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July 9, 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,

This weekend brings two more great Blues fests we think you won't want to miss. If you are near the East Coast there is the 11th Annual Briggs Farm Blues Festival on Friday and Saturday July 11 & 12 in Nescopeck, Pennsylvania. They have a great lineup of REAL Blues including performances by Nora Jean Bruso, Big George Brock,  Johnny Rawls and 11 other great acts on two stages! To get more info, CLICK HERE (See their Fest Ad below)

If you are in the North Central US, Bluesfest International is a great four day fest July 10 thru the 13th in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Windsor is just across the river from Detroit, Michigan and the fest is held on the riverfront so you have this cool Canadian Blues fest with the Detroit skyline as the backdrop.

Lineup includes Taj Mahal, Rick Derringer, Woodstock Legend Richie Havens, 2008 Blues Blast Music Award Nominee, John Nemeth, Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush, David Wilcox, Ana Popovic, Eric Sardinas,  Larry McCray and much more! There will be a special tribute to Jeff Healey by "Jeff Healey's Blues Band" with special guests Jerome Godboo, Tony Springer & more.

The Blues Blast will be at Windsor covering the fest so please say hello if you make it.  (Just look for a guy taking photos wearing a white Blues Blast Magazine T-shirt). 

 CLICK HERE for more info. We will have complete coverage of all the Windsor Blues fun in the next issue.

The 2008 Blues Blast Music Awards are off and rolling! Voting starts July 14th!  CLICK HERE to see the 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. The subscription is FREE and we will not give your email address to ANYONE! Period!

The voting page will ask for your email address to vote. Just enter your email address, we will send you the Blues Blast for FREE and you can vote for your favorite nominee. (Current subscribers must enter the email address where they receive their Blues Blast to vote!)

   Not familiar with some of the 2008 BBMA nominees?

Radio station WGLT will have a web page where you can play 30 second samples of the 2008 Blues Blast Music Award nominees. Complete information about this site will follow in the next Blues Blast. Plus WGLT will play songs from the nominees at least twice per hour from 6am to 6pm on their FREE GLT Blues 24/7 web stream beginning July 14th, 2008! Just click on it at work and listen to FREE Blues all day long with WGLT!

The HOT summer is the time for HOT live Blues! This Week - Bob Kieser provides coverage of the 24th Annual IH Mississippi Valley Blues Fest. Check out all the fun photos below!

James Walker sends us a review of a new CD by the Reba Russell Band. Chicago editor Lordy reviews a show by Chicago great Carlos Johnson and we welcome West coast contributor Eric Steiner who provides a show review of Dana Lupinacci & Friends at Stan’s BBQ Near Seattle. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN

11th Annual Briggs Farm Blues Festival
July 11 & 12, 2008
Nescopeck, Pennsylvania, USA
Camping On Site

Nora Jean Bruso, Big George Brock, Johnny Rawls, Lonnie Shields, Clarence Spady, Bobby Kyle, Colin John & Michael Hill, Kelly Richey Sarah Ayers Band, Donovan Roberts, Mickey Jr. Acoustic Blues Revue Mark Armstrong, Bret Alexander   570-379-2003

 Live Blues Review (1 of 2)

IH Mississippi Valley Blues Festival  July 3-5, 2008 - Davenport, IA

This 24th annual version of a world class Blues Fest went on despite the flooding in Iowa last weekend.  The 2008 Mississippi Valley Blues Fest again showed why it is consistently ranked as one of the best Blues fests in the world. Day one of the festival featured eight Blues acts in a range of styles. The fest was held in Downtown Davenport this year and first up was Kilborn Alley Blues Band followed by  Kal David, The Kinsey Report, and headliner Elvin Bishop on the main stage.


The "tent" stage was held in Davenport's Adler Theatre and featured Ben Prestage, Steve James, The Carolina Chocolate Drops


and headliner Otis Taylor and the Black Banjo Project.


Day two featured Little Bobby, Phil Guy, Teresa James, Jimmy Thackery


and headliner Koko Taylor on the main stage.


The day two "tent" stage included Kent Burnside & New Generation, Paul Geremiah, Big Pete Pearson , The Great Black Music Ensemble


and headliners Billy Boy Arnold and Jody Williams,



The Saturday (Day three)  "tent" stage featured  Boo Hanks, Doug MacLeod, Marie Knight, and Big George Brock in the Adler Theatre.


Finishing off in the headliner spot on the last nights "tent" stage were 2008 Blues Blast Music Award nominees The Holmes Brothers. It is easy to see why these guys keep getting nominated for so many awards.


Iowa Blues Challenge Winner The Avery Brothers, Alexis P Suter and  John Nemeth with Junior Watson started off day three on the main stage


and continued with Denise LaSalle and headliner Tinsley Ellis as the evening went on.


If you missed the 24th IH Mississippi Valley Blues Fest, get your Blackberry out right now and reserve the Fourth of July weekend 2009 for the 25th Mississippi Valley Blues fest. You do NOT want to miss the next one!

Riot and his Rhythm Devils

Latest CD Tough Times is available now!


To Purchase this CD CLICK HERE


New CD

Mighty Mighty

CLICK HERE to Purchase this CD



 Featured Blues Review

Reba Russell Band - Bleeding Heart

12 songs; 49:59 minutes; Library Quality

“I hate to say that I’m a bleeding heart liberal or anything, but I am a child of the 1960s. ...I just don’t like war, you know. ‘What we do to each other IS what we do to ourselves’ – everybody I admire has said that: Jesus, Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, a lot of people, and I just believe that. ...I want everybody to get along and love each other!’s just a confusing world to live in. So, the only thing I know to do is just to make my music and say what I can say trying not to hurt anybody – at all. I’m just trying to make a few people feel better ...or be happier, you know. That’s all I can do!” Reba Russell, August 30, 2006.

These quotes come from an extensive interview my radio show co-host D’Arcy “Shuffle Shoes” Ballinger and I did with Memphis music maven Reba Russell. The interview revealed Reba to be sincere with straight forward honesty. She was less pretentious than any artist I have ever interviewed or met!

Two years later, that sincerity and honesty have manifested as the album title to the Reba Russell Band’s powerful new CD, “Bleeding Heart.” Uniquely, there is no song track with that title, nor will one find those two words in any song. Track 4, “Love Is The Cure” does contain her heartfelt beliefs: “I love Muslims, I love Jews, I love Christians and Hindus ... I want to love everybody like I love you. ... Love is the cure for everything. (guitar solo) I hate war, I hate pain, I hate greed and murder the same ... Love is the cure for everything. ... Well, call me a hippie – a socialist Dawes; say my mind is melted, my intellect dust. I’ll still quote Jesus and like Martin Luther King ‘cause Love is the Cure for everything!” The chorus has amazing harmony backup vocals by Reba herself and The Masqueraders (Jackie Johnson, Susan Marshall, Harold Thomas, and Sam Hutchin).

People should not get the wrong idea here about Reba notes Ballinger, “She’s not a push over. You won’t fool her with [temporary] kindness. For proof, check out track 7, ‘Some People.’

What a contrast, and it’s realistic to sing, ‘Some people need to be remembered; some people need to be forgot.’ That catchy line has been stuck in my head for weeks.”

Indeed, beyond that fourth track, the album contains a variety of interesting songs. For long time fans, this is not the same CD as last time. The album portrays the person and the band and the different sides of both. The band consists of Reba’s long time mentor turned lover turned husband Wayne Russell – bass, Robert “Nighthawk” Tooms – keyboard and harp, Josh Roberts – guitars, and Doug McMinn (son of Memphis’ Don McMinn) – drums. It was recorded at Jim Dickinson’s Zebra Ranch in Independence MS and co-produced by “BEB” partner Dawn Hopkins and Reba.

“I like to call the album ‘nasty,’ and I mean that in a good way,” said Shuffle Shoes. “Robert ‘Nighthawk’ Tooms has always had a gritty sound that translates on to the band. There’s a complete variety of songs. They took a long hiatus to write, and it’s paid off. Each record gets stronger and stronger. When they come out of the gate strong, that means this one is nasty!”

“Red Mississippi Clay” is that “strong” opener. Starting with Josh Roberts’ Delta electric slide and Nighthawk’s harp, the story reveals the harsh share-croppers failure at trying to grow enough cotton in Mississippi.

Even more powerful is a shiver-sending number, “Levee Prayer,” written by guest guitarist and frequent blues fest partner Jimmy Thackery. The Delta flood plain resident protagonist has “one foot on the levee and one in the grave” as flood waters have taken away absolutely everything he valued. In one hand he has a Bible, the other a gun. Will desperation lead to his perceived sin of suicide?

For love songs, there are “Memphis Moon Tonight,” “Miss Me,” “To Know You,” and set closer “Sleepless Nights Alone.” For a lost-love song, there’s “High Price” written by Delta Joe Sanders.

For fun there is the double meaning of “12 Bar Blues.” Done musically as a 12 bar blues, here is the headachy, hangover story of a night of drinking in 12 different bars. Our heroine recounts from fuzzy memory just what happened. She can not remember the 12th bar at all, but there’s proof she “was there” because “the owner just called me up – said he found my monogrammed _?_!” So as not to spoil the surprise, you’ll have to get the album to find out exactly what he found.

For real-deal blues, try the CD’s only cover, Memphis Minnie’s “In My Girlish Days” and “Blues Is Mine” which begins, “I’m not privileged; I’m not rich, but I am one hell of a best bitch....”

Simply, for exceptional quality music, long time fans and newcomers alike should allow Reba’s “Bleeding Heart” into your heart. You’ll feel rewarded – guaranteed!

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.


CLICK HERE to see all the Nominees!

Voting Begins July 14th, 2008


Willie Big Eyes Smith

New CD

Born In Arkansas

CLICK HERE  to Purchase this CD

The Code Blue Band

Tight at Midnight

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

CLICK HERE to buy the CD





 Live Blues Review (2 of 2)

Dana Lupinacci And Friends At Stan’s BBQ Near Seattle June 27th, 2008

Dana Lupinacci’s new acoustic trio, featuring Jack Cook on guitar and Guy Quintino on stand-up bass, played a hot blues set at Stan’s BBQ in Issaquah, not far from Seattle on June 27th.  Dana’s been nominated as Best Vocalist in the Best of the Blues awards at the Washington Blues Society, and she’s playing  the society’s annual picnic concert on August 10th at Seattle’s Magnuson Park.  Her work at Stan’s BBQ, like his pulled pork, was first-class, and worthy of comparisons to Stan’s native Kansas City BBQ and blues.

Dana’s set balanced a set of covers that ranged from Elmore James’ “Talk to Me Baby” to a choice nugget from Janiva Magness’ 1999 My Bad Luck Soul release, “It’s Love Baby (24 Hours in a Day).”  I’ve seen Dana live at Highway 99, and Seattle’s Salmon Bay Eagles Club, and her star turn at Stan’s BBQ shows that she puts on a thoughtfully entertaining set of live blues using her new trio format. She’s classically trained (graduate of Seattle’s Cornish College of the Arts), and she’s earned the equivalent degree from the Northwest’s school of hard blues knocks, and I look forward to seeing her live when I can. If you’re in the upper left hand corner of the country and Dana Lupinacci’s singing the blues, you owe it to see her live.

More info:

Reviewer Eric Steiner is President of the Washington Blues Society in Seattle, WA


11th Annual Prairie Dog Blues Fest

Friday, July 25, 2008

Bobby Bryan Band   Davina & the Vagabonds
Jason Ricci & New Blood
Walter Trout & the Radicals    Moreland & Arbuckle

Saturday, July 26, 200B

The Bourbon Brothers   Charles Walker Band
Nick Moss & the Flip Tops  Kilborn Alley Blues Band
The Groove Hogs  Bernard Allison    Brandon Scott Sellner


Festival Website

The only Blues festival held on an island in the middle of the Mississippi River!

 Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin on St. Feriole Island

17th Annual

Pocono Blues Festival

July 25 - 27, 2008

Big Boulder Ski Area
Lake Harmony, PA

Root Doctor, Teeny Tucker, Lil' Dave Thompson, Joey Gilmore, The Kinsey Report, Sharrie Williams, Michael Burks, Nappy Brown, Kenny Neal, Sugar Pie DeSanto, Jimmy McCracklinMichael Roach, Johnny Mars, Byther Smith, The Holmes Brothers, Lurrie Bell, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Bobby Rush, Eric Bibb, Geno Delafose

Festival Website Click Here

 Chicago Blues Update

Live Blues reviews by Chicago Blues editor Lordy

Blues Beat: Chicago (Photos by August Lord)

Carlos Johnson at B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted

I got to B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted before the band started to insure my seat. 

There it was at the corner of the bar closest to the stage.  The chrome legs didn’t meet the floor at the same time, and what little stuffing was left in the black cushion was being contained with silver duct tape.  It was perfect.  The keyboardist, Roosevelt “Hatt” Purifoy and his two keyboards decided not to try to compete for the very limited real estate on the stage riser.  I’ve seen many creative ways to fit musicians on this stage, but the one common appointment is the drummer on a higher riser in the back.  Pookie Styx, a very popular member of Chicago’s fine blues drummer fraternity, is tonight’s drummer.  His rhythm partner is the young Rob Bell.  The star of tonight’s show is Carlos Johnson.  Carlos plays his right-handed Gibson upside down, having to reach back up under his left arm to adjust his volume and tone knobs.  There is no pick involved and the well traveled guitar has a worn but warm finish that reflects the master’s posture. 

Carlos starts by advising us that we can let or hair down, or take it off for that matter.  Feel free to take the band to the bar or the car.  Carlos sits against a stool, much like mine, but leans down to reach his microphone.  His voice is warm and engaging.  His rousing version or “Ain’t Nobody’s Business” featured every player in turn and caused more than a few party goers to re-open their tabs. 

Carlos sometimes takes off in a jazzier direction with complete trust that Hatt will stay the song with the keys.  They have been playing together literally since childhood.  “I’ll Play the Blues for You” made famous by another lefty upside down player, featured a wonderful saxophone solo.  I know synthesizers can sometimes give a convincing horn blast, and some six stringers can conjure up a B-3 sound, but Hatt Purifoy had the sax nailed with his keyboard.  The attack, the envelope, timbre, sustain, and phrasing. 

Carlos Johnson plays like Carlos Johnson.  He is a good showman and a very good singer.  I look forward to the next time our paths cross.

It was standing room only so maybe I just didn’t see you there.  Don’t worry you can catch him soon in Lithuania and Italy (both Eastern suburbs of Chicago).  If you’re on a short leash be sure to see Carlos at Buddy Guy’s Legends on July 31.

EDITORS NOTE: CLICK HERE to read the Blues Blast review of the live CD recorded by Carlos Johnson at B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted.  

CLICK HERE to visit Lordy's website at

To see a Chicago Area list of upcoming events CLICK HERE

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