Issue 5-14 April 7, 2011
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From The Editors Desk
Hey Blues Fans,
The first week of April is always a week to celebrate. We started this publication with our first issue on April 1st, 2007 which means we are now in our 5th year of publication. Happy Birthday Blues Blast!
There is one week left on our Spring advertising special rates. Our Special is a great way to get the Blues word out about your new music release or music event this festival season. You can get 6 issues of Blues Blast Magazine and six week of ads on our website for only $200. But hurry as this lowest rate of the year is only available until April 15. Ads purchased for this special can be used anytime between now and September 30th, 2011. See complete details in our ad below.
Also the deadline is approaching for sending in your CDs to the 2011 Blues Blast Music Award nominators. You can put your music right into the nominators hands and there is no cost to do so this year. But hurry as all CDs must be received by April 15. Get more information in the announcement below in this issue.
Good Blues To You!
We made it out to hear Albert Castiglia this week. He is touring in support of his 5th CD Keepin On, released on Blues Leaf Records. He played some of the tunes from the CD to a large crowd.
He also had special guest Dave Gross with him playing bass. On a few tunes a guitar found its way into Dave's hands and the sparks really flew as these two guitar players traded Blues licks back and fourth.
If anyone out there in record label land is listening, we think you should get these two into the studio to record an album together. Based on what we heard, the result would be a smashing success!
In This Issue
New Blues Blast contributor Chefjimi Patricola has our feature interview with Bob Corritore. Rainey Wetnight reviews a new CD by Blues Dragon. Mark Thompson reviews a new CD by Sweet baby James & Rob Eyers. John Mitchell reviews a new CD by a Polish Blues band celled Open Blues. Gary "Wingman" Weeks reviews a new CD by Rory Block. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!
Blues Blast has the Lowest Advertising Prices Of The Year!
We know times are tough so
Blues Blast Magazine is offering a Spring Ad special until April 15. This is our lowest
pricing of the year and offers an effective way to get the
Blues word out for Blues festival advertising budgets and CD promotion
projects. This 6 week combo rate of only $200 allows you to affordably
add significant impact to your Blues event. It is a great way to kick
up the visibility of a CD release or Blues Festival! Normal 2011 Advertising
rates are $45 per week for magazine ads and $70 a month for website ads.
Featured Blues Story - Bob Corritore Interview
When I recently spoke to Bob Corritore he had played a gig the night before at The Rhythm Room (his club) in Phoenix with Chris James & Patrick Rynn , was preparing to do his Blues radio show of 27 years, 'Those Lowdown Blues', on Public Radio Station KJZZ, and planning his busy week to come, which included doing some studio work with everything else on his plate.
Bob is considered one of the best traditional blues harmonica players on
the scene today, as well as producer, writer and winner of the coveted
and highly prestigious KBA (Keeping the Blues Alive) award, as well as
winning Blues Music Awards, and Blues Blast Awards. Bob has been
nominated this year for two BMA's, Historical Recording, and Harmonica
Blues Blast: Do you ever sleep ? I ask because when one looks at your legacy of work one has to wonder when do you get the beauty sleep that you obviously get ?
Bob Corritore: I wake up each morning excited by what the day might bring. I have been very blessed with lots to do. But when you look at the things I do you are actually looking at what a team of people are doing. I have a great support system around me: Mona Watkins who is the Rhythm Room GM, and all her staff, Randy Chortkoff and all the folks at Delta Groove, my webmaster George Vaught, My social media coordinator Amy Brat, Dale Baich of Blue Witch Records, Clarke Rigsby of Tempest Recorders, John Wrobble of Porcupine Productions, Dave Shirk at Sonorous Mastering, my volunteers (Tony Tingle, Linda Marlowe, Tracey Thomas and Brandi Carter), all the great musicians I work with, and all the great friends, fans, festivals, promoters, publicists, writers, photographers, and many other people in many other support roles. Quite a great team!
BB: Now I have to admit if we were to ask 100 or so people (Blues fans) to name hub cities for the Blues - Phoenix might not turn up. But with all work you have been doing there and the migration history of artists to the area that might change. Chico Chism is a prime example, he was there some 20 plus years - tell me a bit about how that came about and how he became the club drummer with the Rhythm Room All-Stars?
BC: I moved from Chicago to Phoenix in 1981 and I was surprised to learn of all of Phoenix's blues history. Louis Jordan lived in Phoenix during the 1950s. Ray Sharpe recorded his biggest hit "Linda Lu" in Phoenix in 1959. Dyke & The Blazers were a Phoenix based soul band that wrote and recorded the first version of "Funky Broadway" which refers to the Broadway Street in Phoenix, where they used to play frequently. Blues / jazz B3 organ wizard Jimmy Smith spent his last years as a Phoenix resident. I recently got together with Phoenix music historian John "Johnny D" Dixon and we put together an anthology CD called Flyin' High; A Collection of Phoenix Blues, Rhythm, and Spirit from the 1950's and 60's. It includes 27 amazing songs by artists you likely have never heard of. Some thrilling blues sounds that come out of Phoenix.
So to answer the second part of your question, let's fast forward to 1986 and you have the great Chico Chism moving to Phoenix. Chico was Howlin' Wolf's last drummer and he was a great singer and a charismatic showman. Chico was filled with humor and personality, and he described himself as "Chico Chism, I'm the woman's pet and the men's threat, the house-rocker and the show stopper. I'm Chico the boogie man!" I met Chico in 1975 when I went to see Wolf on the West Side of Chicago at the 1815 Club. Chico came up and introduced himself to me during the break, and we were immediate friends. So I kept in touch with Chico after I moved to Phoenix. We started having phone conversations about him coming out to do some gigs. I had a few months of work lined up and Chico came out to Phoenix in the summer of 1986. As soon as he arrived, Chico was immediately loved by everyone in Phoenix, and he loved Phoenix back. Chico rose quickly to great popularity. We worked many, many gigs together. It was a great pleasure to have that Chicago beat in Phoenix. When I opened up the Rhythm Room in 1991, I put together the Rhythm Room All-Stars as a kickin' house band that could back up the many guests artists that we would bring to Phoenix. Chico was the front-man of this group but we also played backup for so many great artists that would come to town: Jimmy Rogers, Bo Diddley, John Brim, Big Jack Johnson, Henry Gray, Louisiana Red, Lil' Ed, R.L. Burnside, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Nappy Brown, Luther Tucker, Smokey Wilson, Pinetop Perkins, and so many others. Not only did the Rhythm Room All-Stars support the live shows but we participated in many recording sessions with many of these great artists. Chico and I always had a blast and we collaborated on so many projects. After his stroke in 2002 Chico's health began to decline and playing ability was limited, but he still came out regularly and played as best he could until his passing on January 28th, 2007. He was my close friend and musical partner, and he left an indelible mark on Phoenix. Chico was recently inducted in Arizona Musicians and Entertainer's Hall Of Fame. The Rhythm Room All-Stars have gone on in the Chico Chism tradition with a current lineup that includes Chris James, Patrick Rynn, Brian Fahey, and myself.
BB: Why did you originally come out to Phoenix, goodness, some thirty years ago? What were the deciding factors to stay here?
BC: I originally came to Phoenix with the idea that I would only stay for about a year. My younger brother John had settled in the Phoenix suburb of Scottsdale after he graduated from ASU, and I liked the idea of a warm Arizona winter. I was in love with the Chicago blues scene that I had left, so I had every intention of returning. Within a month or so of being gone, I get a call from Louisiana Red, who at the time was living in Chicago. We had worked together at the Delta Fish Market on the West Side and had exchanged phone numbers. Red had called and got my forwarding number and when I told him I had moved to Phoenix, he said he had been wanting to come out to Arizona and that he knew a blues singer named Eunice Davis who was also living here . I suggested that we should get some gigs together if he did come visit, and a few weeks later Red shows up! Note that at that time in Red's life, he was quite the roaming bluesman, traveling from town to town looking for a place to play and belong. So for about a week or so, Red stayed with Eunice until that did not work out, and the next thing I knew I had Louisiana Red as my room-mate! Red stayed with me and my then girlfriend Anne Columna for the next year. We scuffled for gigs and played around the house everyday together. We became like family. Red is such a brilliant blues player and I looked back at the blessing it was to have had that time with him. Red would leave Arizona for a European tour where would meet Dora, his loving wife of almost 30 years. Red and I still are very close friends and we find ways to play together each year. He will be playing at the Rhythm Room on June 3 and 4 coming up. FYI in 1982, Red and I used to play quite a bit at this club called the Purple Turtle. This club would later became the Rhythm Room! So it is very symbolic for Red to come back and play at his old digs! My girlfriend and I had developed our relationship around looking out for Red, and so ironically, after Red left, our common cause was gone and we soon broke up!
So after Red left, I worked with a few bands including Tommy Dukes, a great Mississippi born, Arizona raised bluesman. I soon landed a 2 year gig in Big Pete Pearson's band. In 1983 my parents moved to Phoenix and so my whole family was here. In 1984 I started my radio show on KJZZ which is now 27 years running! I would work in various bands around Phoenix including one of Janiva Magness' early bands, and with Chief Schabuttie Gilliame, Buddy Reed and others. In 1986 Chico Chism moved to Phoenix where he spent the last 20 years of his life. In 1991 I opened the Rhythm Room , and I started regularly taking visiting traditional blues artists into the studio. I currently have a wealth of unreleased masters which I hope to release sometime in my life. In 1999 I released my first CD, Bob Corritore / All-Star Blues Sessions. It was on the HighTone label which was famous for all those influential Robert Cray records. Though I had produced a number of prior releases, and had my harmonica included a few locally distributed releases, this was the first as a recording artist and it was on a prestigious label. That CD put my name on the map as a harmonica player. In 2004, I met Dave Riley at the King Biscuit Blues Festival, which has led to a long and fruitful collaboration. Dave now is a winter resident of Phoenix and has a place 5 minutes away from my place in Scottsdale. Anyway, Phoenix has been good for me and I have carved out a nice life for myself here.
BB: With regard to the Rhythm Room, it is still going strong, since 1991 - congratulations - with the economy still somewhat shaky and Blues clubs closing down, how do you manage to do it?
BC: The blues club business is a tricky one. The Rhythm Room has been very lucky to have much support from the community. We look at our-self as a music venue with a primary focus on the blues. While the weekends are strictly blues and soul, we invite concerts of all genres to make up our weekdays. It is a great sounding, great feeling, live music room with no TVs, dart boards, or pool tables. We are a concert club venue with no apologies. Also my wonderful GM, Mona Watkins does an amazing job of keeping a great team of employees together. In September of this year the Rhythm Room will celebrate our 20 year anniversary with a 3 day blues extravaganza on September 16, 17 and 18!
BB: If I can just touch on your radio show for a moment. I have 2 releases from your KJZZ 91.5 FM in Phoenix, these are just great. They feature such artists as Lazy Lester, Lowell Fulson, Henry Gray and current hot property Jerry Lawson. These are a priceless aural portrait of a wonderful time in Blues music, it's like a history lesson. How great has it been doing this broadcast ? Did you ever think it would run this long?
BC: Hosting my blues radio program is a weekly pleasure for me. I get to sit back and play my favorite music for thousands of listeners. KJZZ has valued and celebrated my radio program and provided me with this outlet for over 27 years. The CDs you speak of commemorate the 20 and 25 year anniversaries of the program. I had all these recordings archived from radio guest appearances on my show. As you can see I have had some amazing guests over the years. In addition to artists you mention I have had Robert Lockwood, Jr., Harmonica Fats, Johnny Dyer, Rick Estrin, Cedel Davis, Harmonica Fats, Dave Riley, Billy Flynn, Charlie Musselwhite, Lil' Ed, Otis Clay, Johnny Rawls, Willie Dixon, and many others. And by the way Jerry Lawson lives in Phoenix and is also my neighbor! Jerry is the famous former lead singer of the Persuasions and his new A Capella project is making quite a splash these days on national TV! So over the years, I have had lots of great broadcasts. Your readers can tune in on-line each Sunday from 6pm to 11pm, Mountain Standard Time at www.KJZZ.org.
BB: What would be your assessment of the Blues currently and what does the future look like for it's continued viability and growth?
BC: If you go to the IBCs or the BMAs in Memphis you know that the blues is a healthy, living, growing thing. As it has always done throughout history, the blues will adapt to its surroundings and reflect the new world it now exists in. Since the blues is a multi-generational movement and the elders are the respected teachers and the inspiration for those that came after, it is hard to see all the passings. We are blessed to still have artists like Pinetop Perkins, and Honeyboy Edwards who are both in their 90s. They are a window into the past. I recently had a heart to heart conversation with Barrelhouse Chuck who reminded me how privileged we were to know many of the great Chicago bluesmen who formed the music, and we need to hold up their memory and the lessons that they taught us. I agree that those entrusted with these sacred lessons from the blues elders have the responsibility to keep that music alive. I have seen some promising young blues players on the scene: Marquise Knox, Vincent Bury, Matt Hill, Cleome Bova, of course Cedric Burnside and Lightnin' Malcolm, Gina Sicilia, Dave Gross, Kilborn Alley, Zoe Savage (from Joe Filisko's harmonica class), Valerie June, Steve Marriner, and Bharath Rajakumar to name a few. The blues will live on.
BB: In December 2010, you produced (and played on) 'Oil Spill Blues' with Dave Riley for 'Blues for the Gulf' for the VizzTone label Group. On it there are some outstanding musicians and all the proceeds goes to the Voice Of The Wetlands charity fund, which is great. How did you get involved with that project?
BC: Just to clarify, the Blues For The Gulf CD was produced by a group of concerned individuals around that terrible environmental disaster. Dave Riley and I just donated a song that we wrote for the project, and we hope that it will do a little something for the cause. We became aware of this project from Honey Sepeda and Bob Margolin and immediately wanted to contribute.
BB: But you have a long legacy of producing Blues artists such as Louisiana Red, Tomcat Courtney, to local artists like Chief Schabuttie Gilliame and Dave Riley. I would guess you feel right at home on either side of the studio? What is it that you bring to the studio as a producer that makes you so requested?
BC: Many of the projects that you refer to are ones that I have initiated, so I do not know if requested fits into all the producer situations. But recently I was asked to produce some nice sessions, with the latest being Mud Morganfield, the eldest son of Muddy Waters! We just recorded Mud's record in February in Chicago (Brrr!). I have always loved and respected the recording process and I look at it as an art form in and of itself. If you add to that, the historic importance of the blues, then you have a powerful motive to create a lasting legacy of recordings. I do need to mention my long partnership with recording wizard Clarke Rigsby who has been with me in most of my endeavors. Because of Clarke's skill we have created a consistent track record of some really great sounding releases. So when Amanda Taylor called me to put together a live recording and filming of last year's great harmonica event "Amanda's Roller Coaster", she is signing up this great system that Clarke and I have put together and have tested many times. That same thing happened when my friend Kid Ramos called me to help put together Floyd Dixon's final recording session which we did live at the Rhythm Room. I am very lucky to have all these great experiences with many of my favorite blues artists.
BB: What are you up to these days ? I know you have been working with Jessi Colter, does working in another genre (Country) provide any special challenges or opportunities to you as a harp player?
BC: I am in the middle of a number of exiting recording projects right now: Dave Riley and I are busy working on our third CD together. I mentioned earlier the Mud Morganfield CD that is in the works. I have produced about half of Diunna Greenleaf's forthcoming CD, with Diunna, Anson Funderburgh, and others producing the remainder of the record. I will be putting together a 20 year anniversary CD of live performances over the years from the Rhythm Room. I play harmonica on 4 or 5 tracks on the forthcoming CD by Louisiana Red (with Little Victor's Juke Joint) which will be out this year on Ruf Records. I recently wrote the liner notes for a new Lazy Lester CD for the Bluestown label in Norway. I have upcoming shows this year in Chicago, Brazil, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, Takoma, Washington, Simi Valley, California and more! It will be a great year of gigs. Dave Riley and I will bring our band to the Moulin Ospel Blues Festival in the Netherlands in May (I will leave for the festival from Memphis the day after the BMAs). We have nice week of European touring after that planned. I am excited to return to Brazil for a tour with Dave Riley. I just found out that I will be bringing the Rhythm Room All-Stars with Tail Dragger, Henry Gray, and Kirk Fletcher to the 2011 Lucerne Blues Festival in Switzerland. That is one hard hitting group of blues players! I will playing the Edmonton Labatts Blues fest with Dave Riley one day and the Delta Groove Harp Blast Revue the next. I am excited to play at the Simi Valley Cajun and Blues Festival as a guest of the Mannish Boys and backing my friend and harp mentor Johnny Dyer. I will playing the Chicago Blues Festival with Mud Morganfield. Dave and I will play the Gray Sky Blues Festival in Takoma, Washington coming up.
Speaking of Jessi Colter, we work a few gigs together each year. We have been doing this for about 8 years now and she has become a close friend. I met her when she stopped into the Rhythm Room shortly after Waylon died. It is really an honor to make music with her. It's a whole other bag then I normally play but I love the gentle ballads and the country romps she does. We both meet in the middle stylistically and somehow it works! She has such a sweet spirit to her music. She lives in a very high profile, celebrity prone world, and it is fun to visit that world, which is quite a contrast to the blues life that I normally lead. For example, earlier this year I did a gig with Tail Dragger where we played 2 nights of unapologetic, raw, down home blues, and the very next weekend I am at a posh charity dinner performing "I'm Not Lisa" with Jessi Colter to an audience that included former Vice President Dan Quayle, Jane Seymour and other high profile people. The contrast was unbelievable. I will always be a blues musician through and through, but it is nice occasionally have my blues upbringing interface with another style of music, especially when it's with Jessi Colter!
BB: You also have a new release with Louisiana Red due out soon? I saw you with Red and Little Victor at last years' BMA's what a dynamic show.
BC: That was a fun show with Louisiana Red at the BMAs. Red has such a rich blues sound, and we have such a long history together that there is a natural thing that happens when we play. Little Victor has a similar chemistry with Red, and you put all that together with the great band that Victor organized and you have a real groove. It was great to be up there with Red and stand next to him at his moment of glory. The next day we did a Blues Foundation event at Alfred's on Beale Street, then right after gig we went directly to Leeway Recording studio where we started 2 non-stop days of recording. At each of these stops we played full throttle, intense blues which is the only way Red likes to play. By the end of those two days in the studio we had given our all and were completely wiped out. But we captured a passionate, validated Louisiana Red at a special moment in time. I'm am really looking forward to the release of this CD later this year. It will be powerful!
BB: Bob, thanks for taking the time to do this interview with us, and let's hope people realize a bit more about what you do for the Blues family and music that we all love.
You can find out more about Mr. Corritore at his web site, http://www.bobcorritore.com/ including his many releases and his remarkable history in the Blues.
InterviewerChefjimi Patricola is a classically trained chef, blues loving writer and creative master of Blues411.com. He can also can be found on FaceBook and at festivals and clubs in your neighborhood and town.
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE
All Shades Of Blues
”Forceful, robust and soulful offering from South Florida blues vocalist Beverly Lewis.”
Available for download at ITunes, CDBaby and Amazon.
CD/Vinyl versions sold
Featured Blues Review 1 of 4
Blues Dragon - Blues Dragon
12 songs; 54:48 minutes
Styles: Modern Electric Blues
Juxtapositions can be wonderful, even though they may seem bizarre at first glance. When listeners think of the word "Blues," is a picture of a dragon conjured in their minds? Most likely not, but against all odds, the band of this same name makes the combination work!
Blues Dragon has been raising heads throughout South Florida for more than ten years, and now seeks to expand their reach throughout the United States with a self-titled recording debut. Using a variety of instruments (guitar, piano, harmonica, alto sax and more) to stoke a fire in their audience, lead vocalist and bassist Mark Telesca and his posse roar!
The album's most notable songs start off with the surprisingly-funny "Electric Chair." Beginning with a bouncy bongo beat by percussionist Rico Geragi, it ends with a prisoner's plea for execution by a certain shocking method: "Just burn me from the inside out and bury my body on Bunker Hill!" Fearless and brash, it minces no words and welcomes death like an old friend.
Not so with the atmospheric final track, "Living on Death Row." As the sounds of thunder and pouring rain soak his vocals in spookiness, Telesca notes, “There’s a criminal living right next door. Might be a burglar--maybe a killer--I don’t know.” Neither do we, and the song genuinely makes one wonder. Don’t listen to this one with all the lights off!
Blues Dragon, after paying a funky tribute to the gospel favorite “This Train,” does almost a complete 180 two songs later with “Blackest Woman”. Eschewing all forms of political correctness, the narrator rejoices in his affair with the subject of this song--although he cautions, “She got a big, black husband, and man, that mother-f***er’s mean!” This song is the very definition of a guilty pleasure.
Last but not least, there’s “Crocodile Shoes,” adding a bit of psychedelic flair and smoking-hot harmonica to what might be considered a “pure soul” number.
Members rounding out the band are: Mike "Big Dog" Hundley on electric guitar and Dr. Sample; Tony "The Reverend" Monaco on Hammond B3, piano and background vocals; John Boyle on harmonica, alto sax, flute and background vocals; Fred Weng on acoustic drums, percussion and trumpet; Rico Geragi also adds background vocals. Pat Monaco and Lyndsey Brown add the Violins on "Living On Death Row."
With the plethora of blues musicians and bands out there, what makes Blues Dragon unique? Chief factors here are their purely electric ensemble, boundless enthusiasm and persistent emphasis on multi-layered sound. It’s almost impossible to concentrate on the line of a single instrument in any song on the album (drums, bass, horn, etc.), and that’s fantastic! It shows that blues music consists of far more than twelve bars and a catchy refrain. There’s no denying it: Blues Dragon proves that opposites attract!
Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 31 year old female Blues fan. She brings the perspective of a younger blues fan to reviews. A child of the 1980s music, she was strongly influenced by her father’s blues music collection.
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE
Get Your Blues Music Considered for Nomination!
We have a simple process for Blues artists and record labels to get their recordings considered for nomination in our annual Blues Blast Music Awards.
We have 30 nominators and you can send in copies of your CD to be considered. Eligibility dates for recordings are releases between April 1, 2010 and March 31, 2011.
The 2011 nomination process started March 1st when we began accepting submissions from labels and artists. Artist do not necessarily have to submit their releases to be considered but any that do will have their recordings screened by the nominators. Read all the details at the link below for complete information to have your CD release considered now.
Our nominators include, music journalists, radio DJs, festival promoters, club owners and others who are very active in the Blues scene. This year as every year, the nominees are artists and music that the nominators got the opportunity to hear. (They can't nominate something they haven't heard!)
Our diverse group of nominators hear many CDs and see many performing artists but if an artist or label really wants a release to be considered by all the nominators, they can send in copies of their CDs beginning March 1. CDs will be sent to the nominators. You must send 30 copies so that all nominators get to listen to them. There is no charge for this in 2011.
DEADLINE: CDs MUST BE RECEIVED BY APRIL 15!
You send us the CDs and we will cover the cost of getting the CDs into the nominators hands. Act NOW to get your music considered! For complete information on sending in your release CLICK HERE
Nominators will start submitting their nominations May 1st and final nominations will be announced after May 31st, 2010. Voting Begins in July. The winners in the 2011 Blues Blast Music Awards will be announced on Thursday October 27th, 2011.
Blues Society News
You can submit a maximum of 125 words or less in a Text or MS Word document format.
Greater Twin Cities Blues Society, St. Paul, MN
Greater Twin Cities Blues Society presents "Hurricane" Harold's Harmonica Extravaganza on April 10, 2010 at Wilebski's Blues Saloon, 1638 Rice St., St. Paul, MN. Phone 651-207-8392. The show features RJ Mischo, Big George Jackson, Javier Matos, Curtis Blake, Everett Smithson, Jean Verstraete (4:30), Harold Tremblay with HP Band Bruce McCabe, Dan Schwalbe, Jeremy Johnson, and special guests including, John Ross. Doors 4:00pm, Music 4:30-9:00
Also on May 1, 2011 the Greater Twin Cities Blues Society presents Road to Memphis Challenge at Wilebski's Blues Saloon with 5 bands, 3 solo/duo acts competing for slot at IBC. The show starts at 1:00 $10.00 suggested donation www.gtcbms.org
The Blues Kid Foundation – Chicago, IL
Columbia College Chicago, Artistic Director Fernando Jones, and the Blues Kid Foundation proudly present the 2nd Annual Blues Camp July 12 to 16 at Columbia College Chicago Music Center • 1014 S. Michigan Avenue • Chicago. This fun-filled experience will give national and international student musicians ages 12 - 18 an opportunity to learn and play America’s root music in the Blues Capital of the World, Chicago. Students will receive professional instruction in the hands-on, user-friendly environment of Columbia College Chicago’s South Loop campus. Placement in ensembles is competitive, and student musicians (intermediate-to-advanced skill levels) must audition for positions. Openings for beginner-level students may also be available.
Chicago-area student musicians are expected to audition in person Auditions will take place Saturday April 23 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM at Columbia College Chicago Music Center 1014 S. Michigan Avenue • Chicago. Out-of-town and international student musicians may audition by submitting online video links to BluesNewz@aol.com by Friday, May 6, 2011.
The Blues Blowtorch Society - Bloomington, IL
The Blues Blowtorch Society presents the 2011 Central Illinois Blues Challenge on July 15 & 16, 2011 at Tri-Lakes in Bloomington, IL during the Ain't Nothin But The Blues Festival. The winner will be sent to Memphis in early 2012 to compete as our representative in the International Blues Challenge. To be considered bands must apply by June 18, 2011. The solo/duo acts competition is to be determined based on interest.
West Virginia Blues Society - Charleston, WV
The West Virginia Blues Society presents the 4 th. Annual Charlie West Blues Fest May 20 & 21, 2011 at Haddad Riverfront Park in Charleston, WV . Showtime is 4 pm to 11 pm on Friday and Saturday 1 pm to 11 pm, with after jam to follow both nights at The Boulevard Tavern. Admission is FREE ! That’s right, FREE to everyone !Over the two day period we will be having over 18 acts performing on both stages. There will be plenty of food vendors to suite your fancy along with beer and wine sales this year.
The lineup includes Sit Down Baby, Izzy & Chris, Kinds of Crazy, Lil Brian & The Zydeco Travelers, Davina & the Vagabonds and Joe Louis Walker on Friday and Lionel Young Band, Slim Fatz, Mojo Theory, Sean Carney, Kristine Jackson, Smokin’ Joe Kubek & Bnois King and Ana Popovich on Saturday. For more info contact: 304-389-1439 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.charliewestbluesfest.com or www.wvbluessociety.org
Mississippi Valley Blues Society - Davenport, IL
MVBS presents Hawkeye Herman Returns for Blues in the Schools. During the week of April 11-15, blues musician Michael “Hawkeye” Herman will go into science, math, English, social studies, ESL, and alternative high school classrooms of four area schools. This is a new approach for Blues in the Schools in the Quad-Cities, but not for Hawkeye, who has been conducting cross-curricular blues workshops all over the world. Because teaching at the classroom level is more intense in both preparation and execution than the usual performing for school assemblies, Hawkeye will be presenting only one open-to-the-public event on Wednesday April 13 at Mojo’s in the River Music Experience (2nd and Main Streets in Davenport) beginning at 7:00 p.m. Admission is free.
Rosedale Crossroads Blues Society - Rosedale, MS
Rosedale Crossroads Blues Society presents The Crossroads Blues and Heritage Festival Saturday, May 7, 2011 at the River Resort. Highway 1 S. in historic Rosedale, MS. Gates open at 12:00 noon - music starts at 1:00. Admission $5 - adults, $1 - children under 12. Bring your own ice chest - $10 No beer sold - No glass - No pets, please! Parking $5 Lineup ( in order of appearance - subject to change): Vinnie C., Eddie Cusic, Mickey Rogers, T-Model Ford, Daddy Mack, Big T, Guitar Mikey and the Real Thing, and Eden Brent.
Fest Feast on Friday evening, May 6 at the River Resort with a 5-course Creole dinner, $50 per person - Cash bar. Limited seating. Call 662-759-6443 or 662-897-0555 for reservations and information. If you have questions about the above information, call 662-402-6251. Thank you. Mary Anna Davis Crossroads Blues Society www.rosedaleblues.com
The Friends Of The Blues - Watseka, IL
2011 Friends of the Blues shows - April 26 - The Rockin’ Johnny
Band, Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club, May 03 - Too Slim and the
Taildraggers, 7 pm, Kankakee Valley Boat Club, May 19 - The Sugar Prophets
(2011 IBC Finalists), 7 pm, Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club, June 23 -
Sean Chambers, 7 pm, River Bend Bar & Grill,
West Virginia Blues Society - Charleston, WV
The West Virginia Blues Society presents the Charlie West Blues Fest May 20 & 21, 2011 in Haddad Riverfront Park, Charleston, WV Here is the lineup: Friday May 20 - Sit Down Baby, Izzy & Chris, Mojo Theory, Lil Bryan & The Travelers, Davina & the Vagabonds and Joe Louis Walker. Sat. May 21- IBC Band Winner, Slim Fatz, Trampled Under Foot, Sean Carney, Kristine Jackson, Smokin’ Joe Kubek & Bnois King and Ana Popovich. The Charlie West Blues Fest is produced by the West Virginia Blues Society, Inc. www.wvbluessociety.org and www.charliewestbluesfest.com
Illinois Central Blues Club - Springfield, IL
Every Monday night for the last 25 years - BLUE MONDAY SHOWS - Held at the Alamo 115 N 5th St, Springfield, IL (217) 523-1455 every Monday 8:30pm $3 cover. April 11 - TBA, April 18 - Big Jeff Chapman, April 25 - TBA, May 2 - Too Slim & the Tail Draggers, May 9 - The Blues Deacons, May 16 - James Armstrong, May 23 - Eric "Guitar" Davis and the Troublemakers. icbluesclub.org
Featured Blues Review 2 of 4
Sweet Baby James & Rob Eyers - Double Voodoo Blues
Black Market Music
Musical duos featuring a guitarist and drummer have created quite a stir in recent years. The White Stripes and Black Keys parlayed the stripped-down format into rock star status. Other groups like Moreland & Arbuckle and combo of Cedric Burnside & Lightnin’ Malcolm have electrified blues lovers with their raw, down-home sound.
The latest entry into this genre comes to us from Adelaide, Australia. Sweet Baby James Weston handles the guitar and vocals while Rob Eyers maintains the rhythm on drums and percussion. Weston gets writer’s credit on several tracks and wrote the rest of the original material in collaboration with lyricist Georgia Mays.
Weston is a solid performer, able to generate a consistent rhythmic pulse on each track with his slashing guitar style. He mainly uses a slide on electric guitars but several cuts are done on acoustic guitar, like “Evil Tongue” with Weston doing some intricate fingerpicking. On “Hot Plate”, the lone instrumental track, Weston steps beyond the rhythm mode and showcases some of his skill as a soloist on electric guitar. But the majority of the time his guitar work stays confined to generating riffs without a lot of embellishment, as on the frantic “Come on Here”, which copies the Mississippi hill country sound.
When it comes to the vocal element, Weston has a good, clean tone and enough range to easily handle the demands of the material. One highlight is “No Love”, with the singer wringing plenty of emotion from the description of a no-good woman accompanied only by his piercing guitar licks. His energetic vocal on “Thunder From the Sky” makes that steady-rolling’ track another highlight. “Trouble & Strife” is an acoustic number describing additional trouble with women that features more fine picking from Weston.
Eyers shows his versatility throughout the disc, whether pounding out the beat on the hard-driving “Getting Your Letters” or using brushes for the gently swinging rhythm on “Evil Tongue”. His spare accompaniment on “Refugee Child” does a lot with a cymbal and a tambourine.
At times, things drag a bit as Weston’s vocals don’t generate enough excitement to overcome the simple guitar patterns. Still, there are several memorable performances on the disc and it is a solid effort that this duo cab take pride in. It will be interesting to see if this release can capture some attention amidst the seemingly endless stream of recordings flooding the market these days.
Reviewer Mark Thompson is president of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford, IL.
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Featured Blues Review 3 of 4
Open Blues – Seta w ryja!
Self Release 2010
9 tracks; 38.15 minutes
Open Blues is a five piece band from Torun in Poland with a fairly standard line-up of harp/vocals (Przemyslaw Losos)), guitar/vocals (Wieslaw Krysewski), keyboards (Igor Nowicki), bass (Tomasz Imienowski) and drums (Grzegorz Minicz). They have been together since 2008 and this is their first CD. It was recorded live in a local club in Torun, though apart from a little crowd noise at the end of the tracks it would be difficult to tell, as the recording is excellent. The album consists of four originals and five covers. The originals are all in Polish.
The immediate concern is not understanding the Polish lyrics. However, I have to ask myself the obvious question: how do speakers of other languages get on with English lyrics and access American or English blues songs? Well, English is a wider spoken and understood language than Polish, but I was faced with an issue here (which I recognise is my own inadequacy in not speaking any Polish). So, I have simply evaluated the performance on the originals, not being able to appreciate the lyrics (though I did have the advantage of a translation facility on the laptop – my apologies if those are not the intended titles!)
The CD opens with “Blues Zawaladnal Moja Dusza” (Blues Possessed My Soul), some sharp harp introducing a shuffle with excellent piano, including a nice solo. The title song Seta W Ryja! (Set In The Snout!) is anchored by a strong guitar riff and an enthusiastic chorus.
The first cover is John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom”, played pretty straight. The singer has certainly an accent but the lyrics are perfectly understandable, especially given that this is a live recording – I have heard less clear English bands, to be honest. Here the keyboard player has switched to organ and interchanges swirling solos with the harp. The song zips along and was very enjoyable. Jimmy Rogers’ “Walking By Myself” follows, probably learned from the late Gary Moore’s cover. High note harp introduces the tune and the piano is back. I did not find the vocal as convincing here as on “Boom Boom”.
The longest track on the CD is “The Thrill Is Gone” which is played at a relaxed pace, the piano again playing some lovely jazzy chords beneath the lyrics. The vocalist struggles at times with this song, his voice seeming better suited to the uptempo songs. The guitar player uses a scat vocal technique with his solo, reminding me of George Benson. There is also a solo on synth sounding like a flute.
The last four tracks alternate Polish and English lyrics. “Mysle O Tym” (Don’t Think About It) is a catchy little tune led by the harp. That is a good way of leading into Junior Wells’ “Messin’ With The Kid” where there are solos for piano, guitar and harp, the tune being taken at the usual fast pace we all know. “Komu Bije Blues” (For Whom Blues) is another uptempo shuffle with the guitar and harp prominent. Final track is Willie Dixon’s “I Want To Be Loved”. Somewhat to my surprise this is not taken at breakneck speed as it often is. The tune is therefore closer to the original and I notice that the singer actually uses “I wants to be loved” in the chorus – very authentic. The harp is again at the front of the solos, with electric piano next.
All the tracks bar one are quite short, three or four minutes, so solos are short and to the point. The CD is well arranged and played and the band seem to have been very well prepared for the recording. Overall I found this a good listen, especially the instrumental playing where all the solo instruments were excellent. The vocals are not quite as good, but acceptable. It is great to find bands in countries a long way from the USA interested and motivated by the blues to produce their own material in a blues vein and I commend the Open Blues guys for their efforts.
The CD is available from the band’s website.
Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK. He also travels to the States most years to see live blues music. He was recently on the January 2011 Legendary Blues Cruise.
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Willing To Crawl
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Featured Blues Review 4 of 4
Rory Block - Shake Em On Down
As with the previous tributes she has done on Sunhouse and Robert Johnson, Rory Block sees fit to add an additional link in her tribute to Fred Mcdowell on her latest release Shake Em On Down. As with the case on the other releases, it is just Rory playing acoustic guitar wrapping her snaky slide guitar around the arrangements. She even throws in some original material of her own which holds well to Mcdowell's compositions.
In her liner notes on the CD, Block goes over each of the songs, speaking of the arrangements and how McDowell's influence affected her.Block is one of the very few artists who can re-interpret the old classics with flair made popular by the original country blues masters. Her arrangements are always haunting, fresh from the Delta soil unearthed.
How can you not feel you are standing at the crossroads when Rory puts her stamp on McDowell's "What's The Matter Now?" And "Kokomo Blues" swims effortlessly in its bootlegger whiskey.
It make take a little getting used to the added gospel vocals on the title track. Because since when does a song of forbidden lust become a musical candidate for the baptist church?
Though gender roles are confronted in "Good Morning Little School Girl" and "The Man That I'm Lovin," Rory has no problem in pulling off the material as her guitar-work makes the songs otherworldly as if Mcdowell's spirit is watching closely.
Her own number "The Breadline" with its lyrics of being down and out in a poverty stricken world goes hand in hand with the present world. Witness this from the chorus: "Ain't got no money." "Ain't got no home." "Cant afford no doctor." "Cant by no food." Accept this as Block preaching to the choir or simply stating a fact.
Ending on Mcdowell's "Write Me A Few Lines" ends this tribute on an upbeat note. Meeting John Hurt, Son House, Reverend Gary Davis among others, has contributed greatly to Block's treasure-chest of musical memories laying buried somewhere on Highway 61.
Review by Gary "Wingman" Weeks.
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