Issue 8-5 January 30, 2014

Cover photo by Bob Kieser © 2014 Blues Blast Magazine

 In This Issue  

This our monthly Blues Overdose Issue featuring 10 FREE downloadable tracks of great Blue music. Jim Crawford has our feature interview with Shawn Kellerman.

We have six Blues music reviews for you. Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony reviews a new CD from The Communal Well. Rainey Wetnight reviews a new CD by Terry Davidson and the Gears. Marty Gunther reviews a new album from Pete Anderson. Mark Thompson reviews a new DVD titled Salute To The Masters. John Mitchell reviews a new 4 CD album from Henrik Freischlader Band. Rhys Williams reviews a new CD from Travis Haddix.

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

We are back with another Blues Overdose Issue of Blues Blast Magazine. This first OD issues of 2014 includes 10 FREE Blues tracks for you to download including music from Frank Bey & Anthony Paule Band, Toby Walker, Dixie Peach, Tinsley Ellis, Shaun Murphy, Leo Welch, Lisa Bailes, Hard Garden, The Halley Devestern Band and Dan Bubien. It’s an entire CD of free music from the worlds largest Free Blues magazine!

Scroll down to the end of this issue for info on the artists and the tracks and details on how to download them. To skip reading and download them now, CLICK HERE. Enyoy!

 Blues Wanderings  

30th International Blues Challenge – The finals were held at the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis, TN on January 25, 2014 . In the band category, the winners were the Mr. Sipp from the Vicksburg Blues Society.

Second place went to Ghost Town Blues Band from the Memphis Blues Society.

Third place went to Billy the Kid & Regulators from the Blues Society of Western Pennsylvania.

In the Solo/Duo category first place went to Tim Williams from the Calgary Blues Music Association and second place went to Lucious Spiller from the Ozark Blues Society of Northwest Arkansas Inc.

We will have photos of all of the finalists for you on our website in coming days!

 Featured Blues review – 1 of 6  

The Communal Well – Under A Western Sky

Self Release


The latest CD from this band of ex-pats, now based in Paris, France, finds them on a venture to create a viable slice of Americana music. Their hearts are in the right place and seem to have the best of intentions. The production values are here, as the sound of the CD is fine. They try to describe a world of the weary traveler with tales of road trips, blues, California hills, etc. Unfortunately not much here rings true. The vocals are lackluster, the lyrics of the mundane “heard that before” variety and a lack of soul in the delivery. The key word here is try. You can’t fault their intent. Sadly they just don’t have the right tools for the job.

Not much rings true. They manage to neuter Howlin’ Wolf’s “Little Red Rooster”, the only non-original included. It does however feature some good atmospheric slide guitar. Things don’t start to gel until the last two tracks. “Poor Boy” delivers a melancholy tale quite nicely with acoustic guitar and sparse drum accompaniment. “Hannah” embodies the Rolling Stones vibe of their country-blues era ala Exile On Main Street. With the tasty tones of electric guitar over a back drop of nicely strummed acoustic they capture the tension and release achieved by the Stones in such songs as “Tumblin’ Dice”. It’s just too bad the band didn’t put these skills to use earlier in the proceedings.

Hey, I wish I could have been more positive here, but most of this effort comes off as misguided. Nothing really stays in your head, as there are no real melodies. As I pointed out on the final two songs, the guys are capable of creating some stronger material. Hopefully they will pull together and come up with music that is more carefully constructed and realized. I want to be able to shower praise on everything I review, but it some cases there is only so much you can “spin”.

Reviewer Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony hails from the New Jersey Delta.

 Featured Blues Interview – Shawn Kellerman  

Good, solid Blues players hail from all parts of the globe these days. They aren’t confined to Mississippi or Chicago, although many go there to study the masters and improve their chops.

Canadian-born guitar slinger Shawn Kellerman, who was raised in Kitchner, Ontario and still makes his home there, has been to Mississippi as part of his Blues education. And, his fiery, intense playing has paid for tickets to all parts of the world as well, allowing him to showcase his talents as a sideman or a bandleader.

Shawn is one of the group of up-and-coming young players who are carrying on the legacy the legends left for them to inherit. His musical interest started the way many young players did…with Dad’s record collection.

“My dad had all kinds of music in his collection, Blues jazz, classical, rock and roll, you name it,” Shawn said. “He was also a classical piano player. So, I took piano lessons from the time I was 5 until I was about 14. I never really had an influential piano player to latch onto. I was always fighting against it. My dad finally realized we weren’t making much progress so he offered to buy me a guitar. That worked for me. From then on I watched and learned from other players. I had the music in my head.”

“There was a guy booking bands in our town,” Shawn said. “Guys like Robert Cray when he was first getting started and Albert Collins. I would sneak in to see these shows because I was still too young to be in the clubs. I’d buy copies of bootleg tapes to take home and listen to. There was plenty of Blues in the city. My dad would also take me on vacations and we’d go to places like Antone’s (in Austin) and Beale Street in Memphis. I credit my dad with helping me with my musical education.”

Shawn spent his days in the classroom and his nights playing in different bands, mostly with older players, trying to learn as much as he could, all with his dad’s approval. He even played for a while in a blues band with his father and stepmother.

“I was playing four or five nights a week in adult bands, and it was tough keeping up with the schoolwork,” Shawn said. “I pretty much had always played with guys older than me. He (dad) just really wanted me to finish high school. I felt like I couldn’t let him down since he had given me the opportunity to play. There were just so many good people out there who loved and played the music. I wanted to be a part of it…all of it. I listened to it all. I really dug Little Charlie & The Nightcats, Rick Estrin, all of that stuff.”

The great guitarist Mel Brown, formerly of Bobbly “Blue” Bland’s band and a renowned session player, happened to travel to Kitchner for a series of gigs where young Shawn saw him and was further drawn into the Blues.

“He was a phenomenal player,” Shawn said. “I ended up playing rhythm guitar for Mel for four years and it was like going to Blues college. Mel played guitar like no one I’d heard. He taught me that it is all about the feel. He really looked out for me. He did what was called for and maybe that’s where my concept of what modern Blues came from. He was the type of guy that tried a little bit of everything and that is what I’m trying to do. I like all the blues. I like the swing Blues. I like soul Blues.”

“Stevie Ray always said Mel Brown was in his top three favorite players, besides Albert King, of course. I feel real fortunate that I got to play with Mel and Otis Clay. It was Otis who took me aside and told me I needed more discipline. My main influences have been Albert Collins, Albert King, my mentor, Mel Brown, and Lucky Peterson, who became my mentor and who I still play with.”

“Finally it was Otis Clay who told me ‘It’s your time now. Get out there and do it.’ He said ‘You’re getting to be a great guitar player, but you need more discipline. You need to join that band that is going to take you and make you shine.’ He gave me my jump start,“ Shawn says. “I went from a kid in Ontario, Canada to the world.”

After taking advice from Clay, Shawn signed on with the great Deborah Coleman’s band and toured with her. From there it was a sit-in date with soul Bluesman Bobby Rush, who invited Shawn to get in touch with him later about a steady gig.

“He (Rush) didn’t think I’d move to Mississippi,” Shawn said. “I was 24 and wasn’t tied down to anything so I thought ‘What the hell?’ I called him and he said ‘Come on down, but remember, it’s a little different down here.’ Boy, was he right. I ended up staying at his house for a while before I got a place of my own. We played the “Chitlin’ Circuit” with guys like Little Milton (Campbell) and people like that. It was a whole different scene than any I was ever exposed to. I only felt any heat because of my color one time when we were playing in Texas. Other than that all people were interested in is if I could play. Color was never a problem.”

Shawn has now been on the road in 20 different countries over the last 15 years. After spending a couple of years touring with his own trio “The Shawn Kellerman Band” he is now a permanent member of Lucky Peterson’s band, a gig he coveted since his early playing days.

“I used to bring bands and artists up to Canada to play,” Shawn said. “At first it was guys like Sherman Robertson, and Bobby (Rush). Lucky has always been my favorite artist, but I couldn’t get in touch with him to see if he wanted to come up and play.”

“I finally contacted his agent to see if he (Lucky) would come to Canada,” Shawn recalls. “The guy was cool enough and wanted to get Lucky up here. So ever since then we have been playing music together. Finally, after a few shows, he asked if I wanted to be in the band full time. I had been watching him since I was 19 and I just loved everything about his music. I guess I finally got good enough that I was able graduate to his band full time.”

“It all happened so fast,” Shawn said. “My dad had just passed away and I had just turned 40. He was the one who got me started on this road. Then I landed my dream job in Lucky’s band. My dad had taken me on the very first Blues Cruise when I was 19 where I saw Anson Funderburg as one of the headliners. Now, 21 years later, I got to go on this year’s cruise as one of the players in Lucky’s band. It doesn’t get much beter.”

Since his Blues journey began Shawn estimates he has played in 34 states and more than 20 countries and counting.

“It’s hard to say where you get the best treatment,” Shawn says. “Blues started here and has evolved differently than it has in Europe. There is a whole different culture in Europe. They are more into tradition. You do enjoy bigger audiences over there though. But, there are great audiences everywhere. I don’t want to bash anybody because everybody has their own spot in the overall scheme of things. Blues has always been up and down and it’ll always be that way. ”

When Shawn is not lighting up the stage with his axe, he spends some of his spare time putting guitars together out of pieces and parts to see if he can create something different.

“I took an old Danelectro bass and adapted it and made it a regular guitar,” he said. “I still play it on stage. It turned out pretty cool. I don’t claim to be a luthier or anything. I just like to try different things. I fooled around with my Telecaster until I got it to sound like Albert Collins. I like my stuff to sound a little different. Have a different look.”

“If I had about $10,000 I’d buy a vintage guitar and stick with it but I don’t have that kind of money to spend,” Shawn says. “I like to figure out what’s going on inside (the guitar). I’ve kind of always done that. I built my own head for my amp. Nothing is stock. I try to develop my own stuff. Besides, it’s a good conversation piece. It’s not rocket science. If you can glue wood together and string it you can build a guitar. All guitars sound basically the same. It’s not like I’m moving the world or anything. It makes me feel good about myself after I dig into it and then it actually plays.”

Currently Shawn is coming off of one of his best seasons and can’t wait to get back on the road with The Lucky Peterson Band.

“We went on the Blues Cruise in the summer and that was one of the highlights of my career,” he said. “Then we’re about finished mixing a new CD and it should be released in June. After that we’re hitting the road for shows in February, March and April. I haven’t fronted a band in a while. I try to keep myself open for Lucky. I still do an occasional guest show.”

It appears that the music is in good hands as long as the young guns like Shawn Kellerman keep spreading the word and keeping things fresh.

That’s a good thing.”

Visit Shawn’s website at:

Photos by Bob Kieser © 2014 Blues Blast Magazine

Interviewer Jim Crawford is a transplanted Texan and the current president of the Phoenix Blues Society. He’s a fan of lots of different types of music but keeps his head mostly planted in the Blues today. He received his first 45 rpm record, Jimmy Reed’s “Big Boss Man,” at about age 8 and it stuck. He hosted the “Blues Cruise” on KACV-FM 90 in Amarillo for many years and can be found on many nights catching a good show at the Rhythm Room, Phoenix’s Blues Mecca.

 Featured Blues review – 2 of 6  

Terry Davidson and the Gears – Sonic Soul Sessions

Bangshift Music

CD: 13 songs; 43:28 Minutes

Styles: Modern Electric Blues, Soul Blues, Blues Rock

The Super Bowl is fast upon us, and Columbus, Ohio’s Terry Davidson and the Gears have made some “plays” already! In the “Sonic Soul Sessions,” a powerhouse follow-up to 2009’s “Damnation Blues,” they provide a wide variety of original electric blues and blues rock offerings. Their greatest strength is relentless instrumentation, featuring Davidson on guitars, mandolin and vocals, and the other relentless “Gears”: Bill Geist on bass guitar, backing vocals, and percussion, Bob “The Wrench” Hanners on drums, percussion, and backing vocals, and Mike Gilliland on harmonica, guitar and vocals. Guest stars include keyboardist Todd Brown, horn arranger Fred Gablick on saxophone, and John Bonham on trumpet. There are also several other background singers, namely Angie Davidson, Terry Sheeley, Bobby Betton and Lily D. Last but not least, Lee Ohmart plays the whistle with aplomb. Together, this big posse creates a big-band sound, simultaneously old-fashioned and modern. These three songs will be “on the scoreboard” of critics, DJ’s, and rabid genre fans throughout the country:

Track 03: “Chicagoland” – KICKOFF: This may be the third track instead of the first, but it definitely kicks off the album for devotees of soul-influenced blues. With a swinging horn section and an irresistible hook of “See no evil, speak no evil to me, hear no evil, speak no evil to me,” this Windy City shuffle will have listeners hitting the dance floor in record numbers. Mike Gilliland’s harmonica solo in the middle of the song steals the show, as do the fiery background vocals.

Track 10: “Three Ninety Six” – FIELD GOAL: Other than drinking, trouble with money, and trouble with love, cars and racing are among the most popular blues topics. “Three Ninety Six” is an ode to a hotrod and its notorious driver: “Sixty-eight and the gas is cheap; big black Chevy gonna rule that street. Carburetor and Goodrich tires – light ’em up like the street’s on fire!” This shameless rock-and-roll extravaganza is performed at full throttle, not letting up until the final revving notes.

Track 04: “Too Late to Change” – TOUCHDOWN: Smoldering selection number four is slow blues at its best: lyrically simple but instrumentally layered and complex. “Please write my baby; tell her it’s too late to change my ways,” Davidson pleads. “Tell her tomorrow at this time, I may be six feet in my lonesome grave.” Strands of sizzling shredder, moaning mouth-harp, poignant piano, and healing horns are woven into a tapestry of regret. Despite its rueful theme, it’s the most danceable tune on this CD.

The Gears earn major points with their fiercely honest approach to the blues and perfect balance of musical styles throughout their newest release. Davidson occasionally “punts” on his talk-singing vocals, but that’s only a technicality. Enjoy the Super Bowl, and may the “Sonic Soul Sessions” be in one’s lineup for the rest of the season!

Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 34 year old female Blues fan. She brings the perspective of a younger blues fan to reviews. A child of 1980s music, she was strongly influenced by her father’s blues music collection.

 Featured Blues review – 3 of 6  

Pete Anderson – Birds Above Guitarland

Little Dog Records

12 songs – 48 minutes

California-based Pete Anderson is recognized throughout the music industry as one of the true visionaries of the guitar, and he gets to display it full-force in this richly produced collection of originals. Although his name may be unfamiliar to many blues lovers, Anderson is a multi-Grammy winner who, for eight years, was the musical partner of country music legend Dwight Yoakam, both as a musician, songwriter and producer.

A former autoworker and Detroit native who fell in love with the blues after hearing B.B. King and catching King and Muddy Waters live at the first Ann Arbor Blues Festival. After forming blues bands in Motown, he moved to Los Angeles as a young adult to fulfill his dream of a career in the music industry.

Known for his exceptional tone on the six-string, Anderson has been a standard-bearer for the American roots movement since its inception. He’s played an instrumental part in the careers of Lucinda Williams, Rosie Flores, Michelle Shocked, Jim Lauderdale and others. And as a bandleader, he’s appeared on The Tonight Show, Saturday Night Live and David Letterman. He also is the man who organized the Guitar Center music stores’ King Of The Blues Guitar competition, and Reverend Guitars issues four models of axes bearing his name.

Anderson plays guitar, bass, baritone guitar and provides vocals and percussion on this CD, with most of the other instrumentation provided by Michael Murphy, who adds keyboards, strings and backing vocals. They’re assisted by Lee Thornberg and Ron Dzibula on horns, Herman Matthews, James Cruce, Jeff Sorenson, Jeff Donovan and Jesper Kristensen on drums, Jack Maeby and Dona Oxford on keyboards, Steve Nelson on upright bass and Dennis Gurwell on accordion. Bekka Bramlett contributes lead vocals on the disc’s bonus track, an alternate version of “Rock In My Shoe.”

A guitar flourish kicks off “Outta’ The Fire,” a swinging straight-ahead blues tribute to a red-hot love affair in which Anderson states: “You know it’s true/I’d rather sweat with you/Than be alone and cool.” Next up is the funky “36 Hour Day,” another song about a woman. “Pickin’ your peaches is a full-time occupation,” Anderson insists. “It doesn’t matter if the sun don’t shine/When I’m with you, girl/I lose all sense of time.” Tasty throughout, his guitar chops are on displays in brief solos.

The mood changes dramatically for “Talkin’ ‘Bout Lonely,” a country-tinged slow blues about a house “that holds one when it used to hold three.” Anderson breaks into a fast shuffle as keyboards come to the fore for “Talkin’ My Baby Down,” another love song. In this one, he doesn’t want anyone saying anything bad about his woman – and if the person does, the singer better not be around to hear.

A Latin beat and a couple of tasty, technically difficult guitar solos highlight “For You,” a warning to an ex-love that the singer won’t let her hurt him again. It precedes “Big Money,” a syncopated modern blues. “Empty Everything,” another song of romantic abandonment, leads into the jazzy “Fix It Man,” which sings the prowess of abilities at home repair rather than an affair of the heart. The tempo slows for “I Got Mine,” an uptown blues in which Anderson stretches out on the fret board, before the disc concludes with two versions of “Rock In My Shoe” sandwiched around the instrumental “Red Sunset Blues.”

If you’re looking for Yoakam-flavored country music, look elsewhere. This solid collection of new material from a master musician and tunesmith swings from beginning to end. A good listen no matter what your taste.

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 6  

Various Artists – Salute to the Masters

Featuring L.C. Cooke, Otis Clay, The Soul Stirrers, Tyrone Davis

Sagebrush Productions, Inc.

85 minute run time

This concert video was recorded at the Mercy Seat Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago on April 22, 2001. Mixing interview segments with live performances, the video pays tribute to the rich vocal traditions of gospel music and some of its greatest singers.

The opening discussion has two of Chicago’s most celebrated vocalists, Otis Clay and the late Tyrone Davis, along with L.C. Cooke, the younger brother of Sam Cooke. Clay names Claude Jeter (Swan Silvertones), Ira Tucker (the Dixie Hummingbirds), and Julius Cheeks (Sensational Nightingales) as influences, adding that it wasn’t enough to have a powerful voice. He makes the emphatic point that the best singers were stylists, each one unique in their approach.

Once you listen to Cooke singing “God is the One” and “These are They”, you will quickly hear the similarities he shares with his legendary brother in phrasing and tone. Cooke is reverent on the first song, and then gets the audience to feel the spirit on the latter song as he delivers fervent testifying that raises the energy in a hurry as his sweet, smooth voice adopts a grittier edge. The instrumental backing is provided by Clay’s group, the Platinum Band

The next clip features Davis discussing his thoughts on Clay as a gospel singer, going on to mention that he has always felt that Clay should have been a preacher. Once Clay takes over the microphone, he proves the wisdom of Davis’s comments. He offers up a plea for a better world on “Reach Out and Touch Somebody”. The band expands to include a three piece horn section and backing vocals from three female singers. Clay’s rendition of “When the Gates Swing Open” is one of the highlights. He skillfully builds the emotional intensity, sermonizing on the glory of eternal salvation.

Another interview clip has Clay continuing to discuss his favorite gospel singers, including the famed church-wrecker Archie Brownlee of the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi. Then Clay ends the conversation by stating that Sam Cooke was the epitome of what a gospel singer should be, setting the standard for everyone else to strive for.

Cooke first gained famed as a member of the Soul Stirrers. The group featured in the concert consisted of the three Crume brothers – LeRoy, Arthur and Dillard – along with Justin Morris Jr., Luther Gamble and Leonard R. Walker. They tear into “Last Mile of the Way”, the lead vocal switching back and forth between Morris and Gamble, who possesses a bold, deep voice that fills the concert hall. Morris is another singer who captures the best qualities of Sam Cooke’s style, sounding right at home the standard “Touch the Hem of His Garment”. The group shares the lead vocal while expertly mixing glorious harmonies on all six of their performances, with Clay joining in on “Praying Ground”.

After commenting that he hasn’t sung in church for more than fifty years, even though his father was a preacher, Davis takes the stage backed by the Soul Stirrers for a subdued performance on “Let’s be Closer Together”. The grand finale, “That’s Heaven to Me”, brings all the vocalists to the stage, even some guests from the audience.

Shot with multiple cameras from various perspectives, this video gives viewers a good sample of the power of gospel music. It is a treat to see Clay and Davis singing for the glory of God while the Soul Stirrers segment shows that the group retained its famous sound despite the changing of members over the years. Not everyone is comfortable listening to gospel music. Be assured that there is plenty of fine singing on this project that is worth seeing and hearing no matter what the subject matter may be.

Reviewer Mark Thompson lives in Florida, where he is enjoying life without snow. He is a member of the Board of Directors for the Suncoast Blues Society and the past president of the Crossroads Blues Society of Northern Illinois. Music has been a huge part of his life for the past fifty years – just ask his wife!

 Featured Blues review – 5 of 6  

Henrik Freischlader Band – Live In Concert

Cable Car Records

CD1 – 8 tracks; 76 minutes

CD2 – 8 tracks; 73 minutes

CD3 – 10 tracks; 62 minutes

CD4 – 6 tracks; 57 minutess

31 year old German guitarist Henrik Freischlader has been recording under his own name for eight prolific years, issuing eight albums including two previous live disc sets. This sprawling four disc set finds Henrik fronting a four piece band consisting of himself on guitar and vocals, Moritz Fuhrhop on keys, Theofilos Fotiadis on bass/BV and Björn Krüger on drums/BV. The two concerts here were recorded in Arnsberg on 21 May 2011 (part of the “Still Frame Replay” tour) and Hannover on 8 November 2012 (part of the “House In The Woods” tour). The earlier set was previously released on DVD. Both are full length shows and include some short intros and stage announcements in German though all the songs are in English. Henrik and his band have been making quite a name for themselves in the UK with the blues rock audience and it was interesting to find out something about the band from these recordings.

Most of the material here is original though Henrik does two Hendrix tunes as the encore in the first concert, covers Peter Green on both dates and the Beatles on the later set. He also tackles “I’d Rather Go Blind”. The style here is a mixture of impassioned ballads and hard rocking cuts, many featuring Henrik’s guitar which to this reviewer’s ears carries the influence of the late Gary Moore. His singing voice is a little indistinct, but serviceable.

The two songs which gave their name to the tours are both upbeat cuts: “Still Frame Replay” appears early on Disc 1 with sledgehammer drumming and heavy metal style organ; “House In The Woods” is towards the end of the show on Disc 4 with some heavy rocking, sometimes discordant, guitar and organ. The band has sensibly chosen to play mainly different sets for these live recordings: just four songs appear on both nights, two of which are epic productions, one stretching to over 20 minutes. The common material across the two nights includes Peter Green’s “I Loved Another Woman” which is played very nicely, close to the original in spirit and delivery; “Longer Days” is a shortish rocker with an insistent guitar riff at its centre; “The Bridge” and “Breakout” are both extended numbers, all four cuts going to over ten minutes in length. Whilst extended versions are always a feature of live performance some of these tunes do outstay their welcome, “The Bridge” being a rather plodding slow blues and “Breakout”, whilst starting promisingly, gets lost across the piece. A more effective ballad (almost Americana in style) is “Two Young Lovers” on which the band plays sympathetically in support of Henrik’s wistful vocals. Moritz’s organ solo here has quite a gospel sound, a fact reinforced by the following track “Mo’s Gospel”, a solo feature for the organist.

Towards the end of Disc 4 the band covers The Beatles’ “Come Together” very effectively with strong organ playing. Unfortunately the ‘warts and all’ approach of having the entire concert on the disc means that after the song closes there are about three minutes of silence and quietly strumming guitar before the actual finale, another lengthy ballad entitled “Won’t You Help Me”. On the earlier set the band closes with the two Hendrix covers which make for an upbeat finale although what Jimi would have made of the band’s version of “Foxy Lady” is difficult to say! In 1967 Jimi said all that was needed in 3.19 of fun lyrics and sizzling guitar sounds: here the tune becomes a bloated 12.15 of self-indulgent guitar.

It is easy to see why (blues) rock fans will warm to this type of material but it may be easier to start with one of the band’s studio discs if you are looking to try them out. This generously filled box set will certainly delight fans of the band but will not strike much of a chord with straight blues fans.

Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK. He had a blast at this year’s Blues Blast Awards and is already planning his next trip stateside.

 Featured Blues review – 6 of 6  

Travis Haddix – Ring On Her Finger, Rope Around My Neck

Label: Benevolent Blues

10 songs – 41 minutes

It’s always a pleasure to listen to a new album by Travis Haddix. Now 75 years old, the Walnut, MS, native has produced a number of high quality blues albums over the years and his new release is no exception. The album, Ring On Her Finger, Rope Around My Neck, features 10 new songs, all written by Haddix himself.

Haddix sings and plays lead guitar. Interestingly, the album basically features two bands backing Haddix on different songs. Three songs were recorded in Atlanta and Forsyth, GA, with a band comprising Rick Hinkle on rhythm guitar, Steve Crawford on piano, “Big” Royal Joiner on keys, Marion McFarland and John Haamid on drums and Pondexter Evans on bass. The horns were supplied by Jeff Hager, David Ruffin and Tony Fortunato. The remaining songs were recorded in Brunswick, Ohio, with Brian Hager on rhythm guitar, Gil Zachary on piano, Don Williams on organ, Ed Lemmers and Lonnie Crosby on bass and Jemery Sullivan and Vernon James on drums. The horns feature Tony Fortunato, David Ruffin and Scott Tenney. And, while Haddix produced the seven songs recorded in Ohio, Chuck Willis produced “Jodie”, “Doctor Doctor” and “Patience With A Purpose”.

Despite the number of different musicians and the two producers, there is a consistency of style and approach throughout the album, and the sensitive, impressive performances of the backing musicians reflect the strength of the song-writing. Haddix writes clever songs with intelligent lyrics, often with witty twists. In “Full But Frustrated” he sings to his woman “We’re on the same page and the whole world knows you’re fine; But when a man gets to be my age, he don’t have much time.” And the title of “In Good Shape For The Shape I’m In” betrays the lyrical punch line of the verse: “If I don’t succeed, I’ll start all over again. I’m in pretty good shape for the shape I’m in.”

Haddix was inspired in his early years by B.B. King’s broadcasts on WDIA out of Memphis, but his guitar style shows few signs of B.B.’s direct influence. A more obvious comparison on the evidence of this album would be late-era Albert Collins. There’s a strong funk edge to many of the songs, in particular “She’s Good, She’s Better, She’s Best” (which also has a fine organ solo from Don Williams), and Haddix has a light, part-spoken singing voice, which is peculiarly effective, particularly when it conveys a sly hint of devilish humour. In addition, Haddix has a piercing guitar tone and idiosyncratic solo style with often slightly unusual note selection (which makes repeated listening to his playing rewarding). None of which is not meant to suggest that Haddix is a Collins copyist – it is more likely that he and Collins had the same or similar influences. Either way, Haddix definitely has his own style and his own sound.

There are a number of highlights to the album, which is distributed on the Benevolent Blues label. The opener, “Jodie” has a real swagger and groove, while “Patience With A Purpose” is a slow blues with a memorable guitar solo. Also particularly enjoyable is the funky blues of “Doctor Doctor”, which features a fine horn arrangement by Jeff Hager, in-the-pocket rhythm guitar from Rick Hinkle, and a powerfully emotional solo from Haddix.

This is a mature, intelligent blues album packed with clever songs and fine performances and is 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.

 Blues Society News  

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 Phoenix Blues Society – Phoenix,AZ

The 23rd Annual Blues Blast, presented by The Phoenix Blues Society, 501(c)(3), will take place March 8, 2014 at Margaret T. Hance Park at 3rd St. & Moreland near downtown Phoenix. Gates will open at 10 a.m. with music starting at 11a.m. Headliners: Samantha Fish and SugaRay Rayford with the Rhythm Room All-stars will join The Mike Eldred Trio, Paul Cruize Blues Crew and Leon J’s Juke Joint. Local favorite Hans Olson will provide entertainment between acts throughout the afternoon.

Food, beverages and vendors will be on site. There will be master musicians holding a free music workshop for kids 12-18 from 10:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. There also will be an art project open for everyone’s contribution. Admission is $22 in advance and $25 day of show. Children under 16 accompanied by a parent will be admitted free. Early Bird tickets are available now until Feb.1 at  Tickets can be purchased online until day of show.

Mississippi Valley Blues Society – Davenport, IA

On Wednesday February 19th MVBS presents Anni Piper with Brent Johnson and the Call-up. Anni hails from Australia and began playing guitar at the age of 12. She now lays down the groove on bass. Her sultry vocals are reminiscent of Susan Tedeschi. Brent Johnson is out on his own after 10 plus years as part of Bryan Lee’s Blues Power Band! Show is at Martini’s on the Rock, 4619 34th St. Rock Island IL, Showtime is 7pm, Cover is 7 for members and 10 for non-members! Info at

DC Blues Society – Washington, DC

Join the DC Blues Society for a dance party with live music on February 15, 2014 from 8pm-12:30am (American Legion Post 268, 11225 Fern Street, Wheaton MD 20902.) Tickets are $13 in advance ( or $15 at the door. Jesi Terrell and The Love Mechanic Band will keep you warm and toasty as you dance to their blues-heavy R&B sound! Jesi Terrell brings her sultry sound to Wheaton to extend your Valentine’s celebration for one more day! Said David Whiteis of the Chicago Reader, “she can break into a ferocious, full-bodied wail, invoking the combination of lust and aggression that’s so basic to the blues…Terrell has always had a knack for conveying the sensuality of the blues”. Jesi is a seasoned Chicago music scene veteran who has opened for B.B. King and Eric Clapton. Last fall, Jesi and her tight band brought down the house at the 2013 DC Blues Society Battle of the Bands. Check out this exuberant and exciting performer! For more info visit

Crossroads Blues Society – Byron, Illinois

On Saturday, February 15th the Alex Wilson Band is Crossroads’ second band served up along with some great food and beverages at the Hope and Anchor English Pub in Loves Park, IL. The club is at 504 N Second Street. $5 cover and an 8 PM start.

Tuesday, February 18th is our first show at Mary’s Place on 602 N Madison Street in Rockford. Brent Johnson and the Call Up will be joined by Australia’s Anni Piper! Brent is out on his own after 10 plus years as part of Bryan Lee’s Blues Power Band! Cover is $10 and we stat early- 7 PM!

Saturday, March 8th is back to the Hope and Anchor with guitar virtuoso Bobby Messano and his great band. $5 cover, 8 PM start.

Crossroads Blues Society is proud to present the second annual Field of Blues Festival on Saturday, June 28th at Rockford Aviators Stadium in Loves Park.

Alex Wilson Band is opening beginning his set at noon. Next up is an international act, Italian blues and singing sensation Linda Valori at 2 PM along with super guitar player Luca Giordano and our own Barstool Bob Blues Band with Bob Levis on guitar, Al Terrano on bass, Link Leary on drums and Don Collins on harmonica.

The Jimmy’s will bring their swinging blues at 4 PM. At 6 PM, the ever cool Doug Deming and Dennis Gruenling will take the stage with the Jewel Tones.

At 8 PM our headliners will be…well, we can’t tell you yet! We will let you know soon!
Between acts we will feature local acoustic blues man Dan Phelps. 10 hours of music from noon to 10 PM (we close at 10:30 PM). Tickets will once again only be $10 in advance and $15 at the door.

Check us out at or call festival chairman Steve Jones at 779-537-4006 for more information!

The Central Iowa Blues Society –  Des Moines, IA

Saturday, February 8th the Central Iowa Blues Society welcomes 10 acts on 6 different stages. This multi-band event will culminate with an After Hours Jam in Des Moines Downtown Marriott. Bands performing include Jeffco, Chad Elliott & Bomita Crowe, Rock Island Rollers, Josh Hoyer & The Shadow Boxers, Annie Mack, Katy Guillen & The Girls, Bob Pace and national touring artists Nikki Hill, Chris O’Leary Band and John Nemeth.

Wristbands for the event are only $15.00 in advance and will give you admission to all of the Ballrooms on the 2nd and 3rd floors, as well as Rock River Lounge on the 2nd floor. Tickets are available online at now.

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.

Feb. 3 – South Side Jonny and Kicked to the Curb, Feb. 10 – The Dave Lumsden Factor, Feb. 17 – Anni Piper with Brent Johnson and the Call-up, Feb. 24 – Alex Jenkins & The Bombers,

Also on Feb. 9 there will be a special Blue Sunday with John Nemeth, Casey’s Pub in Springfielde, IL.

Questions regarding this press release can be directed to Michael Rapier, President of ICBC, at at 217-899-9422, or contact Greg Langdon, Live Events Chair, at or by visiting

Blues Overdose 1/30/2014 – These free tracks are available for 30 days. More info below.

Download Instructions

1.) Click the link below where it says “Click HERE to download” just after any of the artist descriptions below. (You only need to do this once as all the tracks are there!)

2.) The link will take you to the Blues Blast Magazine page for the January Blues Overdose on

3.) On The Blues Overdose Page click the on any artist to listen to the song. You do NOT have to join to listen or download these tracks!

4.) To automatically download the artists song click on the download icon

Frank Bey & Anthony Paule Band

“I Just Can’t Go On” from the CD Soul For Your Blues

Otis Redding protégé Frank Bey, and internationally renowned, Bay Area, blues guitarist Anthony Paule have assembled an eight-piece band, performing old-school Soul, R&B, and Blues. Their show is primarily original material written and arranged a la Bobby Bland, Ray Charles, & of course Redding. Their current release on Blue Dot Records, SOUL FOR YOUR BLUES is receiving airplay on 174 radio programs internationally. The band is nominated in 2 two categories of the 35th annual Blues Music Awards; Best Soul Blues Album and Best Soul Blues Male performer.

The CD is available for purchase on CDBaby, Amazon and iTunes For more information on The Frank Bey & Anthony Paule Band visit

Click HERE to download these Free tracks on our Soundcloud


Toby Walker

“Swing Bean” from the CD What You See Is What You Get

Winning 1st place in the International Blues Challenge solo division, Toby Walker has been hailed as a fingerpicking blues virtuoso. His latest CD – What You See Is What You Get has been getting remarkable reviews as Walker pulls out all the stops, taking the listener on a tour de force of blues styles ranging from Delta, Ragtime, Piedmont to heavy duty electric slide. Bob Margolin said “As a blues guitar player, I am stunned and in awe of Toby Walker’s pickin’! Add to that his fine songs and singing and friendly presentation, and it’s obvious that Toby Walker is one of the most enjoyable artists in today’s Blues World.” Happy Traum had this to say about the CD: “Toby is deeply immersed in old-time blues and ragtime and he’s got it all: impeccable fingerpicking chops, a soulful voice and a good sense of how to entertain. He’s got it all.”

The song you can download is Walker’s original instrumental called “Swing Bean.” Playing with his ‘band in the right hand,’ Walker creates the illusion of a bassist, rhythm guitarist, lead guitarist, drummer and even a horn section all playing at the same time.

The CD is available at CDBaby and on Toby’s website with extra free stuff at .

Click HERE to download these Free tracks on Soundcloud


Dixie Peach

“Wait A Minute” track 9 on Blues With Friends CD

Dixie Peach has been an opening act or backed up many national artists including Roy Buchanan, Lee Roy Parnell, Johnny Winter, Dickey Betts, Johnny A, Carl Weathersby, and several others. Dixie Peach’s new CD is a collection of all new original material. The CD is titled “Blues With Friends” and includes guest appearances by several friends including grammy nominated guitarist Lee Roy Parnell, guitarist Jack Pearson (formerly with the Allman Brothers Band), and many other personal friends.

Track 9 is a smokin’ blues shuffle featuring Ira Stanley and guest Scotty Bratcher on lead guitars. The rhythm section of band members Steve Benson, Tony Paulus, Steve Williams, Mike Rousculp, and guest Dan Connaughton pack a solid punch that keeps the groove going in high gear. “Blues With Friends” was recently nominated for best selp-produced CD in the International Blues Challenge.

The CD is available or purchase on CDBaby and Amazon. For more info on Dixie Peach visit

Click HERE to download these Free tracks on Soundcloud


Tinsley Ellis

“Peace And Love” from new Tinsley Ellis Midnight Blue CD
Written by Tinsley Ellis (Heartfixer Music, BMI)

Midnight Blue is the all-new set of original blues rock from guitar master Tinsley Ellis. Produced by Ellis, the album marks the second release from his recently established label Heartfixer Music. Featuring some of Ellis’ finest vocals yet, Midnight Blue includes wide-ranging material that moves effortlessly from the powerful opening track “If The River Keeps Rising,” through the soul laden groove of “Surrender,” the rollicking Louisiana rocker “It’s Not Funny,” and a poignant, Ray Charles influenced slow blues “See No Harm.”

Additional musicians include Nashville keyboard master Kevin McKendree (Delbert McClinton, Brian Setzer), bassist Ted Pecchio (Tedeschi/Trucks Band), and drummer Lynn Williams (Delbert McClinton). McKendree recorded and mixed the album at his studio The Rock House in Franklin, TN. Tinsley and his band will be on tour everywhere in 2014 and are booked by Ted Kurland Agency. Contact is 

The signed copies of the CD are available for purchase at Tinsley’s website at

Click HERE to download these Free tracks on Soundcloud


Shaun Murphy Band

“You Can’t Hide from Truth” from the CD Cry Of Love

After winning Best Female Blues Artist Of The Year, as well as Best Contemporary Blues Album Of The Year at the 2013 Bluesblast Music Awards, Cry Of Love is Shaun’s newest release, and it proves to be a stellar collection of some of her favorite classic Blues songs, by Solomon Burke, Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland, Elmore James and Albert Collins.

This is the 9th track on her 11 song CD, written by her friends Jon & Sally Tiven and John Hahn, tunesmiths she’s come to appreciate on her last few CD’s. This CD features her touring band on all the tracks and gives a picture of the live performances she delivers. The emotional dedication she brings to all her songs is a true testament to the love of her craft. Her producer and manager, TC Davis brings out the best in her delivery in this CD, and it shows yet another side of her amazing talent.

For more information visit

Click HERE to download these Free tracks on Soundcloud


Leo “Bud” Welch

“Praise His Name” from the CD Sebougla Voices

The phone rings at the Oxford, Miss.-based label Big Legal Mess . An intern tells the caller, “Oh, we don’t really do blues here anymore.” One of the company’s principals overhears this and grabs the phone. On the other end of the line is one 81-year-old Leo “Bud” Welch from Mississippi’s Calhoun County. He’d heard about the label that brought you Junior Kimbrough’s First Recordings, Jack Oblivian, Reverend John Wilkins, Water Lairs and Bishop Manning and the Manning Family, and he wanted to know if there’d be interest in recording his debut album of downhome gospel and blues. It was then that Big Legal Mess’s Bruce Watson invited him to come to the office and play a few tunes. Indeed Welch was the real deal: a guitar-tearing gospel and blues singer who’d worked on a logging crew in Mississippi Hill Country’s timber industry for more than 30 years. He was signed on the spot and his debut album, Sabougla Voices, will be released on January 7, 2014 on both CD and LP. .

For more information visit

Click HERE to download these Free tracks on Soundcloud


Lisa Biales

“Graveyard Dead Blues” – Track # 5 on the album Belle of the Blues

Singer Lisa Biales (pronounced “Bee-Alice”) who is known for her clear-as-a-bell singing voice, has been dubbed, fittingly, “Belle of the Blues.” The 11 songs on Belle of the Blues showcase a diverse set of material that feels right at home with Lisa’s passionate in-the-pocket vocals, which have a slant of southern sass to them. Produced by multi-Blues Music Award nominee EG Kight and legendary Southern Rock producer Paul Hornsby. The CD was recorded at Hornsby’s Muscadine Studio in Macon, Georgia, and features special guests Tommy Talton on guitar (Cowboy, Gregg Allman, Dickey Betts) Randall Bramblett on Hammond B3 organ and Bill Stewart on drums (Cowboy, Gregg Allman, Bonnie Bramlett). Talton’s contributions on the new album especially stand out, with his work on acoustic/electric guitar, electric/acoustic slide guitar and dobro.

For more information visit

Click HERE to download these Free tracks on Soundcloud


Hard Garden

“Pour Me Another” from the debut album, Blue Yonder

AStark, shamanistic Delta blues meets sequencers and digital beats to conjure a debut album so startlingly original as to knock expectations upside the head. The blues just entered the 21st century with a stunning new treatment.

The band describes their credo as “The blues is not unlike an old plot of land that was once fertile but has suffered from neglect over the years, and become a hard garden.” Make no mistake, they have broken new ground and are reaping a bumper crop of ripe, nourishing blues.

For more information visit

Click HERE to download these Free tracks on Soundcloud


The Halley Devestern Band

“Money Ain’t Time” from the CD Fabbo! Boffo! Smasho!

Being compared to Janis Joplin is a heavy burden. However, blonde bombshell Halley DeVestern explodes out of her songs with unbridled passion, power and social principles requiring no comparison for credibility, including a successful stint as front woman with the legendary Big Brother & the Holding Company. The Halley DeVestern Band serves up Blues-Funk-Roots with passion, heart and a big swig of tongue-in-cheek. Band members include a who’s-who of solid axemen including David Patterson (Shawn Mullins); Rich Kulsar (The Zen Tricksters, Toasters, Mickey Dolenz) and Tom Heinig – bass (Lamont Cranston Band, Mill City Band). The band’s latest release, Fabbo Boffo Smasho, has already stolen the hearts of critics and radio listeners alike with its balls-to-the-wall, two-fisted dose of Funk-flavored Blues with a twist of Roots Rock and a just a dash of Frank Zappa.

For more information visit 

Click HERE to download these Free tracks on Soundcloud


Dan Bubien

“To Youngstown” from the CD Empty Roads

Dan Bubien is a singer/songwriter/guitarist from Aliquippa, Pennsylvania. Dan recently wrapped a year long stretch of recording with four-time Grammy Award Winning Producer/Engineer Jay Dudt at Audible Images Studio in Pittsburgh. The new album, Empty Roads, is a collection of original music co-written with talented writer and friend, Roman Marocco and features the best of the best in Pittsburgh’s music scene. Backed by bass player Gary Ripper, drummer Andy Taravella and Timmy Mabin on keys the album is a solid mix of funk, blues and old school soul. The album was chosen to represent at the IBC’s in 2013 by the Blues Society of Western PA as best Self-Produced CD. Empty Roads was also chosen as top 5 albums of 2013 in WYEP’s Year in Review by host and DJ of Rollin and Tumblin Rob O’Friel.

For more information visit

Click HERE to download these Free tracks on Soundcloud

Live Blues Calendar

YOU can submit your Blues performances for FREE at:

Performance dates were submitted by Musicians, Club Owners, Blues Societies and Blues festivals. is not responsible for errors or omissions.

CLICK HERE – for the Latest Complete Blues Calendar on our website at:

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Performance dates submitted by Musicians, Clubs, Blues Societies and Blues festivals. is not responsible for errors or omissions.

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