Posted in Uncategorized

Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion: This Is The Life I Choose”

Zoe Schwarz Blue Commotion is a British band with a powerhouse vocalist, electrifying guitarist, amazing Hammond oiganist,, and rock-steady drummer. Their new album, “This Is The Life I Choose,” proves them to be capable of great diversity, ranging from heavy blues rock to jazzy ballads.

This is a band that loves to jam. Every song provides not only a chance for Schwarz to shine on vocals but for Rob Koral to unleash some fiery guitar, while Pete Whitaker offers expressive Hammond and Paul Robinson provides just the right backbone for all of it on drums.

The album consists of 11 original songs and two bonus tracks which are covers. Basically, it is a concept album, which explores the harder, darker side of being a musician, barely scraping by on the road, but with the clear understanding that this is a conscious choice. From the first powerful notes from Schwarz on the heavy rocker “Hold On” through the bright,jazzy “My Baby Told Me So” to the timely message of love and equality in “People,” you already get the hint that this album covers a lot of different styles. But then comes the intensely emotional ballad, “Broken,” which begins with a gorgeous intro from the band and then allows Schwarz to showcase her strong interpretive ability. What perfect control!

This leads into the definitive title song,”This Is The Life I Choose,” with its potent imagery depicting the down side of the life of a blues woman. It is followed by a declaration of independence on the swing song “I Can’t Live Like That” and the punk-ish “No Money In My Pocket,” which stylistically reminds me of Joan Jett. We then get the much more laid-back, primarily acoustic blues of “Call Of The Night.”

Here ends the album proper, but the 2 bonus covers are far from throw-aways. The first is a haunting version of Jack Bruce’s “We’re Going Wrong.” and it all ends with my favorite track on the album, a magnificent version of “Feeling Good” which easily rivals Nina Simone’s.

This is a marvelous album. My one small quibble is that it is perhaps a bit too diverse. I felt a twinge of whiplash by the end from all those changes. I would have liked to have heard more of something: rock, jazz or blues, for at least a couple of songs in a row. But that is a very small quibble. Get the album. You will be impressed.zoeschwarz

Posted in blues, Music, Uncategorized

The Kentucky Headhunters premiere fantastic new video

I want to  share this link to The Kentucky Headhunter’s new video, premiering on “A Taste of Country/” God, I love those guys and this is a fantastic video with a great message!

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 14, 2017) — The Kentucky Headhunters’ brand new music video for “God Loves A Rolling Stone” can be seen today on Click HERE to watch the video now. “God Loves A Rolling Stone” is the first single from the Headhunters’ new album, On Safari.

“The video for ‘God Loves A Rolling Stone’ is a film for all of humanity. It depicts the struggles that many Americans have endured to keep our country’s spirit great and, in the end, shining. I wrote the song for those who are less fortunate, and the part that God plays in all our lives. In his eyes, we’re all the same. Enough said,” stated Richard Young of The Kentucky Headhunters.

On Safari, a Plowboy Records/Practice House Records joint venture, is the Headhunters’ 12th studio album. The album combines southern rock, blues, Americana and country sounds to create a project as unique as the band itself. Click here to purchase On Safari.

For more information on The Kentucky Headhunters, visit and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

March 14 Iron Horse Saloon — Ormond Beach, Fla.
April 01 Renfro Valley Entertainment Center — Mount Vernon, Ky.
April 21 Thunderbird Casino — Norman, Okla.
April 22 Brierfest — Greenbrier, Ark.
May 06 Indiana Grand Racing & Casino — Shelbyville, Ind.
May 12 Lake County Fairgrounds Expo Center — Eustis, Fla.
May 26 The Cumberland County Playhouse — Crossville, Tenn.
June 17 Hatbox Airfield — Muskogee, Okla.
June 24 Rock, Ribs and Ridges Festival — Augusta, N.J.
July 01 Jackson Douthitt Park — Jackson, Ky.
July 02 Concert on the Water — Arley, Ala.
July 07 HaveROCK Revival — Havelock, Ont., Canada
July 08 Tolchester Marina — Chestertown, Md.
July 14 Anderson Music Hall — Hiawassee, Ga.
July 15 Downtown Summer Nights — Decatur, Tenn.
July 22 Strawberry Festival — Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
July 28 Fayette County Fair — Dunbar, Pa.
Aug. 05 Race Days Festival — Raceland, Ky.
Aug. 10 Elk County Fair — Kersey, Pa.
Aug. 11 Mason County Fair — Point Pleasant, W. Va.
Aug. 14 Henry County Fair — Napoleon, Ohio
Sept. 02 The Shed — Maryville, Tenn.
Sept. 14 Warren County A&L Fair — McMinnville, Tenn.
Oct. 21 Rockers, Riders & Ribs — Longview, Texas

About The Kentucky Headhunters:
Known as “Southern Rock Royalty” and the “great American rock ‘n’ roll band,” The Kentucky Headhunters have maintained a longevity most acts can only dream about. With a GRAMMY® Award, two Top 10 charting albums, four consecutive Top 40 hits and countless other honors, The “Heads” are credited for creating a unique blend of honky-tonk, blues, and southern rock that appeals to the toughest music critics and listeners of all kinds. Getting their start in 1968, brothers Fred and Richard Young and cousins Greg Martin and Anthony Kenney, from Edmonton, Kentucky, formed Itchy Brother, which later morphed into The Kentucky Headhunters after Kenney departed and Doug Phelps joined the band. Their first album, Pickin’ On Nashville, (1989), surprised the world when it became a major success, selling over two million copies. Their 2015 release Meet Me in Bluesland, included the last vocals ever recorded of the late, great pianist Johnnie Johnson — Rock N Roll Hall of Famer and legendary keyboardist for Chuck Berry. The album reached the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Blues Album chart the week of its debut. It also garnered top placement on the Billboard Americana Chart. The band’s Fall 2016 release On Safari is a southern rock album that tips the hat to family and the southern way of life. The Kentucky Headhunters still tour extensively throughout the United States and Canada, and recently completed their first-ever European tour. For more information on The Kentucky Headhunters, please visit

Posted in blues, Music, Uncategorized

Curtis Salgado reported doing well after triple bypass surgery

According to his   manager Shane Tappendorf, as reported on Curtis Salgado’s Facebook page yesterday morning (March 12), “Curis is sitting up and is talkative.”  We ae glad to hea this and wish hin a rapid recovery!

Here is the press elease about the surgery from Alligator Records:


Award-winning soul and blues singer Curtis Salgado will undergo triple bypass surgery at a Lebanon, New Hampshire area hospital on Friday, March 10, 2017. Salgado was admitted to the hospital on March 7 after what doctors described as a mild heart attack. A cardio catheterization revealed arterial blockage. According to Salgado’s manager, Shane Tappendorf, “We expect the surgery to be successful and anticipate a full recovery.”

All of Salgado’s regular performance dates have been cancelled through May, though he still intends to perform at the 2017 Blues Music Awards ceremony in Memphis on May 11, where he is nominated for three top awards, including Album Of The Year (for his recent release The Beautiful Lowdown), Soul Blues Artist Of The Year, and Song Of The Year (for Walk A Mile In My Blues). He won the 2010, 2012 and 2013 Blues Music Awards for Soul Blues Artist Of The Year. In 2013 he also won the coveted BMA for B.B. King Entertainer Of The Year—the highest honor the blues world has to offer—and took the statue for Soul Blues Album Of The Year for his Alligator Records debut, Soul Shot.

Born February 4, 1954 in Everett, Washington, Salgado grew up in Eugene, Oregon. His home was always filled with music. His parents’ record collection included everything from Count Basie to Fats Waller, and his older brother and sister turned him on to the soul and blues of Wilson Pickett and Muddy Waters. He attended a Count Basie performance when he was 13 and decided then and there that music was his calling. Curtis began devouring the blues of Little Walter and Paul Butterfield, fell in love with the harmonica and taught himself to play.

By his early 20s, Salgado was already making a name for himself in Eugene’s music scene. He developed into a player and singer of remarkable depth, with vocal and musical influences including Otis Redding, O.V. Wright, Johnnie Taylor, Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson I and II, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Howlin’ Wolf, Otis Spann and Magic Sam. Once Salgado joined forces with Robert Cray and they began playing together as The Robert Cray Band, he found himself sharing stages with many of his heroes, including Muddy Waters, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Albert Collins and Bonnie Raitt

In 1977, comedian/actor John Belushi was in Eugene filming Animal House. During downtime from production, Belushi caught a typically ferocious Salgado performance and introduced himself during a break. Once Salgado started sharing some of his blues knowledge, a fast friendship grew. Salgado spent hours playing old records for Belushi, teaching him about blues and R&B. Belushi used his new awareness to portray “Joliet” Jake Blues in The Blues Brothers, first as a skit on Saturday Night Live and then as a best-selling record album (which was dedicated to Curtis) and finally as a major motion picture (Cab Calloway’s character was named Curtis as an homage).

After Salgado and Cray parted ways in 1982, Curtis went on to front Roomful Of Blues, singing and touring with them from 1984 through 1986. Back home in Oregon, he formed a new band, Curtis Salgado & The Stilettos, releasing his first solo album in 1991. His friend and fan Steve Miller invited Curtis and his band to open for him on a summer shed tour in 1992. Two years later, Salgado spent the summer on the road singing with Santana. Salgado signed with Shanachie Records in 1999, putting out four critically acclaimed albums. He successfully battled back from liver cancer in 2006 and lung cancer in 2008 and 2012, reemerging stronger and more determined to share his music with the world.

Salgado joined Alligator Records in 2012, releasing Soul Shot that year and The Beautiful Lowdown in 2016. The strength of his records and live performances has led Salgado to tour far and wide, appearing at major festivals including Portland’s Waterfront Blues Festival, The San Francisco Blues Festival, The Chicago Blues Festival, Memphis’ Beale Street Music Festival, The Tampa Bay Blues Festival, Denver’s Mile High Blues Festival, Toronto’s Waterfront Blues Festival, Thailand’s Phuket International Blues Festival, Poland’s Blues Alive Festival, and recently in the Philippines, Guam, Brazil, Saipan and Panama.

Posted in Uncategorized

Chicken Raid 2017

Our favorite music festival!


From the FB page:

The Chicken Raid is an annual music festival held at the NORTHSIDE TAVERN to honor the late beloved Atlanta bluesman Mr. Frank Edwards. Frank Edwards was born in Washington, GA on March 20th, 1909. At 14, an argument with his father caused Frank to leave home for Florida. In St. Augustine he met Tampa Red, “Champion of the Slide Guitar.” Red influenced and encouraged the younger musician. The two roomed together for a while before Red moved to Chicago in the mid 20’s. Frank stayed in Florida for about five years before moving to Knoxville, TN where he worked in a flour mill. After several years, he hit the road to play music. He traveled all over the country, going up North to play clubs in New York and Chicago during the summer and back down South in the winter to play house parties, cafes and in the streets. He started off hoboing, later taking buses before eventually buying a car. Around 1934 he developed his technique of playing harmonica and guitar at the same time. He played at times with the Star Band, a string band based in Atlanta. In Mississippi he became associated with Robert Petway and Tommy McClennan, with whom he played and traveled. On a trip to Chicago, McClennan introduced Frank to his manager, Lester Melrose, which lead to Frank’s first recording session for the Okeh label in 1941.

When the war broke out, Frank was drafted into the Army. Stationed first in Macon, GA and then in Arizona, he made a lot of money performing for the other soldiers. After two or three years, he was discharged from service due to an accident, and he settled in Atlanta. He met and played with many of the city’s other great blues artists, such as Blind Willie McTell, Buddy Moss, Curley Weaver and Barbecue Bob Hicks. Rumor has it that it was Curley who, in 1949, arranged Frank’s second recording session (for the Regal label) and backed him on second guitar.

Mr. Frank continued to travel throughout the 40’s until opportunities dwindled in the mid 60’s. In 1971, Frank was “discovered” by blues researcher Pete Lowry, who recorded him in late 1972. This album, Done Some Travelin’ came out on Lowry’s Trix label in 1973.

Mr. Frank celebrated his 93rd birthday on March 22, 2002 at Northside Tavern, performing with Jim Ransone, Dave Roth and Evan Lee. The place was packed with friends, family and fans. Two days later he was in North Carolina with Music Maker Relief Foundation, recording what was to be his last album, Chicken Raid. On the drive home to Atlanta, Mr. Frank, the most beloved and respected figure on the Atlanta blues scene passed away. Until the end, he would put on a sharp suit and hat almost every night and drive himself out to various clubs around town to see and hear live blues. He could frequently be seen at Blind Willie’s or Northside Tavern, sitting at his regular seat at the corner of the bar, drinking diet Cokes and listening to the music that he loved so much.

– Portions excerpted from J. Ransone’s biography page

Posted in Uncategorized

Eliza Neals -10,000 Feet Below

(Originally written by Rhetta for Making A Scene)

What happens when you take one former opera singer (Eliza Neals), one guitar legend (Howard Glazer),and a totall of 17 musicians, send them to 5 studios and try to create something new in modern blues-rock

YElizaou get a phenomenal album called 10.000 Feet Down.

To try to describe the sound of this record, take the blues. Give tem to a Detroit girl who teams up with a psychedelic guitarist. Steep those blues in Detroit sound. Then stretch them to their absolute limits before returning them to their roots. There you have a fair approximation.

A warniing to blues purists: You won’t like this. In fact, it may scare you, although a few songs may be acceptable, like You Ain’t My Dog No More.” To all you people who aren’t blues purists, I think you are going to love this.

Eliza’s voice is powerful, with a wildness that sometimes seems barely controlled. But it can also ometimes become softer when she wants. By using so many musicians on this album, she could create many different sounds. Glazer plays in all but two songs, which feature Paul Nelson and Billy Davis. She uses five different bassists and four drummers, and then she herself handled vocals and played piano, Hammond B3, Rhodes, and tambourine.

it was like having her own chemistry set, and while it could have ended up chaotic instead all those ingredients created an album that always just sounds like it belongs together and could only come from Neals who wrote or co-wrote all but one song.

You know from the start you are going to hear something different wit the dark, swampy “Cleotus” and the mysterious, haunting “Another Lifetime,” with its vocal that does sound as though it is coming from somewhere distant from the listener. Both of these songs depend on Glaser;s guitar to draw you in.

Next “Burn The Tent Down” stars witha quirky intro and then becomes purely rocking blues with lyrics that will grab you, shake you up and not let go. The title track, “10,000 Feet Below,” exemplifies the controlled feral quality Neals is capable of projecting.

“You Ain’t My Dog No More features amazing guitar from Glazer and powerful lyrics from Neals as she kicks her pet to the curb. Did I mention this woman’s got attitude?

Things quiet down for Cold, Cold Night,” featuring that more controlled vocal style I mentioned and with Paul Nelson, who played with Johnny Winter, on guitar and Eliza letting her piano skills shine.After it comes the one cover on the album, which I personally am in love with. It’s Skip James’ “Hard Killing Floor,” a haunting song that becomes even more so in Eliza’s ethereal version. This is definitely an album highlight.

“Call Me Moonshine” is another hard-hitting number with an edge of danger in Elza’s voice . It features Glazer’s amazing guitar that is so essential to this album. “Downhill On A Rocket” is a rocker that offers great drumming fro Robin Nizri and bass by Mike Griot.

Returning closer to the blues this time Southern style Eliza shows us all that attitude again on “Merle Dixon,” before showing her sweet style and her piano skills on the long closing cut, “At The Crossroads,” with former Hendrix band member Billy Davis on gitar. This is one of Eliza’s best compositions sp far, I think.

Eliza Neals is a marvel. She and Glazer are a great musical pairing, but playing with so many different musicians really shows what a chameleon she is and her abiity to bring out the best in the already great With this album she has once again given us somthing which could only be hers andif you like your blues-rock with an edge, you will love it!

Posted in Books, Folk, Music

Book review: ‘Stand Up and Sing! Pete Seeger, Folk Music and the Path to Justice’ by Susanna Reich

Rhetta Akamatsu

Summary : iThis s a picture book intended for children in grades 3 through 7. But, like the music and message of Pete Seeger himself, it is really a book for everyone

Stand Up and Sing! Pete Seeger, Folk Music and the Path to Justice by Susanna Reich is a picture book intended for children in grades 3 through 7. But, like the music and message of Pete Seeger himself, it is really a book for everyone. Adam Gustavson’s beautiful illustrations alone, capturing Seeger throughout his life, make this a book that belongs in every school and public library, and one to be shared and passed down from parent to child.

Add to that the masterful way that Reich tells the story of Pete Seeger’s life and his profound belief in human rights and the power of music to change the world, as well as his steadfast courage to stand up for what he believed was right, and you have an important and timely story.

Yet both the words and the illustrations manage to convey all this without ever being preachy, talking down to children or making Seeger more than what he always wanted to be: a sinple man with a banjo and a head full of songs who loved to sing and entertain people, and maybe bring them all a little closer. A man, who with the faith in human goodness, built a ship with his friends and sailed it on the filthy Hudson River until people were inspired to clean it up.

He is a man children and their parents need to know. Our folk heroes are important and now Pete Seeger is no longer here to spread his message of love, equality, joy and peace for everyone, it is urgent we spread it for him. Which is what Reich and Gustavson do so admirably in this book.

If you are a teacher, this book along with some of Seeger’s music would be perfect for any class concerning the fight for the Unions, against McCarthyism, Civil Rights, the folk movement of the ’50s and ’60s, or the Vietnam War. If you have children between the age of 8 and 12, buy one for them and one for their school. They will love it, and so will you. Seeger was a man of the people, and this is a book for the people.