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Hey Blues Fans,
Lots of HOT Blues going on in the chilly Midwest! We made it out to see Chicago harp wizard Bill Lupkin last Wednesday in Pekin, IL. They had the crowd and dancing and howling for more!
We made it out to catch Levee Town, a great band from Kansas City last weekend. Levee Town made it to the finals of the 2007 International Blues Challenge. The were tearing it up for the folks at a small club in Chillicothe, IL.
We also caught a set by Shawn Kellerman at Illinois Central Blues Club's Blue Monday show in Springfield, IL. This is one GREAT guitar player with a new album coming next month. We haven't heard the CD yet but Shawn played a few cuts in his show and we can't wait to get our hands on it!
Blues Reviews and MORE!
We are JAM PACKED with Blues in this weeks issue! James Walker reviews a new CD from Saffire – The Uppity Blues Women. Mike O'Cull reviews a new release by Bill Sims Jr. & Mark LaVoie. We welcome reviewer George Fish who reviews a new CD from The R&B Bombers. Also please welcome reviewer Eric Steiner who reviews a new CD from Deb Callahan.
Nate Kieser send us a show review and interview with Nathan Morgan Blues Band at the Blues Train Cafe in Atlanta, GA. Ben Cox reviews a live performance by Jim Suhler in Springfield Illinois.
We have a great Blues Radio Link of the Week, a worthy Blues Link of the Week and an amazing Blues video for you. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!
Blues Radio - Streaming Link of the Week
Kbluz Internet Radio is all about the blues! They play all kinds of blues including Chicago, Texas, Memphis and West Coast styles. You'll also hear modern blues-rock, classic British blues-rock, blues influenced soul, swamp pop, zydeco and some blue jazz. If you want to know where the blues came from, where it's been, where it's at, and where it's going, then you need to check out www.Kbluz.com!
When you get to their webpage, simply click on the Listen Now link in the top left corner or just CLICK HERE to go right to their Music player and hear their 24/7 commercial free Blues Stream. Tell them the Blues Blast sent ya!
Check out other great Blues Music Streams Click HERE
Blues Link of the Week
Washington Blues Society - Seattle, WA
This week our Blues link of the week is the Blues Society that won the Blues Foundations 2009 "Keepin' The Blues Alive" award. You know we are a big supporter of Blues. Of course that means we appreciate the role that Blues Societies play in keeping this music called the Blues alive. We are inspired by this organization. Here is the program write up from the KBA awards ceremony.
"The Washington Blues Society will celebrate its 20th anniversary in February of 2009. Founded by an enthusiastic core of Blues fans in Seattle, the society now has 600 members statewide. The Society distributes 4,000 copies of its 32-40 page monthly Bluesletter that includes Blues features, CD and concert reviews, and society special events. The society also supports local venues like the Highway 99 Blues Club, Jazz Alley, offers free monthly concerts (called "Blues Bashes") for all-ages at the Red Crane restaurant, and promotes many Blues events throughout Washington State. Pacific Northwest Blues in the Schools, originally founded by the Society, has been a separate, self-sustaining BITS organization since 1994. "
This is a great organization to support. Get involved like they are. Visit their website. No matter where you are if you are a member of your local Blues society, spend the money and join these guys too. They deserve it for what they do! Is there a better way to spend a few $$ to support the Blues? (And you might be able to claim it as a charitable deduction on your taxes!)
Join and support them. Tell them the Blues Blast sent ya!
For more Blues links Click HERE to visit the IllinoisBlues.com Links Page
The Rivoli Theatre - Monmouth, IL
Featured Blues Review 1 of 4
Saffire – The Uppity Blues Women - Havin’ The Last Word
16 songs; 58:26; Library Quality
While Saffire – The Uppity Blues Women are “Havin’ the Last Word,” they have left us with a gem of an enjoyable album. A final CD could have been a quickie knockoff, but here are 16 full songs running almost an hour. All the ingredients we have come to expect from them are present from songs about the female body, romance won and lost, cancer survival, feminism, and shameless lust to terrific vocals supported by barrelhouse piano, guitar, mandolin, Dobro, fiddle, upright bass and harmonica. All that is encompassed in blues songs that are sing-along infectious, funny, passionate, rollicking and soulful, and the highest standards are maintained in recording quality, performance, and production.
The CD opens with a true band-approach on the upbeat “Going Down To the River” where each one sings a verse and then join in three part harmony on the chorus. Instrumentally, the song opens with Andra Faye’s mandolin underscored by Ann Rabson on piano and Gaye Adegbalola on rhythm acoustic guitar.
Agree or disagree: “I’d rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I am not.” It’s your choice, but this line is found in “Nothin’ in Your House” which is a perfect example of sass from these strong willed women who have always exuded the idea, “Tain’t nobody’s business what I do!” Try these lyrics sung by Gaye, “...when I get liquored up or drink Jose [tequila], Lord, you never know what I might do or what I might say....”
“His jelly roll is so nice and hot; never fails to hit the spot...his frankfurter is oh so sweet; how I like his sausage meat / I can’t do without my kitchen man.” Yep, there are the smile inducing double entendres we have come to enjoy; these are found in Bessie Smith’s “Kitchen Man” and sung huskily by Ann Rabson.
The most surprising number is Andra Faye’s, “Blue Lullaby.” It’s a beautifully sung, slower tear-jerker of a song reminiscent of Linda Ronstadt’s “Blue Bayou.” Gaye plays harmonica and does a great harp solo in the middle.
Other standouts include “Bald Headed Blues” reflecting a positive approach to surviving cancer,the salacious close-shaver “Bald Eagle,” and humorous numbers “I Can Do Bad All by Myself” and “Too Much Butt” featuring the line, “If my zipper could talk, you know it would scream, ‘too much butt for one pair of jeans.’”
While it is a shame to see them go, at least Saffire – The Uppity Blues Women have left us with a classic disc befitting their notable legacy.
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
Legends of Blues - Fantasy Video
OK imagine this fantasy Blues band. Picture Helen Humes on vocals, Willie Dixon on bass and vocals, T-Bone Walker on guitar and vocals, Memphis Slim on piano and vocals, Sonny Terry on harmonica, Brownie McGhee on guitar and vocals and John Jackson on Drums.
WOW! Could there actually be a video of such a gathering of Blues legends? YUP there is and we found it for you!. Click the play button below to go to our website and see this amazing video.
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
Featured Blues Review 2 of 4
R&B Bombers - The R&B Bombers
This self-titled CD, The R&B Bombers, is an exuberant, well-produced recording of horn and keyboard-driven blues, jump and R&B with vocals that also incorporates guitar and harmonica. It is a nice melding of genres and styles that incorporates 1940s big-band swing, modern blues, piano boogie, and ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s R&B. The four-man horn section of three saxes and a trombone is especially vibrant on this CD, and regales the listener with solid R&B riffing, re-creation of the full-throated big-band swing sound, and strong sax solos that are solidly in a blues/R&B groove with just a tinge of modern jazz. The R&B Bombers has 14 tracks, six of them originals, and one track, “Blow Wind Blow,” given as a traditional number. Noteworthy here are the horn arrangements that nicely combine 1940s swing with 1950s R&B.
The CD sleeve notes give a history of The R&B Bombers, a Southern California band that formed in the 1980s and had many successes before breaking apart and is now reconstituted. The R&B Bombers issued an LP in its earlier days that was touted by producer Terry Melcher as a “complete and well-produced work.” This CD incorporates tracks from that LP along with previously unreleased material, and the personnel here are comprised of The R&B Bombers’ original members. The nine-member R&B Bombers featured here are the late Larry Nass, guitar; Steve Nelson, bass; Tom Lackner, drums and percussion; Ken Strange, piano and organ; Joe Wilson, vocals and harp; and the horn section of Craig Woods, trombone; Craig Thomas, alto and tenor saxes, and vocals; Dave Tolegian, baritone, alto and tenor saxes; and Jim Hochanadel, tenor sax and vocals on “Everytime I Hear That Mellow Saxophone.” All three sax men do solos.
Running thematically through The R&B Bombers is the big-band sound that, as noted above, is a melding of 1940s swing with 1950s R&B. This big-band sound courses through 12 of the 14 tracks. The two original blues, “Can’t Help Myself” and “Since I Found You” feature it along with Joe Wilson’s harp, and it fully infuses Doug Sahm’s “Someday.” The original “Karla” combines swing with early 1950s R&B, while four songs long familiar with aficionados—Nappy Brown’s “Don’t Be Angry,” Louis Jordan’s “Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens,” and two B.B. King numbers, “Get Out Of Here” and “You Upsets Me”—while partaking of the original arrangements, augment these with a big-band sound. The rock-tempo “Everytime I Hear That Mellow Saxophone” and “Blow Wind Blow” have Latin beats, and the originals, “Gotta Get Next To You” and “Hurry On Back,” and the final cut, “Any Other Way,” are 1960s R&B with horn riffing. The lone instrumental, “Ken’s Boogie,” written by keyboardist Ken Strange, is a traditional piano boogie that also incorporates horns and the amplified harp of guest Mitch Kashmar. Tasty guitar solos from Larry Nass are featured on “Since I Found You,” “Hurry On Back,” “You Upsets Me” and “Any Other Way.” Ken Strange’s organ and piano are an integral part of the group’s sound, and drive the music in tandem with the very dynamic horn section. The vocals of Joe Wilson on 11 of the tracks, those of Craig Thomas on two, with co-lead on one, and Jim Hochanadel are expressive and properly emotive.
I would recommend The R&B Bombers to all those who like horn-driven blues and R&B, big-band fans, and also to those who want to listen to a well-crafted CD that’s something different.
Reviewer George Fish lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, home of blues legends Yank Rachell and Leroy Carr, and writes a regular music column, “Blues and More” for the online Bloomington (IN) Alternative. He’s also published in the regional Indiana blues and alternative presses as well as Living Blues and Blues Access, and wrote the notes for Yank Rachell’s Delmark album, Chicago Style. He has also published on blues and pop music for the left-wing press as well, and has appeared in Against the Current and Socialism and Democracy, as well as the online Political Affairs and MRZine.
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.
The Sean Costello Memorial Fund for Bipolar Research will hold its first benefit concert Sunday, March 1, 2009 at the North Atlanta High Center for the Arts at 2875 Northside Drive, Atlanta, Georgia, 30305.
Sean was a beloved blues musician from Atlanta, who was internationally acclaimed, and in his honor, fellow musicians Lurrie Bell [2008 Living Blues Awards for Blues Artist of the Year and Most Outstanding Guitarist], The Wood Brothers, King Johnson, Felix and the Cats with Jon Liebman and the Soul Shakers will lend their time and talent to this cause.
Doors will open at 4p.m. for review of silent auction items with entertainment to follow at 4:30p.m. Tickets are $30 and will be available online and at the door. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. The Sean Costello Memorial Fund for Bipolar Research is a non-profit 501 C3 organization. Donations are tax deductible.
For more information call 404 310-4514 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For tickets and further information CLICK HERE
The Nathan Morgan Blues Band and The Blues Train Cafe
This week, our Blues Wanderings by our Atlanta reporter Nate Kieser take us to the south to discover a new guitar whiz at a great live blues club. TheBluesBlast went to check out The Blues Train Cafe. (A small, but awesome live blues club about an hour north of Atlanta in Dalton, GA.) Before entering the club, we could hear someone playing some amazing licks and getting the crowd going. We HAD to see who this was! We entered, the servers gave us our seats, and we listened the amazing talent of Nathan Morgan. He was playing as a three piece power-trio and laying down a great solo to Red House.
We looked over the menu and of course, like any Blues outing, we had to try the BBQ. So, we opted for the unusual "BBQ Pork Nachos!" MMMMMM! They were great. The Blues Train Cafe serves mouth-watering food and has a unique line-up of beers for a city of only 30,000. Nathan continued his set with songs such as "Statesboro Blues" by The Alman Brothers, some standard Freddie King tunes, and even an improvised request of Cissy Strut. In between sets, we had the chance to talk to Nathan and get some inside information:
Blues Blast (BB) You sound awesome! You slide playing is great! So, what is your story? Can you tell me about yourself?
Nathan Morgan (NM) Born and raised in the small town of Rex, Georgia. Grew up listening to my dad's old vinyl collection of Skynyrd,Allman Brothers, Springsteen, CCR, Atlanta Rhythm Section, just to name a few. Started playing guitar seriously at the age of 11 after I got my first Washburn acoustic for Christmas one year.
(BB) Who are the members of your band?
(NM) They are great! Eric Kazinski
is my drummer, great blues and jazz player. Jairaj Swann is my bass
player, a truly gifted player. Sometimes I'll just stop and listen
to him play thinking "Man, this guy doesn't need ME!"
(NM) Eric and Jay (Jairaj) were school buddies from New England. They both ended up moving south. We met through the musicians directory on Craigslist. I was looking for some musicians to help me step up my game, and man did I find 'em.
(BB) Who are your influences?
(NM) Stevie Ray Vaughn first and foremost, Johnny Winter, Albert Collins, Freddie King, Jimmy Page, Paul Kosoff from Free. Also, Allen Collins and Steve Gaines from Skynyrd have helped me develop my southern blues style as well. Allen especially was a genius.
(BB) You are a great player. Have you ever won any guitar competitions?
(NM) I actually won a "King of the Blues" Contest that Guitar Center put on about 2 years back. I won the competition for the Marietta location and won some cheesy subscription to Guitar World Magazine for a year haha!
(BB) You are not far from Atlanta, I'm sure there are a lot of great places to play. What is your favorite place to play and why?
(NM) My favorite place continues to
be this little blues joint in Atlanta called Blind Willies. Its
(BB) What is happening this year and what are the plans in the future?
(NM) This year, I'm currently writing material for my upcoming album, "Burning Road", and I'm really wanting to make my mark with this record as an up and coming blues artist. I'm definitely focused on getting the album out, promoting myself as much as possible and getting my name on as many tongues as possible. Long term, I'm trying to establish myself as a serious force to be reckoned with. In the age of guys like Derek Trucks and Joe Bonamassa, I definitely have my work cut out for me.
(BB) Who are some of your favorite artists now?
(NM) Definitely the Derek Trucks Band, man what a talent! Joe Bonamassa, The North Mississippi All-Stars, The Old Crow Medicine Show, Johnny Winter as long as he can hold a guitar, and one of my own hometown heroes, Barry Richman.
(BB) Who do you think the big blues acts will be in the next few years?
(NM) I think guys like Joe Bonamassa, Derek Trucks, and John Mayer are the new face of the blues today. I think in the future, you will have guys like Brian Wilson, Andrew Black, and hopefully Nathan Morgan haha!
Nathan had to get back on stage, so we couldn't talk too much longer. He played a long set and had the whole crowd rockin! The Blues Train Cafe is definitely a great place to see live blues acts. Past acts at The Blues Train Cafe have included: Frankie Moats, Buckner Brothers Band, The Nathan Morgan Band, The GrooveShakers, Tommy Crain & the Crosstown Allstars, Harmonica Red and the New Heard, Tommy Talton, Eddie Kirkland, The Sean Carney Band, Cherry Vendetta, Richard Copeland, & The Michael Bailey Band. It is really the best blues spot in between Atlanta, GA and Chattanooga, TN to see great blues acts and we were glad to see catch Nathan on a packed Friday Night.
To see upcoming acts at The Blues Train Cafe, some videos, and pictures of previous acts, you can visit: http://www.myspace.com/bluestraincafedalton and also view some videos and pictures of previous acts.
To learn more about Nathan Morgan and find out where he will be playing, you can go to: http://myspace.com/sweatsuitblues or call (770) 366-5610. Also, here is a special link for him playing "Statesboro Blues" using his slide! Watch out! He's hot!!!!
Nate Kieser is a guitar player and web designer from Atlanta Georgia. Visit his website at www.clickstarusa.com
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.
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.
Mention the Blues Blast for a $10 new customer discount.
Featured Blues Review 3 of 4
Bill Sims Jr. & Mark LaVoie - American Blues Roots Duo
Acoustic blues is one of music's most difficult idioms to master. Free from the bombast of loud guitars and pounding drums, it requires an almost Zen-like approach that aspires to be simple and profound at the same time. An excellent example of some folks getting it right is the acoustic duo of guitarist Bill Sims Jr.. and harmonica player Mark LaVoie. On their latest release, American Blues Roots Duo, Sims and LaVoie lay down some of the sweetest country blues heard in these parts in quite some time.
Their sound is down home, back porch, crossroads, and hellhounds all at once and takes listeners back to a time before electricity turned the blues up loud, when feel and soul were everything, and when most musicians played simply because playing felt good. Between them, Sims and LaVoie have played with legends like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, and many more, another indicator that they are doing something right.
The songs here are classics and are treated to fine renditions accenting the interplay between Sims? smooth vocals and LaVoie's deeply soulful harp playing. The key to this album is truly taking one's time in listening and digesting what is really going down. There is much genius here, but, because of the quiet nature of this style, it can be easy to miss.
Those with the patience to prospect here will be rewarded with a set of songs that show us what the beginnings of the music we love sounded like and how valid this stuff still is. Highlights include "Going Down The Road Feeling Bad", "Must Have Been The Devil", and "Telephone Blues".
EDITOR'S NOTE: This CD is only available via iTunes down load from the Delta Groove website. CLICK HERE for more info.
Reviewer Mike O'Cull is a noted Chicago music writer and Blues Blast contributor. Visit his MySpace page at:
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.
The River City Blues Society presents
Wednesday Blues featuring
7:00pm February 25th, 2009
The Dragon's Dome
To see Map- CLICK HERE
Admission $3 - One free admission with new Society membership
Blues Society News
Please submit a maximum of 175 words or less in a Text or Word format ONLY.
Mississippi Valley Blues Society - Davenport, IA
The Mississippi Valley Blues Society presents Eric Sardinas and Big Motor from 5 to 8 p.m. on Sunday February 22 at Club Boulevard, 1801 10th St. in Moline. Admission is $12, $10 for Mississippi Valley Blues Society members. For more information Contact: Karen McFarland, (563) 508-6596
Wichita Blues Society - Wichita, KS
Wichita Blues Society presents the cool sounds of the Blues at the Harmonica Blowout Sunday, Feb. 22nd at 4 pm,. The show is held at Rowdy Beaver Tavern 656 S. West St., Wichita, KS. The Blowout features Rene Aaron, Lewis Cowdrey, David Graham, Terry Guinn, Steve Jordan, Marlin Knapp, Craig Steward, and The Sharon Rush Band. Cost is $5 WBS Members - $7 Non-members
Also on March 15, the Wichita Blues Society presents the "Pat Bash," at Margaritas Cantina, 3109 E. Douglas, Wichita, KS. Doors open at 5:00 p.m.; show begins at 6:00 p.m., tickets $10 at the door.
"Pat Bash," is a tribute to local blues legend, Pat McJimsey, and fundraiser for the Performers Assistance Trust. The show reunites former Pat McJimsey Band members Drake and Eddie Macy, Ray Murry, Marc Westerman and Bob Hartley. Rudy Love, Jerry Hahn, Rachelle Coba, and Jenny Detra will also perform selections from McJimsey’s career. The show benefits the P.A.T. fund, established after McJimsey’s death. P.A.T. helps area musicians with medical expenses or their survivors with final expenses. Information at www.wichitablues.org
The Connecticut Blues Society - Higganum, CT
The Connecticut Blues Society will have it's annual benefit " Blues Blizzard " on Saturday, March 14, 2009 @ The West Hartford VFW. Five of the areas hottest Blues bands will donate time for the CT. Blues Society. Performing this year from 7PM - 12 are; Crystal Blue Project ( w/young "Hot" guitarist Trey Wilson ), The Kingpins, Mojomatics, Eric Ducoff Band , Gene Donaldson & The Stingrays. There will be plenty of food and drink available. $10 donation or 2 for $15. For info contact 860-292-6112 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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 .
Monmouth Blues - Monmouth, IL
The hard-driving blues-rock of The Kelly Richey Band will take center stage at the Rivoli Theatre on Friday, March 13th, 2009 at 7:30pm. This pre-Spring show is the first of three scheduled 2009 blues events sponsored by MonmouthBlues.com. Opening the show will be Galesburg’s own Mike Budde’s Rhythm Circus. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.
In addition to the concert, the Kelly Richey Band will be presenting a program to local students in an assembly at the Monmouth High School at 10am. For more information go to www.MonmouthBlues.com or call 309 536-0854
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 25 - André Howard Band, Mar 4 - Lil Dave Thompson, Mar 11 - Rooster Alley Band, Mar 18 - Chris Bell & 100% Blues, 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, Apr 22 - Damon Fowler Group
Illinois Central Blues Club - Springfield, IL
HISTORY OF THE BLUES SHOW
23rd ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
BLUE MONDAY SHOWS
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/
Featured Blues Review 4 of 4
Deb Callahan - Grace & Grit
Style: Contemporary Female Blues
Eric’s Overall Impression: Highly Recommended
Deb Callahan is one of my favorite more recent blues discoveries. The first time I turned up “Food on the Table,” “Carry Me,” and “How Many Times,” I knew that I had to shout about this blueswoman.
Glenn Bickel’s Hammond B-3 adds the right amount of texture to “How Many Times,” and “Carry Me” resonates just like other great blues songs about a river. If you like Terry Evans’ Gospel-tinged “The River,” you’ll enjoy the way Emile D’Amico’s harp wraps itself around this simmering Deb Callahan-Allen James original. While the majority of songs on Grace and Grit are originals, I really enjoyed the band’s upbeat workout on Ray Charles’ “Hallelujah I Love Him So.”
Deb’s voice is just a few degrees closer to Susan Tedeschi’s on this cover and guitarist Allen James’ work is that not far off from Derek Trucks.’ It’s a version that Brother Ray would appreciate, and it adds a nice touch of soul to an otherwise solid blues CD.
Each time I return to the 15 songs on Grace & Grit, I replay “Big Wide Space.” This original song takes more than a few emotional risks – what great songs don’t? – and along the way, Deb commands a band that contributes subtle nuances from the B-3, a solid engine room in Garry Lee and Tom Walling, backed by understated picking from Allen James.
Check out Deb’s forceful web page opening with the opening cut on this CD, “Food on the Table.:”www.debcallahanband.com/.
I enjoyed Deb’s CD from start to finish and would recommend it highly to my friends. Perhaps more importantly, I’ll make a point to catch her show next month as she warms up the St. John Blues Festival in the US Virgin Islands.
Reviewer Eric Steiner is the President of the Washington Blues Society and a member in the Blues Blowtorch Society. The Washington Blues Society is the recipient of the 2009 Keeping the Blues Alive Award in the blues organization category.
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.
Live Blues Calendar
YOU can submit your Blues performances for FREE at: http://www.illinoisblues.com/submitnews.htm
Performance dates were submitted by Musicians, Club Owners, Blues Societies and Blues festivals.
TheBluesBlast.com is not responsible for errors or omissions.
or click a state to see Blues shows by State
Performance dates submitted by Musicians, Clubs, Blues Societies and Blues festivals.
The BluesBlast.com is not responsible for errors or omissions.
Live Blues Review
Jim Suhler & Monkey Beat - The Alamo, Springfield IL 2/9/2009
Photos by Ben Cox
“I love my job,” Jim Suhler said after ripping into a two-minute hip-shaking guitar solo. Suhler wasn’t the only one dancing Monday night at the Alamo in Springfield IL. He had the full house packed and people dancing in the street outside because the dance floor was too full to put anyone else on it.
“I think I brought the Texas weather with me. Let’s enjoy it,” Suhler also said, as the room heated up like a Texas Interstate roadhouse. Blending hard driving rock via the likes of ZZ Top, Bo Diddley, and even some surf rock like Dick Dale and some straight ahead blues via ZuZu Bolin and Magic Sam; Suhler brought his band Monkey Beat and the house to a frenzy.
“I like to play like I’m betting everything on the gig that I’m playing. I like watching guys like that so that’s the way I try to play,” Suhler told me later. Between the fleet-fingered Stratocaster magic and his usage of dynamics, Suhler truly is in command when he’s got his six string strapped on and he’s definitely a guitar player’s guitar player.
Playing most of the tracks off of their latest release Tijuana Bible, the crowd at its fullest was either tapping along or up dancing. Suhler didn’t have to coax the crowd very much to participate when he broke into a gospel number at one point. The smiles on the band’s faces and the interplay on stage was easy for the crowd to recognize that they were in for a good time.
Suhler’s eclecticism and knack for writing catchy hooks also makes him stand out in the “on the fringe of blues” crowd these days. Once the Monkey Beat starts you can’t help but fall in and dance and tap along.
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