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January 15, 2009           

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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,

There is a great opportunity to see some HOT Blues in the middle of a very COLD Midwest this weekend in Chicago. And you don't even have to fight the Chicago Traffic.

  The Winter 2009 Chicago Blues Tour is this Saturday, January 17th, 2009. The tour will visit 9 of Chicago’s famous Blues clubs and feature 12 live blues bands. If you are in the Chicago area or will be visiting this weekend, it's a great deal to see a lot of Blues effortlessly.

Some of the clubs included on the tour are Rosa’s Lounge, Lee’s Unleaded Blues, Linda’s Place, and the Checkerboard Lounge. Some of the great Chicago Blues performers included on the tour are Deak Harp, Johnny Drummer, Vance Kelly, Taildragger (Photo at Left), Larry Taylor Blues & Soul Band, Killer Ray Allison and Sharon Lewis with Texas Fire.

To get all the details and book the tour CLICK HERE or see their ad below. SCROLL DOWN!

Blues Wanderings

There was arctic cold snap in the Midwest this week so we didn't make it out too far! We stayed in our own backyard and made it out to the Wednesday Blues series put on by the River City Blues Society in Pekin, IL. Their series this week featured The Scott Hold Band. As many folks know Scott played with Buddy Guy for ten years. He stopped in Wednesday on his way to open up for Buddy Guy at Legends on Thursday. Scott, bass player Richard Sanders and drummer Marshal Weaver gave the appreciative crowd a wonderful set of Blues. If you haven't seen this great Blues guitarist make a point to do it soon!


The River City Blues Society's  Wednesday Blues series continues next week with the Robin Crowe.

Blues Reviews and MORE!

Blues Review this week - James Walker reviews a new CD from a young Blues artist named Maddy Moneypenny. Mark Thompson reviews a new CD/DVD from Delmark Records called 55 Years of Blues. Ben Cox reviews a new CD by Guy King. Also this week Ben Cox gives us the inside story on the Blues Music Award nominations when he interviews Blues Foundation Director Jay Seileman.  All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!

 Featured Blues Review 1 of 3

Maddy Moneypenny - Maddy Moneypenny

Self Release

8 songs; 25:45; Splendid

Style: Contemporary blues (with Sean Costello’s last studio work)

Welcome to the Blues all young people! Have you noticed a shift in blues fans’ attitude? For a few years now, I have not heard anyone complain about young people playing the blues. Around 2001 there was outrage at young guitar slingers like Jonny Lang and K.W. Shepherd getting too much undeserved attention and recording deals. Mem Shannon even wrote a song about the unfairness, “Paying My Dues.”

Maybe the majority of the blues fans, mainly aging Baby Boomers, finally realized the importance of youth in keeping the blues alive. Wiser heads knew all along that some of our heroes, like Buddy Guy, Little Walter, and even Sean Costello, were not that old themselves when they recorded some of their best work.

So, with open arms, meet Maddy Moneypenny from the Atlanta, Georgia area who recorded her first CD at age 13. Ironically, a former wunderkind from Atlanta, Sean Costello, added his final studio guitar work to her self-titled album about 10 days before his tragic passing.

Produced by Dustin Sargent and recorded by Damien Lewis, “Maddy Moneypenny” features eight songs, all covers, revealing a young lady with commanding, soulful vocals and a real feel for a song. Maddy obviously fell in with the right crowd because a host of amazing musicians are on the CD: Sean Costello and Oliver Wood of King Johnson on guitar, Kevin Thomas on keys, Dustin Sargent on bass, Jack Jones on drums, three horns: Will Scruggs, Bob Lewis, Ken Gregory, and Chandra Leigh McKnight singing backup vocals.
My favorite track, “Zebra,” is the first one, an obscure number (to me, at least) by Australia’s John Butler. With killer guitar by Oliver Wood, who played on Sean Costello’s last studio album, “We Can Get Together,” Maddy’s voice is clear, strong, passionate and in charge singing about the extremes of which the protagonist is capable – extremes as stark as the stripes on a zebra.

Another standout is “Same Old Blues” with Sean Costello providing a stinging guitar solo to match Maddy’s penetrating voice. By mid-song, Kevin Thomas plays an organ solo that is soon joined by Costello as they play off of each other. Then, Maddy adds a third instrument to the rave up – her voice. Sadly, in retrospect, the producer fades the song rather than allow these three to reach a natural end.

Sean Costello did the opening solo for “Voodoo Woman” about 10 days before he died. He also did some of the re-work on “Shaky Ground” as the original guitar went a little out of tune on the opening riff.

The other tracks are: “Son of a Preacher Man,” “Shotgun,” an amazing “You Are My Sunshine,” and a sweet closer, “How Sweet It Is.”

Already a proven good singer, Maddy almost missed an opportunity to start signing the blues, if not for a bribe. According to Maddy’s mother, a $20 bill enticed her to sing at an open jam for students hosted by Chicago Joe Jones at a place named Maddy's Ribs & Blues Joint. At age 10, she sang "The First Cut is the Deepest," and Chicago Joe has been Maddy's mentor and champion ever since.

Fast forward three years: Dustin Sargent (bassist in the Chicago Joe Jones Band) approached Maddy’s mother with the idea of producing a CD. He had Oliver Wood on board and sound engineer Damien Lewis “the man with the golden ears.” When they first went to visit the studio,

Maddy had to miss school time. An “orthodontist” note from “Dr. Lewis” or “Dr. Sargent” covered the trail.

The first studio sessions to lay the rhythm tracks were November 14-15, 2007. Maddy recorded the final vocals in January 2008, just before she turned 14. On the way out to the car, she said with conviction, "This is what I was born to do."

Chicago Joe, Jordan Gonzalez, Keith Otterbeck, and Jack Jones backed up Maddy at the October 19, 2008 Atlanta Blues Challenge in Marietta. The Maddy Moneypenny Band won the People's Choice Award by a landslide, but they came in second place in the band competition to the Patrick Vining Band, which won the key for the 2009 International Blues Challenge in Memphis.

Maddy Moneypenny has the talent and the conviction, and the door for youth is wide open. Get this CD, and you’ll be able to tell your friends, later, off in her bright future, “I knew her when....”

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.

Winter 2009 Chicago Blues Tour

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

Visit 9 of Chicago’s famous Blues clubs featuring 12 live blues bands!

For more Info CLICK HERE


New CD

'Le Blues Hot'


CLICK HERE to Purchase this CD

To read a review of this CD, CLICK HERE

 Featured Blues Review 2 of 3

55 Years of the Blues

Various artists

Delmark Records

CD - 17 tracks/66:24

DVD - 10 tracks/over 60 minutes

This two disc package serves as a reminder that the Delmark label remains the preeminent Chicago blues record label . With a catalog includes recordings from legends like Junior Wells, Otis Rush, Magic Sam, Carey Bell and Sleepy John Estes, Koester has spent decades documenting the talents of local musicians and providing them with world-wide exposure. He has also reissued recordings done for lesser known labels like United and Regal, giving blues fans another chance to hear forgotten recordings that have laid dormant and ignored. Earlier this year, Delmark received the Grammy Hall of Fame award for Hoodoo Man Blues, the 1965 classic Junior Wells record with Buddy Guy on guitar.

Wells leads off the CD with a live version of “Little by Little”, recorded at Theresa’s Lounge with the late Phil Guy and Byther Smith on guitar. Other cuts include Detroit Junior revisiting his best-known tune, “Call My Job,” with a fine Eric Schneider tenor sax solo - J.B. Hutto’s booming voice and slide guitar on a live “Evening Train” - and the country blues of Big Joe Williams with his 9 string guitar on “Coffeehouse Blues”.

Also featured are the soul-blues of Syl Johnson, female singers Bonnie Lee and Shirley Johnson plus the under-appreciated guitarist Jimmy Dawkins. Koester always loved piano blues and after you hear Speckled Red’s bawdy take on “The Right String But the Wrong Yo-Yo,” you’ll be a fan too !! One surprise was “Fine and Brown”, a track from piano man Roosevelt Sykes that features his engaging vocal and some great saxophone from “Sax” Mallard and Robert Crowder. The cd makes for a wonderful listen from start to finish even with the variety of styles and the span of time covered.

Not content to rest on their laurels, several years ago Delmark instituted a new series of dvds that document the working musicians on the current Chicago blues scene. These recordings are done in local clubs in front of a real audience. The importance of this work hit home when two musicians , Carey Bell and Little Arthur Duncan, passed away after each had completed their project.

The DVD portion of this set gives you a peek at the talents of Tail Dragger, a singer in the Howlin’ Wolf tradition, and the powerful style of singer/guitarist Byther Smith. One sequence captures Carey Bell on harp with his son , Lurrie, on guitar - just the two of them in Lurrie’s living room going deep into the blues on “Broke and Hungry”. Lurrie gets his own feature as do guitarist Dave Specter and Jimmy Burns. Zora Young rocks the house on “Til the Fat Lady Sings.”

Available on line for less than $17, this set is an incredible value economically and artistically. Even if you have lots of Delmark recordings already, you are bound to find something of interest on one of these discs. While the collection only begins to tell the Delmark story, it provides a big dose of high quality blues music that is sure to delight.

Reviewer Mark Thompson is the president of Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford, IL. The review was originally posted on the Crossroads Blues Blog which contains Blues reviews by society members. Review is used by permission. CLICK HERE to visit their Blog

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

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Blues Blast Magazine is looking for reviewers to review new Blues CD's and live music shows. If you have a background and experience with Blues music and like to write we can provide new CD's for you to review. Must be willing to write a minimum of one  to three reviews a month. Reviewer keeps the CD's for writing the review.  If interested please send a sample of your writing and a short bio of your Blues background to


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 Featured Blues Review 3 of 3

Guy King - Livin' It

IBF Records

Run Time: 54:05

Guy King has served time. No, not that kind of time. He's served time in the Windy City as a bluesman. Starting out in Memphis and New Orleans, King made the trek like many before him to the home of the blues where he hooked up with Little Mac Simmons and Aaron Burton from Albert Collins' Icebreakers and then got set up with Willie Kent and the Gents. Eventually King became the leader of the band and the famous bass man's right hand man. King's touch can be heard at the production controls on Kent's acclaimed Comin' Alive album.

After Kent's death, King assembled his current six-piece band. Oh, did I mention he did over 300 dates a year and did a couple world tours under Kent, too. He's road tested. Now, he's a fixture on Chicago's South and West Side clubs. And as my friend in Chicago, Kevin Johnson of Delmark Records put it, King "is one of the top and most dynamic blues guitarists in Chicago."

Think late period Albert King soul-blues and mix in the horns and the stinging guitar work of Albert Collins jams and you've got Guy King's sound. His blue-eyed soul voice is very adequate and carries his songs well but definitely not captivating. His knack for original songwriting is superb. Check the catchy "Go Out and Get It" or the title track. The band is rock solid tight. Note how they turn on a dime to a slow-shuffling blues groove from the upbeat album instrumental "Countdown" into the song "Think." That's tight. King shows off some tasty slow blues licks to start "My Pretty Baby." Ben Paterson's electric piano smooth electric piano adds some wonderful coloring underneath King's beautifully woven leads. King's only faltering moments on the disc is where he tries to stretch his vocals beyond their talents, especially on crooners like "I'm Still In Love With You." King gives fair reading to the aforementioned Collins on "If You Love Me Like You Say" and turns in one of his best vocal performances on the disc. His guitar soloing lacks a little of the punch that is a signature call on the song. However, it is original and funky though a little less in your face than it should be.

King's guilty of catering to slow soul-blues on this disc. There are way too many laid back grooves which could've kindly been broken up with a fewer fast paced Chicago shuffles here and there. Again, the blues is best played slow but not to the point of a lull. King's fully in touch with feel and groove and his competence on the slow tunes I speak of make this disc a nice feature and beginning to King's blooming solo career. His live shows are energetic and passionate and are well-worth any trip to Chicago's blues sides of the city, especially if you want to see a young guy hang out and play like the old dogs. King's still got a continued climb to reach the heights of his influences, but he's well on his way and he's definitely livin' it.

Reviewed by Ben "the Harpman" Cox. Visit his website Juke Joint Soul

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

Photo by Davidson Photography

The River City Blues Society presents

Wednesday Blues featuring

Robin Crowe

January 21, 2009 - 7:00pm

The Dragons Dome
3401 Griffin Ave, Pekin, IL.

To see Map- CLICK HERE

 Admission $3 or free with new Society membership

 Featured Interview

Inside The 30th Blues Music Awards

Recently, I tracked down Jay Sieleman, President of the Blues Foundation to find out more about the Blues Music Awards. Who votes for the nominees? What is the nomination process?  We wanted to let Blues fans know just who decides these all important awards that get put on display every year. Also, I think it’s a good way to get even more blues fans involved and continue to build the community.

The Blues Foundation in Memphis, TN is responsible for the Blues Music Awards (formerly called the WC Handy Awards), which is the equivalent to a Grammy for the Blues world, given away each and every year. The awards ceremony is usually held in early May each year and has been held most often in the Blues Foundation’s back yard in Memphis. This year, for the 30th Anniversary, the BMA’s will be held on Thursday, May 7 at the Memphis Marriott in downtown Memphis at 7PM. Many events unrelated to the Blues Foundation are scheduled about this time in one of the blues prime cities, as well.

So who gets to vote? You do if you’re a member. “The membership numbers generally peaks by the close of the Blues Music Awards voting at the end of February each year,” says Sieleman. “As of December 31, 2008, we had over 2700 dues paying members. That has been increasing in the past few years but shows how many Blues fans and people in the industry are not members. Many new members join for the first time each year, but unfortunately many others do not renew. This all kind of balances out unfortunately.” Currently over 166 blues societies, primarily here in the United States are affiliated with the Blues Foundation. However, there is a select handful from around the globe that also participates in affiliation.

Who gets nominated? Who gets selected? If you’d like a real detailed description of the nomination process other than the one I will give here, you can visit  for more information directly from the source. For the BMAs, the time period for which you release your material is crucial. If your recordings falls between November 1 of the previous year to October 31 of the current year, your recording is eligible for the awards of the current year. For example, From November 1, 2007 till October 31, 2008; the awards’ nominees for the 30th Annual BMAs are now currently selected. The list of those nominees can be seen here:

Each year the Blues Foundation solicits recordings from all over the blues world, big and small. This process usually starts in September. During this processing period, you as an artist/label can go to the Blues Foundation website and see their guidelines for the submission process. The submission guidelines are not currently posted on the website so I can’t give them to you here. The list of recordings is then submitted to the 100-125 nominators who are anonymous to the public. These nominators are “carefully-screened Blues experts, consisting of Blues radio programmers, print media representatives, retailers, educators, photographers, festival presenters, talent buyers, and other Blues aficionados who attend many live performances and actively listen to the majority of Blues recordings issued in any given year. The nominators are chosen from the Blues Foundation’s membership, with a focus on geographical balance and extent of involvement within the Blues genre. Most are from the United States, but we currently also have nominators from Canada, Europe and Central America,” as stated on the Blues Foundation website. Whether on the list or not, the nominators have the discretion to select any recording they choose if it falls between the release date requirements. The following outlines the rest of the process: “Beginning around November 1, Round 1 nominators are asked to make up to three selections in each of The Blues Music Awards 25 categories. Nominators may make selections in every category or only in those categories about which they feel most informed and knowledgeable.

fter Round 1 is completed, the Nomination Committee reviews the entries to ensure that nominations are in the correct category and indeed meet the eligibility requirements. Generally, artists, songs, and albums receiving three or more nominations are submitted for Round 2 consideration.

To avoid potential conflicts, those with a vested interest in any song or artist are excluded from further involvement in the nomination process. Each Round 2 nominator is again asked to select up to three of the remaining releases or artists in each category. At the conclusion of Round 2, the entries are again reviewed for category accuracy and eligibility and the top five nominees per category are placed on the final ballot. In the case of a tie, more than five nominees may be on the ballot.

The final ballot is made available online in mid-December and the voting by The Blues Foundation membership begins then and generally continues to March 1.” Voting on the process is done by the individual members only.

Then come the awards. As Sieleman says, “The award presentations and the performances are what make it special. The emotion and gratitude of the winners, the thrill for all nominees to just be there, the one-of-a-kind pairings you get when the genres’ best are all gathered in one room and the joy of the fans all combine to make it the most significant night in Blues music.”

Besides the Blues Music Awards, the Blues Foundation is also responsible for the awesome weekend known as the International Blues Challenge, which comes up in a few weeks in which both the top amateur blues band receives its highest honor, the Keeping the Blues Alive Award is announced, and the Best Self-Produced CD is awarded. Sign up and get involved as a member today if you’d like to be eligible to vote for your favorite artist and get the inside scoop on the business behind the music.

By Ben "the Harpman" Cox. Visit his website Juke Joint Soul

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

 Blues Society News

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

Please submit a maximum of 175 words or less in a Text or Word format ONLY.

The Magic City Blues Society - Birmingham, AL

The Magic City Blues Society is proud to present Lil Ed & the Blues Imperials on March 3, 2009 at the fabulous Workplay Theatre in Birmingham, Alabama. Tickets available for $10 and are available at or at Workplay at 205-380-4082.

River City Blues Society - Peoria, IL

The River City Blues Society's Wednesday Blues Series in Central, Illinois are early shows each Wednesday at 7:00pm, featuring the best traveling regional and National Blues musicians. The shows will feature a budget priced cover charge of $3. For the month of January all shows will be held at the Dragons Dome at 3401 Griffin Ave in Pekin, IL.

Shows scheduled are:  Jan14th - Scott Holt, Jan 21 - Robin Crowe,  Jan 28 - James Armstrong, Feb 4 - Blind Dog Willie, Feb 11 - Bill Lupkin, Feb 18 - TBA, Feb 25 - TBA, Mar 4 - Lil Dave Thompson, Mar 11 - TBA, Mar 18 - Sally Weisenburg & The Famous Sidemen, Mar 25 - TBA, Apr 1 - Reverend Raven & The Chain Smoking Alter Boys, Apr 8 - TBA, Apr 15 - Too Slim & The Tail Draggers 

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  - Jan 19 - Groove Daddies, Jan 26 - Juke Joint Duo / Cedric Burnside and Lightnin Malcolm, Feb 2 - Big Jeff Chapman, Feb 9 - Jim Suhler, Feb 15 - Shawn Kellerman, Feb 23 - Deak Harp

Mississippi Valley Blues Society - Davenport, IA

The Mississippi Valley Blues Society presents the Daddy Mack Blues Band, from Memphis, on Sunday, January 25 at Creekside Bar and Grill, 3303 N. Brady St. in Davenport. Show time is 5 to 8 p.m.; admission is $6, $5 for Mississippi Valley Blues Society members. For more information Contact: Karen McFarland, (563) 508-6596

Phoenix Blues Society - Phoenix, AZ

The Blues Blast 2009 will be held on Saturday, February 21st, 2009 at the Mesa Amphitheatre. The 20th anniversary of this Blues festival sponsored by the Phoenix Blues Society will start at 11:00 AM. Headlining the show is Janiva Magness. Other artists appearing at Blues Blast are: Omar & the Howlers, The Juke Joint Duo of Cedric Burnside & Lightnin' Malcolm, The Mikel - Meridith Band, Kathy Mabry, Kevin Casenhiser and a special Phoenix Blues Artist Showcase and Retrospective featuring many of the Valley's finest Blues Musicians. Here's a partial listing of the line-up: George Bowman, Bob Corritore, Terry "TD" Davis, Nancy Delessandro, Jim Dorholt, Brian Fahey, Jim Glass, Chuck Hall, Mario Moreno, Hans Olson, Big Pete Pearson, Jimmy Peyton, Johnny Rapp, Rochelle Raya, Paul Thomas, Scotty Spenner. For more info contact or check out the website at


New CD

Mighty Mighty

CLICK HERE to Purchase this CD



Blues Blast Magazine is proud to be a media sponsor of the 25th International Blues Challenge. The silver anniversary of this great Blues competition promises to be one the best ever put on by the Blues Foundation.

In case you are not familiar with this event, it is an international search for the best undiscovered Blues band on the planet.  Each year the Blues Foundation's 160 affiliate Blues societies from all over the globe hold "local" or "regional" Blues challenges.

They send the winners to compete in the semifinals in Memphis in February. There are categories for both bands and solo/duet acts.

In 2008, 100 bands and 60 solo/duo acts filled the clubs up and down Beale Street for the semi-finals on Thursday and Friday. This is a Blues show you do not want to miss. It is literally the worlds largest gathering of Blues Bands!

Beale Street is the legendary Blues Mecca in Memphis. Each club on Beale has 6 or 8 acts competing in the semi-finals. By the rules of the competition, each act plays exactly 30 minutes all using the same stage setup for a panel of judges and a packed crowd of Blues fans. They are judged on Blues content, vocal and/or instrumental talent, originality and stage presence by a different panels of judges each night (See scoring criteria HERE).

The scores are averaged and the top scoring act from each club advances to the finals that are held at the Orpheum Theater on Saturday.  (To see some photos of last years fun CLICK HERE)

Tickets to this historical event are just $75 and include entrance to all the clubs on Beale Street both Thursday and Friday and the finals on Saturday. CLICK HERE to get yours now.

Be sure to get your hotel reservations NOW too as some of the host hotels are already sold out! CLICK HERE for hotel info

Live Blues Calendar

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Performance dates were submitted by Musicians, Club Owners, Blues Societies and Blues festivals. is not responsible for errors or omissions.

CLICK HERE - for the Latest Complete Blues Calendar on our website at:

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