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Blues Festival Guide

December 16, 2011

Volume 6/Issue 50


Special Announcements

News Flash

Record Label News

House of Blues Radio Hour

Festival Calendar

CD & DVD Releases

Buddy and Hopkins

Roots Blues Airplay Charts

About Us

Special Announcements

CD & DVD Releases

Sharon Lewis & Texas Fire  :  The Real Deal

Sharon Lewis made her Delmark debut in 2007 as a special guest vocalist with Dave Specter on LIVE IN CHICAGO (CD Delmark 794, DVD 1794).


"'s Sharon Lewis who provides the disc's most exciting moments. Her powerful pipes inject a strong gospel vibe into her originals 'In Too Deep' and the head-turning ballad 'Angel'." -Blues Revue 


Born in Fort Worth, Texas, Sharon's earliest musical experience was as a member of a gospel choir. She moved to Chicago permanently in 1975 and became active on the Chicago blues scene in the early 90s. In 2005 Sharon formed her own band, Texas FireThe Real Deal features new Sharon Lewis original songs and a few covers of songs she often performs in her live shows like Van Morrison's "Crazy Love" and Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine"


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Fiona Boyes : Blues For Hard Times


BLUES FOR HARD TIMES is the latest Blue Empress/VizzTone release from internationally acclaimed blues artist FIONA BOYES.  This new recording is a stripped-back, traditional album featuring a mixture of acoustic and electric small ensemble performances and 6 solo tracks.  Produced by Kaz Kazanoff, featuring guests Bob Margolin, Derek O’Brien, Jimi Bott and more.  


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The Duke Robillard Band : Low Down And Tore Up

America’s most versatile guitarist and his band peel back the years to deliver a gritty tribute to the early heroes of R&B'


Looking back, it was one of the most exciting eras of American music. Tiny independent R&B labels put out jukebox singles with infectious riffs, shouted vocals, honking tenor sax solos and dance grooves that electrified black America’s clubs, bars and backyard BBQs.


And now Duke Robillard and his powerful band — with their feet hard on the gas pedal— have gone back to the 40s and 50s to resurrect the drive, the songs and the atmosphere of that distant era.


But the view in their rear mirror makes the music seem much, much closer than you might think.


LOW DOWN AND TORE UP is just that, and while it’s Duke’s 18th record for Stony Plain, the internationally-distributed Canadian roots music label, it’s certainly different from the others that preceded it.


Duke sums it up: “Basically, I just wanted to go in the studio and record live and capture the real feeling of the lowdown blues in an off-the-cuff sort of way, the way singles used to be made in the blues world for small labels.“ Robillard’s regular compatriots support both the guitarist and the spirit of the songs: Gord “Sax” Beadle on tenor and baritone saxes, Bruce Bears and Matt McCabe on keyboards, Brad Hallen on bass and Mark Teixeira on drums.


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News Flash

The Blues Foundation Announces:


33rd Blues Music Award Nominees


Online Voting and Ticket Sales Open December 13


Awards to be held in Memphis on May 10th 2012


Memphis, TN (December 13, 2011) – The Blues Foundation is pleased to announce the nominations for their annual Blues Music Awards, which the international organization will present at the Cook Convention Center in downtown Memphis, TN, on May 10, 2012.


The Blues Music Awards are universally recognized as the highest accolade afforded musicians and songwriters in Blues music.


The annual Blues Music Awards ceremony is the premier event for Blues professionals, musicians, and fans from all over the world. The focus of this celebration is to recognize superior achievements in Blues performance, songwriting, and recording while honoring a rich cultural tradition.


The list of honorees for the 33nd Blues Music Awards includes Blues Hall of Fame members Denise LaSalle, Charlie Musselwhite and Bobby Rush. Leading with four nominations each are Sugar Ray & the Bluetones with theirs EVENING CD and Louisiana artists Tab Benoit with his MEDICINE release and Johnny Sansone and his THE LORD IS WAITING AND THE DEVIL IS TOO. Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, the Tedeschi-Trucks Band and their REVELATOR combined for four nominations. Tommy Castro, his band and the various artists on THE LEGENDARY THYTHM & BLUES REVUE -- LIVE! CD also combined for four nominations.


Three nominations each went to Eugene Hideaway Bridges, Lazy Lester, David Maxwell, Ana Popovic and Johnny Rawls. Popovic is joined by two other Europeans, English guitarist Ian Siegal who paired with Mississippi artists and Big Pete, a Dutch singer and harmonica player, who each got a first-ever nomination. More than thirty other first time nominees were recognized including well-known blues-rock performers Joe Bonamassa, Warren Haynes and George Thorogood.


The Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge is certainly proving a path to success as it is well-represented with past winners Eden Brent, Grady Champion, Diunna Greenleaf, Zac Harmon, JP Soars, Trampled Under Foot and Lionel Young all receiving nominations. 




“The number of first-time nominees demonstrate the vitality of blues music and reflect the releases and live performances of the past year,” Jay Sieleman, The Blues Foundation’s Executive Director said. “The nominations prove not only the sustaining power of Blues music, but also its ability to constantly evolve and remain relevant to today’s fans.”


December 13 is an early Christmas for Blues fans as tickets for the May 10 Award show go on sale and voting begins too. Blues Foundation members are the only fans who vote to decide which nominees will actually take home the Blues Music Award. Members also receive seating preference at the Awards show.


Every year, the Blues Music Awards ceremony itself proves to be one of the best shows of the year. After all, almost every nominee not only attends, but also performs – creating a lineup comprised of the best of the best in blues all in one evening. A complete nominee list, as well as membership, voting, ticket and host hotel information can be found at The Blues Foundation’s website— Hall of Fame honorees will be announced in mid-February.


For the sixth consecutive year, The Blues Music Awards will be broadcast live in their entirety on Sirius XM's B.B. King's Bluesville – the next best thing to being there.  They will be subsequently broadcast on public television.





Dutch Author Pairs Bourbons With Blues Artists

When Memphis Slim sang about troubles with a lady friend who loved her whiskey - "every time I wanna find you, you're laying around some whiskey bar," he wailed in "Whiskey Store Blues" - aged single-barrel bourbon probably wasn't the source of his problems.


But Hans Offringa believes the blues and high-end bourbon complement each other in significant ways.


In his new book, Bourbon & Blues, Offringa proposes a dozen blues artist and bourbon brand pairings. "The whole purpose is to use all your senses," says Offringa. "Just as you determine what the bass player is doing, what the lyrics are doing, you take a spirit and enjoy all the flavors. In my opinion, they go well together."


While blues is an immediate expression of heartache and bourbon is a time-enriched celebration of corn, Offring says both genres are studies in maturation. Blues music, he points out, developed from West African traditions. Bourbon's also evolved since early American farmers started distilling their corn.


"Bourbon, like the life of African Americans, went through steep valleys and ended up on hills," says the Dutch-born author, who divides his time between Europe and the U.S.

Offringa suggests listening to Memphis Slim while drinking Marker's Mark.


"It's a smooth bourbon and Memphis Slim was a smooth operator," Offringa says.


Although it's not a bourbon, Offringa made room in his book for Jack Daniel's, which he advocates savoring while listening to Keith Richards - or some other artist.


"It's not my law," Offringa says. "Don't take it too seriously."


Full article



An Interview with Legendary Photographer Dick Waterman: The blues will never die


Dick Waterman: Focus on the Blues Myths


(Michael Limnois/Bluesgr) Photographer, agent, manager, producer, promoter, Richard Waterman is the only person inducted in The Blues Hall of Fame who was not either a performing artist or a record company executive.


He established himself in the Blues community as a diligent advocate for the artists and the art of Blues. Waterman is primarily known today as an archivist and photographer of Blues, Country, Rock and Jazz legends from Mississippi John Hurt to Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton.


His commitment to documenting the Blues artists he worked with and came into contact with throughout the years is legendary.


Waterman studied journalism at Boston University in the 1950s. He moved on to write for Broadside Magazine and became its feature editor. In 1963, he began to promote local shows with blues artists including Mississippi John Hurt and Booker "Bukka" White. The next year, he went to Mississippi on a quest that eventually led to the "rediscovery" of legendary blues singer Son House.


Following this, he founded Avalon Productions, the first booking agency ever formed to represent blues artists. Within a few years, he was representing House, Hurt, White, Skip James, Sam "Lightnin'" Hopkins, Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup, Junior Wells, J. B. Hutto and many others. He also promoted concerts by folk and rock acts in the Boston area. In the late 1960s he met a young female guitarist and singer named Bonnie Raitt and persuaded her to begin what has become a long, fruitful music career.


As the older blues artists died, Waterman’s responsibilities shifted to taking care of their estates and providing for their heirs. He moved to Oxford, Mississippi, in the 1980s and began a second career publishing the photographs of blues, folk, country and jazz artists that he had been taking since the early 1960s. His book Between Midnight and Day: The Last Unpublished Blues Archive contains about 100 of his photographs from the 1960s onwards.


In 1993 Waterman was instrumental in placing a new headstone on the grave of Mississippi Fred McDowell with funding from Bonnie Raitt through the Mt. Zion Memorial Fund. Waterman delivered a stirring tribute to McDowell, an early mentor of younger musicians including Raitt, at the dedication ceremony on August 6, 1993, in Como, Mississippi.


Q: Mr. Waterman, when was your first desire to become involved in the blues & who were your first idols?

A: I have Dixieland and New Orleans jazz first. I saw Louis Armstrong in 1947 with a great band that included Jack Teagarden and Barney Bigard.


Q: Which was the best moment of your career and which was the worst?

A: The best moment is always when someone that you manage has a huge success. The worst times are when a promoter goes broke and your act isn’t going to get paid.


Click for the rest of the interview




Guitar Book’s $1,500 Price Suits Huge Package



She’s a beauty, with an hourglass figure and just a few years over 300.


The honey-hued guitar, which Antonio Stradivari made in 1700 on a break from violins, is the first of 150 exceptional strummables featured in “The Guitar Collection,” an unusual piece of work itself.


It’s 23” wide by 11.25” tall and weighs 21 pounds. As a guitar-loving colleague noted while gawking, this is a coffee- table book big enough to be one.


The 512 pages bear more than 670 images, and the multiple photographs for each guitar include the kind of close-up look you’d never get for many of these rare specimens without steaming up a vitrine.


Add a heavy black leather hard case in which yet another, normal-size book is secreted in a panel of the plush lining, plus a print signed by one of the three photographers -- one print for each of the three limited editions of 1,500. Finger- picking good doesn’t cover it, but $1,500 will.


A group of experts chose the 150 instruments based on historical, aesthetic and celebrity value. Then a lot of negotiating followed to get access from private owners and collections, according to Jenifer Gonzalez, marketing specialist at the book’s publisher, Epic Ink of Bellevue, Washington.


Breakthrough and beauty don’t always coexist. I’d vote “Yes” on the National resonator, with its 1928 metal oddity. I can manage a “Maybe” for the 1937 Rickenbacker featuring the “Doc Kauffman-designed motorized vibrola tailpiece, which used an electric motor, flywheel and solenoid assembly” to create “Hawaiian-style vibrato effects.”


Pink Paisley: As for the pink paisley Telecaster that Fender made for James Burton in 1969, he put it best himself: “Oh, my God, no. This is not me.”


Walter Carter, a guitar historian and sales manager with Gruhn Guitars of Nashville, wrote the main text for the big book, putting flesh on some of the famous names.


For a circa 1834 Martin, Carter notes that Christian Frederick Martin left Germany “to get away from a dispute between the guild of violin makers and the guitar makers, who belonged to the guild of cabinetmakers” and arrived in Manhattan in 1833. Orville Gibson, he writes, worked as a shoe- store clerk in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in the 1890s before he started making guitars.


The number of “played by” guitars will impress a range of fans: Tampa Red, Jimmie Rodgers, Gene Autry, Elvis Presley, Lead Belly, Charlie Christian and many more. Here’s the 1928 Gibson L-5 Maybelle Carter played for 50 years, and the 1939 Martin 000-42 Eric Clapton handled for the historic “MTV Unplugged” in January 1992.


Beck’s Fender Esquire: The battered 1954 Fender Esquire with which Jeff Beck played on Yardbirds hits “I’m a Man,” “Shapes of Things” and “Heart Full of Soul” gets its due: “For the first time in pop music, the guitar leads were just as important as the lead vocal -- more important, many would argue,” writes Alan di Perna, one of three writers for the smaller book’s excellent back stories.


Eye candy abounds. A gorgeous inlaid rose by Danny Ferrington graces the 1955 Gibson J-200 played by Emmylou Harris. “Over the top” might describe the Paul Reed Smith double-neck on which two dragons in inlaid mother-of-pearl, abalone, fossilized mammoth ivory and various woods face each other while their tails ascend the necks of the guitar. When it was made as a limited edition item in 2005, it cost $40,000.


The book that gathers all these beauties costs a good deal less, yet bears its own uniqueness, in terms of size and visual access to such rarities, along with a hefty history of the instrument. That’s a treat for any player who sighs at his homely old six-string.


Take heart, though: Nothing in this lovely tome can match the buzz of pulling out old homely after a hard day’s work and hitting the matchless chord that opens “A Hard Day’s Night.”

“The Guitar Collection: An Elite Gathering of 150 Exceptional Guitars” is published by Epic Ink Books (512 pages, $1,500; the first 10 numbered copies for each edition cost $3,000 and number 11 to 100 cost $2,000). The book can be ordered at, John Varvatos stores and

















A Wanderer, Dion the singer returns to the Bronx











Dion DiMucci in his old Bronx neighborhood.



(nytimes) DRESSED in black with shades to match, Dion DiMucci stood on East 187th Street and pointed to Grandma Maria’s apartment building. In the 1940s, that corner fire escape was the best perch in Belmont for the street fairs where big guys sang big songs.


Dion DiMucci with the playwright Charles Messina, his collaborator on a play about his life called “The Wanderer -- The Life and Music of DION.”


“I had like a loge seat up there,” said Dion, the singer-songwriter best known by his first name. “You don’t know what it was like to hear those guys. They would sing opera. It was wild!”


He tossed out that last word with a touch of Bronx Italian attitude, betraying the vocal swagger that made him famous in the 1950s as the leader of the Belmonts, later as solo act and eventually enshrined him in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That attitude made Dion, in Bruce Springsteen’s opinion, the link between Sinatra and rock ’n’ roll.


Now, after two failed attempts to bring his life to the screen, Dion is collaborating with Charles Messina, a playwright and director, on “The Wanderer — the Life and Music of Dion.” It will weave his songs through a plot centered on the singer’s life from 1957 through the late 1960s, a time that brought him his greatest success and biggest tragedies — sort of a deeper version of "Jersey Boys," the jukebox musical about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.


A few weeks ago he took Mr. Messina to Belmont, the Italian enclave that was the center of his young world and a place where he still easily walks the streets. The visit was not a nostalgia trip — Dion keeps recording new songs — but a way to help Mr. Messina get a feel for Dion’s world.


“This kid Charles — he’s 40 and I call him a kid — he’s ready to pop!” Dion said. “I like his style. I like the way he wrote. He caught a vision! I mean, I can write a three-minute song. But a play? That’s amazing. You know, I always saw my story as a young ‘Sopranos’ with great music and a Rocky Graziano 'Somebody Up There Likes Me' ending. It’s a story of redemption. A rock and roll redemption story!”


Dion grew up not too far from Belmont’s main drag, on the second floor of a two-story house on Prospect Avenue. His father, Pasquale, was a puppeteer, though he liked to talk more than work. His mother, Frances, worked in a hat factory. The two argued a lot.


“When they argued, I just went to my room and practiced guitar,” Dion recalled. “So the more they argued, the better guitar player I became.”


Mr. Messina, who has had plays about Freddie Mercury and Mario Lanza produced Off Broadway and elsewhere, knew he had the makings of a compelling story after a mutual friend introduced him to Dion a few years ago. The two shared an Italian-American upbringing and a feel for the city’s streets. And he was fascinated by how Dion — who can pepper a conversation with casual references to Lou Reed, Jackie Wilson, St. Jerome and St. Augustine — survived a turbulent era.


“The conflict was irresistible to me as a dramatist,” he said. “But what’s interesting about Dion is that he lived. In my other plays, you don’t have that ending where the guy overcame. Dion overcame.”


Mr. Messina and a preliminary cast have held several readings of the script for potential investors, as they try to raise the financing to mount a workshop next year. The show would have more than 20 songs, including Dion’s hits and other songs from the era, as well as new originals. Both Mr. Messina and Dion said the response had been encouraging.


“It took ‘Jersey Boys’ 10 years to get to Broadway,” Mr. Messina said. “I think we can get there faster. If you took the music out of ‘Jersey Boys,’ would it still work? Our story can, because Dion’s life was dramatic.”


Indeed, tragedy was never too far from Dion’s life, even during his dizzying success. He had become addicted to heroin around the time he hit it big with the Belmonts as they recorded hits like "I Wonder Why" and "Teenager In Love," and later on his own, with "The Wanderer" and "Donna the Prima Donna." And while he was on the road with Buddy Holly for a winter dance tour in 1959, he balked at spending $36 — the same amount his parents paid in monthly rent — for a seat on a chartered plane. The plane’s crash claimed the lives of Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper.


The play does not shy away from showing those searing moments. Dion says it has captured something that other efforts to dramatize his life have missed. He recalled watching a reading and being stunned during the scene where the young singer learns of the losses on what came to be called “The Day the Music Died.”


“When the kid who was playing me started screaming when the plane crashed, I almost fell to my knees,” he said. “Sometimes you need somebody to scream for you. You realize there’s a 19-year-old kid who still feels very deeply about things.”


And the neighborhood cares deeply about him. During their visit to Belmont, Dion ducked into Artuso Pastry, where Joe, the second-generation owner, had a box of cookies and cannoli waiting for him.


“This is for all you do,” Mr. Artuso said. “Good to be on your team, buddy boy.”


Dion threw his head back with a smile. “Joey, you’re a saint in the making!” he said.


He and Mr. Messina went down the street to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, Dion’s childhood parish. He climbed up the steps, stopped in the vestibule and smiled.


“The cap stays on,” he said with a smile, as he pointed to his Kangol cap. “Not even cardinals know.”



Joe Bonamassa makes his feelings known on recent Grammy snub














Joe Bonamassa  has unleashed a tirade of tweets via his official account (@JBONAMASSA) after he was yet again snubbed in the recent Grammy nominations.


Joe launched his digital assault on the annual awards ceremony, which was first held in 1959, at around 9.00 AM (UK time) by stating his recent achievements within music ....


He tweets:


'stats.12 records.. 9 # 1 blues albums... Sold out shows around the globe.. 0 Grammy nominations.. Honestly.. I used to care.. not anymore'


Before following up with


'Disappointed and rejected isn't the word to describe how I feel again about being shut out of the Grammy nods.. Again.. 12 in a row..'


The blues/rock icon dismay at being passed once again for the prestigious awards ceremony becomes more apparent with his next tweet


'I'm honestly so done with this bulls__t... I will never submit another record again for the Grammys.. It's a waste of my time and postage'


Before signing off with

'How many consecutive #1's does it take ... ??? F---K off.'




Gary Allegretto's "Christmas Eve Blues" to Youth in Need


Several years ago on Christmas Eve I visited a full-security juvenile detention center for teen boys in my hometown to give them a special Christmas gift - harmonicas and Blues lessons through my nonprofit organization, Harmonikids. In my own adolescence, the facility's very name, "Ferris", was used to invoke fear as a deterrent to getting in trouble. Often I was told I would "end up in Ferris" if I didn't "clean up my act". This was about the same time I discovered solace in playing the Blues on a harmonica, which may have actually saved me from going there.


Consequently I’ve made it my personal mission to provide these youth the proven benefits of my Harmonikids programs annually. So I guess, in an ironic way I did wind up there - though it was many years later - to provide the healing power of music. 


I entered the facility to the sound of locks of double-electronic doors clicking behind me. I walked into a full-security strict disciplinary environment designed to rehabilitate boys being held by court order for serious offenses. Sadly, most are there as a result of abandonment, neglect, abuse, or violent childhood environments, leaving their confidence and self-esteem shaken if not shattered. Their apprehension was palpable as they were ordered to sit at attention. The tense mood was relieved only slightly as I explained I was a professional musician there to provide a fun session in which they would be entertained, receive harmonicas and learn to play songs. Their strong trust issues produced defensive postures and cold stares - at least until I played - and within minutes the magic of the Blues changed all of that.

When I asked the boys what kind of music they liked, they replied unanimously, “Rap”. Anticipating that, I proceeded to play Bo Diddley’s chart-topping 1955 hit “I’m A Man”, explaining (as Bo had himself) though it is a Blues tune, it was one of the original Rap songs. Indeed, the song has the structure, all the cocky attitude and bawdiness of a Rap song - and then some - revolving around the most famous harmonica riff ever created. They liked it, but called it “old school”.


Quickly I put on a modern Rap song, utilizing the same famous harmonica riff, with lyrics praising the Blues as the roots. The boys recognized the artist, understood the message. They were now fully engaged and eager to learn.


When I placed the shiny new Hohner harmonicas in their hands, there was a new excited energy in the air. I had them playing the riff almost immediately. They soon became so proficient that I invited two self-proclaimed rappers in the group to take turns rapping while the other boys played and kept the beat. The result was magic. They giggled like little kids as they took turns expressing their frustrations, boasting, and comically teasing each other through raw and uncensored song. Even the guards got a kick out of their creative banter.


They were hooked. In less than an hour I taught three more Blues songs. They had so much fun that they weren't ready to quit. They asked "Mr. G, what else you got for us to play". I answered "Just these silly Christmas songs... aw, you guys don't wanna play Jingle Bells or Silent Night... do you?" The reply was unanimous. Soon there was the familiar cheer of holiday songs in the air, joyfully being played on Christmas Eve by troubled incarcerated boys who'd never received a musical instrument from anyone in their lives - let alone experienced the peace and joy that comes from making music on it. 


They played beautifully. Their faces beamed brightly with the wide smiles that accompany boosted self-esteem and confidence. These young "tough guys" suddenly looked and sounded like angels, and it seemed that for at least within that brief Christmas Eve Harmonikids session, they had found a way to forgive the world... and themselves. To me this exemplifies the spirit of Christmas and remains my favorite holiday memory.

           ~ Gary Allegretto,

           2011 Keeping the Blues Alive Award Recipient                        












To make tax-deductible donations please visit To provide Gary's programs to kids in your area please click here or contact


Video of the week

 Dean Martin singing "Christmas Blues"













           Click here for video





Movie set to kickoff  the 9th Annual Juke Joint Festival


“We Juke Up In Here: Mississippi's Juke Joint Culture at the Crossroads", which wrapped up its final day of filming on Dec. 10th. follows producers Jeff Konkel and Roger Stolle as they explore what remains of Mississippi’s once-thriving juke joint culture.


The film is told largely from the vantage point of Red Paden, proprietor of the legendary Red’s Lounge in historic Clarksdale, Mississippi.

Paden, a true Delta character and jack-of-all-trades, has been running his blues and beer joint for more than 30 years – providing one of the region’s most reliable live blues venues and an authentic stage for a cavalcade of veteran blues performers, both legendary and obscure. Told through live music performances, character-driven interviews and rare on-camera blues experiences, viewers are taken below the surface of the quasi-legal world of real Delta jukes – while it’s still living and breathing. “We Juke Up In Here” is a joint production of Broke & Hungry Records and Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art. The movie will premiere at Delta Cinema in Clarksdale on Friday, April 13, 2012 (6pm) as a kick off to Juke Joint Festival weekend.  DVD/CD pre-orders can be placed now at






Sunday, December 18th, 2011

@ Grand Sierra ResortReno, NV

Doors –; 7:00 pm Show – 8:00 pm

Tickets On-Sale Friday 10/14/11

Tickets available at:

Grand Sierra Box Office (with no fees)

by phone at


& online at

Tickets: $27.50-39.50 advance,

General Admission / All Ages


Much in the world has changed since the original version of the Blind Boys of Alabama first raised their voices together. That was in 1939, when the members were just kids at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in Talladega, Ala. Today, more than 70 years later, founding member Jimmy Carter can look back on a career far beyond what he and his colleagues couldimagine at that time. The group has won a long list of awards, including Lifetime Achievement honors from the Grammys and the National Endowment for the Arts, entertained around the world, been profiled on 60 Minutes, sung for two Presidents at the White House and been inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Yet throughout this long adventure, they kept one secret to themselves.


“All my life, I’ve loved country music,” confesses Carter. “I was raised up around it. Back in the 1940s, I remember listening to Hank Williams and so many others. Their voices were great. The writers were great. And every song had a meaning. I still have loads of country music in my home and I play it all the time. As a matter fact, I’ve got it on XM radio as we speak.”


Though the group has recorded and performed with a few country artists, along with others as diverse as Ben Harper, Tom Petty, Peter Gabriel and Prince, they never crossed the line and committed to doing a project inspired by the country genre until now, with the release of Take The High Road on Saguaro Road Records. This landmark recording draws from modern and traditional country to enrich the group’s gospel-rooted sound with fresh and illuminating insight.


For years the Blind Boys had imagined such a project. But it wasn’t until they were voted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 2010 that their plans began to coalesce. The catalyst was their meeting rising country music star Jamey Johnson, who sang “Down by the Riverside” with them at the induction ceremony in Montgomery. Johnson, whose gifts as a songwriter and performer match his fierce commitment to country music’s history and tradition, is a longtime admirer of the Blind Boys. The experience of sharing the stage with him prompted the Blind Boys to seek his services to help bring their dream of doing a country gospel album to life. 






Record Label News

Ruf Records annouces Line-up for 2012 Blues Caravan:


More Girls with Guitars!

In 2011, three of the hottest female musicians on the contemporary blues scene embarked on a tour calling themselves "Girls with Guitars."


Their appearances at clubs and festivals unleashed a wave of enthusiasm on both sides of the Atlantic. Nearly everyone involved - both audiences and the performers themselves - hoped the band wouldn't simply break up and fade into memory once the tour was over. 


The good news: The fun is about to continue! Starting in January 2012, the 8th edition of the annual Ruf Records Blues Caravan hits the road, this time under the heading "More Girls with Guitars."


Kansas City native Samantha Fish (an 2012 BMA nominee for Best New Artist)[pictured at right] may have been the least experienced member of last year's "Girls with Guitars" trio, but she quickly  became a powerful presence at the very center of the show. Her performances lived up to - no, check that - surpassed all the pre-tour hype surrounding this rising star of the blues. 

Dani Wilde [pictured at left] already has plenty of experience on the Caravan. 2012 will mark her third go-round on the tour. Like Samantha Fish, the native of Brighton, England is a true triple threat as a singer, guitarist and songwriter. She combines the intensity of the "Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin with a rugged and unique fingering technique. 


Joining her from Brighton is Victoria Smith, [pictured at right] a newcomer to the tour who will complement the "Girls with Guitars" on bass. Considered one of Britain's finest young bass players, Smith will join the always dependable Blues Caravan drummer Denis Palatin in a top-flight rhythm section. 


If you were lucky enough to witness the "Girls with Guitars" in 2011 - get ready for an evening of blues that is sure to be just as dynamic and musically compelling. For further information on "More Girls with Guitars," go to:



Buddy and Hopkins

Did you know that I do Custom Comic Strips and Comic Pages as gifts?

House of Blues Radio Hour




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Roots Blues Airplay Charts

Festival Calendar

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Legendary Rhythm & 

Blues Cruise #18

Ft. Lauderdale, FL to San Juan, Puerto Rico, St. Croix, Virgin Islands & Philipsburg, St. Maarten, AN on the Holland America ms Nieuw Amsterdam

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 22nd Annual


Blues Bash


February 10-21

Charleston, SC, U.S.

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Phuket International

Blues Rock Festival


February 24-25

Phuket, Phuket,


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23 Annual Riverwalk

Blues & Music Festival


February 18-19

Fort Lauderdale,

Florida, U.S.

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Boquete Jazz

& Blues Festival


March 1-4


Chiriqui, Panama

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April 5-9

Byron Bay,

New South Wales,


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Cairns Blues


Saturday, May 12

Cairns, Queensland,


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River & Brews

Blues Fest


June 8-9

Red River,

New Mexico, U.S.

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Saturday, June 30


Northern Territory,


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Saturday, Jul 7


Massachusetts, U.S.

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RBA Publishing Inc is based in Reno, NV with a satellite office in Beverly Hills, Florida. We are woman owned and operated.


We produce the annual Blues Festival Guide magazine (now approaching our 10th year), the top-ranking website:, and this weekly blues newsletter: The Blues Festival E-Guide with approximately 28,000 weekly subscribers.


We look forward to your suggestions, critiques and questions!


Reach the E-Guide editor, Gordon Bulcock,


Contact our home office to find out how to advertise on this newsletter 775-337-8626.


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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Blues Festival E-Guide • PO Box 50635 • Reno, NV 89503
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