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Ronnie Earl is a four-time Blues Music Award winner as “Guitar Player of the Year,” and was the hit of the most-recent Blues Music Awards show in Memphis with his show-stopping live performance of the Junior Wells classic, “In the Wee Hours.”

Earl follows that up with the August 30 release of the latest Stony Plain Records album (on CD and vinyl formats) from the blues guitar master and his band, the Broadcasters, Beyond the Blue Door. Earl believes in the power of music to heal the mind and spirit, and that’s quickly evident in the 15 tracks on his new disc. Special guests on the album include David Bromberg, acoustic guitar and vocals; Kim Wilson, harmonica and vocals; and Greg Piccolo, tenor sax.

The core group of Broadcasters – Ronnie Earl, guitar; Dave Limina, Hammond B3 and piano; Diane Blue, vocals; Paul Kochanski, bass and Forrest Padgett, drums – return to present a solid follow-up to their critically acclaimed and beloved release, The Luckiest Man. They are also joined by Anthony Geraci, piano; Peter Ward, guitar; Mario Perrett, tenor sax; Scott Shetler, Baritone Sax, Larry Luisgnan, guitar; Michael Rush, bass and Scott MacDougal, guitar.

“This is a band album – a community of souls with some guests, new directions and some good old down home blues with Kim Wilson, David Bromberg and Greg Piccolo,” Earl says about the new disc.

Beyond the Blue Door confirms Earl’s status as one of the most soulful blues/soul/jazz guitarists working today. He’s also a DownBeat magazine winner for “Blues Album of the Year,” an Associate Professor of Guitar at Berklee College of Music and has taught at the National Guitar summer workshop in Connecticut.

Perhaps David Bromberg, himself a master guitar craftsman, said it best about him: “Ronnie Earl is an incredible musician. He plays with more emotion than anyone else who plays blues, or really anything, today, and he gets me every time I hear him. The Broadcasters are the quality of musicians you would expect Ronnie to be playing with: solid, tasteful, and moving. You can’t be better than that.”

Beyond the Blue Door Track Listing and Credits:

The Broadcasters play on all the songs except #4 and #6

1 Brand New Me (Theresa Bell, Jerry Butler, Kenny Gamble) with Scott Shetler, Mario Perrett

2 Baby How Long (Chester Burnett) with Kim Wilson, Anthony Geraci, Peter Ward

3 Drown In My Own Tears (Henry Glover) with Greg Piccolo

4 Alexis’ Song (Ronnie Earl & Greg Piccolo) with Greg Piccolo

5 The Sweetest Man (Ronnie Earl, Diane Blue, Dave Limina) with Peter Ward

6 It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry (Bob Dylan) – David Bromberg and Ronnie Earl

7 A Soul That’s Been Abused (Ronnie Earl) with Mario Perrett, Scott Shetler and Greg Piccolo

8 Why Can’t We Live Together (Timmy Thomas)

9 Blues with a Feeling (Little Walter) with Kim Wilson, Peter Ward and Scott MacDougal

10 T-Bone Stomp (Ronnie Earl) with Larry Luisgnan and Michael Rush

11 Wolf Song (Ronnie Earl) with Kim Wilson, Anthony Geraci and Peter Ward

12 Peace of Mind (Ronnie Earl & Steve Gomes)

13 Drowning In a Sea of Love (Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff) with Mario Perrett, Scott Shetler and Greg Piccolo

14 Bringing Light (to a Dark Time) (Paul Kochanski & Diane Blue) with Mario Perrett and Scott Shetler

15 Blues for Charlottesville (Ronnie Earl, Forrest Padgett, Dave Limina, Paul Kochanski)

Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters Stony Plain Records

*Feature image Tom Hazeltine

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Misty Blues are celebrating 20 years with the brand new, self-released album, Pickled & Aged.

From their beginnings in Berkshire County, MA, Misty Blues have captured the spirit of the great female blues artists of yesteryear. Founder and lead singer Gina Coleman was born for this, with her husky voice and ability to make any song her own. But make no mistake, this is no cover band. They masterfully mix blues with Jazz, Funk, Soul, and Tent Revival Gospel to create a sound that is both fresh and as familiar as grandma’s Sunday supper.

Pickled & Aged is the band’s 8th album, released shortly after their performance as finalists in the 2019 International Blues Challenge. The opening track, “Spilt Whiskey,” sounds as if it came from the 20s/30s soundtrack of Harlem’s famous Cotton Club. Coleman wrote this ditty (as well as 7 more of the 11 tracks), but she somehow tapped into the very marrow of Bessie Smith. The song is bawdy and brilliant, and the only criticism we have is not in the performance, but in the mix. At times the music overpowers Coleman’s robust vocals, and we don’t want to miss a word. Otherwise, it’s the perfect song to open the album from a band who’s been praising the great women blues singers for the last two decades.

Misty Blues is made up of Coleman on lead vocals (with occasional turns on percussion and cigar box guitar), Jason Webster (guitar, banjo, vocals – including lead vocals on “Need More,” which he also wrote), Bill Patriquin (bass, trumpet, vocals), Benny Kohn (keys, vocals), Rob Tatten (drums, tuba, vocals), Aaron Dean (sax). Special guest Diego Monque plays drums on “Spilt Whiskey,” and bass on “Let Them Blues.”

From the 20s vibe of “Spilt Whiskey,” the band jumps straight into the rockin’ “Our Traveling Blues.” It reminds us of some killer classic rock and roll embroiled with a New Orleans second line. An interesting combination that was new to our ears, but really works. “Let Them Blues” takes us back on the musical timeline with its jazzy, late night club vibe.

Next up is “You Thought I Would Fall.” It’s a jazz-tinged bluesy number that feels right at home during any time frame. “Sweet Sweet Bourbon” is a very danceable double shuffle that pays homage to Kentucky’s finest export. Kohn and Dean really let loose on their solos, and Webster follows with a killer guitar solo.

Again Misty Blues take a hard left turn, with the Kohn-penned instrumental “It’s a Jungle Out There.” This is Jazz in its finest form, and makes for a terrific palate cleanser midway through the release. “Take a Long Ride” has a deep funk aura that builds into a wailing sax attention grabber, then a 60s electro rock guitar. This song also has Coleman pulling double duty on vocals and cigar box guitar.

Gina Coleman on cigar box guitar at the 2019 International Blues Challenge in Memphis. Photo: Roger Stephenson

“Chicago to Memphis” returns us to a more familiar Windy City blues tune, but is blended with a bit of Texas shuffle too. Bill and Kathy Patriquin are credited with writing this fun song. “Mountain Dew” is another song about alcohol (it’s starting to dawn on us where the “pickled” in the title came from). It’s another great tune with Coleman’s vocals kicking out some great lyrics backed by a group that’s tighter than Dick’s hatband.

Guitarist Jason Webster wrote “Need More,” and also performs the lead vocals as well as guitar. “Need More” is another jazzy song with a bit of a haunting backline. One can imagine a late night club off a dark alley with Webster and Dean cutting heads (guitar vs sax). Brilliant.

If you’re a fan of “Let the Juke Joint Jump,” by the phenomenal Koko Taylor (and let’s face it, who isn’t) then you’re gonna love “Stoop Stomp.” Our choice for favorite cut from Pickled & Aged, it’s an upbeat and bright song that audibly takes us from Saturday night soul food supper and porch party right into Sunday morning services. The foot-stomping, Gospel beat is absolutely contagious, and the lyrics have all the necessities to take the old folks back home, and teach the younger ones a thing or two. It’s also Patriquin’s turn to shine on a great bass solo.

The musical combinations that Misty Blues create are something that we don’t hear every day. In fact, rarely if ever. Many artists can combine rock and blues, or jazz and blues, or gospel and blues, but damn few do it with the brilliant, joyful noise produced by Misty Blues on Pickled & Aged. Don’t wait a minute longer. Get yourself a copy today, and if for some inexplicable reason you don’t love it – just send it to us, because we’re sure we’re gonna wear our copy out.

Artist: Misty Blues

Title: Pickled & Aged

Label: Self-released

Release Date: July 1st, 2019

Running Time: 44:41

Misty Blues

*Feature image Roger Stephenson

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Powerhouse vocalist Eliza Neals comes out swinging with one of the most notorious Blues-rock guitarists in the industry. Ted Horowitz AKA Popa Chubby is producer, arranger & plays guitar on Neals’ all new, original Sweet Or Mean EP.

Eliza admits that the drama on these tunes is 100% authentic; because truth is strangely more entertaining than fiction. Sweet or Mean is rootsy, blues-rock bliss with no gimmicks or tricks from the first heavenly note to the last guitar riff. Popa Chubby’s tone is reminiscent of ZZ Top, Santana and other seasoned vintage guitarists who know how to knock audiences out.

On the opening tune “Pawn Shop Blues,” luscious horn lines and slide guitar with Eliza’s powerful and soulful vocals grab hold of you. Trained in opera, but with the grit of Koko Taylor, Neals’ voice is like sand in a velvet bag, fired from a shotgun. Add to that the amazing horns of Ian Hendrickson-Smith on saxophone and Michael Leonhart on trumpet plus the killer guitar of the Beast From the East, and you know something special is in store.

The entire group of musicians making up Sweet Or Mean is stellar. New York based pianist/hammond organ specialist Dave Keyes adds his extraordinary skills, while bassist Chris Gambaro-Vega and drummer John Medeiros, Jr. complete the ferocious rhythm section.

Things get stormy with “Blackish Gray.” An on-again, off-again love story that’s so familiar it leaves you with the chills. Neals’ vocals are haunting, and Horowitz’ guitar calls down the thunder.

The autobiographical “Bitten By the Blues,” has all the classic rock and blues aspects one would expect from an artist who claims them both (as well as 70s soul) as her major musical influences. The song is upbeat, tells a true story, and calls out Neals’ heroes by name.

We almost always have a personal favorite from every new release we review, and Sweet Or Mean is no different. Track #4 is entitled “Livin’ With Yo Mama.” The title alone grabbed our attention, but when the song began, our short hairs stood up. Sonically, this is the kind of nasty, hyper-electrified, gut-bucket blues that holds your huevos at knife point. A 100% ass-kicker from the jump, the lyrics are both humorous and familiar. We think a lot of women have been in this position, and Eliza Neals has now given them an anthem.

Things take an interesting turn with “Knock, Knock, Knockin’.” All the indomitable electric music is replaced with the sweet sound of Popa Chubby playing a rare Martin D28 acoustic guitar. The pace doesn’t slow one iota though, as the chugging rhythms lend perfectly to the gravel in Neals’ voice. Make no mistake, she’s comin’ to get ya and wants you to know it.

Inside the warm, acoustically stunning, analog recording studio called GB’s Juke Joint in Long Island City, is where the sessions for Sweet or Mean were born. Ted’s long time friend and blues lover Glen Forrest made it all happen with his ultra vintage gear and expertise. Recording engineer to the stars Paul Klimson (John Legend, The Roots), was on hand to capture and mix Eliza’s unique songs and gritty vocal tone. Additional tracking engineering at GB’s was was provided by Colin Mohnacs. Final mastering was done by Dave Feeny at The Tempermill back in Eliza’s original stomping ground of Ferndale, Michigan.

Blues-Rock may be a newer form of the genre, but it’s a legitimate one and Neals has made it her niche. From her bottom heavy debut Breaking and Entering, through the Gothic blues of 10,000 Feet Below, she has proven that women have every place in the blues world, and can run with the biggest dogs in the yard. Now comes Sweet Or Mean, leaving no doubt. Available tomorrow, July 4th, these are 6 tracks that you’ll play over and over.

"Bitten By The Blues" Eliza Neals OFFICIAL Music Video #Lyrics #BehindtheScenes - YouTube

Artist: Eliza Neals

Title: Sweet Or Mean

Label: E-H Records

Release Date: July 4th, 2019

Running Time: 25:33

Eliza Neals

*Feature image courtesy of E-H Records

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(Editor’s Note): “Gullah” comes from West African language and means “a people blessed by God.” “Ranky Tanky” translates loosely as “Work It,” or “Get Funky!” In this spirit this Charleston, SC based quintet performs timeless music of Gullah culture born in the southeastern Sea Island region of the United States. The Gullah language is a form of Creole, and the Gullah people are also sometimes known as “Geechee” in the Low Country, a term which may be derived from the name of the Ogeechee River near Savannah, Georgia.

Ranky Tanky is a South Carolina-based band playing their take on Gullah music, with Gullah referring to the African-influenced American communities in parts of Georgia and, of course, South Carolina. Their EP, Stand By Me, is rhythmic and jazzy. It’s not blues, but singer Quiana Parler has a soulful voice that many blues fans will enjoy.

Ranky Tanky’s songs often don’t have the same groove as the blues, with different beats accented. The melodies, which come from traditional Gullah songs, soar into jazz-tinged directions. That’s due to the band’s instrumentation, which features clean-enough-to-eat-off-of guitar tone and trumpet. It’s also due to Parler’s voice, which is powerful, but also beautifully precise. The melodies, on their own, might feel complicated to ears used to standard Western fare, but Parler manages to make the vocals accessible, without taking away any of their beauty.

And that’s the strength of Ranky Tanky: translating Gullah music. “Freedom” has a syncopated beat and choir-like vocals, with Parler joined by guitarist Clay Ross and trumpet-player Charlton Singleton. Kevin Hamilton’s bassline moves the song along and eventually the track transitions into a take on the “Star Spangled Banner.” It’s seamless, unexpected, and powerful, a melding of the new and the known.

An EP is like a calling card. It gives a band just a few songs to hook listeners, which can sort of feel like a plane trying to take off from a short runway. Ranky Tanky do a good job establishing their different sounds without too much lingering. “Sometime” is a manic beat driven by impossibly fast hand-clapping and enhanced with equally fast guitar work courtesy of Ross. It’s one of the jazziest songs on the album. It’s also incredibly heavy in its own way. It works well against a track like “All For You,” which is much sweeter, with its lilting melody and gentle lyrics: “All my loving is all for you.”

This is an impressive EP in that Ranky Tanky is able to put across a sound that many of us don’t have a convenient mental shorthand for. They manage to not just teach the listener about Gullah, but also to hook them. It might not speak to every blues fan, but soul and rhythm and blues fans might be intrigued by the epic vocals and huge arrangements. It also makes enough of an impression to get lots of listeners curious about their second full-length album, Good Time, which is out July 12.

Ranky Tanky :: Freedom :: Official Lyric Video - YouTube

Artist: Ranky Tanky

Title: Stand by Me

Label: Resilience Music

Release Date: June 14th, 2019

Running Time: 21:15

Ranky Tanky

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A good football coach tells his players to leave it all out on the field. I don’t know if the same goes for musicians, but Carlos Santana and his band left it all out on the stage Saturday night in Phoenix. If there is any chance of Carlos slowing down forget it. On a typically hot Arizona night he blew open the sky above the Ak-Chin Pavillion amphitheater, leaving most attendees in awe.

Santana performs on June 22, 2019, in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Rick Scuteri)

The Doobie Brothers Band warmed things up with hit after hit, playing in front of a close to sell out venue that had the crowd singing and dancing in the aisles.

Santana led things off with a video tribute to Woodstock, which set the mood of how Mr. Carlos Santana rolls, who he is and what he does. A few of his bigger tunes such as “Evil Ways,” “(Da Le) Yaleo,” and “Oye Como Va” started things out as the crowd sang and danced to hit after hit. “Voodoo Chile” (Jimi Hendrix song) brought Rob Thomas and Micki Free to the stage to join in, and “Gypsy Queen” followed with help from his very talented band, an all-star lineup of musicians that just molded together with high energy and chemistry that couldn’t stop. “Breaking Down The Door,” fresh from the new album, Africa Speaks just released this month, sounded great, and Santana closed out the show with more guitar solos mixed in between his hits that brought the crowd to their feet for many standing ovations. The mighty Santana gave everything he had, and everyone loved it.

The encore started with “Are You Ready People,” followed by a killer drum solo by Cindy Blackman Santana (Carlos’ wife) that just showed off yet another part of this talented band. The five minute or so solo brought the fans again to their feet with a standing ovation. Carlos and his band returned to the stage and asked Rob Thomas to re-join him. “Smooth,” maybe Santana’s biggest hit, written by Thomas and mixed with “Love, Peace, and Happiness,” was just a perfect ending to an already perfect night of music. Check out the new album Africa Speaks and Santana’s tour schedule at the website.

Santana performs on June 22, 2019, in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Rick Scuteri) Santana performs on June 22, 2019, in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Rick Scuteri) Santana performs on June 22, 2019, in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Rick Scuteri) Santana performs on June 22, 2019, in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Rick Scuteri) Rob Thomas performs on June 22, 2019, in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Rick Scuteri) Rob Thomas and Andy Vargas performs on June 22, 2019, in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Rick Scuteri) Cindy Blackman Santana performs on June 22, 2019, in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Rick Scuteri) Santana performs on June 22, 2019, in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Rick Scuteri) Santana and Rob Thomas perform on June 22, 2019, in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Rick Scuteri) Santana

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When you think of historic Chicago blues and R&B labels, Chess, Vee-Jay, Brunswick, and Delmark probably first come to mind. However, the city’s famous Black music scene spawned many indie labels, and Bea & Baby Records ranks among the very best of them. Founded by the ever-colorful Chicago entrepreneur Narvel “Cadillac Baby” Eatmon, Bea & Baby Records — along with its subsidiaries and subsidiary labels Key, Keyhole, Miss and Ronald — put out an impressive selection of blues, gospel, doo-wop, soul, hip-hop, and comedy releases between 1959-1989.

Now, a comprehensive retrospective, Cadillac Baby’s Bea & Baby Records: The Definitive Collection, is set for release July 19, 2019 by Chicago-based blues label Earwig Music Company. The project has long been a labor of love for Earwig owner Michael Robert Frank. Frank first met Cadillac Baby in the early ’70s and when they met up again in the late ’80s, Cadillac Baby wanted to get back into music after being away from the business for over 15 years. Despite ailing health, he was still “feisty and cantankerous, and still hustling,” according to Frank. “He was buying and selling used hubcaps, a few used tires, candy and sundries, and an occasional 45 record.” The two decided to co-produce a rising 17-year-old hip-hop singer, Richard Davenport (who went by the name 3D). Sadly, both Cadillac Baby and Davenport died as the project was about to launch; however, 3D’s two tunes will now be released on this collection.

Earwig ended up purchasing Cadillac Baby’s labels from his widow because Frank was “concerned the Bea & Baby’s varied catalog and Cadillac Baby’s history might be lost or merely a footnote in music history.” On his journey to uncover and share Cadillac Baby’s captivating story and musical legacy, Frank says that he “started thinking about a box set of the entire label’s music catalog, not just the blues recordings” was the right way to go.

Cadillac Baby’s Bea & Baby Records: The Definitive Collection reveals that this small label featured big-time blues performers as well as up and coming R&B and gospel artists. Boogie-woogie piano wizard Sunnyland Slim, harmonica master James Cotton, and slide-guitar wizard Earl Hooker are all represented; you’ll also find Hound Dog Taylor’s first single, “Baby Is Coming Home”/“Take Five,” as well as “Please Give Me A Chance” and “I Still Love You,” two suavely crooned tunes from R&B legend Andre Williams that were released on the rare Ronald label; and several previously unissued tracks by the fabled acoustic blues duo Sleepy John Estes & Hammie Nixon.

This compilation also spotlights a number of well-regarded but lesser known blues musicians, such as Detroit Junior, Little Mack (a.k.a. Little Mac and St. Louis Mac) Simmons, Homesick James, Eddie Boyd, L.C. McKinley, and Bobby Saxton (the singer of Bea & Baby’s biggest hit, “Trying To Make A Living”), all who’ll be familiar to blues aficionados and welcome discoveries to others. You may recognize Andrew “Blue Blood” McMahon as Howlin’ Wolf’s longtime bassist, but this retrospective shares four of his hard-to-find Bea & Baby sides.

Arelean Brown, whose ’70s funky novelty tunes “Impeach Me Baby” and “I’m A Streaker Baby” brought her notoriety, also gets showcased here with two early soulful songs (“I Love My Man” and “Hello Baby”) and T. Valentine, who developed a cult following through his off-kilter blues releases on Norton Records, is represented by his first single, “Little Lu-Lu Frog/Teen-Age Jump.”

Then there are the acts so obscure that even super blues fans might not be aware of them. Faith Taylor & the Sweet Teens contribute a pair of lovely doo-wop songs, but little was heard about the 11-year-old (as she is billed) after she hit her teens. Hailing from the Miss label are a two-part instrumental 45, “Joe’s House Rent Party,” by veteran Chicago organist Tall Paul Hankins and the silky vocal ensemble Kirk Taylor and the Velvets (not the Underground kind). A couple tracks are so mysterious that they are credited to “Unknown Blues Band and Vocalist” and “Unknown Actors.” They were on the tape reel with the rediscovered session of Sleepy John Estes and Hammy Nixon.

Bea & Baby Records’ broad musical scope is exemplified on the fourth CD, which ranges from 3D’s two hip-hop songs to the closing tracks — ten gospel numbers performed by Eddie Dean & the Biblical Aires, The Gloryaires, The Norfolk Singers, The Pilgrim Harmonizers, and Rev. Samuel Patterson. And in between are some comedy bits! Cadillac Baby, like many of his fellow indie label owners, had a broad taste in popular music and entertainment.

Perhaps this anthology’s most unique tracks are the ones by Cadillac Baby himself, definitely a one-of-a-kind character. He shows up a half-dozen times over the four CDs, sharing his wisdom on topics like spiritual records, how he got into the music business, and his own legend. An entrepreneur on Chicago’s notorious South Side, he owned a variety of businesses. Prominent among his ventures was Cadillac Baby’s Show Lounge, a major blues club from the mid ’50s into the ’60s. Ever the showman, he was known to drive a Cadillac on stage in this club. He also owned a popular neighborhood candy store, which served as his record label’s base of operations.

Accompanying Cadillac Baby’s Bea & Baby Records: The Definitive Collection’s glorious set of music is a 128-page book filled with lots of archival documents and photos. Living Blues Magazine co-founder and Blues Hall of Famer Jim O’Neal has contributed the historical liner notes, while the gospel notes are done by gospel music historian and editor of the Journal of Gospel Music Robert Marovich. Blues expert Bill Dahl handled the track notes and Michael Robert Frank penned the producer’s notes.

With the release date finally arriving, Frank has paused to reflect. “I have been contemplating the different eras Cadillac Baby and I came up in. I realize the similar mission we shared. We were all enamored and moved by blues and soul/R&B music and musicians, and we all migrated to Chicago to immerse ourselves in the music business.”

Cadillac Baby outside his store in 1971. Photo: Tony Russell

We here at American Blues Scene are privileged to bring our readers the premiere of “It’s You I’m Going To Miss” by Willie Hudson.

This is one of the few tracks recorded by Willie Hudson and his band of brothers, released on the Bea & Baby subsidiary, Miss Records, circa 1964. Willie shows off his plaintive vocals and fine lead guitar work. Classic early 1960s Chicago blues.

Michael Frank’s recollection of Willie Hudson:

I met Willie Hudson a couple times circa 1977. I was a social worker for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, providing social services to him and his family for a brief period. During the course of my home visits with him, he told me that he was a blues musician, but that he had not been gigging in quite a while. My respect and appreciation for blues musicians and their music helped me to communicate with Willie about his family issues.

Willie was not known to many blues fans or label owners in Chicago or elsewhere. As I got deeper into the blues scene, I met musicians Bob Stroger, Willie Kent and Jimmy Lee Robinson, who had played with Willie early in their careers and spoke highly of his musicianship. I also knew about him from his releases on Bea & Baby Records. Alas, I never did get to hear him play live. By the mid 1970’s, he had given up playing gigs, and by the time I got to know Cadillac Baby well, he and the musicians who knew Willie had lost touch with him.

I just found out this weekend from the Chicago Blues Festival program book that Willie Hudson had been an influence on great Chicago guitarist Rico McFarland when Rico was learning to play the blues as a teenager. Though a minor figure in Chicago blues, Willie’s guitar and vocal legacy lives on in his 1963 tracks on Miss Records, backing Tall Paul Hankins on “Joe’s House Rent Party part I” and II, and on his own tracks “It’s You I’m Going to Miss” and “Red Lips”.

Earwig Music

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Award-winning blues, soul and Americana vocalist Shemekia Copeland is hosting her own blues radio program weekday mornings on SiriusXM’s B.B. King’s Bluesville channel. The show, which debuted on June 17th, 2019, airs Monday through Friday from 9:00am until 3:00pm Eastern time, and features music, commentary and large helpings of Copeland’s vibrant and inviting personality.

This is Copeland’s second time at the helm of her own radio show. She hosted a weekly program on Sirius Radio in 2006. “I’m thrilled and honored to be back with my friends at SiriusXM,” says Copeland. “And can’t wait to get back in touch with my wonderful fans. It’s gonna be great.”

Copeland’s recent album, America’s Child, was named the #1 blues album of 2018 by MOJO magazine. The album is a courageous and fiery statement of purpose and a major step forward for the singer whose musical consciousness continues to expand as her star continues to rise. The album, with guests including John Prine and Rhiannon Giddens, bursts with Copeland’s bravado and embraces with her tenderness. Copeland recently received two Blues Music Awards for America’s Child: Album Of The Year and Contemporary Blues Album Of The Year. Her instantly recognizable voice–capable of being sultry, assertive and roaring–delivers every song with unparalleled honesty and passion. In October 2019, she will perform with Buddy Guy as he is inducted into the Austin City Limits Hall Of Fame.

The three-time Grammy nominee’s wide-open vision of contemporary Americana roots and soul music showcases the evolution of a passionate artist with an up-to-the-minute musical and lyrical approach. The Chicago Tribune says, “Copeland is the greatest female blues vocalist working today.”

Shemekia Copeland B.B. King’s Bluesville

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Mindi Abair and the Boneshakers live, eat and breathe music as a collective — it’s their oxygen. Add to that a balanced mix of diverse musical backgrounds, big personalities and the bond of mutual respect coupled with friendship, and what transpires in the recording studio is sonic magic. It’s that kind of chemistry that the Los Angeles-based band has righteously captured and parlayed into their third studio album, No Good Deed, which is set for release June 28th, on Abair’s Pretty Good For A Girl Records.

“’Who’s Gonna Save My Soul?‘ is a dark, lonely look from rock bottom,” Abair told us. “It combines the soul of the church, the emotion of the blues, and a slow steady conversation ultimately asking ‘Who’s Gonna Save My Soul?'”

The bluesy, richly textured “Who’s Gonna Save My Soul,” was written by Abair and Tyrone Stevens and is a haunting dig through the wreckage of love lost and the attempt to reclaim inner strength. Abair’s imploring lament, “I’ve got more life to live but I’m lost and alone, I’ll find my strength to get by, make it on my own,” adds a stirring, soul-searching dimension to the song.

No Good Deed is the band’s most multidimensional album to date and reflects the longtime camaraderie between the Boneshakers’ Randy Jacobs (guitar and vocals), Rodney Lee (keys), Ben White (bass, vocals), Third Richardson (drums, vocals) and lead vocalist and award-winning saxophonist Abair.

It took only five days to record the album at the legendary EastWest Studios in Hollywood. Acclaimed producer Kevin Shirley (Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Joe Bonamassa), who had worked with the band on their first studio record, The EastWest Sessions, returned once again.

Before she and the Boneshakers were a band, Mindi Abair had already made her mark as an award-winning sax player, with two Grammy nominations and eight records to her credit. Her edgy, contemporary style of playing was widely sought after by bands like Aerosmith and Duran Duran — both of whom she toured with extensively. Abair first met Randy Jacobs at a gig where she witnessed him do a back flip off the stage and into the audiences without missing a chord change. Jacobs, who played in Bonnie Raitt’s band and Was Not Was, became a regular player on her solo records. But it was later, when Abair sat in with the Boneshakers at the Newport Beach Jazz Festival in 2014, that the two musical forces became one.

Mindi Abair & The Boneshakers "Who's Gonna Save My Soul?" - YouTube

Upcoming tour dates:

Sat., Aug. 3 MAMMOTH LAKES, CA Bluesapalooza Mammoth Festival of Beers
Sat., Aug 10 LEXINGTON, KY. Kentucky Horse Park
Thurs., Aug 15 VALPARAISO, IN Memorial Opera House
Fri., Aug 16 CHICAGO, IL City Winery Chicago
Sat., Aug 17 ANN ARBOR, MI Ann Arbor Blues Fest
Fri., Aug 30 FT WORTH, TX Music Fest at South Fork Ranch
Sat., Oct 19 AKRON, OH Tangier – Cabaret Room
Sat., Oct 26 to Nov 2 MEXICAN RIVIERA Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise
Fri.-Sun., Nov 15-17 PUNTA GORDA, FL Mindi Abair’s Punta Gorda Wine + Music Festival
Sat., Nov 23 READING, PA Reading Blues Festival

Mindi Abair & The Boneshakers

*Feature image Greg Allen

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“I’m sitting on top of the blues. I’m a bluesman who’s sitting on the top of my game, proud of what I do and proud of who I am and thankful for people accepting me for what I am and who I am,” says the charismatic Bobby Rush. “I’m happy about what I’m doing and still enthused about what I’m doing. And I think we’ve got some good songs.”

Sitting on Top of the Blues is the upcoming album from the Blues Hall of Famer, scheduled for release August 16th via Deep Rush Records/Thirty Tigers. Bobby’s brand-new album promises to further spread the news that this revered legend, well past 80 years of age even if his stratospheric energy level belies the calendar, is bigger and badder and bolder than ever.

Sitting on Top of the Blues is the 75th career release, and 26th studio album from the Grammy-winning Rush. Decades on the Chitlin’ Circuit have kept his performance chops keen as a razor, and his performances, as well as song lyrics, just as bawdy and brazen. Take for example the album’s funky, final track, “Bowlegged Woman.”

“Bowlegged woman you can visualize that it’s easy to get to. She don’t have to open her legs, she’s just bowlegged,” Rush told us. “She don’t have anything to do, just walk up to her. Bowlegged woman and knock-need man, you put them together it spells ox…you put them together and you see how they go hand in hand. Wherever I go I find a bowlegged woman, whether it’s Kansas City or anywhere.”

Bobby Rush - Bowlegged Woman - YouTube

*Feature image Bill Steber

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In all of American music, Dr. John was one of the most suave, most outrageous, and downright funkiest artists to ever grace a stage. Today he’s gone. The family of the “Good Doctor” released a statement via his publicist, that he died of a heart attack Thursday morning.

Dr. John promotional photo courtesy of Concord Music Group

Towards the break of day June 6, iconic music legend Malcolm John Rebennack, Jr., known as Dr. John, passed away of a heart attack. As a Rock N Roll Hall of Famer, 6X Grammy winner, songwriter, composer, producer, and performer he created a unique blend of music which carried his home town, New Orleans, at its heart, as it was always in his heart. The family thanks all whom shared his unique musical journey & requests privacy at this time. Memorial arrangements will be announced in due course.

Malcolm John Rebennack, Jr., was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on November 21st, 1940. His grandfather was a minstrel singer, and several aunts, uncles, cousins and a sister all played piano. It was his father’s local influence as an appliance and record store owner that opened the doors of local recording rooms to young “Mac.”

Around the age of 13, Rebennack was first exposed to the man who would become his idol, Henry Roeland Byrd. Better known to the music world as Professor Longhair, Byrd’s piano mastery, mixed with his eclectic sense of style, burned an everlasting impression in the young teen.

Rebbenack was taught piano by his Aunt Andre, and guitar by Earl King, and several other local musicians. He wrote his first song at age 14, and two years later was hired by Johnny Vincent as an A&R man for Ace Records. His record still stands as the youngest record executive in history.

All them guys all kept me in different ways. Just like Professor Longhair did in New Orleans, Huey Smith helped me in New Orleans, Earl King helped me on the guitar. There was so many guys around. – Dr. John

An accidental shooting nearly removed his left ring finger, and Rebennack switched from guitar to piano, almost exclusively. Honing his chops in the strip clubs and bucket of blood joints in the Big Easy, his talents grew exponentially. When he moved to Los Angeles, he was a member of the Phil Spector Wall of Sound Orchestra. The group that would later be known as the “Wrecking Crew.”

Dr. John gets some love from Kiki Anderson and her snake Flash Fearless at the Municipal Auditorium in New Orleans, 1992. Photo © Joseph A. Rosen

Rebennack’s creation of his own alter ego, Dr. John Creaux the Night Tripper, launched his solo career. His debut album, Gris-Gris, failed to chart when it was released in 1968, but has since been heralded a modern masterpiece. The combination of New Orleans R&B with psychedelic rock may have taken some time to catch on with the public, but his live performances both shocked and enthralled the nation.

Since that first solo outing, Dr. John has won six GRAMMY® awards in the genres of blues, jazz, rock and pop. His guitar stylings on the Professor Longhair album Crawfish Fiesta, helped that release win the first ever W.C. Handy Award (Blues Music Award) for Blues Album of the Year. Dr. John was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2007, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011.

I ain’t tryin’ to be mister predictable. I ain’t tryin’ to be anything-able. I just wanna make music. And I want to make music to the best of my abilities. – Dr. John

Dr. John tirelessly advocated for the rebuilding of his beloved Crescent City in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He performed at benefit concerts, and released the four-song EP, Sippiana Hericane, to benefit the New Orleans Musicians Clinic, Salvation Army, and the Jazz Foundation of America.

Always quick to give credit where it was due, Dr. John always built up the musicians around him. He would perform with nearly everyone who asked. A few of these included Gregg Allman, Canned Heat, Leon Redbone, Fats Domino, and BB King. Although one of the highest points during The Band’s final concert was Dr. John’s performance of “Such a Night,” he gave huge props to Muddy Waters.

I seen Muddy Waters playing The Last Waltz. He played ‘Nine Below Zero’ the night before they filmed it. I saw every so-called badass guitar player with his jaw droopin’ and saggin’… I wish they’d filmed that. That’s the kind of things I been blessed to see. – Dr. John

He was the consummate authority on all things New Orleans. Via his Big Easy upbringing, the good doctor brought a spicy taste of NOLA to wherever he performed. His style of music, use of local street language, and ever-present apparel decorations made him a one of a kind soul.

Dancing is a very big part of all of what we do. If you don’t make people dance… what the fuck you doin’ playin’ music? – Dr. John

He was a colorful man, who used colorful lingo to get his point across. The untrained ear may not have understood his words, but there was no denying his meaning was perfectly clear. He carved the English language like a surgeon, combining words with Cajun French and Crescent City slang to create his own style of speech. Jaw-jerking, scientifical, padner, and funknology, were part of his personal lexicon.

The street language in New Orleans that inspired me was not on just any streets in New Orleans; it was the lower Ninth Ward. New Orleans has got twenty different languages floating through it, but the lower Ninth Ward is the root. I used to hear all kinds of sayings down there. Like, if you want to get a chick, or a chick wants to give a guy head, they would say, ‘I gotta get some brain salad surgery.’ I used that line in my song ‘Right Place, Wrong Time’. – Dr. John

Dr. John, the King of the Krewes is gone, and the world is a bit more dim and colorless because of it. The music he wrote and played, combined with his style and voodoo charm however, will live forever.

Dr. John

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