting here on 80smetalman’s Blog but these were the ones who I have first come to know and appreciate. By the late 1980s, there were some who claimed that the blues guitarist was buried dead in the past. I can see their argument as so many great metal lead guitarists were stepping into the limelight. The blues guitarist may have been pushed to the side but they weren’t totally gone and then in the mid 90s, a new guitarist would take his place in the spotlight. His name was Kenny Wayne Shepherd. His album “Trouble Is” took me back to those days of listening and playing along to long bluesy guitar solos and the world was balanced once again.

Kenny Wayne Shepherd

Kenny Wayne Shepherd

 

I could go on naming more great guitarist from this style, Jimmy Page was known to lay down a killer blues riff or two and right now Mark Knopfler’s efforts on “Sultans of Swing” comes to mind. For me, these were the pioneers of great guitarists. I loved their style and still do. That doesn’t mean I’m not open to a good ripping solo from one of today’s metal giants. It’s just I like to reflect back on some of the blues guitarist that first got me into rock and then metal. I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride too.

 

Next post: 1981- The Dam Continues to Break

 

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London