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Blues Festival Guide

March 16, 2012

www.bluesfestivalguide.com

Volume 7/Issue  11

TABLE  OF  CONTENTS

Special Announcements

News Flash

Blues Society News

The Blues Mobile

Festival Calendar

CD & DVD Releases

Record Label News

Buddy and Hopkins

Roots Blues Airplay Charts    

About Us

Special Announcements

10th Anniversary Issue of the Annual Blues Festival Guide

This April, the 10th Anniversary Issue of the Annual Blues Festival Guide will once again feature a special section that has listings of radio stations and internet radio stations that feature blues; also television programming.

 

COST OF LISTING - ONLY $60!

 

Plus you get a free website listing as well as a magazine mailed to you!

 

The purposes of this Blue Radio Page compilation are many:

• Record companies can send you product for airplay

• Bands can send demos

• Promoters can contact DJs about upcoming events

• Fans can tune in to your show

 

If you would like to be included in our radio listings, click on the link below, complete the order form as directed and submit payment: Click here 

 

Deadline for the submission of your order with payment is March 20, 2012.

 

Please contact us with any further questions at irene@bluesfestivalguide.com or 775-337-8626.

 

Thank you!

 

Your friends at The Blues Festival Guide

www.BluesFestivalGuide.com

 

 


 

Attention International Blues Challenge Participants: 

 

Congrats on making it to the IBCs! ?we can help keep your momentum going! 

 

Reserve your ad space in the 2012 BLUES FESTIVAL GUIDE magazine and receive a %15 discount. 

 

THIS IS OUR 10TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE! This is a once-a-year opportunity you can't afford to miss!

  

No matter what message you're trying to market to the "Blues World," let us help! We are budget-friendly. 

 

This is the publication that blues fans seek out when they are making festival plans and looking for their favorite headliners all year long. It's a great way to showcase artist's information to promoters and fans. 

 

We distribute 100,000 copies free through blues societies, blues festivals, blues clubs and music stores. It hits the streets in April and is an annual print magazine with about 80-100 pages. 

 

Additionally, about 15,000 more blues fans read it online when it is in Digital Format ? yep, the magazine can be read in its entirely online bringing you worldwide exposure. 

 

 Let us help you with your marketing - we've proven we're successful! 

 

Full page: $1735/You pay $1475 ? Savings $260

 

1/2 page: $875/You pay $745 ? Savings $130

 

1/4 page: $520/You pay $440 ? Savings $80

 

1/8 page: $290/You pay $245 ? Savings $45 

 

Make sure you?re part of the 2012 Blues Festival Guide publication!   

 

Blues Festival Guide

 

775-337-8626

 

advertising@BluesFestivalGuide.com

CD & DVD Releases

Janiva Magness : Stronger For It

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Janiva -

 

This collection of songs has formed during a most interesting and challenging time in my life...and once again...here I am...a million miles from where I thought I would be, never more grateful for the gift of music in my world.

 

This CD is dedicated to some of my deepest losses and uglier crossroads...teaching me lessons I never wanted to learn. Which, as it turns out — begat some of the greatest gifts of my life... Yeah, go figure. ... to my dear brother Jimmie, my dearest Carrie and sweet Elaine, may God speed. To all my dear friends who have lost their lives — thru the epidemic of breast cancer and other enemies of this insane and beautiful life. ...and to my sister Geri. You are a profound miracle!

 

This CD is dedicated to those of us still standing. Battered, cut and bruised...and as the smoke clears...we find we are somehow...still holding on...because that is what we do. Holding on for what may be...just around the corner. Holding on for those who are left to still love and hold us near... holding on...

 

Guess it’s time to recuperate, rejuvenate, reload...and stand back up, one more time...Stronger For It.

 

                                                  –Love, Janiva 

 

Click to play

 

Click for more

Studebaker John : Old School Rockin'

Studebaker John has always had one foot in the blues and one foot in rock & roll, but always liked the RAW less-is-more sound, that he first heard on Chicago's Maxwell St. Artists that recorded blues and R&B songs like Elvis, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Jimmy Reed, Freddy King, Slim Harpo all had hit records played on the AM radio Top 100. Then Bob Dylan shook things up with his going electric at the Newport Folk Festival (using the Butterfield Blues Band as his back up). Then came the English bands and some of them were very good, still a RAW sound, even louder and faster than before. But enough of history. This album is one for the people,14 all new original songs called Old School Rockin'. 

 

Click to play

 

Click for more

 

 

 

Contino : Back Porch Dogma

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contino is an eclectic roots music band from Las Vegas, Nevada.  The talent and synergy of the five highly accomplished musicians create an awesome sound and show experience. With their unique mixture of influences and instrumentation they have crafted a lively and distinctive mixture of blues, Americana, rockabilly, and zydeco. 

  

The quintet's unique mixture of roots music style has earned rave reviews and an ever-growing fan base in both North America and Europe.   With the release of their new Blind Pig CD, Back Porch Dogma, the acclaim and fan base are sure to grow.  

 

Contino was formed in 2009 with a mission of writing songs that are "outside the box, yet authentic."  All the band members were involving in writing the nine original compositions on Back Porch Dogma.

 

Recorded at world famous Studio D in Sausalito, CA, with Joel Jaffe producing, it features a guest appearance on a Contino-penned track by noted vocalist Maria Muldaur.   The four covers include tunes from Tom Waits and the legendary songwriting team of Leiber and Stoller.

 

To see Contino is often like watching a train rolling at high speed down a mountain. It's frenetic, exhilarating, and you might often wonder if it's about to run off the tracks - but it never does. The band's interaction with each other is almost instinctive; trading solos between each of the members, the band looks and sounds fluid, as if every song has taken on its own meaning. The only giveaway is when you catch them laughing and grinning. These guys have almost as much fun playing as the audience does watching and listening. This thing really does move and shake along the tracks - like a smooth locomotive. 

 

Click to play 

 

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News Flash

Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival

 

 

PERFORMERS SPOTLIGHT:

 

THE MUDDY WATERS TRIBUTE

Featuring James Cotton, Mud Morganfield, Darrell Nulisch, Bob Margolin, Paul Oscher, Johnny Dyer, Bob Corritore and more!

 

James Cotton

 

Bob Margolin

 

 Paul Oscher

 

Muddy Waters was king of Chicago blues, and he chose only the best for his top-notch band.† Headlining an all-star lineup of musicians performing as part of the Tribute is Waters alumni James Cotton. Joining the legendary Cotton on the bill is the guitarist who shared many a stage with him alongside Muddy in the 1970s, Bob Margolin.† Rounding out the alumni is multi-instrumentalist Paul Oscher, who toured and recorded as Muddy's harmonica player in the '60s and '70s.† Joining them are Mississippi native Johnny Dyer, who has been performing Muddy’s music since the 1950s, and Muddy's oldest son, Mud Morganfield, who as vocalist embodies the essence of Muddy's sound like virtually no one else on earth.

 

Johnny Dyer

 

Mud Morganfield

 

Keeping with Muddy's tradition of surrounding himself with the only the finest accompanists, we have assembled an all-star band including Darrell Nulisch and Bob Corritore, the rhythm section of Jimi Bott and Bill Stuve, guitarists Kirk Fletcher and Frank Goldwasser, and Otis Spann disciple Rob Rio on piano.†

 

This show promises to be the next best thing to taking a time machine back to a 1955 Muddy Waters gig at a south side Chicago club, and is not to be missed by any fan of the blues!

 

EVENT INFO:

 

The 23rd Annual Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival will be held on Saturday and Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, May 26th & 27th, 2012. 2012 promises to continue our tradition of bringing fans a full weekend of nonstop award-winning entertainment, more food choices than you can sample in two days, and activities to keep kids of all ages entertained too.

 

The The Cajun & Zydeco Stage will feature 9 hours of continuous music each day.† Featured will be international and award winning Cajun, Creole and Zydeco music acts.

 

The Blues Stage will feature the 7th Annual Delta Groove All-Star Blues Revue in addition to world class Blues & Roots acts both Saturday and Sunday.

  

Both stages feature lots of viewing space plus large dance floors. In addition, this family friendly event has a giant kids area featuring bouncers, rock walls, specialty acts, crafts and talent shows.† There are also food booths and many crafts and merchandise booths.

 

Tickets available now at: www.cajun-blues.com

 


 

 

Fabulous Thunderbirds' Kim Wilson to Rush Limbaugh, "Cease & Desist on My Music"

 

 

Gratefulweb.com - The Fabulous Thunderbirds' lead singer Kim Wilson has officially demanded that Rush Limbaugh cease and desist broadcast of any music written, recorded or published by Kim and his band in any context related to or concerning any radio or television broadcast of, by or about Rush Limbaugh. Kim Wilson's memo was issued on Tuesday, March 6 to Clear Channel Communications, Premiere Networks and Broadcasting and Rush Limbaughdirectly.

 

Over the years Rush has played the Thunderbirds' "Tuff Enuff" and other tunes which Kim has been aware of, "The Constitution gives us the right of free speech," but when Rush recently called a Georgetown University student Sandra Fluke a "slut," it was the straw that broke the camel's back. "I don't want people to think that I'm affiliated in any way, shape or form with him. The message he promotes is something I'm totally against."

 

"I was mortified by his attack on this young woman.  Why is he using my music?  I've been very open about my politics, which includes equal rights for men and women.

 

"What kind of example is Rush setting for the youth of America?  He's a proven drug addict and is now in his fourth marriage… both things his listeners rail against and yet these people still listen to him. Rush Limbaugh is a promoter of ignorance.  He's a clown… all he does is stir up the rabble that exists in this country.  I don't think he's an idiot--he makes 50 million dollars a year.  The things he says are not only disrespectful, chauvenistic, and racist--it's about everything that--in my mind--is wrong."

 

Kim also emphasizes that Rush offered factual misinformation when he called the young Sandra Fluke "a slut."  "It wasn't funding as part of a health bill that she wanted, but for her own insurance--that's private industry.”  And for Rush to hypothesize that we're paying for her to have sex is also wrong if there's a baby involved.  Kim says, “It's both men and women that have sex when a baby is made."

 

The multiple GRAMMY winner, who tours year 'round, leading the Fabulous Thunderbirds and the pure blues group Kim Wilson's Blues All-Stars, is releasing an album through Severn Records later this year. He has recently performed and recorded with Eric Clapton, Raphael Saadiq, Kid Rock, and Mark Knopfler.  Kim says, "I don't want my music to support his message anymore.  There is no amount of money this guy could pay me to be a part of his cruel rhetoric; I just don't want any part of it."

 


  

Alabama Blues Project Tracing State's Blues Heritage 

 

 NORTHPORT, Alabama -- The Alabama Blues Project wants you to know your blues. At least how it relates to this state.Its award-winning educational performance "An Introduction to Alabama Blues" traces the history of Alabama's rich blues heritage, and it's coming on Monday, March 26.

 

The performance features Debbie Bond, Rick Asherson, Rachel Edwards and Jonathan Blakney at the Kentuck Art Center's Clarke Building in Northport.

 

It is presented in partnership with the Alabama Blues Project and the Kentuck Arts Center.

 

The program starts at 7 p.m. Advance tickets are now available. For more information, call (205) 758-1257

Proceeds benefit the Alabama Blues Project. Tickets are $10 general admission, $5 for Kentuck members. 

  


 

21st River City Blues Festival 

 

 

Marietta, Ohio - Mikey Jr. and Stone Cold Blues will kick off the 21st River City Blues Festival at Marietta's Lafayette Hotel Friday night. The group is among seven top-notch blues bands from across the country playing this weekend's event that runs through Saturday night.

 

"I was really happy to get the call from John Bolen, inviting us to play at this year's festival. We also worked in Marietta with John in 2008," band frontman Mike Hudak, Jr. said Monday.

The five-man blues band from Bucks County, Pa., includes Hudak on harmonica, guitarists Matt Daniels and Dean Shot, bassist Jimmy Pritchard and Adam Stranburg on drums.

"We've been together since 2005 and have played at festivals and competitions across the country," Hudak said. "And last year while competing in the 2011 International Blues Challenge in Memphis we played the same club room with Lionel Young's Blues Band, who's going on after us on Friday night."

The Lionel Young Blues Band took first place in last year's blues challenge in Memphis.

 

A harmonica teacher by day, Hudak said he shares first names with his father, Mike Hudak, Sr., who is a musician in his own right in their home state of New Jersey. Though highlighted as a contemporary blues band, driven by Mikey Jr.'s harmonica work, Hudak said he likes to share the solos with his guitarists. "I like the sound of a good guitar, so it's about 60 percent harmonica and 40 percent guitar," he said.

Hudak said the group's latest CD, "It Ain't Hard to Tell," will be available during this weekend's festival.

 

The blues festival continues Saturday with Schools That Rock, a group of about a dozen local young people studying guitar under the tutelage of Marietta musician and educator Mark Doebrich.

 

"We have students ranging from first to 11th grade from Marietta, Warren, Waterford, St. Mary's Catholic, and Wood County school districts (Vienna Elementary and Williamstown High School)," Doebrich said. "One student from Tyler County, W.Va., attends in the summer when he stays at his grandparent's house."

 

The free guitar education program is 10 years old this year and Doebrich noted the local Blues, Jazz & Folk Music Society, which is sponsoring this weekend's event, played an important role in helping establish Schools That Rock.

 

The group will play eight pieces during Saturday's performance, ranging from Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" to Santana's "Black Magic Woman" and a Stevie Ray Vaughan version of "Superstition."

 

"And we're opening for the group that won this year's River City Blues Competition-that's really cool," Doebrich said.

The Tee Dee Young Band from Lexington, Ky., was the winner in the 2012 competition, held last month at the Lafayette Hotel. The band won a trip to Memphis where they'll face off with other groups in this year's International Blues Competition.

 

Steve Wells, vice president of the local Blues, Jazz and Folk Music Society, said festival-goers will have a real treat from Saturday night's final act, Southern Hospitality with JP Soars, Damon Fowler and Victor Wainwright.

 

"These three guys normally have their own individual bands, but they've decided to tour together, and it's a super act," Wells said. "They also have a wide audience appeal as a contemporary rock blues band. So Saturday night's going to be a real kicker.

 

mariettatimes.com

 


 

KPOO's 'Spider' Webb Casts Wide Net On Blues Show

 

Bobbie "Spider" Webb

 

SAN FRANCISCO"You all sit back and relax and let me handle it." For 11 years, Bobbie "Spider" Webb has opened his weekly stint on KPOO 89.5 FM with the same calming invocation.

The veteran saxophone player's free-and-easy "Tuesday Morning Blues Show" takes the blues merely as a starting point. Between 9 a.m. and noon, listeners hear the classics, sure, but Webb's real mastery is throwing together deep cuts, oddities and quirky new music, frequently made by the breathless local guests he invites on the show for his off-the-cuff interviews.

 

It's kind of like jumping on a train with a mystery destination - you don't know where you'll end up, but you'll love everything you see out of the window along the way.

Flexible playlists

"There are a lot of artists out there that don't get a lot of play," says Webb, pointing to the rigorous playlists of KPOO's corporate counterparts. "They have to play what is put on the table for them to play. We're not under that umbrella. It's what I want to put out there for the people."

 

On a recent Tuesday morning, there was a pileup of various musical guests in the radio station's lobby, each of whom had received a half-remembered invitation from Webb to be a part of the show and few that had anything to do with the blues: the zydeco accordion player Andre Thierry; jazz-swing ensemble Wrapped in Plastic; recent British funk transplant Eddie Roberts; and Richmond conscious rapper Rainn Sciryl. In orderly fashion, Webb made sure everyone got to sit at the mike and shoot the breeze, play a few tracks and plug their local gigs. Each was sent off with his signature blessing: "Right on, right on."

 

A lifelong resident of the Fillmore district, where he moved with his grandmother from Tyler, Texas, when he was just 5 years old, Webb grew up immersed in the rhythm and blues sounds of the neighborhood. As a sideman, he played with the likes of Etta James, B.B. King and Bobby Bland in all the old clubs that used to populate the corners near KPOO's unassuming Divisadero Street studio.

Passion for music

His passion for the music extends well beyond the three hours he spends on the air every week: Webb produces the annual California Blues Festival in Golden Gate Park and books the blues stage for the Fillmore Jazz Festival.

 

He's such a natural advocate for a genre that so desperately needs someone like him it's surprising to think Webb initially turned down the invitation to host the Tuesday morning show from KPOO President Terry Collins. "I told him, radio is not my bag, man," Webb says. "But then he asked me again. Now you can't get me out of that seat. I've only missed one Tuesday in 11 years."

 

His program is but a highlight on a station that is full of surprises, from Wanika King-Stephens' inspirational "Uplift! The Music of John Coltrane" and Emmit Powell's "Gospel Caravan" to Irie Dole's "Rebel Music" and Marilynn Fowler's exceptional "The Power of Blues Compels You." During one recent hour, she played James Brown's entire "Live at the Apollo" album and a block of funk from Brooklyn's Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings and followed it with a chaser by the cross-dressing Canadian soul singer Jackie Shane. You don't get that on the other end of the dial.

Exciting things

No matter what high-tech gadget is attached to your car stereo, there are few stations doing things as exciting or independently minded as KPOO. Behind the scenes, there are living, breathing human beings who still believe in the power of terrestrial radio and its ability to turn on listeners, and Webb is leading the charge. "There's just so much to do," he says. "I want to tap in on all the great artists. When I sit in that seat, I'm in another world." 

 


 

 

Congress Passes Bill Standardizing Airline Rules for Musical Instrument Storage

 

 

(bmi.com)Traveling musicians got a big boost from Congress last month with the passage of a sweeping Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill that includes new universal standards for storing instruments in flight. Pending issuance of final regulations, the amended law will, among other things, allow travelers to carry aboard any instrument or related gear that can be safely stored in the cabin, rather than risk it being damaged in the plane’s cargo hold or during baggage handling.

 

Included as an amendment to section 403 (“Musical Instruments”) of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (H.R. 658), the bill provides airport personnel with specific guidelines for carry-on instruments — including when musicians may purchase a separate seat for an oversized or fragile instrument — as well as weight and size limits for storing a larger instrument in a plane’s cargo area.

 

Calling the amendment “great news for professional musicians throughout the U.S. and Canada,” American Federation of Musicians (AFM) President Ray Hair said that passage of the new rules would help end the confusion over musical instruments as carry-on baggage.

 

"BMI salutes the passage of the Airline Musical Instrument Carry On Luggage Act and is proud to have assisted in its passage,” said Fred Cannon, BMI Senior Vice President, Government Relations. “We would like to thank Hal Ponder, lobbyist for the American Federation of Musicians, who spearheaded the industry efforts on this bill. This legislation will assist all traveling musicians by allowing them to protect their instruments, knowing that there is a standardized national policy regarding how these instruments are handled by the airlines."

 

 

Just in Case

Under the new rules, travelers who want to avoid having their Stratocaster wind up under a pile of Samsonite will now get their wish. Guitar-sized instruments or smaller will be allowed on board at no extra charge, as long as the instrument can be safely stowed in a baggage compartment or under the passenger’s seat (hence, Strat carriers may want to consider using a gig bag rather than a Fender-sized hard case). Instruments that are too large to be safely stored overhead/under a seat but do not weigh in excess of 165 pounds (including case) may still be carried on board; however, the owner will have to purchase a separate seat in order to accommodate the instrument. Owners that want to transport larger instruments as checked baggage will be allowed to do so assuming the instrument weighs 165 pounds or less and the circumference of the instrument (with case) does not exceed 150 inches.

 

Professional music organizations including BMI and the AFM have been pressing lawmakers to adopt a single standard for air carriers in order to better serve musicians traveling with large, valuable and or sensitive vintage instruments. To date, airlines have maintained divergent policies governing in-flight instrument storage, and rule enforcement has often been inconsistent and arbitrary. Passengers report being denied carry-on privileges by the same carrier that had previously granted such access. These issues have sometimes resulted in missed flights and canceled engagements, according to musicians’ rights advocates.

 

Last year the Senate and House issued separate carry-on proposals for the reauthorization bill, with the Senate’s version allowing musicians to purchase a separate ticket for oversized instruments, while the House merely suggesting that instruments be stowed “in accordance with the requirements for carriage of carry-on baggage or cargo set forth by the Administrator.” In a subsequent conference committee, however, the House agreed to adopt the Senate’s language.

 

Before you run out and buy an adjoining seat for your favorite sitar, though, take note: the new FAA rules won’t go into effect until final regulations have been issued, which, according to the bill, will be “no later than two years after the date of enactment.”

 


 

 

Trinidaddio Blues Fest Canceled For 2012 Over Concerns About Economy, City Politics

 

 

Trinidaddio,Co - In a special meeting on Wednesday (3/7/2012) evening, members of the board of directors of Trinidaddio Blues Fest, Inc., voted to cancel this year’s 14th annual event, planned for Aug. 25 in Central Park.

 

       Citing critical timing issues and other events that are beyond the board’s control, Chairman Jerry Campbell announced the nearly unanimous vote to halt plans for the 2012 music fest that has, for the past 13 years, brought internationally recognized blues performers to Trinidad. There were two abstentions from board members concerned about the potential perception of a conflict-of-interest.

 

       “The success of the Trinidaddio has been due to the tremendous support of literally hundreds of hard-working volunteers,” Campbell said, “and it has been funded by generous sponsorships from local and regional businesses. We want everyone to understand, this decision was very difficult for the board to make, but the financial risks were deemed too great for us to proceed.  I would also like to thank our dedicated and hardworking board of directors for their countless hours volunteering for the fest and the community.”

 

       Trinidaddio Blues Fest, Inc., a Colorado 501(c)3 non-profit organization, has donated profits from its annual event to other local service organizations, including Noah’s Ark, Trinidad Cancer Alliance, Trinidad Fireman’s Toy Drive, Southern Colorado Repertoire Theater and the Trinidad Area Arts Council, among others.

 


 

Nils Lofgren Talks  About His Jimi Hendrix Experience

Let's face it. Hendrix was the man. Head to toe, soul to fingers, he was the greatest rock, blues guitarist in history.  When I was a kid in the '60's, we all worshiped the great musicians of our day and the Beatles, Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix, were at the top of the class. In middle America in the '60's, their music was soul food for all, but none of us thought you could do that for a living and it was certainly never looked at as a career option.

 

 

First time I saw the Jimi Hendrix Experience  was at the Ambassador Theater in Washington, D.C., 1967. It was an awe inspiring night. I was mesmerized and that night I became possessed with the idea that maybe I needed to be a rock n roll musician, professionally, yeah, like, a career! Jimi, accompanied by Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding, did that to me with their brilliance and passion, raw talent and guts. I could and probably will go on about Jimi at another time but let me get to this particular story now.

 

 

It was roughly, late 1968, I was 17, and Buddy Miles Express and the Terry Reid Group, both extraordinary bands, were playing a famous nightclub called the Scene in NYC. I think it may have been the first show of the newly formed Buddy Miles Express and they were on fire.  I had arrived early with my Telecaster and was unsuccessfully trying to talk my way in. One of my frequent bits was to insist that the guitar player in one of the bands on the evening's bill needed it for the show and along with my lost, sad-sack, teenage demeanor, I had intermittent success. That night the bouncer wasn't buying it but I was rescued by Peter Albin, guitarist for Janis Joplin's Big Brother and the Holding Company who vouched for me as a friend and walked me in along with their entire band.  I had met Big Brother at previous shows and they remained friendly toward me and my struggles as a rookie rock musician making my way. Anyway, that night I was in to the fabled Scene and it was a magical night.

 

 

The atmosphere was very electric and loose. At one point I bumped in to Terry Reid, (incredible, young, lean, R&B/ rock singer from England) and offered him my Telecaster to use.  He held it and talked with me briefly, kindly declining. At some point during that smoky, heady evening, the great Jimi Hendrix

 walked in to the Scene and the electricity in the room took a quantum leap. Jimi was in a black bolero outfit with gold trimmings and through the smoke and buzz in the room, he glided majestically to a back corner table with a grace and lightness that would suggest he was being transported by movable bungee cables on ceiling rails. What a beautiful, stunning visual he presented. Yeah, you do sense me drooling. Nevertheless, he was simply, gorgeous!  This was early enough in his career, the depression, cynicism and drugs hadn't beaten him down yet. His spirit and persona were still glowing. Anyway, I kept an eye on Jimi at his back table through the smoky room as I took in the magic night of music. 

 

 

Hours later after both bands had played inspired sets, there was an ongoing, impromptu jam session on the bandstand. Different musicians, some recognizable and some not, were taking turns with various instruments, happily jamming away. It all seemed to be blues based which remains the greatest musical language for freeform, unrehearsed jam sessions. After a while, one of the guitarists put his axe (guitar) on a stand and stepped down from the bandstand. No one walked up to grab it and I started staring at it, wondering if I could simply walk up, grab the guitar and jam along. Keep in mind, I believed I was by far the youngest and least qualified musician in the room but it was really late, the jam had been going on long enough to where it was now, no longer the focus of the entire room, merely a pleasant, side show backdrop to the party hang atmosphere. Could I actually do this? The fire and desperation of those early years started beating up on my insecurities. The lobbying committee in my head was fierce. "Dude!  Didn't you just drop out of high school, run away to Greenwich Village and burn every common sense bridge into young adulthood that existed for your generation in that single crazy, impetuous move? You're in a fabled rock club, filled with what you hope and dream may someday be your peers. You love to jam the blues and there's a guitar waiting on stage. You're homeless in NYC, without a gig, and if you don't have the guts to do this, then why the hell are you even here?!"

 

 

Alright, ok, I get it! The desperation wins and I head off toward the bandstand, quietly step on stage and grabbing the guitar.  Now, it's really late, everyone's kind of out of it and I just start playing the blues along with the group on stage. I quickly realize there's a string missing on the guitar I've just started playing. Not good! Well, you're here now man, so deal with it. I start playing around the broken string, trying to find my space in this improv, blues ensemble. I keep at it and no one seems to take much notice one way or the other which is a relief at this point. The number ends, another begins and I carry on, happy to be any musical part of this special night.

 

 

Out of the corner of my eye, from a back table in this narrow, smokey club, I see Jimi Hendrix starting to rise out of his seat. Jimi slowly glides up the aisle, through the crowd and I'm watching intently, still amazed he's in the room, maybe heading for the bathroom or another table to visit friends. He keeps coming, seemingly right at me on the bandstand. Now he's really close and still headed right at me. Oh my God! He has walked right up to the lip of the bandstand and is now standing directly in front of me! What the hell?! Does he want me to give him the guitar I'm using and jam? Does he know it's a "right-handed guitar"? (Jimi plays left-handed). Of course he knows that you idiot! He's Jimi friggin' Hendrix! Do I tell him there's a broken string? Jimi's about six feet tall, I'm 5'3."  With the low rise of the stage, we're basically eye to eye. I''m frantically avoiding eye contact, not knowing what to expect or do. What a wimp! Suddenly, the greatest guitarist in history speaks. 

 

 

"Hey man, let me play some bass."  I look up and realize Jimi, standing right in front of me and looking slightly to his left, is asking the bass player directly to my right to give him the bass guitar to use. Oh my God!  I'm about to jam with Jimi Hendrix on bass and me on a funky, five string guitar. What a trip! What an unimaginable honor! All right, Nils, keep your head and focus on making music with this out of tune, broken string guitar as best you can. You can do this!   Just calm the heck down and focus.

 

 

I turn my gaze on the bassist to my right to watch this magical moment unfold. He's shaking his long, mane of hair that's covering most of his face as he takes too long to respond to Jimi's request and finally says;  "Not now Jimi, I'm groovin'!"

 

 

Jimi repeats the request with an extra notch of intent, "Come on man, let me play some bass!," to which the shocking reply is repeated, "Not now Jimi, I'm groovin'!"

 

 

Oh my God! He's groovin'??!! This guy is actually refusing to let Jimi Hendrix play?!!For HIM!!  For all of US, with ME!!  Do I say something to this mad, misguided stranger about surely one of the poorest decisions of his life? It's really too loud and I'm too insignificant. Do I wield my 5-string tele like a baseball bat and clock him in the head? Way not cool, is my spin, since I  don't have the balls or level of violence for it. Anyway, Jimi gives him a disappointed smirk and head shake as, to my horror, he slowly turns around and slowly glides away from the bandstand into the smokey room and crowd that has just been denied an intimate jam session by the mythical Jimi Hendrix. 

 

 

I am now so sick to my soul and devastated on so many levels, I'm afraid I might be ill. So I remove the guitar, set it on the stand and wander off into the club in a daze of confusion and disillusionment at the meaning of musical life. I cannot bear to look at this bass player or the bandstand again. I don't get it and I can't process it because I'm way too young and inexperienced to make sense of what just happened. My gut tells me not to share what I'm thinking with anyone in the room as I am obviously missing something and would probably just seem like an immature youngster, whining. Anyway, I head outside the club and park myself across the street, pondering what just happened and keeping an eye on the club entrance. Eventually, Jimi comes out and disappears into a long, black limo with seemingly a dozen people, mostly women and some seedy looking guys. The limo drives off into the night and I dejectedly head for St. Marks place in the Village where I know I'll find other teenagers on the various stairways to sit and be with. 

 

 

Not armed with any experience to process the strange evening's events, I keep it all to myself. In retrospect, it's now a funny, poignant story, one of many, that reminds me how blessed I am to have been an inspired, musical kid during the heyday of 60's rock n roll and all the great music of that time.  By seeking out advice and inspiration from those trailblazers gone before me, I inadvertently and repeatedly found myself in wonderful situations with musicians that taught and counseled me with invaluable experiences. Forty-three years now down that road, as we begin 2012, this continues to be the case and I am grateful and blessed for it. Amen and thanks, Jimi. Words can't describe the inspired musical imprint your life's work continues to blaze in all of us. May God bless and keep your spirit soaring. I'll never forget you and I miss you.

 

 

        Peace and Believe,  Nils 

 


 

Video of the Week

For those not familiar with Nils Lofgren, Check out this video

 

  

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River City Blues Festival 

Friday-Saturday

March 16th-17th 2012

Marietta, Ohio, USA

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Walla Walla Guitar Festival

Saturday

March 17th 2012

Walla Walla, Washington

USA

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Savannah Music Festival

Thursday-Saturday

Mar 22nd-April 7th 2012

Savannah, Georgia, USA

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Giving Hunger the Blues

Sunday

March 25th 2012

Sarasota, Florida, USA

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Blues Cafe

Saturday

March 31st 2012

Wausau, Wisconsin, USA

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Blues Stage at Arts International Festival - 4th Annual

Saturday

March 31st 2012

Florence, So. Carolina, USA

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Lowcountry Cajun Festival - 21st Annual

Sunday

April 1st 2012

Charleston, So. Carolina, USA

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Byron Bay Bluesfest

Thursday-Monday

April 5th-9th 2012

Byron Bay, NSW

Australia

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French Quarter Festival

Thursday-Sunday

April 12th-15th 2012

New Orleans, Louisiana

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Georges Music Springing The Blues

Friday-Sunday

April 13th-15th 2012

Jacksonville Beach, Florida

USA

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Tampa Bay Blues Festival

Friday-Sunday

April 13th-15th 2012

St. Petersburg, Florida

USA

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McDowell Mountain Music Festival

Friday-Sunday

April 13th-15th 2012

Phoenix, Arizonia

USA

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Blues On The Mountain

Friday-Sunday

April 13th-15th 2012

New Paltz, New York, USA

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Glendale Jazz & Blues Festival

Saturday-Sunday

April 14th-15th 2012

Glendale, Arizonia USA

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Comedy And Blues Tour

Saturday

April 14th 2012

Batesville, Mississippi, USA

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International Golf & Blues Experience

Sunday-Saturday

April 15th-21st 2012

Biloxi, Mississippi, USA

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Blues By the Sea - 8th Annual

Sunday

April 15th 2012

Kiawah Island, So. Carolina, USA

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Dry Bones Blues Festival VIII

Saturday

April 21st 2012

St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

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