Issue 8-39 September 25, 2014

Cover photo by Marilyn Stringer © 2014

 In This Issue

Terry Mullins has our feature interview with Ronnie Earl.

We have 4 music reviews for you including new music by Johnny Max Band, Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters, Kelley Hunt and Brian Carpy.

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

 Featured Blues Review – 1 of 4

Johnny Max Band – Forty-Nine Minutes (Of the Best We Have)

Poor Soul Records/MAPL

CD: 12 Songs; 49:17 Minutes

Styles: Soul-Influenced Blues, Blues Rock

What goes into the making of a greatest-hits compilation?

How do musicians decide which songs make the cut, and which go on the cutting room floor? Do they choose tracks that they themselves consider personal bests, or crowd favorites?

In the case of Canada’s Johnny Max Band, they present twelve hits from drawing from previous albums, totaling “Forty-Nine Minutes of the Best We Have.” Even though their promotional info sheet says that “Max’s style borrows more from R and B found south of the Mason-Dixon line than it does from traditional blues,” purists shouldn’t automatically punt this CD out of bounds. It has more than enough energy to pep up any partygoers, but where JMB really shines is in its songwriting skills. In fact, the opener “Daddy’s Little Girl”, originally from their 2010 release It’s a Long Road won the International Songwriting Competition Blues Song of the Year.

This extensive ensemble consists of Johnny Max on vocals, bassists Wayne Deadder, Garth Vogan, and Uli Bohnet, keyboardists Martin Aucoin and Jesse O’Brien, guitarists Deadder, Kevin Higgins, John Findlay, and Ted Leonard, drummers Vince Maccarone and Duncan McBain, and Quisha Wint and Virgil Scott on background vocals. They also have a horn section: saxophonist Jon Johnson, Gord Meyers on trombone, and Steve Crowe on trumpet. All twelve selections on “Forty-Nine Minutes” are originals written by Johnny Max (John McAneney) and collaborators. The three below are all worth a slot on jukebox and radio playlists:

Track 01: “Daddy’s Little Girl” – This perky New Orleans-style number is about a common blues pitfall: a woman in a “short, short miniskirt with legs up to the sky” – and a gold-digger’s heart. “She smiles at me most every day, because I was prepared to pay,” our narrator sings, listing several expensive objects afterwards. All of the instrumentation here is in top form, from Aucoin’s piano keyboards to Jon Johnson’s smoking saxophone.

Track 05: “Song of New York” – It may be a pensive ballad and one of the least blues-sounding songs on the album, but it definitely has the best lyrics. Describing a great American city with parts gone to seed, this song’s best section is also its grimmest: “In lower Manhattan, some pain still remains and drowns in the tears, three thousand names. The stockbrokers are broken; the tourists, they just stare, while the native New Yorkers pretend it’s not there. There’s something that happened on that fateful day – the city got stronger. That’s why I say this is a song of New York.”

Track 12: “Waiting On You” – Another big-band beauty, the album’s closer will get the juke joint jumping. With bongo drums and a bouncy beat, it’s the perfect mix of blues and soul. Quisha Wint and Virgil Scott provide fiery background vocals, and Findlay’s guitar solo sizzles.

This is “Forty-Nine Minutes” of funky fun!

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.

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 Featured Blues Interview – Ronnie Earl

You don’t have to get very far past the opening pleasantries in a conversion with the great Ronnie Earl to find he’s in a very beautiful space these days – both spiritually and professionally.

And why wouldn’t he be?

He’s been happily married for the past 18 years and he’s celebrating 25 ½ years of sobriety through the 12 Step Program.

And that’s just the wonderful things happening in his personal life.

“God has been good to me. I feel really blessed to be able to play good, happy, soulful music for the folks,” he said. “One of the messages that I feel is important for me to spread is that you don’t have to be hurting to be a blues or a jazz musician. It’s OK to be happy and fulfilled and live a life of soul and divine purpose. I’m blessed to be able to live and do things at my own pace.”

Things are going just as wonderfully on the professional side of the ledger for Earl, as well.

His latest studio CD – with his longtime group the Broadcasters – Good News (Stony Plain), has been out since early summer and as with any album that the group drops, this one has been hurriedly embraced by blues aficionados all over the planet.

“The reaction to it has been wonderful, beautiful … just a lot of love. And we made it with a lot of love and a lot of very special people,” Earl said. “Our intention, as always, is to operate from kindness and spread the love.”

That mission statement is more than obvious just by glancing at the front cover of the disc. A bright neon figure sets cross-legged on the marquee of a gloriously-inviting nightclub promising an evening of ‘Blues ‘N Soul,’ while reading a daily periodical emblazed with the headline ‘Good News.’ That my friends, is positive reinforcement if there ever was, and according to Earl, that’s also the message of the record contained within.

“Yeah, much of the news in the world is very dark and scary and the band and I want to bring some light to the world. We want to bring some positive vibes, and well, just bring some good news,” he said. “And bringing good news from music is a gospel kind of thing, so that’s where we got it (the title) from.”

“Earl and the Broadcasters have certainly managed to do just that with Good News. In kind of a mirrored-way, the bleak goings-on in everyday society seem to be reflected in the trials and tribulations that much of the music business has been embroiled in since the dawn of the new millennium. A lot of artists – from all genres of music – have decided to throw in the towel on creating any new albums and just strictly rely on touring to get their music and message across to the masses. Earl, however, continues to swim upstream from most of the musical pack and remains committed to doing things his way.

“To be honest, I don’t feel like I’m part of the music business at all. We don’t really tour out in the market place anymore and I’m on a small independent Canadian label (Stony Plain). They’re such wonderful people (at the label) and I don’t feel any pressures or anything. Holger Petersen (Stony Plain owner) is just a wonderful person,” he said. “I really feel like God is taking care of me and the band. I just don’t feel like I’m part of the machine or anything like that. I’m doing things, as Frank Sinatra said, my way.”

They may not hit the road for days and nights on end – preferring to work two or three shows a month instead – but when Earl and the Broadcasters do hit the bandstand, you can pretty much count on a couple of things; a sold-out venue and a marathon performance that bursts the border of three hours.

“I play so hard, sometimes for three-and-a-half hours straight, and I need a week or two between shows to recover from that,” Earl said. “We really try to give it all we have every time we step on a stage.”

“Born and raised in Queens, New York, Earl came of age in a time when bands like The New York Dolls and the Velvet Underground were the much-talked about darlings of the NYC musical community. But somehow, Earl managed to battle his way through glam rock – along with what would become punk and new wave – to find the wonderfully blissful sounds of the real-deal blues. It turns that out a concert by Johnny Winter – one in which Winter never actually showed up for – is to thank for his introduction to the realm of authentic blues music.

“A friend of mine and I used to go to the Fillmore East a lot. We saw the Allman Brothers – this was right after Duane had died and they had Dickey Betts who did a great job and would later become a friend of mine – and one night we went to see Johnny Winter. But Johnny canceled the show, and instead, they had B.B. King and Albert King. I was about 19 at the time and didn’t know much about either of them,” said Earl. “They were all wearing tuxedos and I became completely baptized by the music. I said, ‘You know, these are real adults playing serious, serious music.’ And I’ve been with it (the blues) ever since.”

“Earl didn’t just limit his musical tastes to strictly blues after that encounter with two of the three legendary Kings; he also soaked up as much jazz as he could absorb, too.

““I went to as many jazz clubs as I could, and I took advantage of all of the opportunities of being in New York that I could. I saw Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Charles Mingus and Dizzy Gillespie and Art Blakey and Elvin Jones,” he said. “And then I’d also see John Hammond and Lightnin’ Hopkins and Larry Johnson and Rev. Gary Davis … so even though I wasn’t playing then, living in New York was just such a huge opportunity to see an entire rainbow’s spectrum of all kinds of incredible music. And then they’d have these concerts in Central Park, where I’d see George Benson and Earl Klugh and James Cotton, just on and on and on.”

When Earl did start playing the guitar, he quickly stepped right into the fire and began playing with cats like B.B., Otis Rush and Big Walter, big-time names for such a young guitarist to cut his teeth with.

“It was a dream come true. Again, I have to say it was a God thing. Here I was and the next thing I knew, I was playing three sets a night, five nights a week with Otis Rush in New York and playing with Big Walter (Horton) and Eddie ‘Cleanhead’ Vinson and Joe Turner and Nappy Brown and Earl King,” he said. “It just went on and on and on. I got to play with Muddy quite a few times and even had a chance to join his band. So I feel very, very blessed to have done that.”

As important as he feels thanking the musicians that gave him a chance as a young player is, Earl believes that it is his duty to do the same and offer today’s generation of up-and-coming blues artists a chance to get up and show their stuff.

“I’ve been trying to have the younger generation on my records and at my shows, the way that Muddy helped me and Big Walter and Duke Robillard and Bob Margolin and Roomful of Blues helped me,” he said. “I think it’s important that I do what I can to help out the way that I was helped out early on in my career. That’s very important to me. On my new album, I have one of my favorite young guitarists – Nicholas Tabarias from Detroit. He plays on about half the songs. And Zach Zunis is also on the new album. And an album or two before that, I had Tim O’Connor, a great young guitarist from New England on there.”

After graduating from Boston University in 1975, Earl began to think of playing the guitar as more than just something to do to help pass the time. Quickly he hooked on as rhythm guitarist at The Speakeasy in Cambridge, Mass., and was soon at the very center of a red-hot blues scene in the New England area.

“There were all these clubs were you could see – and play – the blues. You’d see B.B. King and Albert Collins and Ray Charles – who’s my all-time favorite – at these clubs,” he said. “It was just an amazing time and such an amazing scene back then in that area.”

While living in Cambridge, Earl made a couple of pilgrimages to the Windy City – where he was introduced to the Chicago blues scene by none other than Koko Taylor herself. Tempted as he was to relocate to Chicago from New England, Earl fought the urges and managed to stay put.

“I was tempted (to move to Chicago at that time), sure. But there was just such good, fertile ground in Boston for the blues,” he said. “And to be honest, there was so much blues going on in Chicago that I thought maybe I might get lost in the shuffle.”

It’s safe to say that Earl did not get lost in the shuffle in Boston or Chicago, or anywhere else for that matter. He rapidly carved out a reputation as one of the hottest and most inventive guitarists, regardless of locale. He played with Roomful of Blues from 1979 to 1986, at which time he left to form his own outfit – the Broadcasters. Almost three decades later, despite several personnel changes over the years, the Broadcasters, which are named after the first Fender guitar, are still going strong.

“We’ve always had wonderful keyboard players; like David Maxwell, Tony Zamagni, Anthony Geraci and Bruce Katz and great bass players and great drummers like Per Hanson,” he said. “But this band I’m in now (Jimmy Mouradian, bass; Dave Limina, organ; Lorne Entress, drums) is the best I’ve ever been in and we’ve been together now for almost 15 years and show no signs of slowing down. I really hope our soul permeates everything we do.”

“There’s an old saying that goes something like, ‘Those that can’t do teach.’ In Earl’s case, he ‘Can do and he does teach.’ A multiple winner of Guitar Player of the Year at the Blues Foundation’s Blues Music Awards, Earl also did a stint as an Associate Professor of Guitar at the prestigious Berklee College of Music.

I like it all, I really do. I enjoy playing and I also enjoyed the teaching. I think all that is part of the master plan that my higher power has for me,” he said. “You know, I’ve gotten to do this and I’ve gotten to do that and I think its all part of the plan.”

Long heralded as a guitar-player’s guitar-player and praised by everyone from Stevie Ray Vaughan to Carlos Santana to Kim Wilson to Gregg Allman and Joe Bonamassa and beyond, Earl’s brushstrokes on the six-string bear the influences of a large number of his heroes – both from the world of the blues, as well as the world of jazz. The really beautiful thing about Earl’s sound – on his patented slow blues, as well as his lively shuffles – is the way he creates magic by simply plugging a Strat straight into an amp and letting his fingers do the talking.

“Otis Rush is definitely at the top of my list of influences, as is Magic Sam and early Buddy Guy and Johnny Hartsman,” he said. “And I have a huge love for the music of Ray Charles and John Coltrane, Wes Montgomery and Kenny Burrell and George Benson. Then there’s Duane Allman and Dickey Betts and Peter Green and the three Kings (B.B., Albert and Freddie), along with Earl King, too.”

With influences such as those to look up to and to draw inspiration from, it makes perfect sense that a good portion of the music that Earl has created over his lifetime is instrumental and is sans vocals.

“I love playing guitar and it’s like the guitar and the organ are the singers. I just need the room (without vocals) to express myself sometimes,” he said. “We do have vocals on some of our songs. We adore Diane (Blue) and she sings on the new album. I love playing with her.” Blue does a sensational job on Earl’s plaintive arrangement of Sam Cooke’s “Change is Gonna Come” on Good News.

Over 20 albums into his career as a solo blues artist, it would be understandable should Earl feel like the time is right to dial things down, kick back and enjoy the benefits of what he’s been creating since the late 1970s. But based on recent evidence, Ronnie Earl has no such intentions of slowing down to enjoy the good life.

And for blues lovers everywhere, that’s Good News, indeed.

“I’m enjoying playing now more than ever. I’m 61 and I still have a lot of energy. I played in Chicago last month and played for three-and-a-half hours,” he said. “I just hope that when I do decide it’s time to stop playing that people will remember that I tried to bring joy and love to the world through my music.”

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 4

Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters – Good News

Stony Plain Records

12 tracks/63:51 running time

Ronnie Earl is on a roll. At the 35th annual Blues Music Awards back in May in Memphis, he was named best instrumental guitarist for the third time. Then his latest album release, Good News debuted at # 7 on the Billboard Blues Chart in June.

Early in his career, Earl sat at the feet of the great Otis Rush and Big Walter Horton. He also took a Greyhound to Chicago and was personally introduced to the Chicago Blues scene by the royal Koko Taylor. Over the years he has played or collaborated with Sunnyland Slim, Jimmy Vaughan, Kim Wilson & The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Jerry Portnoy, Earl King, Jimmy Rogers, Jimmy Witherspoon, Gregg Allman, Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, Muddy Waters and many others. Born Ronnie Earl Horvath, it was Muddy Waters tendency to not remember Ronnie’s last name (and a fondness for John Lee Hooker’s cousin Earl Hooker’s slide guitar playing) that prompted Horvath to change his stage name to Ronnie Earl.

In 1988 Earl formed the first aggregation of his band, The Broadcasters. With the release of Good News, they have released 25 albums. Not bad for a front man who has battled serious health issues in the past. The current lineup of the group includes Dave Limina, Hammond B3 and piano, Lorne Entress, drums and Jim Mouradian, bass. On this project, Earl also employs Diane Blue, vocals, Nicholas Tabarias, guitar and Zach Zunis, guitar. The extra guitars are evident on 3 tracks; #1 “I Met Her On That Train,” #4 “In The Wee Hours,” and #7 Marje’s Melody. On each of these tunes the 3 guitarists aptly swap solos. The interplay between the guitars is passionate, intense and reflective. Tracks #’s 1 and 10 evoke a kaleidoscope of guitar picking stylists, suggesting perhaps, Jessie Mae Hemphill to Lonnie Mack riding that same train.

Earl has been typecast as a player that does not require vocals in much of his repertoire. All the more reason to examine his chops. He is a sensitive, player, wringing so much emotion out of well placed and spaced notes that one can almost see (or at least visualize) the tears orbiting the bandstand. Witness track #8 “Blues For Henry (co-written with the late, great Hubert Sumlin). The specter of Stevie Ray is also near.

The Broadcaster’s do feature vocalist Diane Blue on four tracks. She is a chanteuse with power and control and melds well with the band. On track #10 “Runnin’ In Peace, her interpretation of the lyrical content of this requiem for the Boston Marathon bombing dares comparison to Billie Holliday’s “Strange Fruit.”

Hammond B3 artist Dave Limina channels himself, Ray Charles and Art Neville throughout. Juxtaposed against Ronnie Earl’s attack gives the listener the feeling of witnessing something special.

Good News is a tribute to the artistry of Sam Cooke, whose album Ain’t That Good News was released 50 years ago. Track #2, the cover of the great Sam Cooke song, “A Change Is Gonna Come,” can never reach the dramatic impact of the original, which was released on 11 days after Cooke was shot to death and has since been over-covered. Perhaps Cooke’s single “Ain’t That Good News,” would’ve worked better. Nonetheless, this is a darn good album. The Blues weather channel says this will win something in 2014.

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

 Featured Blues Review – 3 of 4

Kelley Hunt – The Beautiful Bones

88 Records

12 songs – 50 minutes

Kansas City-based multi-instrumentalist Kelley Hunt combines soul, R&B and gospel as she delivers this package of original songs that deliver the message to see the beauty in ordinary things while celebrating our universal roots.

A powerful, gifted vocalist who doubles on keyboards – literally the album’s beautiful bones — and guitar, she was influenced by Dinah Washington, Mahalia Jackson, Count Basie, Charles Brown and Jay McShann. Kelley recorded this disc, the sixth in her outstanding catalog, in Nashville, where she assembled a backing unit of some of the finest musicians and vocalists the city has to offer. Despite the seemingly heavy theme, the album swings from the jump as it conveys its subtle message about the need for a good relationship with planet Earth.

Assisting her in the studio were John Jackson (guitar), Mark Jordan and Tony Harrell (Hammond B3), Mitch Reilly (saxophone), Jon-Paul Frappier (trumpet), Bryan Owings (drums/percussion) and Tim Marks (bass) as well as the sensational McCrary Sisters – Regina, Alfreda and Ann – and The Kelphonics on backing vocals.

“This Time” is a sweet reminder to take a good look at yourself, understand your true value and life your life to the fullest. Kelley’s stunning vocals lift the theme to heavenly levels atop a horn-fueled rhythm. Next up, “Golden Hour” is a gospel-fueled burner in which she reminds listeners to take a good look at their surroundings, pay attention to the little things and faith in the future. The pace slows dramatically for “Let It Rain,” a ballad about someone who appears to be hurt and broken, but who really possesses everything needed to get by. She reminds the person to pass it forward to someone who needs it more.

“Release And Be Free” is a slow, but steady Memphis flavored lesson in life in which Hunt displays her stellar vocal talent. The pace quickens for “When Love Is At The Wheel”, which states simply “you can ride all night long.” A broken heart is the subject of “Simplify,” in which Kelley suggests leaning on folks who really love you. It’s followed by “The Beautiful Bones,” a tune with a double message. On one level, it focuses on the pivot point of a relationship; on the other, it’s a warning that mankind’s at a similar point in its relationship with planet Earth.”

“Gates Of Eden” is a memory of a nearly tragic highway mishap in which Kelley barely escaped a crash with a tractor trailer. In the aftermath, she realized how close she came to death and discovered more about the riches of life. Four more tunes — “I’ve Got A Good Feeling,” “I Want You There,” “Miracle” and “The Sweet Goodbye” – bring the disc to a pleasing end.

Available through Amazon, iTunes or the artist’s website, this work is both totally inspirational and one of the best CDs you’ll hear this year. Pick it up. You won’t be disappointed.

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

 Featured Blues Review – 4 of 4

Brian Carpy – Rockin’ Bollocks

Bamboo Groove Records

9 songs – 47 minutes

Don’t be fooled by this CD cover. The proper, pipe-smoking gentleman pictured isn’t purveying middle-of-the-road music suitable for your grandmother. He’s delivering his own quirky version of Chicago blues, and doing it with gusto.

A native of Glasgow, Scotland, Brian Carpy fell in love with the blues as a teenager through the backdoor by listening to Jimi Hendrix and Cream. Before he reached drinking age, he was already singing and playing guitar professionally in the rough pubs of his homeland. He became an unpaid full-time volunteer at a soup kitchen in the Windy City in order to craft his trade. For two years, he did charity work by day and hung out at the best clubs at night.

The time paid off in spades. So much so, in fact, that two of the most important men in Chicago blues – legendary producer/writer Dick Shurman and Alligator Records owner Bruce Iglauer – both endorsed him on this debut CD, calling attention to his “mature, subtle soloing” and noting that he promises “more good things to come.”

He’s backed here by some of the best sidemen in town, including Marty Binder on drums, Chris Foreman on keyboards and Ari Seder on bass. Marty Salmon makes a guest appearance on keys as does Ron Sorin on harmonica. The album includes eight well chosen covers and one original.

Carpy launches into an extended single-note guitar intro for the Smokin’ Joe Kubek/Bnois King hit “I Gotta Have It.” Despite his foreign birth, American audiences will find his vocal delivery free of any accent whatsoever. And his work on the fretboard is rock-steady, crisp and clean in this three-piece band format. Next up is “Bad Intentions,” written by Joe Scott and made popular by Bobby Blue Bland. It features another guitar lead-in in which Brian delivers a run of notes in a pattern that will be fresh to blues veterans’ ears. A much longer and different run fills most of the remainder of the track.

A nine-minute cover of Ronnie Earl’s minor key classic “That’s When My Soul Comes Down” displays plenty of Carpy’s unorthodox guitar stylings while doing the author proud. The sole original track, “Hangin’,” follows. It’s a single-note instrumental with jump blues overtones, and it provides plenty of space for a solid solo by Foreman. The pace slows for Rick Estrin and Rusty Zinn’s impassioned song about the end of a love affair, “Dyin’ On The Vine,” before quickening a little for Anson Funderburgh and Sam Myers’ “Change In My Pocket,” featuring a sterling solo by Salmon on the 88s.

The band adopts a true Chicago feel for the Darrell Nulisch penned instrumental “At Cha Mama Nims” with Sorin and Foreman featured prominently before the Earl King classic, “Man Needs Loving All The Time.” Kim Wilson’s “Postman” concludes the successful set.

Available through the artist’s website or from any of the major online marketers, this debut disc displays the talents of a mature player on the verge of becoming a major talent.

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

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Minnesota Blues Society – St. Paul, Mn

Minnesota Blues Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies are being held beginning at 1:00PM Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014 at Wilebski’s Blues Saloon, 1638 Rice St., St. Paul, Mn.

The 2014 inductees are – Blues Performer: Jimi “Prime Time” Smith, Blues Legend: Big John Dickerson, Blues Legacy: Joseph E. “Jo Jo” Williams, Blues Sideman: Jeremy Johnson, Supportive of the Blues (Non-performer): John “Blueshammer” Hammer, Blues Art, Literature, Media: Marc Norberg, “Black, White, and Blues” (photography), Blues Recording” Joe Juliano, “Hot Cup of Joe Juliano”, Blues Song: Curtis Obeda, “Crying to Do”. Suggested Donation : $10.00 More info:

Piedmont Blues Preservation Society – Greensboro, NC

Piedmont Blues Preservation Society is holding it’s 29th Annual Blues Challenge talent competitions at the Blind Tiger live music venue in Greensboro, NC on Oct 19 and October 26. Our events have brought talent from all over the East Coast and last year we had competitors from Barcelona, Spain! On October 19, we will have our Solo/Duo Challenge and on October 26 we will hold the Band Challenge. Top three (3) places in each competition win Cash Prizes and the First Place Finalist in each competition advance to the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN, January 20-24.

For more information:

Prairie Crossroads Blues Society – Champaign, IL

Prairie Crossroads Blues Society is holding its local IBC Band Challenge on Saturday, October 18, at Memphis on Main, 55 E Main St. in Champaign. Doors open at 4:00 and we invite everyone to come out and cheer for your favorite blues band.

PCBS will hold it’s local IBC Solo/Duo Challenge on Saturday, November 1, at Bentley’s Pub, 419 N. Neil St. in Champaign. We’re looking forward to conducting our first Solo/Duo Challenge and the event kicks off at 5:00.

The competitions are open to Illinois based acts, and follow the Blues Foundation’s suggested scoring criteria and rules. The deadline for Bands to enter is September 24, and the deadline for Solo/Duo acts is October 8.

For more info and entry forms, visit our IBC Challenge Page;

Friends of the Blues – Kankakee, IL

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

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. 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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