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INTERVIEWS

Billy Jones: The Urbanization of Delta Blues

It's a long way from the rich, fertile delta lands of North Little Rock, Ark., to the Netherlands, where Billy Jones records for Dutch blues label Black and Tan Records, but it was a route of which he never lost sight.

Born into the segregated south, he was exposed to the driving beat of the blues when he was still an infant. In the crib, he could hear it as it permeated the walls against which he slept. This sound which spoke to him gave him an early direction in life he has pursued to this day.

His early memories ...

INTERVIEWS

Tracy K: Canada's First Lady Of The Blues Harp

Born and raised on the prairies in the small farm community of Beausejour, Manitoba, just 45 minutes east of Winnipeg, Canada, Tracy K has been performing since she was a child.

During the early sixties, when British rock groups stormed North American shores, she recalls her first introduction to the blues and how she was introduced and drawn to the early recordings of Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee.

Since then, although she played briefly with a rock group at one time in her musical career, she has built upon this, her foundation for the blues. Steady performances and critical acclaim ...

INTERVIEWS

Brent Orndorff: The Mouse That Roars

Small isn't necessarily a bad thing. For Blue News, a three man, Indiana-based, indie band, being small and working with a restricted budget is actually a plus. Producing their first two albums for free, they have gone on to establish themselves in venues throughout the Midwest, and their music has reached national media exposure to ultimately be picked up by the documentary series Road Trip which airs on national public television.

What they have accomplished did not happen overnight; this success was not a fluke. Their achievements are the result of research and implementation, the culmination ...

INTERVIEWS

Tim "Too Slim" Langford: A Journey Through American Music

Listening to Too Slim and The Taildraggers is, as one reviewer put it, .".. like taking a journey through the history of American music." Absorbing everything he could at first, Tim “Too Slim" Langford, lead guitarist and vocalist for the group, today plays what he likes. Although his focus at first may have been blues, today what Langford likes may encompass everything from down home blues, to funky blues rock, Americana, southern swamp rock and instrumental guitar styles.

This works for him, as Too Slim and The Taildraggers have been headliners at theaters, festivals and concert ...

INTERVIEWS

Reverend Zen: Angels, Blues and the Crying Moon

The New York group Reverend Zen has released its debut album, Angels, Blues & the Crying Moon (Blackjack Music, 2006), that is quickly garnering music industry acclaim around the world. Platitudes aside, Reverend Zen's true genius lies in its music. The album is everything a great album should be: melodies that hang in your head like an old friend, dead-on drum tracks, bad-ass guitar solos, and subtleties that slowly reveal themselves, supporting lyrics of wit, introspection and cultural commentary.

A decade of tempering until just the right balance of every needed ingredient was achieved, Angels, Blues, ...

INTERVIEWS

A-Kube: Un-Kid-i-Fide Music For Grown Folks

“Un-kid-ified music." Now there is a concept.

Un-kid-i-fide music is music that sounds like today's music, but with the kid's focus and vibe removed; music to which the 28 to 65 or older crowd can relate. When so much music is geared to a younger market, and much of it contains objectionable, or border-line objectionable lyrics, Asure Akhi Amen, a.k.a. A-Kube has developed a sound that is geared to a more mature market, or a market that would appreciate a more mature sound.

The music of A-Kube is truly world music and “un-kid-ifide." His music flavor may include a vocal ...

INTERVIEWS

Paul Gillies: More Rhythm than Stephen Hawking

Harmonica player Paul Gillies is an extraordinary individual. He has walked up Mount Vesuvius on crutches, jet power boated in New Zealand, bungee jumped 300 feet over the River Thames, and tandem freefall parachuted from 10,000 feet. These physical feats would have taxed the average person, but Paul did them while experiencing progressive Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a degenerative disease that has robbed him of his sight in one eye, and will eventually claim his life.

Paul began to play blues harmonica as a teenager, and continued until his MS progressed to the point that playing became exhausting. No ...

INTERVIEWS

John Lee Hooker Jr.: All Odds Against Me

Read "John Lee Hooker Jr.: All Odds Against Me" reviewed by

For many, growing up in someone else's shadow is daunting, particularly when that someone is a looming, legendary figure known worldwide. Eclipsed by that someone, a musician may constantly hear comparisons drawn as they try to establish themselves and their career.

This is not the case for John Lee Hooker Jr. Born the son of blues great John Lee Hooker, he acknowledges the significant contribution his father made to music, and knows he was never overshadowed by his father. Rather, he was born to and carries on a legacy that's both broad and wide.

Born in the Motor City, John ...

INTERVIEWS

Greg Nagy: Our Time Has Come

Root Doctor had its humble beginnings in Lansing, Michigan's fertile open mic scene. Freddie Cunningham (lead vocals) and James Williams (bass, vocals) first played together as a pick-up band, but both instantly recognized their chemistry and Root Doctor was soon born.Root Doctor continues to amaze audiences and wow critics. Playing a diverse mix of classic soul and R&B, alongside traditional blues and inspired original material. Root Doctor's Been A Long Time Coming (Big O, 2005), catapulted the band into the Top 25 on the Living Blues charts for three months and received critical acclaim from the blues press. ...

INTERVIEWS

Rusty Wright Blues Band: I Ain't From Mississippi

Read "Rusty Wright Blues Band: I Ain't From Mississippi" reviewed by

Throughout the history of showbiz, there have been married couples who have shared the stage together. Add to that list the names of Laurie and Rusty Wright, of the Rusty Wright Blues Band (RWB) from Flint, Michigan.

Coming from a hard rock background, Rusty had always told his band mates that regardless of what may happen, when he turned forty he would go home and play the blues. So when he turned forty years of age, he did just that. However, he didn't start to play the blues in resignation, but as a goal, the culmination ...

INTERVIEWS

James Harman: Those Dangerous Gentlemens

James Harman is a senior member of the first wave of white American musicians who entered the blues during the 1960s, starting when he was only sixteen. With a pasted-on mustache, he was slipped into black night clubs in Panama City, Florida, promoted as “That boy who sings like a man. Within a year, he started his own band. In the years to follow, he restarted several times by moving to Chicago, New York, Miami, New Orleans and, finally, California. He ran an ongoing business, recording and touring all the way through 2000, at which time he gave up carrying ...

INTERVIEWS

Nicole Hart: A Marvelous Instrument

Read "Nicole Hart: A Marvelous Instrument"

The human voice is a marvelous instrument. It is sound made by the vocal folds in combination with the lips, the tongue, the lower jaw, and breath support. The physiology of this instrument is something a singer should be as keenly aware of as a guitarist is aware of the parts of a guitar. It is used for talking, crying, screaming, laughing and singing. If properly trained, it limitless in its range of expression. In singing, it can be used to attain the high “Cs" in an Italian aria such as Luciana Pavarotti was noted for, or duplicate a wide ...

INTERVIEWS

William Clarke: Now That You Are Gone

There seem to be those who will reluctantly call William Clarke a legend. They argue that only time will give him that designation and the time since his earthly departure has been all too brief. But there is no arguing that, in his all-too-brief musical career, he made an indelible mark on the blues, and established a high watermark by which other blues harpists will be measured for years to come. A technical virtuoso on both diatonic and chromatic harmonicas, he was not content to cop licks from other artists. He borrowed from jazz influences that gave his music an ...

INTERVIEWS

Jason Ricci: A Different Shade of Blue

Jason Ricci is pushing the boundaries of the blues harp. Rather than depending on the time-worn riffs of another artist, he explores the outer limits of his instrument by borrowing from influences not often associated with the blues. This may not sit well with some of the purists, but it has been forty years since Walter Marion Jacob's passing, so there's no telling where he may have taken the blues had he lived.

Says Ricci, “I listen to all kinds of music, so I draw inspiration from all kinds of music and instruments, but more because ...



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