Issue 8-17 April 24, 2014

Cover photo by Bob Kieser © 2014 Blues Blast Magazine

 In This Issue  

This week is our Blues Overdose Issue with 3 FREE downloadable Blues tracks. Jim Crawford has our feature interview with Samantha Fish. John Mitchell has photos and commentary from the Springing The Blues Festival

We have nine music reviews for you.  Marty Gunther reviews a new album from Mary Washington Brooks. Rainey Wetnight reviews new albums by Back Pack Jones and Eli Cook. John Mitchell reviews Live At The Slippery Noodle – 50th Anniversary and a new release from Jim Gustin & Truth Jones. Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony reviews a new CD from Dan Bubien. Rex Bartholomew reviews a new album by Barry Big B Brenner and a new release from Annika Chambers & The Houston All-Stars. Rhys Williams reviews a new album from The Blues Doctors.

 From The Editor’s Desk  

Hey Blues Fans,

Ok it is Blues Overdose time again and this week we have 3 free Blues tracks from Delta Generators and Lisa Mann. There are still ten free tracks available from the March Overdose issue, but hurry! We can only offer them for 30 days and the March ones will be gone in 3 days!  For complete details scroll down to the bottom of this issue or CLICK HERE to go directly to the files for download at our SoundCloud site now!

Wishing you health, happiness and lots of Blues music! 

Bob Kieser

 Blues Wanderings  

I had a good Blues week! I made it to Atlanta, Georgia to visit the world famous Blind Willie’s Blues Club.  Performing last Friday night was Luther “Houserocker” Johnson & The Shadows and they were really something!

With Luther Johnson on guitar, Roger Gregory on bass, Kenny Kilgore on guitar and a smokin’ sax and harp player who’s name I did not get, they were killing it! We will have a new video interview with Luther Johnson in the the coming days.


Then on Monday we made it to Springfield, IL to catch the Illinois Central Blues Club’s Blue Monday show at the Alamo for a great set by Brad Vickers and his Vestapolitans.

With Brad Vickers on guitar and vocals, Margey Peters on bass and fiddle, Jim Davis on clarinet and tenor sax and Bill Rankin on drums, this band is HOT! Check them out if you get the chance.

 Featured Blues Review – 1 of 9  

 Mary Washington Brooks – Blues Without Walls

 15 songs – 43 minutes

 Self-produced CD

 With an arsenal of more than 300 songs to her credit, blues shouter Mary Washington Brooks is a familiar voice to music patrons in Southeast Florida, where she delivers original tunes from a woman’s point of view. 

A talented lyricist, she’s got plenty to sing about, having mined a life in which she grew up in a family with 12 children living next to a juke joint in Sarasota, Fla., raised a family of her own and worked full-time as a nurse and nursing administrator in Fort Lauderdale. She’s recorded three previous albums, two of which – “Best Seller” and “Country Blues” – were released on Cliff Ayers’ Emerald label. She left the stage for several years to care for her ailing mother after producing “Rock Your World,” but has penned all of the words for her 12 tunes on this disc. The musical arrangements come from the backing Beer Brothers Band, a West Palm Beach rock cover ensemble who’ve provided the charts as well as four odd, extremely short instrumentals.

Consisting of co-producer Doug Ellman on guitars, Jim Keegan on bass and Ray Williams on drums, the Beer Brothers are joined here by three longtime Fort Lauderdale blues/R&B favorites – keyboardist Motel Mel Seba, harmonica player Gustavo Lezcano and saxophonist Stuey Blue – who take the edge off as they provide more of a blues sound.

Brooks kicks off the disc, which is available through CDBaby, with the autobiographical “Called To Sing The Blues.” It’s a slow, loping tune with a good message: “Some people are called to the altar/To say a little prayer for you and me./Some people are called to the military/To help keep this great country free/But I was called/Yes, I was called to sing the blues.” A rapid-fire shuffle, “I Gotta Monkey On My Back,” follows featuring Motel Mel on the keys as Mary relates her desire to split from her lover, “a jackass of a man.” Ellman contributes a little call-and-response on the guitar before finishing the tune with a well-paced solo.

Lezcano’s harp comes to the fore for the intro to “A Woman Scorn,” in which Washington Brooks details what will happen if you cross a lover: “You’ll regret you were every born.” Another shuffle, “Don’t Short Change My Money,” follows with the drums high in the mix. After a six-second instrumental from the band, she launches into “Jonesin For The Blues,” clearly the best number so far. The arrangement gives her room to stretch out. A solo from Blue provides a welcome interlude.

“Miss Anne” is a five-minute blues-rocker with a psychedelic feel about a woman with magical powers before “Leave Your Checkbook On The Bed,” another uptempo shuffle dealing with the end of a relationship. Another instrumental — this time lasting 38 seconds — precedes “Looze My Number,” another shuffle in which Mary delivers the message that if you’re looking for someone to cook three meals a day or wash your clothes, you’d better look another way. Keyboards and horn come to the fore as the rest of the band controls the bottom.

Another Lezcano solo kicks off “I’m Hungry For Some Mo’ Of Your Love,” a song of desire after a night of sexual pleasure. Another 28-second instrumental leads in to “I’m My Momma’s Child,” “You Got Permission” and a 41-second instrumental, which closes out the set.

Washington Brooks’ vocal range is limited, but so was that of Koko Taylor, the late undisputed Queen Of The Blues. Mary’s passion for the music is boundless, and her lyrics are worth a listen.

Reviewer Marty Gunther has lived a blessed life. His first experience with live music came at the feet of the first generation of blues legends at the Newport Folk Festivals in the 1960s. A former member of the Chicago blues community, he’s a professional journalist and blues harmonica player who co-founded the Nucklebusters, one of the hardest working bands in South Florida.

 Featured Blues Interview – Samantha Fish  

The influx of female Blues guitarist in the past few years is refreshing and impressive. These ladies can burn and aren’t afraid to show anyone who cares to listen.

Kansas City native Samantha Fish has been at it now for 10 years and is taking her place alongside notable players of both genders as she blazes her away across the country wowing audiences everywhere with her diverse blend of low-down Blues, Blues rock and self-penned Blues ballads.

“I come from a musical family,” Samantha says. “We listened to music all the time around my house. I started off playing the drums. That’s where my schooling started. When I was 15 I switched to the guitar. My dad played the guitar with his friends at our house. They threw a lot of music at me when I was a kid. That’s where it all started. I always thought it was impossible (to learn to play). I was fascinated by how players could play and sing at the same time. I fell in love with it.”

After spending her early years sneaking in to catch the touring Blues artists who played at the world-famous Blues joint, Knuckleheads Saloon, in Kansas City, Mo. Samantha turned 18 and could get in on the legit. She made friends with the locals and could be found often sitting in with whoever was performing on a given night. It wasn’t long before music…Blues music, became her obsession.

“My parents were a little skeptical about it all at first,” Samantha admits. “They would prefer I had a Plan B, something to fall back on in case the music didn’t work out. I just didn’t have a Plan B. I really didn’t have a Plan A. A lot of people don’t know how to take their playing from a hobby to a business. That’s the scary part.

“I used to listen to the radio every morning before school,” she says. “We had it on the classic rock station. Lots of Rolling Stones, Tom Petty, Stevie Ray Vaughan. Tom Petty was my parents’ favorite. When I heard Stevie I said ‘I wanna do that.’ One time I was stuck in Florida in a hotel for two weeks while it was pouring rain. All I had was a DVD of Stevie Ray on Austin City Limits. No guitars, so I watched it over and over. I was fascinated by the power trio. I had never seen anything like that before. That’s where I got the idea for a power trio. Stevie Ray was like a gateway drug.”

In 2010 Samantha recorded and produced a live album entitled Live Bait which caught the attention of Tina Terry of Piedmont Talent who saw Samantha perform at Knuckleheads. She liked the show so much that she told, Steve Hecht, Piedmont’s director who in turn who called Thomas Ruf of Ruf Records and told him all about the young guitar whiz. It wasn’t long before Samantha was offered a recording contract. Ruf immediately put Fish on Girls with Guitars, a record that put her in the company of female Blues artists Cassie Taylor and Dani Wilde. The act was a hit on the Ruf Records 2011 Blues Caravan in the U.S. and Europe.

Samantha downplays any talk of competition between the Blues ladies on the tour. She said she had the future on her mind when she signed with Ruf and agreed to the tour.

“I don’t get that whole competitive thing, especially when I play with the girls,” Samantha says. “We’re different guitar players trying to do our own thing. We enjoy playing together and want it to sound good. I thought since the Blues Caravan is an established tour, I could play these shows and debut myself on their label to help build up an audience. Then if and when I came back with my own band it would be a lot easier. It was fun. We had a lot of good times on the road.”

Keith Urban and Sheryl Crow were some of Samantha’s earliest influences before she discovered the Blues.

“I went to one of his (Urban’s) concerts when I was 17 and that’s when I decided I wanted to learn how to play lead,” Samantha says. “I’m influenced by different styles. My dad took me to a Sheryl Crow show. It was my first concert and I was like ‘Why would I want to go see her?’ She blew me away. She is such a strong woman. Not only does she sing and play but she writes her own music. It’s not all about shredding on stage or vocal gymnastics. I want to be known as a singer/songwriter as well as a guitarist. Bonnie Raitt is another influence. I love the Blues women like Aretha (Franklin) and Etta (James). After listening to Stevie Ray I started doing my homework and going back to the Delta to find out more about the players and where these fantastic songs came from. Skip James, Son House. Those guys. Now, I’m into guys like Mike Zito, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Tommy Castro, and Tab Benoit. These guys have all been very supportive and helpful to me.”

Samantha is well aware of the scrutiny she must endure as a female Blues guitarist in a male-dominated genre.

“People don’t always take you seriously,” she says. “On one hand people come out to see a girl play because they are intrigued. Just because I am a female and I play guitar doesn’t make me a gimmick. I don’t believe in gimmicks or being a novelty. Of course some people come just because you are a girl and find out we have so much more to offer once they’re in the door. It does get them in the door, but they’re skeptical. The hard part is winning them over. The key to it all is creating your own sound. That’s the only way to succeed. I’m constantly working on my songwriting and trying to improve.”

After touring Europe with the Samantha Fish Band and being invited to play on Tommy Castro’s Rhythm & Blues Cruise, the United States is wide open territory for the band.

“We’re still excited to play new places and there are lots of places we haven’t been,” Samantha says. “We are playing Phoenix this week and are really looking forward to that. We’ve never played there before. We’re still young enough that touring hasn’t become drudgery. I haven’t become jaded or cynical…well maybe a little cynical but we’re going to make the most of things and take them as they come.

“We love doing the festivals,” she says. “Just looking out there and seeing the sea of faces is inspiring. But then there’s something about being in a packed club with no room to move that can be just as much fun. We like to play anywhere they’ll have us.”

“We” is the new Samantha Fish Band consisting of Sam on guitar, Go-Go Ray on drums and Chris Alexander on bass. She speaks highly of the guys.

“We’ve really got a hot trio now. I’ve got Go-Go Ray on the drums,” Samantha says. “He won the 2010 Roland Championship in Las Vegas, which is huge for drummers. He’s just a monster. Then I’ve got Chris Alexander on bass who came to us through Mike Zito. Mike used to pay with Chris down in Austin! It’s just been so much fun.”

On stage Samantha can sometimes be seen playing a cigar-box four-string rig she says adds variety to the show.

“It has four strings and I bring it out to add another layer to my show,” she said. “I’ve also got an oil-can guitar and I bring out an acoustic. We’re always trying to keep it fresh and add layers to the set. We’ve seen enough and played enough shows to know you can get tired of playing the same thing night after night.”

Samantha’s latest album, Black Wind Howlin’ features a stellar lineup of artists who bring many years’ experience to the project. Samantha says she is particularly grateful to the help she gets from mentor Mike Zito.

“This was a fantastic bunch of guys to work with,” she says. “Yonrico Scott on drums. Jumpin’ Johnny Sansome on harmonica, Mike (Zito) on guitar. Then we had Paul Thorn, who is not a Blues musician. His music can be classified as more Americana than anything else. He’s been on something like 1,100 sessions. He was just great. It (the record) had nothing to do with gender. They treated me like a musician, not a girl. I feel lucky to have been able to work with those guys.”

To further enhance Samantha Fish’s image and exposure, she won a 2012 Blues Music Award for Best New Artist after her releasing Runaway her solo debut album on Ruf Records. This record was also done with her collaborator and mentor Mike Zito.

“It was very unexpected,” Samantha says. “It’s a very cool feeling. I never expected that kind of recognition this early in my career.”

Being one so young, Samantha says all big shows and new places can go down in her book as highlights but she mentions meeting the great John Hiatt as one of her most memorable encounters.

“We opened for him one night,” she says. “He was just so nice to me. His music covers all genres, not just Blues. The next time I was him he actually remembered my name. I was blown away.”

Optimism about the future of the Blues from a player who is still experiencing the trials and tribulations of being a career musician is encouraging.

“As long as it keeps going it keeps inventing itself,” Samantha says. “It’s never going to be what it was in the early days. It’s still an important time everywhere (for the Blues). Guys like The Black Keys, and Jack White are keeping it alive with their music. It’s all about being relevant.”

Indeed it is.

Visit Samantha’s website at:

Photos by Bob Kieser © 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.

 Featured Blues Review – 2 of 9  

 Back Pack Jones – Betsy’s Kitchen


 CD: 10 songs; 43:00 Minutes

 Styles: Contemporary Electric Blues and Blues Rock

 When it comes to music CD’s, sometimes the cover art catches listeners’ eyes before the songs catch their ears. Case in point: “Betsy’s Kitchen” by the Springfield, Illinois artists collectively known as Back Pack Jones. Featuring a cover graphic of a va-va-voom polka-dot dress, reminiscent of Linda Ronstadt’s on her 1982 album “Get Closer,” this great release promises ‘hot dishes’ when it comes to the blues. It certainly delivers, showcasing the talents of Michael “Big Mike” Wallace on vocals and percussion, guitarist Kirk Lonbom, Michael Baier on bass and vocals, keyboardist Wendell Day, and Harvey Horton on drums and vocals. Within a year of this band’s formation in 2012, they’d made their mark on Memphis’ Beale Street and had festival-goers singing along to their first original number, “Riptide Baby.” After finishing in the top third of blues bands from around the world competing in 2013’s International Blues Challenge, they were again chosen to bring their magic back to Memphis. To enhance their resume, they’ve opened for genre icons such as B.B. King (in November 2013) and Jimmy Thackery.

Momentum this strong is almost impossible to stop, as “Betsy’s Kitchen” clearly shows. Out of the ten original songs on it, several with a full horn section, the following three have the best chance to sway crowds and judges:

Track 01: “Riptide Baby” – It’s plain to see why blues lovers on Beale Street love this sizzling song. Mixing a timeless lyrical style with contemporary instrumentation, this tale of woe comes with one of 2014’s catchiest choruses: “You’re a riptide, baby. You’re breaking me down. You’re a riptide, baby; you’re making me drown! You’re a riptide, baby – you open the gates. You’re a riptide, baby: it may be too late!” Wendell Day’s wicked-good keyboard solo is a deluge of delightful notes, calling the 1950’s to mind.

Track 03: “Fixin’ to Leave” – Akin to scrumptious meat and potatoes, track three is the most traditional entrée offered in “Betsy’s Kitchen”. It’s comfort food for those who grew up listening to masters such as B.B. King, and for those new to blues, it will fill them up with appreciation for the classic sound of the genre. On trumpet are Jim Culbertson and “AJ” Good, accompanied by Jarrod Hill on tenor sax, Archer Logan on alto sax, and Lawrence Niehaus on bass trombone.

Track 05: “The End” – Cool as a cucumber, “The End” combines atmospheric piano keyboards and contemplative guitar with the album’s best vocals. It’s a thought-provoking examination of life from different perspectives: “The sad man hates the days and nights, but the glad man’s happy while the time is right. But as the day goes on and the years pass by, soon their lives will end. But if they see their fates and change their minds, with love their hearts will mend.”

Hungry for contemporary electric blues and full band dynamics? Come to “Betsy’s Kitchen” and savor the flavor!

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.

 Featured Blues Review – 3 of 9  

 Various Artists – Live From The Slippery Noodle Inn – 50th Anniversary

 Slippery Noodle Sounds – 2013

 Three CD Collection. Disc 1 – 16 tracks; 79 minutes: Disc 2 – 15 tracks; 79 minutes: Disc 3 16 tracks; 80 minutes.

 The Slippery Noodle in Indianapolis occupies a building that has a colourful history dating back to the Civil War, as the most informative booklet in this triple CD package tells us. The recent history of the building saw the establishment of a bar which did a little music to the present day 7/7 music venue and this compilation celebrates the 50th anniversary of the present family of owners.

There have been three previous live compilations of music from the Noodle, released in 1993, 1994 and 1997. All the music on these three CDs was recorded live at the bar between July 2012 and September 2013 and the sound quality is mostly very good.

The music is a mixture of local bands and visiting national acts and most get two numbers each. Whatever your taste in blues and roots music you should find something to please here as we get straight blues, shuffles, soul, blues rock and outright rock too. Probably the only genre notably absent is acoustic blues which may not suit the taste of the Noodle locals!

With so many acts and such a generous helping of material the reviewer has his work cut out to summarise the music on offer. Highlights are many but several left me with a desire to hear more of their work (which is rather the purpose of samplers). Fans of the Allmans should check out Boscoe France who does a great version of Dickey Betts’ “Blue Sky”. The Jon Strahl Band give us some excellent slide-driven blues on “Time Vending Blues” and the traditional “Corinna”. There is a lot of guitars and few horns on these recordings but Greg Foresman has a sax player (Andy Kopis) on a long and interesting version of “32-20 Blues” and a storming medley of JJ Cale’s “Call Me The Breeze” with a slide-driven boogie called “Flesh And Blood”. Female soul singers include Andra Faye And The Rays doing Etta’s “Something’s Got A Hold Of Me” and “Down To The River”.

If blues-rock is your preference try the WT Feaster Band or Ellusion who produce one of the best versions of “With A Little Help From My Friends” you are likely to hear; not blues but really well done. In contrast their other offering is a medley of “Folsom Prison Blues” and “Shout” which blends country and soul/R n’ B in a most interesting way.

Among the better known national acts represented here soulman Johnny Rawls gives us great readings of “Red Cadillac” and “Cheatin’ On Me” which show what a good guitarist he is as well as a superb soul singer. Texas bluesman Andrew ‘Jr Boy’ Jones has an extended workout on “I Know What It’s Like” while Big James And The Chicago Playboys only get one track but appropriately it’s “I Luv Em” (the blues that is!) with plenty of driving horn work from Big James on trombone and trumpeter Charles Pryor.

Soul/bluesman Tad Robinson lives locally but is one of the top vocalists on the current scene and demonstrates that superbly on “Back For More” and “Rich Man”. Biscuit Miller And The Mix give us a great shuffle “Walk With You Baby” on which the two guitarists Alex “Southside” Smith and Mahiko Fujita show a lightness of touch and Biscuit supplies excellent vocals.

It is only possible to select a few of the acts here for comment. Suffice to say that all blues fans will find something of interest here. Here’s to the continued success of The Slippery Noodle – long may it gives us the blues!

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.

 Featured Blues Review – 4 of 9  

 Jim Gustin & Truth Jones – Can’t Shed A Tear

 Self-Release 2013

 14 tracks; 64 minutes

 The debut from Southern California’s Jim Gustin and his band Truth Jones is a well recorded and produced CD that has the sonic qualities of a major label release. Credit for that should go to Terry Wilson who not only produced and played occasional bass, keys and guitars but also brought on board his partner Teresa James on keyboards and vocals.

Other guests include John ‘Rabbit’ Bundrick, (once of Free) and Ed Winquest on keys and Jim Scimonetti on horns. The band consists of Jim on guitar and vocals, Jeri Goldenhar and Jessica Baurer on vocals, Burke Greer on bass, Jim Sipotz on drums, Chuck Goldenhar on harp and Chris Baurer on guitar. The combination of all these musicians gives a full sound in support of Jim’s gruff vocals. Jim wrote all the material, sometimes with assistance from other members of the band, apart from one Teresa James/Terry Wilson song.

The CD opens with “I Gotta Sing” on which the churchy organ and electric piano underpin some strong guitar and a good vocal from Jim. The joyous chorus reflects Jim’s Christian faith but the groove here will appeal to listeners of all beliefs. The ecstatic guitar solo captures the mood well. The title track follows, another upbeat tune with a nice guitar riff, though Jim’s deep voice does sound as if it is struggling a little. “No Faith In Forever” is a stand-out track that brings Jeri to the mike on a sultry shared vocal lead over some swirling organ and saxophone. The organ/piano combination works very well on many tracks here and “If God Made Something Better” is a good example, a lovely tribute to Jim’s wife with a foot-tapping groove and excellent keyboard accompaniment.

“Beauty For Ashes” marks a change of style and pace as a dobro introduces a ballad with deeply personal lyrics about the loss of Jim’s son – a moving listen. The longest track on the album, it also features a superb solo from Chris and some excellent backing vocals from the girls. “Why, Why, Why” brings a country feel to proceedings while “Good-Bye” has Jeri on vocals; Chuck’s harp features on both tracks. The style changes again on “My Baby Just Left Me Again” as clarinet, horns and Teresa’s honky tonk piano bring a NO feel to the song. Jeri sings soulfully on “Fill Up My Soul” where the funky wah-wah riff harks back to soul classics of the past.

“You Never Gave Up On Me” is another personal song from Jim, a loving tribute to his Mother which recounts some of Jim’s past in a country-tinged ballad. Things get rockier on “You Answer Me” as Jim sounds pretty down at first but finds that his prayers are always answered. This fine expression of Jim’s faith comes wrapped in wah-wah riffs and a rousing chorus with full-on organ and chorus of backing vocals, plus a great guitar solo. The only cover is “Life Is Hard, Live With It”, a catchy tune with a strong chorus which certainly has some of the style of its co-author Teresa James with the piano well to the fore.

“What Do You See In Me?” offers Jeri a shot at a soulful ballad which she carries off superbly with Chuck’s harp adding a little colour underneath the keys before the album closes on a slice of pure gospel in “Say Amen”, including a very fast closing section.

This is an impressive debut from Jim and his band. He has had a lot of help from producer Terry Wilson and the keyboard talents of Teresa James and Rabbit Bundrick but you can’t deny the talent revealed here. Some of the lyrics here are deeply personal and, in some case, overtly religious but every track sounds great. All should 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.

 Featured Blues Review – 5 of 9  

 Dan Bubien – Empty Roads

 Self Release

 Having grown up around his musician father in the gritty blue collar Western Pennsylvania town of Aliquippa, Dan Bubien embarked on a lifelong pursuit of music. His band, The Sun Kings, established a strong local career for a decade. His appreciation of blues, soul and funk music come through in this, his first solo effort. His strong songwriting, vocal and guitar playing skills are showcased throughout the recording.

Funky electric guitar buzz-cuts through the mix, underpinning Dan’s forceful “blue-eyed soul brother” voice on the title tune. The funk banner is carried on to the next track “Fight Club”, courtesy of Eric DeFade’s sax and Timmy Mabin’s cool organ styling. “Don’t let them take the fight out of you, don’t let them take away the things you love to do”.

“Crazy Days” is an excursion through a smooth horn driven dreamy groove. Dobro, harmonica and piano interplay take a blues walk down a country road on “Exile Blues”. Slide guitar burns atop some crunchy rhythm guitar on the hard-edged “To Youngstown”. Chris Nacy once again lends his considerable harmonica chops to good affect. Tasty guitar bubbles under the tender ballad that is “Brother”. Here as elsewhere, Dan’s yearning vocals bespeak sincerity.

Morgan Maybray’s haunting backing vocal shoots up out of the mix like a sexy swamp creature on “Dizzy Eyes”, as funky organ and horns dance about. Exuberant, upbeat R&B rears its’ head to propel “Love Games”. Dan’s smooth and slicing slide guitar ups the ante. The easy rolling country blues of “Sniper” closes things out on a sprightly note.

Producer Jay Dudt manages to create a crystal clear soundscape as he brings the various instruments in and out of the mix. Having a choice group of supporting musicians makes his task that much easier. The all original songs presented here are well thought out and executed. Dan’s forte is clearly soul and funk, but he handles the blues with an assured authenticity. A blues aesthetic permeates much of the music included on this recording. The energy and technique are all on display. The only minor flaw is the lack of stronger hooks and melodies. The “in the moment” listening experience is totally rewarding, but the tunes tend not to linger in ones head. That being said, there is much to enjoy within.

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

 Featured Blues Review – 6 of 9  

 Eli Cook – Primitive Son

 Cleopatra Records

 CD: 14 songs; approximately 50 minutes

 Styles: Hard Rock, Blues Rock

 What do contemporary hard rock bands such as Soundgarden and Rage Against the Machine have to do with seminal blues artists including John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters and Lightnin’ Hopkins? That’s what national touring artist Eli Cook seeks to discover on his latest album, “Primitive Son.” He’s been receiving rave reviews from both critics and fellow blues musicians alike. Renowned artist Tinsley Ellis called him a “triple threat, obviously a great guitarist but also an emotive singer and an innovative songwriter. He’s in the vanguard of young, 21st-century blues rockers!” To be sure, “Primitive Son” leans incredibly far to the ‘rock’ side of this Blues Rock genre. Featuring fourteen original songs, this is a take-no-prisoners follow-up to four previous albums. Blues purists will be hard-pressed to find a traditional note among Cook’s tunes, but they won’t fault him for an absence of energy or electric-guitar explosiveness.

According to the band’s website, “Eli took up the guitar as a teenager in the Blue Ridge foothills of Virginia. Following the tradition of the great blues men, he performed in churches and late-night gospel revivals with only his acoustic and deep baritone voice, while playing every hole-in-the-wall bar that could handle his electric power trio. Blending the influences of John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Fred MacDowell, Bukka White and Lightning Hopkins with the likes of Clutch, Soundgarden, C.O.C, and Rage against the Machine, he forged a fresh sound, alive with the southern blues tradition.

“Eli recorded and released his first two albums between 2004 and 2007: the all-acoustic, original-roots album ‘Miss Blues’ Child’ on the Sledgehammer Blues label, and a heavy blues-rock release ‘ElectricHolyFireWater’. During this time he was invited to open for B.B. King on King’s east coast tour. Since then, Eli has shared the stage with Johnny Winter, Robert Cray, Parliament-Funkadellic, Gary Clark Jr., Roomful of Blues and many others. In 2008, Eli released his third self-produced album, ‘Static in the Blood’, a modern R&B/Rock crossover project featuring ornate experimental studio production. The follow up album, ‘Ace Jack & King’, a return to roots-blues and heavy guitars, received critical acclaim. The All Music Guide proclaimed that Eli could be ‘the best blues singer of his generation.’

“In 2013, Eli signed with LA-based label Cleopatra Records to begin work on [this] his 5th studio album, featuring guest appearances by rock legend Leslie West of Mountain, Artimus Pyle (Lynyrd Skynyrd) Reese Wynans of Double Trouble, Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath, Ronnie James Dio) and Tinsley Ellis.”

Perhaps “Primitive Son’s” best song is “Be Your Fool,” featuring Rod Piazza on high-flying harmonica. Overall, Cook’s style is loud, brash, experimental, and full of edgy vocals. Eli played a special showcase at this year’s SXSW music festival, opening for the legendary Johnny Winter. He plans a full tour in late spring and early summer to support this release.

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.

 Featured Blues Review – 7 of 9  

 Barry Big B Brenner – Keep It Clean

 Self Release

 10 tracks / 35:16

 In the last half of the 20th century there was a fundamental change to blues music as electric guitar, electric bass and keyboards breathed new life into this age-old genre. But, there is a still a primal allure to the purity of pre-electric blues, and this is where Barry Big B Brenner excels.

Barry Brenner grew up on the south side of Chicago where he taught himself to play the guitar and sing. Although he became more than proficient with the electric guitar, he decided that his career would be centered on a more acoustic sound. After being in bands and playing along such notable musicians as Albert King and Eric Burdon during his 30 years on the stage, he is now on his own playing a seemingly endless series of solo acoustic club gigs near his new hometown in the Verdugo Hills area of Southern California.

His third self-released CD is Keep it Clean, a collection of ten original and traditional blues and folk tunes. If there is anything you do not like about this release it is all on Barry, as he pretty much did all of the work on this disc. He took care of all of the vocals and instruments (including acoustic six-string, twelve-string and National guitars), as well as all of the production and arrangement. That being said, chances are good that you are not going to blaming Brenner for anything, as this album is a neat piece of work.

The album starts off with “Follow the Drinking Gourd,” a song that begs more research. The exact history of this song is unclear before it was first published in the 1920s, but it is rumored to have connections with the Underground Railroad. Legend has it that the gourd that is referred to is The Big Dipper constellation that slaves used to help to navigate their way to the north. It is a somber folk tune sung in Brenner’s distinctive whiskey voice and accompanied by a few layers of strummed and fingerpicked guitars.

This recording project uses overdubs that allow Barry use vocal harmonies and have more than one guitar on each track, but there is none of the usual big-label polish here. There is a vibrant feel that carries over from his live show (I have attended one of his gigs), and there is a great variation in volume and presence within each song that that adds drama and interest to tunes that have inherently simple words, as well as his amazing instrumentals.

The three instrumentals each have a unique feel, letting the listener know that Brenner is not a one-trick pony on the guitar. “Reap what You Sow” is a slow blues song with heavy National guitar, “Cochinonas” has a jaunty Latin feel and “St. Elmore’s Fire” is a folk blues. They are all very good, but the last one on the list is the standout of the instrumentals, as it has the most interesting melody and harmonies, as well as exceptional slide guitar work.

Some of the tracks are more folk-oriented, but their lyrics carry the spirit of the blues down deep in their soul. These include “The Back of His Hand,” a song that implores the listener to appreciate what they have and to remember that fortunes can change in a heartbeat — this is not the Dwight Yoakam song, in case you wondering. The other is “Stack O’Lee,” which was a #1 hit for Lloyd Price in 1959, though the best version is the one that Mississippi John Hurt cut in 1928. The lyrics are an the intriguing story of Billy Lyons’ murder on Christmas day of 1895 by notorious St. Louis pimp “Stag” Lee Shelton. Brenner brings both of these songs to life with his pleasant voice and harmonies, showing that his guitar is not the only thing he has mastered over the last three decades of his career.

The strongest track on Keep it Clean is Blind Boy Fuller’s 1938 song “Pistol Snapper Blues,” and you may be familiar with the version that was recorded by the Irish blues guitar legend, Rory Gallagher. Barry kept a traditional country blues sound for this song, and when listening to it there is no way to tell that it was not recorded during the 1930s: it is that timeless.

The album ends on a happy note with the title track, which was a hit for Charley Jordan in the 1930s, and more recently covered by Lyle Lovett while Barry was in the process of recording Keep it Clean (bad timing, I guess). Big B’s version benefits from sweet upbeat fingerpicking and the fun lyrics that make it seem more like a good-time summer tune than the southern blues that it actually is.

Keep it Clean is a solid album, and Barry Big B Brenner did a good job of keeping this project on track and arranging a collection of well-matched roots and blues songs that can stand by themselves or work together as a whole. If you like this CD, you should check out his live act, as he has plenty of shows around So Cal, including regular gigs at South Pasadena’s Firefly Bistro for the weekly Burgers, Beer and Blues show and their Sunday Blues Brunch.

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

 Featured Live Blues Review – Springing The Blues   

Springing The Blues – Jacksonville Beach, Florida 4-6 April 2014

Now in its 24th year, Springing The Blues takes place the first weekend of April and always attracts a large crowd. The honour of opening the Friday evening fell to the local Parker Urban Band who treated the crowd to some great soul singing and playing. The band is led by John Parker Urban on guitar, his wife Juanita and Myrna Stallworth on vocals, Eric Bailey on drums, John Mortensen on bass, Manu Blue on harp, Chris Poland on sax and Jim Starr on trombone.

Blues Blast nominee for Rising Star 2013 Brandon Santini from Memphis had been touring Florida for a couple of weeks which showed in a tight band performance behind Brandon’s strong singing and harp playing. The band was Brandon on harp and vocals, Nick Hern on bass, Chad Wirl on drums and JL Fulks on guitar.

England’s Joanne Shaw Taylor relocated to the States a couple of years ago and had appeared at a previous STB festival. The crowd enjoyed her dramatic playing supported by Joseph Veloz on bass and Tony Dicello on drums.

Friday headliner Selwyn Birchwood from St Petersburg FL was also a returnee and got a tremendous reaction from the crowd who loved his soulful and funky take on the blues. Curtis Nuttall was on drums, Huff Wright on bass and Regi Oliver on baritone sax with RJ Harman sitting in on harp for the last two numbers. Selwyn was playing the guitar he won at the IBCs in 2013 for best guitar player. Watch out for his first CD for Alligator, due to appear in June and entitled “Don’t Call No Ambulance”.


Saturday’s show followed on seamlessly with Selwyn’s girlfriend, Betty Fox and her band. Betty’s sassy style provided a good opening act with Betty on vocals, Sam Farmer on drums, Barry Williams on bass and Matt Walker on guitar.

Local heroes Woody And The Peckers have appeared at the festival many times and their twin guitar attack recalled the Allmans at times. Mixing originals with rock and blues classics from the likes of The Doors and Gary Moore the band pleased their fans in the crowd. The band includes Chuck E Chuck on guitar, Joey on guitar and vocals, Armand Blackwater on B3, Woody on bass, Dino on drums and Wanda on backing vocals.

Diedre & The Ruff Pro Band come from Alabama though Diedre played the home girl card as she was raised in Jacksonville! The set was all covers, mainly of soul classics but also diverged into two Hendrix covers, closing with “The Star Spangled Banner”. The band consisted of Diedre on vocals, Joshua Blackwell on bass, Ezra Williams on drums and Diedre’s husband Keith Ruff on guitar.

Whilst several of the Saturday acts were returnees to the festival Mississippi’s Jarekus Singleton was new and wowed the crowd with an impressive set of entirely original music, mainly drawn from a forthcoming debut CD for Alligator. His tone on a custom made, endorsed guitar was superb and recalled festival favourite, the much lamented Michael Burks. The band included Jarekus on guitar and vocals, Ben Stelling on bass, John Blackmon on drums, Chancelor Cain on B3 and André ‘Smooth Groove’ Russell on backing vocals and percussion.

The music of Moreland & Arbuckle has more to do with the Delta/Mississippi Hill country than their home base of Kansas – a fact they demonstrated with an exciting set of originals and well-chosen covers. The lack of a bass did not seem to matter as guitarist Aaron Moreland played bass lines at the same time as slashing slide. The band was Aaron Moreland on guitar, Dustin Arbuckle on harp and vocals and Kendall Newby on drums.

Biscuit Miller & The Mix set out to entertain with flamboyant stage costumes (hats compulsory) and their lively set of Chicago blues mixed with funk was a treat for the dancers. The band was Biscuit Miller on bass and vocals, Bobby Wilson and Alex ‘Southside’ Smith on guitars and Dr Love on drums.

Shane Dwight is another perennial favourite at the festival, running the afterhours jams as well as performing on the main stage. With Tony on drums and Eric on bass Shane’s charismatic lead vocals and guitar were at the heart of everything in the set which went down well with the crowd.

Headliners Victor Wainwright And The Wild Roots had to wait out a thunderstorm to see if it was possible to play. After a delay of some 30 minutes the all-clear sounded and those who had braved the weather were rewarded as the band played a hugely impressive set of rocking big band rhythm and blues with a definite touch of New Orleans in the mix. The Wild Roots is a large band with Victor on piano and vocals, Nick Black on guitar, Billy Dean on drums, Stephen Kampa on harp, Stephen Dees on bass, his wife Patricia on tenor, Ray Guiser on tenor and Charlie DeChant on baritone. A great way to end day two of the festival.

Sunday started in relaxed fashion with local artist and supporter of the festival, Linda Grenville And Friends. The friends included Michael Pearson on guitar, Andy Burke on keys, Ty Hanson on harp, Roy Peake on bass and Bo Walton on drums.

More local heroes followed with John Miller And Baystreet who performed at the very first festival in 1990. In a set of mainly original material John’s band set the feet tapping. John was on bass and vocals, Jim Brown on guitar, Cliff Haber on sax, Mike Hollingsworth on keys and Tom Haller on drums.

Toots Lorraine And The Traffic are another Jacksonville band but they take a more traditional approach to jump blues, merging jazz and swing elements to their original songs. ‘Suited and booted’, the band had everyone dancing and moving as they promoted a new CD “Make It Easy” recorded with Kid Andersen in California. Tyra “Toots” Lorraine on vocals, husband Chad Dant on guitar, Dave Frank on keys, Lawrence Buckner on double bass and Cody Walker on drums.

A fourth local outfit followed in Mama Blue whose larger than life personality was matched by strong songs and great vocals in a ‘soul meets rock with a touch of gospel’ approach. Mama Blue on vocals, James Rhodes on guitar, Charlie Bell on keys, Aaron Plotz on drums, Manu Blue on harp and John Mortensen on bass. John and Manu were making their second appearance of the weekend having played with the Parker Urban Band on Friday.

The return of Eric Steckel made the flyer for the weekend and he did not disappoint. With a first CD at age 11, Eric appeared in 2002 and has grown up with Springing The Blues but had not been on the bill for a few years. The boy had become a man and his lightning fast fingers caused gasps from the crowd in a set that had some straight blues alongside SRV meets Led Zeppelin riffing. The band was Eric on guitar and vocals, Robert Sands on keys, Rick Prince on bass and Andrew Haley on drums.

Orlando’s Legendary JCs brought a soul revue with a dynamic frontman to the stage with an ensemble of eight players: Eugene ‘JC’ Snowden on vocals, walkabouts and gymnastics, Katie Burkess on vocals, Andrew Rice on keys, Clay Watson on trombone and washboard, Mike Lashinsky and Roland Simmons on guitars, Craig Cobb on bass and Aaron Fowler on drums.

Closing the weekend were The Lee Boys whose powerhouse approach to sacred steel music had the dancers out in front of the stage. A band of relatives, The Lee brothers fronted on guitar and vocals with nephews Earl Walker on the drums and Roosevelt Collier on pedal and lap steel, alongside bass and keyboard players whose names we did not get.

Next year will see the 25th Springing The Blues and the organizers are already planning something special for the occasion. Worth a visit for blues lovers everywhere!

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.

 Featured Blues Review – 8 of 9  

 Annika Chambers & The Houston All-Stars – Making My Mark

 Montrose Records

 12 tracks / 54:56

 Houston native Annika Chambers did not take the usual journey to arrive at her music career. After singing in church as a youth, her interest in the blues truly blossomed after performing in a talent show in Kosovo during her enlistment in the army. Despite the allure of exotic locales such as Iraq, she mustered out after eight years and returned to her home in Texas where she worked with two producers, Montrose Records’ Richard Cagle (a Houston voodoo blues god) and Grammy Award winner Larry Fulcher, to make her dreams a reality.

Making My Mark is Annika Chambers & The Houston All-Stars’ debut album from Houston’s Montrose Records. “All-Stars” may seem like hyperbole, but this is not just a clever name, as she is backed up on this project by some of the best in the business. Besides Fulcher on bass, other Grammy winners and nominees include Samantha Banks and Tony Braunagel on drums, Skip Nalia and David Delagarza on keys, and Darrell Leonard on trumpet. Besides the folks, there are more talented locals that helped out, such as Barry Seelen and Randy Wall on keyboards, Brad Absher, David Carter and Corey Stoot on guitar, Anthony Terry on sax, and Nicoya Polar and Sheree Howard on backing vocals.

This album was engineered by Cagle and mixed by six-time Grammy winner Joe McGrath. Seven of the twelve tracks on Making My Mark are originals, and the first track, “Move” is one of these, with writing credit going to Chambers, Larry Fulcher and Dominique Fulcher (his daughter). This slow and funky soul song kicks off Annika’s debut album with a light version of her biography that is accompanied by fat bass, a healthy dose of smoking guitars from Stoot and three different sets of keyboards. The overall sound is huge and is an appropriate foundation for Chambers’ strong vocals.

Annika is not afraid to get down and dirty, as proven by the lyrics from “Barnyard Blues and “Lick ‘er,” which have more euphemisms and double entendres than you can shake a stick at. “Barnyard Blues” is a fun shuffle with a walking bass line and tight horns from Leonard and Terry. “Lick ‘er” takes the usual blues drinking song a little further than usual as Chambers lets her man know that what she has does not come from a bottle. Braunagle hammers the funk beat down on the skins while Seelen and Delagarza set the mood on the Hammond and clavinet.

Annika goes off the well-traveled blues and funk path with “That Feel Good,” which was also written by Dominque Fulcher. It starts out as a more conventional funky soul song with Annika digging down deep, but it is flavored with hip-hop as Fulcher adds a light rap vocal that is punctuated by Turner’s sax and a distorted guitar solo from Stoot. It might seem strange when reading this description, but the proof is in the pudding and this track clicks when all of these pieces come together.

Variety is the spice of life, and the covers that were chosen for this album reflect this philosophy. These are a well-rounded group that includes Bobby Charles’ “Jealous Kind,” Average White Band’s “Put It Where You Want It,” Steve Cropper’s “Love’s Sweet Sensation”, Faye Adams’ “It Hurts Me to My Heart” and B.B. King’s “Let’s Get Down to Business.” Of these, “It Hurts Me to My Heart” is the standout piece, and Annika puts a ton of soul into Adams’ 1954 single. She shows an admirable vocal range as well genuine emotion as Carter tinkles the ivories and Carter tears off yet another ultra-clean guitar solo in this New Orleans-flavored song. The end result is a respectfully modern update to a classic tune.

Making My Mark is a strong debut for Annika Chambers & The Houston All-Stars, and her supporting cast has not only proven that not only that they are musicians, but that they are also able to nurture and bring out the best of new talent such as Annika. She has indeed made her mark, and with her talent and positive attitude, the world is hers for the taking!

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

 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.

Prairie Crossroads Blues Society – Champaign, IL

Prairie Crossroads Blues Society is hosting Kilborn Alley’s 14th Birthday Party, Saturday April 26th at 9 pm at the Iron Post, 120 S. Race St., Urbana, IL. Joining Kilborn Alley for the celebration is Jackie Scott of Jackie Scott & the Housewreckers. Cover $12, $10 for PCBS members.

On Sunday May 18th Prairie Crossroads Blues Society is bringing recently signed Alligator recording artist Jarekus Singleton to Champaign. Jarekus will be performing at Memphis on Main, 55 E. Main St. from 6pm-9pm.

For more info: or

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

Friends of the Blues – Kankakee, IL

2014 Friends of the Blues Concert Series –  All shows held in Kankakee, IL unless otherwise noted.

Thursday , May 8, Tullie Brae, Moose Lodge, Tuesday, May 20, Ori Naftaly Band, Moose Lodge, Thursday, June 5, Sad Sam Blues Jam, Moose Lodge, Tuesday, June 24, Jason Elmore & Hoodoo Witch, Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club, Tuesday, July 8, Brandon Santini, BB Sportsmen’s Club , Wednesday, July 16, Albert Castiglia, Longbranch Restaurant, Thursday, July 31, Terry Quiett Band, Venue TBA, Tuesday, August 12, Laurie Morvan Band, Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club, Tues or Thur, August 26 or 28, Nikki Hill (& Matt Hill), Venue TBA, Thursday, October 02, Sena Ehrhardt, Moose Lodge

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.  Advanced tickets are on sale now. The festival will be held at the Rockford Aviators Stadium in Loves Park off Riverside (just east of the I39/90 exit). You can order tickets online for $10 plus a service charge at:

You can also send a check for $10 per ticket and a SASE to: Field of Blues Festival Tickets, c/o Crossroads Blues Society, PO Box 840, Byron, IL 61010.

You can also go to the following locations in Rockford: Guzzardo’s Music, Culture Shock, CD Source, Toad Hall Records, Alpine Bank (Highcrest, Springcreek, East State and Cherry Valley Branches), Just Goods Store, and the Rockford Area Arts Council. In Loves Park The Hope and Anchor is also selling tickets. Gary’s Guitars in Beloit will also be selling tickets as will the Aviators box office and other locations.

Headlined by the great blues and soul singer John Nemeth (8 PM), Crossroads has a great lineup for 2014! At 6 PM Doug Deming and the Jewel Tones will appear with Dennis Gruenling on harp. The 4 PM band is the ever popular Jimmys! Liz Mandeville is on stage at 2 PM and the day opens with Crossroads Blues Challenge winner the Alex Wilson Band. Dan Phelps will appear between acts.

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. April 28 – Greg Glick, May 5 – Rockin’ Johnny

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

 Featured Blues Review – 9 of 9  

 The Blues Doctors – Roosters Happy Hour

 Modern Blues Harmonica Label

 13 songs – 52 minutes

 Mississippi-based Adam Gussow and Alan Gross – the eponymous Blues Doctors – are a two-man band with some serious history. Gussow is probably best known for his 25 year stint in Satan and Adam, as well as being an award-winning author, the founder of and the organiser of the Hill Country Harmonica festival. Gross, whilst perhaps less recognized (Roosters Happy Hour is his recording debut), has a resume that includes playing guitar with Terry “Harmonica” Bean, Kenny Kimbrough, Lightning Malcolm and Eric Deaton. And both men hold down day jobs as professors at the University of Mississippi: Gross in clinical psychology and Gussow in English and Southern Studies.

The duo named the album after their steady Friday night gig at Rooster’s Blues House in Oxford, Mississippi, where they first played together. Gross plays electric guitar. Gussow plays harmonica, tambourine pedal and kickdrum. They both sing and together they make a big and hugely enjoyable sound.
Featuring covers of some very well-known blues classics (“Pride and Joy”, “Sweet Home Chicago”, “Rock Me”), some R’n’B oldies (such as Stanley Turrentine’s “Sugar” and Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon Man”) and the jazz-funk of the Crusaders’ “Put It Where You Want It”, together with some solid originals by Gussow, it is easy to imagine how popular this duo must be down in Oxford, Miss.

Opening with the aforementioned “Put It Where You Want It”, one of the album’s several highlights, it is immediately obvious why the Blues Doctors work so well together. Gussow’s DIY percussion beats out an incessant rhythm, Gross’s imaginative guitar work provides understated rhythmic support and Gussow’s virtuoso harmonica adds the catchy melody. When it is time for Gross’s solo, Gussow provides supportive backing harp.

And the musicians make the most of the limitations imposed on them by the fact that they don’t have a full band behind them. Sometimes over-played songs such as “Pride and Joy” and “Rock Me” take on a new life when treated almost as acoustic duets.

Seven of the 13 songs are instrumental on Roosters Happy Hour. Gussow takes the majority of the vocals but Gross also sings on “Rock Me” and “Trouble In Mind”. Perhaps because this is his recording debut, he sounds a little under-confident in his voice, which is a shame because he has a sly, knowing voice that would benefit from a little added attitude. Gussow’s voice reminds me somewhat of Kim Wilson’s – not in timbre or voice type, but in his eschewing of any attempt to sound anything other than himself, which also makes his vocals particularly affecting.

The key to the album however is Gussow’s wonderful harmonica playing, which meshes technical brilliance with deep blues feeling – constantly inventive, constantly entertaining and constantly enjoyable. For the musicians out there, Gussow helpfully even provides details of the relevant harp key (and whether or not he is using a chromatic harp) in the liner notes.
The Blues Doctors initially got together for a Friday night gig and Friday nights are special the world over. No matter what you actually do with your weekend, a Friday evening offers the limitless blank canvass of potential – anything could happen, even if you know it probably won’t. Grab yourself a copy of Roosters Happy Hour, grab a beer, and kick back in the Friday evening sunshine that this album provides 24/7.

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.


Blues Overdose 4/24/2014 – 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

Delta Generators

“Get On The Horse” from the album Get On The Horse

On their new third release “Get on the Horse”, Delta Generators have stepped up everything from songwriting to production. This album was mixed by famed Grammy winning producer David Z. (Prince, Eric Clapton, Jonny Lang, Buddy Guy, Etta James, Gov’t Mule etc.). The album was then mastered by Dave McNair (David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Los Lobos, Derek Trucks etc.). “Get on the Horse” was recorded just like every other DG album, live in the studio, with a few overdubs after the fact. The songs range from roots rock to slow blues, Americana to funky soul. This album was funded by DG fans through “Get on the Horse” has already been nominated for “2014 BLUES ALBUM of the YEAR” by the Independent Music Awards. (

In the last couple of years, the Delta Generators have shared the stage with such acts asRobert Cray, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Three Dog Night, James Cotton, Jimmie Vaughn, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Johnny Winter, Walter Trout, Popa Chubby, Bonerama, Candye Kane, Michael Burks, John Lee Hooker Jr. and Sonny Landreth among many others. Get your CD or download of this new album now, see tour dates and more at:

Our MP3 title track “Get on the Horse” from our new album is attached. Album release date May 6th, 2014, but it’s already available for sale on our website and iTunes, Amazon Mp3 and all other maker online retailers.


Click HERE to download these Free tracks on our Soundcloud


Lisa Mann

“Move On” from the album Move On

Lisa Mann reminds you in this funky title track to keep pushing forward no matter what slings and arrows may fly your direction, and Her Really Good Band provides the Hallelujah chorus to back her up. Hailing from blues-soaked Portland, OR, Lisa Mann has been awarded the Cascade Blues Association’s coveted Muddy Waters Award 8 times for her skills on both vocals and bass guitar.  Originally from West Virginia, Mann’s voice effortlessly straddles the line between the honey sweet warmth of the South, and the force-of-nature sound Mann has cultivated by mastering everything from rock to Memphis soul. Her clever blues balladry is complimented by her considerable prowess on bass, with grooves that touch on the hallowed soil of Soul greats James Jamerson and Bob Babbitt, and the funk of Larry Graham. . For more info visit

Click HERE to download these Free tracks on Soundcloud


Lisa Mann

“I’ve Been Used” from the album Move On

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned… and if you want to know the tragic conclusion of this sordid musical tale, be sure to listen through to the end of “I’ve Been Used.” Guitarist Jeff Knudson delivers a blistering solo leading up to the dark finale. Hailing from blues-soaked Portland, OR, Lisa Mann has been awarded the Cascade Blues Association’s coveted Muddy Waters Award 8 times for her skills on both vocals and bass guitar.  Originally from West Virginia, Mann’s voice effortlessly straddles the line between the honey sweet warmth of the South, and the force-of-nature sound Mann has cultivated by mastering everything from rock to Memphis soul. Her clever blues balladry is complimented by her considerable prowess on bass, with grooves that touch on the hallowed soil of Soul greats James Jamerson and Bob Babbitt, and the funk of Larry Graham. . 

For more info visit

Click HERE to download these Free tracks on Soundcloud


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