Tanzan Blue Vol.I: Ballads and Blues for Modern Listeners

With an unreserved mood and unbridled passion the debut compilation from Tanzan Music is an impressive and exciting release. Tanzan Blue Vol.I – Ballads and Blues for Modern Listeners brings together some of the finest artists on the label to offer a selection of songs borne of the blues, folk, and the most impassioned of ballads. Even if those areas of music do not usually spark the strongest reaction or enthusiasm the release has more than enough to make it a satisfying and enjoyable experience for most.

The album brings together music from the likes of Blueville, David Stockdale, Mario Percudani, Smokey Fingers, and Hungryheart into a mix which not only shows off the fine talents and songwriting of these artists but seamlessly places their songs side by side into a thoughtful and pleasing landscape of feelings and emotive atmosphere. There are always favourites within these kinds of compilations but with Tanzan Blue Vol.I you have one of the strongest and most consistently enjoyable collections in a long time.

The album starts off with the glowing heart of Love Letters In My Guitar Case by Italian band Blueville. The song is a blues slow burner which wraps its warm tender grooves laced with a gospel like elegance around the ear. The song bristles and pulsates wonderfully and is an immediate highlight to the release. The band top and tail the album, closing it off with Misery featuring the great vocals of Sherrita Duran, another great song though the opener has a definite edge.

Blueville have as members the equally talented Mario Percudani and Marco Tansini, and the album sees a double entry from both from their solo work. Percudani contributes the songs Don’t Bother Me and You Can Run. The first is a stylish blues rock pleasure bringing a vibrant jazz pulse from the excellent guitar and keyboard work. It is a song that is impossible not to be swept up by, the vocal harmonies with Elisa Paganelli soaring with mesmeric beauty. You Can Run is a slower but no less encapsulating piece with further stunning harmonies from this time Barbara Boffelli alongside Percudani and his stirring musicianship. Both songs show why he is in such demand as a collaborator, songwriter and producer, impactful and deeply pleasing music.

      Marco Tansini brings two songs to the release in the shape of White and Green, both blues grilled slices of guitar heaven. Tansini is one of those artists who even if guitar led music is not your general preference you can sit for hours being hypnotised by. Both songs on the release absorb the senses and his playing and compositions alone portray emotions as deep as any song with words dripping intent and passion.

The album also includes a double pleasure from American singer/songwriter David Stockdale. From Santa Barbara, Stockdale became a favourite with his recent album Dark Riders, and the two cuts from that placed in this release remind why he is one of the more vibrant and infectious artists out there in the blues/folk field.  Here Comes The Night is a captivating song with a slight country whisper running through it whilst Who a keen favourite of ours, makes an energetic and uplifting presence on the album. With the likes of Tom Petty, Dave Matthews and Crosby Stills Nash & Young as influences you can get a sense of the energy and depths of sound he brings forth.

A new band to us Ricky Ferranti & The Rusty Miles also have two songs on the album, the slow pacing Let Me Know and If You Say Goodbye. Another two songs that wear their hearts on their sleeves, the first standing tall with passion oozing from every pore from the great female vocalist featured and the second a ballad from the deepest corner of his emotions. Though both songs do not quite hit the mark like others it is more to their unfamiliar presence one suspects and they do make the want to hear more from them keen.

Completed by single tracks from the excellent Smokey Fingers with Sweet Tears and Hungryheart with You Won’t Be Alone, the album is a thoroughly enjoyable time. The Smokey Fingers song is rife with an openly familiar melody but still an irresistible treat whilst the Hungryheart song though not as impressive as their usual hard rock driven sounds is a welcome and fitting ballad to the release.

Tanzan Blue Vol.I – Ballads and Blues for Modern Listeners is a great and compelling album which not only show cases the great talent at Tanzan Music but brings a complete and thrilling pleasure to be fulfilled by. With so many great artists and songs on board it is an album all should welcome in to their day and hearts.


RingMaster 12/05/2012

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David Stockdale – Dark Riders

American Folk/blues songwriter David Stockdale has pleased audiences with his folk/blues music and albums for over a decade, sending his soulful sounds into eager hearts. With his fourth album Dark Riders released via Tanzan Music, he has returned with a new direction in his musics evolution.  Maybe direction is a bit dramatic but he has certainly expanded it with added pop and R&B sounds and across the release there is a pacier feel without any detriment to his trademark emotive essence lyrically and aurally.

Santa Barbara born Stockdale has brought an even deeper and attentive touch lyrically to his songs on Dark Riders, relating social themes and personal experiences with very adept skill and feeling. He gives the songs with his poetic words, a depth that behind the livelier sounds continues his reputation for bringing introspective and emotionally strong power into his music. Dark Riders has a freshness and familiarity that instantly endears itself to listener and brings one into its heart with ease.

From the opening grace of Here Comes The Night the album plays nicely within the ear. Stockdales vocals are smooth and full of feeling and he is immediately shown as an artist in confident control of his ability and vision. Behind Stockdale the delightful voices of Elisa Paganelli and Martha Tansini give a soothing and extra layer to the tone of this and each song, and whether on this mid pace opener, the ballad Oh To Be Loved or the poppy Boogaloo You the combination is eagerly welcome.

High As A Kite a song combining a soul groove and pop essences, is another to light up the senses with its easy flow, and the guitar of Marco Tansini, who also provides the album’s keys, bass, production and more, within it is a joy. He never overdoes things to become the focal point of any song but flavours them with distinct and exciting touches. The track is an example of the good variation within the album and even if your taste is for heavier and striking riff laden sounds there is plenty within Dark Riders to get enthused about.

Tracks like the touching Earthquake, the excitable and lightly bustling Who, plus closing song Right From The Heart featuring Sofia Fragile on backing vocals and another track that rings deeply with an honesty and truth most can relate to in some degree, show the strength of Stockdales writing and performance. Though this is not the kind of music that would be first choice on this reviewer’s daily playlist it is impossible not to become wrapped up in its flow and tender arms and certainly for all singer/songwriter fans David Stockdale and Dark Riders is worth more than a moment of your time.

RingMaster 23/02/2012

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