Issue 11-9 March 2, 2017

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Cover photo by Bob Kieser © 2017


 In This Issue 

Henry L. Carrigan, Jr. has our feature interview with slide guitar master Sonny Landreth. We have 8 Blues reviews for you this week including a book about the history of Blues Unlimited Magazine plus reviews of new music by Trudy Lynn, Jonny T-Bird & The MPs, Delbert McClinton & Self-Made Men, The Andy Drudy Disorder, Dr. Albert Flipout’s One CAN Band, Adam Karch and Band Of Friends.

Our video of the week is Toronzo Cannon.

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


 Blues Wanderings 


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We made it out to hear Jeff Jensen and his band this week for Blue Monday at the Alamo in Springfield, IL. And we also got a bonus treat when Brandon Santini sat in for the second set. Now that is what I call a blues blast!


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Blues Blast Magazine’s Early Bird Special is our lowest priced advertising of the 2017 year. It offers an affordable & effective way to get the Blues word out!

This 8-issue discount ad campaign allows you to add significant impact to your Blues advertising and promotion campaign. It is a great way for artists to solicit festival gigs or can be used to kick up the visibility of your summer Blues festival, new album release, Blues event or music product all around the globe! This is perfect for a new album release, a festival advertising campaign or any new music product.

Normal 2017 Advertising rates start at $150 per issue of Blues Blast magazine. BUT, for a limited time, this special gives you eight issues of Blues Blast Magazine for only $400. (A $1200 value!)

Blues Blast Magazine is a great way to promote anything Blues. 36,000 opt-in subscribers read Blues Blast Magazine. Our subscribers are located in all 50 states and in more than 90 countries giving your products global coverage at an affordable price. Weekly issues of Blues Blast Magazine are also posted on our popular website. We get more than 2,000,000 (That’s TWO MILLION) hits and 65,000 visitors a month at our website.

To get this special rate simply buy your ad space by APRIL 15th, 2017!!!! Ads can run anytime between now and December 2017. So get your ad package now for that fall album release!

With this special rate, your ad can be viewed more than 370,000 times by our readers who want to know about your Blues events and music! Reserve your space today! Space is limited and will be sold on a first come first served basis.

Other ad packages and options, single ads, short run ads or long term bulk rates available too! Visit www.BluesBlastMagazine.com. To get more information email info@bluesblastmagazine.com or call 309 267-4425 today for an ad plan that fits your needs.

Ads must be reserved and paid for by April 15th, 2015!!!


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 Featured Blues Review – 1 of 8 

trudy lynn cd imageTrudy Lynn – I’ll Sing The Blues For You

Connor Ray Music

10 tracks

Trudy Lynn is a fantastic blues singer whose presence on the music scene spans over five decades. She joined forces with Steve Krase and Connor Ray Music i n her hometown of Houston in 2014 and began writing songs and choosing covers that fit in with her original music and now has produced her third album with them.

Born Lee Audrey Nelms 68 years ago, she grew up in her Mom’s beauty shop down the street from the Club Manatee in Houston where she listened from outside the venue to the likes of Joe Hinton and Bobby “Blue” Bland. She sang in high school and then in clubs singing R&B, soul and blues for years but was unable to sign a good recording contract. In the 1980’s Ichiban Records was stood up in Atlanta and gave Trudy her first real recording success. She toured the world for many years singing at major festivals and now for the last feww years she has focused on her career with Connor Ray Music. Trudy notes she lost her son in 2015 and Steve Krase and Connor Ray Music helped her get through those tough times.

Featured on the CD with Trudy are Steve Krase on harp, David Carter on guitar, Terry Dry on bass, Randy Wall on keys and Matt Johnson on drums. They offer an explosive backing to this dynamic and seasoned vocal powerhouse. I got to meet and hear her at the Blues Blast awards where she was nominated several times and now she has been nominated for a BMA. She is the real deal!

She opens this set with the jumping “Alright Baby,” a Big Mama Thornton cut that she and the band just blow away. It’s a big, driving cut and a super opening for the album. Krase blows some mean harpp as Lynn gives a fine performance. Lowell Fulson’s “Black Night” takes the tempo way down for a fine, slow blues . As she sings it’s a if shes stirring a big old pot of emotions for us to savor. The guitar solo and work is sultry and suave; very tastefully done as is the piano work.

Lynn’s original cut follows; “Thru Chasin’ You” starts off with a little funkiness and Krase punching out some nice harp. The organ, piano ad harp all support things nicely as Trudy tells her man off. It’s a great cut. Mel Tillis’ 1957 “Honky Tonk Song” gets a gutsy and fun cover. This country tune has been also done by the likes of Koko Taylor as far back as 1963. This is a fantastic version with Lynn and Krase playing the major protagonists. Memphis Minnie’s “World Of Trouble” opens to some stinging guitar licks and then Lynn some in with her sultry delivery. She grinds out the lyrics with great gusto. Krase and then Carter both deliver super solos, too.

“Ramblin’ Blues” opens the second half of the album. It’s a Big Maybelle tune that Lynn delivers in a big way. Wall’s organ and piano work stands out as Trudy, David and Steve trade vocal , guitar and harp licks. Alma “The Lollipop Mama” Mondy’s 1949 “Still My Little Angel Child ” gets dressed up nicely by Trudy and the band. This version is a little more bouncy and fun, with Krase’s harp replacing the sax and Carter’s guitar is a bit more prevalent and well done. Wall’s piano also helps to move things along well and he gets a nice solo to boot. Little Esther’s “If its News To You” gets a fresh cover. Trudy takes a sassy approach to this similar to Esther. Carter’s guitar licks are all over this one as the rest of the band bounce and bop along with this fiery and fun song. Wall gets another sweet solo with his honky tonk piano and Lynn delivers a hot performance.

“Kissin’ In The Dark” follows, a tune made famous originally by Memphis Minnie. Lynn sings about how sick she and some friends got sick or in trouble by kissin’ in the dark. Johnny Copeland’s great “Down On Bended Knee” get’s turned down a few notches with this more soulful take by Trudy. Krase offers a cool and restrained solo as does Carter on guitar. They make this work nicely as a slower blues. giving it their own spin.

I’ve enjoyed Trudy’s work over the years and with Connor Ray Music she is in a great place. I strongly recommend this one !

This is a super soulful blues album with a fantastic singer and great band. If you like sassy and soulful blues, then go no further- this album has some great interpretive stuff that Lynn and company deliver in their own way.

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 – 2 of 8 

jonny t-bird cd imageJonny T-Bird & The MPs – True Story

www.jonnytbird.com

self release

11 songs time-44:08

Milwaukee’s Jonny T-Bird is quite a refreshing and inventive blues-based guitarist. His “singing”?…Not so much. For lack of a better description his singing style is of the talk-sing goofy school with a dash of punk attitude. The thing is the guy is a top notch guitarist. The musicians are first rate along with the sharp production. The song writing leans to the mundane side.

If only the entire CD was comprised of well done instrumentals such as the lead off track “Iceberg”. It’s a nicely jump blues with Jonny’s guitar at times taking the tone of Yardbirds era Jeff Beck. Shades of “Jeff’s Boogie”. Just about everyone takes a brief solo. His voice is actually well suited to the syncopated beat of “Undercover Lover”. Top notch guitar playing here as throughout the entire CD. Lively as all get out.

Queeny McCarter duets with Jonny on “We Got It” that benefits from a nicely done guitar riff. The back and forth lines seem to mask some of the roughness of Jonny’s vocal.

Jonny relates some of his life story in true punk-new wave, talk-singing fashion in “Born In Milwaukee(Est. 1989)”. Did I say this guy can really play some guitar? “Big Dad” Robert Keelan provides some nice harmonica here and elsewhere in the recording. “Big Dad” keeps the “singing” to the usual standards, while his harp and Jonny’s slide guitar remind us why we came. Keshena Armon contributes some piano that should be up more in the mix. Son House’s “Mississippi County Farm Blues” gets an energetic treatment along with a slightly distorted vocal. It also includes some Bo Diddley-ish guitar.

Jonny closes out “Best Friend Worst Enemy” with some wicked cool wah-wah guitar. He brings out his slide talents once again on “She’s The Toast Of the Town”. The slow paced “Misunderstandings” is…uh…slow…plus it has some soulful guitar goodness. “Hibernate Like The Bears” is one of the more bluesy songs. Jonny plays guitar in tandem with his own harmonica playing.

Jonny’s singing is rougher than an out house corn cob on chili night. Did I say this guy is one hell of a guitar player?

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


 Featured Blues Video Of The Week – Toronzo Cannon 


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Toronzo Cannon at The Harlem Avenue Lounge playing his song “Bad Contract”.(Click image to watch!)

Toronzo is performing at the Tampa Bay Blues Festival on Saturday, April 8th, 2017.

For tickets and info to to see this Blues legend visit www.tampabaybluesfest.com or click on their ad below!


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 Featured Blues Review – 3 of 8 

blues unlimited book imageBlues Unlimited – Essential Interviews From The Original Blues Magazine

Edited by Bill Greensmith, Mike Rowe, and Mark Camarigg

University of Illinois Press

456 pages

Founded in 1963 by Simon Napier and Mike Leadbitter, the original editors, Blues Unlimited set the standard for all of the other blues publications that followed in its wake. Employing a number of distinguished writers like John Broven and Mike Rowe, the magazine became a living treasure trove of blues history, commentary, and photography. The editors and staff writers often made trips to the United States to take in-depth looks at the blues community in major cities throughout the country. They had little to go on as few writers had spent much time documenting the lives of blues musicians and their burgeoning influence on the musical fabric of a nation.

Over its twenty-four year existence, the magazine published a huge list of extensive interviews that ranged from stars like Freddie King to the obscure St. Louis piano player Joe Dean. This book offers a sampling of these interviews with a focus on the cities of Chicago, Detroit, and St. Louis plus sections on musicians from Mississippi, Texas, and the West Coast. The final section introduces readers to two influential men involved in the record business. The earliest interview ran in 1970, featuring guitarist Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup, who wrote the song “That’s All Right Mama” that was an early hit for Elvis Presley. He covers the early years of his career, his time with Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller), and touches on the all-to-familiar tale of losing money to the owners of record labels.

The Chicago section starts off with Leadbitter talking to King in 1974 about the musicians that helped form his style and his success on King Records. Guitarist Louis Meyers repeatedly emphasizes the importance of tone while describing his time with his brother Dave and drummer Fred Below in the Aces, a legendary band that backed Little Walter. The king of the shuffle-style beat, Below’s interview focuses on artists he played with in addition to touching on the extent of his influence as one of the most recorded blues drummers in history. The rest of the section includes a piece on the piano man Jimmy Walker, who started out playing house-rent parties in the ’20s, a talk with James Cotton that covers his career up to 1976, saxophonist Red Holloway’s frank discussion of his career that ranged from Roosevelt Sykes to Chess Records to Billie Holliday – a truly memorable tale. The closing piece focuses on the three musicians instrumental in kick-starting the post-war blues sound – guitarists Moody Jones and his cousin Floyd plus the harmonica great Snooky Pryor.

Moving north to Detroit, readers will learn about guitarist Robert “Baby Boy” Warren, a mainstay of the local scene, followed by an article on the career of Big Maceo Merriweather, with his wife supplying new-at-the-time information about the piano player’s life. When the focus shifts to St. Louis, Editor Bill Greensmith delivers the longest interview with help from Cilla Huggins featuring singer Jimmy Thomas, who spent an extensive stretch as a member of Ike Turner’s Kings of Rhythm, and later as part of the Ike & Tina Revue. The interviewers display an extensive knowledge of little-known clubs and musicians that are part of the Thomas saga. The singer had plenty of recollections to share, including some hilarious, bawdy tales from life on the road. Another chapter has singer Fontella Bass recounting the events leading up to her monster hit, “Rescue Me”.

Crudup’s piece is included in the Mississippi section along with a short probe of the mystery surrounding singer and pianist Louise Johnson, who cut four songs for Paramount Records before disappearing into the fog of time. Albert Collins is featured in the Texas section along with a piece on Dr. Hepcat (Albert Lavada Durst), a barrelhouse piano man and the first African-American DJ in the state. Leadbitter takes a look at one of the magazine’s favorites, Weldon “Juke Boy” Bonner, who played guitar while alternating between singing and playing harp.

The West Coast section contains just two interviews – but they are highlights! Done in 1972, Johnny Otis gives a brief run-down on some of his career highlights up to that point. Then Broven takes his time with blues-shouter Roy Brown, who had a monster hit with “Good Rockin’ Tonight” and in 1949, had four records in the Top Ten at the same time. Brown is open about his successes and bad decisions as well as his frustrations with the record business. The Record Men section highlights two important figures. Henry Glover was the artistic director for King Records, one of a few black men to hold an executive position with an independent label. The arc of his career ranges from Bullmoose Jackson to Muddy Waters – and the horn arrangements for the Band’s Last Waltz concert. Ralph Bass worked for King/Federal, Savoy, and Chess records with artists like Johnny Otis and singer Little Esther Phillips, not to mention discovering James Brown.

Throughout the book, the editors and writers of Blues Unlimited show a deep knowledge of the history of the musicians under consideration. That knowledge base is quite impressive at a time long before the internet made everyone an expert. The thoroughness of the research certainly set the bar quite high for the blues publications that eventually followed. Readers will certainly broadened their understanding of blues idiom and some of its legendary performers in this illuminating edition. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for a Volume 2!

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!.


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2017 Blues Blast Music Award Submissions Are Now Open

The 2017 Blues Blast Music Awards series has begun. Submissions are open until April 15th, 2017 The Blues Blast Music Awards are the largest fan voted Blues awards on the planet. But hurry! Submissions end April 15,2017!

To visit our website for complete on how to have your music and musicianship considered for nomination,
CLICK HERE


 Featured Blues Review – 4 of 8 

delbert mcclinton cd imageDelbert McClinton & Self-Made Men – Prick of the Litter

Hot Shot Records/Thirty Tigers

www.delbertmcclinton.com

CD: 12 Songs, 38:44 Minutes

Styles: Jazz Ballads, Jazz-Influenced Blues

Never has there been a greater mismatch between a jazz album’s name and its content. With a moniker like Prick of the Litter, one might expect a CD full of growling guitar, four-letter words, and one or more songs about being a – well, the title. No such luck on Delbert McClinton’s latest, however. Most of its twelve tracks are mellow jazz influenced ballads, and the opener is what Ms. Wetnight would deem jazz-influenced blues. The style is far more Randy Newman than Robert Cray, and on the last song, “Rosy,” McClinton even sounds like him. In the blues world,

Delbert is sometimes a polarizing figure. He’s a household name due to winning multiple Grammys, and his talent is as self-evident as the “truths” in the Declaration of Independence. However, genre fans, you might not pick him if you were giving someone a crash course in pure blues masters. As for the CD, there’s a lot of glee, but not enough grit – enough hard edge or caffeine-like kick. If one is looking for suavity and romance, though, this would be the perfect Valentine’s Day gift.

The album’s promotional materials reveal: “Prick of the Litter was recorded with the support of McClinton’s working band, Self-Made Men, who include Bob Britt (guitar), Kevin McKendree (keyboards), Mike Joyce (bass), Jack Bruno (drums) and Quentin Ware (trumpet). The chemistry of this group of musicians, the best band he’s ever had, according to McClinton, is on full display on this album. [It] was co-produced by McClinton, McKendree and Britt, who also jointly contributed to co-writing over half the new songs on the album.” As for McClinton himself, this native Texan happened to travel to England where he “headlined shows with Bruce Channel, with a little-known Liverpool band (The Beatles).” Before that, Delbert led the house bands for Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, and others. He knows what these icons sound like, and their distinctive oeuvre, is not seen on McClinton’s newest.

The following song is witty and fits in perfectly with society’s health-conscious sensibilities:

Track 09: “Jones for You” – As a verb, “to jones” means “to crave,” as the noun form means “a craving” or “a fix”. The hero of this song is trying to give up all of his unhealthy vices, and is mostly succeeding: “I gave up meat. I just have salad. No swinging jazz – it’s only ballads. Nothing salty and nothing sweet. I skip it all, from milk to wheat. I got a trainer and a diet guy. Sprouts and protein shakes – that’s all I buy. I jog in the park all day. That’s what I do, while I still jones for you.” Quentin Ware’s slow, sultry trumpet and McKendree’s smoothie-creamy keyboards are definite highlights here.

The two other songs yours truly might recommend are “Neva” and “Bad Haircut. Prick of the Litter, for what it is – more of a jazz album that pure blues – is excellent.

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.


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 Blues Want Ad – Volunteer Writers Needed 

Do you really know your Blues and enjoy telling others about it?

Blues Blast Magazine looking for a few good writers to volunteer to help us out. We need reviewers who know Blues and can write a minimum of two reviews or stories each month. We will provide access to downloads or physical CDs, DVDs and books for review. The writer keeps the album, book or DVD for doing the review. We get music submissions from all over the world and we publish music reviews each week so there is a steady flow of things that need reviewed.

We are also looking for folks to write stories for our website, blogging style, and other occasional story assignments. We will assign subjects and stories and also entertain your story ideas.

These are volunteer positions that need a persons who really loves the Blues and wants to spread the Blues word! Must have good writing and composition skills, good grammar and spelling! Experience using WordPress is a big plus!

Experienced writers are encouraged to send samples of previous work. All Blues Blast staff started out as volunteers like this. We have kept those with dedication on as staff writers afterwards.

If you are interested, please send an email to info@bluesblastmagazine.com and tell us about your Blues background. A resume is always appreciated too.

Please be sure to include your phone number in your email reply.


 Featured Blues Review – 5 of 8 

andy drudy disorder cd imageThe Andy Drudy Disorder – Spark

Splash Point Records

www.andydrudy.com

7 tracks / 34:59

The Andy Drudy Disorder has to be one of the best band names in recent memory, and besides having a cool moniker this blues-rock project can really deliver the goods. They just put out their second release, Spark, on Splash Point Records, but Mr. Drudy is no newcomer to the music business. Andy has been playing out and in the studio since the 1980s, plus he has produced some instructional publications and contributed his writings to guitar publications. Along the way he has traveled the world, including a stint at Musician’s Institute in Los Angeles, where he got to learn from artists that included Robben Ford, Larry Carlton, and Eddie Van Halen.

Andy is an outstanding front man with mad guitar skills, and this United Kingdom denizen put together a notable crew from both sides of the Atlantic to make his dream become a reality, as you will soon see. The seven tracks on Spark are all originals, and each brings something unique to the table.

The set kicks off with the title track, and “Spark” is an energetic boogie that features none other than Pat Travers on slide guitar and Stu Hamm on bass. Pat was a big influence on Andy, and it sounds like they have a ball on this cut. Rounding out the instrumentation on this song are Adam Bushell on drums and the horn section of Sue Richardson and Andy Panayi. Boogie might be too simple of a way to describe this song, as there are some tricky rhythms, a few bass solo breaks from Hamm, and outro that has a bit of a swing feel.

Drudy follows this up with “Jefferson County Blues,” which is completely different from the opener as it is stripped back to just Andy and his drum machine. On this relaxed piece of swamp blues the listener will find that Andy’s vocals are comfortably worn with a touch of gravelly character, and his acoustic guitar playing is clean. Again there is a coda to this song, this time with a seemingly drunken chorus accompanied by a mandolin. Interesting!

The vocals for “Don’t Ever Let Me See Your Face Again” are provided by Jessica Greenfield, and her alto voice is simply gorgeous. The music that accompanies her is equally compelling, with a rich combination of acoustic and electric guitars, as well as multiple layers of vocal harmonies. For this track, the bass parts were played by Guy Pratt, a true bass hero who you may know from another British band – Pink Floyd. Guy lays down a killer groove with drummer Hugo Degenhardt, and this is essential for bringing this hard rocking tune together. This is one of the standout tracks on the album, and not coincidentally it is also radio-friendly and accessible.

“Cold Classical” finishes the set, and this instrumental is the brainchild of Andy and David Hentschel. David co-wrote this song and provided the keyboard parts, and his experience as an engineer and producer with bands such as Genesis and Queen results in a uniquely theatrical experience. As this is slower-paced tune with more sparse instrumentation, Drudy has the chance to soar melodically. His playing here brings to mind other British guitar heroes such David Gilmour, Mark Knopfler, and Gary Moore – what a cool way to bring things to a close.

Andy Drudy has shown flexibility by stepping outside the “normal” confines of modern blues-rock with Spark, and his willingness to try new things has paid off in a big way. His guitar playing certainly is amazing, but the music he has written to accompany it is equally good and this project represents a lot of hard work. Head over to his website and listen to a few of the sample tracks, I think you will be impressed!

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 – 6 of 8 

dr albert Flipout cd imageDr. Albert Flipout’s One CAN Band – Don’t You Call My Name

Self-Produced, NCB

http://mickeypantelous.com

CD: 12 Songs, 44:18 Minutes

Styles: Contemporary Electric Blues-Based Rock, One Man Band

In postmodern parlance, to “flip out” means to go crazy, whether due to stress, elation, anger, lust, or all of the above. Doing so can be good or bad. It’s also what blues purists, and lovers of macabre music, will both do once they hear Dr. Albert Flipout’s One CAN Band. Purists might lose their minds because there aren’t any straight-blues songs on their new CD, Don’t You Call My Name. Where are the traditional rhythms and choral refrains, the songs about being broke, cheating women, and drinking because of them? Guess what? They’re not here. Instead, fans who are more into Blues Traveler (and Tim Burton films) will go absolutely gaga. The twelve original songs performed by this one-CAN-band are a mixture of instrumental insanity and lyrical lunacy. Who is Dr. Albert Flipout, by the way? The can attached to Mickey Pantelous’ left foot, which he uses as a snare drum.

The “Bio” section of Pantelous’ website is an interactive pictorial timeline. This Greek/Danish musician, born in 1973 in Athens, started playing the drums as a schoolboy (second photo). He was in the Royal Danish Air Force and Greek Army, and officially dedicated himself to “the blues” in 1990. He played in such bands as Mickey Pantelous & the Magic Session and the Drunk Trunk Blues Trio, as well as making solo appearances. 2006 is when he “first runs into Dr. Albert Flipout” (who sports white hair, white mustache, and googly eyes). He released his first album, Can’t Find My Pills, in 2010 (final picture). Mickey needs to update his timeline to include this wacky, weird, and wonderful trip down Blues Rock Lane.

The good news is that every song is one-of-a kind, lyrically, though some of the instrumentation is basic (such as the electric guitar line on the first track). His talk-singing can sometimes grate, but when you’re a one-man band and juggling all musical aspects in the air, it’s forgivable. Guest musicians include Kostis Vihos and Mark Tallman.

The following songs reveal the most about the blues, and sound most like the blues to purists:

Track 01: “Hanging from the Ceiling” – What’s the last cool song about suicide you’ve heard? For yours truly, it’s “Suicide is Painless,” the theme to M*A*S*H. The album’s opener is a lot grittier, made to set one’s teeth on edge: “See me hanging from the ceiling. Take my body down. My soul’s gone flying, and my feet can’t reach the ground. I tried so hard to find it. It was nowhere to be found.” Pantelous’ guitar solos are terrific, even though the refrain might make you think the CD’s skipping if you listen to it too long.

Track 04: “Jump with the Fish” – This should be on Sirius XM, if not on B.B. King’s Bluesville. It’s too rocked-up. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not catchier than a cold. Its theme is music, and the motive for going into it: “If you’re looking for votes, you should get into politics. And if you want to be a winner, you should get into sports. Music ain’t for competing; music’s for the soul.” Dig that electric guitar and sick beat, and obey Mickey’s command to jump – and dance.

Track 10: “Free the Markets, Slave the People” – Hold on to your hats, folks! This is a frenetic roller-coaster ride of a rock-and-roll roarer: “Free the markets! Slave the people! Let them buy what they want. Let them buy what they think they want. Let them buy what the markets, what the markets told them they want!” Truer words were never spoken, by guitar and hot harmonica.

Don’t You Call My Name will make you flip out, and Mickey Pantelous is a master of musical madness!

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.


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 Featured Blues Review – 7 of 8 

adam karch cd imageAdam Karch – Moving Forward

Dissques Bros Records

www.adamkarchmusic.com

12 tracks / 44:37

Adam Karch produces knockout roots music and acoustic blues from his hometown of Montreal, and his latest album, Moving Forward, is his best work yet. Karch got an early start on his music career, first taking a leading role in bands as a teen and then releasing his first album when he was still in his early 20s. Through endless touring he moved further from his rock beginnings and developed his own acoustic fingerstyle sound; the handful of albums he has released over his career reflects this growth. Evidence of this is his 2014 release, Blueprints, which is an amazingly effective reworking of classic songs into an acoustic blues context.

Moving Forward represents a further movement along the same arc, and most of its twelve tracks are originals that were written last winter, when Adam was in a time of transition. The resulting music has a personal sound and thoughtful lyrics, and there are also a handful of cover tunes are just too cool. Karch provided the vocals and guitars for this album (as well as acting as co-producer), and he was joined in the studio by a few of his friends from Quebec: Marc André Drouin on bass and Bernard Deslauriers behind the drum kit.

Adam has a strong synergy with Marc and Bernard, and the listener will discover this as the trio comes together for the opener, “Seaside Venues.” This is slick acoustic rocker that allows to Karch to shine both with his fancy picking and his voice, which is strong and equal parts smooth and gritty. There are only a few of songs on the disc that include this trio, but in each case the backline of Drouin and Deslauriers really delivers the goods. This includes the blues rock of “Lil’ Black Dress,” the pop / soft rock of “The Contract,” and the laid back feel of two California country songs, “On a Cold Grey Sky and “Those Steady Lights.” By the way, Kim Richardson provides sweet vocal harmonies on that last one, which is a welcome addition to an already strong song.

The majority of the tracks on Moving Forward are solo acoustic numbers, and on some of these Karch’s friends sit in to help make the mood. Dimitri Lebel-Alexandre lends his pedal steel to the country blues of “Louis Collins,” and his tastefully restrained playing is quite a complement to Adam’s tricky picking. Also, Guy Bélanger brings his harp to a cover of Keb’ Mo’s “City Boy,” which wisely retains a similar pace and feel as the original, but with considerably less instrumentation. The listener will agree that this arrangement is a beautiful and simple accompaniment to the heartfelt lyrics. Towards the end of the song, Bélanger first makes himself heard with a lovely solo, and his wailing harp helps Adam bring this one home. This is definitely one of the standout tracks on the album.

There are a few other covers on Moving Forward, including a re-do of one of Adam’s own songs, “Did You Get the Latest News,” which was originally released on his 2002 debut album, Crossroad Diaries. Then there are a few others that will definitely grab your attention when you look at the track list. Karch takes a successful run at Bob Seger’s 1981 hit, “Night Moves,” with a healthy serving of fancy fingerpicking and a steady beat. Then there is an acoustic country version of Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London” that features a fun break before the chorus is reprised one last time. In both of these popular tunes, Adam does a very respectable job with the vocals, which is no small feat as these songs were both originally recorded by vocalists with very distinctive styles.

Is there anything missing here? Well, if you were thinking you would like to hear a solo acoustic instrumental then you are in luck as “Somewhere in El Paso” is a clean showcase of Karch’s guitar work, and this song is a fine tutorial for young players who need to learn a thing or two about the use of dynamics and repeated forms.

After listening to the whole disc, there is no doubt that Adam Karch can cut a mean record, but he is also a solid live performer. On his website you will find gig dates for the first half of 2017, and if you are going to be in Quebec you will be happy as there are plenty of shows coming up. On his site you can also listen to samples of each of the dozen tracks on Moving Forward, and you will dig them if you are into roots music and acoustic country and blues. Listen for yourself and see what you think!

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 – 8 of 8 

band of friends cd imageBand Of Friends – Repeat After Me

www.bandoffriends.eu

self release

11 songs time – 46:06

Two thirds of this U.K. based band is comprised of former members of Rory Gallagher’s band. Gerry McAvoy was Rory’s bass player for twenty years, playing on his every recording. Ted McKenna, formerly the drummer for The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, backed Rory on three recordings. Dutch guitar slinger Marcel Scherpenzeel rounds out the trio. It seems like Marcel handles most of the vocal chores, although who sings what isn’t specified. Many of the songs are sung by all members in unison. The sound achieved here owes a lot to the icons of late sixties-seventies arena rock heroes such as Bachman-Turner Overdrive and Foghat in as much as the guitar bombardment. This is testosterone driven macho guitar music. There are no riffs or melodies that stay in your head. All of the songs are band creations except for “A Sense Of Freedom” written by British rock icon Frankie Miller.

The title song is one of the better constructed tunes with some solid guitar riffing going on. Ted McKenna’s drumming throughout is more powerful than it was in his SAHB days, appropriate to the band’s dynamics. There are no distinctive voices throughout the CD. “Homeland” is more mellowed out with a slight Byrds vibe courtesy of the vocal and moderately ringing guitars. Ted’s brother Hugh, also formerly of SAHB, contributes keyboards on “Homeland”. The guys get funky with some nifty drumming, guitar and an ok riff on “Soul To Soul”.

Most of the rest conjures up memories of Bachman-Turner Overdrive, “Radar Love” and Foghat, among others. This is paradise for guitar junkies. The closing song “King Of The Street” is just acoustic guitar and voice, a kind of an everyman anthem.

This is a case of two backing musicians uniting with a guitar slinger-singer to create music that echos of many classic guitar based rock bands of the early seventies. Judging from live concert videos of the band, there is an audience for them. If this is the kind of music you enjoy, this is for you.

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


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 Featured Blues Interview – Sonny Landreth 

sonny landreth photo 1Sonny Landreth played his first gig when he was 14.

“We played for my parents’ parties, and played all the Ventures’ songs. They paid us to stop, to be honest,” he laughs.

Nobody would ever pay Landreth to stop playing these days, though. He’s a musicians’ musician, keenly exploring new musical paths, listening for new voices that he can speak with his slide guitar, and searching for stories that weave the universal blues themes of hope in the midst of despair.

Landreth’s latest album, Bound by the Blues, showcases these many facets. While the album gallops off with a blazing rendition of Robert Johnson’s “Walkin’ Blues,” and features a shuffling, reverberating version of the Charles Segar and “Big Bill” Broonzy tune, “Key to the Highway,” the album’s title track captures Landreth’s musical and lyrical vision not only of the entire album but also of the insidious power of the blues. He slyly pays tribute in the song to blues heroes:

“Lightnin’ falls from the sky/Muddy Waters on the rise/In songs that get us through the times/Bound by the blues.” Landreth’s minor-key blues drives the tale of being united in our good times and bad times by the blues: “You and I have felt before/The tide of trouble upon the door/Though we be from different shores/We’re bound by the blues/…Sister and brothers/Of every color/Bound to one another/Bound by the blues.”

When Landreth wrote this song, he couldn’t have foreseen the rise of a political administration that sows division, but his prescient words illustrate Landreth’s compelling way with words and his canny ability to tell a story that resonates with everyone seeking some common ground in the midst of divisive times.

Even when he was a child, Landreth wanted to play the guitar.

“Back then parents could buy these plastic guitars with an image of Elvis on them; my mom and dad bought one for my brother and one of me, and we yowled at the relatives,” he laughs. His dad finally bought him a guitar, and he and his friends started playing together in a band: “one weekend his parents dealt with us, and then my parents dealt with us the next weekend,” he laughingly says of those early days.

When he was 16, he began experimenting with the slide, “much to the horror of my family,” he chuckles.

sonny landreth photo 2“I didn’t have anybody to teach me, so I had to find my own way with playing it,” Landreth recalls. He made his first slide, one he still uses: “I got a handlebar from a bike and got a hacksaw and cut myself a little slide. I actually used in on the new album on the acoustic side; I still favor it for the tone. My dad also made me some slides back then.”

But guitar wasn’t Landreth’s first instrument. He started out on trumpet, and he fell in love with Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Landreth’s keen ear and restless desire to compose music grew out of the influences of his jazz and blues heroes.

“When I was working in a record store, the fellow there turned me onto Chet Atkins, and then I got turned onto acoustic blues,” he recalls. When he started playing guitar, he applied the lessons that Atkins, the blues guitarists, and his favorite jazz musicians had taught him.

“My jazz and blues heroes—and the time I had spent playing trumpet, flute, and piano—helped push me to reach for a higher purpose in my music. Classical jazz is all about articulation and dynamics,” Landreth says, “and I could take all that and apply it to guitar. I think that helped make me to come at the guitar from a different perspective.”

Playing slide, says Landreth, “gave me a way to combine all these influences. I had to pull it together stylistically to form a concept and to form all these layers of sound.” Landreth lyrically describes the impact of these influences on him, and the key to his own playing: “The sound of the guitar emulates the human voice; all great acoustic bluesmen do this. I noticed that’s what my jazz and blues heroes were doing, trying to emulate the human voice; they’d use the slide as a profound and emotive form of call and response, and this is why I especially I got into playing bottleneck slide.”

These influences deeply imbue Landreth’s playing, singing, and writing.

“Lyrical quality and vocal quality are the most important things. When you’re playing slide guitar, it not just the frets that designate the notes you’re playing. I got turned onto using chordal tuning; it opens up the sound more, and I can play more solo parts. You’re playing melody, rhythm, and bass parts at the same time. You combine the fretted fingers with slide notes that are floating above the fret board.” One of the most powerful aspects of playing slide guitar, though, according to Landreth, is that it “lends itself to story song.”

As a songwriter, Landreth also weaves these influences into his music and his lyrics. Like the acoustic bluesmen who’ve shaped him so deeply, he’s after authenticity—capturing the truth of an experience as close as possible—and universality—capturing the themes of an individual experience that transcend that experience and reach us all.

sonny landreth photo 3“I always wanted to write my own songs,” he says, and he reiterates that his early experiences of playing jazz helped push him toward a musical form that expanded the creativity of the music. Songwriting, he observes, is the “truest level of creativity, but songwriting is a total mystery.” For Landreth, there’s no program for writing songs: “I woke up at 4am one morning and wrote most of ‘Love and Glory’.” “You just got to let it happen; you have to be willing to go for it, when an idea comes to you.”

For Landreth, the music has always come easy.

“I have hundreds of song ideas. Songwriting is like playing a live show—you have highs and lows. You have to open up to the possibilities, and those can come at a gig or when you meet somebody. Some of the greatest things happen indirectly, but they can blow by you if you’re not paying attention.”

Writing songs, he points out, relies on intuition, on being able to catch that just-right tune and lyric when it comes your way and being true to what rings most truly to you; those are marks of songs that have a universal character and stand the test of time; “I’ve always wanted to write a song that stood the test of time,” Landreth says.

Landreth’s playing, singing, and writing have indeed stood the test of time, and other musicians have acknowledged his work by recording his songs or writing songs that they admit are influenced by Landreth’s songs. Landreth’s had the opportunity to play with the father of British blues, John Mayall. “Harry Shearer discovered my song, “The Center’, which I made in 1981, and played it on his radio show. John heard it and invited me to play on some of his sessions. It’s so funny that he and I were at the Santa Cruz Blues Festival, and he came up to me and said, ‘I always play your song ‘Congo Square,’ but I don’t want to play it tonight if you’re planning to play it,’” Landreth laughs.

Vince Gill says that his song “Tell Me Lover” is based in part on Landreth’s “Congo Square.”

“I found out in the mid-90s that Vince was a big fan,” says Landreth. “I love Vinnie; he can play anything,” says Landreth. “A lot of those cats in Nashville started out in rock and roll, and I love his chicken-pickin’ and his approach to the tele,” says Landreth. In addition, Landreth points out that he has been fortunate to be able to do Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival since 2004. “The magnitude of that event is just overwhelming,” he says. “There are really such precious moments.”

One of Landreth’s greatest influences was Clifton Chenier. As a teenager in Lafayette, Louisiana, Landreth went to see Chenier at a club, but Landreth wasn’t old enough to get into the place, so he stood at the door peering in and listening to the music.

sonny landreth photo 4“He saw me at the door and invited me in.” Landreth eventually started playing in Chenier’s Red Hot Louisiana Band, and Landreth acquired new skills during that time, including the ability to change keys and musical styles quickly and smoothly. Landreth recorded Blues Attack in 1981 while he was still playing with Chenier, and in 1985 one of his best-known songs, “Congo Square,” appeared on his album Down in Louisiana.

“Clifton had a profound influence on me and my music,” Landreth says, “and he was such a welcoming presence in my life.” That same year he met Chenier, Landreth also got to meet B.B. King. “Me and a buddy of mine went down to New Iberia to see B.B. King. King finished his set and went over to the bar and sat down. I was bold enough to go over and introduce myself to him, and the conversation we started that night sort of continued because I got to know B.B. over the years,” Landreth says.

“The last time I got to play with him was at Madison Square Garden, and he didn’t seem to be feeling too good that night. Not long after that night we lost him.” In that same year, Landreth met B.B. he saw Jimi Hendrix in Baton Rouge, and though he didn’t get to know him as he did Chenier and King, Hendrix influenced the young Landreth in myriad ways that he carries with him even now.

While these three influences stand out for Landreth, he also points to Jose Feliciano, Scotty Moore, Robert Johnson, Elmore James, Wes Montgomery, Andre Segovia, and Mike Bloomfield as deeply influential for him and his music. In addition to his own solo work, Landreth contributes his singular style of slide guitar to albums by Jimmy Buffett, John Hiatt, Eric Johnson, Gov’t Mule, Mark Knopfler, Little Feat, Josh Hyde, and Buckwheat Zydeco, among others.

Landreth is excited about his new work these days. In January, he and his band, which expanded to include Steve Conn on keys and Sam Broussard on guitar, played three shows at “this beautiful theater here in Lafayette,” says Landreth.

“We wanted to do both acoustic and electric sets to capture our true sound. It was so much fun. For the acoustic set, we added this cool resonator guitar that had an aluminum body with a vintage auto hubcap for the plate; the bass player played a ukulele bass, which gave us this new dimension of sound.” The plan, says Landreth, is to do a double album with one side of acoustic material and the other side of electric material. Landreth hopes to have the album ready in time for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

When Landreth looks at the state of the blues today, he’s encouraged.

“I’m energized by the amount of interest and the diversity of it. Blues is so universal and powerful that it speaks to everyone about grace in the face of adversity.”

He points out that the title track of Bound by the Blues addresses this issue.

“The blues speaks to everyone; blues unites us in a way that is totally unique; it’s some powerful stuff; blues is a cultural agent that goes so deep.”

Does Landreth have any advice for young musicians starting out in the blues?

“Listen for that inner voice, that thing that teaches you; follow your heart and stay true to it.”

Visit Sonny’s website at: www.sonnylandreth.com

Interviewer Henry L. Carrigan, Jr. writes about music and music books for No Depression, American Songwriter, Country Standard Time, and Wide Open Country.

For other interviews on our website CLICK HERE


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The Santa Barbara Blues Society – Santa Barbara, CA

The oldest existing U.S. blues society, the Santa Barbara Blues Society (SBBS) will celebrate its 40th. birthday with an all-star show at the Carrillo Recreation Center, 100 E. Carrillo St. in downtown S.B. The show will have national media coverage, and a large crowd is expected.

The show will feature the Delgado Brothers band, a highly popular So. CA band for over three decades. The band won the Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge (IBC) in January 2016, besting over 150 other bands from all over the world, and Joey Delgado won the Albert King Award as best guitarist of the IBC. The ensemble will be joined by special guest, Blues -Music -Award-winning guitarist Kid Ramos, formerly with the James Harman Band and the Fabulous Thunderbirds. In addition, there will be multiple surprise guest musicians.

The event takes place on Saturday, March 11, 2017. Doors open at 7 PM, and there will be free BBQ snacks. Music will begin at 7:30 PM, two long sets with an intermission. There is a large dance floor, and there will be birthday cake!

General admission is $30; VIP seats, in front of the stage with one free drink, are $40. Multiple discounts are available for SBBS members and others. VIP tickets will probably sell out before the show. For more information go to www.SBBlues.org. For discount prices, VIP tickets, or further information, leave name and phone number at (805) 722-8155.

Central Iowa Blues Society – Des Moines, IA

Central Iowa Blues Society Announces Iowa Blues Hall Of Fame Class Of 2016. This year’s inductees include Ellis Kell, Tony Blew, Dan “DJ” Johnson, J C Anderson and Fletcher Henderson “Sonny” Lott.

Save the date for the Induction Ceremony to be held on April 8, 2017 at Noce’, 1326 Walnut St in Des Moines. The doors open and dinner provided by Flying Mango will start at 5:00 PM. IBHOF house band Sumpin Doo will perform at 6:00 PM with the ceremony at 6:30 PM and a Jam after the ceremony until 10:00 PM. Tickets will be available soon at Noce’ and Midwestix.

The nominated artist’s bios with additional info will follow and be posted at www.cibs.org and the CIBS Facebook page.

The Washington Blues Society – Seattle, WA

The Washington Blues Society’s annual Best of the Blues Awards returns to the Kirkland Performance Center on Sunday, April 9th to honor musicians and artists nominated by society members in 32 award categories. The 2017 BB Awards show features performances by select nominees and recognizes new inductees into the Washington Blues Society Hall of Fame.

The nominees represent the best blues performers throughout the Pacific Northwest. Long-time favorites Brian Lee and the Orbiters return with five nominations, including Best Blues Band, Best Performer and Best Songwriter. Fresh from their 2017 International Blues Challenge performances in Memphis, Polly O’Keary and the Rhythm Method garnered five nominations, including Best Band, Electric Guitarist and Female Vocalist of the Year. Stanislove, the blues society’s representative at the 2017 International Blues Challenge is also up for a Solo/Duo BB Award. First-time nominees include vocalist Sheri Roberts Greimes, guitarist Brett “Bad Blood,” Benton, Hammond B3 master Joe Doria and Kenmore’s Capps Club, home of the Washington Blues Society’s free Blues Bash held on the second Tuesday each month. More information: www.wablues.org

The Great Northern Blues Society – Wausau, WI

The Great Northern Blues Society of Wausau, WI (GNBS) is Proud to announce the lineup for our 18th Annual Blues Café fundraiser to be held at the Historically Registered Rothschild Pavilion (near Wausau, WI) on Saturday, March 11 2017.

The Lineup will include Joyann Parker Band, Jimmy Nick & Don’t Tell Mama, Ghost Town Blues Band, Brandon Santini, Becky Barksdale, and Bing Futch playing acoustic sets between main stage acts. Doors open at noon, and Music will start at 1:00PM and continue non-stop until 11:00PM. Chairs, Food, and Cold Beverages will be available on-site. Special Hotel Rates available at the nearby Stoney Creek Inn. Limited supply of rooms available so make your reservation now.

Please come, sit by the huge stone fireplace, with a beverage of choice in hand, and join us for 10 hours of non-stop glorious Blues Music on 3/11/17. Artist Biographies, directions, and Tickets are available on our Website at – http://www.gnbs.org

The Illinois Central Blues Club – Springfield, IL

The Illinois Central Blues Club has announced the line-up of talent for the Blue Monday live performances and jam sessions held every Monday night at The Alamo, 115 North Fifth, Springfield, IL from 8:00pm to midnight. March 6 – The Rockin’ Johnny Band, March 13 – The Chris O’Lleary Band, March 20 – Joe Tenuto, March 27 – The Brother Jefferson Band, Aptil 3 – The Joe Moss Band, aptil 10 – Roger “Hurricane” Wilson & The Hurricane Homeboys, April 17 – The Green McDonough Band, Aptil 24 – Chris Ruest Featuring Gene Taylor.

Additional ICBC partnered shows: March 2 – Juke House Hosts James Armstrong Presents At The Alamo, March 4 – The Illinois Central Blues Club’s 31st birthday celebration at Knights of Columbus Meadowbrook featuring Toronzo Cannon, March 16 – Marry Jo Curry hosts James Armstrong Presents At The Alamo, April 20 – The MOJOCATS host James Armstrong Presents At The Alamo.  For more information visit www.icbluesclub.org.


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