True Blue
from Ellis Kell
Argus/Dispatch blues columnist

December 2008

Grammy Blues News...

The tradition of the blues is still alive and well, and a popular subject, as revealed in the recent Hollywood release “Cadillac Records” – which tells the story of Chicago’s Chess Records in the 1950’s, and stars Adrien Brody (Leonard Chess), and Beyonce Knowles (Etta James), Jeffrey Wright (Muddy Waters), Mos Def (Chuck Berry), Columbus Short (Little Walter), Cedric the Entertainer (Willie Dixon), Emmanuelle Chriqui (Revetta Chess), Gabrielle Union (Geneva Wade) and Eamonn Walker (Howlin’ Wolf). The film no doubt has the potential to yet again breath life and new interest back into the Chicago (and worldwide) blues scene, as was the case way back in the 70’s with “The Blues Brothers”. For more on this new film, visit

Moreover, testament to the power of the blues is evidenced in the nominees for the upcoming Grammy Awards. John Lee Hooker, Jr., who performed at the Redstone Room at RME back in June of 2006, has received a Grammy nomination for ‘Best Traditional Blues Album’ for his “All Odds Against Me” on the Steppin' Stone Records label. For more on John Lee Hooker, Jr., visit . The winners of the 51st Grammy Awards will be announced on February 8, 2009 at The Staples Center In Los Angeles. All nominees in the blues field include:

Best Traditional Blues Album

(Vocal or Instrumental.)
  • The Blues Rolls On
    Elvin Bishop
    [Delta Groove Music, Inc.]
  • Skin Deep
    Buddy Guy
    [Silvertone Records]
  • All Odds Against Me
    John Lee Hooker Jr.
    [Steppin' Stone Records/CC Entertainment]
  • One Kind Favor
    B.B. King
    [Geffen Records]
  • Pinetop Perkins & Friends
    Pinetop Perkins & Friends
    [Stoneagle Music/Telarc]

Best Contemporary Blues Album

(Vocal or Instrumental)
  • Peace, Love & BBQ
    Marcia Ball
    [Alligator Records]
  • Like A Fire
    Solomon Burke
    [Shout! Factory]
  • City That Care Forgot
    Dr. John And The Lower 911
    [429 Records]
  • Maestro
    Taj Mahal
    [Heads Up International]
  • Simply Grand
    Irma Thomas
    [Rounder Records]

Keepin' the Blue Alive...

Don't forget to do your part to keep the blues alive right here in the Quad Cities, by becoming a member or simply making a donation. Your tax-deductible donation to the Mississippi Valley Blues Society will help enable MVBS to continue providing a wide variety of quality programs that help keep the Blues alive. These programs include the IH Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, our Blues in the Schools artist residencies and a variety of live blues performances. Visit to find more on how you can help keep our award-winning blues festival alive, right here on the banks of the Mississippi.

Further on up the road...

True Blue will be bringing you more details on plans for the new Chicago Blues Museum. Bookmark for more to come. For now, we wish you all the best for the holidays, and a true blue New Year. Until we meet again at this crossroads, peace, love and blessings to everyone, 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.

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