Sunday, June 19, 2011

Curtis Salgado in Seattle July 5-6, 2011 at Jazz Alley

The Pacific Jazz Institute at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley presents the 2010 Blues Music Award Winner for Soul Blues Male Artist of the Year, Curtis Salgado.

Clean GetawayCurtis Salgado has a lot to celebrate. The 2010 Blues Music Award Winner of Soul Blues Male Artist of the Year, was diagnosed with liver cancer just a few years ago and told he had eight months to live, unless he got a liver transplant which would generate medical bills upwards of half a million dollars. With no health insurance and few funds, the man who is one of America's finest blues/soul singers needed a little help from his friends.

When your friends and admirers include the likes of Steve Miller, Robert Cray, Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal, you've got a fighting chance. Numerous benefits were held in multiple cities including a benefit concert featuring Miller, Cray, Taj Mahal, The Phantom Blues Band, Everclear and Little Charlie & The Nightcats. Through the generosity of Curtis's friends, fellow musicians, the Legendary Blues Cruise and thousands of fans who supported Curtis by attending benefits and auctions or by making private donations, upwards of half a million dollars were raised and Curtis got his transplant.

A little less than two years after his initial diagnosis, Curtis was able to record Clean Getaway, an album whose title has an obvious double meaning. With its release on July 8, 2008, Clean Getaway is a triumph in more ways than one; a sublime collaboration with the most respected session players in Los Angeles that goes to the heart of what music--and life--is all about.

Clean Getaway, produced by Marlon McClain & Tony Braunagel, is a seamless mix of blues, soul and rock 'n' roll all held together by the organic grooves of world class musicians and Curtis' superlative singing. He has a gift of digging into the essence of a song without histrionics or gratuitous displays of vocal chops, though he certainly has more than enough of those.

"I'm playing music with the most incredible people," he says, " people are supporting me and a record company is supporting me....even in these tough times in the business. So I've got nothing to complain about. To me, I've won the lottery; I've won all the Grammys. Idon't need stardom to feel validated. Of course, I'd like to sell a lot of records, as much for the company as for me, but on a personal level, I don't care. I'm alive! People are throwing so much love at me it's embarrassing. It makes me humble. So I'm just trying to stick to my guns, perfect my craft and make great music!!

Band members are Curtis Salgado (vocals/harmonica), Franck Goldwaser (guitar), Dave Fleschner (keys), Tracy Arrington (bass) and Brian Foxworth (drums). Set times for the July 5th and 6th shows at Jazz Alley are 7:30pm.  Doors open at 6:00 pm on Tuesday and 5:30 pm Wednesday.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Travelin' Light - Blues Attitude

By Rev Deb
July 13th marks 10 years of a prevailing Blues Attitude in Olympia. Blues Attitude has hosted a blues jam, nine to midnight, on Wednesday nights for the past decade. Originally, at the Fourth Avenue Tavern in Olympia, the Blues Attitude jam band consisted of Perry Sanders (harp/vocals) and Smoke (drums), from the Steamers band, and Jerry Bentley (guitar/vocals) and T-Bone (bass), from the Blues Torpedoes. You may also know Smoke as a long time volunteer for the Washington Blues Society, he has been distributing the Bluesletter to venues in the South Sound area for many years.

Jerry said, “Smoke was the cat that got us hooked up with the new owner of Charlie’s Bar and Grill, Karen, in 2001. Karen really loved the blues and wanted live music playing mid-week in Olympia. The first couple of
years at Charlie’s were pretty lean, but Karen kept us going and soon word spread that the blues were downtown on Wednesday nights and cats could sit in and play. Soon folks were coming in just to listen to the blues. Smoke coined the phrase ‘we’re the host, not the heroes,’ meaning we want each player to shine their best, sound their best and have great time at the blues jam. (We accept all skill levels at the Wednesday night blues jam.) From 2002 through 2006, our jam was also the host of annual cancer benefits.

“With the trio playing every week, we soon we had to let our other bands go. As Blues Attitude began playing around the northwest, we invited other players we met to attend the jam when they were in the Olympia area. In Spring 2003, Stan ‘the Man’ Foreman joined us as a ‘summertime’ forth player for several years before retiring. Mike “Dr. Silk” Shea started coming to the jam in 2007 and now joins us at some gigs as fourth player. The Dr. is a stand-up guy, a fantastic horn player with a wonderful family which attends most of our gigs.”

“Charlie’s has great support for the blues jam at their club. Owners Bruce and Chris took over the club in 2005 and are very supportive in trying new things with the jam theme. They have been great in keeping the jam going, and Steve Bonnet, sound guru, has tweaked the sound system at Charlie’s to perfection. Steve mans the sound booth Wednesday nights, keeping all the players heard and balanced. We’ve had some challenges for him -- one night we had 10 players on stage at once! Great staff at Charlie’s help keep everyone served and happy – our thanks go out to Amy and Rich Neff, Ziggy, Annette, Nicole, Michael. Other great supporters include the WBS, the Rev., the Blues Sheriff, Blues-To-Do, Music 6000 and Capital City Guitars.”

Bruce J. Maier,, wrote: “ . . . [T]his is a real band. A group of guys who play Blues influenced music, not because they have to, but because they want to, and they feel it with every heartbeat. They boogie, then they rock and then maybe they take you down, way down. But not for long, because they’ve got a mission to fulfil, and that’s to rock the house, get it jumping, and fill up the dance floor!”

Over the past ten years, some great players have been keeping the jam alive, including: Perry Sanders, Alice Stuart, Randy Oxford, Randy Linder, Dave Shriver, George Barner, Doug Mah, Steve Munger, Becki Sue and T-Boy, L A Guns, Bottoms Up Blues Band, Joe Ty Band, Bruce Maier and Malcolm Clark, Rex and Lynn Wolff, and so many others. A few individuals stand out as regulars, Lauren Elle, Jackie LaVern, Pete Crossman, Joe Schiavi, Gary Elsey, John Gibson, Mark Dobson, Chucky Sticks, Darlene, Bill, and long-time super supporter Roy Munroe.

Smoke said, “Ever been to an open mic and found yourself wanting for a decent shuffle, or even longing to hear someone who knows who the Three Kings are? This is not the case at the Blues Attitude jam at Charlie’s in Olympia. On several occasions blues artists on tour have stopped by, having found out about the jam via internet search. As a result, Blues Attitude has been able to play with some bad-ass cats from Chicago, Memphis and Kansas City. Also, every Summer Blues Attitude takes the jam on the road, hosting the Friday Night Jam at the Backyard Blues Bash at Pine Springs Resort, Goldendale WA. This year the Backyard Blues jam will be Friday, August 5th, dusk to midnight.”

Blues Attitude is looking forward to several more years of the Wednesday Night Blues Jam at Charlie’s, starting with their 10th anniversary party on July 13th (at 7PM in the parking lot beer garden and moving indoors at dusk). Signed on for the 10th anniversary show so far are Blues Attitude with Perry Sanders (now front man with the Fabulous Roof Shakers), Becki Sue, The Malcolm Clark Band, The Joe Ty Band, Ryan T. Higgins Band, Bruce Maier Band, Jam Kings, Al Earick Band, and of course, a number of their regular blues players will also be on hand. Great food, no cover, killer blues; what more could you ask for? Band schedules and bios at

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"Revelator" - Tedeschi Trucks Band

By Josh Hathaway (
One of the first things you notice before you even get to listen to a note of Tedeschi Trucks Band's Revelator is the sheer size of the band pictured on the front of the CD. We're used to rock trios, quartets, and quintets. We've seen some bands grow beyond that- The E Street Band, for instance. An 11-piece rock band? Where's the template for that?

Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi said the majority of these songs began as spare, acoustic sketches that evolved when presented to the band in the studio. From that perspective, the material did grow in scope and complexity but don't let the largess of the band or the Trucks' work with his own Derek Trucks Band or the Allman Brother Band lead you down the wrong path – get the wrong idea. This is a song-oriented record, not a collection of loose or extended jams.

It's a surprise but a welcome one because the songs that made the record are mostly excellent. Tedeschi sings as well as ever, brimming with confidence and fueling these songs with toughness, tenderness, and warmth. Trucks is a beast on slide guitar and he plays all over the place, yet it doesn't feel like he's overplaying.

There are some weaker moments on the record but not many and they don't detract much from what amounts to a professional, well-produced album. The highlights of the record are "Until You Remember" and "Midnight in Harlem." These two stand out largely on the strength of the vocals. Trucks delivers a staggering slide solo on "Until You Remember" and the song runs for more than six minutes but the emotion and humanity that makes these songs special comes from Tedeschi.

I had trouble warming up to Derek Trucks Band and listening to Revelator, now I know why. As technically gifted and evocative as Trucks' playing is, there was something missing on DTB albums. He needed the right singer and the right songs, and he's found them.

Monday, June 13, 2011

An Invitation from the Victoria Blues Society...

By Deb Rhymer, President Victoria Blues Society 
Victoria, on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, is just a short ferry ride away from western Washington in Canada. Our American friends talk about its quaint charm and welcoming people. We like to think of our home as a blues lover’s paradise!

The city has a number of live music venues that feature blues bands much of the time. Swans Brewpub, Bartholomews Bar and Grille, Hermann’s Jazz Cub, and The Upper Deck have recently featured James Cotton, Monkeyjunk, Honeyboy Edwards, Coco Montoya, Harmonica Hinds, etc. The Victoria Blues Society, a 375-member association which produces shows four or five times a year, keeps a calendar of blues events.Check it out at:

In February, the Victoria Blues Society sent our own Bill Johnson Blues Band to compete in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. While the band didn’t win the blues challenge, their recently released album, Bill Johnson - Still Blue recently won the coveted “Blewzzy Award” for best CD. It was the first time in the history of, the internet’s most comprehensive Blues and Indie music network, that the same artist
won in both categories of best album and best song for the song “Half the Man”. You can learn more about Bill at

On Labour Day weekend each year, The Victoria Jazz Society hosts the Vancouver Island Blues Bash. This will be the seventeenth year of one of Victoria’s best-attended and most-loved annual events. Over three days, September 2-5, 2011, the festival will feature all styles of blues and R & B at scenic Ship Point in Victoria’s inner harbour. Daytime performances are by donation and there are ticketed shows on Saturday and Sunday night. The whole weekend feels like the best outdoor party you ever attended - musicians mingle with their fans at the beer tent and the dance area by the stage is packed during every show. This year’s
line-up will be posted soon at

Every Sunday afternoon from 2-6 pm the Sunday Blues Jam is Hosted by the Deb Rhymer Band at the Strathcona Hotel. This very popular free event showcases some of Victoria’s best musical talent. If you want to join in, bring along your instrument.

The Garden City of Victoria is one of the world’s favorite year-round destinations, and we love visitors. Consider leaving the car and the stress behind by using the Victoria Clipper direct from your harbor to our harbor. They have weekend packages to Victoria that offer two nights at a good hotel for such a great rate, it’s almost like getting the Clipper trip for free.

Come up for the Blues, the fresh air and our lovely cityscape. Your Canadian friends would love to show you a great time!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Washington Blues Society's Last Semi-Finals for the 2012 International Blues Challenge Set

The last of the Washington Blues Society's (WBS) semi-finals for the 2012 International Blues Challenge is set to take place on June 19th and 26th. One band and one solo/duo act will represent the Washington Blues Society (WBS) in Memphis at the world’s largest gathering of blues musicians from January 31 through February 4, 2012.

For the first time, the WBS is working with the Walla Walla Blues Society and the Inland Empire Blues Society to hold semi-finals across the state to make it easier for blues acts to participate in this great event. The first two semi-final competitions were held in Spokane and at the Untapped Blues and Brews Festival in Kennewick during May.

The June 19th semi-finals will be held at the Highway 99 blues club in downtown Seattle. The Oxford Saloon will host the June 26th event in Snohomish, Washington. The doors open at 3:00 pm, and the bands start playing at 4:00pm for both events. There is a $10 cover and all proceeds will help with expenses to send the winners to Memphis in 2012. The finalists will compete on Sunday, August 21st at the Taste Of Music Festival in historic downtown Snohomish.

Here is the list of semi-finalists that will be competing:

Sunday, June 19th
4:00-4:25 Red Hot Blues Sisters
4:40-5:05 Ray Rivera Band
5:20-5:45 Rafael Tranquilino Band
6:00-6:25 CD Woodbury Band
6:40-7:05 Randy Norris & The Full Degree
7:20-7:45 Julie Powers & The Uptown Blues Band
8:00-8:25 Mary McPage & The Assassins
8:40-9:05 Cody Rentas Band

Sunday, June 26th
4:00-4:25 Nick Vigarino’s Back Porch Stomp
4:40-5:05 Stanislove
5:20-5:45 Fulltime Dreamers
6:00-6:25 Parlor Blues
6:40-7:05 Randy Norris & Jeff Nicely
7:20-7:45 Wired!
8:00-8:25 Hot Rod’s Blues Revue
8:40-9:05 The Fabulous Roof Shakers
9:20-9:45 RJ Knapp & The 21st Century Bluzmen
10:00-10:25 James Howard Band

Come out and support Washington State's outstanding blues talent!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

24th Annual Winthrop Rhythm & Blues Festival Preview!

By Erika Olsen and Peter Dammann

Blues fans: if you’ve never been before, you owe it to yourself to check out the state’s largest, longest-running blues event, the Winthrop Rhythm & Blues Festival, July 15-17th. Tucked in the Methow Valley on the eastern slopes of the North Cascades, WRBF—last year’s winner of the Washington Blues Society’s B.B. Award for Best Blues Festival and the Best Blues Event award from the Inland Empire Blues Society—takes place in one of the most spectacular festival settings in the Northwest. If you’ve attended WRBF in the past, this is a year you should plan to return—the Festival is serving up its most diverse, compelling lineup in years, a musical feast that has something any fan of blues/roots music can gnaw on, from Delta blues, roots-rock and gospel-funk, to horn fueled funk, and blues rock.

ShiverFor the second year, the Festival opens with a special evening concert, 7:30 pm, Friday, July 15 in its Beer Garden, featuring two of the Northwest’s hottest acts: the Dusty 45s and Too Slim & the Taildraggers. The Dusty 45s’ reckless mix of honky-tonk, jump blues, and rock ‘n roll, char-broiled by Billy Joe Huels flame-throwing trumpet, have won them a Seattle Weekly “Best of Seattle” award three years running, and recently garnered the band the opening slot on the sold-out Northwest tour of Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Wanda Jackson and Grammy-winner Adele. The Dusty 45s also appear on the Festival main stage Saturday. Winthrop favorites Too Slim & the Taildraggers, debuted at #15 on the Billboard blues charts last month with their recent release, Shiver, and still climbing as of Bluesletter press time, the release has hung in Living Blues magazine’s top 10 for the past two reporting periods. The Festival’s producer, the non-profit Winthrop Music Association, will donate proceeds of the Friday night concert to The Cove Food Bank in Twisp.

Saturday, July 16th
The action begins on Saturday, headlined by Jimmie Vaughan & the Tilt-A-Whirl Band, featuring Lou Ann Barton in their Winthrop debut. Vaughan—co-founder of The Fabulous Thunderbirds, and elder brother to the late Stevie Ray Vaughan—Jimmie has been throwing down some of toughest, leanest and most compelling blues guitar since the early ‘70s. . Last year’s Grammy-nominated Blues, Ballads and Favorites, Vaughan’s first new studio album in nine years, showcased Vaughan’s earthy, roadhouse blues and economical guitar work, lushly backed by the Tilt-a-Whirl Band’s swinging horns, and the powerful pipes’ of Vaughan’s longtime cohort, Lou Ann Barton. His follow-up, More Blues, Ballads and Favorites, is due out this summer.

Potato HoleCo-headlining Saturday, Hammond B3 alchemist Booker T. Jones is one of America’s most prolific, distinguished and instantly recognizable musical forces. His 2009 Grammy-winning album, Potato Hole, not only re-affirmed his greatness, but it also re-introduced the neglected all-instrumental format to a noisy, crowded marketplace crying out for precisely the type of soul satisfying grooves which Jones excels at. Booker’s latest, The Road From Memphis, is an eclectic mix of retrosoul and hip-hop grooves featuring a wild cast of characters—hip hop’s The Roots, neo-soul queen Sharon Jones, Yim Yames from My Morning Jacket, Matt Berninger from the National, and the godfather of punk, Lou Reed.

Lydia Pense & Cold Blood debuted when San Francisco’s Fillmore Ballroom was at its peak as one of the nation’s musical Meccas. During the span of six late-60’s, early-70’s albums, Lydia and her fiercely funky band, along with Tower Of Power, helped forge a brand of funk/soul and R&B which came to be known as “East Bay Grease.”

Pense can still shout like a ‘60s soul diva and purr a slow blues with spine-tingling subtlety. Her band features a stellar group of musicians who have been playing together for nearly 20 years, as well as with such artists as Elvin Bishop, The Starship, Boz Scaggs, and Albert Collins.

Changed ManNobody in today’s blues world successfully bridges searing electric guitar blues with unbridled rock and roll energy like Alligator recording artist Michael Burks. Says the Chicago Sun Times, “Michael Burks is a flamethrower guitarist. He is the complete bluesman: songwriter, singer, riff-master, bandleader, and showman...Savage fury and heartfelt tenderness.” Burks will also host the Festival’s Saturday late night all-star jam session on the Beer Garden stage. Making their first trip to the Winthrop Festival, Seattle groove-masters Bump Kitchen deliver soul and funk, known for their intense energy on stage and front-man Tony Harmper’s soulful vocals. John Alex-Mason opens both Saturday and Sunday. Mason is a one man band from the front range of Southern Colorado, and he released sixth full-length album this past winter, Jook Joint Thunderclap—a world boogie collaboration of master players from Chicago, Holly Springs MS, Guinea and Colorado.

Sunday, July 17th
Look in any book on the History of Rock and Roll and you will find Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen, whose Deep in the Heart of Texas ranked among Rolling Stone Magazine’s top 100 albums of all time. However, the Commander is no mere nostalgia act, as last year’s Dopers, Drunks and Everyday Losers proved: “The Commander is stronger than ever,” as Hittin’ the Note raved. “His floor-stomping mix of country, swing, and rockabilly can shake the rafters of any bar or club.” In the past two years, Joanne Shaw Taylor has gone from a promising young blues talent to a bona fide force on the international music scene. She took home Best Female Vocalist honors at the 2010 British Blues Awards, has supported tours by Joe Bonamassa and Eric Sardinas and impressed legions of fans in the US, Europe and Australia with her high energy attack.

In the tradition of the Campbell Brothers and Robert Randolph & the Family Band, The Lee Boys serve up ‘sacred steel’ as only a real band of brothers can. Born out of the traditions of Florida’s House of God Church—where the howling, soaring voice of the steel guitar has dominated the fiery Pentecostal worship service for decades—the Lee Boys have delivered their sermon at major festivals across the US, playing and touring with the Allman Brothers, Black Crowes, Los Lobos, Gov’t Mule, Derek Trucks, the North Mississippi Allstars among many.

The Chris Eger Band, formed four years ago in the Skagit Valley, have brought their eclectic mix of blues rock, funk, rockabilly and soul to the Mount Baker Rhythm & Blues Festival, Rendezvous Blues Festival, and the region’s major blues clubs. Too Slim & The Taildraggers make their annual high-octane Winthrop appearance Sunday afternoon, setting a high bar for closer Commander Cody. After the main stage action ends, stick around if you can. The allstar jam at the Beer Garden, hosted by Joanne Shaw Taylor and Chris Eger, promises to be incendiary.

White SugarOn Saturday and Sunday, the music starts at 11 am and runs until 2 am. On-site camping ($40 for the weekend), free showers, food and craft vendors, shade tent, and beer garden are all located on the Blues Ranch grounds on the beautiful Methow River, a mile west of Winthrop on Highway 20. The Friday night Beer Garden Show admission is $10 or free with weekend pass. A weekend pass is $75 in advance, $85 at the gate.

For complete schedule, tickets, and lodging information, visit: Also visit the festival’s Facebook page at and follow them on Twitter at

The Winthrop Rhythm & Blues Festival is brought produced by the Winthrop Music Association (WMA), a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation. Proceeds from the Festival help support a number of cultural and civic organizations in the Methow Valley and beyond, including The Cove Food Bank, Little Star Montessori School, Heart of the Methow Pow Wow, Oregon Food Bank/Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival, and the Washington Blues Society Musician’s Relief Fund. Like the Washington Blues Society, the WMA is an affiliate of The Blues Foundation, Inland Empire Blues Society, Cascade Blues Association, Washington Blues Society, and Methow Valley Arts Alliance.