Issue 5-34 August 25, 2011
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Cover Photo © 2011 Marilyn Stringer
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From The Editor's Desk
Hey Blues Fans,
It was a great week! The total number of voters in the 2011 Blues Blast Music Awards passed the 5,000 mark and continues to increase. Thanks for YOUR help in recognizing this years great group of nominees. Voting continues until Midnight CST, on August 31st, 2011.
Tickets to the Blues Blast Music Awards are on sale on our website. Trampled Under Foot, The Reba Russell Band, The Nick Moss Band, Vincent Hayes Project, Rob Blaine & Big Otis Blues, Bob Corritore, The Sugar Prophets, Eddie Turner, Teeny Tucker Band, Chris O'Leary Band, Karen Lovely, Reverend Raven and the Chain Smoking Altar Boys, Tony Rogers and Rich Delgrasso & John Richardson have all indicated they will attend and it will be another GREAT show. Tickets to this historic event are only $30 so get yours while you still can. To get yours now, CLICK HERE
This Weeks Winning Voters
We drew seven more weekly prize winners today from those who have voted. Lee Jergensen, Gina Smith, Dave Rudbarg and Sara Ellen Peters all won free Blues Blast T-shirts. Cynthia Spears a copy of Robin Rogers' Back In The Fire CD. Wendy Rayfield won an advance copy of the new Shane Dwight CD A Hundred White Lies and Mark Long won a copy of the Trampled Under Foot CD, Wrong Side Of The Blues.
If you haven't voted yet then you are missing out on a chance to win FREE Blues CDs, Blues Blast T-shirts or even tickets to the Blues Blast Music Awards. We are randomly drawing for prizes EACH DAY from those who vote in this years Blues Blast Music Awards. So don't miss out! CLICK HERE to vote NOW!
Good Blues To You!
In This Issue
Chefjimi Patricola has our feature interview with Walter Trout. Marilyn Stringer has a photo essay on the Sonora Music Festival.
We have five CD reviews for you this week! James "Skyy Dobro" Walker reviews a new CD from The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band. Steve Jones reviews a new CD from Harry Manx & Kevin Breit. Gary Weeks reviews a new CD from Blue Lunch. Mark Thompson reviews a new CD from Eddie Martin. Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony reviews a new CD from Blues Duo Featuring Tracy K And Jamie Steinhoff. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!
Featured Live Blues Review
Sonora Music Festival - Sonora, CA
August 13, 2011
By Marilyn Stringer
Hot August music best describes the annual one day Sonora Fire On The Mountain Music Festival. Nestled in the pine trees at the fairgrounds of Sonora, the small intimate festival boasts three stages – the main stage where the headliner bands perform, the Sierra Stage which is indoors, air conditioned and designed to feature more local performers that can pump out some dance music, and the Manzanita Music Hall where Thom Meyers from the WorldofBlues.com hosts workshops with Q&A with many of the performers of the day. This year included a blues guitar jam with Ty Curtis, Bill Hines, Rich Healy, and Scott Killebrew, Q&A with Paul Thorn, a harmonica workshop with Hank Shreve, horn arrangements with Keith Crossan, and Women in Blues with Tessie Marie.
Starting out the day, and in full throttle, the Ty Curtis Band was the perfect morning rooster call to action. Ty and his band are very familiar to the Pacific Northwest blues fans, hailing from Salem, OR, and having come in second in the IBC’s a couple of years ago. They have since been performing everywhere, including the last two years at the Portland Waterfront Blues Festival and will be one of the select bands playing at the first annual Bluestock Festival in Hunter, NY this coming weekend. Ty and Hank Shreve (harmonica) who are both accomplished musicians and vocalists, are also young and extremely enthusiastic performers and the energy level of the blues they play is infectious. With Willy Barber on bass and Jerry Jacques on drums, they are the future of the blues. They played a second set later in the day, during Paul Thorn’s set, and the indoor Sierra Stage was packed. They have a new set of fans from Northern California!
Next up was Big Mo & The Full Moon Band with guitarist Rich Moore of the Troggs. They did a well rounded fun show with Maurice “Big Mo” Huffman on Guitar, Eric Weber on Sax and Patrick Hilton on trumpet, David Branscomb on Drums, Mike Emerson on keyboards, Steve Valine on pedal steel, Truman Virden on bass and Rich Moore on guitar. Great combination!
This festival is called a “music festival” but the emphasis is on the blues. And it is nice to hear these performers veer out and perform other types of music, always returning to the blues. Such is Carlos Reyes. Last year he accompanied Roy Rogers, this year he brought his own band and played some world music. Carlos is an amazing musician on the electric violin. He then puts that down and declares “What is a blues band without a harp?” So out comes his Columbian harp, which he plays with the beauty of a virtuoso and the thumping rock of a blues star.
Interspersed in all this great music is a lot of humor and audience interaction as he travels through the crowd playing. (Lionel Young, you two need to do a duet or a duel – not sure which!) All in all, it was a treat the hear the wide range of fantastic music Carlos and his band performed. And not to be outdone by Carlos catching air on his final note on the harp, the drummer, Leo, played with Carlos on the violin and did a leap from his seat at the end of his drum solo. The band includes: Eric Weber-Sax (hmmm, he was in the last band), John Heussensbaum- guitar, Leo Vigil-drums, Ramiro Amador-Bass, and Randall Biggi-keyboard.
Keith Crossan, deserting Tommy Castro Band for the day, came with his big band of well known San Francisco performers and gave us a full Keith Crossan Big Band experience. Keith has his own CD “Beatnik Jungle” which they performed. Ironically, the band was almost a TCB alumni reunion with a few extras whom have probably played with Tommy at some point and/or Elvin Bishop. It is always great to hear Keith perform his music. And it was the peak heat of the day so you know it was hot! The band included: Keith Crossan & Nancy Wright – sax, Mike Rinta & Ed Earley (Elvin Bishop band) – trombone, Jeff Lewis-trumpet, Rich Healy-guitar, and the TCB alumni: Ronnie Smith – drums, Randy McDonald-bass, Mike Emerson-keyboards. You gotta love the SF Bay area – there are so many great blues musicians out here who have known and played with each other for decades and when they get together the music is sweet!
Paul Thorn, with his humor and music is always a great favorite. He is not only a great musician but quite a storyteller too. And his humor permeates it all. Paul’s band includes: Bill Hinds-guitar, Ralph Frederickson-bass, Jeffrey Perkins-drums, Michael Graham-keyboards. After his set, he went backstage and proceeded to cook for hours making Spam Sandwiches for all the crew and a lucky contest winner who got to have “Dinner with Paul Thorn”. Recipe=White Bread +Miracle Whip + Fried Spam. (pictured with Paul are festival organizer/producers Richard Burleigh & Corinne Hazer Grandstaff). Did I eat one? Noooo…….
With their new CD showing up everywhere, Ray Manzarek (from The Doors) and Roy Rogers brought their great combination talent. Ray performed a few nostalgic solos and told some old stories while Roy played his fantastic slide guitar to perfection. Nice set. Another great SF Bay area bass player joined the band – Steve Evans - who also plays with Elvin Bishop & Chris Cain. Jimmy Sanchez (who has played with a list of famous bands so long I can’t even go there!) rounded out the band on the drums.
The final act of the day was Café R&B. If you have never seen this band, then put it on your bucket list. If you have then you know they are “indescribable” but so much fun. They combine the blues with funk, rhythm, soul, and a good dose of James Brown. Roach is the sensual, high-heeled, dancing queen of the blues who sings like it is her last chance to “help you out of whatever that funk is that’s got you down”. Byl Carruthers is right behind her on the funky guitar, expression-ridden Bobby Pickett is tight on the bass, with Henry Cohen hitting the keys, and sitting in for injured Don Swanson, the drummer, is Adam Gust, one of the hardest working young drummers keeping the band’s energy high. What a great way to end the night!! (And a little guest appearance by Ed Earley on trombone just made it all the more fun).
The Sierra Stage hosted six bands during the day – many of them from the main stage or a combo of players. Three bands that were unique to that stage were Deja Blues, Tess & Hip Trash & Truth & Salvage. All were great additions to a well rounded festival.
The Sonora Blues Festival (www.fireonthemountain.com) is a hidden gem in the gold country of California. Put on your calendar for next year, with a side trip to Yosemite (60 miles near) on Sunday. It is one of the nicest, good old-fashioned friendly blues festivals still in existence! Thanks for another great festival Richard & Corinne! (all festival photos can eventually be found at MJStringerPhoto.com).
Marilyn Stringer is a noted photo journalist and frequent Blues Blast Magazine contributor. For more of her photos visit MJStringerPhoto.com.
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE
Featured Blues Interview - Walter Trout
Blues Blast: You are originally from the Jersey Shore area, one of my favorite places to be, but what's up with that TV Show?
Walter Trout: I watched that show for five minutes once, and said these are not the people I grew up with. But here I am in Huntington Beach, CA. So . . .
BB: I agree, what are they trying to sell us ….
WT: Are you recording ?
BB: Yes I am.
WT: Great, you can quote me as to exactly what I am saying. I did an interview with a major publication and the guy said “...I don't need to record or take notes”. He had asked me about authenticity, and I said if you're talking about the real authentic blues - I am not an old black guy from Mississippi and I never will be. So I have to play what's in my heart and be honest with myself and if I can look in the mirror and say that was me without a facade or a front then that's authentic.
So when they published the interview he had me saying “authenticity is not honest”. He completely turned it around. I was dumbfounded.
BB: I had the chance to see you perform at the BMA's, the required fifteen minutes, it was great, a tad late in the evening but well worth the wait.
WT: Yes, they gave me fifteen minutes and in front of the stage they have a counter, when I left the stage I had thirty seconds left.
BB: What were those selections, they were captivating?
WT: I opened the set with a pretty hard rockin' number called 'Maybe a Fool' which is the opening track of my 'Common Ground' CD. Then I ended it with 'Common Ground' which is a softer number.
BB: That's what amazed me was the softer side - not necessarily what you are known for but the stuff that shows you can do anything you want and well.
WT: Sure, what kinda gets me is that they always say he just gets up and plays loud and really fast, but on every one of my albums there are soft ballads. I love ballads and they are there. People just look past that, also there are acoustic songs on each album. I guess it's the way it is, I just keep doing what I do and am enjoying it and having fun, it really is up to the people to make of it what they will.
BB: Walter, your music seems to reflect a 'world view' or have a 'social conscience' – without being folksy or preachy. Is this a conscious effort on your part or does it just come from within and is part of your creative inner self?
WT: I am glad you noticed that, it is important to me. If you are talking about the songs I write - I will give ya two answers on serious and one humorous. I am effected by what I see going around me, and from I was a kid I always I have always thought that art can be a means of communicating to people and maybe changing them a little bit. It's important to me to do that, to try to say something with what I am doing, something I believe in. that I feel, something I see happening be it heartache or injustice in the world.
Now for the humorous part....this is a true story. Back in 1976-77 (?)I had a girlfriend that I was living with, and I was starting to write songs a lot. I still had a day job. At night I was playing with Big Mama Thornton and John Lee Hooker but in the day I was working in a warehouse. I was starting to write, and one day she had a few drinks, oh, and she was a blues fan, but she said to me. “Walter, every Blues song has one of two themes”. I'm sitting there trying to write, pencil in hand, I say”Yes, my dear what are those themes?” She replies “Theme Number 1 – My baby left me and I'm bummed out” and I say yeh there's a whole lotta those. “Theme Number 2 – I'll buy you a Cadillac if you'll sit on my face.”.....
BB: Oh man that's great ! Hopefully you give her credit for this directional advice.
WT: I took that advice to heart, and have stayed away from those two themes. I still know her, she will show up when I play in Northern California and sometimes I will tell it from the stage. Well, she had a point - don't fall into that typical rut, and I find that sometimes this genre can get a little too immersed in that stuff. When I was a kid, before I even got into the bands, my brother would bring home albums by John Mayall and he would write songs like the laws must change to fit the times. John always wrote songs about other themes. He wrote about politics and injustice – it always attracted me to his music.
I use that for an inspiration, you don't have to be stuck into one thing just because it's the blues. You can use it to say something.
BB: I think that might be happening more these days, many of the newer bands are addressing those issues and playing relative stuff.
I have to ask how cool was it that your brother would play John Mayall records for you, and there you were playing with him.
WT: I told John that when I got into his band. I said John I remember being a little kid and my brother handing me an album called 'The Blues Alone' by John Mayall, saying listen to this guy he plays the harmonica and overdubs it over the sound of a train. I really got into it back then, and here I am in your band and it blows my mind. I am still in awe of some of the people I have had the honor to play with over the years because they were such heroes of mine when I was a kid.
BB: So how did you go from playing with John Mayall to going out on your own?
WT: Well that was a difficult move for sure. When I lived in NJ I had a band, and it was still a four piece configuration, guitar, bass keyboards and drums. Played my songs, but we couldn't get anywhere. I came out to LA with the intention of doing exactly what I am doing now. The original plan was for the entire band to come out here, but one by one by chickened out and finally when it came down I was the only one left. I said the hell with it, I'm gone.
I came out here with a VW bug, one hundred and fifty dollars, a Gibson 335, Martin D-28, a mandolin, a trumpet, and a Fender Super Reverb amp – stuck it all in the bug and just started jamming with people.
As it turned out, I got hired by people to play guitar with them, I went from one band to another. After I had been with John for five years – it was on my birthday and we were in Gothenburg, Sweden I believe it was '88 or '89 – I was standing up there playing with him, but started thinking that I was thirty-eight and being very lackadaisical about pursuing my own music. It had been very comfortable to play with Canned Heat , Mr. Mayall or out with John Lee Hooker, but if I wanted to make a stab at doing my own thing I had to go for it.
So after that gig I went to his room and said I would have to quit. We both cried, he was like a dad to me, so he said not to worry it's your birthday and you would feel different in the morning. But I knew it was time, I had a very secure position with him, as far as being a side man and playing lead guitar in the blues you cannot get any higher than that – where are you going to go ? B.B. King, Buddy Guy you won't be featured, that was the pinnacle. He made me into a name, put me out there every night let me sing, play lead and front the band. I knew I had to take the next step but it was frightening, one thing he did say to me was Walter if you do this and you fail don't call me up a year from now. By then I will have a new guitar player and once you leave you are gone. It was said with love and respect, he has been through this a lot. To this day we are still friends, and I was talking to his wife and we realized I had just put out my twentieth album - who woulda thunk it.
BB: With your latest release, 'Common Ground' it addresses what seems to be a growing rift in our society, and, possibly, the entire culture of acceptance. Is there no common ground left for us?
WT: I have had that title and concept for that song for many years, and it was a 'political song', but I could never get anywhere with it. I realized that I had to get past the partisanship and make it a bigger picture thing. I don't know if it's in human nature to actually find common ground, but I think that with the internet and cable TV it gets harder and harder to find. I think the attempt at coming together and actually solve problems seems to get harder and harder to do. With the information explosion over the last fifteen years it has gotten more difficult to discern what the truth really is. Rumors become truth, it is harder - but I want to be a hopeful, optimistic person. I want to believe that we can dig ourselves out of the hole as we have done before, but it is going to require some serious, tough action.
That song is really just a prayer that I put to music. Once I decided to make it a call for help rather than a pissed off political song it wrote itself in a matter of minutes.
BB: So what did a young Walter Trout listen to as a young child?
WT: One of the big ones in our house, and this was long before he had hits, was Ray Charles. It ranged all over the musical map, Bill Monroe, Benny Goodman, John Lee Hooker, Sonny Rollins, Elvis. For my tenth birthday I got to spend the day with Duke Ellington – how cool is that.
BB: Can you tell me more about that ?
WT: One day my mom said hey it's your birthday and Duke Ellington and Tony Bennett are going to be playing at the theater down the street and would you like to go. This is the day of the gig – it's like two in the afternoon – and we go down to get tickets and as we are getting them up pulls a bunch of automobiles and all these Black musicians with horn cases are getting out, and there goes Duke Ellington walking around the back of the theater. So my mom and I go around to the back door and she knocks and says to the security guy my son is ten years old, it's his birthday and is an aspiring trumpet player and is there anyway Mr. Ellington would shake his hand or give an autograph. Off he goes and says follow me – we are escorted into the dressing room with Duke and the full orchestra. So there I am with Paul Gonsalves, who played sax and Pat Anderson – trumpet – so I ask Pat how he hit those high notes and he pulls out the trumpet and gives me a lesson. My mom is talking to Duke and Tony and they call me over. Mr. Ellington gave me advice and told me several things that have stayed with me through the years. Keep your focus on the talent and the music, fame is fleeting – just be an artist and loyal to your talent and gift and it will take care of you. It was an amazing experience, he was the most warm, kind and charismatic human being I ever met. I came away thinking if this is what a musician is then I want to be one. I just hold Mr. Ellington in the highest esteem it was one of my most blessed experiences in my life. I try to keep his words close, and believe I have done so.
The post script to that is five years later I met Buddy Rich and I thought I never wanted to play music again. You know, every night after a gig when I am in the merch booth and a kid comes up, I say to myself, I can be a Duke Ellington or a Buddy Rich. I am extremely concerned about trying to give those kids a positive image of what a musician can be. You can greatly influence a kid's life with just five minutes of your time.
BB: Can I ask about the Buddy Rich thing ?
WT: Well let me say he physically attacked me after I asked him for an autograph for my father. He had to be pulled of me in a music store in Philadelphia. He just went off, calling me names – so whenever a new drummer comes into my band and wants to play some Buddy Rich in the system I say get that off and explain the deal to them.
BB: Well that sucks big time, but it is in keeping with what I have heard about his reputation. I can also see your why you have such a dedication to being positive and reinforcing influence to young kids who come to your shows.
You will be touring with Poppa Chubby in the 'Giants Of Blues Rock Tour', starting in, I believe, November 2011. What can we look forward to from you guys?
WT: I think it is going to be fun and exciting. I have know Ted for years we toured Europe and we even made a record of that tour...Jimi Hendrix Tribute Tour... I think he and I will push each other to new heights and be there on the stage jamming out. There is even talk of us bringing it to the United States.
BB: What else is Walter Trout up to?
WT: I still got a lot of touring to get me through the end of the year, going to start a festival run Europe, in August back in the states - NYC, Philly, Boston. In October we are scheduled to make a new record. We are playing around with concepts. A few years ago we did an album called 'Full Circle' where I had a guests come in and we played live in the studio, so we are getting some positive response from some great musicians who are interested in this concept. That's pretty much October, November and then it's back on the road.
Interviewer Chefjimi 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
Featured Blues Review 1 of 5
The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band - Peyton on Patton
13 songs; 30:31 minutes; Meritable
Styles: Delta Blues; Country Blues
How do you think Charlie Patton and Robert Johnson would be received today in both recordings and live performances? Are Blues fans so band-oriented that even those two early solo artists would suffer in contemporary times?
Besides Keb’ Mo’ and Eric Bibb, how many solo artists are doing well? I raise those questions in association with the sixth and latest release from Reverend Josh Peyton, Peyton on Patton.
It’s a thirteen-track album dedicated exclusively to the legendary bluesman Charlie Patton. Charlie Patton is Peyton’s avowed Delta Blues hero and influenced artists from Robert Johnson to Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf.
It features songs written and recorded by Charlie Patton during his brief recording career, which came to an end upon his premature death in 1934. As such, it is almost entirely a guitar/vocal outing. Staying as true to the original recordings as possible, Peyton recorded everything in mono in just one day using only one microphone and using his two band-mates sparingly.
I may get limited acceptance for this work into which the Reverend has poured his heart and soul. This would be a real shame!
Even the website for The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band warns, “The starkness of the record may come as a surprise to some of the band’s more casual fans who know them only from their high-octane live shows, particularly their Warped Tour performances where they shared bills with some of today’s top punk acts [popular with 19-29 year olds].” (The Big Damn Band is a trio!)
For example, Aaron “Cuz” Persinger, whose thundering drums are a mainstay Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band’s live shows, here plays in a starkly different manner, drumming with just his hands on a century-old tobacco barrel.
The notes state that Peyton carefully selected Patton's sides to find a good representation. He includes deep Blues and Gospel such as “Tom Rushen Blues,” “Jesus Is A Dying Bed Maker,” “Prayer of Death, Part 1” and “You’re Gonna Need Someone (When You Come to Die).”
Personally, the song I enjoyed most and found the most approachable was “Elder Greene Blues.” Here, Reverend Peyton’s wonderful, growling and thick vocals are complemented by disc highlight vocals from Washboard Breezy, his wife, who contributes washboard percussion on just a couple of tracks.
Another winner is “Mississippi Boweavil Blues” made all the better by the accomplished slide guitar for which Reverend Peyton is widely known among contemporary acoustic guitarists. For more killer slide, sample track 13, “Some of These Days I’ll Be Gone.” The CD also includes two other different versions of “... Days ...” (one with banjo) recorded in different keys and arrangements.
For most of the disc, Peyton tries to imitate Charley Patton’s unique and unorthodox vocal style. It will leave those unfamiliar with Patton’s music wondering why Peyton doesn’t sound like his usual self.
Those unfamiliar with both Patton and Peyton may think the latter’s singing to be weird and sometimes unintelligible. For example, “A Spoonful Blues,” performed in a quivery breakneck speed, is as odd as they come but, at least, it’s mercifully short at 1:36 minutes.
Clearly, Josh Peyton has done it his way trying to recreate the original Patton recordings. The result is best suited to a thoughtful approach by listeners and is not for the casual band-oriented fan.
If it makes people seek out reissues of the original Patton recordings, it will have the same benefit the Blues of the British Invasion had for me in the 1960s.
Reviewer James "Skyy Dobro" Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ, Master of Ceremonies, and Blues Blast contributor. His weekly radio show "Friends of the Blues" can be heard Saturdays 8 pm - Midnight on WKCC 91.1 FM and at www.wkccradio.org in Kankakee, IL. To See James “Skyy Dobro” Walker's CD rating system, CLICK HERE.
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE
Featured Blues Review 2 of 5
Harry Manx & Kevin Breit - Strictly Whatever
12 tracks/43 minutes
Manx and Breit are two Canadian masters of things stringed and they offer an assortment of instruments and sounds here that will captivate those looking for a modern variety in style and sound. While not a true blues album there are elements here and there that will give blues fans something to chew on and the rest will satisfy anyone with the love of interesting music.
Baritone and electric, baritone, electric and National Steel, lap slide and electric, baritone and electric sitar, electric and National Steel, lap slide and ukulele, banjo and electric, baritone and mandolin, and mohan veena, lap slide, acoustic and electric guitars are the various combinations of instruments offered by these two talented guys. They fuse blues, jazz, rock, folk, world music, and Indian music into a body of delightful sounds while sharing the vocals back and forth (and occasional together) on the CD,
The boys penned ten of the songs themselves. The CD begins with a cover of the classic "Sunny" with Manx singing and the baritone guitar deeply bleating behind a stinging electric guitar lead and a little National Steel filler. I was intrigued when I heard this, and did not really know what to expect given the mix of instruments listed. They then get a little driving and rocking on "Nothing I Can Do", folky and funky on "Looking For A Brand New World", psychedelic on "Hippy Trppy", and kind of country bluesy on "Mr. Lucky". So five songs into the album and they were all over the genres of music.
The next two tracks are new age and new age meets the blues and heavy metal. "Note to Self" could be something right out of the Windham Hill songbook and "Do Not Stand and Weep On My Grave" is a very cool tune written by Mary Elizabeth Frye with a heavy guitar line overlaid on new age sounds. Ukulele predominates "Little Ukulele", a folky and fun track. "There Was a Girl" is a country rocker with Breit laying some bottle neck out nicely on the guitar solo. On "Looking for a Plan" they sing of life's troubles and pleasures, with lyrics commenting on our lives while they rock with a fuzzy sound. "Dance With Delilah" is a bouncy track with bone crunching Mohan veena along with electric and acoustic guitars and lap slide. Big, bad, cool sounds there. They close with "Carry My Tears Away", a sorrowful ballad with mandolin rounding out the soulful sound.
Ok, so it ain't exactly blues, but it is very interesting and I think the variety of stringed things played at high level with interest most blues, rock and country music fans. The songs have great stories and the variety of stylistic play coupled with all sorts of guitar work make this an very strange and fun ride. Stony Plain has put out a variety of interesting stylized albums over the years and they continue to offer different music than will make you sit up, listen, and think a bit as you enjoy them.
Reviewer Steve Jones is secretary of the Crossroads Blues Society and is a long standing blues lover. He is a retired Navy commander who served his entire career in nuclear submarines. In addition to working in his civilian career, he writes for and publishes the bi-monthly newsletter for Crossroads, chairs their music festival and work with their Blues In The Schools program.
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE
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Colorado Blues Society - Boulder, CO
The Colorado Blues Society’s IBC Finals are coming up. On Sept 18, our IBC Solo/Duo Finals will start at 2 PM at the Boulder Outlook, Boulder, CO. We have 8 outstanding Solo/Duo acts. On September 25, CBS is holding our IBC Band Finals at the Buffalo Rose, in Golden, CO. Show starts at 2 PM and will include the 8 winners from our preliminary rounds. On Oct 23 we will hold our Youth Showcase auditions at the Dickens Opera House in Longmont, CO. Last year our S/D winners, Big Jim Adam and John Stilwagen made the Finals in Memphis while our Band entry, the Lionel Young Band, WON the Band Finals in Memphis. The CBS' entry was the Solo Duo Memphis winner in 2008, and winning BSPCD in 2010, so you can be sure there will be plenty of talent at all of these great events! www.coblues.com
Illinois Central Blues Club - Springfield, IL
The Illinois Central Blues Club presents "Blue Monday" 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. August 29 - RJ Mischo, Sept. 5 – Andrew Jr. Boy Jones, Sept. 12 – Mojo Cats, Sept. 19 – Rich Fabec, Sept 26 – The Sugar Prophets, Oct. 3 – Blues Deacons, Oct. 10 – Too Slim & The Taildraggers, Oct. 17 – Southside Jonny & Kicked to the Curb, Oct 24 – Bruce Katz, Oct. 31 – Studebaker John and the Hawks. icbluesclub.org
The Friends Of The Blues - Watseka, IL
2011 Friends of the Blues shows - Tuesday, August 30, Damon Fowler,7 pm, Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club, 2672 Chippewa Drive, Bourbonnais IL (815) 937-0870. September 8, The Sugar Prophets, 7 pm, Kankakee Valley Boat Club, September 29, Vincent Hayes Project, 7 pm, Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club, October 11, Too Slim & the Taildraggers, 7 pm, Kankakee Valley Boat Club, Friday, October 28, The Reba Russell Band, 8 pm, Kankakee Valley Boat Club,November 10, Ivas John Band, 7 pm, Venue TBA, December 1, Dave Herrero, 7 pm, Kankakee Valley Boat Club. For more info see: http://www.wazfest.com/JW.html
The South Skunk Blues Society - Newton, IA
The South Skunk Blues Society is pleased to announce a lineup that you will surely enjoy for the 19th annual Bowlful of Blues on September 3rd at Maytag Park in Newton, Iowa. Gates open at noon and the show will end at 10 PM. Bring your family and friends for an exceptionally enjoyable day of music. The festivities begins at 12:30 when Mojo Machine takes the stage. The afternoon will continue with the Jeff Banks Band and the Gary Gibson Group. It will conclude with double headliners: The Bel Airs and Andrew Jr. Boy Jones. Rob Lumbard will entertain between bands throughout the festival.
Tickets are $15.00 in advance and can be purchased at Zzz Records in Des Moines, Mattinglys Music and Hy Vee in Newton, The Music Shop in Grinnell or on line at southskunkblues.org Mark you calendars and plan to attend the 19th annual South Skunk Bowlful of Blues at beautiful Maytag Park on Saturday September 3rd, Labor Day weekend! southskunkblues.org
The Baltimore Blues Society - Baltimore, MD
The Baltimore Blues Society will present the 15th Annual Alonzo's Memorial Picnic, Sunday Sept 4 on the Grounds of the Rosedale American Legion. Headlining will be Debbie Davies. Also appearing are IBC winners J.P.Soars and Grady Champion, The local super group DMV Young Guns (Matt Kelly - winner of 2010 IBC Albert King Award, Robert Frahm, Rich Sampson & more) and Ramblin Dan Stevens. Guests can pack their own picnic coolers and BYOB. F&B is available on site. Music runs 1-830pm. Advance tix are $25/Gate$35. Send SASE by August 23rd to: BBS Tickets - Alonzo's, PO Box 4522 Baltimore, MD 21212 More info at www.mojoworkin.com BBS info line 410-744-2291
West Virginia Blues Society - Charleston, WV
The West Virginia Blues Society will be holding it's 5th. Annual Appalachian Blues Competition Oct. 22, 2011. The Blues Society will be sending two acts to Memphis, Tn. for the International Blues Challenge, Band Div. and Solo/Duo Div. If, you think your Act is ready to take the next step, then, this IS the competition to enter ! For Application and Rules contact Competition Director Jack Rice at, firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-389-1439.
Competition will be held at: The Sound Factory 812 Kanawha Blvd E, Charleston, WV 25301-2807 · 1 (304) 342-8001 Stay tuned for more info at, www.wvbluessociety.org
Cascade Blues Association - Portland, Oregon
The Cascade Blues Association, in celebration of their 25th anniversary, have released a compilation CD titled Puddletown Blues, Vol.1 that features selections from a dozen blues artists from the state of Oregon, or with ties to the state.
Most of the tracks are from live performances and only one has previously been released before. Artists included in this collection are Billy D & The Hoodoos, Boogie Bone, Duffy Bishop, Fiona Boyes, Hawkeye Herman, Kevin Selfe & The Tornadoes, Lisa Mann & Her Really Good Band, Paul deLay, Robbie Laws, The Strange Tones, Terry Robb, Ty Curtis Band and Woodbrain. This CD can be purchased on-line at www.cascadeblues.org.
Also, watch for our 25th anniversary concert happening on Saturday, September 17th at The Melody Ballroom in Portland, featuring performances by The Robbie Laws Band with special guest from Memphis Brandon Santini, Karen Lovely, The Lloyd Jones Struggle and Chad Rupp & The Ruppshakers.
Mid-Mississippi Muddy Water Blues Society -Quincy IL.
The MMMWBS is now co-hosting the "SMOKE ON THE RIVER BBQ & BLUES FEST" Sept 9th & 10th in Quincy's Kesler Park. A sanctioned KCBS BBQ Contest and Blues Festival, with 2 Bands on Friday (Blue-Eyed Soul and Dave Chastain) , acoustic Blues Saturday afternoon (Rich Berry), and 3 Bands on Sat.nite (BJ Allen & Blue Voodoo, Rockin' Jake, and The Reba Russell Band). Info for the event can be found at quincyblues.com
Blues Society of the Ozarks - Springfield, MO
The Blues Society of the Ozarks based out of Springfield, Mo is happy to announce the line up for the 15th Annual Greater Ozark Blues Festival to be held at Chesterfield Village in Springfield, Mo September 9 & 10, 2011
We are proud to present on Friday September 9, 2011 Mary Bridget Davies Band, Larry Garner & Lil Ed & the Imperials on Saturday September 10, 2011 the line up includes: Terry Quiett Band, Grand Marques, JP Soars and the Red Hots, Shaun Murphy, and Joe Lewis Walker. For more information and tickets visit our web site at www.greaterozarksbluesfest.com or 417-860-5078
Featured Blues Review 3 of 5
Blue Lunch - Saxophone Shootout II
Fans who have followed Roomful of Blues for many years can add Saxophone Shootout II to their collection by Blue Lunch.
Recorded live at Nighttown, Cleveland’s premier jazz club was an appropriate spot for this band to strut their stuff. The music is something out of the big band era with its nods to Glen Miller and Count Basie.
Guitar shootout albums seem to be a great marketing technique for people to shell out the bucks. This is a different idea as the focus is on the saxophone.
The saxophone players featured are Tony Koussa, Jr, Keith McKelley and Chris Burge. All three are given ample time to solo in the spotlight.
There is tight jamming on the songs. But more satisfying is that the jamming doesn’t take off into long-winded excursions that can lose listener interest. As it is the music is pretty laid back and does not lend itself to screaming me attitudes and traveling too far into the zone. For the most part, the majority of tunes last little more than six minutes so any musical sojourns by these musicians are quickly kept in check.
“Honeydripper” written by Roosevelt Sykes is a fast attention getter. The music featured on this disc is in the same sequence that was performed at the club. Mike Sand’s piano pumps up “Lowe Groovin” into its swinging boogie. The intensity increases as the ensemble outright cooks on “Foothill Drive” with Scott Flowers’ drumming driving a sledgehammer beat.
Being that Blue Lunch is a blues, jump and swing band, the songs lean heavily on being instrumentals. This is sufficient enough to put the music on auto-pilot without missing a vocalist too much. It is not until Gatemouth Brown’s “I Just Got Lucky” that vocalist Pete Brown steps up to the microphone to sing this little jump blues.
The forte in the tracks seems to follow a standard formula of letting the three saxophone players as well as the keyboardist solo. Following the solo, Pete London announces the name of the player. And for those of us who are not finely tuned to the differences between alto and tenor saxophones, this is good as we know which player stepped up to the plate.
As with any live recording, studio doctoring and overdubs always seem to get added to cover up any mistakes in a live performance. But this live document seems to reek of an honesty and not too touched up to meet a buying fan’s expectations.
The first set of music ends on Sonny Rollin’s “Tenor Madness.” It can’t end on a better note as the tune is propelled by all three sax players showing off their chops and practically blowing the roof off this club. Once again piano player Mike Sands comes up in the mix with strong support from the rhythm section taking it all home.
Not too many blues tunes are to be found on this cd. So something like Lowell Fulson’s “Reconsider Baby” is a nice track that sits comfortably amongst the others. London may not have too many moments to sing, so he’s probably happy to vocalize this obscure chestnut.
For those who tend to like blues with the guitar being in the forefront might hesitate in picking up this release. The blues rock fans who have finally entrenched themselves in the purist circles and whose tastes extend to jazz will find this offering to their liking. No doubt it’s a blast from the past and something your parents enjoyed listening to in the Post-Depression era. Sometimes a detour is necessary when the blues formula tends to get a little predictable. You may not stay there all the time. On a loose occasion you don’t mind a little side trip.
Reviewer Gary Weeks is a contributing writer. He resides in Marietta, GA.
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Not familiar with some of the 2011 nominees?
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Contemporary Blues CD
Traditional Blues CD
Robin Rogers - Back In The Fire
Eddie Turner - Miracles & Demons
John Németh - Name The Day
Damon Fowler - Devil Got His Way
JP Soars - More Bees With Honey
Buddy Guy - Living Proof
Bob Corritore & Friends - Harmonica Blues
Studebaker John's Maxwell Street Kings - That's the Way You Do
Charlie Musselwhite - The Well
Magic Slim - Raising The Bar
Song Of The Year
New Artist Debut Release
Shake Your Boogie (Big Joe Williams)
from Reverend Raven & The Chain Smokin' Altar Boys - Shake Your Boogie
Still the Rain (Dennis Walker/Alan Mirikitani)
from Buddy Guy - Living Proof
Don't Walk Away Run (Chuck Glass)
from Charlie Musselwhite - The Well
Almost A Memory by Wayne Russell
Sugar Prophets - The Sugar Prophets
Chris O'Leary Band - Mr. Used to BeRob Blaine - Big Otis Blues
Vincent Hayes Project - ReclamationMatt Hill - On The Floor
Peter Parcek - Mathematics of Love
Female Blues Artist
Male Blues Artist
|Teeny Tucker||John Németh|
Best Blues Band
Sean Costello Rising Star Award
Featured Blues Review 4 of 5
Eddie Martin - Folk & Blues
Recent years have seen an explosion in the number of new releases that claim to fit in the blues genre. Much of the increase comes from artists outside America, a testament to the worldwide appeal of blues music. The challenge for these “foreign” musicians is how to grab the attention of US listeners in the crowded marketplace.
Eddie Martin has more than ten previous recordings and has also won numerous English blues music awards. Yet this reviewer was unaware of his existence until receiving his latest release. Martin is an accomplished electric guitar player but this is an all-acoustic project featuring him as a one-man band. He employs a variety of guitars as well as a bass drum, foot percussion and harmonica to flesh out his original material. Martin sings with a smooth, expressive voice that gently grabs your attention throughout the disc.
Two instrumental tracks highlight Martin’s skill as a guitarist. “Butterflies” finds him laying down intricate fingerpicked notes over a strong bass line. On “Old London Blues”. Martin’s playing invokes comparisons to the Doc Watson style. A third number, “Still Chasing the Fox”, is a live recording of Martin on harmonica playing in the “whooping” style popularized by Sonny Terry.
Other highlights include “Kind Lady Moon”, which mixes an insistent boogie beat with an old English folk legend that tells the tale of how man rescued the moonlight from the clutches of the Devil. “Let It Slide” features Martin’s slashing slide guitar licks and hard-edged vocal. A night on Bourbon Street in New Orleans provided Martin with the storyline for “Underwater Woman” as he describes the captivating charms of a woman who ultimately leaves alone, feeling foolish.
“Canada” finds Martin longing for a lover who has fled the country while “I’ll Find My Way” finds him exploring the place where blues and spirituals meet. There is a strong folk element on “Month Of Mondays”, which utilizes a boss-nova type rhythm. Martin employs all the elements of his one-man band on the opening track, “Flowers to the Desert” while the brooding “Clouds Across the Sky” features another strong vocal performance.
There is plenty to enjoy here, especially for listeners who are partial to acoustic blues. Martin consistently delivers performances that celebrate the blues tradition from his personal perspective, avoiding the trap of doing yet another cover of a classic tune. Hearing this disc made me want to check out his prior releases, which may be the best praise any reviewer can offer.
Reviewer Mark Thompson is president of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford. IL. He has been listening to music of all kinds for fifty years. The first concert he attended was in Chicago with The Mothers of Invention and Cream. Life has never been the same.
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For those of you who are planning to come to Chicago for the Blues Blast Music Awards at Buddy Guy's Legends in October, we have some good news. We have negotiated a block of 25 rooms at a discount rate of only $139. Our official hotel for the awards is the Essex Inn located just around the corner from Legends.
It is a nice hotel within walking distance. Hurry though because there are only 25 rooms guaranteed at this rate. Get your reservation before they are gone,
To book your rooms now CLICK HERE or call 800 621-6909 and ask for the Blues Blast Magazine discount rate.
Featured Blues Review 5 of 5
Blues Duo Featuring Tracy K And Jamie Steinhoff - Canned Heat
Another prized blues nugget from Canada in the form of a lively country-blues duo. Tracy K supplies harmonica and the majority of the vocals while Jamie supplies all manner of stringed instruments as well as two vocal contributions. Tracey is in possession of a good blues voice with just enough “frog in the throat” for a gritty blues delivery. Jamie’s bass voice presents a nice counterpoint to Tracy’s voice. Jamie’s guitar, dobro and banjo skills are the strong foundation to support the tunes.
This collection of half covers and half originals just flies by, whether it be a slow blues or a toe-tapper (sorry for the cliché, but nothing describes it better at the moment). And the only gripe I have here is the shortness of this record. You want a pleasurable listening experience like this to last longer. Oh well, I’ll savor what I have and hope for a bigger dose next time around. The twosome handles all the material with great skill and style. The only help they receive is bass on one tune, backing vocals on one and the occasional snare drum.
Memphis Minnie’s “Chauffeur Blues” gains authenticity from Tracy’s throaty vocal and sprightly played harp. She achieves the requisite mournful harmonica tone on her take of Barbecue Bob’s “Atlanta Moan”. Jamie’s reading of his original “Ditty-Wah-So is a fun, rollicking romp ably abetted by Tracy’s jumpy harp accompaniment. He declares “You’re the only place I wanna go”. His other original “Stolen Apple Jelly” is a tale of the duo’s practice of raiding neglected apple trees at night and making jelly from them. Both of his contributions interject humor into the proceedings.
The twenty’s chestnut “Everybody Loves My Baby” and “Lovin’ Sam” fare well done jug band style. Kazoo on the former and banjo on the ladder create the old-timey feel. Two Tracy-penned songs, “Tailor Made” and “Cowboy Blues” she displays her grasp of the country blues genre. Throughout the record Jamie’s guitar and dobro playing move things along quite nicely. “Heaven’s Joy (Olga’s Song)”, a song Tracy wrote for her aunt’s funeral could have easily come from The Carter Family’s songbook.
This is a welcome addition to the current crop of country-blues duos. The music flows along easily, perfect for a lazy picnic in the park. As is the case here, sometimes less is more. The two players interact like a well-oiled blues machine. Efforts such as this one will assure the continuation of this tradition in blues music.
Reviewer Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony hails from the New Jersey Delta. He is the proprietor of Bluesdog’s Doghouse at http://bluesdog61.multiply.com.
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