Issue 11-14 April 6, 2017

Cover photo by Bob Kieser © 2017

 In This Issue 

Bill Dahl has our feature interview with Chicago sideman Anthony Palmer.

We have 8 Blues reviews for you this week including new music from Adrianna Marie And Her Roomful Of All-Stars, Larry Griffith Band, Marty D. Spikener’s On Call Band, Raphael Wressnig and Igor Prado, The Bob Lanza Blues Band, The James Montgomery Blues Band, David Pinsky & Phil Newton and Devin Leigh.

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

 From The Editor’s Desk 

2017 BBMA Logo imageHey Blues Fans,

Open submissions for the 2017 Blues Blast Music Awards end on April 15th, 2017. So artists and labels have only nine days to get their submissions to us!

Any Blues album released between May 1st, 2016 and April 30, 2017 is eligible. There are 12 categories for 2017 including Contemporary Blues Album, Traditional Blues Album, Soul Blues Album, Rock Blues Album, Acoustic Blues Album, Live Blues Album, New Artist Debut Album, Historical or Vintage Album, Male Blues Artist, Female Blues Artist, Blues Band, Sean Costello Rising Star Award.

Complete information on how to have your recording considered is at

Also, this is the last week to take advantage of our Early Bird Special to get the LOWEST prices for advertising in 2017. See our ad below for details.

Finally, this week is the big week for the Tampa Bay Blues Fest. They have Dennis Gruenling, Brandon Santini, Albert Cummings, Ana Popovic and headliner Buddy Guy on Friday, Matt Schofield, Samantha Fish, Toronzo Cannon, Coco Montoya followed by headliners The Rides With Stephen Stills, Kenny Wayne Shepherd & Barry Goldberg on Saturday and Backtrack Blues Band, JW-Jones, The Lee Boys, Dawn Tyler Watson and headliner Tab Benoit on Sunday

Blues Blast Magazine will be there enjoying all that wonderful Blues in sunny Florida so be sure to say hello. For tickets and complete info visit or click on their ad below.

Wishing you health, happiness and lots of Blues music!

Bob Kieser

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Blues Blast Magazine’s Early Bird Special is our lowest priced advertising of the 2017 year. It offers an affordable & effective way to get the Blues word out!

This 8-issue discount ad campaign allows you to add significant impact to your Blues advertising and promotion campaign. It is a great way for artists to solicit festival gigs or can be used to kick up the visibility of your summer Blues festival, new album release, Blues event or music product all around the globe! This is perfect for a new album release, a festival advertising campaign or any new music product.

Normal 2017 Advertising rates start at $150 per issue of Blues Blast magazine. BUT, for a limited time, this special gives you eight issues of Blues Blast Magazine for only $400. (A $1200 value!)

Blues Blast Magazine is a great way to promote anything Blues. 36,000 opt-in subscribers read Blues Blast Magazine. Our subscribers are located in all 50 states and in more than 90 countries giving your products global coverage at an affordable price. Weekly issues of Blues Blast Magazine are also posted on our popular website. We get more than 2,000,000 (That’s TWO MILLION) hits and 65,000 visitors a month at our website.

To get this special rate simply buy your ad space by APRIL 15th, 2017!!!! Ads can run anytime between now and December 2017. So get your ad package now for that fall album release!

With this special rate, your ad can be viewed more than 370,000 times by our readers who want to know about your Blues events and music! Reserve your space today! Space is limited and will be sold on a first come first served basis.

Other ad packages and options, single ads, short run ads or long term bulk rates available too! Visit To get more information email or call 309 267-4425 today for an ad plan that fits your needs.

Ads must be reserved and paid for by April 15th, 2015!!!

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 Featured Blues Review – 1 of 8 

adrianna marie cd imageAdrianna Marie And Her Roomful Of All-Stars – Kingdom Of Swing

VizzTone Label Group VT-AM625

14 songs – 77 minutes

It’s been four years since Adrianna Marie released her extremely well-received and star-studded Double Crossing Blues album, which garnered her a nomination for a 2014 Blues Blast Music Award, but it’s definitely worth the wait.

An old-style torch singer based in Southern California, Adrianna loves the big-band sounds of the ‘40s and ‘50s and she called upon a kindred spirit to assemble a musical dream for this dazzling follow-up of jump, swing and traditional small combo blues. Kingdom Of Swing was produced by legendary guitarist Duke Robillard, one of her personal favorites, at Sonlyst Power Station in New London, Conn.

The vocalist grew up about 100 miles to the west in a home filled with the classic sounds she delivers today. Her parents were partners in the Carolee Singers, a top folk group. And she makes her debut as a songwriter on this one.

Like her most recent release, the fourth in her catalog, it features major talent from both coasts. Junior Watson, who appears on one cut, and her new hubby L.A. Jones, who handles most of the other six-string chores, came east for guitar chores along with a rhythm section of drummer Brian Fahey, who’s worked with everyone from Bill Haley to The Paladins, Smokey Wilson and Lynwood Slim, and Kedar Roy, the first-call upright bassist from San Francisco, as well as Arizona-based harmonica player Bob Corritore, owner of the legendary Rhythm Room.

They’re augmented by Robillard and a heaping helping of members from his old band, Roomful Of Blues, including pianist Al Copley and one of the best horn sections on the planet: Doug “Mr. Low” James, Rich Lataille and Mark Earley on saxes, Doug Woolverton on trumpet and Carl Querfurth on trombone. All of them get plenty of room to stretch out in the lush, full arrangements.

Their combined efforts would have fit comfortably in Harlem during the golden era of the jazz age, when small combos and big bands introduced music with heavy blues and swing overtones to a new audience and got people up and out on the dance floor.

Adrianna possesses a lilting coloratura soprano voice, and her usually slightly-behind the-beat delivery propels the music forward throughout as she delivers six originals and eight carefully chosen and reworked covers. A horn flourish kicks off the title tune “Kingdom Of Swing.” It’s a song Adrianna wrote in high school, and coincidentally, also the title of an album by Benny Goodman. This one’s a romantic, medium-paced shuffle that describes the sophisticated showrooms that once featured Goodman, Count Basie and others. The mid-tune solos show the band means business.

A rapid-fire, reinvented cover of Johnny Otis’ “Better Beware” precedes the driving swing original “Sidecar Mama” before an unhurried take on Duke Ellington’s “Mood Indigo.” The horns shine again to open the original “3 A.M. Blues,” a plea for a wayward lover to return to his loving lady’s arms, before “Gimmie A Roomful,” which Adrianna’s tribute to Robillard, who accompanies on guitar, and “Memphis Boogie,” a new tune with a decided traditional jump feel.

Helen Humes’ “Drive Me Daddy” gets a Chicago treatment next with Corritore on the harp before the original swing, “Baby I Got You,” before an interesting package of refashioned covers — B.B. King’s “Jump With You Baby,” Billy Holiday’s “The Blues Are Brewin’,” Joe Liggins’ “One Sweet Letter,” T-Bone Walker’s “T-Bone Boogie” and Pee Wee Crayton’s “Blues After Hours” – bring the hour-and-a-quarter set to a close.

If you like to swing, children, this one’s just your style. Available through most major retailers.

Reviewer’s note: I’m currently in the final stages of a book project with Duke Robillard, but all of the statements about this album above remain uncolored by that relationship.

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

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 Featured Blues Review – 2 of 8 

larry griffith cd imageLarry Griffith Band – Shake It Loose

Self-produced CD

6 songs – 36 minutes

Based in Atlanta, Larry Griffith is a gifted guitarist/songwriter who flies under the radar despite producing stellar original material in an unhurried soul-blues style. Whether he’s refashioning a New Orleans classic or delivering his own take on world events, his words are fresh and strike to the heart of the situation.

Griffith was born in Cincinnati and grew up in one of the toughest neighborhoods the Queen City has to offer. One of 10 children raised by a single mother, he started writing songs at age nine, influenced by the music regularly streaming from record players in the three-story tenement where he lived. In his early teen years, the family relocated to the Walnut Hills section of the city, nearby legendary King Records, where Larry regularly spotted a plethora of music royalty – including James Brown, Freddie King, Bill Doggett and others – on the street and in town to record.

It was through one of those chance encounters at age 16 that Griffith’s life changed forever. Wesley Hargrove, a member of Hank Ballard’s Detroit-based band The Midnighters, took the young man under his wing and into the Federal Records studio to play drums on a demo session, an invitation that soon led to Larry embarking on stints as a session drummer who toured with bands on the weekend.

Griffith relocated to Atlanta in the early ‘90s, immersing himself in the local blues scene, but didn’t pick up the guitar until a vivid dream while in Clarksdale, Miss., a decade later. In the vision, he saw himself driving a crowd wild with his skills on the six-string, something he’d never fantasized about in real life. Back in Atlanta, he related the story to a bandmate, guitarist Chicago Joe Jones, who helped him acquire a $1 guitar and begin a quest that made that dream a reality.

Shake It Loose appears to be the third album in Griffith’s catalog, following High Wire Walkin’ in 2006 and Get Up in 2015. His only other release appears to be a single, entitled “You Can’t Turn A Hoochie Into A Housewife.” Larry wrote, arranged and produced all of the material on this one, backed by Mike Lowry on lead guitar, Tom Regeski on horns and Dana McCarthy on bass. Rashaan Griffith and Mike Milsap appear on keys and Rashaan and Steven Milsap deliver drums. And background vocals are provided by Sanctuary, consisting of Darshana Gettle, Tyra Tomlinson Beatty, Sharon Hill and Lavaida Monique.

The album kicks offer with a single-note guitar solo and choral introduction for “Keep Ridin’,” a song that’s based on Chick Willis’ “Stoop Down Mama.” While Willis’ lyrics were a simple plea for the lady to “let me see,” Larry’s words are a lot more direct while still remaining clean enough for radio airplay and sure to put a smile on your face. “Every King Needs A Queen,” a medium-slow statement that “every man needs someone to hold on to” as he professes his love for the woman at his side. “Need my baby in my arms,” he sings, “sayin’ everything is all right/And in that itsy bitsy moment/Well, well/Lies the meaning of my life.”

The tempo picks up slightly for “All I Really Wanna Do,” which continues the desire to remain at the lady’s side. The message is delivered through a warm call-and-response between Griffith and Sanctuary and features a strong mid-tune guitar solo and solid bass run toward the finish.

The slow blues “Our Love Is In Good Hands” carries the theme forward with a thinly veiled religious theme — in that the hands are clearly God’s without having to say so – while delivering a strong political message. He pulls no punches as he speaks out against police brutality, racial oppression, poverty and more, all the while remaining respectful and with his head held high. The one positive constant is the woman at his side.

“Ain’t Puttin’ Up” — which states: “I ain’t puttin’ up what you’re puttin’ down/You treat me like some Ringling Brothers clown” – speaks out against a woman who stumbles home drunk in the middle of the night before the uptempo title cut, “Shake It Loose,” ends the set with a positive affirmation to bring about a positive outcome by stirring things up, stated simply: “I’ll be the ladle/If you’ll be the soup.”

This package will please fans of soul-blues everywhere both for the quality of Griffith’s material and the overall quality production. Available through iTunes and CDBaby, it will leave you with a smile. The only drawback: The all-too-brief 36-minute disc will leave you craving more.

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

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 Featured Blues Review – 3 of 8 

Marty Spikkener cd imageMarty D. Spikener’s On Call Band – help! I need some GOOD BLUES!

Self Release

9 tracks / 38:55

Marty D. Spikener has been playing the blues for almost 40 years, and the St. Louis club scene is much richer with him perched behind his drum kit and growling out perfectly timed vocals. Marty D. Spikener’s On Call Band performs both originals and cover tunes, and their new album, help! I need some GOOD BLUES!, is a fine sampling of blues, rhythm and blues, and just a little touch of jazz.

The On Call Band includes Spikener, as well as Chuck Loeb on harmonica and vocals and Doc Evans on bass, while Ryan Waked and Solomon Haynes share the guitar work. Paul Niehaus IV cut this disc at the Blue Lotus Studio (also in St. Louis), and it sounds like it may have been recorded live. I say this because there is a cool dynamic and a noticeable energy between the artists as they run through this 40-minute set, which works out well for the music they chose for the set list.

Two-thirds of the songs on this disc are covers, and the On Call Band starts things off with a neat re-do of Don Robey’s “Ain’t That Loving You,” which was originally released by Bobby Bland in 1962. This is a straight-up electric blues tune that allows the throaty and soulful vocals to shine. Waked and Haynes each deliver clean guitar solos, and Loeb goes for a dirtier sound with his harp. Next up is the Paul Butterfield Blues Band’s “Born in Chicago,” which is faithful to the original, but here it is played at a slower tempo, giving it a Latin feel.

The other covers are a diverse collection of American tunes, including a soulful take on John Hiatt’s “Feels Like Rain,” and the Louis Armstrong-inspired vocals on James Harman’s hilarious “Tall Skinny Woman.” But the standout is “Lord Help Me to Hold Out,” which was originally recorded in 1969 by Harrison Johnson and the Los Angeles Community Choir. This acoustic gospel song has a wonderful interplay between the harmonica and the inspirational vocals, while the backline of Evans and Spikener hold everything together.

The three tunes that Marty wrote are solid, the first of which is the funky “Good Blues,” and this song offers up the opinion that the blues does not have to be a stone-cold bummer. Guest artist Bobby Schneck (Santana and Slash) provides the stunning guitar solo while the tone of Waked and Haynes’ rhythm guitars set the mood perfectly. Then there is the sobering “Guns of St. Louis,” a soulful plea for peace and sanity in the Gateway City. And the last of the originals is the light-hearted “Pill for That,” which is chock-full of slick drum fills courtesy of Mr. Spikener.

Wrapping up this disc is “Walkin’ with Grover,” a tribute to Grover Washington’s 1975 soul/jazz chart-topper, “Mister Magic.” There are no horns to be found on this instrumental, but the guitars and Loeb’s harmonica fill in nicely. The band pushes the tempo more than the original, and Evans’ walking bass line transforms this song into more of a blues tune, though there is still an obvious jazz influence. Each player gets a chance to shine on this track, making this the perfect outro for the set.

It is really cool that Marty D. Spikener’s On Call Band documented their sound so that listeners outside of the Show Me State can hear their music. help! I need some GOOD BLUES! Is a solid package, and it would be neat to here more from these fellows, so hopefully they will be heading back to the studio soon. In the meantime, head on over to the band’s Facebook page to hear them for yourself and to find out where they are playing next!

Reviewer Rex Bartholomew is a Los Angeles-based writer and musician; his blog can be found at

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2017 Blues Blast Music Award Submission Are Now Open

The 2017 Blues Blast Music Awards series has begun. Submissions are open until April 15th, 2017 The Blues Blast Music Awards are the largest fan voted Blues awards on the planet. But hurry! Submissions end April 15,2017!

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

 Featured Blues Review – 4 of 8 

raphael wressing cd imageRaphael Wressnig and Igor Prado – The Soul Connection

ZYX Music

CD: 13 Songs, 50:22 Minutes

Styles: Soul-Influenced Blues, Organ and Electric Guitar Blues, Soul Covers

Constant Readers, allow me to tell you the story of the Impossible Soul-Influenced Blues CD. Once upon a time, a nameless music connoisseur asked the question, “Is it possible to record a fantastic album, featuring two men from two different countries and cultures, and have neither one of them perform as the lead vocalist? Will that release sell at all if its two stars don’t sing? Imagine if Muddy Waters had only played the guitar, or Ray Charles the piano. It won’t work. People are going to pay way more attention to the guy doing the singing, at least in songs with lyrics.” Along came Raphael Wressnig from Austria, and Igor Prado from Brazil, to prove this curious connoisseur dead wrong. She was resurrected after listening to this particular CD, and lived to tell the tale. The moral of her fable? One need not sing to achieve Blues/Soul fame.

On thirteen tracks, Wressnig (on Hammond B3 organ) and Prado (on guitar) bring out the best of their combined genre. Only three of them are originals, but that’s okay because the covers won’t be overly familiar (as, say, anything by Ray Charles might). The finest of these include the opener, Eugene Williams’ “Trying to Live My Life Without You,” Billy Myles’ “My Love Is,” and Don Robey’s “Don’t Cry No More.” On any album featuring a duo, the key is the chemistry between its two artists, even more so than their musicianship. Says Raphael in the inside pages of the included booklet: “Igor called and asked if I was up to do a recording in Sao Paulo. He was right. It was the right moment. We had two days off and booked a studio for one day. We set up one evening and just nailed it.” Indeed they did, because of their intense Soul Connection.

Along with Wressnig and Prado are Rodrigo Mantovani on electric and double bass; Yuri Prado on drums; “Sax” Gordon Beadle on tenor and baritone saxophone, and Sidmar Vieira on trumpet. On vocals are guest stars “Wee” Willie Walker, David Hudson, Leon Beal, and Lisa Andersen.

The three original songs on this CD are just as good as all the covers, if not better.

Track 05: “No-La-Fun-Ky” – Turn on a shiny mirror ball and disco dancefloor lights for this ‘70s inspired instrumental. It has just the right amount of bounce and the right amount of bass for anyone, even the most boogie-averse, to get down. Also “far out” is Prado’s electric guitar solo. The only problem with “No-La-Fun-Ky” is that it’s too short, clocking in at a meager 2:40.

Track 07: “Turnip Greens” – On the opposite end of the spectrum, when it comes to length, is a number composed by Wressnig. It takes a remarkable amount of stamina to play a Hammond B3 organ as skillfully as he does for over six minutes. Raphael knows how to keep fans interested, with melodic notes coming in rapid-fire bursts and smooth weaving into the background when it’s Igor’s turn to strut his stuff on guitar.

Track 09: “The Face Slap Swing No. 05” – With a title that would make even Ebenezer Scrooge laugh out loud (as it’s something he might have played while backhanding Bob Cratchit), this is another one of Prado’s brief but boisterous offerings. While being almost impossible to dance to due to its tempo, number nine will definitely get one’s heart pumping, if not one’s feet.

Form a Soul Connection with Raphael Wressnig and Igor Prado. They’ll fill it to the brim!

Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 37 year old female Blues fan. She brings the perspective of a younger blues fan to reviews. A child of 1980s music, she was strongly influenced by her father’s blues music collection.

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 Blues Want Ad – Volunteer Writers Needed 

Do you really know your Blues and enjoy telling others about it?

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

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

These are volunteer positions that need a persons who really loves the Blues and wants to spread the Blues word! Must have good writing and composition skills, good grammar and spelling! Experience using WordPress is a big plus!

Experienced writers are encouraged to send samples of previous work. All Blues Blast staff started out as volunteers like this. We have kept those with dedication on as staff writers afterwards.

If you are interested, please send an email to and tell us about your Blues background. A resume is always appreciated too.

Please be sure to include your phone number in your email reply.

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 Featured Blues Review – 5 of 8 

bob lanza cd imageThe Bob Lanza Blues Band – Time to Let Go

Connor Ray Music

11 tracks/ 43:21 minutes

There’s no better music than the blues when you’re wallowing in sadness and can’t see your way out, and there’s no better music than the blues to lead you to healing and to restore some hope for the next day. During the recording of this album, New Jersey blues guitarist Lanza’s mother and brother died, fueling his music with a raw power that carries us along with him on his own journey of loss and redemption.

Lanza’s joined on the album by Sandy Joren on bass, Vin Mott on drum (and harp on “Walkin’ Thru the Park”), Randy Wall and Arne Wendt on keys, Steve Krase and Don Erdman on harp, and the Cranberry Lake Horns, with the Robernaires doing background vocals.

The album kicks off with a rockabilly-flavored version of Hank Williams’ “Mind Your Own Business” that features such soulful horns on the instrumental bridge that the song carries us back to the early days of rock and roll in songs like “Rock Around the Clock.” Lanza makes it his own, though, with his blazing solos in the second bridge; his riffs have a hint of Alvin Lee’s powerful riffs from “Rock and Roll Music to the World.”

The jazz-inflected “Time to Let Go” is a tribute to his mother; he reminisces that “when you were here we had a whole of fun,” and then reminds her that “your job is done.” He thanks her for the love she’s shared with him and for having his back even when he was bad and recalls her lessons that “this too shall pass” and to “always have faith in humanity.” “When the Sun Comes Up” recalls the best of early Savoy Brown, especially the Looking In album, and Lanza’s powerful guitar licks—channeling Kim Simmonds—and his growling vocals offer the secret of life: it’s always gonna be better tomorrow in the light of a new day: “when the sun come up/it’s gonna be a brand new day/when the sun come up/I’m gonna feel a brand new way.”

The highlight of the album is Lanza’s straight-down-to-the bone blues, “Rush’n the Blues.” His guitar moans in perfect call and response to Randy Wall’s B3 organ and the Cranberry Lake Horns; the song weaves these sounds in such a mellifluous way that we don’t want the tune to end. Lanza and his band turn in a soulfully knock down of Percy Mayfield’s “Love Me or Leave Me,” which opens with a barroom piano that leads into Lanza’s lounge-like vocals.

Lanza delivers healing and restoration on Time to Let Go; he’s clearly moving on to the places his music takes him, and we’re wise to follow him as our guide into a brand new day.

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

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 Featured Blues Review – 6 of 8 

james montgomerycd imageThe James Montgomery Blues Band

Cleopatra Records

10 tracks

James Montgomery started his first band while attending Boston University in 1970. He grew up in Detroit listening to blues harp masters like James Cotton, John Lee Hooker, and Jr. Wells at the Chessmate, the legendary blues and 1960’s folk club. Heavily influenced by Paul Butterfield (whom he first saw in 1966), he has become a stellar performer on the harp in his own right. He has toured, jammed and recorded with the likes of Aerosmith, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen, the Allman Brothers, Steve Miller, B.B.King, Buddy Guy, John Lee Hooker, Jr. Wells, James Cotton, Charlie Daniels, Bonnie Raitt, Greg Allman, Laverne Baker, Patti LaBelle, Peter Wolf and Mick Jagger.

In the 47 years of the James Montgomery Band, Montgomery has released 6 albums. The 10 songs on this latest CD are comprised of 3 Butterfield inspired originals and 7 cuts that are listed as Paul Butterfield classics. Joining Montgomery on the CD are his band George McCann on guitar and one vocal, David Hull on bass and one lead vocal, and Jeff Thompson on drums along with special guests Mark Naftalin (Paul Butterfield Band) on keys for “Mary Mary,” Grace Kelly on sax, Paul Nelson also on guitar for “Mary, Mary,” Conan O’Brien Band’s Jimmy Vivino on lead guitar for “I Got A Mind to Give Up Living and the Uptown Horns. Montgomery’s Bands have spawned many a great musician and this group is equally super!

“One More Heartache” kicks off the set. A driving and high energy performance really gets things warmed up fast. Montgomery blows some wild harp, McCann lays out some great licks and the horns behind the band make things sweeter. The classic “Born In Chicago” takes the tempo down a bit. Montgomery again gives a solid vocal performance while McCann takes the first solo and does a solid job throughout. Montgomery comes in for his solo right after McCann for a great one-two punch. Little Walter’s “Blues With a Feeling” opens with a mean harp and then Montgomery’s vocal lines spar with and get responses from McCann’s guitar. We get a big solo from McCann and a shorter one from Montgomery on this well known tune. The first original cut is next. Penned and sung by McCann, “Young Woman’s Love” is a slow blues with McCann’s lyrics echoed by Montgomery’s harp. Montgomery goes for the big solo that builds in intensity (as does the song). McCann closes things out nicely with his guitar. “Mary, Mary” is a Mike Nesmith song written for Butterfield that the Monkees also later recorded. Mark Naftalin’s organ spices up things and Montgomery’s harp is stratospheric in this great 1960’s throwback. Nelson joins McCann on guitar here, too. Harp, organ and the guitars each get a turn out front.

“I’ve Got a Mind to Give Up Living” is another classic and this slow blues cut is intense. Jimmy Vivino’s lead guitar is poignant and cool, Montgomery’s vocals are gritty, and his harp is all greasy and nicely done. Thoughtful and sweet! Elmore James’ “Shake Your Moneymaker: is the next tune and the band gives it a good run through. Nice slide and guitar work and fuzzed up vocals with lots of echo couple up with the driving beat. The original instrumental “Good Question” was written jointly by Montgomery, McCann and Grace Kelly the sax player. It includes a huge and well done sax solo, a harp solo and then a guitar solo. The music runs 100 miles an hour and it’s a lot of jazzy and bluesy fun. The bass layer wrote and sings “One Plus One,” a jump blues that is also a lot of fun. Montgomery does another huge solo followed by a shorter solo by McCann. Well-done! The ever popular “Mystery Train” gets an even peppier beat and driving rockabilly sort of backing with big-assed harp and guitar. A blistering pace and some very tight work by the band give this song a cool and different spin.

I really enjoyed this one and with each listen I found something new and cool to like about it. It’s a rough and tumble set of tunes, giving the Butterfield sound a little bit of an update yet retaining that sound within what they do. The band and guests are superb and the production is well done. I think harp lovers need to add this one to their collection- Montgomery is the real deal and it’s a winner!

Reviewer Steve Jones is president of the Crossroads Blues Society and is a long standing blues lover. He is a retired Navy commander who served his entire career in nuclear submarines. In addition to working in his civilian career since 1996, he writes for and publishes the bi-monthly newsletter for Crossroads, chairs their music festival and works with their Blues In The Schools program. He resides in Byron, IL.

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 Featured Blues Review – 7 of 8 

david pinsky cd imageDavid Pinsky & Phil Newton – Under the Sun


12 tracks/ 41:25 minutes

This might be the most perfectly titled blues album, since David Pinsky and Phil Newton demonstrate languidly that there is nothing new under the sun. We’ve heard all of this before, as the duo harkens back to the acoustic roots of the blues, to the bare bones lyrics about loneliness, loss, a little love, and the desiccated desolation of the morning after a drunken Saturday night. The sparseness of the music matches the lyrics, though that same sparseness sometimes comes across as amateurish. At times, this album sounds like two friends got together one night with a cassette recorder and played into it, singing songs they’d just finished performing at the local bar. The intimacy draws us into the duo’s confidence, and that carries us along for a little way, until our confidence is strained by the end of the album. Yet, that’s also the beauty of this album: we feel like we’re in the bar listening to Newton and Pinsky deliver their version of the blues with their humor. They’re having fun with the blues, and so should we as long as we’re listening to them.

On “Rosalia,” Newton tells a story of man looking for a woman in a tune that weaves together Springsteen’s “Rosalita” and Warren Zevon’s “Carmelita.” The opening tune, Pinsky’s “Blues in My Bones,” kicks off the album by paying homage to Blind Willie McTell’s “Statesboro Blues.” In a slow burning tune, the singer moans that “I got the feelin’/I got the blues in my bones/don’t know where they came from/but they won’t leave me alone/lookin’ over yonder/trying to find my way back home.” Newton’s choppy harp, imitating footsteps, kicks off the Patsy Cline-inflected “Walkin’.” The song is more of a slow lope, though, and the singer hardly seems anxious to get back to his woman; instead, he’s resigned to long, lonesome slog: “Walkin’, walkin’, walkin’ my way back home/wondering, wondering will I always be alone/I say to myself/it’s true I’m going to be lonesome and blue/‘till I find a way back to you.” “Open the Door (Love Walked In)” takes off with the opening lyrics of Chuck Berry’s “Back in the USA”: “oh well, oh well I feel so good today/oh well, oh well, I feel so good today” and then runs off lickety split to declare that “I opened the door and love walked in my way.” Pinsky compares his loved one to biscuits—“she’s flaky as a biscuit”—and a jelly roll—“tasty as a jelly roll”—and cherry pie—“sweet as a cherry pie”—and he “loves that girl until the day” he dies. This jump blues tune may just be the best song on the album since it showcases the duo’s tight, bare bones playing. The final song on the album, “Living Large,” ends playfully with Newton blowing the Flintstones theme on his harp, and he’s already punctuated the tune with riffs from other songs such as “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy from Company B.”

So, there’s nothing new under the sun on this album, but that doesn’t matter much since Pinsky and Newton are having a good time and invite us to join them along the way. If we do, we’ll have a few laughs with them and enjoy a night well spent.

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

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 Featured Blues Review – 8 of 8 

devin leign cd imageDevin Leigh – Searching For The Truth

Windmill Music

10 tracks/34:05

Guitarist Devin Leigh started his career as the leader of the Hillbilly Cafe band, followed by a decade-long stretch playing lead guitar for a variety of Texas musicians. For the last six years, he has performed regularly throughout Texas as a one-man-band, utilizing percussion and harmonica to fill out the sound. With two exceptions, he is the sole musician throughout this album in addition to overdubbing his own backing vocals.

Right from the start, Leigh demonstrates that he can wrangle plenty of sound from his instrument, played with a slide. “Judgment Day” is a dark warning about the perils of modern life, complete with a rousing chorus that preaches the need for Bibles, revivals, and prayers. The mood doesn’t get any better on “Dark Days,” as the singer mourns lost love on a ballad full of shimmering guitar lines.

He fares better on “I Want Your Kiss”. Over a Bo Diddley- style beat, Leigh weighs in on the woman he desires, letting listeners know, “I want your sign to line up with mine. I want your name, that’s no surprise”. The title cut rocks hard with a multi-tracked vocal wrapped around well-played solo breaks. It is one of the original songs that illustrates Leigh’s penchant for repeating lyrical phrases, which reaches a peak on “When You Say My Name”. The title line and the accompanying guitar riff seemed designed to bore directly in your consciousness with the help of a hammer-hard beat. “Rise Up” features liberal use of the title amid a mix of slide and wah-wah enhanced guitars.

The instrumental “Suckerpunched” takes things to another level thanks to the fluid playing from guest Juan Garcia Herreros on bass. A second musical excursion, the very brief “Excursion,” has a familiar riff that may have been borrowed from the Stooges. “Give Me Back My Whiskey” has powerful guitar parts coupled with Leigh’s strong voice. The highlight of the disc is “Words Of Silence,” a quiet, haunting piece about a troubled relationship, with Leigh on acoustic slide guitar accompanied by Becky Steinsultz on vocal and piano. It adds up to a solid effort from Devin Leigh that uses blues influences to season a musical approach that travels on the rock side of the blues spectrum.

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!.

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 Featured Blues Interview – Anthony Palmer 

anthony palmer photo 1Toiling as a sideman on Chicago’s blues scene is no bed of roses. The long hours can be rough, the pay alarmingly low, the working conditions sometimes lousy. But when you really prove yourself on your chosen instrument and your peers thoroughly respect you, the phone seldom ceases to ring. The stars know who to track down when they have fresh vacancies in their bands and want to sound their very best.

Guitarist Anthony Palmer has been an in-demand sideman since the 1980s. His versatility is exceptional, his technique immaculate. Palmer stands toe to toe with blues-rocker Joanna Connor one night and expertly backs the more traditional Jimmy Burns the next. Joanna and Jimmy have been Anthony’s two primary bandleaders over the past quarter century, but he’s played with a who’s who of local blues royalty since learning his trade on his native West Side. You’ll find Palmer on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday evenings at Kingston Mines playing in Connor’s band, and he occasionally still works with Jimmy at B.L.U.E.S. and Buddy Guy’s Legends. A first-rate sideman checks his ego at the door. “You have to be very attentive. You have to be aware of everything that’s going on musically. And you try to find where you belong in there. It’s like trying to find your space,” Palmer says.

“A lot of guys come out and say, ‘Okay, I’ll do this, and I’m gonna form a band, and the next thing you know I’m gonna be the man!’ I’ve never really had that mindset from the very beginning, because my initial thought about playing an instrument, I just wanted to play, and I wanted to play in a band situation. And I’ve always found that sometimes it’s harder to play support than it is being out front. I’ve tried being out front a few times. I can make the comparison. Being a sideman is less stressful, and I think you can really hone your chops a little better as a sideman. From night to night, you hear different things, the interaction with the other musicians and whatnot. So I’ve always enjoyed that.”

Palmer grew up at 13th and Karlov Avenue. He didn’t know it then, but Otis Rush and Luther Allison also lived on Karlov at one time or another. What the lad did know was that he dug live blues. “I can remember going to the stores with my mother, and Roosevelt Road was the spot,” he says. “You could go to just about any corner at that time where I lived at, and you could hear live music pouring out onto the street. You’re just there. Sometimes in the daytime, they would have their doors open, and I remember many a time I wandered away from my mother and she was wondering where I was at. And I’d be down in front of the nightclub listening. It was almost like a magnet.”

By the time he was 14, Palmer was getting serious about his playing. “I’ve always had guitars of some form from the time I was a little bitty boy. I had the Mickey Mouse guitars with the plastic strings, and then on up the ladder,” he says. “Once I got about ready to come out of grammar school, one of my gifts for my graduation, my grandfather and grandmother told me that if I passed, they would buy me any electric guitar that I wanted. That was a big deal to me. I had a guitar from Sears, a $29 electric guitar, and a Teisco amp. I think the amp was about $40. And I was like on top of the world, man.”

Totally self-taught, Palmer adopted an unusual guitar tuning that’s baffled more than a few potential jammers: he keeps his first and second strings tuned a half-step up from their usual pitch. “People make a big deal out of it. It’s no big thing. It was totally accidental,” says Anthony. “When I was learning, I never had a formal lesson. All I had was a music book, and they would tell you, you tune your low E, and then you go up to the fifth fret, put your finger behind it and tune the next one, and so on. So my automatic thought was, I’ll tune all of ‘em (that way). I got frustrated with the other way because I couldn’t understand the shift from E to E. I couldn’t understand that. ‘Now why would you change tuning?’ So I just decided to tune straight down like that.

anthony palmer photo 2“It wasn’t until years later, when I started going around playing with other people, they would tell me, ‘Your guitar’s out of tune!’ Or the other guys would pick it up and look at it like, ‘Man, what’s up, man? This is not right!’ I’d say, ‘It’s right for me!’”

Palmer’s direct musical influences were few. “I had one local guy from my neighborhood at the time. The first time I heard a guitar tune that I just was over the moon listening to, it was this guy by the name of L.C. Roby. I remember I was like 16, 17. He used to play around at the Majestic Lounge. And me and my buddies used to go around there on the weekends, and they would sneak us in. We were underage. The guy would always tell us, ‘Go sit in the back in the dark!’ But I was just enamored of this guy’s playing. He used to play a 335 through a Twin, and his tone was somewhat like Freddie King,” says Palmer.

“The sound was so big and just out there. It was almost like being addicted. Man, I’d be at the damned club every other week. So I got to know him. So then he got to know me, so he figured I was worthy of him trying to show me things, and I started going over to his house. And we used to sit down on his porch. He’d put the amp on the porch, I’d bring my guitar over, he’d bring his out. He lived across from some railroad tracks. And we used to play, man, we’d be out there to four o’clock in the morning sometimes! My mother would be mad because I’m riding a bike, right? ‘Where have you been?’ ‘Well, I’ve been over at L.C.’s house.’ I enjoyed that. That was the one guy of all that really just grabbed me.”

Located at 14th and Pulaski, the Majestic Lounge was Anthony’s first blues hangout, along with his pals, musicians Ricky and Michael Scott. “I got to know Johnny Dollar. So there was one week that the other guys didn’t go with me. I just went up there by myself. I was very full of myself, very cocky. I had just got a brand new white Stratocaster—time payments, the whole nine yards. I learned a few little things at the house, and I was ready. So I down there, and Johnny Dollar called me up on stage with his band.”

Things didn’t go as planned. “One of the guys said, ‘You better go home and learn how to play!’ ‘Cause I’m up there, noodling around—to this day, I don’t even remember what we were playing. I just know I was bad. I think back on it. But I got my head handed to me.” Anthony took that band member’s gruff advice. “I woodshedded at home for the better part of a year or so. I spent hours in my attic, practicing with records and whatever. So one day I decided to have enough nerve to go back to the Majestic. And I went there this time, and it worked. Johnny Dollar called me back up. He said, ‘Boy, you ready now?’ I said, ‘I think so.’ He said, ‘Alright.’ So I got up there and I played, and from that point on, the guys accepted me.”

The West Side was teeming with precocious guitar talent during the early ‘70s, notably Melvin Taylor and Michael Coleman. “We were all in different bands. We were from different parts of the West Side. I was in Lawndale. Michael was more toward the East Side, in the projects. Melvin was further west. Melvin played with a band called the Chicago Transistors. And Michael had a band called the Midnight Sun. My band was called Communication.” Formed in 1970, Communication was a soul band that stayed together for a decade despite never having a record on the shelves.

anthony palmer photo 3“Most of the guys were just pals from the neighborhood,” says Palmer. “We won a talent competition at Operation PUSH. That was roughly 1972.” Their potential big break arrived when a representative from RCA caught their act and invited them to submit a demo. The wheels were turning until the RCA rep informed the band’s manager he’d likely be busted down to road manager once a professional management team took over. “Our manager, being the mercenary, greedy son-of-a-gun he was, he decided, ‘I’m not gonna take the tape to New York.’ And we were young guys. All we knew about was playing. We didn’t know nothing about the business,” Palmer says. “If we’d have known any more, we’d have probably figured out a way to take the tape there ourselves. But he just figured, ‘Okay, if I’m not included, nobody’s gonna get anything!’ So that was the end of that.”

Communication finally saw the inside of a professional studio at the dawn of the ‘80s after signing on as funk master Bobby Rush’s band. “We got to know Bobby and went to rehearse with him. I was with Bobby about a year-and-a-half,” says Anthony. “We recorded a session for Philadelphia International. But before that was released, they cut his deal. They got rid of him. So that stuff will probably never be heard.” That’s a shame, because the session was held in Philly with Leon Huff on electric piano. “That whole thing was mindblowing, because I was always into the O’Jays and Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, and I always imagined what it was like to record the records they did. Then to be in that studio—Sigma Sound Studio was just amazing. You’d walk into the first part of the lobby, and the whole wall was gold records.”

The band soon ceased communicating. “We splintered,” says Anthony. “I had a girlfriend at the time. We had an apartment and bills, and I was gone most of the time. And it got to the point I wasn’t really making enough money to do anything, so I got frustrated and I gave Bobby my notice.” It was time for an extended vacation. “I subsequently went and got a job on a moving van. I did that for like a year-and-a-half. I stopped playing. I took my equipment and hid it as far away from my sight as I could so I wouldn’t get the urge, not knowing that the urge would come back without seeing it. Because I always missed it. I just said, ‘I can’t do this anymore.’

“What actually brought me out of mothballs, I was working, and Johnny Christian came along. So I don’t know how he got a hold of me, how he knew where to find me at, but he came to my house. He said, ‘Man, I need a guitar player!’ I was like, ‘Man, I don’t want to.’ And he kept talking, taking, talking. And the more he talked—‘Okay, okay, you got me!’ I was back in it again,” says Palmer. “There wasn’t much money, but we worked all the time. We worked like six nights a week, and the band was pretty good.”

Anthony played West and South Side haunts for a year with Christian, but joining vocalist Gloria Hardiman and her new band Nightflight propelled him onto a more lucrative scene around 1982. “Eddie Turner, our drummer, and John Hill, the guitar player, they came to my house one day and said, ‘Hey, man, we’re getting ready to go try something on the North Side, the clubs up there.’ I didn’t know nothing about the North Side clubs at all. I was sort of leery of it because I was just really getting back into playing. I said, ‘Do I want to get this deep in this again?’ I was happy doing what I was doing. So they persuaded me,” says Anthony. “We started working at Wise Fools Pub and B.L.U.E.S. and the Mines. After awhile, we got to doing it pretty regular.”

With a few personnel changes and the installation of keyboardist Eddie Lusk as bandleader, they changed their billing to Professor’s Blues Revue in 1985. Hardiman split vocal duties with Willie White, although virtually everyone in the band including Anthony took their turns behind the mic. “We had something for everybody, I think, and it worked for awhile,” says Palmer. The Revue journeyed to Europe in 1986 as Otis Rush’s band, and Palmer found himself sharing a stage at Montreux with Rush, Eric Clapton, Robert Cray, and Luther Allison. “I always say that’s one of the top things I’ve done,” he says. “I’ll never forget that, because it was so surreal.”

anthony palmer photo 4Professor’s Blues Revue was featured on Alligator’s 1987 anthology The New Bluebloods with a cover of Jeannie & Jimmy Cheatham’s “Meet Me With Your Black Drawers On.” “We had been doing the song for about a year live,” says Anthony. “Bruce Iglauer, he had another song he wanted us to record. We worked on it, and we just couldn’t get the right feel for it. I think it was Gloria that brought up ‘Black Drawers.’ We were in the studio and just more or less told Bruce, ‘Okay, what you do, don’t say nothing. Just sit over there and listen!’ So actually, we cut the tune in two takes. All we did, we played it like we played it every night.”

Not long after that, Anthony left the Revue. “As soon as we recorded ‘Black Drawers,’ it seemed like almost as soon as we did that everything started going crazy,” says Anthony. “Egos and whatnot.” During a brief stint with another Hardiman-fronted outfit, Palmer received an offer he couldn’t refuse in late 1989. “We were playing at Blue Chicago, and one night two of the guys from Joanna’s band came in. It was almost like a mugging or a kidnapping,” he laughs. “They were saying, ‘Hey, man, Joanna wants you to come and play in the band. Would you be interested?’ And for what we were doing at the time with Gloria, we weren’t really doing a whole hell of a lot. So I jumped at it.”

He stuck with Connor for a dozen years the first time around, touring the world with the fiery slide guitar specialist and recording four albums for Blind Pig. After eight years as Jimmy Burns’ guitarist, Palmer returned to Joanna’s band in 2011. “I always say I play counterpoint to her,” he says. “Her thing is slide. She plays a lot of straight guitar, but I can’t play slide. So she does the slide stuff, and she’s a great rhythm player. I think she’s a great guitar player all the way around. She’s developed a lot. And I play off of her really well. Sometimes it’s like telepathy. We’ve played together so long, it’s like she knows where I’m going. I know where she’s going.”

Burns hired Palmer in 2003. “I got a call one evening: ‘This is Jimmy Burns.’ I didn’t know Jimmy Burns from Adam. I knew he played at the Mines. I knew some of his material. And he said, ‘I’ve got this trip coming up. I’ve got to go to Quebec for a couple of days, a festival. I need you to come play with me for a couple of days,’” says Anthony. “While we were riding to Canada, I learned basically almost all his stuff. All I had to do with Jimmy was backtrack. When I first started playing, I was playing closer to what Jimmy did. So I just had to deprogram myself, simplify.”

Jimmy gave Anthony his enduring nickname, the “Fret Burner.” “Oh, man. I hate that,” moans Palmer. “The reason I hate it is because if you have a nickname like that, people think you put it on yourself. And that’s something I would never do. Jimmy came up with that, and I just said, ‘What the heck.’ I don’t hear it as much now as I used to, so I’m glad of that.” Nonetheless, Anthony was red-hot on Burns’ Delmark albums Live at B.L.U.E.S. in 2007 and It Ain’t Right in 2015. He also contributed to recording projects by Johnny Drummer, Lurrie Bell, Byther Smith, Eddie Taylor, Jr., and Linsey Alexander during the 2000s.

Happily, Palmer’s extended bout with relative anonymity may be about to end: he’s considering making his own long-overdue debut album. “I’m just more or less in the thinking stage of it right now, so nothing’s been done yet,” he says. “I want to do a blues or R&B sort of thing. I haven’t sung in a long time. I got away from it. Sometimes you get sidetracked by one thing: ‘Okay, this is fine for now. I’ll go back to it sooner or later.’ Then you look up and you never go back to it.”

In the meantime, Anthony will continue to serve as a consummate team player, unleashing his fret pyrotechnics behind whichever bandleader happens to be paying his salary that particular evening. That’s the life of a blues sideman, and he’s long been one of Chicago’s best. He also understands the value of loyalty in a very competitive field.

“I don’t burn bridges!”

Interviewer Bill Dahl is a lifelong Chicago resident who began writing about music professionally in 1977. He’s written for Vintage Rock, Goldmine, Living Blues, Blues Revue, Blues Music Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, and the Reader, and is the author of The Art of the Blues, a 2016 book published by University of Chicago Press, and 2001’s Motown: The Golden Years (Krause Publications). Bill was awarded the Blues Foundation’s Keeping the Blues Alive Award in journalism in 2000.

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 Blues Society News 

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Detroit Blues Society – Detroit, MI

The Detroit Blues Society Heritage Series presents “Blues and Boogie Piano” featuring Mark “Mr.B.” Braun and Bill Heid. on Saturday April 29, 2017 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

Mr. B. is a boogie-woogie pianist from Ann Arbor Michigan. He became interested in the piano through recordings collected by his father in his hometown of Flint, MI. Later he studied with “Boogie Woogie” Red and other famous area musicians among others. He is also a composer in his own right.

Bill Heid is an American Blues & Jazz pianist born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He has recorded with blues & jazz greats Koko Taylor, Henry Johnson and Fenton Robinson. He spent several years living and performing in Detroit with Johnnie Bassett and others and now resides in the Washington, DC . The two pianists will perform separately as well as together, backed by a rhythm section.

Mississippi Valley Blues Society – Devenport, IA

The Mississippi Valley Blues Society presents the Golden State – Lone Star Revue featuring an all-star, cross-country melding of musicians. These five masters of blues will be playing at RIBCO, 1815 2nd Avenue, Rock Island, IL on Monday, April 10 starting at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets will only be sold at the door for $20/Mississippi Valley Blues Society members or $25 non-members. Membership applications will be available at the

Minnesota Blues Society – St Paul, MN

Minnesota Blues Society presents Road to Memphis Challenge, two great days of competition!

Sun, April 9, 1:00 pm at the Dugout Bar, 96 Mahtomedi Rd, Mahtomedi, MN for the Solo/Duo competitors: Trevor Marty; Javier Matos; Brother Jon Duo; Curtis “Louisville White Lightening” Duo. Sun, April 23, 1:00 pm at Wilebski’s Blues Saloon 1638 Rice St., St. Paul MN fot the Band competitors: Slim Willie and the Ride; Bluedog; Ken Valdez; Harrison St; Jim Stairs-Squishy Mud; Paul Barry and the Ace Tones

Order of performances randomly determined prior to events $10 suggested donation. Winners will represent Minnesota at the IBC, in Memphis, Jan 2018. More info:

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 10 – Roger “Hurricane” Wilson & The Hurricane Homeboys, April 17 – The Green McDonough Band, Aptil 24 – Chris Ruest Featuring Gene Taylor.

Additional ICBC partnered shows: April 20 – The MOJOCATS host James Armstrong Presents At The Alamo.  For more information visit

Ventura County Blues Society – Ventura, CA

(Camarillo, CA) – The 12th Annual Ventura County Blues Festival, a Spring SoCal Tradition, Keeping the Blues Alive for a dozen consecutive years, Saturday, April 29, at Studio Channel Islands, 2222 E. Ventura Blvd. Gates open 10:00 am, music starts 11:00 am. Tickets $30. (Pre-Sale), $40. (Gate). Kids 12 and under free with paid Adult. V.I.P. Tickets $125. (online only). Festival proceeds benefits Food Share and other Ventura County area charities (please bring food item to donate). Info: (805) 501-7122 or visit

Performing this year: Two-time Grammy winners, Phantom Blues Band; award-winning singer/songwriter/guitar player, Debbie Davies; renowned guitarist, Chris Cain; RJ Mischo, considered by critics to be in the upper echelon of today’s great harp players and singers; Michael John And The Bottom Line, fronted by VCBS President/Festival founder, Michael John; purveyors of deep-seeded Blues and smoky Southern rock, Crooked Eye Tommy; Jim Gustin and Truth Jones, fronted by blues singer/guitarist Jim Gustin, and Jeri Goldenhar, a/k/a Truth Jones, who has a big voice to match her six-foot stature.

Central Iowa Blues Society – Des Moines, IA

Central Iowa Blues Society Announces Iowa Blues Hall Of Fame Class Of 2016. This year’s inductees include Ellis Kell, Tony Blew, Dan “DJ” Johnson, J C Anderson and Fletcher Henderson “Sonny” Lott.

Save the date for the Induction Ceremony to be held on April 8, 2017 at Noce’, 1326 Walnut St in Des Moines. The doors open and dinner provided by Flying Mango will start at 5:00 PM. IBHOF house band Sumpin Doo will perform at 6:00 PM with the ceremony at 6:30 PM and a Jam after the ceremony until 10:00 PM. Tickets will be available soon at Noce’ and Midwestix.

The nominated artist’s bios with additional info will follow and be posted at and the CIBS Facebook page.

The Washington Blues Society – Seattle, WA

The Washington Blues Society’s annual Best of the Blues Awards returns to the Kirkland Performance Center on Sunday, April 9th to honor musicians and artists nominated by society members in 32 award categories. The 2017 BB Awards show features performances by select nominees and recognizes new inductees into the Washington Blues Society Hall of Fame.

The nominees represent the best blues performers throughout the Pacific Northwest. Long-time favorites Brian Lee and the Orbiters return with five nominations, including Best Blues Band, Best Performer and Best Songwriter. Fresh from their 2017 International Blues Challenge performances in Memphis, Polly O’Keary and the Rhythm Method garnered five nominations, including Best Band, Electric Guitarist and Female Vocalist of the Year. Stanislove, the blues society’s representative at the 2017 International Blues Challenge is also up for a Solo/Duo BB Award. First-time nominees include vocalist Sheri Roberts Greimes, guitarist Brett “Bad Blood,” Benton, Hammond B3 master Joe Doria and Kenmore’s Capps Club, home of the Washington Blues Society’s free Blues Bash held on the second Tuesday each month. More information:

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