“He’s my idea of an up-and-coming blues singer. I don’t see a lot of them out there, but I know one when I see him.” ~Elvin Bishop
It never fails! Whenever I’m writing an article and feeling under the weather, I’ll gaze at my monitor and eventually drift off on some nostalgic excursion. Usually my thought waves take me back to those soulful vinyl grooves of the sixties. That’s one of the biggest reasons why I love music; its ability to transport you back through time…
This weekend though my mind didn’t need to reflect too far back. Instead I got a combined dose of retro and fresh sounds from a new blues/soul release called Name The Day by John Nemeth; a brilliant singer/harp player that suited me perfectly.
Originally from Boise, Idaho, Nemeth got his start singing in church. In his later teens he’d get his initiation to the blues when a friend introduced him to the music of Junior Wells. Like so many blues music lovers, (John Nemeth included) Wells and that classic Delmark release Hoodoo Man Blues had been a major influence.
Forming Fat John & The Three Slims with his friends while still in his teens, the band got a bit of name around the Boise area at the time. In 2002 Nemeth independently released his first CD called The Jack of Harps. Several years later, Nemeth moved to San Francisco and eventually released another independent disc titled Come and Get It. Backed by Junior Watson and his band; this would eventually lead to being signed by Blind Pig Records.
In 2007 Nemeth’s debut album Magic Touch came out on BPR and he earned a Blues Music Award nomination the following year for “Best New Artist Debut.” Afterward the very popular Love Me Tonight in 2009 would further ignite the performer’s career.
The first time I heard of John Nemeth he was featured on Elvin Bishop’s Grammy nominated The Blues Rolls On in 2008. Bishop was so taken with Nemeth’s vocal style that the guitar legend included him on four tracks.
“When John’s band opened for mine, I knew instantly that he had a great talent. His voice is a national treasure.” ~Junior Watson
John Nemeth’s third release for Blind Pig Records Name The Day is an extraordinary blend of blues and classic soul guaranteed to chase away those dreary sluggish demons that can interrupt your daze. Catchy tunes like the opener “Breaking Free” and the title track “Name The Day” set the tone perfectly; fine examples which showcase that vintage soulful sound. The album continues to roll with songs like the funky driven “Do You Really Want That Woman,” and the blues shuffle “Heartbreak with a Hammer.” All the songs featured on this record are original compositions with the only cover being “Home In Your Heart” which was written by Otis Blackwell and recorded by Solomon Burke.
John Nemeth – vocals, harmonica
Austin DeLone – piano, organ
Mike Rinta – trombone
Ed Earley – background vocals
Bobby Welsh – guitar, piano
Steve Willis – background vocals
Frank Bailey – trumpet
Jake Smolowe – organ
Jeff Teczon – tenor saxophone
Nick Fishman – drums, percussion
Side A – Name The Day
Nemeth’s vocal chops and harp playing mixed together with those horn arrangements remind me of some of the classic R&B tunes I heard growing up in the sixties. Artists like James Brown, Sam & Dave as well as those early Buddy Guy sounds are just a few examples. The tasteful guitar textures and piano accompaniment also support Nemeth’s vocals beautifully. It’s really hard to sit still and be glum while listening to the energy and creativity of this awesome release.
And to keep with that vintage theme and the latest increase in vinyl sales, Blind Pig Records has released a 45 RPM single of Name The Day (Side A) and the gospel influenced tune Why Not Me. (Side B) A very cool thing to do for those vinyl music lovers old and new.
Side B – Why Not Me
The excellent musicianship on this record cleared some of the clouds that muddled around in my head. This once again supports one of my major themes on The Blues Blogger; the ability of music to make you feel good, and take you to a positive level you may not of thought possible at that given moment. I for one was caught off guard when I heard Name The Day this weekend. I didn’t know what to expect, but what I got was a soulful treat that is every bit as nostalgic as it is innovative. I feel much better now.
Have you heard of John Nemeth? What do you think of Nemeth’s blend of blues and “vintage soul?” I’d love to hear your thoughts!
The Blues Blogger
Latest Tour Schedule
(Times and dates subject to change. Please check John’s website for updated info.)
June 4, 2010 Mountain’s EdgeBend, OR
June 5, 2010 Pines Tasting RoomHood River, OR
June 6, 2010 Lola’s Room at the Crystal BallroomPortland, OR
June 9, 2010 Yale Hotel Vancouver, BC
June 10, 2010 Highway 99 Blues ClubSeattle, WA
June 11, 2010 The Upstage Port Townsend, WA
June 12, 2010 Crossroads Walla Walla, WA
June 15, 2010 Fat Fish Blue Kansas City, MO
June 16, 2010 Fat Fish Blue Kansas City, MO
June 18, 2010 Thunderbird Cafe Pittsburgh, PA
June 19, 2010 Honesdale Roots & Rhythm Festival Honesdale, PA
June 20, 2010 Ukrainian Cultural Center Whippany, NJ
June 24, 2010 Gilly’s Dayton, OH June 25, 2010The Clazel Bowling Green, OH
June 26, 2010 Blues For A Cure at North Star Golf Club Sunbury, OH
June 28, 2010 Fireside Cafe Wingham, ON
June 30, 2010 Montreal Jazz Festival Montreal, QC
July 1, 2010 Infinity Music Hall Norfolk, CT
July 2, 2010 Harry’s Hyannis, MA
July 3, 2010 Harry’s Hyannis, MA
July 6, 2010 Treasure Lake Ski Lodge Dubois, PA
July 7, 2010 Kclinger’s Hanover, PA
July 8, 2010 Terra Blues New York, NY
July 10, 2010 North Atlantic Blues Festival Rockland, ME
July 11, 2010 Mt. Tremblant Blues Festival Mt.Tremblant, QC
July 16, 2010 Bogart Music Festival Urich, MO
July 17, 2010 Odie’s House of Blues Hot Springs, AR
Aug 1, 2010 Bags In The Bay Blues Festival A Benefit for Save The Bay Emeryville, CA
Aug 14, 2010 Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival Salmon Arm, BC
Aug 15, 2010 Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival Salmon Arm, BC
Aug 21, 2010 Chenango Blues Festival Norwich, NY
Aug 22, 2010 White Mountain Boogie n’ Blues Festival Thornton, NH
Sept 9, 2010 Biscuits and Blues San Francisco, CA
Sept 10, 2010 Po Boyz Folsom, CA
Sept 11, 2010 Silo’s Wine Bar & Jazz Club Napa, CA
Oct 17-24, 2010 Pacific Blues Cruise w/ Elvin Bishop’s Raisin’ Hell Revue
www.BluesCruise.com San Diego, CA
…. wow, John Nemeth certainly is real good, I’d say Elvin Bishop would know, huh !! I just listened to a little and his style seems like ol’ Elvin could of created them…. I’ll listen more cause maybe that short statement from Elvin got me thinking that way !! Elvin Bishop is right though…. new blues singers and guitarists are few and far between in this day and age…. but I’m very grateful for this new review and showcase from you…. the BluesBlogger !!
Another fine discovery..this one brought found memories of the sound of the 60,s.
Old hardwood dance halls,smoky café,s and the phonograph..in those days many had vinyls and they were playing them often…he has that touch and music to be popular for sure…thanks for this fine intro…
I’m a big fan of John and welcome this excursion into the more soul-oriented side of his songwriting and recording. There are plenty of good harmonica players out there and as a player, he is a cut above many — if not most — but obviously understands that it’s the gift of his incredible voice & his great songwriting that sets him apart.
It’s been said before; he has a talent for capturing the spirit and sound of 60’s soul, but his exceptional, smooth voice and the authentic passion in his delivery take his music beyond a nod to retro-soul. Great musical performances and production on this too. A winner. Pick up two and give one to somebody else to make them happy.
Sounds Great!!! Love John’s voice!