"Blues Lights For Yours and Mine"- the latest from Blues circuit guitarist/singer Davis Coen- was recorded at Nightsound Studio in Carrboro, North Carolina during early December 2007. The album features a handful of organ-driven and electric guitar-laced originals of a contemporary blues nature, and then shifts to traditional acoustic country folk-blues. It includes a healthy dose of pure old-timey New Orleans piano-strong numbers thrown in for good measure.
The project is marked by new performances such as "Lordy Lord", and "Mambo Jumbo", which were featured on XM-Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel #74 "B.B. King's Bluesville" reaching the #1 spot on the weekly "Picks To Click" chart. And also grooving classics like "Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand", which is still currently receiving rock radio airplay. These selections and others all representing various styles of Americana traditions, reaching even so far back chronologically as grooving back-hill classic, Charlie Poole's old-timey "Don't Let Your Deal Go Down."
Blues Lights For Yours and Mine
Label: Soundview Records
DarielB – Flying Under the Radar
It’s hard to pigeonhole this CD. It’s both contemporary and traditional; kinda funky and kinda country. Whatever, it is, it’s the blues and I like it. The 11-track disc features a mix of covers and originals. The opening track is a fast paced original tune titled “Basement With the Blue Light.”
Right out of the gate, the musician hits us with a voice you’re either going to love or hate. Coen’s gravelly voice is ideal for “Jack of Diamonds” and the original “Accelerated Woman.” My favorite track is probably “Mambo Jumbo,” another original by Coen.
The Charleston musician is a regular on the blues circuit. In fact, he’s playing at the Lowcountry Blues Bash going on in Charleston as this goes to press. He’s also one of the contributors to “The Blues,” Martin Scorsese’s PBS television series.
The CD was mixed and recorded by Chris Wimberley at Nightsound Studio in Carrboro, N.C. in Dec. 2007. Davis Coen handles guitar and vocals; drummer is Joe Izzo; Trevor Coen plays electric bass and piano; Adrian Duke also plays piano; Ben Palmer is on doghouse bass; and Lance Ashley is playing organ.
Living Blues Magazine:
Chances are you have heard South Carolina-based Davis Coen but didn't know it.
Coen has spent most of his young career in the background of some impressive blues productions. He contributed instrumental tracks to PBS's landmark series The Blues and and backed up the late, great Jess Mae Hemphill as well as opening for luminaries such as James Cotton, the North Mississippi All-Stars, Eddie Kirkland and others.
With his fifth solo release, Blues Lights For Yours and Mine, Coen shows that he has the chops and talent to break out as a solo act.
Coen's latest release opens the Basement With The Blue Light, a Hammond B-3-driven toe-tapping original that introduces the listener staright off to his worldly sounding voice and well-timed guitar work. Coen's voice is best served by his uptempo choices here from covers of Jack Of Diamonds to Don't Let Your Deal Go Down, and even his bouncy cover of Professor Longhair's Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand.
Blues Lights For Yours And Mine in the end is a pleasant mix of originals and covers, as Coen convincingly showcases a variety of styles, able to deliver nice acoustic turns as well as down and dirty blues- just check out the moody, attitude-driven original Accelerated Woman for further proof.
Living Blues Radio Chart For 9/1/08
1. Johnny Rawls, Red Cadillac, Catfood
2. Watermelon Slim And The Workers, No Paid Holidays, NorthernBlues
3. Li'l Ed & The Blues Imperials, Full Tilt, Alligator
4. Janiva Magness, What Love Will Do, Alligator
5. Byther Smith, Blues On The Moon, Delmark
6. Jackie Payne & Steve Edmonson, Overnight Sensation, Delta Groove
7. Buddy Guy, Skin Deep, Silvertone
8. Chris James & Patrick Rynn, Stop And Think About It, Earwig
9. Irma Thomas, Simply Grand, Rounder
10. Pinetop Perkins, Pinetop Perkins & Friends, Telarc/Blues
11. Boyes/Brill/DelGrosso, Live From Bluesville, Blue Empress
12. Maria Muldaur & Women’s Voices For Peace, Yes We Can!, Telarc
13. Super Chikan, Sum Mo’ Chikan, Chikan Howse
14. E.G. Kight, It’s Hot In Here, MC
15. Liz Mandeville, Red Top, Earwig
16. Travis “Moonchild” Haddix, Daylight At Midnight, Earwig
17. James Hinkle, Some Day, Blue Lights
18. Homemade Jamz, Pay Me No Mind, NorthernBlues
19. Flattop Tom, Don't Cheat The Feet, Palamar
20. Los Fabulocos , Los Fabulocos Featuring Kid Ramos, Delta Groove
21. Sonny Landreth, From The Reach, Landfall
22. Davis Coen, Blues Lights For Yours & Mine, Soundview
23. Scott Ellison, Ice Storm, Earwig
24. Robin Rogers, Treat Me Right, Blind Pig
25. Curtis Salgado, Clean Getaway, Shanachie
Blues Art Journal
Artist: Davis Coen
Title: Blues Lights for Yours and Mine
Sometimes, I wonder, whether a number of artists belong to a society that secretly record absolutely stunning albums but only a select and privileged few ever get to hear them? Well, if that is the case, I am very grateful to be included on that list to hear this new album from Davis Coen..
Upon hearing the hypnotic playing of Louis Armstrong and at the very young age of six in 1980, Davis began to take trumpet lessons from his uncle. When, at the age of eleven his attention and imagination was further enticed by a combination of influences that ranged from Big Bill Broonzy, Howlin’ Wolf, to Mississippi John Hurt and Jimi Hendrix, he immediately changed his instrument of choice to the guitar.
He decided to leave his home in Charlotte, North Carolina in his teens to perform a solo acoustic & harmonica act in the clubs of Connecticut and New York City; concentrating all his skills on capturing the very essence of post war Country blues.
As time and he progressed Davis became the opening act for artists such as; Honeyboy Edwards, Koko Taylor, Big Jack Johnson and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers.
Now, with this, his fourth album we have a man that has so steeped himself in the Rhythms and essences of New Orleans life; that this fine, rolling mellow country blues that he plays, oozes through the speakers and wraps itself around you with such a laid back and happy attitude that he could almost be playing horizontal. Whether the numbers are piano led footappers such as; Professor Longhair’s “Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand,” and “Down in the Alley,” or the gospel stomping “Since I Laid My Burden Down,” Davis maintains a pure, clean and crisp finger twirling approach which would not be out of place in a summer country fair.
Depending upon your taste and memories Davis has a voice that is reminiscent of Tom Waits/John Sebastian/ Randy Newman, but plays like no one else.
Joining Davis; who is on guitar, are Joe Izzo; drums, Trevor Coen; electric bass, Ben Palmer “Doghouse;” bass, Adrian Duke; piano, Lance Ashley; organ. Together they create eleven numbers that are an absolute joy to listen to and slide on the carpet to!
Exclaim Reviews – Wood, Wires & Whiskey – August ’08 Eric Thom
Blues Lights For Yours And Mine
With an uncanny vocal resemblance to Peter Wolf, young bluesman Davis Coen cements his entry into the blues fray with his 5th release. It’s a somewhat loose affair – the title track built upon the back of Lance Ashley’s B3 and Coen’s own roughshod guitar noodling, his vocals beyond relaxed and, at times, less than what might be expected, professionally. Yet, the second original track reveals a charm in all this rag-taggery as Coen’s vocal brings life to “Mambo Jumbo”, the organ again flirting with carny-like percussion. By Coen’s take on the traditional “Jack of Diamonds”, the relationship is set. Coen’s off-kilter use of slide guitar injects the potentially tired piece with new life and his rhythm section completes the picture. The music sounds highly impromptu as it takes on a country blues flair – easier said than done - revealing a depth and ability that reveals itself after the first few listens. Another original, “New Shoes Blues” adds Adrian Duke’s piano as Coen’s voice transforms looseness into an art form - warbling and crooning its way, addictively. The surprises don’t stop there as Coen tackles Bob Wills’ “Don’t Let the Deal Go Down” – owning it, refreshingly so. “Accelerated Woman” is also his, casting his guitar playing in new light – turning the song into a blues jam worthy of any dark, seedy juke or dance hall. Brand this ‘Americana’ with a side of New Orleans to it – offering a surprising degree of swing and soulfulness across smart originals and traditional songs alike. A find!
Blues Lights for Yours and Mine (Soundview SP1003)
by JOHN BOTTOMLEY (BluesintheNorthwest.com)
“Blues should be the soup with the bone still in it and should also be so bad that it makes you feel good.”
So says Charleston-based singer-guitarist Davis Coen and this, his fifth album, is indeed a musical stew, one spiced-up with various style and influences, all of which is served up with his distinctive lazy yet gritty vocals.
This enjoyable set was recorded in Carrboro, North Carolina, mastered at Ardent in Memphis but really wants to come from New Orleans. The Big Easy vibe underlines much here in what is an intoxicating filler-free mix, the true strength of this diversity, in fact, only fully appreciated after a few plays.
But Coen surely had Memphis in mind with the title-track opener, a self-penned organ-driven slice of poppy soul. It isn’t long though before we’re in bayou country with the swampy “Mambo Jumbo,” another Coen original. He revisits Crescent City for a reworking of Professor Longhair’s “Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand,” Adrian Duke’s piano in the spotlight.
But all else showcases Coen’s far-ranging and accomplished guitar work. His fine bottlekneck technique highlights a refreshingly lively “Jack of Diamonds,” “Accelerated Blues,” surely penned as a Hooker tribute, has biting vocal in duet with spectral lead guitar.
“Since I Laid My Burden Down” is toe-tapping, hand-clapping effervescent gospel while the orginal bluegrass of Bob Willis’ “Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down” grows into a good-time country blues.
“CC Rider” and the glorious shuffle of the Coen original “Lordy Lord” highlight his acoustic prowess as he goes back to his roots.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Davis Coen - Blues Lights For Yours and Mine
Posted by Ben the Harpman at 10:11 PM
from "Juke Joint Soul"
Blues Lights For Yours and Mine
Run Time: 41:49
Davis Coen is an odd dichotomy of sounds. Having lived in the South during his formative years but starting his career in the folks houses of the Northeast, Coen’s voice and guitar show just how many musical demons roll around inside of him on his latest release. Using spare arrangements and seven covers, Coen paints a large swath on his musical canvas from Ragtimey Piedmont Style Blues, Mississippi Hill Stomp, New Orleans R&B, Gospel, and Folk.
“Basement with the Blue Light” kicks off the album and gives an old school soul meets sixties folk as Lance Ashely’s organ gives off the Booker T. Jones vibe. Coen’s voice is instantly recognizable. His voice sounds like the bastard child of Tom Waits and Randy Newman with a penchant for the laziness and slur of Lightnin’ Hopkins and Jimmy Reed. It lends itself well to many songs on the album, but on others at times comes off as off-key. “Basement” really gets sold on the old school soul vibe with some wonderful understated guitar on Coen’s solo in the middle.
“Mambo Jumbo,” another Coen original, gives off the air of John Lee Hooker meets Professor Longhair as the song’s chord structure stands still at times, much as the love life of the person he describes in the lyrics. Coen’s voice comes to be better suited to the well-traveled “Jack of Diamonds” which every pre-war artist and revivalist have touched from time to time. Coen’s whiskey moan and stinging slide guitar are well on display here. Coen’s progress slows a bit on “New Shoes Blues.” It’s a folky rag (think Country Joe & the Fish or Woody Guthrie) that stalls out, even in its short run time of about three minutes. The slow prod of the Mississippi Hill slow blues on “Accelerated Woman” drone on a little too long. Production would have been good to shut this six-minute behemoth down after about three minutes. However, the length of the song shouldn’t draw kudos away from Coen’s vocal and well-oiled guitar, with some snappy licks on the guitar that do help pass the time. Trever Coen, Davis’ brother holds down the bass and Joe Izzo on drums also hold down a nice palate of rhythm for the duration, as well.
Coen updates a Bob Wills’ swing song “Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down” into a very ragtime, almost Piedmont style blues tune. The track really demonstrates Coen’s ear for arrangement, and making a lot of these traditional songs sound like his own.
From Tracks 7-11, Coen reinvigorates many traditional and long missed tunes from America’s great catalog of roots blues. The New Orleans R&B of “Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand” and “Down In the Alley” show off the lazy delivery of Coen brilliantly. Both tracks also give pianist Adrian Duke ample room to show off his chops on the 88s. The double-edged sword of gospel and blues show their influence in Coen on “Lordy Lord” and “Since I Laid My Burden Down.” “Burden” shows off a hard driving and spirit-convicted vocal that Coen does not show on the rest of the album. It’s probably his grandest achievement vocally on the album. The overdone “C.C. Rider” gets a rare truth to the original recording here from Coen, with only him and his acoustic to carry the song. Though very familiar, Coen improvises some lyrics, again making it sound like his own.
For a young pseudo-revivalist hinged greatly on a variety of influence, Coen is the typical early 30s independent artist with a knack for digging up old songs and adding new tricks. His voice, his guitar playing, and ear for arrangement ultimately set him apart from the rest of the folks who are still paying there dues to get in the limelight. With more releases building on the strength of “Blues Lights,” Coen will eventually hit the big time’s radar.
Charleston City Paper
by Ballard Leseman
Blue Lights for Yours and Mine
Charleston songwriter and guitarist Davis Coen — a dedicated player who feels "the only true blues are the country blues" — regularly gets major props for his expressive and authentically bluesy rhythm guitar work and slide-lead style. However, listening to "Basement with the Blue Light" — the lead-off track on his new studio album Blue Lights for Yours and Mine — reminds how rich and soulful his singing can be. Coen may appear to be another scruffy, white guitar-slinger musician in the local scene, but he wails like a grizzled veteran. Recorded by Chris Wimberley at Nightsound Studios in Carrboro, N.C. and mixed at the legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis, the 11-song Blue Lights sounds more like a well-seasoned, full-band effort than last year's groovy, 13-song collection Ill Disposition.
With cool drum work from longtime Coen sideman Joe Izzo — and additional organ from Lance Ashley, bass from Ben Palmer, and piano from Trevor Coen and Adrian Duke — things roll along at a leisurely pace. There's plenty of New Orleans flavor in the originals "Mambo Jumbo" and "New Shoe Blues," and a heavy dose of country blues in swingin' renditions the ragtime-y "Don't Let Your Deal Go Down" and "Lordy Lord." He emulates the almost catty "lovin' man" vibe in a version of Professor Longhair's "Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand."
As with his previous efforts, Coen finds a funky spot in the balanced blend of R&B, Southern blues, and gospel styles, whether as a solo singer/guitarist, as a duo with Izzo, or with a full-band juke joint set-up. He sounds like a man doing what comes naturally. Blue Lights is one of the strongest Lowcountry blues sides of the year.
Davis Coen - Blues Lights For Yours And Mine
Davis Coen’s fifth album release Blues Lights For Yours And Mine shows the bluesman branching out from the country blues sound that is the center of his music and including Memphis and New Orleans flavors in addition to the strong down-home blues flavor that fans have come to expect from him. Coen is equal parts songwriter and interpreter and brings excellent readings of original and cover songs to this project.
His initial inspirations were Louis Armstrong, Big Bill Broonzy, Howlin’ Wolf, Jimi Hendrix, and Mississippi John Hurt, which gave Coen a deep launching pad for creating his own roots music gumbo. He also spent years as a solo act, honing his country and postwar blues chops over the course of countless gigs on the East Coast. With this latest release, Coen draws on influences as diverse as Tom Waits and Lightnin’ Hopkins to create his best batch of blues music yet.
Davis is a fine guitarist, with a soulful, non-showboating style, but the songs here are what really shine. “Basement With The Blue Light On” is his tribute to 60’s soul music and has an understated groove that pulls listeners in almost subliminally. The low-down and swampy “Mambo Jumbo” is possibly the best tune on the album and goes down like Rain Dogs-era Waits with a bit more guitar.
The whole set is really about vibe and groove and Coen ends up with a more original sound as a result than he would by going the guitar hero route. Less is more sometimes (most of the time, really) and Coen works that angle to great effect. Recent years have found Coen touring the world, playing in films, and contributing music to the DVD release of Martin Scorsese’s PBS special The Blues and deservedly so. Davis Coen has built a career the hard way, by being an artist, and his commitment to this music is apparent in every note he plays
Reviewed by Mike O'Cull
Exclaim! Magazine (Canada)
Blues Lights For Yours And Mine
By Eric Thom
With an uncanny vocal resemblance to Peter Wolf, young bluesman Davis Coen cements his entry into the fray with his fifth release. It’s a somewhat loose affair — the title track is built upon the back of Lance Ashley’s B3 and Coen’s own roughshod guitar noodling, his vocals are beyond relaxed and, at times, less than what might be expected professionally. Yet the second original track reveals a charm in all this rag-taggery, as Coen’s vocals bring life to “Mambo Jumbo,” the organ again flirting with carnie-like percussion. By Coen’s take on the traditional “Jack of Diamonds,” the relationship is set. Coen’s off-kilter use of slide guitar injects the potentially tired piece with new life and his rhythm section completes the picture. The music sounds highly impromptu as it takes on a country blues flair, revealing depth and ability that reveal themselves after the first few listens. “New Shoes Blues” adds Adrian Duke’s piano as Coen’s voice transforms looseness into an art form, warbling and crooning its way addictively. The surprises don’t stop there, as Coen tackles Bob Wills’ “Don’t Let the Deal Go Down,” owning it. “Accelerated Woman” is also his, casting his guitar playing in new light, turning the song into a blues jam worthy of any dark, seedy juke or dance hall. Brand this “Americana” with a side of New Orleans. (Soundview)
The Bloomington Alternative
'Blues and More' by George Fish
The pungent, keyboard-driven blues are at the heart of Davis Coen's Blues Lights for Yours and Mine, but so are other influences, including Memphis soul, gutbucket Mississippi Delta and other Southern Black blues, and even a taste of white country.
Indeed, this 11-track CD of four Davis Coen blues originals and one Professor Longhair New Orleans blues cover, a classic country song from early master Bob Willis, and five traditional songs, including two spirituals, make Blues Lights for Yours and Mine as much a folk album as a contemporary blues one.
Further, Coen, with his traditional guitar playing and raspy baritone voice with echoes of Jimmy Reed and John Lee Hooker, establishes himself as an able folk interpreter in that same way that the early Bob Dylan did; and indeed, Blues Lights for Yours and Mine reminds this writer very much of Bob Dylan's first two albums, where he mixed traditional folk with his original songs.
Four of these blues stand squarely in that New Orleans keyboard-driven tradition, with strong backing of organ, piano, and organ and piano together -- Coen's tribute to Memphis soul done as New Orleans blues, "Basement with the Blue Lights," his Latin-beat "Mambo Jumbo, his traditional blues-evoking "New Shoes Blues," and his remake of Professor Longhair's "Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand," with perfect Professor Longhair piano from Adrian Duke.
Brother Trevor Coen provides the rest of the piano on the tracks, and Lance Ashley the organ on "Basement with the Blue Light" and "Mambo Jumbo." Trevor Coen also provides electric bass on seven of the tracks, and Ben Palmer "doghouse" bass on three tracks, all backed with Joe Izzo on drums, giving the CD an substantive folk-rock rhythmic cast.
The sole pure acoustic track is the last, the traditional classic, "C.C. Rider." Davis Coen provides electric and slide resonator guitar throughout, and also vocals.
Blues Lights for Yours and Mine further gives us an original blues treatment of Bob Willis's country classic, "Don't Let Your Deal Go Down;" a blues-spiritual of praise for the Lord while the singer searches for his woman, "Lordy Lord;" the traditional spiritual of finding salvation and healing, "Since I Laid My Burden Down;" and a Delta blues original from Coen with bass and drums that's a most evocative tribute to early John Lee Hooker, and through him, all those great acoustic Delta blues singers and players before him, "Accelerated Woman," a play on Hooker's classic "Boom Boom."
Blues Lights for Yours and Mine is a solid, most able folk-blues album from a solid, most able folk-blues interpreter indeed.
Charleston Post & Courier
BY DEVIN GRANT
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Davis Coen —'Blues Lights for Yours and Mine' — Soundview
While most folks expect to find good blues music down on the Mississippi Delta or up in the clubs of Chicago, the fact is that the Lowcountry boasts its share of blues artists.
One of the best examples is Davis Coen, who is based in Charleston, but travels the country plying his craft. The guy has played with such blues luminaries as John Mayall, Junior Wells and Koko Taylor, so you know he's for real.
Possessing a rich voice that issues forth from his throat sweet and slow like molasses, Coen has released a string of well-received CDs full of genuine blues music.
Davis' latest, "Blues Lights for Yours and Mine," mixes four of the artist's original compositions with some choice traditional blues tunes.
Standout tracks include "Lordy Lord," Bob Willis' "Don't Let Your Deal Go Down" and Professor Longhair's "Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand," as well as Davis' own "New Shoes Blues."
Blues aficionados will recognize Coen as the real deal, and those who have not yet become familiar with his name would do well to start here on their way to becoming a true fan. No gimmicks, no flash, but rather just a generous amount of good blues music played by a true talent. (A-)
Download These: "New Shoes Blues," "Don't Let Your Deal Go Down," "Lordy Lord"