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April 16, 2008           

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News, photos, reviews, live Blues links & MUCH MORE in this issue! - Scroll or Page Down! quick website links: Reviews    Links    Audio Interviews    Photos    Videos     Blues Radio     Blues Shows near YOU!    Advertise for FREE!     The Blues Blast Archives

Hey Blues Fans,

We found lots of Blues in our own Back Yard. In Peoria, Illinois last weekend we heard three great Blues bands! (2 at different venues in the very same building.)

First we stopped in to see local Peoria favorites Blueskillet at a weekly event called Live at the Five Spot. This gig is held in an art gallery and the show starts right after work on Fridays (5:30pm).

The gallery allows folks to bring their own food and beverages so lots of people in P-Town jump in their cars after work and grab a six pack or a bottle of wine and maybe some fruit and cheese or a subway sandwich. Then they settle in for 2 hours unwinding the work week to the music of the best Central Illinois bands. 

Blueskillet Band (Tadd Swanson guitar, Monica Swanson vocals, Justin Mooney drums and Dan Carroll bass) provided great fun this night playing Blues classics and a few original tunes. Don't miss them if you get to Peoria!

See all the pictures of this great event CLICK HERE


We are not usually ready to call it a night at 7:30 on Friday so we headed down one flight of stairs to the Rhythm Kitchen Restaurant which has live music starting right at 7:30pm. (How convenient is that?)

And we were in luck this night as they were having Blues too! We finally got a chance to see a group called The Governor.

Governor Forman (Yes his name is Governor), is someone we have known as a great singer and bass player for quite some time. He formed a new trio many months ago with guitar player Randy Roth and drummer Butch Carroll.

Many folks have been telling us "you gotta see with this guitar player!" They were right. Randy Roth is really impressive. Get out to hear them if you can!

You can check out more pictures CLICK HERE



Last but not least we made it out to another Peoria event on Saturday put on By the River City Blues Society and Southside Cindy and the Sliptones. Southside Cindy (Cindy Youngren) is one of the best performers around anywhere.

She sang her heart out to a very appreciative crowd as she helped raise money for the local Blues society. Thanks for being such a huge Blues supporter Cindy! CLICK HERE to see all the fun!








Sean Costello April 16, 1979 - April 15, 2008   Rest in Peace


We are very sad to hear of the unexpected death of Blues rising star Sean Costello. Sean was found dead in his hotel room yesterday. Cause of death is not known at present but details will posted on the Piedmont Talent website as they are revealed. The note below is from  Steve Hecht at Piedmont Talent.

Remembering Sean Costello - Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sean Costello was a person I was so looking forward to get to know better. He exuded positive energy every time I was with him. I cherished the opportunity to work with him over the coming years and being a part of his growth as an artist and as a person. Man, his latest cd was his best ever. The tone he coaxed out of that guitar was incredible. Every song had that Sean Costello stamp on it. “Any Time You Want” or “Hard Luck Woman” can easily be the song of the year! His guitar along with voice was never better than it has been recently. I got to see him about a month ago in Atlanta and he was firing on all cylinders despite having just finished a long grueling tour and having a new bassist that night. He was producing some of his best work ever. It just kept you longing for whatever he would do next. I will miss Sean and his youthful exuberance. His energy inspired me. He left us a great musical legacy.

Steve Hecht April 15, 2008


Sean's Latest CD "We Can Get Together"  was reviewed in the February 13th issue of the Blues Blast magazine. To read the review CLICK HERE  Check the links below for more information as it becomes available.    


Little Arthur Duncan Hospitalized

From the Bob Corritore Blues Newsletter - Chicago blues harmonica great Little Arthur Duncan was hospitalized on Friday, April 11, 2008. This email was sent via Rick Kreher: "I just wanted to send you all an email to let you know that Little Arthur Duncan was rushed to the hospital earlier today and had emergency brain surgery. He is in intensive care at the University of Illinois Hospital on the West Side." On Saturday,  reported that "Little Arthur Duncan underwent emergency brain surgery last night to remove a growth the size of a golf ball." On Sunday, Twist Turner got news from Arthur's sister that Little Arthur had opened his eyes briefly, but is still not talking. More news on this as it comes in.








MORE Blues Reviews

James Walker reviews the new CD by Eden Brent.  Ben Cox sends us a review of the new a CD by the Ty Curtis Band and an interview with Robin and Tony Rogers, 2005 winners of the Best Self-Produced CD from the International Blues Challenge.

Rob Paullin sends us a review from the Glendale Arizona Jazz and Blues Festival and Mike CATHEAD Nunn & Gary WINGMAN Weeks tell us of a great show by Chicago's own Nick Moss performing in the State of Georgia. Also be sure to check out our Link of The Week to see how you can get some FREE Blues guitar lessons!

All this and much More! SCROLL DOWN!

Click image above to visit our website for more info!

(Note: Our prayers are with Little Arthur! The Backscratchers will perform with another harmonica player if Arthur is unable to perform.)

Click image above to visit our website for tickets and more info!


Bull Riding and Blues?

After many failed attempts to secure a Country Band for for the Redneck Rodeo in Fort Madison, IA on April 26th, The Rodeo decided to try something different.

Blues slide master Eric Sardinas And Big Motor will perform at 9:00pm followed by Freebird - The Ultimate Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute Band

Start time for the rodeo is at 7:00 PM

This should be a great time and very interesting. For advanced tickets ($10) contact Nichole at (319) 470-3068. Admission is $12 at the show.

The host hotel is the Travelodge (formally The Iowan) (319) 372-7510.

If you have not seen Eric Sardinas LIVE and Outdoors, don't miss this!

 Blues Want Ads

 Place Your Blues Musician Want Ad here for FREE


Venue Wanted for Blues Jam

The Twist and The Groove Machaine Band are looking for a new home to host open night jams for thursday nights. We are out of the Will county area (Illinois). We have a good following, just need a good place to host. so if you are a bar, club, or theatre owner and you have live blues and R&B and can open your doors to us. Then drop us a line at We just closed out a two (2 1/2 ) year run in Plainefield,IL. You can see video clips at  

Gigs Wanted

The SaNa Band, based in Atlanta GA, is looking for touring gigs inside and outside the US from May through August. The band is lead by Sandra 'SaNa' Foster, who is a bassist and lead vocalist. SaNa teaches at Clark Atlanta University and wants to tour during the summer. Please check out the website at and give her a call at 404-344-8893.

Equipment For Sale

Hartke XL 4-10 400 watt bass cabinet with cover. Used very little. $285.00. Cedar Rapids, IA.319.365.2686

Guitar for Sale

This is a true "Blues" Custom Telecaster Style Thinline guitar w/double F holes & binding (white) finished in a brilliant BlueTrans. Stain w/clear lacquer.(about the color of this type)  Humbuckers w/3-way toggle, and 1 volume,1-tone knob. All gold hardware. Bolt-on Maple Neck w/rosewood fretboard, mother of pearl Gibson-style fret markers. Custom made in US w/quality parts-This is an eye-catching one of a kind great looking, playing & sounding guitar.comes w/gig-bag . Pics available- need the money, need to sell asking $985.00 or BO contact  Boston, Ma. location

"workin Blues performers" can place Want Ads here for FREE.  NO Commercial Ads! 
Buy or sell equipment , musicians wanted, gigs wanted etc. Limit 100 words.

All ads submitted will be used if space allows. If space is limited, ads will be randomly selected to appear in the Blues Blast. Ads may be edited.  Send your ad submission to


The Rutledge Youth Foundation’s Annual Harley Raffle
Kickoff Party

A Night Of The Blues

 Friday, April 25th, 2008 - 7:00 PM – 12:30 PM

 Capital City Bar and Grill
3149 S. Dirksen Parkway - Springfield, Illinois

FREE Admission

Rutledge Youth Foundation 217-525-7757


Tombstone Bullet

With special guests

(Guitarist for Koko Taylor’s Blues Machine)

Elizabeth Eckert (of American Idol)

Luca Giordano (Italian Blues Artist)

Brother Ray and the Blades
(Former Tonguesnatcher Review members and


 Blues Interview of the Week

An conversation with blues sensation Robin Rogers - April 2, 2008. 

Recently, I was on business in North Carolina and had the chance to follow after a suggestion I received from a good friend in Oregon. Steve Spoulos, a DJ for Breakfast with the Blues at KVRM pointed me in the direction of a new up in coming artist in the Charlotte area by the name of Robin Rogers. I had met Steve through a few message boards and DJ forums on the internet for the blues folks out there spinning tunes on commercial radio. He had sent me CDs in the past and hadn’t steered me in the wrong direction yet so I figured I’d give it a shot.

I listened to a few of Robin’s tunes on the wonderful band PR tool of MySpace, but other than that I had knew little about her. On Wednesday of my business trip I was able to sit down with Robin and her husband Tony who happens to play guitar and write songs with her at a little Italian restaurant in Gastonia NC for an intimate conversation about life as a musician, living the blues, and singing.

Ben Cox: How did you get started on blues? What was your leaping off point?

Robin Rogers: I sang a lot of rock in my early twenties. You know, Joplin, Bad Company, Led Zeppelin and was drawn with the stuff that had the blues elements in them. I was always a big fan of Bonnie Raitt from way back in the early 70s, too. People compare our voices.

BC: Is that when you started singing, in your early twenties? Or did you start sooner?

RR: When I was about nine I did an acapella version of “What Child Is This?” at elementary school for a Christmas program and heard this. (claps hands) I was addicted to singing after that. My mother was a singer, too. I sang a lot with my mom’s friends who were musicians. We did some Patsy Cline songs. (smiles) I worked as court reporter in the 80s in Florida and did some singing while I was there. However, I got into blues really heavy about 10 years ago after I joined the Charlotte Blues Society. Tony and I met up and started researching and listening to stuff like crazy. Eventually, we started writing songs together and started playing gigs together. While at one of our duo gigs, Jim Brock, a local producer heard us and emailed me and eventually we recorded our first release 2001’s Time For Myself.

BC: How do you guys go about writing your songs together?

RR: I usually come up with a melody or some lyrics and sing them to Tony. Or Tony will be playing something on the guitar and it puts me in a mood or I hear some lyrics in my head and just start singing. From there, the songs usually come together.

BC: Tell me a little about your second album with the band you guys put together.

RR: Well, after the local success of Time For Myself we put a band together and did a lot of gigs around the area. Eventually we went to the IBC in 2003 and made the finals. Since we got that far, we had won a little bit of studio time. We looked at the band and since we already had a lot of these songs tight from the challenge, we wanted to memorialize our trip there and made the CD.

BC: I notice that it’s a lot of covers of old pre-war stuff.

Tony Rogers: Yeah, we like a lot of that old stuff especially the Skip James and Robert Johnson and Charlie Patton stuff but we found that a newer audience doesn’t really listen to it that much. We worked out the arrangements first with just Robin and I, and then we added the whole band giving it a much more contemporary feel to the music.

RR: We wanted the newer audience to be able to see that history that we had been studying and we wanted it to have a vehicle to a new audience so we could get some younger folks involved in the blues. So the album came out locally and was eventually picked up by the now closed 95North label from Boston, who repackaged it with a few new songs and re-released it for us in mid-2005. It was called Crazy Cryin’ Blues and in 2005 we won Best Self-Produced CD of 2005 from the Blues Foundation at the IBC.  It was later in the year that 95North signed us.

BC: I hear you met a good friend at the IBC in 2003.

RR: Yes, I met Janiva Magness at the venue we played at the opening night of the IBC. I met her off stage and she said, “Wow, I love what you’re doing,” and we exchanged contact information and exchanged CDs.  I really was overwhelmed with how gracious she was. She introduced us to all the folks in her entourage that evening and was sincerely helpful.  She had nothing to gain out of that.  Sometimes, artists have a very competitive, exclusionary attitude when it comes to the business and other artists and it just surprised me. She has been a close ally and mentor ever since then and has really helped me out and given us some valuable information.

BC: I take it that she’s been a major influence on your singing. Are their any other blues women out there that influence you?

RR: I’ve already mentioned Bonnie Raitt. I love Mavis Staples…and Irma Thomas and of course Janiva is just amazing.

BC: What are some of the strangest gigs you’ve ever played?
TR: I like to talk to musicians about this, too about what’s the oddest places they’ve played because when you do this for a living, survival is the number one priority.

RR: You’re not going to tell him about the gas station gig are you? (covers face with her hands)

TR: Yeah, we played the opening of a gas station one time. We were out front playing while folks were pumping gas. It some kind of grand opening for the Chamber of Commerce or something.

RR: It wasn’t necessarily a strange gig but I just felt out of place because people were so quiet and attentive. We opened for Janiva Magness at a college in Kentucky and some of the crowd were season ticket holders who support the college you wouldn’t exactly peg them as a blues loving crowd if you know what I mean and they were so quiet and respectful. I felt that way when I went to Europe with Sharrie Williams, too. People were listening.

TR: Then, one time we played in the corner of a jewelry store for a benefit auction, too. (laughs)

BC: I’ve heard that you have a new album coming out this year.

RR: Yes, we are recently working out a deal with Blind Pig Records to release our third album. We’ve written seven of the eleven tracks on the disc and it is much more contemporary compared to our last release. We’re hoping it does really well. One of the songs called “Color Blind Angel” has been entered in the International Songwriting Competition and has made the finals of the Blues category. The song is about Viola Louizzo, who was the only white woman killed by the KKK during the Civil Rights movement. Bruce Iglauer, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, John Mayall and Tom Waits are some of the judges.

BC: I can’t wait to hear it. It sounds like its going to be something to watch for in 2008. Thanks for sitting with me and answering a few questions. It’s been a pleasure.

EDITORS NOTE  Since this interview Robin Rogers has just won the Silver in the International Song Writing Competition

Her song "Color-Blind Angel" took Second Place in the Blues category. ISC received over 15,000 entries from 100 countries throughout the world, so this is a noteworthy achievement.

Interviewer Ben Cox is a Blues Songwriter, Musician, DJ and Journalist.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

  Thursday, May 22 - Saturday, May 24, 2008


Phone: (708) 524-6050

A Symposium on the Legacy of Blues & Gospel Music

Dominican University (located just minutes from the Chicago Loop) hosts the Blues and the Spirit Symposium, emphasizing the heritage of African-American Chicago and exploring the shared roots of Blues and Gospel.

  • Panels and presentations with Timuel Black, Portia Maultsby, Horace Maxile, Paul Garon, Sterling Plumpp, Gayle Dean Wardlow, Barry Dolins, Jim O’Neal, Marie Dixon, Bob Davis, Bob Koester, Fernando Jones, Bob Marovich, David Whiteis, Scott Barretta, Salim Muwakkil, Sandra Pointer-Jones, Suzanne Flandreau, Bob Riesman, Stephanie Shonekan, Morris Phibbs, Bob Jones, Billy Boy Arnold, Stan Mosley and others.

  • Blues Workshop with Billy Branch and Gospel Workshop with James Abbington
  • Multimedia Presentations, Raeburn Flerlage Photography and Outsider Art Exhibits
  • Musical Appearances by Larry Taylor, James Wheeler and Bob Stroger
  • Bronzeville Tour with a stop at the Blues Heaven Foundation, located in the former Chess Records
  • Chicago Blues Club Crawl
  • Otis Clay and Sharon Lewis in Concert      CLICK HERE to see schedule and registration information


 Blues Link of the Week

Want to learn how to play the Blues? Fender Music has a site called Players Club where aspiring guitar players (and bass players) can get go to get started.  This site has FREE lessons for all skill levels from beginner to advanced and for all styles of music.

Want to learn Blues turnarounds like Robert Lockwood Junior played behind Sonny Boy Williamson? They got 'em! The intro to "Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo" by Johnny Winter? It's here. How about "Love In Vain" by Robert Johnson? You can find it here.

All of these lessons are in .pdf format so you can print them out. These are all partial lessons from books that you can buy on this site and are written in both guitar tablature and standard music notation.

Don't know how to read tablature? No problem, that's here along with such basics as how to Tune your Guitar, Make a demo or Book a gig. Each lesson also has an audio .mp3 so you can hear what the lesson should sound like. Robert Cray, Buddy Guy, Guitar Slim, Albert Collins, Stevie Ray and Eric Clapton, they are all here! They also have lessons on Country, Rock and Jazz styles.

To go right to the index of all the Blues lessons CLICK HERE

For more Blues links, CLICK HERE to visit the Links Page


Looking for Blues CD's by independent artists?

Looking for a way to market your bands Blues music?

At you can find independent Blues artists and their music.

Blues Fans can browse and purchase music from the independent Blues artists.

Blues artists now have a place to sell their Blues music to fans worldwide!


 Blues Society News

 Send your Blues Society's BIG news or Press Release to:  

Max of 125 words, Text or Word file preferred.

Illinois Central Blues Club Springfield, IL - Blue Mondays

Held at the Alamo 115 N 5th St, Springfield, IL (217) 523-1455 every Monday 8:30pm $2 cover
April 21 - Bryan Lee,  April 28 - Kilborn Alley Blues band

Mississippi Valley Blues Society - Davenport, IA

The Mississippi Valley Blues Society presents John Nemeth featuring Junior Watson on Saturday April 19 at Blueport Junction in Davenport, IA. The show starts at 8:30 with the Chris Avey Band; admission is $10, $8 for MVBS members. For more information contact Steve Brundies at 563-508-7660

Friends of the Blues - Watseka, IL

The Friends of the Blues presents 2 "Early" shows. Thursday, April 17 at 7:00pm  Smokin’ Joe Kubek and  Bnois King will be performing at Brandon Casey’s, 235 N Kinzie Ave (Route 50), Bradley IL and
Tuesday, April 22 at 7:00PM , Larry Garner will be at Brandon Casey’s. For more information call 815-802-0202.

The Blues Blowtorch Society - Bloomington, IL

Blues Blowtorch Society presents Too Slim and The Tail Draggers Thursday, May 08, 2008 in a 7:00 PM Early Show at NV Ultra Lounge, 107 East Beaufort St. Normal, Illinois 61761 Tickets are $5.00 At The Door


May 9th & 10th - Fort Madison, IA
For tickets and details visit: 
Simply The Blues Website

Friday May 9th

Magic Slim & The Teardrops

Eddie Turner

Leon Redbone

Louisiana Red

Second Skinny Blues Band

Saturday May 10th
Sean Costello

Diunna Greenleaf

Zach Harmon

Shawn Kellerman

Trampled Under Foot

Alvin Jett

Rich Berry

Matt Wood & The Thunderbolts


 Featured Blues Reviews 

Eden Brent - Mississippi Number One
Yellow Dog Records

 15 songs; 57:32 minutes; Suggested

 Genre: Piano Blues, Jazz, Rhythm & Blues, and Soul

 Dear Skyy,

     What’s a guy to do? I’ve got rocking pneumonia, but no boogie-woogie blues! Late last night as I was trying to get my baby comfortable, I put on a new CD that was supposed to be blues. But, it was just more rock being passed off as blues. You know, one ponderous screaming guitar solo after another just didn’t strike the mood for which I was desperately searching. I was looking for...well, never mind what I was looking for. Rest assured, I didn’t find it. Can you help?


Lance Hardwood


     Too bad you did not have Eden Brent’s debut release (second overall) on Yellow Dog Records, Mississippi Number One. Here you can find piano in the lead with nary a harsh note from accompanying guitars, harmonica, and horns. Eden Brent’s singing voice ranges from  melancholic whisper to sultry sexy to soul wailing, and the songs vary from slow blues to jazzy bounce to gospel soul to flat out boogie-woogie. Get this CD, and you’ll get in the groove.


Mississippi born and bred (a native of Greenville MS), Eden Brent has proven her merit over and over from performing internationally to sharing a bill with BB King at the 2005 Presidential Inauguration to winning the 2006 International Blues Challenge Solo/Duo division. She is a self-described "song interpreter," and her interpretations of jazz, blues, soul and pop are expressive and memorable. This album reveals she is also a gifted songwriter of her own originals. In a heady move, Dawn Hopkins of Blue Eyed Bitches Productions fame was brought in to co-produce with Brent.

Brent enjoyed a sixteen-year apprenticeship with duo partner, the late Abie “Boogaloo” Ames (1918 - 2002), who dubbed her "Little Boogaloo." Although she achieved a Bachelor of Music from the University of North Texas, Brent credits Ames with teaching her to play piano. "Music school taught me to think, but Boogaloo taught me to boogie-woogie," she says. Together with Ames, Brent starred in the 1999 television documentary, Boogaloo & Eden: Sustaining the Sound. The award-winning feature, which aired nationally on PBS affiliates, explored the bond between mentor and protégé.

Of the title track (and album), Brent writes, “Mississippi Number One began as a solo record in April 2006 and is a tribute to my home and its blues highway, Mississippi State Highway 1, which is less traveled but follows the original blues highway, the Mississippi River, much more devotedly than its parallel neighbor, US Highway 61. Over the trio of piano, bass, and drums, she sings, “It’s the last of the blues highways / I recommend it if you have the time / It won’t get you there in a hurry / But you’re sure to have a lot of fun.”

The CD kicks off with an energetic two fisted keyboard workout backed by Jimmi Kinard on bass and James Robertson on drums. The music is ironically rousing in wake of the theme of economic loss in the delta region written by her mother Carole Brent. That despair has appeared in more than one artist’s song, but the pain is no less. “I got the Washington County / My factory done shut down blues,” Eden sings with first hand knowledge.

Standouts include Brent solo on piano breathily singing “Why Don’t You Do Right” popularized by Peggy Lee, the bouncy “Fried Chicken” by Greenville’s Jimmy Phillips accompanied only by Rick Chancey’s guitar and harmonica, the silky smooth song - another penned by her mother Carole Brent - “love Me ‘Til Dawn,” and Eden’s own powerful Gospel closer with full choir (including Reba Russell), “Until I Die.”

The only misstep I found is an attempt to make-it-her-own” on the song “Trouble In Mind.” Artists often arrange a cover song to give it a fresh sound, but here the pacing is disjointed. This has always been one of my favorite songs, but while the music sounds great, the vocal delivery has the lines coming out stutter spaced instead of smoothly read.

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Eden Brent live at the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival where she proved to be a first class entertainer. This CD is a clear reflection of her well developed live talent and a showcase of an expert growth into her own songwriting.

Reviewer James “Skyy Dobro” Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ and Blues Blast contributor. His weekly radio show “Friends of the Blues” can be heard each Thursday from 4:30 – 6:00pm on WKCC 91.1 FM in Kankakee, IL

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

Ty Curtis Band - Stubborn Mind
Run Time: 45:15

Do you remember the initial recordings of Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Jonny Lang? Do you remember how hungry and how much mainstream crowds embraced them? Ty Curtis and his band of young fellows help me to remember that time. Curtis’ Stratocaster coupled with his baby-faced voice hearkens to what contemporary blues and traditional rock (or as we sometimes call blues-rock). The album was also chosen to go to Memphis for Best Self-Produced Release this year. Recorded last year when the band had only been together for about a year and with two of the members being all of 19 years old, they have a solid base from which to jump to a long, fruitful career.

The album presents mostly rock infused guitar chops that come straight out of any blues-rockers standard playing list. However, give the kid a break, he wrote most of the songs himself, so I give him a solid B for being original. The first track is about as much blues as you’ll get on the album from a traditional point of view, hearkening to the Texas shuffles made popular with the Fabulous Thunderbirds. The song, entitled “Come On” has some decent harp chops by Jeff Grechney over top of some of Curtis’ most tasteful straight-ahead playing on the album coupled with the slow-blues on “What Kind of Fool.”

Curtis has a little way to go vocally. He’s young and sounds like it. I don’t hear the nuance yet that some of the more seasoned guys have. To put it in perspective, I don’t like Jonny Lang or Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s vocals either. Curtis, though has some great rock guitar stylings conjuring thoughts of Johnny Winter, Robin Trower, and Rick Derringer at times. He’s definitely has a blues base surrounding him and, as stated before has a great spring board to leap from and learn form. The song that best fits Curtis vocally is the rock-like “No She Don’t,” leaning on the ballad side a bit.

Curtis and Company has already had a line-up change since this release, as Grechney has went on and the incomparable Hank Shreve has been added on harmonica. With undoubtedly a bit more of traditional blues infused into his recorded work and then adding the rock edge, a la Buddy Guy, Curtis will definitely be a head turner on the national scene. Give him time, he’s only 19 and has plenty of blues to sing and live ahead of him. 

Visit Ty Curtis on the web at his website: or on MySpace. This album is also available from Pacific Blues.

Ben Cox is a Blues Songwriter, Musician, DJ and Journalist.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

City of Glendale Gibson Jazz and Blues Festival - April 12-13, 2008

Review and Photos By Rob Paullin

Yes, Virginia, there is a blues festival in the Sonora Desert.  It’s called the City of Glendale Gibson Guitar Jazz and Blues Festival, and Blues Blast was there for much of the 25th anniversary event this past weekend in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

The mid-April weather—between what passes for winter in the Valley of the Sun and the upcoming monsoon and heat season—was perfect for the two day, two stage event in what the locals describe as “historic downtown Glendale.”  “Historic” apparently is in the eye and mind of the beholder as Glendale is only a few dozen years old, but the city has built a beautiful outdoor amphitheater combined into the steps of a sunken entrance to one of the public buildings included in their downtown square and park.  Several nice restaurants surround the square and trees abound, so even the dry heat of an Arizona spring was no problem for the many thousands of blues and jazz fans--and the curious--who attended.   With a quarter century of experience at this, the organizers have learned how to do it right.

And that includes knowing how to blend a perfect mix of national touring blues acts like Tommy Castro and Roomful of Blues, with an eclectic menu of new and established home-grown Arizona-based performers.  The line-up included Arizona Blues Hall of Fame inductees Hans Olson, Big Pete Peterson, and Bob Corritore, among the dozen-plus others scheduled to appear on the blues stage.

We’ll focus on a couple of the Arizona acts to help tell the story of the Glendale Gibson Jazz and Blues Festival.   And since Blues Blast focuses on, well, the blues, our apologies to the many fine jazz performers who graced the second stage in downtown Glendale.

Big Daddy D Darryl Portas and his Dynamites were among the first to catch the Blues Blast’s roving eye, with Anton Teschner belting out some sold sax work together with Steven Ayres on bass and Drew Hall on backing guitar, all in front of Carlos Jones on drums.  The highlight was when vocalist and guitarist Big Daddy D stepped off the stage to play slide guitar with the obligatory beer bottle, then even a lawn chair and finally one of those old fashioned record albums.  This performance drew the audience in for the Prescott, Arizona, based band, and helped set the stage for nightfall and eventually, headliner Tommy Castro.

It also made for a tough act to follow for Phoenix-based all-girl blues band, Sistah Blue.   But the 13-year Phoenix blues veterans followed brilliantly, behind the searing harmonica work of Rochelle Raya, the stand-out instrumental stylings of guitarist and song-writer Nancy Dalessandro, the driving rhythms of drummer Janet Daniels and the soulful vocals of Lila Sherman.  The songs—mostly written by Arizona Blues Hall of Famer Dalessadro—and the performance, had the band’s large local fan base up on their feet and dancing for the entire set.   And a sad note for our Arizona Blues Blast readers:  Sistah Blue is retiring after hundreds of performances and several CD’s over their dozen-plus years:  Their last public performance will be May 22 at Phoenix’ Rhythm Room, if you want to say “Good bye and good luck.”

We’ll note one other performance in brief, not because they were not good—they were—but because they are from San Francisco and not the Phoenix area.  That’s Mark Hummel and The Blues Survivors.   The highlight of their show was their original song, “The Big Easy Ain’t Easy No More,” a protest song over the way the current administration is dealing with the post Katrina crisis in New Orleans.   Regrettably, the powerful song drew only a smattering of polite applause from the huge audience.   I’ll say no more on that….

With 25 years of experience, the promoters and organizers of the Glendale Gibson Jazz and Blues festival know how to do it right!  Put it on your list for next spring in the Valley of the Sun.  And as if you needed any more incentives to attend next April….it’s FREE!!!

Two Lone Peak bottles up for the Glendale Gibson Jazz and Blues Festival!

Reviewer, journalist and educator Rob Paullin has worked and sampled the blues everywhere from Chicago, New Orleans and Memphis to Kyiv, Beijing and Venice.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

Nick Moss Helps Darwin’s  In Marietta, Georgia To Evolve...

EVOLUTION, Can Be X-tremely Cruel...

On the other hand, when you and your Blues posse of good buds are sitting locked into a stellar Blues groove in Marietta GA’s Darwin’s with Nick Moss and The Flip Tops, the absolute very best in imported Chicago Blues, evolution can just ROCK your little ole world !

As some of you may know. I live in the mountains of North Georgia. Where there are just too dang many live choices for Bluegrass or Kountry music up thar in the Ga hills, but every now and then I simply need a live & tasty Blues fix, in addition to something good to eat and lots of choices on very cold, Adult style beverages. Darwin’s is located on 120 near The Big Chicken on Highway 41 has a very long history of providing all of the above in a very consistent & professional manner with absolute top-shelf “Blues Joint” ambiance!

On Friday April 4th, I was thrilled to be in the audience to review Nick Moss and band. I was a little shocked however. that there was an opening band. Gene Owens & the Easy Hearts, are a self described, Alternative Country Rock band, & seemed to be a large. reverberating, clashing, CLANG-Cha-wang... in a die-hard, Blues club. Clearly, this was a mis-step, backwards toward the hillbilly swamp in the EVOLUTION of Darwin'sBlues. They pulled themselves together and seemed adequate, yet they REALLY needed a Country venue, to persecute with country tunes!

Finally, the TRUE CHICAGO Blusers Swat Team & Killer Quartet consisting of: Nick Moss - lead guitar vocals, & harp, Willie Oshawny on keyboards, Gerry Hunt on bass & on slide electric mandolin, and Vince Span on drums arrived to save the evening from Kountry-fried, ear, nose, throat & Soul pollution!

The Moss rhythm section, just sits firmly in the pocket and smokes it behind this Grrreat Chicago axe man blazing, & phrasing in his signature marinated in Muddy Waters vs. Mike Bloomfield, infused, electric Blues, authenticity. I have to say that I felt like “CATHEAD” Nunn had died and gone to Blues heaven on earth, ya’ll!

By Mike CATHEAD Nunn & Gary WINGMAN Weeks  Photos by “CATHEAD” Nunn

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