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BLUES REVUE - JULY/AUGUST 2011

We want to extend a big thanks to the good folks at BLUES REVUE MAGAZINE & Brian D. Holland for the absolutely smokin' review of Sonny Moorman's latest CD release, "More Live As Hell", in the current issue of Blues Revue.

(Just click the magazine cover to read the review online.)

Click the image below to read a copy of the review...

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Added 6/25/2011
2 reviews by Amazon.com TOP 500 Reviewer
RICK "SHAQ" GOLDSTEIN

MAY 26, 2011 -
MORE LIVE AS HELL
"LIVE-HEAVY-ELECTRIC-BLUES-BLUES-ROCK-STOMPER!"

JUNE 9, 2011 -
LIVE AS HELL
"SONNY'S ELECTRIC BLUES REFURBISHES HIGHWAY 61 WITHOUT ANY GOVERNMENT FUNDS!"

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In the best tradition of power trios, Moorman delivers the crunch and the wow!" -- Jim Hynes, Elmore Magazine

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"Live as Hell" the Sonny Moorman Group
Randy McNutt is the author of Guitar Towns: A Journey to the Crossroads of Rock ’n’ Roll and other music books.
The Sonny Moorman Group:
Continuing Cincy’s Blues-Rock Tradition

By Randy McNutt



The Sonny Moorman Group, Cincinnati’s premier blues-rock band, is back with another album, “Live As Hell.” Like guitarist Moorman’s previous recordings, this one won’t disappoint his growing number of fans.

He can flat-out play—and sing.

It’s encouraging today to pick up a recording made by real musicians—talented, enthusiastic players who are close to the people. These guys don’t need drum machines and the latest hi-tech gadget that’s necessary to disguise sloppy playing and off-key singing. But then the Sonny Moorman Group doesn’t need any gimmicks. All they need is a room filled with music lovers, and that’s exactly what the band gets wherever it performs.

Backed by the steady drumming of Dave Fair and the hot bass licks of Marc Hoffman (what a delight to hear them, too), Moorman wails through Bob Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited,” the rock classic “Whiter Shade of Pale,” and Lonnie Mack’s “Cincinnati Jail.”

Co-producers Erwin Musper and Moorman provide a clean, high-quality sound.

The trio’s musicianship is tight and they are obviously having fun with the 14 songs on this album, released by the independent Atlas Records. The Macon, Georgia-based label specializes in blues-rock, a field in which Moorman excels. (The band’s other Atlas recordings include “Crossroads Motel” in 2005 and “Supreme Special: Live at the Cincy Blues Fest!” in 2006.)

As a guitarist, Moorman gives a dynamic performance of Mack’s “Wham!” It’s no easy number to master, yet Moorman manages to place his personal stamp on the high-energy instrumental that was a hit for Mack on Cincinnati’s Fraternity Records in 1963.

I love “Wham!” Come to think of it, what I like about Moorman and his band is their appreciation for the past. While they stay firmly grounded in the present, they aren’t afraid to pay homage to blues-rock icons such as Mack and bassist Tim Drummond, whose “If You Have To Know” also appears on the album.

Since 1996, when Moorman (with the Dogs) recorded “Telegraph Road” for 706 Records in Memphis, he has been turning out carefully crafted recordings for the blues-rock audience. He has steadily built a following across the region and the nation, always giving credit to the older Cincinnati musicians who taught him to appreciate hot licks. So in a way, Moorman carries on the city’s blues-rock tradition by teaching even younger players what he has learned.

Sounds have been passed from blues giant Freddy King to Lonnie Mack to Sonny Moorman.

If you enjoy blues-rock, check out “Live As Hell” by Sonny Moorman, Marc Hoffman, and Dave Fair—the Sonny Moorman Group.

They are real players who make real music.

Randy McNutt is the author of Guitar Towns: A Journey to the Crossroads of Rock ’n’ Roll and other music books. http://www.randymcnutt.com/guitartowns.htm

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Cincinnati CityBeat : 10/12/2005
Mike Breen

Cincinnati CityBeat : 10/12/2005 : Locals Only: Local Disc-O-Mania

· THE SONNY MOORMAN GROUP ­ CROSSROADS MOTEL (ATLAS RECORDS)

Crossroads Motel is a fitting title for the latest from the Sonny Moorman Group. The trio has not only visited the cross section between Blues and Rock -- they've grabbed a room and set up camp for the long haul. (Hope they don't charge by the hour!) Moorman is a masterly guitarist and vocalist, well versed in Blues' various forms. But as Crossroads expertly shows, it's a fool's move to try to pin Moorman down to just one thing. The album kicks off with the crackle of old vinyl before kicking in full-bore for the slide-guitar and harmonica-drenched "Rainmaker," which is reminiscent of Alt.Blues revivalist The Black Keys in its riff-and-melody mirror imaging. After throwing stakes down in the Blues, Moorman and Co. jam the gears and skid into "I Forget to Forget You," a remarkable, highly melodic slab of Heartland Rock that wouldn't be out of place on your favorite Rock radio station. From there, the trio skips between roadhouse rumble ("Texas Blues"), sky-is-cryin' balladry ("Last Call"), Hendrixian expansiveness ("Remembering Cal"), creeping, smoky swingers ("Blues After Dark"), monstrous Riff Rock ("Chance We Take For Love," "House of Thunder") and reverential acoustic minimalism ("Souled Out"), never sounding like musical tourists at any turn. The Sonny Moorman Group is the full package -- ace chops, soulful vocals, proficient songwriting and a daredevilish adventurousness that not only helps make the band dynamic and multifarious, but also gives them a distinct identity in a field where distinctiveness isn't always evident, let alone celebrated. The Sonny Moorman Group plays Ivey's Pub Friday and Saturday.

Gritz Music Magazine, Summer 2005
Derek Halsey

The Sonny Moorman Group have followed up some good time live albums in recent years with a new studio effort that finds them kicking some blues-rock tail. The title cut exemplifies the rockin’ side of the band, while “Change My Mind” finds Sonny breaking out the wah-wah to good effect. “Texas Blues” is just that, Lone Star stomp that burns its groove into the wood, and “Last Call” has Sonny and his band mates, Marc Hoffman on bass and Jamie Combs on drums, slowing it down for some straight-no-chaser blues. Sonny also takes the time to pay tribute to his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio with “Remembering Cal,” a sendoff to the late and great jazz guitarist Cal Collins, and a bonus track, a live version of Freddie King’s “Hide Away,” a song King recorded in Cincinnati and made history with. Classify this CD as ‘Turn It Up.’ (Derek Halsey) Gritz Music Magazine

BLUES-L
Bill Shute

"[Moorman and his band] take the blues ethos, plant it in the garden of their own experience, and let it grow into something which is natural, unforced, blues-drenched, and rocks like crazy." -- Bill Shute, BLUES-L

BLUES ACCESS Magazine
editor

"Power Blues is an apt description for a trio that treads the territory laid out by ZZ Top, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and the Allman Brothers. Watch out for these guys." -- BLUES ACCESS Magazine

Hittin' the Note Magazine
Tom Clarke

"Moorman plays guitar with precision, conviction, and a natural flow. The...songs [on Telegraph Road] are chock full of sinewy lyrics and hooks that sink deep." -- Tom Clarke, Hittin' the Note Magazine

GUITAR Magazine
Buz Morrison

"[Moorman] can blister through metal blues, get raunchy with heavy slide, cry like an Atlanta Brave after the World Series, and be delicate and precise..." -- Buz Morrison, GUITAR Magazine

LIVING BLUES Magazine
editor

"Sonny Moorman...pounding, high-volume blues/rock that opens the throttle..." -- LIVING BLUES Magazine

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Sonny Moorman -- Live at the Cincy Blues Fest
Hittin' the Note Magazine -- by Bill Ector
      Live acoustic blues is one of God's great gifts to us, particularly when it is placed in the capable hands of Sonny Moorman. His live performance is captured on this 13-song CD that showcases some original songs alongside classic blues from Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Willie McTell and others.
      From the double Robert Johnson opening of "Kind Hearted Woman Blues" and "32-20 Blues," Moorman grabs the audience and has them in his pocket for the rest of this incredible night of music. Sonny's voice conveys the spirit of the blues perfectly, as do his finger-picking and slide guitar styles. There are two original songs  "Bad Woman Blues" and "Cincinnati Shuffle," named for Sonny's hometown -- that illustrate how he has learned from those who prececed him down the path.
      The traditional "Amazing Grace" is presented on slide guitar as an instrumental, and Sonny's playing is exquisite as it segues into "As the Crow Flies." The familiar strains of "You Got to Move," "Statesboro Blues" and "Rollin' and Tumblin'" get the listener jumping as Moorman takes on these historical numbers and makes them his own.
      Going back to Robert Johnson, Sonny leaves us with "Crossroads Blues" and perhaps one of Johnson's greatest songs, "Love In Vain." The pain in his voice is poignant and moving, and it is a wonderful way to wind up "Live at the Cincy Blues Fest." Sonny Moorman's award-winning blues is something you need to hear.   

Blues - the Buzz by Frank-John Hadley
DOWNBEAT Magazine June 2007
Sonny Moorman: Live at the Cincy Blues Fest! (Atlas 0008; 49:38) ***
(three stars)

Solo performer Moorman, singing and fingerpicking his acoustic guitars to an appreciative hometown audience, has his own sense of rhythm - robust, not relective - that allows him to get away with inhabiting hallowed old songs owned by greats like Robert Johnson ("32-20 Blues", three more) and Mississippi Fred McDowell ("You Got to Move"). Alert and assured, the torchbearer keeps every recieved complaint and observation interesting. Only two originals: the perfectly decent "Bad Woman Blues" and "Cincinnati Shuffle".

Moorman soars unplugged on new CD
Cincinnati Post November 16, 2006
By Rick Bird
Post staff reporter     

      For almost 15 years now, Sonny Moorman has been known as the area's premier electric blues rocker. Now he can lay claim to one of the finest local acoustic blues artists around with a new solo set, "Sonny Moorman: Live at the Cincy Blues Fest."

      Moorman has always done the occasional solo acoustic gigs but is more known for his classic electric guitar power trio with Marc Hoffmann (bass) and Dave Fair (drums). Moorman said he recorded his solo set at the July blues fest intending to use a couple pieces in a planned live double CD featuring the trio."It came out so good it got to be its own record," said Moorman, who indicated he still plans a double CD/DVD release with his full group next year.

      Moorman is at his angsty best on classic blues tunes such as "Kind Hearted Woman Blues," "Crossroad Blues" and "Statesboro Blues," and he reworks a great version of his autobiographical "Cincinnati Shuffle."On the CD, he's much more experimental, using four different styles of guitars, including some great twangy, intricate work on a lap guitar for "Statesboro Blues."Moorman's such a sizzling guitar player we often forget what a solid vocalist he is. His slightly raspy, soulful vocals stand out as much as his guitar work."Doing the solo acoustic stuff has probably made me a better singer, because I've learned not to sing as hard," he said. "I have a little better control, a little nicer vocal timbre. Now, when I do the band stuff, I don't shout as much. I'm singing more and shouting less."

      Moorman's behind-the-scenes co-star on the recording is Erwin Musper, the Dutch-born producer-engineer with world-class rock credentials (Van Halen, Scorpions), who settled in Northern Kentucky, building a home studio two years ago. Musper's engineering of Moorman's set is an incredibly warm and rich recording, not often captured on live projects.Moorman's CD is released on noted Macon, Ga.-based blues label Atlas, and Moorman has a management deal with Willie Perkins, the former Allman Brothers manager.

      Moorman plays tonight through Saturday at Burbank's, Sharonville. Indeed, as one of the hardest working musicians around, Moorman often gigs seven nights a week at area clubs and roadhouse bars."I will be playing until I'm rich," Moorman said with a laugh.