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February 27, 2008           

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

Hey Blues Fans,


Another busy Blues week here in the Central US.  Last Thursday The Blues Blast made it out to Normal, IL to hear The Todd Wolfe Project. Todd and his band put on a great show for a small but lively crowd of about 50 people. Todd has previously played guitar for Sheryl Crow. Todd's slide guitar playing definitely made the trip worth it. Sweet Tones! CLICK HERE to see the Todd Wolfe pictures.


We also made it to Springfield, Illinois last Sunday to catch 2008 International Blues Challenge solo/duo finalist Robert Sampson with his band, Pleasure Chest. Pleasure Chest presented a 2 hour Blues history of songs and stylings by Blues artists of every decade starting from the early 1920's through the Chicago Blues sounds of the 1980's.


This was a very enjoyable show. It was great to see Robert and his band. When Robert competed in the solo/duo finals earlier this month, he played only the keyboard in a great show for the finals.


We think the judges missed a huge talent ! This guy is a quadruple threat! Robert plays a mean harmonica, great guitar and slide in addition to the skills he showed on keyboards and vocals in Memphis.  Make it out to see Pleasure Chest! You won't regret it! CLICK HERE to see the Pleasure Chest pictures.


Rounding out our weeks Blues travels, we got another chance for a cool lesson in Blues history Monday night as the Peoria, IL Boy's and Girl's Club brought Michael "Hawkeye" Herman to town. Appearing in Peoria for a Blues in the Schools performance for Glen Oak School, Hawkeye gave an evening public performance.


It's easy to see why this internationally recognized Blues educator earned the Blues Foundation's "Keepin The Blues Alive" award.  CLICK HERE to see the Hawkeye pictures.







 Streaming Blues Link of the Week

John Lennon -Yer Blues

John Lennon on a 1968 TV Special called Rock and Roll Circus. This was Lennon's first performance in public without the Beatles. The band consisted of John, Eric Clapton, Mitch Mitchell (on drums) and Keith Richards.  We wonder what John would be playing today if he were still here. Somehow we think he would be playing Blues!  We found this vide on our Blues Link of the Week site below!  

Check out other great Blues Music Streams Click HERE

 Other IMPORTANT News   Help Save the music! CLICK HERE to Keep Blues Radio Alive!



May 9th & 10th - Fort Madison, IA
For tickets and details visit:  Simply The Blues Website

Friday May 9th

Magic Slim & The Teardrops

Eddie Turner

Leon Redbone

Louisiana Red

Second Skinny Blues Band

Saturday May 10th

Diunna Greenleaf

Zach Harmon

Shawn Kellerman

Trampled Under Foot

Alvin Jett

Rich Berry

Matt Wood & The Thunderbolts



 Blues Link of the Week

Last week we provided a sneak peek at this years 25th Annual Chicago Blues Fest lineup. This will be THE major Blues event of the summer.  For many Blues fans who are already making plans, we think this link could help.  Sweet Home Blues is all about Chicago Blues. Most helpful is the list of Chicago Blues musicians and Blues clubs. While neither list is complete or updated, it lists many of the Chicago Blues clubs which should be helpful for those wanting to migrate to some of Chicago's most popular Blues venues after the Chicago Blues fest each evening.  Check them out! CLICK HERE

For more Blues links, CLICK HERE to visit the Links Page

Top Croatian Guitarist

Nebojsa Buhin

 Guitar Language

MARCH 19 to MARCH 23rd
Coral Bay Ball Field – Coral Bay

Tab Benoit
Chubby Carrier & The Bayou Swamp Band
Waylon Thibodeaux
Sean Carney & The Sean Carney Band

For further information contact Steve Simon at 340-693-8120  or go to

6 live Blues shows over 5 days beginning on March 19th and running through March 23rd.

 Featured Blues Reviews 

Otis Taylor - Recapturing the Banjo

Telarc Blues Records # CD83667

By James “Skyy Dobro” Walker
14 songs; 52:48 minutes; Suggested

Genre: Roots Music; Banjo Music

Here is a CD that is not your typical “blues” album. This recording is made to, first, wrap your brain around. Accordingly, you come to realize that this is the “roots” of Roots Music. Secondly, stick into your eye a vision of history, a photo of “four big black guys with banjos in their hands.” [quote from Otis Taylor interview in Living Blues magazine Issue #194]. Thirdly, open your ears to banjo music that is not bluegrass. Finally, learn Taylor’s mission and simple message here, “the banjo came from Africa.” According to Otis Taylor, since the blues came from African-Americans, and the banjo came from Africa, then the “blues came from the banjo. Open tuning, Piedmont picking style, the whole package came from the banjo: the melody and rhythm at the same time, the whole Delta thing.” [LB #194]

Don’t let all that scare you off, however. The CD is entertaining and enlightening at the same time. It is not overly academic, nor is it a pushy history lesson in the process of being significant. For proof, check out track 7, “Hey Joe.” Here is a psychedelic cover of Billy Roberts’ song popularized by Jimi Hendrix. Taylor plays electric guitar ala Hendrix, daughter Cassie is the bassist, guest Alvin Youngblood Hart adds lap steel, guest Guy Davis plays harmonica, and Hart additionally picks a banjo as rhythm, not lead. Groovy? Yeah, man, it really is a trip (and a trip back to the late 60s)!

Demonstrating the album’s eclecticism, the very next song is as down home as a “raccoon in a [per]simmon tree.” “Little Liza Jane” with Guy Davis using the clawhammer picking style and Taylor on mandolin is as close to bluegrass as any song gets.

Other guests bring more musical turns. Keb’ Mo’ (Kevin Moore) uses finger picks and sings lead on his own “The Way It Goes” and on Taylor’s “Live Your Life.” In the latter, Ron Miles ethereal coronet soars beautifully above the inspiring “live your dreams” message while Cassie Taylor adds backup vocals. The next turn is the classic Gus Cannon tune “Walk Right In” with Corey Harris on vocals and banjo plus Don Vappie on banjo recapturing the jug band feel.

Anyone listen to music while walking (maybe running?) for your life and longevity? Play the opening track, and that marching rhythm will make your feet get the rest of you into great shape! This banjo-brigade opener, “Ran So Hard the Sun Went Down,” a Taylor original, features Hart, Harris, Vappie, Taylor himself (using no picks), and Cassie Taylor on bass and backup vocals. The music is completely exhilarating; the message is not. Listen to the story of the unfortunate black protagonist in the 1930s, and you will learn why he is running for his life.

For his ninth album, Otis Taylor, who has always featured the banjo on his various recordings,  presents, for your consideration, the banjo in a more transparent historical light. With plenty of lap steel and electric guitar included, Taylor continues his trademark of combining the past and the present in a powerful statement that informs as it keeps your feet dancing.  CLICK HERE to listen to sample and purchase this CD now

EDITORS NOTE: Otis Taylor and the Black Banjo Project are booked for the IH Mississippi Valley Blues Festival this July 3-5, 2008. Announcement coming soon.

James “Skyy Dobro” Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ and Blues Blast contributor. His weekly radio show “Friends of the Blues” can be heard each Thursday from 4:30 – 6:00pm on WKCC 91.1 FM in Kankakee, IL

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

Texas Northside Kings
Dialtone Records

Running Time: 44:45

Have you ever walked down Sixth Street in Austin, TX or been to Antone’s? If you haven’t, here’s something that might convince to take a trip to the Loan Star State. This self-titled disc on the small Dialtone label is a mish-mash of young talent; some familiar and some a little less known.

The back-up band is an all-star cast of Texas legends with the king of the Texas shuffle drums Willie Sampson, San Antonio sax legend Spot Barnett, one of the most in-demand piano players of his time Earl Gilliam, and Jeffrey Plummer adding the solid bass. The folks fronting the band are somewhat more recognizable, as they are the crop of new and young blues guitarists of the Austin blues scene. BMA Best New Artist from a few years ago Nick Curran rounds out the all-star cast of Johnny Moeller (Fabulous Thunderbirds, Daryl Nullisch), Mike Keller (Marcia Ball), Seth Walker, Shawn Pittman (Susan Tedeschi, Fabulous Thunderbirds), and Eve Monsees the least-known of all the players on the album.

It’s Monsees who kicks off the album (boy those southerners sure are about manners and ladies first!) with a number more likened to Chicago with Magic Sam’s “You Belong To Me.” Her vocals aren’t quite as refined as Sam’s but her guitar stylings are in the pocket, and with the song either in or not in the pocket for the band….it’s definitely in.

Johnny Moeller gives us a purely traditional Texas instrumental with “Guitar Groove” as Barnett lays down some thick sounds on the sax a la fellow Texan King Curtis. Shawn Pittman follows with a John Hammond-gruff “I Don’t Need No Sugar Mama.” Nick Curran offers up some traditional Howlin’ Wolf with the little-covered “I’ll Be Around.” Seth Walker gives us some swamp stylings and some pure vocals with the stand out track “I Hear You Knocking” from the Lazy Lester songbook. Mike Keller offers up the Elmore James’ cover of “Red Hot Mama” that comes off more like Jeremy Spencer or Peter Green from the Fleetwood Mac days. Seth Walker returns to his normal fifties crooning and T-Bone Walker chops on “Since I Fell For You,” which is another gem of the disc. Nick Curran offers up some beautiful homage to the barrelhouse rolls of Guitar Slim and Little Richard, showing some of his rockabilly leanings with “Slippin’ and Slidin’.” Eve Monsees recovers from a forgettable “I Was Lookin’ Back To See” with the Bo Diddley coupled with Elmore James but Monsees-written “Hawaiian Hound” instrumental.  Curran turns in some Jimmy Reed harmonica-and-guitar chops on the Willie Dixon “Oh Baby” that is pure gold.  Pittman gives some great guitar and vocal gruff again with “Reap What You Sow.” 

For all the guitarists on the disc, the soloing is never over the top and never veers into ridiculous guitar vomit. It’s all very understated and tasteful, demonstrating professional control that is unlike some of these players’ peers. It will not be surprising to see more solo efforts hit your ears soon and they are all well-worth paying attention to.

Check out more great releases from this decade-old label striving to preserve blues, gospel, and jazz of Austin TX at:

Ben Cox is a Blues Songwriter, Musician, DJ and Journalist.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

Second Breath - Save The Blues

Lemma Records

Imagine yourself five thousand miles from home, living in a small isolated town somewhere in the farm and hill country of western Ukraine. This was my situation in 2002 while serving as a member of the Peace Corps. After a year of teaching and working in my adopted community, I visited the Ukrainian capitol of Kyiv and in my wanderings of the city center, I came upon…. Buddy Guy’s Night Club! Imagine my surprise at seeing the flashing sign for the night club of an American icon such as Buddy Guy, so far away from Wabash Street.

Not knowing what to expect, my American and new Ukrainian friends and I none-the-less immediately laid down the two dollar (seriously!) admission fee and were shown to a table near the band stand.

On stage were several Ukrainian musicians playing dead-on, note-perfect American blues. At the first intermission I introduced myself to them--or at least to the two of them that spoke some English—and learned that despite their expertise at copying the music of the American blues masters, they really didn’t know much about the American urban and delta colloquial words and phrases they were singing.
Over the next year I became good friends with singer/guitarist Volodymyr Herasymovych, guitarist Olesander Kuznetsov, bassist and harmonica whiz Hryhoriv Makhno and drummer Valeriy Latanyuk.

Now, six years later the Second Breath Blues Band has released a CD titled Save The Blues, and it’s every bit as good as I remember the band from my time in Ukraine (Indeed, drummer Latanyak is also the dummer for the national radio station jazz band and for the pit orchestra at the Ukrainian national opera.).

The disk starts off with an original instrumental that offers up blues, jazz and even some country influence. Next is a solid cover of Billy Boy Arnold’s “Ain’t Got You,” followed by the Door’s, “Roadhouse Blues.” The Doors on a blues disk was a surprise to me, but it actually works pretty well.
Next is the title song, a Volodymyr Herasymovych original named, “Save the Blues.” The lyrics will surprise you, focusing not on saving the music, but rather on how to avoid feeling blue in life.

Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen,” is next, a solid rocker, followed by the McClinton-esk “Why People Like That?” “Mannish Boy” starts with a guitar riff that will remind you of ZZ Top, then comes the very blusy “It Hurts Me Too.”
Another original, and much more blusy, instrumental leads into the final original, “I Like to Walk.”

The band next pays tribute to the master, with an outstanding cover of Buddy Guy’s, “Let Me Love You Baby,” followed by Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “The House is Rocking.” They close out the CD with the classic blues rocker, “Got My Mojo Working,” a song with special meaning for me as it’s one of the ones I happily explained to them the lyrics, over several shots of local vodka….

Herasymovych is an outstanding guitarist in the truest blues tradition and his riffs play well off those of Kyznetsov. Makhno adds some sold bass work and unbelievable harp action to Save The blues.

Had they asked, I probably would have told them not to start off with a soft instrumental, and I would have dumped the Chuck Berry tune completely, but if you’re a lover of variety in your blues—and your blues bands—this one is definitely worth the shipping costs from Ukraine.

Two Slavutich bottles up for Save The Blues!

To order this CD you can CLICK HERE

Rob Paullin is a former Memphis radio guy . Rob has sampled the blues in Venice, Kyiv and Beijing, among other foreign haunts.  He says Berlin is next on his list.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

 Chicago Blues Update

Live Blues reviews by Chicago Blues editor Lordy

Blues Beat: Chicago (Photos by August Lord)

The Carl Davis Band at The Carriage Greens Country Club

I am so happy to welcome a new venue to the’s blues family. The Carriage Greens Country Club has been pretty consistent of late in providing the Western suburbs with live blues. The live blues can be heard in a comfortable lounge setting, where the bar is sunken into the center allowing full view of the stage. I ‘m not really a country club kind of guy, but give me a comfortable chair, a bar and The Carl Davis Band, and I might just sign up.

Carl’s success with his most recent 212 Record’s release Someday means his circle of influence and hence his tour route will get bigger, taking him out of town. If you don’t have the CD, get it, but then keep your eyes open for Carl Davis to come through your town.

Carl writes, plays and sings damn good songs. Veteran drummer Lenny Spatafore is Carl’s regular metronome and Anthony Tabion does a great job on keys. Pete “One Shot” Scach took on the bass duties.

There are definite leanings toward Southern soul in the repertoire, but Carl and Anthony set this up with great interplay, that doesn’t’ get muddy. Carl’s vocals are clear and in the higher registers adding to the soulfulness of the sound. The Carriage Greens Country Club also has some banquet facilities that let out during the second set of blues.

Revelers from the other functions followed their ears into the show. I heard comments such as “that’s the blues.” I heard one woman plead to her partner, “Come on Henry!” He just nodded held up a forefinger and paid closer attention to the band. “Man their good” said another older (my age) gentleman. Yes they are sir, and they are real. Yet another gentleman was tapping away with his shoe, and I felt compelled to ask if he played. Yes I do, but they have to slow it down a beat. I didn’t know they had blues here. Well come back sir, because it’s getting to be a regular thing here. My friend here plays also, his dad was Homesick James, but we have to go now.

 Nice to meet you gentlemen, please comeback.

CLICK HERE to visit Lordy's website at

To see a Chicago Area list of upcoming events CLICK HERE

If you know of a Chicago Blues event or news, please send it to

 Featured Advertisers


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Coast to Coast  Booking  by - Handlebar Productions
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With the new year, Blues festival promoters and Blues societies begin work planning a great 2008 Blues season for all. Festival committees are hard at work booking Blues performers, planning their advertising budgets and getting ready to put on the next great Blues show.

For those of you doing the planning for these great Blues events, remember that the Blues Blast &'s website are great ways to promote ANY Blues event or product. In fact we believe we just might have THE best Blues advertising vehicle anywhere to promote YOUR event!

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Crossroads Blues Society - Rockford, IL

The Crossroads Blues Society announces the new recording from member Bob Levis, featuring many of the best blues musicians in the Rockford, IL area. The new recording, Barstool Blues, will be available at the official CD Release party on Saturday, March 1, at Big Cities Lounge, 905 E. State St. in Rockford. Music will start at 9 p.m. Special guest - the legendary Lonnie Brooks !!!!! 
Blues fans may recogninize Bob's name from the recordings he did with Lonnie and especially with Otis Rush. Considered one of the finest blues rhythm guitar players, Barstool Blues gives Bob the opportunity to prove that he is an outstanding lead guitar player.  The disc is the first release from Big Paw Records and will be available at

The Grafton Blues Association  - Grafton, WI

The Grafton Blues Association will host it’s annual Blues in the Schools and Scholarship fundraiser with the Legends of Chicago Blues!
Pinetop Perkins - Hubert Sumlin – Willie “Big Eyes” Smith and Bob Stroger will take the stage on March 29, 2008 at Circle B Recreation Center in Cedarburg Wisconsin. More information is available on our website 

Illinois Central Blues Club Springfield, IL
 Calls for Volunteers

Call For Volunteers for  March 8 - Illinois Central Blues Club 22nd Birthday will be celebrated March 8 at Capital City Bar and Grill's "City Nights" in Springfield, IL beginning at 7:30. Volunteers are needed to work the door from 7-11. Shifts will be 1 1/2 hours, and there will be 2 people on each shift.  Headliner for the show is "Mississippi Heat" from Chicago' Please call Volunteer Coordinator Maria Ferraro at 452-0171 (home) or 622-5015 (cell), or reply email Maria Ferraro at  or Judy Burgess at .

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Blues Drummer Seeks Band 

Former Walter Trout Drummer-----Joey Pafumi formerly with Walter Trout for 6 years 2002-2007--looking for full time touring band. Contact Joey at  or 818-749-8856--

Musicians Wanted

Serious, Seasoned Blues Musicians (Guitar, Bass, Drums) needed for Blues Band. Local, regional and some national work. Based out of Central Illinois  Call Steve 309-662-0996

Festivals seeking Blues performers!

Bands wanted for the 6th Annual BBQ Blues Bash, August 15th and 16 2008, Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park, Joliet, Illinois. 6 Bands 2 days Nuthin But Blues please. Forward CD Demo to R. Dale Evans, 6 S. Broadway Street, Joliet, IL 60436.  All proceeds to benefit The Housing Authority of Joliet After-School Programs

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Live Blues Calendar


Performance dates were submitted by Musicians, Club Owners, Blues Societies and Blues festivals. is not responsible for errors or omissions.

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