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The album was written between Nashville and his childhood home in Compton, which Keb’ recently purchased and renovated.
Five-time GRAMMY winner Keb’ Mo’ released his new full-length, Good To Be, via Rounder Records.
The album release was accompanied by the official video for the single “Good to Be (Home Again),” which made its broadcast premiere on CMT Music, CMT.com, and ViacomCBS Times Square billboards. The clip was filmed in Mo’s hometown of Compton, California, and features the famed Compton Cowboys.
“‘Good To Be (Home Again)’ feels like the title track to my life,” explains Kevin Moore, who is best known by his stage name Keb’ Mo’. “I’m so excited to share the experience of a day in my neighborhood with the Compton Cowboys.” Smiling, he says, “What’s great about Compton is you never know when someone’s going to come riding down the block on a horse.”
In 2021 Keb’ Mo’ released the album’s singles “Good Strong Woman” featuring Darius Rucker, “Sunny and Warm,” “The Medicine Man” featuring Old Crow Medicine Show, and a cover of Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me,” all of which appear on the album.
Good To Be was co-produced by Keb’ Mo’ alongside country music legend Vince Gill, who produced three of the album’s 13 tracks, and three-time GRAMMY winner Tom Hambridge (B.B. King, Buddy Guy). Darius Rucker, Kristin Chenoweth, and Old Crow Medicine Show all make guest appearances on the album.
The album was written between Nashville and his childhood home in Compton, which Keb’ recently purchased and renovated. He often found himself reflecting on the idea of home and contemplating what it means to belong and what it takes to stay true to yourself. “You can’t bring an attitude to Compton,” reflects Keb’. “You can’t pose. You can’t be anything but real when you’re walking down the same streets you used to ride your bike on as a kid. In a lot of ways, coming back there felt like it completed me.”
Peter Veteska & Blues Train Start 2022 On a Roll With ‘So Far So Good’
American Blues Scene Staff
Hard work and dedication have paid off for Peter Veteska and his Blues Train with ‘So Far So Good.’ This group of top-flight Jersey Shore musicians are certainly on a roll.
Everything is full steam ahead for New York Blues Hall of Fame inductee Peter Veteska and Blues Train, who have released six albums in seven years. Following the internationally acclaimed 2021 release, Grass Ain’t Greener On The Other Side, which was chosen by Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Foundation as their entry in the best self-produced record competition at the 2022 International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis TN, Veteska & company return with So Far So Good, a twelve-track album on Blue Heart Records featuring eight dynamic originals.
The guys once again teamed up with Joseph DeMaio at Shorefire Recording Studios – New Jersey’s longest running recording studio. The stalwart trio of Veteska on guitar and vocals with Coo Moe Jhee on bass and drummer Alex D’Agnese, invited revolving bandmates keyboard ace Jeff Levine together with friends Garry Neuwirth, Mikey Junior, Roger Girke, Rick Prince and Jenny Barnes, session horn players Tommy LaBella, Steve Jankowski, and Doug DeHays and more to join in the sessions early 2021.
D’Agnese leads the charge with a thundering drum roll kicking off a set of rambunctious blues and roots rock on the driving opening track “Done With Bad Luck.” Levine leads the slow blues testimony “I ‘ve Got The Blues This Morning,” with deft piano and Veteska spars with powerhouse vocalist and Jersey girl Jenny Barnes during the Chicago shuffle “I Miss You So.” He then declares his loyalty and inspiration for his art on “My One And Only Muse,” bolstered by hot blues harp from Mickey Junior, who also joins him for a romp through the saucy James Cotton Rhumba “Young Bold Woman,” paying tribute to the blues legend.
The swinging “Lovin’ Oven” features greasy Hammond B3 from Levine and Derek “Slim”Matterson on harmonica. Guitar Slim’s 1956 classic, ”You Give Me Nothing But The Blues,” is transformed into a horn driven soul blues tête-à-tête with Veteska and Barnes stepping onto the roles of Dinah Washington and Brook Benton for the radio ready showstopper. Veteksa then lets his guitar do most of the talking as he digs in to the twelve-bar meditation “ Low Down Dirty Blues.”
The house party continues as Levine and Junior strut their stuff on the Johnnie Johnson Kansas City Jump Blues “Baby Please.” Paul Boddy rips on slide guitar during the Delaware Destroyers’styled road boogie “East Coast Blues,” before the crew stretches out and trades solos on the funky title track “So Far So Good.” The final track, “Can’t We All Get Along,” takes a page from the Marvin Gaye playbook and concludes the album with a plea for unity in a troubled world set to a smooth bed of soulful R&B.
After a long hiatus from the music scene, lead guitar man and vocalist Veteska formed the original Peter V Blues Train in late 2013. In 2015 the band released its first album, Peter V Blues Train, which the Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Foundation selected to send to IBC in Memphis. By 2016, they had followed up quickly with another release, On Track, at which time the New York Blues Hall of Fame inducted Veteska.
While playing venues like the legendary B.B. King’s in New York City and festivals throughout the tri-state area in 2017, the band released its third recording, Running Out Of Time, which reached RMR’s Top 10 and garnered glowing reviews from across the world.
Shaken But Not Deterred, released in 2018, peaked at Number #3 on RMR. In 2018 through 2019 Peter V Blues Train had two albums in the Top 100 RMR contemporary blues category and charted in 14 countries worldwide.
Peter, along with Blues Train drummer Alex D’Agnese and bass player Coo Mo Jhee, began work on the band’s fifth music project in 2019, while performing as far north as Rockland, Maine and as far south as Brooksville, Florida at the Camping With The Blues Festival. Grass Ain’t Greener On The Other Side released in late 2020, features guest artists from New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania and includes six original tracks as well as four reinterpreted blues classics.
Now performing and recording as Peter Veteska & Blues Train, the band’s latest release on Blue Heart Records reflects a return to a purer blues sound and a departure from previous albums that were rooted in the blues but in infused with elements of jazz and rock.
Right now, So Far So Good is charting at #4 on the Roots Music Report charts and the song “You Give Me Nothing But the Blues” is #8 on BB King’s Bluesville’s Rack of Blues.
Hard work and dedication have paid off for Peter Veteska and his Blues Train with So Far So Good. This group of top-flight Jersey Shore musicians are certainly on a roll.
‘Bloor Street’ Review: Actor Kiefer Sutherland Writes What He Knows
In songwriter mode, Kiefer Sutherland writes what he knows. He takes a walk down ‘Bloor Street’ and you almost feel like you are walking along with him.
Bloor Street, out today, is Kiefer Sutherland’s third album in five years. It follows 2016’s Down In A Hole and 2019’s Reckless & Me. The first two were predominantly country oriented. His third album has a country flavor to it as well but is R&R laced, seasoned with Americana and a dash of R&B tossed in. Yes, we are talking about the same Kiefer Sutherland who played a bully in the movie Stand By Me, the hardboiled counter terrorist agent Jack Bauer in 24, and reluctant politician turned president Tom Kirkland in Designated Survivor.
Songwriters should write what they know. In songwriter mode, Kiefer Sutherland writes what he knows, and what he knows is the city of Toronto. The title of the album is derived from the street where he got his first job as a dishwasher in a food court, had his first meaningful kiss at the entrance to the subway, and got beat up for first time while doing something stupid. It also is the title of the first single released from the album.
He takes a walk down Bloor Street and you almost feel like you are walking along with him. It is a story about returning home. It is a reunion of sorts, one he has mixed feelings about. “I mean, there’s been moments that I’ve loved Toronto,” he says, “and there’s been moments that Toronto has taken a piece out of me, you know, and so I have this back-and-forth thing with Toronto.”
All the same, Sutherland may live in Los Angeles now but he knows where home is. “They say you can never go home. This song, for me, says in your heart you never leave.” Perhaps that is why he hears the city whisper to him, “Baby, don’t go.”
Sutherland also knows what it is like to be on the wrong side of a jail cell. He did 48 days in a California prison in 2007 for drunk driving. The experience, along with others from a more reckless time in his life, was the catalyst for “County Jail Gate.”
“Two tons of steel grinding on the wheel is a sound you’ll never mistake. As the buzzer rings you’re gonna feel the sting as they open the county jail gate.” It is a sound he will never forget. Not surprisingly, the song is not about how cool it is to go to jail. In Sutherland’s words the song’s message is simple: “Don’t do this or you’re gonna feel like an absolute moron.”
“Two Stepping In Time” is an unabashed love song. Despite the cliché line “I will love you forever,” the song really isn’t cliché at all. It starts out with a picture of “cigarettes in the ash tray” and “empty glasses of whiskey (that) show the passage of time.” Dancing around the kitchen island with no one left to stare could have the song taking place after an evening party. Yet, the passage of time also could be a lifetime together. It is a song with many layers.
The R&B entry is “Goodbye,” a song about knowing when it’s time to move on, when you get tired of living a lie. “Nothing Left To Say” is another song about a love affair coming to end. “We both know we tried but we have nothing left to say.”
“Chasing The Rain” is about life on the road with the backup band and missing a loved one. Does that lead to a time when there is nothing left to say? “So Full Of Love” was written during the pandemic when Sutherland realized he had a lot to be thankful for. “I woke up humming that melody, then I’m in the shower, singing it,” he told The Sun. “So when I went to dry off at the kitchen island, where I write a lot of songs, half of me was laughing, thinking this is the most corny thing I’ve ever written.”
“So Full Of Love” is an expression of gratefulness, kindness, and humility. Fittingly, it also is a tribute to his mother, actress and activist Shirley Douglas, who passed away in April 2020 at the start of the pandemic.
Sutherland wrote all the songs on Bloor Street, three-quarters of them during the pandemic. He brings to mind hints of Don Henley, Bryan Adams, Tom Petty, and others, yet the stories he tells are uniquely his. And make no mistake about it – Sutherland is a storyteller. The album was produced and mixed by the multiple GRAMMY-winner Chris Lord-Alge – known for his work with Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood – and is well worth a listen.
Provogue/Mascot Present ‘Theme For an Imaginary Western’ Ahead of ‘Legacy: A Tribute To Leslie West’ Release
When Leslie West passed away in December of 2020, he left behind a towering legacy of epic recordings that few rock guitarists can match.
Provogue Records / Mascot Label Group have presented a new lyric video to the classic Mountain hit “Theme For An Imaginary Western” in front of the March 25th release of Legacy: A Tribute To Leslie West. The recording features Twisted Sister bandmates Dee Snider on vocals and Eddie Ojeda on guitar, with Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater / Flying Colors) on drums alongside Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot/Ozzy Osbourne) on bass.
Snider was a dear friend of Leslie West for decades, and shares, “Leslie was a hero, friend, amazing guy and a guitar god. I always wanted to sing this song. It’s my favorite Leslie West guitar solo. It resonates with me, and speaks to me on so many levels. I’m honored to have gotten a chance to do it on this record.”
When Leslie West passed away in December of 2020, he left behind a towering legacy of epic recordings that few rock guitarists can match. But there was more to West than great songs (although, to be sure, he created a ton of them); there was his brilliant, idiosyncratic sound, a gargantuan earth-mover that razed arenas and stadiums across the globe. More than just paralyzing tone, though, he also had a touch nobody could beat. Stinging, swooning and sensual melodies leapt from his fingertips – with a deft flick of his wrist, he sounded like a Delta bluesman had picked up a violin. These elements and more helped to make West one of the most significant, influential and irreplaceable guitarists of the rock era.
Friends, and many whom were influenced by the loved West, have contributed to this special release. Amongst those who performed are Dee Snider and Twisted Sister bandmate Eddie Ojeda, Robby Krieger, Slash, Zakk Wylde, Yngwie Malmsteen, Randy and Tal Bachman, Jethro Tull’s Martin Barre, Joe Lynn Turner, Blackberry Smoke’s Charlie Starr, The Cars’ Elliot Easton, George Lynch, Marty Friedman, Steve Morse, Dirty Honey’s Mark Labelle, Mike Portnoy, and West’s band members Bobby Rondinelli and Rev Jones. The release will be available on LP and CD, digitally, and as a web shop exclusive limited LP variation manufactured with digital.
“We were so blessed to be working with home-run hitters on each song,” says Bob Ringe, “but each one underscores the fact that Leslie is the true MVP. This record really shows that his work stands the test of time. When I listen to the album, it makes me look up to the sky, and I can just see that big mountain of a man, Leslie West, with a smile on his face going, ‘This makes me feel good.’”
For her part, Jenni West sums the album up thusly: “Nobody in this world has ever made me feel loved as much as Leslie, and I feel so honored and grateful that I could give him this gift.” She laughs. “He would often say, ‘If it doesn’t make my balls rumble, it’s not right.’ And I think there’s some balls-rumbling tones on this record! When you’re listening to it, you might even think it’s Leslie playing – and that’s a good thing. He really believed that adage of imitation being the sincerest form of flattery. Even when some of the players do their own twists on the music, they’re still doing it in a way that’s authentic and respectful, and Leslie would have appreciated that.”
Michael Lee Aday AKA Meat Loaf (September 27, 1947 – January 20, 2022)
Singer Meat Loaf, perhaps most beloved for rock opera Bat Out of Hell, has died aged 74. The news was confirmed in a statement on his Facebook page.
“Our hearts are broken to announce that the incomparable Meat Loaf passed away tonight with his wife Deborah by his side. Daughters Pearl and Amanda and close friends have been with him throughout the last 24 hours.”
Cher tweeting, “Had So Much Fun With Meatloaf When We Did ‘Dead Ringer,’ Am Very Sorry For His Family, Friends, & Fans. Am I imagining It, or Are Amazing Ppl In The Arts Dying every other Day.”
Photo credit: Michael Ochs / Getty Images
1977’s Bat Out of Hell and 1993’s Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell were the wide-ranging singer’s two biggest albums, yielding hit singles “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That),” “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” and “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad.”
Meat Loaf won a GRAMMY for Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance in 1993 for the song “I’d Do Anything for Love.” He also appeared in several television shows and films, including cult classics Wayne’s World, Fight Club, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
The singer previously stated that physical problems affected his ability to perform. In November, he acknowledged he had four back surgeries and would be back in the studio in 2022. He said, “The back surgeries hurt everything. Before the back surgeries I was still trying to do shows, that’s when some of you saw or heard of me collapsing on stage and finally stopping the tour in the UK.
“I couldn’t hit high notes because of back pain. Not a slight back pain. Pain that would bring you to your knees.”
Steve Vai and Ibanez Present Three-Neck Guitar The Hydra
“The conception and construction of the instrument was a monumental feat of creativity…” – Steve Vai
Steve Vai and Ibanez have revealed The Hydra. This one-of-a-kind instrument is the realized vision of a collaboration that’s been five years in the making. It is a beast of an instrument – a one-bodied, two-headstocked, three-necked creature that encompasses, among other things: 7 and 12-string guitars; a 4-string ¾ scale length bass; 13 sympathetic harp strings; half-fretless necks; single-coil, humbucking, piezo, MIDI and sustainer pickups; floating and hardtail tremolo bridges; phase splitters; and much, much more.
Director Garson Yu and his team at yU+co were brought on to capture a deep look into this magnificent creation:
Steve Vai offers, “We absolutely respected this instrument by having the brilliant Garson Yu and his team at yU+co create this phenomenal Hydra reveal video. The guitar geek in me is stunned every time I see it. This video captures the splendor and mystique of the Hydra in intimate detail. The conception and construction of the instrument was a monumental feat of creativity by a whole group of inspired people, and I could not be more happy with the way this video came out. Imagine being a half an inch tall and exploring the Hydra as an adventurer. It would be like exploring an alien planet. Sign me up!”
yU+co’s Garson Yu shares, “When I first saw the instrument at Steve’s studio, I was stunned. I thought this was a creation that didn’t belong here on earth— it looked Extraterrestrial to me. When Steve played a track that he composed with the Hydra, I told him that it sounds so transparent and open, complex and spiritual on many levels. When we were filming, I put the guitar on the turntable and looked through the lens: It looked like an alien spaceship. It’s epic. I told myself we need to create a video that has the same transcendent feeling of this instrument. My team and I are honored to be part of it.”
Ibanez Artist Relations Manager Mike Orrigo states, “The Hydra, as Mr. Vai has appropriately dubbed it, started off as a concept that Steve approached Ibanez with several years ago. While it was understood then that the task to turn Steve’s vision into reality would be a tremendous undertaking, we were undeterred by the challenge. Fueled by Steve’s inspiration, our team of designers, engineers, and luthiers worked tirelessly together in order to create a truly one-of-a-kind instrument, remaining as true to the initial vision as possible. This incredible reveal video, produced by yU+co, perfectly captures the same feeling of awe and amazement that this magnificent beast of an instrument imparts on to all who are able to witness it in person!”
On January 28, the day of the release of Vai’s new studio album, a one-of-one NFT of the Hydra reveal video will be auctioned via OpenSea. The highly coveted collectible features the video, plus unlockable bonus content that will be revealed to the buyer. Additional assets will be added over time for the winner to access. The opening bid has been set at 1 ETH. Once the auction is live, interested parties can access to bid here.
This is Steve Vai’s first foray in to the NFT space. There is consideration to broaden offerings in the future encompassing a deeper initiative to continue collectible drops focused on his vast collection of iconic instruments played throughout his career. Keep an eye on Vai.com for more detail.
“I feel this instrument has the potential to be historical. It’s unique in various ways and its construction is inspired. And there’s a song that was written on it that honors the potential of the instrument. This Hydra reveal video is the first video made that intimately details many of the unique aspects this guitar embodies.” says Vai.
Over the course of a more than 40-year career, Steve Vai has routinely transformed what would appear to be outrageously impossible into something very, very possible… and still also pretty outrageous. From his days as Frank Zappa’s “stunt guitar” player to his more recent expansive and exploratory solo work, Vai has continually challenged notions of traditional guitar playing and composition – and on more than one occasion even reimagined the very instrument itself.
Vai’s Inviolate is a nine-song opus that pushes the boundaries of instrumental guitar music. The body of work presents his most focused, streamlined and perhaps invigorating music in years. “It’s very ‘Vai,’ whatever that means,” he says, and then laughs. “Someone else might be better than me at explaining what that is. But it’s just very honest music. Because a lot of my records, they’re long and there’s a lot of concepts and playing around with stories. This one has none of that. This is nine pretty dense all-instrumental compositions that I wanted to capture and record so I could get out there and play them live for people.”
Ellis Avenue Renamed After Mississippi Blues Great Bobby Rush
American Blues Scene Staff
Ellis Avenue is now Bobby Rush Boulevard!
Mississippi’s capital, Jackson, is renaming one of its major streets for blues legend Bobby Rush, WLBT-TV reported. The musician, composer and singer has won two Grammy Awards for best traditional blues album — one in 2016 and one in 2020.
The Jackson City Council voted Tuesday to rename Ellis Avenue to Bobby Rush Boulevard, the name change to take effect in a month. Rush, a Lousiana native, moved to Jackson in the 1980s.
He spoke to the Jackson City Council in April when a member first proposed renaming the street for him. He said he and his family faced racism in the Jim Crow South.
“I remember three white guys, two riding a horse and one guy leading a horse, when my daddy was getting hay out of a barn as a Black man. They asked my mom, ’What are you doing with this n-word?’” Rush said. He said his mother replied that she is also Black.
“She had to go into the store and prove she was a Black woman to save my daddy’s life,” Rush explained.
Sugaray Rayford Unveils New Track ‘Please Take My Hand’
American Blues Scene Staff
In “Please Take My Hand,” Rayford raises the voices of generations who’ve struggled and persevered with love in the face of oppression, accompanied only by a spare bass drum, handclaps, and cowbell.
Sugaray Rayford released “Please Take My Hand” — the latest single off of In Too Deep, Rayford’s new full-length, dropping March 4, 2022, via Forty Below Records.
In “Please Take My Hand,” Rayford raises the voices of generations who’ve struggled and persevered with love in the face of oppression, accompanied only by a spare bass drum, handclaps, and cowbell.
This song is about unity regardless of color, religion, race, or creed. We all live on the same planet, so we are all brothers and sisters.
A modern take on retro-soul, In Too Deep explores the themes of love, loneliness & pertinent social issues of today. The album features the partnership between the soul-blues powerhouse and producer/songwriter Eric Corne. The pair’s first collaboration, Somebody Save Me, earned Rayford a 2020 Grammy nomination. Later that year, Rayford took home Blues Music Awards for ‘Soul Blues Male Artist’ and ‘B.B. King Entertainer of the Year.’
The summer of 2021 saw the release of the adventurous single “Homemade Disaster.” The song found its home on multiple retro-soul and new blues playlists on Spotify.
In Too Deep opens with “Invisible Soldier,” a song inspired by the 10-year Marine veteran’s struggles with insomnia from PTSD. The track serves as a reminder that our cities and communities are full of veterans struggling with the aftershocks of war and how it’s invisible to most fellow citizens because they’re in plain clothes.
Rayford is a dynamic performer known to put his band through its paces with abrupt feel and style changes. He thrives on funky up-tempo grooves, as evident in another standout song, “Miss Information.”
Rayford reveals a whole other side on the soulful and sensual “No Limit to My Love.” The track features expressive orchestral harp, horns, flutes, and strings along with some of the funkiest lead guitar this side of Bobby Womack, courtesy of Eamon Ryland. It could fit just as easily next to Silk Sonic as Bobby Blue Bland.
“Golden Lady of the Canyon” is a lush soul-country flavored ballad infused with strings, horns, and Stax-style guitar work by Mavis Staples’ bandleader Rick Holmstrom. Rayford’s soulful croon rising and falling plaintively; it’s sure to please fans of the title track from his Grammy-nominated album, Somebody Save Me.
While not mentioned directly, you can view many of the songs through the lens of the pandemic. Such is the case with the Jackson 5-reminiscent, Gospel-tinged “Gonna Lift You Up”; “Outta breath/Outta luck/The mountain’s steep/And you feel stuck/Don’t be broken-hearted/The world is just in flux/Keep on movin’/Don’t ever give up/Gonna Lift You Up.”
Corne’s production paints unique vignettes with each arrangement to suit the mood of the lyric and Rayford’s deft interpretations and portrayals. Corne enlisted some serious heavyweight friends to help him orchestrate the strings and horns on the record, with violinist Eric Gorfain (Dionne Warwick, REM) and from Rayford’s current band saxophonist Aaron Liddard (Amy Winehouse), respectively. Also on hand are three mainstays of Corne’s studio work, Taras Prodaniuk (Lucinda Williams), Matt Tecu (Jacob Dylan), and Sasha Smith (Priscilla Ahn,) along with Rayford’s live Musical Director Drake “Munkihaid” Shining.
Rayford’s live shows are wild dance parties, but in essence, he is a galvanizing uniter. Some conversations may be had, and some self-reflection may occur, but people leave feeling a sense of joy and togetherness at the end of the day. This shines through on the album’s closer, the slinky, funky “United We Stand.” Then, as the album fades, Rayford takes us home with concert banter and good vibes, a feeling that lingers, tempting the listener to hit play again.
Listen to Bob Corritore & Friends’ New Single ‘Mean Old Frisco’ ft. T-Model Ford
American Blues Scene Staff
Singer-guitarist T-Model Ford digs into a perfect bit of pure, unpolished down-home blues on “Mean Old Frisco,” the new single from Bob Corritore & Friends!
Harmonica player/producer Bob Corritore lovingly assembled a collection of old school down-home Southern blues and juke joint dance numbers, the rough-edged predecessors to modern Chicago Blues, all recorded between 1995 and 2012 and drawn from his vast vault of recordings.
When the 25-year-old Bob Coritore moved from Chicago to Phoenix Arizona in 1981, he never expected to be creating a Southwestern Mecca for the Blues — it just worked out that way. Bob was soon joined by old friend Louisiana Red, and before long they were playing all over town.
Drummer Chico Chism soon followed. Bob started doing a weekly blues radio show, and in 1991 he opened the now legendary blues club the Rhythm Room. He would book his favorite down-home blues artists at the Rhythm Room, and while these artists were in town he would offer a recording session to accompany the booking. The end results were numerous amazing performances captured for posterity and finally available to the public for the first time via Bob’s From The Vaults Series.
The most astonishing thing about Bob is the scores of top bluesmen he has produced, supported and played alongside over the years. Folks like Bo Diddley, Pinetop Perkins, Ike Turner and Eddy Clearwater to name just a few. Corritore is recognized as one of the top traditional blues harmonica players in the world.
This album features exuberant performances by Honeyboy Edwards, T-Model Ford, Henry Townsend, Big Jack Johnson, Robert “Bilbo” Walker, Smokey Wilson, Tomcat Courtney, Dave Riley, Pecan Porter, & Al Garrett. Of all these featured Artists only one of them, Dave Riley, is still alive today. All but one track on this album are previously unreleased.
On the new track, “Mean Old Frisco,” legendary Delta singer-guitarist T-Model Ford digs into a perfect bit of pure, unpolished down-home blues. Ford takes liberties with the song structure, running on pure emotion as harmonica ace Corritore complements his every line.
“When Randy and I started out playing blues joints and bars in San Francisco in the early 90s, we had no idea what kind of a ride we were in for. I’ve always been inspired by all the old blues guys and now I’m one of them. I look forward to the next 30 years!” – Tommy Castro
Internationally beloved blues and roots rock guitarist, singer and songwriter Tommy Castro announced dates for his 2022 30th Anniversary Tour, celebrating his new album, the critically and popularly acclaimed Tommy Castro Presents A Bluesman Came To Town. 2022 marks Castro’s 30th year as a bandleader as well as his 30-year association with bassist Randy McDonald. Castro is also celebrating the 10th anniversary of the formation of his current band, Tommy Castro & The Painkillers, with McDonald, drummer Bowen Brown and keyboardist Michael Emerson.
Live, the band will perform material from A Bluesman Came To Town, along with fan favorites from throughout Castro’s long career. The new album is a roots music odyssey. Through its 13 songs, Castro tells the tale of a young man, working on his family farm, who gets bitten by the blues bug. He masters the guitar and heads out on the road seeking fame and fortune, only to find what he’s left behind is the treasure he’s been looking for. “A Bluesman Came To Town isn’t a story about me,” says Castro. “It’s pulled from some of my friends’ and my experiences, though. I’ve seen first-hand for a lot of years what it’s like out there on the road.”
The road is where Castro has made his mark over the past three decades. Talking about his 30 years as a bandleader, Castro says, “When Randy and I started out playing blues joints and bars in San Francisco in the early 90s, we had no idea what kind of a ride we were in for. I’ve always been inspired by all the old blues guys and now I’m one of them. I look forward to the next 30 years!” McDonald adds, “We’ve lasted longer than all our marriages combined, and we’re still rockin’ somewhere nearly every night.”
The two have performed over 6000 shows together, including three seasons as the house band for NBC’s Comedy Showcase, two summer-long tours with B.B. King and Buddy Guy, 40 music cruises (including 33 consecutive sold-out Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruises), and many of the world’s largest music festivals. They have shared stages with legends including John Lee Hooker, Carlos Santana, Bob Weir, Greg Allman, Dr. John, Willie Nelson, Jeff Beck, Joe Bonamassa, Elvin Bishop, Charlie Musselwhite, Magic Dick of The J. Geils Band, Taj Mahal and Los Lobos.
Throughout his long, constantly evolving career, Castro has always remained true to himself while exploring, growing and creating new music, and he has taken his thousands of devoted fans right along with him. Ranging from horn-fueled R&B to piping hot blues to fiery, stripped-down rock ‘n’ roll, each of his 16 albums is solidly built on Castro’s unshakable musical foundation—a dynamic mix of 1960s-influenced guitar-fueled blues, testifying Memphis-soaked blue-eyed soul and Latin-tinged East San Jose funk, all driven by Castro’s grab-you-by-the-collar vocals and passionate guitar work.
Castro joined Warner Brothers’ artists The Dynatones in the late 1980s, performing all over the country. While in the band, he met and befriended McDonald. With McDonald on bass, Castro formed the first Tommy Castro Band in 1992 and has not stopped touring since. In 1995, soon after releasing his first album on Blind Pig Records, The Tommy Castro Band was selected as the house band for three seasons on NBC Television’s Comedy Showcase (airing right after Saturday Night Live). The show brought him in front of millions of viewers every week and cemented his reputation as a not-to-be-missed, nationally touring live performer.
After a series of successful releases on the Blind Pig, Telarc and 33rd Street labels, Tommy Castro joined Alligator Records in 2009. His label debut, Hard Believer, was released to massive popular and critical acclaim. With the album, Castro won four of his six career Blues Music Awards, including the coveted B.B. King Entertainer Of The Year Award (the very highest award a blues performer can receive).
In 2012, Castro formed The Painkillers and released The Devil You Know. The album was embraced by his legion of fans and discovered by hordes of new ones. He released Method To My Madness in 2015, Stompin’ Ground in 2017, and the irresistible Killin’ It–Live in 2019, with critics shouting praise and admirers cheering the group’s every move. The band has coalesced into one of the telepathically tightest units Castro has ever assembled, delivering soul-shaking, muscular music that makes them one of the most in-demand live roots music acts performing today.
Castro’s relentless road-dog approach—gig after gig, night after night—has won him loyal, lifelong fans everywhere he plays.
During the 30th Anniversary Tour, Castro will be teaming up with some other heavy hitters. In Sacramento on March 12th, Castro will co-bill with Elvin Bishop for the Badass Blues Package. On 19 stops, Deanna Bogart will be his special guest, including on a co-bill with Walter Trout in Alexandria, Virginia on April 4th. As the tour rolls through 4 stops in Texas, Marcia Ball will be joining the co-bill.
Music Maker Foundation to Release Legendary Beverly “Guitar” Watkins Set, Premieres ‘Red Mama Blues’
American Blues Scene Staff
Premiering exclusively today is the slow-burning “Red Mama Blues,” named for Watkin’s guitar. ‘In Paris’ out March 18 via Music Maker Foundation!
Three years after her passing, Beverly “Guitar” Watkins’ first live album, In Paris, will be released by Music Maker Foundation on March 18. A rare touring female guitarist on the chitlin circuit – releasing her first solo album at 60 and playing Lincoln Center at 74 – Watkins played with James Brown, B.B. King, and Ray Charles. The New York Times noted that she captivated crowds by “playing her electric guitar on her back and behind her head, sliding across the stage. When she sang, it was often with a growl.”
She nicknamed her guitars Red Mama and Sugar Baby, releasing debut solo album Back In Business at the age of 60, earning a W.C. Handy Blues Award nomination, and opening a 42-date tour for Taj Mahal. Watkins plays harmonica on one track. The recording, made to a rapturous crowd in 2012, also features Albert White (Elvin Bishop, Clarence Carter, Ben E. King, Ray Charles, Joe Tex) on guitar, Eddie Tigner (leader of the Ink Spots) on organ and piano, and Lil Joe Burton (Tex, Bobby Womack, Otis Clay, B.B. King) on trombone. She pays tribute to Ray Charles here with a rendition of “What’d I Say.”
“This lady is a flat-out musician who can duke it out onstage with the best there is — man, woman, or child prodigy.” Mahal said. “I’m still feeling the effects, and have some great memories of touring the country and playing onstage with her.”
Premiering exclusively today is the slow-burning “Red Mama Blues,” named for the guitar with which Watkins dazzled the audience without fail. Of the storied singer-songwriter/guitarist, Tim Duffy of Music Maker Foundation tells ABS:
Beverly Guitar Watkins off stage appeared to be a proper church lady, but when she took the stage Beverly transformed, prowling the stage, chasing fiery blues guitar and stirring the crowd up into a frenzy.
Canadian Blues Musician Matt Andersen Shares Soulful Track ‘Other Side of Goodbye’
American Blues Scene Staff
For his latest long-player, the laid-bare ‘House to House,’ Matt Andersen brings it all back home with the sweet chemistry that only a voice and guitar alone, together, can conjure
Commanding blues guitarist and singer-songwriter Matt Andersen sets the stage for his upcoming release, House to House, with the formidable album opener “Other Side of Goodbye,” out today. The strong, compelling track showcases Andersen’s complex, deep vocal range while he honestly laments the end of a relationship. About the song, Andersen notes, “Breaking up is sometimes the easiest part, the hardest part is moving on.”
Just as comfortable delivering a tender ballad as he is flying high on gospel or belting the blues, on House to House Andersen delivers a body of work that is expansive, rich and varied.
Andersen’s masterful voice is the highlight of House to House as he moves through thunderous notes, intimate moments and everything in between. The boldness of “Other Side of Goodbye” leans into the softer love song “Let Me Hold You.”
The upbeat “Time for the Wicked to Rest” offers gospel-infused folk, while the sparse ballad “See This Through” is a quiet, thoughtful take on a struggling relationship. And a poignant, soulful cover of the Curtis Mayfield classic “People Get Ready” brings the album to a moving close.
House to House is Andersen’s first solo studio record, continuing a rich career as one of the more captivating songwriters and engaging performers in modern roots music. He has earned every fan through decades of touring across the globe, from small dim lit clubs to majestic theaters and major festivals.
He has amassed over 18 million streams on Spotify and 18 million views on YouTube. House to House is Andersen’s 9th studio album and follows Halfway Home By Morning from 2019.
Light in the Attic and Angel Olsen Celebrate Karen Dalton with Cover of ‘Something on Your Mind’
American Blues Scene Staff
Light in the Attic continues 50th anniversary celebration for Karen Dalton’s masterpiece ‘In My Own Time’ with new single featuring Angel Olsen covering singer’s iconic interpretation of “Something On Your Mind” (out today as part of LITA’s ongoing 7” vinyl and digital singles ‘Cover Series’)
As part of their 50th anniversary celebration for Karen Dalton’s 1971 masterpiece, In My Own Time, celebrated archival reissue label Light in the Attic(LITA) released a new single today (1/13) featuring North Carolina-based Angel Olsencovering the singer’s iconic “Something on Your Mind.”
Written by Dino Vallenti, the track was originally found on Dalton’s second album, In My Own Time. The single is the latest installment from LITA’s on-going 7” vinyl and digital singles Cover Series, featuring the labels favorite artists covering their favorite artists’ songs. The single was pressed at Third Man Pressing, with artwork by Los Angeles-based fine artist Robbie Simon.
Previous releases from the Cover Series include: musician, poet, and author Leslie Winer collaborating with Manchester-born composer Maxwell Sterling on a truly gorgeous cover of Tim Buckley’s 1967 forlorn love song “Once I Was,” Bill Callahan & Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy covering Johnnie Frierson’s beautiful and inspiring tune “Miracles,” BADBADNOTGOOD with Jonah Yano covering “Key To Love (Is Understanding)” by Milwaukee’s funk/soul pioneers Majestics, Charles Bradley & the Menahan Street Band covering Sixto Rodriguez’s “I’ll Slip Away,” Mac DeMarco covering Haruomi Hosono’s “Honey Moon,” and Iggy Pop & Zig Zags transforming Betty Davis’ dirty funk track “If I’m In Luck I Might Get Picked Up” into a heavy Sabbath grind, amongst many others. Click here to revisit past singles from the series.
LITA’s anniversary edition of In My Own Time — a true masterpiece by one of music’s most mysterious, enigmatic, and enduringly influential artists; featuring Dalton’s interpretations of songs such as “Are You Leaving for the Country,” “When a Man Loves a Woman,” “Katie Cruel,” and her posthumously recognized signature performance of “Something on Your Mind” — is due out March 25th and available now to pre-order in multiple formats (including a Standard Editionand the bonus-filled Super Deluxe Edition).
Expanding exponentially upon LITA’s critically acclaimed 2006 reissue of the album (co-produced by Nicholas Hill, In My Own Time (50th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition) features the newly-remastered original ten-track album on three sides of 45-RPM, 180-gram vinyl pressed at Record Technology Inc. (RTI), with the fourth side showcasing alternate takes from the album sessions. The set includes nine bonus tracks overall (including six previously unreleased live performances), including Live at The Montreux Golden Rose Pop Festival (May 1, 1971), available exclusively as part of the Super Deluxe Edition. This is the first time this audio has been made available in any physical format — presented on 180-gram 12-inch vinyl, pressed at Third Man Record Pressing, and featuring a stunning etching of Dalton by acclaimed artist Jess Rotter on the B-Side. Accompanying the bonus record is a replica playbill from the festival, meticulously arranged and compiled from vintage source material by Darryl Norsen.
The Super Deluxe Edition also contains a CD with all tracks included in the package and two 7” singles, including previously unreleased live recordings captured at Germany’s Beat Club in April of 1971 ─ both pressed at Third Man Record Pressing and housed in tip-on jackets. All audio has been newly remastered by Dave Cooley, while lacquers were cut by Phil Rodriguez at Elysian Masters. A 20-page booklet, featuring rarely seen photos and liner notes from musician and writer Lenny Kaye (with contributions from Nick Cave and Devendra Banhart), rounds out the package, which comes housed in a special trifold jacket, individually foil stamped and numbered. Strictly limited to 2,000 copies worldwide, the Super Deluxe Edition is available now to pre-order exclusively at Karen-Dalton.com and LightInTheAttic.net, with a movie poster bundle offering. More info on the poster below.
Additionally, the expanded 19-track anniversary edition of In My Own Time (also offered as part of the Super Deluxe Edition) will be available separately on CD and digitally. Plus, a cassette edition is being offered that features 15-tracks, excluding the Live at The Montreux Golden Rose Pop Festival audio, which is exclusive to the Super Deluxe, CD, and digital editions. Lastly, In My Own Time (50th Anniversary Standard Edition) — featuring the newly-remastered original 10-track album — is available (online) as a limited-edition 8-track. The booklet (featuring unseen photos and liner notes) is only included with LP and CD editions. All formats will be available at independent record stores (with the exception of the online exclusive Super Deluxe Edition), as well as at Dalton’s online store and LITA’s site.
Coinciding with the anniversary and single releases is the internationally acclaimed documentary film, Karen Dalton: In My Own Time, which premiered in theaters on October 1st and released digitally on November 16th through Greenwich Entertainment. Directed by Robert Yapkowitz and Richard Peete, and executive produced by Light in the Attic, Wim Wenders, and Delmore Recording Society, the film chronicles the life, music, and legacy of Dalton and features interviews with family, friends, collaborators, and a variety of artists (including Peter Walker, Nick Cave, Lacy J. Dalton, and Vanessa Carlton). Angel Olsen lends her voice to the film as the principle narrator, reading aloud from Dalton’s personal journal.
As a special gift, all orders of LITA’s In My Own Time (50th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition) will include an 18” x 24” fold-out of the documentary’s movie poster, illustrated by artist Matt McCormick.
The Oklahoma-raised Dalton (1937-1993) brought a range of influences to her work. As Lenny Kaye writes in the liner notes, one can hear “the jazz of Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, the immersion of Nina Simone, the Appalachian keen of Jean Ritchie, [and] the R&B and country that had to seep in as she made her way to New York.”
Armed with a long-necked banjo and a 12-stringed guitar, Dalton set herself apart from her peers with her distinctive, world-weary vocals. In the early ‘60s, she became a fixture in the Greenwich Village folk scene, interpreting traditional material, blues standards, and the songs of her contemporaries, including Tim Hardin, Fred Neil, and Richard Tucker, whom she later married. Bob Dylan, meanwhile, was instantly taken with her artistry. “My favorite singer in the place was Karen Dalton,” he recalled in Chronicles: Volume One (Simon & Schuster, 2004). “Karen had a voice like Billie Holiday and played the guitar like Jimmy Reed.”
Those who knew Dalton understood that she was not interested in bowing to the whims of the record industry. On stage, she rarely interacted with audience members. In the studio, she was equally as uncomfortable with the recording process. Her 1969 debut, It’s So Hard to Tell Who’s Going To Love You The Best (reissued by Light in the Attic in 2009) was captured on the sly when Dalton assumed that she was rehearsing songs. When Woodstock co-promoter Michael Lang approached Dalton about recording a follow-up for his new imprint, Just Sunshine, she was dubious, to say the least. The album would have to be made on her own terms, in her own time. That turned out to be a six-month period at Bearsville Studios in Woodstock, NY.
Producing the album was bassist Harvey Brooks, who played alongside Dalton on It’s So Hard to Tell Who’s Going To Love You The Best. Brooks, who prided himself on being “simple, solid and supportive,” understood Dalton’s process but was also willing to offer gentle encouragement and challenge the artist to push her creative bounds. “I tried to present her with a flexible situation,” he told Kaye. “I left the decisions to her, to determine the tempo, feel. She was very quiet, and I brought all of it to her; if she needed more, I’d present options. Everyone was sensitive to her. She was the leader.”
Dalton, who rarely performed her own compositions, selected a range of material to interpret—from traditional songs such as “Katie Cruel” and “Same Old Man” to Paul Butterfield’s “In My Own Dream” and Richard Tucker’s “Are You Leaving For The Country.” She also expanded upon her typical repertoire, peppering in such R&B hits as “When a Man Loves a Woman” and “How Sweet It Is.” In a departure from her previous LP, Dalton’s new recording offered fuller, more pop-forward arrangements, featuring a slew of talented studio musicians.
While ‘70s audiences may not have been ready for Dalton’s music, a new generation was about to discover her work. In the decades following her death, a slew of artists would name Dalton as an influence, including Lucinda Williams, Joanna Newsom, Nick Cave, Angel Olsen, Devendra Banhart, Sharon Van Etten, Courtney Barnett, and Adele. In the new documentary film Karen Dalton: In My Own Time, Cave muses on Dalton’s unique appeal: “There’s a sort of demand made upon the listener,” he explains. “Whether you like it or not, you have to enter her world. And it’s a despairing world.” Peter Walker, who also appears in the film, elaborates on this idea: “If she can feel a certain way in her music and play it in such a way that you feel that way, then that’s really the most magical thing [one] can do.” He adds, “She had a deep and profound and loving soul…you can hear it in her music.”
Tracklist – In My Own Time (50th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition):
Something on Your Mind
When a Man Loves a Woman
In My Own Dream
How Sweet It Is
In a Station
Same Old Man
One Night of Love
Are You Leaving for the Country
Something on Your Mind (Alternate Take)
In My Own Dream (Alternate Take)
Katie Cruel (Alternate Take)
One Night Of Love (Live at Beat Club, Germany, April 21, 1971)*
Take Me (Live at Beat Club, Germany, April 21, 1971)*
Something on Your Mind (Live at The Montreux Golden Rose Pop Festival, May 1, 1971)*
Blues on the Ceiling (Live at The Montreux Golden Rose Pop Festival, May 1, 1971)*
Are You Leaving for the Country (Live at The Montreux Golden Rose Pop Festival, May 1, 1971)*
One Night of Love (Live at The Montreux Golden Rose Pop Festival, May 1, 1971)*
1-10: Originally released on Just Sunshine – PAS 6008 (1971)
11-13: Alternate takes from album sessions (1970-71)
14-15: Recorded live at Beat Club in Germany (April 21, 1971)
16-19: Recorded live at The Montreux Golden Rose Pop Festival (May 1, 1971)
* previously unreleased
Tracklist – In My Own Time (50th Anniversary Standard Edition):
Something on Your Mind
When a Man Loves a Woman
In My Own Dream
How Sweet It Is
In a Station
Same Old Man
One Night of Love
Are You Leaving for the Country
1-10: Originally released on Just Sunshine – PAS 6008 (1971)
Ronnie Spector, Lead Singer of The Ronettes, Dies Aged 78
“I don’t think I ever listened to a song more than ‘Be My Baby’ and this just breaks my heart.” – Brian Wilson
Ronnie Spector, the lead singer for ‘60s girl group the Ronnettes, has passed away at the age of 78. The family confirmed in a statement on her website:
Our beloved earth angel, Ronnie, peacefully left this world today after a brief battle with cancer. She was with family and in the arms of her husband, Jonathan. Ronnie lived her life with a twinkle in her eye, a spunky attitude, a wicked sense of humor and a smile on her face. She was filled with love and gratitude.
Ronnie was the vital voice on such hits as “Baby I Love You” and “Be My Baby,” which Brian Wilson has said is his favorite song – writing the Beach Boys’ “Don’t Worry Baby” as a tribute to the Ronettes’ wall of sound masterpiece and biggest hit. He’s been quoted as saying, “This is the song that inspired me to produced records.”
Brian took to social media today, saying:
I just heard the news about Ronnie Spector and I don’t know what to say. I loved her voice so much and she was a very special person and a dear friend.
“I don’t think I ever listened to a song more than “Be My Baby” and this just breaks my heart. Ronnie’s music and spirit will live forever. Love & Mercy, Brian.
He shared this video to accompany the post:
In lieu of flowers, Spector’s family requested donations be made “to your local women’s shelter or to the American Indian College Fund.”
A celebration of Spector’s life and music is to be announced.
American Blues Scene sends love and condolences to Kris Schnebelen’s family, friends, and fans
The blues world is a lesser place without Kris Schnebelen, who died on Monday, January 11. Formed in Kansas City, Missouri in 2000, soul-blues trio Trampled Under Foot originally consisted of siblings Danielle Schnebelen (lead vocals and bass), Nick Schnebelen (guitars and vocals), and Kris Schebelen (drums and vocals).
Trampled Under Foot won the International Blues Challenge in 2008. In 2013, their album Badlands went to number one on the U.S. Billboard Top Blues Albums Chart. The following year at the Blues Music Awards, Badlands also won the Contemporary Blues Album of the Year category, with Danielle winning the Best Instrumentalist – Bass category.
“It is with a deep sadness today we said Goodbye to our Son, Brother, Person, Father, and Friend Kristopher Robert Schnebelen,” Trampled Under Foot’s Facebook post read. Continuing, “Kris was surrounded by the immense love of his fiancé and their precious daughter as he made his transition. We have felt and continue to feel your love from all around the world. We ask for privacy and patience as we navigate a future without our Beloved.”
VizzTone Label Group, who released the band’s album Wrong Side of the Blues, also took to social media to pay their respects:
Vizztone joins the Schnebelen clan and the musical world in mourning the loss of beloved drummer, family member and human being Kris Schnebelen. We all loved knowing him and working with him and were honored to be his friends.
We were thrilled to release Trampled Under Foot’s 2011 album, and for years afterward Kris would call to share his contagious enthusiasm about the latest Kansas City artists, many of whom went on to become members of our family too. We’ll miss you, Kris.
Paul Waring and his Band of Blues Men Declare ‘It’s a Mad Mad Bad Dad World’
“The process of making this record was one part voodoo and one part experimentation, but exactly what I’d hoped: an honest collaboration.” – Paul Waring
Sitting in guitarist Pete Galanis’s studio in south Chicago on a cold February day in 2021, singer/guitarist Paul Waring knew the time was right to commit his newest work to a second Bad Daddy album. The two friends were drinking beers, talking music and working on Waring’s busted amp.
The pandemic had turned the world upside down, upending many businesses including the music industry. News from rural Maine that his bass player was leaving Waring’s band only added to the feeling of uncertainty. It was beginning to feel – to Waring – like a mad, mad world and it was time to create something positive.
“Pete’s become a close friend whom I trust and respect,” Waring says. “Sitting in that studio, I said to him, ‘I got all these songs written, half of them are done and the others are close — how about we make a record together?’ It’s that bond with Pete, in collaboration with his band and my will to push on that ultimately got this record made
The result, It’s a Mad Mad Bad Dad World, releasing March 11 on PieHole records, highlights Bad Daddy’s sound, rooted in classic blues and roots rock.
Nine original songs and a cover of Mighty Sam McClain’s “Where You Been So Long” make up MMDBW. Pete Galanis on guitars, Ari Seder on bass guitar and Jason “Jroc” Edwards on drums backed Waring‘s vocals and guitar on all 10 tracks, recorded at Chicago’s JoyRide Studio and Galanis’ Studio 3036. .” Its striking cover art by Chicago’s own Kate Moss is inspired by the classic film title work of the legendary Saul Bass.
Bad Daddy plans to release a first digital-only single on January 14th of “Pork Pie Hat,” followed by “Blues at Home” (also via digital distribution only) on February 4, prior to the album’s full CD/digital release on March 11. On Sunday, March 13, Bad Daddy will celebrate the new album with a special Record Release Party at Rosa’s Lounge in Chicago, with doors opening at 6pm and music from 7-9pm.
The crispy, bluesy tracks on the new disc convey a sense of passion honed and hardened to a sharpened edge. It’s one man’s story of love and sorrow speaking to a broader human predicament: the pain and joy that define blues storytelling. Waring’s voice, backed by skilled Chicago musicians, creates a modern blues soundscape that speaks to these mad, mad times.
Collaboration, a crucial feature in his day job as a Maine-based boat designer, drives Waring’s aspirations for his musical projects.
“As most musicians find out early in their careers, a band is not a democracy,” Waring admits. “But collaboration is vital to making music, and working as one unit in service of a singular vision results in good vibes and leaves bandmates feeling like their input and performance actually matters. It’s the best way to create musical art.”
Waring had been hanging around Chicago blues clubs since 2010, when he began dating a Chicago girl. During trips to the city, he brought his guitar and played blues jam nights at Buddy Guy’s Legends and Rosa’s Lounge. Other nights he’d hang at clubs like B.L.U.E.S. and just soak in the music.
Waring married that Chicago girl in 2014, the same year he met Galanis during a set break one Tuesday at Rosa’s where the guitarist has a residency. The two became friends and Waring asked Galanis to remaster his first album. Galanis would also help mix and master “Beautiful Thing,” a song Waring and other Maine musicians produced to honor a friend who had died of cancer.
All that time, songs for a future Bad Daddy album kept coming. In 2016, Waring wrote “Blue on You” after learning a friend and former bandmate had committed suicide. Other tunes, like “These Times” and “Trip on Your Love,” are more recent creations. The oldest songs on the new record, “Blues at Home” and “Just My Luck,” came in 2015.
Two years later, Waring was sitting in Galanis’s studio, asking him to collaborate on what would become It’s a Mad, Mad Bad Dad World. Waring sent demos of the songs to Galanis, Seder and Edwards. “They said, ‘yeah, when can we get started?’” Waring recalls. By March 2021, the group was at JoyRide recording the rhythm section, quickly nailing all 10 songs in no more than three takes in one 10-hour day. “The guys were killing it,” Waring says.
With the rhythm section done, Waring and Galanis turned to completing the production, a process that eventually spanned about six months. Six of the songs were so fresh, the duo explored guitar rhythm work, fills and solos. When turning to vocal work, Waring focused on delivery, style and tenor.
“Fitting two guitars into a soundscape is a matter of dovetailing parts—finding texture and space that sonically blend two similar instruments,” Waring states. “But we each have a unique sound and that comes through beautifully on the record. Our process gave me freedom to explore how to express myself playing and singing these new songs.”
In late May of 2021, organist Elton Jaan burned his way through each track in a single 8-hour session. With live gig work on the calendar, both Galanis and Waring began to balance work and production. Waring returned to a summer of live shows with his band in Maine, while Galanis continued the work of mixing and editing in Chicago when he wasn’t playing his own gigs. In September, the final stages of mastering were done.
“The process of making this record was one part voodoo and one part experimentation, but exactly what I’d hoped — an honest collaboration,” Waring enthuses. “I feel like these songs are a reflection of my soul and my message is captured in every one of these tracks.”
Morgan Wallen Grand Ole Opry Performance Prompts Backlash
“I believe now is the time to watch and move. Watch how people are responding and reacting and move accordingly.” – Rissi Palmer
Following a “surprise” performance by Morgan Wallen at Grand Ole Opry last weekend, the Nashville institution is receiving backlash. Wallen joined country singer Ernest on stage to perform their song “Flower Shops.”
Wallen came under fire back in February of last year when footage surfaced of him using the N-word. He then insisted that the hateful word was uttered because he was “dumb” and drunk. He was dropped by radio stations and temporarily suspended from his record label, before he was also banned from the CMA Music Awards. And yet, sales of his most recently released album secured a number one slot on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart for 10 weeks.
Black country artists and their allies are now asking the Opry for accountability. Jason Isbell tweeting, “Last night Opry you had a choice: either upset one guy and his ‘team,’ or break the hearts of a legion of aspiring Black country artists. You chose wrong and I’m real sad for a lot of my friends today. Not surprised though. Just sad.”
Isbell later added, “The thing that really upsets me is bigger than one person’s words. It’s the idea of a young Black artist walking into that venue and wondering if ANYBODY is on their side. What a lot of us consider to be a grand ole honour can be terrifying for some. Doesn’t have to be that way.”
Country artist and Color Me Country Radio host Rissi Palmer urged, “I believe now is the time to watch and move. Watch how people are responding and reacting and move accordingly. Systems only work when we continue to participate in them. The moment we stop and divest, they lose their power…”
In its nearly 100-year history, the Grand Ole Opry has only officially invited two Black artists, the beloved Charley Pride and Darius Rucker, to be regular members.
In June of 2020, the Opry made this statement:
Racism is real. It is unacceptable. And it has no place at The Grand Ole Opry.
Just days ago the Opry Tweeted, “On January 7, 1967, Charley Pride made his Grand Ole Opry debut. He was the first black solo singer to perform on the Opry. Pride sang ‘The Snakes that Crawl At Night’ and ‘I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still In Love With You).’ We love and miss you, Charley.”
And now we have Morgan Wallen — not a member but a surprise guest, who thinks racial slurs are not racist when used “playfully” — stepping out on that historic stage one day after Pride’s debut anniversary celebration.
Black Opry founder Holly G. penned an open letter to Opry bosses Gina Keltner and Dan Rogers that took them to task: “It felt like a slap in the face to see you all celebrate Charley Pride, only to pull this stunt 24 hours later. You should know that our community is extremely disappointed, though many are not surprised. “A stage that was once a dream destination for many Black artists has now cemented itself as one of the many Nashville stages on which we know we are not respected.”
The letter follows a meeting Holly had with Gina in which they discussed “pursuing efforts towards creating a safer environment for Black fans and artists and being more inclusive.”
Pierce Turner Releases New Single, ‘Set A Few Things Up,’ with Stop Motion Video
American Blues Scene Staff
Recorded with acclaimed Bowie guitarist Gerry Leonard
Today, the internationally acclaimed Irish performer Pierce Turner releases a new single titled “Set A Few Things Up” alongside a creative, handmade music video. The single is the third track off his forthcoming album, Terrible Good, which was created with legendary guitarist Gerry Leonard (David Bowie, Suzanne Vega, Rufus Wainwright). The album is set for release on February 25 via StorySound Records.
In a dual-celebration of Terrible Good and St. Patrick’s Day, Pierce will perform at the famed Joe’s Pub in New York City on March 17 with an all-star band including Leonard on guitar, Tony Shanahan on bass (Patti Smith), and Yuval Lion on drums (David Byrne). Tickets are available here.
“Set A Few Things Up” is about the optimism and persistence of being a musician. The music video was created by the team of Mark Lerner and Nancy Howell and offers a make-shift performance of the song featuring illustrated paper cut outs and stop motion animation.
An Irish-American musician in the truest, and most literal, sense, Pierce lives half the year in his hometown of Wexford, Ireland, and the other half in his longtime adopted hometown of New York City. Both places are reflected in his songs, which frequently move between these two different worlds. Since he began his solo career in the 80’s, he’s worked on a broad range of projects including writing for opera, scoring movies, and composing a contemporary Mass. His genre-bending songwriting has led Turner to collaborate with legendary producer John Simon (The Band, Leonard Cohen, Cass Elliot) on 1991’s Now Is Heaven and composer Philip Glass on projects such as 1986’s It’s Only a Long Way Across and “Yogi with a Broken Heart.”
Turner wrote the songs for Terrible Good over a four-year period, in a process complicated by living and working in two different countries and during a pandemic. Electric guitars are central to Terrible Good, arising from his collaboration with guitarist/producer Gerry Leonard (David Bowie, Rufus Wainwright, Suzanne Vega). The two Irishmen, who have spent the greater part of their lives living and experimenting with music in New York City, have married those experiences to produce an Irish album recorded with a New York attitude.
In case you missed it, ABS premiered exclusively the video for Terrible Good’s opening track “Where It Should Be.”
Mike Zito Blasts Off with New Double Live CD ‘Blues for the Southside’
American Blues Scene Staff
Recorded on November 26, 2021 at the Old Rock House in St. Louis, Missouri, and produced by Mike Zito, ‘Blues for the Southside’ showcases Zito (guitar and vocals) and his stellar band in full fury.
With numerous Blues Music Award honors under his belt, Mike Zito, co-owner of Texas-based Gulf Coast Records (which has birthed a number of critically-acclaimed blues/rock albums since its 2018 inception), announces a February 18th release date for his new double live album set, Blues for the Southside.
Recorded on November 26, 2021 at the Old Rock House in St. Louis, Missouri, and produced by Zito himself, Blues for the Southside showcases him (guitar and vocals) and his stellar band in full fury: Matthew Johnson – vocals/drums; Lewis Stephens – piano/organ; Doug Byrkit – vocals/ bass, with special guests including label mates Tony Campanella and Dave Kalz, plus guitar wizard Eric Gales.
The song list for that special night included tunes from Mike’s earlier albums such as First Class Life, Gone to Texas, Make Blues Not War and his Tribute to Chuck Berry, plus his takes on songs popularized by Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Tampa Red, as well as a new song, the album’s title track.
Now based in Nederland, Texas, Zito states:
‘Blues for the Southside‘ is a special album for me. I have wanted to do a live blues album playing songs from my catalog with my current band for a while now. I wanted to go back to my old neighborhood in South St. Louis to make the recording. That’s where it all began for me, where I fell in love with music. I knew friends and family would fill the Old Rock House and bring the energy I was looking for in this recording. I wanted Tony Campanella and Dave Kalz to join me as guests. I grew up with both of these guys playing in the scene in St. Louis in the 1990s. They are also both Gulf Coast Records artists. I was surprised by my dear friend Eric Gales who happened to be in town for a rehearsal. He showed up and I got him onstage to do an impromptu version of the original ‘Voodoo Chile,’ which turned out to be 12 minutes of pure guitar bliss. I am proud of this album and my band. I’m most proud of my hometown and my neighborhood, South St. Louis.
Watch: Previously Lost Footage of Rolling Stones at Altamont Festival
“But every so often something comes along that attracts a lot of attention – such as a never-before-seen home movie from the notorious Altamont Free Concert in 1969.”
Previously unseen 8mm footage of the notorious Rolling Stones performance at Altamont Festival has been unearthed and published by the Library of Congress. The 26-minute “home video” also features the Flying Burrito Brothers, Carlos Santana, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.
Here at the Library, we’re dedicated to the acquisition, description, preservation and accessibility of our film, video, and sound recording collections regardless of perceived “worth.” We really do want to make it all available for future generations ̶ so we don’t necessarily prioritize beloved classics over a refrigerator ad or the song “Fido is a Hot Dog Now.”
But every so often something comes along that attracts a lot of attention – such as a never-before-seen home movie from the notorious Altamont Free Concert in 1969, in which the Hell’s Angels, who had been hired to provide security, stabbed a fan to death during a confrontation over a gun. It was a major cultural turning point of the era, and the heart of the Maysles Brothers 1970 documentary Gimme Shelter.
Although the video is silent, the footage shows an unparalleled look into performers who had been cut from Gimme Shelter, as well as shots of Mick and Keith watching Gram Parsons fronting the Flying Burrito Brothers.
How the video was recovered from unprocessed films makes for a good story in and of itself. It started in 1996 when archivist Rick Prelinger acquired 200,000 reels from Palmer Films. The library acquired the reels in 2002, a press release saying it would “take several years before the Library will be in a position to provide access to these films.”
A technician working on the Prelinger Collection recently discovered two reels of silent 8mm reversal positive, which is a common format for home movies. The handwritten title read, “Stones in the Park.”
“When I saw that, I immediately thought that it could be a home movie of the July 5, 1969, Rolling Stones Hyde Park concert held in London a couple of days after the death of guitarist Brian Jones,” Mashon says. “But it could also be a copy of a documentary of the same name, which would make the discovery considerably less interesting.
“Regardless, I sent the reels up for 2K digitization by our film preservation laboratory. A couple of days later, I heard from some very excited colleagues that the scan wasn’t the Hyde Park show. It was from the Altamont Speedway concert in California and it definitely wasn’t footage from the 1970 documentary.”
Later in the blog post, Mashon says that while the second reel from the Stones’ evening performance captures the chaos, it doesn’t add to the understanding of Meredith Hunter, who was violently killed by a Hell’s Angel member.
2022 Keeping the Blues Alive Award Recipients Announced
American Blues Scene Staff
Unlike the Blues Music Awards, the KBAs are awarded to non-performers strictly on the basis of merit by a select panel of Blues professionals.
The Blues Foundation has announced the 2022 recipients of their coveted Keeping the Blues Alive Awards. Unlike the Blues Music Awards, the award recognizing the past year’s best in recordings and performance voted on by thousands of The Blues Foundation’s members, the KBAs are awarded to non-performers strictly on the basis of merit by a select panel of Blues professionals.
This year’s award winners are:
Big Blues Bender’s HART Party
The Big Blues Bender is a 4-day music festival held annually in Las Vegas, NV. Each year the opening night is a fundraiser that supports the HART (Handy Artist Relief Trust) Fund. The Bender graciously donates all of the door proceeds towards the HART Party, as well as donating items for auction. In addition, many artists voluntarily donate their time to the cause because they have been recipients of the HART Fund grant. To date, over $200,000 has been raised by the Bender. A truly incredible support to the HART Fund program, this party helps reach a broader audience to inform them of these artist relief efforts.
Can’t Stop The Blues
“Can’t Stop the Blues” (CSTB), was founded by Karen Gottheimer in March of 2020. The CSTB virtual concert series, streamed on Facebook and YouTube, created a groundbreaking and desperately needed virtual space for the blues scene, during a time when all live performances came to a halt due to COVID-19. Karen, with assistance from Judy Eliyas and a handful of other part-time volunteers, streamed over 8 shows a week for 13 months. CSTB broadcast over 450 performances, helping over 350 blues artists generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in tip revenue and merchandise sales from fans all over the world. At the same time, CSTB became a virtual community for over 50,000 blues lovers and artists. All CSTB shows are archived and accessible on Facebook and YouTube for the foreseeable future, providing a historical document of how the blues world survived through a most challenging time.
Fashioning his adult life around giving back to the music community, Tom Claypool has followed music for most of his life. Going to concerts and events eventually led to him hosting a blues show on WEVL FM 89.9, a non-profit, public radio station based in Memphis, TN. Tom has hosted on WEVL for 31 years, starting off playing blues then Cajun and Zydeco. For the last 17 years, Tom’s focus has been tunes from the Crescent City with his show New Orleans Big Beat that airs every Friday. Tom is no stranger to volunteering for The Blues Foundation; he’s worked with the International Blues Challenge for over 25 years, with duties ranging from MC to working in production; and 23 years on the Blues Music Awards production crew. For the past three decades, Tom has chosen to donate his time and talents to music organizations, music events, and public radio in order to give back to the community that first inspired him.
Since 1981, FitzGerald’s Roadhouse in Chicago has been a champion for all kinds of American roots music that has included a constant flow of top-notch blues artists. In 2018, Bill FitzGerald put the club up for sale, but only to someone who would continue to support American roots music in all its forms, including blues. It took a few years for Bill to find the right buyer. In a move that shows the club’s continued commitment to blues, the first annual Berwyn Blues Festival was held in September 2021. For decades, the club has prided itself on a first-rate sound system and sound mixers, professional staging, artist hospitality, and a great atmosphere for patrons. If you ask any artist who has played the club, they’ll tell you it’s among their favorites. These days, the club insists on proof of vaccination or recent testing to protect artists and guests. Between the club’s founder, Bill FitzGerald, and the current owner, Will Duncan, FitzGerald’s has been a welcome home to blues artists for 40 years.
Fueling Musicians Program
Award-winning blues guitarist Joe Bonamassa founded the Keeping the Blues Alive Foundation in 2011. The foundation aims to support arts and music education through grants, scholarships, and donations to schools, colleges, and other nonprofit organizations. One of the most notable programs funded by the foundation is the Fueling Musicians initiative, designed to provide critically needed assistance to musicians whose income has been eliminated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since its inception in 2020, this initiative has raised over $500,000, distributing over 300 cash awards. Fueling Musicians has attracted the attention and support of Gibson, Fender, Guitar Center, Ernie Ball Music Man, and George Thorogood and the Destroyers. The foundation is not only recognized by the Internal Revenue Service but also accredited by the Florida Nonprofit Alliance and GuideStar, which has helped garner substantial donors and invaluable partners.
Following his 22-year-long career in traditional radio, Jackson, Mississippi-based entrepreneur and promoter Jerry “Boogie” Mason built a network of traditional and new media connections via e-mail, print advertising, and social media, to promote blues, Southern soul, and other genres of music rooted in communities of color. His email blast, The Boogie Report, continues to alert the world’s blues communities with up-to-date information on the latest recordings, tours, emerging artists, and cultural opportunities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Through Mason Media Services, Jerry aggregates relevant material from various social media and local community websites to provide a forum for readers to exchange ideas, share information, and remain connected to the arts community at large. Building on the success of The Boogie Report, Jerry hosts the Southern Soul Video Network, The Blues Buffet Radio Program, and a digital daily newsletter. Jerry has served as Publicity Chairman of the Central Mississippi Blues Society, advisory board member of the Jus’ Blues Foundation, member of the Board of Directors of The Blues Foundation, and Information Officer of Solomon D. Loche American Legion Post 501.
Phil Ranstrom is an American documentary filmmaker living in Chicago, Illinois. He has been writing, producing, and directing documentaries since the 1980s. Among his credits is the Emmy Award-winning, feature-length documentary, Cheat You Fair: The Story of Maxwell Street, narrated by actor Joe Mantegna. This epic film is told in three acts and details the rise and fall of Chicago’s Maxwell Street, the birthplace of electric, urban blues. During the span of more than a decade, Ranstrom continued to interview and record countless vendors, residents, and blues artists, and capture an oral history that was never told. Cheat You Fair stands today as the most comprehensive history of Maxwell Street in any medium. It features interviews from blues icons including Bo Diddley, Junior Wells, Hubert Sumlin, Buddy Guy, Charlie Musselwhite, John Primer, and Uncle Johnnie Williams. Ranstrom continues to travel the world and document the blues. He’s currently working on a project titled Heavenly Birds, that tells of his journey to Poland where he discovered what can only be described as “one of the greatest stories in blues and rock’n’roll history never told.”
Raúl de la Rosa
Raúl de la Rosa has been a broadcaster, journalist, and cultural promoter and curator of the blues since 1964. In 1978 he organized Mexico’s first blues festival to help share the blues and its history with the Mexican people. Raul produced eleven blues festivals between 1978 and 2012, which were held in some of Mexico’s most prestigious venues. These festivals attracted an average of 10,000 – 30,000 attendees per event. While the first four festivals featured artists such as Willie Dixon, John Lee Hooker, Sunnyland Slim, and Jimmy Rogers, Raúl ensured that the final seven festivals featured more Mexican artists. This awoke significant public interest as well as related workshops, conferences, and exhibitions, which were open to the public and to students of Mexico’s top-rated universities. In 2002, Raúl authored the first journalistic column about blues in a Mexican newspaper which continues to be published to this day. He has been a radio host and product of Por los Senderos del Blues (Down the Trail of Blues) since 2005, where he continues to keep the blues alive in Mexico!
For over 30 years Jack Sullivan has used his skills in magazine circulation sales for various publishing houses including Time Inc., Wenner Media, and Hearst to excel in his passion for blues music. To this day, Jack continues to be an ambassador and trendsetter for the blues. Jack has achieved national and international success as a magazine publisher, festival promoter, and online music store marketer. His many highlights over the past decade include co-founding the Bradenton Blues Festival and Camping With The Blues, launching Mojo Wax Media, publishing Blues Music Magazine, and launching online stores Blues Music and All Music Styles. Just a few years ago, Jack and his wife Susan relocated to Memphis, TN to open their office in the Home of the Blues.
Affiliated organizations, past KBA recipients, and members of The Blues Foundation’s Board of Directors are eligible to submit nominations. If you know a deserving person, seek out one of those who are authorized to nominate and help them make the submission.
Nominees and recipients of the Keeping the Blues Alive Awards must be in keeping with The Blues Foundation’s values as a welcoming and inclusive organization, as reflected in our Statement Against Racism.
Greensky Bluegrass Share Title Track ‘Stress Dreams’
“So often a writer hits one mark or another, but on this one, Devol got both.”
Bluegrass/roots-rock band Greensky Bluegrass are launching 2022 with the title track off their forthcoming album Stress Dreams – due out on January 21 via Thirty Tigers. “Stress Dreams” follows the releases of “Absence of Reason,” “Grow Together,” and “Monument.”
The Kalamazoo, MI quartet, founded in 2000, consists of Anders Beck [dobro], Michael Arlen Bont [banjo], Dave Bruzza [guitar], Mike Devol [upright bass], and Paul Hoffman [mandolin].
Mike Devol explains:
“This sounds like a quarantine song- and it truly became one – but was originally based on a recurring experience. I’d have what I began to call stress dreams, in which I’d need to be somewhere, often on stage, but for reasons beyond my control, I was unable to do so: my bass was in my car, the backstage door was locked.
“Sometimes in the dreams, I would need to text, but my phone wouldn’t type. I’d wake up and just be so relieved to not have to deal with the annoyance of whatever inconvenience I was facing. The song took on a melodrama, though, that I was happy to amplify. My wife walked through the room at one point when I was writing the mandolin solo melody in the middle and literally said, ‘well, that’s dramatic.’ Works for me.”
Anders Beck adding, Not only did Devol write a lyrical epic story of a song, but created the music to match it. So often a writer hits one mark or another, but on this one, Devol got both.”
Greensky will also kick off the year with a two-night run of shows in Denver at The Mission Ballroom, which will include a special soundcheck set to benefit the Colorado communities affected by the recent fires:
Greensky Bluegrass and Mission Ballroom are heartbroken by the recent fires that have gutted communities in the Front Range of Colorado. We’re teaming up to play a special ‘soundcheck set’ on Saturday, 1/8. For a minimum donation of $25 at the door to Conscious Alliance, ticket holders can gain early entry to the venue at 6pm and enjoy a 30 min Greensky set from 6:30-7pm.
Additionally, we’re coordinating an auction to benefit those directly affected featuring some truly unique Greensky items, a year long pass to Mission Ballroom and more. We hope you can join us for this special moment and provide much-needed support our neighbors who are facing incredible challenges this season.
Later this month the band will link up with The Infamous Stringdusters for a 19-date tour beginning January 20th in Albany, NY.
Jan 7-8 @ The Mission Ballroom | Denver, CO
Featuring The Infamous Stringdusters
Jan 20 @ The Palace Theatre | Albany, NY
Jan 21 @ The Met Philadelphia | Philadelphia, PA
Jan 22 @ The Capitol Theatre | Port Chester, NY
Jan 26 @ Flynn Theatre | Burlington, VT
Jan 27 @ The State Theatre | Portland, ME
Jan 28-29 @ House of Blues | Boston, MA
Feb 2 @ Stage AE | Pittsburgh, PA
Feb 3 @ Agora Theatre & Ballroom | Cleveland, OH
Feb 4-5 @ The Anthem | Washington, DC
Feb 17 @ The Pavilion at Pan AM | Indianapolis, IN
Feb 18 @ Fillmore Detroit | Detroit, MI
Feb 19 @ Riverside Theatre | Milwaukee, WI
Feb 20 @ The Palace | St. Paul, MN
Feb 23 @ Old Forester’s Paristown Hall | Louisville, KY
Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band Announce Winter/Spring Tour, and New Video
American Blues Scene Staff
“We are primed and ready. I mean look at our latest video if you don’t believe me. I can’t wait to get out there.” – Reverend Peyton
Two-time Blues Music Awards nominees The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Bandare the greatest front-porch blues band in the world. The band is led by Reverend Peyton, who most consider to be the premier finger picker playing today. He has earned a reputation as both a singularly compelling performer and a persuasive evangelist for the rootsy, country blues styles that captured his imagination early in life and inspired him and his band to make pilgrimages to Clarksdale, Miss. to study under such blues masters as T-Model Ford, Robert Belfour and David “Honeyboy” Edwards.
Now the Big Damn Band are back with a new video for the song “Rattle Can” from their latest record, Dance Songs For Hard Times. The album, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard and iTunes Blues charts, was produced by Vance Powell (Jack White, Chris Stapleton).
According to the Rev, “We are primed and ready. I mean look at our latest video if you don’t believe me. I can’t wait to get out there.”
Some of the Spring dates have Zach Person as support. Emerging out of Austin, Texas, Person plays loud and raw, connecting with his fans on a primal sonic level. Person’s self-titled, debut LP dropped on April 2, 2021 and has since been drawing press attention far and wide.
The month of May finds Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band supporting TheDead South, a two-time JUNO Award winning, Canadian and U.S. gold certified four-piece string band from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.
‘Ronnie’s’ Doc Provides Singular Look at London Jazz Institution & Namesake Ronnie Scott
American Blues Scene Staff
Featuring previously unseen footage of Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, Nina Simone, and many more!
Opening in select theaters and on-demand February 11, 2022, Greenwich Entertainment presents Ronnie’s, a definitive and intimate documentary directed by Oliver Murray that chronicles the life and times of saxophonist Ronnie Scott and his world-famous London jazz club.
Featuring previously unseen and unheard performances by some of the most iconic figures in musical history — including Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, Nina Simone, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Chet Baker, Van Morrison, Sarah Vaughan, Roland Kirk and so many more — the film paints a touching portrait of a man and venue that became a vital thoroughfare in the global music scene.
Ronnie Scott founded his namesake club alongside business partner Pete King in 1959, setting up Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London’s bohemian Soho neighborhood. Scott, part of a trailblazing generation of British musicians who worshipped at the altar of Charlie Parker and a highly accomplished saxophonist himself, opened the club in order to provide a home to contemporaries who sought to play the modern and forward-thinking music that was thriving in New York’s post-war music scene.
On the back of stellar and adventurous bookings — Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Nina Simone, and a veritable who’s who of musical legends — Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club quickly became the most famous music venue in all of London. Ronnie Scott, the man, was just as beloved. From the great and famous who frequented his club, to the many down-at-heel musicians who turned to him for a break, Ronnie was universally known for his warm demeanor and generous spirit.
However, Ronnie was as complex and colourful as the music played on his stage. In private he battled depression, and when he died in 1996 at age 69, it left the jazz community bereft of a singular figure.
Says director Oliver Murray:
To music fans all over the world, Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club is a temple built to witness and honour musical excellence. This film is a celebration of the men and women who dreamt of building such a place and in doing so changed the landscape of live music across the world forever.
My hope is that the film offers a look at the truest, most honest version of Ronnie. This is Ronnie telling his story in his own words. It’s a tale of great achievement and wonderful music but also a deep-seated struggle with a traumatic illness – it was unknown to everyone except those closest to him that Ronnie suffered terribly from depression. Art has always been about taking your emotions and expressing them in your work, and music was Ronnie’s medicine for his trauma.
David Bowie Estate Announces Catalog Reissue of Five Albums in Immersive Audio
American Blues Scene Staff
Archival live performance footage to be livestreamed in 360 Reality Audio in conjunction with CES 2022 today at 4pm PST/7pm EST
The David Bowie Estate today announced a series of releases from David Bowie’s catalog that have been remixed and reimagined exclusively in 360 Reality Audio, a new immersive music experience driven by Sony’s spatial sound technology. The content is the latest David Bowie music to be mixed in 360 Reality Audio, following Space Oddity, which is currently available on 360 Reality Audio-supported streaming platforms.
In conjunction with the ongoing Bowie 75 – an extended celebration of David Bowie’s 75th birthday on January 8th, 2022 featuring two physical pop up locations in NYC and London equipped with 360 Reality Audio listening experiences at each location – longtime Bowie producer Tony Visconti crafted 360 Reality Audio mixes of Heathen, Reality, A Reality Tour (Live), The Next Day, and ★ (pronounced “Blackstar”). The albums will be available for streaming in 360 Reality Audio beginning January 21st on Amazon Music Unlimited, Deezer, and TIDAL.
Image courtesy of artist’s site
Additionally, the David Bowie Estate and Sony are making available four archival live performance recordings that have been mixed and reimagined in 360 Reality Audio (which makes it possible to create a lifelike music experience, giving listeners the feeling that they are in a live concert setting). The four songs are from David Bowie’s A Reality Tour, featuring live audio and video from Bowie’s final concert tour, to be livestreamed in 360 Reality Audio today, January 6th at 4:00 pm PST / 7:00 pm EST on the Online Platform “Sony Square” (via David Bowie’s YouTube channel). Listeners everywhere can use any set of headphones to hear the music in 360 Reality Audio.
Immediately following the livestream, viewers will be able to stream this performance with the Artist Connection app on a smartphone. With Sony certified headphones and the Sony | Headphones Connect app, users can also optimize their experience by analyzing their individual ear shape to enjoy a custom immersive musical field. This sound field personalization feature is only available for streaming with the Artist Connection experience.
Both the YouTube livestream and the Artist Connection viewing experiences will be available to the general public.
“The fan response to Bowie 75 has been nothing short of amazing,” said Lawrence Peryer, Producer of Bowie 75. “David was always on the cutting edge of the latest developments in technology, so it was a natural fit to collaborate with Sony’s 360 Reality Audio team to bring fans a whole new way to experience his music. The reimagining of David’s music, which can be experienced at the pop-ups or via streaming, has given his lifelong fans and new listeners alike a reason to celebrate.”
Download, Watch & Listen on Artist Connection here.
“It’s been an honor partnering with the David Bowie Estate to help deliver special new fan experiences as part of Bowie 75,” said Jordy Freed, Head of Partner Marketing & Strategy, Sony Corporation of America. “We hope David Bowie fans everywhere enjoy listening to this iconic music in 360 Reality Audio.”
The Bowie 75 pop up locations will remain open through late January, 2022. The Bowie 75 locations are at 150 Wooster Street, NY — steps away from Bowie’s longtime downtown New York City neighborhood — and 14 Heddon Street — the London location where the cover of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars was shot.
The pop-ups offer visitors a unique and immersive career-spanning deep dive into the sound and vision of David Bowie, with features including:
Immersive audio and HD video screening rooms in partnership with 360 Reality Audio, an immersive music experience using Sony’s spatial sound technologies. With music in 360 Reality Audio, fans will be able to hear and see Bowie content available for the first time in immersive audio, exclusively in the Bowie 75 locations.
Hours of video content including previously unseen behind-the-scenes material, rare footage from the Heathen and Reality eras, and more.
Opportunities to purchase limited edition releases of exclusive Bowie apparel and collectibles, as well as limited run LPs and CDs.
Exclusive fine art photography including gallery installations documenting Bowie’s many iconic eras, personae, and Ch-changes.
Fans can place themselves in iconic costumes and set pieces to create fun and shareable social media moments
And more— For store hours, events calendars and other announcements and information, sign up and stay tuned to Bowie 75.
Alligator President Bruce Iglauer Honored By Académie Charles Cros
American Blues Scene Staff
“I am extremely honored to have Alligator Records receive this award. I accept it in the name of all the Alligator artists, from Hound Dog Taylor in 1971 to Christone ‘Kingfish’ Ingram today, who have lived the blues and carried the tradition forward.” – Bruce Iglauer
In case you missed it, Alligator Records founder and president Bruce Iglauer was honored with the French Charles Cros Academy “In Honorem” Award. As a live ceremony was not possible, the highly coveted award was announced by host Alex Dutilh on his Open Jazz radio show on France Musique.
According to the Académie Charles Cros (ACC), “Members of the Jazz and Blues and Soul commissions have unanimously agreed to award this distinction to Bruce Iglauer, founder of Alligator Records, the independent label which has carried the colors of the blues high for 50 years, on the occasion of the release of 50 Years of Genuine Houserockin’ Music (Alligator / Socadisc).
“The ACC has awarded prizes annually since 1948 and is placed under the high patronage of the President of the Republic. Each year, in addition to the President of the Republic’s award, it also gives ‘In Honorem’ awards to artists for their entire career, or to personalities for the importance of their work.”
Previous winners include other record label owners as well as blues master Lucky Peterson and jazz stars Roy Haynes, Sonny Rollins and Lee Konitz.
Iglauer is thrilled to received this recognition, saying. “I am extremely honored to have Alligator Records receive this award. I accept it in the name of all the Alligator artists, from Hound Dog Taylor in 1971 to Christone ‘Kingfish’ Ingram today, who have lived the blues and carried the tradition forward. The slogan of Alligator is ‘Genuine Houserockin’ Music’.’ We hope that the ‘rockin’ means that our music not only rocks your body, but hopefully rocks your soul. Again, thank you.”
On June 18, 2021, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot declared “Alligator Records Day” throughout the city via official proclamation. This is the same day Alligator Records–50 Years Of Genuine Houserockin’ Music (a 2-LP or 3-CD set) was released. On September 18, 2021, the Mayor declared “Bruce Iglauer Day” across the city.
Alligator Records was born in 1971,when 23-year-old blues fan Bruce Iglauer spent his savings to record and release a record by his favorite Chicago blues band, Hound Dog Taylor & The HouseRockers. He created Alligator Records to release that one LP. Today, Alligator boasts a catalog of over 350 titles, many of which are renowned, award-winning, time-tested classics of the genre. Career-defining albums from legendary artists like Hound Dog Taylor, Koko Taylor, Son Seals, Albert Collins, Johnny Winter, Professor Longhair, Lonnie Brooks, Luther Allison and Michael “Iron Man” Burks share the catalog with releases from current blues and roots icons Elvin Bishop, Charlie Musselwhite, Guitar Shorty, Billy Boy Arnold and Mavis Staples. Records from today’s world-renowned stars like Shemekia Copeland, Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials, Rick Estrin & The Nightcats, Marcia Ball, Billy Branch, Tinsley Ellis, Joe Louis Walker, Tommy Castro & The Painkillers, Curtis Salgado, Roomful Of Blues and The Cash Box Kings, as well as albums from trailblazing newer voices including Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, Nick Moss, Toronzo Cannon and Selwyn Birchwood, clearly showcase Alligator’s wide-ranging, forward-looking vision.
Alligator, like the blues itself, continues to break new ground while staying true to its Genuine Houserockin’ roots.
Renowned Guitarist Rick Holmstrom to Release Instrumental Album, ‘Get It!’
American Blues Scene Staff
‘Get It!’ is an exciting set of burners bringing all the style and charm Holmstrom’s trio conjures nightly with Mavis Staples.
Rick Holmstrom has stories. Thirty-three years of hurtling around the globe in metal tubes will do that. From his early days with blues and soul artists like William Clarke, Smokey Wilson, Johnny Dyer and Booker T. to his 15-year run with gospel/soul/civil rights legend Mavis Staples, the guitarist/bandleader has seen a lot. He’s also proven pandammit-prolific, releasing See That Light in early 2021 and on March 4th returning to one of his original passions, instrumental music, with Get It!
“The blues artists I backed when I was younger all had me play instrumentals to open the show. Some nights I’d play 4 or 5 of ‘em. It was all part of the build up to a spicy show. You’d try to play something that got folks pumped for the headliner. In blues and soul music, there’s a rich tradition of instrumental music…T-Bone Walker, Bill Doggett, Freddie King, Albert Collins, Gatemouth Brown, the MGs, the Meters and many more…so I’ve had a foot in this world all along. I like the challenge of trying to say something without words, to grab people’s ears with just melody, groove and dynamics.”
Get It! is an exciting set of burners bringing all the style and charm Holmstrom’s trio conjures nightly with Mavis Staples. “We made this record for good times…BBQs, parties, car rides…lots of 2 1/2 minute songs…it was a blast to make,” Holmstrom says.
Holmstrom and his bandmates, Steve Mugalian and Gregory Boaz, produced Get It! in various studios and garages throughout LA. “Most of it was recorded in Steve’s garage,” he says, “…and why not, garages and funky joints are where we play our best shit anyway.”
On January 14th, the first single “Erlee Time” will be released, featuring Mugalian’s Meters-y snapping snare drum, Boaz’s bubbly bassline and Holmstrom’s minimalistic, no frills guitar. Says Holmstrom: “I’ve had enough existential post apocalyptic doom. Right now I just want to have a funky good time!”
After teaming up with bluesman Johnny Dyer early in his career, Holmstrom released his first instrumental album, Lookout in 1996, earning praise from the Washington Post, Playboy and LA Weekly, among others. In the years since he has released innovative albums that highlight blues, funk, roots and soul with a seeming ease, in addition to his recordings with Staples. Bob Boilen from NPR raved; ”…the band is crucial, discerning and supportive. Rick Holmstrom is her soulful guitarist — Staples called him ‘Pops Jr.’…” Get It! follows his 2021 release, See That Light, the first on his own label, LuEllie Records, which garnered praise from the likes of the Associated Press, Yahoo!, American Songwriter and No Depression.
Over the years, Holmstrom has released 6 solo records on labels including Black Top, Tone Cool and M.C. Records, as well as winning a Grammy in 2011 with Staples (You Are Not Alone) and nominations in 2015, 2013 and 2009. He has toured with Johnny Dyer, William Clarke, Rod Piazza, Booker T and played with Staples on tours with Bob Dylan and Bonnie Raitt. In 2014 he and Staples performed for President Obama at the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act.
New Chuck Berry Album, ‘Live From Blueberry Hill,’ Out Now
American Blues Scene Staff
Berry was the first member inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a member of the Blues Hall of Fame, Songwriters Hall of Fame, a recipient of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and a Kennedy Center Honor.
Dualtone Records released Live From Blueberry Hill, a new album that documents the famous run of hundreds of shows that the late Chuck Berry — the American music icon Bob Dylan called “the Shakespeare of rock and roll” — performed on the Duck Room stage in the famed St. Louis venue.
Taken from performances recorded between July 2005 and January 2006, Live From Blueberry Hill finds Berry in rare form, putting in masterful performances of classics that have long been enshrined in the rock and roll canon — “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Sweet Little Sixteen,” “Johnny B. Goode” — while beaming with pride at his own towering legacy.
With his Blueberry Hill Band — daughter Ingrid Berry on harmonica, son Charles Berry, Jr. on guitar, bassist and band leader Jimmy Marsala, pianist Robert Lohr, and drummer Keith Robinson — in tow, Chuck’s Duck Room performances offered raucous, freewheeling spins on classics that are now permanently woven into the fabric of modern music. Such a rare opportunity meant that music fans of all stripes — including artists like The Band’s Robbie Robertson, Motorhead’s Lemmy, Lorde, and Nelly — came from around the world to witness the godfather of rock and roll savoring his own talents and giving it his all in every set.
Berry was the first member inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a member of the Blues Hall of Fame, Songwriters Hall of Fame, a recipient of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and a Kennedy Center Honor. His seminal song “Johnny B. Goode” was included on the Voyager Gold Record and sent into space as an example of one of mankind’s finest musical achievements.
Live From Blueberry Hill follows his final studio album Chuck, announced on his 90th birthday and released in 2017.
Read a St. Louis Post-Dispatch feature on Live From Blueberry Hill, where Chuck’s son Charles Berry Jr. discusses playing in his father’s band, Chuck’s determination to put on an excellent show every night, and the process of digging into the archives to put the album together.
The release previews the hypnotizing ethos of her new record, ‘Age Of Apathy,’ out January 21st on Yep Roc Records
Aoife O’Donovan has released “B61,” an arresting ode to apocalyptic refuge and the bittersweet nature of remembering. Written while lamenting the loneliness of mid-winter lockdown, the track shimmers with the fading intimacy of the Brooklyn bars Aoife loved. “How will I know if I’m the last one alive?” she sings, wavering between warm harmonies and more urgent melodies, “for forty one days and as many nights / i’ll be standing where we stood under an indigo sky.”
First conceptualized on a piano in Aoife’s New York apartment, “B61” truly crystallized upon the addition of David Piltch’s swaying bass and the slight swells of Jay Bellerose’s drums. Delicately wrought and gorgeously orchestrated, the release previews the hypnotizing ethos of her new record, Age Of Apathy, out January 21st on Yep Roc Records.
Produced by GRAMMY-winner Joe Henry (Bonnie Raitt, Rhiannon Giddens), Age Of Apathy places O’Donovan’s vocals front and center. With melodies distinct and beautiful, delicate yet heartwrenching, she carves out a joyful existence amid grim forecasts of the future.
Recorded through a unique residency with Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL, Aoife worked both on-site at their studio with GRAMMY-nominated engineer Darren Schneider while collaborating entirely remotely with Henry. Remote collaborations introduced unexpected rhythms and textures into the architecture of the songs, allowing O’Donovan to bend her sound into more expansive shapes. The result: an enveloping world of sound that showcases Aoife’s masterful songwriting and emergent literary prowess.
Aoife O’Donovan will be touring Age Of Apathy extensively throughout 2022. See full dates below.
January 26 – Mitchell Theatre – Glasgow, UK
January 28 – Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival 2022 – Belfast, UK *
February 1 – St. Paul’s Church — Birmingham, UK *
February 2 — Barbican, Milton Court Concert Hall – London, UK *
February 3 – Hallé St. Peter’s – Manchester, UK *
February 4 – The Sage – Gateshead, UK *
February 5 – Cambridge Junction – Cambridge, UK *
SPRING 2022 DATES
February 24 – Bolivia, NC – Odell Williamson Auditorium %
February 25 – Washington DC – Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater %
February 26 – Fairfield, CT – The Warehouse %
February 27 – South Burlington, VT – Higher Ground %
March 1 – Portsmouth, NH – The Music Hall %
March 2 – Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair %
March 3 – Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg %
March 4 – Northampton, MA – Academy Of Music Theatre % ^
March 5 – Albany, NY – Swyer Theatre %
March 18-25 – Miami, FL – Cayamo Cruise
March 25 – Charleston, SC – Charleston Music Hall ~
March 26 – Atlanta, GA – Tabernacle ~
March 27 – Asheville, NC – The Orange Peel ~
March 29 – Nashville, TN – The Ryman Auditorium ~
April 7 – Berkeley, CA – Freight & Salvage ^
April 9 – Grass Valley, CA – Center for the Arts ^
April 10 – Carmel, CA – Sunset Center ^
April 12 – Santa Barbara, CA – Lobero Theatre ^
April 13 – La Jolla, CA – The Loft
April 14 – West Hollywood, CA – The Troubadour ^
April 15 – Scottsdale, AZ – Virginia Piper Theatre ^
May 13 – Hamilton, MT – Bitterroot Performing Arts Center ^
May 14 – Denver, CO – First Baptist Church ^
May 25 – Washington DC – The Kennedy Center Concert Hall !
May 26 – Washington DC – The Kennedy Center Concert Hall !
Jun 10 – Copenhagen, DK – CPH Americana
June 11 – Stockholm, SE – STHLM Americana
June 12 – Oslo, NO – Oslo Americana
June 16-19 – Telluride, CO – Telluride Bluegrass Festival
Aug 26 – Vineyard Haven, MA – Beach Road Weekender
Oct 28 – Copenhagen, DK – Musikhuset
* support from Donovan Woods
% support from Yasmin Williams
^ support from Taylor Ashton
~ supporting Gregory Alan Isakov
! performing with the National Symphony Orchestra, Renée Fleming, Lalah Hathaway, Moses Sumney