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October 9, 2008
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Hey Blues Fans,
The Blues Blast is headed to Helena, Arkansas this weekend for the Arkansas Blues and Heritage Fest.
What a great line up they have. More than 40 performers including Carl Weathersby, Pinetop Perkins, Mem Shannon, Michael Burks, Moreland & Arbuckle, Samuel James, Willie King, Sam Carr, Dave Riley, Rick Estrin, Janiva Magness, Anson Funderburgh, Hubert Sumlin, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, Bobby Rush and many, many more! To see the complete lineup, CLICK HERE
See you there!
Blues Blast Music Awards Tickets
Tickets for the 2008 Blues Blast Music Awards just went on sale and folks are snapping them up FAST!
CLICK HERE to purchase tickets before they are gone! Tickets are only $25.
The awards show is Sunday, November 2nd, 2008 at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago, IL.
It is going to be a GREAT event with confirmed appearances by Magic Slim & the Teardrops, Lurrie Bell, Nick Moss & Gerry Hundt, John Nemeth, The Kilborn Alley Blues Band, Dave Riley & Bob Corritore, Eden Brent, Sugar Ray Norcia, Teeny Tucker, Tim "Too Slim" Langford (from Too Slim and the Taildraggers), and Gina Sicilia.
There are just 400 tickets available for this great show. This event WILL sell out so get yours NOW!
Visit the Blues Blast Music Awards Myspace page for more info at www.myspace.com/bluesblastmusicawards
Blues Wanderings this week
We made it to Blue Monday in Springfield, IL to see the Kilborn Alley Band. Andy Duncanson, Joe Asselin, Ed O'Hara, Josh Stimmel and Chris Breen have been together for almost 8 years. We think they get better every time we see them.
It is always a pleasure to talk to these guys at shows. These guys are for real and they told us they are excited about playing at the Blues Blast Music Awards.
Blues Reviews and MORE!
James Walker reviews a CD from Michael Osborn. Tom "THE ENERGIZER" Schlesinger reviews a new DVD/CD called Walking With the Kings from Blue Storm Music. John McCormick reviews a new CD by JJ Grey & Mofro. Nikki Oneill reviews a new CD by Mr. Keith Little. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!
The 25th International Blues Challenge
February 4-7, 2009 in Memphis, TN
Advance tickets, host hotel information, merchandise and preliminary event schedule are available at www.blues.org
Three Blues Blast Music Award Nominations!
Purchase Katrina Was Her Name NOW! CLICK HERE
Featured Blues Review (1 of 4)
Michael Osborn - What Goes Around
10 songs; 45:46 minutes; Enjoyable from First Listen
Styles: Contemporary Blues, Chicago Blues
Vote for the best job:
And, the winner by a landslide is.... Well, at least the job of record reviewer is never boring. This is the 40th album I have reviewed this year in a ten year career of helping fans know more about a CD before they buy it. Each week I play a new recording, often with trepidation. I always wonder if the “latest” will be a solid blues recording, or an over produced mess laden with thick horns thrown into every crack and crevice, or another “I recorded it myself at home” CD made possible in a digital age.
Imagine my simultaneous relief and joy when a CD like “What Goes Around” comes around, its all original lineup contains nary a cover, and it strikes a harmonious chord right from the first listen. Michael Osborn’s fifth release is solid at every turn as proven in the car CD player on a recent road trip. Personally, listening to a CD in my car allows me a better chance to concentrate on the music as there are fewer distractions than at home. Yes, drunken reckless drivers and road hazards are less a diversion that a cat, television, and a wife.
Osborn could have named the CD “Bonus” as old friend Robben Ford adds his unmistakable guitar licks on five tracks. Plus, friend and leader of his own band featuring Osborn, Bill Rhoades of B.R. and the Party Kings, adds tasty harmonica and also sings on two cuts. And, will big record labels and hot shot producers please take note: he did it all with no horns! Rounding out the band are D.K. Stewart on piano, Tom Szell – bass, and John Moore – drums.
As a bluesman, Michael Osborn is a well known and respected, especially on the West Coast. Michael grew up in Ukiah CA with the Ford brothers, including the great Robben Ford. In 1970, he was one of the founding members of the Charles Ford Band, and went on to play with Gary Smith, David Raitt (Bonnie’s brother), and Charlie Musselwhite.
In 1981, Michael became the lead guitarist and band leader for Blues legend John Lee Hooker. For the next 13 years, Michael toured the world with John Lee. Since leaving John Lee Hooker’s Coast to Coast Blues Band, Michael has played with Sista Monica, toured Europe with his own band, recorded three CDs on the Blue Rock'it label and two on his own Checkerboard label, and for five years has been an outstanding contribution to Bill Rhoades and the Party Kings in his current home in Portland OR.
Track one, the title track, is a mid-tempo instrumental that opens with ten seconds of Stewart’s cascading piano. Osborn then steps in with single-string picked notes speaking clearly to the soul. Not long after, Robben Ford joins to trade clever guitar phrases just ahead of Rhoades harmonica solo. One more return to the earlier stated theme by all, and the song wraps up leaving behind smiles and reassurance that this is a winner.
Track two, “The Glamorous Life” is a humorous shuffle giving us our first listen to Osborn’s solid vocals. After listing a litany of road woes for a touring musician, Osborn sardonically sings, but “...it’s the glamorous life.”
Osborn’s guitar playing is the real highlight of this CD. With pleasing tone, he is tasteful in his note spacing, stretching, fills, and runs. Anything but over the top, he is not a string shredder playing 500 notes to the bar. Just call him “Les S. Moore.”
Other standouts include: the slow blues “Innocent (But On Trial)” featuring guitar and harmonica working hand-in-glove and Rhoades on vocals, Michael and Robben’s guitars on “One Thing Before You Go,” and an incredible, here’s-how-its-done instrumental, “Nightmare Blues.”
If Michael Osborn has flown under your radar until now, maybe you accidentally had the switch set on sonar! Take it from someone who listen to a new CD every week, this album has sensibilities for the brain and plenty of heart for the soul.
Reviewer James “Skyy Dobro” Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ and Blues Blast contributor. His weekly radio show “Friends of the Blues” can be heard each Thursday from 4:30 – 6:00pm on WKCC 91.1 FM in Kankakee, IL
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.
Featured Blues Review (2 of 4)
Walking with The Kings - DVD/CD
Blue Storm MusicVideo
“Walking with The Kings” is a two disc set, one DVD and one audio CD, featuring the music of three of the Kings of Blues, Albert King, B.B. King , and Freddie King. This was all recorded live in New York City, at Murray's Street Grill.
This set is jam packed with so many talented musicians and done somewhat like a jam session recorded live. I wish I could have been there, or, at least, I hope someday to see some or all of the musicians on it. This two disc set is really, really good to see and hear.
Ten or so years ago a friend gave me a bootleg cassette called “Texas Tea” by a band called Sunset Heights. At the time, I was told that this was Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s band. Could Kenny's first CD called “Ledbetter Heights” be the band’s name changed a little, I wondered. The answer is “No,” and with this DVD/CD, I started researching and found out I was told wrong. Doing this review and further research helped to reveal the truth. You see Vince Converse is a fantastic guitar slinger who, when he was with Sunset Heights, was compared to Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix.
There are several featured artists on this CD/DVD, but Vince Converse seems to be at the head of the pack on this session. Vince is a fantastic guitar slinger, and I could not believe the fret work from this guy. Then, I was able to watch his effortless moves on the DVD. Wow! Double Wow!
All it took was a few words being sung that I realized this was the guy from Sunset Heights and not Kenny Wayne Shepherd. What a voice, and what hot burning licks on the guitar -
Unbelievable! He sounds like he took the best licks from Stevie, Jimi, Albert King, and Freddie, threw them in a pot, melted them over the fire, and poured them over his own Fender Stratocaster. Then out came a sound of his own, the Vince Converse sound, absolutely wonderful and all on a video and a CD to take in the car.
Vince fronts this band for the first four songs: “I Walked All Night Long” by Albert King, “C.C. Baby” by Freddie King, “Gotta Move” by B.B. King, and then another Freddie King cover named “Have You Ever Loved a Woman.” Beyond the DVD, I hope to be able to see Converse live. I would love to see a reunion of this power trio: Vince, Nathanial Peterson on Bass, and Andy Bigan on drums. Andy put together some great licks of his own on drums while sporting a fantastic t-shirt that said "Rock and Roll Saves Lives"
Next up was Nathaniel Peterson who was playing bass and doing a little back up vocals on the first four songs along with the drummer Andy Bigan. He came out center stage to show his stuff after Vince. Nathaniel starts out slow on “The Thrill Is Gone,” by, of course, B.B. King. But, then he shifts into high gear on Albert King’s version of “Killing Floor” and starts percussively pounding those strings until he finally breaks one. When a microphone quit working, he never misses a beat or a word in the song; he just moves over to Vince’s mic to finish. What a fine job! My favorite song on this show by Nathan is “The Sky Is Crying,” doing the Freddie King version, followed by “Everyday I have the Blues/ Sweet little Angel” by B.B. King. There’s “Hootchie Cootchie Man” by Willie Dixon also done in the Freddie King style. While Nathaniel Peterson was still up, they worked in a little harmonica from Speedo Jones doing an excellent job. Speedo, I like your style!
Other artists are Jon Paris on everything: guitar, harmonica, and lead vocals. Clas Ynstrom, "The Jimi Hendrix of Netherlands,” also throws down top notch work.
This DVD/ CD "ROCKS" and is packed with stellar performances by all. I rate this one 5-Stars, so go get it now!.
Reviewer Tom "THE ENERGIZER" Schlesinger is a long time Blues lover and fan, and is a veteran to many Blues Fests in the Midwest and Florida. He is also a veteran to the Legendary Blues Cruises through the Caribbean.
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.
EG Kight It’s Hot In Here
Her first CD in four years from six time BMA award nominee and Koko Taylor songwriter.
It's Hot in Here," features her blazing guitar work and fiery, resonant voice. Patriot-News
EG Kight has hit a home-run with this excellent album. The Planet Weekly
Featured Blues Review (3 of 4)
JJ Grey & Mofro - Orange Blossoms
Occasionally you’ll hear an album and say, “Man…I bet this band is great live.” It’s a well-worn backhanded compliment, usually accompanied with the unspoken insinuation of, “…because they’re not that great on record.” Many bands, however, wear this onus like a badge of honor, and often rightly so. JJ Grey and Mofro seem to find themselves in this camp. Orange Blossoms is an album of songs that you wish you were hearing live, but still retains a general sense of quality and workmanship.
Like so many other great bands, Grey & Mofro seem unable to capture the heat and tenacity of their live sets when in the studio. While that’s frustrating, the flip side is an album of well-crafted, perfectly workable songs that display Grey’s songwriting prowess in full light. Were the album a collection of shoddy compositions, it would fare far worse. As it is, it stands as a testament to the importance of a little rowdiness to the blues; an album of considerable skill and regrettable restraint. Songs like “Ybor City” conjure images of a fiery jam session fueled by Pabst tallboys and scantily clad groupies, but come off as a little limp when you’re listening in your living room.
As solid as Grey’s songwriting is, Orange Blossoms still feels toned down. The fundamentals are all strong and Grey’s smoky vocals forgive a few hackneyed lyrics here and there, but nothing in particular stands out. Of course, this also means that one would also be hard to find a weak link. On tracks like “She Don’t Know,” where the subtleties of digital recording work in favor of the song, the quality of the album is clearly visible, and even the slightly contrived album closer “I Believe (In Everything)” radiates authenticity.
This heartfelt honesty acts as the album’s saving grace in more than one instance. Grey is a solid frontman, and when he lets loose a bit, he rasps out some great melodies. Even if the energy of the album is questionable, Mofro’s carefree sway borders on infectious. The title track is probably the closest intimation of Grey and company’s live swagger, and it certainly sets a tone for the following material. Regardless of whether or not Orange Blossoms is indicative of the band’s strengths, it’s never dull.
If nothing else, Grey will see a rise in ticket sales as a result of this album, and it’s one that he deserves. The true power of the blues has always been in the performance, and the band is no slouch when it comes to the live arena. Viewed as a primer, Orange Blossoms is a successful album that hints at what fans already know: JJ Grey and Mofro are a band you need to experience for yourself.
Review by John McCormick
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.
"What Goes Around” – a new CD from Michael Osborn!
"Michael Osborn is one of the best blues guitarists around, he can really lay it down". - John Lee Hooker
"Michael Osborn is one of the authentic blues guitarists today. His style goes straight to the heart of the blues and he’ll steal your show if you don’t watch out!” – Robben Ford
CLICK HERE to purchase
2008 Blues Blast Music Award Nominee
"Sean Costello Rising Star Award"
To read a review of this CD, CLICK HERE
CLICK HERE to Purchase this CD now!
Blues Society News
Please submit a maximum of 125 words in a Text or Word format ONLY. Press releases not formatted
River City Blues Society - Peoria, IL
The RCBS is proud to support a
benefit for a good cause. In late July, local blues drummer,
most recently playing with the Dave Chastain Band, was severely
shocked while working near an electrical substation. John has
been through a lot and is working through the challenge of a
lifetime. John's friends and bandmates are organizing a
benefit on his behalf on Sunday October 19th, 2008, at 12pm at
the Itoo Hall on Farmington Road in Peoria, IL. There will be
Food from La Gondola, Raffles, Door Prizes, a Dunk Tank, and
BLUES music by The Dave Chastain Band, The Robin Crowe Band,
Rooster Alley, Elektrik Trybe, Brainchild, The Jim Davis Band
This show is a fall fundraiser for the 2009 Winter Blues Festival. RCBS is also holding a membership meeting the same night starting at 5:00PM. Anyone who shows up to the membership meeting at 4:30PM will get into the Kilborn show for FREE. For more information check out www.rivercityblues.com or call 309 267-4425.
Mississippi Valley Blues Society - Davenport, IA
Bruce Katz, a 2008 Blues Music Award Nominee for Best Keyboardist, will bring his fiery, passionate and very original take on blues, roots and soul music to the Redstone Room, Davenport, on Friday Octber 17 at 8:30 p.m. Admission is $15, $12 for Mississippi Valley Blues Society members (at the door). The show is sponsored by the Mississippi Valley Blues Society. For info contact the MVBS office 563-322-5837
Chicago Blues & Bluegrass Festival - Chicago, IL
The Chicago Vlues & Bluegrass Festival on November 22nd, 2008 is a one-day festival hosted by the Congress Theatre. It features 12 hours, 16 bands, for only $31 to help eradicate congenital heart defects in children. A portion of the event’s proceeds will contribute to the research efforts of the Chicago-based Saving Tiny Hearts Foundation. The lineup includes: Lil Ed & the Blues Imperials, David Grisman, The Avett Brothers and many more. Check out www.cbgbfesival.com for more info.
The Rowan Blues and Jazz Society - Salisbury, NC
The Rowan Blues and Jazz Society is presenting its 10th Annual Blues and Jazz Festival, October 11 in Downtown Salisbury, NC at 2p.m. It is featuring the Homemade Jamz Blues Band featuring Ryan, Kyle and Taya Perry and Dad, Big Bill Morganfield, Joe Robinson Jazz Band, Larry Davis Jazz, Ladies Auxiliary Blues Band, and Bob Paolina. Bring your own chairs and blankets, Variety of vendors and family friendly. For more information go to our website www.rownbluesandjazz.com Contact 704-636-2811.
Illinois Central Blues Club - Springfield, IL
The Illinois Central Blues Club announces the 2008 call for entries for the Solo/Duo Challenge. The winner of this challenge will receive a slot to represent our club at the Blues Foundation's International Blues Challenge to be held in Memphis, TN, February 4-7, 2009, and well as $500 in travel money. Entries must be received by Monday, October 10, 2008. The event will be held at The Alamo on Saturday, October 25, 2008, from 6pm - 10pm. At least one member must be a member of ICBC to participate in this challenge. For rules and regulations check our website at http://www.icbluesclub.org For more info contact Judy Burgess Secretary Illinois Central Blues Club firstname.lastname@example.org
Blue Mondays- Held at the Alamo 115 N 5th St, Springfield, IL (217) 523-1455 every Monday 8:30pm $2 cover - Oct 13 - The Rich Fabec Blues Band, Oct 20 - Too Slim & the Tail Draggers, Oct 27- Gina Sicilia with David Gross
Featured Blues Review (4 of 4)
Mr. Keith Little - Take It Off And Get Loose With It
Don’t judge this album by the low-budget cover art. Coming out of Cincinnati, Mr. Keith Little and friends play some killer R&B, funk and blues. They could teach other musicians a thing or two about pocket, but even more on how to create great song arrangements that put a fresh spin on tradition.
As a front man and singer, Little plays out the lady’s man persona with a deep baritone voice. He doesn’t have a broad range, but relies more on persona. Throughout the album, he stays pretty consistent to his shtick and his sound is as distinctive as a Bootsy Collins or Barry White, so you’ll either dig his singing or you won’t. I’m not too crazy about it, but as a bass player and guitarist, on the other hand, he is BADASS.
The players and the overall musicianship stand out on this album more than anything. Marcos Sastre, award-winning guitarist and founder of Cincinnati’s R&B group the Bluebirds, plays some smoking lead guitar, but there are many other great performers on this disc. Cheryl Renee Little, who happens to be Keith’s wife, plays some great piano and organ. She also turns out to be an outstanding singer in the duet “It’s All About You.” Check out her band Them Bones at www.thembonesband.com . If you didn’t know about her already, you’ll discover a gem.
The twelve original songs (and additional cover of Tony Joe White’s “Rainy Night In Georgia”) are often raunchy and played in a high-fevered, sweaty manner, with interlocked basses and guitars panting, moaning and getting down to business. Two of the slower songs are less exciting - the up-tempo songs suit Little’s vocal style better. On another critical note, the album would have benefited from an outside producer who could create a more “expensive” sound. But this is a minor comment, as we’re talking about a self-released album.
For the last 35 years, Keith Little has shared the stage and jammed with other great artists such as Little Milton, Kenny Neal, Pinetop Perkins, Long John Hunter, Anson Funderburgh & Sam Myers, Clarence Carter, Little Charlie & The Night Cats, Phil Guy, Frankie Lee, Skeeter Brandon, and Leon Wilkinson from Lynyrd Skynyrd. His other albums include “Going Downtown”, “Live At Jefferson Hall” and “A Mother’s Love.”
If you’re a fan of funky blues, get his latest release, ditch the cover art and listen to the great playing.
Reviewer Nikki O’Neill is a singer, songwriter and guitar player in Los Angeles. She fronts the Nikki O’Neill Band – a soul, r&b and rock band. She's included in Sue Foley’s upcoming book “Guitar Woman,” featuring a who’s-who list of great players like Bonnie Raitt, Ana Popovic, Jennifer Batten, and more. www.nikkioneill.com
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.
2008 Blues Blast Music Award Nominee for
"Best Contemporary Blues Recording"
CLICK HERE to Vote for Us NOW
To purchase this CD now CLICK HERE
The BEST Way To Promote YOUR Next Blues Project!
BANDS, BARS, AND LABELS: Is your promo material getting you the gigs and business you desire? If not, call music journalist and copy writer Mike O'Cull for all your promotional needs. Mike is a veteran music journalist and musician and writes for the Illinois Entertainer, IllinoisBlues.com, and www.Chicagomusicguide.com and can deliver the highest quality promotional writing around quickly and at a reasonable price.
Mike's specialties include bios, press releases, liner notes, and web content. Full press kit design, including graphics, is also available. Clients include The Joe Moss Band, Carl Davis, TruSoul Entertainment, B.A. S. Entertainment, and many others. Samples available on request. Email email@example.com , call Mike O'Cull Music at 847-608-0357, or visit us online at www.myspace.com/mikeocullmusic for more information.
Mention the Blues Blast for a $10 new customer discount.
Chicago Blues Update
2008 Blues Blast Music Awards
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago, IL.
Confirmed Blues artists performing are Eden Brent, Tim "Too Slim" Langford from Too Slim and the Taildraggers, Dave Riley & Bob Corritore, The Kilborn Alley Blues Band, Magic Slim & the Teardrops, Lurrie Bell, Teeny Tucker, Gina Sicilia and John Nemeth! Ticket info will be available soon.
Live Blues Calendar
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