Issue 12-36 September 6, 2018

Cover photo © 2018 Roman Sobus

 In This Issue 

Mike Stephenson has our feature interview with Julia Miller and Elbio Barilari, the new owners of Delmark Records. We have 5 Blues reviews for you this week including new music from Paul Filipowicz, Ally Venable Band, Kathy and the Kilowatts, Chicago/The Blues Legends/Today and Joe Barksdale.

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


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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)

Advance tickets are $35. Tickets will be $40 at the door. Tables for ten are only $300. 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!

 Featured Blues Review – 1 of 5 

paul filipowicz cdPaul Filipowicz – Unfiltered

Big Jake Records (Self Released)

11 tracks

Rough around the edges. Visceral. Gutsy. These are apt descriptors for the Chicago Blues Hall of Famer Paul Filipowicz. There is no room for wimps here- this is dirty, steaming hot Chicago blues served up to any listener brave enough to jump on the ride. Break those filters off your smokes- there is no way to protect yourself from inhaling this great stuff!

Filipowicz now hails from Milwaukee, WI, after honing his craft in Chicago. Born in Lockport, IL in 1950, the young Paul first heard the blues on the radio one night from a station in Tulsa, OK. He tuned in night after night and got to hear The Wolf, Sonny Boy II, Muddy, and all the greats. At 14 or 15 he first got to see and hear the blues up close and personal outside a club on the South Side of Chicago. Otis Rush and all these dressed up people showed up at 2 PM and Paul boiled in the sun outside the air conditioned club listening to his first live blues. Later, he heard Magic Sam and as he said, “…(I)t clicked. The phrasing was what I was hearing.” He has played with many a great and many a great has played with him. He has traveled the US and the globe playing the blues and has earned a place among the stars with his self-taught guitar work and overall strikingly interesting musicality. It’s not clean, it’s not pretty, but it’s the blues played like it should be.

Joining Paul are Benny Rickun on harp, a great young Wisconsin harp player, Chris Sandoval on drums (from Tommy Castro’s band), Rick Smith on bass, and a few guests here and there make things interesting. These guys have played with the likes of Castro, the Chain Smoking Altar Boys, The Groove Hogs, Bryan Lee and Dave Mason.

Things kick off with Magic Sam’s “All My Whole Life Baby,” the first of three Sam Maghett cuts. Filipowicz’ guitar stings, his vocal howl and things kick off with a lot of energy. Benny Rickun’s harp and the rest of the band join in the fray and it’s a fun, fun ride. “Brand New Hat” is next, contrasting to Magic Sam’s cut. It’s a dirty and raucous cut penned by Paul with some major guitar, a deep groove and big time shouting by Filipowicz. The title track is another original cut. Things slow down a bit and Paul’s guitar rings as the band responds to his calls on lead guitar. It’s a sweet instrumental showcasing his guitar work, here with a measured and cool pacing. The sax here and on the prior track by Tim Sobel adds a roundness and richness to the band as does Jack Naus trumpet. Another instrumental follows, this time featuring harp player Benny Rickun. “Canal Street” has a big solo guitar intro and then the band joins in. Rickun blows some dirty and mean harp in this tasty and special slow blues. Filipowicz also wrote this one and the band and he deliver a fine performance.

Willie’s and the Wolf’s “Howlin’ For My Darlin'” is up next, a joyful and bouncing blues that the band starts off with nicely. Filipowicz comes in with the vocals and offers a clean and up front rendition on this classic. Guitar and harp continue to impress and the sax her and the prior track makes for a full sound. Tony Menzer takes the bass up for “Everything Gonna Be Alright,” the second Magic Sam tune. Paul shouts in his authentic style and the guitar rings as Benny supplements things with his harp. Little Milton’s “I Found a New Love,” also made famous by Magic Sam, gets a very dirty and interesting cover here. The harp blows are filthy, the guitar is poignant and the band is tight. Slow and effectively dirty blues are what we get here. Up for us to enjoy next is an original entitled “My Woman.” The guitar once again stings with a faraway and distant sound as Filipowicz growls out the vocal lead. Trumpet and sax return but it’s the cool harp interplay with the backline that makes this one interesting. Bib Gedden’s “Tin Pan Alley,” first made famous in 1953 by Jimmy Wilson is a cut most are familiar with by Stevie Ray Vaughn. Filipowicz brings this back from Texas and delivers it in his own, direct Chicago style. Great guitar pacing and vocals make this both cool and fun. Lowell Fulson’s “Reconsider Baby” follows, a delightful, slow blues with the horns blowing in support. Filipowicz guitar is thoughtful and metered, his vocals grab you and make this another winner. The set concludes with Paul’s own “Riding High,” with the horns in full swing and the band pushing Filipowicz into a striking and poignant performance. The groove is sweet, the guitar and harp are excellent and Paul’s vocals are strikingly sweet.

If you don’t like authentic, dirty, greasy Chicago blues delivered by a master of the style, then by all means avoid this one. But if you are a blues lover with a pulse, you will enjoy this one. After one listen you’ll be checking Paul’s website with see when he next lays in your area. You won’t want to miss him when he comes to your town, and if he does not then you should make an effort to go see him live- you won’t regret it!

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.

 Featured Blues Review – 2 of 5 

ksthy and the kilowatts cd imageKathy and the Kilowatts – Premonition of Love

Nola Blue Records

13 tracks / 48:43

Austin is the music capital of Texas, and Kathy Murray is a wonderful representative for the blues in this fine city. Kathy got to experience the heyday of the blues scene there while collecting albums from blues masters and learning everything possible from them. As she started performing, Kathy got to share the stage with true blues heroes such as Koko Taylor, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Albert Collins, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Albert King, and W.C. Clark. Over the decades she has released a number of very good albums, and recently signed with Nola Blue Records.

Kathy fronts the Kilowatts, and her right hand man in this group is guitarist Bill “Monster” Jones, who also happens to be her husband. The band’s latest Nola Blue Records release is Premonition of Love, which was recorded by Jack Miele at Music Shed Studios in New Orleans, and engineered by Jeff Botta at Single Pitch Studios in Austin. Quite a crew showed up to help out in the studio, including Kathy’s label mate, Benny Turner, who laid down some of the bass tracks. Other contributors were Dylan Cavaliere and Jeff Botta on bass, Richard Ross and Nina Singh with drums/percussion, Floyd Domino and Matt Farrell on the piano, and the horns of Dan Torosian and Eric Johnson.

Premonition of Love has thirteen tracks, most of which were written by Kathy, and she put a lot of thought and quick wit into them. A fine example is the opener, “First Do No Harm,” which is the first song I’ve ever heard that namedrops Hippocrates. This tune features Kathy’s sultry voice over Botta’s fat bass line, fun leads from Jones, and the well-arranged horn accompaniment. After this, the songs cover an assortment of blues genres that can be heard in the lands between Austin and New Orleans.

The title track is a fat slice of Freddy King-inspired blues with a touch of funk, and Kathy’s voice has an amazing growl as she describes her “Premonition of Love.” There is an Otis Rush feel to “Beggars Can’t be Choosy,” which includes a return of the horns, sharp guitar licks from Jones, and tight bass from Benny Turner. Continuing to draw from the masters, Kathy added a Bo Diddley beat to “Answer Yes,” which has cool interludes with just the bass, drums, and vocals; this instrumentation provides a subtle contrast to some of the more complicated tracks on the album.

There is also some rockabilly to be found here, and “Grow Some” has wonderful piano from Matt Farrell to accompany Kathy’s sexy voice. “I Got This” is a great example of a Texas shuffle that includes a cool piano solo from Floyd Domino. And Kathy hoots up a storm in “Always Fooling Me,” a guitar and horn-driven funky soul song. There is a little something here for anyone that likes the blues!

Kathy and the Kilowatts also run down three neat cover tunes that fit well into this set. One of these is “Black Nights,” a 1960 Lowell Fulson tune that was written by Fats Washington and is presented as a slow-grinding blues tune. There is also a modernized funky re-do of “What Have I Done Wrong,” a 1968 song from Magic Sam. And there is even a little bayou magic thrown in with Cleveland Crochet’s “Sugar Bee,” which in 1960 was the first Cajun song to crack the Billboard Top 100. Jones shows versatility here as he sets the mood with his squeezebox, and Kathy’s vocals have a cool distortion effect added in to help make this song her own.

Kathy Murray and the Kilowatts put together a fine album with Premonition of Love, and its thirteen solid tracks each have a satisfying mix of vintage and traditional blues themes. The songs are playful and sexy, and you can check out some samples of the bands’ music at their website so you can get a better feel for where they are coming from. Also, if you are going to be in Austin be sure look over the band’s list of shows as there are a few coming up before the end of the year!

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

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 Featured Blues Review – 3 of 5 

ally venable cd imageAlly Venable Band – Puppet Show

Connor Ray Music

10 tracks / 52:56

Ally Venable is member of the newest generation of blues artists, but after hearing her tasty blues-rock it is evident that her voice and guitar chops are well advanced beyond her age. Venable hails from East Texas and like many other great blues vocalists, she got her start singing in church. Ally progressed on to the guitar, and her hard work on that instrument resulted in back-to-back Female Guitar Player of the Year awards at the East Texas (ETX) Music Awards. This is quite an accomplishment for an artist who is not quite old enough to drink in the bars she has performed in!

There are two more members of the Ally Venable Band: Elijah Owings on guitar and Bobby Wallace on the bass. These fellows have mad skills too, and this powerful trio has garnered three Blues Band of the Year awards at the ETX Music Awards. These folks recently hit the studio to record the follow up to their well-regarded debut album, No Glass Shoes, and Puppet Show is indeed a worthy successor. Ally wrote eight of the ten tracks on this disc and laid down the vocal and guitar tracks; the band got a little help from a handful of super-talented guest artists, and you will find that the results are impressive.

Kicking off the set is an original tune, “Devil’s Son,” a sharp rocker with a country feel, and an extra dose of guitar courtesy of Gary Hoey. Ally’s vocals are strong, which is appropriate for these lyrics that describe a no-good man. “Bridges to Burn,” which features Venable’s mentor, guitarist Lance Lopez, follows this up. This burner has nice interplay between the guitars, including some slick doubled parts, and the vocals are a bit edgier. Next on the list is “Cast Their Stones” which has a lovely 1970s AOR sound with Owings taking a faster tempo on the drums while Wallace gets funky on the bass. The guitar and vocals are also more processed on this track, and the effect is breathtaking.

There are two cover tunes in the middle of the set, and the first of these is a Bessie Smith song from 1927, “Backwater Blues.” This song builds from a traditional introduction that soon shifts into a full-on rocking Texas blues jam that features the harp of Steve Krase. The second re-do is “He Caught the Katy” by Taj Mahal, with a few changes to reflect the different pronoun in the title. Krase returns for this song and is joined by Eric Steckel on the organ, and once again Venable’s guitar tone and vocal inflections are second to none.

The title track starts the second half of the set, and “Puppet Show” is a radio-friendly song with heartfelt lyrics and deft solo work from Ally. There is also more of Steckel’s B3, which is the perfect accent for this power ballad. “Comfort in my Sorrows” slows the pace even more, which really allows Venable’s soulful vocals to shine, and there is some tasteful extended guitar soloing to close it out. After this interlude, the band goes back into roadhouse mode with “Survive,” which has hammering drums and fat bass, along with one last shot of the Hammond organ. “Waste it on You” revisits the theme of a man who is not deserving of a second thought, and this is the last song before the finale, “Sleeping Through the Storm.” The closer is a high-energy boogie that provides one last chance to hear Ally’s talented guitar playing, and to consider a positive message that encourages the listener to rise above adversity.

The Ally Venable Band has minted blues-rock gold with Puppet Show, which is chock full of solid musicianship and well crafted tunes. The band has a lot on their plate with gigs all over the eastern half of the US in the next few months, including shows with Gary Hoey, Bernard Allison, and Mike Zito. Head over to their website to read about their tour and make sure you click on the “Music” tab to hear samples from their albums. If you are a fan of blues-rock you will definitely be impressed!

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

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 Featured Blues Review – 4 of 5 

joe barksdale cd imageJoe Barksdale – Butterflies, Rainbows, & Moonbeams

Hear My Music

13 Tracks/56:24

Fans of the NFL may recognize the name, Joe Barksdale. He is an offensive tackle for the San Diego Chargers – in addition to being a singer and guitarist. Taking up the guitar five years ago in response to the death of a father figure, Barksdale has made significant progress, a fact borne out at numerous points on his debut recording.

An energetic rendition of the Freddie King instrumental, “The Stumble,” displays the confidence that Barksdale has in his fret work. The song also has a dazzling piano solo from Allan Phillips. Barksdale’s half-spoken vocal works well on a song from another of his influences, Jimi Hendrix, giving “The Wind Cries Mary” a run-through that doesn’t stray far from the original, yet feels right. The band tears through a frenzied version of “Dust My Broom”. The accelerated pace exposes some of Barksdale’s vocal shortcomings. Evan Marks handles the familiar slide guitar licks. “Can’t Put You Down” has a gentle strut as the singer is joined by Rebecca Jade on a soulful duet.

The other songs explore a range of styles only tangentially related to blues music. “Is It Blue” creates an ethereal mood with Natalya Phillips adding some delicate backing vocals while Barksdale finishes off the song with a graceful solo. Phillips, a protege of Prince, also helps out on a cover of “Electric Feel,” done by the rock band, MGMT, complete with a swirling arrangement of electronic tones. The original, “Thank You,” comes complete with Barksdale’s mellow vocal, bluesy guitar, and backing vocals by Jade. (Note – the two songs appear in reverse order on the track list on the back of the CD cover.) The title track creates a moody soundscape over three minutes.

Barksdale packs plenty funky punch into another instrumental, “How ‘Bout Now,” set up by a thick, popping bass line and some hard-edged guitar work. “Journey To Nowhere” is a blissful ballad built around a duet between the leader and Jade’s alluring voice. The two singers join forces again on the country-tinged “Dreams,” a sprightly number that falls short due to generic lyrics. “Brionna” is an instrumental tribute to Barksdale’s wife, complete with a flurry of short guitar statements. His guitar leads things off before turning it over to Jade and the Ken Turner Gospel Choir for a impassioned message on “Joy Bells” to finish off the disc.

There are three bass players utilized on the disc – Tim Lefebvre, Cecil McBee Jr., and Will McGregger. In addition to slide guitar, Evan Marks makes contributions on electric & acoustic guitar, banjo, and keyboards. Duncan Moore handle the drums and percussion, with Alan Phillips adding percussion as well as keyboards.

While he may only have a few years of experience on his instrument, Joe Barksdale demonstrates that he is a quick study. The scope of this disc, and the diversity of sounds in the arrangements, also make it clear that he has been a serious student of music for most of his life. It is an interesting assortment, with blues being a key element. When his football career comes to an end, it will be interesting to see how far he can go with music.

Reviewer Mark Thompson lives in Florida, where he is enjoying the sun and retirement. He is the President of the Board of Directors for the Suncoast Blues Society and a member of the Board of Directors for the Blues Foundation. Music has been a huge part of his life for the past fifty years – just ask his wife!

 Featured Blues Review – 5 of 5 

chicago blues legends today cd imageVarious Artists – Chicago/The Blues Legends/Today!

West Tone Records

15 Tracks/68:34

Celebrating several lesser-known Chicago blues artists, this project also pays tribute to the three album set on Vanguard Records, compiled by blues historian Samuel Charters and released in 1966, that featured many artists who later achieved legendary status, like Junior Wells, Otis Spann, Otis Rush, and James Cotton. Adding the word “Legends” changes the title a bit, but the cover uses a design similar to the Vanguard set, readily apparent to anyone who familiar with those albums.

The recordings were done under the dual leadership of Mike Mettalia, a harmonica player who leads the Midnight Shift band, and Rockin’ Johnny Burgin, a guitarist who spent more than twenty-five years in Chicago before relocating to the West coast. They are supported by a number of notable backing musicians including Illinois Slim on lead & rhythm guitar, John Sefner on bass, and Steve Dougherty on drums.

Six tracks feature Mary Lane on lead vocal, accompanied by her husband, Jeffrey LaBron on bass, showcasing a voice honed by decades of scuffling through the network of small, little-known Chicago blues clubs. Her Appointment With The Blues release twenty years ago, with Johnny B. Moore on guitar and Detroit Junior on piano, generated some well-deserved praise and attention. Her tough persona comes through on “Hurt My Feelings,” with Dougherty laying down a tight shuffle. “Papa Tree Top” has Mettalia blowing some Jimmy Reed-style licks while Lane lets her man know that she is tired of his miserable treatment. Two other tracks were on her release, on Friendly Five Records in 1963,with her former husband Morris Pejoe on guitar. “Don’t Want My Lovin’ No More” is a hard-driving tune powered by the interplay between the harp and Burgin’s fine slide guitar work. The other side, “I Always Want You Near,” is a dark, foreboding, minor key classic. Her cover of “Next Time You See Me” fails to excite, but she regains her footing on “Goin’ Down Slow,” packing eighty-two years of life into a stirring vocal.

Little Jerry Jones takes the lead on three tracks, starting with his original, a slow elegy entitled “Let’s Make Love Tonight”. He takes his time as a vocalist while his lead guitar playing consists of fluid, single note runs. On “Smokestack Lightnin’,” Jones adopts a gritty approach that contrasts well with Mettalia’s full-bodied harp tone. Elmore James was one of Jones’ mentors, so it is no surprise that he covers “Dust My Broom”.

Milwaukee Slim (Silas McClatcher) has one release under his own name in addition to appearing on projects for Billy Flynn, the late Barrelhouse Chuck, and other prominent blues artists. His deep, powerful tones provide a spark on a spirited cover of the Jimmy Roger’s standard, “Sloppy Drunk,” as Mettalia once again impresses, with Slim urging him on. Even better is the rousing run-through of “Unemployment Risin’,” a Mettalia-penned tune that has another healthy dose of Burgin’s tighty drawn slide licks.

Mettalia gets his moment in the spotlight on another original, “Midnight Call”. Illinois Slim demonstrates his guitar dexterity behind the singer’s even keeled singing. Burgin does a fine job of channeling Magic Sam on “Things Gonna Work Out Fine,” before delivering a tough vocal on Howlin’ Wolf’s “I’m Leaving You”. On Junior Walker’s “Hotcha,” the leaders dial back the energy for a soothing instrumental interlude.

West Tone Records has done it again. There is plenty to enjoy on this collection that upholds the traditional blues sounds while managing to infuse plenty of energy into every cut, primarily due to the contributions of a handful of artists who appreciate the opportunity to gain a higher level of recognition in the blues community. Well worth checking out…….

Reviewer Mark Thompson lives in Florida, where he is enjoying the sun and retirement. He is the President of the Board of Directors for the Suncoast Blues Society and a member of the Board of Directors for the Blues Foundation. Music has been a huge part of his life for the past fifty years – just ask his wife!

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 Featured Interview – Delmark Records 

Interview, by Mike Stephenson, of the new owners of the Delmark Record label, Julia A. Miller and Elbio Barilari, took place at the labels offices in Chicago in 2018. Many thanks go to Steve Wagner and Jim Feeney.

delmark owner photo 1JULIA A. MILLER: I’m Julia Miller and I’m President and CEO of Delmark Records and we are very happy to be the new owners and happy to be here and we are composers and guitarists and we are in the band Volcano Radar and we are here to re invigorate Delmark Records.

ELBIO BARILARI: I am originally from Montevideo, Uruguay and I am a classical composer, I work with symphonic orchestras all over the world. I do chamber music but I also my whole life play rock and blues and jazz, and for the last five years we have a band together with Julia called Volcano Radar. Volcano Radar is something that actually exists; it is an electronic device controlled by satellite to see what happens in volcanoes. We have been producing our own indie records for the band for the last three and a half years and we have been successful with that. We have 70,000 downloads of our three records, two with the band, one solo record by Julia, and at some point we decided that we could go to the next level and we started researching, and finally we knew that Bob Koester would be willing to sell Delmark and we started a very careful and long process with him. We are both working in music in other capacities. Julia teaches the Class Of Sound at the very prestigious School Of The Art Institute Of Chicago and I teach Latin/ American music and jazz history at University Of Illinois in Chicago, and I also have a world wide classical music program called Latin American Music. It’s taken up by 150 radio stations across the world. We have a strong connection with blues and jazz, but also with other fields of music, and also the fact we are musicians, that we can do this business from a musician’s perspective and we plan to keep it that way.

Julia: We want to support the musicians in their vision of what we would want to have in terms of the creative project, and in terms of the support of their releases and also we are interested in intra disciplinary work, so for example we are interested in collaboration with visual artists and different music collaborations, as well as bringing people together that may not have worked together before. What caused us to consider purchasing Delmark is that it’s not only a record label, it’s a studio and a catalogue as well and a living history, so we appreciate that and that’s what drew us to the project, and it’s also what sort of convinced I think the Koesters to go with us, because we wanted to keep all of the aspects of the business together. We weren’t interested in selling the catalogue or just buying the catalogue only, we are interested in keeping the studio running as a working studio and also producing new records, as well as appreciating the history and the historical catalogue and building on that. It’s a very unique piece of history and one with many parts. It’s not a typical label and so it’s not a business proposition that we went to with the idea that we would buy a record label. That’s not how we looked at it and it’s not what we were looking for. We were looking for a musicians’ label, as musicians and as creative artists.

Elbio: We could have started an indie label from scratch; it would have been cheaper for sure, but it would not have had the brand or the recognition and it would not have had the history behind it and it would not have had the inventory and catalogue, the building, the studio. People knew us in Chicago and people knew us in the United States and knew us internationally in different fields, but the moment we got into Delmark people could see this was for real and this was serious. Also we are working hard on a new business model, a twenty first century business model for the label. Of course we are going to have LPs and CDs and we are going to have reel to reel productions, so if you want one from the original master we can sell that to people, and we are also working very, very hard to get in place the system for downloads and streaming. Over the summer our website is going to be improved and revised and completely rebuilt to have that capability and to hit the markets everywhere, like Asia, and to renew our relationships in Europe.

Julia: We own the business and the catalogue and the inventory and we have an exclusive lease on the building that houses the studio and the offices and we hope to purchase it in the future. We are planning on re issuing much of the Delmark catalogue. But how we do it and what format we do it in, we will plan later. We are definitely going to keep the catalogue available.

Elbio: Right now we are planning some re issues like a very historical record by Anthony Braxton and another one by Roscoe Mitchell and previously unreleased material by Sun Ra.

Julia: We are looking at mastering things and transferring things that haven’t been transferred from analogue to digital. We want to make audio file quality recordings available of the back catalogue and we also want to make digital subscriptions available as it is a valuable resource and we want it to be available in that way. We are also looking at showcasing many of the historical catalogue recordings as concerts. When we would re issue them for example we could then have a contemporary group replay the album and then also include educational opportunities and get the contacts to the album as well as the re issue.

Elbio: We are going to put in place an internship program and the website is not just going to be a commercial website to sell the records. We are also going to have an historical content, like a blog talking about the history of Chicago music and promoting our artists. Since day one we have been building as much as we can information from our artists into social media. I think we have a chance to make a difference, working with a different business model. Some people say that you don’t need a record label any more and why do you need a record label now, as people can release heir own records, which they can, but it is completely different when you have the support of a known record label behind you and when the record label, as we are doing, promotes not only in the US but also overseas. We are already talking to our friends around the world. The big offensive overseas is going to be when the new website is in place.

Julia: Blues is very significant for the label. We have Steve Wagner here and he is continuing with us and we are very happy about that and blues is a main focus of what he does. We each bring different aspects to the business and its expertise. Elbio has a history in blues as well.

Elbio: I played in a blues band for several years and I toured Europe with blues bands and I have played with Clarence Edwards and Henry Grey. I toured Europe with those guys. I’ve played with John Primer in South America. My band opened for Buddy Guy and B.B. King in Montevideo. I grew up with rock and hard rock and listening to John Mayall and the Blues Breakers and the Rolling Stones. I went through the process of listening to the British blues players before I moved to Chicago and then heard the blues here. Jazz is also one of my passions.

delmark owner photo 2Julia: I grew up with American country music and also bluegrass. I went on to train as a classical musician as an adult. My cousin was a professional Dixieland clarinetist so I grew up with that music as well and I have all of his records still and his instruments. I came to Chicago when I was eighteen to go to school and that introduced me to the blues at that time. I don’t have the professional background that Elbio or Steve has but it is a complementary history. We plan to seek out new artists to record.

Elbio: We get records through the post and proposals every day and they come to me as I’m the artistic director of the label, so people bombard me with proposals, blues and jazz and ambience and stuff. We are going to stick with the blues and the blues catalogue is going to be maintained and we are going to support traditional blues, acoustic and electric, and we are also going to support people with new approaches to blues.

Julia: We don’t look for talent per se. We think about how Bob Koester would have thought about it in terms of creative and interesting performance and people that don’t sound like other people, so we are open to listening to artists and open to also bringing artists together to do new collaborations and new recordings. We are reaching out to people in Europe all of the time and we expect to do that more. We want to offer a huge reassurance because we want to continue Delmark and we want to give it a future at a time when things needed to change, so we are going to maintain it and we understand the tradition.

Elbio: Just In the last month we have received blues performances from blues records from Brazil, the UK and Sweden. European and South American artists are looking at us, they see there is new administration here so they send samples and of course American and Chicago artists are also contacting us. The future looks very good.

Julia: As for our future reissues, we hope to keep the original artwork, and any tracks that may be laying around that Bob has done and that haven’t been heard could be part of it. As an example Roscoe Mitchell, we kept the original artwork and we went back to different original mixes, so it will be on a case by case basis. We will look at it as we go. There is a lot of material, a lot of possibility for bonus tracks and a lot of things that have not been released, a lot of alternative takes, and that is something we have talked about.

Elbio: We will have standard liner notes and we will give you a link and you can go to the new website and you will get extra information that you cannot fit in the liner notes. Liner notes are becoming obsolete, but we can expand to really nice heavyweight stories behind the music by referring people to the website.

Julia: That’s what Elbio loves as he is a writer, so working through the narrative is something he specializes in. I’m a collector and I love to go through all the material and pick out things to scan. We have found a lot of gems here going through all this stuff.

Elbio: Please reassure yourselves that Delmark is going to continue and that it is going to get stronger. We are going through the archives and we have found so much material like Luther Allison, Otis Rush and we have unreleased tapes of Otis Rush. Sun Ra archives also. Musicians come from different territories and we plan on keeping the blues alive and, in more mainstream post bop and mainstream jazz, we will be releasing a Geof Bradfield album, a neo bop type of thing, and we are going to release an album on a Cuban saxophone player and he recorded a CD with our band. We plan to record blues in different forms and shapes and pretty much the same wide range of music that Delmark covered before. We may have some Latin tinge jazz in the future. By blues in its many formats we have in our catalogue Big Joe Williams and we have his guitar here in a case, and we have folks doing the typical Chicago electric style and we have bands with different styles like Mississippi Heat for example. So we are completely open to new tendencies in blues music. So if someone comes with something new, we would consider it. I was a fan of Chico Banks and if he was alive I would have liked to record him. Blues has so many styles and influences. In Chicago there are guys that play more traditional blues and there are guys who mix it with r&b and some with a soul tinge. So if an artist approaches us we will consider it and we will be wider encompassing.

Julia: We are looking for special people and special performances and people that do not sound like other people and that is in the spirit of what Bob Koester was interested in too. He also was interested in performances that were kind of rough, in the Alan Lomax kind of model, very real and those performances become iconic touchstone performances. We appreciate those things and that is what we are looking for as well.

Elbio: I play a lot with people from Louisiana, for example like Larry Garner, and if he wants to do something with us how am I gonna say no to him, my buddy. Chris Thomas is another one. I play with people who have learnt their trade like Rudy Richards, the guitar player with Slim Harpo and really you cannot build a wall between the Chicago blues and the rest of the blues. As we know, most of the early Chicago blues musicians came from the south and the others, the parents came from the south.

delmark owner photo 3Julia: We are always interested in hearing what is happening, but it’s more in terms of cultural support and a creative interest. Sure, people can always send in demos and things. The website we plan will support more material, so not everything is necessarily going to be released physically. We will retain CDs and LPs of course but we are going to do digital release and we are going to do streaming, so trying things to support people in different ways that may be a little more obscure. We plan to up the support of our artists such as using social media, like we post on Facebook, and we are offering a lot of radio promotions and we have PR people who are supporting us with our new releases, so that is something we are already doing.

Elbio: We plan to buy some space in Downbeat and we are sending out our recent releases to over 300 radio stations. Once we have the new website, we will be promoting in Europe as well. We plan to focus on South America too, like Brazil and Argentina and Uruguay, because blues is huge in those countries. South East Asia, China and Japan and Russia are also our targets after we have the new website.

Julia: As for the archive material we have here, we have been clearing it out and organizing. We have a professional archivist who is helping us. We have been going through stuff piece by piece and box by box, as maybe in the middle of that box you may find one gem. We will organize it so it can be in a state where it can be used. It is a very long-term project and it is important that we are new here. We were negotiating the sale for six months before we disclosed in May. So by the end of summer we hope to be really pushing forward, so that is our time frame. Six months sounds like a long time to negotiate but it’s not much time considering how big the deal is and how big the intellectual property is.

Elbio: I was cleaning out my future office and I found a huge folder with original charts from the sixties and we also found an original pressing of Anthony Braxton.

Julia: Once we have stuff archived we plan to have it available for use by students and scholars and our archivist will help us in options for grants to apply for, and also we may end up working with institutions. For example we had a lot of Bob’s films 16 and 32 millimeters and we have given them to someone who will catalogue them and go through them and store in his warehouse space and we will then be giving them to the School Of Art Institute once we have that collection organized. So things like that, developing relations with institutions, we are definitely interested in. How much of it remains here or how much goes into a library, as long as it’s used and accessible, that’s what we are interested in.

Elbio: We are going to start a jazz and blues program in Spanish for all Latin America through universities radio stations.

Julia: We are also planning a gallery here at the Delmark offices in the front area and we will be having visual art shows. We have collaborated in the past with painter Lewis Archenbach who does live jazz and improvises music documentations and we have talked to a couple of photographers. So having music related art exhibits, as well as small performances for things like CD releases and stuff.

Visit Delmark Record’s website at:

Interviewer Mike Stephenson is a UK based blues journalist and photographer who has been a blues fan all his life. He has written articles on and interviewed blues artists and reviewed blues events in Europe and the US primarily for Blues & Rhythm but also for other blues publications.

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The Windy City Blues Society – Chicago, IL

The Windy City Blues Society is collaborating with the Village of Lyons to present the Inaugural Windy City Blues Fest. The Fest is September 22nd and 23rd, at Cermak Park, 7701 Ogden Ave., Lyons, Illinois.

Saturday and Sunday, end of summer, 2 stages, over 40 musical acts, family, friends, good food and drink. Plenty of room to relax, great music and new experiences.

This is a first time Blues Music Festival, be the first ones to help make it legendary and help carry the blues forward. It’s going to be like a Chicago Blues Fest from years gone bye. We hope the Windy City Blues Fest is the Bookend to the Chicago Blues Summer, and a gateway to the King Biscuit in October. $10 for the weekend, $10 to park. VIP tickets available Please join us. Details found & tickets purchased at WWW.WindyCityBluesFest.ORG Keep the Blues Alive Baby!

Mississippi Valley Blues Society – Davenport, IA

The Mississippi Valley Blues Society is pleased to present these upcoming shows.

 Fri., Sept. 7, 6:00pm Tas Cru on the Celebration Belle Riverboat Moline, IL (“Blues Cruise”) Cost $25, Wednesday, September 19th 6:00 pm JP Soars & The Red Hots at Kavanaugh’s Hilltop Tavern 1228 30th Street, Rock Island, IL Tickets: $12.00 or $10.00 for MVBS members. Sunday, Oct. 7, 6:00pm Orphan Jon and The Abandoned Viking Club Moline IL $12, $10 for MVBS members.

The Sacramento Blues Society – Sacramento, CA

On the 10th Anniversary of the Sacramento Blues Society Hall of Fame Awards, we are proud to announce our 2018 Hall of Fame Inductees: AJ Joyce, Andy Santana, Jimmy Morello, RW Grigsby and a special posthumous Induction of Frankie Lee.

Join us for a very special two part Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Sunday, September 30, 2018 at Harlow’s Restaurant & Nightclub, 2708 J Street, Sacramento, from 1-5 p.m. ,with special appearance by musical guest, The Daniel Castro Band.

Following the Induction Ceremony, there will be a Hall of Fame Showcase with the new Inductees and many previous Inductees at the nationally known Torch Club, 904 15t St., Sacramento, from 6-8 pm.

Also Sacramento Blues Society presents the 2nd Annual Harmonica SlapDown on Saturday, October 13, 2018 at the Harris Center, 10 College Pkwy, Folsom, California featuring Mitch Kashmar, Aki Kumar, Gary Smith and Andy Santana! Doors open at 6:00 p.m. Tickets are $40 Zone 1 (includes a 1 year membership to Sacramento Blues Society for new members) and $35 Zone 2.

This is going to be an exciting event you won’t want to miss! Additional information at

Charlotte Blues Society – Charlotte, NC

The Charlotte Blues Society announces its upcoming IBC
Band Challenge on October 7th from 6:00 – 10:00 p.m. at the Rabbit Hole, 1801 Commonwealth Ave., Charlotte, NC 28205. The Winner receives $1,000 and represents CBS at the IBC Competition in Memphis in January, 2019. Free to members with valid cards; $5 to others. Remember to bring donations for Loaves and Fishes.

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.

9/10 – Doug Deming & The Jewel Tones, 9/17/ – Laura Rain and the Caesars, 9/24 – Reverend Raven & The Chain Smokin’ Alter Boys featuring Westside Andy, 10/1 – Levee Town, 10/8 – Orphan Jon and The Abandoned, 10/15 – Jeff Jensen, 10/22 – Lindsay Beaver & The 24th St. Wailers, 10/29 – Murray Kinsley & Wicked Grin. For more information visit

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, Sept 11 – Frank Bang & Cook County Kings, Venue TBA, Tues, Sept 25, Ivy Ford Band, Kankakee Valley Boat Club, Thur, Nov 29 – Reverend Raven & CSAB, Kankakee Valley Boat Club. More Info at:

The Long Beach Blues Society – Long Beach, CA

This Labor Day weekend get ready to rumble at the New Blues Festival in Long Beach when the 6 String Showdown, the summer’s biggest guitar competition presented by Long Beach Blues Society, rolls into town. OC Regional winners Jesse Godoy and Ewen Williams face off with Arcadia’s best, Jessica Kaczmarek and Andy Vimar, on the Golden Groove Stage September 1 at 4pm to determine which two finalists will go head-to-head on the Main Stage of the New Blues Festival on September 2 at 2:30 PM, to crown Southern California’s all-around best blues guitar hero and walk off with over $5000 in cash and prizes including an Eastman guitar and more.

Tickets are available now at

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