Cyril Neville’s Magic Honey is an album dripping with blues as sweet as the title suggests. Formerly a vocalist for The Neville Brothers, The Meters, and currently for Royal Southern Brotherhood, Cyril Neville croons sweet blues on Magic Honey alongside guitarist Cranston Clements, drummer “Mean” Willie Green, Bassist Carl Dufrene, and keyboardist Norman Caesar. Additionally, Magic Honey features guest appearances by pianist Allen Toussaint, organist Dr. John, guitarist Walter Trout, and Neville’s Royal Southern Brotherhood bandmate and guitarist, Mike Zito.
Dave Alvin turns it up. The intensity, the focus, the volume. On Alvin’s new album Eleven Eleven, the man who many credit with pioneering what has come to be known as ‘roots rock,’ revisits the burning, guitar-centered blues rock that initially defined his career along with his band The Blasters in the late 1970s. After The Blasters, Alvin explored the path of American folk music, a road that led to classic albums and Grammy wins (for his album Public Domain: Songs from the Wild Land), establishing him as one of America’s most distinguished songwriters and California’s de facto roots music ambassador. Fast forward to Eleven Eleven and Dave is ready to raise the stakes again, calling on some Blasters including his brother Phil, with whom he duets for the first time ever on record. The inaugurals continue with Dave writing all the songs while on the road touring, a first for the seasoned performer. The new method clearly sparked new ideas for Alvin, with the blistering guitar runs and Bo Diddley beat of ”Run Conejo Run” sidling up alongside the gentle finger-picking of the tremolo-soaked ”No Worries Mija.” Eleven Eleven also features ”Harlan County Line,” the song featured, along with an Alvin cameo as himself, in FX original series Justified and Alvin’s highest and fastest-selling digital single ever.