#23 Best Of 2017 Roots Music Report - Blues

From Smokin' Sleddog Records; Champagne bottles are popped...big congratulations to John Latini for debuting on the Top 50 Blues Album Chart at #12! ( just underneath Popa Chubby, Melissa Etheridge and The Fabulous Thunderbirds) He's also #1 on the Michigan Roots Music Report chart. Thanks to all the stations and programs that have been playing "The Blues Just Makes Me Feel Good"! A recent review of the record concluded with this good advice, "Throw in his songwriting skill and you have a three-tool player who has all the makings of a top tier talent...So if you would like to get in on the almost ground floor of a man who is a rising star in the blues, check out his website at http://www.johnlatini.com/ to pick up this first blues album (he also has some other tricks up his sleeve) or to find out where he’s going to play live." (Professor Johnny P) ” - Smokin' Sleddog Records

Roots Music Report Top 50 Blues Albums for the week of 1.14.17

Wrap up Paul Thorn and John Hiatt with barbed wire, roll 'em downhill in a steel barrel with Delbert McClinton's kick ass road band providing accompaniment for the proceedings. Vocalist/guitarist/ songwriter John Latini's first full length release is a shack-shakin', window bustin' blues party. Latini's muscular, rockin' blues grabs you by the throat from the get-go and won't let go. The Detroit-based Queens native has taken home the trophy for the Detroit Blues Challenge twice and his band the Flying Latini Brothers have been whipping Michigan audiences into a frenzy for years. Latini is a sneaky bastard, creepin' up on you with a slow roll on the opener, “Black Eyed Blues.” But when the horns kick in and the bass starts walking up your backbone, you realize you've been possessed. Latini's guitar Chuck Berrys you along for a few bars before tossing in some stinging Albert Collins licks. By the time this one struts to a close, you're up and prancing around the room, shaking your bidness in a most unseemly fashion. Latini inhabits Tom Wait's fractured larnyx for “Lord Made Me A Weak Man.” It's a love song of sorts, with Latini on the losing end, pining for his lost love : “She meaner than a buzzsaw/she chop wood like lumber jack,” he reveals backing his comments with a big foot stomp. But her departure seems to mystify him, as he's positive he's been providing her with some fine lovin': “I can tell from the hollerin' an screamin' I got that right,” he brags as Neal Donato's B-3 burbles agreement. As good as he is at providing good time get down party music, he's also one hell of a songwriter. “My Town Got A River And a Train” sounds like a Hiatt tune performed by Thorn, just a simple little travelogue through his adopted home town of Ypsalanti- until he eviscerates you with the last verse: “My town got a courthouse/my town got a bar/ a Simple symbioisis/ that crates a Shangri-La/ some lawyers will drink whiskey, some drunks will drive a car/so my town's got a courthouse and a bar.” “Gotta Have My Babies” is a a big-band romp with a Texas roadhouse feel, plenty of honky-tonk gee-tar twang wrapped around a roll call of down-home beloved ones of the moment including good ole girls Martha Raye, Georgia Lee, Loretta Joe, Carol Brown, Jamie Sue, and Lenora Jane : “I got so many babies its a wonder I remember all their names,” Latini growls. This is a great find, every cut a pleasing earwash that spreads quickly through your suddenly not so nervous system curing stuff you didn't even know was wrong witcha. Your prescription is ready-come and get it.  ” - Grant Britt

No Depression

One thing I can say about John Latini’s new album, The Blues Just Makes Me Feel Good: Damn! This guy has an amazing voice, a resonating baritone that handles blues, soul, and good old fashioned rock and roll with ease. It’s one of those voices that you can get lost in the layers and you discover subtle nuances with every re-listen. That’s not even mentioning his guitar playing. He handles that with alarming simplicity – while the runs he uses would be daunting to the average player, he has the dexterity and style to make it all look easy. Throw in his songwriting skill and you have a three-tool player who has all the makings of a top tier talent. So far, this CD has been my only contact with Latini, but after listening to it, I feel confident that he is one of those performers who finds a way to connect with his audience – whether it’s live or via the album – and brings them along on a great musical ride. In many ways he reminds me of an early John Prine or Steve Goodman with his troubadour style story songs, and also his stylish turns of phrase. On The Blues Just Make Me Feel Good, Latini wrote all but two of the thirteen songs and he handles the lead vocals, plays guitar and percussion. Latini is based out of Michigan, a state with a long connection to the blues. Many of the early players worked their way up to Detroit where they worked day jobs in the auto industry and played the blues at night. A lot of country players did the same thing, and somewhere along the line they cross pollinated and heavily influenced each other. This album follows those lines. Aside from Latini, the other musicians include Nolan Mendenhall on vocals, bass, and percussion; Brian Roscoe White on guitar and percussion; and Todd Glass on drums. Horn arrangements are by Al Hill on two tracks and Ross Huff, Nolan Mendenhall, and Latini on three. Special guests include Jamie-Sue Seal and Greg C. Brown on vocals; Neil Donato and Dale Grisa on keys; Ross Huff on trumpet; Tim Haldeman on sax; and Bethanni Grecynski on trombone. The song that starts off the album, Black-Eyed Blues, employs a nice guitar riff to get us into the song. At first, it seems like it’s going to be a little autobiographical as Latini describes what he can do musically.  Suddenly it veers off into left field as it describes the consequences he endues for being out all night. Fun lyrics.   Next up is the gospel infused, Lord Made Me A Weak Man. This is a song with some seriously strong emotion. I really like Latini’s vocals, they are very strong. Neil Donato does a nice break on the keys. Latini follows up with a slow languid blues number Three AM. It’s the first song on the album not written by Latini. This one is penned by Dave Boutette. There is a nice build up to the crux of the song along with a good back beat shuffle with the rhythm section. Talk about your metaphors… The next number is the only other one not written by Latini, but this one is written by a relative, Michael Latini. Woodchuck Blues is a down and gritty number with a whole lot of swampy overtones. It’s a cool story song that features Elvis and his black Oldsmobile versus a woodchuck. Just to prove he can get a little funky, Pull Me Up fires up the keys and horns to give you the kind of groove that makes you want to move. It may have a strange title, but Rutabaga Cheesecake is a very swampy number. The thrust of the story is Baby’s gone and the cupboard’s bare. Talk about your metaphors… Next up is the title track, The Blues Just Makes Me Feel Good. It’s got a nice sweet moderate pace with just a little swing. It’s good to have a blues song that is kind of optimistic. Broken Man uses a similar moderate pace that builds to a swing before dropping back. Latini is experimenting with a few different styles, but they are all unified by his playing and his voice. Some of the best lyrics are in My Town’s Got A River And A Train. It has a languid, slow build and a true swampy feel. The picture he paints is desolate, but that makes this such a wonderful blues song. Latini switches gears on Gotta Have My Babies, a swinging up tempo number. This song is dedicated to all of the women he loves. This one has got to get them out on the dance floor. He follows up with a song with a cool little swing beat, Too Good To Be True. This one has some very nice harmonies. Do you remember the story of how Roy Orbisson matched the beat of Pretty Woman to his wife’s walking out of the house? Here, Latini’s Walkin’ Woman has a nice driving beat and you can definitely hear the footsteps in the drums. Nice touch at the end. The album concludes with a clever song, I Will Be Haunting You, a swampy number of what he’s going to do after he’s gone. It’s a good way to end things, but if you’re like me, you might just hit that repeat button for another go-round. So if you would like to get in on the almost ground floor of a man who is a rising star in the blues, check out his website at http://www.johnlatini.com/ to pick up this first blues album (he also has some other tricks up his sleeve) or to find out where he’s going to play live. Posted 4 days ago by John Labels: Al Hill Bethanni Grecynski Brian Roscoe White Dale Grisa Greg C. Brown Jamie-Sue Seal John Latini Neil Donato Nolan Mendenhall Ross Huff The Blues Just Makes Me Feel Good Tim Haldeman Todd Glass ” - Professor Johnny P

Professor Johnny P's Juke Joint

Hmm. Tis the season to be reminiscing about cool discs that came our way over the course of 2016 – some by stars, some by people who aren’t well known at all. Kudos for lyrics also go to Michigan-based John Latini for the title track to The Blues Just Makes Me Feel Good (Smokin’ Sleddog). His “My Town’s Got a River and a Train” is the only blues song I’ve ever heard that uses the word symbiotic.  ” - Bruce Sylvester

Goldmine - The Music Collector's Magazine

SMOKIN' SLEDDOG JOHN LATINI/Blues Just Makes Me Feel Good: A white boy from Detroit that's got the blues so bad that he's soaked up loads of local blues awards and accords, this guitar slinger knows how to keep the roadhouse rocking all night without the cops shutting it down for disturbing the peace. Mostly a laid back, easy rolling kind of guy, he's got his show blues down righteously and he don't need no cotton fields in his back pages to make him authentic. Smoky, after hours stuff done right. 16584 ” - Chris Spector

Midwest Record

2017-01-12 I love it when we can get some local blues musicians making some headway. John Latini is a Detroit native, and has won several awards for Songwriting, and a couple film music awards as well for composition. With being such a good writer, which is a unique trade there in itself, adding to the mix that he can rock it out on Guitar and play some deep down soulful blues to adds to the resume. I loved everything about this debut album. Very similar to some of the great blues musicians like Buddy Guy, and John Lee Hooker, at least in terms of the Guitar playing and the music itself. Very solid, check out tracks 1, 4, 5, 6, 11, and 12.. review by Matt WYCE Journalism Club” - Matt, WYCE Journalism Club

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet - WYCE / GRCMC