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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!


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Showing posts with label Monster Mike Welch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Monster Mike Welch. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Sweetspot Records artist: Al Basile - B's Time - New Release Review

 I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, B's Time, by Al Basile and it's a cool retrospective of Basile's 25 years with Sweetspot Records using up to date technology on the remastering. Opening with You Showed Me Something, from 2009 release, Soul Blue, Basile on cornet and lead vocals is joined by  Mark Teixeira on drums, Bruce Katz on keys, Marty Ballou on bass, Doug James on sax, and Carl Querfurth on trombone, that walking bass line really sets up for great solos by Basile, Katz and James. Great opener. Two stepper, Drive Me Darling from the 2001 release Shaking The Soul Tree had a cool psychedelic rock vibe with solid vocals by Basile. Jeff McAllister on drums, Tom West on keys, John Packer on bass and some wild guitar work By Duke Robillard really makes this track a standout. Light jazz track, B.D. from the 2003 release Red Breath is chilled and relaxed giving Basille a lot of room to breathe on cornet and sets up with real nice lead work by Paul Odeh on keys, backed by Marty Richards on drums, and Marty Ballou on on bass. Very nice. A splash of reggae on Causing Joy from the 2009's Soul Blue features Basile on some real nice vocal, Doug James on sax, Ballou on bass, Katz on Katz on keys, Teixeira on drums really lays in the slot. Wrapping the release is driving rocker, 1.843 Million from 2010 release The Goods, with a tight drum set from Teixeira, and really heavy bass work by Brad Hallen. Basile's cornet sings and Robillard laying in some vital riffs makes this track an excellent closer. 


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Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Gulf Coast Records artist: Monster Mike Welch - Nothing But Time - New Release Review

 


I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Nothing But Time, from Monster Mike Welch and it's flat out scorching! Opening with Walking To You Baby, Mike wastes absolutely no time kicking this release into overdrive. With solid vocals and high strung, blues guitar phrasing, Mike sails. Backed by Jerry Jemmott on bass, Bob Welch on piano, Kid Andersen on keys, Fabrice Bessouat on drums, Eric Spaulding on tenor sax, Jack Sanford on bari sax, and John Halblieb on trumpet, this track will part your hair. George Harrison's terrific track, I Me Mine gets a real nice cover by Mike and though he doesn't vary far from the original theme, it's a real nice track and Mike's interpretation, adding horns and blues guitar riffs takes it to the next level. Excellent shuffle, I Ain't Saying shows Mike's strong vocals and Texas style blues riffs setting up a great groove. With Andersen on bass, Spaulding on sax Bob on piano and Bessouat on drums, Mike kills it on guitar. One of my favorite tracks on the release is funky blues, In Case You Care, with Jemmott back on bass, Mike Peloquin on sax, Dr Aaron Lington on bari, Halblieb on trumpet, Mike Rinta on trombone, and Vicki Randle on percussion, this track is hot! Jump For Joy is really packed with energy and Mike is again swinging for the wall. Gotta say if he comes to Phoenix, I'm seeing the concert. Slow blues, Ten Years Ago is that one track when you just sit back in your chair nodding. Mike grabs this track by the scruff and shakes the stuffing out of it. His vocals are gripping and his guitar attack is relentless. Excellent! Wrapping the release is a modern take on Robert Johnson's Kind Hearted Woman Blues with Mike on electric guitar and vocal. His poise and prowess are obvious and his vocals are actually in line with Johnson's own falsetto. This is an excellent track to close a spectacular release. Out of the park


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Thursday, February 18, 2021

Ruf Records artist: Ghalia Volt - One Woman Band - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, One Woman Band, from Ghalia Volt and it's super. Opening with stripped down, Last Minute Packer,  Ghalia Volt has gone the way of a one woman band playing slide guitar and drums on this track backing her own bluesy vocals. The is a high energy strong opener. Espiritu Papago is another cool blues rocker with just a little more refinement with the addition of Dean Zucchero on bass. Tampa Red's It Hurt's Me Too is a strong classic included on the release with strong vocals and solid, traditional electric slide playing. Very nice. A little switch up on It Ain't Bad and a tight little rocker. With blues rock chords and a rockabilly turn around, Crissie Hynde like vocal and slap cymbals, this is really sweet. Letting it all hang out on Bad Apple, Volt turns up the amp on her slide and works the guitar nicely in concert with her lead vocal and foot drum. One of the longer tracks on the release and a open space for frenzied slide work. Very nice. Wrapping the release is Just One More Time, featuring Monster Mike Welch on guitar and Dean Zucchero on bass. A driving rocker, Volt pulls out the top candidate for radio track on the release. Its simple melody and term bend soloing by Welch makes it an excellent closer. 


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Monday, July 27, 2020

Shining Stone Records artist: Anthony Geraci - Daydreams In Blue - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Daydreams In Blue, from Anthony Geraci and it's a solid release with a who's who of players. Opening with shuffle, Love Changes Everything, the line up is Dennis Brennan on lead vocal with Anthony Geraci on piano, Monster Mike Welch on lead guitar, Michael Mudcat Ward on bass, Jeff Armstrong on drums, and with Scott Arruda on trumpet and Mark Early on sax. I really like Welch's approach on guitar with excellent phrasing and tone. Very cool. Walter Trout sits in on No One Hears My Prayers and lays in some of the smoking best guitar riffs I've heard in a while over full horns and tight piano riffs. Brennan and Geraci play a smart piano duet on Mister, a smooth shuffle with Brenan on lead vocal and harmonica and Geraci on piano. With cool piano rolls and extended lead lines, this track has a nice groove. Swing track, Tutti Frutti Booty has a great beat and rowdy vocals by Geraci. Geraci really kicks out the stops on this one and Troy Gonyea's guitar work really is tops working it hard with a horn compliment. Classic track, Jelly, Jelly has some of Brennan's best vocals on the track and with a more poised approach, gives Geraci a nice option to play clean articulate riffs. Welch is back on this one and his signature vibrato and overall styling is terrific. Wrapping the release is Ode To Todd, Ella and Mike Ledbetter, a piano focused jazz instrumental. A smart closer for a real nice release. 


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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Delmark Records artist: Breezy Rodio - If It Ain't Broke Don't Fix It - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, If It Ain't Broke Don't Fix It, by Breezy Rodio and it's solid fun. Opening with title track, If It Ain't Broke Don't Fix It, Breezy Rodio on lead vocal and guitar first shows a Latin rhythm which moves to a cool shuffle. Backed by Ariyo Ariyoshi on piano, Dan tabion on organ, Light Palone on bass and Lorenzo Francocci on drums and nicely complimented by Constantine Alexander on trumpet, Ian Letts on tenor sax, Ian "The Chief" McGarrie on bari sax and Simone Nobile on harmonica. On A Woman Don't Care, Rodio digs in nicely with excellent blues vocals, punctuated by McGarrie and Alexander. His guitar phrasing, supported nicely by the piano of Ariyo gives the track a real cool feel. A real nice slower blues, Los Christianos, showcases Rodio's soulful vocal styling and solid blues guitar chops. Very nice. With it's 60's rock feel, instrumental, The Breeze has Rodio on solo guitar with Watusi like rhythm and a dash of Freddie King. Very cool. The rolling bass line on Pick Up Blues has great tempo and Gomez's harmonica lead behind Rodio is really nice. Clean guitar soloing and strong vocals are the secret on this one. Returning to the slow blues on Dear Blues, Rodio shows a real appreciation for many of the blues guitar greatsBB King with smart phrasing with excellent feel. Albert Collins like, stinging riffs, T Bone Walkers beautiful runs and Earl Hooker/Albert King are also nicely executed. Excellent! Wrapping the release is soulful shuffle, Another Day, with Marvin Little on bass. With it's R&B roots, this is a strong closer with Rodio's vocals up front and a real nice opportunity to show his chops one more time.

This is a real nice release with plenty of guitar to satisfy your appetite. 

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Thursday, October 25, 2018

Shining Stone Records artist: Anthony Geraci - Why Did You Have To Go - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Why Did You Have To Go, from Anthony Geraci, and it's rich. Opening with R&B title track, Why Did You Have To Go, Sugar Ray Norcia is upfront on lead vocal backed by Michael Mudcat Ward on bass, Marty Richards on drums, Sax Gordon on sax, Doug Woolverton on trumpet and with stellar guitar styling by Monster Mike Welch and piano wizardry by Anthony Geraci. Excellent opener. Bluesy ballad, Angelina, Angelina is really strong with really nice piano work by Geraci and lead vocals by Sugaray Rayford. Welch is back again with signature tone, backed by Willie J Campbell on bass and Jimi Bott on drums. Very nice. Soul track, Two Steps Away From The Blues, features Michelle "Evil Gal" Willson on lead vocal with warm piano and B3 work by Geraci. Norcia is back on vocal and harp on Time's Running Out, an easy shuffle, joined by nice pace piano work by Geraci and the strong guitar accents by Ronnie Earl. One of my favorite tracks on the release is Baptized In The River Yazoo with Willie J Laws on piano duet with Geraci. The piano work here is terrific. Another track with dazzling piano is Too Many Bad Decisions with Dennis Brennan on lead vocal and Welch on guitar. Slow blues, My Last Good-Bye digs in deep with Norcia on vocal and harp. Piano tension and guitar excellence (by Earl) really gives this track edge, making it another of my choices for the release. Wrapping the release is jazzy A Minor, Affair with Troy Gonyea and Geraci leading the foundation of the track which features nice trumpet and sax solos by Wooverton and Beadle and a flight fingered guitar solo by Kid Ramos. Excellent closer for a strong release. 

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Friday, March 23, 2018

Ruf Records artist: Victor Wainwright and The Train - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent self titled release, Victor Wainwright and The Train and it's rockin. Wainwright on lead vocal and keys pushes a nice duel with guitarist Pat Harrington, on Healing, backed by Billy Dean on drums and Terrance Grayson on bass. Also adding a nice bit of oomph are Mark Earley on sax and Doug Woolverton on trumpet. Nice opener. Train is a hot boogie woogie track with Wainwright really driving hard on vocal and piano. Woolverton and Earley fill nicely and Reba Russell's vocals are super.  Excellent track. Soulful, Dull Your Shine is a really nice track that puts me in mind of D'Angelo with a suspenseful approach to the song and super vocals. Also of particular note on this track is a sweet guitar solo by Greg Gumpel. Blues with a distinct R&B feel, Thank You Lucille, is possibly my favorite track on release featuring some of Wainwright's best vocals on the release and Monster Mike Welch handling the lead guitar spot, backed by Reba Russell, Nick Black and Patricia Ann Dees on vocal. Boogie Depression is another driving boogie with super piano and excellent slide work by Harrington. Nice! Foot stompin rocker, Righteous really gets that tent revival feeling going with a solid bottom, powerful vocal by Wainwright, super slide work by Harrington, and vocal backing by Russell. Very cool. Rocking boogie, I'll Start Tomorrow is a real mover with cooking piano and organ, tight drums, a great sax solo by Earley and punchy trumpet work by Woolverton. Another track with strong slide lead by Harrington is Sunshine. His slide work is inspired and fat, soaring into the music nicely. A track, seemingly built around his excellent slide lead, a real keeper. Wrapping the release is gospel styled, That's Love To Me, with it's rich melody, organ and soulful vocals by Wainwright. Subtle but nice acoustic guitar by Jeff Jensen adds nicely and solid lead guitar by Harrington adds depth for an excellent closer to a really strong release.



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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Gandy Dancer Records artist: Peter Ward - Blues On My Shoulders - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Blues On My Shoulders, from Peter Ward and it's quite good. Opening with solid shuffle, She Took It All, Peter Ward on guitar and lead vocal sets a great pace with Mudcat Ward on bass, Neil Gouvin on drums and Sugar Ray Norcia on harp. Excellent opener. Surf rocker, Which Hazel, is a solid rocker along the lines of Chuck Berry with a strong surf twist. Clever lyrics and guitar riffs by Ward give this track a lot of gas. On title track, Blues On My Shoulders, Anthony Geraci adds nice piano and I particularly love the guitar work by Monster Mike Welch. Collaborate is all about lush chords and sassy sax and Ward's guitar work with Sax Gordon Beadle's sax work is just that. Excellent! Shuffle track, It's On Me is another outstanding entry on the release with a hot sax solo from Beadle and hot fingering from Ronnie Earl and Ward. Very nice. Southpaw is a hot number with a smoking B3 solo from Rusty Scott, solid bass work from George Dellomo, and hot guitar riffs by Ward.  One of my personal favorites on the release is jump track, Kansas City Blues featuring great vocals, a strong bass line by Joe Delia and really nice soloing by Ward. Wrapping the release is Drummin' Willie, about Willie Big Eyes Smith with Neil Gouvin on druma, Mudcat on bass and Sugar Ray Norcia on harp. This is a strong release with a lot of cool surprises. Check it out. 

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Monday, November 6, 2017

Stony Plain Records artist: Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters - The Luckiest Man - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release (November 17, 2017), The Luckiest Man, from Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters and it's really strong. Opening with Don Robey's Ain't That Loving You, and a great groove featuring Diane Blue on vocals, the band is smoking. Earl's perfect syncopation on his solos backed by Dave Limina on keys, Forrest Padgett on drums and Paul Kochanski on bass...excellent opener. Jim's Song is a quiet, introspective track using primarily guitar chords as the skeleton and guitar lead soloing as a lush environmental flesh. Very nice. With a cool swing, Blue is back up front on Heartbreak (It's Hurtin' Me). Limina really takes the floor with his B3 solo and Earl tears it up nicely with great balance and style. Soul track, Never Gonna Break My Faith really shows off Blue's vocal style at it's best. Earl and Limina carry the weight, but this track is all about Blue and she kills it. Sugar Ray Norcia's slow blues, Long Lost Conversation features Sugar Ray on lead vocal and harp, backed by Anthony Geraci on piano, Mike Welsh on guitar, Neil Gouvin on drums, Mudcat Ward on bass and of course Earl on lead guitar. This track is extended (over 10 minutes) and excellent! Blues For Magic Sam is another excellent track. Purely instrumental, Earl plays the melody of this excellent track with expressive confidence, technique and style. Really nice!  Wrapping the release is Fenton Robinson's You Don't Know What Love Is with it's funky beat. Blue is back up front on lead vocal works really nicely with Earl adding as much strength vocally as Earl does on guitar. This is a really strong closer for a really solid release.



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Monday, August 28, 2017

Boston-Based Guitarist Peter Ward Sets October 20 Release Date for His New CD, "Blues on My Shoulders," on Gandy Dancer Records; Special Guests Include Ronnie Earl, Sugar Ray & the Bluetones and Sax Gordon Beadle



Boston-Based Guitarist Peter Ward Sets October 20 Release Date for His New CD, Blues on My Shoulders, on Gandy Dancer Records

Special Guests Include Ronnie Earl, Sugar Ray & the Bluetones and Sax Gordon Beadle

BOSTON, MA – Guitarist Peter Ward announces an October 20 release date for his new CD, Blues on My Shoulders, on Gandy Dancer Records. Besides Ward on guitar and vocals, special guests on the new disc include multiple Blues Music Award-winning guitar legend Ronnie Earl, Sax Gordon Beadle on sax and the members of Sugar Ray and the Bluetones: Sugar Ray Norcia (vocals and harmonica), “Monster” Mike Welch (guitar), Anthony Geraci (piano), Michael “Mudcat” Ward (Peter’s brother – bass) and Neil Gouvin (drums). 

“It pleases me to present Blues on My Shoulders, my first solo project,” Peter Ward says about the new album. “I wrote the words and music to 12 of the 13 songs. I grew up wearing out the vinyl records trying to understand how Robert Jr. Lockwood, Tiny Grimes, Louis Meyers and Jimmy Rogers made songs sound so good. It's what I wanted to do. I was lucky to sit in often with my friend (and former roommate) Ronnie Earl and play alongside many of my musical heroes. A highlight was touring with the Legendary Blues Band: Joe Willie ‘Pinetop’ Perkins, Willie ‘Big Eyes’ Smith, Calvin ‘Fuzz’ Jones and Jerry Portnoy, who had brilliantly backed Muddy Waters for years. The way they played blues was everything I believed in, then and now. Willie Smith was an inventive drummer — and a wily character. I pay tribute to him in the song, ‘Drummin' Willie.’ The track ‘Which Hazel’ is my homage to Chuck Berry. Sugar Ray Norcia honored me by singing the heck out of ‘Collaborate,’ a tribute to Lockwood and Lonnie Johnson. I appreciate that Ronnie Earl and Sax Gordon Beadle accepted my invitation to perform on two songs: ‘A Little More’ and ‘It's On Me.’ ‘Southpaw’ is my ode to lesser-known left-handed swing guitarist Dickie Thompson, who worked with organist and front man Wild Bill Davis. My instrumental, ‘Shiprock,’ reminds me of a hallowed part of Navajo country I visited with my wife Mai Cramer, who died of breast cancer in 2002 and previously hosted a popular blues program every weekend for 24 years on WGBH-FM. She was an avid supporter of the blues and its purveyors. I think she would have liked Blues on My Shoulders. I hope you do.”

As a teenager growing up in Lewiston, Maine, Peter and his brother Michael (“Mudcat”) listened intently to blues records and went to see Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Taj Mahal and Hubert Sumlin whenever they performed in the area. Peter played blues with Mudcat and did gigs also with his younger brother Jeff, who died in 1991. “Jeff was too young to drink, but club owners would let him in so he could play bass with New York City drummer Ola Dixon and me,” Ward recalls.

Ward later moved to Boston and played in various bands, frequently sitting in with Sugar Ray & the Bluetones, who then featured his brother and Ronnie Earl, and backed blues artists such as Jimmy Rogers, Eddie ‘Cleanhead’ Vinson and Lowell Fulson.

“In the Big Apple, I was thrilled when Otis Rush told me I played chords like an ‘old man,’ Ward remembers. “In 1978, each week I drove across I-90 to Rochester, N.Y. to play blues for three nights with guitarist-vocalist Joe Beard. Beloved there, Joe had once been a neighbor of Son House. In the 1980s, I loved everything about touring with the Legendary Blues Band — the traveling and camaraderie, but especially the way we played blues in an unhurried, improvisational way. We recorded a CD for Rounder Records that featured Duke Robillard, whose brilliant guitar I had first heard at a high school dance.


“I married Mai Cramer, who spun records for Boston station WGBH-FM every weekend from 1978 until 2002, when she died of breast cancer. Her fans and I stage a fundraiser in her honor each spring for charity at the Regent Theatre in Arlington, Mass. Headliners have included Jody Williams, Luther ‘Guitar Junior’ Johnson, Lurrie Bell, Ron Levy and Eddie Taylor, Jr. In 2010, I produced Goodbye Liza Jane: Hello Western Swing, a CD of western swing (a cousin to the blues) with Herb Remington, an original member of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. In recent years I've begun writing songs, as I culled the many snippets of melodies and phrases stuck in my mind. It's fun to turn thoughts into songs and then sing them while people dance. It's been a blast, and it's not over.”

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

New Release - Monster Mike Welch & Mike Ledbetter "Right Place, Right Time"





Monster Mike Welch & Mike Ledbetter
"Right Place, Right Time"

With Special Guest: Laura Chavez

With over 25 years under his belt, Boston-based blues guitarist Monster Mike Welch is handily considered a seasoned veteran of the international blues scene at just a mere 37 years old. Adorned with the nickname “Monster Mike” by actor/comedian Dan Aykroyd at the tender age of 13, Welch has since carved out a successful living as a highly accomplished and in-demand guitarist. To date, Welch has released six albums under his own name and in 2001, he joined the ranks of one of New England’s most beloved blues institutions, Sugar Ray and the Bluetones. In addition, Welch has performed and recorded with Duke Robillard, Nick Moss, Johnny Winter, Darrell Nulisch and more recently, the Knickerbocker All-Stars, which has featured among others, Jimmie Vaughan and the aforementioned Robillard. No stranger to the Delta Groove family, Welch also appears on recordings by the Mannish BoysSugaray Rayford and the Igor Prado Band, as well as playing a central role in the critically acclaimed album, Fifty Shades of Blue, by Anthony Geraci and the Boston Blues All Stars. Welch has received two consecutive Blues Music Award nominations by the Blues Foundation for Instrumentalist-Guitar beginning in 2016.

Chicago's own Mike Ledbetter has had nothing short of a rich and multi-dimensional musical journey thus far. Before making a home in West Side Chicago and Memphis style blues, Ledbetter set his feet in various genres ranging from soul, gospel, pop, jazz, and even spent the better part of a decade performing on Chicago opera stages. Spending eight years under the tutelage of his mentor, Nick Moss, Ledbetter recorded and toured the world with Moss as his lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist. In this short time, he has made more than a lasting impression and developed a legion of fans. He's also worked with and earned the respect of many of his heroes and influences (Anson Funderburgh, Barrelhouse Chuck, Billy Flynn, Curtis Salgado, Jimmy Johnson, Lazy Lester, Ronnie Earl) as a member of the new school of blues/soul musician whose style is cemented in its Golden Era.

On Sunday, June 12, 2016, Welch and Ledbetter took part in a special tribute to the legendary Otis Rush at the 33rd Annual Chicago Blues Festival. The chemistry between these two was so instantaneous and such a natural fit, that it became readily apparent that an album together must soon follow. Right Place, Right Time is the result of this inspired collaboration, born out of a mutual love and respect for the classic blues era of the ‘50s and ‘60s and artists such as Otis Rush, Magic Sam, Elmore James and B.B. King. Accompanying Welch and Ledbetter is an all-star cast featuring pianist/organist Anthony Geraci, bassist Ronnie James Weber and drummer Marty Richards, along with special guests Laura Chavez on guitar and saxophonists Doug James and Sax Gordon. For Monster Mike Welch and Mike Ledbetter this album is not just about being in the right place at the right time, but knowing what to do with it when you find yourselves there.
“Welch is becoming an all-around guitar master…” – Living Blues Magazine

“An ass-kicking, axe-picking bluesman with a wide range of mood and colour.” – Mojo (UK)

“…Michael Ledbetter is an inventive and charismatic singer. One vocal note uttered by him and he has got the audience in the palm of his hands.” – Chicago Blues Guide

“(Michael Ledbetter’s) operatic training has given his voice a tone and timber that is unmatched.” – Blues Blast Magazine





MONSTER MIKE WELCH & MIKE LEDBETTER - TOUR DATES:
05/10/17: Memphis, TN – The Warehouse “Big Llou’s 5th Annual Blues Hall of Fame Tribute Show”
05/11/17: Memphis, TN – Blues Music Awards
05/12/17: Memphis, TN – Hard Rock CafĂ© “Pay It Forward Fundraiser for HART”
05/12/17: Memphis, TN – B.B. King’s Memphis “Bobby Blue Bland Tribute Show”
05/13/17: Clarksdale, MS – Ground Zero “5th Annual Pinetop Boogie and Crawfish Boil”
05/20/17: Dana Point, CA – 20th Annual Doheny Blues Festival
08/12/17: Gloucester, MA – Gloucester Blues Festival
08/27/17: Edmonton, Canada – Edmonton Blues Festival (with Anthony Geraci’s Boston Blues All-Stars)
09/07/17: Las Vegas, NV – Big Blues Bender
09/08/17: Las Vegas, NV – Big Blues Bender
09/09/17: Las Vegas, NV – Big Blues Bender
09/10/17: Las Vegas, NV – Big Blues Bender


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