Christmas Kindness by Robert "Nighthawk" Tooms

Posted on 12/21/2009 by Robert "Nighthawk" Tooms

Welcome to

(Memphis, Tennessee) This week we want to thank some of our friends of the BLUES who are making a real difference in the lives of others.

Steve Bryson, friend and philanthropist

Our friend, Steve Bryson, owner of I55 Productions is not only supporting Memphis BLUES and embarking on about a dozen new BLUES CD releases, but also has provided over 20,000 meals to the homeless and hungry during the holiday season.

Steve Bryson and Darren J. Fallas at the recent
Dennis Brooks Celebration of Life in Memphis

"Bryson, Chief Executive Officer of the Cypress-based Global Electronic Technology, Inc. (GET) and founder of Never Forgotten Foundation (NFF), a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization donated 2,500 pounds of turkey and other meat products, 700 lbs. of ground beef, 1000 lbs. of chicken as well as enough canned and dried food to feed over 10,000 people. Other items consisted of thousands of pounds of canned vegetables, breakfast items, and bags of flour, sugar, pasta, and rice to help make the holiday season brighter to those who frequent the Long Beach Rescue Mission (LBRM) every day.

Bryson's International charity

"I have long held the belief that charity should began at home. When we arrived last year during our initial donation and saw the long lines of people around the building and the dire need for food at the shelter, I wanted to make certain that we would more than double our efforts this year. It is my heartfelt desire to ensure that at least during this holiday season, not a single person in Long Beach would go hungry," states Steven H. Bryson.

These annual donations, solely funded by Bryson, has enabled him to develop key relationships with many local businesses such as Costco in Cypress as well as Smart & Final stores in Cypress and Lakewood to help provide well-balanced and nutritional meals for the homeless. With the collaboration of many who were gracious in their donations or gave discounts on purchased items, Bryson was able to maximize the amount of people fed. He also enlisted the help of his GET employees, who showed up in mass to help unload the massive amount of food from the 27 foot truck that was rented this very purpose.

Steve Bryson, I55 Productions

"The amount of food purchased has never been seen before. We felt fortunate to have been part of such a great deed," said Nick Espinosa, owner of Signal Hill's Casa de Carne, who also donated hundred of pounds of patties, sausage links, and crab cakes.

Last year, Bryson donated what was estimated to be enough food for 8,000 meals. This year Fred Sigrist, Director of Food Service at the LBRM, estimated that Bryson has exceeded the previous donation for an estimated 20,000 meals."

To read more about Steve Bryson's I55 Productions and some of the new music they are about to release, check out this link to an earlier story I wrote on their new label:

spreads the music and the love

my friend John Catt

More great news from our friend, John Catt, who has been a proponent of the BLUES and all things musical for many years at events all across Colorado. John has befriended the Reba Russell Band and turned us on to some splendid gigs in Colorado over the years. I first heard about BLUE STAR CONNECTION a few months ago when I got to visit with John in Colorado. We were in Denver to play the Mile High Blues Festival, an event which was covered by me in an article earlier this year. Here's a link to that story:

Billy Branch and Michaela Rae jam

John Catt, BLUES protagonist and BLUES luminary Michaela Ray

John is a board member of the Grand County Blues Society, serving with President Cassidi Brickner and my friend Art Ferrari who serves as their Treasurer. These folks have a remarkable blues society, they put on some absolutely terrific shows, and they also do good works as well as keep the BLUES alive. Here's a link to their site:

On August 14, 2005, Colorado's awesome Grand County Blues Society pioneered the Blue Star Connection to help kids with cancer and other life threatening diseases.

This from their site:

"What is the Blue Star Connection?

The Blue Star Connection provides kids with cancer and other life threatening illnesses musical instruments and access to live shows with the help of our musician friends.

Most of our Blue Stars receive an electric guitar and amp. We prefer electric guitars because most of the kids don't have the strength in their hands to play an acoustic guitar and they get a real kick out of the power and noise. Keyboards have now gained a lot of popularity. We get almost as many requests for Keyboards now as guitars

Upon request, we have provided children with harps, saxophones and a violin.

To augment the program, we get them tickets to live shows and festivals around the country. A lot of the artists are kind enough to treat them to back stage access."

here's a link to their site:

Here's a link to a great Blue Star Connection TV piece from KCNC in Denver:

"This is Kaite and Ashleigh, Kaite inspired me at the Shining Stars Reunion. She's 10 years old in this picture , one of the toughest kids you will ever meet, beat two rare cancers and now she is just an amazing young lady."

John Catt

If you wish to make a cash donation or donate an instrument to Blue Star Connection please make checks payable to GCBS with Blue Star Connection in the memo. All of BSC donations are only used for Blue Star purchases. You can also have a donation sent in the name of someone and that money will be noted and an instrument will bear that persons name.

You can mail donations to GCBS P.O. Box 1530 Winter Park, CO 80482

Here's how to get in touch if you have an instrument to donate:

Christmas is about LOVE and sharing with these noble charities would be a great way to celebrate this year.

All of us at the AMERICAN BLUES NEWS look forward to supplying you with more news and inside information in 2010 and beyond.

Thank you, dear readers, and from each of us:


All the news that is BLUES!


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©2009, Robert "Nighthawk" Tooms
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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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