Issue 6-21, May 24, 2012
Scroll or Page Down! For news, photos, reviews, links & MUCH MORE in this issue!
Cover photo by Bob Kieser © 2012 www.thebluesblast.com
In This Issue
We have the latest in Blues Society news from around the globe. Terry Mullins has our feature interview with Steady Rollin' Bob Margolin.
We have six music reviews for you! Rainey Wetnight reviews a new release from Tail Dragger & Bob Corritore. Rex Bartholomew reviews a new release from Ryan Hartt and the Blue Hearts. Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony reviews the new album from Dave Hoffheimer Band. Steve Jones reviews the new CD from Italian Blues mandolin player, Lino Muoio. John Mitchell reviews the new Rene Trossman CD. Gary Weeks reviews the new compilation CD from Dan Treanor. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!
From The Editor's Desk
Hey Blues Fans,
We just heard that our good friends at the Briggs Farm Blues Fest have announced their lineup, and man it is a good one! The 15th anniversary of this festival features Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater, Bernard Allison, Rory Block, Sam Lay, Moreland & Arbuckle, The Butterfield Blues Band, Alexis P. Suter, Linsey Alexander, Clarence Spady, Chris Beard and 9 other great acts.
I had the great pleasure of attending this festival last year and I highly recommend it. It has a country down home atmosphere like none other I have ever attended. Check it out at their website, www.briggsfarm.com or see their ad below in this issue.
Wishing you health, happiness and lots of Blues music!
We attended the Blues & The Spirit Symposium at Dominican University last weekend. Much of the conference focused on Race and Gender issues in Blues Music. Plus we got to go party at the famous Harlem Avenue Lounge and see performances by Deitra Farr, Sharon Lewis, Sugar Blue, Nellie Travis, Peaches Staten and Matthew Skoller.
We will have more coverage of this event in an upcoming issue.
Free Blues Want Ads
Blues Musicians - Place YOUR Want Ad Here for FREE
Musician looking for gigs
Musician looking for gigs at festivals and clubs. Will play my original blues songs or songs by my father, the late great Junior Kimbrough. Looking for gigs for late 2012 and all of 2013. Can play with my band or solo. Band was winner to IBC in Memphis for Ar. River Blues Society. Contact me, David Kimbrough Jr at firstname.lastname@example.org or my manager Aaron Crowder, at email@example.com or 870-833-3498.
Blues Blast Magazine Seeks Summer Festival Reviewers
Blues Blast Magazine is looking for a few good men (Or Women)! Over the 2012 summer season we are looking for folks who attend Blues Festivals and take good photos for festival reviews. If you attend multiple Blues Festivals or Blues shows and could volunteer to send us 500 to 1000 word reviews and some good photos, please reply to .
Reviewers are needed for the Southwest and Texas area, the Florida and Gulf area, the Eastern coast area and also on the European, Asian and Australian continents. A short sample of your writing, a sample photo and info on your Blues background would be helpful. Please include your phone number with the reply.
All ads submitted will be used if space allows. If space is limited, ads will be randomly selected to appear. "workin Blues performers" ONLY can place Want Ads here for FREE. Buy or sell equipment , musicians wanted, gigs wanted etc. Limit 100 words. Send your ad submission to NO Commercial Ads!
Featured Blues Interview - Bob Margolin
Death was hungry this year;
He took more than his share;
Yeah, it took my spirit too;
But people I didn’t have none to spare.’
are courtesy of Bob Margolin’s “Mean Old Chicago” off his 1999 release,
Hold Me to It (Blind Pig Records).
But unfortunately, those words rang very true in 2011, hitting very close to home for Margolin, with the passing of Pinetop Perkins in March, followed by Willie “Big Eyes” Smith’s death in September of last year.
The trio of Perkins, Smith and Margolin were part of what turned out to be one of the last working versions of Muddy Waters’ band and understandably, the loss of two more of his dear friends had to be hard to bear.
“If I only had one song to play to present myself, it would be “Mean Old Chicago” which is about the passing of great Chicago blues players and I play it in Muddy’s slide guitar style. I wrote it on the way to Jimmy Rogers’ funeral in 1997,” Margolin said. “Whenever I play that song I feel the ghosts of my friends and musical heroes standing around me as they used to in life, inspiring me. It’s not a pressure, it’s a blessing. I hope I live up to it and I try with everything I am and everything I have.”
Helping to keep the old school blues alive is something that Massachusetts native “Steady Rollin’” Bob Margolin has been actively engaged in for basically his entire adult life – especially since 1973 when he was hired by Muddy Waters to take over guitar duties from Sammy Lawhorn.
“The last time I saw Muddy alive, I had opened a show for him after I had left his band. My band did well and for my encore I played a Little Walter song that came out about when I did, “I Just Keep Loving Her,” said Margolin. “When I returned to the dressing room, Muddy jumped up, put his hands on my shoulders, and told me, ‘I haven’t heard that song in 30 years! You’re keeping the old school alive.’ Of course, I’m not the only one doing that, but that compliment from Muddy is priceless.”
Margolin is doing more to perpetuate the blues then by just continuing to write, record and play them. He’s also become a well-read author and journalist and is actively involved in the operation of VizzTone Records, a label that he helped give birth to, one that enjoyed its fifth birthday in 2011.
“VizzTone started when my friend, Blues Revue publisher Chip Eagle, said he wanted to help me release my next CD in 2006. I began working on In North Carolina, a CD I made at home playing every note - though some songs feature me playing as much as three guitars, bass, snare drum, and singing. As Chip and I began to do the business of releasing the CD, we realized that though both of us have wide contacts in the blues world, neither of us has ever been part of a record label,” Margolin said. “We would have had to figure it out ourselves, making mistakes of inexperience.”
It wasn’t long before another key piece was added to the budding VizzTone puzzle, a piece that certainly knew the ins and outs of the record biz.
“Then, I got an e-mail from my old friend, Tone Cool Records founder Richard “Rosy” Rosenblatt. He had sold Tone Cool and was putting out the word – ‘Was anyone looking for a good harp player and/or used record company president?’ I called him the second I read that and Richard has been working with us ever since,” said Margolin. “Tone Cool had been a successful blues label. Your rarely see those three words together. Rosy and Chip used their creativity to find a label business model that could work in modern times, while more traditional labels lost a lot of money and struggled to survive. We met by iPhone conference calls and I added what I could from a pro blues musician’s perspective. We started and were partners in Steady Rollin’ Records for my CD.”
What basically started out as a vehicle to launch the then-newest Bob Margolin project quickly turned into something bigger and has since spawned works from up-and-coming artists like Fiona Boyes, Matt Hill and Gina Sicilia.
“We soon realized that we could use this business model to provide label services for other artists and the VizzTone Label Group was born. My role has been to continue to provide my player’s perspective and to be our primary A&R ¬- the one who finds or checks our prospective artists – person,” Margolin said. “We also hope that my name associated with VizzTone lends the respect I’ve earned to the company.”
So what does it take to catch the attention of Margolin when he’s in A&R mode for VizzTone?
“My musical credentials are in old school Chicago blues, but I enjoy and play a much wider range of music. I am not ‘The Blues Police.’ I want to hear creativity, originality, and a powerful presentation of a respectable artist,” he said. “At VizzTone, we have released many CDs that are not traditional blues, but we are not trying to be an Americana or rock label. We market to a blues audience and intend to bring them good music that we think they will appreciate.”And of course, an artist that has managed to carve out a following on the road for himself doesn’t hurt, either.
“Today, and for the last 20 years, it is important for any blues artist to be touring as widely and often as possible and sell their CDs at their shows,” said Margolin. “An artist, however musically fine, who is not on the road, will not sell many CDs by our services alone. It is frustrating to reject an artist whose music we appreciate because they’re not touring, while the artist is hoping a VizzTone CD will help get them touring. It’s a nasty catch-22.”
Playing the blues all over the world for close to four decades - with a who’s-who of legendary figures - has provided Margolin with plenty of unforgettable experiences. Many of those experiences have turned up in written form over the past couple of decades in Margolin’s columns for Blues Revue and Blueswax.
And now, he’s gathered a bunch of those experiences and stories, along with a host of his own personal photographs from throughout his years of playing the blues, into the recently published eBook – Steady Rollin’ –Blues Stories; Snapshots; (Intentional) Blues Fiction. The book is available on Barnes and Noble Nook, Apple iBooks and Amazon Kindle.
“Since I signed on to Facebook in 2009, I used it to post old and new snapshots I took on the road with stories about them. Blues fans enjoy that and often comment ‘You should write a book.’ That’s an ironic message to be delivered to my iPhone through an instant electronic disposable social network,” said Margolin. “I never did publish a ‘coffee table book’ — there was interest from a publisher but no progress. Now, eBooks offer a new way to deliver a book to you conveniently without using trees for paper, gasoline for shipping and without traditional publishing’s compromises and obstacles. I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time and now the opportunity and technology are right.”
No doubt that were Muddy around these days, he would be amazed to find out there are other ways to read a book than by the traditional methods that he was aware of. He might also be astonished at the way that technology has changed the way that music is not only listened to, but at the way that it is being created, as well. Instead of an expensive studio and a cast of several musicians, artists are churning out works completely by themselves, with the aid of a computer, these days. These simplified methods have led to an avalanche of music, coming at listeners from all angles, over the past few years.
“I think it’s great that so many people, of all ages and all over the world, want to play blues music. But who can listen to everyone, even if they’re a blues DJ or CD reviewer? I don’t honestly know if that’s good or bad for the blues,” said Margolin. “What I advise musicians about standing out from the pack and advancing their careers: You have to play and entertain so well that you cannot be denied. You have to be noticeable in a world full of talented people who want the blues audience to recognize them and to support them, not you. You’ll be compared to the best blues musicians ever, not just your peers. What a challenge! But unless you’re a very, very pretty boy or girl, you just have to rise to that challenge. It can be done - look at some of our VizzTone artists like Trampled Underfoot, Matt Hill, Chris O’Leary, Peter Parcek, Dave Gross and Gina Sicilia — just to name some.”
Margolin’s latest musical endeavors involve work with Italy’s Mike Sponza Band, resulting in Blues Around the World (VizzTone).
“In early 2010, I was in a hotel room in Savona, Italy before a show at Raindogs with my musical brothers, Enrico Polverari and Mississippi Mood. I got a Facebook message from another Italian guitarist/bandleader, Mike Sponza. He said he had a blues band and could bring me to Central Europe to tour,” Margolin said. “We wrote, we planned, and in April 2011, we did 10 shows beginning in Vienna. By the end of the tour, Mike and his band (Mauro Tolot on bass and Moreno Buttinar on drums) were musical brothers, too, and the audiences we played for in Austria, Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Italy and Hungary were our family. Our collaboration and rapport onstage was magical and inspiring to me. Mike arranged a recording session for us in Slovenia on July 11-12, 2011. We recorded eight of what I think are the best songs I’ve written, two of Mike’s original songs, and two songs that got strong audience response at our shows As I listened to rough mixes, and then as I worked on final mixes in Charlotte, North Carolina with golden-eared recording engineer Mark Williams, I realized that this CD should be more than a side project for me. It’s some of the best blues I ever recorded. I wanted it to be my next CD to present myself worldwide.”
Author – musician – songwriter – keeper of the flame -record label executive … it seems that Margolin’s handle of ‘Steady Rollin’ could not be more appropriate for a man who never slows down.
And where did that ‘Steady Rollin’ tag came from?
“In the late 70s, my friend, Eddie Gorodetsky, was a blues DJ at Emerson College in Boston. Bands used to go on his show, gather around one mic, and play on the air. Eddie knew a lot about blues music. He asked me, when Muddy was doing a show in Boston at Paul’s Mall, to try to arrange for him to introduce the band and I did,” said Margolin. “When Eddie introduced me, he said, ‘And from right here in Boston ... Steady Rollin’ Bob Margolin.’ I decided to use that and I think I’d already lived it then from my years with Muddy and in the 34 years since. ‘Steady Rollin’ comes from the Robert Johnson classic “Steady Rollin’ Man,” and it rhymes with Margolin. I haven’t seen Eddie in decades. He’s a successful TV writer.”
It had to have been very daunting indeed when the young 24-year-old guitarist from Brookline, Mass., was taken into the fold by Muddy Waters, the larger-than-life musician from Mississippi, who had been playing the blues longer than Margolin had been alive.
“Right after I joined Muddy’s band in 1973, he let me know that there were some things I was not playing right. I innocently asked him to help me get it right and he told me, ‘I’m too old to teach a mother...’ But I pushed him gently about it and one night after a gig I went back to his hotel room with my guitar. He gave me some tips,” Margolin said. “Specifically, one of the things he said was that I was ‘playing too slow.’ By that, he didn’t mean I was not playing lots of notes quickly, he meant that I should be more incisive getting in and out of each note or chord, making them snappy and more rhythmic. He showed me how to clamp down on the bridge with the heel of my picking hand to cut a note off. It did not take long before that percussive attack became natural to me, but while I was trying in the hotel that night, Muddy told me, in sympathy, ‘Trying to play these blues right will hurt you like being in love.’ Muddy was both a force of nature and a poetic soul. Whether you call it advice or a soulful observation, I think what he said is something that I understood better from hearing him say it.”
While it’s depressing to consider the fact that so many of the forefathers of the blues are no longer with us, Margolin is still heartened when he looks ahead to what might lie in store for this rich, cultural form of communication.
“My wish is coming true. What consoles me for the loss of my legendary friends and blues heroes is that I see very young musicians today who have the same fire and passion as those heroes,” he said. “At the Pinetop Perkins Foundation, for example, I teach blues guitar workshops and most of our work-shoppers are teenagers - Austin Young from Colorado; Kingfish (Christone Ingram) from Mississippi; Justin Willis from Florida; Jack Gaffney (piano) from Colorado - all of them have the talent and fire to carry these blues we love decades into the future. Honestly, they inspire me as much as Muddy does.”
Photos by Bob Kieser © 2012 www.thebluesblast.com
Interviewer Terry Mullins is a journalist and former record store owner whose personal taste in music is the sonic equivalent of Attention Deficit Disorder. Works by the Bee Gees, Captain Beefheart, Black Sabbath, Earth, Wind & Fire and Willie Nelson share equal space with Muddy Waters, The Staples Singers and R.L. Burnside in his compact disc collection. He's also been known to spend time hanging out on the street corners of Clarksdale, Miss., eating copious amounts of barbecued delicacies while listening to the wonderful sounds of the blues.
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE
Lady Carole & Her Knights
The Mojo Cats
Robert Sampson & Blues Gumbo
For Info visit:
Capitol City Bar & Grill
This years bike raffle features a 2012 Heritage Softtail Classic
Featured Blues Review 1 of 6
Tail Dragger and Bob Corritore - Longtime Friends in the Blues
Delta Groove Music
10 songs; 53:57 minutes
Styles: Traditional Electric Chicago Blues
Blues fans, especially the purest of the purists, perennially search for artists that capture the undiluted essence of the genre they love. For them, blues rock, country blues, jazzy blues and “bluez” don’t completely satisfy. “Where’s the next Muddy Waters,” they wonder, or “Who’s the next Howlin’ Wolf?” Thankfully, the second question has been answered by Chester “Howlin’ Wolf” Burnett’s friend, James Y. Jones, known as Tail Dragger. Nobody’s singing today sounds more like Howlin’ Wolf’s. Jones earned his blues moniker for his reputation of showing up late for gigs where he was afforded the opportunity to sit in and perform while Wolf was on break. Now, he’s teamed up with a comrade he first met in 1976, blues ambassador Bob Corritore, to let the world know they’re “Longtime Friends in the Blues.” Of the ten songs on this album, only one, John Lee (the original Sonny Boy) Williamson’s “Sugar Mama,” is a cover. Tail Dragger’s nine original tracks pack such an unadulterated, real-deal wallop that this reviewer was sure they’d been performed previously, especially in the Windy City!
Here are three that will make listeners swear Howlin’ Wolf has been reincarnated:
Track 03: “Birthday Blues”--This song proves blues numbers don’t always have to be about touchy topics, such as cheating lovers. Rather, it centers around an annual milestone. “How old are you?” Tail Dragger asks his gal. “I know you ain’t going to tell me,” he adds, knowing that a lady never reveals her real age. Then the real shocker: “You’re sixteen; they told me you’re twenty-two…!”
Track 06: “So Ezee”-- Pronounced “easy,” the second word in the title refers to the difficulty of “being misled.” This down-and-dirty ditty is “a message to the world, the old folks and the young ones too: Wake up and stop cracking jokes, and use your head (for more than a hat rack)!” Bob Corritore’s howling harmonica is the highlight here, tearing this track up like a thunderstorm! Henry Gray’s piano is also powerful.
Track 09: “Boogie Woogie Ball”--Quirky number nine on Tail Dragger and Bob Corritore’s list is this tantalizing throw-down, featuring Gray on 88 keys and vocal commentary. His rapport with James Y. Jones is second to none, and even though one might not be able to catch all that they’re saying, the message is clear: it’s party time before “Please Mr. Jailer,” the final ballad, begins. Jump for joy for four minutes and twenty-six seconds!
Other featured, standout musicians include Kirk Fletcher and Chris James on guitars, Patrick Rynn on bass, and Brian Fahey on drums. These Longtime Friends of the Blues provide a long, refreshing swig from the Fountain of Traditional Chicago Blues. Want proof? Ponder what Howlin’ Wolf himself said: “One day this boy [Tail Dragger] will take my place….”
Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 32 year old female Blues fan. She brings the perspective of a younger blues fan to reviews. A child of 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 2 of 6
Ryan Hartt and the Blue Hearts – Call My Name
12 tracks / 43:48
Blues has spread far from its roots, with artists all over the world using this genre as a universal language. Today one can see blues shows in Germany, Japan, the south Pacific or any of the former Soviet Republic states. There are even Chicago bluesmen in deepest darkest New England, which is where you will find the fine folks from Ryan Hartt and the Blue Hearts.
This quartet was formed in 2000, and has honed their craft via the time-honored method of relentless touring. Ryan Hartt provides lead vocals and harmonica, with Eric Ducoff on guitar, Jeff “JB” Berg on bass, and Nick Toscano on the skins. Ducoff and Berg also provide some backing vocals.
Call My Name is their third release, and their first since 2005. There is not a cover tune or old standard to be found amongst the eleven full-length tracks on this album (number twelve is a brief instrumental). Hartt took care of most of the writing chores, with Ducoff helping out of a few tracks, as well as writing “Real Prince Charming”. Berg penned “When it Rains” and provided the slide guitar for it as well.
“Anti-Blues Pill” is the first track on the album and sets the stage by letting everybody know that the Blue Hearts are first and foremost a blues band. Ducoff’s dirty Texas guitar tone and Hartt’s harp emerge through a thin veil of static effect, and the rhythm section joins in to keep things slow and grooving. Ryan’s voice is mature and has a growly Midwestern twang without no hint of New England influence. This is one of the strongest tracks on the album and is a wise choice to kick things off.
There are no surprises in the next four tracks, as they are all solid rocking blues songs. Ducoff and Hartt continue to play off each other while Berg and Toscano keep things moving along no matter what. By the way, the honking harmonica on “Love at First Sight” is just awesome, and has to be heard to be believed.
Just when the listeners are getting used to flow of things, “I Choose the Blues” smacks them in the head like a pillow that has been soaked in an icy-cold vat of sadness. This song changes the whole tone of the album and shows you the depth of their songwriting abilities as well as the tightness of the band as they respond as one to Hartt’s phrasing of the vocals. This is the sound of a band that has played together for a long time and knows each other like brothers.
After this sobering moment, the album second part of the album resumes with upbeat tunes like “Real Price Charming” and the Ska-infused instrumental “Kaboom.” I love the syncopated guitar and raw harmonica on this tune and don’t know how anybody could hear it and not be in a good mood.
Some of the gnarliest guitar tone I have ever heard can be found on “New Love, Old Love Part II”, and I am truly jealous of what Eric Ducoff put together for this track. He really shines on this song and has the perfect counterpoint to Hartt’s huge harmonica sound.
“Dartboard” is one of the more awesome takes on the life of playing in bars, and gives throws out clever lyrics that would be an endless string of clichés if they didn’t hit so close to home. And who would have thought there would be four bars of Reggae on a blues album?
Call My Name finishes up neatly with ”Love at Last Sight” which is a brief instrumental that reprises the theme of “Love at First Sight” as an outro. This is a clever way to tie everything together, and is just the tip of the iceberg of how well this project was produced.
Ryan Hartt and the Blue Hearts had a gap of seven years between albums, and they have put that time to good use in assembling an album that is well-written and works together as a whole. It deserves to be listened to as a whole and you should not shortchange yourself by cherry-picking single tracks off of iTunes. Call My Name is a solid Chicago/west coast blues album that is innovative without straying too far from the basics of the blues, so you really should check it out, and be sure to catch one of their shows if you are in New England - they play out almost every weekend.
Reviewer Rex Bartholomew is a Los Angeles-based writer and musician; his blog can be found at rexbass.blogspot.com.
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE
Featured Blues Review 3 of 6
Dave Hoffheimer Band - This & That
I had the task of reviewing their last cd release, “Kingpin”, by this band from Wilmette, Illinois. As they don’t include liner notes, the only thing I’m pretty sure of is that Dave supplies vocals and lead guitar. “Kingpin” was a crazy guitar assault on the senses with partially decipherable lyrics. The lyric situation this time out is easier to handle and they go for more of a blues-rock guitar attack. The songs amount to rock grooves, mostly void of catchy riffs and forget melodies. The crisp and clear production values remain. Organ, piano and awkward girl background vocals appear from time to time.
Dave sure knows his way around some stinging guitar licks. “Guitar-Heads” and “air-guitarists” will have a field day with this stuff. He rips off some fast and concise licks. On “No Control” the guitar burns holes in the stratosphere. The loping riff in “Can’t Get No” sounds like Duane Eddy-meets-Rockabilly, to which he overlays some scorching acid-drenched solos. They even throw in a hidden track of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” that includes a blistering acid-rock guitar version of the main riff. It actually works on a sort of “head banger” level.
This is the type of record were the songs leave your memory as soon as you here them. Dave’s voice is ok, but devoid of emotion. It gets monotonous after almost 80 minutes of listening time. To use the tired old cliché, this just isn’t “my cup of tea”. I’m sure there is an audience for this type of music. I’ve heard heavy metal music that sounds fifty times worse than this. Clearly the band likes this music, as seen in the attention to detail in the production. Everything sounds crystal clear. The drummer and bass player provide the necessary crunch for this type of music.
If you liked “Kingpin” you are sure to find much to like here. It has a more organized approach and the guitar playing is really top notch. If they applied their skills to a more traditional type of songwriting they could reach a wider audience. Ok, at the end of the day it is what it is. If what it is happens to be what you enjoy, go for it. As for me...I’m going to bang my head against the nearest tree.
Reviewer Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony hails from the New Jersey Delta.
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Featured Blues Review 4 of 6
Lino Muoio - Mandolin Blues
Lino Muojo has spent the last two decades as a fixture in Italy's blues scene. This is his second solo CD, the first to completely focus on mandolin blues and he ranges in style from Yank Rachell's country blues to swing, jazz, bluegrass and more. All fourteen cuts were written my Muoio, giving us a good accounting for his songwriting abilities. Joining Lino in the CD are members of his old band, Blue Stuff, and several others US and Italian blues artists.
Four of the cuts are instrumentals and are probably the ones that intrigue me the most. The vocal leads on the other tracks vary and that is the downfall for me of this album. Bobby Ray Green (The Network Band) and Lonnie Wilson (the Kompoz Community) deliver authentic, unadulterated vocals, but when they switch over to Mario Insenga, Guido Migliaro, Vernonica Sbergia and Michelle Ciuchiolo the vowel sounds round out, become long and make the blues feel less authentic, at least to this listener (and I am an Italian-American myself). The other minor criticism would be the lyrics occasionally strike me as stereotypcally American and occasionally grammatically a bit off. But it is kind of fun to see and hear the blues and America through another set of eyes and ears.
Overall, this is a fun CD. Muoio's play is inspired and he wails on his mandolin. He gives credit to Rich DelGrosso, Gerry Hundt ad Jim Richter for their inspiration and whatever they provided to Lino paid off. He's got the mandolin blues thing down pat. The instrumentals are somewhat bare boned as are all the cuts, and allow us to hear the mandolin clearly. I find Lino to be quite accomplished in his play- well done- bravissimo! And while I fault some of the singers for their accented vocals, realistically they sing well and are able to sell the blues, country and bluegrass style. Fullvio Sorrentino's dobro and guitar work throughout is really good as is Renato Feederico on keys. Splashes of brass and clarinet add a good feeling to the music, too. The bass/double bass work by Francesco "Sleepy" Miele is also quite well done.
It's nice to see another mandolin bluesman on the scene. Besides the credited men above and Billy Flynn, we rarely get to hear a lot of mandolin blues. Muoio dies a strikingly good job of it and mandolin fans will all enjoy this CD that he's delivered.
Reviewer Steve Jones is president of the Crossroads Blues Society and is a long standing blues lover. He is a retired Navy commander who served his entire career in nuclear submarines. In addition to working in his civilian career since 1996, he writes for and publishes the bi-monthly newsletter for Crossroads, chairs their music festival and work with their Blues In The Schools program. He resides in Byron, IL
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Blues Society News
Maximum of 175 words in a Text or MS Word document format.
Crossroads Blues Society - Rockford, IL
Two hot June shows coming up in Rockford!!! Walter Trout is appearing at the Adriatic at 327 W.Jefferson St in Rockford, IL on Tuesday, June 5th at 8 PM. Advanced tickets are only $15, with admission $20 atthe door. Tickets are available at the club, online at http://crossroadsbluessociety.blogspot.com/. Get tickets early as this may sell out!
Bryan Lee appears at Mary's Place at 602 N Madison St in Rockford, IL on Wednesday June 13th. Admission is $10; advanced tickets get reserved seating. Tickets at Mary's place or through Crossroads Blues Society. Call 779-537-4006 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info on either show.
The Blues Kids Foundation - Chicago, IL
The Blues Kids Foundation presents Fernando Jones’ Annual Blues Camp. This fun-filled experience awards scholarships to over 120 Blues Kids (ages 12 to 18), affording them a “priceless” fun-filled experience. They will learn and perform America’s root music in a fully funded, weeklong program with like minded others under the tutelage of national and international instructors. Blues Camp is in residence at: Columbia College Chicago, Huston-Tillotson University (Austin, TX) and the Fender Center (Corona, CA). This series is designed for America’s youth and educators. To be a sponsor call us at 312-369-3229.
CAMP DATES & CITIES
The Ventura County Blues Society - Ventura County, CA
The Ventura County (Calif) Blues Society has their weekly "BluesJam" series at The Tavern in Ventura every Wednesday. The Ventura County Blues Society's Sunday Blues Matinee Concert Series kicks off Sunday, July 8 with Chris Cain, Tommy Marsh and Bad Dog, and Kelly's Lot, at the High Street Arts Center, in Moorpark, Calif. Info: http://www.venturacountybluessociety.org/.
Prairie Crossroads Blues Society – Champaign-Urbana, IL
Prairie Crossroads Blues Society shows: Friday, June 1, 1st Friday Blues, Tee Dee Young, WEFT and Memphis on Main, Champaign. For more info: http://prairiecrossroadsblues.org.
The Diamond State Blues Society - Middletown , Delaware
The 1st St. Georges Blues Fest sponsored by The Diamond State Blues Society is Saturday, June 16th, 2012, Noon to 8pm rain or shine, on the grounds of The Commodore Center, 1701 N. DuPont Hwy., St. Georges, Delaware. Featured are Garry Cogdell & the Complainers; lower case blues with special guest Johnny Neel; Dave Fields, Brandon Santini & his Band; J.P. Soars & the Red Hots; and headlining is The Bernard Allison Group. Details and links to tickets at www.DiamondStateBlues.com.
Mississippi Valley Blues Society - Davenport, IA
The Mississippi Valley Blues Festival in Davenport, Iowa is June 29th & 30th, and July1st. Scheduled performers include Mathew Curry and The Fury, Earnest ‘’Guitar’’ Roy, Sugar Ray and the Bluetones, Liz Mandeville and Donna Herula, Kenny Neal and Super Chikan Johnson on June 29th, Terry Quiett, Bryce Janey, Ray Fuller and the Blues Rockers, Doug MacLeod, Preston Shannon, Ernest Dawkins Quartet, Guitar Shorty, Moreland and Arbuckle, Coco Montoya and Kelley Hunt on June 30th. Lady Bianca, Paul Geremia, Johnny Rawls, Trampled Under Foot and the Brooks Family Blues Dynasty featuring Lonnie Brooks, Ronnie Baker Brooks and Wayne Baker Brooks, plus Bobby Rush with “The Double Rush Revue” on Sunday July 1st. http://www.mvbs.org
River City Blues Society - Pekin, IL
River City Blues Society presents: Bringing The Blues To You with the following shows at Goodfellas 1414 N. 8th St, Pekin, Illinois - Matthew Curry & the Fury, Friday May 25th 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm. Admission for these shows is $5.00 non-members $3.00 members. A special show featuring the 2011 International Blues Challenge winner Lionel Young Band with opening act The Governor is Friday, June 22 From 7:00 pm – 11:00 pm Admission: $5.00 For more info visit: www.rivercityblues.com or call 309-648-8510
Illinois Central Blues Club - Springfield, IL
The Illinois Central Blues Club presents "Blue Monday" every Monday night for the last 25 years - BLUE MONDAY SHOWS - Held at the Alamo 115 N 5th St, Springfield, IL (217) 523-1455 every Monday 8:00pm $3 cover. May 28 – Lionel Young Band, Jun 4 – Big Jeff Chapman Blues Band , Jun 11 – Deb Callahan, Jun 18 – Sugar Ray & The Bluetones Jun 25 – TBA. Other ICBC sponsored events at the K of C Hall, Casey’s Pub, 2200 Meadowbrook Rd., Springfield, IL from 7:30pm - Midnight - May 12 – Eddie Turner Band, , - Jun 30 – Matt Hill . icbluesclub.org
The Friends Of The Blues - Watseka, IL
Friends of the Blues present 2012 shows:
Featured Blues Review 5 of 6
Rene Trossman – I’m On A Roll
Hold It! Records
11 tracks – 44.19 minutes
One of the real delights in reviewing music is to discover a new artist who knocks you out: no preconceptions, no previous references, this one is a genuine discovery to the listener. Rene Trossman spent some years living in Chicago and played with many of the city’s blues elite in the clubs on the South and West side of the city. He clearly absorbed a lot about the blues and has transported that knowledge to his current location in the Czech Republic. Recording with Czech musicians apart from one expat Welshman, Rene has managed to produce a CD which is authentic, classic blues and an absolute delight to the ears. Rene wrote nine of the tracks on offer here, with just two covers of artists he clearly admires: Otis Rush and Freddie King. Rene handles all guitar duties and sings with a core band of bass, drums and keys. Horns are added to seven of the originals, harmonica to two others. The aforementioned expat Welshman is Osian Roberts who plays tenor sax and contributed all the horn arrangements.The CD opens with the title track, the horns and organ underpinning the music before Rene enters with a vocal that sounds entirely authentic, the lyric suggesting that Rene is lucky in life, everything falling into his lap, even winning lottery tickets! “Down At Rosa’s” offers a tribute to that great Chicago institution, the horns again to the fore alongside piano. The lyric talks of how easy it is to fit into the jams at Rosa’s and pays tribute to Rosa herself, a long-time fixture behind the bar at the club. Rene’s guitar solo has a touch of BB King about it. The third track is a slower paced song in which Rene’s lover has left so quickly that she “Sure Left In A Hurry”. Rene’s guitar takes on an Otis Rush feel here before the horns sit out “Rules Of Attraction” in favour of harmonica on a fast shuffle.
The horns return on “This World Is In A Mess”, a mid-paced tune with a hint of “Lonely Avenue” but a contemporary lyric about Wall Street and the President’s options in financial crises. “I Still Think About You” shows Rene in a different context, a soul tune with Rene sharing the vocals with Lenka Novotná. The horns are terrific on this one, the chart showing a real affinity to the Memphis sounds of the classic soul era. Another change of style follows on “Won’t You Please Come Back To Me” where Rene’s clean guitar break sits nicely in the midst of the swinging organ and horn arrangement.
“Who Do You Think You Are” opens with Charlie Slavik’s tough harp, a jaunty number with a jazzy solo from Rene. The final original is “She Fooled Me”, a full production number with a striking horn arrangement and a world-weary vocal from Rene who “should have seen it coming a long time ago; she didn’t need my loving, just someplace to go.” The relationship has clearly run its course as she is telling him lies and bossing him about – time to move on, Rene!
The two covers round out the CD with two small band performances. Freddie King’s “Heads Up” is one of his less well known instrumentals and this version sounds close to the sound that Freddie got on those early singles. The version of Otis Rush’s “I Wonder Why” was recorded live at a club in Prague. The recording is clear and does not come across as being from a different source to the rest of the album. On this version there is a second guitarist but no bass, the organ handling the lower end of the arrangement. It is also an instrumental version of the tune which gives Rene plenty of space to show off his admiration for Otis’ style of playing.
With excellent horn arrangements, plenty of clean guitar lines and some solid original songs there is a lot to like about this CD and I recommend it wholeheartedly. It can be purchased from Rene’s website or from CD Baby.Reviewer John Mitchell is a Blues enthusiast based in the UK. He also travels to the States most years to see live blues music and recently enjoyed the Tampa Bay Blues Festival.
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Featured Blues Review 6 of 6
Dan Treanor – Highway Sixteen
Highway Sixteen is a compilation CD musician Dan Treanor has released most likely in the hopes of expanding on a fan base he has taken the pains to nurture. Behind the curtain you get a glimpse of the cultural beginnings of the blues while Treanor puts a modern spin on the music.
Dan doesn’t mind taking his listeners on a journey. Opening track “Missing” taken from the release African Wind featuring collaboration with artist Frankie Lee does seem to bore its roots in the jungle as flute and tribal drum beats evoke a shamanistic ritual bordering on evil and midnight lust.
The mood switches on next track “Hard Luck Child” coming from the album Brothers, Blood @ Bone. Smoking harp work gives this boogie and shuffle tune a taste of the hill country flavor one can only find in some deserted shotgun shack located on the outskirts of town.
Still Treanor cannot escape the meat and potatoes mysticism of the swirling hypnotic cadences of the jungle. It’s only a logical choice to select third track “From African Soul” to stir the same cauldron of swamp rock that fuels the other tracks.
There is the occasion Treanor might want to delve into a little Tinsley Ellis and he does it well in “Got No Life Line” featuring tasty guitar wah-wah work. The man can reach deep in creating a melancholy visual of pain and love and “Mona Lisa Smile” is his perfect calling card as echoy guitar and restrained harp punctuations speak to the loner who wants to regain a lost love.
As with any compilation disk you pick up, some of these numbers are just filler and can make you wonder why Treanor selected them as there were probably other tracks in the studio much more worthy of being included on this release. But in the overall song selection, there are more pluses than minuses. Including “On Fire” taken from Bad Neighborhood particularly seems out of place as Treanor wants to take on the role of a blues rocker and while it is admirable, the man should steer away from this direction as it really isn’t his true calling.
“African Wind” taken from the release of the same title appears to try and break new ground with weird African instruments. Unfortunately it misses the mark and should have been left off this disk entirely. It’s only confusing to the fans and they don’t know what Treanor is trying to prove.
Only when he gets back to the blues as he does in “Tumbling Blues” does Dan find the best circumstances to operate in. Sure it doesn’t sound like the man is standing at the crossroads. Once again using an African beat may get the man there spiritually to settle for what’s best.
“Just A Little Grease” taken from Bad Neighborhood is perhaps one of the best tunes on this compilation. Blending Zydeco influences and mixing swirling harp and Sonny Landreth guitar lines can make a listener wish why the rest of this album didn’t follow the same path. Treanor is a musician who doesn’t want to be pigeonholed so he writes material touching on various cornerstones to give his songs some flesh. No more is this evident than in “Field Hollar No 1” that lives up to its moniker with its chain gang chant and wah wah guitar lines laid out over a African Delta rhythm that is against backdrop of a sweltering summer day.
It’s this sort of pedigree in the blues that keeps Dan Treanor from becoming of these musicians who wish to stay confined in the box. It’s a formula uneven at best but still a curiosity of what the man will do next.
Reviewer Gary Weeks is a contributing writer. He resides in Marietta, GA.
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