LET'S DECK THE HALLS AND FA-LA-LA A LITTLE
If it is December in Chicago, then it's time to head to the beautiful AON Ballroom at the end of Navy Pier to get a little holiday cheer, compliments of Alligator Records and Toronzo Cannon, Lil' Ed Williams, Matthew Skoller and Lynne Jordan. Even those who lean more toward a bah-humbug attitude or don't dare say the C-word will have too much fun. FRI, DEC 20 @ 7pm
AON Ballroom, Navy Pier FREE!
CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR'S EVE
There are a LOT of options to choose from when it comes to revelry on New Year's Eve so just check the ONLINE CALENDAR if you must hit the streets to drink in public. As for DEC 24–25, a lot of the clubs are closed so you can bond with your loved ones, but there also is always the option to treat those days as Jon Stewart always suggested: as Jews Go to the Movies Day. Of course, you know how you need to celebrate, so be safe and do it in your own style.
ONE LOW-KEY IDEA
Evanston, that perennially low-key burb, is hosting FirstNight Evanston again this year on New Year's Eve. They describe it as a "family-friendly community celebration of the arts." The event will be held at the First Methodist Church (516 Church St., Evanston) and there are many festive events. The only ones I care about are Corky Siegel (10pm-midnight in the sanctuary) and Gerald McClendon and the Soul Keepers Band (8:30-11:30pm in the gym). FACEBOOK:FirstNightEvanston THE WEB: firstnightevanston.org
If you forgot about the recordings we had in the last newsletter (and our holiday gift guide) ...we kept them in this issue, too (scroll way down).
THINKING OUT LOUD
TAKIN' THE CHILL OFF. The inaugural Hey Nonny Winter Blues Summit will be held JAN 31–FEB 2 featuring a long lineup of Chicago's blues royalty on four stages, all within the same block in downtown Arlington Heights near Hey Nonny.
Here's the lineup so far: Jimmy Johnson/Syl Johnson & the Bigtime Friends, Kinsey Report, Toronzo Cannon, Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials, Big James & the Chicago Playboys, John Primer and the Real Deal Blues Band, Rick King's Royal Hustle, Chicago Wind featuring Deitra Farr, Corey Dennison Band, Marty Sammon, Bob Stroger Band, Mike Wheeler Band, Joanna Connor Band, Smiley Tillmon Band plus Gerry Hundt's One Man Band, Brother John Kattke, Ariyo, Billy Flynn, Erwin Helferand more to be announced. And if that was not enough, there will be a Sidemen Panel discussion with a few of our favorite sidemen–Bob Stroger, Rico McFarland, Donald Kinsey, Marty Sammon and Billy Flynn– followed by a showing of the great documentary, Sidemen: Long Road to Glory. Both three-day and one-day passes are available now and they have a hotel deal if you want to stay nearby. There also will be brunch performances on both Saturday and Sunday. Nice to have a mini-fest to kick off the Year of Chicago Music. DON'T WORRY. The events appear to end early on Sunday, so if you need/want/are forced to watch the Super Bowl, you can be in your favorite bar or easy chair in plenty of time for the first must-see commercial. LEARN MORE/GET TICKETS
THOSE FORWARD-THINKING GRAMMY PEOPLE. Now that Sister Rosetta Tharpe has been in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for almost two years (inducted in 2018), The Recording Academy® is finally ready to give her a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2020. Kinda entertaining that they also will finally acknowledge Iggy Pop. Other lifetime achievement awards will be given to Chicago, Roberta Flack, Isaac Hayes, John Prine and Public Enemy. A special award presentation ceremony and concert will be held April 18, 2020, at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.
LEND A HAND.Ian Walsh is a Chicago street musician and music instructor who entertains locals and tourists with his busking band, Chicago Traffic Jam. Apparently his equipment was stolen recently and there is a GoFundMe page that is almost to its goal (they need less than $400) that was set up to help him replace what was lost. Help if you can. LEARN MORE
SUPPORT MZZ REESE...The Benefit for West Side blues singer Mzz Reese is this Saturday (DEC 21) at 8pm at The Water Hole (1400 S. Western). There is a long list of musicians scheduled to play with Mzz Reese's Pieces and the MC is the Legendary Godfather. Cover charge is $10.
READ SOMETHING FUN.How Music Works by David Byrne has been called “endlessly fascinating, insightful, and intelligent.” The book, a look at the art of music and its importance to the human experience, was called “brilliantly original” in the New York Times Book Review.
THE DEVIL'S MUSIC. Adam Gussow (one half of the Mississippi-based band,The Blues Doctors, and a professor at the University of Mississippi) will be signing his latest book, Beyond the Crossroads: The Devil and the Blues Tradition, on SAT, MAR 21, at Rosa's Lounge, and also performing that night with his blues partner in crime, Alan Gross, who is also a professor at the University of Mississippi. The book was published in September 2017 by the University of North Carolina Press. Gussow is an impressive harp player who has written two other books about the blues: Mister Satan's Apprentice: A Blues Memoir (1998) and Seems Like Murder Here: Southern Violence and the Blues Tradition (2002).
Watch for the next chicagoBLUESnews:
JAN 3–16, 2020
JUST FOLLOW THE RULES You MUST be a subscriber of Chicago Blues News to enter (enter ONCE A DAY until the deadline).
THE EMAIL SUBJECT LINE
Use the EXACT subject line indicated
BODY OF EMAIL ONLY your name, phone number and email address.
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Please do not enter if you know you cannot attend.
WIN TWO TICKETS 2020 BUDDY IN RESIDENCE 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.
The giveaway for the Bobby Rush show is over, but it's not too late to enter to win tickets for one of these three shows.
THE CLOCK IS TICKING... 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
Chicago Blues News is not the only one who has freebies for you. Guitarist Samantha Fish has a sweepstakes going on right now where the prizes are: * an autographed cigar box guitar (one winner) * an autographed vinyl recording (nine winners)
The sweepstakes began in late November and ends at 9am CST on Jan. 24, 2020. FIND OUT MORE
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.
OUT AND ABOUT
FRI, NOV 22 @ B.L.U.E.S DAY 1: Jimmy Johnson's Birthday Bash
Jimmy Johnson kicked off his birthday weekend with a great performance, plenty of guests that included Luke Pytel and Nate Manos, and a beautiful cake. From browsing the internet, I learned that a couple young guns stopped by on Saturday to help Jimmy celebrate. I know you know these guys: Jamiah Rogers and Kingfish.
Another fun Sunday night at Reggie's with Jon McDonald backed by an all-star cast: Tom Holland (guitar), Bob Stroger (bass), Kenny Smith (drums), Dave Katzman (guitar) and Ronnie Hicks (keys). Many other musicians stopped by to play–and Tom Holland was celebrating his birthday, so much merriment (and other things) were in the air. Even though the cake had nine candles, I am pretty sure Holland is a little older than that...or maybe not.