|October 3, 2008
Volume 3 Issue 37
JOE LOUIS WALKER : : WITNESS TO THE BLUES
One of the most surprising things about Joe Louis Walker - apart from his skills as a singer, guitarist, songwriter and producer - is the impact he has had as a performer who proves to international audiences that the blues are alive and very well indeed.
Only B.B. King has taken the blues further, and to more destinations, than Walker. Now, with a new internationally-released album on the Canadian roots music label Stony Plain, he's ready to pack his suitcase once again.
"Witness to the Blues" is a tour de force - a varied, smart, funny, hard-edged collection of blues that ranges from acoustic to rockin' horn-laden material that reminds you of Stax in its heyday. Walker handles the vocals (including a duet with young blues diva Shemekia Copeland), plays acoustic, electric and slide guitar, and adds some harmonica solos as well.
In fact, Joe Louis Walker, helped by guitar-master Duke Robillard (who produced the CD and played on many of the tracks), makes a major contribution to the much-needed campaign to bring the blues into the 21st century.
RORY BLOCK : : BLUES WALKIN'LIKE A MAN - A TRIBUTE TO SON HOUSE
Rory Block was 15 years old when she met Son House. Two improbable people. A young teenaged Greenwich Village guitar prodigy and an older black man, 62, who had recorded nine of the most powerful blues pieces ever for the Paramount label in 1930.
Years later, she recalled the moment: "Backstage at the Village Gate in 1965 Son House virtually radiated a golden light. As I watched him perform, rolling his head back, slamming the strings and almost choking on the intensity, I learned a deep lesson about the power of the music which became an inseparable part of me."
"Later I had a chance to play for him. I will never forget his amazement as I played Willie Brown's Future Blues. He was asking people "Where did she learn to play like this?"
"He was beautiful looking; smooth skin, tall and handsome, his face filled with a million stories of the music, a life lived in hardship and cloaked in mystery."
Now, more than 40 years later, the guitarist has paid Son House an ultimate tribute: A collection of 13 songs associated with the legendary blues singer titled "Blues Walkin' Like a Man." The album was released September 30 on Stony Plain, the international roots music label based in Alberta, Canada.
Rory Block's life-long involvement with the blues has reached a new high point with this release.
Enter this contest and win! |
Working on the next contest - keep watching for our announcement.
The 25th International Blues Challenge is just around the corner!|
The IBC has evolved into the world’s biggest and most respected showcase for Blues musicians ready to move beyond their regional base. Acts play a short set for a panel of judges who score them on an established set of criteria. Blues acts may not enter the challenge directly but rather each of The Blues Foundation’s 165 affiliates has the right to sponsor one band and one solo/duo act. Accordingly, those who make it to Memphis are already the best of the best.
Tickets, hotels and t-shirts are now available at www.blues.org.
Do not delay, reserve your hotel rooms and get your tickets today!
Wednesday, February 4
5:00-7:00 pm IBC Beale Street Meet and Greet. Beale Street Merchants Association welcomes IBC participants and attendees at a reception at the New Daisy Theater.
7:00 pm Memphis Grizzlies v. Houston Rockets NBA Basketball game at the FedEx Forum with special discounts and IBC acts performing throughout the venue. A link to special Blues fans discounts will soon be available.
9:00pm (after the game) Special 25th IBC Concert at the New Daisy Theater (with past IBC participants and winners, including Trampled Under Foot, Homemade Jamz Blues Band, Sean Carney Band and others) - $10 at the door
Thursday, February 5
9:00 am–4:00 pm Attendee Registration and Silent Auction (Lobby)
9:00 am–2:00 pm Act Registration (Outside Tennessee Ballroom)
10:00-11:30—Mississippi Blues Tourism Presentation
1:30pm-3:00pm-- Panels (Topics TBA)
3:00 pm Act Orientation Meeting (Adams/Beale Room)
5:00/6:00 pm Semi-Finals Begin Beale Street Clubs (Check schedule for start time in each venue). $10 wristband gets you into all IBC venues.
Friday, February 6
9:00–4:00 am Attendee Registration (Lobby)
10:00am-2:00 pm Silent Auction (Lobby)
10:00 am-11:30 pm Panels (Topics TBA)
10:00 am Board of Directors Meeting (Gayoso Room--mezzanine level)
12:00–1:30 pm Luncheon with Keynote Speaker (TBA) (Tennessee Ballroom)
1:30 Smokin’ Bluz Youth Showcase at Club 152
2:00 FedEx International Showcase at Alfred's
2:00 pm Silent Auction ends Come by the lobby to pick up your great blues items. (Lobby)
5:00/6:00 pm Semi-Finals Begin Beale Street Clubs (Check schedule for start time in each venue). $15 wristband gets you into all IBC venues.
When the scores have been tabulated Friday, the finalists will be announced at various Beale Street clubs.
Saturday, Feb 7
10:00 am–1:00 pm KBA Awards Ceremony (Tennessee Ballroom)
1:00 pm Doors Open for Band Finals at The Orpheum Theatre.
2:00-7:00 pm Band Finals with co-hosts Cassie Taylor; Best Self Produced CD Winner Announced. $30
7:30 pm Doors Open for Solo/Duo Finals at The Orpheum Theatre
8:30 pm Solo/Duo Finals; Gibson Guitar Giveaway. $25
The 36th annual San Francisco Blues Festival|
The 36th annual San Francisco Blues Festival (Sept 26-27-28, 2008) was a major treat for me and my first SFBF. Not only was the weather cooperating (especially on Saturday) but my partner in crime and I felt we'd entered a huge family reunion. Due to work commitments we arrived from San Diego on Saturday and raced to unload our luggage at the hotel and get to the festival in time to see Ruthie Foster... one of my main objectives... and I was not disappointed. What a charismatic, engaging, powerhouse performer with a wide range of style. She and her solid, all female band had the crowd up and going crazy and it was barely 12:30 pm. I will definitely seek this talent out every chance I get.
“Every year, year after year, Tom Mazzolini gives us a show that matches the setting,” said Cheryl O'Grady Yearnshaw and Tom Yearnshaw. “The San Francisco Blues Festival at Fort Mason is the "Greatest Show on Earth."
Saturday afternoon we basked in the sun, soaking in the music and good vibes. On Sunday the lineup was just as stimulating and when the SF Bay weather fluctuated against our tank-top clad bodies (hey, we're from San Diego!), we even found a booth selling cozy, warm sweaters for a mere $6! It was also a festive surprise to run into friends from all points. It seemed more than coincidental to find one of our San Francisco friends standing right next to some San Diego friends and neither knew each other. Well, the Blues is one big happy family that's for sure!
The festival weekend kicked off on Friday with a free outdoor concert at Justin Herman Plaza, featured a Tribute To John Lee Hooker. Saturday and Sunday's festival sprawled across the rolling Great Meadows at Fort Mason in the Marina District of San Francisco spilling effortlessly into our eyes, ears and souls. The festival itself seemed very well-organized and also provided several areas to mingle with artists and get autographs.
“Festival producer Tom Mazzolini presented an eclectic mix of Blues artists from elder statesman David Honeyboy Edwards, to the emerging young talent of John Nemeth and Mike Zito who were featured with Elvin Bishop and The Mannish Boys in Delta Groove's Allstar Blues Revue. Their Saturday grand finale was the musical highlight of the weekend for me,” says Mary Ann Haskell.
There did seem to be something for everyone.
“I was really excited by Michael Burk's set”, says Mike Shea. “I'd never heard of him before and not only did I love his guitar tone and style of playing, he was a dynamic showman. I really admire artist who can bring it on when playing during the middle of the day to a pretty laid-back crowd. Another plus, Michael's voice was reminiscent of one of my favorite blues men - Albert King.”
On Sunday, Curtis Salgado's Blues-Soul set was most inspiring and had us up on our feet testifyin'! Then Buckwheat Zydeco laid down some frantic licks that had us up on our feet again and hollerin'! R&B and Soul songstress, Denise LaSalle not only turned heads with her commanding voice and gentle wit but she kicked it up a notch when she called up some fans to dance onstage! Turns out one of the festival attendees that immediately caught her eye (and several other of us wimen's, okay!) is not only Sam Marshall a guitarist/singer in a local band, but he was also Mr. Natural Universe and Mr. Natural America in 1993 and Mr. Natural California in 1992! Whew! Newly single Sage O'Connell (a CPA!) joined him onstage for some shake n' bake (as did yours truly and my artist pal Arlic, but we were overdressed!) HA!
Inspiring, relaxing, organized, accessible and entertaining pretty much sums up a great time at the 36th annual San Francisco Blues Festival. Some said it was the best one yet!
...BFG magazine Editor- Michele Lundeen
TEXAS CHARITY KEEPS CITY AND MUSICIANS HEALTHY|
By JAY ROOT / Associated Press
Back when he was opening for Willie Nelson in Austin, Tommy Hill never thought much about health insurance. Like many young musicians, he didn't think he needed it and couldn't afford it anyway.
But after nearly dropping dead from an arterial blockage a couple of years ago, the guitar-picking Texan turned to the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians. Now, like many artists in the so-called "Live Music Capital of the World," he's singing the group's praises. Locals say it's a unique program in a city that takes pride in its musical heritage but hasn't always taken care of its musicians.
"They honest to God saved my life," said Hill, whose publishing credits include "That Old Wheel," which was performed by Johnny Cash and Hank Williams, Jr. "I'm just now getting back to where I'm healthy enough to start playing again."
Hill, 62, now gets subsidized health insurance from a network of providers that includes St. David's Community Health Foundation Leadership, Seton Family of Hospitals and the SIMS Foundation. He has small co-pays for doctor visits and prescription drugs, and he gets free dental care.
Only bona fide working musicians are eligible to participate in the program, known by its acronym HAAM, targeted toward people with low incomes. HAAM has helped some 1,200 artists, a decent chunk of the estimated 8,000 working musicians in Austin, where the cultural sector generates an estimated $2.3 billion in yearly economic activity.
Austin derives much of its youthful hipness to a thriving music scene. It was here, at the old Armadillo World Headquarters in the early 1970s, that Willie Nelson's brand of outlaw country was born. Years later, at the famed Antone's nightclub, blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan roared into the city's musical conscience.
Fans still pay yearly homage to the late blues man by visiting his bronze likeness — serious aficionados slide guitar picks under his feet — on the shores of Lady Bird Lake downtown.
The Austin City Limits festival this past weekend, which drew thousands of tourists and big-name acts such as the Foo Fighters and John Fogerty, underscores the importance of live music in the capital city.
But when the lights dim, many of the musicians will walk off stage to lives of struggle — with health woes often at the top of the list. While they're not the only Americans coping with health care problems, many say it's particularly poignant and ironic to be a poor, ailing musician in the Live Music Capital of the World.
"That phrase — it's great but it really doesn't reflect on the musicians around here at all," said Austin musician Cindy Cashdollar. "I don't think a lot of people realize the physical abuse you take in this profession."
Like many of the musicians helped by HAAM, Cashdollar (yes, that's her real name) has seen her musical career go up and down — and her coverage eligibility along with it. The steel guitar player had HAAM insurance in 2006, but not in 2007 while touring with Van Morrison and doing TV promos for Rod Stewart. This year things have calmed down a bit and Cashdollar said she was fortunate to get her HAAM card back.
HAAM recipients must prove they're working musicians by providing letters from band leaders or written evidence of membership in performing rights organizations, for example.
Only those making up to 250 percent of the poverty level, or no more than $26,000 a year for individuals, can join, said Carolyn Schwarz, HAAM director.
The charity will hold fundraising concerts throughout Austin on Oct. 7, with events scheduled at retail outlets, grocery stores and other venues. Participating businesses donate a portion of their profits to HAAM.
This year, Nelson — the country legend who helped propel Austin into the musical stratosphere — is getting into the act by releasing a public service announcement for HAAM. It costs about $850,000 a year to operate the program, including in-kind services donated by health care providers, and organizers are hoping to raise $200,000 on Oct. 7.
"The tricky thing with health care is it's an ongoing need," Schwarz said. "To be able to sustain it we need to continue to raise funds."
MEMPHIS BANDS -- WANT TO PERFORM AT SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST 2009?|
Memphis bands interested in the South By Southwest music festival in Austin next year might want to drop into the Memphis Music Resource Center at the Memphis Music Foundation offices. The first 50 bands that visit the center can get their SXSW registration fee waived. The offer is available until November 4th.
While there, bands also can convey their interest in being part of the official Memphis showcase at SXSW, which the Foundation is hosting along with the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau and a new advocacy organization, Music Memphis. The Memphis Music Resource Center is located at 431 S. Main, Suite 201.
IKE TURNER:Celebrate the musicial accomplishments of Ike Turner
for times and stations in your area
Last December American music lost one of it's true pioneers, Ike Turner
. Join Elwwod Blues on this week's House of Blues Radio Hour as he celebrates the musical accomplishments of the man responsible for what many people call the first rock and roll song, Rocket 88. Elwood will be playing everything from Ike's old classics to some cuts from his 2007 Grammy winning record RISIN' WITH THE BLUES
. He'll even break out some old interview clips. Remember Ike turner, this weekend on the House of Blues Radio Hour.
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.
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