Tag Archives: Wendy Schumer

Opinion: Happy Birthday Blues411 & Thanks To All Y’all

It was September 7, 2010 that fetus-like Blues411,com posed the question “What are the blues anyway?” It’s answer was a very interesting release by Spencer Bohren, a splendid musician who has covered a lot of ground as a musician, and educator. I still think it works today as much as it did then.

It was a quiet start, a few took notice, others (and more) could care less about what I thought. The second article held more sway and was an act of serendipity in a true sense of the word. ‘In Our Collective Thoughts was about Robin Rogers. It was not an easy write, but it was something that had to be done. Urged on by Janiva Magness it appeared on September 11, 2010 and I look at that as a major point in my decision to keep going forward with the site.

Shortly thereafter, September 20, 2010 I was thrilled to be able to chat up Rock ‘n Blues legend George Thorogood. In what remains one of my favorite interviews George and I almost forgot to talk about music as our common love of baseball set the stage for great analogies and side steps.

We ended the month with a super deep talk with Ms. Karen Lovely. She had just released her second album (is that vinyl?) ‘Still The Rain’ and we spoke about childhood, hurt, love, children and the path that life takes.

Pretty decent for a first month of officially documented work.

Back to the future if we may. Tomorrow (September 7th) begins the fourth anniversary of the birth of Blues411. Never in my wildest dreams would I dare to think that it would be all this AND a bag of chips!
From working with SiriusXM Bluesville, and being in their studio and with them on air at the BMA’s, to making so many friends who are genuine and kind – artists and fans alike – who share the passion and fever that possessed me for this music.

There is a depth of support and (dare I say) love that exists in this community and being a native New Yorker I was skeptical at first, well was I wrong. The relationships that I have developed with folks around the world has made me one of the happiest folks I know. Y’all keep telling me I got a great smile, well hell yeh I do, I am that blessed that it can’t help but show.

The 'eyes' of Blues411

The ‘eyes’ of Blues411

I do not do this alone, first off there is my wife and best friend, Leslie. Who encouraged and supported me from before Day1. I had been toying with the idea of this for some time and had several incarnations and assignments before branching out on my own. She stood by me and still does, even though she is now retired and is reigning over me and keeping me in line a tad more than usual, but it’s all good.

The artists are wonderful. They open up to some of my odd or difficult questions. They think and respond with real feelings and at times emotions. My interview with Zac Harmon was a landmark for me and an eye opener for many as we spoke of things that normally do not get passed the gated doors of the inner sanctum or back rooms of the music industry. My interview with a, then, not very well known one man band, Ben Prestage, who excited me with the content and imagery inside his song writing.

Folks related to the blues world, not necessarily musicians but those who work along the side lines, Vinny Marini, Bill Wax, Tony Colter – these on air personalities who allow me to share their stage with them, thanks to each of you. Betsie Brown, Frank Roszak, Mark Pucci and many other kind souls who work the media end and supply the music to me so I can let get you the new word on the street.

The festival folks who strive to put on stage for us all the very best of national and local talent. Eric Larsen at the Chenango Blues Festival, my first festival and always will be my favorite, and Michael Cloeren of the PA Blues fest for allowing me to be part of their team. A special thanks to Earl Thomas for asking me to be MC for his ‘Raise The Roof Concert’ in California, and the artists who performed that day. Yes, Roger Nabor for bringing his dream, the Bluescruise to us all so that we may share in it. That was a critical jumping off point for me as I saw and interacted with so many on my first cruise that I knew that I had to spread the good word.

Allow me to take it back a step – to the indie artists, Lucy Hammond, Amy Hart, Mia Vermillion, The Port City Prophets and countless more who toil night and day to make their music their way and deserve our attention and support.

To our fans and friends, Martin Goettsch, Marcia Adams, Wendy Schumer, Pete Enright and all of you who tell me to keep going to stay the course, and support me and what I do. You pass out buttons, you comment on posts you turn me on to your fav bands – we are all in this together. I am but the conduit and you all are the energy. My extra set of eyes, and ears.

I just looked at the stats for this past month August 2013. Over 11k visitors to the site for the month! Holy spam blockers batman, that’s an amazing number. That plus all the fun on Facebook that we all have together helps me keep on keeping on. It also spurs me to make it all even better, I will strive to do so because everyone ‘deserves’ the very best from each of us, and by giving our best to each other we can make us all better.

Sorry for the ramble, I sit here amazed and humbled by the overwhelming success of this little web site that could and this week has been one of reflection, re-purposing and relaxing when I can. Drinks at the pool, a Friday tradition!

Look for changes, all for the better I hope, for continuity, for new ways to help everyone reach the common goal – to keep the Blues alive & thriving.

Love, Peace & Chicken Grease

©Blues411.com 2013
Where Blues Thrive

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Opinion: Palpable FOMS Revisited, Bluescruise Mania at Peak Season.


\ˈpal-pə-bəl\, adjective
14th century Middle English, from Late Latin palpabilis, from Latin palpare to stroke, caress, feel

It surely does - hold on tight and enjoy the ride!

It surely does – hold on tight and enjoy the ride!

That is one true word, for what is going on in the Bluescruise Framily, as we draw down to the final week before embarkation from Fort Lauderdale to the islands of the sunny and warm Caribbean. I say these words as I am torn between tending to the work in front of me, or repeatedly going over the schedule of events, or re-checking our stack of luggage to be sure the toga in tucked away (along with the wig for ‘Soul Blues/Wig Night’ night).

Seriously, how can one actually decide on which show to see. Yeh, the artists are scheduled over the seven days and at each of the five venues. But how do you choose between Zydeco master Terrance Simien at the Showroom at Sea main stage, or The Otis Taylor Band on the Pool Deck?

Always THE thing to do. Set your alarm, have a roving knocker wake ya, or just stay up, but be there.

This conundrum is especially acute for the virgin cruiser. I recall my very first year getting on the shuttle bus to the ‘dam boat’ with my little list all sorted by venue, time, artist feeling very much in control and confident that I got this bull by the horns. Suddenly someone asked if they could see my list, and they immediately pronounced me a virgin. BUSTED! Some good natured chiding and loving advice that as good as my ‘list’ was that once I was on the ship it would be pretty useless. They were so right. There is so much going on, where do we stay, what shall we see, do we get off the boat, why is this cruise different from any other cruise, who are all these crazy people and will I fit in? There is a ‘sunrise party’ and Virgin party, Returnee Party, the Facebook/Chatboard/Sail Away Party, ahh yeh really. Ya won’t know half of what’s going on till you are on the boat and start schmoozing with all of us.

What we have here is truly an international family gathering, a tribe of non-affiliated, non-related, non-members who are brought together by their love of the Blues. We will be blessed to have ‘The Vikings’ on board for this cruise – look out for these folks, they party like Vikings and are some of the nicest peeps ya ever wanna meet, but beware the CAN PARTY. There are also the world-traveling Aussie contingent, who usually win the award for farthest travel to get to cruise, unless someone comes from Mars, and sometimes it sure feels/looks like that has occurred..


/’fah-ahms\, noun, acronym
22nd century Cruiserism, Fear Of Missing Something

With so much to do, Wendy has given us a great assist for keeping track.

With so much to do, Wendy has given us a great assist for keeping track.

I do not know who first wrote this word down but it is one of the most appropriate words in the world of Bluescruisin’. I saw it first on the old Bluescruise chat-board, yes before the days of FaceBook. It was from a mysterious cat named ‘Lester Leaps In‘ as he had been known to appear out of nowhere and into a topic discussion offering sagely advice to all. This is a very real state of being, the fear of missing something, and it is a condition that just has to be dealt with.

The solution is such -
There is no way you can see or hear everything that is going on, nor can you be everywhere you want to be (you are not a VISA card). This January (like next week) there will be approximately 20+ bands/performers scheduled to appear throughout the week. This is not counting the spontaneous jams that occur on the ship, many of which happen at the Piano Bar (and usually after 2:00 AM). OK, it’s impossible, there are indoor and outdoor venues, pick one, if it doesn’t float your boat switch you will have another chance to see the act elsewhere during the week. Be happy with where you are enjoy the moment and know that it was the best there was.

Oh yeh, these 20+ or so acts are just the main acts, the names, the performers the pros – - – then there are the amateurs. The amount of talent on the dam boat is unparalleled – many of these players are top quality players who just happen to be doctors, writers, railroad engineers, chefs, and domestic gods/goddesses. Do not miss the Pro-Am jams, swing by and at any moment you may see some seriously good music being put down by your cruise brethren. A great aspect of these jams is that often the ‘pros’ will show up to just ‘play’. Entire horn sections have been know to join in with the ammies, and at one amazing point from a few January’s ago, ‘Junior’ from the ‘dam boat’ showed up with his Steel Drum. I won’t even tell you how good that was. Please make an effort to stop by maybe once each day/night to see what is going on at these jams that are hosted by some of your fellow cruisers, hey ya never know !


Folks take their costumes seriously here, enjoy each parade.

Folks take their costumes seriously here, enjoy each parade.

As the late great Warren Zevon sorta said ……sleep when your dead….It is overrated, get it when you can, or need to. If you pass out on the Pool Deck someone will throw a cover over you to make sure you don’t catch a chill.

The Bluescruise will be departing Ft. Lauderdale on Sunday, January 20 to the Caribbean, you can learn more by going to www.bluescruise.com. Oh yeh if ya can’t make it you can watch us leave Fort Lauderdale here: http://portevergladeswebcam.com/

Until next time,
Love, Peace & Chicken Grease

©Blues411.com 2013
Where Blues Thrives
Photos: Blues411

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Photo Gallery: Friday’s Child is Slow on the Uptake (BMA’s day after)

After a superior show at convention center, we struggled to get straight on Friday.  Dedication of Mississippi Blues Trail Marker was a nice start, then off to Gus’s for fried Chicken Breakfast.

cc. twoletters show was really interesting and good, as she and Roddy Barnes provided “carol burnett/lily tomlin’ styled perfromances to blues music. A quick stop at Rum Boogie for Vizztone artists showcase and off to the ballgame, then some Eddie Turner & Dennis Jones, followed by dinner and back to hotel.



Until next time,

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

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