Thursday, September 29, 2011

Maria Muldaur Has New Orleans On Her Mind, In Her Heart On 'Steady Love'

By Josh Hathaway  
Maria Muldaur drew inspiration for Steady Love, her follow up to the acclaimed Garden Of Joy, from New Orleans and worked with several musicians from that area. That might help explain the song selection on the record, as Muldaur creates some strange contrasts in an attempt to give voice to a diverse, unique American city.

There are Christian hymns and odes of faith ("I Done Made It Up In My Mind," Walk By Faith"), gritty blues with carnal connotations ("Get You Next To Me"), traditional blues tales of hard times ("Why Are People Like That," "Blues Go Walking") and songs of social consciousness ("Don't Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down").

These things exist within a culture and an individual and what may seem contradictory to may feel natural to others but making it all work on a record is a balancing act. Her voice and the excellent musicianship are almost strong enough to give cohesion to the freewheelin' nature of the songs but the jarring juxtaposition breaks the momentum and makes it tough to think of this as an album rather than a collection of songs. I'm sure this strange concoction of flavors makes sense to someone. Maybe I'm being obtuse but it seemed odd to me.

I did find my way through the record when I stopped trying to cobble together some kind of grand statement and let it be a collection of professional performances.

I first heard "Why Are People Like That?" on Muddy Waters' Woodstock album and I'll always prefer that version of he and The Band but Muldaur is good here and she is even better on "Blues Go Walking" and "Rain Down Tears." The grit in her voice gives a sense of strength and defiance to songs like "Walking" and Tears," songs where the protagonist is down on their luck.

The performances on the record are incredibly strong. Muldaur is a natural as a song interpreter and she's being doing this a long time. Some songs play more to her strengths than others but her gift to interpret and empathize as a vocalist mean nothing on Steady Love is beyond her grasp. She's still singing because her voice still has a lot to say and even if there's a sense she's trying to say a little too much on Steady Love, she still says it as well as anyone.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Blues, Art and More at The Rainier Arts Festival Sept 30th - Oct 2nd

The 5th Annual Rainier Arts Festival will be held Sept 30, Oct 1-2, 2011 at the foot of one of the most beautiful mountains in the lower 48 states. Centering around talented visual artisans, the festival includes fantastic live blues music. And it's free!

The festival is in the center of Ashford, Washington at Whittaker Mountaineering and its park-like setting. Mt. Rainier is a majestic presence over the Washington skyline. Its beauty has been the source of inspiration to artists of all mediums for centuries. The festival brings together a diverse variety of talented artists, workshops and visitors for this annual event. Presented in the clear, mountain atmosphere it is a retreat from the city and a celebration of fall color.

This years music includes great Pacific NW acts: Mia Vermillion, The Randy Oxford Band, John Sparrow, Jeff Herzog & Rusty Williams, SRJ Knap and his 21st Century Bluzmen, and Steve Flynn. Find out more at: http://rainierarts.com/.

The Music
Mia Vermillion
Mia Vermillion will be preforming on Friday. In 2009, Mia independently released her first CD entitled "Alone Together With the Blues." Her record has received rave reviews and national attention, and can be heard on XM Radio. She has opened for John Hammond and Candye Kane. Earlier this year she performed at Jazz Alley in Seattle, and on the mainstage at the Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland, Oregon.

The Randy Oxford Band

The 2011 International Music Challenge Finalists in Memphis,TN. The Randy Oxford Band will be performing new songs from their new CD, "FESTIVAL". From the News Tribune: "Along that musical path, Oxford, a talented trombonist, has unearthed the ingredients for an original blend, one that combines elements of blues, jazz, R&B, funk, rock and even some country."

John Sparrow
Together with Joe Debenedictis, John Sparrow has performed Folk & Blues Music for the past decade and written more songs than even he can remember. Some of them are some of the best songs you've never heard! They have recorded six of their own CDs and worked on the several film sound tracks. They have both contributed individually to over 30 recording projects and have shared the stage with folk music national treasures Utah Phillips and Rosalee Sorrels, Anne Hills, David Mallett as well as blues heroes Mark Whitman, Randy Oxford, Kim Archer and jazz giants Jay McShann and Stanley Jordan to name just a few.

Jeff Herzog and Rusty Williams
2011 "Washington State Harmonica player and performer of the year" from the Seattle Band, "Jeff and the Jet City Fliers", doing an acoustic style duo with Rusty Williams featuring great vocals,Guitar and Harmonica, playing folk and Blues songs from the mid 20th century to the present.

RJ Knapp and his 21st Century Bluzman 
On Sunday, they will have a hot new band on the NW music scene, "RJ Knapp and his 21st Century Bluzmen".





 Steve Flynn

From the Northwest Legendary Band, Jr. Cadillac, we are excited to announce, Mr. Steve Flynn on Piano and vocals doing an amazing tribute to the music of New Orleans.

The Schedule

Time
Friday
Saturday
Sunday
Noon - 1:30pm
          --
John Sparrow
Jeff Herzog & Rusty Williams
1:45pm - 4pm
Michael Coucoules
(1:00-3:00pm)
Steve Flyn
(until 3:45pm)
SRJ Knap and his 21st Century Bluzmen
(2:00pm start)
4:15pm - 6pm
Mia Vermillion
(4pm start)
The Randy Oxford Band
                     --

Come! Enjoy the art, the fall leaves & creative spirits! "Mt. Rainier: Where Art. Music & Nature Meet!" http://rainierarts.com/

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pinetop Perkins Foundation Youth Workshop Series For 2012

Building off the great success of the first two years, The Pinetop Perkins Foundation plans to expand their workshop offerings next year to include a harmonica master class, along with the piano and guitar workshops. The overall goal of the workshops is to preserve Pinetop's legacy by bringing support and encouragement to young musicians at the beginning of their careers.

The 2012 Workshops will be held from June 13 to 15 at the Shack Up Inn and Hopson's Commissary in Clarksdale, Mississippi. This will be followed by a performance and jam at the world famous Ground Zero blues club in Clarksdale. While the workshops will continue to be available to both "the young and the young at heart," scholarships will be available to youth ages 12-21 only.

The harmonica workshop will be led by Gary Allegretto. Winner of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Blues Education from The Blues Foundation, Allegretto has decades of experience performing, recording and especially teaching harmonica to youth around the world. Since 1985, through his
nonprofit organization Harmonikids, he has provided music therapy and harmonicas to many thousands of children around the world with a wide range of physical, emotional, and/or economic disadvantages.

Bob Margolin returns to lead the guitar workshops. A Pinetop Perkins Foundation board member and recording artist Margolin, is widely recognized as one of the best blues guitar players in the country. A member of the Muddy Waters band for seven years, he has won numerous awards and active performance schedule. As an educator, he has taught blues guitar workshops, has an instructional video on Muddy Waters' guitar style, and has given workshops at Blues Festivals and events worldwide.

The piano workshop leader will be announced in the next few months. The cost remains at $395 which includes a meet and greet dinner and jam on the evening of June 12th, two and a half days of instruction, nightly jams, and lunch for two days. It does not include lodging.

"Bob Margolin's deep passion, knowledge and incredible ability to play Delta style blues guitar coupled with the accommodations in Clarksdale, make this workshop unlike any musical experience I have ever had," says past workshop attendee John Sillaman.

Dara Bigger, a parent of a previous attendee, adds: "The workshop was a great opportunity for my kids! They expanded their musical horizons, learned new ways to play the blues and gained a greater appreciation for the stories behind the blues."

Further information, or to register for the workshops; please visit the Pinetop Perkins Foundation website at www.pinetopperkinsfoundation.org/masterclass12.html.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Review - "Real Good Friend" - D’Mar & Gill (Airtight)

By Rick J Bowen  
Joining forces as the dynamic duo D'mar & Gill, master Mississippi bluesmen Chris Gill and Derrick Martin deliver a sound like a joyous house party with their first release Real Good Friend.

The ten song set of sing along blues is tailor made for good times. Gill delivers fine finger picking guitar and inviting vocals while D'Mar throws down funky fresh grooves on a hybrid kit of congas and kick drum. Cut live in the studio, the album has an intimate clarity that feels as if you're sitting right in the room. Standout tunes "Maybe Baby," Harmony Street and "Tore Down," written by Gill sound like long lost classics, while "Crawfish Boogie," will no doubt be a new addition to party time playlists everywhere. Real Good Friend is a real good time CD; let's hope there is more to come.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bluesman Eddie "Devil Boy" Turner

By Guest Blogger: Suzanne Swanson  

Photo by Suzanne Swanson
Eddie "Devil Boy" Turner is a blues guitarist who was born in Cuba, and raised in Chicago, IL. He currently lives in Denver, CO. A past member of the 'OTIS TAYLOR' band, having made five albums with Mr. Taylor, he also held membership with Tracy Nelson's 'Mother Earth', as well as being a guitarist for the Colorado based 'Zephyr' band., After playing with OTIS TAYLOR, Turner was signed with the NorthernBlues Music label. Turner has released three albums; in 2005 RISE; 2006 THE TURNER DIARIES; and 2010 MIRACLES and DEMONS. In 2006 he was listed as a nominee among the 'Best New Artist Debut Album' by The Blues Foundation.

Turner now performs with his own band, as singer/songwriter/guitarist. He was the winner of the 6th annual INDEPENDENT MUSIC AWARDS Vox Pop vote for best Blues Album THE TURNER DIARIES. His song "MR. BLUES”, was nominated for the 8th annual INDEPENDENT MUSIC AWARDS Blues Song of the Year. In January 2011, his song "MIRACLES and DEMONS II”, was nominated for The 10th Annual INDEPENDENT MUSIC AWARDS. He is currently a Nominee 2011 BLUES BLAST MUSIC AWARDS in “Best Contemporary Blues CD” for his 2010 release, MIRACLES and DEMONS.

Photo by Suzanne Swanson
Eddie Turner does not so much as play his instrument, (he studied piano as a youngster), as he coaxes it to glide over the notes and fill the air with an otherworldly mystic. Yes, he certainly plays the blues but with chording of a jazz feel. The textures of any one of his songs, “DANGEROUS”, “I'M A MAN”, “WIND CALLED MARY”, “MR. BLUES” ,”BOOTY BUMPIN”, “SO MANY ROADS”, along with others, or his instrumental “STRATUS” are all presented with such easy charm that the audience cannot help but be drawn under the spell of this progressive „in-the-moment‟ musician. He has often said that each performance is different, depending on the mood of both player and audience. “If you want to hear my records, fine, buy them, take them home. I believe in giving my fans something more, something special, each time they come to see me. That way, they are never bored and neither am I.”

Creating musical experiences has been at the forefront of this artist for decades. Even when he took up another career, this one in Denver real estate, he continued to play. He found that after more than twenty years as an agent he missed the interaction as well as weaving his magic ways in the recording studio.

On his three albums there has been a tight collaboration with his musical counterpart, the talented bassist/keyboardist KENNY PASSARELLI, of Joe Walsh, Hall & Oates, Elton John, Brain Wilson fame. Yes, Passarelli has toured extensively with all these star acts, and more. Because of the unique gifts both these players bring to the studio the end products set benchmarks. This is why Eddie Turner continues to satisfy the most discriminating of listeners. With every play of a tune, with every live presentation, you get to hear and experience far more than you had ever hoped to expect.

©2011 Suzanne Swanson
“The Blues And Nothing But The Blues”© 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Charlie Musselwhite in Tacoma October 7, 2011

Click picture to see the poster
The Broadway Center For the Performing Arts and the Immanuel Presbyterian Blues Vespers present Charlie Musselwhite Friday, October 7, 2011 • 7:30 p.m. at the Rialto Theater in Tacoma, Washington.

A groundbreaking recording artist and harmonica master, Charlie Musselwhite creates trailblazing music while remaining firmly rooted in the blues. His melodic harmonica playing and deep country blues guitar flawlessly accompany his often autobiographical and always memorable original songs. He'll be joined by some of the Northwest's premier harp players - The Paul Green Harmonica Showcase with Paul Green, Jay Mabin and Kim Field.

Charlie's latest, album, The Well is the first full-band recording in his career for which he wrote or co-wrote every track on the album. As a teen, Musselwhite attended parties hosted by Elvis Presley and hobnobbed with many of the local musicians, including Johnny Cash and Johnny Burnette. Over the last 43 years Musselwhite has released over 30 albums. Musselwhite was reportedly the inspiration for Dan Aykroyd's Blues Brothers.

As of this posting, tickets are still available: CLICK HERE To Buy Tickets 
 



Sunday, September 18, 2011

Review - "Outside Looking In" The Blue Voodoo Band



By Guest Blogger: Suzanne Swanson 

The overall effect of the Blue Voodoo Band’s latest release, Outside Looking In, is that this is a band you want to experience… first hand! This is the fourth album in the band’s ten year history of growing and settling comfortably into their own musical shoes. Having played extensively, and matured into a tight group, Ted Tosoff, (guitar, vocals), Rick Dalgarno (guitar, vocals), Gerry Berg (bass), and Mike Michalkow (drums), with added flavourings from Paul Wainwright, Dan Ross, Dave Hoerl, Brian Esplen, and Kelly Stoldola, Blue Voodoo has now come full circle from the beginning moving through the various forms of blues, Roots/Americana/Delta/Chicago/Country/Texas styles to come out with songs that satisfy and crossover. They more than meet you where it counts.

From the fast-paced, flying down the highway at breakneck speed, “18 WHEELER BLUES”, the gritty vocals of Dalgarno on the catchy, “ WORKING MAN BLUES”, the sultry, slow-shuffle of “BAD SIDE OF THE MOON”, to the hooks that keep on delivering with Dylansque style in “CHUGGING ALONG”, presented here with tongue firmly planted in cheek. You want to two-step to this one. The moodiness of guitar and harp, from local legend, Dave Hoerl, of The Twister’s fame, on “BREAKING THE MOLD” adds textures that are highly enjoyable. The fine picking on “ROCK THOSE BLUES AWAY” cannot help but lift even the foulest of dispositions and have you kicking up your heels for the pure joy of it. The anthem, or least it should be one, in “THE BLUES WONT LET ME BE” tells of ‘every man’ who ever fell in love with the sweet siren’s song of the Blues. Paul Wainwright, on horns, and Dan Ross, on organ contribute nicely. The title track, “OUTSIDE LOOKING IN”, pleads, “I’ve screwed up again and you’ve locked me out of your love.” Great touches with horns here by Paul Wainwright, and Ted Tosoff‘s complementing organ and guitar drive the point home. Ted Tosoff’s vocals on the highly emotional “BLAME”, shows interesting production notes. It catches you by the throat and doesn’t let you go until the final fade-out. Dan Ross does an excellent job building tension with his string instrumentation. (He also co-produced here, as well as on ’18 Wheeler”). It is one of the best cuts on this album although there are several that stand out.

“We love the old players.” shared Tosoff. “We take our influences from them, plus the late guitar master, Gary Moore, who died suddenly earlier this year. We wanted to bring everything we had recorded… played… experienced… up to date. This was a lot of fun for us because we got to take it to another place. We wanted to go deeper than we had with the other three recordings, giving it a certain essence and then multiply it. “ This fourth album succeeds with that goal.

©2011 Suzanne Swanson
“The Blues And Nothing But The Blues”©





Friday, September 16, 2011

RIP Willie "Big Eyes" Smith - Jan 19, 1936 to Sept 16th, 2011

By Bob Corritore
It is with great sadness that we report the unexpected passing of one the true greats of the blues. Willie "Big Eyes" Smith. Willie passed away this morning of a stroke. He was 75 and was musically active until the very end. A brilliant drummer, harmonica player and vocalist, he represented the true essence of Chicago Blues, and was highly regarded by all as an undisputed master. He was an alumni of the Muddy Waters band and wore those stripes with honor.

Willie "Big Eyes" Smith was born in Helena, Arkansas in 1936, and started playing harmonica at age 17, shortly after moving to Chicago. His harmonica first appeared on record in the 1950s gracing recordings by Arthur "Big Boy" Spires, and Bo Diddley (Willie played the harmonica on the Diddley classic "Diddy Wah Diddy"). At some point in the mid to late 1950s he started playing drums and in 1959 began his long association with Muddy Waters. Smith's drumming first appeared on record on Muddy Waters' 1960 album release of Sings Big Bill Broonzy. Smith had a real gift for drumming and his playing would help to define the later Muddy Waters Band sound. Many of us remember the classic Muddy Waters lineup of Muddy, Willie, Pinetop Perkins, Bob Margolin, Luther "Guitar Junior" Johnson, and Calvin "Fuzz" Jones. In June of 1980 members of Muddy's band struck out on there own, and formed the Legendary Blues Band which eventually found Willie as the lead vocalist, showcasing his stellar, down-home vocals. Willie released his first solo album, Bag Full of Blues in 1995, which firmly established him as an artist in his own right. Willie would revive his first instrument in later years, and in 1996 he would release Way Back, which debuted his new direction, and showed him to be a solid harmonicist.

His final recording, Joined At The Hip was a collaboration with the now deceased Pinetop Perkins, and it it earned the two a Grammy in the Traditional Blues category. We have just touched upon a few of the many recordings of Willie "Big Eyes" Smith who's discography as both a frontman, and a sideman represents the highest of heights in the blues. Willie had a strong work ethic and was a consummate professional, and as a result he worked relentlessly. He won numerous BMAs (Blues Music Awards) as "Best Blues Drummer", and he always carried great bands with him. Of note is the wonderful management of Patricia Morgan, who helped guide the later part of Willie's amazing career, and the impressive booking of Blue Mountain Artists. Also thanks to Willie for bringing out the wonderful talent in his band with Jimmy Mayes, Bob Stroger, "Little" Frank Krakowski, and for his wonderful collaborations with other Muddy alums. Willie leaves his greatest legacy with his son Kenny "Beedy Eyes" Smith, who has become one of the world's greatest blues drummers and carries on his father's sound and tradition.

Prayers for all of Willie's family, friends, fellow musicians, and fans as we say goodbye to one of the greatest blessings of the blues. We love you "Big Eyes." To visit Willie "Big Eyes" Smith's website click http://www.williebigeyessmith.com/. Funeral information to follow.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Blues Enthusiasts to Gather for Mt. Rainier Rhythm & Blues Festival

Local and international blues artists will gather in Mineral, Washington for the Fifth Annual Blues Festival. The lineup for the 5th Annual Mt. Rainier Rhythm & Blues Festival at the Mineral Lake Event Center on September 24, 2011 is now confirmed.

This year's line up is truly international and features three bands that were in the finals this year at the International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis. Another Band performing in Mineral this year is heading to Memphis next year to represent the South Sound Blues Association (SSBA) at the 2012 IBC, and even another band will be competing in the regional IBC finals to represent the Washington Blues Society (WBS) next year at the IBC. This year's Festival also showcases Pacific NW veterans and legends of the stage.

In addition to the Main Stage there will be indoor stages and open jamming around the bon-fire for all musicians, whether they are performing or not. There will also be tent and RV camping on-site and plenty of activities for the whole family. Attendees will experience a twelve hour musical extravaganza at the foot of Mt. Rainier, just ninety minutes or less from most major metro areas in western Washington.

More about the performers:

Nick Vigarino's Back Porch Stomp - Nick Vigarino's Back Porch Stomp were in the IBC finals this year and have been in high demand around the country since then. Nick is a master of the slide guitar and has developed a style of his own that continues to amaze fans and fellow musicians alike.
Little Blue and the Bluenotes - Little Bill Engelhart has been in the music business for over 55 years, performing more than 10,000 shows in his career. Bill continues to be one of the busiest performers on the scene today. Little Bill is a genuine music legend around these parts and the City of Tacoma has even given him his own day for eternity.

Deb Rhymer - Starting off the international showcase is the dynamic Deb Rhymer from Victoria BC. Deb has performed internationally for many years. She is well known for her Bette Midler tribute shows, but she can also flat out sing the blues like very few women can. A real powerhouse vocalist in the blues and beyond!

The Randy Oxford Band - IBC finalists and international touring band, The Randy Oxford Band will take the stage for a set of international blues, featuring musicians from 4 different countries. After their recent success at the IBC in Memphis, they continue to be in demand as far away as Quebec where they recently performed at the world famous "Festival International du Blues de Tremblant". They were the first band from Washington state to ever play this prestigious festival.

The Red Hot Blues Sisters - These dynamic performers will be representing the SSBA at the 2012 IBC. You will see why they are headed back to Memphis when you watch them perform. Featuring the recipient of the BB award from the WBS for female vocalist of the year. The "Red Hotz" continue to tour the U.S. and Europe regularly.

Maia Santel and Her All-Star Blend - Maia is a NW veteran of the stage and she can "bring the swing" or "throw down the blues" like nobody's business. Maia put this amazing all-star "blend" together exclusively for this festival. This is a show with so much going on, you won't want to leave the dance floor.

Georg Schroeter and Marc Breitfelder - All the way from Germany are this year's IBC winners in the Solo/Duo category. They made music history this year as the first European act to win the IBC. They are traveling with a 4 piece band and they are ending their North American tour at this festival. Georg on piano and vocals and Marc playing world class harmonica, have brought their unique blues style to the forefront of the modern Blues scene. THIS WILL BE THEIR ONLY WASHINGTON STATE APPEARANCE!

The Rafael Tranqulino Band - Rafael's hot new band will be competing in the WBS finals to represent the WBS at the 2012 IBC. Rafael's style of playing guitar and singing are like nothing else in the music world today. Rafael has been on tour with The Randy Oxford Band for several years now. When he is not touring with Randy, he has time to create his own kind of show that is full of energy,passion and spirit, that makes this band the perfect closing act to an amazing day of international blues. You will not want to miss this world class closing act.

Tickets are available via Brown Paper Tickets at: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/191547 or via Brown Paper Ticket's 24/7 Ticket Hotline at: 1-800-838-3006.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"Jook Joint Thunderclap" - John-Alex Mason (Naked Jaybird Music/ Burnside Dist.)

By Rick J Bowen 
If you knew nothing about John-Alex Mason upon first hearing his new release Jook Joint Thunderclap you'd swear it was a long lost Lomax recording from the Delta that has been unearthed and given a remix treatment. But in reality this project is the result of a highly inspired collaboration of Colorado native Mason and musicians from Chicago, Memphis, and West Africa creating what he calls "World Boogie."

Mason has been gaining attention as a one man band, accompanying his lonesome moaning vocals with slide and cigar box guitar and foot percussion, playing hill stomp blues, country, folk and roots rock. Recorded live off the floor in five days Thunderclap takes Mason's music to a whole new level with the injection of djembe, bolofon, fiddle, harmonica, bass, drum kit and rap vocals. Fueled by mutual admiration, the ten songs are infectious and intriguing, drawing the listener in to what must have been quite a time.

The amazing grandsons of legendary R.L Burnside, Corey and Cedric, provide the sick drum grooves, and rap styling on "Gone So Long," and the Hooker-esque "Riding On," and "Free." Mason adds djembe and slip sliding vocals to his fresh reading of time old classic "Rolled and Tumbled," while the lively two step "Diamond Rain," evokes both the high plains and the savanna, with the fiddle and djembe dancing two and fro. The whole group goes to church on the rousing Fred McDowell Mississippi classic "Write Me A Few of Your Lines." The album closes with Mason returning to solo acoustic for the intimate ode "Whisper," but fans can go online and add Mason and Co. doing a foot stomp shuffle on Robert Johnson's "You've Got a Good Friend," as an epilogue.

Jook Joint Thunderclap is a brave step for an artist who seemingly could do it all alone but decided to invite the wider world to join in his part.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Dr. John Returns to Jazz Alley September 2011

Swamp-rock piano legend and 2011 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Dr. John, along with his band the Lower 911, will be performing at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley in Seattle, September 22-25, 2011This is going to be a weekend of great music from one of the finest cultural resources from New Orleans.
 
CLICK HERE for details and show information.

Dr. John, or Mac Rebennack as known to friends and family, is universally celebrated as the living embodiment of the rich musical heritage exclusive to New Orleans. His very colorful musical career began in the 1950s when he wrote and played guitar on some of the greatest records to come out of the Crescent City, including recordings by Professor Longhair, Art Neville, Joe Tex and Frankie Ford.

A notorious gun incident forced the artist to give up the guitar and concentrate on organ and piano. Further trouble at home sent Dr.John west in the 1960s, where he continued to be in demand as a session musician, playing on records by Sonny and Cher, Van Morrison and Aretha Franklin to name a few. He also launched his solo career, developing the charismatic persona of Dr. John The Night Tripper. Adorned with voodoo charms and regalia, a legend was born with his breakthrough 1968 album Gris-gris, which established his unique blend of voodoo mysticism, funk, rhythm & blues, psychedelic rock and Creole roots.

In 2007 he was nominated for a Grammy for Sippiana Hericane, his Hurricane Katrina benefit disc. Other awards include the American Society of Young Musicians 2007 Trailblazer Award. After Hurricane Katrina and government bunglers bashed New Orleans in 2005, Dr. John immediately stepped up to the plate with both generous relief fund-raising concerts and recordings and angry public words of protest. One of the Crescent City's most favored sons; Dr. John does his considerable bit to keep the world's attention focused on what needs to be done to help New Orleans come back. In 2008, he released the Album City That Care Forgot, which deals with various aspects of post-Katrina New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. In 2009, City That Care Forgot won the Grammy for “Best Contemporary Blues Album.” It is considered to be his finest recording in twenty years.

After a half century of creating music for others and himself, Dr. John continues to write, arrange, produce and interpret with apassion that has yet to wane. He continues to dazzle and delight audiences across the globe touring consistently. In fact, Dr. John, veteran of decades in music, is at the height of his creative output right now, having recently released grandly-conceived tribute albums to Duke Ellington and Johnny Mercer, and having famously revived his full-blown, magnificently-costumed 'Dr. John, the Night Tripper' stage persona in June 2006 at the Bonnaroo Music Festival.