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~ Blues News ~
The Blues Music Awards are sold out! Online ticket sales were discontinued April 16, three weeks before the
Blues Music Awards gala set for May 7th. Given the show’s large stage and production areas, the Cook
Convention Center can comfortably seat 1450 attendees at tables of ten.
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.
Although the Grand Opening of the Blues Hall of Fame is not taking place until May 8th, The Blues
Foundation has just moved their office from the space they had been renting back to 421 South Main.
Construction on the Blues Hall of Fame continues.
The world of playing, recording, writing, composing and managing music is explained at the new Dinah and
Fred Gretsch Family Gallery at Music City’s Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. It’s located just
two blocks away from the Summer NAMM show. The Gallery allows visitors to mix a band recording, cut a
vocal track, understand the dynamics of guitar building and more... plus displays a variety of historic guitars
and other instruments. The Gallery was created through a generous donation by Gretsch Company
president Fred Gretsch and his wife Dinah, who is the historic guitar-and-drum builder’s executive vice
president and chief financial officer, through the Gretsch Foundation.
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.