Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hot weekend for guitarist at Anti-Freeze Blues Festival

Rattlesnake Shake -- clockwise from bottom left, Tony DeNardo, Brett Lucas, Danny Methric and Todd Glass -- perform a tribute to Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac. (Submitted photo)
It will be a hot weekend for guitarist Brett Lucas at the Anti-Freeze Blues Festival.
Lucas will perform in the Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac tribute band Rattlesnake Shake in support of headliner Ana Popovic on Friday, and then will play with singer Bettye LaVette at the top of the bill on Saturday night.
“It’s great,” Lucas said. “I’ve actually been part of the festival a number of times, one time with Rattlesnake Shake and a couple of times with Thornetta Davis.
“It’s a cool festival and it’s great to see the crowds come out there. It will be a hometown gig (for LaVette) and it will be one of those Detroit moments.”
The Rattlesnake Shake performance will be the band’s final one in a string of three local early winter appearances, following a gig at the Cadieux Café and an upcoming New Year’s Eve show with four other bands at Captain Jack’s Lakefront Bar and Grill in St. Clair Shores.
The band plays tribute to early Fleetwood Mac, before the group morphed into the better-known version featuring Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie. Rattlesnake Shake includes Lucas and guitarist-singer Danny Methric, bassist Tony DeNardo and drummer Todd Glass, all from The Muggs.
Rattlesnake Shake formed over 10 years ago, took a hiatus for a number of years while DeNardo recovered from a stroke, and then reformed.
“It keeps changing and evolving, which is wonderful,” Lucas said. “We’ve  added new songs, although there are a limited amount of songs we can do because they have to be Fleetwood Mac tunes, but it keeps evolving, which is exciting. We’re not just playing the same tunes. It’s exciting for me because Danny and I play guitar together and we lived together for about 5 years as roommates.”
The early version of Fleetwood Mac, which formed in 1967, included bass player John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood, guitarist Peter Green (who had played with McVie and Fleetwood in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers), and slide guitarist Jeremy Spencer. Guitarist Danny Kirwan joined the band in 1968.
Lucas, 37, wasn’t even born when Green left the band in 1970, but the group’s influence has been far reaching.
“They were one of the only English bands that truly played the blues in a pure way. Clapton and Cream had blues in there, but Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer were really playing blues in a pure way and that was pretty remarkable,” said Lucas, who co-produced Spencer’s 2012 recording “Bend In The Road” (Propelz). “They did a lot of obscure tunes, and it was so brave of them to get up there and not follow suit with the psychedelic thing, which they did get into later. Their guitar playing was brilliant …
Bettye LaVette
“When they added Danny Kerwin, Green and Kerwin did the duo guitar thing that influenced Santana to get Neal Schon. Santana, of course, did (Green’s composition) ‘Black Magic Woman,’ and Schon went on to form Journey.”
On Saturday, Lucas will back up R&B singer Bettye LaVette, a native Michigander who was raised in Detroit.
She hasn’t forgotten her roots. Members of her backup band, which also includes keyboardist Al Hill, bassist James Simonson and drummer Darryl Pierce, are all from Southeast Michigan.
“Even our tour manager, Robert Hodge, lives in the Detroit area,” Lucas said. “He makes everything happen.”
LaVette is known as an emotional singer who has the power to make audience members cry.
“She will bring down the biggest guy to tears,” Lucas said. “I’ve never seen anybody else able to do that. She really just puts so much into her show. Many times, I have seen her walk off the stage completely exhausted.
“There is a quote, ‘Tough times don't last, tough people do.’ For me, that sums her up. She’s tough and she never gives up.”
Lucas is looking forward to the festival, from which a portion of proceeds benefit the Detroit Blues Society.
“It’s quite an honor,” he said. “It’s great to be a Detroit musician.”

The Anti-Freeze Blues Festival runs Friday and Saturday at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale.
On Friday, performers include Ana Popovic, the Bobby Murray Band, Rattlesnake Shake, and Erich Goebel and the Flying Crowbars. Tickets are $25.
On Saturday, performers include Bettye LaVette, Laura Rain & The Caesars, the Greg Nagy Band, and RJ's Gang featuring Kenny Parker. Tickets are $35.
Doors open at 7 p.m. each night. A portion of proceeds benefit the Detroit Blues Society.
Tickets are available at ticketweb.com.

 To send info to JB Blues, please email Joe.Ballor@dailytribune.com

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Howard Glazer celebrates release of ‘Stepchild of the Blues’

Guitarist-singer Howard Glazer’s new CD, “Stepchild of the Blues,” is the result of a successful mix of the old and the new.
On the CD, Glazer performs with several old friends. On the production end, it is his first recording completed at his home studio.
“It is the first one I’ve done all by myself,” said Glazer, who admitted to quite a learning curve as he experimented with his new software. “I engineered it and mixed and produced it myself.”
Because he had complete control of the recording and mixing process, Glazer was able to get the exact sounds he wanted.
A couple of his previous recordings – “Brown Paper Bag” and “Liquor Store Legend”  -- were done quickly.
“Especially ‘Liquor Store Legend,’” he said. “That was done in a couple of sessions because we needed to get it done on time before I went on a Scandinavian tour.
“On this one, I had a little more time to think about how I wanted the songs to be presented.”
On “Stepchild of the Blues” (which debuts at a CD release party on Saturday, Dec. 21 at the New Place Lounge in Dearborn), Glazer chose to redo three songs from his prior CDs. The first track, “Don’t Love You No More,” was on “Brown Paper Bag,” and he redid the title track and “Gas Pump Blues” from the CD “Liquor Store Legend.”
“Gas Pump Blues,” which features Glazer on resonator guitar, is one of two songs on the new CD recorded with Harmonica Shah. Shah, who was honored by the Detroit Blues Society as a Lifetime Achievement Award winner in 2000, is one of several of Glazer’s former musical partners who appear on the CD. Glazer played guitar in Shah’s band for five years before they parted ways.
Harmonica Shah
According to Glazer, both of the songs with Harmonica Shah were recorded in one take. It was their first recording together in 10 years.
“We’re closer friends now than we used to be,” said Glazer, who will be performing with Shah as a duo at Cliff Bell’s in Detroit on Dec. 29. “Everything is good with us.
“It’s fun to play with him. He is really into Delta blues, which I love.”
Glazer’s current band members, bassist Chris Brown and drummer Charles David Stuart, perform on the new CD, as do several special guests.
Chuck Bartels, bassist with R&B singer Bettye LaVette’s band, plays on three tracks. Glazer asked if he was interested in participating, but Bartels was going on tour. Glazer waited for him to return.
“He’s a good friend,” Glazer said. “We played together in the mid to early ‘90s. He’s a really nice guy and a great friend. I think the world of him as a person and a player.”
Organist Larry Marek, who lives in Hawaii, was another major contributor to “Stepchild of the Blues.”
“I’ve been playing with him off and on since we were going to Wayne State University and played in the jazz band in the late ‘70s,” Glazer said. “It’s the first CD we’ve done together, although we have played a lot together over the years.”
Vocalists Maggie McCabe and Stephanie Johnson, who both performed on Glazer’s last CD, “Wired For Sound," return and sound fantastic.
The cover art was done by another longtime friend, photographer Dennis Matea.
“It was a lot of fun,” Glazer said. “Everyone who contributed to the record was a pleasure to work with. Every last one of them had great vibes and great performances.
“Even when we took the band photo for inside the CD (cover) at Maggie’s house, we had a really fun time.”
The camaraderie translates on “Stepchild of the Blues,” Glazer’s fourth recording. He has also been featured on two Harmonica Shah recordings, several by singer Sweet Claudette, and Emanuel Young’s “Live In Detroit with Howard Glazer And The EL 34s.”
Glazer recently dropped “The EL 34s” from the band’s name, due to media and fan confusion. An EL 34 is a vacuum power tube used in amplifiers, but non-musicians didn’t understand the reference.
“I am happiest about this record of all of them I have done so far,” Glazer said. “I was able to do it the way I wanted, as far as production, guitar and vocal tones and drum sounds.
“I’m happy with the end result.”

A CD release party for “Stepchild of the Blues” (Lazy Brothers Records) will be held at 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21 at the New Place Lounge, 22723 Michigan Ave, Dearborn. (313-277-3035). There’s no cover charge. For more information on Howard Glazer, click howardglazer.com.

Peter Green tribute
Rattlesnake Shake, a side project of The Muggs and guitarist Brett Lucas (Bettye LaVette), performs a tribute to Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac on Friday, Dec. 20 at Cadieux Café in Detroit.
Admission is $5.
Rattlesnake Shake will be one of five bands performing at a party at Captain Jack’s Lakefront Bar and Grill in St. Clair Shores on New Year’s Eve. Also on the bill are the Jody Raffoul Band, The Detroit Daggers, The Muggs, and the Billy Raffoul Band.
Rattlesnake Shake is also on the bill at the two-day Anti-Freeze Blues Festival at the Magic Bag on Jan. 3, 2014.

To send info to JB Blues, please email Joe.Ballor@dailytribune.com

Monday, November 18, 2013

Blues at the library

Lady Champagne (BluesPhotos by Don McGhee)
Lady Champagne & the Motor City Blues Crew will be the featured performers at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, at the Jazz and Blues series at the Southfield Public Library, 26300 Evergreen Road.
Louisiana native Lady Champagne is an exciting and high energy entertainer with a powerful and dynamic voice that captures the audience’s attention every time she sings. The Motor City Blues Crew is an outstanding six-piece ensemble, including guitarist Larry Turner, T. Pablo on harmonica, bassist Paul Stewart, Willie Willie on keyboards, Richard Adams on saxophone, and drummer Lorell Holton.

General admission is $5, $3 for Friends of the Southfield Public Library members. There is no admission charge for children under 12.

To send info to JB Blues, please email Joe.Ballor@dailytribune.com

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Badman hosts DBS Jam

Luther "Badman" Keith (BluesPhotos by Don McGhee)
Luther “Badman” Keith and his band will host the Detroit Blues Society's Meeting and Jam on Saturday, Nov. 9, at Harbor House in Detroit.
Badman, a former editorial writer for the Detroit News who is now the executive director of Arise Detroit!, discovered his “blues muse” while watching Luther Allison perform in the 1980s. The experience propelled Badman into a musical career.
He and his band will perform a set and then give way to a talented group of jammers. There’s no cover charge.
To see a previous post on Badman, click here.
Can’t make it to Saturday’s jam?
Jimmy Alter 
Singer-guitarist Jimmy Alter will host an open jam at Cooley Lake Inn in Commerce Township on Sunday, Nov. 10.

Guitar Legends Series
The Skybox Sports Grill in Highland hosts the Michigan's Guitar Legends Series & Open Jam.
Mark "Pazman" Pasman
This month’s featured guests include Rich Hwang (Nov. 7), Greg Nagy (Nov. 14), and Mark “Pazman” Pasman (Nov. 21). Blues lovers should be sure to check out Pazman’s “Motor City Blues Project” radio show from 9 p.m.-midnight each Sunday on WCSX (94.7-FM).
The Skybox series continues with standout performers  Matt Besey (Dec. 5), Robert “Psychild” Noll (Dec. 12),  Bobby Murray (Dec. 19), Howard Glazer (Jan. 9), Christopher Leigh (Jan. 16), Carl Henry (Jan. 23) and Sweet Willie Tea (Jan 30).
That is an impressive list of guitar slingers.

Attic Dwellers celebrate anniversary
As the Attic Dwellers Acoustic Music Club celebrates its 10th anniversary, club coordinator Wolfgang Spider hands the reins over to Christian Douglas, who will take over the task of organizing and running the monthly jam sessions as well as confirming the location.
The Attic Dwellers will meet for an acoustic circle jam from 1-5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10, at Paycheck’s in Hamtramck. Beginners as well as seasoned musicians will enjoy themselves and there are no dues. All types of acoustic music are welcome, as are those who just want to sit back and listen.

Acoustic music by LL Blues
 LL Blues — singer-guitarist Larry Stevens and harmonica player Larry Everhart – will perform Friday, Nov. 8, at the Live! From the Living Room Acoustic Showcase in the atrium of the Oakland Arts Building in Pontiac. They will be joined by country music singer-songwriters Butch Runyon and Garry Valentine. Admission is only $5.
For information, click www.oldfrontporch.com.

Steve Nardella in Plymouth
Blues and jazz guitarist Steve Nardella will perform on Tuesday, Nov. 12, as part of the Blues at the Elks Series at the Plymouth Elks Lodge in Plymouth. The show runs from 7-10 p.m. and admission is only $5 at the door.
Nardella, an Ann Arbor resident, is a transplant from Providence, Rhode Island, and is a widely regarded American blues, rock ‘n’ roll, blues-rock and rockabilly guitarist and singer.
"We are looking for another capacity crowd on Nov. 12," said event organizer RJ Spangler. "Nardella certainly has all the chops to make this event truly a concert to remember."
Big Foot Bob and the Toe Tappers, who perform a wide variety of classic R&B, jump and swing blues, are next up in the series on Dec. 10.

Blues Challenge winners
Congratulations to Carl Henry and Tony Berci and the Dirty Basement Blues Band for winning the solo/duo and band competitions, respectively, at the finals of the Detroit Blues Society Blues Challenge at Callahan’s Music Hall in Auburn Hills.
They will represent Detroit at the 30th annual International Blues Challenge in Memphis in January.

To send info to JB Blues, please email Joe.Ballor@dailytribune.com

Monday, November 4, 2013

Murphy, Deming win Blues Blast Awards

Doug Deming
Two musicians with Detroit area roots were honored at the 2013 Blues Blast Music Award ceremony held at Buddy Guys’ Legends in Chicago on Oct. 31.
Singer Shaun Murphy earned top honors for Contemporary Blues Album for her recording “Ask For the Moon” and also won the award for Best Female Blues Artist, topping a field that included Michigan native Janiva Magness, who won three Blues Blast awards last year.
Murphy has worked with many heavyweights in the industry, including Bob Seger, Eric Clapton, Bruce Hornsby and Little Feat. She has also appeared on Broadway in the productions of “Hair” and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band On The Road.”
Singer/songwriter/guitarist  Doug Deming won the Sean Costello Rising Star Award. Deming may be a “rising star,” but we’ve known about him in Detroit for two decades.
He has worked with many top blues artists, including Kim Wilson, Lazy Lester, Gary Primich, Johnny “Yard Dog” Jones, A.C. Reed, and Detroit “Queen of the Blues,” Alberta Adams.
Other winners at the Blues Blast Music Awards included: The Cash Box Kings, who won Traditional Blues Album for “Black Toppin’”; Albert Castiglia, who had the top Blues Rock Album with “Living The Dream”; Curtis Salgado, whose “Soul Shot” was top Soul Blues Album; Easy Livin’ , who received the New Artist Debut Release award for “Southern Hospitality”; Doug Macleod, who was named Male Blues Artist; and the Tedeschi Trucks Band, which was named Blues Band of the Year.
Song Of The Year honors went to Cee Cee James’ “I Got a Right to Sing the Blues,” written by James and Rob “Slideboy” Andrews.

To send info to JB Blues, please email Joe.Ballor@dailytribune.com

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Bobby Murray's new CD 'a labor of love'

As a longtime member of the backup band for legendary singer Etta James, guitarist Bobby Murray learned how to work hand-in-hand with a vocalist.
He demonstrates that ability on his fine new CD, “I’m Sticking With You.”
“Even before I was working with Etta (who died in 2012), I worked with a lot of other singers,” said Murray, who celebrates his recording with a CD release party on Friday at the Loving Touch in Ferndale. “I love the guitar, and I’ve played my share of Albert Collins and Freddie King instrumentals, but my favorite instrument is still the human voice. There’s something about it.”
“I’m Sticking With You” features vocalists Red Redding, who is a member of the Bobby Murray Band; as well as guest vocalists Barbara Payton, Paul Randolph and Tom Hogarth.
“I try to think in terms of serving as a foil or doing a call-and-response with a fine singer,” Murray said.
Redding has performed with Murray’s band for about four years, since Murray heard him sing at a club in Detroit.
“His voice spoke to me,” Murray said. “I love the quality and timbre of his voice and his super soulful phrasing. I heard some Little Milton and Johnnie Taylor influences in his voice. He can sing down in the alley or a sweet, soulful ballad.”
Murray first heard Hogarth sing at a festival in Windsor. Hogarth has previously worked with keyboardist Mark Thibodeau and drummer Renell Gonsalves, who are both members of the Bobby Murray Band, along with bassist Dave Uricek.
“I heard his voice and said to myself ‘I’ve gotta work with this guy,’” Murray said. “He has a wonderful voice.”
Murray is thankful for the vocal contributions of Randolph, who performs with Jazzanova and is known world-wide as a multi-talented musician and writer. Randolph will be releasing his third solo album in 2014.
“Paul Randolph is an incredible singer,” Murray said. “I’ve always wanted to work with ever since I heard him play with Mudpuppy.”
Another contributor to Murray’s new CD is Payton, who fronts the band Barbara Payton and the Instigators, of which Murray is a member.
“She’s got so many tones, she has the ability to tap into the deepest part of the human experience,” Murray said. “What she does on ‘Rock My Soul,’ the discipline she uses on one verse where she bumps up an octave at the end, just kills me.
“I have good singers in the band too. Dave Uricek has a wonderful voice and Mark Thibodeau too. All the singers make my words come to life.”
Unlike his previous three albums, which featured a mix of original and cover tunes, “I’m Sticking With You” contains 11 songs all written by Murray.
“It’s certainly a labor of love, they are songs I’ve been wanting to do for quite some time,” he said. “It’s like John Lee Hooker sang in ‘Boogie Chillun’’ … ‘it’s in him and it’s got to come out.’ Like a lot of people, writing is a cathartic release for me.
“I know I’m not Bob Dylan or Percy Mayfield, but I love to do it. It is like a birthing process. First, you start out with one, but they are all my kids and I love ‘em all.”
Having someone else sings the songs you’ve written can be a challenge, but Murray -- who praises Brian “Roscoe” White for his contributions on the CD as engineer, mixer, arranger and musician – trusted the creativity of his vocalists.
“I wanted them to be able to express themselves and make the words come to life. I gave them carte blanche and told them ‘do it your way.’ I completely trusted them.
“It’s the best feeling in the world when you put words on a piece of paper, and they looked OK at 3 a.m., but when you see them come to life as a singer breathes life into them is pretty amazing. I’m always knocked out, it just kills me.
“It’s the same for the instrumentals too. I love the process of being able to work with people.”
The standout vocals, strong songwriting, and Murray’s tasty guitar work combine to produce a stellar recording. Murray may have been the one leading the way, but he knows that it was a collaborative effort.
“It’s like a school of fish moving as one, although everybody is completely separate.”

FYI – The Bobby Murray Band celebrates the release of “I’m Sticking With You” with a CD release and live performance at 9 p.m. Friday at The Loving Touch, 22634 Woodward Ave. in Ferndale. Doors open at 8 p.m. Guest performers are expected to include Paul Randolph, Barbara Payton, master of ceremonies and guitarist Mark “Pazman” Pasman, and vocalist Lenny Watkins. Doors open at 8 p.m. Admission is free.

To send info to JB Blues, please email Joe.Ballor@dailytribune.com

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Veteran Blues Reunion at Scarab Club

Kenny Parker  (BluesPhotos by Don McGhee) 
Want to see some of Detroit’s blues veterans perform?
The Veteran Blues Reunion, from 2-5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26 at the Scarab Club in Detroit, features award-winning singer and harmonica player Garfield Angove, guitarist Kenny Parker, keyboard master and singer Shawn McDonald, stand-up bass artist Bob Conner, and drummer RJ Spangler.
Angove received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Detroit Blues Society in 2007, and Spangler received the same award in 2005. Parker is another Detroit blues veteran, who played for many years with the Butler Twins; Conner has been playing in blues bands in Detroit since the late 1960s; and McDonald has been described as a young veteran blues master.
All of these veteran players have toured throughout the world representing Detroit blues. At the concert, they will perform classic and original blues tunes and will also relate some of their experiences traveling and playing blues locally and internationally with many Detroit and Chicago blues greats who are no longer with us.
The Scarab Club is at 217 Farnsworth, near the Detroit Institute of Arts.

David Vest in Plymouth
David Vest (Photo by Jim Dorothy)
Although he now calls Canada home, Maple Blues Award winner David Vest is an authentic, Southern-bred boogie-woogie piano player and blues shouter. Born in Alabama in 1943, Vest grew up in Birmingham, Ala. He played his first paying gig in 1957, and by the time he opened for Roy Orbison on New Year's Day 1962, he was a seasoned veteran of Gulf Coast roadhouses and honky tonks.
Over the years, Vest played the Southern gospel circuit and with artists ranging from blues shouter Big Joe Turner to country singer Faron Young.
From 2002 through 2006, he shared lead vocals and frontman duties in the Paul deLay Band. During his years in Portland, Vest won five Muddy Awards from the Cascade Blues Association, including Best Keyboard Player. After deLay's untimely death, Vest joined forces with Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne and various other pianists, including Ann Rabson, to form the supergroup Northwest Pianorama.
He will be joined by guitarist George Bedard and drummer RJ Spangler in concert at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22 at the Plymouth Elks Club, 41700 Ann Arbor Road in Plymouth. Admission is only $5 at the door.

Detroit Blues Challenge finals
The finals of the Detroit Blues Challenge will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20, at Callahan’s Music Hall in Auburn Hills.
Blues musicians Carl Henry and Tony Berci, Sweet Willie Tea, Maggie McCabe and Mike Francis, Eliza Neals, Blues Dog Inquisition, Rev. Robert Sexton, Dirty Basement Blues Band, The Hatchetmen, and The Lost City Band will be competing in solo/duo and band categories to represent the Detroit Blues Society at the International Blues Challenge Jan. 21-25, 2014 in Memphis.
Admission is $10. For information, click detroitbluesociety.org or atcallahans.com.

‘Detroit Blues’ video 
Alt-rock singer-songwriter Ife Mora is best known for her work in techno and trip-hop music, but she delves into the blues of her hometown in her new music video “Detroit Blues” from her sophomore album “Fire Inside Me.”
The gritty video for “Detroit Blues” – shot in Detroit  shows Mora sweaty in a mechanic shop, while images of abandoned houses and a broken metropolis are streamed across the screen. A release states that the video shows the hardships Detroit is facing, but Mora wants us to get a feeling of hope from all of the beautiful people who are surviving and fighting for the rise of a grand new city.
“Detroit has always been the foundation for my love of music and has given me a very tough skin to be able to survive hardships in life and endure a tough business like the music industry,” Mora said in the release. “’Detroit Blues’ is all about a woman who can survive anything and look good doing it because of this historical and complex city she is

Kieron Lafferty, left, as Elwood and Wayne Catania as Jake
Official Blues Brother Revue
The Official Blues Brothers Revue, live concert show that combines the comedy and hit songs from the original 1980 hit film as well as the five albums released by John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, makes a stop Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts in Clinton Township.
Featuring Wayne Catania as Jake and Kieron Lafferty as Elwood, The Official Blues Brothers Revue and their eight-piece intercontinental rhythm & blues revue band pay homage to the humor, music and mayhem of the Blues Brothers and to Chicago’s rich musical history of blues, gospel and soul music.
The show is produced by Dan Aykroyd, Judith Belushi and original Blues Brothers musical director Paul Shaffer.
Tickets start at $43. For information, click http://www.macombcenter.com/Events/2013-10-19-Blues+Brothers.htm

To send info to JB Blues, please email Joe.Ballor@dailytribune.com

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Erich Goebel hosts DBS jam

Erich Goebel
If you have never been to a Detroit Blues Society Meeting and Jam, do yourself a favor and check out the event at 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, at Bachelors One, 1967 Cass Lake Road in Keego Harbor.
The monthly events are short on meeting and long on jams.
This month’s host band is Erich Goebel and the Flying Crowbars. Goebel is a fantastic guitarist and singer. He’ll be joined Saturday by bassist Chris Rumel and drummer Dave Watson. They will open the evening with a set of music, then turn the stage over to jammers. Traditionally, some of Detroit’s top performers make it out to the jam to share music and friendship. It’s a great way to see lots of different performers and there’s no cover charge.

Bluesin’  Flint
The next event in a concert series organized by musician Greg Nagy is at 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13, at Scooter’s Bar and Grill in Flint.
George Bedard and the Kingpins are this month’s featured performers. Bedard is a rockabilly guitarist who has been a seminal figure on the Michigan roots rock scene for more than 20 years.
The event will also feature Nagy, Laura Rain and The Caesars, and more.
Steve Nardella is up next in the series, performing on Nov. 17.

Acoustic blues
The next Attic Dwellers acoustic circle jam session is from 1-5 p.m. Sunday, Oct, 13, at Paycheck’s Lounge in Hamtramck (1 to 5 p.m.).  Beginners as well as seasoned musicians will enjoy themselves at the free event. You can go and just listen too.

Midweek nirvana
Looking for something to do midweek?
Three awesome choices are available next week.
At 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 16, legendary R&B/funk guitarist Dennis Coffey performs at the Blues and Jazz Series at the Southfield Public Library. Coffey is perhaps best known for his work with Motown’s Funk Brothers, and added unique rockin’ guitar sounds on recordings such as Temptations’ hits “Cloud Nine” and “Psychedelic Shack,” Edwin Starr’s “War,” and Freda Payne’s “Band of Gold,” among many, many others.
Coffey also had instrumental hits, including “Scorpio” and “Taurus,” as a solo artist.
Also on Wednesday, Oct. 16, blues guitar great Coco Montoya takes the stage at Callahan’s Music Hall in Auburn Hills.
Callahan’s hosts legendary British bluesman John Mayall on Thursday, Oct. 17. Over the years, Mayall’s groups have included guitarists including Eric Clapton, Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac, and Mick Taylor of the Rolling Stones.
Check their schedule at www.atcallahans.com

To send info to JB Blues, please email Joe.Ballor@dailytribune.com

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Remembering the Attic Bar

Detroit blues fans have many fond memories of the Attic Bar in Hamtramck.
The venue was home to many Detroit blues greats, including Uncle Jesse White, the Butler Twins (Curtis and Clarence), and drummer Duke Dawson, among many others.
Those fine artists are no longer with us, and the bar changed owners and format in 2007.
Duke Dawson (BluesPhotos by Don McGhee) 
But, at 3 p.m. on Sunday, blues musicians and fans can relive the days of the Attic at a reunion held at the Hastings Street Ballroom, 715 E. Milwaukee in Detroit.
Cathy Davis and the Rhythm Bonz band will be the musical hosts, and there will be other talented musicians jamming as well.
There will be food available for purchase by Sidecar Detroit and a historic photo display by photographers Don McGhee and Bruce Harkness.
For more information visit the Attic Bar Reunion page on Facebook.

Big bucks for blues recording

Longtime blues record collector and expert John Tefteller was the winning bidder on eBay at $37,100 for an extremely rare 78 rpm record by musician Tommy Johnson.
Johnson’s record, on the Paramount label from 1930, is one of only two known and verified copies. All other copies of this disc are presumed lost or destroyed. The two songs on the record are "Alcohol And Jake Blues" and "Ridin' Horse."
Johnson, a singer-guitarist from Mississippi, is one of the legendary figures in early recorded blues music, alongside Robert Johnson, Charley Patton, Skip James and Son House.
Tefteller, who has been collecting rare blues records for over 40 years, already owns the only other known copy and has released the songs previously on one of his Classic Blues Artwork From The 1920's Calendar series. This newly verified record is in vastly better condition than the other one and Tefteller said he "just had to have it." His original copy will be sold to help offset the cost of this new one and he says he is "going to remaster and re-release this new copy next year" for his 2015 Blues Calendar release. The Blues Calendars come complete with a 20 to 24 track CD that is included free with each calendar.
The seller was a local Columbia, South Carolina collector who found the record some years back at an estate sale.
Check out Tefteller’s website, Blues Images, at www.bluesimages.com

To send info to JB Blues, please email Joe.Ballor@dailytribune.com

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Special show for Rusty Wright Band

The Rusty Wright Band is one of Michigan’s top blues outfits. The group won the Detroit Blues Challenge in 2010 and made it to the semifinals at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis.
Saturday’s show at Callahan’s Music Hall in Auburn Hills will be a special one for the group. It will be the last show with current drummer Pete Haist and keyboard/organ player Dave Brahce.
Rusty Wright
Brahce has been in the band since 2007. Haist, who joined in 2008, has continued as a key member despite developing eye problems that have left him legally blind.
The demands of touring have become too much for the duo, explained singer-guitarist Laurie LaCross-Wright, who co-headlines the group.
“We'd like to send them off with a really great crowd Saturday,” LaCross-Wright said. “They have been hugely important to the band and wonderful to work with and travel with. We don’t want to see them go because they have been an integral part of our sound, especially the dueling parts between Dave and Rusty. Their lifestyles changed ... it wasn’t anything between the band members.”
The group, which also includes singer-guitarist Rusty Wright and bassist Dennis Bellinger, will soon be auditioning to fill the two spots.
“We intend to continue on and we’re really excited about the people who are applying,” LaCross-Wright said.
They have a unique method of auditioning potential band members.
“We set up a Web page with an audition application and detailed information about what we are doing, what we expect, and what they can expect as a member of the band,” LaCross-Wright said. “Once they respond, we send three songs for them to work on.”
The band isn’t your typical three-chord blues group. Their music is more complex.
“For last year's bass auditions, 40 people applied and, after they got the songs, only four came to the audition,” LaCross-Wright said.
“We already have applicants from as far away as Oklahoma. It should be interesting this time around.
Click here to obtain audition information: http://www.rustywrightband.com/audition.html
For information on Saturday’s show, click atcallahans.com. For more on the Rusty Wright Band, click www.rustywrightblues.com. Click here to see a previous blog post on the Rusty Wright Band:  http://jbblues.blogspot.com/2013/03/rusty-wright-shows-versatility-on-new-cd.html

Detroit Blues Challenge continues
Round 4 of the 2013 Detroit Blues Challenge will be held Saturday at Freddy’s Bar in Clinton Township.
Competing in the band competition will be the Delta Twins, The Hatchetmen, Sweet Willie Tea and the Teabones, Sanctuary Blues Band, and the Lost City Band.
The top two acts will advance to the finals on Oct. 20 at Callahan’s. The ultimate winners of the Blues Challenge  -- in the solo/duo and band categories – will represent Detroit at the International Blues Challenge.

Michigan Blues Hall of Fame
There will be an induction ceremony for the Michigan Blues Hall of Fame from 4:30-8 p.m. Sunday at Freddy’s Bar.
Inductees include Sir Mack Rice, Curtis Sumter, Aaron “Little Sonny” Willis Sr., RJ Spangler, Bobby Murray, Terry “Thunder” Hughley, Howard Glazer, Harmonica Shah, Johnnie Bassett, James Anthony, Don McGhee, Larry McCray, Greg Manning, Jef Reynolds, James Cloyd Jr., Jeff Grand, Freddy’s Bar (Geno Genova)

, Emanuel Young, Ray Cooke, Alberta Adams, and Joe Ballor.
The event will be hosted by Sweet Claudette and the Vibe Axis Band. Sweet Claudette has been recognized as a Master Blues Artist and Ambassador to Michigan by the Blues Hall of Fame.
Admission is $15, with $5 from each ticket going toward school supplies for needy students.
Click here for more information.

 Blues Heritage Series
The Detroit Blues Heritage Series continues with a performance by singer-guitarist Billy Davis at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28 at the Scarab Club in Detroit.  Davis, who was a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, will be joined by special guests the Boa Constrictors.
Be sure to get there early.

To send info to JB Blues, please email Joe.Ballor@dailytribune.com.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Down home blues at the library

The Jazz and Blues Series at the Southfield Public Library, 26300 Evergreen, continues at 6:30 p.m. tonight (Aug. 21) with a performance by Glemie Beasley and the Down Home Blues Band.
Glemie Beasley  (BluesPhotos by Don McGhee)
Beasley, a Detroit resident born and raised in Little Rock, Ark., is an urban hunter who likes to hunt raccoons.
“He’s known internationally as the ‘Coon Man,’” said Don McGhee of the Detroit Blues Society. “Google 'Glemie Beasley' and you’ll find all kinds of things about that side of him.
“He’s a great down home blues man too.”
Beasley will perform tonight at the library with his backup group, the Down Home Blues Band. The event will also serve as a birthday celebration for his son, Glemie Jr., who plays bass in the band.
“He’ll play some down home blues, but also a little bit of country and little bit of gospel,” McGhee said.
”He’s been performing off and on for a long time, but he’s never been really well known. He released a CD  ("The Best of Glemie D. Beasley - I Was Born Down in Arkansas") a few years ago that is wonderful. It has a lot of original songs. One is called ‘Chain Saw.’ It’s an answer to Albert King’s ‘Crosscut Saw.’ It is very funny and cool. It has a line in it that says something like ‘with me and the chain saw, you’re not going back to the crosscut saw.’ It’s that double entendre stuff.
“The album is amazing.”
For many years, Beasley had his own small recording studio, McGhee said. Beasley has recordings made by many of Detroit’s blues performers that have never been released.
Admission to the concert is $5. There’s a discount if you are a member of the Friends of the Southfield Library. Children under age 12 are admitted free.
The series is sponsored by the Friends of the Southfield Public Library and the Detroit Blues Society.

Workshop canceled
The Detroit Blues Society sponsored workshop -- How to Handle the Business Side of the Music Business -- scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 25, has been canceled, due to limited advance registration.
The DBS plans to videotape a similar session, with multiple visual aids, in the near future and make it available as a very affordable DVD.
This will resolve the issues some musicians had with schedule conflicts, travel distance, etc.

To send info to JB Blues, please email Joe.Ballor@Dailytribune.com

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Buddy Guy at Freedom Hill

Buddy Guy
Buddy Guy and George Thorogood & the Destroyers perform at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Freedom Hill Amphitheatre.
Guy is touring in support of his new album, “Rhythm & Blues,” which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Blues Albums chart this month.
My colleague, Gary Graff, has written an article about the 77-year-old multiple Grammy award winner. 
To see it, click here: Buddy Guy at Freedom Hill

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

T-Model Ford dies

According to the Associated Press, bluesman “T-Model” Ford, who taught himself to play guitar when he was 58 years old and his fifth wife left him, died Tuesday at his home in Greenville, Miss.
His age was uncertain. Reported ages ranged from 89 to 93.
Ford had reportedly been under hospice care and died of respiratory failure Tuesday morning.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Jones'n at the library

Heather Jones & Jones'n -- from left, drummer LaNerrick Harris, guitarist Donny Jones, vocalist Heather Jones, and bassist Randy Dunckley.    
Heather Jones has been singing since she was a child.Since 2006, she’s been doing it as the frontwoman for the band Heather Jones & Jones’n.
Jones and the band will be the featured performers on Wednesday at the Jazz and Blues Series at the Southfield Public Library.
“I’ve been singing ever since I can remember,” Jones said. “My family all sang, my brother is a musician and my Dad and Mom are into music too.”
Jones never pursued a musical career until about 1998 when a friend convinced her to sing at a karaoke bar. According to Jones, people heard her sing and she was soon singing with the country band that played at the bar.
She and her husband, guitarist Donny Jones, were in the country band together for several years until 2006, when they decided to break away and start their own group.
“We just decided to do our own stuff,” said Heather Jones, a Flint native who describes the band’s music as blues-rock with some soul and funk influences. “We wanted to be in a group where we were in control of what goes on.”
The band is currently working on a new CD featuring nearly all originals. Its self-produced 2011 release, “It’s About Time,” had a mix of originals and cover tunes.
Heather Jones writes lyrics, while bassist Randy Dunckley (whom Heather describes as a musical “genius”) and Donny Jones concentrate on the music.
Drummer LaNerrick Harris rounds out the group. He started with Jones’n as a youngster at the start in 2006. After several years away from the group, he rejoined the band about two years ago.
Dunckley has been a member since shortly after the group formed. He and Donny Jones have played together in various bands for 20 years and have developed a musical camaraderie.
“It’s like they can read each other’s minds,” Heather Jones said. “It’s kind of strange. They just have to give each other that certain look.”
For Heather Jones, the best part of being in a musical group is performing live. She loves the interaction with the audience.
“We have our rehearsals, and that’s a lot of fun too, but playing at the festivals is just awesome,” she said. “There are so many things I love about being with these guys. They are all so talented, I never have to worry about anything. They always have my back. It’s like a little musical family.”
Jones and her Jones’n “family” will perform at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 17, at the Southfield Public Library, 26300 Evergreen Road.
Admission is $5. Show your Friends of the Southfield Public Library membership card to receive a discount. There’s no admission charge for children under 12.
The series is sponsored by the Friends of the Southfield Public Library and the Detroit Blues Society.

Hot Blues and BBQ
Mark "Pazman" Pasman
Heather Jones & Jones’n will also perform at 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 20, at the Hot Blues and BBQ festival at Canterbury Village in Lake Orion.
Other scheduled performers include Sweet Willie Tea (noon), Big Smooth (12:30 p.m.), Dirty Basement Blues Band (4:30 p.m.), Broken Arrow Blues Band (6 p.m.) and the Boa Constrictors with special guest guitarist Mark “Pazman” Pasman (7:30 p.m.).
Headliner Greg Nagy is scheduled to hit the stage at 9 p.m. It will be the final show for Nagy with his longtime bandmates,  bassist Jim Shaneberger and drummer Karl Schantz. Click here to see more on Nagy and his new band.
Admission is only $12.

Blues Heritage Series Benefit
A benefit concert for the Blues Heritage Series features seven acoustic blues acts on Friday, July 19, at Detroit's Historic Scarab Club, across the street from the Detroit Institute of Arts.
Paul Geremia
The headliner is Rhode Island's own Paul Geremia. Now in his early 60s, Geremia has been a traveling acoustic blues performer since his late teens.
"I'm very excited to be on hand in Detroit to help raise money for the city's nationally recognized Blues Heritage Series," he said in a release. "I'm proud to say that acoustic blues is still very much alive and well in this great country of ours."
Also on the bill are Toledo's Delta blues duo Stavin Chain; National steel guitar master Rollie Tussing from Portand, Ore., one-man-band Sweet Willie Tea, Leonardo Gianola, Carl Henry, and internationally known acoustic blues, folk, old time Gospel, hokum and blues punk performer Daniel Kroha.
Admission is $10 at the door, and $5 for students and seniors. The show is a Detroit Blues Society production. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the concert starts at 7:30 p.m.
Be sure to get there early.

Popa Chubby on tour
Popa Chubby has announced plans to continue touring North America following a July European run. Ted Horowitz, aka Popa Chubby, released “Universal Breakdown Blues” via Provogue Records on May 28.
His North American tour includes a stop on Aug. 21 at Callahan’s Music Hall in Auburn Hills.

Warren Haynes, left, and Eric Clapton during the Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013. (Photo by Danny Clinch)

Clapton’s ‘Crossroads’ hits area theaters

 Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013 arrives in nearly 500 select cinemas nationwide, including several locally, for a special one-night event on Tuesday, Aug. 13.

Pre-recorded over two nights at Madison Square Garden in April, cinema audiences will be treated to backstage access and some of the best performances from the sold-out festival, featuring the Allman Brothers Band, Blake Mills, Booker T., Buddy Guy, Derek Trucks, Doyle Bramhall II, Eric Clapton, Gary Clark Jr., Gregg Allman, Jeff Beck, John Mayer, Keith Richards, Keith Urban, Los Lobos, Robert Cray, Sonny Landreth, Vince Gill and Warren Haynes.
For a list of participating theaters, click here.
The Crossroads Guitar Festival supports The Crossroads Centre in Antigua, which was founded in 1998 to provide treatment and education to chemically dependent persons, those with other compulsive addictive behaviors, their families and their significant others.

To send info to JB Blues, please email Joe.Ballor@dailytribune.com.