Blues

Legendary Blues Collaboration to Celebrate 100 Years of Robert Johnson

How do you throw a 100th birthday bash for the most influential bluesman that ever lived? If you’re Big Head Todd and The Monsters, you gather some of the greatest living blues musicians and record 100 Years of Robert Johnson (February 1, 2011 - Ryko/Big Records), a stirring new tribute album featuring 10 potent interpretations of some of the most vital and durable music of the past century.

Big Head Blues Club, as the ad hoc ensemble is calling itself, features, in addition to the Colorado-based quartet—guitarist and vocalist Todd Park Mohr, bassist Rob Squires, drummer Brian Nevins and keyboardist Jeremy Lawton—special guests, blues legends B.B. King, Hubert Sumlin, Honeyboy Edwards and Charlie Musselwhite, as well as keepers of the blues flame Ruthie Foster, Cedric Burnside and Lightnin’ Malcolm.

Recorded at the legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis, and produced by Grammy award winning blues producer Chris Goldsmith (Blind Boys of Alabama), 100 Years of Robert Johnson will be released in early 2011, and supported by a national tour (“Blues at the Crossroads: The Robert Johnson Centennial Concerts”) featuring many of the participants in the sessions. A complete list of the tour dates is included below.

For Todd Park Mohr, who founded Big Head Todd and The Monsters with Squires and Nevins nearly a quarter-century ago, the project has served to re-introduce him to the iconic music of Johnson, whose songs provided many of the pioneering blues-rock bands—Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, The Grateful Dead, Cream, Canned Heat, etc.—with some of their most popular material.

100 Years of Robert Johnson features several inspired takes on Johnson’s best known compositions. For Mohr and Goldsmith, the challenge in recording the tribute was to give new voice to Johnson’s music, to avoid copying the countless cover versions already extant. “In so many of the takes on Robert’s stuff, you don’t get the depth of emotion that’s in the lyrics and in Robert’s voice. That’s one thing that Chris and the band and my voice were able to bring to it. Chris had great ideas about how to represent the stuff, and all the musicians were just so good at what they did, the unique arrangements just came naturally.”

Robert Johnson’s story is the stuff of myth and legend alike, and his music has fascinated blues fans and musicians for more than seven decades. Born in Mississippi in 1911, Johnson recorded only 29 songs, all during the years 1936 and ’37. His unique guitar style and haunting vocal phrasing, and the evocative, often mysterious nature of his lyrics, made him a popular artist during his short time in the spotlight and has continued to intrigue since. A persistent tale that, as a young man, Johnson sold his soul to the Devil in order to become a more proficient musician has been attached to his biography since his untimely death at age 27—the alleged victim of a poisoning incident at the hands of the jealous husband of a woman with whom Johnson had been flirting.

A hundred years after the birth of its greatest artist, it looks like the blues itself is about to be reborn.

100 Years of Robert Johnson Track List:

1. Come On In My Kitchen (w. Charlie Musselwhite)
2. Ramblin' On My Mind
3. When You Got A Good Friend (w. Hubert Sumlin on guitar and Ruthie Foster)
4. Cross Road Blues (w. B.B. King)
5. Preachin' Blues
6. Kind Hearted Woman (w. Ruthie Foster)
7. If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day
8. Last Fair Deal Gone Done (w. Charlie Musselwhite)
9. All My Love Is Love In Vain (Todd solo vocal and acoustic guitar)
10. Sweet Home Chicago (just Honeyboy and Musselwhite)

Cedric Burnside plays drums on “If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day” and “Preachin Blues,” and acoustic guitar on “Ramblin On My Mind”

Lightin’ Malcolm plays electric guitar on “Ramblin on my Mind,” “Gotta Good Friend,” and “If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day” and plays acoustic guitar on “Preachin Blues” and “Kind Hearted Woman”

BLUES AT THE CROSSROADS: THE ROBERT JOHNSON CENTENNIAL CONCERTS tour featuring Big Head Todd and The Monsters and special guests David “Honeyboy” Edwards, Hubert Sumlin and Cedric Burnside & Lightnin’ Malcolm is as follows:

Jan. 28 San Francisco, CA Regency Ballroom

Jan. 29 Costa Mesa, CA Orange County Performing Arts Center

Jan. 30 San Diego, CA (2 shows) Anthology

Jan. 31 Santa Barbara, CA Campbell Hall / UCSB

Feb. 04 Austin, TX Paramount Theatre

Feb. 05 Dallas, TX Lakewood Theatre

Feb. 10 Ann Arbor, MI Hill Auditorium / U of M

Feb. 11 Chicago, IL Orchestra Hall

Feb. 12 Kansas City, MO Uptown Theatre

Feb. 13 Meridian, MS Riley Center / MSU

Feb. 16 Chapel Hill, NC Memorial Hall / UNC Chapel Hill

Feb. 17 New Bethesda, MD The Music Center at Strathmore

Feb. 18 Boston, MA Berklee School of Music

Feb. 24 Ridgefield, CT Ridgefield Playhouse

Feb. 25 Princeton, NJ McCarter Theatre

Feb. 26 Blue Bell, PA Montgomery County Community College

Feb. 27 New Bedford, MA Zeiterion Theater

March 4 Milwaukee, WI Potowatomi Casino

March 5 Omaha, NE Holland Performing Arts Center

March 6 Minneapolis, MN Orchestra Hall

March 8 Urbana, IL Krannert Center – Tyrone Festival Theatre

Albert King/Stevie Ray Vaughan on PBS

PBS has announced that the Albert King with Stevie Ray VaughanIn Session program will air as a special on its stations  throughout the month of December (check local listings). Grammy Award winning bluesman Robert Cray will serve as special fundraising host on the public television broadcasts.

In 1983, when legendary blues guitarist Albert King, then age 60, was joined by his disciple Stevie Ray Vaughan, then age 29, on a Canadian sound stage for the live music TV series In Session, magic took place.  Albert King with Stevie Ray Vaughan In Session is not simply a television program: it’s a summit of two master musicians. The only known recording of King and Vaughan performing together, this is the concert that blues fans in general, and Stevie Ray Vaughan fans in particular, have been waiting for.

The audio recording of the performance went on to sell more than 325,000 units from two releases: the first in 1999, the second in 2009. On November 9, 2010, Stax Records, a division of Concord Music Group, released In Session as both a DVD and a deluxe DVD/CD combination.

SonicBoomers.com noted: “Both men are gone now, but rare recordings like In Session remind us of a time when blues giants still walked the earth side by side.”

"As a document of what was probably the greatest night in the musical life of SRV (Stevie Ray Vaughan), this belongs in the collection of every true fan,” said the Austin American-Statesman.  Musicologist Samuel Charters says in his new liner notes for the package, “it’s also clear, nearly 20 years later, that this was a special moment in the careers of each of the two men.  It was evident from the first choruses that they were playing for each other. And that was the best audience either of them could ever have.”

An hour and 45 minutes, approximately, was taped of the two. What will thrill viewers who are fans of the blues, players of the blues, and who adore SRV, is that the televised concert includes at least one SRV tune — “Texas Flood” — that was not included on either of the two CD releases of the session.

The innovative Canadian television series was conceived with the intention of pairing musicians who were related stylistically, but seldom had an opportunity to play together. Albert King wasn’t sure whom he’d been booked to jam with on December 6, but he recognized the young Texan immediately — not as fast-rising star Stevie Ray Vaughan, but as Little Stevie, the skinny kid who’d been coming around and eventually sitting in every time Albert passed through Austin.

Stevie idolized Albert, as did many other “modern” electric axe-men. Albert may have been overshadowed by B.B., but Jimi Hendrix, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Robbie Robertson, Mick Taylor, and Joe Walsh — all of them listened to him, listened again and again, and were heavily influenced by his style.

At the time of the taping, the buzz may have been around Stevie, but Albert was clearly in charge of the music.  Earlier in the year, in May, David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” featuring Stevie at his blistering Albert King-inspired best, hit the top of the Billboard pop singles chart; in June, SRV’s debut album Texas Flood came out, and MTV put “Pride and Joy” into their rotation. He never looked back.

During their performance, Albert ruled over the proceedings like a benevolent father, retaining control while allowing his guest loads of solo space in which to display his awesome command of the electric guitar.  The interplay between the two blues masters is uncannily empathetic, and Albert’s fans will find special pleasure in hearing him play rhythm parts at such length.  Aside from SRV’s two vocals — “Pride and Joy” and “Texas Flood” — all the other tunes are from Albert’s repertoire.  Viewers have the ineffable treat of seeing Albert King perform “Born Under a Bad Sign,” his trademark blues hit, as well as “Call It Stormy Monday.”

Sadly, King and Vaughan would not share a stage together ever again. Vaughan, 31 years King’s junior, died in a helicopter crash in the fog on the way back from a concert in 1990. King outlived him by two years, dying of a heart attack in 1992. They didn’t meet often, and their careers took different paths. But we can all be grateful for that one long day in a television studio when sparks flew and this timeless performance was forever captured.

The PBS special Albert King with Stevie Ray VaughanIn Session contains the following songs: “Born Under a Bad Sign,” “Call It Stormy Monday,” “Texas Flood,” “Pride and Joy,” “Match Box Blues,” and “Don’t Lie to Me.”

Blues at the Crossroads: The Robert Johnson Centennial Concerts

There’s no denying anyone who digs the Blues will really dig the once-in-a-lifetime experience that is BLUES AT THE CROSSROADS: THE ROBERT JOHNSON CENTENNIAL CONCERTS. The very special tour (set to launch in San Francisco on Jan. 28, 2011) and accompanying studio recording (to be released early 2011) commemorates the 100th Anniversary of legendary bluesman Robert Johnson’s birth with exhilarating collaborations between Big Head Todd & The Monsters, living Bluesman legend David “Honeyboy” Edwards, Hubert Sumlin, and Cedric Burnside & Lightnin’ Malcolm. With Edwards on board, BLUES AT THE CROSSROADS has a direct connection back to the legend, as Edwards was in attendance for Johnson’s last live performance the night Johnson passed away.

“We both wanted to create a blues show that was not just another blues show, but a show that was truly unique,” said Blues at the Crossroads co-producer Ron Hausfeld, who is producing the tour with Ted Kurland Associates’ Jack Randall. “We want people to walk away saying, ‘Wow…that was cool…I’ve never seen anything like it.’”

Before the tour hits the road, BLUES AT THE CROSSROADS musicians meet this fall at Ardent Recording Studios in Memphis to put this epic collaboration to tape. The studio recordings will be released in early 2011 in conjunction with the tour.

BLUES AT THE CROSSROADS picks up the thread of Johnson’s legacy in Mississippi, at the junction of US Highways 61 & 49; the very crossroads where, as legend has it, Robert Johnson’s burning desire pushed him to make his deal with the devil – giving up his soul to write the baddest-ass blues the world had ever heard. One of the most famous Delta blues musicians, Johnson has influenced a broad range of musicians for generations with his songs, vocal phrasing and guitar style – in particular his landmark recordings from 1936-1937 that display a remarkable combination of singing, guitar skills, and songwriting talent. Eric Clapton has called Johnson “the most important blues singer that ever lived” and described Johnson's emotive vocal delivery as "the most powerful cry that I think you can find in the human voice." Johnson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an "Early Influence" in their first induction ceremony in 1986. Johnson's shadowy, poorly documented life and death at age 27 in 1938 have given rise to much legend.

Tour Dates (additional dates to be announced soon)

Date City, State Venue

Jan. 28 San Francisco, CA Regency Ballroom
Jan. 29 Costa Mesa, CA Orange County Performing Arts Center
Jan. 30 San Diego, CA (2 shows) Anthology
Jan. 31 Santa Barbara, CA Campbell Hall / UCSB
Feb. 01 TBA
Feb. 10 Ann Arbor, MI Hill Auditorium / U of M
Feb. 11 Chicago, IL Orchestra Hall
Feb. 12 Kansas City, MO Uptown Theatre
Feb. 13 Meridian, MS Riley Center / MSU
Feb. 16 Chapel Hill, NC Memorial Hall / UNC Chapel Hill
Feb. 17 Washington, DC Strathmore Performing Arts Center
Feb. 18 Boston, MA Berklee School of Music
Feb. 24 Ridgefield, CT The Playhouse
Feb. 25 Princeton, NJ McCarter Theatre
Feb. 26 Blue Bell, PA Montgomery County Community College
Feb. 27 New Bedford, MA Zeiterion Theater
March 4 Milwaukee, WI Potowatomi Casino
March 5 Omaha, NE Holland Performing Arts Center
March 6 Minneapolis, MN Orchestra Hall
March 7 TBA TBA
March 8 Urbana, IL Krannert Center – Tyrone Festival Theatre

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Performers:

Big Head Todd & The Monsters

Colorado rock band Big Head Todd & the Monsters (“Bittersweet,” “Broken Hearted Savior,” “Resignation Superman”) are known for their timeless songwriting, powerful live performances, and unique sound – all reasons the band has garnered a sizable loyal following during their two decades making music. Their landmark album, Sister Sweetly, produced numerous hit songs and went platinum in the United States following its release in 1993. Big Head Todd’s latest release is Rocksteady. The band name is a tribute to legendary blues/jazz "heads" (eg. Eddy Clean-head Vincent, etc). It was actually just a fluke, as they were scheduled to perform their first gig, but had no name. Frontman Todd Park Mohr came up with the name at the spur of the moment and it stuck. For more information: www.bigheadtodd.com

David “Honeyboy” Edwards

At age 95, David “Honeyboy” Edwards, the one-and-only Delta blues guitarist and singer (“Wind Howlin’ Blues,” “The Army Blues”) and his close friend, Pinetop Perkins (age 96), are the oldest Delta blues players still touring the United States. Edwards was born in Shaw, Mississippi, and was a friend to Robert Johnson. He was present on the fateful night when Johnson died. Edwards was named the Acoustic Blues Artist of the Year at the 26th W.C. Handy Blues Awards in 2005 and earned Acoustic Artist of the Year honors in 2007 at The Blues Music Awards. He received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award on January 31, 2010.For more information: www.davidhoneyboyedwards.com

Hubert Sumlin

Popular American blues guitarist and singer Hubert Sumlin is widely known for his celebrated work from 1955 as guitarist in Howlin' Wolf's band. His singular playing is characterized by "wrenched, shattering bursts of notes, sudden cliff-hanger silences and daring rhythmic suspensions.” Listed as number sixty-five in the Rolling Stone100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time, Sumlin, who continues to tour, is cited as a major influence by many artists, including Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Robbie Robertson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix. Hubert has cited Robert Johnson as one of his early influences, along with Muddy Waters, Charley Patton and Robert Lockwood. It has been stated that Sumlin's playing was a vital catalyst for the British blues boom by providing a link from the acoustic blues of the Mississippi delta that was more accessible to electric guitarists such as Clapton, Page, Richards and Beck. For more information: www.HubertSumlinBlues.com

Cedric Burnside & Lightnin’ Malcolm

“Together, they combine the punch of old delta blues with funk, hip-hop and rock influences; one can hardly believe that this was actually recorded live in the studio with just two musicians.” – Houston Press on Burnside & Malcolm’s album, 2 Man Wrecking Crew

Drumming great Cedric Burnside, grandson of the legendary R.L. Burnside, son of drummer great Calvin Jackson, grew up at his grandfather's side and began touring at age 13, playing drums for "Big Daddy" on stages around the globe. Cedric has also brought his relentless, highly rhythmic charged style of drumming to performances with Junior Kimbrough, Kenny Brown, North Mississippi Allstars, and Bobby Rush. Bluesman Lightnin’ Malcolm is one of the leading, younger generation artists on the scene today. A reckless live performer, he has lived and breathed music his whole life, traveling and playing in a slashing, rhythmic style, with deep soulful vocals. Malcolm has played over the years with many of the best Mississippi blues artists, such as Cedell Davis, R.L. Burnside, Hubert Sumlin, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Jr. Kimbrough, Big Jack Johnson, Sam Carr and Otha Turner. Skilled on guitar, bass, and drums, Malcolm is an in demand session player with a telepathic sense of how to follow the older archaic styles, and is especially noted for his old-fashioned, church "shout" style on drums. For more information: www.cedricburnsideandlightninmalcolm.com

Albert King/Stevie Ray Vaughan 'In Session'

On December 6, 1983, legendary blues guitarist Albert King joined his disciple Stevie Ray Vaughan on a Canadian sound stage for the live music television series In Session. Magic happened. The highly sought after video footage from that one-time legendary summit becomes available for the first time ever on November 9 with the release of Stax Records’ deluxe two-disc CD/DVD In Session.

The DVD contains three classic performances unavailable on the previously issued audio disc: “Born Under a Bad Sign,” the landmark title track from Albert King’s biggest Stax release written by William Bell and Booker T. Jones; Stevie Ray’s “Texas Flood,” the Larry Davis-penned title track of Vaughan’s immortal debut album; and “I’m Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town,” made famous by Louis Jordan and later, Ray Charles.

“It was evident from the first choruses,” writes liner notes author/musicologist Samuel Charters, “that they were playing for each other. And that was the best audience either of them could ever have. The music never lost its intensity, its quality of something very important being handed back and forth and there was time for Stevie and Albert to see where their ideas took them.”

Accolades have showered upon this momentous encounter. “As a document of what was probably one of the greatest nights in the musical life of SRV, this belongs in the collection of every true fan,” said the Austin American-Statesman. Sonic Boomers added, “Both men are gone now, but rare recordings like In Session remind us of a time when blues giants still walked the earth side by side.” Elmore magazine called it “an indispensible part of any blues fan’s collection.” And BluesWax noted, “thank goodness, this disc lives on and on.”

Now this one-of-a-kind visual document featuring two giants of American blues can be enjoyed by audiences all over the world. Sadly, King and Vaughan would not share a stage together ever again. Vaughan, 31 years King’s junior, died in a helicopter crash in the fog on the way back from a concert in 1990. King outlived him by two years, dying of a heart attack in 1992. They didn’t meet often, and their careers took different paths. But we can all be grateful for that one long day in a television studio when sparks flew and this timeless performance was forever captured.

B.B. King at the Boulder Theater - Jan. 22nd

Since the 1950’s, there has been only one King of the Blues – Riley B. King, affectionately known as B.B. King.  Since B.B. started recording in the late 1940’s, he has released over 50 albums many of them considered blues classics, like 1965’s definitive live blues album “Live At The Regal,” and 1976’s collaboration with Bobby “Blue” Bland, “Together For The First Time.” In 2008, B.B. King released his Grammy winning “One Kind Favor” featuring one of his personal favorites, “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” with Lemon Jefferson.

B.B. has mixed traditional blues, jazz, swing, mainstream pop and jump into a unique sound.  His singing is richly melodic, both vocally and in the “singing” that comes from his guitar.  In B.B.’s words, “When I sing, I play in my mind; the minute I stop singing orally, I start to sing by playing Lucille.”

Riley B. King was born on September 16, 1925, on a cotton plantation in Itta Bene, Mississippi outside the Mississippi delta town of Indianola.  He used to play on the corner of Church and Second Street for dimes and would play in as many as four towns on a Saturday night.  With his guitar and $2.50, he hitchhiked north to Memphis, Tennessee, in 1947 to pursue his musical career.  Memphis was the city where every important musician of the South gravitated and which supported a large, competitive musical community where virtually every black musical style was heard.

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B.B. King at the Boulder Theater | January 22nd, 2011

Tickets are on sale at Boulder Theater Box Office. Call (303) 786-7030 for tickets by phone.

Tickets are also available through our website @ www.bouldertheater.com.

Tickets are On Sale – 10.02.2010 @ 10:00 am.

Individual tickets are $77.50 GA / $96.50 Reserved / $124.50 Gold Circle.

Lucky Peterson interprets Tom Waits, Lucinda Williams, Ray LaMontagne, Robert Johnson & Blind Willie McTell

Lucky Peterson was discovered by blues legend Willie Dixon when he was three years old, released his first record at five and soon after appeared on The Tonight Show. Trained by keyboardists Bill Doggett and Jimmy Smith, Peterson went on to play behind Little Milton, Bobby “Blue” Bland and Kenny Neal. On return from the “Young Blues Giants” tour of Europe, he signed first with Alligator, then Verve, Blue Thumb and Birdology/Dreyfus, where he recorded what Amazon.com called “his finest album,” Black Midnight Sun, in 2003. The New Yorker called him “a master of the guitar, organ and microphone.”

But Lucky’s journey was not a smooth one, and Peterson spent the next few years in transition, working to free himself of drug troubles that had affected his health, family life and professional life. He spent time in treatment, making one-off records for small European labels, but never a proper follow-up to Black Midnight Sun.

But you can always turn around. These words took on special meaning for the 45-year-old Peterson, which is why the first album since his rehabilitation is titled You Can Always Turn Around. It is an uplifting collection of songs that speak of struggles and salvation, using the gritty clarity of acoustic roots-blues (with modern touches) as its main musical vehicle.

The album, scheduled for September 28, 2010 release on Dreyfus Records, was made in the Catskills with master Woodstock musicians Larry Campbell, guitar (Bob Dylan, Levon Helm); Scott Petito, bass (The Fugs, Mercury Rev, Rick Danko Band); and Gary Burke, drums (Joe Jackson, Shania Twain). Peterson as usual plays a mix of instruments: duolian resonator, piano and acoustic and electric guitars. Also prevalent is the acoustic piano on which Lucky sounds like a bluesy Elton John. “He’s something of a genius — his piano playing reminds me of Aretha Franklin,” says drummer Burke, who has played behind Franklin on the road.

But it’s Peterson’s vocal instrument that some might find most arresting. Peterson wraps his voice around an eclectic selection of blues-based materials including songs by original Delta bluesmen Robert Johnson, Rev. Gary Davis and Blind Willie McTell up through the music of today’s top songwriters including Lucinda Williams, Tom Waits and Ray LaMontagne. The album closes with a version of Curtis Mayfield’s “Think.”

“This album is very different for me — it’s more from the heart,” says Peterson.  “The songs were picked by (co-producer) Doug Yoel, and he knew my heart. I feel like all these songs were for me.”  The album would be the last co-production of Francis Dreyfus, who passed away on June 24, before the album’s release.

One standout on the album is the civil-rights era anthem “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free,” written by Billy Taylor and popularized by Nina Simone. The new recording introduces Tamara Peterson, Lucky’s wife, a worthy blues singer in her own right. The chemistry between Lucky and Tamara on that session was so exciting that Larry Campbell was prompted to invite the pair to appear with the Levon Helm Band at the Midnight Ramble concert the following night.

Peterson creates something brand new on “Trampled Rose,” turning a wordless hook into a seductive Arabian-flavored line. The band responded to and fed the creativity of the newly awakened Lucky Peterson, and the results are truly special.

Peterson continues to tour, doing dates big and small. This new album should increase awareness of and demand for this one-of-a-kind musician.

And when off the road, he’ll be at his church in Dallas, Texas with his family, holding on, and playing for one very lucky congregation.

TRACK LIST:

1. I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom (Robert Johnson)
2. I'm New Here (Bill Callahan)
3. Statesboro Blues (Blind Willie McTell)
4. Trouble (Ray LaMontagne)
5. Trampled Rose (Tom Waits / Kathleen Brennan)
6. Atonement (Lucinda Williams)
7. Why Are People Like That (Bobby Charles)
8. Four Little Boys (James Peterson / Judge Peterson)
9. Death Don't Have No Mercy (Rev. Gary Davis)
10. I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free (Billy Taylor and Dick Dallas)
11. Think (Curtis Mayfield)

The Fabulous Thunderbirds to play Greeley Blues Festival

For over thirty years, The Fabulous Thunderbirds have been the quintessential American band. The group's distinctive and powerful sound, influenced by a diversity of musical styles, manifested itself into a unique musical hybrid via such barnburners as “Tuff Enuff” and “Wrap It Up.”

Founding member Kim Wilson spearheads the group as it evolves into its newest incarnation. “We started as a straight blues band.” vocalist and harmonica player Wilson says. “We now incorporate a mixture of a lot of different styles. We're an American music band and we're higher energy than ever before.” The Fabulous Thunderbirds features Jay Moeller on drums, Johnny Moeller and Mike Keller on guitar, and Randy Bermudes on bass.


Wilson’s musical talents have garnered him multiple Blues Awards and Grammy Nominations. The Blues Foundation 2008 blues Music Awards named Wilson "Instrumentalist - Harmonica" category.  In 2006, he was named “Contemporary Blues Male Artist of the Year” in 2006, and “Lookin’ for Trouble!” was named Blues Song of the Year in 2004. Wilson has contributed to the work of many other great artists such as the legendary Muddy Waters (who called him his “son”), contemporary artist Bonnie Raitt, guitar legends Stevie Ray Vaughn and brother Jimmy Vaughn, and Martin Scorsese’s movie “The Blues." With his current movie project “Cadillac Records,” Wilson continues to focus on the music he loves.

With over 20 albums recorded and millions sold, Kim Wilson and The Fabulous Thunderbirds tour the world performing their own unique style of music. Ranging from pop anthems like “Powerful Stuff” which was featured in the Tom Cruise movie “Cocktail," to the low down blues of "Chicago," this brand of honest music brings fans back time and again.

Having shared the stage with The Rolling Stones, Joe Cocker, Carlos Santana and blues legends BB King and Buddy Guy and countless others, The Fabulous Thunderbirds continue to tour Europe and the North America, bringing more great music to their fans worldwide.



The Fabulous Thunderbirds will be playing the Greeley Blues Festival, at the Island Grove Arena, 425 North 15th Ave., in Greeley, on June 12 at  7:25 PM.



The Festival runs June 11 and 12, and tickets are  $25 in advance, $30 at the gate.  There are also limited prefered seating passes available for $50. Children under 12 are admitted for free.  For more information, please call 970-356-5000. Call the Chamber at 800-449-3866 for booster packet phone orders.  The web site is http://greeleybluesjam.wordpress.com/.

Roots Singer/Guitarist Sid Selvidge Returns with I SHOULD BE BLUE

For decades, Sid Selvidge has been one of the most singular voices in American roots music. His unique and seamless fusion of hill country blues picking and languid folk-styled storytelling has allowed Selvidge to carve out a niche that has separated him from other traditional and contemporary southern songwriters. Now, five years after his acclaimed CD/DVD Live at Otherlands, Sid returns with the gracefully melodic I Should Be Blue. Available in stores and online June 8, Selvidge'’s 8th solo album and 3rd from Memphis-based Archer Records sees him crafting material that recalls the warmth of sound and spirit present in classic 70s era folk-tinged pop LPs.

From his early days playing with Furry Lewis and Mississippi Fred McDowell at The Bitter Lemon Club in Memphis, to his and friend Jim Dickinson’s elusive Mudboy and the Neutrons (Bob Dylan dubbed them “the great band that nobody could find”), to his storied solo career with Enterprise (Stax), Nonesuch (Elektra), and his own Peabody label, Selvidge has always been able to stand alone in his ability to integrate classic methods into fresh vocal and strumming approaches. Former New York Times critic John Rockwell probably said it best: “Sid Selvidge, who comes from Mississippi by way of Memphis, is neither country nor rock. He’s pretty much everything musically in the whole Southeast.” David Fricke of Rolling Stone is also a known admirer, having declared emphatically, “Sid Selvidge is a precious treasure”, in his glowing review of Sid’s previous studio effort, A Little Bit of Rain (Archer Records, 2003).

While his past work has garnered him the praise of national critics, I Should Be Blue palpably displays his versatile appeal to fans as both an original artist as well as an interpreter. Selvidge adjusted his formula for I Should Be Blue, working for the first time with renowned producer/musician/songwriter Don Dixon (Joe Cocker, The Smithereens, REM, Counting Crows), as well as inviting up-and-coming vocalist Amy Speace to join him on several tracks. These duets including Sid’'s sweet and dreamy “Dimestore Angel”, Speace'’s original gem, “Two”, as well as warm, wistful nods to favorites like Townes Van Zandt’'s “I’ll Be Here In The Morning” and Donovan'’s “Catch The Wind”. Selvidge, along with the US and European press took quickly to Speace, with Paste Magazine calling her latest release, 2009’s The Killer In Me, a “resolutely hopeful take on heartache and loss...beautiful lyrics are spun with a soulful, husky voice that lilts like a country sweetheart but mourns like Leonard Cohen

In addition to combining new elements to Selvidge’'s sound in Dixon’s production techniques and bass playing and Speace’'s rich vocals, I Should Be Blue will also feature some more familiar players. Among them are Sid'’s son, Steve (The Hold Steady) who plays acoustic and electric guitars, Paul Taylor (Chuck Prophet) on drums and washtub bass, and fellow Archer artist Amy LaVere on upright bass. The outcome is a tender portrait of love and longing amidst loss, flowing with an effortless grace and natural beauty distinctly its own.

I Should Be Blue will be available in stores June 8, to coincide with tour dates for a Sid Selvidge and Amy Speace joint U.S. tour. | For more information, please visit www.Archer-Records.com or www.SidSelvidge.com.

Summer 2010 Tour:

June 7 - New York, NY - The Living Room
June 8 - Pittsburgh, PA - Club Cafe
June 10 - Raleigh, NC - Six String Cafe and Music Hall
June 11 - Maryville, TN - Brakins Blues Club
June 12 - Nashville, TN - The Basement
June 13 - Memphis, TN - Levitt Shell @ Overton Park
June 21 - Delaware Water Gap, PA - Sycamore Grille
June 22 - Winston-Salem, NC - The Garage
June 23 - Charlotte, NC - Evening Muse
June 27 - Decatur, GA - Eddie's Attic
July 8 - Seattle, WA - Empty Sea Studios
July 9 - Bellingham, WA - Green Frog Cafe
July 10 - Portland, OR - Alberta Rose Theatre
July 11 - Hood River, OR - Blackburn House Concert
July 12 - Bend, Oregon - Windance House Concert
July 23 - Portland, MD - TBA
August 6 - Dallas, TX - Uncle Calvin's
August 7 - Oklahoma City, OK - Blue Door

More dates to come!

Otis Taylor's new album, 'Clovis People,' set for May 11 release

Otis Taylor digs the past. Whether it’s the songs he wrote a decade ago, or ancient civilizations that lived more than 10,000 years ago, he’s drawn to stories from another time, and he’s compelled to retell them in a way that’s relevant in the modern day. On Clovis People, set for release May 11, 2010, on Telarc International, a division of Concord Music Group, Taylor writes his own history.

It’s the ideal project for the architect of a sparse and hypnotic style that has come to be known as “trance blues.” Taylor has spent his career crafting songs that are wide open to interpretation — thematically as well as structurally. “I give people a starting point, and then they can take it where they want to take it,” he explains. “That’s true for the people playing my music as well as the people listening to it. That’s how art should be. A person looking at a painting should be able to interpret it in whatever way he wants. The more words you put into a song, the less freedom the listener has to decide what it means.”

The album title is inspired by a recent scientific discovery very close to Taylor’s home in Boulder, Colorado. Barely 100 yards from the edge of his property, archeologists dug up a cache of tools and other implements belonging to a civilization known as the Clovis people, who walked the earth briefly about 13,000 years ago and then mysteriously disappeared.

“That’s amazing to me,” says Taylor. “There have only been four or five sites like this found all over the country. That means these people probably walked on my property. My music only goes back about ten years, but there’s something about reaching back to an earlier time and revisiting the stories of the past from a new perspective that I find compelling.”

Helping to shape that new perspective is a crew of players who lend a variety of shades and voices to the mix. Among them is guitarist Gary Moore, a guest musician on two of Taylor’s previous recordings (Definition of a Circle in 2007 and Pentatonic Wars and Love Songs in 2009), who moves in and out of the tracks with a hard riff here, a subtle accent there, and just the right atmospherics wherever he appears. Also on hand for nine of the twelve tracks is pedal steel guitarist Chuck Campbell — a member of the Campbell Brothers, the African-American gospel group that has developed a sound commonly known as “sacred steel.” In addition, Clovis People features cornetist Ron Miles and bassist Cassie Taylor (Otis’ 22-year-old daughter).

The set gets under way with the haunting “Rain So Hard,” a bluesy number that employs an intriguing mix of pedal steel, cornet and theremin as the backdrop to Taylor’s unsettling lyrics about a hard rain turning to snow and falling on a scene of betrayal and deceit.

“Little Willy” and “Lee and Arnez” are two previously unreleased songs. The former is a fictional tale of a school shooting — a song Taylor wrote in 1990s, but then shelved in the aftermath of the Columbine shooting of 1999. “Lee and Arnez” tells the story of a couple that Taylor remembers from the neighborhood where he grew up. “They were my parents’ best friends, and they had a boxer dog that I really loved,” says Taylor. “This would have been the 1950s, which were still a difficult time for black people, but I have great memories of this couple and their beautiful dog.”

“It’s Done Happened Again” is built on an urgent rhythm that plays like a frantic heartbeat. “The song is about that moment when someone who got his heart broken hears about someone else who got his heart broken,” says Taylor. “It’s that moment when pain and empathy converge, and you say, ‘Oh yeah, I know where he’s coming from.’”

“Harry Turn the Music Up” recalls Taylor’s memories of the Denver Folklore Center, a place he frequented when he was a boy in the early ’60s. “The song follows a groove that’s deep in the pocket, and it’s really powerful,” says Taylor. “The Denver Folklore Center was a place where nobody cared if you were black or white, skinny or fat. It was a place where everyone was accepted.”

“Babies Don’t Lie” rides on a single chord and speaks to the profound vulnerability of innocents. But somewhere underneath the simple and recurring lyrical line is the question of how and when dark forces take hold and turn some innocents into monsters.

“Think I Won’t” is a showdown-flavored track that captures the moment when a mother confronts a drug dealer in a schoolyard. “There are some badass moms out there,” says Taylor. “Sometimes people don’t realize how tough black women can be. It’s a matriarchal culture, and there are some moms who’ll kick your ass in a half-second if you threaten their children.”

Indeed, some instincts are eternal, whether the frame of reference is 2010, 1950 or some time before recorded history. Clovis People is in some respects a vehicle for Taylor  — an archeologist of a different kind — to re-examine some of the truths he’s uncovered in his own era and preserve them for listeners in some future time.

“I went back to my musical past with these songs — all the way back to my first album,” says Taylor. “I like finding different ways to retell the old stories. They continue to mean something — to me, to the people who hear them, to the musicians who play with me — many years after I first told them.”

White Rabbits Add More World Tour Dates

After spending the better part of two years on the road (including festival stops at Lollapallooza, Glastonbury (UK), Sasquatch, Monolith and tours with The Walkmen, Spoon, Richard Swift, The Cribs, White Denim and Tokyo Police Club) White Rabbits hunkered down in their Brooklyn practice space to set about re-envisioning the dark pop of their debut Fort Nightly, while adding new sounds and influences to achieve an original work.  The result is It’s Frightening, their second full-length album.

White Rabbits signed to TBD Records (US home to Radiohead/Other Lives/Hatcham Social) and erected a makeshift studio in their basement rehearsal space to demo new material.  Band members popped in and out over the course of several months lending ideas and personality to a new batch of songs that defy instant categorization. After enlisting tourmate, friend and songwriter Britt Daniel (Spoon) as producer, the pair began the process of exchanging demos between Brooklyn and Portland.  White Rabbits recorded It’s Frightening over the course of four weeks, only taking a break to play the Transmusicales Festival in Rennes, France.  The sessions were recorded by visionary engineer Nicholas Vernhes (Animal Collective, Deerhunter) at Rare Book Room in Brooklyn, NY.  Taking special care to recreate the unhinged nature of the original demos, the band utilized the wide range of tools in the analog-friendly studio to shape the personal spirit infused in the new tracks.  Upon the completion of tracking, White Rabbits traveled to Austin, TX to mix the record with studio wizard Mike McCarthy (Spoon, Trail Of Dead) using his exceptional ears to transform It’s Frightening into a uniquely rewarding headphone experience.


It’s Frightening plays like a classic reel of tape from start to finish. Opening with the visceral drums of “Percussion Gun,” it is clear that time-off from the road has served the band well.  The many highlights include the emotional centerpiece “Company I Keep,” the new sonic territory of “Lionesse” and the macabre lyrics of “Right Where They Left.”  Fans of Fort Nightly will find much to go weak in the knees over and new listeners are in for an awakening as White Rabbits flip the switch on an already impressive beginning. It’s Frightening is a journey into the playfully dark musings of Everyman.

The lineup: Stephen Patterson (vox/piano), Jamie Levinson (drums), Matthew Clark (drums, guitar), Alex Even (guitar), Gregory Roberts (guitar/vox). A U.S. tour will follow the May release of It’s Frightening.

White Rabbits Tour Dates
12/6 - The Clubhouse - Phoenix, AZ*
12/9 - Bimbo's - San Francisco, CA
12/10 - Crystal Ballroom - Portland, OR #
12/12 - RIMA Arena - La Jolla, CA #^
12/13 - KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas - Los Angeles, CA
12/29 - Rhythm and Vines Festival - Gisborne, NZ
12/30 - Falls Festival - Lorne, AU
12/31 - Falls Festival - Marion Bay, TZ
1/5 - Oxford Arts - Sydney, AU
1/6 - Corner Hotel - Melborune, AU
1/10 - Southbound Festival - Busselton, AU
1/24 - Bowery Ballroom - New York, NY

* with Passion Pit
# with Vampire Weekend^ with Spoon