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Hey Blues Fans,
Great news! We just got confirmation that Candye Kane will be appearing at the 2010 Blues Blast Music Awards. Her addition to the previously confirmed artists Kilborn Alley Blues Band, Marquise Knox, Shaun Murphy Band, Mississippi Heat, Dave Riley & Bob Corritore, Zora Young, Quintus McCormick, Cash Box Kings and Jackie Scott & The Housewreckers promises a great event. We expect more announcements soon so stay tuned! For tickets and complete information on the 2010 Blues Blast Music Awards on October 28th at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago CLICK HERE.
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Blues Blast Magazine is a great way to promote the Blues. More than 17,000 Blues fans read our magazine each week. They are located in all 50 states and in more than 80 countries. We also get more than 1,000,000 (That's ONE MILLION) hits and more than 25,000 visitors a month on our website. Normal 2010 Advertising rates are $45 a week for Blues Blast magazine ads and website ads are $70 per month.
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In This Issue
Bob Kieser reviews the 2010 Ozarks Music Festival. We have six new CD reviews this week! James "Skyy Dobro" Walker reviews a new CD by Charles Walker. Greg 'Bluesdog' Szalony reviews a new CD by The Swamp Kings. John Mitchell reviews a new CD from Peter Parcek and also a new CD from Phil Gates. Mark Thompson reviews a new CD by Charlie Musselwhite. George "Blues Fin Tuna" Fish reviews a new CD from another Indianapolis, Indiana artist, Brent Bennett. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!
Saturday - September 18
Eric Noden & Joe Filisko, Leroy Airmaster w/ guests Greg Koch & Jim Liban, Robert Allen Jr & the Zootsuits with Cadillac Pete. Grana Louise, Dennis Jones, Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials, Zac Harmon
Featured Festival Review
Ozarks Music Festival
August 27 & 28th, 2010
The Ozarks Music Fest in Springfield , MO was a new festival this year. While not billed as a Blues Festival, it sure featured some great Blues artists. The two day festival kicked off with a band from Los Angeles, CA. Aunt Kizzy's Boyz. We first saw this band in 2006 when they took second place in the International Blues Challenge. They are still chugging along and did a great job kicking off this new event.
Next up was one of our favorite young Blues performers, Joanne Shaw Taylor. Joanne is from England and her debut CD on Ruf Records last year garnered her a nomination as Best New Artist Debut in last years Blues Blast Music Awards and a nomination for a Blues Music Award. She had a blast playing most of the tunes from her CD and a few classic Blues covers. Joanne says to look for a new CD release before the end of the year. We can't wait!
Another California native, Zac Harmon took over the stage next and it is apparent why he won the 2004 International Blues Challenge and then his first Blues Music Award in 2006.
While it wasn'tbilled as Blues Fest, The Ozarks Music Fest this was the Blues fans place to be on Friday night as Shemekia Copeland kicked it up another Blues notch. This two time Blues Blast Music Awards nominee for Best Female Artist left no doubt that she has earned all the Blues buzz as she hit the stage like a ball of lightning sparking a real fire in the crowd of Blues fans.
On Saturday the Ozarks Music Fest kicked off with The Cate Brothers out of Fayetteville, Arkansas. These rock and soul veterans did a fine job of opening up a second day of great music.
Up next was 10 year old Tallan Latz and his band. The rocked the crowd as they played through a set of classic rock and a few Blues numbers.
Next up was the Reba Russell Band. While we have been fortunate to catch this great band a few times this was definitely the best set we have see from this talented group. Quite an enjoyable set of music from their newest release Eight.
Turning away from the Blues again, the next act was Poppa Grows Funk. It was out first chance to hear this group and they did a fine job working through a jazzy set of funk music.
Michael Burks was up next to return our attention to the Blues! He played many of the tunes from his last two Alligator releases I Smell Smoke and Iron Man. Michael is quite an amazing guitarist and he did a fine job of giving us our Blues fix for the day! He has a new Alligator release coming later this year! Watch for it as we know it will be impressive!
The final act for the festival was Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk. The family ties to the Neville Brothers was apparent. This band was voted 2007’s “New Orleans Best Funk Band” and they did a great job of showing why!
Our first experience with the Ozarks Music Festival was quite enjoyable. You should put it on your list for next year!
Photos and review by Bob Kieser
Featured Blues Review 1 of 6
Charles Walker - Soul Stirring Thing
14 tracks; 65:33 minutes; Splendid
Style: Soul, Soul-Blues
“Blues” is a big house with many rooms; this week, I’m in the “Soul” room. Compared to the Blues CDs I usually review, I found more emphasis on the song and singer (the legendary Charles Walker) and less on instrument solos, especially guitar. Recorded with no harmonica or horns, the CD does feature a few guitar solos courtesy of the fantastic Fred James. Here, a verse of lyrics is not just an excuse for another lengthy and ponderous guitar solo (as is too often the case in “Blues” CDs). On this album, there are no twelve bar Blues or A-A-B rhyme schemes, but, as the term “Soul” implies, there are, simply said, moving-songs from deep within Walker’s heart and viscera.
Truly one of the last great Soul singers, Charles "Wigg" Walker started his recording career at the Champion Label in 1959 and moved to Chess records in 1962. While a Motown staff writer, he established a reputation as an exciting live performer. A few years ago Charles was approached by a local Nashville Funk band called The Dynamites about being their lead singer. Their popularity grew into gaining attention nationally. Their 2007 release "Kaboom" finally broke Charles Walker in the US market. As successful as The Dynamites are, Charles still wanted to continue recording traditional Soul and Blues; thus, this record produced by Fred James.
Nashville producer Fred James is a documentarian, a musician and entrepreneur, and his Bluesland Productions is considered one of the world's foremost independent music companies devoted to Blues, Soul, and American Roots music. On this CD, producer James also plays all instruments, except organ, and adds background vocals along with Mary-Ann Brandon. Hammond organ wizard Billy Earheart of the Amazing Rhythm Aces was picked for the numerous keyborad parts.
The very first song, the title track, gives the listener a good example of the CDs content and style. One of four composed by Walker and his song-writing partner Conrad McDonald, the track is like many in going well beyond typical Blues themes. For thirty seconds, the drums and bass pop, the organ wells up, the guitar punctuates, and then Walker slowly and masterfully powers up the vocals. Weary in a work-a-day world, he reveals, “... now when I find time to share a little laughter, I feel something move all up inside, and, let me tell you, that’s a soul stirring thing.” As more “soul-stirring” examples are cited, the background vocals on the three word title make it so catchy that it’s a natural for singing along. Throughout, potent lyrics abound, and all songs are backed by smooth, expert instrumentation.
Charles is one of the few remaining original soul singers from when “old school” was brand new on pop AM radio (e.g. 1965’s KXOK in St. Louis). If you’re a Soul fan, you’re sure to enjoy this Walker-James release.
Reviewer James "Skyy Dobro" Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ, Master of Ceremonies, and longtime Blues Blast Magazine contributor. His weekly radio show "Friends of the Blues" can be heard Saturdays 8 pm - Midnight on WKCC 91.1 FM and at www.wkccradio.org in Kankakee, IL.
To See James “Skyy Dobro” Walker's CD rating system, CLICK HERE
|2007 Blewzzy Award Best CD Winner & Blues Blast Magazine Best Song Nominee Release Second CD|
|Steve Gerard & The National Debonaires |
Words Are Like Bullets
|Order at www.blueedgerecords.com plus CD Baby and iTunes|
Blues Society News
You can submit a maximum of 175 words or less in a Text or MS Word document format.
The Decatur Blues Society - Decatur, IL
The Decatur Blues Society is holding their 1st annual "Blues Challenge" October 16th at the Bourbon Barrel in Decatur, Illinois. The winner of the band & the solo/duo divisions will receive a slot in the 2011 International Blues Competition in Memphis next February. In addition $1,000 travel money will be awarded the band winner, & $500 to the solo/duo winner. Information & entry forms are available at www.decaturblues.org Entry deadline is September 25th.
The Wichita Blues Society - Wichita, KS
The Wichita Blues Society presents the Fall Blues Crawl Sunday, Sept. 26 at 5p.m. in Wichita Old Town. Cost: $5 - get your wristbands at each of the venues and at the WBS tent in the Old Town Plaza. Who's Playing? Loft 150* - Nobody's Business, Heroes* - Berry Harris, Brickyard - Fabulous Fleshtones, Morts - JukeRoots, Larkspur* – Cleveland Blue (challenge winner), Rock Island Live – Josh Vowell & The Rumble (challenge winner), America's Pub - 360 Degrees and at Club Indigo - Made from Scratch. There will be an after party at 8 p.m. with Samantha Fish Blues Band from K.C. at America's Pub for more information visit www.wichitablues.org
The West Virginia Blues Society - Huntington, W.V.
The 4th Annual Appalachian Blues Competition is Oct.2, 2010 at Tomahawks Smokehouse & Saloon Sponsored by the West Virginia Blues Society. Winners in Band, Solo/Duo and Youth Division will move on to the International Blues Challenge In Memphis, Tn. Feb 2011. Entry fee is: $ 50. Cash Prizes will be, 1 St. Place $ 500 Band Winner, 2 nd. Place $200 Band, Solo/Duo Winner $ 200 and $ 100 Youth Division. Rules and App. at www.wvbluessociety.org or call, 304-389-1439. Deadline is Sept. 15, 2010.
Alabama Blues Project - Northport, AL
On Thursday, September 16, 2010, Tuscaloosa will have a rare treat when internationally acclaimed, Grammy nominee (and Blues Blast Music Award Nominee) Ruthie Foster will perform at the Bama Theatre 600 Greensboro Avenue, Tuscaloosa, AL in a benefit concert for the Alabama Blues Project. For sponsorship and ticket inquiries please call (205) 752-6263 or email Cara Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Friends Of The Blues - Watseka, IL
2010 Friends of the Blues shows - September 21, Shawn Pittman, 7 pm , Kankakee Valley Boat Club, October 12, Too Slim & Taildraggers, 7 pm , Kankakee Valley Boat Club, October 26, Perry Weber & DeVilles, 7 pm , Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club. For more info see: http://www.wazfest.com/JW.html
Featured Blues Review 2 of 6
The Swamp Kings - Swamp Appeal
The Swamp Kings, hailing from Minnesota, have most of the makings for a crack swamp pop-cajun band. The guitar skills of Tom Harkness add subtle, slithery or funky grooves as befits the tunes. At times his playing has the feel of Creedence Clearwater Revival - meets-Tony Joe White. This chugging little band is propelled by the in-the-pocket shuffle drumming of Connor McRae and the rock steady bass of Matt Page. Serviceable accordion and organ add to the desired effect from time to time.
"Lafayette Polka" displays the kind of dance floor grooves they are capable of. "Swamp Appeal" grows on you after repeated listenings as the guitar and drums lock into an addictive groove. "44 Y'alls" shows hem at their funky best. "Red Pepper" comes close to winning the crawfish award for a swampy blues with good harmonica playing and nifty washboard percussion.
After all is said and done, what The Swamp Kings lack is authenticity. The lyrics and vocals don't ring true with a swamp feel. It's obvious the band has a genuine liking for the genre, tossing aroud a bunh of Louisiana catch-phrases dosen't make make for anything approaching authentic. The makings os a top-notch instrumental or roots-rock band are here. Louisiana's loss would be Minnesota's and our gain. I just get the idea they are barking up the wrong swamp oak.
Reviewer Greg 'Bluesdog' Szalony is from the New Jersey Delta. He is proprietor of Bluesdog's Doghouse a http://bluesdog61.multiply.com.
Featured Review 3 of 6
Peter Parcek 3 – The Mathematics Of Love
Redstar Entertainment/Vizztone 2009
10 tracks, 46.52 minutes.
A new name to me, Peter Parcek has been around for some time, most recently playing guitar with the Singhs, a band that has a strong following in Asia and Europe. The three piece featured here is his main focus at present and the rhythm section of Steve Scully on drums and Mark Hickox on bass are also members of the Singhs. This CD offers a good variety of styles and provides an excellent introduction to Peter’s music.
Born in Connecticut, Peter spent some time in London where he was exposed to many of the British guitarists of the day, notably Peter Green, whose “Showbiz Blues” (a track from the last Fleetwood Mac LP that Green played on, “Then Play On”) opens the CD in great style, with plenty of slide guitar. The next two numbers are both originals: title song “The Mathematics Of Love” is a more acoustic tune, before Peter offers a playful instrumental entitled “Rollin’ With Zah” with plenty of ‘chicken scratch’ guitar.
“Lord, Help The Poor And Needy” comes from the pen of Jessie Mae Hemphill and is played as a slow blues with atmospheric guitar nicely underscored by keyboard loops. Following on thematically is an upbeat instrumental version of Lucinda Williams’ “Get Right With God” which really moves along above propulsive drumming and insistent guitar. “Tears Like Diamonds” is a slow paced number written by Peter, whose rather world weary voice is well suited to the tune and the sad lyrics. Beautifully crafted guitar lines enhance the song which is a low key highlight of an impressive album.
Moving up in pace we then get a nice version of Fred McDowell’s “Kokomo Me Baby”. I particularly liked the drumming here, with some of the rhythm played on the rims! “New Year’s Eve” is a backporch affair written by Peter and David Herwaldt, with acoustic bass (possibly Marty Ballou) and harp. Ronnie Earl guests on this one, a remix of the tune which was originally on an earlier CD. Although uncredited, the harp is well done – is it also Peter?
“Busted”, originally written by Harlan Howard, is a song that we all know from Ray Charles. The familiar tune is taken as an instrumental wrapped in swirling organ tones and muscular guitar. After about five minutes the organ takes over and we realise that it is Al Kooper playing, along with psychedelic guitar which takes us back to ‘space rock’ sounds! It’s an impressive tour de force and one of the highlights of the album. Final tune is a short acoustic “Evolution” penned by Cousin Joe Pleasant, a relaxed finale to the album and right back to the country blues.
Overall an excellent CD which has plenty to offer in a wide variety of styles. Well worth checking out!!
Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK..
Featured Blues Review 4 of 6
Phil Gates – Addicted To The Blues
Self Release 2010
12 tracks, 43.03 minutes.
Phil Gates is a Chicago native but has been based in LA since the late 80’s. He is an experienced session musician whose ‘day job’ in the aerospace industry seems to have given him a solid background in the technical aspects of recording. Phil has previously produced four solo albums, a film soundtrack and written a book on recording the guitar! On this latest CD Phil plays all guitars plus keys, bass and drum programming on entirely self composed material. The CD booklet contains full lyrics to all the songs. There are just a few musicians providing additional percussion, keys or backing vocals on a few tracks.
Although the CD is credited to “The Phil Gates Band” all recording, mixing and production is by Phil, so this is a really personal effort. Unfortunately, that also presents a problem for the CD. There is a certain ‘flatness’ to the sound which may be a consequence of the drum programming. Certainly where there is some additional percussion and accordion, as on opening tune “Get Around To Me”, the results are better.
The second track “Sexy Little Cool” features an attractive guitar figure, played on slide; “Evening Train” is a fast shuffle with some nice country feel guitar. “My Babe” and “I Never Knew” are classic shuffles, with good guitar. The title song is hampered by pedestrian drumming and Phil’s voice seems more strained here than on other tracks.
I enjoyed the sole instrumental “Road Shufflin’” more than many of the vocal tracks. Putting the strong guitar playing right upfront in the mix pays off here. The final song “The Wisdom” is different in style, with choral backing vocals against a shuffle drum figure and a guitar solo that reminded me of Dicky Betts (Allman Brothers).
Phil’s voice is adequate for the material and he is obviously a talented guitar player, but in my view he would have done better to bring in other players. I would have liked to be more positive as there is clearly a huge amount of endeavour and commitment here, but overall I did not find it easy to sustain interest through the whole CD.
Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK.
Featured Blues Review 5 of 6
Charlie Musselwhite – The Well
In a career that has spanned five decades, Charlie Musselwhite has had a number of recordings that capture the full extent of his talents. He is an acknowledged master of the blues harmonica and later in his career; he started to feature himself on guitar and vocals. His latest recording is a stunning collection that strips away all of the fat and allows listeners to really hone in on Musselwhite’s superb rendering of the blues tradition.
The all-original program serves as a testament to Musselwhite’s skill as a songwriter. Whether it’s the easy-going swing of “Dig the Pain” or the driving pulse of “Just You, Just Blues”, the songs find Charlie ruminating on various parts of his life, occasionally serving up advice or warnings from his hard-earned experiences. He gets expert backing from Dave Gonzales on guitar, John Bazz on bass and Stephen Hodges on drums. The trio format leaves plenty of room for the music to breathe and never overshadows Musselwhite’s half-spoken vocal style.
“Cook County Blues” is a shuffle with Gonzales on backing vocal that relates the unfortunate results of one of Musselwhite’s actual arrests with the leader laying down a brief but mesmerizing harp solo. On “Cadillac Women”, he relates his preference for money-grabbing women despite the cautionary warnings from his parents. The disc opens with another stark autobiographical number, “Rambler’s Blues” with Gonzales (Paladins, Hacienda Brothers) contributing a taut guitar part over a stomping beat from Hodges. The jaunty rhythm of the title cut belies Musselwhite’s tale of how he broke free of alcohol in response to the events that lead to the rescue of Jessica McClure from a Texas well. Mavis Staples lends a hand on “Sad and Beautiful World”, written in response to the murder of Musselwhite’s mother in 2005.
Switching to guitar, Musselwhite uses the slower pace of “Good Times” to reflect on the ups and downs of life. The eerie “Hoodoo Queen” combines references to Marie Laveau with swirling guitar licks and mournful harp tones. Musselwhite’s harp playing is spotlighted on two instrumentals. The brief “Sonny Payne Special” is a tribute to the famous DJ of the King Biscuit radio program, with the leader and Gonzales firing off impressive solos. “Clarksdale Getaway” is all Musselwhite, a four-minute reminder that he has few peers on the harmonica, playing with power and the full-bodied tone he is known for. Musselwhite may not possess the strongest singing voice but he delivers a stirring performance on “Where Hwy 61 Runs”, his tribute to the home of the blues - the Mississippi delta.
You can be sure that this recording will garner its share of nominations this year for the various blues music awards. It is simply the best pure blues recording I have heard in quite awhile. No frills, no false sentiments – just honest songwriting combined with down-home rhythms and sterling musicianship. Every self-respecting blues fan should quickly find a place for The Well in their musical collection. It gets the highest recommendation – and will no doubt stand as a masterpiece in Musselwhite’s storied career!!!
Ladies Sing The Blues Cruise
A 5 day Carnival Cruise on the Triumph
Ever wish you could afford to take a Blues cruise but know you are in the wrong tax bracket to afford one? Well there is an alternative at a lower cost.
Fan Cruises has announced a five day Carnival Cruise departing from New Orleans December 6, 2010 with Ports of Call in Progreso, Mexico, and Cozumel, Mexico.
This special package includes private concerts by three Blues Ladies and cruise prices start at just $155 each for double occupancy, (plus plus $259.67 each for fees, taxes and gratuities). This Caribbean cruise include three private Blues concerts, private cocktail party with open bar, autograph signings and meet & greet time with the performers.
You can get a cabin for two for $830 total! (You can add a 3rd or 4th person to your cabin for only $10 & the fees each.) Or for a great early Christmas present for you and your loved one get the BEST cabins on the boat for a total cost of $1,290 for two people! (Panorama Deck 10 - Forward and Lido Deck 9 - Midship)
The Blues Lady performers include Pat Hunter, Terri Lynn & Thunder Blues and Vivian Vance Kelly. Other special guests include Boston band member Kimberley Dahme, Sarasota Slim, Steve Nixon and Kevin Kathey. It is NOT all Blues all the time. It is an affordable 5 day Caribbean cruise. Up close with these great musicians and includes two ports of call (including the island of Cozumel, with three Blues concerts and a Blues party! For more information visit their website at http://fancruises.com
Featured Review 6 of 6
Brent Bennett - It Must Be the Blues
Brent Bennett Music
9 tracks - Total time: 40:20
Singer/songwriter/guitarist Brent Bennett lives in Franklin, Indiana, a small but highly arts-conscious town thirty-some miles south of Indianapolis. Although he’s more established as an alt country/country-rock artist who’s garnered regular airplay on European and Australian radio for several years now, Bennett is also an able bluesman who made this recording specifically to show his long-standing love and feel for this music. Backed only by bassist Floyd Tucker and drummer Carl LoSasso, Bennett has assembled here a sterling repertoire of modern blues classics that demonstrates just that, a demonstration made musically eloquent by his impassioned vocals and excellent guitar playing. Bassist Tucker is also integral to the sound of the CD with his insistent, omnipresent riffs that resonate throughout as a low-note second guitar, with his churning bass the driving force behind the boogie shuffle melodic line of track 2, the Delbert McClinton-penned “Too Much Stuff.” Drummer LoSasso is an insistent presence on the last track, “Ashokan Farewell,” where his strong drumming accents add a sense of urgency to this bittersweet instrumental’s lyrical pensiveness. “Ashokan Farewell” is one of only two songs on this CD that aren’t blues; the other one, track 6, the title track, is a typical Brent Bennett original, a darkly melancholy country ballad of lost love played on solo acoustic guitar.
The remaining seven blues tracks divide into two categories, the slow, plaintive blues that characterize three tracks; and up-tempo blues that owe much in their arrangements to modern blues-rock for the remaining four. The slow-plaintive numbers are the opening track, Ray Charles’s traditional gambling blues, “Blackjack;” track 3, Otis Rush’s mid-1950s classic, “So Many Roads, So Many Trains;” and the 10-minute, 52-second version of Fenton Robinson’s “Loan Me a Dime,” track 8. The four fast tracks include, besides “Too Much Stuff,” Sam Cooke’s gospel/soul lament, “Somebody Have Mercy,” track 4; B.B. King’s “You Upset Me Baby,” track 5; and the Willie Dixon-penned “My Babe” recorded memorably by Little Walter, track 7. In all these latter three, Bennett incorporates elements from contemporary blues-rock into the standard arrangements, while still maintaining fealty to the feel of the originals. It is a striking re-creation of these classics that still upholds their original flavor. Something similar is done by Bennett on the three slow blues numbers as well, newly arranging them while still keeping their original feel and substance.
Brent Bennett’s particular forte is his flair for guitar solos, frequently long solos that still hold the listener’s attention throughout. Bennett’s often elaborate and multifaceted solos are economical at the same time—no element or note is wasted or superfluous, and all the various parts of a Brent Bennett guitar solo fit together as though they were specially machined to do so. This strength shows throughout but most especially on his treatment of “Loan Me a Dime,” which has solos at the beginning, the middle, and the end of the song, yet never cause the song to lose its continuity.
Reviewer George "Blues Fin Tuna" Fish hails from Indianapolis, Indiana, home of blues legends Yank Rachell and Leroy Carr. He has written a regular music column for several years. He wrote the liner notes for Yank Rachell’s Delmark album, Chicago Style. He has been a blues and pop music contributor for the left-wing press as well, and has appeared in Against the Current and Socialism and Democracy.
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