Issue 12-35 August 30, 2018

Cover photo © 2018 Steve Laschever


 In This Issue 

Bill Dahl has our feature interview with John Oates. We have 9 Blues reviews for you this week including new music from Vanessa Collier, Jim Pharis, Michael Osborn, Bobby G, Misty Blues Band, Tony Joe White, Jeremiah Johnson, Ray Bonneville and Hometown Blues.

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


 From The Editor’s Desk 

Hey Blues Fans,

More than 8,000 of you have voted in the Blues Blast Music Awards so far. Voting ends TOMORROW, Friday August 31st at midnight CST.

So you have just over 24 hours to get your vote in for your favorite Blues artists. Click HERE to vote now! NOTE: You may only vote ONCE.

Wishing you health, happiness and lots of Blues music!

Bob Kieser


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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)

Advance tickets are $35. Tickets will be $40 at the door. Tables for ten are only $300. 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 9 

vanessa collier cd imageVanessa Collier – Honey Up

Phenix Fire Records

10 songs – 45 minutes

www.vanessacollier.com

Don’t be fooled by the seeming youth and innocence displayed by Vanessa Collier on the cover of her latest CD. A gifted multi-instrumentalist with a powerful voice, she’s become a force, and the world’s taken notice.

If you have any doubt, just check out the nominations for the past Blues Music Awards, where her most recent release, Meeting My Shadow, was up for contemporary album of the year and where Trombone Shorty beat her out for horn player of the year.

Since graduating from Boston’s prestigious Berklee College Of Music with a double major in performance and music production and engineering five short years ago, awards and honors have come fast and furious for the dynamic saxophonist and guitarist, who fuses blues, funk, soul and rock into her show. She’s also earned first place as a lyricist in the International Songwriter’s Competition, a Blues Blast Music Awards nomination and more.

Collier spent 18 months touring the world and blowing horn behind Joe Louis Walker after college before he encouraged her to go off on her own. She released her first CD, Heart, Soul & Saxophone, in 2014, the same year Dan Aykroyd named her Best Of Blues Breaker on his House Of Blues radio show, and has been wowing audiences internationally ever since with a musical sensibility far beyond her years.

She contributed sax here in addition to acoustic and resonator guitar as she delivers nine originals and one cover in a set that was recorded at Hearstudios in Camden, Maine, and Thunderbird Analog Recording Studio in Oceanside, Calif.

Guitar responsibilities are handled by Laura Chavez, one of the most in-demand musicians on the planet, and Sparky Parker with Nick Stevens on percussion and shuitar – a guitar/drum hybrid, Nick Trautmann on bass and William Gorman on keyboards. Roomful Of Blues trumpet player Doug Woolverton and trombonist Quinn Carson sit in on five cuts. And two of her former professors – Mark Wessel and Rich Mendelson – engineered, mixed and mastered the project.

“Sweatin’ Like A Pig, Singin’ Like An Angel,” the opener, stands up to its title with Collier delivering alto, tenor and soprano sax lines to form her own horn section, something she does on the first three cuts, which come across with a distinct and funky Big Easy feel. “Sweatin’” flows freely atop a medium-paced shuffle as Vanessa encourages listeners to share the joy she feels.

The tempo quickens for “Don’t Nobody Got Time To Waste,” a tongue-in-cheek pleaser with gospel overtones from the keys that urges bandmates to be early, not on time because that’ll make ‘em late – and fired! The title tune, “Honey Up,” serves up a warning to a lover that it’s time for him to man up instead of expecting the singer “to kiss your behind.”

Collier’s solo shines on the instrumental, “Percolatin’,” before she lets her sweet voice handle most of the action for “Icarus,” a jazzy retelling of the Greek myth about the boy who flew too close to the sun. The rocker “The Fault Line” features powerful horn lines and a blistering guitar solo as Vanessa wonders why she’s at odds with someone and both parties are totally unaware as to why, while “Bless Your Heart” makes use of a backhanded Southern compliment as it warns someone who wants to call her “sweetheart” or “baby” to call her by her given name or else she’ll turn on her heels and walk away without hearing what he has to say.

Vanessa kicks off “You’re A Pill” with an acapella vocal intro. It’s an interesting love song in which the singer feels weak at the knees, but can’t get enough of the medicine he delivers. “You Get What You Want” addresses a complaining boyfriend before Collier closes by reinventing Chris Smithers’ familiar “Love Me Like A Man,” breaking it down to its essence as a ballad before picking up steam slightly and seers to the end.

Available directly from multiple online retailers or directly from the artist (address above), Honey Up is a winner on all counts. Vanessa Collier is already a major force to be reckoned with – and, for her, the sky’s the limit.

Reviewer Marty Gunther has lived a blessed life. His first experience with live music came at the feet of the first generation of blues legends at the Newport Folk Festivals in the 1960s. A former member of the Chicago blues community, he’s a professional journalist and blues harmonica player who co-founded the Nucklebusters, one of the hardest working bands in South Florida.


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 Featured Blues Review – 2 of 9 

jim pharis cd imageJim Pharis – High Mileage

Self-Release – 2018

10 tracks; 40 minutes

www.jimpharis.com

Jim Pharis is an acoustic player from Louisiana and this is his third CD release. Recorded in Lafayette, LA, the album is just Jim on guitar and vocals with AJ Primeaux adding harp to a couple of tracks. The material is a half and half of Jim’s originals and covers from the likes of Tampa Red, Snooks Eaglin and Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

Whether playing fingerstyle or slide, Jim’s guitar is well recorded here, sitting right in the middle of the mix. His vocals are clear and tuneful and work well with the music. The album opens with Jim’s title track which uses the beat-up old car as a metaphor for his current physical state, a funny and touching song that draws the listener in: “It’s hard to get me cranked up in the morning, once I start I just keep running. I’m high mileage but I ain’t done yet”. Equally effective is “Drift Away” in which Jim reflects on the later stages of life while “Salt And Pearls” adds a brooding feel to a tune about night time. “Five Alarm Fire” is a slow blues with AJ adding some harp, the lyrics describing a nervous girl who panics at the sound of clocks chiming and fears that five candles on a cake constitutes a conflagration! In contrast “Mule” is a jaunty country blues instrumental, dexterously played.

The covers include Snooks Eaglin’s “I’m A Country Boy” which sounds like it could have been written for Jim as he sings of being down in New Orleans and Oscar Woods’ 30’s comic tune “Don’t Sell It, Don’t Give It Away” which Jim plays on slide. Tampa Red’s classic “It Hurts Me Too” features AJ’s harp work in a relaxed version and Sister Rosetta’s “Up Above My Head I Hear Music In The Air” adds a gospel element though Jim plays it as a country blues. The album closes with a cheerfully uptempo run through Blind Boy Fuller’s “Step It Up And Go”.

Well played acoustic music blending originals and covers of classic tunes – an enjoyable album.

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 – 3 of 9 

michael osborne cd imageMichael Osborn – Hangin’ On

2018, Checkerboard Records

10 songs | 43 minutes

Michael Osborn is probably best known for a 13-year stint the guitarist in John Lee Hooker’s band, also penning “Spellbound,” a track off of Hooker’s 1998 Grammy-winning Don’t Look Back. Based in Portland, Oregon, Osborn has also shared the stage and/or recorded with the likes of Robert Cray, Bonnie Raitt, Chris Cain, Carlos Santana, Charlie Musselwhite, Elvin Bishop, Albert Collins, and James Cotton. He’s been nominated three times by the Cascade Blues Association for “Best Blues Guitarist,” and once for “Best Blues Recording,” for his CD release of Touch Tone. As a member of Bill Rhoades and the Party Kings, Osborn has taken home 7 awards for Best Traditional Blues Band and, was inducted into the Cascade Blues Association’s Hall of Fame as a member of that band. He’s a talented player, and no matter how you look at it, that’s a pretty impressive rap sheet!

Hangin’ On is Osborn’s eighth recording released under his own name and the fifth on his own label, Checkerboard Records. It features guest appearances by Karen Lovely (songwriter and vocals) and Mitch Kashmar (harmonica and vocals). The ten songs on this collection run the gamut from traditional blues shuffles to R&B ballads to outright rockers. The supporting players on this effort include John Moore (drums), Don Campbell (bass), Dave Fleschner (keys) and special guests Mitch Kashmar (harmonica on 2 songs, vocals on 1) and Karen Lovely (vocals on two songs). One of song also features some killer horns by Joe McCarthy (trumpet), Chris Mercer (tenor sax), and Brad Ulrich (baritone sax).

Throughout the CD, Osborn’s guitar playing feels very much like a “live” performance, and he definitely stretches-out, as if playing to a crowd. Fairly drenched in reverb, Osborn’s playing calls to mind folks like Kid Ramos and Ronnie Earl, albeit with a slightly harder edge, and is often punctuated with an aggressive, rubbery vibrato that makes me smile whenever I hear it. His voice, while not unpleasant, is a bit dry, but the larger issue is the awkwardness – and literalness – of some of his lyrics, with occasional cringeworthy rhymes that tend to undercut the impact of his very solid playing. Nonetheless, he does get his message across.

There’s a nice mix of song styles here, starting with the bouncy, minor shuffle groove of the opener, “Hangin’ On,” a protest song of sorts, with some fine, percussive organ work from fellow Portland resident, Dave Fleschner. Osborn’s solos have a stinging quality and underscore the feeling of desperation conveyed in the lyrics. The next track, “Baby, It’s Your Move,” a minor blues, covers the time-honored tale of a relationship gone sour.

“Fallin’ for You” is a rollicking box shuffle, that features some of Osborn’s stinging guitar, reminiscent of Albert Collins. “Hey Baby,” another minor “relationship gone sour” blues co-written by Osborn and Tom Szell, features Mitch Kashmar on harmonica and vocals, and as always, Kashmar doesn’t disappoint. Both his singing and his playing are perfect for this track.

“When the Blues Comes Around” is an R&B-style ballad co-written by Osborn and Karen Lovely, who handles the vocals on this track. The feel is early Patsy Cline and is a nice complement to some of the more traditional blues forms featured in this collection. The instrumental “Mint Gin” is a slow blues with some more faint echoes of Albert Collins.

By and large, the album’s standout track is “When I Listen to the Blues,” an up-tempo, horn-driven tune with a more complex structure that forces Osborn to solo out of his comfort zone. The result? A real toe-tapper with some very tasty playing! This track has KG Jackson on bass and Dave Mathis on harmonica, trading lead vocals with Osborn. John Moore – also a longtime member of The Drivers – plays drums on all tracks, except for “Between a Tear and a Good Time,” which features Dave Melyan behind the kit, as well as Kashmar on some sweet harmonica backing.

Throughout the CD, Osborn’s fine playing is very enjoyable, and stands up to repeated listening. Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing a bit more dynamics in his soloing; once he gets going, he tends to put the pedal to the metal, and he keeps it there through much of the album. The addition of some dynamics would make the extended solos a bit more varied and interesting. And, as with “When I Listen to the Blues,” varying the song structure pushes Osborn into some more challenging, less-traveled territory, and his solos take on a very different character. Those observations aside, Hangin’ On is a fine collection of guitar-centric blues and R&B-styled tunes, and I’m glad to have had the opportunity to hear it. Maybe you will, too?

Reviewer Dave Orban is a technology marketer by day, musician/artist/educator by night. Since 1998, Orban has fronted The Mojo Gypsies, based in the greater Philadelphia area. http://www.mojogypsies.com


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 Featured Blues Review – 4 of 9 

bobby g cd imageBobby G – PhD In The Blues

www.thirdstreetcigarrecords.com/bobby-g

Third Street Cigar Records

10 songs – 43 minutes

Toledo-based blues singer Bobby G’s first release, Still Standing, met with good reviews in 2017. PhD In The Blues is his second release, on Third Street Cigar Records. As one might expect from an album produced by Johnny Rawls and John Henry, with all the songs written by Rawls and Linda Francis, the album ploughs a solid modern blues-soul line, with exemplary backing from the Third Street Cigar Blues Band, superbly recorded by Travis Geiman at Stone Soup Recording Studios.

Bobby G has led an interesting life, from growing up picking cotton in Mississippi, to moving to live with his uncles in Toledo at the age of 15, working for the city of Toledo and raising a family, then rediscovering his love of singing the blues after retiring from his day job. Now in his 70s, he does have an excellent voice, and one that suits the blues-soul material perfectly – smooth as honey but with a hint of huskiness.

Likewise, his band is top class. The Third Street Cigar Blues Band comprises Larry “Entertainment” Gold on guitars; Johnny “HiFi” Newmark on bass; Scott Kretzer on drums; Danny Pratt on harmonica; Cadillac Dan Magers on keyboards; the Toledo Horns (Ric Wolkins on trumpet and Mark Lemle on saxophone); and Ramona Collins and Trez Gregory on backing vocals. Eric Sills added shaker and Johnny Rawls guested on backing vocals, rhythm guitar and keyboards.

Gold turns in a series of short, smart BB King-influenced solos, such as on the beginning of the title track. Magers’ organ solo on “Whole Lotta Money” is quite outstanding and Lemie adds a number of fine solos, such as on the beginning of “All Night”. More importantly, the band as a whole lay down a series of primarily mid-paced grooves on which the rhythm section of Kretzer and Newmark excel, focusing the listener on the Bobby G’s vocals.

The album opens well with the upbeat “Ain’t That A Good Thing”, with punchy horn emphasis on the turnarounds before the Albert King-esque slower title track as Bobby G sings what sound like autobiographical lyrics: “I grew up in Mississippi, didn’t have much use for school. I went on the road with my band, just singin’ and playin’ the blues. The blues took me around the world, to places I’d thought I would never be. I met all kinds of people, I thought I would never meet. I don’t have a diploma, hanging on my wall. But when it comes down to real life I learned it all. I’ve got a PhD in the blues.”

However, the lyrics, unfortunately, are where the album falls down. The upbeat boogie of “Love Machine” not only contains lyrics that would embarrass most 14 year olds, it insists on repeating the same verse eight (yes, eight) times. “You’re working, just like a love machine. Yeah, you’re working, baby, just like a love machine. You work so good, little girl, got me want to scream.” The only other verse in the song trots out the hackneyed line that “you’re working in the morning; you’re working at night. Every time you work, you make me feel all right.”

And several lyrics suffer similar indignities. “Don’t Change Lovin’ Me” for example undermines the traditional songwriting construct that lyrics should rhyme (either perfectly or imperfectly). The lyrics of “How Can I Miss” struggle to scan at times and again several verses are repeated too often. Overall, there is a sense of that many of the lyrics have been dashed off without much effort or thought. For a songwriter of Rawls’ abilities, it is all rather surprising.

So PhD In The Blues is ultimately something of a mixed bag. Bobby G is a fine singer and there is nothing wrong with the music. But the songs themselves would benefit from more effort being put into the lyrics, which detracts from the overall enjoyment of the album.

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 – 5 of 9 

misty blues cd imageMisty Blues Band – Call & Response

www.mistybluesband.com

Self-Released, May 2018

11 songs – 49 minutes

Massachusetts-based Gina Coleman – former Middle School Principal and Women’s Rugby Coach by day, blues singer by night – entered the music scene in the early 90’s as the lead singer of the folk-rock group Cole-Connection. It wasn’t until 1999 when she played a gospel singer in the Williamstown Theatre Festival’s production of Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun” that she began her trek to path of the blues. The lead actor in that production, Rubin Santiago-Hudson, told Coleman that he thought her voice was well-suited to singing classic blues styles, a sentiment echoed by noted stage and screen performer, Mandy Patinkin, who had sought her out with encouragement, after seeing the opening performance of that production. Stantiago-Hudson also turned Coleman on to a compilation album, Men Are Like Streetcars, that featured various female blues singers from 1928-1969, names like Billie Holiday, Memphis Minnie, Koko Taylor, Etta James, Big Mama Thornton, and Irma Thomas. The album proved to be a great source of inspiration for Coleman.

Coleman eventually paired-up with guitarist Jason Webster and bassist Bill Patriquin from Cole-Connection, and that was the beginning of Misty Blues. Misty Blues pays homage to the brassy blueswomen and the classic male blues artists of first half of the 20th century. Call & Response is their sixth studio album, and is an impressive collection of primarily up-tempo original blues tunes, flavored with some jazz, gospel, and funk seasoning. All but two of the tracks were written by Coleman. Personnel for this album include vocalist and bandleader Coleman; Webster on guitar; Patriquin on bass, vocals and trumpet; Ben Kohn on keyboards and vocals; Rob Tatten on drums; and Aaron Dean on sax. Guest artists include David Vittore on accordion and Diego Mongue on bass.

From the opening track, “Hear My Call,” a stripped-down, Gospel-infused moan, the first thing that hits you is Coleman’s powerful, contralto voice… and it’s a voice to be reckoned with. Accompanied by just an electric slide guitar dripping with tremolo and a bit of grind, Coleman channels Mahalia Jackson while soliciting guidance from her Lord. It gave me chills the first time I heard it… and the second time… and the third time. It’s that kind of voice. Throughout the album, Coleman’s distinctive voice drives each song with a power and authenticity that can only be matched by a relatively small number of her contemporaries.

The second track, “I Ain’t Yellah,” has a ragtime Gospel feel, as the band locks into a sweet groove, while Coleman tells a tale with which many blues performers can identify: “I ain’t yellah, ain’t got much green, but I sing the blues!”

“Chasing Gold” is one of this collection’s many standout tracks, a funky boogie that highlights nicely the individual contributions of the band, and how well they can complement Coleman’s vocals. “Blues on My Heels” feels vaguely like a contemporary reworking of Otis Blackwell’s “Fever”, albeit with a bit of New Orleans funk pushing it into another realm completely. Ben Kohn delivers some great piano work on this one, and Jason Webster’s guitar solo on this track is solid, and suits the track perfectly.

“My Baby’s Gone” – written by Kohn – marries 50s Do-Wop with a touch of musical theater, while the distinctive shuffle beat of “Purdie’s Blues” is a wonderful tribute to the great Bernard Purdie, but with the band’s own unique spin.

“Heaven Sent” is a heartfelt soul ballad, and you can feel the emotion in Coleman’s voice. “Just Don’t Know Why” throws down an infectious New Orleans-style rhumba, and you can’t help but tap your toes in time. “South Bronx Boogie” is an up-tempo boogie shuffle with a catchy call-and-response, and a fiery guitar solo by Webster.

“I Need More Light” is the one track that feels a bit out of place on this collection. Written by Webster, who also handles the vocal duties, it has the feeling of a 70s-era blues rocker. It’s not a bad song, but it just doesn’t quite fit-in with the overall flow of the rest of the CD.

The final song is a full band reworking of the opener, “Hear My Call.” Great song, great version, just different. I prefer the more spare arrangement of the earlier version, because it really highlight’s Coleman’s vocals, which are, as always, wonderful.

All in all, Call and Response is a CD that has easily withstood multiple listenings, and while the band is solid, I’m really drawn to Gina Coleman’s vocals. I’m looking forward to hearing the next album from this talented performer!

Reviewer Dave Orban is a technology marketer by day, musician/artist/educator by night. Since 1998, Orban has fronted The Mojo Gypsies, based in the greater Philadelphia area. http://www.mojogypsies.com


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 Featured Blues Review – 6 of 9 

tony joe white cd imageTony Joe White – Bad Mouthin’

www.tonyjoewhite.com

Yep Roc Records

12 songs – 51 minutes

75-year-old Tony Joe White’s muse shows no signs of deserting him just yet. His latest album, Bad Mouthin’, released on Yep Roc Records on 28 September, features five original tracks and covers of seven classic blues songs, all played with a raw, primal intensity.

Perhaps best known as a nonpareil songwriter of Americana (“Polk Salad Annie”, “A Rainy Night In Georgia” and “Steamy Windows” are just a few of his many songs covered by the likes of Elvis Presley, Brook Benton, Dusty Springfield, Eric Clapton and Tina Turner), White has been releasing albums under his own name since the late 1960s. Bad Mouthin’ is his first album since 2016’s Rain Crow however and sees White mining a deeper blues vein than in his previous releases.

The majority of the tracks on Bad Mouthin’ feature White by himself, singing in his ragged, ancient, ageless half-whispered voice, while accompanying himself on the beaten-up 1965 Fender Stratocaster that has been his main guitar throughout his career. He also adds brief harp to some tracks. White’s long-time drummer, Bryan Owings, provides sparse accompaniment of some tracks and Steve Forrest adds bass to two songs.

The cover songs are all very well-known but are all given a different perspective by White. His version of “Baby Please Don’t Go” is probably closest to Lightnin’ Hopkins’ typically idiosyncratic interpretation, while Charley Patton’s “Down The Dirt Road Blues” is played at an upbeat clip in an almost country style with White’s vocal conveying the underlying threat in the lyrics perfectly. John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom” is slowed right down, while Jimmy Reed’s “Big Boss Man” drops the loping groove and the pleading vocal of the original in favor of a sense of dark intimidation and foreboding. Lightnin’ Hopkins’ “Awful Dreams” also reaches depths of unexpected despair, while “Heartbreak Hotel” is slowed down and turned into a funereal, mournful, pared-back cry of despair.

White’s own songs include the title track and “Sundown Blues”, two of his earliest recordings from 1966, recently rediscovered and recorded anew for this record. “Rich Woman Blues” first appeared on his 2004 album, The Heroines, while “Cool Town Woman” comes from 1991’s Closer To The Truth and “Stockholm Blues” is on 1970’s Tony Joe.

There are no solos on Bad Mouthin’. This is a collection of pared-back songs reflecting White’s mythical America, where life is hard and cruel and fate may (and probably will) play a bad hand to anyone. White’s hagged, weary voice is the centerpiece of each song on an often startling release.

Given the sheer number of classic songs that Tony Joe White has penned over the years, it is perhaps a shame there are no new songs on Bad Mouthin’. On the other hand, engineer Ryan McFadden and producer Jody White have coaxed and captured some timeless performances from White. This is the stark, brutal blues of someone like John Campbell, fed through a swamp filter. If William Faulkner played the blues, it would sound like Tony Joe White on Bad Mouthin’.

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 – 7 of 9 

jerimiah johnson cd imageJeremiah Johnson – Straitjacket

Ruf Records

https://jeremiahjohnsonband.com

12 songs time-53:11

Jeremiah Johnson delivers biting blues rock with his commanding guitar attack bolstered by his hearty pipes and a crack backing band. The music herein at times verges close to solid blues while rockin’ out at all times.Aside from Johnson the band consists of Frank Bauer on saxophone, Tom Maloney on bass and Benet Schaeffer on drums. Producer Mike Zito provides rhythm guitar, lead guitar and vocals to the final track. Eleven of the songs were penned by Johnson himself.

The title track introduces the listener to Jeremiah’s smooth and cool vocal delivery over a fresh and invigorating rhythm and blues tinged groove as he addresses his adversity to a woman having too tight a rein on him. His guitar attack is crisp and clear. Frank’s wailing sax compliments the song perfectly. The band is tight as a bull’s posterior on “Getting Tired”. Echoed vocals, an aggressive guitar assault and twittering sax, you can’t go wrong. Here he bemoans the prospect of getting old, while be determined to soldier on.

The guys hit on a slow and sexy groove on “Blues In Her Eyes” as Jeremiah shoots out pure blues gold from his axe. He brings out his slide playing on “Keep On Sailing” about giving up drink and drugs. In “Believe In America” the lyrics profess patriotism even in the face of the plight of the common man. Half way through the song takes on a bit of a rhumba beat as the guitar skitters around wonderfully.

“King & Queen” is a slow blues burner chock full of simmering blues guitar soloing. “Booty Calls” is the subject of “Dirty Mind”. “9th And Russell” is an autobiographical story with images of the Mississippi river and New Orleans among others. “Old School” is about the old days when people fought about their differences rather than resorting to killing. Sax blares over a sort of an “Adams Family” inspired guitar riff on the sole instrumental “Bonneville Shuffle”. Slide and sax intertwine on the tender “Hold My Hand”. Their cover of Ten Years After’s “Rock & Roll Music To The World” features producer Mike Zito on rhythm and lead guitars as well as sharing vocal duties with Jeremiah. They do a fine job, but I miss Alvin Lee’s grittier growl.

All in all a fine showing by Jeremiah Johnson and his more than able crew. The music encompasses blues, blues-rock, R&B and maybe a bit of country swagger in the vocals to come up with a truly pleasing sound. I seem to detect a bit of Tony Joe White attitude in Jeremiah’s occasional spoken asides. The rhythm section provides a strong foundation for the guitar and sax display. This is grade ‘A’ primo stuff.

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


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 Featured Blues Review – 8 of 9 

ray bonneville cd imageRay Bonneville – At King Electric

Stonefly Records SF 1009

11 songs – 43 minutes

www.raybonneville.com

Veteran tunesmith Ray Bonneville delivers a sterling collection of relaxed and downhome originals on this CD. Steeped in blue-eyed soul, they’re a stripped down collection of songs that balance hope and despair as the characters he’s created struggle to carve their paths in a troubled world.

A musical gypsy who doubles on guitar and harp and who’s been based out of Austin for the past decade, Bonneville was born in French-speaking Hull, Quebec, in 1948 and is both a 2012 International Blues Challenge winner in the solo/duo category and a 1999 recipient of a Juno Award, Canada’s equivalent to the Grammy, for his Gust Of Wind album.

He didn’t learn English until age 12, when his family migrated to Boston, where he studied both piano and guitar. A Vietnam veteran with a commercial pilot’s license, he set his eyes on a career in music while still a teen. He spent two decades as a studio musician, living for periods in Colorado, Alaska, Seattle and France, settling in New Orleans for six years before moving to the Lone Star State.

Bonneville plays about 100 gigs around the world each year. And even though you might not be familiar with his name, you’ve probably heard several of his tunes. Ray Wylie Hubbard describes his songs as “gunpowder and opium.” They’re stripped down to the core, but both deep and propulsive. Ray’s post-Katrina ode, “I Am The Big Easy,” was the International Folk Alliance’s song of the year in 2007, and was recently covered by Jennifer Warnes.

The eighth release in Bonneville’s catalog, but the first since Bad Man’s Blood in 2011, this one, as the title infers, was captured at King Electric Recording in Austin. The intimate blues-based Americana arrangements feature Ritchie Lawrence on electric piano and accordion and Andre Bohren on percussion and keyboard with guest appearances by Gurf Morlix on guitar and bass and Stefano Intelisano on organ.

A catchy guitar hook that repeats throughout provides the brief opener for “Waiting On The Night” before Ray’s warm, weathered voice enters the action, yearning for daylight in order to feel whole again after having spent the darkness wondering where his lady has gone. The mood brightens and tempo quickens slightly for syncopated shuffle “Next Card To Fall,” references a tune by the band Shocker and the breakup in the previous song as it compares love to a storm, then a game of cards.

The ballad “Tender Heart” finds Bonneville describes of the arrival of a woman who’s seemingly lost to a bar whose walls are now caked with nicotine residue. She plays the same tune repeatedly on the jukebox as Ray uses the imagery to describe how easy a heart can break. The rock-steady “South Of The Blues” seeks a place of solace after a life of troubles while the funky “It’ll Make A Hole In You” revisits love won and lost from another view. It features brief, but sweet single-note guitar solos.

Like many tunes that preceded it, “Codeine” is a haunting ballad that sings about the evils of addition before the sounds brighten and tempo quickens for “Until Such A Day,” an upbeat love song that looks forward to the time the lady finally makes a commitment. Bonneville’s Big Easy experience comes through loud and strong in “Papachulalay,” which flows slowly, but steadily as it describes the arrival of a street parade and someone who’s “acting like a fool and clinging tightly to something that only can be good for crying.”

The somber, harrowing “The Day They Let Me Out” offers up an apology to a sibling – the only person in the world the singer can trust – for not confiding about having for gone to prison as it requests a ride home on the day he’ll be sprung. The disc concludes with “Forever Gone” – about riding the rails – and the pleasant instrumental, “Riverside Drive.”

Deceptively deep in their simplicity, Bonneville’s songs deliver intimate realities in a style that allows them to speak for themselves. Highly recommended.

Reviewer Marty Gunther has lived a blessed life. His first experience with live music came at the feet of the first generation of blues legends at the Newport Folk Festivals in the 1960s. A former member of the Chicago blues community, he’s a professional journalist and blues harmonica player who co-founded the Nucklebusters, one of the hardest working bands in South Florida.


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 Featured Blues Review – 9 of 9 

hometown blues cd imageHometown Blues – Free Spirit

www.facebook.com/hometownbluesband

self release

10 songs time – 50:12

This “blues band” from Brazil would be more aptly named Hometown Blues Rock. The only hints at blues are in front man Daniel Werneck’s harmonica playing that occasionally drifts from more traditional blues riffing to John Popper running the scales land. Guitarist Victor Barros delivers blues rock playing with a hard rock energy. Guests provide keyboards and backing vocals. As the liner notes and most of their Facebook page are written in Portuguese and no promo material was supplied, it’s impossible to supply any background information on the band. One upside is that Daniel sings without an accent, although his delivery is a bit stiff. Their energy and approach keep the listener’s attention.

The title song kicks things in gear as guitar and harmonica play in tandem leading up to a brief give and take between all instruments. The energetic riffing is enticing. Francisco Ytida adds his Hammond organ to the funky blues rock of “Hey Mama”. Victor provides Carlos Santana style soloing. The overly repetitive “You Should” owes more to Blues Traveler and The Spin Doctors than it does to blues rock. The harmonica playing on “Questions” is mainly from the John Popper play book. The song includes some tasty slow slide guitar.

More Santana style guitar appears in “Mariachi” where this curious lyric appears-“I am now a member of the Rogaine club”. A Portuguese language segment appears near songs end before Victor launches his Santana attack. Hey, what would any self respecting blues rock cum jam band be without a voodoo song? The boys give you “Show You My Voodoo” complete with tedious lyrics. The instrumental “Tripping On Tuesday Night” puts the band through its’ jam band paces. “I Cried” features some very inspired fleet-fingered playing by guitarist Victor.

In terms of a talented blues rock-jam band, these guys have a lot to offer. The rhythm section more than ably matches the lead players at every turn and Victor Barros’ guitar skills can’t be called into question. Daniel supplies blues and John Popper harmonica with ease. The lyrics tend to be a bit on the mundane side. Jam band aficionados will find much to savor here. Calling yourselves a blues band doesn’t make you a blues band.

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



 Featured Interview – John Oates 

john oates photo 1Being one-half of one of the most popular singing duos in pop music history is quite a feat unto itself. Yet all those gold records and worldwide tours haven’t dulled John Oates’ penchant for creativity one whit.

Between recent tours with his longtime performing partner Daryl Hall, the New York City native has delved deeply into the Americana arena on his own. Arkansas, Oates’ latest solo album on his own PS label, started out as a tribute to one of his musical heroes, pre-war blues pioneer Mississippi John Hurt, but developed into something more ambitious during the recording process with his hand-picked studio cohorts, the Good Road Band.

“I have been connected, kind of cosmically and personally, to Mississippi John Hurt for quite some time,” says Oates. “Back in the ‘60s, when he was rediscovered, he used to come to Philadelphia quite frequently, and my guitar teacher, Jerry Ricks, was a very good friend of his. When John Hurt passed away, his guitar that he played at Newport was given to Jerry Ricks. And subsequently Jerry played on the first two Hall and Oates albums, and brought that guitar to New York so I could play it. So I’m actually playing Mississippi John Hurt’s guitar on the first two Hall and Oates albums. During that period of time, I learned all (of John’s) songs, and his entire songbook, basically. Over the years, it’s just been a sweet spot for me.”

Oates’ fascination with the legacy of guitar master Hurt, who recorded 13 seminal sides for the OKeh label in 1928 and then receded from view until his 1963 rediscovery, remained intact through the decades. “I just wanted to record some John Hurt stuff,” he says. “I had dabbled with it on my album Mississippi Mile a few years ago. I did a version of ‘Make Me A Pallet On The Floor.’ But I wanted to go in the studio. I was just a little bit restless, and I said, ‘You know, I’m going to go in the studio and just cut some John Hurt stuff in a very authentic way, with acoustic guitar and voice, kind of just like he did.’ And I went in and I did that. I cut a number of songs.

“After I stepped back a little bit, I said, ‘Cool. I can do it, but it’s been done before. It’ll never be better than the original.’ But I didn’t want to abandon the idea of the songs themselves. So I said, ‘I wonder what this would sound like if I assembled a band, and we played them as a band?’ Because you very seldom hear these songs that are so associated with acoustic guitar and voice being played with a band,” he continues. “I assembled a very eclectic set of instruments—a cello, a pedal steel, a mandolin, guitar, bass and drums. They were all friends of mine, and the great Sam Bush was on mandolin–some incredible genius players that I had become friends with over the years in Nashville. And from the very first track that we cut, which was ‘Stack O’Lee,’ my engineer and co-producer David Kalmusky said to me, ‘Man, John, I don’t know what this is, but it’s really cool. Just do it. Just keep going!’

“It was really just kind of an experiment that turned out really well,” says Oates. “If you strip away all the instrumentation from the record, I’m basically playing the authentic acoustic guitar parts, so I wasn’t really doing anything differently than I kind of set out to do. But I surrounded myself and I surrounded the songs with this incredible accompaniment. So that’s what brought the magic to the project, and that’s what made the songs unique and the project unique.”

The set offers Oates’ vibrant remakes of Hurt’s classics “Stack O’Lee,” “My Creole Belle,” and “Spike Driver Blues” as well as a lesser-known “Lord Send Me.” “Many times, he would start his show with that song, and try to put the audience in this mood,” he says. “He used to say, ‘Let’s put the Lord out front.’ That was an actual quote that he used to use. He used to like to set the tone for his show that way. And so I adopted that as well as a way of starting my live show, and doing kind of a gospel version of that. Just a great gospel song.”

john oates photo 2Oates’ concept expanded during the recording process to include Blind Blake’s “That Will Never Happen No More” along with themes from outside the blues genre that hail from the same era, notably Emmett Miller’s 1924 Okeh recording “Anytime” and “Miss The Mississippi And You,” associated with country music immortal Jimmie “The Singing Brakeman” Rodgers. “As I went on, I realized that the album could have a broader scope. It didn’t need to just be Mississippi John Hurt, even though that was kind of the initial inspiration. And I started thinking about songs that might have been contemporary with him,” says Oates. “I started to think about a snapshot of this early American popular music, and then I started putting all the pieces together.

“I also found out that Mississippi John Hurt was a big fan of Jimmie Rodgers, which I didn’t know, and I thought, ‘Well, that’s a unique kind of a circumstance, that Jimmie Rodgers might have affected John Hurt, or visa versa.’ So I included a Jimmie Rodgers song. And along that way, that’s how the album kind of widened its scope.”

Not everything on Arkansas is a vintage chestnut. “‘‘Dig Back Deep’ is a very unique original, but it’s an original that really borrows and owes a lot to the tradition. You think about the blues tradition, it’s really an evolving tradition. It never really ends,” says Oates. “I took Mississippi John Hurt’s ‘Slidin’ Delta,’ and I adapted ‘Slidin’ Delta,’ just the lyrics of it, to a completely different melody and a completely different set of chords and a completely different attitude, which is what blues musicians have always done over the years.”

The album’s title track is an Oates original, inspired by a trip with his band to the title state. “We were invited to go to this place called Wilson, Arkansas, which is a little town that was at one time a huge cotton plantation,” says Oates. “After the show, we all walked out and stood literally on the banks of the Mississippi, in the cotton fields in the moonlight. And it was just this evocative moment where I felt the vibes. Highway 61, the blues highway, runs right through the middle of Wilson. So it was this kind of moment where it all seemed to crystallize. And we were in the midst of recording at the time, and I just thought, ‘Wow—this is ground zero, in a sense!’

“It moved me, and I went home and wrote the song. I tried to paint a picture of that moment at night, standing in those fields.”

Oates’ early association with Ricks, a young Philly-based acoustic blues performer during the ‘60s, was central to his musical connection with Hurt. “Jerry was friends with Dick Waterman. Dick Waterman and Jerry lived across the street from each other in Philadelphia. Dick Waterman brought a lot of the early bluesmen up to Philadelphia and up to the northeast,” says Oates. “Whenever the Philadelphia Folk Festival would be on, or the various folk coffeehouses where some of these players would be performing, in those days they didn’t have money for hotels, and they didn’t know their way around northern cities and things like that. So Dick would put them up at his house, and if there was an overflow, he would put them up at Jerry’s house.

“I used to sit in front, basically right at the lip of the stage, at the Philadelphia Folk Festival in the early ‘60s. And I saw (John) perform many, many times. I saw him perform at the Main Point and the Second Fret, which were two of the premier coffeehouses in Philadelphia. Whenever he would play in the Philadelphia area, I would always go. And I was only in high school, so I would just absorb it. And I did the classic thing that people did in those days—I did the needle drop on an album and tried to figure out what he was doing. And it wasn’t really until I met Jerry Ricks later on that I began to learn the correct way of playing it, the actual authentic styles, because Jerry learned from the source. So that was a unique opportunity for me.”

Though born in New York City, Oates grew up in North Wales, Pennsylvania, a Philadelphia suburb. “I remember music before rock and roll started,” he says. “I remember big band music and things like that. And I was old enough to realize that when rock and roll first came on the radio that something monumental had changed. So being a young kid and being musically inclined, I picked up on the early rock and rollers—Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, the Everly Brothers, of course Elvis, and so on and so forth.

john oates photo 3“As I moved up through the ‘50s into the ‘60s, I listened to all the Allen Toussaint stuff, the stuff that came out of New Orleans—Fats Domino and Ernie K-Doe and all that kind of stuff. And then when the folk boom kind of hit in the early ‘60s, I was immediately drawn to that. That’s when I began to discover people like Doc Watson and Mississippi John Hurt, and the more contemporary people like Dave Van Ronk who were interpreting that stuff. So I got into all that in the early ‘60s.”

Oates fronted a self-contained blue-eyed soul group that made a 1967 single, “I Need Your Love” b/w “Not My Baby,” for Jerry Greene’s Philly-based Crimson label as the Masters (Oates co-wrote both sides). “That was my high school band. We had four different names. We started out as the Avalons. Then we became the Soul Sound Continentals. Then we became the Masters,” he says. “I joined that band when I was in seventh grade, and the guys were a little older than me. They were in ninth grade. And then I stayed with those guys through high school. We got pretty popular in the local area, and we played a lot.

“When I graduated from high school in the summer of ‘66, we decided to pool our money together and make a record. So we went to Philadelphia and hired a guy named Bobby Martin, who later went on to become a Grammy-winning arranger for Gamble and Huff. And we went into the Frank Virtue Studio on North Broad Street. Frank Virtue was the guy who recorded ‘Guitar Boogie Shuffle.’ That was his claim to fame. And he had a studio called Virtue Sound. And it was basically all we could afford—a little four-track machine. We went in there and Bobby Martin helped us arrange it, and we recorded it.” The group was named almost as an afterthought. “When we finished the recording, they have to label the tapes, and they label the acetate. And they put ‘Master’ on there, because it was a master recording. And we went, ‘Okay, we’ll call ourselves the Masters!’

“The way we got the deal at Crimson Records was really weird. We made the demo, and we had an acetate. We came out of the studio with a couple of acetates,” says Oates. “One day, me and a couple of the guys in the band, we took the train down to Philadelphia. We walked to the Record Museum, which was a place I used to love to go and buy 45s. It was on Chestnut Street, a tiny little record store. We walked in, and I had the acetate in my hand. And there was a guy behind the counter. I said, ‘Hey, we made a record! You guys want to hear it?’ And they put it on, literally right there at the counter. The guy said, ‘Hey, hold on a second.’ Brought us into the back room. I guess it was Jerry Greene. I don’t know who was there. But he said, ‘Hey, you guys want to put this out?’ We said, ‘Yeah, we want to put it out.’ He said, ‘Okay, we’ll put it out.’ And literally handed us some paperwork. We signed it. Of course, we didn’t know what we were signing. A classic music business story, right?”

The Masters’ debut single wasn’t a national hit; Crimson focused most of its promotional muscle on the Soul Survivors’ smash “Expressway To Your Heart.” Meanwhile, Hall’s fellow blue-eyed soul group, the Temptones, had just waxed their debut single for Jimmy Bishop’s Arctic label. “That song was out at the exact same time. So our two records were being played simultaneously on Philadelphia radio,” says Oates. “That’s how we kind of entered into the professional music business. Separately, of course, but then eventually we came together.”

Oates quickly found his way into the City of Brotherly Love’s booming music scene while attending Temple University. “I started playing in the Philadelphia clubs, met Jerry Ricks, started playing at folk clubs, and started really honing my chops,” he says. Hall was also enrolled there, but the two didn’t meet in the ivy-covered halls of academia. “Daryl’s group had a single out on radio. My group had a single out on radio. And we knew of each other, but we hadn’t met,” says Oates. “Then we were both independently asked to come to this ballroom, which was kind of a teenage dance on a Sunday afternoon at a place called the Adelphi Ballroom in West Philadelphia. We were there, Howard Tate was there, the Five Stairsteps. We were kind of waiting backstage to go on and lip-synch our singles for a disc jockey from the local R&B station. And that’s when a big gang fight broke out, and we kind of ran down, got in the elevator, went down to the street level. And that’s when we kind of said, ‘Hey, man, I know you go to Temple University. I’ll see you around, you know?’ And then we started meeting.

john oates photo 4“When I graduated from college in the spring of ’70, I wanted to go to Europe. So I pulled my money together. I took a backpack and took my guitar, and I went to Europe for about four months. I left in June and came back in October. While I was there, I just busked around Europe and played my guitar and visited all the places that I had always dreamed about and wanted to see,” he says. “I had sublet my apartment to Daryl’s sister and her boyfriend while I was away, and they didn’t pay the rent. So the apartment got padlocked. So when I came back from Europe, I literally went to the apartment and I couldn’t get in. And I had nowhere to go and no money, so I went over to where Daryl was living. And I said, ‘Hey, man, you sister and her boyfriend kind of left me hanging.’ And he said, ‘Well, don’t worry about it. Just move in here.’ And there was a spare bedroom upstairs, so I just moved in there. And because I was there, and that’s where his piano was, he’d come up and play the piano, and I’d pick up my guitar, and we started playing.

“We didn’t sound that good when we first started. Our styles were so distinctly different. I learned from him, he learned from me. I taught him a lot about traditional music—blues, bluegrass, Delta blues, things like that. He taught me a lot about gospel music, because he was a piano player, and R&B. He was classically trained, so I got a little bit more sophisticated from him.

“From there, an original style started to emerge. But it took quite a while.”

By the time the young duo signed with Atlantic Records in 1971, that style was coming together fast. “Being fans of blues and early R&B, Atlantic Records was the home. It was the motherlode of that music—Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin and on and on, Solomon Burke,” says Oates. “Being produced and discovered by Arif Mardin, who without a doubt was one of the greatest producers of all time–having him to mentor us through our first two albums was just a godsend and a unique opportunity.”

Yet many of their biggest sellers came after they assumed their own production reins. “We had worked with so many good and interesting producers—Arif Mardin, Todd Rundgren, David Foster, Christopher Bond,” he says. “We had learned a lot from all of them. But we realized that we were doing the bulk of the work anyway. So when the ‘80s started coming around, we just said, ‘You know what? We don’t need these guys anymore. Let’s just make our own records.’ And that’s really when we became more successful than ever, because we were actually getting the sound that we really wanted.”

Oates recently tracked down Hurt’s precious guitar, the very same one that he’d played so long ago. “I didn’t know what had happened to that guitar,” he says. “A gal who kind of ran my book club (Oates released his autobiography, Change of Seasons, last year), she started doing some research, and she discovered that the guitar was in a collection in Denver, Colorado of a fellow who had just passed away.

“She pointed me in the right direction, and I reached out to some people and ended up purchasing it. So I now own that guitar—the one that he played at Newport in ‘64, the Guild F-30 that he played,” he says. “I got it after the album was finished. I wish I would have had it to play actually on the album. But I did get it right after the album was finished, so in a way it was kind of a reward, I think, for doing the project.

“It’s one of my prize possessions.”

Visit John’s website at: https://johnoates.com/

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


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Mississippi Valley Blues Society – Davenport, IA

The Mississippi Valley Blues Society is pleased to present these upcoming shows.

 Fri., Sept. 7, 6:00pm Tas Cru on the Celebration Belle Riverboat Moline, IL (“Blues Cruise”) Cost $25, Wednesday, September 19th 6:00 pm JP Soars & The Red Hots at Kavanaugh’s Hilltop Tavern 1228 30th Street, Rock Island, IL Tickets: $12.00 or $10.00 for MVBS members. Sunday, Oct. 7, 6:00pm Orphan Jon and The Abandoned Viking Club Moline IL $12, $10 for MVBS members. www.mvbs.org

The Sacramento Blues Society – Sacramento, CA

On the 10th Anniversary of the Sacramento Blues Society Hall of Fame Awards, we are proud to announce our 2018 Hall of Fame Inductees: AJ Joyce, Andy Santana, Jimmy Morello, RW Grigsby and a special posthumous Induction of Frankie Lee.

Join us for a very special two part Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Sunday, September 30, 2018 at Harlow’s Restaurant & Nightclub, 2708 J Street, Sacramento, from 1-5 p.m. ,with special appearance by musical guest, The Daniel Castro Band.

Following the Induction Ceremony, there will be a Hall of Fame Showcase with the new Inductees and many previous Inductees at the nationally known Torch Club, 904 15t St., Sacramento, from 6-8 pm. Additional information at http://www.sacblues.com

Charlotte Blues Society – Charlotte, NC

The Charlotte Blues Society announces its upcoming IBC competitions. The Solo/Duo Challenge is September 2nd from 11:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the Rabbit Hole, 1801 Commonwealth Ave., Charlotte, NC 28205. The Winner receives $500 and represents CBS at the IBC Competition in Memphis in January, 2019. Free to members with valid cards; $5 to others.

The Band Challenge is October 7th from 6:00 – 10:00 p.m. at the Rabbit Hole, 1801 Commonwealth Ave., Charlotte, NC 28205. The Winner receives $1,000 and represents CBS at the IBC Competition in Memphis in January, 2019. Free to members with valid cards; $5 to others. Remember to bring donations for Loaves and Fishes. http://www.charlottebluessociety.org

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.

9/3 – The Drifter Kings, 9/10 – Doug Deming & The Jewel Tones, 9/17/ – Laura Rain and the Caesars, 9/24 – Reverend Raven & The Chain Smokin’ Alter Boys featuring Westside Andy, 10/1 – Levee Town, 10/8 – Orphan Jon and The Abandoned, 10/15 – Jeff Jensen, 10/22 – Lindsay Beaver & The 24th St. Wailers, 10/29 – Murray Kinsley & Wicked Grin. For more information visit www.icbluesclub.org.

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. Tues, Sept 11 – Frank Bang & Cook County Kings, Venue TBA, Tues, Sept 25, Ivy Ford Band, Kankakee Valley Boat Club, Thur, Nov 29 – Reverend Raven & CSAB, Kankakee Valley Boat Club. More Info at: http://www.facebook.com/friendsoftheblues.

The Long Beach Blues Society – Long Beach, CA

This Labor Day weekend get ready to rumble at the New Blues Festival in Long Beach when the 6 String Showdown, the summer’s biggest guitar competition presented by Long Beach Blues Society, rolls into town. OC Regional winners Jesse Godoy and Ewen Williams face off with Arcadia’s best, Jessica Kaczmarek and Andy Vimar, on the Golden Groove Stage September 1 at 4pm to determine which two finalists will go head-to-head on the Main Stage of the New Blues Festival on September 2 at 2:30 PM, to crown Southern California’s all-around best blues guitar hero and walk off with over $5000 in cash and prizes including an Eastman guitar and more.

Tickets are available now at https://www.newbluesfestival.com/tickets/.


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