Best of the Blues 2019 – Roadhouse Bluesman of the Year – Brandon Santini

During a stellar year of new recordings by blues artists, I have kept returning to songs off two 2019 albums: The Longshot and Tennessee Redemption. Both these great recordings (one is a solo album while the other is a group recording) feature the voice and harmonica playing of Brandon Santini. He is my 2019 Roadhouse Bluesman of the Year!

Brandon Santini at Black Eyed Sally’s in Hartford CT

Brandon is a 37 year old resident of Memphis who has plied his trade on Beale Street for almost 20 years. He made the move to Memphis at the age of 19 and over the ensuing years, he refined his harmonica playing to the point where he was nominated for Blues Harmonica Player of the Year by the prestigious Blues Foundation in 2014. And this past October, he received the Blues Blast Magazine 2019 award for The Longshot as Best Contemporary Blues album of the Year.

Brandon’s years in the Memphis clubs taught him the golden rule for performing music which is in part: Be Kind to Musicians. It is one that I practice also. I do not write bad reviews of artists; if I don’t enjoy a recording I simply don’t write about it. It is a practice that I wish some fellow DJs and bloggers, as well “mainstream” critics, would follow also.

His Beale street years also have taught him that you have to be an entertainer, not just a singer or musician. Music is in large part an experience of feelings. How does the song make you feel? Does the singer move you emotionally? Brandon delivers on both counts. He has a deep gravely voice reminiscent of Dr. John and his song writing is engaging and evocative. Take a listen to Drive You Off My Mind from The Longshot and you will see what I mean.

For his second recording of the year, he teamed with long time friend and fellow Beale Streeter, Jeff Jensen (guitar & vocals), and formed the group Tennessee Redemption. They released their self titled debut album this past September. The album is a fusion of southern style blues, Americana, and Memphis R&B and is absolutely delightful. Give See About Me and Back to Tennessee a listen. I know you will enjoy them!!

Brandon Santini represents the next generation of blues men and women who are coming into their own. He has paid his blues dues with hundreds of performances in small clubs in Memphis and elsewhere around the country. And he has earned and deserves the accolades that are now beginning to flow in. Receiving my 2019 Roadhouse Bluesman of the Year award is no big thing but I hope he, as I often do on special occasions (well hell…any event really) , lights a cigar after one of his gigs and smiles. I’ll be lighting one after finishing this article….Here’s to you Brandon for having a great year in 2019 and for the many more that are sure to come!


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.

December 3rd Roadhouse Blues Nooner on BMFR

The holiday season is upon us and my hope is that one of the tunes during today’s Roadhouse Blues Nooner will inspire you to download the album and gift it to a friend! Join us at High Noon EST on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com for a mix of the best in contemporary blues including a new promo single from Albert Cummings plus some vintage Bob Dylan and an “almost the blues” Creedence Clearwater Revival tune that I love.

You can find the intended playlist below:

ARTISTTITLE
Noah WotherspoonBaptism by Fire
Keb’ Mo’Merry Merry Christmas
Noah WotherspoonDon’t Let the Darkness
Polly O’Keary and The Rhythm MethodIt’s My Soul
Diane BlueSame Old Blues
Rebekah MeldrumWhiskey And Wine
Ronnie Wood & His Wild FiveWee Wee Hours (Feat. Imelda May) (Live)
Doug Duffey And BaddDrink It On Down
Albert CummingsHold On
Black Cat BonesLaying in Wait
Peter KarpCool Cool Thing
Creedence Clearwater RevivalPagan Baby
Crazy HambonesBullfrog Blues
Lloyd SpiegelAny Second Now
Brother Snakeoil & The Medicine MenDo A Little Hoodoo
Bob DylanCall Letter Blues
KaleoAutomobile
Bad Temper Joe & Fernant ZesteBeen a While Since We’ve Talked
Meena Cryle & Chris Fillmore BandSweet Loving Mama
Hector AnchondoCandy Shop
Laura CoxJust Another Game
Brad James SwallowWorking Man
Nico Duportal & The SparksNo Hate, Just Pain
Pierce Dipner & The Shades Of BlueGet Out Of Your Life
Joanna ConnorBlues Tonight

Roadhouse Blues Nooner for Nov 5th on BMFR

Hope you have time to join us today, November 5th, at 12 PM EST for my roadhouse blues Nooner on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com. I have some Nordic blues by Lollo Gardman and Lena & the Slide Brothers, a new song from the Reverend Shawn Amos, some Aussie Blues from Lloyd Spiegel, and much more.

The intended playlist is shown below.

ARTISTTITLE
Johnny BurginThe Leading Brand
Tino Gonzales & Los Reyes Del KOI Ain’t Gonna Pray
The Russell Barber BandMidnight Hour
Larry Griffith ProjectI Know
The Reverend Shawn Amos & The BrotherhoodCounting Down The Days
Lollo GardtmanChasing The Wind
Lena & The Slide BrothersRight Train, Wrong Track
Thorbjørn Risager & The Black TornadoI Used to Love You
Kerry Pastine And The Crime SceneDown Down
Marc CohnTalk Back Mic
Ghost Town Blues BandShine
Mike GoudreauThe Blues Is Killing Me
The Bluesland Horn BandKeep It In The Shadows
Kelsey MilesShow Me
Lloyd SpiegelChristina
Brandon SantiniDrive You Off My Mind
Steve MillerKilling Floor
Lightning HallThat Joker’s Wild
Omar & The HowlersDown To The Station
Left Lane CruiserSmooth Commander
SouthfieldBypass to Nowhere
The Mike Duke ProjectI’m Not Sad Tonight
Johnny BurginI Got To Find Me A Woman (Feat. Rae Gordon & Nancy Wright)
Sayer and JoyceBackbone
Marc AmacherJack Driver (Roadhouse Version)
[Lowbudget] Blues BandThe Usual
Johnny Boy KunkSnake Bite

Late October Roadhouse Blues Nooner on BMFR

Join me today, October 29th, at High Noon EST for some roadhouse blues on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com. Got some contemporary blues, classics from the masters, and a few blues rock cuts.

You can find the intended playlist below:

ARTISTTITLE
Shun KikutaThe Stumble
The Johnny Max BandRoadhouse Soul
Joss StoneFree Me
Bargel & HeuserThe Heat
Doc Nice & Muddy FeetBlue Sky
Lonesome ShackTrying To Forget
Curtis Salgado and Alan HagerI Want You By My Side
The Fabulous ThunderbirdsRich Woman
Little FeatDixie Chicken
Shemekia CopelandSholanda’s
Rita ChiarelliJust Gettin Started
Albert Collins, Robert Cray and Johnny CopelandBring Your Fine Self Home
Fenton RobinsonYou Don’t Know What Love Is
Rockin Johnny BurginCold Chills
Slim HarpoShake Your Hips
Southern AvenueRumble
Selwyn Cooper & The Hurricane Blues BandHit the Big Time
Zoe Schwarz Blue CommotionHold On
Joe BonamassaAround The Bend
Erja LyytinenGrip Of The Blues
Gary MooreHouse Full Of Blues
Henrik Freischlader BandI Give Up on Loving You
BlindstoneWhat Your Lovin’ Can Do
Lil’ Ed & The Blues ImperialsIt’s Alright

My Roadhouse Blues on BMFR – 3 pm EST 10/24/2019

Join us for new contemporary blues by the B. Christopher Band, Wentus Blues Band, Zack Walther Band, Johnny Boy Kunk, and many more as well as several classics from my archives. Tune in at http://www.bluesmusicfan.com at 3 PM EST today, October 24th.

Below is the intended playlist.

ARTISTTITLE
Vince Salerno and Gerald McClendonThe Wobble
John HammondCryin’ For My Baby (ft. Duane Allman)
Greg CopelandBrown-Eyed Handsome Man
Joel StoneSweet Kiss
Memphis SlimThe Come Back
Johnny Boy KunkJust What You Want
Ghost Town Blues BandDirty
Martin HarleyThe Time Is Now
Leela James and The Truth BandI Still Believe
Bob Margolin & Dennis GruenlingLow Life Blues
Teresa James & The Rhythm TrampsI Like It Like That
Leighton FieldsShame
Paul GabrielI Feel Good
William ClarkeThat Ain’t The Way To Do It
The B. Christopher BandTried To Keep You Satisfied
Vince Salerno and Gerald McClendonUp the Line
Jonathon Boogie LongCatfish Blues
James CottonStraighten Up Baby
Wentus Blues Band w. Duke RobillardYou Got My Love
Zack Walther BandI’m Going Out of Your Mind
Eightball AitkenLove
Ghalia VoltGypsy Lady
Jimmy HallThat’s The Truth
Nick SchnebelenI’m A Fatboy
Mojo HandsAs Long As I’m Moving
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night SweatsBabe I Know
John LatiniBlack Eyed Blues
Popa ChubbyBlack Hearted Woman
On The LevelBaby Gone Left Me
NiecieBaby It’s Working
Keith SykesBaby Please (All The Shrimp In New Orleans)

Wentus Blues Band with Duke Robillard – Too Much Mustard

Sometimes I run across an album that just blows me away…..this one did!! Wentus Blues Band is a Finnish group that has been together touring for thirty years. Recently, they journeyed across the seas to Rhode Island to make the album TOO MUCH MUSTARD with renown guitarist and producer Duke Robillard……the result is simply blues magic!

The first cut to grab my attention was 2:19. The band is tight featuring Juho Kinaret on vocals, Niko Riippa on guitar, Robban Hagnäs on bass, Pekka Gröhn on keyboards, and Daniel Hjerppe on drums and they blend their instruments seamlessly as they drift though a badass little tune.

I was riveted by their version of FIRST WE TAKE MANHATTAN. The song was written by Leonard Cohen and I am familiar with it because of a recording done by Jennifer Warnes in the 1990’s with Stevie Ray Vaughan on lead guitar. Both the Cohen and Warnes versions were whimsical. Wentus Blues Band delivers the appropriate feel and ominous warning to this apocalyptic song.

A song that will get alot of airplay during my roadhouse blues sets on BMFR is SHE’S A KILLER HOT BLONDE. It is hot rockin’ blues with some great guitar and piano licks.

I also enjoyed the songs TOO MUCH MUSTARD, FEELS SO BAD, and I HEAR YOU KNOCKIN’. All great tunes that bear the imprint of the Duke as their record producer. He also plays guitar throughout the album and even provided two tunes for the band from his early years, SHE MADE MY MIND and PASSIONATE KISS.

In an interview done on the Michael Limnios Blues Network, Juho eloquently stated “the Blues music is a universal playground. It doesn’t look at your color, how old you are or where do you come from.” Amen, brother!! As I have stated a number of times over the last five years, there is alot of great blues coming out of Europe and Copenhagen and the Nordic countries in particular. With the release of this album, the Wentus Blues Band’s TOO MUCH MUSTARD blueses itself into contention as one of the great recordings of 2019.


Wentus Blues Band – Too Much Mustard (2019 Ramasound Records)

Links in blue are to Spotify, Youtube, or quote references.

...And yes I know “blueses” wasn’t a word until today…..lol.

Tuesday Roadhouse Nooner on BMFR at 12 pm EST

I am back from vacation and ready to roll out some badass roadhouse blues for you on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com at High Noon EST. Have a mix of new contemporary tunes by Mike Duke, Zack Walther, and the Tedeschi Trucks Band as well as some classics from the archive.

Here is the intended playlist that I post with the hope that if you like the some of the tunes that you will go to your favorite music shop and buy them! Help the blues to thrive in 2019!

ARTISTTITLE
William ClarkeHittin’ Heavy
Etta JamesDown Home Blues
John HammondBarrelhouse Woman Blues
Little FeatA Apolitical Blues
Steve MarrinerHow In The Devil
The Michael Mills BandMy New Woman
Blues BrothersShotgun Blues
Dr. FeelgoodCheque Book
Bo DiddleyCan I Walk You Home
Little WalterYou’re So Fine
Quique Gomez and His VipersI´m Gonna Keep What I Got
Tedeschi Trucks BandHigh and Mighty
The Nick Moss Band with Michael LedbetterHard Luck Woman
Zack Walther BandHold On, I’m Coming
The Mike Duke ProjectI Can’t Let You Go (ft Elvin Bishop)
Marie MarxAm I Enough
Candye Kane & Laura ChavezI’ve Got To Ride
Marcia BallLouella
North Mississippi AllstarsLonesome in My Home
Martin HarleyRoll With The Punches
ZZ TopMushmouth Shoutin’
Johnny WinterIt’s My Own Fault (2004 Digital Remaster)
Paul RodgersMuddy Water Blues (live)
Buddy GuyLove Her with a Feeling (feat. Junior Wells)
Miss Bix and The Blues FixVoodoo Man
Heather NewmanHowling For Love