Issue 11-28 July 13, 2017

Cover photo © 2017 Joseph A. Rosen


 In This Issue 

Bill Dahl has our feature interview with Latimore. We have 10 Blues reviews for you this week including new music from Michele D’Amour, Monster Mike Welch and Mike Ledbetter, Ivas John, Stevie J. Blues, Fin “Fink” Greenall, da Mudcats, Bobby Messano, John Primer & Bob Corritore, The Axxmann & Friends and Matt And The Strangers.

Our video of the week is Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials.

We have the latest in Blues society news. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!


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Have You Voted Yet?

Fan voting for the 2017 Blues Blast Music Awards continues until August 15th. We offer you the ability to actually hear the music of the nominees before you vote by going to our Soundcloud listening site at https://soundcloud.com/bluesblast/sets/

You can only vote one time so listen first and then vote NOW at http://www.bluesblastmagazine.com/bbmas/vote/vote.php!


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 Featured Blues Review – 1 of 10 

michele d'amour cd imageMichele D’Amour – Lost Nights at the Leopard Lounge

Self Release

www.micheledamourandthelovedealers.com

12 tracks / 42:19

Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers is not one of the ordinary blues bands that is content with playing cover tunes at local clubs. In fact, after only a few years together they have played at many festivals, and they have already produced three albums. With each release they have included more of their own tunes, and this time all twelve tracks are originals. This year’s catalog addition, Lost Nights at the Leopard Lounge, is their best work so far.

Ms. D’Amour, has been working towards this career for her entire life in her hometown of Seattle: she got a head start as a 6 year old piano prodigy, and Michele started singing at church and writing early too. This led to her fronting several local bands with plenty of opportunities to write and perform her own material. Five years ago she started the Love Dealers with bassist Patrick McDanel, and this was a fine start to building a solid team.

For Lost Nights at the Leopard Lounge, Michele wrote all of these songs, with collaborative credit going to Cory Wilds for two of the tracks. She also handled the lead vocals, and joining her in the studio were McDanel on bass and newcomer Ryan Higgins on guitar; drumming duties were split between Ronnie Bishop and Rick Bowen. Grammy-winner Steve Feasley of Love Studios engineered the studio sessions, which took place in Seattle and Snohomish, Washington.

There are a few Leopard Lounges around the country, but this album is not really referring to any of them. Rather, it is an imaginary amalgam of the cool clubs that the band has played in over the years. This makes an appropriate setting for the stories that are told through the songs, as many of them are based on experiences that the band has lived through. This is heard right from the start of the set, as the uptempo shuffle, “No Good,” lays down the details of a man who should have been born with “a pair of horns.” On this track Michele’s hearty alto voice is well suited to this guitar-fueled romp that features the tight backline of McDanel and Bishop.

After the opener, the band switches things up for each subsequent track. “Trouble” is a slow blues tune with a personal feel that describes the effects of family-wrecking character, and Higgins delivers great lead guitar work that is almost jazz-like, accompanied by unique backing vocals that help make the mood. You will also find terrific imagery in the title track, as there are aspects of many bars in the “Leopard Lounge.” As you hear the band rock out and Michele sing about having to pay cash at the bar for your beer, you can also smell the bleach and sawdust!

The Love Dealers also do a respectable job with funk, as McDanel lays down a raunchy and distorted bass line for “Lost My Mojo.” He also picks up his trombone as Higgins brings his trumpet to this song, which is an unexpected bit of texture that really makes this track shine. The band also combines funk with rock for “What the Cat Dragged In,” an ode to a man whose life is a complete mess. This tune changes tempo and feel a few times, and these breaks set the stage for some decidedly tasty guitar solo work from Bishop; this ends up being one of the more memorable tracks on the album. Then, before you know it, the set finishes up with one last shuffle, Black Cat Boogie,” and it is hard to believe that 43 minutes have gone by!

Lost Nights at the Leopard Lounge is a strong album with good songs, talented musicians, and fabulous production from Steve Feasley. The songs have a clear and well-balanced sound, and though they cross many blues genres they work very well together. This material will transfer well to their live show, so be sure to head over to their website to see where Michele D’Amour and the Love Dealers are playing next. If you are located anywhere from the Pacific Northwest to Central California you are in luck, as they have plenty of shows scheduled, so check them out if you get the chance!

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


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 Featured Blues Review – 2 of 10 

Monster Mike Welch Cd imageMonster Mike Welch and Mike Ledbetter – Right Place, Right Time

Delta Groove Records DGPCD176

12 songs — 51 minutes

www.monstermikewelch.com

www.mikeledbetterbluesoul.com

Producers of the Chicago Blues Festival probably didn’t have any idea what they were about to create when they invited Monster Mike Welch and Mike Ledbetter to participate in a 2016 tribute to Windy City guitar legend Otis Rush. But sparks from the first notes of that show set off fireworks that could change the future of the blues for decades to come.

The instantaneous chemistry between Welch — the beloved former child prodigy guitarist from Boston who’s been part of Sugar Ray Norcia’s Bluetones for about 25 years — and Ledbetter — the melismatic former opera singer who’s received his training in the blues as a vital part of the Nick Moss Band for the past seven years — overwhelmed both of the participants as they played to an overflow audience with Rush himself nodding in appreciation from the front row.

Now approaching 40, Welch has been an international star and recording artist in his own right since his early teens, and is one of the most stylish and in-demand guitar players on the planet, influenced heavily by Rush, Magic Sam, Earl Hooker, Albert and B.B. King and having recorded with Johnny Winter, The Mannish Boys, Kilborn Alley and a host of others.

Now in his early 30s, meanwhile, Ledbetter quickly developed into a blues powerhouse himself both as a soul-blues vocalist and guitarist after hooking up with Moss after a jam. His incredible voice — which actually bears a great similarity to Seals’ — is a true crowd-pleaser. This is his first release as a headliner, although his vocals were featured prominently on Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters’ 2015 album, Father’s Day.

Welch and Ledbetter would have had no trouble recording a CD on their own, but they called out an all-star lineup to assist them on Right Place, Right Time. Produced by Welch and recorded in Quincy, Mass., and Oceanside, Calif., it features Bluetones’ keyboard player Anthony Geraci, drummer Marty Richards (Duke Robillard, Joe Perry, Peter Wolf) and bassist Ronnie James Weber (Moss, James Cotton, Little Charlie & The Nightcats) as well as New England-based horn powerhouses Sax Gordon and Doug James. Making a guest appearance on four cuts is the dynamic Laura Chavez, longtime guitarist with Candye Kane. Kit Holliday and Welch’s wife, Jeannette Ocampo, provide backing vocals on one cut.

The partners wrote five of the 12 songs on this one, but make each cover their own. The set opens with “Cry For Me Baby,” the Mel London-penned hit for Junior Wells. From the brief instrumental intro you know from the jump that you’re in for a major dose of old-school blues delivered by a duo who know what they’re doing. Welch’s single-note riffs on the fretboard cut like a laser as Ledbetter’s voice soars. They follow it up with “I Can’t Please You,” written by ’60s soul singer Jimmy Robins, before delivering the Ledbetter original “Kay Marie.” It’s a medium-tempo pleaser in which the singer has to find the title lady to keep himself from crying, and it fits like hand-in-glove to the preceding material.

Three more covers — Willie Dixon’s “I Can’t Stop Baby,” The Coasters’ classic “Down Home Girl” and Junior Parker’s “How Long Can This Go On” — all get new leases on life before a trio of originals. Welch rips and runs to introduce Ledbetter’s “Big Mama” — about a sweet lady who knows what she needs — before delivering his own “I’m Gonna Move To Another Country,” a searing slow-blues showcase for his guitar skills as the younger Mike soars vocally as he describes the difficulty of making a living in America today.

Ledbetter’s “Can’t Sit Down” follows before two more covers, Tampa Red’s “Cryin’ Won’t Help You” and Elmore James’ “Goodbye Baby.” Welch’s instrumental original, “Brewster Avenue Bump,” brings the album to a close.

A 2017 Blues Blast Awards nominee for Contemporary Album, Right Place, Right Time doesn’t miss a beat as it establishes the Welch-Ledbetter partnership at the pinnacle of the blues world today. Welch remains with the Bluetones, while Ledbetter’s now graduated from Moss and fronts his own band. But don’t miss them in performance when they tour together as a new supergroup — and pick this one up today. You won’t be disappointed. The blues will be in good hands as long as these two are on the scene.

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 Blues Video Of The Week – Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials 

Our featured video is Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials performing at the Montreal Jazz Festival 2017. (Click image to watch!)

Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials are the headliner act at the Prairie Dog Blues Festival on Friday, July 28th, 2017.

For tickets and info on this Blues event visit www.prairiedogblues.com or click on their ad in this issue!


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 Featured Blues Review – 3 of 10 

Ivas John cd imageIvas John – Good Days A Comin

Right Side Up Records

www.ivasjohn.com

12 Tracks/42:25

Born and raised in Chicago, Ivas John grew up hearing plenty of outstanding music, courtesy of his father’s record collection that included plenty of soul, blues, country, and folk albums. John wanted to make music and after trying several instruments, at age sixteen he fell under the spell of a guitar. He eventually left home to attend Southern Illinois University and quickly became immersed in the local music scene, finding work backing former Mellow Fellow singer Martin Albritton and Rip Lee Pryor, son of the great blues harp player Snooky Pryor.

Settling in Cape Girardeau, MO, John has continued to refine his talents as a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. His band works a steady stream of gigs throughout the Midwest, with four previous releases plus a dvd of a live performance at BB’s Jazz Blues & Soups in St. Louis. His latest is one of those recordings that steadily seeps its way into your consciousness, filling it with plenty of joyful sounds.

The opening track, “Goin’ Back To Arkansas,” is one of eight tunes John wrote for the project. His easy-on-the-ears vocal rolls along over his tasty acoustic guitar picking, assisted by Robert Bowlin, formerly of Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys, on guitar and fiddle while Ross Sermons anchors the proceedings on upright bass. The line up changes for “Here I Am,” with David Davis on mandolin and Gary Gordon on dobro engaged in a finely detailed exchange while Charlie Morrill on drums adds a light beat. “Roll Mississippi” is a breezy tribute to the mighty river in addition to cities and towns situated along the riverbed. The combination of John’s guitar with the fiddle and dobro creates an alluring soundscape.

John’s father helped write “All Along,” a compelling song about life’s simple truths with a warm vocal and John’s skillful guitar work. Gordon’s dobro establishes a mournful atmosphere on “Things Ain’t Been The Same,” but the mood improves on “Payday Boogie,” a western-swing toe-tapper sparked by Bowlin’s fiddle. “Keep Your Train Movin’” utilizes a common Americana image to preach the value of staying the course through life’s twist and turns. The short “Sunday Morning Blues” is a solo guitar instrumental that encapsulates the depth of John’s musical journey.

The Merle Travis classic, “Dark As A Dungeon,” has one of John’s strongest vocals, with Bowlin’s fiddle eliciting haunting tones while Gary and Roberta Gordon supply the harmony vocals. The mood picks up on the jaunty “Greenville Trestle High,” another song with train images. John expounds on the struggles of the working man, punctuated by David Davis’s mandolin picking. “Can’t Help But Wonder Where I’m Bound,” penned by Tom Paxton, is another highlight with John and Gordon on guitar, Sermons on upright bass, and Tim Crouch doubling on fiddle and mandolin. The two guitars are the only accompaniment on “Wrong Road Again,” with John musing on his inability to break free of a woman’s charms.

This is one of those recordings that grows on you with every listen. After a couple of songs, you can’t help but feel you are sitting on the back porch with some good friends, spending the afternoon deep in the joy of music-making. It is certainly a welcome respite from the glut of rock/blues that is prominent these days. Make a point to give this one a listen.

Reviewer Mark Thompson lives in Florida, where he is enjoying life without snow. He is the President of the Board of Directors for the Suncoast Blues Society and the past president of the Crossroads Blues Society of Northern Illinois. Music has been a huge part of his life for the past fifty years – just ask his wife!.



 Featured Blues Review – 4 of 10 

stevei j blues cd imageStevie J. Blues – Back 2 Blues

www.steviejbluesmusic.com

Mississippi Delta Records/PK Music

11 songs time-48:11

Using “Blues” as your stage last name, calling your CD “Back 2 Blues” and plastering blues legends all over the cover of your CD doesn’t make you blues musician. Playing the blues does. Stephen Johnson makes music that combines soul, funk, R&B, gospel and a touch of blues. Maybe he should call himself Stevie J. Soul-Funk-R&B-Gospel And A Touch Of Blues. Although touting himself as a Mississippi bluesman, he doesn’t get to the blues until the gospel-blues of “Come See Me”, the fourth song. He doesn’t display any quality blues guitar skills until the final song. Maybe he should of called his CD “I’ll Get Back To The Blues In a Minute”. I have a problem with calling your music something that it largely isn’t. He delivers and produces a fine soul-gospel album that includes his smooth vocals, but blues?…Not so much.

“Lil Mo Love” begins with snippets of negative newscasts as it’s lyrics deliver a message of peace in an upbeat, funky horn drenched fashion highlighted by Stevie’s smooth as silk vocals. The main melody of Junior Wells’ “Messin’ With The Kid” borrowed for “I Ain’t Getting That” that features a thin guitar sound. “Cradle Robber” sounds like classic southern soul and again features some thin sounding guitar. One plus is the piano playing of Andy Hardwick. Finally we get the funky gospel-blues of “Come See Me” with its’ ok slide guitar and harmonica.

“That Party Song” is just what the title implies, a soul-funk exaltation of the party life. “Lights Out” is a slow soul burner. Gospel meets romantic sex on “Good Good”. “What you talkin’ bout, Willis?” You be the judge. Cheating is the subject of the classic soul of “Another Jody Song”. Stevie recounts the story of how a friend gave him an Albert King cassette to learn guitar from. Their is no evidence that it paid off until the last song here, the instrumental “Blue By the Bay” where he finally unleashes some substantial blues guitar skills with dexterity to spare. What was he waiting for?

If you’re looking for a well done soul-funk record with a blues bonus at the end, have I got a CD for you. He can sure produce and sing and write, but I’m not crazy about the idea of semi-false advertising. Well, in my book he saved the best for last.

Reviewer Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony hails from the New Jersey Delta.


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 Featured Blues Review – 5 of 10 

fink cd imaqgeFin “Fink” Greenall – Fink’s Sunday Night Blues Club, Vol. 1

R’COUP’D/Missing Piece Group

https://finkmusic.bandcamp.com/

CD: 11 Songs, 41:34 Minutes

Styles: Drone/Trance Blues, Avant-Garde Electric Blues Rock, All Original Songs

True confession: I first listened to Queen’s songs when I was around eleven years old. My dad (blues promoter Skyy Dobro, then a fan of ‘80’s and ‘90’s hits) said, “Queen uses a lot of weird instrumental sounds in their music, but the more you listen to it, the more you’ll like it.” Perhaps that’s the case with Berlin’s Fin “Fink” Greenall, and his Sunday Night Blues Club, Vol. 1. All artists try to put their own spin on their preferred genre, and in that regard, Fink has gone above and beyond the call of duty. Whether his style of blues will appeal to purists and die-hard fans, however, is up for debate. For one thing, it’s of the drone/trance variety. For another, its avant-garde instrumentation is apt to put listeners in a psychedelic trance instead of a funky blues groove. Nothing on this CD sounds like traditional American blues, and for this reviewer, that’s a good thing. Unfortunately for the overall appeal and sales of Fink’s first album, it might not be.

States our protagonist in his promotional letter, “My love of Blues has always been there, before I even knew what it was. Records by John Lee Hooker, T-Bone Walker and Chuck Berry really spoke to me. For two springs, in 2015 and 2016, I immersed myself in the blues, scouring record stores whilst on tour to inspire and educate myself…to do something raw, rough and live, a record that just was, for its own sake. You’d think that writing blues was easy, but it isn’t…It’s easy to copy, sure, and to cover, definitely, but to write original blues that is more than just a photocopy of the past actually turned out to be quite challenging and natural.”

Such a perceptive description of his journey and musical style come as no surprise, when one finds out that Fink’s music has been featured in the movies Selma and 12 Years a Slave. He’s also collaborated with the late Amy Winehouse, John Legend, and Banks, among many others. He’s amassed over 70 million streams on Spotify, and garnered over 2.2 million followers on Soundcloud. His version of the blues isn’t Otis Rush’s or Big Bill Morganfield’s, but who says it has to be? Fink does his own thing, and makes himself known by not photocopying past masters.

Along with Fink are New Orleans legend David Shirley on drums and also Colin Stetson.

With that said, the song below sounds the most like the kind of blues Americans love to hear.

Track 04: “Boneyard” – Nope, this tune’s not about your dog’s favorite place, but your least favorite if you’re alive and kicking. The guitar intro’s hotter than Hades, the vocals gritty and tinged with regret, and the tempo just right for swaying to the beat – whether on your feet or in your chair. “Take your chances now. Take them, oh, take them,” Fink insists, knowing the end will come for all of us sooner or later. Why waste time procrastinating? The Boneyard awaits.

Fink’s Sunday Night Blues Club may be avant-garde, but its eleven tracks equal an experience!

Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 37 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.



 Featured Blues Review – 6 of 10 

da mudcats cd imageda Mudcats – Easy Does it

www.damudcats.us

Down In The Alley Records

12 songs – 61 minutes

da Mudcats first formed in 1985 and its members, in a variety of different line-ups, have been stalwarts of the blues scene in Louisville, Kentucky for over 30 years. In 2015, the stars aligned sufficiently to enable the group to reunite with a line-up of vocalist Susan O’Neil, guitarist Rob Pickett, bassist Mike Lynch, drummer Gene Wickcliffe and keyboardist/vocalist Doug Lamb. Wickcliffe, Pickett and O’Neil were all original members of the very first line-up of the band, while Lamb was a member in the mid-to late 90s and Lynch has held the bass chair for the last 15 years.

After nine months of writing and rehearsal, da Mudcats played a show for a specially invited audience at Mom’s Music in Louisville. That show was recorded and Easy Does It is the result.

From the very first note of the opening number, “The Curse”, the band hits the ground running with a toe-tapping groove underpinning a blues-rock chord progression, Wickcliffe’s deceptively simple drum pattern creating an irresistible drive. Pickett sets out his stall with three well-taken guitar solos (this is a live show recording, after all), displaying a lucid, flowing style that recalls Larry Carlton in the way it straddles blues and jazz and in the sophistication of the note choices. O’Neil’s voice has a warm huskiness to it as she picks melody lines that also suggest a love of jazz as well as blues.

“Don’t Blame The Blues” is a slower minor key track with gospel-like backing vocals from Pickett, Lamb and Lynch, lovely keyboards from Lamb and more on-the-money drumming from Wickcliffe. Indeed, the Wickcliffe-Lynch rhythm section excels throughout the entire album.

Things get a little grittier on “Don’t Want To Think About It” before easing into the keyboard-led slow blues of “Bring Me Some Blues”, with its echoes of Paris, France. The blues-rock title track is based around another funky guitar riff from Pickett, who also wrote the track, and wah-wah-like keys from Lamb. While O’Neil and Pickett wrote the majority of tracks together, a number of different musicians contributed to the different songs, helping to ensure a broad canvas of styles.

The funky “Touch The Moon”, for example, comes from Lynch’s pen, while the jazzy “Fooled Again” is credited to Cain/O’Neil and the 80s-style blues-rock ballad of “World Gone Mad” (with its very apposite message about gun control) was written by Lamb, O’Neil and Pickett.

The gentle shuffle of “Not Your Mama” adopts an intriguing chord progression, with a memorable descending keyboard figure at the end of each verse, while “Down To The Delta” has a deliberate stutter-like quality. The closing tracks, the upbeat “Untouchable” and stomping “Sugar Daddy” both contain some fine old-fashioned honky-tonk piano.

It is obvious from Easy Does It that da Mudcats must be a blast to witness at a live show. The album is a highly enjoyable collection of blues-rock-soul and a hint or two of jazz that will particularly appeal to those who enjoy the smoother side of the genre. If your tastes lean towards the likes of Robert Cray, O.V. Wright or Curtis Salgado, you will find a lot to enjoy in da Mudcats.

Reviewer Rhys Williams lives in Cambridge, England, where he plays blues guitar when not holding down a day job as a technology lawyer or running around after his children. He is married to an American, and speaks the language fluently, if with an accent.



 Featured Blues Review – 7 of 10 

bobby messano cd imageBobby Messano – Bad Movie

Prince Frog Records – 2017

15 tracks; 60 minutes

www.bobbymessano.com

Bobby Messano’s last two albums Welcome To Deltaville in 2013 and Love And Money in 2015 garnered much praise and nominations for Blues Blast awards. Bad Movie is something of a concept album and Bobby is clearly emerging from a troublesome relationship, many of the songs discussing the break-up. Bobby worked with Jon Tiven on most of the songs, also with Larry Weiss and Steve Kallnich on three, plus there is a song that Brian May of Queen wrote with Jon. The album was recorded in Nashville with bassist Ed Canova, drummer Nioshi Jackson and keyboardist Pete Gallinari providing support for Bobby’s vocals and guitars; Jon Tiven adds sax to two tracks and Alecia Elliott Fisher vocals to two more.

The title track opens proceedings with an aggressive rock sound and Bobby feeling himself trapped in a “Bad Movie”. The Brian May song “Come To Your Senses” is something of a Bobby Bland style soul ballad seeking hope for the relationship, Bobby handling the vocals well and contributing some good guitar work. The next song, however, shows that matters have not been resolved as Bobby asks “Why Water A Dead Rose”, a rock ballad that grows from acoustic beginnings to an intense finale. Where next, one wonders? Bobby sees that future as a “Road To Oblivion”, Bobby on dobro over a country blues rhythm: “I’m going down the road to oblivion, it’s gonna be a long, dark night”. “Unconventional Wisdom” has a full-on rock riff, the chorus beefed up by sax and in “Too Good To Be True” Bobby recognises that he has had to accept the truth though “I really liked the way you lied to me”, sad lyrics over a jaunty tune. The entirely logical follow-up is “If The Phone Aint Ringin’, It’s Not Me Callin’”, a short but frantic piece of garage rock n’ roll. To further support the notion that Bobby is emerging from this disaster of a relationship he declares that it’s “Never Too Late To Break A Bad Habit”, another catchy rocker.

“Water Under The Bridge” is a slower tune with fine organ and acoustic guitar, a song that looks back at the failed relationship; Alecia Elliott Fisher is co-vocalist here, her clear voice making a nice pairing with Bobby though towards the end of the song she strays into ‘warbling’. Alecia also contributes backing vocals on “You Left Me No Choice” which has a distorted wah-wah guitar solo that fits badly with the lilting reggae tune. The reality of being alone kicks in on “The Girl That Got Away”, a gentle tune with delicate guitar fills as Bobby contemplates the future alone: “Now the closet’s half empty so I got myself more room but damn, it’s full of my favourite perfume. No way to chase it out, that lingering bouquet of the girl that got away”.

The final three tracks move away from the main theme of the album: “We Need A Blessing” mixes wah-wah and a ZZ Top beat on a song that seems to move into a more political area as Bobby states that “we are Americans and we love living here. We have lost our way, we need a blessing to appear, to open up a path that’s clear”; “Is It Too Much To Hope For A Miracle” moves into Springsteen ballad territory with keyboardist Pete conjuring up an accordion sound; Bobby does at least sound more optimism on the closing track “American Spring” with Jon’s sax giving a full sound and lyrics that look forward positively, quite a relief after some of the angst exhibited earlier on! Plus it is very much the best rocker on the album with an earworm guitar riff.

More rock and Americana than blues, Bad Movie has perhaps given Bobby the chance to exorcise his personal demons and the last three tracks point the way to a future project that may be less personal.

Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK who enjoys a wide variety of blues and roots music, especially anything in the ‘soul/blues’ category. Favorites include contemporary artists such as Curtis Salgado, Tad Robinson, Albert Castiglia and Doug Deming and classic artists including Bobby Bland, Howling Wolf and the three ‘Kings’. He gets over to the States as often as he can to see live blues.


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 Featured Blues Review – 8 of 10 

john primer bob corritore cd imageJohn Primer & Bob Corritore – Ain’t Nothing You Can Do

Delta Groove Music

www.johnprimerblues.com

https://bobcorritore.com

10 tracks/51:57 running time

Presiding Dean of Chicago Blues guitar John Primer, pairs with quite possibly the hardest working harp man in the Blues business, Bob Corritore, for this outing. It is their second date as co-leaders and the accolades continue to pour forth for the both of them including being nominated for this years best Traditional Blues Album on the Blue Blast Magazine ballot.

Primer of course, made his mark in the bands of Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters and Magic Slim before launching his heralded solo career which has garnered him two Grammy nominations, as well as the 2016 Blues Music award for Best Traditional Male Artist.

Along with his heavily conked, I mean coiffed pompadour, Blues Renaissance man Bob Corritore wears many hats; club owner and promoter, record producer, songwriter, radio personality, journalist and editor. Corritore is a prolific cat with a discography seemingly longer than a radio signal in outer space.

Simply stated, Ain’t Nothing You Can Do is fine Chicago Blues. Song titles are culled from the repertoires of Sonny Boy Williamson I, Snooky Pryor, Johnny Temple, Magic Slim, Chuck Brooks, Don Nix, Howlin’ Wolf as well as the songbooks of Primer and Corritore.

This reviewers favorite track is the John Primer penned track 10 “When I Leave Home.” A slow burning grinder that teleports the listener to the dance floor at Theresa’s or the Checkerboard Lounge on Chicago’s South Side.

Kudos of course to the legendary Henry Gray and the late Barrelhouse Chuck for relentlessly driving this rollicking studio band. The 92 year old Gray pounds on tracks 3, 7 and 8 and Chuck is credited on the remaining seven. Supplemental guitar work is provided by Big John Atkinson, also on tracks 3, 7 and 8 with Chris James on the rest. Similarly Troy Sandow handles bass on track 3, 7 and 8, while Patrick Ryan trolls the bottom on tracks 1, 2, 4-6, 9 and 10. Brian Fahey is the drummer throughout.

John Primer’s appointed time in Chicago began in 1963. He is known not only for his tasteful lead guitar licks, but also for his slide guitar technique, distilled from the likes of Sammy Lawhorn, Muddy Waters, Johnny Winters and a sprinkling of Elmore James. This Cd is further testament to his artistry, long known by his peers in the music business and his still growing global fan base.

Corritore’s harmonica riffs are compact and understated, never overpowering the band as some harp players are prone to do. And yes, this recording was done live in the studio with the full band at all times. Touchingly, Barrelhouse Chuck was able to hear the finished product shortly before he passed away on December 12, 2016. He told Bob Corritore he loved the record a week and a half before he checked out.

CyberSoulMan Tee Watts is music director at KPFZ 88.1 fm in Lakeport, California. His radio show, The CyberSoulMan Review airs Tuesday afternoons from 3-5 PST. He is road manager for Sugar Pie DeSanto, the last Queen standing from the glory years of Chess Records.


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 Featured Blues Review – 9 of 10 

the axxmann cd imageThe Axxmann & Friends – No Fancy Cover

www.axxmann.com

self release

10 songs time-41:31

Actually there is no cover at all for Matt “The Axxmann” MacDermaid’s latest CD. Seeing as the CD case photo supposedly shows The Axxmann trekking through the snowy woods of his home state of Michigan, perhaps his moniker refers to him maybe being a lumberjack as the guitar playing here is mostly unstructured shredding or wah-wah meanderings with only an occasional arranged solo. It isn’t specified if he sings any of the songs, as there are seven other vocalists listed without specifying who sings on which track. The nine band written originals are for the most part pretty tame featuring soul less vocals, except in the case of the three songs that feature female vocalists. In a few they sing about the blues, but there isn’t much in the way of blues songs here per se, save one cover and two originals.

A nice boogie beat infuses “The Renegade”, a modern day outlaw song featuring soulful organ by Robert John Manzitti. Otherwise the delivery doesn’t ring true. “If I can’t sing the blues in heaven, there ain’t no place for me” is a line in “Ain’t No Blues In Heaven”. No place for you, because you don’t even sing them here in this song. Although Bob Tarinelli contributes some great blues harp, it’s a song about the blues, not a blues song. So far no lead guitar to speak of. On the tribute to the late Irish blues-rock guitar icon Gary Moore “No Moore Blues” we finally get some guitar soloing, mostly of the shredding variety. The female vocal is very soulful along with more great organ playing.

The first blues song is a cover of Jesse Mae Robison’s “Sneakin’ Around” that features some good blues guitar. “My Baby’s Town” is a heavy blues song. Back to twiddling, shredding, directionless wah-wah and string bending on “Life’s Not What You Make Of It”. Some nice soaring guitar riffing lifts the plaintive female vocal on the strong effort of “The Storm”. Well ok, I guess “The Wolf Barks At the Moon” qualifies as a blues. Wish there was more in the way of good blues guitar elsewhere, as there is in this song and a few others. The gruff male vocal on this one is effective.

Good guitar playing on a handful of songs here doesn’t justify “The Axxmann” title, but his heart is in the right place and this CD surely has some good moments. The three songs featuring vocals by the ladies are well worth your time. Less hokey lyrics and more in the way of better arranged guitar solos would be welcome the next time around.

Reviewer Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony hails from the New Jersey Delta.

 


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 Featured Blues Review – 10 of 10 

matt and the stranger cd imageMatt And The Strangers – Burning

www.matt-and-the-strangers.de

Fox Music Publishing

9 songs time-46:37

German Hendrix inspired psychedelic blues-rock guitarist-singer Matt Kraft uses the Jimi vibe as a jumping off point for his blazing six-string antics. The lyrics all composed by Matt seem more like an after thought, as his songs are more like a vehicle for his guitar assault ably abetted by his trusty rhythm section of Marcel on drums and Tim on bass. No last names used here in power trio land. It’s these three with no outside help and they cut a wide swath through super-charged blues-rock guitar land. Picture Matt’s vocals as if he where the German Mick Jagger with at times a slurred accent that renders some lyrics incomprehensible.

The songs within vary from Hendrix inspired riff driven tunes to songs styled after Hendrix’ dreamy, floating mode. The brief dreamy guitar only interlude “Missing” inspired by you know who leads into the title track and further spacey grooves. The rhythm section hangs on with Matt at every turn. A few of the songs’ subjects are a bit baffling to me like “No Chance For Sideburns”. Huh? Ya got me on that one, something about once he had a mojo. I have no clue as to what “Red Inspiration” is, but once again this CD is more about Matt’s dexterity on guitar. For some reason the opening guitar coda to “You’re Alright” reminds me of the French nursery rhyme song “Frere Jacques” that I learned early on in my schooling. When he says “I know girl, you’re alright” I hear “Isle girl, you’re alright”.

“I’ve Got An Angel” is the first slow and moody J.H. piece here. As elsewhere Matt uses the influence as a foundation to build his own imaginative songs on, he never copies. He does this much in the way Robin Trower does. “You’re The One” utilizes layered guitar tracks much in the way he does throughout, creating a beautiful guitar wonderland.

Put this CD on and let the amazing guitar textures take you away on a Jimi Hendrix inspired cloud. Every device the master used is incorporated in this album-plenty of string-bending, wah-wah, distortion and effects of every description. In the hands of a skilled musician such as Matt these things are used to create something, not as an attention getting tool. With bands like this blues-rock will surely continue to flourish world wide. Crank this baby up and blow purple clouds of guitar nirvana out of your speakers.

Reviewer Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony hails from the New Jersey Delta.


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 Featured Blues Interview – Latimore 

Latimore image 1In late 1973, my mother was tending bar in a little Chicago neighborhood tap. One evening she came home raving about a new up-tempo version of T-Bone Walker’s immortal “Stormy Monday” that was burning up the joint’s jukebox. Eventually she made off with that precious 45 for me. I could see why she dug it so much. Not only did it swing with a vengeance, it was by a soulful singer sporting a set of richly burnished baritone pipes who was so hip that he only needed one name. That was my introduction to Latimore.

I wasn’t alone. “Stormy Monday” was Latimore’s first national hit, though he’d been recording down in Miami since 1966. But he was just getting started. Soul stardom enveloped Latimore, thanks to his 1974 R&B chart-topper “Let’s Straighten It Out” and a parade of followup hits. All that success has rendered the keyboard-playing singer a chitlin’ circuit favorite ever since. He shares an all-star bill on August 26 at the Country Club Hills Theater that also includes Bobby Rush, Denise LaSalle, and Enchantment. Like Rush and LaSalle, Latimore defies pigeonholing. Is he a soul singer steeped in blues, or a blues singer blessed with an uncommon amount of soul?

“It’s difficult to categorize me a lot of times, because some people think, ‘Well, he’s not bluesy enough.’ And then somebody from the other side will say, ‘Well, he’s too bluesy!’ But see, I was born and raised up in the blues,” says Latimore. “Everything I do, it’s going to have some blues overtones and blues undertones. It’s going to be there, because it’s me. So I can’t say that I’m a blues singer, but I’m a singer who can sing the blues.”

Latimore is also one of the newest members of the Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis, having been inducted in May. “Hey, man, it feels great after all this time that I’ve been out here,” he says. “To be inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame, that’s quite an honor. It got me before I got below the grass!”

He’s not resting on his considerable laurels. A Taste of Me: Great American Songs, on the Essential Media label, finds Latimore wrapping his vocal cords around chestnuts culled from several generations of the Great American Songbook rather than sticking with blues. He tackles “You Are So Beautiful,” “Smile,” “The Very Thought Of You,” and “Cry Me A River” with the same smooth confidence he’s long displayed on his own compositions.

“It was the idea of my friends, Ish Ledesma and Steve Alaimo. They talked to me about it and asked me if I would be interested in doing it, because I’ve done those things before, but never recorded any of those things. He said, ‘Well, why don’t you try it? Let’s just experiment with it here and see if it comes out,” says Latimore. “They had a whole list that they came up with, and they asked if there was anything in there that I would like to do. So I picked them all that I was going to do. Ish is the one that gave me that ‘A Taste Of Me (Sabor A Mi).’ It’s a Spanish song. He wanted me to do that, so I said, ‘Hey, I’ll do it!’ I picked all the other things: ‘At Last,’ ‘What A Difference A Day Makes,’ ‘Since I Fell For You,’ and those things. I always did like those songs.

“When I was working locally around Miami with my band, we always did a couple of standards on the show, and then we’d get into the dance mode,” says Latimore. “On the slow dances, we would sometimes do the standards, the slow standards. It was something that we enjoyed doing. And I used to do things like ‘Fly Me To the Moon’ and all that. I used to do all that stuff. So it was a pleasure to kind of reach back. And it wasn’t an uncomfortable thing for me. It’s kind of a pleasure for me to do that.”

Latimore image 2Latimore’s professional association with producers Ledesma and Alaimo harks back to the days when they all recorded for Miami entrepreneur Henry Stone’s family of labels. The Cuban-born Ledesma fronted a band called Foxy that scored a 1978 R&B chart-topper for Stone’s Dash label with their “Get Off.” Latimore and Alaimo first joined forces in the mid-‘60s, when Alaimo was a livewire Miami performer with several hits under his belt, notably 1963’s “Every Day I Have To Cry” for Chicago’s Checker label, as well as a co-starring on Dick Clark’s daily rock and roll television show Where the Action Is.

“They ended up getting my band to back him on appearances. I went a whole bunch of places with him,” says Latimore. “I used to emcee and open the show and introduce him.” Little did the teenaged viewers of Where the Action Is realize that when Alaimo performed on the show, they were hearing Latimore’s band backing the young singer instead of the Birdwatchers, the white group miming their instruments in the background. “Me, (drummer) Freddie Scott, and two more guys,” he reveals, “we recorded the tracks, and they got to be seen. They didn’t put us on there.”

Born in Charleston, Tennessee, Benny Latimore first sang there in church. “We went to Sunday school,” he says. “We went to church every Sunday, and that was just a part of our life. I got to singing in the choir. My mother sang in the senior choir, and I started singing in the junior choir. That was my first experience of singing in front of people.” For blues listening, the lad turned to clear-channel WLAC out of Nashville. “I used to sneak and listen to it in the bed with the little old transistor radio. It was crackling and doing all kinds of stuff, trying to pick up WLAC,” he says. “I used to get that and listen to them: John Richbourg, that’s John R., and Hoss Allen, the guy with the crewcut, big old guy. Everybody used to think that these guys were black guys. When I got to meet those guys, I said, ‘These guys are all white guys!’”

Latimore’s collegiate curriculum flew out the window when he snagged a gig in Nashville with saxist Louis Brooks’ locally popular combo. “I was just a kid. I dropped out of college to be the vocalist with his band. It was great. I learned a lot from them. All the guys in the band were old enough to be my father. They taught me a lot. They taught me a lot about the respect of the business,” he says. “Some of that’s carried over to me now. Always be on time, always do the best that you can do when you get on that stage, because it has nothing to do with you and the promoter, with you and anybody else, your personal problems or anything. Leave all of that. You get on the stage, and you do the best you can every time you get up there.”

Brooks had been recording for Ernie Young’s Excello label—home to Lightnin’ Slim, Slim Harpo, Arthur Gunter, and Lazy Lester—since 1954. With Earl Gaines fronting the band, they’d scored a 1955 R&B smash with “It’s Love Baby (24 Hours A Day).” But Brooks’ plans to launch Latimore’s recording career the same way didn’t pan out. “We went to record,” he says. “I went to the restroom and I came out, and I passed by the office, and the old man that we recorded for (Young), he used to chew on his cigar all the time. And I heard him and Louis in the office talking. Ernie said, ‘That boy can’t sing! I’m not gonna finish this.’ (Louis) said, ‘But Mister Ernie, I think he does pretty good. He’s a little green, but he’s coming right along!’ (Ernie said), ‘He can’t sing. He can’t sing.’ I mean, he just didn’t like my singing. And Louis was trying to plead my case.” Brooks was forced to explain the unfortunate situation to Latimore.

“Louis said, ‘Well, Mister Ernie don’t like the song, so we’re gonna regroup and we’re gonna come back at a later time. But he didn’t like the song too well.’ I don’t know what song it was we were trying to record. I can’t remember. Anyway, Louis never told me that that’s what he said, and I never told him that I heard the old man say that. I’m telling you, it knocked me down. It knocked me for a loop. All it did, though, was really inspire me that I was going to prove him wrong.”

Latimore image 3Latimore started doubling on piano with Brooks’ band. “I never had the training, but I played by ear. We always had a piano at our house, and I fooled around with it. My sisters took music lessons, and I didn’t. I was so interested in sports, this was just something that was a hobby for me. But I had a talent for being able to hear things and sit down and kind of pick it out,” he says. “Louis said, ‘I want you to play. You be the keyboard player for the band.’ I said, ‘What? I don’t know if I can handle that or not.’ He said, ‘Well, I’ll help you.’ He would take me to his house, and he would let me sit down there and go through the chord changes and everything, all of the songs that we did on our little gigs, all the songs that were in our repertoire, he’d go over with me. One at a time, over and over and over and over again.”

Those newly developed piano skills came in handy when Latimore hit the road as accompanist to deep-voiced Nashville singer Joe Henderson, who nailed a 1962 blockbuster with the relaxed “Snap Your Fingers.” “He said, ‘If I make it, I’m gonna give you a job.’ We all had these dreams about trying to make it in the music business. He said, ‘If you make it, you give me a job!’ Well, he came out with that ‘Snap Your Fingers,’ and it was a smash hit. It was a pop hit and an R&B hit, everything across the board. And he said, ‘Well, you ready?’” says Latimore. “I said, ‘Well, okay!’ That’s when I gave Louis the notice that I was leaving.”

“That’s when I first left Nashville. Went all over the country. I stayed with (Joe) a couple of years, and then his thing started to die down. In the meantime, we had been in Miami for a show. After the show, we went to this club, and I got on a talent show. Probably would have won it, but they disqualified me because they said, ‘You’re not amateur. You’re professional. You’re on the road.’ And the man that owned the club said, ‘If you ever need a job, give me a call.’ I always wanted to be around Miami. I always had this desire to live there. When things got a little bit bad with Joe, I said, ‘Well, I’m gonna call this man up and see if he’s serious.’ A man named Clyde Killens that ran a club called the Knight Beat, which was the main club in Miami. Called him up, he said, ‘Okay, I’ll fly you down.’ He flew me in, and I said, ‘Well, you know, I’m just gonna be here for the summer. I’ll stay here until the winter is over in the other areas, and when summer comes, I’m leaving.’” His plans soon changed. Latimore has lived in sunny Florida ever since.

Henry Stone owned Miami’s leading record distributorship and a vast array of small record labels (Sam & Dave made their debut on wax on one of them). Stone knew talent when he heard it, bringing the young singer aboard his Blade label near the end of 1966 to cut the self-penned “Rain From the Sky.” “Henry had a little studio,” he says. “He came to this place where we played a lot of times, and he liked the way we played. He got us to be musicians and back up some of the people that were on his little labels. He had a distributorship, but he had a little studio there where he started doing things.” Billed as Benny Latimore, he cut seven more singles between 1967 and 1970 for Stone’s Dade imprint, including a remake of Sam & Dave’s “It Was So Nice While It Lasted,” the Doc Pomus-penned “The Power And The Glory,” and a cover of Johnny Nash’s easy-flowing “Let’s Move And Groove Together” that recently surfaced on an episode of the popular TV program Orange is the New Black. None of them made it too far outside Florida. He also did a lot of session work for Stone, playing keyboards on Betty Wright’s “Clean Up Woman” and Gwen McCrae’s “Rockin’ Chair” among many other hits.

Following a powerful “If You Were My Woman” that was a gender-switched 1971 rendition of Gladys Knight & the Pips’ smash “If I Were Your Woman,” Latimore dispensed with his first name altogether. “All my buddies and most everybody at school called me Latimore, or Lat.,” he says. “People started calling me that, so I said, ‘Well, you know, I’ll just use my last name.” Along with his truncated stage name came the eponymous 1973 album on Stone’s Glades label that contained his breakthrough. Everyone thought the album’s lead track, the Al Kooper-penned-and-co-produced (with Alaimo) “Jolie,” would set the charts ablaze, but it failed to ignite. Tucked away at the close of the album’s side two was Latimore’s jazz-inflected reading of “Stormy Monday.” E. Rodney Jones, program director of Chicago’s mighty WVON radio, played a major role in making it a national hit.

“I guess he just put it on to listen to himself, and he liked it. And he said, ‘I’m gonna put this on the air!’ He put it on the air, and his board lit up, people calling in and saying, oh, they like that! So he played it again. And they liked it, and he played it again. And he called Henry Stone and said, ‘Henry, that “Stormy Monday,” that’s the record right there! You need to put that out as a single!’ So he put that out as a single, and it just went crazy in Chicago,” says Latimore. “It was mostly the larger cities in the Midwest, and then out on the Coast, out in San Francisco and Los Angeles and all that. It did really good in Detroit and Cleveland and around up there.” Part of the record’s charm was Latimore’s use of the melodica, a wind-blown keyboard instrument that was practically unknown at the time. “I used to play it in the clubs all the time,” he says. “I don’t do it anymore because those melodicas, they have reeds in them, and they go out of tune.”

Latimore image 4After that, Latimore wrote his own hits—none bigger than the smoldering soul ballad “Let’s Straighten It Out,” which topped the R&B hit parade in November of 1974 and made impressive pop inroads as well. “It’s from personal and vicarious experience. People tell me things. People talk to me all the time, and over the years I’ve had the opportunity to meet and talk to a lot of people. And they tell me about their personal relationships and all this stuff,” he says. “The song, it just sort of flowed out. Everybody’s got to straighten out something sometime, no matter how old they are, how young they are, whether they’re married, single, divorced, engaged, or shackin’—you’ve got to straighten out something. You’re gonna have some problems, and it ain’t gonna ever be solved until you sit down and talk about it.”

Latimore’s 1975 followup “Keep The Home Fire Burnin’” (which he wrote with producer Alaimo) was also huge, as was his self-penned “Something ‘Bout ‘Cha” the next year. Even though much of Stone’s ‘70s empire was based on the disco rhythms of George McCrae and KC & the Sunshine Band. Latimore registered his displeasure with his ’79 hit “Discoed To Death.” “In clubs where we used to gig every night, you’ve got a guy in there playing records every night,” he recalls. “They’re playing disco, disco, disco, disco.”

Soon disco beats were fading fast, as did Stone’s self-contained Miami empire. Latimore moved over to Malaco Records in 1982. “One of the promotion guys at Malaco, Dave Clark, he had been after me a long time,” he says. “(Dave told me), ‘Man, you ought to come to Malaco!’” Latimore stayed with the Jackson, Miss.-based label for over a decade, picking up a new nickname, the Silver Fox, due to his flowing gray coiffure. Z.Z. Hill, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Johnnie Taylor, and Little Milton struck paydirt time and again at Malaco, but it was somewhat tougher sledding for Latimore.

“Those guys treated me great, friendly and stuff, but I was going through a thing,” he says, “I was in a slump, really, as far as writing was concerned. And they did something that kind of exacerbated that whole situation. They said, ‘We want you write us a “Straighten It Out!”’ Alas, classics like that often come along only once in a lifetime. “Let’s Straighten It Out” remains Latimore’s signature song (he revisits it on A Taste of Me along with another of his Glades hits, “Dig A Little Deeper”), and he’s still happy to sing it for his legion of fans.

“I enjoy being onstage. The work part is the logistics and all that stuff, getting from here to there and upstairs, that’s the work right there. Dealing with different people, and sometimes unscrupulous promoters, and people after you about this and that and the other. So that’s the work part. But on the stage to me, that’s part of the pay. And I still enjoy it. Every time I get on the stage, it was something that I was meant to do. I guess that’s why I still do it. As long as I can do it and be credible, and feel like I’m doing a good job, I’ll do it.”

Interviewer Bill Dahl is a lifelong Chicago resident who began writing about music professionally in 1977. He’s written for Vintage Rock, Goldmine, Living Blues, Blues Revue, Blues Music Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, and the Reader, and is the author of The Art of the Blues, a 2016 book published by University of Chicago Press, and 2001’s Motown: The Golden Years (Krause Publications). Bill was awarded the Blues Foundation’s Keeping the Blues Alive Award in journalism in 2000.



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The Blue Jay Jazz Foundation – Blue Jay, CA

Blue Jay Jazz Foundation presents The King Brothers Thursday, August 10 (at 6 p.m.)at SkyPark at Santa’s Village, the entertainment and dining destination that reopened in 2016. The King Brothers are bringing the blues back to the San Bernardino Mountains to kick off the 2017 Blue Jay Jazz Festival concert series.

The Brothers, whose first Festival appearance in 2007 helped launch a serious blues component to the Blue Jay event, established a new standard of blues while staying true to a solid blues tradition. Drummer Sam and guitarist-vocalist Lee have played, toured and recorded with their cousin Freddie King and their “adopted uncle” Albert King. Their recent CD is Get up and Shake It, which All About Jazz called “blues played the way it should be, by guys who have been doing it for a while.”

The series is produced by the non-profit Blue Jay Jazz Foundation and continues with Greg Adams and East Bay Soul on August 17 and Adrianna Marie and her Groovecutters on August 24. More at www.bluejayjazz.com.

Southeast Iowa Blues Society – Fairfield, IA

The 4th Annual “Blue Ribbon Blues Fest” presented by the Southeast Iowa Blues Society (SIBS)is August 12th, 2017 at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds in Fairfield, IA. The fest features Rob Lumbard, Danielle Nicole Band, Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials and with Tony Blew between acts

Gates Open at 4:30 with music beginning at 5pm. Beverage Garden and BBQ & more…No Outside Food or Drinks Bring your chairs and Camping is available. Tickets – Advance $20 and SIBS members / Day of Show – $25

For more info. go to http://southeastiowabluessociety.org/ or call 641-919-7477 or 641-233-7438

North Central Florida Blues Society – Gainesville, FL

The North Central Florida Blues Society presents the Norman Jackson Band July 23, 2017 from 7 -10 pm at the High Dive (210 SW 2nd Ave) in Gainesville, FL. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $8 for North Central Florida Blues Society members.

These 3rd Place finishers at the 2016 International Blues Challenge are making their first Florida performance. They are a truly original and unique act that promises to not just play the finest and most genuine Blues you’ll ever hear but also transcend what a “band” does by thoroughly entertaining the audience. Norman’s true and entertaining storytelling is paired by his young apprentice and saxophonist Rick Shortt’s energy and showmanship. See https://ncfblues.org for more details.

Central Iowa Blues Society – Des Moines, IA

The Central Iowa Blues Society presents the 2017 Iowa Blues Challenge, in two categories, Solo/Duo (Sunday – July 16, 2017) and Band (Thursday – July 20, 2017 . Both are vying for a prize package and a chance to compete at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis.

The winners of each preliminary round will advance to the Finals held on Saturday, September 16, 2017 at the Des Moines Social Club, 900 Mulberry St, Des Moines. For a complete list of acts, prelim locations, dates and times go to www.cibs.org.

Friends of the Blues – Kankakee, IL

Sat, July 15 – Polly O’Keary & Rhythm Method, CD Release Party, Watseka Elks, Thur, July 20 – The Nouveaux Honkies, Inside Out, Gilman IL, Thur, July 27 – Albert Castiglia, The Longbranch in L’Erable IL, Tues, Aug 08 – Frank Bang & Cook County Kings, Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club, Tues, Aug 22 – Jeff Jensen, Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club, Tues or Wed, Nov 7 or 8 (TBD) – Jim Suhler & Monkey Beat, Manteno Sportsmen’s Club. More Info at: http://www.facebook.com/friendsoftheblues.

The Illinois Central Blues Club – Springfield, IL

The Illinois Central Blues Club has announced the line-up of talent for Blue Monday live performances held every Monday night at The Alamo, 115 North Fifth, Springfield, IL from 8:00pm to midnight. Additional information on any performer listed below is available upon request.

Blue Monday Schedule: July 17 – Joel DaSilva, July 24 – Kilborn Alley Blues Band, July 31 – Skyla Burrell, Aug. 7 – Lil Joe McClennan, Aug. 14 – Andy T & Alabama Mike, Aug. 21 – Lucky Loser’s, Aug. 28 -Green McDonough Band.

Additional ICBC partnered shows: July 20 – James Armstrong Presents @ The Alamo, 6 pm Black Magic Johnson, July 22 – Blues Day at the Chatham Sweet Corn Festival 12 pm Brother Jefferson, Alex Jenkins, Back Pack Jones, Aug. 3 – James Armstrong Presents @ The Alamo, 6 pm Dan Rivero Trio, Aug. 17 – James Armstrong Presents @ The Alamo, 6 pm Sam Crain Trio, Aug. 26 – Old Capitol Blues & BBQ Festival – Mary Jo Curry, Albert Castiglia, Lil’ Ed, Aug. 27 – Old Capitol Blues & BBQ Festival – James Armstrong, Kenny Neal, Eric Gales. For more information visit www.icbluesclub.org.

The Sacramento Blues Society – Sacramento, CA

The Sacramento Blues Society Presents the Tia Carroll Band with special guest the Ryder Green Band July 16, 2017 2:00-6:00 PM at Fair Oaks Clubhouse 7997 California Ave Fair Oaks Village. Tickets $10/$15 21+.

Tia Carroll has her own unique star power that’s evident in her new self-titled album. She has been a recipient of many blues awards, including the Northern California Entertainers Music Awards 2016 Female Blues Artist Of The Year! www.sacblues.com


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