2020 has been a dramatic year for many reasons, on such a global scale, not least, for live music, impacting so severely many artists and in many cases, their whole livelihood too. 


Although millions of said artists had to stop touring or, in other cases, forced to give up the idea of touring their new records, it was important though that some of those live tours abruptly interrupted by the pandemic needed to be accurately documented, either on CD or DVD, solely because they represented an important moment in time in their career, a little like in the case of the Blues and Blues/Rock Guitar Supremo and singer/songwriter Kenny Wayne Shepherd.

There were a lot of expectations from the European Music Press, about the brand new album from the British singer/songwriter Malaya Blue, an artist that had very much impressed our website with her second album Heartsick, released back in 2016.

During the last 4 years, the artist from Norwich has been non-stop touring the whole United Kingdom from North to South and making herself well-known also in many parts of Europe, thanks to her many artistic talents and the curiosity from old and new music fans that the 2016 album had sparkled.

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.

To record a live album in a moment of the world like the one we are all living, without an audience, it is one of the most difficult tasks for a music artist to achieve.


While many other fellow artists have released, during the whole of 2020, live albums related to shows recorded the previous year, in an attempt to make their records more credible, through the help of the crowd's participation, the Finnish Guitar Prodigy and singer/songwriter Erja Lyytinen has decided instead to go against the tide, following purely her instinct, by releasing a live album called Lockdown Live 2020, recorded live solely with Lyytinen's own band and nobody else present, with the idea of framing a special moment in time, in many ways, in the Finnish artist's personal and musical journey and of the state of the world, on a global scale.

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.

When an artist had the type of career that someone like the American Guitar Champion of R&B, Funk, Jazz and Soul George Benson has, at the very respectable age of 77, one would consider perhaps slowing down considerably, about making new records or performing live.


But that is not, in the slightest, the case of this formidable artist that, even at this stage of his career and personal life, does not stop to amaze audiences of any age range, thanks to his Guitar skills, technique, vocal strength and an overall amount of unimaginable talent.

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.

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