It Isn’t Freedom If YOU don’t have a CHOICE!

Government restrictions on the right to assemble during the ongoing pandemic have destroyed the livelihoods of many local musicians and performing artists. And the rationale for lockdowns being used by politicians and public health officials bode ill for their long term future.

The current pandemic was initially termed the Wuhan flu before it was deemed politically incorrect. It is a virulent and deadly form of the flu. It is not the first such strain nor will it be the last. Every year, the flu strikes millions of people. It is particularly deadly to the elderly and those with other serious underlying medical problems. AND it mutates as it goes so that in any given year there can be new strains to address. And this strain is really bad news.

But we know this….if you are over 70 or have a serious medical issue…take EVERY rational precaution. If you are over 50, wear a mask and wash your damn hands when you are out and about. But if you are under 50 and have no serious medical condition, you should have the CHOICE to take the RISK and get on living your life. Restricting the rights of people under 50 to go to a restaurant or a concert hall or a local bar is government sticking its nose where it can….but it shouldn’t!!

We ALL live with risk every moment of every day. And destroying the livelihoods of performing artists to mitigate these risks is not going to do anything but lead to more drug use and suicides among this vulnerable group of people. Public Health officials are already stating that it may be 2022 “before they feel the threat to the public is under control”. And I have news for you ….the NEXT STRAIN of flu after COVID-19…and there will be a next strain… will lead to the same rationale for restricting public assembly in the name of safety……..for whom?

At some point, we must, in the music industry, stand up to the hysterical (and politicized) fear mongering. Previous generations have had to battle evils that far outweigh this pandemic. All we have to do is endure the slights of the social media trolls (who tolerate no opinion but their own) and rationally make the case that freedom is about making choices and taking the associated risk. If the reasoning takes hold that MY freedom should be restricted dramatically to lower YOUR risk then democracy will become just a platitude and public health officials will be screaming an alarm on any number of issues. If they can restrict your right to assemble, they can damn sure restrict your ability to eat, drink, smoke, drive, create music, or make comments like I am…all in the name of public health!! Fight for your freedoms…..and help put a lot of performing artists and musicians back to work NOW!


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.

High Times In The Dark – The Claudettes

I wrote this review on a lazy Sunday afternoon in Connecticut. The sky was grey and brooding. It was cool and cold would soon follow. I retreated from the once sunny lairs of my backyard man cave to the warmer environs of my basement lair. It’s a good day to listen to new music as I sip on a cup of hot chocolate. And the day got better and better as I listened to the new recording on Forty Below Records by The Claudettes.

The Claudettes are a Chicago based band that defies easy music genre classification. Fronted by the willowy voice of Berit Ulseth and powered by the blues piano of Johnny Iguana, this musical quartet with Zach Verdoorn on bass/guitars and Michael Caskey on drums deliver music that is both nostalgic and contemporary….no mean feat! The closest that I can come in terms of classification is that they reside in the Amy Winehouse wing of the blues and jazz with keyboard playing that is some of the best that I have heard since Billy Joel’s Piano Man recording a generation ago.

High Times In The Dark is an excellent recording that is brooding at times without getting morose. Yet it also brims with enthusiasm and thoughtful and witty observations about our lives. My favorite cut is I DON’T DO THAT STUFF ANYMORE. The song is a duet of Berit and Zach about leaving behind your youthful wildness and settling into the safer decor of maturity while realizing there is a price to be paid in terms of passion and excitement.

I also enjoyed 24/5 that reflects the reality that 24/7 love can become oppressive and leaves you with little to no private time. I SWEAR TO GOD, I WILL is a perfect synergy of Berit’s voice and the insistent and rhythmic piano playing by Johnny. DECLINED, MOST ACCIDENTS HAPPEN, and ONE SPECIAL BOTTLE are also some of my favorites on the recording.

YOU DRUMMERS KEEP BREAKING MY HEART is a great song with an interesting twist. Though sung by Berit as a romantic lament, it is actually an autobiographical tune written by Johnny about the lives of drummers that have been in his band over the years.

There are bands that very comfortable within the established genres of music….The Claudettes aren’t one of them. Their music harkens back to the jazzy cabaret blues of the 1960’s and yet has a lyrical and upbeat edginess that I believe contemporary audiences enjoy. It is my understanding that they put on one helluva live performance. It is just a dang shame that this album was released just as the pandemic of 2020 set in and prevented them from touring to support it. Once a vaccine is widely available in early 2021, I hope all of us will get a chance to see this creative group of music artists performing at a nearby venue! They can’t get here soon enough!!!!

High Times In the Dark – Forty Below Records (2020)


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.

Hoodoo and Holy Water Make for a Fine Blues mix!!!

Paul Gallucci and John Brauchler have been friends and playing music together since their high school days. Based in the Boston area, they were an acoustic duo for years. In 2017, they formed ONE DIME BAND and with the release of their second album, Hoodoo and Holy Water, have popped up on the blues radar for a lot of listeners around the world. I was fortunate to get to chat with Paul on social media recently and ask him some questions. But first…about the music and the band.

The title cut is some badass contemporary blues…a catchy and upbeat tune that is getting a lot of airplay during my roadhouse blues shows. Witch Child is some sultry funk with great horns accompaniment. Salaryman has a Steely Dan feel to it with great vocals and a nice touch of wah wah on guitar. I loved the ‘remembrance’ tune, Mama’s Chair with it’s charming reminder of gentler times with our mothers. Something Good opens with a cool organ solo and then glides through a rhythmic reminder to us all to do something good everyday. I also loved the roots blues tune, Facing Yourself, and the fifties style blues rock & roller, Hard Luck Daddy. And the tune, Nobody’s Dog, is a tasty little ‘down the bayou’ blues number.

ONE DIME BAND’s diverse sound is crafted with Paul on lead vocals and harmonica, and John on lead guitars as well as the resonator and banjo. Supporting them on various tracks are Alizon Lissance (keyboards and accordion), drummers Chris Anzalone and Jay Gillies, Paul Konchanski and John Grube (bass), David Gordon Jr. (organ), Jackie Damsky (violin), Donna Tritico (vocals), John ‘Blue Horn’ Moriconi (trumpet) and Mario Perrett (tenor sax). As you can see from the band member instrument list, this is not your typical blues quartet just crankin’ out an album. The songs were written by Paul and John with one notable exception. Author Tim Curry sits in on one track playing acoustic guitar and singing for Hard Luck Daddy.

To me, it is always interesting to get band members perspectives on music and learn about the groups that influence them. Below are some questions I put to Paul and his answers:

  • There is a delightful little tune on the new album entitled Little Time.  During the pandemic, how have you all been spending your time? Writing new tunes? Reconnecting with family and friends? WE’VE DEFINITELY BEEN WRITING AND RECORDING DEMOS OF NEW MATERIAL AS WELL AS DOING SOME OUTDOOR LOCATION LIVE VIDEO THAT WE’VE SHARED ON SOCIAL MEDIA…WE’VE ALL BEEN ABLE TO SPEND SOME TIME WITH FAMILY, TOO – THANK GOD!
  • The song Mama’s Chair is about the simpler times of our childhood and our mothers. Who wrote the song? EXACTLY! IT WAS WRITTEN BY JOHN BRAUCHLER AND MYSELF.
  • The keyboard interplay with the harmonica on Nobody’s Dog is pretty badass. Who is playing keyboards and harmonica? ALIZON LISSANCE IS THE INCREDIBLE PIANO PLAYER ON THAT NUMBER – SHE ALSO PLAYS HAMMOND ORGAN AND ACCORDION ON THE ALBUM…I’M PLAYING ALL THE HARMONICA ON THE ALBUM.
  • Can you talk about some artists that have influenced the band since you all first started playing together back in the 1980’s. WELL, THAT’S A LONG LIST – LOL! WE’RE LOVERS OF SUCH A VARIETY OF ROOTS MUSIC FROM DELTA AND URBAN BLUES TO SOUL, R&B, ROOTS COUNTRY AND ROCKABILLY BUT WE WERE VERY INFLUENCED BY ARTISTS LIKE TAJ MAHAL, MUDDY WATERS, HOWLING WOLF, BUDDY GUY, JUNIOR WELLS, WILLIE DIXON, LITTLE WALTER, SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON, CHARLIE MUSSELWHITE, ELMORE JAMES, JIMMY REED, LIGHTNING HOPKINS, SON HOUSE, ALBERT, FREDDIE AND B.B. KING, SONNY TERRY & BROWNIE MCGEE, JOHNNY WINTER, LONNIE MACK, JIMI HENDRIX,  STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN – JUST TO SCRATCH THE SURFACE!
  • Are there any other contemporary blues artists out there that you all really enjoy listening to? OH YES! JUST A FEW FAVORITES ARE GARY CLARK JR., CHRISTONE “KINGFISH” INGRAM, JONTAVIOUS WILLIS, RUTHIE FOSTER, TAB BENOIT, ERIC GALES, PROFESSOR HARP, AND GA-20
  • With so many venues closed now by government mandate, how do you try to stay in touch with your fanbase? WE’VE BEEN POSTING VIDEOS AND LINKS TO OUR MUSIC ON FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM AND YOUTUBE. HOPING TO DO SOME FACEBOOK LIVE PERFORMANCES SOON!
  • What has been your favorite venue to play over the years? Any one that is special to the group? UNFORTUNATELY SO MANY ARE CLOSING DURING THE PANDEMIC, BUT HOPEFULLY A FEW CAN RECOVER…THE CANTAB, JOHNNY D’s, HARPER’S FERRY, THE NEXT PAGE, THE C NOTE, JASPER HILL  – BUT ONE THAT WAS A SPECIAL VENUE  FOR US WAS THE BRIGHTON, MA LOCATION OF JONATHAN SWIFT’S WHERE WE HOSTED A BLUES JAM MANY YEARS AGO.

Hoodoo and Holy Water turns out to be quite a bluzin’ combination………..download and give it a listen. You won’t be disappointed!!!

One Dime Band – Hoodoo and Holy Water (2019 Toneblanket Records)


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.

Savoy Brown – Ain’t Done Yet…and they damn sure aren’t!!

A chance meeting between two musicians at a record shop in England in 1965 led to the formation of one of the most enduring of all the bands from the Golden Age of music. And all these years later, Savoy Brown featuring Kim Simmonds is making an emphatic statement with the release of AIN’T DONE YET. Savoy Brown has been and continues to be a synonym for the term blues rock.

What started with the chance encounter between Kim Simmonds and harmonica player John O’Leary resulted in the release of Shake Down in 1967. They were then known as the Savoy Brown Blues Band and kicked out a mix of blues covers and a couple of instrumentals including High Rise, that I still love.

Over the years, a literal who’s who of rock and blues artists have spent time with the band including bluesmen Hubert Sumlin, Paul Oscher, and Duke Robillard. For the latest album, long time band members Pat DeSalvo (bass) and Garnet Grimm (drums) help flesh out a tight trio of rhythmic sound that is a perfect compliment to the vocals and both harmonica and guitar playing by Kim.

On this, their 41st recording, the band continues a hit run of releases in the last ten years. Voodoo Moon (2011), The Devil to Pay (2015), Witchy Feelin’ (2017), and City Nights (2019) are all great blues rock albums. AIN’T DONE YET is a bit more introspective with the title cut, Borrowed Time, All Gone Wrong, and Devil’s Highway addressing Kim’s blues rockin’ observations from a long life. I loved the guitar tones and easy rhythms of Feel Like a Gypsy. Jaguar Car is some badass boogie about how men identify with their cars.

Rocking In Louisiana is about my birthplace and long time home and Kim’s love for the state where the music he loves was born. He plays a steel dobro to give it a “down the bayou” feel and it works to perfection! To close out the album, Kim chose an instrumental, Crying Guitar. All of Savoy Brown’s albums have included at least one instrumental and this one is another blues rock jewel.

Savoy Brown featuring Kim Simmonds damn sure aren’t done yet! And I, for one, am mighty pleased!

Savoy Brown featuring Kim Simmonds – Ain’t Done Yet (2020 Quarto Valley Records)


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.

Checkin Out the Blues for June 2020

Some artists that I have checked out during June….that you should too! (Links in blue are to the albums on Spotify.)

Rory Block – Prove It On Me (2020 Stony Plain Records)

A first class acoustic guitar player with a great voice and a true appreciation for the blues, Rory Block (a six time winner of blues awards from the prestigious Blues Foundation) unearths some gems by early female blues singers and applies her special touch to them. This is the second Power Women of the Blues recordings she has done and it is a great listen.

I enjoyed her new song Eagles as well as He May Be Your Man (Helen Humes), It’s Red Hot (Madlyn Davis), and Wayward Girl Blues (Lottie Kimbrough).

Kyle Yardley – St. Louis to Savannah (2020)

Some badass Chicago blues from singer and harmonica player Kyle Yardley who hails from St. Louis and is now lives in Georgia. Particularly loved Little Girl which features some licks from one of my favorite guitarists, Johnny Burgin, and also loved That Ain’t Right, Savannah Georgia Women, and Country Girl (alternate version).

Evelyn Rubio – Crossing Borders (2020 Productions On Seaspeed LLC)

Evelyn Rubio hails from Mexico City and is now based in Houston. A singer and saxophone player, when she turns up the volume and lets it wail, she is at her finest. Really liked I Made a Mistake, Just Like A Drug, and One More Last Time.

Joshua Batten – The City Within (2020 Batten Down Music)

Joshua Batten hails from Australia and at 23 has just released his second recording that features a range of tunes across several genres. I loved the blues rocker Tell Me I am Wrong as well as Silver Dollars and The Fox and The Hound. All three will get airplay during my roadhouse blues shows on Blues Music Fan Radio.

Jose Ramirez – HERE I COME (2020)

Produced by the great Texas bluesman Anson Funderburgh, Jose Ramirez’s new album features some stellar guitar playing and singing and is full of catchy blues tunes. Jose hails from Costa Rica and is now based in Tampa, Florida. With a Robert Johnson tat on his arm and a distinctive guitar tone, he is more than ready to pay his blues dues. I loved One Woman Man as well as Gasoline and Matches and Stop Teasing Me. Keep an ear out for this guy…..he has a very bright bluzin’ future!

Jan JamesJUSTIFY (2020 Blues Palace Records)

Jan James has been singin’ the blues and payin’ her dues for many years. The new album Justify may finally get her the broad based recognition she is due as one of the contemporary blues’ great female singers. I loved the songs A Different Life, Believe in Me, and I’m Always Coming Back. Her long time partner Craig Calvert plays some mean guitar licks as well on all the songs. Overall, a great blues recording!!

What have YOU been listening to over the past month?? Leave a comment with an album that you have enjoyed….we wants to know!!!


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.

DayDreams in Blue with Anthony Geraci

Years ago down in Birmingham, I got my start managing bands and helping to produce concerts. And at least once a month, I would wander into an aging hotel downtown that was long past its prime. Most of the guests were budget vacationers traveling in the South or just off the bus from the Greyhound terminal down the block. But it was a warm and friendly place with a great little smokey piano bar with smiling waitresses, great martinis, and some damn fine jazzy blues. It had a healthy mix of old timers and young people from the local area as well as the occasional hotel guest and was just a fun place to hang out and listen to the music.

Listening to Anthony Geraci on his new album Daydreams in Blue brought back memories of that place and time with his virtuoso piano playing of both upbeat roadhouse style tunes and jazzy blues numbers that let you drift off into memory land. Dennis Brennan does almost all of the singing on the album and his Randy Newman style voice is a perfect fit for Anthony’s music. Monster Mike Welch does most of the guitar playing with other guest appearances by Walter Trout (guitar), Peter Ward (guitar), Troy Gonyea (guitar). Michael Mudcat Ward handles the acoustic bass, Jeff Armstrong is on drums, and Scott Arruda along with Mark Early do some badass horn playing. Overall, it is a fantastic supporting cast for the album.

With regards to the roadhouse blues, I loved the blues shufflin’ Mister. Anthony pounds those ivories and Dennis wails on his harmonica…..badass tune. One note from the guitar on No One Hears My Prayers and you know Walter Trout is in the studio. The back and forth between Anthony’s keyboards and Walter’s guitar is simply awesome. And another little jewel is Tutti Frutti Booty with Anthony on vocals. It is some classic boogie woogie that will get ya boppin’ in your easy chair.

Among the more jazzy blues tunes on the album that highlight Anthony’s keyboard talent, I loved Daydreams of a Broken Fool, Hard to Say I Love You, and the sultry Jelly, Jelly. My favorite Dennis Brennan vocals on the album are on Living in the Shadow of the Blues… the song and lyrics are picture perfect for him.

Every song on the album was enjoyable and I hope you will download and give it a listen. Daydreams in Blue is never a bad way to spend an afternoon or evening sometime soon. In fact, you can catch Anthony and Dennis live online Friday, July 10th at 7:30 pm ET. Just follow these links for more info… https://www.facebook.com/epsfalloutshelter and https://www.youtube.com/user/alternateroot1?fbclid=IwAR1dBUei%20wqPhULzrXjYLvfmeEwCJKa1lkkKHRi3bILcVDLs2eGpguSRqTM .

Anthony Geraci with Dennis Brennan – Daydreams in Blues (2020 Shining Stone Records)


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.

Kenny ‘Blues Boss’ Wayne – Doin’ It Mighty Fine!

At the age of 75, Kenny ‘Blues Boss’ Wayne has cooked up a fine blues gumbo of 13 songs that range from boogie woogie to a compelling blues rendition of a Lynyrd Skynyrd classic. An expat from the United States who has lived and recorded in Canada since the 1980’s, the Blues Boss released his eleventh studio album, GO, JUST DO IT!, a couple of weeks ago to a chorus of applause from across the blues spectrum. With talent on the keyboards, and a soulful energetic voice, Kenny reminds us with some stunning riffs and rolls that the piano and other keyboard instruments have been as vital a part of the blues over the years as the electric guitar.

My personal favorite on the recording is the title cut that features a vocal duet performance with Canadian Dawn Tyler Watson, a rising blues star in her own right. It’s a funky upbeat tune with lots of horns that sends a message that resonates in my life; don’t let folks tell what you can’t do……Go…just do it!

Another song that made me sit up and listen on the album is You’re In For A Big Surprise. It is 60’s style martini bar jazzy blues number that is splendidly delivered by Kenny and Grammy Award winning Diane Schuur. The keyboard playing is stellar and the horns are terrific. It brought back memories of Nina Simone and that is nevah a bad thing!!

Additionally, That’s the Way She Is is a great roadhouse blues tune that I will be giving a lot of spins during my radio shows. I also enjoyed the boogie woogie instrumental Let the Rock Roll as well as Lost & Found, Motor Mouth Woman, and You Did a Number on Me. Kenny also takes on the Lynyrd Skynyrd classic They Call Me the Breeze and produces a great bluzin’ cover.

Kenny was ably assisted on the recording by a slew of talented musicians including horn players Jerry Cook and Vince Mai (Powder Blues), guitarist Yuji Ihara (Boogie Patrol), renown harmonica player Sherman Doucette, Russell Jackson on bass (B.B. King), Joey “the Pocket” Dimarco on drums (Studebaker John) , Barry Sharbo on tamborine, and additional vocals by Julie Masi (Parachute Club) and Kenny’s son Corey Spruell.

So…if ya wanna hear one of the great singing and piano talents of the blues (and a member of the Boogie Woogie Hall of Fame) givin’ it all he has….buy this album……GO, JUST DO IT!

Kenny ‘Blues Boss’ Wayne – Go, Just Do It (2020 Stony Plain Records)


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 Hot Blues Bin for May 13th

The contemporary blues scene is very much alive in 2020. Below are some artists that you may not be aware of that are worth a listen. Check ’em out! Links to their albums on Spotify are provided in blue.

Katie KadanKatie Kadan (2019)

A vibrant soul singer out of Chicago, Katie Kadan got her first big break on The Voice back in 2017. Her voice is a delightful mix of Adele and Brittany Howard (Alabama Shakes). Her newest release, Katie Kadan, contains a number of great tunes including My Man and Stuck on You.

Harper and Midwest KindRISE UP (2020)

Peter D. Harper hails from Australia where he released his first album back in the mid 1990’s. On his latest album, RISE UP, he cranks out some rockin’ and socially relevant roots blues playin’ a badass harmonica and incorporating the use of the didgeridoo. Give the title cut a listen to see what I mean. I Still Got You and Welcome Home are tunes I also loved…heck…the whole album is great!!

Pinkie RideauBring Me Sugar (2020)

A Sacramento California based artist, Pinkie Rideau has been playin’ music for a long time. On the new album BRING ME SUGAR, she brings together some fine musicians (and life long friends) to produce music with a laid back “down the bayou” feel. I particularly liked Forgetful and I’m On The Outside. She has such a great voice….give her a listen!!

John Primer and Bob Corritore The Gypsy Woman Told Me (2020)

What’s not to like when two of the finest blues artists in America collaborate to produce a spectacular album. If you are not familiar with either of these artists, John Primer is a well known Chicago blues man (who played with Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, and Magic Slim) and Bob Corritore, who is based in Arizona, is one of the genre’s great harmonica players. I love the title cut as well as the grindin’ blues tune Walking The Back Streets And Crying and the Elmore James/Magic Slim inspired Keep A-Driving.

Be Sharp BandASHES (2020)

A great new group out of my ancestral home of Croatia, the BE SHARP BAND features the stellar voice of Marija Gašparić. On their debut album, ASHES, they crank out some badass roadhouse blues. Give Put ‘Em Down and Wolf a listen….and then download and buy the album!!


If you have suggestions for albums that I should give a listen to or are an artist with radio ready material…..just send me an email at ben@benveeblues.com. If I like it, I will give it a spin during my shows on BMFR and, perhaps, write about it.

The Nighthawks 31st album is STUPENDOUS – Tryin’ To Get To You ….and they do!

There are good bands and there are great bands but there are not many great roadhouse blues bands that have produced THIRTY ONE solid and engaging albums over the years. With the release of TRYIN’ TO GET TO YOU, The Nighthawks, based out of Washington, DC, continue to mesh the sounds of rock ‘n’ roll and the upbeat electric blues into a incredible musical menagerie. And they are worthy of consideration as one of the very best bands in the storied history of the electric blues.

The band is led by Mark Wenner, a first class harmonica player and a singer with the perfect type of voice for the uplifting style of music that they play. The steady beat is provided by drummer Mark Stutso who also adds vocals. And two new group members, Dan Hovey (guitars) and Paul Pisciotta (bass) both contribute vocals for some fabulous harmonies on a number of the new tunes.

The new album has that upbeat rhythm and sound that just transports you to a good place. I loved the driving bass and harmonica on Baby, It’s Time. And Chairman of the Board is some damn fine sultry blues with an insistent hip movin’ beat that cries out to be released as a single. The title cut, Tryin’ to Get to You, is a sweet fusion of doo wap and the electric blues with a tone on Dan’s guitar that is entrancing. Don’t Worry Baby is the kind of rockin’ blues song that has been a signature staple of the band over the years. And Somethin’ Cookin is a delicious blues shuffle…..mhmm…my kinda tune.

This is easily one of the best roadhouse blues releases of 2020. It will wanna make ya call out to your Baby and get them close for some social spacing hip shakin’ in the living room….yeah it is that good! Go On….right now….download this jewel of a recording…I promise you that you won’t regret it!! It will make ya smile, dance, and have a damn fine time while ya listen….and that is the very definition of the roadhouse blues for the weekend!

The Nighthawks – Tryin’ To Get To You (2020 Ellersoul Records)


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.

Crystal Shawanda singin’ the CHURCH HOUSE BLUES

Crystal Shawanda is an indigenous Canadian who grew up on the Wikwemikong reserve on an island in Ontario, Canada. Blessed with a stellar voice that has catapulted her to the forefront of the contemporary blues scene, Crystal now lives in Nashville with her record producer and co-writer husband Dewayne Strobel. The new album CHURCH HOUSE BLUES is her second for True North Records and an incredible followup to Voodoo Woman that I reviewed back in 2018. (The link in blue is to the album on Spotify.)

Church House Blues is part of her continuing evolution from country music to the blues. She initially came to Nashville as a country singer back in 2007 for RCA Records and recorded a Billboard top 20 country hit for them. But, as you can clearly hear when you listen to her, her forte and her heart belong to the blues. She left RCA a couple of years after the hit single and has been focused primarily on the blues ever since.

The first single from the new album is WHEN IT COMES TO LOVE, a pretty ballad that highlights that awesome voice which has both elements of Koko Taylor and Janis Joplin as well as a delicious hint of Patsy Cline. The emotion she invokes as she sings will draw you in and then grab your soul. And there is no better showcase for that than BIGGER THAN THE BLUES and EVIL MEMORY. Another favorite of mine is NEW ORLEANS IS SINKING with its driving clap rhythm and some haunting harmonica. Additionally I enjoyed MOVE ME. HEY LOVE, BLAME IT ON THE SUGAR, and the title cut. Crystal sings my favorite sensual love song of the year so far with I CAN’T TAKE IT….ya gotta give it a listen!!

Crystal draws on her life and the blues as inspiration and gives back to the community both as a singer and a motivational speaker. I wouldn’t mind gettin’ up on a Sunday morning and pokin’ my head into any church in Canada or Nashville that gave the pulpit and stage to Crystal Shawanda for her CHURCH HOUSE BLUES!!

Crystal Shawanda – Church House Blues (True North Records 2020)


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.