Blues

Rounder's Mardi Gras Compilation Captures Flavor of New Orleans

There’s a chill in the air, and the sounds of the season are everywhere. Christmas, you ask? No, you’re in New Orleans, and it’s Carnival time — Meet Me at Mardi Gras. From every radio, bandstand, bar and coffee shop, the songs associated with Mardi Gras (especially perennial favorites such as Al Johnson’s “Carnival Time” and the ReBirth Brass Band anthem “Do Whatcha Wanna”) announce the month of parades and balls that will culminate with the nation’s biggest citywide party.
 

Big Head Todd and The Monsters Release Winter / Spring Tour

Big Head Todd and The Monsters kick off 2012 with a slew of club appearances. The band begins the winter club tour – their first in over three years – at Atlanta’s Variety Playhouse. For the show the band will play a very special first set featuring their breakout album, Midnight Radio, performed live in its entirety.

First Otis Taylor Trance Blues Jam Festival A Success

Otis Taylor held his inaugural Otis Taylor Trance Blues Jam Festival with guitarists Bob Margolin and Mato Nanji; banjo legends Tony Trischka and Don Vappe; and bass players George Porter Jr. and Cassie Taylor over Thanksgiving weekend.

Otis Taylor's 'Contraband': iconoclastic trance bluesman's new CD

Otis Taylor isn’t defined by any single category. A musical alchemist and a true innovator, Taylor has never been afraid to experiment beyond the blues tradition. He’s a master craftsman who has created his own signature “trance blues” style by melding haunting guitar and banjo work, syncopated rhythms and a combination of gruff vocals, shouts and yells with raw passion.
 

Meshell Ndegeocello's "Weather" Out Today, U.S. Tour This Winter!

Today, Meshell Ndegeocello releases her highly anticipated new album Weather on Naïve Records. Produced by Grammy-winner Joe Henry (Aimee Mann, Solomon Burke, Ani DiFranco), Weather has already been hailed by critics at the New York Times and NPR as one of the Meshell’s finest records in 20 years.
 

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Ruthie Foster's new CD recorded in New Orleans, expands musical boundaries

Those who have followed Ruthie Foster’s eclectic musical history know that she can burn down any stage with her combustible blend of soul, blues, rock, folk and gospel.

MARCIA BALL at Boulder Theater | 12.18.11

KGNU and Daily Camera are proud to present Marcia Ball at the Boulder Theater on Sunday, December 18th, 2011.  Tickets go on sale Friday, October 7th for $20 in advance & $22.50 day of show. 

Classic blues singer Alberta Hunter reissued on RockBeat Records

It’s difficult to decide which was the most remarkable facet of pioneering blues chanteuse Alberta Hunter’s incredible career. Was it her role in the vanguard of the “classic blues” movement of the early 1920s, when she recorded prolifically for Paramount and other labels during the industry’s first foray into the idiom? Her entertainment of grateful U.S. troops during not one war, but two? Or her heartwarming late 1970s/early 1980s comeback on the New York cabaret circuit after more than two decades away from singing professionally, when she was well into her 80s? One fact is inescapable: when she died on October 17, 1984 in New York at age 89, Hunter was a genuine star once more.

In 1974, the singer had largely retired from music due to health concerns. But musical pursuits called once again when club owner Barney Josephson invited her to star for six weeks at the Cookery, his hip Greenwich Village cabaret, in October 1977. The live recording of a subsequent 1981 Cookery performance resulted in Downhearted Blues: Live at the Cookery, which will be released on both CD and 180-gram vinyl August 30, 2011 on RockBeat Records, a new label focused on quality reissues and new recordings by heritage artists, distributed by eOne Distribution. Musicologist Bill Dahl contributed liner notes. (The title was previously available on CD, but has been re-mastered and will now be available on CD and 180-gram vinyl for the first time.)

Born on April 1, 1895 in Memphis, Hunter was weaned on W.C. Handy’s pioneering blues. By 16 she was in Chicago in the midst of a celebrated five-year residence at the city’s Dreamland club, singing in front of King Oliver & His Creole Jazz Band with Louis Armstrong. Hunter made her recording debut in 1921 for Black Swan Records, one of the first black-owned labels, with “How Long, Sweet Daddy, How Long” b/w “Bring Back the Joys.” From there she went to Paramount Records, cutting half a dozen sides including the original “Down Hearted Blues,” which she wrote with piano accompanist Lovie Austin and forcefully revisited on the 1981 live album.  (Bessie Smith, the immortal Empress of the Blues, ended up scoring a bigger hit with the song in 1923.) Hunter continued to record prolifically for Paramount, backed by Fletcher Henderson and, on 1923’s “Stingaree Blues,” Fats Waller.

Having conquered Chicago, Hunter moved to New York in 1923. She recorded for Gennett, OKeh, RCA Victor and Columbia. During this time she ventured to jazz-obsessed France in 1927, where she co-starred with Paul Robeson in a production of Showboat and recorded into the ’30s for HMV. When she returned to the U.S., she recorded for ARC, Decca and Bluebird.  She hosted a radio program in the ’30s and Broadway welcomed her back in 1939, when she shared the stage with Ethel Waters in Mamba’s Daughters. When World War II broke out, Hunter boldly served her country in the USO, entertaining troops across the globe. She continued into the Korean conflict.

There were scattered post-war sessions. But when her beloved mother died in 1954 and after starring in a Broadway flop, Hunter bowed out of performing to train as a nurse. Upon graduation in 1957 at age 62 — an age at which many folks contemplate retirement — she began a new career at a New York hospital. Other than recording a couple of Chris Albertson-produced LPs cut two weeks apart in 1961 (Songs We Taught Your Mother, a set for Prestige Bluesville also featuring Victoria Spivey and Lucille Hegamin) and Chicago: The Living Legends for Riverside, she kept a determinedly low profile for more than two decades — afraid the hospital would learn how far past mandatory retirement age she was and let her go.

In 1974, Hunter was forced out of her job by hospital regulations. It was October 1977 when Cookery’s Josephson invited her to headline his room. Next, legendary A&R man John Hammond cut an album’s worth of her classics (with a few new ones) for the Columbia soundtrack of director Alan Rudolph’s 1978 film Remember My Name. Dick Cavett and Mike Douglas invited her to brighten their TV talkfests, 60 Minutes profiled her, and Columbia recorded three more albums.

The live recordings that form Downhearted Blues: Live at the Cookery are from one of her many triumphant evenings at the club. Her sense of swing and theatricality remained impeccable, with longtime pianist and arranger Gerald Cook and sturdy upright bassist Jimmy Lewis providing sterling accompaniment. Hunter glided through saucy double-entendre-loaded numbers (“Handy Man,” “Two-Fisted Workin’ Man”), time-honored standards (a rip-roaring “I Got Rhythm,” the tender “Georgia On My Mind”), and the touching ballads “The Love I Have From You” (from Remember My Name) and “You’re Welcome To Come Back Home.”

1st Annual Boulder Roots & Blues Summit at Fox & Boulder Theater

TheBluesMobile.com, 97.3 KBCO, Daily Camera & Colorado Daily are proud to present The 1st Annual Boulder Roots & Blues Summit at the Fox Theatre & Boulder Theater Friday, May 13th through Sunday, May 15th.

Tickets are On Sale Now for the First Annual Boulder Roots & Blues Summit, May 13-15, in historic Boulder, Colorado. The Fox & Boulder theaters are excited to host a taste of the roots & blues between two venues for three days of live music by some of the finest musicians in the industry. Join us at the Boulder Theater each day for the early shows, and then move to the Fox Theatre for the late-night shows.

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The final lineup is as follows:

Friday, May 13:

Lucinda Williams w/ Lionel Young at the Boulder Theater

Vieux Farka Toure and William Elliott Whitmore at the Fox Theatre

Saturday, May 14:

Leon Russell w/ Janiva Magness at the Boulder Theater

Davy Knowles with Hazel Miller Blues Band & Taylor Scott and Another Kind of Magic at the Fox Theatre

Sunday, May 15:

Sheryl Crow at the Boulder Theater

VIP Roots & Blues Summit Pass available Now for $325:

- Receive entry to all shows at the Fox & Boulder Theater May 13 – 15

- VIP Entrance to all shows

- Reserved seating for all shows at the Boulder Theater

- Reserved balcony for all shows at the Fox Theatre

- Limited edition 1st Annual Roots & Blues Summit silk screen poster

- Limited edition 1st Annual Roots & Blues Summit t-shirt

Big Head Todd & The Monsters Announce 2011 Summer Plans

Longtime Colorado favorites Big Head Todd and The Monsters have mapped out their summer tour plans. In addition to a handful of theatres in the midwest, the band headlines their annual Red Rocks Amphitheatre gig on June 11, where Guster will be on hand to open the show. The band also returns to Chicago’s famed Ravinia Festival and to the idyllic Colorado mountain town of Telluride for the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival, later this summer. The complete list of summer tour dates is listed below.

Earlier this year, in celebration of influential bluesman Robert Johnson (who would be celebrating his 100 birthday on May 8, 2011), Big Head Todd and The Monsters assembled the Big Head Blues Club. The ad-hoc collaboration featuring Big Head Todd and The Monsters and special guests B.B. King, Hubert Sumlin, Honeyboy Edwards, Charlie Musselwhite, Ruthie Foster, Cedric Burnside and Lightnin’ Malcolm toured earlier this year and recently released a studio recording of the project, titled 100 Years of Robert Johnson. Here’s what critics are saying:

“A superb musical collective…moving and wildly entertaining.” –Boston Globe

“Todd Park Mohr’s growling and moaning like he's got muddy Delta dirt under his fingernails.” -USA Today

Big Head Todd frontman Todd Park Mohr will be at the 32nd Annual Blues Music Awards on May 5th at the Cook Convention Center in Memphis, Tennessee. Todd will lead a Robert Johnson tribute. This year’s event also features performances by honorees Buddy Guy, Denise LaSalle and John Hammond, among others. Visit www.blues.org for more information.

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The list of Big Head Todd and The Monsters summer tour dates are as follows:

Friday, April 29 The Windjammer Isle of Palms SC
Sunday, May 22 Doheny Blues Festival Dana Point CA
Thursday, June 2 Cotillion Ballroom Wichita KS
Friday, June 3 Fantle Memorial Park Yankton SD
Saturday, June 4 Crossroads Kansas City MO with Langhorne Slim supporting
Thursday, June 9 Simon Estes Amphitheater Des Moines IA co-headline with Toots & the Maytals
Friday, June 10 Stir Cove Council Bluffs IA co-headline with Toots & the Maytals
Saturday, June 11 Red Rocks Amphitheatre Morrison CO with Guster supporting
Sunday, June 12 Red Butte Garden Salt Lake City UT co-headline with Toots & the Maytals
Tuesday, June 14 Knitting Factory Concert House Reno NV co-headline with Toots & the Maytals
Thursday, June 16 Mountain Winery Saratoga CA co-headline with Toots & the Maytals
Friday, June 17 Uptown Theatre Napa CA
Thursday, August 4 Minnesota Zoo - Weesner Amphitheatre Apple Valley MN with Cedar Avenue supporting
Friday, August 5 Mankato RibFest Mankato MN
Sunday, August 7 Nateva Music & Arts Festival - Oxford Fairgrounds Oxford ME
Saturday, September 3 Big Sky Resort Big Sky MT
Tuesday, September 6 Wolf Trap Vienna VA co-headline with John Hiatt
Sunday, September 11 Ravinia Festival Highland Park IL
Saturday, September 17 Telluride Blues & Brews Festival Telluride CO
Sunday, October 23 Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise San Diego CA

Additional dates to be announced, Visit www.bigheadtodd.com for more information