So...I really have no coherent words right now, other than, "Try your best to STAY WELL..."and hope this situation gets resolved before Blues Fest in June.
Unless you have been one of the contestants on that stupid show, Big Brother Germany, or you have been accompanied Jared Leto on his 12-day meditation retreat,you have known for a while now that this is not the best of times. In Illinois (and likely many other places throughout the U.S.), all of the bars and restaurants are closed, which pretty much takes away all venues to hear live music. And gatherings less than 10 (at least right now) are also discouraged in Illinois and everywhere–except where clueless young people feel the need to celebrate spring break at all cost. And what if just one person in your small party of four has the virus?
FIRST, SOME RAYS OF SUNSHINE
PAY THE MUSICIANS. The Chicago Blues Revivalnonprofit, which was created last year to support the Chicago blues community, has set up a one-stop shop where you can watch blues videos and pay the musicians directly. The site currently has 12 musicians who have contributed videos to the site and more will be added regularly.
********* LIVE AT ROSA'S.Rosa's Lounge will be streaming some live shows from its Facebook page, including Pete Galanis' birthday party on Friday and Joanna Connor on Saturday. It's free, but you can send a tip if you want at paypal.me/rosaslounge. www.facebook.com/Rosaslounge/
********* The Blues Foundation has created an Emergency Relief Fund for musicians. DONATE NOW
********* SUPPORT LURRIE BELL. This newsletter is too late to include Lurrie Bell and Melvin Little's live performance yesterday (WED, MAR 18), but they apparently plan to do this weekly and are asking for a $10 donation for the one-hour performances. According to the posts on Facebook, Lurrie is happy to consider all song requests. MORE INFO:www.facebook.com/ChicagoBluesLegend/
********* FITZGERALD'S.The venue has a new owner who is surprisingly upbeat during these trying times. They have a number of initiatives while the venue is closed for live shows:
The online gift card shop. These gift cards never expire and will be good for drinks at the bar, tickets at our onsite box office, and even for private event bookings.
The fitzgeraldsmerchbooth.com, which is selling a T-shirt with attitude:
"I STAYED HOME FROM FITZGERALD'S NIGHTCLUB AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS LOUSY T-SHIRT (c. 2020)." There's also a coffee mug and some other odds and ends and soon they will be uploading the inventory of vintage FitzGeralds festival shirts you can buy online and then come by the club for curbside pickup.
A LIVE STREAMED CONCERT featuring the Shout Section Big Band on Sunday, March 22 from 6-930pm on Facebook Live. You can use the Shout Section paypal link to send donations. RSVP to stay connected
********* Social Distancing Presents is a new Facebook page that promotes artists who live stream shows from their home. According to Mark Guarino, a Chicago journalist who created the page, artists can create event pages for upcoming shows, and can include a PayPal or Venmo account so fans can donate what they can afford to help the musicians.
Bandsintown has launched Bandsintown Live, their official channel on Twitch (which, if I knew what that was, I would be too young to collect social security). I do know that it is another option for bands to live stream their performances. Here's what the email says: MUSICIANS: Are you planning to stream a show live? Bandsintown wants to help you promote it. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here's a link to their artists support blog: artists.bandsintown.com/support/blog/
Little Charlie Baty
Charlie Baty died on March 6, 2020, in Vacaville, CA, following a heart attack. He was 66. Baty was one of the most respected guitarists of his generation and was best know as the leader of the award-winning band, Little Charlie and the Nightcats (now Rick Estrin and the Nightcats), which released nine albums on Alligator between 1987 and 2008). Services have been held. LEARN MORE
Ron Thompson, a San Francisco Bay Area blues guitarist who worked with John Lee Hooker, Lowell Fulson, Etta James and Big Mama Thornton, among others, died Feb. 15 in Hayward, CA. He was 66. According to The Mercury News, no cause of death was reported, but "Thompson’s press website said he had been in a coma since suffering a hypoglycemic seizure about a month ago. The musician had been suffering from diabetes-related illnesses in recent years; complications from the disease led to Thompson having a leg amputated in 2017." LEARN MORE (may require a subscription)
Jan Michael Faircloth
Jan Michael Faircloth, a Kansas City area blues drummer, died March 8, the result of terminal cancer. He was just 43. We were privileged to see him perform July 22, 2019, at SPACE in Evanston with the James Harman Band. LEARN. MORE
A JAZZ PASSING McCoy Tyner 12.11.38–3.6.20
I don't see many jazz performances because there is always blues to be heard or paint to watch dry, but in the mid-1970s I did see McCoy Tyner with Sonny Rollins at the New Victoria Theatre (somehow I have remembered it falsely until now as being at Royal Albert Hall) in London. The only reason I was fortunate to see these jazz legends was because Muddy Waters was the opening band. Yes, I am a little single-minded. READ TYNER'S OBIT
Paris Delane ( aka Kenneth Deloney)
Paris Delane was a vocalist with the Chicago-based rhythm & blues band, Sonia Dada. READ HIS OBIT
I stumbled across yet another passing I missed earlier and wanted to make sure we remembered the man described as Israel's King of the Blues. He was just 62 when he died in his sleep on Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. LEARN MORE
THINKING OUT LOUD
AND ANOTHER CANCELLATION. The Blues Foundation announced this morning that the Blues Hall of Fame Museum will be closed to the public until further notice. And, both the 2020 Blues Music Awards show and the Blues Hall of Fame inductions, which had been scheduled in early May have been cancelled.
According to the foundation's email, "In lieu of live events, The Blues Foundation is beginning work to create virtual events where we will celebrate our BMA nominees and winners and our 2020 Blues Hall of Fame Inductees. Please watch for updates on dates and times to tune in for these important blues events." @#$%! [My exclamation, not theirs, but I suspect they are thinking the same thing]
HALLELUJAH!We briefly mentioned the new Epiphany Center for the Arts in the FEB 21–MAR 5 edition of Chicago Blues News, but we were invited recently to see the inside. It is a work in progress, but WOW. This is going to be a great place for art and music in the city–and the plan is to have blues every Friday in the upstairs sanctuary (not shown above). BRAVO! Not sure when it will open (especially in light of current issues in the world), so stay tuned.
UNDER THE STARS.Ravinia in Highland Park released its summer music schedule last week and, for right now, they have cancelled all events through June 1. BUT, their actual summer programming doesn't begin until June 5. Of course, I won't be making the long trek up there since the closest thing to blues they are offering is the Steve Miller Band on June 27 followed by The Roots and Trombone Shorty on June 28–and maybe John Hiatt & the Jerry Douglas Band on AUG. 25. JEEZ...they could have least booked those powerhouse blues darlings Larkin Poe. (I'm kidding of course). I guess the days when they booked acts like Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention and Janis Joplin are long gone.
PRESERVING HISTORY? Apparently George Lucas and his wife Melody Hobson are looking to control the Ebony magazine photo archives, which contains 5 million images that document African American culture in the U.S. Apparently the archives was used as collateral for a $12 million loan the couple made to Johnson Publishing four years ago. The archives includes many blues images like this one. READ THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE STORY
Watch for the next chicagoBLUESnews:
We had Ticket Giveaways in the last newsletter for two shows:
Joe Louis Walker | March 26 @ Hey Nonny, Arlington Heights
Taj Mahal Quartet | April 24 @ City Winery
Both giveaways are currently on hold since both venues are closed indefinitely. If the shows are rescheduled, all previous entries will be included in the drawings.
DON'T GO OUT!
...not that there is anywhere fun to go right now.
I wish I could tell you about all the great shows in the next two weeks, but you know that is not true. One day soon I'm sure we gonna pitch a wang dang doodle IN PUBLIC again...but not right now. SO...assume that the ONLINE CALENDAR is my fantasy life at the moment and some day it will again list real events. And, I finally got it together to update the festivals page recently–and now most of what I posted has been cancelled or postponed. 2020 SHOW CANCELLATIONS (as much as we know)
So, take care of your health, listen to blues online and support the musicians who are doing live streaming shows. A quick spin on Facebook will find a lot of options in addition to what I listed at the top of the newsletter.
I can always think of too many ways to entertain myself, but in case you are creatively challenged, here's a few simple ideas:
BUY SOME CDs The Jimmys
They say Gotta Have It is their best CD yet...and having seen the band a few times, I believe what they say. BUY NOW
Cadillac Baby's Bea & Baby Records: The Definitive Collection
I have been listening to this four-CD boxed set from Earwig since I have a little time on my hands–and it is wonderful. Now that you cannot go out anywhere, you should be able to afford it. It's hours and hours of great entertainment in a beautiful package. BUY IT NOW
WATCH A FEW VIDEOS
I just watched the Buddy Guy episode of the AT&T original series, Ernie Ball: The Pursuit of Tone,and it was one of the best documentaries I have seen on Buddy. There are a total of six episodes, but the rest are not blues. You can watch it on-demand on Direct TV (Channel 239) and AT&T U-Verse (Channel 1114).
At least we had a good, music-filled weekend before the world shut down.
SAT, JUNE 7 @ House of Blues
First we caught the tail-end of John Primer's birthday weekend. It was fun, but we missed the energy that Steve Bell brings to the group. PHOTOS
SAT, JUNE 7 @ B.L.U.E.S
We left and headed over to B.L.U.E.S. to catch Nick Moss & Friends the same night and that was the best decision I have made in awhile. Nick Moss has a lot of talented friends–and most of them showed up to play. Even Dennis Gruenling showed up when the bar was about to close–and blew a few tunes. PHOTOS
SUN, JUNE 8 @ Culture, Homewood Mary Lane & the No Static Blues Band entertained the brunch crowd who showed up to celebrate International Women's Day with one of Chicago's treasures. The venue, which plans to have more blues in the future, is the former site of Grape & Grain. PHOTOS
TUES, JUNE 10 @ House of Blues
For what we didn't know was our last live blues show for a while, we stopped by to see Big Dog Mercer's first performance at the House of Blues. Judging by the enthusiastic crowd's reaction, this won't be his last show at HOB. PHOTOS
MAR 19 Clarence “Frogman” Henry
MAR 20 Marcia Ball
MAR 21 Joe Moss
MAR 22 Dizzy Bolinski
MAR 23 Quique Gomez
MAR 24 Paul Filipowicz
MAR 26 Quinn Sullivan
MAR 29 Willie Clayton
MAR 30 Eric Clapton
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.
MAR 16 Janet Mami Takayama (photographer)
MAR 16 James Partridge (Ann Arbor Blues Fest)
MAR 20 Sister Rosetta Tharpe
MAR 21 Son House
MAR 22 "Juke Boy" Bonner
MAR 23 Louisiana Red
MAR 25 Pete Johnson
Curley James Weaver
MAR 26 Rufus C. Thomas Jr.
MAR 27 Leroy Carr
Robert "Junior" Lockwood
Johnny "Clyde" Copeland
Eddie Taylor Jr.
MAR 28 “Cripple” Clarence Lofton
MAR 29 Camille Howard
MAR 30 "Sonny Boy" Williamson I
MAR 31 Big Maceo Merriweather
APR 1 Alberta Hunter