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Issue 7-16, April 18, 2013

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Cover photo by Bob Kieser © 2013

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 In This Issue

Terry Mullins has our feature interview with Tinsley Ellis.

We have eight music reviews for you! Steve Jones reviews a new CD from Jesse Dee. John Mitchell reviews a new release from The Blues Caravan and also reviews a new release from Chris Belleau. Mark Thompson reviews a new album from Eliza Neals. Rex Bartholomew reviews a new live release from Gay Marshall. Marty Gunther reviews a new release from The Bush League. Rainey Wetnight reviews a new album by Frank Bey with the Anthony Paule Band. Rhys Williams reviews a new CD from Jason Elmore & Hoodoo Witch. 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,

This week marks five years since the death on an amazing young Blues musician, Sean Costello. His death as a gifted 28 year old with a hot new CD rising on the charts in 2008 was tragic.

We here at Blues Blast Magazine fully support the foundation his parents started after his passing. The Sean Costello Memorial Fund for Bipolar Research was started to help musicians and others who struggle with the condition Sean suffered from. We even named our Sean Costello Rising Star Award after this amazing young artist.

If by chance you are not familiar with Sean's music, please check out this complete set of one of his gigs from 2006 at The Living Room in New Your City. CLICK HERE. The clip show what a brilliant guitar player he was and also his obvious joy at playing this music we all love called the Blues.

Now as readers of Blues Blast Magazine you can help support his memory and the great work the foundation does in two possible ways.

First, if you are within driving distance you can attend the fundraiser below and support the cause with your dollars at this great live Blues event in Atlanta, Georgia.

Second if you can't make the benefit show, consider donating to The Sean Costello Memorial Fund for Bipolar Research by clicking HERE. The Sean Costello Memorial Fund for Bipolar Research is a 501c3 organization; donations are tax deductible according to IRS guidelines.

Here are the details of this great event.

NO HALF STEPPIN’: 5th Annual Memorial Celebration - Saturday, April 20, 2013 from 7:00PM – 2:00AM at Northside Tavern 1058 Howell Mill Rd NW, Atlanta, GA

In memory of Sean Costello’s birthday (April 16, 1979), Northside Tavern donates its use for an annual benefit in his name. Doors open and entertainment begins at 7:00pm. $10 donation at the door.

Event Performers: Chicago Joe's Rock 'N Blues Camp, Stephen Duncan, The Rockaholics, The Georgia Flood, Little G Weevil, The Cazanovas plus Special Guests & Musician's Jam

This year’s lineup features some of Atlanta’s best! Chicago Joe’s Rock ‘N Blues Camp features young blues musicians.

Stephen Duncan, a solo artist, plays traditional country blues.

The Rockaholics perform an homage to the blues, rock and soul artists of yesteryear and today.

The Georgia Flood, a young and upcoming trio, represented Atlanta in the 2013 International Blues Challenge (IBC).

Little G Weevil, a Hungarian native, represented Atlanta at the 2013 IBC, coming home the Solo/Duo Winner, as well as best guitarist.

The Cazanovas are an Atlanta favorite, who have been performing since 2004. They also made it to the semi-finals at the 2013 IBC, impressing blues fans from around the world.

Wishing you health, happiness and lots of Blues music! 

Bob Kieser

 Featured Blues Interview - Tinsley Ellis

Father Time has a patented knack for sneaking up on us, making hours fly by like minutes and years pass by like months.

That would explain how you can go from being a young, up-and-coming firebrand guitarist to a grizzled, wise old veteran of the blues highway in what seems like the blink of an eye.

Of course in reality, Tinsley Ellis’ climb through the ranks of the Atlanta blues world – from ‘can’t miss prospect’ to elder statesman – has been a journey that has enveloped the better part of the last 35 years.

But as Ellis recently found out, Father Time’s console is also equipped with a rewind button, too, and just for fun, he’s not opposed to a little role reversal every once in a while.

“I just did this tour called Blues at the Crossroads II –a tribute to Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf - with the Fabulous T-Birds, Jody Williams, Bob Margolin and James Cotton. And I was the youngest one on that tour. And it felt great,” laughed Ellis. “Margolin was calling me ‘sonny boy.’ They busted my balls good on that tour. It was like going back to school and I loved it.”

He may not possess a framed doctorate degree in playing the blues, but Ellis has sure taught a lesson or two of his own in the last three decades. Logging enough miles that would make even the toughest road warrior give up and throw in the towel, there are not too many stages anywhere in this great land of ours that have not been graced with Ellis’ powerhouse brand of the blues. After all, they don’t call Tinsley Ellis the ‘Highwayman’ for nothing. That title has certainly been well-earned.

Perfect then, because the open highway is the ultimate place to give Ellis’ latest hot rod of a CD a spin.

An all-instrumental affair (Ellis calls it TIN-strumental music), Get It! (Heart Fixer Music) is road trip music on steroids. Music that harkens back to the glorious days when bands like The Ventures and The Shadows roamed the earth and dominated the charts.

“I think that’s one of the highest compliments that you can pay a record – that it makes you want to get up and go,” he said. “There are a couple of mellower things on there (Get It!), too, but for the most part, it is driving music. People have given it a really good response and that makes me happy.”

Ellis has earned a reputation as one of those performers that truly is thankful for his fan base, and when that fan base speaks, he aims to do what he can to deliver.

“It seems like people are really hungry for guitar instrumentals, almost like the early 60s or something. And the types of albums that fans have requested from us have been a live album – which we did in 2005 with Live Highwayman – and which was a big success, the biggest success I’ve had since the hey-day of Storm Warning and albums like that, some 20 years ago,” he said. “And fans also have wanted to know when I was going to do an acoustic album. That’s a tough one, because to me, that’s something that you do when you’re already famous, not something you do to get you famous. And then another type of album that people have been asking about for literally decades is an instrumental album. I kept hearing that over and over again. So that’s always been in the back of my mind.”

Get It! is not only a showcase of Ellis’ impressively fluid chops, it also serves as something of a thank-you note to the guitarists that have influenced and inspired the Georgia-born bluesman over the years.

“I wear my influences on my sleeve – they’re that obvious. I mean, I’m not really a ground-breaker, but I’m also not an interpreter, either,” Ellis said. “If I set out to do a song with that Memphis feel, it’s going to have that Booker T and The MG’s, that Stax Records kind of thing on it. And if I do a rock song, it’s going to have that British feel, that Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Jeff Beck type of thing on it. The influences are just there. And the cool thing is, sometimes I can string a few of them together.”

Ellis also manages to channel good portions of legendary axe-slingers Albert Collins, Chuck Berry, Freddie King, Bo Diddley and Duane Eddy on Get It!, all with seeming ease.

“It’s easy to play their styles, because when I was coming up playing in blues bands as a sideman, almost 30 years ago, we played a lot of Chuck Berry songs, we played a lot of Freddie King songs and a lot of Bo Diddley songs. And even before that, in high school, some of the rock influences you may hear on the album –Jeff Beck or Roy Buchanan – was the kind of music that we were playing,” he said. “So those are a real comfortable pair of shoes for me to slip into. And some of the songs are pretty much tributes, like “Berry Tossin’” is a tribute to Chuck Berry, obviously, and the two cover songs on the album, the Bo Diddley song (“Detour”) and “Freddie’s Midnight Dream,” those are pretty darn true to the originals, because it would be hard to do them better, so the best thing is just to do them in that style. But I’ve been doing those songs since the early 80s, when I was in The Heartfixers.”

A lack of vocals is not the only brand-new thing about Ellis’ latest release. It’s also the inaugural release on his own label, Heart Fixer Music.

So, after long being a staple on the Alligator Records’ roster, why did Ellis decide the time was right to strike out on his own?

“Well, I’ve had a long, fruitful and prosperous relationship with Alligator Records over the years and I really wanted them to put this album out. But Bruce (Iglauer) thought it was a crazy idea,” said Ellis. “He thought it was a crazy idea, and you know what? It is a crazy idea. In a market that’s shrinking anyway, to put out a record without words is crazy - it limits you even more. But this is something that I felt like I had to do. It had to be done to purge my soul of this instrumental music that goes to my head all the time. But he (Iglauer) gave me his blessing to put this out on my own, so he’s been real cool with it. I think he really wants this album to succeed. This is my first attempt at being a record label. I’ve been with some of the best in the business and have learned a lot, especially from Bruce. He’s pretty much sort of mentored me in terms of the business of making albums. In the old days, we used to make albums to make money, and frankly, some of my albums over the years have made a lot of money, but nowadays, I think a better way to think of it is; how will an album advance my career as a performing artist, because that’s what I really do for a living. And low-and-behold, my name has been getting out there, more this year than in the past two when I didn’t make albums.”

But just because he’s shaken things up on his newest album, that doesn’t mean that wholesale changes are in for the concert stage, as well.

“Well, it’s not like I’m going to take away the vocal mike at my shows. When people come to see me, they’re still going to hear songs like “To the Devil for a Dime” and “A Quitter Never Wins” and “Highwayman” – songs that made up the bulk of the live album,” Ellis said. “I don’t want to scare people (with an instrumental album) into thinking I’m never going to sing again. But maybe some people would find relief in that. That’s always been the biggest criticism of my albums – they’d go, ‘Oh, it’s too bad he doesn’t sing as well as he plays.’ But in a way it’s cool, because on this album, I can let my guitar be the singer. If you get a guy that’s a real singer – like Gregg Allman for instance – they can sing the phone book and deliver it. Well, for me, I can’t sing the phone book, but my guitar can. You know what I mean? Let the guitar do the singing.”

Though he has always championed the cause of playing blues music, that doesn’t mean that Ellis isn’t versatile enough to switch gears from time to time. You’re as likely to see Ellis trading licks with jamband stalwarts like Gov’t Mule and Widespread Panic, or with southern rockers like Lynyrd Skynyrd, as you are to see him laying down the blues with Jimmy Thackery or Otis Rush.

But at the end of the day, for Ellis, it’s really simple; it all comes down to the blues.

“I can tell you, when I’m lucky enough to be invited to get up and play with a band like Widespread Panic, or Derek Trucks or the Allman Brothers, I don’t change my style of playing one bit,” he said. “And when I get up and play with The Fabulous T-Birds or James Cotton, it’s the same thing. That’s one of the good things about the blues – they work anywhere in any kind of musical setting. And some of the best proof of that was when David Bowie hired Stevie Ray Vaughan for his album (1983’s Let’s Dance). That seemed like a pretty nutty idea, but if you listen to it, his guitar playing fit perfectly with Bowie’s songs. And all he did was channel that Albert King thing – and Albert King guitar playing works with anybody, whether you’re Pink Floyd or Roomful of Blues. It’s like a universal language.”

Ellis has long been a constant presence on the Atlanta blues scene, even back in the days when playing that sort of music might have been frowned upon by a lot of the city’s club-hopping residents. But thankfully, times have changed in Hotlanta.

“We definitely kind of pioneered the blues here in the 1970s – when people didn’t want to hear it. When I was in The Heartfixers with Chicago Bob Nelson, we were doing the blues when people sure didn’t want to hear them. But now, there are lot of great blues bars and a lot of great blues acts (in Atlanta). You can go out and hear live blues seven nights a week here. It’s exciting,” he said. “But unfortunately, a couple of years ago, we lost the guy that might have been the next big thing – Sean Costello. He could have been the next Stevie Ray Vaughan.”

Ellis’ legendary work ethic began in earnest with The Heartfixers, and the group earned their stripes by playing anywhere they could, at anytime they could. The group also backed up R&B legend Nappy Brown on his excellent 1984 album, Tore Up.

As The Heartfixers drifted apart in the late 80s, Ellis hooked up with Alligator Records, and to date, has issued eight albums for Iglauer’s Chicago-based label.

But the journey to get from promising young guitarist, to king of the road and now, to record-label head honcho, started much earlier than 1988 for Tinsley Ellis.

It started on Feb. 9, 1964.

That was the date that changed the lives and career paths of countless youngsters all across the world.

Tinsley Ellis was one of those youngsters.

“I was one of the guys that watched The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show when I was 7 years old. I watched it with my parents and they were down on The Beatles, which made me like them even more,” he said. “And I went out right after that and got a guitar. In fact, on the album (Get It!) cover there’s a picture of me getting a guitar as a kid. But I got a guitar and got into the British Invasion thing and then that led me to the real deal. Someone said, ‘If you like that music, you need to check out Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf.’ And it just so happened that B.B. King was coming through town about that time, so I went and saw him. And then I realized where The Beatles, the Stones and The Yardbirds and The Animals got their stuff from. But I’m still primarily a fan that’s been blessed enough to make a living by playing the music that I love.”

Visit Tinsley's website at

Photos by Bob Kieser © 2013

Interviewer Terry Mullins is a journalist and former record store owner whose personal taste in music is the sonic equivalent of Attention Deficit Disorder. Works by the Bee Gees, Captain Beefheart, Black Sabbath, Earth, Wind & Fire and Willie Nelson share equal space with Muddy Waters, The Staples Singers and R.L. Burnside in his compact disc collection. He's also been known to spend time hanging out on the street corners of Clarksdale, Miss., eating copious amounts of barbecued delicacies while listening to the wonderful sounds of the blues.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

 Featured Blues Review 1 of 8

Jesse Dee - On My Mind/In My Heart

Alligator Records

11 tracks

Okay, I must say right up front and to all to hear that when I saw this album and thought, “What the hell is Iglauer up to now? This kid is from New England and looks like he’s having a poofed up bad big hair day. What are they thinking” That’s what I get for judging a book by it’s cover.

I was headed out right after getting the CD to review, so I threw it in the car CD player for a listen. I listened to it three time through and have listened to it a lot more since then. My wife said to me in the car that day, “This really is a good CD. Who is it?” I answered simply, “Jesse Dee.” “Wow, what a great singer! He sounds a lot like Curtis Salgado. I like this a lot!” She’s right. It’s a damn good CD and he does sound a little like Curtis. This Iglauer guy is smart like a fox!

Dee sings and plays guitar. Johnny Trama also fill sin on guitar on 5 cuts. Jim Larkin on bass and Matt “Pie” Beaulieu om drums offer up a solid backline. Hammond and B3 are handled aptly by Eli Winderman and Steve Moss does the piano work. Another half dozen guys fill in on horns and percussive stuff and others do backing vocals and appear here and there; it’s a big cast but they all play together and put on a superb show! Dee wrote or co-wrote everything served up here. It’s sort of like Curtis Salgado being back by Room Full of Blues gone wild. I really enjoyed this one.

The CD opens to the title track, a jumping and swinging song with him hitting a Cab Calloway-like stride in the vocals. The band swings and Dee floats vocally along with them. It is impressive. The horns and brass blare away, the drummer takes charge from time to time, but it is Dee who runs the show. I was sold on the initial listen based on this song, and another ten that are equally good remained to be heard.

He can growl down low and hit the high notes; “No Matter Where I Am” follows with more great swinging sounds. “Fussin’ And Fightin’” blends a little reggae into the swing and Dee nails it. His vocals are expressive and soulful again and again. “I Won’t Forget About You” is perhaps a little more Sam Cooke in style, with Dee swinging and jiving. “Tell Me (Before It’s Too Late)” starts mellow and Dee builds into a passionate delivery, asking his woman what’s on her mind and to “Tell Me (Before It’s Too Late).”

Rachel Price joins Dee on the early 60’s sound of “From The Start;” it could be a King/Geffen tune. Price’s and Dee’s duet hearkens to that era and the band makes the feeling complete. Dee hits some sweet high notes on “The Only Remedy” as he croons to his lover that, “your love is the only remedy.” “What’s A Boy Like Me To Do?” continues in that vein. The temp is taken way down but he is just so soulful and pure sounding. He wants to leave but can’t; his confusion over his wanting to both love and leave is powerfully expressed.

“Sweet Tooth” has nice retro guitar and organ intro and Dee goes into a surf-swing mode. Well done! “Boundary Line” goes back down in tempo as Dee lays out a beautiful and soulful ballad for us. He finishes with the swinging “Stay Strong,” a nice jump blues cut. It’s just a powerfully great set of tunes top to bottom, delivered to perfection.

If you like to swing, if you like to hear someone sing with their heart and soul and if you like someone to totally bare their emotions in their music, then you will love this CD (as I did). If you had to label him I’d have to say that Dee is a new generation of white R&B and soul singer. Labels do not matter; this CD is a self-contained party. You will want to dance and sing along more and more with each listen. This is a fantastic effort (really his second CD, his first being a self released one in 2008) and he has a very bright future! Jesse Dee is the real deal. If you like Sam Cooke, Al Green, Curtis Salgado you’ll like this guy, too. Bad hair day or not, let me repeat that Jesse Dee is the real deal. Very highly recommended!

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.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured Blues Review 2 of 8

Blues Caravan - Girls With Guitars Live CD/DVD

Ruf Records

CD 12 tracks; 70 minutes; DVD 15 tracks; 89 minutes

I had the pleasure of reviewing the Girls With Guitars studio CD in 2011. I recommended the album but thought that the live shows would be even better, a prediction borne out by this impressive CD/DVD package. Recorded in Germany in February 2012 the girls are Samantha Fish (Kansas City USA) and Dani Wilde (UK) on guitars, newcomer Victoria Smith (UK) on bass and token male Denis Palatin (France) on drums; Dani and Samantha sing lead and all three girls provide harmony vocals. On the studio album Cassie Taylor played bass and contributed several songs but here the girls concentrate on Samantha and Dani’s originals with a selection of well-chosen covers. In fact the only tracks that are repeated from the studio album are the two covers which bookended the studio album and do so again on this audio CD – The Stones’ “Bitch” and Paul Peña’s “Jet Airliner”, best known from Steve Miller’s version. “Bitch” is a strong opener on the CD but is not included on the DVD; four extra songs make it on to the DVD, two covers plus one each from Dani and Samantha.

The band chooses to open the DVD with Lenny Kravitz’s “Are You Gonna Go My Way?” with Dani and Samantha recreating the dual guitars of the original. It makes an exciting opener and segues into Dani’s “Don’t Go Making Me Cry”. The James Gang’s “Funk #49” follows and is another excellent vehicle for Dani and Samantha to show us their abilities, but also brings one of the downsides of a live record in the shape of a drum and bass solo, probably the reason for leaving it off the audio CD.
Dani and Samantha each have five tracks from their most recent solo CDs, Dani’s “Juice Me Up” and Samantha’s “Runaway”. “Red Blooded Woman” is from Dani’s earlier CD “Shine” and she performs it without Samantha who returns to the stage to lead on an intense version of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put A Spell On You” which I enjoyed a lot, Samantha’s anguished vocal giving way to a solo which builds from restrained start to torrid finale.

The two girls then exchange pairs of songs, including Dani’s superb rocker “Juice Me Up” and Samantha’s “Money To Burn” which morphs into Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” riff towards the end and features some of Dani’s best playing on the album. Dani’s more soulful voice suits Smokey Robinson’s “Who’s Loving You” brilliantly and works equally well on her own soul ballad “Falling”, another of the DVD only cuts. Samantha’s “Down In The Swamp” does what the title suggests and there is an extended version of her “Runaway”. Set closer on both CD and DVD is “Jet Airliner”, played at a slightly slower pace than Steve Miller. As on several tracks on this package the interplay between the two guitarists is excellent, their two different styles blending seamlessly in support of the song.

Overall this is a generously proportioned package that gives the listener plenty of music to enjoy. The DVD is well filmed and adds to our appreciation of the on-stage chemistry within the band. Anyone who enjoyed the earlier studio album or caught any of the live shows will want this as a souvenir of a great night of live music.

Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK. Current favorites from recent releases include Michael Burks, Little Feat, Sugar Ray and The Bluetones, Albert Castiglia, Johnny Rawls and Doug Deming.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured Blues Review 3 of 8

Eliza Neals - Messin With a Fool


13 tracks/46:20

Hailing from Detroit, singer Eliza Neals hits you right between the eyes with a bunch of tunes that mix blues, rock,soul and even hip-hop influences into a heady brew that seldom fails to grab your attention. Producer Martin “Tino” Gross goes for a lo-fi sound that harks back to the 60's garage band era. He also provides the majority of the musical accompaniment on all tracks, playing guitar, harp, bass and drums. Gross is the front man for the Howling Diablos and has toured with legendary blues artists like Hubert Sumlin and Jimmy Rogers.

The disc opens with “Misery” as Neal's soulful voice takes on a raw edge over the anguish of a departed lover. But she quickly recovers on the following song, belting out her appreciation for a “Man's Man”, complete with a grungy guitar riff. It is one of eight songs Neals co-wrote with Gross. They give a gritty portrayal of effects of hard financial times on “Shame” with co-auther Don Duprie on guitar and bass while “Rainin' in Detroit” finds Neals passionately pouring out her sorrows over ringing guitar chords. The cut features Jimmie Bones on piano, Johnny “Bee” Badanjek on drums, Mike Smith on guitar, Mo Hollis on bass and Shannon Boone on drums.

Badanjek also appears on his original, “Rather Go To Jail”, adding backing vocals as Neals pledges her devotion to her lover, the strong vocal echoed by Kenny Robinson's trumpet. “Been a Long Time” is a brief, Stones-like mid-tempo rocker sparked by Gross on guitar and harp. “Can't Stop” has a swampy feel and another energized performance from Neals. She takes a sultry approach on “ESP”, with vocal assistance from Barrett Strong, Jr. and Leonard Moon on piano. The following cut, “In Charge”, fails to connect as Neals chants snippets of lyrics over a swirling wash of electronics that never leads anywhere. Far better is her cover of “Money” - a tough, down-&-dirty rendition that injects a some punk attitude into the R&B classic.

Men don't fare too well in Neals world-vision. On “Livin' with Yo Mama”, she berates a good-looking man when she discovers he has yet to cut the apron strings. Her contempt for no-good men is more vividly expressed on “Pig” with a defiant tone that matches the sweltering boogie riff. The closer shifts to a quieter setting, as Neals voice soars on a spell-binding run-through of “Love Hurts More”,.illustrating the range of her vocal skills.

The end result is a disc that primarily rocks while showing blues influences from time to time. The key selling point is Eliza Neals gutsy singing. Her talent has been recognized in her hometown as she garnered five nominations for the 2103 Detroit Music Awards, including nods in the Blues/R&B Vocalist, Blues/R&B Songwriter, and Blues/R&B Recording categories for this release. If you are looking for music with an attitude, you definitely need to give this one a listen.

Reviewer Mark Thompson lives in Florida, where he is enjoying life without snow. He is a member of the Board of Directors for the Suncoast Blues Society and the past president of the Crossroads Blues Society of Northern Illinois. Music has been a huge part of his life for the past fifty years - just ask his wife!

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured Blues Review 4 of 8

Chris Belleau – Knee Deep In The Blues

Independent Release

13 tracks; 53 minutes

Baton Rouge native Chris Belleau’s third CD comes after a gap of some sixteen years but what he has produced has been worth the wait as Chris delivers a mixture of blues, Tex-Mex and Cajun sounds with a wide range of instrumentation including horns, accordion, fiddle and the usual suspects of guitar, keys, bass and drums. Perhaps that diversity is not surprising for a guy who has worked with Gatemouth Brown and recorded with Irma Thomas and Charlie Rich. Chris himself handles all lead vocals and contributes harp and trombone to most tracks (he started out on trombone), accordion on the tracks with a Cajun feel as well as occasional guitar. In terms of writing credits the CD divides neatly into two halves, the first dominated by Chris’ own songs, the second half being all covers.

The CD opens strongly with “Let It Go” which has a great groove to it with Chris playing harp and trombone alongside a sax player, a big band production swinger. Chris’ voice is pleasant and shares some of Tab Benoit’s inflections to my ear – perhaps the shared Louisiana heritage? “Dance To The Blues With Me” is a funky tune, a co-write with David Egan, with a strong chorus of backing vocalists and more horns. “Angels In The Swamp” comes from the same team but has no horns other than Chris’ trombone in the background. What the song does have is a strong harp solo and a really catchy tune, making it one of the standout tracks. “Hole In My Heart” has more of a country feel courtesy of Bryan Basco’s fiddle and the rather clichéd chorus - “there’s a hole in my heart shaped like you and it makes me blue”. The fiddle is also a feature (along with rubboard) of the only cover among the opening seven tracks, a respectful adaptation by Chris of “Jolie Blonde” which stays truer to its Cajun origins than the well-known Gary ‘US’ Bonds/Springsteen cover.

I particularly liked the next pair of Chris’ originals. “Keep On Trying” takes a defiantly positive view of life, whatever obstacles might appear. The horns are back for this one and guitarist Nick Palmer adds some nice touches too. The title track “Knee Deep In The Blues” is also horn-driven, a slower piece that lyrically takes almost the opposite stance to the previous track, Chris this time being assailed by all those irritating aspects of life: overdue payments, bills, car stopped by cops, etc. Another arrangement of a traditional Cajun instrumental, “Mamou Two-Step” signals the end of Chris’ own compositions, the final five cuts all being covers.

Although Al Courouleau guests on guitar on most of the Cajun cuts his own song “Old Train Blues” is definitely a blues, featuring his dobro on a sparse arrangement alongside Chris’ harp in train mode. Far more Cajun in feel is the version of “Rainin’ In My Heart” where Chris’ accordion playing is featured. The version of Guitar Slim’s “Things That I Used To Do” is interesting as it has the usual rhythm but with accordion, rubboard and trombone it has more of a New Orleans feel. Chris also likes Tex-Mex and here he reprises two classics of that style; Doug Sahm’s “She’s About A Mover” and Sam The Sham And The Pharaohs’ “Woolly Bully”. Both tracks feature original Sir Douglas Quintet organist Augie Myers alongside Chris’ accordion and rubboard which give them a soupçon of Louisiana to add to the border feel; Chris even counts in “Woolly Bully” in French to accentuate the difference from the original. In any case, if the song was good enough for Canned Heat it is certainly OK with me!

Overall this is an enjoyable CD, blending some of those Louisiana sounds to standard blues. Well produced and packaged, this is one worth checking out.

Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK. Current favourites from recent releases include Michael Burks, Sugar Ray and The Bluetones, Albert Castiglia, Johnny Rawls, Andy T/Nick Nixon and Doug Deming.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured Blues Review 5 of 8

The Bush League – Can Of Gas & A Match

Self-produced CD

11 songs – 58 minutes

It’s rare that a CD comes along, grabs you by the shoulders, pulls you in by the first four notes and refuses to let you go until you’ve heard the last chord, but that’s the case with Can Of Gas & A Match, the product of an upcoming quartet from Richmond, Va. It’s a fiery dose of modern blues with a no-excuses heavy dose of Hill Country with a taste Piedmont, Delta and Chicago stylings thrown in for good measure.

If you’ve been lucky enough to attend the International Blues Challenge in Memphis during the past few years, you might be familiar with this group. Co-founders Sleepy Eyed Jay (vocalist JohnJason Cecil) and Chicago Slim (guitarist Shane Parch) first appeared there as a due representing the Piedmont Blues Society in 2010 in the solo/duo category. They returned with the full band in 2011, sponsored by the Sedalia Blues Society, and again in 2012, making it to the semi-finals as representatives of the Natchel Blues Network Blues Society. This disc, recorded in only 14 hours at Memphis’ Young Avenue Sound, this is the band’s first studio album after two previous live releases. It consists of 10 originals and a “bonus track” – a traditional take on the 1928 Robert Wilkins classic, “Prodigal Son.” Co-founder Royce Folks (bass) and Debbie Flood (drums), who worked with five-time Grammy nominee SONiA and Disappear Fear, are high in the mix and drive home the steady rhythm throughout.

The opening title song – a seven-minute, 46-second burner -- kicks off with four solid, stinging guitar notes and a heavy rhythm pattern before Sleepy Eyed Jay, a dynamic and powerful gospel-trained singer with no previous band experience, launches in to the vocal about a woman “who’s forgotten where she’s supposed to lay.” The singer’s a bitter, hard-working man who struggles to put food on the plate. He’s got “a can of gas and a match, y’all – somebody ‘round here is gonna pay.” After a searing guitar solo, the band’s dynamics take the music down to a whisper as the vocalist speculates about his woman’s guilt if she survives the blaze. “Devil Cryin’ In The Churchyard” follows, kicked off by the rhythm section. Ironically, the Devil’s feeling low because he’s tired of the preacher spreading lies and ruining his good name. He claims he’s a decent churchgoer who’s simply been maligned.

“Gotta Woman” is a fun, guitar driven romp about someone who’s “mighty fine” despite having a drinking problem, eats nothing but meat and sleeps all day, among other issues. In this case, love really IS blind – but it also helps that the singer’s got other women scattered all over the place. “Don’t Touch My Liquor” delivers a stern Hill Country warning, highlighted by Jeremy Powell, who sits in on keyboards for three cuts. Sleepy Eyed Jay delivers the powerful “Runnin’ Through The River” from the perspective of a runaway slave who’s attempting to hide his scent. The drums come to the fore as the chase goes forward, supplemented by a foreboding guitar line.

The mood shifts dramatically when the band delivers the rock-tinged “’59 Chevy,” driven by a young man who’s stolen the car from his father as he goes in pursuit of a woman who’s dumped him. An acoustic guitar lead-in and mid-song slide solo highlight “Mexico,” where the singer “has nowhere else to go” after another romantic blow-up and where he hopes to find a friendly mamacita with a beer in each hand. “ While there, he’s probably going to need some “Penicillin,” the next tune, and uptempo shuffle, because “it’s gonna be a hot time tonight.” The disc concludes with “.38 Special Blues,” a piano-rich slow blues threat to a lying friend, and “Death Of Robert,” an interesting tribute to Robert Johnson, before the “Prodigal Son” bonus track.” Traditionalists will recognize it under the title “That’s No Way To Get Along.” It’s the same song the Rolling Stones recorded on “Beggar’s Banquet.”

This is a strong studio debut from a band with plenty of promise. Listen to this one loud, but put away your combustibles. It’s already on fire.

Reviewer Marty Gunther has lived a blessed life. His first experience with live music came at the feet of the first generation of blues legends at the Newport Folk Festivals in the 1960s. A former member of the Chicago blues community, he’s a professional journalist and blues harmonica player who co-founded the Nucklebusters, one of the hardest working bands in South Florida.

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 Featured Blues Review 6 of 8

Gay Marshall – Go Back Where You Stayed Last Night

Self Release

15 tracks / 56:22

Most musicians have other artists that inspire them, and Gay Marshall is no exception. But listeners of her latest album may be surprised that the reason she got into music was the songs of Edith Piaf, the legendary French singer that performed ballads and café songs in the 1940s and 1950s.

Music was not the path that Gay originally headed down, though. As a Midwestern child she yearned to be an actress, so after attending the Interlochen Art Academy for secondary school she was off to study theatre in England. After discovering Piaf, she studied her music and began to perform it in coffee shops, eventually augmenting her repertoire with show tunes, jazz and Dixieland blues. Along the way she wrote a few one-woman shows, participated in gobs of musical theatre, and recorded a CD of Edith Piaf tunes.

On her latest CD, Go Back Where You Stayed Last Night, Marshall shares classic blues tunes from the 1920s and 1930s. These songs were originally recorded by legends such as Ethel Waters (another of Gay’s inspirations), and Sidney Easton. These are other people’s songs with some new lyrics added here and there, but they still maintain the intent of the original versions. She is joined on this album by Roy King on drums, Mike Sands on piano, Martin Block on bass, Tony Koussa on saxophone and Bruce Lehtinen on trombone.

Gay Marshall’s positive spirit shines through in all of her work, and this album is no exception. The fifteen tracks were carefully chosen so that all of these vintage songs have this same upbeat attitude. From the first track, “Brother You Got me Wrong,” you will hear that she is not going for a modern take on these songs. She has affected a 1920s singing style and the band has a gloriously acoustic sound. The score is well-arranged and Sands’ melodic piano work is the proper counterpoint to the vocal line.

The title track is a fine Ethel Waters mid-tempo blues tune that would be at home in any vaudeville revue. Like the rest of the album this one has neat horn parts and fine piano playing, but the stand-out performance on this song has to be Block who thumps out surprisingly complicated lines on his upright bass.

My favorite track on this disc is Joe “King” Oliver’s “West End Blues,” which gives everybody in the band a chance to shine. This leisurely 12-bar blues song lets Marshall cut loose, and she can really belt out her part. Koussa takes the intro and also plays a solo with his killer saxophone tone, and Lehtinen is given the opportunity to work a muted trombone solo in. But what is really cool about this tune is how well the band works as a group to put out a seamless piece of music.

The album ends up with Sippie Wallace’s “You Gotta Know How” and Marshall once again uses her playful vocal style to match the clever lyrics. Koussa weaves his sax in and out of the verses as Sands hammers out a honky-tonk piano part to help keep the beat with King’s drums. This was a great song to finish up with, as it is a fun and upbeat piece.
Go Back Where You Stayed Last Night is a neat piece of work, and an enlightening snapshot of what was going on in the musical world during the years between the wars. Thanks to fine vocals and the prowess off the band everything comes together well for this project. The album cover advertises this as foot-stompin’, hand-clappin’, good time blues” and Gay Marshall certainly delivers the goods.

Reviewer Rex Bartholomew is a Los Angeles-based writer and musician; his blog can be found at

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 Featured Blues Review 7 of 8

Frank Bey with the Anthony Paule Band - You Don’t Know Nothing

Blue Dot Records

10 songs; 56:10 minutes

Styles: Traditional Blues; Blues Covers

When it comes to musical covers (performing another artist’s song), there are two main schools of thought. One is that in order for a cover to be good, it must closely match the style of the original artist, note-for-note in some cases. Another view is that covers should be unique interpretations, deviating as much as possible from the original song while still being recognizable. Frank Bey, with the Anthony Paule Band, adds yet another dimension to the conversation about blues covers: If played with full intensity, passion, and sincerity, they will make listeners remember the first song fondly, while greatly appreciating the fresh version that the current musician provides. Of the ten songs on “You Don’t Know Nothing,” Frank Bey’s latest release, recorded live in San Francisco, nine are covers. However, they’re the kind that will make die-hard blues fans sit up and pay attention instead of groan that there’s nothing new under the sun. Witness these three:

Track 03: “Imagine”--John Lennon’s masterpiece had a mystical quality, that of a brilliant utopian vision. Frank Bey and the Anthony Paule Band bring it back down to Earth through the former’s rousing vocals and the latter’s sax-infused instrumentation. They invite us not only to “imagine all the people,” but to make our dreams a reality. Postmodern visionaries come to mind as well as their predecessors Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi.

Track 06: “Can’t Get the Time of Day”--The only original number on this album has a swinging, big-band sound that mid-tempo blues lovers will crave. “When I see you, babe, tell me why you look away. You know you break my heart. I can’t get the time of day.” This is less a lament than a resigned complaint about a long-term relationship -- as matter-of-fact as a photograph of cheating lovers taken by a P.I.

Track 07: “Hard Times”--Not since Eric Clapton’s rendition of Ray Charles’ hit has it been performed with such raw vocal fervor. Some people say trouble comes in threes: the narrator’s mother dies, then he must pawn his clothes, and finally his lover leaves him. Even if one has heard this song a hundred times, Frank Bey’s version definitely deserves to be one hundred and one. It’s plain to see why he toured with Otis Redding and his Revue for many years.

The Anthony Paule band consists of long time Bay Area guitarist Paule on fretwork, Paul Revelli on drums, Paul Olguin on bass, Nancy Wright on tenor sax, Mike Rinta on trombone, Tony Lufrano on keyboards, and Steffen Kuehn on trumpet. Together, they recorded on July 20, 2012, and have produced the most powerful live album of this year so far. With elusively excellent sound quality for a live recording, “You Don’t Know Nothing” if you ignore it!

Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 33 year old female Blues fan. She brings the perspective of a younger blues fan to reviews. A child of 1980s music, she was strongly influenced by her father’s blues music collection.

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 Featured Blues Review 8 of 8

Jason Elmore & Hoodoo Witch – Tell You What

Underworld Records

12 tracks – 61 minutes

Tell You What is the second release by the Dallas, Texas-based guitarist, singer, songwriter, Jason Elmore and his band, Hoodoo Witch, following the well-received 2010 CD Upside Your Head. In late 2012, Elmore was also voted “Best Blues Act” by the Dallas Observer. With the release of Tell You What, however, Elmore’s reputation should blossom. This is a remarkably good album that highlights the band’s ability to cover a wide number of musical basses (sometimes within the same song), all with impressive virtuosity. Although the blues underpin all the songs, this is not a flat-out blues album. It has strong elements of rock, country, R&B and jazz, but what is so impressive is that all the parts fit so naturally together.

Elmore is clearly a star on the rise. He is a seriously good guitar player, but also sings magnificently and he wrote eight of the 12 songs of the album. He has a good turn of phrase as a lyricist, rarely resorting to clichéd lyrics even while mining the well-worn themes of love, lost love and despair. He also produced the CD, capturing a warm, clear sound with good differentiation between the instruments. His band, comprising Chris Waw on bass and Mike Talbot on drums, plays with the tightness of a unit that has played countless gigs but with the looseness of a rhythm section that knows how to swing. A number of guest musicians also appear, including Tommy Young on B3 organ, Ron Jones on horns and Kirby Kelley on lap steel.

The album opens with “Sharecropper Shuffle”, which sounds like a long-lost Rory Gallagher-meets-Freddie King instrumental, before launching into “Southbound”, which leans towards the “hard rock/blues rock” end of the musical spectrum. However, even in a blues-rock song, Elmore includes bluesy lyrics such as “The hell hound’s forever on my trail, I keep the devil chasing his own tail.” He also owns the song. Elmore is just as good on more traditional blues songs, such as the swinging “She Fine” or on minor key ballads such as “Dirt Ain’t Enough”, where Elmore gives full rein to his outstanding guitar playing, from clean Hendrix-esque chord-melodies in the rhythm to intense, screaming single-note solos. The influence of Hendrix can also be heard in “Cold Lonely Dawn” which features a beautiful guitar solo that is worth the price of admission alone.

There are four covers on the album: Buck Owens’ instrumental “Buckaroo” (which Elmore ingeniously marries to the Beatles’ “I Feel Fine”), Sean Costello’s “Don’t Pass Me By”, Willie Bell’s “You Don’t Miss Your Water” (made famous by Otis Redding) and Rory Gallagher’s frantic “Country Mile” which features both an insane slide cameo from the great Jim Suhler and a lovely nod to Gallagher’s own “Bought And Sold” at the very end of the song. Elmore carries off all the covers with panache and makes them his own.
In some ways, Elmore and his band may be victims of their own talents in that some of the more “rock” or “country” pieces may put off some purist blues fans. “Bottom Feeder”, for example, features squealing harmonics, harmony guitar lines, and exotic scales that sound like something Ritchie Blackmore might have played in Deep Purple or Rainbow. Likewise, “Buckeroo” is a country classic, and as such rarely heard at blues jams or on blues radio stations. And “Good Foot” features Elmore playing jazz licks in the verse before giving way to a simple rock chorus which features the very blues-like warning that “I won’t pitch my tent underneath your poison tree.” By the time the bridge is over, the listener has also heard echoes of The Doors and SRV as well.

If there is any justice in the world, this album will help launch Jason Elmore & Hoodoo Witch as serious international contenders. Of course, there is rarely any such justice in the world, but we can hope. In the meantime, if you like superb songs, played with passion and virtuosity, underpinned by a heavy blues influence, do check out this release..

Reviewer Rhys Williams is a blues guitarist who lives in Cambridge, England. He is lucky enough to be married to a beautiful American wife and he speaks American fluently, if with a slight accent.

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The Sean Costello Memorial Fund for Bipolar Research - Atlanta, GA

The Sean Costello Memorial Fund for Bipolar Research presents NO HALF STEPPIN’: 5th Annual Memorial Celebration on Saturday, April 20, 2013 from 7:00PM – 2:00AM at Northside Tavern 1058 Howell Mill Rd NW, Atlanta, GA.

In memory of Sean Costello’s birthday (April 16, 1979), Northside Tavern donates its use for an annual benefit in his name. This year’s lineup features some of Atlanta’s best! Chicago Joe’s Rock ‘N Blues Camp features young blues musicians. Stephen Duncan, a solo artist, plays traditional country blues. The Rockaholics perform an homage to the blues, rock and soul artists of yesteryear and today. The Georgia Flood, a young and upcoming trio, represented Atlanta in the 2013 International Blues Challenge (IBC). Little G Weevil, a Hungarian native, represented Atlanta at the 2013 IBC, coming home the Solo/Duo Winner, as well as best guitarist. The Cazanovas are an Atlanta favorite, who have been performing since 2004. They also made it to the semi-finals at the 2013 IBC, impressing blues fans from around the world. Plus a Special Guests & Musician's Jam.  Doors open and entertainment begins at 7:00pm. $10 donation at the door. All proceeds go to The Sean Costello Memorial Fund for Bipolar Research is a 501c3 organization; donations are tax deductible according to IRS guidelines. For more information visit

Crossroads Blues Society - Rockford/Northern Illinois

Crossroads Blues Society is proud to be bringing Italy's female blues sensation Linda Valori to Rockford for two great shows. Linda has a brand new CD entitled "Day's Like This" with some scorching hot vocals that amazes all listeners! She was "discovered" in 2005 at Italy's huge San Reamo Festival and has gone on to fame in Italy's music and television scene. This new CD introduces her to the American market and Crossroads is proud to be among the first to host her here.

"Linda's voice is huge and expressed," noted Crossroads President Steve Jones. "She reminds me a little bit of a young Ruth Brown, with hints of Sarah Vaughn and Martha Reeves woven into the textures of her voice. I was floored when I put this CD on for the first time and I remain impressed every time I hear her sing." The two shows are on Thursday, April 18th and Friday April 19th. Thursday's show is at the Adriatic Bar on 327 West Jefferson Street (the former Jacks or Better Club) at 7 PM with a $5 cover charge. On Friday night, Linda appears at the Venetian Club on 2180 Elmwood Road with an 8 PM start. The show is open to the public and is free of charge.

Linda hails from San Benedetto del Tronto of the Province of Ascoli Piceno in the Marches region on Adriatic side of Italy. Her guitar player and mentor for the American blues music scene is Luca Giordano, who was born in Teramo (Province of Teramo in the Abruzzi region) and now splits his time between a home on the Adriatic and Chicago. Luca will join Linda for both of these shows, and backing both of them will be Barstool Bob Levis and his band. Bob lives in Rockford and garnered fame touring and playing guitar for several decades with blues greats Otis Rush and Lonnie Brooks.

There shows will be huge events and a great opportunity to hear this great vocalist for some of her first shows in the US. You will not want to miss them! Call 779-537-4006 for more information on either show.

Crossroads Blues Society is planning some other hot stuff for local blues fans too! Friday May 3rd: BITS with Bobby Messano; evening show at Adriatic Bar in Rockford. Start time 8 PM, $5 admission. Bobby brings his brand of big rock and blues back to the Rockford area!

Friday May 24th: Ana Popovic at the Adriatic in Rockford. Start time 9 PM. $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Tickets printed and available for purchase for this great guitar diva's first show ever in Rockford!

Wednesday June 12th: Dave Fields at the Adriatic. Info TBD, in the works.  Saturday June 22nd: Inaugural Field of Blues Festival at Aviators Stadium. Gates open at 11 AM, music Noon to 10:30 PM. $10 advanced tickets, $15 at the gate.

Saturday August 24th: 4th Annual Byron Crossroads Blues Festival in downtown Byron IL. Gates open at Noon, music 1 PM to 10:30 PM. $7 advanced tickets, $15 at the gate. For more info see

Mississippi Valley Blues Society - Davenport, Iowa

The Mississippi Valley Blues Society presents its last Blues in the Schools artist-in-residence for the 2012-2013 school year, Gary Allegretto, the week of April 22 to 26. The founding director of Harmonikids (a humanitarian organization that gives music therapy with harmonicas to special needs kids worldwide), and recipient of the Blues Foundation’s 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive Award in Education, Gary will be teaching harmonica classes in area schools. He will also present two open-to-the-public performances are Tuesday April 23, 7:00 p.m.—Moline Public Library, 3210 41st Street, Moline IL and Friday April 26, 9:00 p.m.—The Muddy Waters, 1708 State Street, Bettendorf IA

The MVBS Blues in the Schools program is made possible by a generous grant from the Riverboat Development Authority. We also thank our other sponsors the Iowa Arts Council, the Moline Foundation, The Lodge Hotel, Alcoa, and KALA radio.

Also, the Mississippi Valley Blues Society is seeking bands to participate in the inaugural Mississippi Valley Blues Challenge. The first Mississippi Valley Blues Challenge will be held July 5, at the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival. The first of three bands will start at 3 PM and each will perform 20‑minute sets with 5 judges making a decision on which band is the best.

Bands within a 175 miles radius of the Quad Cities will be eligible to compete, but before a band can progress to the final round at the festival, they must first surmount a preliminary round on April 28, at The Muddy Waters, Bettendorf, IA, to decide on the top three bands for the final competition at the festival.

The winner earns the right to compete in the International Blues Challenge held in Memphis, January 21-January 25, 2014. The prize package also includes cash, travel expenses, and the opportunity to perform July 6, 2013 at the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival in Davenport, Iowa.

The deadline for applications is April 20. All interested bands can find applications at

River City Blues Society - Pekin. IL

The River City Blues Society presents the following shows at Goodfellas 1414 N. 8th St. Pekin, Illinois.
Friday April 26th - Biscuit Miller & The Mix 7:30pm Admission - $6.00 general public, $4.00 Society Members.
Wednesday May 8th, Scott Holt Band 7:00 pm Admission - $6.00 general public, $4.00 Society Members
For more info visit: or call 309-648-8510

The Piedmont Blues Preservation Society - Greensboro - NC

The Piedmont Blues Preservation Society’s 27th Annual Carolina Blues Festival presented by YES! Weekly is being held in downtown Greensboro, NC, May 18, 2013. We’re excited to announce Janiva Magness and Kenny Neal will be headliners for the day-long event.

Janiva Magness has been nominated for five Blues Music Awards: B.B. King Entertainer Of The Year Award, Contemporary Blues Female Artist Of The Year, Album Of The Year, Contemporary Blues Album Of The Year, and Song Of The Year. The Awards Ceremony happens just 9 days before our festival.

Kenny Neal, 2011 Louisiana Music Hall of Fame Inductee, is an acclaimed multi-instrumentalist and is widely renowned as a modern swamp-blues master. His new release, Hooked On Your Love, follows the triumph of his multi-award-winning 2008 comeback album, Let Life Flow. The CD raked in the accolades: three Album Of The Year awards, two Song of The Year awards for the title track, and Kenny himself garnered two Artist of the Year honors.  More Info at

Friends Of The Blues - Watseka, IL

Now in their seventh season, The Friends of the Blues present 7 pm early shows: May 2 – Biscuit Miller, Kankakee Moose Lodge, N State Rt 50 (Kinzie Ave), Bradley IL (815) 939-3636; May 16 – James Armstrong, Venue TBA; May 30 – Bryan Lee, Kankakee Valley Boat Club, 1600 Cobb Blvd., Kankakee IL 815-939-1699. Thur, June 6, Ori Naftaly Band from Israel, Kankakee Valley Boat Club, Tues, June 25, Laurie Morvan Band, Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club, Thur, July 18, Jerry Lee and the Juju Kings - Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club - Outdoors!, Thur, July 25, Albert Castiglia w/ Donna Herula, The Longbranch Restaurant in L’Erable, Outdoor show, Thur, Aug 15, Ivas John Band, Moose Lodge, Thur, Aug 29, Little Joe McLerran, Venue To Be Announced, Thur, Sept 19, Reverend Raven and Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys, Kankakee Valley Boat Club, Thur, Oct 3, Too Slim and The Taildraggers – “It’s Everybody’s Birthday Party” - Kankakee Valley Boat Club, Tues, Oct 22, Kilborn Alley Blues Band - Venue To Be Announced, Thur, Nov 7, Terry Quiett Band - Venue To Be Announced  More information: or

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

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 8:00pm $3 cover.Apr 22nd - Brad Vickers & His Vestopolanias, Apr 29th - Stone Cold Blues Band. More info available at 

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, Tinsley Ellis, Mud Morganfield, Kristine Jackson, Grand Marquis Band, Southern Hospitality, Bryan Lee & The Power Blues Band 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 Visit

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