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December 18, 2008           

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News, photos, reviews, live Blues links & MUCH MORE in this issue! - Scroll or Page Down! quick website links: Reviews    Links   Photos    Videos     Blues Radio     Blues Shows near YOU!    Advertise for FREE!     The Blues Blast Archives

Hey Blues Fans,

We got the chance to catch Studebaker John at Blue Monday this week. Studebaker John Grimaldi is a 56 year old Chicago Blues musician. We have not heard him for more than 8 years so this was a real treat.

No, he does not play just Chicago Blues. His range is WAY beyond any such limits. His guitar playing is awesome! Kind of like Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray, Buddy Guy with a bit of both Luther Allison and Bruce Springsteen thrown in and all shook up. OK so you can see why this would be hard to describe but wonderful to experience!

Best thing to do, take the time to see this guy. Promise you wont be disappointed.  He also has a new CD, Waiting on the Sun, that was just released in November. (We missed the CD release party at Buddy Guy's Legends!)

John and the crew (Kevin Coleman on drums and Bob Halaj on bass), cranked through a 75 minute first set that left the full house crowd howling and clapping. After a break they came back for another smokin' set. The Blues Blast will have a full review of the new CD soon. 

Meantime, those in Central Illinois get another chance to see Studebaker John on January 7th as the River City Blues Society continues their Wednesday Blues Series in Pekin, IL. See full details in the Blues Society News section and their advertisement below.

Free Christmas Blues Single download

A few months back we had the pleasure of  reviewing a new CD by California Blues artist Monica Dupont called  Life Goes On. (To see the review CLICK HERE)

Monica has released a new Christmas single called Peace In The World. This is a gift from a great Blues artist who has been described by some as a singer who sings like Muddy Waters and looks like Mary Tyler-Moore. It is a great song and we encourage you to check it out.

There is a high-resolution 256kbps Mp3 file suitable for broadcast of "Peace In the World"available for download at:

You can audition the song at:   , So check it out and Happy Holidays from Monica Dupont, Gary Novak, Ron Thompson and ModernBlues Records!

Blues Music Awards Nominees Announced

The Blues Foundation announced their Blues Music Award nominees this week. These awards, formerly called the W. C. Handy awards, are the holy grail of Blues music. Many of your favorite artists including Buddy Guy, B.B. King and  Koko Taylor were nominated. To see the complete list of the 130 nominees CLICK HERE. The 30th Blues Music Awards will be Thursday May 7, 2009 at the Cook Convention Center in Memphis, Tennessee.

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Send us a 175 word (or less) plug and we WILL run it for you! Also be sure to post the dates on our Blues shows calendar at It's FREE!

Is there a better price than that to help promote the Blues in your town?

Blues Reviews and MORE!

Blues Review this week - James Walker reviews a new CD from Christian Dozzler. Dale Clark tell us why he felt the movie Cadillac Records doesn't make the grade. Ben Cox sends us part one of a a two part feature article on the Recording Academy and the Grammy Awards. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!

 Featured Blues Review 1 of 2

Christian Dozzler - The Blues and a Half

Blueswave Records

13 songs; 49:26; Suggested

Style: Modern Electric Blues: Piano foundation with Texas Blues guitar

Imagine having four favorite guitarists and suddenly discovering that all four are on the same CD. That translates “Gold Mine,” especially for fans of contemporary Texas Blues guitarists Anson Funderburgh, Mike Morgan, Jim Suhler, and Hash Brown. Multi-instrumentalist Christian Dozzler, originally from Vienna, Austria, and now living in Dallas/Ft. Worth TX since 2000, recruited the cream of the crop for studio sessions on his sixth CD featuring all original songs.

Dozzler, age 50, is regarded as one of Europe's most versatile and respected blues musicians. He has performed all over the world for over 30 years and appears on some 30 blues CDs. Since age 13, he has been immersed in boogie woogie piano and blues. In his first band, he also played guitar and harmonica besides piano and vocals. Later, he added the accordion in the cajun/zydeco style.

Having won many awards in Europe, Christian moved to the US to further his career. For two years, he toured with Louisiana-based blues man Larry Garner. His fifth CD "All Alone And Blue" in spring 2003, received US airplay and critical acclaim in major international blues publications. It also got Christian on the cover of the “Southwest Blues Magazine.” In early 2008, “The Blues And A Half” was recorded as “a musical retrospective of ... great times in Texas.”

Those times must have truly been “great” with track one as first proof. Mike Morgan (of Mike Morgan & The Crawl) blasts the opening with some Texas Roadhouse slide guitar on “Excuse Me Guys.” Morgan’s creative slide dances notes at the end of each vocal line about calling home to a lover from the touring road. Chris Zalez adds second guitar rhythm, further opening Morgan to slide and slither. Following a perky mid-song slide solo, Dozzler takes an inspired harmonica break. Throughout all tracks, John Garza plays bass, Kevin Schermerhorn drums, and Ron Jones blows both tenor and baritone sax.

Next, co-producer with Dozzler, Anson Funderburgh (of A.F. & The Rockets), takes over on guitar behind Jones’ opening sax. In “Just A Stranger,” Dozzler demonstrates his studied piano prowess. Anson, Jones, and Dozzler do a snappy, well rehearsed, intertwined mid-song solo triplet.

Jim Suhler, who performs as Jim Suhler & Monkeybeat when he is not playing second guitar at George Thorogood concerts, lays down National steel bodied slide guitar tracks in the third number, “Closest Friend.” Dozzler’s piano and solid vocals take the forefront, and Suhler plays the foil to lyrics until his incredible mid-song solo. At just three songs into the CD, it was already worth the price of admission. Suhler’s emotional electric slide is heard on the closer, “Golden Sunday.”

Hash Brown (of Hash Brown & The Browntones) makes his first appearance on “C’mon Joe,” an upbeat shuffle with the whole band popping. Inspired by Dozzler’s tinkling ivories, Brown rapidly vibrates his guitar pick up and down during his solo, taking the rest of the band to the next level. Brown’s work further shines on the slow blues, “The Dog Is Missing You.”

Other highlights: “Three Shades of Blue” is a jazzy instrumental with Dozzler on a B3 organ bottom and Funderburgh, Jones, and Christian trading leads. “If I Could Dance” is a zydeco number demonstrating Louisiana smarts Dozzler has learned. Otis Spann piano influence shines through on another instrumental, “Dooley’s Stroll.”

Dozzler shows he did indeed learn “blues” in Europe and, thankfully, never strays into rock territory. Vocals, lyrics, music - everything about this album is solid, and the incredible line up of Texas blues guitarists makes the album solid gold for fans!

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.


Winter 2009 Chicago Blues Tour

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

Visit 9 of Chicago’s famous Blues clubs featuring 12 live blues bands!

For more Info CLICK HERE

 Blues Want Ads

 Blues Musicians Place Your Want Ad here for FREE

"workin Blues performers" ONLY can place Want Ads here for FREE.  NO Commercial Ads! 
Buy or sell equipment , musicians wanted, gigs wanted etc. Limit 100 words.

Blues Music Reviewers wanted - Southwest and Texas areas

Blues Blast Magazine is looking for reviewers to review new Blues CD's and live music shows. If you have a background and experience with Blues music and like to write we can provide new CD's and press passes for events for you to review. Photography experience helpful for show reviews. Must be willing to write a minimum of one review every other week. Reviewer keeps the CD's for writing the review.  If interested please send a sample of your writing and a short bio of your Blues background to

Newsletter Editor Wanted

The River City Blues Society (Peoria, IL) is in need of a newsletter editor for their society newsletter "News of Blues" . The newsletter is published 4 to 6 times a year and normally runs from 4 to 12 pages depending on upcoming events, reviews and article material submitted. For further information, please contact  


All ads submitted will be used if space allows. If space is limited, ads will be randomly selected to appear in the Blues Blast. Ads may be edited.  Send your ad submission to

The River City Blues Society presents

Wednesday Blues featuring

Studebaker John

January 7, 2009 - 7:00pm

held at

The Dragons Dome
3401 Griffin Ave, Pekin, IL.

To see Map- CLICK HERE

 Admission $3 or free with new Society membership

 Blues Society News

 Send your Blues Society's BIG news or Press Release to:  

Please submit a maximum of 175 or words or less in a Text or Word format ONLY.

The Blues, Jazz & Folk Music Society - Marietta, Ohio

The Blues, Jazz & Folk Music Society of Marietta, Ohio announce their 17th annual River City Ohio Blues Competition for sponsorship to the International Blues Challenge ( IBC) in 2010. January 9, 2009 is the deadline for participants to register. The competition is to be held February 20 & 21, 2009, at Hotel Lafayette, 101 Front Street, Marietta OH. The first place winner of The River City Ohio Blues Competition will receive $1000 dollars in cash, second place winner will receive $200 in cash and the third place winner will receive $100 in cash.

The Blues is an attitude and state of mind, not an address -- not confined to any geographical area. One of the things that makes the Marietta competition unique is that it has no geographic restrictions and is open to serious Blues acts from anywhere. The Competition pulls talent from a four, five or six state area and even from overseas.

FOR BANDS WHO WANT TO PARTICIPATE: Click here . Information: call Steve Wells (anytime) 304- 295 - 4323 or 

River City Blues Society- Peoria, IL

The River City Blues Society's Wednesday Blues Series in Central, Illinois are early shows each Wednesday at 7:00pm, featuring the best traveling regional and National Blues musicians. The shows will feature a budget priced cover charge of $3.

For the month of January all shows will be held at the Dragons Dome at 3401 Griffin Ave in Pekin, IL. This location is just 3 blocks from the previous location at the Captains Wheel. The Captains Wheel is closing for remodeling on December 21st and will open under new management in January.

Shows scheduled are:    January 7th - Studebaker John, January14th - Scott Holt, January 21 - Robin Crowe,  January 28 - James Armstrong

Friends of the Blues - Watseka, IL

Join us Saturday, Dec 27 for Big James & The Chicago Playboys, 9:00 PM, Legacy Bar & Grill, 135 N. Kinzie Ave, Bradley IL 815-936-1649

Mississippi Valley Blues Society - Davenport, IA

Bob Dorr and the Blue Band at the Redstone Room, 129 Main Street, Davenport, Iowa  on Sunday December 21! Doors open at 4:30 and the music begins at 5:00 for this Holiday Party sponsored by the Mississippi Valley Blues Society; admission is $10. The show is a fundraiser for the MVBS.  For more information contact the Blues Society at or call 563-508-6596

Illinois Central Blues Club - Springfield, IL

Blue Mondays- Held at the Alamo 115 N 5th St, Springfield, IL (217) 523-1455 every Monday 8:30pm $2 cover  - December 22 - Scottie Miller and the Uptake Inhibitors, December 29 - Sally Weisenburg and the Famous Sidemen

Blues Blast Magazine is proud to be a media sponsor of the 25th International Blues Challenge. The silver anniversary of this great Blues competition promises to be one the best ever put on by the Blues Foundation.

In case you are not familiar with this event, it is an international search for the best undiscovered Blues band on the planet.  Each year the Blues Foundation's 160 affiliate Blues societies from all over the globe hold "local" or "regional" Blues challenges.

They send the winners to compete in the semifinals in Memphis in February. There are categories for both bands and solo/duet acts.

In 2008, 100 bands and 60 solo/duo acts filled the clubs up and down Beale Street for the semi-finals on Thursday and Friday. This is a Blues show you do not want to miss. It is literally the worlds largest gathering of Blues Bands!

Beale Street is the legendary Blues Mecca in Memphis. Each club on Beale has 6 or 8 acts competing in the semi-finals. By the rules of the competition, each act plays exactly 30 minutes all using the same stage setup for a panel of judges and a packed crowd of Blues fans. They are judged on Blues content, vocal and/or instrumental talent, originality and stage presence by a different panels of judges each night (See scoring criteria HERE).

The scores are averaged and the top scoring act from each club advances to the finals that are held at the Orpheum Theater on Saturday.  (To see some photos of last years fun CLICK HERE)

Tickets to this historical event are just $75 and include entrance to all the clubs on Beale Street both Thursday and Friday and the finals on Saturday. CLICK HERE to get yours now.

Be sure to get your hotel reservations NOW too as some of the host hotels are already sold out! CLICK HERE for hotel info

 Featured Blues Review 2 of 2

Cadillac Records

(Sony Pictures, 2008)

Written and directed by Darnell Martin

This film is infuriating. It leaves out an entire Chess brother. It supports the myth that the Chess studio was always at the final 2120 South Michigan Avenue location, and manages to suggest South Michigan Avenue is little more than a narrow alley. It wasn’t and isn’t.

This movie conflates early Elvis and the 1968 death of Little Walter (among other things) into a single montage. The musicians weren’t just paid in Cadillacs and spending money, though there is an important truth in that; it took years of legal fighting to straighten out the books, to get some financial justice for some of the Chess artists. If casual blues fans take their blues history from this film, blues history is set back—again.

And, of course it gets worse. The golden-hued cotton fields of the delta are filmic pixie dust. Muddy and Walter were not so tight for so long; indeed, Walter walked off a Muddy tour to form his own band. Jeffrey Wright’s Muddy Waters is an awfully earnest fellow, as in so many bio-pic type movies, a one-dimensional man. If you don’t get the flow, the humor, the sociality, the nobility, the vanity, the sensuality of Muddy Waters, you don’t really have him at all. Some critics have suggested that Beyoncé Knowles should get an Academy Award nomination for her anguished, blowsy, falling down, stoned take on Etta James. Bracket the acting, and whether or not it is bathetic, James deserves to have a second and third thought in her head, and we are ourselves no brain media monkeys if we accept this version of her as authoritative. Who and what gets left out and foreshortened in this movie is breathtaking.

Still, if you love the blues, if you have spent some of your life in the times and places of this movie or only visiting them in hours of listening and learning and reflection and whimsy, you should see Cadillac Records. When the pistol goes into the guitar case, the blues is punctuated like the rim shot off the snare. When Walter rolls up in the Caddy with the doors off, the edginess of the whole enterprise is underlined like a bright harmonica squeal. If you get from Cadillac Records the permeable boundary between money, a little money, and no money at all, if you pick up the way that twists the art and the artist, you should have a better handle about who is playing at your blues festival this year and what is making them tick.

I don’t trust the old story, the commonplace, that the American kids of the 1950s, victims of sexual inhibition, cultural constipation, and political stupefaction, were in musical hibernation waiting to be negrified-urbanized-electrified-emotionalized; and when it arrived it overwhelmed the young and the old, the unspeakable truth spoken, the horror of social chaos turned loose, a new market thrown open for business. The fact is, there were always interesting, challenging, de-sublimating things going on in American music and culture. But Cadillac Records needs this commonplace to get its story over onto the arc of fame and fortune. If you are paying attention to the movie, Cadillac Records is a narrative of more basic human exuberance, weakness, genius, frustration, luck, and hustle. That seems truer to me to the world I live in than a tale of the perils of wealth and celebrity, courted, won, lost, and realized.

With all of its omissions and exaggerations, this film probably estimates the right size, the modest but important size, of Chicago’s Chess in shaping our popular cultural world, and doing so tells a story of only very slightly larger than life human beings. I was infuriated and engrossed by this telling.

Review by Dale Clark

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.


New CD

Mighty Mighty

CLICK HERE to Purchase this CD



 All About The Grammy Awards - Part 1 of 2

Understanding the Grammy Awards Part 1
Ben Cox interviews Tera Healy
Executive Director of the Recording Academy, Chicago Chapter

I don’t know if you know how the Grammy nominees and awards are selected each year. I know I sure didn’t. All I knew about the Grammy Awards were: 1. They are the most prestigious musical award you can receive 2. They have a prime time show on TV that’s had some great performers over the past 30 years. Now, in their 51st year, the Grammy Awards continue to be a major part of the music culture of America.

As a blues fan, I had always heard speculation about the selection process, the selectors, etc. When The Blues Blast asked  me to get the  inside scoop, I couldn’t pass it up. I was curious about the who’s and what’s that result in the 10 nominees and 2 winners in the blues categories come awards night. After researching the website , I set up the interview with Tera Healy.

Tera is one of twelve executive directors around the country providing member services for the recording academy. In other words, she and her fellow directors are responsible for working with the 19,000 Recording Academy voting members around the U.S. The services the Recording Academy provides to members

include career development, education, community outreach, political advocacy (i.e. they work for artists’ rights and privileges and how it pertains to the laws of the land on Capitol Hill), and networking.

The Chicago chapter services most of the Midwest including Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, and parts of Iowa and Michigan. Members are allowed to select which chapter they want to be a part of, but as Tera pointed out if they live in the Midwest they most likely are a part of the Chicago chapter.

To become a voting member of the Academy you have to be a music professional who has been a part of (either technically or creatively) six commercially released tracks. Associate membership is reserved for those in the music profession who have not met the above criteria. Most associate members are those directly involved with on a professional basis the music industry (i.e. record company personnel, band managers, promoters, music educators). Student membership to the Academy is reserved for college-age students pursuing music as a major field of study.

From the standpoint of membership, Voting and Associate members can submit artists and music releases to the Grammy nomination process. Voting members can vote to select both the Grammy nominees and winners themselves. To become a member or to find out more information, holds all the information you’re looking for.

Read more next week about the submission process and the Chicago Offices involvement with the Blues Community there and around the country, Members’ Services community service to musicians, and why you need to be a member and vote for blues recordings.

Interview by Ben "the Harpman" Cox. Visit his website Juke Joint Soul

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

Live Blues Calendar

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