Monday, June 28, 2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mississippi Valley Blues Festival July 2-4, 2010

For twenty-six years, volunteers of the Mississippi Valley Blues Society have been organizing and presenting the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival. The three-day festival is held each year over the 4th of July weekend in picturesque LeClaire Park on the banks of the Mississippi River in Davenport, Iowa. After flooding conditions last year forced the Festival to be relocated to the streets of Downtown Davenport, the festival will again be held in LeClaire Park this year for the 26th Annual edition of the IH Mississippi Valley Blues Festival.

Through the care and attention paid in selecting performers to represent a variety of blues styles and the down-home non-commercial atmosphere of the fest, over the years the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival has become recognized as one of the finest blues fests in the country. This year’s edition will be held from Friday, July 2 through Sunday, July 4. We hope you’ll join us for a great weekend of blues music!

Many Crossroads members are also members of MVBS and/or attend the fest.  We will have a Crossroads table in the Blues Central Tent all three days.  Come on out and have a great time and listen to some super music.

Fest Lineup

Friday, July 2
Bandshell/Tent Stage
5:00 p.m. The Kinsey Report/5:00 p.m. Little Pink Anderson
7:00 p.m. Mud Morganfield/6:30 p.m. Caroline Shines
9:00 p.m. Bernard Allison/8:30 p.m. Lurrie Bell Chicago Blues Band
11:00 p.m. Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials/10:30 p.m. Shirley King

Saturday, July 3
Bandshell/Tent Stage
1:00 p.m. Iowa Blues Challenge winner/1:30 p.m. Little Brother Jones
2:45 p.m. Ana Popovic/3:30 p.m. Olga Wilhelmine with Cody Dickinson
4:30 p.m. Zac Harmon/5:30 p.m. Little Joe McLerran
6:15 p.m. Vasti Jackson/7:30 p.m. Ruthie Foster
8:00 p.m. Quad City Symphony Orchestra/9:30 p.m. Billy Branch and the Sons of Blues
                                                /10:30 p.m. Rosie Ledet and the Zydeco Playboys

Free Workshops
1:00 p.m. Olga Wilhelmine with Cody Dickinson
2:30 p.m. Little Pink Anderson
4:00 p.m. Rosie Ledet
5:30 p.m. Billy Branch

2:30 p.m. David Berntson
3:45 p.m. Winter Blues Academy Kids w/Hal Reed & Ellis Kell
5:00 p.m. Charles Wsir Johnson and the MLK Center kids

Sunday, July 4
Bandshell/Tent Stage
2:00 p.m. The Jimmys/2:00 p.m. Bill Sims Jr and Mark LaVoie
4:00 p.m. Shawn Kellerman/3:30 p.m. Dave Riley and Bob Corritore
6:00 p.m. Lucky Peterson/5:30 p.m. David Boykin Expanse
8:00 p.m. Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue featuring Tommy Castro,Debbie Davies, Magic Dick and Sista Monica/7:30 p.m. Kim Massie
9:30 p.m. The Nighthawks with Hubert Sumlin

Free Workshops
1:00 p.m. Dave Riley and Bob Corritore
2:30 p.m. David Horwitz, Blues Photography
4:00 p.m. Bill Sims Jr. and Mark LaVoie
5:30 p.m. Little Brother Jones

2:30 p.m. Charles Wsir Johnson and the MLK Center kids
3:45 p.m. Winter Blues Academy Kids w/Hal Reed & Ellis Kell
5:00 p.m. David Berntson

Crossroads Members at Blues on the Fox

Photo by Rick Davis

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Grammy Association Kicks off Chicago Blues Fest by Mark Thompson with Steve Jones

The Recording Academy, Chicago Chapter held their 8th annual Kick Off Jam on Wednesday, June 9, 2010, at Buddy Guy’s famous club Legends, that recently opened at its new location a block north of the old site. Featuring an expanded stage, more tables and clean sightlines, the new Legends is a state-of-the-art facility with an outstanding sound system that certainly was put to the test on this night of celebration.

Opening the festivities was Billy Branch and the Son of Blues, who laid down a boogie beat with Branch using his harp to create a variety of train sounds. After a strong rendition of “Scratch My Back”, Branch brought eleven children to the stage. They were members of a harmonica class Branch had been teaching at a local Chicago neighborhood youth program. The kids showed plenty of spirit and enthusiasm in their playing of their harps as well as their singing on “Stormy Monday” and “Shake, Rattle & Roll”; they even added a bit of hip-hop flavor at one point.

Next up was Vino Louden, the lead guitar player for many years for the late KoKo Taylor. Louden made a point of thanking the Music Cares program, an affiliate of the Recording Academy, which helped arrange transportation home for Vino after a near-fatal auto accident two years ago. He showed his appreciation on an emotionally charged version of “I’ll Take Care of You”, one of the evening’s highlights.

Otis Clay quickly raised the energy level in the room, showcasing his tender side on “I Can Take You to Heaven Tonight” with his full band in support. On “A Nickel and A Nail”, Clay sang in the intense, gritty style that epitomized his legendary career. The raw emotion that Clay draws on and transmits to his audience is powerfully spiritual.

The Chicago Stone Lightning Band showed their appreciation for the original Fleetwood Mac by starting their set with a cover of “Stop Messin’ Around”, led by led by lead singer and guitarist Ben Pirani. They closed with an original tune, “Do Yourself a Favor” they will be featured on an upcoming release.

The talented Dave Herrero was another highlight with his animated performance. Herrero is a soulful vocalist and a fine guitar player who laid down a rocking slice of Texas-style blues on “Halo” and “Nacogdoches”.

The evening took a detour to the dark corner of the world that Otis Taylor inhabits. Backed by members Of Umphrey’s McGee plus Billy Branch on harp and Chicagoan Anne Harris on violin, Taylor strapped on a guitar and took the audience on an intense ride through the gamut of human experience. His searing version of “Hey Joe” mixed sexual overtones with a surging musical accompaniment for another high point of the evening.
Blessed with a powerful voice, Nellie “Tiger” Travis entertained the crowd with her original material including a touching tribute to KoKo Taylor, “Queen of the Blues”. Following her was another woman with a big voice, Cathy Richardson. Her tough, soulful voice brought to mind images of Janis Joplin, a role Richardson once played in an off Broadway production. The blues world has some fine up and coming female singers to continue to carry the torch.

Harmonica ace Matthew Skoller brought the party back to the traditional Chicago blues style with the help of Carlos Johnson on guitar, Marty Sammons on keyboards and Marty Binder on drums. Skoller’s set served up proof that he is one of the top harp players on the Chicago scene. Just after the conclusion of his performance, the Chicago BlackHawks won the Stanley Cup, much to the delight of the crowd.
Then it was star time as Miller brought the legendary club owner to the stage. Buddy Guy graciously acknowledged the compliments and appreciation from friends and fans alike for the new club, thanking everyone for their continued support with a special mention for the city of Chicago. Then Buddy gave a big shout-out to the champion BlackHawks. Guy then did a short set without his guitar, reminding the audience that he is still a superb singer, as he weaved together a medley of classic blues tunes. He finally relinquished the stage, stating that he wanted the other acts to get their time and that no one ws there to see him; I certainly must disagree since it is always a huge pleasure to listen to Buddy.

It is never easy to follow a legend but the next group found Carlos Johnson leading the band that backed the dynamic pairing of Billy Branch and Sugar Blue. The two harmonica wizards showcased their contrasting styles – Branch bending and contorting his body, his hands caressing his harp as he tried to blow the house down while Sugar Blue stood almost motionless, his hands barely moving while he blew intricate lines, improvising like a master jazz musician. The contrast of styles of play impressed both Carlos Johnson and the crowd, woth both harp players laying out intricate licks in their own unique styles and tones.

The big finale started with Ronnie Baker Brooks and his brother, Wayne Baker Brooks, on guitar and vocals with his band in support. They traded guitar licks through a rousing “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” and then slowed the pace on ‘Long Distance Call”. Then the patriarch of the family, Lonnie Brooks, arrived on stage to the cheers of the appreciative audience. Brooks, a recent inductee to the Blues Hall of Fame, tore into “Watch Dog” as the three guitarists took turns showcasing their individual styles. Next, Lonnie started a train rhythm on his guitar, steadily building the pace until the band joined in as Lonnie continued to squeeze notes out of his guitar; he gave the audience quite a show. Finishing with a brief chorus of “Sweet Home Chicago”, Lonnie picked his guitar with his tongue before leaving the stage.

But the evening wasn’t quite over as Wayne called Carlos Johnson and Billy Branch back to the stage for a final jam that ended the evening six hours after it started. The finale was a raucous and wild adventure, with the younger Brooks offering his guitar out to audience members to pluck as he fingered notes and chords.

Congratulations to the Recording Academy for another outstanding party and a truly fitting opening for another Chicago Blues Fest weekend. And a tip of the hat to the Legends staff for the great job they did of taking care of their guests all night long. The new Legends is truly a marvelous venue that will provide a true showcase for celebrating blues music for years to come.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Blues on the Fox June 18 &19

Friday June 18, 2010 - 6:30 p.m.
Tinsley Ellis
Southern blues-rocker Tinsley Ellis may speak no evil, but he sings and plays with the conviction of, as Billboard wrote, "...a man possessed." Over the course of 11 albums and literally thousands of live performances, Ellis easily ranks as one of today’s most electrifying blues-rock guitarists and vocalists. He attacks his music with rock power and blues feeling, in the same tradition as his deep south musical heroes Duane Allman and Freddie King and his old friends Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes. Atlanta Magazine declared Ellis "the most significant blues artist to emerge from Atlanta since Blind Willie McTell."

Friday June 18, 2010 - 8:30 p.m.
Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue
Rare indeed is the artist with the virtuosity to draw the unqualified respect of some of the most iconic legends in jazz and the ability to deliver a high-energy funk rock show capable of mesmerizing international rock stars. Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews is one such artist – and there is no one else like him.

Saturday June 19, 2010 - 2:00 p.m.
Hix Brothers Junior All Stars
Aurora’s first family of music, the Hix Brothers, promise to provide the cream of the crop of young students of the Blues.

Saturday June 19, 2010 - 3:30 p.m.
Guy King and his “Little Big Band”
 The Guy King Band is a blues band that draws its influences from different eras and areas of the blues. It is a soulful and unique blend of gutbucket blues with the "uptown" soul and jazz styles.

Saturday June 19, 2010 - 5:15 p.m.
Ronnie Baker Brooks
Chicago guitar hero Ronnie Baker Brooks is carrying the torch from the previous generation of soul and blues greats and moving the music into the future. As the son of blues great Lonnie Brooks, he came of age watching the fieriest guitar players and most soulful singers of a previous era express their deepest feelings through their music.

Saturday June 19, 2010 - 7:00 p.m.
"Joined at the Hip" featuring Pinetop Perkins and Willie “Big Eyes” Smith with special guests Hubert Sumlin and Bob Margolin
Don't miss these legends of blues performing together in this unprecedented tour.

Pinetop Perkins
Pinetop Perkins is one of the last great Mississippi bluesmen still performing. He began playing blues around 1927 and is widely regarded as one of the best blues pianists. He’s created a style of playing that has influenced three generations of piano players and will continue to be the yardstick by which great blues pianists are measured.

Willie "Big Eyes" Smith
Willie "Big Eyes" Smith was born in Helena, Arkansas in 1936. At the age of 17 he ventured to Chicago where he heard Muddy Waters for the first time. Willie was hooked on the blues and the attraction to the music persuaded him to stay in Chicago.

Hubert Sumlin
In April 2000, a new Hubert Sumlin album was recorded that was expected to bring Hubert’s recognition in line with his accomplishments. The album was conceived and produced by Rolling Stones guitar player Keith Richards, wanting to play blues with Hubert. The album has an interesting and legitimate concept: applying Hubert’s guitar playing to Muddy Waters’ songs. It features Levon Helm on drums, David Maxwell on piano, Paul Oscher on harp, Mudcat Ward on bass, and Bob Margolin on guitar. Keith Richards recorded "Two Trains Runnin’" with just him and Hubert. Eric Clapton plays and sings on "I’m Ready" and "Long Distance Call." In January of 2005 that album titled "About Them Shoes" was released on Tone-Cool Records. On December 8, 2005, "About Them Shoes" was nominated for the 2006 Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Album.

Bob Margolin
Steady Rollin’ Bob Margolin is a blues guitar player and vocalist, carrying on the deep Chicago blues style and creating his original music today. From 1973-1980, Bob played guitar in the band of Chicago blues legend Muddy Waters, touring worldwide and recording, and learning to play Muddy's powerful music directly from him. In 1980, Bob started his own band, and he's still on the road and recording. He won the W. C. Handy award for guitar in 2005, and was nominated again in 2006.

Saturday June 19, 2010 - 8:30 p.m.
Jimmie Vaughan
Jimmie Vaughan is far more than just one of the greatest and most respected guitarists in the world of popular music, as well as a three-time Grammy winner. As Guitar Player magazine notes, “He is a virtual deity—a living legend.” After all, Vaughan provides vital link between contemporary music and its proud heritage, as well as being a longtime avatar of retro cool.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Windy City Blues Society Sponsors the 2010 Chicago Blues Festival and Hosts Their Own Stage

The Windy City Blues Society (WCBS) is proud to announce the music lineup for the WCBS Street Stage at the Chicago Blues Festival. The WCBS Street Stage will be located in the Festival Village next to the WCBS booth on Columbus Avenue, north of Jackson Avenue, and will feature live blues performances daily by many of Chicago’s finest blues musicians. In the spirit of Chicago’s historic Maxwell Street Market, the performances will be held at ground level. The Windy City Blues Society is a proud sponsor of the 2010 Chicago Blues Festival. The Chicago Blues Festival is held in Chicago’s Grant Park from June 11th through 13th and is the world’s largest free blues festival.

WCBS Street Stage Schedule:

Friday, June 11

Noon to 1:00 - Will Jacobs & Dirty Deal

1:15 to 2:15 - Chris James, Patrick Rynn & Rob Stone

2:30 to 3:30 - Kilborn Alley Blues Band

3:45 to 4:45 – Lurrie Bell & Chris Harper

5:00 to 6:00 - Steve Freund & Dave Specter with Bob Stroger, Kenny Smith and Barrelhouse Chuck

6:15 to 7:15 - Rob Blaine Band

Saturday, June 12

Noon to 1:00 - Matt Hendricks

1:15 to 2:15 - Diamond Jim Greene

2:30 to 3:30 - Chris Harper Band

3:45 to 4:45 - Adam Gussow

5:00 to 6:00 - Bob Riedy & Bob Corritore

6:15 to 7:15 - Peaches Staten Band

Sunday, June 13

Noon to 1:00 - Gerry Hundt

1:15 to 2:15 - Cash Box Kings featuring Billy Flynn, Jimmy Sutton & Oscar Wilson

2:30 to 3:30 - Joe Filisko & Eric Noden

3:45 to 4:45 - Chicago Blues Round Robin with John Primer, Jimmy Burns, Carl Weathersby, Kenny Smith, Jimmy Sutton, Steve Doyle and Dave Katzman

5:00 to 6:00 - Lil’ Ed & Mike Garrett

6:15 to 7:15 - Joe Moss Band