Issue 8-18 May 1, 2014

Cover photo by Bob Kieser © 2014 Blues Blast Magazine

 In This Issue

Terry Mullins has our feature interview with Jackie Scott. John Mitchell, Rick Lewis and Mark Thompson have photos and commentary from the Tampa Bay Blues Festival.

We have eight music reviews for you.  Marty Gunther reviews new albums from Eddie Cotton and Mercy. Rainey Wetnight reviews new albums by Matt Scoffield and Bob Corritore. John Mitchell reviews a new release from Damon Fowler and a special Delmark release titled 60 Years Of Blues. Jim Kanavy reviews a new album by Vincent Hayes. Steve Jones reviews a new CD from Mikey Junior.

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

 Featured Blues Review – 1 of 8

Various Artists – 60 Years Of Blues

Delmark 2013

16 tracks; 75 minutes

Delmark Records has been a mainstay on the Chicago scene for both blues and jazz since the 50’s and any self-respecting blues fan who visits Chicago must head for The Jazz Record Mart which Delmark founder Bob Koester founded. This CD celebrates 60 years of Delmark and the biggest problem must have been how to make one disc representative of all the styles of blues on the label and how to make it an attractive item for blues fans who will already have much of the key music on Delmark in their collections. The outcome is a really interesting mix of blues which certainly makes for a great listen.

First we should look at the bedrock of early Delmark releases, traditional blues. Here the compilers (Bob Koester and Steve Wagner) have been clever in finding some unissued material from the likes of Big Joe Williams, Detroit Junior and Little Walter. Walter is in the company of Muddy Waters and Baby Face Leroy on an outtake of “Just Keep Lovin’ Her” from the famous 1950 sessions that spawned “The Blues World Of Little Walter”, a signpost for how blues would morph from the acoustic field songs to the world of electric blues. The Big Joe track comes from a 1960 private tape and finds him solo on a version of the traditional “44 Blues”. Detroit Junior’s version of Big Bill Broonzy’s “Key To The Highway” is an unreleased track from the sessions for “Blues On The Internet” in 2004. Another stalwart of the label was Junior Wells and here the compilers have found an unreleased version of “Rock Me Baby” from the sessions for Southside Blues Jam in 1969 with Fred Belew on drums, Louis Myers on guitar and Otis Spann on piano. Sleepy John Estes is captured live in Japan in 1974, accompanied very effectively on jug and harp by Hammie Nixon doing a song called “Stop That Thing”, taken from an album to be released in 2014.

Forthcoming albums is a neat way to attract the interest of fans anxious to get a sneak preview of their favourites’ next project. As well as the Estes track there is a track from a newly discovered Magic Sam concert at the Avant Garde from which we get “I Don’t Want No Woman” on which Sam’s guitar is beautifully recorded though the vocals a little less so. Former guitarist for Mississippi Heat, Giles Corey will be releasing Giles Corey’s Stoned Soul in 2014 and on the basis of “Oh, Mademoiselle” it will be a rocking affair with lots of wah-wah and clavinet.

Recent Delmark releases also figure. Arguably the strongest cut on Studebaker John’s Maxwell Street Kings’ Kingsville Jukin’ was “When They Played The Real Blues” and that is the opening track here. Lurrie Bell’s Blues In My Soul was an outstanding release in 2013 and the inclusion of “She’s A Good ‘Un” is welcome, as is a track from Linsey Alexander’s last CD Been There, Done That. Bringing things right up to date sonically the title track from Toronzo Cannon’s John The Conquer Root closes the CD with Toronzo tearing it up in great Hendrix style. Interesting to note that Roosevelt ‘Mad Hatter’ Purifoy plays keys on all three of those releases, as he also does on a slightly older album, Quintus McCormick’s debut release Hey Jodie from which we get the excellent, horn-driven “50/50”. Other top Delmark acts are featured: Taildragger brings us his Howling Wolf voice and entertaining lyrics in “Tend To Your Business” from a live 2005 DVD; Eddie C Campbell’s comic “Big World” comes from Tear This World Up in 2009 and Mississippi Heat’s outstanding Let’s Live It Up album from the same year is represented by the title track; Sharon Lewis & Texas Fire’s “Blues Train” comes from The Real Deal in 2011.

So, the answer to how to square the circle on the track selection lies in this judicious selection of material. Every track here is a winner and there is definitely something for every blues fan to enjoy and discover in this one. Recommended.

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 Interview – Jackie Scott

The best gifts are not found on the shelf of an upscale department store or in the front window of some trendy boutique.

Jackie Scott is fully aware of this.

Still, that knowledge didn’t keep her from racking her brain over how to show gratitude to Eddie Shaw for traveling to Virginia to work on a recording project she was heading up.

Then it hit her.

“I was sitting in the studio and they had just finished the last song and I was trying to think what I could get him (Shaw) as a gift for coming down and playing? And as I was watching him listen to the playback, he was rockin’ and laughin’ and smilin’ and I started crying … I just broke like a cheap piece of glass,” she said. “I realized I was trying to figure out some THING to give him, but the greatest gift a musician of his caliber – someone that has dedicated their whole life to the blues – can get, is to know that their music will live on forever. That’s priceless.”

With the worthy intention of trying to raise awareness of not only the blues, but also of the local musicians that play the blues around her hometown of Hampton Roads, Virginia, Scott approached the legendary Shaw about taking part in a ‘757’ project – named for the area-code for the southeast corner of the state.

“I had met Eddie in California and over time we became friends. So I asked him if he would come and record with some of our local musicians. You know, the local musicians are the ones that keep the ground fertile for the great ones (musicians) when they come through town,” Scott said. “And there were about 14 or so of us (on the CD) that all played in different bands. But that was my way in trying to give back to the musicians around my home town; a lot of the musicians that played on the record where playing blues long before I came onto the scene. I wanted to show them how appreciative I was of them, because they have all – in their own way – invested in me.”

That album, Still Riding High – credited to Eddie Shaw & The 757 Allstars – with Scott as executive producer, did just what she hoped it would do. It also found its way to the top of most critics’ ‘best of’ lists, to boot.

“Eddie is rightly known as one of the greatest horn players, but he’s also a prolific songwriter, too. He’s wrote some really great songs and I love listening to the stories he tells through his music and his writing,” said Scott. “He’s just such a humble person. You’d never know all the greats that he’s played with and all the places he’s been, because he doesn’t boast about all that. When he came down to record the CD, the day before he had been in New York playing at the Hubert Sumlin tribute with guys like Keith Richards and Eric Clapton. The whole thing (CD) was really a labor of love.”

‘A labor of love’ would also be an appropriate way to describe the deeply soulful and moving vocal stylings that Scott has become known for. Although her home-base is nearly 900 miles away from the Windy City, Scott is most definitely a Chicago blueswoman, through and through. “Yeah, I’m not from Chicago, but on the inside I am a Chicago blues girl,” she said.

Scott and her band the Housewreckers play from the heart and invoke a lot of the same spirit that made 1950s and ‘60s era Chicago blues such an iconic form of music.

While the way she commands a bandstand is more than enough to make a person sit up and take notice, an equally impressive thing about Scott is the sense of community that she has and her willingness to give back some of what she has been blessed with seems to be the number one thing that motivates her on a daily basis.

“I’ve been heavily involved with the Blues Kids Camp here in my area. I started off working with Fernando (Jones, the camp’s founder) in Chicago and we usually had 100 to 120 kids from all across the country. I did that with him for a couple of years and then went to the (foundation’s) board and asked them if we could have a blues camp here for kids. So last year was our first year and it was very successful. Some of the kids come with everything they need, except for confidence – and that’s what I get to give them. As I’m feeding them, I’m also being fed by their enthusiasm for it, so it’s like a two-way street. Introducing young people to the blues is something that’s very satisfying to me. I just know that in 20 years I’m going to see some of these kids that I had the opportunity – through the camp – to introduce to the blues and they’ll have a good foundation for their music, whatever kind of music it is that they decide they want to play. We want to give them a good foundation and the foundation for all music is the blues.”

Although she’s been devoting the lion’s share of her time to the Blues Kids Camp, Scott has managed to get started on material for the follow-up to 2011’s Going to the Westside.

“Well, I haven’t been able to focus (on a new CD) like I’ve really wanted to, but now that I’ve got a camp here under my belt, I’ve started writing a new CD,” she said. “I do have a title, so far. The title is going to be Hell on Heels.”

Might that title be autobiographical?

“I hope not,” laughed Scott. “But really, blues is a predominately male-oriented genre. But I think the women blues singers that are coming up have something to say, too. So Hell on Heels will hopefully make people think about blues women and what they have to say.”

2010’s How Much Woman Can You Stand earned Scott and the Housewreckers a Blues Blast Award for Best New Artist Debut.

The band also made a deep run in the 2010 International Blues Challenge (IBC), finishing as finalists in the band category that year while representing the Baltimore Blues Society. While Scott would have no doubt have jumped for joy should she have taken the top honor, it was more about proving herself to herself, than bringing home anything for the trophy case.

“My whole idea was, I wanted to see if I could hang. I mean, everyone can sing in the shower. My aunt used to say, ‘Every dog barks loudest in his own backyard.’ So I think you can become stagnant staying in your little corner of the world or in your little comfort zone,” she said. “So it was more about seeing how I fit in, rather than the competition. When you walk away from the table – win, lose or draw – if you’ve given it your best, that’s good enough. Be it was wonderful to participate in the IBC and to actually make it to the finals. We haven’t been back since then, but maybe we’ll go back in the next couple of years.”

In addition to rolling up her sleeves and working on crafting a batch of new tunes for her latest album, Scott will also be preparing for a very special opportunity right in her very own backyard this spring.

“I’m going to open up the Hampton Jazz Festival this year (June 27-29 at the Hampton Coliseum). What’s really cool about that is, the festival started in 1968 and Muddy Waters was the first blues act to play that festival. It’s called the Hampton Jazz Festival, but they always had other kinds of music there, too,” Scott said. “But over the years, they’ve kind of abandoned blues acts – at least for the past six or seven years – and prior to that, it was maybe B.B. King every other year or so. But this year, they asked me to kick off the festival and I’m excited about that.”

Mixing in a healthy dose of the blues at the Hampton Jazz Festival could be considered something akin to the way that legendary promoter Bill Graham used to sprinkle in jazz and blues artists with the rock bands of the late ‘60s and ‘70s, opening up a whole new realm of music to an eager generation of listeners.

“It will be a chance for me to introduce – and re-introduce – blues to people that over the years may have stepped away from listening to the blues, for whatever reason,” said Scott. “I’m excited about that … it’s just a great honor.”

Introducing blues music to the good folks in and around Virginia is something that Scott is not only more than happy to do, it’s a duty that she seems bound to and is a task she approaches with all the requisite determination needed of an ambassador.

“Blues music is on the up-swing around here. One of the reasons is that six or seven years ago, I kind of made up my mind that I wanted to lift blues up and see that it gets the respect that it deserves,” she said. “Blues, to me, is not about black and it’s not about white. It’s just about the music, period. I’ve got a real passion for the blues; it’s not something that I do just to pass the time of day. I love it.”

Blues music is certainly colorblind, but there are pockets around this country – and the globe – where the music still seems a bit segregated.

“It’s funny, but when I first started singing blues, I was surprised that the majority of the audiences I played for were white. So I kind of got on a quest to find out what happened … where the disconnect between black people and the blues was,” she said. “I mean, it’s not just our music, it’s the music of the country. So this quest led me in a lot of different directions.”

Scott found out that it wasn’t simply a case of people in Virginia being allergic to the blues, it was more a case of them needing to be pointed in the proper direction.

“A lot of people just didn’t know where to find the blues in this area. Or when they did find a blues venue to go and see some blues, when they got there, they realized that the people there really weren’t playing the blues. That’s helped to lead to the disconnect. My thing is, if you’re going to play the blues – play the blues. Don’t play at it, play it. And certainly don’t act like if you can’t play anything else, you can play the blues. A lot of people think they can play the blues because they think it is a simple music. But as we all know, sometimes the simplest things are the hardest things to do. But I’m working on trying to raise the level of the blues around here, slowly but surely. You know you can’t cut down an oak tree with one swing, though. Some of the greatest accolades I get are from people that say they didn’t like the blues until they heard us play. Out of all the accolades you can get, that one has to be the best.”

It was through the music of the church that Scott first became enamored with the wondrous world of the blues.

“Well, gospel and the blues are like first cousins, you know? And no other genre of music – other than the blues – gives me the feeling that gospel music gives me,” she said. “I grew up listening to gospel, musically being raised in the church. That music really moves me, just like the blues. Music is just really addictive … sometimes to a fault. But I can’t think of a better drug to be on than music – especially blues music.”

It’s true that a lot of blues music is filled with a minor-key, downtrodden kind of material, but that doesn’t mean that the blues also can’t be an upbeat, toe-tappin’ affair, as well.

“Blues is up-front, personal, come-on-in-and-let’s-have-a party kind of music. That’s what I want to try and get across. If you’re up there on stage, playing the blues and enjoying yourself, I guarantee you the people out in the audience will be, too,” she said. “There’s really no magic formula for it; it just happens. You fall into that groove and in that pocket and then you’re gone … you’ve reached another plateau. That’s the wonderful thing about the blues.”

While Scott is one exceptional bundle of energy and is not content to just hang around and wait for opportunity to present itself to her, she nevertheless realizes the importance of taking a deep breath every now and then, stopping for a second to catch a glimpse of what’s transpiring outside of her normal circle.

“Every time I go out to sing, I represent all the people that invested their time in me and all the people that during my travels back-and-forth from here to Chicago, that I have had the opportunity to watch, listen and learn from,” she said. “I think that a lot of time as performers, we can give ourselves a great advantage by sitting back and looking around and observing. It pays to take a couple of steps back and watch some of the legends that have been around and see just what it is that makes them such classics .. the things that have enabled them to endure playing the blues. They must be doing something special and it’s important that we watch and learn from them while we can. It really behooves a performer to take little tidbits from the masters and incorporate that into what it is they’re already doing. Every time I talk to Eddie (Shaw), I’m able to glean something from our conversation, whether it is about how to be a good bandleader or a songwriter or a performer. That’s invaluable knowledge to be able to obtain. Eddie is a legend and I never forget that. Even though we’re great friends, I don’t want him to ever think I take that for granted, because I don’t. Every time I step out there and represent my genre, I’m representing Eddie and I don’t take that lightly.”

After playing music for years when her situation allowed – working the blues into and around her regular daily vocation and her duties as a mom – Scott can now start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And that light looks mighty nice, thank you.

“All my kids are grown now. I have grandkids and a great-grandson. And I’m at the point now where I can see retirement (from a regular job). I was at the point for a long time where I couldn’t see it,” laughed Scott. “So now, I’ll be able to devote more time to the blues and to my career and to try and guide it in the direction that I would like for it to go.”.

Visit Jackie’s website at:

Photos by Bob Kieser & Marilyn Stringer © 2014 Blues Blast Magazine

Interviewer Terry Mullins is a journalist and former record store owner whose personal taste in music is the sonic equivalent of Attention Deficit Disorder. Works by the Bee Gees, Captain Beefheart, Black Sabbath, Earth, Wind & Fire and Willie Nelson share equal space with Muddy Waters, The Staples Singers and R.L. Burnside in his compact disc collection. He’s also been known to spend time hanging out on the street corners of Clarksdale, Miss., eating copious amounts of barbecued delicacies while listening to the wonderful sounds of the blues.

 Featured Blues Review – 2 of 8

Matt Schofield – Far As I Can See

Provogue/Mascot Label Group

CD: 11 songs; 61:24 Minutes

Styles: Contemporary Electric Blues and Blues Rock

“Nothing is certain but death and taxes,” states a sardonic proverb. What about the blues? Even in this age of digitally-synthesized music and auto-tuned vocals, the genre’s staying power has proven strong. Not only has it flourished in the United States, but ‘across the pond’ in Great Britain. Manchester‘s Matt Schofield is living proof of this. “In Schofield, the U.K. has produced the best Blues guitarist from any country in decades. Head and shoulders above the herd,” reports the Los Angeles Times. Not only that, but Matt was also honored as the British Blues Awards Guitarist of the Year in 2010, ’11, and ’12. He was rated in the top ten British blues guitarists of all time by Guitar and Bass Magazine, along such icons as Eric Clapton and Peter Green. On “Far As I Can See,” his fifth release overall and debut album for Provogue, he presents nine original numbers and two covers (“Breaking Up Somebody’s Home” and “Yellow Moon”). Schofield’s flexibility as a performer is his greatest strength, performing soaring ballads, traditional blues, and lively instrumentals with equal talent:

Track 01: “From Far Away” – In the press release, Schofield comments, “I’m a big lover of science, humanism and their related philosophies. Lyrically, I have known for a long time that I wanted to do something inspired by [Carl] Sagan’s incredible and inspiring monologue ‘Pale Blue Dot’ – this song is my tribute to his beautiful, stirring words.” “From Far Away” captures the intensity and complexity of our universe, especially via Matt’s constellations of electric guitar notes. Calling not only Carl Sagan but Eric Clapton to mind, this opener will put one in a trance.

Track 02: “Clean Break” – Many if not most of us would like to believe love lasts forever. When it doesn’t, as this classic blues shuffle shows, sometimes the best thing to do is call it quits. “Stakes are too high to keep playing at your table. Can’t lose it all – I’m out while I’m still able. Time for separate ways; we gave it our best shot. Well, while we’re standing here, forget the sucker card!” The keyboard and guitar riffs in the middle pack quite a punch.

Track 10: “Tell Me Some Lies” – Hot and danceable Texas blues rock is on the menu, if not honesty. Our narrator doesn’t want to hear the real story from his unfaithful lover: “Sitting at a bar, taking off your ring. You know I forgive you, forgive anything. I know who you are. I know what you do, so tell me some lies. Don’t tell me the truth.” Some listeners may characterize this song as pure rock and roll featuring sizzling saloon piano, but whatever it is, it’s super-catchy.

As “Far As I Can See”, Matt Schofield is on a roll, and so is his sheer mastery of the guitar!

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 8

Damon Fowler – Sounds Of Home

Blind Pig Records

11 tracks; 51 minutes

After the success of Southern Hospitality, his collaboration with fellow Florida-based musicians JP Soars and Victor Wainwright, Damon Fowler has stuck with SOHO producer Tab Benoit for his third Blind Pig release. The album follows the style of its predecessors though it is perhaps a little gentler than 2011’s “Devil Got His Way”. Damon is joined by his regular rhythm section, Chuck Riley on bass and James McKnight on drums, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux shares vocals on the title track and producer Benoit adds some acoustic guitar, pedal steel and background vocals on several tracks. Most of the material is original, Damon collaborating on seven tracks with either Ed Wright or Tab Benoit. There are three covers, the traditional “I Shall Not Be Moved” and songs from Johnny Winter and Elvis Costello. The album was recorded at Tab’s studio in Louisiana.

Damon is well known for his lap steel playing and there is plenty of ominous sounding slide on opening cut “Thought I Had It All”, a cautionary tale of over-confidence: “Thought I had it all, but all had me”. The title track follows with an insistent guitar riff beneath Damon’s vocal before Big Chief joins in with an almost spoken vocal. Damon’s lighter voice harmonises well on this one; he has an effective voice which expresses emotions well, as is demonstrated on “Trouble”, a gentle piece about a doomed relationship: “I’m an addict, you’re my habit, I can’t help myself. Trouble light is shining, I can’t find my way”. Some light, fleet-fingered picking follows in Damon’s solo.

“Spark” is a catchy piece of rock and roll, Damon’s only solo composition here, and it’s a really enjoyable cut with Tab’s backing vocals adding to the sound. There is a touch of country in Damon’s playing here and that influence is also there on the next track, the wonderful title of “Old Fools, Barstools, And Me”. This one is a slower song with some shimmering guitar but it is the combination of Damon’s wistful vocal and the title chorus that gives it that country feel.

Two songs written by Damon and Tab follow. “Where I Belong” is very country in feel with Damon on jaunty lap steel and Tab on acoustic as Damon tells us that his grandma’s favourite song was “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” and that is where he belongs, out in the country with friends and music. In contrast “Grit My Teeth” is a foot-tapper with some more of that insistent riffing that Damon does so well.

Elvis Costello’s “Alison” is a strong song that has been covered many times (I have an excellent version by deep soul singer Charles Walker in my collection). Damon takes the song at a relaxed pace and Tab’s backing vocals are very effective in the chorus but it does feel as if Damon is having to really stretch to make some of the notes in the chorus.

The cover of Johnny Winter’s “TV Mama” is well done with lots of exciting slide playing before we get the last original, “Do It For The Love” where Damon’s twangy guitar and Tab’s pedal steel give the plaintive ballad a real country feel. That feel is maintained through the closing run through “I Shall Not Be Moved” with some more fast country picking and drummer James using brushes effectively.

This album is more a roots than a blues album and follows on from Damon’s previous solo releases with a mixture of styles and playing. Anyone who enjoyed those previous releases will not be disappointed by the new album; those new to Damon’s music should find things to enjoy across this varied and well played set of material.

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 8

Eddie Cotton – Here I Come

10 songs – 39 minutes

DeChamp Records DC100114

Stylish guitarist-songwriter Eddie Cotton has been somewhat of a stranger to the recording studio since making major waves in the blues community with two releases – Live At The Alamo Theater and Extra – a decade ago, but he returns with a vengeance with this simply stated, but powerful collection of all-original material, the first release on Grady Champion’s new DeChamp Records label.

A minister’s son, Cotton grew up singing and playing gospel at church and studying the stylings of B.B. King and other blues artists at home. His single-note technique on the six-string developed while taking lessons from King Edward Antoine. Known as “The Blues Picking King,” Antoine is a Mississippi Blues Trail honoree who has toured internationally with his brother Nolan Struck and McKinley Mitchell.

Cotton studied music theory at Jackson State University before serving a stint as minister of music at his father’s church. He uses blues, funk, boogie and R&B to produce a melodic, straightforward, yet fiery brand of soul-blues that speaks directly to the listener. Eddie handles all guitar and vocal work, assisted by Myron Bennett (bass), Samuel Scott Jr. (drums and percussion), Champion and Carlos Russell (harmonica), and Sam Brady (organ).

Eddie’s stinging attack, which might remind you a little of Otis Rush, is on display from the jump as he announces his return in the deliberate slow blues, “Here I Come.” Like the music, the message is simple, but deep: “Here I am/Still on a mission/So determined/To complete my mission./Here I come/You better have some.” The line’s delivered with a sly chuckle. The strong guitar break shows that he means business.

The song “A Woman’s Love” continues Cotton’s unrushed, slightly-behind-the-beat approach that drives the tune forward. It’s a grinding tribute to the empowerment and encouragement he receives with a good lady at his side while facing the roadblocks life presents along the way. The pace quickens dramatically for “Pay To Play,” a rapid-paced shuffle that takes a different view of romance. In this one, Cotton recognizes that the woman is pure trouble: “I’m not going to tell you my real name/I know to you that seems such a shame./But your kind of love has caused me so much pain.”

Platonic love’s the subject of “Friend To The End,” an R&B pleaser in which Cotton testifies that “I’m just a man/And if I’m wrong/Trust I’ll make it right.” Next up, the funky “Get Your Own” will have you heading to the dance floor as Eddie delivers an inspirational message about not giving up until you succeed at whatever it is you’re after.

Cotton adds a big heaping of funk to the monotonic slow blues “My Boo,” which carries forward the blues tradition of a boast in song form. This time, the artist isn’t crooning about being Jody slipping out the back door or making claims about his sexual prowess. Instead, he’s delivering a sweet song of praise for lady whose magic simply won’t quit. That tune’s followed by “Leave Love Alone,” a harmonica-driven warning about the pitfalls of romance set atop a steady driving beat.

The love theme takes another turn with the loping “Back In A Bit.” This time, the singer calls his lady, only to find he’s phoned too late and she’s hooked up with another man. The message continues with “No Love Back,” a reggae-flavored romp that states: “If you give love long enough/And then you’ll see/Love will come/With no love that’s guaranteed.” The disc concludes with the Chicago-style shuffle “Berry So Black,” which delivers a subtle message about race.

Pick this one up. If you have an affinity for straight-ahead blues with a heaping helping of soul, you definitely won’t be disappointed.

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 Review – 5 of 8

Vincent Hayes – The Grind

10 tracks; 49:15

North 61 Records & Productions LLC

Vincent Hayes is an award-winning West Michigan guitarist and singer. He and his band were 2011 WYCE Jammie Award Recipients for Best Album, Best Blues Album, and Best Group. In 2014 Hayes was the WYCE Jammie Award winner for Best Blues/Soul Album. He has even been a Blues Blast Award Nominee for Best New Artist Debut, Sean Costello Rising Star Award in 2011. His debut album Reclamation made people take notice and his sophomore effort The Grind should solidify his position as a rising force in the blues and blues-rock pantheon.

The debut, Reclamation, was attributed to The Vincent Hayes Project which was a larger band. Keeping only his name from the Project moniker, for The Grind Hayes has pared it down to a trio with David Alves on bass and Donnie Hugley on drums. Hayes uses the full range of tones associated with the Fender flagship guitars. He puts his Strats and Telecasters through the wringer and coaxes emotional responses from the wood and steel. His lyrics are not cluttered with clichés or pathetic attempts to incorporate contemporary jargon. There are no Facebook references, no Tweets, and no twits. Hayes is a smart guy with a fresh approach to songwriting from which other lyricists would do well to draw inspiration.

“All You’ve Got” opens the The Grind with a swirl of Hendrix infused tones, and lyrics that belie Hayes’ approach to life and music. He belts out “Will you stand up for what’s right when you’re called upon to fight for the truth?” and “Will you give up, give in, or give it all that you’ve got?” Vincent Hayes is giving it all he’s got. “Common Vision” packs in everything from ripping guitars and popping bass to scathing social commentary. Hayes knows we’ve been sold a bill of goods by all aspects of society, which will never be delivered. Vincent Hayes hopes for a “Common Vision” that will bring us out of the downward spiral. His solos and vocals are impassioned and burn with the heat of a man who has walked through fire.

“Things That Get Me By” reminds us that in this mixed up world, it’s the little things that get you through. The big picture can be so blurry and clouded you’ll go crazy thinking about it. To survive you have to focus on the small things. “My Guitar And My Baby” carries the idea a little further as Hayes sings about the soul satisfying effects of a good woman and a trusty instrument. “The Other Side Of Town” is a slow burning blues in the style of SRV’s “Tin Pan Alley” or “Dirty Pool.” That’s not to say Hayes copied those songs; rather his fat Fender tones and flowing fretwork conjures the spirit of Stevie Ray the way Stevie tipped his hat to Albert King and Lonnie Mack.

When asked about the concepts on The Grind, Hayes said “It’s dark, murky and an honest look into the way we exist in today’s world, and the questions many of us wake up with every day, and some of us are afraid to ask ourselves. The blues is in everything I do, but I’ve got to write the music I’ve got to write, and sometimes it’s not the blues, nor rock, or whatever. You know, just let music be music, not necessarily defined by a genre or expectations of what that music should or should not be. Reclamation was me saying to the blues world, ‘here I am’, The Grind is more like the bridge to where I’m going.” Vincent Hayes should be going far and will hopefully transcend labels and convention. The Grind won’t be easy to escape but Vincent Hayes has the tools and the attitude to make it..

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

 Featured Blues Review – 6 of 8

Bob Corritore – Taboo

Delta Groove Music, Inc.

CD: 12 songs; 44:36 Minutes

Styles: Contemporary and Traditional Blues Instrumentals

Chicago native, now Phoenix resident, Bob Corritore is perhaps the world’s most prolific ambassador of blues music today. According to his website, not only is he one of the top blues harmonica players on the scene, but also the owner of the Rhythm Room, the radio show host of “Those Lowdown Blues” on WJZZ, founder of the Southwest Musical Arts Foundation, and even a Grammy-nominated harmonica player and producer. Bob’s been involved with this genre for over three decades, beginning with production credits on Little Willie Anderson’s “Swinging the Blues” in 1979. Twenty years later he put forth his “All-Star Blues Sessions,” featuring Pinetop Perkins and “Steady Rollin’” Bob Margolin.

Nothing is “Taboo” for this living legend, including releasing a completely-instrumental CD. Some blues fans may doubt its appeal and consider it ‘artsy-fartsy’ before listening to one song, but this would be a colossal mistake. All of the tracks are either contemporary or traditional blues, never losing their Windy City roots. Accompanying Corritore are such stellar guests as guitarists Jimmie Vaughan and Junior Watson, Doug James on saxophone, Kedar Roy on acoustic bass, organists Fred Kaplan and Papa John Defrancesco, and multiple drummers and percussionists such as Brian Fahey. Of twelve songs, only two are covers (Willie Egan’s “Potato Stomp” and the title track, a 1934 Cuban hit by Lecuona, Russell and Arps). However, each is a work of genius without words. Witness these three in particular:

BEST GUITAR: Track 02: “Many a Devil’s Night” – The blues has often dealt with the darker side of human nature: man’s vices instead of his virtues. This minor-key masterpiece calls to mind the barroom, brothel, casino, and dark alley all at once. Junior Watson’s guitar is sweetly understated here, relying on notes that fall like raindrops at midnight rather than desert-hot riffs – especially in the intro. Co-written by Corritore and Watson, it’s a surefire radio hit.

BEST KEYBOARDS: Track 04: “Harmonica Watusi” – Fred Kaplan’s bouncy “boop-boop-boop-boop” beat on the piano and organ is guaranteed to get live crowds out of their seats and on their feet. Those who remember how to ‘do the Watusi’ might strut their stuff with abandon, while dancers who’ve never heard of that famous 1960’s groove have a chance to learn it – or simply jump up and down. Regardless, this song was absolutely made to be played at parties.

BEST HARMONICA AND SAXOPHONE: Track 01: “Potato Stomp” – Bob Corritore and Doug James set a high benchmark for the rest of “Taboo’s” instrumentation in its opening number. They know that many casual listeners will either be hooked or lost from the first song on any musical album. Thus, they both pull out all the stops on “Potato Stomp.” It’s as tasty as a fresh batch of French fries seasoned with a sauce far hotter than ketchup – classic Chicago blues.

Bob Corritore’s innovative instrumentals should never be “Taboo” on one’s next playlist!.

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 8

Mercy – Voodoo Boogie Train

12 songs – 45 minutes

Self-produced CD

Formed in southeastern France in 1995 by singer, songwriter and guitarist Jean Paul Avellaneda, the power trio Mercy have established a foothold on both sides of the Atlantic with their own version of swamp blues.

Avellaneda may be familiar to American audiences, having toured extensively with Commander Cody harmonica player Billy C. Farlow. The pair collaborated on the positively reviewed “Alabama Swamp Stomp” two years ago after Avellaneda and Mercy had released two previous CDs, “Tribute To Slim Harpo” in 2001 and “Magic,” an album of originals, three years later.

Jean Paul’s joined here by bandmates Romauld Lo-Pinto on drums and Bruno Quinonero on bass guitar. The trio have toured the world and served as opening act for a diverse list of first-tier musicians, including B.B. King, Jimmy Johnson, Robben Ford and reggae superstar Jimmy Cliff.

Jean Paul’s son Stephane, who’s the drummer in Ana Popovic’s touring band, and bassist Sebastien Antonelli also make guest appearances on this disc. Sebastien and French blues favorite Leadfoot Rivet wrote most of the new material, the origin of which came about as result of a trip that Jean Paul made to the Mississippi bayou with Farlow in 2013.

The band drives steadily from one song to another and leaves the station in a rush with the title cut, “Voodoo Boogie Train,” as Jean Paul’s slide guitar with heavy reverb plays atop a syncopated shuffle. The ride leads straight to hell with the singer in pursuit of someone who’s done him wrong. “Atchafalaya Bridge” recounts a trip from Baton Rouge to Lafayette at a similar pace to the song that precedes it but as it delivers lyrics rich with images of the South Mississippi countryside.

The band gets melodic and funky with “A Desperate Man,” the tale of someone who’s lost his job after his company moved the work overseas. “The Beast In Me” paints the subject as a pleasant man, but warns not to take the good guy for granted because the monster’s always lirking inside with an eye out for anyone causing him harm. The mood brightens for “Down The Bayou,” where the singer plans to rendezvous with a lover. It allows Jean Paul space to demonstrate his talent at single-note picking. The girl must be either extremely hot or big trouble because the next song, “When We Go Downtown,” relates that every time she gets dolled up and hits the bright lights, trouble ensues.

Next up, the pace changes dramatically for “You Got Another Lover,” the first slow blues on the disc. It’s a real burner. The tempo remains cool for “Cruel & Busy Blues” before the band kicks into high gear for “In Springtime,” an anthem to romance and new beginnings. It’s the sweetest, happiest song on the disc. The autobiographical “I’m The Guitar Man,” rapid-fire “Don’t Cry For Mercy” and “Summer On The Elk River,” a bayou-tinged instrumental, finish the set.

Voodoo Boogie Train is available through iTunes and Amazon. Jean Paul Avellaneda’s guitar work is solid throughout, ranging from powerful and haunting to sweet, and his vocals are solid, albeit delivered in English with a touch of an accent, which can be easily excused. His rhythm section keeps the train firmly on the tracks throughout. If you prefer power blues trios, this one’s right for you.

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 Live Blues Review – Tampa Bay Blues Festival  

Tampa Bay Blues Festival, Florida 11 – 13 April 2014

A great bayside location, perfect weather and a strong line-up made for three great days of blues at the twentieth TBBF.

Friday’s openers were local heroes and 2013 IBC winners The Selwyn Birchwood Band. Selwyn showed his talent, switching between seated slide and lap steel and standing guitar, drawing mainly from his forthcoming Alligator release. With Selwyn were Regi Oliver on baritone sax, Huff Wright on bass and Curtis Nutall on drums.

England’s Matt Schofield was visibly delighted to get the invitation and delivered fluent playing on a set drawn mainly from his last two albums. The bass-less trio format is unusual with fellow Brit Jonny Henderson on B3 and key-bass and Californian Kevin Hayes (Robert Cray) on drums.

Coco Montoya produced a brilliant set, starting with a 1-2-3 knockout combination of “Wish I could be that strong”, “Back in a Cadillac” and “I need your love in my life” and then gave us a great show from across his entire career, including material from his mentor, Albert Collins. Supporting Coco were René Beavers on drums, Nate Brown on bass and Brant Leeper on keys. Coco will have a live CD out later in the year and on the basis of this performance that will be one to watch out for.

Shemekia Copeland was also on sparkling form, recounting amusing stories between rousing vocal performances on songs from across her career but with an emphasis on the Grammy-nominated “33 1/3”. She closed the set with a beautiful version of her father Johnny’s “Ghetto Child” before returning for a rocking encore of “It’s 2 A.M”. The band was Robin Gould on drums, Kevin Jenkins on bass and Arthur Nielson and Willie Scandlyn on guitars.

Headliner Buddy Guy told the crowd “If you don’t like the blues you shouldn’t have invited me” and worked across an array of material from across his and other greats’ careers. Alongside Buddy at this blues celebration were recollections of Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Hendrix, Clapton and Alberts Collins and King. Buddy likes to clown but the intensity of a song like “Skin Deep” and his sheer energy on stage were impressive. His regular touring ‘Damn Right Blues Band’ followed his every turn: Marty Sammons on keys, Ricky Holland on guitar, Armando Wright on bass and Tim Austin on drums.

Nikki Hill was making her Tampa debut and was dressed to impress for the occasion. With husband Matt on guitar, Ed Strohsasi on bass and Joe Meyer on drums the band rocked hard across rockabilly, rock n’ roll and soul. Drawing heavily on her first CD Nikki also added crowd-pleasing versions of “Twistin’ The Night Away” (dedicated to Rod Stewart though, not Sam Cooke!) and “Sweet Little Rock n’ Roller” to provide an uptempo start to Saturday.

Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials then brought their take on rocking Chicago blues to the stage, ranging across the classic styles from slow blues to blistering slide-driven romps. A walkabout through the crowd during an extended “Icicles In My Meatloaf” gave plenty of ‘Ed Heads’ the chance to get close to the star of the show, ably supported by the Blues Imperials, now in their 28th year as a band: James ‘Pookie’ Young on bass, Kelly Littleton on drums and Michael Garrett on guitar.

Tommy Castro & The Painkillers are a relatively new band but Tommy has been a regular at the festival with his old band for many years. The stripped down quartet puts all the pressure on Tommy’s guitar and vocals and he delivered a solid set drawn mainly from his brand new album “The Devil You Know”. The Painkillers were Randy McDonald on bass, David Tucker on drums and James Pace on keys.

Celebrating an extraordinary 70+ years of bringing gospel music to the masses, The Blind Boys Of Alabama were next up. Opening most appropriately with “People Get Ready” the band brought their gospel harmonies and joyous celebration of their faith to the festival. Leader Jimmy Carter told the crowd that “the Blind Boys like a noisy crowd” and their version of “Amazing Grace” sung to the tune of “House Of The Rising Sun” seemed to encapsulate their ability to sing gospel songs to a secular audience.

Headliner Michael Macdonald now lives in Nashville and had assembled a strong band of Nashville musicians to back him, including Tommy Sims on bass who wrote “Change The World” for Eric Clapton. That link was probably the only reference to the blues in a set that started with two Doobie Brothers tunes and ranged across Michael’s hits and some soul music from the likes of Marvin Gaye. Not a blues act but popular with some of the crowd.

Sunday had a strong New Orleans flavour with three acts from the Crescent City, starting with openers George Porter Jr. With George on bass, Brint Anderson on guitar, Michael Lemmier on keys and Terrence Houston on drums the emphasis was on funky rhythms including some material from George’s days in The Meters. George invited eleven year old guitarist Brandon Niderauer to the stage for a medley of “Smokestack Lightning/Spoonful” to great applause from the blues fans.

 Tad Robinson brought his peerless singing and strong harp playing to the festival in a set that drew from his latest Severn CD “Back In Style” as well as his back catalogue; Tad even included “Last Go Round” from his Delmark days. Amongst the covers was a superb reading of Delbert McClinton’s “You Were Never Mine” – great song, great vocal. Tad’s band included Kevin Anker on organ and bass keys, Chris Vitarello on guitar and Jeff Chapin on drums.

Returning to NO Big Sam’s Funky Nation gave the crowd their version of funk with a very heavy sound which included some rap-style vocals. The band had some of the crowd dancing despite the hot conditions as they pounded through a set that mixed originals with covers from the likes of James Brown and Hendrix. The band was Big Sam Williams on trombone and vocals, Andrew Bahan on trumpet and vocals, Joshua Connolly on guitar, JBLAKK on bass and Chocolate MILK on drums.

Although James Hunter and his band are English they have the ability to hit the sounds of 50’s R n’ B perfectly, covering Sam Cooke style soul and rock n’ roll with touches of rhumba, reggae and jazz in the mix, courtesy of a superb set of musicians: Damian Hand on tenor sax, Lee Badeau on baritone sax, Kyle Koehler on keys, Jason Wilson on bass and Dave Mason on drums, James himself on guitar and vocals. Despite sounding authentically retro the material is all James’ work and his winning smile and cheeky personality deliver the songs in an engaging manner.

Closing the festival was ‘The Soul Queen Of New Orleans’ – Irma Thomas who delighted the crowd with many of her greatest songs and responded to requests, including one song she said she had not played for ten years! Now in her seventies, Irma’s voice was still strong and her large band, The Professionals, gave her excellent support to close the weekend and send the festival crowd home with songs like “Breakaway” and “It’s Raining” playing in their heads.. !

Photos by John Mitchell, Mark Thompson and Rick Lewis as marked.

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 8

Mikey Junior – Traveling South

VizzTone Label Group

12 cuts/47 minutes

The next generation of blues men is well equipped if Mikey Junior is any measure of what is coming down the pike. A stalwart of the East Coast blues scene, Mikey Junior is aptly supported with great production by Dave Gross and a style that just bares it all. The harp work is visceral; there is a raw emotion in what he blows that make the small hairs on the back of your neck stand up and take notice. It is music to both hear and to feel.

His vocals are both gruff and gritty and yet full of sweet emotion. He growls and he purrs as he goes through the set list with what seems like telling us a bunch of dirty little secrets. The rawness of the harp is amplified by the guttural guitar sounds by Gross and Dean Shor. Jeremy Baum adds the keys, Matt Raymond is the bassist and Michael Bram is on drums. This East Coast “mafia” of New York State area blues musicians coupled with this harp master from Pennsylvania are the real deal.

From the opening strains of the harmonica introduction on the title cut that opens the CD I was sold. It did not take several listens to grow on me, tis music just reached out and grabbed me and said, “LISTEN!!!” And I gladly did. The cut twists and screams like a freight train that being held back that is trying to otherwise explode with power. The harp and guitar are distorted and dirty while the bass and drums provide an almost tribal beat that hypnotizes. Needless to say I was impressed right up front.

He continues with “No Body Does It Like Me,’ another dirty and down tempo price that allows Mikey to stoke the flames even higher. In “Morning On My Way” the band sets a groove Mikey sings around and Gross picks around masterfully to start and then Mikey lets loose with the harp solo from hell. He stays in minor keys and down tempo with “Mill Tavern” and yet we are energized by these cuts as Mikey sings of his woes and loves. “Katie Lynn” offers up a bass line that us so heavy the notes seem to break down into broken harmonic pieces as Mikey plans for his next rendezvous with Katie Lynn. His harmonic continues in it’s primordial wails, with bent notes and grunts that emote strong sentiments.

“Bad Time Blues” cleans things up a bit. The organ shifts modes from the dimensions of string theory back into our three dimensional world and the guitar, harp and backline are feature cleaner and less distorted. Mikey of course wails some more on his harp solos. This is amazingly cool stuff and Gross keep up with him delivering the goods. “The Cheat” continues in this vein as Mikey sings of his woman going behind his back. “You” make some interesting percussive statements as Mikey says goodbye to a woman who has taken apart his heart. More dark stuff but it’s just so good you want more. Mikey mixes up some strains that might open a western movie in “She’s Good At Being Bad” as he sings about the best girlfriend he never had. It sort of reminded me of a Clint Eastwood gun shootout that was brewing.

The tempo makes a marginal step up with “Please Come Back” as Mikey asks his woman to come back. The band “strolls” through this one rhythmically and Gross supplies a huge stinging guitar solo as Baum echoes him on the keys. “Wrong Number” is a ballad where Mikey again talks to his woman about coming back, more broken heartedness and lost romances. Mikey closes acoustically with “Trying To Do The Best I Can,” where Mikey sings about, well, you can guess.

There is a lot of hurt emotions being expressed here. The album lacks the occasional big, driving, up-tempo song that changes the pace from time to time, and yet I found myself absorbed by the down tempo, minor keys and pain expressed here. Mikey Junior definitely has the blues.

This is Mikey’s ninth CD release and first on the Vizztone label; he also has a DVD to his credit; he’s quite the prolific musician with all these titles produced in a mere dozen or so years. I was quite impressed with the emotion and feelings expressed here as I was with the wanton abandon of the the vocals, harp and guitar. Strong stuff. The piano and organ are used as filler to weave a stronger feeling to the cuts and the backline duo are just stellar, too. While this might not be the music one should listen to while trying to get weaned from depression, it just might be what the doctor ordered to let see that in comparison to what Mikey is singing about that maybe your relations just aren’t that bad. I highly recommend this CD. It was quite the album of original stuff!!

Reviewer Steve Jones is president of the Crossroads Blues Society and is a long standing blues lover. He is a retired Navy commander who served his entire career in nuclear submarines. In addition to working in his civilian career since 1996, he writes for and publishes the bi-monthly newsletter for Crossroads, chairs their music festival and works with their Blues In The Schools program. He resides in Byron, IL.

 Blues Society News

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Central Iowa Blues Society – Des Moines, IA

Iowa Blues Challenge Finals – Four Bands will compete at Hotel Fort Des Moines Saturday, May 17th 8:00 PM. Competing bands will be The Harris Collection, Mercury Brothers, Hot Tamale and the Red Hots, Jefferson County Green Band. $10 cover or $7 for all Blues Societies card carrying members

Hotel Fort Des Moines room rates for the event are $99 single $119 double Call 1-800-532-1466 for reservations

The 2014 Iowa Blues Challenge is proudly sponsored by Central Iowa Blues Society, Mississippi Valley Blues Society, Lizard Creek Blues Society, South Skunk Blues Society, Southeast Iowa Blues Society, Budweiser, Summit Brewing Co., Cityview, Junior’s Motel, Rieman Music, Zimm’s Food & Spirits and The Muddy Waters. For more information check out

River City Blues Society – Pekin, IL.

River City Blues Society presents live Blues featuring Johnny Rawls 7:30 pm Friday May 16th 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

Prairie Crossroads Blues Society – Champaign, IL

Prairie Crossroads Blues Society presents recently signed Alligator recording artist Jarekus Singleton. Jarekus will be performing at Memphis on Main, 55 E. Main St. from 6pm-9pm. Sunday May 18th. For more info: or

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

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. May 5—Rockin’ Johnny, May 12—Black Magic Johnson, May 19 – The MojoCats, May 26 – Luca Giordano & Quique Gomez, June 2 – James Armstrong, June 16—Mary Jo Curry & Tombstone Bullet, June 23—Reverend Raven & The Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys, June 30—Chris O’Leary Band

Other events sponsored by ICBC – May 1 & 15 – James Armstrong Presents @ Casey’s Pub, 7pm, May 3 – TRN Club Blues & BBQ w/Brooke Thomas & The Blue Suns, 6 pm, May 31 – Lake Press Club, BBQ & Bues, James Armstrong, with special guest, Mary Jo Curry & Tombstone Bullet, 6:00 pm, June 7 – Luca Giordano & Quique Gomez @ The Thirdbase, Blues at the Base series. 8 pm, June 14, Blues for Abraham Festival @ K of C on Meadowbrook Road, 2 – 10 pm. Rick Estrin & The Nightcats. w/Susan Williams Band, Monica
Morris & Josie Lowder, Robert Sampson & The Gumbo Band, Black Magic Johnson. Followed by and after fest jam at Casey’s Pub, hosted by Mary Jo Curry & Tombstone Bullet & The MojoCats.

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

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

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