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Issue 7-39, September 26, 2013

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Cover photo by Bob Kieser © 2013 Blues Blast Magazine

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 In This Issue

Jim Crawford has our feature interview with guitar slinger, Laura Chavez. Our September Blues Overdose Issue includes 5 FREE Blues music tracks.

We have 5 music reviews for you! Tom Hyslop reviews a new release by Voo Davis. Steve Jones reviews a new CD from Candye Kane featuring Laura Chavez. John Mitchell reviews a new release from Jim Alchin. Rainey Wetnight reviews the new CD from Little Jonny And The Giants. Rex Bartholomew reviews a new album from Kat & Co. 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,

Our monthly Blues Overdose Issue returns with 5 FREE Blues music tracks. This month's installment includes free music from Billy Thompson, Bobby Messano, Big Joe Shelton, Voo Davis and Slim Wray. We are also pleased to announce a new easier 1 click download process using

Complete information on each artists and the free tracks is available at the bottom of the page in this issue! To go directly to the September Blues Overdose page now to check it out, CLICK HERE.

Please drop us a note at and let us know what you think of the new Blues Overdose download process.

Wishing you health, happiness and lots of Blues music! 

Bob Kieser


We made an error in the link to Sugaray Rayford's website last week. The correct website link is We apologize for the error.

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Artists appearing include 

 Featured Blues Interview - Laura Chavez  

It hasn’t been that many years ago that it was almost unheard of to see and hear a female play an electric guitar - and play it well.

Perhaps Bonnie Raitt, Debbie Davies, Sue Foley are among the first to take the stage alongside the men and not back down in a good ol’ shredding contest.

Since their rocky beginnings trying to break in to the male-dominated Blues world, a number of young ladies have picked up an axe and dared anyone to take it away from them. Bay Area native Laura Chavez is one of those who has been overtaken by the Blues and she makes no apologies. Currently Laura is Candye Kane’s right-hand, er, lady having played guitar in Candye’s band since 2008.

Laura cites the usual cast of luminaries as heroes but initially she was lured by some of the more modern players for her inspiration.

“I was always drawn to music from the time I was very small,” Laura said. “In almost all of my memories as a child I can remember what song was playing or what was on the radio in the car driving somewhere. My parents liked Motown and older R&B like Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles. My grandparents liked old country music and big band. I remember listening to it all.

“I have a brother who is 9 years older than me and it was when he was in high school and started to listen to classic rock I became drawn to the guitar,” she says. “He was listening to the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Doors. I knew I wanted to play the guitar and when I was eight my parents bought me a classical guitar when they started offering lessons after school at the elementary school I went to.

“I took piano lessons when I was younger but I knew I wanted to play all of these sounds I was listening to on the guitar,” Laura recalls. “The teacher ended up not being too encouraging and focused much more on my male classmate and it wasn't too long before I stopped. I didn't pick it up again until I was about thirteen and got an electric guitar for Christmas.

“When I was younger I loved Jimmy Page and Led Zeppelin,” Laura says. “But it was really Eric Clapton who opened the door to the Blues and it was through him I discovered everyone else from Freddie King to Muddy Waters and Hubert Sumlin with Howlin' Wolf. He (Clapton) had just released “From The Cradle” around the time I started the electric guitar.”

So far the guitar has served Laura well. She started playing in The Lara Price Band in the Bay area when she was 18 and stayed with Lara until 2008 when Candye Kane was looking for a new guitarist to accompany her and her band on tour.

Laura is the featured player on Candye’s 2009 release, “Superhero,” which showed the world just who this young lady is and what she can play.

“I played with Lara for about 8 years and it was the first band I played in starting when I was 18,” Laura recalls. “It was a very difficult decision to leave. We got to do some amazing things including the IBC (International Blues Challenge). We went to China, played all of the big festivals in California and did two cross country tours. We also recorded three CDs. We all invested a lot of ourselves in that band and so when the opportunity came with Candye it was very difficult.

“I knew I would grow musically if I was thrust into a new musical situation and stylistically the music was very different from the more Blues rock and R&B influenced music with Lara,” she says. “Nothing makes you grow more than suddenly playing five to six shows a week. And, it was going to be my first opportunity to go play for European audiences. I felt like after eight years I couldn't turn down this opportunity to try something different but yes, it was very difficult to set aside something we all had invested so much into.”

After her initial reservations about changing directions had passed, Laura says she wouldn’t trade places with anyone.

“Changing bands definitely provided more exposure and travel,” Laura admits. “Between all of the tours I spend a lot of time down in San Diego now (I live in the Bay Area) because when we are not out of town somewhere we play most weekends somewhere in Southern California. It has been amazing to see so much of the world and meet so many wonderful people. Candye travels a lot and has a fairly high profile in Europe also, so we go over there quite often. And Candye has been so generous with me onstage and in the spotlight and wants everyone to see her now as a band fronted by both of us which I think has given me a more exposure as more than just a side player.”

Candye had big praise for Laura in an interview with Eric Schelkopf for Chicago Blues Guide.

“Sue Foley recommended Laura to me,” Candye relates. “Laura was playing in kind of an unknown band in San Jose, and my guitar player had quit. Sue is a longtime friend of mine and is a great guitar player also, so she knows what I like in guitar players.

“So I asked if Sue knew any guitar players and she recommended Laura,” Candye says. “I picked up Laura at the airport and we were wearing the same shirt, and I found out that we had shared a lot of the same interests, and we became friends. Laura is just an amazing player. She's still young, so she's still developing as a player. She's quite shy, so sometimes I really, really have to stand behind her and push her into the spotlight.

“She's not entirely comfortable with a likeness of her being on the cover of a record, but she's extremely talented and it's been a really great musical collaboration and partnership.”

The IBC takes place in Memphis, Tenn. in late January or early February each year and bands and solo acts from all over the world gather to engage in a huge battle of the bands. The winners are offered recording deals and even those who don’t win it all have had their biggest career boosts by participating in the event.

“The IBC is still one of my best musical memories and an incredible experience,” Laura says. “I love going now as a spectator because there is nothing like watching 150 bands play like their lives depended on it for 20 minutes. I remember that feeling well, myself.

“After eight years (with Price) here we were playing maybe the most important 20 minute set and knowing that it could give us a lot of exposure,” Laura recalls “We didn't know what to expect and how we would match up against the other bands. We thought we were good but it was nice to see once we got there that we could match up against any of the other bands there. We got some good exposure from it and met some really great people from the other bands and also promoters and journalists. We did get a few cool opportunities after as well. I would definitely say every Blues band should aim to enter in the IBC and every Blues fan should go at least once.” As might be expected in a male oriented business, women are “supposed” to take a back seat to the boys out front, especially in an electric Blues band. Laura said she has experienced jealousy, resentment and indifference and some things that are not fit for print during her early years coming up.

“Yes, I do (experience prejudice) but maybe not as often,” she says. “I'm constantly compared to other female guitarists in the business regardless of whether I have much in common with them. I can think of many more male guitar players whose style or sound makes more sense to compare to mine.

“But in the beginning I could walk into the club, through the back door with my amp and be told that door was only for band members,” Laura says. “And during sound check I could ask the sound man where he wanted to put the mic only to have him tell me he would wait until the guitar player arrives to ask what "he" wanted. I haven't had an experience like that for a while.

“Overall, just about everyone has been very supportive and some have gone way out of their way to show it,” she says. “I always feel when someone lets you onto their stage to play with them that's a real show of respect and camaraderie (most of the time) and I've been lucky and had some great experiences.”

Having played the Blues for the better part of the last 15 years, Laura says the landscape has been filled with highlights and she has no regrets that she cares to share.

“Hmm... there really are so many (highlights),” she says. “Well, as I said, the IBC definitely goes in this category. We've recently just hooked up with Candye's previous agent in France and have had some really unique and wonderful shows there with fantastic audiences. One in particular was a festival in Nantes, right on the Loire River (our backstage room was a boat). There was just a sea of people as far as I could see and every single one of them appeared to be moved by what we were doing onstage. I'd have to really think (about any do overs) and I don't have much time to dwell on regrets.”

She’s too busy concentrating on the music. Laura says she loves the audiences whether it be a club or a festival and both have their positive sides.

“I love to play them both,” she says. “Festivals are great because the energy you can receive from such a large audience is hard to compete with. Usually we play a shorter set in festivals so there's no pacing ourselves, you just give it all right up front. I also like festivals because when we're lucky it's a chance to see our friends play and hang out and make new friends and see new music. But, I also love the small, sweaty night clubs and bars where people are right in your face. There's an energy an audience like that can provide also.”

Laura has a high regard for the many festivals and Blues societies that have sprung up around the country in the past several years. She also says there is no room for negativity in the Blues community.

“I think Blues festivals are great,” Laura says. “I think we can always use more of them. And I think Blues societies are (great), too. It's great to have all of the support you can get. When the Blues society backs a show you can usually count on a great audience who loves what you do and supports you. But it's always disturbing when an argument leads one Blues society to break apart into two who (then) don't support each other. Our community of Blues lovers is small enough without needing to break further off into separate factions, much less warring ones.”

Anyone who is a fan or even familiar with Candye Kane’s music must know about her courageous battle she has been waging with cancer. Laura says she is as amazed as anyone that Candye keeps up the torrid pace she does despite her medical condition.

“Candye and I have a lot of fun together on and offstage and yes, she is an amazing spirit and about the most incredibly resilient person I could imagine,” Laura says. “As she says in her show, her whole life of trials and tribulations and lessons in positive affirmation prepared her for what she has been going through now.

“I have been there in worst of times these last couple of years and have to believe that a lot of people who think they are strong would have thrown in the towel by now,” she says. “And I have also seen her rise above it when she gets on stage and transform into this amazingly positive spirit who inspires and touches every last person in the audience. She forces us all to examine our own situations and realize whatever we might think is bad probably isn't and we better appreciate the good things because nothing should be taken for granted. And those who might be going through a health challenge themselves or with a loved one can leave feeling they are not alone.

“And as for me, I couldn't ask for a more generous and inspiring person to get onstage with every night and share this journey with,” Laura professes. “The past five years have been great and I look forward to many more.”

Laura, Candye and crew are about to set out on an extensive tour through the end of the year promoting the band’s new album.

“We have a brand new CD out called "Coming Out Swingin’ " which we put out ourselves with the Vizztone Label Group and in France on Dixie Frog,” Laura said. “We will be busy touring the US and Europe until the end of the year promoting it. Candye and I co-wrote most of the songs. It has a pretty good mix of styles and tones and I think the whole recording has a pretty good vintage vibe.

“Unfortunately, it got off to a rocky start at the release because it was out for four weeks before ITunes listed it because apparently they didn't know how to deal with the fact that it said "Recorded Live" on the cover,” Laura explains. “So everyone, let’s make up for lost time and go download it at iTunes or pick it up at a show.”

Stay tuned, Laura Chavez will be in your town soon and you won’t want to miss the fireworks.

If you are not familiar with this amazing guitar player you have got to check out these videos to see what all the fuss is about!

Candye Kane & Laura Chavez in Ville De Nice in France - CLICK HERE

Walkin' Talkin' ~ Candye Kane Band with Laura Chavez - CLICK HERE

Somewhere in Germany in 2013 Laura with the pedal to the metal - CLICK HERE

Laura Chavez solo at The Grand Dell Saloon, Campbell, CA - CLICK HERE

Candye Kane & Laura Chavez Lucky To Be Loved By You 2013 - CLICK HERE

One more of Laura tearing it up on guitar in 2008- CLICK HERE

For more info on Laura Chavez visit Candye Kane's website at To visit Laura's Facebook fan page CLICK HERE

Photos by Bob Kieser © 2013 Blues Blast Magazine

Interviewer Jim Crawford is a transplanted Texan and the current president of the Phoenix Blues Society. He’s a fan of lots of different types of music but keeps his head mostly planted in the Blues today. He received his first 45 rpm record, Jimmy Reed’s “Big Boss Man,” at about age 8 and it stuck. He hosted the “Blues Cruise” on KACV-FM 90 in Amarillo for many years and can be found on many nights catching a good show at the Rhythm Room, Phoenix’s Blues Mecca.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

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 Featured Blues Review 1 of 5

Voo Davis - Vicious Things

Butter & Bacon Records

An Arkansas-born musician with ties to the Chicago scene, Voo Davis has just released his second album. His 2012 debut, A Place For Secrets, was a set of slide songs perhaps best characterized as “heavy acoustic.” He calls his new record Americana, but it has little in common with the country/roots-rock/blues/folk/singer-songwriter hybrid that goes under that label. An all-analog recording laid down in Louisiana with a group of Chicago players, Vicious Things has a little bit of everything.

A four-to-the-bar kick drum opens and drives the opening track, “One for the Habit, One for the Road,” imparting some of the flavor of a Hill Country stomp. Davis overdubs a host of guitars, each with its own distorted tone, in what sounds like a high-stakes contest with Calvin Conway’s squalling harp. I was left wondering whether the guitars sounded more like Sonny Landreth’s intricate slide playing, with its characteristically overdriven sound, or AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck.” A few dynamic shifts develop along the way, allowing Jon Wade’s B3 and clavinet to emerge temporarily from behind the wall of guitars. “Whisper,” another heavy cut, follows. Its impressionistic lyric is vaguely ominous, but even invoking war, “hell freeze,” dirty deals, and Howlin’ Wolf isn’t enough to make it coherent; Davis’s gritty, extroverted vocal does more to bring the threat. The frenetic outro guitar solo and Mike Gock’s crashing¬¬ drums–worthy of Nirvana-era Dave Grohl–drain away any credible claim to a blues feel, never mind that the rhythm of the staccato guitar riff recalls “American Woman.”

At the opposite extreme is “Phantom Woman,” a quiet little ballad with cocktail lounge piano and Curtis Mayfield-via-Jimi Hendrix guitar work. Davis sounds appropriately weary in his vocal performance. A gain-saturated, tremolo-picked guitar solo ultimately shatters the song’s carefully developed after-hours feel. It’s a jarring transition to the rapidly picked, resonator guitar instrumental, “119 President St.,” that follows, with a combination of finger-picked slide and strummed chords. Another uptempo acoustic number, “Waitin’ on that Day,” cannily blends elements of bluegrass, blues, gospel, and I daresay pop/rock. A combination of mandolin, ukulele, guitar, and fiddle form the song’s backbone, but the fine vocal harmonies and Conway’s brief harmonica solo really star.

Then a driving rocker, “Had Enough,” comes crashing in. This is classic rock all the way, with nods to Hendrix and Allman in the guitars, and an organ tone straight out of Deep Purple. Again, the harmonica and the harmonies are most memorable, even in this different context. It is a terrific song, but hardly blues. “Big Life,” an excellent soul-oriented number, shows Davis’s smoky voice to its best advantage. A popping drum part paces the mid-tempo groove; sweet background vocals accentuate the melody; and an Allman-esque lead guitar that enters partway through the tune works surprisingly well.

From there, Davis swings back to the acoustic side, with another instrumental and the upbeat, country/singer-songwriter (I hesitate to call it folk) flavored “A Place for You.” A fine vocal and arrangement, heavy on fiddle, with guitars, uke, and mandolin, bring it to life. Similar in tone and style, but slower and more openly emotional, is the album’s closer, “Put Your Head on My Shoulder,” a beautifully sung ballad. Between those songs, Davis drops “Suffer No More,” another rocker with a deliberate groove. Its marginally funky feel and its fuzzed-out guitar break–I think I mentioned “American Woman” already–are pure ’70s. Steven Bores’s bass, the harp, and a chunky rhythm guitar carry the groove, with Wurlitzer and Hammond organ providing essential sonic accents.

Davis is absolutely a fine singer and talented writer who touches on a number of genres. I don’t consider this album to fall under the Americana umbrella. There’s too much late-‘60s and early-‘70s hard rock in the mix. The amount of blues, whether viewed as a feeling or a style, Davis stirs into his music is, in my estimation, at best a very minor element in this eclectic set. I suspect that Davis’s old boss, Eddie King, would feel likewise.

But while it is definitely not for blues-only fans, listeners with broad tastes are likely to enjoy Vicious Things.

Reviewer Tom Hyslop continues to carry on a lifelong love affair with American music as a journalist and blogger, a sometime player, and a constant listener. Chances are good that some blues, soul, country, roots rock, gospel, punk, or jazz is on the box right now at his home in Michigan, and that his family is asking him to turn it down.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured Blues Review 2 of 5

Candye Kane featuring Laura Chavez - Come Out Swingin’

Vizz Tone Label Group

13 tracks

Candye Kane is a survivor and her new live CD Come Out Swingin’ is a testament to her fortitude, drive and desire. While I love many of her old CDs, this one I would have to say is her best. It truly does what the title says– come out swinging!

Swing music has a history in the blues and jazz. Louis Armstrong noted on Bing Crosby’s radio show, "Ah, swing, well, we used to call it syncopation—then they called it ragtime, then blues—then jazz. Now, it's swing. White folks yo'all sho is a mess." While it’s sometimes hard to argue Louis’ point when it comes to music, Candye Kane and Laura Chavez have embraced the genre and given us a spectacular set of tunes, eight of which were written by Kane and Chavez and one by Candye alone.

The CD opens with the title cut. From the first time I heard the tribal opening drumbeats by Fred Rautman going all out like Gene Krupa, I knew this was going to be fun. Then Candye, Laura and horn section also give it their all and I was almost winded by the song’s end– what a performance! “Rock Me to Sleep” is a great Benny Carter cover that slows the pace down infinitesimally and stays in the nicely in the swing mode as Kane croons boldly. The piano solo is also cool here, too. “I’m the Reason Why You Drink” is a funny and bouncing track where Candye tells us a great little tale and Laura also delivers a great solo. “When Tomorrow Comes” is a nice original soul tune that also swings with great horn play and some organ work by Leo Dombecki. “Rise Up!” is a Memphis (or even Motown)-esque R&B original that is upbeat and strident. Kane gets down and biographical on “Invisible Woman” where she sings emotionally of acceptance and how we can be ignored based on our appearance. Chavez offers up a haunting performance on guitar here, too.

“You Ain’t All That” is Kane’s song, a spunky reprimand of sorts. In “I Wanted You to Walk (Through That Door) we have a western swing where Chavez offers up some sweet reverb. “Darling Baby” is the great Holland-Dozier-Holland doo-wop tune that Kane just crushes. “Barbwire Mouth” is a rockabilly cut that Kane blasts through nicely. Rick Estrin’s “What Love Can Do” follows, a beautiful ballad that Kane offers up with beauty and ease. The final two cuts are fun and bi-lingual: a shuffling boogie in “Au Revioir Y’All” and a rockabilly one in “Marijuana Boogie.” French and then Spanish get mixed up and sung as the album completes. Chavez blows us away with her final guitar solo as does Sue Palmer on piano in a whirlwind of rocking good fun.

The horn section of Bill Caballero (trumpet), April West (trombone), and Johnny Viau (sax) are spectacular. Bassists Kennan Shaw and Thomas Yearly are also rock solid as is Billy Watson on harp. Top to bottom the contributors on this album are great!

I can’t say anything bad about this CD. I loved every song along the way. Candye and Laura have outdone themselves once again. The maturation of their songwriting and collaboration and their interplay on the songs themselves while performing are just exceptional. This album comes most highly recommended for anyone who loves blues, swing and everything in between. If you were not a Candye Kane “believer” before, then this one will sell you on her. If it does not, I’d fear that you were dead!.

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 3 of 5

Jim Allchin – Q.E.D.

Self Release 2013

13 tracks; 46 minutes

Jim Allchin left a high-powered job in software development after some serious health issues forced a re-think about his life. He decided to return to the music he loved when growing up and this is his third CD release, the last one “Overclocked” having made quite a stir when released in 2011. Almost exactly two years on Q.E.D. is an interesting album which gives plenty of scope for Jim to demonstrate his abilities on guitar. Recorded in Seattle, Jim wrote all the songs here and is supported by a full band including horns on several tracks.

Across the CD Jim demonstrates a wide range of styles, ranging across the standard blues shuffles, rockers and gentle instrumentals. Jim’s voice is not his strongest suit and at times he sounds a little strained reaching all the notes, but mostly it works OK. He is clearly a talented guitarist though he has a tendency to add some sound effects/screaming guitar sounds which detracted from my enjoyment on some tracks. The following selections were amongst my favorite cuts:

Track 4 “Reap What You Sow”, a classic blues rocker with lots of slashing guitar, brooding organ, sparkling piano and some excellent backing vocals;

Track 6 “Thinking Of You” is a beautiful instrumental, the piano underpinning some exquisite playing from Jim. There are echoes of Carlos Santana in some of the playing but the guitar remains understated throughout;

Track 7 “Trash” is an upbeat shuffle in which Jim bemoans the demise of a relationship, the time to “take out the trash”, a phrase he also applies to former friends who talked behind his back. A busy guitar and a percolating organ solo adorn the middle section, the horns supporting throughout;

Track 11 “Evil Minded Woman” has probably the best of many strong horn arrangements on the album and with strong piano accents all that is needed to ensure satisfaction is the guitar solo which Jim delivers on cue;

Track 13 “No Way Out” is a Latin instrumental with a quiet acoustic intro followed by a dialogue between Jim’s guitar and the horns and offers a fine close to the CD.

Overall a varied album in which most blues fans will find something of interest.!

Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK. He is looking forward to a trip to Chicago in October to attend this year’s Blues Blast Awards.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured Blues Review 4 of 5

Little Jonny and the Giants - We Got It Goin’ On!

Cornbread Records

CD: 14 songs; 56:37 Minutes

Styles: Swinging Electric Blues, Chicago Style Ensemble Blues, Modern Electric Blues done in Classic Style

When a blues band makes as bold a claim as Little Jonny and the Giants do - “We Got It Goin’ On!” - it’s time for fans to investigate. These California natives have spiced up the electric blues scene for nearly two decades, and the aforementioned album is Jon Lawton’s and their sixth solo effort. This swinging ensemble consists of lead vocalist and guitarist Jon Lawton, harmonica player Aki Kumar, Frankie Ramos on tenor sax, production by Kid Anderson who added B-3 organ and guitar, bassist Vance Ehlers, Doug James on tenor and baritone sax, pianist Bob Welsh, and drummer Marty Dodson. Their style is more akin to classic ‘50s and ‘60s electric ensemble blues and rock and roll, but that’s a huge asset, not a liability. On six covers and eight originals, they strut their stuff with no-holds-barred instrumentation and tongue-in-cheek vocals. Three of the latter get straight A’s on both counts:

Track 03: “Not No More”--This third selection’s up-tempo beat is hardly suitable for sitting down! Hit the dance floor and savor Bob Welsh’s throw-down piano, along with Aki Kumar’s howling harp. “You were my baby; I was your man. Used to be going hand in hand, but now - not no more,” Little Jonny snaps. What more needs to be said? It’s a shame the song runs only three minutes and eighteen seconds, because it’s a surefire crowd favorite.

Track 05: “Worried”--With a sly backbeat and guitar refrain propelling it, this track will satisfy the minds of connoisseurs looking for that classic blues sound. Its theme is perennial, with our narrator fretting about his wayward lover. However, the pizzazz suffusing this song will silence nitpickers. For the last four years, Jon Lawton has been the guitarist, lead vocalist, and songwriter for the Tip of the Top band. “Worried” comes from their last session in 2012.

Track 08: “No Other Man”--Offering eight is a live recording from the Poorhouse Bistro, made by Byron Binns in 2006. Featuring Sid Morris on piano and unknown bass, it’s a spectacular ballad with a slow burn. “I wish I was a river,” Lawton laments. “How I wish that I was free. Oh, I would die with all my troubles, let the sweet Lord take care of me.” No one can deny the authenticity of the blues here, especially on the riveting Homesick James styled slide guitar and mid-song solo.

In the CD liner notes, Little Jonny comments: “There is no substitute for experiment, risk, and pleasure-seeking in the making of good music. Develop your voice and while listening to others, honor their beauty, but stay strong and listen to your own.” When he and his posse claim “We’ve Got It Goin’ On!”, they’re definitely right. .

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 5 of 5

Kat & Co. – I Kat the Blues

ToneTrade Records

10 tracks / 36:11

The main reason I am drawn to the blues is the diversity of what is performed within the genre. Blues musicians come from all backgrounds and nationalities, so the basic building blocks of their music are painted with these influences. This is why we get to hear blues with hints of country, hip hop, soul, gospel, world music, or whatever. Kat & Co. is a perfect example of this, as their new album I Kat the Blues serves up a version of blues that is unique from what I have heard before, but is still unmistakably the blues.

This London-based group is a multinational crew fronted by American chanteuse Kathleen Pearson. She is joined by guitarist (and producer) Francesco Accurso and Federico Parodi on keyboards and harmonica. The rest of the band for this album is made up of Vincenzo Virgillito on bass and Nick Owsianka on drums. Kat & Co. should be commended for not taking the easy route by filling up their debut album with cover tunes. They have been busy writing, and eight of the ten tracks are originals, with two wisely chose covers.

The first track is one of these originals, and “New Spleen Blues” kicks things off on a strong note with a hard guitar tone, fat bass, and a spooky keyboard sound. Then as soon as we hear Pearson’s voice it is apparent that this is going to be a powerful and soulful blues album. She has a unique and edgy singing style that almost drops into spoken word at times. It is hard to describe, but her voice is wonderful! The lyrics are refreshingly modern as she chastises those who hide behind their phony online personas.

The group is joined by Mud Morganfield on “Payin’ My Dues,” and he has a great chemistry with Pearson as they trade vocals. The lyrics are a clever back and forth in the classic “he said, she said” style with the inevitable ending of the shiftless musician getting kicked to the curb by his lady. The saucy vibe of this song makes it one of the standout tracks on the disc.

“The Scene” features a few guest vocalists, too, with the tremendous Lil’ Jimmy Reed and Chad Strenz teaming up with Kathleen. This song takes a new twist on an old story, describing the bar life from three points of view: the lady (Pearson), the gent (Reed), and the bartender (Strenz).

“Story of Two Pounds” is a fun piece that tricks the listener into thinking it is a country song and then launches into full-on boogie-woogie mode. Parodi does a bang-up job on the piano as Pearson and the boys go back and forth on the vocals that suggest that maybe we should not read too much into the panhandler’s motives – maybe he just needs a couple of bucks to get by.

All of the tracks on I Kat the Blues are solid, but I have to call out “Make it Rain” as my favorite of the bunch. It starts slowly with electric piano and sweet harp work from Parodi, and then builds with electric guitars and bass until it turns into a full-blown gospel song. Pearson draws from deep down to belt out the lyrics and she is joined by Anna Ross, Yasmin Kadi and Aaron Pereira on the background vocals. This song is the high water mark where their musicianship and songwriting are both at their best.

The two cover tunes are also nice pieces of work. “Tired of Tryin’” is a smoking roadhouse version of Johnny Winters’ original, and Mark Knopfler’s “Your Own Sweet Way” brings this album to a close with tasty lead guitar work and very smart drum fills. After dropping a few pretty vocal harmonies, Pearson drops out of the song early and Parodi finishes things up on the organ.

I Kat the Blues is a surprisingly mature first effort from Kat & Co. and I appreciate their approach to the blues that provides a new and interesting sound. If you are a fan of blues or soul music you will find something in here that will please your senses. I hope you get a chance to give it a listen! !

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

 Blues Society News

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The South Florida Blues Society - Coral Springs, FL

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

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

Prairie Crossroads Blues Society – Champaign-Urbana, IL

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

Santa Clarita Valley Blues Society - Santa Clarita, CA

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

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

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

Illinois Central Blues Club/a> - Springfield, IL

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

Piedmont Blues Preservation Society - Greensboro, NC

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

Information and entry forms can be found at:

DC Blues Society - Washington, D.C.

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

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

Crossroads Blues Society - Rockford, IL

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

On October 2nd, Bryan Lee and the Blues Power Band wil be in two schools in Byron, IL and then will perform at 7 PM at Carlyle Brewing Company in Rockford. On October 28th Hawkeye Herman is visiting two Rockford area schools and then he will also be at the Just Goods Listening Room at 7 PM on that date.

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

Blues Society of Central PA – Harrisburg, PA

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

The West Virginia Blues Society - Charleston, W.V

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

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

Friends Of The Blues - Watseka, IL

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

Blues Overdose 9/26/2013 - 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.) The link will take you to the Blues Blast Magazine page for the September Blues Overdose on

3.) On The Blues Overdose Page click the on any artist to listen to the song. You do NOT have to join to listen or download these tracks!

4.) To automatically download the artists song click on the download icon

Billy Thompson

“While The Worlds Winding Down” from the CD Friend

Billy Thompson has been delivering virtuosic guitar work that has electrified audiences in the U.S. and throughout Europe, setting the tone for this veteran musician’s sizzling performances, both live and in studio. In his original music, he combines world class slide guitar, searing licks and soulful vocals with a unique amalgamation of styles including blues, rock, funk, New Orleans and R&B.

Billy’s highly anticipated new release, “Friend,” was conceptualized and recorded with the intention of delivering an ensemble in a live room setting. This was accomplished by laying the basic tracks down in an old grist mill, delivering an open, old-school tone. Along with Billy’s touring players, this CD hosts guest appearances from

Bill Payne (Little Feat, J.J. Cale), Ron Holloway (Warren Haynes, Tedeschi/Trucks), James “Hutch” Hutchinson (Bonnie Raitt, Neville Brothers), Kenny Gradney (Little Feat, Delaney & Bonnie) and Mike Finnigan (Jimi Hendrix, Joe Cocker), to name a few.

The CD is available for purchase on CDBaby, Amazon and iTunes For more information on  Billy Thompson visit .

Click HERE to download these Free tracks on Soundcloud

Bobby Messano

“Welcome To Deltaville” from the CD Welcome To Deltaville

"Welcome To Deltaville " is Bobby Messano's fifth full length CD release. Three of the five have garnered multiple Grammy 1st Round nods and his musical journey as a solo artist continues to grow after a rich career as a sideman for Steve Winwood, Clarence Clemmons and others. This release , produced by the team of Grammy nominated Geoff Wilbourn, Whit Lehnberg (Elvin Bishop), Joe Michaels (Shaun Murphy) and Joshua Fairman features the amazing musianship of three time BMA Winner Deanna Bogart (Sax,Keys,Vocals), BMA winner Tracy Nelson (Vocals), Ivan Neville (Rolling Stones,Dumpstafunk) Steve Geller (Davy Jones) and Mel Watts(Little River Band) Here's what the critics say:

"this is a modern blues album which stands on the merits of great songs and superb playing. The covers are sympathetic interpretations of the originals, yet reflect the “Bobby Messano” sound, so fit in completely on this album. The musicianship is faultless.." (Gary Grainger-Bishop FM UK)

"This is easily Messano’s best effort to date. His last CD was super and he’s raised the bar even higher with this album." (Steve Jones -Blues Blast)

"With every new release from Bobby Messano, the sound quality gets better and better. This one is technically the best yet. Add that to the quality material, vocals, and extraordinary musicianship, and this CD gets the highest possible recommendation." (Rhetta Akamatsu-Blog

The CD is available for purchase on CDBaby and Amazon. For more information On Bobby Messano visit  

Click HERE to download these Free tracks on Soundcloud


Voo Davis

“One for the Habit, One for the Road” from the CD Vicious Things

When Alabama clay mixes with Chicago flash the result is Voo Davis. Blazing acoustic slide and moving sonic solos influence this Blues, Jazz and Roots Rock album Mojolists described as “much more than a screaming guitar.” With Vicious Things, the award winning former blues circuit guitarist used two of Louisiana’s top recording studios (Studio in the Country and Dockside) graced by legends such as Johnny Winter, “Gatemouth” Brown, and BB King to record an album on Neve boards with an analog sound. No auto-tune, no big computer fixes, just humans making sounds, a trait he learned on the road with WC Handy Award winner Eddie King.

Vicious Things is a generous album offering aggressive guitar, sentimental smoky sounds and the kind of contemplative lyricism rarely found in today’s singer/songwriter repertoires. Davis delights with guitar diversity - electric, acoustic and slide with soulful grooves and moving beats. Each song is a risk of diversity rarely taken in today’s music world.

The CD is available or purchase on iTunes and Amazon. For more information on Voo Davis visit

Click HERE to download these Free tracks on Soundcloud

Big Joe Shelton

“Stop The Hating'” from the CD I'd Never Let Her Down

“I’d Never Let Her Down” is Big Joe Shelton’s third release on the independent ALT 45 RECORDS label. It features eleven original songs written by the 2012 Blues Music Award Nominee. Shelton, a singer, song writer and harmonica player, is backed by his touring band, The Black Prairie Blues Ambassadors, which includes Ben Ferrell, guitar, Ed Swan, Bass and Bob Damm, Percussion.

His 2008 release, “Black Prairie Blues”, was a “Best Self-Produced CD” finalist at the 2009 International Blues Challenge

Big Joe is a Mississippi Arts Commission Artist Fellowship recipient and he is a member of the their “Artist Roster” and “Mississippi Folk Arts / Folk life Directory”. He was honored in 2007 by being included on the “Columbus / Cat Fish Alley” Mississippi Blues Trail Marker.. 

The CD is available for purchase on CDBaby, Amazon and iTunes. For more Information on Big Joe Shelton visit

Click HERE to download these Free tracks on Soundcloud

Slim Wray

“Abeline” from the CD Sack Lunch

Slim Wray is a party of two that isn’t afraid to get dirty. A brotherhood based on an extensive history together in the New York City music scene, Chris Moran (drums/backing vocals) and Ryan Houser, aka “Howzr” (vocals/ guitar) have not only developed a tight musical chemistry, but have fine-tuned the art of bombastic, irreverent rock 'n roll. Running on thunderous drums and gritty, fuzz-fueled guitar riffs, Brooklyn’s blues-based, primal rock duo finds inspiration in The White Stripes The Black Keys, Nirvana, and The Kinks on the track "Abilene" from their forthcoming album Sack Lunch out November 12, 2013.

The story of Slim Wray has been one of dedication. Howzr grew up in Indiana, while Chris was raised in the hills of Brewster, NY. Both have been musicians, pranksters, and adrenaline junkies from an early age. They separately made their way to the New York City and found each while playing in the punk and indie rock scene. Their first project together, Ten Pound Strike, produced a few EPs with legendary producer/engineer, Joe Blaney (Ramones, The Clash, The Beastie Boys, Keith Richards, Modest Mouse, etc) while blasting away at now-defunct CBGB and other rock clubs around the North East. After other members of Ten Pound Strike burned out on endless nights, the band disbanded. The two took a year hiatus as Chris explored Asia and Howzr honed his sound on old Surf and Blues albums.

The two reunited in 2011 to form a two-man project, Thick as Theives, with the goal of focusing their raw, stripped-down sound with the ghosts of the past and the attitude for today. In 2013, they renamed themselves Slim Wray and finished recording their debut album, Sack Lunch. The album was recorded live at Vault Recording Studios by producer and former bassist of The Push Stars, Dan McLoughlin. .

For more information on Slim Wray visit

Click HERE to download these Free trackson Soundcloud


Live Blues Calendar

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