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Cover photo by Arnie Goodman © 2015 Blues Blast Magazine

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 In This Issue 

Tee Watts has our feature interview with Shuggie Otis.

We have 12 music reviews for you including new music from a CD to benefit Blues in the Schools from the Colorado Blues Society, JW-Jones, Matthew Robinson & The Jelly Roll Kings, Sterling Koch Trio, Skyla Burrell Band, Altered Five Blues Band, Bruce Katz Band , Eric Bibb, Diana Braithwaite And Chris Whitely, HowellDevine and two albums from S.E. Willis.

We have the latest in Blues Society news from around the globe. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!

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Blues Blast Magazine looking for a few good writers to volunteer to help us out. We need reviewers who know Blues and can write a minimum of one review or story each week. We will provide access to downloads or physical CDs, DVDs and books for review. The writer keeps the album, book or DVD for doing the review. We get music submissions from all over the world and we publish music reviews each week so there is a steady flow of things that need reviewed.

We are also looking for folks to write stories for our website, blogging style, and other occasional story assignments. We will assign subjects and stories and also entertain your ideas too.

These are volunteer positions that need a persons who really loves the Blues and wants to spread the Blues word! All of our Blues Blast Writing staff started out as volunteers like this and we kept them on as staff writers afterwards.

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 Featured Blues Review – 1 of 12 

Various Artists – Jam for Blues in the Schools

Distributed by the Colorado Blues Society (CBS)

CD: 8 Songs; 63:02 Minutes

Styles: Blues Covers, “Jam” Blues

In theory, education of future generations is supposed to be one of our nation’s top priorities. However, the reality is often more bleak and complicated. Many educational programs are being woefully under-funded due to federal and state budget cuts. The result is that in many schools, classes such as art and music are being eliminated to make more room for standardized-testing preparation. If schools want to reintroduce enrichment activities back into their curriculum, they face an almost-unsolvable double bind. On the one hand, they feel that they would be doing a great injustice to students by not exposing them to literature, musical genres, etc. On the other hand, if they don’t have the money to do so, schools are finding out that they can’t count on the government. They have to raise their own funds, or hope that others will assist them.

This is the notable rationale behind Jam for Blues in the Schools, an eight-song CD released by the Colorado Blues Society (CBS). The intent is to have 100% of its proceeds support CBS’ Blues in the Schools program. According to the promotional information sheet, this endeavor, known as BITS, “invites local and national musicians into local schools (kindergarten through college), where they present & educate on the world of the blues. Programs [that is, school curriculum topics] include American history, women in blues, language arts, conflict avoidance, storytelling and even math. CBS donates Blues-related books, videos and CD’s to public libraries and offers educational programs in conjunction with these donations.”

This Jam is performed by a vast ensemble of Colorado blues artists, including Dan Treanor, Erica Brown, Randall Dubis, David Booker, John Weeks, Tim Mahoney, Scott Hackler, Scott Headley, Mike Wysocki, Anton Stuart Medas, Bruce Collins, Doug Egan, Alan Simmons, Tony Arceneaux, Michael Hossler, Genoa Dodd, Ellie Treanor, and Gary Flori. They collectively present eight songs, including covers such as “It Hurts Me Too”, “Stand By Me”, “Rock Me Baby”, and “Let the Good Times Roll”. “Tell Me Daddy” is the best of the original tracks.

On the ‘plus’ side, the sheer array of talent here is almost staggering. Anyone who knows the blues scene in Colorado is bound to recognize one or more of the performers. More than that, though, they have pooled their talents for a worthwhile charitable cause. On the ‘minus’ side, there are three factors that might prevent some from liking this album: 1) its over-reliance on covers; 2) the “jam” nature of the songs, meaning that most of them run over five minutes; and 3) the raw and unpolished state of the music. This CD was done in one take, with no overdubs. Is this remarkable? Yes. Is it optimal? Not to blues fans who prefer a smoother style.

This Jam may not be everyone’s favorite, but it valiantly strives to keep arts alive and Blues in the Schools!

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.

For other reviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured Blues Interview – Shuggie Otis 

Mind-numbing hours spent behind the steering wheel of a moving vehicle are certainly nothing to get excited about.

For musicians in a working blues band, it’s all par for the course.

But those that can somehow manage to break free from the fatigue and mild hallucinations caused by day after day of gazing out the windshield onto the never-changing blacktop, may actually stumble across something new … maybe even have a stroke of genius or an epiphany. Or at the very least, have inspiration for the name of a band.

California-based blues diva Adrianna Marie sheds a bit of light on just how one enlightened moment on the open road ended up becoming the name for her group.

“It’s kind of a funny story. We were out on the road, touring the southwest and were coming through Las Vegas on our way back to do our last show and were talking about a cool name for the band. We drove past one of those big, giant (road) machines that was cutting the grooves in the road for the little reflective road markers, and the drummer that we were playing with at that particular time goes, ‘Whoa, look here! How about the Groovecutters?’ And I said, ‘MY Groovecutters.’ Because I’m constantly having to correct people, but it’s Adrianna Marie and HER Groovecutters. But that’s how it happened and it just stuck. It’s got the double-entendre … most people don’t think of cutting grooves in the road, but that’s where it came from,” she said.

Those that have not yet had the chance to hear Adrianna Marie sing should be forewarned; a couple of notes from the sultry, sexy and downright intoxicating lady is all it takes to immediately fall under the spell of this remarkable chanteuse. And from there, you’re hooked.

The group spent a large part of 2014 in support of their debut album, Double Crossing Blues.

“Last year was a great year for us; I couldn’t be happier. We put our first record out and it got nominated for a Blues Blast award and for a Blues Music Award (Best New Artist Debut, in both cases), along with a couple of other awards, internationally,” she said. “It just couldn’t have been any more exciting for us. It was just a wave that was almost too good to be true. Last year will sure go down in the record books, for me.”

Adrianna and her band (LA Jones, David Kida, Honey Piazza, Dave DeForest, Larry David, Lee Thornburg, Ron Dziuba) felt that they had cooked up a pretty tasty treat upon exiting the studio after sessions for the album had wrapped up. What they weren’t sure of, however, was how everybody else would feel about it.

“I really believed in the project, right from the beginning when it started to take shape. We were so excited about it, because it was so different. We put it out as a real labor of love,” she said. “There was such a big collaboration on the record from everyone that played on it, but we really weren’t sure how it would be received. We knew that we loved it and were passionate about it, but we just weren’t sure how it would go over. We knew it (the kind of music on Double Crossing Blues) was such a big part of musical history, but we just weren’t sure how it would be received in the 21st century. Was there still a place for this kind of music? Would people still dig it?”

The resounding answers to those last two questions would be – ‘yes’ and ‘yes.’ Make no mistake about it, Double Crossing Blues is an album filled to the brim with the real-deal blues. However, the kind of blues contained within may bring to mind an evening at a turn-of-the-century ballroom – where a big band occupies the stage in the late 1940s – as opposed to a lonesome shack nestled in the middle of nowhere in the late 1950s or 60s – with a solitary figure hunched over a well-worn acoustic guitar. Call it blues with sheen and sophistication instead of sawdust and sweat.

“I keep bringing it back to all the guys in the band and all the people that were involved in the writing and arranging. All the guys that I play with and who were involved in the record, these are guys that have a background in the Chicago-styled, traditional blues and that’s what they’ve done for decades over the course of their careers. But they all cut their teeth, in large part, not just in the early country blues that really influenced the Chicago scene, but they also studied guys like Charlie Parker and Charlie Christian and Lester Young and Duke Ellington. They all grew up learning early jazz and R&B, as well as the early blues.”

Since that music has long been inside her Groovecutters, it didn’t take much to coax it out of them in the studio.

“It was very natural for them to play in the style that’s on the record. It was interesting to watch them grab onto this music that they’d had all this experience in, but couldn’t help but hide in the decades of playing in the styles they normally play in,” she said. “It was just infused inside them and I can’t help but think that might have been the magic ingredient that made people able to hear and relate to this music. That’s just a guess on my part, but I think that’s a big part of it.”

Another big part of the charm that has made Double Crossing Blues so successful has to be the overwhelming sense of honesty contained within the tracks. This is not part of an act, this is just who Adrianna Marie & Her Groovecutters are, and this is just the kind of music they play.

“There are a lot of bands that do swing-era music and dress in zoot suits and they try to mimic the music. I said to the guys, ‘OK, this (music) is a point of reference and this is what we’re doing, but I want you to make it yours and ours. I don’t want to this to be a Vaudeville act.”

‘Vaudeville’ it’s certainly not, but in another tip of the hat to the golden days of yore, a great deal of the modern recording technology that’s readily available at the twist of a button these days was bypassed in favor of a method that once ruled studios from coast to coast – analog recording.

“That was an interesting decision. LA Jones, who played guitar on the record, played all vintage gear and in talking it over with everybody, we thought let’s do this. The guy that produced the record – Bobby Owsinski (noted producer and surround-sound guru) – and I talked about it at length and he was against it (recording in analog). But we got to the point where we felt pretty adamantly that we wanted to try and do this on tape,” she said. “We felt that it would give us a tonal quality that we thought maybe couldn’t be accurately re-produced doing it digitally. We had many a debate about it and in the final analysis, we chose tape. It did make the project go from something that could have been in about a week-and-a-half long session to something that lasted weeks. We were running out of tracks for the horns. But we have no regrets and it was a wonderful experience; it’s just a lot more complex (than recording digitally).”

Adrianna’s parents were in The Carolee Singers, a group that was an important part of the vibrant folk scene back in the 1960s. That’s where young Adrianna’s first exposure to roots-based music occurred and although it tends to be forgotten about to some extent these days, there was a strong unifying bond between folk music and the blues back in those heady days.

“My parents didn’t just listen to their own kind of music; they were listening to the really early country blues and stride piano players and even some jazz,” she said. “They were deeply influenced by that. I think traditional folk music and the stuff they grew up listening to really was influenced by the blues.”

The folk scene that was such an intrinsic part of Adrianna’s childhood was so big in the United States back in the ‘50s, ‘60s and even into the early ‘70s, that it was almost a mainstream movement. That hasn’t been the case for quite awhile, however.

“The only thing I can think of (why folk music isn’t as big as it was) is that everything is amplified with electric guitar and electric bass and going to a show where everything is miked,” she said. “I think it may be part of the social fervor for technology. There’s still folk clubs – especially throughout New England – so they’re still playing it. I do see a connection with folk music and the Americana roots scene … sort of the indie Americana scene. I think the folk influence is infused in that. So it’s there, but it’s certainly not mainstream. When I was a toddler, I was going to folk clubs and festivals with my parents. I couldn’t believe the amount of people that would be there. It was astonishing just how popular folk music was.”

When she was just 17, Adrianna packed up her guitar and left her east coast home for California. Traipsing from one side of the country to the next – leaving your comfort zone in the rear-view mirror – has got to be an uneasy experience for anybody; especially when they’re still a teenager and are making the trip alone. But for Adrianna, it was all part of a growing-up process that she had been engaged in for several years at that point.

“I didn’t do the things that most kids do at that age. I got involved in musical theatre and dance and singing and acting at such a young age (she was a veteran performer by the time she was 10), that I had a very untraditional childhood. It made me grow up fast. I became an adult very young and I had to get going,” she laughed. “My folks had divorced and my dad had moved to California. Even though I knew I didn’t want to live with him, I knew I had some roots … a bit of a lifeline, there. And when you grow up in New England, everybody wants to go to California. I was no different.”

In addition to singing and performing off-Broadway in New York from a young age, Adrianna also took to the catwalk for a period of time in the world of high-fashion. The way she views it, there are common threads running through all of the above.

“That’s all just part of who I am. If you don’t have all that experience, you might have a different stage presence (singing the blues), but because I have those influences, I interpret the musical dynamics of what’s happening with the band differently than some might,” she said. “The guys are always saying, ‘Quit coming over here and messing with me (on the bandstand).’ I’m always interacting with them, almost like a conductor, in a way. And I can’t help that because of my past experience. I’ve had that conversation with Sugaray Rayford, who has also done a lot of musical theatre, and he’s the same way. I think all that experience makes you more interactive on stage with the band and with the audience, as well.”

Though she may not singularly bear all the weight of influencing Adrianna to become a blues singer, ‘The Empress of the Blues’ was a major guiding light in her formualtive years.

“I was deeply influenced by Bessie Smith – she was a favorite of my mom’s. I listened to her music and there were a lot of modern artists re-interpreting her songs that I could listen to, artists like Janis Joplin. So I was able to hear some of her songs in a more modern interpretation. I don’t know that she made me sing the blues, but she had the influence of that early, New Orleans stride piano-kind of sound that I liked,” she said. “It was not only her, but other music from that particular era really captured me, because it was in theatre productions and my folks were listening to it, as well.”

It just wasn’t the early jazz and blues songstresses that piqued Adrianna’s ears.

“Most people don’t know this about me, but I’m a big Carole King fan. I grew up listening to her – my mother was a huge fan of hers – and I saw her many, many, many times. Even though she didn’t sing blues on all her albums, she did in her live shows. In her live shows, she sang a lot of country blues. And she wrote songs that were blues-oriented and told a story, much like folk music, a song like “Smackwater Jack” for instance. So I was very influenced by her, as well. She was like a crossover – a folkie who was deeply influenced by the early blues.”

In 2012, Adrianna lent her immense talents to the Mannish Boys’ Double Dynamite (Delta Groove Music) album, singing backup on a couple of tracks for the southern California all-star collective.

“Randy Chortkoff has big visions … he goes big on all his projects. It was such an amazing experience to be in the session with all those heavy-hitters. It was just incredible. Working with guys like David Z, a guy that’s produced and engineered many a Grammy-winning record, I mean, he’s tough,” she said. “In the studio, you have to have big ears and even though you may be your own artist outside of there, in the studio with those cats you’re just following directions. I was an outsider doing background vocals, because they had a couple of other girls that have been on all their records and it was their territory, but it was really fun and I think it turned out really well … just a terrific album.”

As if trying to usher in a new era of richly-elegant and lushly-arranged big band styled blues – the kind that Big Maybelle and Dinah Washington once prevailed over – wasn’t enough to keep Adrianna busy, there’s always her ‘day-job,’ something she’s been doing ever since she was a little kid.

“I train horses and I train people to ride them. It’s something I’ve been doing ever since I was little and when I came to California and started going to college and making music – just because I was already nearly a professional from doing it all my life – that’s how I made money on the side, riding and training show horses. And I’m still doing it today.”

That may take up some of her daylight hours, but at night, it’s all about Adrianna Marie and Her Groovecutters.

“We’re working on a project that we’re going to put out this year and I’m very excited about that. We’re just now starting to get some European dates together and some festivals, which is very cool,” she said. “I think it’s the dividends that last year created for us. I’m hoping that will continue. I really want to reach more people with this music. I hope in the next few years that people will see us in a much bigger way. We’re going to build on what we started to do and make it even grander.”

To see Adrianna’s performance at the 2014 Blues Blast Awards, CLICK HERE.

Visit Adrianna’s website at

Photos by Arnie Goodman © 2015 Blues Blast Magazine

Blues Blast Magazine Senior Writer Terry Mullins is a journalist, author 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.

For other reviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured Blues Review – 2 of 12 

JW-Jones – Belmont Boulevard

Blind Pig Records 2014

12 tracks; 50 minutes

A Canadian who has recorded with Kim Wilson, Little Charlie Baty and Hubert Sumlin amongst others, JW-Jones has tried to crack the US scene for years so perhaps the shift to a major US label and an in-demand producer will help. JW’s eighth CD was recorded in Nashville with Tom Hambridge producing and playing drums on the sessions with Dave Roe on bass, Rob McNelley on guitar and Reese Wynans on keys. On four cuts JW’s regular rhythm section of Laura Greenberg on bass and Jamie Holmes on drums appears. JW had a hand in six songs (four with Tom), Tom and his regular writing companions contribute four songs and there are two covers.

Tom and Colin Linden’s rocky “Love Times Ten” leads the way with Reese’s swirling organ, JW’s guitar and Tom’s drums on an upbeat opener: “Never gave a hoot about keeping score but when it comes to good lovin’ I always need more”. A storming version of Bobby Parker’s “Watch Your Step” is worth the admission in itself. The band really cooks on this from the start and the excitement generated is terrific. JW’s first writing contribution (with Tom and Richard Fleming) comes on “Blue Jean Jacket”, the two guitars meshing well on the opening section of this mid-paced rocker. Lyrically JW is reminiscing about his younger days, dating girls and learning to be a man – the common link being that jacket: “In my blue jean jacket I felt like I could take on the world”. The pace slows for another Hambridge/Fleming tune “Coming After Me”, a gentle blues with some strong lead guitar lines from JW. JW and Tom wrote the short and punchy “Don’t Be Ashamed”, JW underlining his vocals with his guitar with more than a touch of Otis Rush to these ears.

JW is the sole writer of the next two cuts. “Thank You” rocks along with some harsh lyrics: “She found another man, I guess someone had to take a stand. Thank you baby for doing me wrong”. Having already covered Bobby Parker and produced some Otis Rush style guitar, JW’s “Magic West Side Boogie” is clearly intended to honour the late Magic Sam and does him proud on a thumping instrumental which neatly combines boogie rhythms with some of Sam’s guitar styles. “What Would Jimmie Do?” (Jones/Hambridge) finds JW asking that question of another of his guitar influences, Jimmie Vaughan, with plenty of meaty Texas licks. The second cover is Buddy Guy’s “What’s Inside Of You” and JW displays his BG side with some torrid guitar. Of course Tom has produced the last few BG albums so the band gives some fine support to JW’s guitar and vocals.

JW has usually managed to find some really catchy tunes for his albums and “If It Feels This Good Tomorrow” (Hambridge/Anderson/Nicholson) is another. In another era this would have been a cert for the first single from the album; these days it’s one to download to your MP3 player for the gym. It’s a gloriously catchy tune with a wonderfully upbeat message about the guy’s new relationship: “If we both wake up dreaming, we don’t want the dream to end, ready to face the day together, over and over again. We can take this ride as far as it goes if it feels this good tomorrow.” After such an ‘up’ sentiment the song requires a great solo and JW delivers that perfectly – a superb song. JW’s “Never Worth It” is a great rocker with some crunching bass lines from Laura Greenberg and some echoey guitar with use of the whammy bar from JW. The last track is the brooding and serious “Cocaine Boy” (Jones/Hambridge) about the struggle of a young guy growing up in institutions and then getting involved in drugs: “A lifetime of nightmares and pain”. Unfortunately JW sings with distortion throughout and it is a lengthy (7.08) track, the combination of which makes the track one to which this reviewer will not return often.

Overall this is a very good album with several significant highlights and one that should finally let the US know what Canada has known for some years – JW-Jones is a class act.

Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK who enjoys a wide variety of blues and roots music, especially anything in the ‘soul/blues’ category. Favorites include contemporary artists such as Curtis Salgado, Tad Robinson, Albert Castiglia and Doug Deming and classic artists including Bobby Bland, Howling Wolf and the three ‘Kings’. He gets over to the States as often as he can to see live blues.

For other reviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured Blues Review – 3 of 12 

Matthew Robinson & The Jelly Roll Kings – Work That Jelly!

One Man And His Dog Records

10 songs – 44 minutes

Work That Jelly! represents the welcome return to recording of Matthew Robinson, the Texas singer and guitarist who has been performing for over 50 years, including as the lead singer of The Mustangs, with whom he toured extensively opening for the likes of Jimmy Reed, James Brown, Big Mama Thornton and Johnny Winter. In 2012, Robinson received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Austin Blues Society, a good indication of the respect in which he is held in the Lone Star State.

The opening song on the album, Taj Mahal’s “Strut”, sets the tone for what follows. The band lays down a smooth funky shuffle as Robinson sings the immortal opening line of: “You should have never said you loved me when laid across my folding bed, baby you was drinking that white lightning and you was talking all out of your head.” “Strut” features a harmonica solo from Steve Power, an organ solo from Ron D’Argenio and typically low-down-but-tasty lead guitar from special guest, W.C. Clark. The rhythm section of Pete “The Beat” Langhans on drums and Jeff Hayes on bass keeps the track in the groove throughout. “Strut” is followed by the swinging shuffle of Bruce McCabe’s “Rack ‘Em Up”, in which the rhythm section again excels and the other musicians are offered ample space to stretch out in their solos.

All 10 songs on the album are cover versions, most of which are well known and they are nearly all played pretty close to the originals (such as Howlin’ Wolf’s “I Didn’t Know”, Tab Benoit and Tabby Thomas’ “It Takes A Long Time, Baby” or ZZ Hill’s “I’m Gonna Stop You From Giving Me The Blues”) although the reworking of Little Milton’s “That’s What Love Will Make You Do” replaces the backing horns of the original with Steve Power’s harmonica and D’Argenio’s organ. Little Milton’s stellar lead guitar playing is matched by W.C. Clark’s subtle and tasteful playing on the remake). Indeed, the three songs on which Clark appears all benefit from the stardust of his superb guitar. His solo on “It Takes A Long Time, Baby” is particularly impressive.

Robinson has a distinctive and expressive singing voice, even if at times he seems to be trying to channel the vocal mannerisms of the original singer (such as on Jimmy Reed’s “Going To New York” or Howlin’ Wolf’s “I Asked For Water”). When he is utterly himself, such as on “It Takes A Long Time, Baby” or “I’m Gonna Stop You From Giving Me The Blues” it is easy for the listener to get lost in his wonderfully emotional voice.

If there is a criticism of the album, it is that the production by Steve Power does not capture the full brio of a live Matthew Robinson performance, perhaps because D’Argenio’s piano and organ is quite high in the mix, which adds a certain smoothness when Robinson’s voice might benefit from a little more grit in the backing arrangements.

Be that as it may, Work That Jelly! has more than a few magical moments and is worth investigating, especially if your tastes lean towards the smoother end of the modern blues spectrum.

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.

For other reviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured Blues Review – 4 of 12 

Sterling Koch Trio – Place Your Bets

Full Force Music FFM120

11 songs – 49 minutes

As lovers of modern acoustic blues already are aware after a career that’s spanned about 30 years and included more than a dozen CD releases, Sterling Koch is one heck of a lap steel guitar player. He demonstrates his talents once again in this relatively understated collection of 10 familiar covers and one original.

Hailing from Pottstown, Pa., and like the great Freddie Roulette before him, Koch is a proponent of Chicago-style slide guitar, adding modern interpretations of techniques laid down first decades ago. His two previous releases – Slide Ruler in 2011 with Tommy Shannon of Double Trouble and Chet McCracken of the Doobie Brothers and Let It Slide in 2013 — were in electrified band format. Here, he returns to an acoustic trio format, aided by Jack Kulp on harmonica and backing vocals and Gene Babula bass. Guitar artists Joe Ciarvella and Jennifer Dierwechter add percussion and backing vocals.

A solo guitar line beneath Koch’s clear, crisp vocals kicks off a retro version of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “The House Is Rockin’” before Kulp adds background vocals, then a harp solo, giving the tune the feeling that it had been written long before SRV walked the earth. Hound Dog Taylor’s “It’s Alright,” which follows, takes on a country blues feel. It’s devoid of the distortion Taylor created by overpowering an amplifier with a cracked cone, which contributed to his unique sound.

Jimmy Reed’s “Dizzy” becomes a sweet stop-time swinger in Koch’s hands, while ZZ Top’s “Tube Snake Boogie” takes on a completely different with female backup singing and the guitarist playing acoustic rather than rocketing riffs off the rafters. A harp solo introduces Albert King’s “Down Don’t Bother Me.” While Koch’s guitar work is consistently solid, his strong, confident vocal delivery presents an odd counterpoint to a tune that deals with human suffering.

Harp and guitar share the load for Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Checkin’ Up On My Baby” before a straightforward take on John Lee Hooker’s “Dimples” and a country blues version of Otis Rush’s “My Baby (She’s a Good ‘Un).” Covers of Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s “Blue On Black” and Peter Green’s “Oh Well” sandwich the only original tune, “Nothin’ But The Blues,” to conclude the set.

Available through all the major online marketers, you’ll probably like it if you prefer acoustic blues. If you’re looking for flashy fretwork and pyrotechnics, however, look elsewhere. And the presentation could have been amped up by the addition of more new music instead of a steady stream of old warhorses.

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.

For other reviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured Blues Review – 5 of 12 

Skyla Burrell Band – Blues Scars

Vizztone Label Group 2014

15 tracks; 49 minutes

Originally from California, Skyla Burrell now calls Pennsylvania home though she must spend little time there as she and her band tour a lot. The hard working band is Skyla on guitar and vocals, Mark Tomlinson on guitar, Michelle Lucas on bass and Ezell Jones Jr. on drums. The CD was recorded in Maryland with Todd Stotler at the controls and co-producing with Skyla and Mark. All the material is original, Skyla being the writer of five tracks, Mark nine and the two combining on one. The styles covered include blues, funk and rock.

The range of material can be seen from the opening five cuts. Opener “Blues Scars” is a funky blues with Skyla’s voice equally plaintive and commanding. In terms of guitars the sleevenotes helpfully tell us that on all tracks Skyla plays the first lead, Mark the second, so we can assume that the well-judged solo here is Mark. “Bluesin’ For Your Lovin’” takes a SRV riff as its base and that twangy Texas rhythm is great, a really attractive tune. Skyla sings of how she hopes that her electric guitar will help attract the object of her desires as the solo utilises some nifty slide work. “Trouble” is a short but sweet rocker with strong drumming and a rock and roll solo and “Stuck In A Struggle” is a fast-paced tune with some exciting guitar work from both Skyla and Mark. Changing the pace Skyla’s “Love Letter In Blue” is a ballad which opens with some lovely tone from Skyla and the guitar interplay recalls the Allmans in gentler mode. The song also lets us hear how well Skyla can adopt her vocals to a quieter number.

“Livin’ For The Blues” has some strong slide work with lyrics that reveal how a good blues band sustains itself when on the road: “when we get to that Tennessee line, gonna get some of that good moonshine”! Co-write “Shut You Down” is a direct warning to Skyla’s man that if he pushes her around Skyla will have to get rid of him. Skyla’s “Life Storms” is an insistent shuffle with a storming solo while “World Wide Blues” has a latin edge to the playing with drummer Ezell setting an interesting rhythm over which the guitarists play some echoey chords and stirring solos, another strong track. Slide is featured on “Full Time Gambler” in which Skyla tells us that her lover’s occupation is a problem for her as he is out at the tables every night. “Jace” is a slower number with lots of spacey guitar riffs and the very short (2.22) “Juke Jointin’ Tonight” is a fast-paced shuffle which you wish would go on longer as the band gets a head of steam going, the guitar solo meshing well with the rhythm riff. The longest track here is “6 Mile Cemetery Road” (4.38), Skyla’s impassioned vocal being matched by some emotive playing from Mark on a slow blues. The album closes with two of Mark’s songs in “21st Century Blues” and “Bad Business”: the former rocks along well on a catchy rhythm riff; the latter closes the album with a stop/start rocker, both tunes again demonstrating the togetherness of the band behind Skyla’s commanding vocal.

There is little or no filler here as the band has kept all the tunes brief and to the point with only two cuts going over the four minute mark. It is great to find a band that is confident enough in its own abilities to do an all-original album: this is The Skyla Burrell Band’s fifth album and they have never recorded a cover – a fine accolade. “Blues Scars” has enough variety and stylish playing to appeal to most blues lovers and is well worth investigating.

Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK who enjoys a wide variety of blues and roots music, especially anything in the ‘soul/blues’ category. Favorites include contemporary artists such as Curtis Salgado, Tad Robinson, Albert Castiglia and Doug Deming and classic artists including Bobby Bland, Howling Wolf and the three ‘Kings’. He gets over to the States as often as he can to see live blues.

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 Featured Blues Review – 6 of 12 

Altered Five Blues Band – Cryin’ Mercy

Omnivibe Records

11 tracks/43 minutes

Altered Five is a slick quintet from Milwaukee comprised of Jeff Taylor on vocals, Jeff Schroedl on guitar, Mark Solveson on bass, Scott Schroedl on drums and Raymond Tevich on keyboards. Tom Hambridge produced this album, their third CD effort and featuring all original material. This album really highlights their great sound and talents.

“Demon Woman” kicks things off with gutsy vocals by Taylor and stinging guitar by Schroedl. I loved the cut and it is a great way to open the album! “I’m In Deep” also features some hot stuff by Taylor and Schroedl and also puts Tevich up front for us to appreciate. His solos play a huge part in making this tune special. They slow down for a cool ballad entitled “Find My Wings,” where Taylor testifies to us sweetly. The organ is the base support for this cut, with Taylor’s vocals and some guitar layered on to savor. “Stay Outta My Business” has Taylor telling his woman in no uncertain terms that he needs his independence. Schroedl punctuates Taylors’ words with an emphatic guitar solo that helps gets the point across.

Getting burned in the affairs of love is the theme of “Counterfeit Lover.” Taylor’s vocals build for emphasis as does Schroedl’s guitar along with Tevich’s organ. Taylor sings of his woman’s material possessions but states, “You got everything, but Baby, I got you” in “I Got You.” Taylor howls, “Who’s Your Lover” to his cheatin’ woman in a driving tune. “Move House” is mean, slow blues of the best sort. Schroedl picks out a dirty opening and then Taylor uses a host of cool but not so subtle double entendres to tell what he wants to do with his woman. Shroedl is powerful throughout on guitar.

“Here’s Your Hat, What’s Your Hurry?” is a driving cut with the organ and guitar leading the charge and Taylor singing of the up and down of a relationship where he gets the last word. Nice work again by Schroedl here. “Urgent Care” relates how Taylor needs some medical help after his woman has left him in need of help and not in a good way. Tevich and Schroedl are a huge part of this and Solveson sneaks in a cool bass line throughout. They close with “Back Button,” where Taylor tells us taking chances and living on the edge can have some great results but sometimes he needs a back button to reset his life to get out of the bigger messes. Great solos again by the organ and guitar. The boys do a neat little call and response of “Reset! Reset!” to Taylor’s laments. A fine closer for a an overall fine album!

I was very impressed with this album and all the songs presented. Altered Five is a popular band here in the Midwest and hopefully this album will let the rest of the country and world take notice! I really enjoyed listening to this over and over and I am sure blues fans who like their music hot and soulful with a little R&B thrown in will, too! Taylor’s vocals are super, Shroedl is an outstanding guitar player, Tevich’s organ work is excellent and the backline keeps it all together. There is nothing not to like here- go buy this album now- you won’t 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 – 7 of 12 

Bruce Katz Band – Homecoming

American Showplace Music

13 tracks

Featuring a trio of superb artists and a a few great guest artists, Katz returns to the studio to present us this album. He spent a good number of years on the road with John Hammond (who is featured here on a pair of tunes), Gregg Allman, Delbert McClinton and others and now offers us a baker’s dozen mostly original cuts of some really great stuff. Katz is obviously featured on keys, with the B-3 organ as his mainstay along with the piano. Chris Vitarello is on guitar and vocals and Ralph Rosen is on the drums.

The title tracks is a flowing and grooving instrumental that opens the album nicely. Katz lays out some nice stuff as Vitarello and guest Jimmy Bennett offer some slick slide and lead guitar work. Randy Ciarlante sings and plays drums on the next cut, “King of Decatur.” This one is a N’awlins style tune with a nice groove and jiving lyric. It swings along and then Katz nails a cool piano solo in the midst of it. The close with the two guitars and B-3s is a great build up and finish to the song. Katz gives us some honky-tonk piano on “Santa Fe Blues,” a Lightnin’ Hopkins tune. Hammond appears here and carries the tune along with Bruce tinkling the keys so well in support Mart Ballou appears on acoustic bass which adds a little depth to the backing. “No Brainer” is just the three band members in a swinging instrumental that is jazzy and upbeat. The big B3 sound blazes a path for us to follow and the guitar work is also impeccable and smooth.

Katz returns to the piano for “Amelia” where he and the boys add Peter Bennett on electric bass to give us a lovely ride for about six minutes as they trade piano and guitar licks along with the bass and drums laying out the groove for us. “Wild About You Baby” is a big boogie and nice cover with driving guitar piano and with the vocals gruff and a little distorted for effect. It’s a rocking little number that gets your foot tapping (at a minimum!). Next is “The Czar” where Ciarlante returns on drums and Bennett on guitar. Katz plays some more jazz inspired B3 as the rest lay out a big and driving instrumental. Lery Carr’s “Blues Before Sunrise” features Hammond again and here we get some sweet, slow blues to savor.

“Time Flies” returns us to the jazzy instrumental mode with a very up tempo an driving tune. Vitarello rocks on the guitar and Katz swings on the B3. “The Sky’s the Limit” gives us the core trio in a traditional and original swing blues. Vitarello wrote this one (he also co-authored the fourth track). It’s very Duke Robillard-styled until Katz lets loose in a major way on B3. On “Just an Expression” Chris offers up some funky guitar and Katz and Rosen follow with another swinging instrumental. These guys are addictive! “Won’t Last Till Tuesday” is a darker, mid tempo sort of jazz and blues with soulful guitar and somewhat mellower B-3 work. The CD closes to “It’s a Bad Time,” a bouncy cut where Bennett returns to play and sing. Katz fills the middle with a big B-3 solo and the songs drives along well.

Katz always produces well crafted songs and album and this one is another in that mold. Catchy, jazzy instrumentals, driving beats and amazing work on the keys, especially the B-3 Organ. He’s got a couple of great guitar players supporting him here and the band is very tight. If you like grooving, jazzy blues with a New Orleans flair done up right, Katz is your man. He takes what he learned at Berklee College of Music (both as a student and then later on the staff for many years) and his time on the road with the Broadcasters and all the music greats he’s toured with to produce great music here. I loved the album!

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 – 8 of 12 

Eric Bibb – Blues People

Stony Plain Recording Company

15 tracks

Stony Plain Records from Canada is a truly premier roots record label and the release of Blues People adds even more credence to that accolade! Bibb is an accomplished singer, song writer and musician who has assembled in this album a collection of originals, collaborations and covers that are based on the concepts of change and hope. It focuses on African American history, from slavery to emancipation and from hard time share cropping to the Civil Rights movement. The dreams of men and women dragged into or born into slavery and then the dreams that they have had as freedom came to them in dribs and drabs over the 150 years since the end of Civil War are depicted in this CD.

Joining Bibb here in the song writing are Guy Davis (“Chocolate Man”), the Reverence Gary Davis (I Heard The Angels Singin’”, Taj Mahal and Glen Scott (arranged the traditional ““Needed Time”). He is joined by many great artists and songs, featuring the likes of Popa Chubby (“Silver Spoon”), Guy Davis (“Chocolate Man’), “I Heard the Angel Singin’ ” (The Blind Boys of Alabama and J.J. Milteau), “Dream Catchers (Harrison Kennedy and Ruthie Foster), “Chain Reaction” (Glen Scott), “Needed Time” (Taj, Ruthie, and the Blind Boys), “Remember the Ones” (Linda Tillery), “Home” (Andre De Lange) and “Where Do We Go” (Leyla McCalla).

Bibb does not go completely solo on the remainder of the tracks. Glen Scott is featured on many cuts in a variety of roles, Staffan Astner plays a variety of guitars and stringed instruments on a half dozen tracks as does Michael Jerome Brown. Paul Robinson appears on drums and percussion on a pair of cuts. Bass services come from Neville Malcom (3 tracks) and Desmond Foster (one track). A variety of other artists also perform on a single track here and there and a backing “Choir” of 6 folks appear on a couple of more cuts.

There are so many great tracks on this CD. “Chocolate Man” is a lot of fun with Bibb and Davis doing a smash up job together. Chubby and Bibb blend nicely on their guitars on the opening “Silver Spoon.” “Driftin’ Door to Door” is a great song of hope with beautiful finger picking. There’s some great slide on “Turner Station” and “Pink Dream Cadillac” is a sweet song of materialistic dreams. “Needed Time” may be my favorite, mixing an old time banjo opening with an updated hymn-like version of the song. Both songs with the Blind Boys of Alabama are moving as is the funky “Dream Catchers” with Ruthie Foster. “Remember the Ones” is a great straight up 60’s soul tune. All the cuts here have merit and are worth many a listen.

Bibb is a great artist who shows his artistry in all his endeavors. Here we find him doing a fantastic job with this album, which is destined to be one of his best. If you like Eric or acoustic blues, this CD is for you! Bibb is at his best again here!

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 – 9 of 12 

Diana Braithwaite And Chris Whitely – Blues Stories

Big City Blues Records

11 Songs time-46:44

To stay true to the blues idiom, style and atmosphere isn’t an easy task to pull off in such a excellent way as Diana and Chris have done here. A mixture of covers and originals stand side by side like they belong. Much care was taken for this project. The singing and music transport you to a porch on a dusty road down south or perhaps in a run down juke joint. You may find yourself trying to clean the dust off your shoes after giving this a listen. You just took a trip way down south without leaving the house. Chris’s acoustic and electric guitar playing has just the right amount of raggedness to give it that slightly sloppy and funky old time blues feel. Diana’s voice sounds like the blues, warm and rich.

The traditional “Rocks And Gravel” features only the vocals of Diana and Kala Braithwaite and is basically a gospel-tinged field holler. Some greasy good guitar energizes the easy rolling boogie of the original “Florida”. Slinky slide guitar underscores Diana’s earnest vocal on “Lighthouse Keeper”, a plea for guidance. Chris captures Sonny Boy Williamson’s(Rice Miller) herky-jerky harmonica style as the sole accompaniment to Diana’s vocal on “Bye Bye Bird”.

The full band nicely recreates the New Orleans groove on “Blues March”. Jesse Whitely plays Professor Longhair style piano and Chris plays cornet to contribute to the New Orleans sound. Chris contributes his only vocal on the original “Fried Fish”, an apt depiction of road house. His always perfectly suited slide guitar enhances the vibe. He winds the tune down with his blues harp…”Fried fish, rum and ginger ale”. “Child Of Circumstance”, a story song, at seven plus minutes is the longest song here. It’s taken at a slow and deliberate pace.

“Tic Tac Toe” is another tune about a juke joint. They flat out nail these kind of songs. This and “Fried Fish” are “too cool for school”. Jesse lends his able piano once again and it wouldn’t be complete without more slide goodness. Diana is accompanied by acoustic guitar on Skip James’ mournful “Hard Time Killin’ Floor”. “Careless Love”, a song closely identified with Lonnie Johnson is given a pretty straight reading. Chris’s cornet completes the jazzy feel. The simple and sparse instrumental backing of Jimmy Reed is nicely done on his “You Don’t Have To Go”.

Whether doing cover songs or their own this record sounds like of one piece. Their love and grasp of the blues just drips out of this album. If you are a lover of down-home blues, you’ve come to the right place. Tell me how you call your hound dog.

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

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 Featured Blues Review – 10 & 11 of 12 

S.E. Willis –
Turtle Dove Bounce/Live At The Poor House

Mr. Suchensuch Records MS 14007

2 CD set – 25 songs – 2 hours 4 minutes

Originally from West Virginia, but living in the San Francisco Bay area, multi-instrumentalist S.E. Willis breaks new ground in a career that’s spanned the better part of 50 years with the release of this interesting double CD set, which offers solo piano blues on one disc and a live set with an all-star band on the other.

Willis plays keyboards, harmonica and accordion. He contributed the squeeze box work on Elvin Bishop’s most recent album, the award-winning Can’t Even Do Wrong Right. A roots musician of the first order whose influences range from country to zydeco, from rockabilly to blues, he’s worked with Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Albert King, Roy Gaines and Jimmy Rogers, among others. He started this project in 2011, but serious medical issues kept him housebound for about two years.

Turtle Dove displays Willis in an acoustic format, accompanying himself on piano and harmonica for a collection of seven blues and boogie-woogie covers dating to 1920s and packaged with four originals.

A faithful instrumental version of Cow Cow Davenport’s “Cow Cow Blues” demonstrates his prowess on the 88s and his strong left hand. The Leroy Carr standard “How Long Blues” follows with S.E. adding solid vocals and crisp harp atop a deliberately paced piano line. He successfully delivers three more blues classics — Little Brother Montgomery’s “Vicksburg Blues,” Big Maceo Merriweather’s “Worried Life” and Pinetop Smith’s “Pinetop’s Boogie,” adding a personal touch to each of them — before a set of three originals — “Hard Times Coming,” “Turtle Dove Bounce” and “Drinking Blues.” The first number predicts problems ahead despite happiness now, delivered over a couple of simple, yet interesting, piano riffs and a companion harp line. The second is a love song that features an extended harmonica and piano intro. The third is a fresh, but familiar, take on having to give up booze.

Two more covers – Jimmy Yancey’s “The Fives” and Carr’s “Baby Don’t You Leave Me No More” – precede the original “Good To Go Boogie,” which concludes the disc.

Recorded at a legendary San Francisco bar in November 2011, Live At The Poor House features Willis backed by hard-working guitarist Mike Welsh and a rhythm section of Ruth Davies (bass) and Bobby Cochran (drums). Special guest guitarists Bishop and Takezo Takeda, sax player/vocalist Nancy Wright and trombonist Ed Earley add to the mix in a set that includes tastes of Memphis, the Delta and New Orleans.

Willis pairs “Rockhouse” and the original “Milk Cow Blues” to open the session, giving the band a chance to make their own statement before adding vocals on the second number. The band swings with Wright and Welsh featured here and in a blazing, uptempo cover of Junior Parker’s “Mystery Train.” The original burner “Luckiest Man Alive” features some sweet keyboard work and precedes three blues/R&B warhorses — “Tipitina,”“C.C. Rider” and “Let The Good Times Roll” – before a bluesy version of the Ray Price country classic, “Please Release Me” and a reprise of the Meters’ “Hey Pocky Way.

The Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown standard “Boogie Rambler” leads into Curtis Mayfield’s “River’s Invitation” and another Willis original, “Cold Hand In Mine,” before Little Walter Jacobs’“Last Night,” Fats Domino’s “Don’t Lie To Me” (with Bishop on vocals) and “32 20 Boogie,” a red-hot version of the Robert Johnson standard, conclude the action.

Available through all the major online retailers, this package offers a full heaping of great music for a small price, although I had issues with both the packaging and metadata. The double-folded CD sleeve features a cover for one disc on the front and one for the other on the back, and neither hints at there being two distinct albums contained within. And if you’re plugging the music into iTunes or a similar devise, beware that both discs are electronically coded Turtle Dove Bounce. Unless you change the name of the second disc manually, your entries will mix alternately from one album to the other. Nevertheless, the music makes up for the problems.

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 – 12 of 12 

HowellDevine – Modern Sounds of Ancient Juju

Arhoolie Productions, Inc.

CD: 11 Songs; 49:20 Minutes

Styles: Traditional and Contemporary Blues

According to, “juju” is: “1) an object venerated superstitiously and used as a fetish or amulet by tribal peoples of West Africa; 2) the magical power attributed to such an object;” and/or 3) “a ban or interdiction effected by it.” Juju can be good or bad, but above all, it is powerful. So are San Francisco Bay-based Joshua Howell and Pete Devine on their sophomore album, which is almost “eerily” good. They know how to balance on the razor’s edge between traditional and present-day blues, as they present Modern Sounds of Ancient Juju. They don’t go all the way back to tribal Africa in their musical style, but swamp-tinged Cajun influences can clearly be heard (“She Brought Life Back to the Dead”). On eleven tracks – six covers and five originals – they bring revered as well as contemporary classics to life.

HowellDevine consists of Joshua Howell on guitar, harmonica and vocals, Pete Devine on drums and washboard, and Joe Kyle Jr. on upright bass. Their homepage and promotional info sheet reveal rave reviews from such blues rock greats as Charlie Musselwhite, Bonnie Raitt, Elvin Bishop, and Maria Muldaur. In the CD liner notes, writer Musselwhite states: “There’s tasty slide, harp and rhythm with relaxed vocals that all blend together for a wonderfully satisfying experience”. How right he is, especially on these three outstanding original offerings.

Track 04: “Let You Go” – Despite the jaunty tone of track four, its message is one of cold fury: “Well, your boots are scuffed and ratty. You’ve been knocking them all night long. You’ve been keeping late hours, and I know something’s going all wrong. One of these days, you’re going to beg me not to let you go.” Revel in Howell’s killer slide solos and Devine’s washboard grind.

Track 07: “House in the Field” – Our narrator is up to no good in this stomp. To what dubious domicile does he want to take his heart’s desire? “It never seems fair; I want to get you alone. Got a change of plans ‘cause our parents aren’t home. Now, listen up, baby – I’ve got an idea. Let’s meet at four o’clock in that house out in the field.” Turning an abandoned shack into a love shack has never sounded more sinfully appealing. Only one thing could have made track seven better: the subtle echo of a rattlesnake’s rattle at the end, to top it off.

Track 11: “Railroad Stomp – Live in Port Richmond, CA” – What is the timeless blues appeal of train songs? They’re musical journeys in and of themselves, and this one’s phenomenal. When melody and instrumental sound effects are combined perfectly, these kinds of tunes allow listeners to fall into a trance and dance – or jump up and down, as the case may be. All aboard!

HowellDevine are masters at evoking The Modern Sounds of Ancient Juju!

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.

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 Blues Society News 

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Central Iowa Blues Society – Des Moines, IA

Central Iowa Blues Society announces The 21st Annual Winter Blues Fest, a two night event with The Iowa Blues Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony January 30th & 31st, 2015 at the Downtown Marriott – 700 Grand Ave – Des Moines, IA

On Friday, January 30 the 2014 Iowa Blues Hall of Fame Inductions with host band Sumpin Doo begin at 7:30 PM, followed by Lil Ed & the Blues Imperials at 10:00 PM.

Then on Saturday we have 12 bands on 7 stages starting at 5:00 PM featuring Moreland & Arbuckle, The Bel Airs, Danielle Nicole Band, Kevin “B.F.” Burt, Joe and Vicki Price, Brian “Taz” Grant, Bob Pace and the Dangerous Band, Blues Challenge winning bands from IA, NE, MN, MO, Blues in the Schools performers, After Hours Jam and more.

Admission is $15 for Friday night, $20 for Saturday night or $32 for both. Special hotel room rates at the Downtown Marriott for this event are just $109 per night. For more information, complete line-up, tickets and discount lodging go to

The Great Northern Blues Society – Wausau, WI

The Great Northern Blues Society of Wausau, WI (GNBS) is Proud to announce the lineup for our 16th Annual Blues Café fundraiser to be held at the Historically Registered Rothschild Pavilion (near Wausau, WI) on 3/14/15.

The Lineup will include Left Wing Bourbon, Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders, Bobby Messano, The Chris O’Leary Band, and Samantha Fish. 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: “BLUES20”. 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 3/14/15. Artist Biographies, directions, and Tickets are available on our Website at –

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.  January 19 – The Groove Daddies, January 26 – The Greg Glick Blues Band, February 2 – Robert Sampson & Blues Junction, February 9 – Nigel Mack & the Blues Attack, February 16 – David Lumsden and Friends, February 23 – RJ Mischo

Additional ICBC shows (all held in Springfield, Illinois): Jan. 15 – James Armstrong Presents @ The Alamo, 6 pm, Jan. 23 – Maurice John Vaughn @ Post 809, 8 pm, Feb. 5 – James Armstrong Presents @ The Alamo, 6 pm, Feb. 19 – James Armstrong Presents @ The Alamo, 6 pm, March 21 – Ronnie Baker Brooks ICBC 29th Birthday Party w/special guests the Blues Expressions. K of C Hall on Meadowbrook Rd. Springfield, Illinois.

Questions regarding this press release can be directed to Michael Rapier, President of ICBC, at at 217-899-9422, or contact Greg Langdon, Live Events Chair, at or by visiting

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