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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 Royal Southern Brotherhood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Royal Southern Brotherhood. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Ruf Records artist: Royal Southern Brotherhood - The Royal Gospel - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, The Royal Gospel, from Royal Southern Brotherhood, and it's their best yet! Opening with Where's There's Smoke There's Fire, this band is hot. Tyrone Vaughan "smokes" the guitar strings with a vicious guitar solo and Norman Caesar's B3 ride is very effective. Darrell Phillips bass work, Bart Walker on guitar and Cyril Neville on percussion with Yonrico Scott on drums makes this a spectacular opener. I've Seen Enough To Know is a cool R&B style track with light funky guitar work and a great bass line. Blood Is Thicker Than Water has a super slinky, funky groove with reggae like vocals. An infectious percussion groove and slick guitar tips this one. A really cool track and one of my favorites on the release. R&B/gospel style, I Wonder Why really has a solid bass groove with nicely woven fabric of guitar , percussion, organ and vocals. Excellent! Cyril's fingerprints are on the writing of I'm Comin' Home, a really groove heavy track. The bass line is terrific and the slide work hair raising! Very nice! Everybody Pays Some Dues has a cool James Brown strut courtesy Walker and Vaughn. Vocals are strong and a cleanly executed guitar solo dresses the track. A soft bed of acoustic guitar by Walker and really lush vocals gives Face Of Love a strong face for radio play. Very nicely done. Spirit Man has soulful lead vocals and cool B3 work over a great percussion section. This track shows a modern interpretation of the stumble drum effect that I love so much about New Orleans jazz and an excellent slide guitar solo is scorching. Nice! Hooked On Plastic is funky to the max. A great bass line and well blended vocals over a hot rhythm line and clever guitar riffs makes this a particularly memorable track. Can't Waste Time has a great funky groove and super backing vocals giving it just the right feel. If this track doesn't get you moving, the San Andreas likely won't. Wrapping the release is Stand Up, a R&B style fast paced track that is just waiting to bust loose. Walker and Vaughan trading riffs on this track creates hot dynamics and with a cushion of B3 and hand claps the track had an old style revival conclusion, driven by a driving bass line of Phillips. Steamy ending to a hot release!

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Royal Southern Brotherhood: THE ROYAL GOSPEL: OUT JUNE 24

Royal Southern Brotherhood:
Comes A Musical Sermon
About Love, Unity, And Peace
THE ROYAL GOSPEL: Recorded at Dockside
Produced by David Z

Out June 24 On Ruf Records
“The whole record is geared towards making a joyful noise,” says Neville
Chemistry. You either got it, or you don’t. When the five members of Royal Southern Brotherhood convened in February 2016 at Dockside Studios, Louisiana, there was magic in the air. Just seven days later, the acclaimed U.S. soul-blues collective emerged triumphant with The Royal Gospel: the fourth album in their rocket-heeled rise and further proof of a lineup born to play together.

Enough has been said about Royal Southern Brotherhood’s illustrious backstory. Enough has been written about the critical acclaim and sell-out crowds that greeted the original lineup’s 2012 breakout. Right now, fans would rather hear about the questing new material and finger-on-pulse worldview of The Royal Gospel, released 2016 on Ruf Records. Amen to that.

Like all the best groups, Royal Southern Brotherhood has evolved. Having bonded on 2015’s Don’t Look Back, the MkII lineup of Cyril Neville (percussion/vocals), Bart Walker (guitar/vocals), Tyrone Vaughan (guitar/vocals) and Yonrico Scott (drums) have found another gear on bolstered by new recruit Darrell Philips (bass/vocals),and guest B3 from Norman Caesar.

“As far as the men making the music and playing the songs,” says Neville, “the mission of the band has never changed.”

Scan the credits for The Royal Gospel and you’ll recognize that while some bands operate a songwriting dictatorship, this one thrives on material penned in partnership (or even originated between three members). Neville is as prolific as you’d expect – given the fistful of projects he’s kept spinning over the decades – but so too are Walker and Vaughan, who collaborated remotely with their bandleader, trading ideas back-and-forth via the Web.

“It’s not often that you find a connection like Cyril and me,” explains Walker, whose Nashville home is some 800 miles from Neville’s base in New Orleans. “It got to the point where we were almost in each other’s heads – and we had already worked out what the other one was gonna say.”

“It’s a very spiritual thing,” agrees Neville. “I kinda laughed, because Bart was getting ahead of what I was even thinking. Last time, we actually got together in the room to do the demos. This time, it was all done by iPhone and stuff like that. But when you taste this musical gumbo, you’re gonna be very satisfied. However we approached the kitchen.”

When the band and famed producer David Z arrived at Dockside, the recording ethos was unapologetically old-school: simply cut the songs live in the room, eyeball-to-eyeball, in a minimum of takes. “We walked in not really knowing what we were gonna do,” recalls Philips. “Cyril and Bart come to us with chord progressions, tempos, and ideas, and we build together. We’d just fall right into the thing and all of a sudden, there’s the song. On this record, we came together as a band. It was a magical thing to witness.”

Likewise, it’s a magical album to hear. The Royal Gospel opens in emphatic style with “Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire”: a stinging statement of intent co-written by Neville and Vaughan, whose hard-rock riffing is tempered by a vocal addressing a woman with “the face of an angel, a body that’s divine”. That same writing duo also strikes gold on “Can’t Waste Time”, its descending guitar hook fused to a lyric about a two-faced lover (“Girl, you’re like a ship without a rudder”).

Fans of the Brotherhood’s bluesier side will relish the rolling rhythms of “Spirit Man”, and hit repeat for “I’m Comin’ Home”, with its molten slide-guitar solo and travelogue lyric (“The road just goes on and on”). Elsewhere, Walker and Neville are at their soulful best on “Blood Is Thicker Than Water”, the veteran bandleader singing that “there’s nothing more sacred than the love of a son or daughter”, over a groove sure to shake the room as the band tour the world through 2016. “It’s extremely groove-orientated, this stuff,” nods Walker.

The Royal Gospel might move your feet, but it’s not afraid to challenge your perceptions.

“The whole record is geared toward making a joyful noise,” says Neville, “but while we’re partying, we still need to be thinking about what’s going on around us. It covers what we’ve seen in our travels over the last few years, and what we’ve lived personally as citizens of the world.”

Case in point, “Hooked On The Plastic” is an irresistible funk workout with soul-drenched backup vocals, but also a razor-sharp critique of consumerism (“Livin’ way above your means… no end to the stream of green”). And stick around for closing track “Stand Up”. A joyous call-to-arms in the face of feckless modern politicians, it ends with an electrifying outro, the band building to a dizzying crescendo while Neville hollers a global message to take a stand: “Come together! Come together!”          

It’s a thrilling finale to an album that cements Royal Southern Brotherhood’s reputation as a modern band to treasure. This is The Royal Gospel. Consider us converted. Only an elite group of players can be in a band like RSB, for it calls for supreme musical chops, soul giving and a little voodoo for each night the bar is raised.

Is it spiritual? Yes. Is it hell-raising? Yes Ma’am. Is it soul-grabbing? Yes Sir.
Get in line to be healed. The holy water is ready – are you?

Follow the on all their social media platforms:
Twitter – @RoyalSouthern
Instagram - @royalsouthernbrotherhood

The Gospel Tour

06/03/16            Mandeville, LA                  Ruby’s Roadhouse        
06/04/16            Ocean Springs, MS          Ocean Springs Live!      
06/09/16            Denver, CO                        The Oriental Theater             
06/10/16            Colorado Springs, CO               Stargazers Theatre         
06/11/16            Aspen, CO                          Snowmass Free Summer Concerts           
06/14/16            Lincoln, NE                        Zoo Bar
06/15/16            Wichita, KS                        Barleycorn’s      
06/16/16            Tulsa, OK                            Shrine  
06/17/16            Topeka, KS                         Uncle Bo’s      
06/18/16            Kansas City, MO               CrossroadsKC    
06/24/16            Norfolk, VA                        Bayou Boogaloo           
07/08/16            Auburn Hills, MI                Callahan’s          
07/09/16            Kalamazoo, MI                 Kalamazoo Valley Blues Festival
07/10/16            Evanston, IL                       SPACE  
07/14/16            Madison, WI                     La Fete de Marquette   
07/15/16            South Bend, IN                 Vegetable Buddies          
07/16/16            Milwaukee, WI                 Bastille Day Festival       
07/30/16            Pomeroy, OH                    Big Bend Blues Bash         
08/06/16            Burnaby, BC                      Burnaby Blues Festival     Canada
08/12/16            Calabogie                           Calabogie Blues & Ribfest  Canada
08/13/16            Qu├ębec                               Donnacona Blues Festival             Canada
08/20/16            Calabogie, OH                   Calabogie Blues – Blues & Ribfest  
09/10/16            Las Vegas, NV                   Big Blues Bender 
09/11/16            Las Vegas, NV                   Big Blues Bender 
10/30/16            Lake Harmony, PA               Pennsylvania Music Festival        

Monday, June 29, 2015

Ruf Records artist: Royal Southern Brotherhood - Don't Look Back - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Don't Look Back, from the Royal Southern Brotherhood and it's a funky, reggae, soul and blues jam. Opening with I Wanna Be Free, a hot rocker with white hot guitar riffs from new members, Bart Walker and Tyrone Vaughan, and a solid bottom from Charlie Wooton and Yonrico Scott. Reach My Goal adds just a little funk and some cool B3 from Ivan Neville with an almost Doobies sound. Cyrille Neville, Walker and Vaughan blend nice vocally and Walker plays a fluid guitar solo making this an ideal radio track. A real nice bass intro by Wooten opens reggae infused title track, Don't Look Back, with Walker on banjo and nice percussion work from Neville and Scott. Hit Me Once has a light funky jazz sound with an R&B vocal style. This is a cool track and Neville's vocals hit! Walker and Vaughan trade some slashing riffs on this track enforcing this as one of my favorites on the release. The Big Greasy has a slippery funk style with a contagious bass line from Wooton and a hot key solo from Neville. Hard Blues has a nice swagger courtesy of Wooton and Scott and Neville's vocals balance well with the stinging guitar riffs of Walker. Better Half brings it way down for a super sweet southern soul track. This is likely my favorite track on the release with a Luther Ingram feel. Excellent! Penzi has a cool Caribbean feel with excellent percussion and a great bass line holding the bottom. Walker adds a light Spanish feel with stylistic mandolin playing. Another track with broad airplay potential. It's Time For Love has a smooth soulful jazzy feel with nicely phrased guitar riffs and silky vocal lead. Bayou Baby is a really smokey track with red hot slide work. This track has a infectious groove that really gets you... try to just play it once! Excellent! Poor Boy is a R&B flavored rocker with a hot bass line. Vaughan lays out a cool guitar riff complimenting cool, Bobbie Tench like vocals. Nice! They Don't Make Em Like You No More gets into the Tower of Power range with sax work from Max Abrams and Jimmy Hall as well as trumpet from Paul Armstrong. Funky wah wah guitar riffs give this track an edge and plucky bass riffs by Wooten push it on! Nice! Come Hell Or High Water has a really strong melody and maintains an almost Isley Brothers R&B feel. Another track that could easily garner broad radio play, vocals are warm and guitar riffs rich. Wrapping the release is Anchor Me, a quiet acoustic ballad. Coming out with the big guns and retiring with a quiet track, I really like this new release by RSB.

  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”


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

NEW RELEASE DATE for Royal Southern Brotherhood CD has changed

Don’t Look Back: The Muscle Shoals Sessions

Produced by Tom Hambridge and Blessed by FAME founder Rick Hall
Cyril Neville’s Royal Southern Brotherhood Eyes
May 26th For Digital Release and June 9th for CDs in Stores!

“They are not a band – they are an extravaganza” – John Hiatt

Atlanta, GA – Ruf Records recording group, Royal Southern Brotherhood (RSB) preps for their much anticipated third studio album, Don’t Look Back: The Muscle Shoals Sessions for two opportunities for fans May 26th for online stores to download and then June 9th in the record store bins.

This album was recorded at the legendary FAME Studios (est. 1960 - Aretha Franklin, Little Richard, Wilson Pickett, Etta James, Otis Redding) in Muscle Shoals, AL with Grammy award-winning producer Tom Hambridge and the band’s new guitar lineup as Cyril Neville leads the charge forward.

Don’t Look Back is a spiritual journey that only Cyril Neville can lead. The elite percussionist’s experiences combined with these talented, energetic players create a new sound that remains reverent to the blues traditions. This highlights the magic that happens when great songs are performed by great bands.

The magic of FAME was not lost on band leader, Cyril Neville. The longtime musical icon almost sounded like a star struck upstart when speaking of the experience, stating, “I stood in the same place (vocal booth) as Wilson Pickett!”

The energy and excitement was not lost on the rest of the band. The process began when the band gathered at a rented house along the Tennessee River. The river is famous for the singing-like sounds it makes as the waves lap against the shores. According to the legend of The Singing River, which is associated with the Yuchie tribe, it is believed the flowing waters sounded like a woman singing. The time in the rented house not only inspired much of the material, it allowed the band to develop the chemistry that separates a band from a group of musicians.

For their third effort, RSB brought in two new fiery guitar slingers, Bart Walker and Tyrone Vaughan, to breathe new energy into the band's sound. The new blood is there to help the venerable Cyril Neville on percussion and vocals with the thunderous rhythm section of Yonrico Scott and Charlie Wooton to up the funk while maintaining the blues and rock that has brought Royal Southern Brotherhood a growing, worldwide audience.

The constant touring and recording has paid off: in 2014, the band won a Blues Music Award for BEST DVD for Songs From The Road – Live In Germany. This year they are nominated for BEST ROCK BLUES ALBUM for their sophomore effort, heartsoulblood and that will be decided in Memphis at the Blues Music Awards held in May.

Songs like “Big Greasy” recalls old school funk and Go-Go music, a sparse “Anchor Me” is a tender love ballad while the Neville autobiographical “Hell or High Water” is filled with the showman’s life and its struggles. The banjo-tinged title track, “Don’t Look Back” which is sung by Bart, brings in a country texture to give it a traveling feel.

Listen to a sneak peek of three songs: RSB - 3 Song Teaser

All these great songs came from various places as the band toured. Whether it was a sound check in the mid-west or a cheap hotel lobby or some studio in Europe, the band fleshed out their ideas (often recorded on their cell phones), so they had structure and hooks worked out before reaching FAME. This allowed the band and Hambridge to concentrate on performance instead of spending time developing ideas.

"We got to Alabama and dug deep down into the dirt of Muscle Shoals and created this wonderful gumbo of sound. It's easy to get creative with a band when everybody is open and flowing in the same direction. This band has such a positive energy around it. They are truly a brotherhood and it was a joy producing this album." - Tom Hambridge

The other cats on tape are Dumpstaphunk’s Ivan Neville on keyboards/organ and the legendary Jimmy Hall on harp scattered about adding flare to the tunes.

Bart Walker, with his tinted glasses and curly hair, has a powerhouse voice that cuts through the music.  Classically trained as a formal opera singer, Walker hails from the Nashville area and he spent time in both Mike Farris from The Screamin’ Cheetah Willies and Reese Wynans (and old SRV bandmate) musical outfits. His 2013 release, Waiting On Daylight, garnered both national and international acclaim. This attention gave Bart the cache to see a lot of the world via Ruf Records President’s, Blues Caravan Tour, which spotlights new talent to sizable audiences. Now a seasoned player, Walker was ready and able to join the Brotherhood. “Joining RSB was the best idea anyone had for me,” said the affable Walker.

This was Tyrone Vaughan’s second time collectively playing with the others and he fell into place as if he were a longtime bandmate. Being the son of Jimmie Vaughan and the nephew of the iconic SRV can be a heavy burden to bear. Fortunately, Tyrone is unaffected by the adulation for his family, and developed his own gifted style and signature tone. Tyrone cut his own path by working his way up through the Austin (a town drenched in guitar heroes for the uninitiated) club scene in his teens, eventually packing clubs around Texas. Through hard work, studying the masters and a tip or two from the family, Tyrone has developed a soulful voice along with a guitar tone that mixes blues, rock and country.

As for the 65-year-old Neville, a world-renowned percussionist has long been considered New Orleans royalty for his stints in the Grammy Award winning Neville Brothers, Galactic and The Meters.  Neville’s career has spawned 45 some odd years and has included performances with music icons such as Bono, Joan Baez, Dr. John and Tab Benoit. His philosophical beliefs and activist voice blend effortlessly when Cyril sits down to write. His intuition to the world and people are reflected within his soulful singing voice which creates a magnetic force between the listener and him.

In 1989, Cyril penned “Sister Rosa,” about the Civil Rights icon, Rosa Parks. USA Today honored Neville by choosing the song as one of the  most inspirational songs about Martin Luther King’s, “I Have A Dream,” speech on the 50th anniversary of the historical oration given during the march on Washington (Parks was in attendance). “Sister Rosa” may not have had a change on the movement at the time, but Neville’s composition reminded a country of the thousands of souls that risked their lives to bring an end to a shameful tradition in the U.S.

This past year, Cyril found himself being interviewed by another drummer, Dave Grohl, of the Foo Fighters, for the “Sonic Highways” documentary on HBO. This eight-part series that followed the Foo Fighters around to various US cities, capturing the music scene and history that is unique to that city. Grohl, who directed the series, interviewed other Nawlins luminaries Dr. John, Allen Toussaint and Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews to gain an understanding of the Crescent City’s unique musical sound.

Cyril will lead the charge into the next Royal Southern Brotherhood crusade with this new album, Don’t Look Back with eyes narrowed. And just like John Hiatt says, “They are not a band, they are an extravaganza!” A sound and sight event of pure talent mixed in with love for their art, the music and their fans, the Loyal Royals.

The band will be in full touring mode throughout the year with radio and media campaigns behind them.
Please see their website for further information:

04/29/15              New Orleans, LA                              Louisiana Music Factory               
04/30/15              New Orleans, LA                              Botanical Gardens          
05/02/15              New Orleans, LA                              New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival
05/02/15              New Orleans, LA                              Saenger Theatre             
                                Neville’s Forever – A Celebration of the Neville Brothers and Their Music

05/15/15              Colorado Springs, CO                      Stargazers Theatre         
05/16/15              Denver, CO                                         Lost Lake Lounge            
05/17/15              Durango, CO                                      Taste of Durango
05/19/15              Flagstaff, AZ                                       The Orpheum Theater
05/20/15              Phoenix, AZ                                        The Rhythm Room                         
05/23/15              Simi Valley, CA                                  Simi Valley Cajun and Blues Festival        
05/24/15              Oroville, CA                                        Semi- Annual Blues Festival        
06/19/15              Aurora, IL                                            Blues on the Fox             

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Fest lineup announced: Candye Kane, Royal Southern Brotherhood, Leo "Bud" Welch, Dwayne Dopsie, more

Los Angeles area’s largest Cajun, Zydeco, Blues and Roots music festival, held over Memorial Day weekend, features two stages, a Mardi Gras parade, crafts and dozens of food booths
SIMI VALLEY, Calif. — The 26th annual Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Festival will rock once again at Memorial Day weekend, Saturday and Sunday, May 23 and 24, at Rancho Santa Susanna Community Park, 5005 Los Angeles Ave., in Simi Valley. The event features two full stages for each of its musical genres. Music will proceed non-stop each day from 12 noon until 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults (13 and over) and children 12 and younger are free.  Discount single day tickets of $20 and two-day passes for $35 are available only online at Parking is ample and free. Fast-moving California Hwy. 118 (Ronald Reagan Freeway) can be taken to the Stearns Street exit; the festival is four blocks south.
The blues stage features classic blues-rock (Spencer Davis Group, Big Brother & the Holding Company, Canned Heat) with a side trip into swing (Big Bad Voodoo Daddy), plus the first-ever West Coast appearance of 82-year-old Mississippi bluesman Leo “Bud” Welch. West Coast legends Candye Kane and Guitar Shorty return to the blues stage, while “super group” Royal Southern Brotherhood (featuring Cyril Neville, Devon Allman and Mike Zito) make their Southern California festival debut.
Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers become the first band to cross over from the Cajun/Zydeco stage to the blues stage. Two-time Grammy winners Terrance Simien & His Zydeco Experience make their Simi Valley debut, as do Grammy-nominated Arhoolie recording artists The Magnolia Sisters. Andre Thierry & Zydeco Magic, Ruben Moreno, Curley Taylor and Jeffrey Broussard round out the lineup, making the Cajun/Zydeco Stage the pre-eminent Southern California showcase for Louisiana-inflected music.
The annual Mardi Gras Parade will take place both days at 4 p.m.
About the performers:
• Candye Kane, according to B.B. King, “has that big, brassy voice that has authority and sass; the kind of thing men like because it’s seductive and women like because it’s powerful.” Candye cut her musical teeth in the early ‘80s onstage with Hollywood musicians and friends like Social Distortion, Dwight Yoakam, Dave Alvin, The Blasters, X, Fear and Los Lobos to name just a few. Her fans are a mixture of true outsiders: bikers, blues fans, punk rockers, drag queens, big girls, burlesque dancers, rockabilly and swing dancers, gray-haired hippies, and everyday folk of all ages. Her live shows are the stuff of legend  she belts, growls, shouts, croons and moans from a lifetime of suffering and overcoming obstacles.
Canned Heat was founded by blues historians and record collectors Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson and Bob “The Bear” Hite. The band gained international attention and secured its legacy with performances at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival (along with Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and the Who) and the headlining slot at the original Woodstock Festival. Canned Heat’s unique blend of modern electric blues, rock and boogie has earned them a loyal following and influenced many aspiring guitarists and bands during the past 40 years. Their hits “On the Road Again,” “Let’s Work Together” and “Going up the Country” became rock anthems throughout the world with the last being adopted as the unofficial theme song for the film Woodstock and the “Woodstock Generation.” More than 40 years later and with 36 albums to its credit, Canned Heat is still going strong. Anchored throughout by the steady hand of drummer/band leader Adolfo “Fito” de la Parra (a member since 1967) and with one of their strongest lineups ever, Canned Heat is on track to carry the boogie-blues it made famous well into the 21st century. Since 2009, the lineup has Fito on drums, Greg Kage on bass and vocals, Barry Levenson on lead guitar, and Dale Spalding on guitar, harmonica and lead vocals. The band’s most recent CD is entitled Friends in the Can. This record brings together a number of Canned Heat’s musical friends from the past and present to join them in this musical collaboration and celebration of Canned Heat’s career. Fito’s book, Living the Blues, is available through the band’s web site.
• Royal Southern Brotherhood: Before they even hit a chord, this band has your attention. In the South, where music is religion, two rock ‘n’ roll bloodlines tower above all others. In saloon bars from Mississippi to Maryland, mere mention of the Allman and Neville Brothers casts a magic spell. With a lineup that includes both Cyril Neville and Devon Allman, Royal Southern Brotherhood come pre-loaded with expectations. The family tree might be auspicious, but the new band trades on talent, not genealogy. Let’s rewind to the summer of 2010 and the stifling heat of New Orleans and a pivotal meeting between Cyril, Devon and Mike Zito. Talk turned to forming a new breed of blues-rock band, and when jams began at a secluded studio in the city’s Garden District, the fizzing chemistry was too strong to deny. Their debut album was produced by the legendary Jim Gaines in Louisiana. The rest is history as the band is set to release their third studio album, Don’t Look Back: The Muscle Shoals Sessions, on May 26.
• Spencer Davis Group: Davis, born in Wales, created the famed Spencer Davis Group in 1963, helping to bring British rock ‘n’ roll to the rest of the world. Among nearly 20 Top 10 hit songs are “Gimme Some Lovin,” “Somebody Help Me,” “I’m a Man” and “Keep on Running.” The popularity of these tunes lives on as Davis continues to tour internationally. His latest album is titled So Far on Fuel Records.
• Big Brother & the Holding Company first performed in the Haight Ashbury, San Francisco, in 1965. After their appearance at The Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, lead singer Janis Joplin quickly became a phenomenon, and Big Brother made a real contribution to Janis’ rise to international fame. Big Brother’s classic 1968 album Cheap Thrills charted at #1 for eight weeks. After Joplin left the band in 1968, Big Brother continued to perform with a new female vocalist before disbanding in 1972. Having reformed with the original four members in 1987, they have performed worldwide and throughout the United States. In 2007 Big Brother joined the Summer of Love 40th Anniversary Tour with Jefferson Starship, Quicksilver Messenger Service, David & Linda LaFlamme (It’s a Beautiful Day) and the Grateful Dead’s Tom Constante. Big Brother carries on today with original members Peter Albin and Dave Getz, with Tom Finch and Tommy Odetto playing outstanding guitar. Darby Gould (Jefferson Starship) fronts the band, singing all of the classic material made famous by Janis Joplin and Big Brother & the Holding Company.
• Leo “Bud” Welch was born in Sabougla, Miss. in 1932. Bud picked up a guitar for the first time in 1945. By 1947 at age 15, he played well enough to perform publically and garnered the blessing of many elder guitar players. Welch was offered an audition by B.B. King but could not afford the trip to Memphis. He remained under the radar for 65 years, undetected by the vast majority of blues aficionados. Welch’s debut album, Sabougla Voices, was released in 2014 on Fat Possum’s Big Legal Mess label, just two months before his 82nd birthday. The follow up, I Don’t Prefer No Blues, was released on March 24 of this year, receiving notices in The Wall Street Journal and Rolling Stone.
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy celebrate their 22nd anniversary with a first-ever Simi appearance. The band co-founded by Scotty Morris and drummer Kurt Sodergren made their debut in their hometown of Ventura, Calif. in April of 1993, helping to usher in the swing revival founded on a colorful fusion of classic American sounds including jazz, swing, and Dixieland mixed with the energy and spirit of contemporary culture. Having secured their legendary residency at the Derby nightclub in Los Angeles, they reminded the world — in the middle of the grunge era, no less — that it was still cool to swing, big-band style. Today the high-energy nine-piece ensemble continues the party and takes things to the next level with the release of Rattle Them Bones, which still urges their millions of fans worldwide to shake and move to their inimitable grooves.
• Guitar Shorty, a.k.a. David Kearney, was born in Houston in 1939, raised in Kissimee, Fla., and now makes his home in Los Angeles. Over the years he’s played behind T-Bone Walker, Willie Dixon, Guitar Slim, Big Joe Turner, Little Richard, Sam Cooke and fellow Simi Valley Festival performer Swamp Dogg. His recent albums on Evidence and Alligator albums attest to the high energy level of this survivor of blues’ classic era. Texas Music Magazine writer John Morthland summed things up perfectly: “Axebuster extraordinaire Guitar Shorty is an old-school guitar showman. He plays with technique and flash, without ever sacrificing the passion. He’s a blues-rock hero.”
• Reverend Tall Tree plays original blues and American roots music in the tradition of Little Walter, Howlin’ Wolf, Bo Diddley, and others. His debut album was recently released on Nine Yards Records. In addition to his own headlining tours, Reverend Tall Tree has opened worldwide shows and tours for such artists as B.B. King, Al Green, Toots and the Maytals, Seal, Aaron Neville, Beth Hart, Robert Cray, Blues
Traveler and Jamie Cullum. His music has been heard in numerous films including Soul Men and the Academy Award-winning motion picture Crash and has been licensed by such TV shows as True Blood, Grey’s Anatomy, Brothers and Sisters, Single Ladies, Eli Stone, In Plain Sight, Dawson’s Creek and Army Wives.
Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers have been rated one of the “Top 100 Reasons to Visit Louisiana.” Dwayne (Dopsie) Rubin hails from one of the most influential Zydeco families in the world. Although inspired by tradition, he has developed his own high-energy style that blazes a new path for 21st century Zydeco music. Dopsie and the Hellraisers have played throughout the world since Dwayne debuted the band at age 19. First appearing at the Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival in 2014, Dopsie’s set was such a big hit that he’ll return in 2015 and will on both the Cajun/Zydeco and blues stages.
• Terrance Simien has been performing Zydeco music for more than 30 years, and is a two-time Grammy winner and eighth generation Louisiana Creole. Leading his Zydeco Experience band, Simien has become one of the most respected and accomplished artists in American roots music today. Last year marked their 28th consecutive appearance at the New Orleans Jazz Festival, an event that is the gold standard for showcasing and celebrating all Louisiana music traditions.
• Andre Thierry & Zydeco Magic: Thierry’s French Creole heritage is deeply rooted in Louisiana although he was born and reared in Northern California. Thierry and Zydeco Magic won the West Coast Blues Hall of Fame award for Best Zydeco Group in 2008. The 33-year-old is a multi-dimensional musician who has a finely honed ability to merge traditional Zydeco music with hip-hop, blues, jazz and rock. Building from his love and respect for traditional Zydeco, his original music is a blend of old and new.
• Ruben Moreno, making his debut on the Cajun/Zydeco stage, was born in Houston and was immersed in Zydeco music and culture from day one while living in the same building as his grandmother’s bar, Henry’s Lounge. He literally fell asleep each night listening to Clifton Chenier blare out of the jukebox on the other side of the wall. He developed his musical style while playing and touring with C.J. Chenier and Leroy Thomas. And it was Andre Thierry, also performing at the Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Festival, who guided him to his love of the accordion in the summer of 2009.
The Magnolia Sisters are a band of women who can play the whole gamut of musical styles from southwest Louisiana: Cajun, Creole, dancehall favorites, and front porch ballads. They each switch from one instrument to another during their shows. They are also an ideal band for seated concerts because, in addition to their vast dancehall repertoire, they tell stories, sing rich harmonies on a cappella ballads, and play string band numbers from the 1930s. Much of the Magnolia Sisters’ music has been gleaned from long-buried Cajun music jewels. Their most recent album, Stripped Down on Arhoolie Records, was nominated for a Grammy in 2010.
• Curley Taylor & Zydeco Trouble: Curley Taylor’s bluesy, soulful vocals and the band’s hard driving Zydeco beat blend to create high-energy dance music for all audiences. Curley’s music is true to its roots in Zydeco and blues,
but contemporary enough to appeal to a broad range of music lovers. When at home in Louisiana, Curley can be found in the studio working on his latest album, or playing in one of the local clubs around the Lafayette/Opelousas area to the delight of his hometown fans.
• Jeffrey Broussard & the Creole Cowboys: One of the most influential accordionists and vocalists in modern Zydeco music, Jeffrey Broussard continues to be one of the genre’s most dynamic performers. He began his career with traditional Creole Zydeco music playing drums in his father’s band, Delton Broussard & the Lawtell Playboys, then moved on to develop the nouveau Zydeco sound in Zydeco Force, and now returns to the more traditional Zydeco sound with his own band, Jeffery Broussard and the Creole Cowboys.
Once again the blues stage is booked by Martin Fleischmann and his company, Rum & Humble. For more than 20 years Rum & Humble has played a key role in presenting some of the world’s most celebrated musical talent (Radiohead, Manu Chao, and the Rolling Stones, to name a few) to Los Angeles audiences, in venues ranging from the Echoplex to the Orpheum Theatre to the Hollywood Bowl. The company has co-produced the Santa Monica Pier’s Twilight Concert Series since 2011. In addition, Rum & Humble has collaborated closely and creatively with artists such as Jackson Browne and Paul Oakenfold as well as with a varied roster of corporate and non-profit clients ranging from KJAZZ Radio to the Conga Room nightclub to the National Geographic Society.
The festival has received national press accolades: “Everywhere you turned, there was something exciting happening. Put this on your 2013 festival calendar,” wrote Blue Revue editor Art Tipaldi, who made the trek from New England. The Blues Blast writer enthused, “I attend many venues and festivals throughout the year but the ones that seem to impress me the most are the ones that serve the community in some way. I highly recommend you put this on your calendar for next Memorial Day weekend.” And the music industry trade journal Hits added, “As the last strains of [Candye] Kane’s set rang in our ears, we left the grounds fully sated by music, food, drink and, as the saying goes, bon temps.”
The festival boasts dozens of food booths featuring a variety of fare: authentic Cajun creations and Southern BBQ as well as multi-cultural cuisine. More than 100 craft booths and retailers will be scattered throughout the festival grounds.
Tickets may be obtained online at
Support of the not-for-profit Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival has benefited dozens of local community, national and international organizations, a list of which may be found at
Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Festival web site: