Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Illinois Food Bank Benefit with Bobby Messano Dec 30 in Mt Morris

Bobby Messano
Dec 30, 2011 8:30 pm to 12:30 am 
Bring canned/dry good donations to get in 
Venue: Moose Family Fun Center
Mount Morris, IL 61054

Monday, December 19, 2011

Eastland MS Got The Blues

Eastland MS Got the Blues

Story, photos and video of BITS with Paul Rishell and Annie Raines at Eastland MS 11/1/11.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

RIP Ernie "Sugarlips" Brown

Ernie “Sugar Lips” Brown

On December 11th 2011,  we lost a true treasure of the blues community.  Ernie “Sugar Lips” Brown passed away at his home in Freeport, IL.  Sad as it is, this was only about a week after Carol Coleman, his long time companion and caregiver passed away.

We all will miss his unique style of harmonica playing  which truly came from the depth of his heart.  Ernie played with great feeling and ventured outside the box to create his own sound and mood.  He was capable of playing all genre of music including country, rock and his beloved blues.  Over the years, Ernie played with many musicians and bands.  Besides playing with the Mississippi Band and Port Bluez, Ernie was well known for being with his namesake band, Ernie and the Po’ Boys.

Ernie Brown was the most kind, gentle, soft-spoken person that I have ever met.  He never complained about the fact he could not see you or said bad things about people that he had dealings with.  He also had a great love for his family members and Carol.  He will be missed by all of them.
The past few years, “Sugar Lips” was unable to perform on stage or even play his beloved harmonicas. This had to be hard for him to bear after all the years of music in his life. He even had me get a harmonica rack for him to try which did not work out well. One day Ernie told me “I’ve had my time in the sun and other musicians will carry on.”  I think that he was okay with that.

I want to give a special thanks to Ernie for putting up with me in my endeavor to learn how to play the harmonica.  This truly had to be a challenge for him.  We had many hours together playing harmonica and talking.  Thank you Ernie, you will be truly missed by me and all the people that got to know you.  

Harmonica Joe Poluyanskis-Crossroads Blues Society

Ernest “Sugarlips” Brown Home Going Celebration
December 20th 2011  - 4:00PM till 9:PM
Stephenson County Farm Bureau - 210 West Spring St. Freeport, IL
Catered food will be served, live music and many pictures and memories of “Sugarlips”
No smoking or alcohol allowed
Dishes to pass would be appreciated also.
Contact Kaitlyn Peters 1-815-656-0392

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

2011 Christmas Party

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Matthew Curry Nominated for Best Self Produced CD by Crossroads Blues Society

The Crossroads Officers and Board decided to endorse and submit the CD by Matthew Curry and the Fury "If I Don't Got You" for consideration as the best self produced CD of the year.  Our nomination will be submitted to the Blues Foundation for consideration of the CD for this award.  We are excited by Normal, Illinois' Matthew Curry and are proud to submit his CD as our nomination.  This teenage guitar player and vocalist has a superb style of playing and singing.   The CD features seven original cuts and two covers.  Curry does not over accentuate and fill every measure with notes; his timing and picking are measured and stylish.  He leaves enough air between the notes to let the music breath and be appreciated.  We wish Matthew and his band the best and hope they win for best self produced CD!

Track list:

1              If I Don't Got You                                            
2              New York Blues                                               
3              Storm's A Brewing                                          
4              Walk Out That Door                                       
5              Hear The Highway                                          
6              Blinded by the Darkness                                              
7              Dancing To The Blues                                    
8              High Water Everywhere                                               
9              Soulshine

Monday, October 10, 2011

2012 BCBF Lineup Taking Shape

We announced our probable 2012 lineup at our volunteer party yesterday.  We have firm commitments for most bands and we are really looking forward to our third annual festival on August 25, 2012.  The lineup is shaping up something like this:

1:30 PM  Aaron Williams and the HooDoo
3:00 PM  Harmonica Workshop
3:30 PM  The Jimmy's
5:30 PM  Cash Box Kings
7:30 PM  Nick Moss and the Fliptops
9:30 PM  Candye Kane

Stay tuned for more info as plans are finalized!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Volunteer Recognition Party Sunday October 9th, 3 to 6 PM at Tailgaters

In recognition of the fine volunteer effort in executing the 2011 BCBF, we have schedule a party from 3 to 6 PM on Sunday, October 9th at Tailgater's in Byron!

There will be snacks provided along with free beer, Mikes Hard Lemonade and soft drinks for all volunteers. 

The Basement Blues Band will also be performing for the party (from start to finish!). Their unique electric and acoustic down home sound has expanded over the years, and the band is much larger than the old trio. The original members, Steve Leigh on guitar and vocals, Rich Gordon on bass and vocals, and Bob Schmitt on drums, harmonica and vocals remain. Added to the band are David Stine (guitar and vocals), Tom Dinwiddie (mandolin, washboard and vocals), and MarkThompson (percussion). They have a big, richer sound and an expanded repertoire, so volunteers are guaranteed to see and hear a great show!

Basement Blues Band Link 

Please wear your ash grey 2012 BCBF volunteer shirts if you can and certainly come out for this great event! We hope to see a great turnout! We will also sneak in a few door prizes!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

2011-2012 Officers and Board Elected and Meeting Minutes 9/30/11

The meeting was called to order at 7:35 PM by President Mark Thompson at the Adriatic Cafe and Bar.  All officers and board members were present with exception of David Stine.

Steve Jones gave a review of the minutes from the last meeting 8/19/11.  Harmonica Joe Poluyanskis moved to accept them, second by Bob Haendler.  Minutes approved unanimously.

Al McNary reported that $5231.83 was in the checking account after receipts from membership and the festival.  At the meeting, he was also given $222 in tee shirt profits, $170 in fest new and renewed members, $40 from Joe Filisko, and another $50 in membership and donations. $5713.83 are our total financial holdings.

Steve gave a detailed review of the festival.  We were very successful and no problems occurred.  The bar owners preferred 4 gates to 2 and having beer tickets sales at each beer booth which Mark and Steve agreed will be done.  Cleanup went very well and people were satisfied with the efforts.  There will be a volunteer recognition party on Sunday, October 9th at Tailgaters 3 to 6 PM with teh Basement Blues Band playing. The large PA is needed and is $80 to rent.  Steve will pay out of fest funds.

Discussion occurred that we should get our own PA.  The board agreed we should research this.

The new officers and executive board for Crossroads was elected at the annual meeting Friday night.

Mark Thompson remains as President as does Karl Dahlin as VP and Al McNary as Secretary.  Steve Jones stepped down as Secretary to run for the board and Bonnie Fox was elected as the new Secretary.

Top vote getters for the five board positions were Harmonica Joe Poluyanksis, Steve Jones, Rick Davis, Denny Barker and Bob Haendler.  Rich Gordon and  Terry Keller were on the ballot and also received votes in a closely contested set of races.

The new officers and board serve for a 12 month term.  Thanks for their service and to off going board members for their service and hard work!

Blues in the Schools (BITS) was discussed. Mark had a discussion with Paul Rischell and Annie Raines and the consensus was to do BITS on Tuesday, November 1st (AM and PM) and an evening show at Just Goods.  The normal fee was agreed to with one night's lodging.  Mark is to check if  Filisko and Noden are also available on the same or next day.

The meeting was closed at 8:45 PM.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Nick Moss and Annual Elections Meeting Friday September 30th

Where: The Adriatic Cafe and Bar (Corner of Jefferson and Church Streets)

When: Meeting 7:30 PM, Nick Moss 9:00 PM

What:  Nick Moss and his new Flip Tops band play Rockford.  A show not to miss!
Meeting prior to the show at 7:30 PM.  Topics:
1. Annual election of board and officers.
2. Discuss 2011 BCBF results/event
3. Plan 2011/2012 school year BITS

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Second Annual Blues Fest Approaches August 27th!

The blues fest is almost upon us!  Round 2 of our festival features Bryan Lee and the Blues Power Band headlining the event at the 7:30 PM time slot.  Kilborn Alley goes at 5:30 PM and the Jimmy's at 9:30 PM.  Reverend Raven and the Chain Smokin' Altar Boys are on at 3:30 PM and we open with Glen, Matt and Andy at 1;30 PM.

Joe Filisko will be conducting a free harmonica workshop in Leombruni's Italian Village at 3 PM.  The first 25 kids 10 and under who attend get a free harmonica (adults can bring their own or buy one at $5 at cost). 

Great food abounds, too- for more info go to our fest blog:

Dave & Denise Zellers Benefit September 24th

Dave & Denise Zellers were brutally stabbed in their home in Leaf River on July 3rd and communities are stepping forward to help.  Nashville Bluesman Bobby Messano told me he was coming out to play to support his friends in Mount Morris on September 24th.  The event is noon until midnight at the Mount Morris Moose Lodge.  Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.

Also playing are 12 Pack Pretty, the Crunchy Frogs , Trash 80's, Beaker Street and possibly the Bootleg Flyers.  Raffles will be held throughout the event.  Proceeds go to help Dave and Denise pay for their medical and other related costs.

There will be horeshoes,bags and plenty of family and kid's games, so bring your entire family out for this great event and worthy cause!

Contact Tabatha Naylon at 815-994-0819 or Sheila Cox at 815-994-4464 for more info.  It should be a great event!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Recording Academy Starts the Celebration of Blues Music

 For the ninth time, the Recording Academy - Chicago Chapter - staged a gala event as a lead-in to the 2011 Chicago Blues Fest weekend. The Academy is best known for its’ annual Grammy Awards. The organization also provides professional development and educational opportunities for its 20,000-plus membership. Once again, the sold-out party was held at Buddy Guy’s famous club, Legends.
After opening remarks from Tera Healy, Executive Director, and Larry Sturm, Chapter President, the evening’s master of ceremonies took the stage. Big Lou Johnson, from Sirius XM radio’s B.B. King Bluesville programs, showed off his vocal prowess on a song celebrating his large frame. Big Lou was backed-up by the house band for the evening – Brother John Kattke on guitar and keyboard, Paul Streff on bass and Marty Binder on drums.

Johnson then introduced the former band leader and musical director for KoKo Taylor’s band, guitarist Vino Louden, who got things off to a rousing start with an energetic rendition of “I’m Ready” followed by a solid version of “Rock Me Baby” that opened with a solo segment from Louden that showed off his skills on guitar.
Louden once again thanked the Academy and one of its affiliates, Music Cares, for the help they provided Louden after the Taylor band was involved in a terrible crash several years ago.
The pace didn’t slow when singer Nellie “Tiger” Travis took over and lead the band through a super-charged rendition of “Let the Good Times Roll”. Things mellowed a bit when she covered Tracy Chapman’s “Give Me One Reason” before Travis used her powerful voice to summon the spirit of the late KoKo Taylor on “Wang Dang Doodle”.
The Chicago Stone Lightning Band was back again, paying tribute to the early Fleetwood Mac band on “Like It This Way”. Then guitarist Ben Pirani did his best John Lennon imitation as he sang on a rocking original tune “Do Yourself a Favor”. Cathy Richardson also made a return appearance. Her strong voice filled the club, especially on an over-the-top performance on “Since I’ve Been Loving You”, from the Led Zeppelin songbook.
Next up was The Brooks Family Blues Dynasty as Wayne & Ronnie Baker Brooks hit the stage. Wayne was featured first on the title cut from his Mystery recording, delivering several fiery guitar solos. Brother Ronnie showed off a few tricks of his own before the two took turns soloing “If It Don’t Make Dollars, Then It Don’t Make No Sense” that featured a hip-hop vocal segment from Ronnie.

The audience erupted when Lonnie Brooks, joined his sons for an obligatory run-through of “Sweet Home Chicago”, with the audience singing along as the family patriarch demonstrated that he hasn’t lost his touch on the guitar.

Matthew Skoller fronted a powerhouse band with Kattke on keys, Binder on drums, Felton Crews on bass and Nick Moss on guitar. Skoller opened with the instrumental “Off the Wall”, his superb harp playing delivering homage to Little Walter. His heartfelt vocal made “One Room Apartment” one of the evening’s highlights and he finished his set with plenty of upper register harp licks on “Get On Down”.

Moss stayed on the stage and brought up his band, the Flip Tops, along with special guest Curtis Salgado. They cruised through “Killing Floor” with Curtis taking the lead vocal. Then Moss slowed things done with a tasteful guitar intro to “Lonesome in My Bedroom”. They closing medley included “Bloody Tears” with Nick using a slide, “Mother-in-Law Blues” with Michael Ledbetter on vocal and Salgado closing things out on a spirited “Yonder’s Wall”.
 Billy Branch and the Sons of the Blues made their appearance next with a rousing set of songs.  Branch and his band continue to delight their fans with their homespun Chicago sound, and this night was no exception.  He did a tribute to Junior Wells on "Hoodoo Man Blues" then did "One More Mile" done as a funky shuffle, and last he did a new song to close the set, a boogie titled "Baby Let Me Butter Your Corn".  The crowd was looking for more, but time would not permit as Branch and the SOBs left to a rousing roar from the packed house.
 Even with powerhouse musicians like Skoller and guitarist Lurrie Bell in the band behind her, singer Dietra Farr’s voice easily cut through the music and reminded those in attendance that she is one of the premier female blues singers in the city. She rocked “Just Your Fool”, then dug deep into “Mean Old World” with Bell laying down several memorable guitar solos.
Carlos Johnson opened with “I’ll Play the Blues for You”, the lefty guitarist prowling the stage as he delivered one blistering solo passage after another. Johnson then called Billy Branch back to the stage for an instrumental jam that got the crowd going. They finished with “You Don’t Have to Go” as Johnson and Branch traded licks to the delight of the audience.

The evening’s final set was a tribute to the legendary piano player, Pinetop Perkins. The dean of Chicago blues piano, Erwin Helfer, started things off at a slower pace with “After Hours” before picking up the pace on his original composition “Stop Time Boogie” with Bob Stroger on bass and Kenny Smith on drums. Chris “Hambone” Cameron’s did one tune, with his flamboyant style being a stark contrast to the more graceful nature of Perkin’s work.

Barrelhouse Chuck Goering took over the piano chair and delighted listeners with his rendition of “School Days” and “Pinetops Boogie”, a fitting tribute to Perkins. Finally, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith took over on lead vocal and harmonica to lead the band through a number of songs from his Grammy award-winning collaboration with Perkins, Joined at the Hip. Little Frank Krakowski was on hand to add his tasty guitar work to the set, just as he did on the recording. Another fine harp player, Bob Corritire, also appeared during the set.  The back line of Kenny "Beady Eyes" Smith and Bob Stroger also provided great suppport.
And then the evening was over – but those fortunate enough to be there got a close-up view of some of the talent that will be on display during the Blues Fest weekend. Make sure you consider adding this event to your calendar for next year – and a hearty thank-you to the Recording Academy for their support of blues music !!!

Written by Mark Thompson and photographs by Steve Jones

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bryan Lee at Mary's Place June 13th

Friday, April 8, 2011