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True Blue from Ellis Kell
Argus/Dispatch blues columnist

February 2002

Molly Nova and The Hawk, two faces long familiar to Blue Band followers and regional blues 'n boogie fans in general, are now well on their way to burning a new legend into the pages of the midwest music scene. There's no indication that they plan to stop there. The fiery electric violin of Molly Nova, and the bedrock laid down by drummer Turk E. Krause are the cornerstones of a new sound that also features both of the founding members on vocals. There's one big difference between where they came from and where they're going: Molly is up front, all the time, where she belongs. Her incredible talent and earthy voice is showcased first and foremost, as it should be, in this unique new ensemble. The plan is to move on and move out, eventually taking the show on to new horizons while continuing to tour throughout the midwest.

"Another Shade of Blue" blends Molly's instrumental prowess and soulful voice impeccably, and the result is a deeply powerful new anthem. Turk's sure vocals on songs like "Kindred Spirit," the driving "It Just Is," and "Don't Burn That Bridge" blend like butter and hot rum with Molly's harmonies. Lead vocals are split between the two on the "It's So Right," which instrumentally rolls on like a runaway freight train. "Lover's Intuition" closes out the collection with Turk's most passionate vocal, on a ballad that also features sweet harmonies and a classically beautiful, signature Molly Nova violin solo.

Acording to Turk, "It is important to us that people understand what inspired this huge change in our musical world. The CD idea came about as an outlet for Molly to play a lot of violin - something she didn't have the space to do in the Blue Band due to the immense amount of talent. It also was a goal we set to continue as a writing team - we wrote three songs for the last Blue Band project and found that together we were able to get those songs out of our souls that we always knew were there. It was not in our intentions to end up leaving the band - we just a needed outlet - but through playing that much violin in the studio Molly grew immensely and discovered a need to continue growing, something all 'lifer' musicians should always do. She will be singing and playing the violin most of the time- and fronting the band!"

Molly and Turk are joined by Tommy Bruner and Jeff Banks on guitars, and bass player Jon Locker (Banks and Locker formerly together in The Jeff Banks Band). The new band plans to 'build on the fan base we have developed throughout our collective careers - playing the festivals, clubs, etc. in our backyard, along with plans to do extended tours throughout the USA. We're all in it for life and we're ready to roll!" Tour dates in the near future include gigs in Kansas City, Mo., and Sun Valley, Idaho. A complete tour schedule for the band can be found on the web at: www.mollynovahawk.com

They call it 'Sweet Rockin' Roots & Blues' and, according to Molly and Turk, there's been more than a little magic to it all. "Songs that started to the beat of a creaking lawn chair in front of a campfire, the birth of songs that have brewed inside for both of us, the magic of awakening a driving desire to grow... not to mention - this is unheard of - the CD even got here on time! It also has to be said - the decision to move on from the Blue Band was a very, VERY tough thing. We want people to know this comes from good and healthy things, and a realization that one of the few things we have control of in our lives is the amount of regrets and 'what ifs' pursuing our goals we DON'T have when we've played our last licks." For more on this unique and exciting new band and their schedule, visit their website at: www.mollynovahawk.com

* Shortly after this article was written, the band informed us that Jon Locker would be leaving to join The Nadas. According to Molly and Turk, "As it turns out, it was a blessing in disguise as Jeff Banks found another Des Moines native in our age and experience realm that plays 5-string bass & is an accomplished Organ & Electric piano player. His name is Bryn "Buddy" like this was meant to be."

"One Night in America" - Charlie Musselwhite (Telarc) - Charlie Musselwhite rolls back down the highway into the Memphis of the 40's and 50's. This is where blues, R&B and country all made indelible marks on the fabric of his soul. This CD is no doubt one of his best yet, and features special guests Robben Ford, Marty Stuart and Kelly Willis. G. E. Smith is also featured on guitar. Although a diverse selection of compositions - each one is delivered as naturally as if it were a page out of Charlie's personal diary.

"Koko Taylor - Deluxe Edition" (Alligator Records) - this collection features performances from Koko Taylor's catalog at Alligator, and includes duets with B. B. King, Buddy Guy, Pinetop Perkins and Mighty Joe Young. Includes previously unreleased track "Man Size Job". This is documented proof that the lady still reigns as "Queen of the Blues." A blues collector's must-have!

"Hell or High Water" - Tinsley Ellis (Telarc) - the Atlanta guitar-slinger is back with a fresh blues stew of houserockin', honky-tonkin' and sweet, soulful blues. This debut on the Telarc label showcases the versatility and incendiary blues of Tinsley Ellis, whose guitar soars high on "Stuck in Love." "Set Love Free" closes out this collection with a passionate, simple ballad - delivered straight from the heart and soul.

"Live at J.M. O'Malley's" - Bryce Janey (Hot Fudge) - this is a great new live CD from one of the midwest's most exciting young guitarists. Fresh off the Blue Band wagon, Bryce Janey delivers live blues as good as it gets anywhere, and his deep, rich vocals speak to a soul way beyond his years. Papa Billy Lee Janey sits in on guitar for a fresh and funky reading of his own "Practice What You Preach." Bryce is joined by Tom T-Bone Giblin on keyboards, Steve Hayes on drums, and Dan 'DJ' Johnson on bass guitar. Recorded live by Michael Cutsforth (MC Audio) at J. M. O'Malley's, Cedar Rapids, in January of 2001.

"Son Seals - Deluxe Edition" (Alligator Records) - rough and raw from one of Chicago's favorite bluesmen. This collection includes a previously unreleased track from the Alligator vaults entitled "Life All By Myself." 100% proof, undiluted blues from the legendary Son Seals. Absolutely no smoking allowed within 100 yards of this potent brew!

"The Blues White Album" - Various Artists (Telarc) - this CD features interpretations of 'Beatle-blues' numbers, which may or may not be the blues enthusiast's cup of tea. The tracks that standout from the rest on this one are Joe Louis Walker's treatment of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," and Charlie Musselwhite's rendition of "Dear Prudence." Worth a listen, and we' ll let it be at that.

That should give you all more than a' plenty to listen to for now. I'm movin' on down the highway for a time to that same old place, sweet home Chicago. Peace & blessings, and until we meet again at this crossroads.

Blues to 'ya!



trueblue@qconline.com

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