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...

May 13, 2018

The Blues Music Awards winners. All the results!!

Contemporary Male, Keb' Mo'

Historical LP, A Legend Never Dies, @Luther Allison, Ruf Records

Acoustic LP Doug MacLeod

Contemporary Blues Female, Samantha Fish

Traditional Blues Male, Rick Estrin

Soul Blues Female, Mavis Staples

Contemporary Blues Album, TajMo, Taj Mahal and Keb Mo

Traditional Blues LP, Right Place Right Time, Mike Welch and Mike Ledbetter

Soul Blues Album, Robert Cray &Hi Rhythm

Soul Blues Male Artist, Curtis Salgado

Rock Blues Artist, MIKE ZITO FAN CLUB
Mike Zito

Acoustic Artist, Taj Mahal

Traditional Blues Female, Ruthie Foster

Rock Blues LP, We're All in this Together, Walter Trout

Instrumentalist Vocals, Beth Hart

Harmonica, Jason Ricci

Guitar, Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters

Drums, Tony Braunagel

Bass, Michael Mudcat Ward

Horn, Trombone Shorty

Piano, Victor Wainwright

Emerging Artist,Southern Avenue

B.B. King Entainer of the year, @Taj Mahal

Song of the year, The Blues Ain't Going No Where, R...

February 11, 2018

Big Dave McLean

With Better the Devil You Know Dave continues to set an example for new generations of musicians by constantly evolving his sound, embracing new artistic collaborations and making records that just keep getting better and better.

Along the way, there have been career highs: opening for his idol, Muddy Waters; earning two WCMAs, a Prairie Music Award, a Whisky Award and countless Maple Blues honours – including the Blues with Feeling (Lifetime Achievement) Award; sharing a JUNO for his contribution to CBC’s Saturday Night Blues Vol. 1 album; and most recently, garnering his third career JUNO nod for his last album, Faded But Not Gone. Billboard’s Larry LeBlanc once wrote that Dave “has done more to shape Western Canada’s blues scene than perhaps any other artist.”

Better The Devil You Know sees producer Steve Dawson pushing Dave far beyond his Chicago and Delta blues roots and into country blues, Southern gospel and Americana.

“DESPITE the fact he has a JUNO for eight a...

February 11, 2018

The harmonica wizard from Coralville, Iowa, a brassy blues band out of Houston, a Brazil-born guitar master, and a 21-year-old "wunderkind." These are the acts that rose to the top of the pack at The Blues Foundation's 34th annual International Blues Challenge Awards ceremony, which took place at Memphis' historic Orpheum Theatre on Saturday, January 20. Kevin "B.F." Burt was the big man of the evening as the bluesman representing the Central Iowa Blues Society, picking up three awards:

First Place Solo/Duo, Best Solo/Duo Guitarist, and the Lee Oskar Award for Best Harmonica Player.

The Keeshea Pratt Band, from the Houston Blues Society, stormed out of Texas to grab First Place Band honors with judges universally rating them ready to headline major festivals and take the international blues scene by storm.

The local band Fuzzy Jeffries and the Kings of Memphis (Memphis Blues Society) finished in second place, with Arthur Menezes coming in third. Menezes, however, did not leave Memphis...

February 11, 2018

John William Payne -- better known as "Sunshine Sonny" Payne -- the longtime host of King Biscuit Time, the award-winning radio show that influenced generations of blues musicians and fans, died Saturday in Helena-West Helena. He was 92.

"Sonny was one of the most professional and warm people I have ever met in my life," said Thomas Jacques, assistant director of the Delta Cultural Center in downtown Helena, where Payne's studio was relocated to in the early '90s. "He could be highly opinionated and stubborn, but he was one of a kind and beloved."

Payne had been off the air since Dec. 27 when he fell at his home. Substitute hosts, including Jacques, filled in for him.

"In the back of our minds, we knew he was 92 years old, but we were hoping this would be one of those times when he would be back behind the mic again," said Katie Harrington, KFFA 1360 station manager. "It's a real loss for us."

Born Nov. 29, 1925, in Helena to Gladys Swope Payne and William G. Payne, he became infatuated wi...

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