|June 13, 2008
Vol 3 Issue 23
JANIVA MAGNESS : : WHAT LOVE WILL DO
The story of award-winning vocalist Janiva Magness’ rise to the top of the blues world and beyond is a testament to the redemptive power of music and the human spirit. Possessing a rich, soulful voice and absolute command over her material, Magness is an incredibly gifted performer who can lead her audience through a range of emotions, from the deepest sorrow to overwhelming joy.
Winner of the 2006 and 2007 Blues Music Awards for Best Contemporary Female Artist Of The Year, Magness has seven solo recordings to her credit and has made guest appearances on CDs by R.L. Burnside and many others. Her presence on stage is legendary, as she performs 200 nights a year at clubs, festivals, and concert halls all over the world. And, in April 2008, she traveled to Iraq and Kuwait co-headlining Bluzapalooza, the first-ever blues concert tour to perform for American troops. The story continues with her Alligator Records debut CD, What Love Will Do.
What Love Will Do, co-produced by Magness along with Dave Darling (Brian Setzer, Meredith Brooks, Dan Hicks), features 13 powerful songs, each imbued with Magness’ expressive emotional depth. Magness reaches heights only hinted at in her previous recordings, interpreting new material written especially for her and songs from Little Milton, Tina Turner, Bill Withers, Al Green, Candi Staton, Dorothy Moore and Marvin Gaye. Her impassioned singing takes each song from deep within her being and projects it out directly into the heart and soul of her audience, making What Love Will Do essential listening for blues, roots, rock and soul music lovers everywhere.
In addition to her musical accomplishments, Magness is also a National Spokesperson for Casey Family Programs, promoting National Foster Care Month. Magness has reconnected with her daughter, and is now the proud grandmother of a six-year-old boy. “I have a life today I never could have imagined,” says Magness. “The tragedies of my life no longer define me.”
What defines Janiva Magness is the strength, power and passion of her deeply soulful, emotionally moving music, sung with truth and soul-shaking talent. With What Love Will Do and a major tour, and with the stars seemingly all lined up for her, Janiva Magness continues to wring the truth from every note she sings, amazing and delighting both old and new fans all over the world.
HENRY BUTLER : : PianoNOLA
Five-time W.C. Handy “Best Blues Instrumentalist - Piano” award nominee, Henry Butler knows no limitations. Although blinded by glaucoma since birth, Butler is also a world class photographer with his work displayed at exhibitions throughout the United States.
Playing piano since the age of six, Butler is a master of musical diversity. Combining the percussive jazz piano playing of McCoy Tyner and the New Orleans style playing of Professor Longhair through his classically-trained wizardry, Butler continues to craft a sound uniquely his own. A rich amalgam of jazz, caribbean, classical, pop, R&B and blues influences, his music is as excitingly eclectic as that of his New Orleans birthplace.
His newest recording is "PianoNOLA" on Basin Street Records. Co-produced by George Winston, who produced Butler's "Orleans Inspiration", this disc is a collection of live solo performances that include several instrumentals as well his renditions of several blues and R&B classics.
EDEN BRENT : : MISSISSIPPI NUMBER ONE
Eden Brent's piano playing and singing style ranges from a melancholic whisper to a full-blown juke joint holler. She's simultaneously confident and confiding, ably blending an earthy meld of jazz, blues, soul, and pop as she huskily invites listeners into her lazy, lush world.
That world lies just north of Greenville, Mississippi on the two-lane Highway 1, which follows the twists and turns of the river through fecund swampland, time-forgotten plantations, and blink-and-you'll-miss-`em communities like Rosedale, Beulah, and Stovall before it dead ends into Highway 61 just south of Onward.
It was there that Brent was able to develop her gutsy vocal-and-piano chops via family sing-a-longs and a 16-year apprenticeship with the late blues pioneer Boogaloo Ames, who ultimately dubbed his protégé "Little Boogaloo."
"Music school taught me to think, but Boogaloo taught me to boogie-woogie," says Brent, who appeared alongside her mentor in the 1999 PBS documentary Boogaloo & Eden: Sustaining the Sound and in the 2002 South African production Forty Days in the Delta.
Where most 21st century roots musicians merely emulate their heroes, Brent and Ames were both "soul mate and road buddies," says lifelong friend (and acclaimed journalist) Julia Reed. "She was a young white woman of privilege and he was an aging black man in the Mississippi Delta, but theirs is a phenomenal story of mutual admiration and need."
Yet much more than the blues flows through Brent's talented hands: Critics laud her "Bessie Smith meets Diana Krall meets Janis Joplin" attitude, compare her to jazz/pop dynamos Norah Jones and Sarah Vaughn, and wax effusively about her "whiskey-smoke" voice, which serves as a constant reminder that Greenville, nestled into a bend of the Mississippi River, is located a few hundred miles north of New Orleans.
Whether booked as a solo artist or bandleader, Brent's performance is fresh and spontaneous, often filled with audience requests and participation. Her unshakable talent and her carefree demeanor have taken her across the country and around the world, with appearances at the Kennedy Center, the 2000 Republican National Convention, the venerable Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, and tours of South Africa and Norway under her belt.
Since launching her career, she's won the Blues Foundation's 2006 International Blues Challenge, and was a 2004 inductee on the Greenville Blues Walk. Sharing a bill with B.B. King, Brent performed at the 2005 Presidential Inauguration, and solo, she's appeared at the British Embassy and at the My South celebration in New York. She's also burnished her reputation via appearances on the public radio program Beale Street Caravan, at festivals like the Waterfront Blues Festival, Edmonton Blues Festival and the annual B.B. King Homecoming, and aboard the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise.
With the 2008 release of her new album "Mississippi Number One", Brent is now ready to take her place as one of the fresh voices propelling this vital American music forward.
Enter this contest and win! |
Working on the next contest - keep watching for our announcement.
…WAS BLIND AND NOW I SEE|
Review By Cathleen Chance Vecchiato |
If you asked a Canadian about blues in this expansive country north of the 49th parallel, he may launch into a diatribe on seasonal affective disorder. Winter sun gets mighty scant up north. But thanks to the booking arrangements by Canadian Keystone Productions’ Bryan Taylor, the blues hit them high and low notes with impunity at Vancouver, B.C.’s Centre for the Performing Arts on May 29.
Taylor paired a match made in blues heaven: The Blind Boys of Alabama followed by the legendary Taj Mahal. Both Taj and the Blind Boys had the audience in the aisle working up a sweat—something that didn’t happen at a recent Avril Lavigne concert in Vancouver. It wasn’t Avril’s fault; it was, perhaps, due to my favorite Canadian joke: “How do you get 25 Canadians out of a swimming pool? You say, ‘Please get out of the swimming pool.’” At a blues concert, myths of Canadian docility leapt from the windows of stereotypes, and the audience ranging from 30-somethings to the senior set responded like true believers at a revival meeting or perhaps revolutionary Americans.
They say there are no atheists in foxholes, and I’d be hard pressed to say anyone could partake in The Blind Boys of Alabama performance and leave the auditorium with a disheartened soul. Vocalists Jimmy Carter, Bishop Billy Bowers, and Ben Moore made it clear that the blues without divine infusion is mere sobbing into a room-temperature mint julep.
The spiritual element creates a cross genre of enmeshing gospel with blues. Carter was bursting with inspirational stories that punctuated the performance. When he mentioned the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, he said they couldn’t help rebuild by hammering nails “being blind and all,” but they could bring hope with their music.
The Blind Boys have won four consecutive Grammys and seem destined to win a fifth. The vocal range rivals the falsetto in “Didn’t I Blow Your Mind” by the Delfonics. Another rousing number was a soulful version of “Going up to the Spirit in the Sky.” Before closing the set, the band asked the audience to sponsor an orphaned child through World Vision, the top-aid organization for cyclone-hit Myanmar. They concluded their performance with a unique rendition of “Amazing Grace.” The Blind Boys of Alabama seemed to couple style elements from “The House of the Rising Sun” with the traditional Christian song. And what was even more appropriate were the lyrics, “I once was lost but now am found/Was blind, but now, I see.”
JON JUSTICE RELEASES SOPHOMORE ALBUM, "THE REBOUND"|
Jon Justice was born in the Chicago-land area in 1982. His first formal music experiences came as a teenager, touring nationally with Bluegrass and Gospel groups. Now residing in Cincinnati, OH, Justice has set sail with his rock solid touring band to support his sophomore release, “The Rebound”.|
Justice was recently cited as Best of Cincinnati 2008 - Blues Singer/Slinger by City Beat Magazine and also won the Cincinnati Blues Challenge, representing the Queen City at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis earlier this year. He also appeared in a Bootsy Collins' (James Brown, Parliament Funk, George Clinton) video, "Bengal Rock”, late last year.
His new release, The Rebound, (Independent, May 27, 2008), is jam-packed full of original swamp-driven blues anthems, searing slide guitar, and sweet soul ballads Justice is becoming known for. The Rebound evokes influences from 50's blues icons, 60's soul kings, and 70's funk titans. However, at the end of the day, 14 tracks and 70 something minutes later, this album is all Jon Justice!
The Rebound, named for a girlfriend's friend's nickname for him, takes on a grittier, more organic approach than his debut, “Forget About Time”. With lyrically honest, intimate songs that recall private moments shared between individuals, snippets of political commentary, and a band from hell (actually Cincinnati), The Rebound is a blues/soul force to be reckoned with.
"Write what you know, play what you feel." Justice says. "I don't know any other way."
In support of The Rebound, Justice and his band will be touring extensively this summer. Traveling west to California and south to Cocoa Beach, FL and Austin, TX with many stops in between. To find Jon Justice in a city near you, please visit www.jonjustice.com
"These guys will go someplace, if there's any justice in the world." - Watermelon Slim, 2008 Blues Music Award winner
"The kid can flat-out play!" - Buddy Guy
SAFEWAY WATERFRONT BLUES FESTIVAL JULY 3 - 6|
Plan to attend 21st annual Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival, presented by First Tech Credit Union, July 3 to 6, at McCall Waterfront Park, Portland, OR. |
Largest blues festival west of the Mississippi. More than 120 concerts on five stages, biggest July 4th fireworks display in Oregon, workshops, dances, Zydeco Swamp Romp, five DME Blues Cruises and more.
Admission: donation of $10 plus two cans of food per person, per day. Special passes available in advance.
A few highlights:
Thursday, July 3: A Tribute to Memphis Soul, featuring Isaac Hayes and The Portland Soul All-Stars * Joe Bonamassa * Carolyn Wonderland * Fred Wesley & Groovesect, Trombone Short & Orleans Avenue * and more.
Friday, July 4: Canned Heat * The Mannish Boys with special guests Kid Ramos, Kirk Fletcher and Finis Tasby * Tribute to Freddie King, featuring Phillip Walker, Sherman Robertson and Andrew “Jr. Boy” Jones * The Legendary Shack Shakers * and more.
Saturday, July 5: Charlie Musselwhite * Elvin Bishop * Eric Lindell * Back Door Slam * Paul Thorn * Gulf Coast Guitar Summit * Zydeco Swamp Romp, showcasing Rosie Ledet, Chris Ardoin and Nu Step Zydeco * and more.
Sunday, July 6: Phoebe Snow * Ruthie Foster * Rory Block * Gospel Hour with Linda Hornbuckle & Janice Scroggins * The Soul of John Black * Northwest Women in Rhythm & Blues * Swinging to the Blues * James Hunter * Arthur Adams * Curtis Salgado * Robert “Wolfman” Belfour * and more.
Mission: To eliminate hunger and its root causes ... because no one should be hungry.
5TH ANNUAL BEAR CREEK BLUES FESTIVAL ON SATURDAY, JUNE 28, 2008 IN SLATER, MISSOURI|
The “little town with the BIG sound” presents the 5th Annual Bear Creek Blues Festival on Saturday, June 28, 2008 in Slater, Missouri.|
The Slater Blues Fest Committee is committed to supporting live music, keeping the blues alive & introducing new people to our community.
This years performers include:
Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials, dubbed the #1 Houserocking Band,
Special guest star Mike Zito, also appearing are Lew Jetton & 61 South, Doghouse Daddies, Mr. Fletcher & Scott McCullough
A Peavey Jazzfusion Guitar signed by performers will be raffled off!
The Festival offers a great variety of food vendors, good blues music & an awesome time!!!
Free camping is available in the park on a first come first serve basis.
Advanced tickets will be available on June 1, 2008 at various locations.
For more info www.bearcreekblues.com
Rock Band 2 to feature the late Bo Diddley's guitar|
Rock and Roll legend Bo Diddley passed away from heart failure at the age of 79. Widely acknowledged as the forefather of the mid-century rock revolution, Diddley has been credited as being responsible for inspiring numerous other rock gods of his era.
It's been "leeked" that his recognizable "cigar-box shaped" guitar would be featured in the "impending" Rock Band 2. Unfortunately, they're talking about an unlockable guitar actually inside the game, and not about any kind of bundled peripheral.
THE RUSSIAN RIVER BLUES FESTIVAL JUNE 14 & 15 SONOMA COUNTY NORTHERN CALIFORNIA|
Guerneville, CA |
Spend a great weekend on the banks of the Russian River groovin to outstanding music, tasting California's famous wines and enjoying the breath-taking scenery at the 2008 Russian River Blues Festival on Saturday, June 14 and Sunday, June 15, at Johnson's Beach in Guerneville. Festival-goers can enjoy world-class blues from the comfort of their beach chairs or floating in innertubes, kayaks, and rafts on the cool Russian River!
Set in the heart of the beautiful California wine country, the Russian River Blues Festival is a one-of-a-kind event. Blues lovers can relax by the banks of the Russian River, enjoy California's finest wine and food, and listen to a variety of blues veterans and promising young talents.
The Saturday, June 14 line-up includes Jonny Lang, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Shemekia Copeland, Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks. The Sunday, June 15 line-up includes Los Lonely Boys, Robben Ford, Coco Montoya, Earl Thomas... and many others.
In addition to great blues music, patrons can sample world-famous wines while enjoying the performers on the wine garden stage.
Tickets are available by calling the Omega Events Box Office at (707) 869-1595 or visiting russianriverfestivals.com; (707) 869-1595 or visit russianriverfestivals.com
Retailers giving vinyl records another spin|
(Portland, OR) It was a fortuitous typo for the Fred Meyer retail chain. This spring, an employee intending to order a special CD-DVD edition of R.E.M.'s latest release "Accelerate" inadvertently entered the "LP" code instead. Soon boxes of the big, vinyl discs showed up at several stores.
Some sent them back. But a handful put them on the shelves, and 20 LPs sold the first day.
The Portland-based company, owned by The Kroger Co., realized the error might not be so bad after all. Fred Meyer is now testing vinyl sales at 60 of its stores in Oregon, Washington and Alaska. The company says, based on the response so far, it plans to roll out vinyl in July in all its stores that sell music.
Other mainstream retailers are giving vinyl a spin too. Best Buy is testing sales at some stores. And online music giant Amazon.com, which has sold vinyl for most of the 13 years it has been in business online, created a special vinyl-only section last fall.
The best-seller so far at Fred Meyer is The Beatles album "Abbey Road." But musicians from the White Stripes and the Foo Fighters to Metallica and Pink Floyd are selling well, the company says.
"It's not just a nostalgia thing," said Melinda Merrill, spokeswoman for Fred Meyer. "The response from customers has just been that they like it, they feel like it has a better sound."
According to the Recording Industry Association of America, manufacturers' shipments of LPs jumped more than 36 percent from 2006 to 2007 to more than 1.3 million. Shipments of CDs dropped more than 17 percent during the same period to 511 million, as they lost some ground to digital formats.
The resurgence of vinyl centers on a long-standing debate over analog versus digital sound. Digital recordings capture samples of sound and place them very close together as a complete package that sounds nearly identical to continuous sound to many people.
Analog recordings on most LPs are continuous, which produces a truer sound -- though, paradoxically, some new LP releases are being recorded and mixed digitally but delivered analog.
Some purists also argue that the compression required to allow loudness in some digital formats weakens the quality as well.
But it's not just about the sound. Audiophiles say they also want the format's overall experience -- the sensory experience of putting the needle on the record, the feeling of side A and side B and the joy of lingering over the liner notes.
"I think music products should be more than just music," said Isaac Hudson, a 28-year-old vinyl fan standing outside one of Portland's larger independent music stores.
The interest seems to be catching on. Turntable sales are picking up, and the few remaining record pressers say business is booming.
But the LP isn't going to muscle out CDs or iPod soon.
Nearly 450 million CDs were sold last year, versus just under 1 million LPs, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Based on the first three months of this year, Nielsen says vinyl album sales could reach 1.6 million in 2008.
"I don't think vinyl is for everyone; it's for the die-hard music consumer," said Jay Millar, director of marketing at United Record Pressing, a Nashville based company that is the nation's largest record pressing plant.
Many major artists -- Elvis Costello, the Raconteurs and others -- are issuing LPs and encouraging fans to check out their albums on vinyl. On Amazon.com, one of the best-selling LPs is Madonna's latest album, "Hard Candy".
Some artists package vinyl and digital versions of their music together, including offers for free digital downloads along with the record.
"We've definitely had some talks with the major retailers about exclusives on the manufacturing end," Millar said of United Record Pressing, which focuses primarily on independent recordings.
An avid music fan himself, Millar says he has moved to vinyl in recent years.
"Once I got my first iPod ... I'm looking at my wall of CDs and trying to justify it," Millar said. "The things I like -- the artwork, the liner notes, the sound quality -- it dawns on me, those are things I like better on vinyl." He welcomed back the pops and clicks, even some of the scratches.
"I like that fact that it's imperfect in a lot of ways, live music is imperfect too," Millar said.
Independent music stores, which have been the primary source of LPs in recent years, say many fans never left the medium.
"People have been buying vinyl all along," said Cathy Hagen, manager at 2nd Avenue Records in Portland. "There was a fairly good supply from independent labels on vinyl all these years. As far as a resurgence, the major labels are just pressing more now."
In this game, big retailers aren't necessarily competing head to head with independent sellers' regular clientele of nostalgic baby boomers, independent label fans and turntable DJs.
"I cannot see that Best Buy or Fred Meyer would order the same things we would," Hagen said. "They aren't going to be ordering the reggae, funk, punk or industrial music."
Blind Pig's Vinyl Masters Series|
Blind Pig Records has announced a June 24, 2008 release date for 180-gram vinyl LP releases from Johnny Shines and Snooky Pryor, Charlie Musselwhite, and Jimmy Thackery.
Johnny Shines & Snooky Pryor "Back to the Country" Two blues legends re-unite to create a stunning album of acoustic Delta blues, "the most authentic set of shotgun shack blues this side of Robert Johnson" (Boston Herald). Winner of the 1992 W.C. Handy Award for Country Blues Album of the Year. Remastered from original analog tapes, with a specially designed LP cover.
Charlie Musselwhite "The Harmonica According To..." This 1978 session features Charlie offering a virtual master class in blues harmonica style and performance, playing thirteen tunes in thirteen different keys. A tour-de-force for a giant of the blues harmonica. Remastered from original analog tapes, with a specially designed LP cover.
Jimmy Thackery "Guitar" A collection of Thackery's hottest guitar instrumental tracks from his most vibrant and creative period. "A dazzling disc displaying Thackery's sizzling six-string prowess." (AllMusic) For those who like their blues playing fast, distorted, and mean, each of these fully rockin' instrumentals are a crash course in the art of crowd-pleasing blues licks." (Guitar Player)
The three LPs are the second group of titles to be re-issued as audiophile records as part of Blind Pig's Vinyl Masters Series.
NEWS FROM NORTHERN BLUES & SILVERTONE/ZOMBA|
Buddy Guy is set to release a new album of original material, "Skin Deep," July 22. The five-time Grammy winner has enlisted fellow guitarists Eric Clapton, Robert Randolph, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks for this album, his tenth Silvertone/Zomba studio release. The lead single, "Skin Deep," hits AAA radio July 14, according to a press release.
NorthernBlues Music recording artists Moreland & Arbuckle are delighted to announce that Piedmont Talent has signed them effective immediately. Their new album, 1861, was released domestically and internationally last March.
back to top
NEWS FROM OTTAWA, CANADA|
For the second consecutive year, the Ottawa Bluesfest organization has been recognized by the Recycling Council of Ontario with a ‘Gold Award for Waste Minimization'.
In response to the positive feedback from the public for greening efforts over the past few years, Bluesfest organizers have decided to continue working with sponsors—specifically Molson Canada and Rothsay Biodiesel—to maintain specific initiatives for 2008.
In addition, an important new greening tactic for the Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest in 2008 is the use of an innovative recycling receptacle, known as the ClearStream CycleMax. Field studies have proven that the ClearStream is extremely successful in the recovery of recyclable materials and greatly reduces the amount of litter sent to landfill sites.
The ClearStream CycleMax utilizes a clear bag that is re-usable. The transparency of the bag eliminates confusion with trash containers and discourages contamination by non-recyclable items.
Bluesfest organizers also believe that being able to see the contents of the clear bag allows attendees to appreciate the direct result of their participation in local recycling efforts, which will encourage proper and ongoing use of the CycleMax at Bluesfest.
NEWS FROM THE VICKSBURG BLUES SOCIETY (MISSISSIPPI)|
Lucille Ridges, founder of the Vicksburg Blues Society (Vicksburg, MS), is moving to Denver and handing the reins of the growing group over to Shirley Waring.
"I'm really counting on Shirley to take it to the next level," said Ridges, who created the VBS in 2002 and has since served as acting president. "The society is primed to do some great things for the blues and for Vicksburg, and I believe Shirley will be able to make them happen as president."
Waring is a commercial real estate broker and developer as well as the president of the Vicksburg Heritage League, which promotes tourism and local events. She has been instrumental in organizing the blues weekend in the city beginning Friday in honor of B.B. King's visit and concert at the Vicksburg Convention Center Thursday.
"I'm hoping that with my experience and organizing skills I'll be able to bring some excitement and new energy to the blues society," she said. "It's an important part of Vicksburg's heritage, and it's important to the city's tourism industry."
Ridges said the accomplishments she is most proud of during her time in Vicksburg include the blues society's 2006 Willie Dixon's Wang Dang Doodle Blues Festival and the fact that the VBS is still a viable organization in the community.
Ridges said the move to Denver was prompted by a job offer to her husband, John, who will take on duties as a senior developer of a computer and technologies company. The couple will retain property they own and hope to develop in Vicksburg, said Ridges, and will make return visits.
While in Denver, Ridges said she will focus on her musical career and a songwriter and blues guitarist.
back to top
Born in 1960, Larry McCray
is a big man who got his chops in Detroit, Michigan
, working the General Motors
assembly line by day, and playing the blues at night. His latest album is self- titled "Larry McCray
" and it's the real deal. Join Elwood
this week on the Radio Hour
when we will sit down with Larry McCray, play his great record, and enjoy some in studio jams
for times and stations in your area
For years, the Blues Festival Guide Magazine received numerous requests for updates on festivals via email, and on January 10, 2006, the Marketing Director of the Blues Festival Guide magazine, Nancy Edwards partnered with the magazine (RBA Publishing) and published the first emailed issue of the E-Guide E-Newsletter.
The E-Guide is a wonderful resource for everyone interested in Blues! You can expect to see the E-Guide in your inbox weekly. Please email the editor with any questions at
To reach thousands of blues enthusiasts, click here to learn how to advertise in this Blues Festival E-Guide E-Newsletter.
back to top