Sweet '16: Your 2016 preview

Elsewhere in this issue, we salute the albums that made 2015 a vintage year for blues. Here we look to the future, and the releases that will straddle 2016. From hot-tip debuts by perky young things to last-gasp comeback specials by pendulous gargoyles, the next 12 months have something for everyone.

The blues never sleeps, and before your New Year’s Eve hangover has even evaporated, you’ll be hit by The Temperance Movement’s second album, White Bear, due January 15 through Earache Records. “It’s a real step on for us, sonically and artistically,” notes guitarist Paul Sayer. “Playing so many shows together over the last three years allowed us to develop a really clear idea of where we wanted to go.”

Hot on their heels is the third album from Tedeschi Trucks Band, with Let Me Get By released January 29 through Concord, and it’s already on the office stereo. We’ll reveal all in next issue’s review, but safe to say, the husband-and-wife team can expect another round of critical fellatio.

Also on January 29 comes Danny Bryant’s Blood Money, featuring guest spots from Walter Trout and Bernie Marsden. “I wanted to make this album ever since I began my musical journey 20 years ago as a 15-year old boy who fell in love with his parents’ record collection,” says the Hertfordshire gunslinger of his return to his formative blues influences.

Early February brings Wayward Sons, the live album recorded by **Ian Siegal and Jimbo Mathus** in Holland last year, featuring plenty of banter and rare material.

That same month sees the return of slide goddess Bonnie Raitt, who releases Dig In Deep on February 26 through Redwing, and she discusses the album in next month’s frank cover story. “It’s about as close to the bone as you can get,” she says of the soul-baring new songs.

Dan Patlansky’s Intro-Vertigo is also chalked for an early release, while we’re tantalised by the prospect of Dr Z & The Supersonic Blues Machine: a blues-rock drop-in centre whose debut album West Of Flushing, South Of Frisco features such A-list luminaries as Billy Gibbons, Warren Haynes, Walter Trout and Robben Ford. Look out for it on February 26.

Another year, another Joe Bonamassa album – the big man is due back in March, as is Stevie Nimmo. The following month, there’s a veritable April shower of albums, with Ben Poole back in action, Robin Trower returning to the fray, Bristol upstarts Tax The Heat finally pulling their fingers out and John Mayall following up this year’s acclaimed Live In 1967 with a second volume of scratchy-arsed bootleg genius on April 22. As the Godfather told us in issue 21: “I had more than enough to make two CDs.”

May looks promising too, with odd couple Hat Fitz & Cara following up Wiley Ways, London-based warrior princesses The Pearl Harts pulling the trigger on their sure-to-be-seismic debut album, and Blues Mag favourite Jo Harman delivering the second record that she bottled at the Muscle Shoals and Sound Emporium studios with producer Fred Mollin. “Rest assured,” she told us, “the album is going to be the same old kind of stuff for me. My own insecurities, the ups and downs, and life and love. I’m telling my own story again.”

As ever, there’s a fistful of to-be-confirmeds and watch-this-spaces. Reports suggest that great British hope Aaron Keylock is close to the finish line, while motormouth genius Rosco Levee will be stepping out with his first solo album. “It’ll be funded through a Pledge campaign,” he tells The Blues. “I’ll play quite a few of the instruments myself, but expect big-sounding rock’n’roll tunes with horns and girl backing vocals. A little bit Mad Dogs & Englishmen, a little bit Lennon, a little bit 21st-century rock’n’roll. “There’ll be a few special guests, and my list of players who are up for appearing is quite impressive. It’ll be kinda like Ronnie Wood’s solo stuff, where anyone would sit in. I can’t wait to get in the studio and let it all out.”

Also on the radar is Joanne Shaw Taylor, who returns in September or October, while Jim Jones & The Righteous Mind’s appetite-whetting EP will surely be joined by a full album soon. Our sources at Alligator tell us that Jarekus Singleton will be following up Refuse To Lose in early summer, while The Rides will also be going for another spin, if Stephen Stills and Kenny Wayne Shepherd can manage to sync their diaries.

And finally, speaking of behemoths, Jimmy Page keeps dropping hints, Jeff Beck might finally get back in the studio and Keef is apparently chomping at the bit to start recording again after a full decade with no new Stones album.

“[A new album] looks closer,” the guitar legend told Rolling Stone. “Don’t know where, don’t know when yet. We had a little chat. We were just saying, ‘We gotta get in the studio right? Right?’ ‘That’s agreed. Okay, boys, that’s agreed…’

See future issues of The Blues for reviews of forthcoming releases

Henry Yates

Henry Yates has been a freelance journalist since 2002 and written about music for titles including The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Classic Rock, Guitarist, Total Guitar and Metal Hammer. He is the author of Walter Trout's official biography, Rescued From Reality, a music pundit on Times Radio and BBC TV, and an interviewer who has spoken to Brian May, Jimmy Page, Ozzy Osbourne, Ronnie Wood, Dave Grohl, Marilyn Manson, Kiefer Sutherland and many more.