Saturday, April 21, 2018

Edward David Anderson to perform at Kiss The Sky in Batavia as part of Record Store Day



By ERIC SCHELKOPF 

On his forthcoming album, Edward David Anderson gets back to being part of a band.

The former St. Charles resident, who has called Bloomington home for the past 15 years, will perform at 8 p.m. April 21 at Kiss The Sky record store, 180 First St., Batavia, as part of Record Store Day.

I had the chance to talk to Anderson about his new album, "Chasing Butterflies," set for release in October. The album was produced by well-known Jimmy Nutt, who has worked with the likes of Percy Sledge, Drive-By Truckers and Jason Isbell.

"Chasing Butterflies" was recorded at The NuttHouse Recording Studio in Sheffield, Alabama.


Q – Jimmy Nutt has a pretty impressive resume. How was it working with him? 

It was great. He was really laid back. He has a lot of good musical ideas. 

He was fortunate enough to work under Rick Hall, who just passed away, the engineer at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Jimmy worked with Rick for more than a decade, I believe.



I knew from the first conversation that I had with him on the phone that he would be somebody that I would work well with. He's a collaborator. He's definitely open to everybody's ideas. 

It was the first time I did a record where everybody played together, like a band style, since being in Backyard Tire Fire. The other couple of records were kind of pieced together.


I sang everything live and they're all basically live vocal takes from playing and singing with the guys. It has that kind of live feel to it, I think.

It felt like it was a pretty easy record to make, all things considered. Everybody really showed up ready to do their job. It was a very fun experience.

Q – What kind of goals did you have for the album and do you think you achieved them?

I think so. I wanted to play with dudes together in the same room. That's what I wanted to do. I wanted to actually have a band together. 

Everybody was very focused and ready to go. 

Q – It does seem like authentic music is back in the spotlight, with the advent of roots music a few years back.

I agree. I feel like people kind of have that radar for what's coming from the right place, and what's not, or at least some people do. 


Q – So will you be playing some of these new songs at Kiss The Sky?

I definitely will be a lot of songs from the new one that I just recorded. It will be a mixture of old, new and really new, which is usually the case for me. I always get excited when I write a new batch of songs and play them long before I record them.

Q – How do you think your music has evolved over the years?

With this batch of tunes that I just wrote in the last few weeks, I've stripped it down. I'm trying to really trim the fat, if you will.

I'm just trying to really make sure that every word that's in there needs to be there.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Guitarist Anthony Gomes to bring energetic show April 14 to Brauerhouse in Lombard


 By ERIC SCHELKOPF
 
Those who spent any time at Chord on Blues in St. Charles knows the electricity Anthony Gomes creates on stage.

Gomes was a regular at the club, which closed several years ago. So it should come as no surprise that in November 2017, Gomes won Best Musician (Performance) at the 37th Annual European Blues Awards. And he was named  "One of the Top Ten Guitarists in the World" by Music Taster's Choice.

People can see and hear for themselves when the Toronto born musician at 9 p.m. April 14 at Brauerhouse, 1000 N. Rohlwing Road, Lombard. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door, available at ticketfly.com.

I had the chance to talk to Gomes about his career and the upcoming show.


Q – As far as what people should expect from the show, are you going to play from all 11 of your albums?

Yeah. Of course, we're supporting our latest release, "Electric Field Holler." We'll do that, and then a couple new songs. We're working on a new album, and sort of testing them out.

Q – You've gotten a lot of attention lately. Music Taster's Choice named you "One of the Top Ten Guitarists in the World." What do you say about something like that?

That was quite the honor, for them to say that. First of all, it's nice to be acknowledged. And there's so many wonderful players out there. 

It's really hard to judge what the best is. But to be acknowledged is certainly an honor. And it's something to be proud of, to be recognized for your craft.


We'll take it anyway we can get it. 

Q – Of course, you were also named Best Musician (Performance) at the 37th Annual European Blues Awards. What do you try to do in your live shows?

Well, we're trying to move people. We're trying to move people emotionally and make them feel good, make them feel alive, make them feel happy, make them feel sad, and at the end of the day, feel uplifted that they came to a show.


I think that a good concert is almost like a sacred experience. It's a musical event, and it channels you and it takes you someplace else.

It's more than a collection of favorite songs being presented. It's a moving, interactive experience, an exchange of energy and ideas through music.

Q – What about those people who are videotaping the entire concert using their cell phone? Is that distracting? 

No, not for me. They just make us work harder. You're going to put your cell phone down, and say, "Damn, I forgot to record." 

 Q – You released "Electric Field Holler" in 2015. It seems like there should be a story behind the name of the album.

Yeah, well, field holler is the origins of the blues. The blues grew out of field hollers, songs that people were singing while working in the fields.


And a lot of times they were a way to deal with the harsh conditions. To me, that's the beginning of the blues. 

It's another way of saying blues. It's my way of saying blues rock, or electric blues, or taking those field hollers and bringing them into the future, with electric instruments.

To me, it all deals with the blues, the past, the present and the future.

Q – You are a blues history scholar. Do you believe it's important for people to be educated on the roots behind blues music and do you try to do that through your music?

I understood Jimi Hendrix a lot more when I understood about B.B. King and Robert Johnson. He made a lot more sense to me, just because I could trace the music. So yeah, it's pretty important.

If it wasn't for all the ancestors of music, I wouldn't be playing the music that I'm playing. When I'm playing, I'm playing on the souls and arms and backs of all these great people that came before me. And when I'm gone, people will continue to do so.

Q – Morgan Freeman joked that you were "not bad for a white guy." Where did he see you?

In Clarksdale, Mississippi. He owns a club called Ground Zero, a blues club. And he would go there and hang out.

He is such a wonderful person and a very kind man. It was a pleasure to meet him.

Q – You've shared the stage with the likes of B.B. King and Buddy Guy. What have you learned from being on the stage with them?

It's a master class, just being in their presence. You're in awe. You are sitting there with your heroes.

They're your superheroes. B.B. King was my superman. And there I am, standing next to him. And it's like so surreal.

Q – And it seems like a project that's very near and dear to you is your Music Is the Medicine Foundation, which you started in 2010. Have you seen the foundation do a lot of good over the years?

Yeah, you know, we started out very humbly, and now we've grown to do some amazing things. In the beginning, we presented some instruments and instruction.

We had this one gentleman who had post traumatic stress disorder. And he couldn't speak for years. And he got a guitar, and in these lessons, he started to speak again, because music was a gateway to open up communication.


And the most recent thing we're doing is we're working with a choir made up of mentally ill patients in Montreal at Montreal General Hospital. And we have now raised enough money to supply them in a recording studio, a fully functioning recording studio in this hospital so this choir can make albums.

We've done some really cool things to spearhead music therapy and using music as a healer.

Q – Because you do believe that music can heal.

Absolutely. Every night we play, I see people that are reacting, crying or smiling or laughing.

Music can change the temperature in the room. Music is such a powerful, moving force. 

Sometimes, as an artist, you get so caught up in the art and how many records are you selling and your chart position that you forget there is a much bigger thing attached to the music.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Vinyl records, live music to be featured at CHIRP Record Fair & Other Delights


By ERIC SCHELKOPF

Whether you are a record collector or just want to hear some music, the 16th annual CHIRP Record Fair & Other Delights will offer something for everyone.

The event will be held from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 14 at Plumbers Hall, 1340 W. Washington Blvd., Chicago. Tickets start at $8, and are available at www.eventbrite.com.

Avery R. Young, James Swanberg, Graham Nelson, Bob Gerics and Earth Program will perform at the event. I had the chance to talk to Shawn Campbell, general manager/founder of Chicago Independent Radio Project, or CHIRP, about the upcoming record fair and the radio industry.


Q – This is CHIRP's first record fair since the station went from being internet-only radio to coming to the airwaves last October. How has it being going?


Great. We've gotten a really nice response. People are excited about it, and people are definitely discovering the station that way. 

Q – Are you concentrating mainly on local musicians? 

Not mainly. We certainly have a focus on local musicians, but it's not the only thing that we do. We definitely plays local artists every single hour of the day. 

Q – The radio industry is an ever changing industry. Is that a good thing that the radio industry is changing, because maybe now people are willing to give another station a chance instead of just tuning into a radio station they usually listen to?

Obviously it is a really strange time for the radio business. And I think that what we're seeing is kind of two things – We're seeing commercial radio have a lot of struggles. It's losing a lot of listeners.

But I think that commercial radio is responsible for some of that themselves for being really unadventurous and really kind of betraying its commitment to localism, which is radio's huge strength, the fact that it's a local medium.

At the same time, community stations and public stations, like CHIRP, have a real opportunity to reach people who really do care about that sort of connection. We're talking about things that are happening in their community, we're talking about shows that we go to that perhaps they might be interested in going to.

We're talking about artists that we're discovering here in Chicago. And I think that there is a real hunger for that connection at a time when every thing in the world is available at your fingertips.

I think that's something that CHIRP does really well. Our DJs are really passionate music fans. They're always excited about the music that they're finding, and they love to share those things with listeners.

Our audience is made up of people who really do love music, and are looking to explore in a way that they're not finding in commercial radio.

Q – You've been involved in the local music scene for a while, and founded CHIRP in 2007. This is CHIRP's 16th year of its record fair. What's new this year? What should people expect this year? 

Well, we have more dealer tables than ever before. I think we were at 112 tables the last time I checked.

We will have two levels of dealers. And we've got some live music performances going on downstairs. We've got DJs on the main stage. 


We have a little something for everyone. We call it the CHIRP Record Fair & Other Delights, so we always like to have some things going on that are interesting to people who might be there with a partner who is more enthusiastic about record collecting than they are.

We provide the live music, and we've got some dancers this year, I understand. 

Q – How many people usually attend the event? 

Usually between 1,000 and 1,200 people. We always hope for more people, and certainly hope that the word continues to get out.

We obviously know that we have a lot of people that are serious collectors and people who love to buy vinyl, but we also always hope that people come out who are just involved in the music scene in Chicago and think this is a cool event and want to see what's going on.

Q – So does the station have any goals for the year? 

We worked for 10 years to get the broadcast up and running. We're still feeling real good and excited about the fact that we got that done, and I think that we just want to continue to reach more people and let them know that we exist.

We know that there are a lot of people who are not even aware of the station. We aren't like the big stations that have tens of thousands of dollars for an advertising budget. We can't buy billboards on the Kennedy or anything like that.

We're aware that some people just never listen to the radio online. We spent about 10 years as an online  only station, and now we definitely want to get the word out to people that they can listen to us on 107.1 FM on the north side of Chicago.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Aaron Neville, Elle King to headline Blues on the Fox festival June 15 and 16 in downtown Aurora

Photo by Tom King
Grammy-winning singer and musician Aaron Neville along with Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Elle King will headline the 22nd annual Blues on the Fox festival, which will be held June 15 and 16 at RiverEdge Park, 360 N. Broadway Ave. in downtown Aurora.

Gates will open at 6 p.m. June 15 for day one of the festival. Kansas City blues singer-songwriter Samantha Fish will take the stage at 7 p.m., followed by King, best known for her Top 10 hit “Ex’s and Oh’s.”

Gates open at 2 p.m. June 16 for day two. At 3 p.m., 14-year-old guitar phenom Brandon “Taz” Niederauer, who starred on Broadway in "The School of Rock," takes the stage. 
CTA bus driver turned blues musician Toronzo Cannon will perform at 5 p.m., followed by slide guitar legend Sonny Landreth at 7 p.m. Neville, who has three Grammy awards under his belt, will close the night at 9 p.m.

Early bird tickets are only $20 per day if purchased through May 31. Regular tickets are $30 per day starting June 1 and on-site. 

All tickets are general admission and fees are not included. Children 12 and under are admitted free, but must be accompanied by an adult 18 years or older.

Tickets and information are available at RiverEdgeAurora.com, by calling the RiverEdge box office at 630-896-6666, or at RiverEdge’s satellite box office, the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.

The RiverEdge box office will also be open on-site both days, beginning at noon.




MORE ABOUT THE BANDS

Friday, June 15

Gates open: 6 p.m.

7 p.m. - Samantha Fish 
“An impressive blues guitarist.” “Sings with sweet power.” “Kicked down the door of the patriarchal blues club.” The critics can’t get enough! The soulful, rootsy Samantha Fish is a musical force that refuses to be confined to a box. While she doesn’t peg herself as a traditional blues artist, it’s her deep love for the genre that’s at the heart of who she is and what she does.

Originally from Kansas City, Fish exploded on the scene in 2009 as the Samantha Fish Blues Band with her live album, "Live Bait." The rock-edged guitar work brought her to the attention of Ruf Records, which included her on the 2011 "Girls with Guitars" album of women covering the Rolling Stones and the Steve Miller Band along with original material. Later that year, Fish released her solo debut, "Runaway," also with Ruf Records. She saw her first chart success with her sophomore LP, "Black Wind Howlin'." It hit the Billboard Heatseekers chart and reached the Top Ten of the blues albums chart in 2013. She followed it with "Wild at Heart" in 2015, which became a blues number one. In 2017, she returned with "Chills & Fever," recorded in Detroit with members of the Detroit Cobras, and her fifth studio album, "Belle of the West."
Samantha Fish "Chills & Fever"

9 p.m. - Elle King 
Singer, songwriter and occasional actor Elle King, best known for her Billboard Top 10 hit “Ex’s and Oh’s,” will make you question everything you thought you knew about the blues. With a hard rock edge and debut album that dropped just three short years ago, earning her two Grammy Award nominations for Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song, she is tearing up the charts. Frank and fearless, tender and rowdy, King’s music is unbeatable and unstoppable. 

King was born Tanner Elle Schneider in 1989 in Los Angeles, the daughter of British model London King and Rob Schneider, the former cast member of "Saturday Night Live." She grew up in Ohio, and after hearing the all-girl pop-punk band the Donnas when she was nine, she decided she wanted to be a singer and musician. By 13 she was playing guitar, and later, the banjo. After college she spent time in Copenhagen and L.A. before settling in Brooklyn. Signing to RCA, she released a four-song EP, "The Elle King EP," in 2012. In 2015, King released her debut album, "Love Stuff," featuring the single "Ex's & Oh's," which reached the top of Billboard's Alternative Songs chart. In 2016, King recorded a duet with Dierks Bentley, “Different for Girls,” for his album, "Black." The track was released as a single, rose to number one on the Country Airplay charts, was nominated for a Grammy for Best Country Duo/Group Performance, and won a Country Music Association trophy for Best Vocal Event of the Year.
Elle King "Ex's & Oh's" official video

Saturday, June 16

Gates: 2 p.m.

3 p.m. - Brandon “Taz” Niederauer
Fourteen years old. Let that sink in for a moment. Brandon Niederauer – nicknamed Taz - is just 14 years old and has already played in the most legendary places in America with some of the most prominent musicians of our time. Taz’s love for music began when he watched the film "School of Rock" and realized he wanted to play guitar. Four years later, he was cast as guitarist Zack Mooneyham in the Tony Award-nominated Broadway production of "School of Rock."

Since then, the New York City-based phenom has played with Gregg Allman, Buddy Guy, Stevie Nicks, Lady Gaga, Slash, Jon Batiste, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, Dr. John, Otis Taylor and many more. If you want to see a rising star, be sure to check out Taz. 
Brandon Niederauer plays The Star Spangled Banner on Broadway in "School of Rock: The Musical"

5 p.m. – Toronzo Cannon
Toronzo Cannon is a Chicago Transit Authority bus driver by day, and an amazing blues player by night - or whenever he’s on tour either in the United States or on another continent shredding the guitar like it stole his girl. With influences from the likes of B.B. King, Al Green, Jimi Hendrix and many other legends, Cannon has honed his style into a biting, singing guitar sound that’s all his own.

A modern blues master with compelling and forceful singing, Cannon has been hailed “one of Chicago’s new greats,” by the Chicago Sun-Times. His unofficial launch from local hero to national star took place on June 13, 2015, at the Chicago Blues Festival, where he performed as a festival headliner. His album "The Chicago Way" is his Alligator label debut, featuring nothing but Cannon originals, all powered by his blistering guitar and soul-baring vocals. His songwriting is inspired by his deep, homegrown Chicago roots, his years observing the public while working as a city bus driver on the West Side, and his own battles and triumphs. From searing blues anthems to swinging shuffles to soulful ballads to roof-raising rockers, the songs tell timeless stories of common experiences in uncommon ways.
Toronzo Cannon performs "Sweet, Sweet, Sweet"

7 p.m. - Sonny Landreth
Eric Clapton calls guitarist, songwriter and singer Sonny Landreth not only one of the most underappreciated musicians on the planet but also one of the most advanced. With praise like that, you don’t need another reason to see this blues master and slide guitarist. This virtuoso Southwest Louisiana blues man may be underappreciated, but when you see Landreth live, you’re gonna be in awe at the incredible craftsmanship and skill.

Landreth’s signature blues slide guitar playing found on his two early Zoo Entertainment releases, "Outward Bound "(1992) and "South of I-10" (1995), is distinctive and unlike anything else you've ever heard. His unorthodox guitar style comes from the manner in which he simultaneously plays slide and makes fingering movements on the fretboard. Today, Landreth is known as the “King of Slydeco,” famous for his easygoing personality and ability to play it all like any good session musician. Since 1981, Landreth has released 17 albums and collaborated with some of the biggest names in guitar: Mark Knopfler, Eric Johnson, Derek Trucks, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Buffet, John Hiatt and more. His latest album, "Recorded Live in Lafayette," was nominated for a Grammy Award as best contemporary blues album. 
Sonny Landreth "Blues Attack" from the album "Recorded Live in Lafayette"

9 p.m. - Aaron Neville 

To close Blues on the Fox, three-time Grammy Award-winner, R&B singer and musician Aaron Neville will “tell it like it is” as only he can. Having one of the most evocative and recognizable voices in American music, Aaron Neville is an international ambassador of New Orleans R&B, though his soaring falsetto sounds at home in many styles. Coming of age in the incredibly creative 1950s Crescent City R&B scene, Neville gained national attention with his 1966 hit “Tell It Like It Is,” the stirring ballad and #1 hit, as well as with the Wild Tchoupitoulas, a touring Mardi Gras celebration that led to the creation of the Neville Brothers band — an institution that would confirm Neville’s iconic status.

Over his four-time Grammy-winning solo career, Neville has scored a string of hits including “Tell It Like It Is,” memorable duets with Linda Ronstadt including "Don't Know Much" and a hugely popular cover of Main Ingredient’s “Everybody Plays the Fool.” With his latest album, "Apache," a solo album that makes the case for Aaron Neville as the most holistic of soul men. Its hard R&B side matches anything the Neville Brothers ever recorded for true grit, while still allowing plenty of space for a singer who’s arguably the most distinctive vocal stylist on the planet to tell it like it is. 

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Chicago blues musician Mud Morganfield releases new album, will perform at SPACE in Evanston

Photo by Paul Natkin

By ERIC SCHELKOPF

Chicago is well represented on the latest album by Mud Morganfield, a Chicago native himself and the son of Chicago blues legend Muddy Waters.

Not only was "They Call Me Mud" recorded at JoyRide Studios in Chicago, the album also features several Chicago area musicians, including guitarist Billy Flynn and Studebaker John on harmonica and backing vocals. Special guest stars on the album include Billy Branch on harmonica, Mike Wheeler on guitar and his Morganfield's daughter, Lashunda Williams.

Morganfield and many of the musicians who performed on the album will join him on stage as part of a CD release party on April 5 at SPACE, 1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets range from $17 to $27, available by going to evanstonspace.com.

I had the chance to talk to him about the CD and the upcoming show.


Q – I know you consider the songs on "They Call Me Mud" some of the best work you have done.

It gets better and better for me, man. This variety has a variety of stuff on it. Many, many people can take something away from this album.



It's a buffet, man. You can get a pick of a little jazzy stuff with Billy Branch on "Mud's Groove," and you can get some funk blues with "They Can Me Mud." And behind that, there's a B.B. King kind of sound that Billy Flynn brought to "48 Days."

Not to mention the ballads, man. I think it's a buffet for everybody to eat off of.

Q – To me, the album has a real live feel to it. I could imagine a lot of these songs sounding the same on stage as they do on the record. Did you try to create some of that live feel on this CD?

Not particularly. I took this great band into the studio, and that is the end result of it. We were all there together in the studio. I was the only one in a separate booth, me and my daughter.

At Joyride Studios, the band is in one big room. There weren't any tracks laid down. Everybody did these tracks at the same time. 

Q – You and your daughter, Lashunda Williams, appear together on the duet, "Who Loves You." What was it like working with her?

It was like pulling teeth, man. She's a gospel singer, and I had to do a little persuading for her to do it.

She's a God-fearing young woman, you know. But I'm her dad, and Muddy Waters is her granddad, and she came around, and assisted me on that one tune. It was great working with her.

Q – How did the band come together for this album? Did you hand pick these musicians or how did it come about?

I produced the album, and I knew the sound I was looking for. I knew what I wanted, man.

These guys are a bunch of great guys. They are a bunch of great musicians. They wanted to be a part of it. What you got is the end result, and I am happy and honored to be able to play with them.

Q – And I know many of the musicians will be playing at the CD release show at SPACE, right?

I'm going to get as many as I can to come down if they not working at another gig. We're going to have a great time, man. 

Q – You include a couple of your dad's songs on the album, "Howling Wolf" and "Can't Get No Grindin.' " What made you want to put those songs on the album and did you want to do something different with the songs than they were originally played?

Anything I put out, you can almost bet your bottom dollar I'm going to put a song or two of my dad's on there. It's my way of respecting and honoring my dad.



It's my way of saying, "I love you, dad." I thank God that him and my mom was able to give me the same talent as dad had. 

And I enjoy it. I really enjoy it. I'm more comfortable there. 

When I was growing up, I tried to sing like Tyrone Davis and Johnnie Taylor,  and everything come out of my mouth just sounding like Muddy Waters. So I'm not going to fight that, I'm just going to make good music for our fans and friends and family. That's my goal.

Q – As far as some of things that your dad taught you, did he want you to go into the music business?

I was born into the blues. My dad didn't really teach me much about the music business. Everything was God given and straight from his bloodline.


Q – Of course, we've lost so many blues legends in the past few years. What do you try to do with your music to carry on the blues?

You've got it right there in your hands, "They Call Me Mud." What else can I do? That's all I can do, is what you've got there in your hands, until I do the next album.



And there's no telling. I'm considering doing a gospel album. I keep an open mind.

There's no telling which way my spirit may lead me. But I'll always stay around that bluesy stuff. 

Q – Do you have any dream projects or collaborations?

I would probably be featuring my daughter a little more if she is up to it. 

Q – When you work with family, I guess that's what it is all about, right?

Yeah. It takes you kind of out of the business end of it. It's from the heart, because you love each other, you know.

And that's what I like about the song that me and her did. It ran deeper than just us doing a duet. It was really comfortable, and we did it from our hearts.