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January 2, 2009           

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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

Happy Blues New Year!

May 2009 be a great Blues year for all!

Hey Blues Fans,

Another year has gone by and we are looking forward to a great 2009. We are excited about another great year of bringing you "All News Blues" !

As we review the 2008 issues of the Blues Blast we find more than 150 CD reviews and more than 75 Live Blues show reviews as well as interviews, videos, Blues links and more. Our New Year's resolution is to bring you even more Blues! You can see we have got our work cut out for us.

If you missed any of the past issues they are all available on line, CLICK HERE.

To see the Reviews page with more than 200 Blues CD reviews, CLICK HERE.

Blues wanderings

We made it out to Blue Monday to catch our good friends Sally Weisenburg and the Famous Sidemen. It has been a couple years since we have seen Sally and her guitarist Don Berbaum perform. Shame on us, as we now remember how good this group is. If you get the chance to see this Blues singer and piano player, DON"T MISS IT!


Sitting in with them was Frank Parker on Trumpet. Frank has played with some of the best Blues artists around including a stint with Irma Thomas.

Ted Cash 1941 - 2009

Blues man Ted "Big Boss Man" Cash passed away on January 1st, 2009. He was 68. He was a versatile singer, entertainer, writer, and composer fluent in all styles of music. No further information is available at this time.

His career spanned more than 40 years. We reviewed his last 2 CDs a few months back. To see the reviews, CLICK HERE.


Blues Reviews and MORE!

Blues Review this week - James Walker reviews a new CD from Studebaker John. Mike O'Cull reviews a new CD by Gary Allegretto. This week we welcome a new Blues Blast reviewer, Eldrige “Big Cat” Tolefree, who reviews a new CD by the Blues Caravan featuring Deborah Coleman, Candye Kane and Dani Wilde. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!

 Featured Blues Review 1 of 3

Studebaker John - Waiting On The Sun

Avanti Records

12 songs; 56:47; Splendid

Style: Modern Electric Blues, Blues Rock

The big three U.S. auto makers may think they need a bailout, but not Studebaker -- Studebaker John, that is. Both John Grimaldi and his own personal Studebaker Hawk automobile are running like well oiled machines. Chicago is the “Home of the Blues” in part because there are over 90 steadily working lead musicians, and Studebaker John has been an integral part of that scene since the 1970s. Having recorded over ten albums, five on the Blind Pig label, and toured Europe many times, Grimaldi is a respected stalwart.

His newest, all original, CD is a solid, straight ahead blues example of his experience and consummate skills.

Born in 1952, in an Italian-American section of Chicago, Grimaldi’s home had many instruments lying about the house as his father was himself an amateur musician. As a youngster Grimaldi began playing several of the instruments but focused on playing mainly harmonica by age seven. Under the spell of music he heard on Maxwell Street, Chicago’s famed open air market and blues melting pot, young John became a performer there himself after catching performances from the likes of Little Walter and Sonny Boy Williamson. After taking in a “life-changing” Hound Dog Taylor club date, Grimaldi also mastered guitar and slide guitar. Grimaldi began performing as Studebaker John and the Hawks in the ‘70s. The band name referenced his Studebaker Hawk and was also intended as a tribute to his friend, J.B. Hutto and the Hawks.

Track one kicks off sounding like Santana sending out piercing notes from guitar. The up tempo “Down At the Bottom” is typical of the entire set with nary a slow song in the mix. Paul Ashford is the drummer, and Bob Halaj is on board for bass and background vocals while Bartek Szopinski adds organ and piano to the set. Manny Hernandez and Eric Michaels appear only on this first track adding, respectively, Latin percussion and keyboards.

The fun romp continues on track two “She Just Won’t Roll” with a driving shuffle. “She knows you want to rock, but she just won’t roll,” laments Grimaldi’s seasoned vocals. John then shares how to, thankfully, leave spaces between notes on a tasty guitar solo.

“Every Night is a Saturday Night” highlights fuzz-tone guitar and funk plus great harmony vocals on the chorus.

We get our first taste of Grimaldi’s killer slide guitar on “Hell To Pay” along with some fun “Whoo-s” shouted in the chorus. John’s harmonica gets a great workout on “Natural Born Boogie.”

As a songwriter and musician, Studebaker John has emerged as a major creative force in the world of modern blues. This album proves what a standout Studebaker John has become.

Reviewer James “Skyy Dobro” Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ and Blues Blast contributor. His weekly radio show “Friends of the Blues” can be heard each Thursday from 4:30 – 6:00pm on WKCC 91.1 FM in Kankakee, IL

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

Winter 2009 Chicago Blues Tour

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

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

For more Info CLICK HERE

 Featured Blues Review 2 of 3

Gary Allegretto - Many Shades Of Blue

(Big Fiore Records)

Gary Allegretto is a blues singer, songwriter, and harp virtuoso who does a good job covering many roots styles on his latest CD release Many Shades Of Blue. He includes tastes of swampy, greasy, and rocking flavors in both acoustic and electric formats and has the chops and the all-star backing band to make it all happen.

Special guests on the album include heavyweight champs like Ivan Neville, Janiva Magness, Doug Macleod, Rich Delgrasso and John Cephas and their appearances contribute to both Allegretto’s music and his credibility in the blues scene. He has also lived quite a life and has many experiences from which to draw music from, including stints as a backcountry ranger and firefighter, bouncer, cowboy, and ranch hand. These experiences populate Allegretto’s original songs and elevate him over the many acts out there that continually re-work standards.

Allegretto’s songs are authentic and individual at the same time, and that is the most interesting aspect of this record, although he is certainly a hot hand on the harmonica. It is a tough juggling act to remain true to one’s inspirations while finding a unique musical voice, especially in roots styles, but Allegretto makes it look easy.

Enjoy cuts like “Hurry Down The Rounder”, “She Speaks To Me”, and “Good To Go” to get a feel for where he is coming from and where he is going to. Those who are searching new blues material that sounds like the “real” stuff will find Many Shades Of Blue to be an excellent choice to keep their speakers warm on cold winter nights.

Review by Mike O'Cull

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

 Blues Want Ads

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

Blues Music Reviewers wanted - Southwest and Texas areas

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


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

The River City Blues Society presents

Wednesday Blues featuring

Studebaker John

January 7, 2009 - 7:00pm

The Dragons Dome
3401 Griffin Ave, Pekin, IL.

To see Map- CLICK HERE

 Admission $3 or free with new Society membership

 Featured Blues Review 3 of 3

Deborah Coleman, Candye Kane, Dani Wilde - Blues Caravan, Guitar’d and Feathered

Ruf Records

17 songs; 69:04 minutes  - Highly Recommended

Growing up in an urban community, listening to real soul singers makes it hard to listen to soul singers of today. Candye Kane comes close to that sound but she lacks the soul consistent with the likes of Tina Turner, Coco Taylor and Aretha. Since it’s a different era now, what’s called blues and soul today has it’s own identity and value like when the Stones attempted to imitate the Motown sound. This seventeen song recording project takes several chances when it comes to reaching out to blues lovers. Kane’s grown up style of delivering seductive messages in her music, tastefully punches wholes in a market saturated by watered down female singers. Without her vocal identity and power the album may get lost in a pile of typical jazz artists making a living as blues artists, that seems to be the trend sweeping the globe these days. Everybody knows Big Cat loves a dose of blues and a beautiful women now and then, to get them both in one cool little package is a beautiful thing.

My favorite track on the CD is this laid back tune “Jesus Just Left Chicago”. There are other sides I like too, but this one has a nasty groove and infectious hook that reels you in like an eight pound catfish. Not sure why their label insisted on putting the three on this one, after a couple shots of Patron the flow seems out of balance for some reason. I would like to hear each singer in separate spaces, but that’s just me… The singing quality on this collection of tunes was above average, however the real shining moments on the album came from the good musicians that played on most of the live songs. “Whole Lotta Love” had this repetitive John Lee Hooker style like a few other tunes on the disc, but definitely turned out to be one of the better toe tapers from start to finish. Now what ever Big Cat says goes, I know times are tough but this is a go getter if you have the cash. This is one of those records you crank up while flipping them ribs and links, with ice cold beer chilling in the back of the old icebox.

Eldrige “Big Cat” Tolefree is a Blues musician and writer. Visit his website at

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

 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.

River City Blues Society- Peoria, IL

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

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

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

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  - Jan 5 - Texas Groove, Jan 12 - Tombstone Bullet, Jan 19 - Groove Daddies, Jan 26 - Juke Joint Duo / Cedric Burnside and Lightnin Malcolm, Feb 2 - Big Jeff Chapman, Feb 9 - Jim Suhler, Feb 15 - Shawn Kellerman, Feb 23 - Deak Harp

 The BEST Way To Promote YOUR Next Blues Project!

BANDS, BARS, AND LABELS: Is your promo material getting you the gigs and business you desire? If not, call music journalist and copy writer Mike O'Cull for all your promotional needs. Mike is a veteran music journalist and musician and writes for the Illinois Entertainer,, and  and can deliver the highest quality promotional writing around quickly and at a reasonable price.

Mike's specialties include bios, press releases, liner notes, and web content. Full press kit design, including graphics, is also available. Clients include The Joe Moss Band, Carl Davis, TruSoul Entertainment, B.A. S. Entertainment, and many others. Samples available on request. Email , call Mike O'Cull Music at 847-608-0357, or visit us online at  for more information.

Mention the Blues Blast for a $10 new customer discount.


New CD

Mighty Mighty

CLICK HERE to Purchase this CD



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Live Blues Calendar

 YOU can submit your Blues performances for FREE at:


Performance dates were submitted by Musicians, Club Owners, Blues Societies and Blues festivals. is not responsible for errors or omissions.

CLICK HERE - for the Latest Complete Blues Calendar on our website at:

or click a state to see Blues shows by State

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Performance dates submitted by Musicians, Clubs, Blues Societies and Blues festivals. is not responsible for errors or omissions.

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Blues fans WANT to know about your Blues event of product. Call Bob at (309) 267-4425 or send an email to for a confidential quote today! covers Blues all over the US - NOT just in Illinois! also offers effective advertising for Festivals and Club Owners, Recording Companies and Performers. Put your Blues advertisement on our homepage at:  either as a sponsored event or as a featured event, product, recording or merchandise.  We get 10,000 visitors and 800,000 hits A MONTH on our website!

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