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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 Rick Estrin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rick Estrin. Show all posts

Monday, June 9, 2014

Rick Estrin & The Nightcats Release "You Asked For It--Live!" On July 8

“These are serious musicians out to have a hotter than hot good time. It’s tough to stay in your seat when Estrin and his musical cohorts get cooking.” –Chicago Sun-Times

“Fabulous, remarkable original material” –Billboard
Alligator Records has set a July 8 street date for You Asked For It--Live!, the first live album from blues masters Rick Estrin & The Nightcats. Harmonica giant, songwriter, vocalist and Blues Music Award winner Rick Estrin, along with The Nightcats— jaw-dropping guitarist Chris “Kid” Andersen, singing drummer J. Hansen and dynamic multi-instrumentalist Lorenzo Farrell (electric and acoustic bass, organ and Moog synthesizer)—serve up innovative, rollicking contemporary blues. The songs are all injected with a solid dose of gritty roadhouse rock ‘n’ roll and Estrin’s trademark philosophical wiseguy humor. Since the release of their celebrated Alligator Records albums Twisted in 2009 and One Wrong Turn in 2012, the band has toured non-stop, sharpening their musical skills to a razor’s edge. The band is known as one of the most dynamic and exciting live acts in the blues today. Their sound, while steeped in the blues tradition, continues to push the genre into new territory.

You Asked For It...Live! was recorded on October 5, 2013, (Estrin's birthday) at San Francisco’s Biscuits & Blues. According to Estrin, “Cutting loose and stretching out in an intimate, nightclub-type setting is the natural environment for the Nightcats to kick maximum ass. The fact that it was my birthday, in the town where I was born and raised, only added more fuel to the fire.”

You Asked For It...Live! has the immediacy, feel and fun of a true Rick Estrin & The Nightcats performance. “No matter how much fun we have and how relaxed we can be in the studio, there’s still nothing like being in front of, and interacting with, our live audience,” Estrin says. The album features some of Rick Estrin’s best-loved and most-requested songs, dating back to his days as lead singer, songwriter and harmonica player of Little Charlie & The Nightcats (featuring Little Charlie Baty on guitar). The album is an up-to-the-minute and totally accessible slice of original, wry and witty blues with a simmering, funky rock edge fueled by Andersen’s blazing genre-hopping guitar and Farrell’s and Hansen’s dazzling keyboard and rhythm work. One listen makes it clear that this is a group comprised of four world-class musicians, who together form one of the tightest and most original bands in any genre.

Rick Estrin, who holds the 2013 Blues Music Award for Best Instrumentalist–Harmonica, is, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, “an amazing harmonica player, a soulful lead vocalist and a brilliant songwriter.” He ranks among the very best harp players, singers and songwriters in the blues world. His work on the reeds is deep in the tradition of harmonica masters Sonny Boy Williamson II and Little Walter Jacobs, while at the same time pushing that tradition forward with his unforgettable original songs. And his hipster, street-smart vocals are the perfect vehicle for driving those songs home. Blues Revue says, “Estrin has created some of the finest blues songs of any artist on the planet. His carefully wrought lyrics penetrate human weakness with the precision of a boxer, though more often than not, he chooses to leave you laughing after the blow’s been struck.”

Born in San Francisco, California in 1949, Estrin grew up following his own path. He discovered an entirely new world when, as a 10-year-old boy, he made his way to the tough Market Street area and befriended many of the neighborhood characters. He had another revelation when his older sister gave him a copy of Ray Charles’ The Genius Sings The Blues when he was 12. Albums from Jimmy Reed, Champion Jack Dupree, Mose Allison, Nina Simone and others soon followed. By the time he was a teenager, Estrin had completely identified with the urban, African-American culture surrounding him. He got his first harmonica at age 15, and by age 18 was proficient enough to begin sitting in at black clubs around the city. Estrin moved to Chicago when he was 19 and worked with South Side bluesmen Johnny Young, Eddie Taylor, Sam Lay and Johnny Littlejohn before meeting and jamming with Muddy Waters, who told Rick, “You outta sight, boy! You got that sound, boy! You play like a man, boy!” Muddy wanted Estrin to go on the road with him, but due to nothing more than a missed phone call, it never happened. Rick eventually moved back to the Bay Area, met Charlie Baty and formed Little Charlie & The Nightcats.

For more than 30 years and nine albums, Rick fronted the band, featuring Baty’s one-of-a-kind guitar acrobatics. The band won international acclaim and toured the world repeatedly. They were nominated four times for the prestigious Blues Music Award for Band Of The Year. With Charlie’s retirement from touring in 2008, Rick rededicated himself to his craft. Hansen and Farrell wanted to keep the band going. Estrin knew the only way to replace Baty’s crazed and unique guitar style was to find someone with an equally insane and individual approach, and he knew that would be a tall order to fill.

As luck would have it, Kid Andersen, who had been working with another harp legend, Charlie Musselwhite, became available. “Kid’s a fearless nut on the guitar,” says Estrin. “He’s really the only guy who could fit in with us.” With an unpredictable, no-holds-barred style that perfectly meshed with Estrin’s wildly imaginative original songs, the new band charged out of the gate with Twisted in 2009 and One Wrong Turn in 2012. Blues Revue raved, “Rick Estrin & The Nightcats are one of modern blues’ most versatile and original bands.”

As a testament to their talent, audiences at their consistently ask to go home with a CD that reflects what they just witnessed. Now, with You Asked For It...Live!, Rick Estrin & The Nightcats can satisfy their fans’ demands. Estrin recalls, “After shows, people are always asking, ’Are any of these CDs live? Which of your CDs is most like what you did tonight?’ Now, I can tell them, ‘This one right here. Thank you. We’ll be happy to sign it.’”

Thursday, May 1, 2014

A Reunion Party Weekend 35 Years In The Making!



KANSAS CITY (April 24, 2014) – The hottest ticket in the Blues, The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, which sails on the high seas twice a year, is hosting their Annual Cruiser Reunion shows for 3 nights this year. Based in Kansas City, the LRBC is the brainchild of Roger Naber, (former co-owner of the Grand Emporium live music venue) who is also celebrating 35 years as a music promoter in tandem with the music on stage. With the next two sold-out upcoming LRBC's, Kansas City music fans will have an opportunity to see six varied internationally famous acts at the well known and respected Knuckleheads honkey-tonk venue.
Performing over the 3 day Memorial Day weekend soiree, May 23, 24 & 25, will be Blues Hall of Famer, Otis Clay and his 10 piece band, Royal Southern Brotherhood, an all-star band which includes music royalty names such as Cyril Neville and Devon Allman, Alligator recording artist, Rick Estrin & the Nightcats, Ronnie Baker Brooks, more blues royalty and a cruiser favorite, pianist Eden Brent, three-times Blues Music Award recipient, plus English guitar slinger, Joanne Shaw Taylor. One of the announced Special Guests who will be in Kansas City for the entire weekend will be pianist Leon Blue, who performed with the legendary Albert King 35 years ago for Naber's first Uptown Theater promotion.
To wrap up the weekend, there will be a Free Cabin For Two drawing, for the October 24-31, 2015 LRBC # 25, which will sail on the Holland America ms Westerdam from Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The winning ticket will be drawn just before the final performance on Sunday night. One does not need to be present as any person who attends any of the 3 nights of the Anniversary Reunion will be have a chance to win the prize.


roger naberRoger Naber's 35 Year Anniversary as a music promoter is considered quite a milestone for what began simply as a passion for American Blues Music. In Kansas City, Roger is mostly known as the co-owner of the Grand Emporium live music venue from 1985-2004. During his 20 year run as booking proprietor, he featured live music 6-7 nights a week at the well established venue.
Blues giants such as John Lee Hooker, Buddy Guy, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Koko Taylor, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Robert Cray performed, plus the newer generation, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Jonny Lang and Joe Bonamassa. Jazz, reggae and rock musicians such as Harry Connick Jr., Wynton Marsalis, The Neville Brothers, Chick Corea, Jimmy Cliff, Dave Mathews, Wilco, Flaming Lips, and The Wallflowers also had their turn at the midtown venue. The Grand Emporium twice received the Keeping The Blues Alive Award as "Best Blues Nightclub." The Grand Emporium musician and poster archives can still be seen at the UMKC Marr Sound Archives, UMKC Miller Nichols LIbrary, 5100 Rockhill Road, Kansas City, MO 64110 or online at
A pioneering entrepreneur, Naber co-founded the KC Blues Society in 1980, while serving as President for 13 years, the KCBS was honored with a Keeping The Blues Alive Award as best non-profit by the Blues Foundation in Memphis. He co-founded the Kansas City Blues Festival in 1981, the Kansas City Blues and Jazz Festival in 1990, and promoted the city's Annual Thanksgiving Blues Breakfast Dance for more than 20 years.
Taking to the ocean and sands, Naber co-founded the Ultimate Rhythm & Blues Cruise 1992 with his Grand Emporium partners, and more recently, the Blues Industry's highly popular and successful Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruises ( in 2001. Naber was again awarded "Promoter of the Year" by the Blues Foundation for the LRBC in 2005. In 2003, he became a founding partner in Cloud 9 Adventures, which promotes the Jam Cruises, Holy Ship and various international land music events.
Today there are many music cruises sailing the high seas in the wake of the original Blues Cruise Charter Naber and his partners sailed in 1992.
blues cruise
Roger has been a tireless worker for the blues industries non-profits. Most recently, the LRBC has raised in excess of $300,000 for the Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis which is becoming a reality this summer across the street from the Civil Rights Museum. In total, the cruises have raised in excess of $600,000 for various non-profits' needs.
After 35 years in the business, Naber still maintains that "it's all about the music" and spends the cruise off-season scouting talent and promoting upcoming cruises at land festivals nationwide.


Friday, May 23rd:
Royal Southern Brotherhood
Royal Southern Brotherhood
is an American blues and blues rock supergroup, consisting of singer and percussionist Cyril Neville, from the famed iconic Neville Brothers Band, co-band leader, vocalist and guitarist Devon Allman, son of Gregg Allman, co-band leader, vocalist and guitarist Mike Zito, drummer Yonrico Scott, formerly of Derek Trucks Band whose recording career looks like a Who's who, and bassist Charlie Wooton, also of Bonerama and his own band Charlie Wooten Project.
Joanne Shaw Taylor
Joanne Shaw Taylor
, raised in England and discovered by Dave Stewart of the Eurithmics, Joanne has won numerous awards in England and now has released 4 album CDs on Germany's RUF Records. Joanne is making her first KC appearance just coming off a tour of Australia performing at the acclaimed Byron Bay Blues Festival. A powerful blues rocker not to be missed.
Saturday, May 24th:
Otis Clay
Otis Clay
is an American treasure, having been inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame this past year. He's one of a handful of Deep Soul singers who still command the Hi Records Memphis sound, much in the vein of Otis Redding and Solomon Burke. His song "Trying To Live My Life Without You" was one of Bob Seger's bigger hits. Otis brings a 10-piece group of horns, keys and backup singers.
Rick Estrin
Kicking off the show will be Rick Estrin & the Nightcats, one of blues most colorful frontmen. Rick ranks up as one of the world's premier harmonica players, song writers and frontmen in the blues world having won the BMA in 2013 in the harmonica category. Rick and the San Francisco based band recorded and videotaped a homage underground track to the LRBC simply titled, "I Met Her On The Blues Cruise".
Sunday, May 25th:
Ronnie Baker Brooks
Ronnie Baker Brooks
will be showcasing his new 7-piece band which he is bringing to the West Coast cruise in October. The son of Blues Hall of Famer, Lonnie Brooks, Ronnie also has Rodd Bland, son of the late Bobby Bland, on drums. Carrying o the torch of the masters, Ronnie and the full band have a new CD due for release this year.

Multiple Blues Music Award Winner and LRBC Piano Bar favorite, Eden Brent brings her band as she is touring in support of her latest CD, "Jigsaw Heart". Little Boogaloo as she is known to her Mississippi music fans carries on the deep style of the Boogaloo tradition she learned first hand.

How to obtain tickets and lodging:

Tickets are only $50 per person for a 3 Day Pass!

Click to purchase your 3-Day Pass direct from the venue

Specific show tickets are also available @ $20/night in Advance or $25/night at the Door

A downtown host hotel has been pre-arranged for those traveling with
a limited number of hotels rooms still available until May 2nd!

Aladdin Holiday Inn, 1215 Wyandotte St., Kansas City, MO 64105
Reservations: 866-270-9274 and reference "LRBC Blues Cruise Reunion" or visit this link

2715 Rochester • Kansas City MO, 64120
(816) 483-1456 / (816) 483-6407
Voted KC's Best Live Music Venue 9 years running

# # #
For information or further press inquiries:
Contact LeAnne Clay: (816) 753-7979 or

A special thank you to Cruiser Reunion Party Weekend sponsor, Holland America Line!

313 Lawrence Ave. • Kansas City, MO 64111 • 816-753-7979 • 888-Bluesin' •

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Five Alligator Artists Receive Nine 2013 Blues Blast Award Nominations


Alligator Records artists Curtis Salgado, Rick Estrin & The Nightcats, Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials, Janiva Magness and the late Michael "Iron Man" Burks received a total of nine 2013 Blues Blast Award nominations. Salgado and Estrin each received three, while Burks, Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials and Magness each received one.

The Blues Blast Awards are presented by Blues Blast magazine, a free weekly internet blues magazine. Winners are chosen by fan voting, which will begin at the Blues Blast website starting July 15. All Blues Blast subscribers are eligible to vote. Winners will be announced at the Blues Blast Awards ceremony at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago on Thursday, October 31.

Artists and nominations are below:

Curtis Salgado:
Male Blues Artist Of The Year
Soul Blues Album Of The Year - Soul Shot
Song Of The Year - A Woman Or The Blues (by Curtis Salgado and Dave Duncan)

Rick Estrin & The Nightcats:
Band Of The Year
Contemporary Blues Album Of The Year - One Wrong Turn

Rick Estrin:
Male Blues Artist Of The Year

Michael "Iron Man" Burks:
Contemporary Blues Album Of The Year - Show Of Strength
Band Of The Year

Janiva Magness:
Female Blues Artist Of The Year

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

2012 dates are set! July 27 & 28, 2012 - 15th annual Prairie Dog Blues Fest

If you're thinking about a motel, you need to book now and tell them that you are coming in for the blues fest, just in case we are blocking a room that they are not telling you about. You can even camp right at the fest grounds! Complete area lodging and camping information is available on our website. We hope to see you at the Fest!

You can order tickets online or over the phone toll-free at 1-888-567-1567 . The handling and processing cost is lower through our online shopping cart vs. by telephone. Tickets in advance are $25 for one day and $40 for both days. Advance pricing is good through July 14, 2012.
Venue and Directions:
The Festival is held on historic St. Feriole Island, right on the Mississippi River. Click here for detailed information on how to get to the Prairie Dog Blues Festival via automobile.
For additional information about accomodations or about the city of Prairie du Chien call 1-800-732-1673 or visit
Friday, July 27th, 2012
Gerome Durham & The All-Star Band
Gerome has paid his dues working Delta cotton, Carolina tobacco and factory work in Jackson and Milwaukee. In 1965, Gerome moved to Milwaukee. He later met Johnny Rawls who took him under his wing and launched his music career.
This ain’t no rock ‘n roll, blues-rock, or any such stuff. He’s all about “the blues”, the “whole blues” and nothin’ but “the blues”. If you like Delta-gone-north, urban-based, electric, soulful, charismatic vocal “real” blues, the you’re gonna love Gerome Durham.
Trampled Under Foot
Siblings Danielle, Kris and Nick Schnebelen grew up with the Blues. Their parents, Bob and Lisa, were active in the thriving Kansas City Blues scene, playing in local bands and competing in the Kansas City Blues Challenge. Bob and Lisa’s band didn’t make it to the International Blues Challenge in Memphis — but their kids did. When TUF arrived in Memphis for the 2008 IBC they were followed by huge, wildly enthusiastic throngs of hometown supporters, eager to cheer for their favorite musical family. And when TUF took First Place in the competition and Nick won the Albert King guitarist award, it was a sweet victory for the Schnebelen family and for Kansas City itself. TUF has been on a roll ever since, becoming one of the most sought after blues bands at clubs, festivals and cruises around the world. Trampled Under Foot’s brand new CD, Wrong Side of the Blues was produced by Tony Braunagel, and features guest appearances by Mike Finnigan and Kim Wilson.
Mato Naji, the guitarist, singer, and songwriter of Indigenous. formed the band with his two brothers and sister back in the late ‘90s. They released their much-talked about debut, Things We Do, in 1998. While the band’s growing electric blues was totally legit and truly exciting, the little family band from the Nakota Tribe of South Dakota never expected the incredible, widespread reception they got from the blues and rock communities. “It was really surprising,” says Mato, of the siblings’ success. “We never anticipated the band going national so soon.” But so it did, and over the course of five years, Indigenous rode a wave of promise and acceptance they never dreamed of.
Then, after two more studio albums and a live set, Indigenous unexpectedly broke up. Today, Mato, along with his brother Pte are forging a new path for Indigenous. The new Indigenous album, Chasing the Sun, finds Mato expressing himself as never before.
Although known for his fiery guitar play, Mato has spent the last few years focusing on his vocals which have elevated this album on all fronts. When not performing with Indigenous, Mato is out touring with the Jimmy Hendrix Experience.
Rick Estrin & The Nightcats
For more than 30 years and nine albums, Rick Estrin fronted the jumping, swinging Little Charlie & The Nightcats, featuring guitarist Little Charlie Baty. With Baty’s recent retirement from touring, Estrin – along with the Nightcats’ longtime rhythm section of J. Hansen and Lorenzo Farrell and a new member, fiery guitarist Kid Andersen – takes the lead on his own.
Rick Estrin ranks among the very best harp players, singers and songwriters in the blues world today. His work on the reeds is deep in the tradition of harmonica masters Sonny Boy Williamson II and Little Walter Jacobs, while at the same time pushing that tradition forward.
Estrin won the 1993 Blues Music Award for his composition “My Next Ex-Wife” and has written songs for a growing legion of famous fans. Three of his songs found their way onto Grammy-nominated albums.
Besides Estrin’s songwriting and musical skills, he is among the most entertaining and colorful showmen around. His quick wit and his signature look – coifed hair, pencil-thin mustache and sharp attire – add even more color to his performances. “People don’t go out to see people who look like themselves,” says Rick. “They want to see something special. I was schooled in this business to be a showman, and that’s what you get when you come to see me perform.”
Matthew Curry & The Fury
Under the Tent
Matthew Curry & The Fury deliver energized blues along with great show. Matthew, at 16 and already a veteran performer, is astonishing audiences with his lead guitar playing, original songs, and soulful voice. Matthew Curry is backed by The Fury, pro players including Greg Neville, (drums) and Jeff Paxton (bass). Horns and back-up singers add to their solid sound. Their debut CD, “If I Don’t Got You”, was released to rave reviews in October, 2011. Quickly receiving wide acclaim, Matthew Curry & The Fury were recently featured as an Emerging Artist on the House of Blues Radio Hour.
Saturday, July 28th, 2012
Alex Wilson Band
Alex picked up the guitar at five years old and never put it down and is running with one of the toughest bands on the scene today. A versatile musician, Alex effortlessly switches between genres. He plays everything from sweet Beale Street blues to West coast swing. From hard Texas grinders to stone cold Chicago grooves with a feeling that's said to be timeless. Alex's style and tasty originals matched with his undeniable stage presence and unmistakable guitar style will drive you to the dance floor. To say that Alex Wilson is one to look out for down the road is an understatement. Taking the Midwest by storm, this young musician is a force to be reckoned with.
Harper & Midwest Kind
English born, but raised in Perth, Australia, Harper is a fiery singer-songwriter who blurs the lines between blues, soul, rock and world music. By combining traditional and modern influences and borrowing from Western and Aboriginal music, Harper has created a highly original, take-on-the-roots genre which many have labeled “World Blues”. His innovative use of electronic enhancement and feedback, breaks the traditional boundaries of the harmonica, giving his music its distinctive harmonies and effects. The powerful guitar sounds and the unique drone of the didgeridoo create raw yet eerie sonic textures, somehow sounding primal and contemporary at the same time.
With a home at a U.S. label and a growing appreciation for his music from American audiences, Harper made the permanent move to the U.S. His animated shows have been well received at blues world music and jazz band festivals around the world. He has toured with Canned Heat, Steppenwolf, George Thorogood and has been invited several times on stage to play harmonica with Journey. Harpers’ latest release hit number 10 on the Billboard Charts and the U.S. Roots Music Charts. “Stand Together” also reached #2 on the XM/Sirius Bluesville Charts.
Tweed Funk
Formed in late 2010, Tweed Funk has quickly gained recognition nationally with the release of their debut CD, “Bringin’ It”, which spent 18 weeks on the RMR Blues Internet Charts. The band brings an edge to the music of their forefathers by wrapping together blues, funk, and soul in show-band style. The band also represented Wisconsin’s Grafton Blues Association in the 2012 International Blues Challenge.
Shemekia Copeland
At a young age, Shemekia Copeland is already a force to be reckoned with in the blues. Born in Harlem, New York in 1979 and still in her 20s, she's opened for the Rolling Stones, headlined at the Chicago Blues Festival and numerous festivals around the world, scored critics’ choice awards on both sides of the Atlantic (The New York Times and The Times of London) and shared the stage with such luminaries as Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Taj Mahal and John Mayer.
At only 19, Shemekia released her debut recording, Turn the Heat Up!, and the critics raved. A year later, she appeared in the Motion Picture Three To Tango, while her song "I Always Get My Man," was featured in the film Broken Hearts Club. Copeland went on the produce three more albums and the awards and accolades piled up (Song of the Year, Blues Album of the Year, Contemporary Female Artist of the Year) and a GRAMMY nomination.
“I’ve had success in my career, and I’m happy with that” she says. “But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to continue to grow. In order for an artist to grow – and for a genre to grow – you have to do new things. I want to be innovative with the blues.”
The Steepwater Band
Although The Steepwater Band got their start as devotees of delta blues, they have since been expanding on their influences taking on everything from psychedelia to Americana, and of course, rock and roll music. Formed in Chicago in 1998, the band’s signature sound is at once a nod to earlier rock n’ blues combined with a raw and gutsy musical approach. Band members Jeff Massey (vocals & guitar), Tod Bowers (bass) and Joe Winters (drums) have a synergy that comes from years of playing together.
The band’s infectious energy is equally evident in their live performances, as critics and fans hail their shows as forceful and intoxicating. It is their humble devotion to music, and a commitment to achieving their musical goals without compromising the integrity of their musical vision that make The Steepwater Band such a refreshing find.
TSB has maintained a grueling schedule throughout the last 10 years, averaging about 125 shows per year. They have toured and shared the stage with acts such as Gov't Mule, Buddy Guy, Wilco, Taj Mahal, Marc Ford, ZZ Top, T-Model Ford, North Mississippi All Stars, Leon Russell, Drive-By Truckers, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Cheap Trick, Bad Company and Heart.
JJ Grey & Mofro
Growing up in the swamplands of northern Florida, down home roots, rock and soul artist JJ Grey became a realist early on. “You fall in love with a pig,” he says, “and then one day your granddad knocks it in the head and bleeds it for butchering. You tend to grow up with a certain amount of realism in your life.”
JJ Grey and his band Mofro exude rocking, funky, melodic, front porch realism in every song they play. Grey comes from a long tradition of Southern storytellers, and his songs oftentimes use the loss of his natural surroundings and the marginalization of the Southern culture he grew up in as a metaphor for universal truths. The band delivers his material with brilliant musicianship, resulting in music that is thought provoking rhythmically dynamic and mesmerizing.
Grey’s ear for detail inhabits his songs, whether it is a story passed down to him from his grandmother or the tribulations of a childhood friend. His voice delivers them with an unflinching strength that paints a vivid portrait of an exact time or place with words and music. Like his songs, his rich, soulful vocals are forceful and commanding, seemingly old beyond his years. And the music, from smoldering soul ballads to gospel-fried funk to straight ahead rock ‘n’ roll, brings it all home with danceable grooves and a melodic freshness that will stay with you long after their performance.
In 2001, a National Public Radio feature brought JJ’s music to more people than ever before. Doors at press, radio and venues opened across the country. JJ Grey & Mofro performed at Bonnaroo, opened for Widespread Panic, Ben Harper, Galactic, B.B. King and Jeff Beck. Word of their live show spread quickly, and bookings at festivals and concerts around the world increased, including jaw-dropping shows at The Austin City Limits Festival and The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
Terry Quiett Band
Under the Tent
“…one of the hottest power-trio outfits on the scene today. They successfully mix the blues of the Delta with the psychedelia of the Sixties…”
From 6th Street to Austin to Beale Street in Memphis, they’ve mesmerized audiences with their original and contemporary blues-soaked sound. They’ve also paid their share of dues traveling the Rocky Mountains of Denver, the blue grass of Kentucky, and every state in between, winning fans and expanding their core grassroots audience with each performance. Along the way the Terry Quiett Band has shared the stage with international guitar legends including Jonny Lang, Robert Cray, 38 Special, the Doobie Brothers, Edgar Winter, Kenny Wayne Shephard, Walter Trout, Robin Trower, Tab Benoit, Robert Randolph and Devon Allman as well as numerous talented regional artists.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Jan. 2012 Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise Part I - correspondent Stilladog

Hello Blues fans! They call me Stilladog. Don't ask why, there are many fitting reasons for that name.

The Bman and I have been friends for upwards of 45 years or so and we have shared a common bond in music for that whole time. Suffice it to say he has introduced me to a ton of great music over the years and I have tried to reciprocate. So he asked me to guest author some posts from time to time and help his blog readers become aware of, and familiar with, some of the great blues out there.

Having just returned from the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise earlier this week, I wanted to start off by giving you a run down on the best 7 day party on earth!

The biggest hit of the cruise was without a doubt West Coast guitarist Chris Cain. He was the artist I most wanted to see and I was not disappointed. I met him in the Crow's Nest bar the first hour I was on the ship and saw him play 3 times. Each of his shows were absolutely sizzling!

He obliterated Tommy Castro in a bit of old school "head cutting" at one of the late night jams. All of his shows were filled with passionate tasteful playing that came from both his heart and from deep in his soul.

One of his signature tunes is "Drinkin' Straight Tequila." At his last show in the Showroom At Sea (main concert stage), a gentleman politely handed me a flask of straight tequila with which to totally immerse myself in the music. But that kind of thing happens routinely when you "Bluesin' on the high seas."

Next up, the most pleasant suprise of the cruise; also hailing from the West Coast, was Cafe R&B. I unfortunately was unable to see these guys until the last night. But wow was it worth the wait! Lead singer Roach came on with what seemed to me to be a high-energy combination of James Brown and Tina Turner!! As a matter of fact if James Brown and Tina Turner had a love child it would be Roach!! And much to their credit, Cafe R&B was the only band who acknowledged and honored the passing of Blues great Etta James during the cruise.

In the set that I saw, Cafe R&B also used the percussionist from the Low Rider Band, Chuck Barber. He was fantastic on congas, timbales, and just about every other thing you can hit and make a sound with!
A close runner-up in the most suprisingly good category was Shakura S'Aida from Toronto Canada. Don't lay no Boogie Woogie on the Queen of Rock and Soul! I know that's an old song and Solomon Burke was the King of Rock and Soul. But her cover of it will make you believe Shakura can lay an honest stake to that title!
This is a really tight band with all top notch musicians not the least of which was Shakura's guitarist and frequent songwriting collaborator, Donna Grantis.
I'm not sure what I expected from Shakura. I had a few of her albums so I was familiar with most of her material. I think her stage presence, personality, and the quality of her band really took me by surprise. She is most definitely a lady who should be heard on a widespread basis much more.
I didn't get to hear much of her second set due to a pretty nasty hangover. The source of which was from hanging out with some Californians with personal access to some of the finest Mendocino County wines that they traded me in exchange for a personalized guided tour of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.
So if Shakura is the new Queen of Rock and Soul, then the undisputed Queen of the Blues is now Shemekia Copeland! With Koko Taylor and Etta James passing in the past 12 months let me declare now that the blues is still in good hands with Shemekia wearing the crown!!
I first saw this young lady sing when she was 19 years old. She absolutely blew me away. I have seen her at least half a dozen times since and I always come away with my mouth wide open because she always delivers a jaw dropping performance!
On this cruise I actually got to meet and talk to Shemekia and her mother, the wife of the late great Johnny "Clyde" Copeland. They were catching a Phillip Fankhauser set in the Crows Nest. For those that don't know, Johnny Copeland mentored and brought to America Phillip Fankhauser so he could live his life dream of becoming a bluesman. Fankhauser lived in the Copeland home when Shemekia was still in high school. Their friendship is uncommon and I have noticed that Shemekia and Phillip are booking festivals together this summer.
Shemekia also guested on numerous songs during one of the 3 Phillip Fankhauser (pronounced Fawnk-houser) sets I attended. Phillip is from Switzerland and after 30 years in the music business he does not hesitate to remind his audiences to "Get my fucking name right. It's Funk Houser. Don't be putting an R in there. It's not Frankhouser."
A lot of Phillip's music is very well written and he went from a virtual unknown to Blues Main Street over the course of 7 days on the ocean! He employs a horn section on most cuts and the arrangements are really nice. I highly recommend picking up any of his albums.
The usual suspects were also present on the cruise, Taj Mahal, and Tommy Castro. At some point Castro fired all his band so this was their last gig as the Tommy Castro Band in it's current configuration. Probably best for everyone. Castro also acts as bandleader for the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue which this year featured guitarists Debbie Davies and Joe Louis Walker, and harpist Rick Estrin of Rick Estrin & The Nightcats (Formerly Little Charlie & The Nightcats).
I caught a couple sets of the LRBCR and for my money Debbie Davies stole the show. She was really fantastic. Keith Crossan on Tenor Sax (formerly of the Tommy Castro Band) always turns in a professional performance and the cruise was no exception.
In the photo at left, Keith blows out a break between scorching Debbie Davies solos on the Pool Deck stage.
There are so many artists still to talk about and so many stories to tell I've run out of time for this entry. But check back in a few days and I'll share more opinions and stories of what the Blues Cruise is like including playing the steel drums with the Mighty Dow, Calypso King of St. Maartens and other exciting stuff! And please leave a comment or question so I can focus on what interests you.

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