By admin on May 30, 2018
Mick Kolassa’s latest release is Double Standards (Swing Suit Records), a baker’s dozen classic blues songs performed by Kolassa and a few of his friends, including such blues luminaries as Sugaray Rayford, Heather Crosse, Victor Wainwright, Annika Chambers, Tas Cru, Tullie Brae, Eric Hughes, Erica Brown, Patti Parks, David Dunavent, Gracie Curran, and Jeff Jensen. It’s a warm and intimate, seemingly loose affair covering a wide range of blues styles.
Rayford joins Kolassa for a faithful reading of the Howlin’ Wolf-associated “300 Pounds of Heavenly Joy,” though Willie Dixon’s classic is updated to 600 pounds for this version. Kolassa and Crosse collaborate on a sultry version of another Dixon tune, “I Just Want To Make Love To You,” and he and Wainwright have a good time with Tampa Red’s “It’s Tight Like That” before Annika Chambers sits in for a smoky reading of the Peggy Lee standard “Fever.”
Kolassa and Cru give “Nobody Loves You When You’re Down And Out,” a nice old fashioned feel, thanks in part to Alice Hasan’s violin and Jeremy Powell’s piano, and Tullie Brae joins Kolassa for a sweaty take on B.B. King’s “Rock Me.” Memphis harpmaster Eric Hughes and Kolassa do a fine job on Big Bill Broonzy’s “Key To The Highway,” and another Willie Dixon/Howlin’ Wolf effort, “Spoonful,” gets a jazzy reworking with Kolassa and Erica Brown swapping verses. Another Tampa Red song, “It Hurts Me Too,” is ably handled by Kolassa and Patti Parks.
Singer/guitarist David Dunavent is featured on a sizzling version of the Louis Jordan classic, “Early In The Morning,” and Gracie Curran teams with Kolassa for a funky read on another Tampa Red hit, “Don’t You Lie To Me (Evil).” The talented Jeff Jensen, who plays guitar on all of the tracks, gets a turn behind the mic with Kolassa for “Outside Woman Blues,” and the entire ensemble gets together for the closer, an entertaining take on “Ain’t Nobody’s Business.”
Kolassa plays guitar on three tracks, with Jensen taking the lion’s share of guitar work along with Colin John and Dunavent, who each guest on one track. The rest of the band includes Hasan (violin), Powell(piano), Hughes (harmonica), Bill Ruffino (bass), James Cunningham (drums), and Chris Stephenson (organ).
Double Standards is an excellent set of blues classics lovingly rendered by some of the current scene’s finest artists. As with all other Mick Kolassa releases, the proceeds from the album will go the Blues Foundation’s HART Fund and Generation Blues programs — a worthy cause if there ever was one, plus you get a fantastic set of blues while you’re at it.MORE >>
By admin on February 21, 2018
Mississippi-based guitarist and vocalist Mick Kolassa gathers a bunch of his friends for duets in this set of blues standards. Blues is often rowdy and raucous but here Kolassa and friends demonstrate how the idiom can be played with finesse and class… MORE
Mick Kolassa is a very likable guy and therefore as a musician he has acquired a lot of talented friends. When he decided to do an album of duets of blues standards to be called Double Standards, of course, he collected 12 of them to sing with him…MORE
Double Standards is a simple concept: singer Mick Kolassa duets on blues standards with talented colleagues. The result is a deceptively complex album of compelling takes on great blues songs, with Kolassa’s raspy tone surprising the listener with a jazzy delivery…MORE
Over the last few years, bluesman Mick Kolassa has become one of our favorite performers. Never afraid to express what’s on his mind, that attitude carries over into his music, and it always leads to some fresh, old-school, down-home blues…MORE
I’ve always enjoyed albums in which one artist explores music with several other artists in order to see what direction that collaboration takes…MORE
Last year, Mick Kolassa and Mark Telesca released You Can’t Do That!, an album of blues renditions of Beatles songs. Now Mick Kolassa is teaming up with several vocalists on his new release, Double Standards, a collection of covers of well-known blues tunes…MOREMORE >>
By admin on January 8, 2018
Double Standards is a celebration of the greatest blues songs, performed as duets with some of his musical friends. Mick’s love of many blues styles is well known, and this album brings the listener a wide range of blues, from down home to classic Chicago to jazzy to blues rock, Mick and his friends bring you the many faces of the blues.
As with his previous albums, the proceeds from Double Standards will go to the Blues Foundation’s HART Fund and Generation Blues programs.
New album set to release February 5, 2018 – MORE INFO HERE >MORE >>
Posted in News
By admin on July 24, 2017
A few photos from the Monday Blues Jam for the Blues Society of Northwest Florida.
Posted in News
By admin on June 19, 2017
The Beatles As Blues – ‘You Can’t Do That’
“Michissippi” Mick Kolassa and Mark Telesca
do just that by bluesifying the Fab Four.
It’s well known that the Beatles began as a skiffle group in England. Steeped in blues and R&B influences, they almost single-handedly created the genre of pop music. But what would have happened, had they directed themselves away from the sounds of Chicago, and more toward those of Clarksdale? Two Delta blues disciples, and major Fab 4 fans, have figured it out.
“Michissippi” Mick Kolassa and Mark Telesca have done what many said couldn’t be done. They bluesified a small chunk of the Beatles songbook. What’s more, they’ve done it brilliantly. You Can’t Do That! on the Swingsuit label is parenthetically described as an Acoustic Blues Beatles Tribute, and that description is spot on.
Kolassa (vocals, guitar, percussion), who finds his greatest joy in finding the blues hidden in every song he hears, found a Beatles soul-mate in Telesca (vocals, guitar, bass) at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis a couple years back. They began sharing their individual interpretations of blues style mop top songs, and before long were collaborating on the creation of this album.
Memphis based blues wild man, Jeff Jensen joined the mix, adding both his incredible guitar and producing prowess. The remaining artists are made up of James Cunningham (drums/percussion), Marc Franklin (trumpet and flugelhorn), Eric Hughes (guitar and harmonica), and Tommy Boroughs (fiddle and mandolin). Then the magic really began.
This is a completely acoustic release. There are no amplifiers or effects pedals. Instead, we get the back porch feel of resonator and acoustic guitars, along with other traditional, and some not-so traditional instruments. Furthermore, the combination of vocals provided by Kolassa and Telesca, as oxymoronic as it may first seem, blends into an astonishingly delicious stew.
When we hit play, the muted Dixieland trumpet of Franklin blessed our ears. But, this can’t be a Beatles song – can it? “I’ve got every reason on Earth to be sad. I just lost the only girl I had.” That’s blues, all blues and nothing but the blues. They’re also the opening words to the 1964 Lennon/McCartney song, “I’ll Cry Instead.” Originally so rooted in country/western that Chet Atkins covered it two years later, it comes across here as swanky, and blues-filled.
The second track, “Can’t Buy Me Love,” has Telesca providing the vocals on a capricious version of the #1 hit. Perhaps the most poppish of the songs on You Can’t Do That!, it was also the original A-side of the title track on 45. Speaking of the title track, Kolassa again does the singing on a not-so famous classic. The duo decided on this one as a title for two reasons. One, the original song has a deep blues connection in the writing, and two, because that’s what a lot of people told them when they heard about the project. Hughes provides both guitar and harmonica on this one, coming across as true country blues.
Hughes’ harmonica also adds some appetizing appeal to the slow drag rendition of “I Feel Fine.” On “Fixing a Hole,” it’s Telesca providing some sweet Spanish guitar work, and a powerful vocal delivery. We first hear Boroughs on “Lady Madonna,” his gypsy style, crying fiddle adding some perfect accompaniment as well as a tasty little solo. “Why Don’t We Do It In The Road,” originally from the notorious White Album, gets the full on blues treatment with some satisfying slide flavor.
Mixing a combination of hit songs, along with some lesser known classics, gives You Can’t Do That! another step above some earlier attempts to bluesify the Beatles. This is not just a blues tinted greatest hits project. It is rather, a collection of personal favorites, dissected by a group of master craftsmen, then given new life, sans electricity.
Retaining the songs’ origins by keeping all the tracks under the four minute mark, our personal favorite is the shortest track on the album. Clocking in at just 1:38, “She Came In Through the Bathroom Window,” is a bluegrass hit. An upbeat finale’, including Boroughs’ deft mandolin playing, it’s like all the fireworks going off at once.
Songs written by Lennon and McCartney have been covered ad nauseum. John wasn’t really a fan of most Beatles music, while Paul seems thrilled whenever anyone covers his songs. There are Beatles fanatics that won’t like this album. “Sacrilege!” we can hear them cry. But to our ears, You Can’t Do That! is pure bliss. Kolassa, Telesca & Company have taken the heartfelt lyrics of one of the world’s most popular songwriting teams, and matched the music to their individual moods. We can’t imagine it being any better – unless of course, they come out with a sequel.