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2008 News March 21, 2019   

September 1, 1963 - December 7, 2008

Jimmy Hartley Studebaker Blues Band It is with a very deep pain in my heart that I inform you that Jimmy Hartley has passed away.  Details are still coming but there will be a service on Saturday.  Date and time will follow.

Jimmy played several times at my club in Merced and rocked on stage with many of us including the infamous night with Danny Castro and Coco Montoya.  I will never forget the red tennis shoes.

If any one wants to car pool to his service please let us know.  We will see what we can work out

Rudy & Cindy Merino

From the Lodi News-Sentinel:

James "Jimmy" Earl Hartley, 45, of Lodi, died on December 7.  He was born on September 1, 1963, in Van Nuys.

Mr. Hartley moved to Lodi in 1975 where he resided until moving to Nevada.  He later moved to Modesto and eventually returned to Lodi in April of 2007.  Mr. Hartley was a blues guitarist who played with the "Would Be Famous Band" and the Studebaker Blues Band and enjoyed playing chess and competing in chess tournaments.

Mr. Hartley is survived by his wife, Vicky Hartley, of Lodi; son, Daniel Hartley; mother, Diane Hartley; father and step-mother, Clarence and Eve Hartley; brother, Richard Hartley; sister, June Hartley; and grandmother, June Dooling.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Grace Presbyterian Church with the Rev. Dr. Davis S. Hill officiating.  Committal will be private and there will be no visitation.

Memorial contributions may be made to Lodi High School Music Dept., 3 South Pacific Ave., Lodi, CA 95242.

Donahue Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

November 21, 2008
Concert Hall, Music Building, Fresno State University

Friday, November 21st at 7:30 at the Concert Hall at CSU Fresno, Roger Gonzales will be presenting his final presentation to complete his Masters Degree.  The presentation is a historical look at West Fresno Blues and the Juke Joints that local and traveling bluesmen played in after WWII.  The presentation will include a DVD of interviews of Fresno bluesmen such as Warren Milton, Papa Bear, Ed Burke, Da Doo Wilson, Bobby Logan and Woody Miller of KLIP radio and performances by these wonderful men of the blues.

There is a great deal of history to be told about the Blues of West fresno and its importance to the West Coast Blues Scene.  This presentation will shed new light on the Juke Joints of the West Side and where the blues really took place in the Fresno area.  This is a part of California's music history that has not been told but definitely deserves to be.  Hope you can attend.

Blues Foundation

Judy Maxwell, New York, NY is the lucky member who will enjoy a cabin for two on the January 2009 Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise, sailing January 24-31.  While technically worth thousands of dollars, its true value in music, 24/7 fun and lifetime friends is priceless.  Taj Mahal, Etta James, Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Tommy Castro -- oh the list just goes on and on as does the fun on board.  She will go sailing with the likes of EG Kight, John Hammond, The Holmes Brothers, Jimmy Thackery and Reba Russell, as well as recent IBC favorites Trampled Under Foot and the Homemade Jamz Blues Band.

Mike Workman, Fresno, CA will receive the second prize, a black and gold Gibson Little Lucille guitar with a .B.B. King nameplate, autographed by nominees at the 25th Blues Music Awards in 2004, including Rory Block, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Michael Burks, Guitar Shorty, Bettye LaVette, Little Milton, Maria Muldaur, Charlie Musselwhite, Pinetop Perkins, Bobby Rush, Kim Wilson and many more.  Mike will be the only one around with this collector's item.

Third prize is the Live at the North Atlantic Blues Festival "His Last Concert" DVD by Little Milton.  These were donated by Paul E. Benjamin, President of The Blues Foundation Board of Directors and Co-Producer of the North Atlantic Blues Festival.

The 20 members who will receive a copy of the DVD are:

Larry Chastain, Winder, GA
Christy Clemons, Royse City, TX
Edwin Covert, Hagerstown, MD
Lou Friedman, West Sayville, NY
Diunna Greenleaf, Houston, TX
David Jokela, Rock, MI
Pam Kaufman, Bettendorf, IA
Larry Locke, Austin, TX
Larry Nunnery, Houston, TX
Edward Orlowski, Dearborn MI
Roger Pettit, Shorewood, WI
Gayle Pothoff, Midland, TX
Ella Shafer, Rockbridge, OH
John Skovmand, Ventura, CA
David Weiss, Spartanburg, SC
Nancy Edwards, Beverly Hills, FL
Jim Ashworth, Fort Worth, TX
Tage Vosbein, Copenhagen, Denmark
Wendell Franklin, Rogers, AR
Douglas Ketchum, Fayetteville, GA

Home of Blues Blast Magazine

The winners of the 2008 Blues Blast Music Awards were announced Sunday, November 2nd, 2008 at a Gala Blues celebration at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago, IL.

The award winners are:

Best Contemporary Blues Recording - Holmes Brothers - State Of Grace
Best Traditional Blues Recording - Lurrie Bell - Let's Talk About Love
Best New Artist Debut Recording - John Nemeth - Magic Touch
Best Blues Song - Nick Moss - Mistakes from the Past
Best Male Artist - Buddy Guy
Best Female Artist - Koko Taylor
Best Blues Band - Magic Slim and The Teardrops
Rising Star Award - John Nemeth

Blues Blast Magazine also awarded their first ever Lifetime Achievement Award to Delta Blues Legend David "Honeyboy" Edwards.  The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes significant contributions and a lifetime body of work in the field of Blues music.

The ceremonies included performances by Magic Slim and the Teardrops, Lurrie Bell, Matthew Skollar, Nick Moss, Gerry Hundt , John Nemeth, The Kilborn Alley Blues Band, Dave Riley, Bob Corritore, Eden Brent, Sugar Ray Norcia, Teeny Tucker, Gina Sicilia, Dave Gross, Tim "Too Slim" Langford and others.

The winners were chosen by the 11,000 Blues Blast magazine readers from all 50 states and more than 40 countries voting at the IllinoisBlues.com website.  There was no cost or fees to be eligible to vote.  These awards truly represent the Peoples Choice for the best in Blues music.

Celebrity award presenters included Eric Steiner, president of the Washington Blues Society, Linda Cain Publisher of
ChicagoBluesGuide.com, Chicago Blues woman Deb Seitz, August "Lordy" Lord, owner of ChicagoBluesBeat.com, Blues Writer James "Skyy Dobro" Walker, Blues Songwriter, Musician, DJ and Journalist, Ben Cox, Matt Eimer, Promoter of the Simply The Blues Fest in Fort Madison, Iowa and Kate Moss Publicity director for Blue Bella Records.

The sponsors of the Blues Blast Music Awards were WGL Blues 24/7 a FREE online Blues Music stream and Podcast from WGLT radio, a public radio station in Normal, Illinois (www.WGLT.org) and The Chicago Blues Guide (www.ChicagoBluesGuide.com)

Blues Blast magazine is a FREE weekly Blues "web-zine" available from IllinoisBlues.com.  The Blues Blast Music Awards recognize the best of today's Blues music.

A group of Blues industry professionals including artists, music writers, radio D.J.'s, artist managers and festival promoters selected five nominees in each of the eight categories.  Voting for the awards took place during July and August online at the IllinoisBlues.com website.  More than 2000 votes were cast and the awards ceremonies were a celebration of the artists and the music that represent the best in Blues music today.

October 12, 1929 - September 20, 2008
From Piedmont Talent:

Nappy Brown On Saturday night at 10:30 pm Nappy left us.  He went peacefully in his sleep.  A service for Saturday.  Nappy Brown, one of the last remaining classic R&B vocalists and blues shouters, is featured on the cover and in the lead article in Living Blues magazine #191.

The seven page article chronicles Brown's life from his birth in 1929 in Charlotte, North Carolina as well as his highly successful singing career which began with a series of hit recordings in the mid 1950s.  During his heyday, in the mid to late 50s, Nappy was a prolific recording artist for Savoy Records and a much-in-demand stage performer, often playing every night and touring all over the country.  During that period he traveled and performed with Jackie Wilson, Ray Charles, Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Howlin' Wolf, Little Richard, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Eddie Cleanhead Vinson, and T-Bone Walker.  He provided ground-breaking hit songs for other artists, one of his biggest being "Night Time Is The Right Time" which was recorded and made famous by Ray Charles in 1958.

Nappy Brown was active as a performer until the end, performing until his illness was too much.  His last CD was recorded with a group of younger musicians with an abiding knowledge of and respect for Nappy's music and the era of its greatest success.  Guitarists Sean Costello and Junior Watson, among others, provided superb backing for Nappy on Long Time Coming, his first studio recording in many years, which was released by Blind Pig Records on September 25, 2007.  Said an exultant Nappy at the end of the recording sessions, "This is the best record I have done since 1955".

Piedmont Talent
Blind Pig Records


November 26, 1927 - August 12, 2008

Hosea Leavy Hosea Leavy, the Fresno musician who called himself the "Grandaddy of the Blues", died this morning.
He was 80.

Leavy recently learned he had liver cancer, his good friend Chris Millar said this afternoon.  "He didn't know it until it was too late and it had already been spreading", Millar said. "That was over a month ago."

Millar, a plugged-in blues drummer, had helped Leavy gets gigs at blues festivals overseas and right here in California.  Leavy was one of the stars of the Fresno blues revue at last year's San Francisco Blues Festival.

Details on services and tributes for Leavy have not been set, but are in the works.  Leavy had been scheduled to perform at this Saturday's Fresno Delta Blues Festival.

Read the entire story at FresnoBeehive here.

From the 2007 San Francisco Blues Festival:

Guitarist-vocalist Hosea Leavy hails from a small crossroads town called Althermer, Arkansas, located out about 26 miles from Little Rock.  Born in 1927, he learned how to play guitar at an early age from his father, also a blues player in the 1920s and '30s, and soon started performing at house parties and work camps in the late 1940s.

Drafted into the U.S. Army in 1950, Leavy honed his guitar skills performing at USO shows.  In 1954 he formed a blues group featuring his younger brother, Calvin Leavy, who was a notable singer.

In 1968 fame came to the Leavy brothers when Calvin recorded the blues classic "Cummins Prison Farm", based on the notorious prison work camp in Arkansas, and later made into a film called "Brubaker", starring Robert Redford.  The record, released on Soul Beat/Blue Fox, sold over one million copies.

The group toured extensively through much of the south with the success of the song.  In 1969 Hosea released solo efforts on Riceland Records, backed by Mississippi harp player Willie Cobbs.

In 1977 Hosea moved to West Fresno, California and continued his blues career.  He has appeared on a number of CDs, including "You Gotta Move", on the New York-based label Fedora.  He has performed at blues festivals in Europe.


The funeral service will be held Friday, August 22 at 1:00 pm at the Cooley Funeral Home located at 1830 S. Fruit Ave., Fresno, CA  93706, 559-268-6123.  Map

Afterwards there will be a music celebration of life at the Hinton Community Center.  2385 S. Fairview Ave., Fresno, CA  93706,
559-497-0795.  Map

December 30, 1928 - June 2, 2008

Bo Diddley By RON WORD, Associated Press Writer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Bo Diddley, a founding father of rock 'n' roll whose distinctive "shave and a haircut, two bits" rhythm and innovative guitar effects inspired legions of other musicians, died Monday after months of ill health. He was 79.

Diddley died of heart failure at his home in Archer, Fla., spokeswoman Susan Clary said. He had suffered a heart attack in August, three months after suffering a stroke while touring in Iowa. Doctors said the stroke affected his ability to speak, and he had returned to Florida to continue rehabilitation.

The legendary singer and performer, known for his homemade square guitar, dark glasses and black hat, was an inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, had a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, and received a lifetime achievement award in 1999 at the Grammy Awards. In recent years he also played for the elder President Bush and President Clinton.

Diddley appreciated the honors he received, "but it didn't put no figures in my checkbook."

"If you ain't got no money, ain't nobody calls you honey," he quipped.

The name Bo Diddley came from other youngsters when he was growing up in Chicago, he said in a 1999 interview.

"I don't know where the kids got it, but the kids in grammar school gave me that name," he said, adding that he liked it so it became his stage name. Other times, he gave somewhat differing stories on where he got the name. Some experts believe a possible source for the name is a one-string instrument used in traditional blues music called a diddley bow.

His first single, "Bo Diddley," introduced record buyers in 1955 to his signature rhythm: bomp ba-bomp bomp, bomp bomp, often summarized as "shave and a haircut, two bits." The B side, "I'm a Man," with its slightly humorous take on macho pride, also became a rock standard.

The company that issued his early songs was Chess-Checkers records, the storied Chicago-based labels that also recorded Chuck Berry and other stars.

Howard Kramer, assistant curator of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, said in 2006 that Diddley's Chess recordings "stand among the best singular recordings of the 20th century."

Diddley's other major songs included, "Say Man," "You Can't Judge a Book by Its Cover," "Shave and a Haircut," "Uncle John," "Who Do You Love?" and "The Mule."

Diddley's influence was felt on both sides of the Atlantic. Buddy Holly borrowed the bomp ba-bomp bomp, bomp bomp rhythm for his song "Not Fade Away."

The Rolling Stones' bluesy remake of that Holly song gave them their first chart single in the United States, in 1964. The following year, another British band, the Yardbirds, had a Top 20 hit in the U.S. with their version of "I'm a Man."

Diddley was also one of the pioneers of the electric guitar, adding reverb and tremelo effects. He even rigged some of his guitars himself.

"He treats it like it was a drum, very rhythmic," E. Michael Harrington, professor of music theory and composition at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., said in 2006.

Many other artists, including the Who, Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Costello copied aspects of Diddley's style.

Growing up, Diddley said he had no musical idols, and he wasn't entirely pleased that others drew on his innovations.

"I don't like to copy anybody. Everybody tries to do what I do, update it," he said. "I don't have any idols I copied after."

"They copied everything I did, upgraded it, messed it up. It seems to me that nobody can come up with their own thing, they have to put a little bit of Bo Diddley there," he said.

Despite his success, Diddley claimed he only received a small portion of the money he made during his career. Partly as a result, he continued to tour and record music until his stroke. Between tours, he made his home near Gainesville in north Florida.

"Seventy ain't nothing but a damn number," he told The Associated Press in 1999. "I'm writing and creating new stuff and putting together new different things. Trying to stay out there and roll with the punches. I ain't quit yet."

Diddley, like other artists of his generations, was paid a flat fee for his recordings and said he received no royalty payments on record sales. He also said he was never paid for many of his performances.

"I am owed. I've never got paid," he said. "A dude with a pencil is worse than a cat with a machine gun."

In the early 1950s, Diddley said, disc jockeys called his type of music, "Jungle Music." It was Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed who is credited with inventing the term "rock 'n' roll."

Diddley said Freed was talking about him, when he introduced him, saying, "Here is a man with an original sound, who is going to rock and roll you right out of your seat."

Diddley won attention from a new generation in 1989 when he took part in the "Bo Knows" ad campaign for Nike, built around football and baseball star Bo Jackson. Commenting on Jackson's guitar skills, Diddley turned to the camera and said, "He don't know Diddley."

"I never could figure out what it had to do with shoes, but it worked," Diddley said. "I got into a lot of new front rooms on the tube."

Born as Ellas Bates on Dec. 30, 1928, in McComb, Miss., Diddley was later adopted by his mother's cousin and took on the name Ellis McDaniel, which his wife always called him.

When he was 5, his family moved to Chicago, where he learned the violin at the Ebenezer Baptist Church. He learned guitar at 10 and entertained passers-by on street corners.

By his early teens, Diddley was playing Chicago's Maxwell Street.

"I came out of school and made something out of myself. I am known all over the globe, all over the world. There are guys who have done a lot of things that don't have the same impact that I had," he said.

The 2008 Blues Music Awards were announced in the Mississippi Delta on Thursday, May 8, 2008.
The winners selected by the vote of the Blues Foundation's members are:

 1. DVD » Kenny Wayne Shepherd » 10 Days Out:  Blues from the Backroads www.kennywayneshepherd.net
 2. Traditional Blues Male Artist » Hubert Sumlin www.hubertsumlinblues.com
 3. Traditional Blues Female Artist » Koko Taylor www.kokotaylor.com
 4. Acoustic Artist » Bobby Rush www.bobbyrush.net
 5. Acoustic Album » Bobby Rush » Raw www.bobbyrush.net
 6. Pinetop Perkins Piano Player » Honey Piazza www.themightyflyers.com
 7. Instrumentalist-Guitar » Bob Margolin www.bobmargolin.com
 8. Soul Blues Male Artist » Bobby Rush www.bobbyrush.net
 9. Soul Blues Female Artist » Irma Thomas www.irmathomas.com
10. Soul Blues Album » The Holmes Brothers » State of Grace www.theholmesbrothers.com
11. Historical Album » Epic/Legacy » Breakin' It Up, Breakin' It Down www.legacyrecordings.com
12. Contemporary Blues Album » Tommy Castro » Painkiller www.tommycastro.com
13. Contemporary Blues Female Artist » Bettye LaVette www.bettyelavette.com
14. Contemporary Blues Male Artist » Tab Benoit www.tabbenoit.com
15. Instrumentalist » Harmonica » Kim Wilson www.fabulousthunderbirds.com
16. Instrumentalist » Bass » Bob Stroger www.bobstroger.com
17. Instrumentalist » Drums » Sam Lay www.chamberblues.com
18. Instrumentalist » Horn » Deanna Bogart www.deannabogart.com
19. Instrumentalist » Pedal Steel » Robert Randolph www.robertrandolph.net
20. Best New Artist Debut » Diunna Greenleaf & Blue Mercy » Cotton Field to Coffee House www.diunna.com
21. Song » "Gonna Buy Me a Mule" » Koko Taylor www.kokotaylor.com
22. Traditional Blues Album » Koko Taylor » Old School www.kokotaylor.com
23. Album » Watermelon Slim & the Workers » The Wheel Man www.watermelonslim.com
24. Band » Watermelon Slim & the Workers www.watermelonslim.com
25. B.B. King Entertainer » Tommy Castro www.tommycastro.com

Sunday May 25, 2008
Gates Open at Noon at the Avila Beach Resort

This year featuring...

Little Richard
Elvin Bishop
Canned Heat


This is the 15th year for what has been a landmark Central Coast event, the Avila Beach Blues Festival.  This year continues the tradition of the biggest and longest running blues festival on the Central Coast, with top name entertainment against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean.  This is the party that kicks off the outdoor concert season!  Past years' line-ups have included a who's who of the blues world:  John Mayall, James Cotton, Robert Cray, Elvin Bishop, Taj Mahal, Dr. John, The Neville Brothers, John Lee Hooker, Charlie Musselwhite, Little Feat, Booker T. Jones, Robben Ford, Etta James, Bo Diddley, Jonny Lang, Buddy Guy, Keb' Mo', the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Dave Alvin, Los Lobos, Kenny Wayne Sheppherd... and many, many more!

With reserved theater-style and table seating and General Admission Lawn tickets available for sale, this will be an afternoon concert, gates open at noon and the show will start at 2PM and continue until sunset.  In the style of any great outdoor venue, you will be able to enjoy your favorite libation (full bar and premium beer and wine will be available for sale), snack (upgraded concert snacks available for purchase), watch world-class entertainment under the afternoon sky with your backdrop the Pacific Ocean.

Advance Reserved tickets will go on sale Saturday, April 5th at 11AM at all VALLITIX outlets including Boo Boo Records in San Luis Obispo, the Mustang Ticket Office on the Cal Poly Campus, at the Mid-State Fairgrounds Box Office in Paso Robles, and the UCSB Box Office on the UCSB Campus; on-line at www.vallitix.com or purchase by phone at 1-888-825-5484.  All Ages.  (7 and under admitted free in Lawn Seating only when accompanied by paid adult.)  Rain or Shine.  Please no outside food or beverages.  No pets.

Please send press requests to Bruce Howard at Otter Productions, Inc.
Telephone  (805) 924-1142  Fax  (805) 924-1162

April 16, 1979 - April 15, 2008

We are very sad to hear of the unexpected death of Blues rising star Sean Costello.  Sean was found dead in his hotel room yesterday.  Cause of death is not known at present but details will posted on the Piedmont Talent website as they are revealed.  The note below is from Steve Hecht at Piedmont Talent.

Remembering Sean Costello - Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sean Costello Sean Costello was a person I was so looking forward to get to know better.  He exuded positive energy every time I was with him.  I cherished the opportunity to work with him over the coming years and being a part of his growth as an artist and as a person.  Man, his latest cd was his best ever.  The tone he coaxed out of that guitar was incredible.  Every song had that Sean Costello stamp on it.  "Any Time You Want" or "Hard Luck Woman" can easily be the song of the year!  His guitar along with voice was never better than it has been recently.  I got to see him about a month ago in Atlanta and he was firing on all cylinders despite having just finished a long grueling tour and having a new bassist that night.  He was producing some of his best work ever.  It just kept you longing for whatever he would do next.  I will miss Sean and his youthful exuberance.  His energy inspired me.  He left us a great musical legacy.

Steve Hecht
April 15, 2008

April 10, 2008
Ramon N. Johnson, Director, San Jose Blues Week
Office: 408-924-4531



Ron ThompsonSan Jose, CA -- Monday May 5, 2008, through Sunday May 11, 2008, 90.5 FM KSJS and the Associated Students of San Jose State University invite you to celebrate San Jose Blues Week 2008, a tribute to great American music and the fans, musicians and club owners who keep the music alive.

San Jose Blues Week 2008 is recognizing the contributions to the arts from bluesman Ron Thompson, the long time bandleader of the late, great John Lee Hooker.  Thompson has played with a who's who of blues greats like Big Mama Thornton, Etta James, and B.B. King.  In the 1980's Ron Thompson joined the "Mick Fleetwood's Blue Whale" band for a few years.  In a recent interview Mick Fleetwood called Thompson his "favorite guitarist".

Thompson was recently honored by the City of San Francisco, which declared September 5, 2007, as "RON THOMPSON DAY IN SAN FRANCISCO"!

San Jose Blues Week 2008 is raising funds for Christopher Rodriguez, the Oakland youth who was shot and paralyzed while practicing the piano.  "Every year I want to do something socially responsible in connection with San Jose Blues Week and I was considering raising funds for the homeless.  However, Christopher's story really touched me and I wanted to show Christopher and his family that we in the South Bay are thinking of him too", said Ramon Johnson, founder and director of San Jose Blues Week.

San Jose Blues Week 2008 will be hosting events at JJ's Blues Club featuring Dennis Dove, a South Bay All-Star Jam with Jake Mackey and the Muddy Suns, an Acoustic Jam, Max Cabello, Jr., Russell Barber, Cole Fonseca, Just Truckin' and more!  Shows begin at 7 p.m.

Wednesday, May 7th will feature a mid-day barbecue at San Jose State University hosted by the Associated Students of SJSU featuring the music of Nathan James and Ben Hernandez (2007 IBC Blues Challenge Winners in Memphis).  Later that night, at the San Jose Improv in downtown San Jose, KSJS's Chef Ramon hosts "Talking Blues" from 6-10 p.m., a fundraiser for Christopher Rodriguez (the Oakland youth who was shot and paralyzed while practicing the piano) featuring Rene Solis and the South Bay All-Star Band, with Ron Thompson, Gary Smith, Lara Price, Laura Chavez, Max Cabello, Jr., Jake Mackey, Willie Roland, and more!  Appetizers will be donated by The Poor House Bistro.  Tickets are $15.

The Poor House Bistro will feature the music of Ron Thompson 5/7, Lara Price and Laura Chavez 5/8, Nathan James and Ben Hernandez 5/9, Gary Smith 5/10, and a New Orleans Jazz Brunch 5/11.

Saturday, May 10th, the Associated Students of San Jose State hosts the 28th Annual Metro Fountain Blues Festival from 12:30 - 8 p.m. (gates open at 12 noon) at the San Carlos Plaza area of SJSU featuring The Robert Cray Band, Koko Taylor and Her Blues Machine, Sonny Landreth, Smokin' Joe Kubek Featuring Bnois King, Shane Dwight, and Max Cabello, Jr.  There is a $5 requested donation.

Saturday night The Clarion Hotel in downtown San Jose hosts the official Fountain Blues Festival After-Party featuring Max Cabello, Jr.  Visit www.fountainbluesfestival.com for more information.

•  JJ's Blues Club | 3439 Stevens Creek Blvd., San Jose | jjsblues.net | 408-243-6441
•  San Jose Improv | 62 S. Second Street, Downtown San Jose | symfonee.com/improv | 408-280-7475
•  Metro Fountain Blues Festival | San Carlos Plaza, San Jose State University | fountainbluesfestival.com | 408-924-6262
•  Poor House Bistro | 91 S. Autumn Street, San Jose | poorhousebistro.com | 408-292-5837

To schedule interviews with Ron Thompson, please contact Jackie McCort (Ron's Business Manager)
at 510-693-8277 or jackie@rtblues.com

Ron Thompson web site   www.rtblues.com
Electronic press kit   www.sonicbids.com/RonThompson
MySpace   www.myspace.com/ronthompsonblues
Piano videos!   www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIcS8M7sLxU
Flickr photos!   www.flickr.com/photos/rtblues

Saturday, March 8th, 2008
The Little Fox
2215 Broadway
Redwood City, CA

Featuring René Solis, Volker Strifler, and Garth Webber

René Solis René Solis is proud to announce a very special show featuring Blue Rock'it recording artists Volker Strifler and Garth Webber.  Now in its sixth impressive year, the Blues Guitar Extravaganza continues to amaze and entertain audiences; as creative leader, René not only gets to show off his own exceptional talent, but also the opportunity to share the spotlight with blues legends and gifted newcomers.

René is an inimitable performer - he is an exceptional guitarist with a raw and powerful style, and a noteworthy singer / songwriter as well.  René, a Blue Rock'it alumnus, constantly reaches new heights of showmanship and finesse, whether as a member of his two wildly popular bands, Lucky 13 and NiteCry, or as a solo artist. René was a featured artist at the 2007 San Francisco Blues Festival, The San Jose Jazz Festival, and countless other festivals and nightclubs, performing alone or sharing the stage with such industry giants as Albert King, Luther Tucker, Joe Louis Walker, Davey Pattison, Sonny Rhodes, and many more. www.renesolis.com

Volker Strifler
Singer, songwriter, and guitar player Volker Strifler has just released his long - awaited CD The Dance Goes On, on Blue Rock'it Records. This recent Monterey Bay Blues Band Search Winner has played alongside Robben, Pat, and Mark Ford, Lowell Fulson, Chris Cain, and many others; his dynamic vocals, innovative songwriting, and instrumental expertise leaves audiences asking for more. www.volkerstrifler.com

Garth Webber Blues guitar virtuoso Garth Webber has performed, recorded, and toured all over the world with Miles Davis, Greg Allman, Mose Alison, John Lee Hooker, Bill Champlin, Lydia Pense and Cold Blood, and Kingfish with Bob Weir, just to name a few. A first-call player in jazz, blues, funk, and rock arenas, this Berkeley-based musician is always in demand. www.garthwebber.com

The featured house band for this event will be René's powerhouse band Lucky 13, which consists of a phenomenal group of musicians: drummer Michael L. Jiggetts, keyboardist Dave Gorges, and bassist Paul Logan. As always, the grand finale will feature all of these great talents on stage together for an explosive "All Star" jam session.

Doors open at 7:00 PM
Show starts at 8:00 PM

March 25, 1966 - March 2, 2008

By Douglas Martin, New York Times
Published: March 4, 2008

Jeff Healey, a Canadian guitarist, singer and songwriter whose band sold millions of blues-rock records and who also pursued a passion for old-time jazz, playing the trumpet and clarinet, died on Sunday in Toronto.  He was 41.  Jeff Healey He died of lung cancer, his publicists said.

Mr. Healey, who was blind, played his guitar with the instrument flat on his lap, resulting in what Guitar Player magazine called "astoundingly fluid bends and vibrato".  He blended jazz, rock and the blues.

Mr. Healey's greatest success came in the late 1980s, when his band recorded the album "See the Light".  It reached platinum status in the United States by selling more than one million copies and eventually two million worldwide.  A single from that album, "Angel Eyes", was the Jeff Healey Band's only Top 40 hit, reaching No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in September 1989.

The same year the band performed the soundtrack for "Road House", a movie starring actor Patrick Swayze.  The band also had speaking parts.  Soon the group was big enough to be booked in stadiums.

Mr. Healey also played the trumpet and clarinet in his own traditional jazz band, the Jazz Wizards.  He collected as many as 30,000 old-time jazz records, mainly those on 78 r.p.m., which he played as the host of an hour-long radio show on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Mr. Healey, son of a firefighter, was born and raised near Toronto.  He lost his sight to eye cancer when he was a year old and was given his first guitar two years later.  At a school for the blind, he was shown how to play the guitar the usual way but found it felt more comfortable on his lap.

At a Toronto-area high school he played the guitar and trumpet in school bands.  His early guitar inspirations were country stylists like Chet Atkins, but he moved on to Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and B. B. King, according to the reference work Contemporary Musicians.  He studied music theory on his own.

He formed the Jeff Healey Band in 1985, with the drummer Tom Stephen and the bassist Joe Rockman.  The trio gave as many as 300 concerts a year for about two years before signing with Arista Records in 1988.  Their second album for the label (after "See the Light") was "Hell to Pay", which featured guest artists including George Harrison.

As the group's popularity grew, so did their concert venues.  Jon Pareles, writing in The New York Times in 1989, described the band's music as "showy, arena-style blues rock", although he praised Mr. Healey's technique.

In 1990, a reader poll in Guitar Player magazine named Mr. Healey the best blues guitarist and best new talent.

By 2002, Mr. Healey had opened a music club named after himself in Toronto; he later closed it to open a larger one.  In 2003, he started his jazz band.

He made a total of 10 albums, including both jazz and blues-rock; it would be hard to guess that some of the albums were by the same artist.  In January 2007, Guitar Player said, "Jeff Healey may be the only cat around who can play the prewar jazz of Louis Armstrong on the trumpet, and the heavy electric blues-rock of ZZ Top on the guitar."

Mr. Healey is survived by his wife, Christie; his daughter, Rachel; and his son, Derek.

September 5, 1947 - February 26, 2008

George Allen "Buddy" Miles passed away late Tuesday night in Austin, Texas after a long fight with congestive heart disease.  He was 60 years old.

Buddy performed with some of the greatest names in music including Stevie Wonder, Muddy Waters, Buddy Miles Michael Bloomfield, Wilson Pickett, Stephen Stills, Neil Young, David Crosby, Jack Bruce, Eric Burden, Peter Torque, Billy Gibbons, Prince, Stevie Ray and Jimmy Vaughan, Rick James, Kool and the Gang, Jr. Brown, Ike Turner, Pinetop Perkins, Jr. Wells, Koko Taylor, Johnny Taylor, Barry White, Aretha Franklin, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Carlos Santana, Robert Lockwood, Jr., Billy Cox, David Bowie and others.

Buddy Miles recorded over 70 albums and performed in numerous world tours, television commercials and videos.  He is best known for his work with Jimi Hendrix and bass player Billy Cox in Band of Gypsys.

Band of Gypsys recorded one album appropriately titled "Band of Gypsys" in 1970 at Fillmore East in New York.  Two of the songs on the album were written by Miles.  ("We Gotta Live Together" and "Changes").

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked to please make donations to the Jazz Foundation of America specifically in Buddy Miles' name to assist with funeral and other expenses at www.jazzfoundation.org

The Jazz Foundation of America
322 West 48th Street
New York, NY  10036
Attention: Amy Cusma

April 23, 1929 - February 21, 2008
Houston trumpeter and bandleader took blues and jazz to new heights while working with B.B. King and other music greats

By Andrew Dansby
Copyright 2008 Houston Chronicle

Legendary composer and bandleader Calvin Owens, part of the blues bedrock in Houston, died Thursday morning.  He was 78.Calvin Owens

The trumpeter died of kidney failure weeks after undergoing a second surgery for liver cancer.

Nationally, Owens was best known for two periods of work as bandleader for blues legend B.B. King, one of which resulted in a Grammy.  Locally, he was a major session player at the Peacock Recording Co. during its golden era in the 1950s.  Owens was a fixture on Houston stages for 50 years.  He also lived and worked in Europe for 12 years.

Nicknamed "the Maestro", Owens was a restless stylist who didn't limit himself to one genre.

"He was a visionary", said country musician Johnny Bush, who worked with Owens on two albums during the past two years.  "He saw more in music than just blues or jazz."

Owens told Roger Wood, author of the blues book Down in Houston, "Jazz and blues are the same to me.  People think of the trumpet as being a jazz instrument, and it is.  But it's blues, too.  So even when I do jazz, it's still the blues.  I like to just think of myself as a musician."

Owens was born on April 23, 1929, and raised in the Fifth Ward by his mother, a New Orleans native who had relocated to Houston.

"We were extremely poor, in fact we were too poor to live in the housing project, and I mean, that's really poor", he told Amy Murdock in Touched by the Blues, an anthology of stories about blues players.

He grew up on Deschaumes Street in the Sawdust Alley area, northeast of downtown around Sumpter.  Owens remembered the community fondly, later naming record labels and production companies after Sawdust Alley.

As a kid, Owens shined shoes and worked in a bowling alley.  He picked up the trumpet at 13 and studied with the late, beloved music teacher Samuel H. Harris, among others.  After graduating Phillis Wheatley High School, he joined a traveling vaudeville show.

Owens was also one of several local stars to make a name at Houston's Eldorado Ballroom.  When he first played at the venue is difficult to pinpoint.  He appears in a 1949 archival photograph; in Unsung Heroes, he suggested it was around January 1950.

Established as a premier player in Houston, Owens began working with King in 1953.  Though King was born in Mississippi and had moved to Memphis, his roots in Houston were deep.  As a young musician in the '50s he recorded here, and he also signed with a Houston-based booking agency.  Owens told Wood of a camaraderie between Memphis and Houston blues musicians who would travel between the two cities picking up regular gigs.  It was natural that King would court Houston talent for his band.

By 1957, Owens and King had parted ways.  Owens worked different jobs around Houston, including one at a Maxwell House coffee factory.  He also fell in with the Peacock Recording Co., where he developed talent and was a session player.

Those who heard Owens at the time suggest he was a fiery player.

"He was always first trumpet, no matter who he played with", Texas Johnny Brown, a blues guitarist who crossed paths with Owens for years starting in the mid-'40s.  "You could say he was very brassy."

Local blues guitarist Pete Mayes, who played and recorded often with Owens, said he first heard the trumpeter in 1960.  At the time, Owens was playing with Otis Turner's band.

"Let me tell you something about Calvin; Calvin loved to hit the high notes", Mayes said.  "That was what you would call his forté.  He'd play them notes above most other trumpet players."

Owens recorded with dozens of blues players, including T-Bone Walker, Amos Milburn, Gloria Edwards and Junior Parker.  He also worked frequently with jazz artists such as David "Fathead" Newman and Arnett Cobb.

Owens' second tenure with King was as bandleader as well as soloist, from 1978 to 1984.  He was a crucial contributor to King's Grammy-winning 1983 album Blues 'n' Jazz, an apt title for Owens' decades of music.

After leaving King's band, Owens settled in Belgium for more than a decade.  Owens returned to Houston in the late '90s and began to record prolifically as a leader, starting with 1993's True Blue.  As was his way, he continued to make music without regard for genre.  He recorded blues and jazz, sometimes country, and occasionally hip-hop.  He also worked in Spanish-language music, translating a 1996 recording into Es Tu Booty two years later.

"He was a total inspiration", said Andy Bradley, chief engineer at Houston's SugarHill studios, where Owens made more than a dozen recordings.  "He was always full of energy whenever he came over here.  He was always looking for another great singer, another great tune, another great groove."

Last year, Owens released La Mujer que Canta Blues, a collaboration between his Blues Orchestra and blues saxophonist Evelyn Rubio.  Owens and his ensemble also released Houston Is the Place to Be last year.

Despite his cancer diagnosis, Owens continued to work regularly with his Blues Orchestra.  He and his band appeared on Bush's 2007 album Kashmere Gardens Mud.

"I'd call him Mr. Owens", Bush said, "and he'd say, 'Don't call me that, you're the same age I am.'  But we had great fun together.  His arrangements were great."

When he heard the record, Willie Nelson decided to make an album of jazz and blues-based country music with Bush, Owens and singer Ray Price.

Nelson will release the album, Young at Heart, on his label this summer.

"Generally, jazz and pop musicians don't have much to do with what I call hillbilly music", Bush said.  "He was the opposite.  This album is, more or less, his brainchild.  If Willie hadn't heard the blues things we did in Kashmere Gardens Mud, this album wouldn't have happened."

Owens, who was married four times, was single at the time of his death, though two of his former wives were with him at Memorial Hermann Hospice in his last days.  He's also survived by six children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Mayes said Owens "was a guy that loved people.  And he loved his family.  And he was one of the most outstanding blues musicians and arrangers of our times.  I'm sure he'll get his due credit after he's up in heaven.  He was a great man."

July 4, 1947 - January 11, 2008

Bob Enos, longtime trumpet player for Roomful of Blues, died in his sleep in his hotel room in Douglas, Georgia, early Friday morning, January 11, 2008 of suspected heart failure.  He was 60.  Roomful had played the Douglas Country Club the previous night.  The band was on its way to Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Sunday to perform on The Legendary Blues Cruise.  Roomful is continuing its current tour with former band member John Wolfe taking Enos's place.

Enos joined Roomful Of Blues in September, 1981.  Only saxophonist Rich Lataille had been with the band longer.  He appeared on every album that Roomful made apart from its first three releases, including a new CD, "Raisin' A Ruckus", set to be released on January 15, 2008.  Enos can also be heard with the Roomful horn section on recordings by Pat Benatar, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Colin James, Jimmy "T99" Nelson and others.  Influenced by Louis Armstrong and Roy Eldridge, Enos' driving delivery and punching high notes put a sparkle atop the Roomful horn section and frequently drew gasps from the audience.Bob Enos

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, on July 4, 1947, Bob took up the trumpet at age 14, studied at the Boston Conservatory of Music, and spent the late sixties and early seventies playing in R&B and soul bands.  After studying with John Coffee and Ray Copeland, he spent two of years working with the legendary Platters (led by Herb Reed) before joining Jack Radcliffe and the New Viper Revue.  He then founded the award-winning band Channel One and was with this jazz fusion group for three years.  After a period of freelance work he joined Roomful, literally on the eve of the band's first coast-to-coast tour.

"Bob was one of a kind," said Roomful bandleader Chris Vachon, "a unique talent.  The band obviously feels devastated.  When you work as closely together as a band like Roomful does, each person is family - we're like brothers.  It makes this kind of thing hard, very hard indeed."

"He could always hit those high notes," said Roomful's former bandleader Greg Piccolo.  "It was an amazing thing - I had never worked with a trumpet player who was so consistent.  It didn't matter how tired the band was, how long the drive to the job had been.  He was always there, right on the money. He was a bull."

"He was a pro through and through," commented Bob Bell who managed Roomful for over 20 years.  "He loved the music and he loved the band.  Outside of his family, it was his life.  He brought a lot of joy to an awful lot of folks.  And he was a really sweet guy."

He is survived by his wife Jill, sons Louis, Jude and Joseph, and daughter Elizabeth.

Contributions for Bob Enos' son's education may be sent to:
Bob Enos memorial Scholarship Fund
c/o TD Bank North
127 South Street
Wrentham, MA 02093


Red Dragonfly Productions
Alvon Johnson 851 First Street
Benicia, CA 94510

For Immediate Release

Contact:  Rhonda Lucile Hicks at 707.771.0140 or rhondalucile@comcast.net

January 6, 2008 (Benicia, CA)

What:  Blues in the Pews
Who:  Raymond Victor, Alvon Johnson, Eugene Cole
Why:  Raise money to feed the hungry
Where:  First Baptist, 2025 Sonoma Blvd., Vallejo
When:  Thursday, February 7, 2008 at 7 p.m.
Tickets:  $20
Contact:  707-644-4064

The First Baptist Church in Vallejo serves 50,000 meals to the hungry and homeless every year.  Local musicians are trying to make sure that continues with "Blues in the Pews:  A Concert to Help the Hungry," Thursday, Feb. 7th at the downtown church.

About $5,000 is needed to replace an aging oven, said the Rev. Al Marks of First Baptist, and Raymond Victor, Alvon Johnson, and Eugene Cole are committed to making it happen with a 7 p.m . performance in the 200-seat sanctuary.

Victor and Johnson are two of Vallejo's most noted blues artists while Cole is a top-notch gospel vocalist.

"We are fortunate we have these talented and giving musicians living right here," Marks said.

Tickets for the fund-raiser are $20 and for sale online at www.reddragonflyproductions.com or in person at Consumer Music in Vallejo or Bookshop Benicia in Benicia.

For more information, call Rev. Marks at 644-4064.  For artist interviews please contact Rhonda Lucile Hicks at 707.771.0140 or rhondalucile@comcast.net

Rhonda Lucile Hicks
Red Dragonfly Productions


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