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December 24, 2008
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News, photos, reviews, live Blues links & MUCH MORE in this issue! Scroll or Page Down!
Merry Christmas From Blues Blast Magazine!
This event is one of those events that once you go, you will be hooked. We first went to the 20th Blues Challenge in 2004. We got to see Zac Harmon from the Southern California Blues Society in Los Angeles take top honors. Coming in second was the Reverend Slick Ballinger from Mississippi and third place went to The Matthew Stubbs Band from Boston. Six years later, we haven't missed one since!
In 2004 there were 28 solo/duet acts and 66 bands entered in the competition. This year there are 99 bands and 61 solo duo acts, hailing from 36 states and 9 countries, including Australia, Canada, Croatia, France, Israel, Italy, Norway, Poland and the United States. And this year the Blues Foundation has added the Smokin' Bluz Youth Showcase that features 23 acts with members under the age of 21. It is the largest gathering of Blues performers on the planet, having nearly doubled in size since 2004. To see the complete list of participants CLICK HERE. The event is coming up fast so CLICK HERE to get more info, tickets and hotel reservations NOW!
Thinking of going? Be sure to check out our feature article on the International Blues Challenge "How Good Are The Acts in the International Blues Challenge?" below in this issue. SCROLL DOWN! It includes some amazing videos of past contestants and winners.
Illinois Blues artist passes
We are sad to report Blues singer Bobbye King, known to some as the queen of the Peoria blues scene, died Saturday December 6th of natural causes after being rushed to a Peoria hospital with breathing difficulties. She was 54.
Although not well known on the national scene, Bobbye King and Ladies Choice Band entertained from Canada to Louisiana. King began singing as a toddler and opened for everyone from Koko Taylor to Lonnie Brooks. She headlined many Midwest festivals including the Luther Allison Memorial Blues Fest and the Illinois Blues Festival.
Peoria Blues guitarist Dave Chastain said King's death is a major loss for the Central Illinois blues scene. He first met King in the late 1980s and was struck by her talent."We became very good friends; I enjoyed her shows," Chastain said.
"She poked fun at herself, and she had a way with connecting with the crowd - humor along with great music. She was a great singer, had great stage presence, everything. Everybody loved Bobbye." (Parts quoted from the Peoria Journal Star)
Free Christmas Blues Single download links error
Last week we told you of the free Christmas single from California Blues artist Monica Dupont. Unfortunately our links were not correct (Don't copy links from MySpace THEY WONT WORK!!) Below are the corrected links. We apologize for the error.
High-resolution 256kbps Mp3 file suitable for broadcast of "Peace In the World" is available for download at: https://www.yousendit.com/download/TTZuaUNOQ1J6NE9Ga1E9PQ You can also listen to the song at: http://www.ModernBluesRecords.com
Blues Reviews and MORE!
Blues Review this week - James Walker reviews a new CD from Gary Moore that was just nominated for the Best Blues Rock album in the Blues Music Awards. Bob Kieser tells us how good the Blues acts at the International Blues Challenge are. Ben Cox sends us part two of a feature article on the Recording Academy and the Grammy Awards. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!
Featured Blues Review
Gary Moore - Bad For You Baby
11 songs; 55:33; Suggested
Style: Rock Blues
Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to qualify that which can not be qualified, to quantify the unquantifiable, and to logically explain emotion. Now, that is Mission Impossible! But, that is often the job of a record reviewer. These thoughts crossed my mind as I was trying to decide how to explain why I have always liked Gary Moore’s Rock Blues music.
First, I should mention that “Bad For You Baby” is one of the six nominees for a Blues Music Award in the new category for 2008, “Rock Blues Album of the Year.” So, according to purists, the CD shouldn’t be liked at all since it is “Rock.” For the most part, Moore plays Rock Blues without the insipid string shredding that turns off so many blues fans.
I must confess that my enjoyment of the album rests on emotion; there is little logic involved. Simple explanation: Gary Moore is the best of the best when it comes to playing slow blues. His blues-natural-vocals plus guitar string bending, note stretching sustain, and creative phrasing have been consistently great over his recorded career. Proof here is found in three particular numbers, Al Kooper’s “I Love You More Than You will Ever Know” and Moore originals “Did You Ever Feel Lonely” and the nine-minute-plus album closer “Trouble Ain’t Far Behind.” Moore’s solo in “Trouble...” doesn’t just visit the stratosphere, he stays there for five full minutes. Who knew there were so many different high, sweet treble notes at the zenith of the scale?
When it comes to an up tempo number, who could ever beat Johnny Winter’s slide guitar masterpiece recording of J.B. Lenoir’s “Mojo Boogie?” Well, Moore gives it an admirable stab and comes close to Winter’s version. The energy is there, the vocals solid, and the slide guitar marvelous.
Kicking off with the title track, Moore launches into the CD with ferocious energy. Sam Kelly drums, Vic Martin adds keyboards, and Pete Rees is the bassist. The song ends with ten seconds of sonic feedback and overload that, sadly, might end the listening session for marginal fans.
The second number, “Down The Line,” is played at breakneck speed with plenty of fretboard fireworks, and the guitar solo is wonderful with deft finger picking, not power chord strumming.
Just skip the third number, “Umbrella Man;” it is a plodding cut with a shredded solo lacking originality.
Cut four, “Holding On,” gives us a nice taste of Moore’s soulful side, especially on vocals.
Track five is an up tempo shuffle that really burns. Muddy Waters’ “Walkin’ Thru The Park” is where this CD begins to truly separate itself from the mundane pack to earn its BMA nomination. Track five’s pace is also the perfect set up for the afore-mentioned slow blues number penned by Kooper. Moore later covers in great style one more Muddy number, “Someday Baby.”
Otis Taylor and daughter Cassie guest respectively on banjo and vocals on “Preacher Man Blues” in which Moore shares more of his considerable harmonica skills.
With at least 33 albums to his credit, Gary Moore is acknowledged as one of the finest musicians that the British Isles has ever produced. Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on April 4th 1952, he was turned on to rock and roll first through hearing Elvis Presley, and then via The Beatles. Seeing the likes of Jimi Hendrix and John Mayall's Bluesbreakers in his hometown opened up to him the rich world of The Blues. Soon thereafter, he was hailed as a teen musical prodigy beginning an amazing music career that dates back to the 1960s.
If you are a fan of Rock Blues, then you’ll love this CD. If you, like me, have Rock and Roll roots, then I think you will dig it, too. Marginal fans willing to experiment should just start with track five, and there they’ll find the gold nuggets that garnered the BMA nomination.
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.
Featured Blues Event Review
Thinking about going to the 25th International Blues Challenge but wondering how good these "undiscovered" Blues acts are? Don't worry there is PLENTY of talent at the IBC. Read on to hear about some of the acts I have had the pleasure of seeing at this great event and click the video links to hear samples of how good the competition is.
In 2006 I heard solo duet winner, Eden Brent in the finals. I had never heard of her before. Her electric piano malfunctioned early into her first song. Without missing a beat, she jumped to an old acoustic piano at the side of the stage turning a sound mishap into a winning performance. Her tour de force had the crowd on their feet cheering at the end of her performance! And a star was born! To see a you tube video of Eden Brent CLICK HERE
Eden went on to play Blues fests all over the world and she is a frequent favorite on the Legendary Blues Cruise. This year Eden is nominated for 4 Blues Music Awards, Acoustic Album of the Year, Acoustic Artist of the Year, Best New Artist Debut and the Pinetop Perkins Piano Player award. Talk about a meteoric rise! This is the story of many of the finalists from this great event.
Will You See The Future of the Blues at this Competition?
The International Blues Challenge is known as a great place to see young upcoming artists. I saw the Reverend Slick Ballinger take second place in 2004. He also won the Albert King award for the best guitar player in the competition that year all at the tender age of 19. To see a short video clip of Slick playing with Blind Mississippi Morris and Junior Kimbrough. CLICK HERE
In 2006 I saw a duet called The Blues Boys from Illinois which included Andy Duncanson (guitar) and Joe Asselin (harmonica) from the Kilborn Alley Blues Band. They performed selections from the bands upcoming new CD while competing in the solo duet category. They did not make it to the finals that year but in 2007 their new CD, "Put It In The Alley" was released on Blue Bella Records. It was nominated for a Blues Music Award for Best New Artist Debut. In 2008 their second CD, "Tear Chicago Down" was nominated for Best Contemporary Blues CD and the band was also nominated for a Blues Blast Music Award for Best Contemporary Blues Band. Soon Kilborn Alley Blues Band was playing festivals all over To See a video of this great young band CLICK HERE.
In 2007 I watched a VERY young trio, the Homemade Jamz' Blues Band from Tupelo, Mississippi, amaze the crowd. These three siblings were Ryan Perry,14 (guitar and vocals) Kyle Perry,12 (bass & vocals) Taya Perry,8 (drums). They took second place in the band finals. Little Taya was amazing, she was so tiny I was not sure how she was able to reach the Bass drum pedal but she kicked butt and held her own against other drummers in the finals five or six times her age! In fact the bands ages all added up were less than most any of the other competitors in the finals.
The Homemade Jamz' Blues Band has since been featured on NPR's All Things Considered and CBS This Morning and are now regulars on the Blues festival circuit. Their skills are not just amazing because of their age, they are just plain AMAZING period! Their first CD, "Pay Me No Mind" is nominated for a Blues Music Award for Best New Artist Debut. To see a video of this great band CLICK HERE.
Last year in the 2008 IBC finals I got another glimpse of the future of the Blues when a band from Kansas City called Trampled Under Foot won the band division.
The band was again three siblings, Nick Schnebelen (guitar & vocals) Kris Schnebelen (drums) and Danielle Schnebelen (bass & vocals). Nick also took top honors by winning the Albert King award as Best Guitarist in the 2008 International Blues Challenge.
Trampled Under Foot now tours all over the US hitting festivals from coast to coast and around the world. To see a video of this great band, CLICK HERE
How good are the acts in the IBC? Consider this, most of them got to the semi-finals in Memphis by winning a regional or local Blues challenge put on by their local Blues society. In some cases, like the Iowa Blues challenge winner, they have already won two rounds, their local one and a state competition put on by all the Iowa Blues societies. So you already have the cream of the crop competing in the semi-finals on Thursday and Friday in Memphis to make the finals on Saturday.
A few years ago, the Blues Foundation removed requirements that all competitors must not have been on a nationally released recording in the last ten years. Now the only restriction is that competitors can not have been nominated for a Blues Music Award. Now many Blues acts that have been professional players and have released many recordings nationally or otherwise are eager to compete in the IBC. Last year we saw Lil' Ray Neal Band whose Louisiana Blues lineage includes the likes of big brother Kenny Neal make it to the finals. Although Ray has a ton of experience playing in major Blues festivals, he placed third! We're talking some serious competition in the International Blues Challenge!
Bottom line, GO! I promise you won't be disappointed! Mark your calendars for February 5th - 7th, 2008 and get yourself to Memphis. CLICK HERE for complete info!
Reviewed by Bob Kieser. To see Bob's photos of the 2008 International Blues Challenge CLICK HERE
Saturday, January 17th, 2009
Visit 9 of Chicago’s famous Blues clubs featuring 12 live blues bands!
For more Info CLICK HERE
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Blues Music Reviewers wanted - Southwest and Texas areas
Blues Blast Magazine is looking for reviewers to review new Blues CD's and live music shows. If you have a background and experience with Blues music and like to write we can provide new CD's and press passes for events for you to review. Photography experience helpful for show reviews. Must be willing to write a minimum of one review every other week. Reviewer keeps the CD's for writing the review. If interested please send a sample of your writing and a short bio of your Blues background to firstname.lastname@example.org
The River City Blues Society presents
Wednesday Blues featuring
January 7, 2009 - 7:00pm
The Dragons Dome
To see Map- CLICK HERE
Admission $3 or free with new Society membership
Blues Society News
Please submit a maximum of 175 or words or less in a Text or Word format ONLY.
The Blues, Jazz & Folk Music Society - Marietta, Ohio
The Blues, Jazz & Folk Music Society of Marietta, Ohio announce their 17th annual River City Ohio Blues Competition for sponsorship to the International Blues Challenge ( IBC) in 2010. January 9, 2009 is the deadline for participants to register. The competition is to be held February 20 & 21, 2009, at Hotel Lafayette, 101 Front Street, Marietta OH. The first place winner of The River City Ohio Blues Competition will receive $1000 dollars in cash, second place winner will receive $200 in cash and the third place winner will receive $100 in cash.
River City Blues Society- Peoria, IL
The River City Blues Society's Wednesday Blues Series in Central, Illinois are early shows each Wednesday at 7:00pm, featuring the best traveling regional and National Blues musicians. The shows will feature a budget priced cover charge of $3.
For the month of January all shows will be held at the Dragons Dome at 3401 Griffin Ave in Pekin, IL. This location is just 3 blocks from the previous location at the Captains Wheel. The Captains Wheel is closing for remodeling on December 21st and will open under new management in January.
Friends of the Blues - Watseka, IL
Join us Saturday, Dec 27 for Big James & The Chicago Playboys, 9:00 PM, Legacy Bar & Grill, 135 N. Kinzie Ave, Bradley IL 815-936-1649
Illinois Central Blues Club - Springfield, IL
Blue Mondays- Held at the Alamo 115 N 5th St, Springfield, IL (217) 523-1455 every Monday 8:30pm $2 cover - December 29 - Sally Weisenburg and the Famous Sidemen, Jan 5 - Texas Groove, Jan 12 - Tombstone Bullet, Jan 19 - Groove Daddies, Jan 26 - Juke Joint Duo / Cedric Burnside and Lightnin Malcolm, Feb 2 - Big Jeff Chapman, Feb 9 - Jim Suhler, Feb 15 - Shawn Kellerman, Feb 23 - Deak Harp
CLICK HERE to Purchase this CD
All About The Grammy Awards - Part 2
Understanding the Grammy Awards Part 2
The submission process for potential Grammy-nominated recordings starts in the summer time. “It amazes me how many people do not submit work to the Grammy nomination process,” Healy said, “It’s a fairly easy process.” As a member or a registered record label with the Academy, the process is started in the summer with the mailing of forms and information needed to submit product to be screened into the 110 categories.
The Academy has a specially selected committee of individuals who are selected to the committee based on expertise in the respected genres or fields. After the screening committee has placed the albums into their selected fields, the Recording Academy sends out the Entry List Ballot. From that ballot, all voting members select their favorite works from the 8 fields (genres) that they believe are deserving of a nomination. After those votes are submitted confidentially to Delloit & Touche (Grammy voting tabulation company), another confidential committee again screens the selections to be sure that the nominees land in the correct fields. The fields are narrowed down to five nominees in each category. The nomination ballot (which is in the process of being voted on now for the 51st Grammy Awards) is sent out again to the 19,000 voting members of the Academy. The votes from this ballot are submitted again to Delloit & Touche who tabulate the winner of the award that we see on Grammy night. Pretty complicated process huh?
What does all of that have to do with blues? Over the years I’ve heard several blues fans and professionals complain about how out of touch the Grammy Awards are with the genre and its community, and also how only a very select few artists continue to get nominated each year. “It’s a tough sell for people,” Healy says, “For some it’s a question of whether to pay the $100 a year to be a member. Not all 19,000 members get to vote. I would guess maybe around 13,000 members actually do vote. When you break it down into the 110 fields, I’m sure there’s a very select few that vote in the blues categories.” Healy strongly advocates any blues music professionals to hit the ground running and advocate more of a voting membership amongst the blues community. “The Chicago chapter is one of the only regions that hold a blues event each year. We like to tell the blues community about ourselves, about the Grammy voting process, and all the membership benefits that we have. I know for a fact the MusiCares program has helped many blues musicians in need.”
The MusiCares program is set up for musicians who are in a time of need. You don’t have to be a part of the Recording Academy to receive this help. “MusiCares often gets less attention than we like it to in the press but it’s a great service to a…let’s say a blues musician falls and breaks his arm and misses all of his gigs for the month and can’t pay his rent-MusiCares steps in and pays his rent for him till he gets back on his feet. It also deals with addiction recovery and treatment and musician welfare,” Healy explained.
The Grammy community in Chicago may be under the radar and little known to most music fans but there are some musicians who do take notice. “Billy Branch is a great member for the blues here in Chicago. Buddy Guy and all the folks at Legends have long been a part and Eddy Clearwater was once on the board here in Chicago as well.” Healy maintains, too, many musicians and music professionals out there that the $100/year is a great opportunity to advocate a change in the blues nominees and receive a few fringe benefits. “I hope that this interview can spearhead a grass roots awareness in the blues community to get on the Academy and vote because the more blues members we have the more reflective of the year in blues and the community the nominees will be.” Healy also says that its hard to gauge whether the Grammy Awards are staying hip and cool to fan bases because the voting membership is so few.
After having this conversation, I quickly trying to dig up the money to see if I can add my two cents worth for the 52nd Grammy Awards next year. I think, in this humble journalist’s opinion that if the blues community wants to have a louder voice in the blues with this prestigious award we need to continue to get out and vote!
Interview by Ben "the Harpman" Cox. Visit his website Juke Joint Soul
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.
Blues Blast Magazine is proud to be a media sponsor of the 25th International Blues Challenge. The silver anniversary of this great Blues competition promises to be one the best ever put on by the Blues Foundation.
In case you are not familiar with this event, it is an international search for the best undiscovered Blues band on the planet. Each year the Blues Foundation's 160 affiliate Blues societies from all over the globe hold "local" or "regional" Blues challenges.
They send the winners to compete in the semifinals in Memphis in February. There are categories for both bands and solo/duet acts.
In 2008, 100 bands and 60 solo/duo acts filled the clubs up and down Beale Street for the semi-finals on Thursday and Friday. This is a Blues show you do not want to miss. It is literally the worlds largest gathering of Blues Bands!
Beale Street is the legendary Blues Mecca in Memphis. Each club on Beale has 6 or 8 acts competing in the semi-finals. By the rules of the competition, each act plays exactly 30 minutes all using the same stage setup for a panel of judges and a packed crowd of Blues fans. They are judged on Blues content, vocal and/or instrumental talent, originality and stage presence by a different panels of judges each night (See scoring criteria HERE).
The scores are averaged and the top scoring act from each club advances to the finals that are held at the Orpheum Theater on Saturday. (To see some photos of last years fun CLICK HERE)
Tickets to this historical event are just $75 and include entrance to all the clubs on Beale Street both Thursday and Friday and the finals on Saturday. CLICK HERE to get yours now.
Be sure to get your hotel reservations NOW too as some of the host hotels are already sold out! CLICK HERE for hotel info
Live Blues Calendar
YOU can submit your Blues performances for FREE at: http://www.illinoisblues.com/submitnews.htm
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Performance dates submitted by Musicians, Clubs, Blues Societies and Blues festivals.
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