Vivascene Blues Playlist Number 48

We’re proud to present another great blues playlist from Randall Parrish, perhaps the most passionate blues writer you’ll ever encounter.



Alligator Records recording star Tinsley Ellis is a true Southern blues rock guitar hero, with honed skills steeped in the honored tradition of legends like Duane Allman and Freddie King. Ellis was deeply moved by a stunning B.B. King performance that left its indelible mark on him as a young teenager. After decades on the road and in the studio, Ellis continues to play with subtlety and elegance to match his fretboard fire, and his vocals are soaked in emotional substance.

“If you want to sound classic, use the instruments the old masters used.” ~ Tinsley Ellis 

One of my all-time favorites from Mr. Ellis is 1994’s Storm Warning. A brilliant instrumental titled “Panhead,” features Tinsley’s screaming wah-wah mastery supplemented by the organ of Chuck Leavell and slide work of Derek Trucks. The engine room of James Ferguson and Stuart Grimes stokes the flames on this mid-tempo burner. Turn this baby UP!! 



“The making of this album was a ‘brotherhood’ in every sense of the word. The production team of Josh Smith and Joe Bonamassa, along with Mike and I, created something incredibly special. I hope our fans enjoy this collaboration as much as we did.” ~ Albert Castiglia 

“This album was a blast to make, and I am even more excited to take this music out on the road and perform for the people. It’s just a bit more complex with an overall band dynamic that I think sets it apart from what Albert and I normally do.” ~ Mike Zito 

The album these above two contemporary bluesmen are referencing is Blood Brothers, the true collaborative effort released in the spring of 2023 on Mike Zito’s Gulf Coast Records.

“In March of 2022, while on tour in Delaware with The Blood Brothers, Mike asked me to write a ballad for the new album, because we were well-stocked with up-tempo numbers and needed to change the pace a little. For me, that was a bit of a challenge.

“Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to write an unrequited love song like ‘Bell Bottom Blues’ by Derek & The Dominos or ‘We’ve Got Tonight’ by Bob Seger. I have always been a big Seger fan. I’ve been through unreciprocated and forbidden love in my life, but never had the songwriting chops to express how I felt in the midst of it. Most of my songs of love gone bad or love never meant to be usually had me coming off as bitter. I wanted to change that, dig into my past and write something that had me taking the high road and coming off a little more dignified. I think my songwriting has come a long way, and ‘A Thousand Heartaches’ is a result of that progression.” ~ Albert Castiglia 

Albert Castiglia provides a moving lead vocal, in some ways reminiscent of Bob Seger, and co-producer Joe Bonamassa plays a well-fitting guitar solo on “A Thousand Heartaches.”

The sensitivity of this ballad of unrequited love with a beautiful melody is quite appealing.  

Albert Castiglia — vocals, guitar

Mike Zito — guitar

Lewis Stephens — keyboards

Doug Byrkit— bass

Matthew R. Johnson — drums

Ephraim Lowell —drums

  W/guest guitar —Joe Bonamassa



A blues keyboardist from Portland, Pat McDougall covers plenty of bases on his fabulous new release In The Key Of Sorry.  The thirteen compositions therein are testimony to the gentleman’s gift for crafting quality melodies supplemented by salient lyrical flair.  He calls on the considerable musical talents of his bandmates from Tall Static (guitarist Whit Draper, bassist Jim Solberg, and drummer Ed Pierce) supplemented by several significant guest artists to deliver his tunes.

In The Key Of Sorry was recorded at Roseleaf Recording Studios in Portland.  McDougall co-produced the album with studio owner Jimi Bott.  The result is a stunning recording that gives evidence it was completed with tender loving care.

“This album has been great fun to work on.  Pat’s songs cover the gamut: heartwarming, soulful, at times comical; but always thoughtful with intention and meaning.  I hope everyone gets as much enjoyment listening to it as we had making it!” ~ Jimi Bott 

The profoundly skilled Lisa Mann graces THREE songs on my new record.  I feel incredibly fortunate that she brought her positive, professional, can-do spirit into the studio and absolutely lit up these tunes with her talents.” ~ Pat McDougall 

“I have known and worked with Pat for some years, so I have known about his musical talents as a keyboardist for some time.  But, I was pleased to find out that Pat is also a great songwriter, and knows how to arrange a tune.  I was very glad he asked me to be a part of his new record.” ~ Lisa Mann

McDougall’s breakup song, “How You Gonna,” features an emotionally charged vocal from Pat, with an assist from talented vocalist Lisa Mann.  This beautiful arrangement echoes some of the great duets of bygone days.  The lyrics tell the tale of a gentleman’s lady walking out on him after many wonderful years together.  Each impassioned lyrical line builds on top of the foundation, fortifying the heartbreak feeling that is conveyed so powerfully.  

The lovely lead organ swell at the song break finely parallels the shattered feeling of utter desperation that overcomes one when the realization that love has crushed their heart into small crumbs hits home hard.  It’s a sad song, but as Elton and Bernie once wrote, “sad songs say so much.”



American roots music has long paid tribute to trains. Both in folklore and songs, trains are an integral and essential component of the overall American landscape. Also, the blues harps, guitars and percussion oftentimes replicate the sounds of trains rocking and rolling down the tracks.

“Growing up in Austin, Texas during the 1950s the fascination with trains was the stuff childhood dreams were made of. Walking home from school the temptation to put your ear to the track to hear if the train was close was a daily routine. We lived five blocks from the railway and heard the whistle of the trains well into the night. For some the call was a way to escape small town blues, for others thoughts of exotic destinations lured many to hop a freight and disappear over the horizon. The Americana Railroad album is a collection of both history and metaphor for your listening and thought provoking pleasure.” ~ Carla Olson, project co-producer

“My band,the Textones, shared many stages with Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin’s Blasters including one really sweltering London show in July 1985. Dave and I always planned to work together on a song or a project, but came up empty until the Americana Railroad album. Taking up my offer to record a train song, Dave showed up at the studio with an original he was still writing words to on a single piece of notebook paper.” ~ Carla Olson 

The chugging rhythm of Dave Alvin’s “Southwest Chief,” immediately brings to mind a train. The song, a co-write with the late Bill Morrissey, has descriptive lyrics that richly recall images of the American landscape viewed through the windows and back of the train. A sparse arrangement features Alvin’s beautiful fingerpicking on guitar. While, the nostalgic lyrics bring a sharp focus on life’s fleeting moments, from a rambler’s perspective…. “We only come around once, and then we disappear.”

Dave Alvin – Vocal, Electric & Acoustic Guiitar

Johnny Lee Schell – Electric Guitar 

Paul Marshall – Bass

Ben Lecourt – Drums & Percussion 



“Spirit and Freedom are not only two distinct words. If you put them together, they are a place of soul. Indeed, there is no spirituality without freedom and there is no freedom without spirituality.  

“Many are the songs that have these two words in their essence; I chose to sing those which, for reasons not easily explained in a few lines, have mostly affected my sensibilities. Songs that have marked the evolution of my musical journey from early experiences to these days, songs by the increasingly significant, songs in their simplicity essential to address fundamental issues such as free spirits could only sing. Images, feelings, memories, hopes and dreams. 

“I also wanted to remind people of those who are no longer with us, but whose message of spirituality and freedom continues. Their message will always continue to cherish our souls, to witness a more genuine, more sincere, better way of living life.  

“Spirit & Freedom is something that we really need, more than we know. A REAL freedom. Freedom in our mind, hearts, souls and relationship. Free like the Angels that help us in the darkest hours of our lives. My wife Angelina, my band Mambo Chicken and the special guests and friends who wanted to share in this experience are with us on the way to Spirit & Freedom. Welcome aboard. We’re leaving.” ~ Fabrizio Poggi 

The release of Spirit And Freedom from Fabrizio Poggi and Chicken Mambo in 2010 was bolstered by appearances from many familiar musical stars. Guy Davis, Flaco Jimenez, Charlie Musselwhite, Eric Bibb, Garth Hudson, and Mickey Raphael are among those making appearances.

The base group Chicken Mambo is well seasoned to provide excellent support. Enrico Polverari is an excellent guitarist, and the rhythm section of bassist Tino Cappelletti and drummer Gino Carravieri provide a very strong foundation.  

The song “Stayed On Freedom” stands out to me for several reasons. The melody reminds me of some of the “message” songs that artists like Bob Dylan used to get their messages of social justice across back in the Sixties. The repeated refrain of the title, “stayed on freedom,” by the backup choir grants the song a gospel feel that reinforces the message of the freedom spirit. Augie Meyers on farfisa organ is always a guiding force on any music he touches, and the vocal by Fabrizio is truly inspirational. The message of the necessity of freedom remains universal in nature.



Veteran Bluesman Bobby Rush hit paydirt in 2016 when he headed down to New Orleans, Louisiana to record Porcupine Meat. Rush, along with some fine session musicians, all were under the musical direction of the longtime Bobby collaborator guitarist Vasti Jackson and the heralded producer Scott Billington for Rounder Records.  

“He is the most vital bluesman of his generation. There are many people who still don’t know Bobby Rush, even though he is a hero in the parallel universe of the Chitlin’ Circuit — fans stop him on the street in Memphis and Helena and Little Rock.” ~ Scott Billington

Rush, a native of Homer, Louisiana provides a truly inspired vocal and tuneful blues harp on his return to his home state. In a change from his past few releases, no synthesizers were employed in the recording. Only real instruments cutting all of the rhythm tracks live in the studio, old school style. The September 2016 release would win Rush his first Grammy win with the 2017 Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album. 

On the album, Rush has the aid of three special guest guitarists (Joe Bonamassa, Keb’ Mo’, and Dave Alvin) on three separate tracks. “It’s Your Move,” written by Rush, is the song graced by Dave Alvin’s guitar.  

Rush’s vocal has tons of confident swagger as he tells the lady he’s ready to go and ” just like checkers… it’s your move.” At 82 years young, he is going strong and hard. The arrangement is just so funky and sweet. The rhythm pounding, the horns punctuating, and Dave Alvin’s guitar as tasty as Cajun and Creole cuisine.



Brothers Brown are a group of four veteran consummate musicians who craft an auspicious debut with Dusty Road on Funky Joint Records, distributed by 335 Records. This brotherly effort blends strains of soulful blues, R&B, alt-country, jazz and rock and roll on twelve salient songs that keenly help define the genre of Americana Music. All the writing and production credits are shared by Brothers Brown in a demonstration of their brotherly love. Although the four members have different biological parents, they are true brothers in the sense that they are related to each other by common ties and interests. All four are accomplished music producers. Together they make memorable music that purrs like kittens full of cream while they kick up their heels like colts in a field of clover.

The group consists of Paul Brown (Los Angeles) on guitars and vocals, Paul Brown (Nashville) on keyboards and vocals, David Santos on bass guitar and additional vocals, and Pete Young on drums and vocals. 

The song “Hurricane” features a special guest appearance on slide guitar by Little Feat veteran Paul Barrere. His excellent bottleneck slide guitar exchanges licks with Paul Brown’s guitar to form a most formidable duo. Paul Brown inserts some terrific B-3 embellishments as Pete Young provides steady thrusting drums that make this tune a call to the dance floor number.



The song Perdido Street Blues was first performed by Louis Armstrong back in 1926. The song was written by Armstong’s then wife, Lilian Hardin Armstrong. 

“I was 14 when I first heard his version and, besides being blown away by Dodds’ clarinet virtuosity, what captivated me was the minor/major key modulations that make up the song structure. With its low down almost spooky groove and melody, “Perdido Street Blues” is definitely some old time, back-in-the-alley viper music.” ~ Dave Alvin.

 Perdido Street Blues – personnel 

   1934 National Steel Duolian Guitar ~ Dave Alvin

    Acoustic Bass ~ John Bazz

    Drums, Percussion ~ Steve Mugalian

    Lap Steel Guitar ~ Greg Leisz

    Piano ~ Gene Taylor 



Texas born Caron “Sugaray” Rayford is a singer who adds a healthy blues ration to his soulsational vocals. Rayford began his musical career at the tender age of seven years old by singing and playing drums in church. That early gospel influence laid a firm foundation and, at times, his gospel influences come shining through in his music

Sugaray Rayford’s latest release, In Too Deep,  on Forty Below Records was the winner of the 2023 Soul Blues Album of the Year. He is a two-time B.B. King Entertainer of the Year and Grammy nominated vocalist in possession of a gift for intimate phrasing. The soulful gravel in his voice hints at his firsthand experience with hardship.

“Invisible Soldier” is a song inspired by Rayford’s own personal struggles with insomnia from Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Rayford was a 10-year Marine war veteran. My father if pressured, related some harrowing stories of a few of his fellow service members in WWII suffering from “shell shock.”  

“I shared with [Producer] Eric Corne some of what I was going through, and he asked me what I thought about putting it in a song, and that’s where “Invisible Soldier” and “In Too Deep” came from. I wanted to sing about social issues as well as just general feelings of love and loneliness and everything in between.” ~ Sugaray Rayford

The song features a great vocal, and is supported strongly by a punchy horn arrangement 

Vocals, Percussion – Sugaray Rayford

Guitar – Rick Holmstrom

Keyboards – Drake Munkihaid Shining 

Bass – Taras Prodaniuk

Drums – Matt Tecu 

Violin – Eric Gorfain

Cello – Richard Dodd 

Trumpet, Flugelhorn – Simon Finch

Saxophone, Flute – Aaron Liddard

Trombone – Tom White 

Backing Vocals – Eric Corne, Gia Ciambotti



Robbie Robertson has been working with director Martin Scorsese since The Last Waltz. They’ve worked together on many films since; Raging Bull, The Color of Money, Casino, The Departed, The Wolf of Wall Street, and The Irishman.

While Robertson was scoring the the Scorsese gangster movie The Irishman, he was also working on his first album in eight years, 2019’s Sinematic. The movie was based on a book titled, ‘I Hear You Paint Houses.’ The phrase comes from one used by mobsters when hiring a hit man: to paint houses refers to the splattering of blood.

The song is a duet with Robertson’s friend Van Morrison. 

“Van Morrison was in Los Angeles, and we usually get together when he’s in town; he’s a dear old friend. He asked what I was working on. So, I told him I was doing an album, and that I was also working on the music for Marty’s movie. I said I’d just written this song, but I didn’t know if it was for the movie or not. I went back to my studio and played the song for him, and he said, ‘man, I really like that!’

“Then next thing I knew, he had a microphone in front of him, I showed him the words. He just nodded and said, ‘alright. Let’s go!’ So we sang a duet. It was a fun, instant crazy collaboration.” ~ Robbie Robertson 

  I Hear You Paint Houses – personnel 

Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards – Robbie Robertson

Vocals – Van Morrison

Keyboards – Martin Pradler

Organ – Randy Kerber

Harmonica – Frédéric Yonnet

Bass – Pino Palladino

Drums – Chris Dave

Backing Vocals – Afie Jurvanen, Felicity Williams



Matty T Wall, a native of Perth, Australia,is an abundantly endowed emerging guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and front-man.

“Growing up, I was always enveloped by late sixties Blues influenced groups through my father’s record collection. Eric Clapton, Cream, Jimi Hendrix Experience, and Led Zeppelin, etc. But, it wasn’t until I heard Gary Moore’s Still Got The Blues album that I stood up and took notice of blues music and the power and energy it can convey.” ~ Matty T Wall 

Matty’s guitar gushes hot Texan style electric-blues with a Stevie Ray Vaughn, Billy Gibbons, or Boz Scaggs guitar swagger on “Walk Out The Door.”. Matty flexes his muscles on his axe while the rhythm section hints at modern day rockabilly, and the results are fine as frog’s hair. Matty’s vocal is delivered with a confident cock-sure bad-boy stance. Telling the girl in no uncertain terms to walk out the door (of their relationship) because he doesn’t want her, and her emotional baggage dragging him down. 

Wall is a talented road-honed musician who has consolidated a myriad of musical influences. He consistently displays notable craftsmanship on his guitar, his vocals, and his songwriting. Matty T Wall is blessed with notable flair and musical instincts that, in my opinion, will continue to blossom bringing forth some very tasty musical fruit in the future.



The Groove Krewe is a group of top-flight studio musicians assembled by ace producers Rex Pearce and Dale Murray to back their featured artist, Nick Daniels III.  

Nick Daniels III has played with The Neville Brothers, Allen Toussaint, and Etta James, and now performs with the popular New Orleans group Dumpstaphunk. 

Rex Pearce and Dale Murray are the co-writers on this funk dripping song that’s aptly named “That’s New Orleans.” This song is a southern soulfest creatively crammed with enough Crescent City lyrical references to make your head spin. Swirling keyboards blend with grooving guitars and the punch of a full horn arrangement on this number that’s as sweet as the champagne fragrance of magnolia blossoms. This song will have you itching to go dancing in the streets.

That’s New Orleans — personnel

   Nick Daniels III — Lead Vocals

   Rex Pearce — Guitar 

   Nelson Blanchard — Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals

   Randy Carpenter — Drums

   David Hyde — Bass

   Mark Duthu —Congas

   Pete Verbois — Horns

   Chriss Belleau — Horns

   Lacy Blackledge —Horns

   Bob Henderson —Horns



“New Orleans music has the deepest roots of all American music. The grooves there are derived from generations passed: sometimes refined, sometimes raw, always grooving. It’s the origin of so much modern music, from rock-n-roll to blues to jazz, and often all mashed together in the same song. There is a looseness, a freedom, an uninhibited vibe to the whole city, and it shows in the music.” ~ Jimmy Carpenter  

On Carpenter’s newest release, The Louisiana Record, on Gulf Coast Records, Jimmy (saxophone and vocals) is ably accompanied by guitarist Mike Zito, bassist Casandra Faulconer, keyboardist John Gros and drummer Wayne Maureau.

“This record is very different for me, recorded almost completely live, with simple instrumentation, and no frills. Strong melodies, laid back, grooving, iconic songs that were a real pleasure to play and sing, especially with this group of musicians, and literally on the bayou at Dockside Studios.” ~ Jimmy Carpenter 

All the songs on the new release are cover renditions of some of Carpenter’s favorite songs from the fertile Crescent City area. The song “Barefootin'” is a great dance tune from back in 1966. The original was written and performed by Robert Parker, with arrangement and production by Wardell Quezergue. Parker’s record label, Nola Records, claimed that the record sold over one million copies, and I boogied to it at house parties.

Carpenter gives the best vocal performance of the song of any I’ve ever heard (yes, I’ve heard Wilson Pickett). It’s a true ensemble piece with each instrument given a chance to shine. The piano is very prominent (the song was covered once by Pinetop Perkins) and the guitar is Chuck Berry clean; and you gotta know on a dance song the rhythm section has to get down. Jimmy builds the suspense as to when he is going to blow his horn, and when he does it proves well worth the wait. Lovin’ this one!!!!

Everybody get on your feet

You make me nervous when you in your seat

Take off your shoes and pat your feet

We’re doin’ a dance that can’t be beat…