Issue 8-43 October 23, 2014

Cover photo by Bob Kieser © 2014 Blues Blast Magazine


 In This Issue 

Terry Mullins has our feature interview with Jarekus Singleton.

We have 4 music reviews for you including new music from Paul Geremia, Sandy Saunders Band, Ray Bonneville and Harlis Sweetwater Band.

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,

Tonight is the big night! The 2104 Blues Blast Music Awards! Doors open at 5:00PM with a set by the house band, Andy T – Nick Nixon Band. The awards show begins at 6:00PM at the Fluid Event Center, 601 N Country Fair Dr Champaign, IL. Don’t miss this great show with performances by Bobby Rush And Blinddog Smokin’, Shaun Murphy Band, Albert Castiglia, Trudy Lynn, Too Slim and The Tail Draggers, Bernie Pearl with Barbara Morrison, Dave Riley and Bob Corritore, Tweed Funk, Adrianna Marie and Her Groovecutters, Back Pack Jones, Annie Mack Band, RB Stone, Norman Taylor, Lisa Biales, Mark T Small, Lisa Mann, Brent Johnson and the Call Up, Steve Dawson, Rachelle Coba, Sean Chambers, Josh Hoyer.

Tickets will be available at the door! See you there.

Another big event this week is happening on Saturday October 25th at the Rivoli Theatre in Monmouth, IL. Be sure to catch this amazing show in an intimate environment featuring Bobby Rush, Selwyn Birchwood, Brian Keith Wallen and Hayes & Fleming. For tickets and complete information visit or click on their ad below!

Wishing you health, happiness and lots of Blues music!

Bob Kieser

 Featured Blues Review – 1 of 4 

Paul Geremia – Love My Stuff

Red House Records

21 songs – 63 minutes

Paul Geremia was one of the foremost country blues revivalists in the 1960s, part of a cohort that included Dave Van Ronk, Jorma Kaukonen and John Hammond, amongst others. Since his first album in 1968, he has released a steady flow of new albums, all featuring his intricate acoustic finger picking (he has never recorded on an electric guitar) and gentle, world-weary voice.

In June 2014, the 70 year-old Geremia suffered a stroke. Various fund-raisers have been held, and a fund has been set up to help with the financial burden of his medical expenses, not least because most of his income came from performing, which he is currently unable to do. Another way to help out, of course, is to buy his CDs and Love My Stuff is a great place to start.

Love My Stuff is a18-song (three of apparent 21 tracks are actually spoken introductions) live collection recorded over a period of many years (dating back to the 1980s) at various locations in the USA. Featuring four self-penned tracks together with terrific interpretations of various classics by the likes of Charlie Patton, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Sleepy John Estes, Leadbelly and the Reverend Gary Davis, the album is almost a primer on pre-war blues with some early jazz and jug band songs thrown in for good measure. Geremia is a magnificent guitar player, capable of playing a range of acoustic blues and folk styles, from East and West Coast forms, through Texas and the Mississippi Delta. It is probably fair to say that his voice does not quite match up to his stellar guitar playing, but it is warm and careworn, and he often selects unexpected vocal melodies, giving well-known songs an unusual twist (for example, hurrying some of the words on “Death Don’t Have No Mercy”, adding an urgent drive to the track).

The song “Love My Stuff” is a good example of Geremia’s approach, as he speeds up Patton’s brilliant 1934 original, adding some additional verses from Patton’s “Bird Next Bound”. He respects the original, but is not afraid to take it in new directions.

The majority of the performances are solo, with Geremia singing, playing 6-string and 12-string guitar and, occasionally adding rack-mounted harmonica. He also plays slide guitar on Blind Willie McTell’s “Savannah Mama.” Two tracks also feature guest musicians: the superb, swinging version of King Oliver’s “Dr. Jazz”– originally made famous by Jelly Roll Morton – features Rory MacLeod on bass; and the magical Rich DelGrosso adds mandolin to Sleepy John Estes’ “Special Agent”.

Geremia’s own songs do not pale in comparison to the classics that he essays. “Cocaine Princess” in particular comes straight out of the Piedmont music tradition, but with distinctly modern lyrical concerns. As Geremia notes in his entertaining and illuminating liner notes: “I wrote this number in the early 90’s as a result of being careless about who I kept company with.”

Love My Stuff captures Paul Geremia at his best—on a stage in front of an appreciative audience, giving powerful and soulful performances. He has not previously recorded many of the tunes on Love My Stuff, making it both an excellent introduction to his music or, if you are already familiar with his oeuvre, a fine addition to his canon. Warmly recommended.

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.

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 Featured Blues Interview – Jarekus Singleton 

Jarekus Singleton is not a multi-tasker.

That’s not meant as a put-down, because he’s quick to admit he’d rather deal with one thing at a time instead of trying to concentrate on a handful of issues.

That being the case, when he turns his laser-like focus on one thing at a time, the results are nothing less than astounding.

Once, Singleton was a fast-rising basketball player and was named the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Player of the Year in 2007, leading the nation in scoring and coming in fifth in assists that season.

Now, Singleton is a fast-rising blues singer, songwriter and guitarist, whose newest album, Refuse to Lose (Alligator Records), has made some huge waves on the scene and quickly found a home at the top of most blues charts since its early May release.

It’s hard enough to find a way to beat the odds once, but somehow the engaging and vibrant Singleton has managed to do it twice. The title to Refuse to Lose is auto-biographical, telling the tale of where he’s been, while also serving as a rallying cry he bases his life around.

“There’s a lot of significance to the title; that’s been my whole life story. You feel like going one way and people are trying to hold you back, or you feel like you’ve been slighted at something. I feel like I’ve always had a chip on my shoulder when it comes to being an artist or being a basketball player. It seems like everywhere I went, I’ve had to claw my way to the top of the ranks. And when I say claw, I mean claw in every sense of the word. I always want to feel like I belong. I want to be a part of this community of blues musicians so bad and having an opportunity to have my voice heard is an unbelievable feeling.”

With his custom-built Clevenger Guitar (crafted by Bert Clevenger in Hot Springs, Arkansas; emblazoned with ‘Reak Doggin’ It!’ on the body) slung low, Singleton has been a constant blur of activity and has spent the majority of his recent time on the road supporting his new compact disc. His first album, Heartfelt (Reakdogmusic), was independently released in 2011. The way he sees it, comparisons are hard to find between it and Refuse to Lose.

“It is hard to compare the two, because Heartfelt was my first CD. I had some vocal coaching between the two (CDs) to get them in shape, so my vocals are stronger on Refuse to Lose,” he said. “And I feel like I’m a better bandleader now, too. In retrospect, there’s a big difference between the two and I can really feel the growth.”

Alligator Records head honcho Bruce Iglauer co-produced Refuse to Lose along with Singleton.

“I learned a lot from Bruce on this one. Things like how to work in the studio and how to be more efficient with my time. It was all a big learning process and I’m glad I went through it. It was fun working with Bruce. He had a lot of good ideas that he brought to the table. We objectively agreed and objectively disagreed about a lot of things.”

The give-and-take between artist and producer (and record label owner) is nothing new. That’s been going on almost as long as the earth has been here and Singleton knows that is all part of the process and seems to enjoy the back-and-forth. However, he does draw the line when major reconstruction of his songs becomes the main issue.

“Well, I wasn’t budging on my material or the songs that I had written. I have to be sensitive to every word, that’s why I like writing my own songs,” he said. “My tunes are auto-biographical at times and the words and their placements are really sensitive. That’s extremely important and the messages in the songs are the main things. I want to approach my writing responsibly.”

Singleton was raised in Clinton, Mississippi and the origin of his first name came courtesy of his mom, Jacquerline Shearry, who kind of morphed together the names of a couple of Jarekus’ siblings.

“My oldest brother is Jackirus and then my middle brother’s name is Jarez and my momma got my name from putting their names together. She trickled it on down … kept it rolling,” he said.

His mother did a lot more than just craft Jarekus’ unique name; she busted her butt providing for her family through some hard and trying times. She also managed to impart life lessons on the young Jarekus, lessons that he still carries with him to this very day. And for that, he is eternally grateful and more than ready to show his appreciation for all his mother went through.

“I’m from a single-parent home and my mom worked so hard to take care of me and my brothers, and one of my main goals was to make sure my momma didn’t have to work anymore,” he said. “And I think that’s one reason that I went so hard with the basketball. Me, coming up as a youngster, I always used to say to myself, ‘It’s bigger than me. It’s bigger than me. Everything that I’m trying to do is bigger than me.’ I always want to make my momma proud of who I am. She always tells me that as long as I’m doing what I feel in my heart to do, she’ll support me, regardless of what is was (that he does for a living).”

As a schoolboy, Singleton became a prodigious basketball talent – through a ton of hard work, along with the tutelage of his uncle Tim – and soon became the top-ranked high school player in the Magnolia State. Singleton signed with the University of Southern Mississippi out of high school and played there a couple of years before transferring to William Carey College, located just across Hattiesburg from Southern Miss.

Although he was the NAIA Player of the Year at William Carey, his dreams of being drafted by an NBA team never materialized.

“My agent quit on me and left me out there by myself and there were not a lot of other agents out there at the time that wanted to pick me up, so I had to kind of do it on my own,” he said. “So I went about trying to get a basketball gig – get on a team – on my own and it was rough and hard.”

Despite some purported interest from the Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers, Singleton was not invited to a training camp and ultimately headed overseas, where he played for a team in Lebanon.

But before he could give it another whirl at the NBA, he suffered a devastating ankle injury, resulting in badly-damaged cartilage, forcing him to be on crutches for a year-and-a-half. That pretty much permanently derailed his prospects for ever playing the game he loved as a professional (the hard-rocking song “Keep Pushin” off Refuse to Lose looks back on his hoop-playing days and injury). After that, it was back to the drawing board, which at the time, was mostly blank.

“I didn’t have a career path in mind. When I was coming up, I always rapped and wrote my own lyrics, but basketball was Plan A. And Plan B was reinforcing Plan A, so I never did look at music like that (as a possible vocation),” he said. “Growing up, I played music in church and my granddaddy was pastor, so my job was to help the family out with that music. I never looked at it as a job (down the road).”

That much was reflected by some of the jobs that Singleton worked at after it became crystal clear that his days of domination on the hardwood were probably behind him.

“I was a janitor at Camp Shelby (military post in Hattiesburg) for awhile; I worked at a car dealership cleaning out the oil pit; I worked at Hudson’s Salvage Center unloading trucks from eight in the morning until five in the evening,” he said. “And I would go home in the summertime and my best friend’s dad was a bricklayer, so I used to be the brick boy. We would put the bricks in a barrel and bring them to him, so when he got ready to lay them, he would have fresh bricks right beside him. I changed skin-tones about three or four times that summer. So to be honest, I was kind of lost. I really didn’t know what I was going to do. I was just thrown off by the injury. But in life, you’ve got to be able to adjust. If you’re a person that can’t adjust, you’re going to struggle. And I knew that, so I said, ‘Whatever I’m going to do, I have to adjust and adjust fast.’”

Singleton’s nudge towards becoming a professional musician may very well have been delivered by one of our generation’s preeminent comedian/entertainers.

“I was watching the Steve Harvey Show one day and he had a young 18-yard-old on there who didn’t have a job. Steve asked him, ‘What’s the one thing that you do the best with the least amount of effort?’ For Steve to ask that question … I mean, a lot of people say they don’t know what their talent is,” Singleton said. “And Steve said whatever it is you do best with the least amount of effort is what your talent is. That hit home with me. I thought, I play music pretty good and can learn it by ear, even though I never had any formal training. So I decided to change my mindset and go with music. I had always been a fan of blues music and always wrote my own music.”

A good portion of the music that Singleton wrote back in the day was rap and hip-hop. But instead of abandoning that genre when he chose to play the blues, he simply incorporated it into his new style.

“Yeah, a lot of the music that came out on Refuse to Lose was stuff from some of my rap songs I had back in the day. I never really thought about doing this stuff or that stuff, I just write music,” he said. “At the end of the day, I’m just writing the music that’s in my heart … it’s uncompromising. I’m not ever going to get into a war about what kind of music I create and about if this should fit here or this should fit there. I like the whole spontaneity of it all. I like to be free-spirited and let it flow freely. You can see that at our shows, too. A lot of the stuff we do on stage is totally improvised. It’s just beautiful being able to convey what you’re trying to say through music.”

Even though he may never get the chance to guard Lebron James, or match jumpers with Kevin Durant, Singleton does not seem to let that cause him one second of pause. Instead, he’s rolled both sleeves up and attacked playing the blues like he attacked the backboard seven or eight years ago. And polar-opposites that they may seem to be, there are some similarities between being a high-caliber bluesmen and a high-caliber athlete, Singleton says.

“I think the common ground is being humble. When you’re humble, you challenge yourself everyday to make sure you’re approaching things responsibly. But you can look at basketball and music as both being entertainment. I always looked at them both as something that I love to do. I mean, I’ve always loved to play music, regardless of the reason that I was playing. And I always loved playing basketball and just being around the sport. Being able to take the work ethic I had for basketball and transferring it to the musical aspect of my life has been important.”

That humbleness is readily apparent when speaking with Singleton, who – despite the resume he’s created in both the hoops’ world and the world of the blues – says he’s been figuring things out as he goes about his business.

“With basketball, I really didn’t know what I was doing and I don’t even know if I know what I’m doing now. I’m still trying to figure it out,” he said. “But I do know who I am as a person. My thing is, I’ve always stuck to who I was as a person … you know, from 1984 to this day and until the day that God decides to come and get me. I’m always going to be that same person and have that same strong foundation that my momma made sure I had.”

Much the same can also be said about the way Singleton will never forget just where it was that he comes from and some of the struggles he’s had to endure to get to where he is today.

“Even though things may not have been what a typical family in America goes through, we made it. I learned a lot from that and built a lot of character from the situation I was in. I’m glad of the way that I grew up, because I think it has a lot to do with the way that I approach things today,” he said. “One of my college teammates pulled me aside and said, “Reak, I got a lot of respect for you, man, with all the adversity you had coming up.’ I’m not saying that I had it any worse than anyone else, but there were a lot of points in my life where I didn’t know what I was going to do, because I felt stuck. To be able to come up and accomplish some of the things that I’ve accomplished with the duress that we were in some times … it’s just a beautiful thing, man. There’s really no way to put it into words. I just thank God for where I’m at and for what I’m doing.”

Photos by Bob Kieser © 2014 Blues Blast Magazine

Blues Blast Magazine Senior Writer 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 

Sandy Saunders Band – Rattlesnake Road

Rattlesnake Records

12 songs – 39 minutes

Rattlesnake Road is the first full-length CD to be released by the Portland, Oregon-based Sandy Saunders Band. Comprising Sandy Saunders on vocals and guitar, Billy Lindsay on lead guitar, Jeff Woodcock on bass and backing vocals and Scott Cwalinski and Chris Lay on drums, Rattlesnake Road is an impressive country-rock-blues release.

Opening with “Concrete Cowboy”, the band immediately settles into a funky, bluesy rhythm, driven by Lindsay’s spiky guitar. Saunders has a warm, strong voice that can be tender as well as raunchy and powerful, and her band has a similar dynamic ability to build and develop a song, for example on the heavy blues of “Shake These Blues”.

Many of the tracks on the album combine elements of blues, country and rock. “Flash Of Lightning” has a urgent, choppy rhythm in the verses, reminiscent of the UK’s Dr Feelgood, before leading into a full blown rock chorus in which Saunders sings “Every time I taste the rain, it brings on the pain again. Please be my doctor, bring me your pill. Give me the medicine that gives me the will to taste the rain.”

Scots-born Billy Lindsay is fine, melodic guitarist, equally adept at bluesy leads (in “Concrete Cowboy”), acoustic solos (in “Different Girl”), country bends (in “Shoot Myself”, “Slip And Slide” and the second version of “Different Girl”) and electric slide guitar (“Shake These Blues”). The acoustic “Heresy” even has hints of Van Halen’s “Spanish Fly”, which may of course explain the song’s title. He mixes his tones up nicely, from the heavily over-driven “Shake These Blues” to the warm Strat-like tones of “Shoot Myself”. The rhythm section of Jeff Woodcock and Scott Cwalinski or Chris Lay provide a reliably solid backing to the 12 songs on Rattlesnake Road (there are two versions of “Different Girl”, the second one featuring additional electric guitar), all of which were written by Saunders, Lindsay and Alistair Case.

There is an engaging confidence to the Sandy Saunders Band, as well as a clear enjoyment of the music they make. In the title track, at the same time as Saunders sings: “Tequila in my bottle, cocaine on my brain, this rattlesnake life is going to drive a girl insane”, the band drops a hint of JJ Cale’s famous riff from “Cocaine” into the song. Indeed, it wouldn’t be a surprise to hear the SSB launch into that song, given the 1970’s “classic rock” influence on many tracks. “Slip And Slide”, for example, has a mid-paced groove not dissimilar to something Bob Segar might write and “Where I’m Going” has hints of early Bad Company.

While classic rock and blues influences permeate many of the songs, however, it is the influence of country music that has the most impact on Rattlesnake Road, from Saunders’ vocal inflections and the major key songs with strummed acoustic rhythm guitar to Lindsay’s use of the major pentatonic scale in his solos.

This isn’t a record that demands strong engagement from the listener. This is good time, bar-room music, played with enthusiasm and no little skill. On the evidence of Rattlesnake Road, the Sandy Saunders Band must be a cracking act live. It will also be interesting to watch the band develop over their next releases.

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 – 3 of 4 

Ray Bonneville – Easy Gone

Red House Records – 2014

10 tracks; 38 minutes

Ray Bonneville did not record until he was in his 40’s but since then he has issued eight albums, the latest of which, “Easy Gone”, makes for a pleasant, late night listening experience. Born in Quebec, raised in Boston, Ray has lived in many places since and currently calls Austin, Texas, home. This CD was recorded there with a small set of musicians: Ray plays guitar, harp and sings, Gurf Morlix plays bass and Geoff Arsenault drums. Mark Norvel and Eliza Gilkyson add backing vocals to one track each and on two tracks Ray is backed by Will Sexton on bass, Rick Richards on drums and Richie Lawrence on piano. There are nine originals and one Hank Williams cover.

Several of the songs here suggest rather than state what Ray is talking about, leaving the listener to paint in some of the facts for themselves. The album opens with the moody “Who Do Call The Shots” with lyrics that talk of a “…dark road on this no mercy night”. Shimmering guitar and background harp buzz introduce “Shake Off My Blues” which has a catchy refrain on the chorus. “Love Is Wicked” is a tale of suspicions – “A perfume on his coat made her look for the lies he told” – and a tragic ending “…firecrackers the neighbours said, the floor pooling up red”. “When I Get To New York” is slightly more uptempo but on a similar theme – “my mind has been crawling with a poisonous doubt” – so he is heading for NYC to check up on his girl.

Ray’s voice is aptly described as being like JJ Cale but there is also some similarity with later period Dylan on tracks like “Where Has My Easy Gone”, a song on which Ray adds some nice guitar above the gentle rhythm and, in particular, “Lone Freighter’s Wail”, an excellent song that is probably the best of the set here. “I am the lone freighter’s wail, echoing on my way. I wail for the old man alone on the porch looking back on what is no more” sings Ray and backs that up with his harmonica making some very lonesome sounds. “South Little One” is a quiet plea for his girl to come along on a train trip south whilst “Mile Marker 41” is a heavier cut with an oblique lyric that perhaps suggests smuggling or even something darker. “Two Bends In The Road” closes the album with Ray solo on guitar singing of the distance between him and his love. The cover of Hank Williams’ “So Lonesome I Could Cry” is one of the ‘heavier’ tracks here with plenty of Ray’s distinctive ‘buzzing’ harp sounds.

Not the easiest CD to summarise for readers and this album is certainly more Americana than blues but the combination of Ray’s world-weary voice, relaxed playing and interesting songs still brings something to the table for the average blues fan.

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.

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 Featured Blues Review – 4 of 4 

Harlis Sweetwater Band – Put it in Dirt

Self Release

11 tracks / 51:37

Blues music can be found almost anywhere you look in the world, even in Surf City USA! Also known as Huntington Beach, California, this is home base for the Harlis Sweetwater Band, a group of guys you should get to know as they churn out their own brand righteous blues and rock.

Harlis is an Orange County native who received his love for music from his mom when she introduced him to Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley, two of the most engaging performers ever. He has been playing out for a long time, founding Barrelhouse O.C. in the early 1990s and producing high energy shows and sounds that even the critics loved. They completed three albums and broke up in 2001, leaving Sweetwater free to pursue the music he was really interested in: greasy, funky, Southern blues. To create the music he loved, he put together the Harlis Sweetwater band in 2012 and released a well-received disc, Lights Goin’ Down.

Put it in Dirt is their follow-up disc, and it expands on what they accomplished with their debut. With a full horn section the magic of their live show is captured so it can be enjoyed whenever you need a pick-me-up. On this record, Sweetwater fronts the band and handles the vocals and guitar work, as well as acting as co-producer with Mike Troolines. He is joined on this project by Jason Hosler on bass, Jimmy Sena behind the drum kit, Geoff Yeaton on saxophone, Ken Shaw on trumpet, and Jed Thurkettle on trombone. Special guests include Eric Von Herzen on harp, Gary Brandin on pedal steel, and Sasha Smith on piano, Hammond organ and keys.

All of the songs on this album were penned by Harlis, and his songwriting skills are quite mature. The first song in the set is “Goin’ up the Mountain” and it has a huge sound and a frenzied southern rock feel. The most obvious component of the mix is Sweetwater’s tortured voice, and also prominent are the well-arranged horns that include a tremendous lead from Yeaton on the sax. The band takes things down a few notches for the next track, “Anna Lee,” a ballad that is ode to the woman (or is it women?) that Harlis left behind on his life’s journey. This song could have ended up with a Motown feel, but it hits a little harder and it comes off like a Marvin Gaye/Joe Cocker hybrid.

From there the band digs deeper and “Coolant Blues” checks all of the right boxes. The intro of this slow-paced dirty blues song is marked by trippy-sounding out of phase bass guitar from Hosler which is soon joined by a Von Herzen’s gnarly distorted harmonica. The lyrics are funny as the Harlis describes that his lady is possibly trying to poison him (literally). Then the rest of the band is stripped away for “Cornbread Blues” which leaves Sweetwater’s voice and resonator guitar out there for everyone to judge. He nails it, as his slide work and picking are fluid and natural, and he sings with true conviction. “Muddy Water” is another solo acoustic piece, but this time it as a folk rocker with more emphasis on Harlis’ singing, and his vocal strength is astounding.

The standout track comes near the end, and “Evil Spirit” has a cool honking harmonica intro that quickly morphs into a slick hard blues rocker. It has a stomping beat that almost overshadows some nifty work from Sasha Smith on the piano. Sweetwater also cuts loose with a heavy electric guitar solo that shows that he comfortable playing all types of the rocking genres.

Closing out the album is “12th Street Lonely Blues,” and this song makes for a strong finish. It goes pretty far towards the country edge of the blues spectrum with sweet pedal steel, honkytonk piano, and a pretty melody. Though this tune is relatively short compared to the other songs on this disc, they were still able to fit in tasty solos from Brandin and Sweetwater. Taking it in context, the softer sound and mood of this track present a suitable coda for a set that refuses to be confined to any single genre.

Put in in Dirt is strong sophomore effort from the Harlis Sweetwater Band with not a weak track to be found. They have their own sound that is a unique blend of greasy electric blues and soul that makes this album worth your time. Also, this is a hard working band with an exciting live show, so if you are in the Orange County make sure to take the time to check them out — you will not find anything else like it in the Southland!

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

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The Mississippi Valley Blues Society – Davenport, IA

The Mississippi Valley Blues Society presents keyboardist Bruce Katz and the Bruce Katz Band at The Muddy Waters, 1708 State Street, Bettendorf, IA on Monday, October 27 starting at 7:00 p.m. Admission to see this brilliant performance is $5 for Mississippi Valley Blues Society members, or $8 for non-members (applications will be available at The Muddy Waters door).

For more info contact: Steve Brundies 563-508-7660 or visit

The Golden Gate Blues Society – San Francisco, CA

Don’t miss the 2nd Annual San Francisco International Boogie Woogie Festival Sponsored by The Golden Gate Blues Society to benefit Musician’s Medical Relief Fund Sunday November 9, 2014 at 4:00pm Miner Auditorium SFJAZZ Center, 201 Franklin Street, San Francisco. Featuring a stellar lineup including Bob Seeley, Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne, Lluís Coloma, Silvan Zingg and Wendy DeWitt. Info at

River Basin Blues Society – Evansville, IN

The River Basin Blues Society will host the 3rd annual River Basin Blues Blast starting at 4 pm on November 29, 2014, at the Deerhead Sidewalk Cafe, 222 E. Columbia, Evansville, IN. Bands performing at the event include the Beat Daddys, Honey Roy, Soul Creation and 103 Degrees (featuring Grammy Award winner Jeff ‘Stick’ Davis and Joe Doughtery, the road drummer for the Grass Roots).

At this year’s Blues Blast the River Basin Blues Society will award the 1st Annual Blues Heritage Award. This inaugural award will be given to Steady Wailin’ Sid Scott. Sid has been a force of music, culture, and news in the African American community in Evansville.

The event is free, but a portion of food and drink sales from the event will benefit the RBBS and 91.5-FM WUEV. There will also be prize giveaways. For more information, contact the RBBS at

Prairie Crossroads Blues Society – Champaign, IL

Prairie Crossroads Blues Society is holding its 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.

For more info, visit our IBC Challenge page

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. 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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