Photo Gallery: Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival, Day 1

What a great place for a festival – Maryland Shore in a National Park Beach area, sand, trees, nice bathrooms ahhhh.

This is day one,  featuring some super bands including The Tedeschi/Trucks Band, Janiva Magness, Ruthie Foster and more….

Enjoy the photos, and look for day two shortly. I just want to thank Don Hooker, Tony Colter,  Janiva Magness and Philipp Fankhauser for their kindness towards me during this great weekend of music.



Until next time,

Love, Peace & Chicken Grease
© 2012
photos: Leslie K. Joseph, Blues411

Interview: Trent Romens: Young Man’s Blues

I met Trent in quite an inauspicious way. While at the New Daisy theater in Memphis a young, very attractive lady was handing out postcards about an artist who I had heard of thru Blind Raccoon, I mentioned that I enjoyed his music and she said “…well tell him, this is Trent” I was totally unprepared  – before me stood a very young man, polite, proper and quite genuine in his approach to conversation and able to converse on a wide range of topics.
After some minutes I felt like I had met someone from my past – an old soul of sorts. Throughout that weekend we often spent time together chatting, poking fun at each other and generally having a kindred experience. Let me introduce you to this 20 year old blues-man from Edina, Minnesota. He is bold, passionate and with just enough audacity to make me truly like him as an artist and as a person. Trent Romens……

B411: First off I have to tell you, I truly believe that ‘you get it’. There is a certain aura to you and the way you handle yourself in public and on stage is beyond your years and speaks volumes about you.
Trent Romens: Thank you, I appreciate that. It’s very cool that you feel that way.

B411: Let’s touch on something that is very current and very cool, you are opening for Jimmy Vaughn. Tell me something about that and how it came to be.
TR: Well yeh it really is, it’s in Rochester, MN at the Whiskey Bones March 23, 8:00PM– I am really excited about it. To be able to open for someone of that stature is just enormous, hopefully I will be able to meet him and talk to him some. That’s a pretty cool step in the process for me. My manager talked to the venue after hearing that Jimmy was coming in and she jumped on it.

B411: If I can flash back to my first statement to you about ‘getting it‘. I have called you, and heard others also say that you seem to be ‘an old soul’. How do you feel about something like that. Does it get old, or is it a pressure situation for you?

I’ll tell you what, it’s better than people telling me I’m going to be famous. That stuff just gets in your head.

B411: How do you feel about that, how would you explain that and what does it mean to you?
TR: I’ve listened to a lot of older music, and I think it has had that type of effect upon me, hence my soul is old. While some of the newer music I really don’t like it that much. Most of my generation really digs that music, I don’t. I personally think it’s a cool thing to have said about me.

B411: So what did you listen to as a younger person? You have been playing the Blues for a long time but prior to that.
TR: When I was really young I just didn’t get the Blues. Nor did I get some of the music I get and am into today, like the Grateful Dead. I liked the Backstreet Boys, Aaron Carter, pop stuff, I wanted to just get up and dance. I was a victim of the record labels back then.
I started to get into classic rock and Blues and some Jazz – this was in Middle School – and that’s when I started playing guitar. Since then this is the music I listen to and I really enjoy it. Take Derek Trucks, he’s an old soul right there. He has modernized the genre, he does his thing and it sounded so cool and awesome that it showed me that this music is really great and to look at where it came from and where it is now. In a way it made the music legitimate to me.

B411: That’s pretty good thinking on your part. I must confess that I re-visited your release ‘Aware’ after meeting you – I heard a mix of subtle sounds from various artists such as the Allman Brothers, Derek Trucks, Derek and the Dominoes etc. It is not a strict style or, as we often hear, a seventeen year old white boy playing SRV. It is your sound.
TR: I am kind of a genre whore, that’s what I like to call it.

B411: That’s a good one, can I use that? See I believe that roots and influences are different. Influences can change as to what you are into at the moment, or if you suddenly get hipped to a band or sound that you dig….Roots on the other hand are the foundation or core of what you as an artist is.
TR: I dig these questions, people don’t often think of the differences between these two important things.
So let’s start with the roots first. I grew up with two brothers and one older sister, the brothers are two years younger than me. It was in a great neighborhood, and had a very loving family. Very supportive with us kids, which made it easier for me to dive into other types of music. I didn’t need to listen to angry music because I didn’t have that in me. I also feel that I have a good head on my shoulders,it’s on pretty straight. Those are my roots.
Now influences, Derek Trucks is a huge influence on me. He was the bridge, he made me want to be good, as good as him. I wanted to do that. I studied him constantly – listened to his music, and the music of people he covered, I literally ate him up. I wanted to be able to play like him.
It sort of went like this – I wanted to play guitar, well what does that mean? I wanted to play this song or this riff, I like it, it’s cool, I then wanted to be able to do that – to solo like that ….I kept having more fun, to this day I am still learning and having fun along the way. Wanting to learn new things with my craft, so finding certain players and music helps make that happen.

B411: Speaking of learning, are you still taking lessons, practicing do you consider playing out practice and learning enough?
TR: It’s a little bit of both, this is stuff I am learning even now. For guitar it used to be I’d learn a scale and notes and hear an artist so I would try to recreate that sound or riffs. Then once you understand the riffs you can start to put your own spin on it. You learn to play and then decide to play this way – or that way and go from there.
There’s also a technical/exercise side to it. To play certain riffs, to play them fast or to be able to move your fingers to those places your fingers have to be strong and master executing those riffs. I am still learning, to this day, to think about the technical side to guitar playing. Mostly the shredder style like Eric Johnson stuff. But it shows how practice is essential.
We also have just listening to music and playing with a band. Vocal exercises are important too, I usually try to do thirty minutes of vocal exercises a day. There are all sorts of levels and the deeper you get into it the deeper and more stuff opens up to learn. Tell me more about it, since it sticks out in my mind.

B411: Your release “Aware”, on New Folk Records, is an exciting combination of Blues styles, but one stood out for me – ‘Hey Now’. Very deep stuff, personal, up to date almost out of the sixties a spot on topical song with Bob Marley rhythm, with an anthem-like chorus. Tell me more about it, since it sticks out in my mind.
TR: That was just a sitting down with an acoustic guitar kind of song. I was sitting there and played a G-chord and started going off that, the melody came along and the words were ‘hey now’ for some reason. Yeh, it had that Marley feel and it was such a harmony based song – especially when the chorus comes in.
Bob Marley is such a huge vocal influence on me. I was always a guitar player who didn’t sing. But I wanted to do a CD and I need to sing on it, so I have been singing for two years on stage now. It is a very comfortable style of singing, and his songs and stories were so powerful.

B411: We finally got to meet in Memphis at the International Blues Challenge. I had a blast, how was the whole experience for you?
TR: It was great ! I loved playing with different musicians, in different venues, with different people around. I don’t get a lot of that in Minneapolis. I play where I can but usually with people I know, and even with people I know in the crowd, or even a venue I know. It was a whole different world for me.
It was so cool to play before people who didn’t know me, but loved Blues music – to play with musicians who I had no idea of who they were, nor did they know me. It was a treat for me to see people really enjoy what we all did.

B411: With all the music I saw I still did not see everyone, but I did catch some of the Youth Showcase and jams during the week. They were just fab !
TR: That was great. All those jams playing with the younger kids – there are so many talented musicians out there. These folks made me want to go home and practice even harder. But to also come back next year, and did I mention how cool the people in the audience were, they made it so easy to just play and share the music, the whole Blues community were amazing.

B411: Trent, it has been a pleasure to meet you, and thank you for taking the time to speak with us. I know I will see you again on the Blues Highway and the sooner the better.

To learn more about this rising young blues artist visit his web site at:

Until next time,
Love, Peace & Chicken Grease
© 2012
photos: Blues411


Amuse Bouche – 32nd Blues Music Awards

Those of you who are familair with my writings migjht remember a little over a year ago when I first put fingers to keyboard to capture my experiences at the Blues Music Awards. Well I’m at it again. With these little snippets or ‘amuse bouches’ (happy mouths in French Culinary terms) I will give you the opportunity to read and hopefully ‘see’ some of the action that went on at the 32nd Blues Music Awards in Memphis. This is by no means a fully fledged account of what went on but more of being at a moment in time and holding on to it and giving it to you to read.

So here we go . . . .

The array of talented musicians all located in one place, it is almost, I say almost, an overload situation. Actually I might have hit the overload button Thursday night while standing outside the main room when Scott Burnett walked over and said hi to me and I totally blanked on who he was. I’ve known Scotty for about four years, see what I’m saying.

Speaking of Scotty, during one of the frequent stints in the hotel bar, I look over and see Scotty’s boss-man, Captain Roger Naber, busy working on his computer while seated on a bar stool in the corner. He was busy working on calming the turbulent waters surrounding the LRBC’s decision to move the October cruise to Puerto Rico – as opposed to it being a West Coast Cruise. A few words of encouragement and I hi-tailed it outta there. Roger works hard on getting the best for these cruises and this proved it once again.

About 1,600 blues fans just being themselves all week long !

The ‘peacocks’ in all their fine attire, and the lovely ladies.

The opportunity to re-connect with Eugene ‘Hideaway’ Bridges, who was nominated in two categories this year, Soul Blues Album (Solomon Burke) and Soul Blues Artist (Solomon Burke). Eugene enthralled us with his story on flying to the USA from Australia and driving from Texas to Memphis, complete with police stops and camera assisted speed documentation to prove he was NOT driving over the limit, right on bro ! Later that night Mr. Bridges showed the audience why he was nominated in two categories !

The often strange but always funny ‘secret calls’ between musician’s who have used them to identify each other in crowded venues and rooms. Quite similar to those ‘cool high fives’ that athletes use – each different yet each one specifically tailored to match their personalities.

The overwhelming and palpable excitement from the ‘new kids on the block’ such as Karen Lovely, The Vincent Hayes Project, The Chris O’Leary Band and others who made it here for the first time and were floored by the whole experience.

OK, so just to prove that last statement Vincent Hayes texted me “I just met Robert Cray !” Karen Lovely and Lori Haynes commenting on how they (we all) are fans first, and how they felt they were walking on a cloud or in a dream of sorts. Karen later at the Awards performance just blowing the roof off the convention center at 1:30 in the morning to a thinned out crowd.

The pre-party which featured Eden Brent, Chris O’Leary Band, and The Vincent Hayes Project – the tone was set for the night !

Steve Miller opening the ‘official’ portion of the awards, and being so perfect it could have been a recording.

Mr. Eddie Turner being, Eddie Turner.

Tony Colter being the ultimate professional – working the live feed broadcast back to listeners and being spot on. I have heard nothing but praise for your efforts!

Rick Estrin displaying ‘hand’s free’ harmonica, while being accompanied by the smooth Kirk Fletcher on guitar. Y’all gonna have to buy the DVD to see this baby !

The tribute for Robert Johnson’s 100th Birthday and his son and family being there to share with us.

Reba Russell and band just ripping us out of our seats with what was one of the hottest sets of the night. You go girl !

Willie ‘Big Eyes’ Smith being just the most humble and sweet man.

Buddy Guy being — Buddy Guy !

Buddy being genuinely touched by each of his five awards.

A rumour being circulated that the new name for the BMA’s will be the Buddy Music Awards.

The Janiva Magness Band along with Tony Rogers playing ‘The Plan’.

A roomful of tears (both sorrow and joy) for Robin Roger’s winning Best Female Vocalist and Tony’s speech. Also for the other sweet and graciousfemale artists who promoted voting for Robin during their shows. Thank you ladies, the spirit lives within you all.

Buddy Guy telling us he was gonna play us something so funky that we could taste it ! And then doing just that !

The professionalism of Janiva Magness shining through when her mic was not working – her singing over the band so we could hear her and then burning a spot in our souls when the mic came back to life.

Bob Corritore winning the award for Historical Album (Harmoinica Blues), and all the work he has done over the years. SWEET !

Derek Trucks doing stand-up comedy – who knew !

The Nighthawks FINALLY winning a BMA for Acoustic Album with their ‘Last Train To Bluesville’ release.

Mitch Woods unscheduled ‘sex-change’ and the reinstatement of his ‘hood as he cranked out some fine boogie woogie piano.

Candye Kane in a stunning blue and yellow Kewpie doll outfit, insuring that no one else would be wearing the same outfit, as had happened once before.

Mr. John Hammond, following up Buddy Guy’s set, armed with an acoustic guitar and his voice, just calming and quieting the crowd with one helluva outstanding performance. I am not sure anyone else could have done it, cos Buddy’s set was killah. Did I mention John winning the Award for Best Acoustic Artist.

Matt Hill – Best New Artist – creating havoc with the final performance of the long night. Not only wining over the crowd but he had the ladies in the palm of his hand !

Until next time,
Love, Peace & Chicken Grease,

photos: courtesy of  Leslie K. Joseph, Aigars Lapsa.

I would like to thank Aigars for sharing his photos with us on Blues411, to see more photos from Aigars please visit:
To read earlier interview with Karen Lovely visit:
To read interview with Vincent Hayes click:
both of these interviews were conducted before the BMA’s were even announced, read about how we called it back then for these two amazing artists who were nominated for BMA’s.

© 2011

2011 Blues Music Awards, Memphis

What we have here is a seriously sweet collection of photos from Blues411 covering alot of the events that occured in and around Memphis during the Blues Music Awards.

From arrival, to grabbing a bite to eat (repeatedly – fried chicken, ribs, tofu) to touring Memphis, and insdie the clubs and jook joints we got about 125 pics – so enjoy them and take your time !