Issue 9-20 May 14, 2015

Cover photo by Bob Kieser © 2015 Blues Blast Magazine


  In This Issue 

Terry Mullins has our feature interview with Eden Brent. We have 5 music reviews for you including music from Eliza Neals, Red’s Blues, Dan Phelps, Dale Anderson and “Chicago” Carl Snyder.

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


 From The Editor’s Desk 

Hey Blues Fans,

Our friends at the Doheny Blues Festival have their big show this weekend featuring Candye Kane, Mud Morganfield, Kim Wilson, Taj Mahal, Paul Rodgers and others on Saturday and Carolyn Wonderland, Otis Taylor, Lurrie Bell, Boz Scaggs, Bonnit Raitt and others on Sunday at the Doheny State Beach in Dana Point California. To see the full lineup click HERE. Blues Blast will have photos of all the action in an upcoming issue.

Last week was the 36th Blues Music Awards. Check out all the winners below in this issue and look for photos of all the action in an upcoming issue.

Also next week we will have photos and coverage of the Nevis Island Blues Festival. I know, your thinking, “Where is Nevis Island?” That was exactly what my first thought was too but stay tuned to find out about this little gem of a Blues fest next week.

Wishing you health, happiness and lots of Blues music!

Bob Kieser



 Featured Blues Review – 1 of 5 

Eliza Neals – Breaking and Entering

Self-Produced

http://www.elizaneals.com

CD: 12 Songs; 51:06 Minutes

Styles: Blues Rock

Detroit may be known for both Motown and as the “Motor City,” but it’s also a blues HQ. It may not be quite the mecca Chicago is, in terms of this magazine’s favorite genre, but it’s one of the top places for the genuine article. With that said, where does Eliza Neals fit in? She’s not John Lee Hooker, Alberta Adams, Eddie Burns, or Thornetta Davis, all of whom hail from this particular city. Her newest album, Breaking and Entering, can be summarized in four words: “File under blues rock.” Indeed, in her promotional materials, it says this above a bar code.

Eliza often sounds like Alannah Myles or Janis Joplin. Despite this, she’s got some great performers alongside her. Her info sheet continues: “Prowling with Detroit’s blazing blues guitarist Howard Glazer (El 34s) and hit producer Mike Puwal (Cannonball Records ICP), these housebreakers know how to sneak their way to your crown jewels. A team of safecracker musicians, with featured guest guitarist Kenny Olson (Kid Rock), drills open a pandemonium of grit-grime and gris-gris.”

Joining lead vocalist Neals, who also performs on piano, B3 organ, and Rhodes, are the aforementioned Glazer, Puwal and Olson, drummers Gabe Gonzales, Tim Grogan, Michael Galante, Steve Lacross, and Erik Maluchnik, bassists Paul Randolph and Chris Vega, Tyrone Smith on saxophone, piano and organ, guitarist Shane Visbal, and background vocalists Lizz Kristi and Renee Flemings. There are twelve tracks total on this CD, but only eleven songs. The title number, “Breaking and Entering”, is in both its long form and its radio edit. The other tunes include ten originals and one cover. The three below will delight everyone who digs blues rock:

Track 01: “Detroit Drive” – Howard Glazer plays super dobro on the CD’s opener, making this reviewer wish he would have done more than one song with it. “Gonna get in my car and drive – open up the window, breeze feels fine. Going to stop and get me some wine. Living the good life ain’t no crime,” warbles Eliza. Her voice and a stomping drum beat are the perfect combo.

Track 03: “Jekyll and a Hound” – This song will pique listeners’ interest via its title alone. Such a gritty ditty finishes the adage, “Hell hath no fury…” “You stole my black cat bone; now the devil’s free to roam. You’d better watch your back. Chances are I’m going to sack you.” Mike Puwal plays searing lead guitar, and Steve Lacross does daring drum duty.

Track 09: “Sugar Daddy” – “Sugar Daddy, you’s my ma-a-an.” So sing soulful backup vocalists Lizz Kristi and Renee Flemings in the dynamite intro. It’s a ‘50s style blues rocker that will make boomers dance and young people jump up and down. The titular character may be rich, but “He’s a fool, he’s a fool, he’s a doggone fool.”

Eliza Neals will be Breaking and Entering the blues rock scene for years to come!

Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 35 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.



 Featured Blues Interview – Eden Brent 

Talking to Eden Brent for a few minutes is guaranteed to cure whatever might ail you.

Brent is affable, enthusiastic and just so full of life that you can’t help but feel a lot better after a conversation with her. And as for her laugh … well, it’s way beyond infectious.

To sum it up, without sounding too colloquial or too down-home, talking to Eden Brent is a real ‘hoot.’

In addition to those afore-mentioned qualities, Brent is also an exceptionally-gifted pianist and vocalist and has turned into a force to be reckoned with in blues and roots-related music the past decade or so.

She’s also as Mississippi as the day is long and is fiercely proud of her hometown stomping grounds of Greenville, nestled right beside the Mississippi River. And while you may be able to take Brent out of Mississippi (for awhile, anyway), you’ll never be able to take Mississippi out of Brent.

“I love it here. I feel like a part of this place and I feel like this place is a part of me; it’s where I belong. As far as performing, I can go anywhere in the world and perform from right here,” she said. “I like the pace in Mississippi and the people are really friendly and they take the time to talk to each other. Mississippi is not the place someone should move to if they tend to be in a big hurry. If you go into a bank down here to do your banking business, you’re going to have to wait until the people in front of you finish their conversation with the teller. I like that about this place. I’m 150 miles south of Memphis on the Mississippi River, and around here we say it’s so flat that you can stand on a coffee can and see Memphis, Tennessee. I just love living here.”

Blues music and good groceries have always gone hand-in-hand – especially in the Deep South – and as of late, Brent has been exploring the wonderful waters of the culinary arts as time allows her to.

“I’ve been sticking real close to home (lately) and just enjoying Mississippi. I’ve been traveling a little bit here and there, but not too much. I’ve had some time, so I’m learning to cook. The only thing that people enjoy as much as music is food, so I am becoming quite a pro at the breakfast meal,” she said. “The reason that I wanted to conquer that one first is because breakfast is the only meal that I’m aware of that you can serve 24 hours a day. Nobody wants sushi at breakfast time, but on the other hand, it’s fine to eat breakfast at supper time.”

Just because she’s been giving Rachel Ray a run for her money in the kitchen lately, that doesn’t mean that Brent has moth-balled her piano; she’s also been heating up the bandstand like a 450-degree oven, as well.

“I (recently) got back from the Suncoast Blues Festival in Sarasota (Florida) and that was just so much fun. Bobby Rush was on the bill – who I’ve enjoyed for so many years – he lives in Jackson, Mississippi, and Mr. Sipp played and Zac Harmon played and Smokin’ Joe Kubek and Bnois King played, so it was like old-home week,” she said. “And Vasti Jackson was there … we were heavy into the Mississippi thing. Shoot, I hadn’t seen that many people from Mississippi since I was up in Chicago, and I live in Mississippi!”

Brent did more than just play a well-received solo set; she also kicked back and enjoyed the rest of her fellow Mississippians delivering the blues under the bright Florida sun. In addition to that, she also may have started the groundwork for a possible second career while at the inaugural Suncoast Blues Fest.

“Well, I was trying to be a Bobby Rush ‘Rushette’ there for a minute,” she laughed. “I might have to rehearse a little bit more, because I don’t think I had all the moves down. But it sure was fun pretending.”

As much as we are all products of – and ultimately will reflect – our environments on a personal level, Brent’s surroundings sure seem to have colored her past couple of studio albums. Her previous release – 2010’s Ain’t Got No Troubles (Yellow Dog Records) was recorded in New Orleans, and at times, the Crescent City influence can be heard and felt on that album. Her latest platter, Jigsaw Heart, was birthed in Nashville, and at times, bears the country-and-western underpinnings that city is well known for.

Coincidence?

“No, that was intentional. Here I am in the Mississippi Delta, surrounded by these musical centers – like Memphis, where I’ve recorded before and which is home to Sun Records and Stax Records – and then there’s that unmistakable New Orleans’ sound south of here. Then you have Nashville, and I think all three of those towns have the threads of Mississippi music woven all through them,” she said. “So I feel a real kinship with all that music – and it’s all American music to me. I like to explore those sounds and learn and grow and express myself in new ways, because there’s just so much good music surrounding me and I feel lucky enough to kind of be right in the middle of it.”

The way that Brent’s music flows so seamlessly – just like the Old Man River – from style to style, often within the same song, makes it a bit of a daunting task to slap just one label on it. Sure, it’s bluesy, roots-based music, but that’s not the be-all, end-all of the ‘Eden Brent’ sound.

So how does Brent describe her signature sound?

“Great,” she laughed. “But really, I don’t know; it’s hard to say. I don’t know and I don’t know if I want to know. Really and truly, I think the only reason to put a label on a musician is just so the people that don’t them yet will have some sort of an idea when they open up the package. I don’t know that any of us can live up to the labels that have been given to us by the critics and so forth, shoot, or even live them down. To say that I’m an American music song-writer would be about as specific as you can get. It’s just heart-felt music.”

Her interests in music have long stretched way beyond the boundaries of simply just the blues.

“I love jazz and I love country music, too. My dad is a big Hank Williams fan and years ago, Jerry Lee Lewis got in trouble with the I.R.S. and they were auctioning off a bunch of his prized possessions that they had confiscated. So my dad went to the auction and bought his stereo,” Brent said. “So there I was, as a very young teenager – before I could even drive – listening to Jerry Lee Lewis on his stereo. And my mother was a big band singer, so I loved listening to Nat King Cole and my parents were Charlie Rich fans and my daddy loved Big Bill Broonzy, so my musical heritage was really rich from the start, just because my parents were music lovers.”

Brent once again found her name listed among the nominees at the recent 36th annual Blues Music Awards; Jigsaw Heart was up for Acoustic Album of the Year, and she was also among those vying for the Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year award.

“Just to be mentioned among so many of the people that I’ve admired for so long is just such a treat. I vote every year and so often it’s difficult and the voting process is so hard for me, because the categories are usually full of people that I adore so much,” she said. “How do you choose whether you like this guitar player or that piano player better? But it’s really just such a treat to be invited to the party. It really means a lot to me to know that I’m still part of the family.”

While Brent readily acknowledges the fact that she relishes finding her name side-by-side with her musical contemporaries, she has no desire to engage into any kind of battle for a spot at the top of the heap.

“It’s not a competitive thing for me … there was a time for me, particularly at the International Blues Challenge (IBC) – which is a bona-fide competition – when it was, but awards ceremonies where voting, like in a political campaign is concerned, there can be a winner and a loser, but I don’t look at it that way,” she said. “Music has never been terribly competitive for me. There’s just so much music that I like that it’s hard for me to say I like this (artist) one better than that one; with all the folks that I’ve come to know and love (in the blues), I just don’t feel a competitive spirit in that sense. As much as I’d love to have another trophy to dust off every spring when I clean, it’s all-righty with me whichever way it goes. I mean, I’ve been nominated for 11 Blues Music Awards and have won three, so I’m not sad when I don’t win. I’ve won some, lost some and either way, I’ve had a good time at the end of the day.”

Brent’s full-fledged coming out party basically took place in Memphis almost 10 years ago, and you can bet that she’s not forgotten that for one hot second.

“The Blues Foundation and all the blues fans welcomed me with such open arms when I won the IBC in 2006, and I tell you, I’m still getting that same warm reception these days,” she said. “You would have thought the ‘new’ would have tarnished by now, but the ‘new’ hasn’t worn off. As a matter of fact, it seems that the blues fans are even more receptive to me now that they have gotten a chance to know me.”

The Bluff City has always held a very special and unique charm for most blues fans, with the city of Memphis rightfully viewed as Mecca for blues and roots-related music. In Brent’s case, however, Memphis has also been long viewed as something else – something more basic – thanks to her close proximity to the town.

“You know, I’m just two-and-a-half hours south of Memphis, so it feels like my backyard. As a kid, if we were really going to go shopping, we went to Memphis. That was the big town,” she laughed. “It wasn’t that Greenville didn’t have shops – we did then and we still do – but if it was a really special occasion, we went to Memphis. So I’ve always kind of considered Memphis as the capitol of Mississippi.”

Greenville – while not quite the size or scope of Memphis – is by no means just a small and dusty wide spot in the road. It’s a thriving and sprawling community in its own right. Still, as one particular blues fan found out, it’s really not hard to locate Brent in Greenville, if that indeed is your mission.

“I was downtown at happy hour, having a cocktail and hanging out with my dad, and there was this blues fan that came in and said, “Hey, I heard Eden Brent was over here.’ I said, ‘Yep. I am.’ This fellow was from Austria and he couldn’t believe it. He said, “Oh my God, it really is you,’” laughed Brent. “It’s so nice to be able to be available and close, so when people come through town, we can have a personal visit. That means a lot.”

With the way that Greenville and the mighty Mississippi River are such important and essential elements in Brent’s life, it’s a small wonder that she didn’t end up traveling up and down the waterway, earning her keep by working on the river, as so very many in that area – including some in her family – have done for decades.

“Well, I would have loved to have been a riverboat captain. The thing is, I was born kind of right before the women’s movement got that far. In my formative years, there weren’t any females commanding a riverboat. And now, there’s still very few,” she said. “It’s a male-dominated field, but now there are programs and some forward-thinking companies that are changing that. But I don’t think my daddy would have allowed that because it’s a bit of a tough life on the river and there’s not a lot of entertainment out there. The way they used to entertain themselves was by playing practical jokes on each other and I think my father knew just how cruel that could be, especially to maybe the one and only female on the boat. But it is a beautiful life out there and it’s a really vital part of our economy. I guess I’ll just have to sing about the river, instead.”

Brent has carved out quite a career ‘singing about the river’ and tickling the ivories with the best of them. It may come as bit of a surprise from someone that possesses the virtuosic abilities on the piano that she does, but Brent really doesn’t spend a whole lot of time practicing her instrument.

“I love to play, but I really don’t enjoy practicing very much. You can ask any band member who’s ever worked with me. I’ll say, ‘Hey, ya’ll learn it at home and then we’ll get together and play it,’” she laughed. “That’s what I do. I’ll practice enough to learn the song, but I don’t want to practice so much that I ruin it with perfection. I like my music to stay a little bit funky.”

Her music has managed to touch the lives of a whole host of people – from all across the globe – and when all is said and done, that seems to mean more to Brent than a whole mantle full of trophies or any other kind of critical merit that she may garner along the way.

“The best kinds of critical reviews that I get are from the people that may be driving down the road listening to the radio – and have never heard of me before – and one of my songs comes up and it moves them to want to write me a note to say, ‘Hey, this song meant something to me.’ That’s happened to me many times throughout my career,” she said. “That’s the real special moments. The reason that’s so precious to me is that there is so much music that has done that very same thing for me. There are times that you’re experiencing such great joy that the only way to express it is to put on a great record that you love and dance to it. Or, maybe you’re experiencing great loss or sorrow or bereavement and you find some other music that might help pull you through that. It’s powerful.”

From the time that she was a young 7-year-old girl in the chorus at a local production of The Sound of Music, Eden Brent had an inkling that music might someday become a very important part of her life.

She just wasn’t sure how important, or how big a role, it would take on a couple of decades down the road.

“I think I always wanted to be a musician, but I wasn’t sure where it would take me. I wasn’t sure if I would be performing at a lounge or café on a weekly basis, or if I’d be on a cruise ship. I didn’t know where I’d wind up and I still don’t. I do not know where I’m going to be when I finally grow up,” she laughed. “It’s just so much fun to be able to do this and to eek out a living doing it. I don’t aspire for great wealth or material things; I’ve already bought a really nice piano – a Grand – not a Baby Grand, but a Grand Piano – that’s 6 feet-10 inches and is plenty of instrument for me. I’ve worked long enough to pay for my house, so everything is going good.”

Visit Eden’s website at www.edenbrent.com.

Photos by Bob Kieser © 2015 Blues Blast Magazine

Blues Blast Magazine Senior Writer Terry Mullins is a journalist and former record store owner whose personal taste in music is the sonic equivalent of Attention Deficit Disorder. Works by the Bee Gees, Captain Beefheart, Black Sabbath, Earth, Wind & Fire and Willie Nelson share equal space with Muddy Waters, The Staples Singers and R.L. Burnside in his compact disc collection. He’s also been known to spend time hanging out on the street corners of Clarksdale, Miss., eating copious amounts of barbecued delicacies while listening to the wonderful sounds of the blues.


 36th Blues Music Award Winners 

Here is the complete list of winners:

1. Acoustic Album: Timeless – John Hammond

2. Acoustic Artist: John Hammond

3. Album: Can’t Even Do Wrong Right – Elvin Bishop

4. B.B. King Entertainer: Bobby Rush

5. Band: Elvin Bishop Band

6. Best New Artist Album: Don’t Call No Ambulance – Selwyn Birchwood

7. Contemporary Blues Album: BluesAmericana – Keb’ Mo’

8. Contemporary Blues Female Artist: Janiva Magness

9. Contemporary Blues Male Artist: Gary Clark Jr.

10. Historical: Soul & Swagger: The Complete “5” Royales 1951-1967 – The “5” Royales (Rock Beat)

11. Instrumentalist-Bass: Lisa Mann

12. Instrumentalist-Drums: Jimi Bott

13. Instrumentalist-Guitar: Joe Bonamassa

14. Instrumentalist-Harmonica: Charlie Musselwhite

15. Instrumentalist-Horn: Deanna Bogart

16. Koko Taylor Award: Ruthie Foster

17. Pinetop Perkins Piano Player: Marcia Ball

18. Rock Blues Album: Step Back – Johnny Winter

19. Song: “Can’t Even Do Wrong Right” written and performed by Elvin Bishop

20. Soul Blues Album: Memphis Grease – John Németh

21. Soul Blues Female Artist: Sista Monica

22. Soul Blues Male Artist: Bobby Rush

23. Traditional Blues Album: For Pops (A Tribute to Muddy Waters) – Mud Morganfield & Kim Wilson

24. Traditional Blues Male Artist: Lurrie Bell



 Featured Blues Review – 2 of 5 

Red’s Blues – Red’s Blues

Little Red Records (Self Released)

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Reds-Blues/160672484071187

12 tracks

Red’s Blues is a great little band from the Sacramento area. Featuring Elizabeth Reid-Grigsby on vocals, her husband RW Grigsby on bass and vocals, Robert Sidwell on guitar and Larry Carr on drums, they have a slow and melodious sound that is all their own. Mixing originals with tasteful covers, the band has a unique approach that blues fans can savor.

“Sally Lou” is a jumping little original ditty where Beth sings in a laid back fashion, Sidwell struts his tuff on guitar and Grigsby and Carr lay out a swell little groove. Cocuzzi’s tinkles out the piano line aptly, a nice team effort. “No More Doggin’” is a Roscoe Gordon cut and features Rick Estrin on harp. Beth is again restrained and almost hush hush in her approach as they shuffle together. Estrin and Sidwell play off each other in this simple yet effective tune.

Mark Hummel takes on harp duties for “The Golden Rule;” the organ makes its’ first appearance here, too. Another mid-tempo swing, the band is obviously in their comfort zone here in this cover. Memphis Minnie’s “My Girlish Days” appears next. Nice, slow blues as Estrin returns front and center on the harp. “Sherry and Ray” also features Estrin on this original tune. “Detroit Blues” has hubby R.W. on lead vocals with Liz backing him. Another mid-tempo shuffle, Hummel joins in blowing some mean harp. Metered and precise, the band has this groove down to a science.

Kansas Joe McCoy’s sultry “Why Don’t You Do Right” is up next and Beth delivers a fine performance crooning this one to us. Lots of restraint is demonstrated all around here as the takes a jazzy tact with this cover. R.W. walks up and down the neck of his bass and Sidewell lays out some good lead licks, too. Mark Hummel offers up “Ain’t Worried No More” and does a nice intro. Beth comes in and does her stuff in a slow shuffle. “Blues is Everywhere” goes back to the slow blues as Liz growls at the base of her register on this Memphis Slim tune.

The original “Sherry Ann” follows and R.W. and Beth harmonize a bit as R.W. takes the lead here. Nice piano here again. “Don’t Waste My Time” concludes things in similar fashion as they stay mid-tempo. An original tune, Beth stays true to form and Steve Randall appears on lead guitar with a bright, strutting tone and pace. A bonus 12th track is a sweet instrumental that is a gem unto itself.

I liked the album and understand the sound and style they are trying to produce. The songs offered up here are mellow and range from slow blues to mid tempo swing.

I would have liked to see a couple of real up tempo cuts to offer a little more variety, but Beth, her husband and band have a thing going on and they are tight. If that’s your cup of tea, it will be a tasty one- I enjoyed Red’s Blues and those who appreciate a band with a mellow, swinging sound will, too.

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.



 Featured Blues Review – 3 of 5 

Dan Phelps – Going Home

www.danphelpsblues.net

Vincent Records

12 songs time-36:08

Illinois native Dan Phelps is helping to keep the tradition of acoustic Delta blues alive with his excellent renditions and mastery of finger-picked and slide guitar. the thumping bass strings give his interpretations a unique energy. His warm, deep and rich voice is the type more commonly associated with country music. His renditions of iconic blues songs from the blues cannon are tweaked to fit Dan’s style by slowing or speeding up the tempo and/or the occasional reconstructing of the lyrics. The only additional instrumentation is the use of drums on two of the selections.

Drummer CJ Vanderpoll leads into Charley Patton’s “Banty Rooster” with a military-like cadence on his snare drum. As the song progresses bass drum is added to the mix. The drumming superbly compliments the deft slide guitar playing. Dan’s deep “pipes” fit like a glove on Skip James’ “”Crow Jane”, the first of two by Skip. His “Devil Got My Woman” follows, taken at a slow and deliberate pace.

Dan thumps and plunks on his guitar for all he is worth breathing new life into Sleepy John Estes’ “Drop Down Mama”. Charley Patton’s “Screamin’ And Hollerin’ The Blues” just zips on by. One song from the semi-obscure William Moore, “One Way Gal”, let’s Dan’s finger-picking shine as his comforting voice does what it does. The slide guitar is once again broken out for the atmospheric take on Muddy waters’ “I Feel Like Going Home” which pretty much serves as the title song. He drags out the words to emphasize the sentiments of the song.

Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup’s “Mean Ol’ Frisco” resonates with me as I had the pleasure and privilege to see him as Bonnie Raitt graciously brought him on tour as her opening act. “It Hurts Me Too” by Tampa Red also holds a special place in my ol’ blues heart.

Blind Blake’s “Chump Man Blues” skips along quite nicely, thank you very much. Drums show up once again accentuating Mississippi Fred McDowell’s “61 Highway”, as the slide guitar plays in unison with the vocal.

Big Bill Broonzy’s old chestnut “Key To The Highway”a song most often done up in electric versions, closes out the program.

After witnessing what Dan Phelps can conjure up with blues cover tunes, I look forward to hearing what he is capable of with songs of his own. His renditions aren’t “run of the mill”, he delivers with an original spin and authority.

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



 Featured Blues Review – 4 of 5 

Dale Anderson – True Stories (From My Fictitious Life)

Self-produced CD

10 songs – 33 minutes

www.facebook.com/truestoriesalbum

Veteran acoustic fingerpicking bluesman Dale Anderson delivers an interesting collection of roots and folk music in this tasty, self-produced CD, which intertwines autobiographical stories with tall tales about American life.

Based in Wisconsin and a man whose deep love for early blues led him to be proficient on resonator guitar and the stylings of Willie Brown, Tommy Johnson and Bukka White, Anderson’s recording career began in the 1960s with the rock band Piper’s Sons and early contemporary Christian band Hosanna before a stint as a concert promoter. In the ‘90s, he served as lead guitarist in the Barb Bazuldua Band for a couple of years before going on the road as a soloist.

His real fame came after teaming with drummer Mark Riggenbach to form the Delta Jets in a 12-year partnership. The a duo that traveled regularly to Chicago and the upper Midwest, earned a spot in the 2007 International Blues Challenge in Memphis and gigged regularly in Chicago. Their live album, recorded in 2010, was ranked No. 38 in Real Blues Magazine’s top discs of 2011. Anderson has several other solo discs to his credit, always delivering an interesting original ake on Delta blues while varying his performance between electric and acoustic instrumentation.

An accomplished multi-instrumentalist, Anderson accompanies himself here on 6- and 12-string guitar, dobro, banjo, piano and keyboard music box as he weaves his vocal message, a musical journey that covers the past 50 years of his life. His only assistance comes from Bob Balsley, who contributes lead guitar on one tune and David Will, who provides vocal harmony on another.

A warm finger-picked intro kicks off “Twenty Dollar Bill,” which delivers a list of what a double-sawbuck would get him in the old days: a trip to the local house of ill-repute, a drinking session with friends or a trip to Florida to see the setting son, among other things. Anderson’s voice varies between crystal clear and smoky, and his guitar stylings are warm and crisp. “There Goes The 400” provides imagery of a train traveling from Chicago to St. Paul along with a memory of his brother Neil and grandfather. A large gallery of family photos make up the centerfold of the CD packaging.

“Lookin’ For Woody Guthrie” is a minor key reverie about riding the rails amid fights with hobos as he searches for the folk legend. The sprightly “Old Porch Swing” is a percussive blues tinged love song full of pastoral imagery. Next up, “The Hit (1938)” borrows images from Anderson’s love for Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett as it delivers a dark, but upbeat tale about getting away with gunning down someone in the street.

Balsley takes over lead guitar duties for “Yes I Do,” a sweet blue love song, before the pace slows for “Me And You, You And Me,” a vocal flashback to the ‘20s, complete with canned static for effect. The straight-ahead blues “Watch The Sun Come Up” provides more familial imagery, leading into the banjo-fueled “I’m Gonna Go,” a plan to meet up with Charley Patton, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Willie Brown in the Great Beyond with Will adding harmony. “Dreams” features Anderson on piano and guitar and concludes the set with a bittersweet remembrance of a lost true love.

Available through CDBaby and Amazon, True Stories is a complete package of warmth and tenderness that delivers on all levels if your tastes run toward acoustic blues. The songs are all tasteful and sparkle with originality, but the feel of the music takes root firmly in the past.

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.



 Featured Blues Review – 5 of 5 

“Chicago” Carl Snyder – The Blue Keys

http://lostworldmusic.wix.com/lostworldmusic#!carl/c1se

Lost World Music

13 songs – 64 minutes

“Chicago” Carl Snyder is one of those under-heralded artists whose work has somehow flown under the radar of the popular recognition, despite having performed for over 50 years with the likes of Junior Wells, Otis Rush, Son Seals and Jimmy Johnson. He has played on two WC Handy award-winning albums and two more that were nominated for Grammies. He also appeared in the film, “Blues Highway,” which was nominated for an Academy Award. Since moving to Pennsylvania in 1996, he has continued to play blues, jazz and cocktail music in a variety of settings, while launching and operating his own record label, Lost World Music, and hosting radio shows on college and public stations.

The Blue Keys is a collection of tracks from the Lost World blues catalogue, with a particular focus on Snyder’s keyboard work. The risk with any type of compilation album, of course, is in maintaining a consistency of performance and production quality, particular when the link between the various tracks is purported to be one of the supporting musicians. Thankfully, however, there is sufficient musical and thematic consistency across the broad range of modern blues styles represented on the album to negate this potential issue.

The musicians represented on the album are all deserving of wider recognition. Of the 13 tracks on the album, there are two each by Jimmy Lawrence, Slim, Big Frank and the Healers, and The Christopher Dean Band and one each by Dan Noland, Al Guerrerro, Jean Avery, Sonny Corso and the Pelicans, and Billy Sharp.

There are also some wonderful highlights on The Blue Keys. Christopher Dean’s Albert-via-BB guitar on “I Made Nights By Myself is almost worth the price of admission by itself. Jean Avery’s jaunty take on the Willie Dixon classic “29 Ways” swings with wild abandon. The funky blues-rock of Sonny Corso’s “Naked Ladies” has a stunning piano solo from Snyder as well as great sax from Brian Ripp. The closing track, Big Frank and the Healers’ “Sparky’s Stomp”, is a country-ish instrumental with a delightful 60’s-sounding organ solo from Snyder.

Indeed, Snyder’s keyboard work is impressive throughout, from the bouncing piano solo on “I Made Nights By Myself” to Otis Spann-esque fills on “Same Thing” and subtle organ on Dan Noland’s take on “Birdnest On The Ground”, which comes across as something the Velvet Bulldozer might have recorded. Obviously, the tracks have been deliberately selected to include a lot of Snyder solos, and he does not disappoint. In particular, he is a master of leaving unexpected spaces between notes on his solos, making a persuasive case for the argument that it isn’t what you play that counts, it’s what you don’t play.

Overall, The Blue Keys is a highly enjoyable album. It is perhaps questionable whether it can be genuinely seen as a “Chicago” Carl Snyder album. A more accurate description might be a Lost World blues sampler album. But do not let that put you off. The quality of the performances is first-rate, with a nice mix of classic covers and originals, and some great solos from the musicians. Give it a listen – you may find a new artist of whom you were previously unaware.

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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Prairie Crossroads Blues Society – Champaign, IL

Prairie Crossroads Blues Society is excited to bring the Ori Naftaly Band to Central Illinois. The band plays 9:00 pm Saturday May 23 at Memphis on Main, 55 E. Main St. in Champaign. Ori is a fiery blues guitarist from Israel who currently calls Memphis, TN home. During the last couple years the Ori Naftaly Band has covered more than 30 US States and toured Europe twice. The band won the Israeli Blues Challenge Competition and advanced to the Semi-Finals of the 2013 International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis. The band has won awards for their first two albums and plans to release their third album later this year. Ori has recently added new lead singer, Tierinii Jackson, to his band. Ori discovered Tierinii singing in a Baptist Church in Memphis and she adds a love of Gospel, Soul and Funk to the band’s Blues roots. For more information visit www.prairiecrossroadsblues.org

Crossroads Blues Society – Byron, IL

Crossroads Blues Society and the Byron Park District have scheduled FREE Sunday Blues in the Park shows in Blackhawk Meadows Park in Byron from 3 to 6 PM. June 14th – Doug MacLeod and Dan Phelps, July 26th – Jimmy Nick and Don’t Tell Mama, August 23rd – Bobby Messano.

Crossroads also hosts blues shows on the second Saturday of each month at the Hope and Anchor, an English Pub in Loves Park, IL from 8 PM to midnight. July 11th – Altered Five, August 8th the New Savages. $5 cover after 7 PM.

The Friday Fish Fries at the Lyran Club on 4th Ave in Rockford also continue. June 5th – Ron Holm, Bob Levis and Justin Gates, the Kryptonite Blues Jams leaders, July 3rd – Collins-Grayless Band, August 7th – the New Savages. Free shows, plus a fish fry and steak dinner are available!

First Sunday’s in June through August Crossroads has Free blues at All Saints Lutheran Church from 4 to 6 PM. Dan Phelps (June 7), Macyn Tylor (July 5) ad Justin Boots Gates (August 2); a free will donation for the local food bank, will be accepted.

The 6th Crossroads Blues Festival at Lyran Park is Saturday, August 29th. Featuring Albert Castiglia, Dave Specter with Sharon Lewis, the Mike Wheeler Band, Stormcellar with Jo Fitzgerald, and Jimmy Nick and Don’t Tell Mama $5 advanced tickets. http://crossroadsbluesfestival.blogspot.com for more info and tickets.

Central Mississippi Blues Society – Jackson, MS

The Central Mississippi Blues Society hosts Blue Monday every Monday night at Hal & Mal’s in downtown Jackson. Blue Monday features a Front Porch segment starting at 7:15 PM, followed by a set by the Blue Monday Band featuring King Edward Antoine on guitar. Blue Monday is an open jam, with visiting performers drawn locally and internationally.

For more information visit www.centralmississippibluessociety.com or Email: centralmsbluessociety@gmail.com or visit Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/134758873254380/

The Mississippi Valley Blues Society – Davenport, IA

The Mississippi Valley Blues Society, Central Iowa Blues Society, Southeast Iowa Blues Society, and South Skunk Blues Society present the 2015 Iowa Blues Challenge.

The Final Round of the IBC will be held in Des Moines, IA on May 16, but first each solo/duo and band, made up primarily of Iowa based musicians, must surmount a Preliminary Round. The Mississippi Valley Blues Society Preliminary Round of the IBC will be held at the River Music Experience, 129 N. Main Street, Davenport, IA on Sunday, April 26 starting at 5:00 pm. Three (3) bands and three (3) solo/duo acts will be competing with only one (1) solo/duo act and one (1) band moving on to the final round in Des Moines.

For more info visit www.mvbs.org

Central Iowa Blues Society – Des Moines, IA

Iowa Blues Challenge FINALS will be held at the Downtown Marriott in Des Moines on Saturday, May 16 at 6:30 PM. Admission is $10 with a $2 discount for current Iowa Blues Society members with card. For more information and band bios go to www.cibs.org

Friends of the Blues – Kankakee IL area

The Friends of the Blues announce their 2015 Concert Series. All shows start at 7 pm. May 21, The Ori Naftaly Band – Moose Lodge – Bradley IL, June 9 – Frank Bang & Secret Stash – Moose Lodge – Bradley IL, June 23 – Victor Wainwright – Moose Lodge – Bradley IL, July 7 – Brent Johnson & Call Up with Sugarcane Collins – The Longbranch – L’Erable IL, July 21 – Nick Moss Band with Chicago Blues Angels – The Longbranch – L’Erable IL, July 30 – Studebaker John & Hawks – Kankakee Valley Boat Club – Kankakee IL, August 5 – Damon Fowler Band – Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club – Bourbonnais IL, August 18 – Too Slim and Taildraggers with Polly O’Keary and Rhythm Method The Longbranch – L’Erable IL, August 27 – Albert Castiglia with Maybe Later – The Longbranch – L’Erable IL http://www.facebook.com/friendsoftheblues

The Illinois Central Blues Club – Springfield, IL

The Illinois Central Blues Club has announced the line-up of talent for the Blue Monday live performances and jam sessions held every Monday night at The Alamo, 115 North Fifth, Springfield, IL from 8:00pm to midnight. May 18 – Brother Jefferson, May 25 – The MojoCats, June 1 – Kilborn Alley, June 8 – Ghost Town Blues Band, June 15 – Dennis Gruenling & Doug Deming, June 22 – The Daddy Mack Blues Band, June 29 – Brandon Santini, July 6 – Laurie Morvan.

Additional ICBC shows: May 16 ICBC Jam & Fundraiser @ Casey’s Pub. Host band The MojoCats, 7 pm, May 21 James Armstrong Presents @ The Alamo, 6-9 pm, June 4 James Armstrong Presents @ The Alamo, 6-9 pm, June 18 James Armstrong Presents @ The Alamo, 6-9 pm

Questions regarding this press release can be directed to Michael Rapier, President of ICBC, at mikerapier@sbcglobal.net at 217-899-9422, or contact Greg Langdon, Live Events Chair, at langdon38@att.net or by visiting www.icbluesclub.org



P.O. Box 721 Pekin, Illinois 61555     © 2015 Blues Blast Magazine (309) 267-4425

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