Issue 8-36 September 4, 2014

Cover photo by Marilyn Stringer © 2014


 In This Issue

Terry Mullins has our feature interview with Selwyn Birchwood. Bob Kieser has photos from the Old Capital Blues Fest and also photos from the Crossroads Blues Festival.

We have 10 reviews for you including reviews of music by Dave Specter, Bob Stroger & Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith, Rick Estrin and the Nightcats, Steve Freund and Gloria Hardiman, Missy Andersen, Austin Walkin’ Cane, Rod Piazza And The Mighty Flyers, Mud Morganfield and Kim Wilson, David Michael Miller and Emmett Wheatfall.

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,

Our friends from the Grafton Blues Society have their annual Paramount Blues Festival this weekend.

The fest is held on Friday and Saturday this weekend in Lime Kiln Park in Grafton Wisconsin. Their Lineup features DB Collective, Deep Water Reunion, Mo Jo Perry Band and Altered Five on Friday night. On Saturday they have Joe Filisco, Big N Tasty Blues, The Matthew Skoller Band, Deb Callahan, Jared James Nichols, Reverend Raven & The Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys, Jim Liban Band and Tinsley Ellis. It should be a good one! For ticklets and more information visit or click on their ad below.

THave you voted yet? Voting in the 2014 Blues Blast Music awards continues until September 15th. If you haven’t voted yet, why not join the other 8,500 Blues lovers who have already voted? It is free and easy! To vote now CLICK HERE.

Also, we have quite a lineup for the Blues Blast Music Awards ceremonies on October 23 including performances by Albert Casiglia, Bernie Pearl and Barbara Morrison, Bobby Rush and Blinddog Smokin, Toronzo Cannon, Shaun Murphy Band, Tweed Funk, Adrianna Marie and Her Groovecutters, Back Pack Jones, Dave Riley and Bob Corritore, Brent Johnson, Annie Mack Band, RB Stone, Lisa Biales, Mark T Small, Lisa Mann, Trudy Lynn, The Frank Bey Anthony Paule Band, Steve Dawson, Rachelle Coba, Too Slim and The Tail Draggers, Sean Chambers, Josh Hoyer and Norman Taylor. Have you got your tickets yet? For tickets and compete information, CLICK HERE.

TWishing you health, happiness and lots of Blues music!

Bob Kieser

 Blues Wanderings

I made it to Blue Monday this week to see a great set of music from JP Soars and The Red Hots. He has a new album (I listened to it on the way home from the show, KILLER!) and a new band too with AJ Kelley on bass, Chris Peet on Drums and Steve Laudicina on second guitar!

The new CD is called Full Moon Night In Memphis and it has 14 songs with 12 originals. It features guest appearances by a bunch of folks including Brandon Santini, Terry Haunk and Teresa James among others. GET IT!

 Featured Blues Review – 1 of 10

Dave Specter – Message In Blue

Delmark Records

13 songs – 59 minutes

If you can judge the quality of a musician by the company he keeps, then Chicago’s Dave Specter is an A-Lister. A native of the Windy City, he has backed such blues greats as Son Seals, The Legendary Blues Band, Hubert Sumlin, Sam Lay and Steve Freund.

He has also performed and recorded with a vast array of blues and jazz artists, including Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Otis Rush, Jimmy Rogers, Robert Jr. Lockwood, Jimmy Johnson, Jack McDuff, Johnny Adams, Snooky Pryor, Kim Wilson, Tad Robinson, John Primer, Johnny Littlejohn, B.B. Odom, Mighty Joe Young, Valerie Wellington, Magic Slim, Lonnie Brooks, Willie Kent, Ronnie Earl, Eric Alexander, Otis Clay, Floyd McDaniel, Pinetop Perkins and Sunnyland Slim. If any doubts remained about Specter’s abilities, however, his 10th release, Message In Blue, indisputably lays them to rest.

The 13 songs on the album comprise seven Specter instrumentals and six guest vocal slots shared between the legendary soul singer, Otis Clay, and Brother John Kattke (who also contributes keys). Clay’s three songs in particular are outstanding – Wilson Pickett’s (and the Falcons’) “I Found A Love” (with great tremolo guitar from Specter), Harold Burrage’s “Got To Find A Way”, and perhaps the emotional highlight of the album, “This Time I’m Gone For Good”, dedicated to the late, great Bobby “Blue” Bland.

Kattke more than holds his own on a cracking version of Freddie King’s “Same Old Blues” and the Lonnie Brooks shuffle, “Watchdog”. “Chica­go Style” is especially noteworthy for Kattke’s superb Howlin’ Wolf impersonation whilst referencing the great man in the lyrics.

Specter is on fine form throughout the album. He has a muscular and assertive soloing style, and is not afraid to venture past the minor and major pentatonic scales, which adds to his singular tone. His instrumentals all feature memorable, distinctive melodies. The opening track, “New West Side Stroll”, is a prime example of this, even though it is actually an update of Specter’s own 1995 recording “West Side Stroll.” The title track, by contrast, displays a strong Hendrix influence, whilst still being all Specter.

Harmonica virtuoso Bob Corritore guests on two tracks on the album, the aptly-named “Opus De Swamp” and the rocking “Jefferson Stomp”, which sounds like a distant cousin to “Mystery Train” and also features some riotous slide guitar from Specter. Other musicians on the disc include Harlan Terson (on bass); Marty Binder (drums); Kenny Anderson (trumpet and flugelhorn); Bill McFarland (trombone): Hank Ford (tenor saxophone); Willie Henderson (baritone sax); Theresa Davis and Diane Madison (backing vocals); Victor Garcia (congas and percussion); John “Boom” Brumbach (tenor sax); Jim Tullio (acoustic bass guitar and percussion) and Travis T. Bernard (drums).

Of particular interest for audiophiles, Message In Blue is the first Delmark blues recording released on vinyl since 1991’s Bluebird Blues, also from Specter (with Barkin Bill & Ronnie Earl).

From the modern electric blues of “Chicago Style” to the soul-jazz of “The Stinger” and the funky R&B of “Funkified Outta Space”, this album covers a number of bases extremely well. Worth checking out.

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 Interview – Selwyn Birchwood

To be satisfied, or to not be satisfied..?

That is the question.

And for fast-rising blues star Selwyn Birchwood, the answer is an easy one. He’ll take the not-satisfied position, thank you very much.

After winning the International Blues Challenge (IBC) in 2013, Birchwood could have been forgiven had he decided to climb to the top of the Peabody Hotel, gazed out over downtown Memphis and shouted, ‘I’ve finally hit the big-time. I’ve got it made!’

But apparently, that’s not how Selwyn Birchwood is wired. Instead of considering his coup over 200-plus other bands at the International Blues Challenge as the pinnacle of his young career as a bluesman, Birchwood views it more like a springboard to bigger and better things on down the road.

In other words, he’s hardly satisfied.

“Well, here’s how I look at that (winning the IBC); it unlocked a bunch of doors for us and now that’s allowed us to go and open those doors – or in some cases, kick them in – and that’s what we’re trying to do,” he said. “Just from looking at some of the past winners, it seems like they think they’ve got it made after winning. I don’t look at it like that. I look at it like now is when the real work begins.”

Birchwood, who also won the Albert King Award – along with a killer Gibson ES-335 – for best guitarist at the 2013 IBC, has seen his schedule packed almost to the bursting point since then, with gig after gig after gig – including road trips all across the United States and beyond – filling up his daily planner.

“It’s been non-stop. After the IBC win we got on the road and really started pounding the pavement and tried to get out to as many places as we could and stretch out as much as we could,” he said. “We’ve played in front of a lot of people since then and they’ve liked the sound of the band and we just keep building things up, one show at a time. And now, we’re just trying to keep things moving.”

That forward progress for Birchwood seems to have almost reached critical mass recently, ever since his heavily-acclaimed major label release – Don’t Call no Ambulance (Alligator Records) – hit the record store racks back in early June.

“I’m ecstatic about the reception it’s gotten so far. I thought it might be kind of a tossup, because there’s always going to be differences in people’s opinions. You’ve got your traditionalists and then you’ve got your non-traditionalists,” said Birchwood. “And we were trying to find that good medium ground (with the album). We wanted to have all the emotion and feeling of the old-school blues, but with kind of a different light and a different angle on it. But I felt good about the album; I thought the songs were strong and recorded well. I hoped it would do well and I’m really pleased with the way it’s been received so far. We’ve been out on the road since it came out in June, just trying to get it out there to everybody.”

Birchwood and his band have been wowing audiences all over the place with a stage show jam-packed with great playing, great songs, a great deal of energy – and maybe best of all – a great deal of fun.

“When we’re up on the stage, that’s when we get to have fun. It’s like the light at the end of the tunnel, because when we’re not on stage, we’re traveling and not sleeping and hauling equipment around,” he said. “But when we get up on that stage – that’s why we do all that other stuff – to get to that part when we can just get up there and have fun. And a lot of people seem to pick up on that.”

There’s little doubt that having the marketing force and brain-power that Alligator Records brings to the party is a major plus for a relatively new artist that is still trying to carve out his own space in the world of the blues. And according to Birchwood, the work that goes on behind the scenes at Alligator is a sight to behold.

“It’s great. The entire team at Alligator is just incredible. They’re all extremely good at their jobs. When I first met the team – I think there are about 16 people over at Alligator – I thought that was a lot of people,” the 29-year-old native of Florida said. “But when we sat down and had our meeting and I was told what each one of them did for their jobs, I was very impressed. Combined, they do the work of about 60 people, it seems like. It’s really an asset to work with a team like that. Working with Bruce (Iglauer) in the studio and on the business-side of things has been great. To have someone like him that really knows this business and knows his way around the studio and how to make and promote records the way he does is just incredible.”

Birchwood seems to be blessed with all the abilities a blues player needs. In baseball parlance, he might be referred to as a ‘5-tool player.’ Even though it’s his fretwork that draws the most attention, his vocals are also a large part of what makes his music so compelling.

“I really enjoy most of the older rootsy blues singers and a lot of the old-school soul singers, too. I know I’m not going to be able to sing like this person or that person in a lot of respects, so I just try to work with what I have,” he said.

Not unlike other younger blues players also on the scene in 2014, Birchwood’s music is not a complete carbon-copy of 1950s-era Chess Records stuff. It may be constructed on a base of Muddy Waters, but there’s also a little Sly & The Family Stone and maybe even a touch of Savoy Brown lurking just below the surface, too.

“With the band that I’m playing with, we come from a lot of different stuff in our backgrounds. When we get together and write and come up with music, we try to incorporate all of those different influences into it,” Birchwood said. “Regi (Oliver – sax) and Curtis (Nutall – drums) come from more of a jazz background and Huff (Wright – bass) plays a lot of funk, along with blues and jazz, as well. So we just try and mix everything together and see what we can come up with.”

Even though he was a child of the 80s and started playing guitar in 1998, when he was 13-years-old, Birchwood was quickly pulled into the magical realm of six-string legends like Jimi Hendrix, Freddie King, Albert Collins and Albert King – guys whose last new, original music was issued way before he was even born. Despite that, the impact those elder cats had on him was both immediate and life-changing.

“Their music is just so timeless. That’s why they continue to amaze and inspire young guitarists. You can listen to any of the songs that those guys did and they’re still just as relevant today as they were back then,” Birchwood said. “The other thing is, they’re just so unique and they all have such individual sounds; that’s what guitarists strive to find – that unique, individual sound that’s your own. And all of those guys did that 100-percent. They weren’t trying to be the fastest, or the most technical, players, but when you hear them playing, you immediately know who it is.”

Another famed guitarist of note that had an immeasurable impact on Birchwood’s fomulative days as a guitarist was the great bluesman Sonny Rhodes. Whereas with Hendrix, Collins and the Kings, Birchwood could only absorb their music through discs or old videos, with Rhodes, he had the amazing opportunity to learn things up close and personal.

“I was fortunate to meet him when I was just fresh out of high school. He was a neighbor of one of my high school friends. My friend knew that I played and he would always say, ‘My neighbor’s got a blues band.’ He brought me one of his (Rhodes’) CDs and as soon as I heard it, I was like, ‘Man, you have to introduce me to whoever this is,’” said Birchwood. “It took a few months, but I finally went over and I played a little for him. He stopped me halfway through a song and looked at his bass player and then looked back at me and smiled and asked if I had my passport. He said he was going to take me on the road with him.”

And that’s just what Rhodes did. Not only did Birchwood become a touring member of Rhodes’ band for over four years, he was also inspired to start playing the lap steel guitar after hanging around with the Texas-born bluesman.

“It was really a first-class education in the blues business. He really led by example. Just watching him, I learned how to run a band and what to do and what not to do. I learned how to interact with crowds … just everything about playing the blues,” said Birchwood. “Me being 19-years-old and starting out at that level, it was really an asset for me. He didn’t really sit me down and give me a lesson here and a lesson there, but I just watched him like a hawk and watched every part of everything he was doing. My goal when I was with him was to really live the life and absorb all I could. And I think that’s what I did.”

With the way that Birchwood attacks his guitar on stage, ripping off lick after tasty blues lick, it’s easy to see that the young man has spent countless hours practicing his craft and honing it to a razor-sharp edge. But as impressive as Birchwood’s command of his instrument is, it’s not the only thing he’s been focused on the past decade or so. In addition to playing the blues – with Sonny Rhodes and with his own outfit – Birchwood somehow also found enough time to earn his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Tampa.

“I’ve always been academic – ever since I was a kid. My family pushed me towards academics and when they realized I wanted to play music for a living, they kind of tried to shy me away from it a little bit, just because they wanted me to have some security and whatnot,” he said. “But I didn’t see any reason why I couldn’t do both and I had the opportunity and the means to go and get a degree, so I just went on to do it. I really didn’t have any plans for it (a college degree), but I just thought it would be silly to not do it when I had the means and the ability. So I just went and got it.”

He probably didn’t have any clue just how much his life would change after he stepped off the stage in Memphis on the night of Feb. 2, 2013, after being named the IBC champion in his second year of competition in the annual event. But it didn’t take long for Birchwood – who represented Florida’s Suncoast Blues Society in the battle – to find out just how much things would change.

“Yeah, I had no idea at the time. I just always thought that if we had the opportunity to win something like that, we’d be able to take it and run with it. I’ve seen some bands that have won it and then roll back into obscurity pretty quickly,” he said. “I always felt like we were ready to get out on the road and get moving, but we just needed that little extra bump … that little extra push. And that’s what we got (winning the IBC). Then we just took it and hit the ground running. And we’re still trying to keep it moving now.”

There’s only one living Mississippi-based bluesman nicknamed after a plumed aquatic bird.

Photos by Marilyn Stringer © 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 10

Bob Stroger & Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith – Keepin’ It Together

Big Eye Records

12 tracks-Running Time/46:26

“My name is Bob Stroger, they can call me anythang they choose, well you can call me what you want, but my real name is the blues…”

So intones Bob Stroger (rhymes with soldier), one of the last living links to the original Chicago bluesmen. Born in Hayti Missouri, Stroger’s family moved to Chitown when he was 16. Enamored immediately of Chicago’s bright lights, big city blues scene, the self taught bassist eventually joined the Eddie King band and stayed in it 15 years. Mr. Stroger also sojourned and recorded with the great Otis Rush. He also worked with Sunnyland Slim, Jimmy Rogers, Fred Below, Pinetop Perkins and Willie “Big Eyes” Smith and played on the Grammy award winning CD Joined At The Hip, featuring Pinetop and “Big Eyes.” The Blues Foundation presented Bob Stroger with its Best Bassist award in 2011 and 2013.

On Keepin’ It Together, Stroger teams with baby boomer drummer, Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith, the son of great Blues drummer Willie “Big Eyes Smith.” Kenny represents the new covenant of Blues drummers, whose percussive strokes have been revered by the likes of Hubert Sumlin, Pinetop Perkins, Billy Boy Arnold and countless others. He was awarded a Grammy in 2011 for his contribution to the album Joined At The Hip with the legendary duo Pinetop Perkins and Willie “Big Eyes” Smith. Kenny’s licks can be heard on over 5o CD’s.

Keepin’ It Together is a formidable presentation of Chicago Blues. Stroger and Smith swap lead vocals on various tracks. Though their vocal deliveries differ, there is also a similarity woven throughout that suggests sonically, their styles are derived from the same root.

Standout tracks include ;

#5 “That’s My Name”, includes the lyrics posted in the preamble of this review in addition to Bob Stroger declaring, ” I am the blues.”

#8 “Old Woman Sweetheart”, a Willie “Big Eyes” Smith recording which samples the original , then intersperses it with “Beedy Eyes’s” vocals, famous backbeat and Bob Stroger’s steady bass playing. The transition is seamless.

#9 “He (Bob Stroger Done) Took Her,” a rollickin’ lament that states how Bob Stroger took the narrator’s woman. With lead vocal by Kenny, Barrelhouse Chuck contributes a rollin’ solo on those 88’s and Jerry Portnoy or Joe Filisko does the same on harp.

#12 “In My House”, a tune written posthumously by Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, delivered to “Beedy Eyes” in a dream.

The musicianship displayed on Keepin’ It Together is pure Chicago. In addition to the aforementioned Barrelhouse Chuck , Jerry Portnoy and Joe Filisko, also delivering the goods are Billy Flynn, Kevin Iles and Little Frank Krakowski on guitars, Brian Leach additional bass and Sam Burkhardt on saxophone.

The liner notes and album information do strive to emphasize the importance of this effort, but do not indicate the songwriters of each individual song, opting instead to list the music publisher. That minor distraction aside, Keepin’ It Together fits the mold of Chicago Blues that is rapidly passing this generation by. If you want the real deal, give this one a feel!

Reviewer Tee Watts is music director at KPFZ 88.1 fm in Lakeport, CA and road manager for Sugar Pie DeSanto.

 Featured Live Blues Review – Crossroads Blues Festival

Crossroads Blues Festival – October 23rd, 2014

Steve Jones is one of our Blues Blast writers, a good friend and also president of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford, IL He is the driving force behind the 2014 Crossroads Blues Fest held in Lyran Park in Rockford this year.

The first act we heard was Dave Weld & The Imperial Blue Flames.

They gave a great set to a crowd that loved it! Dave Weld was followed by Reverend Raven & The Chain Smoking Altar Boys. They had a special guest on harp, Benny Ricun.

Next up was another Chicago Blues group, Westside Andy – Mel Ford Band with special guest Barrelhouse Chuck. They tore it up getting the crowd ready for the evening’s headliner!

The headliner and final act of the fest was Chicago Blues legend Lurrie Bell. Lurrie had an all-star band that included Willie “The Touch ” Hayes on drums, Melvin Smith on bass and keyboard ace Roosevelt “Mad Hatter” Purifoy. I doesn’t get much better than that!

This one day fest is a great showcase of real Blues! Check it out!

Photos and commentary by Bob Kieser © 2014 Blues Blast Magazine

 Featured Blues Review – 3 of 10

You Asked For It…Live!

Alligator Records

CD: 13 Songs; 75:31 Minutes

Styles: Contemporary Electric Blues Rock, Blues Humor

As any veteran blues musician might explain, such as San Francisco native Rick Estrin, and his Nightcats, live and studio albums are two different animals. They might be fundamentally related, like the cheetah and the tiger, but pound for pound, one feline’s built for speed and the other for stealth.

Estrin’s newest CD, You Asked For It…Live! sneaks up on listeners like the latter cat, because this band recognizes the true dynamic of live concerts: One can’t count on alcohol consumption or dancing alone to make a crowd go wild. The best showmen have a vivid, continuous rapport with their audience, of which Rick is a grandmaster. He leads into several of the thirteen songs here (ten originals and two covers) with witty backstories, making the audience relate instead of simply smile. Chuckling and playing along with him are guitarist/background vocalist Kid Andersen, bassist/organist Lorenzo Farrell, and drummer/background vocalist J. Hansen. The three tracks mentioned here prove how fantastic a blues humorist Estrin is:

Track 04: “My Next Ex-Wife” – “How many people out here tonight have ever been divorced?” Rick asks the throng at the beginning of a snicker-fest. “I’m talking about the deep-down emotional devastation that goes hand in hand with losing…half your [stuff.] ‘Til death do us part? They came up with that stuff, like, 1000-2000 years ago!” Divorce means loss, but this song’s a winner, replete with ‘70’s funk solos by Kid Andersen and Estrin on harmonica.

Track 11: “Dump That Chump” – Saffire -The Uppity Blues Women added to the fame of this tune in the blues world when they covered it, but it was originally composed by our present heroes (known as Little Charlie and the Nightcats at the time they wrote it). Perky and hilarious, it never fails to amuse. “I won’t lie to you, girls – you’ve been getting bored, sick and tired of being ignored. The man you’ve got don’t appreciate you. Let me tell you girls what you ought to do…” Rick and the audience enter a loud Pavlovian call-and response mode on the chorus.

Track 12: “Don’t Do It” – “Let us not become weary in doing good”, the Bible says, but when it comes to doing what’s good for one’s health, our narrator has become more than exhausted. So has his doctor, who rattles off a litany of nutritional ‘thou-shalt-nots’: “If a rabbit don’t eat it, you don’t need it. That’s the rule for your new menu.” The chorus contains a worse injunction: “If you dig it, don’t do it, and if you like it, leave it alone.” Who knew wickedly-good ‘50s/60s-style rockers could act like such atomic bombs in the face of the health crazes of today?

For blues aficionados who love the roar of hundreds of fans – and their raucous laughter – along with the music, well, “You Asked For It…Live!”

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 – 4 of 10

Steve Freund and Gloria Hardiman – Set Me Free

Delmark Records

14 tracks / 53:31

Delmark Records has done blues fans a few favors this year as they re-released classic blues records that have previously been unavailable in the digital world. First there was Queen Sylvia and John Embry’s Troubles, and now we get Steve Freund and Gloria Hardiman’s Set Me Free, both of which were originally published by Chicago’s Razor Records. This 1983 Freund/Hardiman album has been hidden for too long, and it is quite a collector’s item.

Steve Freund is a legendary Bay Area bluesman, guitarist, and producer, but he was based out of Chicago when he cut Set Me Free, his first album. It was also Hardiman’s vocal debut as she jumped into the music scene after the birth of her twins, and her chemistry with Steve was magical. They were backed by a killer team from the Windy City that was made up of Ken Saydak on piano and organ, the legendary Sunnyland Slim on piano, Sam Burckhardt on sax, Bob Stroger and Harlan Terson on bass, and Eddie Turner on the skins. Those truly were the good old days!

Right from the first track, “You Got Me (Where You Want Me),” it is apparent that Freund had left his Brooklyn upbringing behind, as only a Chicagoan can make this kind of blues. His guitar work is razor sharp and his timing is impeccable, things that would make him welcome in any blues band. The other eye-opener is how unbelievable it is that this is Hardiman’s first album because her voice is powerful and sassy, with a confidence that is contagious.

Sunnyland Slim makes his first appearance on Jimmy Rogers’ slow-rolling “That’s All Right.” Freund was Slim’s guitarist back then, and this is fortunate as his presence on this disc is a real treat. It is neat to hear this song sung from a woman’s perspective, and Gloria nails it. Also, Freund’s guitar is played with perfect phrasing and feel over the rock solid backline of Stroger on bass and Fred Grady on the drums. These guys also pitch in on the Slim’s other songs: the original instrumental “Jammin’ with Sam” and Guitar Slim’s “The Things I Used to Do.” Surprisingly, this last song is the only time that Freund takes the vocals on this album, and he does Guitar Slim proud with his wailing tenor.

Hardiman gets to shine on nine of the tracks, though, and her most notable contribution is on King Curtis’ “Let Me Down Easy.” Gloria had a strong gospel background before she hooked up with Steve, and she brought this with a heart dose of soul as Ken Saydak rolled out a gospel-inspired piano accompaniment. A close second is her respectful take on Aretha Franklin’s “Dr. Feelgood,” which will give you goosebumps.

Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson’s “Kidney Stew Blues” is the final song from the original release, and this instrumental is one of the standout tracks of the album. Harlan Terson holds down a solid bass line on this one as Saydak and Freund trade leads with Sam Burckhardt’s sublime tenor saxophone. This is some of the finest instrumental blues that you will come across.

The original album had ten tracks, but the CD re-issue lists four bonus songs that include the previously unreleased “Homework” and “Kiddio” and two songs from a Ken Saydak 45 record (remember those?), “Shoppin’ and Snackin’” and “Swanee River Boogie.”

It must have been a hard choice to leave the first two songs off the original cut of Set Me Free, but perhaps their 1960s sound just did not fit in when all was said and done. Gary Heller and Freund get a few good guitar licks in on Otis Rush’s “Homework,” but Hardiman takes the lead with a firm hand and gorgeous supporting vocals from Diane Homes and Gail Washington. And Brook Benton’s “Kiddio” is extra tight with honkytonk piano from Saydak and hard drum fills from Eddie Turner. Both of these tracks feature the extra cool harmonica stylings of Mr. Ron Sorin, and it is a shame that this is the first time his work on this project has been available to the public.

Chances are good that you never heard the two Ken Saydak songs before, and this is a fabulous opportunity. “Shoppin’ and Snackin’” is one of the funniest songs you will find, and Saydak goes all the places musicians fear to tread, singing about patriotism, race and religion in his pleasant tenor range. Of course he does it with his piano supporting him, not to mention a solid guitar performance from Bob Levis. “Swanee River Boogie” brings the disc to a close, and Saydak does a wonderful job on this instrumental that turns out at least as good as Fats Domino’s version. His piano work stands on its own in this solo performance, and he can certainly throw down a serious boogie that could shake a piano to pieces.

This is an incredible album, and it is easy to see how it propelled Steve Freund into a stellar career that includes seven of his own albums and production credit on dozens more. But it is also a wonderful snapshot in time, with heart wrenching vocals from Gloria Hardiman, phenomenal keys from Ken Saydak, and a chance to hear Sunnyland Slim accompanied by a certifiably dangerous band. There is a good reason why the original LP is so collectible and this CD is a must-have for any blues collection. If you are a fan of the genre I guarantee that you will listen to it more than once!

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

 Featured Live Blues Review – Old Capitol Blues & BBQ

The festival is held on 5th & Washington Streets in downtown Springfield, Illinois right next to the historic Old State Capital building. This building is the site of candidacy announcements by Abraham Lincoln in 1858 and Barack Obama in 2007. According Wikipedia, it was in this building that Lincoln served his final term as a state lawmaker in 1840–41. It was here, as a lawyer, that he pleaded cases before the state supreme court in 1841–60. It was here, in the Illinois House chamber, that he made his House Divided speech in June 1858, announcing his candidacy for the U.S. Senate. It was to the same chamber, in May 1865, that his body was returned from Washington, D.C. prior to final burial in Springfield’s Oak Ridge Cemetery. Is is also a cool site for a festival.

Old Capital Blues & BBQ features 40 BBQ competitors and vendors; live Blues music, the Illinois Central Blues Club’s Blues Challenge and free children’s entertainment. (I only made the Friday night portion of this festivals so I did not get to see the Blues Challenge on Saturday.)

The artists I got to see on Friday started off with Josh Hoyer and the Shadowboxers. John is a very soulful keyboard player and singer. Josh Hoyer & The Shadowboxers are nominated for Best New Artists Debut Recording in the 2014 Blues Blast Music Awards for their self titled album.

For this show josh had a huge band with a horn section and 3 backup singers. He put on one hell of a show and the crowd loved it! I expect to hear more from this rising star.

Next up was the Australian Blues artists Harper and MidWest Kind. As far as I know he is the only Blues artists who uses the traditional aboriginal didgeridoo to play Blues.

The final act of Friday’s show was Victor Wainright & The Wild Roots.

Victor Wainright has won the Pine Top Perkins Piano Player Award at the Blues Music Awards for 2 years running now and his raucous high-octane performance showed he surely deserved it.

The Friday portion of the Old Capital Blues & BBQ fest presented a significant change from the typical guitar driven bands you normally see at Blues festivals. It was a welcome and enjoyable experience. As someone who has attended this festival most of the last 10 years, I can testify that this fest is always a great show. Be sure to put it on your list for next year!

Photos and commentary by Bob Kieser © 2014 Blues Blast Magazine

 Featured Blues Review – 5 of 10

Missy Andersen – In The Moment

Main Squeeze Records

11 songs – 51 minutes

Born in Detroit, schooled in Queens and now residing in San Diego, Missy Andersen released her first, self-titled, album in 2009. Her sophomore effort, In The Moment, features 11 tracks of blues and soul, played and sung with panache, passion and irresistible rhythms. The result is a seriously fine party album.

The opening track, “Rent Party”, sets the tone for the record, coming out swinging with an upbeat, foot-tapping groove and a lovely, brief T-Bone-esque solo from guitarist, Heine “The Great Dane” Andersen, before Missy Andersen (yes, the Andersens are husband and wife) tells us “They had a party going on uptown; don’t look back and everybody got down. I heard somebody say ‘Now what’s the affair?’ I don’t know and I don’t really care. I’m having a good time. The next one is my rent party.”

This is immediately followed by the urgent drum-led strut of “Whole Lotta Nuthin’” and the minor key “Night Stalker” that sounds during the verses like a distant relative of Peggy Lee’s “Fever”, before the upbeat chorus kicks in with Andersen singing “I am a night stalker, and I ain’t ashamed. I am an alley walker and you’re to blame. I’m a shadow creeping, window peeping, safe cracking, GPS tracker. I know, I know, I know how to catch a cheat.”

The album comprises eight originals and three well-chosen covers and the band is impressively tight-but-loose throughout. In addition to guitarist and band-leader, Heine Andersen, it features Marty Dodson (drums), Bill Stuve and Michael McKinnon (bass), Ben Moore (Hammond B-3), Sue Palmer (piano), Christopher Hoffee (percussion), Robbie Smith (trumpet), Gerard Nolan (tenor sax), Bob Mathes (baritone sax) and Sonja Mack and Karen Trapane (backing vocals – especially good on “Night Stalker”). There are also guest appearances by the superb Nathan James and James Harman on guitar and harp on “Better Or Worse”. Nathan James also adds guitar to “Reach Out”.

All of the musicians contribute fully to the music. Moore’s organ provides subtle support on the soul ballads of “More Than Enough” and “No Regrets” and great solos on “Whole Lotta Nuthin’” and “Same Things Make You Laugh Will Make You Cry.” Heine Andersen produces some lovely guitar solos, especially on the jazzy blues of “Ladies Shoes” (written by pianist Sue Palmer) and the Ford Eaglin classic “I’ve Been Walkin’”, which also features a superb gospel introduction with just guitar and voice.

But it is Andersen’s voice that is the centrepiece of the album. It is a magnificent instrument, which she deploys with subtlety, emotion and, when required, no little power. Andersen likens her musical approach to “soul dipped in blues”. It would be equally accurate to describe it as “blues dipped in soul”. Both genres seep through every note she sings, with strong hints of gospel and R’n’B as well.

In The Moment is a seriously impressive, highly enjoyable outing. If you like horn-laden blues mixed in with a lot of soul, you will love this release.

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 10

Austin Walkin’ Cane – One Heart Walkin’

Lazy Eye Records 2014

13 tracks; 61 minutes

This is Austin Walkin’ Cane’s fourth album and he is joined on some tracks by the Revolution Brass Band, bringing the sound of New Orleans to the record. The RBB is Jacob ‘Weezy’ Wynne on trumpet and arrangements, Kris ‘Skinny K’ Morron on trombone, Davey ‘Gravy’ Kasper on saxes and Matt ‘Cutty’ Banner on sousaphone. Austin plays guitars and sings, Chris Allen acoustic guitar and B/Vs, Don Dixon on bass, Dave Morrison on harp and Freddie Perez-Stable on drums. The album was produced by Don Dixon and all the material bar one track is credited to Austin and Chris Allen, one track being by Austin and Washbottle Barry.

There is a fair variety of styles on offer here. “Sweet Tea And Bourbon” is a shuffle with minimal lyrics sung in a deep and gruff voice by Austin; “Midnight Creep” is upbeat Delta style with trashcan drums and slide guitar; the title track is slower and more atmospheric with some nice harp and acoustic guitar; “Waiting For A Little Sunshine” is a country-tinged blues played well on acoustic guitar with minimal bass and drum accompaniment. The main issue is Austin’s voice which is so deep and gruff as to make the lyrics tough to catch at times. The review material included a lyric sheet but the actual CD does not have that, so the casual listener may struggle at times to grasp what Austin has to say.

Things look up considerably on the musical front when the RBB join in, as they do to good effect on “Doin’ The Lindy Hop”, a breezy little number with some nifty guitar in the intro and the RBB beefing things up with some nice choral blasts. On “Who’s Gonna Love You?” a tuba adds to the rhythm section and the rest of the horns work well in conjunction with the percussion. Sadly those are the only tracks on which the full RBB appears though trumpeter Jacob plays effectively on “Do As Your Momma Says”, adding a real touch of NO to a very 20’s sounding blues – a song you could imagine Bessie Smith singing.

A slow blues with some brooding harp and guitar, “Trouble Woman, Trouble Man” clocks in at just short of ten minutes which is far longer than is required by the repetitive lyrics. “Wounded Dove” has a catchier rhythm but is also quite repetitive. Some tracks have a decidedly lo-fi approach, such as “Living, Working, Dying” where the slide plays off some more trashcan drums and a simple bass line, making it one of the more accessible tracks on the album. The closer “Bowlegged Woman” is a short vocal chant with just Freddie’s percussion, credited as a ‘12” Lasko Fan’!

This album is likely to please those who are already fans of Austin’s music but may not win over many new fans.

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 – 7 of 10

Rod Piazza And The Mighty Flyers – Emergency Situation

Blind Pig Records

11 tracks; 47 minutes

Back on Blind Pig, Rod Piazza and his excellent Mighty Flyers have produced another fine record to add to their extensive catalogue. There are no real surprises here, Rod and his band doing what they always do, blending original material with some from the greats and less well-known blues artists of yesteryear.

The Flyers are unchanged from the line-up we have got to know in recent years with Dave Kida on drums, Henry Carvajal on guitar, Miss Honey on piano and Rod on vocals and harp. They have, however, returned to the use of a specialist bass player in Norm Gonzales and the twin saxophones of Ron Dziubla and Jim Jedeikin take a more prominent role than on most of their recordings.

The three originals here include the title song which finds Rod on deep-toned harp and the saxes playing lightly behind a mid-paced swinger which is long enough to offer solo space for most of the band, notably Henry who delivers a nice solo.

The other two Piazza tunes are instrumentals: “Frankenbop” is a frantic rocker with the horns buzzing along in support and Honey and Henry adding some more embellishments behind Rod’s harp; “Colored Salt” is the longest track here and closes the album with a feature for Rod’s harp.

Elsewhere Rod has chosen the very well-known Sam Myers tune “Sleeping In The Ground” which is taken at a slower pace than many versions but is effective with Rod’s strong vocal and keening high range harp supported by Honey’s piano. Lee Dorsey’s “Ya-Ya” adds a real NO feel with Henry on vocals and the saxes in good form.

Elsewhere Rod has gone for the more obscure, taking two songs from the little known James Wee Willie Wayne, and selecting less well-known tunes from some famous names. The Wee Willie tunes are “Neighbour, Neighbour” and “Bad Weather Blues”, the former opening the album in rocking style, Rod sliding all over his harp, the latter a superb slow Chicago blues on which Rod concentrates on the vocals and leaves plenty of space for Honey’s tinkling notes, Henry’s strong solo and fine work from the saxes.

Texas bluesman Big Walter Price is the source for “Gambling Woman”, a superb rocker featuring Honey’s rock and roll piano and one of the highlights of this album. Rod delved back into Johnny Ace’s songbook for his 1953 single “The Clock”, a short ballad typical of the era in which it was written, even down to the smooth sax solo.

Jimmy Rogers’ “Tricky Woman” is another excellent track with its ‘tricky’ time changes which Rod masters from the off on his chromatic harp, Miss Honey on great form in a striding solo. Finally Amos Milburn is the source for “Milk And Water” which brings some gently swinging sounds to the disc.

Long-time fans will certainly enjoy this latest offering from The Mighty Flyers which ticks all the boxes one might expect. If there is possibly anyone out there who is not familiar with this band this is a good place to start but be warned – it’s an extensive catalogue that you are entering into!

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 10

Mud Morganfield and Kim Wilson – For Pops: A Tribute to Muddy Waters

Severn Records

14 tracks

Muddy Waters recorded with Chess Records and their predecessors from 1946 to 1975 when the label was sold for the second time. The “sound” of those records was not pristine, but it was the blues. Severn Records has reproduced that sound with their new release. Replicating the acoustic imperfections adds authenticity to the music, but what really makes this recording sound authentic are the players.

Led by the middle aged son of the Mannish Boy himself, this group of artists has joyfully and proudly replicated the sound of times past. Mud Morganfield almost sounds like his father on vocals so much that it is almost eerie. Kim Wilson does the Little Walter work, Billy Flynn and Rusty Zinn play the Waters and Jimmy Rogers “roles,” Barrelhouse Chuck more than aptly tinkles the keys, and Steve Gomes (bass) and Robb Stupka (drums) serve well as the backline to the venerable sound of Muddy and Chess.

Muddy’s 100th birthday approaches (it probably has already passed based on most historical records) and after releasing new CDs with both Mud and the Thunderbirds it was a no-brainer to develop a Muddy Waters retrospective to celebrate 100 years of Muddy. Leaving out the most overdone songs, they choose 14 great cuts that still leave the listener with a tingling sensation that this is something that was just recorded and not something off a tape from 60 years ago.

Topping the spectacular stuff for me is “I Just Want to Make Love to You.” The tone, timing and sound is perfect. I sat back with my eyes closed and the stereo cranked up a bit and it was beautiful. Sultry, provocative, guttural– everything Muddy ever was is redelivered here. Chuck, Kim and band get things started and then Mud comes in with the hollow Chess recorded sound of Muddy; beautiful stuff!

Wilson’s harp will tear your heart out. From “Gone to Main Street” to start through “She Moves Me” to close we get to flashback to earlier times, when life was simpler and Muddy’s music defined Chicago and electric blues.

I could name why this song is fantastic and that one is outstanding with superlative after superlative, but why? Suffice it to say that they picked stuff that were not always Muddy’s chart toppers but they are songs that defined Mr. Waters and his music. It’s beautiful stuff and these guys play and sing their asses off.

Are they all just making a buck off Mud’s old man? I don’t think so. I think this music speaks to them even more than it does to most people. To Mud it’s in his DNA. Sure, there is money to be made playing his father. But it’s the music he grew up with and it was his father.

As any man who loved and respected their father knows, that man is revered and placed on a pedestal. Morganfield pays testament to that man and the other musicians offer up their homage to him and his band mates. I am sure there will be someone out there who criticizes this (I am usually a “Negative Nancy” when it comes to cover bands myself) but this stuff is so good that it makes you want to listen to it again and again.

Mud can sing like his dad. Kim can blow some mean harp like Walter. Billy and Rusty know how to play like the Father of Rock. Sunnyland Slim has been mastered by Barrelhouse Chuck. This is some cool and great stuff. Go get it and listen to it until it wears out. It’s possibly the best tribute album ever done, and certainly the best blues tribute album ever made.

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 – 9 of 10

David Michael Miller – Poisons Sipped

Self-produced CD

12 songs – 60 minutes

Guitarist/vocalist David Michael Miller gets a big assist from legendary sacred steel performers the Campbell Brothers in this project, an interesting blend of original blues, rock and gospel that captures your attention from the first note.

A veteran of the western New York music scene, where he was honored as the top male blues vocalist last year, Miller started his musical career in church and interned in Nashville before going home to form Painted By Moses in the mid-‘90s before moving on to blues/roots with Beautiful Bones, his family band, a few years later. He’s been front man for Dive House Union — a jam band that’s shared the stage with James Cotton, Tedeshi Trucks, Gary Clark Jr. and Jimmy Vaughan among others. The group’s toured regularly and earned honors as a semi-finalist in the Blues Foundation’s 2013 International Blues Challenge.

Powerful both as a guitarist and vocalist, Miller’s been planning this first solo effort for several years after working with Buffalo-based producer/keyboard player Jesse Miller on this and other projects. This disc features sacred steel solos by Chuck Campbell on pedal steel and brother Darick on lap steel while brother Carlton holds down drums and bandmate Daric Bennett contributes bass.

They’re joined by saxophonist Jason Moynihan, who’s worked with Buddy Guy, and keyboard player Jim Ehinger (Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal), as well as a host of Buffalo area talent, including Rufus McGee Jr. (organ), Barry Arbogast (saxophone), Stephen Jacob Mclean Jr. (trumpet), Ron Davis (accordion), Serena Young, Ashely Brown and Jasmine Neeley (backing vocals).

The theme of a running battle between good and evil runs through this work and its subtitle reads “twelve treatments to soothe the soul.” But it delivers to a secular audience without any additional effort. “Hand Me Downs” features Chuck Campbell. It’s a hard-hitting, uptempo blues-rocker about wearing clothes left behind by a brother shot dead in a schoolyard. Chuck continues lead along with Ehinger for the funky “Edge Of The End Of The World,” which provides hope when dealing with seemingly insurmountable obstacles. The pace slows for “Memphis Belle,” a six-minute burner, as Darrick kicks off this tale of the first look at a new love who “soothes like heaven, but hurts like hell.”

“Hope Finds A Way” provides inspiration for someone who down in the dumps, driving home the point there’ll be a positive outcome in a life’s worth living atop some searing guitar lines. “Moonshine” is reminiscence and homage to first love and marriage, toasted with a little sweet home-made elixir. The rapid-fire “Spent” is a tribute to a hard-working mother who never stops attending to chores before the pace slows for “Carolina Bound,” a musical reverie about leaving the cold of the North for a warmer climate where sweeter memories will grow in spring – or at least taking a vacation from the pain.

“Careless” is another slow-paced portrait of a person, possibly a child, who goes from one life-threatening situation to another without any sense of danger, as “fragile as you are wild.” Next up, “Diggin On Bill” relates experiencing a day when nothing’s going right. But Miller starts listening to the music of Bill Withers, and everything changes for the better. Although there’s no mention of the late, great singer in the handsomely packaged liner notes, there are several allusions to his tunes in the lyrics. Three more tunes — “Once,” a positive look back at crumbling and rebuilding once life; “Movin On,” about leaving troubles in the rear-view mirror; and “Extraordinary,” a tribute to man with all his successes and failings – conclude the work.

While this disc isn’t your grandfather’s blues by any stretch of the imagination, it’s a highly successful undertaking on many levels. The tunes, while inspirational, are not preachy, and their message is clear. And the music is top-notch. If your tastes run beyond the only one-four-five, if you’re looking for something refreshing and original, you’ll love Poison Sipped. It definitely won’t kill you, and it probably will brighten your day!

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 – 10 of 10

Emmett Wheatfall – Them Poetry Blues

Peterson Entertainment 2014

17 tracks; 75 minutes

Emmett Wheatfall is a poet from the Portland, Oregon, area and has previously set some of his work to music in a jazz context. For this project he received a grant to record a blues-based selection of his work. Producer Noah Peterson contributes some sax to a core band of Peter Dammann on guitar, Nathan Olsen, keys, Louis Pain, organ, James Miller, bass and Carlton Jackson, drums. Barbara Harris adds vocals to two tracks and Janice Scroggins’ piano features on the aptly entitled “Ms Janice Scroggins & Her 88 Keys”.

The music does classify as blues on tracks like “Big Women” where Peter wrings a torrid solo from his guitar. However there are also several tracks that are closer to jazz such as “Alfie” and opener “Never Forget”. Throughout Emmett uses his strong baritone voice as almost another instrument, intoning the words over the music. That can work quite well, as on “Big Women” and “When A Man Cries”, where he is as close to singing as it gets here. However, on tracks like “Them Poetry Blues” and “Never Forget” the repetitive nature of the poem makes for a wearing listen for someone used to lyrics merging seamlessly with the music. It is therefore interesting to listen to “If Love Was Mine”, a gospel style song on which Barbara Harris sings in counterpoint to Emmett’s ‘poetry reading’ style. The extended “Ms Janice Scroggins & Her 88 Keys” runs to over 8 minutes and, whilst having some fine jazz piano at its heart, definitely outstays its welcome.

Emmett gets serious on “Miles To Go”, a poem that pays tribute to the early leaders of the Civil Rights movement, and on “Mississippi Mixed Girl” which recounts the ill-fated relationship between Emmett and a girl of mixed race whose black father did not want her dating a black boy. Several of the poems here tread familiar territory for blues listeners, ranging with relationships to an interest in food as Emmett tells us humorously of his family’s passion for “Black Eyed Peas”.

While the musicianship throughout the album is excellent, the mixture of spoken poetry and blues/jazz music does not really work. However some may well enjoy the hybrid.

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.

 Blues Society News

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The Sean Costello Memorial Fund for Bipolar Research – Atlanta, Georgia

Blues For Sean Costello Benefit is happening at 9:00PM Saturday September 13th, 2014 at Rosa’s Lounge in Chicago

Blues stars from Chicago and beyond come together at Rosa’s Lounge to honor the life and music of Sean Costello, and support the fund established in this memory: Sean Costello Memorial Fund for Bipolar Research.

★ Featuring – Tom Holland & the Shuffle Kings with special guests, Billy Boy Arnold, Jody Williams, Long Tall Deb & Colin John, Kate Moss, David Herrero, Felix Reyes, Richard Rosenblatt and more.  Richard Shurman (Emcee)

Saturday, September 13, 2014 Rosa’s Lounge, Chicago IL 9 PM (Doors open at 8 PM)

Ticket Price: $15.00 presale – $20.00 at the door DONATE  A BratGirlmedia Production – Lineup is subject to change

Mississippi Valley Blues Society – Davenport, IA

Thanks to a major grant provided by the Riverboat Development Authority, the MVBS 2014/2015 Blues In The Schools Artists-in-Residence series will begin with New Orleans-based blues musician and educator Spencer Bohren. He will conduct workshops at schools and free open-to-the-public performances throughout the Quad-Cities during the week of September 8-12.

Spencer is scheduled for two free public performances: Tuesday September 9, 7:00 p.m.—River Music Experience, 2nd & Main Streets, Davenport IA and Wednesday September 10, 7:00 p.m.—Co-op Records, 3727 Avenue of the Cities, Moline IL

Please check our website at for updates on Spencer’s public performances.

Blues Society of Central PA – Steelton, PA

BSCP’s Last Blast Of Summer Saturday, September 20, 2014 6:00 PM – 11:00 PM at Champions Sports Bar 300 N. 2nd. St. Highspire, PA 17034

3 Great Blues Acts For $15 Admission At Door. Featuring: R-Way Unplugged from Williamsport, PA, James Day & The Fish Fry from Media, PA and Steve Guyger & The Excellos from Philadelphia, PA

For nore info visit

Santa Barbara Blues Society – Santa Barbara, CA

Santa Barbara Blues Society Presents An All-Star Benefit! The oldest existing U.S. blues society (founded March 1977), the Santa Barbara Blues Society (SBBS) will present a gala all-star party at the Carrillo Recreation Center, 100 E. Carrillo St., at 8 PM on Saturday, September 6.

Anchored by the lauded Ventura band Hot Roux, the show will feature the appearance of some of Santa Barbara’s (and the nation’s!) favorite blues artists in a benefit for the SBBS.

Scheduled to perform are: Kim Wilson, who was known as Goleta Slim when growing up in the S.B. area, and who has attained international acclaim since founding The Fabulous Thunderbirds. He has won countless awards for his harmonica playing and showmanship; Roach and Byl, founders and mainstays of Café R&B, one of S.B.’s all-time favorite bands (and now S.B. residents!); James Harman, highly praised singer, song writer, and harmonica player, winner of two coveted Blues Music Awards this year from the Blues Foundation, Carl Sonny Leyland, generally acknowledged to be one of the best rockabilly and boogie woogie pianists on the planet plus surprise guests.

Doors open at 7 PM, music starts at 8 PM. There will be free BBQ snacks and a large dance floor. Call (805) 722-8155 or go to for further information.

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, Sept 18, Jerry Lee & The Juju Kings, Kankakee Valley Boat Club, Thursday, October 02, Sena Ehrhardt, Moose Lodge

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. Sept. 8—Rich Fabec, Sept. 15—RJ Mischo, Sept. 22—Gina Sicilia, Sept. 29—24th Street Wailers, Oct. 6—Kilborn Alley, Oct. 13—Jarekus Singleton, Oct. 20—Ghost Town Blues Band, Oct. 27—Albert Castiglia

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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