KING OF THE BURBS. Ron Onesti, who already operates entertainment venues in both St. Charles and Evanston–and is going to operate the Des Plaines Theatre–is also taking over 210 Live in Highwood. As long as he keeps booking blues acts, he can own the entire suburban Chicago metro area as far as I am concerned, which I think may be in his long-term plans.
WHO'S YOUR HERO? Photojournalist Marc PoKempner, who has a 2000 book called Down at Theresa's...Chicago Blues (now out of print), currently has a photo exhibit at Wishbone North (3300 N. Lincoln) that features selected work covering Chicago's political and social landscape called Heroes & Heroines of Marc PoKempner (think Pete Seeger, Barack Obama when he was a local hero, Jimmy Carter, a young Jan Schakowsky). The show will be at the restaurant through September.
EXPANSION PLANS. Robby Glick, who owns South Loop rock club Reggie's Music Joint, plans to open a new club at the historic 63rd Street Beach House as soon as he gets his liquor license for the location. The club, which will serve food and drinks, will occupy the “northeast quadrant” of the building. There also will be a large outdoor deck by the beach with a second bar. The new location will not have the amount of live music Reggie's currently has, but there will be an occasional show. We certainly can hope blues will be on the bill now and then–and I know a nice blues jam that used to be outside in the summer on Sundays and would be perfect for that location. The historic beach house opened in 1919.
ON THE STREET. The 18th annual Glenwood Ave. Arts and Music Festival is this weekend (Glenwood and Morse in Rogers Park) and while the fest last three days (AUG 16–18), you will want to go on Friday night (AUG 16) because that is when they are having what they are calling the Cobblestone Jam (not sure why). But what I do know is this:
WHEN: FRI, AUG 16 @ 6-10pm
WEST STAGE: Mary Lane and the No Static Blues Bland (6pm) with guest Win Noll (at 7pm) and Lynne Jordan (at 8pm)
EAST STAGE: NuBlu Band featuring Carlise Guy doing three sets
You might also want to catch Tommy McCracken on Sunday, Aug. 18 (6-10pm) at Le Piano (6970 N Glenwood) at the end of the fest. MORE INFO
SOUTHBOUND. The Old Town School of Folk Music is taking over the business operations of the Sherwood Community Music School (1312 S. Michigan) on Sept. 1. The school has been owned by Columbia College since 2007. A series of public open house events is tentatively planned to begin Tuesday, Sept. 10, to meet the neighbors. LEARN MORE
NOT DEAD YET. Unlike Woodstock 50, the Windy City Blues Fest has not died a painful death...it has only rescheduled, relocated and slimmed down. Now the plans are to hold the fest on Saturday, Oct. 5 (Noon–1030pm) at Seat Geek Stadium in Bridgeview. Here's the current lineup:
1–140pm | Ax and the Hatchetmen
150–235pm | Kevin Purcell & The Nightburners
255–415pm | Bob Corritore's Chicago Blues Reunion
featuring Bob Stroger, Billy Flynn,
Kenny Smith, Tail Dragger, Willie Buck
and Oscar Wilson
430–530pm | Robert Kimbrough Sr. Blues Connection
w/ Jessie Cotton Stone
550–705pm | Tennessee Redemption
(aka Brandon Santini & Jeff Jensen)
725–840 | Annika Chambers
910–1040 | Robert Randolph & The Family Band
The Chicago Blues Challenge will also be held the same day, with bands and duets playing on a second stage, vying for the chance to go to Memphis in January 2020 to compete in the International Blues Challenge.
THE THRILL IS GONE. The estate of B.B. King will auction off some of the great bluesman's property next month, including one of the last "Lucilles" in his life: the black Gibson ES-345 he got from Gibson for his 80th birthday. The auction is set for Saturday, Sept. 21, in Beverly Hills, CA, and online. This particular Lucille is estimated to be worth between $80,000 and $100,000. B.B. died in 2015 at the age of 89. SEE WHAT'S FOR SALE ROLLING STONE ARTICLE
WHO KNEW? Did anyone know that the Avondale Music Hall (3336 N. Milwaukee) has been operating under the radar for some time now? They don't seem to be booking blues right now, but we can alway dream a little that some blues might creep in. They also apparently have a cafe.
NO EXCUSES.I didn't mean to do it, but in the last issue, I misspelled Maurice Vaughn's name as Vaughan, which is how you spell Stevie Ray's and Jimmie's last name. OOPs and #$%#@!
Get in your car and pick a direction. No matter where you wander, there's a festival waiting for you and your dancin' shoes.
GO EAST AUG 16–18 Ann Arbor Blues Fest
Ann Arbor, MI Woodstock may be dead, but who cares? Ann Arbor will still be rocking this week, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Ann Arbor Blues Festival that set the gold standard. Bernard Allison, Mindi Abair and the Boneshakers, Benny Turner, John Primer, Vanessa Collier, Danielle Nicole and much, much more AN INTERESTING ARTICLE ON THE FEST
GO WEST (and veer north) AUG 16–18 Blues, Brews & BBQ
Petersen Park, McHenry
Corey Dennison, Jimmy Nick, Ivy Ford, Demetria Taylor, Dave Specter with Jimmy Johnson and more
GO SOUTH AUG 17 Blues & Brews on 66FREE!
Joliet Anthony Gomes, Harper & The Midwest Kind, Funky MojoDaddy, The HepKats
GO NORTH AUG 16–17 Big Bull Falls Blues Fest
Fern Island, Wausau, WI Albert Castiglia, Lindsay Beaver, Sugaray Rayford, Nikki Hill, Kevin Burt and more
AUG 16–17 Little Bear Ribfest
1001 Lakeview Parkway, Vernon Hills Kenny Neal, Donna Herula, Kevin Purcell & the Nightburners and more
STAY HOME (meaning Chicago, of course)
Boy, do you have options. See the Get Out section below...or if you still need more ideas, go online.
DEADLINE TO ENTER Friday, August 30 @ midnight
9.12.19 @ City Winery Laith Al-Saadi
Ann Arbor residents and fans of The Voice know who he is, but you may still need an introduction. How about this: Guitar World Magazine has called Laith Al-Saadi a cross between "Danny Gatton and Buddy Guy at their best.” What more could you possibly want? SUBJECT LINE (DO NOT CHANGE or your entry will be voided): Al-Saadi's Got The Voice
Another amazing week in Chicago, where every night there is a not-to-be-missed show...and sometimes, two.
FRI, AUG 16
MIndi Abair & The Boneshakers
Nick's Beer Garden
Sugaray Rayford, Robert Fetzer
SAT, AUG 17 Jason Ricci and JJ Appleton
Studebaker John and the Hawks
Harlem Ave. Lounge, Berwyn
BLUES-ISH: Ben Harper &
The Innocent Criminals,
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Ave.
Huntington Bank Pavilion, Northerly Island
SUN, AUG 18
Beer Geeks, Highland, IN
Sheryl Youngblood Blues Band
Jose Ramirez Band, Mississippi Gabe Carter
House of Blues
MON, AUG 19
Michael Damani Trio
Quarry Events Center
TUES, AUG 20 CD RELEASE PARTY
Harlem Ave. Lounge, Berwyn
Omar Coleman, Giles Corey
WED, AUG 21
Big Al and the Heavyweights
Luca Chiellini, Tom Holland
House of Blues
Susan Williams and the Wright Groove
THURS, AUG 22 AFTERWORK BLUES (530pm) Dave Herrero and Anne Harris
Nick Moss Duo
RECORD ROW CONCERT SERIES
Blues Heaven Foundation Garden (6-730pm)
EAR CANDY FOR YOU
There are a LOT of new recordings out and coming soon so I will try to do a few more in the next issue...but here are nine random options to add to your collection.
Zac Harmon | Mississippi BBQ RELEASE DATE: 6.21.19 (Catfood Records)
This is Harmon's debut on Catfood Records and is produced by Jim Gaines, who won one of his Grammys for his work with Stevie Ray Vaughan. The CD mixes soul and funk with blues-driven electric guitar.
Nick Moss Band featuring Dennis Gruenling | Lucky Guy RELEASE DATE: 8.9.19 (Alligator Records)
Chicago blues fans all know and love Nick Moss so we will love this release, too. The recording features 13 originals (of 14) from this lucky guy who finally this year got his well-deserved Blues Music Award. NOTE:The band is having a CD Release Party on Friday, Aug. 30 at FitzGerald's in Berwyn.
Coco Montoya | Coming in Hot RELEASE DATE: 8.23.19 (Alligator Records)
His career began in the 1970s with Albert Collins and he also spent 10 years with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. The latest release is his 11th under his own name and includes 11 soulful tracks. The recording was produced by Tony Braunagel (who also played drums) and Montoya is joined by Johnny Lee Schell (rhythm guitar) and Mike Finnigan (piano, Hammond organ, Wurlitzer) plus guests Shaun Murphy and Jon Cleary.
Various Artists | Battle of the Blues: Chicago Vs Oakland RELEASE DATE: 8.2.19 (Delta Roots)
Drummer Twist Turner began recording the Oakland artists featured on this offering five years ago to give these talented musicians the recognition they deserve. I will admit to only knowing two of the names on the recording before I listened to the CD, which leans heavily toward the soul side of the blues. Artists featured include Freddie Roulette, Mz. SuMac, Aldwin London, Country Pete McGill (R.I.P.), Emery Williams Jr., former Magic Sam bass player James Newman, Nate Bolden, Del Brown and local Chicago fave Gerald McClendon.
Davina and the Vagabonds | Sugar Drops RELEASE DATE: 8.2.19 (Red House Records)
The Minneapolis-based artist headed to Nashville's Compass Sound Studio with her husband, Zack Lozier, to record this 15-track release with a group of powerhouse players. Davina says the offering "represents about 100 years of Americana; I did exactly what I wanted to do."
Samantha Fish | Kill or Be Kind RELEASE DATE: 9.20.19 (Rounder)
This latest release from the impressive singer/songwriter/guitarist has been described as an "edgy roots music album" that features 11 original songs that establish Fish as one of the major forces in today's roots music scene.
Mindi Abair & The Boneshakers | No Good Deed RELEASE DATE: 6.28.19 (Pretty Good For Girl)
This is the 2019 followup to Abair's, The EastWest Sessions, which won eight Independent Blues Awards. After seeing her and the Boneshakers in action, I can only assume this album will knock your socks off with its powerhouse blues rock. NOTE: You can see the band in action Friday night at the City Winery in Chicago and Saturday at the Ann Arbor Blues Festival.
Rick Estrin & The Nightcats | Contemporary RELEASE DATE: 9.20.19 (Alligator)
It is hard for me to believe that anyone who has ever seen Rick Estrin does not become a fan of his brand of blues, which is always delivered with a comedic touch. This is modern blues at its most raucous and fun.
AND ONE MORE
Ann Arbor Blues Festival 1969 RELEASE DATE: 8.2.19 | Third Man Records
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic 1969 Ann Arbor Blues Festival, Third Man Records has released a collection of recordings from that festival, including songs by Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, BB King, Son House Big Mama Thorton, Luther Allison, Otis Rush, Big Joe Williams and many more.
This is the first-ever release of the music recorded live at the event. The music was recorded on a small Norelco tape recorder and lovingly restored for this release. The packages include rare photos and extensive liner notes.
You can buy the 12-in. vinyl separately (Vols. 1 and 2) or as a bundle.
Or, you can get a two-disc CD for $23. The vinyl records are $30 each. GET MORE INFO
OUT AND ABOUT
In the last couple of weeks, we saw the godfather of British blues, got a little blues history refresher, watched some Summerdancing in the park (and on the street) and went to a FREE pro jam complete with little free nips of Hennessey. And almost everywhere we go, Billy Flynn seems to appear. Life is good.
AUG 1 @ CITY WINERY John Mayall Band I have been going to see John Mayall's bands since the 1970s and have never been disappointed by the musicians he has added. And this show was no different–except that I already knew how fun and wonderful Carolyn Wonderland is. We also got to see Joanna Connor doing a nice acoustic set. CHECK OUT WHAT YOU MISSED
AUG 10 @ The Chicago History Museum AMPLIFIED: Chicago Blues The great exhibit on Chicago blues has closed at the Chicago History Museum after its year-long run and, as far as I know, sadly has nowhere to go. We attended the 1pm tour, led by the dynamic duo of Dizzy Bolinski and Rick Weed, who provided a little live music to liven up the narrative. If only we we had a blues museum in this town.... HERE'S THE PHOTOS
AUG 10 @ The Spirit of Music Garden SUMMERDANCE with the Cash Box Kings Summerdance is a wonderful way to spend a summer evening, even if you have two left feet and only go to watch. And Summerdance hosted by the Cash Box Kings makes for a perfect evening on the lakefront. When the party ended, I started hearing what sounded almost like the North Mississippi Allstars–and discovered that a summerdance "afterparty" of sorts had spontaneously sprouted on the corner of Michigan and Harrison around the band led by Brian Doroba. When Oscar Wilson sauntered over and grabbed the mike for one song, I thought the party might just go on all night long. Just another great Saturday night in the big city. HERE'S THE EVIDENCE
AUG 11 @ Reggie's Music Joint BLUES PRO JAM
featuring Carlos Johnson
Once a month on Sunday, you really should head over to Reggie's Music Joint, where you get to hear a top-notch band of blues pros (Billy Flynn, Bob Stroger, Dave Katzman, David Sims and Roosevelt Purifoy) backing a special headliner. Tonight it was Carlos Johnson and a number of Chicago's finest musicians showed up to lend a hand–and celebrate Billy Flynn's birthday. Add a little free Hennessey shots to the mix and you got a whole lotta fun goin' on to start (or end) your week. I will guess that the next one will be SEPT 8...but stay tuned for actual facts to come. CHECK IT OUT
SAT, AUG 24 Robben Ford
Arcada Theatre, St. Charles
FRI, AUG. 30 CD RELEASE PARTY:
Nick Moss w/Dennis Gruenling
THURS, SEPT 19 Chris Duarte Group
The Venue, Aurora
TUES, OCT 15 @ 7pm Gerry Hundt Trio with
special guest Andrew Duncanson
Beer Geeks, Highland, IN
THURS, OCT 31 Mark Hummel and the Blues
Survivors with Billy Flynn
Hey Nonny, Arlington Heights
FRI, DEC 27 Mud Morganfield
AUG 15 RL Boyce Eric Bibb
AUG 21 Elmore James Jr. Tracee Adams
AUG 22 Debbie Davies
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.
AUG 13 Jimi Bott(The Proven Ones)
AUGUST 15 Buster Brown
Osee Anderson Sr.
AUGUST 16 Eddie Kirkland
Melvin “Lil’ Son” Jackson
AUGUST 17 Luther Allison
AUGUST 18 Curtis Jones
Barkin' Bill Smith
AUGUST 19 Little Johnny Christian
AUGUST 22 Roscoe Shelton
John Lee Hooker
Henry “Son” Sims
Addie "Sweet Pea" Spivey
Ruby Kate McTell