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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Blues On Grand To Close In October!

UPDATE
The Des Moines Register has a story out in both print and online versions of the newspaper.   I am actually quoted in the article, which is both a happy and sad occurrence.  On one hand I like getting interviewed, but it seems it is always about something bad happening to the blues in Des Moines.  To read the article Click HERE.



I have know about this for a few weeks, but I have kept it to myself.  However, since KCCI TV reported the news a few days ago I feel I can share this.  The legendary Des Moines blues club Blues On Grand is closing in October.  It is unfortunate for all since the BOG has been a very important blues stop for a ton of great National, regional, and local musicians.  I have no extra details to share as to why.  Yet, it is obvious that all good things must end, and blues clubs, and blues bands usually don't last very long.  This is a tough business made tougher by a bad economy.  Adding insult to injury is the fact that people don't want to pay for music theses days.  The only way you can make money these days as a blues band is playing gigs, and if their are no gigs you figure out what happens next.

The irony of this economic turndown, is that unlike the great depression which live music thrived, the great recession is killing live music. I wish people would get off their butts and fill the seats to keep the place open, but what can you do. 

What I do know is that building has had the blues going on in some form or another since at least the early 70s.  Back when it was Vickies Poor House, Chicago Rick, and Jimmy Pryor played the blues there when they were the only bluesmen left in town.  It became, the Grand Ave Lounge, The Grand, and Blues On Grand, three clubs dedicated to the blues.  One can only hope that the next person in keeps it going, but given the value of that real estate I would think that its future as a blue venue is a long shot.

However, it is too soon to cry about this.  Jeff has two months of kick ass blues lined up.  I am posting what he has coming soon directly from his website.  For more info about the legendary club CLICK HERE



Thursday
Aug 19
9:30PM
A Thursday night tradition since 1992! The host band warms up the crowd from 9:30 to 10:30. Musicians, ranging from the accomplished professional to the inspired novice, are then invited to take the stage.  Unrehearsed and straight from the heart, this is some real Blues guaranteed to fill the house week after week. $3 Cover  photos >>


Friday
Aug 20
9:30PM
Bernard Allison
website >>
$15
Bernard Allison is the guitar-playing, singing and songwriting son of the late, legendary blues guitarist Luther Allison. True to form for this chip off the old block, the young Allison injects every bit as much energy into his live shows as his late father did.
He joined the tourband of Luther Allison in 1989 after a furious collaboration of 'Father & Son' at the '89 Chicago Blues Festival. Bernard released his first solo album in 1990 and the title was program: 'The Next Generation'. He started touring with his own group all over Europe and released several albums, taking the tradition of blues he grew up with into the new century melting the influences into his own brand.
"It's just a big pleasure for me to continue my father's legacy, but you know I don't go out and try to be Luther Allison. I just go and do what I've learned from my Dad and the likes of Koko Taylor, Stevie Ray Vaughan or Albert King. So, I'm trying to keep the blues alive Bernard Allison style." ~ Bernard Allison


saturday
Aug 21
9:30PM
Delta Highway
website >>
$8
In a generation that has forgotten its musical roots, Delta Highway breathes youth and energy back into the blues. With strong guitar sounds reminiscent of Muddy Waters and R.L. Burnside, combined with a progressive harmonica sound, this Memphis band has developed a style that is all their own and sure to please new and veteran blues fans alike.


tuesday
Aug 24
9:00PM
Bob Pace Band
NO COVER - Smokin’ hot blues guitar and a killer rhythm section. Blues Revue Magazine's Chip Eagle says "Bob Pace is one of my favorite guitarists."


Wednesday
Aug 25
9:00PM
Matt Woods & the Thunderbolts
website >>
$3
Down-home, juke house blues... From the Delta to the Hills the Thunderbolts thumping rhythm and stomping slide workouts will remind you what real party music is meant to be. Guaranteed to make you shake your ass! LISTEN>>


Thursday
Aug 26
9:30PM
A Thursday night tradition since 1992! The host band warms up the crowd from 9:30 to 10:30. Musicians, ranging from the accomplished professional to the inspired novice, are then invited to take the stage.  Unrehearsed and straight from the heart, this is some real Blues guaranteed to fill the house week after week. $3 Cover  photos >>


Friday
Aug 27
9:30PM
Treble Clef Palette
website >>
$10
Treble Clef Palette is a funk/soul group based in St. Louis, MO. The core of the band consists of guitar, bass, keyboard, drums, trumpet and sax. Influences include Miles Davis, Soullive, Medeski Martin and Wood, Stevie Wonder, David Byrne, Fela Kuti, Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters, Col Bruce Hampton and ARU, Brand New Heavies and Tower of Power. Live TCP shows consist of originals and covers with a soul/funk foundation that relies heavily on musicianship and improvisation. With every performance, there are nuances unique to each piece giving the listener something new to come back to experience.


Saturday
Aug 28
9:30PM
Harper
website >>
$10
Bling Pig recording artist, Harper, brings
World Blues Fusion from Austrailia!
Part harmonica wizard part rhythmic explorer, Harper is a fiery artist who blurs the lines between rock, blues, soul and world music. Harper’s skill lies in the fact that he is able to tap into the kindred spirits running through his traditional and modern influences, borrowing from western and world music to develop a highly original take on the roots genre. He also takes the harmonica beyond its assigned place. Harper's innovative use of electronic enhancement and feedback breaks the traditional boundaries of the harmonica, giving his music distinctive harmonics and effects.
Multi-award-winning Harper tours the globe incessantly racking up an incredible 250 shows per year. His unique fusion of genres and thought provoking lyrics draw comparisons with early Bob Dylan and Neil Young. Many of Harper's songs have been featured on major film sound tracks & award winning Television series.


tuesday
Aug 31
9:00PM
Bob Pace Band
NO COVER - Smokin’ hot blues guitar and a killer rhythm section. Blues Revue Magazine's Chip Eagle says "Bob Pace is one of my favorite guitarists."


Friday
Sep 3
9:30PM
Deacon IV
Bella Soul
website >>
$6
From the fertile grounds of Des Moines, Iowa comes bella soul. This collective of amazing talent is turning heads with unforgettable performances. bella soul has created a "kaleidoscopic" approach of emotion and sound that fuses rock, funk and blues with jam, jazz, and gospel.



Saturday
Sep 4
9:30PM
The Grand Marquis
website >>
$10
The Grand Marquis are guardians of a musical portal, weaving catchy originals with classy covers. Music meteorologists, if you will, concocting their own brand of weathered styles. It's old-school jump blues, rockabilly and fiery jazz balled up into one big hit of red hot Rhythm 'n' Roll. Once injected, don't be alarmed; you might see through blurry eyes and nicotine haze the ghosts of America's musical past, conjuring delusions of 30s KC, 50s Memphis, Village hangouts, or the jazz jungle of Harlem. Yet these are merely roots from which their music grows; twisting and blending, melding until you catch a glimpse of things to come. Awaken from the intoxicating fog while their songs linger on your ear, echoing the chant of the Blue Devil, and you're sure of one thing: you gotta go back for more.


Wednesday
Sep 8
8:00PM
J.P.Soars
website >>
$10
2009 International Blues Challenge Winner!
Fiery guitarist J.P. Soars and his swinging band the Red Hots took first place in the 25th annual International Blues Challenge, held in Memphis in January 2009, beating out over 160 other contestants from around the world. Soars also individually won the event's Albert King Award, which established him as the best guitar player in the competition. They've recently released their own self-produced album, Back Of My Mind, which features plenty of Soars' incendiary fretwork on a mix of original tunes and inspired covers. Until they secure a label deal, J.P. Soars & the Red Hots remain the best unsigned band in the blues.
Soars is clearly a talented young bluesman with a feel for a variety of blues styles, and has put together an album that showcases many skills -- songwriting, arranging, guitar playing (he also won the Albert King Award for best guitarist, and that shows off nicely here).The CD is "Back of My Mind," and it's a fine showcase for Soars' multiple skills. "Call My Baby." It's original, but could just as easily have been written by Willie Dixon. I like this guy a lot. His vocals have a gritty feel, and both his covers and originals show a strong sense of where the blues have been, and maybe where they're going. As the Albert King Award indicates, he's a strong, tough guitar player with great chops. Give him a listen. I think you'll like what you hear. - By Jim White Pittsburg Gazzette
"The band had a long 90-minute set and it was obvious this guy (JP Soars) is a monster guitar and slide player. Usually when a great player does a long set like that it all starts to sound like the same licks about an hour in the set. Not with this guy. He spent many years touring the world with heavy metal guitars bands before he realized his love for the blues was pulling him toward a new kind of music career. He can play it all, rock, metal, jazz, swing and the blues. Catch this guy as soon as you can before he decides to venture off into another genre of music!" - Bob Keiser, Blues Blast Magazine


Friday
Sep 10
9:30PM
Ronnie Baker Brooks
website >>
$15
From Chicago - Ronnie Baker Brooks is the son of legendary bluesman Lonnie Brooks and is living proof that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. After establishing his reputation as a bluesman in Louisiana in the ‘50s, his father Lonnie embraced the sounds of rock & roll and can rightly be considered one of the first blues-rockers; Ronnie was absorbing this new hybrid literally from the cradle and joined his dad’s touring and recording band while still in his teens. Ronnie has gone on to establish himself as one of the most exciting and forward-thinking bluesmen of current generation, pleasing purists with his blues roots while bringing in younger listeners with his blistering guitar work and dynamic stage presence.
"A smokin' band that delivers a funky blues/rock hybrid with load of soul. Here is a new, exceptional blues star who is ready, willing and able to carry the torch into the next century." - Andy Grigg, Real Blues Magazine


Saturday
Sep 11
9:30PM
Lil Ed & the
Blues Imperials

website >>
$10
Alligator Recording Artist - “The music goes through me and it brings out the happiness in me,” says guitarist, vocalist, songwriter Lil’ Ed Williams. “Once I feel it, I’m gone – wild and crazy!” From smoking slide guitar runs to raw-boned Chicago shuffles to the deepest blues, the five-foot one-inch Lil’ Ed and his blistering, road-tested band, the Blues Imperials, get wild and crazy every time they hit the stage.
“Ed plays slide guitar like a back-alley shiv… high-decibal, gutbucket blues at its most brutally honest.” – Chicago Sun Times
“The meanest bottle neck boogie blues around. This rough-housin’ stage spitfire will ignite any crowd… Rollicking good fun and raw intensity.” – Austin Chronicle.


Wednesday
Sep 15
8:00PM
Nick Curran
website >>
$10
Nick Curran describes his music as a cocktail consisting of the sounds of no less than seventeen widely differing musicians blended together with a cup of broken glass. That only begins to characterize the wallop packed by the 98-proof elixir of this singer, songwriter and monster guitarist who effortlessly carries the past with him as he blazes across the musical landscape in perpetual forward motion... MORE on that here>>


Friday
Sep 17
9:30PM
Stacy Mitchart
website >>
$10
Stacy Mitchhart has built a worldwide fan base thanks to phenomenal live performances, national television exposure, radio airplay, loyal enthusiastic fans and aggressive marketing and merchandising campaigns. His masterful guitar work and strong vocals have been the driving forces behind his successful career. He has won numerous industry awards, released 9 CD's and 1 DVD/CD and 1 Documentary, and holds 13 major endorsements. Stacy Mitchhart actively tours the US and abroad.


Saturday
Sep 18
9:30PM
Shawn Pittman
website >>
$10
"Shawn plays with the energy of a rebel rock n' roller, and the depth and soulfulness of a seasoned bluesman.” -Blues Bytes
“ This guy makes heads turn, ears perk up and bodies move.” -Southwest Blues
“ Pittman commands his guitar to speak the string slingin' language of the Lone Star State.” -Art Tipaldi (Blue Revue)
“ Chops plus soul equals dynamite!” -Jazz Times
“ Watch out for this guy, he's no flash in the pan!” -Northeast Blues Society (BLUES Print)
“ Pittman takes no back seat to anyone on the road today.” -John Myers (Duluth News-Tribue)


Friday
Sep 24
9:30PM
Davina & the Vagabonds
website >>
$10
Sowers is a classically trained pianist, originally from Florida, who now calls Minnesota her home. With years of experience in piano performance, she can belt it out with the grit of Joplin or bring down the house with melodic phrasing that reminds one of Bonnie Raitt. Sowers says she grew up listening to jazz standards on her father’s old Victrola record player. “The rasp and the tonal quality put a twisted edge on those standards,” she says. She earned her music degree in music composition and has since shared the stage with Little Feat, Buddy Guy, Elvin Bishop, The Lamont Cranston Band, and The Blues Brothers, among others. Check out Davina's MySpace here>>
photo by Jeff Peabody


Saturday
Sep 25
9:30PM
Trampled Under Foot
website >>
$10
When was the last time you saw a three-piece family blues band with two left-handed guitarists? Let alone a blues band with two strong vocals both female and male?
Trampled Under Foot, winners of the 2008 International Blues Challenge, is like no other band you will ever see. Danielle is an amazing blues singer and an excellent bassist. Kris fires right in the pocket on the drums and sings as well. Nick is a strong singer and an accomplished guitarist, winning the 2008 Albert King Award from the IBC.
Trampled Under Foot has been playing music for most of their lives. The product of a musical household, their parents, Lisa Swedlund and the late Robert Schnebelen, were part of a highly noted blues band called "Little Eva & The Works", in Kansas City during the early 1990's. Originally from Kansas City, "TUF" has been touring the Mid-West and the East Coast for the last several years, playing such notable clubs as "The Stone Pony" in New Jersey; "The Bitter End" in New York; and "The Grape Street Pub" in Philadelphia, as well as many notable national blues summer concert events. Trampled Under Foot has been described as a "Rockin' Blues family, spreading their blues experience."


Sunday
Sep 26
7:00PM
W.C. Clark
website >>
$10
“If the blues is played right,” says Austin, Texas native W.C. Clark, “it makes your soul feel clean.” Indeed, master guitarist/vocalist Clark – known as “The Godfather of Austin Blues” – has been playing the blues right and cleansing souls from the east side of Austin to stages around the world for over 40 years. He's been mentoring countless young blues and soul players in the finer points of the music for almost as long. Blues stars from Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughan to Angela Strehli to Lou Ann Barton to Marcia Ball have all perfected their craft under Clark's tutelage. Clark's mix of modern Texas blues, searing guitar and heartfelt, Memphis-style soul vocals have made him a favorite of blues and R&B fans alike.
“Modern Texas blues at its best…impeccable, soothing soul and flashy, jumped-up roadhouse blues…heartfelt emotion and sweet as molasses soul delivery…as a vocalist, he's untouchable.” -Blues Revue
“W.C. Clark has it all…everything from good old rock 'n 'roll and gritty roadhouse R&B to strutting Memphis soul, second-line funk and contemporary blues.” - Living Blues


Wednesday
Sep 29
8:00PM
Tab Benoit
website >>
$15
With tone as thick as gumbo and licks as fiery as a tablespoon of cayenne pepper, singer/guitarist Tab Benoit may be the hottest thing to come out of Louisiana since Chef Paul Prudhomme...Influenced by Buddy Guy's intensity and Albert King's gutsy punch...Benoit's mellow Big Easy personality contradicts the tear-your-head-off intensity of his performance. - GUITAR PLAYER


Friday
Oct 1
9:30PM
The Bel Airs
website >>
$10
Living on the road and playing clubs from "Austin to Boston", the Bel Airs are carrying on the tradition of American Rhythm and Blues. Their signature "big guitar" sound and howling vocals over soulful rhythm playing make this trio a powerhouse.
Fronted by brothers Dick and Dave Pruitt on bass and electric guitars, with Michael Cherry on drums, the Bel Airs play a danceable mix with an authentic but eclectic bluesy-country-soul-and-rock-n-roll sound influenced by the likes of Wilson Picket, Slim Harpo, Howlin' Wolf and Johnny Cash. Performing together for more than 20 years, the Pruitt brothers' harmony vocal style sets them apart in the contemporary music scene--leading one reviewer to refer to them as the "Everly Brothers of Blues". David's "big guitar" and Dick's howling vocals over soulful, right-on rhythm playing make this trio a powerhouse.
"Rollicking party blues." Blues Revue


Sunday
Oct 3
7:00PM
Charlie Musselwhite
website >>
$15
Some musicians become blues players by choice, some are simply born into it. Harmonica master Charlie Musselwhite's life story reads like a classic blues legend, with roots in the blues heartland of Mississippi and Memphis followed by a migration to Chicago, the birthplace of modern electric blues. His recordings—two dozen solo albums for many labels spanning almost 40 years—have become classics, and his live shows continue to amaze fans around the world. Like the great bluesmen before him, Musselwhite has added his own signature to the music. Over the course of his career, he's introduced jazz stylings, Cuban rhythms and a contemporary world-view into his vision of the blues.
Musselwhite's lengthy resume—which, in addition to his solo projects includes guest tracks on recordings by Bonnie Raitt, the Blind Boys of Alabama, John Lee Hooker, Tom Waits and INXS; multiple Blues Music Awards ( W.C. Handy awards) and multiple Grammy nominations; and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Monterey Blues Festival—Charlie Musselwhite is firmly entrenched in musical history.
"A venerated blues harmonica elder at his creative peak…his approach is imaginative and stunning…utterly convincing." -Chicago Tribune
"With unabashed excellence, Charlie Musselwhite and his tight band set the standard for blues bands everywhere."  - Rolling Stone


Friday
Oct 8
9:30PM
Johnny Rawls
website>>
$10
Johnny describes his style as "between gospel, blues and good hard soul music" which sums things up nicely. There are elements of all these styles but he leans decidedly toward classic southern soul and he makes no bones about it. Johnny Rawls is a soul man. It was the legendary O.V. Wright, "the man with the tear in his voice", who influenced Rawls the most. Johnny was Wright's guitarist and bandleader from 1974 until his death "It was a great experience playing with him, I learned a lot. He was one of the greatest singers that has ever lived. He was a friend of mine. See, we was like brothers. I picked up a lot of soul influences from him."


Saturday
Oct 9
9:30PM
Chris Cain
website >>
$10
Chris Cain's jazz-tinged, blues-soaked guitar, and deep, warm vocals have the maturity and authenticity of bluesmen many years his senior. His expressive style is the result of a lifetime of study and the relentless pursuit of music mastery. His passion and intensity are a blend of his mother's Greek ancestry and his father's soulful black heritage.

Through his guitar mastery and remarkable creativity as a songwriter, Cain has carved a sound that's unmistakably his own. As San Jose Mercury News music critic John Orr writes, "Chris Cain, more than anyone else, anywhere, represents the future of the blues."


Friday
Oct 15
9:30PM
Corey Stevens
website >>
$10
Don't let the cowboy getup fool you. While Corey Stevens plays a style of blues that interjects a country flavor, he's a blues player first and foremost. Early on, Stevens was compared to Stevie Ray Vaughan for his Texas style fret work and rightfully so. He began his recording career as Corey Stevens and the Texas Flood which only added to the resemblance of Stevens to Stevie. However, despite the comparisons, Corey Stevens is blazing his own trail and his latest, Bring On The Blues, is a testament to this. - Tony Engelhart


Wednesday
Oct 20
8:00PM
Bruce Katz
website >>
$10
Bruce Katz, a 2008 Blues Music Award Nominee for Best Keyboardist, brings his fiery, passionate and very original take on American Blues, Roots and Soul music as part of his CD Release Tour for his new CD, Live! At the Firefly. Bruce is an acknowledged Hammond B-3 master and acclaimed pianist and brings his top flight band with him. Besides touring with his own band, Bruce actively tours with Gregg Allman & Friends and John Hammond. He has recorded over 60 CDs in his celebrated career. While his music draws from many flavors of American music, the Blues is always in the house.
"He can play jazz, blues, Bach, anything. Man, he’s a heavy!” ~Gregg Allman
“This man is as good as it gets. One of the greatest keyboard artists I’ve ever heard.” ~John Hammond
“...Katz cooks up a brilliant marriage of blues, jazz, gospel and soul.” ~Bill Milkowski, Jazz Times
“A fiery live set from a respected ‘player’s player’ and his very tight road band.” ~Bob Margolin

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