I was more than ready to kiss 2018 goodbye for so many reasons. Looking at all the shows we photographed (there were close to 70!) in 2018, I realized that the blues helped me ignore some pretty awful stuff. We loved them all, but here are our faves.
We went to five festivals in 2018–and they were all too much fun. You can guess that Chicago Blues Fest will always be hands down our favorite weekend of the year, but we were equally happy at the other three fests. The North Atlantic Festival is in a stunning location on the coast of Maine and Paul Benjamin does an incredible job booking top notch acts. Ann Arbor Blues Fest was revived a few years ago in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of one of the greatest blues fests ever held and the Windy City Blues Society, which lost its stage this year at the Chicago Blues Festival, held its own two-day Windy City Blues Fest in Lyons in September that featured a solid lineup of bands over the two days.
Chicago Blues Festival | Millennium Park STANDOUT PERFORMANCES:Lurrie Bell & Eddie Taylor Jr. with the Bell Dynasty; Tribute to Delmark and Bob Koester & Those Who Came Before 6.8 | 6.9 | 6.10
Ann Arbor Blues Festival | Ann Arbor STANDOUT PERFORMANCES:John Sinclair and the Blues Scholars with special guest Don Was; Benny Turner 8.17–8.18
North Atlantic Blues Festival | Rockland, Maine STANDOUT PERFORMANCES: Kat Riggins; Welch Ledbetter Connection 7.14–7.15
Windy City Blues Festival | Lyons, IL STANDOUT PERFORMANCE:Deak Harp and Quicksand 9.22–23
Logan Center Blues Festival | University of Chicago STANDOUT PERFORMANCE: Leann Faine 10.19–10.21
Thanks for the memories
We said goodbye to more than 50 members of the blues community this past year, including three "Eddies" in Chicago–Eddy Clearwater, Eddie Shaw and Eddie C. Campbell–and one of the the giants of the Chicago blues sound, Otis Rush. Our 2018 In Memoriam page
THINKING OUT LOUD
ANOTHER JAM IN THE BURBS. There's a new (or just new to me) blues jam on Friday nights at J. Martin's Tap in Steger, which for me sounds like it borders the edge of the earth. For those who live in Chicago's southern suburbs, it appears to be located between Chicago Heights and Crete (aka the edge of the earth). The jam is hosted by Bob E. Lee and runs 8pm–midnight. Get out there and jam–or listen to those that do.
LONG LIVE THE KING. Great news for John Mayall fans. The 85-year-old godfather of the British Blues has apparently recovered from a serious illness and has scheduled a full European tour (40+ dates) beginning in February. He also has a new studio album, Nobody Told Me, coming out Feb. 22 that features a long list of famous guests: Todd Rundgren, Little Steven Van Zandt (E Street Band), Alex Lifeson (Rush), Joe Bonamassa, Larry McCray and Carolyn Wonderland. Wonderland will be joining the band on tour and is the first female guitarist in Mayall's band!
BRAIN TEASER Who is that handsome young man in the photo at right with legendary singer Nancy Wilson, who died in December at the age of 81?
The photo was taken years ago when Nancy Wilson came to Marshall Field's on State St. to shop and this young security guard was assigned to guard her while she was in the store. He didn't realize until he was much older why it was such a BIG deal that Ms. Wilson was in the store.
Now the former security guard is one of the hardest working bluesmen in Chicago, who still holds a second job with the CTA.
Yes, you know who I'm talkin' about!
Remembering Eddy Clearwater
The Chief would have turned 84 years young on JAN 10th of this year. To honor his memory, an all-star cast of Chicago blues players will gather at SPACE in Evanston on SAT, JAN 12 @ 8pm, because that's what Eddy did for the last 10 years to celebrate his day.
Special guests will include Billy Branch and Georgia bluesman Sammy Blue performing 16 of Eddy's original songs and favorites from B.B. King, Otis Rush, Muddy Waters, and more. HERE'S OUR FAVORITE EDDY CLEARWATER PHOTOS
OUT AND ABOUT We were out and about a lot in December, at least in the last weeks of the year. But, seriously. Who needs to shop when there is blues to be heard? Certainly not me.
DEC 13 @ B.L.U.E.S Lurrie Bell's Birthday Bash Smilin' Bobby brought his son and grandson with him to celebrate with Lurrie, who turned 60 this year.
DEC 22 @ Harlem Ave. Lounge, Berwyn Studebaker John and the Hawks
It was supposed to be the Maxwell St. Kings, but it was fine seeing the Hawks. How can you go wrong with John plus Kenny Pickens on bass and Earl Howell on drums? (You can't)
DEC 31 @ Motor Row Brewing Tracee Adams and the Sons of Chicago
Going out on New Year's Eve is not something I normally do, but this was one party I couldn't resist. And the fact it was minutes from home was a huge plus that got me off the couch and up past midnight. GALLERY COMING NEXT WEEK
WIN TWO TICKETS!
Thanks to the generous folks at Legends, once again we've got free tickets to four of the January 2019 Buddy in Residence shows: JAN 17, JAN 20, JAN 24 and JAN 27. Don't forget to read the rules below before you enter so your entry does not get thrown out.
You MUST be a Chicago Blues Newssubscriber to enter
You can enter for each show ONCE A DAY until the deadline.
THE EMAIL SUBJECT LINE
In the ENTER NOW links below, the subject line is already filled in. DO NOT CHANGE IT. The format is simple. But if, for some reason, you must type it in yourself, follow this style: EXAMPLE:JAN 17 | Buddy Guy and Erin Coburn
BODY OF EMAIL
YOU MUST INCLUDE your name, phone number and email address (and nothing else)
Going to one of Buddy's January shows is an experience everyone should have–but it is not for those without patience. Guaranteeing that you will get a seat means arriving LONG BEFORE Buddy ever hits the stage so bring a book or something to entertain yourself.
MORE RULES FROM THE LEGENDS WEBSITE
You must be over 21
Opening bands are subject to change. For security reasons, Legends does not permit anyone with suitcases, large bags or backpacks in the club. People with luggage may be denied entry without a refund.
Table seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. After tables are full, it is STANDING ROOM ONLY. Tables can fill up as early as 2-4PM for Thurs/Fri Buddy shows. Tables fill up within the first 15-20 mins of doors opening for Sat/Sun Buddy shows. Please be aware of this before purchase and plan accordingly.
If these rules are too difficult for you to follow, don't enter.
WHICH SHOW IS FOR YOU?
THE CLOCK IS TICKING
ON THIS SHOW!
THURS, JAN 17
Buddy Guy w/Erin Coburn
DEADLINE TO ENTER: FRI, JAN 4 @ midnight ENTER NOW
TICKING JUST A LITTLE SLOWER ON THIS ONE, TOO!
SUN, JAN 20
Buddy Guy w/Brother John Kattke
DEADLINE TO ENTER: SUN, JAN 6 @ midnight ENTER NOW
THURS, JAN 24
Buddy Guy w/Corey Dennison
DEADLINE TO ENTER: SAT, JAN 12 @ midnight ENTER NOW
SUN, JAN 27
Buddy Guy w/Haven Star
DEADLINE TO ENTER: MON, JAN 14 @ midnight ENTER NOW
FRI, JAN 4 BUDDY GUY IN RESIDENCE
+ John Primer
Elmore James Jr.
and the Broomdusters
The Water Hole
SAT, JAN 5
BUDDY GUY IN RESIDENCE
+ Carlos Johnson
Dave Weld and the Imperial Flames
Spectrum Bar & Grill
Wayne Baker Brooks,
Lil' Red and the Rooster
SUN, JAN 6 BUDDY GUY IN RESIDENCE
+ Billy Branch & the Sons of Blues
Nellie "Tiger" Travis
MON, JAN 7
Nigel Mack, Breezy Rodio
House of Blues
TUES, JAN 8 BLUESDAY TUESDAY
with Tom Marker plus
The Kinsey Report
Cash Box Kings
Tail Dragger & The All-Stars
The Water Hole
WED, JAN 9
Devil in a Woodpile
Lagunitas Tap Room (530pm)
Corey Dennison, Giles Corey
THURS, JAN 10 BUDDY GUY IN RESIDENCE
+ Mike Wheeler Band
hosted by Lil' Ed Williams
MON, JAN 14 SECOND MONDAY BLUES with Mary Lane and Billy Branch
The Logan Center Cafe
University of Chicago
FRI, FEB 8
FRI, FEB 15 LOVIN' THE BLUES
Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials plus
Dave Weld & the Imperial Flames
Joliet Area Historical Museum
Birthdays will run THURSDAY – WEDNESDAY, even though the newsletter DATE is FRI – THURS (somehow this makes sense)
JAN 3 Harlan Terson
JAN 4 Harmonica Hinds
JAN 6 Derek Trucks
Franck Goldwasser (Sometimes known as Paris Slim, current member of the Mannish Boys)
JAN 8 Tampa Red (Uncertain, but this is the date on his death certificate) Elvis Presley
JAN 9 Katie Webster
BELATED WISHES Wow...I missed a few birthdays in my haste to do nothing at the end of the year. I am sure you all celebrated despite my ignorance. There are a few more, I think, but could not verify so I won't include them. If I missed you, please let me know.
DEC 15 Nick Moss
DEC 16 Sugar Blue
Robben Ford Aaron Moreland
DEC 17 Paul Rodgers
(BLUES-ISH: Free, Bad Company)
DEC 22 Indiara (Sfair) Horst
DEC 23 Jorma Kaukonen (Hot Tuna)
DEC 24 Doyle Bramhall II
DEC 25 Dustin Arbuckle Barry Goldberg
DEC 27 Bob Stroger
DEC 28 Frank Raven (Lucky 3 Blues Band)
JAN 1 Kerry Clark (Bass, Larry McCray) Melvin Smith (Chicago bass player)