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True Blue from Ellis Kell
Argus/Dispatch blues columnist


MAY 2001

By definition. the Elixir of Life is an imaginary substance thought to purify and heal the soul, analogous to purifying lead into gold. The newest Elixir now found in the Quad Cities, however, is no imaginary substance or tonic off the snake-oil wagon.

ElixerThe Quad Cities Own ELIXIR featuring Claudie Smith is a pipin' hot new Blue stew of pure soul, hot funk, down-home Blues and, most recently, the winner of the local QC round of the Iowa Blues Challenge. Soon, it's off to the IBC final round competition in Des Moines for this QC favorite, and one listening should tell anyone that Elixir has all the ingredients to make it all the way to Memphis for the international finals. (For more on the Iowa Blues Challenge, including a page on Elixir and the other competing bands, visit: www.cibs.org on the web.)

Elixir frontman and lead vocalist Claudie Smith was born in Haden, Arkansas and his soulful vocals echo some of the most notable Blues, R&B and soul voices from past and present, including Albert Collins, James Brown and a wide spectrum of influences. Yet, the delivery is his own, and the showmanship is pure heart and soul from Claudie Smith.

Guitarist Joe Collins, Manteca, California has paid his dues on the QC music scene, and is definitely one of the most versatile and inspired guitarslingers in town. Darren "Bo" Butler, of East Moline, has made his mark as one of the area's premier bass players, with incredible funk and soulful technique. Bo locks up tight with QC percussionist extraordinaire Tony Carton, whose drumming is a prime ingredient of this musical potion called Elixir.

One place you check them out live will be at the American Heart Association benefit scheduled for May 9th at the Blackthorn Pub in Moline. We wish them the best of luck at the Iowa Blues Challenge finals in Des Moines on May 19, 2001. If you can follow Elixir down to give them your support at the finals - please do! (For a great recent interview with Elixir's Tony 'T.C.' Carton, visit findusat309.com's 'Quad City Musicians On the Net' page at: findusat309.com/interviews/interview_tony_carton.html)
Studebaker John and the Hawks
New Blues Fer Youz.

"Howl With the Wolf," Studebaker John & the Hawks (Evidence/ECD 26112) Studebaker John Grimaldi and his Hawks are back with a hot and spicy new debut on the Evidence Music label. Inspired by the Maxwell Street regulars of the 1960's, Studebaker John went on to experience firsthand Chicago Blues heritage at its finest. Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Hound Dog Taylor and J. B. Hutto. He learned long ago to play it straight from the heart, his own heart, and it comes through better and ever on this new collection. His premier Blues voice, harmonica and slide guitar work is showcased on "Howl With The Wolf" - in the context of 12 extremely powerful original compositions from this seasoned Blues songwriter. Get some of this now for your next Blues party!

Not Necessarily Da Blues.

"Patiently," Domestic Problems (Triple Rock Records/TR2 99662) This six-piece Michigan based band has been compared The Dave Matthews Band, Blues Traveler and other contemporaries. Domestic ProblemsThis is premium energy, high octane stuff, with fat horn punch and a refreshingly positive outlook - all from a midwestern band that is bound to make its own indelible mark on the national scene. Its funky, it rocks, its smooth and its soulful, and Andy Holtgreive's vocals make for a perfect blend. Domestic Problems is one of the groups scheduled to appear on May 18 at the Rock Island District's Hornucopia festival. As they will tell you, "What you will find, though, is a type of music that relaxes, yet energizes... music that inspires... music that reflects and attracts an open mind." We couldn't have said it better. so we won't try. For more on Domestic Problems, visit their web site at: www.domesticproblems.com , and make sure you don't miss the chance to see 'em live at Hornucopia in the District!

Well, I'm outa' space, outa' time, and outa' here for now. Until we meet again at this crossroads, Peace & blessings, and...Blues to 'ya!


trueblue@qconline.com

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