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March 3, 2011

© 2011 Blues Blast Magazine

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Hey Blues Fans,

Blues Blast Music Awards - Bigger and Better in 2011!

We get inquiries from Blues artists and record labels wondering how to get their recordings considered for nomination in our annual Blues Blast Music Awards.

We have a simple process for those interested to send in their recordings for consideration by our nominators. We have 30 nominators and you can send in copies of your CD to be considered. Eligibility dates for recordings are releases between April 1, 2010 and March 31, 2011.

The 2011 nomination process started March 1st when we began accepting submissions from labels and artists. Artist do not necessarily have to submit their releases to be considered but any that do will have their recordings screened by the nominators.  Read all the details at the link below for complete information to have your CD release considered now.

Our nominators include, music journalists, radio DJs, festival promoters, club owners and others who are very active in the Blues scene. This year as every year, the nominees are artists and music that the nominators got the opportunity to hear. (They can't nominate something they haven't heard!)

Our diverse group of nominators hear many CDs and see many performing artists but if an artist or label really wants a release to be considered by all the nominators, they can send in copies of their CDs beginning March 1. CDs will be sent to the nominators. You must send 30 copies so that all nominators get to listen to them. There is no charge for this in 2011. You send us the CDs and we will cover the cost of getting the CDs into the nominators hands. Act NOW to get your music considered! For complete information on sending in your release CLICK HERE

Nominators begin submitting their nominations May 1st and final nominations will be announced after May 31st, 2010. Voting Begins in July. The winners in the 2011 Blues Blast Music Awards will be announced on Thursday October 27th, 2011.

In This Issue

Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony reviews a new CD by Alan Black.  George "Blues Fin Tuna" Fish reviews a new CD by Roddy Barnes. Rainey Wetnight reviews a new CD by The Don Ray Band. Steve Jones reviews a new CD by Big Daddy "O". All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!

Blues Blast Advertising Special - Lowest Prices Of The Year

Blues Blast Magazine is offering a Spring 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 $200 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 Festival or 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 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 $200 simply reserve your ad space by April 15th, 2011. Ads can be booked to run anytime between now and September 30, 2011.

So for only $200 your ad can be viewed 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 April 15, 2011. To get more information email  or call 309 267-4425 today!

 Featured Blues Review 1 of 4

Alan Black - Happy As A Monkey

Self Release


Let me start off by saying this CD has one major glaring flaw…..It is WAY too short. I can’t enough of this Canadian’s back porch and infectious brew of blues. What is it up there across the border that gives them such an authentic handle on the blues? Alan Black handles vocals, drums, harmonica and the brunt of the songwriting with such an ease and grasp of the blues that it boggles the mind. His voice is easy on the ears and well suited to the style. Gary Peeples and a few guests provide more than capable guitar work. Andy Pryde handles bass and co-producer duties.

All songs feature a pleasing interplay of various guitar styles and harmonica giving a loose country- blues groove. The lead track “When I Hear You” is more or less the music of “Good Morning Little School Girl” with new lyrics. I sure can identify with the sentiment of “Reincarnation Blues”. The writer is content with the notion that he will be able to apply the lessons learned in this life to his next one. The tune is an upbeat shuffle containing slide and breathy harp work. Dr. John’s “I Been Hoodood” is given a slow, smoldering blues treatment featuring swampy electric slide guitar.

The band does a credible Canned Heat boogie on “Sink Or Swim”, a lament on the sad state of this mean old world…..I can picture Bob “The Bear” Hite putting his husky pipes to this gem. “I Love To Ramble” is a percussion driven guitar feast. The Gary Peeples penned “Tend To Get The Blues” is enhanced by mournful harmonica and a fresh bent to the lyrics. The perpetually lost war of love is bemoaned in “She’s Winning”-“This war called love”, “It’s the only war were you sleep with the enemy”.

The blues is an easy pill to swallow in the hands of Alan Black and cohorts. Their approach to the blues adds the best of old school and applies it to modern lyrics. The Canadians have a knack for attaining an authentic blues sound. I could sure go for an extra helping of these feel good grooves. I’m eager to hear what the Canadian Delta has to offer next time around. .

Reviewer Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony hails from the New Jersey Delta. He is the proprietor of Bluesdog’s Doghouse at

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE



Burton Gaar


Fried Grits & Greens


Available now at

 Blues Society News

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

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Dayton Blues Society – Dayton, OH

Saturday, March 12th the Dayton Blues Society & Team Vanderpool present the 2nd annual “Blues for a Cure” benefit for the American Cancer Society at Gilly’s in downtown Dayton, Ohio. Four of the hottest bands in the area: The Reece Lincoln Band, Slowhand (Eric Clapton Tribute), The Noah Wotherspoon Band, and The Scotty Bratcher Band.

Show starts at 6pm and admission is a donation at the door. Grand finale planned with all 4 of these great guitarist on stage! More info at .

Rosedale Crossroads Blues Society - Rosedale, MS

Rosedale Crossroads Blues Society presents The Crossroads Blues and Heritage Festival Saturday, May 7, 2011 at the River Resort. Highway 1 S. in historic Rosedale, MS. Gates open at 12:00 noon - music starts at 1:00. Admission $5 - adults, $1 - children under 12. Bring your own ice chest - $10 No beer sold - No glass - No pets, please! Parking $5 Lineup ( in order of appearance - subject to change): Vinnie C., Eddie Cusic, Mickey Rogers, T-Model Ford, Daddy Mack, Big T, Guitar Mikey and the Real Thing, and Eden Brent.

Fest Feast on Friday evening, May 6 at the River Resort with a 5-course Creole dinner, $50 per person - Cash bar. Limited seating. Call 662-759-6443 or 662-897-0555 for reservations and information. If you have questions about the above information, call 662-402-6251. Thank you. Mary Anna Davis Crossroads Blues Society

Crossroads Blues Society - Rockford, IL

On Friday, March 18th the Crossroads Blues Society presents Blues in the Schools (BITS) Wine Tasting Fund Raiser at Artale Wine Co. 6876 Spring Creek Rd # 128, Rockford, IL 61114-7405. The event will be held from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM. Tickets are $15. Food will be provided by Joesph Barbados/Pearl and a karge assortment of wines will be available to sample. Tickets are available at the store whose hours are 10 AM to 9 PM daily except Sunday when the hours are 11 AM to 6 PM.

Steve Ditzell will be playing acoustic blues at the event, which is a huge treat for him and attandees. He doesn't go acoustic much at his shows but when he does the music is always outstanding! Steve has played with many a great and is most noted for his outstanding work with Junior Wells (whom he played and toured with extensively). His complete musical biography: 

Call Artale Wine Co at (815) 877-9463 if you need directions or more info from them. Contact Steve Jones at for more info. ‎ This will be a great event; we hope that you can come out and help our BITS program and have a good time, too!

The Grafton Blues Association - Grafton, WI

The Grafton Blues Association & the Cedarburg Cultural Center will present Tinsley Ellis on Thursday March 24 at the Cedarburg Cultural Center. Doors open at 6pm show starts at 7pm. Food and drink will be available for purchase. Tickets are $14 in advance for GBA and CCC members, $15 in advance for non-members and $17 at the door for everyone. For more info visit -

The Great Northern Blues Society - Wausau, WI

The Great Northern Blues Society in Wausau, WI will be hosting their annual fundraising event “Blues Café’”, on Saturday 3/26/11 at the Rothschild Pavilion. (Near Wausau, WI)

Performing will be Jumpship Blues Band, 12 Year Old Tallan Noble Latz, Red White & Blues Band, Young British Blues Diva Joanne Shaw Taylor, and Atlanta Based Blues Guitar Flamethrower Tinsley Ellis. The Fun Starts at 1:00PM. $13 in advance, $18 at the door. Bulk ticket rates also available. For more info see

The Friends Of The Blues - Watseka, IL

2011 Friends of the Blues shows - March 17 (St. Patty’s Day), Little Joe McLerran, 7 pm, Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club, April 05 - Albert Castiglia, 7 pm, Kankakee Valley Boat Club, April 26 - The Rockin’ Johnny Band, Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club, May 03 - Too Slim and the Taildraggers, 7 pm, Kankakee Valley Boat Club, May 19 - The Sugar Prophets (2011 IBC Finalists), 7 pm, Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club, June 23 - Sean Chambers, 7 pm, River Bend Bar & Grill,
July 13 - Reverend Raven & C.S.A.B., 7 pm, River Bend Bar & Grill. For more info see:

West Virginia Blues Society - Charleston, WV

The West Virginia Blues Society presents the Charlie West Blues Fest May 20 & 21, 2011 in Haddad Riverfront Park, Charleston, WV Here is the lineup: Friday May 20 - Sit Down Baby, Izzy & Chris, Mojo Theory, Lil Bryan & The Travelers, Davina & the Vagabonds and Joe Louis Walker. Sat. May 21- IBC Band Winner, Slim Fatz, Trampled Under Foot, Sean Carney, Kristine Jackson, Smokin’ Joe Kubek & Bnois King and Ana Popovich.  The Charlie West Blues Fest is produced by the West Virginia Blues Society, Inc. and

Illinois Central Blues Club - Springfield, IL

The Illinois Central Blues Club 25th Anniversary Celebration is Saturday, March 5, 2010, at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 2200 S. Meadowbrook, Springfield, IL from 7:30 pm to 12:00 am.
Kicking off the celebration at 7:30pm will be local favorites The Mojo Cats. The featured artist will be the living blues legend Magic Slim and the Teardrops. Magic Slim will take the stage at 9:00pm.

This event serves as a fund raiser for the ICBC’s “Blues in the Schools” programs which bring live blues music and oral history of the blues to children and adults in the community. The admission fee is $8.00 for members and $10 for non-members. For more info contact Mark Edmiston at 217-679-0721 or visit

Also BLUE MONDAY SHOWS - Held at the Alamo 115 N 5th St, Springfield, IL (217) 523-1455 every Monday 8:30pm $3 cover. March 7 - Eddie Snow Tribute, March 14 - Levee Town, March 21 - Little Joe Mclerran, March 28 - Rockin’ Johnny, Apr 4 - Andrew “Jr Boy” Jones, April 11 - Grady Champion, April 18 - Chris Cain, April 25 - Big Jeff Chapman. 

 Featured Blues Review 2 of 4

Roddy Barnes - Under the Sun

Roddy Barnes

13 tracks - Total time: 49:56

In the notes accompanying his CD, Fredericksburg, Virginia’s Roddy Barnes pays special tribute to his Fredericksburg neighbors, Saffire-The Uppity Blues Women, and all three of its members—Gaye Adegbalola, Ann Rabson, and my old friend, Indianapolis native Andra Faye—for special encouragement of him and his art over the years, an encouragement well-deserved. Here Barnes demonstrates that he is a multi-layered talent indeed, someone from whom one desires to hear more: an able songwriter whose songs are often laced with ironic wit; an expressive vocalist with a strong, clear tenor; and a masterful piano player who can romp with the boogie and play the blues. His piano style on boogie and blues, as well as his vocal phrasing, seem to owe much to the influence of Ann Rabson; if so, then she’s an able teacher indeed! The same might be said of his wit expressed through songwriting, certainly a trait of Gaye Adegbalola. But Roddy Barnes goes well beyond being an Adegbalola or Rabson imitator; he is his own man, not simply their male counterpart, although it’s obvious that the influence of Saffire-The Uppity Blues Women was a positive and invaluable influence. Twelve of the 13 tracks are Roddy Barnes originals; track 7, “Beethoven Boogie,” his short, rocking adaptation of a Beethoven motif, recalls such “demented” adaptations of classical music from the rock ‘n’ roll era as what B. Bumble and the Stingers did to Tchaikovsky in 1962 with “Nut Rocker.”

The CD divides neatly into two parts: the first ten tracks are African American-derived piano blues, boogie and spirituals, with three of these solo piano; one, track 2, “Old Evil Blues,” solo piano blues with harmonica; one, track 4, “Pillow Talk,” solo piano with upright bass and trumpet; one, track 6, “Better World,” an African American spiritual of longing for freedom that’s solo piano with vocal chorus; track 10, “Long Gone,” solo piano with trumpet solo; and three tracks, track 1, “Lucky Guy;” track 3, “Suicidal Animals;” and track 9, “Hell Fire Blues,” modern ensemble numbers with electric bass, drums, vocal chorus, and electric guitar laying the foundation for Barnes’s piano. The second part, tracks 11-13, are based on the European musical tradition: two melancholy ballads of love’s longing and disappointment, and the last track, “Nocturne for Harmonica,” a classical instrumental for piano and first-position Marine Band harmonica that’s graced by guest Allen Holmes’s excellent, proficient playing.

Roddy Barnes does well in filling the old bottles of piano blues with the new wine of appropriate lyrics on “Old Evil Blues” and “Long Gone,” new creations on the old themes of living in a world of trouble and longing for the old home of one’s youth. “Pillow Talk” is another filling of an old bottle, this time a slow blues adaptation of Faron Young’s country hit written by Willie Nelson, “Hello Walls”—the lonely man ruminating to an inanimate object his feelings of hurt and loneliness over a lover’s departure. Barnes’s songwriting wit and irony come out well on “Lucky Guy;” “Suicidal Animals;” track 8, “Little Fishes;” and “Hell Fire Blues.” “Lucky Guy” is a tale of optimistic outlook in the face of woe, where being “unencumbered” by such things a money, a home, and new clothes actually becomes a blessing; while “Hell Fire Blues” asks the question, “When the preacher’s talking about the damnation of hellfire in the hereafter, isn’t he actually talking about what we face here on earth?” “Little Fishes” is another commentary on the roughness of the human condition, this time a comparison of the human lot with that of the fishes, and the human luck in not ending up served on a dinner plate or swallowed by one’s fish mother. “Suicidal Animals” is another empathy song for animals and their lot, this time about the suicidal proclivities of those beasts who become road kill, with the added fillip of “Chipmunk” electronic vocal chorus and spoken refrain at the end. In all these songs, Roddy Barnes mixes compassion and sympathy for both humans and animals with a nicely-developed touch of ironic humor.

Two numbers borrow from the musical tradition of the African American spiritual: the above-mentioned “Better World” and track 5, “Betrayed,” a poignant ballad of love’s betrayal that, like “Better World,” imbues the spiritual with the secular, vaguely reminiscent in this approach with such songs as “Unchained Melody” and “Ebb Tide.” “Better World” is more Aesopian secular, an original song that not only reminds us of how African American “church music” was integral in expressing the secular, political aims of the civil rights movement, but one that also eloquently expresses that noble political “spirituality” in its own right.

Guest musician Jeff Covert provides electric and upright basses, drums, guitar, and guitar solos on “Suicidal Animals” and “”Hell Fire Blues,” and provides backup vocals with Gina DeLuca on “Lucky Guy,” “Better World” and “Hell Fire Blues.” Allen Holmes plays acoustic harp and provides harp solos on “Old Evil Blues” and “Hell Fire Blues,” while Ben Grondahl rocks “Suicidal Animals” with a clarinet solo. Barnes himself plays trumpet with mute on “Pillow Talk,” and does the solo on “Long Gone.” He also scats in imitation of a trumpet on “Little Fishes.”

The three European-derived tracks that end the CD are further displays of a well-rounded Roddy Barnes. I’ve already discussed “Nocturne for Harmonica.” The two vocal ballads, track 11’s “How Strange” is a ballad strange one’s surroundings become when love is gone, and in this is somewhat reminiscent of the Doors’ “People Are Strange;” while the equally melancholy track 12, “A Song for Lisa,” features complementary cello accompaniment by Rebecca Maxon. All this above recommending this as a worthy listen.

Reviewer George "Blues Fin Tuna" Fish hails from Indianapolis, Indiana, home of blues legends Yank Rachell and Leroy Carr. He has written a regular music column for several years. He wrote the liner notes for Yank Rachell’s Delmark album, Chicago Style. He has been a blues and pop music contributor for the left-wing press as well, and has appeared in Against the Current and Socialism and Democracy.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured Blues Review 3 of 4

Don Ray Band - Lonesome Rider

Margdon Records

12 songs; 53:47 minutes

Styles: Bluesy Southern Rock

Sometimes, the line between blues and rock is hard to define. When it becomes blurred, blues novices might get confused and purists irritated! The Don Ray Band, a Tennessee ensemble with Margdon Records, treads this hair-thin threshold. Most of the twelve songs on their “Lonesome Rider” album are of medium tempo with roaring guitar, but in terms of whether they fall into the blues or rock genre, many listeners may find themselves scratching their heads.

On his website, Don says, “I was never happy with the constraints of a single style of music. I was always wanting improvisation and groove to go with my stories.” At the age of 18, He left the Souix City IA for Austin TX. Don says, “I was really diggin' the kick ass Blues coming out of that area, and I wanted to get closer to it. I learned quickly that Austin was the perfect place to work on creating a sound that would fuse Country, Rock and the Blues into my own style.”

Nevertheless, are his latest songs worth a listen? Yes. Are they danceable? On several tracks, most definitely! Worth Muddy Waters’ praise from beyond the grave? That’s up for debate, but “Lonesome Rider” won’t leave one out in the cold.

The album is entertaining, right from the start with “The Trigger”. Ray narrates the tale of how a bluesman got his start. He meets a savvy older woman who becomes his manager and lover: “I’m the heart and she’s the brain,” Ray sings without a trace of envy. “I rule the stage, but don’t call me Mister. I hold the gun, but she pulls the trigger!” Chuckles may ensue at the double entendre, at least if listeners can hear the lyrics over the guitar.

Later on come the two best songs on the CD, “Victim of Passion” and “The Ruckus Room”. These are polar opposites in terms of theme and lyrical content, but they will stick in one’s mind long after their last notes die away. “...Passion” pays tribute to heroes who are “kings with a cross to bear”--Elvis, MLK, Jr., our soldiers off at war, and even THE King, if you’re a Christian. “The Ruckus Room”, on the other hand, is an addicting sing-along that celebrates kings of the blues: Buddy Guy, B.B. King, and Muddy himself. If you’re not up and on the dance floor during this one, or at least not grooving in your chair, you’re missing out on a lot!

Speaking of “missing”, there seems to be something missing from quite a few of the other songs: the watermark of pure blues. “Poison”, “In Your Eyes”, and even the title track are tarnished rock songs that connoisseurs might want to skip if they’re looking for twenty-four-karat blues gold.

Don Ray has commanding, clear vocals and great studio musicians, especially the three guitarists, but having the word “blues” in a song does NOT a blues song make. Depending on their target audience, he and his band would do well to remember that. ?

Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 31 year old female Blues fan. She brings the perspective of a younger blues fan to reviews. A child of the 1980s music, she was strongly influenced by her father’s blues music collection.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured Blues Review 4 of 4

Big Daddy “O” - Used Blues

Rabadash Records

12 tracks

Released last year at the end of April, Big Daddy “O”’s fourth CD is a smoking hot mix of blues offered up by a man who has paid his dues and then some. Owen Tufts is his name, and with thirty-plus years of playing the roadhouses and ten years of CD releases and playing to larger venues with some more exposure he is surely hitting his stride as evidenced here.

Owen is 6’6” and is a huge stage presence. As the name of this CD implies, we get a variety of covers of stuff from the obtuse to the overly familiar. On the overly familiar side is “Johnny B. Goode”; he gives this over done Chuck Berry standard a fresh coat of boogie woogie and swings through it in a different manner than most. The vocals here (and some of the electric guitar play) and throughout remind me of the smoothness and temperament of Duke Robillard. He hits this one with a medium tempo boogie and still swings his way through in about two and a half minutes. “Poor Boy” is a Howlin’ Wolf standard, and he gives this one a low keyed and very toned down delivery. The minimalistic guitar and Steve Gelder’s harp make this one a smooth little cut.

The opening song “Life is Hard” (Fred James) swings with Big Daddy’s soulful vocals and guitar, John Autin’s B3 and Tim Ernest’s tenor sax work which I really enjoyed. Delbert McClinton’s “Better Off With The Blues” follows and is a thoughtful cover with a nice guitar and B3 solo. He also does McClinton’s “Some Kind of Crazy” which is much more up tempo and upbeat. Gelder on harp adds a very nice dimension to this one. “Soul Fixin’ Man” is a hot track with a somewhat breathy set of vocals and jumping beat. Owen trades licks and solos with Autin in a nicely done cut. Rockin’ Jake offers up some solemn and soulful harp on “All OF Your Stories”, a slow and contemplative ballad.

Clapton’s “Something Special” overlays Tuft’s acoustic guitar work in a nice package. I also need to shout out about “Need Your Love So Bad”; supporting vocals by Cherrie Mannino, baritone sax by Sam Skelton, Trombone by Eric Alexander, and Miles Mannino on trumpet make this one a rousing and impressive performance on top of Big Daddy’s great work. This is all great stuff and the accompanying players all do a great job. Cassandra Faulconer is steady on bass, and drummer Doug Belote (and Shawn Manguno on drums for “Need Your Love…”) back Tufts tightly and professionally.

Big Daddy gives a very impressive performance top to bottom. No clinkers here; it’s all very well done and it is a fun set of tunes to groove to. I enjoyed this CD and think anyone who likes swinging blues will, too.

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

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE

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