I first saw Erica Brown a few years back when she competed in the venue I run at the International Blues Challenge. An exciting performer who had talent in bunches. I also saw Dan Treanor’s Afrosippi Band perform in Memphis during the event a couple years later and was flat out floored by their presentation. So imagine my thoughts when this past year I discovered both Dan and Erica teamed up. This has got to be a killer pairing for sure. And it was. The band took third place overall in the band competition, putting on one of my most favorite sets in the finals in recent memory.
Now Dan Treanor’s Afrosippi Band featuring Erica Brown have released an album together titled Tangled Road Again and it is sensational. Dan is a blues historian, who has been awarded a Keeping the Blues Alive recognition from The Blues Foundation for his work with Blues in the Schools. The disc opens up with Dan explaining that the original blues came from field hollers and work songs and the band incorporates the use of African instruments such as the Khalam and gitjo. Erica takes center stage on the number in a call and response with the band chanting out “Who’s that walkin’ down a tangled road . . . ain’t nobody but me Lord, ain’t nobody but me.” It is a strong emotional number that sets the pace for this extraordinary album.
Erica’s soulful vocals shine throughout this disc, especially on tracks like “Nothing Can Take The Place Of You” and “Give Me Some Roses.” Merrian Johnson holds the lead vocals on four numbers and back-up voice on the album. She is also a terrific singer and holds more than her own on “You’re Going To Miss Me” and the closing cover of “Wang Dang Doodle.’
Tangled Road Again is very fresh music that explores the blues world in many fashions. Treanor plays mean guitar and blows strong harmonica, as evidenced on a tune like “Tell Me Daddy,” and haunting slide on “I Want Love.” Lionel Young offers his blues violin on the Louisiana-styled piece “Hey Mister” and The Subdudes’ John Magnie on accordion on the same song as well as on “I Want Love.” Erica Brown is a force to reckon with and it is most properly displayed as she belts out Koko Taylor’s “Ernestine” as she tells you women to stay away from her man or you’re going to suffer the consequences. And the way she delivers the message you’re sure to believe her.
Dan Treanor and Erica Brown are a great pairing. This album is already a favorite of mine for the year. Can’t wait to see what comes next. They’re having a ton of fun. You can see it when they’re on stage and it comes across on this fine recording, too.
By Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro © June 2013
Blues Editor @ www.Mary4Music.com
2011 Keeping The Blues Alive Award Recipient
Listening to any of Dan Treanor’s music makes it quite obvious that he is as equally knowledgeable, as he is fond, of the history of the blues. As a matter of fact, just last year he was presented a Keeping The Blues Alive Award, in the Educational Category, for his work with the Blues In The Schools Program. With a Masters Degree in American History; outstanding vocal, harp, guitar and songwriting skills; and the knowledge and love he has of this genre, this was easily a no brainer for the Blues Foundation.
On “Tangled Road Again”, the latest in a long line of Dan Treanor releases, The Afrosippi Band consists of: Dan on harp, guitars, Khalam and vocals; Erica Brown on lead vocals; Michael Hossler on guitar, lap steel, gitjo and vocals; Mike Wysocki on bass and vocals; Gary LaDuke on drums and percussion; and Merriam Johnson on lead and backup vocals. Guest Afrosippians include: Lionel Young on Violin; John Magnie on accordion; Dan Haynes on organ; Chuck Smith on keyboards, and Gary Flori on percussion.
The CD opens with the very intensely produced and presented title track, “Tangled Road”. As Dan’s narration goes: “Blues came from Africa a long time ago. Based in the African tradition of ring singing and call and response. Oldest kind of blues there is, it’s called a field holler or a work song”. With that said, Erica’s vocals – with some tremendous help on backup vocals – then transcends you right to the middle of that field. Bordering on bizarre, the culmination of the intense voices combined with the profound instrumentation and percussion create a near maddening effect. To say this was one hell of a moving song would be a severe understatement.
“Hey Mister”, whatcha gonna do? shouts Erica on the opening line of this track and from what I’m hearin’, my answer is “PAAAAAAARTY”! With Lionel wailin’ away on the violin, John squeezin’ the hell out of the accordion, Gary LaDuke making various noises on various percussion type things, and Dan blowin’ hell through the holes in the harmonica, it’s sounding a lot like Fat Tuesday in my house.
“Nothing Can Take The Place Of You” and nothing can take the place of good, slow blues. This beautifully done ballad’s filled with whispering rhythm, delicate harp tones, mellow guitar notes and wonderfully soulful and emotional vocals. The slow dancers will be in heaven with this one.
This time it’s Merriam with the explosive voice on a track called “Dynamite”. It’s one of those head bobbin’, toe tappin’ shuffles that just reeks of blues. Gary and Mike are in the right spot rhythmically, the guitar leads smoke, Dan’s blowin’, suckin’ and even grunting on intense harp leads and while that’s all going on Merriam’s belting the hell out of the blues. So much music – so little time. I never wanted this one to end.
If “Ernestine” knows what the hell is good for herself she’d better heed Erica’s advice and find her a man of her own. As mean as this vocal whooping is sounding I wouldn’t want to be her if Erica gets physical. Damn girl, you’re belting the hell out of this one. Dan and Michael are also all over this one with the harp and guitar as well. Great stuff!
The Latin vibe of “Love Knot” makes this another good one for the dancers….but you’d better have the moves, ’cause the song sure does. The smooth guitar and harp chords and the relaxed rhythm on the bass and drums create the perfect background for Gary Flori to work his magic on this tracks’ percussion. Once again, Merriam’s magnificent vocally.
In a word association exercise the words “Wang Dang Doodle” would most likely draw responses like Koko Taylor, Willie Dixon and Howlin’ Wolf. And rightfully so! However, responding with Merriam Johnson, Dan Treanor, or The Afrosippi Band, shouldn’t sound so far fetched… especially after you hear this version. It’s a classy rendition of a classic song with Merriam, along with superb backup, doing a stand up job on the lead vocals.
Other tracks on “Tangled Road Again” – a sure contender for the 2013 Blewzzy Award – include: “Tell Me Daddy”, “I Want Love”, “Bridges”, “Your (sic) Going to Miss Me”, “3 O’Clock In The Morning”, “Love Is Just For Fools” and “Give Me My Roses”.
You really should check out Dan Treanor atwww.dantreanorband.com. There you’ll be able to learn a lot more about this interesting man, purchase some CD’s and tell him his buddy the Blewzzman sent ya.
(then under CD/DVD Recensies – this review is in Belgian)
TANGLED ROAD AGAIN’ Tangled Road Again from Dan Treanor’s Afrosippi band featuring Erica Brown is a darn interesting and pleasant album. Actually, it’s a serious candidate for our End Of Year List. Treanor is a seasoned blues man and KBA winner for his work with Blues in the Schools. Erica Brown is nothing less than a fantastic energetic and soulful singer The nearly one hour long album consists of 14 songs, both Dan’s originals as well as neat covers. Opener is the brilliantly original ‘Tangled Road’, which instantly nestles itself between the best blues songs of the year! Automatically you will feel an emotional connection with the fields and its workers, suffering under the exploitation that was common in those days. It’s a magisterial song, intensely sung by Erica Brown and the answering choir. Dan’s love and knowledge of and for this music is dripping from this song. It’s a track that over here is on a constant ‘repeat’ and that is sung along loudly. Another song that in itself justifies the purchase of this album is the unreal great version of Koko Taylor’s beautiful ‘Ernestine’. Michael Hossler’s guitar play in this song can easily be called masterful. Erica Brown warns other women to stay away from her man and by the way she sings this you better believe her. The entire band, including the guest musicians, shine in this song. The violin by, yes, Lionel Young, and the accordion by John Magnie on Hey Mister prove this to the fullest. The enthusiastic harp play by Dan himself, and creative drum parts by Gary LaDuke, complete this song. The obligate breather is there with the excellent slow blues from Toussaint McCall: ‘Nothing Can Take The Place Of You’, sung emotionally with soft cheerful harp play. There is another great singer in the group: Merrian Johnson. This lady sings on the danceable ‘Dynamite’ and also does this wonderfully. She as well convincingly brings the slow ‘You’re Going To Miss Me’ by Hossler. Dan’s harp play again is right on, and that same Hossler kills it once more on his with Erica Brown co-written ‘Give Me My Roses’. Brown nearly narrates this track but what a beautiful song again. From the two songs that close this album, ‘Love Knot’ has a Latin feel to it, and honestly this is the least strong track on this release. Willie Dixon’s ‘Wang Dang Doodle’ is a dignified closer of this memorable album. I am not surprised at all that this group took third place in this year’s IBC. The added video clip does not provide the best sound quality but it gives an idea of the fantastic song ‘Tangled Road’. This album is an absolute must!
September 23, 2013
We are soon to be seeing the end of September and the official start of Autumn. Must say it’s great down in South Carolina, it is still in the high 80′s and sunny.
It’s always sunny when we start our week off with some tasty ‘Chef Suggestions’ – I don’t think it comes as a surprise to anyone following these that this weeks #1 slot goes to Dan Treanor’s Afrosippi Band with Erica Brown. A superb release, worthy of a BMA nomination please check it out if you have not already!
Blues Matters, the UK’s largest Blues Magazine reviews Tangled Road Again:
DAN TREANOR’S AFROSIPPI BAND WITH ERICA BROWN
Tangled Road Again
P&C Plan-It Records
The clue to the music within lies in the name. The Afrosippi Band offer a blend of both the traditional and the modern day blues. They are fronted by guitarist and harmonica player, Dan Trea…nor, who was taught to play the harp by fellow GI in the Mekong Delta, and he has since spent a lifetime of playing and living the blues. In 2012 he was the recipient of the Keeping The Blues Alive award from the blues Foundation. Right from the opening slide guitar and spoken statement that the blues came from Africa a long time ago, giving us R&B and Rock’N’Roll, this CD hits hard. Tangled Road Again is a straightforward field holler, a work song with call and response, but it is the voice of lead vocalist Erica Brown that shines through. This lady has the power and depth that could easily see her elevated to the ranks of Diva. The band is extremely well drilled and throughout is comfortable with either the up-tempo numbers or the emotionally charged soulful ballads such as Nothing Can Take The Place Of You. There is also a backing singer in the band who can front the vocals and who brings a slightly different dynamic to the microphone as shown in the rocker Dynamite or the hauntingly slow Your Going To Miss Me. Merrian Johnson is an accomplished vocalist and her version of Koko’s Wang Dang Doodle, menaces in the same way as the original. Cajun style inflects on Hey Mister with the use of violin and accordion and the accordion is used in a very haunting and stylish way on I Want Love. Together this is a quality release and one that all blues lovers should give a listen to.
Dan Treanor’s Afrosippi Band with Erica Brown
I first had the pleasure of meeting Erica Brown when she started singing with my friends in the legendary Denver band, Foreskin 500. That’s right! She sang on their last album, Starbent But Superfreaked! Pick up a copy and check it out, it’s pretty incredible! I could tell back then she had an amazing voice! So when a friend told me that she was performing at The Pearl St. Blues And Brews Festival this past weekend, I had to go check it out. Needless to say, as she came out on stage singing Tangled Road, I was once again blown away! I haven’t been that moved since I first saw Etta James up at Red Rocks back in the 80’s! Between Erica Brown and the incredible vocal talents of Ms. Merrian Johnson and the rest of The Afrosippi Band, they had the audience in the palm of their hand from the minute they hit the stage! Big thanks out to Mr. Dan Treanor, local Colorado blues guru, for putting together this band. They are SMOKIN’! I, for one, will be coming to see you a lot more in the future! Thanks for a stellar performance! Now, through the miracle of modern technology, you can watch the complete performance! The crowd was very drunk and rowdy (why is it every time a drunk white college guy sees a video camera, they have to make stupid faces in front of the camera and make an ass out of themselves???), got bumped A LOT, so it’s a little shakey in places. I still feel it documents the moment really well and it’s a great show! Special thanks to Dan Treanor, Erica Brown, Merrian Johnson and the rest of The Afrosippi Band for a great performance! Be sure to pick up a copy of the new CD, Tangled Road Again! If it’s anything like their live performance, it has to be good!
So, if you haven’t already, sit back, turn it up to 11 and get ready for a soul changing experience! Dan Treanor’s Afrosippi Band featuring Erica Brown live at The Pearl St. Blues and Brews Festival in Denver, CO an August 10th, 2013! This clip is brought to you for your educational and entertainment purposes from The Rev. Bob Archives. Always be excellent to each other and enjoy the show!
Musicians work very hard and get paid very little for the amount of joy and happiness they bring into our world. Always buy copies of music / CD releases from the band! Support the artist! Always trade / circulate live recordings freely! Never take financial gain from the fruits of an artist’ labor! That being said…
Rev. Bob’s Fair Warning!! You can copy it. You can trade it. But if I catch you selling it, I’ll kick your ass!
I almost forgot! Special congradulations to Dan Treanor and The Afrosippi Band for recently winning 3rd place in the Blues Foundation’s International (yep, that means world wide) Blues Challenge! Way to go guys! They obviously know talent when they see it!
Dan Treanor’s Afrosippi Band Featuring Erica Brown “Tangled Road”. Self Production 2013.Después de sus últimos e innovadores trabajos discográficos en los que mezclaba blues con raíces africanas, Dan Treanor nos deleita ahora con un cd autoproducido, donde el blues clásico y ortodoxo vuelve de su mano y la de su banda, la Afrosippi Band, con la inclusión estelar de la cantante Erica Brown, cuyas cuerdas vocales despiden fuego cada vez que los blues salen de su garganta. Erica es también un auténtico torbellino cuando sube a un escenario, despertando pasión con su enérgica puesta en escena y su entrega absoluta. El pasado mes de febrero Dan Treanor’s Afrosippi Band y Erica Brown quedaron clasificados en tercer lugar en el prestigioso International Blues Challenge (IBC), que anualmente organiza la Blues Foundation en Memphis, TN. Creo que el tercer puesto obtenido lo dice todo acerca de esta banda, que poseen un alto nivel de calidad y un sonido más que satisfactorio. Para los que no lo sepan decir también que Dan Treanor fue ganador del premio ‘2012 Keeping The Blues Alive’ por su importante contribución en la educación escolar de la música blues. MUY BUENO.After his last innovative recordings, where he mixed blues with African roots, now Dan Treanor delights us with a self-produced cd, where the classic orthodox blues comes back performed by Dan and his group, Afrosippi Band, including Erica Brown, a star singer whose vocal cords burst on fire whenever the blues goes out of her throat. Erica is a real hurricane on stage, she communicates passion and fever with her energetic performing and absolute commitment. Last February Dan Treanor’s Afrosippi Band and Erica Brown were ranked third in the prestigious International Blues Challenge (IBC) that every year organizes The Blues Foundation in Memphis, TN. This important recognition says everything about them, because now they have got a high quality level and a more than an excellent sound. I will also mention Dan Treanor won ‘2012 Keeping The Blues Alive Award’ for his important contribution to introduce blues music in schools educational programs. VERY GOOD.
Dan Treanor’s Afrosippi Band with Erica Brown releases “Tangled Road Again”
Release Date: May 14, 2013
Available at: http://www.dantreanorband.com/store.cfm
Dan Treanor’s Afrosippi Band with Erica Brown delivers an incredible mixture of Blues and Roots that is brimming with Fire and Soul on their new CD Release “Tangled Road Again.” The CD showcases the entire band–Erica’s powerhouse vocals along with Merrian Johnson’s sultry voice, resulting in an emotionally charged trip through the a Blues landscape. Afrosippi is far from a one dimensional band, they cut a path that is so wide it covers a rich array of Blues. From a downhome field holler to a smooth ballad to visions of Koko Taylor when doing 2 standards like Earnestine and Wang Dang Doodle. Erica IS the queen of the Colorado blues scene…and the rest of the band is as equally talented as Erica. Dan Treanor on harp, guitar and Khalam; Mike Hossler on guitar, lap steel and gitjo; Mike Wysocki on bass and Gary LaDuke on drums are all consummate pros at the top of their game. Mix in a little help from friends like blues violinist Lionel Young and the Subdude’s John Magnie on accordion and you get a remarkable collection of original music full of passion and the deepest love of the blues. This CD is the blues and nothing but the blues!
For more info on this CD go to www.dantreanorband.com