Issue 10-10 March 10, 2016

Cover photo by Arnie Goodman © 2016

 In This Issue 

Don Wilcock has our feature interview with Beth Hart. We have 4 Blues music reviews for you including a review of Louisville’s Tribute To Muddy Waters and albums from Bobby Thompson, Sam Butler and Mudcat And The Atlanta Horns.

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

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 Featured Blues Review – 1 of 4 

The Blues Had A Baby – Louisville’s Tribute To Muddy Waters

Down In The Alley Records

12 songs – 47 minutes

Reacting to fears that the blues is dying art form, co-producers Mike Suttle and Screamin’ John Hawkins came up with an interesting idea: They wanted to honor and introduce Muddy Waters’ catalog to a new, younger audience and do it by recruiting a dozen bands based in Louisville, Ky., to do it. But their concept didn’t stop there.

Sure, they called upon six artists from the local blues scene to help out, but also reached out to ensembles from other disciplines – bluegrass, rock, jazz, Americana and Latin – to attract a broader listener-ship. Their hope was that, once they’d heard the Chicago blues master’s works in this form, fans would do their own research about Muddy and the music in general – and create a new group of blues record buyers.

The disc – which features Waters’ biggest hits and some obscure covers — is dedicated to the memory of Lamont Gillespie and Byron Davies, longtime members of the 100 Proof Blues band, one of the mainstays of the Louisville scene. Led by vocalist Bruce Lively with Rich Cain on harmonica, the surviving members start the proceedings with of “Forty Days And Forty Nights,” followed by Buttermilk Jackson his band, The Tunesmiths, with “Mannish Boy.” Both tunes are delivered with charts that are faithful to what Muddy conceived decades ago.

“Rollin’ And Tumblin’” gets a fresh treatment from Appalatin, a six-piece acoustic group that features a combination of home-grown musicians with artists from Ecuador, Nicaragua and Guatamala who call upon Latin instrumentation to give the song a decidedly new feel, aided by Yani Vozos’ strong vocals in both English and Spanish. The 10th Street Blues Band is up next, featuring Billy Bird on harp and vocals for a solid cover of “Got My Mojo Working (But It Just Won’t Work On You).”

Sultry jazz vocalist Carly Johnson, backed by acoustic finger-picker Craig Wagner, is a delight as she delivers a decidedly bluesy take on “You Can’t Lose What You Ain’t Never Had” before soulful rockers Laurie Jane And The 45s attack “You Need Love” atop a military drumbeat. Harp player/vocalist Jim Rosen and guitarist Rob Pickett, two more veterans of the Derby City blues scene, follow with a deep-throated acoustic cover of “Same Thing.”

Next up are Da Mudcats, a band started by Rosen in the ‘80s. Not to be confused with the group fronted by Atlanta-based Daniel “Mudcat” Dudeck, this ensemble now features Hawkins and Susan O’Neil on vocals and Doug Lamb on piano as it delivers a sprightly take on “She’s Into Something.” The Bibelhauser Brothers, a five-piece bluegrass group, provide a swinging, fiddle-fueled version of “Diamonds At Your Feet” before Mississippi Adam Riggle takes on “Long Distance Call” in a style that would make Muddy smile.

The Ass Haulers, rockers who try to fuse ZZ Top with Hound Dog Taylor, deliver an uptempo version of “Trouble No More” before bluesman Tyrone Cotton delivers a tasty version of “Can’t Be Satisfied” to conclude the set.

Available through iTunes, CDBaby, Amazon and Google Music, The Blues Had A Baby is a well-conceived and well-executed project that should serve its purpose well. Despite the diverse nature of the performers, their attack is firmly in the pocket throughout while clearly demonstrating that the Louisville blues scene is much stronger than some folks believe. Pick it up. You won’t be disappointed.

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.

2016 Blues Blast Music Award Submission Are Now Open

The 2016 Blues Blast Music Awards series has begun. Submissions are open until April 15th, 2016. The Blues Blast Music Awards are the largest fan voted Blues awards on the planet. But hurry! Submissions end April 15,2016!

To visit our website for complete on how to have your music and musicianship considered for nomination, CLICK HERE

SAVE THE DATE – The 9th Annual Blues Blast Music Awards ceremonies will be held on September 23, 2016 in Champaign, Illinois. Complete information on tickets and lodging coming soon.

 Featured Blues Interview – Beth Hart 

“After my biggest breakdown in my late 20s, I remember a doctor telling me, ‘I don’t think you should do music for a living. I think you should paint and make your music at home and don’t do it for a living.’ And I said, ‘Why?’ He said, ‘Because you cannot handle it. It’s too important to you what other people think. So, instead of you being yourself, you try and be something else, and that’s what you think people want to see. That’s what you think will make you successful. Because of that, it’s not the right business for you.’”

Eight albums later in the liner notes of her watershed album Better Than Home she writes,“This album is really the first time in my life that I feel that – if I were about to pass on – that I’ve expressed the heart of my truth.”

“God! Did I really say that,” she asks in our interview. Hart wrote 45 songs for the album, she recorded it in five days with producer Michael Stevens who was just out of surgery for stomach cancer that would eventually kill him, and when she was finished, she immediately recorded her next album which has yet to be released.

“I had to do it because the experience of making Better Than Home was the most horrific experience I ever had making a record except for my first record that I ever made. That was horrible experience, but Better Than Home was just way too painful.”

Interviewing Beth Hart is like flying a kite in a hurricane. Just holding on is an effort. You can try to guide its trajectory, but you have the feeling that an atomic bomb is attached to the tail, and if you jerk the line, it might go off in your face.

“I went into a psych ward twice while making Better Than Home,” she explains. “It was once during the actual recording which they didn’t know about, and I only stayed overnight. Usually they observe you for at least three days, but they didn’t on this. I stayed one night and then another time a little bit later after we were in the mixing stage.

“I just hated it. I was just afraid that who I really am or as close as I can get as to where I am as a person at this point in my life wouldn’t be good enough.”

Beth Hart’s voice embodies the anger of Nina Simone, the bluster of Janis Joplin, and the hurt of Billie Holiday and Etta James. In her 23-year recording career, she’s recorded nine solo albums including her yet-to-be released CD. She’s done three albums with Joe Bonamassa and played Janis Joplin in the Off-Broadway production of the musical Love, Janis. She has also worked with Slash, Buddy Guy, and sang Etta James’ “I’d Rather Go Blind” accompanied by Jeff Beck at the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors for Buddy Guy.

When she was 20 Hart lost a sister to complications of AIDS. She was later dropped by Atlantic Records for drug addiction. Her childhood was scarred by a rocky relationship with her father. “When I was a kid, my dad left me in a bad way, and what f***ed me up the most was that he would be in the lives of my other sisters and brothers, but he wouldn’t be in mine.” She dedicates Better Than Home to her dad saying, “I love you more than words.”

She’s been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and credits her husband and road manager Scott Guetzkow with being her savior with his unconditional love. “I always had dog boyfriends. I always got with guys that were really physically abusive and big drinkers, and that’s the way I liked it. I always felt safe in those relationships, but thank God for drug addiction because when I was on my knees, Scott was there, and I was so out of my mind on drugs that I didn’t have the energy to do what I normally do.

“What I did normally was if a good guy came my way, I would push him out of the way so fast, I only would hang out with dick heads, because if a dick head leaves you, it doesn’t hurt. If a great guy leaves you like my dad, it kills you. So any kind of good guy that would come my way, I would push him away.

“If I hadn’t been such a drug addict, I would have pushed Scott away, but he was the only person that was there, so I couldn’t push him away. In order to survive, I had to hold on to whoever was there. So that’s the beauty of life when we say, ‘Oh, this is a bad thing that happened.’ No, not necessarily. It could be the best thing that ever happened to you.

“As tragic and dark and as scary as it seems, it may be just the thing you need to push you to go down a different road for once. And that’s what happened to me with drug addiction. So, thank God, I was born with this whatever you call it, addiction thing or who knows what the f*** where I come from, but thank God. If it hadn’t been there, I would never have got to be with the greatest love I’ve ever known. And that’s Scott. I’ll be with Scott until I’m dead. He is the guy. So, it’s funny the things that we think are such bad things. They end up one of the best thing that could ever happen to you. You know what I’m mean?”

Songs like “Trouble” and “St. Theresa” on Better Than Home boil with a level of anger and angst unmatched since Nina Simone’s best work of the ’50s and ’60s.

“One of the things that I love about the songs that were chosen for this album was a total coincidence that the songs that happened to be chosen were the songs that I’d written the music and the lyrics to. I didn’t do any co-writing. It was totally by coincidence, and I don’t give a s**t if I write the song at all. If I write it, if I co-write it, if I don’t write it, I really don’t care.

“What I care about is being able to connect to it on a level that I call a family level, a root level where you start out in life. And if I can connect it to that place, then I know I’m the right person to be singing it at that time. At least that’s what I think.

“What was really funny was later after I realized, ok, you got all these songs that are solely coming from me. I wonder if this is not about that I write it by myself, or if it’s more about this is what Michael believes to be my real spirit, and I kick and scream and struggle a lot against people. I don’t always trust people. So I’m always kinda looking around and seeing what one of their little side things they may be getting out of it, and I did that with everybody.

“(Producer) Michael (Stevens) really raised the bar and pushed me to be as personable and also try to look at life from a more positive (stand). So it was an amazing experience. He drove me up the wall, but I’m so thankful he did. I (figure) he brought out the best in me, and I think that he made this project such a beautiful project. I think it’s definitely the best or one of the best I’ve done, and he’s really all hats off to Michael.

“One of the things I like with Michael is at some point I saw that what he was trying to do was to bring me into my own as a writer, as a singer, and he said, ‘Forget the blues. Forget the rock chick. Forget the screaming and hollering. Just tell me a story. Tell me how you really feel.’ So it was interesting. Songs like “As Long As I Have A Song” and “Saint Theresa” and “We’re Still Living in the City.” I think if I ever got the closest to what my honest truth is as a singer or a songwriter, whatever, it would be that type of songwriting like “Leave A Light On” or “L.A. Song” (her 1999 hit single.) It’s my truth, or as close as I can get to telling the truth at that point.”

She says her yet-to-be-released album went down a lot easier than Better Than Home. “It did. It did! And I got to do some things that are fun and cheeky, and I’m not a heavy. There are fun, heavy songs, but it’s a lot more fun and sexual with attitude, and I got to take a break. I got to take a break and do something different, and that’s something that’s always been important to me probably ’cause I get bored really easy. So I just gotta do something different, and I had so many songs written, and there was stuff that I really did want to do that Michael just said no for Better Than Home. So I got to do them.”

Like Billie Holiday, Etta James and Nina Simone, Hart is propelled by a musical obsession fueled by an overpowering sense of self doubt that delivers her voice in a profound and breathtaking delivery that rises like a Phoenix out of a life filled with tragedy and fanned by drug addiction.

So, who is Beth Hart? Is she an insecure artist thankful for a loving husband who cares for her unconditionally even though she says she doesn’t deserve it, or is she the take charge artist who isn’t even nervous about performing in front of the President of The United States with Jeff Beck honoring Buddy Guy with a killer version of “I’d Rather Go Blind?” She’s both. What she is consistently is an intensely emotive artist who dances naked in front of the world and presents blues angst in a way that sucks the breath out of the listener’s body.

“I look at myself as having such a good life and being so blessed. I mean I’m born in a f***ing great country. It’s free. It’s as free as frickin’ any other country, and I get to see, I get to hear, I get to walk, I get to talk, I get to play the piano and sing. I’ve had a lot of loving people. As many dog people as I’ve met and as many times as I myself have been a dog, I’ve also gotten to see a lot of loving people and a lot of love within myself. So I feel like I’ve had it on Easy Street.

“There are people out there who have gone through so much more for – can’t even compare, and they’re not bitter. They’re amazing. They’re loving . I’m reading a book about nine different lives in the largest refugee camp in Kenya right now. That’s a f***ing rough life. It doesn’t get tougher. They get a tent when they arrive. The tent lasts maybe a year. Then they have to build their shelter out of mud and plastic.

“They live there their whole lives. They have children. They have grandparents there. They never live outside the camp. And the camp is full of sewage and rapes and they’re not allowed to work. For me that’s a mother***er, and I’m reading about these nine different people that have joy, and they still find (grace) in things, and they till rise above it.

“You get somebody like Billie Holiday. That’s a rough life. Yeah, she was a drug addict. So what? So everybody does what they gotta do to get by. So, I just think that I’ve been really, really lucky, and the moment I go into self-pity, that’s when I am in that jail cell. So it’s so important that I always am grateful and thankful because that’s the truth. I got way more to be grateful for. I’m alive, man. I’m 44 years old. I get to still breathe and wake up. I get to still have luxurious problems.”

Sometimes artists like Amy Winehouse get too close to the flame. Beth Hart recognizes that danger. “I’ve taken a break. I’ve taken a break from writing now for a year, and I have to because it was driving me insane. I couldn’t stop, and I just had to make a decision to stop. Let the well refill or whatever it had to do.

“I’m just a regular dude trying to make it through this world. I’m as much connected to you as you are to me. That’s what I believe. We’re all part of the same thing, and everybody’s got something to say, and it doesn’t matter. I’m one of ’em. So there you go. I gotta go because I gotta go vocalize – I gotta do a sound check.”

Visit Beth’s website at

Photos by Arnie Goodman © 2016

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


 Featured Blues Review – 2 of 4 

Bobby Thompson – Live at Iota

Root Nine Records

CD: 9 Songs; 47:05 Minutes

Styles: Contemporary and Traditional Electric Blues, Blues Rock

What is an “iota”? In its most literal definition, it’s the Greek letter “I” (after “alpha”, “beta,” “gamma,” etc.). In a figurative sense, it means “a little bit”, as in “Yours truly does not care one iota about rap music.” In the case of Washington-area-based Bobby Thompson, he and his band played Live at Iota, a renowned club and café in Arlington, Virginia. Washington, DC’s Root Nine Records has distributed an album so smooth and balanced, so well-edited, that listeners might not be able to tell it was recorded live – minus the cheering crowd at the end of each song. Bobby Thompson’s talent fills one’s ears and heart with the vigor and camaraderie that only comes in the midst of an appreciative audience. On eight original tracks and one cover (Elmore James’ “Look Over Yonder’s Wall”), this dynamic quartet goes all out to impress. This is reference-quality blues, not just any “live release”.

The home page of his website reveals that he was nominated for “Musician of the Year” last year by the Washington Area Music Association. The “Band” section explains: “Awe-inspiring master guitarist and vocalist Bobby Thompson is no stranger to the blues and rock world. He cut his teeth learning to play in the old blues clubs of D.C. from the likes of Bobby Parker. After honing his craft as a much sought after support man, Thompson decided to step out as a solo artist, releasing three albums since 2011.”

Along with Bobby, as he himself performs on vocals and guitar, are Wes Lanich on keyboards, Seth Morrissey on bass and vocals, and Jeff Mills on drums.

The only flaw of this album might be that some of the songs run a little too long, but that’s the beauty of live music. If crowds want more, bands give them more, as does Thompson. The following three are the best example of his above-average singing and excellent musicianship:

Track 01: “Good Things That We Have” – With a keyboard-and-guitar intro that will make excited fans shout, “Yow!”, the live album’s opener is an absolute stunner. It’s a reminder to count one’s blessings, especially if involved in a romantic relationship. “Don’t forget about the good things that we have. Don’t let them fade so fast.”

Track 02: “Nobody’s Fool” – On the flip side of that sentiment comes the very next track, edgier and more syncopated, with a swinging beat. “I’m starting to think I’m crazy,” Thompson laments. “The heart makes one do wild things…So now I wonder who’s running. I took way too much advice. I can’t do the things that you do. I won’t be nobody’s fool.” Wes Lanich’s barroom piano keyboards are fantastic here, as is Bobby’s singing.

Track 03: “Again” – Reminiscent of Santana’s “Smooth”, albeit in a more melancholy vein, the third song has the best lyrics and vocals: “She’s got innocence written on her face – it’s criminal. She lets it go to waste. She’s beautiful…She’s in my head, under my skin. I can never, I can never let her get into my heart again.”

Live at Iota is vivid, fun, and of the highest quality!

Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 36 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 Review – 3 of 4 

Sam Butler – Raise Your Hands!

Severn Records

12 tracks/47:13 minutes

When he was four, Sam Butler started his touring life, accompanying his father, Bishop Samuel Butler, Sr., on the road with The Blind Boys of Mississippi. That gospel group’s signature blues shouts combined the Saturday night rhythms of Mississippi juke joints and wailing blues guitar with the steady, undulating vocalizations of Sunday morning hymns.

Young Sam surely picked up the bright musical patterns weaving through the tensions between secular and sacred music, for he eventually developed his own signature riffs in his more than twenty-year tenure as guitarist for The Blind Boys of Alabama from 1972-1994. As a recognition of his blues and rock pedigree, Butler has joined forces in the past with Keith Richards, Donald Fagan of Steely Dan, and gospel great, and former Blind Boys leader, Clarence Fountain.

On his first solo album, Butler teams with producer Brian Brinkerhoff and joins forces with Sacred Steel player virtuoso Roosevelt Collier, drummer Marco Giovino, and bassist Viktor Krauss to deliver a scalding dose of redemption by covering spiritual songs by secular artists.

The album opens with a fiery, Jimi Hendrix-like version of Bruce Springsteen’s “Heaven’s Wall,” with Stax undertones. He delivers a true gospel call-and-response tune, encouraging listeners to “raise their hands” and bringing them to their feet to reach higher toward heaven with his staccato lead riffs on the bridge. By the end of this opening track, we’re washed and anointed and it feels as if we can’t go any higher. Butler channels Hendrix’s “Manic Depression” on the opening licks of Johnny Cash’s “Lead Me Father,” conducting us on a spiritual march driven by a stinging lead solo.

Butler takes Eric Clapton’s hauntingly beautiful “Presence of the Lord” to church as Collier’s yearning steel winds its way under and around Butler’s jazz riffs. Butler’s version carries us into a spiritual presence in a way that Clapton’s original, on his Blind Faith album, does not. Curtis Mayfield wrote several classic spirituals, including “People Get Ready” and his own version of an old hymn, “Wherever You Leadeth.” Butler channels Mayfield and Impressions’ vocalist Jerry Butler on this version; his crystalline guitar chords and riffs carry his gentle voice out of this world, inviting us to transcend the troubles of this world.

Butler’s growling vocals punctuate Tom Waits’ classic “Gospel Train.” The song captures the classic pull between the ways of the devil and the ways of God; Butler issues an invitation in a gravelly blues shout that insistently grabs us with its spare acoustic blues to climb on board the train before it leaves the station.

Collier’s throbbing steel opens “Sanctuary,” the Eliza Gilkyson-penned tune that closes the album with an evocative grace that drenches us in the pure honey of Butler’s voice and his resonator guitar on the song’s bridge. As much as the album rocks off to an unrelenting and insistent start, almost demanding acquiescence to praising God, this song closes the album with a quiet reminder that we can find God not only in the raucous crossroads but also in the quiet places where love hides, especially when we’ve been tried and torn by this world.

Smooth, stinging, and straight-ahead gospel blues deliver the promise of anointing and deliverance as well as faith, hope, and love on Butler’s transcendent debut, Raise Your Hands!

Henry L. Carrigan, Jr. writes about music and music books for No Depression, American Songwriter, Country Standard Time, and Wide Open Country.

 Featured Blues Review – 4 of 4 

Mudcat And The Atlanta Horns – While You Were Away

30 Miles Up

10 songs – 44 minutes

Daniel Dudeck, aka Mudcat, comes across as a downhome country boy, which is an honest assessment, considering he was born along the Mississippi and grew up in Georgia, which he now calls home. But don’t be fooled by his appearance. He’s a smoking guitarist and songwriter who divides his time between acoustic sets and red-hot, uptempo Southern soul blues as demonstrated on this set.

He’s lived a diverse life after trying his hand at acting at New York’s famed National Shakespeare Conservatory as a youth. He spent years on the streets of America, developing his style that fuses Delta, Piedmont, Cajun and country as he busked for tips, proven himself as both a gospel and blues singer, worked closely with the Music Maker Relief Foundation and marketed his own brand of hot sauce. Now, he even hosts his own radio show on the Blues411 internet channel.

But one of the true jewels in his career is his work fronting the Atlanta Horns, who were founded and are led by legendary trombonist Lil Joe Burton, who served as Junior Wells’ band as a teenager before a 10-year stint with B.B. King and service time with Joe Tex, Bobby Womack and Otis Clay. The lineup includes Chad Mason (keys), Daryl Dunn (saxophone), Mico Barnes (trumpet), Eskil Wetterqvist (percussion) and David “Snave” Evans (bass and flute), most of whom have played together since the group was formed about 14 years ago. If you visit Atlanta, they appear regularly at the Northside Tavern.

Mudcat’s 13th release in a career that began in the mid-‘90s, While You Were Away starts off innocently enough with a flute solo introduction to the instrumental “Sarah.” It evolves quickly into rich staccato horn tune atop a bluesy guitar line that gives everyone room to stretch out. The title cut, “While You Were Away,” follows, swinging from the bottom as Dudeck delivers a message about how the world turned and changed in unpleasant ways during separation from the woman he loves.

“Drink Myself Sober” features Mudcat in a Southern-tinged, upbeat rap with Latin feel and desert imagery as it deals with the after effects of being rejected by the object of his desires. “Divine The Fight” is a funky, uptempo shuffle that signs praise for the struggle necessary to come out a winner at love. Another powerful horn flourish kicks off the instrumental “Toodle-oo,” which features Burton, aided by keyboard, trumpet and guitar solos, before Dudeck delivers “Let It Be Me,” a soulful, horn-punctuated plea to be chosen to help a lady get through the night.

The rhythm section comes to the fore to kick off “The Devil Is Real,” Mudcat’s slide-guitar fueled memory about being a difficult child, before the reverie “So Far,” which features a guest appearance by 90-year-old keyboard player Eddie Tigner, a Music Maker veteran who spent 30 years with the Ink Spots beginning in the ‘40s and gave 14-year-old James Brown one of his first breaks while working with legendary vaudevillian Snake Anthony. An interesting, minor-key boogie, “End Of The Night,” and the gospel and New Orleans tinged “Wake” conclude the set.

Available through CDBaby or directly from the band’s website, While You Were Away delivers a horn sound that’s a little darker and heavier than you’ll get from Memphis or Chicago ensembles. Mudcat And The Atlanta Horns deliver in this all-original set. The music touches several mediums and is hard to pin down throughout. But if you like horn bands and are searching for something different and new, this will appeal to you on several levels.

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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Ventura County Blues Society – Ventura, CA

The 11th Annual Ventura County Blues Festival on Saturday, April 30, in a new, bigger location at Studio Channel Islands in Camarillo, benefits Food Share and other local charities in Ventura County. Also features a Festival-ending All-Star Jam Tribute to the late BB Chung King. Info:

Santa Barbara Blues Society – Santa Barbara, CA

The Santa Barbara Blues Society, the oldest existing U.S. blues society, founded in March 1977, is proud to present award winning Bob Margolin and his trio at the Carrillo Recreation Center, 100 E. Carrillo St., on Saturday, March 12, 2016.

Margolin was lead guitarist in the band of the legendary bluesman Muddy Waters for seven years. He has released many albums of his own, played on many others, and is a renowned blues writer and educator as well as performer. He has been nominated for multiple Blues Music Awards (BMAs) by the Blues Foundation, and won twice as Best Guitarist of the Year.

Special guest at the show will be highly regarded harmonica player Bob Corritore, also a multiple BMA nominee.

Doors will open at 7:00 PM. From 7:15 to 7:45 Santa Barbara’s own lauded guitarist, Alastair Greene, and his band will play an opening set. Margolin, Corritore, and band will play 2 sets starting at 8:00 PM, with an intermission. There will be free BBQ snacks, an outdoor patio, and a large, spring-loaded dance floor.

For further information, log onto, or leave a message at (805) 722-8155.

Central Iowa Blues Society – Des Moines, IA

The Central Iowa Blues Society is now accepting applications for the 2016 Iowa Blues Challenge. This includes entries for both the Blues Band and Solo / Duo categories. Preliminary rounds begin April 24, 2016 and this year the finals will be held on Saturday, June 18, 2016 at the Downtown Marriott in Des Moines.

Prize packages to the first place winners in each category include cash, 8 hours recording time courtesy of Junior’s Motel, opportunity for paid performances at area events and festivals throughout the year, and entry into and travel expenses for the 2017 International Blues Challenge in Memphis TN.

Don’t delay! All entry material must be delivered to the Central Iowa Blues Society before the deadline on Friday, April 8, 2016. For an application and more information, go to

The 2016 Iowa Blues Challenge is sponsored by Budweiser, Summit Brewing Co., Junior’s Motel, Rieman Music, Zimm’s Food and Spirits, Lefty’s Live Music, River Music Experience, Cityview, Central Iowa Blues Society, Mississippi Valley Blues Society, South Skunk Blues Society and Southeast Iowa Blues Society.

Mississippi Valley Blues Society – Davenport, IA

The Mississippi Valley Blues Society presents local Blues legends Ernie Peniston, Hal Reed, and Ellis Kell in concert on Friday, March 11, in the tented parking lot at Kavanaugh’s Hilltop Tap, 1228 30th Street, Rock Island, IL on Friday, March 11. The show will start at 8:00 p.m. and admission for this performance will be $10 if you are a Mississippi Valley Blues Society member, or $12 if you are have not joined the Blues Society (application will be available at the door).

This concert will benefit the Mississippi Valley Blues Society in their efforts to educate the general public about the native art form of blues-related music through performance, interpretation and preservation, thus enhancing appreciation and understanding. Special thanks to the support and sponsorship of Kavanaugh’s Hilltop Tap for making this concert possible.

The Mississippi Valley Blues Festival is returning to LeClaire Park, Davenport, Iowa for the 31st year on July 1 and 2, 2016. More than 10 acts will be booked, bringing the audience an array of Blues music for 2-days starting at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, July 1 and 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 2. Admission tickets will go on sale soon.

The acts for weekend are still being scheduled and the full lineup will be announced shortly. “We want the 2016 lineup to reach a wide audience while maintaining our Blues roots,” says Steve Heston, President of the Mississippi Valley Blues Society. “We’re confident this year’s lineup, featuring local, regional, and national Blues acts, will do just that and we look forward to celebrating our thirty-first year with music fans from around the world.”

In 2016, guests can expect the return of favorite attractions such as Blueskool along with some new experiences which will also debut at the festival this year. MVBS is still seeking corporate and individual sponsorship to help offset this year’s event expenses. Individuals can give monetarily during the months leading up to the festival through attending the scheduled fundraising events and by donating through a Go-Fund-Me campaign. For additional corporate and individual sponsorship information visit

MVBS’ mission is to present a 2-day Blues music experience along the Mississippi River that will maintain the integrity of the festival from the past 30

The Lowcountry Blues Society – Charleston, SC

The Lowcountry Blues Society is pleased to announce the 12th annual Blues By the Sea featuring Mississippi Heat, Mac Arnold & Plate Full of Blues and Randy McAllister, Sunday, April 10, 230-7 pm at Freshfields Village Green, Kiawah Island, SC. (40 mins SE of Charleston)

The event is FREE and is brought to you by the Kiawah Island Cultural Events Fund. Rain or shine (we are tented) Bring a lawn chair or blanket, coolers OK! A great time for the entire family!

Blues Society of Central PA – Harrisburg, PA

The Blues Society of Central PA welcomes Mark Hummel’s Golden State Lone Star Revue featuring Mark Hummel, Anson Funderburgh, Little Charley Baty with Wes Starr and R.W. Grigsby on Sunday, April 17th 8:00 PM EST at Champions Sports Bar 300 2nd Street Highspire, PA 17034 Admission $15.00.

The Blues Society of Central PA hosts an open blues jam every Thursday evening for 17 years running at Champions Sports Bar, 300 2nd St. Highspire, PA 17034 8:00 PM EST FREE Please drop by and join us if you’re in the central PA area!

The Great Northern Blues Society – Wausau, WI

The Great Northern Blues Society presents the 17th Annual Blues Café on Saturday 3/12/16 in the beautiful Historically Registered Rothschild Pavilion near Wausau, WI. Five Great Bands, plus an acoustic act to perform near the large stone fireplace between main-stage acts.

Acts include Aaron Williams & the HooDoo, Left Lane Cruiser, Ray Fuller & the Blues Rockers, The Lionel Young Band and Albert Cummings as the headliner.

Dan Phelps will be entertaining acoustically during changeovers. Cold Beverages of your choice, and multiple food vendors on site all day.

Come shake your tail-feathers, warm your cockles by the fireplace, and kickoff Spring 2016 at our 17th Annual Houserockin’ Blues Party! $15 in advance, and $20 at the door. Children under 12 free if accompanied by an adult parent, or guardian. See for details. (Tickets will be available for purchase on the website after the first of the year.)

Crossroads Blues Society – Byron, IL

Crossroads has lots of great blues events planned for 2016!

The Hope and Anchor English Pub in Loves Park, IL features shows on the second Saturday of each month from 8 pm to midnight. March 12th – Tweed Funk, April 9th – Reverend Raven and the Chain Smoking Altar Boys, May 14th – The Jimmys

Blues in the Schools is also scheduled for February, Dan Phelps will be doing a two week in school BITS residency with East HS teaching song writing and guitar. The residency will culminate in an evening show on March 17th at East HS at 630 PM. Dan and the students will be performing the songs they wrote and showing the music videos they created based on the novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God.” This event is free and open to the public.

Friday Night Blues at the Lyran Club in Rockford continues mostly on the third Friday of the month with a few other special dates to boot. Currently booked are: March 18th – Smilin’ Bobby, April 15th – Breezy Rodeo, May 20th – Dave Fields. Shows are free from 7 to 10 PM.

Coco Montoyo comes to Rockford on Friday, March 25 at 8 PM. The Rockford Park District’s Nordlof Center is home to the J.R. Sullivan Theater where the show will be held. Tickets are available at the box office or on line at; advanced tickets are $15 and the cost will be $20 at the door if not sold out.

Stay tuned for more upcoming events!

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. Mar. 14 – Lewis Cowdrey, Mar. 21 – 24th Street Wailers, Mar. 28 – Kirk Brown Band, April 4 – Joe Moss Band, April 11 – Kilborn Alley Blues Band, April 18 – Jason Elmore & Hoodoo Witch, April 25 – The Bruce Katz Band.

Additional ICBC and ICBC partnered shows: Mar. 17 – James Armstrong Presents @ The Alamo, 6 pm, w/ guest host Back Pack Jones, April 7 – James Armstrong Presents @ The Alamo, 6 pm, April 21 – James Armstrong Presents @ The Alamo, 6 pm

Also March 26 is the Illinois Central Blues Club 30th Anniversary Celebration @ Knights of Columbus on Meadowbrook – Shawn Holt, headlining, w/opening act Robert Sampson.

P.O. Box 721 Pekin, Illinois 61555 © 2016 Blues Blast Magazine (309) 267-4425


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