Issue 12-28 July 12, 2018

Cover photo © 2018 Alison Toon

 In This Issue 

Tee Watts has our feature interview with John Lee Hooker Jr. We have 11 Blues reviews for you this week including a film about West Oakland’s Blues legacy and new music from The Teasers Blues Band, Matthew Wilburn Skinner, Victoria Ginty, Ghost Town Blues Band, The BluesBones, The Robert J. Hunter Band, Ted Hefko And The Thousandaires, Marie Knight, Delmark’s 65th Anniversary Tribute and Steven Troch Band.

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

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 Blues Wanderings 

walter trout photo anthony big a sherrod photo shaun murphy photo johnny lang photo

We had a great time at the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival last weekend. Some of the great artists we got to see included Walter Trout, Anthony “Big A” Sherrod, Shaun Murphy and Johnny Lang. We will have a complete photo review in an upcoming issue.

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2018 Blues Blast Music Award Tickets On Sale Now

This years awards are being held at the Tebala Event Center in Rockford, IL on September 29th, 2018 beginning at 6:00pm. (Doors open at 5:00pm) Confirmed appearances so far include Karen Lovely, Benny Turner, Shaun Murphy, Ghost Town Blues Band, Markey Blue and Ric Latina Project, Casey Hensley Band, Ben Levin, Ivy Ford Band, Heather Newman, Orphan Jon & The Abandoned, Partick Recob, Ilya Portnov and Joyann Parker.

Advance tickets are $35. Tickets will be $40 at the door.
Tables for ten are only $250. To get your tickets now click HERE!

Information on travel, lodging, tickets and sponsorships is available on the Blues Blast Music Awards website at


WHERE TO STAY – We have chosen La Quinta in Rockford as the host hotel for fans and artists. La Quitna is about a mile from the venue. La Quinta is offering a special rate of only $89 for those attending the Blues Blast Awards. Simply call them at (815) 227-1300 and ask for the “Blues Blast Fan Rate”. First come first served.

Please note that there are a limited number of rooms available, so get your tickets and rooms booked now!

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 Featured Blues Review – 1 of 11 

the teasers cd imageThe Teasers Blues Band – Blue Truck

Self-Release – 2017

10 tracks; 38 minutes

The blues is alive and well in Spain! We have seen the likes of harmonica player Quique Gomez playing in the States and famed producer Mike Vernon (John Mayall’s ‘Beano’ album, Fleetwood Mac, Blue Horizon records, etc) now lives in Spain and has been bringing Spanish players to a wider audience as part of his band. The Teasers Blues Band comes from Barcelona and has been around since 2012, originally as a trio but now considerably expanded, as the list of musicians shows. Leader, song writer, guitarist and vocalist José Azul has the perfect name for a bluesman and is joined by David Gomez on drums, Matias Míguez on bass, JJ Caro on keys, Tina Masawi on vocals, Joan Pau Cumellas on harp, Pere Bono on trombone, José Antonio Guillem on tenor sax, Raúl Reverter on alto and Albert Cruz on trumpet. The music throughout is excellent, the large horn section embellishing several tracks. José handles most of the lead vocals and has quite a strong accent so you need to listen carefully to catch all the lyrics. Tina is Zimbabwean and takes the lead or shares vocals with José on a couple of tracks.

The band opens with the familiar “Every Day I Have The Blues”, originally written by Pinetop Sparks but forever associated with BB King and the arrangement here follows BB’s 50’s version with plenty of horns and José and Tina trading verses, José producing a fine BB-styled solo. “Hurt You” is a ballad with the keys providing a warm backdrop against which José apologizes for his behavior before playing an agonized solo. The title track “Blue Truck” is a boogie tune that José starts before the horns and bass join in the fun as the tune shuffles along attractively though the lyrics seemed less interesting: “I’m in the blue truck jamming, why don’t you come with me?”. Tina sings Elmore James’ “The Sky Is Crying” in an uptempo trio version driven by the busy rhythm section before “He Believes”, a full band production on which José and Tina share vocals. Tina’s vocals are spot-on for the dramatic ballad and José’s angst-ridden solo suits the song though his vocals on the first and last verses are a bit of a struggle.

JJ switches to piano and the horns add some jazzy touches on the attractive “Troubles With Women” while “You Said” adds some funk to the mix and “Never Comes Noon” finds José waiting on the sun to emerge over a busy drum track and the horns pushing things along, their final contribution to the album. A trio version of Hendrix’s “Hear My Train A Comin’” is the third cover and allows José to plays some authentic-sounding Hendrixisms before the album closes with a stripped-back acoustic blues “Before You Get Closer”. Tina sings this one very well with just José on acoustic guitar and Joan Pau Cumellas on harp and it is an effective piece of country blues.

Overall a pretty successful album with a good variety of styles on show.

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 – 2 of 11 

matthew wilburn skinner cd imageMatthew Wilburn Skinner – Play For The King

Self-produced CD

10 songs – 42 minutes

Matthew Wilburn Skinner may be a new name to blues fans as he makes his debut as a soloist here, but the guitar, banjo and harmonica playing vocalist is a familiar voice in the roots world.

Based out of Colorado with a background that includes 15 years of work as a studio engineer as well as a musician, he and brothers Adam and Austin Morford are the driving forces behind the band Tallgrass, a trio that delivers three-part harmonies that blend bluegrass, gospel and folk.

Since forming in 2012, they’re currently working on their third album, are winners of National Public Radio’s Tiny Desk Contest and have shared the stage with Melissa Etheridge, The White Buffalo and President Obama, among others. Their music fits comfortably both on someone’s front porch or the big stage on a warm summer’s night.

Play For The King isn’t your traditional blues album, although the music springs from the same root. The acoustic folk tradition is still strong here, but it’s fused with elements of the Delta. A solo effort composed of nine originals and one cover, Skinner’s skill in the control room produced a multi-layered work that comes across with the feel of a full band. His raspy vocal delivery is somewhat buried in the mix throughout.

A propulsive rhythm on banjo accompanied by a simple drumbeat open “Play For The King” is a paean to a man who’s “the salt of the land and the coal on the fire.” It’s a hypnotic spiritual message not to live for the moment, but sing to the heavens instead. The words are accompanied by a rhythmic chorus with Skinner alternating between deep bass and alto voices. The feel brightens as Matthew switches to guitar and delivers “Just Wait A Minute” atop a similar song structure. It’s a sweet promise that, no matter what the weather, no matter what the roadblock in life, love WILL call.

The breezy “Sari” comes across with an island feel before the bluesy ballad “Borderline” describes being ready to make a move, but being unsure of the direction to take. Skinner’s back on banjo for “No Guns In London,” which delivers details of sitting in an aged city square. It flows effortlessly into “Back Again” – about living alone again – before “Out Of The Way,” which makes plans for a fall trip to an out-of-the-way place with a lover.

“Let It Go” sings about a romantic showdown. It precedes the only cover, a version of the familiar 19th century tune “Wayfaring Stranger,” whose author has been lost in time. The disc ends “If You Look Ahead,” which imparts advice to remain optimistic and look on the bright side because, no matter what happens, we’re all going to meet the same end.

Available from Amazon and CDUniverse, Play For The King is a pleasant package of interesting acoustic originals. That said, if you’re a blues purist, beware: there isn’t enough here for you. This one will appeal to folks who prefer roots.

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 11 

victoria ginty cd imageVictoria Ginty – Unfinished Business

Blue Door Records

CD: 11 Songs, 56:06 Minutes

Styles: Jazz-and-Soul-Influenced Blues, Horn Blues, Torch Blues

Floridian Victoria Ginty’s new album, Unfinished Business, is a universal musical memoir in eleven tracks. Says Ginty in the CD liner notes, “[These songs] represent many of the passions we share as we travel through life’s experiences. From the frustration and anger of a relationship ending, to the playfulness of a new one starting, the obsessive wonder of new love, and finally the realization that we are ultimately responsible for our decisions…To understand the Blues is to have lived the Blues. Ultimately, we all have ‘Unfinished Business.’” This sultry torch singer, accompanied by her band Ladyhawke, show that taking care of such involves pain and passion. Want proof? Flip the CD over and look at the photo on the back. Victoria’s outfit may be bright and sunny, but the look on her face reveals she’s weathering an inner storm. Through eight originals and three covers, she takes listeners through its turmoil, to its eye, and out again. Her voice is like a piña colada: sweet and refreshing, but don’t forget the hot sting of rum beneath.

In the “Bio” section of her website, Ginty comments, “I can’t tell you how excited I am to have a new project with so much original material, and I had great co-writers contributing as well, including Grammy nominated Mike Alan Ward and members of my band. In Nashville I had some success as a songwriter, but this project has been a lifetime in the making.” She’s also thrilled that “younger audience members often comment how great it is to see and hear ‘real music’ when we perform at venues that can afford our full band, and really, this genre benefits from being presented the way it’s meant to be played, organically.”

Along with Victoria Ginty are J. Livingston on bass; G. Lougen on guitar; R. English on piano; B. Decker on Hammond organ; J. English on drums; G. Castillo on percussion; J. Diggs on backing vocals; E. Wozniak on tenor sax; C. Weirich on trumpet, and J. Cheslak on trombone.

The following three songs epitomize the lighthearted fun and heavy heartbreak of the blues.

Track 01: “Unfinished Business” – Ever met someone, somewhere, somehow, but never got further than a kiss goodnight? Our narrator has, but she’s run into Mr. Right once more. “We’ve got unfinished business,” comes the sing-along refrain. “We’ve got to finish sometime!” Check out the sizzling saxophone by one Wozniak (no, not the one who worked with Steve Jobs), and the blistering guitar solo courtesy of G. Lougen.

Track 09: “Lyin’ (In Each Other’s Arms Again)” – When we talk about love, it’s almost always of the “true” variety, but not this time. Falsehoods and affairs can come to haunt even the best of romantic relationships. “We lie to ourselves and we lie to both of them, until we’re lying in each other’s arms again.” Channeling Linda Ronstadt and a bit of Patsy Cline, Ginty tells it like it is. The Hammond organ by B. Decker provides a melancholy backdrop to this sorry scene.

Track 10: “Do Me Right” – With a bouncy beat and bodacious bassline, track ten shows that sometimes, “doing someone right” means saying goodbye. “You think I’m sleeping while you’re staying out all night? Well, if you’re gonna do me wrong, baby – do me right.” Perfect for the dance floor, whether indoor or outdoor, this song will leave one craving more.

Soul blues fans, if you haven’t listened to Victoria Ginty’s latest, you have Unfinished Business!

Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 38 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 – 4 of 11 

ghost town blues band cd imageGhost Town Blues Band – Backstage Pass

Self-produced CD

9 songs – 67 minutes

Since finishing second to Mr. Sipp in the 2014 International Blues Challenge, the Memphis-based Ghost Town Blues Band has proven time and time again that they’re a potent force in the music world today. If you’ve seen them in performance, you already know why. If you haven’t this spectacular live CD will give you a sample of one of the best and most dynamic bands touring today.

Led by multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Matt Isbell, the seven-piece group of merrymakers begin every show by entering the venue in true New Orleans second-line style with horns blaring and drums and homemade rhythm instruments driving the beat. Mixing Memphis and Delta blues with Allman Brothers style jams, hip hop and much more, they were runners-up in the 2015 Blues Blast Music Awards as best blues band after winning top honors in that year’s International Songwriting Competition.

Glance at this year’s Blues Blast nominations, and you’ll discover that this CD is in the running for Live Blues Recording and the group’s up for top band honors once again.

Doubling on standard and cigar-box guitar – he runs Memphis Cigar Box Company in his spare time – as well as harmonica, Isbell possesses a raspy, gravel-soaked voice that belies his young age. He’s aided here by Taylor Orr on guitar with Matt Karner on bass and Preston McEwen on drums as well as Suavo Jones, a perpetual motion machine, on trombone, Kevin Houston on sax and Tim Stanek on keys, most of whom provide additional vocals.

Recorded in front of an enthusiastic crowd at Lafayette’s Music Room in midtown Memphis, Backstage Pass opens with John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s “Come Together.” After a few bars of Hill Country slide guitar, the song races out of the gate atop a speedy, funky shuffle. Also propelled by the horns, it’s delivered in a style you’ve never heard it before. The six-plus minute jam evolves into a slowed down sampling of “Norwegian Wood” and erupts into a taste of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” before ending on the “Wood” root with psychedelic overtones.

A quartet of Isbell penned originals opens with the Memphis-style blues “Tip Of My Hat.” It’s a funky love song in which Matt states to the lady: “I’m gonna butter up your biscuits and keep you up all night.” Stanek sparkles on a mid-tune solo before yielding to the horns. The Southern rocker “Shine” keeps the feel going while providing the audience with a slight respite from the intense action that’s come before.

The guitars are featured in the soulful jam “Givin’ It All Away” before the band erupts again for “Big Shirley.” Clearly a fan favorite, it’s an uptempo boogie woogie that describes a plus-sized lady who loves to dance. Stanek rips and runs on the keys before Isbell leads the group in sampling Zeppelin’s “Rock And Roll” to a James Brown-style, stop-time ending.

The next 15 minutes are devoted to an interesting reinvention of the Allmans’ “Whipping Post” before a novel, thoroughly reworked 10-minute cover of Hughie “Piano” Smith’s Crescent City classic, “I Get High,” which features more stellar fretwork in addition to Jones delivering some of the most powerful horn lines in the business. The jam flows into a sampling of the Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” with Suavo taking over for a potent rap before the band briefly returns to the “High” root. Isbell’s on harp for the loping original straight-ahead blues “One More Whiskey” before a cover of Robert Randolph’s “I Need More Love” brings the action to close.

Available through CDBaby, Backstage Pass is an over-the-top pleaser that will leave you exhausted – just like you would have been in the crowd on the night that it was recorded. Strongly recommended.

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 – 5 of 11 

the bluesbones cd imageThe BluesBones – Chasing Shadows


11 songs/51 min

The BluesBones new record Chasing Shadows is a dark album. It sits on your shoulders and weighs on your conscience. It is very raw and unremitting. It is also masterfully written and performed. It is one of those types of records you have to be in the right mood to enjoy properly. This is not feel good BBQ music, it is cleansing rumination on mortality while drinking bourbon music.

The only way to define this music is heavy. More than just informed by heavy metal such as early Metallica or Pantera, this Belgian blues-rock band has a unique sound that is big and muscular with a dark weighty tone. Singer and principal songwriter Nico De Cock sings with a thick, rusty voice. Guitarist Stef Paglia is a riff monster rolling out strong blues informed fretted freight trains. Edwin Risbourg on organ and keys adds a lush burbling counterpoint to Paglia. Rhythm section of Geert Boeckx on bass and Koen Mertens on drums plant a sturdy concrete bedrock.

Chasing Shadows is a concept album about a man with questionable morals who has been brought past the brink by personal tragedy and PTSD. This man eventually commits suicide by eating his gun. As a concept this could be a disaster. However, due to the cleaver straight forward song writing and chugging churning riff heavy instrumentation, the concept holds up and resonates.

The story of this album plays out linearly as a timeline for our protagonist through the song cycle. Listening straight through the 11 songs is rewarding allowing this tragic story to wash over you. Each song also stands alone. A song like “Demon Blues” with it’s funk/rock wah rhythm guitar and syncopated vocals moves. “Love Me Or Leave Me” has a slinky defiant groove. The hysterical image of a grown man breaking a playground seesaw and giving the children the “SeeSaw Blues” works on its own and is a key metaphorical turning point for the narrative.

The final song of the record, appropriately entitled “The End,” is an interesting juxtaposition of bouncing funky rock and dark resigned lyrics. This is the song in which our anti-hero finally realizes he can find relief in the form of his gun barrel. This is a dark and troubling final chapter to a dark and troubling story. But it is hard not to feel uplifted and relieved by the phased washes of bass and staccato guitar jolts. Even De Cock’s singing is lighter and more relaxed. This is a final disorienting blast that leaves the listener worried and resigned. It sticks with you.

Chasing Shadows is a consistent solid record with a strong through line and is a testament to the talent of The BluesBones. This hard rocking band doesn’t play 12 bar blues. They riff and rumble like a more nuanced AC/DC. Chasing Shadows is quite an accomplishment. Not an easy listen but a cathartic one.

Reviewer Bucky O’Hare is a Bluesman based in Boston who spreads his brand of blues and funk all over New England. Bucky has dedicated himself to experiencing the Blues and learning its history. As a writer, Bucky has been influenced by music critics and social commentators such as Angela Davis, Peter Guralnick, Eric Nisenson, Francis Davis and Henry Louis Gates Jr.

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 Featured Blues Review – 6 of 11 

evolutionary blues film imageEvolutionary Blues…West Oakland’s Musical Legacy

90 minute film documentary

Directed by Cheryl Fabio

Commissioned by the City of Oakland

Produced by KTOP

Since the dawn of the modern era, historians have described at length the spread of the music we love from West Africa to the Mississippi delta then Memphis, Chicago and the Northeast. But this star-studded documentary film takes blues lovers to a place few realize even existed: the fertile breeding ground of Oakland, Calif., as it paints a vivid picture of a scene that gave us T-Bone Walker, Lowell Fulson, Jimmy McCracklin, Sonny Rhodes, Sugar Pie DeSanto and many, many more.

While San Francisco and the wealthy suburbs that surround it are home to one of the most important scenes in the blues today, what transpired in the neighboring black district across the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge on the other side of the Bay has remained hidden and cloaked in time despite contributing mightily to the sounds we recognize as modern blues, funk, soul and hip hop today.

East of the Mississippi, big-city blues evolved after folks migrated from the cotton fields of the deep South. The West Coast scene, however, came about after a later, separate migration. As World War II raged, a new generation of blacks – musicians included — moved from rural Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas to cash in on the decent-paying job opportunities that resulted.

In Oakland, they settled an industrial area near one of busiest ports in the world, quickly establishing a community of their own along Seventh Street, and their ranks swelled as GIs returned from the Pacific. The neighborhood flourished until urban renewal in the ‘50s. Fortunately, however, the rich musical heritage remains strong.

Like the families of many of her subjects, Evolutionary Blues producer/director Cheryl Fabio’s Tennessee kin made that move themselves. That history is a vital part of the fabric of the she weaves into the story and is aided by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson (The Warm Of Other Suns) and others while a trio of music journalists and dozens of musicians describe the scene as seen through their own eyes.

Included in the dialog are Rhodes, DeSanto, the Dynamic Miss Faye Carol, Lady Bianca, Alabama Mike, Freddie Hughes, Marvin Holmes, Fantastic Negrito and others in multiple disciplines, all of whom have built their careers from the seeds laid after the migration. “The people brought the sounds with them,” Carol explains. “And once they became city people, the sounds evolved because they were evolving.”

But the scars from segregation were deep, as the Texas-born Rhodes recalls. He recounts how, as a young man, he knew he wanted to be a musician and play lap guitar after being enthralled by a white man one day. Decades later, he’s on the verge of tears as he describes how the man tells him it will never happen because of the color of his skin. Equally troubling, Louisiana-born soul blues singer Jesse James shares the memory of his family emigrating to avoid the Ku Klux Klan.

The music that Rhodes, DeSanto and others deliver provide the backdrop of a bittersweet tale. As the film details, the West Oakland scene got its jump start through the work of Charles Sullivan, a WWII-era jukebox entrepreneur who became the biggest concert promoter on the West Coast. The original owner of the Fillmore Auditorium, his shows featured a who’s who of top blues and soul acts. The building became a rock music mecca for Bill Graham after Sullivan was murdered in San Francisco in 1966.

Several small clubs sprung up around the Fillmore, and audiences’ demand for the music they grew up on was satisfied by the arrival of Bob Geddins, whose downhome-style guitar and skills as a record producer put Oakland on the map. Soon, however, the slick sounds of T-Bone, Fulson, McCracklin and bands with big horn sections filled the night air.

Among the highlights of Evolutionary Blues are the reminiscences of petite Filipino-American powerhouse Sugar Pie about her early career as well as the rich memories of Lady Bianca and several very talented artists who began as sidemen before becoming regional legends.

But the importance of the Oakland scene stretches far beyond the blues. As the movie illustrates, the sound of popular music through the work of Larry Graham, one of the top bassists in the world and a fixture in Sly & The Family Stone. Graham recalls working with James Brown to create what became known as the James Brown sound by pushing the rhythm on the first note in a standard four-note phrase while still keeping the beat on the two and four — a format that still fills your ears today.

That’s only one aspect of how West Oakland changed music forever. Unfortunately, space doesn’t permit discussion about how the blues scene contributed to funk and, later, rap. But one thing’s for certain: Evolutionary Blues is a treasure trove on many levels, a treat for both your eyes and ears. Catch the trailer at the website address above, and be sure to view it live if it plays in your neighborhood. You’ll learn something and hear some great music clips, too.

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 – 7 of 11 

robert j hunter can cd imageThe Robert J. Hunter Band

self release

12 songs time-43:42

The Robert J. Hunter Band from the U.K. describe their music as dirty blues, but a more appropriate name would be dirty blues-rock. From Robert’s coarse vocals to his charging guitar onslaught this music would seem to have more of an appeal to heavy metal kids. He is adept at creating clever riffs that stay in your head. His playing varies from rock riffing to blues-rock and a bit of blues. Although at times they lean to the noisy side of the music spectrum, they can slow it down quite nicely at times. He doubles on harmonica and the two members of the rhythm section provide minimal keyboards. The all original songs by Hunter are about the travails of everyday life.

He digs right in with the rocking “Loving Unfortunately”. “Lost friends To loving unfortunately”. Some weird electronic sounds hide beneath the surface of the crunchy and at times noisy “Mr Winter”. The tempo picks up about midway through to revert back to the original riff. “alone” benefits from a melodic and addictive slide guitar riff. The upbeat groove of “Suzy” belies the serious subject of drug addiction.

Robert J. Hunter rips off some crystal clear notes on the slow and intense “Every Heart Needs A Home”. “Bringing Me Down” ventures into the boogie territory of Savoy Brown and their offshoot Foghat. It features some rip roaring slide guitar reminiscent of Foghat’s Rod Price. An infectious guitar riff permeates the rockin’ “When The Winter Comes”. Guitar and bass sync into a lockstep riff on “Wait Your Turn”. If you like inventive riffing, this is the place.

The simmering and deliberate “The Fool” gives Hunter a chance to stretch out on guitar. “Poison” is a rather catchy rocker with a sped up tempo near song’s end. It alternates between standard and slide guitar with distorted vocals at times. Slow jangly acoustic guitar and what sounds like mandolin carry “Keep On Hanging On”, a song about, you guessed it, staying in the game.

Rough and riff-y guitar rock with moments of poignancy. An interesting listen. Robert J. Hunter is quite an inventive guitarist. Along with a tried and true rhythm section, a CD that reveals more nuances at each consecutive playing. The rough and tumble sound is augmented by better than average lyrics.

Not blues, but certainly worth your while.

Reviewer Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony hails from the New Jersey Delta.

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 Featured Blues Review – 8 of 11 

ted hefko and the thousandaires cd imageTed Hefko And The Thousandaires – Gas Station Guru

Onager Records

9 songs time – 40:25

Ted Hefko was born in Madison, Wisconsin, but now resides in New Orleans, Louisiana and it shows in his music. The band’s music is an amalgamation of various influences. New Orleans rhythm & blues and jazz, rhythm & blues, roots music being the main ones. Top line musicianship and song writing are obvious in the six originals, along with three well conceived cover songs. Ted aside from capably handling the vocal chair, plays saxophone, clarinet and acoustic guitar. The Thousandaires include guitar, trumpet and keyboards along with a rhythm section. Their ensemble interplay is right on the money.

The narrator on “Two Vices” tells his girl that the wise men say you can pick two vices and she only has one-“Make the other one me”. Hammond organ by Beck Burger, horns and some nice guitar by fellow New Orleans resident Mem Shannon make this song a winner. “The Roofer” introduces the New Orleans via a funky groove peppered by horns and plenty of Nawlins references. The New Orleans feeling continues on “Tell Me The Truth”. He covers a slow, melancholy Billy Joe Shaver song-“Ride Me Down Easy” with a laid back vocal, accordion and acoustic and electric guitar.

Cajun accordion, rub board and N.O. references once again appear on “The Next Train”, a song about coaxing someone to leave town in no uncertain terms. “Ain’t Gonna Give You None O’ My Jellyroll” harkens back to the playful old time jazz tunes often associated with the venerable Danny Barker. The interplay of sax and clarinet is just divine and both played by Ted. Joe Welnick provides boogie-woogie-meets Professor Longhair style piano to “Ten Dollar Hat”, as the singer weighs the pros and cons of his girl friend.

Elliot Slater brings out some Lowell George style slithering slide guitar on the slow paced “Stop Sayin’ Unless”. Ted covers Steve Goodman’s “City Of New Orleans” at a tad slower tempo, a song more widely known as a hit by Arlo Guthrie. A nice snare drum beat and background vocals. A worthy rendition.

The guys deliver a well done roots-y, rhythm & blues, New Orleans R&B-jazz slice of music. I’m so glad this band finally crossed my path. Well performed New Orleans related music is right up my alley. If you are smart you will bring it to your alley too.

Reviewer Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony hails from the New Jersey Delta.

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 Featured Blues Review – 9 of 11 

marie knight cd imageMarie Knight – The Gospel Truth Live

MC Records – 2018

20 tracks; 58 minutes

The late Marie Knight started early in her gospel career, singing as a child in church and traveling the country as soon as she left school. She married an evangelist preacher and worked with Sister Rosetta Tharpe extensively in the 50’s. Like many gospel singers she also recorded secular music but never really felt comfortable with the Rn’B sides she recorded in the 60’s and effectively retired to take a regular job and preach at weekends in Harlem. When MC records boss Mark Carpentieri was planning his tribute to Sister Rosetta he discovered that Marie was still alive and coaxed her into the studio to re-record “Didn’t It Rain”, one of the songs she recorded with Sister Rosetta. The result was so good that Mark encouraged Marie to record again and her tribute to Rev Gary Davis appeared in 2007. Sadly Marie passed away in 2009 but in this October 2007 show recorded in Massachusetts, at age 89, her voice and personality were still in great shape. Accompanied only by Dave Keyes on the piano, Marie’s voice soars through a selection of gospel tunes mainly from the Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Rev Gary Davis songbooks. Between songs Marie has the audience in the palm of her hands as she preaches the Lord’s word and introduces the songs she will be singing, often with a biographical detail about the original recordings. I know little about gospel music but it sounds like the audience on this date certainly did and they join in appreciatively when Marie strikes a chord in her introductions and clap along to almost every song here. With a straight-talking style mixed with humor, Marie’s personality shine through.

Some of Marie’s spoken messages are very moving, particularly when she describes getting the news that her Mother and two children had been killed just as she stepped on to the stage to perform, “to sing between tears”. Musical highlights include Marie’s interpretations of Sister Rosetta’s “Beams Of Heaven” and “Up Above My Head” and Rev Gary Davis’ “12 Gates To The City” on which Dave Keyes’ piano work is exceptional. Throughout the disc Dave gives great support and steps into the vocal spotlight on “Closer Walk With Thee” which affords Marie a short break before the finale of “For Thine Is The Kingdom”.

Fans of gospel music will want to add this one to their collection.

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 – 10 of 11 

delmark 65th tribute cd imageTribute – Delmark’s 65th Anniversary

Delmark Records

11 tracks

Delmark Records has two milestones this year- they are celebrating their 65th Anniversary in Jazz and Blues record recording and production and the transition and sale of ownership from founder and owner Bob Koester to new President and CEO Julia Miller and Vice President and Artistic Director Elbio Barilari. Steve Wagner remains aboard as Label & Studio Manager.

Bob Koeseter turns 86 in October and thought it was time that the business move on without him. “I’m getting old. When we quit the store downtown, I thought maybe I’d retire, and then somebody offered me a nice jazz LP collection.” Bob closed up shop in February, 2016, but then opened up a much smaller store. He transitioned from Jazz Record Mart downtown to Bob’s Blues & Jazz Mart on West Irving Park Road. I suspect that as long as he has a breath Bob will be at his record store, listening to records and enjoying himself and others who enjoy music.

Even though his departure from the retail business was only a temporary blip, Koester did privately shop around the studio and record production business as he left his retail downtown home. Miller and Barilari were both members of the band Volcano Radar and are big into the Chicago music scene. They have a 5 year plan as to how to advance the record recording business and build on Koester’s 65 year legacy that began in St, Louis as Delmar Records. He hawked records at the jazz clubs there and named the business after a street that was home to many a jazz club. The name changed to include his initial at the end of the business name and he shoved off to Chicago in 1958.

Koester helped launch many a career in Chicago’s jazz scene, and was most instrumental in making Chicago Blues into, well, Chicago Blues. Junior Wells, Magic Sam and so many other greats were recorded and grace his label. Other record labels were created by former Delmark associates. Everyone who knows about Alligator Records knows Bruce Iglauer emerged from working at Delmark in the 1960’s to form Alligator and knows of their great success. We also have Michael Frank’s Earwig Music label, Chuck Nessa’s Nessa Records, Jim O’Neal’s Rooster Records and Living Blues magazine that all also sprang out of working for Delmark and Bob Koester. The blues world would be significantly different without Mr. Koester.

Miller and Barilari acquired the rights to Delmark and all the labels they purchased over the years plus a huge inventory of CDs and even some records. Koester wanted to make sure the entire label remained as a package and the new owners, who both play and teach music in Chicago, looked at the opportunity to link to a known entity rather than start fresh with an indie label of their own. One of their first releases is titled Tribute: Delmark’s 65th Anniversary. Rather than produce another 5 year anniversary “greatest hits” format CD, the recordings are new tributes to the artists that quintessentially released music that achieved fame. This was planned prior to the sale as was the Chicago Blues fest event entitled, “65th Anniversary of Delmark Records Celebration” which was the highlight of opening night of this year’s Chicago Blues Fest.

The CD and Blues Fest Event both featured current blues stars paying tribute to stars past. The album opens with Omar Coleman and “Train I Ride,” a tribute to the late, great Junior Wells. Coleman shouts and howls the vocal lead. He reprised the cut nicely at the blues fest and was the last performer prior to the All Star get together at the end of the show. Both the CD and performance were priceless. Carey Bell is next to be remembered on the CD with “One Day You’re Gonna Get Lucky.” This featured sons Lurrie and Steve Bell on guitar and harp, a gritty and dirty cut that was a beautiful homage to Carey. Linsey Alexander and Billy Flynn then do “All for Business,” a tribute to Jimmy Dawkins. Dawkins was mentor to many a man and I had the pleasure to see him and Billy together at a post Blues Fest Chicago gig a few years ago that was just masterful. Here Alexander and Flynn sing and play as the listener is bathed in the warmth of Dawkin’s music. “Riverboat” is Demetria Taylors tribute to Big Time Sarah, and at the fest another legacy to the heyday of Chicago Blues joined her on stage at the fest. Tomiko Dixon, granddaughter of Willie Dixon joined Taylor on stage and both gave their all. Jimmy Burns pays respects to the great Big Joe Williams on “She Left Me a Mule to Ride” and it is and was another winner to listen to. Burns is a sublime performer deeply steeped in the history and sound of Chicago Blues himself. “Speak My Mind” is J.B. Hutto, the West Side Chicago shouter’s nephew Lil Ed and his teenage best friend Dave Weld who both learned from Hutto. They do a great job giving props to the slide master.

“Out of Bad Luck” is next, featuring 89 year young Jimmy Johnson on vocals and guitar and the great Dave Specter also on guitar. The youthfulness of Johnson’s vocals and the tone of both guitarists endure the legacy of Magic Sam not only remains intact but is broadcast superbly for new listeners to enjoy. It’s one of my faves from the album and the show! Corey Dennison and Gerry Hundt opened the show with Sleepy John Estes’ “Broke and Hungry.” They played as a duo with Dennison on vocals and guitar and Hundt on mandolin and harp. It was intense- so well done. Mike Wheeler’s “So Many Roads” Otis Rush tribute was another of my favorites. Wheeler has become a stalwart of the Chicago Blues scene. “Need Your Love So Bad” is Shirley Johnson’s tribute to Bonnie Lee, another fine effort. Ken Saydak’s “Boot That Thing” is the final cut, giving accolades to pianist Roosevelt Sykes. Saydak is out on the West Coast so any chance to hear and then see him is a treat.

The festival had a few additions to the set that were not on the album. Guy King did a great tribute to Willie Kent and later on the Tribute ended with an added treat- the Delmark artists flooded the stage for a final song and continued the ending tribute to Junior Wells. Guitarist Billy Flynn shed his guitar and played some wicked harp licks to open “Hoodoo Man Blues” and also did some more later along with a verse on the vocals. Billy is the ultimate musician and this tone and harp blowing were just spectacular on top of his outstanding guitar work. Other artists from earlier in the day joined the finale artists including Pierre Lacoque from Mississippi Heat; he really added to the fun. It was a spectacular finale to a great ending to the day.

The album is a wonderful accompaniment to the 65th anniversary of this landmark record label. I would recommend it to any blues music fan. Today’s Chicago Blues artists would not be here if it was not for Delmark Records and it was fitting to see such a great assemblage pay tribute to them in such an exemplary manner. Here is to Bob Koester and his wife Sue for their 65 years of creating and honing the sound of urban Chicago Blues and producing so many fine blues and jazz records. We hope the next 65 go as well as the new owners and their staff continue to make fine music for all of us to savor!

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 – 11 of 11 

stephen troch band cd imageSteven Troch Band – Rhymes For Mellow Minds

Sing My Title Records

13 songs time – 44:06

This Belgian band’s jump off point is the blues, but there is much more going on from this eclectic bunch via imaginative and quirky lyrics along with musical variations. The basic line up of harmonica, guitar, bass and drums is augmented by saxes and keyboards at times. Steven Troch plays harmonica and sings with a hipster attitude. Little Steve Van Der Nat holds up the guitar chores with skill and this band’s requisite creativeness. The rhythm section of “King Berik” Heirman on drums and Liesbeth Sprangers on bass are the glue that keeps things together.

“Short End” is about getting the short end of the stick in life. Infectious blues-meets-rockabilly guitar abounds here alongside clever lyrics such as “But he got sucker punched by life in a one-two combination”. The vocals here and elsewhere fit the hipster vibe and Steven is no slouch on harmonica. “Bad Taste” is about a woman lacking in taste, but not in looks. Marimba and sort of a gypsy vibe on guitar and harmonica along with slightly humorous lyrics contribute to the exotic vibe.

“Going To Dagobah” is a nicely jumpy harmonica driven instrumental romp where Frankie Ford’s “Sea Cruise” is briefly quoted on harmonica. Bruce James’ piano and organ are the only accompaniment to Troch’s voice and harmonica on the jaunty “Troubled One”. “Long Long Beard” is a goofy novelty throw away. For me the only miscue here, no biggie. The jump blues “White Line Express” gets the groove back on track, a tale about cocaine abuse.

“Rabbit Foot Trail” is an old time foot stomping-clapping instrumental with chanting. “15 Minutes” is a perky old timey ditty. Hearty amplified harmonica powers “Mister Jones”, a strong modern blues number. “His soul was leakin’ outta his nose”. Distorted vocals, raging guitar, harp and blazing saxes contribute to the frenzy of “Vertigo”. “Life is a play, I’m just a bad actor”.

“Bedroom Eyes” is a lazy R&B tinged blues. A Latin rhythm underscores “Rain Rain” in a similar relaxed groove. Amplified harmonica, saxes and a loping guitar riff permeate “Walk Away”. After song’s end and about a minute, a brief hidden track pops up. Just Steven on vocal backed by piano. Sounds like it’s about a lady friend and “Then my furry fling coughs up a big hairy ball, it high tailed to the hall, then hit the kitchen wall”. Hey, mystery and quirkiness are one of the factors aside from great music that make this band a fantastic find.

Blues based music with intriguing musical and lyrical turns, what more can you ask for? Fertile minds are at work here and I love it! The only down side to discovering a foreign band is that they very rarely venture to the states to perform. This CD will do for now.

Reviewer Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony hails from the New Jersey Delta.

 Featured Interview – John Lee Hooker Jr. 

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…Every year I used to throw big time family reunions
you probably say, so what’s the big deal?
It’s cause I haven’t seen my family since the reading of the will
I’m contemplating suicide because they hurt my pride
but I believe I’m gonna wait around until my change come…

Wait Until My Change Come,” John Lee Hooker, Jr., Frank Thibeaux, William Griffin, 2010

The above lyrics are much more potent when sang and heard rather than read and envisioned. I got a listen right around the time I first met John Lee Hooker, Jr. in 2010, at the Blue Wing Blues Festival in Upper Lake, California. He was riding high with a new CD at the time, Live In Istanbul Turkey. It was a state of the art release that included an animated bonus DVD.

When I witnessed the song in person, the slow burning blues gradually crescendoed into a masterpiece of self testimony, moving the audience to screaming levels of audio participation. When we chatted recently, much indeed had changed in his life.

“Well, here I am. My change has come. For those who don’t know, I’ve been shot twice. In different states. I’ve been stabbed and have a knife wound in my face. I was homeless, sleeping in storefronts with the smell of urine. Thank God, I don’t smell the rotten smell of a paddy wagon anymore. I smell the sweet aroma of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Not knowing exactly when Hooker Jr. devoted himself to the ministry, I ventured a guess. Around 2013.

“That’s exactly right,” he responded. We did a news segment on a Sacramento television station. It was an interview and they were promoting the Sacramento Music Festival and other stuff I had going on that weekend. The interview successfully drew a lot of people to the festival. The day after my appearance at the festival, I played a smaller venue, The Torch Club, where the line stretched down the block. There were so many people there that after I finished singing violence broke out. God spoke to me and said, ‘This is not what I called you to do.’ I called my buddy and said, ‘You know what? God just called me back into the ministry.'”

john lee hooker pic 2John Jr.’s “Damascus path,” was fraught with dangerous turns, near death experiences and years of jail confinement. There have been dreamlike highs and nightmarish lows. It seems the progeny and namesake of the King of the Boogie is seeking his own royal reward.

“Amen. That’s my life brother. I was born in Detroit. Been an inmate at Soledad twice and Jamestown twice. When I went to California Medical Facility at Vacaville as a free man, the MC said, ‘Let’s make him feel welcome, this is his first time here. Chaplain John Lee Hooker, Jr.’ I got up and said, ‘Please forgive for correcting you. Actually this is my second time here. Forty-Two years ago, I sat right there in that second seat as a prisoner.’ You should’ve heard the inmates shout, ‘OH MY GOD.’

I’ve been incarcerated in , Solano, Tracy and even in Canada at the Oakalla Lower Mainland Regional Correction Centre (closed in 1991). I got hooked on dope in there. A big time Canadian woman dope dealer came and visited me inside. When they deported me back to the States, I violated and went and stayed with her for a month. She had all the dope a junkie would ever want to have. I messed around and hurt her feelings and ended up getting popped and having to beg my family for help. They got me out after advising me that ‘they should’ve left my ass over there even though I was facing a life sentence. But don’t come over here when you get out,’ they admonished. Amen.”

How then, did Hooker Jr., originally go from Blues to ministry? From a comfortable life to one of hopeless addiction. Being the son of a major Blues icon it seems, proved to be a blessing and a curse. He started dabbling in hard drugs and became hooked by age 16. Stretches in juvie morphed into time in adult jails and prisons with flashes of brilliant stardom in between.

“Before I was 20 years of age, I recorded with my dad on his live record at Soledad Prison in 1972. Home of Sirhan Sirhan and other infamous inmates. By 1985, I was in the County Jail, on my way to Soledad, for the first time as an inmate. A Chaplain at County led me to the Lord and I took Him to Soledad with me. I became a preacher on the yard while there.

When I was released, I was led to a church that ordained me as a minister. I stayed there 5 or 6 years, all the while being pulled back to the music. I was incarcerated in San Quentin for the first time in the ’90s after backsliding yet again. I was on a roller coaster. It was an embarrassing thing, trust me.

I was seduced by hearing people say, ‘The world is waiting on you to take your dad’s baton and roll with it.’ I kept going back and forth; Tracy, Soledad, Jamestown.

john lee hooker jr pic 3I came out of the joint in 1998. I wasn’t what you’d call a chaplain then. I was a volunteer. When the Lord called me to chaplaincy, I got a certificate, but I wanted more. That was just a little piece of cardboard.

Someone told me about CPE, which is Clinical Pastoral Education. Sutter Hospital though, told me that they would never allow me to be trained as a professional chaplain because of my history. That I could not work in a hospital setting because of my past drug addiction. And I told God about it. 3 or 4 months later they called me and said, ‘We changed our policy. Would you like to start in August?’ I told them I was about to go on tour then and would have to wait until I got back. I was still playing the Blues then and my music career was picking up.

My first big show was the Monterey Bay Blues Festival. That let to the San Francisco Blues Festival. Things were happening. Got nominated for my 1st Grammy. Had a 2nd hit record and got nominated for another in 2008. Toured the world, Russia, Australia, Paris, Istanbul…

So, on that tour before I started my CPE training, the Lord spoke and said, ‘YOU HAVE TO CHANGE THE LYRICS.’

So when that incident happened in Sacramento, that was it man. The Lord called me back into the ministry. I lost my wife as a direct result of the Gospel. She was my buddy, but she had to go. She couldn’t deal with the church. I told her that whatever she did, I was stickin’ with Jesus Christ.

Back off the road, I was accepted at CPE. My wife is gone, we’re divorced. I took 2 units at the Sutter Hospital Campus and then went on tour again, doing Gospel with my own funky sound.

I received my chaplain credentials which enable me to go into Pelican Bay Super Max anytime I choose. Then the doors opened to California Medical Facility in Vacaville where I had been a prisoner. Then the Lord opened the door to Folsom Women’s Prison.

I have a friend who flies me up to Alaska to minister at several prisons there. This is the third year in a row for that. We do the Women’s Maximum Security Wing at Highland Mountain Correctional Center in Eagle River as well as the County Jail in Anchorage and the Goose Creek Correctional Facility in Wasilla, Alaska. We’ve been to Junneau doing outreach in churches, parks and whatnot, preachin’ the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. We just left from Spring Creek Correctional Facility in Seward, Alaska, which has a huge gang population.

I’m just preachin’ the Gospel. I preached twice yesterday. Tomorrow we have the day off. Sunday, I’ll preach twice and I’m baptizing one gentleman before preachin’ at a women’s facility. And the women praise the Lord up in that place. Hoowee! When I sing my Gospel song, they hit the floor. I say, ‘You danced in the club, now dance for His glory.’ And they hit the floor.

john lee hooker pic 4I’ve been workin’ on my next cd for over 2 years. My producer is the world renown Grammy Music Director, Larry Batiste. His aim is not to change my style or sound. We’ll change the lyrics but not the style. Wait until you hear how we do “Amazing Grace.” It’s got a little testimony and a small choir. We have another song called “Listen To The Spirit.” It’s got that New Orleans 2nd line rhythm with a great horn section and big band sound. The name of the CD is My God Is Holy.”

Not only is a new CD on tap for Chaplain John. In addition to bringing his Gospel music ministry to the highbrow Blue Note Napa in July, Hooker Jr. is also doing likewise at San Francisco’s Biscuit’s and Blues for 6 sets this coming December.

“Steve Suen, the owner of Biscuits and Blues has allowed me to do that, ” says Hooker. I let him know that I’m singing about Jesus although I will throw in a couple of John Lee Hooker songs up in there. ‘ Steve said, ‘You know what John? They need to hear about Jesus up in this place.’ And that’s what I do. It’s billed as The Gospel According To John Lee Hooker, Jr.”

In 2017, unbeknownst to most statesiders, John Lee Hooker, opened for none other than the Rolling Stones in Speilberg, Austria on their European tour.

“I was the first Gospel artist to do so. I took pictures with Keith, Mick and the whole band. We had prayer in Keith Richards dressing room. The crowd was estimated to be over 90,000. Never put a preacher in front of that many people! They made me sign a contract stipulating that I wouldn’t share the pictures on social media, so I’m not messing with them like that!”

Chaplain John is also shouting hallelujah about a lifetime achievement award coming in August of 2018

Four months ago I got an email from the Jus’ Blues Music Foundation. They are presenting me with the Bobby Bland Lifetime Achievement Award on August 2 in Tunica, Mississippi.

I’ve had a very unusual life. Now, I’m a proud Chaplain for the Lord Jesus Christ. I’m a Palliative Care Chaplain, having trained in the discipline on 5 campuses. When doctors, nurses and social workers have that deathbed discussion with a patient or family member, I bring the spiritual component to that discussion.

It’s so surreal that as much dope as I have shot for thirty something years, situations that led me to be chained to a gurney and awakened to be read my rights and taken to the county jail. And now here I am going from room to room in a hospital, comforting those that are perplexed. Going into prisons where I spent almost half my life. That’s why I know, it ain’t nobody but God. I love what I do. My dad wrote a song called, “I’ll Never Get Out Of These Blues Alive.” I think I’ll write one called, “I’ll Never Get Out Of This Gospel Alive.”

So that’s the new deal on Chaplain John. There’s been a change and as the song goes, it’s oh so plain to see. Fret not. The music is still full of funk and soulfully charged with the Gospel undertones now elevated to overtones. Let the Blues church say amen.

Visit John Lee’s website at:

CyberSoulMan Tee Watts is music director at KPFZ 88.1 fm in Lakeport, California. His radio show, The CyberSoulMan Review airs Tuesday afternoons from 3-5 PST. He is road manager for Sugar Pie DeSanto, the last Queen standing from the glory years of Chess Records.

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Charlotte Blues Society – Charlotte, NC

For July, there will be no Charlotte Blues Society Blues Bash, but on August 5 we come back strong with James Armstrong! The show begins at 7:30 with an open blues jam followed by James at 8:45. After James’s set, there will be another blues jam. As always, the show will be at the Rabbit Hole, 1801 Commonwealth Ave, Charlotte, and admission is free to card-carrying members and $5 to all others. We continue to collect donations of canned food, household items, and cash for Loaves and Fishes. 1 Can? I Can! Help end hunger in Charlotte!

The Sacramento Blues Society – Sacramento, CA

The Sacramento Blues Society will be co-hosting, along with the Torch Club, a benefit to assist with medical expenses for baby Joplyn Norris, who was born prematurely and is fighting for her life. This wee one is the first born of musician Jeramy Norris and his wife Heather, a young couple highly regarded in the Stockton/Sacramento blues communities. The benefit will be held at the Torch Club, 904 15th St, Sacramento on July 15, 2018 from 3:00-7:00 p.m. with a suggested donation of $10. Donations are being accepted in a GoFundMe page as well. Please open your hearts and wallets to help this sweet baby.

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 e 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: 7/16 – John Clifton, 7/23 – Southside Jonny Clausing, 7/30 – Big Mike Aguirre, 8/6 – Mark May Band. For more information visit

Crossroads Blues Society – Rockford, IL

Lyran Society’s monthly Friday fish fry – July 27 – Paul filipowicz, August 17 – New Savages, Shows free, run 7 to 10 PM.

The Inaugural New Glarus Blues, Brews and Food Truck Festival is Saturday, July 14th from Noon to 8 PM in New Glarus Wisconsin.

The Ninth Annual Crossroads Blues Festival at Lyran Park is Saturday,August 25th. Noon to 10 PM, gates open at 11 AM. $5 advanced tickets,$10 at the gate. Free parking. Primitive camping $20 per night, available Friday and/or Saturday  or has all the info!

Jimmy Thackery and the Drivers are also at Burpee Museum in Rockford Wednesday, June 27th at 6:30 PM. VIP seats $15, free general admission! Co-sponsored by Crossroads.

Blues Society of Western New York – Kenmore, NY

Blues Society of Western New York presents the 5th Annual Buffalo Niagara Blues Festival July July 14, 2018, noon to 11:30pm at Silo City, 92 Silo City Row, Buffalo, NY 14203. Tickets are $30.00 advance/$40.00 day of the show; members receive significant discount.

This event is a fundraiser for educational, community outreach efforts to support the Blues Society of Western New York’s Blues in the Schools (BITS) educational programming for K-12 students and other community outreach programs including Nursn’ Blues, a Blues music therapeutic program for those suffering from addiction in conjunction with Horizon Village and Music Is Art (MIA). More info at

Friends of the Blues – Kankakee, IL

Shows start at 7 pm, and are open to the public. Food and Beverages available at all Friends of the Blues shows. Tues, July 10 – Brandon Santini, Manteno Sportsmen’s Club, Thur, July 27 – The Nouveaux Honkies, Inside Out, Gilman IL, Thur, Aug 23 – Albert Castiglia, L’Erable IL, Tues, Sept 11 – Frank Bang & Cook County Kings, Venue TBA, Tues, Sept 25, Ivy Ford Band, Kankakee Valley Boat Club. More Info at:

The Long Beach Blues Society – Long Beach, CA

The Long Beach Blues Society presents the “6 String Showdown,” a head-to-head series of regional blues guitar competitions to crown Southern California’s best blues guitar player, the winner getting to perform on the Main Stage of this year’s New Blues Festival V. Bracket rounds to determine regional winners to be held at Campus Jax, Newport Beach, Saturday, July 21, 3-11 PM; Harvelle’s/Long Beach, Sunday, July 29, 3-11 PM; and Arcadia Blues Club, Saturday, August 4, 6 PM to Midnite.

Three semi-finalists face off on the Golden Groove Stage at New Blues Festival V Saturday, September 1. Two finalists go head-to-head on the NBF Main Stage, Sunday, September 2. More info at

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