Roadhouse Bluzin’ In – New Music on the Way (Feb 10)

The year 2022 already shows a lot of promise in terms of new roadhouse blues music releases by both established artists and up & coming groups. Some familiar names in the blues world (Keb Mo’, Tinsley Ellis, John Mayall, Eric Gales, North Mississippi Allstars) have all released new albums in the last several weeks that should be on interest to roadhouse blues listeners. If you like your blues loud and rocked, check out Andy Lindquist‘s new recording, My Name is Mud. And blue rock instrumental listeners should enjoy Steve Vai‘s new release Inviolate. John Mellencamp also has a new recording Strictly A One Eyed Jack out that is coated with a pleasant blues roots vibe and includes a couple of guest appearances by Bruce Springsteen.

Later this month, Beth Hart will release A Tribute to Led Zeppelin. The album represents a return to her early days of performing in the mid 1990’s as a full fledged blues rocker. I can’t wait to hear the entire album based on a couple of videos that I have heard so far. Another album due out next week that I already have a promo copy of is Mike Zito’s Blues for the Southside. It is a live recording done in his hometown of St. Louis and will give you a good feel for just how powerful a presence and performer he is while on tour. And an album that I did a review of last month, Booze, Blues, & Southern Grooves by Reddog and Friends will also officially hit the stores and music download websites next week. Also looking forward to the new Bernard Allison, Micki Free, and Dan Patlansky as well as releases by Professor Louie and the Crowmatix and Joan Osborne.

In March, new recordings by long time favorites Albert Castiglia, Sugaray Rayford, Duke Robillard, and Larry McCray are due out. And Kenny ‘Blues Boss’ Wayne will release an album that is a tribute to Memphis Slim & Willie Dixon. I have a promo copy of it sitting here on my desk…I will let ya know what I think in due course.

Overall, a whole bunch of new badass contemporary blues, blues rock, and roots blues is on the way. I call it the roadhouse blues…..and the roadhouse blues is off to a great start in 2022!

Here is a complete listing of releases that I am tracking:

Out now:

Andy Lindquist – My Name Is Mud

Bob Stroger & the Headcutters – That’s My Name (Delmark Records)

Angela Easley – Rise

Keb’ Mo’ – Good To Be

Robbin’ Ford & the Blue Line – Live At Yoshi’s 1996

Tinsley Ellis – Devil May Care

Willie & the Bandits (UK) – When the World Stood Still

John Mayall – The Sun Is Shining Down  featuring Marcus King, Buddy Miller, Mike Campbell

Eric Gales – Crown – featuring Joe Bonamassa

North Mississippi Allstars – Set Sail

Steve Vai – Inviolate

John Mellencamp – Strictly A One-Eyed Jack

Upcoming Releases – During February:

Beth Hart – A Tribute to Led Zeppelin (Feb 25)

Bernard Allison – Highs & Lows

Micki Free – Turquoise Blue

Reddog and Friends – Booze, Blues, and Southern Grooves

Dan Patlansky – Shelter of Bones

Mike Zito – Blues for the Southside (Live) (Feb 18)

Joan Osborne –  Radio Waves

The Kenneth Brian Band – Keys to the Kingdom

Kathy Murray & the Kilowatts – Fully Charged

The Love Light Orchestra – Leave the Light On

Professor Louie and the Crowmatix – Strike Up the Band

Upcoming Releases – March:

Sugaray Rayford – In Too Deep (March 4)

Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne – Blues From Chicago to Paris: A Tribute to Memphis Slim and Willie Dixon

The Duke Robillard Band – They Called It Rhythm & Blues

Big Daddy – It’s a Mad Mad Bad Dad World (March 11)

Larry McCray – Blues Without You (March 25) KTBA Records

Albert Castiglia – I Got Love (March 25) Gulf Coast Records


#blues #roadhouse blues

Ben Vee started out spinning songs on terrestrial radio and at nightclubs back in the 1970’s in his home state of Louisiana. After a career in the construction business, he returned to DJing in 2011. He now hosts two shows each week on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com and writes about the blues at http://www.benveeblues.com from his home in Connecticut. He also has a personal 24 hour stream devoted to the Roadhouse Blues… WRHB

Jimmy Johnson – Another Blues Giant passes on

We lost another Blues giant this week with the passing of Jimmy Johnson at the age of 93. Born in Mississippi in 1928, Jimmy was a part of the “great trek north” that brought so many blues men and women to Chicago in the 1940’s and 50’s. Jimmy arrived in the windy city in 1950 and over the next 30 years paid his dues singing, playing the guitar and piano, and touring and performing with the likes of Otis Rush, Albert King, Magic Sam, and Freddie King. He was known for a fluid and understated style on the guitar and his high tenor soulful voice was riveting.

Jimmy broke out on the national blues scene in 1979 when, at the age of 50, he released his first big recording, Johnson’s Whacks, on Delmark Records. Over the ensuing years, he took the blues world by storm becoming a fan favorite in Europe. In 1983, he released an album on Alligator Records, Bar Room Preacher, that is part of my personal album collection and one of the great all time blues recordings.

In 2019, at the age of 91, Jimmy released the recording Every Day of Your Life on Delmark Records that won him the Living Blues award as artist of the Year for 2020. It was not a lifetime achievement award, as many are for albums released late in life by well known artists. The recording is a soaring celebration of the blues that he played and the fact that he laid down the tracks at 91 just adds to the special blues aura that marked his life. In particular, the instrumental, Better When It’s Wet, is simply amazing. And the title cut, Every Day of Your Life, is representative of his soulful blues style and apropo as a fitting final statement from one of the greatest of them all! Take the time to give the album a listen….it will remind you of why you love the blues!


#blues #roadhouse blues

Ben Vee started out spinning songs on terrestrial radio and at nightclubs back in the 1970’s in his home state of Louisiana. After a career in the construction business, he returned to DJing in 2011. He now hosts two shows each week on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com and writes about the blues at http://www.benveeblues.com from his home in Connecticut. He also has a personal 24 hour stream devoted to the Roadhouse Blues… WRHB

Smilin’ Bob Stroger and the Headcutters – Kickin’ out Badass Blues at 90!

Bob Stroger has been a part of the Chicago blues scene since the 1950’s. He has played his bass and recorded with Otis Rush, Jimmy Rogers, Eddie Taylor, Eddie Clearwater, Sunnyland Slim, Louisiana Red, Buster Benton, Homesick James, and Snooky Pryor, among others over the years. He has also been a session musician for the renown blues label, Delmark Records, and appeared on over 30 Delmark recordings. Now, at the age of 90, he has released his first recording for Delmark as the band leader for Bob Stroger & the Headcutters entitled That’s My Name. You aren’t going to get to hear too many more artists from that period laying down new tracks so I heartily recommend you give this album a listen. The thirteen songs include 5 originals and a delightful array of covers of Ma Rainey, Eddie Taylor, Big Bill Broonzy, Casey Bill Weldon, and Herman “JR” Parker Jr. penned tunes.

Bob, playing bass and singing, is backed on the recording by a very tight blues band out of Brazil….the Headcutters. The group consists of Joe Marhofer (Harmonica), Ricardo Maca (Guitar), Arthur ‘Catuto’ Garcia (bass) and Leandro ‘Cavera’ Barbeta (drums). There are also two Brazilian guest artists; Luciano Leaes (Piano and Hammond Organ) and Braion Johnny (saxophones) who also provide memorable moments on the recording.

My favorite cut on the recording is Just A Bad Boy. The group lays down a quintessential Chicago blues tune with the perfect vibe. I also loved the recording ambiance on CC Rider. It gives you the feeling of being amongst a small crowd relaxing in a smokey 50’s Chicago blues bar on a wintery week day; it’s like you are right there in the audience. Additionally, the low down blues, wailing harmonica and sultry piano playing on Outskirts of Town and It Was a Dream are priceless.

Kudos to Julia A Miller and Elbio Barilari at Delmark for bringing this project to fruition. AND a special thumbs up to the Headcutters. The core group along with the two guest artists created some music magic with Bob and I look forward to hearing some of their own recordings in the future.

On the title cut That’s My Name, Bob sings that ” you can call me Bob Stroger, you can call me anything you choose, but my real name is the blues. I am the blues.” And that he is!! The likes of Bob Stroger, who lived the blues in its classic heyday in the 50’s and early 60’s, are passing into music history. Grab some of this history in the making right now while you can and enjoy the baddest of the badass Chicago blues!!

Bob Stroger & the Headcutters – That’s My Name (Delmark Records 2022)


Ben Vee started out spinning songs on terrestrial radio and at nightclubs back in the 1970’s in his home state of Louisiana. After a career in the construction business, he returned to DJing in 2011. He now hosts two shows each week on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com and writes about the blues at http://www.benveeblues.com from his home in Connecticut. He also has a 24 hour stream devoted to the Roadhouse Blues… WRHB

Booze, Blues, and Southern Grooves – Reddog and Friends Set the Bar High for 2022

The new Reddog and Friends album, Booze, Blues, and Southern Grooves is a joy to listen to!! The vocals and lyrics are sincere and surrounded by music that will reverberate in your soul. Reddog is an unapologetic old style southern blues man from Georgia whose songs, guitar playing, and persona help define a style of blues that will just lay ya back and smooth out the rough edges.

I recommend you start listening to the album with track 8, Don’t Muscle The Shuffle. It is a world class blues instrumental that sets the bar for the rest of the recording! Then give Searching for Some Soul a spin. The Duane Allman style guitar licks are just badass! Old School Blues is a celebration of classic blues with nods to Freddie King, Etta James, Bobby Blue Bland, Johnny Taylor, ZZ Hill, and Jimmy Reed. And I absolutely love The Blues Will Get You Every Time! I have often mentioned the healing power of listening to the blues to people and Reddog sets the thought to some beautiful music. The album closes with Honest Man. Be true to yourself and be a kind hearted man; words of a mother to a son who reflects them on the album.

Recorded in Muscle Shoals Alabama with his friends Clayton Ivey (keyboards), David Hood (bass), Justin Holder (drums), Bill Stewart (drums on three tracks), Steve Hawkins (congas), and Carla Russell & Mary Mason & Angela Hacker (female vocals), the 11 track album will be officially released in early February. It is a great recording and well worth your time to give a listen!!


Ben Vee started out spinning songs on terrestrial radio and at nightclubs back in the 1970’s in his home state of Louisiana. After a career in the construction business, he returned to DJing in 2011. He now hosts two shows each week on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com and writes about the blues at http://www.benveeblues.com from his home in Connecticut. He also has a 24 hour stream devoted to the Roadhouse Blues… WRHB

Roadhouse 2021 Blues Rock Album of the Year – Beggars Soul by J. Lee and the Hoodoo Skulls

The Roadhouse 2021 Blues Rock Album of the Year is by a British group from Surrey, England…. J. Lee and the Hoodoo Skulls. The recording, Beggars Soul, is a vibrant energetic collection of tunes that are brash and edgy. Drawing from the same musical well as Chuck Berry, Larkin Poe, the Black Keys and the Record Company, this 4 piece band cranks out songs that will get ya pumped and wanting to gather once again with friends at a rowdy roadhouse or pub for some good times.

The band is composed of J. Lee (vocals), Harun Kotch (Lead Guitar/ Writer), Wayne Riches (Drums) and Mike Hartnett (Bass). The album was recorded at an old church chapel which gives the songs a cool texture that just enhances the aura of the music. Just give the title cut, Beggars Soul, a listen……you will hear what I mean.

I also just love tunes that capture the magic of the era when Muddy Water’s famously said that the blues had a baby and it was called rock & roll. The song Baby Can’t Sing the Blues is an absolute time capsule of a roadhouse blues tune that perfectly illustrates Muddy’s statement.

Every recording on this album is worth a listen, particularly if you are feeling dreary or depressed and need a musical “pick me up”. So…..go to your favorite music download site….get your own copy of Beggars Soul as your endorsement of the very best badass Roadhouse blues rock of 2021!


Ben Vee started out spinning songs on terrestrial radio and at nightclubs back in the 1970’s in his home state of Louisiana. After a career in the construction business, he returned to DJing in 2011. He now hosts two shows each week on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com and writes about the blues at http://www.benveeblues.com from his home in Connecticut. He also has a 24 hour stream devoted to the Roadhouse Blues… WRHB

A Six pack of 2021 Roadhouse Blues Tunes for a Thursday

Take a break from what you are doing and give this six pack of roadhouse blues tunes a listen; the rest of your day will go better!

Quinn Sullivan – All Around the World – Wide Awake

A young and upcoming talent mentored by Buddy Guy, Quinn moves towards the mainstream with his latest recording. The guitar licks alone make it worth a listen.

Davey Knowles – Solid Ground – What Happens Next

I just love the voice of Davy Knowles and he is also one fine blues rockin’ guitar player!

The Liberators – Waitin’ – Waitin’

The Liberators are blues rockers from the Netherlands and they are simply just BADASS!!

Tia Carrol – Ain’t Nobody Worryin’ – You Gotta Have It

Tia is from the Bay area and she lays down a soul groove to a song with a social conscience.

Veronica Lewis – Put Your Wig On Mama – You Ain’t Unlucky

Veronica is a ivory poundin’ talent from Boston with a bright bright future….TURN IT UP!

The Wildroots – Misty Morning in New Orleans – Wildroot Sessions Volume 1

This song just makes me homesick for my hometown of New Orleans. Victor Wainwright, Mark Hodgson, John Oates…..an impressive group of artists got together for the album.

Hope you enjoyed the tunes…….have a GREAT day! And if ya want to listen to more…just tune in to my 24 hour roadhouse blues stream at WRHB or catch me every Thursday from 3-5 pm EDT on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com.


The Big Easy Sound of Ricci/Krown on City Country City

Any album that starts with a Hammond B3 organ intro has my attention. One that then integrates some Big Easy style harmonica is just plain badass.The new Jason Ricci and Joe Krown collaboration, City Country City on Gulf Coast Records, starts just that way with the title cut and is infused throughout with the rhythms of a bluesy fall day in the French Quarter roamin’ down Royal Street and then perhaps eating beignets out by the mighty Mississippi in New Orleans.

Jason has long been considered one of the premier harmonica players of the blues genre and Joe Krown, an established piano and organ player in New Orleans, is also a member of the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band. Together with monster drummer Doug Belote, they lay down a sound that reflects the city in which they all reside. In parts funky and soul infused, the recording is a very enjoyable listen.

Besides the title cut, I also enjoyed the instrumentals Down n’ Dirty, My Mama Told Me So, It Starts with Me, and Upshot. I was particularly impressed with their reinterpretation of the Bobby Gentry classic Ode to Billy Joe as a blues funk instrumental. Jason’s work on the harmonica on the song takes the tune to a whole new level.

On Badger the Witness, Jason and Joe channel Doctor John to perfection. Feel Good Funk is just that and my favorite song on the album is Down At the Juke. It’s just a perfect “down the bayou” tune reflective of some places I used to frequent while growing up and working in southern Louisiana. If you enjoy the low down blues, you won’t find much better than the trio’s rendition of Charles Brown’s Drifting Blues with Joe’s haunting organ setting just the right vibe and counterpoint to some sweet harmonica playing. Listening to Jason on this song will help you to understand why blues music lovers rave about his talent. I also enjoyed their cover of Sonny Boy Williamson’s Just a Playboy with Joe pounding those ivories.

The textures and rhythms of this album embody the city of New Orleans and are reflective of the powerhouse talents of Jason, Joe, and Doug. Though they all have busy schedules with other bands, it is my hope that they will carve out some time to tour a bit together. I think people world wide would enjoy some of their Big Easy blues.

Ricci Krown – City Country City (Gulf Coast Records 2021)


Ben Vee started out spinning songs on terrestrial radio and at nightclubs back in the 1970’s in his home state of Louisiana. After a career in the construction business, he returned to DJing in 2011. He now hosts two shows each week on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com and writes about the blues at http://www.benveeblues.com from his home in Connecticut. He also has a 24 hour stream devoted to the Roadhouse Blues… WRHB

Roadhouse Blues News – New Music Releases from Santana, Gov’t Mule, Joe Louis Walker, and More

This year has been another great one for Roadhouse Blues releases AND they just keep comin’!!!! Here are some that might interest you…….

Out Now

Santana – Blessings and Miracles

It’s album number 26 for the band Santana and the groove nevah felt better! The band gets an assist from Chris Stapleton and Steve Winwood on a album chocked full of other guest appearances.A bluesey cover of Whiter Shade of Pale is worth the price of admission!

The Kentucky Headhunters – That’s a Fact Jack!

Southern influenced blues rock…oh yeah!

Out this week:

Gov’t Mule – Heavy Load Blues

Warren Haynes says this is the first Gov’t Mule to explicitly focus on the blues. Listen to the promo video single Make It Rain and understand why I can’t wait to get my hands on the entire recording.

Joe Louis Walker – Eclectic Electric

He started out years ago hangin’ backstage with Jimi Hendrix and released his first album in the mid eighties. I have been a big fan ever since and even got to trade shots with him one night at Black Eyed Sally’s in Hartford, CT. The album is truly an eclectic mix of blues’d up songs featuring his prowess on guitar and that distinctive voice.

Coming in December

Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Barn

When ya just want the windows to rumble to the music…..Crazy Horse will always do!

Due out in early 2022

Keb’ Mo’ – Good To Be

Tinsley Ellis – Devil May Care

Willie & the Bandits (UK) – When the World Stood Still

John Mayall – The Sun is Shining Down

John had recently announced that he would no longer tour but only perform locally in California so I was happy to hear he will put out a new album in late January 2022 featuring Marcus King, Buddy Miller, and Mike Campbell. A music icon and elder statesman of the blues; anything he cares to record I want to listen to.

Eric Gales – Crown

This will be an interesting album. Eric collaborated with Joe Bonamassa on the recording and if the first single I Want My Crown is any indication it will be pretty badass.

Elles Bailey (UK) – Shining In the Half Light

Jesse Roper (Canada) – album not yet titled.


Soul Blues Chillin’ with Zac Harmon

For those of you who haven’t heard of Zac Harmon, he is an award winning bluesman who comfortably resides in the Robert Cray wing of the contemporary blues. In 2006, he won the Blues Music Foundation award for Best New Artist for his album The Blues According To Zacariah. In the years since six more albums have followed including the new recording Long As I Got My Guitar.

Zac has a voice and a guitar style that can best be described as ‘chillin with the soul blues’. His songs on the new album are in parts upbeat, funky, pensive, spiritual, and socially aware. He even ventures “down the bayou” a bit with the delightful accordion accompanied Crying Shame. Zac was born in Jackson Mississippi to parents who schooled him in music. His mother played piano and his father, the first black pharmacist in Mississippi, played harmonica. His dad tended to the needs of Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Albert King, Ike & Tina Turner, and Little Milton at times and all those combined influences have made Zac Harmon one of the great blues & soul men of the roadhouse blues.

Now based in Texas, Zac worked with the renown music producer, Jim Gaines, who most notably produced Stevie Ray Vaughan, Santana, and Journey, to create the soulful music magic on this recording. Backing Zac on most of the tracks are the Rays consisting of Bob Trenchard (bass), Richy Puga (drums), Johnny McGhee (guitars), Dan Ferguson (keyboards and accordion) and backing vocals by SueAnn Carwell and Corey Lacey.

My favorite recording on the album is the title cut, Long As I Got My Guitar. Over the years, I have heard guitar players time and again talk about having survived their days payin’ their blues dues and facing the brutal choice of pawning their guitar for money to pay bills. Zac captures that melancholy experience with some exquisite guitar licks and real world lyrics. I also loved the guitar work on the socially conscious Waiting to Be Free. Another favorite of mine on the recording is People Been Talking which is soul blues at its very finest.

Over the last 18 months all of us have dealt with enforced periods of isolation as a result of the pandemic. It has given most of us a new appreciation of family and friends and, in Zac’s case, he says it gave him the realization that “as long as I have my guitar, all is good with my soul”. All I can add to that is that just listening to Zac sing and play on this new recording had a nice calming effect on my soul best exemplified by his song, Soul Land. Give it and the rest of the songs on this album a listen as you chill to some mighty fine soul blues.

Zac Harmon – Long As I Have My Guitar (2021 Catfood Records)


Ben Vee started out spinning songs on terrestrial radio and at nightclubs back in the 1970’s in his home state of Louisiana. After a career in the construction business, he returned to DJing in 2011. He now hosts two shows each week on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com and writes about the blues at http://www.benveeblues.com from his home in Connecticut. He also has a 24 hour stream devoted to the Roadhouse Blues… WRHB

An enticing Open Road to the Blues with some new Colin James

Every life is an open road. It’s a lyric from the title cut for Colin James‘ 20th album which was released this week. In Colin’ case, the certainty and direction of his musical journey was cemented when fate intervened back in the 1980’s in his hometown of Regina, Saskatchewan. A late no show and a desperate last minute search for an opening act for Stevie Ray Vaughan led to Colin. After the show, Stevie told him , “I’m opening doors for you….walk through them!”.And that he did!!

In 1988, Colin released his first self-titled album which contained two self-penned hits, Voodoo Thing and Five Long Years that garnered him the first of his 7 JUNO awards and a spot touring with Keith Richards. Over the ensuing years, Colin has rocked it, been credited with reviving swing music in Canada, and, with the last three albums, solidified his standings as one badass roadhouse bluesman.

The OPEN ROAD album is an impressive collection of original songs as well as covers of tunes he recalls first firing his imagination at the age of 12. It has rockin’ blues songs, traditional blues numbers, and beautiful roots tunes. Overcoming the challenges of the pandemic, Colin drew together the talents of Chris Caddell (rhythm guitar), Steve Pelletier and Norm Fisher (bassists), Simon Kendall and Jesse O’Brien (Hammond B3 organ), and Geoff Hicks (drums) to make the recording. It was mixed at the famed Abbey Roads Studios in London by producer Dave Meszaros. And the product, which includes guest appearances by Steve Marriner (harmonica) and Jerry Cook and Steve Hilliam (saxophone) is in my opinion his best overall release to date and worthy of consideration as one of the best blues recordings of 2021 world wide, not just in Canada. To give you a feel for just how good it is, I use a 5 star rating system for songs and there are 13 on the Open Road recording. My overall rating is an incredible 57 out of a possible 65. As context, my normal rating for an album I considered great would be 40 to 45! This recording is special!!

The album opens with some tasty guitar pickin’ on the Tony Joe White song As The Crow Flies. Colin then takes on challenge of covering an Albert King tune, Can’t You See What You’re Doing to Me. He follows that up with some badass lowdown blues on That’s Why I Am Crying. The fourth song Open Road was written by Colin and Craig Northey. It is insightful observation on life and the travails of a traveling musician. On the fifth tune, Change It, Colin pays tribute to his fateful meeting with Stevie Ray with a song written by Doyle Bramhall. The album also contains two songs written by Colin and Colin Linden, another of my favorite Canadian artists, Raging River and There’s a Fire. Colin cranks out a signature rockin blues tune, Leave This House, that he wrote with Tom Wilson as the seventh cut. Colin’s version of the Bob Dylan song, It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry is a showcase for his voice and some more tasty guitar licks. And he absolutely aces another Dylan tune, Down On the Bottom, that served as one of the “promo singles” released back in September. Colin also delivers a fabulous cover of the John Lee Hooker song, Bad Boy. One of my all time favorite bluesmen is Otis Rush and the recording of It Takes Time featuring some exquisite harmonica by Steve Marriner is just simply badass roadhouse blues! And to top it all off, the last song on the album is a soulful rendition of Otis Redding‘s I Love You More Than I Can Say.

I have been told that the average music lover buys a dozen or so albums a year. In what is fast becoming the new age of the single, I highly recommend that you purchase the entire recording to truly appreciate what an incredible recording this is! And in the coming months, I will be more than willing to hit the open road to see Colin James work his musical magic on stage….how about you?

Colin James – Open Road (2021 Stony Plain Records)


Ben Vee started out spinning songs on terrestrial radio and at nightclubs back in the 1970’s in his home state of Louisiana. After a career in the construction business, he returned to DJing in 2011. He now hosts two shows each week on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com and writes about the blues at http://www.benveeblues.com from his home in Connecticut. He also has a 24 hour stream devoted to the Roadhouse Blues… WRHB