Category Archives: Blues News

Fresh Biscuits! New Releases For June 17, 2016

At long last our weekly roundup of new releases is back. This a great week to return, with amazing new live releases from Walter Trout and Omar Coleman, a terrific new studio album from the powerful Alexis P. Suter Band, new music from Sammy Eubanks, and at last an album that features John Primer with his road band.

Walter Trout drops the new Alive In Amsterdam while still out on the road for the Battle Scars Tour in the US and Europe, but the disc contains songs pulled from every era of Walter’s five-decade career. Walter has mesmerized guitar fans around the globe with his masterful phrases and unique style and is a three-time winner of the Overseas Artist Of The Year title at the British Blues Awards, and is also a three-time Blues Music Awards nominee. Walter is back and feeling strong after his major health issues almost ended not just his career but his life. He’s back out there ripping up on the road and now you can sample what you’ll get when you see him live.

Alexis P. Suter has been nominated twice for Blues Music Awards in the KoKo Taylor Vocalist of the year and Soul/Blues Vocalist categories. The Alexis P. Suter Band started winning fans as regular performers at Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble and have been wowing audiences at North American Roots and Blues festivals, events, and venues ever since. The intensity of this powerhouse band will continue to capture attention with All For Loving You, the follow-up to the critically acclaimed Love The Way You Roll CD.

Jim Suhler ranks among the best of Texas’ guitar slingers like Johnny Winter, Billy Gibbons and Stevie Ray Vaughan and is also a member of George Thorogood’s Destroyers. His previous Underworld Releases have been nominated for Blues Blast Music Awards. Live At The Kessler showcases Jim’s ferocious guitar skills, songwriting and his smooth vocals.

That Will Never Do is a live recording from May 2015 and is the first in long time to include John Primer’s own Real Deal Blues Band. The band features Melvin Smith on bass who played with both Koko Taylor and Lurrie Bell, Bill Lupkin on harmonica who played with all the Chicago greats, and Lenny Media on drums who played with the one and only Magic Slim.

Omar Coleman’s Live At Rosa’s Lounge showcases one of the funkiest Chicago Blues bands you’ll ever hear. If Willie Dixon wrote songs for the Meters it might get this funky. The rock and roll with intensity too and Omar’s powerful vocals and harp bring it all together.

Last this week is Sugar Me from Northwest sensation Sammy Eubanks. Sammy has won the Best Male Vocalist award 10 times in the state of Washington. He and the band have won multiple NW music awards and recognition including advancing to the semi-finals at the 2013 International Blues Challenge. Recorded in Nashville, Sugar Me highlights Sammy Eubanks vocal talents and includes guest appearance by Reese Wynans of Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble and Guitarist Bob Britt who has played with Delbert McClinton.

Lots of great new releases this week; be sure to collect them all!

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Walter Trout

Walter Trout Alive In Amsterdam

The Alexis P. Suter Band

The Alexis P. Suter Band All For Loving You

Jim Suhler & Monkey Beat

Jim Suhler & Monkey Beat Live At The Kessler

John Primer and Real Deal Blues Band

John Primer and Real Deal Blues Band That Will Never Do

Omar Coleman

Omar Coleman Live At Rosa’s Lounge

Sammy Eubanks

Sammy Eubanks Sugar Me

Check out a few tracks from these new releases with our latest Spotify Playlist

Lonnie Mack Has Passed

Lonnie Mack, July 18, 1941 – April 21, 2016

LonnieMackThe following is a press release from Alligator Records. Here at Blues Biscuits we are crushed at this news. Lonnie is one of my favorite musicians and one of a long list of players I found through Stevie Ray Vaughan. I came to appreciate Lonnie for his breadth of talent and styles. He is in the pantheon of the blues Gods for sure. Rest easy Lonnie, we’re glad you were in the band…

Groundbreaking guitarist and vocalist Lonnie Mack, known as one of rock’s first true guitar heroes, died on April 21, 2016 of natural causes at Centennial Medical Center near his home in Smithville, Tennessee. His early instrumental recordings – among them Wham! and Memphis — influenced many of rock’s greatest players, including Eric Clapton, Duane Allman, Keith Richards, Jimmy Page and especially Stevie Ray Vaughan. He was 74.

Rolling Stone called him “a pioneer in rock guitar soloing.” Guitar World said, “Mack attacked the strings with fast, aggressive single-string phrasing and a seamless rhythm style that significantly raised the guitar virtuoso bar and foreshadowed the arena-sized tones of guitar heroes to come.” The Chicago Tribune wrote, “With the wiggle of a whammy bar and a blinding run of notes up and down the neck of his classic Gibson Flying V, Lonnie Mack launched the modern guitar era.”

Drawing from influences as diverse as rhythm and blues, country, gospel and rockabilly, Mack’s guitar work continues to be revered by generation after generation of musicians. He recorded a number of singles and a total of 11 albums for labels including Fraternity, Elektra, Alligator, Epic and Capitol.

Mack was born Lonnie McIntosh on July 18, 1941 in Harrison, Indiana, twenty miles west of Cincinnati. Growing up in rural Indiana, Mack fell in love with music as a child. From family sing-alongs he developed a deep appreciation of country music, while he absorbed rhythm and blues from the late-night R&B radio stations and gospel from his local church. Starting off with a few chords that he learned from his mother, Lonnie gradually blended all the sounds he heard around him into his own individual style. He named Merle Travis and Robert Ward (of the Ohio Untouchables) as his main guitar influences, and George Jones and Bobby Bland as vocal inspirations.

He began playing professionally in his early teens (he quit school after a fight with his sixth-grade teacher), working clubs and roadhouses around the tri-state border area of Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. In 1958, he bought the guitar he would become best known for, a Gibson Flying V, serial number 7, which he equipped with a Bigsby tremolo bar. (After the release of Wham!, the tremolo bar became known worldwide as a “whammy bar”.) In addition to his live gigs, Lonnie began playing sessions for the King and Fraternity labels in Cincinnati. He recorded with blues and R&B greats like Hank Ballard, Freddie King and James Brown.

In 1963, at the end of another artist’s session, Lonnie cut an instrumental version of Chuck Berry’s Memphis. He didn’t even know that Fraternity had issued the single until he heard it on the radio, and within a few weeks Memphis had hit the national Top Five. Lonnie Mack went from being a talented regional roadhouse player to a national star virtually overnight.

Suddenly, he was booked for hundreds of gigs a year, crisscrossing the country in his Cadillac and rushing back to Cincinnati or Nashville to cut new singles. Wham!, Where There’s A Will There’s A Way, Chicken Pickin’ and a dozen other records followed Memphis. None sold as well as his first hit (though Where There’s A Will earned extensive black radio airplay before the DJs found out Lonnie was white), but there was enough reaction to keep him on the road for another five years of grueling one-nighters.

Fraternity Records went bust, but Lonnie kept on gigging, and in 1968 a Rolling Stone article stimulated new interest in his music. He signed with Elektra Records and cut three albums. Elektra also reissued his original Fraternity LP, The Wham Of That Memphis Man!. He began playing all the major rock venues, from Fillmore East to Fillmore West. Lonnie also made a guest appearance on the Doors’ Morrison Hotel album. You can hear Lonnie’s guitar solo on Roadhouse Blues preceded by Jim Morrison’s urgent ‘Do it, Lonnie! Do it!’ He even worked in Elektra’s A&R department. When the label merged with giant Warner Brothers, Lonnie grew disgusted with the new bureaucracy and walked out of his job.

Mack headed back to rural Indiana, playing back-country bars, going fishing and laying low. After six years of relative obscurity, Lonnie signed with Capitol and cut two albums that featured his country influences. He played on the West Coast for a while and even flew to Japan for a “Save The Whales” benefit. Then he headed to New York to team up with an old friend named Ed Labunski. Labunski was a wealthy jingle writer that wrote “This Bud’s For You” who was tired of commercials and wanted to write and play for pleasure. He and Lonnie built a studio in rural Pennsylvania and spent three years organizing and recording a country-rock band called South, which included Buffalo-based keyboardist Stan Szelest, who later played on Lonnie’s Alligator debut. Ed and Lonnie had big plans for their partnership, including producing an album by a then-obscure Texas guitarist named Stevie Ray Vaughan. But the plans evaporated when Labunski died in an auto accident, and the South album was never commercially released. Lonnie next headed for Canada and joined the band of veteran rocker Ronnie Hawkins for a summer. After a brief stay in Florida, he returned to Indiana in 1982, playing clubs in Cincinnati and the surrounding area.

Mack began his re-emergence on the national scene in November of 1983. At Stevie Ray Vaughan’s urging, he relocated from southern Indiana to Texas, where he settled in Spicewood. He began jamming with Stevie Ray (who proudly named Wham! as the first single he owned) in local clubs and flying to New York for gigs at the Lone Star and the Ritz. When Alligator Records approached Lonnie to do an album, Vaughan immediately volunteered to help him out. The result was 1985’s Strike Like Lightning, co-produced by Lonnie and Stevie Ray and featuring Stevie’s guitar on several tracks.

Mack’s re-emergence was a major music industry event. Keith Richards, Ron Wood, Ry Cooder and Stevie Ray Vaughan all joined Lonnie on stage during his 1985 tour. The New York Times said, “Although Mr. Mack can play every finger-twisting blues guitar lick, he doesn’t show off; he comes up with sustained melodies and uses fast licks only at an emotional peak. Mr. Mack is also a thoroughly convincing singer.”  Other celebrities — Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Paul Simon, Eddie Van Halen, Dwight Yoakam and actor Matt Dillon — attended shows during the Strike Like Lightning tour. The year was capped off with a stellar performance at New York’s prestigious Carnegie Hall with Albert Collins and the late Roy Buchanan. That show was released commercially on DVD as Further On Down The Road.

Mack recorded two more albums for Alligator, 1986’s Second Sight and 1990’s Live! Attack Of the Killer V. In between he signed with Epic Records and released Roadhouses And Dancehalls in 1988. Mack continued to tour into the 2000s. He relocated to Smithville, Tennessee where he continued writing songs but ceased active touring. In 2001 he was inducted into the International Guitar Hall Of Fame and in 2005 into the Rockabilly Hall Of Fame.

He is survived by five children and multitudes of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Check out Lonnie’s extraordinary musicianship with this Spotify playlist:

Moonshine & Mojo Hands – Blues Reality Show Coming In April

World’s First Blues Music Reality Show To Launch in April

Moonshine & Mojo Hands reunites creators of award-winning documentaries M for Mississippi and We Juke Up in Here

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(CLARKSDALE, MS) – The long-awaited premiere of the world’s first blues music reality show will take place this spring. The first episode of Moonshine & Mojo Hands: The Mississippi Blues Series will begin streaming online on Thursday, April 21 with additional episodes to debut each week. The entire 10-episode series will stream exclusively online at www.moonshineandmojohands.com.

The web series was created by Roger Stolle and Jeff Konkel, who previously teamed up on the award-winning blues documentaries M for Mississippi: A Road Trip Through the Birthplace of the Blues and We Juke Up in Here: Mississippi’s Juke Joint Culture at the Crossroads.

For the new project, the duo traveled Mississippi’s back roads in search of juke joints, house parties, barbecue, soul food, folk artists, moonshiners and – of course – the men who keep the uniquely American music form of the blues alive in the land of its birth. The show will feature a wide range of musicians both celebrated and obscure. Featured artists include James “Super Chikan” Johnson, Leo Bud Welch, Jimbo Mathus, Robert “Bilbo” Walker, Mark “Muleman” Massey, Terry “Harmonica” Bean, Lucious Spiller, Louis “Gearshifter” Youngblood and many more.

“There’s no denying that many of the towering figures in traditional blues have passed on in recent years, but there are still incredible blues musicians living and working in Mississippi if you know where to look,” Konkel said. “And we know where to look.”

Each episode of Moonshine & Mojo Hands will take viewers on a wild ride through the Mississippi Delta and Hill Country to meet the region’s most fascinating characters in truly unforgettable settings.

“There’s truly no place else on Earth quite like Mississippi,” Stolle said. “We can’t wait to introduce viewers to all of the great music, food, culture and characters that the state has to offer.”

MoonshineMojoHands-2

The series reunites Stolle and Konkel with Damien Blaylock and Lou Bopp, both of whom figured prominently in the duo’s earlier film projects. Blaylock, who served as cinematographer and editor for both M for Mississippi and We Juke Up in Here, is serving as chief editor for the new series. Bopp is reprising his role behind the camera from We Juke Up in Here.

The web series also features cinematography by Jon Michael Ryan of Tangent Mind, Inc., audio engineering by Fred Early, editing support from Jeff Brierly, graphic design support from Joey Grisham and website support from Anne Willis.

The show was made possible through support from Coahoma County Tourism, The Lofts at the Fime & Dime, Travel for Fans, Yazoo Pass Espresso Bar, Bistro & Bakery and the generous contributions of hundreds of Kickstarter supporters.

Moonshine & Mojo Hands is a joint production of Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art and Broke & Hungry Records.

MoonshineMojoHandsLogo

For more information, contact
Roger Stolle at roger@cathead.biz or
Jeff Konkel at jeff@brokeandhungryrecords.com
Photos by Lou Bopp:
1. Gospel-bluesman Leo “Bud” Welch during filming, near Calhoun City, MS.
2. RL Boyce yard party in Como, MS, with show hosts Roger Stolle (L) and Jeff Konkel (R).

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Blast Furnace Blues Festival Coming This Weekend

Robert Randolph, Charlie Musselwhite, Coco Montoya & More Headline 2016 Blast Furnace Blues Festival at SteelStacks in Bethlehem

Festival, presented by Highmark Blue Shield, set for March 11-13

CharlieMusselwhiteBlastFurnaceBETHLEHEM, PARobert Randolph & the Family Band, GRAMMY winner Charlie Musselwhite, Johnny Winter’s All Star Band, Coco Montoya and the Royal Southern Brotherhood headline the fifth Blast Furnace Blues Festival presented by Highmark Blue Shield March 11-13, 2016 at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks in Bethlehem. Three-day festival passes and single-day tickets for the event, which features 18 national and local blues artists are available at www.steelstacks.org and 610-332-3378.

On Sat., March 12, Blast Furnace Blues welcomes dynamic funk and soul group Robert Randolph & the Family Band. Named one of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” by Rolling Stone, Robert Randolph and his band first gained national attention with the release of the album Live at the Wetlands in 2002. The group has performed at festivals ranging from Bonnaroo and Austin City Limits, to Gathering of the Vibes and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, while Randolph’s guitar work has resulted in collaborations with icons such as Eric Clapton and Carlos Santana.

Prior to Robert Randolph’s set, guests will enjoy a scorchin’ performance by the Royal Southern Brotherhood featuring Cyril Neville of The Neville Brothers. Also performing is Coco Montoya, a former member of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers who’s been called “the hottest southpaw in the blues” by Guitar One Magazine.

Headlining the festival on Sun., March 13, is the one and only Charlie Musselwhite. A Blues Hall of Famer and a 2013 GRAMMY winner for Get Up!, his collaboration with Ben Harper, Musselwhite has been recording and performing for more than five decades. During his career, the legendary harmonica player has recorded and shared the stage with a who’s who of the music world including blues legends like Muddy Waters and Howling Wolf, as well as Mick Jagger, INXS, Tom Waits and the Blind Boys of Alabama.

Earlier in the day, attendees will also enjoy a special tribute to Johnny Winter as the Johnny Winter All Star Band rocks the ArtsQuest Center. This high-energy ensemble features former Johnny Winter Band members Paul Nelson on guitar and James Montgomery on vocals, performing the music of the late blues-rock guitarist. Among the other artists who will take the stage March 13 is Janiva Magness, the 2009 Blues Foundation B.B. King Entertainer of the Year and 2015 Contemporary Female Artist of the Year.

”Highmark Blue Shield is proud to once again sponsor the Blast Furnace Blues Festival, a wonderful musical event that draws blues-lovers far beyond the Lehigh Valley,” says Susan Hubley, director of community affairs at Highmark. “This year’s lineup of musicians looks as incredible as the setting at SteelStacks. We’re grateful for the opportunity to show our support for this showcase of blues talent.”

The 2016 Blast Furnace Blues Festival kicks off Fri., March 11, with an incredible night of music by some of the region’s top blues acts. Set to take the stage are Friar’s Point, Sarah Ayers Band and the Craig Thatcher Band. The festival will also offer a special blues brunch, with music by the BC Combo, March 13 at 11 a.m.

Looking for the ultimate experience at Blast Furnace Blues? The festival offers three-day VIP Packages, which include admission to the entire festival, as well as a Sunday Blues Brunch ticket, meet & greets with select headliners, commemorative poster, valet parking and more. VIP Packages, which are available in limited quantities, are only $199.

BLAST FURNACE BLUES PRESENTED BY HIGHMARK BLUE SHIELD LINEUP:
March 11
Musikfest Café presented by Yuengling
6:30 p.m. Friar’s Point
8:00 p.m. Sarah Ayers Band
9:45 p.m. Craig Thatcher Band

March 12
Musikfest Café presented by Yuengling
12:30 p.m. Ursula Ricks
1:45 p.m. Darrell Nulisch
3:15 p.m. James Armstrong
5:00 p.m. Coco Montoya
6:45 p.m. Royal Southern Brotherhood
8:30 p.m. Robert Randolph & the Family Band
Fowler Blast Furnace Room Stage
1:00 p.m. Maria Woodford Band
2:30 p.m. Toby Walker
4:15 p.m. Ursula Ricks
6:00 p.m. Darrell Nulisch
7:45 p.m. James Armstrong

March 13
Musikfest Café presented by Yuengling
11:00 a.m. The BC Combo
1:15 p.m. The Revelers
2:30 p.m. Janiva Magness
4:15 p.m. Johnny Winter All Star Band
6:00 p.m. Charlie Musselwhite
Fowler Blast Furnace Room Stage
12:30 p.m. Matt Anderson
2:00 p.m. James Supra
3:45 p.m. Matt Anderson
5:15 p.m. The Revelers

Long John Hunter Dies At 84

LongJohnHunterAlligator Records has released the following press release regarding Long John Hunter’s death on Monday:

Internationally known Texas guitar legend Long John Hunter, 84, died in his sleep at his home in Phoenix, Arizona on Monday, January 4. His signature Texas blues were fueled by his single-note solos and melodic, drawling vocals. The Los Angeles Times called him “a top notch singer, guitarist and unbridled wildman performer…a raw, feral talent bursting with energy.” During a 60-year career, he recorded seven solo albums and a number of 45s.

Long before Hunter became a world-renowned recording artist, he was already a major draw in the Beaumont/Port Arthur, Texas region, where he cut his first 45. In 1957 he headed to Juarez, Mexico where he led the house band at the rough and tumble Lobby Bar for the next 13 years. There he played for locals, cowboys, soldiers, tourists and touring musicians, including Buddy Holly, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Etta James, Albert Collins and many others. He became a mentor to a young Bobby Fuller (I Fought The Law). Twice James Brown brought his band to witness Hunter in action. The second time Brown surprisingly took the stage during a set break. Unfazed, the audience screamed for Brown and company to move on and clear the way for the return of their hero, Long John Hunter.

Hunter became regionally famous not only for his musicianship, but for his showmanship. One of his favorite tricks was to hold his guitar by the neck in one hand while continuing to play. With his free hand, he’d reach up, grab a rafter above the stage and start to swing, never missing a beat. The Lobby Bar crowd delighted in Long John’s antics, and they inspired the title of his 1997 album, Swingin’ From The Rafters.

John T. Hunter, Jr. was born in Ringgold, Louisiana on July 13, 1931 and grew up in Arkansas and Texas. He had no interest in being a professional musician until, when he was 22, co-workers at the Beaumont, Texas box factory where he worked took him to see B.B. King perform at the Raven Club. Hunter later said he was amazed at the reception King got from the crowd, especially the frenzy of the women in the audience. The next day Hunter went out and bought a guitar. That very week he put a band together and before long developed his own style, mixing swinging blues and razor sharp guitar playing reminiscent of fellow Texans Albert Collins and Gatemouth Brown, with a definite nod towards B.B. King. Less than a year later, Hunter was headlining at the Raven Club, the very same place he first saw B.B.

Hunter’s growing reputation spread to Houston, where Don Robey of Duke Records (home of Gatemouth Brown, Bobby Bland and Junior Parker) released Hunter’s first single, Crazy Baby b/w She Used To Be My Woman, in 1954. The record didn’t win Hunter a national audience, but it did generate enough interest to keep him working full time as a musician. Hunter headed for Houston in 1955 to try and capitalize on his Duke single. He played shows with Little Milton, Johnny Copeland and many others. Two years later, he moved west to El Paso. The very night Hunter arrived, he crossed the border into Juarez, Mexico and found work at the Lobby Bar where he stayed for the next 13 years. “If it didn’t happen at the Lobby Bar,” Long John often said, “it just didn’t happen in life.”

Releasing only a small number of 45s, Hunter didn’t record a full album until 1993’s Ride With Me (Spindletop, reissued by Alligator). He signed with Alligator in 1996. His label debut, Border Town Legend, brought his music and his story to the masses. With his 1997 follow-up Swingin’ From The Rafters, Hunter went from being a locally revered Texas bluesman to being an internationally touring festival headliner. In 1999 he joined his old Beaumont friends Lonnie Brooks and Phillip Walker for the Texas rave-up CD, Lone Star Shootout. The Chicago Tribune said, “Hunter embodies Texas blues in all its varied, roustabout glory like no one on the scene today.”

As his stature grew, so did his tour calendar. He played numerous high-profile concerts including The Chicago Blues Festival, South By Southwest, San Antonio Cultural Festival, Long Beach Blues Festival, as well as multiple tours of the U.S and Europe. Hunter continued to perform and record, releasing independent CDs in 2003 and 2009.

Hunter is survived by his wife Gayle and brother Tom.

Funeral information is pending.
www.ALLIGATOR.com

Fall New Releases For Your Christmas List

It’s the holiday season again and that mean gift giving. This fall there has been a treasure trove of Blues new releases and you’re sure to find something for all the Blues lovers on your shopping list and maybe even something for yourself.  Guitar fans will find Mike Zito, Walter Trout, Todd Wolfe, Tommy McCoy, Popa Chubby, Gary Clark Jr., Dave Weld, Jay Willie, Leslie West, Tommy Castro, and Arlen Roth‘s Slide Guitar Summit. Legends like Robert Cray and John Mayall have new releases. Harp fans can dig into new releases from Chris O’Leary, Harmonica Shah, Charlie Musselwhite, and an expansive collection from Ruf called Blues Harp Women. If a blues fan on your list has been very good this year you might consider getting them the omnibus 14 disc Paul Butterfield complete albums box set. You’ve been good this year right? Get yourself one too.

There’s a mess o’ blues this year so grab an eggnog, dig in deep and check out these hot new items from the last few months. Check your list twice, there’s a lot you don’t want to miss!

Andy Santana

Andy Santana & The West Coast Playboys Watch Your Step!

Anthony Geraci

Anthony Geraci & The Boston Blues All-Stars Fifty Shades Of Blue

Arlen Roth

Arlen Roth Slide Guitar Summit

Joe Bonamassa

Joe Bonamassa Live At Radio City Music Hall

Walter Trout

Walter Trout Battle Scars

Leslie West

Leslie West Soundcheck

Tommy Castro

Tommy Castro Method To My Madness

Kim Simmonds & Savoy Brown

Kim Simmonds & Savoy Brown The Devil To Pay

John Mayall

John Mayall Find A Way To Care

Mike Zito & The Wheel

Mike Zito & The Wheel Keep Coming Back

Paul Butterfield

Paul Butterfield Complete Albums: 1965-1980 14 Disc Box set

Shemekia Copeland

Shemekia Copeland Outskirts Of Love

Danielle Nicole

Danielle Nicole Wolf Den

Duke Robillard

Duke Robillard The Acoustic Blues & Roots of Duke Robillard

Joe Louis Walker

Joe Louis Walker Everybody Wants A Piece

Guy Davis

Guy Davis Kokomo Kidd

MonkeyJunk

MonkeyJunk Moon Turn Red

Various Artists

Various Artists Blues Harp Women

Jonn Del Toro Richardson

Jonn Del Toro Richardson Tengo Blues

Steve Howell & The Mighty Men

Steve Howell & The Mighty Men Friend Like Me

The  Jimmys

The Jimmys Hot Dish

Colin Linden

Colin Linden Rich In Love

King Louie & LaRhonda Steele

King Louie & LaRhonda Steele King Louie & LaRhonda Steele

Lara Price

Lara Price I Mean Business

Eric Bibb and JJ Milteau

Eric Bibb and JJ Milteau Lead Belly’s Gold

Kevin Selfe

Kevin Selfe Buy My Soul Back

Thorbjorn  Risager & The Black Tornado

Thorbjorn Risager & The Black Tornado Songs From the Road

The Claudettes

The Claudettes No Hotel

Dave Weld And The Imperial Flames

Dave Weld And The Imperial Flames Slip Into A Dream

Mitch Woods

Mitch Woods Jammin’ On the High Cs

Chris O'Leary

Chris O’Leary Gonna Die Tryin’

The Robert Cray Band

The Robert Cray Band 4 Nights of 40 Years Live

Gary Clark Jr.

Gary Clark Jr. The Story of Sonny Boy Slim

Laurence Jones

Laurence Jones What’s It Gonna Be

Harmonica Shah

Harmonica Shah If You Live To Get Old, You Will Understand

Dudley Taft

Dudley Taft Skin and Bones

Jay Willie

Jay Willie Johnny’s Juke Joint

Charlie Musselwhite

Charlie Musselwhite I Ain’t Lyin’

Dave & Phil Alvin

Dave & Phil Alvin Lost Time

Popa Chubby

Popa Chubby Big, Bad And Beautiful – Live

Nikki Hill

Nikki Hill Heavy Hearts Hard Fists

Loren Connors

Loren Connors Live In New York

Les Copeland

Les Copeland To Be In Your Company

Todd Wolfe Band

Todd Wolfe Band Long Road Back

Andy Cohen

Andy Cohen Road Be Kind

The JC Smith Band

The JC Smith Band Love Mechani

Andy Poxon

Andy Poxon Must Be Crazy!

Tommy McCoy

Tommy McCoy 25 Year Retrospective

Al Basile

Al Basile B’s Expression

Smokin’ Joe Kubek Passes Away At 58

SmokinJoeKubekBlastFurnaceSmokin’ Joe Kubek, the Dallas blues guitarist and fixture of the Dallas/Fort Worth music scene, died Sunday October 11, 2015 of a heart attack at age 58. Smokin’ Joe died shortly before he was to appear onstage at the Pleasure Island Seafood Blues & Jazz Festival in North Carolina, according to the release. Mr. Kubek was scheduled to play there Saturday afternoon with his longtime collaborator Bnois King. Sinc meeting Bnois at a 1988 jam in Dallas they have been on the road constantly, playing clubs and blues festivals around the world 10 months a year.

Smokin’ Joe Kubek was born November 30, 1956, in Grove City, PA but grew up in Irving, TX. He turned professional at age 14 and fell in love with the blues in his late teens. He went on to work with noted Dallas soul men Al “TNT” Braggs, Little Joe Blue, and, for a time, Dallas blues legend Freddie King. Mr. Kubek was about to tour with King in late 1976 when King died of a heart attack. Kubek played with other bluesmen named King — B.B. and Albert — as well as with Stevie Ray Vaughan and many others. He made many friends on the road and earned the love and respect of his fellow musicians. His passing is a big blow to the Blues community.

Please check out our review of Smokin’ Joe and Bnois’ most recent album Fat Man’s Shine Parlor.

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We have put together a playlist dedicated to Joe and Bnois, two Blues Brothers and Road Dogs who kept it revelant, real, and often raucous.

Todd Wolfe Band Live Show Review – 2nd Story Blues

ToddWolfeBand201510022ndStory-1Todd Wolfe is not a household name, except maybe at his house. He’s never sold a million records under his own name, but he’s played on a few million sellers by others including old band mate Sheryl Crow. He’s opened shows for his musical heroes and he’s shared the stage with some as well. He plays the blues, but he likes to rock out. If this was 1972 he’d probably be mentioned in the same breath as many of his heroes like Leslie West and Eric Clapton. His writing and playing are imaginative, dynamic, and underrated. In an age of iPods, BitTorrents, Kimyes, Lady Ga Gas, and radio goo-goos, Todd Wolfe has gone largely un-noticed by the masses. Maybe that’s a good thing. Todd Wolfe continues to put out honest, heartfelt roots and blues music on his own terms. He works hard, traveling the world with his band to spread his self-described “Bluesadelic” musical vision.

Like all blues related music, Todd’s often gives a nod to the past. The overall sound of the band is reminiscent of Cream, Mountain, Rory Gallagher, and even the Son Seals Blues Band of the mid to late 70’s. Todd’s sound is raw, energetic, and pure. His vocals are gritty, gutsy, and occasionally gruff. His lyrics draw on his life experiences and his innate sense of song-craft makes every tune memorable. He is adept at slide guitar, and is as comfortable with only an acoustic guitar as he is at maximum volume fronting his powerhouse band featuring Justine Gardner on bass and Roger Voss on drums.

ToddWolfeBand201510022ndStory-2Last week we had the opportunity to catch Todd Wolfe Band in the initial phase of their tour celebrating the release of their phenomenal new album Long Road Back. The show was presented by 2nd Story Blues Alliance, an organization supporting Blues and musicians in the Lehigh Valley region of eastern Pennsylvania. 2nd Story brings in national blues acts to the Epic Center in Fountain Hill, PA right next door to Bethlehem. Todd Wolfe was a long time fixture of the Lehigh Valley and the local audience was enthusiastic. Todd brought along Hammond B3 and all around keyboard wizard John Ginty, who played on and co-produced Long Road Back, plus local favorite Sarah Ayers to sing on a pair of tunes. The result was two sets of incredibly dynamic music featuring jams that pressed to the edge of the cliff and almost fell off. It was wonderful to hear and mesmerizing to watch.

Armed with a handful of guitars and a single Marshall amp, Todd immediately proved his mastery of classic riff creation leading the band through several new tracks from the new album Long Road Back. The music covered a lot of stylistic ground and John Ginty on keyboard made this formidable trio an even more powerful quartet. One of my favorite moments was the performance of the atmospheric album closer “Hoodoo River.” When I first heard this song, I thought it was missing something but I liked it anyway. The missing piece must have been my fault because it has since become one of my favorite Todd Wolfe Band tunes. It is an instrumental track wherein the second theme never seems to resolve and I have come to believe that is exactly the point of it. The keyboard and guitar jams made this tune levitate and Voss and Gardner formed a well-oiled groove machine. It was perfectly unresolved and exquisitely performed.

ToddWolfeBand201510022ndStory-3Justine Gardner and Roger Voss play telepathically and the petite Gardner makes a rumble exponentially bigger than the figure she cuts. The whole band gets deep into the music and plays toward each other much of the time. You definitely get a bird’s eye view as these talented musicians create music on the fly that they want to make, and would be making whether you were there or not. It is honest and in the moment. Their energy draws you in and the quality of the songs keeps you there. Whether it’s “Miles To Go” or “Day By Day” from the last album, or a new rocker like “One Shot,” the brisk stomp of “Sunnyvale,” the Fusion-Blues of Ginty’s “Peanut Butter,” a primal and thunderous re-imagining of Stephen Stills’ “Black Queen,” or the maximum R&B of Sarah Ayers singing “Mercy” the band went from highlight to highlight. If you miss Todd Wolfe Band live you’re missing some of the best musicians out there making music with integrity and imagination every time they take the stage.

For more pictures from the show, check out our Facebook page.

Just in case you aren’t familiar with Todd’s work, I put together a Todd Wolfe Primer playlist. Remember, Spotify is great to find new music but the artists get very little from any streaming service. If you enjoy what you hear, buy the CD or digital album. Supporting the artists is the only way to ensure you get to hear more from them in the future.

Fresh Biscuits! New Releases July 31, 2015

Holy Moley Biscuiteers! The new releases this past week are a guitar fan’s dream. Buddy Guy is possibly THE Blues guitar player of all time. From acoustic grooves to face melting electric pinwheels of blues jamming joy, Buddy can and has done it all. That’s probably why the usual Blues labels don’t have anything out this week. The album dropped just one day after Buddy’s July 30 birthday and even at 79 years young Buddy strikes fear in the hearts of pretenders to the throne. Born To Play Guitar is an obvious yet perfect title for a Buddy Guy album and he isn’t ready to stop yet. Like the title track says, “I got six strings loaded on my bad machine, show me the money and I’ll make this damn thing scream!” Yeah he will.

Grooveyard Records isn’t afraid of Buddy Guy. They have three new releases by powerhouse guitarists. Jay Jesse Johnson, Craig Erickson, and Bryce Janey all push the blues rock envelope with scorched earth, take no prisoners playing and writing. Warren Haynes is player known for his rough and tumble blues based playing too but this time around he has toned it down and recorded an album of acoustic based performances. His playing is reserved and subdued, offering gracefully delicate passages and and subtle slide licks which weave through the rich tapestry sewn by his conspirators from Railroad Earth. Other guests include Grace Potter and fellow Allmans Marc Quinones and Oteil Burbridge, plus Shawn Colvin and Mickey Raphael.

We put together a short Spotify playlist and featured a few tunes from last week’s new releases as well since not all of this week’s new albums are available on Spotify. The playlist is below the new releases list. Spotify is a great way to sample new music but if you like what you hear, please support the artists and buy the CDs or mp3s. The artists deserve to be paid for their work and streaming royalties are pretty much a joke.Also keep in mind that if you buy a CD from an artist at a show, they make almost twice as much from the sale than if you buy it through a retailer. Support live music and the artists and let’s keep this thing rollin’!

On a lighter note, we hope you find something interesting for your ears! Enjoy.

Buddy Guy

Buddy Guy Born To Play Guitar

Craig Erickson

Craig Erickson Sky Train Galaxy

Jay Jesse Johnson

Jay Jesse Johnson Set The Blues On Fire

Bryce Janey

Bryce Janey Delta Road

Warren Haynes Feat. Railroad Earth

Warren Haynes Feat. Railroad Earth Ashes & Dust

Fresh Biscuits! New Releases July 24, 2015

It’s time once again for new releases. There are a few interesting items this week. First up is a hot new record from Albert Cummings. The first time I heard this guy I didn’t know any of his songs. He arrived at Bluestock without his band, grabbed a couple volunteers to back him up and took the stage by storm (kinda like what the hurricane did to Bluestock). I was floored. I’ve been a fan ever since. For his new disc Someone Like You on Blind Pig, he worked with famed producer David Z and labelmate Jimmy Vivino who leads the Conan show’s Basic Cable Band and has spent time in Butterfield Revisited. Don’t miss this one, especially if you’re a fan of guitar driven blues.

Celebrating Muddy Waters’ centennial is Muddy Waters 100, an official and authorized tribute album featuring pretty much everyone ever. It has John Primer, Billy Branch, Gary Clark Jr., Shemekia Copeland, James Cotton, Bob Margolin, Keb’ Mo’, Derek Trucks, Johnny Winter, Vincent Bucher, Leanne Faine, Tim Gant, Khari Parker, James Teague, Steve Gibons, Keith Henderson, and the Living History Band which includes Matthew Skoller, Billy Flynn, Johnny Iguana, Felton Crews, Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith. I haven’t heard it yet but there’s a rumor that electronic drums were used on some of it. Why they would do such a horrible thing I don’t know, but hopefully it’s just a rumor. I thought I’d warn you anyway.

The latest Girls With Guitars dropped a little while back but we missed it, so in case you did too we included it this week. These are usually fun albums and spotlight talented young women making their mark in a male dominated world of guitar worship. I am one of those guitar worshipers and I always look forward to these sets. Eliana Cargnelutti, Sadie Johnson, and Heather Crosse are featured on this latest edition. Eliana Cargnelutti is an award-winning singer and guitarist. She has already shared the stage with the Crème de la Crème of the Italian blues scene and has also collaborated with renowned American jazz and blues guitarist Scott Henderson. At 18, Sadie Johnson may be the youngest musician ever on the Blues Caravan. This native of Bloomington, Indiana has proven equally adept at playing classic old-school country blues to modern-day blues-rock. Leading female artists like Samantha Fish and Susan Tedeschi have encouraged her commitment to the blues. Heather Crosse is also from the USA. She is a respected bassist from Clarksdale, Mississippi and her band Heavy Suga‘ & the SweeTones has appeared frequently at the world-famous Ground Zero Blues Club. This superb trio has upped the ante on future Girls With Guitars new releases for sure.

Beyond these, we have a new disc from Andra Faye & Scott Ballantine called Coulda Woulda Shoulda and the album Mighty Sam McClain was working on at the time of his death – Tears Of The World – with Knut Reiersrud. Lots of good stuff this week so I hope you find something interesting for your ears.

Albert Cummings

Albert Cummings Someone Like You

Andra Faye & Scott Ballantine

Andra Faye & Scott Ballantine Coulda Woulda Shoulda

Mighty Sam McClain

Mighty Sam McClain & Knut Reiersrud Tears of the World

Various Artists

Various Artists Muddy Waters 100

Eliana Cargnelutti, Sadie Johnson, Heather Crosse

Eliana Cargnelutti, Sadie Johnson, Heather Crosse Girls With Guitars