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February 11, 2010           

© 2010 Blues Blast Magazine

Latest news, photos, reviews, 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,

2010 Blues Blast Music Awards - Bigger and Better in 2010!

Last year we had quite a few inquiries from Blues artists around the globe wondering how to get their recordings considered for nomination in the annual Blues Blast Music Awards.  This year we are including a process for those interested to send in their recordings for consideration by our nominators. We have 30 nominators and you can send in copies of your CD to be considered. Eligibility for specific recording releases is from May 1, 2009 to April 30, 2010. For complete details about the awards and the new process CLICK HERE

The 2010 nomination process starts March 1st when we begin accepting submissions from labels and artists. Artist do not necessarily have to submit their releases to be considered but any that do will have their recordings screened by the nominators.  Read all the details at the link above for a complete list of options to have your CD release considered now.

CDs for the 2010 nominations are the ones the nominators have heard. We have a diverse group of 30 nominators and they hear many CDs but if an artist or label really wants a CD to be considered by all the nominators they can send in copies of their CDs beginning March 1. CDs received will be sent to the nominators. A minimum of 30 copies are required so that all nominators get to listen to them. There is no charge for this in 2010 but we reserve the right to change this financial policy in future years. Complete information on sending in you CD is HERE

Nominators begin their initial nomination phase on May 1st and final nominations will be announced after May 31st, 2010. Voting Begins in July.  The 2010 Blues Blast Music Awards will be held on October 28th,2010 in Chicago, IL.

Crossroads Guitar Festival 2010

Eric Clapton announces the Crossroads Guitar Festival 2010, Saturday, June 26th, 2010 Toyota Park, Chicago, IL. A day-long festival to feature legendary music and collaborations.

Current Artist Listing Confirmed: Albert Lee, Allman Brothers Band, BB King, Bert Jansch, Buddy Guy, David Hidalgo and Cesar Rosas of Los Lobos, Doyle Bramhall II, Earl Klugh, Eric Clapton, Gary Clark Jr., Hubert Sumlin, James Burton, Jeff Beck, Jimmie Vaughan, Joao Gilberto, Joe Bonamassa, John Mayer, John Renbourn. Keb Mo, Pino Daniele, Robert Cray, Robert Randolph, Sheryl Crow, Sonny Landreth, Steve Winwood, Vince Gill and ZZ Top.

Tickets for the Crossroads Guitar Festival will go on sale to the public on Saturday, February 20, 2010 at 10 AM Central Time via TicketMaster or TicketMaster phone charge at 800.745.3000 or Ticketmaster retail outlets or the Toyota Park Box Office. Tickets will be priced at $100 plus parking and applicable fees.

Blues Wanderings

We aren't all lucky enough to make a trip on the Blues Cruise. In fact many will find it outside their means at any point but this week we have a review of the 2010 Blues Cruise from one of the lucky ones, veteran cruiser and Blues photographer Marilyn Stringer.  It is tough duty being on a ship with Blues performers and fans close up for days but someone has to do it! Marilyn sends us some great photos of all the Blues fun in a story in this issue! SCROLL DOWN!


In this issue - Blues Reviews and MORE!

James Walker reviews a new CD from  Rob Paparozzi.  Chuck Gomez reviews a new CD by The Avey Brothers. Mark Thompson reviews a new CD by Jackie Scott. Sheralyn Graise reviews a new CD by Jake Lear. Steve Jones reviews a new CD by Levee Town. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!

 2010 Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise

Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise – January 2010

Photos & Story By Marilyn Stringer

“It’s Great to Be Us” was the mantra for this January’s Cruise. The lineup was amazing even before Roger Naber added seven surprise guests at the last minute. The floating festival started at the Sheraton in Fort Lauderdale with scheduled performances by Joey Gilmore and the 2009 IBC Winner, JP Soars & The Red Hots. True to form for cruise performers, JP had two of the surprise guests, Billy Gibson and Dave Fields, along with Deak Harp, join him on stage. And just passing through from Norway on his way to NYC (??), JT Lauritsen jumped in on the mini-jam. The cruise was off to a jammin’ good start.

[Group 1]  - Joey Gilmore, JP Soars, Billy Gibson, Dave Fields, Deak Harp

DAY 1 – Sailaway from Fort Lauderdale at 5pm.

The cruise always leaves FLL with a sunset BBQ at the Pool Deck Stage. Guy Davis hosted the BBQ while Magic Slim treated us to some good old Chicago Blues. But you couldn’t stay long if you wanted to catch one of the limited performances of Deanna Bogart & Band. Hot on the heels of Magic Slim was Jason Ricci & New Blood, tearing up the Pool Deck and a new experience for many cruisers. Jason was soon to become the hottest ticket on the boat with his dramatic, heart capturing harmonica performances. The rest of the evening included Annie Raines & Paul Rishell in the Acoustic Lounge, JP Soars (2009 IBC Winner) followed by Tab Benoit & Swamp Band at the Pool Deck featuring Cyril Neville and Mike Zito, and Duke Robillard followed by Keb’ Mo’ at the indoor stage.

[Group 2] - Guy Davis, Deanna Bogart, Magic Slim, Jason Ricci, Annie Raines, Paul Rishell, JP Soars, Tab Benoit, Mike Zito, Cyril Neville, Duke Robillard, Keb’Mo’

Throughout the evenings into the early mornings you could catch Mitch Woods, Eden Brent, or Scottie “Bones” Miller at a packed Piano Bar. Later in the week Frederick & Darnell Neal, usually joined by most of the Neal Family, would round out the Piano Bar gatherings that lasted through the night and included whomever was passing by and wanted to play, such as Steve Wiggins.

[Group 3] - Mitch Woods, Eden Brent, Scottie “Bones” Miller, Frederick & Darnell Neal, Steve Wiggins

DAY 2-Bluesin’ At Sea

One of the great traditions on the Blues Cruise is the Virgin Party in the (sort of early) morning, attended by Virgins cruisers and entertained by Virgins. That is where the Cruisers get lei'ed and the Virgin Performers get broken in. This year’s Virgin Party Band was made up of Jason Ricci, Mannish Boys’ Jimi Bott (drums) and Willie Campbell (Bass), and (last minute guests) Nick Moss and Todd Sharpville (the only repeat Virgin).

[Group 5] - Jason Ricci, Jimi Bott, Willie Campbell, Nick Moss, Todd Sharpville

And while the Virgins are drinking Mimosas & Bloody Mary’s on the Pool Deck, the Returnee Party was going on inside at the Showroom. This year’s entertainment included Super Chikan, Billy Gibson, and surprise guest Watermelon Slim. While those three are entertaining the cruisers, a massive brunch was being set up out side the door in preparation for the Gospel Brunch performance. Due to timing issues with our own photography workshop I had to grab a piece of cornbread on my way there and missed the Gospel Hour. “It’s Great to Be Us” unless I have to miss something….

[ Group 6] - Super Chikan, Billy Gibson, Watermelon Slim

Day 2 was off to a great start and it just never stopped until we were kicked off the boat at the end of the week. One of the highlights of this trip was Joe Louis Walker’s live recording of his 21st album. All three performances pretty much included every performer on the boat. Each show was a constant rotation of talent. Joe is joined here by Nick Moss, Paris Slim, and Jason Ricci; Curtis Salgado; Tommy Castro and his horn section; Mike Finnegan from Phantom Blues Band; Kirk Fletcher and Franck Goldwasser from the Mannish Boys, and later at the pool deck by Johnny Winter, Paul Thorn & Tab Benoit, among others.

[Group 7] - Nick Moss Group, Curtis, Franck, Tommy, Kirk ,Horns, Mike, Keb Mo, Johnny, Paul & Tab


The rest of the performances were spectacular and it was hard to make it to all the venues, although I tried. Rounding off the star-studded cruise were: Johnny Winter; The Kenny Neal Family Band;The Mannish Boys-Bobby Jones, Finis Tasby, and Randy Chortkoff; Taj Mahal and the Phantom Blues Band; Ruthie Foster;Super Chikan and the Fighting Cocks; Theodis Ealey; Hans Theesink & Terry Evans; Curtis Salgado Big Band; Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue featuring Deanna Bogart and Magic Dick; and Trampled Under Foot (featuring a lot of guests helping out for Danielle who took ill).

[Group 8] - Johnny Winter, Kenny Neal, Mannish Boys – Bobby Jones & Finis Tasby, Randy Chortkoff, Taj Mahal, Ruthie Foster, Super Chikan, Theodis Ealey, Hans Theesink & Terry Evans, Curtis Salgado Big Band, LRBR-Magic Dick & Deanna Bogart, Trampled Under Foot with Samantha Fish & Mike Zito.

Every night included all-star jams that lasted until early in the morning. During the day were workshops and special performances including all the keyboard players or the horn players or songwriters and acoustic jams. One of my favorites was the Boogie Woogie Piano Blowout featuring all the piano players and Super Chikan teaching us how to make beer butt chikan with his own glee included. The final port, Half Moon Cay, also hosted a double jam with Jason Ricci and a mix of performers. The cruisers just hung out in the crystal blue water and listened to the music. It was a great way to end the cruise, although the piano bar was the place to be the last night(so I heard…).

[Group 9] - Piano Blowout, HFCay JR & JP, HFC - Mike Zito, Annie Raines, Mitch Woods

Another Blues Cruise is over but the memories are not….See you in October!

For more photos visit:

 Featured Blues Review 1 of 5

Rob Paparozzi - Etruscan Soul

Honeydrippers Records

15 songs; 70:18 minutes; Library Quality

Styles: Harmonica led Blues, Jazz, Soul, Rock, R&B

Who says lightning never strikes twice in the same place? For only the second time in the two years we have been doing our radio show on WKCC, my partner Shuffle Shoes actually likes a newly released CD. Our show consists mainly of his vast archived golden nuggets with me alternately playing new releases. Rob Paparozzi’s “Etruscan Soul,” however, has earned Shuffle Shoes’ complete and unabridged approval.

His objections to the newest material usually center around guitar wanking and mediocre vocals. Honestly, he has a point: a rare few are truly great singers; most are average at best. Paparozzi is not a B.B. King or Ray Charles, but his first rate vocals blend verve and empathy with depth and clarity. Paparozzi credits his soulful vocal timbre to his family’s genetic heritage dating back to ancient Eturia in west-central Italy. Thus, we have the title “Etruscan Soul.” Considering that he has learned a sense of humor and playfulness in his presentations, one can understand how, in 2005, Paparozzi became the replacement for David Clayton Thomas in the legendary “Blood, Sweat & Tears.”

And, there is more, Rob has incredible Blues and chromatic harmonica playing skills. Constantly in demand for session work, the New Jersey-based front man, singer, and harp player has been a blues performer since 1967. Paparozzi’s own band, The Hudson River Rats, are a favorite tri-state act. From 2000 – 2007, Rob toured the world with the “Original Blues Brothers Band,” earning the admiration of guitar legend Steve Cropper.

Not strictly a Blues musician, Rob plays a versatile, wide range of music reflected in the long and diverse list of major artists with whom he has worked, including B.B. King, Dr. John, Bruce Springsteen, Whitney Houston, Carole King, Roberta Flack, Cyndi Lauper, and Randy Newman.

With that list, it is surprising that, at age 56, this is his debut album. Paparozzi selected fifteen favorite songs to rearrange and cover including, Elton John’s and Bernie Taupin’s “Border Song (Holy Moses),” Randy Newman’s “I Think It's Going To Rain Today,” and Sting’s “She's Too Good For Me.”

The CD features many creative moments, such as Steely Dan’s “Peg” merged with the standard “Peg O' My Heart.” Phoebe Snow sings on Delbert McClinton’s “Monkey Around,” and guitarist Leo Nocentelli of the Meters guests on Cream’s “Strange Brew” while Bernard “Pretty” Purdie handles most of the drumming. More name guests abound.

The set opening instrumental, The Beatles’ “Ticket To Ride,” is Rob’s “Thank you” to John Lennon for his life changing inspiration in playing a “tiny instrument, the harmonica.” While there’s no harp in the original, of course, Rob is outstanding here, fronting a full band.
My other favorites, among NO clunkers: Keb’ Mo’s “Keep It Simple” with Rob on vocals and Hugh McCracken on Dobro, Rob’s wonderful solo-on-piano and voice channeling of Randy Newman’s “I Think It's Going To Rain Today,” Rob singing “In the Heat of the Night” his way, and a fun instrumental version of Stephen Stills’ “Love the One You’re With” featuring John Korba (the album producer) on acoustic piano.

When a veteran Blues fan who has had more than one Blues radio show tells you that it’s good, what more do you need to know? Take it from Shuffle Shoes and Skyy Dobro, this CD is a major winner!

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 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.

Festival & CD Advertising Special

Blues Blast Magazine six week festival advertising rates slashed

(Ads must be reserved by March 31st, 2010)

Blues Blast Magazine is a great way to promote the Blues. More than 15,000 Blues fans read our magazine each week. They are located in all 50 states and in more than 80 countries. We get more than 1,000,000 hits and more than 20,000 visitors a month on our website.

If your Blues Society is organizing a Blues Fest we offer cost effective advertising that really "Gets The Blues Word Out"! If you are a Blues performer, we can help promote your new CD. We know times are hard and Blues music is the Music for the times! So for a limited time Blues Blast Magazine is offering  "recession prices" on festival and CD advertising.

Normal 2010 Advertising rates are $45 a week for Blues Blast magazine ads. Website ads are $70 per month on the main homepage area.

BUT, for a limited time, you can advertise your Blues event or CD in Blues Blast Magazine for less that the cost of a small ad in your local newspaper.  If you reserve your ad space by March 31st, 2010 we are offering a special combo rate of $180 for six weekly issues of Blues Blues Blast Magazine AND an ad on our website.

So for $180 your ad can be seen more than 125,000 times by Blues fans who want to know about Blues events and music!

Ads can be scheduled for any dates in 2010. Space is limited during some summer festival season times and will be sold on a first come first served basis. To get more information email

 Featured Blues Review 2 of 5

The Avey Brothers - PREACHERMAN!

Before we get started and jump into the deep end let me tell you what the desk I am sitting at looks like. Its covered with papers 4 inches deep, half a dozen tenor sax mouthpieces and CDs everywhere. BLUES CDs that is. Almost daily I receive some CD from some Blues Band out there somewhere in the world. The other week I opened up yet another envelope and found the Avey Brothers PREACHERMAN, CD!

A power trio from someplace named Iowa? Isn’t Iowa known for corn and beans? Well it use to be but now ya better add Blues to that list. In fact lets just say I got me some tunes from bad asses from Bettendorf, IA. That's Mark and Chris Avey, bass, guitar and vocals and Bryan West drums.

And just to let you know what kind of monsters these guys are the harp player they have thrown in there for good measure is none other than Detroit Larry Davidson, winner of the 2007 River City Harmonica Blowout at the Winter Blues Fest, River City Blues Society in Peoria. IL.

With so many CDs coming my way of course I put this one aside and let that desk of mine start to devour it. Then with the urging of my publisher I reached in and pulled it from the fire and popped it into the player and gave it a ride. Good thing I did, cause what I found was a kick ass power trio letting Blues fly in every direction. Better duck here comes another tune.

"One More Thing" sets everything up with strong guitar and vocals with that unison undertone of harp running through the original song. In fact every song on the CD is all original, all Avey! This one starts with power chords climbing up the stairs right to the top of the tune. Big, strong, driving guitars, rhythm and harp. Love that drum beat! Maybe you like a different type of Blues, well this very next track delivers all the variety you could ask for, "Getaway" ---- got that delta/swamp thang working and still hard driving Blues.

I do believe this number, "Pocket Full Of Shame", could have been written as a dedication to my friend Mr. Skyy Dobro. Slide to start things off, make it that Dobro sound, playing so hard I think they broke a string!...and then of course comes the title cut, "Preacherman". Slip slide and hurt me good.

Close your eyes and there stands Robert Johnson coming at you right out of this chart. This cut on the disc is quite possibly the very tune that lead the band and the guys to the IBC. The International Blues Challenge. And its a good thing it did as they finished as finalists in one of the biggest and hottest not to mention one of the most talented Blues challenges anywhere this side of the South Side of Chicago.

Are you looking for energy bigger than a power plant? Do you want to hear a Band that lays it down with emotion and intensity and still remembers the roots of Blues in a modern format? Then here ya go. The Avey Brothers. Need a recommendation of a band to check out? Then run dont walk to their next gig. Go to the Mississippi River and turn left. Somewhere out there, where the Blues are blowing down the corn stakes you’ll find the Avey Brothers. Big, Bad and Blues!

Growing up and playing music, Jazz and Blues all my life I never forgot a story told to me by an old sax player way back when. The story he told me was of the Count Basie Band traveling from one night stand to one night stand, night after night on that old beat up Gray Hound bus. Sitting in a seat drifting off to sleep was one of the great tenor sax players of all time, Mr. Lester Young. Also on that bus was a young gun slinger of a sax man trying to impress Lester and earn a spot on the band stand. He, the young gunslinger, started walking up and down the aisle playing note after note as fast as lighting until he ended standing right in front of Lester blowing like a hurricane. Finally, Lester pushed his ol pork pie hat to the back, looked up and said, “But can you play me a song son?”

That's what the Avey Brothers deliver. They sure can play you a song. Great original Blues songs tune after tune. So how many bags of Blues do these guys have? Three Bags FULL!!.

Reviewer Chuck Gomez worked out of Chicago’s Mayor’s Office of Special Events for over a decade back at the start of the Chicago Blues Fest, plays sax and tours with many leading Blues musicians/Chicago style. He is Columbia College’s special events producer and owns/produces/promotes the Watseka Theatre, Iroquois Performing Arts Center. The Watseka Theatre Blues, BBQ & Arts Fest is the last Saturday of each May, this year May 29th, 2010. Go to: for more information.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

 Blues Want Ads

 Blues Musicians Place Your Want Ad here for FREE

"workin Blues folks" ONLY can place Want Ads here for FREE.  NO Commercial Ads! 

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

Blues Music Reviewers wanted

Blues Blast Magazine is looking for experienced 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

Vocalist seeks Gigs

Uvon Brooks - vocalist with hit blues CD and twenty years experience is available to tour with her band. She performed twice at the Monterey Blues Festival, and was a guest artist with the Chandler Symphony. Audio/video promo available. Tempe, AZ (480) 966-6039

Solo Bluesman Seeks Festivals

Paul Miles - Specialty slide guitar Delta Blues. Detroit Music Award winner and 2010 International Blues Challenge semi-finalist is looking for summer festivals opportunities as solo performer.

Website is   US and European gigs possible. Plans to travel to France/Switzerland this Summer. Contact 248-910-3811

Artist Seeks Representation

Independent blues artist seeks talent/booking agency. Seeking Festival & Venue booking representation. Be a part of the times and travels of an American Bluesman. Contact Billy Jones at: For more info visit:

Record Label Seeks Artists

Blue Skunk Music, a blues/roots label based out of Chicago, is looking for touring blues and roots music artists that have existing recordings currently not being distributed. We are looking to expand our catalog with existing recordings from touring artists, to release and distribute digitally and/or physically. We currently have digital distribution across the globe with 120 different companies that distribute to 300+ digital download and streaming music services. We have physical distribution throughout the US, Canada and parts of Europe.

A list of distributors & submission information can be found at our website, .


 Featured Blues Review 3 of 5

Jackie Scott & the Housewreckers - How Much Woman Can You Stand?

10 tracks/46:47

This self-released debut recording shines the spotlight on Jackie Scott’s brawny voice and her talent as a songwriter. Scott sings with plenty of power but she can also adopt a softer, sultry approach as needed. She has the ability to draw you in to each of her performances no matter how weighty the lyrics might be. The tracklist includes eight originals and another song that Scott co-wrote with several band members. Her tunes primarily focus on the ups and downs of relationships, with an emphasis on the sexual nature of human interactions.

The Housewreckers consist of Tommie Fisher on keyboards and bass, Mark Hopkins on lead & slide guitar, Brandon Frazier on drums and David Holland on bass. Special guest Lil’ Ray Neal adds his lead guitar to the mix – unfortunately there isn’t anything in the notes that tells you whether Hopkins or Neal is taking the solo on a particular track. While they don’t quite live up to their name, the band is a solid aggregation that provides Scott with a consistently strong musical framework.

Scott quickly demonstrates her vocal skills on the opening track, “Put Your Name On It”, which warns women to hang on to their man because there’s another woman waiting to grab him and treat him right. Scott’s voice expertly rides the easy-rolling tempo. “It Ain’t That Easy” struts with a harder edge and features Bill Albergotti on harmonica. Once again Scott’s performance stays low-key as she resists the temptation to show off but still delivers a meaningful vocal.

The slower tracks show Scott at her best. She sounds like a youthful Etta James on “I Can Tell”, her voice growing in intensity until she growls out the chorus with conviction. The title track is another highlight. It’s a standard slow blues but Scott enlivens it by describing all of the great things her man has promised her – then telling him she better get what she wants and asking if he is up to the task. Scott purrs and roars, shouting with gospel intensity. The understated guitar work on this track is a great complement to Scott’s bravura performance. “Mr. Devil” is a smoldering track with Scott relating her “encounter” with Devil, a battle for her soul. Scott once again delivers a strong vocal, resisting the urge to throw in a lot of needless vocal gymnastics and just let the power of her voice command the listener’s attention.

“Teddy’s Juke Joint” is a party-time blues tribute to a favorite watering hole. The pace slows on “Get Up With You” with Scott lamenting a lover she can’t get over. Scott delivers a cautionary tale on about a marriage to a military man who had one request, “Keep Your Legs Crossed”. The band lays down a slow-burning groove “Don’t Let the Smooth Taste Fool You” with Scott’s vocal dripping with sexual tension.

Scott and the Housewreckers made quite an impression at this year’s International Blues Challenge. Representing the Baltimore Blues Society, Scott was named one of the finalists in the Band competition. While she did not win, Scott had plenty of opportunities to showcase her prodigious vocal talent. You can expect to see her name on the rosters of numerous blues festivals this year. And once people listen to this fine recording, Scott should quickly find herself being mentioned as one of the top female blues singers. This one is highly recommended!!!

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

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

 Blues Society News

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

You can submit a maximum of 175 words or less in a Text or MS Word document format.

Mississippi Valley Blues Society - Davenport, IA

The Mississippi Valley Blues Society presents Eric Sardinas and opener Joanne Shaw Taylor on Sunday February 14 at the Lodge, Utica Ridge and Spruce Hills Drive in Bettendorf. The show in the Mozart Ballroom starts at 5 p.m. and admission is $20, $15 for MVBS members. Sardinas and Taylor will each play a set before they join each other on stage. Both of these artists visited the Quad Cities last year to critical and popular acclaim.

Also the Mississippi Valley Blues Society Education Committee is especially fortunate in being able to get one of the very top blues educators, guitarists, and singers — Clarksdale, Mississippi resident Johnnie Billington—for a Black History Month Blues in the Schools residency for the week of February 8-12, 2010.  Billington’s residency will have him presenting workshops in numerous Quad-City area schools, as well as giving free, open-to-the-public performances:  Wed. Feb. 10, 7 p.m. — Mojo’s in the RME, Davenport, IA.  Thurs. Feb. 11, 5 p.m. — United Neighbors, 808 Harrison St., Davenport, IA and Fri. Feb. 12, 4 p.m. — Martin Luther King Jr. Center, 630 9th St., Rock Island, IL. For more info call the MVBS office at 563-32-BLUES or visit our website at: .

Crossroads Blues Society - Rockford, IL

Crossroads Blues Society presents The Carolina Chocolate Drops, Sunday, March 7th at 7 PM at Big Cities Lounge. Tickets for both shows can be purchased in advance at Big Cities or by calling Steve at 779-537-4006. These shows will probably sell out in advance so don't count on tickets being available at the door. Kim Wilson tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door, and Carolina Chocolate Drops are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. The other two past shows were sold-out, so don't wait - get your tickets now at Big Cities - or by contacting Mark Thompson at

The Friends Of The Blues - Watseka, IL

Spring 2010 Friends of the Blues shows- March 16 - Shawn Kellerman, 7 pm , Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club, April 13 - Perry Weber & DeVilles, 7 pm , Kankakee Elks Country Club, April 17 - Joel Paterson Trio, Kankakee Valley Boat Club (“Rockin’ the River”), April 20 - Too Slim and the Taildraggers, 7 pm , Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club, June 22 - Al Stone, 7 pm , River Bend Bar & Grill. For more info see: 

The Blues, Jazz & Folk Music Society - Marietta, Ohio

The Blues, Jazz & Folk Music Society will hold its 18th Annual Blues Competition on February 19 and 20, 2010, at the historic Lafayette Hotel in Marietta, Ohio. Blues Bands and Solo/Dou blues acts will compete for cash prizes and BJFMS sponsorship to the International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis.  More information: contact Steve Wells at 304.295.4323 or

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. Feb 15 - The Sofa Kings, Feb 22 - Reverand Raven and the Chain Smoking Altar Boys

River City Blues Society - Peoria, IL

The River City Blues Society has started booking more of their weekly Blues shows. 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: Wednesday February 24 - Alvin Jett & the Phat noiZ, Thursday March 4 - Biscuit Miller,  Thursday March 11 - Shawn Kellerman, Thursday April 1st - Motor City Josh. For more info visit  

 Featured Blues Review 4 of 5

Jake Lear - Lost Time Blues

11 tracks

Total time: 47:42

Jake Lear, a Vermont native, has spent the last year playing on Beale Street in Memphis with Vic Charles and Roy Cunningham. Charles and Cunningham have both played for Albert King and others. Cunningham is also a former member of the Bar-Kays back when it was one of two Stax backing bands along with Booker T and the MGs. Jake is now learning from old school blues and R&B pros.

Alas, this tutelage is not apparent on Jake’s new CD Lost Time Blues. Lost Time Blues contains eleven songs mostly written by Jake except two classic blues songs and one with “borrowed” lyrics. On this CD, Jake channels his inner young Dylan on many of the tracks. The CD has a more singer-songwriter feel to it even though he has a full band. “Boogie Woogie Woman” has a great organ introduction and starts out with a bluesy feeling and then loses it.

“Blues 3 Ways” begins with a John lee Hooker/Canned Heat groove ala “Cutting Out” from the Healer CD but then morphs into something else before it’s final cadence back to “Cutting Out.” Some of the other songs have a rockabilly feel, even those written by ancient bluesmen. Singing the lyrics to a blues song does not make your version a blues song. Neither does putting the word “blues” in a title. The best song is “Bluebird.” It sounds heartfelt. This song gives the impression that this is the true Jake Lear and not him trying to be someone else.

Hopefully, Jake’s time on Beale Street will bear fruit on his next CD.

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.

 Featured Blues Review 5 of 5

Levee Town - Levee Town


14 tracks

What do you get when you make a band that is one part Crisco-dripping fried chicken Southside Chicago blues, one part channelers of the Stray Cats, one part British invasion rock and roll, with a little Freddie King thrown in for good measure? You get a band from Kansas City called Levee Town, who plays high energy blues and rock with reckless abandon! They were 2007 finalists at the IBC; these guys play some great blues on their third CD offering. The band features Brandon Hudspeth on guitar and vocals, Jacque Garoutte on bass and vocals, Jimmie Meade on harmonica and vocals, and Jan Faircloth on drums and vocals. They also occasionally add in Mike Sedovic on keys for a little more spice and flair. These guys are a tight little group and play some darn good music.

This band’s namesake CD is their third and features fourteen original cuts written and laid down here by the band. The songs often hearken back to the sounds of dark little Southside blues clubs and the old rockabilly songs played on AM radio, but with a new edge to them. The guys also really write some interesting lyrics to their songs. They open with a bouncy rocking track called “I’m Not Broke” with the tag line, “I’m not broke but I’m badly bent” providing an amusing choral backdrop to this rocking tune. They transition to an upfront, slightly softer rocker in “Three Sides” where they tell us about how there are three sides to every story- hers, yours, and someone else’s (AKA the truth). The solos pick up quite a bit here, giving it some true grit. By the third track, “You Mean”, the full, greasy spread of Chicago blues is opened up for all to enjoy.

The songs these fellows have written for this CD often remind me of older sounds from the 50’s and early 60’s. “Chicken Truck”, the lone instrumental, “Rock Me Baby”, “Hullabaloo” and “Why Why Why” could all easily be songs readers who are around my age heard on AM radio growing up. That’s certainly not a bad thing, these songs would hold their own in any era.

If you like your blues rockabilly styled, this is an album you need to listen to. Sample some of their wares over on or over on CD Baby and you’ll see why this is a great band to listen to! Their gigs appear to be spread out between Missouri and Minnesota, with a couple of stops here and there further to the south in Illinois. They are well worth the time and effort to check out!

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

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