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July 23, 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,

There are a couple GREAT Blues fests happening this weekend you should know about. First our good friends at the Prairie Dog Blues Fest have a great line up that includes Bernard Allison,  Nick Moss & the Flip Tops  Kilborn Alley Blues Band, Jason Ricci & New Blood, Walter Trout & the Radicals Moreland & Arbuckle and more.  This fest is held on an island in the middle of the Mississippi River and they have great facilities for those who like to camp right there on the island.

Also one of the biggest festivals on the East Coast is the Pocono Blues Festival held at the Big Boulder Ski Area in Lake Harmony, PA this weekend. They have a great line up that includes 2008 Blues Blast Award nominees The Holmes Brothers, Lurrie Bell, Bobby Rush and Teeny Tucker plus Root Doctor, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Lil' Dave Thompson, Joey Gilmore, The Kinsey Report, Sharrie Williams, Michael Burks, Kenny Neal, Sugar Pie DeSanto, Byther Smith, Eric Bibb and much more. See their ad below.

Blues Wanderings

Last Friday we made it to the Nothin But the Blues Fest in Bloomington, IL to catch Blues Blast Music Award nominee Teeny Tucker.

The band played a GREAT set that included some of the tunes on Tenny's newest CD Two Big M's.

To see all the fun pictures, CLICK HERE






More Blues Reviews

Bob Kieser reviews Part Two of Bluesfest International in Windsor, Ontario. James Walker sends us a review of a new CD by Dallas Hodge. Tom “The Energizer” Schlesinger  reviews a new CD by Pinetop Perkins. Gary Weeks sends in another review of a CD by Jim Suhler & Monkey Beat. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN


11th Annual Prairie Dog Blues Fest

Friday, July 25, 2008

Bobby Bryan Band   Davina & the Vagabonds
Jason Ricci & New Blood
Walter Trout & the Radicals    Moreland & Arbuckle

Saturday, July 26, 2007

The Bourbon Brothers   Charles Walker Band
Nick Moss & the Flip Tops  Kilborn Alley Blues Band
The Groove Hogs  Bernard Allison    Brandon Scott Sellner


Festival Website

The only Blues festival held on an island in the middle of the Mississippi River!

 Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin on St. Feriole Island

17th Annual

Pocono Blues Festival

July 25 - 27, 2008

Big Boulder Ski Area
Lake Harmony, PA

Root Doctor, Teeny Tucker, Lil' Dave Thompson, Joey Gilmore, The Kinsey Report, Sharrie Williams, Michael Burks, Nappy Brown, Kenny Neal, Sugar Pie DeSanto, Jimmy McCracklinMichael Roach, Johnny Mars, Byther Smith, The Holmes Brothers, Lurrie Bell, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Bobby Rush, Eric Bibb, Geno Delafose

Festival Website Click Here

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CLICK HERE to vote for your favorite nominees. All you have to do to be eligible to vote for your favorite nominee is become (or already be) a Blues Blast magazine subscriber. Of course this is always free! (Current subscribers should enter the email address where they receive their Blues Blast!)

Not familiar with some of the 2008 nominees?

Be an informed voter! Listen to the music of the nominees BEFORE you vote! Our partner public radio station GLT has set up a web page where you can play music samples of the 2008 Blues Blast Music Award nominees. CLICK HERE to hear these great Blues artists NOW!  When you get there, click on one of the nominees links to listen.

The 2008 Blues Blast Music Awards are proud to have the following sponsors: 

 Blues Society News

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

Max of 125 words, Text or Word file ONLY.

The Blues Blowtorch Society Bloomington, IL

The Blues Blowtorch Society's Central Illinois Blues Challenge will be held September 21, 2008 at the Tri-Lakes in Bloomington, IL. This year we are limiting the number of bands to five. The solo/duo acts competition is to be determined based on interest. CIBC 2008 Eligibility Requirements along with complete information, application & rules are available online at: 
For further information contact Deborah Mehlberg Entertainment Director, Blues Blowtorch Society Submission deadline is August 25, 2008.

The West Virginia Blues Society Charleston, W.V.

The West Virginia Blues Society will hold its Second Annual Blues Competition on October 4, 2008 at Christopher's Banquet Center in Fairmont, WV.  Blues bands and solo/duo blues acts will compete for cash prizes and WVBS sponsorship to the Blues Foundation's International Blues Challenge held every year in Memphis, Tennessee.

The West Virginia Blues Society will have 18 competition slots filled by regional blues acts from all over West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland and other states. The first-place winner of Blues Competition will receive $750 dollars in cash and WVBS sponsorship to the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in early 2009. The second place winner will receive $200 in cash and third-place winner will receive $100 in cash.

CONTACT PERSON FOR COMPETITION PARTICIPANTS: Complete information, application & rules are available online at .  Deadline for application submission is September 1, 2008. For more information contact Competition Director, Jack Rice at 304-389-1438 or e-mail:

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  - July 28 - Bill Evans & N Da Groove, August 4 - John Nemeth, August 11 - Steve the Harp Blues Band, August 18 - Springfield Shaky, August 25 - Peter Karp

Saturday, September 6, 2008
Angell Park, Sun Prairie, WI


Cliff Fredricksen

Laura England & the Mud Angels

Bobby Bryan & the Uptown Allstars

Bobby Evans & the Alimony Blues Band

Rev Raven & the Chain Smoking Altar Boys

Paul Cebar

Riot and his Rhythm Devils

Latest CD Tough Times is available now!


To Purchase this CD CLICK HERE

September 19 & 20, 2008
 Grafton, WI

Festival Website:

Sue DaBaco & Wise Fools - Zac Harmon - CTA - California Transit Authority - Fruteland Jackson -David "Honeyboy" Edwards  - Sharrie Williams - Bryan Lee - Watermelon Slim & the Workers - Tab Benoit - Elvin Bishop

The National Debonaires

New Sounds from Kansas City

2008 Blues Blast Music Award Nominee
 "Best Blues Song" for Ain't Gonna Happen Again

CLICK HERE to purchases Now!

To read the Blues Blast CD review - CLICK HERE


 Featured Blues Review (1 of 3)

Dallas Hodge - Reelin’
MEG Records

10 songs; 44:28 minutes; Meritable
Styles: Motor City Rock and Roll and Blues

If a musical pedigree means anything toward a quality CD, then Dallas Hodge has the goods.

Dallas was born in 1954 in Detroit MI. He started playing the guitar at age 13. After leading several bands, he finally teamed up with his brother Bob “Catfish” Hodge in 1970 as the Catfish Hodge Band, recording several albums together. In 1978, he moved to Santa Cruz, CA. On his own with his band Deluxe, Dallas also sat in with artists such as Johnny Winter in 1981 along with Delbert McClinton and Bonnie Raitt.

In 1983, he moved to Los Angeles joining his brother “Catfish” once again to form the Hodge Brothers Band. The members were Dave "Woodie" Woodford (who played with Aerosmith, Bonnie Raitt, Jeff Golub and many others) on saxophone, Larry Zack on drums (Jackson Browne), Marty Grebb on piano and sax (The Buckinghams, Bonnie Raitt), Skip Van Winkl (of Teegarden & Van Winkl, Bob Seger, and the Robbie Krieger Band) on Hammond B3 organ and kicking bass pedals with both feet. The Hodge Brothers did a tour for a record called "Chicken Leg's" with the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Paul Barrere (Little Feat), Cornell Dupree (Aretha Franklin) and Freebo - all in the same band!

From this period until 2000, Dallas also had a band in Detroit known as the Detroit All-stars which featured Drew Abbott and Chris Campbell from Bob Seger's Silver Bullet Band as well as a host of others, including his longtime piano man Tim "The Professor" Sparling.

In the year 2000, Dallas was offered the task of fronting the legendary band Canned Heat. “I knew I had some big shoes to fill," says Dallas. Bob "The Bear" Hite had passed away quite some time ago, and it was a challenge he met head-on for six years.

No longer fronting that band, Dallas has stepped up his efforts and pushed on with his own career, and with his own style of Motor City Rocking Rhythm and Blues. "People have told me that when they hear and see what I am all about, that I should share my music with the people. I have always played for the love of the music. Lord knows there are many other things you can do for money, but the music is always for the love!” Dallas says.

“Reelin’” is Dallas’s first solo CD, containing originals and reworked classics. “I recorded it to document who I am and what I do, more for my parents than anybody else....There was no attempt at making a ‘hit’ record, just good music,” Hodge wrote in April of this year. Well, Dallas should feel proud because that is exactly what he accomplished, and “good music” it is.

The set opener is “Divin’ Duck” which is basically Hodge’s arrangement and own take of “If the River Was Whiskey.” The mid-tempo blues starts with a pop from Tony Braunagel on drums and ivory tinkling by Rick Solem. Dallas’s whiskey-gruff vocals are nicely punctuated at the end of each sung line by album recorder and co-producer Tom Maclear on slide guitar. Hodge’s own gold top Les Paul guitar works above the Terry Wilson bass line, and Maclear and Solem take tasty mid song solos. The song works well to introduce what Hodge’s music is about and leaves the door open for surprises to come.

Track 2 gives us a big surprise, “Love Me Do” by the Beatles done slower in a completely original arrangement and style. He was 45 seconds into the song, before it hit me: Yumping Yiminy – that’s a Beatles’ song! The song opens with twin lead guitars played in harmony the way Elvin Bishop and Johnny Vernazzo used to do in Bishop’s Capricorn Records days. Making a full and lush sound, three horns harmonize with those guitars: David Woodford on sax, Lee Thornburg on trumpet, and Garrett Adkins on trombone. Before it all sinks in, the listener is whisked off into the nether by the up tempo track 3, “Take That Baby Home.”

Another change up is thrown our way with track 4, a re-work, with new lyrics, of Detroit friend Bob Seger’s “Against the Wind.” Titled “In the Wind,” the opening guitar switches to acoustic courtesy of Greg Beck. Skip Van Winkl plays Hammond B3 while another guest, Larry Zack, adds drums. Lamenting the loss of a friend, “Pops,” the song gets ethereal treatment from Maclear’s steel guitar and Solem’s piano.

Blues fans will enjoy Hodge’s take on an old BB King song, “Don’t Want Nobody.” Letting the little woman know that he knows what is going on, Hodge sings, “Tell the Carnation milk man not to leave no more milk. He’s been leavin’ too much cream lately, baby; may need to take some insurance on himself.” “Up the Country” gives a nod to Hodge’s Canned Heat days, but this version is at a slower tempo with outstanding slide guitar. Muddy Waters’ “Rock Me Babe” is given the Hodge treatment here. There was no need to re-invent the “wagon wheel,” just keep it rolling.

The title track and “Holiday” (by Catfish) are rock and rollers that showcase Hodge’s “Motor City” sound. “High Roller,” the other Catfish song, has a slow Southern rock style with slide guitar, road house piano, and backing vocals by Teresa James and Kelly “Kacee” Clanton.

Again, Hodge should be proud of this solid set of music showcasing what he does. While he wasn’t trying to create anything unique, there are enough surprises, thoughtful arrangements, and solid playing from guests and his own years’ experiences to make the CD interesting and enjoyable.

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 3)

Willie “Pinetop” Perkins - Pinetop Perkins And Friends
Telarc Records

How do you write about a talented, 95 year old artist that has been out there musically since the late 1920s? He played with Sonny Boy Williamson II on the King Biscuit Time radio show on KFFA, and he advertised for Sonny Boy Meal before we had too many TVs . Wow! And, he’s still out there kicking it and doing a great job.

On this C.D. Pinetop has brought in "A little help from his friends." Packed with an all star line up to help out, the CD has the likes of B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Jimmie Vaughn, Eric Sardinas, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, Willie Kent, Nora Jean Brusco, Paul Diethelm, "Little Frank" Krakowski, Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith, Leon Smith, Bob Stroger, and Bill Willis. What a group of friends!

The first number is a smooth mellow song by "Joe Perkins" called "Take It Easy Baby." When I say mellow, I mean for Pinetop. He calls in Jimmie Vaughn for a few lead guitar licks on this track - I think just so they can get warmed up for some others coming down the road later.

The second song steps it up a bit on "Got My Mojo Workin’” by Preston Foster. It has not only got a great Pinetop boogie beat that he has always been known for on those ivory keys, but also very good singing by the 94 year old youngster (when recorded). Eric Sardinas is piloting a slide Dobro sound that is wonderful plus provides more good singing to help out on this great cover song.

Next , he brings in The KING, that is B.B. King to play his guitar Lucille and do a little back up singing on this fast rocking number called "Down in Mississippi.” At one point, after singing a few bars, B.B. tells Pinetop to take over because he can sing better than him. Pinetop and B.B. worked together in Memphis at WDIA Radio. That had to be a couple of days ago, don't you think?

This song, also by "Joe Perkins," "How Long Blues/ Come Back Baby” is a very good slow Blues with Eric Clapton on guitar for good 'ol Pinetop. Eric does his always stellar performance on the fret work while singer Nora Jean Brusco with her remarkable voice jumps in to turn this into another great duet. She and Pinetop sound exceptionally good together.

Very good C.D.

Reviewer Tom "THE ENERGIZER" Schlesinger is a long time blues fan and veteran of many a Legendary Blues Cruise and Blues Festival.

 Blues Link of the Week

The mother directory of all Blues Fests is the Blues Festival Guide website. They offer Blues Festivals a FREE listing of their fest. You can search by month to see festivals coming up and they offer a newsletter and paid advertising for Blues fests. Check out their website, and tell them the Blues Blast sent you!


Willie Big Eyes Smith

New CD

Born In Arkansas

CLICK HERE  to Purchase this CD

4th Annual
Boxcar of Blues

Knuckleheads Blues Bar

Saturday-Sunday, August 15-16, 2008
2700 Rochester St  Kansas City, MO
816-483-1456   |

August 15
Sean Carney, Joe Moss & Trampled Under Foot & more

August 16
Billy Gibson band, Mike Zito, Charliehorse & Steamboat Willie & the Smoothi Kings

 Featured Blues Review (3 of 3)

Jim Suhler & Monkey Beat - Tijuana Bible

By Gary Weeks

16 songs; 71:21 minutes;

A few musicians enjoy the luxury of working in two bands. Derek Trucks holds down lead guitar duties in the Allman Brothers while fronting his own Derek Trucks Band. Co-guitarist Warren Haynes leads Govt Mule when not working in the Allmans. The Allman's don't tour year round so it is easy for these musicians to juggle schedules. Luther Dickinson, guitarist with the North Mississippi All-Stars, now works with the Black Crowes. The Crowes are actively touring so Dickinson cant devote too much time to his other outfit.

Playing second guitar behind George Thorogood sounds like a good job. The tour dates seem steady with little down time. Whatever down-time there is, Texas guitarist Jim Suhler makes it work while leading his own band Monkey Beat.

Which all leads to Monkey Beat's latest cd Tijuana Bible. Fans of classic rock will get over an hour of music that leans heavily on the riffs taken from AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and ZZ Top.

Title cut "Tijuana Bible" slowly cruises along with its Billy Gibbons lead guitar lines. Guitarist Elvin Bishop guest-stars on "Drunken Hearted Boy" adding tasty slide guitar work. Suhler tears through AC/DC's "Up To My Neck In You" on a mean bedrock of rhythm. Friend Joe Bonamassa adds textural musical lines on "Deep Water Lullaby" that is a beautiful ode to Jimi Hendrix. The lyrics alone are a dead giveaway.

It seems there is something for everybody to enjoy on this cd. Rarely do any tempos drag and the music stays upbeat enough to hold listener interest. "Border Rock" is a loose happy Tex-Mex surf rocker.

Jim doesn't put too many shuffles on this disk. When he does, something like "Chaos In Tejas" takes on an ominous groove of swagger with Fandango under-tones. Suhler rips off screaming slide solos in the jazz rock of "Years Of Tears." In the moderate shuffle tempo of "Mexicali Run," Suhler lays down a John Lee Hooker boogie groove. "Sunday Drunk" is another dance happy rocker in the vein of "Border Rock." Suhler pays tribute to Rory Gallagher in the slide orgy of "I Could've Had Religion." The acoustic "Juice" pumps the bag steadily. The piano ballad of "Cold Light of Day" finishes this set on somber tones.

Suhler has the best of both worlds. He plays guitar with a blues rock legend. And when he can find the time, he works with his own band trying to squeeze in as many dates as possible. Not too many people can have full and part-time jobs like that. It's not too bad of a deal if you can withstand the rigors of the road. There are worst ways of earning a living. Jim probably doesn't have any complaints.

The Code Blue Band

Tight at Midnight

Intensely energetic R&B, funk, and rockin' Blues

CLICK HERE to buy the CD





 Live Blues Review

Bluesfest International - Windsor, Ontario Part Two July 12th - 13th, 2008

Day 3 - Saturday July 12th, 2008

We had already had a great time at the first 2 days of this Canadian festival. Now on day 3 we were in for even more great Blues. The day started off with a great set by Pete "Big Dog" Fetters. Pete was a last minute replacement for another artist and did a great job of warming up the crowd for more Blues that followed.


Next up were the Motor City Women. This talented group of Detroit vocalist consists of Aja Sardis, Cheryl Lescom, Terrie Lea, Lady T, Stacia Petrie and Valerie Barrymore and a great backup band. They played Blues, soul and R & B to a crowd that loved every minute of this great group of artists.



Next up was a tribute to Irish guitarist Rory Gallagher put on by Blue Storm Music and Arnie Goodman from Elmore Magazine. The group included Innes Siban , Jeff Simon, Nathaniel Peterson, Pete Brown and Rory's brother Donal Gallagher. It was a real treat!


Following the tribute set it was time to see an up and coming guitar legend. Born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, Ana Popovic is fast gaining the reputation as a triple threat. She is a real Blues guitar slinger that can play some searing Blues as well as the big boys, she sings like an angel and is blessed with the Blonde goddess looks that any top model would be jealous of. She wowed the crowd and there was a VERY long line at the artist booth where she greeted fans and signed autographs.


 The headliner for a Saturday night in Canada was none other than Canadian artist David Wilcox! With 5 gold and platinum CD's to his name, David had plenty of music to choose from. It was easy to see why he one of Canada's favorite guitarists.


Sometimes you realize how lucky you are to see so many great Blues acts. This was on our minds as we headed back to the hotel for some well deserved rest before one more day of a great Canadian Blues Fest.

Day 4 - Sunday July 13th, 2008

On Sunday at Bluesfest International the weather was perfect and the day started off withWindsor's own, Stu Heydon. This tasteful guitarist was formerly bandleader for Wild Child Butler for 10 years. He put on a good set as the crowd grew.


Next up was Eric Sardinas who always puts on a great show and today was no exception. He makes playing slide on that electric Dobro look easy but few could actually match the searing solos this man plays.


We began to take our booth down as Eric finished but we stayed for one more act before we headed back across the border home. Chicago Bluesman Larry McCray was the final act we saw and it was definitely worth staying around for. Larry is the real deal and played the Blues from his soul to a very appreciative crowd.


All that remained was getting back into the US with a car loaded with our booth stuff, cameras, suitcases, coolers and more. It was 9:30pm as we made it to the head of the line at customs. The guard was very merciful and waved us through without any checking. We hit the gas and drove all night! After a long drive, it was great to be back in your own bed as we dreamed of more Blues travels!

Reviewed by Bob Kieser

 Chicago Blues Update

Live Blues reviews by Chicago Blues editor Lordy

Blues Beat: Chicago (Photos by August Lord)

Lordy will return with more Chicago Blues show reviews soon

CLICK HERE to visit Lordy's website at

To see a Chicago Area list of upcoming events CLICK HERE

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