Wednesday, March 30, 2011

'Blues for Christal'

If you’ve been active on the Detroit music scene, odds are good you’ve crossed paths with music fan Christel Wagner. And odds are very good that she was out on the dance floor, a whirling dervish topped by a mane of long red hair. Wagner, who was born in Germany, has been a huge fan of the Detroit music scene since arriving in the Motor City in 1977.
From 4-9 p.m. Sunday, several Detroit area musicians are giving some positive vibes back to Wagner, who is battling colorectal cancer without the benefit of health insurance. A “Blues for Christel” fundraiser at Sangria Tapas Cafe will feature music by RJ Spangler and the Rootsologists, Rachel May and the Difficulties, and Howard Glazer and the EL 34s. Blues guitarist Bobby Murray, recent recipient of the Detroit Blues Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award, will also perform at the benefit.
“She’s been following the Detroit music scene almost as long as I’ve been playing here,” Glazer said. “She’s a big music lover and loves all styles of music. She’s always supported live blues.”
The benefit will mark the debut of Spangler’s newest group. In addition to Spangler on drums, the Rootsologists feature singer-guitarist George Friend, bassist Mike Marshall and vocalist-harp player Dan Devins. For Sunday’s gig, they will be joined by singer Thornetta Davis and guitarist Paul Carey.
“I’ve known Christal for about 20 years,” Spangler said. “She’s always been there for the musicians and has volunteered at many Blues Society events. When she shows up, it makes us want to play.”
Wagner’s diagnosis last September came shortly after the death of her friend Julie Hecker, fitness guru and founder of the Motor City Rah-Rahs. Appropriately, the Rah-Rahs will be at Sunday’s event too.
“It’s her time of need and that’s how we do it in Detroit,” Spangler said. “We don’t have much, but we’ve got something – a brotherhood-sisterhood.”
A $10 donation will be accepted at the door. There will also be a silent auction.
Sangria Tapas Cafe is at 401 S. Lafayette in downtown Royal Oak.  Call (248) 543-1964 for directions.
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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Honoring Pinetop Perkins

Pinetop Perkins (Photo by Andrew Stearns)
Blues piano player Joe Willie "Pinetop" Perkins (July 7, 1913-March 21, 2011) passed away peacefully at home on Monday in Austin, Texas at the age of 97. Over the years, the Grammy award winner performed with many blues legends, including Muddy Waters, B.B. King and John Lee Hooker. His latest recording is "Joined at the Hip," a collaborative project with Willie “Big Eyes” Smith released in June 2010.

If you would like to honor Pinetop's legacy, you can make a donation to The Pinetop Perkins Foundation.  Donations can be made by check or through PayPal. The mission of the tax exempt non-profit organization is to provide encouragement and support for youth and young people at the beginning of their musical career; and help provide care and safety for elderly musicians at the twilight of their career.
Contributions can be mailed to:  The Pinetop Perkins Foundation, P.O. Box 1916, Clarksdale, MS 38614.
Visitation and funeral services have been set. For details, go to Pinetop's website by clicking here.

To send info to JB Blues, please email

Walter Trout at Callahan's

Walter Trout

Walter Trout & The Radicals return to Callahan’s Music Hall, 2105 South Blvd. in Auburn Hills, for another evening of scorching blues tonight (March 24). Trout first earned fame during a five-year stint as guitarist with Canned Heat. He was then invited to join John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, where he shared the stage with fellow six-string warrior Coco Montoya.
Since his stint with the Bluesbreakers, Trout has enjoyed a 20-plus year career as a solo artist.
Mark "Pazman" Pasman
“He’s incredibly sincere and very ‘un-rock star-ish,’” said Mark “Pazman” Pasman, who will open the show with one of his Supersessions. “He’s very down-to-earth and a good man. I’m looking forward to hanging out with him.”
Pazman, on-air host of the "Motor City Blues Project" show on WCSX (94.7 FM) on Sunday evenings, has performed in his popular Supersessions for many years. He’s always looking for new musicians to perform with and new musical genres to explore.
Billy Brandt and Sarana VerLin
This Supersession will feature singer-songwriters Billy Brandt (guitar, mandolin) and Sarana Verlin (guitar, violin), along with longtime Pazman cohort Jimmy “Pickles” Nicholls on vocals and harmonica.
“We’ll do a sort of unplugged set to get things going for Mr. Trout,” Pazman said.
“We’re going to get Pazman to twang a little,” said Brandt, whose musical collaborations with VerLin show influences of Americana and Celtic music. “We came up with six or seven cool grooves and we’re going to do some of our bluesier numbers, such as ‘Mexico’ and ‘Hogback Road.’”
Tickets are $22-$35. The show starts at 8 p.m.

For information on Walter Trout, click For information on Callahan’s, click For information on Billy Brandt and Sarana VerLin, click
To send info to JB Blues, please e-mail

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Pete Anderson's 'Even Things Up' tops roots chart

Detroit native Pete Anderson’s new release, “Even Things Up – Deluxe Edition” (Little Dog/Vizztone) is tops on the Michigan: Roots Radio Report compiled by Roots Music Report.
Anderson, a Grammy award-winning  producer-guitarist, is perhaps best known for his 15-year run as country star Dwight Yoakam’s musical partner. Anderson, a pioneer of the roots-rock movement, also had a hand in introducing artists such as Lucinda Williams, Jim Lauderdale, Michelle Shocked, Rosie Flores, and, more recently, Adam Hood.
While he has worked in many genres, his solo career has focused on his first love – the blues. “Even Things Up” is his fifth solo recording.

Howard Glazer and the EL 34s’ fine “Wired For Sound” (Lazy Brothers/Blue Skunk Music) is currently second on the Michigan: Roots Radio Report. Other blues albums charting include Shari Kane and Dave Steele’s “Four Hands Blues” (Big Bones Music) at No. 5, Planet D Nonet’s “Blowin’ the Blues Away Vol. 2” (Eastlawn) at No. 6, Johnnie Bassett’s “The Gentleman is Back” (Sly Dog Records) at No. 7, Kim Wilson’s “Lookin’ For Trouble” (M.C.) at No. 9, Sweet Claudette’s “That Man’s Got to Go – Live in the Studio” (No Cover) at No. 10, David Gerald’s  “Hell and Back” (David Gerald Enterprises) at No. 11, and Paul Shonk’s “No Time for Sleepin’” (Swim at Your Own Risk Records) at No. 13.

Many of these artists perform regularly in the Detroit area. If you can, check out one of their live shows, and purchase a CD to take home and enjoy later.

To see the Michigan: Roots Radio Report, click here.
To see Pete Anderson performing the song “Even Things Up,” click on the video link below.

 To send info to JB Blues, please e-mail

Friday, March 11, 2011

Lifetime Achievement Award winners honored at blues jam

The Detroit Blues Society will present its Lifetime Achievement Awards Saturday at the DBS Monthly Meeting and Jam at Shelly Kelly’s, 18339 E. 14 Mile Road in Fraser.
Lifetime Achievement Awards will go to guitarist Bobby Murray and the late Willie D. Warren. Also, Zerapath will be recognized with the James S. Henry Award, which honors young blues musicians.
Murray and Zerapath are expected to perform. Host band will be the Dirty Pirate Hookers (vocalist-guitarist Pat Shanley, bassist Chris Rumel and drummer Joe Pistorio), who have a CD titled "Live Anywhere," recorded at the now-closed Memphis Smoke.
For more on the Lifetime Achievement Award winners, click here.
To send info to JB Blues, e-mail