Issue 12-30 July 26, 2018

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Cover photo © 2018 Bob Kieser


 In This Issue 

Don Wilcock has our feature interview with Diunna Greenleaf. We have 11 Blues reviews for you this week including new music from Dana Fuchs, Eddie Kold Band featuring Larry Doc Watkins, Gràinne Duffy, David Vest, Renovation Blues Band, Wily Bo Walker, Russ Green, Allman Goldflies Band, Shinbone Star, Johnny Fury and Richard Koechli & Blue Roots Company.

Bob Kieser has photos and commentary from the 2018 Mississippi Valley Blues Festival.

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



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2018 Blues Blast Music Award Tickets On Sale Now

This years awards are being held at the Tebala Event Center in Rockford, IL on September 29th, 2018 beginning at 6:00pm. (Doors open at 5:00pm) Confirmed appearances so far include Karen Lovely, Benny Turner, Shaun Murphy, Ghost Town Blues Band, Markey Blue and Ric Latina Project, Casey Hensley Band, Ben Levin, Ivy Ford Band, Heather Newman, Orphan Jon & The Abandoned, Partick Recob, Ilya Portnov and Joyann Parker.

Advance tickets are $35. Tickets will be $40 at the door.
Tables for ten are only $250. To get your tickets now click HERE!

Information on travel, lodging, tickets and sponsorships is available on the Blues Blast Music Awards website at www.TheBBMAs.com.

 

WHERE TO STAY – We have chosen La Quinta in Rockford as the host hotel for fans and artists. La Quitna is about a mile from the venue. La Quinta is offering a special rate of only $89 for those attending the Blues Blast Awards. Simply call them at (815) 227-1300 and ask for the “Blues Blast Fan Rate”. First come first served.

Please note that there are a limited number of rooms available, so get your tickets and rooms booked now!


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 Featured Blues Review – 1 of 11 

daha fuchs cd imageDana Fuchs – Love Lives On

www.danafuchs.com

Get Along Records

13 songs – 51 minutes

Dana Fuchs’ new album, Love Lives On, her seventh since her 2003 debut, was recorded in just 11 days at Music & Arts, Ward Archer Studios in Memphis, and the spirit of region seeps through each of the 13 tracks on the album.

Opening with the roaring blues-rock of “Backstreet Baby”, Fuchs’ raw, raucous voice has hints of Janis Joplin and Kim Carnes, but is resolutely her own, as demonstrated by the nifty shift to Memphis soul in the next two songs, with Otis Redding’s “Nobody’s Fault But Mine”, which is given a modern polish while still retaining the power and passion of the original, and “Callin’ Angels”, an original track written by Fuchs and guitarist, Jon Diamond, which sounds for all the world like a classic Stax song from the 1960s.

Fuchs and Diamond co-wrote seven songs on the album and wrote four others in conjunction with Scott Sherrard. There are also two well-chosen covers to round out the release. The songs run the gamut of modern blues, blues-rock and soul. The pop-soul of “Sittin’ On” features some lovely organ from the Reverend Charles Hodges. The title track displays an Otis Redding influence with its opening arpeggio chord pattern being reminiscent of “I’ve Got Dreams To Remember”. “Fight My Way” and “Battle Lines” both contain heavy hints of country. “Sad Solution” has an irresistible funk-rock flavour, while the minor key “Sedative” has a modern blues structure. The upbeat blues shuffle of “Same Sunlight”, like a number of other tracks, benefits from powerful horn punches.

Fuchs’ band is top class. In addition to Diamond on guitars and harmonica, she has a rock solid rhythm section in bassist Jack Daley and drummer Steve Potts. The Reverend Charles Hodges is on organ, while Glen Patscha adds piano and Wurlitzer. Kirk Smothers and Marc Franklin are a killer horn section. Eric Lewis contributes pedal steel, lap steel and mandolin and Felix Hernandez plays congas. Backing vocals are courtesy of Reba Russell and Susan Marshall.

Above it all is Fuchs’ voice, which is a seriously impressive instrument. Equally happy on the rock of “Ready To Rise” or the gentle acoustic “Fight My Way”, Fuchs fully inhabits the songs she sings, delivering the predominantly optimistic lyrics with a real sense of emotional connection.

The final song on Love Lives On is the second cover version and also one of the emotional highlights of the album. Johnny Cash’s “Ring Of Fire” is stripped back to its purest essence, with lightly strummed acoustic guitar, floating pedal steel guitar, taunt drums and bass and aching vocals. Fuchs’ interpretation really brings home just what a beautiful love song “Ring Of Fire” actually is.

There are tangible benefits in recording an album in just 11 days. There is an electricity and vibrancy to the performances that has been superbly captured by producer/engineer, Kevin Houston. Love Lives On is a riveting slice of modern blues-rock-soul. Great work.

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


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 Featured Blues Review – 2 of 11 

eddie kold cdEddie Kold Band ft. Larry Doc Watkins – Chicago Blues Heaven

L&R Records – 2018

14 tracks; 56 minutes

www.facebook.com/Eddie-Kold-Band-101759596529408/

Eddie Kold is a German guitarist who has been a regular visitor to Chicago for over 30 years, played with Buddy Scott, Tyrone Davis and Vance Kelly and toured with LV Banks and Zora Young. Back home in Germany Eddie has his own band but returned to Joyride Studios in Chicago to record this album. Eddie is on guitar and sings lead on four cuts, Larry Doc Watkins (originally from Virginia but now resident in Germany) is on vocals on most of the tracks, Lukas Diehl is on organ, Sven Ostrowski bass and Christian Wübben drums and all provide B/V’s; guests include guitarists Kenneth ‘Hollywood’ Scott (Buddy’s son) and Vance Kelly who play on two tracks each, sax player Rodney Brown who plays on two cuts, Dolores Scott who sings lead on one track and Ethel Reed who provides B/V’s on one. Miriam Frank (sax) and Markus Koch (trumpet) add horns to one track and Eddie’s daughter Millie Meckbach adds organ to two tracks. There are eleven originals, Eddie writing four, Larry one and the two combining on six, with three covers.

Eddie’s four vocals are on the songs he wrote solo and they are more personal than the rest. “Blues Heaven” is a shuffle that recalls some of Eddie’s fondest memories of his time in Chicago as he name-checks lots of Chicago people and places, past and present whilst “I Am Gone” is a slower tune about unfulfilled love. Eddie does not have the most expressive voice but plays some fine guitar on both tracks. “(I Lost My Baby To) Facebook” works well and suits Eddie’s voice rather better, the soulful tune supported by the horns. “Gasman 2018” recalls Eddie’s work at a gas station when he was a student with some boastful and slightly suggestive lyrics that play on the old ‘check your oil’ references with more solid guitar from Eddie.

Larry has a stronger voice and his own “Suzie” finds him in a soulful vein as Kenneth plays some high note plucked leads over Eddie’s rhythm work. A run of four Eddie/Larry compositions includes some of the best songs here: “Weeping Willow Tree” is a soul-blues tune with strong organ, lovely restrained guitar and Rodney Brown’s sinuous sax solo; Eddie’s guitar features strongly on the churning and soulful “Think About You All The Time”; “Ball And Chain” shares a title with Big Mama Thornton’s song forever associated with Janis Joplin but turns out to be a gentle ballad with acoustic guitar and melodic bass, Larry looking to “cut you loose like a ball and chain”, the lyric signalling the eruption of a fine electric solo from Eddie; the next track is a contender for the strongest song here with a catchy riff over which Larry issues a warning about this “Jungle Cat”. Later on the album “When I Woke Up This Morning” is a classic blues in BB King style which Larry delivers very well and “Hungry Call” adds a dash of funk in some of the background guitar work.

“Big Boss Man” is usually described as a Jimmy Reed song but, unusually for a Reed song it was, in fact, credited to Reed’s manager Al Smith and Vee-Jay staff writer Luther Dixon, a fact that Eddie is clearly aware of as the song is correctly attributed here as the band plays a fast-paced funk version with some more of Kenneth Scott’s skittering guitar. Dolores Scott sings powerfully on “I’ve Got To Use My Imagination”, a Gerry Goffin/Barry Goldberg song written for Gladys Knight, Vance Kelly sharing the guitar duties here with Eddie. Vance also features on a cover of Rufus Thomas’ “Do The Breakdown” which has Vance on vocals and rhythm guitar, Rodney Brown on sax and Dolores Scott and Ethel Reed on backing vocals on a frantically funky dance track which comes to a sudden stop whereupon Vance asks: “Eddie, are you comfortable with that?” Guess Eddie was, as that is the final track on the album!

This is a labor of love from a man who is clearly a real fan of Chicago blues, soul and Rn’B and it’s a disc with some very good songs which is worth seeking out.

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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 Mississippi Valley Blues Festival – Davenport, IA 

33rd Annual 2018 Mississippi Valley Blues Festival was held July 6 and 7 at LeClaire Park in Davenport Iowa.  On Friday night we arrived in time to catch the start of a set by Kris Lager Band on the Bandshell stage. The music was interesting, a mix of bluesy jam band kinda vibe.

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Next we wandered to the The Pedigo/Jones tent stage to see the Avey/Grouws band play between Bandshell acts. These guys were great. Lots of talent right there from the surrounding Iowa area.

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Then we wandered back to the Bandshell stage to see blues rocker Walter Trout. Folks I am here to tell you that Walter is back and back with a vengeance. Easy to see why his shows are popular.

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Our Saturday afternoon was started off enjoying a set by the Peña Brothers.

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Next up was Anthony “Big A” Sherrod. Anthony is a real deal Bluesman with real soul. Enjoyable set.

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Next we headed over to the tent stage to catch All Sweat Productions, a variety of local young musical talent.

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Then we headed over for a look at Brandon “Taz” Niederauer, a 15 year old guitarist and singer getting lots of attention. He plays and sings like someone much older, with an “old soul” as they say. He was better than I expected from all the hype I had heard.

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Next we wandered over to catch the fun when our friend David Berntson conducts his harmonica workshop for the kids. (Big and small!)

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And speaking of friends, I had a great time hanging out with Shaun Murphy just before she went on to do a killer set. And I had the honor of introducing her set. What fun!

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The headliner on Saturday was Jonny Lang. I had not really had a chance to hear him for the last 20 years. Last time I heard him he was still a teenager and had just released Lie To Me.

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His music has gotten better. But man this dude is still the king of grimace face picking!

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If you have never made it to this great Midwest festival put it on your list. Great venue, dedicated and friendly staff and always a great lineup. This festival is always held on the weekend of the 4th of July. Put it on your calendar now for July 5 & 6. 2019!

Photos and commentary by Bob Kieser.


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 Featured Blues Review – 3 of 11 

grainne duff cd imageGràinne Duffy – Where I Belong

Self-Produced

www.grainneduffy.com

CD: 10 Songs, 37:17 Minutes

Styles: Acoustic Blues and Folk, All Original Songs

Gràinne (rhymes with “Anya”) Duffy is a thoroughly Irish maid with a thoroughly Irish name. Her voice, like a summer storm in her home country, would give Bonnie Raitt on “Angel from Montgomery” a serious run for her money. Does she play the blues? Acoustic blues, yes, but she leans to the folk/easy-listening side of such. On her third CD, Where I Belong, she pours out all she has and then some. Fact: Singing is hard. Fact: Vocalists must put a ton of effort into aspects such as pitch, tone, timbre, vibrato, etc. Fact: Duffy does all of this like an Olympic champion, making the impossible seem effortless. Even when she warbles common words like “here” and “cigarette,” they sound like the most beautiful ones in the English language. “Don’t You Wanna Know” flows from her mouth like the source of a stream, not snagging on any ‘throat rocks.’ As the icing on the cake, Gràinne is a skillful guitar player, neither being too soft nor too intense. This constitutes the good news. The bad news is that blues purists won’t find much water here. Songs like “Home” (reviewed below) contain great blues-rock riffs, but all ten aren’t like it.

According to Duffy’s promotional information sheet, audiences the world over are celebrating after seeing her perform at famous music festivals including Glastonbury, Blue Balls, Blues du Passion, and Tremblant International Festival. Last year, she had the honor of recording with Justin Stanley (Beck, Eric Clapton) and multi-Grammy Award-winning engineer Adam Ayan (Madonna, the Rolling Stones). Raised in Castleblayney, Ireland (Monaghan County), Gràinne was inspired to study the powerful influences of blues music, mainly the three Kings: Albert, BB and Freddie. In 2007, she released her debut Out of the Dark, leading to a Glastonbury gig.

Performing alongside Gràinne on lead vocals and guitar are co-songwriter Paul Sherry on backing vocals and guitar; Shawn Davis on bass guitar; Aaron Sterling and Aaron Redfield on drums; Tyler Chester on keyboards and piano; Justin Stanley on piano, acoustic guitar and background vocals; Chris Bruce on lead guitar for track ten, Danny Donnelly on lead guitar for track seven, and Doyle Bramhall II on lead guitar for track two.

Track 04: “Home” – A country-blues ballad with a blazing heart, Duffy proclaims, “My only home is you” at the end of the chorus. One can’t beat the smooth blending of the instruments or the background vocals that are to die for. Whether listeners are on the road or in their own sweet domicile, they’ll rejoice in the simple beauty of this song. It doesn’t have a lot of fancy editing or studio polish, but “Home” does not require either. “Step into the moonlight in the middle of a cool night.”

Gràinne Duffy may not play pure blues, but golly, folk and acoustic majesty is Where I Belong!

Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 38 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 – 4 of 11 

david vest cd imageDavid Vest – Self-Titled

Cordova Bay Records/MAPL/FACTOR Canada

http://davidvest.ca/

CD: 10 Songs, 38:53 Minutes

Styles: Piano Blues, Jazz-and-Soul-Influenced Blues

If I were to give Canadian David Vest’s newest CD a title other than its eponymous one, it would be Ten Monologues in Black and White. That would tell listeners two things: the number of tracks on the album (eight originals and two covers), and a subtle clue that they all consist of piano blues/jazz. Moreover, it would also describe Vest’s vocal style. He soliloquizes, as if on stage in front of thousands instead of sequestered in a studio. Only one of his offerings sounds like traditional blues (“Renoviction Man”). The others are pleasant to listen to and interesting to ponder. This is definitely a soundtrack for a dark and stormy night at home, lit candles all around. Vest is a dynamite performer, especially on eighty-eight keys, but his tunes aren’t fit for rowdy bars.

According to his website, David’s been a member of the jazz and blues scene for more than fifty years. Born in Huntsville, AL in 1943, David grew up in Birmingham near Tuxedo Junction. He played his first paying gig in 1957. By the time he opened for Roy Orbison on New Year’s Day of 1962, he was a seasoned veteran of Gulf Coast roadhouses and honky-tonks. At the age of seventeen, David went on tour with Jerry Woodard and the Esquires, some of whom later became key members of the Muscle Shoals Swampers. He jammed with Ace Cannon, Bill Black’s Combo and the Jimmy Dorsey Band in clubs along the Florida Panhandle, where fellow Alabaman James Harman would soon make his mark.

Alongside Vest are co-performers Billy Hicks on drums; Ryan Tandy on upright bass; and Tom Bowler and Peter Dammann on guitar.

The following three songs are the most intriguing, whether lyrically, instrumentally or both.

Track 01: “Some Old Lonesome Day” – The perfect fusion of jazz and blues ensues in this CD’s opener. “Some old lonesome day, you’ll think of me. Some old lonesome day, just you wait and see. You’ll sit and cry; you’ll wonder why. You threw my love away some old lonesome day.” Vest absolutely kills it on piano, but that’s not the sole highlight. Ryan Tandy’s upright bass is the quintessence of the instrument, providing a slightly-menacing atmosphere to the proceedings.

Track 03: “Party in the Room Next Door” – Paying homage to tunes such as “Splish Splash” and “If The House is a Rockin’ (Don’t Bother Knockin’”), the narrator in this bouncy boogie-woogie is trying to get some shuteye and failing miserably. “I’m under the covers with the pillows up over my head, but they’re jumping up and down next door, just a-shaking my bed. Might as well join the party – my face is turning red.” Tongue-in-cheek ‘50s-style guitar makes this song sizzle.

Track 09: “Renoviction Man” – “Renovation” can be a landlord’s code word for “we’re trying to get the riffraff out to make this place more upscale.” What’s our narrator’s take on this? He’s clearly on the side of the homeowners/renters: “I hope a big bag of money fall out of the sky, hit you on the head right before you die, Renoviction Man!” With a classic blues- stomp rhythm and growling guitar, blues purists will give knowing nods of recognition.

David Vest demonstrates that he knows how to make a piano play the blues and then some!

Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 38 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 – 5 of 11 

renovation blues bandRenovation Blues Band – Swingin’ Hammers

Self-Release – 2018

15 tracks; 55 minutes

www.renovationbluesband.com

Renovation Blues Band comes from Western Canada and has been together since 2007. They released a live album in 2012 but this is their first studio release, recorded over a two year period on vintage equipment. The band consists of Sean Kilback on guitar, Howard Mallett on bass, Paul Gorosh on drums and Darcy Phillips on keyboards; Morgan Rennef Onda adds sax to two tracks. The band is fortunate to have three members who can all sing well and Sean, Howard and Paul share out the vocals fairly evenly. There are four originals interspersed between covers from both classic and contemporary artists, the accent being on swinging material, hence the album title.

Paul leads on Wynonie Harris’ jumping “Down Boy Down” which swings mightily, aided by Morgan’s sax work, before Howard covers the classic Mel London tune “Cut You Loose” which brings Darcy’s keyboard work to the fore in a fast-paced version. Titus Turner’s “Get On The Right Track Baby” dates back to 1956 and was covered by Ray Charles and Georgie Fame and Howard does a fine job on the vocals here. Georgie Fame was, of course, an organ player and often covered Jimmy McGriff tunes and RBB does the same here with an excellent instrumental version of “All About Our Girls” which features plenty of Darcy’s organ work but also Sean’s guitar, even a short bass feature as Paul uses brushes to add to the late-night jazz club feel.

The band seems to have a penchant for alcohol-related songs as they cover Roy Milton’s “Bartender’s Boogie” (complete with chinking ice cubes!) to which you can add Sean’s tribute to beer “Barley, Hops And Water” which is another boogie tune. The band selects two tunes from contemporary writer Jeff Turmes, the first being “Happy Hour”, a song in which Paul sings of his girl’s ‘enthusiasm’ for drinking – not a recipe for a happy relationship, it seems!

Three contemporary artists who all died far too young are celebrated by the band: Lynwood Slim is the source for “Tried To Call You” which brings Sean to the mike for a really swinging version with Darcy’s piano and Sean’s ringing guitar taking the solo honours; Nick Curran’s “This Time I’m Out The Door” finds Sean playing some great guitar over an insistent rhythm section, complete with howl at the end; Sean plays some fine stinging guitar on Sean Costello’s “Cold Cold Ground” (written and recorded when Sean C was only 20 years of age). The band tackles another contemporary writer, Curtis Salgado, with “What’s Up With That”, a track co-written by New Orleans piano man Jon Cleary and originally on Curtis’ 2008 album Clean Getaway. The second Jeff Turmes composition is the rocking “She Never Gets A Minute Of Sleep” which is the second song to feature Morgan’s sax. A shame that they could not get him on to more tracks as his sax work definitely adds to the overall sound.

That leaves three other originals to discuss. Sean wrote “Leroy (Inside Or Out)” which is a tribute to a dog that is clearly greatly loved but has his irritating features. Sean’s “No Beg Or Borrow” fits right in with the rest of the album with a rocking rhythm section, twinkling piano and tough guitar while the album closes on the comic double entendre “Stove Top Stuffin’” which writer Howard clearly did not intend to act as a recipe book.

Overall a very enjoyable album which pays tribute to influences past and present. As the originals stand up well against the covers it would be good to see the band increase the proportion of their own material next time around. Meanwhile, however, this is an album well worth adding to your collection if you enjoy 50’s style swinging and jumping blues.

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 11 

willie bo walker cd imageWily Bo Walker – Almost Transparent Blues

Mescal Canyon Records

https://wilybo.com/

11 tracks | 54 minutes

The Glasgow-born singer, songwriter, storyteller is one of a very few independent blues artists from the U.K. to be inducted into the U.S. Blues Hall of Fame. This latest release is a compilation of the various outfits and musical personas he adopts. The album touches on Buster Poindexter and Bruce Springsteen meeting Tom Waits with the bombast of Nick Cave on a nice day.

This Scot’s a real nutter, as the Brits would say. Searing guitar solos from E D Brayshaw that owe more to David Gilmore than the bio-mentioned Gary Moore, take songs like “Storm Warning”, “I Want to Know” and “Loan Me A Dime” to solid crash landing in “Motel Blues”. E D can rip it with the best of them. Walker’s been doing this professionally for 40 years on, and it’s shop worn but not tired in any way. You have entered the mind-blowing expanding universe of the Wily Bo experience and when Wily and Brayshaw are playing together it’s the old one two punch of rock’s greatest.

The songs without E D are a nice change of pace “Long Way to Heaven” features The Brown Sisters of Chicago: Adrienne, Andrea and Vanessa Brown Dukes who sing like the heavens are their private domain. The vocal arch is pure Joe Cocker-esque without ever getting as up where he belongs but it’s always nice to be compared favorably to such a dearly departed great. Probably the best track is the swinging big band love song “Did I Forget?” with a great lyric at the end “Goodbye baby…It’s been a long and lonely day”. The tone is perfect for the feeling it portrays. Backing vocals by Kareña K are a stark contrast and welcome relief from the Wily growl as they are on a few other tracks. The baritone sax solo by Ron Bertolet along with the Danny Flam on trombones and trumpets round out this hit song and would be single.

The depth of talented musicians on display here is staggering. As high a standard as Wily and E D set, the side players kill it every time. For example, Tony Gorruso’s trumpet solo on the opener “Chattahoochee Coochee Man”, along with Geoff Slater’s slow single note guitar climb on the breakdown, brings the house down and that’s just the first tune!

“Walking With The Devil” explores another take on the aural tradition of the legend of the crossroads in which Robert Johnson was said to have made a deal with the devil in order to gain his considerable musical chops. It’s also a known theme in many blues tunes and as blues author Adam Gussow says in the back cover liner notes of his new book “Beyond the Crossroads”: “The Devil is the most charismatic and important figure in the blues tradition.”

Wily Bo may actually be the Devil if you believe half the tales he weaves throughout this album. With four new albums planned in the near future he’s probably out there right now out on Highway 61 looking to make a deal. He’ll need to.

Reviewer Reviewer Steve Gabe is a musician, writer, actor, comedian and lawyer.


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 Featured Blues Review – 7 of 11 

russ greeen cd imageRuss Green – City Soul

Cleopatra Records

www.russgreenmusic.com

10 tracks | 57 minutes

You gotta love an album when you wake up in the morning singing in the opening track “First Thing Smokin” and it puts you in a good mood to begin the day. It could easily be the background for any car insurance company commercial with a motorcycle winding down US 1 Pacific Coast Highway. But Russ Green has not had the good fortune for that to happen to him, yet. He has had to do it the Chicago way. One year at time building his reputation at first as a premier Harmonica player and then adding in his own vocals and writing. The tune is a non-sticky gem popping up in the consciousness just when the spirit lags a little and needs a boost. The album is a love letter to the Windy City where he was born and raised on the west side. City Soul is a nice mix of soul, R&B, blues and blues rock.

It features a select group of the city’s best players on various tunes including: Ricky Nelson (Drums on “Believe in Love”); Eric Bibb (duet) on “Going Down South”; Joe Monroe (Hammond B3) on “Lover Man”; Giles Cory (guitar) and Marvin Little (bass) on “Lint In My Pocket”; and Vince Agwada (slide guitar) on “Something New”. The album was co-produced by Russ and Sam Clayton; engineered by Rick Barnes; and recorded at Rax Trax in Chicago. Russ has won a Blues Music Award for producing a recording for Big Llou Johnson and was one of the harmonica players on the popular album “Chicago Blues Harmonica Project”. He has performed at the prestigious Chicago Blues Festival and many others over the years. He is just now getting on the map as a featured solo artist with this album which is city slick but gritty in its beneath the surface lyrical content, and truly adventurous in its arrangements.

Green’s influences are the best of the best. He is firmly rooted in the Sugar Blue style of harp (of Rolling Stones “Miss You” fame), but learned to play by listening to Hendrix whose music inspired him the most to move from a career in filmmaking to music by trying to re-create Jimi’s sonic explorations on harmonica. He sings in a nice soulful baritone reminiscent of the incomparable Bill Withers. It does not approach the high bar set by the legend but a good reference point would be “Grandma’s Hands”. Lou Rawls comes to mind as well. Not bad company in the least with ample room to grow.

All ten tracks are different from each other. Clocking in at 8 minutes “The Edge” with a solo harp intro that shows off his varied skill set of acrobatic trills and runs with a classic green bullet overdriven honking sound. That electric harp sound is the standard today and it serves him well. The old breathy Sonny Terry back porch style Piedmont blues harp is only evident on “Going Down South” but shows Russ can do it all. Maybe the use of a wider variety of harp tones in the future will further showcase his virtuosity and he’ll achieve greater acclaim. The sky is the limit with this artist. What Jr. Wells said about Sonny Boy Williamson II can be said about Russ Green: “His music will linger in your heart.”

Reviewer Reviewer Steve Gabe is a musician, writer, actor, comedian and lawyer.


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 Featured Blues Review – 8 of 11 

allman goldflies band cd imageAllman Goldflies Band – Second Chance

Allman Goldflies Records

www.allmangoldfliesband.com

10 tracks/41:23

With their debut effort, the Allman Goldflies Band offers their version of southern rock that sprang from the legacy of the Allman Brothers Band. Gary Allman, a cousin of Duane and Greg, handles vocals, keyboards, acoustic and slide guitar. Bassist David “Rook” Goldflies served stints in Dickey Betts Great Southern Band and the ABB when they reformed in 1979. Other band members include Joe Weiss on guitar, bass, and vocals, with Shawn Shackelford on drums. Matt Siegal and the late Luther Wamble also make appearances on guitar.

“Ever Been So Lonely Baby” starts things off with Allman delivering a gritty vocal over a hearty shuffle sparked by a thick bass line from Goldflies and a taut guitar solo. The band immediately shifts gears into a gentle ballad, “Standing In The Georgia Rain,” focused around Allman’s acoustic guitar, with several interjections from multiple electric guitars. “Southern’s All I Ever Wanted To Be” features a familiar twin guitar sound and some fine keyboard work as the band celebrates their roots on an easy rocking number. “Yesterday’s Blues” is a emotionally-fraught examination of loss and separation, with short guitar interludes heightening the aura of sadness.

The lone instance of instrumental jamming takes place on “Fadiddle,” a wild ride through a dark terrain with Goldflies on violin, his first instrument, giving the Charlie Daniels sound an Eastern European tinge. Allman’s slide guitar playing is prominently featured on “Baby Show Me How,” a countrified ballad about redemption beyond the prison gates. On “Pretty Green Eyes,” the guitars rock a bit harder on a track that bears resemblance to the Marshall Tucker Band. Goldflies lays down a popping bass line on “Can’t Turn Back Now,” his thin voice extolling the virtues living life on your own terms. Wamble distinguishes himself on “You Gave Me Love,” his melodic guitar licks the high point on another ballad. The closer tune, “When Jesus Calls,” is a touching tribute to Allman’s mother featuring a full choir on backing vocals over a shifting rhythmic foundation.

There is plenty to enjoy on this all-original program. The music is well-played and the vocals are heartfelt, if not always engaging. Followers of the Southern rock idiom will certainly want to give this one several listens. Discerning blues listeners will probably need to look elsewhere.

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 – 9 of 11 

shinbone star cd imageShinbone Star – Whiskey & Gin

Self-released

https://www.reverbnation.com/shinbonestar

12 songs/58min

Shinbone Star’s debut record Whiskey & Gin is driving Blues-Rock with a big bass-y bottom. This brand of Blues-Rock is the straight ahead stomping George Thorogood type. There is hard charging drums, loud up-front and on the beat bass and stabs of steely slide guitar. Shinbone Star hails from Upwey, Victoria, Australia and is obviously a strong bar band. This record seems to be a labor of love and the culmination of a life-long desire to make music.

The 12 original songs of Whiskey & Gin were written by bass player Michael Woodrow so the bass-centric sound is not surprising. Additional bass is handled by Brandon Miller, Al Castor and Joela Saintil. Woodrow et al. lock in with drummers Mats Marklund and Bruno Ufet creating a sturdy utilitarian foundation. Lead singer Bronwyn Jones has a clear strong voice and delivers Woodrow’s songs for the most part with confidence and conviction. Co-lead vocalist Mark Petlock is a good blues-harpist. Unfortunately he can’t really compete with Jones and his three vocal spotlights are a little out of place. The keyboard work handled by Danny Oakhill with help from Jeremy James is especially effective and helps to break out of the chugging sonic landscape . There are a number of guitarists lead by band regular Adam Haig with Andrew Williams and Brenden Alexander all of whom are fairly consistent in style, it is not indicated who plays on which track. Slide guitarist Grant McDonough is clear and clean with his bottleneck work.

When this band is able to step aside from big riff motoring and inject a bit of air and shuffle into their music they really shine. Tracks like “Eye on You” and “No Pie” have great up tempo boogie feels. “No Pie”’s double entendre “I got a rolling pin, but you ain’t gettin’ no pie” to Bronwyn Jones’ deadbeat alcoholic lover is a strong fun performance. Slow blues like “Devil on My Shoulder” and “Heart of the Blues” also work well. There is strong connection between lead guitar and Jones’ vocals. Her relaxed and wailing phrasing is especially effective here.

There is an efficiency in songwriting, arrangement and performance that adds a professional polish to recorded music. Bands like AC/DC or Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers have it and know how to edit themselves to ensure concise and always strong performances. Shinbone Star miss opportunities at this professional efficiency, especially on “Denial Is a River” and “Altar Boy Blues.” Both songs do not play to the musicians’ strengths. “Denial” is fast but not moving, the drumming is rigid. Jones is breathless after each verse trying to push too many words out of her laid back voice. There is unnecessary dead space in between verses and the chorus rhyming is overt. In “Altar Boy” the song writing is unsettling, and not in a good subversive way as the material might lend itself too. There is a weird chord change 2/3rds of the way through the form that kills the flow. Additionally this is one of Mark Petlock’s solo vocal outings. His spoken throaty growl isn’t strong enough to carry the overly simplistic lyrics.

Shinbone Star is a hard charging Blues-Rock band. The music on Whiskey & Gin must be a blast to listen to in an Australian bar. With a little more polish this music could translate very well into the recorded landscape. This debut has the promise and the musicians have the talent.

Reviewer Bucky O’Hare is a Bluesman based in Boston who spreads his brand of blues and funk all over New England. Bucky has dedicated himself to experiencing the Blues and learning its history. As a writer, Bucky has been influenced by music critics and social commentators such as Angela Davis, Peter Guralnick, Eric Nisenson, Francis Davis and Henry Louis Gates Jr.


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 Featured Blues Review – 10 of 11 

johnny fury cd imageJohnny Fury – Johnny Fury II

self released

www.johnnyfury.com

9 songs/29min

Have you ever had to wolf down an ice cream because it is so hot out that it will melt? You manically inhale the sweet goodness to ensure the bulk of it doesn’t end up on the sidewalk or on your shirt. Down in Texas in the Summer this is probably a major issue. Austin based Johnny Fury’s sophomore album, and 2nd self-titled album, Johnny Fury II feels like this kind of experience. It is a short hopped up blast of Soul Blues that you digest in a quick single helping.

Fury sings with a clear tenor that is up front and unassuming. His songwriting, 7 of the 9 songs are original, is straightforward and the musicianship throughout is top notch. Main rhythm section drummer Russell Lee and bassist Glenn Fukunaga keep a quick snapping beat. They are replaced on just a few tracks by Kevin Abbenante and Rich Baur on drums and Omar Vallejo, Odis Hill and Joe Miller on bass but the vibe is still consistent. The horns on this record are strong and creative. Mitch Quintanilla is the arranger, keyboardist and sax-man with Matthew Price on trombone and Mike Maher on trumpet. Bukka Allen and Cole Gramling each contribute a track of keyboards and Hiroki Shimizu lends guitar to a track.

Johnny Fury is a guitar-slinger. His six string work is front and center but he doesn’t fall heed to the temptation of endless noodling. The music here is sharp and tight like a hard charging Rockabilly record, but in the form of a Texas Shuffle. “Without Me” is a clever well written shuffle that highlights Fury’s overdubbed rhythm and lead skills. It also has a great chorus that is unique. The slinky “Life on the Streets” is a great minor key soul work out. The rocking album closer “Blue Sunrise” is a total departure. Johnny sings with conviction on this track and his delayed distorted guitar is free flowing. This is distinctly not a Blues song and is incongruous with the rest of the album, but it is so well performed it’s hard to not love it.

One of the two covers here is Marvin Gaye’s “Mercy Mercy Me (the Ecology)” in which Fury adds his own additional lyrics. The track, like the rest of the record, is tight and on point with great horn arrangements that punctuate the groove. However, Fury’s voice can’t compare to the master himself and adding lyrics to such an iconic song is a little presumptuous. “Mercy Mercy Me” originally had a groove, a laid back blissed-out vibe that this interpretation would have benefited from.

The cover of “Mercy Mercy Me” highlights the quick on-the-beat tempo that characterizes this record. Most of the songs are at a fast tempo, and in many cases a little too fast for the material. The tempos force all the interesting performances to be rushed. A little more air, a smidge less speed, a bit more swagger would have allowed, for example, the cover of “All Your Love” or the original “My Heart Is Yours” to bloom a little more. SRV’s debut Texas Flood is a great template for a fast paced adrenaline pumping record that still has room to breath.

Johnny Fury II is a great listen because Fury is a very talented musician and front man. His guitar playing and singing exude confidence that is reassuring and engaging for the listener, compounded by the like minded playing of all the musicians. This quick blast of Texas Soul twang leaves the listener wanting more.

Reviewer Bucky O’Hare is a Bluesman based in Boston who spreads his brand of blues and funk all over New England. Bucky has dedicated himself to experiencing the Blues and learning its history. As a writer, Bucky has been influenced by music critics and social commentators such as Angela Davis, Peter Guralnick, Eric Nisenson, Francis Davis and Henry Louis Gates Jr.


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 Featured Blues Review – 11 of 11 

richard koechli cd imageRichard Koechli & Blue Roots Company – Parcours

Self produced, distributed by Fontastix

www.richardkoechli.ch

16 songs/1hr 20min

The Blues truly are a universal language. People all over the world feel the Blues in different ways and relate them to their life. There is a long tradition of Europeans appreciating and performing the Blues and not just the British, although they certainly figured some stuff out. In Eastern Europe there are so many great Bluesmen and Blueswomen testifying their experiences and none better than Richard Koechli. Maybe you are hip to Koechli, but your humble reviewer is newly introduced. Parcours, French for route, course or career, is a spectacular introduction to this unbelievable talent.

Richard Koechli is Swiss and plays a style of laid back syncopated Blues that shuffles like a cajun line dance and smolders like an intense fire that has been snuffed out. He is a slide master, a cross between Ry Cooder’s fluid harmonic inventiveness and Bonnie Raitt’s intense clarion drag. He is also equally adept at regular fretting, playing with a clear electric sound and finger picking style much like Mark Knopfler. A stellar songwriter, Richard creates thoughtful not overly fussy poetry. Well at least as much as this mono-lingual listener could understand, Koechli sings 11 of the songs here in English, 4 in beautifully musical French and 1 in the “language of (his) childhood” Swiss German.

Blues Roots Company is Koechli’s longtime band. Drummer Fausto Medici is fluid and groovy and saunters in lock step with bassist David Zopfi. Michael Dolmetsch adds texture and depth on various keys. Heini Heitz on acoustic guitar adds a unique layer of wooden support while Dani Lauk and guest Walter Baumgartner lay down deep swampy blues harp. Richard’s wife Evelyne Rosier and her brother JB Rosier add strong background vocals and some songwriting support. But the focus is all on Koechli whose soft lived in voice is understated and a dramatic foil to his nimble six string work.

The most arresting track on this all killer no filler record is “Of em gliche Grond schtah.” This is a slow torch blues in Swiss German that subverts the 12 bar blues with a gypsy paint brush. One doesn’t need to know what this song is about to feel the deep emotional well from which it comes. A perfect crescendo into a fierce electric guitar coda rips this song straight through your soul.

The majority of this record is good time shuffle blues. Openers “New Orleans” and “Wing Ding Shuffle” set the party tone. Then comes “I got life.” Usually feel good songs about life and love fall short in creativity and poetry, not this declaration of clean honest living. On paper a chorus like “I’m as free as the breeze” sounds stupid but sung with Richard’s rusty whisper over the infectious sound of his guitar skittering over the Blues Roots Company defies the listener’s hair not to blow back.

Mark Knopfler comparison does not just reside in Koechli’s guitar playing. Richard recorded a record of Celtic influenced blues directly indebted to Knopfler’s virtuoso post-Dire Straits inventions. The only Celtic influenced track here is appropriately titled “Irish Man.” With Lauk on Irish flute, Patrick Butler on violin and Tom Aebi on uillean pipes, “Irish Man” is a mid tempo jig about the joys and wonders of the Emerald Isle.

Richard Koechli is a musical veteran playing professionally since 1990. He is also a deep student of the Blues. He recently published an in-depth study into the life of Tampa Red. The creativity, spontaneity and whimsy of Tampa Red is writ large over Parcours. This influence, Koechli & Company’s miles of experience and the music’s distinct European flair helped to create one of the strongest and most unique roots-Blues records of the year.

Reviewer Bucky O’Hare is a Bluesman based in Boston who spreads his brand of blues and funk all over New England. Bucky has dedicated himself to experiencing the Blues and learning its history. As a writer, Bucky has been influenced by music critics and social commentators such as Angela Davis, Peter Guralnick, Eric Nisenson, Francis Davis and Henry Louis Gates Jr.



 Featured Interview – Diunna Greenleaf 

Diunna greenleaf photo 1“If anybody had told me about some of the things that I would have had to encounter being a female leader of a blues band, I probably wouldn’t have done it,” says Diunna Greenleaf, ‘but you know, ignorance is bliss. As a woman who is leading a band and not just singing in a band, there are some other pitfalls and snakes waiting when you fall in the pit.”

Diunna told me that in 2005. In some ways she was a reluctant blues diva. She didn’t go into the game professionally until she was 44 years old, had earned an undergraduate degree in mass communications, a master’s degree in educational counseling, had worked as a counselor, and spent 21 years as an officer in the Army, the last of her three MOS’s (job category) earned after going to a special school on the locking down of heavy equipment on C130s.

But!

There always seems to be a but with blues singers who have the mojo in their bones. Her daddy told her, “You and all my kids have good voices, but you have an outstanding voice, an outstanding voice, an outstanding voice, and you don’t know it, and you ain’t gonna do a damn thing with it.”

But she did!

“I don’t know,” she says today. “He said, ‘You are the one child of mine who can sing anything you want to sing, any style, and you don’t want to.’

“I (did) family talent shows and everything like that. My mind was focused on other things, with my education, the organizations I was part of, my military stuff. And I could not envision myself making a living doing music.

“My grandmother lived to be 105 years old and in her right mind. She used to pray every night, and she’d say, ‘Lord, put your wings of protection around my little bitties and protect them all.’ Then, she’d name us individually. She would call us little bitties. All her children and grandchildren she’d name us, and she would call us little bitties, like little chicks, like little children, and she’d say, ‘I wanna thank you for yet another day, another day. This servant of yours is in her right mind.’ There is something to being in your right mind if you’ve ever seen people who aren’t in their right mind.”

Her childhood was idyllic. She didn’t know her family was poor because family life itself was so rich. “Hindsight is 20-20, and we didn’t realize that we were poor ’cause we never felt that. We were rich in family, friends, love. So, I don’t know. Another thing we had a lot of family. It’s become more apparent. We have a family reunion later this month, and they’re having it in Houston because there are two only of our first cousins who are still with us.

Diunna greenleaf photo 2“Mama would sing stuff while we were doing chores. She could have just as easily turned on the radio. We liked to hear her. She could sing “How Sweet It Is to Be Loved By You.” She’d sing “Don’t Fence Me In,” and just the other day I sang this song she used to sing in Montreal and also in Portugal, “Hard Times.” When I went and tried to explain it to this Portuguese band, they went on YouTube of course and looked it up, “Hard Times.” There was Ray Charles singing the same song. ‘So, this is the song you heard?’ I said, ‘Yes, but my mama sang it better.’” (laugh) Her mom died of stroke complications in 1995.

Music was always there. Diunna’s parents would house visiting artists who were refused hotel accommodations during segregation. She remembers Mahalia Jackson and Sister Rosetta Tharpe staying at her house. Joe Tex used to bring her records. Her father taught singing to Sam Cooke before he joined the Soul Stirrers. Her uncle owned a juke joint on Lyons Ave. and hosted Albert Collins and Lightnin’ Hopkins. Her mother ran a café on the same street that Honeyboy Edwards remembers to the day he died. But it wasn’t until she’d put herself through graduate school singing at weddings the Diunna became a professional blues singer.

Today, she’s travels the world performing. She was Living Blues magazine’s Critics’ Choice for Female Artist of the Year in 2015. Her latest release, Trying to Hold On, reached number one on XM/Sirius Radio Bluesville, number one on French Blues charts, and reached the top of blues charts in UK, Australia and the USA. But it all comes back to her childhood and mama.

“It’s difficult for me to sing “Precious Lord.” That song’s carved on my mama’s tomb stone ’cause people used to call for her to sing it all the time, and they used to call for her to sing “Oh, Ship of Zion,” and when all the nuns’ gospel things she used to sing around the house, I sing them with ease and fun. Happy memories laughing.

But!

“It’s hard to sing “Precious Lord.” I used to sing it all the time before. I can still sing “Oh Ship of Zion.” There’s overwhelming sadness in singing that song. I don’t know. There are probably others that it’s not every day that somebody has asked me to sing. At the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination in Memphis, they asked me to sing “Precious Lord.” I had to actually leave the stage. I did finish the song, but I just needed to get out of there.”

It may be too simplistic to say the only difference between gospel and blues is that one is about Him with a capital H and the other about him (or her) with a small h. But it is not hyperbole to state that both genres are measured in passion and truth of conviction. And while those very ingredients are what traditionally have caused a deep schism between followers of each, some rare musicians can say that both have infused them with the spirit, holy or otherwise. Diunna is one of those people.

Diunna greenleaf photo 3“Gospel and blues are like fingers on the same hand, and my sister who was a minister played only gospel but did not have a problem with me singing blues. She also knew I sang everything else I wanted to, but she also knew what I was trying to do as keeping a light on the historical values, this art form and also keeping a light on the contribution of women who sang this music.” Diunna said that in 2005. When I asked her if she still believed that, she said, “It’s true, it’s true, it’s true.”

Her indoctrination was subtle. As a child she didn’t realize who she was rubbing shoulders with. “It was Johnny Taylor who told me all the stories about Sam Cooke because Daddy just didn’t talk about those days. We didn’t know back from him. We knew about it from other people. I met Joe Tex ’cause he and Daddy were hunting buddies. I met Johnny Taylor ’cause he used to come to the house all the time, but at nighttime, late at night ’cause we’d always have to get up out of bed and help Mama put out some food or something like that. Albert Collins used to sit and watch me for my uncle and play some things and ask me how did that sound. ‘How does this sound?’ And I said, ‘That sounds good. That sounds good,’ not realizing he was world famous.”

As she got older, it began to sink in. “I was one of those kids you might have me in the first two days, and I might not say a word ’cause I’m listening and observing and taking in all of the information. And after that, I’m nonstop asking you questions, but as far as Mommy and Daddy were concerned with the industry, I just didn’t know the right questions to ask because I guess I didn’t see them as being part of it.”

As a young adult, Diunna would sing at weddings to help pay for her education. Her friend Alligator Recording artist Katie Webster would say to her, ‘The gift of song and music is with your family and somebody needs to continue it.’ I said, ‘Maybe that somebody is not me. (chuckle) Katie Webster had me at her place for tea, like high tea. It was set up like high tea in London, and I thought about that many a time because Katie knew how to approach me.

“She was looking at me. She saw I was a sorority girl. Yes, I was down to earth and this, that, and the other, but she knew that Mama and Daddy had coached me into getting my education so that I could know, understand and be involved in some of the “vital” things in life, and she knew I was one of these new working-class women in the offices, in the big offices and things like that. She had me over for tea and to talk to me about getting in the business and stuff like that.

“It was like a push and pull. I was constantly telling her no, and she was acting like she couldn’t hear me. I said, ‘Miss Katie, this sounds great for someone who is interested in this, but I have no intentions of running up and down the road singing. I’m not the one. I love this music, and it’s great, but this is not my experience, and I don’t have this ability,’ and she says, ‘Oh, but stop! You have the ability. Your talent is far reaching. You will be a family representative of this music and those of us who build our lives around the music.’ I said, ‘Miss Katie, it’s gonna have to be somebody else. She said, ‘Alright, Now, if you just turn to page 1.’

Diunna greenleaf photo 4She wasn’t gonna take no for an answer.

Diunna has discovered that being a professional in the blues business is tougher than chewing gun and walking at the same time. “My sister died in 2005, and I had to help raise her children. I needed to be there to see them, to be available when they needed me.

“I didn’t need any middle man taking out any of the money and another thing is that people couldn’t see then that they see now since we’re not together, myself and Jonn (Del Toro Richardson, former lead guitarist in her band) and Vernon (Daniels, drummer) and Josh. We were a hell of a band and other people admit they’re trying to copy what we do, but they seem awkward to us, falling all over each other, in a couple of cases, of people falling off the stage. We were more ballet – like even though – again not choreographed. Not choreography, Jonn said he saw me and Sherman Robertson one time on stage, and he said, we locked our heals together and leaned back and then he said everybody went whoa! And he said it was just so much fun he just wanted to run up on stage with us.”

Education itself helped. “Another thing is when I was an undergraduate at Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas, part of the A&M systems, A.I. Thomas was the President at the time, and he put me on a committee, made me chair of a committee within weeks to handle bringing in entertainment, university entertainment, and I was able to meet with him. I was able to meet so many different artists, and also learn about contracts, learn about their riders, equipment – this and that and the other. So, without even knowing it sort of educated me for the time when I eventually had a band. That was another thing. When I said, ‘Oh, are we gonna do this or not,’ and I would bring a contract to many of the venues here, they would laugh. ‘You’re local. We don’t do contracts with local people. Somebody better straighten this girl out.’ That type of thing.

“Blues enriches my life. I think that one of the things the blues does that’s kinda unexplainable if you’re a person who has not experienced whatever the situation is in life is that the blues kind of gets you prepped so that you can hear it a little better when it comes. Or at least you have an inkling of what it might feel like. Nobody can tell you until you’ve experienced something yourself, but the blues kinda gets you prepped.”

Visit Diunna’s website at: http://diunna.com/

Interviewer Don Wilcock has been writing about blues for nearly half a century. He wrote Damn Right I’ve Got The Blues, the biography that helped Buddy Guy jumpstart his career in 1991. He’s interviewed more than 5000 Blues artists and edited several music magazines including King Biscuit Time.


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Prairie Crossroads Blues Society – Champaign, IL

The 1st Prairie Crossroads Blues Fest happens Saturday, August 11, 2pm – 10pm @Champaign County Fairgrounds, 1302 N Coler Ave, Urbana, IL. Gates open at 1pm. Performances by Melvin Knight & Amber Sky, The Painkillers, Keith Harden Band, The Blues Deacons w/Jeff Kerr & Grizz Stevens, Mary Jo Curry Blues, Candy Foster & Shades of Blue and Robert Kimbrough Sr. $10 admissions, bring lawn chairs. Food trucks and beverages also available.

An after-fest party is scheduled starting at 10pm with the Kilborn Alley Blues Band and special guests @ The Iron Post, 120 S. Race St, Urbana. Then there is also a Blues Jam on Sunday, August 12, 4pm, hosted by Robert Kimbrough Sr. at Pipa’s Pub, 604 S. Country Fair Dr., Champaign, IL. Bring your instruments and join the jam. More information is available at: http://bluesfest.prairiecrossroadsblues.org

Southeast Iowa Blues Society – Fairfield, IA

The 5th Annual “Blue Ribbon Blues Fest” presented by Fairfield’s Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Southeast Iowa Blues Society will be held August 4th, 2018 at the Jefferson Fairgrounds in Fairfield, Iowa. Gates Open at 4:30pm and music begins at 5:30pm with the Riverdogs Blues Band, followed by Chris Antonik at 7pm and featuring John Nemeth at 9pm with Tony Blew between acts.

There will be an Iowa Beer Bus, BBQ and Kettlecorn…No Outside food or Drinks. Camping will be available. Tickets are $25 and $20 for SIBS members, call 641-919-7477 for more information or go to http://www.southeastiowabluessociety.org

Charlotte Blues Society – Charlotte, NC

For July, there will be no Charlotte Blues Society Blues Bash, but on August 5 we come back strong with James Armstrong! The show begins at 7:30 with an open blues jam followed by James at 8:45. After James’s set, there will be another blues jam. As always, the show will be at the Rabbit Hole, 1801 Commonwealth Ave, Charlotte, and admission is free to card-carrying members and $5 to all others. We continue to collect donations of canned food, household items, and cash for Loaves and Fishes. 1 Can? I Can! Help end hunger in Charlotte!

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 e 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: 7/30 – Big Mike Aguirre, 8/6 – Mark May Band. For more information visit www.icbluesclub.org.

Crossroads Blues Society – Rockford, IL

Lyran Society’s monthly Friday fish fry – July 27 – Paul filipowicz, August 17 – New Savages, Shows free, run 7 to 10 PM.

The Ninth Annual Crossroads Blues Festival at Lyran Park is Saturday, August 25th. Noon to 10 PM, gates open at 11 AM. $5 advanced tickets,$10 at the gate. Free parking. Primitive camping $20 per night, available Friday and/or Saturday http://crossroadsbluessociety.com  or http://www.crossroadsbluesfestival.com has all the info!

The National Blues Museum – St. Louis, MO

The National Blues Museum Presents – Make it Rain Book Signing and Networking Event with Areva Martin is July 31, 2018 beginning at 4:30pm with live music and then followed by a guided tour of the National Blues Museum and a book discussion and signing

The National Blues Museum Speaker Series is pleased welcome St. Louis native, Award-winning Civil Rights Attorney, CNN Legal Analyst and Cohost of CBS’ new talk show “Face the Truth” Areva Martin. She will share her journey from Carr Square Village to Harvard Law School and beyond. Get ready to tap your feet, laugh and be inspired in this intimate conversation with Areva Martin. She will discuss her new best-selling book Make It Rain: How to Use the Media to Revolutionize Your Business and Brand. Seating is limited, reservations are required. To make your reservation, please RSVP us here –https://www.nationalbluesmuseum.org/event/arevamartin

Friends of the Blues – Kankakee, IL

Shows start at 7 pm, and are open to the public. Food and Beverages available at all Friends of the Blues shows. Friday, July 27 – The Nouveaux Honkies, Inside Out, Gilman IL, Thur, Aug 23 – Albert Castiglia, L’Erable IL, Tues, Sept 11 – Frank Bang & Cook County Kings, Venue TBA, Tues, Sept 25, Ivy Ford Band, Kankakee Valley Boat Club. More Info at: http://www.facebook.com/friendsoftheblues.

The Long Beach Blues Society – Long Beach, CA

The Long Beach Blues Society presents the “6 String Showdown,” a head-to-head series of regional blues guitar competitions to crown Southern California’s best blues guitar player, the winner getting to perform on the Main Stage of this year’s New Blues Festival V. Bracket rounds to determine regional winners to be held at Campus Jax, Newport Beach, Saturday, July 21, 3-11 PM and Arcadia Blues Club, Saturday, August 4, 6 PM to Midnite.

Four semi-finalists face off on the Golden Groove Stage at New Blues Festival V Saturday, September 1. Two finalists go head-to-head on the NBF Main Stage, Sunday, September 2. More info at www.6stringshowdown.com.


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