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Friday, June 25, 2010

Illinois Blues Blast!

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June 24, 2010 
© 2010 Blues Blast Magazine
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Hey Blues Fans,
We announced the nominees for the 2010 Blues Blast Music Awards this week. Those nominated include Joe Louis Walker , Mike ZitoSean Costello , The Holmes Brothers, Dave Riley & Bob Corritore, David Maxwell & Louisiana Red, Eddie C. Campbell, Fiona Boyes,  The Kilborn Alley Blues Band, Mississippi Heat, Jackie Scott & The Housewreckers, Alabama Mike, Marquise Knox Quintus McCormickShaun Murphy Pete Anderson Candye Kane, Janiva Magness, Ruthie Foster, Shemekia Copeland, Zora Young, Magic Slim & The Teardrops, Nick Moss & The Flip Tops, Rick Estrin & The Night Cats, The Mannish Boys, Tommy Castro Band, Bobby Rush, Joe Bonamassa, John Németh, Cash Box Kings, Damon Fowler, Joanne Shaw Taylor and The Insomniacs. In case you missed it all of the nominees are listed on our website. (CLICK HERE) Or scroll down to the bottom of this issue to see who was nominated and for what!
Check out the new streaming "listening site" in partnership with our friends and sponsors at WGLT Blues Radio 24/7 in Bloomington, IL. You can listen to selections by the artists nominated BEFORE you vote. Be an informed voter. Check out the nominees now! - CLICK HERE
The 2010 Blues Blast Music Awards ceremonies will be held at Buddy Guy's Legends on Thursday October 28th, 2010. Tickets will go on sale in August.
Voting to determine the winners will start Thursday, July 8th and continue until August 31st. STAY TUNED!
Great Blues This Weekend! Blues Blast magazine will be heading to the Urbana Blues, Brews and BBQ Festival in Urbana, Illinois on Friday. They have a great lineup that includes Candy Foster, Big Bill Morganfield, Bernard Allison, The Sugar Prophets and Devon Allman's Honey Tribe on Friday and The Blues Decons, Bruiser and the Virtues, Eddie Taylor Jr. , Eddie Van Shaw Jr., Wayne Baker Brooks, John Lee Hooker Jr. Kilborn Alley Blues Band and Cedric Burnside & Lightning Malcom on Saturday. See their ad below or visit their website at  for more information.
On Saturday we will be heading back to Chicago to see one of the BEST shows of the Summer at the Clapton Crossroads Concert. This is the place to be this weekend to see a lineup that features most of the BEST guitar players on the planet including Sonny Landreth, Robert Randolph, Joe Bonamassa, Pino Daneile, Robert Cray, Jimmie Vaughan, Hubert Sumlin, Bert Jansch, Stefan Grossman, ZZ Top, Doyle Bramhall, Gary Clark, Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill, Albert Lee, James Burton, Keb Mo, Citizen Cope, Earl Klugh, John Mayer, Buddy Guy, Jonny Lang, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, Warren Haynes, David Hidalgo, Cesar Rojas, Johnny Winter, Jeff Beck, Steve Winwood, BB King and of course Eric Clapton himself. WOW!!!!!
We will have complete coverage of all the fun in an upcoming issue. Stay Tuned!
Blues Wanderings
We caught a performance by Blues Legend Buddy Guy this week. He was in Peoria, IL for a concert and he proved that Blues plays in Peoria.
Emerging Blues artists Moreland and Arbuckle opened the concert and did a great set of music from their new CD Flood! Guitarist Aaron Moreland and harpist/vocalist Dustin Arbuckle are some artists to keep your eye on as these guys are really talented!
They were followed by a set from local favorites Backyard Tire Fire from Bloomington, IL.
Then Buddy Guy came out and the crowd jammed the area in front of the stage to get a look at this Blues legend. 
The show was well attended in spite of an impending thunder storm. After the first song the wind picked up and rain started to fall. During the 3rd song a HUGE wind swept through the crowd and the stage area. Buddy went ahead with one more tune before giving in to a solid rain and wind which materialized during the fourth song of the set. He regretfully had to call it a night as the forecast called for the violent weather to continue for several hours.
While we only got to see a few songs many in the crowd headed to area watering holes to talk about the brief but great show they had just seen from a Blues legend!
In This Issue
Part Two of our Three part coverage of the Chicago Blues Festival including the Harp & Soul Festival and day One of the Chicago Blues Festival. We have four new CD reviews this week! James "Skyy Dobro" Walker reviews a new CD by Reba Russell Band. John Mitchell reviews a new CD by Pinetop Perkins & Willie "Big Eyes" Smith.  Ian McKenzie reviews a new CD by The Eric Ranzoni Trio. Sheralyn Graise reviews a new CD from Shakura S’Aida. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!

 Chicago Blues Fest Coverage Part 2
Harp & Soul Festival - Thursday June 10, 2010
On Thursday June 10 we made it to the Harp & Soul Fest at Space in Evanston. The show was presented by Orman Music & Media Group/Frontrowmusic.Tv. It was our first visit to this venue which is partly owned by guitarist Dave Specter.
The Harp & Soul Fest featured Bob Corritore, Chris James, Patrick Rynn, Bob Riedy, Kenny "Beedy Eyes" Smith, Billy Flynn, Sam Lay, Rob Stone, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, Dave Specter, Billy Flynn, Grady Champion and Bob Stroger.
The show started of with Bob Corritore and some friends playing some real Chicago Blues. They were backing up Sam Lay, a former Chess Records recording artists who was handling the vocal duties. They had Billy Flynn on guitar, Kenny Beady Eyes Smith on drums and Patrick Rynn on bass. A great set by a talented group to put it mildly!
After they had the crowd warmed up several other configurations of this talented group played a few songs for the crowds pleasure. Rob Stome played a some tunes from his latest release with Sam Lay backing on drums and Chris James holding down guitar very handily.
Later the master Willie "Big Eyes" Smith took his turn out front, singing and playing harp with the legendary Bob Stroger on bass and son Kenny on drums again with Dave Specter playing guitar.
It was a fine show and we hope the Lynn Orman continues to produce such great events!
Comments & Photos by Bob Kieser

Day One Chicago Blues Festival - Friday June 11, 2010
On Friday the Chicago Blues Fest finally arrived  and we were ready for some great Blues in spite of the hot weather. One of the first acts up was Dave Weld & The Imperial Flames. This Chicago based group has a new CD out on Delmark Records called "Burnin" Love". The band played several selections from the new CD to an appreciative home town crowd.
The Windy City Blues Society had their own stage with a full roster of performers all three days of the fest which kicked off with Will Jacobs and Dirty Deal. Will is just a teenager but his music is VERY mature and he showed why he was chosen to represent the Windy City Society as a youth showcase act at the International Blues Challenge last January. His singing, songwriting and guitar playing skills are way beyond his years.
Next we got to hear Blues piano great Henry Gray in a set with harp player Andy Cornett. Henry has played with a multitude of artists including Robert Lockwood, Jr., Billy Boy Arnold, the Rolling Stones, Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf and cut several successful recording on Chess Records. At the age of 85 he still knows how to pound the keys.
International Blues Challenge winner Grady Champion was up soon after on the Mississippi Juke Stage and his set drew huge crowds.
Chris James, Patrick Rynn and Rob Stone played a set of real Blues on the Windy City stage.
There was a great set put on by Chicago Blues Legend Jimmy Dawkins as he shared the stage with fellow Chicago star Tail Dragger on the Front Porch Stage.
One of the best sets we saw at the whole festival put on by Kilborn Alley Blues Band on the Windy City stage. (Why aren't these guys on the main stage?????)
Chicago vocalist Mary Lane made her annual appearance at the Fest on the Gibson Crossroads stage and the hometown crowd loved it.
Drummer and vocalist Sam Lay put on a great set and was followed by Stevie J and The Blues Eruption.
Other performers in the afternoon included Cafe R&B who drew quite a crowd for their impressive stage show garnering many comparisons to a show by Tina Turner.
As the afternoon began winding down, we headed for the Petrillo Music Shell for the days headliners. This years festival theme was celebrating the100th birthday of Blues Legend Howlin' Wolf and the first set on the big stage was a group of folks who played with Wolf during his career including Eddie Shaw & The Wolf Gang
Jody Williams and Sam Lay
and Henry Gray.
But the most touching performance of the entire festival was when Wolf alumni Hubert Sumlin came out to show his stuff. At the age of 78 Hubert has a Blues pedigree like few others having held down the guitar duties for both Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters. Hubert was having some health issues that day and had missed his panel discussion earlier in the day on the topic of Howlin' Wolf. But he was not going to miss the chance to play with such a distinguished group of fellow Wolf Alumni so he walked out with his oxygen tank in tow and sat down to have what seemed like the time of his life playing with his old friends. As soon as he hit the first note, the entire group on the stage lit up and Hubert stole the show!
After the Howlin' Wolf set Otis Taylor took the stage for a solid set.
James Cotton was up next and he had Chicago Blues legend Matt "Guitar" Murphy with him to compliment his great harmonica performance. They also had Darrell Nulish sitting in on vocals and harp
The final act of the night was another Chicago based performer named Zora Young. Zora is a real powerhouse of a vocalist but does not seem to be very well known outside of the Midwest. Maybe that will change as she is nominated for Best Female Artist in the 2010 Blues Blast Music Awards.
Tired and happy, we wandered back to our hotel rooms to rest up for day two of the Chicago Blues Festival.
Comments by Bob Kieser. Photos by Bob Kieser and Marilyn Stringer (Where noted).
Next Week - Part Three of Chicago Blues Festival coverage.

 Featured Blues Review 1 of 4
Reba Russell Band - Eight
BEB Productions
13 tracks; 55:30 minutes; Library Quality
Styles: Contemporary Blues, Chicago Blues, Soulful ballads
Just ask James Cotton, Jimmy Thackery, Blues Revue editor Art Tipaldi or any of a host of other Blues insiders. They will tell you that if you have not caught up with Reba Russell and her band, then you are missing out on an accomplished vocalist who’s ability to emote from every fiber is something special! Reba Russell is the Blue Eyed Queen of Memphis having released seven previous CDs and having sung with everyone - including B.B. King on the U2 “Rattle and Hum” CD/DVD.
Reba is successfully, and fiercely, independent once rejecting a record company deal because she knew she could do it herself. She is sincere with straight forward honesty. In an earlier interview, she was less pretentious than any artist I have ever interviewed or met!
My WKCC Friends of the Blues Radio Show co-host D’Arcy “Shuffle Shoes” Ballinger, Blues fan Doug “Harpdog Hank” Golowski, and I listened to the new CD, “Eight,” as we drove to Hooterville to see the Kentucky Headhunters. Some of the caught thoughts:
Harpdog Hank: “Reba has at least one attitude song on every CD where she is trying to make a point.”
Shuffle Shoes: “As soft as she is and soft-touched, Reba Russell is one for sure that you got to say, ‘Don’t mistake kindness for weakness!’”
What they are talking about is Russell’s two sides, not unlike the Bible story of Jesus driving the money changers out of the temple: A heart full of love, yes; but, never a push over. For example, check these song titles: “Asshole,” Almost a Memory,” “You’re Hell,” and the sad indictment of a turncoat friend, “Rust.”
The album opens with a mid tempo gentle shuffle, “Almost a Memory.” Josh Roberts, who plays all guitars on the CD, is really creative here. Already known for rowdy slide guitar, his smooth and jazzy playing shows his maturity. Robert “Nighthawk” Tooms, a very integral part of the band, also takes a mid-song solo - a bouncy tour on the electric piano.
Next up, “Tender to Me” is a slow ballad with guitar as clear as can be. Reba edges out the pleading in the lead vocal and also does all backing vocals.
Knowing how to deftly pace a record, Reba and her co-producer Dawn Hopkins (together known as “Blue Eyed Bitches Productions”) put “Good Woman’s Gone” in the third track. Here Josh Roberts launches this upbeat killer with that aforementioned nasty slide guitar while Reba’s husband Wayne Russell plucks bass strings in conjunction with his rhythm room partner Doug McMinn on drums. “Nighthhawk” Tooms gets his first chance to honk away on harmonica as well as pounding steady notes on piano. This song elicited these comments:
Shuffle Shoes: “The whole band, as a unit, is more important that most operations,”
Harpdog Hank: “They are all playing like one – like a family.” As proof of the unified spirit, the liner notes include this quote from Reba to the band, “You are the best band in the whole world!”
Across the album, Reba rips on the six originals and interprets-like-she-owns six covers.
“Soul Wreckin’ Saturday” by J.A. “Mojo” Schicke (a former band guitarist) is given the soul baring treatment the song demands. Catchy-chorused “Asshole” by Mark Unobsky was not chosen to aim at any one person; it is a scatter-gun approach to anyone where the shoe fits. Reba’s song “You’re Hell” becomes the two word description for a mistake-of-a-man the narrator has allowed into her life, begging the question, “How does a person in a solid loving relationship like Reba with Wayne get the inspiration for such a song?” Wayne penned “Love Court” which has his bass leading the band into some funky territory.
The CD ends with the oddest of songs, “Hitler Lives,” by Mcenery and Crouch. The late Jim Dickinson gives a 59 second introduction (originally heard on “Beale Street Caravan”) explaining the song is NOT about Hitler. Instead, when people “hate their fellow man,” then “Hitler Lives.”
The CD is titled “Eight.” That number is a testimony to Reba Russell’s muse and drive, with Wayne Russell as her wheel man. Add this treasure to your library as either your next Reba Russell Band CD or your first.
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 in Kankakee, IL.
To See James “Skyy Dobro” Walker's CD rating system, CLICK HERE 
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

 Featured Blues Review 2 of 4
Pinetop Perkins, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith – Joined at the Hip
13 tracks; 58.33 minutes
Surely everybody reading Blues Blast will know all about Pinetop Perkins who was Muddy Water’s pianist through the 70’s and is the last living legend who played back in the 30’s. Pinetop will turn 97 in July and is still touring, often in the company of fellow Chicago legends, as is the case with his latest release alongside Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Muddy’s drummer for many years.
As has been the case for the last few years, Willie leaves the drum stool to front the band on harp and vocals, leaving the kit to his son, Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith. Bass is in the hands of the always immaculate (playing and suits) Bob Stroger and guitar is handled mainly by Little Frank Krakowski, a long-time associate of Smith’s, with some help from John Primer. This is therefore top level Chicago blues from a first class ensemble.
The songs are mainly drawn from Willie’s pen, with covers of some judiciously chosen favorites. The set opens in classic Chicago style with “Grown up to be a man” before one of my favorite tracks, an energetic romp through Sonny Boy 1’s “Cut that out”, with call and response vocals from both guys. Track three is “Take your eyes off my woman” (I know what’s on your mind) with excellent vocals from Willie. The longest cut is track 4 “Walking down the Highway” which at 6.40 offers lots of solo scope for everyone. Special mention to Kenny’s emphatic drumming here!
Next up is “Gambling Blues” a rolling blues shuffle with strong harp work and a nice clear guitar solo. “I would like to have a girl like you” is a shuffle with a strong beat and hook. Track 7 is the gospel tune “Take my hand, Precious Lord”, sung by Pinetop and apparently a spontaneous recording in the studio – witness the amusing ending, with a quick quote from “Jingle Bells”! Given Pinetop’s age one always fears that he may know something we do not, but he sounds in rude health here!
A really swinging tune, with great piano, “You’d better slow down” precedes the only instrumental on the CD, entitled “Minor Blues”. Another swinger, this was apparently also an improvised cut in the studio and is a harp feature for Willie, with a nice walking bass part.
“I feel so good” is the tune we all know from Big Bill Broonzy. Here the band takes the tune at a fastish pace with Willie’s relaxed vocal a strong feature. “Lord, Lord, Lord” sounds like it might be another gospel tune, but instead it is a sad slow blues about lost love. In sharp contrast “Grindin’ man” is a traditional blues theme with a lascivious lyric about the strong demand for the grinder’s services amongst the ladies! Interestingly this little jewel is sung by Pinetop himself, so perhaps that is what keeps him so fit!
Closer is SBW11’s “Eyesight to the Blind”, played at a fast pace and bookending the CD well with a return to the classic Chicago sound of the opening cut.
So, there it is. 97 years young, still playing beautifully, singing, recording and touring. Hats off to Pinetop Perkins; may we all live so long and so well! And kudos also to Willie “Big Eyes” Smith and the rest of the band for a really enjoyable slice of classic Chicago blues.
Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK. He also travels to the States most years to see live blues music. He went on his first Legendary Blues Cruise in January 2010 and had such a good time he will be back in 2011! 
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

 Blues Society News

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The West Virginia Blues Societ presents the Charlie West Blues Festival July 17, 2010 at Charleston’s Appalachian Power Park. The “USO style” show will be a tribute to The WV National Guard. It’ll be a great day of music, and a great way for us to support the local families of our WV National Guard men and women who are serving active duty overseas.
Featured at the WVBS “Charlie West Blues Fest” will be national touring act The Jimi Vincent Band, Memphis, Tn. International Blues Challenge finalists, Mojo Theory, from Columbus, O., , WVBS Appalachian Blues Competition winner, Kristine Jackson, CrossRoads Band and rounding out the show will be Bryan Lee straight from New Orleans. The festival is free for all military members and their families, with military I.D. Veterans as well. Gate admission for the event will be $15. Food and beverages will be sold onsite. $ 30.00 for VIP Tickets. VIP Tent Party’s for $ 900, inc. 30 VIP Tickets ,wings, beer, pop and water. Gates open at 5 pm. Advance ticket sales at 304-344-2287. Best Western Charleston Plaza has room packages for the Festival, just say, "Charlie West Blues Fest". Ph. (304) 345-9779 1010 Washington Street East East Charleston, WV 25301. For more info visit
The Nashville Blues Society presents legendary soul-blues performer Bobby Rush and his group, including the Bobby Rush dancers, on Saturday, June 26, at Jefferson’s Showplace in Nashville at 8 p.m. Tickets are available now at  or by calling 615-457-8876. Jefferson’s Showplace is at 1036 Jefferson St., Nashville, TN 37208 Doors open at 7 p.m. For more information about the Nashville Blues Society or this performance, please visit  . 
Alabama Blues Project - Northport, AL
Alabama Blues Project 2010 Summertime Blues Camp will be held July 19-23 at Covenant Presbyterian Church on Hargrove Road in Tuscaloosa, AL. For more information please contact Cara Smith at (205) 752-6263 or You may also find out much more about our Summertime Blues Camp by clicking here to visit our 2009 review.
Los Angeles Blues Society - Los Angeles, CA
The Los Angeles Blues Society is pleased to announce their Tenth Open Jam to be held on Sunday June 20th, 2010 from 2pm to 6 pm at Main Street Restaurant, 4902 Main St. Yorba Linda, CA. The host band will be Blues Straight Up. All jammers and friends welcome. Come down to jam, listen and have a great time. For more info visit
The Washington Blues Society’s local competitions for the 2011 International Blues Challenge will be held on Sunday, June 20th and Sunday, June 27th at the award-winning Highway 99 Blues Club in Seattle. Depending on the number of entries received, there may be an additional competition on July 11th or July 25th. The preliminary solo/duo competitions will be held on either Sunday, June 27th or one of the July dates above. Competition finals will be held on Sunday, August 22nd at the the Snohomish Taste Of Music Festival.
Any Washington State blues act may enter, and the act must include at least one who is a member of the WBS. Band entry fee is $30.00 and solo/duo entry fee is $15.00. Entry deadline is Thursday, June 10th. For complete info see the website at: or email
Crossroads Blues Society - Rockford, IL
Crossroads Blues Society is producing their very first Blue festival this year. The Byron Crossroads Blues Festival will run from noon to midnight on Saturday, August 28, 2010, in downtown Byron, Illinois.
The festival lineup includes The Resistors, noted artists Filisko and Noden, The Cashbox Kings, Westside Andy/Mel Ford Band and Dave Weld and the Imperial Flames. For more information visit the Crossroads website at:
Columbia College - Chicago, IL
The 2010 Youth Blues Camp will be held at Columbia College Chicago Music Center, 1014 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago July 4 – 9, 2010 by Artistic Director, Fernando Jones.  For complete information visit
2010 Friends of the Blues shows - Saturday, July 03, Reba Russell Band, River Bend Bar & Grill, 6070 E. Route 17, Kankakee IL (815) 933-0610, Saturday, July 8, Sugarcane Collins, Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club, July 9, Sugarcane Collins, Watseka Theatre Club Cafe Watseks, IL, August 10, Sean Chambers,River Bend Bar & Grill, 6070 E. Route 17, Kankakee IL (815) 933-0610 September 21, Shawn Pittman,Kankakee Valley Boat Club. For more info see: 
Illinois Central Blues Club - Springfield, IL
BLUE MONDAY SHOWS - Held at the Alamo 115 N 5th St, Springfield, IL (217) 523-1455 every Monday 8:30pm $3 cover. June 28 - Bryan Lee, July 5 - Little Joe McLerran, July 12 - Michael Charles Band, July 19 - Laurie Morvan, July 26 - Bill Evans Birthday Bash
The River City Blues Society presents Blues shows during the summer season. The shows start at 7:00pm at Good Fellas Pizza and Pub, 1414 N 8TH St Pekin, IL. Admission for all shows is $4 or $3 for RCBS members. Shows currently scheduled are: Tuesday June 29th, 2010 - Bryan Lee, Thursday July 15th, 2010 - Joel Paterson and Wednesday July 28th, 2010 - Andrew "Junior Boy" Jones.

Friday, July 30, 2010
Saturday, July 31, 2010

Festival Website
The only Blues festival held on an island in the middle of the Mississippi River!
 Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin on St. Feriole Island

 Featured Blues Review 3 of 4
The Eric Ranzoni Trio - Live At Round Midnight Blues Bar
GUGU Records
Nine tracks 45:03
Recorded live in London – October 2009
Eric Ranzoni is a keyboard player who without doubt has mastered the boogie/blues style of many of his heroes; Memphis Slim, Big Maceo Merriweather, Otis Span and others. Working here with Lewis Fielding, guitar and Julien d’Imperio, harmonica, and recorded live, we are offered Memphis Slim’s Lonesome Traveller, a handful of songs, best known as vehicles for Muddy Waters (Rollin’ and Tumbling, Hoochie Coochie Man, Got My Mojo Working) a touch of Howling Wolf with Little Red Rooster and so on.
All of the tracks, as will be clear from the above, are covers, there is no original material here at all and, although the music is delivered with enthusiasm there is not much to commend it to readers to encourage them to purchase a CD. Ranzoni’s vocals are adequate (his keyboard work is great) and the guitar and harmonica fill the gaps in a workman like way.
To be fair, I suspect that, in the Round Midnight Blues Bar, at around midnight, patrons and fans enthused by tributes to a selection of key black blues musicians might well be expected to buy a few copies of the CD to be played once or more to remember a night out on the town.
Reviewer Ian McKenzie lives in England. He is the editor of Blues In The South , a monthly flier providing news, reviews, a gig guide and other good stuff for people along the south coast of England. Ian is also a blues performer (see and has a web-cast Blues radio show on www.phonic.FM in Exeter (Wednesdays: 1pm Eastern/ 12 noon Central).
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

 Blues Want Ads
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Buy or sell equipment , musicians wanted, gigs wanted, help wanted, information wanted etc. Limit 100 words. 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
Band Leader Looking For A Label & Gigs
Koko Taylor's band leader Vino Louden is alive and well ...back from a terrible vehicle accident and near death experience playing and singing the blues. Looking for a label and gigs. Contact at 773-318-2492
Guitarist Seeking Work
Older/experienced guitarist who played with Texas Bluesman, Johnny Clyde Copeland before his passing away looking for gig with touring band. Also available for recording session work in and around Northern Il., So. Wisconsin area. I can be reached at… or 815-235-6020 from 7:00Am to 3:30Pm Mon.-Fri. or @ 608-214-7868 after 3:30pm or weekends. Have gear,will play….
Blues Music Reviewers Wanted
Blues Blast Magazine is looking for reviewers to review new Blues CDs, DVDs and books. If you have a background and experience with Blues music and like to write we can provide new music releases for you to review. Person must be willing to write a minimum of one review every other week. Reviewer keeps the CD/DVDs for writing the review.  If interested please send a sample of your writing and a short bio of your Blues background to Please include your phone number with the reply.

 Featured Blues Review 4 of 4
Shakura S’Aida - Brown Sugar
12 Tracks
Shakura S’Aida is a multicultural phenomenon in one. Born in Brooklyn, New York but raised in Switzerland, she has made Canada her home, particularly Toronto, for over 20 years.
In 2008, she was the first runner up in the International Blues Challenge (IBC). She has also been a Maple Blues Award nominee a number of years. She has an impressive resume having been in the entertainment business: on stage, in film and television, including one of my favorite shows, Flashpoint. Brown Sugar is her debut CD for Ruf Records. Ten of the tracks were written by S’Aida and her writing partner and guitarist, Donna Grantis. The other members of her band are Dave Smith on bass, Steve Potts on drums, Rick Steff on keyboards, and Lance Anderson on organ.
First, kudos to her for donating proceeds from downloads of “Angels On High” from her website to Haitian relief efforts. Secondly, at least a few of the tunes on the CD are headed to my mp3 player, especially “Chasing The Sun.” Hattie, the heroine of the song, “closed her eyes too long to the possibilities,… (she was) stuck in the past, she wouldn’t give change a try. Blind to the joy that shines each day. Chasing the sun that’s how she lost her way.” I’m afraid that there is a little bit of Hattie in all of us. Of the two songs not written by the team of S’Aida and Grantis, one is a hit and one is a miss. “Anti Love Song.” is the hit. Oddly, it immediately follows a song titled, “This Is Not A Love Song.” There may be a theme here. Anyway, the two songs have totally different vibes. I call “Outskirts Of Memphis” the tribute to the IBC as it shouts out to Memphis institutions and the surrounding area.
The CD is a mix of blues, R&B, and ballads. For those who insist on labels, she could be considered a bluesy jazz singer or jazzy blues singer. Better yet, just call her a good singer.
Reviewer Sheralyn Graise graduated from the University of Akron a while back. A former Social Services professional, she is now pursuing other interests such as music history, writing, and photography. She has been a member of the Blues Foundation since 2001.
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

Listen to music by each of the nominees at a listening site set up by our sponsor WGLT Blues Radio 24/7 in Bloomington, IL. Be an informed voter and check out the music of the nominees now! - CLICK HERE
Best Contemporary Blues CD
Best Traditional Blues CD
Joe Louis Walker - Between A Rock And the Blues Dave Riley & Bob Corritore - Lucky To Be Living
Mike Zito - Pearl River David Maxwell & Louisiana Red - You Got To Move
Nick Moss - Privileged Eddie C. Campbell - Tear This World Up
Sean Costello - Sean's Blues Fiona Boyes - Blues Woman
The Holmes Brothers - Feed My Soul The Kilborn Alley Blues Band - Better Off Now
Tommy Castro - Hard Believer Mississippi Heat - Let's Live It Up
Best Blues Song
Best New Artist Debut Release
Jackie Scott & The Housewreckers -
How Much Woman Can You Stand?
Alabama Mike - Day To Day
Joe Louis Walker - I'm Tide Jackie Scott & The Housewreckers -
How Much Woman Can You Stand?
Mike Zito & Cyril Neville - Pearl River Marquise Knox - Man Child
Pete Anderson - Still In Love Quintus McCormick - Hey Jodie!
Quintus McCormick - Hey Jodie! Shaun Murphy - Livin' The Blues
The Kilborn Alley Blues Band- Better Off Now  
Best Female Blues Artist
Best Male Blues Artist
Candye Kane Bobby Rush
Fiona Boyes Joe Bonamassa
Janiva Magness John Németh
Ruthie Foster Magic Slim
Shemekia Copeland Nick Moss
Zora Young Tommy Castro
Best Blues Band
Sean Costello Rising Star Award
Magic Slim & The Teardrops Cash Box Kings
Nick Moss & The Flip Tops Damon Fowler
Rick Estrin & The Night Cats Jackie Scott & The Housewreckers
The Holmes Brothers Joanne Shaw Taylor
The Mannish Boys Marquise Knox
Tommy Castro Band The Insomniacs

 Live Blues Calendar

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Performance dates were submitted by Musicians, Club Owners, Blues Societies and Blues festivals. is not responsible for errors or omissions.
CLICK HERE - for the Latest Complete Blues Calendar on our website at:
or click a state to see Blues shows by State
Performance dates submitted by Musicians, Clubs, Blues Societies and Blues festivals. is not responsible for errors or omissions.

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