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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 Rhythm Room. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rhythm Room. Show all posts

Friday, October 28, 2022

Blues Review at the Rhythm Room featuring Thornetta Davis and Johnny Burgin


We went to an exceptional show on Friday night and if you get the opportunity to see this on tour somewhere, take the time. The show at Phoenix's famous Rhythm Room was booked as Thornetta Davis, Detroit's Queen of the Blues with an allstar blues review but it was so much more. I see and hear a lot of music but this was a lot of talent on one stage. I wasn't familiar with Thornetta's work but I always like to see Johnny Burgin when he's in town so we made the trek. The band was Bob Corritore (harmonica master and club owner), Jimi Primetime Smith, solid guitar player and a great voice, 91 year old Bob Stroger on bass who has a number of releases on his own (Eddie King, Otis Rush Sunnyland Slim, Big Eyes Smith, Carey Bell, Pinetop Perkins) and Dave Keyes on keys who has just released another new album (Popa Chubby, Odettta, David Johansen, Bo Diddley, Ronnie Specter, Eddie Clearwater, Ruth Brown, Levon Helm).

Each prime member of the band got at lease two tracks of his own music and featuring his own lead work. Thronetta, a real powerful performer, took the stage once during each of the two sets for 5-7 songs each set. This was a great night of blues with some of the best blues performers in the blues business (bar none) and Thornetta blew the roof off of the house. They stuck primarily to a Chicago style format with the exception to Keys who do a cool piano boogie. This is not your weekend something to do show. This is a real feature concert. Check it out!

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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Rockin' Johnny Burgin at the Rhythm Room - March 9, 2019

We all see ordinary talent in shows around town but there are a few bands that will draw me out late at night every time they tour because of their artistry and Rockin' Johnny is definitely one. When I saw that he was playing the Rhythm Room, definitely the best place to see a band in Phoenix, I made it a date. The club was packed and I sat in the corner because I arrived just before the show started but I wouldn't miss it. Johnny came on stage carrying his classic Emperor and his classic tone. He did a short set, maybe 6 or 8 tracks and he didn't take a note to get on track. He was hitting on 12 cylinders from note one. I don't know if you've seen Johnny, but this is a guy who is all about style. He isn't Jeff Beck who wrote every trick in the books, nor Joe Bonamassa who plays every Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton riff. This is a pure Chicago blues guy who has been around the block and has assembled some absolutely terrific old style riffs that he applies at just the right time and in style. He's a serious player and an excellent singer. I don't think that he knows how good a singer he is having played lead guitar behind leaders like Tail Dragger but this guys vocals are strong and sometimes downright exceptional. But the really cool part about Johnny's playing is his style. Here's a guy who is standing up with a band of 3, carrying most of the weight himself, and then just blowing out a riff that curls your hair. We're not talking about blistering speed like a metal rocker. We're talking old school riffs that make you was a great riff and the man can go! But here's the great part... after he plays it, he seems to look around quietly and say to himself... I did it... and smile with accomplishment.  No pretense...pure love for his trade. The band took a short break and then club owner and world renown harp player Bob Corritore stepped up to the mic announcing that they had some surprises for the crowd. Due to a larger blues event, Blues Bash, that was happening in Phoenix this weekend, there were a number of performers on hand. A man with deep blues roots and quite a pedigree, Jimi "Prime Time" Smith was there and took the stage with Rockin' Johnny and Corritore. The crowd really loved Smith with is silky vocals and license plate guitar. He put on a really good show including walking the audience while playing and singing.

Johnny Main, guitar and lead vocals of the 44's set up (using Rockin' Johnny's guitar) and a really hot guitar player that I hadn't seen, Henry Carvahal (Rod Piazza Mighty Flyers among others) was on fire. This guy is a powerhouse and has great hands. matched with the balance of RJB's band these guys were electric.

After another short break, Rockin' Johnny took the stage again with Corritore, and local blues legends, singer George Bowman, and guitar player Donnie Dean. This bands focus was primarily prime Chicago style blues providing a stable base for players who don't play together daily and Corritore's harp work was really strong. Bowman's vocals were solid and guitar exchanges between Dean and Burgin really cool. After maybe another 5 tracks, Burgin took the stage back to his basic 3 piece ensemble and closed out the night. He brought along a solid bodied Danelectro and in open tuning, played some really nice slide. Johnny really knows how to put on a show and with a sea of talent in the room, this was a really great show for what is a fairly small club. This was likely one of the best blues shows in Phoenix for 2019. If it sounds like I had fun, I rolled into bed around 2am. This band literally played till shutdown. Very very nice. Watch for a review of Corritore's upcoming release, Do The Hip-Shake Baby! in the next few weeks. 

View Bman Blueswriter's profile on LinkedIn

  If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”

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Monday, October 23, 2017

Rockin' Johnny Burgin @ The Rhythm Room In Phoenix - October 2017

I saw a great show at the Rhythm Room, the premiere blues club in Phoenix, last week and it was great. The Rhythm Room is a real Phoenix landmark that took over where the mason Jar left off. That's where I last saw Albert King. At the Rhythm Room I've seen a number of super shows and artists including Johnny Winter, Joe Bonamassa and Jimbo Mathus. I moved a while back and live outside of the city now. It makes it a lot tougher to see a mid week show, but when I heard that Rockin' Johnny was playing town, I knew I was going to be there. I've seen Johnny a number of times both on his own and with Tail Dragger.  I remember seeing him on film a number of years ago where he was playing backup player and just with a few riffs, he stood out and got my attention.

Now with a number of his own excellent releases under his belt, Rockin' Johnny puts on one hell of a show! He pulls from his most recent release Neoprene Fedora as well as a few other terrific releases including Greetings From Greaseland and Grim Reaper. Johnny is a great showman and at the Rhythm Room he plays 2 sets. Obviously what originally got my attention was Johnny's powerful if not often wild guitar riffs but Johnny is actually turning out to be a really good singer. Every time I see him I think, man this guy is really a good singer but I always remember those power riffs of his. Johnny isn't a Bonamassa or Clapton clone and he doesn't ape Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page or any of the other spectacular guitar players like most of his contemporaries. Johnny has his own style which is a mix of classic, underplayed riffs and his own style and blues, R&B, soul and rock. I don't take a lot of notes at a concert (hell, I'm there to drink beer and listen to a band just like you). Johnny hits the floor hard and pushes himself to gets things hopping fast. After only a few tracks, he really settles into a groove and it just keeps getting better and better throughout the show. I believe he played most every track from his Neoprene Fedora release (which is terrific by the way) and my recollection is that he played the title track near or at the end of the first set.

Excellent!  Club owner and renown blues harp player, Bob Corritore, joined Johnny on stage for a few hot Chicago blues numbers and Bob never fails to impress. He's a great harp player and extremely knowledgeable blues enthusiast, running a blues radio show on National Public Radio for many years.

Recalling the show, I'm certain that he played Guitar King, Won't Get Married Again, Give Me An Hour In Your Garden, Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear, and  Goodbye Chicago. there were a few tracks that were just over the top. From Greaseland I remember Cold Chills, She's A Hit and Homework as well as the highlight of the show for me, Johnny's take on The House Of The Rising Sun. Unfortunately the footage was unusable for reasons out of my control. Grim Reaper and I Did The Best I Could were among the best of the rest but the ultimate best groove is Smoke and Mirrors. I really think that this is one of the best grooves caught on a contemporary blues release in years.

 Off the floor, Johnny is a hell of a nice guy and just wants to put on a great show. Catch him in a smaller club while you can. It may not be next week, but this guy really has something special and you should get your share.

View Bman Blueswriter's profile on LinkedIn

  If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”

 For added exposure - Blues World Wide Group "LIKE" 


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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

KM Williams Medical Emergency

Texas Country Blues Preacher KM Williams was to perform at the Rhythm Room this Friday. He is unable to make the trip due to a medical emergency. KM became disoriented at his gig on Friday night, and thankfully his wonderful wife Yollie was with him and recognized his unusual behavior. She immediately took him to a Dallas area hospital where he underwent emergency surgery early Saturday morning. The surgery was successful in correcting the issue.

His wife Yollie has conveyed that she appreciates everyone's prayers and kind words.

If you would like to send a card or a note, it would be much appreciated. Please send it to:

KM Williams
c/o Blue Lisa
PO Box 721384
Dallas, TX 75372

Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers as he recovers. He hopes to do a make-up performance at the Rhythm Room later this year. So The Dave Riley / Bob Corritore Juke Joint Blues Band will be covering the full night and will perform down home blues in KM's honor.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Robben Ford ‘Into the Sun’ Tour Rhythm Room, Phoenix, AZ USA 06/13/2015 - Ellisjames - Guest Writer

Robben Ford performed more than ninety minutes of non-stop craftsmanship to a very appreciative desert town crowd at The Rhythm Room, Phoenix, Arizona. The set list contained a pleasing baker’s dozen plus one encore of songs both from his current release, ‘Into the Sun’ (Mascot Label Group, NY, NY USA) and a potpourri selection from his vast catalog of work.
Perhaps the show was extra spirited as it was the last stop on his current 2015 tour prior to departing for a few shows in France. None-the-less, the sound mix and tone was amazing partly due to vintage amp and obvious journeyman chops from Robben and the others. Each member of the group more than held their own when given featured solos and as a unit throughout the performance.
The set kicked into high gear with ‘Just Like It Is’ from the 1997 Tiger Walk release followed up with ‘Howling At the Moon’ from the new CD. Ford dove into an extensive bridge solo more than demonstrating his talent and command of his rosewood-necked Telecaster.  2014’s A Day in Nashville cut, ‘Midnight Comes Too Soon’ preceded ‘Same Train’ then ‘Rose of Sharon’ featuring guitarist, David Grisson who ripped into his PRS as if it were the last song he was ever going to play. Great stuff!
Two more cuts from the current CD, ‘Rainbow Cover’ and the female response favorite, ‘High Heels and Throwing Things’ were no less than a guitar clinic for anyone who could follow the fret work by both Grissom and Ford. The tempo changed into jazzy blues via the 2013 ‘Bring it Back Home CD song ‘Slick Capers Blues’.  This song provided a chance for each band member to shine. Ford and Grisson took  their turns then left the stage followed by Bassist, Brian Allen and drummer,
Wes Little. Returning to finish ‘Capers’, the band took a breath, allowing Robben to switch to his sunburst Stratocaster for two songs from his ‘Renegade Creation’ Bullet release. ‘People Like Me’ and the soulful ‘Nazareth’ with Griss playing acoustic.
The back half of the show included ‘Indianola’ from the Soul on Ten CD, the 2013 Fool’s Paradise and a wonderful and rousing version of ‘Lovin Cup’, first performed on stage by Ford in 1998 as part of the ‘Robben Ford and the Blueline Authorized Bootleg’ and seen on the 2005 ‘New Morning, The Paris Concert’ DVD.
The crowd was not about to go without an encore! Graciously, the band sent everyone home with ‘All Over Again’.  Thanks to the band and staff at the Rhythm Room, unofficial home of the Phoenix Blues Society and owned/operated by harmonica pro, Bob Corritore. Strong recommendations to catch Robben Ford and band when they return from France and play California and Colorado in late July and August before heading to the East Coast in the Fall.

If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Cash Box Kings coming to Phoenix, AZ!
"The Cash Box Kings' cast of aces sizzle the hip side of classic Chicago blues with an old delta branding iron. A prime homage to the blues' rich history with creative, enthusiastic twists." - Hittin' the Note
The Cash Box Kings make an appearance in support of their latest award-winning CD, Black Toppin',  as follows:
8:30 PM  $10
These illustrious torchbear­ers skillfully capture the essence of postwar Memphis and Chicago blues, while adding their own bravado, energy and freshness to the mix.  No less an authority than recent Grammy winner Charlie Musselwhite said, "The Cash Box Kings play with taste and feel and it was faith restoring to know there are guys out there that still know and appreciate real blues."   
Black Toppin' won the Blues Blast Music Award for "Best Traditional Blues Album" and is a 2014 Blues Music Award nominee in the same category.  The release was also named one of the "10 Best Blues Recordings of 2013" by Apple iTunes. In addition to delivering authentic, back-in-the-day Chicago blues, they display their deep af­finity for Delta and Louisiana swamp blues, jump blues and their own signature "blues-a-billy." 
Living Blues magazine proclaimed their release, "a great record by one of the best blues bands in the land," while No Depression added, "The ghosts of Muddy Waters, Hubert Sumlin, Pinetop Perkins and Little Walter must be smiling.  Black Toppin' might be the best blues album you'll hear this year."

Thursday, September 18, 2014

High Energy Act coming to Phoenix, AZ!
JW-Jones, a red hot young Canadian guitar slinger/singer known as a high-energy crowd-pleaser, will bring his dynamic show to Phoenix as follows:
 9:15 PM $10  Jones, a popular and highly acclaimed artist in Canada, widely regarded as one of that country’s premier touring blues acts, is set to break out in the U.S. and worldwide markets with his first release on acclaimed American roots music label Blind Pig Records, entitled Belmont Boulevard.
The album was produced in Nashville by Grammy-winning producer Tom Hambridge, who’s helmed projects for Buddy Guy, George Thorogood, and Susan Tedeschi.   Jones said, "Signing with Blind Pig is truly an honour and major milestone in my career.  I am ecstatic to be on a label that is a fixture in roots music."
Jones has played in nineteen countries in his brief career, and recently opened tours for the late Johnny Winter and Jimmie Vaughan, one of his strongest influences. Canada’s national newspaper, the Globe and Mail, based in Toronto, referred to Jones as "one of this country's top blues guitar stars."  Billboard called JW part of "a new wave of young talent moving onto Canada’s blues stage."

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Jimbo Mathus demolishes Phoenix's Rhythm Room - David Luning Band a shocker!

Jimbo Mathus and the Tri-State Coalition hit Phoenix last night like a meteor. I don't give strong endorsements to many bands so listen up. I got to the Rhythm Room a little early last night and the opening act was just setting up.

I have to tell you that the opening band, David Luning Band, was the surprise of the year for me. First off I have never heard of them but then reading their bio, they go places that I never go... like American Idol? Now before you shut this down, give me a second. If someone told me that I would like someone that was on American Idol they would get a pretty smug look of disbelief (if not a stiff defiant finger) but to actually sit in a room with this band, listen to strong, creative, concise songwriting performed by a really nice group of fellows was just inspiring.

Luning, a good looking young man who could easily have been the lead for British Band "Faces" or fit into the Beatles, has a super voice. This band doesn't sing pop music like I would expect from an American Idol candidate, but Alt American country/rock/folk/blues thing with really nicely blended vocals (think Humble Pie), creative stories (think Gerald Colliers or Arlo Guthrie) and a rowdy feel (think Keith Richards). This band really captivated the audience and based upon their 5 or 6 song performance, I am an immediate fan. Luning who handles lead vocal and acoustic lead guitar is joined by Linden Reed (drums), Dave Sampson (guitars), and Ben Dubin (bass and harp), who all participate on vocal harmonies. I don't know of anyone who is doing anything quite like them and I do suggest strongly that you search them out and give a listen. I have a copy of their latest CD, Just Drop On By, so expect a review of it in the next few days. Very nice performance men!

 Trying to summarize a Jimbo Mathus concert is like trying to count raindrops. If you have never seen Jimbo in concert and have only heard a bit of his music, you have only seen a blurry 40's B&W of the real deal. Now I was captivated by Jimbo's originality when I first saw him open for Buddy Guy over a decade ago. I recall specifically that I was sitting in Mesa Center for the Arts talking with one of my guitar jam buddies while the opening act started to play. After just a short intro I asked my pal, "Who are these guys?". We both quickly scoured the floor for a program and dummied up to catch the rest of his spontaneous set. We were talking a lot about how different this guy was and we really enjoyed him when the main show began. Everybody was there to see Buddy Guy (me included). On steps Jimbo Mathus again, the featured guitar player with Buddy Guys touring band. You are shitting me! Yep. This guy was featured on two of Guys most significant releases of the past decade.

 Skip ahead to June 19, 2014 at the Rhythm Room in Phoenix AZ. Jimbo and his Tri-State Coalition hit the stage running. Mathus doesn't have what I would call a "Mathus" sound, a hook or a riff, and that really works strongly to his artistic advantage but he does have recognizable brush strokes. Something that an art collector uses to discern a masterpiece from a copy. Primarily an introspective story teller and a philosopher, Mathus uses different colors from his musical paint box to get just the right feel for each song. These are some of the songs from last night's set. Dirty Hustling, a funky street rocker flavored by a dash funky guitar (think JG Watson or WW Washington). It gets you right down in the street where it's happening. Using the style of the track, I mean really crafting the track to it's subject matter, makes it so much more effective. I Wanna Be Your Satellite retains a rocking country sound but more like Canadian band, the Byrds. You aren't really conscious as you are listening but Mathus is taking you on a journey and he is controlling not only the mental picture with his words but smoothly crafts his own vocal style as well as the texture and style of the backing music to create the perfect ambiance. The title track from Mathus' newest release
Dark Night Of The Soul is a perfect example where his vocals are almost the sound of a man in pain. Mathus and crew take this track to rock on with serious intention. One of my all time favorite Mathus songs, Who'll Sop My Gravy raises some philosophical questions but with that sense of humor that you will see gleaming through much of Mathus work. Taking the texture of this track down to it's lowest denominator, pure rural country folk music with that special Louisiana blues twist, Mathus is able to pull the listener into the earthy feel of the track and then slowly slides a funky beat under their seat. Tennessee Walker Mare is presented as a country ballad and the delivery is perfect. Let me make this clear. Listening to regular music is like watching regular tv. Listening to Jimbo Mathus perfect his craft is like watching in 4k (Ultra High Definition). He creates the stage, he sets the plot, he creates the background music, he shoots the bad guy! Casey Caught The Cannonball is a really entertaining tale with twists and turns. Delivered with a "The Band" like feel with a bit of easy country funk and a dash of fun. Shines Like A Diamond is a country rocker with a stiff bite and a nod to Van Morrison. There is a common thread that runs through all of Mathus music and that is honesty in music, a sincere belief that what he is doing is right and a genuine desire to write the best music possible in hopes that someone may actually get where he's coming from. It is clearly apparent from watching Mathus on stage and from talking with him briefly after the show that he is genuinely grateful to have people listening to his music, to be playing what he wants and to be gaining an audience without compromising his efforts. I see few performers on stage performing with such commitment and devotion. Mathus is a guitar wielding powerhouse on stage but is a humble and kind man face to face. Along with a few songwriters that you could count on one hand, Mathus is one of the premier unsung songwriters of today. I remember seeing Jeff Beck in clubs this small not a long time ago and with the kind of show Mathus puts on, you better see him while you can.

If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”


Saturday, May 18, 2013

05/17/2013 Rhythm Room: Nick Moss Band with Bob Corritore, Lou Ann Barton and Jimmie Vaughan - Ellis James, guest contributer

An extra full house was the scene recently at the Rhythm Room, Phoenix, AZ USA when blues legends and veteran road pros Nick Moss and Jimmie Vaughan delivered killer sets of tasty Blues. Chicago based Nick Moss and Michael Ledbetter (guitar and vocals), were joined by Bob Corritore (harmonica and vocals) and drummer Patrick Seals for a full hour of house rocking ‘Chicago style’ tunes. Just two weeks into a seven week Western USA tour this group was jumping. According to road tour manager, Javik Smith (son of Willie “Big-Eyes” Smith) the core band will work the West for five additional weeks, take a short rest and then head out to the Eastern leg of the USA as the summer progresses. Moss showed his decades of experience through the fret board runs, fills, comps and seamless blending with guest harmonica player Bob Corritore and members of his regular band. Great support came from Michael Ledbetter on rhythm guitar and vocals who has been with Moss for the past two years. Classically trained in Opera, Ledbetter calls Elgin, Illinois home. Once again, opportunity comes to those who prepare themselves. Sounding like a page out of Mike Bloomfield’s biography, Nick Moss initially discovered Ledbetter through a recommendation from one of his friends. Gradual collaboration between the men evolved over time. A one-off gig turned into occasional fill-ins which in turn eventually lead to a regular spot on the Moss stage. Kudos to Illinois resident and experienced pro drummer Patrick Seals who set the beats and drove the tempo. Seals’ background includes Jazz Studies and Instrumental Performance at Columbia College, Chicago.
This year, Nick Moss received his 16th nomination from the Blues Music Association for "Best Blues Rock Album" for Here I Am, which debuted at number 2 on the Relix/Jambands Radio Chart, and at number 6 on the Living Blues Radio Chart! This latest CD is Nick’s ninth release on his own Blue Bella Records label.
The place was primed and pumping by the time that Jimmie Vaughn and his Tilt-a-Whirl band took the stage. Scorching through a 21 song set, of songs mostly from his 2010 release, Plays, Blues, Ballads and Favorites, Vaughan and his band barely stopped to take a breath. The crowd began with respectful reserve leaving breathing room on the dance floor and was on their feet and shoulder to shoulder by the end of the last song. Everyone knows about Vaughan but we should be reminded of what a great group of players make up the Tilt-A-Whirl team. Horn section really stood out as a huge asset. Professional to a tee was the drummer, bassist and rhythm guitarists who performed flawlessly and barely took a bow for their efforts. Good music, like photography, looks easy and natural when done well. These folks blended like prize-winning Barbeque. Founding member of Double Trouble, Lou Ann Barton joined the group for a flurry of songs including Shake A Hand, Scratch, signature duet Wheel of Fortune and Middle of the Night. Jimmie stayed on stage for 6 String Down while the band took a quick break. Motorhead Baby, Middle of the Night (with Barton), White Boots and D/FW closed out the performance. It was striking at how nice, personable and frankly politely approachable Vaughan was as he took time to patiently sign autographs and meet/greet following the 180 minute performance. Strong encouragement to watch for and attend performances by both Moss and/or Vaughan. I for one got more than my dollars’ worth at this show. Thanks again to Bob Corritore, Phoenix Blues Society and the Rhythm Room for an excellent time.

If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, ”LIKE” ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorite band!