Down the Bayou Blues on BMFR for a Mardi Gras Tuesday

I thought I would spin some “down the bayou” tunes for a Mardi Gras Tuesday as well as new songs by the Marry Jo Curry Band, Albert Cummings, Hazmat Modine, Los Skeletone Blues, and Lee Holmes. Also will have some classic cuts by Marcia Ball, Johnny Winter, John Hiatt, and Janis Joplin.

Join us from 12 to 2 pm EST today (February 25th) for my Roadhouse Blues Nooner on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com. You can find the intended playlist below.

ARTISTTITLE
Mary Jo Curry BandShake & Bake
Tab BenoitFast And Free
Albert CummingsRed Rooster
Tas CruSave Me
Eric LindellBayou Country (live)
Mary Jo Curry BandFront Porch
Thorbjorn Risager and The Black TornadoTwo Lovers
Johnny WinterIf You Got A Good Woman
Janis JoplinOne Good Man
Blues HangoverTwo Cigars
Hazmat ModineBe There
Marcia BallDown The Road
Screamin’ John and TD LindRollin’ Joanna
Sheri Roberts GreimesSlip Away
The Allman Betts BandTry
Jimmy HallTwenty-Nine Ways
Jimmy CarpenterLove It So Much
Lee HolmesOne Toe
Delbert McClintonA Fool Like Me
John HiattLong Gone
OSLUCrazy Train
Dawn Tyler WatsonBad Seed (Feat. Steve Hill)
Los Skeletone BluesStonetown
Vegas Strip KingsTake It Easy
Big Joe and the DynaflowsSo Mean To Me
Irrma ThomasOld Habits Are Hard to Break
Clifton ChenierAll Night Long
Chubby Carrier & The Bayou Swamp BandDancing With A Feeling

Best of the Blues 2019 – Five Best Roadhouse Blues Debut Albums of the Year

During the course of 2019, I was thrilled at the number of new artists that released debut albums. It bodes well for the future of the roadhouse blues in the next decade. My selections for the five best debut roadhouse blues artists of 2019 are (in alphabetical order) Christone “Kingfinsh” Ingram, Tennessee Redemption, The Allman Betts Band, The Weary Times, and Tiffany Pollack & Eric Johanson.

Christone “Kingfish” IngramKingfish ( 2019 Alligator Records)

Christone “Kingfish” Ingram hails from the heart of the delta blues in Clarkesdale Mississippi. This rising blues prodigy is only twenty and has already captured the attention of blues lovers with the release of his debut album KINGFISH. Released on the prestigious blues label, Alligator Records, the album shot to the top of the blues charts this past May and has garnered him attention around the blues world.

He started out playing and singing gospel in church and by the time he was fifteen performed at the White House for Michelle Obama as part the Clarksdale Delta Museum Band. In 2017, he was a guest artist on Eric Gales’ Middle of the Road album. Eventually he caught the attention of the living blues legend Buddy Guy, blues maestro Keb’ Mo’, and Grammy award winning artist and producer Tom Hambridge. With the touch of a master, Tom brings out the best in Christone on the debut album.

KINGFISH is a traditional blues album chocked full of great tunes. Fresh Out features the mastery of Buddy Guy, Hard Times is some fine delta acoustic blues, and Listen is a great duet with Keb’ Mo’. Few debut albums feature such a strong cast of world class supporting artists. It is a tribute to Christone’s talent and a beacon pointing to a very bright future.

Tennessee RedemptionTennessee Redemption (2019 Endless Blues Records)

Brandon Santini, my 2019 Roadhouse Bluesman of the Year, received the award in part for the release of this self titled album TENNESSEE REDEMPTION. After years of honing their craft on Beale Street in Memphis (sometimes together sometimes apart), Brandon (lead vocals, harmonica) teamed with long time friend Jeff Jensen (lead vocals, guitar) and incorporated Timo Arthur (guitar, bass), Bill Ruffino (bass, vocals), and David Green (drums, vocals) to form this solid and tight band.

The album includes eight original songs plus a cover of the Tom Waits tune, Come On Up to the House and a great rendition of Little Walter’s Watch Yourself. Back To Tennessee is a fabulous jam tune steeped in the southern sound that emanated out of Macon Georgia back in the 1970’s and features some great guitar playing by Jeff and Timo. Glad To Be recounts Brandon and Jeff’s time playing on Beale Street and collecting dreams that have been realized with release of this recording. Given my love for the beaches, people, food, and tequila found in the small towns of our southern neighbor, it should be no surprise that I also enjoyed I’m Going To Mexico. See About Me, Souls In the Water, and the funky We Got A Thing Going On are also highly recommended.

Tennessee Redemption is an ideal example of the roadhouse blues with its roots in the blues but also reflecting the influences of gospel, southern rock, classic R&B, and soul. I look forward to seeing how they develop and mature their sound as the years go by.

The Allman Betts Band – Down to the River (2019 BMG Rights Management LLC)

Few groups in recent years have debuted an album to such popular and critical acclaim as THE ALLMAN BETTS BAND. The core of the band is three sons of the Allman Brothers Band (ABB): Devon Allman, Duane Betts, and Barry Oakley Jr.. Additionally Johnny Stachela provides some stellar slide guitar playing along with one of my favorite Hammond B3 organ players, John Ginty. The band also features percussionist R. Scott Bryan and drummer John Lum. And as if that wasn’t enough, former ABB keyboard player Chuck Leavall (currently with The Rolling Stones) and the Hammond B3 player for the Greg Allman Band, Peter Levin, make guest appearances on the recording.

Down to the River was recorded at the legendary Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Alabama and features nine songs. My favorite on the album is a tune steeped in the legacy of ABB, Shinin’. All Night is a great showcase for Devon’s vocal talent and Melodies Are Memories is reminiscent of The Band and the Grateful Dead at their best and features Duane on vocals. Long Gone is a terrific ballad and the title cut, Down To The River, is some sweet easy classic R&B. Autumn Breeze is a song I can’t wait to see them jam to in concert. And Good Ol’ Days is a beautiful reminder that we need to embrace and live the “good ol’ days” now.

Since the album was released last summer, the Allman Betts Band has been on an ambitious tour of the United States and Europe. It is my understanding that the crowds have been huge and the audience response phenomenal. They are definitely on my bucket list of groups to see in 2020.

The Weary Times – The Weary Times (2019 Way Down Records)

THE WEARY TIMES, a band out of Boise Idaho, first caught my ear this past summer with Why Are You So Lonely. It’s a sad song that captures the feel of early sixties doo wap enhanced by the gravely voice of Ryan Curtis and the sparse and delightful guitar playing of Mike Simon. The tune, Piece of Mind, also grabbed me with the keyboard playing of Mike Swain and is a throwback to the very best that Eric Burdon & the Animals kicked out back in the day. Nick Archibald on bass and Ben Wieland on drums complete this creative quintet of musicians that proudly claim the blues and early rock’n’roll as the basis for their sound.

Nostalgic blues rock is the best way that I can describe The Weary Times debut album overall. Mixing in reverb and fuzz to give several songs an energetic garage band feel just adds icing to the cake. Ain’t Done Drinking and Anymore rock the blues, Best For You is another Eric Burdon & the Animals style tune, I Don’t Know Why and Hard Times are great sixties psychedelia, and Give And Take is a slow insightful song about aging after a hard lived youth.

I listened to literally hundreds of new albums during 2019 and very few were as unique and imaginative as an overall recording as this one. They have captured the essence of the early and mid 1960’s music sound (which was always based on the blues) and reintroduced it, after a fifty year lapse, with contemporary themes. It is music nostalgia for modern times.

After playing small clubs and venues across the Pacific Northwest the past couple of years, the Weary Times have earned the opportunity with this debut recording to expand their fan base and turn the rest of the roadhouse blues world on to their music. I just hope they are ready for the wild ride!!

Tiffany Pollack & Eric Johanson – Blues In My Blood (2019 NOLA Blue Records)

The best debut album by a duet couple since Joe Bonamassa and Beth Hart back in 2011, Blues In My Blood is a solid recording by New Orleans based Tiffany Pollack and Eric Johanson. Tiffany comes to the blues from her roots in jazz music and Eric is an up and coming bluesman who has caught the attention of non other than Tab Benoit!

They combined their writing talents to pen seven of the 11 songs on the recording. My absolute favorite is the title cut, Blues in My Blood. It starts with a gospel inspired delta feel and then builds in intensity with some great guitar work by Eric and a powerful vocal delivery by Tiffany. Another favorite is Diamonds on the Crown with great harmonies and thoughtful social commentary. Eric has a voice similar to another great blues man from Louisiana, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and his guitar style is stellar on the song. Tiffany takes on the Nina Simone classic Do I Move You? and aces it with a sultry jazzy performance. Eric takes the vocal lead on Get Lost With Me, a blues ballad, and again wowed me with his guitar.

I also enjoyed the roots blues tune Memories to Forget as well as a knockout performance by Tiffany of the Joni Mitchell song, River, which I consider a great Christmas time tune. I played it several times during my DJ sets this past season and the response was tremendous!

Musicians that contributed their talents to the recording include Brentt Arcement (drums), Phil Wang (bass), John Gros (keyboards), producer Jack Miele (bass, bass guitar, and percussions), Sean Carey (backing vocals) and a guest appearance by the great Jumpin’ Johnny Sansone as well as the 504 Horns.

My only disappointment is that I have seen no evidence since the release of the album last spring that they have toured to support the recording. Both have returned to their solo careers. Tiffany & Co are playing jazz venues in New Orleans and Eric is touring with Tab Benoit who produced his 2017 highly acclaimed album, Burn It Down. I hear that Tab is playing drums for Eric during his part of the show; I’d pay to see that!!

My hope is that, as Joe and Beth have done, they will get back together from time to time and lay down some more tracks…..they both have blues in their blood!


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.

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.

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