Issue 8-22 May 29, 2014

 In This Issue  

It is our monthly Blues Overdose Issue with FREE Blues music tracks for you to download! Check it out below!

Terry Mullins has our feature interview with Dan Aykroyd. Terry also profiles Dan’s new Bluesmobile sidekick, C. C. Rider.

We have seven music reviews for you.  Rex Bartholomew reviews a new album from The Georgia Flood. Steve Jones reviews a new album by Franc Robert. Rainey Wetnight reviews new releases by The Bluesmasters and John McVey. Rhys Williams reviews a new recording from Indigenous featuring Mato Nanji. Tim “Bluzybiker” Petty reviews a new CD from Richard Ray Farrell. Jim Kanavy reviews a new album from The Rhythm Rockets.

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

 From The Editor’s Desk  

Hey Blues Fans,

Ok it is Blues Overdose time again and this week we have 8 free Blues tracks including music from Billy Pierce & Friends, David Vest, John McVey, Josh Hoyer And The Shadowboxers, Oz Noy, Planet Full Of Blues,Gaetano Letizia and The Reverend Shawn Amos.  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

 Featured Blues Review – 1 of 7  

 The Georgia Flood – The Georgia Flood

 Self Release

 12 tracks / 41:08

 One of the great things about the blues is that it attracts a never-ending stream of young musicians, so there is a constant inflow of new ideas and sounds that keeps the genre evolving. A great example of this is The Georgia Flood, a rocking blues trio from just south of Atlanta. The band’s line-up includes brothers Brooks Mason on guitar and vocals and Lane Keely on bass and backing vocals, and Kyle Egart on drums (J.C. Freeman was behind the drum kit for this CD). They are indeed quite young, ranging in age from 17 to 22, and they all attended the same high school!

These men have an impressive gigging schedule around Atlanta, and were chosen to represent the Atlanta Blues Society at the 2013 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee. They have taken the energy of their live shows into the studio and produced their debut CD, The Georgia Flood. It includes five original tracks that were penned by the brothers, and seven cover tunes that exhibit the band’s influences and their impeccable blues taste. This is a self-produced disc that benefited from the participation of Rich L’Hommedieu at Midnight Circus Productions, who took care of the recording, producing and mixing chores.

The album kicks off with Albert King’s “Crosscut Saw,” which lets the listener know that this trio has respect for the fine blues music that was on the air in the 1960s. They eschew King’s Latin grooves and take this song in more of a funk direction that includes plenty of round bass and syncopated rhythm guitar. Brooks Mason shows that he is a fine frontman, and though he is the youngest member of the group, his voice shows surprising maturity as he belts out one nasty innuendo after another.

Their original songs are well-written, and the first one up is “Bad Times are Here,” a slow-driving blues rocker that features heavily distorted vocals and guitar. The lyrics are crafted to resonate with the youth of today as they describe a different economic climate than the one that many of us grew up with. Standouts of their originals include “I Thought I Was a Man,” a straight-forward blues tune that has some amazingly hard to accomplish lyrics, and “I Ain’t Sick,” a slow-burner that harbors a panoply of tasty guitar work. Both do not stray far from the blues mainstay of a man who is out of luck in the love department.

The covers include “Messin’ with the Kid” from Junior Wells and a pair of difficult to sing Magic Sam songs: “All Your Love” and “I Don’t Want no Woman.” The Georgia Flood did an admirable job with these, but the best re-do on this album has to be their interpretation of Robert Johnson’s 1936 song, “Dust My Broom.” This is a fun romp that is closer to the version that Elmore James cut in 1951, and it gives Brooks the chance to show off his slide guitar skills.

They also included a neat instrumental: “Sidetracked” from the 1961 album Let’s Hide Away and Dance Away with Freddy King. This all-instrumental disc should be required listening for any up-and-coming blues guitarist, and it is satisfying to see that these guys are paying attention to their forefathers. Brooks does an admirable job of filling King’s shoes, and Lane keeps the bass line driving throughout this 12-bar blues burner.

The closing track is a nod to a local hero and guitar prodigy, the late Sean Costello from Atlanta. “Hard Luck Woman” was released in 2008 on Costello’s final album, and it is a classic song of a troubled relationship and a disillusioned young man. The Georgia’s Flood’s version keeps Costello’s quirky guitar line, but with this take’s doubled bass line it ends up being more of a rocker than the original, and it is a cool way to close out the disc.

The Georgia Flood is a great first effort, and the band members’ musicianship and songwriting are mature beyond their years. It is definitely worth taking a listen, and with a few more years of experience under their belts this trio will be a force to be reckoned with; they are certainly the future of blues music in the states!!

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

 Featured Blues Interview – Dan Aykroyd  

 It was a small thing, really.

 Something he did out of instinct, without even taking time to think about it.

 It’s something he’s been doing – both literally and figuratively – for almost four decades.

 Lending a hand to the blues and its creators, helping to make sure neither is ever forgotten.

 This was before all that, before the movie, before the larger-than-life persona and way before the chain of restaurants and weekly radio show.

This was on a stormy and rainy spring night in Chicago, outside the front door of the Wise Fool’s Pub.

“This Lincoln pulls up and I saw Albert Collins get out of the car and start to struggle with his amp. So I was on my toes in a second and ran outside and helped him unload his equipment to set up for his show,” Dan Aykroyd said recently. “He didn’t know who I was and that didn’t matter. I boast of that today, that I helped Albert Collins set up his equipment. Had I had the time, I gladly would have gone on the road as a roadie for the great Icepicker.”

Aykroyd has been a major part of the worldwide public conscious since 1975, when he burst upon the scene as one of the original cast members of Saturday Night Live (SNL). He’s been a non-stop whirlwind of activity ever since, writing screen plays, appearing on a weekly syndicated radio program and starring in countless movies and television projects. All of that more than qualifies the man as a Hall of Famer, but ask any music lover and they’ll probably rattle off one name that sums up what Dan Aykroyd is all about.

Elwood Blues.

Part of a sketch with the late, great John Belushi on an April 22, 1978 episode of SNL, the Blues Brothers quickly spawned a meteoric existence all their own, one that could not be contained by a mere television screen. That initial pairing of Belushi as Joliet Jake and Aykroyd as Elwood, set the wheels in motion for a chart-topping, double-platinum album (Briefcase Full of Blues), concert tours, an all-time movie classic (The Blues Brothers) and their likenesses plastered all over the free world as sunglass-wearing, fedora-sporting Chicago bluesmen.

And it’s been all blues, all the time, ever since for Aykroyd.

As co-founder of the House of Blues concert venue/restaurants and thanks to his weekly-syndicated radio program – Elwood’s Bluesmobile – Aykroyd has really put his money where his mouth is the past few decades, rolling up his sleeves and diving in with both feet to make sure the blues doesn’t turn into some long-forgotten form of music.

“Being a part of helping to keep the blues alive and helping out the artists of today, as well as the venerated artists of yesterday, is an office that I humbly take on with willingness and with a sense of gratitude … a kind of ‘thank you so much’ for what they’ve given to me,” he said. “I guess that’s what I’m doing. That really is the mission of House of Blues. We have blues players that play at our Crossroads restaurants. Elwood’s Bluesmobile Radio Hour, that’s all about venerating those that have gone before, and celebrating the fact that many of those artists are still out there playing and doing it today. On the radio show, we tell you where they’re playing and how you can go and see these incredible blues artists. That is the mission. It costs the artists nothing. They send me a CD and it will get broadcast, it will get promoted. I will interview them and help spread the word about their wonderful music.”

His program has become a much-needed oasis for roots-music lovers that are normally left high-and-dry and insanely frustrated when spinning the dial in hopes of catching even one or two blues tunes spewing forth from earth-bound radio.

“We’re with almost 195 stations across the United States. We’re with Westwood One, which is part of the Cumulus Network, so we represent the blues on all of those stations that are affiliated with us. We’re one of the last presences, unfortunately, of the terrestrial broadcast of blues music,” he said. “The airwaves are being covered by pop and hip-hop and the modern music of today. What I think has to happen is, the artists of today, particularly the funk, house, hip-hop and rap artists, should start to look at some of these blues catalogs – Alligator, Maleco, Blind Pig, Delmark, Fat Possum – and look for ideas to sample from those artists. That helps the (blues) artist get paid and helps their music get to a wider base. Sample a John Lee Hooker riff or a Snooky Pryor harmonica riff, or a Lazy Lester riff, anything they could use. That’s the way to expose the newer generation to blues music.”

Aykroyd’s sense of duty to the blues community is not simply limited to artists from the 1950s and 60s. He astutely understands that while keeping past traditions alive is an integral part of the mission, creating new traditions is also a vital part of the whole process.

“This new generation of blues artists need to be heralded and encouraged to keep on their paths, too. Like Jonny Lang, Joanne Shaw Taylor, Tedeschi/Trucks Band, Kenny Wayne Sheppard … the 24th Street Wailers out of Toronto, Homemade Jamz Band. These are the young players that need to be encouraged and people need to buy tickets to their shows, buy their records and let they know how much we care and how much enjoyment we derive from them,” he said. “And you have a whole new generation of stars that are coming up from the venerates that raised them: Johnny Clyde Copeland’s daughter, Shemekia; Big Bill Morganfield, son of Muddy Waters; Bernard Allison, Luther’s son; Zakiya and John Lee Hooker Junior, they’re all carrying on the traditions. So in that sense, the performers are alive, the recordings are alive and the interest and the culture is alive.”

His love for blues music was not something that was manufactured on a Hollywood sound stage. It is something that has been a part of Aykroyd since he was an impressionable youngster growing up in his native Canada.

“I was fortunate to have grown up in Ottawa, Canada – a town that was sophisticated academically and intellectually – and there was a nightclub there called Le Hibou and the booker there, Harvey Glatt, brought in everybody on the circuit that was playing in Toronto and Montreal and Chicago and Boston,” he said. “So as a teenager, I got to see Chester Burnett perform over a dozen times. I saw Otis Rush, Otis Spann, Otis Clay. I saw Buddy (Guy) and Junior (Wells) when they were together. I saw Sonny (Terry) and Brownie (McGhee) when they were together. I saw James Cotton, Charlie Musselwhite, Paul Butterfield, John Lee Hooker. All the major blues stars of the age, I got to see when they came through there. This is what we used to do on a Saturday night. And I also had a friend who had a massive blues record collection, so I’ve been really obsessed with it for quite some time.”

 More than just a casual observer, sometimes back in those days, Aykroyd was a participant in what went down on the bandstand. Like one evening when S.P. Leary didn’t quite return to the stage on time after Muddy Waters and the rest of his band came back from a break.

 “Muddy said, ‘Anybody out there play drums? I don’t have a drummer.’ And so I walked on stage, sat down and started playing. Muddy said, ‘Keep that beat going! You make Muddy feel good.’ So I played until S.P. decided that his break was over,” Aykroyd said.

While he was definitely interested in playing music when he could, the actual idea of a career as a musician as opposed to being an actor and comedian never really intrigued Aykroyd for very long. But the ability to play some tunes did come in handy, starting with when he was a member of Chicago’s iconic improvisational comedy troupe, Second City.

“Music was always a component of Second City. We’d improvise songs and then we’d do a country parody or a rock parody, a Kiss parody, things like that. We always had great piano players and composers working with us and helping us develop our musical chops,” he said. “But really music only became largely important when John and I came up with the idea to do the record (Briefcase Full of Blues) and sort of had to step in and become actors who were playing blues musicians. We were actors who had to portray blues musicians, but that’s something that’s been done since, spectacularly by Jamie Foxx in the movie, Ray. And it was beautifully done by Beyonce as Etta James in Cadillac Records. So you can have actors that don’t start out as dancers, singers and players step into the roles. Belushi and I, with the training we had and with the band we had behind us, were able to step into those roles and pull it off.”

And as Duck Dunn so eloquently uttered in The Blues Brothers movie, the band that Belushi and Aykroyd had behind them was indeed ‘Powerful enough to turn goat piss into gasoline.’

“The Blues Brothers came off as a genuine article because we had (Steve) Cropper and Dunn and Matt Murphy – those three magnificent Memphis guitar players. Murphy played with James Cotton and Duck and Steve played on all those Stax/Volt records. That combination was a powerhouse that was not to be duplicated, a Chicago/Memphis fusion band. That’s what the Blues Brothers was and that’s what really made it work. They added legitimacy to our enterprise. It was like they were saying to John and I, ‘We know you’re doing the right thing in recognizing those that have gone before,’” Aykroyd said. “And of course, we had the greatest horn section on the planet: Tom Malone, Lou Marini, Alan Rubin … just incredible. You walk in the door with some really incredible players like that and that gives you instant credibility.”

In the summer of 1979, it was next to impossible to flip on the radio for more than a few minutes before the Blues Brothers’ version of the Sam & Dave classic, “Soul Man” came bursting out of the speakers. The tune quickly found its way into the Top 20.

“When the first album was coming out, Duck Dunn said, ‘You’ve got to put a soul song on this record. It can’t just be a blues record, because a blues record is just not going to sell the way you want it to and it’s not going to reach the audience you want. You’ve got to contemporize it.’ So we did “Soul Man.” And we released the record at a time in American music when there was a desert, a lull, a void. You had disco dying and you had punk and new wave being born,” Aykroyd said. “So we hit with that nostalgic version of “Soul Man” and all the other great blues gems on that record. But “Soul Man” really led the way with a song that people hadn’t heard in a while. It was just the perfect time, what with the void in music at that time, to release it.”

Briefcase Full of Blues turned out to be a smash hit, selling over three-and-a-half million copies. It also led to a memorable concert tour, with one unforgettable stop happening along the way.

Picture the scene – New Year’s Eve 1978 at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. It’s closing night at the fabled venue and the Blues Brothers Show Band and Revue is on stage in front of a jam-packed house, kicking off the night’s festivities with New Riders of the Purple Sage and The Grateful Dead set to follow.

Elwood Blues grabs his harp, places it next to his mouth and ..

“As I was doing a solo on my harmonica, I discovered that I was swallowing the instrument. I realized at that point that I had been dosed,” Aykroyd said. “I had a beer about 15 minutes before going on stage and someone had put an LSD tablet into my beer and I had consumed it. It turns out the whole band had been dosed, even those that didn’t want it. It was blues on acid that night.”

Sounds like a typical late-70s New Year’s Eve in San Francisco.

“It was the full Grateful Dead scene. Bill Graham (the late, great rock impresario) came down as Baby New Year and riding an 8-foot-long marijuana joint, throwing joints into the crowd,” Aykroyd said. “We ended up having a spectacular, spectacular performance and then I remember taking off my blues suit and putting on my civilian clothes and walking out into the audience and watching the Dead set from the audience, which was really fun.”

Grateful Dead-spiked misadventures aside, Aykroyd and Belushi knew that the Blues Brothers were just what the record-buying public needed as it was practically starving for anything with some real substance to it.

“Based on the way the record sold, we knew we were doing something that people liked. And from that grew the idea for the movie. We knew from the receipt of our record and the tour that this was something that was cleaning out America’s ears, cleaning the ears of disco and getting it ready for something fresh,” Aykroyd.

A highpoint of that ‘getting it ready for something fresh’ has to be the 1980 big screen extravaganza, The Blues Brothers.

Part comedy, part action flick, part ‘how the heck did they survive a bazooka blast?’ and part musical, The Blues Brothers remains an unconventional work of art, one that will never be duplicated. The flick is chock full of great tunes and great performances, but something that should not be overlooked is the movie’s casting. James Brown, Ray Charles, Cab Calloway and Aretha Franklin all played roles in The Blues Brothers and all of their careers received a nice upward spike because of the movie.

So was that part of the grand scheme?

“Well, we really just wanted those big, giant blues stars in the movie and we knew that they could perform. Cab Calloway was an actor and was in a lot of movies. Ray Charles had no problems doing the lines and James Brown was just a natural. So we specifically wanted those stars in the movie, playing facsimiles of themselves.”

 Though Belushi long ago went to that great bandstand in the sky, the Blues Brothers still live on and can be caught from time-to-time laying down the real, deal rhythm and blues.

 “I play today with John’s brother, Jimmy, and we do the Blues Brothers Legacy show. It’s Elwood and brother Zee. We still clean the ears of our audiences when we play. That’s what we do, we provide an audio cleansing service, playing songs written prior to 1970 from the African/American songbook,” Aykroyd said. “It’s such a pleasure and such fun to play with these guys. We’re an active, commercial touring blues band that brings a very unique and special caliber of musicianship by virtue of our players. We’ve got Johnny Lee Schell, who used to play with Bonnie Raitt; Jimmy Wood, who used to play with his band the Imperial Crowns and has recorded with Mick Jagger; Little Johnny Taylor’s daughter, Tasha, sometimes plays with us; and we have Tony Braunagel on drums. Then Jimmy and I bring the classic style of front-man showmanship, perhaps not the musicianship of those behind us, but we do bring a showmanship to things.”

Clearly there is a separation between the character of Elwood Blues and its creator, Dan Aykroyd. However, occasionally that separation blurs and the two do share a bit of equal space.

“The reclusiveness and taciturn side, the motor-head side. That’s the parts of Elwood that I’m most like,” Aykroyd said. “That and in the absolute devotion and love and service for the greats of the blues.”

He still devotes a percentage of his time to the big screen and filming recently wrapped in Mississippi on the James Brown bio-pic Get On Up, and the movie, set for an early August release, features Aykroyd as Ben Bart, president of talent agency Universal Attractions.

“It’s packed with great music and a great story and Chad Boseman (the actor that played Jackie Robinson in 42) is the star and there are times in the movie when he’s identical to James in voice and the way he walked,” said Aykroyd. “I knew James well and this actor has him down cold, or should I say hot; “Cold Sweat” and hot performances.”

Aykroyd helped cast JB in a couple of his movie projects – The Blues Brothers and Doctor Detroit – but his connection to The Hardest Working Man in Show Business easily pre-dates the 1980s.

“As a kid, I saw James Brown at the Esquire Show Bar in Montreal and it was this spectacular, intimate venue where the stage joined with the bar, so a bartender would be serving his patrons as the performers skipped by on the bar between them. So I got to see James Brown’s heels click down the bar and back in front of my beer. That’s how close I was to him. And that first experience made me a lifelong follower and fan of James. I really didn’t have a chance to see him live again until we started opening the House of Blues clubs. He ended up opening five House of Blues clubs for me and so I got to see him five times and got to bring my mom and dad and children and those were very special times. I got to jam with him and dance with him on stage.”

That made Aykroyd’s decision to be involved with Get On Up a virtual no-brainer.

“When I was asked to participate in the bio-pic, it just seemed fitting and right that I should take the opportunity to be a part of telling his great story. I felt because I knew James that I could bring something to it – something like a bit of knowledge and truth – that might help the production,” he said. “I felt it was important to help uphold his legacy as such a committed performer, one that truly, truly loved his audiences.”

Another performer who really loves his audiences and still gives it his all every time his boots touch the stage is Hall of Famer Lonnie Brooks. Late last year, Aykroyd returned to the Windy City to help celebrate the legend’s 80th birthday with an all-star shindig at the House of Blues.

“We had Lil’ Ed on stage and two members of the Kinsey Report, we had Otis Clay – whose voice sounds like it’s 19-years-old – we had a really, really tremendous array of talent,” Aykroyd said. “I first got turned on to Lonnie Brooks in the 80s when I was in Chicago, making The Blues Brothers and then Doctor Detroit. I saw him often at Wise Fool’s and Kingston Mines and at Buddy’s old Checkerboard Lounge – the original – and at B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted. He always wore that cowboy hat, which was cool. He was like, ‘I ain’t wearing no fedora, I ain’t wearing no sunglasses, I’m wearing a cowboy hat. I’m Lonnie Brooks, man!’ That night was just so much fun.”

In addition to all the other balls that he juggles on a daily basis, Aykroyd is also involved in Crystal Head Vodka, an additive-free vodka that has its origins in the legend of the 13 crystal skulls. Its human skull-shaped decanter helps it stand out from the rest of the pack on beverage store shelves, but its composition is really what Crystal Head is all about.

“Unlike many bluesmen and blueswomen, I don’t have a problem consuming beverage alcohol. I’m fortunate and can do so in moderation. That’s enabled me to sample and taste a lot of beverages and I didn’t like the thick viscosity in a lot of vodkas. So I researched and found all the additives that they put in vodka,” he said. “My friends and I ended up brewing up a batch of vodka in Newfoundland, Canada, using aquifer water from the original ice-age glacier and peaches and cream corn. We didn’t put any additives into it and it is winning awards all over the world. The Russians love it and voted it excellent taste out of 400 beverages, so I’m vindicated there. It’s great, no-sweet, vanilla, dry, crisp with a kick of heat off the finish. It’s selling well because people like something green and clean. They’re responding well to the no additives.”

If by chance a spaceship from another planet (Remulak) made its way to Earth and the occupants of said ship (Beldar, Prymaat and Connie) were ready to consume mass quantities of blues music, but did not know where to start, which CD would Dan Aykroyd hand to the Coneheads as a shining example of the genre?

“That’s a tough one, but I think I would probably play for them Junior Wells’ Hoodoo Man Blues (Delmark Records). It’s just so eerie and weird and spooky and the guitar on there is just incredible. That’s blues at its peak,” he said. “And then I would make them (Coneheads) go and see a Bobby Rush show.”

Take a ride on Elwood’s Bluesmobile at

Photos by John Hahn © 2014

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 7  

 Franc Robert – Ride the Iron Road

 Blue Chihuahua Records

 14 tracks/40 minutes

 Hailing from Florida’s West Coast, Franc Robert offers up 11 original songs and 3 covers in this very traditional acoustic blues album. His finger picking and guitar work are superb. It’s just him and his guitar here as Robert bares it all in this production.

I found the guitar playing to be very solid and well done. His original songs are a breath of fresh air. Good topics, lyrics that are well thought out and, well, lyrical, and well-constructed. There are some very impressive new songs here that are outstanding. Robert also has an interesting approach to his vocals. He is sort of breathy and works at getting an old time, authentic sound. He sings predominantly though his head and one can almost hear his sinuses resonate as he gasps and wails out the lyrics. It’s a little odd at first but it grew on me!

The covers are St. James Infirmary, Mississippi Blues and Railroad Blues. The covers are pretty much straight up renditions of the traditional songs. He infuses his vocal style on all three; his voice begins to sound almost desperate with his breathy and interesting style here on the covers and on the originals. He shows he can play these tunes with the best of them on these covers.

I really preferred the original songs. The opening cut “Honey What’s Wrong” evokes the style of early Delta masters like Son House. He does this song orally, accompanied only with hand claps in a very old and cool style. The slide work on the title track that follows this is a stark contrast to the bare opening number and he plays his heart out. “Chihuahua Blues” is a somewhat humorous take on a song that reminded me of Robert Johnson. The next two cuts “These Low Down Blues” and “Dem Devil Bones”have a much more modern sound (perhaps the 50s and 60’s) have a more modern sound. “Mississippi On My Mind” and “Tax Time Blues” are more traditional; I enjoyed the latter statement on the IRS. “Travellin’ Bluesman” is a little more modernistic but “Treat Me Right” and “Never Felt More Alone” return back to the Delta. The closer, “Sunday Morning,” is a beautiful and inspirational slow finger picking instrumental that is just a joy.

I enjoyed Franc Roberts guitar work and his vocals grew on me after a few listens. He’s working to present his music in an authentic style. He’s written some excellent new songs and I think he’s got something here that acoustic fans will enjoy.

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

 Featured Blues Review – 3 of 7  

 The Bluesmasters – Volume 3

 Direct Music Distribution

  CD: 10 songs; 37:45 Minutes

 Styles: Blues and Blues Blues Rock Covers

 What makes a musician a “bluesmaster”? According to this reviewer, such a performer excels in three areas: instrumentation, lyrics and vocals. In the case of the Bluesmasters, promoted by Direct Music Distribution on their “Volume 3,” this is certainly the case. Covering ten songs – seven written by Craig Ferguson and three by other artists – they go all out to impress audiences. The band consists of guitarist and co-producer Tim Tucker, vocalists Kassidy Tucker (also on bass), Hazel Miller, and Mickey Thomas, drummer Larry Thompson, Doug Lynn on harp, and Mitch Towne on B3 organ and piano. Special guests include Rick Ulsky, Aynsley Dunbar, Hubert Sumlin, Rusty Anderson, Eric Gales, Bob Birch, and Jake E. Lee. None of the blues and rock numbers featured here are originals, but they’re certainly worth a listen, especially these three. They showcase particular prowess in some of the categories mentioned earlier:

GUITAR MASTER – Track 01: “Lovin’ Man” – Without a doubt, the highlight of this opener is Tim Tucker’s explosive fretwork. Balancing on a tightrope between blues and rock-and-roll, it growls and caresses listeners’ ears in equal measure. Paired with Hazel Miller’s screaming Janis Joplin-esque vocals, it’s almost perfect: “I want to love you, let you know. Don’t want to leave you or let you go. Please believe me, gotta understand, I want you to be my lovin’ man….”

HARMONICA MASTER – Track 03: “Up the Line” – Doug Lynn struts his stuff superbly on this cover of a Walter Jacobs tune. His fiery harp provides a train-chugging beat on a tale of a lover deserting her partner: “I’m cutting out,” sings Hazel Miller. “I’m going back up the line. If I stay another day – ooh, it’s gonna drive me out of my mind.” Rusty Anderson provides additional guitar, with Aynsley Dunbar on drums and Rick Ulsky on B3. For more harmonica heaven, check out the very next song, “Colorado Boogie.”

VOCALS MASTER – Track 10: “Baby Hold On” – This may be a rock-and-roll hit by Eddie Money and James Lyon instead of a blues standard, but it shows how fantastic Mickey Thomas is on vocals. He was the lead singer on Elvin Bishop’s “Fooled Around and Fell in Love,” and hasn’t lost his touch at all. “Rich man, poor man?” he asks his heart’s desire pleadingly. “You don’t know me all that much. Your mama always told you, girl, money can’t buy you love.” Anyone who fondly remembers the 1970s and ‘80s will groove along to such a cover.

Some purists or aficionados of original songs might fault this CD for the lack of them, but as an old saying goes, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” The Bluesmasters clearly have high energy and zest for blues and rock, and that goes a long way. Their “Volume 3” is short and sweet, great for an approximately half-hour highway trip!

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 Interview – C. C. Rider  

 When Elwood Blues takes the time to stop the car and ask if you need a ride, the correct response is to open the door to the Bluesmobile and hop inside.

 That’s exactly the response that C.C. Rider gave to the man in black.

 Part encyclopedia, part intrepid roving reporter and always a champion of roots-related music, the Harvard-educated Rider has become a mainstay on the weekly syndicated radio program, Elwood’s Bluesmobile.

 “It was just luck, just kindred spirits, I guess,” is how Rider describes her presence riding shotgun in Elwood’s Bluesmobile. “I was offered this opportunity, and gosh, I’d be silly to turn it down. I mean, I get to share the music that I love and be part of an institution that I have listened to and been a fan of for quite some time. I’m a fan of Ben Manilla and his production company in San Francisco and it was like the wind blew in and they came with it. I feel so blessed.”

The way Elwood describes her, Rider is a blues scholar, one of the young generation that is tasked with not only helping to keep the blues alive and well, but to make sure that the sacred music can grow and perpetuate, too.

“Well, it’s not something that I’m doing alone. Really, it’s the musicians (that are keeping the blues alive and going). I’m just lucky that I have the radio waves to propagate what is their art. I just did an interview with a great young woman named Valerie June and she’s amazing. I can’t even believe this woman. But really, it’s up to them to keep the music alive. I just spread it. I’m happy to be able to give these wonderful artists a voice and to be able to play them on the radio, nationally and internationally.”

And, as Elwood puts it, C.C. Rider is the venerator.

“Well, they call me the venerator because I do focus on the older stuff, the stuff that laid the foundation and maybe slipped through the cracks. Stuff that we shouldn’t forget about, stuff that made The Rolling Stones, that made The Beatles, that made the greats who they are,” she said. “But also, the venerator continues to celebrate the old in the new. The Carolina Chocolate Drops, for example. People like that are keeping roots music alive, and we venerate them, too. So my role in the show is to bring it back home.”

Whether it’s at high rates of speed through the streets of the Windy City, or at a considerably slower pace through the dirt roads of the Magnolia State, one thing’s for sure; if you’re going to take a ride on the Bluesmobile, you’d better be ready to travel. And Rider recently did just that with a trip to the heartland of the delta blues.

“I was lucky enough to start my year off with a trip down to Mississippi and it was absolutely life-changing … just spectacular. There’s really no state like it and it’s not surprising that all that great music has came out of there,” she said. “Jimmy Duck Holmes is a great friend of mine and I was lucky enough to get to sit in with him down there. He gave me some guitar lessons and taught me the old cross-note tuning. He’s a dream; just a great man.”

The Blue Front Café in Bentonia, Mississippi – in the heart of Yazoo County – is where Holmes hangs his hat and plays the blues and Rider soaked up all she could while visiting the legendary establishment.

“It was so wonderful to be able to stand on those floorboards where such great men stood,” she said. “Bentonia, I felt especially akin to when I went down there. I mean, just driving through the back-roads of Bentonia listening to Skip James’ “Cypress Grove Blues”… it’s really wonderful, just a great place.”

Rider, who is also a freelance journalist and does some voiceover work for animation projects, also got another treat on her trek down south – an opportunity to see up-and-coming (that is if you can call an 81-year-old an up-and-comer) bluesman Leo Bud Welch at the hallowed Red’s Lounge in Clarksdale.

“I interviewed him for an upcoming show and he’s just a fascinating man. His manager Vencie (Vernado), we have to thank so much for bringing Leo to us,” she said. “Sabougla Voices is a great album. He’s just so cool the way he hunches over his electric guitar … just amazing.”

When she’s not out beating the bushes and traveling up and down the blues highway – playing music, visiting Watermelon Slim in his Clarksdale home, tracking down long-lost musicians or exploring the mystical origins of the blues – Rider calls Cambridge, Mass., her home. That is for now.

“Well, I’m all over the place, really. I’ve been living in Cambridge for about six years now, but I’m getting ready to go back to New York. Back to the big city,” said. “But really, I’m an itinerant, I’m a traveler. Whichever way the wind blows, I’ve got a bag on my back and am ready to go.”

As most people are, Rider is a product of the environment that she was raised in, and growing up, she heard plenty of blues music playing in her childhood home.

“It’s always been around in my house, but it was more like Stevie Ray Vaughan and the legacy of the old stuff. But then I heard the version of “Catfish Blues” by Skip James and I’m getting chills thinking about it right now,” she said. “It really changed my life and changed the way I thought about music and about emotions relating to music. Whatever was coming out of him and his guitar and his voice was an authenticity that I couldn’t find anywhere else, especially in any of the pop songs or Top 40 being played on the radio. It was just a man and his guitar and he was able to make the most fantastic, complex compositions with his hands and his voice.”

And once she was hooked, boy was she hooked.

“I branched out and began to discover many of his contemporaries and those that came before him. I just became enamored with it and couldn’t let it go. There’s just nothing like the blues. For all of the sadness that comes along with it, blues is really an uplifting style of music. It’s a music full of hope and full of laughter. Everyone likes to laugh and everyone likes to dance and that’s at the root of this music, too, and I think we forget about that sometimes.”

 Another thing that we forget about sometimes is just how much in common that the real-deal blues has with punk music. On the surface that statement may seem far-fetched, but according to Rider, when you look a bit deeper than just the surface …

 “I had a little Squire Telecaster and was I was jamming out with power chords and was interested in punk music (when she first heard Skip James), interestingly enough. I liked punk music because it was so raw and un-produced, really authentic music. Then when I came across Skip, I was like, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa!’ He didn’t even need an amplifier and look what all was going on there. That’s real punk music. But the blues musicians were really the first punks.”

Thanks to Rider and programs like Elwood’s Bluesmobile, blues and roots-related music still has a place to call home and a comfortable place to hang its hat. That’s important, because as most fans of the genre know, blues is not at the top of the food chain when it comes to mainstream music and its place on the public airwaves.

“We have to remember that the blues is the foundation of all commercial music. I mean, from rock-and-roll all the way down to hip-hop. Hip-hop is the new blues. It’s talking about the African/American experience and the struggles of everyday life and moving forward from that,” Rider said. “I do believe that hip-hop and rap is the natural extension of where the music (blues) was going. But blues as a form is never going to go away. As long as we have voices to sing and fingers to play and real human emotions, we’re going to be singing the blues.”

Whether she knew it or not, Rider actually began prepping for her gig on the Bluesmobile many years ago in elementary school, in fact even many years before she was first bitten by the Skip James-induced blues bug.

“I used to do little radio shows by myself as an elementary school student on this little tape recorder I had. I’d play songs and insert commentary on there, but nobody ever heard them,” she laughed. “So this is a nice extension, a way to get some of the angst out. But really, it’s just such a pleasure to have this gig and to be a part of this community.”

Photos by Matt Sukkar and Alex Moore as marked © 2014

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 – 4 of 7  

 John McVey – Meet Me in Houston

 Sedgwick/Artists International

 CD: 12 songs; 66:29 Minutes

 Styles: Texas Blues, Traditional Blues

 “I first heard of John [McVey] around 2006 in Austin,” comments Andrew Reed, producer of Texas blues maverick McVey’s latest album Meet Me in Houston. In the CD liner notes he continues, “I had an event in town and my Texas chaperones assured me a good time and that I would be back at the hotel by 10:30 so I’d be fresh for my audience the next day. I consented but didn’t expect anything special, being a bit desensitized to hype at this point. What I heard and felt blew my head off. It was hardcore Texas blues, a bit jagged and full of passion. I got back to my hotel at 3:30 AM.” Need more be said about this veteran of the Chitlin’ Circuit? Actually, yes: according to his website, John was mentored by blues legends Larry Davis and Albert King. He and his band, also consisting of drummer Barry “Frosty” Smith and bassist James Cloyd, Jr., present thirteen pure Lone Star State selections – eight originals and four covers, plus an acoustic ghost track, including “Same Thing” by Willie Dixon and “Blue Guitar” by Earl Hooker. McVey proves himself versatile across a gamut of blues styles: electric, acoustic, vocalized and instrumental. The following three songs are not only top picks on the album, but accurate representatives of his overall musical range.

Track 01: “Bayou Boogie!” – Perfect for live concerts either indoors or out, this spicy wordless masterpiece will get people dancing even if they have two left feet. Sounding neither trite nor overproduced, it strikes the perfect balance between powerhouse riffs and a tune that’s as catchy as a cold. The echoing effect on McVey’s lead guitar is a quirky plus, especially at the end. According to the liner notes, Aaron Price from Asheville plays keys.

Track 08: “I Don’t Stutter” – Some musicians have a slick style, both lyrically and vocally, but not John. This in-your-face, guilty pleasure ditty with a funky bass line proves just how much McVey avoids glibness: “I don’t care what you think about me. I got a woman thinks the world of me. I don’t care if you know who I am. I don’t stutter; I don’t give a damn.” In this age of a manufactured need for constant exposure, especially for celebrities, “I Don’t Stutter” is a refreshing rebuttal.

Track 12: “Walking in the Footsteps” – When it comes to the final song of “Meet Me in Houston”, simplicity is beauty. Featuring a pensive acoustic line and understated vocals, this is a moving tribute to John’s father, whom he never had the chance to meet. “Was there hard times for my father? Sure there must have been. Wonder if in his life, he found a lover or friend.”

“If you want to hear real Texas blues,” Andrew Reed exults, “without the glitter and turd polishing of modern recording…put on John McVey.” Well said!

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 – 5 of 7  

 Indigenous featuring Mato Nanji – Time Is Coming

 Blues Bureau International

 13 songs – 76 minutes

 It has been a busy couple of years for Mato Nanji (his name is pronounced “Ma-TOE NON-gee”). His 2012 debut on the Blues Bureau International label, Indigenous featuring Mato Nanji, marked the beginning of his collaboration with noted producer, impresario and shred guitar fanatic, Mike Varney. The same year saw the release of 3 Skulls And The Truth, featuring Nanji, Los Lobos frontman David Hidalgo, and Luther Dickinson from the North Mississippi Allstars. In 2013, he collaborated with trance-bluesman Otis Taylor on Taylor’s My World Is Gone and released his own Vanishing Americans. In addition to touring his own music, Nanji has also been a member of the annual Experience Hendrix Tour Band since 2002. And now comes the new album from Indigenous featuring Mato Nanji.

Time Is Coming is Nanji’s 10th commercial release and third for Blues Bureau International. It’s also a cracking slice of Hendrix-inspired blues-rock. Born and raised on the Yankton Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, Nanji is a powerful singer and a solid songwriter. 12 of the 13 songs on Time is Coming were written by Nanji and his wife/lyricist, Leah (including three co-writing credits with Mike Varney). The sole cover is a fine version of Bruce McCabe’s “Good At Feelin’ Bad”. The centrepiece of the album, however, is Nanji’s guitar playing. Playing riff-orientated blues rock on a heavily over-driven Stratocaster, often with a wah-wah pedal, it is impossible to ignore the influence of Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan. But as he tears at his guitar strings, bending and shaking them to within an inch of their life, it is clear that Nanji is no mere copyist. He is a genuine virtuoso, playing lyrical and emotion-packed lines, sneaking in between vocal lines, underscoring the melodies, and flying over the solo sections. There is a lot of guitar on this album.

“Good At Feelin’ Bad” is the only song on the album that comes in under the 4 minute 15 second mark. The majority of the songs last around five or six minutes, which gives Nanji plenty of time to stretch out with his solos.

Indigenous usually features Nanji, Derek Post on guitar and vocals and Charles Sanders II on drums and keyboards, but the band on Time Is Coming comprises Jesse Bradman on keyboards and backing vocals, Steve Evans on bass and Jeff Martin on drums. They do a fine job of providing support to Nanji. Martin in particular lays down some absorbing patterns. Bradman’s keyboard work adds depth and lustre to the songs, as well as adding to the overall “retro” feel of the album. The organ on “I’m Telling You” is reminiscent of Jon Lord with Deep Purple or Ken Hensley with Uriah Heep, and “Around The World” could have been included on some of Eric Clapton’s mid- to late-80s albums.

Time Is Coming may not appeal to everyone. It is closer to rock than to blues. But the blues is at the heart of all of its best parts, of which there are many. Recommended for fans of guitar-driven blues-rock, particularly if you enjoy the work of Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Doyle Bramhall II or Chris Duarte.

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.

 Featured Blues Review – 6 of 7  

 Richard Ray Farrell – Shoe Shoppin’ Woman

 Blues Beet

 11 songs – 40:41 running time

 Richard Ray Farrell’s started his career in Europe as a street musician in 1975 with his first professional gig in 1976. Farrell toured Europe with musicians such as R. L. Burnside, Big Jack Johnson, and Lazy Lester before returning to the States in 2001, however, it would appear that now he hangs his hat in Spain according to his FB page.

This is Richard Ray Farrell’s 6th recording on his own Blues Beet label. Having listened to previous recordings of Farrell on BB King’s Bluesville Sirius Satellite radio station I was anxious to experience a full recording. There is a lot to like here with 8 original songs by Farrell and 3 tasty covers that work well.

The title track opens the show with a tongue in cheek ditty that reminds one of Albert Collins’ classic “Mastercard”. According to Farrell’s press release the song, “…was inspired by a woman Richard met who confessed to having 76 pairs of shoes ranging from $70 to $900.”

Track 3’s “Just Like Sonny Liston” lyrics may be lost on younger listeners not versed in boxing history but “Baby Boomers” will remember when a young Cassius Clay took the heavyweight crown from Liston. With this song’s infectious groove, driving bass and tasty guitar/harmonica leads you might find it hard to sit still when listening to this gem.

“Johnnie’s in Jail” (track 8) is a slow shuffle with a powerful message of justice denied. “Its cold people when they convict the wrong man for a crime cause if ya ain’t got the money and a damn good lawyer you’ll be doin’ real hard time.” The mix of guitar and harmonica on this tune make this haunting tale a tune to make you sit up and take notice.

The two instrumentals showcase Farrell’s amazing guitar prowess. “Road Trippin'” (track 5) highlights his electric guitar work and “Shake It” (track 9) is a must listen for all you slide fans out there.

If boogie woogie piano is your thing “Stir Crazy” (track 10) will satisfy. This song also showcases Farrell’s clever song writing style again while he laments being stuck at home with a woman that just wants to watch television.

Closing the show is, “She’s My Girl” (track 11) which is an upbeat shuffle that continues to show Farrell’s guitar and harmonica playing are up to snuff. This would be a good “date” song or “make-up” song or perhaps even an “our” song for couples.

Farrell recorded this album with Jimmy Pritchard on bass, Michael Kersting on drums, and Glenn McClelland on piano and Hammond organ. Pritchard is known for his work with Sonny Rhodes, Big Jack Johnson, and Lonnie Shields. From Berlin, Germany, Kersting is a sought after drummer who has played with Benny Golson and Tommy Emmanuel. Glenn McClelland, from Lambertville, NJ, has worked with many great musicians while holding down the keyboard position for Blood, Sweat and Tears for the past 20 years.

If you’ve never heard any of Richard Ray Farrell’s work this is a good place to start. This reviewer will be checking out his previous work and looking to catch his live show sometime this summer in the USA where, according to his website, he will be touring from June until October.

Reviewer Tim “Bluzybiker” Petty spent 42 years building railroads and now spends his time supporting the music he loves and riding motorcycles – sometimes at the same time.

 Featured Blues Review – 7 of 7  

 The Rhythm Rockets – She Swings Blue, Vol. 1: The Joint Is Jumpin’

 14 tracks; 44 minutes

 The Rhythm Rockets blast off from Chicago and touch down all over Chicagoland and the Midwest. The band is centered on founder/guitarist Dave Downer and vocalist Nicole Kestler, with Mark Fornek on drums, and Mike “Bucko” Bielecki on tenor saxophone. Additional personnel on the album sessions include horn players Marty Gierczyk and Sam Burckhardt on tenor sax, baritone players Ron Dulin, Justin Keirans, and Ed Enright, bassists Michael Quiroz and Lou Marini, with Tony Kidonakis and Brian O’Hern taking turns at the piano. Sam Burckhardt has a Chicago Blues pedigree as a long-time member of Sunnyland Slim’s band and Mark Fornek played with Jimmy Rogers. The band formed in 1996 and has seen some line-up changes over the years, but they have maintained a busy schedule even after the initial late 90’s swing craze fizzled. Their sound was never just swing retreads anyway. They incorporate the styles of Louis Jordan, T. Bone Walker, and Dinah Washington and are equally adept at traditional Chicago Blues shuffles.

Their CD She Swings Blue, Vol. 1: The Joint Is Jumpin’ showcases their Jump Blues and Swing sound and opens with “In the Mood for You,” a rollicking shuffle showing off Downer’s compact and effective guitar style while Kestler seductively croons. Dinah Washington’s “Evil Gal Blues” is a sadly still topical song, with the Evil Gal losing her man to Uncle Sam. “I Got a Feelin’” is a breezy take on Big Maybelle’s original. “Baby, Baby Every Night” features tenor saxophonist “Bucko” Bielecki with the rest of the band joining in on background vocals.

About half-way through the disc the pattern becomes obvious. The band swings and jives through a slew of post-war tracks by Annie Laurie, Peggy Lee, Little Esther, and Big Maybelle. Add a raving sax solo, tight rhythm guitar chords, and Kestler’s sultry croon and you have the album. There are occasionally duet-style vocals when drummer Mark Fornek joins in on “Ain’t Nobody’s Business but My Own” and Dinah Washington & Brook Benton’s “A Rockin’ Good Way.” I realize the theme is jump blues and it’s nice to see a blues-related Chicago band that doesn’t rely on Muddy Waters for its songbook, but after a while the formula wears thin.

“Jumpin’ These Blues” is an original composition by the band and fits in seamlessly with the old songs. Downer plays fluidly, with precision and flawless tone. I’d like to hear more original music from The Rhythm Rockets on a disc that mixes up the styles. The musicians are clearly talented and Nicole Kestler is an evocative singer. She can be smooth, sassy, sultry, or sad and handles the songs of her predecessors adeptly. She Swings Blue Vol. 1: The Joint Is Jumpin’ showcases one dimension of The Rhythm Rockets and therein lays the problem. Ultimately though, their breezy, swinging rhythms and rambunctious horns are an irresistible force and I couldn’t help absorbing the energy while I listened.

Even if you’re stuck in the car on the Kennedy Expressway or squeezed into your seat on the EL, your feet will tap, your legs will bounce and your shoulders will sway until the person next to you requests your departure. If you’re having a party and want to get people moving, She Swings Blue: The Joint Is Jumpin’ Vol. 1 will surely do the trick.

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

 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.

The Madison Blues Society – Madison, WI

The Madison Blues Society will host this year’s Blues Picnic on Saturday, June 28, 2014 at Madison’s Northside Warner Park from Noon to 9:00pm.

Music lineup is Kyle Henderson, “Blues Kids”, Altered Five, Jim Schwall and Chris Aaron, Barrelhouse Chuck With Billy Flynn and Westside Andy, Aaron Williams And The Hoodoo.

In addition to our regular selection of great American and ethnic foods, Capital Brewery beers, and 9 hours of FREE music, there will be a Prize Raffle, a 50-50 Cash Raffle and lots of fun merchandise. Don’t miss this chance to get your summer boogie on!


Natchel Blues Network – Norfolk, VA

 The Natchel’ Blues Network and Beach Events presents The 21st Annual Blues at the Beach Festival September 5 & 6, 2014 at 17th Street Stage – Virginia Beach VA.

Lineup includes Jarekus Singleton and Lil Ed & The Blues Imperials on Friday and Doug Deming & Dennis Gruenling w/ The Jewel Tones, Dirt Cheap Blues Exchange Dance Workshop, Damon Fowler Group, Bernard Allison and Tommy Castro & The Painkillers on Saturday.

$5.00 Daily / $8.00 Weekend Pass. For more info visit

Friends of the Blues – Kankakee, IL

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

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 Dan Phelps for an evening of solo acoustic blues at Leombruni’s Italian Village at 110 W. 2nd Street in Byron Illinois at 8 PM on Saturday, May 31st.

Crossroads Blues Society gets inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame at an event at Buddy Guy’s Legend’s starting at 2 PM on Sunday, June 8th.

Saturday, June 14th at the Hope and Anchor English Pub in Loves Park the monthly blues series event features Aaron Williams and the HooDoo at 8 PM. $5 cover after 7 PM.

Long-time Rockford blues DJ Rich Gordon retires from his day job as does his wife Monica. Celebrate with them and Rich’s band the Basement Blues Band at Mary’s Place, 602 N Madison St, Rockford at 7 PM on Saturday, June 21st. Iron Orchard will also be playing, led by Rich and Monica’s son.

Sunday June 22nd at 2 PM Crossroads is hosting a benefit for Bob Levis at the Lyran Society Club att 1115 4th Avenue in Rockford. $20 tickets get you into a 5 hour event featuring many bands and artists including teh Brooks Brothers (Ronnie and Wayne), Dave Specter and many more.

Saturday June 28th is the Second Annual Field of Blues Festival at Rockford Aviators Stadium.  refers.  Advanced tickets are only $10.

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 also be performing between Sets in the Pavillion.

Advanced planning: The 5th Annual Crossroads Blues Festival on August 23rd moves from Byron, IL to Lyran Park just south of Rockford Airport. Lurrie Bell headlines this year’s event! .

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. June 2 – James Armstrong, June 16 – Selwyn Birchwood, June 23 – Reverend Raven & The Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys, June 30 = Chris O’Leary Band

Other events sponsored by ICBC – May 30, John Nemeth @ Casey’s Pub, 7:30 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

Blues Overdose 5/29/2014 – 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

Billy Pierce

“Take Me Back To The Delta” from the album Take Me Back To The Delta

Featuring Sonny Landreth and Charlie Wooton on base: Don’t listen to this album in the public library with your headphones on; You will want to grab the nearest partner and disrupt the decorum by dancing through the stacks. “Take Me Back To The Delta” is a good album for your next Mardi Gras fiesta (even if it’s in September) or dance party. –Steve Daniels.

For more info visit

Click HERE to download these Free tracks on our Soundcloud


David Vest

“Freight Train Rollin’” from the album Roadhouse Revelation

David Vest is an authentic, Southern-bred boogie-woogie piano player, blues shouter, and world-class entertainer. Newly signed to Cordova Bay Records, he has just released the highly-anticipated album, Roadhouse Revelation.

Roadhouse Revelation was recorded by Grammy-nominated engineer Jeremy Darby. It features ten Vest originals, including a never-before heard song co-written with Paul deLay, as well as David’s definitive cover of the Hank Williams classic, Ramblin’ Man. . For more info visit

Click HERE to download these Free tracks on Soundcloud


John McVey

“Thief” from the album Meet Me In Houston

The track is Thief and the artist is John McVey. This track is a keeper. If you enjoy blues as blues should be this cut will set you back in your chair. The song has everything especially lyrics you can relate to if your heart has ever been shattered by someone who walked out the door. John McVey delivers verses as if he lived them and his guitar work reveals the depth of his pain. Thief is a mind blower. It cuts to your core as it stirs up memories of the past and then holds you in a John McVey blues trance for over six minutes. Thief is one of those tracks you play over and over. It touches you and you go this is the truth!

For more info visit

Click HERE to download these Free tracks on Soundcloud


Josh Hoyer and The Shadowboxers

“Make Time For Love” from the album Josh Hoyer And The Shadowboxers

Josh Hoyer And The Shadowboxers is a project formed in late 2012 in famed blues town Lincoln, Nebraska. For the last 15 years, Hoyer has been very in demand as a performer in his previous bands, as a solo artistbehind the piano and as a session musician and arranger. Spending much of his time booking and promoting in Lincoln at the legendary Zoo Bar and beyond, Hoyer is an influential part of the funk, soul and blues youth movement.

His current 9-piece Soul band’s sound and passion come from their deep respect, knowledge of and passion for blues, Americana, soul, funk, and many other styles of music.

2013 was a highly successful first year for the band in which they played dozens of festivals, cultivated a large following in a 3-state area, represented NE in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis and were named 2013’s Best Soul/R&B at the Omaha Entertainment Awards.

For more info visit

Click HERE to download these Free tracks on Soundcloud


Oz Noy

“Blue Ball Blues” from the album Twisted Blues Vol. 2

“I wrote this based on Chris Layton’s drum groove in mind, he played this groove for me at sound check and i decided to write something over it…. drum grooves usually inspire me to write. Its this fast Texas shuffle, i love the interaction between me & Warren, he plays great on it!”.

For more info visit

Click HERE to download these Free tracks on Soundcloud


Planet Full Of Blues

“Big Mouth” from the album Hard Landing

Virginia based band, Planet Full Of Blues, has raised the bar for their new album, Hard Landing, by enlisting multi-Grammy award winning producer/engineer Jim Gaines. Gaines’ artful influence is felt throughout the 11 original tracks bringing out the best of the band’s unique blend of guitar-driven blues-rock. Simply put, Gaines does an amazing job at capturing and conveying the emotion that was experienced during the Hard Landing sessions. Backed by Brock Howe on drums and Ron Dameron on bass, Johnny Ray Light’s unique rich vocals and searing yet soulful lead guitar playing are nicely complimented by the big breathing percussive sound and strong clean vocals provided by Howe.

Hard Landing is the much anticipated follow-up to the band’s 2008 chart making self-titled debut album. In fact, the title track off of the band’s first release was listed on the national Roots Music Report—Roots Blues chart as one of the top 50 blues songs in the nation for over 30 plus weeks throughout 2008—2009. Additionally, the band’s first album received strong international airplay as well, resulting in multiple offers to perform overseas. In June 2009, the band performed as a co-headliner at the Blues Stock Blues Festival in Belgrade, Serbia.

For more info visit

Click HERE to download these Free tracks on Soundcloud


Gaetano Letizia

“The Devis Is A Nice Guy” –  from the album Voodoo Doll & Other Blues Lessons

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

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

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

Available on CDBaby, Itunes & Amazon, For more info visit

Click HERE to download these Free tracks on Soundcloud


The Reverend Shawn Amos

“(The Girl is) Heavy” from the album The Reverend Shawn Amos Tells It

“(The Girl Is) Heavy” is an original song from L.A. based blues performer, The Reverend Shawn Amos. The track was recorded at the famed Village Recorder and executive produced by Steve Jordan (John Mayer, Robert Cray, Keith Richards). Background vocals provided by Gia Ciambotti and Kim Yarbrough with Hammond B3 played by session veteran, Anthony Marinelli. The song was mixed by Niko Bolas (Neil Young). Amos has released three previous albums of singer-songwriter material and has recorded, performed with and produced the late Solomon Burke. More info at

Click HERE to download these Free tracks on Soundcloud

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