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Issue 7-45, November 14, 2013

Scroll or Page Down! For news, photos, reviews, links & MUCH MORE in this issue!

Cover photo by Bob Kieser © 2013 Blues Blast Magazine

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 In This Issue

Terry Mullins has our feature interview with Doug Deming. Marilyn Stringer has photos from the 2013 Blues Blast Music Awards. Bob Kieser and Robert Hughes have Part 2 of coverage from the King Biscuit Blues Festival. Mark Thompson and John Mitchell have photos from the the Florida Blues and Music feastival.

We have two Blues music reviews for you. Rainey Wetnight reviews a new release from David Kimbrough III. Steve Jones reviews a new album from Don Scott & Curtis Blake. We have the latest in Blues Society news from around the globe. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!

 From The Editor's Desk

Hey Blues Fans,

This week we have more photos than we have ever had in one issue! Our writers have been busy covering live Blues shows and we present 3 live Blues reviews and more than 200 photos!

We will be back to a normal mix of reviews and photos next week. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy all the great images from these historic Blues shows.

Wishing you health, happiness and lots of Blues music! 

Bob Kieser 

Blues Blast Magazine is offering a fall advertising special. This special pricing will be our lowest pricing of the 2013-2014 season.

This 6-week combo rate of only $350 affordably adds significant impact to your Blues advertising and promotion campaign. It is a great way to kick up the visibility of your new album release, Blues event or music product around the globe!

Blues Blast Magazine is a great way to promote the Blues. More than 26,000 Blues fans read our magazine each week. They are located in all 50 states and in more than 90 countries. We get more than 2,000,000 (That's TWO MILLION) hits and more than 45,000 visitors a month on our website. 

Normal 2013 - 2014 ad rates are $90 per issue for Blues Blast magazine ads and $100 per month for website ads. BUT, for a limited time, you can advertise in six issues of Blues Blast Magazine and on our website for a month and a half for only $350. This is a $690 value! To get this special rate simply reserve and pay for your ad space by December 15, 2013. Ads can be booked to run anytime between now and September 30, 2014 for your 2014 Blues festival, album release or other music related product.

With this special rate, your ad can viewed more than 220,000 times by our readers who want to know about your 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 by December 15, 2013. To get more information email or call 309 267-4425 today! Other ad packages, single ads, short run ads or long term bulk rates available too. Call today for an ad plan that fits your needs.

 Featured Blues Interview - Doug Deming  

His surprise was clearly evident and his surprise was certainly genuine.

Even if Doug Deming had wanted to act cool and hide that surprise, he just couldn’t. The look on his face said it all.

Mere moments after he had been heralded as the winner of the Sean Costello Rising Star Award at the sixth annual Blues Blast Music Awards, it was easy to see that the Detroit-born guitarist and vocalist was most definitely caught off guard with the honor.

“Wow. If I’d had all the money in the world to bet with … I just never would have thought I’d have won this award … it’s such an honor and I’m truly grateful and humbled,” he said. “And now I have to find some way to snap out of this shock and get up on stage and play.”

And with that, Deming proceeded to climb back on the stage at Buddy Guy’s Legends a few minutes later – joined stage left by his old friend and harmonica wizard Dennis Gruenling - and show the crowd that was jam-packed into the club on Halloween night that the buzz that has surrounded him the past couple of years was not merely hype, but was indeed well-deserved.

“The last couple of years have really stepped up my musical career. The band has really taken off … a new record, new label … vast increase in touring … it’s been really good,” he said. “The new record (What’s it Gonna Take) has been out for almost a year and it’s done pretty well for me. I have to attribute that to the association with Vizztone and also to a ton of touring. We were on the road this year for two or three times more than ever before and that makes a big difference; just getting out and getting in front of a different audience night after night, town after town … there’s no substitute for that.”

Some blues tend to make the listener introspective and turn their attention to things that may not be so positive in their world, or in the world around them. But Doug Deming and The Jewel Tones specialize in a brand of blues that instinctively seem to make the listener want to get up, move around, be upbeat and have a good time. They play the kind of blues that are custom-made for the dance floor and for going out and having the best night of the week.

“Honestly, it’s just the way that things flow out of me. I’ve been telling myself lately that I need to write a few more minor key songs, something with a little more mood to it,” Deming said. “But sometimes you just have to figure you are who you are and recognize that’s just how things come out.”

The sound that comes out of Deming’s hollow-bodied guitars are thick and luscious and are so warm and inviting they might very well take the place of an overcoat on a cold winter’s night. Mixing big-band era jazz with a hint of ‘50s rock-n-roll, a bit of country and western and some get-down blues, Deming and The Jewel Tones offer enough spice and variety to keep even the most fickle listener engaged.

“As an artist that considers himself to be traditional, my tastes range all across the board from the traditional American roots music, from blues to old rock-n-roll to country and jazz … I love all that stuff,” he said. “The honest truth is, to me, it’s all blues; it really is. It just has a little different favor here and there, but I try to find my own style by mixing all those traditional things up. But I do seem to keep at least one foot firmly planted in what most people would consider to be the blues. It just keeps things fun and fresh for me and for the audience.”

Coming of age when he did, Deming, like a lot of young and eager guitar players at that time, were fed a steady diet of Stevie Ray Vaughan during the blues re-awakening that the Austin firebrand jumpstarted in the mid-80s. But unlike a lot of players who were unable to separate themselves from the long shadow that SRV cast, while he was certainly a fan, Deming didn’t necessarily want to model his guitar style in the blues/rock vein that was then sweeping the planet.

“My style – in a way – is a bit more understated, it’s a bit less of the modern blues/rock thing that a lot of guys play. It’s really just my personality. In terms of demographics, I was a poster boy for that style (blues/rock) of playing … I grew up in the ‘80s … a white kid from the suburbs and when I heard Stevie Ray Vaughan, I went nuts. I loved it and I think I saw him live about eight or 10 times,” he said. “But the funny thing was, as soon as I heard his brother (Jimmie), it was over. I thought there was something far deeper going on with his brother. There was just a lot more going on there, in terms of there was a lot less going on with his playing. The depth, feeling and emotion he conveyed with his style immediately turned me and that was a pivotal point for me.”

And as often is the case, once he became intrigued with the Vaughan brothers, the next natural step for Deming was to travel backwards and find out who the guitarists were that flipped on the switches of Stevie and Jimmie.

“That caused me to dig deeper and get into their influences; guys like Lightnin’ Hopkins and Muddy Waters and Albert Collins and all the older guys … and when I heard T-Bone Walker … that was another landmark for me. I would consider him to probably be my number one influence of the traditional guys. And through T-Bone I learned about Charlie Christian and “Tiny” Grimes and Bill Jennings.”

Like most songwriters, inspiration for material is likely to pop up at any time and at any place for Deming, even if he’s not consistently striving to pen his next masterpiece on a daily basis.

“Well, I don’t consider myself to be a prolific songwriter. Whenever I get an idea or a spark, I jot it down. And then usually it will sit there for a few months until I tell myself it’s time to start writing for a project,” he said. “At that point, I’ll turn to my hopefully long list of ideas and try to hash out what I can do with the ideas that I have; and those ideas are lyrical bits. Then I do my best to fit musical ideas with those lyrical pieces … that’s generally how I do it. If I’m sitting around practicing (guitar) and come up with a musical idea, I might record that and put it in the bank for later and try to mix and match the music with the lyrics and see what happens. I wish I was one of those cats that just sat around and wrote all the time, but I’m just not.”

Still, Deming has begun to think about crafting material for a new studio album he hopes to start in 2014 and after that, his tentative plans include recording a live disc, which should thrill his fan-base to no end.

“I’ve never done a live record and have always been a bit shy about doing one, in general. But I feel like my live shows are pretty strong right now and this is the right band to make it happen, so I think it may be time,” he said. “My first two records have a handful of songs on them that I’m really proud of the writing on and being a new, young artist, those records didn’t get the kind of visibility that you would hope for. So I think a nice way to bring those songs back and give everybody a second look at them would be to cut them live.”

“I think it goes back to the whole stylistic approach that I take; one that is more understated and rhythmically orientated. My style just encompasses a little more space and a little more rhythm and that seems to fit well with harmonica players. And also, I’ve been a fan of the harmonica for a long time, too, along with the guitar players that played with the seminal harp players” Deming said. “They were big influences on me, as well. Guys like Robert Junior Lockwood and the Myers brothers. I was a huge fan of those guys and kind of carved out a niche based on that style.”

Deming struck up a special relationship on and off the bandstand with Excello Records swamp blues legend Lazy Lester, who at the time was living in Pontiac, Michigan, about an hour away from Detroit.

“Lester’s a character and a really great guy. We kind of hit it off – we both loved the blues and we both loved to fish. So we would go fishing occasionally in Michigan and would have an absolute ball. I remember one day we went out on my brother-in-law’s boat – it was a pretty big boat – to Lake St. Clair, which is a pretty big lake in the Great Lakes chain. We were perch fishing and my brother-in-law is a real good captain and he knew where the fish were, which was about a 20-minute boat ride (from shore). And Lester just could not get over the fact that we were traveling over so much water – water that in his mind was full of fish – to get to a spot. He told me, ‘We just ran over 10 million fish to go and look for the ones he wants to catch.’ That really cracked me up, but he was probably right, because we didn’t end up catching much that time out.”

Lately, fans have become accustomed to seeing harmonica ace Dennis Gruenling doing his thing on stage with Deming and The Jewel Tones. From their personalities, on to their shared tastes in music, it’s become evident that Deming and Gruenling are tailor-made to play the blues together.

“Dennis and I met about six or seven years ago. I was looking for a harp player at the time and a couple of my buddies told me I should check out Dennis. So I called him up and introduced myself and after we had spoken on the phone a couple of times, we said, ‘Hell. Let’s do a tour together.’ He was in New Jersey and I was in Detroit and my tour started on a Saturday and he had a gig at home the night before. So he played his gig at home and then got in his van after that and drove to Detroit,” said Deming. “After about a 10-hour drive, he parked his van in my driveway, we shook hands, got in my van and just went on the road. It was a little abrupt, for sure, but it’s worked out just fine.”

That initial one-off road trip has turned into a solid, long-term working relationship between Deming and Gruenling, not only on the road, but in the studio, to boot. Gruenling is featured on What’s it Gonna Take, while Deming and The Jewel Tones (upright bass player Andrew Gohman and drummer Devin Neel) return the favor by backing the harpist on his latest work, Rockin’ All Day (Vizztone).

“Dennis is a great guy and is obviously an outstanding harmonica player. After I’d hired him to work on a couple of my tours and he’d hired me to work a couple of his, we ultimately have formed kind of a touring partnership and that’s been going pretty well,” said Deming. “We’re partners on the road and play on each other’s records and that seems to make a lot of sense for both of us.”

He now calls the Sunshine State of Florida home, but Deming was born and raised in Detroit. And although the Motor City has battled through some well-documented problems in the past decade or so, Deming nevertheless has fond memories of coming of age as a musician there.

“It was awesome, it was vibrant! The Detroit musical community is vast and has a ton of great musicians. It’s a very nurturing scene and was a really great place to just go out and hear some great music and learn from the older cats,” he said. “I’m very, very grateful to have been a part of it and I still consider myself a part of it, even though I’ve been in Florida for a couple of years now. I’ll always consider myself a Detroit guy and that will always be home.”

Armed with an excellent record, a crack band, plenty of tour dates on the horizon and the Sean Costello Rising Star Award; it would be hard to imagine things going any better for Doug Deming. But instead of just kicking back and relying on the things that he’s already accomplished, Deming’s Motor City work ethic has him squarely focused on what lies ahead.

“Ever since I put my first little band together back in Detroit, which in a sense is still the band I play in today – I consider myself the only original member – my focus and goals have always been to play traditional, honest music the best I can and do my best to do that genre justice,” he said. “I’d like to see things continue to get better for me and Dennis and the fellas in the group. I know it’s what everyone says and probably sounds cliché, but we just want to keep on keepin’ on.””

For more info on Doug Deming visit his website at

Photos by Bob Kieser © 2013 Blues Blast Magazine.

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.

 Featured Blues Review 1 of 2

David Kimbrough III - Oh Baby Please


CD: 10 songs; 50:44 Minutes

Styles: North Mississippi Hill Country Blues

Only in the North Mississippi hill country can one discover the distinctive melodies of a famous blues sub-genre. The music of such artists as David Kimbrough III is far more noted for its “modal” and “vamping” rhythm styles than flashy guitar or vocal showmanship. “Oh Baby Please,” Kimbrough, Jr.’s latest release, might remind listeners more of Paul Simon’s 1986 “Graceland” album than any by Howlin’ Wolf or B.B. King.

Nevertheless, Kimbrough is a genuine bluesman, the son of Junior Kimbrough from Holly Springs, Mississippi. He carries on his family tradition by creating music from his Black American and Choctaw heritage while pushing the boundaries of tradition and expectation. His presentation of original, Delta, North Mississippi Hill Country and Cotton Patch Blues is a continuing source from which music enthusiasts may refer to his performance as living blues. Accompanying Kimbrough on “Oh Baby Please,” and all ten original tracks, is his nephew David Gray Kimbrough on drums. He himself plays guitar and dulcimer - a rare and rather quirky blues instrument - as well as lead vocals. For fans of intricate and repeating rhythms, this album’s a must-have. Even those new to North Mississippi Hill Country blues will get a sense of its nature - in this case, mellow, relaxing and gently understated.

The offerings on “Oh Baby Please” are meant to establish an atmosphere and set a mood. They may not be heart-pumping, foot-stomping selections, but in the immortal words of Monty Python, they are “something completely different.” Rather than inspiring listeners to play frenetic air guitar or sing and shout along with the chorus, these songs are deeply contemplative and almost prayerful at times. “Ooh Wee” (not to be confused with Joe Turner and Pete Johnson’s “Wee Baby Blues”) is a prime example of this, an introspective look at Kimbrough’s change of heart over past misdeeds. “I remember when I was all screwed up - laying around, sex, and doing drugs. I’m finally in the prime of my life. I’m fighting temptation. Lord, I want to do right….” His message is clear without being heavy-handed, either instrumentally or vocally. That goes for almost every number.

2012 saw him as a guest artist at the Dulcimer Festival in Mountain View, a live recording with Cedell Davis, and representing the Buffalo River Blues Society at the 2013 International Blues Challenge in Memphis. He’s also been a mainstay at the North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic since its inception in 2006.

Oh Baby Please may not be a party CD, but sometimes the blues is about much more than that. Venture to the hills in northern Mississippi with David Kimbrough III, the prince of this unique musical kingdom!

Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 33 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 2

Don Scott & Curtis Blake - Sure Thing

Self released

13 tracks

Don and Curtis apparently met a few years ago at a club in Minneapolis and claim they hit it off immediately. Recorded in 2011 live in the studio with no over dubs or voice overs, they are a very interesting duo that plays in the style of Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. These guys are middle aged Minnesota natives who are dead serious about their love for the blues.

There are two originals by Scott here and 11 nice covers. Train songs and harp players- you have to love them when they are done well and “Down at the Depot” is one of them. Scott picks furiously and Blake blows some wicked harp as they wind down the tracks and into the depot. “Doggin’ Blues” is a nice little Blind Boy Fuller cut where Blake bends some notes so hard that you’d think they would break.

Tommy Johnson’s “Big Road Blues” is peppy and uptempo and is another well done cut. Big Maceo’s “Worried Life Blues” is another standout among a set of tracks that I enjoyed top to bottom. They closed with “St. James Infirmary” and did it justice with a simple style and nice finger picked intro. They are somber and not overdone as they go through this standard- I enjoyed it.

The two originals are “Sure Thing” and “JP Morgan, Citibank and Wells Fargo.” The former is a fun and lamentatious blues about a filly who did not live up to expectations at the track. The latter is a more serious topic where Scott sings about the big banks that own us and everything else as he picks his National Steel guitar. While the topics are at different ends of the spectrum, they are both good and they duo performs admirably.

This is a nice little CD. If you are looking for some acoustic blues with nice guitar work and some well done harp, you should enjoy this one. I did!!

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.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured Live Blues Review 1 of 3 - 2013 Blues Blast Music Awards

2013 Blues Blast Music Awards - Buddy Guy’s Legends – Chicago – 10/31/2013

The 2013 Blues Blast Music Awards were held at Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago on Thursday, October 31.. Each of the bands or individual performers, all nominees for awards, played two or three songs and the evening flew by with great music, exciting awards, and a good time was had by all. The Andy T & Nick Nixon Band provided the “house band” for many of the performers. They included: Andy T-guitar, Dana Robbins – sax, Jim Klingler – drums, Larry Van Loon – keyboard, and Sam Persons – bass. They worked hard all night and deserve a great big thanks for their contribution to a stellar evening.

The first performance was The EllerSoul Records showcase with Andy Poxon - guitar, Big Joe Maher – drums/vocals, Lil Ronnie Owens – harp, Kevin McKendree – keyboards (who was joined by his son Yates for a tune), and Sam Persons - bass.

Backed by the house band, Delta Groove artist Kevin Selfe, Portland, OR, James Buddy Rogers from Vancouver, BC, and Brandon Santini, from Memphis, TN, each came up to give us their best. Little Joe McLerran, from Sapulpa, OK, did a solo act, bringing his special finger-picking style of the blues to the stage.

The First Awards were handed out:
Sean Costello Rising Star Award: Doug Deming; Soul Blues Album: Curtis Salgado – Soul Shot

Chicago’s own Mike Wheeler Band was next on the stage. Mike’s band is well known around Chicago and can be also been seen with so many different performers in the area. Mike’s band is a “class act”. His band includes Larry Williams – bass, Cleo Cole – drums, and Brian James – keyboard.

The next awards given were for Lifetime Achievement Awards. They were presented to Eddie Shaw and Bob Koester. Eddie has been playing the sax around Chicago since 1957, and was part of both Muddy Water’s band as well as Howlin’ Wolf’s band, along many other greats. Bob Koester has had a huge impact on the recorded history of both blues and jazz with his Delmark label and is the owner of the famous Jazz Record Mart in Chicago. Eddie’s award was presented by Howlin’ Wolf’s daughter, Bettye Kelly, and Bob Kieser. Bob Koester received his award from Bruce Iglauer of Alligator Records, along with Mark Thompson, one of The Blues Blast’s writers.

Next on the stage was Mud Morganfield and his band. Mud, as always, put on a great show, and for this special evening’s attire, he picked out Halloween orange. The band included: Mud – vocals, Bob Corritore – harmonica, Billy Flynn – guitar, Barrelhouse Chuck – keyboards, Rick Kreher – guitar, Mike Scharf – bass, and John Hiller – drums. Both Billy & Chuck were part of a few other bands throughout the evening.

Up next were Chicago’s Cash Box Kings, who specialize in 40’s & 50’s post-war blues, along with the Delta blues of the 20’s and 30’s. The band included: Billy Flynn – guitar, Barrelhouse Chuck – keyboards, Joe Nosek – harmonica, Brad Ber – bass, Joel Paterson – guitar, John Hiller – drums, and Oscar Wilson – vocals. (Winner: Traditional Blues Album- Black Toppin’).

Next up was the Teeny Tucker Band, from Columbus, OH. Teeny is the “real deal” when it comes to blues singers and has been nominated many times for her traditional blues style. Her band included: Robert Hughes – guitar, David Gastel – keyboards/harmonica, Darryl Jumper – drums, Robert Blackburn – bass, and backup singers – Mary Ashley and Paula Brown.

Following Teeny was Doug MacLeod (pronounced Ma-Cloud). Doug is one of the most entertaining and talented solo performers in the blues today, with no end to his stories, which are full of fun and wisdom. Doug was nominated for three awards this year – Song of the Year, Traditional Blues Album, and at the end of the evening he was awarded Male Blues Artist. Presenting the award to Doug is Terry Mullins, writer of so many of the incredible opening articles in The Blues Blast.

Next up was Doug Deming, with Dennis Gruenling on harmonica. Doug and Dennis have both just put out their own albums with each other on them – great show by both of them. (Winner: Sean Costello Rising Star Award – Doug Deming).

Ending this section was Sena Ehrhardt band. Newly signed to Blind Pig, Sena has been receiving nominations as a new rising star and for her new debut release. Sena’s talented guitar player is Ed Ehrhardt, her father, and the rest of the band includes: Patrick Smith – bass, Paul Peterson – drums, and Cole Allen – guitar.

The next awards presented were:
Female Blues Artist: Shaun Murphy; Blues Band of the Year: Tedeschi Trucks Band

After receiving his Lifetime Achievement Award, Eddie Shaw came to the stage and showed us why he deserved it. Having just produced a new CD with the band he brought, the 757 Allstars, it was a great treat to hear this combination of east coast jumpin’ blues with Eddie on the sax. What a refreshing surprise. The 757 Allstars includes: Bob Albergotti – harmonica, Bruce Gray – vocals, Mark Hopkins – guitar, Randy Williford – guitar, and the bass and drummer’s names are unknown.

The next awards presented were:
Traditional Blues Album: Cash Box Kings – Black Topin’; Song of the Year – “I Got A Right to Sing the Blues” written by Cee Cee James and Rob “Slideboy” Andrews – Blood Red Blues

After working hard all evening as the “house band” (see names above), the Andy T & Nick Nixon Band assimilated on the stage and put on their normal fabulous show. As a former member of The Imperials, Nick’s beautiful voice takes you back to of the days of soul and blues, and combined with the rest of the members of this stellar band, their fan base just continues to grow.


The next awards presented were:
Blues Rock Album: Albert Castiglia – Living The Dream; New Artist Debut Release – Southern Hospitality – Easy Livin’

After just winning his award, Albert Castiglia (pronounced Ca-Steel-Ya!!) took the stage and rocked the house. It was getting late and he made sure he woke up the neighborhood!! Albert was joined by bass player AJ Kelly and Jim Klingler-drums.

The next awards presented were:
Male Blues Artist-Doug MacLeod; Contemporary Blues Album – Shaun Murphy – Ask For The Moon

Closing out the evening, and still riding high on winning two awards, Shaun Murphy and her band took the stage. They had a lot of fun and closed the evening in style. Her band included: Calvin Johnson – bass, Tim Gonzalez – harmonica, drummer & keyboards names unknown. (Winner: Contemporary Blues Album– Ask For The Moon, Female Blues Artist)

And so ended the 2013 Blues Blast Music Awards. The entire evening was a great success, the venue was packed, the music stellar, and to top it off, it was streamed live on the internet and watched all over the world. A complete list of nominees and winners can be found at and on that page there is a link to view the entire video of the awards (which I have been watching as I put this article together) and it is thoroughly enjoyable.

I would like to also take this opportunity to thank Bob Kieser for his tireless dedication to bringing all the blues news to everyone each week, as well as thank all the writers, reviewers, photographers, and staff who make this magazine possible. Participating in this publication is one of my greatest joys and we all look forward to seeing you all down the blues highway this next year 

Photos and commentary by Marilynn Stringer © 2013 Blues Blast Magazine

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

 Featured Live Blues Review 2 of 3 - King Biscuit Festival Part 2

On day 2 of the 29th King Biscuit Festival we were again in Blues Heaven! The festival is held in Helena Arkansas and this town IS the Blues!

Our coverage crew for this day included myself, Bob Kieser, covering the main stage and Robert Hughes covering the action on the Lockwood-Stackhouse Stage. (Robert is an internationally recognized photographer and plays guitar and is the bandleader for the Teeny Tucker band)

The days music started on the main stage with a guitar player called Jack Rowell, Jr.

Jack did a good job kicking off a great day of Blues. Next up was a Ruf Records artist named Bart Walker and his band. I was looking forward to hearing this artist and was NOT disappointed. Bart is a great Blues rocker and had an impressive set.

Next up was the Reba Russell Band. We have seen Reba Russell Band every year we have covered the main stage of the King Biscuit. But sadly this show was her last official performance with this band.

It wont be the last you will see Reba or husband bass player Wayne Russell, keyboard player Robert “Nighthawk” Tooms, drummer Doug Mcminn or guitar player Josh Roberts. I am sure this talented group of musicians will pop up somewhere in other groups soon !

Next up was the beautiful and talented Sharrie Williams.

Sharrie is a real deal Blues and gospel singer but no one would ever call her a Blues diva as she is just too much of a sweetheart to be called that. If you have not seen this great singer, put Sharrie on your MUST SEE list.

Next up was a band out of Nashville, Andy T - Nick Nixon Band. Their backup band included Dana Robbins on Sax, Markay Blues on vocals, Sam Persons on Bass and Larry van Loon on keys and Jim Klingler on drums. Special guest Bob Corritore also pitched in on harp to make this a great set



The next artist performing was Anson Funderburgh & The Rockets. He had Big Joe Maher sit in for a few songs too


Next up was Paul Thorn. Paul is a local favorite and has played King Biscuit many times!

The headliner on Friday night was Robert Cray. This man can play some killer blues!

I was a fitting way to close out the evening on the main stage.

King Biscuit Blues Festival Lockwood-Stackhouse Stage Day One - By Robert Hughes October 11, 2013

GuitarMac MacKnally – First thing Friday morning, the Lockwood stage was graced by a MacMan and his music. GuitarMac sang, and played his brand of the Blues.

Veronika Jackson – Next up, Veronika shared her considerable talents with the early crowd. She was a cool combination of her mentors, and influences, who added her own unique personal voice.

CeDell Davis – Unfortunately, CeDell became very ill and was unable to perform. He was there but was confined to a wheel chair. His Band went on and played an inspired set which was dedicated to CeDell.

Spoonfed Blues – What a unique act! Anyone who has ever experienced the Mississippi Spoonman already knows that anything goes, and the unexpected is the norm. Spoonman was in rare form, and did not disappoint.

CW Gatlin – This group laid down a solid set, as they continued to gain afternoon momentum. CW Gatlin and the entire Band were very enjoyable, and set the perfect mood for the acts which followed.

Wampus Cats – The Wampus Cats displayed another type of uniqueness with tight arrangements, clever phrases, and musical awareness. They raised the bar with cool up-tempo music and attitude.

Lil Biscuit Band – Lil Biscuit Band was a unique blend of homespun funky music which made you feel like getting your “groove on.” There was cool and hot stuff for all.

Gwen White – Woah, watch out, jump back, take your heart medicine, and get ready! Gwen White Band had it all; vocal harmonies, a bit of theatre, funk, attitude, showmanship, and enough high energy to power the Hoover Dam.

Billly Branch – Billy Branch is a Blues legend! Bearing that in mind, he was “right on.” He brought many super-fine Chicago guests all of whom were “right on” the same train. Billy’s playing is just wonderful. One seems to feel as though Billy is inviting everyone into an intimate “family-style” experience. Towards the end of his set, Billy introduced another legendary guest, Carl Weathersby. Carl then proceeded to turn up the heat. It was the perfect ending to day one of the Lockwood stage performances.

Photos and commentary by Bob Kieser and Robert Hughes © 2013 Blues Blast Magazine

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

 Featured Live Blues Review 3 of 3 - Florida Blues And Music Festival

The inaugural Florida Blues And Music Festival took place under perfect blue skies in Sarasota. The beautiful weather brought out a good crowd to enjoy a strong line-up of bands, several of whom had just come off the Blues Cruise.

Local band Big T And The Tornadoes opened the show, playing some of their own material before acting as backing band to Steve Arvey and “Ladies Sing The Blues”. The ladies included Carolyn Davies, Melanie Massell, Katt Graeber and Sudie Brattli but the highlight was Lauren Mitchell whose band has just won the competition to represent The Suncoast Blues Society at the IBCs. On this occasion Lauren impressed with a solo gospel piece and then combined with Katt on a great version of “Evil”.



Samantha Fish was up next, showcasing material from her new CD “Black Wind Howlin’”. With Chris Alexander on bass and Go-Go Ray on drums she dispelled any doubts about her energy levels after the Cruise with a great show.


Popa Chubby mixed his own songs with a wide range of other material, including a rousing reading of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” to close his set. Chubby remained seated through most of the show and was almost hit by a tent which came loose in the wind, joking that ‘you don’t kill Popa Chubby that easily!’. His band included Dave Keyes on …keys, Erik Boyd on bass and Thomas Schneider on drums.


Rick Estrin And The Nightcats were reunited with former guitarist and bandleader Little Charlie Baty and both parties looked pleased to be playing together again. The band played a crowd-pleasing mix of recent material and old favourites like “My Next Ex-Wife”, all having that wicked sense of humour that is typically Rick Estrin. Rick on harp and vocals, Kid Anderson on guitar, Lorenzo Farrell on organ, double and electric bass (not simultaneously!), J Hansen on drums and Little Charlie Baty on guitar.

Headliner Kenny Wayne Shepherd had the crowd on their feet with a rocking set that included Dylan’s “Everything Is Broken”. His next CD will be a tribute to blues greats who influenced him and as a preview he gave us a BB King medley. Noah Hunt impressed both as singer and dramatic frontman, wielding his mike stand like a young Rod Stewart. The band included KWS on guitar and vocals, Noah Hunt on vocals and occasional guitar, Chris Layton on drums, Riley Osbourn on keys and latest addition Tony Franklin on bass.


Photos and commentary by Mark Thompson and John Mitchell © 2013 Blues Blast Magazine

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The Golden Gate Blues Society - San Francisco, CA

The Golden Gate Blues Society presents the San Francisco International Boogie Woogie with Bob Seeley, Carl Sonny Leyland, Silvan Zingg, Lluis Coloma and Wendy DeWitt on November 17, Sunday, 2013 4:00pm. at SF Jazz Center’s Miner Auditorium, 201 Franklin Street, San Francisco.

Master Class at 12:30 included in ticket. Must RSVP for Master Class to Fotr more info visit

South Skunk Blues Society - Newton, IA

South Skunk Blues Society and Lizard King Blues Society bring Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials bring their signature houserockin' boogie and scorching blues back to the Elks Lodge in Grinnell, IA for a pre-Thanksgiving bash on November 15th.

Joining them are Jefferson County Green Band, a very fine rock n' roll/jamband outfit who made an appearance in October 2012 at the Elks. This is the 4th year that Lil Ed has come to play in Grinnell and the crowds each year just keep getting bigger. Due to the popularity of the show it has become a standing room only (you might want to consider purchasing tickets in advance and showing up early).

Advance tickets are now available at The advance tickets are $20 and tickets at the door will be $25. If you bring a minimum of two canned goods per person to the door, you can get in for the advance ticket price. Canned goods will be donated to help restock the MICA Food Bank.

Also on Friday November 22nd at Speakeasy in Newton the Speakeasy brings JJ Express with Travlin' Tom Robinson, 9 start time with no cover charge! For more info visit

Mississippi Valley Blues Society - Davenport, IA

MVBS presents UK guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter Joanne Shaw Taylor at The Muddy Waters, 1708 State Street, Bettendorf, IA on Friday, November 15. Joanne’s performance will start at 9:00 p.m. with a $15 cover charge, or $12 for members of the Mississippi Valley Blues Society.  For more info visit or call (563) 322-5837 

River City Blues Society - Peoria, IL

River City Blues Society presents live Blues featuring James Armstrong on Friday November 29th at Goodfellas, 1414 N. 8th St. Pekin, Illinois. Show starts at 7:30 pm. Admission is $6.00 for general public and only $4.00 for RCBS Members. For more info visit: 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 27 years - BLUE MONDAY SHOWS - Held at the Alamo 115 N 5th St, Springfield, IL (217) 523-1455 every Monday 8:00pm $3 cover. Nov. 18 – Mary Jo Curry & Tombstone Bullet, Nov. 25 – Tom Holland & the Shuffle Kings, Dec. 2 – Motor City Josh, Dec. 9 – Scott Ellison, Dec. 16 – Hurricane Ruth, Dec. 23 –Brooke Thomas & the Blues Suns, Dec. 30 – James Armstrong More info available at

Crossroads Blues Society - Rockford, IL

The Crossroads Blues Society presents Trampled Under Foot Friday November 22nd at the Adriatic on Jefferson and Church Streets in Rockford, 8 PM. $15 advanced, $20 at the door.

Also on Friday December 13th we present afternoon BITS with Bobby Messano followed by our mini-Winter Blues Fest featuring Bobby Messano and Sena Erhardt at the Adriatic on Jefferson and Church Streets in Rockford, 8 PM. $15 advanced, $20 at the door.

For more information about these presentations please contact: Steve Jones - Crossroads Blues Society 779-537-4006 To find out about the event, go to

Friends Of The Blues - Watseka, IL

Now in their seventh season, The Friends of the Blues present 7 pm early shows: Tues, Dec 10, the return of the Ori Naftaly Band from Israel! - Moose Lodge in Bradley IL sponsored by Mr. Vacuum, Bradley IL More information visit us at or email  

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