True Blue
from Ellis Kell
Argus/Dispatch blues columnist

July/August 2009

First off, we want to offer true blue congrats and kudos to the Mississippi Valley Blues Society for producing a fabulous 25th Annual Blues Festival! Even a steady morning drizzle on Saturday couldn't wash away those blues, nor keep the true blue fans away from LeClaire Park. For updates on blues news across the country, visit - and we encourage you to support the MVBS and live blues (and all local live music) in our area venues. These times are tough it's true, but music has always carried us through.

Comin' Around the Bend...

Sat., Aug. 1st the Redstone Room at RME welcomes back Curtis Salgado with special guest Paul Hare (see ). Two years ago Salgado was diagnosed with liver cancer and told he had eight months to live. Salgado had no health insurance, so good friends and true blue comrades Steve Miller, Robert Cray, Bonnie Raitt, Taj Mahal, The Phantom Blues Band, Everclear and Little Charlie & The Nightcats came to the rescue through at numerous benefits in multiple cities. Almost a half a million dollars was raised and Curtis got the transplant he needed. Now that's what we call livin' on blues power!

Sat., Aug. 22nd RIBCO welcomes The Reverend Horton Heat with special guests the Throw Rag and The Afterdarks. This is an all-ages show outside starting at 8 pm. True Blue congrats to RIBCO on thirty years of presenting top live local, regional and national music acts in the RI District. RIBCO will celebrate it's 30th Anniversary on July 31 and August 1 with special outside performances by Einstein's Sister, Keep Off the Grass, John Resch & Detroit Blues, Jim The Mule (all on Fri., July 31), and Dean Wellman, Driver of the Year and Tripmaster Monkey (all on Sat., Aug. 1). For more info visit

New True Blue Tracks On the Horizon...

"Unspoiled by Progress - 20 Years of Hardcore Blues" Walter Trout (Provogue Records) - This one is due to hit the racks on August 4th, and will feature previously unreleased tracks and three brand new songs. For more information on this stellar guitarslinger, singer/songwriter, visit

"Hard Believer," Tommy Castro (Alligator Records) - This one is due out August 11, and will feature 12 new tracks, including six new Castro originals. This new collection is dedicated by Castro to his friend and inspiration the late, great Stephen Bruton. For more information on this and other Alligator artists and releases, visit

"Blind for Love," Ana Popovic (Eclecto Groove Records) – One of Europe’s top guitarists, Ana Popovic blends blues, jazz, rock, gospel and funk on this newest collection of tracks. She is her own woman, with her own distinct style as a gifted performer and songwriter. With rave reviews from Vintage Guitar, Blues Revue and Guitar Player, this young blood from Belgrade has taken the world tour circuit by storm. For more information, visit

"Escape from the Chicken Coop," Watermelon Slim (Northern Blues) Watermelon Slim (a.k.a. Bill Homans) had always wanted to make a country music album. The old trucker comes through with a fresh new collection of country blues & boogie in the finest tradition. With a record of sixteen Blues Music Award nominations to his credit, Slim is without a doubt one of today's most unique purveyors of blues & roots music. For more information on this incredible artist visit

That should be more than a plenty for y’all to chew on for now, 'cause that old river is calling me back down to the levee. Until we meet again at this crossroads, peace love & blessings to all, 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 and 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.

Local events heading

  Today is Thursday, Oct. 2, the 275th day of 2014. There are 90 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The ladies have adopted the fashion of wearing representations of insects in the flowers on their bonnets. Some look very natural.
1889 -- 125 years ago: T.F. Cary, former Rock Island alderman, has accepted a position as salesman for a Chicago wallpaper house and plans to move to that city.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Work on the new telephone building on 18th Street between 6th and 7th avenues is progressing rapidly.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Rock Island's new theater at 3rd Avenue and 19th Street will have a name significant of its location. The "Rocket" is scheduled to open Thanksgiving Day.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Two of Rock Island's newest water towers were vandalized last night, including the one at 38th Street and 31st Avenue, where police took five Moline boys into custody about 9 p.m..
1989 -- 25 years ago: Some of us who live in the Quad-Cities take the Mississippi River for granted, or at least we used to. But the river is not taken for granted by our visitors. And most Quad-Citians are realizing the importance of the river to this area as increased emphasis is placed on tourism.

(More History)