Blues | WGLT

Blues

Danielle Nicole plays the MSA Blues Concert and Fundraiser at Monarch Music Hall tomorrow night
MF Photography

It's not easy to recapture the magic of a family music group after touring exhaustion kills the joy and the chemistry. Kansas City native Danielle Nicole has done that by changing her scene.

Les Filles de Illighadad plays Reverberation Vinyl Monday night.
Les Filles de Illighadad

This week wasn’t the first, tenth, or maybe the hundredth time Reverberation Vinyl owner John Anderson was spinning what’s become known as Desert Blues on the turntable in his Bloomington store.

Stephanie Jean and Chris Turpin are Ida Mae. They play the Peoria Blues and Heritage Festival Saturday night.
Dean Chalkley

Chris Turpin and Stephanie Jean seemingly had it made by 2014. The English natives were half of the grunge/blues band Kill It Kid that was signed to Sire Records and had just released its third album.

Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials headline the Front Street Music Festival August 17.
Paul Natkin

Lil' Ed Williams and his band The Blues Imperials emulate the Chicago houserockin’ style of fellow Alligator Records great Hound Dog Taylor and Lil' Ed's uncle, Delmark Records artist J.B. Hutto.

Denise LaGrassa at the piano
Mark Gordon

Denise LaGrassa is known best in the Central Illinois area and in Chicago for her jazz-blues sound.

The Shugz Beatz play the Sugar Creek Arts Festival Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
Shuga Beatz

Songwriting is an important component for members of the Shuga Beatz, the Bloomington-Normal rock/blues/R&B sextet. Important enough to mention such on the group's website.

Adia Victoria headlines the GLT Summer Concert June 8
Red Light Management

South Carolina native Adia Victoria is often described as a blues woman with elements of punk, gospel, and goth. Not unlike Flannery O’Connor, one of her favorite authors.

Promotional poster for Kool Ray & the Polaroidz, circa 1980s
Tracy Pitts / Stormbrew Music

Members of the 1980s central Illinois band Kool Ray & the Polaroidz reunite Sunday evening at Daddios in downtown Bloomington for a musical celebration of life for the man who managed them.

Anthony Gomes
Stephen Jensen

Blues-rocker Anthony Gomes says he's donating a portion of the proceeds of his Friday show at the Castle Theatre to the Twin Cities-based HEAL Foundation, which supports autism acceptance.

Neal Francis playing keyboard on his new single "These Are The Days"
Neal Francis / YouTube

Chicago keyboard player Neal Francis said he was knocked out by rootsy New Orleans and Chicago music at a very young age.

C.J. Chenier
Karen Murphy / Chicago Blues News

CJ Chenier is known as “The Crown Prince of Zydeco.” But the son of the man known as “The King of Zydeco” said the music he plays isn’t technically zydeco.

Matthew Curry performing at the 7th annual Ride Festival in Telluride, Colorado.
Maryelle St. Clare

Guitarist, singer, and songwriter Matthew Curry is tweaking his sound as he opens up to new styles on his listening reportoire.

The Smokers Blues Band at Buddy Guy's Legends
The Smokers Blues Band

Peoria's The Smokers Blues Band hopes its blues-rock music can be part of a broader scene helping unite deep political divisions among Central Illinois music fans.

Fantastic Negrito performing at the Ohana Festival on Sept. 30, 2018, in Dana Point, CA.
AP / AP

We think of GLT Blues Radio as the Best Blues Station on Planet Earth because that's what you tell us.

Billy Branch
Melodie Strowbridge

Billy Branch is a Chicago bluesman through and through. But he says many bands we now call classic rock had as much an influence on his sound as did the blues legends that became his mentors.

Samantha Fish returns to the Castle Theatre in Bloomington on Thursday, May 17.
BackstageFlash.net

Kansas City native Samantha Fish said her hometown was a great playground for learning her craft.

“There’s such a steep tradition there. It’s a great jazz and blues town, and a jam scene,” said Fish. “You could go out every night and play with some incredible, top-notch blues players.”

Maryelle St. Clare

Away from stage lights and adoring fans, life as a touring musician can be challenging. The stress of being away from family for weeks or months at a time and dealing with long rides between gigs can fray the nerves of the closest of friends.

Shervin Lainez

Black Crowes founding member Rich Robinson said his new band doesn't feel like the Black Crowes.

Victoria Smith

Tommy Castro has incorporated soul and rock into his blues from nearly the time he began playing music. On his new album “Stompin’ Ground,” he overtly tips his hat to the soul and “hippie-rock” he assimilated while musically coming of age in San Jose, California, in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

"Hard Rockin’ Woman" is the second song on “Hurricane” Ruth LeMaster’s latest album “Ain’t Ready for the Grave.” It’s an apt description for the Beardstown native.

Mike McMillen / Front Row Perspective

Peoria’s Bret Bunton remembers listening to GLT Blues when he was 6 or 7 years old.

The Ronnie Baker Brooks 2017 release “Times Have Changed” is aptly titled. For one, he altered his guitar sound, leaving his coveted guitar pedals at home during the recording of the album.

“I plugged straight into the amp through a Gibson guitar,” said Brooks. “That was an adjustment for me at first, mentally.”

Mdou Moctar and his band
Jerome Fino

The thriving Desert Blues sound of the Saharan peoples of North Africa is the spiritual homeland of the blues. Mdou Moctar is a Niger-based disciple of that sound. He's about to embark on a short American tour that kicks off at Reverberation Vinyl in Bloomington.

Brian Rozman

Samantha Fish can shred her blues guitar with the best. So a new album with a dual focus on her voice and hits from the 1950s and 60s is a bit of a curve-ball. Fish calls it freeing.

Kathy Boyle

2017 has been the year of musical reunions in Bloomington-Normal.

In April, The Something Brothers, Mojo Stew, and The Mechanics convened at the Castle Theater in an encore for the ages. Marc Boon’s R&B big band Hip Pocket followed suit a few weeks later. And on Aug. 27, the four-member straight-up blues band The Blue Aces join the reunion tour.

Peggy DeRose

The music world has had many romantic couples; the most famous include Sonny & Cher and Ike & Tina Turner. It’s probably not the best comparison to San Francisco based blues artists Cathy Lemons and Phil Berkowitz. Not that they’re not making great music, but the chemistry isn’t, well, tempestuous.

David Dobson

George Thorogood & the Destroyers have been ripping through blues classics for four decades. Their ferocious recorded takes on "Move It On Over," "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer," and of course "Bad To The Bone" are classic rock radio staples.

Phil Brisse / Courtesy

Joel Da Silva came to blues in the Chicago bars he worked in as a teenage bar-back. That’s where he bumped into legends including Junior Wells, Magic Slim, A.C. Reed and Rod Piazza. Well, he didn’t just “bump” into the them; he would pick them up at the airport and deliver them to their hotel.

“Or I would get them barbeque or whatever they wanted,” said Da Silva.

David Carroll / Flickr

Thornetta Davis is known as "Detroit's Queen of the Blues." Her childhood was anything but royal.

"My mom raised four girls with the help of my grandmother," said Davis. "It was an upbringing of turmoil .... my father was an alcoholic and quite violent. When my mother got out of that situation, that's when I feel I started to live."

Charles Osgood Photography

Renee Rosen's new historical novel "Windy City Blues" uses Chicago and its storied blues history as a backdrop to a story about perseverance and coming of age.

"I sort of see it as the story of three people who come to Chicago seeking a better life," said Rosen via Skype from her Chicago home.

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