Hey Blues Fans,
The summer Blues Fest season is in FULL swing and so far it has been a GREAT year. This weekend there are more great Blues events including a "Blues Picnic" put on by the Madison Blues Society in Madison, WI and the T-Bone Walker Blues Festival held in T-Bone's home town of Linden, TX (See complete details of these events below)
Come Hell or High Water!
Because of the flooding in Iowa, we have been getting questions from Blues fans about the Mississippi Valley Blues Fest at LeClaire Park in Davenport, Iowa. The Mississippi Valley Blues Society has asked us to assure you that YES, YES, YES, there WILL BE a festival this year! They are not certain if LeClaire Park is going to be dried out in time (Yes it DID flood!) but contingency plans are proceeding and an alternate location is being planned if the park is not ready. We will have more information for you in next weeks Blues Blast.
One thing is for sure, THEY NEED YOUR SUPPORT! So does the State of Iowa! So PLEASE come to this great festival and enjoy all 28 of the great bands they have lined up for the Fourth of July weekend. (See complete details of their lineup below)
Reviews This Week
Speaking of Blues Fests, the Blues Blast staff has been running around the last couple weeks covering some great ones for you. We start our complete coverage of the 25th Annual Chicago Blues Fest in this issue including the first 2 days of this great 4 day event. We have pictures and more including some shots from the Blues Heaven Foundations after fest party held at Chicago's historic Chess Records Studios.
Also in this issue James and Susan Walker send in a review and pictures of the Blues On The Fox Blues Festival in Aurora, IL and Ben Cox sends us a review and pictures of the WGLT Summer Concert in Bloomington, IL. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN
Live Blues Review (1 0f 3) SCROLL down For More
Part 1- 25th Chicago Blues Festival - Chicago, IL June 5th & 6th, 2008
The City of Chicago has a long history of the Blues and so it is no surprise that for the 25th year celebration of this great event they really out did themselves.
The music kicked off with Blues guitarist Louisiana Red and quickly spread to six stages for a Thursday afternoon performances by some of the biggest Blues legends including David "Honey Boy" Edwards, Pinetop Perkins, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith and Bob Margolin before moving to the seventh (main) stage and culminating with a great set by Johnny Winter and James Cotton.
In between we were treated to Fernando Jones Columbia College Blues Ensemble, Billy Branch, Johnny Yard Dog Jones, Inetta Visor, Little Willie Littlefield, Patricia Scott, Big Ray and Chicago’s Most Wanted, Sharon Lewis and Texas Fire , Jimmy Burns, Carl Weathersby, John Primer, L.C. Ulmer, Big Time Sarah, Duke Robillard and much MORE! Wow and that was just day one of the largest FREE Blues festival in the world!
Our staff worked hard to cover every act on Thursday and their efforts will be included in a photo archive along with next weeks day three and four review of the fest.
After a great day covering the fest we headed to even more fun at the Heaven Foundation's after fest party at Chess Records Studios. Willie Dixon's widow, Marie Dixon has restored the building where Willie created some of the best Blues music ever recorded.
It was a big party in the recording studios that featured Chicago's Nellie "Tiger" Travis followed by Cash McCall's band featuring Alex Dixon on guitar (Willie's grandson) and Lurrie Bell's son, Steve Bell on harmonica. It capped off a long day and we wandered back to our hotel room dreaming of day two!
With blisters on our feet and far too little sleep we headed to Grant Park for another Blues filled day starting off with Keith Frank and the Soileau Zydeco Band. (Who wants to sleep when there is Blues history happening anyway?)
The second day of the fest brought more great Blues including Jo Jo Murray, Joy Hills, Peaches and the Groove Shakers, Les Getrex, Omar Shariff and Bryan Lee & the Blues Power Band.
Plus we got to see Joe B Band, Larry Taylor’s West Side Blues & Soul Band, Afrissisppi, Harmonica Hinds, Jimmy Johnson and a power set by the Queen of the Blues herself, Koko Taylor and Her Blues Machine.
In between we got to see Ruby Andrews, Cicero Blake, Willie Henderson and a supercharged Sugar Pie DeSanto.
Plus did we forget to mention performances by Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater’s West Side Strut , Lonnie Brooks, Jimmy Johnson, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Otis Clay and Billy Branch ?
WOW! What more can a Blues fan even dream of? Actually....... MUCH More!
Be sure to check out next weeks second installment of this history making 25th Chicago Blues Fest coverage.
Plus we will tell you all the details of the fun we had on Big City Rhythm & Blues Magazine's Chicago Pub Crawl! We were on the bus with Koko Taylor herself partying in the Chicago Blues clubs till 3:00am! Stay Tuned!
Riot and his Rhythm Devils
Latest CD Tough Times is available now!
Get ready for THE ORIGINAL DEVIL'S MUSIC!
To Purchase this CD CLICK HERE
A Bolt From The Blue
"A wealth of vocal & guitar melodies, performed by front woman Laura "Torch" England and guitarist Kenny Cobb." - Blues Blast Magazine
To Purchase this CD CLICK HERE
To read the Blues Blast CD review CLICK HERE
Live Blues Review (2 0f 3) SCROLL down For More
Blues On The Fox Blues Festival - Aurora, IL - June 13 & 14, 2008
Blues on the Fox has grown to become THE Chicago suburbs’ most popular, FREE, blues festival. The festival has become famous for presenting 6 or 7 top name entertainers in an 11 hour period spread over two days. The event is organized by the Mayor's Office of Special Events along with a committee of volunteers. It was started in 1997 by the Fox Valley Blues Society headed by Mark and Dede Baum. It celebrates the historic RCA/Bluebird recordings made by artists like the late Yank Rachell and John Lee (Sonny Boy I) Williamson in 1937 and 1938 in the Sky Club at Aurora's skyscraping Leland Hotel.
Kenny Wayne Shepherd brought his brand of guitar hero Blues-Rock to the stage at 8:42 PM Saturday night. Scheduled to stop at 10:00 PM, the final encore notes of “Voodoo Chile” were not ripped out of his guitar’s neck until 10:54 – some two hours and twelve killer minutes later. Along the way we heard drummer Chris Layton of Double Trouble fame, and we witnessed KWS’s sonic assault played through two Fender amps wired together in stereo. There were actually six identical looking Fender amplifiers on stage, side by side. Was KWS playing through all six? No, the others were for “10 Days Out CD/DVD” guests Willie “Big Eyes” Smith’s harmonica, Hubert Sumlin’s guitar, lead vocalist Noah Hunt’s guitar (only when he wasn’t) singing, and surprise guest Buddy Flett’s guitar.
Kenny welcomed everyone to the first night of his summer tour and thanked us for attending. “Someone told me this is the most people they have ever had here. ‘They all came to see you, Kenny,’ they told me. I told them, ‘No, I came to see them.’” He sure had the crowd singing along on “Blue on Black” from his first CD.
The artist that was most impressive to me was 62 year old Bettye LaVette. I had not previously seen her perform and was thrilled with her old-school approach to truly entertaining an audience by putting her face, her style, and her whole body and soul into the show. Appearing in the 5:30 PM, perfect-weather-Saturday-afternoon slot, LaVette followed the deepest blues set of the fest from solo artist Corey Harris.
LaVette talked about 2007 and 2008 being the best years of her 47 year career, especially with winning a Blues Music Award (Contemporary Blues Female Artist) and receiving a Grammy nomination. “I been like this too long to change, y’all!” she sang. Her best line: “Just because I haven’t had what I want doesn’t mean I don’t know what I like!” LaVette sang sassily with confidence and danced some high steps across the stage during the first song’s guitar solo, later doing some delightful robot-dance moves. Many fans later agreed: that was the most entertaining set we had seen in a long time!
Friday night, Chicago’s Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater took the stage in full headdress for the first number before laying down the best Chicago Blues of the weekend. Closer Elvin Bishop just can not be beat for good natured fun, guitar playing, and down home songs like “Party ‘Til The Cows Come Home” and “Fishin.’” Friday night’s great weather was interrupted by a surprise eight minute rain, not unusual for the Midwest. It was no problem for the many veteran festival-ers ready with ponchos or folding umbrellas.
Saturday kicked off with the Hix Brothers Music store Junior All Stars. Talk about keeping the blues alive, these kids – all under 16 – have been trained up right, such as in playing a lap steel guitar and snappily picking and fretting Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Rude Mood.” Huge kudos to all involved with their tutoring.
Prior to Kenny Wayne Shepherd, long tall Marcia Ball was introduced to the stage by Bruce Iglauer, president and founder of her label, Alligator Records. From her new CD, she performed “Watermelon Man” and the title track, “Peace, Love, and BBQ.” Wearing a peace sign pendant, Marcia was seated at the keyboards with her trade mark bouncing crossed legs. It didn’t take long for her to pound out a two fisted boogie ruckus on piano.
Following Marcia Ball, stage announcer and marketing director Dave Glynn brought Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner to the microphone. The mayor called Aurora he greatest “blues city,” said, “Let’s Party!” He also announced there will be another Blues on the Fox next year. Plan for June 12 and 13, 2009.
Reviewer James “Skyy Dobro” Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ and Blues Blast contributor. His weekly radio show “Friends of the Blues” can be heard each Thursday from 4:30 – 6:00pm on WKCC 91.1 FM in Kankakee, IL
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.
Click image above to visit our website for tickets and more info!
Born In Arkansas
CLICK HERE to Purchase this CD
Live Blues Review (3 0f 3) SCROLL UP For More
WGLT Summer Concert June 14, 2008 Bloomington, IL
Local NPR-affiliate WGLT has successfully pulled off their Summer Concert show for the past eight years, bringing blues, news, and all that jazz as the catchphrase of the station goes. WGLT picked a beautiful Father’s Day weekend to host their concert this year with wonderful weather on the historic Main Street in downtown Bloomington, Illinois.
The day got kicked off at 4:30 in the afternoon with two local talents; the 30+ year veteran Bill Porter with young guitar sensation Matthew Curry steam rolling through a set of familiar classic blues and blues rock classics. Adding punch to such blues pillars as “Crossroads” and “One Way Out,” the two local guitarists battled back and forth, exchanging solo after solo with young Matt even taken a page out of the Buddy Guy performance book and playing behind his head. Bringing cheers and whoops from the crowd, young Matthew Curry has a bright future ahead as he continues to turn heads and wow crowds with the mastery of his instrument. To top it all off, local harpsmith Steve the Harp joined in on two songs to bring more chairs to the front of the stage.
I wasn’t sure about the next act the Belleville Outfit because I had never heard of them. All I knew before their show started was that they were from Austin and from what one crowd member said, “They aren’t really blues if that’s what you’re looking for.” When the first howls of lone female member Phoebe Hunt’s violin cut in on a Bob Wills-style Texas Swing, my reservations grew even more. However, as the song continued on and the piano and guitar began to blend into the mix, my reservations turned to smiles. Blending Texas swing, gypsy jazz, classic country & western, blues, and big band; the enthusiastic crowd opened up and the swing of the Belleville Outfit began to hypnotize. Sounding like a mixture of Wynonie Harris and Lyle Lovett, the group flattened the crowd were the complex blend of Americana that was pleasing to dance to. You couldn’t help but feel the swing and the energy that this young and upcoming group was giving off. With smiles at every turn and the strong grounding in their individual instruments, the six-piece group kept the blues crowd and the general music fan around and dancing. Ending on a soulful vocal by the aforementioned Hunt and the swinging Louis Prima’s “Oh Babe” led by guitarist & vocalist Rob Teter brought the crowd to a frenzy for an encore.
Then, Smokin’ Joe Kubek and Bnois King stormed the stage and cut the night air in two with the frenetic technical mastery and soulful vocals they bring to the table. Blasting through Texas shuffles and roadhouse blues rock; their show would be one of the more memorable ones over the past eight years. Main and Jefferson Streets were littered full of dancing fools and new blues fans rollicking to the infectious beat of the “Blood Brothers.” King’s more soul-blues reserve complimented the technicality of Kubek’s playing as always. Though I’m not a fan of their sound, it is understandable now after a live setting why folks get infected with Kubek & King’s sound.
With three extraordinary acts to hit folks’ ears this weekend, WGLT has hit another successful concert year raising awareness for American roots music and giving everyone an enjoyable live music experience for free!
Review and photos by Ben Cox
The Code Blue Band
Tight at Midnight
Intensely energetic R&B, funk, and rockin' Blues
CLICK HERE to buy the CD
Nora Jean Bruso, Big George Brock, Johnny Rawls, Lonnie Shields, Clarence Spady, Bobby Kyle, Colin John & Michael Hill, Kelly Richey Sarah Ayers Band, Donovan Roberts, Mickey Jr. Acoustic Blues Revue Mark Armstrong, Bret Alexander
Blues Society News
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The West Virginia Blues Society - Charleston, WV
The West Virginia Blues Society presents the Charlie West Blues Fest, June 28, 2008 at Coonskin Park, Charleston, WV. $12 Advance/$15 gate. The LINEUP includes Blues Crossing, Chad Freeman & Blue Revolution, Biscuit Rollers, The Carpenter Ants, Jill West & Blues Attack, Izzy & Chris, Patrick Sweany Band and Johnnie Rawls Blues Review. For more information please visit www.wvbluessociety.org
Madison Blues Society - Madison WI
Madison Blues Society’s 6th Annual Blues Picnic is Saturday, June 21, 2008 from Noon to 9:30 PM at Warner Park in Madison, WI. Fantastic line-up of local and regional blues bands including Shari Davis & the Hootchy-Kootchy Band, Joe Nosek's Blues Kids, Cash Box Kings, Danny Miller Band, Mud Angels, Paul Filipowicz and Otis & the Alligators. The show is FREE and open to the public.
Illinois Central Blues Club Springfield, IL - Blue Mondays
Friday, July 25, 2008
Saturday, July 26, 2007
Festival Website www.prairiedogblues.com
The only Blues festival held on an island in the middle of the Mississippi River!
Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin on St. Feriole Island
July 25 - 27, 2008
Big Boulder Ski Area
Lake Harmony, PA
Root Doctor, Teeny Tucker, Lil' Dave Thompson, Joey Gilmore, The Kinsey Report, Sharrie Williams, Michael Burks, Nappy Brown, Kenny Neal, Sugar Pie DeSanto, Jimmy McCracklin, Michael Roach, Johnny Mars, Byther Smith, The Holmes Brothers, Lurrie Bell, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Bobby Rush, Eric Bibb, Geno Delafose
Festival Website Click Here
Chicago Blues Update
Live Blues reviews by Chicago Blues editor Lordy
Blues Beat: Chicago (Photos by August Lord)
Lordy will return next week with another Chicago Blues update
To see a Chicago Area list of upcoming events CLICK HERE
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