In four previous albums West Tennessee native Elam McKnight has succeeded in accomplishing a number of things. His first release breathed life into the sometimes stale and tobacco stained “bar band” blues scene. The second one scored some blues chart time in both America and abroad. His third one earned a Best Blues Song award from the independent music awards. Each album met with more success and more critical praise. The music world was his rootsy and bluesy oyster. But then something changed. Elam was inspired by an interview he read from Cormac McCarthy who stated something along the lines of he had no time for authors who did not deal in the truths of life. Elam decided to take a look at his own life. While his previous works had garnered fanfare and acclaim and made Elam a household name in independent blues circles, they had also served to typecast him and his music. He wasn’t getting into the parties that didn’t have a blues soundtrack to them. This didn’t fit with how Elam viewed himself as an artist. He decided that he was going to release all of his music. He wasn’t just going to cater to everyone else’s expectations of him. Elam’s latest album, Made to Fall, is a product of this decision. It spreads out sonically and stylistically in a way that the others have not. The album features songs that would easily be at home on indie rock/alternative/country/oldies stations. Case in point, stand out single “Glow” which sounds like something that a toned down radio rock band would end an album with (give ‘em something different, give ‘em what they love). Or “A Little Bit of Love” which is a 70′s inspired acid rock track that would flow perfectly as a b-side to a Doors song. Or the catchy sing-a-long country-pop of “We All Fall Down.” These three, plus the seven others that adorn the album, have been cooking in Elam’s system for a while. They’ve been waiting for just the right moment to be carved up and served. That time has finally come. The album is set for release next month.” - Tender Branson

Write.Click.Cook.Listen

Elam McKnight & Bob Bogdal: REVIEWS   ELAM McKNIGHT & BOB BOGDAL: Zombie Nation   Desert Highway Records BBH0004 (42:09)   This intriguing CD title initially suggested that it could be a political metaphor for the UK until the recent riots started; however, it is a CD of some very enjoyable and diverse musical styles from two Americans who have a firm grounding in the blues. Opening with a southern rock guitar riff that Creedence Clearwater Revival would have given their eye teeth for, McKnight’s guitar playing and Bodgal’s harp propelled along with Tom Hambridge on drums is exhilarating and refreshing. Interestingly there is no bass playing and half the album consists of mid to up-tempo blues and blues rock. As a pleasant contrast there is some lovely down home resonator guitar and harmonica playing on such as’19 Days’, a tribute to alcohol misuse, and ‘Hocus Pocus’. Other well crafted lyrics can be found on the inventive ‘I Hate You’, and overall this is an enjoyable, entertaining and highly satisfactory album. These are two musicians to watch out for and if you do get a chance to listen to this album you will not be disappointed.   Paul Mooney   Phil Wight Reviews Co-Editor - Blues & Rhythm Magazine 39 Dundas Crescent, Eskbank, Dalkeith, Midlothian EH22 3ES Scotland, UK   Paul Mooney - Blues & Rhythm Magazine (Aug 22, 2011)   Press/Media Reviews       ELAM McKNIGHT & BOB BOGDAL, “Zombie Nation” (Desert   Highway) ✰✰✰1⁄2   — Accomplished blues musicians Elam McKnight and Bob Bogdal have joined forces in hopes of expanding their respective fan bases. And if the excellent “ZombieNation” is any indication, the strategy should pay off for them.   This 10-track collection blends Delta and Hill Country blues and allows both principals to showcase their skills. Among the many highlights here are “Pojo’s Place,” “Blues Make Me Happy,” “Zombiefication,” “No Hard Feelings,” personal favorite “I Hate You” and “Hocus Pocus.” If you’re a fan of the blues, this is a worthy addition to your collection. And if you’re not, I’d still urge you to give McKnight and Bogdal a spin.   (JS)Pittsburgh Daily News       “This music kicks ass, like Hill Country blues on steroids! You guys rock, but the music is blues all the way – played in a raw and intense manner, very deep. With so many cool songs under your belt I am sure you will see the “Zombie Nation” disc on a lot of radio playlists worldwide, congratulations.” --- Przemek Draheim, National Radio (Poland)       “After considerable spins of Elam's Supa Good, this album takes his guitar-centric songwriting up a step in both presentation and production. While it is a trend of sorts for modern busted blues duos and trios to forego having a bassist, here it allows two walls, one of guitar, one of harp, to occupy a large sonic window that is paved with chords, licks and riffs, setting off Tom Hambridge's drums as the sole supplier of staccato in this ensemble. Both Bob and Elam keep their performances tied to the songs with grandstanding happily absent, and sound like they've spent the last 15 years playing their way out of back alley brawls.” --- Dave Gallaher Host of Talkin' the Blues on WLRH FM       “Elam McKnight is the future of the blues. Zombie Nation is a breath of fresh air in a sometimes stale Blues world. Elam McKnight & Bob Bogdal march to their own beat, and that beat gets my toe a tapping and leg a moving" --- Robert Lynn KSPQ-FM West Plains,Mo       “Exceptional "blues music" from the delta. Some of the best traditional blues music available.”--- Delta Frank, WGLT FM, Normal, Illinois       “Just to let you know, we be DIGGIN' this fine CD "ZOMBIE NATION" on EIGHT TO THE BAR WITH TARR! I'm having great listener response and I’m playing every track. Keep on keeping it Blue...”--- Les Tarr, Eight to the Bar with Tarr, KMFB 92.7 96.7 FM Mendocino, CA       “You did a fantastic job on your album...it's a real smoker!”--- Steve Cagle, Blues Spectrum, KVMR San Francisco, CA       “blues songs should be like this: nice tight drum beat, feat harmonica work, and then that delicious voice of Elam McKnight.” (8 out of 10 stars.)   --- Geschreven door Nathalie Bauland, Maxazine (Netherlands)       “A hard but straight forward blues sound is what you can expect from these guys. With a guitar in overdrive and a blues harp that finds its way through the fuzz box its quite easy to imagine what the sound is on Zombie Nation. Sweat-nasty, Kick-ass blues with wailing harmonica, boogie piano and deep southern slick guitar picking is of course another way to describe it. Zombie Nation has nothing to do with the film genre referred in the title, however it is the first and truly exceptional venture between two great blues artists. Somehow I do hope that this is the first of many albums to come.” (4 out of 5 stars.) --- Mr. Blue Boogie Billy Bop (Belgium)       “ I loved Elam McKnight’s previous release, Supa Good, but I think Zombie Nation (Desert Highway Records), his recent collaboration with Bob Bogdal, may be even better. Let’s just call his newest release “Supa Gooder” and be done with it. McKnight’s previous three releases have all earned raves for their originality, fire, and grit, and Bogdal’s previous release was a haunting expansion of the Hill Country sound (Under the Kudzu). Zombie Nation sticks to the basics….no bells and whistles here…just a scorching set of blues that will rock your world. These guys complement each other so well; you would think they were joined at the hip. Let’s hope that Zombie Nation doesn’t prove to be their only collaboration. Seek this one out at all costs. “ --- Graham Clarke, Blues Bytes       “We are faced here with a fantastic release. This "Zombie Nation" is the result of a collaboration between two exceptional blues talents. For this cooperation, the two gentlemen for their inspiration to rummage in the great traditional Mississippi Delta blues and traditional blues sound is covered in the Hill Country and damn! Saying ‘this combination seems to work’ is an understatement. A right up front blues sound thunders from the speakers. Nothing of frills, hard and direct with a guitar in overdrive and brilliant harmonica work are the thread running through this album. But what are we impressed with McKnight's work on the quoted Resonator! alone with the bar-blues harmonica Bogdal of such an exceptional level that we will not hesitate to put forward this CD as one of the best we have in this genre in recent years have been allowed to listen. We can only hope that the masses with this album to explore the men go back and look for their earlier work. These bluesmen pure and our admiration for this piece is great!” --- Luc “Bluesyluc” Meert Roots Time (Belgium)           “Zombie, zombie - man there’s zombies everywhere.” Sounds like a bit of dialogue from some 1970s-era “B” movie, doesn’t it? If that were the case, one could imagine screams of terror and maybe even a gunshot in the background. But in this particular case, that line isn’t culled from a black-and-white George Romero flick. It’s the opening line from “Zombiefication,” one of the standout cuts on the new album from the Tennessee-based blues duo, Elam McKnight & Bob Bogdal. Appropriately enough, that album is titled Zombie+Nation (Desert Highway Records). And in place of shrieks of terror, we get a healthy dose of screamin’ guitar from McKnight, topped heartily with some howlin’ harmonica, courtesy of Bob Bogdal. This disc kicks with all the power of a mule gone berserk.” --- Terry Mullins, Blues Blast   “Album Zombie Nation, to understand is not something you have not already heard, but its expressiveness, power and above all, the ubiquitous 'blues feeling' overwhelmed everyone, hear what it has to offer this sincere and a great album. Their distinctive blues expression cannot leave anyone indifferent, and for that reason, I personally am very happy that I, even I am no exception. And that's it, no what else to add, other than a recommendation. RECOMMENDATION: If you are not burdened with any musical barriers, if you want to let people feel that the music is dominated by life's difficulties. If you love the blues ... the right place. On the Album Zombie Nation - Elam McKnight & Bob Bogdal we have a unique opportunity to hear how these great musicians, interesting and impressive, fusing the fact diametrically different expressions of the blues. Traditional Delta blues electrified Hill Coutry are really excellent and highly connected originally derived. At first hearing, everything seems easy, but then slowly realize that everything has a much more complex and more significant meaning.”   --- Mladen Loncar Soundguardian.com (Croatia)       “This is of the better blues cd, from the genre I have heard in the last few years. These two artists can share the podium with anyone in the R& B genre… if one wants vernieuwing' then nevertheless go for it`… Hopefully a major record label will become aware to an awesome damned good cd! Hey, Sony, alligator, delta… why look any further. These are the real thing… right under your nose….”   --- Alfons Maes - Keys and Chords (Belgium)       “Elam McKnight's sound isn't punk, it isn't Hill Country, it isn't traditional Chicago, it isn't straight rock. But you can hear all those sounds on "Zombie Nation", the latest release from this native of Jackson, TN. Though McKnight writes the occasional "woman done me wrong" blues song, he separates himself from many of his predecessors and contemporaries with thoughtful and insightful observations of today's world”   --- Jon Norton, Program Director, WGLT/Peoria/Normal, IL       From the Mississippi River To the highest mountain in Tibet the rage of Elam embodies the true spirit of the USA. Zombies of the world, well-dressed puppets of this universe and out of your souls, it is time to discover and love the ROOTS of our civilization. Knell down and let Elam teach us a life's lesson...we are not worthy!”   --- Alberto Rubecchi, Blues Sunset (Italy)       “I love this CD, it's fresh with excellent musicians, I really think they put a extra twist on the blues, I spin it often on cure for the blues show, very tight group and Elam is the best PR man for his on band, I must say Zombie Nation is one great CD, I suggest everyone check this out, I spin at least one track every week because it keeps sounding better !!!”   --- J.C. Spinner, Radio Host, WCIN in Cincinnati and WDAO in Dayton”

— Reviews for Zombie Nation

REVIEW from SKUNK MAGAZINE August 2007 9 out of 10 STARS If you listen closely to the end of the first track,” Devil Minded Woman”, you can hear Elam McKnight say, "I think that got it." This player is dead right. This disc has it from beginning to end. Cut after f*#$@!^ cut of dirty, sweaty, nasty, kick-ass blues. This CD sounds alive with wailing harmonica, boogie piano, deep southern slick guitar picking, horns from the heavens, raw energized vocals and of course, don't forget the Browning semi-automatic 12 gauge shotgun (even if Elam believes the shotgun needs more reverb) which ends "I Buried a Black Cat." This piece of work is one of the greatest perks of this job; the ability to bare witness to a master bluesman in the making. SUPA GOOD should have been named SUPA GREAT because that's exactly what it is...f'n great. Elam McKnight supplies the soundtrack; the smoky room and whiskey is up to you. I promise you, it doesn't get much better than this. This review is over now. Rush out and score this incredible slice of blues. ML” - MOJO LIN

SKUNK MAGAZINE

When we finally made it to the Acoustic stage we got our first look at Elam McKnight & Bob Bogdal. This young duo won the Sonny Boy Blues Society solo/duo Blues challenge and will be competing in Memphis in February at the International Blues Challenge. It was easy to see why they won and I think you should check them out in Memphis. They played a great set of real Delta Blues to an enthusiastic crowd. Afterwards they greeted the crowd and sold a few CD's and signed autographs. ” - Bob Kieser

— Illinois Blues.com

Bogdal's lyrics which seem to be largely autobiographical, capture the true quality of the hill country sound and the blues itself. Fans of the hill country sound will find much to savour here. ” - Graham Clarke

— Blues Bytes for Underneath the Kudzu 2005

Elam McKnight and Keith Carter kick off Sho Nuff: The Last Country Store with two high-energy tracks, tracks that recall Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. McKnight handles the guitar and vocal work, while Carter adds harmonica. "Ain't Gonna Plow No More" and "The Last Country Store" give the impression that both players could care less for new fangled conveniences like electricity, amplifiers, and Stratocasters. The third cut, however, proves this impression false, with a full-band rendition of "Going Away" with a smothered vocal somewhere between a slurred bluesman and Hootie & the Blowfish. It's an odd break in the album, and really hard to explain, since the remainder of the album returns to acoustic arrangements. Furthermore, Sho Nuff even includes an acoustic version of the song that's stuck at the end of the album. Even as an acoustic song, it doesn't match the vitality of "Mama Killed a Chicken" or the soulful intensity of "Whose Gonna Be Your...." The blues unleashed on Sho Nuff are quite old-fashioned, but the lively presentation keeps the music from feeling like a mere exercise in nostalgia. For anyone sick to death of warmed-up leftovers masquerading as real blues, McKnight and Carter have crafted a dynamic album. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., All Music Guide” - Ray Lankford, Jr.

All Music Guide (4 out of 5 Stars)

You can find many kinds of blues here. This eclectic work from rising star on blues scene offers deep delta blues, fiery boogie, soulful blues etc. Songs are performed both on electric and acoustic guitars. Elam himself describes his music as "Roots Blues". Whether these are his own songs (which count to majority) or covers, (Robert Johnson's "Terraplane Blues" and traditional "Devil Got Religion") the feeling is all the same: raw blues. Elam is equally good on both electric and acoustic guitars. He is a sound songwriter too. Seven of 12 songs (actually of nine songs since three of them are repeated) are originals. Among them "Sugar Cane" has to be emphasized particularly. Soulful pearl in the delta wilderness. Keep an eye open on this guy!” - Dimo

http://dimosblues.blogspot.com/

The debut by guitarist - harmonica player Bob Bogdal peels away the fun quotient in favor of stripped-down Hill Country blues tackling serious subjects: His songwriting and arranging skills are there, giving Underneath the Kudzu a haunting, lingering prescence. ” - Tom Hyslop

— Blues Revue Magazine

Monday, March 19, 2007 Elam McKnight is Supa Dupa Good! Elam Mcnight's music is filled with shoutin' and singin', fat flat foot stompin' and leering dirty preachin' grooves that roll and tumble and crawl their way thru fifty-some years of red dirt, swampy, back porch blues, basement funque, rattle trunk hip-hop haze, deep woods hunch, small town 'tonk n' juke and big city rock and swagger. Mr. Mcknight filters it through well worn rough cotton sugar and grit sacks and tennesee sun and sweat to deliver up a sound that's both familiar, full bodied, refreshing and fine. It's good time any night party music as well as sitting home drinkin' and thinkin' music. Even when Mr. Mcknight gets all goofy and lecherous as on his ode to Pam Grier you'll still raise your cell phone (the new lighter) and rocks glass in agreement and respect. You'll do the same for his tributes to Junior Kimbrough,R.L. Burnside,Othar Turner, and other important mighty men. Mr. Mcknight's thing just gets bigger, hotter, deeper and heavier with each album and this release is far better than the title suggests. Is it perfect? Hell No. Note to Mr. McKnight: The Rap game might not be your forte. But who'd want to listen to perfect anyway? Not me. At 16 tracks it's a full grown-ass big man hungry dinner plate with some lumps in the taters, some burned edges on the meats (but plenty of bacon and salt in the greens!), and xtra greasy gravy plus dessert,baby. Get yrself some extra napkins buddy. It's gonna get on y'all. Disclosure: Mr. Mcknight gives me a shout out alongside many others on the last track Big Daddy's Lament. I had no idea of this until I heard the album but in no way does that colour my opinion. If it sucked I gar-on-tee you would not be readin' this on account of I do not write about suck.” - Rick Saunders

http://ricksaunders.blogspot.com/

Supa Good and Elam McKnight is the future of the Blues! And don't let the skin color fool you as he is real deal old time Mississippi Blues with a modern touch. The music is in good hands with the likes of Elam. Robert Lynn Host of the Back Alley Blues Show on KSPQ” - Robert Lynn

— Back Alley Blues Show KSPQ

Fantastic effort from young generation roots music master... This album is great, highly recommended to blues fans, roots afficianados, hill country blues devotees, etc. Elam has put a great deal of effort into this CD, and it shows...Walk, don't run, to your nearest music retailer and purchase "SUPA GOOD." 4 out of 5 Stars” - Terry Buckalew

— Host Delta Sounds Radio Hour Helena,AR

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