Annual Blues411 Favorite Releases

Blues411 Top Categories for 2010

Ok so this is really just for giggles, what I have done here is go thru all my received CD releases from artists, labels, friends and created a ‘top jimi‘ list. Why? ‘Cos I could. Does it mean anything? Not really since it is not a comprehensive list of all releases, or categories, it’s just a fun thing I decided to do.
So sit back, pour a glass of Jameson’s, a cup of coffee, a shot of tequilla, or whatever suits ya’ and, as Ted Nugent once said, come along if you care, come along if you dare . . .

Nuthin’ like live music to get the party started . . .
Best Live Release:
J.T. Lauritsen & Buckshot Hunters – ‘LIVE”
Hamilton Loomis – Live in England
Joe Louis Walker – Blues Conspiracy: Live On The LRBC
Cee-Cee James – Seriously Raw

There is something Organic and basic to non-electrified music. . .
Acoustic Blues
Jim Byrnes – Everywhere West
Davis Coen – Jukebox Classic
Tas Cru’ – Jus’ Desserts
Maria Muldaur – Garden of Joy

If we are going down in the alley, let’s go with the best of the best . . .
Soul, R&B Blues
Quintas McCormick – Hey Jodie !
Asamu Johnson Project – Blues You can Use
Sugaray – Blind Alley
Biscuit Miler – Blues With A Smile

While we are here in the alley look who came back . . .
Welcome Back Kotter Release
Lucky Peterson – You Can Always Turn Around
Gary U.S. Bonds – Let Them Talk
Maria Muldaur – Garden of Joy (and we didn’t even knoiw she was away)

Still in that alley there were some great newbies to the scene, might be the strongest category here:
Best New Debut
Jason Elmore & Hoodoo Witch – Upside Your Head
Matt Hill -On The Floor
Burnsville Band – Give Me a Job
The Vincent Hayes Project – Reclamation

Phew, glad I’m outta that place ! Looky here the girls have shown up and ready to rumble:
Female Vocalist
Chrissie O’Dell & Hot Mess – If I Had a Dime
Cee-Cee James – Low Down Where The Snakes Crawl
Becki Sue & Her Big Rockin’ Daddies – Big Rockin’ Boogie
Johnny Ace & Cathy Lemons – LemonAce
OK, this really was the toughest category, so I broke it down to a rock, scissor, paper contest with my trusty staff photographer, damn ladies, all y’all are winners . . .

I need a drink, be right back . . . . . . . . . ..erp. . . . . . . .OK giving voice to the male kind…
Male Vocalist (and Whatever Else They Play)
Gary U.S. Bonds – Let Them Talk
JW Jones – Midnight Memphis Sun
Chris O’Leary Band – Mr. Used To Be
Harper – Stand Together

So we got us some boys, and where there are boys there are guitars . . .
Guitar Hero
JW Jones – Midnight Memphis Sun
Sauce Boss – Hot ‘n Heavy
Jason Elmore & Hoodoo Witch – Upside Your Head
Joanne Shaw Taylor – Diamonds in the Dirt

If there’s a guitar, there’s usually a bass . . .
Mr. BassMan
(Chris James &) Patrick Rynn – Gonna Boogie Anyway
Johnny Ace & Cathy Lemons – LemonAce
Biscuit Miler – Blues With A Smile
Asamu Johnson Project – Blues You can Use

I need to back off just abit here, so for your enjoyment . . .
Good Time Music/Traditional
Maria Muldaur – Garden of Joy
Mitch Woods – Gumbo Blues
Jim Byrnes – Everywhere West
Brad Vickers & Vestopolitans – Stuck With the Blues

Let’s not forget how the Blues is really an International art form, so I give you . . .
International Blues Music
JW Jones – Midnight Memphis Sun
Claude Hay – Deep Fried Satisfied
Stevie Paige – Welcome to the Big Time
Joanna Shaw Taylor – Diamonds in the Dirt
another great category, and there were others who are cross categoried who coulda been here.
Special mention to Harper – Stand Together – since he hails from ‘over there’ but lives over here now and he does play a didgeridoo !

Where is it all going, the future is now and these two artists made an impression on me by giving me download cards for their music . . .it’s a tie ! ! !
Century Distribution Channel Award goes to . . .
Phil Gates – Addicted to the Blues
The Vincent Hayes Project – Reclamation

That’s it, thanks for letting me take up some of your precious time this holiday season, thanks for visiting Blues411 it has been a gas, and I appreciate your visits, comments and good will.

2011 Blues Music Award Nominations


2011 Blues Music Awards
Presenting Sponsor: The Gibson Foundation

Acoustic Album
Eric Bibb Booker’s Guitar
Lucky Peterson You Can Always Turn Around
Paul Oscher Bet on the Blues
South Memphis String Band Home Sweet Home
The Nighthawks Last Train to Bluesville 

Acoustic Artist
Doug MacLeod
Eric Bibb
Guy Davis
John Hammond
Paul Oscher  

Buddy Guy Living Proof
Charlie Musselwhite The Well
Eden Brent Ain’t Got No Troubles
Janiva Magness The Devil is an Angel Too
The Mannish Boys Shake for Me


B.B. King Entertainer
Buddy Guy
Janiva Magness
Joe Louis Walker
Kenny Neal
Super Chikan

Derek Trucks Band
Magic Slim & the Teardrops
Nick Moss Band
Rick Estrin & the Nightcats
The Holmes Brothers
The Kilborn Alley Blues Band
The Mannish Boys 

Best New Artist Debut
Chris O’Leary Band Mr. Used to Be
Claudette King We’re Onto Something
Matt Hill On the Floor
Peter Parcek 3 The Mathematics of Love
The Vincent Hayes Project Reclamation 

Contemporary Blues Album
Buddy Guy Living Proof
Janiva Magness The Devil is an Angel Too
John Nemeth Name the Day!
Karen Lovely Still the Rain
Smokin’ Joe Kubek & Bnois King Have Blues Will Travel

Contemporary Blues Female Artist
Candye Kane
Janiva Magness
Karen Lovely
Robin Rogers – Robin has passed on, our heartfelt sympathies, fly on Robin.
Shemekia Copeland 

Contemporary Blues Male Artist
Buddy Guy
Joe Louis Walker
John Nemeth
Kenny Neal
Nick Moss 

Black Hen / Transgrease The Mississippi Sheiks Tribute Concert (Various Artists)
Delmark Live at Rooster’s Place (Tail Dragger)
NorthernBlues Music Live at Ground Zero Blues Club
(Watermelon Slim & the Workers)
Ruf Songs from the Road (Luther Allison)
Woodward Studio Nothing to Prove (Mac Arnold) 

Black Derby Chicago Blues Buddies
(Little Smokey Smothers & Elvin Bishop)
Delmark Jimmy Dawkins Presents the Leric Story
(Various Artists)
Delmark Live in Boston 1966
(Junior Wells & the Aces)
Delta Groove Harmonica Blues (Bob Corritore & Friends)
Ruf Songs from the Road (Luther Allison) 

Bill Stuve
Bob Stroger
Larry Taylor
Patrick Rynn
Steve Gomes 

Cedric Burnside
Jimi Bott
Kenny Smith
Robb Stupka
Tony Braunagel 

Derek Trucks
Duke Robillard
Joe Louis Walker
Kirk Fletcher
Ronnie Earl 

Bob Corritore
Charlie Musselwhite
James Cotton
Kim Wilson
Paul Oscher 

Big James Montgomery
Doug James
Eddie Shaw
Keith Crossan
Terry Hanck 

Gerry Hundt (mandolin)
Johnny Sansone (accordion)
Otis Taylor (banjo)
Rich Del Grosso (mandolin)
Sonny Rhodes (lap steel guitar) 

Pinetop Perkins Piano Player
David Maxwell
Dr. John
Eden Brent
Henry Butler
Mitch Woods 

Rock Blues Album
Derek Trucks Roadsongs
Kenny Wayne Shepherd Live In Chicago
Nick Moss Privileged
Steve Miller Band Bingo
Walter Trout Common Ground 

Tom Hambridge/Buddy Guy “Living Proof” (Buddy Guy – Living Proof)
Charlie Musselwhite “Sad and Beautiful World”
(Charlie Musselwhite – The Well)
Bruce Iglauer/Wyzard/David Kearney “Please Mr. President”
(Guitar Shorty – Bare Knuckle)
Dennis Walker/Alan Mirikitani “Still the Rain”
(Karen Lovely – Still the Rain)
Steve Gomes “Rained All Night”
(Tad Robinson – Back in Style) 

Soul Blues Album
Arthur Adams Stomp the Floor
Denise LaSalle 24 Hour Woman
Eugene “Hideaway” Bridges Live In San Antonio
Solomon Burke Nothing’s Impossible
Tad Robinson Back in Style
The Holmes Brothers Feed My Soul 

Soul Blues Female Artist
Barbara Carr
Claudette King
Denise LaSalle
Irma Thomas
Sista Monica Parker 

Soul Blues Male Artist
Bobby Rush
Curtis Salgado
Eugene “Hideaway” Bridges
Solomon Burke
Tad Robinson 

Traditional Blues Album
Charlie Musselwhite The Well
Duke Robillard Passport to the Blues
James Cotton Giant
Pinetop Perkins & Willie “Big Eyes” Smith Joined at the Hip
The Mannish Boys Shake for Me 

Koko Taylor Award-Traditional Blues Female
Eden Brent
Reba Russell
Ruthie Foster
Sue Foley
Teeny Tucker
Zora Young 

Traditional Blues Male Artist
Alabama Mike
Charlie Musselwhite
James Cotton
Magic Slim
Super Chikan 

Beginning at 12:00:01 December 16, purchase tickets here. Members can vote here. Artwork by David Lynch. Design by VividPix & Design. 

Joe Bonamassa Tour Dates 2010-11 & Special Downloadable Gift for Blues411 Readers

Thanks to Joe and JR-Adventures, we have combined to bring you his latest tour dates. Tickets are still available for some shows, so do get them while you have the chance to.  Joe’s shows are an experience that will leave you breathless, much as I was in Jacksonville on December 3rd, 2010.

As an added bonus to Blues411 readers we have obtained a downloadable song for you to have, just click the photo link below and enjoy, our way of saying thanks to our readers and thanks to Joe Bonamassa for his efforts in keeping the Blues alive !

 Joe Bonamassa Tour Dates

12/05/10 Orlando, FL The Plaza Theatre Buy tickets
12/08/10 Melbourne,FL King Center for Perf Arts Buy tickets
12/10/10 Hollywood, FL Seminole Hard Rock Casino Buy tickets
12/11/10 Fort Myers, FL Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall Buy tickets
02/17/11 Anaheim,CA Grove of Anaheim Buy tickets
02/18/11 San Diego, CA Balboa Theatre Buy tickets
02/19/11 Las Vegas,NV House Of Blues Buy tickets
02/22/11 Tucson, AZ Fox Tucson Theatre Buy tickets
02/23/11 Albuquerque, NM Kiva Auditorium at the Albuquerque Convention Center Buy tickets
02/24/11 El Paso,TX Plaza Theatre Buy tickets
02/26/11 Dallas, TX Music Hall At Fair Park Buy tickets
02/27/11 Tulsa,OK Brady Theatre Buy tickets
03/02/11 Sioux Falls,SD Washington Pavilion Buy tickets
03/03/11 Kansas City, MO The Midland by AMC Buy tickets
03/05/11 Ames, IA STEPHENS AUDITORIUM Buy tickets
03/06/11 Davenport, IA Adler Theatre Buy tickets
03/08/11 Aurora, IL Paramount Theatre Buy tickets
03/09/11 Peoria, IL Peoria Civic Center Buy tickets
03/11/11 Green Bay, WI WEIDNER CENTER Buy tickets
03/12/11 Milwaukee,WI Pabst Theatre Buy tickets
03/15/11 Fort Wayne, IN Embassy Theatre Buy tickets
03/16/11 Saginaw, MI Dow Event Center Buy tickets
03/18/11 Columbus, OH Palace Theatre Columbus Buy tickets
03/19/11 Cincinnati, OH Taft Theatre Buy tickets
03/21/11 Grand Rapids, MI DeVos Performance Hall Buy tickets
03/23/11 Reading, PA Sovereign Performing Arts Center Buy tickets
03/24/11 Worcester,MA Hanover Theatre Buy tickets
03/25/11 Westbury, NY NYCB Theatre at Westbury Buy tickets
05/05/11 Paris,FR Olympia Buy tickets
05/18/11 Newcastle, Australia Civic Theatre Buy tickets
05/20/11 Sydney, Australia Enmore Theatre Buy tickets
05/21/11 Brisbane , Australia The Tivoli Buy tickets
05/23/11 Perth , Australia Perth Concert Hall Buy tickets
05/26/11 Melbourne, Australia Palais Theatre Buy tickets
05/27/11 Adelaide, Australia Her Majesty’s Theatre Buy tickets

Blues411 had a meet and greet with Joe, along with some Jacksonville PBS supporters.
To view some candid, relaxed photos of Joe and fans, go to  the photos link at
Stay tuned for more photos from Joe’s Outstanding concert.

Travellin’ Music: CD Reviews From the Road

Good Grief Charles Brown, what have you been doing all these days? Well, with Thanksgiving here and gone, brings the travellin’ road show to these parts. We left for Pennsylvania to visit the Joseph clan, with a Patricola thrown in for balance (now that’s scary), and then headed way down yonder to the land of Indigo, shrimp ‘n grits, and gorgeous weather – South Carolina.

Now good people it wasn’t like I was sloughing off here, nah nah, it ain’t like that. I was hard at work listening to some of the loads of CD’s that the fine artists and their crew send me. Whether it be from labels, publicity groups or individuals they line themselves up at the door to my CD player and playfully shove and nudge for a better spot in line while awaiting my listening. A small fight broke out at one point between two CD’s – I promised not to name them, but it was settled thru diplomatic discussions and all is well between them and everyone else in the que.

So with the roughly seventeen hour drive between gray Rochester, NY and sunny Bluffton, SC, here are my thoughts on these newer releases from some well-known, some lesser known artists who took the time to send me releases so that I can offer my insights to you, the fans and supporters of the Blues in all its forms and glory….thanks and enjoy.

Biscuit Miller: “Blues With A Smile’ – BlueBass Entertainment
Yeh this baby is titled correctly, ‘Blues With A Smile‘. If any of you have seen Biscuit perform you know thats what it is all about. I had some doubts whether or not that ‘energy’ or ‘smile factor’ would translate to a cold oil based product like a CD, that’s difficult to do and often dooms many an otherwise decent release. Well, have no fear this baby had us dancing in the car (oh yeh we made it thru the check points OK). Come on now, with songs such as ‘Belly Up Some Blues’, ‘Sleeping in the Dog House‘, and, personal favorite, ‘Butter My Biscuits‘ this release brings Biscuit right into your home and gets the party started.

Assembled for this project is a fine cast of players helping out. I was thrilled to hear Shawn Kellerman, an absolutely fantastic guitar player on several tracks, if you do not know Shawn and his music I highly recommend that you do some research, you won’t be disappointed. One of Shawn’s’ partners also appearing is monster Bassist, Joseph Veloz who nicely balances the funky R&B style of the music with his purely evil work on the bass. To enhance the theory of great players on this release, we get to hear Billy Branch stepping out from his Chi-Town confines and treating us to his purely awesome harp playing on ‘Belly Up Some Blues’.

All songs were written by Mr. Miller, and if I might take a moment to comment on one particular song – ‘Willie D’, his tribute to Willie Dixon, father of the modern Blues bass players, and overlooked songwriter for so many stars of the day. Thanks Biscuit – this song really did bring a smile to my blues, and good folks go out and grab this one.

See what’s cooking with Biscuit

Jim Byrnes: ‘Everywhere West’ – Black Hen Music
Every so often I think that I have had enough of artists covering songs from ‘those who came before’ there have been countless ‘Issues’ and many of them are mediocre to say the least. Sorry, you ain’t never picked cotton, most likely never ate okra, or collards for that matter, so leave it be unless you can REALLY add something to the song, something of yourself that makes me realize that you get it.

With that diatribe outta the way, let me say Mr. Jim Byrnes GETS IT. Stepping up to the stage and giving us his take on so many well-know chestnuts that they seemed new and alive in their own right.

You need to listen to his banjo driven version of Bobby “Blue’ Bland’s ‘Yield Not To Temptation’. This version has breathed new life into this classic and at the end when the soul chorus comes in we know the path of righteousness is there on this disc. With the current revival of Mississippi Sheiks music and jug band music overall, it is a foot stomping version of ‘Bootlegger’s Blues’ here that Mr. Byrnes chooses to cover, just the right amount of country harmonies and plain old nasty banjo and fiddle had our noggins bopping like bobble head dolls in the back of a Chevy Pickup while driving down a country road with corn likker in the trunk.

Anyone who can do justice to a Louis Jordan song earns big points with me. ‘You Can’t Get That Stuff No More’ features some tasty work on a national tricone by Steve Dawson, and Daniel Lapp on trumpet and tenor banjo, and consistently good vocals by Byrnes just adds icing to the cake.

Who is Jim Byrnes ? Raised in St. Louis, and over the years has become the quintessential Canadian musician. A multiple Juno award winner, this is his fourth collabroration with producer/musician Steve Dawson. What they prove on this release is that though these songs indeed come from those before they are not to be treated as museum pieces, but as ever evolving and current reflections on the blue side of life.

Learn more about Jim

Claude Hay: ‘Deep Fried Satisfied’ – Ingot Rock
Where is the Blues headed? Is is destined to remain in the I-IV-V world of never straying chord structure? Has it become guitar driven, pedal board mashing pyrotechnics, that leaves no room for a keyboardist? Or maybe, just maybe it is returning to it’s roots, the stripped down country version where artist and audience share a common thought or experience?  I don’t know the answer, if I did I would tell ya, really I would. But here is a very interesting take on the Blues by Australian blues/Roots guitarist Claude Hay.

The genesis for this release came from Claude’s guilt-ridden love affair with the American fried food while he was touring here in 2008. As a native New York City boy I was particularly drawn to his opening song ‘Get Me Some’, wherein he sings of his fondness for NYC style pizza. Offering up such tasty lines as “there’s only one flavor for me, nice base tomato paste, cheese, pepperoni’ I am so down with that people that just the thought of real NYC pizza has me Jonesin’ for a ‘slice’.

OK, so this release is not just about funnin’ and grubbin’, it hits on some serious issues with the path our collective cultures are headed. Case in point ‘How Can You Live With Yourself’ is a stinging commentary about hi-tech dysfunction and the throw-away mentality that is so pervasive in today’s world. Oh yeh, it is set to a killer ‘muddy-style’ riff that makes the head bob (oh yeh that again) and has you recalling Mike Myers and Dana Carvey in Wayne’s World head banging to Queen. Speaking of the former super group, Mr. Hay takes on their classic “We Will Rock You’ and proceeds to impart his own, unique style to it.

If I may let me give y’all some background on Mr. Hay, from the Australian Blue Mountains he is a prime example of the DIY brand of musician. He built his twin-neck guitar, “Betty” and proceeded to customize his van with a kitchen for touring and included a recording studio inside it also. When at home he took the time to build his own house, just because he could. This Do It Yourself approach is apparent in his music also. He is literally a one-man band fusing his vocal with slide guitar, sitar, bass and electronic percussion that invokes the best of foot stomping blues and classic P-Funk styled choruses and breakdowns. This is a serious release, one that needs to be listened to with an ear for what the artist is doing and saying. Is this the Blues, is this a viable direction for it to take, where are we going and who wrote all these questions…

To find out more about this intriguing artist visit his web site

The Burnsville Band: ‘Give Me A Job’ – Double Barrel Records
This is the first release from the San Diego based Bluesville Band and it hits the spot on many levels. Featuring Steve Burns on guitars, dobro and slide, plus vocals and a solid band of brothers in arms including Joe Bernal guitar and vocals; Michael McGinty on keyboards: Dave Seely on bass and great cover photo; and Joseph Hager on drums. These boys seem equally at ease giving us some stripped down country blues sounds as well as hard edged slow blues. What impresses me is the overall theme of the release. Give Me A Job is a look into what the corporate greed and lack of oversight has brought to the nation (if not the world).

The aforementioned cover photo (and CD cover) of a musician with the bands equipment stashed in a grocery cart being wheeled down the street so poignantly captures the essence of life as we know it currently. Playing to this theme we hear Joe offering a scathing whack job on ‘Ristocrat Blues’, written by Steve Burns and Richard Rachel, all over the sweet sounding B-3 keyboard work of McGinty. The final cut on this release “Road Warrior Blues’ depicts the life of the working class/salesperson/executive/musician – every person, who has lost their luggage and is therefore at the mercy of airlines and policies who nevertheless, must venture forth with their required agenda of meetings etc. Could very well be the next anthem if the TSA has their way with us. Two covers here of note are an excellent version of the James Cotton ‘Cut You Loose’, and the Roosevelt Sykes ‘‘Drivin’ Wheel’ done long and slow like a good garbage fire, keeping us toasty on a cold night of living in the streets.

Stop by their web site and support these blues ‘Road Warriors’ and let them know that they are not, as WAR said, ‘Slippin’ Into Darkness’.

So that covers about two-thirds of the drive down, lots of interesting music going on out there, look forward to bringing ya more cos’ after all I gotta drive back.

Until Next Time
Love, Peace & Chicken Grease
photos courtesy: artists
© 2010