Best of the Blues 2019 – The Ben Vee Roadhouse Blues 66

The year 2019 was a banner year for the roadhouse blues across the world. From Australia to Copenhagen and along all points in between, both debut artists and well established performers released a stunning number of new recordings. Every month my in box and my mail box were full of some fabulous blues recordings which makes picking the Ben Vee Roadhouse Blues 66 this year much more daunting.

This year’s list includes classic blues, roots oriented blues, R&B, soul, contemporary blues and blues rock artists with songs that span the genre from “almost the blues” tunes to the stellar classic blues sound of Mary Lane. Given that many of us have some extra time on our hands due to the ongoing global pandemic, I hope you enjoy downloading and listening to every one of these songs.

The position of the songs on the list is of little consequence…you might list them in a different order and get no argument from me.  Whether it is song #23 by Samantha Fish or number 66 by the Coyote Kings, all of these tunes made my playlists for my roadhouse blues shows at http://www.bluesmusicfan.com, got mentioned on my Ben Vee Facebook page or Twitter account, and/or got written about on this website at http://www.benveeblues.com during 2019. All 66 are representative of the energy and vitality that permeates the modern contemporary blues….by and large they are upbeat…sometimes loud…and truly international.

The Top Ten (in no particular order other than #1)

#1 Mary Lane – Blues Give Me a Feeling (2019 Travelin’ Woman)

Mary Lane, from Chicago, recorded the Roadhouse Blues 66 number one tune of 2019 at the age of 83!! How cool is that! She is one of the last living legendary singers of the blues to have been part of the great migration from the American Deep South to Chicago in the 1940’s. Just a fabulous tune!

Big Daddy Wilson – Crazy World (2019 Deep In My Soul)

An expat from the United States who has lived in Germany for years, Big Daddy aces an sumptuous slow soul ballad.

Altered Five Blues Band – Mischief Man (2019 Ten Thousand Watts)

Led by the deep blues voice of Jeff Taylor, this group out of Wisconsin once again makes one of my top performer annual blues lists.

Keb’ Mo’ – Cold Outside (2019 Oklahoma)

I played this song over and over when it came out on the album this past summer. You can nevah get enough of Keb’ Mo’!

Christone Kingfish Ingram – Fresh Out (2019 Kingfish)

A 20 year old with a debut album that features a cut with Buddy Guy as well as another with Keb’ Mo’. Life is good for this very talented young man.

Jontavious Willis – Low Down Ways (2019 Spectacular Class)

Another young blues artist that attracted the attention of Taj Mahal as well as Keb’ Mo’, Jontavious has stardom written all over him. It will be interesting to see how he evolves as a blues artist as the years roll by.

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

This blues duo hails from my hometown of New Orleans. Tiffany has a haunting voice that is framed by a strong beat and memorable guitar licks by Eric on this song.

Beth Hart – Bad Woman Blues (2019 War In My Mind)

Beth just has a great time with this tune and shows off the chops that have made her a fan favorite amongst blues rockers.

Brandon Santini – Drive You Off My Mind (2019 The Longshot)

This long time resident of Memphis had a great year in 2019. He was my 2019 Roadhouse Bluesman of the Year for both this album and one he did with Tennessee Redemption. A great voice and world class harmonica player; what’s not to like!

Allman Betts Band – Shinin’ (2019 Down to the River)

The sons of the Allman Brothers pick up where their dads left off! Not much else to be said but get yer tickets when they get close by!!


As you look through the rest of the list and hopefully listen to many, if not all, of the tunes, I hope you get an appreciation for what I term as the roadhouse blues. From its roots in the deep American south, the blues has grown and expanded to become a worldwide phenomenon. (And if someone you know states “the blues is dead” just show them this list and ask them how so?!) I am proud to be one of the DJs and influencers helping get the word out about just how great this music is!!!


ArtistSong TitleAlbum
1Mary LaneBlues Give Me A FeelingTravelin’ Woman
2Big Daddy WilsonCrazy WorldDeep In My Soul
3Altered Five Blues BandMischief ManTen Thousand Watts
4Keb’ Mo’Cold OutsideOklahoma
5Christone “Kingfish” IngramFresh Out (ft Buddy Guy)Kingfish
6Jontavious WillisLow Down WaysSpectacular Class
7Tiffany Pollack & Eric JohansonBlues In My BloodBlues In My Blood
8Beth Hart Bad Woman BluesWar in my Mind
9Brandon SantiniDrive You Off My MindThe Longshot
10The Allman Betts BandShinin’Down to the River
11Amnesia Blues BandFast Johnny CoolHailstorm
12HeavyDrunkIf I Love You Hard EnoughHolywater
13Mindi Abair and the BoneshakersWho’s Gonna Save My SoulNo Good Deed
14Walter TroutMe My Guitar and the BluesSurvivor Blues
15Coco MontoyaLights On But Nobody’s HomeComing In Hot
16Ghost Town Blues BandShineShine
17Chris O’Leary7 Minutes7 Minutes
18Tedeschi Trucks BandThey Don’t ShineSigns
19Van MorrisonThree Chords and the TruthThree Chords and the Truth
20Terry HanckHowlin’ For My Darlin’I Still Get Excited
21Kenny Wayne ShepherdWoman Like YouThe Traveler
22Zack Walther BandBad GirlThe Westerner
23Samantha FishDirtyKill or Be Kind
24Giles RobsonDon’t Give Up on the BluesDon’t Give Up on the Blues
25Lucky PetersonPack It Up50: Just Warming Up!
26Heather NewmanI’m Coming For YouRise from the Flames
27Left Lane CruiserSmooth CommanderShake and Bake
28Delbert McClintonA Fool Like MeTall, Dark, and Handsome
29Miss Bix and the Blues FixFollow Me DownWe Don’t Own the Blues
30Ash GrunwaldAin’t My Problem (ft The Teskey Brothers)Mojo
31The Texas HornsI’m Doin’ Alright (ft. Carolyn Wonderland)Get Here Quick
32The Mike Duke ProjectI’m Not Sad Tonight….Took a Whlle
33Ronnie Earl & the BroadcastersBaby How LongBeyond the Blue Door
34Travelin’ Blue KingsNinety MinutesWired Up
35Al BasileSo Called Story TellerB’s Hothouse
36Ida Bang & the Blue TearsShelter MeGood to Me
37Arsen ShomakhovWomen and WhiskeyRainy City Blues
38Elles BaileyHelp SomebodyRoad I Call Home
39The Teskey BrothersSo Caught UpRun Home Slow
40Kerry Pastine and the Crime SceneDown DownCity of Love
41Tad RobinsonReal StreetReal Street
42Sugaray RayfordThe RevelatorSomebody Save Me
43Southern AvenueWhiskey LoveKeep On
44Honey HoundsShine OnThe Flame
45Zac HarmonGypsy RoadMississippi BarBQ
46Annika ChambersI Feel the Same (ft Paul DesLauriers)Kiss My Sass
47Tennessee RedemptionBack To TennesseeTennessee Redemption
48Ivy FordStart a FightHarvesting  My Roots
49Wentus Blues Band w/ Duke Robillard 2:19Too Much Mustard
50Rockin’ Johnny & QuiQue GomezEverybody Loves My BabyDos Hombres Wanted
51Albert CastigliaHeavyMasterpiece
52Seth RosenbloomBroke And LonelyKeep On Turning
53Arlen RothI Can Fix It (ft Jack Pearson)Tele Masters
54Eliza NealsPawn Shop Blues (Roadhouse)Sweet Or Mean
55The Kokomo KingsHeatwaveFighting Fire with Gasoline
56Robin TrowerComing Closer to the DayComing Closer to the Day
57Blue Moon MarqueeAs I Lay DyingBare Knuckes & Brawn
58Peter WardTrain to Key BiscayneTrain to Key Biscayne
59Duke RobillardDon’t Bother Trying To Steal Her LoveEar Worms
60Harpdog BrownThinkin’ and Drinkin’For Love & Money
61Brother YusefI’m a BluesmanJook Joint Jam
62Manx Mariner ManlineRattlesnakeHell Bound for Heaven
63Josh NewcomGirl Got the MojoThe Blues Gonna Getcha
64Savoy BrownConjure RhythmCity Night
65Big Wolf BandBe FreeBe Free
66Coyote KingsDrive MeRocket

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 Thursday Dec 19th Roadhouse Blues on BMFR

Tune in for new tunes from CW Ayon, Sean Poluk, Janiva Magness and a bunch of other contemporary blues artists of 2019 on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com at 3 pm EST! Hope you have time to grab your favorite beverage and kick back and enjoy the music!

Here is the intended playlist:

ARTISTTITLE
Widow BluePow Wow Blues
Hakon HoyeOne Floor Down
Lucky PetersonPack It Up
Mindi Abair & The BoneshakersGood Day For The Blues
Honey HoundsShine On
Dynamite Blues BandMessed It Up
CW AyonI Need You Now
Janiva MagnessSomeday Never Comes
Tedeschi Trucks BandThey Don’t Shine
Ray Wylie HubbardJessie Mae
Jessie Mae HemphillDC 9
Joe KopickiLet’s Boogie
Jack BroadbentThe Other Side
The Allman Betts BandShinin’
Brandon SantiniGoing Home
Heather NewmanHigh Mountain Blues
Keb’ Mo’Put A Woman In Charge (Feat. Rosanne Cash)
The Nick Moss Band with Michael LedbetterHard Luck Woman
Martin HarleyHotel Lonely
Sean PolukEverybody Lies
Rev Neil DownWithout You I Can’t Ride
Left Lane CruiserSmooth Commander
HeavyDrunkMemphis
Dawn Tyler WatsonThe River
Matchedash ParishAfraid
Dom MartinThe Rain Came
Shaun MurphySame Old You
Demian BandWaiting

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.

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

Roadhouse Blues Bin Singles for early October 2019

Here is a selection of Roadhouse Blues Bin tunes that I am listening to and spinning during my roadhouse blues sets on BMFR. (Links to Spotify are in blue).

Beth Hart Bad Woman Blues

Another in a long string of sexy upbeat tunes from my favorite female artist off her new album War In My Mind.

Ronnie Earl and the BroadcastersBaby How Long

The tone of his guitar is entrancing, the harpin’ is incredible, and he always lays down some bad ass blues. Love the new album, Beyond the Blue Door.

Guy Forsyth & Jeska Bailey Amazing Grace/House of the Rising Sun

This tune will raise the hair on your arms….it is that incredible. An awesome and creative mixing of the venerable Amazing Grace with another all time classic House of the Rising Sun is one of them once in a generation tunes. Hope you enjoy it as much as I have. The cut is from their album Conspirators.

Tennessee RedemptionBack to Tennessee

Brandon Santini and Jeff Jensen reunite for a killer tune off a badass self titled debut album. I just love the southern blues infused style of this recording.

Heather NewmanI’m Coming For You

Tune with a badass groove highlighted by Heather’s sultry Kansas City voice. The entire album Rise from the Flames is well worth a listen.

Altered Five Blues BandMischief Man

Building on the success of their last hit single, Charmed & Dangerous, this new tune is vibrant and upbeat with the great voice of Jeff Taylor and some incredible guitar playin’ by Jeff Schroedl. I love EVERY tune on the new release Ten Thousand Watts.

Chris O’Leary Heartbreak Waitin’ to Happen

Chris hails from New York but you would swear from his voice and tunes that he was from down the bayou in my home state of Louisiana. This cut is from 7 Minutes Late….one of my favorite albums of the year.

Tad RobinsonReal Street

An incredible soul blues singer who was born and raised in New York City and attended college in Indiana. Tad traveled to Memphis to record his stellar new album Real Street. This song is the perfect fusion of Memphis soul and the Chicago blues….a damn fine tune. This Friday, October 4th, Tad will have a special album release party at the Jazz Kitchen in Indianapolis. If you live close …..go see him!!!

Steve Earle and the DukesKing of the Blues

This tune came out in 2015 from his album Terraplane and just keeps makin’ its way back onto my playlists. Best known for Copperhead Road, Steve is one of the premier songwriters of his generation and, along with Ray Wylie Hubbard, a co-regent of the outlaw blues.

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A note about streaming (which is great for exposing new artists and songs)…..it may surprise you to know that for every 10,000 streams of a song, the artist may make as little as $40 (US). But when you buy their CDs, they can make a decent living plying their craft. SO…….if ya love the music…use your favorite site and download the albums. And if you go see the artists live….buy those CDs, tee shirts, and hats at the show…….helps them defray road expenses and, in many cases, eat for the night.

A Two for Tuesday Roadhouse Blues Nooner on BMFR

Time for the Tuesday Roadhouse Blues Nooner with Ben Vee on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com! It starts today (July 30th) at High Noon EST and will feature tunes that are related to each other by some measure.

Below is the intended playlist. See if you can pick out why I related the tunes!

ARTISTTITLE
Dominic SchoemakerDom’s Train
Blues ArcadiaI’m Your Man
Amnesia Blues BandGotta Move On
Bonita and The Blues ShacksMomma’s Goin’ Dancin’
The Kokomo KingsFooled By The City Lights
Travellin’ Blue KingsI Cannot Believe
Julian SasA Light In The Dark
Brandon IsaakI Wanna Be Your Man
Blue Moon MarqueeHard Times Hit Parade
The Reverend Shawn AmosHave Love Will Travel
Mindi Abair And The BoneshakersVinyl
Boo Boo DavisWhat The Blues Is All About
Southern AvenueWhiskey Love
Tomiko DixonI’m Ready
Zakiya HookerDirty Things
ThirtyTwo20Wildest Dreams
Dominic SchoemakerFly Away
Lachy Doley GroupA Woman
Rob TognoniAnother Tequila
Black WaterWalking Blues
Dan PatlanskyJump On
Jason RicciThink It Over
Brandon SantiniDrive You Off My Mind
HeavyDrunk and the HurricaneMidnight in Harlem
The Rolling StonesThe Harlem Shuffle
Beth HartFat Man
Beth Hart, Joe BonamassaSinner’s Prayer (Live)

These Ladies Got the Rhythm and dah Blues!

Been listening to the blues and writing in the man cave in the sweltering summer heat…..just so YOU get to know some great female artists!! Grab a cold one, maybe a cigar, and read on……….

(links to songs in Youtube or Spotify are in light blue)

Eliza Neals – Sweet or Mean (2019 E-H Records LLC)

What is there not to love about the pairing of a great artist with a fantastic blues man and producer. Detroit based Eliza Neals launches it into the blues stratosphere on her new EP Sweet or Mean which is produced by the renown Popa Chubby. The new EP has a rock & roll edge and a gritty blues rhythm and beat…you don’t have to give up one to love em both! 

Loved Bitten By the Blues and the roadhouse version of Pawn Shop Blues. Also, enjoyed Living With Yo Moma featurng some badass roadhouse bluzin’ guitars by Popa Chubby and Dave Keyes. Blackish Grey is some great blues and Knock Knock Knockin’ is acoustic blues that highlights Eliza’s voice.

Ida Bang & the Blue Tears – Good to Me (2019 Ida Bang Musik)

Based out of Sweden, Ida Bang has one heck of a voice and she is backed by a band that can lay down the groove. Good To Me is a snappy little tune and I also enjoyed the rhythm and beat of Not the Same featuring some stellar guitar work by Leo Henriksson and John Bergstrom, great bass playing by Patrik Engstrom and badass drums by Leo Sund. Shelter Me, Don’t You Worry. and You Can’t Have It Both Ways are also pretty tasty!

Anna Scionti – Orphan Blues (2019)

This Australian artist plays the guitar and sings the blues with an intensity that just draws you in. A blues rocker to the core, Anna Scionti reminds me of George Thorogood and Buddy Holly, particularly on the cut Never Let Her Go. Bury My Hurt and Too Much Drinkin’ are some crankin’ roadhouse blues. Also enjoyed You’re My Keeper. Overall Orphan Blues is a fantastic listen!!

Tullie Brae – Revelation (2019)

Tullie Brae has the looks of a superstar and a voice steeped in the blues. On her new album Revelation, she melds brash powerful vocals with songwriting that reflects on love, life, anger, and perseverance. Most of the tunes have a driving roadhouse rhythm that I absolutely loved.

Particularly enjoyed Break These Chains featuring Brandon Santini on harmonica. The tunes Watch Her Move, Devil in Deville, and Price of the Blues are also all badass roadhouse blues.

She appeared at the Beale Street Cigar Festival last year during Labor Day weekend in Memphis. Dang…if I had only known!!!!!!


Feel free to leave a comment below or email me at ben@benveeblues.com. AND likes and shares are ALWAYS appreciated!!