Issue 7-22, May 30, 2013
Scroll or Page Down! For news, photos, reviews, links & MUCH MORE in this issue!
Cover photo by Bob Kieser © 2013
In This Issue
This is our monthly Blues Overdose Issue with Free music tracks. Terry Mullins has our feature interview with Chicago Bluesman Dave Herrero.
We have seven music reviews for you! Rainey Wetnight reviews a new CD from Janet Ryan. Marty Gunther reviews a CD from Noam Dayan. John Mitchell reviews a new release from The Fabulous Thunderbirds. Greg Szalony reviews a new CD from Wingnut Adams. Steve Jones reviews a new album from The Mike Eldred Trio. Rhys Williams reviews a new release from RB Stone. Gary Weeks reviews a new release from Paul Gabriel. 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 May 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 6 free tracks including music by Clay Swafford, Doug Deming & the Jewel Tones, The Hitman Blues Band, Jay Willie Blues Band, Rambling Steve Gardner and Sabrina Weeks & Swing Cat Bounce.
Scroll to the bottom of this issue to get these Free Blues tracks now!
Also I want to remind you the this weekend is the 9th Annual Waterfront Blues Fest in Toronto, Canada. The festival runs Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and some of the great artists scheduled to appear include Deanna Bogart, Alexis P. Suter and Eugene Hideway Bridges. Admission is FREE so if you are within driving distance, GET THERE! For more information visit http://waterfrontblues.ca/ or see their ad below in this issue.
Wishing you health, happiness and lots of Blues music!
We made it out to Simi Valley California over the Memorial Day weekend to catch the Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Fest. We spent all of our time at the Blues stage and saw some great artists including Elvin Bishop and Kim Wilson on Saturday and Curtis Salgado and Rick Estrin on Sunday.
We will have a complete review of this great fest in the coming weeks.
Featured Blues Interview - Dave Herrero
Luis Herrero was one of those no-nonsense, very old-school types of parents.
And he was dead-set against his son becoming a professional musician.
“He was like, ‘There’s no way you’re going to do that (be a professional musician). My father was poor and worked so hard until the day he died just so he could pursue his music and you’re not going to do this,’” said guitarist/singer/composer/producer Dave Herrero.
But while the elder Herrero may have been stern and had definite ideas about the vocation path he wanted his son to avoid, to Luis Herrero’s credit, he did know a good thing when he saw it.
“I was 19 years old and living in Jacksonville, Florida - going to the University of North Florida - and a guy named Sam Veal asked me to play the Jacksonville Blues Festival. I had just started my first band about six months before that. So I talked my dad into coming and seeing us play,” said the younger Herrero. “And I’ll never forget it – he was sitting about 300 yards to the right of the stage and we came out and played Magic Sam’s “San-Ho-Zay” and then went into a slow blues. And when I hit those first notes of that slow blues, the entire crowd of about 1,500 people just rose to their feet. And I looked out at my dad and he’s looking around like, ‘Holy Shit!’ And after the show he comes up to me and says, ‘Alright David, I support you. You don’t know where this music is coming from, you don’t know why it’s coming out, but it is and you’ve got to follow it.’”
And follow it, Dave Herrero did. But not until after he had obtained a degree in child care management, along with one in psychology. It was only then that he tucked his degrees in his back pocket, packed up and left Florida, moved to Austin, Texas and fully immersed himself in the world of the blues.
There’s no doubt that Herrero, who has Hispanic/Jewish/Egyptian blood flowing through his veins, was born to play the blues. However, he’s quick to admit that he’s not what you would call a ‘bluesman.’ “Well, I’m not a bluesman. But I am a musician who happens to love the blues and do my best to play them,” he said.
And judging by his latest compact disc (his third overall), Corazon (Hero Music Group), Dave Herrero and The Hero Brothers Band can play the blues just fine. But there’s a lot more to Corazon than just the 12-bar blues; it contains an eclectic blend of the sounds and influences that have shaped Herrero’s musical tastes over the years. And while the disc is the work of a cast of musicians with some serious chops, never once do they sacrifice the songs for the sake of showing off.
As Herrero explains, serving the song is a large part of the plan.
“We’re really into writing songs right now, and we’re trying not to put limits or parameters on them. Blues and roots music and rock-n-roll is definitely the foundation of what we do, but the world is just so wide open. One of my favorite groups is Los Lobos. Those guys span so many different genres and they get a lot of love and respect as a result of that. They’re just such a phenomenal band,” he said. “My Austin to Chicago album was a very traditional, 50’s or 60’s Chicago blues style of record. We just hit record and did it. But on this record, I thought it would be interesting to take a real contemporary, urban production standpoint on roots music. So this one has a much more precise and clean vibe to it than Austin to Chicago did. But basically, what we’re trying to do now is just write the best possible songs that we can and hope that in some way people can relate to them; because at the end of the day, we make music to make the world a better place.”
More than just hollow words, Herrero really does seem intent on trying to have an impact on the world at large through music. He and his longtime mentor and fellow guitar player - Felix Reyes - have been spreading the word to those whose lives still have a chance to be changed for the better from the wonderful power of the blues.
“A thing that Felix and I have been doing is working for an organization here in Chicago called Rock for Kids. It’s an organization that serves underprivileged children by giving them free music lessons and free music experiences,” said Herrero. “So we go into the war zone … the hood, hood, hood … some of these neighborhoods where five to 10 people a week are getting killed in the summertime when it gets hot. And since I have an education background, we designed a music curriculum that goes into the classroom and gives them an understanding of why blues music is important to Chicago. We also discuss the great migration and I like to tell them that the blues took a steamboat up the Mississippi River and how the blues are the roots for all American music. And then we culminate that with a one-hour performance and question-and-answer session with the kids.”
Whether or not any of the students that Herrero and Reyes have touched will ever turn into professional musicians is yet to be determined. However, there is already positive evidence that their pupils are soaking up the materials they’ve been given.
“I feel so blessed to be a part of that project because it’s like, you see a spark in some of these kid’s eyes. It’s the same spark that I had, or Felix had, or any musician had when they first discovered the magic of music,” he said. “With these kids, it seems like if they can just get a little money to get a bass or a guitar, they could be sitting in their bedroom practicing and learning something positive, instead of out on the streets gangbanging and doing drugs … so in that respect, I feel really super-duper lucky, man. It’s a really cool program. I think we’ve just finished 22 of those shows in the last three months in the schools of Chicago.”
Even though there’s a 20-year age difference between Herrero and Reyes, the dynamic that the two have managed to forge on and off the bandstand over the years has been an impressive and fruitful one; although it can tend to have its moments.
“It’s interesting …it’s like sometimes he’ll look at me and it will be like, ‘Man, why are you being such a punk kid?’ And I’ll look at him like, ‘Come on, old man …,’” Herrero laughed. “But at the end of the day, we have a huge mutual respect for each other.”
While that mutual respect will obviously never change, the working arrangements between Herrero and Reyes are currently being tweaked a bit.
“Well, he’s been doing this for a very, very long time. We did about an eight-week tour of Europe last summer and we were in eight different countries, starting with France and moving on through Spain, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Every night was a new city. It was a pretty intense tour and sometimes the arrangements were phenomenal, and sometimes they weren’t. And I felt kind of bad about that, but the circumstances that we were dealt, with a new city every night, we just not ideal,” Herrero said. “By the time we got back home, he (Reyes) said, ‘Man, I don’t think I can do that anymore.’ And I totally got that. I understand.”
So while Reyes might not be logging all the rough and tumble road miles with Herrero and The Hero Brothers Band that he has in the past, he’s still a member of the family and will still get up on stage and lay down his tasty fretwork with the guys from time to time.
“He’s got an incredible situation; he’s got a beautiful loving wife and a nice house with a great studio and he’s producing some amazing records right now,” Herrero said. “That’s his comfort zone. What we decided was, when we have a big show, we’re going to bring him on as a featured artist. So I think we’re going to keep on grinding as a trio right now, because I want the foundation to be super-tight. And perhaps we’ll build on it from there … it’s really been an interesting year, with things changing and developing.”
It may seem like Herrero’s plate could not possibly hold any more jobs than what’s it’s loaded down with right now. However, in addition to working hard on his new CD, touring Europe, helping to teach needy children in the inner-city, working on projects for other artists, including producing Jimmy Burns and engineering up-and-comer Nikki Hill’s latest disc (he also took care of the horn arrangements and even played bass on one cut), Herrero and his brother also run a lucrative production company in Chicago – Trackforce Productions.
The opportunity to work closely with his brother was also the impetus for Herrero’s move from Austin to Chicago.
“My brother, Mike Hero, had a full scholarship to the Art Institute of Chicago as a visual artist, but he changed his field to sound and started doing hip-hop. And he and I started working on stuff together,” Herrero said. “We’d take roots and blues sort of stuff and mix that with hip-hop beats and that ended up kind of drawing me up to Chicago. I just really felt like I needed to make a move and sure enough, three or four months after I moved up here, we started making music for the Oprah Winfrey Show and for Harpo Productions and other stuff.”
Trackforce Productions’ outstanding resume of other clients also include the Tyra Banks Show, along with MTV’s Rob & Big.
“Yeah, it was like, ‘Oh, wow! There’s actually ways to make money off music without playing a gig,” laughed Herrero. “A lot of times you have to beg a club to get $400 out of a show. And then I started understanding publishing and royalties and mailbox money and things like that. It’s been really hectic trying to balance a touring schedule with running this company, but my brother and I, thank God, can bounce things off each other when we need someone to take the helm a little bit more. We’ve been really lucky, thank goodness, because without a Web site, without any advertisement or anything, we’ve generated a lot of business, which has been such a blessing. It’s afforded me the opportunity not to have to use my degree and teach pre-school.”
He may not have to teach pre-schoolers everyday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. now, but for the first four years he lived in Chicago, that’s just exactly what Herrero did.
“Well, when I first moved here from Austin, my cost of living just about tripled,” he said. “So while the royalties from the production company were starting to build up, for about four years I worked about 90 hours a week. I worked my butt off, between teaching and playing gigs and giving (music) lessons and producing music for TV and stuff, I really busted my ass. And now, I’m in a much better position. I’m doing what I love and like they say - when your job is what you love, you don’t work a day in your life. And that’s the truth.”
It takes a lot of hustle, hard work and determination - along with a ton of trust and dedication – to wear as many different hats as Dave Herrero does. But when you peer into his family’s amazing background for a minute, it’s easy to see where Herrero gets his mighty work ethic from.
And it all starts with a very long boat trip along the Atlantic Ocean.
“My grandfather, with three kids back in the Dominican Republic, took a boat from there to Ellis Island in 1928 when he was 18 years old. And he went up there and got integrated into the Latin music scene,” he said. “He ended up playing on some really cool records and also played the 1938 World’s Fair on the very-first color TV broadcast ever in the United States. Then they (Herrero’s grandparents) later ended up moving to Miami and starting a family.”
That family included four children, all who played instruments. And maybe the most amazing thing about those kids is that despite the fact that they were extremely poor and often times went to bed without anything to eat, they all managed to get scholarships to college via their musical talents.
While that’s noteworthy enough, it didn’t end there.
All those kids ended up becoming doctors, including Herrero’s father, who became a noted psychiatrist.
“The fighting spirit that they had was just amazing. My grandmother (his dad’s mother) was an amazing woman. She moved to New York (from the Dominican Republic) to join my grandfather right during the middle of the Great Depression,” said Herrero. “After the family had moved to Miami, my father was planning to go to medical school and they needed a loan from the bank, so my grandmother went down there to see about one. But the bank president told her, ‘Look, you’re poor. I can’t loan you this money. As a matter of fact, the only way I would loan you this money is if you came back down here with a letter from the Mayor of Miami.’ And sure as Hell, she went to see the Mayor of Miami and said, ‘My son’s going to medical school and I need a loan. We’re hard-working, honest people and we will pay this money back. I need a letter from you for the banker.’ And she got that letter, took it back to the bank, went into his office and said, ‘Alright, now what?’ It’s just an amazing and really cool story. But my grandmother was certainly a part of that very hard-working, very honest generation that was tough and strong and she worked hard to install that in all of us.”
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.
Featured Blues Review 1 of 7
Janet Ryan - Mama Soul
CSP Records / Malaco Music Group
13 songs; 56:09 Minutes
Styles: Soul-Influenced Blues, Blues Rock, Soul, Funk
In American culture, thirteen has been considered unlucky. Elevators have no thirteenth floor, Friday the 13th gives certain people the heebie-jeebies, and this year’s an unfortunate one for superstitious folk. Sometimes, however, thirteen is lucky indeed, as in the number of songs on Conway, Massachusetts native Janet Ryan’s fourth album. “Mama Soul” features twelve zesty originals and a tangy cover of Sippie Wallace’s “Women Be Wise.” Having developed a taste for the blues while living in the Windy City, and hanging out with such masters as Koko Taylor, Magic Slim, and Big Twist and the Mellow Fellows, Janet earned her stripes as a genre fledgling. When she was only sixteen years old, she had the honor of singing with Duke Ellington. Listening to Janet’s powerhouse vocals, listeners will marvel at the emotion she infuses into every word. It was her huge voice that caught the attention of CSP Records in Texas. It’s incredibly hard to pick only three “best songs,” but here are the most outstanding original numbers:
Track 03: “Tired of Talking”--Sounding like it’s been fired out of a pistol with blues notes as its ammo, “Mama Soul’s” third track starts and finishes with a bang. “Life ain’t funny when you’re all alone. This dog is gonna find herself another bone. I’m tired of talking!” Featuring the hot horn section of Steve Howard on trumpet, Mike Sizer on tenor sax, and Jeff Robbins on baritone sax, it’s a bona-fide earworm. It’s also a restless ‘footworm’ that will quickly compel one to hit the dance floor.
Track 04: “Mr. Misery”--This ballad of an ill-fated gentleman whose life is “one big losing streak” is the album’s best slow-blues number. It features a stunningly eerie guitar intro, played by Jerry Sartain on smoking shredder and Chuck Mabrey on killer keyboards. Sometimes in the course of a song, the instrumentation overpowers the vocals, but not here. “He tried to dance with Lady Luck, but she turned him down again--yeah, she turned him down again!” This phrase is one of the mightiest displays of Janet’s vibrant voice.
Track 10: “Learn to Let it Go”--The perfect song for the title character of “The Great Gatsby,” this is Ryan’s advice to the heartbroken: “You’ve got to learn to let it go. Set your mind free at last. You’ll never find tomorrow if you’re living in the past.” The poignant vocal harmony on the chorus, performed by Chuck Mabrey, Jerry Sartain and Terry Vieregge, reinforces her compassionate message.
This CD had
its birth when Janet was recruited by a Texan, producer Jimmy Rogers of
CSP Records, to come to Garland, Texas to record. All but two songs were
If one is feeling down, one should listen to “Mama Soul” and feel one’s spirits soar!
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 7
Noam Dayan -- A Whole New Land
Soul Records SR001
20 songs – 66 minutes
Here’s a tasty traditional acoustic blues album straight from the river -- the Jordan, not the mighty Mississippi! Guitarist Noam Dayan hales from Israel, discovered his love for the artform at age 19 and taught himself how to player by spending hours poring over records. And his efforts are paying off big time. After toiling in a variety of local bands, he came into his own after a stint in Chicago in 2007, where he played with a trio of stalwards, guitarist James Wheeler, pianist Barrelhouse Chuck and harmonica player Matthew Skoller. Today, at age 30, he’s back home dividing his time between touring in several band formats and spreading the music through education projects and lectures.
Dayan has chosen a traditional format for this, his debut CD. Instead of being backed by his regular electric soul-blues ensemble, he accompanies himself on a nylon-stringed acoustic guitar, harmonica and piano, presenting a collection of 16 standards from blues legends, interspersed with four originals. His steady vocals are relaxed and unaffected by accent and his play, regardless of instrument, is stellar. Recorded in the studio at Haifa University, the atmospheric set captures the essence of the Delta, weary, dark, foreboding and hopeful, all at the same time. It kicks off with the Lightning Hopkins classic, “I Just Don’t Care,” and flows seamlessly into the CD title cut, the Dayan original “A Whole New Land.” The theme’s contemporary in any age and any spot on Earth: “When you look down, you might see a whole new land right where you stand.”
The singer delves into the Muddy Waters songbook for the next four songs: “Canary Bird,” “I Can’t Be Satisfied,” “Long Distance Call” and “Down South Blues.” The harmonica backing and solo on “Long Distance Call” stands out. The original, upbeat and tender “Love Fell In Love With You” leads directly into a rendition of the Lucille Bogan classic, “Sweet Little Angel.” Renditions of Big Joe Williams’ “Baby Please Don’t Go” and Little Walter’s “Can’t Hold Out Much Longer” put his finger-picking skill and harp talents on display. They precede another original, “My Little Bird,” another love song, on which Dayan attacks the keyboard with equal gusto and success.
Seven more covers of blues standards follow -- including Big Bill Broonzy’s “Hey Hey Baby,” Robert Jr. Lockwood’s “Take A Little Walk With Me,” Muddy’s “Honey Bee, John Lee Hooker’s “Hobo Blues,” Robert Johnson’s “Steady Rollin’ Man,” Luther Dixon’s “Big Boss Man,” Willie Johnson’s “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” and Jimmy Rogers’ “Goin’ Away Baby” -- before Dayan finishes with the self-penned “Some Things Never Change,” a warm, jazzy guitar instrumental that moves the album firmly, but gently into the 21st century.
All of the covers are delivered with a reverential tip of the hat to the master, and the originals fit comfortably within the format. Dayan displays talent and sensibilities far greater than his 30 years. This disc’s well worth a listen despite the distance you might have to go to lay hands on it.
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.
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE
Featured Blues Review 3 of 7
The Fabulous Thunderbirds – On The Verge
10 tracks; 45 minutes
When I saw the T Birds at the Tampa Bay Blues Festival in 2009 they were without a record deal and were selling a self-produced CD from the bandstand, four songs from which have been re-worked for their first disc for Severn. Whilst that self-produced CD had a range of styles on it here the T Birds have had a clear makeover, the result being far more R n’ B and soul-orientated than on many of their previous CDs. A big influence is Kevin Anker who co-produced with his regular Severn partner Steve Gomes, label boss David Earl and Kim Wilson. Kevin also plays keyboards throughout and contributed to writing half the material here. Kim Wilson had a hand in writing all bar two tracks and the new direction of the band is clearly very much his vision. Kim is, of course, the only original member of the band but the current incarnation of the T Birds has been around for a while live. Brothers Jason (drums) and Johnny (guitar) Moeller are joined by Mike Keller (guitar) and Randy Bermudes (bass) with a horn section and backing singers on some tracks.
The two opening tracks are very soul, groove orientated and Kim’s voice is flexible enough to handle that style as well as the old Texas roadhouse numbers that we associate with classic T Birds songs. Keyboards and gentle guitars are the main instruments on “I Want To Believe” and “Lovin’ Time”, no harp or horns as yet, but plenty of soulful music to appreciate. “Too Much Water” changes things as Kim’s harp introduces the song of loss and is the featured solo instrument.
“Hold Me” is the first of four consecutive numbers that were originally on that self-produced CD. It is a co-write between Kim and Kevin Anker which probably reflects the difference between the two versions I now have; the earlier version is a little more upbeat, this version glistens with beautiful keyboards and guitars, supportive horn charts and Kim’s strong vocal. “Running From The Blues” is Randy Bermudes’ song and it’s classic Memphis soul, the guitars and organ are spot-on and Kim’s vocals are excellent again – definitely one of my favourite cuts on the album. “Do You Know Who I Am?” is Kim’s song, a heartfelt cry for help for some of the social ills of society – street fights, unemployment, child poverty. The sense of desperation in the lyrics is accentuated by the horn arrangement and backing choir. It’s a very strong song and Kim produces a convincing vocal in support of the serious themes. After that we need a little lighter stuff and “Got To Bring It With You” provides a funky, horn-driven tune, the last of the four ‘holdover’ songs.
Kim’s “That’s The Way We Roll” features his harp and a vocal through the harp mike, never my favourite sound, and it’s one of the weaker tracks here. The final two cuts returns to the soulful sounds, what we might now call a classic Severn records production. “Diamonds Won’t Kiss You Back” is a Steve Gomes song, really catchy refrain, super horn arrangement with nice, restrained guitar playing. Closer “Lonely Highway” is a Anker/Earl/Gomes/Wilson collaboration, more sweeping horns with Kim’s harp adding to the mix.
Overall I enjoyed this album a lot, but I love the Severn style (Tad Robinson, Lou Pride, Darrell Nulisch, etc). It is far smoother and soul-orientated than classic FT albums and I suspect that this might not float the boat of some long-time FT fans. I also suspect that live the band will blend this more soulful style with their old favourites and that the two guitarists will get more opportunity to shine than they do here. I would recommend giving this a listen without too many preconceptions of what the Fabulous Thunderbirds should sound like!
Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK. Current favorites 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 7
Wingnut Adams- Welcome To Grooveland
On the inner sleeve of this CD appears the motto: “Dedicated to the pursuit of the groove”. The California-based Wingnut and crew need to look no further, they have definitely found it in spades! They are a stripped-down funk unit-drums-bass-guitar-organ and occasional harmonica. The “Wing” man handles vocals, drums and harmonica. His Memphis-tinged “blue-eyed soul” voice fits the grooves quite nicely. The liner notes aren’t very thorough, but it seems all but one of the songs are originals.
The band hangs an M.G.’s-Meters tight groove straight off on the lead-in tune “You Got It”. The vocals have just the right attitude, and Tessie Marie adds her soul-moan voice towards the end. Some John Mayall-ish harmonica is laid over the funkiness of “She Loves Me”. This is also where Chris Akin’s muscular bass rears its’ head. “A Man” is a feel good song about love. Some funky blues in store on “Groove Me”, with its’ “clipped” rhythm guitar. What would a funk band be without a song full of sexual innuendo? The dudes give us “Ride My Donkey”. If you can’t figure it out, you need to get out more. The organ fueled “Butterfly” is the recipient of more tough bass playing and Tessie Marie’s raspy crooning. That magic bass once again makes it self heard on “Leave The Light On”, as it propels the groove. “It’s the thought that kills” is the bit of wisdom proffered in the slide guitar driven “Wicked Ways”. “Steamroller” is actually James Taylor’s “Steamroller Blues”. One of the guitarists is squeezing out sparks on this one.
If you can’t “shake your moneymaker” to this stuff, it can’t be shook…or is that shaken? Whatever the case, there is much goodness to be found within this CD. Kudos must be given to Wingnut and Matt Erich for their seamless production values. I hope you enjoy your visit to “Grooveland” as much as I did. If you are like me, you can’t wait until the return trip. I ask you to pardon me if I used the word “groove” one too many times in this review, but hey…that’s the deal!
Reviewer Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony hails from the New Jersey Delta.
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE
Featured Blues Review 5 of 7
The Mike Eldred Trio - 61 49
Mike Eldred and his trio have musically been around the block once or twice. Eldred’s style is eclectic, ranging all over the musical spectrum. When the Stray Cats broke up, Lee Rocker hired him on as his guitar player and they made a couple of great CDs together before Mike stepped out and went on his own. Jerry Angel on drums has played with everyone who is someone musically. John Bazz on bass was one of the founders of the Blasters and he and Angel met Mike while they were Blasters. The trio has deep roots in blues and rockabilly. It was Angel who, after jamming repeatedly with Mike and band mate Bazz that suggested Eldred form his own band. The result is this fine CD and more as they continue to record and tour.
The CD opens with a spiritual “Don’t Go Down There” where Elred takes us to church. He’s by himself and backed by a choir and it’s very cool. He then breaks into a fierce boogie entitled “Jake’s Boogie” where his guitar leads this instrumental onslaught. The guitar is wickedly hot and he sears through the boogie. “Louise” is Mike’s tome to a woman name Louise, perhaps building on a long tradition of Louise’s in the blues like Big Bill Broonzy’s “Louise, Louise” and Howlin’ Wolf’s “Louise.” He uses the idea from Dr. Feelgood “Sweet Louise” with the line “Louise, You Got Me Down on My Knees.” I’m not saying he copied the songs as that is the only lien that is similar, it’s just a very much used musical line and here it actually rhymes with Louise. “Layla” and countless other songs use the phrase “you’ve got me down on my knees,” so in blues, rock and country I am sure we will hear it again. In any case, the song is a lot of fun and the guitar solo is (again) pretty spectacular. “Ruby’s Blues” takes us down for a very dark but cool instrumental in the depths of introspection and just beautiful guitar work. I am thoroughly impressed with Eldred’s guitar, song writing and (in the non-instrumentals) vocals.
“She’s a Rocket” and “Jimmy, Jimmy” feature Ike Turner pounding the piano and Eldred delivering two great rock-a-billy styled performances. The influences of Mike’s time in Lee Rocker’s band may be evident here. His guitar wails as he blasts out the vocals and Turner pounds the 88s. A little B3 organ enters the mix by Riley Osborn on the instrumental “Ms. Gayles Chicken House.” It’s a mid tempo number; the song is a cool little stroll around the chicken shack with a echoing guitar solo that Eldred sweetly picks out. “Lookie Hear” has some great call and response and is another well conceived and done boogie. Eldred closes like he opens- solo. It’s just him and an acoustic guitar on “61 and 49.” This could be a Mississippi Delta piece; Eldred hearkens back with this very convincing and authentic blues, yet it’s clean and fresh sounding, too.
The rest of the songs verge on blues or are straight up rockers, but they are equally good, too. I was very impressed by Eldred and his cohorts. In addition to Ike Turner and Riley Osborn we have Scotty Moore, Kid Ramos and Cesar Rosa who drop by on guitar, Jeff Turmes appears on baritone sax and the Emmanuel Church Gospel Choir fills in on the opener. This is thirteen original cuts, all written and played out well, with a cool sound and superb musicianship. This trio and their occasional friends sitting in did a wonderful job with this CD. It seems to improve and improve with each listen- I really enjoyed it and I think that you will, too!
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 works 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 7
RB Stone – Loosen Up!
Middle Mountain Music
10 songs – 35 minutes
Despite this being RB Stone’s 16th album, he has somehow managed to fly under the radar of widespread public acclaim. That may not change with the release of Loosen Up!, but that would be a shame, because this is an enjoyable album.
Nashville-based Stone is a singer, songwriter, guitarist and harmonica player who has a fascinating personal history, having worked in a variety of jobs, including on a rail gang across the Midwest and as a cowboy in Colorado and there is a muscular power to the music on Loosen Up! that is easy to imagine having been developed by such unforgiving lines of employment. He has a strong, rough-hewn voice that fits the material perfectly.
At 35 minutes long, Loosen Up! may be a relatively short album, but it packs a serious roadhouse punch. These are party songs featuring rock, blues and country influences and no doubt sound magnificent in a live setting. It kicks off with “High Horse” a high octane, rumbling boogie that treads a fine line between blues and Southern Rock, a vein that is also successfully mined in “Long Gone Lonesome Blues”, a paean to the life of a trucker. The title track also kicks like a mule, and contains one of Stone’s many clever couplets in a song of praise to a life of parties and pleasure: “When Saint Peter comes a-knockin’, you might as well be rockin’, so loosen up.” Equally, in “I Ain’t Buying That Bull Today”, Stone sings “You say that you love me, but if that’s so, you should’ve let your other lover know. No how, no way, I ain’t buyin’ that bull today”.
The minor key ballad, “God Heals You When You Cry”, is a beautiful song, which sounds not unlike something off an early Rainbow album, with a superb guitar solo from Robert Britt. Britt is a key part of a tight band that also features Tommy McDonald (bass) and Jefferson Jarvis (piano, organ). Tom Hambridge, who also produced the album, takes the drum stool.
One of the album’s highlights is “A Bad Case Of Blues Goin’ On”, a mid-paced ZZ Top-esque, grinding boogie, with dirty slide guitar and a melody that lodges in your brain and just won’t let go. “The weatherman forecast 40 days of pain, he said it could last longer if I don’t make a change” sings Stone, before launching into a wailing harmonica solo.
Stone wrote five of the songs himself, collaborating with Hambridge on four others and co-writing one with Ray Kennedy. It’s probably fair to say that the album does not break new ground or offer anything new, but equally Stone does not claim to offer that. Rather, he continues to draw from the apparently inexhaustible musical well of classic blues, rock and country songs. And he often does it very well. “Good As Gone Could Be”, for example, opens with ominously haunting slide, before Tommy McDonald lays down a solid bass groove on which the band builds an infectious rhythm as Stone sings a classic tale of deception and departure.
“She’s Too Hot To Handle” features a tremendous piano solo from Jarvis, even if the song itself is just a little too similar to Duke Robillard’s classic of (almost) the same name.
The album finishes with the belting “Harley Heart”, an up-beat George Thorogood-like rocker, in which Stone proclaims “I got a Harley Heart, I’m always set on cruise, get your knees in the breeze, there’s no time for the blues” over Hamilton’s pounding drums and his own cigar box guitar.
Loosen Up! is an uproarious party album for fans of blues-rock and southern rock. It makes you want to kick back, pop a beer and maybe shake a leg too. Recommended.
Reviewer Rhys Williams is a blues musician who grew up in Cambridge, England, quietly nonplussed by the fact that he wasn’t born in Texas or North Carolina.
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Featured Blues Review 7 of 7
Paul Gabriel – What’s The Chance
Solo artist Paul Gabriel continues to evolve as singer, songwriter and guitar player. Cutting his teeth playing with the likes of Michael Bolton, Harry Chapin and Rory Block has been a worthwhile apprenticeship along with playing in his own solo bands and other groups. It is the blues he always comes back to and with the release of What’s The Chance he might have found the best musical course.
In the CD liner notes he gives a brief history of his association with guitar legend Duke Robillard who has long been a fixture on the scene for many years. Duke’s work with Roomful of Blues shot him into the spotlight and he is able to enjoy the fruits of his labors today. And he doesn’t mind handling the production chores for Gabriel’s release which turns this work into a real gem.
Dukes’ influence is strong throughout this undertaking. But Gabriel also acknowledges the visions of Michael Bloomfield, T-Bone Walker, Miles Davis and many others. The use of a horn section in some of the material adds the right touches of jazz and swing and at best recalls the big band era where Count Basie and Duke Ellington loomed at large.
Having Robillard play on some of the tracks is something you can’t steer from and he brings his best tasteful solos to this project. Listening to opening cut “Old Time Ball” and having him take the second guitar solo in his trademark fashion shows why he is so successful in the less-is-more school. It’s an approach that works just as well in “Ride, Ride, Ride” that is a nice little shuffle rocker standing under a blues umbrella.
Gabriel shows his love for jazz in the instrumentals “328 Chauncy Street” and “CMC.” In the former track Duke joins Gabriel to weave masterful guitar lines and go back and forth while organist Bruce Bears lays down a jazzy solo which is perfect for the song’s character. Bassist Billy Bileca contributes “CMC” where once again Bears’ piano playing becomes the lead instrument due to dexterity and willingness to adapt to a jazz setting.
Duke isn’t the only legendary player to add his chops in the mix. Mark Naftalin who achieved his status playing with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band drops by to play piano. Gabriel relinquishes his guitar duties and just vocalizes while Naftalin plays upright piano in “Fine At’tire” that might be an autobiographical encounter on Memphis’ famed Beale Street.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise while working with Robillard a tune titled “Roomful of Blues” shows up to slow things down a bit and add somewhat of a sad backdrop. If it’s a dark cloud, then its mojo is eventually shattered because the following number “Magic” sees Gabriel displaying his shuffle hat once again with the rest of the band firing on all cylinders and turning in what might be described as blues rock but careful not to tread on past clichés that others fall victim too.
In the press release of this CD, Gabriel gives a rundown of guitars and amps used and what the other players used also. Of particular note are the horn players using instruments coming out of 50’s and 60’s. With Robillard working the desk and favoring an old school approach than a Pro Tools usage, Paul Gabriel himself admits this is “the best album I have ever done.” For fans that have followed his work for years or are just getting aboard the blues train, they will agree with these sentiments as What’s The Chance is a strong effort from an artist who will be worth watching for future releases. And when Duke Robillard shows up for the party, where can you go wrong?
Reviewer Gary Weeks is a contributing writer. He resides in Marietta, GA.
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE
Blues Society News
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Orange Blossom Blues Society - Orlando, Florida
Exciting news from the Orange Blossom Blues Society in Orlando. OBBS has connected with Greg Rike Productions in Orlando who produces the stream show called "Living Legends". He believes in what we stand for: to Promote, Preserve and Present Blues. The new show, "Front Row Seat" will be streamed throughout the U.S. and Canada. GRP Studios decided to be a Blues Benefactor and give this to everyone for FREE!!!
The first show will be held on Saturday, June 15th with The Ladies of the BluesTM featuring Suze Lanier-Bramlett and on August 2nd featuring the IBC Winner, Selwyn Birchwood. This new venture will showcase other Blues and National Blues acts. It is opportunity for all Blues Societies that would enjoy an opportunity of seeing an IBC Winner (plus gorgeous girls:).
Enclosed link below. A Blues Society website that wants it can embed the player. It's Free!! Click on the envelope link to email to Greg to get code/instructions. Members can connect to it and view the shows at this link - http://grpstudios.com/LOB/splash.html
For more information visit http://www.obbs.org/
The Columbus Blues Alliance - Columbus, Ohio
The Columbus Blues Alliance will hold its first Blues, Brews and BBQ All A Cart on Sunday July 14, 2013. The venue, All A Cart, makes food carts. It’s located at 2001 Courtright Road.in Columbus, Oho.
The opening acts feature Pett Crow, Micah Kesselring, and Mojo Theory. All have represented the CBA at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis and have gone into advanced rounds. The headliner is Eddie Shaw and the Wolfgang.
Eddie Shaw is one of the reigning “kings” of Chicago Blues most known for his time spent with Howlin’ Wolf. After Wolf’s death in 1976, Eddie formed Eddie Shaw And The Wolfgang. He is part of a generation of musicians that defined and shaped the “Chicago Sound.” His hard honking, blues busting saxophone can be found on some of the best blues recordings to date. At 77, he’s still a force to be reckoned with. Eddie was the 2013 Blues Music Award winner for Instrumentalist/Horn.
Find more info at www.ColumbusBlues.com. Funds will benefit the CBA and our Blues In The Schools program.
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. June 3rd - Hard Rock Blues Band, June 10th - Jarekus Singleton http://artistecard.com/jarekussingleton, June 17th - Laurie Morvan Band http://www.lauriemorvan.com/, June 24th - Reverend Raven & Chain Smoking Altar Boys Http://www.reverendraven.com. More info available at icbluesclub.org
Madison Blues Society - Madison, Wisconsin
The Madison Blues Society will host their 11th Annual Blues Picnic on Saturday, June 22, 2013 at Warner Park in Madison, Wisconsin, with headliner Matthew Skoller. This free public festival will feature the Boys and Girls Club's “Blues Kids” and a fantastic line-up of popular local and regional blues bands.
Dave Potter & the Alley Kings - 12:00PM
Crossroads Blues Society - Rockford/Northern Illinois
The Inaugural Rockford Field of Blues Festival will be held on Saturday, June 22nd at Rockford Aviators Stadium, 4503 Interstate Drive, Loves Park, IL. The event features Lil’ Ed and the Blues Imperials as headliners and also has Willie Buck and Taildragger with Rockin’ Johnny Burgin to celebrate Delmark Records 60th Anniversary. Delmark’s Dave Weld and the Imperial Flames and Toronzo Cannon are also featured on the bill as are Madison’s Aaron Williams and the HooDoo and the Flaming Mudcats from Auckland, New Zealand!
Advanced tickets are only $10; gate admission is $15. Attendees can bring a lawn chair and sit on the field or relax in the stands; there is a large, covered pavilion on the stadium promenade for shade. This event is conducted by Crossroads Blues Society and all proceeds support their Blues in the Schools Program. They have done 116 programs for over 35,000 students in Northern Illinois since May 2002.
Crossroads is excited to bring a blues festival back to the Rockford area. There has never been an annual blues event in the Forest City, but Crossroads aims to fix that. They hope to keep this going and even expand to two days next year if this is successful. Local response has been superb and there is a great buzz for this deep blues event that they have planned.
Tickets are available on line at http://fieldofblues.blogspot.com and information on mail order sales is also available there. Local Rockford area venues selling tickets include Aviators Stadium, Guzzardo’s Music on Charles Street, the Adriatic Bar on West Jefferson Street, Kryptonite Bar on West State Street, CD Source on East State Street, Toad Hall Records on Charles Street, Just Goods Fair Trade Store on 7th Street and the Cumulus Broadcasting Office on Brendenwood Road. Call 779-537-4006 for more information.
Also Crossroads Blues Society is planning other hot stuff for local blues fans! Wednesday June 12th: Dave Fields at the Adriatic. Info TBD, in the works. And 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 www.crossroadsbluessociety.com.
River City Blues Society - Pekin. IL
The River City Blues Society presents the following shows at Goodfellas 1414 N. 8th St., Pekin, Illinois - Laurie Morvan Band: Wednesday June 19th 7:00 pm, Reverend Raven & The Chain Smokin Altar Boys: Friday June 28th 7:30 pm. Admission for all these shows is $6.00 general public or $4.00 Society Members. For more info visit: www.rivercityblues.com or call 309-648-8510
Friends Of The Blues - Watseka, IL
Now in their seventh season, The Friends of the Blues present 7 pm early shows: 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 www.orinaftaly.com, Tues, June 25, Laurie Morvan Band, Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club www.lauriemorvan.com, Thur, July 18, Jerry Lee and the Juju Kings - Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen’s Club - Outdoors! www.jujukings.com/index1.htm, Thur, July 25, Albert Castiglia w/ Donna Herula, The Longbranch Restaurant in L’Erable, Outdoor show www.albertcastiglia.com www.donnaherula.com, Thur, Aug 15, Ivas John Band, Moose Lodge www.ivasjohn.com, Thur, Aug 29, Little Joe McLerran, Venue To Be Announced www.littlejoeblues.com, Thur, Sept 19, Reverend Raven and Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys, Kankakee Valley Boat Club www.reverendraven.com, Thur, Oct 3, Too Slim and The Taildraggers – “It’s Everybody’s Birthday Party” - Kankakee Valley Boat Club www.tooslim.org, Tues, Oct 22, Kilborn Alley Blues Band - Venue To Be Announced www.kilbornalley.com, Thur, Nov 7, Terry Quiett Band - Venue To Be Announced http://www.terryquiettband.com More information: www.facebook.com/friendsoftheblues or email@example.com
Blues Overdose 5/30/2013 - 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 6 of this months tracks.
“Rooster Boogie” from the album Rooster
From the man that legendary Pinetop Perkins said has
“twenty fingers” comes the debut album “Rooster.” Clay Swafford, born
and raised in Alabama on a rich diet of blues, is a masterful pianist
who displays his lighting fast finger work on this new disc. Featuring
legends such as Diunna Greenleaf (vocals), Bob Corritore (harmonica),
and Bob Margolin (guitar), this album is raw and gritty, absent of any
fussy digital manipulation. Clay provides steady rhythm as notes cascade
from his fingers on tracks like “29 Ways” and “Mess Around.” This album
will transport you to those rollicking piano house rent party days. In
fact, Jerry Lee Lewis himself said, “As long as guys like Clay are out
carrying on this music it will always be around.” Don’t miss Clay on his
way up, because he’ll tear the house down.
Click HERE to download these Free tracks
“What's It Gonna Take” - From the CD What's It Gonna Take
Eastside Detroit native Doug Deming, now hailing from Florida’s Gulf Coast, has garnered widespread attention for his deft guitar work and memorable songwriting. With a nod to the likes of T-Bone Walker and Charlie Christian, as well as Luther Tucker and Robert Jr. Lockwood, Doug leaves his own mark whether swingin’ on the big jazz box, or playing straight up blues on the solid body Fender guitar. While playing the local Detroit scene in the early 90′s, major players began to take notice, and Doug spent much of the following years backing many of the day’s top touring blues artists, including Fabulous Thunderbirds frontman Kim Wilson, legendary Louisiana swamp bluesman Lazy Lester, Gary Primich, Chicago greats Johnny “Yard Dog” Jones, and A.C. Reed, as well as Detroit’s own Queen of the Blues, Alberta Adams.
With a decade of touring and recording to his credit, Doug has earned his position alongside today’s heavies on the blues scene. Leading his band, The Jewel Tones, Doug continues to bring noteworthy traditional and original roots music to his audiences. Doug’s latest recording, What’s it Gonna Take, exhibits the outstanding guitar work and remarkable singing and songwriting that have become Doug’s calling card. Paired with acclaimed harp man and touring partner Dennis Gruenling, and backed by the new Jewel Tones line-up of Andrew Gohman on upright and Fender bass, and Devin Neel on drums, What’s it Gonna Take is available now on the VizzTone label. http://dougdeming.com/
Click HERE to download these Free tracks
“Blues Enough” – from the album Blues Enough
After five tours of the UK and Europe, two releases vying for Grammy nominations, four albums and hundreds of sold out shows, The Hitman Blues Band is releasing their most exciting album yet: “Blues Enough”
Beginning with the title track, the CD jumps right into the heat with call and response action: “Is it blues enough for ya?” Followed by a tribute to the late, great Sam “The Bluzman” Taylor, the beat stays happy with beer soaked advice to go “Fishing Where The Fish Are”. The double entendre “Backhand Drive” gives way to the raw emotion of “Every Piece Of Me”, a real crowd favorite. The flat tire shuffle of “Everything You Do” picks up the smiles again, followed by “Streets Of Downtown”, a visit with street people familiar to far too many of us. The swing influenced “Life’s Too Short” gets your blood pumping, then the band declares a change of attitude: from now on, they’ll hang out with a “Better Class Of Bums”. The wistful song of loss, “Deaf, Dumb & Blind” leads into the boastful finale, “Tough Street”.
Featuring the well regarded quartet of the Hitman Blues Band, this album shows off their new three piece horn section along with special guest appearances by Neil Alexander on harp and backup vocalists Victoria Anyah and Joanna Alexander. With great songs and excellent performances, this release will stay in your CD player, on your Ipod, on your phone, and in your various playlists. Don’t believe it? Hear it for yourself! http://www.hitmanbluesband.com/
Click HERE to download these Free tracks
“Chain Smokin'” – from the album New York Minute
On their first ZOHO Roots release, the Jay Willie Blues Band lays down 15 vintage Texas blues, rock, and ballad tracks, including eight scorching band originals plus famous early R&B classics and obscure early blues rediscoveries. Inspired and influenced by the incendiary guitar and slide guitar work by Texas blues legend Johnny Winter, Willie fortifies his blues band with Winter’s ex-drummer Bobby T Torello as a special guest.
special guests include young Dutch R&B singer and YouTube discovery
Marlou Zandvliet (“Hollywood”), and harmonica ace Jason Ricci. In
typical blues funkiness and an ironic but provocative sideswipe at
political correctness, some of the album’s songs celebrate the guilty
pleasures of “Chain Smokin’” and “Champagne and Reefer” - the latter a
powerful Muddy Waters tune.
Click HERE to download these Free tracks
“Hesitation Blues” – from the album Hesitation Blues
“Hesitation Blues”, by Rambling Steve Gardner, American Roots and Blues musician from Mississippi, is the title track being offered for download as well as a collection of 20 traditional and original acoustic American roots and blues tunes played on National Reso-phonic guitars, harmonica, saw, washboard, tuba, trombone, banjo-uke, mandolin, upright bass, piano, organ, drums and ham bone percussion. You know, Big Leg Acoustic Stuff!
Rambling Steve Gardner’s solo tracks are off set by several duo and trio arrangements as well as three full band ensembles which feature the likes of: Washboard Chaz-Playing for Change; Bill Steber-Jake Leg Stompers; Jett Edwards and the Believers Today Gospel Travellers; Brandon Armstrong-Petrojvic Blasting Company; Hisa Nakase; Yu Ojima-Jimanica; Kevin McHugh and Nick Vitter.
Hesitation Blues is Rambling Steve Gardner’s 6th CD released on Blues Cat Records (Tokyo) and his 4th solo recording project following Rambling With The Blues (2002), Big Dedlta Crossing (2005), and Jericho (2007). (Walkin’ The Dog (2009 HooDoo Records/ Buffalo Records) and Wolly Bully Express (2011 Blues Cat Records (Tokyo) HooDoo Records) were both recorded with the members of the Jerico Road Show.
Order your copy from CD Baby http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/ramblingstevehardner
Click HERE to download these Free tracks
“Got My Eye On You” – from the album Got My Eye On You
Sabrina Weeks and Swing Cat Bounce are an act that needs to be seen. Offering up a generous helping of the Swinging Bouncing Boogie Blues is what Sabrina Weeks & Swing Cat Bounce do. The show is dynamic; the players are exceptional; and the grooves drive until you’re swingin’, bouncin’ and getting’ your boogie on. The songs are light hearted with a twist of naughty, the melodies are infectious, and it is abundantly apparent when watching this group that they truly love what they are doing. Hailing originally from Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada, this group collectively makes up over 100 years of musical expertise. The band members include Sabrina Weeks, Mike Hilliard, Ed Hilliard, and Terry Strudwick.
2013 is shaping up to be an even better year than 2012 for Sabrina Weeks and Swing Cat Bounce. In March, Sabrina Weeks et al released their much anticipated 2nd CD “Got My Eye on You” again produced by blues Legend Jack Lavin and began touring nationally to promote it. In 2012, most recently, Sabrina had the honour of performing at Massey Hall as part of the Women in Blues Revue. Prior to that, Sabrina Weeks and Swing Cat Bounce received the prestigious title of the “Best New Blues Band” in Canada after winning a Maple Blues Award in January. Since variety is the spice of life, this act tours as a duo, trio, four piece, or eight piece - you decide :) http://www.sabrinaweeks.com/.
Click HERE to download these Free tracks
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