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January 29, 2009
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Hey Blues Fans,
We are getting more and more news of 2009 Blues festival schedules. Coming up in the next few weeks are the Luckenbach Blues Festival in Fredericksburg, Texas on January 31, the Lowcountry Blues Bash February 6th to the 16th in Charleston, SC, the Charlotte Blues Festival on February 14th in Charlotte, SC and the Blues Blast 2009 on February 21st in Phoenix, AZ. (Editors Note: The Blues Blast festival is sponsored by the The Phoenix Blues Society and is not affiliated with Blues Blast Magazine)
Next week is also one the biggest Blues show on the planet as Blues Blast Magazine will be heading down to the 25th International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN on February 5 - 7, 2009. Don't miss it! We'll be shooting lots of photos of all the bands and fans. Say hi so we can get a shot of you too!
The Wednesday Blues series put on by the River City Blues Society (RCBS) in Pekin, IL featured James Armstrong the week. James put on one heck of a show proving why he is known as a real guitar slinger. What an amazing performer. He had the fans dancing in a bunny hop line and on their feet cheering!
We also made it to Blue Monday at the Alamo in Springfield , IL to hear Cedric Burnside and Lightnin Malcolm. These guys were recently signed by the Delta Groove label. They played many of the songs from their new CD "2 Man Wrecking Crew" to a packed house. We think these guys are going to be hot on the festival circuit scene this summer.
Blues Reviews and MORE!
This issue of the Blues Blast is jammed packed with Blues!
Blues Reviews this week - James Walker reviews a new CD from Damon Fowler. Gary Weeks reviews a new CD from the North Mississippi Allstars. Ben Cox reviews the new CD by Eli "Paperboy" Reed.
Our Blues Video this week is a clip of Keb' Mo' at Buddy Guy's Legends.
Our Blues Link of the week returns with a great new Blues search engine. Our Streaming Blues radio link of the week is Midnight Blues. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!
Featured Blues Review 1 of 3
Damon Fowler - Sugar Shack
12 songs; 49:16; Library Quality
Style: Americana, Roots Music, Swamp Rock, Blues-Rock and Roll
Here is the formula: start with a bright-eyed, witty, eager-to-learn teenager born with God-given musical talent; locate in Florida (America’s magical, musical mixing bowl); play records by Duane Allman, Bill Monroe, Lightning Hopkins, Danny Gatton, Hank Williams, and 50 others; hand him a guitar and show him a few chords; turn loose on the world. This result is an incredibly entertaining, down-to-earth singer, songwriter, and six-string - slide - lap steel guitarist named Damon Fowler.
On three occasions, I have seen the Damon Fowler Group (trio) perform live and win over audiences. While this CD is not recorded live, the impact is the same. In both live shows and on this Blind Pig debut, Fowler plays music that people particularly enjoy. Many songs make folks want to get up and dance, evidenced by the third gig. Fowler surprised me when he filled the dance floor more than once for an audience where people never dance! All three times folks were asking, “When is he coming back?”
Fowler’s ability to draw love from audiences, again both live and on this CD, comes from his genius Roots repertoire of originals and select covers, his winning vocal delivery, his amiable personality, and his completely catchy songs full of master picking, guitar hooks and real life lyrics that stuck in my mind for months.
When Fowler played last July for the Friends of the Blues in Central Illinois, he opened the show with a song that immediately epitomized why Damon Fowler gets rave reviews. The trio, same as on the CD: Chuck Riley-bass and Scott Key-drums, opened with a catchy, stomping rhythm pattern synthesized from an amalgam of Southern Rock’s best. Ten seconds later, sweet slide guitar grabbed ears and hearts. Ever since July, I have been searching for that song - not sure if it was a cover or an original. Voila, the search is over; it’s a Fowler’s original - track four, “Lonely Blues.” If I was producer Scott Cable, I would have been tempted to open this CD with it the way Damon opened the show.
Likewise, track 10, “Wrong Side of the Road,” lingered in memory but was unavailable on Fowler’s previous three self-releases. The grabber on “...Road” is a Latin rumba rhythm that carries the song. Scott Cable appears here on acoustic rhythm guitar and tambourine. The happy tempo is juxtaposed against the lyrics about haplessly being stranded in various bad situations.
This album’s three covers were plugged into that July evening’s two sets with uncanny foresight for results. Undoubtedly, Fowler’s many live gigs have allowed him adept timing for classics like Merle Haggard’s “Tonight the Bottle Let Me down.” Positioned as the eighth cut of twelve, “...Bottle...” hits this recorded set like the live set – perfect for a boozy stomp on the dance floor in defiance of memories of lost lovers. Brian Leach adds background vocals while Fowler deftly finger picks six-string twang.
To follow next, there’re a gazillion songs from which to choose, and Fowler selects another stick-in-your-mind, sing-a-long winner, “Third Rate Romance.” This late-night-drunk masterpiece, originally recorded by the Amazing Rhythm Aces, gives listeners a tasty helping of Fowler’s lap steel guitar. Pedal steel guitar is tricky to play, and lap steel is harder than Chinese arithmetic, but Damon shows mastery.
During the third cover, Billy Joe Shaver’s “I’m Just An Old Chunk of Coal,” grumbling blues purists are kicked out the door so that the exuberance of this roots music can be fully enjoyed.
Fowler opens the CD acoustically on “Some Fun” before an upbeat, smile inducing slice of America, “VFW” where women are warned, “the old man is out on the prowl.” The only slow songs are the introspective “I Hope It’s Gonna Rain,” and a sad ballad, “James.” “Sugar Lee” is a guitar driven remake from Fowler’s second CD where his slide solo nearly steals the show from his vocals. The title track reminisces with “Polk Salad Annie’s” flow as Damon plays a lap steel solo and reveals his favorite 4 o’clock-in-the-morning hangout where one can “get anything that you need,” especially a “sweet old time.” Some of the most melodic notes coaxed from his Telecaster are found in the solo on “Don’t Know Why I Love You.”
Fowler’s final song (“I’m Just An Old Chunk of Coal”) foretells his musical legacy. The lyrics claim this “old chunk of coal” is “going to be a diamond someday.” With this CD and the support of a major label like Blind Pig, Fowler’s diamond days will come sooner rather than later!
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.
Blues Video of the Week
Keb' Mo' - Dirty Low Down & Bad
Keb' mo' is one of our favorite Blues artists. Weather with a band, or our favorite solo, he is one of the biggest Blues stars. Here is a video of a solo performance at Buddy Guy's Legends. To see the video on our website, simply click the play button below.
To visit the official Keb' Mo' website CLICK HERE
For other videos on our website CLICK HERE.
'Le Blues Hot'
CLICK HERE to Purchase this CD
To read a review of this CD, CLICK HERE
Blues Radio - Streaming Link of the Week
Midnight Blues is a site where you can buy Blues DVDs, harmonica and mics, Blues instruction books and more. The also have a great FREE Blues radio stream somewhat hidden at the bottom of their webpage. To listen to their stream simply click on the little logo at the bottom of the page. There will be one short commercial about joining Live365. (Not required here) Just wait for 15 seconds or so and the stream will start. To go directly to the stream, Click Here to listen. Tell them the Blues Blast sent ya!
Check out other great Blues Music Streams Click HERE
Featured Blues Review 2 of 3
North Mississippi All-Stars -Do It Like We Used To Do
Songs Of The South Records
When not working with his second outfit the Black Crowes, guitarist Luther Dickinson squeezes in all the gigs he can with his own band the North Mississippi All-Stars. Jumping from one tour bus to another doesn't seem to bother him as he lives for those moments he can play on stage.
He also serves as the All-Stars archivist. He has made it a priority to sift through hours of tapes to compile what he feels are the group's best performances. With the workload he's got, there is no telling when his band will release a CD of new material.
The fans won't be miserable. The double CD package of "Do It Like We Used To Do" is a retrospective look at the group's career from 1996 to the present. There is enough Dixie fried, swamp rock, hill country blues on these tracks to shake your fanny too.
The focus is always on Luther's slide guitar playing that is as slippery as a water moccasin. Supported by brother Cody on drums and Chris Chew on bass, The North Mississippi All-Stars brew a concoction of blues as heavy as bourbon and as dirty as plantation mud.
Ranging with tracks recorded at New York' Beacon Theater to the Bonnaroo Festival, these cds document what the All-Stars do best: Playing the blues and spreading the news.
The audience is made up of college age kids. But they love it to death when Dickinson breaks out the low-bow guitar on Charlie Patton's "Mississippi Bollweevil." The band's energy is unabatable on a fast and furious "Goin' Down South." The 2004 Bonnaroo Festival recording captures a sweat drenched "Po Black Maddie/Skinny Woman" that surely must have been a crowd pleaser as it evokes hip shaking rhythms taken from a heritage of Delta stomp.
Although it's nice to see others jam with these guys like their father Jim Dickinson, Duwayne Burnside and R.L. Boyce, this band works best in a trio format. Taken from a Beacon Theater 2006 performance, their reading of Jimi Hendrix' "Hear My Train A-Comin" is almost letter perfect with Dickinson's leads waxing modern day psychedelia.
And it get's better. Included is a DVD that is a documentary on the band discussing their upbringing. You see film clips of fife master Othar Turner. And a glimpse of how Mississippi Fred McDowell influenced Luther's slide guitar playing.
Now you know what they mean when they World Boogie Is Coming.
Review by Gary Weeks
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.
The Atlanta School of Performing Arts (Sean Costello's high school) will host a benefit concert to raise funds for the Sean Costello Memorial Fund for Bi Polar Research on March 1st, 2009 in Atlanta, GA.
The concert features Lurrie Bell, the Wood Brothers, King Johnson, Felix Reyes and the Cats with Jon Liebman, and the Soul Shakers. Tickets are $30.00. The fund is a 501 C3 IRS approved Charity.
There will be a silent auction of donated items from Delta Groove Music, Levon Helms other blues memorabilia. To donate to the cause or volunteer call 770 422-0100
For tickets and further information CLICK HERE
Blues Link of the Week
BluesPipe.com is the world's first comprehensive Blues Search Engine based on Google's Co-op Search technology. Rather than searching the entire web, your search yields only "blues" related results. Blues pipes visitor's can contribute websites for inclusion and filter out websites not relevant to the Blues world.
Publisher Gerald Brusaschi designed the site for Blues fans old and new to explore the roots of the blues world, it's people, music, stories and legends. It's a great research tool to find music, clubs, festivals, equipment, watch video or just plain keep up with what's going on.
Tell them the Blues Blast sent ya!
For more Blues links Click HERE to visit the IllinoisBlues.com Links Page
Featured Blues Review 3 of 3
Eli "Paperboy" Reed & the True Loves - Roll With You
Q Division Records
Run Time: 37:04
Soul music is alive! It's still here. Like all good things, you just have to look for it. John Nemeth, Andrew Duncanson (Kilborn Alley), Root Doctor, and now Eli "Paperboy" Reed are keeping soul singing alive and well in blues music. I could make the list longer but these are some names that instantly come to mind. While growing up in Massachusetts, Reed's father was a music critic who received lots of albums to listen to. Reed gravitated towards classic soul, R&B, gospel, and blues. At the age of 16, Reed was performing in Boston's Harvard Square for ample tips. Eventually his music journey led him to Mississippi where he met iconic blues drummer Sam Carr and shortly afterward earned his nickname.
Like many before him, Reed ran on to Chicago where he met former Chess soul songstress Mitty Collier. Collier, now a minister, hired Reed to be the leader of her church music program. Reed finally came full circle in 2005, when he returned home and put together his band The True Loves. They instantly released Walkin' and Talkin' For My Baby and Other Smash Hits. This, his second full scale release, shows Reed taking full hold on his creative power and introducing the world to the classic soul and R&B sounds from years gone by.
From the opening funky number "Stake Your Claim" to the final shaking "(Doin' the) Boom Boom" you get one helluva soul shake down party and one of the finest classic R&B releases of the last ten years that I've ever heard, period. That's saying a lot coming from this guy. Conjuring Otis Redding, Bobby Bland, Johnnie Taylor, Little Johnny Taylor, Sam Moore, James Brown, Al Green, and Syl Johnson with each and every cut; you can't mistake where Reed's true heart lies. The True Loves, the solid seven-piece Booker T & the MGs meet the Memphis Horns throwbacks are instantaneously dead-on.
Never over-done and with earth-shattering howls to the slow burning "oos" that soul singers use in their repertoire; Reed has got the total package. Watch some of his YouTube videos posted on his website and you'll understand that he brings what all the soul greats before him brought to the table - unbridled passion and raw power conjured from the soul that is at its heart gospel and the unblazoned love and yearn for love that is in itself secular and sexual and human. If you are a lover of the classic R&B and soul traditions, filter in this young man from the Northeast into your playlist.
Track him, buy the CD, whatever it takes...oh, man I'm going down to one knee I can feel all this great soul coming on!.
Reviewed by Ben "the Harpman" Cox. Visit his website Juke Joint Soul
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.
The River City Blues Society presents
Wednesday Blues featuring
February 4, 2009 - 7:00pm
The Dragon's Dome
To see Map- CLICK HERE
Admission $3 or free with new Society membership
The BEST Way To Promote YOUR Next Blues Project!
BANDS, BARS, AND LABELS: Is your promo material getting you the gigs and business you desire? If not, call music journalist and copy writer Mike O'Cull for all your promotional needs. Mike is a veteran music journalist and musician and writes for the Illinois Entertainer, IllinoisBlues.com, and www.Chicagomusicguide.com and can deliver the highest quality promotional writing around quickly and at a reasonable price.
Mike's specialties include bios, press releases, liner notes, and web content. Full press kit design, including graphics, is also available. Clients include The Joe Moss Band, Carl Davis, TruSoul Entertainment, B.A. S. Entertainment, and many others. Samples available on request. Email email@example.com , call Mike O'Cull Music at 847-608-0357, or visit us online at www.myspace.com/mikeocullmusic for more information.
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Blues Society News
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Alabama Blues Project - Northport, AL
The Alabama Blues Project's award-winning Blues Camp in it's11th year is now registering students ages 8-17 for 2009 Spring After-School Blues Camp. The Blues Camp gives students the opportunity to learn music instruction in their choice of guitar, harmonica, drums or vocal workshops. Intermediate level classes will also be offered for students who show exceptional skills. Instruction is provided by some of the best professional blues musicians in our area.
This Blues Camp will be held at First United Methodist Church. It will take place from 4 to 6:30 pm every Thursday, beginning February 12 through April 30. The end of the year performance will be a Blues Extravaganza celebration at the Bama Theatre on May 1. The cost for Spring Blues Camp is $165 per student. If you are on a limited budget, scholarships are available. Space is limited and on a first-come-first-serve basis. To register, please call (205) 752-6263 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Mid-Mississippi Muddy Water Blues Society - Quincy IL
The Mid-Mississippi Muddy Water Blues Society of Quincy IL is holding their big fundraiser of the year on Saturday February 7th in support of the 2009 Quincy Area Blues Fest (July 17 & 18 09’). The event is “THE BLUE NOTE OPEN” which has 4 person teams playing 9 holes of indoor golf at 9 local establishments. Entrance limited to first 80 teams entered. For more details on the event, or entering a team-go to www.quincyblues.com
The Dayton Blues Society - Dayton, Ohio
The Dayton Blues Society will present it's first "Winter Blues Showcase" February 28th at Gilly's in beautiful downtown Dayton, Ohio. Sonny Moorman, Snapper Mitchem, Inner City Blues Band, and Stacy Mitchhart will blaze the stage starting at 7pm. For more information see www.daytonbluessociety.com .
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 www.magiccityblues.org 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 feature a budget priced cover charge of $3. The shows are held at the Dragon's Dome, 3401 Griffin Ave in Pekin, IL.
Shows scheduled are: Feb 4 - Blind Dog Willie, Feb 11 - Bill Lupkin, Feb 18 - Shawn Kellerman, Feb 25 - TBA, Mar 4 - Lil Dave Thompson, Mar 11 & 17- TBA, Mar 25 - Sally Weisenburg & The Famous Sidemen, 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 Feb 2 - Big Jeff Chapman, Feb 9 - Jim Suhler, Feb 16 - Shawn Kellerman, Feb 23 - Deak Harp
Mississippi Valley Blues Society - Davenport, IA
Blues guitarist and educator T. J. Wheeler will conduct workshops at eight schools, one university, and the Putnam Museum for the week of February 2-6, during Black History month, as part of the Mississippi Valley Blues Society’s Blues in the Schools program. He will also conduct three FREE, open-to-the-public performances at the Bettendorf Family Museum on Monday Feb. 2 (6:00 p.m.), at Borders in Davenport on Tuesday Feb. 3 (7:00 p.m.), and at Mojo’s in the River Music Experience in Davenport on Wed. Feb. 4 (7:00 p.m.). 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 email@example.com or check out the website at http://www.phoenixblues.org/
Crossroads Blues Society - Rockford, IL
The Crossroads Blues Society along with Big Cities Lounge is proud to present Kim Wilson Tuesday, February 3, 2009, at 8:00 PM at Big Cities Lounge in Rockford. Appearing with Kim will be Doug Deming and Jewel Tones. Kim is best known for his work with the Fabulous Thunderbirds and was recently was called on to put the band together for the movie Cadillac Records and it was his harmonica that you heard throughout the film. His solo and T-Birds CDs have sold millions of copies over the last 30 years of performing and recording.
Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at Big Cities or from Steve Jones or Mark Thompson. Call 779-537-4006 or 414-416-1884 for tickets or information.
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 submitted by Musicians, Clubs, Blues Societies and Blues festivals.
IllinoisBlues.com is not responsible for errors or omissions.
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