It's that time again, so you know what to do...celebrate in your own style. If you like to carve things, here are some ideas (which is where this photo came from).
THE NEXT NEWSLETTER NOV 8–21
THINKING OUT LOUD
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BOB! The Smiley Tillmon Band will be at Bob's Blues and Jazz Mart (3419 W. Irving Park Rd.) on Saturday, Oct. 26 (1–230pm) to help Bob Koester celebrate his 87th birthday. And yes, you can assume there will be cake.
MORE REASONS TO CELEBRATE. Two new Delmark blues recordings are being featured at two upcoming CD parties:
Breezy Rodio is having a CD Release Party Friday, Nov. 1, at City Hall Chicago (838 W. Kinzie), a new-ish venue hosting occasional live music. His new CD, Sometimes the Blues Got Me, features guest appearances by Billy Branch, Luca Chiellini and Rick King.
Dave Specter will host his CD Release Party on Wednesday, Nov. 6, at SPACE in Evanston. His new release, Blues From the Inside Out, features Jorma Kaukonen, Brother John Kattke and Dave singing...out loud. (I've hear the CD...and it sounds good!)
LESSONS IN THE BLUES. David Whiteis has a new book, Blues Legacy: Tradition and Innovation in Chicago, and he will be signing it Friday, Oct 25, before and between sets at Rosa’s, where the book's cover lady, Melody Angel, is appearing that night. The 336-page book includes 49 B&W photos by local photographer Peter Hurley. LEARN MORE
AND ACTUAL BLUES LESSONS. The last sessions of the year at the Old Town School of Folk Music start on Monday–and there are plenty of blues options to choose from.
SAD NEWS. On Oct.10, 2019, Henry Gray's family confirmed that the 94-year-old legendary piano man had entered hospice care in Baton Rouge. LEARN ABOUT THE RECENT FUNDRAISER
AND MORE SAD NEWS. John Mayall has had to cancel the remaining dates of his European/UK/Ireland tour due to continuing health issues. Chicago area fans are really lucky Mayall was able to appear in Chicago for two dates this summer (City Winery and SPACE in Evanston).
GOOD CHOICE.Young St. Louis-based bluesman Marquise Knox is opening for ZZ Top on Nov. 2 at the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan. What a great show that will be…if only it was not a million miles from my home and ticket prices weren't in the stratosphere.
HELP CARL WEATHERSBY.As most of you probably already know, guitarist Carl Weathersby is going through some serious medical issues right now and, according to what is on the GoFundMe page, he is having surgery today to amputate part of his right leg and are also looking at his left one. Keep thinking positive thoughts for this treasured member of the blues community. Besides giving to the GoFundMe, here are other options:
Rosa's Lounge will be hosting an incredible Benefit Concert on Sunday, Nov. 24, featuring Kingfish, The Kinsey Report, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Lurrie Bell, Lynn Jordan, Matthew Skoller, Corey Dennison and many, many more musicians. The bad news is that if you don't already have tickets, the website says it's sold out (NOTE: You can always check back in case some open up). The GOOD NEWS is that Rosa's is planning to stream the show for a minimum donation of $10. Stay tuned for how you can "be there" in spirit at least.
You can also buy Carl's most recent release, Live at Rosa's Lounge,which was just released at the end of August.
SOUNDS GOOD TO ME. If you looked at the GET OUT section and wondered why I am listing what I am listing on THURS, NOV. 7, let me explain. I just heard GA-20's new CD, Lonely Soul,and LOVE it. The band is a side project for Matthew Stubbs (Charlie Musselwhite's guitar player), and his buddy, Pat Faherty. As for Jonah Tolchin, I have no idea who he is, but he is the headliner so maybe I'll like him, too. Or, I can go home early for once.
THE THINGS YOU FIND ONLINE. In 1980, Michael Bloomfield wrote a very short book (just 47 pages) called Me and Big Joe. (If you have to ask,"Big Joe WHO?" then then skip over this item.) In any case, those of us who are Bloomfield obsessed, should read this book, which is described on Amazon as "A classic American adventure story, a must read for any blues lover or musician." So here's your choice to have a classic blues adventure vicariously:
AND FINALLY, A NON-BLUES TALE. So Eddie Van Halen is not having the best time in his advancing age. First, he battled tongue cancer and lost part of his tongue in 2000. Now, he has throat cancer and, in a story that recently ran in the Daily Mail, we have this information:
Eddie told Billboard in 2015: 'I used metal picks – they're brass and copper – which I always held in my mouth, in the exact place where I got the tongue cancer.
'Plus, I basically live in a recording studio that's filled with electromagnetic energy. So that's one theory. I mean, I was smoking and doing a lot of drugs and a lot of everything. But at the same time, my lungs are totally clear. This is just my own theory, but the doctors say it's possible.'
This begs a comment, but I will remain mum.
REST IN PEACE
We have recently lost members of the musical community.
Beverly "Guitar" Watkins
Ms. Watkins was a regular on the Atlanta blues scene who did not release her first album until she was 60. She was 80 when she died, after a stroke followed by a heart attack. READ HER OBIT The New York Times article
English drummer Ginger Baker was most famous as a co-founder of the blues-ish rock band Cream with Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce. He was 80 at the time of his death. HERE’S AN OBIT
Ed Cherney, Grammy- and Emmy-winning producer and engineer whose long list of credits include work on Buddy Guy’s Blues Singer, in addition to work with Bonnie Raitt (he won his first Grammy for Raitt's Nick of Time), Eric Claption, Etta James and many, many more, died Oct. 22 the result of cancer. He was 69. LEARN MORE
Local guitarist Rico McFarland also lost his father father this week. Send Rico a little love.
You've got two good choices to see Harpdog Brown & The Uptown Blues Band when they are in town–and the 3rd one (on TV) is only if you can't seem to leave your house. He has a new recording–For Love & Money–and Dog will be giving away a Deluxe edition (Green vinyl) of the recording at each of his Chicago shows. The deluxe edition includes photos and lyrics inside plus a digital download of the whole album. Come on down!
HERE'S WHAT YOU DO TO WIN JUST SHOW UP–at either Lizard's Liquid Lounge TONIGHT (Oct. 24 @ 8pm) or Smoke Daddy (on Division) on FRIDAY (@ 9pm) (NOTE: You MUST be at the show to win). ENTER THE CONTEST–Just throw you name in the hat (or whatever they are using), get a drink, enjoy the music and wait to hear your name called NOTE:If you don't win, I suspect they will have CDs on hand you can buy.
ONE MORE THING: In the last newsletter, I lied (OK, goofed): Dog was not just named harp player of the year in 2014 by the Maple Blues Awards, he also was named top harp dog two more times, in 2015 and 2016. And, he was nominated for best male vocals and album of the year in 2016. In case you wondered, the Maple Blues Awards are the Canadian version of the Blues Music Awards. HERE'S PHOTOS FROM THE 2018 UPTOWN GIG
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WIN TWO TICKETS!
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
The GET OUT section has been changed to just one listing for each day that will more or less reflect where I would go if I had the stamina to go out every day and every night. Now and then, there will be two options when I am on the fence. Obviously, there are a LOT OF OTHER CHOICES in Sweet Home Chicago if you don't like my ideas.
Just check ONLINE CALENDAR if you don't believe me.
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, OCT 25 ALL-STAR BLUES REVUE
Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials, Toronzo Cannon & the Chicago Way and the Cash Box Kings
Prairie Center for the Arts, Schaumburg
HarpDog Brown and the Uptown Blues Band
SAT, OCT 26 BLUES AND BREWS BRUNCH
Dave Herrero and Anne Harris
SUN, OCT 27 Marty Sammon's Halloween
Hoedown Blues Fling featuring
Lynne Jordan (6pm)
VFW 2791 Bremen, Tinley Park
MON, OCT 28 BLUE MONDAYS SERIES
TUES, OCT 29 Pete Galanis & Friends
featuring Dave Herrero
WED, OCT 30 Altered Five Blues Band
THURS, OCT 31 Mark Hummel and
the Blues Survivors
with Billy Flynn
Hey Nonny, Arlington Heights
Anji's Top Dollar Blues Band
FRI, NOV 1 Vanessa Collier,
Rick King's Royal Hustle
Shorty Mack and the Magnificent Men
The Entrance, Harvey (6-11pm)
SAT, NOV 2 Eric Lindell and Anson Funderburgh Duo
The Venue, Aurora
SUN, NOV 3 Murali Coryell
MON, NOV 4 BLUES-ISH: Preservation Hall
Jazz Band–A Tuba to Cuba
TUES, NOV 5 BLUESDAY TUESDAY
Tom Marker with Corey Dennison
WED, NOV 6 Mike Morgan and the Crawl
Kankakee Valley Boat Club, Kankakee
THURS, NOV 7 Jonah Tolchin, GA-20
OUT AND ABOUT
OCT 22 @ HOUSE OF BLUES Robbin Kapsalis and Vintage #18
I knew when Robbin Kapsalis pranced on the stage to join her band, Vintage#18, wearing that dress (see above), it was gonna be a good night. And I was right. The band packed the House of Blues on a sleepy Tuesday night, entertaining the crowd with their blues-ish soul and R&B sounds. If you want to experience the fun yourself, Vintage#18 will be at Legends tonight (Oct. 24) before they leave our town.
DCASE MEDIA EVENT:
2020–The Year of Music Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) invited the press out much earlier than I would choose to leave my house to share some exciting news: 2020 will be the Year of Chicago Music. I have already seen a little premature whining on Facebook about this, but I am putting on my Pollyanna hat and hoping that Kelly's commitment–and the comment he made about some unnamed big money backers–will lead to great things for all Chicago musicians and finally make Chicago recognized internationally as a music city.
In my fantasy world, I picture lots of great things happening–maybe even an announcement of a Chicago Music Museum that features ALL the great music born in Chicago, including, of course, the blues. If you are gonna dream, dream big or go home.
ONE MORE REALLY IMPORTANT (MAYBE RELATED) THING. I honestly don't know if Franklin Vanderbilt, a product of Chicago's West Side, is part of this initiative or not, but he has announced a big plan for Chicago: He plans to open a Performing Arts and Economic Center on the city's West Side at Goldblatt elementary school (4257 W. Adams), the school he attended that is now closed.
If you don't know his name, Vanderbilt left the West Side and became the drummer for Lenny Kravitz after working with with Chaka Khan, Stevie Wonder and Stanley Clark. No kidding. WATCH THIS VIDEO and be inspired.
THURS, JAN 16 North Mississippi Allstars
with Southern Avenue
FRI, JAN 10 Jonny Lang
Arcada Theatre, St. Charles
SUN, JAN 26 BLUES-ISH: Squirrel Nut Zippers
with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band
Arcada Theatre, St. Charles
SUN, FEB 9 Mike Zito’s Big Band
Chuck Berry Tribute
OCT 24 Corky Siegel
Ice Mike (Michael Thomas)
OCT 26 Shirley King
OCT 27 Scott Billington
OCT 30 Bob Koester
NOV 3 Sonny Rhodes
Connie Carroll (photographer) Myron Robinson
NOV 4 Delbert McClinton
NOV 5 Melvin Carlisle
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.