Issue 12- 2 January 11, 2018

Cover photo © 2018 Bob Kieser


 In This Issue 

Tee Watts has our feature interview with Toronzo Cannon. We have 8 Blues reviews for you this week including a compilation of Stax singles plus new music by L.A. Big Daddy’s, Jay Willie Blues Band, Lloyd Spiegel, Joel DaSilva, Mark Nomad, Miss Freddye and Akeem Kemp.

Our video of the week is The Jay Willie Blues Band.

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


 From The Editor’s Desk 

Hey Blues Fans,

Sad new this week. We lost a legend when Denise LaSalle passed on Monday. Denise was a blues and R&B/soul singer, songwriter, and record producer who was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2011.

I was fortunate to see her perform one last time this past June at the Chicago Blues Fest. She looked frail but still had the fire. We tried for a few years to get an interview with Denise. She did not do very many interviews so after 3 years of trying, I kinda gave up. But then Bill Dahl asked her to do an interview for us just after the Chicago fest and we are grateful that she agreed.

I am not sure if it is her last interview but it is definitely one of her last ones. You can read the whole interview HERE.

On a positive note, the Blues Foundation announced the 2018 Blues Music Award nominees. Congratulations to all the nominees as you are all “WINNERS” already! The complete list of this year’s nominees is at the bottom of this issue.

Wishing you health, happiness and lots of Blues music!

Bob Kieser



 Featured Blues Review – 1 of 8 

l a big daddys cd imageL.A. Big Daddy’s – Rock Your Blues Away

Centroplex Records

www.labigdaddys.com

11 Tracks/47:36

The L.A. Big Daddy’s tandem consists of David E. Jackson on drums & percussion plus Matthew Bragg on bass. Both are industry veterans who have backed up artists like the late Sista Monica Parker, Vernon Garret, Garland Green, and Ernie Andrews. After years of playing for others, they decided the time had come to do a project of their own.

The duo enlisted the services of a large musical support group, with five guitarists including Craig T. Cooper. The keyboards and Hammond B3 organ are under the capable hands of Norman Williams and Tony Coleman. Horn players include Lee “Charles” Mitchell on baritone sax, Ira Bassett on trumpet, and Malcolm Robertson on trombone. The leaders were among the six people involved in the recording and mixing of the tracks laid down in four California recording studios plus an additional one in Mesquite, Texas.

While Jackson and Bragg handle some of the backing vocal parts, the lead vocals are covered by four notable singers. Three tracks feature a long-time star of the soul-blues circuit, Ernie Johnson. His gritty voice takes over on “Just For You,” testifying his love on a song he co-wrote. “Guitar” Jack Wargo supplies appropriate support over the riffing horn section. “Stoop On The Roof” is another Johnson original. Brenda Cadell’s spoken opening segment depicts a self-serving woman that is the source the singer’s mounting frustration. Things aren’t any better for Johnson on “Something’s Wrong With This Woman,” a spellbinding slow blues with Keith Anderson on tenor sax bringing things to a boil.

One of the other guitar players, Dwayne Watkins, steps in on four tracks, starting with “A Brighter Day,” a punchy cut that reminds listeners that better days are just around the corner. “I Can Dig It” finds him expressing his growing appreciation for a woman’s many charms. He slips into a mellower R&B vein on “A Man’s Gotta Do,” turning the guitar lead over to Landry Shores for a melodic solo fadeout. Watkins’ strongest performance takes place on “Chain Gang,” a somber observation of life behind bars with the guitarist adding licks that bring to mind the work of Eddie Hazel of Funkadelic’s fame.

Kee Eso Pitchford lends his stirring voice to the aptly named “The Funky Blues,” moaning the blues along with some muscular tenor sax, courtesy of Rodney Taylor. Pitchford is equally soulful on the title track, this time getting an assist from Donald Hayes on tenor sax. “Proud Man Blues” is the lone solo feature for vocalist Adrian Myers and guitarist Butch Bonner, with Myers declaring that “…I got my cake, and I eat it too”. “Grant’s Big Band Shuffle” is the closing instrumental with Jackson and Bragg providing a swinging groove for a memorable Rob Holbert tenor solo.

The experience gained from backing other artists gave Jackson and Bragg the vision for this project. It also helped them in writing a strong batch of material in addition to selecting the right musicians and singers to bring that vision to fruition. It will be interesting to see if this will remain a one-off deal or will prompt the duo to form a band and hit the road. Either way, there is plenty to enjoy on this one.

Reviewer Mark Thompson lives in Florida, where he is enjoying the sun and retirement. He is the President of the Board of Directors for the Suncoast Blues Society and a member of the Board of Directors for the Blues Foundation. Music has been a huge part of his life for the past fifty years – just ask his wife!



 Featured Blues Review – 2 of 8 

jay willie blues band cd imageJay Willie Blues Band – Jay Walkin’

Zoho Roots ZM201710

12 songs – 42 minutes

www.jaywilliebluesbandhome.net

The Connecticut-based Jay Willie Blues Band tips its collective hat to the music of the ‘20s through ‘60s with Jay Walkin’. A mixture of five originals and seven well-crafted covers, it’s a follow-up to the band’s successful 2016 release, Hell On Wheels and includes the same cast of characters that made it the unit’s best one yet.

A singer/guitarist who’s heavily influenced by Johnny Winter, Jay Willie fronts the veteran quartet, which includes Bob Callahan on second guitar, Bobby T. Torello on drums and multi-instrumentalist Paul Opalach on bass, lap steel, keyboard, guitar and percussion, all of whom provide vocals here.

They’re augmented by Malorie Leogrande, who tours the world with her five-octave voice and is featured on two cuts, and Jason Ricci, who sets aside his usual harmonica pyrotechnics here and demonstrates exceptional traditional technique on the reeds for two others.

The album was captured at Long Hill Recording Studio in Shelton, Conn., under the direction of Opalach. It opens with a cover of “Wish I Hadn’t Called Home.” Penned by country music legend Roger Miller and a 1961 hit for early rock-‘n’-roller Dale Hawkins, it’s a medium-tempo walking blues that swings from the jump as Jay delivers lyrics that describe an ill-advised conversation. Guitar and harp drive the beat as he recounts the woman heaping abuse and laughing as she hears the singer crying on the other end of the line. Willie’s rather limited voice is pleasant and his guitar slinging compliments him well.

The tempo picks up slightly for the original, “Jay Walkin’,” a humorous tale about no longer being able to drive after being pulled over for driving drunk. The vocals improve dramatically on the next two numbers with Malorie in control.

First up is a re-do of “Hitting On Nothing,” a 1963 hit for Irma Thomas. Written for The Detroit Cobras by Allen Toussaint’s under the pseudonym Naomi Neville, it’s an uptempo pleaser complete with a synthesized horn section and the message to a lover that the only way to please the singer is that if “there’s something in it for me.” It’s backed with the Willie-penned ballad, “The Other Side,” a bittersweet number that yearns for a better time in the relationship.

Ricci’s harp dazzles on “44 Blues.” One of the most recorded blues tunes ever, it was penned by by Roosevelt Sykes in 1929 and a mainstay in Howlin’ Wolf’s catalog, but gets a surprisingly different treatment here, followed by a cover of J.B. Lenoir’s “I Feel So Good.” Up next, the Callahan-penned “Move Over” is an uptempo rocker with an old-time feel that gives way to a guitar-driven cover of “Sinner’s Prayer,” written by 1950s heavyweights Lowell Fulson and Lloyd Glenn.

Two more originals – Willie’s funky “Step Aside” and Torello’s blues rocker “Go To Guy” – precede “How Blue Can You Get,” the B.B. King standard co-written by jazz critic Leonard Feather and wife Jane that was first performed by Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers. The disc concludes with an interesting, barebones electric blues cover of Blind Willie Johnson’s 1930 composition “Soul Of A Man.”

A well-conceived album, the covers are fresh and the originals interesting throughout. Available through Amazon and CDBaby, Jay Walkin’ is right up your alley if you like your music delivered with a roadhouse feel.

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.



lloyd spiegal cd imageLloyd Spiegel – This Time Tomorrow

Self-Release – 2017

10 tracks; 34 minutes

www.lloydspiegel.com

Australian Lloyd Spiegel has been around a while as this is his ninth release but the first studio album since 2010. Lloyd confesses that he does not write at home, preferring the inspiration of travel and quiet hotel rooms. Lloyd sings and plays both electric and acoustic guitars and both are in evidence across this pleasantly varied disc. Joining Lloyd are Tim Burnham on drums and Arunachala on percussion, plus guests Doc White (mandolin on one track), Lisa Sutton (trombone on one track) and Marty and Riley Spiegel (Lloyd’s brothers?) play additional guitars on one track each.

The album opens impressively with “Devil On My Shoulder”, a full band sound with Lloyd’s attractive riff at the heart of one of those ‘blues musician meets Devil’ songs that draw you into the narrative, Lloyd overdubbing a solid electric solo on top of his acoustic and electric rhythm work. The next two songs both reference traveling cross Germany: “All The Cats Are Grey” is a gentle tune, again with acoustic and electric guitars and a feel that recalls Al Stewart in his prime; percussionist Arunachala is heard to full advantage on the title track “This Time Tomorrow” which adds Doc White’s mandolin to Lloyd’s rhythmic acoustic playing before “Stranger Things” recounts the tale of being taken in by a stranger during weather problems in Amsterdam.

“Kansas City Katy” brings us into the USA with a definite blues tune and a nostalgic look back into Lloyd’s past as he gives us some attractive acoustic playing well supported by Tim’s brushes and Arunachala’s percussion. A tattooed lady offers to guide Lloyd round Philadelphia in “Lost Like Me”, a short uptempo electric tune. The trombone adds a New Orleans feel to “Cure My Soul” and dual guitars are featured on the uptempo “Trigger”. “Into The Blue” again recalls Al Stewart on a gentle tune with acoustic guitar and percussion as Lloyd gets sentimental: “Here by the light of the moon, with all my indiscretions out of view, my love will fade into the blue, here by the light of the moon”. The album closes with “Call You When I Get There”, a blues with Lloyd promising “not to grow while I’m gone”.

Lloyd has a good voice and the lyrics come across clearly. His guitar playing is excellent throughout, whether on electric or acoustic and the whole album is a pleasant listen, if somewhat on the short side by modern standards.

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.


 Video Of The Week – The Jay Willie Blues Band 

The Jay Willie Blues Band performing ” Hittin’ On Nothin'” from their latest album Jay Walkin’. (Click image to watch!)



 Featured Blues Review – 4 of 8 

joel dasilva cd imageJoel DaSilva – Everywhere From Here

Track Of Life Music

www.joeldasilvamusic.com

10 Tracks/34:31

Based out of southern Florida, guitarist Joel DaSilva has been working hard in recent years, touring the country as well as Canada and South America. He has also made several appearances at the annual International Blues Challenge. Originally from Chicago, he has created a personal style that uses traditional electric blues as a starting point in combination with touches of rock, rockabilly, and other genres.

His latest features his warm vocals on an all-original program that gets off to a rousing start with “Shake,” sporting a pounding beat from drummer Chris Peet and a solid bass line from Robert Cleary infused with snarling guitar fills. “Everyday Man” is one of the disc’s highlights, with DaSilva pleading for relief as his life steadily spins out of control, vowing to stay strong in his resolve. He breaks out the woman-as-a-car analogy on “Cadillac Mama,” a tight shuffle with tasty guitar fills from the leader, Natasha Watkins on backing vocals, and Tom Regis on piano filling out the arrangement. DaSilva utilizes another common theme, that of a voodoo woman enchantress, on “Spell On Me”. Listeners are3 sure to fall under the spell of his heated fretwork.

DaSilva dives into the blues on the down-hearted “Time Heals All Wounds,” his sorrowful voice bringing the full weight of his pain to the fore. “Down In The Delta” is a dark, mysterious performance with wailing vocals answered by resounding guitar licks. Peet breaks out his pedal steel guitar to add a country flavor to the ballad, “Chasin’ The Sun”. The leader’s distorted vocal drives “This Day I Bleed,” another song about surviving life’s struggles while “Bad World” is built around rhythms from DaSiva’s Brazilian heritage, with John Calzavara supplying some soothing accordion. The closing track, “My Brazilian Soul,” is an instrumental that gives DaSilva a brief two minutes to showcase his mastery of the guitar.

By the end, you will probably want to go back and listen to many of the tracks again. DaSilva’s approach is definitely more grounded in the blues than many artists mining the blues-rock convergence point. As a singer, songwriter, and guitarist, he definitely is worth a listen.

Reviewer Mark Thompson lives in Florida, where he is enjoying the sun and retirement. He is the President of the Board of Directors for the Suncoast Blues Society and a member of the Board of Directors for the Blues Foundation. Music has been a huge part of his life for the past fifty years – just ask his wife!


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 Featured Blues Review – 5 of 8 

mark nomad cd imageMark Nomad – Live From Somewhere

Blue Star Records – 2017

11 tracks; 41 minutes

www.marknomad.com

Mark Nomad is based in the North East USA but comes originally from Chicago. Over the years he has produced both electric and acoustic albums but this album, his tenth in all, is a solo acoustic affair. Mark plays guitar and occasional harmonica to support his vocals. The material includes some very familiar songs from the masters of Delta blues; Muddy, Wolf, Robert Johnson, Jimmy Reed, etc.

If you are doing an acoustic album and want to include a Muddy Waters tune “Can’t Be Satisfied” is always a good bet and Mark’s version works fine with good vocals and resonator work to give that old Delta feel. “The Little Red Rooster” is Willie Dixon’s song but always associated with Howling Wolf (though many will also link it to The Rolling Stones whose “The Last Time” follows to provide a sort of ‘Stones interlude’ in the set). Both “Rooster” and “The Last Time” are played in relaxed versions which work well. Jimmy Reed often played high-pitched harmonica but Mark’s take on “Honest I Do” has some very high notes which are not pleasant to the ears. Mississippi Fred McDowell’s “Write Me A Few Lines” fares better with Mark’s uptempo slide work to the fore before an unusually laid-back take on “Long Distance Call” really takes Muddy back to the country.

BB King recorded “Watch Yourself” on his Lucille album in 1968. Mark’s rapid-fire guitar style propels this one and, perhaps because it is a less familiar tune than most here, it is probably this reviewer’s favourite track. Apart from a run through John Lee Hooker’s “Dimples” which also includes parts of “Boogie Chillun’”, the rest of the album is devoted to Robert Johnson: Mark’s moody slide introduces “Come On In My Kitchen” which is immediately followed by “Walkin’ Blues” with more solid resonator work. The final cut is “Rambling On My Mind”, played fairly straight, again on the resonator.

Of course this album begs the question of whether the world needs yet another version of these old favourites and whether Mark brings anything new to them. Listeners will make up their own minds but, for this reviewer, this one is mainly for existing fans.

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 – 6 of 8 

a celebration of stax cd imageSoulsville U.S.A – A Celebration Of Stax

Craft Recordings – Concord Music Group

www.concordmusicgroup.com/albums/soulsville-u-s-celebration-stax

60 Tracks/55:25 – 60:18 – 69:15

Any serious collector of music from one of the most venerated labels of all-time will have the three volume box set collection of the Complete Stax/Volt Singles, which covers the labels history over twenty-eight discs with more than 670 songs. Most listeners appreciate the many hit records from the Stax catalog, and that is all they need to be happy. If you would place yourself in that group, this three disc collection will certainly fit the bill.

Starting with the first release, the Veltones “Fool In Love,” a doo-wop vocal with tremolo-laden guitar from 1959, the first disc rolls along with highlights including their first hit, the instrumental “Last Night” by the Mar-Keys, onto the classic “Green Onions” by Booker T & the MG’s plus several well-known performances from Sam & Dave and Otis Redding, like “Try A Little Tenderness”. Mixed in are tracks that aren’t as familiar, like Wendy Rene’s heart-tugging “After Laughter,” William Bell’s classic “You Don’t Miss Your Water,” the Astors sweet vocals wrapped around the driving beat on “Candy,” and a stunning cut from the star-that-should-have -been, Mable John on “Your Good Thing(Is About To End)”.

The second disc digs right in with Albert King’s enduring “Born Under A Bad Sign,” Sam & Dave on “Soul Man,” and Redding’s swan song “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay”. The level of performance stays high through the passionate rendition of “I Got A Sure Thing” by Ollie & the Nightingales, matched two tracks later by Linda Lyndell’s funky tribute on “What A Man”. There are several from Booker T & the Mg’s, the Staple Singers – with Mavis taking us home on a cover of “The Weight” – and the dean of Memphis funk, Mr. Rufus Thomas, teaching everyone righteous dance moves on “Do The Funky Chicken”. His daughter, Carla, also makes several appearances, featured on a duet on “Just Keep On Loving Me” with Johnnie Taylor. Bell returns with a heartbreak song for the ages, “I Forgot To Be Your Lover”.

The Staples Singers have three songs on Disc 3, including “I’ll Take You There,” which hit thee top spot on the Pop and R&B charts. Johnnie Taylor reminds listeners that he was a masterful singer on the dark cheating tune, “Jody’s Got Your Girl And Gone,” then reminds men about an essential fact of life, “Cheaper To Keep Her”. The Temprees hit all of the right notes on a cover of “Dedicated To The One I love,” Issac Hayes delivers his monster hit, “Theme From Shaft,” and the Bar-Keys turn things around on their response song, “Son Of Shaft”. The Dramatics had several tunes reach #1 on the R&B chart, including “Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get”. Little Milton shows off his talent as singer and guitarist on “That’s What Love Will Make You Do”. Two other chart-toppers are included – Jean Knight’s sassy “Mr. Big Stuff” and Shirley Brown’s emotional testimony on “Woman To Woman”.

The appeal of this collection is that it offers a hearty mixture of the enduring hit records of the Stax artists coupled with lesser-known gems that are often equally compelling. It is by no means a definitive summation but certainly will entice listeners to take a deeper dive into the Stax vault.

Reviewer Mark Thompson lives in Florida, where he is enjoying the sun and retirement. He is the President of the Board of Directors for the Suncoast Blues Society and a member of the Board of Directors for the Blues Foundation. Music has been a huge part of his life for the past fifty years – just ask his wife!


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 Featured Blues Review – 7 of 8 

miss freddye cd imageMiss Freddye – Lady Of The Blues

Self-Release – 2017

11 tracks; 39 minutes

www.missfreddye.com

Miss Freddye comes from the Pittsburgh area but for this debut release she headed West to Kid Andersen’s Greaseland studios where Kid and Andy Santana co-produced the album; indeed Andy had a hand in nine of the eleven songs. Kid plays all guitars with June Core on drums, Endre Tarczy on bass and Jim Pugh on keys; horns are added to most tracks by Eric Spaulding (sax) and John Halbleib (trumpet).

There are no fewer than four harmonica players involved with John Nemeth, Aki Kumar and Brandon G Bentz joining Andy across the album; John Blues Boyd sings two duets with Miss Freddye and Lisa Andersen, Robby Yamilov and Andy provide backing vocals. Miss Freddye emerges as a fine singer in the Etta James tradition, equally at home on uptempo belters as sensitive ballads and this is a fine debut.

Opener “Miss Freddye’s Gonna Fix Ya” is a naggingly catchy tune with John Nemeth’s harp and a strong horn arrangement as Freddye offers comfort both physical and spiritual to those in need. The songwriting credit here is Mike Sweeney who also co-wrote two other songs with Andy: “Home Improvement” is a standout with great sax and piano behind the double entendre lyrics which Freddye sings with ribald enthusiasm; “Chain Breaker” has latin rhythms as Freddye describes her life as like being in prison.

Steve Nestor is the co-writer with Andy of the title track which races along over a guitar riff that recalls Otis Rush’s “Homework” as the horns punctuate Freddye’s impassioned vocals, clearly a song written with her stage persona in mind. Steve and Andy also contribute “Use The Back Door”, a really strong shuffle with more excellent horn work as Freddye gets rid of a lover who is encouraged to leave via the back door so that her friends do not see him. John Blues Boyd joins Freddye on vocals on “Don’t Apologize, Recognize”, a slow late-night blues with breathy sax, jazzy guitar chords and lovely piano and “Luv Ya Baby”, a more uptempo stomper with Kid’s guitar featured, Andy taking harp solos on both tracks.

Freddye is credited as co-writer on three tracks which appear later on the album, each containing ‘blues’ in the title. “Doorway To The Blues” has Freddye in relaxed vocal mood and John’s muted trumpet adding to the jazzy feel with Kid’s fine acoustic plucking; “These Are My Blues” is clearly an autobiographical song with Andy the featured soloist on harp; mind you “Freight Train Blues” goes one better with both Aki and Brandon featured, even though the song is only 2.24, including some brief studio chatter at the end! The album closes with Dr John’s “A Losing Battle”, a slow blues once recorded by Johnny Adams and here brilliantly interpreted by Freddye.

This reviewer has not heard from Andy Santana since his 2015 album Watch Your Step and it is great to see his key involvement in this project. As always with material recorded with Kid Andersen at Greaseland the sound is authentic Rn’B and the musicians right on the money throughout.

But the star of the show is definitely Miss Freddye who has a great voice for the material on this album. A new name on the scene and one to look out for but meanwhile this album can be highly recommended to Blues Blast readers.

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.


 


 Featured Blues Review – 8 of 8 

akeem kemp cd imageAkeem Kemp – A Woman Needs Love

Self-Release – 2017

8 tracks; 34 minutes

www.akeemkempmusic.com

Still in his twenties, Akeem Kemp is from Alabama and this is his sophomore album. Recorded at two different studios, the album contains six originals and two familiar covers. Akeem handles vocals and guitar with Khaleel Tyus on keys, Kentrell Clemons on bass and Xavier Acklin behind the drum kit. The general style is smooth blues and soul: Akeem has a clear and pleasant voice and plays some nice guitar, all of which works well across these songs though a little more ‘bite’ in both areas would add more dynamism to the disc.

Akeem’s smooth playing opens “Doubting My Love”, a ballad in which Akeem wants reassurance that his lover is still confident about his own love for her. “Running Crazy” is in similar vein with the rhythm section getting our toes tapping on a gentle shuffle and Akeem plays some stinging notes without distortion. The title track “A Woman Needs Love” is again gentle-paced and has some lovely guitar work from the start with backing vocals adding to the chorus (presumably the band members though none are credited on the album sleeve). The first cover is “I’ll Play The Blues For You”, written by Jerry Beach but forever associated with Albert King and it is always hard to get away from Albert’s definitive version. Akeem plays it fairly straight in terms of vocals and guitar though there are some synth strings in the background and the rhythm section add some modern elements, to these ears adding a slight rap feel to the drum and bass parts.

Things get a little funky with “Nobody Here To Love” which includes a short rhythm section feature. We then get the second cover, the familiar “As The Years Go Passing By” – a song so good that it has been recorded many times over the years by artists of the calibre of Albert King (again), Fenton Robinson, Otis Rush, Gary Moore and Jeff Healey, to name but a few. Akeem again plays this one pretty straight, his clear vocals and guitar tone well featured across the six minutes of the longest track here. For the final two numbers the tempo increases and we get simulated live audience reaction on “Do Yo Thang” which bounces along in funky manner with Akeem dubbing wah-wah beneath his usual smooth guitar; album closer “Road To Memphis” talks of the life of a traveling musician, Akeem bemoaning the fact that he is only “twenty years old, you might think that I’m fifty, dreadlocks in my hair, you wouldn’t think that I was a hippy. Peace, love and music the only set that I play, ‘the sky is crying’, ‘I believe it’s going to rain’”. Although it is the shortest song here the more personal lyrics and lively performance make it one of the stronger tracks on the album.

There is certainly promise here but I feel that Akeem needs an adviser, maybe a producer to get the best out of him. With solid guitar skills and voice he has everything you need to succeed.

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.

For other reviews on our website CLICK HERE



 Featured Interview – Toronzo Cannon 

toronzo cannon pic 1When I contacted Toronzo Cannon to set up an appointment for a phoner for Blues Blast, his masterful storytelling chops kicked in and quickly gave me the talking Blues. He regaled me right out of my logical mind. Somehow he convinced me out of the gate that he was present at Chuck Berry’s infamous 1959 Mann Act arrest!

At some point I remembered seeing Chuck Berry live when I was about sixteen. Berry was about forty then. I was nine in 1959 and am almost twenty years older than Toronzo. After an embarrassing laugh, the chronological facts finally in perspective, The Chicago Bluesman broke down the serious side of his story.

Mr. Cannon really considers storytelling the foremost facet of his Blues arsenal. He actually downplays his guitar playing and describes himself as a story driven Bluesman.

He was born and raised in Chicago under the strict tutelage of his grandparents, Linch and Earthy Lee Cannon. His grandfather Linch, bestowed upon him the name Toronzo and imbued upon him a healthy respect for the straight and narrow.

“I would’ve rather felt the wrath of the Blackstone Rangers than that of my grandfather. He and grandmother brought me up. He was from Jackson, Mississippi and she was from Memphis, Tennessee. They wasn’t takin’ no mess. All I needed was one whuppin’ from that razor strap. But, I got two in my life, know what I mean? That first one should’ve done me right, but then I went and stayed on the basketball court from noon until past nine at night one Saturday.

When he finally caught up to me, he said to me breathin’ hard, ‘You in trouble.’ In my mind, I’m sayin’, why you breathin’ so hard? We got to the house and the dog started barkin’. I tried to make it to my room. I had my little windbreaker jacket on and he grabbed me and said, ‘Don’t you ever stay outta this house and not let nobody where you’re at.’ I got it, man, I got it. It’s all about learnin’, but you can’t do kids like that these days though.”

Life before music was for young Toronzo was filled with hoop dreams.

“I wasn’t tryin’ to turn pro or nothin’. It was just a pastime, hangin’ out with the guys, talkin’ smack with your boys every Saturday. Though I didn’t drink, they would bring a case and we would be in the park havin’ fun. One fateful day, I cracked my knee, my meniscus and couldn’t play anymore. Up until then, I thought, I was a natural healer, cuz every other time, I got hurt, I just sat down for a couple of days or whatever with an Ace bandage on it.”

By his late teens Earthy Lee Cannon had Toronzo in church.

“At age 19, I was tryin’ to play drums. I was a left handed drummer and Jerry, the regular drummer for the choir was right handed and never would let me set up the kit left handed, so that kind of left me out of the box. In hindsight, it turned out to be a good thing because I’d have probably been a drummer had they been more patient with me. I remember the Pastor called me and said, “We’ve got some new drums at the church. Why don’t you come down and take them out of their boxes and set them up for me?” So I went down and did that, took them out of the boxes and set them up left handed. Then Jerry, the main drummer came in and switched everything around and I was like, man! Then when it was time for me to play, one of the women in the choir says, “I thought Jerry was gonna play.” I got off the the drums. I was burnt!”

I was compelled to ask The Chicago Bluesman if he ever saw evidence of the Holy Ghost in church.

“Oh yeah. Quiet as kept, I caught it one time. I’ll just put it this way. The spirit is real. I was sitting in church one day and the Pastor was hittin’ all these points that were goin on in my life at the time. He was hittin’ ’em hard. Suddenly I started feelin’ a little cold. My body started shakin’ a little and I started cryin’ out of both eyes. The next thing I knew the ushers were all around me. I didn’t fall out, I wasn’t slain in the spirit. All I can say is that’s why I don’t play with God. I can talk crazy and a little slick but I do not play with God. I see cats try to be slick and use God Bless You as the new F you these days. I get it on the bus all the time. I have to let it be known that I joke but don’t play.

Some people on facebook have it wrong and try to say things that are slick. I know what you mean but you don’t have to be slick with me. Just cuz you see me out here havin’ fun, doing my music without a scowl on my face, not being the kind of Bluesman you think Itoronzo cannon pic 2 should be, that is, have a .22 in my shoe, a criminal record, fifty kids all over the place. Whatever you think – I’m not that kind of dude. So please don’t talk slick to me with that double meanin’ stuff. Time out for that. I still stand firm in my belief and I don’t mess with anybody. If you swing at me, I’m gonna swing back at you. I just don’t like the little mind games people play to try and one up you. Leave me alone with that. I have too much going in my mind anyway than for some chump to try to swing on me in this political age. I never said anything about your views, so don’t talk down to me about mine. One lady told me some time ago, that she didn’t believe I had a job, because you didn’t like my political views. Now I’m not tryin’ to pop my collar, but I’m a property owner, I have responsibility. What do you mean I don’t have a job and shouldn’t be talkin’ like that. I’m a taxpayer. Even if I wasn’t, as a voter, I have the right to say what I want to say. A perfect example of that was when Lester Chambers of the Chambers Brothers was attacked at the Hayward-Russell City Blues Festival a few years back.”

Toronzo’s church experience psychically scorched him just enough to be pulled in the orbit of the the guitar. It might’ve been DNA.

“I never saw it but they say when he was younger my grandfather had an old acoustic guitar that he used to bring out when he’d have a taste. I started playing when I was in my early twenties. You know, Chicago is a land of giants when it comes to Blues guitar. It makes you feel like a small giant cuz you see all these cats that are hella guitar players, from traditional to contemporary cats that can wail. Cats like Mike Wheeler, Carlos Johnson, Carlos Showers, Carl Weathersby, Guy King, Joanna Conner and Eddie Van Shaw. These are people that can take their shoes off and flat out play. They kill you with emotion and spirit. Me? I can get my point across lyrically and offer a nice guitar diversion in the process.”

When lauded for his own playing, he almost refuses to believe that his chops are anywhere near the cream. Obviously, his self concept is that he is a better lyricist than guitar player. When I compared him to Eric Gales, his response was, “Aww, come on Bruh… Eric is a monster. I’ll take the compliment but the way I feel is that if I can’t sell the fruit, then I can sell the vegetables. You know, there’s another Chicago Blues elder named Sammy Fender who told me years ago, ‘Don’t you ever deflect a compliment.’ So, I’m not tryin’ to do the whole modest thing. I’m really flattered that you would say something like that man, because, you know, I don’t hear what other people hear. And I’m always nervous and kinda insecure about my guitar ability. It’s part of what keeps me driving the bus. I’m on that bus everyday thinkin’ about how I can advance my music career. I need a plan B. That comes from my grandfather.

As far as my stage show and how I present my music, I’m very confident in that and I wish I was as confident in my guitar playing when I present it to the people. I’ve always been insecure about my guitar playin’ man, even though sometimes, I can get in the zone, freak out and feel good about what I’m doin’. Lately, I’ve been messin’ with the acoustic and slide to present more diversity in my playin’ and songwritin’. Part of it is to let cats know, yeah, I can do this too. Also to let my stories shine without a lot of guitar behind them.

So even though I’ve been out here for awhile, as recently as my last couple of East Coast swings through New York and Pennsylvania, I met fans who say they never knew about me until they saw me play. That’s kinda good when you’re playin’ a festival when people say, ‘Wow, he was energetic, he was freakin’ out, he was doin’ his thang better than the headliner. That kinda makes you feel good. I don’t know if it’s a Chicago thang or not, but I was taught by different musicians in Chicago that if you are playing under the headliner, you are supposed to light that headliner up – make that headliner work.

When I opened up for Otis Rush, I clammed up because, you know, it was Otis Rush. My band was relatively new. I hadn’t quite grasped the concept of eating up a headliner. The awe of opening up for him – He’s left handed, I’m left handed. I wasn’t a punk about it. I didn’t go out there suckin’ my thumb, not makin’ eye contact. I did my thang but not the way I’m capable of.

My friend Mike Wheeler says, ‘The reason why you might be insecure about it is because you know what you’re gonna play. People that hear you don’t know that, so when you are giving it to them, it’s their first time.’ So I can see where my mind might trick myself in that regard. Another friend of mine, a musician by the name of Ray Clark, said to me about the insecurity thing. ‘You know, it’s none of your business what the audience thinks about you.’

I was like, wow, that sounds crazy but I guess in the passion of my wanting to please everybody with my music, when you see that one dude in the audience with that smirk on his face, it’s like, dang, I’m movin’ everybody but this dude right here, but you know, maybe his face is like that because he has a corn or a bunion. Maybe I should concentrate on playin’.

toronzo cannon pic 3Getting back to that Mike Wheeler quote, he actually told me that years ago. We were on a plane with Chico Banks going to do a gig in San Jose, California. Chico Banks was a local Chicago guy who was like the Michael Jordan of the Blues scene. He passed away in 2008. This was before I signed my first deal with Delmark. I was just happy to be with these two guys because they were my local heroes. Mike Wheeler was one of the first musicians to phone me without going Hollywood on me. Cuz, when I was new on the scene, I’d meet cats and they’d say, ‘Yeah man, we gon’ get together and do something, what’s your phone number?’ And then, never call. Mike was the guy who actually called. From that day he has been my best friend. I’d give him the keys to my house. I kid with him and my other friend Al Spears, telling them that when I die, they will be my two pall bearers. I might make it easy on them and get cremated, but so far, they are the only ones that can carry me to my grave. They’re cool like that. It’s good to have people like that who will pull you to the side and say, ‘Hey man, you foul,’ when you want to get down with someone, they’ll calm you down.

I’m not a violent dude, but there’s been a couple of cats I’ve been wanting to get (down) with. Sometimes you have to let people know, man. But my friends pulled my coattail. It was like, ‘Dude, you got too much to lose. As soon as you knock that stud in his face, that’s it. Again, I’m not a violent guy, but some things are hard to take.

As funny as it may seem, some people in the business tend to hate on me because I still have my bus drivin’ job. That somehow I’m not real enough for holding on to my day job. But it’s like I told the anonymous club owner that called himself blackballin’ me for a year. ‘You know, if I smash my guitar in the street today, tomorrow my bills will still be paid. I don’t have to beg anybody. My grandfather would come back in a dream and haunt me if I did.

Furthermore, I’ve never used anybody to get what I got and I’m proud and confident of that. Cuz I sit back and I see what cat’s do to make it. And if that’s their method of making it, handle your business, do your thang. But don’t look at me, don’t trip on me cuz I have a regular job. “Oh he’s a weekend warrior, he’s gotta job.’ Dude, ain’t none of this promised. Music ain’t promised. Job ain’t promised. So I’m not gonna let you sit back and throw stones at me because I have a plan B. You jumped in full force and now you have a tooth missin’, can’t pay your bills and have a different cell phone number every six months. I don’t live like that at this stage of my life. I see it for what it is. I don’t do anything to anybody. I don’t hang out. You’re not going to see me as a permanent fixture in the club cuz I’m tryin’ to get my little six and seven hours of sleep so I can go to work. I let people be who they are going to be and don’t like snakes around me anyway. Consequently, I’ve lost a couple of band members. Now if I was twenty or so it could be different, but at this stage, that’s how I get cats off me.

It’s just the opposite at my day job. Several TV crews have come down to the Chicago Transit Authority garage to do pieces on me. CBS, Fox, CNN. CNN did a special they used to encourage travel to Chicago. When the film crews set up it’s usually a three or four hour gig but management and my co-workers are cool.”

When we finally get around to discussing TC’s guitar arsenal he admits that while he likes Fender Stratocasters and Gibson series axes, the Gibsons are too hard to travel with overseas. “Consequently, I’ve had a couple of luthiers craft a couple of guitars for me. One is a Chicago Flag guitar. I’ve been rocking it for about three or four months now. I’m proud of playing it because it represents the legacy of Chicago Blues and the Bluesmen that settled here. It’s a good travel guitar that I don’t have to worry about getting banged around and showing up with a broken neck. You know, being left handed when you play a venue, there is usually no readily available left handed guitar anywhere. With a right handed player, usually someone can call a friend and it’s there. Just to be clear, I play a right handed guitar with the strap upside down and the big string on top. Not like Albert King and Otis Rush. I string mine like Jimi.”

Having asked about the Holy Ghost in Toronzo’s church experience, I flip it and ask about how the Spirit hits when he plays the Blues.

“I tell people all the time that there is a spirit in music, regardless of the genre. Sometimes driving the bus I have conversations with youngsters about it. I ask them if there has ever been a song or rap that gives them chills or any physical reaction like the hair standing up on their body. When they say yeah I point out that this happens though nothing actually physically touched them. When they hear this for the first time it gives them that forest for the trees moment.

It happened to me when I heard Jimi Hendrix do “Machine Gun”. Dude! The spirit and passion of it brings water to your eyes. When I heard it, I knew why Miles Davis said, ‘That muthafuckin’ “Machine Gun”,’ when asked what song put Jimi on his radar the most.

toronzo cannon pic 4In the early ’90s when I was walkin’ around with my little acoustic in public, people would say, ‘Man, you play like Jimi.’ I swear before Lord, I had never heard of Jimi. Before that I was totally into basketball, a whole different world. So I had to do the research. I got a video tape of Monterey. Oh my word, if a Black man can clutch his pearls, I was holding my chest like an elderly White woman in England. Oh my God, this visual and the audio/audible freaked me out. So from that point forward I ran around looking for stuff on Jimi. Anything on Jimi.

I did a European Blues Cruise with the great Vasti Jackson. It was like the second one ever. My band was backin’ him. He is a wealth of musical knowledge. I can sit at that man’s feet like an eight year old kid and just listen to him. He broke down to me my guitar insecurity thing. He asked me, ‘How long you been playing?’ At that time it had been about twelve years. He said, well musically you’re twelve.

Some guy gave him an acoustic guitar to try out during the set, so he told the band to drop out. Then he told the crowd he was going to ask the ancestors to help out with the song. Dude, when he said that, it brought back to me what the Blues is all about; slave ships, cotton fields, segregation and all its entrapments, forbidden eye contact with the dominant culture. It brought tears to my eyes. It hit me dead in my chest. I don’t think the average person playing the Blues today gives much thought to the ancestors. I love the hell out of Elmore James, Robert Johnson, J.B. Hutto, Hound Dog Taylor, Son House and Bukka White. Cats that can wail, sing with their mouths wide open. Field holler type musicians and I know I’m missin’ some.

When Vasti finished, I went back there and hugged him like he just came home from the army. I told him, ‘What you just did, proves to me that I have a long way to go.’ He told me, ‘Don’t worry about it. Stay on your path. Don’t measure yours with mine. Do your thing.’

Vasti Jackson is a scholar and teacher to me and I call him periodically to talk. He has a way of reintroducing information that I thought I already had. The beginning of this thing is deeper than all of us. It ain’t about how well, or how fast, or how many licks you can play on the guitar. It’s about the stories to me. A cat told me a long time ago that people leave your show singin’ your lyrics not your guitar solos. I took that as a challenge to develop my songwriting. It taught me to write engaging songs. If you listen to The Chicago Way, and observe my audience, you might see that they can connect with 70% of what I write. Real stuff, divorce, midlife crisis, mature women, immature women. it’s life with all its funny takes. I like my stories to shine. Shoot, this Blues thing, I will never ever turn my back on the genre. I have nowhere else to go and I don’t wanna go nowhere else. I only picked cotton one time and I keep the fruit of that in my guitar case. So I might not be the traditional Bluesman from down south true, but people don’t know my struggle. How when I signed with Alligator, my record label and Intrepid, my agency, I did it in my CTA uniform in a vacant lot on the West Side of Chicago on my lunch hour. I’m walkin’ around in uniform, which, in the hood is an invitation to get rolled on. I’m movin’ around, lookin’ behind my back at bottles, garbage, syringes, empty weed bags, dead cats, etc. People don’t see that part. How dare you fix your mouth to say anything about me cuz you don’t know what I went through to get this. Waking up a four, five in the mornin’ to get to work and be responsible, many times just after playin’ a gig. When they say that I haven’t struggled enough to be a Bluesman, they don’t know my life. I don’t criticize anyone for their hustle and am offended when someone attacks mine.”

Toronzo Cannon is slated to open for Buddy Guy at Legends on Thursday January 11, 2018. His star is late blooming perhaps, yet rapidly expanding and rising.

Check out Toronzo’s website at: www.toronzocannon.com

Interviewer and 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.


 Blues Society News 


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Crossroads Blues Society – Rockford, IL, IL

Monthly shows at the Hope and Anchor in Loves Park, IL are on the second Saturday of the month. They are from 8:00 to 11:30 PM and there is a $5 Cover Charge. Scheduled shows: January 13 – Reverend Raven and the Chain Smoking Altar Boys featuring Westside Andy Linderman, February 10 – Ray Fuller and the Blues Rockers, March 10 – John Primer, April 14 – Chicago Wind featuring Matthew Skoller and Dietra Farr, May 12 – Cash Box Kings.

The Lyran Society in downtown Rockford hosts first and third Friday blues along with a fish fry. No cover, shows 7 to 10 pm. Scheduled shows: January 18 – The Blues Disciples, February 2 – Recently Paroled, February 16 – Donna Herula, March 2 – Olivia Dvorak Band, March 17 – Ivy Ford Band, April 6 – Bobby Messano.

Hurricane Relief Benefit at the Lyran Society Sunday, January 14th 3 to 6 pm. $10 suggested donation. Raffles and auctions and food and fun. All Star Blues Band including, Reverend Raven, Jimmy Voegeli, Westside Andy Linderman, Dave Wood and Steve Dougherty. All proceeds go to hurricane relief efforts. Contact Steve Jones at sub_insignia@yahoo.com for more info on any of these events or go to http://crossroadsbluessociety.com/.

The Charlotte Blues Society – Charlotte, NC

The Charlotte Blues Society announces our February Blues Bash, featuing Heather Gillis, with Funky Geezer opening, on the 2nd Sunday in February, the 11th, at the Rabbit Hole, 1801 Commonwealth Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28205. Doors at 7:00, Music at 8:00. Jam session follows.

All year, we are collecting canned food for Loaves and Fishes; donations are requested, to help the less fortunate in our community.

For more info visit Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/58888876959/  or Website:www.charlottebluessociety.org

Sacramento Blues Society – Sacramento, CA

Sacramento Blues Society presents a fundraiser with the James Armstrong Band on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 at 6:30 p.m.at Momo, 2708 J Street, Sacramento, California. Few blues artists know how to play the crowd as James can. Little wonder he’s been dubbed the Ambassador of the Blues. www.sacblues.com

General Admission $15. Tickets available at https://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1612234?utm_medium=ampOfficialEvent&utm_source=fbTfly

Trinity River Blues Society – Dallas, TX

The Dallas/Fort Worth based Trinity River Blues Society announces a benefit concert for the Hart Fund, a charity by the Blues Foundation that helps musicians in need.

The concert features non other than the great Jimmie Vaughan with special guest Janiva Magness. The concert is February 11 and will be held at the Kessler in Dallas. For more information www.trinityriverblues.com

Central Iowa Blues Society – Des Moines, IA

The Central Iowa Blues Society presents the 24th Winter Blues Fest at the Downtown Des Moines Marriott, 700 Grand Ave on Friday, February 9 and Saturday, February 10, 2018.

TWENTY blues acts under one roof and out of the cold! Featuring Bryce Janey, Eric Jerardi, Anthony Gomes, Jason Ricci, Reverend Raven & the Chain Smokin Altar Boys, Heath Alan Band, Aaron Earl Short, Malcolm Wells & the Two Timers, Amanda Fish Band, Grand Marquis, Kilborn Alley, Steepwater Band, Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal. Iowa Blues Challenge Winner, Avey Grouws Band and the Solo Winner, Kevin “BF” Burt will perform along with regional Blues Challenge winners, Taylor Smith – Kansas City, Ken Valdez – Minnesota and the Omaha Winner, Rex Granite Band featuring Sarah Benck.

Andy Cohen will again provide the Saturday afternoon guitar workshop. Scotty & the Wingtips will host the After Hours Jam on Saturday night.

Admission – Friday $20 advance or $25 at door, Saturday $30 advance or $35 at door, both days $45 advance or $50 at door.

There is a special Blues Fest rate at the Marriott hotel. Book online or call 515.245.5500. Information and tickets at www.cibs.org or through Midwestix.

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: January 15 – The Groove Daddies, January 22 – The Greg Glick Band, January 29 – Brandon Santini, February 5 – The Scott Ellison Band, February 12 – Dave Lumsden & Friends, February 19 – The Scottie Miller Band, February 26 – The Good, The Bad and The Blues. For more information visit www.icbluesclub.org.


 39th Blues Music Awards Nominees 



Acoustic Album

Catfish Keith – Mississippi River Blues
Doug MacLeod – Break The Chain
Guy Davis & Fabrizio Poggi – Sonny and Brownie’s Last Train
Harrison Kennedy – Who U Tellin ?
Mitch Woods – Friends Along The Way
Rory Block – Keepin’ Outta Trouble


Acoustic Artist

Guy Davis
Harrison Kennedy
Taj Mahal
Doug MacLeod
Rory Block

Album
Don Bryant – Don’t Give Up on Love
Monster Mike Welch and Mike Ledbetter – Right Place, Right Time
Rick Estrin & The Nightcats – Groovin’ In Greaseland
TajMo – TajMo
Wee Willie Walker & The Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra – After A While

B.B. King Entertainer
Bobby Rush
Michael Ledbetter
Rick Estrin
Sugaray Rayford
Taj Mahal

Band
The Cash Box Kings
Monster Mike Welch and Mike Ledbetter
Nick Moss Band
North Mississippi All-Stars
Rick Estrin & the Nightcats

Best Emerging Artist Album
Altered Five Blues Band – Charmed & Dangerous
Larkin Poe – Peach
Miss Freddye – Lady Of The Blues
R.L. Boyce – Roll and Tumble
Southern Avenue – Southern Avenue
Tas Cru – Simmered & Stewed

Contemporary Blues Album
Beth Hart – Fire On The Floor
Corey Dennison Band – Night After Night
Ronnie Baker Brooks – Times Have Changed
Selwyn Birchwood – Pick Your Poison
TajMo – TajMo

Contemporary Blues Female Artist
Beth Hart
Karen Lovely
Samantha Fish
Shemekia Copeland
Vanessa Collier

Contemporary Blues Male Artist
Keb’ Mo’
Michael Ledbetter
Ronnie Baker Brooks
Selwyn Birchwood
Toronzo Cannon

Historical Album
Jimmy Reed, Mr Luck: The Complete Vee-Jay Singles (Craft Recordings)
John Lee Hooker, King of the Boogie (Craft Recordings)
Luther ALlison, A Legend Never Dies
(Ruf Records)
The Paul deLay Band, Live at Notodden ’97 (Little Village Foundation)
Various, American Epic: The Collection (Sony Legacy)

Instrumentalist – Bass
Benny Turner
Bob Stroger
Larry Fulcher
Michael “Mudcat” Ward
Patrick Rynn

Instrumentalist – Drums
Jimi Bott
June Core
Kenny Smith
Tom Hambridge
Tony Braunagel

Instrumentalist – Guitar
Anson Funderburgh
Chris Cain
Christoffer “Kid” Andersen
Monster Mike Welch
Ronnie EarlInstrumentalist – Harmonica
Billy Branch
Dennis Gruenling
Jason Ricci
Kim Wilson
Rick Estrin

Instrumentalist – Horn
Al Basile
Jimmy Carpenter
Nancy Wright
Trombone Shorty
Vanessa Collier

Pinetop Perkins Piano Player
Anthony Geraci
Henry Gray
Jim Pugh
Mitch Woods
Victor Wainright

Instrumentalist – Vocals
Beth Hart
Don Bryant
John Németh
Michael Ledbetter
Sugaray Rayford
Wee Willie Walker

Rock Blues Album
Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band – Lay It On Down
Mike Zito – Make Blues Not War
North Mississippi Allstars – Prayer For Peace
Savoy Brown – Witchy Feelin’
Walter Trout – We’re All In This Together

Rock Blues Artist
Eric Gales
Jason Ricci
Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Mike Zito
Walter Trout

Song
“Don’t Give Up on Love” – written by Don Bryant and Scott Bomar
“Don’t Leave Me Here” – written by Kevin R. Moore, Taj Mahal, and Gary
Nicholson
“Hate Take A Holiday” – written by Wee Willie Walker, Anthony Paule, and
Ernie Williams
“Prayer For Peace” – written by Luther Dickinson, Cody Dickinson, and
Oteil Burbridge
“The Blues Ain’t Going Nowhere” – written by Rick Estrin

Soul Blues Album
Don Bryant – Don’t Give Up on Love
Johnny Rawls – Waiting For The Train
Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm – Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm
Sugaray Rayford – The World That We Live In
Wee Willie Walker &The Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra – After A While

Soul Blues Female Artist
Bettye LaVette
Denise LaSalle
Mavis Staples
Trudy Lynn
Vaneese Thomas

Soul Blues Male Artist
Curtis Salgado
Don Bryant
Johnny Rawls
Sugaray Rayford
Wee Willie Walker
William Bell

Traditional Blues Album
The Cash Box Kings – Royal Mint
Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio – Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio
Kim Wilson – Blues and Boogie Vol. 1
Monster Mike Welch and Mike Ledbetter – Right Place, Right Time
Rick Estrin & The Nightcats – Groovin’ In Greaseland
Various Artists – Howlin’ At Greaseland

Traditional Blues Female Artist
Annika Chambers
Diunna Greenleaf
Janiva Magness
Miss Freddye
Ruthie Foster

Traditional Blues Male Artist
John Primer
Kim Wilson
Lurrie Bell
R.L.Boyce
Rick Estrin


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P.O. Box 721 Pekin, Illinois 61555 © 2018 Blues Blast Magazine (309) 267-4425

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