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, September 25, 2009

Blues, Bids and Bull

Almost everyone in Chicago knows that the International Olympic Congress will be meeting soon in Copenhagen to decide which city will host the 2016 Olympic Games. We are sending our greatest ambassadors to state our case, however, their names might be overlooked.

The legacy of Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Koko Taylor, John Lee Hooker, Willie Dixon and others, will be overheard in the streets of Copenhagen during that meeting. What better way to introduce the Windy City, to give a sense of who we are, than to feel the Chicago Blues -electrified, amped, and a little sax added now and then.

"Chicago Blues" is the theme of the ninth annual Copenhagen Blues Festival, set to start on the 29th. To insure they will be celebrating the Sweet Home Chicago way, this years international stars, include two of Chicago's own, Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater, Jimmy Johnson and the Mike Anderson Band.

Imagine more than 60 Blues concerts in 20 different venues in 6 days. "FREE" concerts every afternoon. Local, national and international talent, blended in a club based concept. This diverse immersion experience has gained popularity each year far surpassing the original purpose to widen the knowledge of and promote interest in the blues regionally.

Opening ceremonies include the gathering of local and national musicians in contention for the "Danish Blues Musician of the Year," at Mojo's Blues Bar. The recipient receives 10,000 kroner along with the award and title. (10,000 Danish Krone = 1,978.69 US Dollar)

Of course many Chicago Blues fans will be anxiously awaiting a different kind of announcement that will come from Copenhagen in six days and nineteen hours according to the countdown clock. The award and title are immeasurable. At this point, 20 olympians, Oprah, Michelle Obama, and Mayor Daley will make the final pitch.

The surprise for me came with the Brooklyn born, one time legendary athlete, who made a sweet home in Chicago, and was adored and supported by a city, is now apparently too busy to go to Copenhagen. Then again, I don't see him as the type to hang down at Legends, either. I wonder what is his favorite genre of music, even Wiki doesn't know. It is with irony, that I just donated the book, "I Can't Accept Not Trying," to the Salvation Army. I have a feeling a few of us, just might feel that way. But at least, there is nothing truer, than the legacy of the Chicago Blues, and hopefully all of Copenhagen will see it in the upcoming week.

Friday, September 4, 2009

A Different Kind of Blues Artist - Diane Russell

As I skimmed the Blues newsfeed this morning, I came across a hidden gem, "a show" in the Portland area. Normally I would just keep pressing the down arrow, but I noticed it named one of my favorite bluesmen, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, who once did A Song for Renee. Indulge me, good songs about "Renee" are rare.

When I edit, I often see a story within a story, an alternate focus, or a completely different perspective besides the one presented. It allows me to indulge in tangents of choice, explore and find obscure connections, or other words, justify my writing.

The show featured another artist, one I was not familiar with, Diane Russell. Russell isn't quite on par with Etta, Koko, Shemekia, or Bonnie and you won't see her performing at Buddy Guy's Legends, Rosa's Lounge or any other blues club for that matter. However, Ms. Russell is in a class by herself and can be found at gallery shows.

The Blues Foundation used her Pinetop Perkins creation for their 2005 W.C.Handy award poster. The Blues Foundation features it as a poster for sale on their website.

(Click Image)

Reggie Houston's, Katrina Blues, portrait is as emotionally moving as the best played 12 bar blues song. His website talks about what her picture means to him.

While I took one last browse at Russell's website, all I could envision was a Women in Blues series, particularly Koko Taylor. I guess it goes back to that editing style quirk of mine and tangents.

What does an art show in Portland, the W.C. Handy awards, the Legendary Blues Cruise, and Clarence Gatemouth Brown have in common? A different kind of blues artist, Diane Russell. I hope you enjoy discovering this blues artist, as much as I did.