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July 31, 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   Photos    Videos     Blues Radio     Blues Shows near YOU!    Advertise for FREE!     The Blues Blast Archives

Hey Blues Fans,

We have been hitting some great Blues festivals over the last few weeks in Chicago, Iowa and Canada so we decided to stay in our own back yard last week to see what Blues we could find. And find some we did!

We stopped in for an early show at The Contemporary Art Center in Peoria, IL to see Preston Jackson & Friends. Preston is internationally known in the arts as an artist in sculpture and other media. He is affiliated with the Art Institute in Chicago, IL and the Contemporary Arts Center where these Friday music shows are held is actually his Art gallery in P-Town. His is also a fantastic musician who plays some great jazz and R&B guitar.

Preston had a group of seasoned musicians with him including singer Judy Page,  percussionist Keith Boswell, Gary Atckinson on bass and Steve Degenford on guitar. They also had a great sax player named Dave Parkinson who played with Ike and Tina Turner in the 1970's. This group of musicians was known as a group called Kris Kross in the 80's and established themselves as one of the best R&B groups anywhere at the time.

To complement this "mature" group of pro's, Preston invited 13 year old guitarist Matt Curry. We have featured Matt before and if you have not seen the video of him going toe to toe with Ronnie Baker Brooks and Tommy Castro, CLICK HERE.

We love to feature young artists so it was a real treat to see this combination of musicians. What a great show! (Stay tuned for next week when we will feature some cool videos by some VERY famous artists when they were only 12 years old!)

Blues Reviews and MORE!

James Walker sends us a review of a show by Laurie Morvan Band and a review of a new CD by one handed guitarist, Lefty Williams. Rob Paullin  reviews a new EP CD by Back Door Slam. Our Blues Link of the week returns with a guitar lesson by Blues legend Stevie Ray Vaughan and and our Streaming Blues Link of The Week features a Blues 24/7 streaming radio station in Istanbul, Turkey.  Plus we continue our Blues Basics series this week featuring the legendary Muddy Waters.  All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN

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Too Slim and the Taildraggers


Fortune Teller


2008 Blues Blast Music Award Nominee for

 "Best Contemporary Blues Recording"


CLICK HERE to Vote for Us NOW


To purchase this CD now CLICK HERE



Have YOU Voted for your favorite artists yet?


CLICK HERE to vote for your favorite nominees. All you have to do to be eligible to vote for your favorite nominee is become (or already be) a Blues Blast magazine subscriber. Of course this is always free! (Current subscribers should enter the email address where they receive their Blues Blast!)

Not familiar with some of the 2008 nominees?

Be an informed voter! Listen to the music of the nominees BEFORE you vote! Our partner public radio station GLT has set up a web page where you can play music samples of the 2008 Blues Blast Music Award nominees. CLICK HERE to hear these great Blues artists NOW!  When you get there, click on one of the nominees links to listen.

The 2008 Blues Blast Music Awards are proud to have the following sponsors:


David Honeyboy Edwards

Roamin' and Ramblin'

2008 Blues Blast Music Award Nominee
 "Best Best Traditional Blues CD

CLICK HERE to purchases Now!

To read the Blues Blast CD review - CLICK HERE


 Blues Society News

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

Max of 125 words, Text or Word file ONLY.

The West Virginia Blues Society Charleston, W.V.

The West Virginia Blues Society will hold its Second Annual Blues Competition on October 4, 2008 at Christopher's Banquet Center in Fairmont, WV.  Blues bands and solo/duo blues acts will compete for cash prizes and WVBS sponsorship to the Blues Foundation's International Blues Challenge held every year in Memphis, Tennessee.

The West Virginia Blues Society will have 18 competition slots filled by regional blues acts from all over West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland and other states. The first-place winner of Blues Competition will receive $750 dollars in cash and WVBS sponsorship to the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in early 2009. The second place winner will receive $200 in cash and third-place winner will receive $100 in cash.

CONTACT PERSON FOR COMPETITION PARTICIPANTS: Complete information, application & rules are available online at .  Deadline for application submission is September 1, 2008. For more information contact Competition Director, Jack Rice at 304-389-1438 or e-mail:

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  - July 28 - Bill Evans & N Da Groove, August 4 - John Nemeth, August 11 - Steve the Harp Blues Band, August 18 - Springfield Shaky, August 25 - Peter Karp

Saturday, September 6, 2008
Angell Park, Sun Prairie, WI


Cliff Fredricksen

Laura England & the Mud Angels

Bobby Bryan & the Uptown Allstars

Bobby Evans & the Alimony Blues Band

Rev Raven & the Chain Smoking Altar Boys

Paul Cebar

Riot and his Rhythm Devils

Latest CD Tough Times is available now!


To Purchase this CD CLICK HERE

 Blues Basics

 NEW to the Blues? Sometimes it is hard for those new to the Blues to explore this journey called the Blues! Our monthly spotlight introduces (or reminds experienced Blues fans) about a Blues artist or subject worth knowing about.

Muddy Waters

This issue we take a look a one of the greatest Blues legends ever, Muddy Waters. Born McKinley Morganfield on Apr 4, 1915 in Rolling Fork, MS, Muddy Waters changed the way we think of Chicago Blues. Muddy was one of the first Delta Bluesmen to use the electric guitar. His impact was not only on Blues music but many feel he is the father of Rock and Roll. Many of the British invasion bands of the of the 1960's were directly influenced by Muddy.

Muddy's music influenced artists as wide ranging as Johnny Rivers, Led Zeppelin, Cream, Conway Twitty, The Band, Johnny Winter,  Jimi Hendrix, the Doors, Jeff Beck, Elvis Presley Aerosmith and The Rolling Stones. (They took their name from one of his songs.) His impact continues to be felt today in the Blues scene by newer bands such as the Mannish Boys.

Some testaments to his fame are Muddy earned an impressive 6 Grammy awards and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. He is one of only 3 Blues guitarists commemorated by the US Postal Service with jis image on a stamp. (Robert Johnson and Howlin' Wolfe were the other two in a 1994 Set of 8 Series  - American Music: Jazz and Blues Singers )

 His songs continue to be recorded by artists in many musical genres. The members of his band, Bob Margolin, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, Pinetop Perkins and others continue to be top draw performers on the Blues festival and concert circuit.

All Music Guide has a biography and a complete discography of Muddy Waters. They also include 15 second samples of most of his songs for you to listen to.  CLICK HERE to read to read more about him. There is also an Official Muddy Waters Website that has an extensive amount of information on this great Bluesman

You can see some videos of this great Bluesman. Click the links below to see the videos

- Singing "Mannish Boy" at the Checkerboard Lounge in 1981 along with the Rolling Stones, Lefty Dizz, Buddy Guy and Junior Wells.

- Muddy Waters & Sonny Boy Williamson II

We have many more videos of Blues masters on our website. CLICK HERE to view them.

September 19 & 20, 2008
 Grafton, WI

Festival Website:

Sue DaBaco & Wise Fools - Zac Harmon - CTA - California Transit Authority - Fruteland Jackson -David "Honeyboy" Edwards  - Sharrie Williams - Bryan Lee - Watermelon Slim & the Workers - Tab Benoit - Elvin Bishop

The National Debonaires

New Sounds from Kansas City

2008 Blues Blast Music Award Nominee
 "Best Blues Song" for Ain't Gonna Happen Again

CLICK HERE to purchases Now!

To read the Blues Blast CD review - CLICK HERE


 Featured Blues Review (1 of 2)

Lefty Williams Band - Snake Oil

Self Release

3 songs; 63:45 minutes; Suggested

Styles: Southern Rock and bluesy jazz.

Jason Williams is more than just a unique one-handed guitar player, he’s a great guitar player.

Adaptation is the story of human life on planet Earth. History tells many a tale of humans “getting used to” just about everything imaginable and unimaginable. Bringing particular joy are the stories of humans adapting to obstacles to overcome and conquer.

When Jason “Lefty” Williams decided he unequivocally wanted to play guitar, after trial and error, he devised a way to do it. Jason was born with just one hand, the left in “Lefty.” His right arm ends just below the elbow. By attaching a strap mounted with a guitar pick to his “nubb,” he can pick a guitar like Johnny B. Goode.

The ideal way to experience his music is to hear it first before knowing anything about Jason. Then, by the time one discovers the origin of his nickname, it is a musical non-issue because he is that good.

A resident of the Atlanta GA area, Jason is a more than competent guitarist with over two decades of experience. He started when he was four years old, and he played in a band by eleven.

Musically, like any kid, Jason was into all types of rock before arriving at a more bluesy, jazzy approach. His style clearly has the influence of all the Southern rockers that have come before him. There are also nods to Jimi Hendrix, Albert King, Aquarium Rescue Unit, Miles Davis, Stevie Ray Vaughan and early Led Zeppelin. 

Jason also has an entertaining live show with the Lefty Williams Band, which quickly became a big draw at local and regional clubs in Atlanta, North Carolina, and Florida. The LWB has also opened for the likes of Gov’t Mule, Little Feat, Jimbo Mathus, Col. Bruce and the Quark Alliance, and the Chris Duarte Group.

“Snake Oil” is Williams’ second release following 2006’s well received “Big Plans” and subsequent 18 month supporting tour. Again teaming with John Keane to produce the album,

Lefty reaches deep into personal experience to write all of the songs on “Snake Oil.”

Pop the CD into your player, and the first thing one hears on the opener, “Thank You” is a catchy guitar hook that says, “Yep, we are in for a good time now!”  Ten seconds later, the guitar is joined by bouncing piano from Jimmy Landry, drums by Steve Saunders, and Ray Dombrowski on bass. According to his website bio, Lefty’s divorce fuels the song in which he acknowledges the silver lining, and “thanks” his ex for kicking him out.

That song ends, and one second later “What I Believe” kicks off with another upbeat Southern Rock riff soon joined by more driving piano. 40 seconds later, Jason harmonizes with band mates in a rousing, “Yeah – yow, will all turn out, that’s what I believe.”

“On the Prowl” features blues luminary and fellow Atlanta resident Tinsley Ellis guesting on guitar. Here the bass line opens the song soon followed by guitar picking the same hook. Jazzy electric piano helps give this number its different feel, sort of like what Stevie Ray Vaughan used to do on numbers like “Lenny” and “Riviera Paradise.” Jason and Tinsley each take incredibly tasty mid song guitar solos. “Hey Mama,” with its bouncing rhythms, is the other number featuring Ellis.

The title track is replete with deep groove, power guitar and heart felt vocals. The song refers to two-faced industry types, specifically “a guy who promised me the world and then kinda hosed me,” reports Jason.

For some soaring slide guitar, there’s the slow, gospel-tinged “In the Valley,” Todd Smallie (The Derek Trucks Band) plays bass on “Why Didn’t You Call,” and “A Little Bit of Faith” is written for “my current wife. It’s just a promise to her that I’m not gonna goof around on her,” Lefty revealed.

If you ever dug the Southern Rock scene, Lefty is the next logical step in the progression. Watch for Lefty on tour in support of “Snake Oil.” He loves to play live which can be observed in website and Youtube videos. “Let’s just make some cool music,” he says. “That’s all I’ve ever really cared about.”

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.


Eden Brent

2008 Blues Blast Music Award Nominee

"Sean Costello Rising Star Award"


To read a review of this CD, CLICK HERE

CLICK HERE to Purchase this CD now!

 Blues Link of the Week

Stevie Ray Vaughan Guitar Lesson

We came across this video of Stevie Ray Vaughan showing some of his guitar styles. It is more of an interview than a lesson but he does show how he plays several of his most famous songs.

Click the graphic to view the video on our website.



Willie Big Eyes Smith

New CD

Born In Arkansas

CLICK HERE  to Purchase this CD

 Streaming Blues Link of the Week

Turkish Blues Radio? We never would have thought to look for Blues fans in Turkey so we were surprised to find this website in our web stats sending visitors to our website. When we took a look we were even more surprised to find that they have a 24/7 Blues stream. Who woulda thunk it?

It makes sense though as music is the universal language and everyone get the Blues.  The website is apparently in Turkish but when we saw "Blues Radyo" we were able to figure out what the Turkish Blues audience is listening to! When you get to the site click on Blues Radyo at the top of the page. (We still haven't figured out where they are linking to our website so if you can read Turkish, give us a clue will ya?)

Or to go directly to their Blues 24/7 stream, CLICK HERE (Then Click the Play button)

 And tell them the Blues Blast sent ya!

The Best of the BEST Blues Radio Streams is.....

The BEST Commercial free Blues web stream
FREE Blues music all the time  GLT Blues Radio 24/7

Check out other great Blues Music Streams Click HERE

4th Annual
Boxcar of Blues

Knuckleheads Blues Bar

Saturday-Sunday, August 15-16, 2008
2700 Rochester St  Kansas City, MO
816-483-1456   |

August 15
Sean Carney, Joe Moss & Trampled Under Foot & more

August 16
Billy Gibson band, Mike Zito, Charliehorse & Steamboat Willie & the Smoothi Kings

 Featured Blues Review (2 of 2)

Back Door Slam - Special EP

By Rob Paullin

You’ve been reading a lot recently about Back Door Slam, here in Blues Blast and elsewhere, so we won’t repeat much of what you already know, except to note the basics:  This new, young UK-based blues-rock band consisting of vocalist-guitarist Davy Knowles, Bassist Adam Jones and drummer Ross Doyle, is currently on tour in the USA…and they’re on fire!!  Now they have a new five-song release, available only on the internet. (Available on iTunes and includes a performance video of the band.)

This Special EP, apparently without a specific title, is five covers of hidden gems by groups generally recognized by USA blues fans as being traditional blues acts.  Back Door Slam cites well-known European acts like Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler and John Mayall as influences, giving rise to a sound that I would describe as heavy blues or hard blues.   That this sound is not necessarily traditional blues to us USA blues fans does not demean at all:  If you like blues rock, you’ll love Back Door Slam and this new disk.  If you like traditional blues, consider this a learning experience—an expansion of your mind, as Jimi Hendrix might say.

Here’s what we found:

Cut one, a cover of the Robert Cray song “Back Door Slam” that was the band’s namesake song.   It displays how effectively bass and drums can compliment strong vocals and double-tracked guitar work.   Next is “Riding With the King,”  a John Hiatt tune that show-cases Knowles’ vocal range as he accompanies himself on a combination of soaring lead guitar action and solid backing guitar work. 

“Been Down So Long,” a Doors cover, recognizes what almost all European blues fans realize—and many USA blues fans routinely overlook—the Doors were—at their heart--a blues band.

Back Door Slam goes live with “Red House,” a Hendrix cover that is the bluesiest song on the disk, and plays solid homage to the psychedelic blues master.  You can almost sense when the guitar is about to erupt into flames.  Can you not help but wonder if Knowles humped his amp….

The EP concludes with some heavy blues guitar action on “Outside Woman Blues,” a lyrically simplistic Blind Joe Reynolds cover that none-the-less manages to tell a strong story about protecting one’s “property.”

Back Door Slam is making their mark on the USA, with appearances on ABC and CBS, and at some major venues, touring with the likes of non-traditional blues acts like Kid Rock and Lynyard Skynard.  Are they traditional?  No.  Are they contemporary Blues with a rock edge? Yes! Are they great?  Absolutely!  Two Okells up for their new Special EP!

EDITORS NOTE: While this release is only available for purchase on iTunes via the internet it is worth noting that there are thousands of hard copy CD versions of this EP that have been given away at Blues festivals this summer by Elmore Magazine! The copy used for this review was obtained as a free promotional give away at the Widnsor , Ontario, Bluesfest International.

To purchase this EP now, CLICK HERE

The Code Blue Band

Tight at Midnight

Intensely energetic R&B, funk, and rockin' Blues

CLICK HERE to buy the CD





 Live Blues Review

Laurie Morvan Band - Live at The Highdive, Champaign IL

Sunday, July 27, 2008

 Picture this: a five piece group in which three members are female. At one point the male bass player is given a solo. After Pat Morvan’s ripping riffs on a six-string bass, band leader Laurie Morvan says to the audience, “I know exactly what all of you are thinking. ‘He’s pretty good for a boy!’” That brought howls of laughter from the audience and even Laurie herself. Beyond the humor, Laurie Morvan is dead serious about evening the guitar-playing field for both genders.

“Where Are All The Girls With Guitars” is the third track on Laurie’s highly acclaimed and door opening third album, “Cures What Ails Ya.” This number is performed live with particular relish. Prior to the song, Laurie revealed the inspiration for it (as she did prior to many numbers). Having heard on the radio Wynonna Judd’s “Girls With Guitars,” Morvan had hurried to buy the CD and tear it open to learn who all the girls with guitars were on the record. To her dismay, all the players were hairy legged boys.

On most numbers, the energized, leg kicking, stage pacing Morvan played the guitar intensely hard. It was obvious she liked being on the edge of all that amplified power – sort of like a surfer riding on the edge of a huge wave. At one point, Laurie left the stage with a wireless transmitter and walked through the crowd – even taking a swagger up and down the bar top.

Morvan also performs songs with utmost sincerity. During the sound check, she told the tech, “Make sure the vocals can be heard, otherwise, what’s the point?” Indeed, she and her two backup singers and bass player laid down some beautiful harmonies and meaningful messages in the lyrics. Morvan established great rapport with the audience by not only telling song inspirations but also sharing e-mails she has received about what one of her songs has meant to a fan. On one slow number, the deeply personal “Family Line,” she was even brought to tears. Possibly that was because her Illinois mother and step father were seated in the audience along with a van load of friends.

I must admit my ignorance, before this show all I knew was that Morvan is from California. Well, it turns out that she is originally from Plainfield, Illinois, about an hour from my Illinois home. Her Champaign IL gig turned out to be a homecoming of sorts as she is a University of Illinois graduate who was an MVP on the volleyball team in the mid 1980s. Her old coach was in attendance along with several girls way taller than me (and thinner).

The Laurie Morvan Band is the most unique five piece troupe I have seen. Upfront is Laurie on guitar and lead vocals. Beside here are two female back up singers, Lisa Grubbs and Carolyn Kelley, who add tambourine and shaker percussion. Also adding vocals are bassist Pat Morvan, and drummer Kevin Murillo is the fifth member and only other male. So, basically, it is a power trio with two backup singers.

Across two sets, Morvan and band gave it their all on mainly their original numbers like “Kickin’ Down Doors,” the fun “My Baby Says,” the inspirational “Keep On Believin,’” and (my favorite) the wonderful three-part-a-cappella-opener, harmony-guitar-fest “Way Down/One Little Thing.”

I was glad to be Where this Girl With Guitar was Sunday night, and I can not wait for her Midwest return tour “next summer, or maybe January ‘09.” Stay tuned!

 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

2008 Blues Blast Music Awards

Bryan Lee

 Three Nominations!

Best Male Artist

Best Blues Band

 Best Contemporary Blues CD

Katrina Was Her Name

To purchase this CD now CLICK HERE

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