Issue 11-31 August 3, 2017

Cover photo © 2017 Marilyn Stringer

 In This Issue 

Don Wilcock has our feature interview with the North Mississippi Allstars. We have 10 Blues reviews for you this week including a book about Bluesman Benny Turner plus new music from North Mississippi Allstars, Peer Gynt, Big Golden Wheeler, Tim Bastmeyer’s All Star Blues Band, Paul the Resonator, Jim Crozier, Martin Lang with Rusty Zinn, Billy Flynn & Oscar Wilson, AC Myles and Chris English Band.

Bob Kieser has photos and commentary from the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival.

Our video of the week is Blues rocker Matthew Curry.

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

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 Blues Wanderings 

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We had great weather and great Blues at the Prairie Dog Blues Festival last weekend. Above are Carolyn Wonderland, Tierinii Jackson (Southern Avenue), Kris Lager and Lil’ Ed Williams. We will have a complete photo review of the fest in an upcoming issue.

Have You Voted Yet?

Fan voting for the 2017 Blues Blast Music Awards continues until August 15th. We offer you the ability to actually hear the music of the nominees before you vote by going to our Soundcloud listening site at

You can only vote one time so listen first and then vote NOW at!

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 Featured Blues Review – 1 of 10 

north mississippi allstars cd imageNorth Mississippi Allstars – Prayer for Peace

Sony Legacy

12 tracks / 42:41

The North Mississippi Allstars have been purveying their brand of swamp and hill country blues for more than twenty years, and each album they release is fresh and original. Their latest disc, Prayer for Peace, continues the trend as it delivers twelve tracks of lively music that is built around their unique sound. It is arguably the best recording they have done to date, and it is possibly the best new disc that has come across my desk this year.

The Allstars core includes three-time Grammy nominees Luther and Cody Dickinson, sons of the late producer and session musician, Jim Dickinson. Growing up in this household meant that these fellows were exposed to great music from a young age, and had access to legendary musicians such as R.L. Burnside, Otha Turner, and Junior Kimbrough. Luther fronts the band on guitar and vocals while Cody picks up the drums, piano and synths; all of it is presented with a distinctively hard-driving Mississippi sound.

Prayer for Peace was recorded in an unusual manner, as the guys’ studio schedule for this album was not exactly conventional. Some the content was laid down at their father’s Zebra Ranch in Hernando, Mississippi, but a great deal of the material was recorded while they were on tour in 2016. They would play shows at night and then hit the studio the next day while their energy was still high; these sessions took place in New Orleans, New York City, Austin, St. Louis, and Kansas City. Despite the different locales and recording consoles, the results are very consistent: a raw (but tight) and lively vibe.

Joining the brothers on this disc are some amazing artists, including bassists Oteil Burbridge (Allman Brothers Band, Dead & Company) and Dominic Davis (Jack White), guitarists Kenny Brown (R.L. Burnside and Mississippi Fred McDowell) and Graeme Lesh (Midnight North, The Terrapin Family Band), singer and fife player Shardé Thomas (daughter of Otha Turner), and vocalists Danielle Nicole and Sharisse Norman. This release features a few original tunes and a slew of classics and covers that are generally associated with other acts.

The album is bookended by the title track, and “Prayer for Peace“ has a modern sound with it lively bass and fife accents, and the vibe is deeply rooted in Mississippi – mostly due to the lovely gospel-like backing vocals. This song ventures into the political realm as it touches on tragedies in our society, and it delivers a message of family and hope that all of us can benefit from. The Allstars also use a remix of this tune to end the album, and it is quite different with the use of heavy effects on the vocals and a more sparse arrangement. Both versions are striking to listen to and effectively get the message across.

The other two original songs are way cool too. “Need to be Free” has a heavy swamp rock vibe, featuring Luther’s outstanding guitar tone and Cody’s powerful and relentless drumming — this is a killer blues jam no matter how you look at it. Then there is “Run Red Rooster,” which is equally heavy with the hill country master, Kenny Brown, pitching in on guitar. This cut was recorded at Memphis’ legendary Royal Studios, and the lyrics are based on the true story of a friend who bailed out of a car and took off through the woods to escape a police roadblock.

The covers are culled from the Dickinson brothers’ upbringing, and they are all reworked so that they fit in with the overall tone of Prayer for Peace. There is a trio of songs that were made famous by The Grateful Dead, including “Stealin’,” “Bid You Goodnight,” and “Deep Elum” (with Cody on the vocals). The listener also gets to hear a pair of Mississippi Fred McDowell tunes, “61 Highway” and “You Got to Move,” and three R.L. Burnside songs: “Bird Without a Feather,” “Long Haired Doney,” and “Miss Maybelle.” This last song was the first track they recorded for this project and it was done in one take. Without the synths this one has more of a classic sound, and Luther’s vocals really shine as they do a very respectable job on this classic.

Prayer for Peace has a dozen knockout tracks of roots and blues music, and the North Mississippi Allstars should be proud of the work they have done. It is well worth your time to give it a listen for yourself, and the band is on the road again to support it (it seems like they are always touring). Their tour schedule and details of how to get your own copy of the album can both be found on their website, so check it out and see what you think!

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

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 Mississippi Valley Blues Fest 

The Mississippi Valley Blues Festival is a production of the Mississippi Valley Blues Society. This year was their 31st festival and first up was an act from Iowa, Zach Harris Band, who started the Blues on Friday. Nice way to kick things off.

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Next up was All Sweat Productions Presents: The 3 Kings (B.B., Albert & Freddie). It was an ambitious effort of the best area musicians who did a great job interpreting the music of the legendary “3 Kings”.

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Next up was The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band. It really is not a big band as it is just 3 talented musicians. There is no bass player. Rev Peyton handles the bass on the guitar as he simultaneously plays the rhythm and lead parts.

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The final act on Friday was Chicago Blues powerhouse Joanna Connor. She showed off her amazing slide guitar skills.

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On Saturday the fest started off with the Travis Ried Band. Travis played a blues rock set to an appreciative crowd.

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Next up was Marquise Knox. Marquise is a Bluesman based in St. Louis and has made quite a name for himself in the last few years since his first album, Man Child, garnered a nomination in the 2010 Blues Blast Awards for Best New Artists Debut. He gets better each time we see him.

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Next up was the Corey Dennison Band. They were a 2016 Blues Blast Awards nominee for Best New Artists Debut and were quite the hit with the fans.

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One of the next performers, Dana Fuchs unfortunately had to cancel due to their flight from the east coast being cancelled because of bad weather so a bunch of Iowa musicians came to the rescue and filled her spot with some great Blues.

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The unnamed group included several of the musicians from the 3 Kings set the previous day. Even my good friend David Berntson got into the set playing harmonica.

The final performer we was at this years fest was Hamilton Loomis. Hamilton is a talented singer, songwriter and guitar player and had a great set that the crowd loved.

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Hats off to the all the volunteers and the board of the Mississippi Valley Blues Society for continuing to put on this great event.

Photos and commentary by Bob Kieser.

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 Featured Blues Review – 2 of 10 

peer gynt nusic album coverPeer Gynt – 9 2 Go

GoldTone Records GTCD1605

9 songs – 39 minutes

Most folks in the U.S. recognize the name Peer Gynt as a Norwegian folk hero whose exploits as a hunter have been used as the basis for a play by Henrik Ibsen, an opera or ballet. In the world of blues, however, Peer Gynt is someone altogether different.

Since emerging with the release of his debut album, First Act, in the ’90s, this Peer has proven himself superior in the world of European blues-rock. An electrifying performer who’s endorsed by Fender, Gynt’s drawn praise from New World artists including Walter Trout, who calls him “an animal on stage, and his guitar playing is unorthodox.”

Gynt tours the Continent regularly and began making appearances in the U.S. in 2002 after signing with Germany’s Ruf Records for the release of his Fairytales CD. He’s achieved even more popularity for scoring major European movies, and, even though you’re not aware of it, you’ve heard his music on American TV shows, including 60 Minutes, Punk’d, 48 Hours Mystery and more.

This release finds him handling all vocals and guitars, backed by Ingar “Dr. Ingus” Freisey on drums and Lars Fish on bass. Edvard Bolas and Frank Scott add keyboards with Therese Ulvan and Sara Kristoffersen contributing backing vocals. Make no mistake, however: despite the presence of keys, this is primarily a power-blues trio album of the first order.

Gynt composed all of the nine tracks here, several with Bolas, most of which deliver positive affirmations about life, although the ideas do come at you from different angles. The message mostly comes at you in waves of repetitive lyrics — all delivered in absolutely perfect English — that are just slightly overwhelmed by the tidal wave of the music. “Ride On” opens the action. It’s a loping, medium-fast tempo blues about continuing to go forward despite fearing about losing control.

“Keep On Movin'” continues the message forward as it gets a little deeper in the pocket and slows slightly. In this one, Gynt insists you have to find peace within yourself and live every day as if it’s the last one of your life. The bluesy ballad “Holy Water” puts Peer’s guitar work on display as he describes a condition common to any top musician: being torn and surrounded by people all wanting a piece of their success.

The mood changes quickly for “Fool For Your Love,” a blues-rocker with a slightly syncopated rhythm pattern. In this one Gynt admits to instances where he’s been a “devil out of control,” but vows he wants to lift his lady up and bring her close — and requests guidance from her in order to make it happen. A slow-blues burner follows in “Everything I Got,” another appeal for direction, this time to live in something you never hear in a tune: modesty!

The stop-time uptempo rocker “I Just Wanna Drive” carries forward the popular theme about just being paid and wanting to hit the road before “I Can’t Go On,” another slow blues that gives Peer space to display his six-string chops. In this one, he’s at the end of a relationship in which he’s been faithful, only to end up in the lady’s rear-view mirror. A medium-fast walking blues, “Stay With Me Babe,” continues the theme before another over-the-top rocker, “The End,” brings the disc to a close with the singer out of cash and knowing he’ll never be saved, but vowing to hold on tight until the finish.

If you’re a fan of blues-rock, you’ll love this one. Available through iTunes, Google Play, Israbox and other online retailers.

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 Video Of The Week – Matthew Curry 

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Matthew Curry performing his song “Set Me Free”. (Click image to watch!)

Matthew will be performing at the Paramount Music Fest on Friday, September 1, 2017. For information and tickets to the Paramount Music Festival click HERE or click on their ad in this issue.

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 Featured Blues Review – 3 of 10 

big golden wheeler cd imageBig Golden Wheeler – Turn My Life Around

11songs – 61minutes

This is the third solo release by Chicago blues harmonica and vocalist Big Golden Wheeler. It was produced by and features fellow Chicago blues legend Jimmy Johnson on all backing instruments. Story goes they were big mates and Big Wheeler wanted something tangible to sell at gigs from the stage , originally it was made into a cassette. (Remember those happy memories?) Anyway Wolf Records got these old recordings from him and hence released them. His previous releases were on the Delmark record label called Bone Orchard in 1993 and Jump In in 1997.

Eight of the songs were written by Golden Wheeler himself. There are also two tracks from a session in 1989 with the Wolf All Star Blues Band featuring Luther Adams, John Primer, Willie Kent and Timothy Taylor. This is Chicago blues at its finest and dirtiest at times. This has all the hallmarks of someone who has been there done that and what a legacy.

Starting with the cover of Jimmy Reed’s “The Sun Is Shining” he makes his harmonica sound like a chirping bird. His voice has that well lived in drawl and fine keyboard playing on this. A real discovery for yours truly as really only know Jimmy as a brilliant blues guitarist. “Dirty Blues” the second track is a real favourite, mixing the talents of both artists forming a strong sound with great melodies. Wheeler pays homage to his idol Little Walter on his take of “I Got To Go” giving a jump jive effect with resonating harmonica tones. “Good Lover” keeps a slow groove going, introducing John Primer on lead guitar . There is a real organic sound to the production and recording, nothing fancy, just really pure and perfect. Undoubted standout track for guitar lovers is the instrumental “Blue Guitar” written by Earl Hooker and given the full Jimmy Johnson treatment, just mesmerising. The pace rolls on with the lazy blues of “Hey Short Woman”. The second session song, a cover of Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Crazy Bout You Baby” has great guitar licks again with light drumming by Timothy Taylor.

“Hard Luck Blues” is a standard slow blues take on the old Roy Brown number which rolls along smoothly. His own “Honey Connie” is uptempo about a girl he used to know and sounds full of character. Title track “Turn My Life Around” mixes soulful lyrics to a funky beat full of redemption and self reflection. The final track “V.J. It’s O.K” has a more honky tonk blues piano feel to leave the listener smiling.

Altogether this release is a masterclass in Chicago Blues playing by two musicians worthy of being called legends. It just sounds so good with lazy beats , consummate guitar playing and grinding harmonica riffs, a sure fire winner.

Reviewer Colin Campbell is based in Scotland. He has been writing about blues music for over six years. He is also a keen photographer. He has been enthused and heavily influenced by blues music for three decades. Music is a healer, blues is the medicine.

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 Featured Blues Review – 4 of 10 

tim bastmeyer cd imageTim Bastmeyer’s All Star Blues Band

Self-Release – 2017

9 tracks; 33 minutes

Tim Bastmeyer is a Canadian guitarist and vocalist and this is his fourth release, recorded in Ontario with several well-known players: Julian Fauth is on piano, Paul Reddick on harp, Sean Pinchin on slide guitar, James Thomson on upright bass and Cam De Latt on drums. All the material is original, written by Tim, Julian and James, with everyone contributing to some of the songs. Opener “What That Woman Does For Me” is laid-back country blues, Tim adopting a deep Johnny Cash style voice as he sings of his feelings for the girl, the interplay between the two guitars and piano charming and the rhythm section very supportive. “Northern Boogie Blues” describes a night out on the town with Julian’s gentle piano setting the tone for some nice down-home harp from Paul. “With You” has a blues structure with electric guitar overdubbed on top of acoustic though Tim’s voice is not the strongest and he does tend to sound a little too laid-back at times, almost speaking the lyrics rather than singing; in the later section of the song there are some interesting things going on with the bass lines and the laughter at the end suggests that the band enjoyed that also! “It’s A Shame” is rather a dirge but is redeemed by some good picking and Julian’s piano work. Things look up on “That Woman” which has Tim double-tracked on vocals on a lively tune and lyrics along the ‘seen you with another man’ theme; Paul plays some nice harp on this one.

“Love Turns To Pain” is a slow blues with slide and piano opening things up: “since she left me I’m going insane, it’s a classic story, love turns to pain”. Nothing novel here but a well-played acoustic blues piece. The sole instrumental is “Funky Ten” which blends elements of funk and jazz and provides opportunities for everyone to take a solo to good effect. Gentle slide and harp introduce the very country sounding “Tomorrow Is Another Day” though the strange multi-tracked vocal effects here left this reviewer cold. The album closes with a spoken narrative about what sounds like a disastrous gig, apparently inspired by Tom Waits; once again, the playing is good, especially Julian’s piano, but the overall effect does not encourage you to press the replay button.

Overall this short album contains some solid acoustic playing but falls short in terms of the songs and vocals.

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

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 Featured Blues Review – 5 of 10 

paul the resonator cd imagePaul the Resonator – Soul of a Man


CD: 14 Songs, 47:41 Minutes

Styles: Blues Covers, Gospel Blues

You know what they say about the word ASSUME? That’s right: it makes an @$$ of U and ME. I did just that while listening to West Virginia’s Paul the Resonator, and his new release, Soul of a Man. I made the erroneous @$$umption that there wasn’t rich new ore to be mined on this gospel blues CD, featuring standards such as “You Gotta Walk That Lonesome Valley” by Mississippi John Hurt, and the title track by Blind Willie Johnson. After listening to six of these covers, gold nuggets that had been mined many times, I hit on a piece of uranium: “Destroying Angel.” Rare and riveting – and reviewed below – it sunk into my gray matter like radiation. What did it matter if I’d heard “Soul of a Man” and “Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning” so often I could sing along from memory? Going off the beaten path leads to hidden treasures. With skillful cohorts and purely conversational vocals, this Resonator took me by surprise.

His promo materials get right to the point: “Paul the Resonator, based out of Shepherdstown, WV, has accepted the challenge to bring [this genre] to the world. He has played on stages in Beijing, China, Seoul, Korea, Hamburg, Germany, Malaysia, refugee camps in Tanzania (!), as well as domestic locations such as San Francisco and the Washington, DC area. He was the first on stage at the 2017 River City Blues Competition in Marietta, Ohio.” Clearly, he sees his task as a missionary one, spreading the gospel of gospel blues.

Performing along with Paul Grussendorf are Natalia Cummings on background vocals; Vince “Fireball” Farrabaugh on harmonica, and Jesse Shultzaberger on percussion. Also featured are the Speakeasy Boys: Scott Schmied on washtub bass; Robbie Caruthers on fiddle; Banjo Eyes on banjo, and Than Hitt on guitar.

Now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the unearthing of that uranium-hot ballad.

Track 07: “Destroying Angel” – Some killers are headliners, whether on paper or in cyberspace. Others are buried in the bedrock of history, and one has to do some digging to uncover them. Porter Rockwell, marshal of Salt Lake City in the days of Joseph Smith, is one of the latter. “The good Lord told him who to kill and who not to kill. A heavy burden, but it always gave him such a thrill. .44 Colt in his hand and a tear in his eye – you saw that look, you knew you were the next to die.” Move over, Wyatt Earp. You were fiction, but Orrin Porter Rockwell was real. “Fireball” Farrabaugh’s harmonica is the highlight here, understated yet undeniably haunting.

What of the Soul of a Man? Paul the Resonator can tell you, through covers and otherwise!

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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 Featured Blues Review – 6 of 10 

jim crozier cd imageJim Crozier – What You Want


CD: 9 Songs, 40:28 Minutes

Styles: “Edgy Blues and Twisted Americana”, Mellow Blues

What better way to describe a work of art than in the artist’s own words? That’s why I put quotes around the description of Tallahassee’s Jim Crozier’s sophomore album. If “edgy blues and twisted Americana” are What You Want, then for his Florida fans, he’s certainly got it. It’s been ten years since his debut, Down to the Village, which is still available on CDBaby. As many musicians, painters, sculptors, and authors know, sometimes it takes a decade to perfect one’s creations. On nine original tracks and one traditional tune (“Saint James Infirmary”), Crozier provides us with low-key blues that are a bit less “edgy” than he’d like them to be. Vocally, he’s no Walter Trout, and as for his musicianship, it has aged well, but aged it has. There’s an odd lack of balance between Jim’s voice and the rest of the instrumentation, which might leave some listeners straining to hear his lyrics. Still, he and his posse get high marks for effort. It takes brass spheres (below the belt) to do what Crozier does and go “Back to Plan A” (reviewed below). Other jobs might put food on the table, but won’t feed one’s soul. Jim has returned to doing what he loves, and is now hosting live blues jam sessions in North Florida.

According to the section of his website labeled “Bio and Other Fiction,” “Jim Crozier is a singer, songwriter, and bassist living and working in the Tallahassee, Florida area. Among the songwriters he admires are Tom Waits, Aaron Neville, Leonard Cohen, Bobby Charles, Rodney Crowell, and Gram Parsons. [He] is now back to music full time after a long career in Government IT. He got his first guitar a year before the Beatles were on the Ed Sullivan Show and picked up the bass soon after. While engaged as the musical director at a summer theater, he wrote some music for an off-Broadway musical, Touch – the original cast album was nominated for a Grammy in 1972. After earning a degree in Music Composition from the FSU School of Music, he continued to live and work in the Tallahassee area, playing bass with many local ensembles including jazz quartets, blues bands, and a classic big band.”

Along with bassist and lead vocalist Crozier are Mike Stone on drums; Brett Gardner on lead guitar; Jeff Drawbaugh on clarinet and soprano sax; TD Giddings on lead guitar; Ben Banks and Chris Skene on guitar; John Babich on piano; Kayla Williams on viola, violin and cello, and Don Austin on violin and viola.

The following song is noteworthy not for its value as a pure blues ballad, but because it’s the story of so many blues artists who’ve followed the same trajectory in life that Crozier has.

Track 04: “Back to Plan A” – A “Plan B” is what all creative artists need, at least if they hope to make a living. Even that doesn’t always go as planned: “Some sorry super loser fired my best friend. That story really made me mad; I won’t pretend. I picked up my ax and headed out to play. I’m not losing my mind; I’m going back to Plan A.” It may not be a traditional blues instrument, but I’m really digging Jeff Drawbaugh’s clarinet here.

Jim Crozier’s got What You Want if it’s mellow, low-key blues from a Florida veteran!

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.

 Featured Blues Review – 7 of 10 

benny turner book imageBill Dahl & Benny Turner – Survivor: The Benny Turner Story

NOLA Blue Inc.

238 pages hardcover

Starting in a small town east of Dallas, TX and finishing off in New Orleans, Benny Turner takes readers through through his life as a musician. The younger brother of legendary guitarist Freddie King, Turner made his living playing bass in a number of high profile bands, including a lengthy stretch with his brother’s group. By enlisting the assistance of noted blues writer and historian Bill Dahl, Turner ensures that his autobiography maintains a focused, easy-flowing style that suits the arc of his narrative. Turner doesn’t shy away from commenting on his experiences with racism and the police, issues that are still relevant today.

Growing up in the country, Turner lived a simple life with his parents and his older brother. He and Freddie were inseparable despite a five year age difference. When Freddie started picking cotton, Turner would sit on his brother’s cotton sack and get pulled across the cotton field. An accident left Turner with a facial scar when Freddie didn’t pay attention while chopping firewood for the family stove. As was common in those days, the boys started off playing music on a diddley-bow, made with baling wire nail to the side of their house and augmented by a couple of tin cans.

Later, it took several weeks of tanning cowhides for the boys to earn enough to pay for an inexpensive Roy Rogers guitar. Even though Turner helped with the workload, his older brother refused to share the guitar with him. When Freddie wasn’t around, Turner would seize the opportunity to practice some of the chords family members had taught the boys. They started developing an interest in the blues, primarily from a radio station in Laredo that broadcast fifteen minutes of blues daily with artists like Louis Jordan and Hank Williams.

Around 1950, Turner’s father left the family behind for a job with a steel company in Chicago. By the end of that year, he was able to send train tickets to Texas so that the family could join him. Turner quickly learned to keep his wits about him as big city life was dramatically different than the world he left behind. Several stories are related, including one involving a preacher who lived across the street, and his lady friend who had a unique way of listening to the preacher’s sermons. By the time he reaches Crane High School, Turner is singing doo-wop with classmates in several groups. Eventually he ends up with The Kindly Shepherds, touring with the gospel group and recording several tracks for the Nashboro label.

Meanwhile, brother Freddie is soaking in all of the blues around him and getting some guitar tips from Jimmy Rogers that helped create the Freddie King sound. The day arrives when Freddie asks Turner to join his band, later buying him one of the new Fender electric bass guitars and working with Turner to teach him how to play the instrument. When the opportunity comes to tour with singer Dee Clark, Turner can’t resist the lure of playing venues like the Apollo Theater.

From that point, Turner gets deeper and deeper into a career in music, relating stories of hanging out with Ray Charles, Carla Thomas, and Leon Russell. He returns to his gospel roots for a stint with the legendary Soul Stirrers before returning to his brother’s band, enjoying many highlights of Freddie’s journey before it was cut short in December, 1976. It was a devastating loss that sent Turner reeling. It took a helping hand from Mighty Joe Young to get things under control. Turner spends plenty of pages describing the fun he had during his tenure with Young. When health issues laid Young up, Turner headed for New Orleans, where musicians could earn a good living without going anywhere. He spends some years playing on Bourbon St. before get hired by Marva Wright, a powerful vocalist just starting to make a name for herself. They worked together until a stroke ended Wright’s performing days.

Like the survivor that he is, Turner took over Wright’s band and started down his own path. Recent years have seen the release of two recordings under his own name, with a new one coming soon. Last year, his When She’s Gone release was nominated for a Blues Blast Music Award in the Soul Blues Album category and one track, “I Can’t Leave,” received an Independent Music Award for Blues song of the year.

The book is effective at chronicling his tale of ups & downs, lacking only enough of Turner’s thoughts and views to give readers a deeper glimpse at the man himself. Included are fifteen pages of black & white photos, with other pictures documenting his life spread liberally throughout the book. It has been a great ride for Turner – and readers will surely enjoy the way he tells his story.

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 Review – 8 of 10 

martin land cd imageMartin Lang with Rusty Zinn, Billy Flynn & Oscar Wilson – Ain’t No Notion

Random Chance Records

13 tracks

Martin Lang returns for his second album for what Lang and his producer and liner notes writer Dick Shurman both call this an “ensemble album.” There is a team behind the effort, with Oscar Wilson fronting the band with his sublime vocal style on five tracks, Rusty Zinn singing on two tracks and Martin singing on the first and last tracks. Five of the cuts are instrumentals and showcase Lang on harp and Billy Flynn and Zinn as guitarists. Illinois Slim and Jimmy Upstairs share the bass duties and Dean Haas is on drums throughout. Dave Waldman also tinkles the keys on a couple of tracks.

Lang also appeared with four cuts on a 2002 album Harmonica Blues and his 2015 debut album Chicago Harp Blues Sessions were both very good but Lang has outdone himself here. His 25 years of extensive experience in Chicago blues is quite evident.

Frank Frost’s classic “Backscratcher” opens he set. Lang provides vocals and his harp is amplified through a Leslie speaker for effect. His deep vocals are resonant and interesting and the harp has moments where it sounds like an organ. Very cool! Little Walter’s “Blues With a Feeling” follows with Wilson howling out the lyrics and Lang beautifully playing a stinging harp that cuts the air like a knife. Lang’s “The Hard Ten” is next, a nifty instrumental where Lang blows some awesome harp on chromatic with the slide in and the guitar solo is, well, swell. Junior Wells’ “Come On In This House” gives us Wilson with high register stuff and Lang sparring on his greased up harp. Lang’s approach on the harp here is just so dirty and pretty. Another nice guitar solo adds to this awesome slow blues. Waldman appears for the first of two on “10:30 Blues,” another original by Lang. Lang’s harp and the guitar banter between themselves in this slow and sublime blues. The finger picking and harp notes play off each other sweetly; the pace is sloooooow and cool as the piano maintains the focus and seems to drive the cut with the backline. Jazz is next with Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon Man”. The tempo is taken way down from the original and the boys blues it all up nicely. Zinn’s guitar is treated to the Leslie here and it’s quite interesting, too.

Billy Flynn breaks out the mandolin for the jumping and fun “Chromando,” a piece he and Lang wrote. Billy and Martin go back and forth instrumentally as Zinn stays back but fills nicely on rhythm guitar. Waldman’s piano is listed for this cut but seems to get buried in the mix. Zinn fronts things for Jimmy Rogers’ “You’re The One” and he really gets into the spirit of things. This is some sweet Chicago blues as Lang blazes on harp and the guitar fitfully plays along. “Mile High Blues” is another Lang instrumental with haunting harp featured here. At times it feels as if it’s a wolf musically howling in the mountains instead of a harp– well done. Slow and very neatly done. Flynn the next cut, “Blues Today” and picks out some mean stuff as Wilson shouts out the vocals and Lang lays in some harp behind him. Harp and guitar solos are well done once again on this slow blues. Little Walter’s “Can’t Hold Out Much Longer” again features Wilson on vocals and the harp and guitar are again spot on. Roger’s is again the choice with “Walking By Myself” with Wilson also taking the stage for vocals. He and Lang are back and forth on vocals and harp and the guitar fills sweetly. “Hip Twist,” another original, finishes out the album. Lang sings here again, perhaps lacking some confidence, but his deep and resonant approach is cool. The harp is again featured front and center and the guitar picks out a nice groove to pace things.

The album is truly an ensemble piece as previously claimed. Mostly darker and down tempo-ed, it strikes me as if it’s a slow night in an old, smoke filled club in the 1950’s on Chicago’s South side with the boys laying out their favorites and jamming. The songs are cool and the instrumentals showcase the originality of the players. Each listen brings out new nuances for me and I truly enjoyed this more and more with each spin. I do wish Martin would sing a little more as he’s got a nice baritone/bass voice but with Oscar Wilson as your front man you really can’t get much better than that. Lang’s original songs stay true to the Chicago blues tradition and yet still sound new and fresh. He masterfully plays in multiple positions on different harps. Flynn and Zinn offer spectacular guitar support. This is a really nice album and is worth picking up for your collection– highly recommended!

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

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 Featured Blues Review – 9 of 10 

ac myles cd imageAC Myles – With These Blues

Somewhat Produced/DAF Records

CD: 11 Songs, 41:36 Minutes

Styles: Blues Covers, Guitar Monster Blues, Contemporary Electric Blues Rock

Over the years, I’ve learned multinational brand-name companies such as Coke and McDonald’s spend a lot more on advertising than manufacturing. They want the packaging to be appealing, not necessarily the product. (Witness how Mickey D’s burgers look in their ads versus real life.) In the case of California’s AC Myles, presenting listeners far and wide With These Blues, the reverse is true. His third CD’s cover art may not be flashy – even downright basic, displaying two black-and-white shots of our guitar hero in action. However, flip its case over and you’ll begin to see the glimmer of gold in this piece of blues-rock ore. Not only does Chris “Kid” Andersen star on B3 organ, but the entire album is “safe for airplay,” as it “contains no restricted or offensive language.” He’s a pure talker in terms of vocals, but he lets his shredder do most of the speaking. On seven originals and four covers, he and his posse give their all, with a refreshing mid-key sound.

According to the “Biography” section of his little corner of the Internet, “Born in California, the only son of production workers, Myles grew up in the migrant worker rurals of the Central California town in which he was raised. Myles spent his later teens and twenties touring with his own band, eventually finding his way to the San Francisco Bay Area and playing sideman to an array of acts. Along the way, with a keen ear and sincere passion, AC has become a gifted entertainer and musician. His personal appearances have a ‘take no prisoners’ approach which, along with a healthy dose of humor, usually gets even the toughest audiences on his side.”

No kidding: He’s appeared with Buddy Guy, Sonny Landreth, and Elvin Bishop, among several world-renowned others. He has also taken the stage at more blues festivals than you can count on three hands, both in the US and worldwide.

Who’s helping lead guitarist and singer AC on this current album? As mentioned earlier, the one and only Chris “Kid” Andersen, along with Phil Santellan on bass and Sky Garcia on drums.

These three original songs prove just how massive of a guitar megalith Myles really is.

Track 02: “Ditch Bank” – At first, yours truly thought this song’s title was a succinct argument for joining a credit union, but that’s not so. It’s a mid-tempo instrumental featuring copious use of a ‘70s-style wah-wah pedal and Andersen’s understated yet keen organ. At live shows, this would be a great time to kick back and finish one’s beverage of choice, whether alcoholic or not. Sometimes the blues is about letting one’s interior engine idle for a bit, not rev forevermore.

Track 04: “Joaquin” – Time for a barroom boogie with some Texas flair! “Joaquin” is short and sweet, with a run time of a too-brief 1:55, but it’ll get people out of their seat and on their feet in no time. One minus: Why is the fadeout so long? Why didn’t this track finish with a bang? Crowds will be at a loss for when to stop dancing. Maybe Myles will play this in a medley.

Track 08: “Broke Baby” – Last in this column, but certainly not least, is Windy City-infused “Broke Baby.” It shows the easygoing chemistry between AC and his fellow musicians, which showcases perfect instrumental balance among all four. This is pure contemporary blues rock, with a smooth yet saucy bass line by Phil Santellan.

Let Cali’s AC Myles entertain you With These Blues, featuring a melodious guitar monster!

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.

 Featured Blues Review – 10 of 10 

chris english band cd imageChris English Band – Howlin’ So Long

Lowdown Records – 2017

10 tracks; 57 minutes

Howlin’ So Long is Chris English’s fourth album release, a live set recorded at several venues in and around Salisbury, Maryland. The core band is Chris on vocals, guitar and harp, Jessica English on piano/organ, Grayson English on bass, Greg Schneider on drums and Ted Nichols on percussion. Chris wrote five of the songs and there are five covers. The material is mainly straight up blues though the band does wander into a country vein on “Scratching My Tattoo” and converts “Sittin’ On Top Of The World” into a frantic country romp. The extended closer “Turn On Your Lovelight” stretches out in jam band style but does rather outstay its welcome.

Unfortunately, for this reviewer, Chris’ distinctive vocals remain an acquired taste but the following three songs work well:

   “I Love Guitars”, an original with some amusing lyrics sung to a Bo Diddley beat: “Don’t tune ‘em too tight or they’ll get mean. I tell you man they make life worth living, I love guitars, they’re just like women.”

   The upbeat boogie “Shake It (Little Baby)” is also Chris’ song and rocks along well with some nice picking from Chris

    Chris starts off Muddy’s “Two Trains Running” on both harp and guitar with Jessica’s eerie keyboards in the background. This extended version of the song gives plenty of space for the band to build the tension in the song to good effect and for everyone to shine, notably bassist Grayson

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

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 Featured Blues Interview – North Mississippi Allstars 

north mississippi allstars pic 1Are there any lines the North Mississippi Allstars refuse to cross stylistically involving the hill country blues legacy?

Guitarist/vocalist Luther Dickinson laughed so loud at that question, it took a couple of seconds for us both to collect ourselves. Eventually, he responded. “That’s a question for (my brother) Cody ’cause I’m the old-fashioned guy. I deal with the repertoire – and the melodies, and he deals with the stylistic trappings, but I can say this. He says there is a very fine line. Ha, ha. Like many things artistic, he says the only way to do it is to go too far and then fall back, you know what I mean?

“That’s a good question, but I’ll tell you one thing that I won’t do is and I’m probably guilty of it in the past, but I just won’t sing (lyrics) I can’t relate to. I try not to sing about going to jail because I’ve never been to jail, you know what I’m saying? And I’ve become more sensitive to that as time goes on.”

Luther and his brother are free spirits. There’s a certain maverick rebelliousness to the Allstars, a kind of William Faulkner feeling of living close to the edge, tempered with an intellect that transcends the punk mentality of DDT, the band brothers had before founding the Allstars.

Luther and Cody’s dad, Jim Dickinson, in his memoir I’m Just Dead I’m Not Gone, writes, “Otha Turner taught my sons that tradition transcends color lines and generational boundaries. It’s a complicated process of push and pull from both sides of an ever-changing line in the sand.”

“He was a master at balancing his professional life with family life and that was a great example for all of us,” says Luther bout his dad. “The things that he did were way cooler and more heavy and intense than anything we do. We’re a touring blues band, but his career is unsurpassable.”

Jim and his sons were as tight personally as Jim’s music was loose. He had a certain on-the-run mentality fueled by drugs and a poet’s soul. Unlike his sons who define themselves as a working man’s touring band, Jim was happy to stay out of the limelight, but make no mistake about it, he was a force to contend with. He writes about a moment in the early ’70s. “The Stones’ Sticky Fingers came out with my credited performance on “Wild Horses” and (Ry) Cooder’s classic slide on “Sister Morphine.” Also, there I was in Gimme Shelter, the Maysle brothers documentary of the Altamont concert. I was creeping up the ladder of my fifteen minutes of rock stardom.”

But much of Jim’s muse was directed inward. “The first time I saw a hippie I knew we were in trouble. Suddenly, my lifestyle was everywhere; what we had been getting away with was too visible.”

“I’m glad the stories he passed can still be enjoyed like that,” says Luther. Another quote Dad made in his memoir was, “I have taught many a young musician, my sons included, to play every note like it’s your last one because one of them will be.”

“That was one of his things,” explains his son. “That was a big one. It was something he said all the time. It used to intimidate me when he would say that. A statement like that can be intimidating, but it just means do a good job every time you (perform) that’s the way I look at it.”

Jim also worked with Dylan, Clapton, and Primal Scream as well as producing his own solo albums and founding his own Zebra Ranch recording studio. He produced several albums for the Allstars who did a tribute album Keys to the Kingdom after he died in 2009. The recently released I’m Just Dead I’m Not Gone CD features the boys playing live with Dad at a 2006 concert at the New Daisy in Memphis.

“The older we get, the better we work together,” said Luther in 2007. “You gotta protect the album from the artist sometimes.” At that point three of The Allstars’ five albums had been produced by Dad, including the then new Hernando.

Dad understood that great rock was much deeper than raunch and decibels. He worked with the great Ry Cooder and described that artist’s first album: “The music was from Mars: backwards reverse suspension, convoluted mountain melody spun into a soup of folk-oriented space blues sung with a dry, croaking, cartoonish sarcasm.”

north mississippi allstars pic 2Luther gave his dad a lot of credit for focusing the group on an album he was calling “heavy” and “close to the ground.”

“If you look at our history of records, the first record we ever made with the Allstars was called Tate Country. That was in ’98, and he produced that. At that time we were playing all the Shake Hands with Shorty material live, and we made this record with Dad and gave it to him. We wanted to record our live material, and Dad was like, ‘You can’t record that crap. That’s your live set. That’s not making a record.’”

Today, Luther is more sanguine about having a recording of his band’s live work with Dad. “I love I’m Just Dead I’m Not Gone because what that record captures is music our family made together. Those songs we’ve been playing together since we were 12 and 14 years old and that’s right out of his repertoire, and the way Cody and I played, it’s him. That music is gone ’cause we can’t play it without him. That really captures what our family is about, like family blood, our musical blood, I love this record.”

Luther is most proud of Dad’s encouragement. Jim always told the boys, “Do the best you can.” And as for the choice of the book title, “You know, that wasn’t my choice,” says Luther. “The publisher chose that, and once you sign the publishing deal, you have no say. The original title was The Search for Blind Lemon, and that was always the working title, but I understand why they wanted to use that because it’s not a book about Blind Lemon Jefferson. ‘I’m just dead, I’m not gone’ was one of his quotes. He did say that a lot about himself before he passed.”

There are fundamentally two kinds of acts that attain the kind of visibility and success the North Mississippi Allstars have, those who stick to a formula that bred their success and those who surf on their muse and let their gut guide them. Truth and heart overcome commercial considerations and such acts enjoy long success. Dad writes, “After family friend Kenny Brown took Luther as third guitarist on tour with R. L. Burnside, the boys hit the road. The North Mississippi Allstars make no claim to being a blues band. Something happens when white boys play the blues. Rock ‘n’ roll. Whether it’s Elvis. The Beasties or Mudboy.”

I asked Luther if he had any secrets on how his band has become one of America’s legacy acts in a long line that includes The Dead, Dylan and The Band. “I think just keeping it up. Just continuing. We’re so lucky that we have such a nice healthy fan base to work with, and we’re a working-class band. We have such a wonderful audience. It’s not pop music. I represent the underground (mostly) whether it be Memphis rock and roll or hill country blues, genre or subgenres. I am so thankful to be able to support my family playing his music and representing the underground I’m not trying to be (mainstream) in any way.”

The North Mississippi Allstars are able to slip from one style to another without ever abandoning their own identity. “I’ll tell ya, I’ve been listening to a lot of blues,” says Luther, “and you just can’t beat that old Muddy Waters. You just can’t beat “Baby, Please Don’t Go,” “I Just Want to Make Love to You,” God damn! That stuff is just timeless, and you have to go back to the vinyl or the cassette. It sounds awful digital. I think blues and jazz and folk are the worst.”

The group had the mojo 10 years ago. “You gotta stay cool and keep your cool,” Luther said then. “And you gotta play the best you can and concentrate on listening. That’s my key for everything. I just listen to everybody else and let my playing come through subconsciously. If I just concentrate on everybody else, then I don’t have worry about what I do as opposed to just blowing on top of whatever’s going on. Every time you’re in the zone, then it doesn’t matter what the surroundings are or the people playing with you. Just concentrate and listen to the music, and just try and be a part of the moment.

“Col. Hampton taught me a long time ago that whether it’s 10 people or 1000 people, don’t let it affect you ’cause it’s just your ego messing with you. One way or another, don’t get frustrated or don’t get intimidated. Just concentrate on the music.”

Prayer for Peace, The North Mississippi Allstars’ most recent album, was recorded during their 2016 tour on the fly at studios in St. Louis, Kansas City, New Orleans, Brooklyn, Austin, and Dad’s Zebra Ranch in Hernando, MS. I asked Luther how the decision to record like that related to his father’s advice on how to capture that mercury in the bottle?

north mississippi allstars pic 3“That is really a great question because he was all about capturing the live (vibe) in the studio. He would always try to (protect) the first take, the first initial casual – not even a casual – run through in the studio. Capture the beast in his natural habitat.

“By making this record here and there casually while we were on the road, it was very easy. We were in the studio for three hours. We would play four songs, and later we’d sift through it and see what we got. We had a day off in Manhattan, so we’d hire Oteil (Burbridge, Allman Brothers bass player) to come up for the afternoon and jam with him for two or three hours, and then just see where that came from. It’s real easy to overthink and over process, overproduce yourself in the studio, and that’s just not what this band is about. We’re a live band first and improvisational at heart, and we’re interpretive at heart. So, it seemed to work well for us.”

In other words, if you don’t have reality and heart and feeling that’s spontaneous, then it loses a lot of its cache. Luther is quoted in the press material for this album. “Our dad was a big fan of capturing that initial moment of creation and inception. There’s a real strength in building up the material onstage, having it crowd-tested, and then just going in and laying it down. We do it so fast. We go in and record four or five tunes in a couple of hours. In and out. It’s not belabored, it’s raw and fresh and live, we’re dripping sweat and in the moment. That’s why it has that electric psychedelic feel. We just go in there and let it all hang out, clean up the mess later. We don’t even listen to playbacks – we just play, play, play and then split.”

The title cut, “Prayer for Peace,” is a powerful song about being color blind. Luther talks about why he thinks musicians are better able ignore color than the average person “I used to think that it was musicians. Like in Dad’s book, one of his major subplots is the southern races reaching for each other through music, the blues masters and the young Bohemian musicians. Dad said rock and roll changed all of us, and that’s true, but do you know what? I bet you there are athletes’ families that transcend – you know – scientific families, academic families or communities, you know what I mean?

“I think open-minded people in all walks of life with their passions transcend the neighborhood boundaries. Just because we’re musicians we’re music-centric people. I think it’s wrong to say that musicians are more enlightened than others, because I know people from all walks of life who are completely open minded.”

Luther says that bass player Chris Chew’s leaving the band changed the way they look at themselves. “Yeah, definitely. He had his gospel flavor, He brought the gospel harmony. He took chords to country blues. It’s interesting. Once again, it was a collaborative thing. I do one-chord drones, but he put chords underneath, so that lineup had a very unique vocabulary.”

In 2007 Luther addressed Chew’s background as the music director of the Rising Sun Baptist Church in Hernando, Mississippi. “Chris grew up in the Baptist Church. He superimposes all these changes underneath the drone, and that’s what I think makes us really unique. There are lots of hill country-influenced bands these days, (but) I think Chris’s church background and our kind of psychedelic improvisational sense are what give us our own style.”

In 2003 I asked Luther’s brother Cody what made Chew such a powerful contributor to the group sound. Cody said flatly, “God! It’s why their music is so powerful. It’s God! If you do something in the name of the higher being, it just makes sense. He provides them with the talent, and they give it to us, right?”

north mississippi allstars pic 4Perhaps nothing Luther Dickinson has done illustrates his free spirit better than when he abruptly signed on as lead singer of the Black Crows and appeared on three of their albums. To divide his time between two such high profile bands reflects both a sense of independence and self-assurance similar to Warren Haynes’ split duties with Gov.t Mule and the Allman Brothers or Rod Stewart’s time as both a solo act and with The Faces back in the 1970s. “That was a hard balance,” admits Luther. “I had to do it. I had to do it. Well, our team told us we had to figure out a way to get our band off the road. We’d been touring too hard for too long. So, I used that as a way to get the Allstars off the road. But I insisted in the Allstars and kept the (group) together during that time and gave everybody a break.”

The North Mississippi Allstars, unlike their dad are very much above the radar. They use a hauntingly beautiful an Zen treatment of hill country blues as a foundation to paint a broad musical tableau that encompasses American musical legacy.

And they do it with great humility. In 2007 David Fricke in Rolling Stone Magazine named Luther Dickinson one of 20 new guitar Gods. At the time, it threw Luther off his game. “When that article came out, I couldn’t play right for two or three weeks,” he told me. I asked this time if he still had that kind of naivete about who he is or has he gotten blasé? “You know,” he said, “I don’t know. I can’t answer that question. I’m more worried about feeding my family right now.”

When I asked him if winning Grammys for the group’s first two albums in 2000 and 2001 surprised him, he shrugged it off. “You know, we had such a long apprenticeship – we were really late bloomers – that it really felt good.”

Part of that early apprenticeship was a punk band the boys had called DDT. Though it wasn’t Dad’s cup of tea, “he was very encouraging to us. When we started writing original music, that was when he started really helping us, but it’s funny that band, we just ran around in circles for years. It was just an apprenticeship. It wasn’t until Cody and I started traditional music we found our way.”

In 2003, Luther told me, “I remember starting to get into rap, and Dad’s like, ‘Oh, God!’ When I started getting into Black Flag, he’s like, ‘I can’t believe you found something like that.’ But eventually he would always turn around. We were hipping him to the stuff. Like when he went to mix or produce The Replacements, the years of listening to Black Flag through the walls gave him a reference point. That’s what he said at least. So, it’s been a great collaborative relationship, but of course he’s been schooling us from the beginning.”

Today, Luther shares credit for the Allstars’ first two Grammy winning CDs. “Our first record we had a great team. We had a great publicity splash. We sold a lot of records. It was really an exciting time. It always helps and encourages you when you get a Grammy nomination, and it makes you feel legit. I think that’s a healthy boost. Otherwise, it’s such a small little (community). Touring and making records is a lonely, isolated adventure. To get the nod from your press is encouraging.”

Luther sums up who he thinks the North Mississppi Allstars are in a press release. “I think it’s our responsibility to the community that brought us up to protect the repertoire. To keep the repertoire alive and vibrant. That’s what folk music is about. It’s an oral history of America. My dad and his friends, they learned from Furry Lewis and Gus Cannon and Will Shade and then taught those songs to us. It’s important for us to write songs and experiment and do other things, but playing our community’s music in a modern way is what Cody and I do best. I think it’s what we were meant to do.”

Visit The North Mississippi Allstars’ website at:

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

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River City Blues Society – Pekin, IL

The River City Blues Society presents “Blues In The Alley” on Saturday August 5th, 2017 at the Pekin Boat Club on the riverfront in Pekin, IL.

The show begins at 4pm and goes 9pm. The show features Rooster Alley Band followed by Kilborn Alley Blues Band. There will be an opening set by Chris Stevens. Admission is just $5 and food and beverages will be sold. All ages welcome.

Sacramento Blues Society – Sacramento, CA

The Sacramento Blues Society will present Doug MacLeod August 13th, 2017 at the nationally known Torch Club in downtown Sacramento. MacLeod is known for his superb songwriting, guitar wizardry, warm soulful vocals, wit and unforgettable live performances. Doug is a multiple Blues Music Award winner from the Blues Foundation, most recently the 2017 BMA for Acoustic Artist of the Year and the Blues Blast Music Award for Male Artist of the Year. Doug is a multiple Blues Music Award winner from the Blues Foundation, most recently the 2017 BMA for Acoustic Artist of the Year and the Blues Blast Music Award for Male Artist of the Year. This is a 21+ only venue. Tickets $10 SBS Members; $15 Public

Also, it is with great pleasure that we announce the 2017 Sacramento Blues Society Hall of Fame Inductees. They are: Bill Scholer, Fred “Deacon” Baker, Kenny “Obie Dee” Van Cromphaut, Stan Powell, and Tim Wilbur. And special HOF Induction Presentation for the late Jay Peterson by 2010 SBS Hall of Fame Members Rick Estrin and Charles Baty.

Please join us for the Induction Ceremony on Sunday, September 24, 2017 from 1 pm – 5:00 pm at Harlow’s, 2708 J St, Sacramento, CA (SBS members $10, non-members $15) followed by an after party from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at the nationally known Torch Club, 904 15th St, Sacramento, CA.

For more additional information:

Long Beach Blues Society – Lohg Beach, CA

The Long Beach Blues Society is proud to present New Blues Festival 4, Saturday, September 2 and Sunday, September 3 (Labor Day Weekend) at El Dorado Park in Long Beach, Calif. 2017 Contemporary Blues Album Nominee Janiva Magness and Serbian-born guitar great Ana Popovic, along with Blues legend Guitar Shorty and Chris Cain, headline a strong 2-day Main Stage lineup. Vendor Village, Craft Beers on Tap, BBQ Vendors, Gourmet Food Trucks, and more. The Golden Groove Stage will feature performances by many of the Southland’s best Blues acts.

More info at or

The Blue Jay Jazz Foundation – Blue Jay, CA

Blue Jay Jazz Foundation presents The King Brothers Thursday, August 10 (at 6 p.m.)at SkyPark at Santa’s Village, the entertainment and dining destination that reopened in 2016. The King Brothers are bringing the blues back to the San Bernardino Mountains to kick off the 2017 Blue Jay Jazz Festival concert series.

The Brothers, whose first Festival appearance in 2007 helped launch a serious blues component to the Blue Jay event, established a new standard of blues while staying true to a solid blues tradition. Drummer Sam and guitarist-vocalist Lee have played, toured and recorded with their cousin Freddie King and their “adopted uncle” Albert King. Their recent CD is Get up and Shake It, which All About Jazz called “blues played the way it should be, by guys who have been doing it for a while.”

The series is produced by the non-profit Blue Jay Jazz Foundation and continues with Greg Adams and East Bay Soul on August 17 and Adrianna Marie and her Groovecutters on August 24. More at

Southeast Iowa Blues Society – Fairfield, IA

The 4th Annual “Blue Ribbon Blues Fest” presented by the Southeast Iowa Blues Society (SIBS)is August 12th, 2017 at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds in Fairfield, IA. The fest features Rob Lumbard, Danielle Nicole Band, Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials and with Tony Blew between acts

Gates Open at 4:30 with music beginning at 5pm. Beverage Garden and BBQ & more…No Outside Food or Drinks Bring your chairs and Camping is available. Tickets – Advance $20 and SIBS members / Day of Show – $25

For more info. go to or call 641-919-7477 or 641-233-7438

Friends of the Blues – Kankakee, IL

Tues, Aug 08 – Frank Bang & Cook County Kings, Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club, Tues, Aug 22 – Jeff Jensen, Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club, Tues, Nov 14 – Jim Suhler & Monkey Beat, Manteno Sportsmen’s Club. More Info at:

The Illinois Central Blues Club – Springfield, IL

The Illinois Central Blues Club has announced the line-up of talent for Blue Monday live performances held every Monday night at The Alamo, 115 North Fifth, Springfield, IL from 8:00pm to midnight. Additional information on any performer listed below is available upon request.

Blue Monday Schedule: Aug. 7 – Lil Joe McClennan, Aug. 14 – Andy T & Alabama Mike, Aug. 21 – Lucky Loser’s, Aug. 28 -Green McDonough Band.

Additional ICBC partnered shows: Aug. 3 – James Armstrong Presents @ The Alamo, 6 pm Dan Rivero Trio, Aug. 17 – James Armstrong Presents @ The Alamo, 6 pm Sam Crain Trio, Aug. 26 – Old Capitol Blues & BBQ Festival – Mary Jo Curry, Albert Castiglia, Lil’ Ed, Aug. 27 – Old Capitol Blues & BBQ Festival – James Armstrong, Kenny Neal, Eric Gales. For more information visit

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