Issue 10-12 March 24, 2016

Cover photo by Bob Kieser © 2016

 In This Issue 

Terry Mullins has our feature interview with Danielle Nicole. We have 4 Blues music reviews for you including reviews of new music from Lara Price, Giba Byblos, Sista Jean & CB and Ebony Jo-Ann.

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

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 Featured Blues Review – 1 of 4 

Lara Price – I Mean Business

VizzTone Label Group

12 tracks/51:40

As a child, Lara Price endured being abandoned at birth and then leaving her native country of Vietnam for the United States as part of a rescue operation for orphaned children. Price was among the small percentage of children who managed to survive the perilous experience. For the last eighteen years, she has been honing her vocal talent in the San Francisco area, releasing four discs that included an unplugged session with guitarist Laura Chavez.

For her latest title, Price put together an “A-Team” of backing musicians that includes Mighty Mike Schermer, Kid Andersen, and Chris Cain on guitar, Steve Evans on bass, and Derrick Martin on drums and percussion. Six cuts feature a horn section comprised of Mike Rinta on trombone, Mike Rose on trumpet & flugelhorn, and Michael Peloquin on tenor & baritone saxophone plus arranging the horn charts. The Sweet Nectar Back-up Singers, Sue McCracklin and Maureen Smith, appear on the first eleven tracks while Lisa Lueschner’s voice is added on five songs.

Price’s sultry voice makes an immediate impact on the opening track, “Get It When I Want It,” with the horns providing sharp outbursts in support. The horns are also prominently featured on the driving “Undone,” as is Schermer’s wah-wah tinged solo. “Crazy Lucy” was written by Price, Schermer, and Chavez, delivering a cautionary tale about those little voices in the mind that help distinguish between right and wrong. The band gives “Pack It Up” a funky swagger while the title track has a driving beat layered with Jim Pugh’s organ fills.

The pace slows on “Happy Blue Year,” a Price/Schermer original that allows the singer to bare her soul with seductive tones. Equally impressive is her performance on “Time,” as her vulnerability comes to the fore while she ruminates over the end of a love affair. But she bounces back on “One Tear At A Time,” embracing the heartache without surrendering to it, then letting Cain express her emotions through his guitar strings. A cover of George Jackson’s “Slipped Tripped Fell In Love” allows Price to honor one of her vocal influences, Ann Peebles, over a hard-driving rhythm. “Cryin’ Over You” has a more relaxed pace that meshes perfectly with Price’s wistful, restrained vocal.

The disc closes with Price using dramatic, drawn-out phrasing that plays off Andersen’s biting guitar licks to fashion a reflective sermon on the dimensions of “Love Lost”. It is one final, stirring turn on a disc full of strong performances that mark Lara Price as a force in the soul blues arena, a singer who refrains from screaming or shouting, content to use her impressive skills to tell the story in each song. This one definitely merits more than one listen.

Reviewer Mark Thompson lives in Florida, where he is enjoying life without snow. He is the President of the Board of Directors for the Suncoast Blues Society and the past president of the Crossroads Blues Society of Northern Illinois. Music has been a huge part of his life for the past fifty years – just ask his wife!.

2016 Blues Blast Music Award Submission Are Now Open

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 Featured Blues Interview – Danielle Nicole 

They had all given a lot of blood, sweat and tears over the course of nearly 15 years.

That’s a decade-and-a-half filled with long days and even longer nights, all spent playing the blues all over the world.

All of that hard work came to fruition in 2014 for Danielle (lead vocals, bass), Nick (guitar, vocals) and Kris (drums, vocals) Schnebelen, when Kansas City’s Trampled Under Foot (TUF) was widely hailed as one of the best – and one of the hardest-working – blues bands around.

That was the year that the group’s then-current album – Badlands – garnered a Blues Music Award (BMA) for Best Contemporary Blues Album of the Year and Danielle took home the top honor as Best Instrumentalist – Bass.

This was after the group had won the International Blues Challenge (IBC) in 2008 and were then voted Band Of The Year in both the 2011 and 2012 Blues Blast Music Awards by blues fans all over the world.

It sure looked like Trampled Under Foot was on top of the world.

And then, almost seemingly overnight … poof!

Trampled Under Foot was no more.

“It was a really big combination of things, but mainly Nick, Kris and I worked too hard for too long and we didn’t maintain our relationships as a family,” Danielle Nicole Schnebelen recently said.

For those who may have been living under a rock the past few years, yes, Danielle, Nick and Kris are indeed siblings.

“We didn’t really focus on where we were heading as a group and what was our Badlands record, that should have been our previous record, Wrong Side Of The Blues (which came out in 2011). We were so focused on playing gigs and getting as many gigs as we could, because unless you’ve got a real good hit and your stuff is on the radio, you’re really living week-to-week. We were playing 230 shows a year for a number of years in a row and we were hitting it really hard,” she said. “We’d come home from a tour and play a show in Kansas City the next day and then fly out to Europe for two weeks the day after that. Then we’d get home and have holidays together and birthdays together. Something was always keeping us together 100-percent of the time and we kind of got lost in playing-playing-playing … work-work-work.”

Burnt out and exhausted from the strain, Trampled Under Foot finally decided to call it a day last year.

While the many legions of fans of the band were understandably bummed out, that was not the last to be heard or seen from the mighty Schnebelens. Brother Nick is currently burning up the road with his new group -fittingly named the Nick Schnebelen band – while sister Danielle is also spreading her wings and flying solo, as well.

It could certainly be viewed as a rebirth for the three Schnebelens, who got their indoctrination into the world of the blues through their father, Bob, who played guitar in a Kansas City blues band named Little Eva.

“It’s been a huge transition for me, not only going from Trampled Under Foot to out on my own, but I also recently changed booking agencies (to New Frontier), as well. We’ve done some really cool runs, but I’ve also been able to spend some time at home, which I’m not used to having,” Danielle said. “It’s both wonderful and aggravating at the same time. As much as I love being home, I’m not making any money when I’m off, so it’s kind of like an inner-turmoil. But I do love being able to be with my kids for great lengths at a time. So it’s been cool that I’ve kind of been able to have both worlds. Still, I’m really excited for the next three-quarters of the year.”

Most of her schedule has – and continues to be – filled with spreading the word on her full-length debut, Wolf Den (Concord Records). Wolf Den hit the streets late last fall like a soulful tsunami and quickly swept blues lovers right off their feet. Diehard fans of Trampled Under Foot were probably not surprised at just how good the album was, but its creator might have been caught a bit off guard at just how warmly her first solo album was received by the blues community at large.

“Yes. I really was. What I love about the blues’ and roots’ crowd is that they’re a very loving and forgiving family. Just like with natural-born siblings, along with musical relationships, it ebbs and it flows and you change and you grow. It’s really cool to not being labeled a traitor for branching out on my own … or Nick or Kris, going out on their own, for that matter, either,” she said. “Everybody has been really supportive. They were sad to see TUF go, but they were also excited to see what I was going to do on my own. I wrote six of the tunes on the record and co-wrote another four of them, so it (Wolf Den) has a lot of my writing on it, which was a heavy influence with TUF, as well. So there’s still a lot of me in there, but a lot of these tunes are a lot different. So I was kind of nervous about putting these tunes out there and about how they would be received. But the songs just felt right and I ended up staying true to myself and it ended up working out. People really like it for the most part, and that’s all that you can really hope for, that people can relate to, identify with, or enjoy your music.”

A couple of New Orleans’ finest sons – Anders Osborne and Stanton Moore were knee-deep in the creative process with Schnebelen on Wolf Den. Osborne lent his considerable guitar skills to the project, while also producing it and helping co-write many of the tunes on the disc. Moore – drummer supreme for Galactic, as well as leading his own Stanton Moore Trio – left his patented style on a number of the tunes on the disc, as well.

“Anders as a writer and a musician, he almost leaves you speechless … just writing with him and working with him was an incredible honor and experience. He has an ability to envision songs and then play them as they come to him. He would sit down and look at two lines that I’d written, along with a basic idea for the song and then, all of a sudden, these chords just came pouring out,” she said. “The “Waiting For (or On) Your Love” tune just came out of nowhere. We were sitting barefoot on his front room floor with a couple of guitars and all of a sudden these chords just came out and the song almost wrote itself after that. He’s on a another level … I just can’t explain it.”

“Stanton really heavily influenced the drums on the songs … not just bringing the New Orleans style to it, but influencing the drum parts. There were two different songs where he said, ‘You just play the groove and then we’ll try this beat to it.’ And it ended up being completely different from what I had envisioned, but I just loved it and it really fit the song. When I sent the songs to Anders and Stanton, it was just me and an acoustic guitar, so they were very rough,” she said. “There were no drum tracks and I hadn’t done the songs live before, either. One of the songs from the EP, “Starvin’ For Love,” Stanton put a completely different drum line to it than what I had intended, but it sounded so great that I said, ‘OK. This is how it was meant to be all along.’ And he did the same thing on “Fade Away,” which is one of the funkier songs on Wolf Den. That song was originally written as kind of a New Orleans’ funk groove, but he was like, ‘Nah, try this.’ And he put that real slow swampy beat to it and I was like, ‘Oh, man … this is some funky stuff, man; this is cool.’ So we ended up keeping it, of course. So he literally directly influenced a couple of the songs. Him and Anders are both geniuses in their own rights.”

With her fingerprints all over Wolf Den – just as they were on Trampled Under Foot’s recorded output – the tendency to think that her new album would sound a lot like Badlands or Wrong Side Of The Blues could easily be forgiven. However, while there are common threads that run through both – naturally – at the end of the day, they are separate entities unto themselves. And Schnebelen says that was the plan from the get-go.

“I was known a lot more for my ballad side in Trampled Under Foot. I would do upwards of two or three ballads per show and our albums were real heavy and emotional, and a lot of Wolf Den is as well, but I did make a conscious decision not to have too many super, super heavy tunes on it,” she said. “I’m still true to my songwriting, in writing through experience and perspectives that I’ve lived, but I didn’t want to get so heavy like we just naturally did with TUF. I wanted to do more story writing and just be more conscious of putting out a kick-ass debut and say, ‘This is the band; this is what we do.’ That’s what you get live, as well, where we do most of the record, instead of just doing two or three key songs that the radio is playing now. We do them all, because I love them all.”

The New Orleans influence can’t be denied on Wolf Den. It doesn’t sound like a New Orleans’ record, but one can sure tell that a lot of its underpinning is based on the Crescent City. But as Schnebelen also explains, her hometown also managed to find its way deep into the grooves of Wolf Den.

“They’re all really good, groovin’ tunes, and Anders had a lot to do with that, with his background of being able to write really good danceable – which is a really kitschy word – songs. I’m from Kansas City, as is ‘Shinetop’ (Mike Sedovic), so we’re both Kansas City-based players, which is heavily, heavily influenced by swing. And as far as swing goes, there were only two places where swing originated and that was New Orleans and Kansas City,” she said. “So when you’re talking geographically, that’s the two true places where swing came from back in the day. I think that comes out in the album … there’s a lot of natural swing to it that you would correlate to New Orleans, because of Anders and Stanton, but I really think it’s also the two different swing worlds combining.”

She – or anyone else, for that matter – may not have known it when the sessions for her album were underway in New Orleans, but Schnebelen would actually end up having two releases out last year, starting with a six-song EP called Danielle Nicole (Concord) that was released in March 2015, seven months before Wolf Den would see the light of day.

“Well, ‘Shinetop’ and I went to New Orleans in 2014 and in six days, we did 14 songs … we recorded the album in six days. I mean, I would have preferred at least eight days, but I don’t know any artist that doesn’t want at least a couple of extra days to work on a project, to fine-tune a couple of things. The last two days, we were in the studio for like 14 hours each day and were just completely fried by the end of it. Everything was just kind of flowing together,” she said. “Originally, the record was supposed to be released in March, which I thought was a little early, since we had just recorded it in September. But I was like, ‘Alright.’ Then in January, the label decided to release an EP, as kind of a teaser for the full-length album. Well, that literally changed everything, because we had a 14-track record and our record deal was for a minimum of 12 songs per record. I didn’t want to put out a bunch of repeats from the EP onto the record, so we had this big, long discussion about what songs to basically take off the album and put onto the EP. I mean, we had the whole record done and planed out from start to finish and it flowed well … there was a story to tell and it was great. Then it was like, ‘Oh, yeah, by the way, we’re going to take two songs off the record.'”

Despite the last-minute upsetting of the apple cart, as it might be, Schnebelen refused to let that get her down for very long. Instead, she came up with a nifty ‘Plan B,’ one that even opened some doors for some additional work down the road.

“I went to a radio station here in Kansas City, which is like our local NPR branch (KTBG – The Bridge, 90.9) and did acoustic versions of a couple of songs off the record and then added a couple of songs from the New Orleans sessions that didn’t make the album and then put a couple of radio edits of the tunes on there, as well,” she said. “I’ve really been getting into playing my acoustic six-string guitar and doing some acoustic shows. At first, I was like, ‘What? My album’s getting pushed back?’ But now in hind-sight, it’s great, because I have this little piece of acoustic work that I can use to show off some of the different facets of my music. It’s cool, because as I’ve started to broaden out this year, I’ve been doing some acoustic shows, which have turned out to be a lot of fun.”

That ‘fun’ figures to continue into the foreseeable future, as Schnebelen is set to hit the road with the North Mississippi Allstars, where it sounds like she may pull some double-duty.

“Yeah, I’m going to be opening up some shows acoustically for the North Mississippi Allstars and I’m also going to be playing bass for them for a couple of shows,” she said. “I did the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise with them in January and that was a lot of fun. So they asked me to do a few shows with them this year and so I’m doing three shows at the end of March with them and then flying out for a festival in April. Then they’re going out on the road with Tedeschi/Trucks Band and I’ve got a huge summer of shows lined up for myself. So I’m just going to come in and help them out whenever they need me and whenever I can … they’re awesome.”

Even on the very best of days, being in a working band can test all known levels of patience and understanding between its members. That’s simply just how it is when you take a group of people, throw them in a van for a few months at a time and force them to spend 24 hours a day, seven days a week with each other. But when you also add in the dynamic of being a ‘family band,’ that can take things to a whole different level, as Trampled Under Foot experienced.

“We were together for over 13 years and toured over 10 countries, played literally thousands of shows and met tens of thousands of amazing people, did seven records and we did all of that as a family. We did so much together. Well, it came a time when Kris was just done with Nick and I. He was like, ‘I can’t do this anymore.’ And that was OK … the feeling was pretty mutual by that time for all of us. But we’d just had a hit record and had won a BMA six months prior and then Kris was leaving the band,” she said. “So we decided to tour it out one extra year as a thank you to our fans and to everyone we’d formed relationships with over the years. We worked so hard – not to get an award – but just so hard on that album that we felt it deserved respect. That was a really hard decision to continue the band without Kris for a year, but we made that decision and I stand by it. That also allowed Nick and I the year that we needed to prepare our solo careers. We’ve got kids to feed and we just couldn’t all of a sudden just quit playing. We had to think of our families, as well. I really think it (the split) was what we all needed at the time. I’m a firm believer in karma and we all felt that we needed a change.”

Just as it is the case with most families, although they may fuss and fight some and not see each other for a while, at the end of the day, the Schnebelens are still a family unit and as everyone knows, you can’t keep a good family down for long.

“It’s opened us up to heal individually and we’re doing three reunion events this year. And then we’ll be doing a couple next year,” she said. “That allows us to get back together and celebrate the family.”

But for now, it’s full speed ahead for Danielle Nicole Schnebelen.

“I really am enjoying being on my own, musically. There’s 100-percent more responsibility. I mean, I pay for the van, I pay for the trailer, I pay for the hotels, I pay for everything, including the musicians,” she said. “I’m also tour manager, so there’s a lot more responsibility on my head, being the front-man and also the owner of the business. But it’s great, because it’s so hard trying to run a business as frantic as a band with three people who have equal say. It’s easier for me to tell my manager what I need, instead of waiting for everyone to get back with me. It’s a lot easier in that aspect to just be the hammer, you know?”

Visit Danielle’s website at

Photos by Bob Kieser © 2016

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


 Featured Blues Review – 2 of 4 

Giba Byblos – Tomorrow

Sensashun Music

10 songs – 48 minutes

Based in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Giba “Guitar” Byblos is no stranger to straight-ahead Chicago blues, and he delivers it in heaping helpings on this self-produced CD, the second in his brief, but extremely tasty catalog.

In addition to being a string-bender and vocalist who delivers his lyrics in almost totally unaccented English, he’s also a music promoter who’s worked closely with some of the best musicians the Windy City has to offer, including guitarists Jimmy Johnson, aka the Barroom Preacher, rising superstar Toronzo Cannon and Jon McDonald, a longtime fixture with Magic Slim, and drummer Merle Perkins, a 40-year veteran timekeeper and bandleader whose resume includes long service time with James Cotton, Lonnie Brooks, Freddy and Albert King, John Littlejohn and Son Seals, just to name a few.

The second disc in Byblos’ catalog, Tomorrow is a follow-up to the 2011 release, My Duty. It came about after a conversation with Johnson at the conclusion of a Brazilian tour three years ago. The pair were stuck in traffic and Giba, the driver, was feeling anxious. Johnson tried to calm him, drawing from 60 years on the road. “Listen to me,” he said. “Yesterday have came and gone. Tomorrow is unknown.”

That kernel of wisdom evolved into a song on which Byblos and Johnson share writing credits as well as this album, which includes eight other Giba originals and three covers. Johnson joins Byblos in the studio on rhythm and lead for a cover of his classic tune, “Heap See.” Rounding out the sound are a collection of several top Brazilian musicians, including Fabio Basili (bass), Paulinha Sarriso (drums), Dada Tristao and Adriana Grineberg (keyboards), Mauricio Sahady (guitar), Clayton Silva (sax) and Miqueias Nascimento (trumpet). Edu Gomes, who produced the disc, adds tambourine and shakers.

It doesn’t take more than a few seconds of listening to “Tomorrow,” the title cut, which opens the album, to realize that, which being totally current, Byblos’ attack on the strings is a throwback to the clean approach that was popular in the Windy City from the ‘60s onward, but is quickly becoming a dying art. Like Johnson, Giba’s notes fly off of the fretboard through the amp and into the soundboard in their natural state, virtually free of the many effects than contemporaries rely on today. His voice is as powerful and clear as his single-note guitar runs.

Up next, Byblos takes Junior Kimbrough’s “Lord Have Mercy On Me” out of the Hill Country and makes it his own with a contemporary Chicago feel before a horn-fueled cover of Johnson’s “Heap See,” on which the Windy City octogenarian lends a hand himself. “Earn A Dime” delivers the thoughts of a heavy drinker who thinks the only way he can make any money is by shooting dice. Unfortunately, he realizes that all of his efforts are in vain as he struggles without a penny in his pocket. Giba’s guitar solo cries out to reveal his pain.

Another sweeping guitar solo kicks off an updated version of Freddy King’s “She Put A Whammy On Me,” which tells the story of falling for an unforgettable woman who’s cast such a spell on him that he’s left in misery. A block of five more originals follow. “Up For No Good” is a medium-paced shuffle with more fine work on the strings about a woman who’s playing kiss-and-tell, while “Riverside” recounts Byblos’ journey through the Mississippi Delta and a stay at Clarksdale’s legendary Riverside Hotel, which served as a home to dozens of top musicians before integration and where Bessie Smith died. “17 Years” is an expression of lasting love after a long separation while “Wrong Place, Wrong Time” is a slow blues lament about the end of a love affair before the uptempo instrumental “Catch You On The Flipside” brings the album to a close.

Available through iTunes or direct from the artist’s website (above) and in Europe, Tomorrow is a thoroughly modern disc that anyone with an appreciation of straight-ahead Chicago-style guitar blues absolutely will love. And it will provide even more proof that the blues is alive and thriving far beyond the U.S. border. Giba’s delivery is rock-solid throughout and his guitar playing is always powerful, but never forced. Pick this one up today. 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.

 Featured Blues Review – 3 of 4 

Sista Jean & CB – Requiem For A Heavyweight: A Tribute To Odetta

Freckle Bandit Records

12 songs – 47 minutes

Here’s a well-deserved tribute album for you! Sista Jean McClain, who possesses one of the sweetest voices you’ll ever hear, teams up with Carlyle Barriteau, a gifted guitarist known for his work in the jazz and soul fields, for an acoustic tip of the hat to the late Odetta, a legendary vocalist whom Martin Luther King dubbed both the Voice Of The Civil Rights Movement and the Queen Of American Folk Music.

It’s a welcome retrospective for an artist whose legacy has begun to fade as the fans who’ve loved and appreciated her have aged and begun to fade away. Odetta Holmes (1930-2008) crossed the boundaries between folk, gospel and blues. An actress and Broadway star in her own right, she toured in the cast of “Finnigan’s Rainbow” after making her debut opposite Ella Fitzgerald as a member of the Turnabout Puppet Theater in Hollywood.

A vocalist whose he was a major influence on the careers of Harry Belafonte, Mavis Staples, Joan Baez, Janis Joplin, Carly Simon and Bob Dylan, among many others, her biggest hit was a duet of “There’s A Hole In The Bucket” with Belafonte that charted in 1961. But she’s best remembered as one of the most visible performers in demonstrations in the years that followed, most notably “O Freedom” at the March On Washington in 1963.

One of the future vocalists to fall under Odetta’s spell was Sista Jean, who grew up to be one of the most important backup singers in the world, working behind Tina Turner, Mick Jagger, Celine Dion and Keb’ Mo. She earned acclaim with the song “Dive Into The Pool,” which charted internationally on Billboard’s dance music charts, before returning to returning to her blues/roots charts in a partnership with Barriteau, who’s toured with jazz powerhouse Bobby Caldwell after working with the Miracles, Rose Royce, Paul Taylor, Patti Austin and Rickie Lee Jones.

This 12-song release follows their debut CD, 2011’s Back To The Root, and is available through Amazon, CDBaby and iTunes. It gives Sista Jean and CB the perfect platform to deliver some of the best folk blues you’ll ever hear. The duo rounds out their sound with assists from Vincent Henry (harp, horns and vocals), Mark Goldenberg (resonator guitar), David Piltch, Roberto Vally and Ian Martin (bass) and Davey Chegwidden and Big Willie B (percussion).

All but one of the tunes you’ll hear here was sung by Odetta at one time or another in her career. First up is a cover of Leadbelly’s “Alabama Bound.” Sista Jean’s voice soars over guitar work that features Goldenberg in his sole appearance. Another Leadbelly classic, “Easy Rider,” precedes a version of “House Of The Rising Sun.” A traditional folk song made popular by Blind Lemon Jefferson, “Jack Of Diamonds” leads into “Deep River,” a tune that traces its roots to Africa and was first sung in America in the mid-1800s.

“Another Man Done Gone,” credited here to Alan Lomax, but which originated with chain gangs in the Mississippi Delta, bridges into two more Leadbelly masterworks, “Midnight Special” and “Take This Hammer,” before the only new tune on this disc, “Troubled Man Of Mine,” co-written by Sista Jean and CB. A version of Louis Armstrong’s “Hear Me Talkin’ To Ya” and Leadbelly’s “Meet N At The Building” follow before the traditional gospel number “Glory Glory” concludes the set.

Requiem For A Heavyweight delivers on all counts as it revives the stylings of Odetta and revisits the American folk blues songbook as it existed in her lifetime. A beautifully executed treasure from start to finish.

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

 Featured Blues Review – 4 of 4 

Ebony Jo-Ann – Please Save Your Love for Me


CD: 10 Songs; 46:26 Minutes

Styles: Traditional and Contemporary Vocal Blues, Soul-Influenced Blues

Yours truly has a theory: In the music world, today’s pop tunes are like potato chips. They may have salty language and crisp beats, not to mention a relentlessly-addicting quality. However, they leave consumers feeling hollow and hungry, even after a whole-bag binge. In contrast, the blues is steak and potatoes: nourishing food for the soul. With rich flavor and instrumentation that’s filling – not filler – New York’s Ebony Jo-Ann provides listeners a ten-course gourmet meal on her newest album. Please Save Your Love for Me is a feast for the ears, brimming with Ebony’s perfectly-seasoned vocals. Performing for over thirty years in concerts, movies, and theater, this blues chanteuse serves up nothing but the best selections. Five on this album are original entrées worthy of any film’s bill-of-fare. The others are five covered dishes sure to please at any live blues “potluck”. This is a reference-quality CD for any blues connoisseur.

Ebony Jo-Ann has a resume a mile long, full of cheers in all her spheres of entertainment. She has played at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Symphony Space, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Kennedy Center, and the Copa Cabana in NYC. Her numerous Broadway credits include August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean and American Century, playing Ma Rainey (this reviewer’s blues namesake) in the latter. She’s also appeared in several films, most notably Grown Ups and Grown Ups 2. As for official accolades, she’s been crowned the winner of six Audelco awards and the National Action Network’s Woman Of Excellence prize in 2014.

With her on her current CD are Danny Kean on multiple instruments; Phil Bloom on drums; Tinkr on bass; Mark Bowers on lead guitar; Gerald Rampersad on tenor and alto saxophone; Forrest “Frosty” Lawson on trombones and trumpets; Mario Staiano on congas; Guy Davis on multiple instruments; Bill Easley on tenor sax; Larry Ross on upright bass; and Aziza Miller and Thuli Dumakude joining in on background vocals with other musicians previously mentioned.

The following three original songs are the tastiest offerings on this overall-scrumptious album:

Track 01: “Just Rain” – The opener sizzles with fajita-level heat, and the optimal amount of spice. “The window flew open, and the wind gushed in. The thumping in my heart said, ‘He’s back again.’ Ah, but then my senses came, and I realized it was…just rain.” The most stunning parts of this song are the incredible all-around vocals, harmonious and smooth, and Gerald Rampersad’s spectacular sax.

Track 03: “Yo Love” – Traditional blues at its finest, number three also mentions “liquid sunshine”, but in a comforting capacity: “Yo love is like a cooling summer rain…It feels so good. It never brings me pain.” With a slight ‘70’s funk vibe and a vibrant harmonica solo to savor from Danny Kean, this song is perfect for an intimate turn on the dancefloor.

Track 04: “Nosybody” – One of the best soul/blues numbers of this young year, “Nosybody” tells the unwary exactly what they are if they gorge on gossip. “You sitting on the phone, waiting for a call from someone who will tell it all. You just can’t wait to see crazy misery, with their backs against the wall…You’re just a nosybody!” Most surprising is Tinkr’s catchy bass track, multi-noted and catchier than a cold – if one listens closely and catches it.

Please Save Your Love for Me is delectable from start to finish, as are Ebony Jo-Ann’s vocals!

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.

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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. 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: 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.

The Suncoast Blues Society – Tampa. FL

The 10th Annual Pork Butt Blues Festival happens Saturday, April 2 in Ellenton, FL. Proceeds benefit the Manatee Veterans Village in Bradenton; performers include Doug Deming and the Jewel Tones, Anni Piper, and Koko Ray and the Keepers. Tickets $10. (online in advance), $15. at the Gate. Info:

The Detroit Blues Society – Detroit, MI

March 23, 2016- On Saturday April 23,2016 the Detroit Blues Heritage Series will present “Detroit Blues Piano Unplugged” featuring Kerry Price and Matthew Ball, aka , “The Boogie Woogie Kid” featuring vocalist Emma Aboukasm.

This event will take place Saturday April 23,2016 from 2:00PM until 4:30PM at the historic Scarab Club. The Scarab Club is located at 217 Farnsworth in Detroit’s Cultural Center. A $5.00 donation is requested.

For more information please call the Scarab Club (313-831-1250) or contact the Detroit Blues Society at

The Colorado Blues Society – Boulder, CO

The Colorado Blues Society is entering our 21st year with our Annual Members Party at the Buffalo Rose in Golden, Colorado on April 2. Our Headliner that evening is the Ghost Town Blues Band, a 2-time Finalist at the IBC in Memphis and took 2nd Place in 2014. The Zakk Debono Band is opening for GTBB. The show starts at 8PM and is Free to CBS members, but the public can purchase tickets for $10 and are welcome to attend. CBS received the 2013 KBA for Blues Organization of the Year.

CBS is kicking off our local IBC competition the next day, April 3rd with the opening round at the Buffalo Rose in Golden. Round 2 will be April 17th at the Dickens Opera House in Longmont. The Finals will be back at the Buffalo Rose on May 1. All IBC events start at 2pm with a cover charge of $10 at the door. All funds will go to eventual Colorado Blues Society winners in the Band and Solo/Duo competitions to help with expense at the 2017 IBC in Memphis . Go to for more information.

Grand County Blues Society – Winter Park, CO

Grand County Blues Society and Blue Star Connection present “An Evening With Ana Popovic”, on Saturday, April 9 (8pm) at Buffalo Rose in Golden, CO. The concert benefits Blue Star Connection, which provides musical instruments to children and young adults facing cancer and other serious challenges.

Friends of the Blues – Kankakee IL area

The Friends of the Blues announce their 2016 Concert Series. All shows start at 7 pm and are open to the public – and – Food and Beverages available at all Friends of the Blues shows. March 24, Eleanor Tallie (and band) Thursday, Moose Lodge 730 N Kinzie Ave (State Rt 50), Bradley IL, Tues, April 5, Kilborn Alley Blues Band w/ Ronnie Shellist, Moose Lodge, Bradley IL, Tues, April 19, Smiley Tillmon Band w/ Kate Moss, Moose Lodge, Bradley IL, May 10, Skyla Burrell Band, Moose Lodge, Bradley IL, Tues, May 24, Lazer Lloyd, Moose Lodge, Bradley IL, Tues, June 7, Frank Bang & Cook County Kings, Manteno Sportsmen’s Club, Manteno IL, Thur, June 16, Nick Harless Band, Moose Lodge, Bradley IL, Tues, June 28, Cash Box Kings, Kankakee Valley Boat Club, Kankakee IL, Thur, July 14, Joe Moss Band, The Longbranch, L’Erable IL, Thur, Aug 4, Albert Castiglia, L’Erable, w/ Opening Act Maybe Later, The Longbranch, L’Erable IL, Tues, Aug 16, Too Slim & the Taildraggers, The Longbranch, L’Erable IL, Thur, Sept 15, Danielle Nicole Band, Moose Lodge, Bradley IL. For more info visit

Madison Blues Society – Madison, WI

The Madison Blues Society Presents the 9th Annual Wild Women of the Blues Saturday April 2, 2016 at 8:00 P.M. at Badger Bowl 506 E. Badger Rd in Madison WI (608)274-6662.

This show features opening act: Maggie Alliotta & the Paul Filipowicz Band, and head liner- Katherine Davis & the Cash Box Kings with special guests Price- $15 advance/$18 dos, members $12 advance/$15 at the door.

In addition to recognizing and celebrating Blueswomen, this event is also a fundraiser for both MBS’s Blues in the Community programs, and for this year’s chosen beneficiary. For the past few years we’ve paired with an organization in the community that provides critical services to women. This year we’ve chosen the Dane County Rape Crisis Center as our beneficiary. Event details at our website: Info:

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:

Capital Region Blues Network – Albany, NY

The Capital Region Blues Network is happy to announce their 5th Annual Blues Bash Fundraiser on Saturday April 16th at The Bayou in Glenville, NY (507 Rt 50) at 7PM

The entertainment will be provided by The Andrew Wheeler Band and National Recording Artist, The Chris O’Leary Band. We will have a silent auction with lots of great gifts, musicial and otherwise.

Check out all the info at

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 Alligator Records recording artist Selwyn Birchwood, and his band at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 10, at Kavanaugh’s Hilltop Tap, 1228 30th Street, Rock Island, IL. The cost to see this performance will be $10 if you are a Mississippi Valley Blues Society member, or $12 if you have not joined the Blues Society (application will be available at the door).

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!

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. 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: 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!

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

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