LEND A HAND. West Side blues singer Mzz Reese has been diagnosed with lung cancer and needs a little help from her friends while she goes through treatment and tries to get back on her feet. Although she does have medical insurance, it never seems to cover all the expenses that pile up. TWO WAYS TO HELP
Attend the Benefit Show at The Water Hole on Saturday, Dec. 21 (8pm–1am). There will be a $10 donation and music by Reese's Pieces and guests. The Water Hole has free parking, the kitchen will be open and there will be a 50/50 raffle.
JOIN THE PARTY. Remember that the benefit for Carl Weathersby is this Sunday at Rosa's Lounge. No tickets left, but for just $10 you can "virtually" be there. Tune in Sunday, Nov 24 @ 7-10pm CST. All proceeds go to Carl. REGISTER RIGHT HERE: iframe.dacast.com/b/141744/c/512200
CLOSING TIME. The Exhibition Closing and Award Ceremony for the Chicago Jazz & Blues: A Photographer's View 2019 exhibition will be held Friday, Dec. 6 (6–8pm). The public is invited to attend. LEARN MORE/RSVP HERE
BONNIE'S BACK. Austin City Limits (ACL), in partnership with the Americana Music Assn., is broadcasting performance highlights from the 18th Annual Americana Honors on Saturday, Nov. 23 at 8pm CT/9m ET on PBS (check local listings for times). Or, you can stream the show beginning Sunday, November 24 @ 9am CT / 10am ET on PBS: Austin City Limits. Here's the ones I am most interested in:
Bonnie Raitt & John Prine | Angel From Montgomery Mavis Staples | Change Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi | Wayfaring Stranger
REST IN PEACE
Wee Willie Walker 12.23.41–11.19.19
Wee Willie Walker died in his sleep at his St. Paul, MN, apartment on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019, of undisclosed causes. Walker was a much beloved singer among those who knew him, but has been described as one of the most underrated soul blues singers of our time. He was 77. READ THE STARTRIBUNE ARTICLE
AWARDS TIME NOT THE GRAMMYS–AGAIN Since I have probably whined enough about the Grammys for two lifetimes, I almost have no more to whine about this year. You know the problems.
So...putting my Pollyanna hat on, let me just say that the 62nd GRAMMY Awards will air Sunday, Jan. 26 on CBS. There are 84 categories and I have five blues-ish awards to monitor and two actual blues categories. You know the rest of what I am thinking...or you should if you read this newsletter regularly.
THE REAL DEAL
Here are the two (count 'em) categories for blues:
Best Traditional Blues Album
KINGFISH | Christone "Kingfish" Ingram
TALL, DARK & HANDSOME | Delbert McClinton & Self-Made Men
SITTING ON TOP OF THE BLUES | Bobby Rush
BABY, PLEASE COME HOME | Jimmie Vaughan
SPECTACULAR CLASS | Jontavious Willis
Kingfish Ingram photo @ Chicago Blues News/Karen Murphy
CANADA CALLING THE MAPLE BLUES AWARDS Harpdog Brown, who just did two shows in the Chicago area recently, is up for three awards in the Canadian version of the Blues Music Awards: Male Vocalist of the Year, Recording/Producer of the Year for Love & Money, and Harmonica Player (which he has already won three times). I would vote for him if I could. The awards will be held Feb. 3, 2020, at Koerner Hall in Toronto. LEARN MORE
CRABBY SIDE NOTE: In what universe does it make sense for Larkin Poe to be up against Buddy Guy and Mavis Staples for the B.B. King International Artist of the Year? If only someone would put the talented Poe(s) in a category that makes sense then I could put my Pollyanna hat back on.
Watch for the next chicagoBLUESnews:
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WIN TWO TICKETS TO SEE BUDDY
Yes, it's true! We have two tickets to giveaway for each of the THURSDAY Buddy in Residence shows! Talk about starting out 2020 right! NOTE: You can only win tickets to ONE of the FOUR shows.
THURS, JAN 2 | Bobby Rush DEADLINE TO ENTER Friday, Dec. 13 @ midnight ENTER NOW
THURS, JAN 9 | Jamiah Rogers DEADLINE TO ENTER Friday, Dec. 20 @ midnight ENTER NOW
THURS, JAN 16 | Larry McCray DEADLINE TO ENTER Friday, Dec. 27 @ midnight ENTER NOW
THURS, JAN 23 | Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials DEADLINE TO ENTER Friday, Jan. 3 @ midnight ENTER NOW
WIN TWO TICKETS! DEADLINE TO ENTER FRI, DEC 6 @ midnight
12.27.19 @ City Winery SHEMEKIA COPELAND OPENING ACT: Kevin Burt
Shemekia is back at City Winery for what has become a yearly holiday season appearance. This time, she is joined by the wonderful Kevin Burt. It is certain to be a great show. Baby, don't you wanna go? LEARN MORE
SUBJECT LINE (DO NOT CHANGE or your entry will be voided): I WANT TO CELEBRATE WITH SHEMEKIA
First, we've got a very random, very small holiday gift guide in case you are short on imagination when you go gift shopping. Then, as you can see below, we've got a few great recordings to set the mood. ENJOY!
Putamayo Presents | Blues Christmas RELEASE DATE: 11.29.19 (Putamayo)
10 classics from stars such as Kenny Neal, Anson Funderburgh, Paul Oscher and more
Mindi Abair & The Boneshakers | All I Got For Christmas Is The Blues RELEASE DATE: 10.26.18 (Pretty Good for a Girl)
Four originals and five Christmas classics
Joel Paterson | Hi-Fi Christmas Guitar RELEASE DATE: 10.26.18 ( Bloodshot Records)
14 tracks from one of Chicago's best
JD McPherson | Socks RELEASE DATE: 11.2.18 (New West Records)
11 originals from the blues-ish McPherson and friends
Various Artists | Christmas Blues RELEASE DATE: 12.28.1999 (Stony Plain Music)
14 songs from a variety of artists, including Duke Robillard, Maria Muldaur and Billy Boy Arnold
Various Artists | Dig That Crazy Santa Claus – Classic Christmas Cuts, 1953-56 RELEASE DATE: 10.20.17 (Contrast Records)
26 tracks from mid-century blues and rhythm&blues performers
Various Artists | Blues Christmas RELEASE DATE: 10.20.17 (Cleopatra)
18 songs from everyone from Leslie West, Steve Cropper and Foghat to Popa Chubby, Joe Louis Walker and Larry McCray
Alligator Records also has released two Christmas CDs: Genuine Houserockin' Christmas (16 tracks released in 2000) and The Alligator Records Christmas Collection (14 tracks released in 1992).
You can find all of these CDs (and a lot more) on Amazon or probably wherever you like to buy your music.
GET OUT Here's a few ideas to go hear live music. If you think these are your only options to hear live blues in Chicago, you need to get out more often.
Know about a show I don't?Tell Me About It...please. ONE MORE THING:Always call before you go if you have your heart set on a particular show...things can change.
FRI, NOV 22 BIRTHDAY WEEKEND
BLUES (also on Saturday)
SAT, NOV 23 Nora Jean Bruso,
Shawn Holt & The Teardrops
SUN, NOV 24 Dave Weld and
the Imperial Flames
MON, NOV 25 BLUE MONDAY SERIES
Smiley Tillmon Band
with Kate Moss
TUES, NOV 26 Pete Galanis and Friends
WED, NOV 27 Tom Holland
Smoke Daddy Wrigleyville
THURS, NOV 28 BE THANKFUL
FRI, NOV 29 Samantha Fish, Nicholas David
SAT, NOV 30 Cash Box Kings
SUN, DEC 1 Jimmy Johnson
Lagunitas Tap Room (420pm)
MON, DEC 2 BLUE MONDAYS SERIES
TUES, DEC 3 BLUESDAY TUESDAY with
Tom Marker and Altered Five Blues Band
WED, DEC 4 The Jimmys
THURS, DEC 5 Gerry Hundt's One Man Band
Taylor St. Tap
FRI, DEC 6 Elmore James Jr. and the Broomdusters
The Water Hole
SAT, DEC 7 Ivy Ford Band
Potato Creek Johnny's
SUN, DEC 8 James Blood Ulmer
MON, DEC 9 The Diamond Jim Greene Trio
Ward 8, Evanston
TUES, DEC 10 Nicky T and the Snake Charmers
WED, DEC 11 JW Williams Blues Band
with Laretha Weathersby
THURS, DEC 12 Matt Hendricks
FRI, DEC 13 Paul Kaye and the Blues Cartel
The Water Hole
SAT, DEC 14 Billy Branch and
the Sons of Blues,
SUN, DEC 15 BLUES-ISH: Marcus King Band
MON, DEC 16 THE MONDAY BLUES
John Primer & The Real Deal Blues Band
TUES, DEC 17 Blue Coast Band
WED, DEC 18 BLUES JAM
Low-reen and the Maxwell St.
The Water Hole
THURS, DEC 19 Chicago Blues Supersession
Holiday Show (730pm)
Hey Nonny, Arlington Heights
OUT AND ABOUT
NOV 7 @ Legends Whitey Johnson I will admit to a huge hole in my musical knowledge: Before going to this show, I did not know who Whitey Johnson (aka Gary Nicholson) was. Now I do–and I would never miss another show he does anywhere I might be. He is a wonderfully entertaining and immensely talented performer who also happens to have written or co-written many of the songs I (and probably you) love. I learned from his website that "his name appears on 600-some recorded songs spanning multiple genres." Wow. By the way, for this show, he was joined by three of Chicago's finest: John Kattke (keys), Marty Binder (drums) and Nick Fane (bass). TAKE A LOOK TO BE AMAZED
NOV 9 @ Untitled The Jimmys I love The Jimmys and was thrilled to see that they had booked two upcoming dates in Chicago so I didn't have to venture to New Glarus to see them...not that it is a problem to go to the home of Spotted Cow. But, Untitled is a lot closer to home...it just also is a lot different from the clubs I am used to. Burlesque dancers between sets don't usually appear during breaks at Legends or The Water Hole. And I don't think that bottle service is available at those clubs, either, but maybe I just never got the right menu. In any case, if you have seen The Jimmys, you know we had a great time. SIDE NOTE: I cannot be there, but the good news is that The Jimmys will be back in town on DEC 4 at Legends. You should definitely be there.
Going to a jam is always fun, mostly because you just never really know what will happen.... So, the NOV 10 Pro Jam at Reggie's was exactly what I expected, given the pros on the stage–Oscar Wilson was the featured guest, backed by Billy Flynn (guitar), Dave Katzman (guitar), Melvin Smith (bass), Ronnie Hicks (keys) and David Sims (drums). Jammers that walked in also included Gerry Hundt and Rick King. They will do it again on SUN, DEC 8, beginning at 7pm and featuring Jon McDonald.
And weekly The Water Hole jam was also pretty much what I expected: a chaotic, sometimes blues-ish jam in a super-friendly environment. This week, as you can see from the photos, there was even more unexpected merriment in the house. Thankfully, no one tried to play Purple Rain. SIDE NOTE: Since guitarist Tony Brown left Low-reen and the Maxwell St. Market Blues Band to do his own thing, Low-reen has been inviting her many talented friends to be guest guitarists. On NOV 13, it was Charlie Love. So far, the jam is still on for Thanksgiving Eve, but I'm not sure who the guest guitarist will be. Go and find out.
DEC 20 A BLUES CHRISTMAS
with Toronzo Cannon, Lil' Ed
Williams, Lynne Jordan and Matthew Skoller
Navy Pier (7-830pm)
DEC 21 BENEFIT FOR MZZ REESE
The Water Hole (8pm–1am)
JAN 13, 2020 LOGAN CENTER
SECOND MONDAY BLUES
Deitra Farr and Matthew Skoller
with Billy Branch
Logan Center for the Arts
JUNE 5–7 Chicago Blues Festival Millennium Park
NOV 22 Angela Strehli
NOV 23 Jake La Botz
Dr. Dan Ivankovich (Chicago Slim)
NOV 24 Lynn Orman Weiss
NOV 25 Jimmy Johnson
NOV 26 Susan Williams (and the Wright Groove) Tina Turner
NOV 28 Ori Naftaly
NOV 29 John Mayall
DEC 1 Oliver C. Brown
DEC 5 Little Richard
DEC 7 Terrance Chism
DEC 8 Precious J Taylor
DEC 9 Tom Holland
DEC 12 Chris Alexander
DEC 13 Lucky Peterson
Lurrie C. Bell
DEC 14 Rosa Enrico Branch (wife of Billy)
DEC 15 Nick Moss
DEC 16 Aaron Moreland
DEC 17 Paul Rodgers
I like Mojo Buford, but didn't really mean to give him two birthdates in the last issue (although I do agree with multiple-day celebrations, especially for big events). His birthday is NOV 10, 1929 (not also NOV 12). He left us on Oct. 11, 2011, but he would have been 90 this year. Isn't that cause for a toast?
BELATED WISHES If I missed your birthday, more cake for you. Please let me know the date for next year so I can add you to the list.
NOV 7 Whitey Johnson
(aka Gary Nicholson)
NOV 8 Greg Guy
(son of youknowwho)
NOV 21 Dr. John
NOV 22 Alex Moore
NOV 23 Betty Everett
NOV 25 Eddie Boyd
NOV 27 Jimi Hendrix
NOV 30 Robert Nighthawk
DEC 4 Larry Davis
DEC 5 Sonny Boy Williamson II (Alec “Rice” Miller)
DEC 7 Blind John Davis
DEC 8 Jimmy Smith
DEC 9 Junior Wells
DEC 10 Guitar Slim
DEC 11 Big Mama Thorton
DEC 12 Joe Williams
DEC 15 Andrew Odom
DEC 17 James Booker
DEC 18 Pee Wee Crayton
Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson