Issue 12- 9 March 1, 2018

Cover photo © 2018 Bob Kieser

 In This Issue 

Mark Thompson has our feature interview with International Blues Challenge Solo/Duo winner Kevin “B.F.” Burt. We have 8 Blues reviews for you this week including Reverend Raven & The Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys, The Blues Overdrive, The Love Light Orchestra featuring John Németh, Hard Core Harp, The Reverend Shawn Amos, Carolyn Gaines, King Louie’s Blues Revue and Backtrack Blues Band.

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

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2018 Blues Blast Music Award Submissions Are Now Open

The Blues Blast Music Awards honor contemporary Blues artists and their recordings. Artists with major labels and indie artists are eligible to be considered.

The eligibility period for specific recordings is music released from May 1, 2017 to April 30, 2018. Categories such as Male Blues Artist, Female Blues Artist, Blues Band and the Rising Star Award are not tied to these specific dates but instead are based on our nominators recent observations of performances of touring artists over the past year.

For Complete information on submitting your music for consideration click


Contemporary Blues Album

Traditional Blues Album

Soul Blues Album

Rock Blues Album

Acoustic Blues Album

Live Recording Of The Year

New Artist Debut Album

Historical or Vintage Recording

Male Blues Artist Of The Year

Female Blues Artist Of The Year

Blues Band Of The Year

Sean Costello Rising Star Award

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 Featured Blues Review – 1 of 8 

reverend raved cd imageReverend Raven & The Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys – My Life – Twentieth Anniversary

Nevermore Records

16 tracks/65 minutes

On any given weekend if had to pick one band in our area to go listen to I would track down where Reverend Raven and the Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys (CSABs) are playing and go out there and sit down with them to listen to them for some blues done the way they are supposed to be. This CD celebrates 20 years in the life of the best blues band in the Mid West. Rooted deeply in the sound of old school Chicago blues and based out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Reverend (Richard) Raven has spent the last two decades honing a sound that is unique, sublime and enticing. The vocals and instrumental work is never over blown or over done. The solos are tasteful and authentic. The band knows what everyone is supposed to do and does it. No one steps on each other’s toes and everyone works to make the sound better.

In 1993 Chief Raven got out the Navy and supplemented his separation pay with gigs in Milwaukee and Wisconsin’s Fox Valley area. He honed his sound as he replaced the 16 year old wunderkind Scott Sharrard with the Blues Disciples. He worked on his chops and tried to avoid getting his head cut off by special guests like Perry Weber, Billy Flynn and Mel Ford. The Chief then ventured out on his own a bit with Jimmy Rogers’ harp man Madison Slim. Slim was still touring with Rogers so the work with Slim was a side project for both the Rev and Slim.

When Rogers passed away the CSABs were born 20 years ago in a South Side of Milwaukee tavern called Jim Dandy’s. Larry “The Legend” Taylor was on drums. They were playing in a country bar but when George Stancell walked in with a gold fur coat and sang with abandon and Slim killed them with his sad and blue harp solo and the band began it’s trek across the Cheese Curd Circuit of the upper Mid West.

Lamont Cranston helped get them noticed and the crowds grew and grew. They worked their way up to playing Buddy Guy’s Legends and opening for B.B. King at the Surf Ballroom. They tour the Mid West and South East with annual tours to the Virgin Islands and now Jamaica. From a poor kid on the South Side of Chicago hanging out at the Checkerboard Lounge to today, the Rev never dreamed he would get this far. A half dozen CDs, many awards and packed houses wherever they go are the norm now. Life is good and the Rev is thankful for his hard won success.

The bands have changed over the years. Cadillac Pete Rahn played harp with the Rev after they met on Bourbon Street with Bryan Lee at the Old Absinthe Bar. Madison Slim was from Jimmy Rogers and the Legendary Blues Band. Benny Rickun was a harp protégé of Mid west harmonica legend Jim Liban and he and the Rev spent time together when Slim moved south. Big Al Groth played sax with the CSABs after the Rev met him with Bobby Sellers in the Rhythm Dawgs in Kenosha, WI playing that old style honking sound. His current harp cohort is westside Andy Linderman who he met when Andy was with Paul Black and Flip Kings. They tour today joined at the hip with the swinging-est and coolest sound on the circuit. Each of the players added their talents to the band and are represented on this CD.

Piano and organ players also came and went in the band. Ron Kovach, Danny “Pork Chop” Moore, and Mickey Larson have each spent time playing with the Rev and appear here. Jimmy Voegeli also makes a special appearance. On bass are Andre Maritato, Brad Bull and his long time bass man PT Pedersen. Vic Span, Spencer Panosh, Bobby Lee Sellers Jr., and now Spencer’s brother Craig Panosh have played drums for the CSABs. Jeff Roberts appears on rhythm guitar on a couple of tracks. Each has brought their enormous talents to the band and this CD.

All the songs were written by Rev Raven who produced the album with help from Steve Hamilton. The first three tracks with Cadillac Pete are completely remixed and sound fresh. Track 4 with Madison Slim has never been on a CD before. The stuff with Benny is on tracks 5 through 10 and Andy is featured on tracks 13 through 16. Moore is featured on tracks 6, 7 and 9 through 16. While these songs all appeared on other CDs with Benny, Andy and Pork Chop, tracks 7, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 are brand new versions of the songs for us to enjoy.

“Handyman’ opens the set. A long-time staple of the Rev’s shows, this is a sweet and bouncy little shuffle with some dirty killer harp from Pete. He gets the first solo and then the Rev lays out a tasteful and restrained solo of his own. “Bee Hive Baby” and “Creature of Habit” also feature Cadillac Pete. The former has a driving beat and the Rev’s vocals are sublime. The solos are Pete and then the Rev with some chicken scratching thrown in for good measure. The latter is a nice jump blues with Pete and Rev trading off solos again. “Bad Little Girls” is an older recording that was never released before. Madison Slim greases up his harp and the Rev delivers the lyrics in his ever-captivating baritone style. Slim takes the lead first and blows a mean solo and then the Rev rings clear with his own and takes us home.

The “Rickun Era” songs are next. “I Want To Love You” starts us off with a winner with a driving beat. “Once Women Start Talking” is another CSAB standard his fans have all grown to love that is well done here, too. It’s got a rumba sort of beat and just a great vibe to it. “My Life” is another Rev Raven classis. It begins with a nod to his sailor days, “I’ve been around this world, I’ve sailed the seven seas,” as the Rev embarks on a tune where he searched for the woman of his dreams. Danny Moore blazes on the ivories and Benny is quite effective on the harp, but the Rev sells one with his slick vocals and guitar. “Here Comes My Baby” is another rumba-styled tune with Jimmy Voegeli coming in for some pretty organ work. The Rev stings with his big time guitar solo and overall work here. “Praying For A Princess” is a jumping cut that Benny launches with abandon. He, the Rev and Moore once again blaze as this song goes 100 mph with reckless abandon for a very fun ride. “Big Bee” is classic CSABs, a take off of Slim Harpo’s “King Bee.” Distorted vocals dirty this up nicely and the big harp sound from Rickun also makes this one special.

“Looking For Love” and ”Slow Burn” are the two saxophone pieces with Big Al. The sax is awesome on both and Pork Chops piano interplay with him is also spectacular. The Rev jumps and jives with his guitar and vocal work as the boogie woogie of “looking For Love” unfolds. “Slow Burn” is a mid tempo piece strident guitar and the sax and organ adding a lot to the mix.

The last four cuts are the Westside Andy tracks. “Someday When I’m Dead and Gone” is a blues shouter tune as Andy’s harp responds to the Rev’s vocal calls. Andy plays some wicked harp to complement the well-paced and strident guitar. They take things way down with the slow blues of “I Can Do You Right” where the guitar, harp and organ all take us to church. The rumba returns with “She’s Moving On,” with a testimonial that the Rev testifies to us about how his heart was torn out by that woman in red Ferragamo pumps. This is another staple of his fine live shows that his fans (and I) love. All good things must come to end and so does this great CD. “I’m Your Honeyboy” is a swinging jump blues with Danny Moore on piano and Jimmy Voegeli delivering backing vocals. Andy’s harp work is spectacular here once again. The Rev’s guitar takes a long solo to take us home as he, Andy and Pork Chop help him fade into the sunset. Wonderful stuff!

What can I say? This is some great stuff to commemorate 20 years of some of the blues worlds best music from one of my all time favorite artists and his band. As I said earlier, this is blues the way blues were meant to be played. Run do not walk, and go buy this one NOW! You will not regret it!

Reviewer Steve Jones is president of the Crossroads Blues Society and is a long standing blues lover. He is a retired Navy commander who served his entire career in nuclear submarines. In addition to working in his civilian career since 1996, he writes for and publishes the bi-monthly newsletter for Crossroads, chairs their music festival and works with their Blues In The Schools program. He resides in Byron, IL.


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 Featured Blues Review – 2 of 8 

The Blues Overdrive – Overdrive Live!

Gateway Music

9 songs – 43 minutes

The cover of Overdrive Live! screams the album title in large capitalized letters, together with the promise that the album was “Recorded live to tape – No dubs – No BS!”. It also depicts a photograph of the band in concert, showing a drummer, bassist and two guitarists. This, in conjunction with the band’s name, might lead one to expect a live recording featuring a series of long, loud and overwrought guitar solos all hung on the bones of a series of heavy rock songs calling themselves blues. Well, appearances can often be deceptive and everyone knows the dangers of making judgements based on first impressions.

Overdrive Live! is the third album by the Danish band, The Blues Overdrive, recorded live at one of Denmark’s largest festivals, Smukfest, in 2016. It’s also a fine recording of a very impressive blues band in concert.

Comprising Martin Olsen on vocals and rhythm guitar, Andreas Andersen on lead guitar, Brother Thomas Birck on bass and Louisian Bolter on drums, The Blues Overdrive formed in 2001 but did not release their first album in 2012. Overdrive Live! includes four tracks from their debut album, two tracks from their 2015 sophomore effort, Clinch!, a new track (“Everybody Was Rocking”) and two covers.

Olsen wrote all the songs except Bob Dylan’s “High Water (For Charley Patton)” and the psychedelic rock of The Chambers Brothers’ 1968 hit “You Got The Power To Turn Me On.” The latter song was often performed by Danish blues singer/guitarist/songwriter, Peter Thorup, to whose influence The Blues Overdrive also pay tribute on “Mr. 16 Tons (Blues For Thorup)”. Thorup died in 2007 but he was immensely influential in Denmark (and in the UK, where his version of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” was used as the them tune to the Top of The Pops TV show throughout the 1970s and 1980s).

Dylan’s “High Water” is re-imagined as a funky blues-rock workout, while “Death On The Highway”, which was originally performed on Clinch! as a mid-paced shuffle, now becomes an upbeat blues-rock groove that actually improves the song materially.

The band tend to favor relatively short and punchy numbers, with only the threatening slow blues of “Ball & Chain” and the poppy soul-blues of “Cherry” extending past the five minute mark. This restraint and control serves the album well, with the focus very much on the song rather than the soloist. This is not to denigrate Andersen at all, who delivers a series of memorably melodic solos (including a wry nod to “Baby Please Don’t Go” in his solo in “Mr. 16 Tons” and a bow to Jimmie Vaughan in “Three Time Lover” and Albert Collins in “I Was Wrong”).

As a record of the band’s live prowess, Overdrive Live! is an impressive and highly enjoyable statement. Produced by The Blues Overdrive themselves and mastered by Bolter, Overdrive Live! captures the energy and vitality of a top-drawer live performance but combines it with a warm-yet-crystalline clarity many studio albums would envy.

As an introduction to The Blues Overdrive, you couldn’t start at a better place than Overdrive Live! Great stuff.

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 – 3 of 8 

love light orchestra cd imageThe Love Light Orchestra featuring John Németh

Blue Barrel Records

12 Tracks/40:17

This recording takes listeners back to the sounds of Bobby “Blue” Bland’s noted band from early in his career that featured arranger Joe Scott. There aren’t many better inspirations for forming a band that wants to take a deep dive into the intersection of blues and R&B that a major part of the musical landscape 60-70 years ago.

Recorded live at Bar DKDC in Memphis, the Love Light Orchestra comes storming out of the gate, horns blazing, as John Németh creates a fuss, wrapping his superlative voice around “See Why I Love You,” with Art Edmaiston wailing away on the tenor sax break. That track was written by Joe Restivo, guitarist for the band and also the Bo-Keys. His B.B. King-inspired licks kick off “Bad Breaks,” which gets a spark from Kirk Smothers’ rowdy baritone sax solo. Nemeth turns in an exceptional performance on a tune Bland made popular, “I’ve Been So Wrong,” the horn section matching him note for note. Another tune from Bland’s catalog, “Poverty,” benefits from sterling fills from Gerald Stephens on piano.

Turning up the heat, the band tears into a Don Robey song, “Sometimes,” as Edmaiston rocks the house, paced by the solid rhythm section featuring Tim Goodwin on bass and Earl Lowe on drums. “This Little Love Of Mine” is a slinky Robey tune that features a beautifully constructed solo from trumpeter Marc Franklin, with toured with Bland and is also a member of the Bo-Keys. Restivo lays down some impressive chicken-picking’ and Nemeth utilizes his full vocal range on “What About Love,” one from the Freddie King songbook.

The horns are prominent on the arrangement for “It’s Your Voodoo Working,” a Charles ‘Mad Dog” Sheffield tune that crawled out of the Louisiana swamps. The trumpet section of Franklin, Scott Thompson, and Jason Yasinsky boost the sound with a constant stream of succinct embellishments. The Percy Mayfield classic, “Please Send Me Someone To Love,” gets a reverent run-through as Németh once again showcases his eloquent vocal skills. “Singin’ For My Supper” is a Franklin original that takes off once Restivo breaks into a solo with the horns riffing in full support. Nemeth contributes one song, the robust shuffle “Lonesome And High,” the full weight of the band brought to bear on a standout track. For the closing number, the band chose “Love And Happiness”. Hearing this song rendered by veteran Memphis musicians who understand the textures of the Hi Records sound erases the memory of many less than stellar versions listeners have been subjected to over the years.

While they don’t break any new ground, the Love Light Orchestra certainly succeeded in their mission of honoring some of the pioneers of the music that has shaped their lives. There are few bands out there that have a full horn section adding so much power to the music, particularly live on stage. That forceful sound is apparent throughout these twelve tracks. When you combine them with Németh’s soul-soaked vocals, you get a gem of a recording that will probably experience a long stay in your CD player, and may cause sudden outbursts of spontaneous dancing!

Don’t let this one slide by…….

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 – 4 of 8 

hard core harp cd imageVarious Artists – Hard Core Harp

Electro-Fi 3455

19 songs – 71 minutes

From the opening chromatic and low-register solo acoustic riffs of 1960s Muddy Waters sidekick Paul Oscher on “Alone With The Blues” to the breathtaking diatonic runs of Mark Hummel’s “Harpoventilating,” this collection of music delivers a dazzling collection of ear candy for any blues harmonica aficionado with this release, which is subtitled 20 Years Of Blues Harmonica Masters On Electro-Fi Records.

Founded in Toronto, Ont., in 1996 by Andrew Galloway with the assistance of former high school bandmate Gary Collver and Alec Fraser, the label signed Chicago blues legend Little Mack Simmons as its first artist, releasing his Little Mack Is Back album a year later and has included many of the world’s top harmonica players throughout its continuing run.

This release gives all of them place to shine. But this is far more than a harmonica CD. Many of the selections here give other musicians ample space to ply their wares. That’s particularly true of the second cut, Billy Boy Arnold’s “Mellow Chic Swing. A star in the ‘50s who vanished from the stage for decades before reemerging in the ‘80s, he swings from the jump vocally on this one to deliver a tribute to Sonny Boy Williamson with guitarists Mel Brown and Billy Flynn carry the musical load.

The action moves from Chicago to the West Coast for James Harman’s “Bonetime.” Based near Los Angeles, the Alabama native delivers a breezy, greasy stop-time shuffle full of sexual innuendo. Next up, San Francisco Bay-based Hummel faithfully covers Little Walter’s “It’s Too Late Brother” with a helping hand from Rusty Zinn on the six-string.

Chromatic master George “Harmonica” Smith, moved to Los Angeles in the early ‘70s after a stint in Muddy’s band. Considered the godfather of West Coast harp, he tutored Rod Piazza when they worked together in the band Bacon Fat. He’s captured here with a tried-and-true take on Sonny Boy’s “Crazy ‘Bout You Baby,” a cut that was recorded live in 1983 – a few months prior to his passing. He’s backed by guitarist Buddy Reed and the Rocket 88s.

It’s on to the Midwest for the next few numbers, beginning with Detroit-based Harmonica Shah’s “She Used To Be Beautiful.” He’s followed by Snooky Pryor, the often overlooked Waters sideman who’s credited by many historians with revolutionizing the instrument by creating the modern harmonica. He’s believed to be the first man ever to hold a microphone in hand and cup it directly behind the harp instead of playing it at distance or on a stand. Former bandmate Pinetop Perkins gives him an assist on keys to deliver “Rock-A-While.”

Best known for his work with Anson Funderburgh & The Rockets, Sam Myers takes on “Ninety Nine,” another Sonny Boy tune, before Waters drummer-turned-harmonica player Willie “Big Eyes” Smith tears it up on his original, “Don’t Think I’m Crazy.” Arnold returns to his root next for his 1950s hit, “I Wish You Would,” aided by Zinn.

There are great harp players North Of The Border, too, as evidenced by Al Lerman, who’s up next, backed by the Juke Joint Rockers. A student of Carey Bell who founded Fathead, Canada’s preeminent blues band of the ‘90s, he rips and runs through the instrumental, “Liquified Boogie,” a song culled from Smith’s Bluesin’ It release.

Simmons, Myers and Arnold return to the rotation for “Leaving In The Morning,” “Coming From The Old School” and “Sweet Honey Bee” before Hamilton, Ont., based acoustic bluesman Harrison Kennedy joins the action. A man who traded bottles of wine to Sonny Terry for harp lessons as a youth, the Juno Award winner was a founding member of soul superstar group Chairman Of The Board, but delivers “Afraid To Fail” in true country blues tradition.

A cover of Snooky’s “Pitch A Boogie Woogie” is up next, delivered faithfully by his son, Rip Lee. It preceded his dad’s slow-blues masterpiece, “Headed South,” the only live recording in existence that paired him with Brown on guitar. The disc concludes with George Smith’s masterful take on the Little Water standard, “Juke,” before Hummel brings the action to a close.

If you’re a fan of old-school harmonica that’s free of electronic gimmickry and over-blow techniques, Hard Core Harp is guaranteed to give you eargasms. Highly recommended, a strong contender for historical album of the year, and available through most major retailers.

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 – 5 of 8 

reverend shawn amos cd imageThe Reverend Shawn Amos – The Reverend Shawn Amos Breaks It Down


9 songs – 30 minutes

The Reverend Shawn Amos’ new album continues to mine the modern blues vein he so successfully explored in 2014’s The Reverend Shawn Amos Tells It and 2015’s The Reverend Shawn Amos Loves You. His new release, The Reverend Shawn Amos Breaks It Down follows a similar approach to those albums, being relatively short, but mixing left-field cover versions with smartly-written originals – and all played with impressive restraint and purpose.

Breaks It Down features a range of musicians, including guitarists Chris “Doctor” Roberts, Michael Toles and James Saez (who also adds percussion to a couple of tracks); bassists Leroy Hodges, Jr. Alex Al and Hannah Dexter; drummers Steve Potts, Mike Smirnoff and Rodd Bland; keyboardists Charles Hodges and Peter Adams; and backing singers Sharlotte Gibson, Kenya Hathaway, Harold Thomas, Robert “Tex” Wrightsil, Philemon Young, Lester Lands and Bill Pitman. The horn section of Vikram Devas (trombone), Joe Santa-Maria (baritone sax) adds extra depth to three tracks while Chris Anderson contributed the string arrangement to “2017”. In addition to singing, Amos also contributes neat harmonica on various songs.

The album contains five original songs and two extraordinary covers. The originals include the menacing blues-rock of “Moved” and the retro-modern soul of “2017”. In “Moved”, solo electric guitar and haunting harmonica are the only instruments and a sense of taunt restraint underlies both the instrumentation and the vocals. The upbeat “2017” however, sees Amos backed by Al Green’s wonderful Hi Rhythm Section, with backing vocals from the great Masqueraders, which leads perfectly into the soul-pop of “Hold Hands”.

The core of Breaks It Down however can be found in the three-song “Freedom Suite” in the middle of the album. The one-minute a cappella “Uncle Tom’s Prayer” pays homage to Freedom Singers founder, Cordell Hull Reagon, before Amos re-imagines Bukka White’s Delta Blues “Does My Life Matter” as a threatening gospel-rock piece. The third piece, the gospel-soul of “(We’ve Got To) Come Together” includes quotations from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in its plea for peace and tolerance.

The two cover versions should not really work at all, but they do. Amos spotlights the blues elements in David Bowie’s “The Jean Genie”, slowing the beat, emphasising the groove and highlighting Bowie’s Howlin’ Wolf-like howl before each chorus. The addition of the horn section of Devas and Santa-Maria in the choruses helps to accentuate the barren beauty of the minimalist verses.

Elvis Costello’s classic “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding”, meanwhile, is given a gospel dressing down, with just simple keys and exquisite vocals from Gibson, Hathaway, Thomas and Wrightsil. It’s a magical re-interpretation that really drives home the furious hope in the lyrics.

Breaks It Down is an overtly political album with many lyrics raising similar questions in relation to race, intolerance and political unrest. But like some of the great soul tracks of the Civil Rights era, Amos often manages to strike that delicate balance between articulating personal perspectives and addressing broader societal issues. Amos describes the songs as a collection of 21st century Freedom Songs and that is a pretty fair description.

However it may be described, The Reverend Shawn Amos Breaks It Down is a very, very good album. Highly recommended.

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 – 6 of 8 

carolyn gaines cd imageCarolyn Gaines – Beware Of My Dog


11 songs – 43 minutes

Although she has been deeply involved in blues for her entire life, Beware Of My Dog is the debut release from Houston-born Carolyn Gaines. She is the daughter of the great Texas guitarist-singer Roy Gaines (sideman to Bobby Bland, Big Mama Thornton and Billie Holiday, amongst others) and the niece of equally-great saxophonist, Grady Gaines, (ex-Gladys Knight, Little Richard, Sam Cooke, and a multitude of others). In addition to being the founder of the Blues Schools project (teaching children in schools about the history and importance of the blues), she has promoted blues shows, written blues articles and a children’s book about blues and hosted blues radio shows.

Her deep love and knowledge of the music is evident throughout Beware Of My Dog. Even the album artwork is educational, with open acknowledgements of the inspirations behind each track. Gaines wrote the lyrics to eight of the tracks, but also explains, for example, that the original source of “Catch That Train” was John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom” or that “Stone Out Your Raggly Mind” borrows its melody from Jimmy Reed’s “Baby, What You Want Me To Do?”. Some of her choices are inspired. Thus, “Mr. Dill Pickle” re-informs Blind Boy Fuller’s 1937 gem, “I Want A Piece Of Your Pie” while “Hoochie Coochie Woman” re-casts the Muddy Waters classic from a female perspective. Some of the explanations, however, whilst clearly well-intentioned, aren’t entirely accurate. For example, stating that the opening title track is “comparable to Big Mama Thornton’s “Hound Dog” (1953) & the 1956 Elvis Presley recording on which the young Buddy Guy played guitar riffs of blues-rock n’ roll” is only half-right, in that while the song harkens back to the early 1950s, Scotty Moore actually played guitar on the Presley version (and Pete Lewis of the Johnny Otis Orchestra provided the thrilling guitar parts to Thornton’s original version). It is always to be applauded however when artists acknowledge their inspirations and the origins of their songs and Gaines deserves great credit for doing so. Many music fans have first found their way to the original blues masters as a result of cover versions by the likes of the Rolling Stones and Canned Heat.

In keeping with its 1950s vibe, the focus of Beware Of My Dog is on Gaines’ powerful, expressive voice, which has hints of the languid swing of Billie Holiday. Backed with assertive confidence by a core band comprising guitarist Fred Clark, Glen Doll on harmonica, bassist Del Atkins and drummer Chad Wright, there are also appearances by Rudy Copeland on organ on the title track, Grady Gaines on saxophone on two songs, and Big Jay McNeely on three songs.

From the one-chord menace of the Howlin’ Wolf-esque “I’m Your Cat, Baby” and the country blues of Jr. Kimbrough’s “Done Got Old”, to the downtown shuffle of “Jerry Rice ‘Busy Man’” (a homage to the great football player) and the gospel blues of Big Jay McNeely’s “Something On Your Mind”, Gaines cleverly mixes up styles and backing instrumentation throughout.

Beware Of My Dog suggests that Gaines is a serious talent and it will be exciting to see what she does next. It is also an entertaining slice of retro-modern blues and well worth picking up.

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

 Featured Blues Review – 7 of 8 

king louie's blues revue cd imageKing Louie’s Blues Revue – Live at Riverhouse Jazz

Shoug Records

CD: 11 Songs, 55:53 Minutes

Styles: Blues/Jazz Covers, Ensemble Blues and Jazz, Live Album

Who doesn’t love a live album? It possesses a different momentum than one produced in a studio, a whole other level of crowd-fueled energy and mutual feedback between artist and audience. In March of 2017, Portland, Oregon’s Louis “King Louie” Pain (think “French for bread,” not “discomfort”) and his ensemble performed Live at Riverhouse Jazz to make an entry in Bend, OR’s prestigious Mt. Bachelor Riverhouse Jazz series. Afterwards, numerous attendees proclaimed that they’d never experienced a more exciting concert. For fifty-five minutes and fifty-three seconds, this Blues Revue laid everything on the line to thrill the crowd with blues and jazz standards and three originals. As in the Olympics, athletes can practice and practice, but when it comes time to perform in person, they’d better not lose their nerve – or they lose their chance at a medal. Fortunately for everyone, live audiences and those at home, Louis et al. bring home the gold. Need further evidence? Check this out: King Louie is Caucasian, but he sounds African-American when he sings, channeling Marvin Gaye and B.B. King with aplomb. He’s also known as “Portland’s Boss of the B3.” His fellow musicians are no slouches, by any means:

Lisa Mann – Two-time Blues Music Award winner;
CBA Hall of Fame
Andy Stokes – Oregon Music Hall of Fame inductee
LaRhonda Steele – “Portland’s First Lady of the Blues,” according to KOIN TV
Renato Caranto – Former saxophonist with Merle Haggard and Esperanza Spalding; CBA Hall of Fame
Edwin Coleman III – Drummer with Soul Vaccination and the Thunder Brothers
Danny Armstrong – Legendary San Francisco Bay Area trombonist
Peter Dammann – Oregon Music Hall of Fame inductee

The following three original songs, one of them less than a minute but packing just as much of a punch, are the best of these eleven tracks. They demonstrate that Louis and company can more than hold their own when playing their own material amidst all the crowd-favorite covers.

Track 03: “Two Halves of One Broken Heart” – Lisa Mann and King Louie perform a stunning powerhouse duet, a ballad of love gone wrong that shows one and one don’t always make two. “I want to love you, but you won’t let me in. Do you remember how it was way back when? We had passion, bodies crashin’ in the pale moonlight…How did we come to this place in our lives? Who is to blame? It’s too late to take sides. We’re just two halves of one broken heart.” The B3 organ is red-hot from the King, as is the saxophone, complementing the vocals perfectly. Ms. Mann wrote this number, and it makes for one sensational slow-dance tune.

Track 04: “Full Growed Woman” – Hold on to your hats, folks! LaRhonda Steele composed this rollicking rocker about what a “Full Growed Woman” desires in terms of love. “She knows what she wants; she knows how to get it. She’ll find you some breakfast and have her way with you.” Yow! Track number four will get people on their feet and get those feet moving fast. The guitar and bassline are killer here, as smooth as the rapport between the artists.

Track 11: “Trombone Duel” – This bonus track may only be fifty-eight seconds long, but it sure is catchy. Trombonists at home might try and play along with it for practice. Which of the two trombones wins? Let’s call it a draw, because they’re both fantastic.

Live at Riverhouse Jazz, from Louis Pain and posse, shows how “King Louie” earned his name!

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 – 8 of 8 

back track blued band cd imageBacktrack Blues Band – Make My Home In Florida

Harpo Records

9 songs – 50 minutes plus live DVD

The Backtrack Blues Band delivers a tasty set of Chicago-style music on Make My Home In Florida, which was recorded not far from their home in the Tampa Bay area. But that comes as no surprise for the legion of fans the quintet have collected across the U.S. and Canada since joining forces 38 years ago.

Harp player/vocalist Sonny Charles and rhythm guitarist Little Johnny Walter began their musical association in the late ‘70s while students at the University Of North Carolina. They formed Backtrack after relocating to Tampa in 1980.

Backtrack has shared the stage with a virtual who’s who of American blues talent, everyone from Koko Taylor, Gatemouth Brown and John Lee Hooker to Rod Piazza, Robert Cray and Tommy Castro.

Charles a powerful singer in the Little Walter/Paul Butterfield mold, and the band produces music that would fit comfortably and be welcome in any blues joint on the shores of Lake Michigan. The current lineup also includes Kid Royal, who handles Texas-style lead guitar and provides equally strong vocals for two cuts, as well as Joe Bencomo on drums and Stick Davis on bass, former rhythm section of the Amazing Rhythm Aces, the country-rock band best known for the tune “Third Rate Romance.”

This release was recorded both as a CD and accompanying mirror-image, high-definition DVD before a live audience at the 850-seat Palladium Theater in downtown St. Petersburg. The band’s performance is relaxed and greasy-smooth as their deliver a set of four Charles-penned originals and five covers – all captured without benefit of overdubs or studio editing, not that it needed it.

“Our goal was to relax and have fun playing to a sold-out room,” Sonny insists. “We are all such good friends and genuinely appreciated what each guy brings to the sound, so it was easy for us to just go out there and let it roll.”

The set opens with Charles’ strong harp line for a traditional cover of Sonny Boy Williamson II’s “Checkin’ On My Baby” before Kid takes to the mike for a rock-steady cover of B.B. King’s “Woke Up This Morning.” A reed-bender of the first order, Sonny delivers exceptionally strong single-note runs with big, fat tone, and Royal follows suit with six-string riffs that are both sweet and subtle.

The cover tune, “Make My Home In Florida,” is up next. It’s a harp-fueled, unhurried tribute to the Sunshine State – and Tampa Bay in particular — with Sonny at the mike and a tasty extended mid-tune guitar solo. Kid’s in command vocally for an uptempo take on Little Walter’s “Nobody But You” before Charles blows the back off it for a version of Sonny Boy’s familiar “Your Funeral And My Trial.”

The performance concludes with a three-song set of originals, all of which are constructed comfortably within the Chicago blues tradition and fit well with what’s come before.

The medium-fast shuffle “Heavy Built Woman” delivers tongue-in-cheek praise for a lady who eats all the time. One night with her and you’ll never be the same. Next up, the loping “Shoot My Rooster” vows to end his crowing both night and day, drawing derision from the singer’s neighbors, while the final cut, “Tell Your Daddy” is a stop-time plea for honesty and understanding between father and child because, no matter what you do, he truly knows all.

Available through most major online retailers, Make My Home In Florida doesn’t cut much new ground, but it’s a well-executed set that will please old-school blueshounds – like me!

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 Interview – Kevin “B.F.” Burt 

kevin burt photo 1In this day and age where celebrity status is often conveyed on people with little discernible skills or talent, it is refreshing when the spotlight finally lands on someone who has worked hard, paid their dues, and actually deserves recognition for their talent.

Such is the case with Kevin “B.F.” Burt,” the singer and multi-instrumentalist who created quite a buzz on Beale St. in Memphis during the first three days of this year’s International Blues Challenge, sponsored by the Blues Foundation. Performing on Saturday for the final round, Burt gave a stunning performance that left little doubt who would finish at the top in the Solo/Duo category. Before that announcement was made, Burt received the Lee Oskar Award as the best harmonica player in the competition and the Cigar Box Guitar Award recognizing him as the best guitar player in the Solo/Duo category.

Making a clean sweep of those awards was a shock to the intrepid musician, who had no intentions of participating in the Challenge. “My good friend, Ken Valdez, was selected with his band to represent the state of Minnesota. One night Ken called to say they had won, then asked me if I was entering the Iowa Challenge. I told him no, it took too much time, but after much hemming and hawing, he finally convinced me to give it a try. So I contacted the Central Iowa Blues Society to sign-up. As it turned out, that was the last day to register for the Challenge”.

The Iowa competition is unique in that the eight affiliated Blues societies in the state can host their own preliminary round, sending their representatives to the final, state-wide round. “That format certainly makes you want to sing the best that you can. That is an honest way to get to Memphis. It is not a popularity contest. In order to make the music strong and alive, I have to represent me and earn my way. After all was said & done, I was selected to represent Iowa. A former President of the Blues Society, Jeff Wagner, had been encouraging me to enter as as solo act forever. Honestly, as I look back, it wasn’t the time for this to happen. If this had happened to me at a younger age, I wouldn’t have been in a position to do what needs to be done in order to make the step into the world that is now possible, especially with my kids”.

Burt is no stranger to the spotlight. He went to Huron Collage in South Dakota on a football scholarship, earning All-American honors. But a dislocated knee his senior year brought an end to his dream of an NFL career. He tried out for the Hamilton Tigercats of the Canadian Football league but was soon released. Returning to Iowa, he decided to pursue graduate school at the University of Iowa. Needing a job to help with finances, he sent out seven resumes, received five job offers, and accepted all of them.

“I just decide to work and not go to school. One day I was sitting in an office singing, and my boss, Ethel Madison, came around the corner. She told me that I sure could sing, then encouraged me to audition for a blues band that her son was putting together. I really didn’t think that I could sing that well. After two weeks, she invited me to her house for dinner. When I got there, there was no dinner, just an audition! At the end, the fellas handed me a book full of song lyrics to learn. The band was called the Blues Instigators. Back in 1995, we represented Iowa in the Band category at the Blues Challenge, first band to play all original material. We stayed together for quite a few years after that.”

He kept singing with the band while the day jobs started dwindling, eventually getting down to a lone job. The situation called for a leap of faith not only for him, but his wife as well. “ I walked in the door one evening, told her that I was going to quit my day job to focus on music. She looked at me and said, it’s about time. She was pregnant with our first child. So I became a full-time musician. The problem was that I was a singer who didn’t play any instruments, so I needed a band to support me. I think the Instigators thought that I would learn soon enough how tough the business is and be right back to the day job. In short order, I had lined up three to four, and sometimes six, gigs a week within a four hour radius. The other band members were still working their day jobs”.

kevin burt photo 2“One night we opened for Long John Hunter at Buddy Guy’s Legends club. We had done a few shows with the Brooks family. Lonnie Brooks walked into the Green room as I was getting myself together. Mr. Brooks looked at me, asking me when was I going to pick-up a guitar. I told him I didn’t need to play, the guys in the band are with me. He chuckled, turned to Mr. Hunter, and said, Long John, tell him how you got started. I didn’t realized until that moment that they had grown up together. Mr. Hunter said, I went to a juke joint on a Friday night and saw my girl react to the dude playing guitar on stage. I said I can do that! So, the next day he went out and bought a guitar. The following week, Long John was on the stage. Lonnie looked over at me, told me to keep that in mind. On the way home from that show, the guys told me that they couldn’t keep it up any more. They were tired of doing long runs for a gig, then having to go to work the next morning”.

Holding back on telling his wife that he was on his own, the singer found himself in a small bar in Iowa City that was called Baldy’s at that time. When the owner walked by the table, Burt asked him if he ever considered doing live music. The owner indicated the bar was too small for a band, but Burt asked if a solo act would work.

“ He said he would do a solo act if it was me, asked me if I was doing a solo act. I told him I was thinking about it. He came back with, how about next Friday? This was on Thursday. So I finished my drink and went over to the Guitar Foundation. They had a little guitar that had been hanging in the shop for about twelve years. It was a Danelectro Convertible. Nobody touched that thing, it had dust caked on it. I asked for a price. He wanted to check his records but I said no, just give me a price for this unwanted art. He asked for $150, so I said $125. He countered with $140, so I said how about $75? I told him I also needed some harmonicas. He explained to me how cross harp is supposed to be done. I walked out with the guitar and four harps for $125”.

For a week, once his wife went to bed, Burt went down in the basement to practice both instruments. When Friday came, he suddenly realized that he needed a rack for the harps so he could play one while playing guitar, necessitating another trip to the guitar store. “The guy at the store asked me if I knew how hard it was to play a harp and guitar at the same time. I said, nope!That was the start. I found 3-4 other places that that would allow me to come in, playing for whatever I could get. After three weeks or so, there was a little place in Cedar Rapids called Checkers Tavern. I went to ask the owner, P.J. Harrington, about doing something on an off night. Told him I would play on Wednesday night for two hours for $50. He said he couldn’t do that, would give me $125 a night. I played that house gig for five years, learning how to play harmonica and guitar on his stage”.

“From that point until now, it has always been my hustle to perform. It has never been perfect, but it is what I do. My goal is for the audience to walk out having had a unique experience. I don’t want to be the next anything. Never fancied myself as a fantastic guitarist or anything special with a harmonica. My gift is my strong voice. I have been blessed to cross paths with the artists I admire, like the three Kings – B.B., Freddie and Albert on guitar. They said so much without a lot of notes, making you feel every note. You can tell it’s them after three notes. When I think about the sound I want to make on a guitar, those three jump into my head. For the harp, it is everyone from Sonny Boy Williamson – Rice Miller – to Brownie McGhee, everybody on the Chicago scene. The harmonica’s sound is a lot more diverse than people realize. It is a simple instrument, but simple isn’t easy.

Vocally, the singer’s influences include Bobby “Blue” Bland, Little Milton, Luther Vandross to Teddy Pendergrass, and Aaron Neville for his remarkable range. Growing up in the soul and R&B era, he made sure that he never forgot that blues also had rhythm. Listeners can readily hear Bill Withers impact on Burt’s vocal style. So meaningful is the Withers’ influence that Burt was moved to thank his idol personally. “For the last fifteen years, I have made it a point to personally thank the people who have impacted my life, to do it face-to-face so they know they made a difference. So I made a pilgrimage to Los Angeles to meet with Mr. Withers. It was cool that he was willing to make the time for me. We ended up hitting it off and hanging out for a lot longer than planned. He gave me some insight into finding a deeper pool of emotion as a performer than I ever allowed myself to tread in”.

kevin burt photo 3“I also learned a lot from the guys in the Instigators. Matt Panek was with me forever, and much of what I do on guitar are from the things he encouraged me to learn. Everybody plays lead but not everybody likes to play rhythm guitar. Matt encouraged me to embrace that component. And the drummer, Eric Madison, who I refer to as the greatest man alive. He is one of those righteous souls that made this all possible, the son of the woman who heard me singing at work. He showed me things that he did as a drummer that helped me develop good timing. For harmonica, Dan Laughlin really influenced my sound on that instrument. And Dave Moore, another solo musician, who plays whatever he wants to, very amazing player. He did things with a harp and the rack that no one else was doing. And since I saw him do it, I figured that was what you were supposed to do. Everybody was supposed to strive for what Dave was doing, but they just hadn’t got there yet.

Burt is a strong proponent of blues and musical educational workshops. His research in preparation broadened his understanding of blues history in the state of Iowa. He teaches students what he believes, then challenges them to go out and prove him wrong. “ And they do! Iowa has played a more significant role in the blues world than Iowa will ever be given credit for. It is dead center in our country. If you are traveling through the country, it is hard not to go through Iowa. Waterloo, Iowa became an extension of the chitlin’ circuit because African-Americans migrated there from the south for employment opportunities at John Deere Manufacturing and Rath Meatpacking. Rath had one of the first integrated unions in the country. The same was true for cities along the river or were railway hubs. There communities had plenty of places to play. A small town like Oelwein once had five dance halls. Places like the Mississippi Delta or Chicago have a geographical imprint that determines how the blues are supposed to sound. Because Iowa is halfway to everywhere, there is no geographic imperative on how the music is supposed to sound”.

“I had a clean slate because I don’t know what blues from Iowa is supposed to sound like. My canvas is wide open. There has been a bit of backlash from some folks because I won the IBC but I played the Beatles “Eleanor Rigby,” which is not a blues song. Why can’t an African-American artist take a rock-n-roll song, turn it around, and give it back with a blues influence. The world doesn’t always see things that way. That is what rock did with the blues roots. When I look at the words to a song, I have to find a way to connect them with my life in order to be able to give them back. It has already been done right, otherwise I wouldn’t like the song. I can’t do a Beatles song as well as the Beatles. But if I am taking their words and showing you how they read in my neighborhood, that’s when I am paying homage to their influences. And I think my evil plan worked! If I had done that song first, people would probably be saying that song sucks”.

Burt certainly isn’t letting his success at the IBC go to his head. “When I played the IBC rounds, my goal was to look up at some point and see if the venue staff was standing there, listening to my music. Those people hear music every night on Beale St., so if I could make them stop, it was because they were hearing something unique. And, again, my evil plan worked. I got a reaction from the staff at each of the rooms I played. When they called my name for the Lee Oskar Harmonica Award, I thought I was getting the consolation prize. I was hanging out backstage when they announced the Cigar Box Award. I went into shock, and had the thought that they must feel real bad, because they gave me the double consolation prize. I knew that there was no way I was winning that shit now. When my name was announced for Solo/Duo, I went into overload shock. All of the other artists really brought it, so that was a real honor”.

“Now I am seeking assistance for how to do things on a different level – booking festivals in the US and internationally, putting together cross country tours. I have always been successful booking myself locally. ”

Kevin signed on with Tom Gold at Concerted Efforts Agency for bookings following his IBC win.

“I have the opportunity to step into the room, and I want to prove that I deserve a seat at the table. I want to earn that. There are plans to get into the studio and create a product that is release-worthy. In the past, I have invested in my family rather than the studio time. Now I have to make that investment. Maybe I should have done that 6-8 months ago. The songs are there, so we need to line up a studio and possibly a producer. I have never been considered a recording artist. I am a performing artist. Typically, I have been doing over 300 shows a year, with the record being 420 in one calendar year. With a wife and two kids, if I am not playing, I am unemployed. That it is not ok. My family is behind me 100%, as are the righteous souls in the world who have been there for me over the years. I look forward to the opportunities, whatever they end up being.”

Visit Kevin’s website at:

Interviewer 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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Ventura County Blues Society – Ventura, CA

The 13th Annual Ventura County Blues Festival, Southern California’s Longest-Running Yearly Big Blues Event, returns on Saturday, April 28, to Studio Channel Islands, 2222 E. Ventura Blvd., in Camarillo. Gates open 10:00 am, music begins at 11:00 am. Tickets $30. (Pre-Sale), $40. (Day of Show). Kids 12 and under, free with paid Adult General Admission. V.I.P. Tickets $125. (online only). Festival proceeds benefits Food Share, Safety Harbor Kids and other local charities (please bring a nonperishable food item to donate to Food Share). Info: (805) 501-7122 or visit Benefiting Safety Harbor Kids and other local charities. Donations welcome.

This year’s lineup features multiple former Grammy nominee, vocalist Earl Thomas; harpist-vocalist extraordinaire, John Nemeth; SoCal native daughter and longtime festival favorite, Deb Ryder; past International Blues Challenge semi finalists, Alan Wright Band; Sandy Scott & Blues to The Bone, featuring powerhouse vocalist, Sandy Scott. As per yearly tradition, the Ventura County Blues Society All-Star Jam closes out the festival, with special, unannounced guest performers

The Sacramento Blues Society – The Sacramento, CA

The Sacramento Blues Society will host a performance by the Johnny Rawls Band on May 25th, 2018. Doors at Goldfield Trading Post @ 1630 J St. Sacramento, CA will open at 3:30. For tickets visit:

Johnny Rawls is a soul blues legend. In fact, the term “soul blues” was invented to describe his music. With a career spanning more than 50 years, he’s done it all. He’s an internationally recognized recording artist, music producer, and songwriter who tours extensively throughout North America and overseas.

The Blues Music Awards, Blues Blast Awards, Living Blues Critics Poll Awards, and the W. C. Handy Awards have all acknowledged Johnny with multiple awards and nominations, including Soul Blues Album of the Year and Soul Blues Artist of the Year. Living Blues Magazine described him as a “soul-blues renaissance man”

Johnny’s latest CD “Waiting for the Train” on Catfood Records was released in September 2017, and has been recognized as one of the top 50 blues albums of the year by Roots Music Report

The St. Louis Blues Society – St. Louis MO

The St. Louis Blues Society has been busy. The Society’s fourth annual compilation of original songs by St. Louis artists, 17 IN 17, has won rave reviews. You can read the story here. During February for Black History Month the St. Louis Blues Society and KDHX are sponsoring a three session community dialogue on “Race and the Blues in St. Louis” designed to cultivate understanding about race relations as it pertains to blues music, its legacy and future. You can read about the first session The Past: Stigma of the Blues here or stream it from KDHX.

Blues Society members love to jam. In St. Louis you can jam with them all week long: Sunday- 4-8pm Hammerstones in Soulard with the Voodoo Blues Band, Monday –9-1am Broadway Oyster Bar with the Soulard Blues Band, Tuesday – 10-1am Venice Café with Jeremy Segel-Moss (Chair STLBS), Wednesday- 7:30-11pm Highway 61 Roadhouse, Webster Groves, Thursday- 6-8pm, National Blues Museum Legends Room Stage.

The Charlotte Blues Society – Charlotte, NC

The Charlotte Blues Society announces its March Blues Bash, featuring Blues deLuxe, on 4 March, at the Rabbit Hole, 1801 Commonwealth Ave., Charlotte, NC 28205. Doors at 7:00, show at 8:00, followed by an open blues jam. If you missed Heather Gillis, who played a hot 2-hour set on 11 February, don’t miss this one!

CBS also announces its April Blues Bash, 1 April (no April fool’s joke here) featuring Joseph Michael Mahfoud, also at the Rabbit Hole, 7:00 doors, 8:00 show, with jam to follow.

As always, both shows are free to card-carrying members, only $5 for others. We are asking for donations of canned food or household paper products to benefit Loaves and Fishes. Hope to see you there!

Sacramento Blues Society – Sacramento, CA

Sacramento Blues Society is proud to present the legendary Johnny Rawls, Nominee for 2018 Soul Blues Male Artist and Soul Blues Album of the Year for “Waiting for the Train”, on Sunday, March 25, 2018, Goldfield’s Trading Post, 1630 J Street, Sacramento.

Doors open 3:30 p.m. ~ Show: 4 to 7 pm. Purchase tickets Advance Online: $29 Members, $34 Public at or at the Door: $30 Members, $35 Public.

The Great Northern Blues Society – Wausau, WI

The Great Northern Blues Society of Wausau, WI (GNBS) is Proud to announce the lineup for our 19th Annual Blues Café fundraiser to be held at the Historically Registered Rothschild Pavilion (near Wausau, WI) on 3/10/18.

The stellar Lineup will include Big N’ Tasty Blues Band, The Norman Jackson Band, Southern Avenue, Victor Wainwright & the Train, and The Jeremiah Johnson Band. Cathy Grier will be playing acoustic sets near the fireplace between main stage acts. Doors open at noon, and Music will start at 1:00PM and continue non-stop until 11:00PM. Chairs, Food, and Cold Beverages will be available on-site. Special Hotel Rates available at the nearby Stoney Creek Inn utilizing the Code: “BLUES Cafe”. Limited supply of rooms available so make your reservation now.

Please come, sit by the huge stone fireplace, with a beverage of choice in hand, and join us for 10 hours of non-stop glorious Blues Music on 3/10/18. Artist Biographies, directions, and Tickets are available on our Website at –

Crossroads Blues Society – Rockford, IL

Monthly shows at the Hope and Anchor in Loves Park, IL are on the second Saturday of the month. They are from 8:00 to 11:30 PM and there is a $5 Cover Charge. Scheduled shows: March 10 – John Primer, April 14 – Chicago Wind featuring Matthew Skoller and Dietra Farr, May 12 – Cash Box Kings.

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

Contact Steve Jones at for more info on any of these events or go to

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: March 5 – Dave Weld & The Imperial Flame, March 12 – Chris Ruest & Gene Taylor, March 19 – Maurice John Vaughn, March 26 – Kilborn Alley Blues Band, April 2 – The Brother Jefferson Band, April 9 – Bruce Katz, April 16 – Harper and the Midwest Kind, April 23 – Paul Bonn and the Bluesmen, April 30 – The Joe Tenuto Band. For more information visit

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

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