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Febuary 11, 2011 www.bluesfestivalguide.com Volume # 6  Issue # 5

Special Announcements
CD or DVD Releases
News Flash
Record Label News
Blues Society News
House of Blues Radio Hour
Blues Festivals
About Us
Attn: FESTIVAL PROMOTERS
Post your 2011 festival info to the Blues Festival Guide Website by following this link: 
 
Yes it's still FREE! Get listed on our Website; our annual Magazine, the E-guide and Facebook.  All you gotta do it is take 5 minutes to provide your dates, and your location. 
 
You'd be crazy to miss out.  The Website gets 30,000+ unique visitors per month, the Magazine reaches 100,000 hard copy readers, (plus thousands more who view the magazine digitally), Facebook fans exceed 9,000+, and the weekly E-Guide newsletter has 24,000+ subscribers.  If somebody is a fan of Blues...we reach 'em.
 
How's that for FREE!
 
Post your festival information as soon as you know it.  Blues Fans are ready to make their 2011 festival travel plans.

DAMON FOWLER : : DEVIL GOT HIS WAY
Fowler's guitar work has been compared to Johnny Winter and Jeff Beck, while his slide guitar has a hint of the late Duane Allman. He can play fiery guitar runs with the best of them, but it's his lyrical work on lap steel and Dobro that makes him stand out among the legions of guitar heroes.
 
On Devil Got His Way, Damon fulfills the tremendous potential that his acclaimed Blind Pig debut, Sugar Shack, promised. His remarkable songwriting skills and vocal expressiveness are maturing, and his instrumental voice, by turns incendiary and deeply lyrical, is even stronger. Damon and his band have been touring extensively since the release of Sugar Shack, and there is quite a buzz already about this release.
 
Click for more

THE JIMMY BOWSKILL BAND : : LIVE
Jimmy Bowskill has done a lot in his musical career. Since being discovered by Jeff Healey at the age of 11 playing guitar outside of his club in Toronto, he has opened for Dickey Betts, Garth Hudson, ZZ Top, Deep Purple and The Sam Roberts Band. He has toured internationally including shows in Germany, Ukraine, France, Mexico and at the World Expo in Japan in 2005. He has also received a Juno Award nomination for Best Blues Album. All this and he's only 19 years-old.
 
Jimmy Bowskill Band Live is an explosion of Blues and Rock, with nods to many of Jimmy's heroes like B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix and friend Paul Rodgers (from the band Free). The album is spiced with two Paul Rodgers songs. Peter Green, a British blues guitar hero, is represented by Rattlesnake Shake from the early days of Fleetwood Mac.
 
Click for more

MACY BLACKMON AND THE MIGHTY FINES : : DONT YOU JUST KNOW IT
Hearing Macy Blackman is like stepping into an uptown New Orleans club such as the Dew Drop Inn circa 1955.
 
Indeed, pianist/vocalist Macy Blackman has been playing this music since it really wasn't very old.
 
Born in 1948 in Wilmington, Delaware, Macy spent his formative years in the Philly area. While in high school he formed The Evergreens, a band which specialized in backing up classic R&B groups such as the Orlons, and Lee Andrews and the Hearts.  
He moved to New York City in 1966 where he lived until 2000, playing in every imaginable capacity.
 
A renowned musicologist, Macy moved to San Francisco in 2000 to teach courses at UC Berkeley. These popular classes explored major American musical styles of the twentieth century - rhythm and blues, swing and classic jazz.
 
For the first few years in San Francisco, he featured himself as a jazz pianist, recording Something For Everybody with bassist Chuck Metcalf in 2000. He drifted back to New Orleans R&B and formed The Mighty Fines in 2003. They recorded their first CD, 24 Hours a Day, in 2005.
 
Hurricane Katrina forced New Orleans-bred saxaphonist Ken "Snakebite" Jacobs to remain here in the Bay area where he already had ties. He soon became the band's tenor player. Then, in 2007, with the addition of Nancy Wright on tenor, he switched to baritone. Nancy and Kenny's ability to play off each other has added an incomparable dimension to the band.
  
The Mighty Fines' music forges a synthesis between early New Orleans Jazz and the R&B of the early '50's. The versatile musicians also play swing and bebop.The band includes San Francisco perennial favorite on bass, Bing Nathan, and the magnificent Jack Dorsey on drums.
 
The Mighty Fines' second CD, Don't You Just Know It, has just been released. Local wisdom is that "If this band doesn't make you move your feet, it's amazing you got here at all."
 
Click for more


Guitar Hero Gets The Axe
NEW YORK (AP) — These days, guns are more popular than guitars, at least when it comes to video games. The company behind "Guitar Hero" said Wednesday that it is pulling the plug on one of the most influential video game titles of the new century.
Activision Blizzard Inc., which also produces the "Call of Duty" series, is ending the "Guitar Hero" franchise after a run of more than five years. The move follows Viacom Inc.'s decision in November to sell its money-losing unit behind the "Rock Band" video games. Harmonix was sold to an investment firm for an undisclosed sum. Harmonix, incidentally, was behind the first "Guitar Hero" game.
 Game industry analysts have long lamented the "weakness in the music genre," as they call it — that is, the inability of game makers to drum up demand for the products after an initial surge in popularity in the mid-2000s. Music games are often more expensive than your typical shoot-'em-up game because they require guitars, microphones and other musical equipment. While extra songs can be purchased for download, this hasn't been enough to keep the games profitable.
 
Activision's shares tumbled after the announcement, but investors appear more concerned with the company's disappointing revenue forecast than the demise of the rocker game. As far as investors go, discontinuing an unprofitable product isn't the end of the world, even if "Guitar Hero" fans disagree.
 
"In retrospect it was a $3 billion or more business that everybody needed to buy, so they did, but they only needed to buy it once," said Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter. "It's much like 'Wii Fit.' Once you have it, you don't need to buy another one."
 
"Guitar Hero" was iconic and often praised for getting a generation weaned on video games into music. But its end after a mere half a decade is a big contrast to other influential video game franchises, such as the 25-year-old Mario series from Nintendo. "Call of Duty" first launched in 2003, two years before "Guitar Hero."
 

The Best Blues Songs Ever
February 9th 2011
 
It is entirely a matter of taste as to which are the best Blues songs. However it is possible to speculate as to the most influential songs.
 
It can be argued that Blues music bought about a greater awareness of the plight of African Americans, as new audiences became interested in its origins and originators.
 
It is the ten songs that had the greatest influence on the "discovery" of Blues that I am presenting here.
 
Smokestack Lightening
Written and recorded by Howling Wolf.  Smokestack Lightening is based on a driving riff and has no chord changes. Released in Britain in 1964 by Pye Records, it reached the Top 50. In 1999, the song was given a Grammy Hall of Fame Award.
 
Boom Boom
Written and recorded by John Lee Hooker, the first American blues artist to do a club tour of Britain. Boom Boom was released as a single in 1961. Boom Boom is a classic example of Hookers unique timing and chord structure.
 
Worried Life Blues
The first song written and recorded by Maceo Merriweather in 1941.  Inspired by "Someday Baby Blues," recorded by Sleepy John Estes in 1935, however "Worried Life Blues" has gone on to become a Blues "standard" and has reputedly been covered by more artists than any other blues song.
 
I Got My Mojo Working
Written by Preston Foster and popularized by Muddy Waters. Possibly the most influential of the Blues artists to visit the UK. Covers of this were made by many artists but of special importance were Alexis Korner, a pioneer and possibly the first British Blues band with Blues Incorporated, & Manfred Mann, a highly successful commercial band. Both versions were released in 1964, in itself a testament to the impact of Waters original.
 
Baby Please Don't Go
By Big Joe Williams, and covered by "Them" becoming the first "hit" record by Van Morrison in 1964. It became the weekly signature tune for the hugely influential television show "Ready Steady Go". The "B" side of the single featured the now-legendary "Gloria". It became a top ten hit in the UK, and launched "Them" and Van Morrisson to world fame.
 
Hootchie Cootchie Man
Written by Willie Dixon and recorded by Muddy Waters in 1957 but covered by almost every blues artist since! The verse and intro are played over "stops" that were to become a feature of many blues recordings. The first cover version was released in 1962 by Alexis Korner on his album "R&B from the Marquee"
 
Crossroad Blues
Written and recorded by Robert Johnson in 1937 and largely unnoticed until Cream released their version in 1968. The song ranked #10 in the worlds greatest solo's, contributed greatly to the world wide fame of the band and to Eric Clapton in particular.
 
Sweet Home Chicago
Robert Johnson 1937. This song has become the Blues "anthem".
 
The list of artists who have covered the song is immense, including Magic Sam, Buddy Guy, Freddie King, Status Quo, Fleetwood Mac, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Blues Band, and the 1980 Blues Brothers movie.
 
Everybody Needs Somebody to Love
Written and recorded by Solomon Burke in 1964, For many years it was the opener for the Rolling Stones live shows. They released a live version of the song on their 1965 E.P. "Got Live if you want it". The Rolling Stones were to become the most successful Rock band, and they have been fundamental to the wider awareness and appreciation of the early Blues artists. They took there name from a Muddy Waters song "Rolling Stone".
 
Hound Dog Blues
A twelve-bar blues written by Jerry Leiber and originally recorded by Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton in 1952. In 1965 she toured Europe as a part of the American Folk and Blues festival that had become an annual event and had become so influential to the emergence of British Blues. The 1956 remake by Elvis was his second #1 hit and is possibly the first blues song to become a #1 hit record.
 

COME TO THE CROSSROADS TO LEARN HOW TO PLAY LIKE ROBERT JOHNSON
The Delta Blues Museum presents and acoustic Blues and slide guitar workshop with Scott Ainslie 
 
Acclaimed author and master guitar teacher Scott Ainslie will present a workshop on the music of Robert Johnson at the Delta Blues Museum on February 12 from 3-5 pm. The workshop is free, but spaces are limited. Reservations for the workshop may be obtained by contacting the Delta Blues Museum at 662-627-6820.
Ainslie is the author of Robert Johnson/At The Crossroads, which features transcriptions, history, and annotated lyrics from Johnson’s famous solo blues recordings of 1936-37. He is an experienced teacher and musician who has released an instructional DVD on Johnson’s music available through Starlicks Master Sessions.
The workshop will feature Ainslie leading guitarists and other interested individuals through a portion of Blues-related guitar technique. He will address the basic “ins and outs” of slide playing, finger picking techniques, major open tunings, and open bass chord forms. He will also address questions or requests from attendees. Interested musicians should bring a slide and a guitar. 
Ainsile has received numerous awards for his work including the St. Andrew’s Presbyterian College 20th Annual Sam Ragan Fine Arts Award, an appointment as a Public Fellow at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, numerous grant awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Folklife Section of North Carolina Arts Council, and he has presented programs for the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching.  He has been a featured artist at Merlefest, The Kennedy Center, The Old Songs Festival, Louisiana Crossroads, and at the Toronto, Mississippi Valley, and Bull Durham Blues Festivals.
 
This workshop is made possible by a grant from the Rock River Foundation and the Mississippi Arts Commission.
 
Click for more
 

Been on the Road Since 'Three O'Clock'
February 8th, 2011
 
Making my way through B.B. King's luxury coach here recently, I could hear Sonny Boy Williamson's harmonica wailing from the back. As I reached Mr. King's compartment, "Sonny Boy's Jump" stopped. With an hour to go before showtime, Mr. King had been listening to the music of another blues legend on his stereo system.
 
"When I hear music like that, I feel like crying," Mr. King said, beckoning me to sit across from him. "I feel emotional inside when I hear or sing the blues. It's a good feeling. It's like church for me."
 
At age 85, Mr. King is still on the road. Sixty years ago, he recorded "Three O'Clock Blues," his first Billboard hit and the single that started a lifelong tour schedule that continues to this day. In 1956 alone, Mr. King performed 342 one-nighters; last year, he played more than 125 gigs in nine countries. On Friday, he begins a three-week tour of the West Coast before traveling to Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and Europe.
 
"Do I love the road?" Mr. King said, pausing briefly. "Honestly? No—but it's how I earn my living. I also don't have the blues, like it's some kind of fever. The blues is my job. It's what I do."
 
Performing the blues has kept Mr. King vibrant and looking 20 years younger. Diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 1980, he appears to have the ailment in check. A bad knee requires him to use a wheelchair to reach the backstage area. But once he's announced, he walks to a chair at center stage, where he plays a 90-minute set without intermission.
 
Known fondly by his road team as "the Boss," he employs eight band members, four roadies and four drivers for his two buses, which travel hundreds of miles a day to reach his next gig. He remembers names effortlessly, and he recalls the smallest details about the places he is playing.
 
What's most noticeable about Mr. King is his speaking voice. Words ring warmly as though sustained by a piano pedal. On stage, his singing voice rises powerfully. Primarily a blues shouter, Mr. King can still roar with ease.
 
The winner of 19 Grammys, Mr. King has had 32 Billboard Hot 100 hits and 70 R&B hits. In 1987 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Today, he is one of the last early performers of electric blues, which emerged after World War II with the rise of amplification.
 
"Whenever I'm in Kansas City I think back to all the jazz-blues greats who played the blues here—like Count Basie, Charlie Parker and Jay McShann," Mr. King said. "I watched those guys jam in different places and heard a lot of things—but I couldn't do what they did. They were too good."
 

The Answer My Friend, is Throw It To The Wind - Kids Sing About Evils of Homework, Junk Food
February 8th 2011
 
Call it blues music for kids: a group of guitar students eight years old and up, singing about the wrongs of homework and the cost of junk food.
 
The majority of them started their week having never sung a note or picked up an instrument, but by the end, this arts and music camp was churning out true performers.
 
The community of Igloolik will be holding its second arts and music camp during winter break this year, following the lead of camps previously held in Iqaluit and Pangnirtung.
 
Igloolik’s arts and music camp, Nijjausijarnirmik Ilinniarniq, runs from Feb. 21-25, offering instruction in guitar, fiddle, hip hop dance and throat-singing.
 
Andrew Morrison, a music camp alumnus and now a project coordinator, says the camp was the “catalyst” for picking up the guitar.
 
Now, he hopes to spark an interest in other youth.
 
“We have so much fun,” said Morrison, 24, of past camps. “When you learn a musical instrument or an artistic skill, there’s a tangible reward.
 
“There’s a real sense of pride when students learn their favourite AC/DC song or learn to throat-sing like their grandmother did.”
 
This year’s camp welcomes school-age youth from eight years and up, says Morrison - although they often open up the evenings to young adults and sometimes elders.
 

Old Favourites, New Faces for Premier Jazz & Blues Festival
February 9th 2011
 
An annual event, the Christchurch-based festival brings together the best jazz and blues musicians from around New Zealand and the world for five days and nights of musical magic.
 
Making his first appearance at the festival is gypsy guitar legend Lulo Reinhardt, with a four-piece band including European musicians. This will be Reinhardt’s first ever concert in New Zealand and a unique chance for music-lovers to see one of the best acoustic guitarists in the world perform.
 
The festival will also see internationally renowned composer, conductor and arranger, Russell Garcia, sharing the stage with his most recent collaborator, award winning New York jazz vocalist, Shaynee Rainbolt.
 
A rising star of the jazz scene, Rainbolt will perform both the Garcia Songbook and popular jazz favourites, all arranged and conducted by the master himself for his signature four-trombone band.
 
Bluesfest, in association with Newstalk ZB, presents Mavis Staples, Aaron Neville and the Blind Boys of Alabama – three legendary pillars of American music – who will join forces for a roof-raising package of gospel and soul in the Town Hall Auditorium on Saturday 30 April. With three headliners sharing the bill, this promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime, soul-shaking, church wreckin’ musical event.
 
Mavis Staples has been one of the outstanding voices of soul and gospel music for more than five decades. Starting out in Chicago with family band The Staple Singers (founded by Mavis’s father, guitarist and singer Robebuck ‘Pops’ Staples) she was noted in her teens for her intense, impassioned singing style. The Staples Singers became closely associated with the civil rights movement through the group’s friendship with the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and recordings of protest songs by the likes of Bob Dylan.
 
Aaron Neville is one of pop’s great paradoxes: a tattooed giant with the voice of an angel. The outstanding singer of iconic New Orleans band The Neville Brothers, his delicate and distinctive voice first gained recognition in 1967 with the solo hit ‘Tell It Like It Is’.
 
The Blind Boys of Alabama are one of the best-known, longest-serving gospel quartets in the world. Their sold-out show at the 2009 New Zealand International Jazz and Blues Festival was a night of energetic, soulful music that delighted and thrilled their Christchurch audience.
 

Local NAACP Branch to Host Celebration Concert in Honor of Black History Month
 
BAY CITY — Darold Newton says a great celebration of black history should not only recognize the past but continue to make history.
 
“Celebrating a History Through Music,” a concert being held in conjunction with Black History Month, will do just that, said Newton, who is helping plan the event.
 
The concert features blues artist and Detroit-native Luther “Mad Man” Keith, who says blues perfectly fits the event, given the nature of the music.  “There’s a misconception about the blues, and that it’s for people that are down, but you play the blues to overcome the blues. It’s music about overcoming, moving on — it’s music to get you through the bad times.”
 
This is the second year the Bay City Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has hosted a concert in connection with Black History Month. Last year, “Blues Man” Paul Miles performed at the State Theatre. That event drew a couple hundred people, Newton said.
 
“We’re just trying to fill every seat this year,” Newton said, adding the State Theatre holds about 500 people.
 
“I’ve always been involved in efforts to emphasize the positive parts of the community,” Keith said. “It’s a great cause, and as a musician you’re always looking for opportunities to expand. … Hopefully, we’re going to play some good music that people will enjoy.”
 
“The cause is a good one to help remember the diversity of America,” he said. “I think everybody can find something to celebrate.”
 

Volkswagen 'Black Beetle' Super Bowl Commercial -- What's the Song?
February 7th 2011
 
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion provide a cover of Ram Jam's hit 'Black Betty' for Volkswagen's new 'Black Beetle' commercial, which had its on-air debut during Super Bowl XLV.
 
The song provides the perfect soundtrack for a swift racing-striped beetle that acts like its involved in a high-speed chase.
 
The black CGI bug zooms past other insects, has a close encounter with a centipede and hugs corners with precision before it leaps off a log and into the air in cinematic slow-motion.
 
The commerical advertises Volkswagen's new 21st Century Beetle, set to arrive this fall. The New York-based trio was ultimately selected to record the energetic rendition of 'Black Betty,' after it was chosen for the 30-second spot by the car maker and its ad agency, Deutsch L.A.
 
While 'Black Betty' was made popular in 1977 by the rock band Ram Jam. Although it peaked at No. 18 on the singles chart, its lyrics caused controversy among various civil rights groups. However, it has since become a popular choice for film and TV placements.
 
Take a look at the new Volkswagen 'Black Beetle' commercial featuring the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion's 'Black Betty' below.
 
 

London’s Got The Blues
February 4th 2011
 
“It is thrilling to be able to welcome a new music festival to London. The Blues may have originated in the U.S., but they have provided the beating heart of British pop music, from Georgie Fame and The Rolling Stones to Adele,” London Mayor Boris Johnson said in a statement on the festival’s website.
 
“With an exceptional line-up of world renowned performers BluesFest will add another dimension to the capital’s lively schedule of summer festivals.”
 
Tickets to B.B. King’s June 28 show at Royal Albert Hall are on sale now. Tickets to all other shows will go on sale Feb. 21 and will be sold through the venues.
 

Jazz Festival’s New Tune
 
Britain’s biggest and longest-running jazz festival is set to shift its dates because of conflict with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival has revealed it will move forward a week this year, beginning its 10-day run on July 22, in an effort to attract bigger audiences, more investment and access to more venues. Roger Spence, festival director, said: “We want to be clear of conflicts with the Edinburgh Fringe. The Fringe has a lot more financial power than we do. “If they can cram multiple concerts into a single venue in one day the consequence is a venue has to choose between us and the Fringe, and it makes more financial sense to go to the Fringe. Consequently we find ourselves challenged by the Fringe financially. It makes sense to move [dates] forward.” The Jazz & Blues Festival follows the Edinburgh International Film Festival in moving out of August – the EIFF moved to June in 2008. Spence said this year’s move will be an experiment. If it does not succeed, the festival – which last year staged more than 100 gigs across the capital – will move back. The Fringe denied the move had meant friction between the two festivals. Fringe spokesman Neil Mackinnon welcomed the move as it would extend the summer festival period.
 
 

The Star Mag Interview / Blues, BBQ Make a Tasty Pairing
Sat, Feb. 05, 2011  
 
Lindsay Shannon is owner of B.B.’s Lawnside BBQ, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in October.  This year also marks the 25th anniversary of Shannon’s "Kansas City Blues Show," which airs 8 to 10 p.m. Sundays on KCFX 101 the Fox. To honor that milestone, B.B.’s will be host of a "harmonica blowoff" with two bands starting at 4 p.m. Feb. 20. Shannon will broadcast his radio program live from the party that night.
 
Was it always your intention to offer live blues at your restaurant?
Yes. Kansas City is a town that is famous for steaks and jazz and blues and barbecue, in my world anyway (laughs) — it’s famous for other things, too.
When I opened back in 1980, the Plaza III and other places were doing steaks and jazz but nobody was doing blues and barbecue. I thought that combination would perhaps draw some people. And it has. Today we have live music six nights a week and on Saturday afternoons.
 
What do you love about the blues?
Blues is about feeling and storytelling. You start out with a true story, usually, and then sometimes you venture out from the truth a little bit.
I grew up in a classical music household. My father and mother would travel to St. Louis to see the Metropolitan Opera when they toured because they didn’t come to Kansas City. You might not think there is any connection between blues and opera but they are both very emotional and they are both about storytelling.
 

Volunteers Are Real Stars of Ferndale Blues Festival
February 5, 2011
 
As the sound of the blues fills Club Bart and the crowd shifts for a better view at the performance, Monica Mills is shuffling through the crowd from table to table nursing a blue plastic pig under her arm asking for donations.
The Ferndale Blues Festival has been around for 10 years; that's a lot of blues riffs. Alhough those riffs are important to a music festival, there is an army of volunteers that make this happen each year. After all, they are the ones who collect the donations for the Michigan AIDS Coalition and the Ferndale Youth Assistance program, which keep the blues coming back to Ferndale.
"It started out with a handful of people for a three-day event," said 55-year-old festival co-chair Mills. "Now the festival has grown and it would not be possible to do so without the volunteers."
 
How do the MAC and FYA find volunteers?
 
There is no real recruiting process, Mills explained. "Someone volunteers and they bring a friend, then that friend brings a friend and so on and so on," she said. Volunteers are not only Ferndale residents who want to help out MAC and FYA but also people from other cities as well who just want to get involved.
 
So why volunteer?
 
"A majority of the people want to come out and meet new people," Mills said. "It is a good opportunity."
Socializing, as some volunteers explained, is only part of the job. Being passionate about the cause is another.
"It’s really a personal issue for me," said Karl Hatcher, 25. "I have family members and friends who have been affected by the HIV disease. The group that I represent as an African American is a group that is massively affected by HIV, so it’s personal for me."
Hatcher works with a branch of the AmeriCorps that deals specifically with HIV and AIDS offices. He was assigned to work to MAC last September and this is his first year volunteering at the festival.
"This is a perfect example of how you can have fun and help out."
 

 
Ronald Reagan's Got the Blues
February 5th, 2011
 
Inspired by President Ronald Reagan's 100th Birthday, Trade Martin wrote and recorded a song depicting what 'The Gipper' may very well have felt about the current state of affairs in the United States. 
 
Trade Martin is an American songwriter, singer, and producer who had some music industry success in the late 1950s and ealy 1960s.  If one recalls his name, it is likely in conjunction with his hit song from 1962, 'That Stranger Used to be My Girl' which charted on Billboard at #28.  That would be way back when Reagan was a mere 51 years old! 
 

 
Choosing My Religion
February 6th 2011
 
Blues star Jonny Lang talks about shrugging off early fame after a tryst with Christ.  Jonny Lang was touted to be one of the most influential musicians of this century. A child virtuoso, the blues vocalist\guitarist started his career when he was just 15 years old. He won a Grammy nomination for his Wander This World when he was 18. Instead of continuing with this brilliant streak, he took time off to introspect because drugs and alcohol had taken over. A religious epiphany one night changed both his life and his music. In 2006, he won the Grammy for a gospel record called Turnaround that marked a distinct shift in his style. With youth still on his side, Jonny talks about his prodigious beginnings, recreating his career and playing for the first time in India at the Mahindra Blues Festival.
 
You were a child prodigy, cutting a record deal with a major label at the age of 15. It's a massive break for a kid, isn't it?
I was very fortunate. There was a producer in Minneapolis who wanted me to go and record a demo. So we went down to Memphis and recorded a three-song demo. We sent it to some record labels and had a showcase show later in Minneapolis. That was it. The very first tour we were with Buddy Guy! Like most frontman blues musicians, you play guitar and sing; but you have always considered yourself a singer first... I feel very comfortable and unrestrained as a singer. The first person I wanted to emulate was Michael Jackson. I remember seeing him on television when I was just four years old or something. He debuted the Moonwalk there and it just freaked me out. I was just like, 'I want to be that guy'.
 
How did you get into blues?
My dad was friends with a blues band in my hometown. It was pretty much my first concert. Ted Larson, the guitarist in that band, was phenomenal. I had never really seen a blues guitarist before. When I saw him play, I was like, 'I gotta figure out how to do that'. I took lessons from him and managed to join that band as a singer. Actually, I played the sax with them when I was in school and played a little rhythm guitar.
 
After your tryst with Christ, you've released just one studio album, Turnaround. Has the epiphany derailed your musical career?
I never intended the album to be an outwardly proactive spiritual change kind of record. It was just writing songs from my experiences. Musically and creatively, it is more of an achievement for me than any record I have done. Turnaround got us a whole younger crowd. At the gig in India, I will play songs from all my albums. Right now I am busy wrangling my three-year-old twins, and I recently became a father again. But I plan to hit the studio soon.
 

BONNIE RAITT RETURNS TO RENO'S GRAND SIERRA RESORT ON FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 18
Best known for her tear-jerking radio hits, Bonnie Raitt is really a rocker at heart. Expect her catalog of danceable rhythms and blues-laden harmonies to come alive during her performances.
 
With nine Grammys under her belt Bonnie Raitt is a singer, songwriter and guitarist whose unique style blends blues, R&B, rock, and pop. After 20 years as a cult favorite, she broke through to the top in theearly 90s with her Grammy award winning albums, Nick of Time and Luck of the Draw, which featured hits such as, "Something To Talk About" and "I Can't Make You Love Me". Don’t miss an evening with the talented Bonnie Raitt, Friday, February 18th at 8pm.
 
To purchase show tickets by phone, please call our boxoffice at 1-800-648-3568. Tickets are non-refundable non-exchangeable from time of purchase. To purchase online, visit grandsierraresort.com/
 


RORY BLOCK READY TO SHAKE ‘EM ON DOWN
Acclaimed American blues guitarist Rory Block — whom stunningly recreates and re-imagines the country blues pioneers of the past — will release a new CD on the Canadian label Stony Plain.  “Woke Up this Morning” and the title track; covers of a few lesser-known McDowell songs plus Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Good Morning Little School Girl;” and four originals written by Ms. Bock that focus on her musical relationship with the blues icon.  “I met Fred McDowell at a time in my life when I was most impressionable, and when the effect would deeply inspire and educate,” recalls Ms. Block in the new CD’s extensive liner notes. “That experience — along with meeting other country blues masters such as Son House, Mississippi John Hurt, Skip James, Bukka White and Reverend Gary Davis — would become a life-long influence.”  Making these records, she says, has given her “a kind of rejoicing, a sense of completion and fulfillment of purpose.”  In addition to the critical plaudits she’s received over an extensive career that began when she was a teenager, she has won five W.C. Handy Awards (now known simply as Blues Music Awards) from the Blues Foundation: two for “Best Traditional Blues Female Artist” and three for “Acoustic Blues Album of the Year.” She tours constantly all over North America and throughout Europe.  Between concerts, recording sessions and a busy touring schedule, she has also written her autobiography.  Website, www.roryblock.com  The new album is distributed in Canada by Warner Music Canada, and in the US by ADA. Various other organizations distribute Stony Plain Records in Europe, Australia, Japan and other territories.
 
Shake ‘Em On Down: A Tribute to Mississippi Fred McDowell  will be released internationally on March 29.


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Mississippi Valley Blues Society
 Davenport, IA - The Mississippi Valley Blues Society will celebrate Black History Month by bringing Chicago blues guitarist, singer, educator, and actor Doktu Rhute Muuzic to the Quad-Cities February 7-11 for the third of four residencies of the 2010/2011 Blues in the Schools Artists in Residence series. Doktu Rhute will conduct workshops at ten area schools and three free, open-to-the-public performances. He will present a program of music and song that incorporates blues history with the world today. The free, open-to-the-public performances are: Tuesday Feb. 8 at 7 p.m.—Borders in Davenport, Wednesday Feb. 9 at 5 p.m. —Mojo’s in the River Music Experience, 2nd and Main in Davenport and Thursday Feb. 10 at 3 p.m.—Bettendorf Public Library. www.mvbs.org/
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ELVIN BISHOP:
    
 
 
Elwood spends some time with legendary bluesman Elvin Bishop, to spin his CD Red Dog Speaks. Also: a cut from his collaboration with longtime friend, Little Smokey Smothers. Plus some other slide guitar masters: Duane Allman, Muddy Waters, Elmore James, and Johnny Winter. Elvin shares some memories of the Chicago blues scene, and old friends. The Butterfield Blues Band will be heard, and Derek Trucks. This week’s Blues Breaker features guitar and organ whiz Lucky Peterson, dishing up some traditional blues. Meanwhile, here on the website, register for a chance to win the new CD from Philadelphia’s G. Love, Fixin' To Die.
 
 For a list of stations where you can find House of Blues Radio
 

Click on festival name to click through to festival website.
VISIT THE BLUES FESTIVAL GUIDE WEBSITE FOR ALL THE FESTIVALS
Over 500 festivals are listed on the website www.BluesFestivalGuide.com
Riverwalk Blues and Music Festival
Friday-Sunday,
February 11-13
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S.
www.RiverwalkBluesFestival.com
Roslyn Winter Blues Festival
Friday-Saturday,
February 18-19
Roslyn, WA, U.S.
www.theroslyncrawl.com
The 3rd Annual Ship-less Blues Cruise
Friday-Sunday,
February 18-20
Boulder, Colorado, U.S.
www.bouldershomeoftheblues.com
Sighisoara Blues Festival
Thursday-Saturday,
February 24-26
Sighisoara, Sighisoara, Romania
www.blues-festival.ro
Calgary Mid-Winter Blues Festival
Monday-Saturday,
February 21-26
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
www.calgarybluesfest.com
Saskatoon Blues Festival
Thursday-Sunday,
February 24-27
Saskatoon, SK, Canada
www.saskatoonbluessociety.ca
Phuket International Blues Rock Festival
Friday-Saturday,
February 25-26
Karon Beach, Phuket, Thailand
www.phuketbluesfestival.com
Colorado River Music Fest
February 26 
Parker, Arizona, U.S.
www.coloradorivermusicfest.com
Dry Bones Blues Festival, VI
Saturday, March 5
St.Paul, Minnesota, U.S.
festival link
Mississippi BluesFest
Saturday, March 5
Greenwood, Mississippi, U.S.
www.mississippibluesfest.com
Centenary Mini-Blues Festival
Friday-Saturday,
March 11-12
Hackettstown, NJ, U.S.
www.centenarystageco.org
Bonita Blues Festival
Friday-Saturday,
March 11-12
Bonita Springs, FL, U.S.
www.bonitablues.com
Costa Rica Blues Festival
Saturday, March 12
San Jose, San Jose, Costa Rica
www.crbluesfest.com
St. John Blues Festival
Wednesday-Sunday,
March 16-20
St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, U.S.
stjohnbluesfestival.com
2011 Texas Bluesfest-Corpus Christi
Sunday, March 20
Corpus Christi, Texas, U.S.
www.TexasBluesfest.com
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: www.BluesFestivalGuide.com, 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, gordon@bluesfestivalguide.com

or contact our home office at 775-337-8626, eguide@bluesfestivalguide.com

 
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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.
 
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