March 3, 2009
- Dave Riley's 60th Birthday Party at the Rhythm Room; Dave Riley will celebrate his 60th Birthday this Saturday at the Rhythm Room in Phoenix. Appearing will be the Dave Riley/Bob Corritore Juke Joint Blues Band with Dave Riley, Jr. on bass, and Brian Fahey on drums. The Rhythm Room is located at 1019 E. Indian School Rd. in Phoenix. Doors open at 8pm, cover charge is $7. This night will be a patio smoking only event; no indoor smoking will be permitted. Rack Shack Barbeque will be available at this event. In honor of Dave's birthday, we have constructed a photo page of Dave Riley and Bob Corritore and their worldwide blues adventures. Click here to see.
- Kim Wilson's All-Star Blues Band Appearing Friday at the Rhythm Room: Kim Wilson is highly regarded as the top blues harmonica player of his generation. Best known as the lead singer of The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Kim will periodically gig with a straight-ahead traditional blues approach between T-Birds tours. Kim Wilson will appear this Friday at the Rhythm Room for a 9pm show with a band that includes Larry Taylor on bass, Richard Innes on drums, and Junior Watson on guitar. Kim and the Rhythm Room have a long history together, and his Grammy®-nominated CD Smokin' Joint on MC Records was partially recorded at the club. The Rhythm Room is located at 1019 E. Indian School Rd. in Phoenix. Doors open at 8pm, cover charge is $20. This night will be a patio smoking only event; no indoor smoking will be permitted. Rack Shack Barbeque will be available at this event.
- Bob Corritore Hungarian Interview: Please enjoy this Bob Corritore interview featured on the Hungarian website BluesVan.hu. To see the interview, click here. Special thanks to interviewer Attila Horváth!
- Chris James/Patrick Rynn Band with Bob Corritore to appear at Simply The Blues Festival: The Simply The Blues Festival in Fort Madison, Iowa happens on Friday and Saturday, May 8 and 9, 2009. The Chris James/Patrick Rynn Band with Bob Corritore and Eddie Kobek will appear on Saturday, May 9, 2009 as part of an Earwig Music's 30th Anniversary Review that includes Johnny Drummer & The Starlighters and Liz Mandeville. Also on the bill this year are Bobby Rush, Sugar Blue, Soul Of John Black, Shannon Curfman, Harper, JP Soars (2009 IBC winner), Patrick Hazell, and more! To see the festival flyer, click here.
- Rhythm Room All-Stars to Appear in Belgium and France in May! Spring Blues Festival Lineup Announced! The Rhythm Room All-Stars featuring Big Pete Pearson, Bob Corritore, Chris James, Patrick Rynn, and Brian Fahey have added some club dates to surround their previously announced appearance at the Spring Blues Festival in Ecaussinnes, Belgium on Saturday, May 16, 2009. The day before (May 15, 2009), The Rhythm Room All-Stars will appear at Blues Station, and the day after (May 17, 2009), they will appear at De Blauwe Wolk in Zottegem, Belgium. The Spring Blues Festival program includes Joe Louis Walker, The James Harman Band, The Rhythm Room All-Stars, Sugar Ray & The Bluetones featuring Monster Mike Welch, Mac Arnold & Plate Full O' Blues, and Fruteland Jackson & Bob Hall. It will be a great party in Ecaussines on May 16, 2009! Thanks to Franky Bruneel from Belgium's Back To The Roots Magazine for his help in setting up this tour.
- Dave Riley and Bob Corritore To Appear At The Lucerne Blues Festival in Switzerland! The Mississippi-meets-Chicago Blues duo of Dave Riley and Bob Corritore has just been confirmed at the Lucerne Blues Festival in Lucerne, Switzerland. Dave and Bob will have 3 scheduled appearances: Friday November 6, 2009, Wednesday November 11, 2009 and Thursday November 12, 2009. This spectacular festival runs through Saturday November 14, 2009.
- Chris James and Patrick Rynn in the News! Chris James and Patrick Rynn's song "Mister Coffee" has been nominated for best blues song in the International Songwriting Competition! To see the website with all nominees in all categories, click here. To vote for "Mister Coffee" before the contest end on March 31, 2009, click here. Chris and Patrick also appear on the cover of Belgium's Back To The Roots Magazine with an extensive interview with many historic photos included. To see the cover, click here, and then click "Inhoud" on the menu. Also, check out the Chicago Blues Guide's review of the Big City Blues Showcase on February 7, 2009 at Ground Zero Blues Club in Memphis where Chris, Patrick, and Bob performed (thanks to writer Eric Steiner). Click here to see.
- Broadcasting The Blues CD new Podcast and Review!. Bob Corritore released the various artist CD Broadcasting The Blues earlier this year as a way to celebrate the milestone of the 25th anniversary of his radio program, Those Lowdown Blues on KJZZ. The CD contains live on air performances and moments with artists who have guested on Bob's show. Artists include Lowell Fulson (from 1984 performing a solo version of "Sinner's Prayer"), Billy Boy Arnold, Louisiana Red, Dave Riley, Otis Clay and Johnny Rawls (together singing a spiritual), Willie Dixon (giving a spoken plug for the show), Chief Schabuttie Gilliame, Lazy Lester, Tomcat Courtney, Jerry Lawson (of The Persuasions), CeDell Davis, Chris James (who beautifully backed many of these artists on guitar), Margo Reed, Johnny Dyer, Henry Gray, Billy Flynn (doing a great harmonica instrumental), and more. Check out this recent glowing review by Byron Foulger in Britain's Blues and Rhythm Magazine (click here to see). Also check out a podcast feature of Broadcasting The Blues from Poland's Glosem Bluesa radio show hosted by Przemek Draheim. To hear the podcast, click here and scroll down to Show 89 from February 27, 2009. This CD is available online at the Friends Of Public Radio website. To order, click here.
- Little Walter Box Cover Art: Check out the cover art for the highly anticipated Little Walter Box/The Complete Chess Masters due out March 17, 2009 on Hip-O Select by clicking here.
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Friday, March 6, 2009
From Bob Corritore
March 4, 2009
- RIP John Cephas 7/4/1930-3/4/09: Steve Hecht of Piedmont Talent reports that Piedmont blues legend John Cephas (AKA "Bowling Green" John Cephas) passed away at his home today of natural causes. He was 78. He had retired from music recently due to illness. John Cephas was born July 4, 1930, in the Foggy Bottom area of Washington, D.C. in a musical and religious family. He picked up the guitar at an early age, and learned gospel from his family and blues from some of the records available to him. He mastered a gentle finger picking style that has become known as the Piedmont style of blues guitar. He first worked was as a gospel artist touring with the Capital Harmonizers. In the early 1970s, he was heard by pianist Big Chief Ellis and hired Cephas to play guitar in his band. Cephas appears as a sideman on Ellis's beautiful album on the Trix label. It was in Ellis's band the Cephas met a young harmonica player by the name of Phil Wiggins. This meeting would become an enduring and highly celebrated partnership. The duo of Cephas and Wiggins has made numerous great records on labels such as L+R, Flying Fish, Evidence, Bullseye Blues, Alligator, and Chesky, In 1989 John Cephas won a prestigious National Heritage Fellowship with The National Endowment for the Arts. In 1996, Cephas and Wiggins won the W. C. Handy Award for the Best Traditional Album of the Year, and were also named Blues Entertainers of the Year. In 1988, Cephas received a Washington, D.C., Mayor's Arts Award. Just last week, he was awarded the Library Of Virginia's 2009 African-American Trailblazers in Virginia History award. Cephas was also the founder of the Washington, D.C. Blues Society, and served on the Executive Committee Of The National Council For the Traditional Arts. A sweet, unassuming man with a rich voice and phenomenal, yet understated guitar ability, John takes with him his true representation of the Southeastern blues tradition. Thanks, John, for all the great music you gave us.
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Recession Blues Advertising Sale- Rates for all Blues Blast advertising reserved by March 31st, 2009 slashed!
Blues Blast Magazine would like to remind you that we are a great way to promote the Blues. More than 12,000 Blues fans, Blues society members, festival promoters, record companies, artists and Blues publishers read our Blues Blast magazine each week. They are located in all 50 states and in more than 60 countries. We get more than 800,000 hits and more than 10,000 visitors a month on our website.
If your Blues Society is organizing a Blues Fest we offer cost effective advertising that really "Gets The Blues Word Out"! If you are a Blues performer, we can help promote your new CD. We know times are hard and Blues music is the Music for the times! So for a limited time Blues Blast Magazine is offering "recession prices" on festival and CD advertising.
Normal 2009 Advertising rates are $30 a week for Blues Blast magazine ads. Website ads are $40 per month for a small ads on the sidebar of the homepage and $55 per month for a larger ad on the main homepage area.
BUT, for a limited time, you can advertise your Blues event or CD in Blues Blast Magazine for less that the cost of a small ad in your local newspaper. If you reserve and pay for your ad space by March 31st, 2009 we are offering a special combo rate of $100 a month to get both a weekly Blues Blast magazine ad AND a sidebar ad on our website (Minimum of 2 months).
SO for $200 your ad will run in eight issues of the Blues Blast and be on the website for 2 months. Your ad will be seen by THOUSANDS of Blues fans!
John Cephas 7/4/1930-3/4/09
Steve Hecht of Piedmont Talent reports that Piedmont blues legend John Cephas (AKA "Bowling Green" John Cephas) passed away at his home of natural causes. He was 78. He had retired from music recently due to illness. John Cephas was born July 4, 1930, in the Foggy Bottom area of Washington , D.C. in a musical and religious family. He picked up the guitar at an early age, and learned gospel from his family and blues from some of the records available to him. He mastered a gentle finger picking style that has become known as the Piedmont style of blues guitar. He first worked was as a gospel artist touring with the Capital Harmonizers.
In the early 1970s, he was heard by pianist Big Chief Ellis and hired Cephas to play guitar in his band. Cephas appears as a sideman on Ellis's beautiful album on the Trix label. It was in Ellis's band the Cephas met a young harmonica player by the name of Phil Wiggins. This meeting would become an enduring and highly celebrated partnership. The duo of Cephas and Wiggins has made numerous great records on labels such as L+R, Flying Fish, Evidence, Bullseye Blues, Alligator, and Chesky, In 1989 John Cephas won a prestigious National Heritage Fellowship with The National Endowment for the Arts.
In 1996, Cephas and Wiggins won the W. C. Handy Award for the Best Traditional Album of the Year, and were also named Blues Entertainers of the Year. In 1988, Cephas received a Washington , D.C. , Mayor's Arts Award. Just last week, he was awarded the Library Of Virginia's 2009 African-American Trailblazers in Virginia History award.
Cephas was also the founder of the Washington, D.C. Blues Society, and served on the Executive Committee Of The National Council For the Traditional Arts. A sweet, unassuming man with a rich voice and phenomenal, yet understated guitar ability, John takes with him his true representation of the Southeastern blues tradition.
"Simply The Blues" Blues festival announced their festival lineup last weekend at a press party in Ft Madison, IA. The party featured 2 live bands. Opening was the Iowa band the Jefferson County Green Band.
After Jefferson County, the Legendary Eddie Shaw and the Wolfgang took over the stage and treated the crowd to some real deal Blues!
The Simply The Blues Festival is scheduled for May 8th and 9th 2009 in Fort Madison, IA. On Friday the 8th, the festival features Bobby Rush, Sugar Blue, porterdavis, Patrick Hazell and the Smokin’ Mojo Kings.
Saturday the 9th, will be Earwig Music night featuring Johnny Drummer, Liz Mandeville, Chris James and Patrick Rynn, with harp player extraordinaire Bob Corritore. Also on hand will be Earwig Music’s founder, Michael Frank.
Other performers on Saturday include Harper, Soul of John Black, Shannon Curfman and the 2009 International Blues Challenge band winner JP Soars and the Redhots. solo/duet winner Little Joe McLerran, Rich Berry, The Avey Brothers and Brad Mcloud and the Case of the Blues. For more information go to www.simplemanenterprises.com.
In this issue - Blues Reviews and MORE!
James Walker reviews a new CD from BJ Allen & Blue VooDoo. Mike O'Cull reviews a new CD from Dave Fields. Gary Weeks does double duty reviewing a new CD from Chris Duarte and one by the band Bluestone Company. Ben Cox reviews a new CD by Nicole Heart and sends a review of Lil Dave Thompson's show in Pekin, IL
Our video of the week is Albert King and Stevie Ray Vaughan. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!
Blues Society News
Please submit a maximum of 175 or words or less in a Text or Word format ONLY.
Illinois Central Blues Club - Springfield, IL
23rd ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
The Illinois Central Blues Club’s 23rd Anniversary Celebration will take place on Friday, March 6, 2009, at the Capital City Bar and Grill, 3149 S. Dirksen Parkway in Springfield, IL from 8:30 pm to 12:30 pm. The show features The Flip Tops, Gerry Hundt, Willie Oshawny, and Bob Carter with special guest Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, and Bob “Bassologist” Stroger. The admission is $8.00 for members and $10 for non-members. For more info on either of these shows contact Mark Edmiston at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 217-679-0721 or Charlotte Montgomery at email@example.com.
BLUE MONDAY SHOWS
Held at the Alamo 115 N 5th St, Springfield, IL (217) 523-1455 every Monday 8:30pm $2 cover - Mar 9 - Eddie Snow Tribute w/ Bill Evans, March 16 - Kilborn Alley, March 23 - Chris Bell and 100% Blues, Mar 30 - Frank Herrin & Blues Power, Apr 6 - Blues Deacons, Apr 13 - Too Slim & the Taildraggers, Apr 20 - Pleasure Chest, Apr 27 - Nothin' But Trouble
Capital Area Blues Society - Lansing, MI
The Capital Area Blues Society presents legendary bluesman Sonny Rhodes appearing at the Small Planet at 16800 Chandler Road, East Lansing, MI, on Friday, March 6, 2009. Award-winning lap-steel guitarist Sonny Rhodes makes his way through mid-Michigan, with local slideman Stan Budzynski and his band 3rd Degree as the opener. Join us for a classic Blues night at the Small Planet. The show starts at 8pm; tickets are $8 in advance, and $12 at the door. www.myspace.com/capitalareabluessociety.
The Connecticut Blues Society - Higganum, CT
The Connecticut Blues Society will have it's annual benefit " Blues Blizzard " on Saturday, March 14, 2009 @ The West Hartford VFW. Five of the areas hottest Blues bands will donate time for the CT. Blues Society. Performing this year from 7PM - 12 are; Crystal Blue Project ( w/young "Hot" guitarist Trey Wilson ), The Kingpins, Mojomatics, Eric Ducoff Band , Gene Donaldson & The Stingrays. There will be plenty of food and drink available. $10 donation or 2 for $15. For info contact 860-292-6112 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Monmouth Blues - Monmouth, IL
The hard-driving blues-rock of The Kelly Richey Band will take center stage at the Rivoli Theatre on Friday, March 13th, 2009 at 7:30pm. This pre-Spring show is the first of three scheduled 2009 blues events sponsored by MonmouthBlues.com. Opening the show will be Galesburg’s own Mike Budde’s Rhythm Circus. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.
In addition to the concert, the Kelly Richey Band will be presenting a program to local students in an assembly at the Monmouth High School at 10am. For more information go to www.MonmouthBlues.com or call 309 536-0854
River City Blues Society- Peoria, IL
The River City Blues Society's Wednesday Blues Series in Central, Illinois are early shows each Wednesday at 7:00pm, featuring the best traveling regional and National Blues musicians. The shows feature a budget priced cover charge of $3. The shows are held at the Dragon's Dome, 3401 Griffin Ave in Pekin, IL.
Shows scheduled are: Mar 11 - Rooster Alley Band, Mar 18 - Chris Bell & 100% Blues, Mar 25 - Sally Weisenburg & The Famous Sidemen, Apr 1 - Reverend Raven & The Chain Smoking Alter Boys, Apr 8 - 3rd Degree Blues Band, Apr 15 - Too Slim & The Tail Draggers, Apr 22 - Damon Fowler Group, April 29 - Bob Dorr & The Blue Band, May 13 - Scott Ellison, May 20 - Deak Harp, May 27 - The Insomniacs
Featured Blues Review 1 of 5
BJ Allen & Blue VooDoo - Heartless
Pure Air Music
11 songs; Time 45:08; Splendid
Style: Modern Electric blues; Female Vocalist
Remember pop radio of the 1960s when you could hear Blues on a regular basis? As an young teen in 1963, I received a Toshiba six-transistor, battery operated, pocket radio – with one monaural ear plug. Listening to KXOK from St. Louis and sometimes, when the signal was good, WLS from Chicago, I heard a virtual smorgasbord of Blues, R&B, Motown, Soul, Country, Rock and Roll, Surf, and Pop(ular).
Well, those days are long gone, and today it is almost impossible to find Blues on commercial air-wave radio. That sad fact is lamented by BJ Allen & Blue VooDoo in the second track, “Radio Song.” Appropriately done as a 12 bar blues with harmonica, the song features lyrics, “I wondered ‘where did all the good music go?’ / So, I turned the dial to the left and then back around to the right... / Turned it every where I could think of / And, still not a good song in sight. / Now, that made me so disappointed...I was ready for some good ole’ rockin’ Blues.” Allen’s solution: “I finally said, ‘Jerry [Fuller], pick up that old guitar and play us a little something we can use!” The moral of the story: “If you want something done right, you just got to do it for yourself.”
While the album moves from fun to funky to soulful ballads and back again, the original “Radio Song” epitomizes their fourth independent CD as the next solid Blues outing since their previous winner, “Hot Wire (My Heart).” Predominately up-and-mid tempo Blues, “Heartless” has more new music. Eight songs are original tunes written by either JP Hurd or Jerry Fuller, and the three cover tunes are favorites from the band’s live set.
BJ Allen & Blue Voodoo are seasoned players from NE Missouri, with no line-up changes from the last CD. Featured more than before in both the group’s name and performances, vocalist, BJ Allen is a sensitive and passionate singer with a dynamic range of styles. From sweet and sultry to sassy and sexy, BJ puts her all into every song.
Jerry Fuller does zinging triple duty on deft guitar, as an observant writer and arranger, and adds keyboards, helping get five instruments out of three players. Underpinning the foundation are David Daniels on drums and JP Hurd on bass. With bold bass lines and a steady groove, these boys are rock solid. JP also blows harp and writes some of the band’s original material.
Starting off with the swinging “Don’t Know What You’re Missin,’” the band becomes a competent advocate for getting off the couch and going out to hear some live Blues music. You can “come on down” to the “Borderline.”
According to track three, The “Borderline” club is “just about a mile south of the ole’ Mason-Dixon Line.” That is where dancers can get as funky as the song done James Brown style with masterful bass by Hurd and overdubbed background vocals by Allen to accompany her lead.
The heart-wrenching title track, “Heartless,” is a 6/8 groove with lush layers of soulful organ and guitar maintaining the mood of a victim of a “scam...[she was] taken by a cheating, lying, no good nothing who was posing a man.”
Other standouts: Jimmy Reed’s traditional 12-bar shuffle “Take Out Some Insurance” with added contemporary lyrics at the end, Dinah Washington’s classic, “Sunday Kind of Love,” with BJ really taking over, the group’s protest song, “Do Something” which cries out for social justice, and the ending gospel-tinged version of Janis Joplin’s “Get It While You Can.”
“Heartless” – YES! Get a clue and take my cue. Because, who do you do blue if you don’t do Blue Voodoo? Not modern radio – true?
Reviewer James “Skyy Dobro” Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ and Blues Blast contributor. His weekly radio show “Friends of the Blues” can be heard each Thursday from 4:30 – 6:00pm on WKCC 91.1 FM in Kankakee, IL
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.
Its "MOJO MADNESS" At WGLT In Normal, Illinois The Whole Month Of March !!! 89.1 & 103.5, And On The Web At wwe.wglt.org. Just Click On "Listen"
Lsten to GLT Blues every weekend in March for MOJO MADNESS! It's your chance to win tickets to the Illinois Blues Festival in Peoria on Labor Day weekend as you call GLT to vote for your favorite blues artists. Here's the deal:
We've seeded and bracketed 32 great blues artists from yesterday and today for a blues tournament we're calling "MOJO MADNESS." MOJO MADNESS is just like the NCAA Basketball tournament every March, except YOU decide the winner of each round with your phone votes. If you're the 89th voter in a particular match, you'll win tickets to the Illinois Blues Festival in Peoria Labor Day weekend, or tickets to see Bonnie Raitt at the Peoria Civic Center. You may call to vote as often as you like, but you can only win once during the tournament. Every person who wins concert tickets by being the 89th voter qualifies for the Grand Prize: A Black Cat Bone ... that is, an iPod with songs from all 32 artists who made it into the 2009 MOJO MADNESS bracket.
Look at and download your own MOJO MADNESS bracket so you can keep track of the winners, as well as the date and times of each MOJO MADNESS match. Here's the link to the bracket: http://wglt.org/programs/blues/mojo-layout.pdf
The first "match' is this Friday night (March 6)from 8pm - 9pm, featuring BB King and Little Walter. Call with your vote beginning at 8pm. Listen Live and YOU decide the winner of each round with your phone votes. To vote call 309 438-8910 Here are the matchups for this weekend:
Blues Video of the Week
Albert King and Stevie Ray Vaughan
Here is a great vintage video of two Blues legends, Albert King and Stevie Ray. It is apparent that the younger Vaughan is sitting beside the master but he is definitely able to hold his own in the clip.
To see this cool video on our website, click the play button below.
For other videos on our website CLICK HERE.
The BEST Way To Promote YOUR Next Blues Project!
BANDS, BARS, AND LABELS: Is your promo material getting you the gigs and business you desire? If not, call music journalist and copy writer Mike O'Cull for all your promotional needs. Mike is a veteran music journalist and musician and writes for the Illinois Entertainer, IllinoisBlues.com, and www.Chicagomusicguide.com and can deliver the highest quality promotional writing around quickly and at a reasonable price.
Mike's specialties include bios, press releases, liner notes, and web content. Full press kit design, including graphics, is also available. Clients include The Joe Moss Band, Carl Davis, TruSoul Entertainment, B.A. S. Entertainment, and many others. Samples available on request. Email email@example.com , call Mike O'Cull Music at 847-608-0357, or visit us online at www.myspace.com/mikeocullmusic for more information.
Mention the Blues Blast for a $10 new customer discount.
'Le Blues Hot'
CLICK HERE to Purchase this CD
To read a review of this CD, CLICK HERE
Featured Blues Review 2 of 5
Dave Fields - All Wound Up
Dave Fields is a modern blues/rock guitarist from New York City and displays ample guitar, vocal, and songwriting chops on his latest CD release, All Wound Up, and gives listeners a set of music that is at once respectful of tradition and as current as today’s calendar page. Fields’ influences range from Hendrix to Fats Domino and give him a wide palette from which to color his music and this is one of the most interesting things about him: from song to song, one never knows what is coming next.
Fields is the son of famed pianist/producer/composer/arranger Sammy “Forever” Fields, who surely provided a stimulating musical climate for his son and his precocious talent, which saw Dave playing recording sessions with his father by age 15 and writing big band scores by age 16, finally ending up at Berklee College of Music in Boston. This depth of background is evident all over All Wound Up, as Fields effortlessly shifts styles, grooves, and feels from rock to funk second line New Orleans beats, all while maintaining his own sound, a sound that modern audiences should find appealing.
Fields has more songwriting in him than many blues-oriented performers and that ability makes his music stand out a bit more than some of his contemporaries. There are no covers on All Wound Up, which is somewhat unusual in the blues world, but makes perfect sense for Fields. “Train To My Heart” is a rocker in the Jimi style, but features smoother, Robben Ford-esque vocals that make the track unique. “Ain’t No Crime” is a cool, funky number that is nothing but fun and “Let’s Have A Ball” is Fields’ take on the music of the Big Easy. Through it all, Fields makes all this genre-hopping look like the most natural thing in the world due to the fact that, for him, at least, it truly IS natural.
Fields is one of the most promising musicians playing the blues today and those open to contemporary blues music would do well to seek him out.
Reviewer Mike O'Cull is a noted Chicago music writer and Blues Blast contributor. Visit his MySpace page at:
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.
The Rivoli Theatre - Monmouth, IL
CLICK HERE to Purchase Tickets
Featured Blues Review 3 of 5
Bluestone Company - Supernatural Delight
The Grooveyard Records label is very proud to present artists whose passion is in serious guitar playing. Having hit singles on FM radio doesn't matter for the folks at Grooveyard. Hosting axemeisters Wes Jeans, Lance Lopez, Randy Hansen Craig Erickson and many others, the label loudly proclaims "THE GUITAR IS KING IN THE GROOVEYARD." This label is a guitar-player's heaven and not for wimps.
A band worth noting on this label is Bluestone Company. Made up of guitarist Toshihiro Sumitomo, bassist Yoshihiro Ogasahara, drummer Taizo Takafuji and percussionist Taro Takagi, their cd entitled "Supernatural Delight" is a solid effort of rock, fusion and blues blending the shred histrionics of Joe Satriani and the heavy blues soul of Warren Haynes.
It's risky to release an entire instrumental album. But "Supernatural Delight" is such a headbanger's affair, you can easily overlook the absence of any vocalist. This is a record of sonic fury. If you're a blues purist, you better go somewhere else.
If you grew up listening to the Allman Brothers, Santana and John McLaughlin, you will find all of those styles right here. Only louder and very capable of giving you a migraine.
There are ten tracks here. Most of these songs just kill. It isn't till the last track "Desert Blues" these guys decide to take a breather. Dobro guitar lends itself strongly giving it a Middle Eastern flair with heavy crescendos of bottleneck slide.
The rest of the songs? Nothing but a heavy onslaught of musical mayhem. Opening track "S.S.S." sets a frantic pace with its over-the-top exploration of fusion-rock. Sumitomo's guitar rises above the brigade of sound that Bluestone creates. "Got Your Spell On Me" has a funky intro that takes off into a Santana-esque jam driven by percussionist Takagi and Sumitomo's stamp of killer Les Paul runs. If your skull doesn't split in two at this point, consider yourself lucky.
Talk about non-stop excitement. You want some Gov't Mule? Well you will have it in "Electric Rainbow." This is slow heavy blues with guitar work coming from the Warren Haynes songbook. Bassist Ogasahara pumps out menacing bass lines that can be heard above an earthquake. If you haven't called the paramedics yet, here's your chance. Once Sumitomo puts the slide on, the barn starts to catch fire.
Snippets of Jeff Beck make their way into the moody "Real Gate." A lyrical bass solo recalls the mad genius of the late Jaco Pastorius but the song slips back into its dark fusion-y blues stomp.
Chris Duarte works with Bluestone and tours with them across the states as well as Japan. As much as Duarte is a killer player, Bluestone can do well enough on their own. If your a guitar junkie wanting to revel in the bliss of rocking bluesy guitar licks, then visit Grooveyard Records and order Supernatural Delight. It will be a great wake-up call.
Review by Gary Weeks
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.
The River City Blues Society presents
Wednesday Blues featuring
7:00pm March 11th, 2009
The Dragon's Dome
To see Map- CLICK HERE
Admission $3 - One free admission with new Society membership
Featured Blues Review 4 of 5
Chris Duarte and Bluestone Co. - 396
Blues Bureau International
There aren't too many bands from Japan who can whip up an intoxicating brew of rock, fusion and blues. Bluestone Co. are such a band and they are very successful at it.
And things can only get better when they work with Chris Duarte and come out with the cd entitled "396."
Duarte's albums are always packed with the Strat tones that tend to pigeonhole him as a Stevie Ray clone. But Chris doesn't focus on blues only. He is a serious rocker who pulverizes audiences with a barrage of licks that either hold them captive or chase them away.
In this instance, Duarte really steps back and lets Bluestone Co. take the reins. Sure. Chris' guitar licks are audible in the mix. Only this time he's not brandishing Lone Star attitude. He is acting as counterfoil for guitarist Toshihiro Sumitomo whose slide licks are comparable to Warren Haynes of Govt Mule.
There isn't too much blues on this sucker. "Mad As I Can Be" is slow rocking blues romp. If you are a Duarte fan whose tastes also run to Santana and the Allman Brothers, the chances are you will care less.
Title track "396" is a highly charged scorching rocker with the band charging full steam behind Chris' vocals. Duarte and Bluestone set up a nice relaxed groove that rocks hard in "Chattahoochee Side." Sumitomo's slide work boils blisters on the nasty gem of "SilverSpoon." It's more then the tones being dirty. They bruise and scar.
And if your not getting scarred, you end up being on the runaway rocker of "Put Up or Shut Up."
Clearly it's Bluestone Co.' show all the way. Their instrumental "Funky Mama" is Carlos Santana meeting Warren Haynes and soaring on a backbone of voodoo rhythm.
Bluestone Co. has an all instrumental album on GrooveYard Records entitled Supernatual Delight. And in working with Duarte, they probably made some fans in the process who will pick it up.
Review by Gary Weeks
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.
Live Blues Review 5 of 5
Nicole Hart - Treasure
Blues Leaf Records
Run Time: 49:39
Nicole Hart has been hanging out with all the right people. Since the release of Live! Hart has been playing with and making friends with a bunch of blues heavyweights up and down the East Coast. Albert Castiglia, Gina Sicilia, Dave Gross, Gina Fox, and many more can all number Hart and her NRG Band as close friends. Through hard work and non-stop touring Hart landed a deal with Florida blues imprint Blues Leaf Records for her first major label release entitled Treasure. Hart’s impassioned delivery backed by her songwriting partner/husband Lance Ong's sensational keyboard work; this band’s stock continues to rise. Hart enlists veteran Grammy award winning producer Jack Kreisberg for this release.
This album straddles between contemporary blues, jazz, and a modern take on retro R&B and rock & roll. With three Ong/Hart originals, the album seems a little covers laden. I was hoping and expecting more of their dynamic writing abilities. As they have the ability to turn small everyday phrases into poignant statements about heartaches, troubles, and the good passions that are life. Of those three songs, the title track is a revisit to a song from last year’s Live! Album that gets a fine reworking. This version in the studio gets a little more fine tuned direction than the original and allows Hart to show off her natural talent as a dynamic vocalist. “I Just Want to Cry” is a beautiful lounge jazz feel that oozes heartaches by the number. Hart slips into her slinky, smoky voice and turns up how modern day vocal jazz should be done. Ong’s piano layers underneath gives and takes with Hart’s vocals, much like lovers do in the heat of passion. This one is a beautiful number. “The Other Side of the World” has a similar smoky lounge jazz appeal to it as well and continues to pull out Hart’s softer side in vocal nuance.
Of the covers, Hart and label mate Albert Castiglia pull off a beautiful Percy Mayfield blues ballad “You Were Lyin’ To Me.” Hart, whom I’ve heard sing in backing vocals before, has a fine ear for wrapping around other vocalists’ voices and adding a layer of texture that only a well-seasoned vocalist can do. Here, her and Castigilia do that in a “look into each others eyes” duet that is both sexy and cool. Castigilia’s signature guitar work is ever present in the beginning, which makes this one an instant radio friend for all the blues dj’s out there. Hart also dips into some Sun Records-era rocking-styled numbers “Heart Trouble” and “Gin House Blues” that are fun, especially when she turns on that whiskey drinker chagrin styled delivery that is a pure account of her feminine sass. Hart even takes a shot at reggae with “Singing the Blues.” Hart’s vocal phrasing gets a little distracting for me on this one. Lance Ong’s funky keyboard work keeps this one intact for me.
Reviewed by Ben "the Harpman" Cox. Visit his website Juke Joint Soul
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.
Live Blues Review
Lil’ Dave Thompson - Dragon’s Dome
Pekin, IL - March 4, 2009
I believe I have seen Albert King reborn. Lil’ Dave Thompson has to be the great King’s reincarnate. I saw it first hand.
With both guitar tone and vocal phrasing, Thompson helped me see a blues man that I never got to see while he was alive. I stood in awe, found myself stomping my feet and trying to dance in my chair, and closed my eyes and imagined the big man with the Flying V playing the exact same song. It was ultimately surreal.
Intermixing new tracks from his last two records and songs from Albert King, Robert Cray, Little Johnny Taylor via Albert Collins, Tyrone Davis, and Bill Withers ; Thompson brought back a sound that the blues from Stax Records used to produce – funky, R&B infused blues that helped blues cross over into the mainstream in the Sixties. It was uncanny how you could almost imagine how Thompson could channel the sounds of King’s renditions of “Kansas City,” Robert Cray’s “Phone Booth,” and the soulful singing of such a legend.
There’s no one out there today like Thompson. There are few that can fuse the funky beats into a twelve-bar blues and still make it sound like blues. With just a trio setting, Thompson knows how to work his space with a guitar and his band is one of those tight units that can make the spaces that Thompson leaves still sound on melody.
The sound was full, tight, and at times explosive. My lone criticism is that I would’ve loved to hear more originals from this man in the black cowboy hat. His unpretentious, straight-ahead blues style seems to be a rare breed in today’s contemporary blues scene. This guy is young, too. He will be turning 40. However, his sound belies his age.
If you are a traditional electric blues fan, this guy is a must see. No questions asked. You’ll be blown away by his abilities to help you remember the past but staying relevant to the present. His albums are great to enjoy, but his live energy is a true soul-blues treat.
If you want to see 2009’s version of any classic Albert King album reborn, revitalized, and with a fresh but funky spin – Lil’ Dave Thompson is the man!
Reviewed by Ben "the Harpman" Cox. Visit his website Juke Joint Soul
For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.
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