Issue 7-5, January 31, 2013
Scroll or Page Down! For news, photos, reviews, links & MUCH MORE in this issue!
Cover photo by Marilyn Stringer © 2013
In This Issue
This is our January 2013 Blues Overdose Issue. It includes links to eight FREE Blues music tracks for you to download. More info below.
Terry Mullins has our feature interview with Chicago Blues legend Carlos Johnson. Mark Thompson and Tom Carter review the Sun Coast Blues Festival.
We have 6 music reviews for you! Marty Gunther reviews a new album by Dennis Gruenling. John Mitchell reviews a new release from Mitch Woods . We welcome a new reviewer this week, Rhys Williams. Rhys reviews a new release from Jake Lear and the Line Up. Rex Bartholomew reviews a new album from Melvin Taylor. James "Skyy Dobro" Walker reviews a new CD from James "Buddy" Rogers. Greg Szalony reviews a new album from Tommy Talton. 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,
It is the last issue of January and time for our Blues Overdose Issue. On the last Thursday of each month Blues Blast Magazine is featuring free Blues music downloads from some of the best new artist releases.
This issue features eight new download tracks including music from Dave Duncan, The Pam Taylor Band, Ryan Hartt & The Blue Hearts, Tweed Funk, Joel DaSilva and The Midnight Howl, Ron Levy's Wild Kingdom, Stevie DuPree & The Delta Flyers and Gary Sellers.
Scroll to the bottom of this issue to get these Free Blues tracks now!
Please please help us spread the word on Facebook and Twitter about this FREE Blues music each month. We want as many Blues lovers as possible to take advantage of this great offer from these artists.
Wishing you health, happiness and lots of Blues music!
Featured Blues Interview - Carlos Johnson
There’s an old saying that suggests you can tell a lot about a man based on just what kind of tools he has on his workbench.
With just a passing glance, you can glean information into what kind of a job he has, what some of his hobbies are, and you even tell a little bit about his personality.
And while it’s certainly not an OLD saying, you can also tell a lot about a man based on what his e-mail address is.
Especially if the first part of that e-mail address is: carlosplaysa335.
Based on that, it doesn’t take a whole heck of a lot of deciphering to figure out that long-time Southside Chicago bluesman Carlos Johnson’s preferred axe is a Gibson ES-335.
And Johnson quickly confirms as much.
“Without a doubt, that’s my favorite guitar – the Gibson 335. And you play that through a Rivera amp – it just doesn’t get any better than that. It’s a match made in heaven,” said the left-hander. “There’s no better combination than that; ever. The 335 is just such a great guitar for whatever you want to play – jazz, rock, blues, country …”
The splendid sound that Johnson has created from his mastery of the 335/Rivera pairing is all over the highly-acclaimed Chicago Blues: A Living History series, a series that has not only been extremely well-regarded in the world of the blues, but one that has also caught the attention of the powers that be at the Grammy Awards.
And speaking of history, Johnson and the brainchild of those discs have a long and lengthy one together.
“Well, Larry Skoller actually came up under me, many, many years ago – so many that I don’t remember just how many – but for decades we were together in bands and traveled all over the world and everything,” Johnson said. “And then he moved to France and got married and started a family and he started getting into the production side of things. And he’s a natural at that. But we’ve been friends a long time.”
It didn’t take much convincing from Skoller to get Johnson on board and involved with the project.
“What I think he decided to do was; there are a lot of talented cats from here (Chicago) that needed to pick up the ball and carry it. And we’re the ones to do it. Even though we’re up there in age now, we’re still the product of our blues forefathers,” he said. “And we have to honor that. We have to keep that alive, both musically and spiritually. It’s also in memory of cats like Chico Banks. I want to give a shout-out to his family, because we still miss him very much.”
Helping to keep the blues alive and growing is nothing new for Johnson. It’s something that he’s been doing for a few decades now. Doesn’t matter if it’s in a club or in a classroom, the task of spreading the gospel of the Chicago blues has always been job number one for Johnson.
“We’ve been doing this for years and years and years. Doing Blues in the Schools with Billy Branch, we would teach them (school children) about where “Hoochie Coochie Man” came from and about the structure of a 12-bar blues song and who Muddy Waters was and information like that,” said Johnson. “Because it is up to us to perpetuate the music and the heritage with the younger people. And the same goes for the younger musicians who are coming up around town and looking up to me and guys like Billy and Carl Weathersby and Lurie Bell. They look up to us and we have to explain to them there’s a fine line between creativity and extinction. A lot of the cats want to play the Stevie Ray Vaughan stuff and the Hendrix stuff – which is fine, because everybody has to learn from somebody else – but what you still have to do is keep that common thread in between so you don’t blur the line so much that it can still be distinguished as the blues.”
As would be expected from someone who’s been playing the blues in every nook and cranny around the Windy City as long as he has, Johnson has rubbed elbows and traded licks with a cast of larger-than-life personalities, including a fellow southpaw that was also known for his prowess at running up and down the neck of a six-string.
“Oh, yeah. Lefty Dizz. Me and him were both left-handed and we both played the guitar inverted. I used to call him son and he’d call me father and then he’d call me son and I’d call him father. He’d say, ‘When I grow up, I want to be just like you.’ And then I’d say the same thing to him,” laughed Johnson. “But me and Lefty played together all through the 70s. He was something. And then of course I played with Junior (Wells) and Otis (Rush) and Koko (Taylor) and Son (Seals) … just all the cats, and the girls, too, here in Chicago. I don’t think there’s been many people that I haven’t played with”
Johnson just didn’t strictly play with all those legends inside the city limits of Chicago, either. He packed up his guitar on more than one occasion and traveled the globe with them, including one memorable trip to Son Seals’ hometown stomping grounds of Osceola, Arkansas, where Johnson learned how the locals down there liked to toss their dice.
“Yeah, we were touring once and stopped in his town and went to this little shack beside the road (the infamous Dipsy Doodle Club, a juke joint owned by Seals’ father, Jim) and everybody knew him. And they were teaching me how to gamble out of the horn – which I was really awkward at because I was used to throwing dice in the back alleys of Chicago – but that was one of the best times I ever had with Son, right there in his hometown.”
Early in his career as a budding bluesman, Johnson found out that there was way more to the art than just the ability to play a guitar or to sing a song. He learned that in order to really play the blues, you must first understand how to live life.
“When I first started playing, I used to go down to Theresa’s and try to sit in. And Sammy Lawhorn took me under his wings. He was my first real teacher as far as the blues were concerned,” Johnson said. “And after him, I studied under Buster Benton a while. But those guys taught me so much about the blues. Not only about the blues, but about life, too, and how those two things are intertwined and connected. About how you can’t really separate the blues and life if you’re really passionate about being a blues artist.”
Although he might not have realized the impact that first picking up the guitar as a small child would have on his future life, there were a couple of other people close to Carlos Johnson who had an idea that playing music might indeed become his life’s work.
“My parents. I think they knew. I don’t remember, but the story my mom and dad tell me is there was one of those plastic Mickey Mouse guitars – the one with the red strings on it – at our house and as they were sitting around having coffee one day, I was crawling around on the floor and picked up that guitar. As they were listening, they could hear me picking out a rhythm and playing it on that guitar. Of course I was just smashing my hands on the fretboard – I couldn’t play – but there was a rhythm coming out. I think they knew then that the guitar might play a big role in my life later on.”
Had it not been for the influence and support of his parents all those years ago, Johnson’s present vocation would probably not be as a blues musician.
And with that in mind, the project that he is currently toiling away on is dedicated to his mom and dad.
“The album that I’m getting ready to do – Deversatility – is dedicated to them, because when I was coming up, I can remember sitting in the middle of our living room floor, surrounded by a mountain of albums and my dad sitting there with a pack of cigarettes and a pint of Old Forester. Of course he wouldn’t give me any cigarettes or a drink, but we would sit there and listen to Charlie Parker and Mingus and Brubeck and things like that until the cows came home,” he said. “And my mom would always have blues and country-and-western playing. So I had all these genres of music just circulating and permeating in my head. There was always music in my household and there was always happiness when there was music.”
Those ‘mountains of albums’ played a crucial part in developing Johnson’s guitar sound. With country and jazz mixing with the blues, rock and soul in his head, it’s no wonder that the music that Johnson makes today has bits and flourishes of all the above in it.
“Yeah, once again, I call it Deversatility. That’s not a real word – I made it up – but that’s what I call my music. It’s natural or organic,” he said. “But there’s a lot of connections between the phrasings and the positions of all those different kinds of music that gives you a unique sound. Because I’m bass-akwards (left-handed) a lot of structure to the way I play is inverted, which gives you a different tone, too. And then I don’t play with a pick, I play with my thumbs, so that’s another tone variation.”
Johnson’s ‘deversatility’ carries over to the way his instruments are stung. Some of his acoustic guitars are strung left-handed and some are strung right-handed, which also adds to the remarkable sounds he coaxes from his guitars.
“I guess you could say I’m bi-stringual,” he laughed.
Johnson and his Serious Blues Band – Roosevelt Hatter Purifoy on keyboards (“My right-hand man for over 30 years now. He’s the best thing since candy,” said Johnson), Pooky Sticks on drums and bassist Bill Dickens – can still be found out on the road, playing small clubs and huge festivals, even though these may not be the most lucrative times for playing the blues.
“Well, it’s difficult now. Things are more expensive and the cost of just plain living has gone through the roof. Whereas back in the 60s and 70s you could go and play a club and make $30 or $40 and that would last you a week if you didn’t spend it all at the bar. But, everything was supplemented by family helping out – you know, staying with your sister and stuff like that,” Johnson said. “You weren’t bringing in no $600 a week, or maybe not even that a month, but a loaf of bread was only 25 cents back then, too. So because of just the economics of these times, it’s hard to earn a living playing the blues. And the way that the mainstream media has almost phased out blues as a genre doesn’t help any, either. Blues is just like the low man on the totem pole when it comes to mainstream exposure on the big stage.”
But even though it would be easy to give in and think that the fate of the blues has long ago been cast and nothing can be done to shine the spotlight brighter on the form of music, Johnson is having none of that.
“We need support. We need support with everything that’s involved with the music – the production of it, the way it’s perceived, how it’s played …the way the media looks at it. If we don’t have that kind support, we’re going to be digging out of the hole until the day we die. And hopefully we won’t get fully buried,” he said. “But it is an uphill battle. You have to remember, though, that coming from Mississippi and even Africa field hollers, all of this music was oppressed, except for when you were working, so you would be more productive. Other than that, this music has always been oppressed. I don’t know if it’s reversible, but I do know one thing – I’m going to die trying.”
Visit Carlos Johnson's website at http://www.myspace.com/carlosjohnsonblues
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 6
Dennis Gruenling – “Rockin’ All Day”
Backbender /Vizztone Label Group BBR711
13 songs – 50 minutes
Multi-talented Dennis Gruenling is a deceptively simple innovator on harmonica. Like many, if not most of his contemporaries, he admits to drawing inspiration from Little Walter Jacobs and other forbearers. But while most other reed benders walk a familiar path, he’s taken a road less traveled. Not only does he incorporate the stylings of jazzmen Lester Young and Illinois Jacquet into his technique, but he also delivers his work through a modern interpretation of the music he loves best, jump blues. The precursor to R&B and rock-n-roll, jump developed out of big-band jazz in the mid-’40s, driven by a coterie of superstars, including Lionel Hampton, Louis Jordan, Earl Bostic and Arnett Cobb.
A highly respected harmonica instructor who also deals in vintage microphones, Gruenling hosts “Blues & the Beat” on New Jersey’s WFDU-FM. This record swings from the top as he breathes new life into several jump classics gleaned from his extensive record collection, and he provides a few new songs along the way.
He’s backed on most cuts by Florida-based guitarist/vocalist and fellow Vizztone recording artist Doug Deming, his regular touring partner, and Deming’s tight band, the Jewel Tones. Deming shares Gruenling’s love for the art form and stylishly handles all but one of the vocals, as Gruenling lays down a flawless, wide spectrum of blues riffs, ranging from lightning quick runs to mournful moans. He’s equally proficient on diatonic and chromatic, and his use of low-register Hohner Thunderbird harmonicas on several tunes adds to the flavor. The Jewel Tones rhythm section – Andrew Gohman (bass) and Devin Neel (drums) – is spelled by a pair of Gruenling’s former band mates – Scott Hornick and Tom Papadatos – on five of the 13 cuts, and the CD is bolstered by multi-instrumentalist Dave Gross on keyboards for “It Went Down Easy,” on which Gruenling sings lead. A burgeoning superstar in his own right, Gross co-produced the CD’s Garden State recording sessions, while Ed Kinder handled the duties for Florida sessions.
A swinging harmonica solo kicks off the first cut, the Jimmy McCracklin chestnut, “Rockin’ All Day (Reelin’ & Rockin’).” By the time Deming kicks in with the vocals and the band starts singing a response, your fingers will be tapping out the rhythm and you’ll be heading for the dance floor. Gruenling stretches out with a clean, deceptively simple mid-song solo on the next tune, the Shaky Jake Harris stop-time number, “Roll Your Moneymaker.” He and the band provide a nice call-and-response to the vocal. The disc slips into high gear on “The Rev.” It’s a fast-paced Gruenling original, in which his talents on the chromatic are on full display, set off first against rhythmic handclapping and then the band swaying in the background.
Two more classic jump numbers follow – Louis Jordan’s “Saturday Night Fish Fry” and Amos Milburn’s “One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer” – before Gruenling updates Muddy Waters’ “She’s So Pretty” and revs up Carl Perkins’ country hit, “She Can Do No Wrong.” Despite almost two decades in the business, Gruenling makes his debut and holds his own as lead singer on the next tune, “It Went Down Easy,” an obscure rockabilly platter first recorded by Melvin Smith in the mid-’50s. But it’s back to his blues roots on the original “2:22 A.M.” Harmonica purists will recognize the sweet Little Walter-style chops Gruenling uses to follow Deming’s walking guitar lead-in. He backs that tune up with a jump original – “What’s Wrong With Me?” – before a sparkling version of the Wynonie Harris classic, “Bloodshot Eyes.” The Chicago-flavored Deming original “Actin’ Crazy” follows before Gruenling closes the set with the self-penned instrumental “Hotso.”
This warm, relaxed, uptempo party album is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Play it loud, and keep your dance shoes handy. You’re going to need them.
Reviewer Marty Gunther has lived a blessed life. His first experience with live music came at the feet of the first generation of blues legends at the Newport Folk Festivals in the 1960s. A former member of the Chicago blues community, he’s a professional journalist and blues harmonica player who co-founded the Nucklebusters, one of the hardest working bands in South Florida.
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE
Featured Live Blues Review - Sunshine Blues Festival
Sunshine Blues Festival Takes Off!
After stops in Ft. Myers and Boca Raton, the Sunshine Blues Festival completed its weekend swing through Florida at St. Petersburg's Vinoy Park, also the site of the famous Tampa Bay Blues Festival. The Sunshine Festival was held on Sunday, January 20, on one of those beautiful, warm days that make the Sunshine State a haven for people trying to escape the freezing temps and snow in the northern climates. Boasting a star-studded line-up, thousands of people turnned out despite a hefty ticket price.
The set-up featured a main stage and a smaller stage set-up to the left of larger stage. When one act finished, the focus shifted to the other stage and the next group started almost immediately. That meant that the audience was treated to a virtually continuous flow of music all day long.
Guitarist Bobby Lee Rodgers had the honor of opening the fest on the smaller stage. A favorite of the annual Wanee Festival, Rodgers and his band generated several long jams that were sparked by special guest Juan Jaman, from the band Cope, on saxophone. Their musical exploration helped the everyone get settled and feeling comfortable.
Next up was Sean Chambers, a local favorite who grew up in the area. He dazzled the crowd with plenty of rockin' blues guitar. Chambers learned some things during his five year stint as the band leader for the legendary guitarist Hubert Sumlin and he crammed plenty of hot licks into his short set highlighted by several songs from his 2009 release, Ten Til Midnight.
Things finally shifted to the main stage for a set by Jaimoe's Jasssz Band, featuring one of the original Allman Brothers Band drummers. The seven piece group included three horns and a Hammond B3 organist. But most of the focus was on the soulful vocals and great guitar work of Junior Mack on a set that included classics like “Leavin' Trunk” and the ABB favorite, “Melissa”.
Big Sam's Funky Nation brought a touch of New Orleans to the fest, delivering a high energy set filled with booming bass lines, grungy guitar and plenty of appeals for audience participation. And there were plenty of people ready to party along, especially when Big Sam's trombone rang out. A special treat occurred when Maurice Brown from the Tedeschi-Trucks Band joined the fun and blew a red-hot trumpet solo.
The next act was one the day's highlights as slide guitar wizard Sonny Landreth took listeners on a journey through his wide musical universe. Backed by a rhythm section, Landreth tore through “Promised Land” and other telling originals like “Blue Top Blues”. His 45-minute set ended way too soon but Sonny made sure that everyone got a healthy dose of his outstanding slide playing.
The Wood Bothers introduced a more laid back feel to the day with Oliver on guitar and vocals while Chris, part of Medeski, Martin and Wood, handled the upright bass, at one point delivering a fine solo using a bow. Songs like “Luckiest Man” and “Shoofly Pie” mixed folk, blues and country elements to the delight of the crowd.
Once he hit the main stage, Walter Trout never looked back. He and his crack band were on fire, with Trout showing his excitement with animated expressions that accompanied his stellar guitar licks. Mixing topical songs like “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous” with more personal statements like “ Saw My Mama Cryin' “, Trout's energized performance was one of the day's highlights.
Many knowledgeable blues fans were looking forward to their first opportunity to hear British guitarist Matt Schofield. With just a drummer and B-3 organ behind him, Schofield expertly mix rock and blues throughout the set, all tied together by his clean, fluid guitar lines. By that point in the day, the crowd had heard plenty of guitar and despite his best efforts, Schofield didn't seem to get the attention he deserved.
With the sun starting to fade, it was the perfect time to bring the hoodoo man himself, Dr. John, to the main stage. The good Dr. ambled on stage, sat down at the piano and led his new band through the New Orleans classic, “Iko Iko”. From there he strolled through a set that featured material from his hit recording, Locked Down. Songs like “Final Solution” and “Big Shot” hit home with listeners but the biggest responses came on staples like “How Come My Dog Don't Bark (When You Come Around)”. The one issue with the set was that trombonist and band leader Sarah Morrow's backing vocals had a tendency to wander off key.
He may have been on the smaller stage but Joe Louis Walker gave a headlining-type of performance. His soulful, gospel-tinged vocals rang out in the night while his youthful five piece band stayed in the pocket. Much of the setlist came from Walker's latest on Alligator Records, “Hellfire”. Whether rocking hard on “Too Drunk to Drive Drunk” or taking everyone to church on “Soldier for Jesus”, Walker quickly proved that, as a guitarist, he can hold his own with the performers on the bill. A special moment occurred when Walker brought Schofield and local blues guitar hero Selwyn Birchwood to the stage for a rousing jam.
Finally, the moment arrived that many had been waiting for most of the day. And the Tedeschi-Trucks Band did not disappoint. This powerful eleven piece aggregation can play anything – and they often do. The spotlight constantly shifts from the stirring vocals of Susan Tedeschi to her husband, Derek Trucks, who is another slide guitar master. But the band is filled with talent, which became evident as each member got an opportunity to shine. With Mike Mattison, Mark Rivers and trombonist Saunders Sermons, the group has the vocal power to bring the house down, as they did when they closed their two hour set with an energized medley of Sly & the Family Stone tunes.
And then it was over. As people left the site, everyone was talking about the hope that the festival would be back next year. If the turnout for the other two dates was similar to the St. Pete audience, it would seem to be an easy decision for Live Nation to stage another series of festivals. The only thing that seems to need tweaking is a sound mix that eliminates the booming bass and kick drums that were in vogue on almost every set. But that is a minor issue for a well-done fest with an outstanding line-up.
Photos By Tom Carter - Tom Carter has served as Membership Director, Entertainment Chairman and is now as President of the Suncoast Blues Society in Tampa, Florida. Tom is a native of the Nashville, Tennessee area where he previously served as president of the Music City Blues Society.
Review by Mark Thompson - Mark Thompson retired after twelve years as president of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford. IL. and moved to Florida. He has been listening to music of all kinds for over fifty years. Favorite musicians include Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Magic Slim, Magic Sam, Charles Mingus and Count Basie.
Featured Blues Review 2 of 6
Mitch Woods – Blues Beyond Borders: Live in Istanbul
Club 88 Records 2012
CD: 14 Tracks; 70 minutes; DVD 18 tracks; 73 minutes + extras
This is a bumper package of Mitch Woods and his fine band the Rocket 88s recorded live in Istanbul during an extended tour the band undertook in Turkey in October 2010 alongside Kenny Neal’s Family Band. Kenny’s band is not featured musically though they are involved in some of the footage from the tour that is included on the DVD. The CD is an excellent example of the band’s command of the boogie, swing and jump styles and the DVD gives a visual representation of those performances plus some interesting insights into the band’s experiences of Turkish life and culture. There are no additional music tracks on the DVD.
The Rocket 88s are Larry Vann on drums, Cornell Williams on bass and occasional vocals, Adam Gabriel on guitar and b/v, with Mitch on piano and vocals. Mitch blends his own material with classics from the blues and boogie repertoire. The concert opens with Mitch’s “Solid Gold Cadillac” which gives all the band good exposure on a mid-paced swinger. “Down Boy Down” swings mightily with sax player Amadee Castenell featured strongly. Two more original tunes follow: “Mojo Mambo” is typical NO material with that underlying funk groove and twinkling piano playing; “Boogie Woogie Bar-B-Q” is a fun tune extolling the virtues of Texas BBQ, with more great sax playing and a foot-tapping rhythm. “I Got A New Car” by Erin Groves Jr. drops the pace a little but is also amusing as Mitch explains how his new car left him broke! Roy Milton’s “What Can I Do” is a short but sweet piece of jump blues before Mitch’s “Queen Bee” delivers a loping blues beat and plenty of strong sax. The band then returns to Louisiana with “Crawfishin’”, with plenty of opportunity for the enthusiastic audience to join in on the chorus.
Mitch’s “Long Lean & Lanky” is a real rocker with a tongue-twisting lyric and solo spots for piano and guitar. After that the band probably needed a rest and the extended slow blues of Eddie Boyd’s “Third Degree” is the perfect vehicle. Cornell sings lead here with some clear gospel influences on his style and there is an extended guitar solo from Adam. “Rocket 88” is always a good tune live and as the band bears the same name they really should do it justice, as indeed they do, all three front-line players working well together.
The band worked up a Turkish song to include in their concerts and here “Lambaya Puf De” (described by Mitch on the DVD as “sort of like a Barry White seduction song in Turkish”) is incorporated into Professor Longhair’s “In The Night”, making a very interesting pairing! Mitch demonstrates his piano skills and there are short solo spots for bass and drums before Adam’s guitar introduces the Turkish song which is sung by Mitch and certainly has a middle-eastern flavour from the drum pattern and the sax and guitar stylings before they return to “In The Night”. Needless to say, the crowd goes nuts to hear and see the band tackle a Turkish song! How to follow that must have been an issue and the band sensibly returns to boogie woogie with “House Of Blue Lights”, a hit for the Andrews Sisters as long ago as 1946. It’s a solid finale with plenty of Mitch’s rocking piano and another clear hit with the crowd.
This is a thoroughly enjoyable package and a generous helping of what Mitch and the Rocket 88s have to offer. I am sure that fans of the band will rush to get it but for those who are not so familiar with Mitch’s music this is a good place to start. Recommended.
Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK. He also travels to the States most years to see live blues music.
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE
Featured Blues Review 3 of 6
Jake Lear – Diamonds And Stones
10 songs – 41 minutes
Diamonds And Stones is the follow-up to singer/songwriter/guitarist Jake Lear’s 2009’s Lost Time Blues. Born and raised in Vermont, Jake has spent the last three years in Memphis, playing his songs and plying his trade on Beale Street. And if that sounds like “real” blues with a slight twist, so does Diamonds And Stones. It kicks off with the dark and forbidding “Strange Things”, based around a grinding riff that sounds like a distant cousin to The Beatles’s “Come Together” and a drum sound that could have been sampled from John Hammond Jr’s Wicked Grin album. So it is something of a surprise to discover the band is actually only a trio, comprising Jake Lear on guitar and vocals, Roy Cunningham on drums, and Carlos Arias on bass.
The production throughout the album, by Jake and Rafael Yglesias, is almost muddy, which is not intended as a criticism, because it is also massive. The album has a very “live” feel, like something that has been cut in one sitting, with minimal overdubs, and the heat of summer oozing through the walls of the recording studio. You can almost sense the sweat of the musicians. It is easy to imagine that this is exactly how they sound playing outside People’s Pool Hall on Beale Street on Friday and Saturday nights.
There are 10 songs on the album, eight of which were written by Lear. The two covers are the traditional folk song “Jack O Diamonds”, which is given an electric updating via John Lee Hooker’s acoustic version, and Junior Wells’s “Work, Work, Work”, which sounds like it is being covered by the Yardbirds trying to sound like Jimmy Reed, but with modern recording technology.
There are no ballads on the album, no breakneck rockers and no guest instruments to add variety to the drums/bass/electric guitar formula. Instead, all 10 songs hit a mid-paced groove that gets your foot tapping and in a live environment would no doubt get people dancing within a couple of songs. It would be interesting to hear the band explore a wider range of moods, but that may be something to consider for future releases.
Lear’s voice is mixed quite low on the recording, which often suits the tone of the songs but it can sometimes be frustrating because his weary vocals aren’t the easiest to decipher. He can certainly play fine guitar, however, with feeling placed above precision. To this reviewer’s ear, influences likely include Mason Ruffner, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Bob Dylan and John Campbell.
The musicianship throughout from all three band members is impressive, with nobody over-playing and the focus on groove rather than the number of notes that can be squeezed into each song. This is particularly true of the minor-key “I See A Train A Comin’”, with Lear’s poignant, heartfelt mini-solos between each verse. The closing two songs have the feel of pieces the band would be asked to play by the tourists on Beale Street. “Quit You” has an upbeat, smoky, Texas groove that one might hear from SRV or Smokin’ Joe Kubek, while album closer “Boogie Time” is a ripping instrumental that feels like Jake felt he needed to prove he can play fast and fluid as well as tasty and tuneful. There is no need as the underplaying on the earlier songs is more than demonstration enough of his skills. It does sound like a fun song to play, however.
If you enjoy the blues-rock of early ZZ Top, Chris Duarte or even George Thorogood, you should definitely check out Jake Lear.!
Reviewer Rhys Williams is an amateur blues musician who lives in England. Heavily influenced by Muddy Waters, Albert Collins, Steve Cropper and Roy Buchanan, he plays Stratocasters almost exclusively.
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE
Blues Society News
Maximum of 175 words in a Text or MS Word document format.
Crossroads Blues Society - Rockford/Northern Illinois
The Inaugural Field of Blues Festival to be held at the Rockford Aviators Stadium on June 22nd has finalized their lineup and they have six great bands ready to be featured on stage. Crossroads Blues Society is proud to announce that Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials, Willie Buck and Tail Dragger with the Rockin' Johnny Band, Toronzo Cannon, Dave Weld and the Imperial Flames, Aaron Williams and he HooDoo, Steve Ditzell and the Flaming Mudcats will be the lineup for the event. This lineup gets into deep traditional, funky, and rocking blues; the energy and sound will please all blues fans and anyone else who attends. Gates will open at 11 AM and the fun begins at noon! Advanced tickets go on sale soon and will be only $10; admission at the gate will be $15. Parking on site will be $2: ample parking is available at the stadium. For more info see www.crossroadsbluessociety.com.
Ventura County Blues Society- Ventura, CA
The Ventura (Calif.) County Blues Society presents the 8th Annual Ventura County Blues Festival (formerly the Simi Valley Blues Festival) on Saturday, April 27, 2013 at Moorpark College in Moorpark, Calif. starting 11 a.m. and featuring headliners the legendary Johnny Rivers; Savoy Brown featuring Kim Simmonds; and Kenny Neal; plus regional acts Dona Oxford, Preston Smith & The Crocodiles, and Michael John And The Bottom Line. Tickets $25. in advance, $30. day of show; kids 12 and under free (with adult). Proceeds benefit The American Diabetes Association and local charities. Info./Tickets: (805) 501-7122 or log onto www.venturacountyblues.com
Cincy Blues Society - Cincinnati, OH
Cincy Blues Society Announces 2013 Winter Blues Fest - On February 8 and 9, 2013, Cincinnati will be rocking with more than 25 blues bands. The Cincy Blues Society's Winter Blues Fest celebrates over two decades of supporting the Blues. This year's festival showcases the best local and regional Blues musicians for two nights, from 7:00 pm to 1:00 am at The Phoenix in downtown Cincinnati.
More than 25 local and regional blues bands will perform over two nights. Headlining Friday night is award-winning guitar player Sonny Moorman. Saturday night features a Cincinnati homecoming for the Nashville-based Stacy Mitchhart Band.
Buy Advance Tickets Online at the Brown Paper Tickets website for $20 (plus a $1.69 service fee per ticket) per night, or a weekend pass for $30 (plus a $2.04 service fee per ticket). Tickets will be available at the door for $20 per night, or $35 for a weekend pass. More information is available on Cincy Blues Fest's website: http://cincyblues.org
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. Feburary 4 - Robert Sampson & Blues Gumbo, Feburary 11 - Victor Wainwright, Feburary 18 - Hurricane Ruth, Feburary 28 - Lionel Young, March 4 - Brandon Santini, March 11 - Eddie Snow Birthday Tribute w/ Bill Evans, March 18 - TBA, March 25 - JP Soars. More info available at icbluesclub.org
West Virginia Blues Society - Charleston, W.V.
The West Virginia Blues Society, Inc. presents the return of its rockin’ annual event, the 6th Annual Charlie West Blues Fest (CWBF), Friday, May 17th and Saturday, May 18th at Haddad Riverfront Park in Charleston, WV.
This free event, which has gained national attention throughout its five year history, will play host to some of the most talented and up-and-coming blues artists in the country and from around the world. The return of the legendary Ava Popovich as well as Davina and the Vagabonds will surely get you moving, and other highlighted artists include Kim Wilson & The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Magic Slim & The Teardrops and Mojo Theory, just to name a few.
The CWBF is an annual event dedicated to support wounded service members through the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP)—a nonprofit organization whose mission is to honor and empower wounded warriors. For information on sponsorships and donations contact Jack Rice, West Virginia Blues Society at (304) 389-1439or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.wvbluessociety.org.
The River City Blues Society - Pekin, IL
The River City Blues Society (RCBS) presents Harper & The Midwest Kind on Wednesday February 8 from 7:00 pm – 13:00 pm at Goodfellas 1414 N. 8th St. Pekin, Illinois. Admission: $6.00 general public or $4.00 Society MembersFor more info visit: www.rivercityblues.com or call 309-648-8510
The West Michigan Blues Society - Grand Rapids, MI
The West Michigan Blues Society in cooperation with community supported radio station WYCE 88.1 present the 2013 Cabin Fever Blues Series. The Series will be held at Billy's Lounge 1437 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI. 616-459-5757. Music starts at 9:30 PM. The band participating this year are: February 9 - Reverend Raven and the Chain Smoking Altar Boys, February 16 - Damon Fowler, February 23 - Sena Ehrhardt, March 2 - Peaches Staten. Cover for the shows are $10.00 per show. http://www.wmbs.org.
The Great Northern Blues Society - Wausau, WI
The Great Northern Blues Society is having our annual fundraiser known as the “Blues Café” on 3/9/13 in Rothschild, WI (near Wausau, WI)
Doors to the Rothschild Pavilion (1104 Park Street, Rothschild, WI) open at noon, music starts at 1:00PM with 10 hours of non-interrupted Music featuring Donnie Pick & the Road Band, Kilborn Alley Band, Grady Champion, Magic Slim & The Teardrops. Corey Stevens and Robert “One-Man” Johnson will be playing Acoustic Sets between main stage acts. There will be 4 Food vendors on site, with Cold Adult Beverages.$17 in advance - $22 at the door. For general information, and Ticket information go to – www.gnbs.org.
Featured Blues Review 4 of 6
Melvin Taylor – Beyond the Burning Guitar
Eleven East Corp
24 tracks / 89:03
It used to be that whenever someone mentioned jazz guitar to me, I instinctively thought of it as the background music that played while I was eating overcooked pasta in bad restaurants. But as the years went by, I spent a lot of time listening to Django Reinhardt, George Benson, Charlie Christian, and John Mclaughlin, and realized that I had shortchanged myself by not giving this genre the attention it deserves. My exploration into this music introduced to Melvin Taylor’s work, as he is a fabulous jazz guitarist who ranks among the best in the business. He recently released his tenth studio album, Beyond the Burning Guitar, and it is quite a winner.
Melvin Taylor was born in Mississippi, but grew up in Chicago so he got to enjoy all of its wonderful musical influences. He took up the guitar as a young child, and is completely self-taught. Early on he caught the attention of Pinetop Perkins, who asked him to join the Legendary Blues Band for a European tour. Since then he has been recording on his own and touring with his own band, opening up for some true legends, including Buddy Guy and B.B. King.
His latest release, Beyond the Burning Guitar, is an ambition piece of work, with two discs, 24 instrumental tracks and a ninety minute play time. Melvin Taylor plays all of the guitar and bass parts, Bernell Anderson joins him on keyboards and Señor Jefe takes care of the drum and percussion parts. All of this music was written and arranged Mr. Taylor, with the obvious exception of his adaptation of Beethoven’s fifth symphony.
Melvin is known for being a jazz guitarist, but it is not really fair to pigeon hole him based on one part of his abilities. As I said earlier, he has a strong blues background, and this release contains jazz, blues, fusion and even some rock; often times they are mixed together so that you would be hard-pressed to fit them into any one genre. You will find this out when you hear track one, “Dueling Guitars of Rio Terra,” as it is some really incredibly tough Spanish-influenced music. There are many layers of guitars to hear, and he has a gorgeous acoustic tone and incredible dexterity. I found that I missed out many of the nuances of this music when I played this through my car stereo, so this album is best heard through a good home sound system or headphones.
He hops genres frequently, and the second track is a jazz song titled “Steppers” that showcases how smoothly Taylor can play the guitar. Señor Jefe holds down a freakishly regular beat while Anderson adds just the right amount of mood with his keyboards, and you will find these things to be true throughout this double album. You will notice that there are no vocals on these tunes or anywhere else on Beyond the Burning Guitar, and it simply does not need any as the guitar fills the vocal role nicely. Also, the tracks are relatively short, with all of them coming in under five minutes each.
Mr. Talyor serves up some rock and blues material as well, most noticeably in “Rock In Blues” and “Sweet Blues,” as you can guess from their titles. “Rock In Blues” leans more towards the rock side, but there is a discernible blues foundation to this song. Taylor shows off his incredible chops and cuts loose with guitar pyrotechnics that are comparable to what Vai, Satriani or Hendrix have recorded. “Sweet Blues” has the Chicago blues sound with Hammond organ chords, a classic walking bass line and a heavy 2-4 drum beat. Melvin weaves two completely different guitar parts over this base and everything meshes together perfectly.
I could go on and on as there are a metric ton of tracks here, but you get the picture. The only downside to this two CD is set is that there is just too much of a good thing here, and it is hard for me to focus for an hour and a half on complex guitar music. If this is the only gripe I could think of then Melvin and his band did a pretty good job!
Melvin Taylor has gifted writing and guitar playing talents, and Beyond the Burning Guitar is his best work thus far. If you love guitar music and entertaining instrumentals, do yourself a favor and check out his music.
Reviewer Rex Bartholomew is a Los Angeles-based writer and musician; his blog can be found at www.rexbass.blogspot.com.
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE
Featured Blues Review 5 of 6
James "Buddy" Rogers - My Guitar's My Only Friend
Blue Wave Productions
10 songs; 35:19 minutes; Splendid
Styles: Modern Electric Blues, Rock and Roll
My radio partner, Shuffle Shoes, and I love a great instrumental to open our Saturday night “Friends of the Blues Radio Show,” and we have found one from Canada.
James "Buddy" Rogers' debut CD, My Guitar's My Only Friend has only one instrumental, and “Buddy’s Walk” simply smokes right out of the gate. This smile inducing mid-temposhuffle is led by Buddy’s tasty single note guitar licks setting the perfect mood for a Saturday night radio party.
During the second hour of the four-hour show, we like to play up-tempo songs and rock it up a little bit. Our second spin from the album was “Guitar Sue.” It is just good ole Rock and Roll and it’s hot like Chuck Berry. “Guitar Sue – put a guitar in her hands, and she sure knows what to do!”
Slated for a future spin is a jumping hop number, “Disappearing Baby Blues,” which has a guitar line reminiscent of “Bandstand Boogie,” the theme song to Dick Clark’s 1950’s “American Bandstand” television show. This is a fast paced, dance inducing track that will have feet scorching the dance floor. The lyrical story is a bummer (Your girl leaves the nightclub with some other guy), but the music is a treat. In the end, the experienced narrator offers some advice, just do some disappearing yourself. He says in the long run, it’s for the best.
The opener is the title track, and James quickly introduces us to his “only friend” - his impressive guitar licks showing an Albert King influence on this number. Other trips to the woodshed show up in subsequent numbers making it obvious that Rogers has had a long affair with his axe. His main influences on guitar are Johnny Watson, Jimmie Vaughan and the three Kings.
The CD features all original music with James "Buddy" Rogers on lead guitar and vocals, alternately Bill Hix and Ivan Duben on drums, Bill Runge and Tony Marryatt switch on bass, Mike Kalanj plays Hammond organ on six tracks, and producer and co-songwriter Tom Lavin plays rhythm guitar on all tracks and adds more here and there. Rogers’ vocals are serviceable but a little thin, lacking deeper baritone or bass ranges.
For Vancouver’s James “Buddy” Rogers, life as he knew it was inherently different after discovering the Blues. His dad brought home records and, one day, a guitar. By the time little Buddy was 10 he was lifting licks. By 11 he’d formed a band and started gigging. Within two years he was a regular at local Blues clubs. At 15 his band “Texas Storm” was being booked for opening concert slots. “My dad went to the liquor control board and got a license that he would take to bars so I could legally play there,” Rogers recalls in a press release.
At the age of 19 Rogers teamed up with former B.B. King bassist Russell Jackson and began a tour that lasted five years. Based in Kansas City, they played an endless string of clubs, concerts and festivals sharing the bill with Canned Heat, The Holmes Brothers, Elvin Bishop, Kenny Neal, Katie Webster and countless others. In 2000 Buddy started his own band and played Blues clubs across Canada and Europe.
James “Buddy” Rogers’ years of being a Blues road warrior have finally resulted in an album of which he can be proud. Expect more to come!
Reviewer James "Skyy Dobro" Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ, Master of Ceremonies, and Blues Blast contributor. His weekly radio show "Friends of the Blues" can be heard Saturdays 8 pm - Midnight on WKCC 91.1 FM and at www.wkccradio.org in Kankakee, IL.
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE
Featured Blues Review 6 of 6
Tommy Talton - Let’s Get Outta Here
Hittin’ The Note Records
Tommy Talton brings his extensive background in Southern Rock and studio session work to this impressive effort. Elements of Sothern Rock, Southern Soul, R&B, New Orleans funk country and roots music infuse the eleven band-penned tunes that comprise this well-honed release. Tommy was a founding member of Southern Rock stalwarts Cowboy of the prestigious Capricorn stable of artists. As well as opening for The Allman Brothers Band on many occasions, Tommy was the guitarist on Gregg Allman’s “Laid Back” album. His session credits include Gregg Allman, Bonnie Bramlett, Corky Laing, Clarence Carter, Kitty Wells and countless others. Former Cowboy cohorts Bill Stewart and Scott Boyer, as well as “first call” keyboard man Chuck Leavell and former Wet Willie guitarist Rick Hirsch lend support. Tommy handles vocals, guitar, writing and co-producer chores, exceling at all he touches.
Starting anew is the theme of the title song, a mellow horn-driven slice of Southern Soul, perfect for a Sunday drive. Tommy’s cutting electric slide on “You Can’t Argue With Love” harkens back to the heady days of Southern Rock. Mardi Gras and swamp “mumbo jumbo” imagery inhabit the tale of the mystic man “Slacabamorinico” as punchy horns and Chuck Leavell’s weaving piano create a New Orleans feel. The pleading vocal of "Where Is The World?" effectively conveys the narrator's yearning for the better times of days gone by. The sole blues here is a scorcher driven by Tommy's blazing slide prowess. From what I gather the guy in the song was poisoned by his mistress' husband. "If Your Attitude Is Funky(Nobody Wants Your Monkey)" is a cooker where the singer berates a woman that it dosen't matter how fine she is, nobody wants her "monkey"...nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more. It features some nifty guitar soloing from Kelvin Holly. "Give A Little Bit(Tribute To Levon Helm) can best be described as a blazing little "ditty" overflowing with wonderful keyboard and guitar noise.
sure know their way around slower tunes as well. As is the case
throughout this record, Tommy's voice conveys warmth through his
pleasant tones. He shows this to good effect on the easy rollin' "Make
It Through The Rain". He also provides a nice acoustic guitar coda on
this one. "Dream Last Night" transports the listener on a lilting cloud
of various guitars and piano..."I felt a freedom only flying dreamers
feel, all of my fears fell away". Letting go of the memory of a lost
love is the subject of the sparse and lilting "Recent Rain".
Reviewer Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony hails from the New Jersey Delta.
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE
Blues Overdose 1/31/2013 - These free tracks are available for 30 days. More info below.
1.) Click the link below where it says "Click HERE to download" just after any of the artist descriptions below.
2.) When you get to the download page, right click any individual track you want to download. Then choose "save as" to download the track to your computer.
3.) All of this months tracks are in the zip file All_Files.zip. Right click it and save it to your computer. Unzip it for all eight of this months tracks.
“I Ain't Down With That” - From the CD I'm Not Made Of Stone
Dave Duncan has recently relocated to Orange Beach, Alabama from Nashville . During his 20 years in Music City, he wrote a few hundred songs, had over 20 of them recorded, made 2 cds of original material and toured both the US & Ireland. Best known for his songwriting efforts, Dave's song She Didn't Cut Me Loose is currently nominated for Song of The Year(2012) from The Blues Foundation in Memphis. The soul gem was written with, and recorded by, Curtis Salgado. The pair have written a couple dozen songs together, five of which have appeared on the last 2 Curtis records...including the classic 20 Years of BB King .
Dave Duncan is backed on this most recent record, I'm Not Made of Stone, by Kevin McKendree (keys) & Steve Mackey( bass) from Delbert McClinton's band.. and Delbert blows some harp on here as well. The mighty Kenneth Blevins, home from a John Hiatt tour, played drums on the record. "All the songs on this album were recorded on 1st or 2nd takes" says Dave.." so it has a very live and real feel to it." The track included here, I Ain't Down With That , is the first track on the record. More info, a link to the full cd, and a way to say hello can be found at www.daveduncanmusic.com.
Click HERE to download these Free tracks
“All I Got Left” from the CD Hot Mess
Hot Mess is the debut CD from singer/songwriter/guitarist Pam Taylor. This is a father/daughter team tearing up the blues scene with some of the most dedicated and talented musicians in the Southeast. Mike Taylor on sax, Kyle Phillips on lead guitar, Rusty Gilreath on bass and LA Freeman on drums. All songs except one, the Etta James classic, I'd Rather Go Blind, were written, arranged and produced by Taylor.
is a review by a radio station owner/DJ:
Click HERE to download these Free tracks
“Anti-Blues Pill” from the album Call My Name © 2012 Ryan Hartt, BMI
"You got to live it to give it", states the first line of "Anti-Blues Pill", the first track from Ryan Hartt & the Blue Hearts' latest CD, Call My Name. Recently labeled as “a real find for blues fans” by Vintage Guitar Magazine, Ryan Hartt & the Blue Hearts are one of the hardest working blues bands in the Northeast. In their 12 years together they have indeed, lived it. They've logged countless gigs and countless miles in a Honda minivan, playing clubs and festivals throughout the Northeast and beyond. Being in a blues band in today’s music market is never easy. Nonetheless, the band keeps moving forward, outlasting musical trends and clubs that have come and gone.
Though the band will always be rooted in the Chicago and West Coast blues they have built their reputation on, "Call My Name" expands their sound with soul, proto-rock & roll and even ska. Their songwriting has matured equally. Certainly the common blues themes of love lost and found are here, but the songs on "Call My Name" also reflect the changes and growth of the band members over the last six years with topics ranging from depression to choosing music over a relationship to the grind of a gigging blues band. Yet no matter what, as the last line of the of the last song says, Ryan Hartt & the Blue Hearts "will be back next Friday night". www.ryanhartt.com
Ryan Hartt - Vocals and Harmonica, Eric Ducoff - Guitar, Nick Toscano - Drums, Jeff "J.B." Berg - Upright Bass
Click HERE to download these Free tracks
(J. Optekar, Tweed Tone Publishing, BMI)
Formed 2 years ago, Tweed Funk has garnered national and international acclaim for their horn-driven, sweat-soaked, soul-blues. This Milwaukee, Wisconsin band is fronted by Joseph “Smokey” Holman, who recorded under Curtis Mayfield in the early 70’s. Tweed Funk’s two CD releases and performances at blues festivals and top blues-rooms have earned the band praise from press and media around the world.
Tweed Funk's latest CD, Love Is, has spent over 2 months in the Top 20 on the Roots Music Report Top 50 Blues Albums Chart reaching as high as #16. Additionally, the CD and band have received excellent reviews in top publications including: Blues Revue Magazine, Living Blues Magazine, Vintage Guitar Magazine, Big City Rhythm & Blues Magazine, The Blues Blast Magazine, IconFetch, and many other publications in the US, Germany, Spain, UK, The Netherlands, Poland, France, Denmark, and Belgium. The CD is also earning honors on the Best of 2012 Charts around the US. The CD came in at #1 Blues CD on KZSU Stanford's Chart for the Year, just ahead of Dr. John's latest CD. Love Is made Graham Clarke's Top 10 Blues Albums of 2012 for Blues Bytes! WEFT Radio had the CD at #31 in their Top 50 Blues Albums of 2012! Smokestack Lightnin' Radio put Tweed Funk's cover of Magic Sam's What Have I Done Wrong at #47 on their list of Top 100 Blues Songs of 2012. www.tweedfunk.com .
Click HERE to download these Free tracks
“Boogie Real Low” –Track 5 on the self titled debut
This song captures the grit, sting, and tone of what they do well. A classic barn burner , that should be cranked up in the car stereo!
Joel DaSilva and The Midnight Howl is a powerhouse rapidly becoming a recognized force in the national scene. With performances opening up and sharing the stage with acts as varied as J.J.Grey and Mofro , Jimmie Vaughan, B.B.King, and Jeff Beck, just to name a few. They are set to take the world by storm. Joel is the real deal and has blues running through his veins. Born and raised in his sweet home, Chicago , DaSilva hails from a musical family. His mother and father traveled throughout Brazil and Ukraine , his mother a singer and father accompanying her on guitar. His father passed away when he was 3, but he continues to channel that soulful energy in his live performances to this day… You can catch them at this year’s IBC’s in Memphis and they put on one hell of a live show. www.jdandthehowl.com
Click HERE to download these Free tracks
“Funky Fiesta” - from the album Funky Fiesta
This is the slammin' title track from Ron Levy's newest recording, Funky Fiesta!, released in conjunction with his innovative and critically acclaimed web-book, "Tales of a Road Dog." Levy began his 40+ year career touring with Albert and B.B. King. In the '80s, he was a prime contributor, pianist and organist in Roomful of Blues.
He then went on to become an award winning session player, writer and arranger for New Orleans' legendary Blacktop Records. In the '90s, he co-founded Bullseye Blues for Rounder Records and his efforts were nominated for nine Grammy Awards and won multiple W.C. Handy Awards as Producer for many Blues legends.
Levy also 'discovered' and recorded many other top Blues, Soul, Jazz and R&B artists. _Ron Levy's Wild Kingdom_ has been a cult and critic's favorite since the mid ‘80s. Come party Mardi Gras style today, with his funkified infectious grooves of "Funky Fiesta!". www.Levtron.com
Click HERE to download these Free tracks
“It's My Life” from the CD Dr. Dupree's Love Shop
Spread the news! Helping provide the big engine powering the current blues revival are the extraordinary Delta Flyers led by lead singer and songwriter Stevie DuPree.
Formed in Texas as an acoustic duo in 2007, the incendiary Dupree, with music pungent as mesquite barbecue, built a loyal fan base and critical acclaim. Dr. DuPree’s Love Shop is his latest offering with tasty helpings of Blues, Soul, R&B, and down home Rock and Roll.
The CD features Marcia Ball, Kaz Kazanoff & The Texas Horns, Nick Connley and Derek O'Brien www.thedeltaflyers.com.
Click HERE to download these Free tracks
“Done Sold Everything” from the CD Soul Apparatus
Gary Sellers wasn't born with a guitar in his hand, but you'd never know it. His smooth riffs and heartfelt licks drip with emotion that pours straight from his soul to his fingers.
Gary’s songs ring true with passion and grit, conveying universal emotions. He writes of love and loss, funneling pain and yearning through the healing groove of his melodies. Make no mistake, he may have some battle scars from romantic entanglements, but he's still standing, and he's still jamming. Gary pays homage to the blues greats, but weaves hints of funk, jazz, rock and R&B into his work to create his own unique vibe. And play he has. For the past 14 years, Gary has toured much of the East Coast, performing at countless clubs and festivals with his own band as well as the Sam Taylor Band. http://garysellers.com
Click HERE to download these Free tracks
Live Blues Calendar
YOU can submit your Blues performances for
Performance dates were submitted by Musicians, Club Owners, Blues Societies and Blues festivals. TheBluesBlast.com is not responsible for errors or omissions.
or click a state to see Blues shows by State
TheBluesBlast.com is not responsible for errors or omissions.
Advertise With Blues Blast Magazine
Get the Blues word OUT!
Festivals - Blues Blast Magazine & TheBluesBlast.com's website are great ways to promote ANY Blues event or product. In fact we believe we just might have THE best Blues advertising vehicle anywhere to promote YOUR Blues event! Blues
CD's - For less than the cost of one small ad in a newspaper, you can advertise your shows, new CD or any Blues product. A great way to get the Blues word out! Blues fans WANT to know about your Blues event of product. Call Bob at (309) 267-4425 or send an email to for a confidential quote today!
Blues Blast Magazine covers Blues all over!
We also offer effective advertising for Festivals and Club Owners, Recording Companies and Performers. Put your Blues advertisement on our homepage at: http://www.TheBluesBlast.com either as a sponsored event or as a featured event, product, recording or merchandise. We get 45,000 visitors and 2,000,000 hits A MONTH on our website! More than 22,000 Blues Fans, Musicians, Recording Companies, Club Owners, Blues Societies and Festival Promoters in all 50 states and in more than 80 countries read the Blues Blast magazine each week. You can feature your event or product in the largest FREE internet Blues magazine delivered right to your inbox each week.
Visit our website at: