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August 28, 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   Photos    Videos     Blues Radio     Blues Shows near YOU!    Advertise for FREE!     The Blues Blast Archives

Hey Blues Fans,

BIG NEWS!!!!  We are pleased to announce the 2008 Blues Blast Music Awards ceremonies to be held Sunday, November 2nd at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago, IL. Ticket info will be available soon.

Confirmed Blues artists performing so far include Bob Corritore and Dave Riley, the Kilborn Alley Blues Band, Teeny Tucker, the National Debonaires and Gina Sicilia. We will announce more artists as they are confirmed and details are worked out. Stay Tuned!

DON'T FORGET TO VOTE! This is the last week to cast your vote for the 2008 Blues Blast Music Awards. Voting ends at midnight on August 31st so be sure to vote.

If you vote you could win a FREE Blues Blast T-shirt, a CD by one of the BBMA nominees or even A TABLE FOR TWO AND HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS FOR THE 2008 BBMA AWARDS CEREMONY at Buddy Guy's Legends on November 2nd.

Some of last weeks lucky winners were Marie Delrue from Saint Eutrope de Born, France and Tim Alexander of Mossville. IL who both won a Blues Blast T-shirt and Jason who won a CD by BBMA nominee Eden Brent. CLICK HERE to vote NOW! 

Blues Wanderings

The Blues Blast made it down to the Old Capitol Blues & BBQs last Saturday in Springfield, IL. and what a show it was.

The fest started with a performance by Dave Herraro Blues Band with Felix Reyes. Blues guitarist Herraro showed why he is fast making a name for himself in the big league Chicago Blues market. Chicago is where some of the the biggest Blues names on the planet call home and the youthful Herraro may just be destined to become one of them.


He was joined by another great guitarist, Atlanta Bluesman Felix Reyes. Felix was the guy that legendary guitarist Sean Costello turned to as a teenager for musical direction. Reyes took him under his wing and the rest is history. We could hear the distinct melodic lines that Sean was famous for in Reyes' playing. (When we mentioned  that to him, he was quick to point out that he actually learned as much from Sean as Sean did from him!)

In Sean's brief life he made a name for himself as lead guitarist for Susan Tedeschi on the album "Just won't Burn" and later as a solo artist himself. Tragically, Sean died this April. We have named our Blues Blast Music award for the best "Rising Star" after Sean. (Look for a feature article soon on the life of Sean Costello with contributions by Felix Reyes.)

Next up were the Tarbox Ramblers. They played their own brand of "country" Blues and had the crowd clapping and hooting right along.


Then the sacred steel of Calvin Cooke had the audience dancing in the streets. His steel playing can be compared to Robert Randolph. This is actually "church" music which seemed kinda odd by the boisterous response from the crowd. Now that church knows how to worship. Makes us want to testify to the Blues! The crowd gave him a LONG standing ovation at the end and would not stop until he came back up for an encore!


Last but not least was Howard and the White Boys who treated the totally Blues inebriated crowd to a rocking set of Blues.


The Illinois Central Blue Club also held their Blues Challenge from Noon to 4:30pm. Eight bands competed for a slot in the semi-finals at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis next January. The winner was local favorites Pleasure Chest Blues Band with Robert Sampson playing keyboards, slide guitar and harmonica. (Robert made to the solo/duet finals at the IBC last January!)

We have more pictures of all the Blues fun on our website. CLICK HERE to see them all. Make sure you make it to this fest next year as you just can't beat 12 GREAT Blues bands for $5.

Great Blues fest this weekend in our own backyard!

Speaking of great Blues fests, this weekend is the 20th anniversary of the Illinois Blues Fest on the riverfront in Peoria, Illinois. Headliners include E.C. Scott and Lonnie Brooks on Friday and Spencer Boren, Jimmy Burns, Tinsley Ellis  and Tommy Castro Band with the Rhythm and Blues Review including Deanna Bogart, Magic Dick and Bernard Allison on Saturday. Check out for more info.

Blues Reviews!

James Walker sends us a review of a new CD from Fiona Boyes, Mookie Brill and Rich DelGrosso. Chicago writer John McCormick reviews a new CD by Vince Agwada. Tom "The Energizer" Schlesinger reviews a new CD by James "Super Chikan" Johnson. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN

 Did You Know?

You can advertise Blues shows for FREE on our website!

Our website at offers a calendar for musicians all over the world to advertise their Blues gigs for FREE! ANYONE can post Blues shows. So if there is a Blues concert by a local, regional, national or international Blues artist near you, let everyone know and post the show yourself info on our site. Our simple web form takes less than a minute for each Blues show you want to advertise.

This is an easy and FREE way to let the world know. The website is visited each month by nearly 10,000 Blues fans from all 50 states and more than 40 countries. So it WILL get the Blues word out. And did we mention it was FREE?

So check it out and help keep the Blues alive by letting fans know about Blues shows near you. CLICK HERE to check our Blues shows page.  To post a Blues show near you go to: 

Saturday, September 6, 2008
Angell Park, Sun Prairie, WI


Cliff Fredricksen

Laura England & the Mud Angels

Bobby Bryan & the Uptown Allstars

Bobby Evans & the Alimony Blues Band

Rev Raven & the Chain Smoking Altar Boys

Paul Cebar

Tickets for this Hammond, Indiana show
go on sale Friday, 08/22/08 To Purchase Tickets CLICK HERE

 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.

Nick Moss Band Equipment Stolen Benefit Planned

Back on July 5, Nick Moss & the Flip Tops van, which was loaded with all their gear for the show they were to play that day at the Montreal Jazz Festival in Quebec, Canada, was stolen from their hotel parking lot. The damaged van has since been recovered, but all the gear is gone. A list of the stolen equipment can be found at:

A benefit has been organized for September 7 at the Milwaukee Ale House in Milwaukee, WI, to help raise funds for the band to get some new gear. Any help in finding the missing gear and/or getting the word out about this benefit show would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your help.

Finally, it appears this theft was not a random act in Montreal. According to Nick Moss’s wife Kate, in recent weeks gear has also been stolen from Sonic Youth, Dinosaur, Jr. and The Stooges in that city.
For more information visit  (From Blues Festival E-guide)

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

"What Goes Around” – a new CD from Michael Osborn!

"Michael Osborn is one of the best blues guitarists around, he can really lay it down". - John Lee Hooker

"Michael Osborn is one of the authentic blues guitarists today. His style goes straight to the heart of the blues and he’ll steal your show if you don’t watch out!” – Robben Ford

CLICK HERE  to purchase


David Honeyboy Edwards

Roamin' and Ramblin'

2008 Blues Blast Music Award Nominee
 "Best Best Traditional Blues CD

CLICK HERE to purchases Now!

To read the Blues Blast CD review - CLICK HERE



Eden Brent

2008 Blues Blast Music Award Nominee

"Sean Costello Rising Star Award"

To read a review of this CD, CLICK HERE

CLICK HERE to Purchase this CD now!

 Blues Society News

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

Max of 125 words, Text or Word file ONLY.

Illinois Central Blues Club - Springfield, IL

Blue Mondays- Held at the Alamo 115 N 5th St, Springfield, IL (217) 523-1455 every Monday 8:30pm $2 cover  - Sept 1 - Scott Ellison, Sept 8 - Bill Lupkin & the Chicago Blues Coalition, Sept 15 - Harmonica Wizards Dennis Gruenling & Steve Guyger, Sept 22 - Lil Dave Thompson, Sept 29 - The Blues Deacons, Oct 13 - The Rich Fabec Blues Band, Oct 20 - Too Slim & the Tail Draggers

The Blues Blowtorch Society - Bloomington, IL

Blues Blowtorch Society presents The Blues Blowtorch Society's Educational Fund Raiser, September 21, 2008 -1:00 PM to 6:00 PM at Tri Lakes Banquet Facilities, 2100 Bunn St., Bloomington, IL

Featuring Black Magic Johnson 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM and Lil' Dave Thompson 3:30 PM - 6:00 PM. Food and Drink for sale by Tri-Lakes Membership. Events for Everyone - How to Start a Band Workshop, Auctions, more! For more Information - Deborah Mehlberg - Entertainment Director 309-662-0996 or E-mail

Paramount Blues Festival

 September 19 & 20, 2008
 Grafton, WI

Sue DaBaco & Wise Fools - Zac Harmon - CTA - California Transit Authority - Fruteland Jackson - David "Honeyboy" Edwards - Sharrie Williams  - Bryan Lee - Watermelon Slim & the Workers - Tab Benoit - Elvin Bishop

Festival Website:

The National Debonaires

New Sounds from Kansas City

2008 Blues Blast Music Award Nominee
 "Best Blues Song" for Ain't Gonna Happen Again

CLICK HERE to purchases Now!

To read the Blues Blast CD review - CLICK HERE

 Featured Blues Review (1 of 3)

Fiona Boyes, Mookie Brill, Rich DelGrosso - Live From Bluesville

Blue Empress Records

11 songs; 48:45 minutes; Meritable

When my neighbor’s oldest daughter turned 18 and graduated from high school, she decided to move out and move in with her boyfriend. Her parents were so mad and disappointed that she was abandoning plans for college and later marriage. They took away the car they had provided her to drive telling her that if she was going to be stupid, she would have to be stupid using her own money and car.

“You know, when a girl reach the age of 18 / Lord, she begin to think she’s grown / You know that’s the kind of woman / You can’t never find at home” are the lyrics to which I could immediately relate in this CD’s opening number, “Early In the Morning” by Sonny Boy Williamson.

“Enjoying through relating” is a theme for this album. Listeners can relate to the acoustic roots music and instruments as played by the blues’ earliest purveyors. They can relate to the well known artists and songs, like “Smokestack Lightning” by Howlin’ Wolf, “Easy Baby” by Magic Sam Maghett, and “My Baby Left Me” by Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup.

Beyond the trip down memory lane, there are five entertaining original songs, and the treatments of the classics feature enough original contributions to make them much more than copycats of the originals. An example of this refreshing updating of a classic is found on “Smokestack Lightning” with Boyes and Brill trading taunting vocals and DelGrosso adding deft mandolin.

Australian Fiona Boyes, Tom “Mookie” Brill, and Rich DelGrosso, at the urging of Steve Clarke and Bill Wax, Program Director for XM Satellite Radio’s ‘Bluesville” program in Washington DC, entered the XM studios in August 2007. With mutual musical respect from an earlier session on Beale St. in Memphis during the May 2007 Blues Music Awards, a growing friendship, but completely lacking in formal rehearsal or actual combined performance history, they had made rough plans about what they would play on the drive across the Appalachian Mountains from West Virginia to DC. Four hours later they emerged with this album. There are no overdubs, multiple sessions, or takes. It is a true “Live” recording, not formally rehearsed, and with a song list determined by their inspirations at the time.

Unique for most listeners will be DelGrosso’s mandolin. Rich counts himself blessed to have learned and played with mandolin heroes Yank Rachell, Howard Armstrong, and Johnny Young. He adds baritone vocals on his two original contributions, “Hard To Live With” and “Get Your Nose Outta My Bizness,” and he sings on Lightning Hopkins’ “Shotgun Blues.”

Boyes plays guitar and sings on seven tracks including her clever original numbers, “Homegrown Sin,” “Good Lord Made You So,” and “Two Legged Dog.” Mookie Brill slaps doghouse bass, plays killer harmonica on track 1, and sings on three numbers.

For newcomers, this CD could serve as an introduction to the earliest forms of recorded blues without all the tinny weaknesses inherent in those old 78s. For the experienced fans, this CD is as comfortable as an old pair of moccasins. It is not designed to rock your house party, but it is guaranteed to move your soul.

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

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.



Too Slim and the Taildraggers


Fortune Teller


2008 Blues Blast Music Award Nominee for

 "Best Contemporary Blues Recording"

CLICK HERE to Vote for Us NOW

To purchase this CD now CLICK HERE


 Featured Blues Review (2 of 3)

Vince Agwada - Eyes of the City

One has to imagine that a certain number of musicians must wish that Jimi Hendrix had never existed. In the same way that Mozart changed classical composition forever, Hendrix changed the face of guitar-based music. Despite the best efforts of folks like John Mayall and Paul Butterfield, it wasn’t until Hendrix that rock and blues truly co-existed in a brand new form. Ever since then, anyone who’s even approached Hendrix’s sound has been labeled a “copycat,” and hung out to dry.

For more cynical listeners, Vince Agwada could be counted among the aforementioned ranks due to his earthy vocals and spaced-out guitar sounds. However, such estimations are short-sighted and generally inaccurate, as Agwada provides a wholly different listening experience, and one quite enjoyable in its own right. Whereas Hendrix was preoccupied with bringing the blues to rock, Agwada is more interested in bringing rock back to the blues, and the best parts of Eyes of the City revel in this juxtaposition. Drums bang loudly, guitars are drenched in feedback, and studio embellishments accentuate the rock-like nature of many of Agwada’s compositions. The resulting album is an enjoyable, albeit uneven affair.

In keeping with the rock theme, several of the tracks on Eyes of the City stretch past the seven minute mark, and include some of the album’s best moments. “Rain,” a slow-burner that clocks in at a hefty 7:59, accentuates Agwada’s skill at composing disjointed cascades of sound that somehow come together into compelling songs held in place by his warm, nuanced voice. Similarly, the herky-jerky swing of “Does It Really Matter” shows how a lack of specificity can be a kind of specificity all its own. Even when Agwada takes on more conventional material like album opener “It’s a Shame,” he does so with considerable flair. “Confidence Man,” the sole cover on the album, is absolutely delightful as a point of connectedness between these two extremes.

This is not to say that Eyes of the City is without its missteps. The title track is fraught with synthetic drums and keys, and acts as an underwhelming, plastic-feeling closer to the album. Another of the seven-minute-plus tracks, “Ellie,” equally overwrought, is an instrumental track that boasts Eyes of the City’s most conventional instrumentation. After proving himself capable of pulling off frenetic, tangled compositions on the majority of the tracks, such pedestrian outings feel like a non-event. Indeed, some of the album’s less intricate tracks begin to feel downright ordinary after a few listens. The by-the-numbers political commentary of “Tubed Out” doesn’t help matters, either.

Regardless of these issues, Eyes of the City is a very enjoyable album and gives a clear picture of Vince Agwada as an artist in his own right, not just the summation of those that came before him. Enjoying the album may take a bit of patience as Agwada’s style can be tough to crack at times, but the enduring listener will certainly be rewarded.

by John McCormick

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

Three Blues Blast Music Award Nominations!

Bryan Lee

  • Best Male Artist

  • Best Blues Band

  • Best Contemporary CD

Purchase Katrina Was Her Name NOW!  CLICK HERE

 Featured Blues Review (3 of 3)

James "Super Chikan" Johnson - Sum' Mo' Chikan

Chikan Howse Production / Vizztone Label Group

James "Super Chikan" Johnson says he was "hatched" on 2/16/1951 in Darling MS and now resides near Clarksdale Ms and the infamous “Crossroads.” Too young to work in the fields as a boy, he was fascinated by the family chickens and actually tried to learn their language. He hung out in the chicken yard so much friends and family started calling him "chikan boy."

As a boy, his first instrument was a home made “diddly-bo,” which is basically two nails with a piece of bailing wire stretched from one to the other. This was sometimes done on the side of a barn or just hooked up across a board or piece of wood then plucked like a guitar. Sometimes it had one or more strings. He then built a string model out of a cigar box, and not having any way to tune the strings to change the pitch, he took popsicle sticks and wedged them under the strings at one end to tighten them up.

At 13, he bought his first used acoustic guitar with only two strings at the Salvation Army. Today he makes custom "Chikantars" made out of five gallon gas cans and each painted totally differently. Super Chikan is very good at a lot of things; he plays bass, guitar, piano, and harmonica, besides writing very deceptive lyrics. Chikan found also he was a very good painter, so he uses his "Chik-can-tars" as his canvas with no two alike.

His style is very different, very unique, and his lyrics are the same. He uses terms like some others in a sexual overtone, but I don't think most have heard his. He had many influences, it seems, but he has come up with his own style with very little trace of other artists. Occasionally, he wants you to hear an influence like on the third track called “Hookin Up” with a John Lee Hooker type sound in some of the words and guitar.

Next on the fourth track, I really liked the down and dirty slow blues on a song called “Yard Boy Blues.” First, he tells you what a “yard boy” is, then tells he used to be a “yard boy.” He sings about trimming her juniper bush and getting the leaves out from under them. Then, he tells her he found a wasp nest in her juniper and won't be able to work her flower garden no more. There’s outstanding lyrics and a way better lead guitar part in this song.

James "Super Chikan" Johnson has "hatched” an incredibly unique album with his custom guitars and chicken-talking lyrics. It is more mellow than I usually enjoy, but I would recommend it for its mold breaking differences.

Review by Tom "THE ENERGIZER" Schlesinger, a long time blues lover and fan, and a veteran of many Legendary Blues Cruises and Festivals all over the mid west and Florida.


Willie Big Eyes Smith

New CD

Born In Arkansas

CLICK HERE  to Purchase this CD

The Code Blue Band

Tight at Midnight

Intensely energetic R&B, funk, and rockin' Blues

CLICK HERE to buy the CD





Live Blues Calendar


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Blues fans WANT to know about your Blues event of product. Call Bob at (309) 267-4425 or send an email to for a confidential quote today! covers Blues all over the US - NOT just in Illinois! also offers effective advertising for Festivals and Club Owners, Recording Companies and Performers. Put your Blues advertisement on our homepage at:  either as a sponsored event or as a featured event, product, recording or merchandise.  We get 400,000 hits A MONTH on our website!

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