Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Blues Trippin’ and Ranting and Raving!

By Blues Boss 
This month is going to be some ranting and raving…

Let’s start with a rant - blues fans still staying away from Pioneer Square. I’m telling you, it’s like a sleepy little fishing village down there now. You want unruly crowds go to Belltown (or Ballard on a weekend)…you want blues music, well one of the many places you can go is back to the “Square.”

Rave – to all those venues who have stuck with the blues during hard times. And those venues who have come back to blues music, like the J&M CafĂ© - or the new venues like Rhythm & Brews in Tacoma.

A rave – Christmas! Pretty much lost interest in it as a holiday (because of the rampant commercialism) until I got grandkids….now, it is fun again.

Another rant – although it’s not about music, it’s about age! The “senior citizen” designation will no longer apply. From now on 55-75 will be called “Classic citizens” (like classic cars – we don’t call automobiles from the 50’s & 60’s “senior cars”).

Back to a rave – those members Board of Director of the Washington Blues Society (not including my lazy self) who give their time and effort consistently and unwaveringly to the local blues scene. Three cheers.

A small rant – And this one doesn’t happen very often – Two national acts in town on the same night! We don’t get that many of them here as it is, and then to have Irma Thomas (at Jazz Alley) up against Charlie Musselwhite (at the Triple Door) on the same night just ain’t right!

Rave – about the level of musical talent in the greater Seattle area! I’m active on an International Blues Forum (and several other blues societies) and I get the opportunity to check out music from all over the world. Let me tell you, the Greater Seattle area (and our neighbors to the south in Portland) can hold a candle to just about any music market when it comes to the blues. PERIOD. And, as a music fan I thank all of you for the joy it brings me.

Have a great holiday season – stay safe, and keep Blues Trippin…. See you at the WBS Holiday Party!

Usually I make a nostalgia recommendation, but this month I am making a strong recommendation to do your Christmas shopping with your favorite local blues musicians – buy “local” CDs, they make wonderful Christmas presents…

Thursday, November 25, 2010

“Chris Eger Band “- Chris Eger Band (Self released)

By Malcolm Kennedy 
The Chris Eger band plays tough R&B and blue-eyed soul with a guitar edge filtered through rock and a touch of blues. Even when Chris plays homage to the all mighty guitar and icons like Stevie Ray Vaughan, he does it with a funky groove.

Formed in 2007 in Mount Vernon, Washington,  the band is made up of Chris on guitar and vocals, Brendan Abshier on keyboards and vocals, Mark Clark on drums, and Chris' father Randall Eger on bass. The album also features the Powerhouse Horns: Pete Kirkman on trumpet and Mike West on saxophone. This debut self-produced and self-titled CD features 10 tracks opening with an inviting take on AI Green's classic "Love and Happiness," followed by Lil' Dave Thompson's "Standin' In The Rain" and also features a couple of Heatherly's tunes including the standout "Wrong Five O'Clock" a relationship song with the line 'I got home at the wrong five o'clock."

The album also features four original tunes with the soulful "Lay It Down," Chris' ode to the guitar, he sings 'turn it on, crank it up, lay it down! ' and that is exactly what they do. On Rollin' Thunder, co-written by Chris and Brendan, Chris sings about 'two wheeled warriors' and opens the throttle a little on his axe too. Chris has been playing guitar since he was 13, and the other members of the band have been playing around the region for many years as well. The Chris Eger Band is an excellent live act that performs with energy and style. I recommend you check them out and get a copy of their CD quick because everywhere they play they sell out all the CD's they bring with them (It's the only place to buy it, or I would have put a link here!!).

Sunday, November 21, 2010

“Testify!” - Rocky Jackson (High Life Records)

By Malcolm Kennedy 

Testify!, the follow up to  Rocky Jackson's critically acclaimed 2006 Squeeze Here CD on High Life Records, opens with a slow but driving take on the Muddy Waters classic: "I Just Want to Make Love to You." As with the other four covers on the record, Jackson completely reworks it to great effect with basically only the lyrics remaining. Jackson's satisfying vocals and expert guitar playing are featured throughout with Eliot Witherspoon-drums on all but the solo track, Joel T Johnson-bass on 10 tracks, and Michael Fell adds exceptional blues harp, too.

On the original (one of eight) "Don't Say Nothin'," Rocky imparts sage advice as he sings: 'don't say nothing if you don't know what you're talking about.' On "Big Legs Don't Mean Fat," he sings: 'a fine long leg is where it's at,' and then on "Chicken-legged Woman" he's singing 'don't want no chicken-legged woman hanging 'round my door, you know that chicken-legged woman ain't got no soul' as he accompanies himself on acoustic slide guitar. "Like Magic" lives up to its title recalling ZZ Top's "Fool For Your Stockings" done as a languid harp fueled burner and is one of the stand out tracks on Testify! although there isn't a clunker in the 13 track set.

Squeeze Here received international radio airplay, and Testify! is following in its tracks getting play across the US, Canada, Europe from Italy to Finland, Norway to Poland, England, Australia, Argentina and more. One of the bands he was in backed Johnny Dyer on several occasions. Rocky Jackson is the real deal and Testify! bears that out. Hard-hittin', soulful Blues with stinging guitar, powerful vocals, and interesting lyrics, delivered Texas-style with roots in the Delta and Chicago.

Friday, November 19, 2010

“Harmonica Blues” - Bob Corritore & Friends (Delta Groove Music)

By Malcolm Kennedy

Harmonica Blues
Bob Corritore's Delta Groove Music debut, Harmonica Blues, marks the fortieth anniversary of Bob picking up the harmonica. It is a star studded 15 track extravaganza featuring a many of the blues world's finest with backing bands that are the envy of any producer. The recordings range from an instrumental "1815 West Roosevelt" with Eddie Shaw on sax laid down in 1989, to three recorded just last year with Louisiana Red, Dave Riley and Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater.

Supporters include Patrick Rynn-bass and Chris James-guitar on a half dozen cuts as is Chico Chism on drums. Kid Ramos adds guitar to a pair, and National Heritage Fellowship award winner Henry Gray adds piano to three, singing also on "Things Have Changed." Koko Taylor sings "What Kind of Man is This" supported by Bob Margolin, Little Frank Krakowski, Bob Stroger and Willie "Big Eyes" Smith.

Throughout the entire project is Corritore's often understated harp work. The man has some serious chops. As with his Rhythm Room recordings and two highly acclaimed CD's with Dave Riley: Travelin' the Dirt Road and Lucky To Be Living (both on his Blue Witch label), Bob always puts the focus of attention on his friends and does here as well. This time around though, the spot light is shining on Bob some too. Harmonica Blues would be an excellent CD to add to your collection for the rare performances of these blues icons alone; but rest assured Bob's gifted harp playing is also worth the price of admission. This CD is highly recommended.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

She's Back

by Robert Horn 

Last year Mia Vermillion released her CD, Alone Together With the Blues, that got national and then some international attention. Mia performed a few times in the area, but had some health issues that limited what she did musically in 2009.  This last weekend she played at the Highway 99 Blues Club with Orville Johnson and showed that she is strong and healthy now.

Mia sang some of the songs that made the CD so well liked. Orville impressed the audience with his guitar playing and when he performed on the Dobro guitar the applause was enthusiastic to say the least. Watch for future listings of Mia Vermillion performing in the region.You will like what you hear.  Rumor has it that she'll be top billing at a premier Seattle venue sometime early next year, but I couldn't get any details out of her! 

Following Mia and Orville on Friday night was the always entertaining Candye Kane, who combined great music with some humorous and some serious stories about life lessons. Her guitar player, Laura Chavez, blew people away with its perfection and its soulfulness.  Laura is a gifted guitarist with the chops to rival any out there. Candye also brought out Shanghai Pearl. Burlesque is the artform with this act and was very much noticed for the eye candy factor. Candye also sang and the band played while Shanghai Pearl stimulated everyone's heart rate.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Blues Icon Lucky Peterson at Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley in Seattle Nov. 29th

Blues icon Lucky Peterson, touring in support of his latest release You Can Always Turn Around , will be performing at Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley in Seattle for one night only on Nov 29, 2010. Band members are soon to be announced.  Showtime is 7:30pm and doors will open at 6pm. Tickets are$22.50 each.

You Can Always Turn AroundLucky Peterson was discovered by blues legend Willie Dixon when he was three years old, released his first record at five and soon after appeared on The Tonight Show. Trained by keyboardists Bill Doggett and Jimmy Smith, Peterson went on to play behind Little Milton, Bobby “Blue” Bland and Kenny Neal.

Black Midnight SunOn return from the “Young Blues Giants” tour of Europe, he signed first with Alligator, then Verve, Blue Thumb and Birdology/Dreyfus, where he recorded what Amazon.com called “his finest album,” Black Midnight Sun, in 2003. The New Yorker called him “a master of the guitar, organ and microphone.” But his journey was not a smooth one, and Peterson spent the next few years in transition, with personal troubles preventing a proper follow-up to Black Midnight Sun.

But, you can always turn around. These words took on special meaning for the 45-year-old Peterson, which is why the first album since his rehabilitation is titled You Can Always Turn Around. It is an uplifting collection of songs that speak of struggles and salvation, using the gritty clarity of acoustic roots-blues (with modern touches) as its main musical vehicle.

The album, was made in the Catskills with master Woodstock musicians Larry Campbell, guitar (Bob Dylan, Levon Helm); Scott Petito, bass (The Fugs, Mercury Rev, Rick Danko Band); and Gary Burke, drums (Joe Jackson, Shania Twain). Peterson as usual plays a mix of instruments: duolian resonator, piano and acoustic and electric guitars. Also prevalent is the acoustic piano on which Lucky sounds like a bluesy Elton John. “He’s something of a genius — his piano playing reminds me of Aretha Franklin,” says drummer Burke, who has played behind Franklin on the road.

But it’s Peterson’s vocal instrument that some might find most arresting. Peterson wraps his voice around an eclectic selection of blues-based materials including songs by original Delta bluesmen Robert Johnson, Rev. Gary Davis and Blind Willie McTell up through the music of today’s top songwriters including Lucinda Williams (who remarked "Lucky Peterson's version of my song, "Atonement" absolutely blew me away!), Tom Waits and Ray LaMontagne. The album closes with a version of Curtis Mayfield’s “Think.”

And when off the road, he’ll be at his church in Dallas, Texas with his family, holding on, and playing for one very lucky congregation.

Reservations can be made at http://www.jazzalley.com/, or by phoning Jazz Alley at 206.441.9729, or through TicketMaster at http://www.ticketmaster.com/. Children under the age of 12 are admitted free. Making reservations is advised. All shows are all ages.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

2010 Muddy Awards

by Robert Horn 
The 2010 Muddy Awards happened in Portland on November 4th at the Melody Ballroom. The Cascade Blues Association's annual Muddy Awards Celebration honors local, regional, national and international stars of the blues. There were a total of 22 awards handed out (nothing to do with the fact that this is the 22nd annual show). Over 1,000 CBA members participate in the Muddy Awards process. For more information you can visit their website by clicking here.

Becky Sue & Her Big Rockin' Daddies were the opening performance at the event. They also picked up the award for Best Regional Blues Act. Earlier this year in Washington State where the band is from, the Washington Blues Society gave an award to the Robbie Laws Band. Robbie is more known in Oregon. So, it appears that blues fans in both states are reaching across the Columbia River to shake hands and hug each other---and that is a good thing!

There were newly-named awards this year. One named after Duffy Bishop for Female Vocalist of the Year, and one named after Curtis Salgado for Male Vocalist of the Year. The Hurley Award recognizes folks who work behind the scenes in performance production on stage. The "Back What You Believe In" Muddy, selected by the CBA Board of Directors, honors an individual in a non-performing role who has made a significant difference within the Blues community. There is also the Lifetime Achievement Muddy.

Here are all of the 2010 CBA Muddy Award winners:

Below are a few pictures of some Muddy Award winning perfromers in their natural habitat. I took these photos over the last year. You can also click here to browse pictures from the awards event taken by Kat Rose Photography.

Lisa Mann
Curtis Salgado

Robbie Laws

Duffy Bishop