Issue 13-28 July 11, 2019

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Cover photo © 2019 Bob Kieser

 In This Issue 

Joseph Jordan has our feature interview with Victor Wainwright. We have 10 Blues reviews for you this week including new music from The Boogie Kings, Matt Andersen, Bob Frank, Beth Hart, Dirty Red And The Soul Shakers, Leo Bud Welch, Larry Griffith Project, Susan Santos, “Chicago” Carl Snyder and Friends and Doc and Friends.

Our featured videos this week is the band Southern Avenue. We have the latest in Blues society news. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!

 From The Editor’s Desk 

Hey Blues Fans,

Our friends at Briggs Farm in Pennsylvania are having their 22nd Annual Briggs Farm Blues Fest this weekend. The festival in held on 60 acres of their farm that features great camping and some serious Blues music. Blues Blast Magazine will be there covering all the fun.

On Friday the have a great lineup that includes Bobby Kyle & The Administers, MiZ, Annika Chambers, Robert Kimbrough Sr., James Armstrong, Clarence Spady Band, Southern Avenue, Lonnie Shields and Donna The Buffalo. On Saturday they feature Scott Pemberton, Nate Myers, Cedric Burnside, Mikey Junior, Vanessa Collier, King Solomon Hicks, Slam Allen, Heather Gillis and Christone “Kingfish” Ingram. Now that is some REAL Blues!

For tickets and info visit or click on their ad in this issue.

Look for the Blues Blast Shirts and be sure to say hello! See you there!

Wishing you health, happiness and lots of Blues music!

Bob Kieser

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 Blues Blast Music Awards Tickets 

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Tickets for the Blues Blast Music Awards show on September 13, 2019 in Rockford, Illinois are on sale with a special early bird reduced price of $30 until July 15th. After that the presale price is $35 and $40 at the door so save money by getting your tickets NOW by clicking HERE!

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 Blues Wanderings 

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The Mississippi Valley Blues Festival was a good time seeing old friends and some great Blues last weekend. Among the performers we saw were Hal Reed, Samantha Fish, Robert Kimbrough Sr. and Ronnie Baker Brooks. We will have complete coverage of the Mississippi Valley Blues Fest in an upcoming issue.

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 Featured Video #1 – Southern Avenue 

This video features Stax Recording artist Southern Avenue at the Notodden Blues Festival in Norway, Summer 2018 playing the song “Survive”.

Southern Avenue is performing at the Briggs Farm Blues Festival on Friday, July 12th, 2019.

For tickets and info on this Blues event visit or click on their ad in this issue!

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 Featured Interview – Victor Wainwright 

victor wainwright photo 1Victor Wainwright’s remarkable keyboard abilities and playing are at the very least, rollin’, rampaging and rambunctious. He’s a natural entertainer and his uncanny sense of finding humor onstage and in his music is probably unmatched in the blues & roots world. Not a lot of slinky sophistication here, just remarkable keyboard chops, great ensemble playing and his singing packs a wallop. Whether on organ, electric or acoustic piano… the keys are in for a ferocious pounding coming out of the boogie-woogie school of piano playing, Victor’s a point of lightning. He’s a marvelous barrelhouse piano player with fast, soulful, and remarkably deft fingering.

After gigging with his various bands, The Wild Roots; Southern Hospitality & Victor Wainwright and The Train for over 250-nights a year, he now keeps it down to a more reasonable number of showcases. Considering his being a well-seasoned performer in his late 30s, and especially how much he & his band put out during a performance, that seems like a prudent and reasonable course to follow.

“No, we’re not quite able to maintain that rigamarole anymore. But I could when I was in my late teens and early twenties. But I’m nearing forty now, so it’s a little bit different. We do perform around 200-gigs per year. It goes up and down depending. One of the challenges of touring with a six-piece band is getting everyone, number one, in one place at one time, but also, making sure that the venues we play have a big enough stage, have enough sound reinforcement to allow us to be and to live up to our full musical potential every night in our performances. Luckily, the blues world has been very accommodating to us, and we spend a lot of time in the blues and roots-music community and play lots of festivals. It’s a very healthy community with lots of places to perform… and (has supportive) blues societies.”

A big, bearded and extremely friendly man, Wainwright’s also incredibly gracious, and articulate. He’s of course highly appreciative of the success his music and career has garnered and feels “blessed.”

He’s a highly-decorated artist, having been a 6-time Blues Foundation’s Blues Music Award (BMA) winner and 4-time BMA Piano Award winner; and impressively, won the Band of the Year Award, the highest award an ensemble can be awarded in the blues and roots world.

Also, of all the blues groups and solo artists to record anywhere, Wainwright won the most prestigious Blues Music Award of them all, The B.B. King Entertainer of the Year in 2018.

“I really appreciate that, and I really love the Blues Music Awards and the work The Blues Foundation does and all the things they do for musicians to discover the music, whether it be the IBCs (TBF’s International Blues Challenge,) and all of their additional programs. I’m a big supporter of the Foundation and throughout the years they’ve recognized me. I just feel so overwhelmed when it comes to all of that and what it’s done for my career.”

More? His recording “Victor Wainwright and The Train” was nominated for a 2018 Grammy Award in the “Best Contemporary Blues Album” category, (eventually won by Fantastic Negrito’s “Please Don’t Be Dead.”)

He laughs, “I don’t know if my album, ‘The Train,’ should have won the Grammy Award, however, it was my first time being nominated for anything related to the Grammys. According to some, we were the second most played contemporary blues album that year, right behind Buddy Guy, (The Blues is Alive and Well,”) as per the charts.

“Regardless, ‘The Train’ was well listened to and well-liked by a huge amount of people. For us to be nominated, a lot of eclectic, collective talent from very modern to very soulful, we were just real proud.”

Victor’s recording, Victor Wainwright and The Train was 2018’s Most Played Contemporary Blues Album of the Year according to N.A.R.A.S., and was the second most played Blues Album of the Year. Add on the buyer accolade of it being 2018’s Number One on the Billboard Top Ten Blues record chart, and one can readily ascertain Victor and his band are on an unbridled, upward trajectory. And no small feat, his various live and studio-produced music-videos and songs have enjoyed well over 5-million views/listens. (Check many of them out via YouTube.)

Wainwright’s originally from Savannah, Georgia and is now happily based in Memphis, Tennessee. He was raised in a home surrounded by live music played by his grandfather, uncle and dad who collectively introduced Victor to playing music well before he was ten-years old.

victor wainwright photo 2“I didn’t take any lessons on piano. I don’t know how to read music at all. I’m pretty limited, believe it or not, and I’m very honest when I say, to what I can do on the piano. I feel I learned what my grand-dad knew and I took that and listened to the music that I loved, and I translated that into something, I guess, quite original and people are finding it an original way to play the piano. I don’t play it like other blues or roots piano players. I just play it like myself. And I like to sing and entertain as much as I like to play piano, and that’s a thing my grandfather taught me. He gets credit for teaching me how to play the piano, but he was a great entertainer, He really took up all the air in the room when he entered it. He was a massive personality. And my dad too… my dad’s the same way. My dad’s retired now but he played a lot of (live) music during most of his life, along with my uncle. My grandfather passed a couple of Decembers ago, but the three of them taught me a lot, and they were a major part of my musical upbringing.”

His family, especially his father was understandably concerned about Victor’s choice of becoming a musician, as opposed to holding down a day-job.

“I think they knew how hard a life (as a working musician) it was going to be for me, and they knew the reality of playing music full-time for a living, and how that could be very challenging for a young person in today’s musical climate. And it is very hard. We all know a lot of musicians that are out there that are not touring. For all the thousands of bands that there are, there might be a couple that are able to tour and make a living out of it. It takes a lot more than to just be able to play an instrument. Being a musician that’s able to tour and make a business and a life out of it is tough. My parents knew that very well, because of their history with music. Especially my grandfather. My dad was not able to make it a full-time job necessarily and held many jobs. My grandfather was with an insurance company for many years, as well as being a musician. I think they just wanted the best for me which is why they also had me choose something that wasn’t music, just to have something I could do as well. The rest is history.”

And as unusual an early career choice as one might imagine a successful musician might have, Wainwright actually made a living for a while being an air-traffic controller.

“There was a friend of our family who was an air-traffic controller and I was fascinated by it. You’ve got to devote your whole body to it, that’s for sure. You can’t have even a little piece of you outside of the circle, as far as how deep in the water you are at each given time.

“When you’re a kid, you don’t know what you want to be. That’s a hell of a question to ask a kid. They should all answer, “just happy.” So, follow the path that makes you happy. For me that path led to music and not toward air-traffic controlling.”

Victor’s fourth incarnation as a player/bandleader is with “The Train,” a furiously-fun, powerhouse band. Most of the players have been with Wainwright a long time, and all have a ball on stage every performing night.

“Being in a band requires full attention and 100% of our energy and effort, mind and body. I will say, it’s all of us doing that, it’s not just me. We’re very devoted and we work very, very hard. I just can’t say enough good things about this band. I feel lucky to have them.”

victor wainwright photo 3“The band itself is comprised of members I’ve put together over the course of ten years. I met the drummer from ‘The Wild Roots,’ Billy Dean over ten years ago in Daytona Beach, Florida and we’ve toured the world together many times. He’s still with me. The bass player, Terrence Grayson, had toured with “The Wild Roots” but never recorded with them, and he’s been with me for five years. Pat Harrington on guitar, has been with me over three years.

“And the horn players are on the record too. It’s really cool ‘cause we’ve been touring the past year and a half with the exact lineup on the Grammy-nominated album, and we’ve already recorded the next album. It’s the same exact band that appears on stage with me, which is a real privilege and an honor for me. Part of the deal these days is that people are having a really hard time keeping bands together in the blues world. You see a lot of lineup change. I’m sittin’ here knockin’ on wood, as I feel so grateful to be touring with these guys for so long. To have this exact studio-quality lineup on the road and to be able to do this. It takes a lot more than just me. It’s way more than a one-man project. It takes a whole team, a whole village of people to keep this band on the road and keep doing what we’re doing. But it is so rewarding for us, and I truly believe for the audience too.

“I understand that musicians are curious about trying new things, and they can be pretty finicky. People bounce around to different projects. I feel it’s very special to have this band and this lineup right now and to be able to tour with them. Everyone in the band are full-time musicians. We don’t want any day jobs. We’re completely devoted to recording, to our music, and of course re-enacting that on-stage, with as much energy as we can muster.

“I look up to these guys and they’re part of my family and my team. When you live with people on the road like this, they are your brothers and your sisters. Where else are you going to spend all day working, and then you don’t get to go home, you’re going to a hotel room where you see them before you go to sleep and when you wake up in the morning you’re going to see them again. And then you’ll work together all day again. That’s the reality of touring… you become very close to these folks. And luckily when you have a unit like the one I have right now, it’s a pleasure to wake up to that reality.

“Basically, with the last album and this album, I’ve written the songs, and I bring these ideas, and pieces together, then let this band decipher my ideas and bring it all together to this very original exciting place. I don’t think I could do that with any other group. This particular band are coming from all over the United States. Doug is coming from L.A., Mark’s coming from Boston, my drummer is coming from Florida, the guitar player comes from Buffalo, New York, my bass player comes from Mississippi, and I come from Savannah Georgia, (although I live in Memphis now.) If you think about it, we’re all coming from different parts of the U.S. to tour and record and all with our own unique sound and history of influences, of all-things music. And then putting that together in one pot. Of course, while I’m writing this music, I’m keeping them in mind, and I’m very ambitious about what I’m writing and what I’m proposing to the band. It takes all of their talent and all of their influences and history to create this amazing project become a reality.

“I’ve just gotten my hand in to producing our music, along with our friend, Dave Gross. I helped engineer it, and we produced the new one in the same way, together with the same team. That’s something that I’m learning to do as well. It has to be something you’re willing to let grow. With everyone else’s input and influence, if I always wanted it to be the same way, it would never have been worth a damn. I bring something to the band and I expect them to give me their input and take those ideas and bring their excitement to them. It’s just a really beautiful harmony that’s going on right now.

“For me, it’s about standing in the center and inviting people in. I come from the South… you know. Southern hospitality is a big thing with me, and I want to take time with every person that I meet. I want to be very inviting. My home has always been a very inviting place. I turned my house into a place where musicians could live and stay with me in my place in Memphis, Tennessee. I just love that idea of being inviting and being hospitable and open. Basically, my arms are wide open. I stand firmly in my foundation & belief in blues and roots music, and I invite everyone in to our genre. People might not necessarily be familiar with (the late) Pinetop Perkins, but hopefully will find Pinetop through the discovery of my music. Of course, during live shows, we even talk about blues personalities past and future within our community.

victor wainwright photo 4“I’ve been brought into the fold of the Pinetop Perkins Foundation where, two or three times, I’ve taught children when I was heading the piano instructional Pinetop Master Class.”

The Train has one of the more unique album illustration covers in the blues world. The concept of course was Victor’s.

“First off, when I was deciding among band-names, I felt the music we play needed its own name. The Wild Roots was a project between my business partner and one of my best friends in the world, Stephen Dees. But I knew what I wanted with my current music. I wanted to branch out on my own a little bit, and to reach for slightly different angles than we were taking with The Wild Roots. As soon as I started writing new music, and hearing the band playing that music, I knew we needed a new name with its own title. I kept describing (our music) as a locomotive. I know that a train is so often used with blues music, whatever you want to call it. I said, ‘what makes this train different?’ I keep seeing the train as musical instruments, like flying down this railroad track. It’s all this creative music. I love the idea of the tracks and I love how the music gets played, and we just follow paths that have never been followed before. We can turn over stones that are still left to be turned over. Music is all about the discovery of what we’re bringing to people, since we’re all unique individuals bringing all of our experiences together. The music is unique and that’s what makes it special, and that’s what we want to celebrate. I think that’s one of the reasons that the artwork connects with people. No one has ever seen a train like that. It’s fun and that’s what we’re after, being ourselves and playing the music that my grand-daddy taught me along with everyone else in the band’s input. It’s something unique and fun and that’s what we wanted everyone to smile at.”

With six albums under his fingers, and many tracks in the can, Victor still tours The Train.

“Every night for me, I’ll play songs that will span back and be a culmination of all of my musical past. And this band spends time re-exploring older songs from The Wild Roots album. I think it will be around 2020 before Ruf Records decides to release this new album. We’re focusing on this album which was released last year. I have written (new) songs and I’ve recorded them, and I’ll be recording more. The new one, still has to be augmented and mastered, and have the artwork put together. It’s still a little way from being ready to be released. There are some songs that I’ve been trying out on audiences and I find folks really receptive to them. I play them just so I can gauge their reaction to things I’ve been trying different approaches, so that one night I might try a song one way and another night try it again another way or record it so I know, based upon their reaction on how I felt playing it, how best to produce a certain piece of material.

“I am just so thankful we’re able to play to people that love the kind of music we love.

Music has to breathe. It’s a living thing that grows and develops. We have a very grown-up, veteran sound with a lot of youthful ambition, if that makes any sense.”

With that, Victor laughs heartily, and promises to, every night, keep playing his heart out.

Visit Victor’s website at

Reviewer Joseph Jordan has a passion for and commitment to the Blues. He is a longtime journalist, critic, reviewer and music photographer, specializing in both the SF Bay Area and national Blues scenes. He has been a contributing writer with many national publications including deCapo Press, Blues Blast Magazine, Blues Access, Blues Revue & Southland Blues. He is a proud member of The Blues Foundation..

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 Featured Blues Review – 1 of 10 

the boogie kings cd imabeThe Boogie Kings – Disturbing the Peace

Spirit Records

CD: 12 Songs, 52:10 Minutes

Styles: Blues Covers, Piano Blues and Boogie, Harmonica Blues

A roster of postmodern blues band names is like ancient Greece: there are a lot of kings. We have the Travellin’ Blue Kings, the Cash Box Kings, the Cook County Kings, and the Coyote Kings, to name a few. Enter Michigan’s Bob Baldori and Arthur Migliazza, known as the Boogie Kings. They’re wanted all over the globe for Disturbing the Peace with their powerhouse piano and harmonica music. Despite the title of their newest album, however, its twelve tracks will instill peace in listeners. Each song flows seamlessly into the next, creating a tranquil whole. This is trance blues of the highest order, allowing one to zone out and get in the zone all at once. Most of the offerings here are covers, including “Sing Sing Sing,” “Blues with a Feeling,” and a lovely rendition of “Tennessee Waltz.” The Boogie Kings’ vocals are crisp and conversational, with the patter style of Professor Harold Hill on “Ya Got Trouble” from The Music Man. Shrewdly, these veterans of the boogie scene let their instruments of choice sing their hearts out.

Growing up in Dearborn and East Lansing, Michigan, pianist and harpist Bob Baldori was deeply influenced by the rock and roll of Chuck Berry. Bob’s band, the Woolies, scored a national hit in 1966 with a remake of Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love” for Lou Adler’s Dunhill label, and he went on to accompany the mighty Mr. Berry himself for over 50 years. As for piano man Arthur Migliazza? He was a prodigy, studying blues and boogie piano from the age of ten in Washington, D.C. “When I started listening to the old blues piano recordings, the sound and the emotion of it just really resonated with me,” the CD liner notes reveal.

The following song shines among the rest, not only because it’s original but because it’s one of the few tunes where the vocals stand out, a la Randy Newman.

Track 04: “Boogie Woogie Man” – This one starts out as a laid-back autobiographical ditty (“Well, people told my mother that I would be a star someday. I love what I’ve been doing, and you can hear it when I play”), and soon launches into an all-out piano thunderstorm, middle and high notes raining down while ominous undertones rumble. It takes a lot of stamina to play boogie like this, and both musicians have it in spades.

Disturbing the Peace actually promotes peace in one’s mind, so recline, relax, and enjoy!

Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 39 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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 2019 Chicago Blues Fest – Part II 

Saturday was our second day at the Chicago Blues Fest and we started off at the Crossroads Stage to hear Melody Angel.

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Marquise Knox was up next. His art grows every time we see him. Keep your eye on this young Bluesman!

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On the Visit Mississippi Stage we first caught a set by Jesse “Guitar” Robinson.

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Then it was the amazing and popular Super Chikan delighting the crowd with his down home sound. He had our friend and 2014 Blues Blast Music Award nominee Rachelle Coba sitting in on guitar

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Back at the Crossroads Stage a set by 3 Blues guitar legends was going down featuring Wayne Baker Brooks, Rico McFarland and Carl Weathersby. That was some real Blues guitar done right!!

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Next we finished up our day at the Crossroads stage listening to Billy Boy Arnold.

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Back on the Visit Mississippi stage John Primer & The Real Deal Blues Band was tearing it up!

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Primer was followed by O.B. Buchana.

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The Park Grill Stage Saturday lineup kicked off with Dom Flemons

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He was followed by Harmonica Hinds.

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The final act on Friday’s Park Grill Stage was Doktu Rhute Muuzic.

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The Front Porch Stage started off with Chicago’s own Mary Lane.

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Another act we saw on the Front Porch Stage was a group of young players called Bridges to the Blues

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Morry Sochat & The Special 20s were up next.

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The final artist we saw on the Front Porch Stage was Lurrie Bell. This man is a true Blues legend.

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Then we headed over to the main stage to hear the evenings headliners beginning with a set by soul legend Don Bryant. He put on a high energy show.

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Next up was Latimore. He treated the crowd to some amazing soul blues.

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The final act we saw was Bettye LaVette. She had the crowd in the palm of her hand.

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So ended another great day for the Blues.  Part III of the Chicago Blues Fest photos coming next week!

Commentary by Bob Kieser. Photos by Lorena Jastreb & Bob Kieser as marked.

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 Featured Blues Review – 2 of 10 

matt anderson cd image]Matt Andersen – Halfway Home By Morning

IDLA/True North Records

13 songs – 52 minutes

This is the 10th album from Canadian soul-bluesman Matt Andersen, and a very impressive effort it is, too. Andersen has won European Blues Award for Best Solo/Acoustic Act twice, 9 Maple Blues Awards and the solo/duo category at the 2010 International Blues Challenge in Memphis.

Halfway Home By Morning was recorded “live off the floor” at Southern Ground Studio in Nashville, the result is 13 self-penned tracks that touch on country, rock, soul and Americana, all leavened with a dash of the blues.

The album kicks off with the lazy grind of “What Would Your Mother Say?”, a punchy country-rock song that benefits from weeping slide guitar and the glorious backing vocals of the McCrary Sisters. The slide guitar appears on a number of tracks, adding an additional layer of blues to tracks like the funky, riff-based “Free Man” or the pleading “Give Me Some Light”

Andersen has assembled a crack band on Halfway Home By Morning. In addition to Andersen’s own guitar playing, producer Steve Dawson adds acoustic and electric guitars, pump organ, pedal steel and mandotar. The rhythm section of bassist Mike Farrington and drummer Jay Bellerose capture a series of tightly-knit-yet-loose grooves, while Chris Gestrin’s contributions on hammond organ, Wurlitzer, piano and mellotron add real depth to the songs. The Muscle Shoals horn section of Jim Hoke (saxophones), Charles Rose (trombone) and Steve Hermann (trumpet) add extra sparkle to tracks like “Better Than You Want” while special guest Amy Helm duets beautifully with Andersen on the country ballad, “Something To Lose”.

Despite such talent in the band, the real star of the album is Andersen’s deep, warm voice and his ability to fully inhabit each song, whether lamenting lost love in “Give My Some Light” or pledging eternal devotion in “Better Than You Want”. The climatic, sustained single note end to the gospel blues of “Over Me” is almost worth the price of admission by itself.

There are other highlights aplenty throughout Halfway Home By Morning, from the lovely acoustic guitar solo on the 60s’ soul of “The Bed I Made”, to the irresistible horn introduction of “Gasoline”, the joyous sing-along chorus of “Long Rider” (which manages the interesting trick of having an ostensibly downbeat lyric but a toe-tapping mind worm of a melody) and the organ-led “Take Me Back”.

The album ends with the surprisingly uplifting “Quarter On The Ground (A Song For Uncle Joe)” on which Andersen pays heartfelt tribute to his late uncle, supported by just an acoustic guitar and the beautiful backing vocals of the McCrary Sisters. And in many ways, that song is a microcosm for the entire album – well written songs, superbly played and sung with a deep emotion that is both energising and inspiring.

Halfway Home By Morning is an exuberant celebration and is thoroughly enjoyable. It’s probably fair to say there is more soul and country here than pure blues, but if your tastes run to the likes of Delbert McClinton and Lee Roy Parnell, you will definitely want to check out Halfway Home By Morning.

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

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 Featured Blues Review – 3 of 10 

bob frank cd imageBob Frank – True Stories And Outrageous Lies

Rip Cat Records – 2018

11 tracks; 35 minutes

Although Bob Frank has spent a lifetime in the blues and roots music field and recorded several albums with the band Blue Lunch this is his first solo release and it’s a good acoustic album with plenty of well-written songs, mostly with amusing lyrics. Bob wrote all bar one song here (the traditional “Stavin’ Chain”), sings, plays guitar, mandolin and harmonica.

Most of the songs are solo acoustic but on one Mike Balas plays electric guitar, Eddie Mars piano, Ron Jarvis electric bass and Rodney Reisman drums; on another cut Jen Mauer helps out on vocals and Ray DeForest plays upright bass; Bill Watson plays upright bass on one track and tuba on three, being joined on the final track of the album by Norman Tischler (clarinet), Chris Burge (alto sax), Bob Michael (trombone) and Mike Rubin (trumpet).

The album opens with a trio of solo acoustic pieces, the first two exploring problem relationships. “Low Down Dirty Ways” takes the classic blues theme of the woman who is out all night, clearly having an affair. Bob has had enough, especially when he finds that “you smell like cigarettes and neither of us smokes” and that she has “got on someone else’s drawers”! However, Bob is not immune to bad behavior, as he confesses in “Married Woman Blues” where all is not as cheery as you might imagine, as she is married to a policeman who is aware of the affair – watch out Bob! The sense of humor is even more evident on “Chinese Knock-Off”, the term he uses for a so-called friend who cannot be trusted: “I should have counted my fingers when I shook hands with you”.

“People Don’t Change” is a full band number with piano, guitars and a rhythm section, a tuneful bittersweet song with a touch of country, especially from the steel guitar, making a nice contrast with the solo pieces. “Come On Babe And Ride With Me” is a jaunty little number with Jen’s harmony vocals as Bob plays mandolin and blows some high-pitched harp between verses while “Blues On 9/11” is a solo instrumental which acts as a sort of intermission mid-point in the album, Bob playing some ethereal slide that certainly fits the title in its bleak tone.

The ‘second half’ starts with the hilarious “I’m So Damn Lazy”, the tuba’s melodious ‘parp’ underneath Bob’s lively guitar work as he recounts just how lazy he is – is this true or one of the ‘outrageous lies’ of the title. Equally funny is Bob’s account of the “High Maintenance Woman” who demands a high-end lifestyle that Bob is obliged to fund, so she “keeps me broke all the time”. The traditional “Stavin’ Chain” is played superbly in a fast-paced version, Bob showing us his skills on the guitar as he sounds like more than one picker.

In “Dead Man’s Curve” Bob narrates the story of a Cleveland landmark, assisted by bass and tuba, and closes the album with “Lucky So Far”, a song that celebrates a life well-lived and enjoyed. Bob’s lyrics are joyous and it is entirely fitting that around half way through the horns join in to give a New Orleans flavor that works well on this song.

This is a well conceived and played album that thoroughly deserves its nomination for Acoustic Blues Album in the 2019 Blues Blast Music Awards.

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 – 4 of 10 

beth hart cd imageBeth Hart – Live At The Royal Albert Hall

Provogue/Mascot Music Group

23 songs – 121 minutes

West Coast singer/songwriter Beth Hart has established herself as the undisputed queen of live blues recordings, something she drives home in style with this release, the third two-CD concert set she’s released in the past five years.

A fiery blues-rocker who sometimes crosses over to pop and a three-time Blues Blast Music Awards honoree as female artist of the year, Hart’s a Los Angeles native who prefers other locales — Live In Amsterdam with Joe Bonamassa in 2014 and last year’s Front And Center (Live From New York) – to capture her performances.

This is Beth’s 20th album since her 1996 debut with Immortal. She’s shared credits with a wide variety of musicians on previous discs – including Neal Schon of Journey, Slash of Guns N’ Roses, jazz harmonica virtuoso Toots Thielemans, Jeff Beck and Buddy Guy, but goes solo here, backed by her skin-tight four-piece band.

As usual, Hart handles keyboards, acoustic guitar and bass with big assists from guitarist Jon Nichols, percussionist Bill Ransom and bassist Bob Marinelli in this collection of four covers and 19 originals, which vary in intensity as they deal with the full range of human emotion. Available either as a two-CD set or released with an accompanying DVD, the concert opens with a beautiful, solo acapella take on “As Long As I Have A Song” before the band explodes with the driving rocker, “For My Friends.”

Beth urges the audience to get out of their seats before launching into Bill Withers’ “Lifts You Up,” which includes a little call-and-response that gets the crowd deeply involved in her performance. The mood changes with “Close To My Fire,” an unhurried blues ballad, before picking up steam with “Bang Bang Boom Boom.” Hart’s voice shines like a diamond on “Good As It Gets,” takes you to church with “Spirit Of God” and then quiets to a whisper for the ballad “Baddest Blues.”

The feeling continues for the opening of “Sister Heroine,” which picks up intensity as it progresses, before the blues-rocker “Baby Shot Me Down” heat things up again. The tune “Waterfalls” takes on the feel of a field holler before the first disc concludes with a deep blues ballad, a cover of Melody Gardot’s “Your Heart Is As Black As Night.”

The second half of the set opens with a rapid-fire take on “Saved,” a tune penned by Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller and a hit for LaVern Baker in 1960. The fan favorite, “The Ugliest House On The Block,” leads into “Spiders In My Bed,” which describes a sleepless night as a lover wonders if Beth’s going to snooze the day away. The ballad “Take It Easy On Me” follows as it begs for gentle, loving treatment before Hart launches in to “Leave The Light On,” one of her most familiar numbers.

“Mama This One’s For You,” which gives thanks for everything the lady’s done, takes on special meaning because Hart’s mother is seated in the audience. The dedications continue with “My California,” which goes out to Beth’s husband, Scott Guetzkow, before the mood explodes once again with the rocker “Trouble.” Three more originals – “Love Is A Lie,” “Picture In A Frame” and “Caught Out In The Rain” – bring the set to a close.

Available through most major retailers, Live At The Royal Albert Hall is a winner on all counts. Give this one a listen if your tastes run toward modern blues – and catch Beth Hart live if you can. As this set shows, you definitely won’t be disappointed.

Blues Blast Magazine Senior Writer Marty Gunther has lived a blessed life. Now based out of Charlotte, N.C., 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 10 

dirty red and the soul shakers cd imageDirty Red And The Soul Shakers – Cloudless Day

Dirty Red Records

10 songs – 39 minutes

Based out of Oklahoma City, Dirty Red and the Soul Shakers play punchy, hard-driving blues-rock with something of a classic soul vibe. Cloudless Day is the band’s debut release, although the individual band members each have lengthy and impressive résumés. They are also well-respected in Oklahoma, having represented the State at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee, in January 2018 (they made it to the semi-finals).

The band comprises Eric “Dirty Red” McDaniel on vocals and harmonica, guitarist Ike Lamb, bassist John Stendel and drummer Forrest Worrell. In addition, Chris Wiser added keyboards to three tracks, Trent Bell (who also engineered and mixed the album) contributes raucous backing vocals to “The Party Don’t Start Till I Get Here” and the Dirty Red Brass Section (Matt Blagg on trumpet, Kevin Webb on trombone and Chris Hicks on saxophone) appear on a number songs.

Cloudless Day explodes out of the speakers with the heavy funk of “Hot Sauce”, driven by Lamb’s insistently choppy wah-wah guitar and some very tasty horn stabs before leaping into the brawny soul of “Creepin'”. This is robust, assured music with at least as much rock as blues or soul. Indeed, the band’s classic soul influences primarily surface on the slower tracks like “Touch Of A Woman” and the title track.

McDaniel is a fine harp player and his interaction with Lamb on tracks like the riff-driven “Sweet Potato Pie” is engaging. He keeps his solos short and effective, such as in the two solos he takes on “New Day Dawning.” He also wrote all the songs on the album, except for two tracks he co-wrote with Ron Hibbard, one track he co-wrote with Hibbard and Cliff Belcher, and a cover of Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Help Me”. Lamb takes the lion’s share of the other solo slots, often neatly stepping away from the classic (and sometimes over-used) pentatonic scale.

Pristinely recorded at Bell Lab Studio in Norman, OK, with mastering at Treelady Studios, Cloudless Day has a muscular assertiveness and power. This works particularly well on the bar-room brawling rock of “Hard Bad Habit” and “The Party Don’t Start Till I Get Here” (both featuring fine harp solos from McDaniel). It is less successful however on the cover of “Help Me”, where Sonny Boy’s sly desperation is lost under the full-bore delivery of the band.

Indeed, this all-out approach is perhaps the Achilles’ Heel of the album, particularly in relation to McDaniel’s whiskey-soaked vocals. The truly great ragged vocalists, be they Howlin’ Wolf or Tom Waits or Johnny Tucker, also manage to convey, at the height of their fury and assertiveness, a vulnerability and sensitivity that McDaniel does not quite manage to achieve.

Cloudless Day suggests that Dirty Red and the Soul Shakers are a superb band to see live. The quality of the songs and the musicianship is uniformly excellent. There is just a gnawing sense that the album would have benefitted from a little more light and shade amidst all the roaring power.

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

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 Featured Blues Review – 6 of 10 

leo bud welck album image]Leo Bud Welch – The Angels In Heaven Done Signed My Name

Easy Eye Sound

10 songs/26 minutes

The sacred and the secular is a worn out troupe of Blues writing. The classic example of Son House playing Blues all night and then preaching in the morning. The real truth is that Blues and Gospel are completely entwined and if a musician is singing about love, hardship or community it doesn’t matter if they are a believer or not, if they have “God” or “baby” as the object of their affection. Mavis Staples knows this, so did Aretha, so did the Rev. Gary Davis, so does virtually every Bluesman and Blueswoman who learned to sing in their family church. The late Leo Bud Welch lived in a simple devotional space where his musical expression was deeply personal, deeply emotional, deeply spiritual and without delineation between the trappings of life and the glories of the hereafter.

Leo Bud was a deep groove Bluesman, in the RL Burnside or T-Model Ford school of angular guitar boogie and thick voiced country holler. He was “discovered” in 2014 at the age of 81. The great documentary Late Blossom Blues details his shift from regional amateur to global professional. His two studio albums Sabougla Voices (2014) and I Don’t Prefer No Blues (2015) are modern Deep Blues masterpieces. Supported by a group of Mississippi sensitive musicians lead by the incomparable Jimbo Mathus, these records create environments for Leo Bud to fully realize his artistic vision.

Musicians: Leo Bud Welch – guitar, vocals; Dan Auerbach – guitar, drums, bass, percussion; Leon Michels – organ, piano, synth; Dave Roe – bass; Richard Swift – drums, percussion, background vocals; Russ Pahl – guitar; Ray Jacildo – keys; Lisa Hans, Vencie Varnado, Shelton Feazell, The Grascals – background vocals

This new posthumous Leo Bud Welch record produced by Black Key Dan Auerbach The Angles In Heaven Done Signed My Name is not a pure representation of Leo Bud’s artistry but it is a creative and effective interpretation of his artistry. Auerbach and his Nashville cohorts (see list of musicians below) took recordings that were done with Mr. Welch and then added a bunch of ornamentation. The result is closer to the highly enjoyable hip hop and soul laden posthumous Asie Patton record Just Do Me Right, then the deep pocketed groove of Welch’s two official records. The difference is most prevalent in Leo Bud’s signature “Praise His Name,” (here titled “I Come to Praise His Name”). This infectious call and response boogie first recorded on Voices is given a dense fuzz laden treatment here. This newest “Praise” is really not that far from the original, but the influence of Auerbach’s aesthetic colors the instrumental melody, it skews the rhythmic foundation and alters Welch’s original groove ever so slightly.

The altering of Welch’s original groove is at the heart of most of the tracks on Angels. Most songs start with Leo Bud’s solo strumming and singing. Then subtly an organ fluffs in, a slide guitar careens in or a deeply syncopated rhythm either from acoustic bass or percussion burble up. “Jesus on the Mainline” is a prime example. This is a strong gospel reading of this classic with sanctified chorus and organ. But the savage slide, the slight disembodiment of Leo Bud’s vocal to allow for stronger rhythm stability and expansive chord changes during the solo create something unique and different. “Don’t Let the Devil Ride” is in the same arrangement vein. But, glory and praise is traded for menace and ache. A rarely heard in Deep Blues, straight 4/4 12-bar solo rounds out the augmentation.

Album bookends “I Know I’ve Been Changed” and “Sweet Home” are the purest Leo Bud performances. With minimal accompaniment and editing, featuring Welch’s voice and electric guitar, they create a great prelude and coda to what is an homage, a modern interpretation of this great Blueman’s legacy. The Angels in Heaven Done Signed My Name is a very enjoyable album and was obviously produced with great care and affection.

If you are interested in the pure uncut Leo Bud Welch, check out his two studio albums and then come back for this final tribute lap.

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 – 7 of 10 

larry griffith cd imageLarry Griffith Project – Bonafide

Self-Release – 2019

9 tracks; 52 minutes

Larry Griffith has been based in Atlanta since 1990 and has produced a series of albums and EPs over the years. His latest Bonafide reflects a turbulent time in his personal life, a break-up and throat surgery. Larry wrote all the songs here and leads from the front on vocals and guitar, with Barry Richman (guitar), Rashaan Griffith (drums, keys), Dana McCarthy (bass), Michael Milsap (keys), Tom Regeski (sax) and Little Joey Hoegger (harmonica). 2Blu (Teresa Lynn and Deborah Carr) are on backing vocals and George Price (guitar), Ray Tanner (trumpet) and Steven Milsap (drums) appear on one track.

The album opens with the swampy “Hoodoo Hannah”, the jungle beat and harmonica fitting well with the theme. Larry has a good voice and it all works fine, but simply goes on too long, the track running close to eight minutes with lots of repetition. Indeed, brevity is not Larry’s thing as several tracks follow a similar pattern and would have been much better if shortened, “I Know” being another example (mind you, with a lyric like “I know that you know that I know” it is hard to vary things). One of the strongest tracks is “It Ain’t What They Call You” which encourages us to ignore name-calling and concentrate on doing the right thing, with excellent backing vocals from 2Blu, soulful sax and a nice guitar break. “Slow Grind” has music in a similar soul vein but some pretty explicit lyrics in which Larry brags about his sexual abilities – definitely not one for mainstream radio!

The break-up songs dominate the album. “I Do, I Did, I’m Done” is quite a bitter song as Larry sees his marital promises receding into the past as he now realizes the marriage is over. “Always Going To Be Something With You” recounts the difficulties in Larry’s relationship, “Had Enough” is a slower number with lyrics about the break-up with another good horn and strings arrangement and “I’m Free” represents Larry’s sense of freedom after the break-up. The last track on the album “Mama Tried” pays tribute to Larry’s mother in raising her family in difficult circumstances.

Some of the songs could have benefited from a little judicious editing as they stayed around a bit too long.

With a good singing voice, original songs and a real handle on the soulful side of the blues, Larry Griffith has all the attributes needed to succeed.

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 – 8 of 10 

susan santos album imageSusan Santos – No U Turn

TWH Records

10 songs/36 minutes

Susan Santos is a great singer and a clear and straightforward songwriter. However, her true expressiveness comes from her fluid and riff heavy 6 string wrangling. This Spanish lefty plays all the guitar and banjo parts on her new all original record No U Turn. With her sturdy power trio rhythm section of bassist David Salvador and drummer Mario Carrion laying down hopping rock, Santos shares stories of love, loss and empowerment perfectly encased by layers of guitar grooves and slide. Recorded in Madrid and produced by Juan de Dios Martin, who also contributes keyboards and background vocals, No U Turn is a bad-ass rocking guitar record.

The basic model for this record is riffs, layered on riffs layered with fluid guitar solos. A more dynamic ZZ Top experience, but trading soaring sultry vocals for Billy Gibbons wonderfully mush mouthed cool. Opener “Blind Woman” chugs out of the gate with a sticky hard edged guitar riff. Soaring chorus vocals perfectly express the ache of being blind to a lover’s neglect and the slinky slide solo wails with frustration and urgency. The rock continues with the Jack White-esq thump of “Slow Down” and the manic psycho-billy of “Heaven or Hell.” Addictive destructive love is confessed to in the uptempo zoom of “Shakin’ All Over,” with the great lines “My heart is on fire, with a strange desire, your’re my ball and chain, I’m stuck with you.” “Shakin’” has a great octave slide solo and acoustic bottleneck tagline that adds diversity to Santos’ style.

There are a few “feel-good” tracks on No U Turn. Not exactly out of place since Santos and band’s playing is so consistent and fluid. Santos also has the pipes to easily transition from snarl to heartache to low-key cool. “Freedom” has a “Midnight Rider” vocal delivery and major chord early 90’s happy hop. Featuring banjo rhythm accompaniment, “Freedom” jams along. Lovely Harrison style slide and major 6th and 7th chord-ing make the sentimental love song “Green” slowly work it’s intoxicating magic. “Trying to find a way, deep down in you and your rebel heart,” a nice unique way of describing love that matches the use of “green” as descriptors of eyes, smile, and days of “laughs and cigarettes.”

Susan Santos is a guitar hero. She has chops to spare. She is a monster in the studio, overdubbing well performed layers of guitar that sound live and immediate. Santos is also an accomplished songwriter who crafts sturdy, hook laden numbers. This record is Blues-adjacent. It certainly deals with real life emotions, issues and experiences and finds joy, solace and connection (an essential element of Blues). But, there are not any real Blues burners. There is not a traditional 12 bar pattern anywhere. However, for those purists who are looking for this talented slinger to lay it down old school check out some of the YouTube videos of Santos and band. She can get down and weep out a deep 12 bar Blues like nobody’s business. With this her 5th record, No U Turn is a high point for a deep soulful artist in her prime.

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 – 9 of 10 

chicago carl snyder album image“Chicago” Carl Snyder and Friends – Lost World Blues

Lost World Music

CD: 14 Songs, 64:00 Minutes

Styles: Horn Blues, “Classic Contemporary” Blues, Ensemble Blues

Summer brings rhyming words to mind: sun, run, a ton of fun. It’s also a great time for outdoor festivals. With elevated temperatures comes an elevated desire to hear boisterous music. That’s the kind of Lost World Blues that “Chicago Carl Snyder and Friends play on their latest album. Horns are its chief highlight, along with its party vibe and “classic contemporary” style – an appealing blend of traditional and postmodern blues. Fourteen tracks and over sixty minutes provide a balanced mixture of covers (“I’d Rather Drink Muddy Water,” “Don’t Deceive Me,” “Stormy Monday” et al.), and original material. Several vocalists lend their pipes to this endeavor, as do several instrumentalists. They sustain a blazing level of energy throughout the CD, even on slower songs such as “Slip On Outta Sight.” That’s the upside. The downside is that it’s hard to focus on particular instrumental lines when everything from horns to harp is “going all out.” At a live festival, this would be fantastic, but on a studio album, it can be a tad overwhelming. To counter this, grab a dance partner and a cold bottle of your favorite beverage.

“Chicago” Carl Snyder, author of Ten Thousand and One Nights (reviewed by Mark Thompson for BluesBlast), actually grew up in Boston. His father gave him piano lessons, hoping he’d become a prodigy. However, Snyder found he preferred Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry over Mozart and Bach. As an adult, he found himself a writer for Playboy assigned to review music. Magic happened at live performances by Magic Sam, Otis Rush, and Bobby Blue Bland. Carl acquired a keyboard, mastered it, and the rest is…a remarkable blues and writing career.

Accompanying Snyder on keys are thirteen lead vocalists: Dan Noland, Jimmy Lawrence, Phil Pilorz, Sonny Corso, Slim (just Slim), Mike Metallia, Jean Avery, Billy Sharp, Thom Palmer, Christopher Dean, Frederick Douglas, Frank Mirra, and Larry Burton. Many of these musicians also play other instruments such as harp and guitar. Also joining “Chicago” Carl are guitarists Charles “Chuck-a-Luck” Crane, Eric Steckel, and Benno Rupp. Bassists include Solomon Snyder, Al Guerrero, Bill Dickens, Chuck Hearne, Doug Brown, Rich Curtis, Jeff Van Sant, David Foti, Margey Peters, and Billy Troiani. Featured drummers are Matt Walker, Dick “the Stick” Klein, Casey Jones, Don Plowman, Dawn Dengler, Dave Ferrara, Allen Wanamaker, Mike Antol, Jim Groller, Bill Rankin and Gary Kubai. The horn section consists of William Sims/Skinny Williams on alto sax, Dave Dionisi, Jim Davis and Allan Meyerson on tenor sax, Brian Ripp and Jed Koch on sax, Dan Batarick on trumpet and cornet, Matt Cowan on baritone sax, and D. Keith Sneddon on trombone. Mike Mettalia and Kid Java guest star on harp, Dan McKinney on organ, and Chuck Steele on clarinet. Background vocalists are Liz Mandville-Greeson, Nikki Armstrong, Miranda St. Croix and Melanie Lonz.

The following song has a smooth jazz rhythm, a killer bassline, and a mood fit for a movie.

Track 10: “Slip On Outta Sight” – Imagine this number in a film noir. The narrator and his lover might be an average pair, but what if they were a gangster and his moll? A businessman who hired a gentleman or lady of the evening? Two diamond smugglers? “Let’s get going. Let’s get to it. Let’s slip on outta sight.” Such imperatives are direct and dirty – not the stuff of religious romance novels. The horns and piano here are sensational, as is Thom Palmer’s guitar.

If you’re a fan of ensemble efforts and want a hip-swinging time, Lost World Blues is for you!

Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 39 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 – 10 of 10 

doc and friends cd imageDoc and Friends – Twenty Five Years Ago


CD: 9 Songs, 42:00 Minutes

Styles: Contemporary Electric Rock, Blues Rock, All Original Songs, Debut Album

Here’s a chicken-or-egg-type conundrum for you, Constant Readers: When you hear/read the phrase “blues-based rock,” is it redundant or not? Even Muddy Waters sang, “The blues had a baby, and they called it rock and roll.” Twenty Five Years Ago, the very first collaboration from Barcelona’s Doc and Friends, demonstrates this loud and clear. Even though there’s nary a pure blues number on the album, there are tracks such as “When the Blues Knocks on my Door,” “Melody Street Blues,” and “Sunshine Blues.” Esteban “Doc” Abad slings red-hot guitar here, a natural import from Spain, and the lead female vocals by Mónica Samit are heartfelt if a bit flat. Some of the songs’ lyrics are a bit perplexing, such as “The moon is hot tonight” and “I don’t want, I don’t care, I don’t need.” However, spicy instrumentation more than makes up for this flaw. On top of that, each of the nine selections is original. Pop this CD in your stereo if you’re having a summer party, where tiki torches blaze and adult beverages flow freely.

Doc and Friends is a project begun by “Doc” Abad more than twenty-five years ago, where the passion for blues and guitar coincide. The process, slow and leisurely, was shaped by the circumstances of life and the desire to learn and improve with each lived experience. Along with Doc on electric guitar, the “Friends” include vocalists Mónica Samit and Miguel Talavera, bassist Jordi Franco, drummer Miguel Ballester, and David Sam on piano and keyboards.

You could call the song below a homage piece, meaning homage to traditional blues, and you’d hit the nail on the head. It’s rock, but one of the pieces that shows its base color more vividly.

Track 07: “Melody Street Blues” – Calling Otis Rush’s “Double Trouble” and “Gambler’s Roll” by the Allman Brothers to mind, lucky number seven has a fantastic guitar-and-horn intro, each instrument meshing smoothly with the others. A saga of “hard times, hard times on Melody Street,” it’s instantly relatable when you find out “bloody money never comes.” Yours truly would like to see the band try this one out at a live outdoor festival. It’d be a hit for sure.

Twenty Five Years Ago, Doc and Friends staged this project, and it’s a rock-and-roll showcase!

Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 39 year old female Blues fan. She brings the perspective of a younger blues fan to reviews. A child of 1980s music, she was strongly influenced by her father’s blues music collection.

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 Blues Society News 

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Prairie Crossroads Blues Society – Champaugn, IL

Thanks to our friends, the Kilborn Alley Blues Band, for hosting a Fundraiser for the 2nd Annual Prairie Crossroads Blues Fest. The Fundraiser will be 9:00 pm Saturday July 13 at The Iron Post, 120 S. Race St. in Urbana. We will be picking the winning ticket from our Autographed Guitar Raffle at that event.

The PCBS Blue Jam this Sunday July 14, will be hosted by Jack Whittle & The Disclaimers. We hold two Blues Jams each month. Thanks to Pipa’s Pub, 604 S. Country Fair Dr. in Champaign for hosting the jams held the 2nd Sunday of each month from 4 to 7 pm and the 4th Wednesday of each month from 7 to 10 pm. The host band plays the 1st set and then it’s open to all the jammers in the house.

Our Blues Fest is Saturday August 10th at the Champaign County Fairgrounds in Urbana. Bring your lawnchairs and enjoy a full day of music for only $10.00. For more info visit:

Southeast Iowa Blues Society – Fairfield, IA

The Southeast Iowa Blues Society and Fairfield Convention & Visitors Bureau proudly present the 6th annual “Blue Ribbon Blues Fest”, August 3rd, 2019 at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, Fairfield, Iowa. Gates open at 4:30 with music beginning at 5pm..

Opening things up will be the Iowa and International Blues Challenge winner “Kevin B.F. Burt” at 5:30pm He will be followed at 7pm by a red hot newcomer from Chicago the “Ivy Ford Band” and our featured act coming off a nationally recognised CD the “Altered Five Blues Band” at 9pm. And of course our own Iowa Blues Hall of Famer “Tony Blew” playing between main stage acts.

Sweet n’ Saucy BBQ, Golden Kettle Corn and the famous Iowa Beer Bus, (No outside Food or Drinks) will be on hand for your enjoyment…bring your chairs and camping is available. Tickets are $25 and SIBS members $20 for more information call 641-919-7477 or go to

The Charlotte Blues Society – Charlotte, NC

The Charlotte Blues Society is pleased to announce our August Blues Bash will feature an Open Jam following The Instigators, an exciting Charlotte based, four piece Blues band that also demonstrate a command of Southern Soul, R&B, Reggae and Rock influences in their repertoire. The band members are as follows, Rob Dayton, Stephen Foley, John Hartley, and Michael Ingmire. Michael is a nationally published writer and historian who has written many musical history articles about many American musical icons. He is a consistent contributor to and the Charlotte Blues Society’s monthly newsletter with his writing.

The show will be held Sunday, Aug. 4th, at The Rabbit Hole, 1801 Commonwealth Ave., Charlotte, NC. Admission is free for members with valid cards and $5 to everyone else. Doors at 7:00; music at 8:00. Open jam at 9:30. It will be a great evening of music!

We continue to collect non-perishable food items for Loaves and Fishes. Cash donations are also welcome. 1 can? I can! More info at

Crossroads Blues Society – Rockford, IL

Crossroads Blues Society summer schedule. Shows at the Burpee Museum in Rockford Free 5:30-8:30 PM, VIP Seating and Parking $15. July 17th: Kevin “B.F” Burt & Wheatbread Johnson 4:30 PM, July 24th: Ghost Town Blues Band, July 31st: Dave Keller Trio & Wheatbread Johnson 4:30 PM

Shows at the Hope and Anchor in Loves Park $5 cover, 8 to 11:30 PM. 7/13/19 Ivy Ford Band.

Shows at the Lyran Society in Rockford to 10 pm no cover! – 7/19/19 Wheatbread Johnson, 8/16/19 Brother Dave Kaye

Crossroads Blues Festival is Saturday, August 24th at Lyran Park, Rockford – Blues Disciples, Chris O’Leary Band, Westside Andy with Reverend Raven and the Chain Smoking Altar Boys, 6 PM: Nick Moss Band with Dennis Gruenling, John Primer, Joe Filisko harp workshop, Wheatbread Johnson, Justin “Boots” Gates and our own Rick Hein and Bill Graw!

The Illinois Central Blues Club – Springfield, IL

The Illinois Central Blues Club has announced the line-up of talent for Blue Monday live performances and other shows held at the Alamo, 115 North Fifth, Springfield, IL from 7:00pm to 11:00pm. Additional information on any performer listed below is available upon request.  July 15 – John Clifton, July 22 – Scott Ellison Band, July 29 – Murali Coryell, Aug 5 – Polly O’Keary and the Rhythm Method, Aug 12 – Laurie Morvan Band, Aug 19 – Jonny T-Bird & the MP’s, Aug 26 – Chris O’Leary Band.

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. July 16 – John Clifton Band – Manteno Sportsmen’s Club, July 30 – Frank Bang – Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club, August 3 – The Nouveaux Honkies – Inside Out – Gilman IL, August 15 – Albert Castiglia – The Longbranch – L’Erable IL, November 6 – Mike Morgan & The Crawl – Kankakee Valley Boat Club. More Info at:

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