Welcome to 2021: we trust that in many aspects it will be a better year than 2020 was. But speaking for ourselves we can only hope we can present an equally balanced and musically rich release roster as you can find below in our CONTINENTAL RECORD SERVICES 2020 retrospective.
To make sure you did not miss any we proudly present them in two columns: BLUES(Y) and ROOTS. Both columns start off with samplers, offering free downloads of our favourite tracks. Feel free to share our mail or the links to our sampler with friends who share your love of music but that may not be familiar with CRS yet. Music is available to listen to and to purchase as download and/or physical prodct by clicking on the bandcamp liniks. We hope you will enjoy and we also hope to bring much more great music your way in 2021.
As a bluesy welcome to the new year we are offering some of our best blues tracks as a free downloadable sampler, feel free to share this link with friends: continentalrecordservices.bandcamp.com/album/crs-bluesy-roots And then in no particular order, our top blues releases in 2020:
Kai Strauss – In My Prime
With his sixth album for CRS Kai Strauss solidifies his reputation as best European blues guitarist. Firmly rooted in Chicago Blues, he displays a keen sense of style and melody, based on his superb technique. With excellent support from a funky backing band and an impressive horn section led by sax master Sax Gordon, Strauss has coined a fascinating, authentic contemporary sound.
Robert Jon & The Wreck - Last Light On The Highway
Somewhere between Eagles and Allman Brothers, on the crossroads of country rock and Southern rock, Robert Jon delivers a unique and passionate stew full of catchy melodies and thunderous guitar riffs with some delicate whiffs of soul and blues.
Kim Wilson – Take Me Back
Recorded live in mono in Jon Atkinson’s Bigtone Studio, Kim Wilson recreates the sound of his blues heroes from the fifties. The eleven tracks have a convincingly authentic sound, no frills and joyful.Kim wrote seven of them and he covers among others Little Walter, Howlin’Wolf and especially Jimmy Rogers, whose spirit pervades the album throughout.
Copperhead County – Brothers
The sound of Copperhead County is often labeled “Southern Rock” but is much more than that. Vocals and riffs contain references of Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Outlaws and The Black Crowes, but the talented Dutch add to that a healthy dose of soul and country with beautiful harmonies, notably by the two female backing singers, and twangy guitars
This debut album delivers an infectious blend of many elements of roots music and does so in a truly convincing way.
The Weight Band – Live is a Carnival
Former Band guitarist Jim Weider put the Weight Band together in order to preserve the legacy of The Band. The studio album”World Gone Mad” and the tours have been proof of their success. Ultimately it is the stage where the inspiration and musicianship can be fully appreciated. This captivating live-album is a worthy showcase with its mix of Band classics, originals and the occasional well-chosen cover.
Cary Morin – Dockside Saints
Singer-guitarist Cary Morin’s sixth album is best described as a Louisiana rock gumbo. There is always a pleasant, often lazy, New Orleans groove with liberal toppings of funk, blues, Americana, Tex Mex, zydeco and bluegrass. Its basis is firmly rooted in rock, reminiscent of John Hiatt, with some great guitar fireworks.
Micke & Lefty feat. Chef – Let the Fire Lead
Energy, entertainment and fun are the pillars that this music is based on. The trio has successfully transferred their renowned live vibes on to this scintillating album, which is a versatile collection of blues & roots songs with some gospel, folk and rock influences and even a touch of Beatles.
Reverend Shawn Amos and the Brotherhood – Blue Sky
After moving from LA to Texas the Reverend gathered together the Brotherhood, creating a sense of home in his rootlessness. Blade, Thomas and Roberts provide not only musical, but also spiritual and emotional support. The material showcases Shawn Amos’s songwriting like no previous Rev outing;alternating between furious, happy-go-lucky and vulnerable; all buoyed by musicians emboldening a beloved family member.
Shawn Pittman – Make It Right
Vocalist/guitarist Shawn Pittman is an Oklahoma native, turned Texas guitar axeman. In 2019 he toured extensively across Europe with renowned German/Turkish blues tandem Erkan Ozdemir on bass and his son Levent on drums. This worked out so well that the trio set up camp at the Heyman Studio in Copenhagen to come up with these 12 vibrant tracks that make up Shawn's 13th album.
Leif De Leeuw Band – Where We’re Heading
Multi-awardwinning guitar player Leif de Leeuw and his six-man band are the new Southern jam-band sensation in Europe. The band is characterized by breathtaking guitar solos, two grooving drummers and twin-lead guitars, carrying on the tradition of bands like the Allman Brothers Band and Derek and the Dominos, taking it a step further by mixing in influences ranging from straight forward rock to blues, soul, funk fusion and singer/songwriter material.
Johnny Rawls – Live In Europe
Johnny Rawls’ 20th release showcases a brilliant singer and a splendid band with a bunch of great songs. Johnny chose one of the world’s best backing bands around today: The Özdemirs. They were joined by Alberto Marsico, one of today’s most gifted Hammond organ players. Together, they played a tour in Europe in 2019 and came up with this live album, recorded at the famous Bischofsmühle in Hildesheim, Germany plus two added tracks The result is an extraordinary deep soul-blues album, with every single musician knowing how to groove and to be a servant to the song
Also for our Roots/Americana fans we have collected some fine tracks that you can download or share with friends: continentalrecordservices.bandcamp.com/album/best-of-crs-2020. Now on to our most important 2020 releases, in random order:
Douglas Greer – My Last Storm
Galveston, Texas based singer/songwriter Douglas Greer showcases a brand of original roots-rock heavy on storytelling. His recordings are wrapped in electric guitar- and keyboard-infused melodies reminiscent of seventies-era country and rock.He often chooses to write about personal experiences he had growing up and living on the Texas Gulf Coast Area, focusing on the huge impact of the extreme weather conditions in the area, which serve as an excellent metaphor for these troubled times.
Lynn Miles – We’ll Look For Stars
Lynn has added yet another masterpiece to her impressive body of work; it has become a very personal album of growth and strength, of overcoming fears and doubts. It is a beacon of hope in hard times like; there is power and support in her beautiful voice, drenched in her usual blend of humour and melancholy
My Darling Clementine ft Steve Nieve – Country Darkness
Husband and wife Michael Weston King and Lou Dalgliesh have taken the country duet to new heights, this time by re-imagining twelve excellent Elvis Costello songs in a captivating, mainly gloomy atmosphere, supported by characteristic contributions on keyboards from Steve Nieve, original member of the Imposters and The Attractions. Very country and very dark indeed.
Emma Swift – Blonde On The Tracks
Gifted Nashville/Aussie songstress Emma Swift pays homage to her inspiration Bob Dylan with a fine collection of her interpretations of 8 of his songs.. Her clear warm voice adds some unexpected textures to familiar tracks.
Michael McDermott – What In The World
The turbulence of one-time golden boy Michael McDermott’s past is reflected in the sharp tone of this album, most clearly so in his vocals and jagged guitar.
The candour that suffuses What in the World is evidence of a vital rock & roll singer/songwriter, who may have been knocked down 99 times but got back up a 100. It is a record by a man who knows who he is.
Eileen Rose – Muscle Shoals
Acclaimed singer-songwriter Eileen Rose got the chance to record her latest album at the historic Muscle Shoals Sound Studio. The result is a wonderful showcase of Rose's extraordinary songcraft and astonishing voice, making this her most accomplished record to date. It includes an "A-side" of new songs that shimmer with the brilliance and confidence of a seasoned songwriter and performer at the top of her game. There is also a bonus "B-side" of Rose's most beloved tracks, re-recorded in these vibrant surroundings.
Matt Harlan – Best Beasts
Matt Harlan crafts sociopolitical narratives with an artist’s eye and a poet's elegance. This new collection spotlights a rapidly rising songwriter growing exponentially with each track. Political unrest maps the landscape. Harlan frequently delivers keen insight with an everyman’s grace.
His vivid vignettes frequently feature blue-collar everymen struggling for purchase of their own hard-won happiness. And there are pauses for reflection.
Dan Tuffy – Letters Of Gold
This album sees this Aussie bastard make a shift towards a more groove-based approach where bass, electronic and percussive elements come to the foreground on a big, rich production canvas. The songs remain central with Dan’s rich, warm vocal sound bringing it all home. The recording process involved multiple collaborations with Dan’s favorite musicians from around the world. The result is a modern, offbeat and lushly orchestrated earthy sound, sublimely glued together by genius producer Zlaya.
Grant Peeples – Bad Wife
This is a personal collection of songs that Grant has been gathering over the years. All were written by women he has worked with in one way or another during his career. Each song was originally heard in a live setting, then recorded in search of those original nerves they had struck.
The record is a tip of the hat to the courage and fortitude behind the suffragette movement that overcame the historic prejudice and inequality, set forth in America by its pioneers.
Jeffrey Halford – Beware Of Worthless Imitations, Vol. 1
The no fewer than 20 tracks on this album provide a superb retrospective of the first ten years of these lifelong friends, who imbue the rock in countryrock with a generous dose of energy and enthusiasm. Jeffrey knows how to write a song that sticks, he is a great vocalist and his slide and harmonica will pierce your heart
Ad Vanderveen - Finders Keepers
His first solo album in the true sense of the word, recorded all by himself. with the strength of the intimate songs lying in the warmth of his voice and the lure of the beautiful melodies. His personal, yet universal lyrics mainly deal with the craft of songwriting
Thanks for all the support we have enjoyed in 2020. We are looking forward to sharing more great music with y'all in the new year. STAY SAFE!
Photo Credits: (1)-(2), (5) Continental Record Services, (3) Cary Morin, (4) Micke & Lefty, (6) Emma Swift, (7) Ad Vanderveen, (unknown/website).