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Joe Price - Rain or Shine

Rain or Shine is the latest CD from Iowa bluesman Joe Price. Half-way through his ten-song set, imaginatively alternating instrumentals and ballads, I understand why he was a finalist at the 2006 International Blues Challenge in the Solo/Duo competition at the Center for Southern Folklore in Memphis. That year, the Solo/Duo finals included winner Eden Brent. From the Mississippi Delta Blues Society , and bluesmen Ben Prestage (Blues Alliance of the Treasure Coast), Noah Earle (Kansas City Blues Society), Tommy Keys (Long Island Blues Society), and Julien Brunestaud & Gullaume Nouax (Blues Sur Seine). The judges had to have had a tough time sorting through this exceptional line-up of blues talent. Joe represented the Central Iowa, Lizard Creek and Mississippi Valley Blues Societies at the IBC, and he made it to the finals. Mathematically, that’s pretty hard to do, especially when there are well over 120 acts in competition. I’ve long felt that succeeding at a local blues society contest was honor enough to get to Memphis: in Joe’s case, three Blues Foundation-affiliated societies achieved consensus on just one act.

Over the past three decades, Joe’s produced more than a half-dozen blues releases – some going back to the days of selling cassettes out of the back of his car at festivals in the 1980’s, and I am very pleased that I’ve discovered his handiwork with the National Reso-Lectric guitar. His fellow Iowans know that they have a musician to be proud of: in 2002, he was inducted into the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame, and in 2007, he was elected to the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Standout tracks for me include the opening “Hornet’s Nest,” and a song all to familiar to blues fans, “”Too Little, Too Late.” While these ballads showcase Joe’s strong songwriting skills, I keep coming back to the instrumentals of “Blues on 12” and “Rock Slide” – each of these gems get me out of my seat and onto my feet, because Joe Price’s blues boogie is absolutely infectious. Joe’s wife Vicki sits in on three songs, and this year, they’ll celebrate 22 years of marriage and 28 years as partners in music.

If you appreciate rough-hewn IBC competitors like Ben Prestage, John-Alex Mason or Son Jack Jr, or have enjoyed a bit of Jack Daniel Time from Mississippi’s T-Model Ford, you’ll enjoy Joe Price’s Rain or Shine.

Reviewer Eric Steiner is President of the Washington Blues Society in Seattle, Washington. The Society was the recipient of the 2009 Keeping the Blues Alive Award in the blues organization category. He can be reached at

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