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Hey Blues Fans,
We have had a busy couple weeks. First there was the Blues Blast Music Awards two weeks ago. It was a great PARTY. This historic celebration of contemporary Blues artists has now been reviewed by our sponsor Chicago Blues Guide and editor Linda Cain has said it better than we could possibly do ourselves. Do not miss their review and some great photos of the Awards, CLICK HERE.
And speaking of those awards, many artists have asked how they could be considered for next years awards. Plans are in the works to insure ANY Blues artist that wants to be considered for nomination in the 2010 Blues Blast Music Awards will be able to get their music to the nominators for a listen. Stay tuned and we will have full details in the next few weeks.
BLUES IN LONDON
After a day back in the office after the awards we headed off last Tuesday to London, England for a week. See the complete review of the London Blues Club scene in the story below.
In this issue - Blues Reviews and MORE!
James Walker reviews a new CD from The Twisters. Eric Steiner reviews a new CD from Doug Cox & Salil Bhatt. Steve Jones reviews a new CD by Meantooth Grin. We welcome UK reviewer Ian McKenzie this issue who send us a review of a new Document Records CD. Our streaming Blues Radio link of the week is a great source for Memphis Blues & Soul music.
Also see our feature review of the state of the Blues in London. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!
1245 Chicago Ave
Friday, December 4th, 2009
Hubert Sumlin and The Nighthawks
Featured Blues Review 1 of 4
The Twisters - Come Out Swingin’
12 songs; 45:17 minutes; Library Quality
Styles: Jump/Swing Blues; Also included: Rockabilly, Bluesabilly, Reggae, Gospel; Delta Blues; Chicago Blues
I read that The Twisters have been nominated for five of Canada’s 13th Annual Maple Blues Awards. Five nominations!?! Say, maybe we had better go north of the border and take a closer look at this Vancouver, British Colombia and Whitehorse, Yukon band to see what it is all about.
Featuring all original songs, the album is titled "Come Out Swinging,’" and that they do with an upbeat Swing number, "I’ll Make It Up to You." The opening notes reminded me immediately of one of my currently favorite, Jump Blues groups, The Insomniacs. One noticeable difference is David Hoerl’s rich harmonica work integral to their sound. Often using a chromatic harp, he helps make clear why some people call the instrument a "mouth organ." Brandon Isaak is a clearly gifted vocalist and guitarist propelled by Keith Picot slapping his upright bass fiddle. "I missed your birthday and anniversary, too...," Isaak wrote and sings. Yep, he’s got a lot of making up to do!
The Twisters are nominated for Electric Act of the Year, Recording of the Year for "Come Out Swingin,’" Harmonica Player of the Year for David Hoerl, Keith Picot for Bass Player of the Year, and Songwriter of the Year for Brandon Isaak. Drum duties seem to rotate between Matt Pease and Lonnie Powell.
While a definitive and complete history of the band seemed unavailable, research did indicate that The Twisters have been together since 1997. Dave Hoerl is the only original and founding member remaining. They have four previous CDs with the first one coming out around 2003.
For radio play on WKCC this week, I’ll start with "Kiko" mainly because I had a request last week for "more harp music." Another Swing number, track eight opens with finger snapping, foot tapping harmonica notes. Isaak sings with his typical-throughout-the-CD exuberance about "my sweet little Baby," spelled "K-i-k-o." Lonnie Powell slaps brushes on the drums to drive the rhythm hand in hand with Picot’s bass.
My broadcast partner, Shuffle Shoes, and I usually like to kick off the top of the hour with something smoking; therefore, the up tempo "Dirty Boy Blues" will work nicely. Featuring plenty of stinging guitar punctuating the ends of vocal lines and then simply burning on solos, track ten’s guitar isn’t "Dirty," it is downright nasty!
Other radio-ready tracks are the Chicago Blues styled, "Guess That I Was Wrong" and the hopping "Matter of Time" with Jerry Cook guesting on hot saxophone and some of Isaak’s best West Coast guitar.
Are these cats having fun playing or what? In the liner notes, they claim they "should really be known as a Roots band...." For variety, they do some convincing Reggae on "Take My Own Advice." Fast paced, hand clapping Gospel flavoring is found in "Party Goin’ On" with Kenny "Blues Boss" Wayne adding his formidable keyboard skills. Going back to the roots of Blues, Hoerl on harp and Isaak on acoustic guitar nail a Delta duet.
Rockabilly (or is that Bluesabilly?) is found in "Something’s Gotta Give" with Hoerl singing vocals while Cook adds a catchy sax hook and Isaak on shimmering tremolo guitar. "Long Overdue" and "Doghouse" also rock those Canadian hillbillies with the latter using some tasty top strings twang from Isaak’s guitar and Picot doing his finest doghouse bass string slapping.
The last blast of recorded fun is the set closer, the jumping "Twister’s Theme." In harmony they sing, "We are The Twisters, Playing in your town, Swinging like monkeys [with monkey sounds], Hope you like our sound....having a blast and we’re clowning around,... having ourselves a ball, we’re jumping - swinging up a storm in every little ole hall...."
Finally, check out the clever theme from the title used on the album covers, with photos to match. "A Man Called Wrycraft" has the boys poised as old time bare fisted boxers, and Hoerl is the white shirt and black bow-tied referee. That’s first class packaging!
Trust me, The Twisters did not get those five nominations as a fluke. These cats are serious contenders. If you want a break from Blues-Rock and straight ahead lump-de-lump Blues, give this masterful CD a listen. It has earned a spot in my library.
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 www.wkccradio.org 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.
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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!
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
Blues In London
Blues In London November 2009
Blues Blast Magazine spent a week in Jolly Ole London to see the state of the Blues in London. We found quite a thriving Blues Club scene. We arrived on Wednesday and wasted no time. The first club we visited was "Aint Nothin' But"... Blues Bar located on Kingley Street in London.
It is probably the longest running and best known Blues venue anywhere in London, right in the heart of Soho, off Carnaby Street. It is a SMALL club. Get there early if you want a seat as they say.
We rode the London subway or Tube as it is called but unfortunately we did not get there early so we patiently waited in line on a cool London night finally entering the club about 25 minutes later.
Once inside the packed club, we were treated to a set by the Franck Ash Band, www.franckash.com As it turns out Franck is a French Blues guitarist and singer who is popular in the London Blues scene. The band was pretty good and the crowd couldn't get enough of Franck's original and classic Blues.
With Rob Fleming on vocals and guitar, Bob Morgan on sax and keyboards, Costa Tancredi on bass and Mimi Hajime on drums, the band mixed classic Chicago Blues and a originals while we dined on a Cajun dinner in this popular new Blues eating spot.
After a set of Blues and a good meal we headed for the Sixes & Sevens Rhythm & Blues night at Charlotte Street Blues, 74 Charlotte Street, London, a new up market all blues venue with which featured Miss Hoodoo & The Delta Boys.
The club was packed with a very young crowd enjoying the band which to us was neither very much hoodoo or at all delta! In a case of a tantalizing classic name gone wrong, the band sounded like a great pop jazz group as they worked through the classic "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone". A great band but there wasn't a lick of Blues to be heard here this night.
Longing for some real Blues we headed to another tiny venue called Jazz After Dark at 9 Greek St in London to hear a band called Blue Jack. With Barry Jackson on guitar and vocals, Vic Bryant on guitar, Tsukasa Kataoke on bass, Yoshie Shimoto on drums and Phil Hughes on sax, vocals and harp this unlikely looking Blues band was cooking! Unfortunately we were the only ones there at that time on that night. It gave us a chance to chat with the band and make some new Blues friends. We headed home to rest up for the next day.
During our time in London we spent all our time on two things, Blues and of course real ale hand pumped from casks in ancient little pubs. One we visited in downtown London was hidden in a little alley in the De Beers Diamond district of London. The pub is called Ye Olde Mitre and was first opened in 1546. Now that is some cool ambience to share a pint in!
On Friday night we headed to the The Golden Lion, 116 Sydenham Road, London to hear a weekly Blues show put on by the The Sydenham Blues Club. This week they featured Jerimiah Marques & The Blue Aces. It was a great show featuring some real Blues and a bit of reggae Blues thrown in for variety. Quite enjoyable.
Earl Green & Right Time , http://www.earlgreen.co.uk The show featured Earl Green on vocals and a band of veterans of the London blues scene including Les Backon on slide guitar, Ron Warshow on guitar, Mike Paice on sax & harmonica, Emil Engstrom on bass and Daniel Strittmatter on drums. This was a great set of Blues in another packed London club.
Since it was our last night we decided to find one more Blues performance. So on our way home we stopped off at Boisdale of Belgravia at15 Eccleston Street, Belgravia, situated in an elegant Regency town house, just north of Buckingham Palace Road and a short stroll from Victoria. Its bars, restaurants and private dining room are open on weekdays and Saturday evenings and offer a selection of menus to suit every budget. We finished out the night with a good bottle of wine watching the Eric Ranzoni Blues Band entertain a disinterested crowd of late night diners. Eric and the boys are what we call a throw together band but that did not dampen the enthusiasm of this Italian Blues piano player.
We finished off our trip to London believing that the American art form of the Blues is alive and well in the heart of England!
Streaming Blues Link of the Week
All Memphis Music is a streaming music link that plays Memphis Blues and soul music. It is a project brought to you by MemphisTravel.com , David Fleischman & Jon Scott. To visit their site CLICK HERE When you get there click on the Listen link. To go directly to the music player CLICK HERE
Turn your speakers up LOUD and tell them the Blues Blast sent ya!
Check out other great Blues Music Streams Click HERE
Blues Society News
Please submit a maximum of 175 words or less in a Text or Word format ONLY.
Windy City Blues Society - Chicago, IL
The Windy City Blues Society
presents the Chicago Blues Challenge Finals at Buddy Guy's
Legends, 754 Wabash, Chicago on Sunday November 15th. The show
starts at 7:30. The line-Up will include the is Will Jacobs and
Dirty Deal (Youth Band), Solo/Duo contestants Matt Hendricks,
Diamond Jim Greene and
Blues Blowtorch Society – Bloomington, IL
The Blues Blowtorch Blues Society presents 3rd Friday Blues - The Treehouse Lounge, 2060 Ireland Grove Rd, Bloomington, IL (309) 662-5231 A blues show the 3rd Friday of every month at 7:00 PM. November 20th – Chicken Shack
The Boston Blues Society - Boston, MA
The finals of the 2009 Boston Blues Society's Boston Blues Challenge will take place at 8 p.m. Nov. 15 at Johnny D's 17 Holland St., Davis Square, Somerville, MA.(617) 776-2004. Admission is $9 at the door.
Four bands will compete: Mr. Nick and the Dirty Tricks, the Mighty Houserockers, 2120 S. Michigan Ave., and the Mike Crandall Band. The winner will be the society's representative at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in January. For more information, visit www.bostonblues.com or www.johnnyds.com.
Crossroads Blues Society - Rockford, IL
Crossroads Blues Society presents Blues in the Schools with Joe Filisko and Eric Noden Wednesday November 18th and Thursday November 19th doing 4 school programs in the Rockford area, an evening show and guitar and harmonica workshops.
Keith School and RESA Middle School will have programs Wednesday afternoon. The show starts at 7:30 M at Big Cities Lounge, 905 E State St, Rockford, IL (815) 965-6026. Tickets for the show are $7 in advance and $10 at the door, and free for students accompanied by adults.
Thursday school programs are at Spring Creek Elementary School and Montessori Magnet School. Thursday evening we will hold both a harmonica and guitar lesson workshop at Katie’s Cup on 7th Street in Rockford at 7 PM. The workshop fee is $20 per person.
Contact Steve Jones at 779-537-4006 for information, evening show tickets or to sign up for the workshops!
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 www.madisonbluessociety.com or email email@example.com or call Shari Davis at 333-8665.
Mississippi Valley Blues Society - Davenport, IA
The Mississippi Valley Blues Society presents guitar-slinger Albert Cummings and his band on Saturday November 14 at the Capitol Theater, 330 W. 3rd Street, Davenport. The all-ages show will start at 8:00pm; doors open at 7:00. Advance tickets are $15.00 and can be ordered on-line at thecapdavenport.com. Admission at the door will be $15.00 for MVBS members and $20.00 for non-members. For more info call the MVBS office at 563-32-BLUES.
The Diamond State Blues Society - Middletown, DE
Kennyfest ’09 - The Diamond State Blues Society and Full Moon Blues.com are hosting Kennyfest ’09, a benefit for musician Kenny Jones on November 22, 2009 from noon to 8PM at the Moose Lodge in New Castle, DE. The band line-up includes Johnny Neel, Nothin’ But Trouble, Garry Cogdell & The Complainers, Randy Lippincott, Kombu Combo, Blue Cat Blues, The Witch Doctors, Scott Wells, Barrelhouse Blues, Brian Kendig and other local artists.
One of the highlights of this event will be the raffle of a Fender Squier Stratocaster guitar, autographed by Sonny Landreth, Delbert McClinton, Magic Slim, Walter Trout, Tinsley Ellis, The Nighthawks and many other blues artists. For tickets and more info, go to www.FullMoonBlues.com or www.DiamondStateBlues.com .
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. Nov 16 - Kicked to the Curb, Nov 23 - Frank Herrin & Blues Power, Nov 30 - Steve the Harp Blues Band, Dec 7 - Eric "Guitar" Davis, Dec 14 - Reverend Raven & the Chain Smoking Alter Boys, Dec 21 - The Suns of Circumstance, Dec 28 - Sally Weisenburg
Musical Instruments Stores
Sponsor of the
2009 Blues Blast Music Awards
Visit their Stores at the following locations
4400 E. New York Street
1432 Butterfield Rd.
or online at
Featured Blues Review 2 of 4
Doug Cox & Salil Bhatt - Slide to Freedom 2 (Make a Better World)
Style: Eclectic, World Music
Slide to Freedom 2 (Make a Better World) follows Doug Cox and Salil Bhatt’s acclaimed debut on Northern Blues from 2007. This CD continues to explore the intersections of acoustic blues and East Indian music; for fans of world music, Slide to Freedom 2 (Make a Better World) offers up many contemplative jams that feature Doug Cox on the National Resophonic Lap-style guitar, Salil Bhatt on the Satvik Veena, and Salil’s father, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, on the Mohan Veena. The rhythm section features Dinah D on bass and Ramkumar Mishra on tabla and percussion, and John Boutte, an award-winning Crescent City vocalist, rounds out this exceptional and diverse ensemble. I first discovered the Mohan Veena, a 20-stringed guitar, on CDs from Northern Blues’ alumnus Harry Manx, and it offers a sound distinct from any other stringed instrument I’ve ever heard, and I’m pleased it’s featured on Doug and Salil’s new CD.
Doug Cox has been recognized as one of the world’s premier slide guitar players, and when not at home in Canada, you can find him either on the road, or on the faculty of guitar workshops at such notable festivals like Kerrville, Vancouver Island, The Cotswolds, or the Aboriginal Performers Camp. His new www.learnrootsmusic.com is a gateway to an array of instructional DVDs, and his DVDs are distributed by Mel Bay Publications.
Salil’s father, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, invented the Mohan Veena, and sits in on an inspired, folksy cover of George Harrison’s "For You Blue." In addition to a traditional reading of "Amazing Grace" with John Boutte’s soulful vocals, Doug and Salil re-imagine Dan Hicks’ "I Scare Myself" nicely. The elder Bhatt paired with Ry Cooder in 1994 for their Grammy-winning A Meeting by the River in the World Music category, and Salil is following in his father’s footsteps.
I particularly liked the longer instrumental tracks on Slide to Freedom 2 (Make a Better World), including the 10+ minutes of "The Moods of Madhuvanti" or "Blessings" (which clocks in at just over eight minutes). I enjoyed the extended interplay between Doug and Salil, but also how they include Ramkumar Mishra on tabla and percussion, and Dinah D on bass, too. The set closes with some pretty bluesy vocals from John Boutte on "Freedom Raga," and after just one listen, I understand why he’s been honored with Best Male Vocalist awards in 2008 and 2009 from OffBEAT magazine’s Best of the Beat Awards in New Orleans.
Slide to Freedom 2 (Make a Better World) is not a traditional blues record, by any means. The CD is, however, mixes musical traditions of the Mississippi Delta and the Ganges Delta, and in the hands of master musicians like Doug Cox and Salil Bhatt, this cross-cultural experience is a music trip well worth taking.
Reviewer Eric Steiner is the President of the Washington Blues Society, a proud recipient of a Keeping the Blues Alive Award from the Blues Foundation. Please contact Eric at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.wablues.org for more information on the Washington Blues Society
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.
Featured Blues Review 3 of 4
Meantooth Grin - Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead
The good thing about being a music critic, DJ or someone in the music business is that you get to hear a lot of bands you might otherwise never hear about, or you at least get to hear about them a lot sooner than most people. Meantooth Grin is a powerhouse blues rock band hailing from nearby Wausau Wisconsin who really mix up the mud of Mississippi Delta with the fire of Texas rock and blues. Led by Tom Jordan on guitar and vocals, these guys burn it up on their recently released premier CD.
I did not know what to expect when I popped the CD in. The cover shows a devilish looking guy with a National Resophonic Guitar, laughing and playing in front of the hell fires with the shadow of the devil on the stone wall beside him. The title of the album supported the perception of "sell-your-soul-to-the-devil" blues, too. The CD has a short spoken intro (written and performed by Doug Kroening, another upcoming Midwestern bluesman) backed by crickets, baying hounds and the steel guitar. The lyrics are talking about staying one step ahead of the devil and such, so when the first real track started I must admit that I was a bit unprepared. What came out of my speakers was some blazing hot distorted guitar licks back by a solid rhythm section more like ZZ Top or Johnny Winter than the traditional music from the crossroads in the Mississippi Delta. Amped up and solid guitar work and vocals by Jordan, backed by band mates Brian Miller on drums and Seth Heffner on bass, I listened to these guys totally rock out the first two full tunes and just said, "Wow!"
"Drive" and "Killing Time" were the first two tracks of all original stuff; they were followed by long, slow blues number "Dark Was the Night", showcasing Jordan’s gritty vocals (which remind me a lot of the talented Noah Hunt) and stinging guitar play. We also get the first really good taste of guest musician Pete Shank’s Hammond B3 organ here, too; he’s more than solid on the keys. I especially enjoyed the title track where Jordan’s distorted vocals and steel guitar deliver the goods in a track reminiscent of the Drive By Truckers style of macabre lyrics. The gimmicky and scratchy 78 rpm record sounding "Evil Woman" and "Insomnia" feature Jordan going solo acoustic and showcasing another side of his talents. Cole Holliday adds his harp work to the CD, and it literally blows the listener away in tracks like "Killing Time", "Tommy Gun" and "Homeless and Homesick".
This is a solid initial offering from a talented trio of local guys with a pair of equally talented backups on hard and organ. The all-original cuts give us their take on traditional and rocking blues, and let me tell you that given what I heard I can’t wait to track these guys down and listen to them live!
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.
Featured Blues Review 4 of 4
Bankers Blues - A Study In The Effects Of Fiscal Mischief
24 tracks; Total Time: 69minutes 21 secs
If you’re looking for rare, classic, vintage blues, jazz, boogie-woogie, gospel and country music then Document Records is the place for you. Many call it ‘the only’ place. Established in 1998, and based in Scotland, Document has uniquely sourced, re-mastered and digitized the vast majority of Afro-American acoustic blues, jazz, spirituals and gospel recordings (1900-1945) from original 78 recordings. But Document nearly got screwed at the height of the ‘credit crunch’ in 2008, when, despite no fiscal problems, a full order book and a comprehensive business plan, their bank refused to give them credit. Put simply, a company that was/is hugely successful became a victim of want Document call the ‘inappropriate behavior of financial whiz kids’. The company survived and is now fully back in business. This CD is their revenge (they call it ‘a riposte’) on their bankers HBOS and a comment on too many bankers profligate ways..
Dedicated to Bernard Madoff (who needs no introduction) and to a number of others involved in aspects of the recent financial meltdown, the CD draws on Document’s vaults to bring us recording made at the beginning and the height of the Great Depression, as well as some after-the-event philosophising. Depression stuff includes: Barbeque Bob’s (‘We Sure Got Hard Times Now’) recorded in 1930 at the height of the Great Depression "You heard about a job, now you is on your way (x2) Twenty men after the same job, all in the same 'ol day." By 1931, Robert Hicks (Barbecue Bob’s real name) was dead from pneumonia; Big Bill Broonzy’s [as Big Bill Johnson] (The Bankers Blues) recorded in 1930 with a sly word of caution "If you got money in the bank, don't let your woman draw it out, "Cos she'll take all your money and then she'll kick you out.". Words of advice come from Little Son Jackson (1953) who’s ‘No Money’ (sometimes called ‘No Money, No Love’) needs no explanation and neither does Memphis Minnie’s, 1948, ‘Million Dollar Blues’. A 1958 prediction comes from Rufus Thomas (‘Save That Money’) "You’d better save your money, things gonna get tough again."
In short, this is a terrific collection of roots music, but one word of warning. Some of the tracks, like Blind Alfred Reeds old-timey fiddle piece, ‘Money Craving Folks’ and the wonderfully named Brother Fullbosom’s ‘A Sermon On A Silver Dollar’ are not blues but are no less delightful.
Ian McKenzie lives in England. He is the editor of Blues In The South a monthly flier providing news, reviews, a gig guide and all kinds of other good stuff, for people living and going to gigs along the south coast of England. Ian is also a blues performer www.myspace.com/ianmckenzieuk and has a webcast regular blues radio show on Phonic FM in Exeter (1pm Eastern/ 12 noon Central).
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.
Live Blues Calendar
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or click a state to see Blues shows by State
Performance dates submitted by Musicians, Clubs, Blues Societies and Blues festivals.
The BluesBlast.com is not responsible for errors or omissions.
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