How Blue Are We in January? by Monica Yasher

Posted on 2/03/2010 by Monica Yasher

Hello everyone! How did your first month go for the new year? Did you make a few New Year's Resolutions? I did! I shared what I had in mind for 2010 by retrospecting on who I talked to in 2009 and what they said. I hope it offers some insights for you!

We are excited to announce a few changes for 2010. We changed our name to American Blues News. We have just unveiled our new logo. Look for our FACEBOOK page in the next month. And we have altered our lineup a little bit. In case you have a favorite writer, here is our schedule:

Sunday will be picture day by Nelson in New York City.
Monday will be our resident flyer, Nighthawk. When he isn't touring, you can find him living and breathing the Memphis Blues Scene.
Tuesday finds us with J. Blake in New York City covering the scene and he seems to be our resident expert on blues reviews.
Wednesday you can find me. I enjoy interviews so that is typically what you find me sharing with you and most of my interviews are conducted in the Pittsburgh area.
Thursday is our day in Chicago with Gatorman. You just never know what Terry is going to write about, so check him out!
Friday is our newest writer, Bluesman, from Washington, DC. Blues Alley seems to be a really cool place to be.
Saturday is the day we spice things up a bit. We have Abby from Houston, Jim from Colorado, Maureen and CR in Pittsburgh, and guest writers from all over the country! Our first guest writer of the year was Daryl Davis, keyboard player for Chuck Berry and countless other artists!

Now that you know what's coming from American Blues News, let's look back at the month for the music community. It was a pretty awesome start to a new year! We had the International Blues Challenge and the Grammys all in the same month! I would like to welcome all of the new readers that perused our writing with our coverage of the IBC!

The Grammys were just on Sunday and it was quite a show! I think I'm getting old. I can remember my parents saying things like, "All they do is scream" and "I can't understand what they are saying!", when I would listen to my music as a teen. And now having a teenager, I found myself saying the same things! The cycle of music is ever evolving, which is a good thing. The arts must live on whether I like the changes or not.

As I watched the Grammys it was pretty cool to see Leon Russell playing with the Zac Brown Band. I had the chance to interview Leon's lead guitarist, Chris Simmonds, which I will be posting this month. That was a fun night hanging out with these guys. And, I have to say for the record, that out of all the CD's that have been given to me in the past year, Chris' is the one I find myself listening to the most! I guess that's because of my country background and blues background. Out of all the artists I hear, Chris has the sound that I would most like to emmulate.

To kick off our coverage of the Grammys, I interviewed a Grammy nominated artist,

David Bromberg when he was in Pittsburgh with Jorma Kaukonen.

Speaking of the Grammys, the nods went to the following:

Best Traditional Blues Album:
Ramblin' Jack Elliott for "A Stranger Here" album

Best Contemporary Blues Album:
Derek Trucks for "Already Free"

Best Historical Album:
Little Walter for "The Complete Chess Masters"

Best Zydeco or Cajun Music Album:
Buckwheat Zydeco for "Lay Your Burden Down"

Maureen and I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Derek Trucks this summer at The Flood City Music Festival in Johnstown, PA. You can read the review of a great night right here.

Now moving onto the IBC's. We had Nighthawk running ragged covering this event. And the stats show you read what he had to say! Thank you readers for checking in! If you missed what happened, here are some articles for you to catch up on:

We covered a couple of acts that performed in the youth division. Please support these up and coming artists. They are the future of the blues.
Will Jacobs and Dirty Deal a very young blues band from Chicago.
Michaela Ray a very young lady showing her chops on the guitar.

For those of you that don't know, there is another award ceremony for managers, publications, photographers, blues festival promoters, and the like. You can read about it at:
2010 Keeping the Blues Alive Recipients

If you went to the festival. Hopefully, Nighthawk gave you good advice on where and What to Eat in Memphis

We offered interviews and pictures of past IBC Winners with
Delta Highway , who talked about their IBC experience. The Interview of Little Joe McLerran, who was the winner of the solo/duo category in 2009 was shared.

Nelson offered a pictorial of past IBC winners such as Eden Brant.

Now for the IBC News, here is a great place to look!
IBC This Week
Schedule of Acts for Friday
IBC Roars on Old Beale Street
2010 IBC Finalists

Memphis was a place of great happiness for many at the IBC's. It was a town of grieving too. The blues community seems to be grieving every month any more, which saddens us. Nighthawk shared about his friend, Willie Mitchell. On behalf of all the staff of American Blues News, our sympathy to the family of Mr. Willie Mitchell. It is with joy and grief that his life was celebrated in One Last Time Down Beale Street and at his memorial service.

Nighthawk, our resident flyer, ventured to Germany for the Eutin, Germany Blues Fest. It just goes to show you that you never know where the music will take you! Gatorman didn't travel far, but he was truly impacted by the performance of Buddy Guy.

You know, I'm beginning to think Nighthawk likes a really good party. He covers all the blues balls. This month he was seen at the Toyland Ball in Tulsa! And, he was seen at Bobby Blue Bland's 80th birthday party. You go Nighthawk!

Nelson captured another blues great when he photographed Hubert Sumlin. He captured a favorite of mine, Coco Montoya. I saw Mr. Montoya for the first time at the Heritage Blues Festival, which is about one hour from Pittsburgh. Did I mention that the efforts from the festival have been bestowed a Keeping the Blues Alive Award?

Hubert Sumlin
BB King Blues Club, Nov. 2009
photo: Nelson G. Onofre © 2010 Copyright

As I said, Bluesman is our new addition to the group. He started a few weeks early and offered writing on Madams Organ. He shared his take on the North Mississippi All Stars. Bluesman shared his interview with Bob Margolin and CR, a Pittsburgh writer, shared his pictures of Bob when he played at Moondog's in Pittsburgh. For those of you thinking about a trip to DC, you should read about the Birchmere Blues.

We are pleased that Abby is with us. She shared a review of a local band on the Houston scene, The Mark May Band. Look for another article in the month of February from Abby. This month we will hear from our man in Colorado, Jim.

J. Blake has shared his CD reviews of Geoff Muldaur, The Delta Flyers, and Tail Dragger Live. His movie reviews of "In the Electric Mist" and "Blues Before Sunrise" were also a good read. Terry tipped his hat in the review arena with his take on Jimmy Warren and Billy Branch.

We love interviews! Terry sat down with Jimmy Warren. Nighthawk chatted with his friend, Victor Wainwright. And, speaking of interviews and the Grammys, look for an interview I conducted with Tim Woods, who recorded a CD with David "Honeyboy" Edwards, a lifetime achievement award recipient.

Whew! That was a lot to share. Bookmark us! American Blues News will strive to be your number one blues source for 2010.

If you found this helpful, you may wish to read the summary for December.

Copyright © 2010 Copyright Monica L. Yasher. All Rights Reserved.
Photo Copyright © 2010 Copyright Maureen Ceidro. All Rights Reserved.
Photo Copyright © 2010 Copyright Nelson Onofre. All Rights Reserved.
Photo Copyright © 2010 Copyright C.R. Bennett. All Rights Reserved.

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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