New NorthernBlues Sampler Now at Borders

Fred Litwin
Mon Mar 7 22:08:17 EST 2005

The new NorthernBlues Sampler, The Future of the Blues, Volume 2, is
now available at Borders for $7.98.

The CD features 15 tracks and runs for 70 minutes.  We've also included
a unreleased bonus track from John and the Sisters.  In case you don't
know, John and the Sisters is a group led by Kevin Breit, who plays
guitar for Norah Jones.

Here is a review of the sampler from Tim Holek:

Without fear, NorthernBlues’ President, Fred Litwin, releases music that he
truly believes in. Proudly and openly he states his label’s mission “is to
stretch the boundaries of the blues.” He has been doing that for four years,
and his novel label isn’t going without notice. So far his 27 releases (not
including samplers) have received Juno, W.C. Handy, Independent Music, and
Maple Blues Award nominations. Some of those nominations have turned into
winners. There are 15 songs by 16 artists on this 70-minute Future Of The
Blues, Vol.2 sampler. Interspersed with the familiarity of American Blues,
Dan Treanor and Frankie Lee contain the right blend of foreign rhythms and
sounds. Treanor plays his hand-built African instruments on their innovative
cut. New Brunswick’s Glamour Puss combines their unrestrained talents to
create happy, upbeat, groovin’ music that celebrates life. Janiva Magness’
NorthernBlues CD was really Colin Linden’s project. His distinctive
production and robust guitar provides strong evidence for this proposition.
It is great to see an artist mature with every record. Listeners, who have
graduated along with JW-Jones’ previous two releases, experience that when
they hear “Let’s Have A Ball.” Incorporating a slew of uncommon instruments
(highland bagpipes), Taxi Chain is not your stereotypical roots music band.
“Back Water Blues” combines one classy lady, Toni Lynn Washington, with one
classy band. The stringed instruments, performed by David Jacobs-Strain, are
dreamy. His impressive slide and deep vocals carry his pop country offering
found here. Harry Manx’s Eastern music influences are obvious. He and Kevin
Breit mix East Indian music with acoustic Delta guitar for an extremely
unique sound on the disc’s oldest track from February 2003. Carlos del Junco
mixes his hurling harp and uninspired vocals with Breit’s grunge-like
guitar. Well into the song, Breit gains control and cranks out an assaulting
tone. Charismatic piano and sly organ carry you away on John And The
Sisters’ hand-clapping, foot-stomping hoedown. Their unreleased, poignant
instrumental is the CD’s highlight. James Cohen’s brilliant flamenco guitar
has a feel of vaudeville and the roaring ‘20s. Brian Blain uses an
interesting twist on words via his cheeky number. Although the word blues
appears in this label’s name, the sounds and rhythms of Litwin’s progressive
artists are all over the map. Litwin chose the artists since he felt “they
are making music that is fresh, original and simply sublime.” He also
challenges the sampler’s purchasers to “open your ears, your minds and your
hearts.” Litwin continues to release modern music that no other label will.
For blues fans, it looks like the best is yet to come. 2005 will deliver
debut NorthernBlues releases by Chris Beard and Mem Shannon. Too bad they
aren’t included on this sampler. 
    Tim Holek

Fred Litwin
NorthernBlues Music, Inc.
225 Sterling Road, Unit 19
Toronto, Ontario M6R 2B2
613-261-9060 (my cell phone #) 

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