Issue 8-13 March 27, 2014

Cover photo by Marilyn Stringer © 2014 Blues Blast Magazine

 In This Issue

It is our monthly Blues Overdose Issue featuring 10 FREE blues tracks you can download. Jim Crawford has our feature interview with Damon Fowler. Our Video Of The Week is a clip of Tommy Castro and the Painkillers performing “Calling San Francisco” at Callahan’s Music Hall.

We have six Blues music reviews for you.  Steve Jones reviews a new album from James Booker. Rainey Wetnight reviews a new CD by Slim Wray. John Mitchell reviews new releases by Sean Chambers and Brad Wilson. Rhys Williams reviews a new CD from Valerie June. Jim Kanavy reviews a new CD from Hard Garden.

We have the latest in Blues Society news from around the globe. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!

 From The Editor’s Desk

Hey Blues Fans,

It is the last issue of the month and that can mean only one thing, Blues Overdose Issue!

This week we have another full CD worth of music for you to download for FREE including music from Tweed Funk, Brent Johnson, Trevor Sewell, Arthur Migliazza, Terry Quiett Band, Debbie Bond and the TruDats, Duncan Street, Gaetano Letizia, John Lyons and Johnny Cox.

Plus there are still 12 other FREE songs still up for another 2 days from February’s Blues Overdose Issue.  Scroll down to the bottom of this issue to check out all the tracks or simply CLICK HERE to go to our SoundCloud page and download or listen to this great FREE music now!

A final reminder, our Early Bird Advertising Special that gives you 50% off on a great ad package expires Monday March 31st, 2014. It is a super deal for artists advertising new album releases, festivals and any other Blues related product. These are our lowest rates for the 2014 calendar year! But hurry because this great offer expires at the end of March. For more info, see our ad below.

Wishing you health, happiness and lots of Blues music!

Bob Kieser

 Blues Want Ads

Photographers wanted for music festival assignments.

Blues Blast Magazine looking for a few good photographers to volunteer to help us out. If you have a good camera and know how to use it we can provide assignments to cover festivals in many areas of the US. Do you attend multiple Blues festivals each month during festival season?

Typically we can get you a press pass for access to the photo pit area. We will assign festivals and dates and also entertain your ideas too. Looking now for help covering some of the following festivals: Chicago Blues Festival, Doheny Blues Festival, Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Festival, Billtown Blues Festival, Greely Blues Jam, Blues On The Fox, Field Of Blues Festival, Bear Creek Blues Festival, Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival, Thunder Bay Blues Fest, Briggs Farm Blues Fest, Hambone Music Fest, North Atlantic Blues Fest, Heritage Music Blues Fest, Marquette Area Blues Fest, Big Muddy Blues Fest, T-Bone Walker Blues Fest, King Biscuit Blues Fest.

These are volunteer positions that need a persons who really loves the Blues and wants to spread the Blues word! We do pay a small fee for use of your photos and the review you will write for the fest.

If you are interested, please send an email to and tell us about your Blues background, your camera, where we can see some of your photos and your writing experience if any. Please be sure to include your phone number in the email.

Early Bird Advertising Special

 OFFER ENDS – March 31st!


Blues Blast Magazine’s Early Bird Special is our lowest pricing of the 2014 year. It offers an affordable & effective way to get the Blues word out!

This 6-week combo ad rate allows you to add significant impact to your Blues advertising and promotion campaign. It is a great way to kick up the visibility of your new album release, Blues event or music product all around the globe! This is perfect for a new album release, an event advertising campaign or any new product.

Normal 2014 Advertising rates are $100 per issue for Blues Blast magazine ads and $100 per month for website sidebar ads. BUT, for a limited time, this special gives you six issues of Blues Blast Magazine and a month and a half on our website for only $375. (A $750 value!)

Blues Blast Magazine is a great way to promote anything. More than 26,000 Blues fans read our magazine each week. They are located in all 50 states and in more than 90 countries. We get more than 2,000,000 (That’s TWO MILLION) hits and more than 45,000 visitors a month on our website. 

To get this special rate simply buy your ad space by MARCH 31st, 2014!!!! Ads can run anytime between now and December 2014.

With this special rate, your ad can be viewed more than 200,000 times by our readers who want to know about your Blues events and music! Reserve your space today! Space is limited and will be sold on a first come first served basis.

NEW!!! – Upgrade the sidebar ad on our website to a top banner ad for only $50 more. (Subject to availability)

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

Ads must be reserved and paid for by MARCH 31st, 2014!!!

 Featured Blues Review – 1 of 6

James Booker – Classified: Remixed and Expanded

Rounder Records

22 tracks

All men have their demons. Sometimes the demons win, sometimes the man does. The demons keep at you with their fire and fury, trying to break you down until there is nothing left that can resist.

That is perhaps the story of James Booker. A New Orleans piano legend, he passed away in 1983 in a hospital emergency room sitting in a wheelchair waiting to be seen. Renal failure was the cause of death and his condition was exacerbated by his lifestyle. Booker overcame a heroin addiction and spent time in Louisiana’s infamous Angola prison. While an inmate he taught music to the other inmates. On Antabuse to prevent drinking and alcohol problems, he went into the studio in 1982 on Rounder’s nickel with Scott Billington to produce a New Orleans piano record. He did it but it was not easy. This is the re-release of that album with many added tracks.

Scott admits he was a little naïve at the time he produced this. He set out on the first day to get started and got the classic “If You’re Lonely” in the can. Booker is hugely expressive in this song and it second to the title track that opens the album. One can hear him really relate to the lyrics as he sings them. Other than that, the day was a complete failure. Booker drifted aimlessly, shirking prods and pushes to do this or that. Day two was perhaps worse. Booker did break into a version of “Angel Eyes” that was recorded, but otherwise the day was another mess despite inviting Cyril Neville and Earl King into the studio with Booker and Allen Toussaint’s people dictating a song to them over the phone. Booker would play bits and pieces of songs but never what Billington wanted. Scott was a wreck and feared that day three, the final day in the studio, would complete the waste of Rounder’s money. He found Booker waiting for him at the door at ten AM and he blazed through 2 hours of solo stuff that all made the original album. In the early afternoon they cut the stuff with the band and had a nice album completed. Booker faded though, perhaps knowing he was done, perhaps not. He asked to get paid, left to make the 3 PM bank closing time and then disappeared for several weeks. He would drink tumblers of gin after taking his Antabuse, destroying his stomach and more. Stories abound about what happened. Billington relates a lot of interesting stuff about Booker in the extensive 2013 reissue liner notes.

If you are looking for a pure piano blues CD this may not be for you. If you want a superb New Orleans piano CD then this is a must. The original album showcased the man who could probably single handedly outplay other piano players. His left hand beats out some mean stuff. His right hand glides up and down the scales and makes beautiful melodies. He is something else! Vocally, his work is good. Today with backing vocals we’d be commenting how great it was. He does sing with intense feeling and has a New Orleans mojo going that is hard not to like. There is some blues, there is a lot of jazz, there are show tunes and movie songs and classical music- he does it all equally well.

The opening title track is superb. Transitioning into “If You’re Lonely” we can feel the loneness of this possessed man. Well done, as is the solo piano version that was added that appears later on the CD. Then all of a sudden we are listening to a perfectly rendered “Warsaw Concerto,” added from the studio recordings as one of the many bonuses. This is a short, 1941 work for piano and orchestra by Richard Addinsell. It was part of the British film Dangerous Moonlight and shows us what this man can do- amazing stuff! A slowed down solo piano version of “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” was added to the full band version on the original album and both are super. He does a medley of Professor Longhair stuff; he breaks into “Hound Dog” and “Baby Face” and pop stuff. He even nails the “Theme from the Godfather.” “Madame X” is another odd but cool piece and a great version of “Lonely Avenue”. They closed with “Amen,” which is sort of a punctuation mark to his life which ended just over a year after the session, a few months after the album release.

The liner notes are worth the price of admission. Billington captures Bookers’ commentary and relives the days practicing leading up to the sessions, the sessions themselves and then recounts the remainder of Bookers’ life until the end. He tells stories of Booker as a public servant and his time playing at the Maple Leaf bar that are priceless. On the CD are Booker who plays piano, B3 ad sings, Alvin “Red”Tyler is on tenor sax, James Singleton is on bass and Johhny Vidacovich is the drummer.

Nine of the twenty two cuts are add-ons from the sessions and not intended for the original album. Billington actually feared revisiting them 3 years later but when he did he found gem after gem captured and worthy of pressing. It is an interesting and creative mix of stuff from a man most of us never got to see or hear live. If you like New Orleans music and would like a sampling of a master who learned at the feet of greats and mentored guys like Harry Connick, Jr. then don’t delay and pick this up. It is a mixture of piano styles, but if you like piano music you will not want to miss this..

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 work with their Blues In The Schools program. He resides in Byron, IL.

For other reviews on our website CLICK HERE

2014 Blues Blast Music Awards Submissions Open

It is that time again to let publicists, artists, labels and Blues industry contacts know that submissions in the 2014 Blues Blast Music Awards are open until April 15th, 2014.

We will again offer you the opportunity to put your eligible Blues music releases directly into the hands of our 30 nominators for consideration in this years awards. Submissions are free and can be sent from March 1st until April 15, 2014.

The Blues Blast Music Awards honor the BEST in today’s Blues music and are voted on by music fans all over the world. This years release eligibility period is April 1st 2013 to April 30th, 2014. All music released during this period is eligible for consideration.

Complete information is at this link

2014 Blues Blast Music Awards Ceremonies Announced

Mark Your Calendars! The 2014 Blues Blast Music Awards ceremonies will be held on Thursday October 23rd, 2014 at the Fluid Events Center in Champaign, Illinois. It is a great new 10,000 sq ft facility and will be a great show!

Look for more information on hotels and artists later this year.

 Featured Blues Interview – Damon Fowler

Every day we hear the old-time hard-core Blues enthusiasts lamenting the decline in interest in the music or the lack of quality players to keep the genre alive. Nothing could be further from the truth. Down in Florida there is a group of guys who are really shaking things up all over the country and making people listen.

The torch was lit way back in the last century by the legendary Allman brothers and today, the young guns like Damon Fowler, JP Soars, Albert Castiglia, Derek Trucks and a host of world-class supporting musicians are making South Florida a hot bed for Blues seven nights a week.

“That’s because Blues in Florida is real big right now,” Florida native Damon Fowler says. “We have active Blues societies, a slew of working musicians, good weather and venues that support us. We can play every night of the week if we want to.”

Damon hails from a musical family whose members spent their time during family gatherings sitting around pickin’ and grinnin’.

“When I was a kid my mom and I lived with my grandparents who owned a septic tank company,” Damon explains. “My uncles all used to work for them and after work they’d gather and get out their guitars and play. One day I was with my grandma at the music store where she’d gone to buy one of my uncles a guitar. I was about 10 and told her I really wanted a guitar of my own. She bought me my first guitar. It was a cheap little acoustic. My uncle showed me some things he knew and I was set.

“Growing up, I’m 35 now, it was Guns ‘N’ Roses,” Damon says. “Then I got to sit in with some of the local bands early on. The first Blues song that I really liked is James Taylor’s “Steamroller Blues.” I love the simplicity of the first 12 bars. It’s a great song. From there it was on to BB, King, John Lee Hooker. I just kind of grew with it. If you’re going to play any kind of music, all American music has elements of the Blues in it. Country, rock and roll, gospel, all have roots in the Blues.”

After playing in and around his home area near Tampa during his high school years, Damon’s fortunes changed for the better when he met legendary Blues rock guitarist Rick Derringer, author of the rock staple, “Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo.”

“I first met him (Derringer) when I was 15 or 16 at a gig,” Damon recalls. “He lives not too far away from my hometown. Later we opened for him and then when he was done (with his set) he called me back out to do an encore with him. It turned out to be a jam. I was thrilled to be asked to sit in with him. Next thing you know, he offered to produce my first record. It was totally unplanned. After working with Rick I had some credibility and exposure.”

Having established himself firmly with his peers on a national level, Damon has joined many luminaries in the Blues and rock and roll genre to show them what he can do. Guys like Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy, Johnny and Edgar Winter, Robin Trower, Gregg Allman, Jimmy Vaughn, Junior Brown, Rick Derringer, Little Feat, The Radiators, Chris Duarte, Delbert McClinton, and numerous others have asked Damon to add to projects and appear with them on stage. To add more ammunition to his fiery arsenal, Damon has become proficient playing slide guitar as well as lap steel and Dobro. His guitar work is reminiscent of a young Johnny Winter. You can also hear the late Duane Allman in his slide playing.

“C’mon man, I live in Florida,” Damon says. “Duane Allman is everywhere. Duane was a great player but so is (former ABB guitarist) Dickie Betts. Ninety percent of the sounds of the Allman Brothers came from Betts. He’s still a great player today.”

After releasing his 1999 Derringer-produced record “Riverview Drive,” Damon started garnering attention and enjoyed loads of regional success and accolades. Electric Blues called the new CD “an all-around solid effort,” with “plenty of strong guitar jams.” Life was good for the young guitar hot shot and getting better. As fate would have it, a single life-changing incident cast Damon’s life in a whole new perspective.

In December 2005, Damon, his uncle/manager Bobby Fowler and Damon’s drummer were headed to play a private party. Bassist Chuck Riley was to meet the guys at the gig.

A car started to get off the highway at an exit and then at the last minute swerved back onto the road in front of Damon’s van. Two cars in front of the van slammed on their brakes and Damon still had the van under control until a pickup slammed into them from behind. The van flipped onto its driver’s side causing Damon’s head and left shoulder to skid along the pavement until the vehicle stopped. He ended up losing part of a deltoid on his left arm and needed skin grafts on his arm and head.

“It was in the afternoon, and we were all totally sober,” Damon says. “I had my seat belt on and we were headed to play a private party. I flipped the van and got tore up pretty good. I’m much better now, but it was pretty shitty for a while. I lost my girlfriend. I had to move back home with my parents. There’s definitely a Blues song in there somewhere.”

The time spent recuperating at his parents’ gave Damon time to reflect on what the future might hold. How in the world would he ever be able to play at the level he was before the accident?

“When I had the wreck I was 25 and I didn’t appreciate some of the smaller things I had been blessed with,” he says. “I wasn’t necessarily taking things for granted. I was just unaware. It was time to miss what I did (for a living). It was a time to regroup. I started singing more. Playing more slide. Just trying to get better and getting back to work.”

It took about a year but Damon’s persistence and dedication to his craft left him a better player and vocalist than he was before the accident. He feels his playing and singing improved during his hiatus.

As his fortunes have improved with his own power trio, Damon has been involved for the past couple of years with a highly acclaimed super group calling itself Southern Hospitality. Alongside Damon are former IBC winner JP Soars on guitar and Blues Music Award winner Victor Wainwright on keys. The SH rhythm section consists of bassist Chuck Riley and drummer Chris Peet and together their debut album “Easy Livin” has garnered tremendous acclaim from all corners of the Blues community. The disc was produced by none other than Tab Benoit, a man who knows a few things about the south and its musical heritage. The results are a concoction of all manner of Southern music including roots rock, Delta blues, and Wainwright-driven boogie-woogie. You have to hear it to appreciate it.

“I love playing with those guys,” Damon says. “I’m the only one who is without a medal. I’m medal less. JP has a sound of his own. He traveled with some extreme death metal bands before he started playing Blues. Those guys are into shredding. He was young and that was his thing. I think he heard the Blues and it grew on him, just like it does everyone else. Victor is phenomenal. He can sing and is just a great (piano) player.”

Damon has received recognition of his own, maybe more on a regional level, but nonetheless it shoots down his “medal less” statement. In last year’s “Best of Tampa” poll, Creative Loafing magazine named him “Best Guitarist, Best Slide Guitarist, Best Lap Steel Player, and Best Dobro Player.”

“If you’re going to hang around Tab you need a much bigger battery,” Damon says (with a laugh). “You can’t out drink him. He tells the best stories. He’s the last man standing after everyone else has faded at the end of the day. He was a lot of fun to work with.

“I was lucky enough to be invited to play with Tab’s project, Voice of the Wetland All Stars alongside Big Chief Monk Boudreaux of the Golden Eagles, who is a Louisiana legend,” Damon said. “It was a thrill. I just got back from Jamaica where I went with my manager Rueben Williams and Big Chief. It’s definitely a third-world country. The steering wheel is on the wrong side and they drive on the wrong side. It’s crazy. We went to Kingston which is extremely poor. There were only three white dudes including me but the people were super friendly and we were well received.”

“Sounds of Home” is Damon’s third solo offering on Blind Pig records. The disc features Big Chief Boudreaux and is also produced by Tab. It’s a mixture of the various roots music influences in the young guitarist’s life. There literally is something for everyone on the disc.

“I like gospel music,” he says. “It comes from the Blues. My grandparents listened to a lot of gospel and bluegrass. I’m a huge fan of Mississippi John Hurt and that’s where some of my gospel comes from. The rest is just stuff I like. We recorded it at Tab’s studio in Houma (LA). I’m real proud of it.”

Damon has mixed feelings on the state of the Blues today.

“I think the future of the Blues is up in the air,” he says. “Record companies need to figure out a way to market it to younger people. Some of the younger players like The Black Keys and Jack White are playing the Blues for younger audiences and we need to continue to encourage that. I feel real good about the future of the music. We just need to continue to support it.

“I really like playing the festivals,” Damon said. “There are more people and we are able to reach a broader audience. Some of the clubs have lost their character and the audiences tend to be stuck up. They want to drink martinis instead of beer. The general idea is making a real connection with the people you play to. People seem to really enjoy the festivals and we enjoy being a part of them. The bottom line for me is I love playing shows, playing gigs in small clubs, making records. I love it all.”

Visit Damon’s website at:

Photos by Marilyn Stringer © 2014 Blues Blast Magazine

Interviewer Jim Crawford is a transplanted Texan and the current president of the Phoenix Blues Society. He’s a fan of lots of different types of music but keeps his head mostly planted in the Blues today. He received his first 45 rpm record, Jimmy Reed’s “Big Boss Man,” at about age 8 and it stuck. He hosted the “Blues Cruise” on KACV-FM 90 in Amarillo for many years and can be found on many nights catching a good show at the Rhythm Room, Phoenix’s Blues Mecca.

For other interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

 Featured Blues Video – Tommy Castro

This is a clip of Tommy Castro and the Painkillers performing “Calling San Francisco” at Callahan’s Music Hall in February of this year.. Click the video image above to watch the video.

You can see this Blues legend at the Tampa Bay Blues Festival in Florida on Saturday April 12, 2014. Click on their ad below for info and tickets

 Featured Blues Review – 2 of 6

Slim Wray – Sack Lunch


CD: 12 songs; 40:54 Minutes

Styles: Garage Rock, Funk-Influenced Rock

Some die-hard genre aficionados, who proudly call themselves purists, claim the blues is like gold: there is only one twenty-four-karat essence, and the rest is amalgamated ore. Others compare it to a house with many rooms, or an ice cream cone with several flavors. When it comes to the Brooklyn duet Slim Wray, and the “Sack Lunch” they’ve brought as their debut album, only the latter group of fans would welcome it under the sprawling ‘musical umbrella’ category known as blues. The former group would call it “garage rock” and/or “funk-influenced rock,” and they’d be right. This duo of Chris Moran (on drums and backing vocals) and Ryan “Howzr” Houser (on lead vocals and guitar) claim The White Stripes, The Black Keys, Nirvana and The Kinks as inspirations, rather than Muddy Waters, for example. On all twelve songs – ten originals and two covers (Van Morrison’s “Gloria” and Gerry Roslie’s “Strychnine”) – the vibe as well as the content is 190-proof rock-and-roll. Is this a bad thing? No. Is it rather ill-suited for an e-zine dedicated to more distinguishable forms of blues and blues rock? Many would say yes.

The story of Slim Wray (accompanied on “Sack Lunch” by co-producer Dan McLoughlin on bass guitar and Parry Adams on backing vocals) is one of dedication. Both Howzr and Chris have been musicians, pranksters, and adrenaline junkies from an early age. They separately made their way to NYC and found each other in the punk and indie rock scene. Their first project together, Ten Pound Strike, produced a few EP’s with legendary producer/engineer Joe Blaney (Ramones, The Clash, The Beastie Boys, Keith Richards, Modest Mouse, and others) while blasting away at now-defunct CBGB and other rock clubs around the Northeast. After a brief hiatus, the duo reunited in 2011 to form another two-man project, combining their raw, stripped-down sound with the ghosts of the past and the attitude for today. Last year they renamed themselves Slim Wray and finished recording “Sack Lunch” live at Vault Recording Studios. Dan McLoughlin, incidentally, is the former bassist of The Push Stars, an American rock band formed in 1996.

On their website, Slim Wray is described as “a bombastic, irreverent rock-and-roll band founded on the back of thunderous drums and gritty, fuzz-fueled guitar riffs”. If ever one needed a clear explanation of what the band is and what type of music they play, this is it. The only time the word “blues” is even mentioned in their context is in a promotional-sheet analysis from Blues Rock Review: “Punk-inspired riffs, distorted rock vocals, blues-ridden, classic rock, or beachy melodies, and instrumentals as tight as those in heavy metal give this small group a big personality.” On their first album, Slim Wray certainly delivers everything promised in this quote. However, fans of more traditional blues will most likely “trade” this “Sack Lunch” in for their favorite type of musical meal.

Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 34 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.

For other reviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured Blues Review – 3 of 6

Sean Chambers – The Rock House Sessions

Blue Beat Records

11 tracks; 48 minutes

Sean Chambers first came to prominence beyond his Florida base when he played second guitar for Hubert Sumlin in the 90’s. Since then he has produced a regular flow of CDs, the last of which, “Live From The Long Island Warehouse” (2011) was well received. For his latest CD Sean travelled to Nashville to record at Kevin McKendree’s Rock House studios though Kevin does not appear on the album where all keyboards are handled by Reese Wynans who also produced. In a way this album could be dubbed ‘a tale of three producers’ as the current ‘producer of the moment’, Tom Hambridge, plays drums on the session. Randy McDonald on bass is the other member of the core band with an array of additional musicians appearing on individual tracks: Rob McNelley and Bob Britt add rhythm guitar to four tracks each, Etta Britt sings on three and a horn section of Jim Hoke (sax) and Steve Herman (trumpet) play on three; harmonica player TJ Klay contributes to five.

The material is a mix of originals and covers. Songs covered include tunes by Rick Vito, Gary Moore and Alvin Lee and the oft-covered “Come To Poppa” (Mitchell/Randle). Sean wrote three tracks, two in collaboration with Reese Wynans; Tom Hambridge contributes two songs written in collaboration with Richard Fleming, Russel Smith and Gary Nicholson who also gets a credit for the reprise of “Healing Ground”, first done by Jimmy Thackery on his album of the same title in 2005 which is an interesting place to start.
Sean’s gruff voice fits “Healing Ground” well, being close to Thackery’s on this song. Indeed, the core riff of the song is present and correct, Rob McNelly playing in tandem with Sean. Sean’s guitar style is definitely at the louder end of the rock blues spectrum and the significant difference between this and Thackery’s versions is some sonic coloring from Sean which fits with TJ Klay’s keening harp fills but adds little to the song. A better fit is Alvin Lee’s “Choo Choo Mama” which closes the album on a rocking note though the raucous harmonica was not to my personal taste.

Sean’s own songs are the hard-riffing “Your Love Is My Disease”, the horn-driven “It Hurts To See You Go” and the gentle “Meant To Be”. The last two are both excellent and show a rather different side to Sean’s playing. “Meant To Be” has a country edge and Sean’s playing is more restrained with Reese’s organ providing a warm blanket beneath Sean’s vocal and guitar. “It Hurts To See You Go” is one of the strongest tracks as the ghost of Albert King hovers over the playing and the horns play a significant role in that achievement. Gary Moore’s “Holding On” is another ballad with horns but finds Sean’s voice struggling a little. The cover of “Come To Poppa” has lots of wah-wah and did not work very well compared with many other versions of this classic song.

Most of the remaining tracks are relentlessly upbeat blues-rock. Rick Vito’s “World On Fire” opens the album with Sean supplying some meandering sonic screams and the harp following suit. “Since I’ve Been Down” is credited to Harry Dial and Granville Watson about whom I could find no information though Harry Dial was a noted jazz drummer around the Second World War. If this is a song by that HD he will be spinning in his grave as Sean and Bob Britt tear it up around a riff that is driven hard by the drums, organ and guitars. Tom Hambridge’s pair of songs both feature TJ’s harp (which does nothing for this reviewer): “Just For The Thrill” has a loping central riff which works fine and “Money In A Minute” is an aggressive piece with some tough guitar playing from both Rob on rhythm and Sean on lead guitar.

This CD will probably be very well received by Sean’s fans and will undoubtedly enhance his reputation. There are some excellent moments here and some playing that will divide opinion but blues-rock fans should enjoy this album..

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.

For other reviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured Blues Review – 4 of 6

Brad Wilson – Hands On The Wheel

Blues Boulevard Records

14 tracks; 57 minutes

Brad Wilson is an experienced Californian guitarist with several self-produced CDs to his name over the last ten years or so. This CD is his first for an ‘official’ label and he wrote all the material, reprising seven songs from his last independent CD “Blues Magic”. Brad handles all lead vocals and guitar and is assisted by two rhythm sections: Brian James (bass) and JJ Garcia (drums) appear on eight tracks and Brian Beal (bass) and Adam Gust (drums) are on six of the tunes reprised from “Blues Magic”. Keyboards are added to four tracks by Maria Zamora, Edward Roth and Kirk Nelson, a second guitar player, Rick Brannon, plays on one cut and backing vocals come from Francesca Capasso. The songs were recorded in several studios around the LA area.

According to the press release Brad ‘plays high-octane rocked-up Blues’ but he also moves into other territories including ballads, country rock, latin and funk across this album. The opening couple of tracks are well away from the blues as the title track opens proceedings in heavy rock mode with some ringing guitar riffs and powerhouse drums. Things get rather bluesier on “Nobody But You” a mid-paced rocker with some good slide work and “The Ballad Of John Lee” which recounts the story of JLH over an appropriately Hookerish riff. “Last Call” is a blues ballad with effective backing vocals and some solid guitar work around the fringes.

The Latin influence is very clear on “Blues Magic” and on the instrumental “Cruisin’ The Coast” where Brad duets well with Rick Brannon, both players soaring above a jaunty rhythm track. Both of these cuts are very radio-friendly and would sound great cruising down the Pacific Highway! Things get funky on “Hot Stuff” with the choppy rhythm getting the feet tapping – one for the dancers at Brad’s live shows one imagines. The last three tracks on the CD are in gentler mood: “I’m Still Breathing” finds Brad in reflective mood after surviving a broken relationship though the guitar solo is rather ‘over the top’; “My One Desire” is unashamedly romantic and Brad’s playing is beautifully restrained here; closing cut “Roll With Me” takes us into Americana territory, a mid-paced rocker with country flourishes that recall Eagles songs, a strong ending to the album.

Overall this CD is a good listen but is certainly not predominantly blues. If your tastes range more widely you will certainly find something to enjoy here.

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.

For other reviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured Blues Review – 5 of 6

Valerie June – Pushin’ Against A Stone

Concord Records

11 songs – 44 minutes

Valerie June has been attracting glowing reviews and expectant predictions in the UK for a while now. After self-releasing three “bootleg” albums, the release of Pushin’ Against A Stone on a major label may help the Tennessee native to go global.

Combining blues, gospel, soul and Appalachian folk, in a style that June herself describes as “organic moonshine roots music”, it is actually quite hard to categorise her music. It is very blues-based but consistently surprising and distinctly idiosyncratic.

On first listening, the most striking aspect is June’s distinctive, oddly affecting, reedy voice, which is part Billie Holliday, part Eartha Kitt, part Joan Osborne, and all Valerie June. It is a voice that combines passion with precision as she hits notes that are not immediately obvious for a vocal melody, but which after a few listens sound somehow inevitable. The arrangements are also fascinating, often featuring accompaniments that sound simple but which never quite end up where the listener expects.

The songs themselves, several of which were co-written with Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys (who co-produced the album with Kevin Augunas), range from the folk of “Tennessee Time” and the strummed rock “Twined & Twisted”, to the funky groove of “Workin’ Woman Blues” and the electric blues work song of “You Can’t Be Told”. Acoustic instruments dominate the arrangements, and nearly all the songs feature haunting, ghostly harmonies, but nothing seems to go in the direction one might expect. On “Shotgun”, for example, the precision of the acoustic guitar is nicely contrasted with the primitive slide guitar, all played by June herself.

Influences abound, but June takes them and runs with them. The beginning of “The Hour” is lifted from “I Put A Spell On You”, but gives way to a beautiful pop melody underscored by dreamy, floating backing vocals. “On My Way/Somebody To Love” is a highlight, with a violin interweaving between June’s fraught voice as she follows a vocal line that echoes The Grateful Dead’s “Friend Of The Devil”. The song appears to end, there is silence, then the sound of an old-fashioned needle hitting a record, and an acoustic version of “Somebody To Love” kicks off with June’s voice supported by a lone mandolin and an occasional choir of melancholy, spectral backing voices. Magical stuff.

The record features an all-star cast of backing musicians, ranging from Booker T. Jones and Jimbo Mathus to some of Hungary’s top session players. Jones plays on “Somebody To Love” and “On My Way,” which he also co-wrote. Recorded at Easy Eye in Nashville (Dan Auerbach’s recently-built studio), Fairfax Recording in Van Nuys, CA, and Studio H in Budapest, the production is uniformly excellent. In an age when so many artists sound exactly the same, it is thrilling to hear a new and singular sound, played with authority and groove. This is biting, new-age indie-blues.

This is not a simple straight-forward blues album although the blues is one of the key foundation stones. It is challenging. It is different. It doesn’t always work. But, when it does work, it is electrifying. Everyone should hear this album..

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 6

Hard Garden – Blue Yonder

11 tracks; 40 Minutes


Blues duo Son Jack Jr. and Michael Wilde have teamed with multi-instrumentalist, producer and engineer Garret Williams to explore the Blues via Electronica on their first disc as the trio Hard Garden. The result is Blue Yonder. The liner notes say “the music on this album has been created to breathe new life into the blues, by attempting to blend the pure, raw essence of original blues with a contemporary groove.” The attempt was made.

Blue Yonder starts with the slinky guitar riff and howling harp of “I Feel Evil.” There’s a dark foreboding voice, but the processed synth tone of the clean guitar strips any menace from the song and leaves the whole thing a little flat. The harmonica is excellent though, and holds your attention. This song is the most traditional on the record.

Hard Garden does seem earnest in their goal of fusing past, present and future but unfortunately the memory of Son House is besmirched mightily on his “Depot Blues.” The song starts off with Son’s famous quote “I’m talkin’ about the blues, now, I ain’t talkin’ about monkey junk,” but the whole thing seems like a caricature. Hard Garden only succeeds in creating the monkey junk Son was rejecting. Son House was talking about the feeling deep inside; the hurt, the pain, the love, and the passion. This reading of the tune is devoid of emotion, passion, fire, and authenticity. The electronic drums are horrible, the scratchy record lead-in is contrived, and the recitation of Son House’s words seems mockingly apish. Even as an old man, Son House sang with passion and his spirit was virile, vigorous, and potent. This is sterile and borders on offensive.

“Pour Me Another” is probably supposed to be funny with its pseudo British accent and inane story about a boastful talking dog. No amount of shrieking harp could save this song, but they tried. It comes off as a horrible adolescent attempt at humor, with engaging harmonica lost in a sea of bad jokes and abysmal uninspiring repetitive beats. “Maximum Insecurity” is another failed attempt at blues humor with its clichés of criminality, judges, and jails. “Showtime!” is just electronica noise. They attempt to channel James Brown on this one, but it takes more than a loop of “Take it to the bridge” to honor the Godfather Of Soul.

Hard Garden does get some things right. The harp playing from Michael Wilde is incredible and guitar solos are very good. They use a lot of reverb for a swampy effect and it works well. “The Valley” has a marching cadence with shimmering arpeggios writhing through the track like the emotional slime trail left by the erstwhile father of the song’s main character. “The Valley” also provides the defining lyric of the set: “It’ll all be better when I’m gone.” “Dangerous” has some intricate guitar work, and the solo has a gritty tone to match the title. “Dangerous” comes very close to achieving their goal and shows the most vitality from this electronic blues mash-up experiment. Unfortunately they had to ruin it with a dreadful, disc-ending remix which serves as a fitting recap of all that’s wrong with last 36 minutes.

I didn’t want to finish listening to the disc, but I did. I listened to it about a dozen times trying to hear what I was missing. I never found it. Disco blues is a bad idea. If they are trying to create a 21st Century version of R.L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough’s trance-inducing hill country blues, they need to re-examine the tools they chose. Get a real drummer and don’t let him anywhere near a computer. Electronic beats, samples and loops are distracting at best. Worse, they are predictable. One of the beautiful things about blues is the humanity; the mistakes. It’s the 13th bar you weren’t expecting, the off key note that feels so right, or the turnaround that stops halfway. Some might argue the group could bring new fans to the blues, but I wouldn’t want new blues fans thinking the music sounds like this.

Blue Yonder’s liner notes offer this: “The blues today is like an old plot of land – once vibrant and fertile but after years of being overlooked has turned into a wasteland or hard garden.” Hard Garden claims to have broken new ground, but I’m hoping whatever they planted dies on the vine. Son Jack Jr. and Michael Wilde are clearly talented musicians and I can hear a classic Hill Country duo underneath the beats, samples and clichés. Instead of shooting for the lowest common denominator, they should aim higher and make honest, ardent music. The Blues doesn’t need a digital, trip-hop makeover to remain relevant and no one needs to bring Blues into the 21st Century. It is all around us.!

Reviewer Jim Kanavy is the greatest guitar player in his house. He has been reviewing albums in his head for 30 years and in print since 2008, and is deeply committed to keeping the blues alive and thriving. For more information visit

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 Blues Society News

 Send your Blues Society’s BIG news or Press Release about your not-for-profit event with the subject line “Blues Society News” to:

Maximum of 175 words in a Text or MS Word document format.

Minnesota Blues Society – St. Paul, MN

Road 2 Memphis Challenge, Two days of competition, Solo/duo: Sunday, April 6, 1:00 at Amsterdam Bar & Hall, 6th & Wabasha, St. Paul, 5 acts competing.

Band: Sunday, April 27, 1:00 at Wilebski’s Blues Saloon, 1638 Rice St., St. Paul, 7 acts competing. Winners of both competitions will represent MnBS at the 2015 IBC in Memphis. $10 suggested donation, both events

Also, Benefit for Allison Miller (daughter of Dee Miller, Dee Miller Band) Sunday, April 13, 1:00, Wilebski’s Blues Saloon, 1638 Rice St., St. Paul Acts to perform: Steve Clarke, Annie Mack Band, Jimmi “Prime Time” Smith, Dee Miller Band, Who Nu.

Allison remains hospitalized in critical condition due to very serious complications of influenza B (double pneumonia, one collapsed lung, one infected lung, dialysis, leg amputation.) More info/donations: or

To donate to silent auction (by April 11) contact Christina Hoglund @  More Info  at

Mississippi Valley Blues Society – Davenport, IA

The Mississippi Valley Blues Society is proud to present Damon Fowler at The Muddy Waters 1708 State St. Bettendorf, IA on Sunday April 6th at 6pm. Admission is $7 for MVBS members and $10 for others.

Also, The Mississippi Valley Blues Society presents the preliminary round of the Iowa Blues Challenge at 6:00 p.m. Sunday, April 13 at the Muddy Waters. Four bands will play thirty-minute sets starting at 6:00 p.m. Competitors are Phineas J’s, Harris Collection, Mercury Brothers, and William Bixby Band. Two of the bands competing in the IBC Preliminaries will earn the right to move into the IBC Final Round, to be held in Des Moines on May 17, at the Hotel Fort Des Moines. $5 MVBS Members/$8 Non-Members

For more info visit

Friends of the Blues – Kankakee, IL

“2014 Friends of the Blues Concert Series to Highlight Women in the Blues and Debut Texas Guitar Slingers”

The Friends of the Blues have decided it is time to give the women their due. Of the 15 concerts scheduled so far, seven feature female headliners or lead vocalists. This is the first time the schedule has strongly reflected female artists. For example, last year’s 19 shows had only three with females in front. “There have been questioning comments in the past by folks noticing the line-up is pretty heavily weighted against the girls,” the lead talent buyer said.

Annie Mack from Rochester, Minnesota, will be the first female headliner, followed by Philadelphia, Mississippi’s Tullie Brae. Eleanor Tsaig is the dynamic lead vocalist for Israel’s Ori Naftaly Band, and two sisters, both under 21, Sadie and Samantha Johnson, front Bloomington Indiana’s Sad Sam Blues Jam. Originally from Plainfield IL, The Laurie Morvan Band has generated large audiences with many attending from her old stomping grounds. House-on-fire Rock and Rollers Nikki Hill and husband Matt on guitar hopefully will appear in August, and Blind Pig Records’ award recording artist Sena Ehrhardt tentatively will hold court late in the season.

Another new element this year is Texas guitar slingers. George Thorogood’s second guitarist Jim Suhler and, later, Jason Elmore will debut in our area. “We have been trying for 5 years to get Suhler contracted for a show,” said the “Friends.” When he is not touring with Thorogood, he has his own band, Monkey Beat. Suhler is also touring in support of a new CD, “Panther Burn.” Fellow Texan Jason Elmore (and Hoodoo Witch) play American Roots music from his latest album – everything is guitar driven, from Rock to Country to Texas Blues.

Returning favorites this season are led by Florida’s Albert Castiglia, who has just signed a record deal with Ruf Records in Europe. He will have completed two tours of Europe by the time he plays at L’Erable on July 16. Other returning crowd favorites are Australian Harper and Midwest Kind and California native, James Armstrong. Harmonica whiz, Brandon Santini from Memphis will make a second appearance as will guitar monster Terry Quiett.

The Blues Society of Central PA – Steelton, PA

The Blues Society of Central PA will be welcoming spring with our BSCP Spring Fever Show on Sunday, April 13, 2014 from 4:30 – 9:00 PM at Champions Sports Bar 300 N. Second St. Highspire, PA. Admission at the door will be $15.

Blues music will begin at 5:00 PM with a 30 minute show by Colin John, 2014 Blues Foundation IBC solo/duo semi-finalist. The music will continue with 60 minutes of blues harp and vocals by the Dane Paul Russell Band. Dane Paul was the late Bobby Parker’s harp sideman. The BSCP will prouding be featuring our headliner, Vizztone Recording artist, Long Tall Deb & The Werewolves of Alabama to heat up Champions and end the chill of winter with a 90 minute set of burning blues. More info at:

River City Blues Society – Pekin, IL

River City Blues Society presents live Blues featuring Lizzi Neal Band at 7:30 PM Friday March 28th and also Ghost Town Blues band at 7:30PM Friday April 18th at Goodfellas 1414 N. 8th St. Pekin, Illinois. Admission: $6.00 general public or $4.00 for RCBS Members For more info visit: or call 309-648-8510:

The Ventura County Blues Society – Ventura County, CA

On Saturday, April 26 the Ventura County Blues society presents the The 9th Annual Ventura County Blues Festival at Moorpark College with its best lineup yet, featuring headlining performances by Kim Wilson’s Blues All-Stars; Delta Groove All-Star Blues Revue featuring Sugaray Rayford with Kid Ramos and friends; Sista Monica Parker; , Jimmy Thackery & The Drivers; , Michael John and The Bottom Line and friends, including vocalist Karen Lovely; and Lightnin’ Willie.

Returning as Celebrity Emcee is noted actor-musician, Mickey Jones. Food and craft vendors, guitar giveaway, and, for the first time, a Ticketed V.I.P. area. Benefits the American Diabetes Association and community charities. Presale General Admission tickets $20. in advance, $30. at the gate; V.I.P. tickets $100. (limited quantity available). More information at

Crossroads Blues Society – Byron, Illinois

Crossroads Blues Society is proud to present the second annual Field of Blues Festival on Saturday, June 28th at Rockford Aviators Stadium in Loves Park.

Alex Wilson Band is opening beginning his set at noon. Next up is an international act, Italian blues and singing sensation Linda Valori at 2 PM along with super guitar player Luca Giordano and our own Barstool Bob Blues Band with Bob Levis on guitar, Al Terrano on bass, Link Leary on drums and Don Collins on harmonica.

The Jimmy’s will bring their swinging blues at 4 PM. At 6 PM, the ever cool Doug Deming and Dennis Gruenling will take the stage with the Jewel Tones.

At 8 PM our headliners will be John Nemeth!

Between acts we will feature local acoustic blues man Dan Phelps. 10 hours of music from noon to 10 PM (we close at 10:30 PM). Tickets will once again only be $10 in advance and $15 at the door.

Check us out at or call festival chairman Steve Jones at 779-537-4006 for more information!

The Illinois Central Blues Club – Springfield, IL

The Illinois Central Blues Club has announced the line-up of talent for the Blue Monday live performances and jam sessions held every Monday night at The Alamo, 115 North Fifth, Springfield, IL from 8:00pm to midnight. Additional information on any performer listed below is available upon request. March 31 – Kilborn Alley, April 7 – Jim Suhler and Monkey Beat, April 14 – The Blues Expressions, April 21 – Brad Vickers and the Vestapolitans, April 28 – Greg Glick

Questions regarding this press release can be directed to Michael Rapier, President of ICBC, at at 217-899-9422, or contact Greg Langdon, Live Events Chair, at or by visiting

Blues Overdose 3/27/2014 – These free tracks are available for 30 days. More info below.

Download Instructions

1.) Click the link below where it says “Click HERE to download” just after any of the artist descriptions below. (You only need to do this once as all the tracks are there!)

2.) The link will take you to the Blues Blast Magazine page on at

3.) On The Blues Overdose Page click the on any artist to listen to the song. You do NOT have to join to listen or download these tracks!

4.) To automatically download the artists song click on the download icon

Tweed Funk

“Hoodoo Power” from the album First Name Lucky

Tweed Funk’s latest CD, First Name Lucky, was inspired by a recent trip to Memphis. The band wanted to create an organic album with a minimal amount of overdubs and production. Tweed Funk’s goal was to capture the energy, excitement, and raw emotive power of 7 freshly penned original tunes and 4 select covers.

“The party Tweed Funk brings to their live shows comes alive on ‘First Name Lucky’ as the band cruises through various blues and funk styles with horn-drenched ease.”– Sena Ehrhardt

Formed in late 2010, Tweed Funk has garnered national and international acclaim for their horn-driven, sweat-soaked, soul-blues. This Milwaukee, Wisconsin band is fronted by Joseph “Smokey” Holman, who recorded under Curtis Mayfield in the early 70’s. Tweed Funk boasts 3 Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI) Wins for the band and it’s members.

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Trevor Sewell


“The Train” from the album Independence


Trevor Sewell is a 4 times Hollywood Award winning Blues artist hailing from the N.East of England. He released his first solo album in 2011 and is now making real in-roads into America having toured twice in 2013.


Sewell who was recently described by legendary Producer Stuart Epps (Led Zep, Elton John) as a brilliant musician with a fresh approach to the Blues was recently inducted into The American Heritage Blues Hall of Fame in the same category as Walter Trout, Tommy Castro and Joe Bonamassa. He will be returning to America in November where he is once again nominated in the Hollywood Music and Media Awards 2014. The album ‘Independence’ was released on Nov 21st 2013 to coincide with the HMMAs in which he won The ‘Best Blues’ category with ‘featured track ‘The Train’ before also going on to win the coveted ‘Best Blues Artist’ 2014 in the Artists In Music Awards. The album Independence features 11 Sewell compositions. For more info visit

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Arthur Migliazza


“Thank You Blues” from the album Laying It Down


Arthur Migliazza has achieved the remarkable in combining his love and command of classic American piano styles into a knock out musical road trip every bit as relevant and vital in the 21st century. No retro academic, he lives and breathes new life into the adrenalin-fueled music while also applying its energy and exuberance to other related styles. Hop on board for a thrill ride virtually unavailable with any other mode of aesthetic transportation.


[About the track:] The original instrumental “Thank You Blues” references late night, smoky classics like “After Hours” as Migliazza draws rich sonorities in the bass register and the band entices with a deep groove. — Dave Rubin (KBA recipient in journalism). 


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Terry Quiett Band


“Come The Morning” from the album Taking Sides


Electric blues and rock fans searching for a new guitar hero need look no further than Terry Quiett, roaring from the heartland like a tornado on his latest, greatest release. Over the last 5 years and 3 blues albums he has proven his staying power while allowing him to develop his exceptional talents a singer, songwriter and virtuoso instrumentalist in preparation for “overnight success” he has earned and deserves.


12 scorching, soulful originals, along with one classy cover, range from raw country blues to grooving R&B driven hard by bassist Nathan Johnson and drummer Rodney Baker and augmented by “Mississippi” Hal Reed (harp), Scott Williams (keyboards and tenor sax), Brad Turgeon (trumpet) and Jordan Northerns (trombone). The stomping “Come the Morning” with Quiett ripping on his resonator guitar and Reed matching on “Mississippi Saxophone” contains the sly demand “Be gone come the morning, mama, don’t call my bluff. Oh, but before you take off and start your new life, I need to get me your jelly roll for one more night.” Dave ( Doctor Blues Man ) Rubin Award Winning Blues writer.


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Debbie Bond and the TruDats


“That Think Called Love” from the album That Thing Called Love


In April 2013, Debbie Bond and the TruDats rolled up Highway 65 for a live taping on Radio Free Nashville WRFN’s Mando Blues Show. The set turned into a wild heart Alabama blues-soul stew with such a might groove that she decided to make it into a CD, That Thing Called Love, nine tracks featuring six original songs.


This is Bond’s third solo album and marks her development as an individual artist, having spent many years playing with and promoting great Alabama blues artists, starting with Johnny Shines and including Eddie Kirkland, Big Bo and Little Whit and Willie King.. For more info visit


Click HERE to download these Free tracks on Soundcloud


Duncan Street


“Watermelon, BBQ & Beer” from the album Baptized By The Blues


“Watermelon, BBQ & Beer” is the leadoff song from the new blues duo known as Duncan Street. Written by guitarist Dave Duncan , the song sets the tone for their new CD titled Baptized By The Blues. Stan Street, from Clarksdale, Mississippi , completes the duo and plays some fine blues harp on this track, at the same time kicking the bass drum to drive the groove.


Dave Duncan has played guitar music professionally for over 35 years now. He has dug deeply into the the roots of American Music..playing pedal steel guitar with cowboy singer Johnny Western years ago , rockabilly 6 string with piano great SE Willis in Arizona, deep blues with Jack Pearson & The Nationals for years in Tennessee.. and spankin’ the plank with jam band cult favorites GooseCreek Symphony. He wrote 8 of the songs on the new Duncan Street album and plays some tasty open tuning dobro throughout the recordings.


Stan Street is the owner of The Hambone Gallery in downtown Clarksdale, Mississippi. Stan Street has helped revitalize the area, bringing live music to the locals and tourists who come thru The Land of The Blues. Attracting a truly international audience to his Tuesdays Nites at The Hambone Gallery music series, Street has played with dozens of the bigger names on today’s scene. He wrote the title song on the new Baptized By The Blues cd and is featured on blues harp,kick drum, hambone,cardboard box and saxophone.’


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Gaetano Letizia


“Kill My Conscience” –  from the album Voodoo Doll & Other Blues Lessons


“Guitarist/Vocalist/Writer Gaetano Letizia’s new release Voodoo Doll & Other Blues Lessons is an intensely powerful expansion of the blues that stretches the traditional forms to the breaking point in 12 highly original progressive blues tunes. Voodoo Doll combines searing blues melodies and funk rhythms with lyrics about todays’ challenges, frustrations, and victories: our blues lessons.


Just like the old blues masters dealt with passionate desire, fear, temptation and heartbreak, the tunes on Voodoo Doll travel the same path but with more relevancy to today’s crazy lifestyles. Tunes like Voodoo Doll & Kill My Conscience zero in on the price of instant gratification, while The Devil Is A Nice Guy is all about the modern age devils we all encounter at the new crossroads of technology and politics.


The “lock down” rhythm section of Steve Renko on drums and Larry Keller on bass is hard to match with driving new beats and feels on the whole project. Combined with Letizia’s screaming, roaring guitar work, Voodoo Doll is a treat for the music aficionado.”


Available on CDBaby, Itunes & Amazon,


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Brent Johnson


“Don’t Make A Sound” from the debut album, Set The World On Fire


Brent Johnson burns up the speakers on his appropriately-titled debut CD, “Set the World on Fire” (Justin Time Records), with an incendiary mix of both electric guitar and slide guitar sounds on the album’s 11 cuts, including seven originals and covers of “Meet Me in the Morning” (Bob Dylan), “Meet Me in the Bottom” (Howlin’ Wolf), “As the Years Go Passing By” (Albert King) and “The Hucklebuck” (Paul Williams). Justin Time Records owner Jim West has been a longtime fan and gave Brent free rein over the material and production. As this is his first album release, Brent is looking forward to releasing and touring these original songs and feeling the reaction to his work from an audience.


Johnson’s passionate vocals and soulfully powerful guitar work shines throughout the new album. On “Meet Me in the Morning,” he and Alvin Youngblood Hart trades licks in a serious blues guitar conversation (Alvin on electric, Brent on slide). They go at it again on the original song, “The Ticket,” driving home a strong blues message. On “Long Way Back to New Orleans, he’s joined by Sonny Landreth, who adds his signature slide guitar, helping to push the track towards his Crescent City hometown. Hart returns one more time on the Howlin’ Wolf classic, “Meet Me in the Bottom,” where both he and Brent channel the chugging sounds made famous by the Wolf’s iconic guitarist, Hubert Sumlin..


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John Lyons


“The Blues Moved In” from the album Sing Me Another Song


This is the third album by Lyons, who was raised in Michigan but has moved to Luzern, Switzerland in 2001. It is a compelling blend of rock, blues, folk, and singer/songwriter style with a major twist of the storyteller, which drives the album. As for putting a label on the album, the closest I might come would be Americana or roots music. If forced to put him in any sort of box, I would say that Lyons is an exceptional singer, songwriter and storyteller. His songs/stories are drawn from wells of personal experience, passionate and overflowing with emotional power, which stems from the fact that, hands down, John Lyons is the real deal. To call him a bluesman would be a stretch but there are enough elements of blues here that it cannot be ruled out.


Lyons is a better than average guitarist and he is backed by an exceptional band. The result is a sound the flows smoothly, is easy on the ear and had a timeless sound that will sound every bit as good and valid decades from now as it does today. Like a minstrel, somehow lost in time, Lyons weaves his stories in such a way that they wrap themselves around the listener making him feel warm and comfortable. The music of John Lyons covers so many different styles and feelings, yet they blend, leaving the listener feeling fulfilled. Elements of folk, rock, blues and even gospel make for an album that, while I cannot put a label on it, I like it. The longer I listen to the disc, the more I like what I hear. This piece is good on so many levels…all I can honestly say is that this is one of those discs’s you will find yourself coming back to time after time, never tiring of what Lyons and the band have to say. I recall hearing James Taylor’s Sweet Baby James album for the first time. While the two cannot honestly be compared, Sing Me Another Song leaves me with that same kind of timeless quality that to put it simply, will never grow old. Job well done guys! — Bill Wilson.. For more info visit 


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Johnny Cox


“Runaway Train” from the album Thin Blue Line


Blues singer, songwriter and guitarist Johnny Cox from Scotland by way of Canada let’s his soul flow through that Stratocaster, and sets the stage on fire. Inspired by many styles of music, it’s the Blues that truly drive Johnny wild. In his youth, Johnny’s appetite for Blues music was insatiable and he spent many years devoting himself to the techniques of Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert King, Albert Collins, Robert Cray, John Lee Hooker, Buddy Guy, etc.


As time passed, Johnny began to hunger for more than being a blues guitar player. In the process of becoming ‘whole’ musically, Johnny felt compelled to start singing and writing his own material. Since that realization he’s been on a feverish journey, honing his craft and finding his home in the world of music. Johnny Cox’s debut CD, The Thin Blue Line, represents the palette of his musical personality. On this CD, he embraces many Roots styles but in his heart he’s still a junkie for the Blues; playing guitar in his sleep and bending every note.


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P.O. Box 721 Pekin, Illinois 61555     © 2014 Blues Blast Magazine 309 267-4425

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