Issue 7-9, February 28, 2013
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Cover photo by Bob Kieser © 2013 Blues Blast Magazine
In This Issue
This is our February 2013 Blues Overdose Issue. It includes links to six FREE Blues music tracks for you to download. More info below.
Terry Mullins has our feature interview with Matt “Guitar” Murphy.
We have 6 music reviews for you! Ian McKenzie reviews a new album by Simon McBride. John Mitchell reviews a new release from The Rusty Wright Band. Steve Jones reviews a new album from Scottyboy Daniel Blues Band. Rex Bartholomew reviews a new album from Black Magic Johnson. Marty Gunther reviews a new CD from Willie Buck. Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony reviews a new album from The Cadillac Kings. 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,
It is the last issue of February and time for our Blues Overdose Issue. On the last Thursday of each month Blues Blast Magazine is featuring free Blues music downloads from some of the best new artist releases.
This issue features six new download tracks including music from The Rusty Wright Band, Theodis Ealey, Sunday Wilde, Jason Elmore & Hoodoo Witch, Lil' Cliff & The Cliffhangers and Jason Vivone And The Billy Bats.
Scroll to the bottom of this issue to get these Free Blues tracks now!
Please please help us spread the word on Facebook and Twitter about this FREE Blues music each month. We want as many Blues lovers as possible to take advantage of this great offer from these artists.
Wishing you health, happiness and lots of Blues music!
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Featured Blues Interview - Matt “Guitar” Murphy
While his credentials are beyond impeccable, it appears that he may have been over-qualified.
That’s really about the only way to explain why it took the Blues Hall of Fame so long to enshrine Matt ‘Guitar’ Murphy.
But, in the end, it’s better to be invited late to the party than to not be invited at all, and Murphy was finally inducted into the Blues Foundation’s Hall of Fame last May.
Reading his resume is akin to tracing the timeline of the modern electric blues, with Murphy involved in seemingly almost every step along the way, starting at A and going all the way to Z.
Not only did he spend time shoulder-to-shoulder with legends (such as Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf), his guitar style also influenced some of the best ever (including Freddie King) and he was also cast into a major role in one of the best Blues movies of all time (The Blues Brothers).
With a track record like that, it’s a no-brainer to call Murphy’s career a Hall of Fame one.
But as for Murphy himself, he pretty much just shrugs off the long delay as if it’s no big deal.
“It’s about time,” he laughed. “You know what that is … if I hadn’t done anything, they wouldn’t be after me. So I must have done something to earn it.”
That would be an understatement.
Now, with any luck, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will soon act according and let Murphy inside its doors, as well.
“Well, rock and roll …you know, I was playing it first,” he said. “I was with Memphis Slim and that’s what he said – ‘We’re gonna rock this house tonight.’ So I’ve been on that side of the fence, too.”
Murphy and Memphis Slim (the man who put the ‘Guitar’ between Matt and Murphy) enjoyed a fruitful working relationship in the 1950s and early 60s, even though there was a considerable age difference between the two.
“I didn’t learn very much from Slim, but Slim learned quite a bit from me,” Murphy laughed. “He was older than me, maybe 10 or 12 years or so, but he was a good piano player that had very good timing. And that’s what I liked about him. I like a musician that can play on time and there where quite a few out there that didn’t hardly know anything about playing with timing. I always wanted to know as much as I could about music and you can’t do that if you don’t have the right timing.”
As it turns out, Murphy and Slim shared more than just a musical bond.
Murphy, who was born in Sunflower, Mississippi, was raised in Memphis and would later relocate to Chicago, paths similar to the ones that Slim traveled.
As most blues lovers can attest to, both Memphis and Chicago are magical towns as far as the music is concerned, and as an up-and-coming guitarist, Murphy was fortunate to spend time playing in both.
Although to him, location really has had little or no bearing on the type of music that comes out of his guitar.
“As far as I’m concerned, if it twangs and has a nice sound, it’s the blues. Whether it’s from Timbuktu or West Memphis, Arkansas or Memphis, Tennessee or wherever … the blues is just the blues,” he said. “It doesn’t make any difference if it’s got that twang.”
The one thing that has helped to set Murphy apart from his peers over the years is the natural emotion that he puts into his playing. It’s almost as if you body absorbs the music before your ears have a chance to hear it.
“To me, the blues is more a feeling than anything else. It’s a feeling that has to do with how you play and what you intend to do with it if you know what you’re doing. That’s all,” Murphy said. “Because you can have a blues that has an unlimited amount of bars – they can go on forever – and that’s what I call a chant. You can chant the blues. Some guys play 13 bars, 14 bars … they don’t know when they’ve reached 12. But me, I was particular about it and I knew when I reached four bars, eight bars or 16. But it’s all the blues.”
That preciseness – or crispness – has always earmarked Murphy’s works. But while his playing is technical and sophisticated, that doesn’t mean that the sounds he creates are cold and calculated; call it precision with passion.
In addition to Memphis Slim, Murphy also logged quality time on the road and in the studio with the likes of Robert Junior Lockwood, Sunnyland Slim, James Cotton, Muddy Waters, Ike Turner, Otis Rush and Sonny Boy Williamson.
Looking back on it, Murphy is rightfully proud of the part he played in helping to write the history and the story of those legends, although at the time he was involved with them, he really didn’t stop to think that he was playing with some of the all-time greats.
“No, no, that never entered my mind,” he said. “What I did was just play with gentlemen that played the blues. And most of them were great blues players, but at the time I never really thought about their place in history – or mine.”
When most folks think of the guitar sound behind Howlin’ Wolf, Hubert Sumlin quickly comes to mind. And while Sumlin was The Wolf’s right-hand man for many years, Matt ‘Guitar’ Murphy was the first guitar player hired for Chester Burnett’s first band.
In kind of a low-key and unorganized manner, Murphy joined up with Howlin’ Wolf in 1948 in the wild and wooly environs of West Memphis, Arkansas and tough he was still a teenager and the Wolf was almost 40, the first edition of Howlin’ Wolf and the House Rockers was born.
“The Wolf was … ha, ha … I don’t know how to describe him,” Murphy laughed. “See, I was the first guy to play with The Wolf in West Memphis. At the time, he was just playing by himself. He found me and I started playing with him and I was also instrumental in getting Little Junior Parker into Wolf’s band to play harmonica. Me and Junior used to play together before that. So together, we helped to put some timing and structure in The Wolf’s music, because he wasn’t big on timing at that point. But I left him (Howlin’ Wolf) pretty early because I had other things to do.”
Always an in-demand guitarist, Murphy never had to wait very long or search very hard to find work at any time over the course of his six decades in the music business. But it wasn’t until the early 80s that he formed his real first band, with his name up in lights on the marquee.
Last Call – Live at the 40 Watt Club (Bluzpik Media Group) is a smoking testament to just the kind of command that Murphy has over his six-stringed instrument. Recorded live in Athens, Georgia in 1986, Last Call boasts an incredible run-through of “Sissy Strut” along with a near 12-minute instrumental jam that’s guaranteed to peel the paint back off any wall.
And like any good live show, the connection between the artist and the audience is a strong one on Last Call.
“What happens is this – you have to follow a plan where you’re going and other times, you’re already settled into what you’re doing. But it all winds up going to the same place if it’s good music,” he said. “And sometimes the energy from the crowd will take you in a place that you might not have thought you’d go.”
Another of Murphy’s red-hot live performances – this one some 23 years before the recording of Last Call – played a pivotal role in the development of another famous six-string gunslinger.
While on tour overseas as part of The American Folk Blues Festival in 1963, Murphy was given a solo spot, backed by Memphis Slim on piano, Willie Dixon on bass and Bill Stepney on drums. With the muscle of those cats pushing him, Murphy cut loose with the pure guitar bliss of a tune fittingly called “Murphy’s Boogie” (Aka “Matt’s Guitar Boogie”).
While that instrumental certainly held the European audience in total rapture, it’s also long been said that Freddie King was so inspired and uplifted by that performance, that his classic “Hide Away” was born out of its embers (“Oh, yeah. I’ve definitely heard that many, many times,” Murphy said).
A tour de force of everything that makes Murphy tick, that tune is one that he holds near and dear to his heart, too.
“For sure, that’s one of my favorites. A lot of people didn’t know that I was into all kinds of music. Stuff like country and western, blues, jazz … everything. And on that tune, I kind of put a conglomerate of those styles into it,” he said. “But all those styles go together good in that tune … they all go together in the same direction. It’s like a journey.”
Helping Murphy on his musical journey these days is his signature Delaney guitar (www.delaneyguitars.com).
“It’s a good guitar – I’ve got two or three of them (Delaneys) that I play,” he said. “They’re very good guitars - very good. I like the design and the way the frets feel, it’s just got everything.”
Even people that might not consider themselves as fans of blues music are probably familiar with the 1980 feature film, The Blues Brothers.
At a time when the last remnants of the horrible disco age were still trying to cling on, and before the electronic new wave era found its legs, The Blues Brothers helped to put the spotlight firmly on rhythm and blues music, which seemed to be forgotten, or largely ignored, at the time.
While it brought to life the mythical careers of Jake and Elwood Blues, it also helped to rekindle the real-life careers of James Brown, John Lee Hooker and Cab Calloway, among others.
And as the semi-henpecked husband of Aretha Franklin in the movie, it helped to make a celluloid star of Matt ‘Guitar’ Murphy.
“Actually it was a boost to my career. John Belushi was the one that really liked me. Before we got to do the movie, every time I would run into him, he’d say, ‘Matt I want you to do this movie. I’m going to have your face on that screen – have a great, big shot of you.’ And he did it,” Murphy said. “And that movie certainly came out at the right time, because the music industry was really in the dumps at the time.”
According to Murphy, Belushi’s crazy antics and well-documented wild lifestyle had little bearing on most of the people on the set of the movie.
“He was dealing with a few issues and things, but that didn’t interfere with me at all. First of all, I didn’t drink, I didn’t smoke and I didn’t do drugs,” he said. “And the things that he was dealing with and doing – that was all him. I wasn’t concerned about anyone else’s situation except for my own.”
In the movie – and also on the subsequent tours that followed after the film, Murphy was part of one of the greatest musical lineups ever assembled – The Blues Brothers’ Show Band and Revue. As Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn famously quipped in the flick, “A band powerful enough to turn goat piss into gasoline.”
“Oh yeah, Steve Cropper and Duck Dunn … those guys were definitely fun to play with. It was a dream band, really,” said Murphy. “Everybody talked about that band. Willie Hall, Paul Shaffer and everybody … I just loved that band.”
Murphy later appeared in the sequel film, Blues Brothers 2000. A stroke he suffered while on stage in Nashville in 2003 may have slowed him down for a bit, but as of late, the world famous guitarist who now calls Miami, Florida home, has begun efforts to ramp up his performance schedule.
“I’m feeling pretty good these days,” he said. “I’m just enjoying playing whenever I can.”
No doubt playing with that infectious Matt ‘Guitar’ Murphy ear-to-ear grin on full display, too.
Any plans for another big-screen go-round with Elwood or any of the other Brothers?
“No. No plans for that,” he laughed. “I’m just gonna play my guitar.”
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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Featured Blues Review 1 of 6
Simon McBride - Crossing The Line
Eleven Tracks - 45:50
This album poses a real problem for me. It is true to say that the guitar work, the band, the quality of the recording and the lyrical and structural coherence of McBride’s song writing, are right up there with the very best in the world. McBride has recently been nominated in the British Blues Awards (he comes from Belfast in Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom) for Guitarist, Band and Album accolades. But here’s where the problem starts.
The blurb accompanying the CD says: “…this third CD stretches his talent, rejects the conventions of blues rock and delivers his greatest set of songs to date” but try as I might, I cannot put this in to a blues niche or even blues-rock niche. I was recently prepared to argue that ZZ Top are sufficiently rooted in the blues to justify a review in Blues Blast but try as I may, I cannot get the same feel from McBride’s undoubtedly prodigious talent. The single exception is a rendering of David Clayton-Thomas’ Go Down Gambling a song that Blood, Sweat and Tears included in their last album, which was critically savaged; that’s the blusiest it gets.
remainder of Crossing The Line is McBride’s own work and in broad
musical terms is exciting, interesting and accomplished but it is just
ROCK. The blues content is Zero.
Let me repeat; the quality of the musicianship, the recording and the philosophy of the music is outstanding…but this ain’t the blues.
Reviewer Ian McKenzie lives in England. He is the editor of Blues In The South (www.bluesinthesouth.com) a monthly flier providing news, reviews, a gig guide and all kinds of other good stuff, for people living and going to gigs along the south coast of England. Ian also produces and presents three web cast blues radio shows; one on www.phonic.FM in Exeter (Wednesdays: 1pm Eastern/ 12 noon Central, 10am Pacific) and two on KCOR (www.kconlinereadio) on Fridays at 12noon Central (Blues and Blues Rock) and Mondays at 4pm Central (Acoustic Blues).
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE
Featured Blues Review 2 of 6
The Rusty Wright Band – This, That & The Other Thing
11 tracks; 55 minutes
The Rusty Wright Band comes from Michigan and made a breakthrough to a national audience when they featured on the PBS programme “Backstage Pass”. This CD was recorded in the former Grand Funk Railroad recording studios. Indeed, former GFR bassist Dennis Bellinger is in the band, along with Peter Haist on drums, Dave Brahce on keys and husband and wife team Rusty and Laurie Wright on guitars. Everyone provides backing vocals with Rusty handling most leads and Laurie featured on two numbers. There are nine originals and two covers on the album.
The album opens with an interesting choice of cover in AC/DC’s “Whole Lotta Rosie” which is re-worked with more swing than the original rocker. Laurie sings “Man On Fire”, one of the strongest cuts on the album with excellent guitar work. “Alarm Clock Blues” shows a good sense of humour as Rusty bemoans the stress of early mornings in a partly spoken vocal which calls for everyone to destroy their alarm clocks over some tasty slide and B3 work. “How Blue Are You” drops the pace for a ballad before the band covers Mountain’s “Mississippi Queen”. When tackling a well-known song a band needs to add something of its own and RWB does that by topping and tailing the tune with some moody Delta colours; however, the central part is possibly even heavier than the original with crunching bass and strident guitars!
“Trouble And The Marrying Kind” finds Rusty hitting the wah-wah hard on a rocking duet with Laurie. The song explains that “there are two kinds of lovers, trouble and the marrying kind”, so we can assume that Rusty and Laurie fall into the second category. Another change of style brings some swinging guitars together on the instrumental “Hide In Plain Sight” which has echoes of Deep Purple’s “Black Night” in part of the tune. “Baby Roll On” has a funky beat with some interesting time changes and duel guitars that give it an Allmans feel.
“High Price Woman” features slide guitar on an Elmore James style tune which is fun as Rusty explains that he has a lot of bills to pay to keep his woman in the style to which she is accustomed! “Handyman” sees relationships from the other end of the lens, this time Laurie taking the lead on a swinging little tune as she extols the virtues of her ‘handyman’ – a guy whose skills may extend beyond his toolbox: indeed, “He’s my handy, dandy, randy, handyman”! Musically this is a nice change of style as the guitars swing along and the backing vocals sound vintage 40/50’s. The final track “Pen Or Sword” is an extended slow blues with some great guitar playing, the lyric tackling some social issues in contemporary society.
I enjoyed this CD for its excellent production, fine guitar playing and varied palette. This was the first time I had heard material from Rusty and his band and I will look out for them in the future.
Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK. He also travels to the States most years to see live blues music.
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE
Featured Blues Review 3 of 6
Scottyboy Daniel Blues Band - Mercy! A Tribute to William Clarke
Blue Edge Records
Scott Daniel is a huge and respectful fan of William Clarke. He enlisted the aid of John “Marx” Markowski, Clarke’s guitar player, to pick out some of Clarke’s best songs and play with him in tribute to the master harp master who left us far too early. Clarke’s widow Jeannette also approved this tribute and provided some rare shots of her husband for the liner art.
Also playing on the CD are Shinetop Jr. on keyboards, Matt Browning on bass, Joe Mika on guitar, and Jerry Riccardi on drums. The guys are tight and together. Scott blows his brains out and sings with authenticity on the cuts. This Kansas City, Missouri-based band has both the Chicago and West Coast blues styles figured out.
This is Daniel's second CD; I was not familiar with his work prior to getting this CD to review, but I am glad to have made at least his digital acquaintance. He really can play some mean harp. He gets where Clarke was coming from and going to in his music. The jazzy little West Coast swing that Clarke gave his blues gets good treatment here. The supporting cast are up to the task. The guitar work is smooth and mellow when it needs to be, direct and up front when it should be. The keyboards are also represented well; I enjoyed how they were used and especially how they were played; well done!
“A Good Girl Is Hard to Find” showcases everyone in the band. The guitar and piano get plenty of up front time and share the lime light as Daniel showcases his bends and over blows. Beautiful, impressive stuff is being played here. He does not try to out do Clarke nor does he just do a straight up and simple cover. It is a great homage to one of the harpmasters of our times. Daniels opens the set with “Blowin’ Like Hell;” he does. Grooving, showcase stuff!
The final track runs over 8 minutes and is simply called “Tribute to William Clarke.” Soulful, deep blues, slowly and evenly-paced, and just a beautiful track. Marx’ guitar takes the lead back and forth from Daniels, and the two just fill the 8 minutes paying their respects to Clarke. Simple, direct, and expressively played.
The other end of the spectrum is also well represented. “Drinkin’ Beer” is a rocking and rollicking swing tune as is “Lollipop Mama.” The band can really groove on the uptempo stuff, too. It’s a fun tribute top to bottom; Daniel give it his all and he is more than capable. I like his harp work and his band is also pretty darn good.
Blue Edge Records is a small, independent label from Kansas City. They are home to both of Scott’s CDs along with a lot of other local and regional bands that are also pretty damn good; I sampled a few here and there. It is good to see this music being kept alive by people who really care. I was impressed by Scott Daniel and his ability to wield a harp masterfully and if you have any love for blues harp done right then adding this to your collection is a no brainer.
Reviewer Steve Jones is president of the Crossroads Blues Society and is a long standing blues lover. He is a retired Navy commander who served his entire career in nuclear submarines. In addition to working in his civilian career since 1996, he writes for and publishes the bi-monthly newsletter for Crossroads, chairs their music festival and work with their Blues In The Schools program. He resides in Byron, IL.
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE
Blues Society News
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Mississippi Valley Blues Society - Davenport, Iowa
The Mississippi Valley Blues Society is seeking bands to participate in the inaugural Mississippi Valley Blues Challenge. Normally this time of year we are seeking bands to participate in the Iowa Blues Challenge, a cooperative effort among the blues societies of Iowa to hold a state-wide competition to select a band and solo-duo participant to represent Iowa at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis.
But last November, the Central Iowa Blues Society, whose volunteers have done an outstanding job coordinating the Iowa Blues Challenge, informed us that they had decided not to continue with the Iowa Blues Challenge at this time. The Mississippi Valley Blues Society has decided to move forward with its own blues challenge – the Mississippi Valley Blues Challenge, with a slightly different format.
The Mississippi Valley Blues Challenge Finals will be held Friday, July 5 on the bandshell at the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival. Preliminary rounds will be held this spring to select three participating finalists. Bands within a 175-mile radius of the Quad Cities will be eligible to compete.
The winning band earns the right to be the Mississippi Valley Blues Society representative at the 30th International Blues Challenge, January 21-25, 2014 in Memphis. In addition, the prize package includes cash, travel expenses, and a paid slot to perform at this year's Mississippi Valley Blues Festival on July 6.
The application deadline is April 20, 2013. You can download the application and rules here: Bands must be available to perform on all preliminary round and finals dates. Bands must submit a photo, bio, and a three-song recorded sampler along with their completed application. The number of preliminary rounds held will be determined by the number of applicants. The MVBS reserves the right to screen applicants based on submission materials. www.mvbs.org
River City Blues Society - Pekin. IL
The River City Blues Society presents Alex Jenkins & The Bombers at 7pm on Wednesday March 13th at Goodfellas 1414 N. 8th St. Pekin, Illinois Admission: $6.00 general public $4.00 Society Members.
Also appearing on Friday March 29th at 7:30pm at Goodfellas 1414 N. 8th St. Pekin, Illinois will be JP Soars & The Red Hots. Admission $6.00 general public or $4.00 for Society Members For more info visit: www.rivercityblues.com or call 309-648-8510
The Piedmont Blues Preservation Society - Greensboro - NC
The Piedmont Blues Preservation Society’s 27th Annual Carolina Blues Festival presented by YES! Weekly is being held in downtown Greensboro, NC, May 18, 2013. We’re excited to announce Janiva Magness and Kenny Neal will be headliners for the day-long event.
Janiva Magness has been nominated for five Blues Music Awards: B.B. King Entertainer Of The Year Award, Contemporary Blues Female Artist Of The Year, Album Of The Year, Contemporary Blues Album Of The Year, and Song Of The Year. The Awards Ceremony happens just 9 days before our festival.
Kenny Neal, 2011 Louisiana Music Hall of Fame Inductee, is an acclaimed multi-instrumentalist and is widely renowned as a modern swamp-blues master. His new release, Hooked On Your Love, follows the triumph of his multi-award-winning 2008 comeback album, Let Life Flow. The CD raked in the accolades: three Album Of The Year awards, two Song of The Year awards for the title track, and Kenny himself garnered two Artist of the Year honors. More Info at http://fest.piedmontblues.org
Friends Of The Blues - Watseka, IL
Now in their seventh season, The Friends of the Blues present 7 pm early shows: March 5 – Brandon Santini, Kankakee Valley Boat Club, 1600 Cobb Blvd., Kankakee IL 815-939-1699; March 19 – Harper, Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club, 2672 Chippewa Drive, Bourbonnais IL (815) 937-0870; March 28 – The Sugar Prophets, Kankakee Valley Boat Club, 1600 Cobb Blvd., Kankakee IL 815-939-1699; April 4 – Shawn Pittman, Kankakee Moose Lodge, N State Rt 50 (Kinzie Ave), Bradley IL (815) 939-3636; April 16 – Matt Hill, Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club, 2672 Chippewa Drive, Bourbonnais IL (815) 937-0870; May 2 – Biscuit Miller, Kankakee Moose Lodge, N State Rt 50 (Kinzie Ave), Bradley IL (815) 939-3636; May 16 – James Armstrong, Venue TBA; May 30 – Bryan Lee, Kankakee Valley Boat Club, 1600 Cobb Blvd., Kankakee IL 815-939-1699. More information: www.facebook.com/friendsoftheblues or firstname.lastname@example.org
San Louis Obispo Blues Society - San Luis Obispo, CA
The San Luis Obispo Blues Society welcomes Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers on Saturday, March 2 at 8:00pm at the SLO Vets Hall (801 Grand Avenue, San Luis Obispo, California). The Cinders open the show. Tickets are $17 for Blues Society members and $20 for the general public. All tickets are sold at the door. SLO Dance offers free dance lessons at 7:30pm. 21 and over, please. For more information, call 805/541-7930 or visit our website www.sloblues.org.
The New Mexico Blues Society - Rio Rancho, NM
The New Mexico Blues Society will be holding it's 3rd "Cused of the Blues" festival on March 16th, 2013 @ 1521 Broadway SW, Albuquerque, NM featuring local, New Mexico talent. Hillary Smith & Friends will be headlining the show. So far the lineup, still under construction, consists of The Kenny Skywolf Band, Twisted Mojo, The Jake Jones Band, The Memphis P-Tails with Joanie Cere, The Albuquerque Blues Connection, Hillary Smith & Friends, plus an hour long All Star Jam to close the show which will run from 1:00pm until 9:00pm. Admission is $5.00 for NMBS Members and $7.00 for nonmembers. We will be holding raffles and a silent auction. All proceeds will go toward our Youth Scholarship Fund, Blues In The Schools Program (BITS), and sending a couple of kids to music camp this year. As part of our current membership drive, those joining NMBS between now and March 16th will receive a free ticket to this event. Memberships are as follows: Individual Membership = $20.00/year, Family Membership = $30.00/year, and Band/Business Membership = $40.00/year. Please check us out on Facebook and go to our web site: nmbluessociety.com for the latest listings of Blues Gigs in New Mexico. Blues are happening here and growing by leaps and bounds each and every year. If you are a die hard Blues Fan/Musician and looking for a change, please consider relocating to new Mexico, "The land of Enchantment." http://nmbluessociety.com/
Crossroads Blues Society - Rockford/Northern Illinois
On Friday, March 15th Bobby Messano returns to Rockford after too long an absence. Bobby will be playing at Mary's Place on 602 North Madison Street at 8 PM. Cover charge is only $10 and if you pay in advance you get limited reserved seating. Bobby is a virtuoso guitar player who has been around and played with many of the greats. His passion is blues and that has been the focus of his career. His albums have received great levels of acclaim, including Grammy nominations for 2007's "Live in Madison" and the the latest from 2011 "That's Why I Don't Sing The Blues." This will be a great show!
The Inaugural Field of Blues Festival to be held at the Rockford Aviators Stadium on June 22nd has finalized their lineup and they have six great bands ready to be featured on stage. Crossroads Blues Society is proud to announce that Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials, Willie Buck and Tail Dragger with the Rockin' Johnny Band, Toronzo Cannon, Dave Weld and the Imperial Flames, Aaron Williams and he HooDoo, Steve Ditzell and the Flaming Mudcats will be the lineup for the event. This lineup gets into deep traditional, funky, and rocking blues; the energy and sound will please all blues fans and anyone else who attends. Gates will open at 11 AM and the fun begins at noon! Advanced tickets go on sale soon and will be only $10; admission at the gate will be $15. Parking on site will be $2: ample parking is available at the stadium. For more info see www.crossroadsbluessociety.com.
Ventura County Blues Society- Ventura, CA
The Ventura (Calif.) County Blues Society presents the 8th Annual Ventura County Blues Festival (formerly the Simi Valley Blues Festival) on Saturday, April 27, 2013 at Moorpark College in Moorpark, Calif. starting 11 a.m. and featuring headliners the legendary Johnny Rivers; Savoy Brown featuring Kim Simmonds; and Kenny Neal; plus regional acts Dona Oxford, Preston Smith & The Crocodiles, and Michael John And The Bottom Line. Tickets $25. in advance, $30. day of show; kids 12 and under free (with adult). Proceeds benefit The American Diabetes Association and local charities. Info./Tickets: (805) 501-7122 or log onto www.venturacountyblues.com
Illinois Central Blues Club - Springfield, IL
The Illinois Central Blues Club (ICBC) has announced the date for their 27th Anniversary Celebration, Saturday, March 2, 2013, featuring Jimmy Thackery & The Drivers and the 2012 Blues Challenge winners Back Pack Jones at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 2200 S. Meadowbrook, Springfield, IL from 7:30 pm to 12:00 am.
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. March 4 - Brandon Santini, March 11 - Eddie Snow Birthday Tribute w/ Bill Evans, March 18 - Mojo Cats, March 25 - JP Soars, Apr 1st - Shawn Pittman, Apr8th - Blues Deacons, Apr 15th - Matt Hill, Apr 22nd - Brad Vickers & His Vestopolanias, Apr 29th - Stone Cold Blues Band. More info available at icbluesclub.org
West Virginia Blues Society - Charleston, W.V.
The West Virginia Blues Society, Inc. presents the return of its rockin’ annual event, the 6th Annual Charlie West Blues Fest (CWBF), Friday, May 17th and Saturday, May 18th at Haddad Riverfront Park in Charleston, WV.
This free event, which has gained national attention throughout its five year history, will play host to some of the most talented and up-and-coming blues artists in the country and from around the world. The return of the legendary Ava Popovich as well as Davina and the Vagabonds will surely get you moving, and other highlighted artists include Kim Wilson & The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Magic Slim & The Teardrops and Mojo Theory, just to name a few.
The CWBF is an annual event dedicated to support wounded service members through the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP)—a nonprofit organization whose mission is to honor and empower wounded warriors. For information on sponsorships and donations contact Jack Rice, West Virginia Blues Society at (304) 389-1439or email@example.com. Visit www.wvbluessociety.org.
The West Michigan Blues Society - Grand Rapids, MI
The West Michigan Blues Society in cooperation with community supported radio station WYCE 88.1 present the 2013 Cabin Fever Blues Series. The Series will be held at Billy's Lounge 1437 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI. 616-459-5757. Music starts at 9:30 PM. The band participating this year are: March 2 - Peaches Staten. Cover for the shows are $10.00 per show. http://www.wmbs.org.
The Great Northern Blues Society - Wausau, WI
The Great Northern Blues Society is having our annual fundraiser known as the “Blues Café” on 3/9/13 in Rothschild, WI (near Wausau, WI)
Doors to the Rothschild Pavilion (1104 Park Street, Rothschild, WI) open at noon, music starts at 1:00PM with 10 hours of non-interrupted Music featuring Donnie Pick & the Road Band, Kilborn Alley Band, Grady Champion, Sena Ehrhardt Band. Corey Stevens and Robert “One-Man” Johnson will be playing Acoustic Sets between main stage acts. There will be 4 Food vendors on site, with Cold Adult Beverages.$17 in advance - $22 at the door. For general information, and Ticket information go to – www.gnbs.org.
Featured Blues Review 4 of 6
Black Magic Johnson – Call Me
12 tracks / 54:21
There is a Springfield in almost every state in the United States, but the one closest to Chicago gets my attention as there is a lot of great music that comes out of that city. Black Magic Johnson is no exception, having honed their skills by putting in countless hours gigging around the area. Despite the band’s busy schedule, they have managed to take the time to put together their new CD, Call Me.
Black Magic Johnson is led by Reggie Britton, who wrote all twelve of the songs and performed the lead vocals as well as the drum and harmonica parts. He is joined on this album by Alexis Rogers and Dan Grover on guitars (and background vocals) while Willie Chrismon and Bob Hagler split the bass duties, and Suit & Tie Guy worked the keyboards. By the way, Suit & Tie guy has to be one of the best musician names I have ever run into.
The band’s songs are mixture of genres that includes rhythm and blues, rock, soul and even a little country and gospel thrown in for good measure. But all of it is good-times music with lots of vocal harmonies and a heavy emphasis on guitars, which Rogers and Grover do an admirable job with. You will hear all of this on the first track, “Crazy About You Baby,” which has a nice Chicago blues flavor. This upbeat song is fun with simple lyrics and a jaunty syncopated rhythm guitar that pops along with the snare.
The funky “Loving Ways” is the next one in line, and Britton shows that his songwriting is versatile, as the lyrics are a bit more complicated. Sticking to the old standby relationship subject, he paints a picture of a saint of a woman using some really fun rhymes. The guitars are scorching on this tune, and everything comes off a little distorted. Then the band switches gears quickly with the slow and soulful “Standing By Me” which makes liberal use of acoustic guitars and Suit & Tie Guy’s Hammond.
My favorite song on this album is “Water from a Rock” a rollicking eight-bar blues tune that is built on the foundation of a doubled rhythm guitar and bass line. The music is good, but the lyrics are what make this stuff real. This is pure wit as Britton addresses the unrealistic expectations of another: “You want water from a rock / and blood from a turnip, baby / and sunlight under your shade tree.” Too true!
Most of the songs on the album are the usual four to five minutes, but they squeezed a couple of longer ones in too. The risqué (at times) “She’s Got Everything” clocks in at almost eight minutes, not because they threw in a couple of extra guitar solos, but because there was a lot to say and that was how long it took to get the job done. The slow-burning blues song “Love So Cold” is a tick over 10 minutes. This song does not shortchange the guitar parts at all, and in fact it is so heavy that it would fit in perfectly with the blues rock of Led Zeppelin’s first album.
Suit & Tie Guy brings a few different keyboard sounds, most noticeably the distorted synthesizers on “Blues Traveler” and his fine organ work on “All Tore Up,” which are both placed near the end of the CD. Then, after spending eleven tracks proving what good musicians they are, the band chose to end the album with a short a capella soul number, “Thank You Baby.” This is really the only opportunity to hear their voices without any coloration or distraction from the instruments, and with their sweet harmonization it turned out quite nicely.
Black Magic Johnson created a very good album and I am impressed that they put together a collection of a dozen solid tracks without having to use any cover tunes. The lyrics and score are consistent, and there is a not a clunker in the bunch. You can find them gigging around the Springfield, Illinois area on most weekends, so be sure to check then out if you get a chance. You will have a great time!
Reviewer Rex Bartholomew is a Los Angeles-based writer and musician; his blog can be found at www.rexbass.blogspot.com.
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Featured Blues Review 5 of 6
Willie Buck – Cell Phone Man
17 songs – 59 minutes
Although he might be an enigma to most blues fans, Willie Buck has been a fixture on the Chicago blues scene for more than 50 years. The son of a preacher from Houston, Mississippi, Buck moved to the Windy City in the early ‘60s while still a teen and, through a brother-in-law, soon befriended Muddy Waters, his music idol. He eventually became Muddy’s protege.
A friendly, happy, patient man, Buck is a powerful, relaxed vocalist who spent most of his adult years on the periphery of show business, working first as a tow-truck driver, a gas station owner and auto mechanic while raising a family by day and sitting in as a guest vocalist with many of the giants of the blues at night, among them Muddy, Howlin’ Wolf, Sunnyland Slim, Earl Hooker and many, many more. In fact, he was one of few vocalists Waters approved to sing his songs, and was poised for a leap into the big time when Muddy scheduled him as his opening act at a Chicago-area show in the early ’80s. Unfortunately, the performance never took place. Waters took ill for the last time, and it proved to be the last gig he booked before his untimely death.
But Buck perserved. He recorded sporatically and gigged infrequently through the decade, breathing new life in much of Waters’ material. His voice is similar, but less gritty and more soulful. And he usually surrounded himself with all-star bandmates. Louis and Dave Myers of the legendary Aces and pianist Big Moose Walker worked as his sidemen, as did young guitarists Lurrie Bell and John Primer. Delmark re-issued the recordings he made during that era in 2010 with the well-received “The Life I Love” CD.
Cell Phone Man is Buck’s first full-length studio work since he put down those tracks more than 30 years ago. It’s a faithful, down-to-earth flashback to the sound of the golden era of Chicago blues. Once again, he’s backed by some of the best talent the Windy City has to offer. Now in his mid-70s, Buck’s vocals are strong and steady as he works in partnership with the steady-driving Rockin’ Johnny Band, , led by Rockin’ Johnny Birgin and former Muddy sideman Rick Kreher on lead and rhythm guitars with John Sefner on bass and Steve Bass on drums. They’re augmented on harmonica by rising star Bharath Rajakumar and the solid Martin Lang, who’s worked with Tail Dragger and Little Arthur Duncan. Barrelhouse Chuck Goering sits in on the 88s. The undisputed standard bearer of traditional Chicago piano, his resume is used prominently in the literature promoting this album. But his contributions are limited to a solo on “I Want My Baby” and steady work in the foundation of the overall sound, as guitars dominate throughout.
Buck kicks off the festivities with the self-penned “Doin’ Good And Bad At The Same Time,” one seven originals he wrote for this album. It’s a three-minute, uptempo pleaser with a modern feel and nice six-string solo. Covers of Ted Taylor’s steady walking hit, “Darling I Miss You So” and Waters’ “Strange Woman,” featuring Rajakumar on harp and a vocal amazingly similar to the master’s, follow before the title cut, “Cell Phone Man.” In it, he assures his love that she doesn’t have to worry about a thing: “If you need a good man, you can give me a ring.”
Three more originals – “I Want My Baby,” “Two Women Talking” and “The Love We Share” – sandwich the public domain standard, “I Don’t Know Why,” and the Muddy classic, “Two Trains Running.” The disc includes three more visits to the Waters songbook, but also serves up a couple of fun originals, most notably “Tow Truck Man,” written by Gene Halton, in which Buck delivers amazingly like his master.
If you’re interested in a modern CD with a true feel of Chicago blues from the ‘60s or ‘70s, this CD is one to consider. It’s a faithful, down-to-earth, steady-driving flashback from someone who was there.
Reviewer Marty Gunther has lived a blessed life. His first experience with live music came at the feet of the first generation of blues legends at the Newport Folk Festivals in the 1960s. A former member of the Chicago blues community, he’s a professional journalist and blues harmonica player who co-founded the Nucklebusters, one of the hardest working bands in South Florida.
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Featured Blues Review 6 of 6
The Cadillac Kings - Gonna Tell Your Momma
A “crack” blues band from the UK delivers the “goods” live in front of an appreciative Norwegian audience. They are tighter than a bull’s hind quarters as they present a program of jump and traditional blues. Front man Mike Thomas is in possession of the necessary “pipes” to contribute authenticity to the cover tunes, as well as the originals included here. Mal Barclay’s guitar, Gary Potts’ harmonica, piano players Henri Herbert and Mike Adcock liven up the proceedings over an ace rhythm section. They are “sharp as a tack” without sounding slick. Their energetic and enthusiastic approach garners a boisterous response from this audience.
Front man Mike Thomas’ beefy pipes lend to the songs blues authenticity. Vocal turns by other members deliver mixed results, with harmonica player Gary Potts delivering the best results. Potts displays his harp prowess on the Jimmy McCracklin chestnut “Gonna Tell Your Momma”, and Henri Herbert gives a brief glimpse of his piano goodness to come later on in the record.
The bands “calling card” is their deft way around a jump blues, of which “A Man Needs His Loving” is a prime example. Gary Potts pays tribute to fellow singer-harp man Rod Piazza on covers of “Somebody” and “Bad Bad Boy”. Jerry McCain’s “Ding Dong Daddy is a respectful workout. Drummer Roy Webber lends his pleasantly rough voice to the New Orleans classic “Sick And Tired”, while Henri Herbert shows wealth of piano skills.
The bands ode to The Big Easy, “Zydeco Cadillac” rattles off New Orleans reference-points, all the while attaining an authentic sound…nothing contrived here. Mal Barclay’s vocal on “Mean Old Frisco” comes off sounding stiff, but his great guitar playing here and throughout the record more than absolves him. The Coaster’s-style “Stranded In The Jungle” is a “bundle of fun”, replete with jungle sound effects courtesy of the band members. This was first recorded by The Jayhawks back in 1956.
First rate musicianship and style are all over this well recorded live effort. This is party music with substance. The soloing is well thought out and delivered. You are sure to spend many hours listening to this record while “shaking your boogie leg”.
Reviewer Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony hails from the New Jersey Delta.
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Blues Overdose 2/28/2013 - These free tracks are available for 30 days. More info below.
1.) Click the link below where it says "Click HERE to download" just after any of the artist descriptions below.
2.) When you get to the download page, right click any individual track you want to download. Then choose "save as" to download the track to your computer.
3.) All of this months tracks are in the zip file All_Files.zip. Right click it and save it to your computer. Unzip it for all six of this months tracks.
“Trouble & the Marryin' Kind" - From the album This, That & the Other Thing
Rusty Wright has drawn on his family’s Southern roots and a wealth of Blues, Southern Rock and legendary Blues Rock influences to craft his uniquely ‘bluescentric’ sound that leans on duet style songs and showcases his flamboyant guitar style. Trouble & the Marryin’ Kind is a fun, uptempo duet about a woman who recognizes trouble when she sees it.
The rest of the album features songs like Alarm Clock Blues (Zappa meets Thorogood), Whole Lotta Rosie, a surprisingly hip and swingy re-working of the AC/DC classic; High Price Woman, a straight ahead blues shuffle; a monumentally cool rendition of Mississippi Queen with a Delta intro and groove-laden breakdown added to the middle, and Handyman, a tongue-in-cheek Candye Kane-inspired swing ditty sung by Wright’s wife, Laurie. Tempering album are the lushly arranged How Blue Are You - a song about loss, rejection and addiction, and Pen or Sword, Wright's tip of the hat to current social issues in the US. www.rustywrightband.com
Click HERE to download these Free tracks
“Theodis, What’s Up (Shut The Puck Up)” from the album You And I Together
IFGAM Records is proud to announce the release of "The Stand Up In It Man" Theodis Ealey’s, brand new album, You and I, Together. This album contains eleven hit songs, with over half being the artist's original tunes. You and I, Together is what many are calling Theodis’ most passionate album to date.
Heads are already spinning with the release of the album's first single, "Theodis, What’s Up", with its controversial hook. The 'Queen of Grown and Sexy" Lacee, performs two duets with Theodis, of which one is the title, "You and I, Together".
Guest performances by Lebron Scott, Lenny Kravitz's and Curtis Mayfield's former bass player and Frank "Buzz" Amato, former keyboardist for Curtis Mayfield, only add to the magnitude of what is a great album by a great entertainer. There’s no doubt that what you loved about the "Bluesman Lover" over the last four decades, you will love even more in 2013. www.theodisealey.com
Click HERE to download these Free tracks
“Shaken Down” from the album He Gave Me A Blue Nightgown
Sunday Wilde’s brand new release was recorded at a remote hunting lodge where she brings us sad tales of love addiction, driving alone on isolated highways and more bad men. She writes and performs with intensity and brings together a great team of guest musicians on this new project, mixing in both blues, a jazz flair and international flavour. Two blues classics lay in the mix breathing fresh air into Amazing Grace and Sunday’s signature performance of an old Bessie Smith tune, Blue Spirit Blues.
She is the winner of Blues Female Vocalist of the Year on SevernFM (UK) and past winner of the Independent Music Award for Voters Choice best blues song of the year as well as other awards and nominations worldwide. Her music has been featured on The BluesMobile and BB King’s Bluesville as well as international roots and blues stations.
“ Shadows of Billie Holiday and the many other Blues Ladies stir to greet Ms. Wilde as she sings” - Blues411.com www.sundaywilde.com
Click HERE to download these Free tracks
“Cold Lonely Dawn” from the album Tell You What
Tell You What, the follow-up to 2010's 'Upside Your Head' by Dallas, TX-based blues/rock/soul trio Jason Elmore & Hoodoo Witch, is a high-energy thrill-ride of emotions and musical styling's. The band was voted "Best Blues" 2012 by the Dallas Observer Music Awards, although they are far from being blues purists, as is evidenced by the diverse array of styles on this album.
While it does stretch across the musical spectrum, incorporating hard rock, chicken pickin', and vintage Stax-inspired soul/r&b, it is impossible to deny that the glue that holds it all together is the blues. Consisting of 8 original tunes and 4 covers from Sean Costello, William Bell, Buck Owens, and Rory Gallagher, this is sure to please music lovers of any genre. Elmore's explosive chops, soul-drenched vocals, unique songwriting, and killer band make for an album that carries the listener to that special place where only the music exists. www.jasonelmore.net
Click HERE to download these Free tracks
“The Lovin' Kind” – from the album The Lovin' Kind
2006 IBC finalists Lil’ Cliff and The Cliffhangers hail from metro New York and are currently promoting out newest CD release titled “The Lovin’ Kind.
The CD has received wide acclaim from the national and international Blues press, and charted very well on the national Blues/Roots Charts and also received prominent airplay on Bluesville Sirius/XM 70 and achieved “next in rack” status on the Sirius/XM 70 show.
It has also been featured for a significant amount of airplay time on the syndicated radio show “Blues Deluxe” heard in the USA, Canada and throughout the world weekly. www.lilcliff.com
Click HERE to download these Free tracks
“I Hear A Heartbeat” - from the album Lather Rinse Repeat
"Kansas City's own King of The Roots and Blues Jason Vivone and his band The Billy Bats pull from inspirations as varied as John Lee Hooker to Ray Charles to Ry Cooder, from Chicago blues to gospel to hokum.
Find out more about their release LATHER.RINSE.REPEAT. at www.billybats.com. "
Click HERE to download these Free tracks
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