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Friday, May 8, 2009

The Voice

Header Music News
The Blues, Jazz & Folk Music Society, Inc.
Marietta, Ohio
Vol. 9, Issue 10
May 7, 2009
Homemade Jamz
Homemade Jamz
The Homemade Jamz Blues Band: These youngsters from Tupelo, Miss., are Kyle, 14, Taya, 10, and Ryan Perry, 17. They're nominated for best new artist.
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Music News You Can Use is Semi-Monthly email newsletter from the BJFMS. We try to be your Source for what's happening with Live Music in our area - from Marietta-Parkersburg to Charleston, WV, to Columbus, OH, to Pittsburgh, PA. We'll tell you what we know of, what we've heard about, and even the good rumors we've either heard or made up. You may learn something about music along the way, and maybe even get a few laughs in the process. You'll be getting Music News You Can Use in your email in-box about every other week - or when something important comes up in between. We promise we will never sell or give your email address to any 3rd party, and to never use it for any commercial purposes. You will always have the chance to "opt-out" (un-subscribe) on every issue.
Western PA Blues Society's Jim Weber
It is with great sadness that we must report: Jim Weber, the President of the Blues Society of Western Pennsylvania passed away on Friday, May 1st 2009 from pancreatic cancer.
The viewing will be Friday night at Tatalovich Funeral Home 2205 McMinn St. Aliquippa, PA 15001, phone: 724-378-7550. Two viewings are scheduled for Friday, May 8 from 2 pm - 4 pm and 6pm - 8 pm. Please check with Post-Gazette and Beaver Valley Times for details. Funeral is Saturday. There will be no funeral procession - no gravesite ceremony - all will be done from church.
In lieu of flowers, Jim had requested that donations be sent to the Christian missionary group, New Tribes Missions, PO Box 1787, Sanford, Florida 32772-1787.
Blues Music Awards
Tonight is The Blues' Biggest Night of the year
WHAT: The Blues Music Awards
WHEN: Thursday, May 7, 2009
WHERE: Cook Convention Center
TICKETS: $125;
The Blues Foundation has confirmed the thirtieth annual Blues Music Awards, a seven-plus hour throw-down featuring dozens of incredible musicians and honoring the best of the blues world. West coast-based group The Mannish Boys lead the pack this year with six nominations, including band, traditional album and album of the year in addition to individual nominations for band members Richard Innes (drums), Kid Ramos (guitar), and Larry Taylor (bass). Tied with four nominations each are slide guitar legend Elvin Bishop, pianist Eden Brent, songstress Janiva Magness, soul man Curtis Salgado, and former truck driver Watermelon Slim. Buddy Guy is nominated for three awards and B.B. King for two.
The Mississippi-based Homemade Jamz Blues Band are the youngest nominees at 9, 14, and 16 years of age. Sadly, Sean Costello received two posthumous nominations while Jeff Healey received one. Chicago elder statesman and torch bearer Magic Slim earned three nods. Lurrie Bell earned two nominations for an album he made while grieving the loss of his wife and his father, harp man Carrie Bell.
The Blues Foundation has added a Rock Blues category for the first time in 2009, with nominations going to Gary Moore, Jeff Healey, Michael Burks, Smokin' Joe Kubek & Bnois King, Sonny Landreth, and Walter Trout.
MOST of the nominees will be performing, making the BMA's without a doubt the biggest Blues concert of the year as well.
For the blues fan, it's the only way to see a lineup like this and it annually threatens to rage well into the night.
The awards ceremony and concert will be broadcast live by Sirius XM Satellite Radio's B.B. King's Bluesville channel.
Here's a complete list of the catagories and nominees so you can keep score while listening to the LIVE broadcast:

Acoustic Album of the Year
Eden Brent - Mississippi Number One
Rory Block - Blues Walkin' Like a Man
Paul Rishell & Annie Raines - A Night in Woodstock
Hans Theessink & Terry Evans - Visions
Fiona Boyes, Mookie Brill & Rich Del Grosso - Live from Bluesville

Acoustic Artist of the Year
Doug MacLeod
Rory Block
Otis Taylor
Paul Rishell & Annie Raines
Eden Brent

Album of the Year
The Mannish Boys - Lowdown Feelin'
Curtis Salgado - Clean Getaway
Buddy Guy - Skin Deep
Janiva Magness - What Love Will Do
Elvin Bishop - The Blues Rolls On

B.B. King Entertainer of the Year
Janiva Magness
Watermelon Slim
Bobby Rush
Lil' Ed
Magic Slim

Band of the Year
Magic Slim & the Teardrops
Nick Moss & the Flip Tops
The Mannish Boys
Watermelon Slim & the Workers
Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials

Best New Artist Debut
Chris James and Patrick Rynn - Stop and Think About It
Delta Highway - The Devil Had a Woman
Cedric Burnside & Lightnin' Malcolm - 2 Man Wrecking Crew
The Homemade Jamz Blues Band - Pay Me No Mind
Eden Brent - Mississippi Number One

Contemporary Blues Album of the Year
Elvin Bishop - The Blues Rolls On
Watermelon Slim & the Workers - No Paid Holidays
Janiva Magness - What Love Will Do
Sean Costello - We Can Get Together
Buddy Guy - Skin Deep

Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year
Gaye Adegbalola
Marcia Ball
Robin Rogers
Bettye LaVette
Janiva Magness

Contemporary Blues Male Artist of the Year
Michael Burks
Elvin Bishop
Sean Costello
Watermelon Slim
Buddy Guy

Broke & Hungry Records, Cathead Blues & Mudpuppy Recordings - M For Mississippi: A Road Trip Through The Birthplace of the Blues
Eagle Eye Media - Albert Collins Live at Montreux 1992
Eagle Eye Media - Carlos Santana Plays Blues At Montreux 2004
Stony Plain Records - Ronnie Earl & Broadcasters - Hope Radio Sessions
Delmark Records - Little Arthur Duncan Live at Rosa's Blues Lounge

Historical Album of the Year
Eagle Records - Albert Collins Live At Montreux 1992
Jamie Records - Barbara Lynn: The Jamie Singles 1962-1965
Delmark Records - On Highway 80 (Sleepy John Estes)
Ruf Records - Rich Man's War: New Blues & Roots Songs of Peace and Protest (Various Artists)
TopCat Records - Hollywood Fats & the Paladins Live 1985

Bob Stroger
Mookie Brill
Larry Taylor
Bill Stuve
Jeff Turmes

Cedric Burnside
Richard Innes
Jimi Bott
Tony Braunagel
Kenny Smith
Willie 'Big Eyes' Smith

Sonny Landreth
Lurrie Bell
Michael Burks
Kid Ramos
Ronnie Earl

Steve Guyger
Billy Gibson
Mark Hummel
Jason Ricci
Rick Estrin
Willie 'Big Eyes' Smith

Deanna Bogart
Kaz Kazanoff
Terry Hanck
Keith Crossan
Doug James

Johnny Sansone - Accordion
Bob Brozman - Mandolin, Ukulele
Otis Taylor - Banjo
Rich Del Grosso - Mandolin
Gerry Hundt - Mandolin

Pinetop Perkins Piano Player
Henry Butler
David Maxwell
Eden Brent
Bruce Katz
Marcia Ball

Rock Blues Album of the Year
Jeff Healey - Mess of Blues
Sonny Landreth - from the REACH
Michael Burks - Iron Man
Gary Moore - Bad for You Baby
Smokin' Joe Kubek & Bnois King - Blood Brothers
Walter Trout - The Outsider

Song of the Year
Dave Duncan & Curtis Salgado - 20 Years of B. B. King (Curtis Salgado)
Kenny Neal - Let Life Flow (Kenny Neal)
Elvin Bishop - The Blues Rolls On (Elvin Bishop)
Albert Castiglia - Bad Year Blues (Albert Castiglia)
Sonny Landreth - Blue Tarp Blues (Sonny Landreth)

Soul Blues Album of the Year
Irma Thomas - Simply Grand
Curtis Salgado - Clean Getaway
Jackie Payne Steve Edmonson Band - Overnight Sensation
Clarence Spady - Just Between Us
Johnny Rawls - Red Cadillac

Soul Blues Female Artist of the Year
Sharrie Williams
Irma Thomas
Jean Shy
Etta James
Denise LaSalle

Soul Blues Male Artist of the Year
Tad Robinson
Bobby Rush
Jackie Payne
Johnny Rawls
Curtis Salgado

Traditional Blues Album of the Year
Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials - Full Tilt
B.B. King - One Kind Favor
Honeyboy Edwards - Roamin' and Ramblin'
Eddy 'The Chief' Clearwater - West Side Strut
The Mannish Boys - Lowdown Feelin'

Traditional Blues Female Artist of the Year
Koko Taylor
Maria Muldaur
Nora Jean Bruso
Diunna Greenleaf
Ruthie Foster

Traditional Blues Male Artist of the Year
B.B. King
Lurrie Bell
Magic Slim
Eddy 'The Chief' Clearwater
Honeyboy Edwards
"Blues in Black & White"
Still time to see it...

"Blues in Black & White" will be up through June 14 at The Kennedy Museum of Art
at Ohio University. This spectacular exhibit of photogrpaher Stanley Livingston's images from the '69 and '70 Ann Arbor (MI) Blues Festivals is the best display of blues photos I've ever seen, and definetly worth the short drive to Athens.
Muddy Waters, Albert King, Freddie King, B.B. King, Son House, John Lee Hooker, Howlin' Wolf, Buddy Guy, Jr. Wells, Johnny Shines, Big Joe Williams, Carey Bell, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Otis Rush, Luther Allison, Sam Lay, Hound Dog Taylor, and Bukka White, they're all there like you've never seen before and will never see again.
For ALL Blues fans, photography fans, art fans, this is a MUST SEE. The exhibit runs through June 14, but you have another chance to see the exhibit and hear some great live blues in the same evening. On THURSDAY, May 14th, in conjunction with "Blues in Black & White," New Orleans bluesman Spencer Bohren will perform the journey of a single song through America's history and culture, from its African beginnings through Delta blues and country music, emerging as rock 'n' roll.
That's THURSDAY, May 14th:
7PM: meet Spencer at the Kennedy Museum of Art.
Then at 8PM: "Down the Dirt Road Blues, A Musical History In Live Performance," at The Ridges Auditorium. Again, this is a free show, another reason not to miss it.
Bonus: May 14th is Herb Sollars' birthday, and it's rumored he may show up for this show. Come help embarrass him on his birthday. the Voice.

Court Street Grill Report
Support your local juke joint....
Court Street Grill, 112 Court Street, Pomeroy, Ohio
Albert "The Kid" Castiglia,
Friday, May 15th at 9pm.
This will be a ticketed event and are on sale now at $10 per person!
Header Music News
Albert "The Kid" Castiglia

We first met Albert as sideman to Sandra Hall, "The Empress of the Blues." Sandra's shows quickly became sold-out extravaganzas at the Grill, largely due to her hot guitar player. But it was during his days as guitarist and vocalist for the great Junior Wells, that Albert was given the nickname "The Kid" by the Blues legend.

Several World Tours later, the nickname has stuck, but the side man status hasn't. Fronting his own band for several years now, Albert's a dynamic performer with gritty vocals and blistering guitar work. A true Southern boy, Albert blends a heavy dose of Southern Rock into his playing - swampy, but never forgetting his Blues roots. Recently, "The Kid" was nominated for "Blues Song of the Year" along side other guitar heavyweights Sonny Landreth and Elvin Bishop.
"The Kid" makes a stop at his old stomping ground before heading to Charleston to headline The Charlie West BluesFest on Saturday, May 16th (see story here). Don't miss this chance to see one of the brightest stars in The Blues, up-close & personal in the intimate atmosphere of The Grill
the Voice

On Deck:
Woody Pines/the Lonesome Two - 5/21
Lil' Dave Thompson & Big Love - 6/18
Daddy Mack Blues Band - 7/16
West Virginia Blues Society
Here is the lineup for the Charlie West Blues Fest, May 16, 2009 to be held at Oakes Field, South Charleston, WV. Times: gates open at noon. Show is 1 pm to 11 pm. Prices are, members - $ 15.00, non members is $ 20.00 at gate, with military and their families to be admittied free with ID Card. Blues Society's everywhere are admitted at the same member fee with current membership card from their Society.
1:00pm Miss Freddye & Blues Faze
2:00pm Blues Crossing
3:00pm Mahajibee Blues Band
4:00pm Dennis McClung Blues Band
5:00pm Izzy & Chris
6:00pm Jimi Vincent Band
7:45pm Jason Ricci & New Blood
9:30pm Albert Castiglia
The 2nd Annual CHARLIE WEST BLUESFEST will be a great day of music featuring some of the brightest stars of FUTURE of The Blues headlining:
ALBERT "THE KID" CASTIGLIA (CAS-STEEL-YA) is certainly one of the stand-out young blues guitarists in the future of The Blues: strong on talent, strong on songwriting, every one of his albums better than the last, finally beginning to get the national acclaim he has long deserved. Former guitar player for the legendary Jr. Wells, and then Marcia Ball, "The Kid" is growing up and coming into his own.
JASON RICCI is simply the HOTTEST harp player in the world. What he does with a harmonica should be impossible and his technique is completely unique and unmatched. If you have seen Jason, you know what I mean, and if you haven't seen him, you need to. Having one of the "Top 10 Hottest Guitar Players" (Guitar Magazine) -- Sean Starsky -- and a kick-ass bass player (Buckweed) doesn't hurt either.
THE JIMI VINCENT BAND and THE DENNIS McCLUNG BLUES BAND are every bit as good as the national blues acts they've been opening for and will soon be making the move to NATIONAL touring act.
IZZY & CHRIS could be the most-talented, most-authentic acoustic traditional blues act to ever come from WV, also on the road to becoming a national act
MAHAJIBEE, BLUES CROSSING and MISS FREDDYE are all among the region's best, setting the stage for a great day of Blues.
Hats off to WVBS' Jack Rice for an outstanding lineup for the festival's second year. Go see, enjoy and support this worthy event -- highly recommended. the Voice

Also, don't forget:
Sat/June 6th
WVBS Blues Night Out/Parkersburg
"Howlin' Wolf Birthday Party" with
The Thirsty Turtle in Parkersburg
Blues News from Cambidge,OH
Our Man "Giff" is on the case......
The Uptown Blues Bash
"The ...back in town!" says "Giff"

If you're not into country or head-banging rock music, then you're in for a treat, with a night of 'moving and grooving, dancing sounds of The Blues!
Saturday, May 23rd, 2009 at The Elks Lodge #448, 1048 Wheeling Ave. in Cambridge, Ohio. The Elks and " Meltdown Productions" present: " The Uptown Blues Bash!". This event will be on the top floor of the Elks with doors opening at 7: 00pm.
The show itself will start at 8:00pm and ends at 12:00pm. Three acts will make up the evenings line-up. This show is open to the public, so 'come on in'!
First, to get things warmed up will be, The Troubled Troubadours, an acoustic act to give the audience a flavor of traditional 'blues' and contemporary acoustic sounds.
The 'Troubadours' are fairly new to the 'live' music scene and have already established a following and upcoming dates, both locally and out of town. Their repertoire consists of music from the blues, the Eagles, Van Morrison, the Beatles and more. They can cover basically 3 decades of classic tunes. Based in Guernsey county, the 'Troubadours' will perform for the first 20 minutes and are the 'un-plugged' side of the shows' second act of the evening.
The "Blues Cannibals!" will take the stage from 8:30pm to 9:30pm. They are based out of the Cambridge / Byesville area. The 'Cannibals' were formed in 1996 by Dennis Tarman and John Gifford , after years in other bands searching for what their heart and souls knew to be right. And it was a love and passion for them both, the Blues.
Influenced by the greats, from Clarksdale, Mississippi to Chicago, they perform heart throbbing, toe tapping, up-tempo 'Chicago' as well as modern, contemporary original blues.
The Blues Cannibals have opened for the the late great Bo Diddly at the House of Blues in Cleveland, Ohio in 2005. They have also been the back-up band for 'Shirley King' ( daughter of B.B. King ) for six sell-out shows in 1998 and 1999. The 'Cannibals' placed several times in the top 5 at the " River City Blues Competition" in Marietta, Ohio over the past years. States front-man Dennis Tarman, "Put on your dancing shoes, because Deb may bring the red dress!"
Which brings us to the headline act of the evening. Winners of the '2009 River City Blues Competition', "Long Tall Deb and the Drifter Kings", of Columbus, Ohio.
Deb and the Drifter Kings blend a unique and tasty mix of Delta, Piedmont, Texas, Chicago blues, boogie woogie, New Orleans style, and classic R&B and soul with generous helpings of original music. Blending the wisdom from their collective experience with fresh and youthful energy, the band is quickly gaining a loyal fan-base and acclaim for their dynamic and soulful 'live' shows that range from intimate club settings to large outdoor festivals. Members of the band include vocalist, Deb Landolt, outstanding guitarist, Ritchie B., and the driving force of Melvin Powe on bass, and Doug Oscard on drums. A class act! As winners of the "2009 River City Blues Competition", Deb and the Drifter Kings will represent The Blues, Jazz, and Folk Music Society of Marietta, Ohio in 2010 at "The International Blues Challenge" in Memphis,Tenn. Where the best un-signed 'blues' artists from around the world vie to become the 'crème of the crop'.
Guitarist for the 'Blues Cannibals, and Competition Director of the River City Blues Competition in Marietta, John D.Gifford says, " I've known Deb for a decade and have watched her become a strong and dynamic vocalist and performer. So I know if you're there at this event, you'll see for yourself why each year Ohio has been represented so well by the artists that are here in our state. If you didn't know, Ohio is in the top 4 states in the country with the most blues artists per square mile. The caliber of talent here is amazing!"
Ticket prices are $6.00 (advance) and $8.00 (@ the door)
Article/press release provided by John Gifford
Thanks, "Giff" the Voice
Colony Fest
June 5 & 6
Marietta , Ohio

7th Annual COLONY FEST:
Friday & Saturday, June 5, 6
Parking Partners Lot
2nd Street, Downtown Marietta


FRIDAY, June 5th:
7pm: Ricky Nie w/Steve Perakis on bass
Cincinnati, Ohio
Blues, Boogie Woogie and New Orleans Piano
9pm Johnny Reed & The Houserockers
Toledo, Ohio. Winners of 2006 Comp.
3rd Place Finalist IBC in Memphis,TN

SATURDAY, June 6th
2pm: Magic Show-
The Great Gault
3pm: Ron Sowell Kids Show.
Ron is from Charleston, WV and is the leader of The Mountain Stage Band
4pm: BBQ Winners Announced
4:30pm: Todd Burge's "Colony Fest Songwriter Contest" Winners
5pm: "Maybe Logic" (Jazz)
Andy Hall, Clay Pascal, Jessica Baldwin, Andy McVey.
6pm: "The Fossils" (70's & Classic Rock) John Walsh, Jeff George, Dave Tenney, Bill White, Dave Laing, and Andrew Colvin
7pm: Ricky Nie w/Steve Perakis on bass Cincinnati, Ohio.
Blues, Boogie Woogie and
New Orleans Piano
8pm: Blue Lunch
8-piece band with horns
Cleveland, Ohio
Blues, R&B, Soul & Rock

Colony Fest has grown up:
15 vendors on site
BBQ Cookoff
Antique Show & Sale
Good Music, Good Food
Cold Beer, and a Good Cause
Mountain Stage
Special FestivALL Kickoff:
FRIDAY, June 19th
at The Clay Center
Special BLUES Show, featuring:
Buddy Guy
Shemekia Copeland
Duke Robillard
Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials
Charleston has been getting geared up for this year's FestivALL, the multi-faceted, city-wide arts & entertainment festival scheduled for June 19-26, 2009.
Mountain Stage has typically closed FestivALL on the final Sunday. This year a special Blues version of the show will kick the whole thing off on Friday, June 19 at The Clay Center featuring two of the biggest names in the blues.
If you name a major guitar player in any genre, chances are they've been influenced by the legendary Buddy Guy. From Hendrix and Clapton to Knopfler and Beck, they've all drawn upon this Chicago legend for inspiration. The Blues proprietor and restaurateur will make his third appearance on Mountain Stage Friday, June 19. Keep reading for ticket info.
Making a third appearance on Mountain Stage, and a second during FestivALL, will be the new blues queen Shemekia Copeland.
An amazing singer with loads of talent that stretches far beyond the boundaries of the blues, Shemekia is a wonderful entertainer who has certainly hit her stride.
Her latest record, "Never Going Back," not only solidifies her as a bright star but proves she'll be shining well into the future.
Advance Tickets only $29.
All seats reserved.
Tickets are STILL AVAILABLE at
or by phone at 304.561.3570 and a limited number are available at Taylor Books, 226 Capitol Street, Downtown Charleston.
short takes.....
things you might want to know about...
Memphis Cradle Gigs:
Friday, May 8, 2009:
North Side Grill - Akron, Ohio
Saturday, May 30, 2009:
North East Ohio Blues Assoc. Concert
Alliance, Ohio
Jason Ricci's New Album is out:
"Done With The Devil" by Jason Ricci & New Blood. Available NOW from "Delta Groove Music" @
GET IT and be impressed. the Voice.
4TH ANNUAL ALL-STAR BLUES REVUE The big party TOMORROW night -- the day AFTER the 30th Annual Blues Music Awards will be at The New Daisy Theater on Beale Street in Memphis. Most all of the important people in the Blues business will still be in town, so this is always quite the party and celebration. It is put on by the folks at Delta Groove & Eclecto Groove Records, and guess who's artists will be performing: The Soul of John Black, The Mannish Boys, Candye Kane, Lynwood Slim, Jason Ricci & New Blood, Jackie Payne & Steve Edmonson, J.T. Lauritson, Los Fabulocos & Kid Ramos plus more. The show begins at 6pm and goes until who-knows-when. Ahhhh...too bad we don't live in Memphis, damn it.
Our friend DALE KULCHAR, singer/songwriter from Athens will be appearing at The Rhapsody in Nelsonville, Ohio this Saturday form 630pm-930pm. Check out this fine dining establishment, and enjoy dinner and Dale's music. Both are highly recommended.
Mary Mary & Son, FRIDAY, May 8th
Mary tells me she and her son, Eric, will be performing together for the FIRST time in the MOV as part of the Songwriter Invitational FRIDAY at The Galley in downtown Marietta. Lots of good music, for info check out
Well, wherever it is, they have good taste in music, 'cause they're having a blues concert featuring The JON JUSTICE BAND, (and you know what I think of those guys -- my favorites). The show is Saturday, June 6th at The Van Wert County Fairgrounds. 7pm start, with local band, THE DOGZ opening up. I'm guessing The JON JUSTICE BAND should cause quite a stir in lovely downtown Van Wert. My Directions say: West out of Columbus, take St Rt 33 west to US 127 South. Then 15 miles into Van Wert. Van Wert County Fairgrounds is on the left as soon as you enter town. Good Luck. The show will be worth the drive, however.
SATURDAY, May 9th 930pm-1am
PD's Pub, Squirrel Hill, PA
412.422.5027 for details/directions
Join the SBBB for another evening of fine blues musical entertainment
Nelsonville Music Festival
May 15-17 (5th Annual)
featuring Willie Nelson (Sat)
Tickets $20-$55
If you were blown away (like the rest of us) by Big James at this year's River City Blues Festival in March, or in case you missed his stellar performance, you'll have the opportunity to see him again soon. Big James (Montgomery) & The Chicago Playboys will be back on our stage for The Annual Chicago Blues Party on November 20, 2009 at the hotel. It's a done deal. More about it later.
About The Blues, Jazz & Folk Music Society P.O. Box 2122, Marietta, Ohio 45750
The Blues, Jazz & Folk Music Society is a non-profit, 501 (c) 3 all-volunteer "force" of music enthusiasts on a mission to enhance the appreciation of American Roots Music in the Mid-Ohio Valley and we do it by presenting concerts, workshops, conferences, and a forum for education and development in the schools.

The BJFM Society celebrates and perpetuates blues and roots music as a traditional, evolutionary, and uniquely American art form. During the grant period, we will continue to present live music in genres not normally available in a small town like ours, to educate and expose our audiences to music new and unfamiliar to many of them. Our goal is to keep blues, jazz and roots music alive in our area.

With the help of volunteers from our membership, and an
8-member board of directors, the BJFM Society will continue to produce and present our "core events" plus other shows throughout the year as the opportunity presents itself. The BJFM Society has also undertaken the expense of production and presentation of the nationally recognized multicultural "Blues in the Schools" program here in our local schools
The Blues, Jazz & Folk Music Society Board of Directors:
John Bolen - President
Steve Wells - Vice President, Director of "Blues in The Schools"
Peg Bolen - Treasurer
Maren Beery - Secretary
John Gifford - Board Member, Competition Director, Stage Manager
Helen Holt - Board Member
Mary Ann Osborne - Board Member
Kezia Douglass - Board Member

The Blues, Jazz & Folk Music Society
P.O. Box 2122
Marietta, Ohio 45750
As they say in West Virginia: "Watch This"...
How about some jazz?
Chic Corea Elektic Band --"

Live at The


Chick Corea
Dave Weckl
John Patitucci
Scott Henderson

Click this link to watch:
Go Out & Support Some Live Music,
Wherever YOU Live...
the Voice.

Bob Dorr And The Blue Band Update

Well, I'm gettin' ready to do something I have not done with The Blue Band in over 27 years: play a date without Jeff Petersen in the band. Jeff made it thru his prostate surgery with a good prognosis. As he's slowly coming down from the anesthesia and pain killers, he's experiencing more aches than he anticipated and consequently is already upset that he's still in the hospital and not home getting ready to surprise us all at Pleasant Hill by showing up at the gig two days after his surgery! Please help me remind him that the goal is to be playing The Mojo & The Say So when he's 100 years old, (I'll only be 97) not next week. In the months to come, help me encourage him to take the necessary time to mend right, not right away...

OK, so where IS this most unusual gig that will have The Blue Band Jeffless for the first time in 3 decades? It's the Pleasant Hill Chamber’s “Chill on the Hill” Friday after work party, Copper Creek Lake Park, Pleasant Hill, Iowa (suburban Des Moines) 5-8 p.m. It'll take TWO Iowa Hall of Famers to try and cover Jeff's parts: Sam Salomone is bringin' out the Hammond B3 and Ron DeWitte is coming in from Cedar Rapids to play guitar. I'm hoping those guys can sing a few songs too because YIKES (!) I just realized Jeff won't be there to sing the 6 or 7 songs he sings every night! Or YIKES: who's gonna string the proper stage and PA power? Who's gonna set up the lights? Who's gonna load the truck? YIKES! That Mr. Petersen does a lot of stuff for this band, but I digress...Sam and Ron will join Al and Heath in the horn section and The Chief and Davis in the rhythm section for what should be an "interesting" and certainly "unique" version of The Blue Band. This is the first EVER Chill On The Hill event in Pleasant Hill, so come on over to the East side of Des Moines, be part of something that's NEVER happened before (on many levels) and help me get through this stress test!! And YIKES! Who's gonna sell the new CD with Sheryl home, looking after Jeff?? Surely (don't call me Shirley) she'll be missed too...

I'm hoping to see you Saturday at the Iowa Public Radio, Wine and Tulips fundraising event in Cedar Falls ( A night of entertainment by The Blue Band is part of the silent auction! If you've ever wanted us to play in your garage and have it be a tax deductible expense this is your chance! If you go to the IPR website you'll also see that tickets for the Blues Cruise Riverboat ride, with The Blue Band providing entertainment, are now on sale. I can't believe that advance tickets for that cruise are still only $15! Especially since there's only 300 tickets available! This event almost ALWAYS sells out. Don't miss the boat...

Condolences to True Blue Person Diana Smith on the passing of her dad, a noted music historian and good friend of Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings. Diana has been in the Blue Family since she was an underage Crow's Nest patron in the early 80s (a couple years before her husband Phil Maass joined the group!) Hang in there Bluwolf...

And speaking of Iowa Public Radio (those of you under the age of 40 can skip to the bottom, as the following issues won't confront you for at least a decade) I'm really coming to a crossroads in my life. The Iowa Board of Regents OKd the University of Northern Iowa "early retirement" plan last Thursday. It offers me full Blue Cross/Blue Shield health coverage and Delta Dental coverage for five years. They will also contribute the same money each month that they are currently contributing to my retirement fund for five years. That is REALLY appealing. However, I'm excited about IPR's new management team and some programming changes that will allow me to have a 90 minute blues show on Sunday early evenings as opposed to hosting Night Music later on Sunday nights. But the toughest thing that I'm trying to reconcile about the thought of retirement is that I attach so much of my personal self worth and pride to hosting those Iowa Public Radio shows that it literally scares the hell out of me to walk away from it. On the other hand, would it be the imputus that I need to seek out one more passion (whatever that would be) before having to settle into real OLD age? (let's face it, at age 57 I'm already into the last third of my life) Let me know what your take is. I'd like to gather as many perspectives as I can before attending my first "information session" on UNI early retirement, coming up in a couple of weeks...

Well, that's enough of the heavy stuff. I gotta focus on the important stuff like who's bringing CAKE? Anxieties can always be mitigated with CAKE! Who's gonna string the electrical power cords? Who's gonna set up the lights, who's gonna load the Larry truck when we're all done? Who's gonna sell the merchandise? Who'll Stop The Rain? (oops, that's a Creedence Clearwater Revival song and another reference that people under 40 know nothing about) See yas on the Blue Highway, come on out and rub yer washboard tie with a version of The Blue Band that has NEVER happened before, concentrate on good vibes for the recovering guitar player (and the wife that's looking after him!) and always remember we love you! Bob Dorr & The Blue Band

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Lazlo Bane: I'm No Superman

Every once in awhile I feel the need to post something completely different. I discovered Scrubs by channel surfing. I think it is on almost every chanell on cable at least twice a day! However, I really enjoy the show. Last night was the final episode of Scrubs on ABC. So in honor of a great show that lasted 8 years here is the theme song by Lazlo Bane. Nice thing about reruns, is that Scrubs might be gone, but it will live forever in repeats:-)

Elton John: Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues

Solo Elton John.

Illinois Blues News

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Latest news, photos, reviews, links & MUCH MORE in this issue! - Scroll or Page Down! quick website links: Reviews Links Photos Videos Blues Radio Blues Shows near YOU! Advertise for FREE! The Blues Blast Archives

Hey Blues Fans,

This weekend is the start of the Blues Festival season in the Midwest and it starts off with a BANG at The Simply The Blues Festival in Fort Madison, Iowa Friday and Saturday. A great festival in its sixth year starts off on Friday with Bobby Rush, Sugar Blue, porterdavis, Patrick Hazell and the The Smokin Mojo Kings. On Saturday be sure to catch Johnny Drummer, Liz Mandeville, Chris James and Patrick Rynn, Bob Corritore, Harper, The Soul Of John Black, Shannon Curfman, JP Soars And The Red Hots, Little Joe McLerran, Rich Berry, The Avey Brothers and Brad McCloud and the Case of the Blues. For more information and tickets check out and see their ad below in this issue.

Also on Saturday don't miss Fort Madison native and award-winning author, Tina Jens, and blues diva, Liz Mandeville (Blues artist performing at "Simply The Blues" and the Blues Train), in a one-hour FREE to the public performance of a spoken word story with a soundtrack and musical interludes called "Hoodoo Man Blues", a musical bed-time story.

Hoodoo Man Blues is about the battle between Ratman, a retired bluesman and powerful voodoo practitioner, and the King of the Memphis Blues. Full of voodoo magic and ghosts, the story is based on the events and characters in Jens’ award-winning novel, The Blues Ain’t Nothin’. The story, in slightly different form, is taken from her sequel in progress. In the show, the story is told by Jens, with Mandeville providing a soundtrack to the story, full musical interludes of rockin’ blues tunes, as well as multiple guest voices. This production will be at the Old Fort Players Theatre. Show Time is 11:00 am, Saturday, May 9, 2009.

If you are in the Southern part of the US this weekend check out the Lead Belly Blues Festival in Shreveport, Louisiana on Saturday May 9th. The show features performances by Buddy Flett , Ruthie Foster, Bobby Rush, Kenny Neal and The Neal Family Reunion, Eddie Shaw and the Wolfgang. Johnny Rawls, Destini Rawls, James Robinson and the Bluebirds. See their ad below for information and tickets.

Blues Wanderings

We got to see "Bluz Guitar Gurl" Shannon Curfman this week for the kickoff of the River City Blues Society "Bluz Guitar Gurlz" series.

More than 200 Blues fans from all over central Illinois packed the place in a standing room only show that left the crowd howling for more. If you want a good reason to make the trip to Fort Madison for the Simply The Blues Festival , Shannon is all the reason you need. What a smoking guitar player, singer, songwriter and performer this gal is!

In this issue - Blues Reviews and MORE!

We have nine new CD reviews in this issue! James Walker reviews a CD from the Ty Curtis Band (2009 IBC 2nd place band). Mark Thompson sends us 2 reviews. A new CD by Alphonso Sanders ( 2009 IBC 2nd place solo/duo) and a review of a new CD by Dave Plaehn.

Eric Steiner reviews a new CD by Omar Kent Dykes and a CD from the Ninth Annual Blues & Boogie Piano Summit. Michael Packer reviews a new CD by Commander Cody. John Harrelson reviews a new CD by Tas Cru and a new CD by Web Wilder. Ben Cox reviews a new CD by Mia Vermillion.

Our Blues video of the week is a clip of Shannon Curfman. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!

The Simply The Blues Festival For tickets go to

Blues Want Ads

Blues Musicians Place Your Want Ad here for FREE

"workin Blues performers" ONLY can place Want Ads here for FREE. NO Commercial Ads!
Buy or sell equipment , musicians wanted, gigs wanted etc. Limit 100 words.

Information Wanted on Chicago's Club 708

Looking for information about an old south side Chicago blues club called the 708 Club that was at 708 E. 47th Street, Chicago and was run by Ben Gold and his brother. Interested in information from about 1954 to 1959 because the 708 Club was called, “The southside’s leading blues house,” by the Chicago Defender in 1957. Also, according to several sources the club played host to Muddy Waters, the 4 Aces, Howling Wolf, Memphis Slim, Jimmy Rogers, Willie Mabon, Otis Rush, Billy Boy Arnold, Little Walter, Snooky Pryor, Magic Sam, James Cotton, Buddy Guy and David “Honeyboy” Edwards; among many others. Records indicate that the club closed in early 1959. Want to find out why. Contact

Blues Interviewers wanted

Blues Blast Magazine is looking for volunteers to interview Blues musicians for the magazine. If you have a background and experience with Blues music and like to write we can provide leads to conduct interviews with the artists. Person must be willing to write a minimum of one interview every other week. This is a great way to beef up your resume. If interested please send a sample of your writing and a short bio of your background to

521 Club Information Wanted

Looking for any photos or info about the 60's-70's club in Brooklyn called the 521 club. Regulars there were artists like Millie Jackson, Little Johhny Taylor, The Invitations, The Persuasions, EB Davis, Sterling Harrison, etc etc. Thanks for any help.

All ads submitted will be used if space allows. If space is limited, ads will be randomly selected to appear in the Blues Blast. Ads may be edited. Send your ad submission to

Featured Blues Review 1 of 9

Ty Curtis Band - Down on My Luck

Self release

13 songs; Time 59:08; Suggested

Style: Modern Electric Blues; Blues-rock and roll

There used to be 200 bands and 5000 clubs. Now, there are 5000 bands and 200 clubs. The supply of available music is huge – way more than even all the independent record companies can maintain. So, how could one possibly hear or gain exposure to quality, award winning regional acts deserving to break nationally?

One answer is the annual International Blues Challenge in Memphis hosted by The Blues Foundation. To my mind, if the Ty Curtis Band had not competed and finished in second place in the 2009 finals, I would have never heard of them, and that would have been a shame.

Hailing from Salem, Oregon (half a continent from me), The Ty Curtis Band is young, fresh, and full or new sounds clearly based on Blues and Blues-Rock-Funk traditions, not guitar shredding Rock. Blues fans will delight at “Down on My Luck,” their wonderful second CD featuring thirteen original songs. TCB is a multi-talented line-up starting with passionate vocals, solid songwriting, and imaginative guitar from Ty Curtis. At age 18, Hank Shreve on harmonica and keyboards is a multi-award winning musician who adds competent vocals. Winning three part harmonies abound with the added voice of bass player Jim Smith. Coupled with Davis “Super D” Brown on drums, Smith’s powerful bass lines lock in the rhythm that makes the dance floor booties shake.

At the IBC, bands get thirty minutes to impress judges. If a statement is going to be made, it can not wait for the eighth song or the second set. Their set at the IBC finals was similar to the beginning of this CD: they aimed to blow socks off immediately. But, with the CD, by the time one gets 45 minutes in, for example, by the tenth song, you’ll realize what a variety of masterful musicianship and singing it contains.

Track one creates an “Oh, Yes, this new CD is good!” feel within 45 seconds, and it just gets better from there. It opens with sounds of a drum solo which is soon joined by a popping bass guitar. At 25 seconds, honking harmonica joins the rumble. At 57 seconds, Ty’s guitar and vocals bring the last deadbeat from his seat to his dancing feet. Instrumentally, “Cherry City Boogie” has it all: guitar solo, harmonica solo, guitar-harmonica harmony, guitar and harmonica call and response, all underpinned by rock solid boogie rhythm.

About the time one questions, “One hit wonder?” track two maintains the upbeat momentum from the first track, but it is a freshly new sound that tells listeners these guys are special. Great three part harmonies fill the chorus of “Been Down That Road.”

The smoke coming out of the speakers is quickly chased away, by roaring flames, when track three explodes. More guitar-harmonica harmony just above the snapping rhythm makes way for lead vocals and vocal harmonies explaining the protagonist is “Bluer Than Blue.”

Don’t sit down; don’t even go for a fresh drink shouts the beat of the fourth cut, “Give It Up.”

Again, we hear fresh sounds different from the first three tracks. No wonder the judges were impressed!

Only with the fifth and title track do we get a chance to almost catch our breath with a mid-tempo Blues. Opening with single string guitar notes just over rich organ swells, the vocals ooze Blues. Again, by mid-song, the three part harmonies really impress.

Through the remaining seven songs, they play heart winning music, and there is not a cover song in the bunch.

If I owned a record company, I would have already made the Ty Curtis Band an offer. I do not expect any more self-releases from this band, not with this level of talent. Sure there are a gazillion different bands, but these cats have earned attention and a listen.

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
To See James “Skyy Dobro” Walker's CD rating system,

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

May 9, 2009 - Downtown Shreveport, Louisiana

For complete performer info and tickets visit

For tickets and info CLICK HERE

Blues Society News

Send your Blues Society's BIG news or Press Release to:

Please submit a maximum of 175 or words or less in a Text or Word format ONLY.

Central Mississippi Blues Society – Jackson, MS

The CMBS presents Blue Monday at Hal & Mal’s (200 Commerce St., Jackson, MS) every Monday night. Doors open @ 8:00 and music begins @ 8:30. Cover is $5.

The Blue Monday Band is comprised of the “best of the best “ musicians in the Central MS area. Featured artists are King Edward, lead guitar/vocalist and Pat Brown, Abdul Rasheed and Dennis Fountain as vocalists. Other regular band members are Dwight Ross and Rick Lewis (drums), Keith Collins (bass), Johnny Sharpe (keys) and Malcolm Shepherd (CMBS President) on Congas. Most of these musicians appeared in The Last of the Mississippi Jukes.

The Blue Monday Band plays the first set and then the event turns into a jam. For more info see: or call Peggy Brown @ 601-613-7377

Blues Blowtorch Society – Bloomington, IL

3rd Friday Blues - The Treehouse Lounge, 2060 Ireland Grove Rd, Bloomington, IL (309) 662-5231 A blues show the 3rd Friday of every month at 7:00 PM. May 15th – Dave Lindsey Band

Friends Of The Blues Shows - Kankakee IL

The Friends of the Blues has started their 2009 Blues concert Series. Here are their currently scheduled shows. May 11 – Shannon Curfman, Kankakee Elks Country Club Kankakee Elks Country Club, 2283 Bittersweet Drive, St. Anne IL. 815-937-1228, May 26 – The Insomniacs, Kankakee Elks Country Club Kankakee Elks Country Club, 2283 Bittersweet Drive, St. Anne IL. 815-937-1228, May 30 – 2nd Annual Blues & BBQ Festival, Watseka Theatre, downtown Watseka, IL June 16 – Joanne Shaw Taylor, River Bend Bar & Grill, 6070 E. Route 17, Kankakee IL. 815-933-0610 Aug 11 – Laurie Morvan, Kankakee Elks Country Club 2283 Bittersweet Drive, St. Anne IL. 815-937-1228

Mississippi Valley Blues Society - Davenport, IA

The Mississippi Valley Blues Society and the Dam View Inn present Joe and Vicki Price at the Dam View Inn, 410 E. 2nd Street in downtown Davenport, on Friday May 22. The show, a fundraiser for the Blues Society, starts at 9 p.m., and admission is $5. For more info contact call the MVBS office at 563-32-BLUES.

Illinois Central Blues Club - Springfield, IL


Held at the Alamo 115 N 5th St, Springfield, IL (217) 523-1455 every Monday 8:30pm $2 cover - May 11 - Scott Ellison, May 18 - Tombstone Bullet, May 24 - Bruce Katz

River City Blues Society- Peoria, IL

The River City Blues Society's Wednesday Blues Series features the best traveling regional and National Blues musicians each Wednesday at 7:00pm. The shows are held at the Dragon's Dome, 3401 Griffin Ave in Pekin, IL. Admission is $4. Shows scheduled are: May 13 - Black Magic Johnson, May 20 - Deak Harp, May 27 - The Insomniacs, June 3 – Rob Williams' Soggy Bottom Blues Band, June 10 – The Plateros, June 17 – Joanne Shaw Taylor, June 24 - Gina Sicilia

For complete info visit:

Featured Blues Review 2 of 9

Alphonso Sanders - Mississippi Influences

Talking Wind Music

11 tracks/45:14

This is an ambitious project that features the original compositions of Dr. Alphonso Sanders, the Chair of the Fine Arts Department and Director of the B.B. King Recording Studio at Mississippi Valley State University. Sanders’ handles the lead vocals and contributes saxophone parts to a number of tracks. He gets help from a large cast of musicians and backing vocalists. Producer Jimmie Lee Jr. also did all of the musical arrangements and played a variety of instruments.

Sanders’ has a broad vision that stretches the boundaries of what one might call Blues music. “I Don’t Mind Dreamin’ “is densely produced track that fits the adult contemporary category while “On the Inside” works as a Christian praise song. Both songs give Sanders a chance to show his skill on the saxophone. The pace picks up when Sanders pays tribute to another musical style on “Non-Stop Country Music”.

For blues fans, there are several tracks of interest. “Gotta Get Back to Prayin’ “sports a funky New Orleans-style beat and a strong vocal from Sanders. Sanders uses the bamboo flute on the brief “The Influence (Blues Interlude)”. That leads to the strongest tracks on the disc. “Delta Sun” finds Sanders backed by a piano trio. He delivers a passionate vocal and an equally engaging sax solo. Morris Hubbard shines on the piano. On the following track, Jimmie Lee Jr. turns in another dazzling turn on the piano on “Wanna Cook For Ya”, as Sanders’ voice glides over the keyboard improvisations and the finger-snapping percussion section.

“Boo-Ga-Loo” is a generic good-time party tune with heavily synthesized backing that fails to generate much interest. Sanders voice fails him as he struggles to navigate the arrangement on “Say Thanks”. The disc closes with “Happy”, a breezy tune that lacks any emotional weight. A strong sax solo at the end from Sanders fails to rescue the cut as it fades away too quickly.

Dr. Sanders is working with a broad musical palette. The performances and production are quite good, but the Blues content is limited.

EDITORS NOTE: Alphonso Sanders placed second in the 2009 International Blues Challenge solo/duet competition as part of the duet Alphonso & Richard.

Reviewer Mark Thompson is president of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford. IL

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE. presents

Matthew Skollar Band

The Rivoli Theatre - Monmouth, IL

CLICK HERE to Purchase Tickets

Featured Blues Review 3 of 9

Omar Kent Dykes - Big Town Playboy

Ruf Records

Omar Dykes and Jimmie Vaughan’s On the Jimmy Reed Highway was nominated for Blues Music Awards last year in the Album of the Year and Traditional Blues Album categories, and the title cut was up for Song of the Year. While Blues Foundation voters didn’t put the CD or the song at the top of each of those lists, Omar’s latest Ruf Records CD, Big Town Playboy, continues the blues journey with a dozen songs that feature Jimmie Vaughan on guitar and vocals and some very special guests.

Lazy Lester blows a mean harp on “Hello Mary Lee” and “Dream Girl,” and James Cotton lends several touches of class to the title cut, “Can’t Judge Nobody,” “No More Doggin,” and “Close Together.”

Gary Clark, Jr’s in the house, too: his performance in John Sayles’ Honeydripper was my top blues experience in the movie theatre last year, and this young bluesman pitches in on harmonica and guitar on driving, but understated, versions of “Man Down There,” and “King Bee.”

Ronnie James and Wes Starr return to lay a solid foundation on bass and drums behind Omar, and I wish we could have heard more from that angel from Texas named Lou Ann Barton. Her vocals with Omar on “Think” and “Close Together” are two of the most memorable songs on this CD.

If you liked On the Jimmy Reed Highway, you’ll enjoy Big Town Playboy. It’s not as rambunctious or as wild as Omar’s outings with his Howlers on Boogie Man or Bamboozled, but Big Town Playboy is a solid CD of Texas-tinged blues.

Reviewer Eric Steiner is President of the Washington Blues Society in Seattle, Washington. The Society was the recipient of the 2009 Keeping the Blues Alive Award in the blues organization category.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

4th Annual T-Bone Walker Blues Fest
June 19-20, 2009
Music City Texas Theatre -
Linden, Texas

Jimmie Vaughan

Gary Nicholson

Bugs Henderson

Guitar Shorty

Danny Johnson

The Wolf Tribe

The Bluebirds

Joe Jonas Band

Bobbie Oliver & Jam City Revue

Pleasant Hill Quilting Group

David “Honeyboy” Edwards

Wes Jeans

TuTu Jones

19th Street Red

Bernie Pearl

Betty Lewis & the Executives

Marquise Knox

Kayla Reeves

Colton O’Neill Band

Featured Blues Review 4 of 9

Dave Plaehn -Crazy Man

Plaehn Tune Records

12 tracks/52:47

A former Iowa native, Dave Plaehn now lives in Oregon where he continues his music career that is in it’s fourth decade. Possessing an easy-on-the-ears tenor voice, Plaehn is also an accomplished harmonica player. For his latest recording , Plaehn penned twelve original songs that show a variety of influences. He is supported by a large cast of musical friends who obviously are in tune with Plaehn’s vision. He has a wistful singing style that is appealing.

The title cut is an atmospheric ballad that opens the disc. The piano-driven arrangement of “My Conviction” supports a strong vocal from Plaehn, who easily slides into the upper end of his vocal range. “What is this Love Thing” comes across as a classy country hoe-down tune with excellent harmony vocals from Leigh Ann Starcevich and some fine harp playing by Plaehn . The multi-track vocals over percussion on “Shugum Boom” resembles a more adventurous Beach Boys track.

Plaehn waits until the second half of the disc to get into his blues related material. “Hug Me When I Come Home, Kiss Me When I Leave” has some quality national steel guitar licks from Jeff Hino. Plaehn blows some hot country blues-style harp licks on “We’re Gonna Make the Best of It”. The hardest rocking cut is “She’s Got Kisses (Any Love I’ve Known)” with more lap steel magic from Hino. “For Love Blues” features a stellar guitar part from (unaccredited) Creighton Lindsay .

Listeners should check this one out but don't expect straight blues material. Plaehn mixes up a musical stew that features a stingy sprinkling of blues influences. This may limit appeal to hard-core blues fans. Nonetheless, there is still plenty of quality performances on Crazy Man that would be of interest for listeners with a wider range of tastes.

Reviewer Mark Thompson is president of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford. IL

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

New CD from Alex Dixon Band

Rising From The Bushes

Hit #4 on the Roots Blues Charts prior to its release!

Now Available to download at Amazon, iTunes, Rhapsody and other digital sites. You can also purchase the CD at

For Tickets and more info visit:

Featured Blues Review 5 of 9

Commander Cody - Dopers, Drunks and Everyday Losers

Blind Pig Records

If you read my by-line at the end of this review I've been playing music a long time. The critics started calling my music blues I assumed they did that because I was old. Well Commander Cody, his real name George Frayne, is old but the Commander can still rock with the best of them. The traditionalists wont call this CD the Blues but I will because the blues is a feeling and Commander Cody with no doubt has the blues. He is an historic musical icon.

The party begins with some boogie piano by the Commander and nice slide guitar by Mark Emerick on "Roll Yer Own'"..'Tennessee Plates" reminds me of the band Dire Straits especially the vocal by Commander Cody. "Wine do yer Stuff' written by William Farlow and Cody is truly a country classic. 'Lone Ranger', Semi-Truck are country tunes complete with pedal steel played by Chris 'Tiny' Olsen. 'Down and Out' is a traditional song about losing it all. One of the funniest songs on the records is 'Seven Eleven' with Miss Marie Spinosa of the Crowmatix singing 'stealing at the Seven Eleven', in the background. I understand why Blues aficionados won't consider this a Blues recording especially when they hear the country gem 'Seeds and Stems' sung by Circe Link. It belongs in Nashville not Memphis. Commander Cody can sure boogie though as on 'It's Going to be one of those nights" and " OK Hotel'.

I had the privilege of opening for Commander Cody with my band at a club in New Jersey and seeing first hand Cody perform "They Kicked Me Out of the Band". He started the song with a shot of booze and a toast to the audience. Very fitting. He puts on a great show and his admirers love him. On "Losers Avenue", Cody takes the cruise down losers avenue with some very good piano playing. This CD is like hanging out in your neighborhood bar complete with ".Last call for Alcohol". The final cut is the "No No Song" by Hoyt Axton.

This album was recorded in Woodstock NY and produced by Aaron "Prof. Louie' Hurwitz who got his nickname from the late Rick Danko of the Band. Prof. Louie put his exceptional skills as musician and producer to create an outstanding testimony to Commander Cody's music. A fine record, great musicianship, entertaining and most of all true to Commander Cody. This is what he does.

I remember sending some of my music to Blind Pig records and they said, "That's not blues". Well hey this ain't Blues either but it is great music and I am happy you took a chance with Dopers, Drunks and Everyday Losers.

I think you will be glad you did. Commander Cody is no loser.

Reviewer Michael Packer is a singer-guitarist from NYC who fronts his own band "The Michael Packer Blues Band". He has been performing for over 40 years and has recorded on major labels Atlantic and RCA.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

Featured Blues Review 6 of 9

Various Artists - Ninth Annual Blues & Boogie Piano Summit

1-2-3 Records

One of the most exiting things about writing for Blues Blast Magazine is the opportunity to discover new events and new artists. The folks behind the Ninth Annual Blues & Boogie Piano Summit have been behind the keyboards for a long time, and this annual event at the historic Southgate House in Newport, Kentucky is an exceptional opportunity to experience some of America’s most talented piano men and piano women. Prior to pressing play on the Ninth Annual Blues & Boogie Piano Summit, I had only heard of Ann Rabson, and I was pleasantly surprised to learn about an annual showcasing blues piano players.

Producer Ricky Nye features 15 songs done by four performers: Christopher Rois, Ann Rabson, Martin Schok and Greta Holtrop, and Nye himself sits in with vocalist Bekah Williams on four cuts. While this CD is first and foremost a showcase for blues piano, there are several opportunities when sidemen get an opportunity to strut their stuff in a traditional, take-your-turn revue style.

On “Haste Makes Waste,” one of my favorite Uppity Blueswomen (for her work with Saffire), Ann Rabson, invites George Bedard to stretch out a bit on guitar, followed by solos from John Schmidt on upright bass and Brian Aylor on drums.

Other standout cuts for me include a mighty soulful interpretation of “Baby What You Want Me to Do” from Ricky Nye and Bekah Williams, along with that duo’s fast-moving boogie-woogie on “As Long As I’m Moving.” Nye’s received multiple awards from his native Cincinnati, including nods for a Cincinnati Entertainment Award from CityBeat magazine and a CAMMY Award from the Cincinnati Enquirer newspaper, and this CD is evidence of a rare blues piano talent.

If you appreciate traditional blues piano from Professor Longhair, Dr. John, or Ellis Marsalis;, bought Pinetop Perkins and Friends on Telarc, or enjoyed Gregory Sabatino’s exceptional documentary on blues piano recorded in the Delta called Falsifyin ’ you’ll celebrate the magic made possible by 88 keys captured live at the Ninth Annual Blues & Boogie Piano Summit in 2007.

Discover a diverse range of blues piano styles online at this annual event in North Kentucky at

Reviewer Eric Steiner is President of the Washington Blues Society in Seattle, Washington. The Society was the recipient of the 2009 Keeping the Blues Alive Award in the blues organization category.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

Blues Video of the Week

Shannon Curfman

This week we feature a video by 23 year old Blues Rocker Shannon Curfman. Shannon had her first major record deal at the age of 14. Nine years later it is easy to see what Arista Records saw in this smoking young guitar player.

After you see this video, you will have to re-think the phrase, "plays like a girl".

Not only can this girl play as good as any man, she sings better than most.

To see this cool video on our website, click the play button below.


For other videos on our website CLICK HERE.

Lincoln Square - Urbana, Illinois


Friday June 26th

Delta Kings

The Kinsey Report

Sonny Landreth

Saturday June 27th

The Impalas

Gina Sicilia

Steady Rollin' Bob Margolin

Eddy The Chief Clearwater

Pinetop Perkins
w/Willie "Big Eyes" Smith Band

Buckwheat Zydeco

For more info visit:

Featured Blues Review 7 of 9

Mia Vermillion - Alone Together with the Blues


Run Time: 33:55

I've had the fortune of making friends all over with the blues. One of the perks of having friends from all around, I get introduced to artists that I otherwise probably wouldn't get to hear. Witness the upper Northwest. For the past decade and a half, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho have brought the world some uncanny blues talent in a land far removed from the Delta of Mississippi or the soul of Memphis. Tim "Too Slim" Langford and John Nemeth are the first two names that immediately pop into mind. Oregon is the host of the nation's largest roots music distributor, Burnside Distribution. Now, we have one more addition to this line up of phenomenal finds from the lands of the forests and rainy weather of the Northwest: Mia Vermillion. Mia has been touring and working non-stop in the region for a while now, distributing her mixture of earthy jazz, blues, with a little dose of 50s & 60s country & western roots (think countrypolitan Patsy Cline or Jim Reeves styled vibes). Vermillion's silky alto is something so seductive and smooth that you can almost feel yourself being seduced through the speakers - and you'll give in, let me tell you!

This is Vermillion's debut release. She enlists some pretty good talent to play host to her genre-mixing release. Edwardsville, Illinois (hey, that's not too far from this Juke Joint Soul's birthplace) native and roots dobro & slide player Orville Johnson takes the helm as the tasty echo to Vermillions sensuous vocals. Johnson is a sought-after player in the Northwest, and has been for awhile. His touches on the lonesome-sounding dobro add to the vibe of the country & western meets blues meets jazz sounds. Grammy-nominated bassist Garey Shelton joins for one track and acclaimed gold record writer/producer Tom Kellock produces on two tracks.

Vermillion writes two of the nine tracks. The rest of the music are superbly selected cover songs from the likes of LeRoy Carr, Big Bill Broonzy, Lil Green, and a song classically recorded by Aretha Franklin. This song is a great rainy day weather album. It's lonesome, earthy, sensual, and makes you wanna snuggle up next to a loved one and just completely chill out. Vermillion completely takes me away on the original "Love's Lost and Found." This one is just as smooth as a fine wine and gave me the smiling goose-pimples. Don't be fooled though, Vermillion can turn up the sass, too. The two Big Bill Broonzy covers "When I've Been Drinkin'" and "I'm Gonna Copyright Your Kisses" are swingin' little numbers that best highlight Vermillion's flare for jazzy-blues arrangements. Johnson keeps it earthy like Big Bill would've with his nasally licks on the dobro to fill in the spaces.

Vermillion turns the classic "I Wonder" into a contemporary pop-jazz performance that is not overdone nor understated. The arrangement and Vermillion's smooth croon is very reminiscent of the late songbird Eva Cassidy. It's a beautiful, delicate treatment of a song that has been terribly overdone in the past. "Two Cigarettes In the Dark" is a little not my style, but the clarinet laced piece (played by Hans Treuber) adds to the already rainy day mood jazz that Vermillion seemingly has a penchant for. Vermillion can reach upper registers effortlessly in this almost 20's jazz piece and Johnson demonstrates a mastery on guitar with some smooth licks of his own.

This album is a well-thought, well-planned, economical, and astronomical first release for this artist. She will definitely catch attention, if sent to the right places, on many AAA radio formats and can easily fit on both blues, jazz, and quiet storm programs. She's got a magnificent voice that is on par with any ladies I've heard today. Don't put this lady as an opening act, she deserves top billing and if her stage presence is any bit like her recordings, she bound to shoot straight into crossover territory. Her many-faceted approach will win you over and this is one album that's definitely worth repeating - especially after a long day at work or a rainy day with a lover or if you just want to be alone together with the blues.

Reviewed by Ben "the Harpman" Cox. Visit his website Juke Joint Soul

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

The Smokie Blues International Festival - August 14 - 16, 2009

The Golf Hotel, Carnoustie, Scotland

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Featured Blues Review 8 of 9

Tas Cru - Grizzle N’ Bone

Crustee Tees Records

This is a good set. If you spend your ear-time with gritty Rock’n’roll as well as Stax and Hi artists like Syl Johnson, O.V.Wright, Sam & Dave, chances are this is down your alley. The overall effect it had on me was Delbert McClinton meets the Allman Brothers with Ry Cooder doing the mediating. But, immediately following that impression I noticed that there was a distinctly clinical texture to the recording. Was this recorded using only ProTools?. This might account for the “space without air” quality. If you’ve never owned an LP or seen twenty or more live acts, you won’t know the difference anyway.

As a vocalist, Tas Cru is a reasonably believable Soul singer. There’s a little Bob Seger, a trace of Greg Allman, but no genuine looseness like Otis Redding championed. That said, Tas is definitely a cut above 90% of the White boys in the R&B/Blues realm.

The opening track, “Gristle N’ Bone,” is the ‘food’ metaphor. It’s a rollicking shuffle that Blues lovers love to love. I like it, though it’s hardly a great composition. Thanks are due to this Canadian, he didn’t write about red beans and rice or about bar-be-que or worst, collard greens—That ain’t Canadian faire. Also, nice piano playing on this cut.

One Eyed Jack” is, I think, connected to something personal for Tas. It is, though, deployed here as a metaphor of independent strength and I think Cru needs to listen to the lyrics he wrote. If the Devil always stacks the deck yet you keep on winning, what’s the point of the song?

his next song, much related to Taj Mahal’s “She Caught the Katy,” is very revealing. “Woman Won’t You Love Me” is too careful, especially noticeable in the reined-in phrasing of the pianist. The lyrics are revealing too. “Woman won’t you love me, I know one gal who says she will.” Why, with petty blackmail like that, would a woman give it up for you? In the hands of Louis Jordan a wry song might be smithed out of the question. Here, it is kind of embarrassing.

About “Come to Testify” I’ll say it’s a daring thing, an a cappella piece. “Mercedes Benz” by Joplin and “Orange Clawhammer” by Captain Beefheart are the most often cited. Other artists have done “Linin’ Track” and there’s always the novelty of Cream’s “Mother’s Lament.” This is a sincere attempt at a tradition documented by Folkways records, whether Rich Amerson or the Creole folk retentions. Bold idea, well done.

The barely Blues-y “Let’s Just Pretend” is a fantastic addition. A true song of the heart delivered as a frank little prayer, this demonstrates musical sensibility. It’s gem as acoustic songs go. Andy M.Stewart [of the Scottish group Silly Wizard] should cover this. Steve Gillette has written similar songs that are more succinct, but this is a sweet moment on the CD.

The press material describes “Brand New Shoes” as a sequel to a song on a previous CD. It’s described as “More red-dirt roots rock.” I must take issue with that. The song is derived from the “Fever” vein, even opening with a similar bass line. The image/metaphor of ‘shoes’ does not hold throughout the lyric, therefore disappointing the interested listener. A significant error was to have the drummer use sticks instead of brushes, which would have been far more suitable for this track.

“Make My Woman Cry” reminds me of a Skip James tune. Except, like “Woman Won’t You Love Me,” it’s much too careful. The repeating riff is as staid as if it is actually a sampled loop. I don’t understand that. This reminds me of those college boys who slavishly try to be ‘authentic’ Blues guitarists while they sing like an adolescent rhesus monkey. Way too uptight, Tas.

When an artist covers a song and makes it his/her own it’s a grand moment. Think of Devo’s “Satisfaction,” Joe Cocker’s “She Came in Through the Bathroom Window,” B.B.King’s “Thrill Is Gone.” So when Tas says, “It’s my favorite song of all time—EVER!” Cru discloses that his fantastic choice of “Higher and Higher” is important to him. However I cannot forgive him for his butchery. I think he doesn’t know that Rita Coolidge did a ‘mellow’ interpretation in the early 70s, a decent twist on the celebratory nature of the song. But the primary musical element that lends the tune its tension is the pedal point, the unyielding bass figure that drives the progression into one’s heart, a musical affirmation of continuity. Here, that figure is unplayed. Who thought that was a good idea?

I’ll say here that the sound of the slide/lead guitar (a Stratocaster through a boutique distortion pedal?) gets really tedious. If the guitarist used some vintage beauty it was not to the listener’s benefit. It is admirable that the man who plays this instrument (presumably Taj Cru, if not then Jeremy Walz) did not simply rely on the Muddy/Nighthawk/Elmore-axis for most of his work. However, more time spent with Jeff Beck and Ry Cooder would enhance the intentions. The resonator work is good, if dispassionate.

Give bass player a raise, most of his lines are solid and reliable. Congratulate the keyboard player(s). Leave the female vocalists at home.

I recommend this disc, though with some reservations.

Reviewer John Harrelson has been playing Blues since 1965 and worked in virtually every genre of music; Folk, Country, Jazz, R&B and Rock. He holds a PhD in Historical Musicology from the Claremont Graduate University and a B.A. in Anthropology and Ethnomusicology.

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Featured Blues Review 9 of 9

Webb Wilder - More Like Me

Blind Pig Records

I’ve heard of Webb Wilder, though I can’t remember how. Now I know something about him and this is it. What one is allowed to hear is “a persona.” This troubles me. Prince foists a persona on his audience. David Lee Roth does this, too. Dozens of college-educated Blues lovers born after 1975 who seek ‘authenticity’ do this with regularity. For my money, this ain’t a good sign.

The first slice is “Juju Man” The mysteriously mis-titled “Fallin’ in Love Again” is a Chuck Berry chugger that Dave Edmunds could happily interpret. I think the intention was to marry “C’est La Vie” with “Fortune Teller” but that ain’t what happened. The use of the pedal steel is apparently only to have the credit, it contributes nothing essential.

Track #2 is “Too Cool for Love.” If Elvis Costello in 1982 had written a song to evoke 1964 this might be what he came up with. It’s okay. I am confused/amused that the Hammond organ sound used here brings to mind Korla Pandit not Jimmy Smith or Al Kooper.

“Don’t Slander Me” immediately calls up the Tailgators. It is a raw, trailer trash demand. I have no idea what Roky Erickson did with this originally but Wilder does a good job, even if the gravy never drips off the plate. Why is there a second guitar during the solo segment warbling useless crap? Is that supposed to be psychedelic?

“Honky Tonkin’ (In Mississippi)” is highly objectionable. It’s a clever lyric that insists that “a miss and a sip” is the key to honky tonkin’ down there. Why, oh why, did the writer [J.Swan] lift Hank Williams’ melody from “Honky Tonk Blues” as the essence of the tune? Did he actually think that no one would notice? The modestly clever lyric would have benefited from a melody of its own.

Track #6 is “Pretty Is As Pretty Does.” This is a convincing 1964 Brit Invasion tip-o-the-hat. The arrangement is very much 1972. This causes discontent. The production is obviously after 1990. Get Nick Lowe to cover it and he might make it work.

Bobby Russell was a craftsman songwriter. Webb’s choice of “Sudden Stop” is marvelous. Originally done by Percy Sledge this a great Soul tune. Wilder does the tune well and, except for the very annoying Hammond draw-bar choice, it is a worthy interpretation.

A welcome, too long overlooked cover is Larry Williams’ 1958 “She Said Yeah.” The Animals covered this song in a very generic way and the Rolling Stones did a very nice (and sloppy) version. Webb does this remake in a convincing manner and, despite the very 1968 guitar tone, provides a nice snapshot of a dandy little Rock’n’roll song.

“Come Around” sounds like a Searchers song from 1964. I have Searchers albums.

Eddie Hinton was a studio guitarist associated with Fame Studios and Muscle Shoals Sound Recording. His reputation was broad. His solo career was disappointing. Songs like “Still Water Runs Deep” are the reason he failed as a solo artist.

The title song is another Wilder original. “More Like Me.” If Webb had called Billy Joe Shaver and asked him to write a song for Wilder’s next CD that described a man embracing himself, flaws and all, Shaver could have composed a superior version of this plain little romp. Once again, the organ tone is simply wrong.

Not much here for Blues freaks, but it is Americana.

Reviewer John Harrelson has been playing Blues since 1965 and worked in virtually every genre of music; Folk, Country, Jazz, R&B and Rock. He holds a PhD in Historical Musicology from the Claremont Graduate University and a B.A. in Anthropology and Ethnomusicology.

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