November 19, 2019

Five years ago, when Rick Booth’s Charlotte-based blues booking agency Intrepid Artists International celebrated its 20th anniversary, he wasn’t sure what to expect. He was tentative when he rolled up to Neighborhood Theatre in a limo that night.

“I’m praying that somebody’s in there,” the Charlotte native recalls, sitting in his office overlooking Kings Drive. He needn’t have worried. “The place was packed with my buddies from high school and college. It was an epic night.”

Given the success of Intrepid’s 20th, Booth is upping his game for the agency’s 25th anniversary with two nights of live music from many of the musicians on Intrepid’s roster.

Booth’s love of rock and blues began in childhood, when his godmother gave him greatest-hits albums by Elton John and John Denver (although he usually leaves Denver out of the story). At 7 p.m. each night, he tuned into 610 “Big WAYS” and later 95Q to hear their classic-rock blocks.

“Classic rock was my thing. I was a freaking encyclopedia of cla...

January 1, 2019

Raised in Cincinnati, Iglauer's new book (co-written with Patrick A. Roberts) "Bitten by the Blues: The Alligator Records Story" 

As 2018 ends, “Best Recordings” judgments are being brought forth from all quarters — and Alligator Records is once again making its presence felt on Blues lists. For instance, Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio is up for a Best Traditional Blues Album Grammy for Something Smells Funky ’Round Here.

The Chicago-based Alligator, which was founded in 1971 by Cincinnati-raised Bruce Iglauer, gets a lot of credit for reenergizing Blues as vital, contemporary “genuine house rockin’ music,” to quote its motto. And now Iglauer, with co-writer Patrick A. Roberts, tells the story of how that happened in his new book Bitten by the Blues: The Alligator Records Story (The University of Chicago Press).

“I am not the savior of the Blues,” Iglauer says in a telephone interview. “The Blues itself is the savior of the Blues. I like to see myself as the bridge connecting the artist...

January 1, 2019

Kirk Fletcher is a four-time Blues Music Award winner, a 2015 British Blues Award nominee, and has released three acclaimed studio albums. He’s played with legendary artists – including Joe Bonamassa, with whom he collaborated on the Grammy-nominated Live at the Greek Theatre album – and spent three years as lead guitarist for the Fabulous Thunderbirds. And his playing has been hailed as “so soulful and straight-from-the-heart that it blows people’s minds”… There are a lot of people who are credited these days as great Blues guitar players, but Kirk is the real deal: not just a name, but one of the few who still carries the torch of the late Blues greats, like Freddie King, BB King, Albert King, Muddy Waters, Albert Collins.

Blues is not about what you play, but how you play it: Blues virtuosity comes from the heart, not from the fingers and the brain. So whenever you have the chance to see a craftsman of Kirk’s caliber doing what they do best – regardless of whether you are a...

October 28, 2018

ROCKLAND — Sen. Dave Miramant, D-Camden, presented North Atlantic Blues Festival founder Paul Benjamin with a Legislative Sentiment in honor of the 25th anniversary of the annual festival.

The North Atlantic Blues Festival was held at the Public Landing in Rockland Harbor July 14 and 15. It is now considered one of the most prestigious festivals on the East Coast. A Legislative Sentiment is a significant expression by the Legislature in recognition of civic and public achievements.

October 28, 2018

Marshfield, MA resident Anthony Geraci has recorded enough albums to know what makes for a good session; like-minded musicians who also get along. Luckily for music fans, Geraci has a boundless list of friends among some of the country’s foremost blues musicians, which is one of the things that makes his new album, “Why Did You Have To Go?” (Shining Stone Records) such a delight.

Geraci and his Boston Blues All Stars will be performing tonight at The Fallout Shelter in Norwood, as part of their Extended Play series. Geraci and his band will also be headlining Chan’s in Woonsocket, Rhode Island on November 2. He’s got a European tour and the Lucerne Blues Festival coming up after that, but he’ll be back in this area after the holidays, headlining The Spire Center in Plymouth on January 26.

Taking a look at Geraci’s musical history can be a jaw-dropping experience. A New Haven native who was playing piano by the age of 4, he fell in love with the blues and all its permutations early, and b...

October 28, 2018

The Guit-gun is a small-bore shotgun the Reverend converted into a guitar

I’m guessing it’s not easy to be the Reverend Peyton. His particular apple fell from the Charley Patton tree of the blues, and though it may have bounced, it did not bounce far. Patton, who died in 1934, was a man of the Delta with limited tools that were stretched to the limit in order to perform. With a voice made raw as road rash, Patton sounded as if on the verge of blowing a gasket when he sang. The Reverend Peyton’s got that too. I’d like to think that if the two could have met in this life, Patton would have liked both Peyton and the small-bore shotgun the Reverend had converted into a guitar.

I’m not certain whether or not Josh Peyton is an actual reverend. And the Big Damn Band is, in truth, a three-piece including himself, his wife Breezy on vox and washboard, and a trap drummer who happens to be his brother. The Rev is a master of country blues, and of the finger-picking style that sounds as if two or mo...