Based in Sacramento, Val Starr & the Blues Rockets started out as a rock cover band before making the move to the blues around 2010. Since then, the band has released four CDs, received significant radio airplay, appeared at multiple west coast blues festivals, including their own summer concert series, Blues On The Patio, and reached the finals in the 2012 Sacramento I.B.C. Starr began in the music business in the ’70s working for record labels, later moving to radio promotions, all while playing in rock bands and even starting several of the first streaming audio networks, including GotRadio.com.
The band (Starr – vocals/rhythm guitar, John Ellis – bass/backing vocals, Frankie Soul – guitar, Paul Farman – drums) recently released their fourth CD, I Always Turn The Blues On (Sandwich Factory Records). Starr penned all 12 tunes, most of which deal with “love and loss,” as she points out in the liner notes. The opening shuffle “High Time To Go” is an example, as is “You Better Stop,” the countrified blues “Please Don’t Go Away Mad,” “Bad Luck & The Blues” (a bump-and-grinder featuring Tim Barron on harmonica), and “Out With The Old,” a spirited shuffle. “Blind Eye” is another standout along the same theme and includes guitar work from guest Steve Wall.
Starr includes a few other tunes of different themes. The title track is her love letter to the blues, spiced up by Todd Morgan’s jazzy piano and Barron’s harmonica, while “Whether Blues” addresses society’s current issues (with Bay Area guitarist Daniel Castro contributing some fiery guitar). Starr has a good time with “The Baby Mama Song,” a spicy, soulful number, does a fine job on the after-hours slow burner “Bye Bye,” and will make everyone smile on “It’s Always Somethin’,” the closer that everyone can relate to.
The Blues Rockets have a great sound together and nimbly handle the variety of blues styles, getting assistance from a few guest musicians, including Barron, Castro, Wall, Morgan, and Guyle Taber (drums). Their new release is a well-crafted set of original tunes that display their versatility and love for the blues.--- Graham Clarke, Blues Bytes January 2018
Val Starr & the Blues Rocket- "I Always Turn The Blues On" (Sandwich Factory Records)-This is Val Starr's fourth album, which consists of 12 original songs. Her songs tend to address love, loss, bad relationships and finding good one. She testifies on the title song that she gets lost in the music whenever she turns the blues on. The songs are always rooted in the blues but move from jazzy up-tempo songs to ballads and pure Chicago on "Out With The Old". On "What Happens After Midnight (Nothin' Good)" she cites that after midnight you are better off in bed, but if you do, it certainly would not hurt to be listening to this music. Kentuckiana Blues Society December 2017
Val Starr & the Blues Rocket have brought first class blues to the Sacramento area. Recently Val has come back on stage with her band and publish this album, that includes twelve of her own compositions based on shuffles, bluesy ballads, Memphis soul or rockin' Chicago blues. The band hits the target with the way they approach songs where, together with Val Starr’s vocals and rhythm guitar, you will also find John Ellis on bass, Frankie Soul on lead guitar and Paul Farman on drums. All together plus five significant guest musicians, give a charismatic substance to this rewarding album. VERY GOOD. La Hora del Blues (Spain) February 2018