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October 23, 2008
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News, photos, reviews, live Blues links & MUCH MORE in this issue! - Scroll or Page Down!
Hey Blues Fans,
We made it to the Alamo in Springfield, Illinois for Blue Monday this week to hear Blues Blast Music Award nominees Too Slim and the Taildraggers. Tim "Too Slim" Langford and the boys put on a great show. It was our first chance to catch them live and it is easy to see why the Blues Blast Music Award nominators included their CD "The Fortune Teller" in the Best Contemporary Blues Recording category.
Tim wowed the full house crowd with his guitar and slide playing. We even saw two of the Blues Blast music reviewers there, James “Skyy Dobro” Walker and Ben Cox who both drove quite a ways to catch this show. If you ever get the chance to hear these guys, don't miss it! You won't be sorry.
Speaking of Too Slim and the Blues Blast Music Awards, don't miss Tim's BBMA show at Buddy Guy's Legends on November 2! It is going to be a great show with 12 or more of the best Blues performers on the planet. See the details below and get your tickets now.
Blues shows this weekend - If you are in the Illinois area, don't miss the The Deep Blue Innovators Blues Festival this Saturday October 25th in Monmouth, IL. The fest features Lurrie Bell, Matthew Skoller Band, Charlie Hayes and Michelle Malone. Blues Blast will be there so be sure to say hell if you make it.
Also, the River City Blues Society of Peoria, IL is holding their Fall Festival Fundraiser this Sunday at Good Fellas in Pekin, IL. This event is to raise funds for their Winter Blues Fest next February. The show features the Kilborn Alley Blues Band and Russell Miller and 6V6.
Great Hotel rates available for BBMA show in Chicago
We have even made it easy and affordable to attend the Blues Blast Music Awards by getting a great group rate at the Travelodge Hotel on Harrison Street a block away from Buddy Guy's. Rooms are available starting at just $125 a night for the weekend and are available for Friday October 31, Saturday November 1 and Sunday November 2nd. Some of our staff are planning to make a weekend of it and hit a couple other Chicago Blues clubs the night before the BBMA show. Why not join us? For tickets and complete hotel details CLICK HERE
Blues Reviews and MORE!
James Walker reviews a DVD from Pat Simille. Bob Kieser reviews the Saturday show at the 2008 Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival. Brian Holland reviews the new live CD from Albert Cummings. John McCormick reviews a CD by Travis “Moonchild” Haddix and Mike O'Cull reviews a CD by Cedric Burnside & Lightnin’ Malcolm. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!
Blues Blast Music Awards Tickets
Tickets for the 2008 Blues Blast Music Awards are on sale NOW!
Tickets are only $25. CLICK HERE to purchase.
The awards show is Sunday, November 2nd, 2008 at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago, IL.
It is going to be a GREAT event with confirmed appearances by Magic Slim & the Teardrops, Lurrie Bell, Nick Moss & Gerry Hundt, John Nemeth, The Kilborn Alley Blues Band, Dave Riley & Bob Corritore, Eden Brent, Sugar Ray Norcia, Teeny Tucker, Tim "Too Slim" Langford (from Too Slim and the Taildraggers), and Gina Sicilia.
There are just 400 tickets available for this great show. This event WILL likelty sell out so get yours NOW! CLICK HERE for Discount Hotel information
Visit the Blues Blast Music Awards Myspace page for more info at www.myspace.com/bluesblastmusicawards
The 25th International Blues Challenge
February 4-7, 2009 in Memphis, TN
Advance tickets, host hotel information, merchandise and preliminary event schedule are available at www.blues.org
Featured Blues Review (1 of 4)
Pat Smillie Band - Down By The River
12 songs; 45:20 minutes; Splendid
Styles: R&B, Soul, Blues, Roots Rock
Why would a competent artist do a cover song of another artist’s work? Check all that apply:
(A) Feels can do it better than the original or with a unique arrangement
As a huge Neil Young fan, I was surprised at Pat Smillie’s choice of “Down By The River” for the title track to his third album. To be honest, at first listen I thought recording it was pointless, because how could anyone ever top, or even equal, the 1969 original. However, subsequent listens convinced me there is something deeper here. Typical of the songs on the CD, Smillie’s intricate, full studio version with horns and background vocals is performed so passionately that it rekindled my own feelings for the song. Done correctly, music is about the song anyway, not the artist.
“Down by the River” is about what can be done sonically. The meaning of the lyrics always seemed vague to me, but two explanations for that: (1) It is Neil Young (2) Neil wrote the song sick in bed with a 103 degree fever.
“Over the years, I've heard maybe 5-6 cover versions of the song (including Roy Buchanan, Buddy Miles, and Michael McDonald), and I think ours is different from all of them. I thought we brought something a little different to it,” said Smillie in an interview spurred by my overwhelming curiosity after I had written the opening to this review. “I LOVE Neil Young, and we had been playing ‘Down by the River’ for about 2-3 years on our live gigs. I think the song is beautiful and haunting.”
The Pat Smillie Band version, said Pat, “had sort of developed into a showcase for our keyboard player, Alton Woodley. The version on the album (including the synth opening and solo) was recorded live in the first take. We overdubbed some backing vocals - the girls did a great job.”
“Initially, I was struck by how many people knew and loved that song -- all people (black or white, old and young) seemed to have a strong reaction to it. In August 2005, we opened for Robert Cray at the Park West club in Chicago, and we plopped that song in the middle of our set. The whole auditorium erupted in applause afterwards. So, I figured we'd try recording a version for the album. I just have always loved the song, and after seeing the way people reacted to our performance and Alton's keyboard solo, I figured we might as well include it on the CD,” he shared.
Not to be ignored, six of the twelve songs are strong Smillie (and cohorts) originals. Standouts include “Broke Down Chevy” and “Snaggle Tooth” reminiscent of Clapton’s “Tell the Truth.”
Other enjoyable covers include “Isn’t It a Pity” by George Harrison replete with Harrison’s unique guitar tones, Muddy Water’s “You Can’t Lose What You Ain’t Never Had,” and Chuck Berry’s “Back To Memphis.”
Born in Detroit MI on Valentines Day 1969, Pat’s musical memories stretch back to age five when he would listen to music in the car with his father. Later, after a decade immersed in the classic recordings of legendary Blues and R&B artists like Ray Charles, Howlin’ Wolf, Chuck Berry, Wilson Pickett, and Otis Redding, a young Pat Smillie found his own voice for singing. His vocals have a gruff edge sounding like a blend of Joe Cocker, Van Morrison, and Delbert McClinton.
In 1992, Smillie moved to Chicago where soon he was being invited on stage to sing in blues joints across the city. In May 2003, Pat celebrated the release of “Letter to Hampton” (FBM 1001). That album cracked Living Blues magazine’s TOP 25 album chart - garnishing airplay on blues radio programs across the United States.
For “Down By the River,” Pat Smillie teamed up again with co-producer, Bud Johnson (of Red Brick Recording) to record the first new studio recordings from the band in over three years. Special guest appearances include contributions from Corky Siegel, Alice Stuart, and Big James Montgomery and the Chicago Playboys Horns.
Pat Smillie, his large band, and his recordings are a welcome addition to the Chicago music scene. Give this CD a try, and see if you, like me, don’t dig out the Neil Young original for comparison.
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.
Long time readers already know about the great Blues music stream from WGLT in Normal. IL. GLT has THE BEST 24/7 commercial free Blue music stream on the planet! And you can listen to if for FREE on your computer anytime night or day from anywhere in the world. You can even download some of their Podcast Blues shows to your IPod or MP3 player and take it with you. If you haven't ever checked out this great music resource CLICK HERE and give it a listen. Just click on your music player format and check it out.
If you've heard them before then you know what we mean. It IS the best! WGLT has supported this Blues publication too. They are sponsors of the Blues Blast Music Awards this summer and provided you with a website where you went to listen to all the artists nominated before you voted.
WGLT is an public radio station and like most public radio stations they rely on donations for the majority of their funding since they are commercial free. As you know, the US economy is in the dumper and WGLT's fall fund drive is NOT going well at all! People are struggling and money is tight. Like the US economy, donations in the final days of their fund drive are WAY down.
There is a real possibility that they may have to cut some of their programs. Since the 24/7 Blues stream does not generate revenue for the station, it could be the first thing on the chopping block to be cut after the fund drive ends this Saturday afternoon.
Please don't let this happen! We ask you to help us KEEP THE BLUES ALIVE by donating to this fine station. Small donations are OK, lots of your $20 to $50 donations will help keep this great resource alive.
CLICK HERE to go to their secure website and donate NOW! THANK YOU for your help!
Live Blues Review
Saturday, October 11, 2008
By Bob Kieser To see ALL the pics of the Saturday performers CLICK HERE
Our second day at the Arkansas Blues and Heritage Fest (The Biscuit) continued with their great lineup of Blues artists. The day started at high noon on the main stage with a set by Shawn Kellerman. Shawn is one heck of a slide player. We are not the only one who thinks so either. Bobby Rush chose one other musician on his Blues Music Award winning album "Raw" and it was Shawn Kellerman playing dobro. So we say that makes Shawn a Blues Music Award winner too. After hearing him twice this festival season, we think it is likely he will win one on his own some day SOON!
Next we headed to the Acoustic stage to hear Davis Coen. We recently reviewed his new CD, Blues Lights For Yours And Mine and he played some cuts from it. (CLICK HERE to see review) It was cool to hear it live. You will hear more from this new Blues player SOON!
We headed the two blocks back down the main street of Helena toward the main stage for the next act and stopped to see a couple of the street buskers, one Lil Jimmy Reed and another named Butch Mud Bone.
We made it back to the main stage just as EB Davis began a great set. EB and Tina Davis are based in Europe so this was our first time hearing them live, Quite a show! (See their CD review HERE )
Back at the Acoustic stage we heard a few songs by Roger "Hurricane" Wilson before catching a quick lunch from one of the many food vendors that lined the main street. Some good Cajun gumbo hit the spot and we were ready for the electrifying guitar set by Eddie Turner on the main stage.
Following Eddie, we got our first chance to see harmonica virtuoso Rick Estrin and his new band The Nightcats. The new band is young and man are they hot! Rick delighted the crowd with his great playing and did a Sonny Boy tune playing the harp the way Sonny Boy did with it stuck in his mouth and using no hands. As you can imagine this went over BIG with the hometown Sonny Boy Blues Society crowd in Helena!
Back to the Acoustic satge we heard Ben Prestage. Ben is quite the solo act as we already knew. We have heard him in the finals of the solo/duo competition of the International Blues Challenge three times. Last year he took second place. He is definitely the real deal.
After Ben a duo called Satan and Adam were a no show and we never did find out exactly why. But we didn't care either as the stage crew of the Acoustic stage filled in and we got to hear our friend Gary "Alaska" Sloan blow some mean harp in their place! Go Gary!
Wow, the day was only half over and we anxiously headed back to the main stage to hear one of the best of the next generation of Blues singers, Janiva Magness. She had the crowd in the palm of her hand and it was easy to see why she is so popular. Janiva was followed by Anson Funderburgh & The Rockets. Anson has a guitar style all his own! Obviously very popular with the Helena crowd as this was his second year in a row at the Biscuit. We made it back to the packed Heritage stage to hear Blues legend Willie "Big Eyes" Smith. Can you tell from the photo were his nickname came from?
Followiing Willie's all star set with Bob Margolin and on guitar and Bob Stroeger on bass we stuck around for Bobby Rush "RAW". Not many Blues legends in their 70's who play with a great band like Bobby does, have the guts or inclination to do an acoustic set but Bobby had the crowd going with just him and Shawn Kellerman playing songs from their award winning "Raw" CD. (See CD review HERE)
Hubert Sumlin & Willie "Big Eyes" Smith Band were next up on the main stage. Hubert is a real Blues guitar legend and we were pleased to get to hear him once again before we headed back to the Heritage stage to hear the Juke Joint Duo with Cedric Burnside & Lightin Malcolm . These guys are rising stars in the Blues world with their Hill Country style. Drummer Cedric is the grandson of R.L. Burnside and his playing and singing hinted at that D.N.A connection. (See their new CD review below in this issue).
The final act scheduled on the Heritage stage was Mojo Buford & Don McMinn. Buford was a no show due to a schedule issue but Don did a fine job of filling in all by himself. We headed back to the main stage for the headliner show by Bobby Rush and his band. If you have never see Bobby and his booty girls, it is quite bawdy and entertaining as judged by the way the crowd swelled to the biggest we have seen at this fest for the last two years.
In conclusion lets just say you should strongly consider reserving the second full weekend in October to make this festival next year. The Biscuit is like no other!
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.
EG Kight It’s Hot In Here
Her first CD in four years from six time BMA award nominee and Koko Taylor songwriter.
It's Hot in Here," features her blazing guitar work and fiery, resonant voice. Patriot-News
EG Kight has hit a home-run with this excellent album. The Planet Weekly
Featured Blues Review (2 of 4)
Feel So Good – Albert Cummings Live
For those unacquainted with Albert Cummings, and that should be very few by now, he’s a performer from western Massachusetts with an interesting guitar and vocal style. Though he never strays too far from blues territory, his songs are often potent, very much in a rock ‘n’ roll vein, and sometimes with a raw country feel. He plays a Fender Strat, and it’s often with very fat tone, fatter than what most Strat players are accustomed to. He’s known for keeping the guitar volume down about halfway and tweaking the amp to a level that pushes it, and the outcome is a whopping fullness that’s thunderous, especially in the live setting. When not playing guitar and singing, Albert runs an award winning business building custom homes.
Recorded live in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, “Feel So Good” is Albert’s fifth release, his third for the Blind Pig label. His first live recording, it’s a fine display of the exhilaration that he and his band can summon. The music is diverse from start until finish, with a lot of kick-ass funk and rockin’ blues. The opening song, “Party Right Here”, originally from his 2006 album “Working Man”, is the ideal introduction to the show. It possesses everything Albert Cummings: an original composition of country flavored blues-rock, one that instantly gets the audience energized and ready to party. His rhythmic chops and searing lead solo is standout. The follower, “Why Me”, is more of the same, yet in more of a country blues flavor. “Sleep”, from his “True to Yourself” album, is next. The audience is able to mellow out a bit in this one, as its rhythmic appeal and tranquil flow make for tranquil listening. Next, a mixture of traditional electric blues and country rock come together in a medley of Muddy Waters’ “Hoochie Coochie Man” and Little Feat’s “Dixie Chicken”, pushing the stimulation factor right back up again.
“Barrelhouse Blues” is the quintessential Albert Cummings audience pleaser. His scorching guitar and potent vocal tenacity is prominent throughout this slow blues excursion. “Tell It Like It Is” brings out the dancing shoes and “Rock Me Baby” gets the funk out. Though Albert always walks a fine line between rock and blues, he demonstrates effortlessly that the blues makes everybody feel good in “Blues Makes Me Feel So Good”. Taking up the level as far as it can go to end the show, Albert and crew get totally rocked out in a cover of Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll”.
Though Albert Cummings’ brand of blues is generally anything but pure, especially in the live setting, you can expect to be mollified with electrifying blues-rock and barnstorming oomph. The blues is certainly present in the music, but his style is one that recognizes no boundaries. “Feel So Good” is a good example of the interesting aspects of the entire Albert Cummings’ musical approach. More than anything it demonstrates how much fun people have at his shows. He’s a performer who knows how to get a crowd wound up and energized for the duration.
“Feel So Good” was produced by Jim Gaines (Stevie Ray Vaughan, Lonnie Brooks, Santana, Buddy Guy, George Thorogood, Michael Burks, etc.)
Reviewed by Brian Holland
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.
Featured Blues Review (3 of 4)
Travis “Moonchild” Haddix - Daylight at Midnight
Some men are destined to wear a red tuxedo jacket with sequined lapels on an album cover. Travis “Moonchild” Haddix is one of them, and thank the stars for him. Daylight at Midnight shimmies and sways, and never strays very far from its roots. This is an electric blues album in the classic sense, and Haddix doesn’t simply go through the motions. “Moonchild” is a bluesman in the truest sense, and he’ll strut and swagger until he’s convinced you that that red tuxedo is his by divine right.
A brass section can make or break a blues recording. If hackneyed-sounding and out of place, horns can be the kiss of death. But if properly arranged and produced, a trumpet and a couple of saxophones can make a great song even better. Jeff Hager, Daylight’s horn arranger, does his duty to place Haddix’s album in the latter category. Even on tracks that miss their mark (like the weepy “Who Could I Be?”), the horn section keeps everything nice and listenable.
Haddix is no slouch, either. His guitar work is energetic, and his solos and fills all have an admirable conciseness to them. Matters are helped further by the fact that Haddix is a great songwriter. It’s a rare blues album that’ll actually impress with lyrics, but Haddix’s songs all have the air of accessibility to them, and are often downright clever, like the halfway penitent “Nine Behind.” His vocals are equally accessible, containing both a rough, unhewn quality, but also impeccable timing and a very good sense of dynamic shifts.
The best part of Daylight at Midnight is that it’s full of surprises, the first surprise being that Haddix isn’t a higher profile performer. A heavy majority of the ten tracks on Daylight are downright terrific, and all in different ways. Even if the previously mentioned “Who Could I Be?” drags things down momentarily, one still must give Haddix credit for trying something different. This is especially true when many of the album’s exceptional moments come from a little ingenuity, like the highlight track “What To Do.”
Like many blues recordings, Daylight at Midnight hints at the live power of a performer like Haddix. But unlike these recordings, Haddix’s Daylight doesn’t suffer as a result. Everything is so dynamically and evenly produced that even though the recording doesn’t have the fire of live performance underneath, you’ll swear that hearing the material live would simply be icing on an otherwise delicious cake. Eat up.
Reviewed by John McCormick
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.
"What Goes Around” – a new CD from Michael Osborn!
"Michael Osborn is one of the best blues guitarists around, he can really lay it down". - John Lee Hooker
"Michael Osborn is one of the authentic blues guitarists today. His style goes straight to the heart of the blues and he’ll steal your show if you don’t watch out!” – Robben Ford
CLICK HERE to purchase
Featured Blues Review (4 of 4)
Cedric Burnside & Lightnin’ Malcolm - 2 Man Wrecking Crew
Cedric Burnside is the grandson of Mississippi blues legend and patron saint R.L. Burnside and is just about as authentic as a man can be. His style is hill country blues, which is quite different from the more well-known Chicago, West Coast, and Texas blues genres and is more groove and vocal-based, eschewing the extensive soloing of those styles in favor of feel, vibe, and mojo.
Burnside is considered to be one of the best drummers working today and, along with his partner Lightnin’ Malcolm on guitar, proves just how much music can pour out of two men on their latest release 2 Man Wrecking Crew. They filter the blues through the same minimalist aesthetic that inspires rock duos like The White Stripes and The Black Keys and add in touch touches of soul, funk, and hip hop to arrive at a unique sound that is at once true to the primitive beauty of old-school blues and very much of the current moment.
As one would expect in a two-man band with no bass player, songs and grooves are the important thing here and Burnside has plenty of both to spare. From the opening cut, a tribute to his grandfather called, fittingly, “R.L. Burnside”, Cedric and Malcolm are hypnotic in the best possible way and pull their listeners deeper into their world with every song. One of their best is the sweet soul number “Stay Here In Your Arms”, but all the tunes presented here succeed and the album goes down well from beginning to end.
This is definitely one of the more unique blues efforts on the market today and one gets the sense while listening to it that maybe everything that can be done with this music has not been done yet and there are still some new things left to say.
Review by Mike O'Cull
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.
2008 Blues Blast Music Award Nominee
"Sean Costello Rising Star Award"
To read a review of this CD, CLICK HERE
CLICK HERE to Purchase this CD now!
Blues Society News
Please submit a maximum of 125 words in a Text or Word format ONLY. Press releases not formatted
River City Blues Society - Peoria, IL
The RCBS is proud to present the Kilborn Alley Blues Band with opening Act Russell Miller and 6V6 Sunday October 26th, 2008 from 6:00PM to 10:00PM at Goodfellas Pub & Pizza 1414 N 8th Street. Pekin, IL 61554 (309) 478-1090. Admission is just $5.
This show is a fall fundraiser for the 2009 Winter Blues Festival. RCBS is also holding a membership meeting the same night starting at 5:00PM. Anyone who shows up to the membership meeting at 4:30PM will get into the Kilborn show for FREE. For more information check out www.rivercityblues.com or call 309 267-4425.
Mississippi Valley Blues Society - Davenport, IA
Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater will play a fundraiser for the Mississippi Valley Blues Society on Friday, Nov. 7, at the Redstone Room in Davenport. The night will also include a silent auction of blues memorabilia including framed photos. Doors open at 6 p.m., with Ellis Kell and “Detroit” Larry Davison playing from 6:30-7:30. The first of Eddy Clearwater’s two sets begins at 8:00 p.m. Admission is $20.00, which includes hor d’oevres as long as they last. For Info contact Bob Covemaker 309-373-1181 or Karen McFarland 563-508-6596
Chicago Blues & Bluegrass Festival - Chicago, IL
The Chicago Vlues & Bluegrass Festival on November 22nd, 2008 is a one-day festival hosted by the Congress Theatre. It features 12 hours, 16 bands, for only $31 to help eradicate congenital heart defects in children. A portion of the event’s proceeds will contribute to the research efforts of the Chicago-based Saving Tiny Hearts Foundation. The lineup includes: Lil Ed & the Blues Imperials, David Grisman, The Avett Brothers and many more. Check out www.cbgbfesival.com for more info.
Illinois Central Blues Club - Springfield, IL
The Illinois Central Blues Club Solo/Duo Challenge will be held at The Alamo on Saturday, October 25, 2008, from 6pm - 10pm.
Blue Mondays- Held at the Alamo 115 N 5th St, Springfield, IL (217) 523-1455 every Monday 8:30pm $2 cover - Oct 27- Gina Sicilia with David Gross, November 3 - Frank Herrin and Blues Power, November 10 - Delta Highway, November 17 - Chris Bell and 100% Blues Power, November 24 - Russell Miller and 6V6, December 1 - Nick Moss and the Fliptops, December 8 - The Workers (Watermelon Slim's Band) with special Guest Bill Lupkin, December 15 - Studebaker John, December 22 - Scottie Miller and the Uptake Inhibitors, December 29 - Sally Weisenburg and the Famous Sidemen
2008 Blues Blast Music Award Nominee for
"Best Contemporary Blues Recording"
CLICK HERE to Vote for Us NOW
To purchase this CD now CLICK HERE
The BEST Way To Promote YOUR Next Blues Project!
BANDS, BARS, AND LABELS: Is your promo material getting you the gigs and business you desire? If not, call music journalist and copy writer Mike O'Cull for all your promotional needs. Mike is a veteran music journalist and musician and writes for the Illinois Entertainer, IllinoisBlues.com, and www.Chicagomusicguide.com and can deliver the highest quality promotional writing around quickly and at a reasonable price.
Mike's specialties include bios, press releases, liner notes, and web content. Full press kit design, including graphics, is also available. Clients include The Joe Moss Band, Carl Davis, TruSoul Entertainment, B.A. S. Entertainment, and many others. Samples available on request. Email firstname.lastname@example.org , call Mike O'Cull Music at 847-608-0357, or visit us online at www.myspace.com/mikeocullmusic for more information.
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