Blues Artists Interviews 2009 by Monica Yasher

Posted on 1/06/2010 by Monica Yasher

(Pittsburgh, PA) Happy New Year everyone! It’s hard to believe that the New Year just arrived a few days ago. I bet everyone has settled back into the old routines and probably some of you have already forgotten those New Year’s resolutions or possibly didn’t make one at all.

In 2009 I had a tremendous opportunity. I began to write about the blues. I never thought that I would have the privilege of speaking with all of the artists that I met up with. But, for some reason, this privilege was granted to me. And, yes, I always viewed it as a privilege. But, more importantly, these question and answer sessions were not just interviews for me. I tried to learn something from each and every one that I spoke with. Wouldn’t I be reckless if I didn’t? I mean, I had the chance to speak to the best of the best in regard to guitarists, songwriters, vocalists, and performers. Can you imagine being mentored in music by the best of the best? So I took each of these conversations to heart.

There were some artists that I learned several things from. There were some that gave me merely one profound inspiring thought. I think I learned a lot last year. I believe each of these people have helped to make me a better person for 2010. I just can’t wait to see what happens this year!

Here are some things that I learned from the interviews I shared in the year 2009! I have shared a link to the interview, if you click on the artist's name.


In speaking with Johnny Markowski, he shared that he was the one that thought the band, NRPS, should get back together. He spoke with Buddy Cage on making this happen. Buddy Cage is quoted as saying, “No one wants to hear that anymore”.

Since the summer of 2005 when the band re emerged, they have toured extensively across the United States and have created a new CD, ‘Where I Come From’, all because they didn’t quit on a great idea!

I resolve to not quit before I start.


Jace Everett, a country blues artist, created a new sound that he was quite proud of. In 2006 he wrote, ‘Bad Things’, for Sony that failed miserably on country radio. He was told that the song was too creepy for anyone to want to listen to it. Jace felt that people would want to hear his song, so he put it up for a free itunes download. From that an executive of the HBO series, True Blood, heard his song. That song is now aired at the beginning of the HBO hit, True Blood.

I resolve to believe in myself and what I do.


“Get it on past your elbows, show your business.” G.E. Smith

I resolve to put myself out there.



“Network as much as possible. Even if you don’t have an agent or manager, just try to get your name out there as much as possible on your own.” Gina Sicilia

I resolve to realize that I can’t do things alone and network.


“And, you know whatever it takes to get to your passion, whether it is writing, photography, playing, teaching. If you love something, you have to go after it." Gaye Adegbalola

I resolve to make things happen for me, since no one else is going to make it happen.


“It’s too hard to write songs for me to write one that not’s going to be useful. Too much effort involved.”. Chris Smither

I resolve to not get discouraged with my songwriting. Songwriting is hard work, even for the great ones.


“I sign autographs after every show and I get all these parents bringing their kid up and going this is my daughter, this is my daughter. You know they play guitar and could you tell them they need to practice more and the need to blah blah. And, I’m looking at the kid thinking are you kidding? This kid clearly doesn’t want to do what you want them to do. You know. It’s sad and the worse thing…. My parents didn’t really have a choice. They supported whatever my sister and I were into and I happened to be into guitar. They supported me in doing Taekwondo and all that stuff, just as much as music. But yeah. I’ll tell you what…for me. I’d rather say to the parent don’t put out that fire in your kids. Don’t push them. That’s…I’m telling you…I don’t think ½ of these people even know they are doing it. They think they are doing something great for their kids and you know try to kill them in all that structure. They are taking that flame away from them and they will just rebel. I mean the label did that with me and I quit playing for years.” Shannon Curfman

I resolve to support my children in their interests, not what I think their interests should be.


“We are obviously huge fans of Mississippi Blues stuff like Charlie Patton and Fred McDowell…R. L. Burnsides stuff like that. Also, love a lot of rock and roll. Aaron’s all time favorite band is Led Zeppelin and Brad’s probably the same. I know I’m a huge fan of soul music. Obviously old school electric blues. Country music. Traditional country music. There’s a lot of modern bands in there too. I think sometimes some people get focused on one genre, and like to focus on that particular style. We just listen to a lot of stuff. I hope it comes through when we play. “ Moreland & Arbuckle

I resolve to listen to all genres of music to be a better artist and songwriter.


“Barcelona, Spain, Brazil, New Zealand, Africa. Just so …it‘s amazing where our little band has gotten to go because of music….” Andra Faye

I resolve to just let the music take me away. Music is like riding a raft in the river. You sometimes meander and sometimes you hit a riptide and you are moving so fast. Sometimes you spin in circles. But, I’ll just let the music take me away. I never know where or what it will lead to. Who would have thought I would be a blues writer?


“A lot of people are more concentrating on the notes and staying on pitch and all that stuff than they are on delivering the song. You know it really is a feel, and if you can’t move people, then you might as well not be doing it. You got to move people.” Kim Wilson

I resolve to concentrate on WHAT I am saying in a song and HOW it makes me feel and not on getting it 100 percent correct. Perform it instead of sing it.


“You can’t make a record for everyone. If you try to do that then nobody will like it. What one person dislikes another person will. You have to make songs and do them because you are passionate about it. And, then you hope and pray other people will like it. (she laughs) The one thing that I’ve learned in my career is that you can’t please everybody. “ Shemekia Copeland

I resolve to accept that it’s OK to please myself and there ain’t no way I’m going to please everybody.


“I finally gave up. I couldn’t…all the lyrics that I could think of were either too trivial or to whiney for the melody so I enlisted another co writer. A person named David Almay. he wrote the lyrics. I wrote the music, then we sat on the piano bench in his house, and wrote the lyrics and music to the bridge together.” Ann Rabson

I resolve to ask for help when I need it.


“If you can, you got to be true to yourself. I mean you got to be looking to from within to find the music that you got inside. You have to avoid trying to imitate or copying. You got to find the music that you got inside you and work hard to develop it.” Robin Trower

I resolve to be me and not who everyone else wants me to be.


“I didn't have the talent that encompassed everything. I had to learn all that as I went along. I was gifted enough in a certain area to be able to turn that into something. I certainly was not as talented as other people around.” Kim Simmonds

I resolve to accept that I don’t have to be good at everything to be good.


“You know, it is a privilege to get up there and do this stuff. There are people who can’t play. There are musicians that haven’t made it with career success, and there are some terrific players out there that don’t have the kind of success that we have. So it’s a privilege and we try not to let the folks down.” Roger Earl

I resolve to never forget it is an honor to perform for others.


“So one of the things that I always tell my band is you got to play every room like there are ten thousand people in the room. You never know who that one person there might be, or who those ten people might be, or who those hundred people might be. “ Lefty Williams

I resolve to always give it my all.


“I learned years ago that you can set time aside for songwriting and it just doesn’t work well. Songs come when they come.” Tinsley Ellis

I resolve to resign and accept the fact that things don’t happen when I want them to, but eventually they will happen if I am patient.


I wonder what I will learn in 2010? So far I have the following interviews to share with you: Delta Highway, Sue Foley, Little Joe Mclerran, Bobby Rush, Curtis Salgado, and Chris Simmons. Happy New Year Everyone!


Copyright © 2010 Copyright Monica L. Yasher. All Rights Reserved.
Photograph Copyright © 2010 Maureen Ceidro. All Rights Reserved.
Photograph Copyright © 2010 Jessica Yasher. All Rights Reserved.
Photograph Copyright © 2010 Nelson Onofre. All Rights Reserved.
Jace Everett. Photos by David McClister (used with permission).
Gina Sicilia. Photographs used by permission Gina Sicilia.
Lefty Williams. Photographs used courtesy of Lefty Williams.

American Blues News Staff

What makes American Blues News unique is our coverage across America. Here is our lineup:

Mon: Memphis Correspondent - Robert "Nighthawk" Tooms
Nighthawk is our resident globetrotter and man behind the scenes, as he tours with the Reba Russell Band.

Tues: New York Correspondent - J. Blake
Blake is the American Blues News review and interview guru. You may catch him out and about in NY playing the blues.

Wed: National Correspondent - Monica Yasher
Monica is our executive director and artist interview specialist. You can catch Monica singing the blues around Pittsburgh or working on some country music songs in Nashville.

Thurs: Washington, DC Correspondent - Virginiabluesman
Geraldo offers inteviews and reviews. You may have seen him at an Ana Popovic concert or conversed with him on her websites, as he offers administrative support with her music.

Fri: Northeast Photographer - Nelson Onofre
Nelson offers a Friday column of blues photography and pictorial support for the interviews covered by the team.

Jim Stick in Colorado
Jim will be focusing on the Blues Festivals in the beautiful state of Colorado, and the artists that live and visit there.

Maureen Elizabeth, our resident art correspondent, will be focusing on blues art as she explores the creation of CD covers, or speaking with artists who also have a love of creating pictorial art in addition to their music! She may also feature some of her good friends in the Pittsburgh area. In her love of art, you may find Maureen's photography accompanying writer's articles on our pages. Maureen is also our marketing director.

Pittsburgh correspondent and photographer, CR Bennett, will share the Pittsburgh scene with all of you. You may also see CR's pictures accompanying other writer's articles.

We head to the big state of Texas! Abby Owen, our Texas correspondent.

Another big area to cover, the West Coast with Casey Reagan, Casey will feature many artists and events on this ocean's shores.

Lastly, we have our roving blues entertainment writer,
Chef Jimi.

And of course, we will surprise you sometimes!

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