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Hey Blues Fans,

We made it to the Arkansas Blues & Heritage Festival last week for a great Blues show in Helena, Arkansas.

While the weather left a bit to be desired there was no shortage of Blues fun. We arrived Thursday in the late afternoon, just in time to catch sets by Lil Dave Thompson, Chicago Blues legend John Primer and The Cate Brothers.

The whole weekend was a real Blues Blast! We will have photos and reviews of all three days of the great fun in next weeks issue.

In this issue - Blues Reviews and MORE!

James Walker reviews a new CD from Fiona Boyes. Gary "Wingman" Weeks reviews a new DVD from Jack Bruce and Robin Trower.  Mark Thompson reviews a CD by Zach Prather & Slight Return.  Steve Jones reviews a new CD by Mike Zito.

Our Blues video of the week is a clip of the legendary Robert Nighthawk playing on Maxwell Street in Chicago.  SCROLL DOWN!! Enjoy!

Deep Blue Innovators Festival

Sat., Oct. 24, 2009

Rivoli Theater - Monmouth, IL

Buy Tickets Here!

Charlie Hayes and Joel Fleming

Joe Price

Bernie Pearl

Shawn Kellerman

Watermelon Slim

 Blues Video of the Week

Robert Nighthawk
Eli's Place

We were in Helena for the Arkansas Blues & Heritage Festival last week and one thing missing was the great Sam Carr who recently passed away. Sam was a legend in his own right but many folks know he was the son of legendary Bluesman Robert Nighthawk.

Nighthawk was born Robert McCollum in Helena, Arkansas in 1909. His great talent allowed him to effortlessly meld Delta and Chicago Blues.

He left the Delta and for many years to play Chicago clubs and the Maxwell Street open market. This video was recorded in the 1960's on Maxwell Street.

This clip clearly shows the great talent Nighthawk had. He had a very smooth slide style that continues to influence players today. He style was unusual in that he played in standard guitar tuning instead of an open tuning.

Robert Nighthawk played for years in Chicago before returning to his home in Helena to take over the King Biscuit Radio show after Sonny Boy Williamson passed away. Nighthawk died in Helena in 1967.

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

For other videos on our website CLICK HERE.

2009 Blues Blast Music Awards

October 29th at Buddy Guy's Legends

Advanced tickets are only $25 and available now on our website. CLICK HERE to get yours now before they sell out.

This is a great show featuring some of the best Blues talent on the planet including Kenny Neal, Nick Moss & The Flip TopsLurrie Bell, Billy Branch, Shirley Johnson, Albert Castiglia, John Primer, Billy Boy Arnold, Curtis Salgado, Matthew Skoller, Carlos Johnson  Eden Brent, Cedric Burnside & Lightnin Malcom, Chris James & Patrick Rynn, Bob Corritore, Kilborn Alley Blues Band, Robin Rogers, The Insomniacs, Dave Herrero, Guy King, and Dave Gross.

Join us for a gala celebration of the best in Blues music today! Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago is the most famous Blues Club in the entire world. But it is a Blues club and not a huge arena so there will be a limited number of  tickets available for the show on October 29th. All this for the low price or $25. Get your tickets before they sell out, CLICK HERE!

Those with advanced tickets will be let in first and get the best seats.  So get your tickets early and get there for

HOW TO GET THE BEST SEATS!! - You can get advanced tickets with great reserved seating by becoming a sponsor of the awards. Several packages and sponsor levels are available. It is a great way to advertise your Blues organization or product and see a GREAT show too. Sponsor packages start as low as $250 and are available until they sell out. (Packages are available to individuals too. You do NOT have to be an organization to be a sponsor!)

Sponsor packages include tickets with great reserved seating, Blues memorabilia (Can you say "goodie bag"?) and some Blues advertising and promotion. There are a limited number of packages available on a first come, first served basis so inquire NOW!  For complete information CLICK HERE.

 Featured Blues Review 1 of 4

Fiona Boyes - Blues Woman

Yellow Dog Records

15 songs; 52:09 minutes; Suggested

Style: Solo: Acoustic fingerstyle guitar, resonator, slide, vocals, & foot percussion. Band: Chicago Blues, Texas Blues

This past summer at the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, it was my pleasure to meet and chat with Fiona Boyes. She was sitting at a bar prior to a Guitar Workshop appearance. She wasn’t drinking anything with alcohol it in however; she was having coffee or tea. She spoke of jet lag from a flight from her native Australia, insomnia ("I was changing guitar strings at 5 a.m."), and the need for some caffeine.

Through our brief conversation and her workshop and subsequent stage appearances, I gleaned her love and total immersion in her music. For example, she enthusiastically encouraged a young man at the workshop who was sitting on the front row with an acoustic guitar across his lap. Throughout, there was a confident exuberance that infected the audience.

Boyes is quoted, "I am very proud to be part of the Blues tradition. I believe that it is vital and exciting and growing, and I’m doing my best to help keep it that way." As I have stated before, isn’t that a wonderful testimonial to the power, richness, and impact of the roots of all Roots music, Blues? Australia has developed a multitude of artists and festivals in a thriving Blues scene, and they can rightly brag about the crossover-the-ocean artists that have made a name in the U.S. - none bigger than Fiona Boyes.

For newcomers: In an accomplished manner, Fiona Boyes can play Acoustic Country Blues and finger pick with the best. She can also play an electric guitar and slide in competence worthy of anyone’s band. She is a songwriter who sings with an instantly likeable style. Boyes' previous Yellow Dog Records release, 2006's "Lucky 13" was a Blues Music Award nominee, and Boyes has received BMA nominations each year since 2007. She also won the solo/duo competition at the 2003 International Blues Challenge.

"Blues Woman" is all about Boyes’ depth as an artist and the musical odyssey she’s taken since her earliest recording release in 1990 with her band named The Mojos. Its songs showcase Boyes’ ability to write (13 of 15 songs), sing, and play guitars on anything in the blues realm with total honesty. But, for my money, use the "program" feature on your CD player and rearrange the order of the tracks.

Start with the fun, cut number eight, "The Barrellhouse Funeral" with Watermelon Slim playing harmonica and the part of a Hell-fire and brimstone Southern preacher while Marcia Ball adds a bouncy piano solo. Fiona’s resonator guitar opens slowly, but the song is a romping, humorous story with a moral, too. Ever been to a solemn funeral where the preacher becomes so unpopular that he winds up with scuff marks on his head?

Go with track nine next ("Place of Milk and Honey") with Fiona singing frankly honest vocals and playing a smoking acoustic guitar featuring some of her finest slide. The only other players are Ronnie James on upright bass and Jimi Bott on drums and washboard.

Featured on my radio show this week will be track fifteen, "Old Time Ways" with Fiona "trying to maintain the integrity of the blues tradition while making [her] own stories." Pinetop Perkins at age 96 on piano certainly helps with the old style, which includes some classic lyrical double entendre.

More of Fiona’s essence is found on "Juke Joint on Moses Lane" in which she is solo with resonator guitar and stomp box singing about the Bradfordville Blues Club outside Tallahassee FL.

The remaining tracks are varied as producer Kaz Kazanoff works each song based on its subject matter. Other musicians include Nick Connolly on B-3 and piano, guitarist Derek O'Brien, and The Texas Horns consisting of Kazanoff and Al Gomez ("Do You Feel Better").
Boyes explains. "... I wanted to make a really muscular, exciting electric guitar driven album that explored as many different regional styles as possible." Boyes shows off Mississippi Hill Country style on "Howlin At Your Door" and plays some Robert Ward sounding electric on "Look Out Love!," a grooving shuffle. And, catch her surprising Patsy Cline like vocal on "Do You Feel Better."

It is all Blues purist quality, but there is enough variety in this CD for picking and choosing. What one discovers is simply this: Fiona Boyes’ body wasn’t born in the Delta, but her soul was!

Reviewer James "Skyy Dobro" Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ, Master of Ceremonies, and Blues Blast contributor. His weekly radio show "Friends of the Blues" can be heard Thursdays from 7 - 8 pm and 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.

Musical Instruments Stores

 Sponsor of the

2009 Blues Blast Music Awards

Visit their Stores at the following locations

4400 E. New York Street
Aurora, IL 60504


1432 Butterfield Rd.
Downers Grove, IL

or online at

 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.

Harmonica Ace Seeks Gigs

Pro Blues Vox/Harmonica Ace available for nat'l or internat'l touring gig or full time regional act. Blues, Soul, Rock, Americana. Electric, Acoustic. Frontman, Sideman, Duos. Serious inquiries only. Many yrs gigging exp. Reliable. Stage presence, musicianship. Pro attitude and work ethics.
Peace, Kosher Kidd (cell 860-324-4078)

Speaker Cabinet For Sale

For Immediate Sale: Four Big Ass Ball Bustin 'ALTEC 1204 B Speakers W/Cabinets and with Horns, Pull Bars and Roller Wheels' Cost $1,250.00 + Tax New, but will take $1,000.00 Cash or Cashier's Check for 'All Four (4) Cabinets! Speakers Condition: Other Than Some Minor Bar Scars, Couple O' Beer N' Whiskey Stains, Couple of Cigarette Burns and one (1) defective horn driver; These are sum' Loud Ass Mo-Fos with the Right Sound Board!!!! Perfect for Big Clubs, Medium Size Venues and Concerts, Outside Shows, Roller Rinks, Dance Halls and Churches! For Serious Inquires & Cash or Certified Check Buyers Only; Please Contact:"THE ORIGINAL & REAL KENNY WAYNE" Phone: (972) 790-5172 OR email:

Blues Guitarist Seeks Touring Act

Experienced Blues guitarist looking for national touring act to play with…Played with Johnny Clyde Copeland before his passing. Also played with, jammed with or opened for Elvin Bishop, Albert Collins, John Lee Hooker, Norton Buffalo, Freddy Roulette, Joe Guitar Hughes as well as backed up Shemekia Copeland early in her career. Have reliable gear and good attitude. I just love the blues and want to play and love traveling. Contact me via E-mail at: or phone me at 608-214-7868 and leave message if no answer.

Blues Reviewers wanted

Blues Blast Magazine is looking for reviewers to review new Blues CD's. If you have a background and experience with Blues music and like to write we can provide new CD's for you to review. Person must be willing to write a minimum of one review every other week. Reviewer keeps the CD's for writing the review.  If interested please send a sample of your writing and a short bio of your Blues background to

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

Space in Evanston

1245 Chicago Ave, Evanston, IL 847 492-8860


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Dave Specter

Adventures in Guitar

w/ Billy Flynn


Friday, December 4th, 2009

Hubert Sumlin and The Nighthawks

 Blues Society News

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

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

Houston Blues Society - Houston, TX

The Soul of Houston: Blues Stories - Three Wednesdays: October 14, 21, 28 The Jung Center, 5200 Montrose Blvd., Houston, Texas - Discover how the blues has endured and evolved in Houston, and how it continues to speak powerfully to the human condition, in this free series hosted by music historian and author Roger Wood and three veteran Houston blues artists. Over three evenings, we will encounter the distinctive Houston blues tradition through the experiences of its vital artists. Each evening, Wood will address selected elements of the blues from the role of particular instruments to songwriting to key facets of regional history and more, in collaboration with special guests Texas Johnny Brown, Trudy Lynn & IJ Gosey. Introductory lecture will be followed by interviews and discussion, supported by samples of sound recordings and other media. Via the stories shared each night by a distinguished artist, this series will offer not only up-close profiles of some accomplished individuals but also larger insights into the soul of Houston, past and present. More info at:

Great Northern Blues Society - Wausau, WI

Great Northern is proud to announce a brand new GNBS musical event. On October 24 the society will present “Blues ala Carte” at Tangos Ballroom on 8808 Townline Road (County N) in Wausau. Four Blues bands will perform, including Queenie and the Blue Cats, Nick Moss and the Flip Tops with special guest Lurrie Bell, the Olderbudwiser Blues Band and the Kilborn Alley Blues Band. The doors open to the public at 2:00 p.m. with the first band taking the stage at 3:00 p.m. Generous seating will be provided, with both food and beverages available in the hall (sorry, no carry-ins). The society hopes to make “ala Carte” an annual event, balancing with its Blues Café event in the spring.

Tickets are priced at $10.00 in advance and $12.00 at the door and can be purchased online at or see website to purchase locally. For “Blues ala Carte” room rate specials, call Weston Inn & Suites at 866-912-3355. Shuttle bus service between Weston Inn & Suites and Tangos Ballroom is being planned Info at:  &

Capital Area Blues Society - Lansing, MI

Cast off with The Capital Area Blues Society on a fall Blues Cruise aboard the beautiful Michigan Princess, Friday, October 23 at 8:00pm. We will feature our winning 2009 Blues Brawl Band, Stan Budzynski & 3rd Degree, along with Solo winner Mike Skory, special guest vocalist Twyla Fleming and national recording artist James Armstrong - all fresh from performances at the 2009 Old Town Blues Festival! Tickets: $15 advance online, Special CABS Member Price $10 at the dock with Membership Card. Directions: Take I-496 west to Exit 4 (Lansing Road). Continue under the RR trestle. Go 500 feet and turn left into Grand River Park. For more info call (517) 627-2154 or visit , or 

Blues Blowtorch Society - Bloomington, IL

BBS Presents 3rd Friday Blues with Diddley-Squat 7 PM October 16, 2009 at the Treehouse Lounge 2060 Ireland Grove Road, Bloomington, IL 309-662-5231.

This high-energy band is from the East Texas bayou country and plays Delta to Chicago-style Blues and Memphis to West Coast Swing. Whether playing a festival, casino, club, or coffee house, they just love music and love to entertain! for more info:

The Madison Blues Society - Madison. WI

The Madison Blues Society will hold its 8th Annual Blues Picnic on Saturday, June 19, 2010 from noon to 9:00PM at Madison's Warner Park. We are now accepting submissions for bands to perform through our website The deadline for submissions is December 1, 2009. For Complete submission info CLICK HERE

Information at or  email or call Shari Davis at 333-8665.

Friends Of The Blues Shows - Kankakee IL

The Friends of the Blues 2009 Blues concert Series upcoming shows:

Tuesday, Oct 20, Paul Rishell & Anne Raines 7 p.m. , Legacy Bar & Grill, 135 N Kinzie Ave (Route 50), Bradley IL 60915. (815) 936-1649

The Boston Blues Society - Boston, MA

2009 BOSTON BLUES CHALLENGE - The Boston Blues Society will hold this year’s Blues Challenge at 8 p.m. Nov. 1, 8, and 15 at Johnny D’s Uptown, 17 Holland St., (Davis Square) Somerville, Mass. The first two sessions will be semi-finals of four bands per night; with the finals, consisting of the winning two bands from each semi-final, competing on Nov. 15. The winner will be sponsored by the Boston Blues Society at the 2010 International Blues Challenge in Memphis in January.

To enter, send a music sample (CD or MP3) and a $75 entrance fee (check or Paypal) to: ; or to Boston Blues Society, PO Box 386, Maynard, MA 01754.

Bands from all over New England may compete. The deadline for entries is Oct. 11. The semi-finalists will be announced Oct. 19.

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 $2 cover - Oct 19 - Andrew "Jr Boy" Jones, Oct 16 - Dan Sanchez & the Kings of Pleasure

 Featured Blues Review 2 of 4

Jack Bruce and Robin Trower - Seven Moons Live DVD

Ruf Records

Filmed in the Netherlands of Holland, Seven Moons Live captures a performance of Jack Bruce and Robin Trower.

Working with drummer Gary Husband, this show bears no resemblance to the Cream Reunion at Royal Albert Hall or a typical Robin Trower gig. So if you are expecting to see these guys tear into "Day Of The Eagle" or "Bridge of Sighs," forget it.

While Husband doesn't have the innate jazz sensibilities of Ginger Baker, he can stretch himself maintaining a rock steady groove.

Compared to the Cream Reunion DVD, Jack Bruce seems to have to really push himself. He can still play the bass like a lead instrument although there is no freight train rolls he was once capable of.

Watching this you get the impression Robin Trower is doing this to help a friend out. Bruce does all the talking to the audience while Robin remains silent.

Most of songs making up this DVD come from the Seven Moons studio CD. If you have that CD, the live versions stick closely to the studio formats without too many areas of improvisation.

When they tackle Cream standards like "White Room" or "Politician," there is none of the fire that's found in the Cream renditions. Wisely Trower stays away from duplicating Eric Clapton's leads. But even using a wah-wah doesn't get these golden oldies off the ground. What does count is Robin is having fun. After leading outfits for many years, it's probably a pleasure for him to sit back and relinquish his role in the spotlight. So clearly there's no ego.

After a long outtro jam of "Sunshine of Your Love," Bruce announces they are beginning to get somewhere. Unfortunately after watching this entire set, you're left with the feeling these guys never got to where they were going. It's not unbearable to watch. Then again it's not exciting either.

Review by Gary "Wingman" Weeks

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

Group Rate Hotel Rooms for the Blues Blast Music Awards

Blues Blast Magazine has put together an affordable group rate for hotel accommodations for the Blues Blast Music Awards October 29th at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago. The Travelodge at 65 Harrison Street is just a block from Buddy Guys and rooms for the weekend are just $99 plus tax each night for either 2 doubles or a king size bed.

To get this great rate call group coordinator Darren Andrews at 312-376-1481 and mention the Blues Blast Music Awards. The rate is available from 10-28-09 to 11-2-09 so come for the show and stay the weekend in Chicago to visit some of the many other great Chicago Blues clubs while you are there. For complete hotel info CLICK HERE

The lineup for the awards show includes Kenny Neal, Nick Moss & The Flip TopsLurrie Bell, Billy Branch, Shirley Johnson, Albert Castiglia, John Primer, Billy Boy Arnold, Matthew Skoller, Carlos Johnson  Eden Brent, Cedric Burnside & Lightnin Malcom, Chris James & Patrick Rynn, Bob Corritore, Kilborn Alley Blues Band, Robin Rogers, The Insomniacs, Dave Herrero, Guy King, and Dave Gross. Advanced tickets for the show are only $25 and available now on our website. CLICK HERE to get yours now before they sell out.

 Featured Blues Review 3 of 4

Zach Prather & Slight Return - Freak

13 tracks/52:40

Born in Chicago, Zack Prather grew up surrounded by the blues. After traveling around the world playing music, Prather finally settled in Paris and established himself throughout the European continent. His fourth release finds him backed by Urs Baumeler on bass, Eric Kunz on drums, Chris Huele on the Hammond organ and Michel Carras on keyboards. Prather handles all of the guitar and vocal parts. Additionally he wrote nine of the songs and co-wrote another with Kunz and Baumeler.

The opening track, "Steam Roller", features a tight groove and a strong lead vocal from Prather. The band slips into a funkier blues mode on "Mercy", with the instrumental focus on Huele’s organ. Prather’s vocal on "It Ain’t You" sounds eerily similar to Peter Wolf’s style from the pop-rock era of the J. Geils Band. "In Love With You" is Texas style shuffle in the Stevie Ray vein. The Big Bang Horns are featured on two tracks, the soulful "I Can Make It" and the brief closing number, "Guest Room", with the horns blowing over a New Orleans second-line beat.

A couple of tracks were less satisfying. The title track is a funk workout that explores territory Rick James covered more effectively several decades ago. "Cadillack 69" is a frenetic rocker but the sexually suggestive lyrics are too simplistic to make much of an impression.

The three covers are also a mixed bag. Prather turns in an impressive vocal on Lonnie Brooks "Wound Up Tight", adding a strong guitar solo that matches the intensity of his singing. The rhythm section is prominent in the mix a straight-forward take on "All Your Lovin’", the Otis Rush classic. Prather falls short on his rendition of "Ain’t No Sunshine" as his vocal can’t capture the stark emotions of Bill Wither’s original.

This is a solid effort by Prather and his band. The instrumental solos are brief and concise, keeping the focus on the songs and Zack’s singing. He has a strong voice with plenty of range. The tracks are well-recorded and the overall sound quality of the disc is quite good. Prather & Slight Return definitely worth checking out.

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

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

 Featured Blues Review 4 of 4

Mike Zito - Pearl River

Electogroove Records

13 tracks

Mike Zito released one helluva fine album last year after touring almost endlessly along with releasing four self-produced albums. It spent 6 weeks on the Billboard charts and received much acclaim for Zito’s voice and guitar playing along with it's superb production standards. It was a hard act to follow, but Zito and Randy Chortkoff’s Electogroove Records followed it up with an album that is even better than the first!

What sets this apart from the first for me is two things. The obvious one to me is the more extensive use of the supporting cast. Not that the backup players were not a factor on the first album, but here they are really there and making the front man sound even better.

Reese Wyanan’s piano and organ are used sublimely. The big organ sounds and piano are used as punctuations to the music and round out the already superb sound to make it even better. Harp work by Lynwood Slim ("Last Night") and Randy Chortoff ("Born Blind"), vocals by Cyril Neville, Susan Cowsill and Anders Osborne (who also plays acoustic guitar), and Johnny Sansone’s accordion supplement Zito and his rhythm section of Popcorn Trevino on bass and Eric Bolivar on drums and percussion. The second reason I think this is a better CD is that I think the nine new songs written (at least in part) by Zito and the four other songs are even better than the thirteen on the first album!

Chorthoff and producer David Z obviously wanted to go a little more New Orleans styled with this CD. The "single" for this CD is the title track which Cyrill Neville and Zito penned together. Neville also accompanies Zito on vocals; it has a down home, Cajun flavor that Zito delivers so convincingly with his soulful voice and guitar work. He closes the song with a blistering guitar solo (as he does on a few other tracks). Add to that Anders Orborne singing and playing acoustic guitar on his song "One Step at a Time" and Susan Cowsill’s vocals on the more winsome "Shoes Blues" and we can fully appreciate Zito’s take on funky New Orleans blues. It’s still Zito’s show, but we get to see him vary his style and he is quite up to the task.

"Dirty Blond" opens the CD in a vibrant and upbeat manner. Double Trouble’s Reese Wynan’s organ here and keyboards throughout make a beautiful statement and really rounds out the sound. The driving guitar beat and Zito’s vocals set the stage so well for an outstanding album. Whether delivering an original song like "The Dead of Night" or covering classics like Sunny Boy Williamson’s "Eyesight to the Blind", Mike Zito’s vocal prowess and guitar wizardry are mind boggling. Sansone’s accordion on the former adds to the Cajun flavors while uncredited harp work helps blow away the latter. "Natural Born Lover" is more rock-like and features another no holds barred guitar solo by Zito.

Whether it be Cajun, soul, funk, blues or rock, Zito is the ultimate pro. He delivers a fine performance track after track; there are no slouches or half hearted effort here. This is a fiery hot album of blues delivered by a guy whose star in the blues world is rapidly rising. This album is a must for serious blues lovers.

Reviewer Steve Jones is secretary of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford. IL

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.



John Primer


Nominated for two 2009 Blues Blast Music Award

Best Traditional Blues Recording

Best Male Blues Artist

To Purchase the new CD CLICK HERE

To Read the CD review CLICK HERE

Live Blues Calendar

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