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Issue 7-29, July 18, 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 harmonica legend Kim Wilson. Marilyn Stringer has photos from the Blues At The Top Festival. Mark Thompson has photos from the Satan & Adam Reunion show.

We have eight music reviews for you! Rainey Wetnight reviews a new CD from The Daniel Smith Band. James "Skyy Dobro" Walker reviews a great 12 CD collection of original Blues hit songs reissued by Bear Family records. John Mitchell reviews a new release from Colin John. Rex Bartholomew reviews a CD by Chris Winters Band. Steve Jones reviews a new album by Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup. Marty Gunther reviews a CD of Blues classics from various artists called True Blues. Rhys Williams reviews a new album from The Coyote Kings w/ Mush. Ian McKenzie reviews a new CD from an Aussie band caller The Hushes. 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,

Voting has begun for you to select the best in this years Blues music in the 2013 Blues Blast Music Awards. The voting began Monday on our website and as of this writing 2300 votes have been cast in just 2 days!.

Beginning this week we are going to randomly choose readers who have voted and give away prizes each weekday. So if you vote you could win a free t-shirt, a poster or a CD by one of the nominees. So be sure to vote! To cast you vote now, CLICK HERE

The complete list of this years nominees is on our website, CLICK HERE. Check them out and be sure to listen to some songs by the nominees while you are there to be an informed voter.

Wishing you health, happiness and lots of Blues music! 

Bob Kieser

Be An Informed Voter

We have loaded music selections from the 2013 Blues Blast Music Award Nominees onto a listening page on our website. Voting in this years awards continues until August 31st. Make sure you are familiar with all the artists music to be an informed voter.

You can hear 2 or 3 songs from each artist and recording nominated to be an informed voter! To check it all out, CLICK HERE. When you get to the page just click on the button by each of the 10 nominee categories to hear selections from the artists nominated.



 Featured Blues Interview - Kim Wilson  

It happened sometime along the long-and-winding blues highway that stretches from Detroit to southern California to Minneapolis to Austin and back to southern California.

Sometime and somewhere along the way, Kim Wilson underwent a metamorphous of sorts. It was a transformation that Wilson could not feel, but it was one that those who caught the Fabulous Thunderbirds up close and personal could easily see.

Where once Wilson was a young and aspiring harpist and frontman, inspired by the likes of Muddy Waters and Little Walter, he had morphed into becoming a father figure and influence on a whole new generation of up-and-coming blues players – still wet-behind-the-ears cats that started looking up to him as a guiding light, just as he had done to Muddy and Little Walter all those years ago.

In other words, Kim Wilson went from being the influenced to being the influential.

“Well, yeah, I have realized that, but I feel like I’m too young for that to happen to me. I mean we’ve (the T-Birds) been influencing people for quite some time, but at the end of the day … when I’m dead … that’s when people can start thinking of me that way,” he laughed. “Plus, if I was that big of an influence on young musicians, I think that blues music would be a lot different right now than what it is.”

‘A lot different’ might not be a spot-on accurate way to describe the Fabulous Thunderbirds’ latest studio album, but On The Verge (Severn Records) does veer off in a bit of a different direction from the group’s last handful of long-players. It’s still got a generous helping of the sweaty swagger that the T-Birds have been dishing out in truckloads since 1974, but the new disc also seamlessly incorporates plenty of the soulful sounds that Severn Records has built its reputation on over the years.

“There are some pretty funky tracks on there, but if you add my voice to it, it turns to something different, because obviously, I’m not a dyed-in-the-wool soul singer,” Wilson said. “I throw that blues influence on it and can stretch it out enough that I can sing what my version of soul is; I guess that’s a good way to put it.”

It’s not by mere chance or circumstance that the flavor of the band’s 13th studio album developed like it did, either.

“It was on purpose. We were going for something a little more contemporary, which is something that we’ve been dabbling with – dabbling with for a long time - and when this new version of the band came together about five or six years ago, we decided to get serious about it,” Wilson said. “And with David Earl (the label’s founder) over there at Severn, he really made it happen. Really, this album is more song-oriented as opposed to an album of soloing or riffing. I mean I get two or three solos on there and there are a couple of small guitar solos, but everything is more of a musical interlude, like it would be on a soul record … there’s just not a lot of wanking on the new record. Sonically, and material wise, it’s the best record that this band has ever done.”

The way that Wilson sees it, this incarnation of the T-Birds is right where the title of their new album indicates.

“Well, I believe this band is on the verge of doing bigger things. I think it’s a great team and there are things that can happen for this bunch, no question about it,” he said. “The great thing about this current group is, they’ve opened up so many avenues for me as singer and I think that’s been important. They have reverence for the past, but they also have their own voice, so they’re not really caring about the past that much. They really want to take this music to another place, which is also really, really important to me at this stage in my life.”

Flanking alongside Wilson in the Fabulous T-Birds are guitarists Johnny Moeller and Mike Keller; bass player Randy Bermudes; and drummer Jay Moeller.

“Well, this lineup is fresh and I think that people know that I’m going to be putting world-class musicians – and different combinations of them – in this band. And that’s a process that I’m been working on trying to get it right and I think I’ve got it right now,” he said. “I feel like this (current membership) is a perfect platform for my songwriting … but the one thing that the T-Birds have always done is kept it fresh. People know they’re going to get a great show and hear some great players when they check out the T-Birds.”

The T-Birds have always been a most fascinating band, going all the way back to the group’s early days. The band’s first two albums – Girls Go Wild! and What’s the Word – are held up as textbook examples of how the authentic blues should really sound. There are not a whole lot of American blues groups that over the years have worked their way up from a successful regional draw into becoming the darlings of MTV. Who can forget watching the heavily-rotated videos for “Tuff Enuff” and “Wrap it Up” that dominated the channel back in 1986? “Tuff Enuff” even cracked the Billboard Top 10 charts. But despite their brush with pop stardom, the group has never once faltered in its delivery of the real-deal blues, even when facing the ever-changing musical tastes of the public, or dealing with an ever-revolving cast of players inside the band.

“It’s been a lot of hard work, especially on my part. But to the credit of all the past guys that have been in this band, they’ve all been great. I mean, there have been some tremendous musicians that have played in this band,” Wilson said. “But sometimes, things look better on paper than they do in real life. And I think that’s been one reason why I’ve gone through so many of them (musicians). And you could include even the very beginning on that ... I mean, I played with Jimmie (Vaughan) a long time, like 16 or 17 years, but we started changing people from the very beginning. We had another bass player before (Keith) Ferguson and then we got Preston (Hubbard) and we had several drummers … so it’s been an interesting run for me.”

Some of the high-profile six-string players that have called the T-Birds home, in addition to the afore-mentioned Jimmie Vaughan, include: Duke Robillard, Kid Ramos, Nick Curran and Kirk ‘Eli’ Fletcher.

Instead of dreading and staying miserable because of all the personnel changes that the T-Birds have undergone over the years, Wilson seems almost eager to embrace them, intent on turning a potentially negative situation into something more positive, and into something more creative.

“Well, it’s great for me, because I enjoy working with a lot of different people. You have to try things; you have to try a guy like Nick Curran, who was an incredible talent. You have to try a guy like Kirk Fletcher, who is also an incredible talent. But, I think that people have to be into playing team roles in what this band is. And I’m not sure that a lot of those guys (past members of the T-Birds) wanted to, or were able to, do. This is the best band creatively to have a gig with, because there are so many different things you can do. You know you’re going to get your time as a focal point … I mean, it’s not just me in front of a bunch of backup musicians; this is a band where everybody can be a focal point. And I think that’s very important for that to happen. Now, if you can’t be in this band, you either don’t want to, or you’re not able to. And usually, it’s the former.”

While guitarists, bassists and drummers have came and went for the T-Birds, the one never-bending constant for the band has been the way that Wilson absolutely lights up any bandstand he has ever stood on. His skills as a frontman and emcee are second to none, and the audience laps up all that the Detroit-born Wilson dishes out. And oh yeah, he’s a pretty damn good harp player, too. Wilson has lent his talents to recorded works by Bonnie Raitt, James Cotton, Eric Clapton, Big Jack Johnson and Mark Knopfler, to name a few, over the years.

Not only is his command of the harp impressive, but his showmanship also receives high marks, as anyone who has seen him bust out his ‘split-tongue’ technique during his amazing solo-piece “Kim’s Boogie in E” can attest to.

“All it is, is just like a carnival type of thing. When people used to play harmonicas in the very beginning, they would usually play it acappela and would be backing themselves up (chord-wise). And that’s basically just what this is, except it’s through an amp and has some tone to it,” he said. “That’s pretty much it; it’s very simple. It’s just a matter of how you do it rhythmically. Basically, it’s just a really corny trick that I beat everyone to the punch with. I started doing that back in the 70s. I was drunk in a club and playing an instrumental and all of a sudden, it started happening. And it blew people’s minds so bad that I just kept doing it. The people really went crazy over it.”

As many killer harp players as Muddy Waters had in his bands over the years, it’s probably safe to say that you had better be pretty special on the instrument in order to get Muddy’s attention. So considering that Muddy once said that Wilson was the greatest harmonica player since Little Walter, well, it’s safe to say that get Muddy’s attention is just what Wilson did.

The initial meeting between Muddy and Kim Wilson took place at Clifford Antone’s legendary club in Austin, the club that bore his last name and where the T-Birds were the long-time house band at.

“We came in there (Antone’s) and set up and did kind of a soundcheck and the (Muddy’s) band wasn’t really paying any attention to us. Then we got up later to play our set and Muddy and his band was upstairs in their dressing room. The upstairs there was almost like a balcony with a curtain pulled over it and you could look right down on the stage from up there,” said Wilson. “So we kicked off into a harmonica instrumental that we used to open our shows with and I happened to look up and there was the whole band – including Muddy – with the curtain open, looking kind of wide-eyed down on the stage. And of course later that night, we sat in with Muddy and that was really the beginning of our friendship. It (his relationship with Muddy) wasn’t long enough, but it sure was great.”

That camaraderie that Wilson and the T-Birds forged with Muddy that night in Austin resulted in more than just a batch of good vibes; it also helped to open a few doors for the group outside of the metropolitan Dallas area.

“Muddy was very instrumental in being our resume to go on the road and people were ready to hear us, because of his word,” Wilson said. “Especially in New England. That was really the first place that we took to the road for a length of time, and the clubs were really packed. But Muddy was a very generous guy, especially to me. He was kind of like a musical father and I had a lot of great conversations with him.”

The T-Birds later went on to open for legends like The Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton.

Wilson first cut his musical teeth in southern California and then in Minnesota, before landing into the burgeoning musical hot-pit that Austin, Texas was becoming in the early 1970s.

“I had been playing with Eddie Taylor and Albert Collins and Lowell Fulson and Pee Wee Crayton and George ‘Harmonica’ Smith and Luther Tucker and guys like that since I was 16- or 17-years-old,” he said. “And when I got to Austin, that’s when I met and played with Muddy, Jimmy Rogers, Buddy Guy and guys like that, all thanks to Clifford Antone. And also thanks to him, people started taking me more seriously. I mean, back in the day people would tell me I was good, but I think it hit more of a national platform, obviously, when I got to Antone’s.”

When the T-Birds first hit the stage at Antone’s, that’s when the real work began. It didn’t matter if they were playing in front of two people on a Tuesday night, or if they were backing up Jimmy Rogers in front of a packed house on a Saturday night, Wilson and the group never mailed in a performance and just went through the motions. Nor did the lessons that they were being taught by the masters of the blues themselves fall on deaf ears. That hard work and willingness to learn was all part of the growing process for the group.

And according to Wilson, that may not be the case all the time nowadays.

“I just see this music (blues) with not really a lot of people doing it right now. I mean, when we were kids, there was an unwritten rule that you just didn’t get out there before you were ready. But the problem is now, there’s been such a glut of it – especially when the major labels kind of got involved in it for a second – that everything changed,” he said. “That made it OK for a bunch of guys to come out of the woodwork. And the fact that a lot of the old guys were dying, made it like quality control had left the building. But there was an unwritten rule back in the day that you just didn’t get up on a bandstand before you were ready. You just didn’t do it, but that rule somehow went out the window.”

As long as there are instruments on the face of this earth, there are going to be youngsters picking them up and learning how to play them. And that’s good news for future generations of music lovers, regardless of what type of music that they will find themselves falling under the spell of.

“I think now, you have to kind of equate it with real music. It doesn’t matter what the genre is, as long as it is real music, it’s OK. And I see younger people playing different kinds of stuff, and it still takes a lot of skills to do it. The whole neo-soul thing is really big right now, which it’s kind of there and it’s kind of not, but I do see some people with some definite skills out there,” Wilson said. “Even if some of them aren’t playing what we’d call the blues, they’re still playing real music, which is certainly encouraging. As for real blues music, I just see very, very few people really doing it. But I’m not going to get up on my soapbox; I’m just going to keep on doing what I do. I mean, I’m a journeyman musician; I’m always a work in progress. I’m too busy working on my own thing to really think about what the musical climate is like in this country right now. It used to upset me, but I’m just not that exposed to it anymore to feel that way.”

Visit Kim's 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 8

The Daniel Smith Band - Highwire

Pinetops Records

CD: 9 songs; 41:27 Minutes

Styles: Boogie Piano Blues, Contemporary Blues Ensemble Numbers

Whenever a blues band submits an album for consideration to magazines such as this one, they’re treading a figurative “Highwire.” Certain things help them to keep their balance in the precarious position of being reviewed: previous blues credentials, superb musicianship, and presenting all-original material. That’s what the Daniel Smith Blues Band of the UK has done on all three counts. Smith is famous in his native England, and throughout the world, for boogie-woogie piano. On “Highwire,” however, he and his fellow performers mix things up, adding reggae, jazz and rock to their repertoire. None of the nine songs on this CD is a cover, and in this reviewer’s opinion, that’s a major plus.

Featured are Alan Barnes on saxes, Roger Cotton on Hammond organ, Alan Glen on guitar and harmonica, Andy Jones on bass and vocals, Peter Miles on drums and percussion, and Daniel Smith himself on piano and VK7 organ. The following tracks are most representative of “Highwire’s” musical smorgasbord:

Track 01: “Old Horse Boogie Woogie”--Here’s a prime example of what put the Daniel Smith Band on the map: energetic, mood-lifting boogie woogie piano blues. This song’s an opening instrumental, which means everyone’s in full swing, especially Smith. As with all true ensemble numbers, however, no one musician upstages another. Listeners will surely be compelled to dance.

Track 04: “Freefall”--When life’s tables turn, sometimes one can feel on top of the world at one moment, and plummeting without a parachute in the next. That’s Andy Jones’ wry lament, punctuated by the eclectic combination of Smith’s piano and Alan Glen’s “harping” harmonica: “Can’t change my fate, ’cause it’s way too late. No matter what I said, I’m in over my head.” Like fried chicken and waffles, this pairing is not often sampled by blues aficionados, but it’s mighty tasty.

Track 07: “Strollin’”--The pace of this rock-and-roll ballad, rather than being mellow and relaxed, is a crisp mid-tempo stride: “Oh, yes, I’m strollin’, and I’ve got you by my side. I don’t know where I’m going, but I know you’re coming with me for the ride.” Roger Cotton’s fiery Hammond organ blazes hotter than the fireworks for the Fourth of July, as do Jones’ smooth vocals.

According to the band’s website, “'Highwire' was written in 2011 during a period of illness and came to fruition in the autumn of 2012 when the band started recording, thanks to the generous support of one of Daniel's piano 'tutees', Ralf, without whom it would not have been possible. It is now available from Daniel at gigs and mail order. Proceeds from the CD will be donated to the MS Society.” Tread this “Highwire” fearlessly, blues fans!

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 BluesReview 2 of 8

Various Artists - Plug It In! Turn It Up! Electric Blues (1939 – 2005)

Bear Family Records (Germany)

300 songs; 199:58 minutes; Reference Quality

Styles: Electric Blues in many styles, 1939 – 2005

Attention Blues fans: it has been argued that this Bear Family release of “…Electric Blues (1939 – 2005)” is the best release of 2012. Others have said it is the best of a decade. Both statements are complete hogwash! The truth is: this is the best electric Blues release EVER in the history of recorded Blues music! Let me explain.

Imagine a Baby Boomer who is just a beginner with the Blues. This person has come to realize that all his friends and other Baby Boomers are having the time of their golden lives attending Blues festivals, live shows, and listening to Blues music. Further, he/she discovers that “The Blues” is the only music that truly appeals to an aging population of white middle-class Americans who miss the electric sounds of the Sixties, but can't find anything in that vast chasm of today’s commercial radio that bears resemblance to the passion, soul, sound, or feel.

With all four boxes in this release showcasing this exciting and evolutionary time in American music, this “newbie” can become educated, elucidated, and enthralled. Presume our latest arrival fan has heard Stevie Ray Vaughan doing “Look at Little Sister” back in the 1980s. Here it is in its original form as done by Hank Ballard, and in box 4, Stevie Ray appears himself with “Pride and Joy.” There are some of the big hits we all should know like Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love,” but thankfully included are lesser known tracks. For example, instead of “Rocket 88” by Jackie Brentson, we get “Gonna Wait for My Chance.” For long time devoted purists well beyond the newcomers, there are also lesser-known selections by legends like Muddy Waters and Jimmy Reed.

This twelve-disc set in four separate boxes from Bear Family is the definitive history of electric Blues! There are over 300 songs in chronological order from darn near as many artists totaling over three-and-one-half-hours of music. Artists selected are from all parts of the U.S., and the British invasion and American Blues revivalists, like Paul Butterfield, are necessarily included.

Each box also contains 150 plus pages of informative text written by Blues guru Bill Dahl. Using quotes from artists along with his own knowledgeable narratives, Dahl lets the artist tell the story in his or her own words. The packaging is superb and attractive, and, perhaps most importantly, the digital re-mastering technology is first rate allowing full enjoyment of, for example, 1939 music on today’s latest playback devices.

Bear Family Records is a Germany-based independent record label that specializes in reissues of archival material. The label has been in existence since 1975, founded by collector Richard Weize. It has become known for its extravagant and expensive box sets. The company describes itself as "a collector's record label" due to its primary business, which is reissuing rare recordings in CD format in small amounts. Their box sets are available from Bear Family but now also through Amazon Marketplace (used and new) and can be found on E-bay.

Let’s be honest, these four boxes are not inexpensive, but, again, this is a “Reference Quality” work that is THE definitive history of electric Blues – cheap at any price!

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 in Kankakee, IL.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured Blues Review 3 of 8

Colin John – Two Sides Of The Colin

Self Release 2013

CD 1 10 tracks; 41 minutes: CD2 10 tracks; 59 minutes

Colin John has been around for quite a while and this double disc set anthologises the last ten years of his musical output. Not only has Colin been on a musical journey but his recording career has taken him from his origins in Ohio to Memphis, Chicago, Hawaii (where he now resides), London, Stuttgart and Norway. The package contains two CDs which separate his acoustic work (CD1) and electric (CD2). Interestingly I was only aware of his acoustic material before hearing this release, so let’s start with that ‘side of the co(l)in’.

The acoustic material comes from eight albums though “Fresh Folk Blues”, recorded as a duo with Michael Hill, provides three cuts, including my personal favourite “Tangula” who certainly sounds like a girl to meet: “Your beauty’s exotic. The truth is you do what you do – ooh Tangula!” Also from “Fresh Folk Blues” comes “Trails To Freedom”, an all-acoustic piece with plenty of attractive slide playing. Going back a little further there is a sprightly version of “Shake ‘Em On Down” from an album with Cliff Starbuck as well as plenty of examples of Colin’s mastery of the Hawaiian slack key guitar style on tracks like “Hamakua Hula” and “Rainbows & Lava Flows”. The overall feel of Disc 1 is late night, relaxed listening.

Disc 2 opens with a single release entitled “Foxey” which is in fact a slowed down interpretation of Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady” with lashings of slide and wah-wah guitar. It is a revealing choice as much of the electric album shows how great an influence Hendrix has been on Colin; although there is only one other Hendrix tune, a live version of “Voodoo Chile”, Colin’s sound has a lot of Jimi’s to these ears. The material is drawn from just four albums, three cuts from each of two studio releases, the other three cuts coming from two live albums. “Soul Sanctification” is probably the pick of the three cuts from “Evolution” which was recorded partly in London with Gary Brooker (Procol Harum) on piano, Frank Mead on brass, Marcy Levy on backing vocals and Henry Spinetti (Eric Clapton) on drums. “Grooveyard Devils” was recorded in Akron, Ohio and is generally funkier in feel, especially on “Hoodoo Voodoo” which majors on all those references to ‘black cat bones’ and ‘John the conqueroo’. Unsurprisingly the live tracks are a little rougher round the edges and longer, “Beer Drinking Woman” being a slow blues with plenty of guitar pyrotechnics. “People Say” and the unusual pairing of Al Green’s “Love & Happiness” with “Voodoo Chile” come from “Live In Hell” but don’t worry about Colin, Hell is a town in Norway!

As an introduction to Colin’s back catalogue this is a good collection. Most importantly it demonstrates that he has considerable skills as an acoustic guitarist but also the flexibility to operate in an electric context.

Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK. Current favorites from recent releases include Michael Burks, Barbara Carr, Johnny Rawls, Hadden Sayers, Andy Poxon, Chris Antonik and Doug Deming.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured Blues Review 4 of 8

Chris Winters Band – Blue Fever

Self Release

11 tracks / 43:21

If you are going to do an album with no lyrics, you had better make sure that your songwriting and performance skills are in tip-top shape. With nothing to distract the listener, they will hang upon every last note you play, and be critical of any missteps. Well the Chris Winters band does not have to worry about this as they accomplished this task handily with their latest instrumental release, Blue Fever.

Chris Winters has been in the Chicago blues scene for years, recording, playing and touring with some excellent folks, including Mississippi Heat and Otis Clay as well as a regular gig with Liz Mandeville. His impressive guitar chops have kept him working steadily for years. Winters is inspired by Freddie “The Texas Cannonball” King, and his love of 1950s and 1060s guitar instrumentals has culminated in the production of this album.

Winters is joined on this CD by a passel of other great musicians. He takes care of the guitars, with Steve “The Kid” Howard on bass, Brother John Kattke on Hammond organ, while Kenny “Beady Eyes” Smith and Larry Beers share the drumming chores. By the way, Kenny Smith is the son of the late Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, the legendary drummer and harp master.

This album is a great follow-up to his last instrumental release from 2004, Impressions. Like before, he did not fall into the trap that is found on some instrumental albums where it ends up being a series of self-indulgent jams that go on forever. Instead, he focused on the songs, and all eleven tracks tell a musical story with the longest clocking in just a bit over five minutes.

And Chris does not get stuck in a rut either, as he moved away from the more jazzy material of his previous release and recorded tunes that cross a number of blues genres. The opener is the upbeat “One a Day Blues” which has a traditional 12-bar blues structure, some nice organ work, and a glorious 1950s throaty guitar tone. He has a fabulous touch on the guitar and his lyrical playing style ensures that the listener will not bemoan the lack of words.

Then the band explores funk with “Freedom Cry” which is nice and with the solid backline of Beers and Howard. Kattke’s keyboards do a nice job of filling the gaps and setting the mood as Winters doubles up on his guitar parts. “Space Boogie” (not a remake of the Jeff Beck song of the same name) is a fast Texas-style boogie, and Chris gets the chance to show off a little with searing guitar solos as Smith hammers out the rock solid drum line.

Things slow down for “Low Tide” which is a laid-back blues tune with more simple bass and drum parts so the guitar can tell the story. After this breather, there is plenty of fancy picking in “Blue Country Rag,” which sounds just like you would expect from the title. There is a definite Albert Lee twang and vibe to this one, which is a good thing in my book.

The title track reminds me of the great melodic blues guitar players, such as Gary Moore or Peter Green. The rich organ sounds and the heavy ride cymbal and snare would fit in well with the best of the early 1970s blues rock releases. This is my favorite track on the album, and this is one where I wish Winters would have taken a few liberties and made it even longer. Five minutes was just not enough for this song.

“Dealing with a Feeling” is a slow and short, but still melodic, and Chris does a fine job of giving his guitar a voice and telling a story without words. They also rock out a bit with “Did You Know” which is a harder blues rock tune with a nicely doubled bass line and a raw electric guitar tone.

After the jaunty swing of “Staring at the Sun, the Chris Winters Band finishes up the effort with “Breaking the Chains.” This funky blues rocker ties together a lot of the genres found in this album, and leaves the listener wanting more. They did not wear out their welcome, which shows a lot of maturity on their part.

Overall, the production is consistently good, and the instruments are recorded well with even tone and all of the tracks have a solid mix. Blue Fever is a fine album, and if you like blues-based guitar instrumentals you have to check it out for yourself. Chris Winters did a great job, and I hope we do not have to wait another nine years to hear more from him.

Reviewer Rex Bartholomew is a Los Angeles-based writer and musician; his blog can be found at

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured Live Blues Review 1 of 2 - Blues From The Top Festival  

11th Annual Blues From The Top - Winter Park, CO

Grand County Blues Society’s mission is to bring live blues to the county and to take Blues In The Schools to every school in Grand County – from 1st grade to high school with everything from CD’s, DVD’s, and musical instruments and have called the program “Check out the Music”. They have stayed true to their mission and the 11th Blues Festival was a complete success. The weather was “annoying” according to John Catt, the organizer, but really it only put a few quick tarp coverings in the lineup and were quickly removed again. John wants to make sure that the people coming up to Winter Park have plenty of entertainment in the evenings and has extra shows and jams at Smokin’ Moes on Friday and Saturday night, with a jam Sunday night to close the festival. The entire weekend is family friendly, relaxed, and the audience is well taken care of. As a frequenter of festivals, I can only give it the highest of praise as one of the best festivals I attend.

Friday night’s bands at Smokin’ Moes included Kara Grainger – joined by Albert Castiglia, Mud Morganfield – with Kate Moss on guitar and Barrelhouse Chuck on keys, and Rick Estrin & The Nightcats. So if you have never seen any of them, you should - they are all great and the evening was over way too soon for the blues lovers in a packed house – no one left early!



The festival starts early & ends by dark. The first morning started off with the Austin Young Band. Austin is an up & coming blues guitar player from Colorado, who started playing at age 12 (he’s almost 18 now). Over the past few years, he has been seen playing at King Biscuit with Bob Margolin, at Rum Boogie in Memphis and continues to improve beyond his years. He is truly an Impressive young man and someone to keep your eye on – he will be around for a long time and will be an important member of the new blues players. Along with Austin was Forrest Raup on drums and John Demitro on bass.

Next up was Albert Castiglia. Not having seen Albert for many years, I could not recall his style of play. But after he sat in with Kara the night before, I was looking forward to seeing a full set and was not disappointed. He is true blues on the stage and off stage he is a wealth of blues history stories with a side of comedian thrown in, including many about his years as Junior Wells’ lead guitar player before he passed away. His band included Bob Amsel on drums and Matt Schuler on bass.

Kara Grainger, a newcomer to American blues, is from Australia. Her sultry singing, guitar playing, and approach to blues, roots, and soul was refreshing. And she can knock down the blues with the best of them and did so when she brought Albert back up to play with her. A must see and listen at every opportunity. Kara’s band included Matty Alger on drums, Spencer Wright on bass, and Carl Byron on the keyboard.


Who doesn’t love Mud Morganfield? We all do. Mud is the closest thing to Muddy waters as you can get (he is his son, after all) but still has his own style with many dimensions to his singing and songwriting. And his band is always stellar. He shared the stage with Chicago’s own Kate Moss on guitar. Kate is an integral part of the festival on the production side but can hold her own (and has with some of the finest blues players alive) on the guitar (and bass). Also in the band was another Chicago blues piano player icon – Barrelhouse Chuck. Added to that stellar mix was Harmonica Hinds (redundantly said) on harmonica, Rick Kreher on guitar, and Steve Bass on drums. Another great set!!



And again, who doesn’t love Rick Estrin & The Nightcats? Although I have seen Rick and the band many times, I never tire of the serious shenanigans and excellent musicians they all are. With Kid Andersen (who can outplay anyone! and is fast becoming a video mastermind) on guitar, Lorenzo Farrell on standup bass & keyboards, and their own stand-up drummer J Hansen, Rick and his harmonica are well matched in mastery of all things blues. The entire set is fun from beginning to end.


A bit of change in pace, next up was Zac Harmon. His more southern style of gospel and blues and heartfelt interpretations are always inspiring. His dedication to Michael Burks always brings us to tears. He interacts well with Cedric Goodman, his powerful drummer and heart accelerating beat master. Corey Lacy on the keyboards and Diego Sanchez on bass round out another great blues experience.


Closing out the first day was Ronnie Baker Brooks’ band. Ronnie is pure Chicago tradition with his own heat and passion thrown in. Along with Ronnie was his long time bassist – Carlton Armstrong – who is a show in himself and CJ Tucker on drums and a little rap thrown in by Richy Rich (aka Shrek). (What we didn’t know at the time, this was the last US performance of this band as we have known it for the last ten years. We wish them all the best in their future endeavors.)



At the end of each set, over on the second stage, the newest additions to the blues world perform – the blues kids who have grown up in Colorado and have been supported in developing the skills by Blue Star Connection. And skilled they are!! This is where I saw Austin Young two years ago, and who joined them again. These kids are the future of the blues!!



Everyone headed over to Smokin’ Moes for a blues jam that night. Zac Harmon’s band did a sit down quieter set but revved up when Shawn Kellerman joined them for a while. Also joining the jam were Cedric Goodman, Kate Moss, Joanne Shaw Taylor, Albert, Kara, Kid Andersen and Jack Hadley.




Sunday morning started out with a beautiful gospel show with Jack Hadley’s band. Singing for Jack was the young talented Maddie Lutz. The band included Big Jim Adam on guitar, Bruce Crisman on drums, John Stilwagen on keys, and Kevin Wall on bass. Great way to start a Sunday in the mountains. 



Next was Joanne Shaw Taylor. She is one powerful blues guitar player and singer with lots of attitude and even more talent. She is British and is known internationally-touring with many great artists - and winning the Best Female Vocalist at the 2010 British Blues Awards. He band included Joe Veloz on Bass and Glenn Girdano on drums.


Southern Hospitality. That’s the name of the band. And that is what they brought-Southern rock blues, down home music, and the spirit of Dixie. When these three highly talented guys joined up to form this group, they became the ultimate band for me. Victor Wainright just won the Pinetop Perkins piano player award at the BMA’s in 2013 – and he deserves every accolade thrown at him. JP Soars is an extraordinary guitar player and does things on a two string cigar box that just don’t seem possible. Damon Fowler is a lap steel master and an equally talented guitar player. Throw in Chris Peet on drums and Chuck Riley on bass and you have perfection.


The next band up was Sena Ehrhardt with special guest Reese Wynans. Sena is new, dynamic, fresh, soulful, gritty, and is nominated for a Blues Blast Award for Best New Artist Debut Release. Her equally talented father, Edward, is also her lead guitar player with Cole Allen on guitar, Steve Hansen on bass, and Tim Hasler on drums. Reese Wynans, who worked with Stevie Ray Vaughn on Double Trouble, joined them on the B3. A great set once again!!



Always animated, hyperactive on keyboards and guitar, Lucky Petersen just mesmerizes you with his antics on stage and the crowd loves it when he jumps off and hits the crowd, sitting down and entertaining in the middle of it all. His show now includes his beautiful, talented, and playful partner/wife Tamara on vocals. And just to up the ante, he has added Canada’s intense blues guitar hero – Shawn Kellerman. (First time I have seen him and all I can say is WOW!) The entire show is a crowd pleaser. Opening the set is Greg Smith on vocals. Joining the band are Raul Valdes on drums and Time Waites on bass.



Closing out the festival in high style was Mike Zito & The Wheel. While the sky continued to darken and clouds built up for some very bad weather, Mike just encouraged the crowd to not worry about the rain and stick around – it would be worth it. He wasn’t kidding. Mike’s full-out blues rock show was the perfect ending to a perfect festival. He also brought in Samantha Fish to play some heated blues with him and brought in Danielle Schnebelen (Trampled Under Foot bass/vocalist) to sing two songs they just recorded. And his bass player – Scot Sutherland – was a sight for sore eyes and ears – everyone knows & loves Scot. So after a great set, he brought on the finale which included his band – Lewis Stephens (keys), Rob Lee (drums), and New Orlean’s Jimmy Carpenter on sax – and was joined by Victor, JP, & Damon, Danielle, Samantha, and Reese Wynans. It was a perfect storm of blues. And two minutes after the last note, the sky let loose and the rains finally came down hard (hail) and furious. But nobody cared – the crowd headed home – satiated.


A big thanks to John Catt, Kate Moss, the Grand County Blues Society, and all the volunteers for another great festival in the beautiful mountain resort setting of Winter Park, Colorado. I highly recommend you put this on your calendar for next year. Getting there is beautiful, the festival is even better!! Check out for more stellar blues events


Photos and commentary by Marilyn Stringer © 2013

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 Featured Blues Review 5 of 8

Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup - Sunny Road

Delmark Records

10 tracks (9 songs)

Recorded on November 10, 1969 and never previously released, this album is a great package of Blues music from the past. It also offers a brief look into Bob Koester's mentality in producing records as there is a track of studio chatter with Bob trying to coax Crudup to do a swing number. Crudup refuses, saying they have not rehearsed anything for the session. When one listens to the CD one understands exactly where Koester was trying to go.

The CD mostly contains Crudup solo or primarily accompanied by Willie "Big Eyes" Smith on drums beat in an almost tribal fashion. Crudup is completely traditional and moans out his slow blues while strumming and picking his acoustic guitar. He is amplified through the same rotating Leslie speaker that Buddy Guy used on Junior Wells' Hoodoo Man Blues for 7 of 9 tracks but it does little to amp up the excitement and fun of the album. Bob is trying to coerce him behind the scenes to open up and let loose and Crudup won't take the bait. Don't get me wrong; this is not a bad CD, but it really is a lot of down tempo and slooooooow blues.

Crudup's solo career never really took off. He went to Chicago from Mississippi in 1939 as part of a gospel group but his solo career never was well received. He backed the likes of performers like Elmore James and Sonny Boy II but his real fame came from writing three songs performed by Elvis Presley. "That's All Right" is the most famous of them and gave "Big Boy" some notoriety.

My favorite track here has to be "Please Don't Leave Me With the Blues" where there is more of a flourish and spirit to Crudup's performance. The cuts with the late Jimmy Dawkins "She Gives Me a Thrill," "I Have Called Up China," and "All I Got Is Gone") may plod along like the rest, but Dawkin's guitar offers a nice change of pace to the mix.

As I said, this is not a bad CD but it's not a really exciting one. Crudup is nearing the end of his career and Koester is offering up a modern (for 1969) studio experience to capture the music of this Delta blues man for us. If you want to hear the blues as they were still played in the 30's and 40's in the Delta captured with a clean and vibrant sound (and a little amplification and toned down electric guitar here and there) then this would be something you should add to your collection. Crudup might not have been a star, but there is a soulful blueness to his performances. The loss of his wife is stated in the liner notes to have driven his mood and performances here, so we have a blues man experiencing the depths of the blues as he delivers his messages in song.

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 works with their Blues In The Schools program. He resides in Byron, IL.

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 Featured Blues Review 6 of 8

Various Artists -- True Blues

Telarc Records

13 songs – 52 minutes

Legendary bass player, songwriter, bandleader and producer Willie Dixon once stated: “The blues is the roots -- everything else is the fruits” and this CD, the collaborative effort of six modern marvels -- Taj Mahal, Corey Harris, Guy Davis, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Phil Wiggins and Shemekia Copeland -- go a long way toward proving it once again if there was any doubt. Recorded live and acoustic at venues ranging from New York’s Lincoln Center to the Howard Theater in Washington, D.C., and the House of Blues in Los Angeles, they’ve hit the stage to breathe new life into songs written when many of the artists who penned them had just emerged from the plantation 70 or 80 years ago.

The set kicks off with a rousing, grinding version of Dixon’s “Hootchie Coochie Man,” with Davis, Harris and Hart trading vocals over a lilting Wiggins harp line. They’re about a 1,000 miles from the Mississippi in Manhattan, but the river seeps into every beat and musical phrase. Echoing Dixon, Harris states: “Funk music, rock ’n’ roll, jazz, hip-hop -- all of that didn’t generate by itself. The reason that blues is important today is because it connects us to where these different musics came from -- and who they came from.” The setting moves to the nation’s capital for a powerful, hypnotic solo performance by Hart of Willie Johnson’s “Motherless Children Have A Hard Time,” followed by Harris’ solo rendition of Sleepy John Estes’ “Everybody Got To Change Sometime,” recorded passionately in L.A.

Backed by his trio in Annapolis, Md., Mahal lays down his trademark funk with a churning version of one of his own songs, “Done Changed My Way Of Living,” next. A noted musicologist in his own right, he’s a living link with the first generation of blues stars, having worked with several of them after their “rediscovery” in the ’60s. Davis follows with the Ishman Bracy classic, “Saturday Blues,” before Copeland contributes a fine version of her father Johnny’s classic “Bring Your Fine Self Home,” with backing from Hart, Harris and Wiggins. The reigning Queen of the Blues, as crowned by Koko Taylor’s daughter Cookie, she says: “The blues is about telling your story. It’s been part of my life for my entire life. It’s what’s put food on the table. My father supported our family by making this music. That’s why it’s important for me to let people know that it’s constantly growing and evolving.”

Wiggins gets an assist from Hart as they double-team “Roberta” on the next cut before Harris contributes a masterful version of Blind Blake’s 1928 masterpiece, “C.C. Pill Blues.” Wiggins follows with the brief, but powerful “Prayers And Praises” before Hart chips in with the rapidly paced, but chilling “Gallows Pole.” Davis performs a rendition of Rev. Robert Wilkins’ “That’s No Way To Get Along” before the Mahal trio’s swinging “Mailbox Blues.” The set concludes with an ensemble performance of Robert Johnson’s “Ramblin’ On My Mind,” highlighted by Wiggins’ work on the harp.

“You have some sadness, or you have some trouble in your life sometimes,” says Wiggins. “And then sometimes you have joy. The blues is really about all that. It’s not just about one emotion or one part of life. It’s about all of your life.”

This understated, simply produced disc provides a strong reminder as to why the past also provides the blues’ future. It will be accompanied by a companion DVD, which should be released some time this summer.

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.

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 Featured Live Blues Review 2 of 2 - Satan & Adam Reunion

Satan and Adam Reunion - Friday, July 5, 2013 - Gulfport, FL

Blues music lovers got a holiday weekend treat at the Peninsula Inn in Gulfport, FL – a mere six blocks from my home. For one evening, the acclaimed duo of Satan & Adam were reunited at a free show held in the courtyard of a local hotel, the Peninsula Inn, that has a restaurant named after its famous- and friendly – ghost.


The pair once busked on the streets of Harlem before recordings they did in the 90’s brought them international recognition. But Mister Satan- Sterling Magee – suffered some health issues that prevented him from performing. In recent years, the pair has done a few shows together, highlighted by a successful show in a packed Blues Tent at this year’s New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.


Rain caused a delay in the start of the music but once the skies cleared, harp ace Adam Gussow started the evening off in a duo with guitarist Alan Gross. Known as The Blues Doctors, both musicians teach at the University of Mississippi – Gross is a professor of clinical psychology while Gussow is an associate professor of English & Southern Studies.

Set-up under a small canopy, they got off to a rousing start with an inspired take on the Crusaders instrumental, “Put It Where You Want It”. They delighted the audience of fifty-plus with other classics like “Every Day I Have the Blues” and “Rock Me Baby”, featuring Gross on the lead vocal. Gussow contributed a spirited vocal on “Good Morning Little School Girl”. The final number of their set, Stanley Turrentine’s “Sugar”, gave Gussow plenty of room to show off his prowess on the harp with Gross comping behind him.
Just as Gussow was bringing Mister Satan to the stage, the rains came again and sent the musicians running to cover their instruments, amps and PA system. Once everything was covered, Satan & Adam dug into “Ain’t Nobody” from their Back in the Game recording and immediately got the crowd’s attention. Then Gussow pounded out a beat on his small drum and blew some sweet harp lines on “Watermelon Man”.

“Heartbreak” got off to a ragged start but the two musicians were quickly in sync with Mister Satan crying out his pain. Next came a raw rendition of “Little Red Rooster” featuring Gussow’s harp dancing around Satan’s energetic singing. Following a quick run-through of their original instrumental “Thunky Fing”, the duo got most of the audience on their feet and dancing during a raucous six-minute version of “Got My Mojo Working”.


As the music faded, the rain began to fall yet again and a decision was made to bring the evening to a close. While their set was short, Satan & Adam showed that they can still generate the musical magic just like they did more than twenty-five years ago on Harlem street-corners. A memorable Friday night!

Photos and commentary by Mark Thompson © 2013

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 Featured Blues Review 7 of 8

Coyote Kings w/ Mush – Nasty Habits & Dirty Little Secrets

Label: TwinLion Records

11 songs – 52 minutes

Nasty Habits & Dirty Little Secrets is the second Coyote Kings album to feature the powerhouse singing of Michelle “Mush” Morgan and is a great album of blues-rock songs crying out to be played loudly at a beer-fuelled summer barbeque.

The CD kicks off with “Nasty Habit”, a grooving, funky blues-rock song that sets the tone for the rest of album. The bass and drums lock into a nasty rhythm and a number of over-dubbed guitars add an overdriven but cutting edge. Morgan’s voice fits the sound perfectly as she tells her man that he is her “nasty habit, baby, I’m hooked on all those things you do.” It is immediately followed by “Best You Couldn’t Do”, a mid-paced shuffle in which Morgan tells her man that their relationship is over, “But now I wish the best for you – the ‘best’ you couldn’t do.” She has a remarkable voice, never more so than on the ballad “Baby’s Gone”, one moment whispering of sad memories, the next raging against the loss of her man with a soul-drenched scream.

The slow-burning blues “Hard To Be A Man” features singer/songwriter/guitarist/producer Robin Barrett’s first lead vocal on the album, but he holds his own in any comparison against Morgan’s paint-stripping voice.

Barrett is clearly the key to the Coyote Kings’ sound. Apart from singing lead vocals on five songs and playing all the guitars, he also recorded, mixed and mastered the album and wrote all 11 songs.

He is a fine guitarist, particularly on the instrumental “Walking In The Fog”, where he varies his tone cleverly, producing a solo that has hints of a number of players (including one lovely echo of Roy Buchanan’s “The Messiah Will Come Again”) but which ends up sounding all his own. He clearly has chops to burn, but places the song first at all times. The first solo in “Best You Couldn’t Do”, for example, is practically hummable after a couple of listens.

The closing song, “Am I Getting Wise?”, ends the album on a high note, with the band hitting an up-tempo Southern Rock groove while Barrett wryly notes that “Back in the day, temptation was high on my list, but now it’s just too damn easy to resist. Am I getting wise or am I just getting old?”

With the twin lead-vocals of Michelle “Mush” Morgan and Robin “Barefoot” Barrett, the band obviously appreciates the importance of having nicknames. Only bassist Kit Kuhlmann appears not to have one, although it doesn’t distract from his solid, powerful playing. Emilio “Bev” Cabrales played drums on all tracks and, while the band’s original drummer/singer, Curtis “Rocket” Johnson, has since returned to the fold since the recording of this album, Cabrales and Kuhlmann form a rock-solid rhythm section, which (with guest Doug Scarborough adding subtle keys on six tracks) provides the foundation on which Barrett and Morgan can strut their stuff.

As might be inferred from song titles such as “Baby Wake Up” and “Baby’s Gone”, the lyrics are a little simplistic at times (should grown men really be writing songs – from anyone’s perspective – that include the lyric “That hot daddy is a shark, riding along like a Mako in the dark”?). But it is probably unreasonable to look for deep meaning or philosophical analysis in what is essentially a collection of party songs. And I have no doubt that they sound even better live.

Nasty Habits & Dirty Little Secrets does not offer anything new. Indeed, quite the opposite. The band appears to be aiming at producing top quality blues rock, of the kind done so well by the likes of Free, Johnny Winter and Foghat in the early 1970s. And they do it very well. Recommended played loud at summer cook-outs.

Reviewer Rhys “Lightning” Williams is a blues enthusiast based in Cambridge, England.

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 Featured Blues Review 8 of 8

The Hushes - Black Betty

Self produced

6 tracks - 23:25

The Hushes, by their own admission play dirty blues, traditional folk, Americana and a hint of gypsy. The band comes from Adelaide, South Australia and consists of Cal Williams Jr, Guitar and vocals; Emily Davis, Guitar and vocals; Kory Horwood, double bass and vocals, and Ben Timbers banjo and vocals. That line up will make you realise that this is an acoustic band.

They come on like Peter, Paul and Mary on speed. The opener is Ledbelly’s Black Betty, which has become a rockers classic, beloved of bikers.

For some unidentified reason the vocal part (lead by Emily) is seasoned if not peppered with the F word. I have no idea why Aussies want to do this so much (I blame Kevin Bloody Wilson). It is unnecessary and although the anticipated effect is probably intended to be edginess, it is really just kids talking dirty. The fact that the band has at the end of this six track EP as second version referred to as the “Sunday Version” with the first referred to as the Barrelhouse Version, is a measure of that.

Next up is Brownsville attributed to John Estes. This more like a version the Kingston Trio than a Tennessee blues band. I know we don’t harp on about authenticity any more, but come on!

The rest of the tracks, including the Woody Guthrie stalwart, Worried Man Blues (“It takes a worried man to sing a worried song”) follow the same sort of revivalist, folk/ skiffle group, path. It’s like going back in time 60 years. Nice harmonies though..

Reviewer Reviewer Ian McKenzie lives in England. He is the editor of Blues In The South ( a monthly flier providing news, reviews, a gig guide and all kinds of other good stuff, for people living and going to gigs along the south coast of England. Ian also produces and presents three web cast blues radio shows; one on www.phonic.FM in Exeter (Wednesdays: 1pm Eastern/ 12 noon Central, 10am Pacific) and two on KCOR (www.kconlinereadio) on Fridays at 12noon Central (Blues and Blues Rock) and Mondays at 4pm Central (Acoustic Blues). He is a founder member of the International Blues Broadcasters Association.

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South Skunk Blues Society - Newton, IA

The 21st annual South Skunk Bowlful of Blues festival will be held Saturday August 31st at the beautiful, and recently refurbished, Maytag Park “Bowl” in Newton, Iowa –Newton is about 40 miles east of Des Moines on I-80. The South Skunk Blues Society is planning to throw a party like they are turning 21 (which in fact they are). The Bowlful of Blues will kick off at noon. An after fest jam with the Terry Quiett Band is planned at the local VFW hall. Here is the schedule: 12:00 - Poppa Neptune featuring Detroit Larry Davison, 2:00pm - Terry Quiett Band, 4:00pm - Walter Trout, 6:00pm - Shaun Murphy Blues Band and 8:00pm - John Primer. We are also pleased to have Denny Garcia from Dubuque providing the acoustic sets between the bands.

Bring a lawn chair…coolers are welcome too but please no glass. Food vendors will have food for sale on site. This is a family friendly event, but please leave pets to home. For more information or to purchase advance tickets go to  Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the gate the day of the show.

The River City Blues Society - Peoria, IL

River City Blues Society presents: Bryan Lee and The Blues Power Band: Wednesday July 24th at Goodfellas 1414 N. 8th St., Pekin, Illinois. The show starts at 7:00 pm/ Admission is $6.00 for the general public or $4.00 for Society Members. For more info visit or call 309-648-8510.

Crossroads Blues Society - Rockford, IL

Crossroads Blues Society presents the 4th Annual Byron Crossroads Blues Festival Sat., Aug 24th from Noon to 11 PM in downtown Byron, Illinois. $7 advanced tickets. Check it out at: The Nighthawks, Dave Specter with Sharon Lewis, Doug Deming and Dennnis Gruenling and te Jewel Tones, Bobby Messano and Tweed Funk make up the lineup. There is also a harp work shop with Dennis and a guitar workshop with Dave.

Also in September from Crossroads Blues Society: Storm Cellar, top blues and roots band from Australia is at the Byron IL American Legion for our post-fest party, 3 PM on Sunday September 22nd. Free for Fest Volunteers, $10 cover otherwise. Fall Blues In The Schools (BITS ) are in the works with Gerry Hundt and Ronnie Shellist for September 25th with a 7 PM evening show at Just Goods, $5 cover, free for Crossroads Members, Students and School Staffs.

October: We are working to have Eric Noden and Joe Filisko back for two days of BITS sometime TBD in October. More to come!

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. July 22nd - Bill Evans Birthday Jam, July 29th - Andrew Jr. Boy Jones, Aug 5th - Roger Hurricane Wilson, Aug 12th - Doug Deming & the Jewel Tones featuring Dennis Gruenling, Aug 19th - Rusty Wright More info available at 

Friends Of The Blues - Watseka, IL

Now in their seventh season, The Friends of the Blues present 7 pm early shows:  Thur, July 18, Jerry Lee and the Juju Kings - Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club -Moved Indoors due to the heatwave!!, Thur, July 25, Albert Castiglia w/ Donna Herula, The Longbranch Restaurant in L’Erable, Outdoor show, Thur, Aug 15, Ivas John Band, Moose Lodge, Thur, Aug 29, Little Joe McLerran, Proof Lounge (former America's Bistro), 110 Meadowview Center, Kankakee, Thur, Sept 19, Reverend Raven and Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys, Kankakee Valley Boat Club, Thur, Oct 3, Too Slim and The Taildraggers – “It’s Everybody’s Birthday Party” - Kankakee Valley Boat Club, Tues, Oct 22, Kilborn Alley Blues Band - Venue To Be Announced, Thur, Nov 7, Terry Quiett Band - Venue To Be Announced More information: or

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