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October 22, 2009           

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Latest news, photos, reviews, 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 some great opportunities to see killer Blues shows in the next week, especially if you are in the Central US. Our friends at the Deep Blues Innovators Blues Fest are putting on a heck of a show this Saturday in Monmouth, IL. This great show features Watermelon Slim, Shawn Kellerman,


Bernie Pearl, Iowa Blues Hall of Fame winner Joe Price and an opening set by Charlie Hayes and Joel Fleming. (Joel Fleming won the Hohner harmonica company worldwide competition a few years ago and gave a fantastic show last year!)

They also have a great guitar workshop by Bernie Pearl on Saturday morning (for details CLICK HERE). For more information visit their website at or see their ad below.

Also check out news below about the Blues Blast Music awards at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago for a chance to see a GREAT show Blues next Thursday October 29th, 2009.

Arkansas Blues and Heritage Fest photos next week

Last week we told you the photos from the Arkansas Blues & Heritage Festival would be in this weeks issue. We have a story by Belinda Foster about the fest in this weeks issue but due to technical difficulties and the overwhelming response to the Blues Blast Music Awards, we will be posting all the photos from this great festival next week.  Here are a some pics to tide you over till next week. These photos of Anson Funderburg, Blind Mississippi Morris and Robert Belfore offer a glimpse of a few of the great performances there.


We WILL have photos of all three days of the great fun in next weeks issue. Promise!

2009 Blues Blast Music Awards News

We are really pumped! The Blues Blast Music Awards at Buddy Guy's Legend's in Chicago are happening in one week, on Thursday October 29th. This is going to be a historic show. Don't miss performances by some of the best Blues talent on the planet, Kenny Neal, Nick Moss & The Flip TopsLurrie Bell, Billy Branch, Shirley Johnson, Albert Castiglia, John Primer, Billy Boy Arnold, Curtis Salgado, Matthew Skoller, Carlos Johnson  Eden Brent, Cedric Burnside & Lightnin Malcom, Chris James & Patrick Rynn, Bob Corritore, Kilborn Alley Blues Band, Robin Rogers, The Insomniacs, Dave Herrero, Guy King, and Dave Gross. In addition to these great nominees, there are going to be many other great Blues performers there.

We just found out that Dave Gross is bringing the Jon Justice Band for his back up band and Kenny Neal is bringing Koko Taylor's band for his set including Vino Louden on guitar and Melvin Smith on bass. Willie "The Touch" Hayes will be setting in with a couple of the performers and there are sure to be a few more surprises as the night unfolds! Our own James "Skyy Dobro" Walker will be the master of ceremonies and celebrity presenters for the awards include Marie Dixon (Willie Dixon's widow), Cookie Taylor (Koko's Daughter) and Sean Costello's parents Debbie Costello Smith and Glenn Smith.

If you don't have tickets yet be sure to get them as soon soon as possible. More than 5 hours of great Blues for only $25! CLICK HERE or see our ad below which includes information on reasonably priced hotel rooms just one block from Buddy Guy's Legends.

Blues Wanderings

We made it out to hear Andrew "Jr. Boy" Jones this week. Andrew began playing professionally at age 16 with Freddie King's backing band. He has a new CD out and played several of the songs to a packed crowd at Illinois Central Blues Club's Blue Monday show at the Alamo in Springfield, IL.

If you have not heard Andrew before, you need to put him on your MUST SEE list now. Pick up a copy of his new CD and you will see what we mean! After Andrew finished his second set he turned the stage over to young Chicago Blue man Eric "Guitar" Davis. Eric will be representing the Illinois Central Blues Club at the International Blues Challenge next January in Memphis.

This young man has it going on so keep your eye on him! We think you are gonna hear lots more about him.

In this issue - Blues Reviews and MORE!

James Walker reviews a new CD from Texas Slim. Gary "Wingman" Weeks reviews a CD from Liz Brown & the Tomcats. Mark Thompson reviews a CD by Woodbrain.  Steve Jones reviews a new CD by Big Pete Peterson. Belinda Foster sends us a report on the Arkansas Blues & Heritage Festival

Deep Blue Innovators Festival

Sat., Oct. 24, 2009

Rivoli Theater - Monmouth, IL

Buy Tickets Here!

Charlie Hayes and Joel Fleming

Joe Price

Bernie Pearl

Shawn Kellerman

 Watermelon Slim

2009 Blues Blast Music Awards

Thursday, October 29th at Buddy Guy's Legends

Advanced tickets are only $25 and available now on our website. CLICK HERE to get yours now before they sell out.

This is a great show featuring performances by some of the best Blues talent on the planet including Kenny Neal, Nick Moss & The Flip TopsLurrie Bell, Billy Branch, Shirley Johnson, Albert Castiglia, John Primer, Billy Boy Arnold, Curtis Salgado, Matthew Skoller, Carlos Johnson  Eden Brent, Cedric Burnside & Lightnin Malcom, Chris James & Patrick Rynn, Bob Corritore, Kilborn Alley Blues Band, Robin Rogers, The Insomniacs, Dave Herrero, Guy King, and Dave Gross.

Join us for a gala celebration of the best in Blues music today! Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago is the most famous Blues Club in the entire world. But it is a Blues club and not a huge arena so there will be a limited number of  tickets available for the show on October 29th. All this for the low price or $25. Get your tickets before they sell out, CLICK HERE!

Those with advanced tickets will be let in first and get the best seats.  So get your tickets early and get there for all the fun!

Affordable Hotel Rooms for the Blues Blast Music Awards are available at the Travelodge at 65 Harrison Street, just a block from Buddy Guys and rooms for the weekend are just $99 plus tax each night for either 2 doubles or a king size bed.

To get this great Blues Blast rate call group coordinator Darren Andrews at 312-376-1481 and mention the Blues Blast Music Awards. The rate is available from 10-28-09 to 11-2-09 so come for the show and stay the weekend in Chicago to visit some of the many other great Chicago Blues clubs while you are there. For complete hotel info CLICK HERE

 Featured Blues Review 1 of 4

Texas Slim - Driving Blues

Top Cat Records

13 songs; 51:13 minutes; Splendid

Style: Texas Blues, Rock and Roll

When Dallas TX native Texas Slim (born Robert "Robin" Sullivan, 1963) went to Plano TX to play, he asked the crowd what they wanted to hear. Their response, "Nothing fancy; just some plano Texas Blues."

First occurring in the 1920s, "Texas Blues" featured guitar work that mimicked the vocals rather than merely accompanying them. Lyrics relied less on love, unfaithfulness, and heartbreak than other Blues forms. By 1946, a fully electric style featured single-string soloing over predominantly horn-driven backing - "Electric" Texas Blues. By the 1970s and 80s, Roadhouse Texas Blues became most prominent with even more emphasis placed on the lead guitar work and with artists performing in duos and power trios, minus horns. Thus, the eye opening musical world introduced to an 8th grade Sullivan when he first heard the Blues.

By age 15, Slim got serious tutelage when he met and played with the great Alex Moore, who first recorded in 1929. Later, at age 20, a career developing partnership with Little Joe Blue began. 2002 saw the release of his second solo effort "I Have Arrived." By today, Texas Slim considers himself to be a "Blues lifer." He toured Europe as a solo act this past summer and tours nationally and internationally with E.C. Scott. Otherwise, his is found playing with his own group, The Love Machine Band.

"Driving Blues" features drummer/producer Aaron Comess (Spin Doctors), Alan Comess and Pat Daugherty on keyboards, and Todd Horton playing trumpet on two songs. All songs are Texas Slim originals.

This week on my radio show, I played "Deville" which became my favorite track at first listen. A cool, jazzy, radio-ready number, "Deville" is a mid-tempo ode to a warm, comfortable night spot that’s perfect at "3 O’clock in the morning when it’s freezing cold outside." Slim sings in a slightly gravelly voice that channels Tom Waits at that particular time slot. Deft solos above the smooth mesh come from Slim’s guitars, Horton’s muted trumpet, and Daugherty’s electric piano. If you thought SRV’s "Lenny" and "Riviera Paradise" were cool but needed lyrics, then you’ll dig this tune.

Next week, I’ll play the next song, "When It’s Cold Outside." A romping shuffle with opening Texas guitar defining the term, this song is a dance floor filler. The groove is infectious, and the lead guitar is slicing and nasty with Slim alternately soloing and punctuating the end of each vocal line.

Burning slow Blues time: "High Alert" with lyrics about the day’s current events on the nightly news being the same old story, "The President tells us to watch out / We’re on a High Alert for the Blues." Another noteworthy slow track with perhaps Slim’s best vocal rendering is "Three Bridges."

Changing the pace, track nine, "Coffee Shop Girl" is a Rock and Roll number with some fun Chuck Berry sounding licks.

Elsewhere, the set opener "Welcome to the Game" has clever lyrics about the dating game in the age of modern technology ("...hope you catch on quick..."). The title track is, indeed, a driving number that had European audiences writing accolades in the guestbook on Slim’s website. For fans of Dobro guitar music, Slim puts the steel slide to the steel strings on "Country Home" and "And It Is." The former sounds like it was influenced by Neil Young’s "Homegrown." The latter finds Slim himself adding an organ track to the Dobro.

Texas Slim has been a regional artist, but he is breaking nationally, and now internationally, with tours and this recording. Seriously, fans of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s jazzy numbers owe it to themselves to get this CD and play "Deville." If you do not dig it, I will personally fax you a check to refund your money.

Reviewer James "Skyy Dobro" Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ, Master of Ceremonies, and Blues Blast contributor. His weekly radio show "Friends of the Blues" can be heard Thursdays from 7 - 8 pm and Saturdays 8 pm - Midnight on WKCC 91.1 FM and at in Kankakee, IL

To See James “Skyy Dobro” Walker's CD rating system, CLICK HERE 

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

Musical Instruments Stores

 Sponsor of the

2009 Blues Blast Music Awards

Visit their Stores at the following locations

4400 E. New York Street
Aurora, IL 60504


1432 Butterfield Rd.
Downers Grove, IL

or online at

 Blues Show Review

The 27th Arkansas Blues & Heritage Festival

Helena, Arkansas - October 8-9-10, 2009

Despite a lower attendance and wishy-washy weather that went from Thursday’s sunshine and upper 80’s to 50’s with rain by Friday and Saturday, The 27th Annual Arkansas Blues & Heritage Festival was nonetheless still a success. Then again, when have a little mud, rain, threat of a tornado, loss of sponsorships, and economically depressed times ever stopped true die hard blues fans? We traveled not only from neighboring cities, states, regions, and extreme left and right coasts but also from all over the world - and will continue to do so. And when your festival location is in a little tiny town in the heart of the Delta where a once-thriving cotton and blues music industry made Helena the place to be in the 30s and 40’s, you know to expect at least one good thing that’s still in Helena if nothing else: the best blues to be found any where in the entire world today. There is no other geographic substitution for the Delta birthplace of Modern American Music, and so the festival began again this year on Thursday, October 8th.

The Sonny Boy Williamson Main Stage Thursday line up included:
Kings of the Delta, Charlotte Taylor & Gypsy Rain, Johnny Billington, J.P. Soars & the Red Hots (2009 IBC winners), Lucious Spiller, Sterling Billingsley, Lil Dave Thompson, John Primer and ending with the Cate Brothers. While most attendees use Thursday as their travel and camp site set up day, the Thursday main stage kick off allows you comfortably mark your spot and hunker down for the day on the Mississippi River levee rather than having to trek back and forth between three stages, as on Friday and Saturday (because you’ll find you don’t want to miss any of the simultaneously performing acts!). There was also a main stage admission fee this year of $5 a day or three days for $10, although the acoustic stages are still free. What a deal! Where else can you hear over 40 of the best blues acts at this low price!? I’ve paid a lot more than that to just park at a concert (or for an airport cup of Starbucks).

After the 9 hr drive from SC, I was in time to see the Johnny Billington through Lil Dave Thompson-Thursday line up (sorry John Primer and Cate Brothers, long day and long drive back to Clarksdale that night but the buzz from those who caught your shows still lingers). Guitar man and native senior bluesman Johnny Billington was laying down that traditional older African American rural southern blues along with his Chicago styles and influences. And heavy metal turned bluesman 2009 IBC winner J.P. Soars & the Red Hots rocked it up with their jazz, blues, country, big band, and Broadway backgrounds and influences to belt out and pick up that blues levee mood. Then, on came old-style acoustic guitar man Lucious Spiller with one of the most eclectic unexpected mixes of authentic Delta blues taught street smart style with a twist of the music-over-the-decades-early-rock-and-soul blues surprises. I got my tip off to ‘be sure and take in this act’ from my friend John Magnusson (Studio Manager with Vincent Productions) who explains, "At first his playing sounds sketchy, and untrained; but then you see it is actually part of his style. He also has wonderful phrasing when he sings. He makes old standards his own. He has a little "Taj Mahal" in him. I, as well as the crowd in front of "Cat Head", recently dug him as a sidewalk act mostly because of his overall performance. At first he didn't look like much. I stopped for one song, and nine songs later I was still wanting more when he stopped playing."

And that, folks, is just an example of the kind of crazy fun mix of head spinning blues line ups you can expect year after year over the three day festival. And I’m glad for it. There’s nothing more boring than a music festival where the producers don’t know how to line up the great talent they’ve booked in order to keep the audience ebbing and flowing in a groove. That wasn’t the case here.

Our very own, festival producer, local favorite Sterling Billingsley with Clarksdale guest Stan Street on harp gave us the thrill of stealing the show. My Clarksdale friend and songwriter/producer Gary Vincent of Vincent Productions says, "he’s one of my favorite guitar players this side or the other side of the big river". Performing a range of blues from traditional to Chicago to funk to southern rocking rifts, Sterling and friends set the stage and had you shaking your head, saying, ‘wow, right when I thought it couldn’t get any better and it’s only Thursday’. And so the show goes not only for this first night but also every other day and night as the festival increased and expanded to it’s fullest attendee potential—the weekend.

With the increasing threat of more rain, fields growing sloppier by the hour and temperatures dropping a good 30 degrees or more, the festival crowd continued to grow on Friday and Saturday. First the music fields of the Mississippi River levee, then the carnival-fair-like main drag of Cherry Street, to the competition barbeque cook-off that was being held behind and in between the Cherry Street office buildings and the river - a 20+ year tradition and element of the festival that no one in the street or the music fields seemed to even know about (unless they have a barbeque taster ‘underground connection’ since the food isn’t sold to the public; it’s cooked just for presentation to the judges for their tasting in the competition - so people, you’ve gotta have an in).

From Greek food to street food to corn dogs, blooming onions, funnel cakes, pulled pork sandwiches to ribs and corn on the cob, the county fair-like atmosphere of Cherry Street made you almost forget there was a main stage and fields of blues fans. But not for long! Mosey on past the food kiosks into the clothes, jewelry and merchandise vender’s blocks to see the latest in true bluesman (and women) street performers as you make your way down to the more intimate ally-way acoustic stages. One man shows, homemade instruments, and the young and old rendered their heartfelt mix of signature blues complete with open-guitar ‘tip’ cases and tip jars, hoping for some tip love in the street. In fact, I ‘ran’ into Clarksdale’s very own true street man, Tater, the local urban legend celebrity who’s a celebrity because he’s simply ‘simple man’ "Tater" with a speech impediment that disappears the minute he steps off his bicycle to start belting out classic blues ballads like he’s been singing on stage his entire life (wait a minute, did Tater ride his bike all the way from Clarksdale to Helena?).

Behind the street carnival and music scenes were all the barbeque teams, as many as 20 teams competing from the regional tri-state area. I had the good fortune of getting invited to the 14-member tent of team Boss Pit, who’ve kept the barbeque competition tradition going for 32 years, yes, that’s 32 years! They were the 2008 Grand Champion team, winning a very coveted Arkansas Blues & Heritage Festival musician-autographed guitar, with their 1st placement in shoulders, 1st in sauce and 3rd in ribs. I was lucky to get a sneak peak and several plates of their famous award winning grub. This year, they cooked an 80 lb. hog, 70 lbs of ribs, 90 lbs of shoulder, 35 barbeque pizzas, 25 lbs of chicken quarters and 3 gallons of barbeque spaghetti, whoa! And that’s just one team’s chow and not including the slaw and other fixin’s, or their famous Bloody Mary recipe, served up by Reg, their very own bartender! These folks had it going on! This year they placed 3rd in shoulder, 4th in whole hog (their first year in entering whole hog, so not bad), and 5th in ribs. "I guess the alcohol took over our 1st", says Jimmy, one of the Boss Pit team members. So to Jimmy, Reg, Dan, Cindy and all the gang who were so good to Blues Blast and me for having us in your ‘pit’, we give you a loud and heartfelt blues shout out! Thanks again for the great food and hospitality; and we’ll see you again next year!

It was indeed a heady mix for all the senses - the color, the characters, the smell of hickory, apple and pecan wood smoke, barbeque, all doused with waves of acoustic, harmonic and electrifying blues rifts wafting through the air. There were nothing but smiles on the faces from the levee to the pits because that’s what you get when you attend this festival - that same nostalgic excitement-tinged weekend like it must have been back-in-the-day when this town was a wide open river town where blues unions of fans, musicians, masters, heroes and emerging artists all came together to celebrate the history of Modern American Music in the best place in the world to do so. The tradition continues......

So, Blues Blast readers and supporters - do make it a point to plan your next vacation around next year’s festival! What are you waiting for? You’ll make new friends, reunite with old friends and hear the best in live blues music, to the point you may not want to go back home to reality (unless your home is Helena or Clarksdale!). And please don’t miss your chance to meet the last of the oldest living African American Bluesmen legends while they’re still with us and performing! Don’t wait, they’re leaving us fast. Even our beloved Sam Carr, who was scheduled to perform this year, passed away just weeks before the festival.

Take a look at some of the notables who appeared on the Friday and Saturday stages: Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, Steady Rollin Bob Margolin, Hubert Sumlin, Bobby Rush, Robert Belfour, Big Jack Johnson, Blind Mississippi Morris and last but not least, 96-yr old Pinetop Perkins himself. And always, make it a point to slip across the river into Clarksdale while you’re in town. Your Delta blues experience isn’t the same unless you also take in Ground Zero Blues Club, Red’s Lounge, Cat Head and Hopson Plantation, to name a few. And if you’re tired of fair food and barbeque, enjoy some fine dining at Rust or Madidi. While in town, also check out the newest restaurant-bar addition and hot spot - Stone Pony Pizza. And always, always plan to stay through Sunday to attend the Hopson Plantation annual Pinetop Perkins Reunion, where the entire festival’s energy and A-list performers pick up from Helena to travel 30 miles on 49S to ascend upon Clarksdale for the weekend celebration finale. Ah, it’s magical....I still wish I was there. BUT, like Vegas, it’s best if you check out after about 3 or 4 days, go home, recharge, get some sleep, then work on your next visit back for one of the 30-some blues and music festivals held throughout the year in the Delta region. See you all next year!

Reviewer Belinda Foster is a Columnist and Contributing Writer for Greenville SC Magazine “Industry Mag” and former manager of Mac Arnold & Plate Full O’Blues. She currently books blues-rock-jam musicians and is a devoted promoter and supporter of live blues root music and history, making frequent trips to “The Crossroads” and Clarksdale Mississippi, birthplace of the blues. Her column “The Upstate Blues Report” can be found on line at    

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

 Blues Want Ads

 Blues Musicians Place Your Want Ad here for FREE

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

Streaming Radio Shows - Information needed for magazine article

Blues Blast Magazine seeks information about Blues Radio shows that stream and/or offer podcasts for an article to be published in late November. Great opportunity for international press about your Blues show!

Looking for streamed shows in all states and countries worldwide. Please include contact info and a link to your stream or podcast. Contact:

Vocalist Available for work

Very experienced backing and lead vocalist available for recording and live dates. I have a large range, good ears for harmony, pitch, learn quickly, and show up on time. Available to tour in April 2010. I am also excepting students for voice lessons. Specializing in Blues and R&B and improvisation and general vocal coaching, including theory. Contact Elizabeth Hangan, or 818 383-4754.

Harmonica Ace Seeks Gigs

Pro Blues Vox/Harmonica Ace available for nat'l or internat'l touring gig or full time regional act. Blues, Soul, Rock, Americana. Electric, Acoustic. Frontman, Sideman, Duos. Serious inquiries only. Many yrs gigging exp. Reliable. Stage presence, musicianship. Pro attitude and work ethics.
Peace, Kosher Kidd (cell 860-324-4078)

Speaker Cabinet For Sale

For Immediate Sale: Four Big A** Ball Bustin 'ALTEC 1204 B Speakers W/Cabinets and with Horns, Pull Bars and Roller Wheels' Cost $1,250.00 New + Tax,  but will take $1,000.00 Cash or Cashier's Check for 'All Four (4) Cabinets! Speakers Condition: Other Than Some Minor Bar Scars, Couple O' Beer N' Whiskey Stains, Couple of Cigarette Burns and one (1) defective horn driver; These are sum' Loud A** Mo-Fos with the Right Sound Board!!!! Perfect for Big Clubs, Medium Size Venues and Concerts, Outside Shows, Roller Rinks, Dance Halls and Churches! For Serious Inquires & Cash or Certified Check Buyers Only; Please Contact: "The Original & Real Kenny Wayne" Phone: (972) 790-5172 OR email:

Blues Guitarist Seeks Touring Act

Experienced Blues guitarist looking for national touring act to play with…Played with Johnny Clyde Copeland before his passing. Also played with, jammed with or opened for Elvin Bishop, Albert Collins, John Lee Hooker, Norton Buffalo, Freddy Roulette, Joe Guitar Hughes as well as backed up Shemekia Copeland early in her career. Have reliable gear and good attitude. I just love the blues and want to play and love traveling. Contact me via E-mail at: or phone me at 608-214-7868 and leave message if no answer.

Blues Reviewers wanted

Blues Blast Magazine is looking for reviewers to review new Blues CD's. If you have a background and experience with Blues music and like to write we can provide new CD's for you to review. Person 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

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

Space in Evanston

1245 Chicago Ave, Evanston, IL 847 492-8860


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Dave Specter

Adventures in Guitar

w/ Billy Flynn


Friday, December 4th, 2009

Hubert Sumlin and The Nighthawks

 Blues Society News

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

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

Columbia College - Chicago, IL

Columbia College in Chicago is presenting a FREE  Blues Concert by the Homemade Jamz, The World's Youngest Blues Band on Wednesday October 28th, 2009 at 7:30pm. The show will be held at1014 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL. This is an All Ages show. Space is limited so please R.S.V.P to Fernando Jones, Blues Ensemble Director by calling 773-841-5262 or by email at

Houston Blues Society - Houston, TX

The Soul of Houston: Blues Stories - Three Wednesdays: October 14, 21, 28 The Jung Center, 5200 Montrose Blvd., Houston, Texas - Discover how the blues has endured and evolved in Houston, and how it continues to speak powerfully to the human condition, in this free series hosted by music historian and author Roger Wood and three veteran Houston blues artists. Over three evenings, we will encounter the distinctive Houston blues tradition through the experiences of its vital artists. Each evening, Wood will address selected elements of the blues from the role of particular instruments to songwriting to key facets of regional history and more, in collaboration with special guests Texas Johnny Brown, Trudy Lynn & IJ Gosey. Introductory lecture will be followed by interviews and discussion, supported by samples of sound recordings and other media. Via the stories shared each night by a distinguished artist, this series will offer not only up-close profiles of some accomplished individuals but also larger insights into the soul of Houston, past and present. More info at:

Windy City Blues Society - Chicago, IL

The Windy City Blues Society presents the Chicago Blues Challenge Round 4 at 6:30pm Sunday October 25th at the Heartland Cafe, 7000 N. Glenwood, Chicago IL. This round includes Tail Dragger, Dave Herrero, Chainsaw Dupont, Rockin Johnny, Russ Green, Lindsey Alexander, Sweet Bev Perron and Grana Louise all competiting for a chance to represent Chicago in the 2010 International Blues Challenge in Memphis next January. Complete details available at:

Great Northern Blues Society - Wausau, WI

Great Northern is proud to announce a brand new GNBS musical event. On October 24 the society will present “Blues ala Carte” at Tangos Ballroom on 8808 Townline Road (County N) in Wausau. Four Blues bands will perform, including Queenie and the Blue Cats, Nick Moss and the Flip Tops with special guest Lurrie Bell, the Olderbudwiser Blues Band and the Kilborn Alley Blues Band. The doors open to the public at 2:00 p.m. with the first band taking the stage at 3:00 p.m. Generous seating will be provided, with both food and beverages available in the hall (sorry, no carry-ins). The society hopes to make “ala Carte” an annual event, balancing with its Blues Café event in the spring.

Tickets are priced at $10.00 in advance and $12.00 at the door and can be purchased online at or see website to purchase locally. For “Blues ala Carte” room rate specials, call Weston Inn & Suites at 866-912-3355. Shuttle bus service between Weston Inn & Suites and Tangos Ballroom is being planned Info at:  &

Capital Area Blues Society - Lansing, MI

Cast off with The Capital Area Blues Society on a fall Blues Cruise aboard the beautiful Michigan Princess, Friday, October 23 at 8:00pm. We will feature our winning 2009 Blues Brawl Band, Stan Budzynski & 3rd Degree, along with Solo winner Mike Skory, special guest vocalist Twyla Fleming and national recording artist James Armstrong - all fresh from performances at the 2009 Old Town Blues Festival! Tickets: $15 advance online, Special CABS Member Price $10 at the dock with Membership Card. Directions: Take I-496 west to Exit 4 (Lansing Road). Continue under the RR trestle. Go 500 feet and turn left into Grand River Park. For more info call (517) 627-2154 or visit , or 

The Madison Blues Society - Madison. WI

The Madison Blues Society will hold its 8th Annual Blues Picnic on Saturday, June 19, 2010 from noon to 9:00PM at Madison's Warner Park. We are now accepting submissions for bands to perform through our website The deadline for submissions is December 1, 2009. For Complete submission info CLICK HERE

Information at or  email or call Shari Davis at 333-8665.

The Boston Blues Society - Boston, MA

2009 BOSTON BLUES CHALLENGE - The Boston Blues Society will hold this year’s Blues Challenge at 8 p.m. Nov. 1, 8, and 15 at Johnny D’s Uptown, 17 Holland St., (Davis Square) Somerville, Mass. The first two sessions will be semi-finals of four bands per night; with the finals, consisting of the winning two bands from each semi-final, competing on Nov. 15. The winner will be sponsored by the Boston Blues Society at the 2010 International Blues Challenge in Memphis in January.

To enter, send a music sample (CD or MP3) and a $75 entrance fee (check or Paypal) to: ; or to Boston Blues Society, PO Box 386, Maynard, MA 01754.

Bands from all over New England may compete. The deadline for entries is Oct. 11. The semi-finalists will be announced Oct. 19.

Illinois Central Blues Club - Springfield, IL

BLUE MONDAY SHOWS - Held at the Alamo 115 N 5th St, Springfield, IL (217) 523-1455 every Monday 8:30pm $2 cover. Oct 26 - Dan Sanchez & the Kings of Pleasure

 Featured Blues Review 2 of 4

Liz Brown and The TomCats

Independent Label

Specializing in a form of gutbucket blues, Liz Brown and The Tomcats nail a groove and keep it locked and dirty.

Brown is good with the cigar box diddley-bow and gets that Ry Cooder swamp-rat vibe down pat in Willie Dixon's "Superstitious. Her own composition "Leaving Atlanta" lifts a music tablature from Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Texas Flood."

This CD is more an EP then an LP. Only six songs are here so the running time is twenty minutes or so. Budgetary constraints might be making an imposition. It's too bad. A listener won't get enough of a woman who is worthy enough to open for Bonnie Raitt.

And as much as she is a good singer, you wish Liz would play that diddley-bow a lot more. Fred McDowell's "Kokomo Blues" just becomes box-car hobo jungle boogie when Brown wraps her twanging sounds around it.

Hopefully in the future we will get to hear a full CD worth of music from this woman. It makes it tough on reviewers like myself to come up with long running verbatims or lengthy paragraphs when there is too little to work with. If you're reading this Liz, forgive me.

Review by Gary "Wingman" Weeks

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

 Featured Blues Review 3 of 4

Woodbrain - Swimming in Turpentine

Yellow Dog Records

13 tracks/60:25

One exciting trend in recent years has been a wave of bands that have been pushing the boundaries of blues music as well as developing fresh, challenging mixes of blues with other forms of roots music. Not all of these experiments have worked but the efforts certainly have raised the profile of blues music with younger generations of listeners.

Woodbrain is a band of veteran musicians who use the blues tradition as the starting point for their musical explorations. The quartet creates a dense audio landscape that blends elements of Mississippi hill country blues with rock influences to create a heady mix sounds like a larger band. Joe McMurrian handles all of the lead vocals and the guitar parts. Jason Honl is the bass player and adds some organ on a couple of tracks. Many blues fans will recognize the name of drummer Jimi Bott, who has played with the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers plus Mark Hummel’s band. David Lipkind adds harmonica, backing vocals and an occasional cackle.

Tracks like "Dig" show Woodbrain’s unique vision. The arrangement features Lipkind’s harp run through some effect pedals and McMurrian creating a driving rhythm on the banjo. "Port Chicago Highway" is another highlight with McMurrian turning in an appropriately gravelly vocal and laying down a sinister guitar line over a stomping beat from Bott. The group steadily builds the intensity throughout "Home of My Own" aided by another strong vocal turn by McMurrian. The band switches to acoustic instruments for "Storm Clouds", reducing the volume level without any loss of emotional impact. Lipkind gets a chance to show that he is a strong harp player even without the effects.

Their cover of Bukka White’s "Shake Em on Down" sets a relentless pace and a spaced-out guitar solo from McMurrian. On "Turpentine", he contributes some nasty slide guitar and another rousing vocal in his dark, thick voice. "Good Man" really shows off the influences of Mississippi blues masters like R.L. Burnside on the band’s sound.

The last few tracks don’t hold up as well. "Hurricane Town" comes across like an alternative rock piece with little blues content. The last two tracks, "Next Stop" and "Pottsville Conglomerate", are instrumentals that collectively last over 11 minutes but never really have much to say. Better is the acoustic jam on "Black Water Slide" , a Bert Jansch tune that gets n energetic rendition with some excellent harp work from Lipkind.

There is plenty to recommend on Woodbrain’s debut recording. The band has an original sound and each member has plenty to offer instrumentally. They play to their strengths for most of the disc, with McMurrian especially shining in the spotlight as the front man. If you are looking for something beyond the traditional blues format, give this disc a try.

Reviewer Mark Thompson is president of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford. IL   

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 Featured Blues Review 4 of 4

Big Pete Pearson & The Rhythm Room All Stars - Finger In Your Eye

Vizztone Label Group

10 tracks

The world has not heard much about Big Pete Pearson yet. This is pretty strange since the guy was born in 1936 and he is a phenomenal vocalist. After hearing a few bars of his big blues shouting style you will understand how good he is, too.

Pete lives in Phoenix and has become somewhat of a local phenomenon. Bob Corritore is promoting this album of all new tracks and is part of the band backing Pete. The Rhythm Room All Stars feature Bob and his huge harp sound, Chris James on guitar, Patrick Ryan on bass and Brian Fahey on drums. A plethora of special guests also drop by to add their magic, including Pinetop Perkins, Henry Gray, Duke Robillard, Billy Flynn, Eddie Taylor Jr. and Doug James.

Pete is a big, round, gentle old man, so the album title and title track don’t do justice to the type of guy that Pearson is. But he has fun with it as he opens the CD and blasts his way through another nine great tracks. His voice is strong and sure, not overdone. He’s a blues shouter of the highest caliber. Complimenting the big vocals are Corritore’s equally big and equally controlled harp work and the great interplay of the band and guest musicians. It’s a joy to listen to these guys work together. I was quite impressed when I saw Pete live last year and his new CD really showcases this guy’s talent. I recommend that you discover him today!

Reviewer Steve Jones is secretary of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford. IL

Review courtesy of Crossroads Blues Society.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.



John Primer


Nominated for two 2009 Blues Blast Music Award

Best Traditional Blues Recording

Best Male Blues Artist

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