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August 21, 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,

The Friends of the Blues brought Ana Popovic to Watseka, Illinois Sunday for  an early show and we got to see all the fun. This 32 year old international star was born in the town of Belgrade, formerly Yugoslavia. When you first see her you think, oh great, here is a girl with a guitar that looks like a model on a runway. Yep she is definitely easy on the eyes but just wait till she starts performing and you will be convinced!

Ana is what the Blues guys call a triple threat. She plays guitar like Jimi and Stevie Ray, she sings like an angel and she performs her own brand of Blues and rock with passion and fire.

She is a also great songwriter and we were delighted to hear songs from her latest CD, "Still Making History". (CLICK HERE to read CD review).

Her writing tends to be a bit on the jazz and rock side sometimes but she also threw in some classic Blues just in case you were wondering if she could keep up with the big boys. ANSWER = YES, she can play the Blues and slide guitar as well as the best of them.

If you don't know about this great guitar player, singer and song writer check out her website at to see what all the fuss is about! To see pictures of all the Sunday fun, CLICK HERE

Chicago Looses Two Great Bluesmen On One Sad Day

Chicago harmonica ace Little Arthur Duncan passed away Wednesday morning, August 20, 2008 at Kindred Hospital in Northlake, IL from complications from brain surgery. He was 74.

Guitarist/vocalist Phil Guy, the younger brother of the legendary Buddy Guy, passed away Wednesday morning, August 20, 2008 at St. James Hospital in Olympia Fields, IL, after a battle with kidney and liver cancer. He was 68.

The Old Capitol Blues & BBQs

The Old Capitol Blues & BBQs is this Saturday, August 23, 2008 at Fifth & Washington Streets in downtown Springfield, IL. The main Stage music starts at 4:00pm and includes performances by Dave Herraro Blues Band with Felix Reyes,  The Tarbox Ramblers, the sacred steel of Calvin Cooke and ends with Howard and the White Boy. Festivities get underway at noon with a baby-back rib cook-off and continue through the evening until midnight.

The Illinois Central Blue Club will also be holding their Blues Challenge from Noon to 4:30pm. They have nine bands competing for a slot in the semi-finals at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis next January. Last year their solo/duet entry Robert Sampson made it to the finals and he is back performing with the Pleasure Chest Blues Band to make it down in the band category this year.

GET THERE EARLY BLUES FANS! To add to what is sure to be a great event with 12 hours of great Blues by 14 bands and great BBQ, we now confirm that Senator Barack Obama will be appearing in downtown Springfield at 7th and Capitol at noon. Word is that he will be introducing his vice presidential running mate. So all this for how much???? Blues friendly price of $5, with Children (12 & under) FREE! See the schedule in the  Blues Society news section below.

Blues Reviews and MORE!

This week we continue our series,  "The Future of the Blues" with a look at Blues guitarist, Kenny Wayne Shepherd!  Our Blues Link of the Week is a classic video of Albert Collins playing "I Ain't Drunk". You haven't heard this song until you see it done by the master!

James Walker sends us a review of a new CD from Top Cat Records of Hollywood Fats & The Paladins Live in 1985. Chicago writer Mike O'Cull reviews a new CD by Davis Coen. Los Angeles Blues guitar woman Nikki O'Neill reviews a new CD from Chris James & Patrick Rynn and Tom "THE ENERGIZER" Schlesinger reviews a new CD by Gaye Adegbalola . All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN

Tickets for this Hammond, Indiana show
go on sale Friday, 08/22/08 To Purchase Tickets CLICK HERE

 The Future of the Blues

Our Future of the Blues series looks at young Blues artists who will be shaping this music called the Blues for the next generation.

This week we feature a young Blues player, born in 1977, Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Kenny began playing the Blues at the early age of 7 after listening to Muddy Waters records. 

This Shreveport, LA native found his way to New Orleans by the age of 13 where he first sat in with Bluesman Bryan Lee.

His father managed his music career in his early years and got him a record deal with music giant Irv Azoff for his first CD, "Ledbetter Heights" which was released in 1995 when he was 18. The CD sold well and was followed up with "Trouble is..", in 1997 and by "Live On" in 1999. He toured extensively and played quite a few Blues fests.

Then in 2004 he released a totally Rock & Roll CD called "The Place You're In". Many Blues fans saw this as him selling out and his popularity dropped off significantly for the next couple years. Blues fans saw him as Rock & Roll and Rock & Roll fans never really took him serious either. The CD sold poorly and his career dived.

In the middle of this "slump" Shepherd decided to return to his Blues roots and went to the back road in the south with Stevie Ray's drummer and bass player and a video crew to record and play with some of the south's real Blues musicians both known and unknown including the late guitarist Etta Baker, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown and B.B. King, country bluesmen Cootie Stark, Neil Pattman, harmonica ace Jerry "Boogie" McCain and others. The resulting CD/DVD combo was nominated for a Grammy Award and won him the Blues Foundations "Keeping The Blues Alive" award.

Click the links below to see the videos.

  - 19 year old Kenny Wayne playing the song Deja Voodoo from his first CD.

- Kenny Wayne with Bryan Lee, and Hubert Sumlin on the Tonight Show last year.

You can find out more about this artist at his website at  There is a a great bio and complete discography of Kenny Wayne on the All Music Guide website. CLICK HERE to check it out.

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

Vote and WIN!

Some of this weeks lucky winners were Arthur Fife from Isle of Man, UK who won a Blues Blast T-shirt and Mark Gay from Clearwater, Ks who won a CD by BBMA nominee Eden Brent.

Once you have voted you become eligible for random prize drawings every other day! We are giving away Blues Blast T-shirts, CD's and more until voting ends on August 31st. VOTE NOW! The sooner you vote, the better the chance you will be one of the lucky winners.  CLICK HERE to vote!

 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.

Booking Agent Wanted

The Michael Packer Blues Band From New York City Is Currently Looking For A Booking Agent (Clubs,Festivals Etc). Their Cd Bleecker-Bowery On Random Chance Records Is In Stores Nationally Distributed By City Hall And Are Receiving Airplay On Over 300 Radio Stations. More Info @  or call Windmill Music @ 718-273-1095.

Booking Agent/Manager needed

MO'BLUES, High energy blues/rock band from Argentina with 3 cd's and passport and US Visa seeks representation.

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


David Honeyboy Edwards

Roamin' and Ramblin'

2008 Blues Blast Music Award Nominee
 "Best Best Traditional Blues CD

CLICK HERE to purchases Now!

To read the Blues Blast CD review - CLICK HERE



Eden Brent

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

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

Max of 125 words, Text or Word file ONLY.

Cincy Blues Society - Cincinnati, OH

The Cincy Blues Society wants to ask other Blues societies a question concerning our memberships. We are wondering if you would be favorable to accepting our Blues society members' i.d. Cards at your events should they have the opportunity to travel to where you are located...this would encourage them to try your festivals and events if they knew they could get in free or at a friendly price if they present their Cincy Blues membership card.

If you feel this sounds favorable to you, please reply to me...Pat (inthehat) at or check out our website at Let me know what events you have, also and when they are.
Thanks in advance, Pat (inthehat) If this would not pertain to you, please let me know that also, Thanks!

Illinois Central Blues Club - Springfield, IL

The 5th Annual Old Capitol Blues & BBQs is Saturday, August 23, 2008 in downtown Springfield, IL. Festivities get underway at noon. Admission is $5 with children 12 and under free. The Blues lineup includes the gospel steel of Calvin Cooke, Howard and the White Boys, the Tarbox Ramblers and Dave Herrero featuring Felix Reyes. Main stage begins at 4:00pm

The Illinois Central Blues Club will be conducting their Second Blues Challenge. Nine acts are competing. Schedule below:

Noon - Frank's Creation - Inner City Blues Band
12:30 - The Voodoo Blues Band
1:00 - Bobby Taylor & the Blue Soul Band
1:30 - The Sofa Kings
2:00 - Lorrie Eden Blues Band
2:30 - Pleasure Chest Blues Band
3:00 - Nothin But Trouble
3:30 - Pike Station
4:00 - Cabin Fever

Blue Mondays- Held at the Alamo 115 N 5th St, Springfield, IL (217) 523-1455 every Monday 8:30pm $2 cover  - August 25 - Pleasure Chest Blues Band (Peter Karp who was previously scheduled has cancelled all his tour dates due to family illness until further notice), Sept 1 - Scott Ellison, Sept 8 - Bill Lupkin & the Chicago Blues Coalition, Sept 15 - Harmonica Wizards Dennis Gruenling & Steve Guyger, Sept 22 - Lil Dave Thompson, Sept 29 - The Blues Deacons, Oct 13 - The Rich Fabec Blues Band, Oct 20 - Too Slim & the Tail Draggers

The Blues Blowtorch Society - Bloomington, IL

Blues Blowtorch Society presents The Blues Blowtorch Society's Educational Fund Raiser, September 21, 2008 -1:00 PM to 6:00 PM at Tri Lakes Banquet Facilities, 2100 Bunn St., Bloomington, IL

Featuring Black Magic Johnson 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM and Lil' Dave Thompson 3:30 PM - 6:00 PM. Food and Drink for sale by Tri-Lakes Membership. Events for Everyone - How to Start a Band Workshop, Auctions, more! For more Information - Deborah Mehlberg - Entertainment Director 309-662-0996 or E-mail

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:

Paramount Blues Festival

 September 19 & 20, 2008
 Grafton, WI

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

Festival Website:

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


 Blues Link of the Week

Albert Collins  "I Ain't Drunk"

We hear bands do this song in clubs all the time. It is a fun rowdy song and bar patrons usually love it. But you haven't really heard this song till you see this video! This is CLASSIC!!!!

 Featured Blues Review (1 of 4)

Hollywood Fats & The Paladins - Live 1985

Topcat Records

13 songs; 61:11 minutes; Splendid

Styles: West Coast Blues, Rockabilly revival, Retro rock and roll

Dear Skyy,
   I must confess, I am kind of new to the blues. I was knocked out by The Insomniacs debut release, “Left Coast Blues,” which was nominated for a Blues Music Award for Best New Artist Debut. On their website, they list as their number one influence some guitar playing cat named Hollywood Fats who died in 1986 at age 32. I checked, and Fats only had one album! What a shame, don’t you think, that more of his music isn’t out there. Keep up the good work.
Kerry Oakey

Hi Kerry,
   Boy, are you and all blues fans in luck! Topcat Records has teamed with producer Richard Chalk to release a live recording made in 1985 when Hollywood Fats was touring with the Paladins. On a song like Chuck Willis’ “Lawdy Lawdy Miss Mary,” you can really hear that influence to which The Insomniacs refer. Chalk admits that it was recorded on amateur equipment with somewhat “lo-fi” results. But, they have salvaged the recording with the latest in hi-tech treatments to create a greatly improved sound quality. On my stereo, I turned the treble down and boosted the midrange to medium and bass to near full. It turned into more than just a historical set for collectors and cult followers; the CD is very accessible to all fans of rock and roll and swinging west coast jump blues.
Thanks for writing,

Recorded on December 19, 1985, at the Greenville Avenue Bar & Grill in Dallas, Texas, this album features Michael “Hollywood Fats” Mann and Southern California rockabilly legends the Paladins. The house was packed and fans were excited as you can tell from the crowd noise highlighted by the loudest and shrillest of screams from some female fan.

Like fellow guitarists Duane Allman and Stevie Ray Vaughan, Mann was a creative genius who entered the halls of hallows too soon following an untimely death. This set with Dave Gonzalez on vocals and rhythm guitar, Scott Campbell on drums, Thomas Yearsley on stand up bass and Fats on burning guitar was recorded about one year before Mann’s accidental, drug related passing.

For the best singes from that flame, there are two Mann original instrumentals showcasing that underappreciated-in-his-day talent, “The Groove” and “Tear It Up,” the latter with lightning fast guitar work that is picking, not shredding.

Beyond those, the set is a mix of crowd pleasing rockabilly, swinging West Coast blues and rock and roll. After igniting the evening with the mandatory in its day “Hideaway” by Freddie King, the boys burn the house down with Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Whole Lotta Shakin,’” Lightnin’ Slim’s “Rooster Blues,” Junior Parker’s “Mystery Train,” and Jimmy Reed’s “She’s Fine.”

When folks talk about the wave of West Coast guitarists beyond T-Bone Walker and Lowell Fulson, the name Hollywood Fats always tops the list. Get this serendipitous CD and learn what they are talking about.

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.



Too Slim and the Taildraggers


Fortune Teller


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


 Featured Blues Review (2 of 4)

Davis Coen - Blues Lights For Yours And Mine


Davis Coen’s fifth album release Blues Lights For Yours And Mine shows the bluesman branching out from the country blues sound that is the center of his music and including Memphis and New Orleans flavors in addition to the strong down-home blues flavor that fans have come to expect from him. Coen is equal parts songwriter and interpreter and brings excellent readings of original and cover songs to this project.

His initial inspirations were Louis Armstrong, Big Bill Broonzy, Howlin’ Wolf, Jimi Hendrix, and Mississippi John Hurt, which gave Coen a deep launching pad for creating his own roots music gumbo. He also spent years as a solo act, honing his country and postwar blues chops over the course of countless gigs on the East Coast. With this latest release, Coen draws on influences as diverse as Tom Waits and Lightnin’ Hopkins to create his best batch of blues music yet.

Davis is a fine guitarist, with a soulful, non-showboating style, but the songs here are what really shine. “Basement With The Blue Light On” is his tribute to 60’s soul music and has an understated groove that pulls listeners in almost subliminally. The low-down and swampy “Mambo Jumbo” is possibly the best tune on the album and goes down like Rain Dogs-era Waits with a bit more guitar.

The whole set is really about vibe and groove and Coen ends up with a more original sound as a result than he would by going the guitar hero route. Less is more sometimes (most of the time, really) and Coen works that angle to great effect. Recent years have found Coen touring the world, playing in films, and contributing music to the DVD release of Martin Scorsese’s PBS special The Blues and deservedly so. Davis Coen has built a career the hard way, by being an artist, and his commitment to this music is apparent in every note he plays

Reviewed by Mike O'Cull

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

Three Blues Blast Music Award Nominations!

Bryan Lee

  • Best Male Artist

  • Best Blues Band

  • Best Contemporary CD

Purchase Katrina Was Her Name NOW!  CLICK HERE

 Featured Blues Review (3 of 4)

Chris James & Patrick Rynn – “Stop and Think About It”

Earwig Music

Hearing Chris James’ and Patrick Rynn’s first solo release on Earwig, I can’t help thinking of James Hunter. Not because they play 50’s R&B like Hunter, pretty far from it - these cats are very proud guardians of the post-war Chicago blues sound, and you’ll know it in every 12-bar tune, I-IV-V progression, dirty harp solo and Elmore James-influenced guitar on this disc.

One common denominator is James’ voice – as smooth, relaxed and engaging as the chart-topping Englishman’s, and really jumping out on this disc. Both are also fine guitar players, maybe not extremely original and inventive, but with killer tone, great taste and impeccable song instincts. Finally, both are fairly young, but couldn’t care less about current music trends. James’ and fellow bass player Rynn’s love for the 1950’s Chicago Southside era has resulted in a very consistent album that shouldn’t have any problem finding its target audience in our info-overloaded Internet era.

The song list consists of several Elmore James covers and the duo’s own originals that sound like they’d belong on any Windy City classic. The lyrics portray classic blues characters like seductive little schoolgirls and the “grinding expert” Mr. Coffee. In terms of arrangements and recording, these are equally true to the era, and the guys did a great job producing the album themselves. To top it all off, the black and white cover shot portrays the duo in dapper shirts, knitted vests and caps, proudly exclaiming “BLUES” to potential young fans, who may have heard of this music through indie rockers like The White Stripes and The Black Keys.
So with such a distinctive vibe and great presentation, why shouldn’t these guys have the potential to become a hit at every Starbucks in the country… like James Hunter?

James and Ryan are no newbies on the scene: some of you might know them as part of The Blue Four, who have played countless festivals and toured across the U.S., Europe and Japan. They’ve recorded for labels like Earwig, Evidence, Hightone, Ice House, Marquis, Appaloosa and Magnum, and they were also featured in Martin Scorcese’s PBS-series “The Blues.” Guests on the CD include  Sam Lay on drums, Bob Corritore on harmonica, and Johnny Rapp taking second guitar for a few tracks.

Personally, I found this disc to be a really enjoyable and inspired experience while I was in the act of listening to it. James, Rynn and their guest musicians instantly took me to the classic Chicago sound and kept me in this bubble, oblivious to my native Los Angeles freeways and palm trees. But I’m not craving to go back to it; the songs don’t continue to play in my head – except the excellent title track “Stop and Think About It.” With its simple, yet catchy, hook, this song is perfect for James’ voice, and should be a hit among British kids who fancy Duffy, Amy Winehouse and Hunter if there’s any justice in this world. As a restless child of these times, I prefer albums that are a little more varied. But this is an inspired and genuine record for lovers of pure Chicago blues. I wouldn’t consider it essential for your blues library, but well worth lending an ear to.

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, Me’shell Ndegeocello, Jennifer Batten, and more.


Willie Big Eyes Smith

New CD

Born In Arkansas

CLICK HERE  to Purchase this CD

 Featured Blues Review (4 of 4)

Gaye Adegbalola - Gaye Without Shame

Vizztone Label Group

You can pronounce her name, too; try it: (Ah-deg-bah-lo-la).

At first listen, I was not real happy with this CD. It is, I think, very controversial or could be to some people, and, I think, hard to write about without possibly offending someone. I almost passed this one up to let someone else tackle the review. But, I changed my mind after two or three times listening to it.

I have to explain first, this album is all about a gay or lesbian woman, sometimes singing songs about, or to, her lover. As I said, at first I didn't want to go there. I found myself trying to understand, was a little uncomfortable at times, and had many unusual or unfair thoughts. After a first time listen, I thought back to how many times I had heard a man insinuating sexual overtones in a song to a woman, and I had snickered or laughed. Or, I heard a sexy woman singing about the men in the same way and thought how they must have really “big ones” to even sing those x-rated insinuations. But, I always thought they were funny and entertaining. I thought they were just pushing the envelope back then. Now, I think the envelope just got pushed to a whole new level.

The number one track title, “Queer Blues,” sets the stage for the rest of the CD, or that's what I thought at first. “Queer Blues” is a coming out and saying: Hey, we are going to talk about this whether you want to or not! With Roddy Barnes on piano and Jim Brock on drums (who do a fine job on every track they are highlighted on), Gaye Adegbalola is not afraid or ashamed and will not make any excuses for being gay. I think she is very proud of it and pretty much says so throughout this album. She has a great voice and uses it very well on a cover or two like the 2nd track, “Honest I Do,” by one of her, and my, favorite song writers, Jimmy Reed.

In the 7th song, Gaye cries out to the “fellas” to have safe sex in a song titled, “Bareback Rider,” where one line is, "You can't ride bareback." On this song, producer and guitarist on this project, Bob Margolin, along with Roddy Barnes on piano, sing back up as the “Trojans.”

On Gaye's original tune, “Hetero Twinges, cut #13, Roddy Barnes on piano, with a New Orleans piano style, really goes out of his way to make it sound good. This is one of many unusual, friendly, and funny songs done about a good looking guy that Gaye seems to have thoughts about, even if she doesn't “lean that way.”

Gaye put together a very unique album that is, as she says, for “All the People, Black -White, straight-queer, young and old, living and dying, dancing or crying, in love or heartbroken-- Love is Love and Heartbreak is Heart Break.”

This CD is both happy and sad, with humor, with Great guitars – acoustic and electric slide, with piano, bass, drums, and vocals. AND, with a different take on a lot of things.

I can't finish with out mentioning, last but not least "The Speech." It’s a bonus track which is excerpted from an original speech Gaye gave at a public speaking event at the Fredericksburg Pride Festival in 2005. Its subject is "Civil Rights vs. Queer Rights." Listen to it, and more than once! It was powerful enough to make me want to do this review with out running away and hiding from these truths.

Thank you, Gaye, for doing this album. I know you made me think a little differently about some issues. And, I hope it does for others also.

Review by Tom "THE ENERGIZER" Schlesinger, a long time blues lover and fan, and a veteran of many Legendary Blues Cruises and Festivals all over the mid west and Florida.

The Code Blue Band

Tight at Midnight

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

CLICK HERE to buy the CD





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