Posted in blues

The 2019 Blues Music Award Winners

Here is the complete list of Blues Music Award winners (final)
1. Acoustic Album: Journeys to the Heart of the Blues – Joe Louis Walker/Bruce Katz/Giles Robson
2. Acoustic Artist: Rory Block
3. Album: America’s Child – Shemekia Copeland
4. B.B. King Entertainer: Michael Ledbetter
5. Band: Welch-Ledbetter Connection
6. Best Emerging Artist Album: Free – Amanda Fish
7. Blues Rock Album: The Big Bad Blues – Billy F Gibbons
8. Blues Rock Artist: Eric Gales
9. Contemporary Blues Album: America’s Child – Shemekia Copeland
10. Contemporary Blues Female Artist: Danielle Nicole
11. Contemporary Blues Male Artist: Kenny Neal
12. Instrumentalist-Bass: Danielle Nicole
13. Instrumentalist-Drums: Cedric Burnside
14. Instrumentalist-Guitar: Monster Mike Welch
15. Instrumentalist-Harmonica: Dennis Gruenling
16. Instrumentalist-Horn: Vanessa Collier
17. Instrumentalist- Pinetop Perkins Piano Player: Marcia Ball
18. Instrumentalist-Vocals: Michael Ledbetter
19. Song: “No Mercy In This Land” Written By Ben Harper and Performed by Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite
20. Soul Blues Album: I’m Still Around – Johnny Rawls
21. Soul Blues Female Artist: Annika Chambers
22. Soul Blues Male Artist: Sugaray Rayford
23. Traditional Blues Album: The Blues is Alive and Well – Buddy Guy
24. Koko Taylor Award for Traditional Blues Female Artist: Ruthie Foster
25. Traditional Blues Male Artist: Nick Moss

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Posted in blues, Music, Uncategorized

The Blue Ridge Blues and BBQ Festival 2018

The Blue Ridge Blues and BBQ Festival took place on September 15. What a perfect festival it was! It smelled fantastic, the surroundings were beautiful, and the music was great. What more could you want from a festival? Oh, and the BBQ was delicious!

We got there after the first band, The Red, White and Blues Band started, but the two songs we heard were well-done. Unfortunately, we only got photos with our more professional camera, which turned out to not be working.

Luckily, I took pictures with my phone of The Tullie Brae Band because, full disclosure, Tullie is a friend. She is such a dynamic performer, songwriter, and vocalist. She always blows me away.

tulliecollage

Next was The Rolling Bones Band. They put on an entertaining set. We had not yet realized the problem with the camera, though.

Suddenly, during the break between The Rolling Bones and Cradle, the skies opened up. Rain poured down! An army of umbrellas opened up, but we didn’t have one. My friend Kathy came to the rescue and insisted I use hers. I owe her a favor for that!

It did not rain for long, but it did cause some technical problems, particularly for Cradle, who are a large group, eleven members in all. They soldiered on, though, and delighted the audience with classic rock songs we happily sang along to. It was during their set that we realized the camera was not working and started using my phone exclusively. I got these pictures.

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After a short delay, Victor Wainwright and The Train came onstage. The three members of The Tain came out first and did a couple of numbers. At this point, there was no electricity on one side of the stage because of the rain, but they did not let that stop them. They are such a tight group. And then Victor Wainwright came on stage, and The Piano from Savannah proceeded to blow us all away. He played mostly songs from the Victor Wainwright and the Train album and managed to fit quite a lot of magnificent music into a rather brief amount of time allotted to him before the festival ended. But what a fantastic end to the evening.

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My friend Alby told me a couple of groups (not Tullie or Victor) annoyed him because they kept attributing songs to the wrong artists. I am not the blues scholar Alby is, but I said I would mention that not every song was done by Little Walter!

Despite that quibble, a good time was had by all! Thanks to Tullie Brae and Jaymie Fallon for the hugs and love and to everyone involved in the festival for a great time! This was our 4th Blue Ridge Festival and it won’t be our last.

Disability notes. It is a challenging venue. There are speed bumps, grassy areas, and railroad tracks. But people are so eager to help! I was in the wheelchair Saturday and Ken was pushing me and if we even wobbled for a second somebody jumped in to help. You can do it if you take it slow, and it is so worth it!

kenrhettablueridge
Rhetta and Ken
Posted in blues, Uncategorized

The Blues Music Award Winners

Here is a complete list of the BMA winners. For once, people I voted for actually won!

1. Acoustic Album: Break the Chain – Doug MacLeod
2. Acoustic Artist: Taj Mahal
3. Album: TajMo – Taj Mahal & Keb’ Mo’ 
4. B.B. King Entertainer: Taj Mahal
5. Band: Rick Estrin & the Nightcats
6. Best Emerging Artist Album: Southern Avenue – Southern Avenue
7. Contemporary Blues Album: TajMo – Taj Mahal & Keb’ Mo’
8. Contemporary Blues Female Artist: Samantha Fish
9. Contemporary Blues Male Artist: Keb’ Mo’
10. Historical: A Legend Never Dies, Essential Recordings 1976-1997 – Luther Allison (Ruf Recordings)
11. Instrumentalist-Vocalist: Beth Hart
12. Instrumentalist-Bass: Michael “Mudcat” Ward
13. Instrumentalist-Drums: Tony Braunagel
14. Instrumentalist-Guitar: Ronnie Earl
15. Instrumentalist-Harmonica: Jason Ricci
16. Instrumentalist-Horn: Trombone Shorty
17. Pinetop Perkins Piano Player (Instrumentalist – Piano): Victor Wainwright
18. Koko Taylor Award (Traditional Blues Female): Ruthie Foster
19. Rock Blues Album: We’re All In This Together – Walter Trout
20. Rock Blues Artist: Mike Zito
21. Song: “The Blues Ain’t Going Nowhere” written by Rick Estrin and performed by Rick Estrin
22. Soul Blues Album: Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm – Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm
23. Soul Blues Female Artist: Mavis Staples
24. Soul Blues Male Artist: Curtis Salgado
25. Traditional Blues Album: Right Place, Right Time – Mike Welch and Mike Ledbetter
26. Traditional Blues Male Artist: Rick Estrin

 

Posted in Americana, blues, Music, Uncategorized

Congrats to the blues and roots Grammy winners!

Best Traditional Blues Album: “Blue & Lonesome” — The Rolling Stones

Best Contemporary Blues Album: “TajMo” — Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’

Best Regional Roots Music Album: “Kalenda” — Lost Bayou Ramblers

Best American Roots Performance: “Killer Diller Blues” — Alabama Shakes\

grammy

Best American Roots Song: “If We Were Vampires” — Jason Isbell, songwriter (Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit)

Best Americana Album: “The Nashville Sound” — Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

The Rolling Stones started out as a blues band way back in the ”60s, and not only played the music bu actively supported the blues musicians who were living and working at the time, It is great to hear them get back to their roots. And surely no one can argue with the greatness of Keb Mo and Taj Mahal, a pairing that had to happen.

As for the roots and Americana artists, Alabama Shakes really were killer on :Killer Diler Blues.: And The Lost Bayou Ramblers, working with Jack White, did something very different with  Kalinda, a whole albun inspired bty one song. It was a gamble, but it paid off!

I had never heard “If We Were Vampires,” so I listened on Spotify and it is a beautiful song about love and the fear of loss and a worthy winner.

Congrats to all the winners!

Posted in blues, Music, Uncategorized

Eric Hughes – ‘Meet Me In Memphis’

Eric HughesIn Meet Me In Memphis, Eric Hughes and his band do a fabulous job of not only capturing Memphis in all its diversity but of moving smoothly from blues to blues-rock with hints of soul and country as well.

Hughes and the band start out with a powerful blues rocker, “Freight Train of Pain,” just to show what they can do. They then launch into “Meet Me in Memphis,” such a powerful ad for the city that you may find yourself packing your suitcase and heading for Beale! The voices of Reba Russell and Susan Marshal on the chorus invite you into church and the piano and organ, played by Chris Stephenson, add to the gospel flavor, while Art Edmaiston and Marc Franklin, on saxophone and trumpet add spice and beckon you to the clubs along Beale.

“Roll a Fatty For Your Daddy” is pure blues, the sort of song you might hear on a Memphis street corner back in the day. It is followed by a highlight of the album, “The Day They Hanged the Kid.” This epic piece of storytelling in song captures the grit of classic Western movies.

“Here Comes the Boogie Man” is a different kind of storytelling song, one that evokes scary movies and campfire tales, before the mood changes completely for the sweet,  slightly vintage-sounding  ballad, “:I Left My Heart at Your Place (For Donna).”

“Midtown Blues” is a humorous blues with smoking music behind Hughes’ sly vocals. It is followed by the blues-rocker, “I’m Knockin’ On Your Door,” a tale of love and suspicion. The Album ends with the charming ‘i Believe I’m Going Fishing,” an ode to that activity. It leaves you feeling good.

There are hints here of the old bluesmen, of ZZ Top and Jimmy Buffet. But mostly there’s Memphis. Hughes has done a great job of capturing his hometown, and the album is a delight.magazine

Originally published in Making A Scene Magazine

Posted in blues, Music, Uncategorized

ThunderGypsy – ‘ThunderGypsy’

Updated from the original article by Rhetta posted in Making A Scene magazine.

ThunderGypsy is the group chosen at the Atlanta Blues Challenge sponsored by the Atlanta Blues Society to represent the city at the International Blues Challenge 2018. They have a new CD out, produced by Richard L’Hommedieu at Midnight Circus Studios, and it is phenomenal. They won the unlimited studio time as a prize for winning the challenge and they took advantage of it masterfully! While they did not win in the tough Memphis competition, they will win you over with this album.

Heather Statham, the vocalist, has a strong, clear voice that is a pleasure to hear, and the band backing her up are highly skilled. Ken Williams on drums and Richard Price on guitar really know their stuff, but for me, it is Statham and Paul Allison on keys who really adds sparkle to these songs.

And what songs they have chosen! The CD opens with “Chasin’ the Miles,” a road song that opens with the organ and then serves as a strong introduction to Statham and the rest of the band. It is followed by a highlight of the recording, an absolutely stunning version of “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right,” a Bob Dylan song I have loved since the first time I heard Dylan sing it many years ago. Yet here, Statham and the rest of ThunderGypsy make it sound fresh and new and riveting all over again.

“Don’t Cry To Me” begins with mellow horns and then continues with Statham proving she can do a heartbreaking ballad as well as the best crooners, with drummer Williams providing a soft, persistent beat and the rest of the band keeping it appropriately understated in the background.

Picking up the pace again, Statham gets into the gospel-flavored “The River,” which will make you want to raise your hands and shout. Quieting things down again, we get the contemporary blues of “Turn On the Bright Lights,” showing this group can do this style well, too. Statham’s voice has just enough of a rasp on the chorus to convey the emotion. “New Secrets” continues the contemporary mode and allows Price to show off some tasty guitar along with the organ.

Returning to a familiar favorite, the band delivers the smooth gospel of “People Get Ready,” with marvelous organ solos and that effective drumming from Williams as well as that perfect vocal. It is followed by “Anyday,” with Statham seeming to channel Tina Turner and more great organ and mellow guitar solos.

Fearlessly, the band then takes on “St. James Infirmary,” one of the most spine-chilling blues songs ever written, and they do a beautiful job of it. Then they finish off on a blues romp with “I Don’t Need No Doctor.”

This CD proves that ThunderGypsy is a force to be reckoned with and that you need this in your collection. They can handle a variety of styles with ease and Atlanta can be proud to have had them represent the city. No matter what happened with the Challenge,  they are winners and

this is a CD to savor.

Posted in blues, Music, Uncategorized

Michelle Malone – ‘Slings and Arrows’

Originally published by Rhetta in Making A Scene magazine

Michelle Malone is a proud Georgia singer/songwriter and guitar slinger who is stirred up about things on her upcoming release, Slings and Arrows, and she is right up front about it. Since she is so good at what she does, you’re pretty much guaranteed to enjoy it while you are listening and think about it when it’s done. There are some tough subjects here, but despite whatever hardships may have inspired most of these songs, Malone’s spirit shines through.

“The past year seemed to alternate between darkness and light,” Malone reflects in the press release. “It’s kind of been the arc of my life in general, but even more so over the past year. In a very real sense, this album is a microcosm of issues that I’ve encountered, and in writing this record, it became a kind of therapy. It helped change my perspective, and I suspect that there are messages here that can offer affirmation to others as well.”

Delving into the songs,”Just Getting Started” is a driving motivational number while “Love Yourself,” is a rocker with the message that “You can’t love nobody until you love yourself,” and we need forgiveness and unification, even on a national level.

Next is “Sugar On My Tongue,” a love song with a soul groove. It’s followed by “Beast’s Boogie,” about a musician who has passed on. It is a raucous boogie with a touching story.

Then comes a cover, and what a cover! It’s a duet with fellow Georgian Shawn Mullins on the perennial classic “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long.” The mesh of Malone’s and Mullen’s voices is simply perfect and this song alone is worth the cost of the album.

“Fox and the Hound” is an exciting rocker with some amazing slide guitar from Malone, reminding us in case we somehow forgot that she is a master of that, too.

“Civil War” is a brittle song about abuse and fighting back. Malone does not flinch from the subject, here or in “Matador,” another song of betrayal and hurt.

Then comes”The Flame” a soaring ballad about losing everything but hope, while “Boxing Gloves” is a triumphant song about finding strength after terrible blows.

With the music Malone has created with fellow Georgia musicians, she has made is album tough and truthful yet upbeat, driving and energetic, This one is something special and highly recommend