If you get a chance, please check out my new Youtube Video, 14 Female Roadhouse Blues Artists You Should Know on the Ben Vee channel. And please also comment on the video (or here) with the number of the artists that you were aware of previously on the list…..I gotz to know 🙂
Here is a list of the artists, their latest studio recording, and a link to a video from their careers that is on Youtube. I hope ya enjoy!!
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 as well as a Youtube channel.
The Year 2020 was one that we all were glad to see go. Not only were our family, friends, and neighbors ravaged by COVID but our political systems were stressed and our rights to meet and gather were often suspended. And performing artists and musicians took the financial brunt of the frenzied response as outdoor venues, bars, and restraunts closed across the world throwing millions of performers out of work. But musicians are a resilient and creative group. They retreated, like the rest of us, to their homes, their garages, and their basements and began the process of creating new music using novel internet collaborative tools to record and share their music with other band members and recording studios. The product of their work is what I want us to celebrate in this article. It took new thinking, creative use of software, and dogged perseverance to write, record, and release new music during 2020 and EVERY artist and group that did so should be commended for not giving in to the darkness and continuing to bring the joy of music to us all.
During 2020, I played over 7000 songs on my DJ shows and listened to hundreds of albums sent to me by the artists, publicists, and record companies. I received even more as part of the staff of Blues Music Fan Radio. Out of all that music, I have chosen my favorite 66 roadhouse blues songs for 2020 using only two rules; I had to have played the tune during one of my shows in 2020 and I could only select one song per album. The list represents less than 1% of all music that I broadcast during the year and includes both perennial favorites as well as artists you may not have heard of. These are the best of the best and regardless of position on this listing, they are all fabulous tunes in my opinion. I hope you enjoy reviewing the list, listening to the songs, and hopefully, downloading some for your own music collection or as a gift to family and friends.
The Roadhouse Blues Top 66 Songs
The Smoke Wagon Blues Band
The Fat Man
The Ballad Of Albert Johnson
Treat Me Like I Want
Weed ‘Em & Reap
Beyond Here Lies Nothing
Nora Jean Wallace
I’m A Blues Woman
Turn Me Loose
The Rolling Stones
Living In A Ghost Town
Living In A Ghost Town
The Roadhouse Blues Top 50 & 60 songs
John Primer and Bob Corritore
The Gypsy Woman Told Me
Nobody Gotta Know
Bring Me Sugar
Bring Me Sugar
The End Of The Blues
Henrik Freischlader Band
What Have I Done to You
JD3 & The Jondo Trio
Rocks At The Moon
Living In The Palace Of The King
Flame Still Burns
Chairman Of The Board
Tryin’ to Get to You
Paul Buchanan’s Voodoo Preachers
Some Kind Of Voodoo
New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers
Night Time (feat Jimbo Mathis)
Mary Jo Curry Band
Nothin’ Is Easy
Voodoo Down the River
Tales From The Psychedelta
Black Cat Moan
Another Day In San Jose
The Reverend Shawn Amos & The Brotherhood
Counting Down The Days
The Lucky Losers
Half a Nothing
Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar
The Reckless On
Coming In Hot
Anything You Want
That’s What I Heard
Force of Will
Force of Will
The Roadhouse Blues Top 40 songs
Steve Washington (feat Lucky Peterson)
Blues Don’t Cost a Thing
Just A Matter of Time
Tammi Savoy & The Chris Casello Combo
As Long As I’m Movin’
That Rock ‘n’ Roll Rhythm!
Too Slim and the Taildraggers
David Rotundo Band
I Must Be Crazy
So Much Trouble
Ain’t Beggin’ Nobody
Crazy with the Blues
Searching For A Man
Good As Gone
Rebel Moon Blues
Barbecue And Blues
Deep Dark Demon
Walk Until I Ride
The Roadhouse Blues Top 30 Songs
Down To The Bottom
Below Sea Level
Evil Till Sunrise
Ice Cream In Hell
The Immediate Family
Slippin’ and Slidin’
After The Storm
Ain’t Done Yet
Every Bird That Flies
Self Made Man
Since I Been Loving You
Somebody Gotta Make A Move
Church House Blues
The Roadhouse House Top 20 Songs
Rae Gordon Band
Get Right With The World
Wrong Kind Of Love
Have You Lost Your Mind Yet?
My Back Scratcher
Carryout Or Delivery
The War and Treaty
Beautiful (feat. Jason Isbell)
Until The End Of Time
I’m The Beast From The East
It’s A Mighty Hard Road
The Mary Stokes Band
Joanne Shaw Taylor
The Roadhouse Top Ten Tunes for 2020
10. Johnny Iguana – Shake Your Money Maker [Johnny Iguana’s Chicago Spectacular] (Delmark Records)
Johnny Iguana’s cover of the Elmore James song from 1961 should get you movin’ in your easy chair as you listen. Johnny’s energetic keyboard playing is superbly matched by the slide guitar work of Lil’ Ed.
9. Layla Zoe – Nowhere Left To Go [Title Cut] (Self Release)
Though not officially released until January 8, 2021, I got a promo copy in December and started spinning it so it makes the list! Layla’s growling delivery is just badass and harkens back to Janis Joplin.
8. Wily Bo Walker/Danny Flam – Ain’t No Man a Good Man [Title Cut] (Mescal Canyon Records)
Blues rock with a hint of Dr. John in his voice, Wily Bo is a fantastic UK artist with a growing following. Wily’s delivery is theatric in nature and I can’t wait for the opportunity to see him and Danny perform live on stage one day…SOON!
7. Alastair Greene – Bayou Mile [The New World Blues] (Whiskey Bayou Records)
A native of Ventura, California, Alastair got to collaborate with the great Tab Benoit from my home state of Louisiana to make this recording and the result is a haunting beautiful song.
6. Thorbjorn Risager and the Black Tornado – Come On In [Title Cut] (Ruf Records)
A Danish powerhouse and one of my favorite European roadhouse blues artists, Thorbjorn has a unique voice and he is backed by an incredible seven piece ensemble that just continue to crank out catchy and upbeat roadhouse blues tunes.
5. Dion – Blues Comin’ On (ft. Joe Bonamassa) [Blues With Friends] (KTBA Records)
An American treasure, Dion is still creating vibrant music at the age of 81! Produced by Joe Bonamassa’s Keeping the Blues Alive label, Dion got Joe to sit in on this track!
4. Christone “Kingfish” Ingram – Rock & Roll [Empty Promises] (Alligator Records)
This song is about a deal with the angels and a family’s devotion to a young artist’s future. It is simply beautiful and Christone’s delivery is authentic and riveting.
3. Joe Bonamassa – Why Does It Take So Long to Say Goodbye [Royal Tea] (J&R Adventures)
Another Joe Bonamassa ballad that meshes rock and blues like only he can. He is known as a world class guitar player, but I love his voice and his songwriting. This one is a roadhouse jewel!
2. Walter Trout – Make It Right [Ordinary Madness] (Provogue Records)
At 69, Walter is creating some of the best music of his storied career. The guitar playing on this tune is vintage Trout. I hope I get to see him perform it live sometime this year or next!
1……. Avey Grouws Band – Rise Up [The Devil May Care] (Self Release)
A self released debut album by a group from Iowa features a song that is my #1 roadhouse tune for 2020! Who would have thought?? I know I didn’t until I heard Jeni Grouw’s voice and Chris Avey’s guitar playing on Rise Up. It is not only a catchy but topical tune. We all need to rise up, in love, and confront the issues of our times head on without hate or rancor. It’s a song and a message we all need to spread around! Oh…and by the way…..the Avey Grouws Band will be appearing in concert in June with…..Walter Trout. My #1 and #2 artists on the same stage…..if you are close…go see them!!!!
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.
It’s December 1st and there is only one month left of this damn year!! Join me for my Roadhouse Blues Nooner at http://www.bluesmusicfan.com from 12 to 2 pm for the only great thing about the past twelve months….some badass blues! Have tunes by Robert Connely Farr, Johnny Burgin, Nora Jean Wallace, Avi Kaplan, Josh Teskey and Ash Grunwald, Shemekia Copeland, and many more!
Join us for our Thursday May 16th set of the roadhouse blues on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com at 3 pm EST. Have a brand new promo single of the new Widow Blue tune, Keepin’ The Blues Alive as well as lots of other great contemporary songs by Elles Bailey, Jamie Lynn Vessels, Danielle Nicole, Tiffany Pollack & Eric Johanson and many more!!!
Similar to the old Route 66 that wound from the heart of the United States in Chicago to the west coast and captured some of the best of what America has to offer, the Ben Vee Roadhouse 66 song list meanders world wide from Africa to Europe to North and South America.. on then to Australia and up to Asia capturing the best blues songs of 2018. The roadhouse blues is situated at the crossroads of the blues and rock genres so there are plenty of upbeat tunes and a number of belly grinders on the list. The selection includes 15 female singers..a dozen blues rockers…several roots blues tunes and numbers of hot contemporary blues recordings…I hope you download and enjoy listening to all the songs!!
As a DJ, in 2018 I played over 200 sets and 500 hours of blues music or roughly 6,000 songs for listening audiences. On my 24 hour Roadhouse blues stream, I streamed thousands more. Picking the best 66 from my broadcasts was both a labor of love and a huge challenge. The position of the songs on the list is of little consequence…you might list them in a different order or include ones that I didn’t. The important thing is that these 66 tunes are a “top shelf” sampling of a vibrant and growing contemporary blues market. Don’t let ANYONE tell you that the blues are dead or dying!! I encourage you to turn your friends on to songs on the list and help spread the news that, as Buddy Guy said on his latest album, the blues is alive and well!!