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May 13, 2010 

© 2010 Blues Blast Magazine

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Hey Blues Fans,

The 31st Blues Music Award winners were announced last week in Memphis. The big winner was Tommy Castro who won Entertainer of the year, Band of the Year, Best Contemporary Blues Album and Best Contemporary Blues Male Artist. Congrats to Tommy and his great band.

Other notable winners were Joe Louis Walker for album of the year and Louisiana Red who won both Acoustic Artist and Best Acoustic Album. You can see a list of all 26 winners on our website, CLICK HERE, or get complete information on the Blues Music Awards by visiting the Blues Foundations' website at

Photo Journalist Marilyn Stringer was there covering the gala event for Blues Blast Magazine. In this weeks issue Marilyn send us photos and a review of the pre-awards show in Memphis featuring a huge number of Blues artists playing in the clubs on Beale Street the night before the BMA awards show. (SCROLL DOWN)

Next week we will have photos and complete coverage of all the BMA awards festivities and fun. Stay tuned!

Blues Wanderings

We made it to Iowa to catch a show by the Holmes Brothers last weekend. Real Blues fans already know how GREAT these guys are. They did one hell of a show for a small but enthusiastic crowd at a performance put on by the Mississippi Valley Blues Society.

And speaking of real Blues fans, more than 3000 of you voted for the Holmes Brothers in our 2008 Blues Blast Music Awards! Their last CD "State Of Grace" won the Best Contemporary Blues CD award that year but the band was on the road and were not able to attend the awards show to accept. We were thrilled to be able to present them with their award in person before last weeks show.

The Holmes Brothers newest release "Feed My Soul" is reviewed by James "Skyy Dobro" Walker in this issue.

In This Issue

EIGHT new CD reviews this week! James "Skyy Dobro" Walker reviews a new CD from The Holmes Brothers. New reviewer John Lee Williamson reviews a new CD by Janiva Magness. Ian McKenzie reviews a CD by a band based in London called Bluesmix. Bruce Williams reviews a new CD by Lady Bianca. Gary “Wingman” Weeks reviews a new CD by Wes Jeans. Malcolm "Yard Dog" Kennedy reviews a CD by IBC runner-up Karen Lovely. Paul Schuytema reviews a new CD by a band from Italy called the Dave Moretti Blues Review.  Steve Jones sends us another review of the new Cashbox Kings CD. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!

 Live Blues Review

Before the BMA's - Wednesday Night Wanderings on Beale Street - Memphis

Photos & Comments by Marilyn Stringer

I flew in from CA, checked into my hotel, threw my bags in the room and hopped on the trolley down to Beale Street for a night of blues jams and reunions with friends from all over the country. If you have never been to Beale Street, like me, you have to attend the BMA's at least once and experience this night. All the best blues performers and supporters converged on Memphis and as one friend said "It's like being on the Blues Cruise only we're not rocking!" Also, on every Wednesday night Beale Street is blocked off and thousands of motorcycles line the four blocks.

Nick Moss's 2nd annual Blues Jam was getting ready to start at the Rum Boogie Cafe so that is where I headed to meet all my friends. The entire bar has guitars hanging from the ceiling from every famous player possible. Nick was setting up the stage, everyone was hugging in happy greetings, taking pictures, and catching up. The jam began at 8 and the music never stopped until well after 2 am. Nick started out with his band: Bob Carter -drums-, Nik Skilnik -bass, and Travis Reed -organ and was joined shortly by Todd Sharpville.

Rum Boogie was quickly in full swing, the bar was packed, and the jam rotations were quick and flawless. I can't begin to list who played in what order so the photos will give you an idea. Memphis' own Billy Gibson, and Chicago's Billy Branch on Harmonica.

BMA winner Duke Robillard, joined by Charlie Musselwhite and bassman Dean Mueller, and from England - Eugene Hideaway Bridges.

At one point, I thought I was in Blues Heaven, and I looked around to see if anyone else felt the same way, and it was unanimous. If I could get them all in one shot, I would. From Left to Right, on stage, were: Dave Maxwell -keyboards, Wayne Baker Brooks & Nick Moss-guitars, Tony Braunegel -drums, Curtis Salgado-singing his heart out, Billy Branch-harmonica, Patrick Rynn-bass, and Travis Reed-still on organ (and as they say in the south "bless his heart!" Travis played a really long time!).

Johnny Sansone came up to play some harmonica, EG Kight sang a soulful ballad, accompanied by Shaun Starski (Jason Ricci's searing guitar player), Kate Moss took over on bass, Phil Gates and Darrel Nulisch ended the jam later that night.

There were more musicians who jammed at Rum Boogie, including missing Pinetop Perkins, because in the middle of this we got a text that Candye Kane was at Alfred's, across the street, and we also knew we had to get up to BB Kings to see the Tommy Castro Band. He always has great guests join him. So we headed across the street to catch Candye, who was just finishing up her set. The next group up included Victor Wainwright on the keyboards (and Billy Gibson was waiting to play - he got around Wednesday night - which is why he is the "The King of Beale Street")

After hugging Candye & Laura & Evan & Kennan, we headed up to BB King's to catch what we could of Tommy's set. BB King's was also packed, including the entire Baker-Brooks family, Pinetop Perkins, and the Blues Cruise's Captain Roger Naber.

Time for a group shot. After all Lonnie was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame and what better way to honor him. From left to right are: Ruben Brown (Chicago Bears-Buffalo Bills), Ronnie Baker Brooks, Dennis Jones, Anthony Gomes, Zac Harmon, Eddie C Turner; Seated: Lonnie Brooks, Wayne Baker Brooks.

So while all this socializing is going on, Tommy Castro and the band are doing what they do best - being the Best Blues Band for 2010-CONGRATULATIONS to the entire band, including Steve, their dedicated and masterful sound man!! KUDOS to Tommy Castro, Scot Sutherland, Tony Stead, Tom Poole & Keith Crossan, Ronnie Smith.

And what Tommy graciously also does best, is include the other performers in his sets, whether he is on the cruise or on his tour and tonight was no exception. Kenny Neal was just finishing up playing his harmonica with the band. Next up was Ronnie Baker Brooks, who invited Gary Nicholson (Nashville Songwriter, good friend, and collaborator with Delbert McClinton) to join him.

Once their set ended, we headed back down Beale Street, which by now had a few less motorcycles, to Rum Boogie, only to get pulled in by some high quality harmonica playing going on, deep in this narrow bar -Blues Hall Juke Joint. Like every venue we entered, the old red brick walls, discolored photos of old bluesmen, wooden floors, stools, and polished wooden bars, reminded me that I was in the south where the blues came alive. It was just exciting to be there, let alone the music that was available that night. Unless you experience the blues magic of Beale Street, I am not sure that photos and words can capture the spirit. So at the back end of the Blues Hall Juke Joint we find Billy Gibson and Vince Johnson with an gang of harmonica players. Well that stopped us in our tracks until they ended, and once again we headed for Rum Boogie.

We got there in time to see the end of Charlie Musselwhite's part of the jam, but the night was young and friends were everywhere.

Karen Lovely (IBC Runner -Up), Laura Chavez, Lori Haynes, Candye Kane at Alfred's

Curtis Salgado, Dean Mueller, Tony Braunegel, Johnny Sansone, Nick Moss

Duke Robillard, Charlie Musselwhite, Nick Moss....THANKS, NICK!! AWESOME JAM!!

We closed the bar and headed back to the hotel to prepare for Thursday's adventures including Fiona Boyes and Eden Brent's performance in the afternoon and the BMA's that night-next week's article.

For a full listing of the BMA winners, go to For an eventual full set of photos, go to

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

 Featured Blues Review 1 of 8

The Holmes Brothers - Feed My Soul

Alligator Records

14 songs; 49:45 minutes; Splendid

Styles: Soul, Gospel, R & B, Country, Blues

Surrounding the release of this latest Americana CD from the legendary Holmes Brothers, there has been a celebration of joy by their Rootsy fans. Disgruntled Blues purists even have deepest respect for their long careers and harmony. But, amongst the fans’ festivities and back-slapping, it can be like finding a turd in the punchbowl when a naysayer whines there’s not enough Blues content.

Joan Osborne produced the album, which is a scary thought. But her work and added background vocals seemed to conjure top quality sound. Given Brother Wendell’s recent brush with bladder cancer, one might expect this to be a grim set, but this is an open, warm album with lots of variety (just not much Blues). With Wendell's victory over mortality, the songs deal with friendship, loyalty, family, aging, illness, as well as politics and the current state of the world, while still maintaining the Brother’s sense of humor. “Feed My Soul” represents an inspired artistic deepening for Wendell, who wrote seven of the album’s fourteen tracks, and for the trio as a whole, which recorded some of its richest performances for the set.

Over the course of their 30-plus year career, The Holmes Brothers (bassist/vocalist Sherman Holmes, guitarist/pianist/vocalist Wendell Holmes, drummer/vocalist and brother-in-spirit Popsy Dixon) have been providing a competent blend of Gospel, Soul, R&B, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Country, and Blues. Their best quality is the three-part harmony singing, mixing Wendell’s gruff and gravelly vocals with Popsy’s soaring falsetto and Sherman’s rich baritone. Also notable is the rhythmic foundation laid down by Sherman’s bass playing and Popsy’s drumming, nicely complementing Wendell’s Blues based guitar solos and church-inspired piano playing.

Our first spin on the Friends of the Blues Radio Show was the rocking "You're the Kind of Trouble" written by Paul Kennerly, Adam Wright, and Shannon Wright, which originally appearing on Solomon Burke's 2006 release “Nashville.” There’s great humor found in the narrator’s response to an attractive female, “You’re the kind of trouble I could get into!”

The next week, we played a recession Blues number “Edge of the Ledge.” Putting the signature Holmes humor on it, “Edge...” continues the social theme found in the first cut "Dark Cloud," which has commentary in the lyrics, “...when our children start to die, and mothers ask you why//Won't you tell me... where you stand?”

As an old Beatles fan, I had to play another cover in the set, “I'll Be Back” from “A Hard Day's Night.” Here Dixon handles solo lead vocals on a beautiful countrified version of the song.

This week, we’ll play the harmonica laced, Bluesy number “Rounding Third.” Its message is I’m leaving’ you, baby, and I’m gaining speed. I also like the sentiment found in the mid tempo “Put My Foot Down,” which teaches about taking a firm stand, “You’ve got to put your foot down so you can hold your head up.”

If you are a Holmes Brothers fan and do not already have this CD, why not? You will undoubtedly enjoy it as many fans are blogging, “their best work yet!” Indeed, it’s well done American Roots.

Reviewer James "Skyy Dobro" Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ, Master of Ceremonies, and longtime Blues Blast Magazine contributor. His weekly radio show "Friends of the Blues" can be heard 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.

 Featured Blues Review 2 of 8

Janiva Magness - The Devil Is An Angel Too

Alligator Records

12 songs; 40:04 minutes; Suggested

Styles: West Coast Blues , Jazz, Texas Blues, Soul

This latest Release for Janiva and her ultra top notch, even legendary band, is a sensational piece of work that stands up anywhere on the planet. Carnegie Hall to the deepest Juke, this baby girl hits it hard! I know these folks and their work, that said, lets get to reviewing some of the tracks.

"The Devil Is An Angel"  is the title cut and the coolest soul cut with a subtitle early Tbird twist that draws you in and gets you goin' and ready. "I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down"  is a vocal Truth tellin' with rippin' guitar intro and right on, late in the night, backup vocals.

On the track, "Slipped Tripped and Fell in Love"  Janiva's vocals are a straight up real, An East Side House Party with tricky yet familiar upside down riffs while very fresh yet familiar more more of those solid backups.

Janiva steps out with her magic voice on "I'm Feelin' Good:, like Dorothy Dandridge in a B&W Movie, the Blue Root of Jazz is in here for sure. On "Weeds Like This" her voice is a vocal protest expressing great beauty, backed by Jeff and Dave with up on the porch guitar making it just right.

"Walkin' In The Sun" has the girl pressing down on her Joplinology to the max while the band is all them Alberts guitars, Staples, smoky preachin, cowboy struttin' great story in truth! This one is a favorite of this writer!

"End Of The Road" is a "Natural" country crossover with a lot of heart and soul and a certain High Urgency that's needed in 2010. Save Me - Dig!  "I Wanna Do Everything For You" is a plain and simply sensational rendition by Janiva and the band! Straight out of one of those original Hoss Allen and right into our heart and heads!

On "Your Love Made A U-Turn:" there's preaching by the girl while the car is sliding all around trying to make that U turn, we can feel it in the vocals and the music that is rooted and ever edgy. Anybody's been married a few times, like me, is gonna get "Home Wrecker" right now! Sexy and truth tellin'! You may have to pull the car over, park the car and realize "whats been done" and may make All Y'all rock slow and cry.

 Just when you think great recordings like they used to make at Capitol records are gone forever, Janiva Magness gives it to us once again, just hang on to your Martini!

Reviewer John Lee Williamson is the head of Conjur Root Productions and a Veteran of the blues. He's based in Los Angeles and on the scene from the 50's til right now. 

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

 Blues Society News

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

You can submit a maximum of 175 words or less in a Text or MS Word document format.

Madison Blues Society - Madison, WI

More than 4,000 Blues fans are expected at the 8th Annual Blues Picnic on Saturday, June 19. There'll be 9 1/2 hours of FREE music from 11:30AM to 9:00PM featuring Tate and the 008 Band, Shake Daddys, Joe's Blues Kids, Cash Box Kings, Reverend Raven and the Chain Smokin' Altar Boys, John Primer and the Real Deal Blues Band and Grana' Louise. We'll have lots of great food, drinks and beer and don't miss out on the Prize Raffle and the 50-50 Cash Raffle. Get the full story at

Washington Blues Society - Seattle, WA

The Washington Blues Society’s local competitions for the 2011 International Blues Challenge will be held on Sunday, June 20th and Sunday, June 27th at the award-winning Highway 99 Blues Club in Seattle. Depending on the number of entries received, there may be an additional competition on July 11th or July 25th. The preliminary solo/duo competitions will be held on either Sunday, June 27th or one of the July dates above. Competition finals will be held on Sunday, August 22nd at the the Snohomish Taste Of Music Festival.

Any Washington State blues act may enter, and the act must include at least one who is a member of the WBS. Band entry fee is $30.00 and solo/duo entry fee is $15.00. Entry deadline is Thursday, June 10th. For complete info see the website at: or email

Crossroads Blues Society - Rockford, IL

Crossroads Blues Society is producing their very first Blue festival this year. The Byron Crossroads Blues Festival will run from noon to midnight on Saturday, August 28, 2010, in downtown Byron, Illinois.

The festival lineup includes The Resistors, noted artists Filisko and Noden, The Cashbox Kings, Westside Andy/Mel Ford Band and Dave Weld and the Imperial Flames. For more information visit the Crossroads website at:

Columbia College - Chicago, IL

Free Blues Camp Audition -  Saturday, May 22, 10:00 AM - Noon, Columbia College Chicago Music Center, 1014 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago. This is an opportunity to audition for this great youth Blues Camp held at Columbia College July 4 – 9, 2010 by Artistic Director, Fernando Jones.

Other audition date is Thursday, June 3, 6:00 – 8:00 PM, at Guitar Center, 4271 West 167th Street, Country Club Hills, IL. Go to for more details. RSVP Online at

The Friends Of The Blues - Watseka, IL

2010 Friends of the Blues shows - May 27 - Moreland & Arbuckle 7 pm , Kankakee Elks Country Club, June 15 - Albert Castiglia 7 pm , River Bend Bar & Grill, June 22 - Al Stone, 7 pm , River Bend Bar & Grill and August 10 - Sean Chambers, 7 pm , River Bend Bar & Grill For more info see: 

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 $3 cover. May 17 - Southside Jonny and Kicked to the Curb, May 25 - Kurt Crandall, May 31 - Frank Herrin & Blues Power, June 7 - The Avey Brothers, June 14 - Jim Suhler & Monkey, June 21 - The Texas Groove Blues Band, June 28 - Bryan Lee, July 5 - Little Joe McLerran, July 12 - Michael Charles Band, July 19 - Laurie Morvan, July 26 - Bill Evans Birthday Bash

River City Blues Society - Peoria, IL

The River City Blues Society has started booking more of their weekly Blues shows. The shows start at 7:00pm at Good Fellas Pizza and Pub, 1414 N 8TH St Pekin, IL. Admission for all shows is $4 or $3 for RCBS members. Shows currently scheduled are:  Wednesday May 19th, 2010 - Hounds Tooth

5th Annual T-Bone Walker Blues Fest
June 18-19, 2010
Music City Texas Theatre  -
Linden, Texas

Johnny Winter

Zac Harmon

Malford Milligan

Robin & the Bluebirds

Dorothy “Miss Blues” Ellis

Buddy Flett

Emily Elbert

Guitar Shorty

Honeyboy Edwards

Henry Gray & the Cats

19th Street Red

Sumter Bruton

Diddley Squat

Kayla Reeves

Pleasant Hill Quilting Group

Guitar Hero Competition – Friday & Saturday

Call (903) 756-7774 for more information or visit

 Featured Blues Review 3 of 8

Bluesmix - Biding My Time

ProperMusic/ Blues Dust Records

Twelve tracks, 53.08 mins

This one has been around for some time and has had some excellent reviews elsewhere, mostly in the UK. Don’t expect anything different here.

BluesMix is Rob Fleming, vocals and guitar, Bob Morgan on piano/organ and saxophone, Costa Tancredi, bass, Mimi Hajime, drums. The band was born out of the London blues scene and each member of it has extensive experience of gigging and working as session musicians over an extended period. In 2006 they supported Elton John in San Francisco and did a short tour of blues clubs and venues in California. The band continues to operate around the London area with a residency at The Troubador (a venue at which yours truly played 40 years ago!) and at the wonderfully named venue Ain’t Nothin’ But The Blues. Patrons of those and many other venues get from the band what this CD offers; top quality blues with a serous dash of funk and a soupcon of soul.

Vocalist Fleming is the writer of almost all the twelve tracks here and delivers his lyrics with verve and passion. He is supported all the way by a watertight rhythm section and some seriously tasty arrangements. One of the tracks not written by Fleming is ‘Do Together’ composed by Bob Morgan who plays clarinet on another track ‘How Many Times’ and percussion on ‘I Want To Believe In You’, to say nothing of adding keyboards and/or sax on many of the other offerings. Listen to the impressive sax solo on ‘All Gone’.

From the get go, ‘Feel So Strong’, a swinging piece building nicely from a Hammond (Morgan again) riff intro section, to the final track ‘I Don’t Want To Loose It All’ the band offers relaxed, yet at the same time driving, blues based material, providing a wonderful example of what is available for bluesers visiting the UK’s capital city. Check out some of their sounds on their website. Recommended.

Reviewer 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 (see and has a web cast regular blues radio show on www.phonic.FM in Exeter (Wednesdays: 1pm Eastern/ 12 noon Central).

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. 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

Band Leader Looking For A Label & Gigs

Koko Taylor's band leader Vino Louden is alive and well ...back from a terrible vehicle accident and near death experience playing and singing the blues. Looking for a label and gigs. Contact at 773-318-2492

Blues Bass Player Wanted

Blues Bass Player Wanted for new blues band with guitar, drums and harp. We are located in Westmont, IL, 20 miles west of Chicago.  Must be conversant in old school Chicago post war, Texas and West Coast jump, plus R&B, Soul and Funk. Upright Bass is a plus. Vocal ability is also a plus. Must be willing to rehearse. Fully equipped rehearsal studio.

Our goal is to gig and record ASAP but we play for the love of the music, first and foremost. Deep pocket love of the blues is a must - Rockers need not apply. Please contact Tom at email: 

Magazine Seeks Summer Festival Reviewers

Blues Blast Magazine is looking for a few good men (Or Women)! Over the 2010 summer season we are looking for folks who attend Blues Festivals and take GOOD photos for festival reviews.  If you attend multiple Blues Festivals or Blues shows and could volunteer to send us 500 to 1000 word reviews and a few good photos, please reply to .

Reviewers are needed for the Midwest, Southwest and Texas area, the Florida and Gulf area, The West Coast, The Pacific Northwest, Canada, the Eastern coast area and also on the European, Asian and Australian continents. A short sample of your writing, a sample photo and info on your Blues background would be helpful. Please include your phone number with the reply.

 Featured Blues Review 4 of 8

Lady Bianca - A Woman Never Forgets

Magic-O Records

Lady Bianca has been writing songs with her partner Stanley Lippett and performing their music in the California Bay Area for over two decades. She’s a great singer with a ballsy voice, and accompanies herself on keyboards in her band. Her new Grammy nominated album, “A Woman Never Forgets” is classy and sophisticated, and steeped in feeling and soul. One of the things that make this a great record is the variety of music. The first cut, “Lay It Down Like You Mean It” is very ‘Chicago blues’ and captures your attention right away, although it’s no indication of what’s to come. You’ll get your first taste here of the excellent background vocals heard throughout this album, which help contribute to an underlying gospel feel.

There are so many great little surprises on this release, like heating things up with, “He Just Do Me So Good” next, a steamy number with a fair share of sexual innuendo. The Latin feel of “I’m In Love With You Baby” with guitarist Rich Gannon doing his best Carlos Santana imitation has by now convinced the listener that this clearly is not a straight blues album.

“Sweetie Pie” is a great showcase of Lady Bianca’s deep and rich voice, and her ability to accompany herself with just her piano. Earlier in her musical career, she was a backup singer for some pretty big hitters such as, Van Morrison, Frank Zappa and Sly Stone. She also recorded with Taj Mahal, James Ingram and Lamont Dozier. With all those strong influences, it’s no wonder she broke out on her own with a good understanding of the music business and an ability to create her own powerful music.

The amusing “Ugly Man Song” is another little surprise, providing some comic relief and some ‘carrying on’ by The Lady. The title cut and “Slow Down” both are solid songs, followed by a rousing version of the old Elvis hit, “Heartbreak Hotel”, done slow and nasty. She shows a softer, sweeter side on “There’s No Getting Over You”, a pretty song with nice chord changes and dynamic accents, and another standout job by the backup vocalists. The delay effect to the lead vocal track is somewhat distracting.

My absolute favorite song on this album is the final cut, “Da Da Day (The Happy Song)”, and I have already played it many times. You gotta love songs with a positive message, and this funky groove cooks and makes you want to jump up and shake it a little bit. I suspect they were having a good time in the recording studio working on this number.

This outstanding collection of songs demonstrates the writing creativity of Lady Bianca and Lippitt and shows off the excellent musicianship of Bianca and her band. This is Lady Bianca’s sixth album, and a testament to her longevity and importance on the blues scene. “A Woman Never Forgets” is a great album by a very talented artist and I highly recommend it to any music lover, particularly those of us who dig their blues with a taste of gospel and soul.

Reviewer Bruce Williams is seasoned Blues musician (Junior Wells, Lefty Dizz and The Chicago Fire, Jimmy “Fast Fingers” Dawkins, Mark Hannon Blues Band). He  learned the blues from some of Chicago’s masters and has shared the stage with legends such as Willie Dixon, Jimmy Rogers, Sammy Lawhorn, Hound Dog Taylor and Jimmy Johnson. His band appears at clubs and festivals throughout the Midwest. He hosts a weekly radio program on WRLR FM Public Radio and produces music out of his home based Highland Lake Records Studio.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

 Featured Blues Review 5 of 8

Wes Jeans - Live At Music City Texas

Music City Texas

Spending your 28th birthday recording a live album isn't too bad a deal. And when the concert sells out at the Music City Texas Theater, then the goal is further realized.

Wes Jeans had some good company. With bassist Syd Hydro, drummer Jack Miller and good buddy Lance Lopez on second guitar, there is enough high voltage riffage on this disk to bring down the roof.

This isn't so much a blues cd but arena-styled rock that would have went down well in the seventies. There's the black thunder stomp of "Locked Outa Love" which shuffles like a Texas Twister. And though the tempo is slow, Eddie Boyd's "Five Long Years" is a blues burner filtered through a Stevie Ray funnel.

For fans of Hendrix, Vaughan and ZZ Top, owning this is a must. The band's take on "Nasty Dogs and Funky Kings" rivals the studio version found on Fandango.

You know you're in for a scary rollercoaster ride when the CD opens with the Jeans/Lopez collaboration "Forrest Of The Pine." It's heavy metal wrapped in a blues hook. And Johnny Winter's "Dallas" morphs and twists into guitar effects Hendrix fashion plodding along like Bigfoot.

Lopez has his moments in the spotlight as he viciously growls his way through his own "El Paso Sugar." This is ZZ Top styled rock built around a nice riff with lyrics raging of smut and sleaze.

Jeans' instrumental "Boomerang" sounds like the best outtake from Electric Ladyland. Final cut "Champagne and Reefer" may not fit author Muddy Water's expectations. Of course it's blues rock. How can you ignore it though? And Muddy has to love the fact obscure songs from his catalog are given a swift kick in the butt.

If you need a wake-up call to get you out of bed, this CD of Wes Jeans will give you a whole new way of looking at the day.

Review by Gary “Wingman” Weeks.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

 Featured Blues Review 6 of 8

Karen Lovely - Lucky Girl

Pretty Pear Records, 2008

I first heard Karen Lovely at the Annual WBS Picnic and was immediately impressed by her remarkable vocals. I was already aware that Karen’s band would be representing the CBA in Memphis January 2010 at the IBC and now I knew why. Karen and the band took second place at the 2010 competition.

Lucky Girl features mostly cover songs from the song books of Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton, BB King, Willie Dixon and more, performed by three different line-ups.

The two originals were co-written by Burbank guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Alan Mirikitani aka BB Chung King (who also performs on those two tracks and several others) and alsoGrammy Award winning producer, songwriter (Robert Cray, BB King, Maria Muldaur, Joe Louis Walker) Dennis Walker. Both tracks also feature Jimmy Pugh-piano, organ and Richard Cousins-bass, both also of Robert Cray fame.

Lucky Girl was partially recorded at Alan’s Dawghouse Studio and Alan & Dennis mixed and mastered the entire project there as well.

A jazzy blues rhumba version of “You Don’t Move Me” features a sweet sax solo by Michael Vannice and the lyric ‘you don’t move me daddy, so move on down the road.’ Check out Karen’s siren vocals on this dazzling version of the John Lee Hooker classic “Boom Boom,” I am sure Hook would approve whole heartedly.

The slow shuffle “It’s Too Late” has a subdued guitar solo and Karen’s sultry vocals make this number really stand out. The slow grind of BB King’s “Rock Me” simply oozes sex and Michael’s baritone sax makes this track a winner.

Ashland, OR is well known for its annual summer long Shakespeare Festival and will soon be well known for the very talented Karen Lovely Band, which is a force to be reckoned with.

Reviewer Malcolm "Yard Dog" Kennedy is a frequent contributor to the Washington Blues Society Bluesletter, and he is the former Vice President and Merchandise Director of the society. He is the co-author of the profile published in the 2009 Blues Festival Guide, which recognized the WBS for its Keeping the Blues Alive Award. Malcolm volunteers at the society's monthly all-ages Blues Bashes and at many festivals and special events promoting the blues in the Pacific Northwest..

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

 Featured Blues Review 7 of 8

David Moretti Blues Review - Bluesjob

Self-release, available at

10 songs, 38:22

Some days, when it’s gray and rainy outside, nothing is better than pouring two fingers of your favorite “tea” and settling down to some slow, sad blues. On those days, you had better not slip Bluesjob into the CD player, because it’ll have you out of your chair and snapping your fingers before you know what hit you.

The Dave Moretti Blues Review comes to us from across the pond, from a county more well known for olive oil and aqueducts than swinging blues and fierce harmonica playing. Hailing from Turin, Italy, the Blues Review is a four piece high-energy band that features Moretti on vocals and harp.

At first listen, I wasn’t sure what to make of this CD. The sound is a mix of jump blues, swing and just flat out old-school power blues played energetically. But there’s something in there that isn’t quite familiar... a musical approach that feels a little alien. When Moretti starts singing, I’m hit once again with the other worldly nature of this CD - reminding me of the first few minutes of listening to a Shakespeare play, when I know the language in English, but I haven’t quite got the ear for it yet.

A few songs in and this changed for me. My ears became used to Moretti’s deep, throaty and ever-so-off-kilter vocals, and the tone and texture of the music started to reveal itself to me. At the end of the CD, the first thing I did was hit play one more time to get deeper into the music.

The tracks are high energy blues infused with a jump and swing spirit, but sans the horns you’d expect. The arrangements are stripped down and raw and showcase a band that has honed their playing on European club and festival circuit. Moretti plays harp with a sharp treble presence and also sings. Moretti also penned six of the disc’s songs (the others are from such greats as Percy Mayfield and Ray Charles).

What struck me about this effort was the fact that the lean, mean tracks all share a unifying swing mentality, but Moretti and the boys know how to pull back, how to strip a song even more bare for a solo or bridge and every single song has some unique hook that just pulls you in and compels you to listen deeper. More than once, Moretti on harp and Damir Nefat on guitar get in such harmonic sync that that transition from one’s solo to the other is almost imperceptible.

For me, the blues is a genre that continues to surprise. I love the historical lineage of the genre and have great respect for those performers who stay true to the myriad of forms we’ve come to know. That being said, I love being taken for a ride that I never expected. I wasn’t prepared for hornless jump blues, stripped down and played fast and hard and sung with a throaty Italian accent.

To be honest, it took me a few listens to break through, but what the Dave Moretti Blues Revue delivers in Bluesjob is a delightful treat that left me grinning and my toes tapping..

Reviewer Paul Schuytema is a lifelong blues enthusiast who grew up in Chi-town. He cut his blues teeth at shows by Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon. He now lives in the cornfields and puts on the Deep Blue Innovators Blues Festival every fall.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

 Featured Blues Review 8 of 8

Cash Box Kings - I94

Blue Bella Records

15 tracks

I met up with harp player and vocalist Joe Nosek from the Cashbox Kings last year and told him how much I enjoyed their 2009 “Cuttin’ Heads: Live” CD and he told me if I liked that then to just wait for their new studio release in 2010. Well, it’s here and he was right: it’s even better than their live release!

The CD is filled with 15 of the 17 racks that the band laid down in a single day at Nick Moss’ Blue Bella Records. Recorded mostly live (there are a few vocal overdubs and an added guitar track in one cut), it is the band's first release without Travis Koopman. Filling in here on guitar are Joel Paterson, Billy Flynn, and, on one track, Chicago veteran Steve Freund. Paterson takes the lead on most tracks with Flynn on the remaining except for the one by Freund. Flynn also fills in on mandolin and banjo on a half dozen tracks. Remaining with the band along with Joe Nosek are Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith on drums, Oscar Wilson (who shares the vocal work), and Chris “CB” Boeger on bass. Other welcome guests are Barrelhouse Chuck on piano, Mark Haines on drums and acoustic guitar, and Jimmy Sutton on upright bass and also backing vocals on one track.

The CD begins with a jumping, post recession cut called “Default Boogie”. The song gives us the blues delivered up with some appropriate lyrics about today’s economic times. Here Wilson bemoans the bank action against him:

“Before I could move
They changed the locks
They even took the check
Outta my mailbox...”

Flynn on mandolin and Chuck on piano give this a great depth of sound. It’s a great start to a CD with 10 solid tracks written by the band and their guests along with 5 great covers. They slow it down on St. Paul Wintertime Blues, with Nosek comparing the St. Paul winters to the cold in his bedroom. Paterson’s guitar lays down a solid lead line that drives this from start to finish. Flynn’s banjo leads on the title track with a nice acoustic guitar solo and fill in by Joel, more solid vocals by Nosek, Jimmy Sutton on bass, and piano by Barrelhouse Chuck. We are transformed back to juke joint days with this cleaver original tune; it’s one of my favorites. “Quesadilla Boogie” is another of my faves from the album. Penned by most of the band members, it opens with a great Barrelhouse piano solo lead in, and then we are treated to the full instrumental boogie treatment. Paterson’s guitar, Flynn’s mandolin, Nosek’s harp, Boeger’s bass and Smith’s skin work are tight and flowing. Flynn’s “Second Chance” gives us some more great slow blues, with Wilson back fronting the band and Freund in the lead and Flynn backing him on guitar.

The covers also include some very strong songs. Muddy’s “Hard Days” gets royal treatment here with Wilson’s smooth vocalization, Chuck tearing up the keys, Flynn’s lead mandolin and Nosek blowing hot harp. Water’s “Country Boy” cover slows it down and gets all greasy and dirty with the same cast, except Paterson twists notes away on lead guitar and Flynn adding his banjo. Two Muddy Waters covers you hear from so many bands, yet here we get them played almost reverently and ever-so-freshly! The surprising cover is Jim Croce’s “Don’t Mess Around With Jim”, an over played 1972 pop number that used to bore me to tears but here it gets a complete facelift. The song is done with a slightly up-tempo, syncopated beat, some sweet guitar from Patterson and nice vocals by Wilson. These guys can take pre-chewed bubble gum and turn it into brand new and clean gum! They finish the set with Blind Willie McTell’s “Warm It Up to Me”. Sutton backs Nosek up on vocals quite nicely, and the band builds this acoustic number up to a rousing finish that perfectly closes things.

Space precludes me mentioning every cut, but suffice it to say that you will love them all! These guys play Chicago blues the way they were meant to be played. The Cashbox Kings and their friends are in synch and play together with reckless abandon. This is a great album and it needs to be part of your collection if you want to hear the best of today’s Chicago blues!

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

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

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