Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Saffire's Ann Rabson dies at 67

Alligator Records reports that pianist/singer/songwriter/guitarist Ann Rabson died on Wednesday in Fredericksburg, Va., after a long battle with cancer. She was 67. Co-founder of the hugely successful trio Saffire--The Uppity Blues Women, Rabson recorded eight albums with Saffire and one solo CD for Alligator Records, and released three solo albums for other labels. Her most recent was 2012's "Not Alone" (VizzTone Records).
Considered one of the finest barrelhouse blues pianists of her generation, Rabson -- an accomplished guitarist since she was a teen -- didn't start playing piano until she was 35. DownBeat magazine said that "Rabson plays bluesy, honky-tonk piano with staggering authority."

"Our dear friend Ann Rabson was an extraordinary blues singer, pianist and guitarist and a delightful, smart and funny person," Alligator president Bruce Iglauer said in a release. "As a founding member of Saffire--The Uppity Blues Women, a solo recording artist and a live performer, she brought her talent, intelligence and intense love for the blues tradition to every piece of music she played and sang. Ann never gave her music or the rest of her life less than 100 percent of her commitment. She was a loyal friend, a dedicated champion of the blues, a loving partner to her husband George, and an unforgettable woman. We were blessed to have known her."

Monday, January 21, 2013

Blues Explosion needs performers

Temple Entertainment Corp. is producing a two-and-a-half day Temple Blues & Gospel Explosion music festival on April 12-14, with performances by as many as 24 local blues acts and six gospel groups, on stage in four of the Detroit Masonic Temple's performance venues.
The Detroit Blues Society is a sponsor, and is working closely with the producers.
If you want to be a part of this blues celebration, send a band bio and a CD or DVD with your best performances to:
Or, you can send a package by mail to: TEC, 15800 White, Allen Park, MI 48101.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Stanley 'Buckwheat' Dural Jr. ailing

Stanley "Buckwheat" Dural Jr.

Alligator Records reports that Grammy Award-winning singer and accordionist Stanley "Buckwheat" Dural Jr., leader of Buckwheat Zydeco, is being treated for early stage cancer on his left lung and a vocal cord. Dural will begin treatment immediately and doctors expect a full recovery. Buckwheat Zydeco will postpone current concert dates, but expect to return to touring this summer.
"I feel fine," Dural is quoted in the release. "I'll beat this and be back on the road soon. And you can take that to your best bank!"
Dural -- along with his band Buckwheat Zydeco -- have played presidential inaugurals and have performed on national television -- including multiple appearances on “The Late Show With David Letterman.They have played with the Boston Pops, were featured in the closing ceremonies of the Atlanta Olympics, and opened one of Eric Clapton's North American tours. His 2009 Alligator Records CD “Lay Your Burden Down,” produced by Los Lobos' Steve Berlin, received the Grammy Award for Best Zydeco Or Cajun Music Album.

Fans can leave messages and greetings for Dural on his Facebook page.

To send info to JB Blues, please email

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Anti-Freeze Blues Fest returns

Kim Simmonds

The Anti-Freeze Blues Festival returns to the Magic Bag in Ferndale this weekend.
The 19th annual festival opens Friday, Jan. 4, with headliners Kim Simmonds and Savoy Brown, plus Laith Al Saadi, Mark Pazman’s Super Session, and Reverend Robert Jones and Tino. Pazman’s Super Session will include guitarist Mark “Pazman” Pasman, singer-guitarist Motor City Josh, singer-harp player Jimmy “Pickles” Nicholls, bassist Alex Lyon, and drummer Ron Pangborn. Tickets are $25.
Larry McCray
On Saturday, singer-guitarist Larry McCray headlines. Also performing will be guitar wizards Jim McCarty and Jeff Grand, The Rootsologists featuring Laura Rain, and The Boa Constrictors. Tickets are $20.
A portion of ticket proceeds benefit the Detroit Blues Society. Tickets are available on

Lil’ Ed at Callahan’s
Alligator Records artist Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials are coming to Callahan’s Music Hall in Auburn Hills on Friday, Jan. 11. This is their first time through the Motor City since the release of their fine new CD, “Jump Start.” Slide guitar master Lil’ Ed recently received two Blues Music Award nominations, one for Traditional Male Blues Artist, and a second for his whole group, Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials, for Band Of The Year. They recently picked up the 2012 Living Blues Readers’ Award for Best Live Performer (they won the same award in the Critics’ Poll in 2011).
Other upcoming shows at Callahan’s include Jason Ricci (Jan. 12), and the Detroit Blues Society International Blues Challenge fundraiser concert featuring Detroit Blues Challenge winners Lady X and the Sunshine Band and Sweet Willie Tea (4 p.m. Jan. 13).
Lady X and the Sunshine Band and Sweet Willie Tea will be representing the DBS later this month at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. Lady Sunshine and the X Band finished second at the IBC in 2004.

DBS Meeting and Jam
The first Detroit Blues Society monthly meeting and jam will be held Jan. 12 at Mario’s Of Troy.
The latest recipients of the DBS Lifetime Achievement Awards --  performers Sweet Claudette and the late Baby Boy Warren, and blues historian Fred Reif -- will be honored.
MotorCity Tones
The MotorCity Tones will be the host band and will perform a set to kick off the entertainment, followed by an open jam session.

Attic Dwellers
The Attic Dwellers acoustic blues jam returns from 1-5 p.m. Jan. 13 at Paycheck’s in Hamtramck.  You can bring your acoustic instrument and join in the jam, or simply listen and enjoy the music.

 Joan Osborne gets Grammy nomination
Saguaro Road Records artist Joan Osborne has received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Blues Album for her 2012 release “Bring It On Home.” Osborne is one of the most talented and versatile singers around, comfortable in the blues, rock, soul and bluegrass genres, and “Bring It On Home” is one of the finest albums I’ve heard in quite a while.

The New York Daily News named the album to its Top Ten music list, noting that “she recasts the blues with her own grind and shout” and the New Yorker delighted in her “voice containing a rich mixture of colors….now she’s come back to the blues.”  American Songwriter magazine added, "...Osborne injects tremendous passion into sides originally recorded by Ray Charles, Sonny Boy Williamson, Al Green, Otis Redding and others. When she digs into John Mayall’s slow blues ‘Broken Wings,’ the emotional torrent obscured in the original is brought to the surface through her fiery vocals."
Check it out.

Other nominees for Best Blues Album include: “33 1/3” by Shemekia Copeland (Telarc International), “Locked Down” by Dr. John (Nonesuch), “Let It Burn” by Ruthie Foster
(Blue Corn Music), plus “And Still I Rise” by Heritage Blues Orchestra (Raisin' Music).

To send info to JB Blues, please email