JAMES A. WILLIAMSON
(born John William Henderson)
b. April 30, 1910
d. December 13, 2006
On a sad note, we have lost a real blues legend this past week. HOMESICK JAMES died Tuesday, December 13. Homesick was 96 years
old. He played many times in and around Fresno. I was introduced to him and got the chance to back him up thanks to
Chris Millar, the valley's ambassador to the blues. - Don Heflin
Another Blues Legend is Gone -- Homesick James
Chicago blues legend Homesick James passed away Wednesday, December 13, at 11:15pm. He was in his mid-90s, but his own
accounts of his age would vary. He passed away resting comfortably in his home in Springfield, Missouri. His wake and
visitation is Friday from 5-7 pm. His funeral is this Saturday December 23 at noon. Both take place at Barlow Funeral
205 N Main St.
Covington, TN 38019-2103
His correct age may remain in doubt (he's claimed he was born as early as 1905), but the slashing slide guitar skills of
Homesick James Williamson have never been in question. Many of his most satisfying recordings have placed him in a solo
setting, where his timing eccentricities don't disrupt the proceedings (though he's made some fine band-backed waxings as well).
Williamson was playing guitar at age ten and soon ran away from his Tennessee home to play at fish fries and dances.
His travels took the guitarist through Mississippi and North Carolina during the 1920s, where he crossed paths with Yank Rachell,
Sleepy John Estes, Blind Boy Fuller, and Big Joe Williams.
Settling in Chicago during the 1930s, Williamson played local clubs and recorded for RCA Victor in 1937. The miles and
gigs had added up before Williamson made some of his finest sides in 1952-53 for Art Sheridan's Chance Records (including the
classic "Homesick" that gave him his enduring stage name).
James also worked extensively as a sideman, backing harp great Sonny Boy Williamson in 1945 at a Chicago gin joint called the
Purple Cat and during the 1950s with his cousin, slide master Elmore James (to whom Homesick is stylistically indebted).
He also recorded with James during the 1950s. Homesick's own output included crashing 45s for Colt and USA in 1962, a fine
1964 album for Prestige, and four tracks on a Vanguard anthology in 1965.
Williamson has never stopped recording and touring: he's done recent albums for Appaloosa and Earwig. No matter
what his current chronological age, there's nothing over-the-hill about the blues of Homesick James Williamson.
The Blues Foundation
More from Who's Who
STATE THEATRE OF MODESTO, INC.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 21, 2006
TAKE A SPIRITUAL JOURNEY TO NEW ORLEANS WITH THE PRESERVATION HALL JAZZ BAND
FEBRUARY 28, 2007 AT THE NEWLY RENOVATED STATE THEATRE OF MODESTO
Preservation Hall Jazz Band - It's not just a band, it's a cultural phenomenon.
Modesto, CA - Wednesday, February, 28, 2007 at 8:00pm the State Theatre of Modesto beckons patrons to enjoy the historic sounds
of pure New Orleans with the legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
There is probably no other group more dedicated to keeping the soul of true New Orleans music alive than the Preservation Hall
Jazz Band - from Dixieland style tunes, southern spirituals, to vintage pop songs - the group's signature
music never fails to have concert-goers parading, sashaying and clapping their way through the aisles. The band takes
listeners back to the days when Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton ruled New Orleans. It's not just a band, it's a
The musical legacy of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band is carried on by Ben Jaffe, bass; Ralph Johnson, clarinet; Joseph
Lastie, Jr., drums; Rickie Monie, piano; Frank Demond, trombone; John Brunious, trumpet; Carl Le Blanc, banjo; Lucien Barbarin,
trombone; and Clint Maedgen, vocalist – is the house band of Preservation Hall, the venerable New Orleans nightspot. The
musicians, who range in age from 29 to 88, have been touring the United States for more than 30 years and recently made
appearances at Carnegie Hall and Wolf Trap, as well as in Thailand and at the Red Sea Jazz Festival in Israel.
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band is known for its repertoire of Dixieland-style tunes, southern spirituals, and vintage pop
songs including: I Ain't Got Nobody, Indy Blues, Memories, and Goin' to the Mardi Gras.
Often, the audience parades around clapping and sashaying as the band launches into their signature piece, When the Saints Go
Awarded the 2006 National Gold Medal of Arts, the nation's highest honor for artistic excellence, the Preservation Hall Jazz
Band has toured the world since 1961 with different line-ups perpetuating the traditional music of New Orleans as emissaries of
this unique American art form. The National Medal of Arts, established by Congress in 1984, is awarded by the President to
those who have made extraordinary contributions to the creation, growth, and support of the arts in the United States.
Immediately after Hurricane Katrina, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band embarked on a world tour bringing attention to the critical
needs of New Orleans and its musicians. In order to provide immediate assistance to musicians, Ben and his wife Sarah Jaffe
founded the New Orleans Musicians Hurricane Relief Fund, www.nomhrf.org.
The group has recorded numerous albums including: Preservation Hall Jazz Band Volumes I - IV, The Best of
Preservation Hall and Preservation Hall Jazz Band Live! produced for Sony Records. In 2004 Preservation Hall launched
its own record label, (spearheaded by Ben Jaffe, son of Preservation Hall's founder, the late Allan Jaffe) as a way of enlivening
and preserving the traditional New Orleans sound. With the recent impact of Hurricane Katrina, preserving that tradition is
more important now than ever and we welcome the group to Modesto as a salute to the Crescent City.
Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Wednesday, February 28, 2007, 8:00 p.m.
Single Tickets: $28 - $37 - $45
Tickets Available: online at www.thestate.org, by phone:
or in person at the State Theatre Box Office at 1307 J Street, one hour prior to performances.
Group rates: 10% discount for groups of 10; 20% discount for groups of 20 or more. Call (209) 527-4697
State Theatre of Modesto
1307 J Street, Modesto - Between 13th and 14th Streets, downtown Modesto
More info, photos and press kits:
RON THOMPSON BLUES FLASH
November 18, 2006
A note of thanks.
As we announced last night, Ron Thompson was on Pete Wilson's KGO Radio show November 17 in a feature called "Best Music
Never Heard". This exclusive gave local musicians a chance to be heard on mainstream radio, and gave the fans a chance
to cast their vote for their favorite performer.
Thanks to YOUR telephone votes and YOUR support, Bay Area's very own rhythm and blues legend RON THOMPSON & HIS RESISTORS
won the most votes and came in first place out of 20 bands!!
Pete Wilson concluded his show by playing "Silvertone Boogie" (Magic Touch CD) in its entirety.
Special thanks to KGO Radio, Pete Wilson, and Brad Kava, music critic for the San Jose Mercury News! Many thanks to all of you for your continued support!
ANNOUNCING CD RELEASE
One of Ron Thompsons old buddys, Cleveland White, known in the music world as Schoolboy Cleve, is among Baton Rouge's
classic blues men. A resident of the San Francisco area since 1959, the 81-year-old singer, harmonica player and
guitarist recently released his first CD. The collection, South to West: Iron and Gold, stretches from his
1950s singles for J.D. Miller's Feature Records and Johnny Vincent's Ace label through the 1990s.
"The CD is sort of a kind of reminiscence for my family, because my grandchildren, my children, they all like to
hear me play the harmonica.", White said from his California home. "I had a lot of stuff that I recorded,
so I decided I better put it on CD for them, because they do cherish this very highly. I like it, too, because it
makes me think back when I was young and performing these things."
White's CD is available from online music retailer
8TH ANNUAL CENTRAL VALLEY BLUES FESTIVAL
ANNOUNCING THE 2006 LINEUP
Courthouse Park, Merced
October 7 & 8, 2006
Saturday, October 7
Big Jack Johnson & The Oilers
T-Model Ford & Spam
Lil' Dave Thompson
Guitar Mac & The Blues Express
Sunday, October 8
Tony Lynn Washington
with special guest Junior Watson
Jackie Payne / Steve Edmonson Band
Red Beans & Rice
Wingnut Adams with Jeramy Norris
FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL:
FESTIVAL HOTLINE: 209-383-4958
RENÉ SOLIS' BLUES GUITAR EXTRAVAGANZA - 2006 SERIES
As creator and producer of the Blues Guitar Extravaganza, René Solis once again brings together the best blues guitarists
in the Bay Area for a series of amazing shows throughout Northern California. Now in its fifth year, this event has impressed
audiences and garnered accolades from media insiders and blues aficionados alike. From its modest beginnings at JJ's Blues
Club in San Jose, this exciting show now commands standing-room only status and usually sells out tickets far in advance.
René is a gifted guitar player and constantly reaches new heights of showmanship and finesse. As bandleader of the
highly popular band NiteCry, René's career has come full circle: in addition to being an exceptional guitarist, he has
also become a well-respected vocalist and songwriter. Over the years, René has been a featured artist at countless
festivals and nightclubs, often sharing the stage with such industry giants as Albert King, Luther Tucker, Joe Louis Walker, Davey
Pattison, and former NiteCry member Tommy Castro.
Saturday April 29 - The Little Fox, Redwood City, CA
Johnny Nitro - The dean of the North Beach blues scene, Johnny has played with Albert King, Albert Collins and Sonny Rhodes.
Al Von Johnson - Winner of the 2005 Guitar Player of the Year Award and a former member of the Rock and Roll Hall of fame vocal
group The Coasters. Bobby Webb - Performed with B.B King, Bobby Bland, Etta James, Percy Mayfield, T-Bone Walker, and Charlie
Musselwhite and recorded albums with Percy Mayfield, Al Rapone, Maxine Howard, and others.
Tuesday May 11 - JJ's Blues, San Jose, CA
Laura Chavez - Guitarist for the Lara Price Band and famously known as "The girl who plays the Hendrix classic 'Little Wing'",
she plays with both emotion and technical ability beyond her years. Max Cabello Jr. - Guitarist, soulful vocalist, and
prolific songwriter from the San Francisco Bay area, has played with John Lee Hooker, Otis Rush, Guitar Shorty, Chris Cain, and more.
Friday June 30 - Moe's Alley, Santa Cruz, CA
Mississippi Lucille - Guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and producer, tours as guitarist for Little Milton and has performed with
Memphis Slim, Dr. John, Gary US Bonds, and many others. Mighty Mike Schermer - Contemporary electric guitarists with an
exciting approach to blues and American roots music. Currently touring behind his second release "Next Set".
Laura Chavez - Guitarist for the Lara Price Band, she plays with both emotion and technical ability beyond her years.
Monday July 7 - Le Chai Wine Lounge, Visalia, CA
Monty Byrom - An outstanding producer, songwriter, singer, and guitarist. Producer and songwriter for Eddie Money.
Maxx Cabello Jr. - Guitarist, soulful vocalist, and prolific songwriter from the San Francisco Bay area, has played with John Lee
Hooker, Otis Rush, Guitar Shorty, Chris Cain, and more. Rudy Parris - Mixing seasoned performers and up-and-coming talent,
this show will also feature the versatile guitarist Rudy Parris. Rudy has been paying his dues warming up audiences for
Merle Haggard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Hank Jr, B.B. King, and Bo Didley.
Monday July 17 - Yoshi's, Oakland, CA
JC Smith - Guitarist from the San Francisco Bay Area, an outstanding performer noted for his energy and charisma. Winner of
Bay Area Blues Society's West Coast Hall of Fame 2006 Band of the Year Award. Laura Chavez - Guitarist for the Lara Price
Band, she plays with both emotion and technical ability beyond her years.
Saturday September 9 - Modesto Blues Festival, Modesto, CA
Paul Wood - The only surviving member of John Lee Hooker's original Coast To Coast Blues Band, Paul has recorded with such artists
as Van Morrison, Charlie Musselwhite, and toured as a solo artist. AC Myles - This accomplished young guitarist has been to
Europe with rock n' roll legend Joe Houston and has released two albums of entirely original material. Laura Chavez -
Guitarist for the Lara Price Band, she plays with both emotion and technical ability beyond her years. Jimmy Hartley -
Guitarist and vocalist for The Studebaker Blues Band, Jimmy's solos can go seamlessly from country twang to blues and funk to
classic rock. The Studebaker Blues Band - This popular Central Valley blues band is widely known for their rousing live
sets of both blues standards and original material.
Friday October 27 - Villa Montalvo, Saratoga, CA
Sammy Varela - Smooth and soulful guitarist with the Sista Monica Band, Gary Smith and many others. Mighty Mike Schermer -
Contemporary electric guitarist with an exciting approach to blues and American roots music. Currently touring behind his
second release "Next Set". Gary Smith - An influential figure in the San Francisco Bay Area Blues scene, his was the
first band to grace the stage at the inaugural San Francisco Blues Festival in 1973. Regarded as the Godfather of San Jose
Blues Harmonica, his harp playing prowess really shows off his Little Walter-influenced tone.
COLE FONSECA BENEFIT CONCERT & LIVE AUCTION
Saturday, February 4, 2006
On behalf of Cole and the Cole Fonseca Benefit Fund, I want to extend a tremendous and heart felt THANK U to Stan Ruffo,
Mezcal, A.C. Myles Band, Trey Tosh who joined in and impressed everyone, Mento Buru, Ron Thompson, MoFo Party Band, Don Heflin,
Ed with Mountain Sound, Rudy Parris, Aaron Knight, Eric Frame, The Printer, Inc. in Corcoran / Phillip Aurand, the CFBCA
Committee; Suzi Q, Pescado Pete & Pescado Cathy, John Crow, my three brothers from Pismo Beach; Jared, Mitch and Dittier,
The Security Giants; Moose and Jon Weldon, Mrs. Weldon, the Display Girls, The Visalia Fox Theater and staff, our Web Master
John Henry, all of the businesses who donated towards Cole's Benefit and most of all, my wife Beth who went the extra ten and a
half miles and brought it all together for the awesome job they did with Love and diligence to make the Cole Fonseca Benefit
Concert & Auction a tremendous success. We were all impressed with the out-pouring of Love and Compassion they and all
who attended gave Cole. The support of the Blues Family in the Central Valley has left an impact of the Fonseca family and
on Cole. We bless you with Health, Peace, Joy, and Love.
The performances by all bands were awesome, they gave 100%. The crowed was rocked with 1 band on the outside with the
Food Court ( Kudos to Pescado Pete) while waiting in line, and 5 bands on the inside. We had an estimated 850 people who
attended, over 22 different buyers at the Auction. We raffled off a 2006 Chopper that caught everyone's eye, we had a great
time in Visalia with the Blues.
As was spoken at the concert, Cole is in need of a timely operation on his arm in order to regain the use of it. Cole is
currently undergoing rigorous therapy to prepare his arm for a scheduled surgery by the most premier surgeon of the world in
March. We achieved an awesome dent into the needed amount for this surgery at the Benefit Concert and Auction. We
cleared $27K and are filled with gratitude for ALL who participated in each of their own ways. We have three weeks to go
and still need $19K more to have to pay as a 1/2 payment at the time of the operation, or it will not happen. Because time
is of the essence, we are extending an urgent plea to all who may have wanted to donate, or would like to again donate more to
visit the Cole Fonseca Benefit website at www.colefonsecabenefit.com to help us reach our goal for this operation. OR you
can mail your donations to:
Kingdom Builders / Cole Fonseca Benefit
Post Office Box 790
Pismo Beach, CA 93448-0790
If You can help us, we will be deeply grateful to all. I am looking forward to seeing Cole continue his contribution to
the Blues Music Industry. If I have missed anyone who gave their time to help Cole, I am sorry, I do appreciate you as well.
After a tough 5 weeks it is hard to recall everyone.
Thank you, sincerely,
Bishop Alan Fonseca
THE FRESNO BEE BEEHIVE BLOG SITE
I'm pleased to announce that I'm now blogging about Fresno music/culture on the Fresno Bee Beehive blog site.
The address to the site is
To go directly to my entires, go to
I just started last week so I'm still trying to get a feel for what my content is going to be like. This much I know:
I want to give people some insight about what's happening in Fresno so they can get out and explore some of the great things our
city has to offer.
Many of my enteries will have to do with music, which should be no surprise. Everyday, I'll try to give people options
of things to do that day, as well as report of any news that's happening. Sometimes you'll see stuff before it appears in
I'll also be bringing you added content. I'm going to start a Band of the Week feature, each week picking a band/artist
that deserves some attention, interviewing them, linking some of their music, etc. (if you're interested in more on this,
e-mail me back and I'll tell you what it's about and how to be involved). I've already reported on my own adventures in
town, talking about shows I go to and sharing my pictures. I'll ask people if they have questions for national acts that
Most of all, I just want to engage people and bring our music scene together. The different cliques in town have their
own eStomping Ground, but I'm trying to unite it all under one umbrella.
As always, I encourage everyone if you have anything to share, anything you think I should be paying attention to, or if you
just wanna speak your mind, let me hear it. But now you have a new forum.
Thanks for reading. Please pass this along to your friends, too.
Music Writer - Lifestyle Columnist
The Fresno Bee
1626 E Street
Fresno, CA 93786
TOMMY CASTRO BAND
ON TOUR IN SUPPORT OF NEW CD & DVD
Dear Blues Fans
The Blues Foundation has announced that
Tommy Castro has been nominated for two Blues Music Awards. Castro received one nomination for "Contemporary Blues
Male Artist of the Year" and his best-selling CD release, Soul Shaker, got the nomination for "Contemporary Blues
Album of the Year".
The Tommy Castro Band is currently on tour in support of their new DVD release "Whole Lotta Soul" featuring songs
from Soul Shaker, plus exclusive interview footage. "Whole Lotta Soul" was recorded live at the Sierra Nevada
Brewery, in Chico, CA
Catch the Tommy Castro Band at these upcoming appearances:
||Pleasant Hill, CA
||Community Concert Series
||Mill Valley, CA
||Black Oak Casino
||Black Oak Casino
Blind Pig Records