We know it’s been a bit quiet around here for awhile, but Blue Chihuahua Records is back, with a new CD from Cindy Bear and Franc Robert titled “Hearts In Blues”-12 tracks of acoustic blues and folk from the award-winning duo Bear & Robert! You can order the CD directly from Blue Chihuahua Records now for $10 (plus $3 shipping and handling in the USA). Digital downloads will be available starting April 2nd! Head on over to the CD page to order your copy TODAY!
Yep, it’s finally on it’s way!!! The NEW CD from Franc Robert & The Boxcar Tourists “Goin Down To Florida” will be officially for sale on June 23rd, 2015-look for it at all your favorite online outlets, at the band’s gigs, and select music stores in the Tampa Bay Florida area!! To whet your whistle a bit more, here’s the title track LIVE in the studio!!!
Well, no gigs this weekend… because we’re headed for the studio to record “Cheap Cadillac”!!! We’re recording at Central Florida Recording Studio in Brooksville, with John Trottnow behind the board, and the usual cast of characters strumming strings and hitting things with sticksSamuel Mudd on bass, Smokin Joe Sadowski on harp, David Simmons on drums and percussion, and yours truly on guitars and vocals-gonna be fun, that’s fer sure!!! More updates and pics as they come in…
Over the last few months, Franc Robert and his band, The Boxcar Tourists (Dave Simmons-Drums, Sam Mudd-Bass, and Smokin Joe Sadowski-Harp) have been writing up a storm, and are getting ready to record in early March. This record will be Franc’s 6th, and the 2nd with The Boxcar Tourists. Look for it sometime this summer! In the meantime, here’s a taste of what’s coming down the pike-enjoy!
Read all about it here!
The last time that Franc Robert showed his acoustic side was on 2011′s well received Why Do I Ever Win. Since then Franc has issued Mulligan Stew in 2012, and now he returns to his acoustic side with Ride The Iron Road, on Blue Chihuahua Records. At 41 minutes Ride The Iron Road shows off 11 originals and three traditional blues cuts.
As an acoustic set, the simplicity of the presentation really adds to the impact of the music, with only Franc and his guitar(s) painting vivid images, as this Florida native is so talented at doing. The sound is clear and unadorned, allowing the music to stand on its own merit. While very satisfying all the way through, we found a few selections particularly interesting.
“Chihuahua Blues” reminded us a lot of “Rambling On My Mind,” in a pleasing way, and “Dem Devil Bones” is a brisk paced George Thorogood inspired acoustic romp that will have listeners slapping their knees to the beat. “Mississippi On My Mind” is simply great picking, superbly played. “Railroad Blues” is fast paced pickin’ and slidin’ fun. “St. James Infirmary Blues” is a really interesting performance, presented here as a shuffle, and almost upbeat.
Ride The Iron Road is an album best enjoyed when listeners want a break form the loud brashness of an electric blues set, and instead want to enjoy a more quiet and intimate blues experience.
From Blues Underground Network…
“”Ride The Iron Road” marks the second album I have received from Franc Robert with the previous one being his 2012 release “Mulligan Stew” as Franc Robert & the Boxcar Tourists. “Mulligan Stew” was an album that really impressed me a lot, to the point where I even included it in my Blues Underground Network’s Top 10 USA Blues Albums 2012 List, of which some of what I wrote about that album was, “Franc Robert & the Boxcar Tourists are a rare group whom have put together a rare album indeed in “Mulligan Stew”, as this is the kind of great music that does not come around that often. I can only imagine how great it would be to play this album when camping around the campfire, as this one just has that right feel to it that can really warm the soul .” For “Ride The Iron Road”, Franc Robert has again brought us another rare treat, this time without The Boxcar Tourists as he goes Solo with just his great Voice and an equally great assortment of Guitars, which included, a National Style 1 tricone, Slide, a no-name dobro, Martin D-1R, and a 1921 Martin O-18.
“Ride The Iron Road” marks Franc Robert’s first return to his Acoustic side since his 2011 release “Why Do I Never Win”, as he offers up 11 original Tracks and 3 great Covers, “St. James Infirmary”, “Mississippi Blues”, and “Railroad Blues”. Franc Robert covers a fair bit of ground on “Ride The Iron Road”, which could be categorized as Son House Influenced, Modern Blues, and even Blues of a more Humorous nature. When you also include the Traditional three Covers, you can easily see how nicely diversified “Ride The Iron Road” is. Also with it’s diversification, comes it’s Authentic feeling side, brought to the forefront with a more Traditional length to all but one of the albums Tracks, for which the most part, fall in the under three minute category, with the opening Track actually only being 1:33 in length. I find that I really enjoy these types of albums of which the songs quickly get to the point, not relying on a whole bunch of sometimes unnecessary filler.
“Ride The Iron Road” was released April 15, 2014, and it did not take long for it to become noticed, most notably by WEFT 90.1 in Champaign, Illinois, for whom in their April 2014 Top 25 List had the album already pegged at #9 and in good company with the likes of The Holmes Brothers “Brotherhood” and Bob Corritore’s “Taboo” releases, not overly far ahead at #1 and #2.
Franc Robert’s love and knowledge of the Blues, in fact over 30 years of it, has certainly set him apart, especially when dealing with the more authentic Traditional style Blues of which you will notice right away on “Ride The Iron Road”.
Not that I needed a break, in any way, from his previous release, but never the less I sure enjoyed this other side to Franc Robert as I am sure that many others will that really enjoy super Blues done simply super.
“Ride The Iron Road” is an album I highly recommend… It is certainly one of the very best in the Solo Performer Category released, so far, in 2014…
Review by John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network)
So far, what we’ve found on who’s playing the new CD Ride The Iron Road…
Mo Blues Monday on WMNF 88.5 FM, Tampa, FL
Top Blues w/ Terry O (syndicated)
Folk Renaissance Radio Show (Jacksonville AL WLJS 91.9)
WGLT (Normal, IL)
WEFT 90.1 FM (Champaign, IL)
Mother Road Blues Show with Kool Breeze (syndicated)
Charlietown Blues Show (syndicated)
Pork Chop Blues Show-Pualing Public Radio (NY State)
Edit: Sunnyland Steve’s Blues Show on KCSB 91.9 (Santa Barbara, CA)
If you hear of any others spinning the tunes, let us know!!!
Thanks to all of you DJs out there!!!