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Issue 7-40, October 3, 2013

Scroll or Page Down! For news, photos, reviews, links & MUCH MORE in this issue!

Cover photo by Marilyn Stringer © 2013

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 In This Issue

Terry Mullins has our feature interview with Blues duo, Smokin' Joe Kubek & Bnois King. Terry also has photos and comentary from the Roots n Blues BBQ Festival

We have ten Blues videos of artists playing at the 2013 Blues Blast Music Awards. We have the latest in Blues Society news from around the globe. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!

 From The Editor's Desk

Hey Blues Fans,

We are going to take a break from our normal format for a couple of weeks. Instead of the normal CD reviews, we are going to bring you some great links to some really cool videos by the 2013 Blues Blast Music Awards Nominees. These are videos of the artists attending the Awards show and will give you a good look at their talent and why the nominators chose them.

It will also let you see exactly what kind of show we are having on October 31st at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago. Tickets are selling well but are still available by clicking HERE.

This show is the best Blues show of the fall season and will likely sell out. We have already sold out of some the reserved tables available with our mini sponsorships but reserved seating is still available by clicking HERE.

Get your tickets before they are gone! See you there!

Wishing you health, happiness and lots of Blues music! 

Bob Kieser

Blues Blast Magazine is offering a fall advertising special. This special pricing will be our lowest pricing of the 2013-2014 season.

This 6-week combo rate of only $350 affordably adds significant impact to your Blues advertising and promotion campaign. It is a great way to kick up the visibility of your new album release, Blues event or music product around the globe!

Blues Blast Magazine is a great way to promote the Blues. More than 26,000 Blues fans read our magazine each week. They are located in all 50 states and in more than 90 countries. We get more than 2,000,000 (That's TWO MILLION) hits and more than 45,000 visitors a month on our website. 

Normal 2013 - 2014 ad rates are $90 per issue for Blues Blast magazine ads and $100 per month for website ads. BUT, for a limited time, you can advertise in six issues of Blues Blast Magazine and on our website for a month and a half for only $350. This is a $690 value! To get this special rate simply reserve and pay for your ad space by December 15, 2013. Ads can be booked to run anytime between now and September 30, 2014 for your 2014 Blues festival, album release or other music related product.

With this special rate, your ad can viewed more than 220,000 times by our readers who want to know about your Blues events and music! Reserve your space today! Space is limited and will be sold on a first come first served basis.

Ads must be reserved and paid for by December 15, 2013. To get more information email or call 309 267-4425 today! Other ad packages, single ads, short run ads or long term bulk rates available too. Call today for an ad plan that fits your needs.

Tickets for the 2013 Blues Blast Music Awards are on sale now! 

The 2013 Blues Blast Music Awards will be held at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago on October 31st.  Tickets are $35. To get your tickets now, CLICK HERE

Artists appearing include 

 Featured Blues Interview - Smokin' Joe Kubek & Bnois King  

It’s funny how a person’s future can be completely and totally rewritten in what amounts to the blink of an eye.

But thanks to the fickle hand of fate, the entire course of someone’s life can be re-routed at almost any time, and at almost any place.

In Texas bluesman Bnois King’s case, he felt that hand reach out and tap him on the shoulder nearly 30 years ago in a Dallas nightclub.

“Before I met Joe, I was about an inch away from giving up on playing music. I was getting ready to leave Dallas and move to a smaller town here in Texas and get me a day job. That was my plan,” King said. “I had been thinking like that for several weeks before I bumped into Joe … ‘Man, I’m going to move to a smaller town where I don’t have to deal with no traffic or put up with the rest of this nonsense and hassle.’ But I met Joe and the whole thing just turned around.”

Of course, the ‘Joe’ that helped keep King from a potentially boring existence in a sleepy little Texas town is fellow Texas bluesman Smokin’ Joe Kubek. Fast forward some 25 years later after King and Kubek first jammed together, and we find that they have worked their way into a dynamic duo on par with Batman and Robin or peanut butter and jelly.

To help celebrate their Silver Anniversary of playing the blues together, Kubek and King are poised to unleash their 15th album, Road Dog’s Life (Delta Groove) in mid-September.

“It (the title of the album) almost speaks for itself. We’ve been on the road as a unit for almost 25 years and before that, both of us had been on the road with separate people, pretty much all our lives,” King said. “So we know quite a bit about the road ... and that title pretty much sums it all up.”

“We had a lot of fun recording it and we’re really excited about it. We worked really hard putting together the songs for the record and then we’ve got some great guests, like Kid Anderson playing on a cut with us and Kim Wilson playing harmonica and sharing some of the vocals with Bnois,” said Kubek. “And Randy Chortkoff plays some harp and we’ve got Jimi Bott on drums and Willie Campbell on bass, and then Patrick Recob plays bass on two songs. It’s a really cool album.”

In addition to 10 brand-new rockin’ compositions from the pen of King/Kubek, Road Dog’s Life also features a couple of tunes from a pair of the biggest bands to ever strap on guitars.

“We did our version of a Jagger/Richards’ song, “Play with Fire.” It’s kind of a rocked-out version with some bluesy undertones on it. It’s got some nice harmonica on it, along with a nice, solid backbeat,” Kubek said. “And we also do a version of “Don’t Bother Me” which was written by George Harrison on the Meet The Beatles! album. The Beatles’ did it up-tempo, but we do it real slow and real swampy. Our version is an eerie kind of ballad.”

“That (recording songs by the Rolling Stones and the Beatles) was Joe’s idea, because he’s in his 50s (56) and when he was growing up, the Beatles and the Stones were all the rage, so that’s who he’s attracted to. Me, being 70, I was attracted to people before that. I’m probably the same age that some of the Beatles and Stones are right now,” said King. “Normally, musicians look to people that were older than them for their inspiration and that’s what I did. I was looking to people that was much older than the Beatles for my inspiration. By the time the Beatles showed up, I was already a musician that was out on the road with an identity. But my idols growing up were mostly jazz players. I really didn’t learn to appreciate the Beatles until almost 50 years later.”

Just about every veteran band that’s worth their salt has penned a tune about the long nights and even longer days spent hustling from gig to gig hundreds or thousands of miles from home, and thanks to the title cut off their new album, Kubek and King have also thrown their hat into that ring.

“The song (“Road Dog’s Life”) is a kind of rocked-out thing with some almost-simple pop lyrics to it. It’s like a pop version of what it’s like to try and make it through the night on stage and then try to get to the next gig,” said Kubek. “My wife put together some lyrics and I was like, ‘Damn, she really stepped up to the plate on this.’ So I put some music to it and we have our first song about our life on the road.”

Long renowned for their ability to light up any stage they step on with their fiery twin-guitar playing, Kubek and King took a bit of a left turn on their last project, substituting their full-blown rocking blues delivery with something a bit more ‘organic,’ the acoustic-tinged Close to the Bone. To their credit, even though Kubek and King may have had a few reservations about how their hardcore fans would view an acoustic departure, they didn’t let that sway them from entering the studio and laying down something completely different from their usual fare.

“It was scary and certainly was a challenge. We’ve got such a long catalogue of electric albums that we thought it would just be cool to do an unplugged album. There have been times when Bnois and myself have been asked to do a fundraiser or to play a show as a duo, which is a really stripped-down thing for us,” Kubek said. “And the response we would get from those shows was incredible. We ended up doing some of those Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise shows like that, along with some shows around the Dallas area. But it can be a really weird thing … first, you don’t know how it will be received, and then it’s just so bare, that you really don’t have anything to hide behind. Everything you hit has to really stand out.”

As it turns out, blues lovers didn’t have anything to worry about. Close to the Bone fits perfectly alongside the rest of the previously-archived material in the Kubek and King library. It also offers their audience a chance to peek behind the curtain at what it might sound like when the duo sits down to work out songs for an upcoming project.

“I got to tell you, when we first thought about doing it, there was some nervousness involved, because we hadn’t ever done anything like that. We were worried about how it would be received, but we desperately wanted to do it because we had not ever done anything like that before,” King said. “We knew that we could do it, but we’re known for our hard-rocking electric blues, so there was some concern about how people would react to the album. But it turns out that people liked it pretty good, you know.”

Kubek and King have rightfully earned their stripes as one of the hardest working units to travel down the blues highway over the past couple of decades, rivaling even FedEx in the amount of road miles they chew up on an annual basis. But often overlooked because of the impressive firepower they weld on stage is the excellent catalog of songs that the duo has penned along the way. And like everything else they do, when it comes to crafting material to record, true collaboration is the key for Kubek and King.

“I try to pay attention to what’s going on around me. Like for instance, I wrote a song on Close to the Bone called “Ordinary Man.” That song talks about the political thing that is going on right now. When you’re a musician, you really try not to think too much about that stuff (politics), but when they keep pouring it on you, it’s like that’s all I hear about, so I decided to write about it … about how I felt about it,” said King. “I have no (political) side, and if you listen to the song, you can tell how I feel about it. Usually we’ll be sitting in the living room and I’ll read out the lyrics I’ve written and Joe will come up with the music. And the stuff he comes up with is stuff that I probably wouldn’t have thought of in a million years. But that’s just the way it works for us.”

King’s lyrical visions and tales – both the humorous ones, along with the more serious ones - seem to have a unique way of pulling out just the right musical tapestry from Kubek’s fingers. Then, all that remains is to merge the music with the words, creating some big-time Texas blues.

“What sparks me is what Bnois brings to the party as far as lyrics go. He’ll say, ‘Check this out’ and give me the working title of a song. While he’s reading me a couple of verses, I’ll usually get something in my mind and start putting down some music as he’s reading,” Kubek said. “That’s why we work together so well one-on-one … that’s when it really starts happening. He writes pretty much all the lyrics and I take care of almost all the music. But we bounce ideas off each other, because it’s not always the first idea that ends up working.”

The old adage that opposites attract may not exactly apply to the manner in which Kubek and King have managed to take two distinct and different guitar styles and blend them into something totally cohesive and captivating, but it’s not too far off the mark. Kubek comes more from the rock leanings of the British Invasion, while King approaches the guitar with more of a jazzy kind of technique. Despite that, there wasn’t a whole lot of trial and error when the two first started melding their six-string playing together.

“It was always simple and easy – really effortless. If you would have asked us in the beginning, we both would have told you that neither one of us wanted to work with another guitarist. But it ended up that we got up on stage one night and it just clicked … it just felt good,” said Kubek. “We enjoyed it, so we just kept doing it and for some reason, it works and it sure is a lot of fun. He compliments me and I complement him. We don’t sit around and try to figure out what (guitar) part each of us should play. I play something and he’ll throw something on top, or vice versa. We have a way of making things sound like one big chord instead of a lot of little ones. I’ve been playing with him for 25 years now and the guy knows more guitar chords than anybody I’ve ever seen in my life. He’s just got a knack for that.”

“When I met Joe for the first time, neither one of us had a guitar in our hands. We were at someone else’s gig and he was standing across the hall and we just kind of acknowledged each other with a wave. I didn’t see him for awhile after that, until I walked into a club and he was up on stage playing. During a break, he came over and said, ‘I remember you, do you want to come up and play?’ And I almost didn’t, because my style was nothing like his. I thought, ‘This could be a train wreck.’ But I wasn’t going to insult him by not playing, so I got up and played with him, even though I was sure it wouldn’t work” King said. “But when we got up on stage and started playing … man, it was just like a hand inside a glove. It wasn’t forced – I didn’t change anything and he didn’t change anything – but it just worked. And we looked at each other and went, ‘Wow!’ So that’s really how we got started. He had a little gig every Monday and I started playing it with him and we’ve been together ever since.”

With the way that he belts out tunes with such conviction, it sure sounds like King was bitten by the blues bug as a youngster and has been singing them all his life. But growing up in Louisiana, King was smitten by another form of art.

“Well, I grew up listening to jazz. I didn’t know what it was called at the time, but I knew I liked it. I’ve got seven brothers and two sisters and none of them liked jazz – just me,” he said. “They always wanted to change the station every time I had the radio on listening to jazz. They wanted to listen to Little Richard and all those people, but I wasn’t interested in that. I was interested in Benny Goodman and Wes Montgomery and Kenny Burrell and Miles Davis; that was the stuff that was catching my ear. And that’s pretty much what I liked and studied all the way up until I met Joe.”

King’s personal musical taste was not the only thing to undergo a bit of a tweak when he hooked up with Kubek; for the first time in his career, he actually began to sing in front of a band.

“Yeah, a lot of people don’t know that, but I didn’t sing until I started playing with Joe. I had dabbled and did know a few Jimmy Reed lyrics, but I was not a singer, I was just a guitar player,” he said. “I really didn’t even ever think about singing until I started playing with Joe. But now, I’ve got 25 years experience at singing. And for me, I won’t sing a song unless I can really feel it. People know when you’re singing something that you don’t feel, and I don’t ever want to do that. It’s got to come from the heart with feeling.”

Kubek’s coming-of-age as a bluesman began when he was still a teenager and played with one of the three kings of the Blues – Freddie. While the thought of playing with one of the all-time greats has to give Kubek goose-bumps these days, back when he was doing it, the feeling was a bit different.

“Oh, man … it was terrifying. It was the coolest thing in the world, but it was also the most intimidating thing in the world, you know? I was like 19 years old and nothing was really planned out. You’d break out into a song like “Big Leg Woman” which was in the key of D-flat, which is a weird key for a guitar player – it’s more like a key for a horn player,” laughed Kubek. “And he (Freddie King) was liable to turn around and give you a solo in a place where you wasn’t expecting it. And when he did stuff like that, you knew that he was ready to go, that he was feeling good. One night, he turned around and gave me a solo in “Ain’t Nobody’s Business” and then decided he wanted to trade off with me. He’d play a few licks and then he’d want an answer back from me … and you know, that’s terrifying, especially for a kid. That was my introduction to the so-called big stage, getting beat up by Freddie King. He was making me sweat my ass off.”

However, once you’ve been in the heat of battle, standing toe-to-toe with the Texas Cannonball, anything after that has to seem like a leisurely stroll through the park.

“Yeah, I thought about that after I got older. But at that moment, it was more like, ‘Oh, man, I better practice my ass off to keep up,’” Kubek said. “But the guy was just so electrifying. He’d hit one note and it would sound like he was going to snap the neck right off the guitar. Matter of fact, he told me one night that he did snap the neck off a guitar one time in Chicago and I believe it.”

Kubek’s journey into the realm of becoming a professional musician started the same way that countless other players did, by witnessing the Beatles turn the world upside with their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.

“I was gone after I saw that, man. It’s weird, but I would sit in school and I wouldn’t hear anything. All I did was sit there and daydream about getting a guitar,” Kubek, who was in the first-grade at that time, said. “It was all I could think about. I just had a lust to get a guitar way back then. And then I got one and taught myself to play with one of those 50-cent chord books.”

The pathway that went from young schoolboy with a case of Beatles fever to veteran bluesmen with over a dozen albums to his credit has not always been filled with champagne, roses and high-paying gigs for Kubek. In between, there were plenty of lean and penniless days that would have caused most people to chuck it in and find a straight job. However, as bleak as it was at certain times, Kubek gutted it out and found a way to persevere.

“I went through a lot of stuff back then. The kind of music that I chose to play – the blues – at 13- and 14-years old, people would just kind of look at you and go, ‘What are trying to do?’ It’s like no one got you back then and it was really frustrating. You didn’t get to work very much, and when you did, you didn’t get paid very much,” he said. “As a result, I spent a lot of time not really having a home. I flopped on a lot of different couches and was almost living to the point that I was homeless. At one time, I used to have to sleep out in this junkyard in a vacant car. I also remember spending a whole winter living in a vehicle – not in the junkyard – and it was one of the coldest winters that we had had in Dallas … but that’s just the kind of stuff that you had to go through in order to play this music back in the day. These days and times, people get it. Back then, it was a little different to be a young, white guy trying to play the blues.”

To be sure, paydays have dramatically improved over the years for Kubek and King, and while that is certainly nice, it’s still not the sole reason that the two are still playing the blues in 2013.

“I still don’t make a lot of money, but I sure am having fun,” laughed King. “I am getting a lot of satisfaction out of life, and that’s all I ever really wanted – was to be satisfied with life. This job has afforded me the opportunity to see more than I’ve ever dreamed of. I’ve been to about 28 different countries and I never would have ever guessed I’d see anything outside of America. I mean, I never ever thought I’d see all of America, but I have, all thanks to this job. I’ve played every state in the Union. At one time, I just would have been happy to have seen New York or California. I’ve gotten more out of this thing than I ever dreamed possible … and it ain’t over yet.”

And judging by their eagerness to take to the road in support of Road Dog’s Life, it doesn’t appear that Smokin’ Joe Kubek and Bnois King have any other plans on the horizon but to continue to play their patented brand of Texas-sized blues.

“I see us continuing to do the best we can and always trying to make a good record. And if we can make a record that we like ourselves, hopefully the people will like it, too,” King said. “We always want to create something that we’re proud to put our names on. And then, if it busts out and does something, that’s great. But the first thing is for us to like and be proud of what we’ve done.”

“I hope we get to continue to play for these great audiences that we’ve been playing for over the years – that’s the coolest thing there is. We’ve got friends all over the world,” Kubek said. “I know one thing for sure; we plan on doing this right up until they pick us up in a body bag or something like that. They may have to start wheeling us out in a Hoveround one of these days, but we’ll still be making the gigs.”.

For more info on Smokin' Joe Kibek and Bnois King visit their website at

Photos by Bob Kieser © 2013 Blues Blast Magazine

Interviewer Terry Mullins is a journalist and former record store owner whose personal taste in music is the sonic equivalent of Attention Deficit Disorder. Works by the Bee Gees, Captain Beefheart, Black Sabbath, Earth, Wind & Fire and Willie Nelson share equal space with Muddy Waters, The Staples Singers and R.L. Burnside in his compact disc collection. He's also been known to spend time hanging out on the street corners of Clarksdale, Miss., eating copious amounts of barbecued delicacies while listening to the wonderful sounds of the blues.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

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Blues Blast Magazine Seeks Photographer/Reviewer help for King Biscuit Festival

Blues Blast Magazine is looking for a volunteer to cover the Lockwood Stage and The Rising Biscuit stage at the 2013 King Biscuit Festival in Helena Arkansas on October 10, 11 and 12. Must have professional grade camera and experience photographing!

The selected candidate will have their photos and written review published in Blues Blast Magazine. They will be paid for the article after it is published. If you are interested please reply to for more information. Please include your phone number with the reply

Blues Blast Magazine seeks graphic design help

Blues Blast Magazine is looking for affordable graphic designers to work on occasional projects in conjunction with our magazine, our website and our advertisers. Creative design abilities, fast turnaround and attention to detail needed.

For consideration please email us your resume and a link to view your portfolio online to . A background or experience with Blues music is desirable. Please include your phone number with the reply

 Featured BBMA Artist Video 1 of 10

Guitar slinger Albert Castiglia spent several years in the Windy City honing his craft playing guitar with Junior Wells before returning to his South Florida stomping grounds where today he is an in-demand player who enjoys a large fan base. This is a clip of Albert Castiglia playing "Put Some Stank On It"  recorded at Don Odells Legends. Click on the video above to see this clip.

Albert Castiglia is nominated for Best Blues Rock CD.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured BBMA Artist Video 2 of 10

Andy Poxon, an 18-year-old college sophomore from Maryland, has been making quite a name for himself in the Northeast of late with his three-piece Andy Poxon Band. He is a talented singer, songwriter and guitarist who released his second album titled Tomorrow on the EllerSoul label. The CD was a collaboration with Duke Robillard.

This video is a song from the new CD titled "Too Bad" co-authored by Duke Robillard performed at the Stepping Stone Blues Fest this summer. Click on the video above to see this clip.

Andy Poxon is nominated for the Sean Costello Rising Star Award.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured BBMA Artist Video 3 of 10


Mud Morganfield is the eldest son of Blues Legend Muddy Waters. This video is from 2011 at a show in England. Click on the video above to see this clip.

Mud Morganfield is nominated for Male Blues Artist of the year.  

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured BBMA Artist Video 4 of 10


Doug Deming and his Jewel Tones are one of the hottest acts on the scene today. This video is Doug Deming and The Jewel Tones performing "Don't Roll Those Bloodshot Eyes At Me" at The Suncoast Blues Society Birthday Bash At Skippers Smokehouse on June 2, 2012. Click on the video above to see this clip.

Doug Deming is nominated for the Sean Costello Rising Star Award.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured BBMA Artist Video 5 of 10


Mike Wheeler is a seasoned Bluesman having spent many years playing guitar for Big James and The Chicago Playboys before forming his own band in 2011. This video is Mike Wheeler Band Live at Taste of Westmont, IL on 7/15/2012.  Click on the video above to see this clip.

Mike Wheeler is nominated for Best New Artist's Debut and also for the Sean Costello Rising Star Award.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured BBMA Artist Video 6 of 10


James 'Buddy' Rogers is an up and coming artist coming all the way from his home in Canada to perform at the Blues Blast awards. This video is him performing the title cut from his debut album My Guitar Is My Only Friend. It was recorded at the Columbia Theater May 25th, 2013. Click on the video above to see this clip.

James 'Buddy' Rogers is nominated for Best New Artist's Debut.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured BBMA Artist Video 7 of 10


Many Blues fans seem to think they have seen Shaun Murphy before the first time they see her at a Blues show. And they are probably right as she spent many years as the singer for the band Little Feat and has also done several tours as a singer for Eric Clapton and others. This video is an entire set of the Shaun Murphy Band at Hippie Jacks in Nashville. Click on the video above to see this clip.

Shaun Murphy is nominated for Best Contemporary Blues Album and also for Best Female Artist.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured BBMA Artist Video 8 of 10


Doug MacLeod is the master of dobro, playing his country Blues style songs. This video is a song from his nominated CD, There's A Time called "A Ticket Out" It was recorded at the Bing Lounge in Portland. Click on the video above to see this clip.

Doug MacLeod is nominated for Best Traditional Blues Album, Song of The Year and Male Blues Artists of the Year.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured BBMA Artist Video 9 of 10


Brandon Santini has been making his mark on the Blues world for several years with his great harmonica playing and singing. This video is Brandon Santini Live at the Bluesberry in Clarksdale, Miss in 2011.  Click on the video above to see this clip.

Brandon Santini is nominated for the Sean Costello Rising Star Award.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured BBMA Artist Video 10 of 10

Kevin Selfe is a singer songwriter and guitar player who released his debut recording the Delta Groove label.. This at video was recorded at Highway 99 Blues Club in Seattle, WA on Saturday, March 9, 2013..

Kevin Selfe is nominated for the Sean Costello Rising Star Award.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured Live Blues Review - Roots n Blues BBQ Festival

It’s not an uncommon thing for a family to wake up one morning and suddenly realize that they have outgrown their present living quarters.

If they’re lucky enough, that can happen with music festivals, too.

Held for the first six years of its life in downtown Columbia, Missouri, the Roots n Blues n BBQ Festival (RNBNBBQ) was able to stretch its legs out this year, thanks to its brand-new home in the city’s spacious Stephens Lake Park, just a little more than a stone’s throw from the event’s original location.

An improved location was not the only new wrinkle added to the city’s biggest annual shindig; event organizers Thumper Entertainment also tacked on an additional day to the festival, expanding the music from two days to three, with the 2013 edition running Sept. 20-22. They also brought in a Ferris wheel to this year’s hoedown, giving the event a touch of a small-town, county fair kind of feel.

With the country still mired in uncertain economic times, it might seem like a bit of a gamble for a music festival to expand its horizons and take on a whole new set of challenges presented by a different setting, along with the added expense of stocking another day with a musical roster worthy of hearing.

But as the Roots n Blues n BBQ Fest has proven time and again since its inception in 2007, when acts are selected strictly based on their pedigree, as opposed to their availability on any given day, growth, evolution and success are an expected part of the process.

This year’s lineup filled the 49 acres of lush green grass and tall majestic trees at Stephens Lake Park with enough diversity to satisfy even the most discriminating musical tastes, moving from hardcore bluegrass to New Orleans’ funk to old-school country to down-home blues and on to straight-up rock-n-roll, without ever batting an eye. Combine the impressive lineup with the aromatic smell of beer, BBQ and cigar smoke that wafted over the park and you have the makings for one intoxicating weekend. As if that wasn’t enough, just based on the fact that Beatle Bob -St. Louis’ world-famous musicologist and dancer extraordinaire, a man who has seen at least one live show every night since Christmas Eve, 1996, was there - you knew Stephens Lake Park was the place to be during the last weekend of summer.

In the past, the stages would have been torn down and the vendors would have had their booths packed up come Sunday afternoon, but this year, things were still going full steam on the Missouri Lottery Stage, as the Music Maker Revue kicked off the festival’s Sunday Gospel Brunch. This marked the seventh straight year that Tim Duffy’s crew has made an appearance at the fest and backed by Ardie Dean on drums and Nashid Abdul on bass, local bluesman Big Babe Martin was the first featured performer of this year’s Revue. Major Handy then favored the crowd with some Zydeco-dipped tunes, featuring his wife Francis on the scrub board.


Jackson, Mississippi’s Ben Payton broke out the acoustic guitar and finger-picked some selections from Skip James and Muddy Waters, with Atlanta’s Albert White then taking center stage and turning up the volume to “10” on three lively numbers, during which trombonist Lil’ Joe Burton made his way on stage and joined in on the festivities.

Before she demonstrated her own nimble abilities on the six-string, blueswoman Pat Wilder took a minute to inform the crowd that she was an aneurism survivor, and thanks to the efforts of Duffy and the Music Maker Relief Foundation, has been on the road to recovery and is still able to play the blues that she loves.

Rock-n-Roll Hall of Famer Mavis Staples was also a return performer at this year’s event and she headlined the Sunday Gospel Brunch, which was sponsored by the Broadway Christian Church of Columbia. Although the Grammy Award winner underwent a knee replacement in August, that setback did little to keep the 74-year-old Staples from doing what she’d done for almost 60 years; showering the sun-splashed attendees with plenty of love, soul and positive vibrations.

The term ‘next big thing’ gets thrown around a lot these days, but for L.A.’s Vintage Trouble, that term certainly hits home. The band not only warmed up for The Rolling Stones at their Hyde Park gig, they also opened up for The Who during their recent Quadrophenia tour. Oh yeah, they’re also the only band to ever make three appearances during one year’s time on The Tonight Show. Vintage Trouble bombarded Columbia with its hard-hitting meld of rhythm, rock, soul and blues and frontman Ty Taylor even made his way out into the crowd during a smokin’ version of “Run Like the River.”

To prove just how eclectic RNBNBBQ is, the undisputed headliner of this year’s get together was Rock n Roll Hall of Fame member – and one of the founding forefathers of reggae – Jimmy Cliff. Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the movie that helped push the genre out of Jamaica and into the consciousness of the rest of the world – The Harder They Come – Cliff and his band took Columbia to Zion and beyond as the evening sun faded into Stephens Lake.

There were plenty of real-deal blues spread out over the festival’s opening two days as well, with the Show-Me State’s very own Samantha Fish jump-starting the proceedings on Friday afternoon with a set of music culled from her first two Ruff Records’ releases. Nikki Hill, an up-and-comer who has been favorably compared to LaVern Baker and Amy Winehouse in her powerful and soulful vocal delivery, also took the stage that evening.

Local boys made good - the Bel-Airs, hopped on stage to get things rolling on Saturday and proved that the decision they made to play the blues some 30 years ago was indeed a smart one. They were followed by another favorite around the region, Chump Change, fronted by Big Babe Martin.

As the crowd grew bigger on Saturday afternoon, legendary Texas bluesman Johnny Winter, resplendent in his trademark cowboy hat, took to the Missouri Lottery Stage and roared through a set of familiar numbers, including a neat marriage of “Don’t Take Advantage of Me” with The Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter.”

He may not yet be a household name, but Boston’s Peter Parcek left no doubt that a guitar is a lethal instrument in his hands as he and bass player Joe Klompus and drummer Richard Malcom practically set fire to the Shelter Insurance Stage Sunday afternoon. After witnessing the destruction firsthand, it’s easy to see why none other than Buddy Guy has been singing Parcek’s praises as a must-see guitarist.

Two of the most-respected songwriters of the past 25 years, Steve Earle and John Hiatt, were the featured performers late Friday evening, and while their performances had a calming effect on the crowd, that’s not to say they were laid-back. Earle got the crowd clapping along to “Someday” while Hiatt’s run-through of “Real Fine Love” had a similar effect. While those two might not be labeled as ‘country’ music, Dale Watson sure is. At the forefront of a musical movement called Ameripolitan, Watson left no doubt about his thoughts on the current state of Nashville’s ‘new country’ with the way he blasted through a set of songs that would have made Merle Haggard smile. Watson even covered Haggard’s “Mama Tried.”

Alejandro Escovedo was there for his blast furnace blend of The Clash meets early Tom Petty meets Doug Sahm/Tex-Mex rock-n-roll, while bluegrass lovers could dig on the pairing of Keller Williams with the Travelin’ McCourys, along with The Hatrick and Some Train Yard. Armed with just a pair of banjos, Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn wove a tapestry that was almost trance-like, with the two virtuosos leaving the impression that they were joined together through some cosmic force.

The crowds on Friday and Sunday were definitely steady, but there were no match for the throngs that packed the park on Saturday night to see a trio of jamband favorites; Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, Blues Traveler and the Black Crowes. Blues Traveler let loose with a lot more firepower than is found on their studio CDs, and they put on one impressive performance, for sure. With Shorty and the Crowes both playing at the same time on opposite stages, fans had a tough choice to make between hair-raising New Orleans funk or blues-based rock filtered through a psychedelic funnel. But to the festival’s credit, movement between the two stages was made as smooth as it could possibly be, allowing the crowd to sample a bit of both, if desired.

There’s no telling if festival founders Steve Sweitzer and Richard King allowed themselves eight years ago to dream for even one minute just how big and impressive the Roots n Blues N BBQ Festival would become almost a decade after they first started tossing around the idea. But here’s betting that if they did, they would undoubtedly have had a couple of very satisfied grins across their faces.!

Reviewer Terry Mullins is a journalist and former record store owner whose personal taste in music is the sonic equivalent of Attention Deficit Disorder. Works by the Bee Gees, Captain Beefheart, Black Sabbath, Earth, Wind & Fire and Willie Nelson share equal space with Muddy Waters, The Staples Singers and R.L. Burnside in his compact disc collection. He's also been known to spend time hanging out on the street corners of Clarksdale, Miss., eating copious amounts of barbecued delicacies while listening to the wonderful sounds of the blues.

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River City Blues Society - Peoria, IL

River City Blues Society presents Dave Weld and The Imperial Flames, 7:30pm Friday October 25th at Goodfellas 1414 N. 8th St. Pekin, Illinois Admission: $6.00 for the general public or $4.00 for RCBS Members. For more info visit: or call 309-648-8510

The South Florida Blues Society - Coral Springs, FL

The South Florida Blues Society will be raffling off a cabin for 2 on the 2014 Legendary Rhythm & Blues Caribbean Cruise setting sail January 19 - 26, 2014

This cruise is always terrific, and always a sell out! So if you can't afford to spend the full purchase price to go Bluesin', here's the perfect opportunity to try your luck in winning this awesome prize valued at $5,000. Raffle Tickets are only $20 each [FREE shipping & handling], and a maximum of only 500 will be sold. The drawing will be held on October 6th. To date we've sold about 250 tickets. Therefore our projected sales will only be around 350 tickets, increasing the odds of winning dramatically! We're happy to securely take your credit card payments online at and click on the link on our homepage, or you can send a check for $20/ticket to: South Florida Blues Society P.O. Box 772548 Coral Springs, FL 33077-2548

Prairie Crossroads Blues Society – Champaign-Urbana, IL

Prairie Crossroads Blues Society is hosting its Third Annual IBC Challenge, Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013 at Memphis on Main, 55 E. Main St. Champaign. Seven bands are competing for the right to represent Prairie Crossroads Blues Society in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in late January. The first band takes the stage at approximately 4:30pm and the winner will be announced at 9 pm.

Also Prairie Crossroads Blues Society presents  RJ Mischo and Kilborn Alley at Bentley's Pub, 419 N. Neil St., Champaign. Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013 7pm-11pm $4 cover.  For more info: .

Santa Clarita Valley Blues Society - Santa Clarita, CA

Join us for a really fun afternoon with 5 of Southern California's best Blues Bands and help us pick the Winner to compete in the upcoming 30th Annual "International Blues Challenge" in Memphis, Tenn. on January 21 - 25, 2014. So far, we've have 3 Bands end up in the IBC "Top 10". This year's competition will be held Saturday, Oct. 5th from 1:30pm - 6:00pm at Sagebrush Cantina, 23527 Calabasas Rd., Calabasas, CA , 91302.

Master of Ceremonies - "TJ Sullivan", our 2 time Solo Winner.
Opening set: - "Two Guys Named Mo", 2012 Duo Winner.
Competing Bands: "Mikey Mo Band", "BullFish", "Chris Banta Blues Band", "Toni Dodd & Southbound Blues" - SCVBS 2003 and 2012 Band Winner and "Fortune".

$12 - Advance Ticket on sale at:, $15 - Adults at Door, $12 - All Blues Society Members showing membership card and $8 - Kids 12 & Under. Free parking on street and adjacent parking centers and paid parking behind Sagebrush. Come hungry, the food and drinks are delicious. Facebook Invitation: or visit

Illinois Central Blues Club - Springfield, IL

The Illinois Central Blues Club presents "Blue Monday" every Monday night for the last 25 years - BLUE MONDAY SHOWS - Held at the Alamo 115 N 5th St, Springfield, IL (217) 523-1455 every Monday 8:00pm $3 cover. September 30th - Levee Town, October 7th - Nigel Mack & The Blues Attack, October 14th - Jason Elmore and HooDoo Witch, October 21st - R.J. Mischo, October 28th - The Blues Deacons. More info available at  

Piedmont Blues Preservation Society - Greensboro, NC

The Piedmont Blues Preservation Society announces it's Blues Challenge Competitions for Band and Solo/Duo performers. The events will occur September 29, 2013 for Solo/Duo Acts and on October 6, 2013 for the Band Competition. Both events will be held at the historic Flatiron bar in downtown Greensboro. The top three finalists in each competition win cash prizes and the top winner in each competition advances to the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN, January 21 - 25, 2014.

Information and entry forms can be found at:

DC Blues Society - Washington, D.C.

The DC Blues Society proudly announces the DC-area appearance of the Selwyn Birchwood Band, the winner of the 2013 International Blues Challenge, on Sunday, October 6, 2013. The dance floor will be jumping when Selwyn and his band play their high-energy guitar-fueled blues from 5:30-9:30 pm at the American Legion Post 41, located at 905 Sligo Avenue, Silver Spring MD, 20910. Doors open at 4:30 pm. Tickets are $10 in advance ($8 for DCBS members) and $12 at the door ($10 for DCBS members). Go to to purchase tickets online or call (301) 322-4808

Also Cheer for your favorite band at the D.C. Blues Society's Battle of the Bands. This annual event takes place on Saturday, October 12, 7 PM – Midnight at American Legion Post No. 268, 11225 Fern Street, Wheaton, MD 20902. The winner will represent the DC Blues Society at the International Blues Challenge (IBC), January 21- 25, 2014 in Memphis, TN and at various local events. Purchase Advance Tickets & Save! DCBS Members: $10 advance/$12 door / Non-Members: $13 advance/$15 door.

Save the Date! Saturday, November 2, 2013, 6:00 - 11:30 PM, it’s the 6th Annual College Park Blues Festival at Ritchie Coliseum, across from University of Maryland, Route 1, College Park, MD 20740. Support this fundraiser and help send the DCBS Battle of the Bands winner to the IBC. More info at or call 301-322-480

Crossroads Blues Society - Rockford, IL

Crossroads Blues Society just successfully finished up their 4th Annual Byron Crossroads Blues Festival and now it's time for Blues in the Schools and other events!

On October 28th Hawkeye Herman is visiting two Rockford area schools and then he will also be at the Just Goods Listening Room at 7 PM on that date.

Also Crossroads is hosting their own blues challenge on Sunday, October 13th at the Adriatic Live Music Bar on 323 W Jefferson St in Rockford. Time is TBD as the number of bands is still not certain. To find out about the event, go to

Blues Society of Central PA – Harrisburg, PA

The Blues Society of Central PA proudly presents a night of ”Women of the Blues” on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at Champions Sports Bar 300 N. Second St, Highspire, PA. from 7 PM – midnight featuring The Ann Kerstetter Band, Miss T & The Mosquitoes and our headliner act , The Deanna Bogart Band. Admission is $15.00 Watch for info at 

The West Virginia Blues Society - Charleston, W.V

The West Virginia Blues Society will hold its 7th Annual Blues Competition on October 19, 2013 at Pullman Plaza Hotel, Grande Ballroom, Huntington, WV. Bands, solo/duo and a youth division blues acts will compete for cash prizes and WVBS sponsorship to the Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge held in Memphis, Tennessee January 2014.

The West Virginia Blues Society will have 18 competition slots filled by regional blues acts from all over West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland and other states. If your band has the Mojo this could be your ticket to Memphis for the Big Show.
The first-place winner of Blues Competition will receive $750 dollars in cash and WVBS sponsorship to the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in January 2014. The second place winner will receive $250 in cash. The Youth act will receive $100.
Complete information, application & rules are available online at Deadline for application submission is October 1, 2013. For more information contact Competition Director, Jack Rice at 304-389-1438 or e-mail:

Friends Of The Blues - Watseka, IL

Now in their seventh season, The Friends of the Blues present 7 pm early shows: Thur, Oct 3, Too Slim and The Taildraggers – “It’s Everybody’s Birthday Party” - Kankakee Valley Boat Club, Tues, Oct 22, Kilborn Alley Blues Band - - Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen's Clu. b, Thur, Nov 7, Terry Quiett Band - Crazy Beaver Grub & Pub, 510 S. Oak St., Chebanse IL 60922 Tues, Dec 10, the return of the Ori Naftaly Band from Israel! - Kankakee Valley Boat Club sponsored by Mr. Vacuum, Bradley IL  More information: or

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