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~ Blues News ~
Randy Chortkoff, founder, president and CEO of Delta Groove Productions, has passed away at the age of
65. A highly successful entrepreneur outside of the music business, Chortkoff followed his true passion as a
music producer, performer, and promoter for two decades before founding Delta Groove Productions
almost 15 years ago.
The Chicago Blues Festival, being held June 12th-14th at Grant Park, has released its full line up, and it’s
fantastic. Buddy Guy is headlining, with the Taj Mahal Trio and many other amazing acts performing.
The 36th Blues Music Awards took place before a sell-out crowd of 1,500 in Downtown Memphis. The
evening began with a reception, led by nominees Austin Walkin’ Cane and Annika Chambers performing,
and it ended after midnight. During the course of the evening, 24 Blues Music Award winners were
announced and the show featured 20 ten-minute sets, including one by Blues Hall of Famers John
Hammond and Charlie Musselwhite, as well as Keb’ Mo’ and Elvin Bishop. Recent releases include Lucky 3
Blues Band – Blues Time, Big Dave McLean - Faded But Not Gone, Brother Sun Sister Moon – Self-Titled,
Robbie Mack – Demolicious, and Deb Ryder -Let It Rain.
Ben E. King, known for hits such as "Stand By Me", has passed away at age 76. His contributions to the
music world were vast, from his work with the Drifters, to his solo and community work.
B.B. King has posted news on his Facebook page confirming that he is resting in home hospice. His
daughter is said to be concerned for his safety, and has become involved in the situation.
The 3rd annual Mighty Mississippi Music Festival has announced its line up. The headliner for this year’s
festival will be Old Crow Medicine Show.
Blues.org has all updates and winners for the 36th Blues Music Awards. Congratulations to them all! The
Blues Hall of Fame is officially open!
Recent releases include: Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band - So Delicious!, Steve Lury and Andres Roots -
Live in Lerwick, and Joanne Shaw Taylor - Songs from the Road.
Artsplosure, which is in its 36th year, moves its musical acts and art market to Fayetteville Street from
Moore Square this year, and adds a third day. Musical acts appearing on two stages are heavy on the blues
this year, with Canadian blues guitarist Matt Andersen and guitarist Elvin Bishop performing, along with
blues guitarist Jarekus Singleton as well.
In the new issue of Blues Blast Magazine, Terry Mullins handles the feature interview with Lionel Young.
There are 5 fresh new music reviews, including music from Willie May, Blue Lunch, and The Kingmixers.
They call themselves “Original Legends of the Blues.” They are blues men and women who have banded
together to release a new CD, honoring the legendary musicians with whom they play and have played with.
Eric Demmer performed around the world for more than 12 years with Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown.
James “Boogaloo” Bolden has been playing trumpet with BB King’s band for more than 35 years. Charlie
Dennis has played guitar with the BB King band since 2002. Check their work out- it’s worth the listen.
Little Milton’s widow, Mrs. Pat Campbell, says she was overcome when she first encountered the statue of
her late husband and his guitar that was just unveiled. On Thursday, April 9th at 4:00pm, The Blues
Foundation dedicated the Little Milton bronze statue that will permanently reside in front of the Blues Hall
of Fame. The statue is inspired by the cover of Little Milton’s last studio album, “Think of Me” The cover
photo features Little Milton sitting on a bench holding his Gibson guitar in Tom Lee Park along the
Mississippi River. The bench is known as the gar bench, as it legs are in the shape of a gar; a fish found in
The Budweiser Illinois Blues Festival is happening Labor day weekend in Peoria, Illinois. The festival will
run on Friday September 4th and Saturday September 5th in Riverfront Festival Park, and includes 3 stages
of entertainment, as well as musician Blues workshops. The line up includes Johnny Lang, Robert Randolph
& the Family Band, and Taj Mahal.
Buddy Guy will headline the this year’s Chicago Blues Festival in Grant Park. This 32nd annual festival
promises to be an exceptional musical experience, and features an impressive lineup. In addition to Buddy
Guy, those scheduled to perform include Toronzo Cannon, the Taj Mahal Trio, Shawn Holt & The Tear
Drops, Johnny Rawls, The House Rockers and Billy Branch & the Sons of Blues, with special guest Eddy
“The Chief” Clearwater. Other great artists performing this year are Clarence Carter, Mary Lane, Nellie
Tiger Travis, John Primer, Lurrie Bell, Cash Box Kings, Studebaker John and the Maxwell Street Kings and
Bernard Allison Group’s “In The Mix” is available now on Jazzhaus Records.
Jay Sieleman is stepping down as head of The Blues Foundation on September 30th, after more than twelve
years as CEO. The search for a new President and CEO is now underway. The Board of Directors will select
a successor this summer. Applications are due on May 15th, but you are encouraged to make your interest
Clarksdale, Mississippi’s Juke Joint Festival may only be celebrating its 12th year, but it’s accomplished
quite a lot in that time. “2014 was the biggest Juke Joint Festival yet, and so far, 2015 looks to top it,”
states festival co-organizer Roger Stolle. “Our annual festival now attracts attendees from almost 30 foreign
countries, almost 50 states, and over 50 Mississippi counties. Still, the most important number here is the
number of bluesmen in their 70s, 80s and even 90s who play our fest.” This year’s lineup includes blues
legends like Cedell Davis, Big George Brock, Leo “Bud” Welch, Elmo Williams, Hezekiah Early, LC Ulmer,
Cadillac John Nolden, Eddie Cusic, YZ Ealey, Robert “Bilbo” Walker and others.
Dan Aykroyd is taking the next step in his commitment to the blues with the launch of his own record label.
Alongside Judy Belushi, widow of his Blues Brothers co-star John, Aykroyd has created Blues Brothers
Records in order to nurture and develop new blues artists. The label will be distributed by Capitol Music
Group's Blue Note Records.
Jack White's recent show at Madison Square Garden in New York City was all about the blues. He
discussed how powerful his recent visit to Mississippi was, and why he has such a deep love for the blues and
its rich history. NPR ran a recent article on Paramount Records and blues music, and discussed Third Man
Records and Revenant's recent releasing of Paramount's blues catalog.
Elvin Bishop is officially a top vote-getter this year, with six nominations for the 36th Blues Music Awards,
happening May 7th. Speaking of the Awards- The Blues Foundation has listed cut off dates and rates for
several downtown Memphis-area hotels. In order to secure a room with the best rates possible, be sure to
book yours today.