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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!

Please email me at
Showing posts with label VizzTone Records. Show all posts
Showing posts with label VizzTone Records. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

mmm, mmm, mmMemphis! ... and coming soon!

mmm, mmm, mmMemphis! 
and coming soon....

Hey All Y'all (note the vernacular, we're getting in the mood) —

Lots of VizzTone folks are heading to Memphis this week, so we wanted to take this opportunity to give one more shout out to our BMA nominees, talk about our Big Blues Party on Beale, and brag about our new and upcoming releases!

So first of all, one more big CONGRATS and GOOD LUCK to the Blues Music Awards nominees from our VizzTone/Vizzable family:


Ann Rabson w/Bob Margolin / Not Alone - Acoustic Blues Album
Bob Margolin- Traditional Blues Male Artist of the Year
Phantom Blues Band - Blues Band of the Year
Tony Braunagel (Phantom Blues Band, Robert Cray Band) - Drums
Mike Finnigan (Phantom Blues Band) - Pinetop Perkins Piano Player
Diunna Greenleaf (Vizzable Music Artist) - Koko Taylor Award

Click the CD to listen or buy at   ;-)
For those of you who'll be coming to Memphis, we can't wait to see you there!  And, if you're sticking around town for the Friday night AFTER the Awards, c'mon down to our amazing VizzTone Blues Party On Beale!  Check it out:

See what I'm sayin'??  This is gonna be one party that is NOT TO BE MISSED!

Lately we've been bragging about our BRAND NEW releases -
Click the album covers to take a listen, and you'll understand why!



...and we'll tell you more about these soon (trust us on that!),
but here's a quick peek at what's COMING VERY SOON....

Coming May 14!


Deep Texas Blues featuring Zac Harmon, Finis Tasby, Anson Funderburgh, and James Goode.

Coming June 25

featuring LAURA CHAVEZ

We are SO PROUD to welcome our good friends Candye Kane and Laura Chavez to the family!

Coming soon...


• 2013 International Blues Challenge winner

Did you know... you can preview Every song from Every artist at!

VizzTone Label Group artist: Gina Sicilia - It Wasn't Real - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, It Wasn't Real, from Gina Sicilia. Sicilia has a rich voice and a smooth delivery. Opening with the title track, It Wasn't Real, Sicilia delivers a sultry pop jazz track with nice sax work backing by Jay Davidson. Next up is a track that I became familiar with through my love for James Brown. This has a totally different feel with a more laid back swing type groove. Davidson again steps up with a sweet solo. Walkin Along The Avenue has a distinct 40's sound and possibly the coolest track on the release. Dennis Gruenling plays some really complimentary harp on this track and Joel Bryant adds a nice B3 line. City By The Water is a strong radio play track with a real bluesy feel. Davidson again gets the chance to shine with a real solid sax solo. The release is wrapped with country influenced Walkin' Shoes. Overall this release will appeal to a more adult audience with strong pop melodic tendencies. It is very well done.

 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, April 18, 2013

"The Future of Blues Music?" - Austin Young - free download

The VizzTone label group is so proud of the new AUSTIN YOUNG & NO DIFFERENCE CD, we're throwing a Listening Party and giving away a free download of the leadoff track, "Thunderhead."  Just click on the CD cover for the free download, to listen to the whole CD in the VizzTone Music Store, AND get a special discount offer!  A recent rave review (see below) suggests Austin might be "the Future of the Blues" — we welcome you to check out his music and decide for yourself!

“I enjoy the ‘crossroads’ moment of Austin Young as his live and recorded efforts reveal an exciting prodigy claiming his destiny. I see no limit to his talent as a guitarist, singer, entertainer, bandleader, and magnetic new force of nature. The buzz has already begun in his home of Colorado and from his performances in Helena and Memphis. Austin proves himself every day. Am I hyping him or actually too restrained? Austin Young will deliver an obvious answer.”
     – Steady Rollin’ Bob Margolin

We proudly present the debut recording from Colorado’s teenage blues phenom, Austin Young.  At 17, he delivers deep passion, exciting showmanship, and electrifying musicianship.  His inspirations range from Blues giants to guitar masters.  As he devastates audiences near home and at concerts and festivals, he is a hard act to follow even for today’s established stars.
Austin is an astounding guitarist, naturally emotive singer, and prolific songwriter.  His songs deliver Blues feeling in both traditional and original styles.  BLUE AS CAN BE showcases variety from Austin and his NO difference bandmates, from the hard-rocking “Thunderhead” and “Signal” to the lyrical “Springtime Snow,” the jazzy “That’s It,” the highly-danceable “Who’s Coming Out” and more.  This is a landmark worldwide debut from a young artist with a huge future.

• Recipient of the 2012 Colorado Blues Society Member’s Choice Awards in FIVE categories:  Best Guitar, Best Slide Guitar, Best Blues Band, Best Young Artist, Best Live Moment
• Invited Performer to The King Biscuit Festival, Helena, AR. 
• Intern Instructor aiding Bob Margolin for Pinetop Perkins Master Guitar Workshop, Clarksdale, MS,
 • State of Colorado Scholarship Recipient for the Pinetop Perkins Foundation Master Guitar Workshop, Clarksdale, MS.

A recent rave review from Greg Victor on

Could Austin Young Be The Future Of Blues Music? Give His New CD A Listen.

Austin Young & NO Difference - Blue As Can Be
***½ (out of 4 stars)
Label: Vizztone

Austin Young is 17. Or at least that’s what his bio states. After listening to his newly released album, Blue As Can Be, I’m convinced that’s a typo. His musicianship fairly overflows with the focus, nuance and even contradictions of a man two (no, make that three or four) times his age. To play the blues as a teenager is a parlor trick. To own them (as Young does, on occasion) is a life’s mission begun to be fulfilled. The full band’s name is Austin Young & NO Difference (with Austin Young on guitar and vocals, Noah Mast on bass, and Tim Young on drums). Their album, with Young as writer or co-writer on each track, is a healthy blend of traditional blues attitudes and modern takes, of building tensions and private releases, of explosive energy and seemingly impossible restraint.

Austin Young is clearly in touch with his inner… well, everything, I guess. The album is a showcase for a variety of moods and each track shows off a different facet of Young’s passionate personality. At times, Young plays with such a ferocious energy that he may just be starting his own style of blues… the “Colorado blues”? … the “teenage phenomenon blues”? … the “I might just turn a whole young generation into blues lovers blues”? It’s exciting (especially in a genre like blues) to discover an artist that one can share with friends, and with Austin Young’s talent, he will certainly create a buzz. No, it isn’t a perfect album. So he’s young. That’s fine. He has all the more time to find himself in the blues (and find the blues in himself). When a guy just might be the future of the blues (and he just might be), it’s best he take his own damn time. Play on, Austin Young, for when played with truth and swagger — the blues never get old.

Essential Downloads: “Thunderhead,” “Magdalena,” “That’s It,” “Miss You Moore.”

read it on the Parcbench website HERE:


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Vizztone artist: Long Tall Deb - Raise Your Hands - New Release review

I just received the debut release, Raise Your Hands, by Long Tall Deb (Deb Landolt). Deb opens the release with What Would a Good Woman Do, a soul strut featuring a vocal duet with Phil Pemberton and guitar work from Sean Carney. Hush Your Mouth gets a funk groove going with backing vocals by Nikki Scott and Melvin Powe sets the stage with some smooth bass lines. Let's Get Lost is a strong radio track and one that should fir well with strong vocals. Married To The Blues, a track talking about independence, features Jimmy Thackery on guitar along with Bart Walker and Matt O'Ree with a R&B style track and featuring vocals by Big Llou. Finally Forgot Your Name, a solid soul track sets up nicely as a blues ballad, with guests the Roomful Of Blues Horns (Mark Earley, Rich Lataille and Doug Woolverton). Raise Your Hands blends gospel, soul and rock for another airplay geared track. There is quite a bit of guitar work on this track courtesy of Sean Carney, Dave Clo and Brent Pennell. Ian Moore's Muddy Jesus has a real funky sound but blues based actually reminding me of Jack the Toad by Savoy Brown. JP Soars and Damon Fowler exchange guitar riffs on this track and Victor Wainwright plays some nice keys on this track. Cool track. To Find His Home opens with some cool slide playing on a resonator guitar. This is actually a really tasty track with Deb showing the depth of her vocal talents sharing the lead with Shaun Booker and Phil Pemberton. John Popovich plays some nice piano on this track and Reese Wynans plays some great organ on this track that turns into a full blown gospel track. Torch blues track by Tom Waits, New Coat Of Paint features Deb and Popovich on piano. Really nice finish.   

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!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Dynamic Roots Music Singer/Songwriter Gina Sicilia Readies New CD, "It Wasn't Real," for April 30 Release on VizzTone Label Group

Dynamic Roots Music Singer/Songwriter
Gina Sicilia Readies New CD, It Wasn’t Real, for Release April 30 on VizzTone Label Group

New Album Produced by Grammy-Winner Glenn Barratt

PHILADELPHIA, PA - Dynamic roots music singer/songwriter Gina Sicilia announces an April 30 release date for It Wasn’t Real, her new CD on the VizzTone Label Group, which promises to expand her burgeoning career as one of the most creative, exciting and diverse artists in the genre today.

Produced by Grammy-winner Glenn Barrett, It Wasn’t Real was recorded at Morningstar Studios in Gina’s hometown of Philadelphia, and features the singer backed by a cadre of local all-star session players who bring a soulful intensity that matches Sicilia’s emotionally-charged vocals. 

The new album’s nine original songs showcase Gina’s growth as a songwriter who can deal with universal themes of love and fate, but is able to inject a personal deep-felt longing throughout with her commanding vocal style. The lone cover is a scintillating re-working of the great Etta James’ 1961 hit, “Don’t Cry Baby.” 

“These songs mean a lot to me,” Gina says. “My goal is to write in a way that’s observant and soulful, and to get at the pleasures and the pressures of love, joy, family, responsibility…all the complexities that are part of living. And with Glenn’s help and the support of the great band he put together, I think I’ve made my best album.”

Considered a true rising star in the blues world ever since her debut album, Allow Me to Confess, brought her world-wide acclaim in 2007, Gina manages to raise the bar even further with It Wasn’t Real, throwing down a music gauntlet of soul, power, grit and energy for others to follow. Her songs and performances gracefully cross genres on the new album, too, with echoes of soul, rock and even Americana woven throughout the tapestry of sound she’s created on the new disc, bringing Gina’s music to an even wider audience.

“Even though I’m mostly known in the blues world, I love and I’ve absorbed all kinds of music — R&B, country, doo-wop, jazz, soul, pop and blues. So when I get inspired to write a song, it’s likely to go anywhere and even combine those styles,” Sicilia explains. Threads of those genres can also be heard in her previous three albums, including 2008’s Hey Sugar and 2011’s Can’t Control Myself, which were all produced by Sicilia’s bandleader and guitarist Dave Gross.

“Working with Glenn took me out of the comfort zone Dave and I have together, and that made me a little nervous and forced me to push myself,” Sicilia recalls. “That gave me the edge and the encouragement I needed to explore the entire breadth of my vocal range, which I think people get to hear for the first time on this album.”

Gina Sicilia got her first true taste of performing in front of an audience at age 19 during the weekly jams held at Philadelphia blues and jazz club, Warmdaddy’s, beginning in 2005. She’d already acquired her eclectic musical taste from her parents, who played all kinds of music on their home stereo, including pop tunes from her father’s native Italy. But after she ordered a packaged-for-TV compilation album called Solid Gold Soul that featured Bobby Bland, Etta James, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin and others, she become hooked on old-school soul, blues and R&B.
She had planned a career in journalism despite the encouragement of her musical mentor, Russell Faith, an important local composer and musician who’d written songs for Frank Sinatra. His death in 2004 galvanized Sicilia into action. “I started taking the subway by myself to the jams at Warmdaddy’s,” she says. “From the first time I got the courage to go onstage, the musicians there encouraged me.”
It was at the Warmdaddy’s jams that Gina met Dave Gross, and soon thereafter they started dating and performing together. Gross encouraged her to record, and Allow Me to Confess was released just after Sicilia graduated from Temple University and was free to begin touring. The album was soon picked up for distribution by the VizzTone Label Group and Sicilia rapidly signed with a national roots music booking agency.

“I see myself as always evolving, reaching for a new place where I want my music to be and a way I want it to sound,” she proclaims. “I don’t know if I’ll find that place, but I’ll never stop searching.”

For more, visit
  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!

Sunday, February 24, 2013


Final Week!!!
Ann Rabson w/Bob Margolin / Not Alone - Acoustic Blues Album
Bob Margolin- Traditional Blues Male Artist of the Year
Phantom Blues Band - Blues Band of the Year
Tony Braunagel (Phantom Blues Band, Robert Cray Band) - Drums
Mike Finnigan (Phantom Blues Band) - Pinetop Perkins Piano Player
Diunna Greenleaf (Vizzable Music Artist) - Koko Taylor Award
Click the CD to listen or buy at   ;-)
Voting ends at 07:59:59 (CST) Friday, March 1, 2013!
Blues Foundation members can vote HERE.
If you're not yet a Blues Foundation member or you need to renew your membership
You can do that HERE before you vote.

The 34th Blues Music Awards will be Thursday May 9, 2013 at the Cook Convention Center in Memphis, Tennessee.  It's the biggest night in the Blues, and we hope to see you there!!!
Goodbye to Ann Rabson
Our dear friend, Blues Legend Ann Rabson passed on January 30. Beloved by many around the world, Ann was known for her 25 years with Saffire—The Uppity Blues Women, as well as her solo projects.  She was also known for her exceptionally good humor, big heart and generosity of spirit.  She will be deeply missed.
VizzTone is proud to present Ann's recent CD Not Alone with Bob Margolin
From Bob:
     "Ann is one of my closest friends. In 2012 Ann's health told us we should not wait to record together. This recording seemed blessed, every plan and song right. Last April Ann recorded some of her best Blues ever and was exhilarated from it. My guitar was the frame around Ann's masterpiece. We gigged together as much as she could in 2012. Ann loved to play Blues onstage more than anyone. Last Sunday, we had a bittersweet musical memorial for Ann in Fredericksburg, VA, where she lived — smiles, tears and music. Sirius Radio's Bill Wax was there and told me that her CD will be moving UP from #3 Sirius "Pick to Click" this week. The Blues World is appreciating Ann Rabson and we are all Not Alone."
From Ann's Family:
     We are asking that donations in Ann's memory be made to your local humane society or animal shelter, or to the Pinetop Perkins Foundation to support scholarships for music education.  Please specify Ann Rabson in the "In Memory Of" box on the donation page.  Also promise us that you will keep the blues alive by supporting your local blues society and the national Blues Foundation.  Support blues music by going out to listen to live music or by attending blues music camps such as Blues Week in Elkins, WV, Centrum, or Fur Peace Ranch .
     Basically what we're saying is: Play music and think often and fondly of our dear mother/wife by living the life you sing about in your songs.
VizzTone proudly welcomes the
James Montgomery Band!
The VizzTone label group is proud to welcome the James Montgomery Band, and their new CD - FROM DETROIT TO THE DELTA - featuring special guests Johnny Winter, James Cotton, Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford and Joey Kramer, the Uptown Horns, and seminal rapper DMC!
While growing up in Detroit, James Montgomery learned first-hand from the masters — James Cotton, John Lee Hooker, and Jr. Wells. Over the years, he’s carried on in the tradition and continues to be a vital presence in Blues as one of its most dynamic performers.

In the late 60s James moved to Boston and formed the James Montgomery Band.  Incredibly energetic live shows placed them among the hottest acts in New England alongside the J. Geils Band and the budding Aerosmith (who opened two shows for the Montgomery Band), and they were quickly signed to a multi-album deal with Capricorn Records.  Since that time, James has recorded eight albums. His releases have hit the Billboard Top Ten and included members of the David Letterman Band, the Uptown Horns, producer Allen Toussaint and other luminaries.

James spent four years playing with Johnny Winter, and recorded on his Grammy-nominated “Bluesman” CD.  He has also recorded with Kid Rock and Uncle Kracker. James has toured with many major artists, including Aerosmith, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen, the Allman Brothers, Steve Miller and others, and performed onstage with B.B.King, Buddy Guy, John Lee Hooker, Jr. Wells, James Cotton, Bonnie Raitt, Greg Allman, Laverne Baker, and Peter Wolf among many others, including an impromptu session with Mick Jagger at New York’s “Trax”.

FROM DETROIT TO THE DELTA finds James and his great band once again in the company of well-known friends: Johnny Winter plays some blazing slide guitar, James Cotton joins James in a lowdown country blues, Aerosmith’s Joey Kramer and Brad Whitford power up a couple tracks, the Uptown Horns add their special flavor, and rapper DMC (Run DMC) takes “Who Do You Love” to a whole new place.
mmm, mmm, mmMemphis!
We had SUCH a good time in Memphis during IBC week!  It was so great to see so many friends and VizzTone family members, old and new, and the VizzTone Blues Party on Beale was a HUGE success!  DAVE GROSS and GINA SICILIA were amazing as hosts and house band for the night, and what a pleasure it was to witness killer performances from Dave, Gina, Big Bill Morganfield, Bob Corritore, Austin Young, Long Tall Deb, Big Llou Johnson, Greg Nagy, Dennis Gruenling, Tony Braunagel, T. Blade, Janiva Magness, Erin Harpe & the Delta Swingers, Phil Pemberton, Doug Woolverton, Clay Swafford, Scissormen, Dave Keller, Gracie Curran, Tom Papadatos, Matt Raymond, and more!!!
Memphis was also the perfect backdrop for signing up VizzTone's newest family members - Austin Young and Long Tall Deb!  And yes, we managed to keep the BBQ sauce off the paperwork!

Congratulations to this year's
in the field of journalism...
Bob's eBook is available in the iTunes Store,
Unfortunately Bob couldn't join us in Memphis to blow the roof off the Rum Boogie or accept his KBA award - he's been a little bit busy.  Vizztone's Richard Rosenblatt was glad to accept Bob's KBA in Journalism on his behalf (even though he refused to wear the Chicken Suit that Bob had requested.)  Much of Bob's award-winning Blues writing can be found in his e-Book "Steady Rollin' — Blues Stories, Snapshots, (Intentional) Blues Fiction."  As Rosy was quick to point out in his acceptance remarks, "Intentional" fiction marks the delicate distinction between "storytelling" and "lying."  ;-)

So what has Bob been doing?  Well, he's been on the Blues At The Crossroads tour, with Kim Wilson, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, James Cotton, Jody Williams and Tinsley Ellis ... so I guess we'll give him a pass from Memphis this time.

Mitch Woods on Voice Of America
Mitch Woods has been getting a tremendous response to Blues Beyond Borders, his CD/DVD chronicle of his triumphant tour of the Republic of Turkey.  Voice Of America Radio recently broadcast a great interview, in which Mitch talks about his travels as well as his influences and beginnings in the gumbo of New Orleans music and Boogie-Woogie piano.  Click HERE for the VOA article and interview, or click HERE to check out the music!
EG Kight - Songwriting Georgia Songbird
The Georgia Songbird has been busy!  EG Kight just got back from Isla Mujeres, a little island in Mexico, where she and some hit songwriters from Nashville performed to raise funds of the Little Yellow School House, a small school on the island for special needs children.  She also performed a concert for Isla Animals, an animal shelter on the island.
One of EG's primary passions has always been songwriting — she wrote her first song when she was sixteen years old. Through the years her songs have helped her express her views on life, love and heartache, and her songwriting savvy has led to invitations to teach songwriting workshops in Italy and Germany. Kight has been honored with six Blues Music Awards nominations, twice for Song of the Year, and she was nominated for two 2012 Blues Blast awards, for Female Artist and for Song of the Year.

One of Kight's original compositions won the People’s Choice Award in an international Peace Song Challenge, and that song was used on the Children’s Miracle Network. She has also appeared on NPR’s “A Prairie Home Companion”, and an original song from her segment was re-broadcast on the Listener’s Choice Program.  Kight has had some of her songs recorded by several artists across the genres. She wrote songs that landed on two of Koko Taylor’s Grammy nominated albums, and one of her songs aired on Nick at Nite. She continues to write relevant songs, and currently has songs on albums that have been nominated for 2013 Blues Music Awards. She co-wrote "No Time For The Blues", which appears on Ann Rabson w/Bob Margolin's NOT ALONE album, and her "Let The Healing Begin" can be found on Dorothy Moore's BLUES HEART album. These albums were nominated for Acoustic Album and Soul Blues Album, respectively.  Her song "Bad Girl" also appears on Shakura S'Aida's TIME album. Shakura has been nominated for a BMA for Contemporary Blues Female Artist.
Greg Nagy Won't Give Up!
Greg Nagy debuted his deeply moving new single, "I Won't Give Up" at the VizzTone Blues Party in Memphis.  In case you weren't there to dig it in person, you can check it out on iTunes by clicking HERE or on the Artwork to the left!
Greg has been busy performing, writing, and recording... and there has been some talk of a duo recording with VizzTone label mate EG Kight!  Stay tuned on that one... and just in case you missed Greg's soulful Big O/VizzTone release FELL TOWARD NONE, you can hear it by clicking HERE, or on the CD cover to the Right!

Dennis and Doug at 2:22 A.M.
Doug Deming & the Jewel Tones have been tearing it up on the radio charts and on the road with featured harmonica badass Dennis Gruenling, in support of their new CDs.  Here they are playing a killer slow blues from Dennis's album, called "2:22 A.M."  Harmonica aficionados will note that he's playing a diatonic Bb harp, and that this is a full two hours and thirty-seven minutes later than Little Walter's "Quarter to Twelve"!   ;-)
Click the pic to see the video
Getting Social with Amy Brat

FACEBOOK: Are you a fan yet?  Gina Sicilia's Music Page is heading towards 14,000 fans on Facebook! If you haven't "LIKED" her Music Page please go check it out!  It's where you'll get the most up-to-date info on where Gina is and what she's doing.  You'll be privy to Gina's new song lyrics, travels, events, photos and videos from the road and a whole lot more.  You can also hang with Gina on Twitter, YouTube, and ReverbNation.
LIVE INTERNET SHOW: If you haven't had the opportunity to see Gina Sicilia perform, here's a chance for you to see Gina's show live from the comfort of your own home!  Get your ticket for Gina's LIVE acoustic internet show on StageIt airing at 8pm ET March 1st!  There is no set ticket price so just pay whatever you want or can.  Now how easy is that!?  Only a limited number of fans can view so claim your spot now!  Click HERE to purchase your (name your price) ticket!
GINA SICILIA'S NEW CD: If you've spent any time on Facebook or Twitter recently then you probably know Gina Sicilia has a new CD in the works.  Gina just wrapped up a very successful Indiegogo campaign for her soon to be released "It Wasn't Real" which is due out April 30, 2013 with the VizzTone label group, produced by Grammy Award-Winning Producer Glenn Barratt in Philadelphia. Gina strongly feels this new CD is her best work and I agree!
ARRIVEDERCI! Gina will be performing in Southern Italy! Watch her Facebook Page for details and photos. She is touring heavily throughout the US so please check her schedule to see when she will be at a venue or festival near you!  You can find Gina Sicilia's 2013 schedule here on the Gina Sicilia website.
Did you know... you can preview Every song from Every artist at!