Issue 7-6, February 7, 2013
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Cover photo by Bob Kieser © 2013 Blues Blast Magazine
In This Issue
Jim Crawford has our feature interview with Chicago legend Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater. Bob Kieser reviews the "Blues At The Crossroads 2" tour featuring Kim Wilson & The Fabulous Thunderbirds, James Cotton, Bob Margolin, Jody Williams and Tinsley Ellis.
We have 6 music reviews for you! Mark Thompson reviews a new album by the Otmar Binder Trio . John Mitchell reviews a new release from The Lee Boys . Rhys Williams reviews a new release from Steve Dupree & The Delta Flyers. Rex Bartholomew reviews a new album from Cal Williams Jr. James "Skyy Dobro" Walker reviews a new live CD/DVD from The Lucky Peterson Band featuring Tamara Peterson. Steve Jones reviews a new album from The No Refund Band. We have the latest in Blues Society news from around the globe. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!
From The Editor's Desk
Hey Blues Fans,
Get ready! We are collecting content for our own Blues Blast Magazine YouTube channel and the first upload is none other then the great Kim Wilson!
This interview was done at the third annual Roots & Blues benefit to support The Sean Costello Memorial Fund for Bipolar Research on September 27, 2012. It includes Kim in some great live footage from the benefit show. Check it out! Click HERE or click on video image to the left.
(Video footage and editing by Nate Kieser.)
Also we want to remind you that our January Blues Overdose issue with 8 FREE Blues music tracks is still available! This issue features eight new download tracks including music from Dave Duncan, The Pam Taylor Band, Ryan Hartt & The Blue Hearts, Tweed Funk, Joel DaSilva and The Midnight Howl, Ron Levy's Wild Kingdom, Stevie DuPree & The Delta Flyers and Gary Sellers.
But it is only available till the end of February so hurry to get your FREE downloadable tracks now! CLICK HERE.
Please note that being featured in our monthly Blues Overdose Issue or on our new YouTube channel is completely FREE for Blues artists. So if your band is interested in having your music included, please drop me a line at:
Wishing you health, happiness and lots of Blues music!
Featured Blues Interview - Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater
It is a treat to hear the surviving members of Chicago’s Blues heyday recall stories about the legends who put the Blues on the map and made the music a permanent part of our modern lexicon.
Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater is one of those survivors who continue to crank out intense, scorching Blues or he can reach down into his soul and lay it all out for the world to see. And, he does it with a sense of humor.
"Left-hander Eddy Clearwater is a forceful six-stringer...He lays down some gritty West Side shuffles and belly-grinding slow blues that highlight his raw chops, soulful vocals, and earthy, humorous lyrics,” said DownBeat magazine.
“I was born in 1935, so I’ll let you do the math,” Eddy said recently (with a laugh). “Matter of fact, I just played a sold out show last night for my birthday at Space (an Evanston, Ill. venue). I’ve been around for a long time because I try to take care of myself. I drink very little. I might have a beer after a show once in a while. I don’t smoke and have never done drugs. It’s all about clean living and positive thinking. The key for me is positive thinking.”
Like scores of Chicago Bluesmen, Eddy’s roots lie in the Mississippi Delta. Born Edward Harrington in Macon, Miss. in 1935, he was 13 when he moved with his family to Birmingham, Ala. That’s where his musical career started to take shape.
“I started playing guitar when I was 13,” he recalls. “I played gospel music in the church. I moved to Chicago when I was 15 and stayed with my favorite uncle, my father’s brother, who encouraged me to keep playing my music. Most of the early players migrated from the South to Chicago. There was a special feeling about the Blues here and nobody in my family ever tried to discourage me from playing. Everybody came here hoping for a better life.”
Being a southpaw, Eddy had to teach himself to play by turning a standard right-handed guitar over and starting from scratch, a style he still employs to this day.
“I just turned it over and taught myself how to play it,” he says.” I know it looks kind of funny to the right handers but it works for me. Always has.”
Much of Chicago Blues is defined by the section of town a particular group of musicians might live. There’s West Side Blues, South Side Blues, like that.
“The West Side Blues I play has a raw, gutty sound to it,” Eddy says. “Hound Dog Taylor was from the West Side. It would just be him, another guitar player and a drummer. He didn’t have a bass player and it was just a real raw sound. Good stuff, too. Earl Hooker came from the West Side, too. He was a great slide player.”
The curious might ask where in the world would a Bluesman from Chicago come up with “The Chief” for a moniker.
“When I was about 18 my stage name was Guitar Eddy,” he recalls. “I recorded my first single in 1958 called, “Hill Billy Blues.” It was on my uncle's Atomic H label under the name Clear Waters. Jump Jackson, my manager, called me that as a takeoff on Muddy Waters. It kind of evolved into Eddy Clearwater and stuck”
Eddy started to pick up steam on the local Blues circuit in and around Chicago playing non-stop during the 1950, ‘60s and on into the ‘70s before recording his first album on the Rooster Blues label in 1980.
“Jim O’Neal, the owner of the Rooster Blues label asked me what picture I wanted on the cover of the album,” Eddy says. “I told him I wanted a color picture of me on a horse with a full Indian headdress and we’d call the album “The Chief.” That’s what we did and that’s where I got the name.”
The Chief continued to make a name for himself, appearing alongside Buddy Guy and Junior Wells in Europe, playing with Chicago luminary Lonnie Brooks, rock ‘n’ roll icon Chuck Berry, being nominated for and receiving seven Blues Music Awards, the list goes on for miles.
Having started from scratch playing Blues guitar, Eddy says he admired the legends in Chicago and wanted to create his own sound with a distinctive style.
“I always admired Otis Rush,” he says. “I was a big fan of Magic Slim. I always liked Chuck Berry and his rock ‘n’ roll. I even got to play with him once when I was younger. And, of course, there’s Muddy Waters.”
Later he started toying with the idea of incorporating some rockabilly into his blues.
“I kind of like to mix it up a little,” Eddy explains. “Things just started to feel a little different in my head and I wanted to express it. I can usually visualize things before I ever play them. On my third album with Rounder (Records) the guy asked me what I wanted to do and I kind of whispered over the phone ‘I want to do some rockabilly.’ He said ‘That sounds great,’ and we went from there.”
The rockabilly idea led to the most unlikely of collaborations for Eddie. He teamed up with a surf-rocking, Mexican wrestling-masked group called Los Straitjackets. Together they produced “Rock ‘n’ Roll City,’ which earned Eddie a Grammy nomination and added scores of Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater fans.
“Eddie Angel from Los Straitackets brought a couple of his songs with him to Nashville and we recorded the album and even did a European tour together,” Eddie says. “It was great. Those people in Europe really appreciate the Blues and treat you like royalty over there. It’s amazing. They have a real feel for the music and the craft of being a musician. I really liked playing in Italy. The audiences there really get into it.
“Being nominated for a Grammy for the Los Straitjackets album was one of the highlights of my career,” Eddy says. “The nomination took me by surprise, especially for that album since I had a lot more real Blues stuff. Buddy Guy won that year but that’s O.K. I was in good company.”
Eddy demonstrates his positive thinking when talking about the future of the Blues.
“I really think it’s going to escalate,” he says. “It’s coming back strong. There’s a lot more upscale places featuring Blues and it’s reaching different audiences more and more. That’s not really my prediction at all; I just think it’s the truth.
“They had a big celebration honoring Buddy Guy recently at Millennium Park here in Chicago,” Eddy says. “The mayor was there with all kinds of dignitaries. There were thousands of people there. I performed along with Buddy and Lonnie Brooks. It was really something to be included in that and see people’s response to Buddy and the whole Blues community.
“Another thing that is helping keep the Blues alive are the festivals and the Blues Societies,” Eddy says. “The societies work hard to bring the music to everybody. They have nice festivals all over the country that allows everyone to attend that wants to. They’re perfect for first-timers to get introduced to the music.”
Eddy’s last album “West Side Strut,” on the Alligator label, features Eddy once again coining another term to define his music. He calls it Rock a Blues.
“I pitched it to Bruce (Iglauer, CEO of Alligator) and he wasn’t too sure what to do with it,” Eddy laughs. “especially the song “Rock-A-Blues Baby. He said he liked it but just wasn’t sure what to with it. So far people have liked it.”
The album has been called the best album of his life and features his signature all-over-the-place guitar work, his rough and tough vocals and the old-school West Side sound. He's taken that West Side sound all over the world and he plans to turn 2013 into another banner year.
Iglauer says Eddy's addition to the Alligator line-up is a perfect fit.
'"It's a great honor to have an artist with Eddy's legacy and talent join the Alligator family,” Iglauer says. “This (West Side Strut) is a special album; the combination of Eddy's soulful West Side guitar playing and Ronnie Baker Brooks' contemporary production and his tough, young band makes for some real fireworks. Plus, Ronnie's guitar playing really inspired Eddy to do some of his very best guitar work on record ever."
It’s back to work soon for Eddy and his band. He considers himself lucky to have Ronnie Baker Brooks, son of the legendary Lonnie Brooks, in his corner handling the production of a new CD.
“We’ll start rehearsing again in about two weeks,” Eddy says. “It’ll be me and my regular band and Ronnie Brooks producing. He’ll also add some guitar in a few places. This is a real good group and everyone gets along real well together. I anticipate a smooth ride.”
It’s hard to imagine a smooth ride with that West Side sound but if it can be done, Eddy’s the man to do it!
Visit Eddy Clearwater's website at www.eddyclearwater.com.
Photos by Bob Kieser © 2013 Blues Blast Magazine
Interviewer Jim Crawford is a transplanted Texan and the current president of the Phoenix Blues Society. He’s a fan of lots of different types of music but keeps his head mostly planted in the Blues today. He received his first 45 rpm record, Jimmy Reed’s “Big Boss Man,” at about age 8 and it stuck. He hosted the “Blues Cruise” on KACV-FM 90 in Amarillo for many years and can be found on many nights catching a good show at the Rhythm Room, Phoenix’s Blues Mecca.
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.
Featured Blues Review 1 of 6
Otmar Binder Trio - Boogie Woogie Turnaround
Featuring BJ Cole & Christian Dozzler
Boogie woogie piano was quite the rage in the 1930's and the interest didn't wane until the following decade. There have been some mini-revivals in the years since then led by musicians like Commander Cody and Mitch Woods. Add to that list Otmar Binder, a German piano player who has fallen for the allure of the music's driving beat. Boogie woogie tunes often favor rapid tempos that can prove challenging for those blessed with less than the fleetest of fingers.
Binder and his bandmates, Alexander Lackner on bass and Michael Strasser on drums, quickly demonstrate their talents. After Lackner opens the proceedings with a brief solo, Binder digs into “Homerun”, his fingers rolling up and down the keyboard over the solid mid-tempo rhythm. The other straight trio track, “All the Way”, takes a minute to settle into the familiar pattern as Binder offers some subtle variations on the standard progressions.
Binder shares the spotlight with fellow pianist Christian Dozzler on five cuts . Binder's strong left hand powers “Steamin' Away” with Dozzler accompanying him on harmonica. The pace slows on ”Bluesprint” as the two keyboard aces engage in a savory duet. They follow that up with another easy-rolling dialogue on “Travelin' “ while “Uphill” pleases with a jaunty approach. For his final appearance, Dozzler blows a robust, unaccompanied harp solo on “Sugar Cane”.
Guitarist BJ Cole makes his presence known on “Rising River Boogie”, his pedal steel giving the cut a country feel while Binder drops several inventive runs into the mix. Oliver Gattringer takes over the drums on “Looking Forward” and his forceful style elicits an energized response from Binder. The leader's spell-binding efforts on Brighton to Boston” are answered by mournful tones from Cole's steel guitar. “Common Ground” is a toe-tapper with hardy contributions from both men. The last two tracks, Venice Stomp” and “Floyd's Turn” slip back into the mid-tempo mode with the letter cut enhanced by a three piece string section and a vocal chorus.
The musical fireworks are plentiful on “At Last” as Binder engages Charlie Furthner in rousing cutting contest that ends in a draw. Geri Schuller's organ brings a warm gospel feel to “Changes To Be Made”, another highlight with Binder showing the enormous depth of emotion he can draw from his instrument.
Despite using a variety of recording studios, there is a consistent sound from track to track. You will really appreciate the exquisite sound quality, especially on the piano duets where you can clearly distinguish what each of the four hands is playing. The lone shortcoming on the all-original program is that Binder never really cuts loose at a blinding tempo. It seems an odd omission as he clearly has the chops to play at a faster pace. All in all, this one is a burnished rendering of a musical style that refuses to fade away and Otmar Binder's jubilant playing makes it worth checking out..
Reviewer Mark Thompson retired after twelve years as president of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford. IL. and moved to Florida. He has been listening to music of all kinds for over fifty years. Favorite musicians include Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Magic Slim, Magic Sam, Charles Mingus and Count Basie.
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE
Featured Live Blues Review - Blues At The Crossroads 2
I got the chance to attend this great show last week in Springfield, Illinois. (Thanks Tinsley!) "Blues at the Crossroads 2: Muddy & the Wolf" is a national tour with The Fabulous Thunderbirds featuring Kim Wilson backing up James Cotton, Tinsley Ellis, Jody Williams and Bob Margolin. To say this is a great lineup is a waste of breath as these guys are legends themselves.
The show started out with the Fabulous Thunderbirds kicking it off for an intro featuring Jay Moeller on drums, Johnny Moeller and Mike Keller on guitar and Randy Bermudes on bass. And of course they were joined by the great Kim Wilson on harmonica. Kim is one of the most talented performers on the music scene today. He has it all, a great voice, a commanding stage presence, great song writing and of course his immense talent on harmonica. Kim served as MC and band leader throughout the evening.
One of the first "guests" for the evening was southern Blues rocker Tinsley Ellis. Tinsley has more than 10 albums on major labels like Capricorn, Telarc and Alligator to his credit and his immense gift showed in his portion of the show as he played exciting electric versions of "Killin Floor" and "Howlin For My Darlin". He then followed up with an acoustic dobro version of "Little Red Rooster".
Next up was a set featuring "Steady Rollin" Bob Margolin. Bob Margolin was one of the members of Muddy Waters band from 1973 to 1980. Bob has played with many Blues legends over the years including, Johnny Winter, James Cotton, Pinetop Perkins, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith and many others. Margolin treated the audience to his classic song "Mean Old Chicago" and Muddy Waters' "Gone to Main Street".
Kim Wilson then stepped up to play a couple more tunes including the Sonny Boy Williamson tune "Early In The Morning" followed by an amazing version of his own classic, "Kim's Boogie" to end the first set which was followed by a 30 minute intermission. "Kim's Boogie" is an amazing harmonica tune that uses a technique called "split tounge" where Kim is able to hold a long loud note and play other notes around it as he holds the main note. Don't know how he does it but it is quite impressive!
After the intermission we were treated to a set by Chicago Blues legend, Jody Williams. Jody got his start in 1951 when he met and played with Bo Diddley. Jody is the lead player you hear on the Bo Diddley classic, "Who Do You Love". Williams then played with a string of other greats including Memphis Minnie, Elmore James and Otis Spann. He soon became a session musicians for Chess records where he met Howlin' Wolf and became Wolf's first guitarist. Soon after he was joined in Wolf's band by Hubert Sumlin for a powerful duo guitar sound that is still legend to this day. Williams and Hubert are featured on many of the Howlin' Wolf recordings. WIlliams also played lead guitar for Billy Boy Arnold, Jimmy Rogers, Otis Rush and others. Jody treated the crowd to his best known instrumental "Lucky Lou" as well as "How Many More Years" which he recorded with Howlin' Wolf.
Finally it was time for the big star of the night, harmonica legend James Cotton! James was in fine form and thrilled the crowd with his classic instrumental "Creeper" and "Rivers Invitation"
The whole group of stars came back on stage for a great version of ""Got My Mojo Workin" which brought the crowd to their feet in a thunderous standing ovation to close the show!
It was a real treat to see such a performance of classic Blues tunes done by such legendary performers. Often one hears others doing these tunes but to hear these masters perform them is quite a show. The Blues At The Crossroads 2 tour continues. This is a stunning classic Blues ensemble! Here is a list of the currently scheduled performances. If it comes anywhere within driving distance GET THERE!
- Traverse City, MI
Photos By Bob Kieser © 2013 Blues Blast Magazine
Reviewer Bob Kieser is editor and publisher of Blues Blast Magazine. He feels so lucky to have what he calls "the best job in the world" working to spread the news of this great music he loves called The Blues!
Featured Blues Review 2 of 6
The Lee Boys - Testify
Evil Teen Records 2012
13 tracks; 59 minutes
The Lee Boys are a ‘Sacred Steel’ band, playing spiritual music with pedal steel replacing the traditional organ used in many churches. This is overtly religious music so some might not feel that it will be for them. However, the music is terrific, a joyous invitation to celebrate faith through music and movement, or, as Warren Haynes puts it – “high energy Gospel infused jamming” – no wonder they play on the jam band circuit and this CD comes on Warren’s Evil Teen label. It is their first studio recording since 2005.
The band is a family affair: brothers Alvin (guitar), Derrick and Keith (vocals) are joined by nephews Alvin Cordy Jr. (bass), Earl Walker (drums) and Roosevelt Collier (pedal steel). Matt Slocum adds keyboards to most tracks and special guests Warren Haynes and Jimmy Herring play guitar on two tracks each. Vocalist Gia Wyre takes the lead on “Wade In The Water” and adds backing vocals elsewhere. The material is mainly original with the entire band contributing material as well as arranging three traditional gospel songs.
First and foremost we should discuss the traditional “I’m Not Tired”, a tour de force as Warren Haynes shares vocals with the Boys as well as contributing some fine slide playing before Roosevelt launches into some incredible runs on the steel, all supported by a terrific horn section – wow! The other track on which Warren appears is “Praise You” where he plays lead guitar on a funk-driven tune that is not a million miles away from vintage Stevie Wonder. Jimmy Herring is another associate of the jam band community and he provides the lead guitar on title track “Testify” and “Always By My Side”. The former find Jimmy adding some strong leads lines with a jazzy undertone to a mid-paced funk piece, the latter more of a soul ballad with some exciting pedal steel at its centre.
“Wade In The Water” is taken at a slow pace set by Roosevelt’s pedal steel in ‘crying’ mode at the beginning. Gia Wyre’s vocal is excellent, recorded with what sounds like a little echo to give her an almost ethereal sound appropriate to this gospel classic, aided by some classy backing vocals. To top off an outstanding track Roosevelt returns with an amazing steel solo towards the end. The other traditional song is “So Much To Live For” which also features the horns and has some melodic interplay between the guitar and the pedal steel.
Probably the track that sounds the most like a gospel revival is “Going To Glory” with its propulsive beat and handclap accompaniment, as well as the organ featuring quite prominently. Opening cut “Smile” reminded me of Teseschi/Trucks with the delicate steel playing very reminiscent of Derek’s style on slide and a very strong chorus that will have you humming along in no time.
I have not mentioned every track here, but to be honest there are no weak songs. All celebrate the family’s faith and all feature beautiful harmonies, great arrangements and some superb playing, particularly the pedal steel of the band’s not so secret weapon, Roosevelt Collier. This is a CD that deserves wide attention and it is good to see that The Lee Boys were recently on the LRBC so should have gained some additional exposure there.
Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK. He also travels to the States most years to see live blues music.
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE
Featured Blues Review 3 of 6
Steve Dupree & The Delta Flyers – Dr Dupree’s Love Shop
Label: Soulbilly Music Group
12 songs – 45 minutes
The Delta Flyers started life as an acoustic duo in 2007, playing original blues songs in the Mississippi Delta. Dr Dupree’s Love Shop, the band’s fourth studio release, sees original singer and songwriter Steve Dupree backed by an expanded three-piece electric band, with guest spots from Derek O’Brien (guitar), Marcia Ball (piano) and Nick Connolly (keyboards), the Texas Horns (John Mills, Mark “Kaz” Kazanoff and Al Gomez) and vocalists Lisa Tingle and Alice Stewart. In addition to playing tenor sax with the Texas Horns, Kaz Kazanoff also adds his unique talents on harmonica, percussion and background vocals, as well as producing the album. With a line-up of that quality, one has the right to expect something a little special. Thankfully, the 12 original songs on Dr Dupree’s Love Shop deliver exactly that, albeit with a sound that is much closer to modern electric Texas blues than traditional acoustic Delta blues.
The opening riff of the first song, “Broke Up”, is lifted from Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son”, but this actually sets the tone for much of what is to follow. Like John Fogerty, Dupree has a knack of coming up with simple, well-written and well-played songs, usually with a catchy chorus that lodges in your brain while your toes start tapping out the irresistible rhythm. Derek O’Brien adds some searing slide playing to “Broke Up” that is typically lyrical.
Next up is “First Dance”, where the singer tells his cheating woman that “This ain’t my first dance, and you’ve had your last chance.” Dupree is adept at producing clever lyrics in a conversational style that is reminiscent of Delbert McClinton, for example in the line “Now comes the part with the crocodile tears, well that’s the best job acting I’ve seen in years.”
John Mills rips a mean sax solo while Marcia Ball’s superb piano gives the song a deep flavour of Louisiana.
The title track, which features Stewart and Tingle praising the loving talents of Dupree, slows the pace slightly for a funky yet soulful workout, with excellent backing from the Texas Horns.
It isn’t just the guest musicians who impress on this recording, however. Bassist Quentin “Q” Calva and drummer Steve Brundrick are a solid, swinging rhythm section. Guitarist Travis Stephenson plays fine acoustic and electric guitar, especially on the Allman-esque harmonies on “Lucky Seven”, and his ferocious slide on “Ain’t Gonna Be Your Dog” is one of the album’s highlights.
It is also particularly impressive how the guest musicians blend so seamlessly with the band, making it sound as if they have been playing together for years. “St Paul’s Bottoms” features a looping, driving rhythm that is reminiscent of The Fabulous Thunderbirds’ version of “Runnin’ Shoes”. As Dupree sings of his descent into sin, Stephenson’s guitar matches it with dirt and debauchery while Kazanoff’s harp wails over the top throughout.
Kazanoff’s production is sympathetic and clean throughout, with each instrument clearly audible across the spectrum.
The album isn’t perfect. It’s probably fair to say that some of the slower songs do not work as well as the more upbeat numbers - “My Angel Of Mercy” feels like it is searching for a huge chorus without ever quite finding one. And while one has to admire anyone who can produce the couplet “… she was off to Mozambique, for an audience with a Sheik”, some of Dupree’s puns that don’t always work.
But that is pretty small change in the grand scheme of things. Overall, this is a great roadhouse blues record, played by a tight, swinging band. Highly recommended.
Reviewer Rhys Williams is a blues guitarist based in Cambridge, England. With a number of doctors and lawyers in his immediate family, he is in many ways very similar to Hollywood Fats, but without Fats’ talent, taste and technique.
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE
Blues Society News
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The New Mexico Blues Society - Rio Rancho, NM
The New Mexico Blues Society will be holding it's 3rd "Cused of the Blues" festival on March 16th, 2013 @ 1521 Broadway SW, Albuquerque, NM featuring local, New Mexico talent. Hillary Smith & Friends will be headlining the show. So far the lineup, still under construction, consists of The Kenny Skywolf Band, Twisted Mojo, The Jake Jones Band, The Memphis P-Tails with Joanie Cere, The Albuquerque Blues Connection, Hillary Smith & Friends, plus an hour long All Star Jam to close the show which will run from 1:00pm until 9:00pm. Admission is $5.00 for NMBS Members and $7.00 for nonmembers. We will be holding raffles and a silent auction. All proceeds will go toward our Youth Scholarship Fund, Blues In The Schools Program (BITS), and sending a couple of kids to music camp this year. As part of our current membership drive, those joining NMBS between now and March 16th will receive a free ticket to this event. Memberships are as follows: Individual Membership = $20.00/year, Family Membership = $30.00/year, and Band/Business Membership = $40.00/year. Please check us out on Facebook and go to our web site: nmbluessociety.com for the latest listings of Blues Gigs in New Mexico. Blues are happening here and growing by leaps and bounds each and every year. If you are a die hard Blues Fan/Musician and looking for a change, please consider relocating to new Mexico, "The land of Enchantment." http://nmbluessociety.com/
Crossroads Blues Society - Rockford/Northern Illinois
Bryan Lee will be at Winnebago's McNair Elementary School at 10 AM Monday the 11th of February and then at Byron Middle School at 1:40 PM that day. These two BITS programs will be numbers 109 and 110 for us and we expcet almost 1000 students to attend from the two schools combined; in fact, Byron HS music students may also be attending!
That night at 7 PM, the Braille Blues Daddy will be back at Byron Middle School for a public show. The show is free but we are using it as our benefit for Hurricane Sandy releif and to start funding our pledged donation to the Blues HOF capital fund. Please make a donation at the door! There will also be a 50-50 raffle, cigar box guitar raffle (provided by Hardtimes Cigar Box Guitars) and many silent auction items. Refreshment will be served.
Also, The Inaugural Field of Blues Festival to be held at the Rockford Aviators Stadium on June 22nd has finalized their lineup and they have six great bands ready to be featured on stage. Crossroads Blues Society is proud to announce that Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials, Willie Buck and Tail Dragger with the Rockin' Johnny Band, Toronzo Cannon, Dave Weld and the Imperial Flames, Aaron Williams and he HooDoo, Steve Ditzell and the Flaming Mudcats will be the lineup for the event. This lineup gets into deep traditional, funky, and rocking blues; the energy and sound will please all blues fans and anyone else who attends. Gates will open at 11 AM and the fun begins at noon! Advanced tickets go on sale soon and will be only $10; admission at the gate will be $15. Parking on site will be $2: ample parking is available at the stadium. For more info see www.crossroadsbluessociety.com.
Ventura County Blues Society- Ventura, CA
The Ventura (Calif.) County Blues Society presents the 8th Annual Ventura County Blues Festival (formerly the Simi Valley Blues Festival) on Saturday, April 27, 2013 at Moorpark College in Moorpark, Calif. starting 11 a.m. and featuring headliners the legendary Johnny Rivers; Savoy Brown featuring Kim Simmonds; and Kenny Neal; plus regional acts Dona Oxford, Preston Smith & The Crocodiles, and Michael John And The Bottom Line. Tickets $25. in advance, $30. day of show; kids 12 and under free (with adult). Proceeds benefit The American Diabetes Association and local charities. Info./Tickets: (805) 501-7122 or log onto www.venturacountyblues.com
Cincy Blues Society - Cincinnati, OH
Cincy Blues Society Announces 2013 Winter Blues Fest - On February 8 and 9, 2013, Cincinnati will be rocking with more than 25 blues bands. The Cincy Blues Society's Winter Blues Fest celebrates over two decades of supporting the Blues. This year's festival showcases the best local and regional Blues musicians for two nights, from 7:00 pm to 1:00 am at The Phoenix in downtown Cincinnati.
More than 25 local and regional blues bands will perform over two nights. Headlining Friday night is award-winning guitar player Sonny Moorman. Saturday night features a Cincinnati homecoming for the Nashville-based Stacy Mitchhart Band.
Buy Advance Tickets Online at the Brown Paper Tickets website for $20 (plus a $1.69 service fee per ticket) per night, or a weekend pass for $30 (plus a $2.04 service fee per ticket). Tickets will be available at the door for $20 per night, or $35 for a weekend pass. More information is available on Cincy Blues Fest's website: http://cincyblues.org
Illinois Central Blues Club - Springfield, IL
Steve Trusedale and The Illinois Central Blues Club present “FIRE UP FEBRUARY “ World renowned blues guitarist, songwriter, and singer James Armstrong will headline seven hours of red hot blues on Sunday, February 10, 2013, at the K of C Hall, 2200 Meadowbrook Road, Springfield. Other performers at the “Fire Up February” event will be Tombstone Bullet and the Michael Taylor Delta Duo.
All proceeds from this event to the ICBC’s “Blues in Community” programs. Admission fee is $12 per person or $18 per couple, or discounted fee of $10 and $15 respectively for ICBC members. The event, which begins at 2pm and lasts until 9pm, is open to fans of all ages. A cash bar will be available and food can be purchased from the K of C’s Casey’s Pub. Questions regarding this press release should be directed to Mark Edmiston, President of ICBC, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 217-679-0721.
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 8:00pm $3 cover. Feburary 11 - Victor Wainwright, Feburary 18 - Hurricane Ruth, Feburary 28 - Lionel Young, March 4 - Brandon Santini, March 11 - Eddie Snow Birthday Tribute w/ Bill Evans, March 18 - TBA, March 25 - JP Soars. More info available at icbluesclub.org
West Virginia Blues Society - Charleston, W.V.
The West Virginia Blues Society, Inc. presents the return of its rockin’ annual event, the 6th Annual Charlie West Blues Fest (CWBF), Friday, May 17th and Saturday, May 18th at Haddad Riverfront Park in Charleston, WV.
This free event, which has gained national attention throughout its five year history, will play host to some of the most talented and up-and-coming blues artists in the country and from around the world. The return of the legendary Ava Popovich as well as Davina and the Vagabonds will surely get you moving, and other highlighted artists include Kim Wilson & The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Magic Slim & The Teardrops and Mojo Theory, just to name a few.
The CWBF is an annual event dedicated to support wounded service members through the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP)—a nonprofit organization whose mission is to honor and empower wounded warriors. For information on sponsorships and donations contact Jack Rice, West Virginia Blues Society at (304) 389-1439or email@example.com. Visit www.wvbluessociety.org.
The West Michigan Blues Society - Grand Rapids, MI
The West Michigan Blues Society in cooperation with community supported radio station WYCE 88.1 present the 2013 Cabin Fever Blues Series. The Series will be held at Billy's Lounge 1437 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI. 616-459-5757. Music starts at 9:30 PM. The band participating this year are: February 9 - Reverend Raven and the Chain Smoking Altar Boys, February 16 - Damon Fowler, February 23 - Sena Ehrhardt, March 2 - Peaches Staten. Cover for the shows are $10.00 per show. http://www.wmbs.org.
The Great Northern Blues Society - Wausau, WI
The Great Northern Blues Society is having our annual fundraiser known as the “Blues Café” on 3/9/13 in Rothschild, WI (near Wausau, WI)
Doors to the Rothschild Pavilion (1104 Park Street, Rothschild, WI) open at noon, music starts at 1:00PM with 10 hours of non-interrupted Music featuring Donnie Pick & the Road Band, Kilborn Alley Band, Grady Champion, Magic Slim & The Teardrops. Corey Stevens and Robert “One-Man” Johnson will be playing Acoustic Sets between main stage acts. There will be 4 Food vendors on site, with Cold Adult Beverages.$17 in advance - $22 at the door. For general information, and Ticket information go to – www.gnbs.org.
Featured Blues Review 4 of 6
Cal Williams Jr – Honeychild
10 tracks / 36:25
Over the years I have enjoyed a lot of great music from Australia and it looks like I am going to have to add Cal Williams Jr’s latest CD, Honeychild, to the list of winners. Cal is a singer and guitarist that has been working hard to get his music heard, having toured the UK and played with many great artists, finally ending up back in Australia where he plays with his own band, teaches guitar and records.
Honeychild is Williams’ third album, and as usual he takes on the lead vocal and acoustic guitar roles. He is joined by a fine group of musicians, some of whom are members of his regular band line-up. Included are Kory Horwood on double bass and vocals, Manny Kechayas on drums, Anthony Pak Poy on back-up guitar, Emma Luker on violin and Ben Timbers on the banjo. Besides co-producing the album with Anthony Stewart, Cal also wrote half of the songs on this release.
There is a nice collection of songs on this CD, which contains a balanced mixture of folk and blues sounds thanks in no small part to the use of banjo, acoustic guitars and double bass, not to mention Williams’ pleasant country-styled voice. By the way, I hear no Australian accent when he sings. The five cover tunes range from the 1920s to the 1960s, and were popularized by the likes of Nick Drake, Simon and Garfunkel, and Louis Armstrong. His five original songs blend well with these blues classics, and showcase his strong songwriting skills.
I am guessing that Cal Williams Jr is a fan of Nick Drake (as am I), as he included two songs that Drake recorded: “Blues Runs the Game” and “Smoking Too Long.” “Blues Runs the Game” is the opening track on Honeychild, and this has to be my favorite version of this song which says a lot because a lot of big names have tried to make it their own. His guitar is clear as a bell, and his voice and phrasing are perfectly suited to the material. Luker’s fiddle work adds another melodic layer to fill out this song and solidifies the whole effort.
“Smoking Too Long” is one of my favorite songs by the esteemed songsmith Robin Frederick. As always, Cal’s guitar is nicely picked, but in this case his voice comes out strongly and carries the load. The only other accompaniment is the double bass which is used to produce two great tones. First there is the percussive plucked part which is gloriously woody and natural sounding, and then there is an aggressive bowed interlude. This track was very tastefully put together, and with the forward-placed bass parts there was no need for drums. This collection of first-rate cover tunes is rounded out by the traditional “St. James Infirmary,” which was popularized by Louis Armstrong, J.B. Lenoir’s “Mama Talk to Your Daughter” and Blind Willie Johnson’s “Dark was the Night.”
Mr. Williams put four of his original tunes in a group in the first half of Honeychild, and when listening to the album as a whole you do not really notice a change in tone or style when he switches from his songs to others’. This is not so much that he is aping the other writers, but is instead remaking their songs into his own style. This helps the album to stand as a single entity, rather than just a collection of tunes that was thrown together to complete a package.
His guitar work is impeccable throughout, and there is a nice interplay between his top-shelf picking and Ben Timbers’ banjo on “Ole 49er” which has a folk/blues sound and straight-up blues lyrics. Then Cal shows his versatility and changes up his sound to combine delta slide guitar with a Bo Diddley beat on the title track. His “New York Central” captures the Louisiana vibe with plenty of slide guitar and more of those beautiful round bass parts under his gorgeous voice. There is even an instrumental, “Geshe La,” which is a marvelous quilt of tones and textures that is a showcase of Williams’ talents, and could easily be used as his musical resume. He is really a masterful player, and his years of hard work have certainly paid off.
I really enjoy listening to Honeychild, and my only regret is that there is not more of it to listen to. None of the songs are very long, with a few of them coming in under three minutes, and a total play time of only 36 minutes. But everything that he included on the disc is really high quality stuff, and sure enough I got plenty of them stuck in my head over the past week. I think that this music is compelling and you should surely give this new Cal Williams Jr album a try.
Reviewer Rex Bartholomew is a Los Angeles-based writer and musician; his blog can be found at www.rexbass.blogspot.com.
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Featured Blues Review 5 of 6
The Lucky Peterson Band featuring Tamara Peterson - Live at the 55 Arts Club- Berlin
Premium Package has 3 DVDs plus 2 CDs
DVDs have 26 songs running 215 minutes
CDs have 22 songs running 159 minutes
Rating: Library Quality
Styles: Modern Electric Blues; Traditional Blues; Funk, Soul, R&B
It has been ten years since I have seen Blues phenomenon Lucky Peterson perform live. From scenes in the DVDs, at least one thing has not changed, Lucky still likes to leave the stage in the middle of a song, stroll through the crowd while playing his guitar with a wireless transmitter, and join folks by sitting at their table while still playing. I have a photograph from 2003 of Lucky and me sitting side-by-side on tall barstools, and both of us are playing guitar – his a custom six-string model and mine the finest quality “air guitar” money could buy. Peterson has such an incredible Blues pedigree, and his first ever DVD is so good that it has been nominated for a 2013 “Best DVD for 2012” Blues Music Award.
Born Judge Kenneth Peterson in December 13, 1964, “Lucky” is the son of late Bluesman James Peterson who owned a nightclub in Buffalo NY called The Governor's Inn. There, Lucky performed on organ starting at the age of five and met many a traveling legend, especially Willie Dixon, who took young Judge under his wing. Wearing short pants, the five year old Peterson performed on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson,” “The Ed Sullivan Show,” and “What's My Line?” Now, playing guitar, keyboards, singing, and writing songs, the quadruple threat shows in this package what a great, animated and passionate performer he is over the DVD’s 22 tracks of variety. His wife, Tamara handles the vocals on several numbers, as well as contributing many songs.
The premium package has three DVDs and two CDs. (Another available package has the CDs only). DVD # 1 is the first set performance, DVD# 2 contains the second set, and the third DVD has behind the scenes, four songs led by second guitarist Shawn Kellerman, an interview, “and more.” The two CDs match the music performed on the DVDs. The packaging itself is absolutely first class, too. An included 20 page booklet contains great photos, profiles of the band members, and a forward by Andreas Hommelsheim, who opened 55 Arts Club Berlin where this concert was filmed. It was filmed March 2012 when Lucky played his first Berlin show in 10 years. Performing with him is his wife Tamara Peterson (vocals), Shawn Kellerman (lead and rhythm guitar), Tim Waites (bass) and Raul Valdes (drums). In a two-and-a-half-hour concert, Lucky Peterson performs his own compositions as well as Blues classics such as “Ta’ Ta’ You,” “Who s Been Talking?”, “I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom” and “The World’s In A Tangle.”
The entire night is just one incredible, master performance after another; Lucky, dapper in a three piece suit and hat, and with all his facial expressions, big eyes, and verve is simply spell-binding! Peterson has a smile that could win awards; he is, literally, a born entertainer. The camera work is excellent with close-ups providing images even front row, awe-struck audience members could not see. The sound quality is well above average, and both Lucky and Tamara are in fine voice. Personally, I love Lucky’s burning glass-on-steel slide guitar work on Robert Johnson’s “I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom” which continues through Jimmy Roger’s “The World Is In A Tangle” – both played while Peterson is seated in front of the stage to be even closer to the audience. The sets have variety which keeps one on the edge of the seat in anticipation of “what next.” There are moments when band is really stomping it with Shawn Kellerman just wailing followed by a sudden hush allowing Tamara to thrill on vocals, often with Lucky then adding harmony vocals.
Overall, this is an outstanding package well worthy of the BMA nomination and reasonable price-tag. All the right ingredients are there: great music, tight and fun band, excellent sound quality, and great, clear, color film work. For long time fans and newcomers alike, here is a real-deal prodigy fully matured into an entertainer extraordinaire!
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.
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Featured Blues Review 6 of 6
The No Refund Band - The No Refund Band
Never judge a book (or a CD) by its’ cover. I saw this, the band’s name surrounded by a guitar body in a neon sign look on a black background. Not too way out, not big budget. There’s some familiar covers listed, some original stuff. I admit I underestimated this from the start. I threw it in the CD player and was immediately wooed by Ricky Jackson’s vocals. He’s got a style that grabs you– real, authentic, emotive. Great pipes. And then you ad he and Mike Crownover on guitar, Rik Robertson on bass, Walter Cross on drums and a horn section of diamond Juim Brady and Anthony Terry, Travis Doyle on B3, Randy Whal on piano, James Metcalf o n congas, Tyson Sheth on percussion, and Max Dyer and Aleph Yonker on strings and you have an amazing, big sound.
“Eleanor Rigby” is one of the covers. A little schmaltzy and over done, but they sold me. The only other bluesman to do that on this song was Mem Shannon. I could have done without some of the echo, but it’s pretty neat and full of feeling. “Never Been to Spain” takes the Hoyt Axton song where Three Dog Night did not; it goes to a gritty and grungy place, with dirty vocals and Terry on the sax and the guitar just laying it out. Warren Haynes’ “Soul Shine” is a number I usally only want to here Haynes and Gregg Allman do. They pull it off, with Jackson up front and Tommie Lee Bradley backing him vocally (she can growl right along with Jackson) and a nice B3 line throughout with guitar and sax solos also selling it. They close to “Willie the Wimp,” and while it might not be like SRV it is cool with the trumpet and horn and the “No Refund” sound.
“Got Whiskey” opens with a drum solo and gives us the band’s feelings about how they like 80 proof, golden stuff, grooving and beating it out. They follow it up on the theme with “One More Drink,” changing it up with acoustic guitar and hearing the lament of someone who wants to go home feeling less of life’s pains. “Blues is My Business” is the opening cut, and as I said it grabbed me. Jackson and company are sort of the Grand Funk RR meet Chicago done up in Texas blues style. Big, ringing guitar sounds, smooth yet gravel toned vocals, a big beat and heavy instrumental backing
Some nice originals and covers that are fun, moving, danceable and just good listening. I was impressed with these guys (and gal); the No Refund Band exceeded my initial expectations and I recommend this to blues fans who like to hear blues with a big sound!.
Reviewer Steve Jones is president 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 since 1996, he writes for and publishes the bi-monthly newsletter for Crossroads, chairs their music festival and work with their Blues In The Schools program. He resides in Byron, IL.
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