This album is a compilation of RJ Knapp's original, rocking, humorous, old school and heartstring blues. RJ will blow your mind with original vocal styling and his electrifying guitar picking - as he says in his song, I Call It The Bluz..."Bending strings for all their worth is my only joy!" And man, ain’t it the truth.
Chicago born RJ Knapp, is a 30 year veteran of the Seattle music scene, and has played music ranging from Classic Rock, Top 40, to Soul, Funk and Blues, from California to Canada. Second only to his phenomenal guitar playing skills, are his song writing abilities.
By his side is the smooth and sultry voice to the Bluz - Robin "Honey Robin" Mahaffey – who is setting the Seattle blues scene ablaze and will take you to that place where hearts are soaring, and crying comes easy.
Classically trained bassist Robert Baker, one half of "The Engine Room" that runs this group, spreads his licks over the bottom of every song, like real butter on freshly baked bread – you just want more.
RJ Knapp, Guitar and Lead and Backup Vocals
Honey Robin, Lead and backup Vocals
Robert Baker, Bassist and Backup Vocals
“Rick J Bowen, Drums and Backup Vocals on this CD”
released October 12, 2012
ROOTS MUSIC REPORT, WASHINGTON, BLUES:
RJ Knapp & Honey Robin, Don’t Blame the DYNAMITE, Critical Sun Recordings.
#5 the week of Nov. 24, 2012
#12 for week of December 7, 2012
#12 week of December 14
#8 week of January 4, 2013
#8 week of January 18, 2013
REVIEW: DEEP ROOTS, February 19th, 2013
Hard, Stomping and Merciless
by David McGee
DON’T BLAME THE DYNAMITE…IF YOU CAN’T LIGHT THE FUSE
RJ Knapp & Honey Robin
Critical Sun Recordings
You might gather from the title of RJ Knapp & Honey Robin’s new album that subtlety is of secondary concern here. Chicago-born but a mainstay of the Seattle scene since 1972, guitarist-lead vocalist Knapp has assembled a quartet that plays blues—or “bluz” as it’s spelled in the titles of four of the original tunes here—hard, stomping and merciless, kind of a cross between the Windy City’s bruising urban blues and ZZ Top’s southwestern sizzle. In addition to playing fierce lead guitar, RJ also handles lead vocals on most of the tracks; suffice it to say he’s not trying to impress you with the versatility or beauty of his singing voice. His is a deep, dark growl of a voice, not pretty but an instrument demanding attention be paid (you’ll hear echoes of the great southern sage Darryl Rhoades, of Hahavishnu Orchestra fame, in RJ’s swagger, and some of young Hank Jr.’s bravado).
But RJ’s sure enough got the blues, or bluz, in a bad way. He comes thundering out of the gate with “I Call It the Bluz,” a simple explanation his scorched earth policy when it comes to his preferred musical style, complete with a wailing, upper neck Strat solo of the type he promises in the song. In the stomping “If the Bluz Was Money,” he imagines the luxuries that would be his if he could translate his woes (some of which stem from unemployment) into cold, hard cash (“if them blues was bullion/I’d be livin’ in Fort Knox/I’d be layin’ on them gold bars/not just this pile of rocks”), with a southern-style responsive chorus seconding his testifying. In one of the album’s more somber moments, the easygoing shuffle titled “Bus Stop Bluz,” RJ bemoans his proclivity for always “standing where I shouldn’t have been/in the wrong place at the right time” and missing out on something good, as Rick J. “Dr. Demo” Bowen supports his vocal and spare guitar with laid-back brush drums. Of course, what’s the bluz without some mean women to take to task? So it is that “Don’t Walk on Me” is RJ’s time to lash out furiously at a deceitful, lying distaff partner, as his guitar slashes and moans and the drums thunder.
The band’s other voice belongs to “Honey Robin” Mahaffey (“The Canary”), who brings a strong, assertive presence to her spotlight moments. Her moody “Ready for Times” is the dark, languorous confession of a woman who has had quite enough, thank you, of bad luck in her life and looks towards a brighter future, however bone-deep hear weariness sounds. Her other big moment is on “Hole in My Heart,” a thick, roiling blues with a spacey feel, not unlike some early Big Brother blues ballads, with Honey Robin assaying the emotional devastation of a failed romance (“it hurts so bad every day and night/everyone tells me it’ll be alright/but they don’t live with all this heartache and pain/knowing you’ll never hold me again”). Like RJ, Honey Robin’s technical gifts are not overwhelming, but her presence as a vocalist brings an urgency to her performances that more paint-by-numbers singers cannot approach.
Basic, solid blues from a basic, solid band. Guaranteed to please. Hey, don’t blame the dynamite…
12/6/12 REFERENCE FROM RANDY OXFORD OF THE RANDY OXFORD BAND:
"RJ Knapp and Honey Robin understand what it is to engage and entertain an audience from beginning to end.Not only have I seen them start their show by entering a Festival on their Harley's, but they tend to open every show with a unique entrance. Their ability to follow up with a great show is what separates them from most. They are a class act, a very entertaining show full of original music and fun and they are a must see show"
The Randy Oxford Band
Big Sky Blues Festival
• Top 50 APD Blues Albums - Last Week, (as of 8:04pm Tuesday, December 4th 2012) #32 out of 50 (Blasts to 1800 radio stations)
BLUES UNDERGROUND NETWORK PODCAST AND CD PICK OF THE WEEK THROUGH NOVEMBER 24TH; Blues Underground Network's CD Pick Of The Week November 18-24, 2012 John Vermilyea RJ Knapp & Honey Robin's new CD, Don't Blame The DYNAMITE...If you can't light the fuse!, made the Blues Underground Network's top 10 CD's for the year 2012, and for December's top picks.
REVIEW, CHRIS SPECTOR, MIDWEST RECORD:
RJ KNAPP & HONEY ROBIN/Don't Blame the Dynamite if You Can't Light the Fuse: Don't tell this old white guy in Seattle he don't have the blues. He'll round up a bunch of his biker buddies and show you who has the blues. A power blues show band relying heavily on originals, this bunch is a gasser that really know how to being the electric, amped up bluz (their word). No fair, Knapp probably bugged my phone and knew in advance I'd be partial to a record with a song called "Son of a Mother F... B...(sorry had to edit that part, and SOMFB doesn't quite stand for that...Honey Robin edit)". This bunch will get your blood flowing and keep you up all night. Once again we find the future of the blues is in good hands. Hot stuff.
Lake Zurich, IL.
REVIEW, ERIC STEINER FOR WA BLUESLETTER:
I first discovered local bluesman RJ “Blues Master” Knapp when his 21st Century Bluzmen competed in the fourth semifinals of the Washington Blues Society’s International Blues Competition at the Oxford Saloon in Snohomish, Washington in 2011. I was impressed by the way he powered through an original set that tilted heavily toward blues rock, and I could tell that his influences ranged from Led Zepplin and Black Sabbath to Popa Chubby. RJ’s set featured high energy, plugged-in, and wonderfully over-the-top guitar histrionics thanks to the Blues Master.
If you enjoy full-throttle blues powered by solid electric guitar, you’ll enjoy Don’t Blame the Dynamite… If You Can’t Light the Fuse. The straight-ahead country blues on “If the Bluz Was Money” relies on the spot-on rock steady beat from the considerably talented engine room of Rick “Dr. Demo” Bowen and “Rob “Powder Monkey” Baker on bass, punctuated by the Blues Master’s fluid slide work. “Hole in My Heart” gives RJ a chance to stretch with some opening, low-key licks that frame Honey Robin’s sultry vocals, and his inspired noodling up and down the fretboard shows that, as a guitar player, he’s much more than a three-chord power player. RJ’s been around the Seattle blues scene since the early 80’s, and he’s earned the nickname “Mr. Bluz” by paying his dues in Pioneer Square clubs. RJ’s inventive songwriting and innovative guitar playing are front and center on this CD.
Since that International Blues Competition at the now-closed Oxford Saloon in downtown Snohomish, RJ and his band have played at the Big Sky Blues Festival in Noxon, Montana, and returned to the Blues to Benefit the Brave benefit held in Snohomish County in 2011 and 2012. I hope that this CD will get RJ, Honey Robin, Rick, and Rob more attention and more gigs throughout the Pacific Northwest. Their CD release party was held on December 7th at Cyndy’s Broiler in Stanwood, Washington, and I hope that we can feature the magic of that night in a future Washington Blues Society Bluesletter.
Listen to clips from the CD below. After you check out the 15 (yes, 15!) cuts on the CD, please tell your favorite blues club that this Bothell, Washington-based blues outfit can really put on a show!
FESTIVAL PERFORMANCE REFERENCES:
Big Sky Blues Festival, Noxon, MT; Blues to Benefit The Brave, Arlington, WA (2hrs); Freedom Fest, Ebey Island, WA(2yrs); Mount Rainier Arts Festival, Ashford, WA; Taste of Music Festival, Snohomish, WA; Washington Blues Society International Blues Challenge, Snohomish, WA
, CHEFJIMI – JIMI AWARDS 2012,
One of the Coolest Release Titles for 2012:
JR Clark: “Icicles On My Ceiling”
Mighty Sam McClain: “Too Much Jesus (And Not Enough Whisky)”
Kenny Kearney: “Ghosts of Psychedelta”
Paula Harris: “Turning On The Naughty”
RJ Knapp & Honey Robin: “Don’t Blame The Dynamite…If You Can’t Light The Fuse”
Some great titles here, but gotta go with Mr. McClain’s.
Radio Interview onThe Blues Note, KSVR.org
Interview 12/5/12: Tune in to The Blues Note with Janice tonight at 10pm (PST) on KSVR 91.7fm / KSVU 90.1 fm or go to KSVR.org
and listen in via the live stream.
Radio Interview, Friday, January 11, 2013, with Host -Robin K, at KSER, 90.7, on Audio Indigo.
Scheduled interview: February 14, 2013: Clancy’s Bar & Grill, Host - Clancy Dunigan,
(Clancy was awarded Blues DJ of the Year by the Washington Blues Society at their annual "Best of the Blues Awards" April 19th.)
KBOO Radio, Portland, Or = Tom Wendt, Added CD to their KBOO library. Blues Power and Blues Junction (Second & Fourth Saturdays, 2:00pm - 4:00pm
KRVM, 91.9 Breakfast Show, Kim Almasie, Eugine, Or. 11/10/12: Hi Honey, I received your CD last week from RJ and gave you some airplay on 91.9 KRVM yesterday morning. Thank you! I played SOMFB and Bus Stop Bluz. :) Kim
Blues Jazz Radio: There was a bit of a problem at the station, but I have been assured that these songs will be played back-to-back, tonight on www.bluesjazzradio.com
(not necessarily in this order) Re Brett Lewis Ringgold (And they did play) firstname.lastname@example.org, Songs played:
Ready for Times
Bus Stop Bluz
If The Bluz Was Money
Hole In My Heart
I Call It The Bluz
Band: RJ Knapp & Honey Robin
Album: Don’t Blame the DYNAMITE…If you can’t light the fuse!
PACIFIC COAST time of 6:00pm, or 9:00pm EAST COAST time.
INLAND EMPIRE BLUES SOCIETY support:
Name: Tommy Hayes
Subject: 2013 Wallace Blues Fest.
Message: We lit the fuse, dyno MITE, thank you for the cd. We played it at the
18th annual blues awards in Spokane on 11/8/12 everybody loved it.
Inland Empire Blues Society
Andy Hall, Music YOU DON’T HAVE, BUT SHOULD:
I checked out your music and enjoyed it very much. With your permission, I would like to include "I Call It The Bluz" on the 12/8/12 episode of "Music You Don't Have, But Should." The show will be Saturday, 12/8, at 8:00 PM EST, at www.musicyoudonthave.com
, iTunes, Stitcher, Podbean, and LearnOutLoud.com
THERHYTHMICLOUNGEMAGAZINE: Full page feature, January 2013. Website: www.therhythmiclounge.com
- Issuu: issuu.com/therhythmicloungemagazine
Hello Honey Robin,… will be placed in our next issue. (January, 2013)
CEO/Owner|The Rhythmic Lounge
THE INDEPENDENT MUSIC AWARDS: has reviewed four songs entered in the IMA competition for this year. They were: Hole in My Heart, Moan dem Bluz and If The Bluz Was Money and Bus Stop blues.
CLIMBING THE CHARTS ON REVERBNATION! #10