Dedicated to the passion, promotion and education of the Blues; Live, Virtual, International. For all blues fans, DJ's, musicians, promoters, educators, and 501(C)3's who appreciate eclectic, discriminating, genuine, fresh and often random articles.

Friday, February 27, 2009

A Perfect 10

I thought I knew a lot about female Blues singers. But one day, I stopped and froze with the realization I didn't know who was singing. It wasn't Koko, Etta, Saphire, Janis, Bonnie Raitt, Rory Block, Susan Tedeschi, Shemika or Debra Davies. And it certainly wasn't any of the Blues Mavens from the 1920's and 1930's.

Feeling the need to expand my limited knowledge, I spent a month searching and listening to songs belonging to my underdeveloped category of Blues - Contemporary Female Blues, to find my new Top 10. Hope you enjoy, I sure did!

Candye Kane "White Trash Girl" 2005 I know an online community that song had to be made for!

Saffire The Uppity Blues Women "Nothing in Your House" Havin' The Last Word 2009

Teeny Tucker "Sassy Momma" & "Unlucky Girl" Two Big M's 2008

Roxy Perry "Easy For You" In My Own Sweet Time 2008

Teresa James "I know Handsome When I see It" The Bottom Line 2007

Shirley Brown "Poon Tang Man" Woman Enough! 2005

Timothea "I'm Still Standing" 2004

Norah Jones "What Am I To You?" 2004

Sue Foley "Hitting on Nothing" Time Bomb 2007

Mavis Staples "Step Into The Light" Have A Little Faith 2004

"I am a blues woman. I lay my soul bare. I have no shame."
~ Gaye Adegbalola, from her new release, "Gaye Without Shame."

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler! (French - "Let The Good Times Roll!")

It’s that time of year when thoughts turn to Jazz, Cajun, Zydeco, Brass Bands, Jambalaya, Hurricanes (the drinkable kind) and Bourbon St. I fell in love with New Orleans, Mardi Gras, the music, the food, the atmosphere in 1976 and my Mother’s decision to celebrate the Bi-Centennial with travel by Amtrak. The woman had the audacity to drag me from my friends in High School to go to her Nurses Convention. That week I explored the French Quarter and surrounding areas from top to bottom. It was Carnival, but not Mardi Gras. Fortunately the Nurses were in sessions all day, and I was allegedly swimming and studying.

The first day, I sat in Jackson Square absorbing it all like a sponge. The sights, scents, and sounds were greedily devoured, and even hand feeding the pigeons near the fountain was memorable. I walked the entire area from Canal St. in fascination, my Midwestern perspective quickly expanding. Notable memories include a lady of the night perched upon a swing in a second floor window advertising her wares, A Voodoo shop, Pralines, Beignets and the instant immersion into the diverse and rich regional music. An elderly man on the corner played sax every day, and I dropped a dollar in his hat and sat on the curb to listen, before racing back to the hotel, lest anyone discover I was not swimming and doing my geometry. Everyday that week held a new auditory epiphany, including not all Marching Bands were geeky!

The most magical time, was between dusk and late night and the Quarter seemed to come alive with sound that seeped out of alleys, crowded little doorways, street corners and clubs that were jumping with Blues, Cajun, Zydeco, Jazz, Ragtime, Swing and Gospel. I have been back to New Orleans a few times, but nothing will ever match the first time. It added the spicy aspect to an already eclectic music collection.

I was surprised to hear a push to have Mardi Gras declared a national holiday That will provide a good dinner topic discussion as I ease my offspring into a genre not on their iPod this week.

On Fat Tuesday we will cook Jambalaya, bread pudding, and decorate with garish Purple, Green and Gold symbolizing Justice, Faith and Power. We will talk about the intricate process by which the date of the holiday is determined, and the historical context of Mardi Gras. And the music? It is good to expand your children’s horizons, even if they scowl. Lucky for them, was out of “Learn to Cajun Dance.”

I did find a courageous author who covered many facets of this music. Although anyone who starts down this path, find's it turns out to be much longer and wider than imagined.

  • Rick Koster Louisiana Music: A Journey from R&B to Zydeco, Jazz to Country, Blues to Gospel, Cajun Music to Swamp Pop to Carnival Music and Beyond (Paperback)

I think I will break them in gently with some Buckwheat Zydeco and BeauSoleil.

For a great review go to and view it here.

Cajun and Zydeco were included as it’s own category in the 2008 Grammys. Who were these history making nominees? The 2009 entries were equally exciting with best album going to BeauSoleil & Michael Doucet for “Live At The 2008 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.”

Fun Listen – Lost Bayou Ramblers

Of course, we live in Chicago and Fat Tuesday is associated with The Polish tradition of Pazcki Day, so we will have those Polish delights enhanced with real lard, sugar, eggs and calories for desert, before closing the night with a discussion on the beginning of Lent. Those darn fattening bismarks, are just like Blues and Roots music, they always leave you wanting more. Here is someone who is a must experience!

Wayne Toups, Mr Zydecajun, can get you moving, as Les Blank's film "J'Etais Au Bal" shows.

I got excited seeing Toup’s tour schedule included a rabbit festival in Iowa. I had the car and pet rabbit nearly packed, a month early, until I realized it was Iowa, LA. March is a good month for a road trip.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Experiencing Janiva Magness

It is easy to see how this Contemporary Blues Artist received four nominations for the 2009 Blues Music Awards. Her music speaks to redemption and healing, defined by experience. For those of us in the Midwest, Magness will be in Minneapolis. MN on May 22 and Cedarburg, WI on May 23.

I first heard her song "You Were Never Mine," and it stays with me to this day.

"I think I was born for it...born to it....been my I fit in the world... I feel like it chose me, not I chose it."

“The tragedies of my life no longer define me.” If you have never checked out her bio, and you are interested in the life behind the lyrics, do yourself a favor and read her it at

Friday, February 13, 2009

Voting Time! Be Informed!

The countdown is on! Only two weeks remain to study the nominees at The Blues Foundation for their 2009 Blues Music Awards. All decisions should be made based upon work done during the eligibility period between 11.01.07 and 10.31.08. Much like any other election, informed voting is always preferable. To that end, we will take a look at six of the categories and their entries.

By the way, not a member? Think of joining at, it gets you a ballot for $25 and a tax write off for charity.

Best New Artist Debut-That individual or band that first achieved widespread recognition during the eligibility period and whose eligible release was available nationally.
Band of the Year -That group, recording and/or performing as a unit, which best exemplifies ensemble playing during eligibility period.
  • Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials
  • Magic Slim & the Teardrops
  • Nick Moss & the Flip Tops
  • The Mannish Boys
  • Watermelon Slim & the Workers
Rock Blues Album of the Year -That album released to the public during the eligibility period that best portrays the Rock Blues genre, that hybrid that combines elements of Blues, with an emphasis on Blues, but also rock with its heavily-amplified instrumentation and generally driving drum beat.
  • Gary Moore - Bad for You Baby
  • Jeff Healey - Mess of Blues
  • Michael Burks - Iron Man
  • Smokin' Joe Kubek & Bnois King - Blood Brothers
  • Sonny Landreth - from the REACH
  • Walter Trout - The Outsider

Album of the Year -The best Blues album in any style released to the public during the eligibility period. (May be an album nominated in another category).
  • Buddy Guy - Skin Deep
  • Curtis Salgado - Clean Getaway
  • Elvin Bishop - The Blues Rolls On
  • Janiva Magness - What Love Will Do
  • The Mannish Boys - Lowdown Feeling

DVD - The best Blues DVD in any style released to the public during the eligibility period.
  • Broke & Hungry Records, Cathead Blues & Mudpuppy Recordings - M For Mississippi: A Road Trip Through The Birthplace of the Blues
  • Delmark Records - Little Arthur Duncan Live at Rosa's Blues Lounge
  • Eagle Eye Media - Albert Collins Live at Montreux 1992
  • Eagle Eye Media - Carlos Santana Plays Blues At Montreux 2004
  • Stony Plain Records - Ronnie Earl & Broadcasters - Hope Radio Sessions

B.B. King Entertainer of the Year -
  • Bobby Rush
  • Janiva Magness
  • Lil' Ed
  • Magic Slim
  • Watermelon Slim

Next time, we will look at the acoustic, traditional, contemporary and soul blues nominees. If you had the opportunity to vote, would you look them up if you didn't know them? I am always amazed by what is available on myspace, you tube, the musician and fan sites, as well as the record labels. Even if you are not voting, Blues Fans, those listed are well worth your time to get to know.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Yesterday appeared to be KWS day at my house. First, my oldest debates with me during a car ride, that Blue on Black, which was playing on XRT, here in Chicago, was a cover and was really, Nickleback's song. He is 20. He knows everything. Just ask him. Now, Blue on Black is by far not my most favorite Kenny Wayne Shepherd song, but, Nickleback? It was a long drive. (Revised February 21. Much to my chagrin, two of my favorite internet Blues DJ's have now told me Nickleback did indeed do Blue on Black, and one of them rumor has it, even played it. However, I can only say, on the fateful date in question, during the long drive, it was indeed KWS, not Nickleback. Maybe, I should fit a few more parenting classes into my schedule, as wearing headphones and driving doesn't seem like a good behavior to model.)

Then, while waiting around, I began to read the insert of the 12 Day's Out CD, and I knew why I admired this young performer so much. You see, I have seen him live, and I know, what he can do with a guitar. But I had no idea, at the depth of his words as he recounted the making of that release, day by day, adding personal insight. I like seeing the whole picture behind an artist, it helps me appreciate the details. When I listen to 12 Days Out, the songs will be richer, for the stories not told in the lyrics, but behind the scenes.

Also, in cyber snooping, I found this, and couldn't resist sharing it. KWS Band in Moscow.

KWSBand in Moscow

Makes you want to contact the Blues Cruisin' folks and see if they have any cabins available for October, doesn't it?

Friday, February 6, 2009

There is no cure for Blue's Lovers

We all come to the Blues in different ways. Some, were born into it, experiencing first hand it's history. Some, crossed over from another genre, realizing perhaps, that the style of music was related to another. I was amazed to learn I might have been a Blue's Lover far longer than I suspected, given my affinity for Cream, Janis, Jimi, those Vaughn Brothers and boogie.

For some of us, we fell deep in love with the Blues, the moment we first encountered it, remembering every detail of when and where and what and who. And, for a real Blue's Lover, once we have felt it, it never let us go. The one thing, nearly almost all Blue's aficionados admit to is this - Once you come to the blues, it enfolds you, and settles deep into your soul. And, for a real Blues Lover, once we have felt it, it never let us go. It is a powerful way, to cope with the trials of life. I am sure someone, has studied the psychology behind it, maybe I will research that, while listening to some of my favorite internet blues radio stations.

I recently came across a site that I think most blues lovers can relate to. Their motto is, "No cure, no recovery." The group started as a tribute to honor the beloved Stevie Ray Vaughn. It is just the kind of quirky site, I can relate to, so I had to email and ask if they were still in business and if they would be updating soon. The good news is, YES & YES! I like the tag you can embed, addiction humor aside.

The other night, as a friend DJ'ed and played some SRV, he asked the crowd, "What would happen, if we could have him back, for just one night?"

There really is, no cure. Thank God.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A New Joe & Memphis on Saturday

I am shocked! Some people have told me they miss my blogging about things other than the Blues. For instance, this morning it was my intention to blog about "Your Mother, The Passive Aggressive Cook, and How to Hide Vegetables in a Meatloaf." Maybe, it is better that I didn't, however, for those of you who enjoy reading short stories, random life stories, and a little bit of humor, feel free to read the myspace blog, or contact me for the link.

Now, on to the days Blues Findings for those Blues Fans who exist virtually, internationally, and in that strange place called, real life.

  • Happy 20 Year Anniversary as a professional musician, Joe Bonamassa! One of our favorites blues rock guitarists is set to release his next work of art, "The Ballad of John Henry," ten days after Valentine's Day. I am sure your Valentine would not mind an IOU, because this release is supposed to be better than both "Sloe Gin" and "From Nowhere In Particular." I first met Joe, figuratively, in 2000 and fell in love with "A New Day Yesterday." Yes, I also liked Tull. He has his own label J&R Adventures, and they do some pretty cool things. If you are one of those closet IT Blues Geeks, keep your eye out for more things like this!

  • I found this in a list posting, but thought it worth passing along. Calling all Amateurs! There are auditions this Saturday, the 7th in Memphis from 8 - 12 (morning time, that's your first test) Below is the information. If anyone goes, please comment back!)
  • Amateur Night Auditions Phase II
  • The Peyton Building, 4081 Riverdale Rd, Suite 101, Memphis, TN, USA
  • Saturday, February 7, 2009 8:00am-12 noon
  • Audition Registration $10.00
  • Calling all artists 21 and up that have the dream to take your music to
  • the next level. MajestiK Entertainment has assembled a collection of
  • A&R reps, Music Execs, Producers, and Recording Artists that may be
  • able to open some doors for you and push you one step closer to
  • fulfilling your dream; singers, dancers, rappers, and musicians solo
  • and groups are welcome. Only 35 audition spots available and 15 will be
  • recalled. To audition call: 1-888-564-5059 ext. 1
  • While Poking Around On MySpace, this item jumped out at me. There is an online Battle of the Bands, that pays $5000 for songwriters and bands, in various genres. There are limits and restrictions, but the concept is awesome. Here is a contact for the site. or And it goes without saying, should you participate, you are expected to invite your favorite Blues Loving Fairy!
If there is a blues item, you deem worthy of mention, including shameless self promotion, feel free to email me with BLOG in the subject line.

Monday, February 2, 2009

So You Want To Compose Songs

This month is "February Album Writing Month," and for once, that is not something I made up.

If you are a musician or songwriter, OF ANY LEVEL, or just always thought about it, do yourself a favor and check this out. I participate in two similar events only for writing, and won't lie. It is a lot of work, but it is a cool discipline to finish those projects I know you have been procrastinating on!

Also, thanks to one of my writing groups, Inksters, if you are inworld in Second Life, there is a group formed to help support each other through this month's creative adventure. Just search "fawm."

Also, I am very excited to announce the purchase of a sim, called "My Blues Haven" under the estate. Look for discussions on various blues topics, building classes, impromptu small live adventures for those who are new and want to practice, and even a cardboard box for all those Homeless Blues Avi's!

If you are a rl Blues Musician or DJ and would like some promotional give-away gifts in SL, or need help assimilating, I would be happy to discuss your needs and pricing.

Good Luck to those of you who pick up the Song Challenge this month! Be sure to leave a comment, if you do!