The Association for Cultural Equity Make Additions and Upgrades to Alan Lomax’s Global Jukebox

The Association for Cultural Equity Make Additions and Upgrades to Alan Lomax’s Global Jukebox

Howlin’ Wuelf Media

The Association for Cultural Equity was founded by Alan Lomax to explore and sustain the world’s expressive traditions with humanistic commitment and scientific engagement

The Association for Cultural Equity is rolling out an array of updates and additions to The Global Jukebox, which was launched in 2017. The Jukebox was originally conceived by the musicologist and folklorist Alan Lomax (1915-2002) and over the last ten years brought to fruition by anthropologist Anna Lomax Wood (Lomax’s daughter) and multimedia designer Gideon D’Arcangelo. It is a space to connect with our deep heritage through the expressive arts of singing, dancing, and conversing, and is dedicated to the world’s peoples and cultures, and to their models (ideals) of beauty, and forms of communicating and bonding.

Lomax playing Mountain Music Festival – early 1940s.

 The Jukebox is an expanding database of traditional folk, indigenous, and popular songs from cultures around the world with over 6000 songs from 1200 cultures and examples for every region and all peoples. It beckons to all as the inheritors of many traditions, and invites the curious music lover, students of all ages, teachers, professors, musicologists, ethnochoreologists, scientists and researchers to discover its treasures. Access is free to all.

 Since its launch in 2017, the Jukebox has been redesigned. New features include a Playlist function, Patterns and Similarities applications, Search functions by cultures, country, language, people, song name, genre, artist, instruments, historical subsistence and more. More than 800 popular songs and 50 Latin American folk songs have been added. A new Education section includes graded Lesson Plans created by internationally known music educators, folklorists, and social historians. Find Your Musical Roots engages students and other learners. A Central Menu, FAQ and Guide can take you through the site.

 Visitors to the Global Jukebox can experience songs or dances on the map or the cultures and peoples wheel. They can investigate a geographic region, its cultures and their songs and dances. Each item is accompanied by information on the song, artists, culture, recording context, collector, and archival references. Users can also take specialist-curated “Journeys’, or guided tours ,of a musical style, the songs of a region, a people or of some quiet corner of our planet.

 Through data visualized on the Global Jukebox, visitors can explore relationships between expressive systems and the pathways of people, song and movement styles across the globe. Through queries and analyses they can uncover patterns in the geographic distribution of particular expressive traits, and connections between the expressive arts and social factors.

The cultural and song metadata have been expanded and upgraded and the primary data substantially cleaned and corrected, an ongoing process. The possibilities for research and analysis have vastly increased through collaborations with the Comparative Music Lab at Keio University SFC (Japan), and, a Database of Place, Languages, Culture, and Environment at the University of Toronto. D-Place is connected to the Max Planck Research Institute in Switzerland.

In May, 2021, seven of the Jukebox’s datasets–Cantometrics, Instrument Study, Ensemble Study, Urban Strain, Minutage, Phonotactics, and Parlametrics–will be released to the scientific and scholarly communities for research via D-Place and public repositories.


*Feature image: Alan Lomax (right) with musician Wade Ward during the Southern Journey recordings, 1959-1960. Shirley Collins/Courtesy of Alan Lomax Archive



Andrew Bird Returns to Ravinia for Bowl of Fire Reunion, First In-Person Headline Show of 2021

Andrew Bird Returns to Ravinia for Bowl of Fire Reunion, First In-Person Headline Show of 2021

American Blues Scene Staff

Special performance to include a Bowl of Fire reunion, duets with Jimbo Mathus, and more!

Andrew Bird announced his first headline, in-person show of 2021. After more than a year of live-streaming from various locations for his pandemic-inspired Performance Now! series, Bird will return to his Chicagoland hometown on September 24th for a momentous night outside at Ravinia Festival.

The career-spanning concert will see Bird performing fan favorites, joining together with Jimbo Mathus to play songs from their recently-released These 13 LP, and reuniting with the Bowl of Fire, his formative band of fellow Chicago-bred musicians. The event will feature support from Chicago’s own The Flat Five (Kelly Hogan, Nora O’Connor, Scott Ligon, Casey McDonough and Alex Hall), and the full Ravinia season lineup is available here

Tickets go on sale July 21, after a fan club presale beginning July 16. Sign up for reminders and access here, and find more information here.

Watch Andrew Bird reminisce on his high school days as a Ravinia ticket taker in a brand new, solo performance of his Stéphane Grappelli-inspired song, “Dora Goes To Town.”

In the meantime, Andrew Bird has also made the archives to all five of his Performance Now! live-streams available to rent via Vimeo. Fans can revisit Bird’s series of hi-fi, hi-res remote concerts from the orange groves of Ojai to Old Style Guitar Shop, including a split bill with Madison Cunningham, a 15th Anniversary tribute to Andrew Bird & The Mysterious Production of Eggs, a reimagined version of his annual Gezelligheid show — plus last month’s event with Jimbo Mathus, full of their classic Squirrel Nut Zippers collaborations and the brand new songs of These 13. 

Dive into the full collection here.

Ahead of his anticipated arrival at Ravinia, Andrew Bird will have additional live shows to announce, including another special performance with Jimbo Mathus. To learn more about their close and creative friendship, watch the documentary on These 13, taking viewers behind the scenes of an album that the two of them have been wanting to make for twenty years.


Sharon Van Etten Releases Amazon Original Live Album, ‘epic Ten: Live From Zebulon’

Sharon Van Etten Releases Amazon Original Live Album, ‘epic Ten: Live From Zebulon’

American Blues Scene Staff

Streaming in immersive 3D Audio – mixed by Emily Lazar

Today, Sharon Van Etten releases her new Amazon Original live album epic Ten: Live From Zebulon, available now to stream and purchase only on Amazon Music.

The album documents Van Etten’s April 2021 virtual concert from Zebulon LA, where she performed her seminal album epic in its entirety. Amazon Music HD customers using an Echo Studio can listen to Sharon Van Etten’s Amazon Original album in immersive 3D Audio mixed by Emily Lazar, which turns her performance into a unique, multidimensional audio experience.

Sharon Van Etten’s epic was originally released in 2010. epic Ten, released digitally last month and physically on June 11th via Ba Da Bing, celebrates the 10th anniversary of epic’s release. It’s a double LP including the original epic and an album of epic covers by Fiona Apple, Lucinda Williams, Shamir, IDLES, Big Red Machine, St. Panther, and Courtney Barnett ft. Vagabon. As described by Van Etten, “epic represents a crossroads for me as an artist — going from intern to artist at Ba Da Bing, from solo folk singer to playing with a band for the first time and beginning to play shows on tour where people showed up.”

Amazon Music listeners can simply ask, “Alexa play the new album from Sharon Van Etten” in the Amazon app for iOS and Android and on Alexa-enabled devices. In addition to Sharon Van Etten, Amazon Music listeners can access hundreds of Amazon Originals featuring both emerging and established artists across numerous genres, available to stream and purchase only on Amazon Music.

Stream epic Ten: Live From Zebulon only on Amazon Music:


Sharon Van Etten

Low Cut Connie Covers Paul McCartney and Wings’ ‘Let Me Roll It’ From ‘Tough Cookies’ Album

Low Cut Connie Covers Paul McCartney and Wings’ ‘Let Me Roll It’ From ‘Tough Cookies’ Album

Missing Piece Group

New Album ‘Tough Cookies: The Best of The Quarantine Broadcasts’ out May 19!

Today, Low Cut Connie shares a cover of Paul McCartney and Wings’ “Let Me Roll It” from his upcoming record Tough Cookies: The Best of The Quarantine Broadcasts, an album of cover songs pulled from Adam Weiner and guitarist Will Donnelly’s twice-weekly Tough Cookies livestream show recorded out of Weiner’s South Philadelphia home.

The 23-track album includes songs by Prince, Cardi B, Madonna, David Bowie, Bill Withers, CSNY, and many more. The album will be released on May 19 digitally and on vinyl and is now available for pre-order.

“Let Me Roll It” is the third single off the Tough Cookies album following covers of INXS’ “Need You Tonight” and Lana Del Rey’s “Video Games.”

“Paul sang his ass off on this one,” states Weiner. “It was a ton of fun to take a swing at it. That’s a soul song right there.”

Last week, Low Cut Connie partnered with The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for another special episode of Tough Cookies featuring an interview with Nancy Wilson of Heart. The Rock Hall also partnered with the band earlier this year for an episode featuring interviews with original members from Sly and the Family Stone.

This year they were invited to perform the Private Lives track “Help Me” for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’s #PlayAtHome series, which aired on March 19 to commemorate the 1-year anniversary mark of the first “Tough Cookies” broadcast.

 The band recently announced a batch of east coast tour dates for the Fall with more to be announced soon. See details below.

Tour Dates:

10/8 – Jersey City, NJ – White Eagle Hall

10/13 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club

10/14 – Philadelphia, PA – The Fillmore

12/9 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom

Tough Cookies: The Best of The Quarantine Broadcasts tracklist

  • West End Blues (Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five)
  • Doing It to Death (James Brown with Fred Wesley and the J.B’s)
  • Let Me Roll It (Paul McCartney and Wings)
  • Little Red Corvette (Prince)
  • Helpless (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
  • Need You Tonight (INXS)
  • Bang (Yeah Yeah Yeahs)
  • Ain’t No Sunshine (Bill Withers)
  • Dress You Up (Madonna)
  • Heroes (David Bowie)
  • The Good The Bad and The Ugly (Ennio Morricone)
  • American Skin (Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band)
  • Everyday People (Sly & the Family Stone)
  • Be Careful (Cardi B)
  • Le Freak (Chic)
  • Bad Girls (Donna Summer)
  • The Message (Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five)
  • It’s Raining Men (The Weather Girls)
  • Kaddish
  • I Shall Be Released (Bob Dylan)
  • Video Games (Lana Del Rey)
  • Do Your Thing, Behave Yourself (Tim Maia)
  • We’ll Meet Again (Vera Lynn)

    Follow Low Cut Connie:



    Whiskey Bayou Records Signs Big Chief Monk Boudreaux To New Album

    Whiskey Bayou Records Signs Big Chief Monk Boudreaux To New Album

    American Blues Scene Staff

    On ‘Bloodstains & Teardrops’ – Big Chief Monk Boudreaux connects the early music of the slaves in New Orleans Congo Square to the Caribbean as he demonstrates its similarities in lyrical, musical, and cultural content.

    From Jamaica to the Swamp! Bloodstains & Teardrops by Big Chief Monk Boudreaux will be released May 21, 2021 on Tab Benoit’s Whiskey Bayou Records. Joseph “Monk” Boudreaux is the oldest living Mardi Gras Indian Chief, the elder of elders in a tradition dating back to the 1880s. As such, he sees himself as the guardian of a spiritual discipline that involves Gnostic customs and beliefs shared by members within the New Orleans Black community over the course of multiple generations. He is a cultural hero, recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Award, and a well-loved American musical legend. His vast discography includes many records with the Golden Eagles, collaborations with Anders Osborne, Galactic, John Gros and 101 Runners.

    On Bloodstains & Teardrops – Big Chief Monk Boudreaux connects the early music of the slaves in New Orleans Congo Square to the Caribbean as he demonstrates its similarities in lyrical, musical, and cultural content. On his journey from the island​ ​to​ ​the​ ​swamp ​he​ ​is​ ​joined​ b​y a plethora of musical legends including Tab Benoit, Michael Doucet, and Johnny Sansone as well ​as Jamaican​ ​and​ ​Louisiana​ ​musicians​.​ In the same way, it crossed the ocean in the late 1940s, it’s alive and happening all over again. This record is a dramatic example of how his method of singing as a Mardi Gras Big Chief can apply to other genres.

    For this project Monk traveled to Jamaica and back, finding his Reggae groove with the local musicians before returning to Louisiana to finish the record. He had never been to Jamaica before. So, he and manager Rueben Williams went to Jamaica with guitarist Damon Fowler and spent a week looking around Kingston, driving up into the hills to see Bob Marley’s grave and recording with a reggae band and a toasting-style backup vocalist at Tad’s International Limited studio. The six songs Monk cut there reflected the inspiration he got from being in Jamaica and seeing the parallels to his New Orleans home. Back in Louisiana, co-producer Tab Benoit cut additional material at his studio to complete the album. But the lines between blues, swamp music and reggae become blurred as Monk develops his songs.

    Many of these songs recorded in Benoit’s studio have a strong Blues element, mixing guitars, fiddle, organ and harmonica with Boudreaux’s signature vocals. “Choo Choo” is a classic train song theme propelled by Sansone’s insistent harmonica. “Kingston Blues” is a hard-driving slow blues with searing lead guitar over a powerful organ riff. “On Bended Knees” has a driving feel with Sansone’s third position harmonica over the minor guitar and fiddle. “Indian Blues” is a one-chord vamp reminiscent of John Lee Hooker’s style, slide guitar fills and solos alternating with Michael Doucet’s bowed fiddle.

    Bloodstains & Teardrops record release celebration will take place Friday May 14 in New Orleans at Zony Mash, with special guests Johnny Sansone and Waylon Thibodeaux.

    Big Chief Monk Boudreaux
    Pre-Order Bloodstains & Teardrops

    Robert Finley Debuts Album Title Track, ‘Sharecropper’s Son’

    Robert Finley Debuts Album Title Track, ‘Sharecropper’s Son’

    American Blues Scene Staff

    The video for title track, “Sharecropper’s Son,” was directed by Tim Hardiman and filmed on location in Finley’s hometown of Bernice, Louisiana.

    Robert Finley debuted the title track from his Dan Auerbach produced record, Sharecropper’s Son — A soulful chronicle of Robert’s life growing up in Louisiana, where his family worked as sharecroppers during the Jim Crow era south. Robert also performed on CBS This Morning Saturday’s Saturday Session on May 1, and will be performing at this year’s Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival in September.

    The career defining new album from “the greatest living soul singer” will be released via Easy Eye Sound on May 21, 2021. A soulful masterpiece written by Finley and co-written by Auerbach, it features blues veterans and studio legends who have worked with everyone from Elvis to Wilson Pickett.

    The video for title track, “Sharecropper’s Son,” was directed by Tim Hardiman and filmed on location in Finley’s hometown of Bernice, Louisiana.

    “I’m born to tell my story and where I come from. Even though the cotton fields weren’t a pleasant place to be, it was real and a part of my life. I came from the cotton fields to Beverly Hills, and I think it’s a story worth telling. ” Finley said, adding, “My dad was proud and full of pride growing up. He didn’t want to be seen in the welfare line, so he worked hard in the field and did things his way and would go hunting to bring home food for us.”

    Finley is an army veteran and was a skilled carpenter before losing his sight in his 60s to finally pursue his musical dream. He has overcome divorce, house fires, an automobile accident and is legally blind following losing his sight due to the medical condition, glaucoma, which forced him to retire from carpentry and finally pursue his long delayed music career. Finley believes his sight was improved by the power of prayer, and his faith has also helped him focus on launching his music career in his 60’s. According to Finley, “losing my sight gave me the perspective to see my true destiny.”

    The forthcoming release of Sharecropper’s Son is hotly anticipated telling his life’s story and rooted in the classic sounds of southern soul, country, rhythm and blues. With songwriting by Finley, Auerbach, Bobby Wood, and contributions from respected country songwriter Pat McLaughlin, Sharecropper’s Son also features an all star band including guitar expertise from Auerbach himself, Kenny Brown, Russ Pahl, and Billy Sanford. They are joined by other notables: Bobby Wood, Gene Chrisman, Nick Movshon, Eric Deaton, Dave Roe, and Sam Bacco.

    The fire behind the conflagrant performances on Sharecropper’s Son is ignited by Finley, who has cited a range of vocal influences, including Al Green, Jimi Hendrix, Ray Charles, Elvis, James Brown and The Beatles, all inspiring his genre diverse and formidable vocal approach, which take center stage and encapsulate his remarkable life. Finley’s tales of pain and joy uplift as he shares his belief that you are never too young to dream and never too old to live.

    On May 1st, Robert Finley appeared on CBS This Morning Saturday Sessions performing “Country Child.”

    Sharecropper’s Son will be released on May 21 on Easy Eye Sound. There will be an exclusive sunrise yellow vinyl, available from the Easy Eye Sound store only. To pre-order and for more information please visit:

    Jose Ramirez Releases First Single On Delmark Label ‘Whatever She Wants’

    Jose Ramirez Releases First Single On Delmark Label ‘Whatever She Wants’

    American Blues Scene Staff

    “‘Whatever She Wants’ talks about an attraction so crazy that you’re willing to put everything on the line, no matter how dangerous. – Jose Ramirez

    At 33 years old, Jose Ramirez is Costa Rica’s premier blues artist and has played with some of the biggest names in the blues industry, including Buddy Guy, Anson Funderburgh, Janiva Magness, Mark Hummel and Bryan Lee.

    Ramirez was recently nominated for a Blues Music Award 2021 for Best Emerging Artist Album for his debut recording, Here I Come, produced by Anson Funderburgh. In 2020, The Jose Ramirez Band won second place at The Blues Foundation International Blues Challenge in Memphis, and the band performed in the finals at the Orpheum Theater, outlasting over 230 bands from around the world.

    Jose recently signed a contract with world famous blues label Delmark Records in Chicago for the release of his second studio album. This makes him the first-ever Latin-American to sign with the renowned record company.

    Whatever She Wants” is his first single to be released on the Delmark label.

    I truly believe Soul and R&B are way closer to the Blues than other types of music out there and it’s always felt natural for me to blend these soulful genres just like they used to do back in the 70s. This song is my rendition to old-school Blues/Soul singers such as Johnnie Taylor, Bobby Bland and Bobby Womack.  ‘Whatever She Wants talks about an attraction so crazy that you’re willing to put everything on the line, no matter how dangerous.

    In the past couple of years, Ramirez has traveled the world playing the blues. His two European tours included more than 45 concerts in England, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium. His U.S.A. tour included shows around the Midwest and the South. Highlights included shows at legendary clubs such as Buddy Guy’s Legends, where Buddy Guy himself joined Jose on stage.

    Jose Ramirez

    The McCrary Sisters Return with New Single, ‘Amazing Grace’

    The McCrary Sisters Return with New Single, ‘Amazing Grace’

    American Blues Scene Staff

    “With all that’s going on in this world, death, loneliness, sickness, hurt, grief and pain, we the Mcrary Sisters need to tell the world that God’s amazing grace is enough to get us through it all.”

    The McCrary Sisters sing a unique style of gospel; influenced by classic soul, Americana, blues and R&B, they bring an indescribable joy to singing. Dynamic, powerful and thrilling are just a few words to describe The McCrary Sisters’ live performances. They return to the spotlight to release a thrilling new rendition of “Amazing Grace” written to the music from “House of the Rising Sun.”

    It was originally recorded by the Blind Boys of Alabama, who performed regularly with The Fairfield Four — the legendary quartet of whom the sisters’ father (the Reverend Samuel McCrary) co-founded, so it has special meaning for them. This era seemed perfect to re-introduce this song, the sisters explained, saying, “With all that’s going on in this world: death, loneliness, sickness, hurt, grief and pain, we the McCrary Sisters need to tell the world that God’s amazing grace is enough to get us through it all.”

    Recorded at Nashville’s Studio PunchUp, the track was produced by the Sisters with assistance from Phil Hughley, who also contributed the searing lead guitar that buttresses the gorgeous vocals with richly toned blues.

    Western Publicity*——- · Amazing Grace – The McCrary Sisters

    Steeped in tight soulful harmonies, the Sisters will have the audience dancing in the aisles celebrating life with words of hope and love. The sisters were raised in harmony, singing at home and at their father’s church, but word soon spread of their individual accomplished voices and each began sharing the family vocal legacy as solo artists with a wide range of performers to include Bob Dylan, Elvis, Isaac Hayes and Stevie Wonder.

    In 2011, the Sisters officially formed their own group, The McCrary Sisters, and have since recorded or performed with notable artists Delbert McClinton, Black Keys, Martina McBride, Eric Church, Patty Griffin, Buddy Miller, Jonny Lang, Robert Randolph, The Winans, Donnie McClurkin, Rosanne Cash, Carrie Underwood, Hank Williams Jr., Dr. John, Widespread Panic, Sheryl Crow, Maren Morris, Gregg Allman and many more. NPR called them “Nashville gospel royalty.”

    They have been featured on broadcasts from BET–Bobby Jones Gospel, TBN– Jason Crabbe Show, PBS-Rock My Soul w/ Fairfield Four, Lee Ann Womack, Buddy Miller, PBS-Mountain Stage, CMT-2016 Fan Festival w Carrie Underwood, CMT-2015 Artists of the Year w Eric Church, _ABC-CM_A Awards 2015-Hank Williams Jr, 2016-Maren Morris.

    While bloodlines and resumes are all well and good, nothing can prepare you for the experience of hearing The McCrary Sisters LIVE. No words can describe the power, and passion and pure soulfulness of The McCrary Sisters–Ann, Deborah, Regina, and Alfreda. Hear them once, and you will never be the same.

    The McCrary Sisters

    Mighty Roots Music Festival Line-Up Announced

    Mighty Roots Music Festival Line-Up Announced

    Cary Baker / Conqueroo

    The Mighty Roots Music Festival is very much a reboot of Mighty Mississippi festival in a new location — Stovall Farms, the place where Muddy Waters grew up and was first recorded.

    Bringing some much-needed good news to music fans across the country, the Mighty Roots Music, LLC announced its lineup for the inaugural Mighty Roots Music Festival to be held Friday, October 1 and Saturday, October 2 on historic Stovall Farms, just outside of Clarksdale, Mississippi, and 70 miles south of Memphis, Tennessee. The lineup delivers a diverse array of roots-music performers and a unique experience on the site of the old Stovall Gin Company cotton gin complex and farm where Muddy Waters grew up.

    Friday’s lineup will feature Jamaican-born Mystic Bowie, also known as the lead singer of the 1980s Talking Heads side project Tom Tom Club. Bowie’s Talking Dreads performance will highlight not only his Jamaican musical heritage, but also his unique fusion of reggae and Talking Heads classics. Also Friday are The Minks, a Nashville-based “psychedelic-bloos” band; Mississippi native Mohead; and Memphis-based singer-songwriter Rollin Rosatti.

    Saturday will highlight two of Americana music’s brightest stars: headliner Deer Tick, a band known for strong songwriting, excellent music, an avid fan base developed over the course of eight albums, and a bio that simply states, “Deer Tick likes to rock out”; and fan favorite Keller Williams, an artist often described as a “one-man jam-band” and known for his collaborations with Yonder Mountain String Band, String Cheese Incident, and Umphrey’s McGee.

    Saturday’s line-up also includes the esteemed Texas-born Americana singer-songwriter Radney Foster; Jackson, Miss. bluesman Jarekus Singleton; Harrison AR bluegrass band National Park Radio; Austin blues rockers Red on Yellow; and emerging singer-songwriter Tyler Tisdale.

    After the main stage concludes each night, the Stovall Store stage will feature late-night blues sets by Big A and the All-Stars on Friday and the Stone Gas Band on Saturday, with a special “Burning of the Blues” celebration Saturday night.

    Tickets are offered on both a single-day and weekend pass basis. In addition to general admission tickets, a VIP ticket offers access to a private area in the historic gin building, special viewing areas, and the Back 40 Bar. Organizers are also creating plans to facilitate safety distancing protocols.

    Contributing to the immersive experience of the festival, campsites and RV sites are also available. Food truck concessions will be anchored by Doe’s Eat Place truck from Greenville, Miss. and the Lost Pizza truck from Cleveland, Miss. The Mighty Roots Music Festival is presented by WADE, Inc., north Mississippi’s John Deere dealer.  Sponsors include Visit Mississippi, Visit Clarksdale, Sonic Drive-Ins, Guaranty Bank, Delta Magazine, and Clark Beverage Group.

    The festival’s co-founders are Greenville-based hit singer-songwriter and recording artist Steve Azar and Mississippi native and festival producer Howard Stovall. Decades-long veterans of the national music scene, the two worked together closely on the Mighty Mississippi Music Festival (2013-2018), which Azar co-founded in Greenville as one of the two premier anchor events for the highly successful “Bridging the Blues” tourism and marketing program.

    The Mighty Roots Music Festival is very much a reboot of Mighty Mississippi festival in a new location — Stovall Farms, the place where Muddy Waters grew up and was first recorded.

    L-R “Son” Sims; Muddy Waters at the Stovall Plantation. Photo: John Work III, 1942

    ”We created such an inspiring and honest experience at Mighty Mississippi, and Howard’s farm is just the perfect place to recapture that all over again with an authentic roots music festival. The venue is beyond cool and says so much about our delta’s rich history and culture,” notes Azar. “Once people experience our VIP area in the old gin building, hopefully they will mark this event down on their calendar as a must-attend for years to come.”

    The location is not just home to the Mighty Roots Festival but is also a must-see destination for music fans from around the world, with deep local connections to some of the most legendary names in music, including Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Bessie Smith, Pinetop Perkins, and Ike Turner, among others. Clarksdale is known to feature live blues music 365 days a year.

    Stovall’s roots in the area run as deeply as possible — his family history on the land extends back to the 1830s — but Azar also has local roots: “My Mom is from Clarksdale, my Uncle Joe was Mayor and my cousins have the best BBQ joint in Mississippi with their world renown Abe’s. So, it is home to me!”

    In addition to great music and a great party, the event represents an important economic boost to Coahoma County, Miss., a rural area that has historically suffered from higher unemployment rates and lower income metrics than average. “The economic impact of a major tourism event like this is immediate and can be significant,” states Stovall, who worked in the 1990s to help establish Coahoma’s County’s tourism tax. “Bringing in several thousand people and their buying power can move the needles noticeably in our community.”

    Mighty Roots Music Festival

    North Carolina Bluesman and Buck Dancer John Dee Holeman Dead at 92

    North Carolina Bluesman and Buck Dancer John Dee Holeman Dead at 92

    American Blues Scene Staff

    When Holeman was 14, he bought a new Sears Silvertone guitar for $15. “I thought I had something!” he said. His uncle and cousin taught him a few chords. “I listened to 78s like ‘Step It Up and Go’ by Blind Boy Fuller, the Grand Ole Opry, and heard others play at pig-picking parties. I was good for catching on.”

    John Dee Holeman was the epitome of what it meant to be a Piedmont bluesman in the tradition of pioneers such as Blind Boy Fuller. He had a great saying about how he learned to play the blues: “I caught it from my cousin who caught it from his uncle.” That uncle he speaks of played with the masterful Blind Boy Fuller in the early twentieth century.

    Tintype photography by Timothy Duffy / Music Maker Relief Foundation

    Holeman was born in Hillsborough, North Carolina on April 4th, 1929. He passed away the morning of April 30th, 2021 of natural causes at his home in Hillsborough.

    “I was born in 1929,” he would say in his lilting, soft-spoken manner. “My father was Willy Holeman, and my mother was born Annie Obie near Roxboro, N.C. Her daddy moved to Hillsborough and ran a flour mill. James Obie was my uncle; there are still Obies in Hillsborough. I lived on the Sam Latta place at first – he was the High Sheriff. There were three sisters and one brother. My parents are planted in the cemetery of Obie’s Chapel Church in Person County.

    “In about 1935, we moved to a 100-acre farm on Gray Road in northern Orange County. We would walk four miles to the store at Timberlake to get us some candy. We could play on Saturday or Sunday, you know, fix a swing in a tree, swing in a tire and things like that. One time I took a fender off a Model T Ford, got on a bank, put water on the bank, and slid right down to the bottom! I completed the fourth grade, then stopped; we weren’t compelled to attend then. I cut short my education because Daddy needed me to farm. I had to do what my Daddy said. I missed my education, but I’ve made a living so far.”

    When he was 14, he bought a new Sears Silvertone guitar for $15. “I thought I had something!” he said. His uncle and cousin taught him a few chords. “I listened to 78s like ‘Step It Up and Go’ by Blind Boy Fuller, the Grand Ole Opry, and heard others play at pig-picking parties. I was good for catching on. My guitar kept me company when I tended to tobacco in the barn so I wouldn’t go to sleep. You had to control the tobacco as it cured – you ran one heat to get the green out, then another to dry it out for cigarettes.”

    With the farm struggling, he moved to Durham in 1954. “The government took over the farming and gave you an allotment of how much you could raise,” Holeman recalled. “Before that we raised as much as we could handle. If you went over the allotment at harvest time, they’d make you cut it down. In 1954, I got $200 for my portion of tobacco for the whole year. I went to the Liggett and Myers Tobacco Company for work. You could get a three-room ‘shotgun’ house for $6 a week. I also operated heavy equipment, like hauling dirt.”

    It was his skill as a guitarist that first set him apart. In Durham, he got to play with musicians who had learned first-hand from such bluesmen as Brownie McGhee, Sonny Terry and Reverend Gary Davis. In recent years, he had been a regular at Durham’s summer Warehouse Blues Concert Series at the site of the old L&M factories and warehouses where he once worked.

    In addition to playing, he worked construction as well as at the tobacco warehouses.

    The great University of North Carolina folklorist Glenn Hinson was the first to bring Holeman’s music to wider public attention in the late 1970s. Then, in the 1980s, John Dee finally began touring, playing the National Folk Festival at Wolf Trap in Virginia, Carnegie Hall in New York City, and abroad as part of the wide-ranging musical revues staged by the government’s now-defunct United States Information Agency. Those tours took John Dee to more than forty countries around the world. In 1988, he was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, still proud of the certificate signed and given to him by then-President Ronald Reagan.

    In 1994, Holeman was presented with the North Carolina Folk Heritage Award. A song Holeman wrote, “Chapel Hill Boogie,” was featured on the 2007 Grammy Award–nominated album 10 Days Out: Blues From the Backroads, recorded by Kenny Wayne Shepherd.

    Music Maker Relief Foundation has released four albums, most recently 2019’s Last Pair of Shoes, booked countless performances in the U.S. and overseas, and provided emergency assistance when Mr. Holeman needed to relocate. Holeman has recorded on the Music Maker label, backed by such artists as Taj Mahal and Cool John Ferguson. Taj Mahal said, “When John Dee and I sat down and played together the experience was like coming full circle back to my roots! His music took me straight back to a gentleman named Lynwood Perry in Springfield, Massachusetts, the only person I ever learned to play guitar from. As it turns out, Lynwood was also from Durham, North Carolina. It was like meeting up with an old friend! John Dee Holeman is a carrier of the southeast guitar tradition.”

    The Cold Stares Announce New Studio Album, ‘Heavy Shoes,’ Reveal New Song And Video For ‘In The Night Time’

    The Cold Stares Announce New Studio Album, ‘Heavy Shoes,’ Reveal New Song And Video For ‘In The Night Time’

    Jon Bleicher / Prospect PR

    Recorded largely at Sam Phillips Recording Studio, Memphis – with the remaining at their studio in Indiana – this Memphis vibe has seeped into ‘Heavy Shoes,’ out August 13 via Mascot Records

    Indiana duo The Cold Stares will release their new album Heavy Shoes on August 13th via Mascot Records (Black Stone Cherry, Crobot, Monster Truck). Ahead of this, they have revealed the video for “In The Night Time.“

    Their story alone would be enough for a drama series – cancer, suicide, betrayal, divorce, loss, self-identity crisis, survival, and ancestral skeletons. Write about what you know, they say.

    There’s a richness running through the songs with dark, multi-layered narratives that course through every twist and turn. Dirty fuzzed-up rock and roll meet blues, garage, desert rock and a Southern Gothic sensibility. Sombre storytelling is etched into their songs with unflinching honesty. For Chris Tapp and Brian Mullins, authenticity is their hallmark.

    The Nuggets-era psychedelic garage-rock “In The Night Time” is the band striving for something more unique and is inspired by the southern gothic city of St Augustine, Florida. “The whole city is a graveyard. So many Spaniards are buried there,” singer-guitarist Tapp says. “When you’re walking the streets, it’s like you’re walking on the graves. I was visualizing walking late at night, with things in the shadows coming alive, and It’s joyous.”  The day of the dead inspired narrative and visuals ties into the incredible cover-art by Corey Booth (Rick & Morty) which highlights that darkness doesn’t need to be menacing, it can be beautiful too.

    “I’m writing from the point of Edgar Allan Poe and William Faulkner. It needs to have weight to it,” he explains. “There’s not really anything that bothers me to talk about. When you don’t allow yourself to be human and say what’s happened to you, then you make other people that are going through tough shit think that they’re alone.”

    “There were a million opportunities for us to bail. We’ve both been through divorces, and I’ve been through cancer. We’ve been through tough times and never been given anything on a silver plate. We’re just a blue-collar American rock and roll band,” he continues.

    “I don’t think you can get to know people any better than playing music together,” says drummer Mullins. “You see people at their best and their worst. We’ve cried in front of each other, we’ve celebrated in front of each other.”

    Recorded largely at Sam Phillips Recording Studio, Memphis – with the remaining at their studio in Indiana – this Memphis vibe has seeped into the record. How could it not – the music, the history, the people, the Mississippi river. Mixed by Mark Needham (The Killers) and mastered by Andy Vandette (Beastie Boys/Smashing Pumpkins), Heavy Shoes is their heaviest record yet.

    “I tend to try to write like you’re reading a book. It’s descriptive, but also visual,” he says. He solemnly wails about bad luck on “Hard Times,” the first single from the album. They then run a gamut of themes; addiction (“Save You From You”), emotional torture (“Prosecution Blues”), destructive relationships (“Heavy Shoes”) and manipulation (“Election Blues”). The doom-laden, desert-rock “40 Dead Men” centers around an unnamed soldier who destroys his surroundings just to get home. “It’s a metaphor for being sucked into a fight, be it politics or religion, and focussing on going back to the thing you really love.”

    Tapp hasn’t been dealt the easiest cards in life. Aged ten he discovered he was adopted, “for a long time, I kinda felt I was alone.” His Grandfather, who he “emphatically loved”, was a significant influence. “He dealt with depression his whole life. Music brought him joy. Because he valued it, it felt natural to me to value it.” He ended up taking his own life, and it was Chris who found him, “it was difficult then, and it’s been difficult since,” he says. “Ninety-nine per cent of the time, he was laughing. But he had this dark side, and maybe there’s a little bit of that dark side in me.” 

    “That’s a heavy component of my life, and that creeps into the songs. It’s sometimes easier for me to think about it in a song with characters than it is for me to just think about it.” 

    As a child, his grandfather told him about his great-grandfather, who ran moonshine during prohibition. When no one in the family would discuss that period, he decided to go to do his own research, and discovered that during this, the local Sheriff and Deputy visited his great-grandfather’s house and assaulted his great-aunt.  To protect his family, the next time, he hid under the porch until the Sheriff and Deputy returned. He then shot them both dead on the porch. He spent six days in jail and was released. This trauma shook the family and Tapp lived in that home during his twenties. “My great-aunt lived to be 103 and, just before she passed away, in the last couple of years, she started to talk to me about it.”

    Tapp was diagnosed with Stage 3 Cancer in 2009 and given six months to live. 18 months of radiation and chemotherapy followed. “Now I feel like I’m saying what I want to say a little bit more concisely and elegantly,” he concludes. 

    Now on their fifth album, the road-worn warriors have crisscrossed the US, playing the Mercury Lounge to the Viper Rooms, and played with Rival Sons, Spoon, Grand Funk Railroad and Thievery Corp. Their music has been streamed over 20m+ times and has featured on TV and games; ESPN, X-Games, Monster Energy, TNT’s Animal Kingdom, Dodge Motors and the smash-hit game CyberPunk 2077.

    You want authenticity, take one long cold hard stare at these two. The Cold Stares are a rock ‘n’ roll band, but they take a sledgehammer to the foundation to reveal the cracks that are suppressed within it. With that, allowing themselves to be raw and open to show that, we are not alone.

    Heavy Shoes Tracklisting:

  • Heavy Shoes
  • 40 Dead Men
  • Take This Body From Me
  • Hard Times
  • In The Night Time
  • Strange Light
  • Prosecution Blues
  • It’s A Game
  • Save You From You
  • You Wanted Love
  • Election Blues
  • Dust In My Hands
  • Hard Times

    Connect with The Cold Stares:
    Official | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube

    Delta Roots Music Festival 2021 – Tribute To Levon Helm Set For September 25

    Delta Roots Music Festival 2021 – Tribute To Levon Helm Set For September 25

    Don Wilcock

    Rediscover America’s roots music in a whole day of great sounds where it all began in Helena, Arkansas

    The Weight Band headline the second Delta Roots Music Festival on Saturday, September 25th in Helena, Arkansas. This celebration is dedicated to Levon Helm, the patriarch whose name is synonymous with Delta roots music. “He was really special,” says Weight Band leader Jim Weider who played the first King Biscuit Blues Festival in 1986 with Levon Helm and recorded three albums with The Band, the legendary American roots band best known for “Up On Cripple Creek,” “The Weight,” “Shape I’m In,” and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.” 

    The Weight Band’s recently released Acoustic Live – Big Pink & The Levon Helm Studios carries on Levon’s Band legacy. “Why don’t we just hit the record button” said Weider during a 2019 Weight Band rehearsal at Big Pink — the house outside of Woodstock where the first Band recording was made. Little did Weider know at the time that this rehearsal and another the next day at Levon Helm’s Woodstock studio would be the last time the group would perform before the pandemic kicked in. No matter, these songs are so familiar to The Weight Band that performing them is as natural as breathing. Classic Band songs on the new release include “Rockin’ Chair,” “Remedy,” “King Harvest (Has Surely Come)”, and “Caledonia Mission” along with other familiar chestnuts from 100 years in the American songbook. These songs will come to life on the banks of the Mississippi as The Weight Band takes Festival attendees through the Delta’s rich history. 

    The Band was the group along with The Beatles, Rolling Stones and The Grateful Dead who turned “rock and roll” into “rock” and helped make roots music a worldwide phenomenon. Levon Helm grew up listening to Sonny Boy Williamson and the King Biscuit Boys perform live every day on King Biscuit Time broadcast on KFFA in downtown Helena. He would go on to become the drummer, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist in The Band. Levon passed in 2012, but his spirit lives on in The Weight Band. “I never saw him happier than at the end of his life,” says Weider. “I worked with him right to the last week of his life at the Barn, and he was always a people person. He really made people feel at home, and to watch him at the end of his life get three GRAMMYS® playing at the last shows really meant a lot to me.” 

    Weider was the sole guitarist for The Band from 1985 until that group’s dissolution in 2000. He wrote songs and performed on three of The Band’s studio albums, Jericho, High on the Hog, and Jubilation. He toured internationally with original Band members Levon Helm, Garth Hudson and Rick Danko for 15 years and was featured with them on numerous albums, films, videos and in television appearances. Come home to the Delta and celebrate Levon Helm’s rich heritage with The Weight Band led by the guitarist who was closest to him. Playing music is as natural to Weider as it was to Levon. “Yeah, I mean Levon had such a great deep feel for the blues coming from his backbeat, his kick drum. He just had a way of laying the backbeat down that comes from watching those guys play it for so long down here growing up with it.” 

    Rediscover America’s roots music in a whole day of great sounds where it all began in Helena, Arkansas. Joining The Weight Band for this special post-pandemic showcase are Arkansas’ own Cate Brothers, Fonky Donkey, Rodge Arnold, Duane Stevens Band, Mother Hubbard & The Regulators, Arkansas Brothers, Bailey Hefley, and the Live Wire Band. The Cate Brothers are 60-year Arkansas music veterans and frequent King Biscuit Blues Festival performers. Their 1976 hit record Union Man earned them appearances on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, Austin City Limits, and The Midnight Special Show. The Cate Brothers band members include guitarist Earl and Ernie on piano, John Davies on bass, Jason Davis on guitars and vocals, and Terry Cagle on drums and vocals.

    Sonny Boy Blues Society’s 2019 Battle of the Bands Winner and International Blues Challenge qualifier Fonky Donkey will perform foot stompin’, hip shakin’, slide-guitar driven original and traditional blues and Americana music. Robert “Rodge” Arnold who grew up in Helena adend worked at KFFA radio is a songwriter who has performed his southern rock music around the world. The Duane Stevens Band features brothers Duane and Grant Stevens steeped in southern tradition and heritage. They grew up in the cotton fields of Mississippi. Coming from humble beginnings and strong family ties, they set their sights on writing songs and the neon lights of the big city.

    Little Rock’s own Mother Hubbard & The Regulators mesh rock and country, adding a southern style to all the music they perform. These Arkansas Brothers, Tim and Jess Hoggard, along with Matt Pierce, have a 20-year history of sharing the stage with everyone from Jimbo Mathus, Sonny Burgess, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ike Turner and Hubert Sumlin to The Black Crowes and Robert Plant. Little Rock native Bailey Hefley, currently of Nashville, has opened for Old Dominion, Ashley McBryde, Deana Carter and Arkansas native Justin Moore. Bailey’s new EP release, So.That.Girl., offers six songs, all of which Bailey co-penned, about finding love—and the ups and downs that come with it. The Live Wire Band is an eastern Arkansas five-piece group that plays rhythm & blues, soul, country and rock with a background that goes back to the ’80s. 

    Tickets for the Delta Roots Music Festival are $20.00 and can be purchased online at eventbrite or at the King Biscuit Blues Festival office (319 Phillips Street, Helena). Hours for the festival are 10 a.m. until 9. p.m. Arts and crafts, food vendors, a cash bar, a raffle for a custom-painted drumhead, Lil’ Sprouts Acre kids area, harmonica workshops, and Delta Cultural Center’s Beans, Greens, and Cornbread Competition will also be a part of this event. Pets are not allowed, only service animals. Kids 12 and under are free to enter. In addition to the live music performances, a Levon’s Levee and Lake Bike Ride will start at 10 a.m. The ride fee is $20.00, and students can ride free. 

    Registration and check-in begins at 8:30 a.m. There will be a 30-minute rest stop at Storm Creek, approximately four miles from downtown Helena, with refreshments and live music. Kayaks will also be available at Storm Creek for use. Tickets are also available at eventbrite. Festival chairman Munnie Jordan said, “Come join us as we celebrate all genres of music – blues, country, gospel, rockabilly, rock-n-roll, and bluegrass – stemming from our Delta Roots.” 

    Other event details will be announced in the coming weeks, so people are encouraged to check eventbrite and Facebook, email [email protected] or call 870-572-5223. Delta Roots Music Festival is a partnership by Sonny Boy Blues Society, Delta Cultural Center, Helena Advertising & Promotions, Main Street Helena, Phillips County Chamber of Commerce, The City of HelenaWest Helena, and Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism.



    Halley DeVestern Band To Release Live Album ‘Money Ain’t Time’

    Halley DeVestern Band To Release Live Album ‘Money Ain’t Time’

    American Blues Scene Staff

    The club billed the show as “imagine Janis Joplin backed by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Mothers of Invention with just a hint of Howitzer. That is The Halley DeVestern Band.” A completely accurate description of DeVestern and her seasoned five-piece band.

    There is nothing quite like sound of a seasoned live band playing to a packed house on a night when they were hitting on all cylinders from downbeat one to the rapturous encore. Capturing those moments is a miracle of modern recording technology that we all get to benefit from. One such miracle happened September 1st, 2019 at the Studio Winery in Lake Geneva Wisconsin when the touring New York City rockin’ funk and soul group The Halley DeVestern Band were in the house.

    The club billed the show as “imagine Janis Joplin backed by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Mothers of Invention with just a hint of Howitzer. That is The Halley DeVestern Band.” A completely accurate description of DeVestern and her seasoned five-piece band that includes guitarists David M Patterson (Shawn Mullins , Kirsten Thien) and Steve Jabas, (Hot Peas ‘NButter) and the rhythm section of drummer Rich Kulsar (Roger Waters, the Zen Tricksters, Mickey Dolenz) and Tom Heinig (Lamont Cranston Band, Mill City Band) on bass, all of whom have the musical muscle and dexterity to back her up. For DeVestern, who toured with Big Brother and the Holding Company filling the shoes of Janis Joplin with her mighty vocals and showwomanship skills, deserves nothing less. Recorded in front of a full house the 10-song set is a mix of five original tunes including the chart topping single, “Muscle Memory,” and five rearranged cover songs, running the gamut from hard driving soul to rocking blues and Americana, putting the listener in the front row of a one-of-a-kind experience.

    It is undoubtedly a bold move to open with the Queen of Soul standard “Chain Of Fools,“ as most bands would warm up to such a number, but DeVestern and the boys show they came to play by launching into a fun-loving, six-minute version of the 1967 hit, complete with its trademark tremolo guitar licks and vocal acrobatics. Swirling guitars lead us into the chart topping ”Muscle Memory,” and its genre bending atmospherics. DeVestern shows off her Janis Joplin chops on the Kozmic Blues-esque “Try,” mashing it up with a taste of 10 Years After, followed by the title track, “Money Ain’t Time,“ a classic R&B ballad on which Halley rails against greed and apathy, while the guitars not so gently weep. The band then gets busy with the stop time 16 bar blues “I’m Ready,“ with Patterson and Jabas trading hot solos.

    The poetic imagery in “American Pain” reveals harsh commentary on the troubles in our country. Their creative juices really get flowing on the swinging rearrangement of Motown signature song “Dancing In The Streets,“ as a Texas Blues number, adding shout outs and crowd participation for good measure. A deep grooving bass line from Heinig anchors the searing protest against American racism,“Boil.“ DeVestern pours herself into the Hall of Fame “Stormy Monday,” paying loving tribute to the song that inspired many to take up the electric guitar and sing the blues. She changes course for the set closer heading to the Caribbean and leading the boys through a bawdy beach party anthem ”Mighty Love,” slipping into a tongue twisting freestyle finale that young parents and fans of Family Guy will love.

    The timing of this album release, Money Ain’t Time, reminds us all of what we’ve been missing in the last year and what we should never take for granted great live performances from great performers.

    The Halley DeVestern Band

    Alex Lopez is ‘Rising Up’ With New Album Release

    Alex Lopez is ‘Rising Up’ With New Album Release

    American Blues Scene Staff

    Lopez is an acclaimed guitarist, prolific songwriter and emerging artist recognized for his electrifying live performances. Critics have said he is “capable of revitalizing the blues for a new generation” and he is quickly taking the blues/rock scene by storm.

    Cleveland born guitarist and singer songwriter Alex Lopez, who has established himself as a prominent figure on the Florida blues scene, returns with his fifth album Rising Up, striving for a stronger more authentic sound of straight-ahead blues, rock and soul.

    The eleven tracks of original material feature Lopez and his band, The Xpress, a tight, dynamic quartet of Lopez on guitar and vocals with Kenny Hoye on keyboards, Steve Roberts on bass and drummer Kana Leimbach. Gulf coast singers , Latonya Oliver from the Soul Sensations, and Dana Merriwether add sweet background vocals to the title track. Co-producer, engineer and “preacher at the big electric church,” George Harris, out of Creative World Recording Studios in Tampa, also lent his acclaimed guitar playing and songwriting skills to the project and captured the songs in a live off-the-floor style.

    Lopez is an acclaimed guitarist, prolific songwriter and emerging artist recognized for his electrifying live performances. Critics have said he is “capable of revitalizing the blues for a new generation” and he is quickly taking the blues/rock scene by storm.

    Born in the heartland of Rock n Roll – Cleveland, Ohio, Alex started playing keyboards before becoming inspired by British blues/rock bands to master the guitar. Influenced by greats like Clapton, Page and Hendrix, Alex spent young adulthood performing in clubs and recording original songs in small studios while polishing his songwriting skills. Since his move to Florida to attend college, Alex spent years as the vocalist and lead guitarist of the wildly popular rock band Reminiscion, before striking out on his own.

    In September of 2013 Alex released the self-produced album Back Bedroom Blues a collection of all original blues and blues/rock songs on which he played all instruments and introduced his formidable skills as a blues guitarist and singer/songwriter. In 2015 Lopez released his second CD Is it a Lie with his newly formed band The Xpress to excellent reviews. His third album, Slowdown achieved a new level of success with international recognition and critical acclaim rising up the blues, jam and Americana charts with worldwide airplay and earning Alex fans across the globe. The latest recently released album Yours Truly, me… went to #6 on the blues/rock Radio charts and clearly positioned Alex to continue his ascent in blues rock.

    Alex Lopez
    Pre-Order Rising Up

    *Feature image courtesy of Blind Raccoon

    The Reverend Shawn Amos Honors the Greats With ‘The Cause Of It All’

    The Reverend Shawn Amos Honors the Greats With ‘The Cause Of It All’

    American Blues Scene Staff

    “There’s a bravery I wanted to capture,” The Rev says of the platters that inspired ‘The Cause of it All,’ masterworks from icons like Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf, and Little Walter.

    “I want to bring the ancestors into the room,” says The Reverend Shawn Amos, likening himself to the griots of West Africa, a class of traveling poets, musicians, and storytellers who keep oral tradition alive, binding the people together with song. With The Cause of it All, alongside longtime guitarist Chris “Doctor” Roberts, The Rev does exactly that, and not a moment too soon. This stripped-down collection of blues classics speaks to our shared sense of vulnerability and isolation, but with the joyful, contagious swagger that has long borne bluesmen – and their listeners – through trouble, into the light.

    The Cause of it All, The Reverend’s 4th studio album (Shawn Amos’ 8th), arrives less than a year after Blue Sky, his full-band outing with the Brotherhood – including drummer Brady Blade and bassist Christopher Thomas. Even as lockdown commenced, Blue Sky hit #6 on the Billboard Blues Album chart and nabbed a 4-star review in American Songwriter. It remained in the Top Ten on the Roots Music Report Blues Chart for thirty weeks.

    In lieu of gigging to promote Blue Sky, The Rev and the Doctor made some potent, spiked lemonade out of some particularly bad pandemic lemons. They manifested a long-held desire of The Rev’s to journey back to the inspiration that launched him in 2014: raw, unbridled, canonical blues, presented in elemental duo format, no-frills, live in a room, as both testament and evangelism. The Cause of it All hearkens back to historic pairings like Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee and Junior Wells & Buddy Guy. The Rev and the Doctor deliver standards and lesser-known chestnuts, all bracingly intimate, every word hanging unencumbered in the air like an incantation. Just as they have on stages throughout the world, these men leave a lot on the floor: the breath into the bullet microphone, the laughter, the fret buzz, the defiant foot stomp –everything reverberating in a spirit-filled space, offering soul sustenance as only a well-crafted song can.

    “There’s a bravery I wanted to capture,” The Rev says of the platters that inspired The Cause of it All, masterworks from icons like Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf, and Little Walter. “I wanted to bring back a spontaneity that’s been lost.” Sure enough, with no rhythm section to mask the occasional reckless moment, the bare bones tunes evoke the rickety front porches and smoky back rooms in which they were born, places of both refuge and unabashed celebration. The Rev executes his most assured vocals and harp playing yet, radiating within spartan arrangements percolating with Dr. Roberts’ unique, deeply sympathetic, snaky electric and acoustic stylings.

    “Quarantine was the perfect opportunity to do this,” The Rev says. It’s the right time for The Cause of it All. Not only because it’s a box The Reverend Shawn Amos needed to check, but because it shows the power of elemental blues to soothe, entertain, and embolden folks who long for a lone, joyful, steadfast voice in the dark. Now more than ever.

    The Reverend Shawn Amos
    Pre-Order The Cause of it All

    *Feature image by James Freeman

    4X Grammy Winner Delbert McClinton Announces Retirement

    4X Grammy Winner Delbert McClinton Announces Retirement

    American Blues Scene Staff

    “I have had a decent career, and I have accomplished more than I ever dreamed I would. With that in mind, this is a good time to retire.” – Delbert McClinton

    Delbert McClinton has had plenty of time to reflect on his 63-year music career during this pandemic. For the first time in six decades, he has been off the road and off stage for more than a year. He has made an important decision, with an announcement to his band members and organization on April 22nd.

    “Here I sit, 80 years old, in the middle of a pandemic. This is not how I envisioned playing out my final years as an entertainer. Music has been my total being for my whole life,” he admits. “I had been considering finishing this year with a modest number of shows. But the more I thought about it, and the more obstacles that have been placed in front of me, the less my heart was in it.

    “I don’t want to get up in front of audiences who might be the cause of my incapacity or death just because I want to play music. I don’t want to listen to anyone who won’t wear a mask or get a vaccine. We all have different values and they are inarguable.”

    He continues, “I have had a decent career, and I have accomplished more than I ever dreamed I would. With that in mind, this is a good time to retire.”

    McClinton adds that this is a good time to close out his career, with a Grammy win (2020 Best Traditional Blues), a great album (Tall, Dark & Handsome: Hot Shot Records/Thirty Tigers), the Americana Lifetime Achievement Award, and the best band and crew with whom he has ever had the pleasure of sharing a stage (Self-Made Men + Dana).

    “I’m leaving the stage with no regrets. I’ve done all that I set out to do and more. Retirement will allow me to enjoy my family and travel a bit as it becomes safer. It’s been a great ride,” he adds, as he looks forward to the next chapter.

    McClinton was born on November 4th, 1940, in Lubbock, Texas, and moved with his family to Fort Worth. He worked in a bar band, the Straitjackets, who played backing Sonny Boy Williamson II, Howlin’ Wolf, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and Jimmy Reed. After several album releases in the early 1970s, he earned his first real acclaim for penning “Two More Bottles of Wine,” a #1 country single for Emmylou Harris in 1978. A cover of his tune,”B Movie Box Car Blues,” was the first track on the Blues Brothers debut, Briefcase Full of Blues the same year.

    His other three Grammy Awards were for Rock Performance by a Duo with Bonnie Raitt for “Good Man, Good Woman” in 1992; Contemporary Blues Album for Nothing Personal in 2002; and Best Contemporary Blues Album for Cost of Living in 2006. He has been nominated a total of eight times.

    According to his Facebook page, Delbert is still scheduled to appear on the Sandy Beaches Cruise 27, with guests The Mavericks, Marcia Ball, The California Honeydrops, Marc Broussard, and many more.

    Blues-Rock Guitar Master Mike Zito Delivers a ‘Resurrection’ on New CD

    Blues-Rock Guitar Master Mike Zito Delivers a ‘Resurrection’ on New CD

    Mark Pucci

    “For me to sing songs and feel them with real emotion, they need to be somewhat personal. Even songs I did not write, I need to feel they explain a part of my thinking or how I am feeling about love, sex, life, death, the world…. ‘Resurrection’ is an album of feelings, emotions, and is very personal.” – Mike Zito

    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), will release his new album with Hillside Global, Resurrection, which is set to hit July 16. Resurrection will be available for pre-order on May 21st at

    Producing the new disc is the celebrated Grammy-winner David Z, best known for his long-standing work with Prince, and who has contributed to albums by Etta James, Billy Idol, BoDeans, Buddy Guy and John Mayall, among many others.

    “I have songs in me and musical ideas all of the time,” volunteers Zito about the new album’s genesis. “I write what I can, when I can and try to save it all for posterity. Some of the songs are just songs and they don’t always have meaning for me, and some of them become very personal. For me to sing songs and feel them with real emotion, they need to be somewhat personal. Even songs I did not write, I need to feel they explain a part of my thinking or how I am feeling about love, sex, life, death, the world…. Resurrection is an album of feelings, emotions, and is very personal. The title track is how I once almost lost my love, but it came back stronger than ever. I have had this song in me for years, but it only makes sense now to share it with the world. After the year we have had on planet Earth, I believe we all need a rebirth. This rebirth has given me an opportunity to be who I want to be musically and artistically.”

    Joining Zito (vocals, guitar) on his new musical journey are many musicians who’ve played with him for the last several years, including: Matthew Johnson – drums; Doug Byrkit – bass guitar; Lewis Stephens – piano, organ; Zach Zito – acoustic guitar; and Lisa Andersen – backing vocals.

    The 11 tracks on Resurrection not only showcase Zito’s strengths as a composer, with eight original songs that sparkle, but also as an interpreter of other compositions, with scintillating and powerful takes on tunes from JJ Cale (“I’ll Make Love To You”), Eric Clapton (“Presence of the Lord”) and Willie Dixon (“Evil”).

    “I wrote and recorded the music I felt strongest about and I wanted to share it with the world,” Zito says.” I played my guitar the way I want to play my guitar, not the way anyone says I am supposed to play my guitar. I sang the way I wanted to sing – in my voice with my emotions. I had David Z produce for me again after a few years apart. We have now worked on seven albums together and I believe he understands my music and helped me to shape this album to be strong in the year 2021. This is an album that requires deep listening from beginning to end. The album cover art is an original painting by an amazing South Korean Artist, Yool Kim. She has captured the feeling of soul and light at the end of struggle. I am excited for people to hear this music. I believe it is a wonderful album of songs, stories, and sonic waves of electric guitar that convey darkness before the dawn. I am once again excited about love and life and music.”

    Zito’s last CD, Quarantine Blues, was recorded during the heart of the coronavirus pandemic and served as a healing love letter to his fans around the world that heralded better days ahead if we’d all just stick together.  His album prior to that was a tribute to fellow St. Louis native and rock ‘n’ roll legend, Chuck Berry, and featured an array of guest guitarists ranging from Joe Bonamassa, Walter Trout and Eric Gales, to Robben Ford, Luther Dickinson and Sonny Landreth, as well as Berry’s own grandson.

    *Feature image by Scott Lukes courtesy of Mark Pucci Media

    Paula Cole Shares New Song ‘Black Mountain Blues’ – New Album ‘American Quilt’ Out 5/21

    Paula Cole Shares New Song ‘Black Mountain Blues’ – New Album ‘American Quilt’ Out 5/21

    American Blues Scene Staff

    “Together these songs make an American Quilt.”

    Today, Grammy-winning songwriter and producer Paula Cole shares her new song “Black Mountain Blues.”  Recorded by Bessie Smith and covered by Janis Joplin, Cole’s version of the song is the second single from her upcoming album American Quilt.  “It’s strong like black coffee and it’s warrior-esque,” says Cole. American Quilt will be released on May 21st through Renew Records / BMG.

    “Black Mountain Blues” follows Cole’s recent single “Wayfaring Stranger.”

    With a musical catalog defined by honest and deeply personal lyrics carried by her powerful, radiant voice, Cole has always had a gift for discerning the underlying humanity in stories from her own life as well as those around her, and channeling those emotional elements into captivating music. On American Quilt, Cole applies this natural insight to American history and musical roots traditions by interpreting a selection of classic songs – each of which provide an entry point for rediscovering the overlooked stories and figures that populate America’s interwoven cultural lineage.

    The album was produced by Cole, who was the first woman nominated (without collaborators) as Producer of the Year at the 1997 Grammy awards. She garnered a total of seven Grammy nominations that year and won “Best New Artist” for her second album and major-label debut, This Fire, with its timeless hits, “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?” and “I Don’t Want to Wait” (later the theme song for hit TV series Dawson’s Creek). Today, as a visiting scholar at Berklee College of Music, Cole tells “all my female students, ‘Start thinking like a producer, think about how you want the whole track to sound, be a voice.’”


    “Together these songs make an American Quilt,” says Cole, “a patchwork of heritage, a stitched-together-history of culture both painful and beautiful. I hope the listener will step inside the canoe and float down the Missouri River of their mind.  I hope they will hear the gospel of the country, and taste the liquor in the speakeasies.  I hope they will feel the freedom in the jazz of the cities, heed the call to morality in the spirituality of a day’s hard work, and the call to the Great Beyond from the Appalachians.”

    As on previous albums, Cole was joined by a longtime “family” of musicians, including esteemed drummer Jay Bellerose and guitarist Kevin Barry, collaborators since the trio’s days at Berklee. American Quilt follows 2019’s acclaimed album of originals, Revolution.


    American Quilt Track List:

  • You Don’t Know What Love Is
  • Wayfaring Stranger
  • God’s Gonna Cut You Down
  • Wayfaring Stranger
  • Shenandoah
  • Black Mountain Blues
  • Good Morning Heartache
  • Nobody Knows You (When You’re Down And Out)
  • Blackbird
  • Steal Away / Hidden In Plain Sight
  • What A Wonderful World

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    *Feature image credit: Ebru Yildiz

    Ska Boom! An American Ska & Reggae Oral History Now Available For Pre-order Exclusively from DiWulf Publishing House

    Ska Boom! An American Ska & Reggae Oral History Now Available For Pre-order Exclusively from DiWulf Publishing House

    Howlin’ Wuelf Media

    From the story of The Shakers, the first American reggae band signed to a major label deal by David Geffen, to the spreading wildfire of inspiration that was seeing The Specials on Saturday Night Live in 1980…

    Musician, podcaster, and author Marc Wasserman’s debut book Ska Boom! An American Ska & Reggae Oral History is now available for pre-order and will be available on July 4, 2021. Published by DiWulf Publishing House, the 400-plus page book is an exhaustive, extensive, entertaining, and action-packed tale about the pioneers of the American ska and reggae music scene.

    Courtesy of Howard Wuelfing

    Three and a half years in the making, this cinematic story is lovingly told through hundreds of hours of interviews with key musicians, artists, managers, club promoters, writers, and the fans who were there at the dawn of the ‘80s to witness the birth and spread of a uniquely American version of a time-honored subculture.

    From the story of The Shakers, the first American reggae band signed to a major label deal by David Geffen, to the spreading wildfire of inspiration that was seeing The Specials on Saturday Night Live in 1980, to the mighty Skavoovee Tour of 1993 that helped give rise to the 3rd wave of ska, Marc collects hundreds of stories, anecdotes, history, gossip, and (most importantly) the feeling of what it was like as groups of young, ska-crazed acolytes spread their passion from Boston to New York and from Chicago to Los Angeles while igniting a fiercely loyal dedication to a burgeoning culture inspired by Jamaican ska, rocksteady and reggae, and British 2 Tone and mod sounds. The fashion, the feeling, the exciting days of true, DIY independence… Marc captures it all in this exciting, funny, intimate and informative tome.

    Interviews include members of seminal bands The Untouchables (Los Angeles), Bim Skala Bim (Boston), The Toasters (New York), The Uptones (Berkeley, CA), The Scofflaws (Long Island, NY), Let’s Go Bowling (Fresno, CA) Mephiskapheles (New York), journalist and author Joel Selvin, and many more. The book also features some never before seen photos, an essay from Stephen Shafer (Duff Guide to Ska and former Moon Records’ director of promotions, marketing, and production), and a forward penned by Horace Panter of The Specials.

    DJ Chuck Wren of Jump Up Records has put together a rare ‘80s all-USA ska mix CD to be included FREE with all pre-orders placed through the DiWulf website while supplies last! This 80-minute mix digs deep into the obscure world of privately pressed records, proving that American Ska’s roots were firmly planted during the 80s alternative music underground.


    Pre-order Ska Boom!


    (Official release date: July 4, 2021)

    *Feature image of Marc Wasserman courtesy of DiWulf Publishing

    101-Year-Old Fiddler Willie Durisseau Makes Only Known Recordings of Pre-WWII Creole Fiddle Styles

    101-Year-Old Fiddler Willie Durisseau Makes Only Known Recordings of Pre-WWII Creole Fiddle Styles

    American Blues Scene Staff

    “Willie Durisseau’s music was like a precious time capsule that was buried in his mind for almost a century.” – Louis Michot

    Arnaudville, Louisiana’s Nouveau Electric Records is issuing a unique release on June 19, Creole House Dance, featuring 101-year-old Creole fiddler Willie Durisseau (1918-2019). Creole House Dance features two tracks, each comprising three small songs, some of which represent a pre-WWII Creole fiddle style that has never been recorded before. These performances were captured by Louis Michot (singer/fiddler of Grammy winners Lost Bayou Ramblers and founder of NER) on a Zoom stereo recorder at the Durisseau home in Spring of 2019. Creole House Dance will be released as a 45RPM vinyl 7,” digital download and via streaming platforms.

    As Willie and his wife Irma recounted their memories of the Creole house dances of the 1930s to Michot, Durisseau would pick up his fiddle and allow his fingers to recall the songs he and his late brother, Jimmy Durisseau, played back then in their native, Lebeau, Louisiana. In their community, musicians performed exclusively on fiddle(s) and guitar, with no accordion. Creole House Dance provides 21st century music lovers with a vivid snapshot of those celebratory weekly affairs.

    Louis wrote about his encounters with Willie for the Louisiana Folklife Program:

    Louis Michot/ ‘Live at Dockside’

    “In a time when we look back to recordings to give us a glimpse of the roots of Louisiana French music, we sometimes overlook the deepest wells of information and experience in our own region — the elders who played at and attended the bals de maison. I was fortunate to be introduced to Willie and Irma Durisseau in 2019, who attended many house dances in their native Lebeau, Louisiana, throughout the 1930s. Willie was a Creole fiddler who played at the dances.

    “Willie Durisseau was born on February 20, 1918 in Mallet, and was raised in Lebeau, both communities in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana. His days as a Creole fiddler began in Lebeau, where he and his brother, Jimmie, made their first fiddles out of cigar boxes. They played house dances in the 1930s and were usually joined by one or more of their cousins, the Joe brothers: Aaron, Caffery, and Clarence. Of the two sets of brothers, they played fiddle or guitar, or both, but none of them played the accordion, and according to both Willie and Irma, they never had an accordion at their house dances in Lebeau.

    “Willie eventually met Irma Doucet at one of these house dances, and the two were married in August of 1940. Irma stated that they played at and frequented house dances in 1938 and 1939, but that in 1940 much of the community moved to Beaumont, Texas, presumably for work. That same year Willie joined the United States Army and went to fight in Okinawa in World War II. Irma said they played a few small house dances after the war, but that these social gatherings soon faded as the community was not as strong as before the war, and Willie put down the fiddle to raise his family and work in construction. Willie and Irma later moved to Opelousas to raise their family, but the couple never let go of their heritage and memories of those days in Lebeau.

    “In 2017, a family member bought Mr. Durisseau a new fiddle, and at the age of 99 he picked the instrument back up to recall some of the melodies from these dances over 80 years ago. As one can find it hard to imagine still playing the fiddle at 101 years old, Willie was able to carry a tune for about a minute at a time, and only a few tunes in the space of an hour, but the clarity and authenticity of the melodies flowed from his fingers like gold.

    “I sat down with the Durisseaus for a series of informal interviews in April and May of 2019, along with Corey Ledet, a Creole Zydeco accordion player, Robin Miller, a local French speaker and cultural enthusiast, and J.B. Adams, a Creole music aficionado and radio DJ in Houston who was the first to find out that Willie had retaken to the fiddle at the age of 100 years old.

    “Willie Durisseau’s music was like a precious time capsule that was buried in his mind for almost a century. While many musicians modernize, and change their repertoire as the trends change, Willie held on to the music of his youth and accessed it like a rare gem to share with his family, while Irma reminisced on stories of the older, simpler times. Mr. Durisseau’s ability to tap into those nights at the bals de maison is what makes his music truly priceless.

     “Willie’s passing on December 17, 2019, marked the end of an era. He was the last surviving Creole house dance fiddle player known in Louisiana.”

     Read Michot’s extensive essay.

    Joshua Henry Performs National Anthem at Mets Opening Weekend

    Joshua Henry Performs National Anthem at Mets Opening Weekend

    American Blues Scene Staff

    ‘Guarantee’ is Henry’s latest artistic endeavor, following his success as an actor including his three Tony-nominated turns on Broadway, performing as Aaron Burr in the first touring company of Hamilton, and his upcoming performance in Lin Manuel Miranda’s highly anticipated directorial film debut ‘Tick Tick… Boom!’

    Joshua Henry has had a non-stop spring. The musician and three-time Tony-nominated performer released his debut EP Guarantee in early March via BMG, welcomed twin sons on March 21 with his wife Cathryn and performed the National Anthem before The Mets home game on Saturday, April 10 to a hometown NYC crowd at Citi Field. And that’s just to name a few things he’s been up to! Watch Henry’s performance of the National Anthem, and stay until the end when he is joined by his 3-year old son Samson:

    Guarantee is out now and was produced by close collaborator Theron “Neff-U” Feemster (Michael Jackson, Dr. Dre, Justin Bieber, Doja Cat). The four-song set showcases Joshua’s immaculately powerful voice and his intelligent storytelling background, brilliantly pairing themes of vulnerability, love, and hope born out of the pandemic. The EP features lead single “Hold Me” explores the balance of the relentless pursuit of a dream while needing to ask for love and support, and was added to numerous playlists including Spotify’s “New Music Friday” (US, Canada, World) and Amazon’s “The New Black”; “Guarantee” which questions things we look at as certainties in life — a thought, a person, a gadget, a belief system, etc; and more.

    Guarantee is Henry’s latest artistic endeavor, following his success as an actor including his three Tony-nominated turns on Broadway (Scottsboro Boys, Violet and Carousel), performing as Aaron Burr in the first touring company of Hamilton, and his upcoming performance in Lin Manuel Miranda’s highly anticipated directorial film debut Tick Tick… Boom! featuring Vanessa Hudgens, Andrew Garfield, Judith Light and others. Joshua’s passion for music was rooted in childhood though and, as he progressed through Broadway, TV and film roles, Henry’s heart beat out rhythms, his voice ringing with clarion emotion. But the entire time, he longed for an outlet to express his own story.

    *Feature image by Jennifer Doak Courtesy of The Mets

    Quarto Valley Records Signs Guitarist/Singer Sean Chambers

    Quarto Valley Records Signs Guitarist/Singer Sean Chambers

    American Blues Scene Staff

    “This album is a tribute to my mentor, and friend, the late great Hubert Sumlin.” – Sean Chambers

    Quarto Valley Records announces the signing of acclaimed blues-rock guitarist/singer Sean Chambers, and will release his label debut CD, That’s What I’m Talkin About, a tribute to legendary former Howlin’ Wolf guitarist Hubert Sumlin, on June 11.

    Florida-born Sean Chambers began his career in the blues back in 1998 when he toured with the legendary Hubert Sumlin as his guitarist and band leader until 2003. During Sean’s tenure with Mr. Sumlin, Britain’s Guitarist magazine named Chambers as “One of the top 50 blues guitarists of the last century.”

    Recorded in March 2020 just before the coronavirus shut everything down, the Florida-based Chambers went into Showplace Studios in Dover, New Jersey, for the sessions of his 8th album. That’s What I’m Talkin About was engineered and produced by Showplace owner Ben Elliott, who suddenly passed away shortly after the album was recorded. In addition to Sean Chambers (guitar, vocals) and members of his band, That’s What I’m Talkin About also features guest appearances from lauded keyboardists Bruce Katz and John Ginty. The 11 tracks on the new disc include 10 songs Sean regularly performed on the road as a member of Hubert Sumlin’s touring band, as well as “Hubert’s Song,” a Chambers original saluting Sumlin. The music showcases a tour-de force of Sean’s blazing guitar pyrotechnics.

    This album is a tribute to my mentor, and friend, the late great Hubert Sumlin. Back in 1998, I got a call asking if my band and I would be interested in backing up Hubert at ‘Blues Stock’ in Memphis. Of course, I was honored and said yes. The band and I woodshedded the songs for a month or so and went to play with Hubert for the first time in October of 1998. It was a magical night for me, and the chemistry between us and Hubert worked really well. After that show, Hubert asked if we would become his full-time group. My band and I continued to play and tour with Hubert for over four years. I look back on that time with Hubert as my ‘college education in the blues’.

    ‘That’s What I’m Talkin About’ was a phrase that Hubert used to say a lot, so we thought it would be a fitting name for this album. Ben Elliott, who engineered and produced the album, sadly passed away suddenly shortly after this session, and it would turn out to be his last project. The picture in the album package of Ben and I behind the mixing board was the last one of us, as we listened back to the tracks we had just recorded, hoping that Hubert would be proud. My previous two albums, ‘Trouble & Whiskey and ‘Welcome To My Blues were also recorded with Ben Elliott. He was a great friend and partner in the business and will be sorely missed by everyone that knew and worked with him. I will always be grateful to both Hubert Sumlin and Ben Elliott and will never forget all the work we did together, as well as all the lessons that I learned from them both. The music will always live on, and I hope that you enjoy this album as much as we enjoyed making it. – Sean Chambers

    Chambers will begin a post-COVID tour in support of the new CD with his band throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. He currently resides in Southwest Florida with his wife Karen, who handles his merchandise sales while on tour.

    “I am bringing back my old bass player, Todd Cook, who played bass on Trouble & Whiskey and Welcome to My Blues. New touring drummer Andrei Koribanics, was the drummer on the new album, That’s What I’m Talkin About,and played percussion on Trouble & Whiskey,” Chambers says about his new touring band. Other members include Chambers on guitar and vocals, and Rick Curran on Hammond B3 and keyboards.

    Sean Chambers

    *Feature image by: Alain Broeckx Courtesy of Mark Pucci Media

    ‘Alligator Records – 50 Years of Genuine Houserockin’ Music’ Set For June 18 Release

    ‘Alligator Records – 50 Years of Genuine Houserockin’ Music’ Set For June 18 Release

    American Blues Scene Staff

    Fifty years ago, 23-year-old blues fan Bruce Iglauer spent his meager savings to record an LP by his favorite Chicago blues band, Hound Dog Taylor & The HouseRockers, and founded Alligator Records to release it. Today, Alligator boasts a catalog of over 350 titles, many of which are renowned, award-winning, time-tested classics of the genre.

    On Friday, June 18, Alligator Records will celebrate a half-century of recording history-making blues and roots rock with the release of Alligator Records — 50 Years Of Genuine Houserockin’ Music. Both the 24 song gatefold two-LP set (over 100 minutes of music) and the 58 song three-CD set (over 230 minutes) clearly lay out label founder and president Bruce Iglauer’s wide-ranging, forward-looking vision. The collection — with richly detailed liner notes written by Iglauer himself — highlights Alligator’s extraordinary past, headline-generating present, and a future dedicated to nurturing new generations of blues artists and fans.

    Alligator Records — 50 Years Of Genuine Houserockin’ Music features songs 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, interspersed with cuts from current blues and roots icons Elvin Bishop, Charlie Musselwhite, Guitar Shorty, Billy Boy Arnold and Mavis Staples. Songs from today’s world-renowned stars like Shemekia Copeland, Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials, Rick Estrin & The Nightcats, Marcia Ball, Billy Branch, JJ Grey & Mofro, Tinsley Ellis, Joe Louis Walker, Tommy Castro & The Painkillers, Curtis Salgado and Roomful Of Blues flow together seamlessly with music from newer voices, including Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, Nick Moss, Toronzo Cannon and Selwyn Birchwood.

    Fifty years ago, 23-year-old blues fan Bruce Iglauer spent his meager savings to record an LP by his favorite Chicago blues band, Hound Dog Taylor & The HouseRockers, and founded Alligator Records to release it. Today, Alligator boasts a catalog of over 350 titles, many of which are renowned, award-winning, time-tested classics of the genre. Alligator Records’ artists and recordings have received a total of 48 Grammy Award nominations and three Grammy Awards, over 150 Blues Music Awards (the blues community’s highest honor) and over 70 Living Blues Awards (presented by Living Blues magazine). The label’s artists have appeared on radio, on television and in films. They’ve performed worldwide at clubs, concert halls and festivals, with Alligator’s support promoting and publicizing each and every gig. According to Shemekia Copeland, “Alligator Records has been a cornerstone of the blues world for five decades. As an Alligator artist, I am truly grateful for what Bruce and Alligator Records have done for me and this genre.”

    Since releasing that first Hound Dog Taylor record, Alligator Records — with the invaluable input and guidance from the 14-person staff (many of whom have been with the label for more than 25 years) — has become the most successful blues label in the world. And the Alligator story is still unfolding. From the early days of recording only Chicago talent, to attracting national and international musicians, to the label’s commitment to nurturing the new generations of blues and roots artists, Alligator, like the blues itself, continues to break new ground while staying true to its roots. Alligator Records — 50 Years Of Genuine Houserockin’ Music is a must-hear collection for lifelong fans as well as for those who have just discovered the endlessly uplifting, life-affirming, deeply soulful, roots-rocking, healing power of the Genuine Houserockin’ Music on Alligator Records.

    Pre-Order Alligator Records — 50 Years Of Genuine Houserockin’ Music

    Nina Simone and Etta James Live Albums Coming From Montreux Jazz Festival and BMG

    Nina Simone and Etta James Live Albums Coming From Montreux Jazz Festival and BMG

    Cary Baker / Conqueroo

    ‘Nina Simone: The Montreux Years’ and Etta James: The Montreux Years’ uncover rare and previously unreleased performances by the musical icons

    Montreux Jazz Festival and BMG have announced the forthcoming releases of Nina Simone: The Montreux Years and Etta James: The Montreux Years on Friday, May 28, 2021. The live albums, which will be available in multiple-format configurations, including double LP and two-disc CD editions, feature sublime collections of the iconic musicians’ finest Montreux Jazz Festival performances, including previously unreleased material, all restored to their full glory and more. The audio will also be available on digital download and streaming services.

    Montreux Jazz Festival is a renowned music festival co-created by Claude Nobs and held annually in Montreux, Switzerland across two weeks in July. Now in its 55th year, the festival draws 250,000 music lovers from all across the world to the Lake Geneva shoreline. The event celebrates the industry’s emerging and contemporary acts, while paying homage to music’s legendary acts. Originally a pure jazz festival since its inception in 1967, Montreux began showcasing other styles of music throughout the decades and today presents artists from every genre imaginable. Artists who have graced the stage of Montreux include Etta James, Bob Dylan, Elton John, Ms Lauren Hill, Aretha Franklin, David Bowie, James Brown, Kendrick Lamar, Leonard Cohen, Marvin Gaye, Miles Davis, Nina Simone and many more. Mathieu Jaton has served as CEO of Montreux Jazz Festival since 2013.

    Simone and James’ albums are the first releases of Montreux Jazz Festival and BMG’s brand-new collection series “The Montreux Years. The collections will uncover legendary performances by the world’s greatest artists alongside rare and never-before-released recordings from the festival’s rich 55-year history, with mastering performed by Tony Cousins at London’s iconic Metropolis Studios, incorporating MQA to capture the original sound of these special live performances. Each collection will be accompanied by exclusive liner notes and previously unseen photography.


    Nina Simone’s story from the late ’60s to the ’90s can be told through her celebrated appearances at the famed festival. Taking to the Montreux stage for the first time on June 16, 1968 for the festival’s second edition, Simone built a lasting relationship with the event and its co-creator and director Claude Nobs. This unique trust and electricity can be clearly felt on the recordings.

    Simone’s multi-faceted and radical story is laid bare on Nina Simone: The Montreux Years. From a glorious and emotional 1968 performance to her fiery and unpredictable concert in 1976 (one of the festival’s most remarkable performances ever witnessed), the collection includes recordings from all five of Simone’s Montreux concerts: 1968, 1976, 1981, 1987 and 1990.

    Featuring rare and previously unissued material from Nobs’ extensive trove of recorded material (Montreux Sounds), the release will thrill Nina Simone devotees worldwide with its inclusion of the powerful “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free,” poignant and fearless “Four Women and Simone’s hauntingly beautiful performance of “Ne Me Quitte Pas.

    A spine-tingling version of Janis Ian’s searing and potent “Stars,” which Simone covered for the very first time during her 1976 Montreux performance, sits alongside her bold and electrifying 1990 re-imagining of Bob Marley’s ballad “No Woman No Cry.”The collection closes with the encore from Simone’s final Montreux Jazz Festival concert and one of her most-loved and best-known recordings, the exuberant “My Baby Just Cares for Me,” showcasing the deep and multidimensional facets of Simone’s life and music.

    The CD edition of Nina Simone: The Montreux Years will also include Simone’s 1968 landmark concert in full, the first time the entire concert will be available on CD. 


    Etta James: The Montreux Years is a treasure trove of timeless classics, powerful and electrifying performances and raw, soaring vocals by one of the greatest-ever female vocalists. The collection, featuring recordings from James’ live at Montreux concerts in 1977, 1978, 1989, 1990 and 1993, encapsulates and reflects Etta’s dynamic artistry and long-lasting impact. 

    Spanning three decades, Etta James: The Montreux Years offers deeply personal and intimate snapshots of James’ phenomenal career, from one of her earliest successes, the infectious and endlessly elegant “Something’s Got a Hold on Me,” to a medley of “At Last,” “Trust in Me” and “Sunday Kind of Love” (a fusion of highlights from the early ’60s), to the raw and emotional “I’d Rather Go Blind and soulful horn-driven “Tell Mama.” The collection closes with “Baby What You Want Me to Do,” James’ homage to Jimmy Reed and the encore of her 1978 concert.

    In 1975, Nobs captured a significant moment of musical history — Etta James’ very first concert in Europe, performing at the festival’s ninth edition. The CD edition of Etta James: The Montreux Years will include highlights of this special landmark concert, held at Montreux Casino July 11, 1975.

    Thierry Amsallem, Claude Nobs’ Universal Legatee, Chair/CEO of Montreux Sounds and Chair of Claude Nobs Foundation, says: “The Montreux Jazz Festival has always been a leading showcase for the international music scene, as well as a meeting place for musicians and music lovers. The magic of Montreux lay in the encounters between musicians. There were unique events that will never be repeated. The idea was to allow artists to get off the beaten track and avoid replaying their usual repertoire. But here, we treated them like royalty and offered them the best conditions in the world, in terms of sound quality and audio-visual recording technology.”

    Nina Simone: The Montreux Years and Etta James: The Montreux Years are the first releases of Montreux Jazz Festival and BMG’s upcoming multi-format live album collection series. Further “The Montreux Years” releases are soon to be announced.

    Pre-Order Nina Simone: The Montreux Years and Etta James: The Montreux Years

    In Memoriam: Rusty Young (1946-2021)

    In Memoriam: Rusty Young (1946-2021)

    American Blues Scene Staff

    “Rusty was the most unpretentious, caring and idyllic artist I have ever worked with, a natural life force that he consistently poured into his music,” says Rick Alter, Poco and Rusty’s manager of more than 20 years.

    Singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Rusty Young, founding member of seminal country-rock band Poco and one of the most influential steel guitar players in rock history, died Wednesday of a heart attack at his home in Davisville, Missouri. He was 75 years old.

    Poco – Courtesy Michael J. Media Group

    Norman Russell ‘Rusty’ Young was born February 23rd, 1946 in Long Beach, California and raised in Denver, Colorado, where he began playing lap steel as a boy and performed in local country and psychedelic rock bands throughout his teens. In 1967, Rusty was invited to Los Angeles by Richie Furay to play steel on Buffalo Springfield’s third and final album Last Time Around, and Young, Furay, George Grantham and Jim Messina formed Poco soon after.

    Over the next five decades, alongside members that would also include Randy Meisner, Timothy B. Schmit and Paul Cotton, Rusty became not only the musical core of the band, but also the writer and vocalist behind hits including “Rose Of Cimarron” and the #1 smash “Crazy Love.” The current band – led by Rusty and featuring Jack Sundrud, Rick Lonow and Tom Hampton – still performed over 100 dates per year. “I made a promise to myself that Poco would only keep going if we remained a band of real musicians who were having fun,” Rusty said last year. “Because audiences can tell the difference.”

    “Poco, at its core, is an early example of what could be described as Americana” No Depression says, “a roots rock band that melded genres in the process of creating something new and exciting.” Rusty was inducted into Guitar Player Magazine’s ‘Gallery Of Greats’ in 1974 and ‘Steel Guitar Hall Of Fame’ in 2012. Young orchestrated Poco’s 50th anniversary reunion in 2017 and released his solo debut album Waitin’ For The Sun on Blue Elan Records later that year.

    “Rusty was the most unpretentious, caring and idyllic artist I have ever worked with, a natural life force that he consistently poured into his music,” says Rick Alter, Poco and Rusty’s manager of more than 20 years, “To fans and fellow musicians alike, he was a once-in-a-lifetime musician, songwriter, performer and friend.”

    Young is survived by his beloved wife Mary, with whom he shared a log home overlooking the Huzzah Creek where he loved to go fishing in the Mark Twain National Forest. He is also survived by their daughter Sara, son Will, and 3 young grandsons Chandler, Ryan and Graham, as well as Mary’s 3 children Joe, Marci and Hallie and grandchildren Quentin and Emma. A memorial service for Rusty will be held October 16th at Wildwood Springs Lodge in Steelville, MO where Rusty and Mary met 20 years ago.

    *Feature image Courtesy Michael J. Media Group

    Satsang Welcomes Spring With Vibrant New Single, ‘I’m The One’

    Satsang Welcomes Spring With Vibrant New Single, ‘I’m The One’

    Jon Bleicher / Prospect PR

    ‘All. Right. Now.’ is out June 4th via SideOneDummy

    On the heels of announcing a 30-date, coast-to-coast tour spanning spring, summer, and fall, the Montana-based quartet Satsang are unveiling “I’m The One,” the vibrant new single from All. Right. Now., out June 4th via SideOneDummy. Featuring a steady, dynamic rhythm and shimmering acoustic guitars, evoking the sonic energy of Paul Simon’s Graceland, “I’m The One” is a breath of fresh air, conjuring images of the summer sun, reuniting with friends, and long drives with the windows down. The single follows the release of “This Place,” featuring singer/songwriter Trevor Hall, and the album’s title track.

    “’I’m The One’ is a song I wrote about my wife and I falling in love eleven years ago, under the sun of the Beartooth Mountains,” explains Satsang’s Drew McManus. “It was an unlikely love story that many didn’t think would work. But here we are. Still in love and still in the Beartooths.”

    Written and recorded during an extended hiatus from the road, All. Right. Now. finds McManus reconnecting with his roots and exploring a whole new palette of sounds, drawing on classic country and modern Americana. The performances are broad and spacious, reflecting the wide-open fields and soaring mountains that surrounded the band while they were recording. The result is a lush, organic collection fueled by acoustic guitars, fiddle, and pedal steel; a warm, inviting record that hints at everything from Uncle Tupelo and The Jayhawks to Gregory Alan Isakov and The Head and the Heart.

     Satsang’s soulful, reggae-infused folk-rock brought their previous work to #1 on the Billboard’s Reggae Chart and saw them sell out concerts around the country, sharing stages with the likes of Michael Franti & Spearhead and Nahko and Medicine for the People as they worked their way up from bars and clubs to massive festivals. It was a stunning rise for McManus, who spent years distancing himself from a troubled upbringing marked by cycles of addiction, violence, and abuse. He came to music as part of his own recovery from addiction, when a month-long backpacking trip in the Himalayas inspired him to share his journey through song and poetry. He ultimately found peace amid family in the Beartooth Mountains of Montana, an oasis that allows him a warm hearth to recharge from the rigors of the road. “Montana isn’t just where I live,” says McManus. “It’s my heart and soul.”

     Inspired by the land and by his role as a father, All. Right. Now. is a joyful, rustic collection all about letting go and living in the moment. McManus produced the album himself, and while the songs are certainly honest and deeply personal, they’re written in a spiritual language that taps into something far more universal; something inherent in the human condition that binds us as brothers and sisters on a shared journey to find our place in this world. Grounding himself in a dedicated mixed-martial-arts practice, McManus sees no inherent contradiction between fighting and music, which both require patience, endurance, and a willingness to immerse yourself completely into practice. As a father and a husband, McManus is more committed than ever to taking care of his mind, body, and soul and to making the most of his limited time.

     “When you’re dealt a tough hand, you can either get bitter or you can get better,” says McManus. “You can blame your upbringing for everything and complain about what happened to you, or you can choose to believe that everything happened for you, to step into your power and become the person you want to be.” In Montana, that’s precisely what McManus has done, turning his dreams into reality in a place that, some days, feels more like Heaven than Earth. “My wife, my kids, Montana, they’re all one thing to me now,” says McManus. “They’re home.”

    Stay tuned for additional updates.

    Satsang – Tour Dates:

    APR 24 – Zen Fest West – Palomar Mountain, CA

    MAY 15 – YAM Fest – Yoga, Arts and Music Festival – Saint Clair, MO

    JUN 3 – Pyro Music and Arts Festival – Thornville, OH

    JUN 4 – Pyro Music and Arts Festival – Thornville, OH

    JUN 9 – The Mishawaka – Bellvue, CO

    JUN 10 – The Mishawaka – Bellvue, CO

    JUN 11 – Red Lodge Ales – Red Lodge, MT

    JUN 12 – Red Lodge Ales – Red Lodge, MT

    JUL 24 – Daydream Farm – Wall Township, NJ

    OCT 14 – Turf Club – St Paul, MN

    OCT 15 – Knuckleheads Saloon – Kansas City, MO

    OCT 16 – The Wildwood Smokehouse and Saloon – Iowa City, IA

    OCT 17 – Hi-Fi – Indianapolis, IN

    OCT 20 – Asheville Music Hall – Asheville, NC

    OCT 21 – The Basement – Nashville, TN

    OCT 22 – Rumba Cafe – Columbus, OH

    OCT 23 – Martyrs’ – Chicago, IL

    OCT 24 – Bell’s Eccentric Cafe – Kalamazoo, MI

    OCT 27 – Old Rock House – St. Louis, MO

    OCT 28 – Wooly’s – Des Moines, IA

    OCT 29 – Reverb Lounge – Omaha, NE

    NOV 11 – Marquee Theatre – Tempe, AZ

    NOV 12 – Soda Bar – San Diego, CA

    NOV 14 – The Rock – San Luis Obispo, CA

    NOV 16 – Mystic Theater – Petaluma, CA

    NOV 17 – Felton Music Hall – Felton, CA

    NOV 18 – Cornerstone – Berkeley, CA

    NOV 20 – Star Theater Portland – Portland, OR

    NOV 21 – High Dive – Seattle, WA

    MAY 27 – California Roots Music & Arts Festival – Monterey, CA


    All. Right. Now. – out June 4th

  • From And I Go
  • All. Right. Now.
  • Answer Was Yes
  • This Place (ft. Trevor Hall)
  • I’m The One
  • Further This Goes
  • Malachi
  • Back Around (ft. G. Love)
  • I’ll Try
  • Love
  • To Last



    Gulf Coast Records Signs Guitarist/Singer Dave Kalz & Will Release His Debut CD ‘Relish’

    Gulf Coast Records Signs Guitarist/Singer Dave Kalz & Will Release His Debut CD ‘Relish’

    Mark Pucci

    “I’ve known Dave Kalz for 30 years,” said Mike Zito in making the announcement. “He is an inspired guitarist and musician full of heart and soul.”

    Texas-based Gulf Coast Records, which has been releasing exciting new blues/rock albums since 2018, has signed Milwaukee area-based guitarist/singer Dave Kalz and will release his debut CD, Relish, on June 25th.

    Kalz and Gulf Coast Records founder/co-owner Mike Zito met years ago in their hometown of St. Louis, so, it was only fitting for them to return to their roots and record Dave’s debut album on Gulf Coast Records at Sawhorse Studios in St. Louis. “I’ve known Dave Kalz for 30 years,” said Zito in making the announcement. “He is an inspired guitarist and musician full of heart and soul.”

    From 1998-2000 and 2005, Kalz was a founding member of Devon Allman’s Honeytribe, which toured as the opening act for Devon’s father, Gregg Allman, and also performed shows with The Allman Brothers Band, Dickey Betts, Chuck Berry, Little Feat, Molly Hatchet, Night Ranger, Gregg Rolie and many others.

    In 2018, Dave formed Anthology – an Allman Brothers Tribute band. It featured former members of Gregg Allman’s 1978 touring band, Danny Liston and Richard Steltenpohl (also founding members of Mama’s Pride), Mike Zito, the late Grammy Award-winner Yonrico Scott, formerly of Derek Trucks Band and Royal Southern Brotherhood, James Jackson (George Benson, Level 42), and Tom Denman (formerly of Mama’s Pride).

    The 11 all-original songs on Relish were produced by Zito and feature both Kalz and his regular band, augmented by special guests, including Zito, himself. The lineup includes: Dave Kalz – guitars and vocals; Greg Hulub – bass guitar and backup vocals; Kevin McDonald – drums; Mike Zito – slide guitar on “Werewolf Blues,” guitar on “Playing the Blues with My Friends;” Tony Campanella – guitar on “Playing the Blues with My Friends;” and Lewis Stephens – keyboards on “Mexico.”

    “When I first met Mike Zito, he was working at Metro Guitar Shop in St. Louis and playing in a country band with a DJ from a popular St. Louis radio station,” recalls Dave Kalz. “I was playing in a St. Louis band that had become very popular on a local level. Mike and I immediately hit it off. We heard a lot of the same tones in our heads and listened to a lot of the same music; we saw the world from similar points of view…..and we shared a love for Fender Telecasters. We’ve been friends ever since, and when I knew I was going to put out this record, I wanted to do it with Mike.  It was never a question of ‘if,’ just a question of ‘when.’”

    Kalz began playing music in St. Louis but later moved to the Milwaukee area, where he now lives. “After the original music scene and the downtown night life in St. Louis partially collapsed, I stuck it out for another decade or so. However, I recently moved to the Milwaukee area – which is of course mighty close to Chicago. We live right between Milwaukee and Madison. Some things about downtown Milwaukee remind me of the old days in St. Louis. Their downtown is very robust and active, and people are so nice and polite up in the northern Midwest.  It’s an easy part of the country to make new friends, and Chicago has a wealth of great blues and jazz. I still love St. Louis and visit there as often as I can. Some of my favorite venues in the country are still in the city of St. Louis.”

    Kalz has been in love with music from the start. “When I was 4-5 years old, I used to take my grandparent’s old records, spin them in a circle, and acting like my finger was the needle, I would make up my own songs…. singing my little heart out,” he says. “When I was 6 years old, I had an older cousin who turned me on to Led Zeppelin’s first album, 10 Years After’s Ssssh, and a whole host of records by B.B. King. By the time I was in 6th grade, I was playing air guitar on a wooden yard stick to records by Little Feat, the Allman Brothers, and Foghat. I was already knee deep in the swampier blues rock stuff. When I finally picked up a guitar as a teenager, I started learning how to form solos by playing along with Live at Fillmore East by the Allman Brothers and Waiting on Columbus by Little Feat. My world changed when I bought Deguello by ZZ Top, and then changed again when I first heard Texas Flood by Stevie Ray Vaughan. But when I turned 21, and I saw Albert Collins play at Mississippi Nights in St. Louis, and the Arc Angels at the same venue not too long after that, everything I thought about guitar tones changed. It was like someone lifted a blanket off of the guitar amp in my head, and suddenly, I knew what I wanted out of my fingers, my guitar, and my amp.

    “My first trip to New Orleans, followed by a trip to the New Mexico and Arizona deserts changed how I would write and hear the music in my head forever. It became more spiritual…. but also more nasty and swampy. I wanted my guitar to emote sounds that evoked grit and grease, but with a hint of dark mystery, intrigue. And I wanted it to sound like a big Mack Truck trying to fit down a tight back alley, squeezing its way through as it pushed everything around it.  Everything I do now goes back to that. That’s the sound that has been in my head ever since.”

    Dave Kalz Facebook

    *Feature image: Danya Wagner Artimisi

    New Single From Stephen Foster & Howler ‘You Can’t Take Me Home’

    New Single From Stephen Foster & Howler ‘You Can’t Take Me Home’

    American Blues Scene Staff

    The song is about the rumor that Lynyrd Skynyrd fans had been chipping bits off Ronnie Van Zant’s gravestone as mementos!

    Muscle Shoals’ finest, Stephen Foster and Howler release their first single on Thoroughbred Music – “You Can’t Take Me Home” – a song written about Stephen’s late friend Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Ronnie Van Zant, tragically killed in 1977 with others of the band in a plane crash. The song is about the rumor that Lynyrd Skynyrd fans had been chipping bits off his gravestone as mementos! The song is taken from the forthcoming album Southern releasing April 29th.

    Singer-songwriter, keyboardist, guitarist Foster is a 50-year veteran of the music business, inking his first recording contract in 1969 as a stablemate to Percy Sledge, and writing for Lynyrd Skynyrd. As the house guitarist at Quinvy Studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, his session credits are legendary, working with a multitude of great artists who recorded there in the 70s. Signed to 20th Century Fox and later Janus Records as a labelmate to Robert Palmer, he walked away from the restrictions of big label deals and started Whitehorse Records in 1979, charting Cashbox Top-40 with “For The Love of A Girl.” He owned recording studios for 20 years and was an integral part in the Indie move to bust the majors but began concentrating on his own recordings in 2000. A series of Indie hits followed, continuing to present day.

    Members of Howler include guitar wizard Kelvin Holley, Little Richard’s guitarist for many years; Bassist J.R. Byrd played with Jerry Lee Lewis for 10 years touring Europe and the United States; and young monster Evan Lane on drums & vocals.

    Their combination of Blues, Rock, Americana & Boogie-Woogie music gives them the flexibility to cross genres and small concerts and huge festivals. This is a heavy act with pounding beats from Psychedelic Blues to Delta & Boogie-Woogie, featuring power piano and at times, dual slide guitars. Foster also plays solo concerts on piano and guitars, singing his hits and telling tales of the famous musicians he’s worked with. He has played solo to crowds of 10,000+.

    About “You Can’t Take Me Home,” Foster says, “I was friends with Ronnie until his passing after writing some songs which Lynyrd Skynyrd used for their first audition in Muscle Shoals at Quinvy studio in early 1970. Rest in peace, Freebird.”

    Stephen Foster & Howler

    The Black Keys to Release Blues Covers Album, ‘Delta Kream’

    The Black Keys to Release Blues Covers Album, ‘Delta Kream’

    Lauren Leadingham

    The Black Keys honor their biggest American blues influences on their latest release!

    The Black Keys have announced a new blues covers album called Delta Kream, to be released on May 14.

    Easy Eye Sound

    The 11-track collection marks the duo’s (Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney) first release since their ninth studio album in 2019, Let’s Rock. The announcement comes after The Black Keys celebrated the 10th anniversary of their sixth album, Brothers, with a special deluxe edition in January. 

    Delta Kream pays tribute to the Mississippi hill country blues acts that inspired them, including John Lee Hooker, R. L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, Ranie Burnette and Big Joe Williams. 

    The band previewed Delta Kream with album opener and lead single “Crawling Kingsnake” — their version of the blues standard which John Lee Hooker recorded in 1949. The album will be available for pre-order starting Apr. 15. You can listen to the single by signing up for The Black Keys’ fan club.


    Full Delta Kream tracklisting below:


    1. Crawling Kingsnake (John Lee Hooker)

    2. Louise (Mississippi Fred McDowell)

    3. Poor Boy A Long Way From Home (R. L. Burnside)

    4. Stay All Night (Junior Kimbrough)

    5. Going Down South (R. L. Burnside)

    6. Coal Black Mattie (Ranie Burnette)

    7. Do the Romp (Junior Kimbrough)

    8. Sad Days, Lonely Nights (Junior Kimbrough)

    9. Walk with Me (Junior Kimbrough)

    10. Mellow Peaches (Big Joe Williams)

    11. Come On And Go With Me (Junior Kimbrough)


    The 35th Annual King Biscuit Invites You to Come on Home

    The 35th Annual King Biscuit Invites You to Come on Home

    Don Wilcock

    The King Biscuit Festival has built legacies before your eyes year after year with favorites you’ve come to love! Time to snatch back the soundtrack of our lives (October 6-9)!


    “I know a place… Ain’t nobody cryin’… Ain’t nobody worried… I’ll take you there!” The Staples Singers went to number one in ’71 with “I’ll Take You There.” Come home to the 35th King Biscuit Blues Festival Wednesday, October 6th through Saturday, October 9th where it has never been more important for the number one blues festival in the south to “take us there.”

    Mavis Staples promises to celebrate the 50th anniversary of her family’s hit as Friday headliner at this year’s King Biscuit Blues Festival, just one of more than 100 storied acts performing during four days of multi-stage continuous music.  

    Joining in this year’s triumphant return of the south’s most lauded blues festival are The Allman Betts Band and Billy Branch & the Sons of Blues with Bobby Rush. Butter the Biscuit and better the bite as we celebrate our rebirth. Come dance on the levy with the real thing. We soldiered through a year without our music but gained an appreciation for who we are. It’s  time to grab your reward. Time to express yourself. Time to snatch back the soundtrack of our lives. We’re family, and you’re a member. Slip off your shoes and splash with us on the banks of the Mississippi River in the heart of the Delta.  

    Talk about taking us there! The half-century legacy of southern rock’s premiere band The Allman Brothers with their treasured classics like “Whipping Post” and “Midnight Rider” lives on in Saturday night’s headliner the Allman Betts Band, featuring Gregg Allman’s son Devon Allman and Dickey Betts’ son Duane Betts. Both artists earned their musical chops at the feet of their legendary fathers. Their Biscuit appearance comes on the heels of a 60-date world tour in 2019 and the release of their debut album, Down to the River, followed by Bless Your Heart (2020).  

    Devon Allman told Forbes magazine: “On stage every night we have a certain responsibility to tip the hat to our dads. And what I think balances the legacy, but also moving forward as our own men and as our own musicians, is balancing the two. So, if we have a set that’s 17 songs, we’re going to play a couple Allman Brothers songs. We’re not going to fill our set, but we’re also not  going to turn our back on it. The balance is everything and I think that we’ve been lucky to strike that balance.” 

    Bobby Rush conquered COVID-19 in 2020 and took home his second GRAMMY® in March of this year, finally being recognized for a legacy that he has shared with Biscuit audiences for decades. Hear him team up with Thursday night’s headliner Billy  Branch, another Chicago blues legacy. Branch was one of the first to develop a Blues in the School program and has made over  70 international tours. A three-time GRAMMY® nominee, he’s backed by The Sons of The Blues, a band of veterans that includes bass player Nick Charles, drummer Mose Rutues Jr., and pianist Sumito Ariyoshi, aka Ariyo. 


    Known the world over as the King of the Chitlin Circuit, Bobby Rush is one of the Biscuit’s most beloved members of our extended family. He keeps re-inventing himself year in and year out. As fundamental as blues itself, he is a walking history lesson in the form.

    His 2019 CD Sitting on Top of The Blues says it all, coming on the heels of his 2017 GRAMMY®-winning  Porcupine Meat as Best Traditional Blues Album. But we knew him back when, and we embrace him as the visionary he’s always been as we head into a new world order. 

    Another Thursday night act, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, are best known for their 1986 hit “Tuff Enuff.” A rallying cry for nearly four  decades, the song has never meant more than it does right now. It was written by lead singer and harmonica player Kim Wilson  whose history with Biscuit goes way back to when he donated money to the Sonny Boy Blues Society to try and save Sonny Boy  Williamson’s Helena home. Wilson, who founded The T-Birds in 1976 feels the current lineup is the best yet. It features 13-year  band veteran and guitarist Johnny Moeller. “The good thing about Johnny is he’s got his own take on things,” Wilson explained.  “He really has his own style. That’s very important to me. I need people who really have their own minds. I don’t want to hear  somebody [imitating] Johnny Guitar Watson or B.B. King. I’d rather hear people do their own deal.” 

    Come home to the festival that’s built legacies before your eyes year after year with favorites you’ve come to love. Thrill to Reba Russell’s “Heaven Came to Helena,” the Biscuit’s signature song. Wrap yourself around Paul Thorn’s southern homilies. Escape to Muddy Waters’ Chicago blues heyday with Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith and Bob Stroger. Rock out to the Kentucky Headhunters. 

    Experience Arkansas’ homegrown blues masters: Lonnie Shields, The C.W. Gatlin Band, the Phillip Stackhouse Band, and  Spoonfed Blues featuring Mississippi Spoonman. Bring Chicago blues club mojo back to the Delta with The Paul Oscher All Star  Band, Wayne Baker Brooks, Nora Jan Wallace, Maurice John Vaughn, and Fruteland Jackson. Acquaint yourself with artists who  are expanding the blues definition: Detroit blues shouter Thornetta Davis, Texas powerhouse Diaunah Greenleaf, Lucious Spiller,  Marcus “Mookie” Cartwright, Gaye Adegbalola, and the Laura Morvan Band. 

    Also performing are: The Sterling Billingsley Band, Blind Mississippi Morris, Rip Lee Pryor, Wampus Cats, Mike Wheeler Band, Rodney Block, Six String Andrew, Sean McDonald, D.R. Diamond & Birthright Blues Project, The Youngbloods of Hot Springs,  Andrea Staten, Charles Wilson Band, Dejeana Burks, Margie Turner, Earnestine Barze, Butch Mudbone, Austin “Walkin’” Cane,  Jessie Cotton Stone, Big T Williams, The Pope of Pimping Fillmore Slim, Andy T & Alabama Mike, Sweet Angel, The Blue Monday  Blues Band featuring King Edward, Bigg Robb, Sean Bad Apple, Lady Trucker, Garry Burnside, Jamaiah Rogers, and many more. 

    Don Wilcock

    On Wednesday, October 6th at the Main Stage, prior to the Michael Burks Memorial Jam, Don Wilcock will host a tribute to Kim Wilson beginning at 5:00 p.m. The Biscuit also features a Tour da Delta Bike Ride, 5K Run, Blues Symposium, Kansas-city  sanctioned BBQ & Blues on the Levee, and more. For tickets, visit King Biscuit Festival.

    Editorial note: Don Wilcock, longtime contributor to ABS, will be holding his annual Call and Response Blues Symposium at the Malco Theater, Sunday, October 9th at 1:15 p.m. The Keeping the Blues Alive Award-winning writer wrote Damn Right I’ve Got The Blues, The story of blues legend Buddy Guy, his 35 years on the scene, and his influence on rock and roll.


    WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 6 Sonny Boy Williamson Main Stage 


    Sonny Boy Williamson Main Stage 

    Fillmore Slim – 12:00pm to 12:55pm 

    Tribute to Kim Wilson – 5:00pm to 6:00pm 

    Michael Burks Memorial Jam – 6:00pm until 


    Sonny Boy Williamson Main Stage  

    SBBS IBC Bands Winner Fonky Donkey – 11:00am to 11:50am Wampus Cats – 12:00pm to 12:50pm 

    Mike Wheeler Band – 1:10pm to 2:15pm 

    Sterling Billingsley Band – 2:35pm to 3:40pm 

    Rodney Block – 4:00pm to 5:10pm 

    Kentucky Headhunters – 5:30pm to 6:40pm 

    Fabulous Thunderbirds with Kim Wilson – 7:00pm to 8:10pm Billy Branch and the Sons of Blues with Bobby Rush – 8:30 until 

    Front Porch Stage 

    Front Porch Blues Jam hosted by Brotha Ric Patton – 1:00pm to 3:00pm 


    Bit-O-Blues Stage 

    Six String Andrew – 9:00am to 9:30pm 

    Sean McDonald – 9:45am to 10:15pm 

    Grace Kuch – 10:30am to 11:00am 

    D.R. Diamond & Birthright Blues Project – 11:15am to 12:00pm The Youngbloods of Hot Springs – 12:15pm to 1:00pm 

    Front Porch Stage 

    RL Boyce – 12:00pm to 12:45pm 

    Veronika Jackson – 1:00pm to 1:45pm 

    Johnny B Sanders & Queen Iretta Blues – 2:00pm to 2:45pm The Blue Monday Blues Band featuring King Edward – 3:00pm to 3:45pm Bigg Robb – 4:00pm to 5:00pm 

    Lockwood Stackhouse Stage 

    Andrea Staten – 1:00pm to 1:45pm 

    Rip Lee Pryor – 2:00pm to 2:45pm 

    Gaye Adegbalola – 3:00pm to 3:45pm 

    Charles Wilson Band – 4:00pm to 4:45pm 

    John Watkins Band – 5:00pm to 5:45pm 

    Dejeana Burks, Margie Turner, Earnestine Barze – 6:00pm to 7:00pm Maurice John Vaughn – 7:20pm to 8:30pm 

    CeDell Davis Memorial Stage 

    Butch Mudbone – 2:00pm to 2:45pm 

    Austin “Walkin’” Cane – 3:00pm to 3:45pm 

    CW Gatlin Band – 4:00pm to 4:45pm 

    Jessie Cotton Stone – 5:00pm to 5:45pm 

    Lucious Spiller – 6:00pm to 6:45pm 

    Big T Williams – 7:00pm to 7:45pm 

    Paul Oscher Allstar Band – 8:00pm to 9:00pm 

    Laura Morvan Band – 1:10pm to 2:10pm 

    Lonnie Shields – 2:30pm to 3:40pm 

    Reba Russell Band with special guest Susan Marshall –   4:00pm to 5:10pm 

    Andy T & Alabama Mike – 5:35pm to 6:45pm 

    Paul Thorn Band – 7:10pm to 8:20pm 

    Mavis Staples – 8:45pm 


    Lockwood Stackhouse Stage 

    Jayy Hopp with Guest – 1:00pm to 1:45pm 

    Fruteland Jackson – 2:00pm to 2:45pm 

    Mickey Rogers Band – 3:00pm to 3:45pm 

    Diaunah Greenleaf – 4:00pm to 4:45pm 

    Sweet Angel – 5:00pm to 5:45pm 

    The Blue Monday Blues Band featuring King Edward –   6:00pm to 7:00pm 

    Bigg Robb – 7:20pm to 8:30pm 

    Front Porch Stage 

    Sean McDonald – 12:00pm to 12:45pm 

    Detroit Johnny – 1:00pm to 1:45pm 

    Little Willie Farmer – 2:00pm to 2:45pm 

    Dejeana Burks, Margie Turner, Earnestine Barze – 3:00pm to 3:45pm Keith Johnson & The Big Muddy Band – 4:00pm to 5:00pm Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith Band – 5:00pm to 6:00pm Fillmore Slim – 6:15pm to 7:00pm 

    CeDell Davis Memorial Stage 

    Sean Bad Apple – 1:00pm to 1:45pm 

    Spoonfed Blues featuring Mississippi Spoonman – 2:00pm to 2:45pm Lady Trucker – 3:00pm to 3:45pm 

    Garry Burnside Band – 4:00pm to 4:45pm 

    Phillip Stackhouse Band – 5:00pm to 5:45pm 

    Jamaiah “Blues Superman” Rogers – 6:00pm to 6:45pm Keith Johnson & The Big Muddy Band – 7:00pm to 7:45pm Blind Mississippi Morris – 8:00pm to 9:00pm 

    Sonny Boy Williamson Main Stage 

    Marcus “Mookie” Cartwright – 12:00pm to 12:55pm Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith & Bob Stroger – 1:10pm to 2:15pm Nora Jan Wallace – 2:35pm to 3:40pm 

    Wayne Baker Brooks – 4:00pm to 5:10pm 

    Anson Funderburgh – 5:30pm to 6:35pm 

    Thornetta Davis – 6:55pm to 8:10pm 

    Allman Betts – 8:40pm