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True Blue from Ellis Kell

Argus/Dispatch blues columnist

APRIL 2005


The Mississippi Valley Blues Society welcomes back David Berntson, as Artist in Residence April 4th through April 9th. The Galesburg native is scheduled to visit five elementary schools, the Family Museum of Arts and Science, college radio stations WVIK and KALA, Barnes & Noble Bookstore, and will also be performing at the River Music Experience on Wednesday, April 6th at 7 p.m. In addition to his Wednesday evening appearance, Berntson will also be doing a special children’s program at RME’s Kids Dayz, 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 9th. David Berntson now resides in Tulsa, 0klahoma, where he founded the Tulsa Blues Club in 1986. He is also a past recipient of the "Keeping the Blues Alive in Education" from the National Blues Foundation in Memphis, for his work on the “Blues in the Schools” program. Berntson is a veteran performer, and has played in the Tulsa Blues Club House Band, the Hydramatics, and Blue Combo. Slide guitarist Bob Parker and Berntson also perform as the Duo-Sonics.

The MVBS Spring 2005 Village Pub Tour will be held on Thursday, April 7, from 4-11 p.m., and will feature Gray Wolf at The 11th Street Bar & Grill, Rob Dahms at Grumpy’s Saloon, Funktastic 5 at The McClellan Stockade, Project Pickle Farm at Little B’s, Joe Price at Bier Stube, and Hal Reed and the Mob at Mound Street Landing.

Highlights for the 2005 IH Mississippi Valley Blues Festival include: Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials, Deanna Bogart, Roddie Romero & The Hub City All Stars, Carl Weathersby, Mel Waiters, Marcia Ball, Magic Slim and the Teardrops with John Primer, Phillip Walker, Ike Turner & the Kings of Rhythm, Saffire - The Uppity Blues Women, plus free workshops, and BlueSKool for the younguns. For the complete lineup and more information about this year’s Blues Fest, visit the MVBS festival info-page at: .


bp-5094 (16K)"Soul Shaker" - Tommy Castro (Blind Pig Records) Hard chargin', hot rockin' Tommy Castro is back with a brand new collection of original tunes, showcasing his no-nonsense approach to houserockin' blues. With a touch of Memphis soul and some funky new rhythms, Castro & Company put it altogether in a fresh new batch of tunes. Carlos Santana says of Tommy Castro... "The blues is in good hands. This is the person who has the voice, the sound, and the right intentions to touch everybody's heart." We agree 100%, and this new CD comes as a welcome addition to any bluesrockers collection. To learn more about other fine releases from the 'Pig Pen', visit on the web.

cd_future2 (9K)"The Future of the Blues - Volume 2" - Various Artists (NorthernBlues Music) NorthernBlues Music started out in 2000, and has released some very notable titles in it's first five years. This fine compilation includes tracks from the JW - Jones Blues Band, Paul Reddick, Carlos del Junco, Eddie Turner, Toni Lynn Washington, John and the Sisters, Kevin Breit & Harry Manx, Janiva Magness, Brian Blain, Dan Treanor & Frankie Lee, David-Jacobs Strain, James Cohen, Glamour Puss, Taxi Chain and more. This Canadian blues label delivers some of the finest new blues out there today. Hear the future of the blues, and learn more about these innovative new blues artists on the web at: .


Lon Bozarth, our new President/CEO at River Music Experience, has finally settled in the basement bunker at the Redstone. A veteran of the Austin music scene, he founded and, and was appointed by the mayor to Austin's special live music commission. To steal a quote from the Soundboard site, the "mission is to perpetuate the continued success and growth of Texas' live music scene by providing centralized resources to fans, talent, venues and the media. By working inclusively with regional talent and with local music venues to create these resources, we can enhance the diversity and vitality of Texas' live music community." I know that Lon is dedicated to the task of nourishing that same spirit of a diverse and vital musical community here in the Quad Cities, and we all feel very fortunate to have him manning the helm of the RME ship. From a world-class exhibit on the way, the brand new 'River Roots Live' music festival in the works for August, as well as exciting new internal and external developments at our facility, all I can say is... "you aint seen nuthin' yet!" 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’, running the first Sunday of each month in Entertainment. He is also on the staff of River Music Experience, a not-for-profit museum and center dedicated to preservation, education and celebration of American Roots music.

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