Music, as an art form, it has been heavily challenged, through the years but never in the way that it has been challenged since the last 12 months, due to the tragic circumstances taking place all around the world.

But, while those incredibly difficult times that we are living , they are affecting, sadly, the livelihood of millions of people, including, most certainly, music artists, it is also hugely heartwarming and very encouraging to witness that, some of said music artists, they are using their talent and enormous skills to create a sonic platform not only for themselves, but also for their fans or any music lover, a place where to find mental solace and where to regain that energy and feel-good feeling, now more than ever, necessary to carry on with our lives each passing day.

When back in 1962 the Powerhouse Michigan-born singer and songwriter Bettye Lavette released her first single, aged 16, called My Man, He's A Loving Man, she was far from imagining that, in years to come, Lavette would have earned five Grammy Nominees and would have been unanimously recognized as one of the most respected, talented and loved R&B, Soul and Blues artists worldwide.


The American artist, this year also inducted into the highly prestigious Blues Hall Of Fame in Memphis, following the remarkable success and the high praises received from the music press for her 2018 album called Things Have Changed, a record produced by Steve Jordan where Lavette had covered some of Bob Dylan's vast songbook, had wisely decided to work once again with Jordan on the making of her new album, an album that would, this time around, dig into some of the songs and the artists still close to the heart of Bettye Lavette but on a wider scale.

Among all the different music genres, Soul is most certainly one of those where there is not really much space, for a musician, to hide any floor whatsoever. Soul artists like Donnie Hathaway, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding and Al Green, among many others, they were able to book their places in music history thanks to a great blend of inspired songwriting and outstanding skills, two virtues that, through the decades, have been gradually fading away to leave space to what some, arguably, may call more "fashionable" kind of music.


Sure enough, we do have some formidable singer/songwriter in the current music business, able to produce some remarkable body of work, through their songs and in many different genres but very few, through the last few decades, have been able to reproduce that 60's and 70's emotional vibe, that unique feel-good feeling that a genre like Soul music carries within.

It's always tricky to write about a live album, especially about a band that has always had numerous incendiary live performances throughout the last 4 decades, like the American Rockabilly's torchbearers Stray Cats.


Back from a hiatus of 26 long years, through their 2019's studio album called 40, guitarist/vocalist Brian Setzer, upright bass player Lee Rocker and drummer Slim Jim Phantom had clearly shown, with the new record, that there was nothing slowing down the tried-and-true trademark sound of a band still running as strong as their eponymous, hugely successful debut album back in 1981.

To many people, Memphis in Tennessee, together with being a wonderful city, it gets naturally associated, the majority of time, with music history and in particular, Blues. Which is quite right, but not entirely.


If it is true that you need to live in Memphis all your life to get to know, understand and appreciate the core of Memphis, of what really goes on in Beale Street, well, in that respect, very few can say that they really know and understand all about the relationship between music and Memphis more than the multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter Eric Hughes.

For somebody of 26 years of age only, Mississippi guitarist and singer/songwriter Ryan Perry has gone a long way forward, given the fact that at the tender age of 13, he was already the bandleader of the Homemade Jamz Blues Band, taking second place with his band at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis.


Through the years, though and despite the great recognition given to him by his success with the Jamz Blues Band, Perry felt the need to show that he and his music have evolved into different musical paths and directions, specifically where the Blues meets Funk and Soul, allowing Perry a wider freedom of expression as an artist.

It is most certainly uplifting, in these days and age, to be able to listen to a record of an artist able to fuse, with such grace and elegance, genres like Trip-Hop, Synth-Pop, New Age and Drum&Bass in an exciting and very convincing melting pot of styles and sounds.


This is exactly what the Brazilian/American singer/songwriter Samira Winter managed to achieve on her rather eclectic, yet hugely inspired debut album called Endless Space (Between You And I), where this young and talented artist showcases, together with her amazing voice and her very personal musical vision, also a natural ability as a songwriter, combining the freshness of her vocals with lyrics often inspired by esoteric themes and also by the importance of trying to respect the world where we live in, on many different levels.

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