River Music Experience (RME) is proud to again offer our popular "Winter Blues" program this year, which will feature vocal and instrumental workshops (guitar, bass, harmonica, keyboards and drums), as well as blues composition and improvisation. These sessions are open to any area musicians from 8-18 yrs. of age. "Winter Blues" will be lead by yours truly and Mississippi-born bluesman Hal Reed, along with Ric Burris of the Mississippi Valley Blues Society, Mark Johnson of Brass Sail Recording and other musicians from the region who will share their knowledge and experience of the blues through the rehearsals and workshops.
The focus is on sharpening one's individual performance skills, while expressing oneself through the blues roots form - by learning how to improvise, and also through the composition of original blues lyrics and music. "Winter Blues" will consist of three half- day rehearsal and workshop sessions on Dec. 29, 30 and Jan. 2. Sessions will be held from 1-5 pm on-site at River Music Experience, and will conclude with a special Saturday Blues Jam event in the Redstone Room on Saturday, Jan. 3 starting at noon. For more information on registering for Winter Blues at RME, visit www.rivermusicexperience.org. Registration fee is $100 per participant, and space is limited for this special winter break program on a first-come, first-serve basis. Registrations must be received by no later than Dec. 15, 2008.
"Rebound," Jon Justice (Independent Release) – Born in Chicago in 1982, this young blues-stringer was voted City Beat Magazine's Best Singer/Slinger in 2007, and also won the Cincinnati Blues Challenge earlier this year. With gospel and bluegrass roots, he moved to Memphis to hone his craft and refine his style in the blues Mecca. "Rebound" is a heady brew of jumpin', reelin' and rockin' blues, molten slide guitar work, and soulful ballads as sweet as southern tea. This listener hears something reminiscent of that ol' Texas house-rocker Delbert McClinton in this young bluesman's voice, but the delivery and style is most definitely Jon Justice's own. For more information on this exciting new blues artist, visit: www.jonjustice.com.
"Feel so Good, " Albert Cummings (Blind Pig Records) - Recorded live at the historic Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA, this new collection from Albert Cummings includes signature AC originals, along with covers of Zeppelin, Little Feat and Muddy Waters anthems. Jim Gaines produced this great new live CD from one of today's most exciting and vibrant blues players. The medley of "Hoochie Coochie Man and Dixie Chicken" is destined to become a classic live track. This new CD is due for release on Sept. 9, 2008, but is available for pre-order now through Sept. 8. For information, visit: www.blindpigrecords.com.
"Midnight Blues," Magic Slim & The Teardrops (Blind Pig Records) - Magic Slim rounded up a stellar cast to join him for this new CD, including the legendary James Cotton, Little Ed, Lonnie Brooks, Otis Clay, Gene Barge, Elvin Bishop and the Chicago Rhythm & Bues Kings horn section. A true bluesman in all respects, he's still going strong at age 70, and his music just keeping getter better. True blue track on this one is "You Can't Lose What You Ain't Never Had." You know that Muddy just has to be smilin' down on Slim. Also due for release on Sept. 9, you can find more about this artist and his new CD at: www.blindpigrecords.com.
That should be more than a' plenty for y'all to chew on for now, with some great new blues tracks to warm you up as the weather cools down, and to keep you warm with ol' man winter just around the corner. I'm packin' my bags and headin' south on Hwy. 61, for the Sept. 13th grand opening of the new B. B. King Museum & Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola, Mississippi. We'll tell you all about when we get back to town and, until then, you can find more about B. B.'s new museum on the web at: www.bbkingmuseum.org. Until we meet again at this crossroads, peace, love & blessings to all, and...
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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