Issue 10-21 May 26, 2016

Cover photo by Greenville Headshots © 2016

 In This Issue 

Terry Mullins has our feature interview with Mac Arnold. We have 9 Blues reviews for you this week including 2 new Blues books by James L. Dickerson and Rev. Keith A. Gordon plus reviews of music by George Stephen Kelly, Matteo Sansonetto Blues Revue, Shari Puorto, Larry Wimmer, People vs. Larsen, The Record Company and Blues Karloff.

Our video of the week is Mac Arnold.

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

 Blues Wanderings 

We made it out to catch a set by Lazer Lloyd for Blue Monday at the Alamo in Springfield, Illinois. Lloyd was born in New York but spent more than a decade playing in Isreal before returning to tour the US. His latest self titled album released in 2015 is available on Amazon.

He played both electric and solo acoustic and showcased a few songs from his upcoming new album. Check out his website at

 Featured Blues Review – 1 of 9 

George Stephen Kelly – The Power, The Glory And The Monkey Time

Ace Sleeve Records – 2016

10 tracks: 41 minutes

George Stephen Kelly is based in Detroit and this album is a horn-driven delight with plenty of fine playing and some idiosyncratic original songs alongside two solid covers. George wrote the songs, handles all lead vocals and plays guitar throughout with a large cast of Detroit sidemen including the return to recording of Motor City Josh (Ford) who engineered the sessions and plays some guitar. Michael Jenkins also plays guitar, bass duties are split between Alex Lyon and Ryland Kelly (who also contributes piano and guitar to one track), drums between Antonio Johnson and Todd Glass, keys between Kevin Tubbs and Chris Codish. The horns appear on seven tracks with De’Sean Jones and Marcus Elliot on sax and John Douglas on trumpet. Caleb Ford (Josh’s brother) adds backing vocals to one track.

Opener “My Love’s Enough” has an insistent horn refrain and lyrics that link phrases in a style that to these ears seems to have been influenced by rap. However, that is purely in the way that George links words to fit the music which is definitely soulful with a fine trumpet solo from John. “Morning After Pill” is a bouncy shuffle with George’s slide work and an excellent horn chart (containing some Duke Ellington references) providing a solid blues in which George declares himself afraid of the central character who has “a licence to kill, she got it registered legally; she’s got the morning after pill, she likes to live dangerously. She’s mentally ill, please keep the girl away from me.” George shows his gentler side in “My Forever, Your Always” which has a suitably charming horn arrangement to match the romantic sentiments.

It is not often that you find a title in the blues that takes from the ancient legends of antiquity but George’s “Sisyphus Blues” does so most successfully. Although the horns are absent George more than compensates with some of the very best guitar playing on the album, not one but two outstanding solos here as lyrically he recreates the Sisyphus legend in a contemporary context: “I rolled a stone to the top of the hill, it rolled back down again. Exercise in futility – that’s how my days are spent”. A strong sense of humour shows through in the lyrics of the self-explanatory “Too Much Month At The End Of The Money” which has a funky rhythm punctuated by the horns, George leaving the guitar duties to Josh on this one.

The first cover is “Don’t Let The Green Grass Fool You”, best known from Wilson Pickett’s version. While the ‘Wicked Pickett’ had a unique soul voice George has a good enough voice to deliver the song very well in a really swinging arrangement and also delivers a stinging guitar solo – another outstanding track. The horns sit out the tale of “Bad Whiskey”, a slow blues about the evils of the ‘demon drink’. “Nice Ride” features Michael’s wah-wah embellishments and gut-wrenching solo on an interesting song that takes us through a series of key events in life, each featuring a different type of car, giving the title a double meaning as George takes us on a journey from prom to marriage to funeral cortège!

The second cover is a swinging arrangement of Boz Scagg’s “Runnin’ Blue” which has Keith Kaminski’s sax and Jimmy Smith’s trumpet boosting the horn section to four players. The final track “Just Because You’re Paranoid” is another example of George’s ability to write a song that combines unusual lyrics with strong melody as a delicate arrangement underpins the song.

This is an impressive set of sometimes unusual songs that will appeal to those who enjoy the soulful end of the blues. This reviewer certainly enjoyed listening to the disc and can recommend it to others.

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.

 Featured Blues Review – 2 of 9 

Matteo Sansonetto Blues Revue – My Life Began To Change

Wind Chill Records

10 songs – 45 minutes

Matteo Sansonetto is an Italian singer/guitarist whose earlier releases have emphasized his love of the classic Chicago blues of the likes of Muddy Waters and Magic Sam. On his new album, My Life Began To Change, Sansonetto takes a more funk/soul/blues/Stax-influenced route to produce a very enjoyable album.

Openly displaying his influences in his song selections, Sansonetto covers two of Johnny Guitar Watson’s funkier tracks (“I Want To Ta-Ta You Baby” and “A Real Mother For Ya”) as well as classics by Albert King (“You Sure Drive A Hard Bargain”, re-titled here as “Hard Bargain”), Lee Dorsey (“Get Out Of My Life, Woman”), Latimore (“Let’s Straighten It Out”) and Little Milton (“That’s What Love Will Make You Do”). As you’d expect when the backing band comprises the always-magnificent Marty Binder on drums, Brian Burke on bass ( except on “I’ve Been Looking For You”, where Valentina Sigismondi assumes bass duties), Breezy Rodio on second guitar, Roosevelt Purifoy on keys, Bill Overton and Art Davis on horns and Jen Williams on background vocals, the music is masterful. Overton’s sax and Davis’ trumpet provide memorable hooks as well as tasty solos on tracks like “Get Out Of My Life, Woman” while the entire rhythm section is simply badass throughout.

Sansonetto holds his own in such elevated company. He sings in a warm, sly, husky voice and plays tasty, minimalist solos, hinting at influences such as Albert King and Albert Collins while displaying the restraint of modern masters such as Jimmie Vaughan and Mike Keller. His solo on “Come On In My House” is particularly good. He is also a generous band-leader, shining the spotlight on his band, for example on Williams’ glorious vocals and Purifoy’s haunting keys on “Let’s Straighten It Out” or Rodio’s guitar leads on “Hard Bargain”.

My Life Began To Change also has guest appearances from the legendary Lurrie Bell on vocals and magnificent lead guitar on the Bo Diddley-esque “I Was Wrong” and Chris Foreman on Hammond organ on the title track. Both these songs, together with the upbeat shuffle of “I’ve Been Looking For You” and the slow blues that closes the album, “Come On In My House”, were written by Sansonetto. If one were to level a minor criticism at My Life Began To Change, one could say that there should be more originals (or at least some less-well known covers). Sansonetto is clearly a talented writer and it would be great to hear more of what he has to say.

The album was produced by Rodio and recorded by Brian Leach, both of whom deserve credit for capturing a warm, very “live” sound.

Overall, My Life Began To Change is fine album of modern Chicago blues, peppered with soul and funk influences. It will be fascinating to see what Sansonetto does next but, in the meantime, this is recommended listening.

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

 Featured Blues Review – 3 of 9 

Shari Puorto – My Obsession

Little Lightning Productions

12 tracks

This Los Angeles based singer who was raised in Connecticut has released a very nice album of mostly original music. Featuring a huge cast of players, the folks backing here do a super job. Included are the likes of Barry Goldberg on one cut, Jimmy Vivino on three, and Tony Braunagel on drums who also produced the album.

Puorto had a hand in writing all but the last song on the CD. The songs are fresh and original. Stylistically we see three sorts of cuts here: funky stuff, rocking blues and soulful ballads/slow blues.

“It’s a Damn Shame,” “Better Left Unsaid,” are the funky cuts. She give impassioned performances here.

Blues rockers are also featured. “Home of the Blues,” “Six Months Sober,” the title track (although it starts as a ballad), “Workin the Room,” “What’s the Matter w/the World?,” and “Turned to Stone.” I liked he approach rocking out with the blues and her band helped deliver the goods.

She gives us some soulful ballads and big and slow blues in “Sugar Daddy,” “Old Silo Road,” “All About You,” and the lone cover “When a Man Loves a Woman.” She seems quite at home with these songs.

If you are looking for a new face with a clean and fresh expressive voice, Shari is worth checking out. I think you’ll like her!

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 reer in nuclear submarines. In addition to working in his civilian career since 1996, he writes for and publishes the bi-monthly newsletter for Crossroads, chairs their music festival and works with their Blues In The Schools program. He resides in Byron, IL.

 Featured Blues Review – 4 of 9 

Larry Wimmer – Leavin’ Prophetstown

Self-Release – 2015

8 tracks; 41 minutes

Larry Wimmer really does himself no favours with a PR leaflet that describes him as ‘a journeyman of the R&B and blues scene in the Midwest’! Actually as Larry wrote, sang and produced everything we hear on this (his third) album as well as playing drums and guitar, he is more “renaissance man” than’ journeyman’! Recorded at several sessions in his native Wisconsin, Nashville and LA, the album is an enjoyable listen with strong songs and solid playing. Larry is joined by a large cast of musicians: Michael Sinclair, Jim Brock, John Kalkman, Erik Scott and Leland Sklar play bass; drums are mostly Larry himself though Keelan James plays on two tracks; lead guitar duties are handled by Tom Britt, Alex Gowland, Rex Carroll and Mark Rogers; keys are by Nathan Kaddatz, Lemel Lewis and Tim McDonald; Christelle Berthon adds harp and Khalid Jernigan sax to one track each and a choir of Etta Britt, Lala Deaton and Leah Stilson add backing vocals to one cut.

Opening track “What’s The Matter” swings along with horn parts played by keyboardist Nathan, slide from Tom and the chorus of backing singers. Larry’s voice is ideally suited to this sort of soulful material and he carries the song very well, the full band production giving quite an epic feel. The title track takes a leaf out of the Springsteen book with a song about getting away from a small town and if Prophetstown IL is the subject of the song it would certainly qualify with a population of just 2000. Larry has paid his bills and is heading for the Greyhound station: “Gotta be gone, gotta be strong, ‘cos I don’t belong”. “Hands Of Time” has a soulful vibe with Khalid’s ethereal soprano sax and Leland Sklar’s bass lines, Larry’s vocal here sounding like Robert Cray to these ears. A chunky guitar and piano riff underpins a gently funky approach to “Nowhere In Particular”, Larry more than content to hang out with present company.

Infidelity is the subject matter of the funky blues “Just Like A Woman before Larry drops the pace for the gentle love song “Everything I Need”, the longest track and a fine showcase for his voice: “She’s a part of me; some people say if you cut her they believe I would bleed”. “Real Love”, one of the two tracks on which Larry hands over the drum stool to Keelan, gives Larry the opportunity to play some tasty guitar over Nathan’s piano work in another gently funky tune. The final track is “How Long”, a rolling blues with French harp player Christelle Berthon showing her paces.

Overall this is a very enjoyable album that shows that Larry is a talented guy who, in this reviewer’s opinion, deserves wider attention.

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.

 Video Of The Week – Mac Arnold and Plate Full O’ Blues 

This is a video of this weeks feature artist Mac Arnold and his band Plate Full O’ Blues playing his song Cackalacky Twang. Click on the video image above to see the video.

 Featured Blues Interview – Mac Arnold 

The laundry list of why he had given up playing the blues and was instead working a ‘straight job’ was a long one, but the A, B, C’s of it went something like this:

A. Musicians don’t want to rehearse;

B. If they do manage to show for rehearsals, they’re always late;

C. When they finally do show up for rehearsals or a gig, they bring whatever problems they are having at the time with them.

Add all that up and that’s the lion’s share of the reason that Dr. Mac Arnold – after having played with cats like Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, A.C. Reed and Little Milton Campbell – had turned his back on playing the blues and was driving a truck for a living in the 1990s.

But as the story ends up, that ‘self-retirement’ from the blues was just temporary.

The ever-persistent Max Hightower made sure of that.

“I was driving for Belk (Trucking) and Max Hightower was working for a company that Belk was leasing their trucks from. I would go there to fuel up and one day I was in the fuel line and had my stereo playing a James Cotton song. The guy on the fuel line said, ‘Hey, Mac. I like that blues, do you like the blues?’ I said, ‘Yeah, man, I used to play the blues.’ He said, ‘There’s a guy inside there (the shop) that likes the blues, too, and he blows a little harmonica. I’m sure he’d like to meet you,'” Arnold recently said. “Well, I didn’t have time that day, but a few days later I went back to fuel up again and I went inside. Max had an old boom box and was playing some Muddy Waters. As I was walking through the shop, I was singing along with the song on the boom box. When I got back to where Max was, he said, Hey, man, do you know who that guy (Muddy) is?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I used to play bass with him.’ He said, ‘Ahhh, man.’ It was like he didn’t believe me.”

That may have been the case at first.

However …

“A few weeks later, he called me up and said, ‘Man, I’ve been reading up on you and found out about you playing with Muddy and a bunch of different guys. You don’t need to be driving no truck; you need to be playing the blues.’ I told him all the reasons (listed above) why I had retired from music,” said Arnold. “Well, 10 years went on and every week or so, Max would call me up and get after me to play. I kept telling me I was done with music, but then one day he finally talked me into coming out and playing some music with him … after about 10 years.”

Thusly, after years out of the bright spotlights, Mac Arnold & Plate Full O’ Blues was born in 2006. Arnold plays bass, rhythm gas can guitar, slide gas can guitar (explained later) and sings. Hightower blows harp, plays keyboards, bass, guitar and sings. Austin Brashier plays guitar and sings. He was discovered by Arnold and Hightower one day when they were rehearsing in a storage facility and heard Brashier wringing some tasty blues licks out of his guitar a couple of units down the row.

“Yeah, that was the beginning of Mac Arnold & Plate Full O’ Blues. I always cooked every weekend and we would rehearse, most of the time on Sundays,” he said. “I’d cook, we’d eat, we’d tell stories and we’d play music. We had a Hell of a time around the house. This went on for a couple of years and then we finally decided that we were good enough to go out and play.”

Scotty Hawkins has been drumming with the group ever since their original drummer went on vacation (with a slew of gigs already on the books) and basically never came back.

“Scotty is one of the top drummers that I’ve ever known,” is how Arnold describes Hawkins.

The group recently returned from headlining the 10th edition of their annual Cornbread & Collard Greens Blues Festival in Key Largo, Florida.

“Folks came from all over the United States and some parts of Europe for the festival. I have a foundation called I Can Do Anything Foundation that’s for the preservation of music and arts in public schools. The Cornbread & Collard Greens Blues Festival is a fundraiser for the foundation,” explained Arnold. “We also do Blues in the Schools throughout the US and Europe. We create funds for the schools, instead of the school having to try and find money to hire us. First, I go to the school and do a 45-minute show for the students. Then I try and set up a concert for the school with the full band. We charge the public for a seat at the concert we do in the schools. Then in return, we donate the net profits back to the schools. I also collect instruments for the foundation and donate them to the school that needs an instrument for a specific student. Then the school donates that instrument to the student.”

It may have taken awhile, but when he was finally lured out of retirement, Arnold came all the way back. He easily could have been content to just play the back catalog of any of the numerous artists that he played with in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s.

Instead, he has issued five albums – full of new, original material – under the Mac Arnold & Plate Full O’ Blues banner over the course of the past decade or so.

“Well, first of all, I want to influence children to not only play music, but to write their own material. That’s one reason why I still write my own songs. The record industry has become an independent business at this point in time,” he said. “Children and younger musicians need to know how this is done … how to write, arrange, compose and then play this music. It’s very important for me to be able to create new music – within the same vein that the traditional blues has always been in. I want to keep the essence of the blues in my new music.”

The 73-year-old Arnold – who was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Music from the University of South Carolina in 2014 – has never been one to spend a whole heck of a lot of time listening to people tell him what to do. He’s pretty much known where each path he takes will lead him and he’s never been shy about walking in the opposite direction from the rest of the pack when he felt like it. That goes a long way in helping to explain why Arnold has been giving away his latest album (ironically enough, titled Give It Away) as a free download through his Web site (

“We figured that the more music we get out there in the street amongst the people, the more we’ll get noticed,” he said. “So, we decided to do the CD and then go out there and give it away for a while and see what happens. So far, it’s been a successful download.”

In today’s climate of uncertain retail sales of any given compact disc (in any genre of music), Arnold’s approach to his latest work is a brilliant stroke. With so many working blues bands dependent on club bookings to eke out a living, if the patrons of those clubs can get ahold of a disc for a limited amount of money (in this case, free), they may get exposed to an artist they might otherwise miss out on. Then, they start clamoring for that artist to play their town and a savvy club owner pays attention to the request and books the band. All-in-all, Arnold’s decision to give away Give It Away as a free download seems to be a win-win-win situation.

“I think that’s just what it is … a winning situation for everybody,” he said.

Another thing that helps to separate Arnold from a lot of other bluesmen – other than his ever-present cowboy hat – is his weapon of choice up on the bandstand. Sure, he doesn’t knock slinging a Fender or Gibson around his neck, but generally, Arnold prefers an ax that in some ways harkens back to his truck-driving days, and definitely goes back to his childhood – a guitar made out of a gas can.

He explains the origins of his gas can guitars.

“In 1946, one of my older brothers, named Leroy – unfortunately he passed away last June, 25 – made the first one. He was going to school and the teacher wanted him to bring in a toy or an instrument for show-and-tell. He decided he wanted to bring a guitar. Well, my father – I’m one of 13 siblings – was a cotton farmer and he really didn’t have the money to buy a guitar. Besides, he was a very highly-recognized deacon in the church and back in those days, they didn’t want any guitars in the house. They thought that was the devil’s instrument,” Arnold said. “In the fall of the year in 1946, my father came to Tampa, Florida to pick oranges. While he was gone, my brother took one of his gasoline cans and made a guitar. That thing stayed with the family for many, many years. About 15 or so years ago, one of my other brothers was talking about that guitar that we used to play, so I started looking for a gas can (to make another one). It took me a couple of years to find the kind of can I wanted … I had people looking all over South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee for one. About a year later, I was in a friend’s garage and there sat the kind of can I had been looking for. I started begging and then threatening him to get that can. He said, ‘No, man! That’s the can I keep the gas for my Lawnboy in.’ Well, finally, he decided to give it to me and I took it and made a guitar out of it. It took me several months to get it set-up so I could play it with the group. Right now, that guitar is in the McKissick Museum (on the campus of the University of South Carolina in Columbia). Meanwhile, I built a gas can slide guitar, also. I wanted something I could play slide on, so I took some hoe handles and a gas can and built a slide guitar. At this moment, my slide guitar is in the Upcountry History Museum in Greenville, South Carolina (at Furman University). When the Smithsonian (Institution) opens this summer, it will be on display there in Washington, D.C. But, that’s how the gas can guitars came about.”

Bass is the instrument that Arnold originally started out on and folks might be a bit taken back by just how short a time he’s been playing the six-string … or in this case, the three-string.

“Yeah, I started out playing bass and then moved over to guitar,” he said. “This year will mark my 64th year of playing bass. I’ve been playing guitar for about 15 years now.”

Ware Place, South Carolina is where Arnold was born and spent a good deal of his childhood years. He left the confines of his smallish town in the south for the bright lights of Chicago in the mid-1960s. A large part of the reason for that move was due to a very influential radio station broadcasting out of Nashville, Tennessee at that time.

“Back in the ’50s and ’60s, we used to listen to WLAC out of Nashville. Back then, it (WLAC) was basically a blues station. They played all the blues tunes and I found out that a large part of the musicians that I was listening to, lived in, or someplace around, Chicago,” he said. “So I decided to move to Chicago when I was 23 years old. Well, actually, I moved there when I was 22, but I didn’t feel comfortable there and I moved back home to South Carolina. Then, at 23, I moved back to Chicago.”

Feeling more ‘comfortable’ during his second stint in the Windy City, Arnold hopped on stage with everybody he could and eventually ended up with in the employ of the one-and-only Muddy Waters.

“The most important thing I learned from playing with Muddy was the way that he treated his musicians. He really cared about his musicians and he made sure they had everything they needed,” Arnold said. “He really treated his guys like family. He taught me how to respect other musicians on the stage. He taught me that if there are other musicians around where I’m playing and they want to get up on stage, to let them get up on stage … and that’s what I do.”

Arnold’s first real gig in Chicago was with A.C. Reed and it was through his work in the great saxophonist’s band that he came onto Muddy’s radar screen.

“I was running around to different clubs, watching them play, and A.C. needed a bass player. So I started playing bass with him. Then, Muddy always had all these guys out looking for musicians to travel with him and one of his guys asked me if I would like to come and rehearse with them. The following week, I went to Muddy’s house and was rehearsing with the guys in the basement, when Muddy came downstairs. He said, ‘Who are you, young man?’ I said, ‘Well, I’m Mac Arnold.’ He said, ‘Where you came from?’ I said, ‘Greenville, South Carolina.’ He said, ‘Oh, yeah … I think you might be able to play a little.’ I said, ‘I think so.’ Then he said, ‘After you finish rehearsing, I want to talk to you about traveling with us, because I like the way you play.’ So that led me to traveling all up and down the east coast and up and down the west coast with them. And my first actual gig with them was playing in London, England. I ended up playing a couple of years with those guys.”

Arnold can be heard playing bass with the band on Muddy Waters Authorized Bootleg: Live at the Fillmore Auditorium, recorded over the course of three nights in early November, 1966.

Those that may not be familiar with Mac Arnold’s work have still probably heard a snippet of the man’s bass playing without ever knowing who it was.

The bass line on “The Streetbeater” – off Quincy Jones’ 1973 album, You’ve Got It Bad Girl – better known as the theme song for Sanford and Son, is courtesy of Mac Arnold’s fingers.

“Yeah, I did video tape editing and audio tape editing for Quincy Jones and I played bass on that song. I enjoyed working with Quincy Jones. He’s a genius and a very-kind person,” Arnold said. “That came about by me being employed by the ABC Television Network in Los Angeles at the time. I was also doing Soul Train (from 1971-75) at the same time. Don Cornelius (host and producer of Soul Train) was kind of a stand-offish kind of guy. He didn’t mix and mingle too much. Back in Chicago in the late ’60s, I had a group called the Soul Invaders. We would back-up entertainers that Don would bring to town for fund-raisers for WVON radio station. I worked with Don quite a bit in Chicago. He did the pilot for Soul Train in about 1967 and once it was developed and got out there, it did well. He wanted to take it to Los Angeles. I asked him one day if he took the show out there to LA if I had an opportunity to be a part of the show. He said he didn’t see why not, so in 1969, I moved to Los Angeles and in 1971 he brought the show out there.”

If Arnold’s resume looks like it’s missing something, you’d better take a closer look, because it’s not.

Playing with the likes of Muddy, John Lee, Big Mama Thornton, Tyrone Davis, Little Milton, Albert King, Quincy Jones and B.B. King would be more than enough to cement a musician’s legacy. Working on larger-than-life television programs like Soul Train and Sanford & Son is the icing on the cake. And having an honorary doctorate in music … well, that’s a whole level unto itself.

But then there’s the little matter of the band that Arnold played with around his time in high school – J. Floyd & The Shamrocks. While that name may not garner much attention, the group’s one-time piano player should.

A young man by the name of James Brown.

“I had no idea (that he would turn out to be an iconic figure). All I knew was, this guy was wild and every chance he got, he would ride the Greyhound bus to Greenville and hang out with us the whole weekend and then go back home to Georgia late Sunday night or early Monday morning. This was in 1954 and 1955. In 1956, James did “Please, Please, Please” and I didn’t see him for 40 years after that,” laughed Arnold. “He forgot all about us … he was a mess!”

Visit Mac’s website at:

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.

 Featured Blues Review – 5 of 9 

James L. Dickerson – Mojo Triangle – Birthplace of Country, Blues, Jazz, and Rock ‘n’ Roll

Mojo Triangle Books

273 pages

In the first chapter, entitled “Finding the Cradle of American Music,” author Jame L. Dickerson quickly establishes the perimeters of his latest book. “Draw a straight line from New Orleans to Nashville, then over to Memphis and back down to New Orleans following the curves of the Mississippi River, and you have the Mojo Triangle, a geometrical, cultural, and spiritual configuration that represents the geographical birthplace of America’s original music – blues, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll, and country”. Tracing the musical roots back to the early 1800’s, the author sets the stage with Native American tribes like the Natchez and Choctaw interacting with French settlers and African-American slaves in a cross-culture pollination that affected many areas including music.

From those humble beginnings, Dickerson begins to back up his thesis using a staggering array of legendary artists and writers as supporting evidence. A chapter on the 500 hundred mile Natchez Trace trail highlights country legend Jimmie Rodgers along with Howlin’ Wolf and Charlie Patton before touching on the influence of writers William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, and Tennessee Williams, then finishing with Elvis Presley, Tammy Wynette, Marty Stuart, and Faith Hill.

The focus then shifts to the Mississippi Delta as the author makes a case for the Mississippi Sheiks as the focal point for the blues music that followed from Robert Johnson, Rice Miller (Sonny Boy Williamson), Jimmy Reed, and B.B King. Other notables sited by the author include an interesting glimpse at Booby Gentry plus Conway Twitty and Charlie Pride. After a brief sojourn to Clarksdale, the journey arrives in Memphis with the usual references to W.C Handy, Sam Phillips & Sun Records, and the Stax label. Several parts of the chapter that make an impact are focused on guitarist Scotty Moore and producer Chips Moman, with the author making a concerted effort to highlight their sizable contributions.

A section on New Orleans is fairly predictable, focusing on the trumpet lineage that flows from King Oliver to Louis Armstrong, Al Hirt, and on to Wynton Marsalis. The author also highlights Antoine “Fats” Domino and Dr. John, who offers this analysis, “ New Orleans relates to Memphis a lot in the way of funky, down-home music. But it also has a little Caribbean flavor because there is a lot of connection with Cuba or Jamaica or Brazil…..that has been mixed with parade music and funeral music and marching band music in such a way that a funkified version came out of it”.

A major highlight of the book is the chapter on Muscle Shoals, reviewing the formation of Fame Studios by Rick Hall after the end of his partnership with drugstore owner Tom Stafford and Billy Sherrill, a budding country songwriter and producer. Dickerson delves into an area that nurtured W.C. Handy and Sam Phillips as children, then gave the world so much incredible music with the help of some talented local musicians who always seemed to know exactly what to play in the studio. The final chapter takes a look at Nashville, which musically is a far cry from the rich heritage of the Memphis area. Moore, Moman, and Stuart return as Dickerson trains his eye on the hit-making focus of the city’s musical structure.

There are a few errors that stood out in the review copy of the book. On page 82, a classic Jimmy Reed tune is listed as “You Don’t Have To Do (Go)” while page 258 makes reference to “Patsy Kline” instead of the correct Cline spelling.

When all is said and done, Dickerson certainly makes a strong case for the cultural importance of the Mojo Triangle region, particularly in regards to music. While he generally writes in broad strokes, the book has plenty of fascinating facts and stories in an easy-to-read writing style that should appeal to music fans interested in learning more our musical heritage.

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!.

 Featured Blues Review – 6 of 9 

Rev. Keith A. Gordon – Rollin’ ‘n’ Tumblin’

Excitable Press

390 pages; paperback

To say that the good Reverend Keith A. Gordon knows a thing or two about the blues is akin to saying that a duck likes water.


A quick glance at the Buffalo, New York-based journalist’s impressive stat-sheet confirms as much.

Over the past four decades, Gordon has penned essays, interviews, features and album reviews on rock-n-roll, as well as blues and all kinds of roots-related music, for publications such as Creem, The Blues, High Times, Blurt and All Music Guide, to name but a few. He was also’s resident blues music expert (a dang good one, at that) for six-and-a-half years and has also authored books on Frank Zappa and the highly under-rated Jason & The Scorchers.

OK, enough chatter about the man’s extensive resume.

Let’s talk about Rollin’ ‘n’ Tumblin’ (The Reverend’s Archives, Volume 2).

What we have here is a nifty collection of 128 album reviews – along with the Rev.’s insightful musings on 10 books – that were initially published between 2008-2014 in Blurt, Blues Revue and Blues Music magazines, as well as at and

No doubt it would have been easy (and probably a bit lazy, too) had Gordon simply pulled together an ‘A’ list of blues artists, musicians that even the casual fan would recognize, such as Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, B.B. King and Bo Diddley. Sure, albums by those iconic legends are put under the Rev.’s microscope, as they rightfully should be.

But thankfully, Gordon also digs a bit (sometimes a lot) deeper beneath the surface and gives equal time to a host of worthy discs from a stable of artists that even some of the most knowledgeable blues fans may be only slightly acquainted with.

Artists like Seasick Steve, Greg ‘Stackhouse’ Prevost, Harrison Kennedy and Scissormen.

Releases on under-served labels such as Rip Bang, Landslide and Secret Records are examined, along with more widely-known outfits like Warner Brothers, Chess and Alligator Records.

All those and more are gone over with a fine-tuned comb in Rollin’ ‘n’ Tumblin.’

To be able to hold such an extensive library of so many diverse blues recordings in two hands is very much welcome.

Songs are dissected, album personnel is discussed at length and Gordon is able to explain what makes each record either essential – or in some cases – ones only for the curious to listen to.

He gives the reader plenty of background info on the artists without ever losing focus of the main subject, which is the album itself.

Gordon’s take on Isaac Hayes’ Hot Buttered Soul (“A great leap forward in the evolution of not only soul music, but popular music altogether”) and Junior Wells &The Aces’ Live in Boston 1966 (” … If you’re not down with it, I can only assume that you’ve achieved room temperature.”), as well as his description of Watermelon Slim’s trademark vocal style (“Equal parts Carolina soul and Okie drawl”) are all spot-on and help to underscore the man’s deep understanding of roots music.

It’s all done with great warmth and with a heck of a lot of what has always made Gordon’s writings so worth the while to seek out over the years – the man’s brilliant sense of humor. A critic that has written for as long as Gordon has (his first work was published at age 12!) can sometimes fall into the trap of turning in work that is filled with sameness, stodginess or is even plagued with mold and mildew.

That’s certainly not the case here. His takes are as fresh and vibrant today as they were back when he was being mentored by legendary rock critic Rick Johnson when Gordon was a much younger man.

The most remarkable thing about Rollin’ ‘n’ Tumblin’ is something that may not have even occurred to Gordon when he was compiling his reviews into a collected work that’s easy and breezy to read.

His opinions and observations are welcomed, to be sure, but maybe the biggest benefit from flipping through the book is that it’s highly likely that it will have you digging through your compact disc collection, pulling out CDs that you may not have listened to in many moons. Either that, or it will inspire you to hit your local record store in search of some fresh, new music to turn your ears on to.

Needless to say, Rollin’ ‘n’ Tumblin’ is highly-recommended reading for anyone interested in the blues, whether they’re a newcomer to the genre or are a sage and hip veteran to the music.

For more information on all things concerning Rev. Keith A. Gordon, visit

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 – 7 of 9 

People vs. Larsen – Loving Losing

One Trick Dog Records

CD: 11 Songs; 42:25 Minutes

Styles: Light Rock, Contemporary Electric Blues Rock

Sometimes, people who aren’t musicians don’t realize how complicated music really is, even the most simple-sounding. Some of its myriad aspects are tone, pitch, volume, rhythm, tempo, and one of the hardest to master: melody. True melody is more than a catchy refrain of notes, or a chorus everyone can sing along with. Brooklyn, NY’s People vs. Larsen has become one of the best live bands in the city through conquering a musical facet that a lot of bands nowadays seem to ignore. Right from their rich and robust opener, “Sunset Chamber,” on down, this trio brings melody back to the forefront of light blues rock. Some might consider it a little too light, and a little too rock-based. They might even call it easy listening, but others will love this CD.

Their promotional materials provide a revealing bit of background info: “People vs. Larsen has represented an innovative voice in the indie/blues music scenes in New York for over three years. The group, including Tom Larson on guitar and vocals, Dylan Shamat on bass and Dave Tedeschi on drums, released their debut album in the fall of 2012…The band has played venues across New York, and continues a three-year residency at the McKittrick Hotel. In addition, the band plays every Friday and Saturday for [the ensemble] Sleep No More.”

People vs. Larsen’s brand of blues is iridescent, effervescent, and incandescent. It shimmers, fizzes and glows with several layers of sound. It features not only the three regular members mentioned above, but also Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young organist Todd Caldwell, Michael Valeanu on guitar, Wayne Tucker on trumpet, and Bill Todd on baritone saxophone.

The following song is a prime example of this band’s take on the blues. It contains the usual subject matter, short title, and perky beat, but it definitely doesn’t sound like any of the old masters – even those who are young and Caucasian, like the late, great Sean Costello:

Track 07: “Big Leg Woman” – From the burbling bass to the sultry horn section, lucky number seven treads a fine, three-dimensional line between jazz, blues and rock. “I like big leg women, as sure as I know my name. I say, the way that woman moves is a low-down, dirty shame.” The surefire-winning upsides of this song are its lyrics, tempo, and overall jovial mood. The downside is that baby boomers and other fans of traditional blues might scratch their heads. There may not be a “lump-de-lump” rhythm to be heard here, but no matter. Kick back, relax, and grab a partner for the dance floor. If not, sip Kahlua and coffee to your heart’s content.

On their Facebook page, People vs. Larsen posted a video of one of their most recent, and most unique, concert opportunities: “We had a blast on Monday at School Night in Hollywood! We always relish the chance to perform our original music for our LA friends. Here is a little cut of our tune Good Thing from our new album Loving Losing. Grab it on iTunes or bandcamp!”

Loving Losing may be light blues rock, but it’s also melodic, multi-layered, and memorable.

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 – 8 of 9 

The Record Company – Give It Back to You

Concord Music Group

CD: 10 Songs; 39:49 Minutes

Styles: Contemporary Electric Rock and Blues-Based Rock

“We’re The Record Company; we play rock and roll.” So states a direct and dynamic “buzz band” from Los Angeles. On their promotional info sheet, another quote of theirs reads: “We have been influenced by early electric blues, so some of that influence certainly shows…But we’re just as influenced by the [Rolling] Stones and the Stooges as we are by blues legends like Hooker, Muddy Waters and Jimmy Reed.” Herein lies a dilemma. On the one hand, The Record Company plays some of the most fantastic rock yours truly has heard this year. On the other hand, blues aficionados might think there’s too much rock to satisfy their tastes, especially if they’re looking for a more traditional style. For those with diverse musical palates, these ten original tracks will tingle blues fans’ taste buds.

It’s hard enough for any band to make it big on the music scene, much less the movie/TV scene. However, TRC’s selections have been played in the theatrical trailer for Last Vegas, Showtime’s Shameless, ABC’s Nashville, CBS’ CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and ads for Coors Light, Miller Lite, and Subaru. They’ve also performed at numerous blues festivals around the world, and shared the stage with blues legends like Buddy Guy, B.B. King, and Robert Randolph. With a brilliant resume such as this, the future’s as bright as Sirius – the Dog Star – for this ensemble.

The Record Company is a terrifically talented trio: Chris Vos on guitar, lead vocals, and harmonica; Alex Stiff on bass, guitar and vocals; and Marc Cazorla on drums, piano and vocals.

The following three songs showcase different, particular musical elements, akin to different “muscle cars” in the windows of a dealer’s showroom. Each of them gleams in its own way.

Track 01: “Off the Ground” – The CD’s first number is grungy and hard-biting, with a guitar intro and refrain resembling the low-noted solo in Ricky Martin’s “Livin’ La Vida Loca”. “Off the Ground” has already been featured in the Miller Lite ad mentioned above, and it’s easy to see why. “I’ve got to get myself off the side of the road. I’ve got to get myself up off the side of the road. Things are looking clear as they’ve ever been. I don’t know how it’ll end, but I know where to begin.” Chris Vos plays lap-steel guitar here, and it simply scintillates.

Track 02: “Don’t Let Me Get Lonely” – Following the outstanding opener is a bouncy rockabilly extravaganza with all acoustic instruments, including bass. “Your mama, she love me. Your daddy do, too – everyone in your family besides you. I could ask you a thousand times; nothing I say will make you mine. Don’t make me get lonely; I’ll just get gone.”

Track 09: “This Crooked City” – Desperate times call for desperate measures, and so do desperate places. They might make one say, “If you need some money, I’ll swear I’ll steal a million, and take care of you, my darling.” Haunting and heartfelt, this underrated track displays the best vocals on the album. Coupled with Marc Cazorla’s slow piano, its notes falling like autumn raindrops, this song’s just about perfect.

When it comes to riveting blues-based rock, The Record Company will Give It Back to You!

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 – 9 of 9 

Blues Karloff – Light and Shade

Blues Boulevard

CD: 13 Songs; 43:47 Minutes

Styles: Contemporary Electric Blues Rock, Blues Covers, Electric Hard Rock

In the movies, haunted houses are never completely dark. As the cover art of the Belgian band Blues Karloff’s latest CD shows, these paranormal places possess the perfect balance of Light and Shade. Eight blues covers on this album attempt to channel the ghosts of legends like Willie Dixon, Jimmy Reed, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. The other five tracks are originals, on which the band’s guitars wail like banshees. Yours truly thinks it’s no coincidence that the total number of songs is considered unlucky. Even with the volume low, every one of their tunes is all-caps LOUD. Whether they constitute true blues or not is up to listeners to decide. They’ve certainly put a lot of effort and energy into mastering their musical style.

According to their promotional information sheet, “Unapologetically rooted in the British blues rock boom of the late ‘60s and ‘70s, steeped in the tradition of Leslie West’s Mountain, the Jeff Beck Group and early Led Zeppelin, Blues Karloff explores the outer reaches of the sounds that shaped this musical era.” “Outer reaches,” indeed. Light and Shade is 99% electric blues rock or hard rock. One thing this ensemble would do well to remember is that putting the word “blues” in these types of songs does not make them blues songs. Not every band can or should sound like Muddy Waters. Variety is the spice of life. However, all artists should beware of possibly mislabeling their work. Many fans have highly specific ideas of what their favorite genre is.

Blues Karloff consists of lead vocalist Alfie Falckenbach; Paul “Shorty” Van Camp and Thomas Vanhaute on guitar; Franz Ruzica on bass; and Georges Millikan on drums, congas and assorted percussion. Special guests include drummer Ivo “Uncle” Opdebeeck; organist Rudy Pieters; upright bassist Jack O’Roonie; bassist Jeff Brown; and Dominique De Vos on rhythm guitar.

The original song below is mentioned not as an example of genre purity, but of one point made earlier in this review.

Track 06: “I’m a Bluesman” – Co-written by Alfie Falckenbach and J.P. Van Camp, number six is a rip-roaring rocker wearing a blues mask. The growling intro is a promising start, with a traditional rhythm repeated on the guitar refrain. However, it quickly turns into a chaotic competition of style versus volume, old versus new. “I used to be king, drove a big-a$$ car. Now I ride a bike. It ain’t businesslike. I used to fly so very high. Till it all went wrong – now I’ve got to be gone, ‘cause I’m a bluesman.” Perhaps, but that term can be subjective. Different people have different definitions of the word, but there’s no mistaking rock and roll when one hears it.

Their website reveals, “On their debut album Ready For Judgement Day, which was released in October 2014, the band saluted some of the Blues legends that every member of Blues Karloff had been listening to since childhood. The album featured songs by Robert Johnson, Jimmy Reed, John Lee Hooker, Albert King, Howlin’ Wolf, and Muddy Waters…”

One will find the same sort of material on Light and Shade, but it’s haunted by too much diluted blues.

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.

 Blues Society News 

 Send your Blues Society’s BIG news or Press Release about your not-for-profit event with the subject line “Blues Society News” to:

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Utah Blues Society – Salt Lake City, UT

The 2nd Annual Utah Blues Festival (UBF) ramps up with more national headliners and a new downtown location – the Gallivan Center on Saturday, June 18th. The UBF is the signature benefit event of the Utah Blues Society (UBS), a two year old 501(c)(3), dedicated to expanding the reach of the blues genre throughout Utah, promoting both local and national touring blues artists, and providing educational programs to further increase the blues’ visibility in our community.

From 1 – 10 p.m., catch The Blues Youth Showcase, Tony Holiday & the Velvetones; the Sister Wives; Jordan Young and national headliners Toronzo Cannon, Bernard Allison, and Ronnie Baker Brooks.

Further info at: and as well as Facebook pages for each.

Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation – Falls Church, VA

23rd Annual Tinner Hill Blues Festival, June 10-12, a tribute to Blues legend, John Jackson, is “All Blues, All Weekend, All Over Town” in Falls Church, VA, 7 miles from Washington, DC.

Festival opener, Friday, June 10 at The State Theatre: Blues & Soul Divas with Mable John, Trudy Lynn, Gaye Adegbalola & The Wild Rūtz.

Saturday, June 11: All-Day Concert, Cherry Hill Park, features BMA winner Victor Wainwright & The WildRoots; Mac Arnold & Plate Full O’ Blues; Andy Poxon Band; Charlie Sayles & Blues Disciples; Carly Harvey with Kiss & Ride and Mike Terpak Blues Explosion. Craft beer, BBQ and soul food, films, discussions, mini-guitar lessons, kids’ instrument petting zoo.

Need more music? Join our post-festival Blues Crawl to local restaurants and bars. Sunday, June 12: Pack a picnic lunch, grab your chairs and come to an Old-Fashion Blues Gospel Concert at the Tinner Hill historic site. Music by The NENO Project and gospel choirs from historic churches. We’ll supply lemonade and sweet tea.

Full schedule and ticket information:

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.

Crossroads Blues Society – Byron, IL

Crossroads Blues big shows for June! June 5th 16 year old Justin “Boots” Gate at All Saints Church 624 Luther Drive in Byron, IL from 4 to 6 PM No cover, free will offering for the artists.

The Lyran Society Friday Night Fish Fry on 4th Avenue just East of 7th Street behind Katies Cup in Rockford, IL – June 10th from 7 to 10 PM with Mighty Mo Rodgers and Italian guitar great Luca Giordano! No cover, food available.

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: May 20th – Dave Fields. Shows are free from 7 to 10 PM.

Hope and Anchor English Pub, 5040 N. 2nd Street Loves Park, IL, 2nd Saturday Blues 8 pm to midnight – Steve Ditzell and Blue Lightning.

Saturday June 25th – Mark Hummel and the Golden State-Lone Star Revue Mendelssohn PAC in Rockford. At 406 N. Main Street, $15 advance and $20 at door. Tickets at

The Detroit Blues Society – Detroit, MI

On Sunday June 5, 2016 the Detroit Blues Heritage Series will present “Women of the Blues”. This event will take place from 2:00PM until 4:30PM at the historic Scarab Club. The Scarab Club is located at 217 Farnsworth in Detroit’s Cultural Center. The Detroit Blues Society and the Scarab Club produce this event jointly. A $5.00 donation is requested.

The Detroit Blues Society presents the Detroit Blues Heritage Series Part musical tribute and part educational lecture and round-table discussion, this event pays tribute to the lives, lyrics, songs, and accomplishments of three prolific and revolutionary women blues guitarists: Memphis Minnie, Geeshie Wiley, and Beverly “Guitar” Watkins.

This show features a performance and lecture by guitarist/vocalist and researcher Alicia Marie Venchuk, a graduate of the University of Michigan and an English Literature PhD student at the University of Mississippi, as accompanied by the RJ Spangler Trio. More info at

Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Foundation – Red Bank, NJ

Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Foundation presents Point Pleasant Boro Jazz & Blues Festival Saturday, June 18, 2016 at the Riverfront Park, Corner of Maxon & River Rd. Point Pleasant Boro, NJ from Noon to 8:00 PM. Headliner is Billy Hector Experience Featuring The Midnight Horns plus Food, Crafters, Beer & Wine Garden, Kids activities. FREE Admission!

For more information, go to

Grand County Blues Society – Winter Park, CO

The 14th Annual Blues From The Top Festival, presented by the Grand County Blues Society, happens June 25/26 at Hideaway Park in Winter Park, Co. Features a special Trampled Under Foot Reunion, plus headliners including Eric Gales, Samantha Fish Band, Jon Nemeth, Kara Grainger and more. “Keeping The Blues Alive” Stage features young up-and-coming Blues artists. Portion of the festival’s proceeds benefit Blue Star Connection, which provides access and ownership of musical instruments for children and young adults with cancer and other serious challenges, as well as providing music therapy departments with instruments.

For more information, go to

The Illinois Central Blues Club – Springfield, IL

The Illinois Central Blues Club has announced the line-up of talent for the Blue Monday live performances and jam sessions held every Monday night at The Alamo, 115 North Fifth, Springfield, IL from 8:00pm to midnight. May 30 – Gracie Curran and the High Falutin, June 6 – Joel DeSilva and the Midnight Howl, June 13 – Brandon Santini, June 20 – TBA, June 27 – Laurie Morvan.

Additional ICBC and ICBC partnered shows: June 2 – James Armstrong Presents @ The Alamo, 6 pm, June 16 – James Armstrong Presents @ The Alamo, 6 pm.

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. June 7, Frank Bang & Cook County Kings, Manteno Sportsmen’s Club, Manteno IL, Thur, June 16, Nick Harless Band, Moose Lodge, Bradley IL, Thur, June 23, Golden State Lone Star Blues Revue (Mark Hummel, Anson Funderburgh, Little Charlie Baty), 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, Tues, July 26, Nikki Hill, The Longbranch, L’Erable IL, Thur, Aug 4, Albert Castiglia w/ Opening Act: Maybe Later, The Longbranch, L’Erable IL, Fri, Aug 12, Polly O’Keary & The Rhythm Method, Watseka Elks Club, Watseka 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

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 began 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.

For 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.

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


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