To receive email from Blues Festival E-Guide,
add to your safe sender list.
View as Web Page Subscribe Send to a Friend
BluesFestivalGuide Website
July 16, 2010 Volume # 5  Issue #28

CD or DVD Releases
News Flash
Record Label News
Blues Society News
House of Blues Radio Hour
Roots Blues Airplay Charts
Blues Festivals
About Us
Elvin Bishop has been traveling the blues road longer than most, and he’s got the stories to prove it – many of which are contained within the songs on this release. Stops along the way include his work as a founding member of the groundbreaking Paul Butterfield Blues Band in the early ‘60s, and pop success with his 1976 smash hit “Fooled Around and Fell In Love”. Bishop’s long and varied career has included plenty of side trips along the way as well, from deep down gutbucket Blues played in smoky South Side Chicago taverns, to raucous roadhouse R&B, to good time Rock & Roll on concert stages and festivals around the world. And at every stage along the way, he’s instilled all of his music with passion, creativity, and a healthy helping of wisdom, wit, and good humor.
Delta Groove Music president Randy Chortkoff has been a fan and follower of Elvin’s music through all the many phases of his career, beginning with Butterfield Blues Band in the mid 1960s, and when the opportunity arose to bring Elvin into the Delta Groove fold, Chortkoff jumped at the opportunity. The result was Elvin’s Grammy-nominated 2008 CD “The Blues Rolls On”, and a flurry of other awards and accolades, including being named 2009 Male Blues Artist of The Year by Blues Blast magazine. Elvin’s brand new release “Red Dog Speaks”, his second on Delta Groove Music, is the exciting next step in his Blues journey.
Right out of the gate, Bishop leaves no doubt where his heart is, cleverly introducing his long-time cohort - a 1959 Gibson ES-345 that lovingly answers to the name of “Red Dog”, with a gritty slow Blues calculated to set the pace for what’s to come. Along the way he smoothly steers the way from strutting blues and R&B, to a good dose of good-time Rock & Roll, and even an occasional detour through Doo-Wop, Zydeco, and Gospel. Elvin has made plenty of talented friends over the years, and many of them jumped at the chance to help out including John Németh, Buckwheat Zydeco, Roy Gaines, Tommy Castro, Ronnie Baker Brooks, and Kid Andersen who all make guest appearances. And all of it adds up to an amalgam that can only be called “Elvin Bishop music.”
Click for more

With the release of Back Around Here, blues fans outside the Windy City, where Rob Stone plays at the House of Blues, will no longer be wondering about his current musical whereabouts. You won’t find anything downbeat on this new release: whether in the studio or onstage, this harp player maintains a high-energy attack. Rob’s rich, fat harmonica tone displays the stylistic sway of his mighty heroes - Little Walter, Big Walter Horton, the two Sonny Boys, and Junior Wells. Backing him on this new album are his longtime friends guitarist Chris James and bassist Patrick Rynn, who combined with Stone to write eight fresh originals, including the jumping title track, a houserocker driven by tight horns and James’ slashing axe. The three exhibit the same tight ensemble playing and unshakable commitment to Chicago blues tradition that defined their trio, The C-Notes. Guest artists include Sam Lay and Willie Hayes on drums, Rodney Brown on Sax, and David Maxwell on piano.
Click for more

Eddie Turner is one of the best blues guitarists alive, and his third CD for NorthernBlues demonstrates not only his prowess with the instrument,but his terrific song-writing as well. Heartbeat with founders Candy and David Givens. Eddie was also a member of the Legendary 4-nikators. Rise, to almost universal acclaim and leading
to a Blues Music Award nomination for Best New Artist Debut. Now, Eddie is back to prove that he a guitar god for the 21st century.
Born in Cuba and raised in Chicago,Eddie Turner’s influences stem from both the Afro-Cuban rhythms of his heritage and his immersion in the music of the time - Blues, Rock and R&B. In 1974 he played with Grammy-nominated Tracy Nelson and Mother Earth. Eddie soon joined Zephyr and wrote the last highly acclaimed Zephyr album Heartbeat with founders Candy and David Givens. Eddie was also a member of the Legendary 4-nikators.
In 1995, Eddie joined Otis Taylor and Kenny Passarelli to form the Otis Taylor Band and helped create the Otis Taylor sound. Eddie continually received rave reviews for his psychedelic guitar-playing. In 2005, Eddie released his first CD, Rise, to almost universal acclaim and leading to a Blues Music Award nomination for Best New Artist Debut. Now, Eddie is back to prove that he a guitar god for the 21st century.
Click for more

The Music Industry's Funny Money - Still think a music career is an easy path to a blinged-out life? Don't believe the hype. A whole lot of folks have to get paid before the musician does. The Root traces the money trail.
If you thought the life of most musicians was comparable to the blissful and blinged-out existences of Kanye and Rihanna, you've clearly not heard much about our ever-desiccating music industry. According to the latest Nielsen research, only 2.1 percent of the albums released in 2009 sold even 5,000 copies -- that's just 2,050 records out of nearly 100,000, and to fewer people than go to a small liberal arts college.
As if that weren't bad enough, even the bands who do move units end up paying through the nose, mouth, eyes and ears for management, legal fees, producers and other expenses, leaving most of them scrounging to pay for record advances and, if they can afford it, health care.
From the outside, it often sounds fun to be in a band. But before picking up that guitar or microphone, take a look at where the money from a record goes.
SLRP: The suggested list retail price of a CD is currently $16.98, while the standard wholesale price -- what retail stores pay the label per CD -- is about $10. Once the retailer gets the CD, they can sell it for however much they'd like -- hence "suggested." Artist's royalties are a percentage of the retail price. Superstars can get 20 percent of the SLRP, but most get 12 percent to 14 percent.
Packaging charge: 25 percent of the SLRP goes back to the record company immediately for what's called a "packaging charge" -- that's the label literally charging the artist for the plastic case in which his or her CD is sold.
Free goods: In essence, "free goods" are a roundabout way for labels to discount records so stores will be more inclined to buy them. So rather than sell Best Buy 100,000 records at the regular wholesale price, the label will sell them 100,000 records for the price of 85,000. The artist is then paid for the 85,000 CDs, not the actual 100,000 sold to the retailer.
Reserves: Records, especially records by newer artists, are generally sold with the caveat that retailers can return to the label whatever copies they don't sell for a full refund. Thus to ensure they don't lose too much money on artists, record labels will sometimes pay artists for only 65,000 copies out of 100,000 copies, just in case 35,000 (25,000 if you consider the free ones) are returned. If the retailer ends up selling all their copies, the label will then pay the artist the balance owed, which can sometimes take years.
Distributor: Music distributors are entities designed to promote and distribute records. The major labels maintain in-house distributors, while most all indie labels use private distribution companies. For smaller bands' records, the distributor can take as much as a 24 percent cut of the SLRP; bigger bands might only be charged 14.2 percent.
Songwriter/publisher: If an artist doesn't write his or her own music, someone else has to. And someone who writes a song must first go through a music publisher, whose job it is to place that song with a recording artist who will agree to perform it. If an artist buys the song, the writer and publisher then receive 9.1 cents for every copy of the song sold, a sum they must then split.
Personal manager: This manager guides the career of the artist and gets about 15 percent of the artist's gross earnings.
Business manager: This manager is the artist's money man, making sure the musician repays his debts and invests his earnings wisely. A business manager charges 5 percent of an artist's gross.
Lawyer: While it's not always the case-many charge hourly-some artist's lawyers charge 5 percent.
AFTRA and AFM: These are the musicians unions. Singers join AFTRA (the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists), while players join AFM (the American Federation of Musicians). If an artist cuts an album, he has to join a union, which will then take $63.90 in base dues plus 0.743 percent of the artist's first $100,000.
Record advance: Unlike touring fees, of which the record company can only recoup half, record advances are 100 percent recoupable. That means that if the label fronts an artist $75,000 to pay for whatever he or she needs to record an album--studio time, new instruments, etc. -- the artist then owes the label that initial $75,000, regardless of whether the record is a success or not.

The man BB King called “Americas foremost  instructor of the blues harmonica,” Jon Gindick, brings his acclaimed Blues Harmonica Jam Camp to the world-famous Hopson Commissary and Shack Up Inn to the Mississippi Delta on October 28 through November 2, 2010.
This is the Seminar Where the Student is the Star

Gindick and his six coaches have one thing in mind: To get YOU and about 30 others blues harp sojourners jamming and jamming better. With almost 1.5 million instructional books sold since 1984, and leader of more than 50 seminars, Gindick is the man to do it.
Learn By Doing, In the Heart of the Blues Country

This 5-day harmonica adventure is held in a 150-year-old dance hall surrounded by fixed-up sharecropper shacks, where campers and coaches stay. 

In this perfectly relaxed and rustic atmosphere, the music is taught  morning until night -- on stage, in back rooms, on shack porches,  all over the rambling compound. 

Inner Doors Open to the Blues

 Gindick’s coaches help campers break down fears, learn blues riffs, bend notes,  tongue-block and lip block and perform with the camp band.  Side benefits include memories and friendships. Many campers are repeat customers who stay  in touch between camps. Others have gone on to start bands and even released CDs.
Says Cheryl Arena , Dallas blues harp great and Jam Camp coach,: “You can’t believe the look on people’s faces when they jam the first time. “ 
Beginning through Advanced Will Love It

Included are classes on advanced harmonica techniques, repairing harps, playing guitar, singing and songwriting . Campers also visit bluesman Sonny Boy Williamson's grave and jam in Clarksdale's fabled juke joints
It’s the  perfect way to visit the Delta and get good on harp.

'Scuse me? Hendrix bandmate sues over '03 release
LODI, N.J. — Lonnie Youngblood was a hotshot sax player on the New York club circuit in the mid-1960s when he crossed paths with Jimmy James, a young musician who was turning heads with his dazzling virtuosity on the electric guitar.
After briefly playing in Youngblood's band, James went back to using his real last name and conquered the music world as Jimi Hendrix, while Youngblood fronted a series of rhythm and blues bands that toured with James Brown, Jackie Wilson and other '60s legends.
The friendship between the two endured, though, and in 1969, at the peak of Hendrix's popularity, the two men recorded several songs in a New York studio that became a coda to their relationship when Hendrix died in London the following year of a drug overdose.
The tunes recorded during those two or three days are the subject of a lawsuit Youngblood filed this spring that claims one of the songs, "Georgia Blues," was included on a 2003 compilation without his permission and without crediting him as its author.
The suit seeks unspecified lost-income damages from Hendrix's estate, MCA Records and film director Martin Scorsese, who collaborated on the collection "Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues: Jimi Hendrix." Through representatives, all three parties declined to comment on the lawsuit or didn't return calls Monday.
The lawsuit has not marred Youngblood's memories of Hendrix, whom he describes in terms that evoke Chuck Berry's mythical "Johnny B. Goode":
"He had a guitar in a sack, a change of pants and a shirt in another sack, maybe a toothbrush and some type of comb. And basically that was it," Youngblood said. "He basically didn't have a worry."
Though Youngblood was just one year older than Hendrix, the blues shouter and the future prince of psychedelia were headed in opposite directions musically. Their paths began to diverge around 1965 or '66, when Hendrix discovered hallucinogenic drugs and began to spend more time in New York's Greenwich Village, Youngblood remembers.
"He wanted me to go down to Cafe Wha and play for tips," he said. "To me, that was out of the question. I had a car, a wife, a son, an apartment. I told him, 'You've got to go where you can get some sure money.'"
While Hendrix's popularity soared with such songs as "Hey Joe," "Purple Haze" and "Foxy Lady," Youngblood became a star on Harlem's club circuit and a fixture on college campuses around the Northeast. Then, one night in 1969 Youngblood was onstage when Hendrix showed up unexpectedly, wearing his signature floppy hat, tassels and ruffled shirt, and "turned the place inside out."
Hendrix told Youngblood he would record some songs with him, Youngblood remembers, as payback for his help several years earlier.
"Jimmy had moved on to another place by then, but it was his way of saying thank you," he said.
Youngblood said he wrote "Georgia Blues" and points out that one line in the song goes, "I was born in Georgia 27 years ago" — a clear reference to Youngblood, who was 27 at the time and a native of Augusta, Ga.
The lawsuit claims Youngblood released the song himself on the Internet and copyrighted it in 2002. Youngblood said he refused an offer of $3,000 by a lawyer for Hendrix's estate to sell the song.
Lawsuits over authorship or royalties from popular songs were hardly uncommon even back in Hendrix's heyday. Hendrix was dogged by a small-time record producer who claimed to have a contract giving him part of Hendrix's career earnings, according to David Henderson, author of the Hendrix biography "'Scuse Me While I Kiss The Sky."
New, or purportedly new, recordings made by legendary artists can produce the same feeding frenzy, he said.
"Stuff that's in the vault is very valuable and very important to collectors and historians and music lovers," he said. "If someone's famous, that stuff is going to have legs."
Youngblood, 68, who still performs at clubs and private parties in New York and northern New Jersey, said he just wants what is legally his.
"It's the principle," he said. "I want my song back. They had no right to take my song."

100% of the 5.00 dollars Cover Charge and Raffle will go directly to the National Wildlife Federation.
For info on this organization please log onto their website For Information on the event please call Rosey Baby's at 954-749-5627
Music by:
Dave Shelley & Bluestone, Blueberry Jam, Slip Mahoney,Albert Castiglia, AZ Kenny Tzak,Graham Drout Solo Acoustic plus many more surprise guests.
Flyer By Loveless- Productions
Sound by Mr.G- Blue at Heart Productions
Rosey Baby's

4587 N University Dr · Lauderhill
Rosey Baby and Joel DaSilva join forces to put together a benefit show to help the National Wildlife Federation and the Florida Wildlife Federation. Music, Raffles, and people who care! Our environment IS our Most precious resource.....

Please come and join the fun on Carnival Cruise Lines this December 6th when B.E.B.E., Inc will make her maiden voyage with her BLUES DIVAS - PAT HUNTER & her ALL STAR* BAND, VIVIAN "VANCE" KELLY BAND and TERRI LYNN & THUNDER BLUES BAND.
Special Guests include Nitro Bozeman (FL), Steve Nixon (IL), Sarasota Slim (FL) and many more will join in the fun.
This is a VIP event and must be booked through to attend all of the VIP BLUES DIVAS shows and the FREE VIP cocktail party. Book today for lowest rates, payment plans and best cabin selection. 
This cruise is fully refundable in the event of any cancellations by the cruise lines or the travel agency. Presented by Traverus Travel and B.E.B.E., Inc.

Click for more

19th Annual Pocono Blues Festival
The 19th Annual Pocono Blues Festival slated for July 23, 24 and 25, is one of the biggest blues festivals on the East Coast located in the beautiful Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania is an annual pilgrimage for lovers of real deal blues and roots music. Customers travel 30 states and 10 countries.
This year’s lineup features 20 national acts performing over the three day period on three stages headlining Rock n Roll Hall of Fame inductee Mavis Staples, Chicago blues legends Pinetop Perkins, Hubert Sumlin, Bob Stroger, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Bob Margolin, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, CJ Chenier, Theodis Ealey, Johnnie Bassett, Chick Willis, Wanda Johnson, Johnny Rawls, The Campbell Brothers, Homemade Jamz, Lady Bianca, Jimmy Duck Holmes, Alabama Mike, Joe Krown Trio featuring Walter Wolfman Washington, Russell Batiste, Diana Braithwaite and Chris Whitely Band, Veronika Jackson, Marquise Knox and Roy Roberts/Barbara Carr/AJ Diggs.
The location is pristine over 50 acres encompassing lakes and mountain and making up a perfect amphitheater with plenty of free parking over 70 vendors, scenic chairlift rides and many southern soul food outlets. Plenty of nearby lodging and camping. The Pocono Blues Festival was the recipient of the Blues Foundation’s “Keeping the Blues Alive” award for excellence in promotion. For more information go to
“The Pocono Blues Festival rivals any blues festival in the country.” Johnny Meister-WXPN Philadelphia
“Pocono Blues Festival, I hear so much real, true and genuine down home blues music there every summer that it keeps me inspired until the next year rolls around.” Andrew Galloway-President Electro-Fi Records

Chrystal Hartigan and the Art of the Songwriters’ Showcase
Joel DaSilva
Colleen Dougher/CITYLINKMIX.COM - Once you’ve poured your heart and soul into writing a song, it’s oh-so-rewarding to play it in a bar, amid clinking beer bottles and drunken laughter from people who might pay more attention if you were playing something by Dave Matthews or Jimmy Buffett.
Songwriters who’ve experienced this may appreciate the monthly open mike and showcases Chrystal Hartigan presents at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. Hartigan’s patrons — people who actually want to hear the music — are equally grateful.
The $10 cover seems a small price to pay given the location — the Broward Center’s Abdo New River Room — and the quality of the music in each showcase. It’s a supportive atmosphere in which songwriters can grow and open-mike newcomers such as Maria Savarese tend to shine. At the June showcase, Savarese settled onto a stool onstage, introduced herself and said, “My friends always told me that the best part of having a boyfriend is that when you break up, you can write songs about him. So this is a song called “Maybe.”
Then, there’s Noah Allen, who seems to be a resident at the open mikes.
After June’s open mike, Joel DaSilva from Hep Cat Boo Daddies performed in the showcaseas did Cooper Getschal and Gervasio “Herbieman” Goris. DaSilva says he’s been a fan of Hartigan’s showcases for a while but didn’t perform at one until last month. He was pleased to be playing for people who paid attention and didn’t request Lynyrd Skynyrd and Slipknot covers. “A friend who came to see me at Broward Center was like, ‘Wow, I could hear you and it’s not drowned out by the drums or beer bottles clanking together,’ ” DaSilva recalls.
“Chrystal really knows what she’s doing and respects the artists,” he adds.
Hartigan began producing songwriter showcases in the mid-’90s in Miami Beach with musician, songwriter and producer Desmond Child and the late Ellen Moraski of Warner Chappell Music. Eventually, she presented them on her own at other South Florida locations but took an illness-related break about 2005. She relaunched her showcase in 2008, first at the now-defunct Laffing Matterz in Fort Lauderdale and then at the Broward Center, which recently renewed the songwriting series through September 2011.
Her showcases have helped many local musicians launch careers and attracted guests such as country singer Keith Urban; Glen Ballard, the veteran songwriter who co-wrote and produced Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill; and Carlos Varela, a musician known as the Cuban Bob Dylan. Hartigan’s love for showcasing original music and discovering local talent is apparent in her events, as is her affinity for showcasing musicians in a way that exposes audiences to music they may not otherwise hear, and musicians to people who may like to work with them.
Dreaming in Stereo frontman Fernando Perdomo, who performed at Hartigan’s showcase this past November, says the first original song he performed was at a Hartigan showcase in Miami Beach in the ’90s. “It’s been an amazing experience to play to people who could actually listen,” he says. “What’s great about Chrystal’s events is that she says, ‘Hey, please be respectful to the artists and let them play and don’t talk over them. … She feeds us and promotes the shows and they’re always packed. Also, I recently discovered an artist, Danny Luis, at one of her open mikes that I’m going to be producing. He came onstage and I had no idea who he was. He blew me away with one song [“Walk On”] and we’re going to start working together on an album soon.”
Steve Minotti, who’s been gracing the showcases with his talent (hear him sing “Butterfly”) and his signature jester’s hat for more than a year, says he discovered talented performers such as Alex Nelson and Marc Solomon at Hartigan’s events. “The open mikes are definitely a great experience. … You get to experience what it’s like to play in a concert venue and you get a professional sound crew, etc. I’m hoping to one day do a showcase. That’s my intention, but I guess I have to earn that.”
Hartigan concurs that they’re modeled after events at Nashville’s Bluebird Café, a venue that cultivates respect for performers. “The whole idea is to come out and listen to these artists,” she says. “They’re telling you a story. I get frustrated at some places I go to and people are just talking, talking, talking — not even paying attention.”
Musicians tire of that, too, which is in part how Hartigan continues to recruit talented songwriters to play at her events. As DaSilva puts it, “It’s a totally different vibe than going out to a place and having beer bottles thrown at you and having to side-step the vomit.”
Perdomo agrees: “It’s great because since it’s a real open mike you’ve got amazing artists and then, you’ve got artists who are still working on it. And it’s realty cool because they get to play to a real audience and you never know. … I think it’s the No. 1 place to discover talent in South Florida.”
George DeSouza and  Matt Ibach, Thom Welte and Diane Ward will perform at Chrystal Hartigan’s next showcase, which will begin with a one-hour open mike 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 20 in the Abdo New River Room at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., in Fort Lauderdale.
Click for more

'Low Down Dirty Blues' revue to launch Florida Stage's presence at Rinker
You might think the blues an odd choice for a theater’s debut in its new home. Maybe you’d have a different opinion if you shared Dan Wheetman’s opinion about the music.
Wheetman and Randal Myler created Low Down Dirty Blues, the musical revue with which Florida Stage will make its grand entrance Saturday at its new digs in the Kravis Center’s Rinker Playhouse.
“Whenever you’re going through hard times, music can be a vehicle for releasing anger, frustration and grief, and getting on with your life,” Wheetman said. “The blues is very much like that. In the black culture they often talk about how when they hear someone sing the blues, they smile. There’s an acknowledgement that we’re all in this together.”
Put that way, the blues sounds like a remedy for the recession doldrums and an apt accompaniment for Florida Stage’s belt-tightening, options-opening move to the Kravis.
The show comes to Florida Stage directly from its premiere at the Northlight Theatre in Skokie, Ill., where critics received it with glowing reviews.
Florida Stage producing director Louis Tyrrell booked the revue sight unseen. The company needed to settle in at the Rinker with a show that fit its mission of nurturing new work but was sufficiently developed to not overstretch a staff already taxed with the move.
Myler, who directs the show, and Wheetman, the production’s musical director, have 25 years of collaboration and a string of successful roots-based musical revues under their belts. Together they’ve created Fire on the Mountain, about coal miners in Appalachia; Mama Hated Diesels, about over-the-road truckers; and another blues revue, It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues, which garnered four Tony Award nominations in 1999.
“The idea was fabulous, and the artists Randy was talking about were world class,” Tyrrell said.
The cast is composed of four performers backed by a three-piece band. Mississippi Charles Bevel and Sandra Reaves-Phillips have long track records in show business and roots in the rural South, birthplace of the blues. Felicia Fields just logged two years in a Tony-nominated turn as Sofia in The Color Purple on Broadway and the national tour. Gregory Porter is a protege of jazz master Wynton Marsalis.
Unlike Myler’s and Wheetman’s first blues musical, which recounted the history of the blues, Low Down Dirty Blues has no pedagogical aspirations. Instead, the show transports the audience to Big Mama’s blues club in Chicago, where the songs and the stories roll on into the wee hours of the morning.
The spoken words are those of renowned and obscure blues singers. Tunes include songs made famous by artists such as Muddy Waters, Ma Rainey, Howlin’ Wolf, Robert Johnson and Bessie Smith.
As for the dirty part, “low down dirty blues can mean a lot of things, but definitely, there’s a lot of ‘don’t jump my pony if you can’t ride,’” Myler said, quoting from one of the songs in the show.
“Yes, it has it’s sultry moments,” Fields agreed with a laugh.
But the blues isn’t just about sex, she insisted.
“The blues tells a story,” she said. “You can sing it a million different ways. You can go from happy to sad to sexual all in four bars.”
The show’s narrative travels from Saturday night to Sunday morning, Myler said, by which he means the steamier songs give way to an inspirational finale, a nod to the blues’ kinship with gospel music.
Or, as Fields describes it, “we do a quick hit up there of 85-90 minutes — just enough to wet their palette, not get bored and leave on an uplift.”
Tyrrell, who eventually saw the show in Skokie, said it’s all he’d hoped it would be.
“It rocks the house,” he said.
What: Low Down Dirty Blues
Where: Florida Stage, Rinker Playhouse, Kravis Center
When: July 17-Sept. 5
Information: (561) 585-3433 or

Artists Explore Dynamics of Music Using 'Mostly Blues'
Artist Ree Shannon displays her painting, “W.C. Handy — Father of the Blues,” which is part of the "Mostly Blues" exhibition at the Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts in Florence. Daniel Giles/TimesDaily
Florence, Alabama - 
The artists dropping off their works at the Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts can't help but feel as if they are dropping off a child for the first day of school.
Are they clean? Are they wearing the right clothes? Once the child is on the bus — once the art is on the wall — it's too late to make changes. You can't take a paintbrush to a painting already on display. Can you?
“Well ... I have delivered a painting that was still dampish. I don't think it was wet, but dampish,” says artist Jonathan Cain, a Florence native now living in Tuscumbia, laughing.
“You get the prize then,” replies artist Ree Shannon, of Russellville.
They were two of three artists at the center Tuesday afternoon to deliver works just in time for the Thursday opening of “Mostly Blues,” an exhibition of paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures and mixed media pieces by 29 artists that separately and collectively celebrate an aspect of the W.C. Handy Music Festival, honoring Florence's son W.C. Handy, the Father of the Blues. Exhibit organizer Mary Nicely wasn't surprised at the last-minute arrivals; working with artists for decades has taught her how some of them deal with deadlines.
Both veterans of the exhibit, Cain says he typically begins work on his annual piece around the time he receives the first letter from Nicely reminding him that the exhibit is coming.
“And if you don't respond, you get the gentle nudge/reminder phone call, ‘What are you working on?' ” he says. “It took from there up until last week or so to find the bits and pieces to try and figure out how to make (the piece) work. And I would still be fiddling ... .”
“Well that's me, you have to take it away from me,” Shannon says. “I just keep thinking about it. ‘Maybe I should change this.' ... I work much better with a deadline.”
The organic process of creating art is fitting for the exhibit, one that celebrates the equally organic medium of music. Shannon has participated in each of the exhibit's 18 years, painting a different piece each year and generally using the color blue. She's painted all but the violin and the fiddle, and this year tackled a portrait of Handy himself.
Shannon always listens to music as she works, “traveling” back in time as she listens to Handy, studying about his life, year after year. Her piece, “W.C. Handy — Father of the Blues,” portrays Handy (1873-1958) from around the shoulders up, with the music to his legendary “St. Louis Blues” in the background.
She hopes her work serves as a tribute to not just his talent, she says, but his character as he lived through segregation in the South.
“Considering the struggles that he might have gone through, the era that he lived in, it couldn't have been easy for him to accomplish jobs, gigs, much less composition of music. This would have been very discouraging for me. I don't know that I could have stayed true to the course.”
Genius is what Handy had, Shannon says, a “non-structured imagination” able to create beautiful structured music.
“And from that foundation we end up with pieces that are entertaining, amazing,” she says.
“He was more than just a trumpet player or piano player or a leader in the band,” she says. “He literally pulled the notes out of his mind and put them down on paper. And the hard part was everybody else trying to come close to mimicking him. It was a gift. ... Once in a while, you'll find somebody that just stands out in a crowd. And he was one of them.”
As Shannon and Cain talk with Allen Kennedy, whom they dubbed a “newbie” to the arts scene, the conversation often comes back to the unique talents found in and around the Shoals, going back decades. Kennedy retired and moved to Rogersville from southern Indiana about five years ago and has only recently begun painting full-time and exhibiting his works.
“He's landed in a wonderful community to launch his career,” Shannon says. “When I first moved here, I was surprised at how much is here.”
Moving from Pensacola, Fla., in 1990 — “home of the world's used-to-be-
whitest beaches” — she learned about Helen Keller and W.C. Handy and their ties to the Shoals.
“It's all within a radius,” she says.
“The people locally all sort of take it for granted, but it's ‘Wow! This is really cool.' ”
Cain agrees.
“I do think this is a strange community,” he says. “I grew up here. In my world, there always were this many artists and poets and musicians and writers, creative people everywhere. And then you kinda wander off, far enough for graduate school or something, and look backward and go, ‘That really is the farside.' I mean, we have this collective, creative nexus here, and no one knows why — it just is.”
“And some of the most unique characters in history have some sort of tie with Florence,” Shannon adds. “What is the deal here? Amazing.”
The softspoken Kennedy agrees as well, though he did enjoy the arts community near his Midwest home. But what he has found in abundance is encouragement as an artist.
“The first year I was here and I sold (a painting), and people started asking about my art and encouraging me to show pictures,” Kennedy says. “I just found that people are a lot more receptive.
“I'm just trying to get my name out there and see how people like what I do. I'm learning; every picture I learn more about painting.”
Kennedy originally painted pictures from calendars or library books until a newfound mentor encouraged him to photograph his subjects first, usually still lifes. The “Mostly Blues” pieces must be original and must relate to music, so Kennedy came up with several ideas for the exhibit once he was invited to participate.
His inspiration ended up coming from his own home.
“I play guitar, and I've always wanted a fiddle to see how hard they were to play,” he says. “And they're hard. So I've got one just to look at or if somebody else wants to play it.
“I took the fiddle out to the barn and took a picture of it and I decided, ‘Well, that's the way I'll go, I'll do that,' ” he said, looking at “Fiddle,” in which a brown fiddle rests in bails of hay. “But I've still got more ideas for next year.”
Cain took a more narrative approach for his piece, “Tibolange: Robert Johnson,” a tribute to the South, blues and the mythical Johnson — another tale of talent that seemed to appear out of nowhere. Born in Hazlehurst, Miss., probably in 1911 or 1912, Johnson remains a mystery to blues fans. Without proper training, his skill at the guitar appeared almost miraculous, and the main legend that persists is that he sold his soul to the devil for the gift of music.
A printout of one of the two known photographs of Johnson peers out of a cabinet-like structure — a tibolange, which is a Voodoo object that contains a soul. A three-dimensional fake cigarette juts from his lips.
Decorating the cabinet's nooks are symbols of the Old South, including items tied to Voodoo and the Southern Hoodoo, and a poison bottle representing the supposed method of Johnson's death at age 27. Sprouting from the top of the cabinet is a bottle tree, a Southern tradition of placing bottles on trees to trap spirits.
“I think Robert Johnson is just the coolest character ever,” Cain says. “I mean, you couldn't make up his story.”
Always a music fan, Cain didn't love the blues until he went to graduate school at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, a blues-heavy area. He studied Johnson's lyrics to better understand his life in the early 1900s, as well as to better understand the roots of blues, period.
Listening to any music helps in the art process, Shannon says — “I don't think I could go a day without it.” But studying the specific type of music or art you're trying to tap into is key.
She offers an illustration: Say a person wants to decorate a room in Victorian-style designs.
“They find themselves just grabbing something from Walmart that sort of looks Victorianish,” she says. “And before too long, the room doesn't really have the ambiance to it. I think paintings are the same way.
“You ever been on the phone and you're doodling?” she continues. “And suddenly you look down, and you don't even realize that you've drawn something. It's the purest tapped-in imagination that artists strive for 24/7.”
“Pure inspiration,” Cain says.
There's a huge marriage between art and music, they say, and inspiration. Sometimes, great work just appears, or evolves.
“I think (that is true) especially with the blues,” Cain says. “It was truly of the people. It came from nowhere; it just sort of grew and developed.”
Research shows a lot of rhythms came from west African sounds, and while that is true to an extent, he says, “a lot of it did not originate until it came here.”
“There's something about this mixture that happened down here in the deep South that generated all of this that we're still playing with, literally playing with.”
The still-evolving sound and the colorful characters it has attracted provide plenty of ideas for the exhibit's artists. The three who talked Tuesday will likely be back for 2011's “Mostly Blues,” but don't expect their works to arrive early. Or for them to not be nervous about letting their kids get on the bus.
“It's slightly nerve-wracking, until you get used to it,” Cain says. “And even then, it's still slightly nerve-wracking.”
What: Mostly Blues, art exhibit
When: Now through Aug. 12
Where: Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts, 217 E. Tuscaloosa St., Florence
Cost: Free
Details: The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. The exhibit will be open special hours Saturday, July 31, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Click for more

Monday -Wednesday -  July 19-21, 2010 -  Rossano, ITALY
Click for all the details

New Instructional DVD: Ann Rabson - Blues and Barrelhouse Piano
In this intimate instructional DVD, Ann personally teaches her own brand of blues and barrelhouse piano with six in-depth lessons based on left-hand grooves. With each groove, you'll learn to play tasty fills, turnarounds, soloing ideas and much more. Topics covered include: two-beat shuffle; box shuffle; linear Boogie Woogie; round Boogie Woogie; Yancy/Domino-inspired groove; New Orleans-inspired groove.
Click for more

2010 Michelob Dayton Blues Festival
Jose' Alvarez headlines
Sunday, July 18, 2010: 1:00pm - 9:00pm
Dave Hall Plaza Fourth & Jefferson Streets Dayton, Oh.
1p Austin "Walkin' Cane"
Cleveland, Oh.
2p Swamp Rhinos
Dayton, Oh.
3p The Soulcasters
Dayton, Oh.
4p Average Joe's
Dayton, Oh.
5p Jimmy Baker & Blues Encounter
Dayton, Oh.
6p Long Tall Deb & The Drifter Kings
Columbus, Oh.
7p Mississippi Red & The Bumble-Bee-Licious Blues Band
Dayton, Oh.
8p Jose' Alvarez with Los Blancos
San Antonio, Tx. / Syracuse, NY
hosted by
Earl "Southside" Hayes
This free admission festival is the second in a series of three summer music festivals presented to you by the City of Dayton Department of Recreation & Youth Services and The Downtown Dayton Partnership
Click for more

"Bake Sale" is the fifth in a series of compilation CDs consisting of tracks from bands of the Great Northern Blues Society, in Wisconsin. 
Nineteen great Wisconsin artists, 20 songs and almost 80 minutes of music.
Click for more

Grammy Award-winning blues harmonica master James "Mr. Superharp" Cotton returns to Alligator Records with the new CD, Giant, set for a September 28 release. Giant is a ferocious blast of brash power blues from Cotton, one of the few bluesmen to have harmonicas literally explode from the pure force of his playing. Cotton, who in 2010 celebrates his 66th year as a professional musician (starting at the age of nine), has recorded 28 solo albums, including two highly-regarded releases for Alligator in the 1980s and the famed Harp Attack! with Junior Wells, Carey Bell and Billy Branch in 1990. The New York Daily News calls Cotton "the greatest living blues harmonica player." The New York Times adds, "Cotton helped define modern blues harmonica with his moaning, wrenching phrases and his train-whistle wails." Rolling Stone says Cotton is "among the greats of all time. He blazes on harp with remarkable and brilliant virtuosity."
Recorded by Stuart Sullivan at Wire Recording in Austin, Texas, Giant features 12 tracks, including four new Cotton originals and co-writes, alongside songs made famous by Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Ivory Joe Hunter and others. Throughout his career, Cotton has always had great bands, and the players on Giant are no exception. With guitarists/vocalists Slam Allen and Tom Holland, bassist Noel Neal (Ronnie James Weber on one song) and drummer Kenny Neal, Jr., Giant is not just a reminder of Cotton's legendary status, it is a remarkably vibrant and hard-hitting album made by one of the true blues masters.
Click for more

back to top

Central Valley Blues Society
This news just came in from Don Heflin of the Central Valley Blues Society. Let's do everything we can to help this out!
"Our good buddies who just opened The Tone Shop in Fresno were burglarized in  the early morning hours last weekend. The thieves got away with a lot of guitars and amps. What I need from all of you is to help pass the word anywhere you can to see if any of this gear surfaces. We have helped in the past in retrieving guitars for Cole Fonseca and Tommy Castro by everyone spreading the word.
Here is a list of what was taken. If you run across any of it please call the Police ASAP:
2007 Marshall JCM 2000 DSL head
Fender Twin from around the early 1990s red knob
Marshall JCM 800 1-12 combo, kinda beat and power plug was modified
Ibanez DJD91 guitar with TV Jones pickups, red in color
1960s Silvertone Rocket, pretty good shape for its age
BC Rich neck threw Strat style guitar. It was brand new.
two humbuckers still had factory sticker on tone control, natural wood color
Yamaha 4 string bass black like new condition
1993 Heritage 575 jazz guitar, sunburst, short scale, near mint condition
Epiphone Strat, red color, hockey puck headstock
Fender 62 Reissue Strat from mid 1980s, black, black pickguard, new jumbo frets
Epiphone Casino Elite natural and was like new
GTX Super Strat snake skin finish, Floyd Rose trem, new condition
Gibson Les Paul studio worn cherry wood color
Fender FMT Tele, flamed maple, set neck, two humbuckers
Fender MIJ Squire Strat, black with white guard
Jim Eachus
The Tone Shop

back to top

John Nemeth:
Elwood hunkers down with the hot young soul singer and harp player John Nemeth, to talk about his new album, NAME THE DAY. What are his influences, when did he first pick up a harmonica, and where do you even find soul music in Idaho? We will hear Mr. Nemeth, and some players he digs a lot, like Otis Redding, Solomon Burke, and Junior Wells. Other neo-soul players will be part of the mix: Ray Lamontaigne, James Hunter, and Sharon Jones, with the Dap-Kings. Plus, brand new music from Jimmie Vaughan, a live in-studio performance from John Nemeth, and a chance for you to win your very own copy of his NAME THE DAY.
For a list of stations where you can find House of Blues Radio

Click on festival name to click through to festival website.
Over 500 festivals are listed on the website
Sioux Falls Jazz & Blues Festival
July 15-17, 2010

Sioux Falls, South Dakota, U.S.
Burlington Jazz Blues & Heritage Festival
July 15-17, 2010

Burlington City, New Jersey, U.S.
Bluesfest International
July 15-18, 2010

Windsor, Ontario, Canada
California Worldfest
July 15-18, 2010

Auburn, CA, U.S.
BBQ Loo & Blues Too
July 16-17, 2010

Waterloo, Iowa, U.S.
Paulie's NOLA Jazz & Blues Festival
July 16-17, 2010

Worcester, Massachusetts, U.S.
Rauma Blues Festival
July 16-17, 2010

Rauma, Finland
Nothin' but the Blues Festival
July 16-17, 2010

Bloomington, Illinois, U.S.
Hot Ribs & Cool Blues
July 16-17, 2010

Anniston, Alabama, U.S.
Winthrop R&B Festival
July 16-18, 2010

Winthrop, Washington, U.S.
Frankford Island Blues Festival (Frankford)
July 16-18, 2010

Quinte West, Ontario, Canada
Bluesfest Int. Windsor
July 16-18, 2010

Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Brianza Blues Festival
July 16-18, 2010

Monza, Lombardia, Italy
Third Annual Charlie West Blues Festival
July 17, 2010

Charleston, WV, U.S.
Woodshed Blues and Jazz Festival
July 17, 2010

Huntingdon, PA, U.S.
Blue Ridge Blues and BBQ Festival
July 17, 2010

Roanoke, Virginia, U.S.
Blues Concert & Crawl with Seth Walker
July 17, 2010

Southern Pines, North Carolina, U.S.
Green River Festival
July 17-18, 2010

Greenfield, MA, U.S.
Queensland Festival of Blues
July 17-18, 2010

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
The 13th Annual Blues 'n' BBQ Festival for Better Housing
July 18, 2010

Arvada, Colorado, U.S.
Augusta Blues Week
July 18-23, 2010

Elkins, West Virginia, U.S.
Trasimeno Blues Festival
July 21-1, 2010

Trasimeno Lake, Italy
Festival Beauport en BLues
July 22-25, 2010

Quebec, Quebec, Canada
Poretta Soul Festival
July 22-25, 2010

Porretta Terme, Italy
Redwood City PAL Arts & Blues Festival 2010
July 23-24, 2010

Redwood City, California, U.S.
19th Annual Pocono Blues Festival
July 23-25, 2010

Lake Harmony, PA, U.S.
Cape Fear Blues Festival
July 23-25, 2010

Wilmington, NC, U.S.
Pittsburgh Blues Festival
July 23-25, 2010

Benefit the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food bank
Hartwood Acres, Pittsburgh, PA, U.S.

18th Bowlful of Blues
July 24, 2010

Newton, Iowa, U.S.
RBA Publishing Inc is based in Reno, NV with a satellite office in Beverly Hills, Florida. We produce the annual Blues Festival Guide magazine (now in its 7th year), the top-ranking website:, and this weekly blues newsletter: The Blues Festival E-Guide with approximately 20,000 weekly subscribers. We look forward to your suggestions, critiques, questions, etc.

Reach the E-Guide editor, Gordon Bulcock,

or contact our home office at 775-337-8626,

back to top
back to top

Information - both editorial and advertising - in the Blues Festival E-Guide - is believed to be correct but not guaranteed - so check it carefully before you attend any event or send money for anything. We do not write the news... just report it.
Blues Festival E-Guide • PO Box 50635 • Reno, NV 89503
Subscribe | Unsubscribe | Send to a Friend | Preferences | Report Spam
Powered by MyNewsletterBuilder