Best of the Blues 2019 – Mindi Abair – Roadhouse Blues Woman of the Year

When I saw a video of Mindi Abair playing a tune with Joe Bonamassa a couple of years ago, I was captivated. Her voice is energetic, her sax playing is excellent, and she is pretty dang easy on the eyes. This blues rock bundle of energy hails from California where, besides playin’ the badass roadhouse blues, she also runs a winery with her husband!

Mindi is an accomplished performer and musician with the pedigree to prove it. A graduate of the prestigious Berklee College of Music, she has been nominated for Grammy Awards for her incendiary sax style, toured with Aerosmith, and earned a reputation as a fiery on stage singer. She joined forces with The Boneshakers in 2014 and they have collaborated on three well received and popular albums in the years since; the latest of which is entitled NO GOOD DEED and one of my favorites of 2019.

NO GOOD DEED was produced by Kevin Shirley (Joe Bonamassa, Beth Hart, Black Country Communion) and his touch brings out the very best in Mindi on No Good Deed Goes Unpunished, Seven Day Fool, and Movin’ On. Mindi is a natural blues rocker who likes it LOUD with a pulsing rhythm and that is certainly something that Kevin knows a thing or two about. Mindi teams with band drummer and vocalist Third Richardson for an incredible rendition of a tune done back in the day by Ike & Tina Turner, Baby Get It On. Mindi then cranks it on a rousing version of You Better Run, a hit for Pat Benatar in the 1980’s and originally done by the Young Rascals in the 1960’s. All of the cuts also feature an awesome guitar player by the name of Randy Jacobs.

My first awareness of Mindi came with the release of THE EASTWEST SESSIONS in 2017 and the tune Pretty Good for a Girl featuring Joe Bonamassa on guitar. The tune is also the name of her production company….an in your face reminder of what Mindi and other female musicians often deal with while payin’ their dues. One of my pet peeves is writers/reviewers and industry groups that distinguish between male and female instrument players. An instrument has no sex and identifying Mindi as a “fabulous female sax player” will likely get you a stare down from her that intimates potential violence. For a taste of her prowess on the saxophone, I invite you to listen to Not That Kind of Girl. The tune reflects her boisterous style with an upbeat sound and infectious beat.

Additionally, Mindi & the Boneshakers put out a Christmas album in December of 2018 entitled ALL I GOT FOR CHRISTMAS IS THE BLUES. The title cut, Merry Christmas Baby, and I Can’t Wait for Christmas are cool modern tunes and her sax infused version of the classic The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) is something you just have to hear! The overall recording has become an instant blues Christmas favorite of mine.

Based on her most recent album which is a perfect synergy of rock, blues, and R&B, as well as her body of work during the last decade, Mindi Abair rightly deserves her selection as our 2019 Roadhouse Blues Woman of the Year!


Ben Vee is an internet DJ and writer from New Orleans that now lives in Connecticut with his wife Annette. He started spinning records back in the 1970’s and has been writing about the roadhouse blues since 2011. He does two roadhouse blues shows each week on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com and he writes about the blues when the urge strikes on http://www.benveeblues.com.

Thursday Jan 23rd Roadhouse Blues on BMFR

Have a mix of new contemporary blues and some classics I hope you will enjoy. Stream in at http://www.bluesmusicfan.com at 3 PM EST today, January 23rd.. I will feature new songs by Sass Jordan, Chris Shutters, Bill Blue, Bywater Call, and Angel Forrest plus 20 or so others.

Below is the intended playlist.

ARTISTTITLE
Benton St Blues BandDirty Girl
Blue Moon MarqueeTossin’ ‘n’ Turnin’
Jamie Lynn VesselsGypsy Blues
George Thorogood & The DestroyersNew Boogie Chillun
Hamish AndersonHold On Me
Angel ForrestMenie The Monster
Sass JordanToo Much Alcohol
J.B. Hutto & The New HawksBlack’s Ball
Coyote KingsShakin’ It
Chris Shutters With Special Guest Jimmy BurnsKeep You Satisfied
Bill BlueIndianola
Benton St Blues BandHate To See You Go
Sir Oliver Mally & Hubert HofherrMeet Me In The Alley
Gregg AllmanJust Another Rider
Bywater CallWalk On By
The GreyhoundsIt’s So Good To Be Alive
Alvin Lee & Ten Years AfterThe Stomp
Big Wolf BandKeep Fighting Back
Marcus MaloneSlow Down
Katarina PejakRoads That Cross
Daryl Roberts and Hey GringoTango With The Devil
Dudley TaftSeventh Son
Grinder BluesWoke up This Morning
RossingtonShame On Me
Bryce JaneyChrome Horse
Micki FreeTattoo Burn

Roadhouse Blues Nooner for Tuesday, Jan 21st, on BMFR

It’s the heart of the winter and a perfect time for some upbeat roadhouse blues! Join me at High Noon EST today for my Tuesday Roadhouse Blues Nooner on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com. Have new tunes by Bywater Call, Tinsely Ellis, Popa Chubby, and a couple of classics by Slim Harpo and Clarence Gatemouth Brown as well as a slew of other contemporary blues tunes.

Below is the intended playlist………..

ARTISTTITLE
11 Guys QuartetRoad Trippin’
Bywater CallForgive
Matt AndersenBetter Than You Want
Clas Yngstr√∂m & Big Tex ThreeBeyond Here Lies Nothin’
Slim HarpoBoogie Chillun
The Cash Box KingsBack Off
Bob Corritore and FriendsBitter Seed (feat. Oscar Wilson)
Reverend Rusty & The CaseBig Boss Man
Mary LaneBlues Give Me A Feeling
Clarence “Gatemouth” BrownBorn In Louisiana
Rachelle CobaBad Reputation
The Burndown Brothers Blues BandBeautiful Soul
Devon AllmanBack to You
Tony Cuchetti And Joe FlipBig River
Keith StoneBetter Things To Do
Ghost Town Blues BandBefore You Hit The Ground
Barefoot DoctorsBelly Of The Blues
Tinsley EllisIce Cream In Hell
Popa ChubbyIt Ain’t Nothin’
Gema PearlPearl’s Blues (feat. Rick Derringer)
BluesCorpSomething Going Down
Tom The Suit ForstLate Night Train
MonkeyJunkBoogie Man (2014 Remaster)
Sonny LandrethBound By The Blues
Mike Scott & the HoneypotsSweet Misery
Katarina PejakChasing Summer

Best of the Blues 2019 – Five Most Creative Songs of the Year

The year 2019 was an exciting and invigorating one for blues lovers with the largest number of new albums released that I can recall since at least 2012. Amongst all the songs that I heard and spun for the year (and that was thousands!), these five struck me as the most creative in terms of the sound or lyrics or voice or a combination of all three!! (Links to the songs on Spotify or Youtube are shown in blue.)

HeavyDrunk – If I Loved You Hard Enough (Holywater 2019 on 4142 Music)

With lyrics that are Shakespearean in terms of the pathos and images created for your mind to wrestle with, If I Loved You Hard Enough is about a dysfunctional love that has spanned the lovers lives since they were kids. The opening lyrics portray a shocking scene at a Piggly Wiggly parking lot and it just gets better from there!

The song was written by Rob Robinson, the leader and front man for the Leipers’ Fork Tennessee soul blues band and is just one of many great tunes on the album Holywater. Rob also owns and operates a roadhouse style eatery south of town called Puckett’s…..mhmm…fine food and great roadhouse blues..I gotz to get there soon!

Amnesia Blues BandFast Johnny Cool (Hailstone 2019 on CDBaby)

Amnesia Blues Band hails from Gippsland, Australia. Paul “Buck” Buchanan is the lead vocalist and primary songwriter and they have penned an incredible song, Fast Johnny Cool, on their latest album Hailstone. An infectious bass driven beat and a great voice frame a song about a battle of guitar players at a low down roadhouse.

I got to chat with them a couple of months ago and they warned me not to visit them “down under” with a great voice or guitar. Listen to the song…you will know what they mean!

Jason Ricci & the Bad KindBreak in the Rain (My Chops Are Rolling 2019 on EllerSoul Records)

A transplant from Maine to my hometown of New Orleans, Jason Ricci is one of the great harmonica players of the blues genre. Break in the Rain has an insistent beat with fabulous guitar licks, some awesome harmonica riffs, and lyrics about a day jumpin’ in puddles and layin’ in the tall grass… naked! Hell yeah!

The song was written by band member and guitarist John Lisi. The Bad Kind band also includes Jason’s wife, Kaitlin Dibble, on backing vocals on the song. I hope to see them perform tunes from My Chops Are Rolling the next time I am back down in the Big Easy!

Ghost Town Blues BandDirty (Shine 2019)

One of traits of some blues lovers is a kind of conservatism about what is and is not the blues. There are any number of blues purists out there that I respect but don’t agree with. As B.B. King stated once in an interview that I saw, it was only natural for the blues to evolve as more and more people were exposed to it and began to play and interpret it from their own individual perspectives. First it was the delta acoustic blues. Then it was electrified when it moved into urban areas like Chicago. Eventually it was rocked up by the British blues bands of the last sixties. And now we have the wide variety of contemporary blues that I love and spin regularly. I use the term “roadhouse blues” to describe this fascinating mix of modern blues with rock, soul, rhythm and blues, gospel, swing, roots music, and, yes…even a bit of rap influence!

On their latest album, Shine, Ghost Town Blues Band out of Memphis includes an original and creative song entitled Dirty. It’s a southern blues rockin’ tune about dealin’ with the life that fate sometimes deals and includes the tasteful use of rap. It is just such a natural fit for the song and blues in general. Kudos to the band for having the creativity (and bravery to face the blues purists) with such a fine recording! And people certainly love the album. It rose to number one on the Billboard Blues Charts soon after it’s release this past October.

Left Lane Cruiser Smooth Commander (2019 Shake & Bake on Alive Records)

Left Lane Cruiser hails from Indiana and is a duo consisting of singer/guitarist Joe Evans IV and Pete Dio on drums/percussions. One of the songs on the new album SHAKE & BAKE is entitled Smooth Commander and it is about a sojourn across the world and his father’s love for the blues. The use of a resonator guitar is awesome and Joe’s voice is distinctive. And as he sings in the song, the blues will bring everybody around…..that it will surely do!!!

And kudos to the renown illustrator William Stout for providing such a creative album cover!


Ben Vee is an internet DJ and writer from New Orleans that now lives in Connecticut with his wife Annette. He started spinning records back in the 1970’s and has been writing about the roadhouse blues since 2011. He does two roadhouse blues shows each week on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com and he writes about the blues when the urge strikes on http://www.benveeblues.com.

The Mid January BMFR Roadhouse Blues for Jan 16th

Just feels like a good day for bluzin’! Join us at 3 pm EST today, January 16th, for some NEW roadhouse blues featuring Mojo-T, Josh Smith, Gema Pearl, Tinsley Ellis, the Blues Cousins, and Popa Chubby plus a bunch more contemporary blues artists.

Go to http://www.bluesmusicfan.com, grab the beverage of your choice, kick back (yeah..even if you are in the office) and enjoy the tunes!

Below is the intended playlist.

ARTISTTITLE
Popa ChubbyGordito
Mojo-TGood Ol Shoe
Mike Scott & the HoneypotsLandlord
Josh SmithLetting You Go (Live)
Ronnie Earl & Duke RobillardLookin for Trouble
Travellin’ Blue KingsInto the Night
Misty BluesNo More to Give
Harpdog BrownWhiskey Bottle
Hanne BoelCan’t Run from Yourself
Gema PearlNo Mo’ Mojo (feat. Shane Theriot)
Gracie CurranSweet Sativa
Eric GalesGood for Sumthin’
Heritage Blues OrchestraDon’t Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down
Tinsley EllisEvil Till Sunrise
The Radio KingsEvil Love
JunkyardmenLuck I Got
Marc CohnTalk Back Mic
Eva CassidyAin’t Doin’ Too Bad
BluesCorpWelcome To My World
Blues CousinsChinese Blues
Josh FarrowDevil Don’t You Fool Me
Marc AmacherKid (Roadhouse Version)
Popa ChubbyI’m The Beast From The East
Jim SuhlerLeave My Blues Behind
Keith StoneCindi Leigh
Jimmy ThackeryEmpty Arms Motel
Fatback DeluxeRat Now
If ya like a tune or two…go to your favorite music site
and buy and download them to help the blues to thrive in 2020!!

Jan 14th Roadhouse Blues Nooner on BMFR

It’s a fabulous Tuesday for the Roadhouse Blues! Join us at High Noon EST for my Roadhouse blues Nooner featuring a mix of contempory and roots blues tunes by John Hiatt, Bob Dylan, Omar & the Howlers, Miss Bix and the Blues Fix, Popa Chubby, Eric Johanson, Bonnie Raitt, Susan Tedeschi, and many more. Plug in at http://www.bluesmusicfan.com.

Oh….and a big GEAUX TIGERS for all the football fans that watched LSU win the national championship last night! I know there was alot of roadhouse bluzin’ goin’ on in the French Quarter afterwards!!!

Here is the intended playlist:

ARTISTTITLE
Peter ParcekPat Hare
J.J. CaleThirteen Days
Dave AlvinDon’t Let Your Deal Go Down
John HiattJohnny ’99
Bob DylanThe Levee’s Gonna Break
Omar & The HowlersWhen Sugar Cane Was King
Bonnie RaittThe Kokomo Medley
Susan TedeschiMama He Treats Your Daughter Mean
Rita ChiarelliLast Train
The Marcus King BandSide Door
Anders OsborneTracking My Roots
Monti AmundsonLooking Back
The Cold StaresThorns
Eric JohansonBurn It Down
OSLUOne Good Man (ft. Jade Thunder)
Arlen RothWhite Lightning
Markey BlueCash Is Always King
The Jeff Healey BandWho’s Been Talking
Paradise KingsSlow Down
Popa ChubbyI Was Looking Back
Miss Bix and The Blues FixIf You’re Doing What I’m Thinking
Parking WestShow Me The Way
Mississippi ShakedownTalking to My Baby
The Cash Box KingsAin’t No Fun (When The Rabbit Got The Gun)
Tom HambridgeThis End Of The Road
The Kentucky Headhunters with Johnnie JohnsonWalking With The Wolf

Thursday Jan 9th Roadhouse Blues with Ben Vee on BMFR

Join us at 3 pm EST today, Thursday Jan 9th, for some Roadhouse blues featuring new tunes by the Betty Fox Band, Thorbjorn Risager and the Black Tornado, Ozgur Hazar, The Streamliners, and a whole slew of some badass roadhouse blues! It’s all at http://www.bluesmusicfan.com!

Below is the intended playlist……..

ARTISTTITLE
11 Guys QuartetRoad Trippin’
Andrew Jr Boy, Kerrie Lepai JonesThe World’s Gone Crazy
Betty Fox BandPeace In Pieces
Matthew CurryMatter Of Time
Santiago PeriottiI’ll Find My Baby Someday
Thorbjorn Risager and The Black TornadoLast Train
Tomislav GolubanDisappear For Good
Redemption RoadHard To Take
Peter ParcekThings Fall Apart
Ozgur HazarSad And Blue
Wildmen BluesbandThe Blues Ain’t Here To Stay
The StreamlinersBurning Up
[Lowbudget] Blues BandWalking The Dog
Luther AllisonYou Done Lost Your Good Things
Lucky PetersonFarther up the Road
King Bee and The StingersDevil Train
Jonny T-Bird & the MPsWe Got It
Ida Bang & The Blue TearsShelter Me
Ian SiegalMagdalena
Honey Island Swamp BandHead High Water Blues
Rita ChiarelliHorse Of A Different Colour
Val Starr & the Blues RocketLighter Side Of The Blues
Jack BroadbentMoonshine Blue
Geoff AchisonI’m Gonna Ride
Rob TognoniMr. John Lee (The Boogie Man)
Popa ChubbyAngel On My Shoulder
Plain Dirty Blues BandShe Suits me to a Tee