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October 7, 2010 

© 2010 Blues Blast Magazine

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Hey Blues Fans,

Blues Blast Magazine is headed south to catch some great artists at the Arkansas Blues & Heritage Festival. This is the 25th year for this great Blues fest which started out as the King Biscuit Blues Festival. They have quite a lineup to celebrate.

Among the many great artists performing will be BB King, Taj Mahal, James Harman, Sherrie Williams, Big Jack Johnson, Smokin' Joe Kubek, Bnois King, The Kentucky Headhunters, Hubert Sumlin, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Michael Burks, Marcia Ball, Dr. John, Eden Brent, Bobby Rush and Charlie Musselwhite.  Look for the guys in the Blues Blast T-shirts and be sure to say hello. See you there!

This week we feature more videos of 2010 Blues Blast Music Awards nominees including clips from 2010  nominees Kilborn Alley Blues BandCandye Kane, Fiona Boyes and Marquise Knox. Check them out, SCROLL DOWN!

For a complete list of 2010 BBMA nominees CLICK HERE. Check out these videos to see why these great artists were nominated. For more information and to purchase tickets to the 2010 Blues Blast Music Awards on Thursday October 28th 2010 at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago, CLICK HERE or see the ad below in this issue.

Blues Wanderings

We made it to Buddy Guy's Legends for a Friday night show by 2009 Blues Blast Music Award winner and 2010 nomine Nick Moss. Nick had an all new band and they put on a great set of music.

Opening up the show for Nick Moss was Chicago Bluesman Sammy Fender. It was our first chance to hear this great performer and we hope to see more of him. He did a great set leaving the crowd yelling "One More, One More!".

In This Issue

We have five new CD reviews this week! James "Skyy Dobro" Walker reviews a new CD by JW Jones. Belinda Foster reviews a new CD by Eden Brent. Mark Thompson reviews a new CD from Lucky Peterson. Steve Jones reviews a new CD by Kenny Neal. Gary Weeks reviews a new CD by Joe Pitts. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!

 Featured Blues Review 1 of 5

JW-Jones - Midnight Memphis Sun

Crosscut Records/Ruf

12 tracks; 48:34 minutes; Suggested

Styles: Modern Electric Blues, Chicago Blues, Memphis Soul-Blues

What is more important: the song or the singer? Well, which will last longer? Musicians and singers will come and go, but the song will stay with us, maybe forever. For example, sixteen year old Jay Gaunt recorded “Greensleeves” that goes back to 1580.

JW-Jones is also a youthful Blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter who always, refreshingly, puts the needs of the song first. Born in Ottawa in 1981, he was only eighteen when he won a hometown competition called the Blues Guitar Riff-Off in 1999.

“Midnight Memphis Sun" is JW-Jones’s sixth album to date and his first for Ruf Records. It consists of twelve enjoyable and varied tracks of which Jones co-wrote eight (with non related partner Tim Wynne-Jones), and the other four cover legends like Lowell Fulson and Jimmy Reed. Technically, there are two CD sets with two different bands here.

Seven tracks were recorded at the famous Memphis Sun Studios, hence the album title. Like Jones’s past CDs which included world-class musicians, three Memphis songs feature guest star Hubert Sumlin (guitar), and two of the Memphis cuts feature Charlie Musselwhite (harmonica). The backup band includes Larry Taylor on bass and Richard Innes on drums. Adding heavy grooves on keyboards for both bands is Jesse Whiteley.

Five songs were recorded at “J-Dub’s House, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada” with Jones’s regular working band: Jeff Asselin (drums) and Martin Régimbald (bass) plus aforementioned Whiteley. Musselwhite’s harp also guests on one of these tracks.

First aired on the “Friends of the Blues Radio Show” was an original, “Born Operator,” with a topic, thankfully, relevant and other than the love and money clichés. Opening with guitar clearly influenced by Magic Sam Maghett, “Born Operator” mentions how greed is actually an addiction as it scolds the likes of Bernie Madoff and their painful and suicide-causing Ponzi schemes. Hubert Sumlin makes his first appearance soloing and trading licks at mid-song. The best pairing of Sumlin and Jones, however, is found in the instrumental “Howlin’ with Hubert” with its title alluding to Sumlin’s long time band leader, Howlin’ Wolf.

Future airings will include Sonny Terry’s and Brownie McGhee’s “Burnt Child” which opens with Charlie Musselwhite’s harp. Charlie’s harp work is not the central focus; it just fits perfectly into this classic Chicago Blues ensemble approach. More of that style is found in Jimmy Reed’s “I Don’t Go for That,” again with Musselwhite.

When pacing calls for a slow Blues number, the Jones’ original “Mean Streak” is perfect. Here, Jones uses his still young sounding vocals to relate the meat of the song and keeps the guitar understated. Even the guitar solo is a plodding series of single notes instead of the typical shredded rave-up at three-quarters in.

An unexpected song is a cover of Bryan Adam’s “Cuts Like A Knife,” originally a pop radio rocker, but here an up tempo shuffle that fits well. For a fine nod to Buddy Guy staccato guitar playing, check Jones’ original “Make a Move.”

When an artist under 30 is this dedicated to recording songs correctly, honoring masters, and creating new works clearly within the idiom, there is no doubt the future of the Blues is assured.

Reviewer James "Skyy Dobro" Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ, Master of Ceremonies, and longtime Blues Blast Magazine contributor. His weekly radio show "Friends of the Blues" can be heard Saturdays 8 pm - Midnight on WKCC 91.1 FM and at in Kankakee, IL. To See James “Skyy Dobro” Walker's CD rating system, CLICK HERE 

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE

Tickets for the biggest Blues event of the fall season, The 2010 Blues Blast Music Awards are now on sale. To buy yours before they sell out, CLICK HERE.

Held at the brand new Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago, confirmed artists Bobby Rush Candye Kane w/ Laura Chavez  Kilborn Alley Blues BandMarquise Knox, Shaun Murphy Band, Mississippi Heat, Carl Weathersby, Dave Riley & Bob Corritore, Zora YoungQuintus McCormickCash Box Kings w/ Joel Paterson and , Jackie Scott & The Housewreckers, Little Ray Neal and Eddie Shaw will all join in to celebrate the Best in Blues Music for 2010.

Sponsorships Needed - This event would not be possible without the help of our sponsors and friends! For info on the best seats and other great benefits, (T- Shirts, commemorative posters, Blues "goodie" bag, your band or company name advertised in the program and more)  CLICK HERE.  Sponsorships start just $200 for two people!

The Essex Inn in Chicago at 800 South Michigan Avenue is the official hotel for the 2010 Blues Blast Music Awards. The hotel is located one block from Buddy Guy's Legends Fans coming to Chicago for the event can get a 20% discount off by mentioning the Blues Blast awards. Call them at (312) 939-2800 and mention the awards to get this discount on stays during October 27th to 29th for the awards show.

 Featured Blues Videos

Our Blues videos this week are from some of the 2010 Blues Blast Music Award nominees.

Click picture for video

 Kilborn Alley Blues Band - Live in London 2009

This is a video from Kilborn Alley's first mini-tour of the UK in November of 2009. The band had just won the 2009 Blues Blast Music "Sean Costello Rising Star" Award a week or so before this video  They are seen here performing a song from their latest CD Better Off Now. The song is called "Watch It" and was written by Nick Moss. Kilborn Alley Blues Band is nominated for Best Traditional CD for Better Off Now, and is also nominated for Best Blues Song for the Title cut off the CD by the same name. Kilborn Alley is performing at the Blues Blast Music Awards.

Click picture for video

  Candye Kane - Live in San Diego, CA  2010.

Candye Kane is a great Blues singer and performer. This is a clip of her performing a jump Blues tune "All You Can Eat" with her band and guest guitarist Skip Heller. Toward the middle of the clip you get to hear Candye's fabulous guitar player Laura Chavez. Laura has been featured in Guitar Player Magazine and this gal is so good she makes male guitar players want to play like a girl! Candye Kane is nominated as Best Female Blues Artist. We are thrilled that Candye and Laura are performing at the Blues Blast Music Awards.

Click picture for video

 Fiona Boyes - Solo performance 2007

Fiona Boyes is a rare breed. A female Blues guitar player from Australia! Fiona first came to prominence when she won the solo/duo category of the International Blues Challenge in 2003. This video is from 2007. She is nominated as Best Female Blues Artist.

Click picture for video

 Marquise Knox - "Highway 49"

Marquise Knox is a Blues force to be reckoned with at the young age of 18! He has had quite a year. Marquise was nominated for a 2010 Blues Music Award, recognized by Living Blues Magazine and now he is nominated for two Blues Blast Music Awards. Not bad for a young man who won't be able to legally buy a beer in the Blues clubs he plays in for another couple years! Marquise Knox is nominated for Best New Artist Debut for his CD, Man Child and for the Sean Costello Rising Star Award. Marquise will be performing at the 2010 Blues Blast Music Awards.

Blues Blast Discount Advertising Special

Blues Blast Magazine is offering a Fall Ad special. This is our lowest pricing of the year and offers an affordable & effective way to get the Blues word out! This 6 week combo rate of only $180 allows you to affordably add significant impact to your Blues ad campaign. It is a great way to kick up the visibility of you new CD release or Blues event!

Blues Blast Magazine is a great way to promote the Blues. More than 17,000 Blues fans read our magazine each week. They are located in all 50 states and in more than 80 countries. We also get more than 1,000,000  (That's ONE MILLION) hits and more than 25,000 visitors a month on our website. Normal 2010 Advertising rates are $45 a week for Blues Blast magazine ads and website ads are $70 per month.

BUT, for a limited time, you can advertise your Blues event or CD in six issues of Blues Blast Magazine and on our website for a month and a half for less that the cost of a small ad in your local newspaper. To get the special rate of $180 simply reserve your ad space by October 15th, 2010.  Ads can be booked to run anytime between September 15, 2010 and March 31, 2011.

So for only $180 your ad can be seen more than 135,000 times by Blues fans who want to know about Blues events and music! Reserve your space today!  Space is limited and will be sold on a first come first served basis.  Ads must be reserved  and paid for before October 15, 2010. To get more information email or call 309 267-4425 today!


Stoopid Daddy Records Ltd. presents a new CD by

Blues Buddha

I Like It A Lot

 Get your copy now at:

 Blues Society News

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

You can submit a maximum of 175 words or less in a Text or MS Word document format.

Southern California Blues Society - Los Angeles, CA

The Southern California Blues Society presents The Battle of the Blues Divas concert on Saturday, October 23, 2010 at the Proud Bird, 11022 Aviation Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90045. The show will begin at 7 PM, free parking and excellent food and drinks are available. This is one of seven major events presented each year by the Southern California Blues Society and will benefit Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Featured will be ten amazing blues singers, including Barbara Morrison, world-renown blues, jazz and soul singer, Audrey Madison Turner, hot sassy vocalist and partner of the late Ike Turner, Lady GG, gutbucket blues Diva from south central Los Angeles and seven more outstanding singers. Joe Kincaid and the Soul Brothers Blues Band will backup these Divas. Reserve advanced tickets at: or call (714) 209-7347

Crossroads Blues Society - Rockford, IL

Crossroads will be hosting a volunteer recognition party for all of the volunteers, bands and sponsors of their inaugural festival. The party is Sunday, October 17th from 3 PM to 6 PM at Tailgater's Sports Bar at 117 E 2nd Street in Byron, IL. There is no charge and there is free food and beverages for each volunteer and their guest. Barstool Bob Levis and his Blues Band will be playing at the event. for information and volunteer RSVPs call Steve Jones at 779-537-4006.

Smokin' Joe Kubek and Bnois King will be Big Cities Lounge at 905 E State St in Rockford on Thursday night, November 18th at 8 PM. Tickets ar $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Contact Joe G at 815-218-6359 or for tickets and info. This will sell out fast so get your tickets early!

Artale Wines in Rockford at 6876 Spring Creek Rd is running one of their non-profit organization wine tasting fundraisers with Crossroads Blues Society as the beneficiary. Call 815-877-9463 for more information and tickets. The fundraiser is on Friday night, November 19th at 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM with finger foods by Josef Barbados Restaurant. $15 Donation to Crossroads Blues Society.

Greater Twin Cities Blues Music Society - Minneapolis, MN

Greater Twin Cities Blues Music Society presents our 4th annual Minnesota Blues Hall of Fame, "Honoring the Creative Best", Performer; Blues Recording; Blues Song; Blues Art and Literature; and Non-performer supportive of the Blues.

The show is Sunday, October 17th Minnesota Music Cafe, 499 Payne Ave., St. Paul. MN. Doors open at noon. Music starts at 1:00, featuring the 2010 "Performer" inductee, Sweet Paulie T., playing with his band The Blues Blasters. Induction ceremony: 2:45-3:45. Music to follow ceremony include: Jeff Ray and "Hurricane" Harold, this year's IBC solo/duo entrants; and Little Bobby and the Storm. Suggested donation: $7.00  More info at:

The Decatur Blues Society - Decatur, IL

The Decatur Blues Society is holding their 1st annual "Blues Challenge" October 16th at the Bourbon Barrel in Decatur, Illinois. The winner of the band & the solo/duo divisions will receive a slot in the 2011 International Blues Competition in Memphis next February. COmplete information is available at

Illinois Central Blues Club - Springfield, IL

BLUE MONDAY SHOWS - Held at the Alamo 115 N 5th St, Springfield, IL (217) 523-1455 every Monday 8:30pm $3 cover. October 11 - Too Slim & the Taildraggers, October 18 - Reverend Raven & the Chain Smoking Altar Boys, October 25 - Perry Weber & the Devilles.

The Friends Of The Blues - Watseka, IL

2010 Friends of the Blues shows - 7 pm , Kankakee Valley Boat Club, October 12, Too Slim & Taildraggers, 7 pm , Kankakee Valley Boat Club, October 26, Perry Weber & DeVilles, 7 pm , Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club. For more info see: 

Mississippi Valley Blues Society - Davenport, IA

The Mississippi Valley Blues Society presents Davina and the Vagabonds on Sunday October 10 at The Muddy Waters, 1708 State Street, Bettendorf IA. Showtime is 6:00 p.m., and admission is $10, $8 for MVBS members.

Blues harmonica player, singer, songwriter, bandleader, and educator Billy Branch will be the first of four residency artists for the 11th annual MVBS Blues in the Schools Artists in Residency series. He will be conducting workshops at area schools and free open-to-the-public performances during the week of October 18-22. The Free public performances by Billy Branch are:

Monday October 18, 6:30 p.m.—Davenport Public Library Eastern Ave. Branch
Tuesday October 19, 7:00 p.m.—Borders (53rd St. Davenport)
Wednesday October 20 at 7:00 p.m.—Mojo’s in the River Music Experience (2nd and Main, Davenport)

Also MVBS Presents Chicago's Mississippi Heat on Friday October 29 at The Lodge in Bettendorf! This will be a fundraiser for the MVBS, including a silent auction with signed guitars, posters, photographs, and more. Doors open at 7 p.m., with the music starting at 8. Admission is $20, $15 for MVBS members. The Lodge will be offering stay-over packages. for more info

Windy City Blues Society - Chicago, IL

The Windy City Blues Society (WCBS) is proud to present the 2010 Chicago Blues Challenge (CBC). The winner of this competitions will represent Chicago and WCBS at 2011 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee. All proceeds from the CBC events will be used to defray a portion of the cost of sending the winners to Memphis.

Challenge dates include: Thursday, October 14 at Rosa's Lounge – Band Competition Round 1, Sunday, October 24 at the Heartland Café – Band Competition Round 2, Sunday, November 7 at Buddy Guy’s Legends – CBC Finals

For more information about the WCBS and the CBC please visit  or the WCBS Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter Sites

 Featured Blues Review 2 of 5

Eden Brent - Ain’t Got No Troubles

Yellow Dog Records

12 Tracks; 45 minutes 35 seconds

Styles: Piano Blues, Jazz, Rhythm & Blues, Soul

Produced by Colin Linden. Players: Eden Brent, piano and voice; Colin Linden, guitars; George Porter, Jr., electric bass; Bryan Owings, drums; Tracy Griffin, trumpet; Emile Hall, alto saxophone; Jeff Albert, trombone; Jon Cleary, Hammond B3.

If you loved her debut release ‘Mississippi Number One’, then you’ll definitely want to get your copy of this, her follow up CD. I’m assuming most of you know who Eden Brent is by now or, at least, you’ve known about her since she won the 2006 International Blues Challenge. But did you know she’s a ‘born & bred’ Mississippian, music ‘schooled’, appeared in two tv/documentary productions, got her nickname “Little Boogaloo” from a 16-yr apprentice with MS blues pioneer Boogaloo Ames, has appeared at the Kennedy Center, the Republican National Convention, is a 3-time Blues Music Awards winner and has been compared to the legendary voices of Janis Joplin, Bessie Smith, Sarah Vaughn, Norah Jones and Diana Krall (and can I throw in I heard a hint of Nancy Griffith)?

Eden Brent is the real deal. Her southern roots serve her well in this world of show biz. She’s down to earth, warm, engaging and spirited. Her comfort on stage and in front of a piano--belting out sultry, raspy, husky, silky and sensual vocals--flows right off the stage into your heart and soul, just like it does here on this CD. You can’t help but love her and her music.

And I guess I’ve been asleep at the wheel when it comes to paying attention to Eden’s songwriting skills, being caught up and blown away by her charismatic piano playing and singing. I mean, who else has more fun performing than Eden!? So, take a look at all the tracks she penned in this, her 2nd release—8 of the 12 (tracks 1-3, 6-8, 10, 11). And they’re all clever, catchy jazzy bluesy tunes that’ll stick in your head after just one listen. She’s even included the lyrics in the CD jacket.

Eden’s original, danceable Track 1’s ‘Someone to Love’, lets the men folk know there’s plenty of fish in the sea so they better commit because they’re swimming in a pool of contender fish! Track 2 ‘Ain’t Got No Troubles’ has New Orleans written all over it (and where the album was recorded)—gospel-tinged, happy, upbeat and jazzy. Track 3’s ‘Blues All Over’ is about us ladies missing that special man and is performed in the purist piano blues and stylish vocal way that only Eden does best. Track 6 ‘Leave Me Alone’ is a moving ballad where Eden waxes melancholy over a lost love with resolve of shutting doors to any further communication with him.

Track 7 ‘Let’s Boogie Woogie’ is classic Eden, just like I remember seeing her perform live in the Blues Music Awards Beale Street showcases, as if playing and singing is easier than breathing. How anyone can have that much natural talent is beyond me. She can flat out bang a piano and not miss an instrumental or vocal note, that’s for sure. This is a rockin’ bluesy dance hit that’ll have everyone in the juke a’jumpin’. Slide on into Track 8 ‘My Man’ for more fancy ivory tickling, savory vocals and a shout out to (finally) a good man! The theme continues in Track 10 ‘If I Can’t’ (have you baby, I don’t want nobody else). And the last of her original Tracks (11) is ‘In Love With Your Wallet’. How nice of Eden to remind the Sugar Daddies: “She’s in love with your wallet, not your personality.” Amen, sister.
You’ll also love Eden’s version of the Tom Hambridge, Delbert McClinton, Gary Nicholson tune ‘Ain’t I Got a Right to be Wrong’. The band rocks it out and she belts it out.

Producer Colin Linden penned Track 4 ‘Later Than You Think’. And in case you aren’t familiar with Colin, I took the liberty of stealing this bio bite from his website:

“Linden is a genuine renaissance man of roots music. He’s a singer and songwriter of great skill, an in-demand and prolific record producer ( Bruce Cockburn, Tom Wilson, Colin James), a sideman to the stars as guitarist for the likes of Bruce Cockburn, Emmylou Harris, and Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, and, for the past decade, a member of the highly successful trio, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. Colin’s songs have been covered by The Band, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Keb’ Mo’, and Colin James, and his well-stocked trophy case includes seven Juno, multiple Maple Blues Awards, and a Toronto Arts Award. He was nominated for a Grammy Award for the star-studded A Tribute To Howlin’ Wolf CD, and was involved in the ground-breaking O Brother Where Art Thou phenomenon. Linden has a well-deserved reputation as a slide guitar virtuoso of real originality, and his riveting slide work can be heard both on albums from such artists as Cassandra Wilson, The Rankin Family, Whitey Johnson and on his own sizeable solo catalogue.”

Frolicking romps, thigh-slappin’ boogie-woogie, juke-joint-jumping, soulful blues ballads, clever original tunes and another hit record. Yep, folks, that’s what you get when you buy “Ain’t Got No Troubles”. I give a strong ‘thumbs up’ to this one, blues friends. And I have a feeling more Blues Music Awards are well on their way for Eden and this album.

Reviewer Belinda Foster is a Web-TV Host for, a Columnist and Contributing Writer for Greenville SC Magazine “Industry Mag” and former manager of Mac Arnold & Plate Full O’Blues. She is a devoted promoter and support of live blues root music and history, making frequent trips to Clarksdale MS and the Delta Region. Her column “The Upstate Blues Report can be found on line at

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured Review 3 of 5

Lucky Peterson - You Can Always Turn Around

Dreyfus Jazz

11 tracks/

Only forty-five years old, the multi-talented Lucky Peterson has a career that has already spanned four decades. He grew up in his father’s music club and was tutored by organist Bill Doggett and other touring musicians that played the club. He had a hit record at the ripe old age of six, produced by the legendary Willie Dixon, which led to several high-profile TV appearances including one on the Tonight Show. Peterson also served lengthy stints in the bands of Bobby “Blue” Bland and Little Milton. His subsequent solo career features his talents on a variety of big labels including Alligator, Verve and JSP. In 1996, he recorded a critically acclaimed tribute album to Mahalia Jackson with Peterson on keyboards and Mavis Staples on the lead vocals.

Peterson plays guitar, piano and Hammond organ at a virtuoso level and is an accomplished vocalist with a strong gospel background. His latest release offers two dramatically different slices of his artistry. Half of the eleven tracks are devoted to new renditions of classic blues songs. The disc opens with Peterson’s booming voice shouting out a spirited run-through of “I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom” with Lucky playing acoustic slide on a duolian resonator guitar. Support comes from Dylan sideman Larry Campbell on a variety of stringed instruments, Scott Petito on bass and Gary Burke on drums. “Statesboro Blues” gets a rousing treatment with another fine vocal from the leader. Peterson dips into the Rev. Gary Davis songbook for a solemn take on “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” with some slashing slide guitar licks. “Why Are People Like That” finds Peterson snarling and screaming for an explanation of world’s ills. The disc closes with a gentle, luxurious acoustic version of Percy Mayfield’s “Think” with Campbell on the pedal steel guitar.

The other half of the disc is devoted to tunes from some of the best contemporary songwriters. One highlight is “Trouble”, with Peterson on piano and taking listeners to church with a powerful performance on Ray LaMontagne’s tale of love’s redemptive power. Lucky breaks out his electric guitar on Lucinda Williams’ “Atonement”, unleashing several blistering solos to support his raging vocal. Peterson’s wife, Tamara, joins him on “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to be Free” and quickly proves to be as talented a vocalist as her husband. The half-spoken vocal on the folksy “I’m New Here” doesn’t play to Peterson’s strength and his wordless, middle-Eastern vocalizing on Tom Waits’ “Trampled Rose” fails to connect. The lone Peterson original is “Four Little Boys” that tells the story of passing of an ancestor, who gets her husband to promise to keep the children and care for them before she dies.

Some might wonder if we need another version of songs like “Statesboro Blues”. Peterson certainly settles that discussion by going to the acoustic format and then injecting plenty of life into the songs with his potent vocals. There are enough strong performances on this one to satisfy long-time fans and exceptional tracks like “Trouble” are sure to catch the attention of anyone that takes the time to check out this worthy recording.

Reviewer Mark Thompson is president of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford. IL.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured Blues Review 4 of 5

Kenny Neal - Hooked On Your Love

Blind Pig Records

12 tracks

Kenny Neal is an amazing artist. Approaching his 53rd birthday in October, he is truly the master of his craft. Neal has toured since age 17 (he was Buddy Guy’s bass man) and was in his Dad’s band four years prior to that. He’s been singing, strumming, blowing or keying since he was three years old. He has a number of great CDs, but his first recording for Blind Pig was musically and emotionally stupendous. In my mind and in the minds of many others his “Let Life Flow” CD was the pinnacle of his recording career. Well, there is a new peak in the mountain range of Neal’s successes; “Hooked On Your Love” has surpassed “Let Life Flow” and easily ranks among the year’s best albums!

Swamp boogie. Cajun blues. Gospel gumbo. Zydeco swing. This music is an amalgamation of everything Neal has ever heard blended into a smooth and flowing 21st century groove. The blues are alive and kicking hard in this guy’s mind and he expresses his musical sensibilities as no one else can. Since his illness in 2005 he has rebounded with the best music of his career over these last two albums.

Vocally, Neal gives us a rich roux of sound, oozing with butter, lard and bacon drippings. His Louisiana upbringing is evident in his soulful and expressive vocals. His lead guitar is clean and equally delicious, as is Vasti Jackson on rhythm guitar backing him up. Darnell Neal provides the bass while Kenny Jr, Bryan Morris and Tony Coleman share the drums. Lots of other support comes in song to song, and the effort overall is fantastic, coordinated and musically superb.

Neal opens with the title track. Vocals and guitars flow and swing back and forth and set the bar high. He follows that up with a very soulful “Bitter With the Sweet”; both originals that showcase he can write hit songs with the best of them. He then switches gears to Creole pop styled cut entitled “Down in the Swamp” for a change of pace a a little dirty harp sound. The first cover is O.V. Wright’s “Blind, Crippled and Crazy,” which was also covered by the Derek Trucks Band a few years ago. Neal gives us a gritty and bouncy take on this classic. Lucky Peterson nicely joins the fray here (and on several more tracks) on organ, too. He follows that with Little Milton’s “If Walls Could Talk” and gives us some finger picking in Milton’s style of play. “Things Have Got to Change” slows down the pace and gives us the sound of a big horn section delivered well along with some smooth keys by Peterson.

“New Lease on Life” is a greasy blues tune followed by the last two covers: Bobby Bland’s “Ain’t Nothing You Can Do” and Spencer Wiggins’ “Old Friend”. Real down and dirty numbers in styles he’s been familiar with for his entire life. He slows it back down for “Tell Me Why”, a haunting and mellow number where he and Peterson shine. On “Voodoo Mama” we get the big New Orleans marching band sound of the brass and horns mixed in beautifully; one can almost feel a parade starting. The CD closes with “You Don’t Love Me” (not the Willie Cobb number the Allman Brothers have covered countless times) is a jumpy and catchy original rocking R&B cut with a swinging guitar solo.

I was impressed by this album from start to finish. There are no bad or even tepid tracks here; there are a dozen hot and heavy songs (8 new) that Neal with his friends and relatives deliver with all the Cajun charm and appeal one can dream up. Don’t delay in adding this one to your collection- it’s Neal’s best yet. If he keeps on getting better I can’t imagine where he’ll wind up, but I can’t wait to hear his next CD in a couple of years given the first two Blind Pig deliveries!

Reviewer Steve Jones is secretary of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford. IL.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE

2007 Blewzzy Award Best CD Winner & Blues Blast Magazine Best Song Nominee Release Second CD
Steve Gerard & The National Debonaires
Words Are Like Bullets
Order at  plus CD Baby and iTunes

 Featured Blues Review 5 of 5

Joe Pitts - Ten Shades of Blue

Kijam Records

Guitarist/vocalist Joe Pitts gets to pay tribute to various musical influences on his latest release Ten Shades Of Blue.

Though there is no original material it wont matter. Choosing to cover obscure tunes is an excellent decision Joe makes as the tonal variation on songs makes for an interesting package of electric blues.

From laid-back roadhouse grind on "Crosseyed Cat," to the Albert Collins inflections on "Put The Shoe On The Other Foot," Pitts wears the influences on his sleeve that have been constitutional on his musical journey.

Although it is not what you call blistering blues rock, it doesn't mean its tame. You cant say that on Joe's rendition of Eric Gales' "Freedom From My Demons" which cruises on auto-pilot due to Pitts' Gibson smoked blues lines. Very few musicians cover Walter Trout and Joe's take on "Clouds On The Horizon" is just as dark with its slow sinister groove.

Elmore James' "I'm Worried" resembles a second cousin to "Statesboro Blues." It's not hard to see why. Joe's slide bears the imprints of the late Duane Allman. Guest guitarist Terry Bradley guests on John Mayall's "Walkin On Sunset" with slide licks that are an inbreed of Skydog, Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes.

This isn't just a CD of cover tunes. It comes from an artist evoking the spirits of musicians, dead or alive, to touch a landscape that only true blues aficionados can relate too.

Reviewed by Gary "Wingman" Weeks

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE

Sean Costello Memorial Fund's Second Annual Benefit Concert

A Blues And Roots Festival
Sunday, October 10, 2010 at 5:00 PM
Tabernacle's Cotton Club
152 Luckie Street, Atlanta, GA

Performances by Burnt Bacon, Candye Kane, Coy Bowles and the Fellowship, Jon Justice, Seth Walker, and Sonia Leigh

A limited number of advance tickets are available at Tickets are also on sale at  (search Sean Costello) and at the Tabernacle Box Office. Advance ticket purchases will include a special DVD of Sean. Ticket cost is $30.00 (plus applicable service fees) in advance and $35 (plus applicable service fees) at the door. Sponsorship information is available at

The Sean Costello Memorial Fund for Bipolar Research is uniquely focused on the needs of musicians with bipolar disorder. The Fund supports and conducts research on bipolar disorder and creativity while promoting awareness, providing education, and serving as a resource for these musicians and their support systems in order to foster acceptance, functioning and health.

For volunteer opportunities, silent auction donations, and more information, please visit

 Live Blues Calendar

 YOU can submit your Blues performances for FREE at:  

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

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