We start off this month where we left off last month, by again wishing everyone a True Blue New Year! Another Winter Blues at RME is in the archives, and thanks to all the participants and volunteer staff who made it a success again this year. Three young blues bands laid it down in the Redstone Room on Sat., Jan. 3, and made their folks (and all of us on the Winter Blues staff) real proud of them. Special thanks to Mark Johnson of Brass Sail Recording and Ric Burris of the Mississippi Valley Blues Society for co-sponsoring the event again this year with the RME. Mississippi bluesman Hal Reed and I both look forward to another great BlueSKool event this summer at the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, where we’ll again feature some of the Winter Blues kids live on stage. Our prayers go out to Hal Reed and his family at the passing of his father, James T. Reed, on Sat., Jan. 10 - following a recent stroke back home in Mississippi.
"All Wound Up," Dave Fields (FMI Records/Blind Raccoon Release) This is a diverse and tasty collection of new blues from a stellar guitar player and soulful vocalist. You’ll hear bits of Hendrix, R&B, jazz and just plain ol' good house rockin'. For more on this artist, visit www.blindraccoon.com.
"Tribute to The Legendary Blues Mandolin Man – James 'Yank' Rachell," Various Artists (Yanksville Records/Blind Raccoon Release) This is an incredible collection and fitting tribute to the late and great ‘Yank’ Rachell, the definitive blues mandolin player. Performers include John Sebastian, David Grisman, Tim O’Brien, David Grier, Andra Faye, Rich DelGrosso among others. Of special note: net proceeds from the sale of this tribute CD will benefit Yank’s granddaughter Sheena, who played bass with her grandfather for many years. Ms. Sheena has been diagnosed with a rare and debilitating chronic lung disease. This is a fine new CD in memory of the legendary Yank Rachell, and a very worthy cause. For more information, please visit www.yankrachell.com.
"BAM!" Ricky Gene Hall & The Goods (Blind Raccoon/ Burnside Distribution Corp.) Signature sweet-smoked vocals and masterful guitar-slingin’ on the Telecaster from Ricky Gene Hall again deliver the goods on this new collection, which features nine originals and choice interpretive covers. Ricky Gene just plain nails it with his cover of the late Jerry Reed’s classic anthem, “Amos Moses.” The closer, “Blue Leave Me, Too,” finishes out the CD in style on an achin’ slow blues seasoned with sweet jazz chords. For much more information on this exciting new artist, visit www.rghgoods.com online.
"Havin' The Last Word," Saffire – The Uppity Blues Women (Alligator Records) Since their Alligator debut in 1992, the ladies of Saffire (Ann Rabson, Gaye Adegbalola, and Andra Faye) have carried their true blue torch from coast to coast and around the world and back. Faye replaced original Saffire member Earlene Lewis sixteen years ago. No one does it better, and this final album offering from the group showcases three very strong and talented women, each of whom has gone on to develop their own successful solo career. The CD is not due out for release until January 27, but we have it direct from Alligator Records & Artist Management that this new and final release will be followed by an official Saffire Farewell Tour. The emotions ride the coaster from serious to hilarious – just as the ladies of Saffire have always served it up. For more information, please visit www.alligator.com on the web.
That's all she wrote for this month’s installment and, until we meet again at this crossroads, peace, love & blessings to everyone, and Blues to 'ya!
Local musician Ellis Kell writes about blues music both local and national in "True Blue", each month in the Entertainment section of The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus, online at www.qconline.com and www.wqad.com. He is Director of Programming & Education for the River Music Experience, a registered nonprofit helping build the Quad Cities music scene - through diverse live music and educational programming. He also hosts 'Currents at the Crossroads' musical segment of WQPT's Life & Times.firstname.lastname@example.org
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