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Issue 7-17, April 25, 2013

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

Cover photo by Bob Kieser © 2013

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 In This Issue

Our April Blues Overdose issue features 15 free downloadable Blues tracks! Terry Mullins has our feature interview with Grana Louise.

We have eight music reviews for you! Rainey Wetnight reviews a new CD from Brad Vickers and His Vestapolitans. John Mitchell reviews a new release from Bart Walker and also reviews a new release from George Kilby Jr. Rhys Williams reviews a new album from The Slide Brothers. Steve Jones reviews a new live release from The Cashbox Kings. Rex Bartholomew reviews a new release from Eric French & Mr. Hyde and also a new album from The Kris Lager Band. Mark Thompson reviews a new album by Southern Hospitality. 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 April 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 month we have a whopping 15 free tracks including music Austin Young & No Difference, Chris Antonik, Dan Treanor's Afrosippi Band w/Erica Brown, Delta Wires, Frank Bey and and the Anthony Paule Band, James ‘Buddy’ Rogers, Jeff Strahan, The Rev Jimmie Bratcher, The Lauren Mitchell Band, Nigel Mack, Paula Harris, Scottie Miller, Teresa James and The Rhythm Tramps and The Bush League.

Scroll to the bottom of this issue to get these Free Blues tracks now!

Wishing you health, happiness and lots of Blues music! 

Bob Kieser

 Blues Wanderings

We made it out to Illinois Central Blues Club's Blue Monday show this week to catch a set by Brad Vickers and His Vestapolitans. The band is on tour in support of their new CD Good Day In The Morning.

These guys always play some great Blues that no other artists seem to tackle. The result is some GREAT music. Catch them if you can. Read the review of the new CD in this issue then check their ad below to see if they are coming anywhere near you soon.

 Featured Blues Interview - Grana Louise

The blues has long been regarded as a form of music that is a powerful – you might even say supernatural – force. Filled to the gills with all the ups and downs and trials and tribulations of the human condition, the blues can penetrate straight through to the core of the most hardened soul, even if that soul is well-versed in dealing with the blues.

That being the case, just imagine what kind of effect the blues can have on an unsuspecting soul, especially one that has yet to reach adulthood.

Those results could be downright terrifying, as Chicago blues diva Grana (Gra-Nay) Louise explains.

“There was a little corner store up from my house that I used to go to when I was young and get my candy and snacks and things like that, and right next to it – they shared a building – was a bar. And they would have the door open and you could smell that stale alcohol smell and people would be sitting in there drinking and smoking and falling off their barstools drunk,” she said. “They’d be in there crying and boo-hooing and the blues would be blasting on the jukebox. I would be standing outside thinking, ‘What in the world is wrong with these people?’ Then I heard somebody say, ‘That’s the blues, baby, that’s the blues.’ So I took off running back to my house like I was on fire and ran up to my mom and she said, ‘What’s wrong, baby?’ And I cried, ‘I’m getting away from those people, they’ve got the blues and I don’t want to catch it.’ As a kid, when I saw people that was that depressed and drinking and falling off their barstool and crying … I didn’t want that at all. I was scared of that. I thought it (the blues) was a disease … I didn’t know.”

She was well into her 30s before Louise finally came around and really been to embrace the blues as a legitimate art form. Long before that she had realized the blues was not a disease, but that still didn’t mean that she was a big fan of the music.

“I liked the classic kind of blues … singers like Billie Holliday, Bessie Smith ... those kind of blues. And jazz. That kind of music spoke to me,” said Louise, who was singing classic jazz in Minneapolis back then. “But the stomp-down kind of blues like I do now – the Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Koko Taylor – I wouldn’t touch that kind of stuff with a 10-foot pole back then. First of all, I didn’t think I had enough soul to sing it, because at that time, I had a really high soprano voice. I sounded more like Dinah Washington back then. I didn’t have that rough, gravely sound in my voice, so I didn’t think I had what it took to sing blues like that.”

But as it turns out – as anyone who has heard her blaze through the 12 tracks on Getting’ Kinda Rough! (Delmark Records) can attest to – Louise was simply just selling her remarkable abilities to sing the blues a bit short. In other words, this lady can flat-out sing the blues with the best of them.

Although it’s seemingly been around since the dawn of time and has been recorded more times by more artists than can probably be accurately counted, Louise has somehow managed to breathe fresh life into the old chestnut “Stagger Lee,” with her version begging to be considered as one of the best.

“If I can’t do justice to a song, I won’t touch it. I don’t care how many people want me to sing a particular song, if I don’t feel I can put me into it, or keep it in the same vein as the way it was originally recorded, but just update it a little bit for today’s audience, then I don’t touch it,” she said. “If it’s not broke, I don’t fix it. It’s just that simple. I try and take what I feel is the best from that artist and incorporate it into what I do, and that appears to work. I don’t want to be a copycat … I want to pay homage to that artist.”

Those lucky enough to have attended the amazing tribute to the late, great Magic Slim in Chicago recently had an opportunity to witness first-hand the untamable force that is Grana Louise up close and personal. And as an extra-special treat, those in attendance also got to see Louise share the Mayne Stage with Big Time Sarah and Otis Clay.

“It was great to see some people that I hadn’t seen in years or to put a face with the names of some of the people that I had heard of but had never met in person. That was wonderful, but it was also bittersweet for me,” she said. “Because Magic Slim and I were together in a movie that they were producing, but unfortunately, because of his health, they had to postpone a lot of the shots and never got to finish it. They wound up having to replace us in the movie. At this point, we’re really not sure what they’re going to do with the footage they already had shot.”

That project – We Be Kings – was to feature Slim as aging bluesman I Be King and Louise as his wife, Lilly.

Even though she’s rightfully disappointed that her part in the flick might be recast, Louise, who has been a performer since she was two years old, has been around the entertainment business long enough to understand that’s sometimes just par for the course.

Hailed as a child prodigy, with the natural ability to sing, dance and act from the get-go, it was obvious from an early age that somehow, someway, Louise would ultimately find her home under the bright lights of the stage. She was involved in musical theatre from an early age, had a gift for being able to play the piano strictly by ear and for 16 years, Louise was a ballerina. And for a while, it looked like her home would be the opera. Even though it was not commonplace for young African-Americans to sing opera at the time, Louise’s immense talent could not be kept under wraps.

“I ran into so-called ‘vocal coaches’ that tried to ruin my voice – there was a lot of jealousy – and it was really just something to behold. All the prejudice I faced, things that I had never had to deal with before then, it was just something else,” she said. “It did not ruin my love of the genre (opera), but I just did not want to be bothered with all of that other stuff.”

Ultimately, worn down by all the restrictions, the pettiness and the ugliness that she had to endure, Louise, who possessed an amazing seven-octave range at that time, decided maybe opera singing was not for her.

“The things that they criticized me for are encouraged now in opera. I had feeling and emotion in my voice and understanding the character that you’re portraying, to me, that’s what you’re supposed to do in order to get the character to come alive,” she said. “But back then, if you didn’t sing it note-for-note, or if you put any inflection, any of your own energy or self into it, then you were considered a bad opera singer. So the fact that I couldn’t express myself – because the music guides you – was one of the reasons I gave up opera. My creative growth was stunted and I couldn’t deal with that.”

It wasn’t a straight leap from the opera house to the juke joint for Louise, who for a long time really didn’t care two cents about blues music.

“I really didn’t like the blues back then. Almost all of the blues that I had ever heard were very depressing and down-hearted. It was terrible. All that (sings) ‘My baby done got up and left me.’ All that stuff, uh-uh, no way,” she said. “I wanted something I could shake my booty to. I didn’t understand about losing a job or losing a husband or boyfriend at that point in time. I couldn’t relate to that because I hadn’t lived enough life; I was too young. But you give me some James Brown or Jackie Wilson and Smoky and The Miracles and we had it goin’ on.”

Chicago has long been an area fertile with the blues and its crop of legendary female singers has always been heralded as peerless. That also means that the Windy City is one tough proving ground for a newcomer looking to break onto the scene.

But for Louise, the pressure to fit in with the already-established talent base was really no pressure at it.

“It really wasn’t, because I was brought in. When I was living in Minnesota, there was a gentleman there by the name of Dave Warford who had been watching me sing for months. And I didn’t know this, but he used to live in Chicago and knew about the blues scene in Chicago. So he took it upon himself to contact Doc at the Kingston Mines and told him about me and told him he needed to hear me,” said Louise. “And so Doc told him, ‘Bring her up here. If you’re so impressed with her, bring her on up here.’ And so he did, and like they say, the rest is history. I sat in with J.W. and the Chi-Town Hustlers and with Billy Branch. And it was wonderful – they treated me like I was Patti LaBelle or somebody. So, really, everybody knew I was coming (to Chicago) expect for me, until about a week before. So this was really all in God’s hands … it had nothing to do with Grana.”

An immediate hit at the Kingston Mines, Louise soon found out that she had a steady gig at the renowned blues club, so regular that it only made sense for her to relocate to Chicago and skip the frequent commutes back and forth from Minneapolis.

“So you could say that I was kind of just thrown into the Chicago blues scene. I was really fortunate that I didn’t have to struggle trying to get gigs and find work like I would have if I had just came here on my own,” she said. “I was lucky to have a gig here before I even moved here. But after I did move here, my career really just took off.”

Before she ever set foot in Chicago, Louise might have had an inkling of what she was ultimately destined to do by the reaction that she got when sprinkling in a few choice blues tunes with the Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan numbers she was belting out in Minneapolis.

“Every time I sang a blues, the people would go gaga; every single time. I couldn’t understand why, to me it was no big deal. But to them, it was something that touched them in my voice and in my feel and in my soul that I wasn’t aware of,” she said. “All I know is, I saw the difference. It got to the point that people were requesting me to do more and more and more blues. It wasn’t that they didn’t love my jazz, because they told me that they did, it was just that the blues that I did knocked my jazz out of the water.”

So even though it took several decades for her to finally embrace the music that she once saw drive people to the floor of a bar in a river of tears, Louise has arrived at the conclusion that maybe she was always pre-destined to sing the blues.

“I guess it was in me the whole time, the ability to sing the lowdown blues, but I just never knew it. I don’t know how God works in other people’s lives, but in order for me to develop into the person he wants me to be, he puts me in situations where I have to grow. I have to come out of what I think I’m supposed to do and into what he wants me to do. So it was really God that put me on this journey – it wasn’t Grana. I had to take the pathways, the left turns, the right turns and the upside-down ones and everything, in order to get where I am right now. And I think all of that comes through in my music and people can relate to that.”

Visit Grana's website at To see a video and hear some of her great music CLICK HERE.

Photos by Bob Kieser © 2013

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.

 Featured Blues Review 1 of 8

Brad Vickers and His Vestapolitans - Great Day in the Morning


Styles: Blues, Ragtime, Hill Country Breakdowns, Skiffle, Jug Band minus the jug, and “American Roots ’n’ Roll”

Here’s a blues trivia question: Which artists first recorded “Sitting On Top of the World?” It was not Howlin’ Wolf; if one’s answer was “the Mississippi Sheiks,” he/she is correct. They were pioneers of early blues in the 1930’s, with music similar to jug band music. According to Wikipedia, “early jug bands were typically made up of African-American vaudeville and medicine show musicians. Beginning in the urban south, they played a mixture of Memphis blues (even before it was formally called the blues), ragtime, and jazz music. The history of jug bands is related to the development of the blues.”

Virginia’s Brad Vickers and his versatile Vestapolitans tap expertly and wonderfully into this tradition again, on their fourth release, “Great Day in the Morning.” Fifteen up-tempo tracks replace the jiving jug with feisty fiddles, played masterfully by Charles Burnham and Margey Peters. Twelve of these songs are original compositions by Peters and Vickers, with three highlights:

Track 06: “Great Day in the Morning”--Featuring a chugging-train rhythm and a snappy message, this CD’s title track provides as much of a jolt as one’s first cup of java. “It’s a great day in the morning. Life comes to you without warning. Be what you want to be; just take a look at me!” Vickers exhorts, inviting blues fans to slough off their morning misery and seize the day.

Track 08: “Chapter and Verse”--Filled with Biblical references, this is Peters’ ode to a life of travel. Perhaps more than any other selection, this one evokes the jug-band era. Listeners can easily imagine musicians expertly huffing and puffing into their preferred glass receptacles. The funny lyrics are an added bonus: “Now you might think that I’m making this up. What was I taking? What was in my cup?” “Chapter and Verse” is a certifiable earworm.

Track 09: “It’s a Good Life”--Kick back, relax, and enjoy the swinging sax of Jim Davis and Matt Cowan. Jeremy Baum’s piano adds a ragtime touch to this antidote to “gloom-and-doom news.” Grab a dance partner, too, because when “It’s a Good Life,” one’s feet can’t help but move to the beat. Says Vickers, “It’s certain that we all need to turn the corner - in fact, our session for this record was postponed due to Hurricane Sandy.” Track nine reminds us that “it’s a sweet, sweet life” anyway.

Other featured musicians are Gina Sicilia and Christine Santelli on vocals, Producer Dave Gross on upright bass, mandolin and percussion, Bill Rankin on drums and percussion, V.D. King on banjolele, and Michael Bram on mandolin. If the wee hours of the day are a drag, it’s time to lose those A.M. blues and just remember “It’s a Great Day in the Morning”!

Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 33 year old female Blues fan. She brings the perspective of a younger blues fan to reviews. A child of 1980s music, she was strongly influenced by her father’s blues music collection.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE


 Featured Blues Review 2 of 8

Bart Walker – Waiting On Daylight

Ruf Records

11 tracks; 47 minutes

Nashville-based Bart Walker won the award for best guitarist at the 2012 IBCs (he’s playing the prize guitar on the cover) and got rave reviews for his appearances on Delbert McClinton’s Sandy Beaches Cruise. His debut album did well and clearly attracted Ruf who have now released his sophomore effort, recorded at producer Jim Gaines’ studio in Tennessee with first call Memphis rhythm section Dave Smith on bass and Steve Potts on drums, together with Rick Steff on keys. Bart handles all vocals and guitar duties and additional organ on the cover of the Allmans’ “Whippin’ Post” is provided by Dave Cohen. Bart had a hand in writing seven of the eleven tracks here, four with Brandon Gower and two with Gary Nicholson.

Allman comparisons abound as Bart opens with some dramatic slide on “It’s All Good”, a funked-up rocker written by Brandon Gower. Bart’s slightly gruff voice definitely suits this style and his guitar playing is clearly exceptional. “Black Clouds” has a heavy riff and some vocals which sound slightly distorted, as if they are sung through a harp mike. It also features another superb, fast-paced solo from Bart. “Took It Like A Man” (written by fellow Nashville resident Pat McLaughlin) also has a solid riff to underpin its tale of broken relationships and unfortunate follow-on effects (“I got drunk, stayed out all night; got my ass kicked in a barroom fight; lost my car, threw up in a garbage can. It didn’t bother me, I took it like a man.” Bart’s slide returns on “Girl You Bad”, providing the high end overdubs on top of a grinding core riff.

After a succession of heavy tracks the two co-writes with Gary Nicholson are more melodic. “Gotta Be You” zips along riding a catchy riff over which Bart offers two solos, a fleet-fingered centrepiece and some beefy wah-wah on the coda. The title track slows the pace with a lovely ballad, lyrically the opposite of “Took It Like A Man”, the singer telling us how he is hoping for forgiveness when daylight comes. Bart handles the vocal well and provides a touch of duel guitars, another Allmans reference. “Happy” is a collaboration between Bart, Brandon Gower and Lynn Williams who has been Bart’s road band drummer. It’s an uptempo rocker with another of those jaw-dropping solos at its heart.

JB Hutto was, of course, a master of slide guitar blues and Bart’s cover of his “Hipshake It” gives him plenty of opportunity to demonstrate his own mastery of slide playing on a great rocker of a tune – try keeping your feet still while this one is on! After that the pace slows a little for “Mary & Me”, a song with a swampy feel and a short but outstanding slide solo that soars like Duane at his best. “99%” returns to the heavier side of things, Bart’s guitar delivering some potent soloing. The album closes with “Whippin’ Post” and I was delighted to hear that Bart has not gone for a straight cover version as the song starts at a very sedate pace, the familiar lyrics coming over as plaintive and some quiet piano beneath plenty of stellar guitar playing. Only the chorus remains relatively unchanged and as a longtime Allmans’ fan I can honestly say that I enjoyed Bart’s version as much as the original.

This is a very enjoyable CD, more towards the rock end of the blues spectrum, but with plenty to interest those with a broad appreciation of the blues. I would be interested to see Bart live but for the moment I can certainly recommend this CD which has lots to excite fans of guitar playing.

Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK. Current favorites from recent releases include Michael Burks, Sugar Ray and The Bluetones, Albert Castiglia, Johnny Rawls, Doug Deming and Chris Antonik.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE


 Featured Blues Review 3 of 8

George Kilby Jr – Six Pack


6 tracks; 24 minutes

George Kilby’s Six Pack is literally that, six tracks that demonstrate a range of styles. George was born and raised in Alabama but now resides in New York state. He has been playing roots music for 30 years and this EP features his regular road band: Eric Halverson on drums, Arturo Berger on bass, Neil Thomas on accordion and piano and George himself on acoustic and electric guitars. There are also a number of guest musicians: Tim Carbone on fiddle, George Breakfast on mandolin and Jono Manson and Kevin Trainor on electric guitar all appear on the first track “When The People Sang”, an attractive piece of country-infused folk rock which recalls some of the heady times of the Sixties, composed by George. “I Love You In Brooklyn” is a gentle, wistful ballad written by Neil Thomas with his accordion to the fore.

George also wrote three other songs on the album. “Something I Can’t Find” is a lively mid-paced tune with guest guitarist Brian Shafer exchanging chords with George and Joe Andrews adding some effective slide; the end section has something of Dicky Betts era Allmans about it. I liked “Cro-Magnon Man” with its witty references to “never needed to check his email” or “hardly ever screened his calls” and George’s apparent desire to share some of Cro-Magnon’s simple pleasures – “running naked across the plains with the wild world as his home, drawing pictures on the side of a cave while he’s chewing on a mastodon bone”. Musically the song has a lilting folk vibe to it with 12 string (Bill Kelly) and gentle lead guitar (Brian Shafer).

Album closer “You Never See The Hand Throw The Stone” is a quiet acoustic piece, George on acoustic guitar with Phil Wiggins adding some nice harmonica flourishes in what is probably the bluesiest track in the set. The only song from outside the band is Cream’s “Sunshine Of Your Love”, here reimagined in bluegrass style with Andy Goessling providing acoustic guitar, dobro and banjo.

This short, well recorded and produced EP provides a good overview of George Kilby’s abilities. Not much of the material can really be classified as blues but there is some attractive playing and a couple of strong songs here.

Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK. Current favourites from recent releases include Chris Antonik, Shaun Murphy, Barbara Carr, Johnny Rawls, Andy T/Nick Nixon, Otis Grand and Doug Deming.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured Blues Review 4 of 8

Robert Randolph Presents: - The Slide Brothers

Concord Records

11 songs - 51 minutes

Blues and rock artists have a long history of paying tribute to their influences and heroes by giving them publicity and playing on or producing their records, whether it be Bloomfield and Butterfield’s 1969 Fathers And Sons with Muddy Waters, George Thorogood inviting Albert Collins to play with him at Live Aid, or Stevie Ray Vaughan introducing Lonnie Mack to a new generation with Strike Like Lightning.

Robert Randolph is perhaps the most famous pedal steel guitarist to emerge from the Sacred Steel gospel tradition that uses lap steel guitars in church services in place of the more traditional organ. He has now co-produced (with John McDermott) an album by The Slide Brothers, which features four of his own influences, Calvin Cooke, Chuck Campbell, Darick Campbell and Aubrey Ghent, each of whom is a widely respected steel guitar player who was raised worshiping and performing in The Church of the Living God.

Randolph’s approach is to record two of the Slide Brothers together on different songs, backed by a crack selection of musicians, including bassists Orlando Wright, Danyel Morgan, Shannon Saunders and Billy Cox (yes, the Hendrix bassist); drummers Carlton Campbell, Marcus Randolph, Ivan Shaw, Daren James and Chris Layton (yes, the SRV drummer); guitarists Phil Campbell, Randolph himself, Drew Ramsey, Drew Shannon and Jay Caver; and keyboardists Marty Sammon and Jason Crosby. Fans of Randolph will note the appearance of his Family Band on a number of songs. Only “Help Me Make It Through” and “No Cheap Seats In Heaven” feature a single steel guitar player in Calvin Cooke and Aubrey Grant respectively.

The 11 songs cover a wide range of genres, with Randolph’s gospel and secular influences both acknowledged. Lyrically, and not unexpectedly, many of the songs have a religious bent, such as “Sunday School Blues”, “Motherless Children” and “No Cheap Seats In Heaven”. But there are also musical nods to Randolph’s rock influences such as Duane Allman, George Harrison and Eric Clapton and covers of blues standards such as “It Hurts Me Too” and “The Sky Is Crying”, both played with a tip of the hat to the great Elmore James.

But do not be put off by the presence of so many well-worn covers. This is an album full of surprises. It opens with some gospel-soaked organ from Marty Sammon before kicking off a rollicking version of the Allman Brothers’ classic “Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’”. Calvin Cooke’s vocals may lack some of Greg Allman’s whiskey-soaked raunch, but the twin steel guitar attack of Chuck and Darick Campbell brings a fascinating vocal quality to the music while still retaining echoes of Duane Allman in his pomp.
The traditional “Wade In The Water” is played as an instrumental and contains a power and rhythmic drive that would not be amiss on an early Led Zeppelin album.
Shemekia Copeland guests on an excellent version of “Praise You”, where Fatboy Slim’s heavily-sampled 1999 trip hop classic is “stolen back” to the blues, with screaming slide guitars more than making up for the absent synthesizers.

If there is a criticism of this excellently produced album, it would be that there should be more new songs or even for the cover versions to have been of less well-known songs. Of the 11 songs on the album, all bar three are relatively well-known in the blues world.

A large part of the attraction of slide guitar is that it enables good players to emulate the human voice by hitting microtonal notes that are not possible on a standard guitar. A slide guitar, in the right hands, can swoop, soar, moan and cry as only a human voice can otherwise do. The Slide Brothers comprises four such players and Robert Randolph Presents: The Slide Brothers captures some stellar playing. If you are a fan of electric slide guitar, you should check it out.

Reviewer Rhys Williams is a blues enthusiast based in Cambridge, England, where he plays guitar for anyone who will listen.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured Blues Review 5 of 8

The Cash Box Kings - Black Toppin’

Blind Pig Records

13 tracks

The Cash Box Kings have their new CD out and it is another superlative effort! Here on their second Blind Pig release we have the boys giving us another great mix of new stuff and outstanding covers. If it’s not their best effort yet it is damn close to it!

The cast of characters remains about the same, with regulars and guests doing what they do best- melding into a tight and focused CBK sound. Sharing the duties up front are the steadfast duo of Joe Nosek, who also does all the harp work, and Oscar Wilson. Nosek and Wilson contrast in styles in some ways, but both offer up an authentic Chicago sound. Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith’s son, shares the drum set with Mark Haines (who is on four tracks) and Alex hall (who is on one). Joel Paterson takes lead guitar on all but one track where Billy Flynn fills in; Billy also backs Joel up on three more tracks. Beau Sample is the bass player, but Gerry Hundt comes in for four cuts on bass along with rhythm guitar on 5 more and backing vocals on one of those. Barrelhouse Chuck provided keyboards support on four tracks and Jerry Devivo is on sax for three cuts.

Ok, so now that all the personnel are identified, let’s get into the CD. The Cash Box Kings under the “tutelage” of Blind Pig have really solidified the sound that I have appreciated from their earlier recordings and many live shows I have seen. The songs they have presented here are right in their wheelhouse; nine new cuts and four great covers. Less “country” blues are here than their first Blind Pig effort, but Nosek still gives us a little variety with the jumping, swinging and rocking sounds at times that he does so well. “I Don’t Want to Fight” and “Gimme Some of That” feature Joe on vocals and Joel picking out a jumping blues-swing-rocking sound. Barrelhouse Chuck’s piano on the former and a little sax add nicely to the swinging arrangement while Nosek’s harp brings the latter firmly back to Chicago.

The covers are a very interesting assortment, especially the one that closes the CD. “Run Run Run” is a 1967 Lou Reed cut that Nosek cleans up a bit from the old Velvet Underground production. It has a cast of lyrical characters basically seeking their next heroin fix. The backline beat and Patterson’s guitar swirl and create a mix of psychedelic blues and Nosek voice echoes as he sings about the Gypsy Death and all that the NY drug scene references. He adds harp to the wild mix and the song fades to close in a driving vortex. The other three covers are much more traditional and hearken back to the Delta and Chicago blues sound. Jimmy Rogers’ “Money, Marbles and Chalk” is handled by Oscar on the vocals and Nosek’s harp, Flynn’s guitar and Chuck’s piano reek of a smoke-filled Southside club serving up hot blues back in the day. Willie Dixon’s “Too Late” also features Wilson’s vocals and some beautiful overblown harp by Nosek. “Tom Cat Blues” takes us to the swamp. I could almost feel the Spanish Moss growing on me as this slow blues sound wound its’ way through my system.

The CD opens with a jumping tune called “Blues Falling Down On Me” that opens with Patterson on guitar backed by Barrelhouse Chuck on organ. After they grab you Nosek starts to sing and groan. I was sold early on in this number, and then the solos started. Patterson wails and Chuck pounds out the notes- a nice new cut! They transition into Wilson on the title track, which has Oscar telling his friend a story about what he’s going to go out and do. His ignorant friend doesn’t get it and it has to be explained to him that Wilson is sneaking out from his women to the other side of town to get what he needs. Trying Really Hard(To Get Along With Youth” vocally has a little country influence, but it’s really blues that Nosek is doing and doing well. The sax and guitar nicely take turns responding to Nosek’s lyrics. “Oscar’s Jump” is a short and sweet ride and Devino’s sax is perhaps sweetest here. Some Chuck Berry licks are snuck in, and Nosek blows some cool harp, but Wilson sells it with his strident vocals. My Tinai” and “Hot Biscuit Baby” are straight up blues that Nosek and Wilson deliver up in the cool style we expect of the CBKs. Great blues right out of the South Side! Nice solos abound on guitar and harp.

The band has put together another superb album for their fans. Anyone who had yet to sample the CBKs will instantly appreciate what these guys can do. Their fans need to run out and get this because it is some great work that they deliver here for their listeners. I loved this album from start to finish! Most highly recommended!.

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

 Featured Blues Review 6 of 8

Eric French & Mr. Hyde – Old City Blues

Self Release Through French Maid Music

8 tracks / 34:50

Maybe it is the long and cold winters, but New Englanders are unusually tough individuals. Providence/Boston denizen Eric French personifies this, having beaten leukemia and made his own way out into the world as a musician. This skilled singer, songwriter and guitarist even holed his band up in a snow-bound Vermont cabin in the dead of winter to record the new Eric French & Mr. Hyde album.

Old City Blues is Eric’s second release, and this self-produced collection is a more mature and refined work than his debut double album, Eric French & Mr. Hyde. Old City Blues is unique in that he released the songs in three batches over the past year, only recently issuing a disc that includes all eight tracks. French wrote seven of the songs, and chose an amazingly reworked Tom Petty cover to round things out. Joining him on this album are Walter Skorupski on bass, Corey Schreppel on the skins, and Tim Butterworth on the piano and organ.

Eric is not terribly old, yet he has been playing the guitar for the past 20 years and it does not sound like he has been lollygagging either. His playing is confident, and he is secure enough that he can focus on playing with feeling while fitting into the song rather than acting like a star and aiming to impress with pyrotechnic guitar runs. You will hear this right from the beginning as he starts the album off with “Baby Where Ya Been,” a slickly-written rhythm and blues tune.

The traditional blues elements are there for “Poison in Mah Pie,” such as the song structure and the age-old story of a lady trying to off her old man. But Eric brings it straight into 2013 by choosing a modern sound and very clever present-day lyrics. Butterworth’s organ work adds a funky note to this one, as well as the jazzy instrumental, “Spread it Around.” I appreciate it when a talented band like this chooses to not add words to one of their tracks so that all of the individual parts have a chance to shine. This one has a mellow start then builds momentum until it erupts into a full-blown blues jam.

“Evenin’s With the Blues” is an uptempo piece with a plentiful helping of tasteful acoustic and bottleneck slide guitar. He has a fabulous voice, and despite his Yankee heritage French has a bit of a southern accent when he sings. This is the perfect tone for him to take on songs like “Gonna Get” and “Middle of Love” which both have really great lyrics.
Then there is his cover of “Free Fallin’,” which happens to be my least favorite Tom Petty song. The band kept the original lyrics and started from scratch with the music, and it turn out that the music was the part I did not like about the original. This version is a rocking mashup that sounds like collaboration between AC/DC and the Allman Brothers. That turns out to be a good thing -- Eric has only recorded one cover tune, and he knocked it out of the park.

The last song on Old City Blues is the title track, and is the longest one, coming in at 7 ½ minutes. This slow-rolling pure blues tune is another instrumental. Skorupski’s bass and Schreppel’s drum are totally in the pocket and provide a great foundation for French and Butterworth to go to town and play some incredibly soulful solos. What a cool way to finish things up!

All in all, this album is a neat piece of work, and it left me wanting more. If you like it and want to see Eric French in person, he has been performing both solo acoustic and full band shows around New England; judging by his work on Old City Blues I think it would be a great idea to track him down and see what he is doing.

Reviewer Rex Bartholomew is a Los Angeles-based writer and musician; his blog can be found at

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured Blues Review 7 of 8

The Kris Lager Band – Swagadocious

Self Release

15 tracks / 1:07:41

Having spent a few of my formative years in the Midwest, I would never think of the state of Nebraska as being terribly hip or funky, and in Oklahoma we certainly had plenty of Nebraska jokes. But the Kris Lager Band comes out of the Cornhusker State with a heavy load of blues funk to blow my preconceptions right out of the water. Their fifth studio release, Swagadocious, is a huge album that is full of high-energy blues-based funk and boogie.

The Kris Lager Band has spent the last ten years touring around the Midwest, and countless gigs have enabled them to not only master their instruments and stagecraft, but to find their own sound. Kris Lager heads up the crew with his scorching guitars and solid vocals. Jeremiah Weir plays the keyboards, Brandon Hiller takes care of the bass parts, and John Fairchild handles the drums and takes on some of the vocal and lap steel chores. The band also mixes horns in on five of the tracks to keep things interesting; it certainly helps take this album to places they have not been before.

If you buy Swagadocious you will get your money’s worth, as there is an hour and seven minutes of quality music stuffed into this package. This includes fifteen original tracks, and Lager gets writing credit on all of them. Right from the first verse it is evident that Kris is a great songwriter and that this is a band with great chops. “Come to Boogie / Now You Know” starts things out on a fun note with fat organ sounds and raunchy guitar tone over a rock-solid beat. Kris’ voice has a lot of soul and his blistering solo work helps this mid-tempo blues rock tune set the mood for the rest of the album.

The next track, “Sunny Day Souldier,” has a more laid back soul vibe, but the band still brings it on in a big way. Weirs’ Hammond and the tight horn section paint a nice background for Fairchild’s heartfelt vocals and the band’s harmonies. There is also a fun 1960’s-issue call and response, so there is no way to listen to this song and not come away in a good mood.
This segues into my favorite song on the album, “Daylight Come / There is No Place.” This guitar-driven psychedelic blues rock song has wide variations in tempo, but still maintains a constant tone and focus. Lager is at the top of his game on this one, with mad guitar skills and howling vocals. Hiller and Fairchild do a masterful job of holding things together as the song speeds up and slow down. I will have to sneak this one into the mix for my next DJ gig.

The Kris Lager Band is constantly evolving and trying new things, as you will hear throughout this album. John Fairchild even managed to slip a little rap and scratching into the funk-filled “Get Back,” not in a hardcore East Coast / West Coast manner, but more in the spirit of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. These guys are not afraid to try something different, and I think it worked out well in this case.

The late Magic Slim makes a guest appearance on an impromptu track, “Kris Done Took my Woman.” This 12-bar blues song makes the full use of Slim’s rich voice, and Kris backs off the distortion a little on his guitar to fit into this more traditional framework. This song was well-placed in the mix, as breaking things down to the basics provides a nice pause from the complexity of the other tracks on the album.

The other ten tracks are just as good as these, and the overall consistency is indicative of the maturity of this band as well as their musical and songwriting skills. Swagadocious sounds as big and fabulous as its title and there is plenty to like here; if you are a blues, funk or soul fan and are looking for something a little out of the ordinary you have to check this album out.

If you like their music, I understand that the guys have not let the grass grow under their feet, and are finishing up yet another album, Platte River Runaway. This is being produced by the heavy-hitting bluesman Tab Benoit, so I expect it to be just as good as this one. The Kris Lager Band is the real deal, and I expect only great things from them!

Reviewer Rex Bartholomew is a Los Angeles-based writer and musician; his blog can be found at

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE


 Featured Blues Review 8 of 8

Southern Hospitality - Easy Livin'

Blind Pig Records

12 tracks/60:37

When you cast your gaze on the cover, your eyes focus on a drawing of a shapely woman relaxing in a hammock, fan overhead and a cool drink nearby with exotic vegetation in the background. If you didn't know any better, you might think this was some unknown band trying to entice people to buy their disc for the cool cover artwork.

The reality is that Southern Hospitality brings together three extremely talented musicians, each with his own successful career. But when they gathered one night for a jam, the resulting musical merry-making was all it took for guitarists JP Soars and Damon Fowler to decide to join forces with keyboard whiz Victor Wainwright to see how long the fun could last. The rhythm section is comprised of Fowler's band mate Chuck Riley on bass and Chris Peet from Soars' group on drums.

The group's potential drew the attention of another extraordinary musician, Tab Benoit, who signed on as producer and brought the band to his Houma, LA studio, adding several more layers of southern feel to the project. And it's all there, a potent mix of blues, southern rock, country and Memphis soul wrapped up in a batch of songs that insinuate their way deep into your musical heart.

Opening with “Southern Livin' “, the band expounds on the joys of sun and beaches over a laid-back groove as Fowler demonstrates his artistry on the lap steel guitar while the vocal is passed around between all three front men, finishing with jubilant harmonizing. The pace picks up on “Long Way Home” and takes on a harder edge with Soars' gritty vocal riding the twin guitar attack. The band has some fun on another JP original, celebrating life on road on “Mile After Mile” complete with sound effects and another team-approach on the vocals. Wainwright rocks the 88's on “Come Back Home”, then Soars' rips off a blistering solo.

Fowler's “Kind Lies & Whiskey” is one of the highlights as the writer uses his nimble, higher pitched voice to lay down a hearty vocal on a country-tinged rocker that finds him yearning for “..a soft place to catch me when I fall.” Fowler's emotionally-charged singing on “Powered For the Mountain” offers a sharp contrast to swirling primal stomp around him, which finishes with some hair-raising interplay between Wainwright on organ and the two guitarists. Fowler scores again with “Don't Feel Like Going There Today”, a song with a hypnotic reggae hook that will surely inspire more than a few people to forgo work for a day of fun. Wainwright's sweltering solo on the organ is sandwiched between sizzling solos from Soars and Fowler.

Wainwright takes the lead on “Shoestring Budget” as the band jumps the blues at a frantic pace as Soars fires off a barn-burner solo that leads to a dazzling keyboard workout by the singer. He threatens to come unhinged on “Don't Boogie Woogie” when his doctor gives him one-too-many restrictions to regain a healthy lifestyle. Once again, the three leaders contribute brief, but memorable, solos at a breakneck pace with Wainwright steamrolling his way to the finish. His finest moment occurs on “Certified Lover”, showcasing the enormous depth of his voice as it cries out in anguish, praying for someone to take the pain away.

The group reaches its instrumental peak on a sweltering rendition of Willie Bobo and Melvin Lastie's “Fried Neck Bones and Home Fries”. Sporting a Latin vamp that recalls the early days of Santana, each of the leaders gets to stretch out, Fowler and Soars expertly blending taste and intensity into fiery solos before Wainwright's fat organ chords push the proceedings into overdrive at the end. Closing with a ballad, “Sky is What I Breath”, Soars' haunting dobro licks set off the soul-wrenching vocals from all three singers.
It is a fitting climax for a disc that once again shows the truth of the old adage that the sum is greater than the parts. While Fowler, Soars and Wainwright have received well-deserved recognition and acclaim for their individual careers, they shine even brighter on this outstanding recording. Don't try to label it – just sit back and enjoy some magnificent, powerful music made by five professionals having the time of their lives. Highly recommended!

Reviewer Mark Thompson lives in Florida, where he is enjoying life without snow. He is a member of the Board of Directors for the Suncoast Blues Society and the past president of the Crossroads Blues Society of Northern Illinois. Music has been a huge part of his life for the past fifty years - just ask his wife!

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 Blues Society News

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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. Apr 29th - Stone Cold Blues Band, May 6th - Black Magic Johnson, May 13th - Tombstone Bullet, May 20 - Peter Karp & Sue Foley, May 27th - Gina Sicilia, June 3rd - Hard Rock Blues Band, June 10th - Jarekus Singleton, June 17th - Laurie Morvan Band, June 24th - Reverend Raven & Chain Smoking Altar Boys Http:// More info available at 

Crossroads Blues Society - Rockford/Northern Illinois

Crossroads Blues Society is planning some other hot stuff for local blues fans too! Friday May 3rd: BITS with Bobby Messano; evening show at Adriatic Bar in Rockford. Start time 8 PM, $5 admission. Bobby brings his brand of big rock and blues back to the Rockford area!

Friday May 24th: Ana Popovic at the Adriatic in Rockford. Start time 9 PM. $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Tickets printed and available for purchase for this great guitar diva's first show ever in Rockford!

Wednesday June 12th: Dave Fields at the Adriatic. Info TBD, in the works.  Saturday June 22nd: Inaugural Field of Blues Festival at Aviators Stadium. Gates open at 11 AM, music Noon to 10:30 PM. $10 advanced tickets, $15 at the gate.

Saturday August 24th: 4th Annual Byron Crossroads Blues Festival in downtown Byron IL. Gates open at Noon, music 1 PM to 10:30 PM. $7 advanced tickets, $15 at the gate. For more info see

Mississippi Valley Blues Society - Davenport, Iowa

The Mississippi Valley Blues Society presents its last Blues in the Schools artist-in-residence for the 2012-2013 school year, Gary Allegretto, the week of April 22 to 26. The founding director of Harmonikids (a humanitarian organization that gives music therapy with harmonicas to special needs kids worldwide), and recipient of the Blues Foundation’s 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive Award in Education, Gary will be teaching harmonica classes in area schools. He will also present two open-to-the-public performances are Tuesday April 23, 7:00 p.m.—Moline Public Library, 3210 41st Street, Moline IL and Friday April 26, 9:00 p.m.—The Muddy Waters, 1708 State Street, Bettendorf IA

The MVBS Blues in the Schools program is made possible by a generous grant from the Riverboat Development Authority. We also thank our other sponsors the Iowa Arts Council, the Moline Foundation, The Lodge Hotel, Alcoa, and KALA radio.

River City Blues Society - Pekin. IL

The River City Blues Society presents the following shows at Goodfellas 1414 N. 8th St. Pekin, Illinois.
Friday April 26th - Biscuit Miller & The Mix 7:30pm Admission - $6.00 general public, $4.00 Society Members.
Wednesday May 8th, Scott Holt Band 7:00 pm Admission - $6.00 general public, $4.00 Society Members
For more info visit: 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

Friends Of The Blues - Watseka, IL

Now in their seventh season, The Friends of the Blues present 7 pm early shows: 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. Thur, June 6, Ori Naftaly Band from Israel, Kankakee Valley Boat Club, Tues, June 25, Laurie Morvan Band, Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club, Thur, July 18, Jerry Lee and the Juju Kings - Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club - Outdoors!, Thur, July 25, Albert Castiglia w/ Donna Herula, The Longbranch Restaurant in L’Erable, Outdoor show, Thur, Aug 15, Ivas John Band, Moose Lodge, Thur, Aug 29, Little Joe McLerran, Venue To Be Announced, Thur, Sept 19, Reverend Raven and Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys, Kankakee Valley Boat Club, 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 - Venue To Be Announced, Thur, Nov 7, Terry Quiett Band - Venue To Be Announced  More information: or

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

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, Tinsley Ellis, Mud Morganfield, Kristine Jackson, Grand Marquis Band, Southern Hospitality, Bryan Lee & The Power Blues Band 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 Visit

Blues Overdose 4/25/2013 - These free tracks are available for 30 days. More info below.

Download Instructions

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 Right click it and save it to your computer. Unzip it for all 15 of this months tracks.


Austin Young & No Difference

“Thunderhead” from the album Blues As Can Be

Colorado's 17-year-old Blues phenom, AUSTIN YOUNG, is an astounding guitarist, naturally emotive singer, and prolific songwriter. His inspirations range from Blues giants to guitar masters. As he devastates audiences near home and at concerts and festivals, he is a hard act to follow even for today's established stars. This is a landmark worldwide debut from a young artist with a huge future.

"To play the blues as a teenager is a parlor trick. To own them (as Young does, on occasion) is a life's mission begun to be fulfilled. [Blue As Can Be] is a healthy blend of traditional blues attitudes and modern takes, of building tensions and private releases, of explosive energy and seemingly impossible restraint." – Greg Victor,

Click HERE to download these Free tracks

Chris  Antonik

Long Way To Go (feat. Steve Marriner)” - Track 1 on Better For You

In 2010, Canadian blues guitarist, singer and songwriter Chris Antonik arrived onto the International blues scene with his self-titled debut album which received widespread critical acclaim, placed in the Roots Music Report Top 100 charts for over a year, and garnered Antonik a nomination for Best New Artist of the Year at Canada’s national Maple Blues Awards. After extensive touring and major blues festival appearances in Canada in 2011 and 2012, Chris now returns with his highly anticipated follow-up _Better For You_, which is a highly personal and reflective album, dealing with rebuilding relationships, learning to put others first, and developing a positive moral code in a world full of blues.

With Antonik on the majority of lead vocals, guest vocalists include: two-time Grammy award-winner Mike Mattison (The Derek Trucks Band, The Tedeschi-Trucks Band), 2013 American Blues Music award-nominee Shakura S’Aida, Juno-award winners Steve Marriner (MonkeyJunk) and Julian Fauth, and more. Critics have praised the album as "a masterpiece, truly extraordinary" (Rust Magazine), "the Best Canadian blues rock album of 2013....THE BEST SOPHOMORE RELEASE I HAVE LISTENED TO IN RECENT MEMORY" (Blues Underground Network)," and "Five Stars...Antonik is cross between BB King and Eric Clapton" (Gonzo Online).

New Album Raise Your Hands now available on VizzTone Label Group!

Click HERE to download these Free tracks

Dan Treanor's Afrosippi Band featuring Erica Brown

“I Want Love” - Track 7 on Down The Tangled Road Again

Dan Treanor's Afrosippi Band featuring Erica Brown deliver an incendiary mixture of Blues, Roots and Soul on their new CD release - "Tangled Road Again". Showcasing Ms. Brown's powerhouse, emotionally charged vocals,the band covers a wide swath of the Blues landscape. From a down home Field Hollar to a 'smooth as silk' ballad, the Afrosippians light up the disc with their passion and musicianship. Treanor - harp, guitar and Khalam, Michael Hossler - guitar & lap steel, Mike Wysocki - bass and Gary LaDuke - drums are consummate pros that bring a remarkable and original blues based vibe to each song. Vocalist, Merrian Johnson adds a soulful second voice to the mix. This CD is all about blues, class and soul. The band took home 3rd. place honors at the 2013 International Blues Challenge and "Tangled Road Again" is a perfect followup to this accomplishment.

Click HERE to download these Free tracks

Delta Wires

“Take Off Your Pajamas” – from the album Anthology

The Delta Wires, out of the Oakland/San Francisco Bay Area, are long-time crowd pleasers who are getting not only serious critical attention, but national exposure as well.

In 1970, The Delta Wires band was created out of a love of the blues - from field hollers of the Mississippi Delta's cotton fields, through the regional migration to the Industrial North, this 7-piece "harmonica and horns" blues band embodies the history of Blues from it's acoustic beginnings to its modern "wired" urban sounds.

This Anthology contains live recordings of the DELTA WIRES never heard since their original broadcasts in the San Francisco Bay Area in the early '70s, as well as selected material from their 5 CDs recorded over the ensuing decades.

The Delta Wires were Finalists out of over 100 band representatives from Blues Societies all over the world in the Blues Foundation's 2008 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN. Adding to their list of recent accomplishments, they were also voted "BEST LIVE BAND", Readers' Pick East Bay Express, and "BEST BAND/MUSICAL ACT" in Oakland Magazine's annual readers' poll. This past December, they were inducted into the California Blues Hall of Fame.

Click HERE to download these Free tracks

Frank Bey With The Anthony Paule Band

“Can’t Get The Time of Day” – from the album You Don’t Know Nothing

Frank Bey is a spine tingling, soul singer hailing from Philly, and San Francisco’s, Anthony Paule is an exciting blues guitarist, known for attacking a song with understated passion. “You Don’t Know Nothing”, recorded live at Biscuits and Blues in San Francisco, is a debut release for the pair. “Can’t Get The Time Of Day”, just happens to be the only song on the CD that Frank doesn’t sing, penned by Paule and Christine Vitale, it’s also the only original. Members of The Anthony Paule Band are Paul Revelli, drums; Paul Olguin, bass; Tony Lufrano, piano & organ; Nancy Wright, sax; Mike Rinta, tuba; and Steffen Kuen, trumpet. The group’s thirteen song, follow-up recording is ready to go and will be released in September 2013. 

Click HERE to download these Free tracks

James ‘Buddy’ Rogers

“My Guitar's My Only Friend” – from the album AMy Guitar's My Only Friend

TBC Heavyweight Contender on Track for World Title

At 6 feet five inches and 240 pounds, with lightning fast hands, you might think James ‘Buddy’ Rogers was a contender for the Heavyweight Crown. And in fact he is, but not in any boxing ring. The hard-hitting Canadian-born blues guitarist is scoring a string of knockouts with his latest CD release “My Guitar’s My Only Friend” (Blue Wave Records). Released in late 2012, the album has steadily climbed music charts around the world. Of nearly 3 million artists on Blues Charts he is #1 in Canada and #1 Globally. His rock inflected blues tunes are receiving airplay across Canada, the US and Europe on over 500 stations including many US syndicated National Public Radio programs. As his summer touring schedule begins to fill with some of the largest blues festivals in the country he seems a shoe-in as a top contender for the WBA (World Blues Association) Heavyweight Crown.

Charlie DuMez, Blues Rock Review: “In addition to the fine lyrics, the guitar playing is top notch modern blues. The whole band is strong, but this is Rogers’ album and he is the star musically. He stretches out his playing on several cuts, only one song is less than three minutes and it is the best showcase of his playing, “Buddy’s Walk.” Richard Amery, L.A. Beat: “Choosing favorite songs off of this CD is like trying to pick a favorite child.” John Vermilyea, Blues Underground Network: ”My Guitar’s My Only Friend” was my first intro to James “Buddy” Rogers, and what a great intro is was, one that truly had me not only becoming an instant fan but also has me really looking forward to more of his music in the future, but for now, I am pretty glad I have this little treasure to listen to.” 

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Jeff Strahan

“Rivers Gonna Rise” – from the album Blue Till I Die

It would be hard to argue about Jeff Strahan's commitment to music. After establishing himself as a trial lawyer, Strahan decided to forgo law in favor of a full-time music career. On his seventh recording to see the light of day, he handles the lead vocals, plays the guitar and keyboards in addition to writing all but one song.
As you might expect from someone steeped in the Texas music tradition, the disc features plenty of boogie and shuffle tunes. . . The ominous tone on “River' Gonna Rise” recalls Tiny Bradshaw's classic “Train Kept A Rollin' “ with Strahan using a threatening storm as a warning for people to get right with the world. His bone-chilling vocal coupled with a memorable guitar solo make this track a standout. Mark Thompson- Blue Blast Magazine -

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The Rev Jimmie Bratcher

“Fells Like Friday” – from the album Secretly Famous

From his seventh album "The Rev" Jimmie Bratcher lays out this shuffle that will for sure get you dreaming of Friday night.

"When I hear this song it just has that ‘40s bebop thing happening. It makes me think of Spike Jones & The City Slickers or Louis Prima & Keeley Smith. Every time drummer Lester Estelle hits that side stick the song is just swinging. Hope you enjoy it!" Peace!. Jimmie

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The Lauren Mitchell Band

“Please Come Home” – from the album Please Come Home

Lots of people sing – and sing well. Like many good performers, Lauren Mitchell has the voice, plus years of training and real-world experience in musical theatre, opera, gospel, rock, blues, Lauren believes you have to learn the rules before you can break ‘em!

To be a performer and be the best, you have to give more: heart, soul, and guts. That’s what Lauren Mitchell aims for every time she takes the stage. With backing from musical partner Michael “The Professor” Hensley on Hammond B3, and a host of veteran players on the album, Lauren’s vocals, which are steeped in the blues, make the title track, “Please Come Home”, a slow blues ballad of epic heartbreak.

Like the women she most admires and has been influenced by Etta James, Koko Taylor, Janis Joplin, and Aretha Franklin- Lauren gives everything she has, on stage or in the studio! And “Please Come Home” is the sound of a blues band hitting their stride in style! Learn more and buy the album at

Click HERE to download these Free tracks

Nigel Mack

“King For A Day” – from the album Devil's Secrets

Nigel Mack and the Blues Attack is a high energy act that wows crowds worldwide with a hard-hitting mix of Delta, Chicago, funk Blues and R&B. Nigel Mack is a blues triple threat (vocals, harmonica, guitar). His latest CD, the all-original ’Devil’s Secrets’, was the #1 Canadian blues CD on Galaxie Satellite Blues Radio in Canada in 2012 and won the ’Best Self-Produced CD award’ from the Windy City Blues Society in Chicago. The first cut, “King for a Day” was a semi-finalist in the International Songwriting Competition (out of 16,000 entries!). His songs have appeared on TV shows “Dawson’s Creek”, “The Street” and ”Time Of Your Life”.

‘Nigel Mack and the Blues Attack’s’ dynamic stage show is a favorite at legendary blues clubs and festivals everywhere, leaving audiences thrilled and wanting more!  Nigel Mack also performs as a solo acoustic blues artist and can double up with a "Blues in the Schools" performance - he was the featured ‘Blues In The Schools’ artist last year for the Saskatoon Blues Society 

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Paula Harris

“Turning On The Naughty” – The title track ( track 2) of the debut album

Paula has blazed onto the Blues Scene in the last 2 years with her no-holds-barred delivery, monstrous range, and a style best described as a hybrid of Funky Blues with healthy sides of Soul and Jazz. The debut Album “Turning on the Naughty” is receiving rave reviews and press from around the globe and is nominated for a Blues Music Award in the “Best New Artist Debut”. Her band “The Beasts of Blues” is comprised of some of the heaviest hitters, musically speaking, from the San Francisco Bay Area, a mecca of Blues talent. The 14 tracks contained in this album run the gamut from soft, jazzy & passionate( see “You Don’t Know What Love is”), all the way to greasy, hip-shakin, foot tapping tunes(“Dust My Broom”, and “Cast the First Stone”).

The download is the title track of the album “Turning on the Naughty”, combining a sexy lyric with an even sexier bump and grind stop time feel. Featured on the song are Mic Gillette (Trombone) & Tom Politzer (Saxophone) from the famed “Tower of Power” horn section, as well as the Grammy winning Tom Poole (trumpet) who played with Etta James for 12 years. Also featured is one of the Bay Area’s hidden treasures, guitarist Terry Hiatt.

Click HERE to download these Free tracks


Scottie Miller Band

“Bring Back Joe” – from the album Rise Up

©,℗2012 Scottie Miller - Vulfy Publishing Co. - All rights reserved. 

T"Some of us know Mr. Miller as the keyboard player for the great Ruthie Foster Band, but few of us know his ability to rise up and shine on his own. Scottie Miller's "Rise" will make everyone smile, make them shake their hips and just possibly re-focus their energy to positive cause' that's the only way we gonna `Rise' from these doldrums. Versatility is the key to survival and Mr. Miller possesses that trait."

"…Rolling piano sets us up for a toodle-loo of a St. Louis styled piano blues number about poor Joe who left too soon, and the pining that accompanied that departure. Addressing Mr. Joe's fatal issues, Scottie states "he shoulda' laid off the cocaine and stuck to the beer". There is a New Orleans funeral feel to this track, which has traveled up the Mississippi and come to roost in the Upper Regions of the headwaters of said river but maintained all the influences that it passed through." - CD review by ChefJimi Patricola - Blues411 

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“Desperate Times” – from the album Big Red

Like a beat up old Dodge burning down the highway with a brand new set of rims and a candy metallic paint job, Soulstack carves out their modern roots music in nouveau-retro-style, inspired by sweaty sounds and throbbing rhythms, once thought lost forever...all sung performed with deep intensity, wild conviction, greasy organ, sweet tremolo-soaked guitar, and heartbreaking harmonies.

These young Soulstack men stand by their beat-up vintage instruments and bleed every ounce of emotion from them - taking the listener on a rhythmic and melodic journey from the swamps of Louisiana to the exhaust-tinged fuzz of Detroit and up through to the cement fields of Southern Ontario where Jonathan Knight & Soulstack cut their debut album, “Big Red” with award winning engineer Jeremy Darby (Smokey Robinson, Keith Richards, Prince etc.)
Receiving outstanding reviews and airplay across North America and Europe, “Big Red” charted at #2 on National College Radio, and has appeared on a number of ‘best of’ and ‘top ten’ lists for 2012 including Galaxie, and Dawg FM. The catchy “Since you Came Around” was selected by the CBC Radio One program Here And Now as the Song of the Week and the CD has been nominated for an Independent Music Award (12th Annual IMA’s - Category: Blues Album)

Soulstack will be releasing their second album “Five Finger Discount” (engineered by Jeremy Darby), scheduled for release Summer 2013.

As their reputation grows as one of Canada’s most dynamic additions to the Roots and Blues music scene, watch out for Soulstack at a festival near you.

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Teresa James & The Rhythm Tramps

“Forgetting You” – from the album Come On Home

"Here's a song Terry Wilson (producer, bassist and general all around ramrod for the band as well as hubby) wrote….called "Forgetting You". Mixed by John Porter. Features Teresa on keys, Jim Christie on drums, Terry Wilson on bass, Billy Watts on guitar, Lee Thornberg did the horn arrangement and it's Lee and Jerry Peterson on horns. Teresa is Texas born and bred but has been LA based for a while. Teresa and the band have been featured on Delbert McClinton's Sandy Beaches Cruise the past 10 or so years, You can call this the blues, Southern Americana, .some call it Texas Soul Music. It might get different,but, it don't get better. Check out Teresa James."

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The Bush League

“Can Of Gas & A Match” – from the album Can Of Gas & A Match

Can of Gas & A Match, an incendiary debut album by Richmond, VA based The Bush League, bridges the gap between traditional blues and the new sounds that are breaking out all over the world in modern blues. Recorded live in the studio, in less than 14 hours, Can of Gas & A Match is a whirlwind trip through blues history through the eyes of The Bush League.

Take a ride in a ’59 Chevy with us and you will hear on the radio elements of Delta Blues, Chicago Blues, Piedmont Blues and a whole lotta Hill Country Blues. Hop in, it’s gonna be a fun ride!

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